i Cryptic Crossword 1563 Dac

February 12, 2016

A fairly straightforward offering from Dac . A couple of oddities I thought, Milk = Use in 3a and Determined = Out in 16d.  A few old chestnuts thrown in as well I don’t think I would have known of 9a and 20d if I didn’t do crosswords and as with Els the go to golfer so Ashe the setters tennis player. Whilst there isn’t a theme I do detect a touch of Welshness  with two locations and slate mines which I always associate with Wales.

As for a COD well I have a few to choose from  4d and 17a I liked but just edging them is

14d   One’s intended to be part of this battle  (10)

The original blog and solutions from June 2011 are here


An enjoyable, fairly straightforward puzzle from Poins today. There was some discussion over on Fifteensquared about whether DONE could equate to ‘conventional’, but ‘done thing’ leapt pretty readily to mind, so I wasn’t that concerned. If I did have a complaint, it would be about the golfer in 11ac, who surely doesn’t get mentioned outside of crossword circles these days?

COD? Nothing really stood out, TBH, but I’ll go with the (at the time topical) 25d – ‘Excuse head of IMF in bail wrangle (5)’.

June 2011 once more:


On a slightly off-topic note, I wonder if the days of both the cryptic and concise crosswords (the latter in its current form, certainly) in the i are numbered, if these stories pan out as seems likely, given the Independent’s dire circulation figures.

Evgeny Lebedev in talks to sell i newspaper to Johnston Press

Independent owner considering closing national print titles

i Cryptic Crossword 1561 Dac

February 10, 2016

I have retired to the reading room of my club this morning on account of the new housekeeper Ms Mgurure. She reminds me of Mary Poppins, in terms of her sunny disposition and productivity at any rate, although her chosen mode of musical expression tends to be the hymn. It’s all a bit much for one who isn’t at his best ante meridiem, so I beat my retreat to the strains of “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

Solvers today should cast their minds back to the heady days of April 2011, else 1ac isn’t going to make much sense. It’s not Dac’s fault of course, but really that clue should have been revised before the puzzle was reused. I found it quite challenging by this setter’s usual standards – perhaps a couple of mildly obscure solutions and the presence of a foreign footballer can be put down to the pangram. First rate and highly enjoyable, anyway. Plaudits for the succinctly clued anagram at 5d, and the clever 11ac, but my COD is 24ac:

“Not a dish pal cooked during winter month, except for starters (5,4)”

Much praise for Dac’s elegant work at Fifteensquared.

I’ve been a fan of 19ac for too many years now, and with the death of 23ac still fresh in mind, as soon as I solved 11ac I guessed what the theme might be. I worried for a moment that some of the groups / singers might be unfamiliar, but as it turned out the only obscurity was the city mentioned in 12ac (at least to me). A quick solve then, but an enjoyable one. Last ones in 8d and 31ac, where I was staring at .E.E.T on both for far too long.

COD? 23ac – ‘Celebrity’s misfortune during taxi shortage (5,5)’.

June 2011 again today:


A tricky double definition (though a guessable one) at 10ac, and an anagram at 15d that would not have tripped off the tongue of most solvers, but the rest was a nice gentle start to the working week. There’s some discussion on Fifteensquared about the enumeration on the latter, but as I’m not familiar with the province or the language, and just guessed (correctly as it turned out) what might be a plausible arrangement of the letters to hand, it was somewhat academic as far as I was concerned.

COD? 20ac – ‘Resort to guessing what might be defined by clue (10)’.

May 2011, when I’m guessing it wasn’t as breezy as today:


Saturday 30th January  2016

I am not completely ignorant to your probable disinterest in Phi’s themes and Ninas. After all, when we do a puzzle we just do it a clue at a time, those other shenanigans are irrelevant, aren’t they?   And yet, that’s how Phi usually starts his puzzles, with a germ of an idea, often taken from the world of literature.  Last week it was a series of books by Christopher FOWLER, including VICTORIA VANISHES, Bryant & May ON THE LOOSE and Bryant & May OFF THE RAILS.

As for the clues themselves, in my old copy he gained no fewer than seven ticks by his clues – a fair haul, all things considered. I was pleased to meet the romanticise/ creationism anagram at 28a (though it didn’t get one of those ticks) but my COD goes to the neat and gently amusing 20a:

Going South-East, having freedom (2,3,5)

Oh, and did I spot that ghost theme? Of course not – I Googled ‘Victoria Fowler’ after I’d finished, but to no avail.

Click here to go back to 2011 and all the answers.

Nothing to difficult here, the four long fifteen letter answers went in without the need to properly  parse them, a shame really as the setter goes to the trouble of creating a cryptic clue but due to the just one small part or the grouping of letters the whole answer seems obvious. A couple of grimaces from me were 18a and 15d where we enter just the first letter of words in the clue with, as far as I could see no apparent indication. 18a especially.  With a figure largely = w+a+te  or am I missing something here?  So to the COD the one that really stood out for me was

24a  Insensitive graduate leading boy, awkward tiro  (9)

Back to April 2011 here    http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/04/17/independent-on-sunday-1104-by-hypnos/


A pleasant, not too taxing puzzle from Crosophile, let down again I thought by a few obscurities. For the most part these didn’t cause any issues, but if you didn’t know the bird name at 15ac, then the first half of the word was pretty much a guess or a google.

COD? Amongst many good clues, 17d – ‘I’ll go with last of gin, a beer and one tequila for starters in a cocktail (9)’.

June 2011 once more:


Not a lot to report this week, I’m relieved to say, given the recent drama. As it turned out what with the unusual circumstances, the agency has upgraded us from a chambermaid to a housekeeper at no extra cost as a gesture of goodwill, and it’s fair to say that Ms Mgurure has hit the ground running, as it were. Onions is scared of her, I swear it. She gives the impression that she will not rest until the household is reorganised to her satisfaction – I have retreated to my study.

Ever so slightly disgruntled today. The phrase “direct inverse proportion” in the opinion piece got things off to a bad start, and then there’s the matter of 13ac. I bitterly object to American spellings on grounds of taste and literacy, so that’s a no ball. Otherwise, a typical Wednesday puzzle, quickly solved and characterised by a pithy turn of phrase and the odd display of wit. Ordinarily 3 and 6 would be strong candidates for a clue of the day, but the strikingly economical 14ac wins the prize this time:

“Credit card finder? (8,6)”

All the usual solutions, comments and glosses are available at the Fifteensquared blog from just under five years ago, along with some nostalgia about the long defunct Access card. I did wonder whether that reference would be lost on younger solvers.

Scorpion, a name that strikes fear into many a young solver’s heart. Today he was in a slightly more benevolent mood, with a very clearly flagged theme. I made slow but steady progress, only becoming unstuck on 18ac and 22d, thinking all the while that the latter must surely be a write in for Cornick.

COD? Amongst many good clues, 1d – ‘Lover pops on protection, as Romeo repositions (8)’.

June 2011 once more:



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