After completing the Cryptic Crossword in Neil Patrick Harris’ fantastic “Choose Your Own Autobiography”, I wanted to double check my answers. When I googled a few of them together, I got NADA. Zip. This either means that NO ONE else has solved the clues, or no one else has boasted about it online. I’d like to believe it’s the former, but regardless, I felt there must be some people out there who have no idea how to solve cryptic clues who would love to know how the puzzle works!
I do not mean to infringe upon copyrights. It seems google books has the whole puzzle available, so I feel like repeating the clues here will not infringe on anything. If I am wrong, I am happy to take the clues themselves down.
First off, the clues are impossible to solve if you have not read the book. So I highly suggest buying the book and reading it first. You can get it on amazon, here!
First off, here is a great guide to how Cryptic Crossword clues work. Feel free to read this, and try them yourself first! Click here!
Clue 1: Sounds like an assortment of taxis in which you were the MC (7)
Sounds like clues a homonym – in this case “an assortment of taxis” is a “cab array” which sounds like the show in which “you were the MC”. CABARET
Clue 2: Decorate John’s companion (7)
This is a double definition. Elton “John’s companion” is Furnish which also is a synonym for “decorate”. FURNISH
Clue 3: Wise-ass magician in the Ivy League (4)
Again this is a double definition. “Ivy League” clues the college, Penn, which is also the name of a “wise-ass magician”. PENN
Clue 4: Symmetries halved and reversed produce a ceremony (5)
This is a wordplay clue! Halve “Symmetries” and reverse the first half: Symme becomes Emmys which is “a ceremony”. EMMYS
Clue 5: Mixed, weighed, de-energized, played on Broadway (6)
Mixed clues anagram – take an anagram of “weighed” and de-energize means to remove an E. So anagram “wighed” to get a role “played on Broadway”. HEDWIG
Clue 6: Costar a larger, fake amount of money? (7)
This is really cute. Find a “costar” whose name sounds like a “fake amount of money”. FILLION
Clue 7: Collaborator with Apple by the other side of the road (10)
This is more word play – find a collaborator whose name can be pieced together by those clues. Apple = Mac. Other side of the road = Far lane. MACFARLANE
Clue 8: Kind of trooper preferred by Jefferson? (8)
The Jefferson in this clue is Jefferson Starship, which is also a clue for “trooper”. STARSHIP
Clue 9: Friend raised awkwardly and Southern (7)
“Raised awkwardly” clues anagram “raised”. “and Southern” means add an S. Do both to find a “friend”. SEDARIS
Clue 10: You’re this doctor, so doctor, broil her (8)
The second “doctor” is another anagram clue. Anagram “broil her” to find a “doctor”. HORRIBLE
Clue 11: Up in the only actress who berated you (9)
Place “Up” into a word for “only” which is LONE to get the actress who berated NPH. LUPONE
Clue 12: Funny woman marvels in confusion (9)
“Confusion” clues anagramming “marvels in” to get a funny woman. SILVERMAN
Clue 13: He was against you, and it sounds like he’s against everything (4)
This one you really need to read the book for. You find the guy who was really mad at NPH and realize his name sounds like CON, which is “against everything”. CAAN
Clue 14: He treats drunk whores (6)
Drunk is another anagram word – anagram “whores” to get someone who “treats” patients. HOWSER
Clue 15: Let show (4)
Double definition. A “show” he was in that is a synonym for “let”. RENT
Clue 16: He gave you your big break in a domed office (6)
“In a” clues that the answer is actually spelled out in “domed office”. Find the guy who gave NPH his big break. MEDOFF
Clue 17: Musical to escort without air-conditioning (7)
A synonym for “escort” is accompany. Take that and remove AC clued by “air-conditioning” to find a “musical”. COMPANY
Clue 18: For you he’s an oldie but a goodie, almost (6)
“Almost” clues anagram, so anagram “goodie” to get who NPH considers an oldie. DOOGIE
Clue 19: She will be missed a talk-show buddy (4)
“She will be missed” clues RIP add a from “a” to get “talk-show buddy”. RIPA
Clue 20: Fancy award (4)
Okay, I am pretty sure the award he means is Tony because it fits the grid; I think fancy should clue tony, but I do think it’s weak. I would’ve said Danza award, personally. TONY
Clue 21: A friend and basket in Wisconsin (6)
“Basket” clues hoop. Put hoop into WI for “Wisconsin” to find a “friend”. WHOOPI
Clue 22: Starts to build up romance to keep a lover (6)
“Starts” is cluing to read off the first letters of “build up romance to keep a” to give you the name of NPH’s lover. BURTKA
Clue 23: Lothario! Unhinge 90 bras, boy! (13)
“Unhinge” again clues an anagram. Spell out “90” and anagram “ninety bras” then add a synonym for “boy” which is son to get a “Lothario!” BARNEY STINSON
Clue 24: Idly wonders about your favorite place on earth (11)
“About” once again clues anagram, so turn “idly wonders” into NPH’s “favorite place on earth” (11) DISNEY WORLD
With all the clues, filling the grid becomes very easy. However, do note that there are only 23 spaces, so RENT/ PENN become interchangeable, which is a weak puzzling choice, but maybe it’s to let people figure out the final word without all of the clues? Either way, start with the words that are of unique length (EMMYS, SILVERMAN, MACFARLANE, DISNEYWORLD and BARNEYSTINSON) and the rest of the words fill in pretty quickly.
Take the shaded squares in numerical order, and it gives you the answer: KUNGALOOSH, which makes a lot of sense if you have read the book.
I hope that helped some of you!