Plead the Fifth (Solution)

by Eli Bogart and R.M. Baur, based on an idea by Eric Wofsey

The answer to each clue appears in another clue. (More precisely, each clue has one good answer among the words of the other clues.)

Rearranging the clues following this cycle (as shown below) and taking the index of the answer of each clue in the next clue, starting from zero as hinted, gives 26 base-5 digits. One of the two possible groupings of these digits into 13 two-digit pairs gives thirteen numbers from 1-24, spelling out (some cyclic permutation of) TAKE THE P CLUES.

There is one clue starting with each letter of the alphabet. Five contain words starting with P: one in the first position, one in the second, etc. Reading the first letters of those clues in that order gives PLUTO, the answer.

Five-word clue phrase (without punctuation)AnswerBase-5 digitBase-5 letter
Question opener for the lostWHERE4T
Where indexing ought to startZERO0
Zero in Kelvin's temperature scaleABSOLUTE0A
Feeling absolute confidence about somethingCERTAIN1
Make like certain noted fathersFOUND2K
Item found under a treePRESENT1
Like present yes or guiltyVOTE1E
Vote early and this wayOFTEN0
Element of murder mysteries oftenARSENIC4T
Arsenic and Old Lace starGRANT0
Potential grant source or cervidDOE1H
Names like John Doe typicallyFAKE3
Create fake money ineptly maybeXEROX1E
Xerox alternative for the astuteSHARP0
Jab with a sharp objectKNIFE3P
Your knife might live hereKITCHEN1
Kitchen for Cowboy Nate NewtonNICKNAME0C
Uninspired family pet nickname traditionallySPOT3
Genial meeting spot for rivalsMIDDLE2L
Bravo in Middle Eastern stateBET2
Half of a sports betOVER4U
Out over or for partnerDONE1
Shakespeare done by Japanese filmmakerRAN1E
Ran a long con onPLAYED0
Team Red Grange played forBEARS3S
Drama series with improbable bearsLOST4