Progressive rock, eh? The only prog rock I was ever into was Marillion, and they don’t appear, though I did try and force them into 2d for an age. :-) The penny dropped after Emerson and Lake appeared, at which point 4d could be little else. A quick Google search confirmed loads of others, some of which I’d heard of. King Crimson, Genesis, Gong, Yes, Camel, amongst others no doubt.

Challenging, with loads of questions at the end, but solvable with a bit of patience.

COD? 28d – ‘Peak reached by training in Sam’s chopper (4)’.

Lots more here:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/09/14/independent-7461tees/

Many thanks to Cornick for covering the past week!

Today was the shock of having to get up and go to work, and I still haven’t woken up properly, so it was fortunate that this was a fairly gentle offering from Quixote, with no real difficulties outside of 5ac. A good puzzle for beginners, which is the way Mondays should be.

COD? 14ac – ‘Woman at home expecting a visitor? She may be in a palatial room (4-2-7)’.

Answers and analysis of clues may be found here:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/10/03/independent-on-sunday-1076-by-quixote-%E2%80%93-26th-september-2010/

Saturday 25th july 2015

Dac was on a Saturday rather than his usual Wednesday slot last week, but Phi and Dac are reasonsably similar in their style, so not too much difference really.  Dac is remarkable for his incredibly smooth surfaces.  No fancy bells and whistles, just good honest clueing.

I often tell beginners to look for the definition at the beginning or the end of a clue, but here, and for the second day running, I’m choosing a COD where it isn’t:

2d:    From this bar see one Scottish isle and most of another (7)

For the full list of answers and parsing please click here.

JonofWales back to blog again on Monday. :)

Weirdly, this seemed near-impossible at first, but got easier and easier. Ultimately a very satisfying solve from a setter I used to fear – but perhaps not quite so much after today. :) Fortunately I taught Ancient Greece as a topic during my primary school teaching days, but in any case the 8 gods here, whether Greek or Roman, are amongst the best known, so perfectly accessible for anyone prepared to enter battle with the intricate clueing.

COD 26a: Leading letter to editor railing about disease sewage’s created (9)

In which the definition is, unusually, neither at one end nor the other.

2010 blog can be found here.

I seem to remember Glow-worm being a medium hard setter but I think he was being kind to us here by giving us clues to those long answers, particularly 1ac and 1d, the way he did.

Never the less there were a few tricky ones near the end and a couple I couldn’t parse without visiting the Fifteensquared website here.

My COD goes to 5d – just for the surface reading:

Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike via Snowdon? That’s a tough one (4,5)

An interesting discussion in the comments section of the Fifteensquared blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/09/01/independent-7450-by-dac/ , in which I learned that Eimi, the crossword editor of the Independent, apparently favours Collins dictionary, which therefore must the best arbitor on the acceptability of abbreviations. My lack of knowing any of the 3 controversial ones here: P(ost), S(atisfactory) and (R)adical, didn’t hold me up too much . Enjoyable as ever.
COD : 24ac. Princess recoiled about origin of this four-letter word (9)

Tuesday’s are often a themed crossword from the masterful Virgilius, and Radian’s puzzle here, themed around One across, was every bit as good, I thought.

Here were 11 of those iconic words we’ve all heard, probably many times, in the soothing tones of a Radio 4 voice – it was just calling them to mind that was problematic!

COD 13a One whale capsized saintly victim nearly (8)

2010 blog here.

By the way, this was very definitely a theme, whereas the David Mitchell themed crossword I blogged on Saturday was, if I’m right, what’s called a ‘ghost theme’ because you wouldn’t necessarily spot it, or need to in order to finish.  A Nina is more of a private joke – using unches or whatever – with a hidden phrase or message.

Some well flagged – and also rather amusing – long anagrams helped to make this a quick and relatively easy solve, ideal for a busy Monday.

COD? The rather neat 15a: Organisation of new NHS timetable (13)

The 2010 blog with answers and parsing is here.

Saturday 18th July 2015

Smooth clueing with a dash of sparkle; this was Phi at his best, I thought.

David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘Ghostwritten’ and ‘Black Swan Green’ made for a well concealed theme last Saturday, and how appropriate given that Cloud Atlas, with its hidden themes based around the number 6, has been described by critics as being ‘like a perfect crossword puzzle’.

Despite having read all three, I missed the ‘ghost theme’ entirely, until going to the fifteensquared blog here – where you too can see all the answers and parsing.

My COD goes to 9ac:  Flat, half of which houses semi-humans (9)

Right down the middle of the fairway for the Indy, I thought, with some to stretch us dotted around the grid, loads of good clues and a friendly couple of 15-letterers to get us going.  Nice!  Ooh, and this was a really nice combination style grid diagram, if that sort of thing interests you.

COD?  It was also my first one in:

24ac: Quarantine means shifting scene of Chinese massacre (9,6)

For the 2010 blog with all answers click here

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