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The June Puzzler

June Puzzler diagram

Cryptic Tennis
Previous Puzzlers:
  • "Cutting the Cards"
    May, 2000

  • "Message in a Bottle"
    April, 2000

  • "Bright Prospects"
    March, 2000

  • "Your Turn"
    February, 2000

  • "A River Runs Through It"
    January, 2000

  • "Windup"
    December, 1999

  • "Downsizing"
    November, 1999

  • "Cycles"
    October, 1999

  • "Shakedown"
    September, 1999

  • "At the Movies"
    August, 1999

  • "Family Reunion"
    July, 1999

  • "Mismatches"
    June, 1999

  • "Lawbreakers"
    May, 1999

  • "Mystery Box"
    April, 1999

  • "Hide and Seek"
    March, 1999

  • "Central Square"
    February, 1999

  • "Cross-Training"
    January, 1999

  • "Criss-Crossing"
    December, 1998

  • "Back in the Labyrinth"
    November, 1998

  • "Rite of Passage"
    October, 1998

  • "Service With a Smile"
    September, 1998

  • "In Common"
    August, 1998

  • "Nine-Hole Course"
    July, 1998

  • "Guidelines"
    June, 1998

  • "Picnic"
    May, 1998

  • "Three-Ring Circus"
    April, 1998

  • "Marching Orders"
    March, 1998

  • "Step by Step"
    February, 1998

  • "Celebrating the First"
    January, 1998

  • "Cryptacrostic"
    December, 1997

  • "Chessboard"
    November, 1997

  • "Haunted House"
    October, 1997

  • "Double-Crossers"
    September, 1997

  • "Scoreboard"
    August, 1997

  • "Celebrating the Fourth"
    July, 1997

  • THIS puzzle's grid represents a tennis court, with heavy lines demarcating its sections rather than the beginnings and ends of entries. Clue answers should be entered without regard to bars, starting in the designated squares. Each section contains one square whose Across and Down letters are different. These letter pairs form a sort of connect-the-dots sequence that bounces back and forth across the net (shaded central column). Starting with the leftmost pair, remove one letter (from the Down entry in this case, but it may be either thereafter) and circle its duplicate among the right side's pairs. Remove the other letter from the second pair and circle its double on the left side. (There may be more than one double, but only one is correct.) Continue in this manner until ten letters have been removed and ten circled. Start with the leftmost circled letter and repeat the bouncing trail to form an appropriate two-word phrase. To complete the puzzle write that phrase in the shaded column. Answers include nine capitalized words.

    The instructions above are for this month's puzzle only. See a complete introduction to clue-solving.

    See the solution to last month's Puzzler.


    ak. Something played in court with round object, outside whenever summer's close (8)
    as. Seamstress put in netting for game (8)
    bo. Low-down humor (4)
    bw. Loafer worn by a children's author (4)
    ck. One in a thousand backing fad (5)
    cs. Beside myself, cry out for compassion (5)
    dk. Mark English is a former top court figure (8)
    ds. Prison farm surrounded by groundwork (8)
    en. Tries to catch lengthy naps (5)
    ev. Carried by mail service, I assume (5)
    fk. Lifting the feet (5)
    fs. Republican employs tricks (5)
    gk. Nitwit is nuts about snack, that guy (8)
    gs. Great fruit fights (8)
    hn. State capital announced (5)
    hv. Play at rummy, discarding one ace, fittingly (5)
    ik. Praise entirely in French (4)
    is. Biblical book's accuracy found wanting initially (4)
    jk. Warehouse damaged tent rope (8)
    js. Short-tempered sort's malice about tree (8)

    ak. Fighter of Batman tossing and turning in bed (9)
    am. Bridge sequence with a gap of two cards (6)
    an. Change jailbirds, self included (5)
    ap. Heard stray in ancient city (4)
    aq. Goes downhill fast, having finally given in to swamp vapor (9)
    as. Arm pusher with some cheese (9)
    au. Mounts some authors' essays (6)
    av. Summary return of restless walker (5)
    ax. Cruise south, and suffer (4)
    ay. Awesomely slimy blue liquid (9)
    bl. Leave poultry at Greek temple (9)
    br. Objector insisted on reforming about 500 (9)
    bt. Prove capable ump wrong about error -- one, certainly (7,2)
    bz. Goddess redistributed men's money (9)
    ep. Auditor's gone clear from the bottom (6)
    ex. Laurel around the head of Upper Volta's central ruler (6)
    fo. Irritate help at first in restaurant (5)
    fw. Special love of parody (5)
    gm. Touch horn on the way back (4)
    gu. Unfriendly in quarantine (4)

    Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
    The Atlantic Monthly; June 2000; The Puzzler - 00.06; Volume 285, No. 6; page 119.