Magic Rings

a cryptic puzzle by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon

Whenever the letter O occurs in an answer, it acts magically on that word. One kind of ring makes an answer shrink or grow by one letter into a new word (as WORN could become WON or SWORN in the grid); another ring changes an answer into its homophone (as CORD could become CHORD or CORED); and the third, most powerful ring transforms an answer into an anagram (as ATOM could become MOAT). Two grid answers crossing on a ring will undergo the same spell. Answer lengths are withheld to make discovery of the rings more cryptic


  • 1.
    Railroad flanked by fuel pen
  • 6.
    Check bit of sour cream
  • 10.
    For French wine, good showing
  • 11.
    Yours truly, with Howard and Harris, got things smoothed out
  • 12.
    Pieces placed evenly in star Louvre collection
  • 13.
    Some digital images misconstrued baptism
  • 14.
    Southern Rwandan people passing pipe down (2 wds.)
  • 16.
    Heavy coat altered result
  • 17.
    Hype about a General Electric clip-on gadget
  • 19.
    Mr. Clean spread around bagel supply in a bakery
  • 21.
    Concerning cipher in Latin correspondence
  • 24.
    Drills black underground deposits
  • 26.
    Anger church with new role
  • 29.
    Certain butterflies perched next to yours
  • 30.
    Article deconstructed musical performance
  • 31.
    Homer gripped by lower digit pang
  • 32.
    Subject before flick
  • 33.
    Device for spraying a rug in convertible (2 wds.)
  • 34.
    Longtime Cuban leader tossed right out
  • 35.
    Hear about old sad story


  • 1.
    Comfort victim of a scam in speech
  • 2.
    Push large garden tool
  • 3.
    Keep tabs on love poetry, Shakespeare’s last
  • 4.
    Country song the man transposed
  • 5.
    Number one trend’s backing treason
  • 6.
    Exercise place is returning (hyph.)
  • 7.
    Audition for a part, mostly prepared
  • 8.
    Bereft child playing on harp
  • 9.
    Naked ape originated ordinary language
  • 14.
    Streets having corroded conditions
  • 15.
    Friends hosting New England discussion groups
  • 18.
    Hats left in arbors
  • 19.
    Agreement Mongol ruler followed verbally
  • 20.
    Blow up wrong general
  • 22.
    German car company opening outside of school
  • 23.
    Strapping underwear with Big Apple initials
  • 24.
    Laser tag involving sleeping giant?
  • 25.
    Dole out speech after the opening
  • 27.
    Admitted everything wasn’t square?
  • 28.
    Tavern fixture? Very true