The Independent, and sometimes the i, push the limits of what’s acceptable in a daily cryptic. This puzzle went way beyond that, at times feeling more like a barred grid crossword. Clues like 1d and 9d were virtually unsolvable without recourse to reference books or very extensive general knowledge!

There’s a theme around 3d 5d, but tbh I was past caring by the time I neared the end…

For more help, here’s the 2011 blog:

Edited to note: I’ve just noticed that Fifteensquared is down. In case it remains so, here’s Google’s cached copy of the blog:

A good beginner’s puzzle to start the week. Last in the unknown, to me, 21ac.

COD? 19d – ‘Desire of people in Gateshead maybe no longer quite what it was? (6)’.

February 2011 already!

Saturday 26th September 2015

Note to self: Next time you finish a Phi puzzle, look at it from his point of view: Is there a challenge to his grid-making somewhere? If there are six interlocking fifteen-letterers, say, then that’ll be it; if there are unches round the outside look for a peripheral Nina; if it just looks like an ordinary grid, does the vocabulary have long phrases which would be challenge to fit into a grid? If the answer is ‘no’ then there might be a hidden theme or Nina within the lights, if there are some ‘weak’ answers like last week’s Nolan, Norma, Moola and Eugenie then there will definitely be… Search for it!

But of course I didn’t…

However, if you go to the fifteensquared site with all the answers here, you’ll see that IanN14 did spot ‘Christopher Nolan’, plus four of his films ‘Memento’, ‘Insomnia’, ‘Inception’ and ‘Batman’.  If you did too – bravo!

COD: 1d: Grape variety identified in Highland Games website? (8)

After some speculation yesterday about whether we were due a toughie today, we get… Dac. A gentle end to the week then, though a thoroughly good one, as ever. As I’m covering sprouthater who’s away on holiday, this was perfectly timed, as I had little time to solve. A little controversy on 18d, which didn’t really work for me either, but it was perfectly gettable anyway. Last one in 6d, which I had to piece together from the anagram fodder.

COD? 1d – ‘Millions read this novel (4,5)’.

Here’s the 2011(!) blog:

A nice, breezy solve to ease us towards the weekend. Lots to like, little that’s controversial, more like this please.

COD? 10ac – ‘”Additive-free” garlic in a grocer’s? Some of it’s going back! (7)’.

Our second foray into 2011 back on Fifteensquared:

i Cryptic Crossword 1448 Dac

September 30, 2015

What a simply splendid morning!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and even the morose fellow at the newsagent was uncharacteristically affable.  Furthermore, Dac was on the top of his form today, I thought, delivering a fine and varied selection of clues with nary a clumsy surface reading in sight, as is his wont.  Too many good ones to list, in fact, but it would be a shame to let 1ac and 6d pass without mention.

Nonetheless, the COD was such an utter delight that it selected itself: 16/18 – “70s hit featuring Roy from York, Eric from Cirencester and the lad from Rochdale (3,4,3,4,2,4)”

How about that then?  As an added bonus, I had the pleasure of explaining the thing to the ordinarily omniscient Onions, whose tastes run more to 24d.

We’re nearly up to Christmas now in 2010; here’s the Fifteensquared blog:

A tough one today, themed around 13ac’s. Until I solved that clue I felt that I had little chance, but bit by bit it all fell into place, though it felt more like a chore than entertainment. I don’t generally like crosswords where you need to get the gateway clue to have any chance of making headway, and coupled with some pretty tough clues, and obscurities like Mack for Sennett, it was all a bit much.

COD? 22ac – ‘Championship seed’s access code? (4,6)’.

Back to 2010:

A fairly straightforward offering from Quixote today as can be seen from the lack of comments in the original blog which incidentally is from 2011.

Both 4dn and 9ac were new to me but as they were both anagrams easily got.

A gentle start to the week.

COD 16ac   Ding-dong – thus we play in difficult match (7.7)

2011 blog is here

Saturday 19th September 2015

Dac again last Saturday, completed without too much trouble from the crossword itself, just lots of interruptions from my wife bursting into tears as we dropped our first-born off at Uni for the first time.

I really must try to extend my lexicon beyond the word ‘smooth’ when discussing Mr Dac, but he is just so, well, smooth.  Several fine examples of said last week; think I’ll pick out 26a for my COD:

Clever, like pupil getting only one low grade? (6)

I also did the Guardian’s Latin themed offering from Paul that day (including an emperor seemingly named Gluteus Maximus, arf) in which my LOI was as follows: Hero going after rebel in uprising?(4)  L?O?.  Given that my university-bound son is called Leo, I rather liked that!

The 2010 blog and comments are here.

Tough one today I thought but not nearly as impenetrable as yesterdays, although I will be honest and admit I couldn’t complete it. 17dn Moravia If asked I would probably guess that it was a fictitious place with a child catcher and 13ac even with all the crossing letters I just couldn’t see it. However  there are some excellent clues in this puzzle 1dn and 2dn 11ac and 23ac particularly stood out but my COD 4dn At first police protection restricts American making a bit on the side. (8)

2010 Blog is here


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