Saturday 15th October 2016

Four long lights formed the main structure of this one; three were anagrams and one was the William Congreve play ‘The Double-Dealer’ – of which I’m ashamed to say (given my repeated calls for more of the dramatic arts in puzzles) I had never heard. The ‘Double’ in the play title intersected with ‘Def’ (part of Deform) and ‘Obiter’ so I was held up at the end of an otherwise steady solve.

I agree with commenters at the Fifteensquared blog here that ‘Marmelise’ should really be spelled ‘Marmalise’ – proof if proof were needed that the i always goes with Chambers’ version of things – right or wrong!

And I liked Wil Ransome’s comment on Fifteensquared, so shall repeat it here:

Did nobody think that 19d was quite outstanding? It seems a pity that such brilliance is apparently taken for granted and will be forgotten tomorrow.

Just for him, I’ll second it as Clue of the Day:

19d Moriarty’s foremost among difficulties for me (6)

P.S.  Big Dave will be publishing one of my puzzles at midday today on his website here(already test solved by JonofWales and AndyT).



Yesterday AndyT wondered if todays offering might be a stinker. Luckily for me it wasn’t but it did offer a bit of a challenge. I found this hard to get into probably because I lay awake for half of the night worrying that it was going to be difficult. After reading all the across clues I’d only answered two or three of them so it was with some relief that the down clues all seemed much easier, like others across the way I entered girl at 8d rather than lass which caused a lot of problems with 17 and 21a . Two weeks ago when we last had a puzzle from this setter I pondered where an R came from and was informed “reading =r” today 1a throws up the same question and it seems its either Latin for recipe or r = round Hmm. Much discussion regarding the pronunciation at 28a which I thought ok but I didn’t like the similar clue at 26d especially as I am unfamiliar with any games console’s, the only other oddity to me was the Rio in 11a. I did however found this in the most part very enjoyable with quite a few ticks being awarded, my favourite though is

COD 15a  Annoying no-no introducing endless article: “Whatever!” (8)

For all the parsing, much discussion and the revelation of a hidden theme the March 2012 blog is here

A pretty straightforward puzzle today from Poins, solved leisurely over lunch without ever feeling that I might struggle to finish. Which isn’t always the case.🙂 There’s some discussion over on Fifteensquared about the fairness or otherwise of 6d, but TBH I saw little wrong with the clue, though I must add that I solved based on the definition alone and might have felt otherwise if it was one I was stuck on. I’m not particularly struck by the anagram indicator in 17ac, but it doesn’t seem to have bothered anyone else. All in all a nicely diverting puzzle.

COD? With 28ac a close second, I’m going with 2d – ‘Without enough warning (7)’.

The IoS blog with answers and much more can be found here:

This looked like it might turn out to be a ten minute quickie for a while as the majority of the across clues fell neatly into place on first reading, but I hit some stony ground in the NE and SW which slowed proceedings down.

Comrade Cornick recently characterised Dac’s puzzles as “flawless”, and there’s certainly precious little to complain about – nevertheless, I’ll give it a go. Without wishing to come across as a pompous blimp, it has to be said that 3d is a little low rent for my tastes; and then there’s the matter of the chestnut in 12d. Doubtless it would be familiar enough to readers of the Racing Post, but that’s not me. The definition, however, amply compensates for that niggle. Otherwise, yet another impeccable puzzle from Dac – surely the most reliable of setters?

Stand out clues for me included 9, 11 and 24ac (not forgetting the six-letter British engineer at 23, proving that it isn’t always Brunel after all), and 2, 5 and 14d. One does one’s best not to follow 15²’s lead re the clue of the day, but on this occasion there’s a clear winner, despite that nut:

12d: ” Silly people consuming cereal with chestnut and butter product? (5,6)”

The crossword was first printed in April 2012, and for the usual analysis, witty commentary and exercises in trichological bisection, please consult this Fifteensquared blog entry.

