Puzzle: Electoral cryptic crossword clues

Five clues, five answers… and a sixth bonus answer if you can get it:

  1. Source of power is vote in Rhode Island metropolis (11) {2}

  2. McCain’s first alternative - a woman with kids (6) {5}

  3. Drinking establishment presently occupied by Mr Gore (6) {1}

  4. Biden primarily a revolutionary on left? Or an eligible fellow? (8) {4}

  5. Crazy kook and nut seizing country’s leader in moment of triumph (8) {3}
    (if this sinks like a stone I reserve the right to post it on another board :D)

Question re: cluing conventions – do the numbers indicate letter counts, so that all your answers are two words? (In the U.S., letter counts are in single sets of parentheses, with two-word phrases and hyphenated words indicated, so “Big Ben” would be “3, 3” and “e-mail” would be “1-4.”) or are your second numbers, which I note are 1-5, indicating something else?

Or is that part of the puzzle?

Damn I’m cranky tonight. Or confused. Or both.

[spoiler]2) Mother

  1. Saloon

  2. Bachelor (?)[/spoiler]

Someone else will have to get 1 and 5.

I believe the numbers in parentheses are the size of the words and the numbers in brackets are the letter locations for the sixth word. I do know that number 2 (the only one I’ve gotten so far) is one six letter word. I don’t really have time right now to figure the rest.

I love cryptics. Unfortunately, I can’t get 1 and 5 yet either.



I don’t doubt Fretful’s answer to #4, but I don’t entirely understand the reasoning either.

(The only one I’ve gotten on my own is #1, but I’ve been beaten to it anyway)

Fretful’s answer is indeed correct. Clue 4 relies on that bit of crossword-ese"revolutionary", indicating CHE (Guevara).

I messed up #3–I got my Latin confused and thought “liber” meant “to drink.” Oops!

I got all the others. The only one not answered so far is #5:

knockout – anagram kook/nut, adding the first letter of country

I have no idea how to interpret the numbers in brakets. I’ve tried taking the appropriate letter from each answer, arranging the answers in order, and doing both at the same time. I’m not sure how to resolve it.


Good work on cracking the cryptic part of the puzzle. Regarding the numbers in curly brackets, one of Left Hand of Dorkness’s interpretations is correct.

Barack Obama. The answers form a new clue, each element of whic gives respectively BAR AC KO BA MA

Wow, that’s pretty cool. The only part I don’t get is clue #4.

Nicely done, Usram!


Biden primarily = B; a revolutionary = A CHE; on left = L; or = OR; an eligible fellow = BACHELOR

Thanks. Clue 4, yeah that was a bit cumbersome - five wordplay components to clue an eight-letter word? But it’s hard to come up with clues that are both elegant and thematic.

Very, very nice.

Solving before looking at any of the responses:

[spoiler]1. ELECTRICITY
ELECT (vote) + RI (Rhode Island) + CITY (metropolis)

    M (first letter in McCain) + OTHER (alternative)

    SOON (presently) occupied by AL (Mr. Gore)

    B (primary letter in Biden) + A + CHE (revolutionary Guevara) + L (left) + OR

    KNOKOUT (“crazy” combination of letters in KOOK and NUT) seizing C (leading letter in “country”)[/spoiler]


For the record, I got #2-5. #1 and the “bonus answer,” I did not get, but upon seeing the answer, I went “:smack: I could’ve gotten those!” Which is the sign of a good puzzle.

Very well done, Usram. Thanks!

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out #5. I even had the right idea of “how” to solve it, including figuring out what I needed but the answer just wasn’t presenting itself. But now I see the answer and go :smack: .