I made a right meal of this, finishing in about twice my usual time for a Monday. Quite a few unknowns, and the nonsense homophone at 19ac muddying the waters.

COD? 1d – ‘Doctor turning up with others at university home in the morning (10)’.

Here’s our first 2010 blog of the year:


Saturday 11th October 2014

Good stuff as ever last Saturday with Phi giving us a pair of very clearly indicated 15-letter anagrams side by side down the middle of the grid: ‘Edinburgh Castle’ and ‘Central America’. With those two readily in place forming the backbone of the puzzle, several ‘ribs’ quickly followed.  A few answers, like 21d’s ‘Harold’, offered a bit more resistance towards the end but, by the standard of the last two days, this was a doddle!

COD 23ac: Literary style is included in field of study (7)

Original blog is complete and here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/11/20/independent-7207-by-phi/

Two reprints of very difficult Indie Saturday Prize Crosswords in a row, the editor’s got it in for us. I needed help to finish this one in any sort of reasonable time.

COD? 3d – ‘Ship’s captain giving dog and bear examination (7)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


A medically themed puzzle from Mass that had me struggling after 6 clues entered, but very rewarding to finish. Bit of a thumbs down for 18d, where we needed to know not only the abbreviation and include it as part of the anagram fodder, but also pick up on an unusual anagram indicator.

COD? 8d – ‘Almost ready in operating scene for 19 (7)’.

All the answers and analysis here:


As good as ever from Dac, though he did defeat me today on 5ac, 11ac and 10ac. This isn’t my week! :-)

The definition for 26ac always rankles with me, as I always holiday in the UK, and still consider that I have had a vacation, but I’ll forgive Dac as the media seem to have wilfully mangled the original usage.

COD? So simple, but took me an age to spot, 7d – ‘Muscle men in gym have tight-fitting tops (5)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


I struggled quite badly with this, never spotting the theme, and gave up with 4 blank in the interests of getting the blog out.

COD? 19d – ‘Learner who is unusually wise (6)’.

The 2009 blog is missing one or two clues, and got some of the down numbers wrong, which you should be able to untangle:

13ac – REEL ED
20d – ANNUAL


Quixote eases us gently into the working week. A decidedly festive feel to today’s puzzle. :-)

COD? 21ac – ‘Moan as row becomes tricky? Presumably she might (9)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog with answers and analysis:


Saturday 4th Octoer 2014

The easiest solve I’ve had from Phi that I can remember; all bar 11across falling without significant resistance. Maybe I’m getting used to him…

COD for me was the easy but pleasing 13 across:

One doesn’t forget soccer player backing hard worker (8)

And for anyone who feels excluded by the ‘in-on-it’ cliquey-ness of Ninas, last Saturday gave us the prize winner, surely, for the most obscure Nina ever.   Nina Kazakova, it turns out, is the only real-life Nina that Phi has ever known – an ex-colleague, he tells us in the comments section of fifteensquared here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/10/09/independent-7171-by-phi/  and there she is, bold as brass, in the unches of row 12!  But of course a puzzle should stand or fall on the quality of its clues – the Nina is just there as a bit of fun for the setter really – isn’t it?

A nice puzzle that I didn’t mean to solve yet, but kept spotting answers when I was glancing at the paper, and ended up filling the grid. Easier than I expected when I saw the setter, but glad Fifteensquared was on hand to explain one or two, 21ac notably.

COD? Loads I liked, but I’m nominating 24ac – ‘Unknown bather crushed in very cramped pants? (5,9)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


A distinctly tricky offering today, needed help to finish one or two.

COD? 22d – ‘Man cut part played by Helen Mirren? (5)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:



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