A bit of a challenge today for the geographically challenged amongst us. A few places up north I’d heard of, and a few like 24 that might as well have been in Outer Mongolia as far as I was concerned.🙂 Add to that a bird and ‘writing material’ I’d not heard of either, and I was left with a solve that started at a fair clip, but finished at a crawl.

COD? 18ac – ‘Saint’s dingy resistance, nipping Devil’s extremity (7)’.

Back to April 2012:

An IoS reprint to start the working week in a, for the most part, gentle fashion. I say for the most part because I’m guessing that, beyond the answer, 21ac was probably pretty incomprehensible to most solvers. I’ve never heard of the department in question, never mind the fact that they were in the news four and a half years ago. 26ac and 23d were also quite tough, I thought, and took an age at the end. I also had a question mark by ‘form’ as an anagram indicator in 6d, and was also left a little bemused by 15d.

COD? 7d – ‘Where ups and downs (and locations of loos?) feature? (6,3)’.

Back to March 2012:

Saturday 8th October 2016

Pop over to Fifteensquared to read all the answers and parsings for this one – although be prepared for a bit of slightly unnecessary nit-picking from the other channel for what I thought was a puzzle without flaw.

Several questioned the phrase ‘make a long arm’ which is common enough down our way – I use it, and shall now make a point of doing so on a daily basis.

Someone else objected to ‘around’ and ‘keeping’ being a repetition of a containment indicator in 7d – whereas ‘around’ was actually part of the definition.  Another objected to the enumeration in 16a whilst still more objected to clueing ‘Béarnaise sauce’ as ‘light yellow sauce’ which is of course exactly what it is!

Take heed fellow bloggers, lest we too might ever descend into groundless fault-finding.

Who, me?

Narrowly pipping 1a for the accolade of CoD was the imagery provided by 16a:

Rising and falling aboard ship, Henry and friend appear uncertain (12)





Quite tricky but not over complicated I thought. A couple of quibbles, 8a doesn’t work as a homophone for me and ones = jokes in 5d seemed a bit vague. 7d was entered because it was all I could see that utilized fang and fits with the other checking letters ,this provokes a bit of discussion on Fifteensquared but I still wonder where the W comes from? Apart from these niggles I really enjoyed this puzzle. Despite the football reference at 19d nothing I could see needed any specialist knowledge, I liked 10d a lot, 1d and 14d also were excellent but my favourite was

COD 12a  Cooler, another one with Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion (3)

Well, by the end I had lots of ticks by the clues, but I must admit to finding this one hard going. It was solved in fits and starts, with long pauses where I was stuck and getting nowhere. Perhaps at this end of the week my mind isn’t up to the twists and turns required to untangle Morph’s always inventive clues? Or perhaps it’s just the thought of the impending Brexit-driven Marmite shortage. They make Pot Noodles just down the road from us though, so not all is lost.😉

COD? By a long shot 5d – ‘Woodland inhabitant – Allen-a-dale? (4,2,3,6)’.

Back to the cold(er) days of a Tuesday in February 2012 where, unusually, there wasn’t a theme or Nina to be found:

A lovely crisp early autumn morning here, and a similarly crisp crossword by Dac. As Sidey remarked back in January 2012 on the Fifteensquared blog entry for this puzzle, there isn’t often much to say about a Dac, on account of his consistent excellence.

Not a great deal of head scratching required today: 18ac was rather spelled out for us which is just as well. Dashed slippery language, Gaelic – it’s all very well knowing the word but assembling all the right letters in the right order is another matter entirely. Some Fifteensquared solvers reported a spot of bother with 23ac, described by one of them as a semi-&lit. I couldn’t possibly comment on that, but the parsing is clear enough. 22d employs probably the least familiar definition of the word in question which isn’t actually obsolete, so that might have raised some eyebrows. Highlights: all the long ones, and for some reason 9d took my fancy even though it’s decidedly familiar. My choice of COD is the appetising 12ac:

“Examination of what might be spotted briefly during dinner (7)”