Saturday 11th February 2017

There was a tremendous puzzle from Phi last Saturday – my favourite from him for quite a while. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the mathematician at 2d is most famous for the sequence of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc. (just add the last two numbers to generate the next) all of which appeared in order in the across lights. Brilliant.

Numbers are notoriously difficult to clue, and yet the clues were all crackers – maybe a bit harder than usual for Phi, but no real obscurities – apart from Ullage, I suppose, which rang only a distant bell but was clear enough anyway from the wordplay.  (Mind you, the blogger over at Fifteensquared  thought Oolitic, Acai and Barquentine were obscure, so maybe I got lucky).

As for spotting the ghost theme, that came pretty late for me – and maybe only even then because I see it every day in my place of work where the building (The Core at the Eden Project) is designed around the Fibonacci sequence itself.

Thanks also to Kathryn’s Dad over in the comments on the other side, who pointed out that the golden ratio (an essential aspect of for Fibonacci enthusiasts because neighbouring numbers in the sequence tend ever more closely to it) is expressed by the Greek letter Phi.

For Clue of the Day I did like 25a a lot, but will have to agree with nmsindy in plumping for 1a.  Here it is again:

Article for working out configuration of locks (4)


A generally pleasing puzzle from Klingsor with some inventive and some slightly over inventive clueing. 18d for instance, all that stuff about structures and gas was completely wasted when the answer was so obvious from just the first four words. 14d creates a bit of discussion over on Fifteensquared for using Tony to define “in”. Like most solvers I know ton can define fashionable so I suppose it just about works, perhaps it would have been better if it hadn’t been capitalised?  The other slightly contentious clue was 13a which I think Is really clever but I admit to being unable to satisfactorily parse, a comment is made about Dastard not being an everyday word  I however am far more familiar with it than with my LOI 20d which I had to check really existed. Quite a few ticks, 5a and as an ex printer who still has a Typescale 22a but for COD –

15a    Farmer gets more sexy – sounds like you and I missed out (7)


i Cryptic Crossword 1880 Tees

February 16, 2017

I’m afraid I found this a bit of a slog that took much longer than I’m really prepared to spend on a daily cryptic. It wasn’t a surprise to see that this is an old Indy Saturday Prize Puzzle reprint, where perhaps it was better placed. Tees isn’t amongst my favourite setter, so your mileage may vary.

COD? 26ac – ‘Gambler now attending Gamblers Anonymous? (6)’.

To October 2012:

A steady, reasonably 16ac solve today, courtesy of a reprint from the Independent on Sunday. Little to query or cause much controversy. The use of 26ac was probably unfamiliar to most solvers, though the wordplay was straightforward enough that most will have got there in the end. And we have a rare lapse by the editor at 6d. What would crossword setters have done without Mr Cable?
I had a fair few ticks by the clue, COD going to 16ac – ‘Model having money problems (7)’.

We leap from February to October 2012:

i Cryptic Crossword 1878 Eimi

February 14, 2017

There’s definitely something in the air today – just go to Google and you can play with the animated pangolins. For those of us who prefer more sophisticated pastimes, Eimi’s crossword from exactly four years ago is full of sweet nothings, as it were. A dozen of them, in fact, unless I’ve miscounted. Yes, it’s a romantically themed Valentine’s Day puzzle: not especially difficult but full of clever touches to enjoy.

It seems that there aren’t too many jazz buffs amongst the good folk of Fifteensquared, many of whom were misled by “Tatum”, doubtless as Eimi intended. F. Chacksfield has slipped into obscurity, although I daresay I’m not the only one who remembers his contemporary. Manuel and the Music of the Mountains … dearie me. You probably have to be of a certain age to tumble immediately to the correct Derek in 12ac, which pipped 14 and 18 at the post as my clue of the day.

“Nothing Derek put into lines for Romeo (5-3)

On the offchance that he looks in here, Happy Birthday to Kathryn’s Dad.

“I won’t be a minute,” my wife said, nipping into Sainsbury’s. Needless to say I’d finished Crosophile’s puzzle in a time rather over the allocated minute, while waiting in an icy cold car, and wondering when frostbite might set in. Luckily this wasn’t too taxing, with much flying by and only 24ac and 5ac holding out for particularly long at the end. I thought that this might have been an IoS reprint, it felt like that sort of puzzle, but apparently this was one of Crosophile’s regular Wednesday outings in the Indy: 26th September 2012 on Fifteensquared.

COD? 4d – ‘Caught by policeman criminal shows deference (10)’.

Saturday 4th February 2017

Everyone over at the 2012 blog on Fifteensquared was happy with this, and why not. For me it seemed a workaday offering from Phi, without very much either to get the blood racing or indeed to comment upon.

But let’s not forget our debt to Phi for his consistently high standard of output over the years – I well remember the first time I ever spotted a Nina was in one of his puzzles an earlyish edition of the i with ‘Ladybird’ and ‘Honeybee’ down the left and right hand columns and with ‘Insect Repellent’ down the centre. I got very excited!

Anyhow, enough of the nostalgia, my Clue of the Day award for this puzzle goes to the geographically neat 11a:

Fire observed back in the mountains (8)

When this puzzle first appeared it provoked much comment and mostly praise from the Fifteensquared community, it is not until comment 16 that any criticism is voiced about the “looseness” of some of the clues. Well maybe its an age thing because I to wasn’t very enthused by some of this, especially, 27a where a knowledge of the French language is required to make any sense of the parsing and 23d, I don’t like this sort of clue. This whole corner was made difficult by my failing to realise that the editor had amended 22a. Doh. I also took ages to see the hidden answer in 12a that wasn’t helped by my not really associating the answer with ostentatious  but with pretentious or posh.

The clue that really stood out today though is

COD 10a  TimeWarner panic to fix copyright infringement (5,5)

A lot of discussion with an input from the setter can be found here


At first I thought this might be quite difficult, when I only managed a few of the across clues and none of the downs on my first pass. Once a few more had fallen into place, though, the rest fairly flew by. No doubt solving in an office where the heating appears to have packed up didn’t help with the cognitive processes. I had to check 5d, French departments being something I always dread seeing in a crossword, as I must admit to not knowing any, but there didn’t seem to be any other obscurities. All in all an enjoyable diversion.

COD? 8d – ‘Cliff scene done in new way showing aplomb (4-10)’.

To the equally cold days of October 2012:

As good as ever from Dac, with so many good clues. On the easy side I thought, which was a relief after yesterday. It’s a pangram, apparently. Not that I noticed. 🙂 Sorry to be brief, but somewhat rushed today…

COD? 12ac – ‘Strict order from top cop in part of Clapham? (5-10)’.

Back to September 2012: