78 Solves   &   157 Attempts


by Charissa Yong

Some clues are easier ways in than others. “Japanese heavenly dog”, for example, is unmistakably the tengu. Other clues also describe unusual physical aspects of living creatures. Solvers should be able to quickly realise that each clue describes a specific mythical creature. The puzzle title should also reassure solvers that they are on the right track.

With that theme in mind, solvers looking at the word list might notice that some words seem to share many letters with certain mythical creatures (all the letters in “phoenix” are found in “xenophobia”, for instance). Using the given numbers to extract directly from the given words yields gibberish, anyway. The second given word, “anagrams”, is also pretty much a giveaway as to what these words are.

After figuring out the creature name hidden in each word and removing it, the leftover letters can be rearranged to fill in the blanks in the bottom section. Solvers will also find that the mythical creatures to which the clues refer are contained in the anagrams, exactly once each.

The next step is to index into the blank’s answer, using the number beside the anagram from which the answer was derived. However, the given words are in alphabetical order. This should clue solvers to rearrange the extracted letters in order of the bottom section. This gives the clue phrase TANAKH SEA BEAST, which references yet another mythical creature better known as the LEVIATHAN.

The answers are:

Clue Mythical creature clued Answer of blank in clue Anagram corresponding to blank’s answer Mythical creature in anagram # Letter from blank’s answer
The sight of her turns onlookers to ___ MEDUSA STONE honeytraps HARPY 2 T
It's on Warsaw's coat of ___ MERMAID ARMS anagrams NAGA 1 A
This heavenly dog has a long ___ TENGU NOSE misdemeanor MERMAID 1 N
A giant ___ came to the aid of this many-headed serpent HYDRA CRAB ambuscader MEDUSA 3 A
Charles Wesley's 1739 song about several of this messenger begins: "___, the..." ANGEL HARK shakerlike SELKIE 4 K
In Matthew 8:30-32, Jesus allowed these to enter a ___ of pigs DEMON HERD unchartered CENTAUR 1 H
Woman with ___ instead of arms HARPY WINGS crowings ROC 5 S
Has the lower body of a ___ CENTAUR HORSE tougheners TENGU 5 E
Has a serpentine shape, like a feather ___ NAGA BOA xenophobia PHOENIX 3 A
Enormous Arabian ___ of prey ROC BIRD braiding AGNI 1 B
Vedic entity, name meaning ___, with two kindling sticks for parents AGNI FIRE releafing ANGEL 4 E
Avian reborn from the ___es PHOENIX ASH handsome DEMON 1 A
The individual who creates this bloodsucker is called its ___ VAMPIRE SIRE hayriders HYDRA 1 S
Wearing a sealskin ___ allows them to transform SELKIE COAT comparative VAMPIRE 4 T


Author’s notes

This puzzle was originally a lot looser as I didn’t make use of the leftover letters in the anagram. But I didn’t really like leaving them unused, and I realised I could get them to form words, and thus this iteration of the puzzle was born.

Getting everything to match was a nightmare, especially since I was also trying to have each blank’s answer be sufficiently sharp and unambiguous. I also abandoned my original idea of ordering the eventual clue phrase according to the loop of the blank’s answer, the mythical creature it clued, and the anagram in which the creature was embedded.

I also deliberately used “tanakh” in the clue phrase to make it harder to eyeball, so solvers would have to solve more of the clues.


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