It’s been many a moon since the Wednesday slot was occupied by a setter other than Dac, and since Raich only makes occasional appearances I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. Initial impressions were unpromising – three anagrams in a row – but as it turned out the puzzle was a diverting one: scrupulously fair with a sprinkling of very pleasing clues.

The crossword is from the Independent on Sunday back in February 2012, and if you consult Fifteensquared you’ll find that the original blog was written by a gentleman who had been savaged by a squirrel. Strange but true. Whilst there was a lot of appreciation for 18ac, I cottoned on to that one rather quickly, and must now make my choice of COD from either 28ac or 14d. Let’s go with the latter:

“Mounted attempt and managed to get into journey in the water? (3,6)”

Well I thought that was terrific.

I have no fewer than four candidates for Clue of the Day, plus another 10 clues with ticks in the margin.  Mind you I also have ROAD with a question mark for 5d, having been defeated by the unfamiliar mobile=M abbreviation.

The sprinkling of techie related clues plus my first answer of Applets alerted me to the theme, but it took a trip to Fifteensquared and the original blog  – click here – to give me all the themed answers: Blackberry, Ice cream sandwich, Applets, Roam, Nexus, Wapping and Android. You may have noticed some others…

Obviously the current Chinese leader  isn’t Hu at all but Li Keqiang, (so the answer to 29a isn’t LIGE). Spotting such anachronisms is a sport which only the i can offer, of course. 

As for those four double-tickers, I had 12a, 28a, 1d and 9d. The winner by a nose is the following:

28a Theseus at first leaves threads tied – way of getting help in labyrinth (7)

Jonofwales is off doing something important today so I am filling in.

Todays puzzle is a reprint from the I.O.S. and provoked a couple of comments on Fifteensquared  regarding the obscurity of 29a which whilst being a new word to me was solved partly by the wordplay and partly by luck and only entered after checking with a dictionary. It was 23a that I found really hard to parse, yes the answer was obvious once the checking letters were in but I think the wordplay relied on too many obscure references. There are though plenty of good clues on offer, I liked 6d a lot although that was only solved once the checking letters were in , I don’t automatically think of Edith when I see “girl” I was pleased to solve 27a from the wordplay but it is not a word that I would associate with revolution. Others that had ticks were 13a,19a, 21a and 18d but for COD I think that goes to my LOI

11d    Norm gets upset after the first gin (4)

Back to January 2012  here   http://www.fifteensquared.net/2012/01/08/independent-on-sunday-1141-by-poins/

Saturday 13th August 2016

Either this was an especially good puzzle from Phi or else I just happened to be in a particularly good mood last Saturday, but I do seem to have a generous sprinkling of ticks in the margin of 1720 – in a paper which has the GB men’s coxless fours emblazoned across the front page atop the word ‘Invincible’.  Were they?  I can barely remember…

But I do remember liking 7d, which gets my accolade of Clue of the Day.

7d Sensible, like Blackbeard letting one escape around Cape (9)

Now when I first visited idothei some years ago, JonofWales would have patiently listed the answers and parsing for those clues (generally about a third) which hadn’t been explained over at Fifteensquared. Nowadays however, we can safely expect that all 32 will have been detailed in full.  To find out for sure, you’ll have to click here.

Oh, and yes I know – REM haven’t ‘recently’ disbanded, so 1d is hopelessly out of date.

Some very entertaining and devious cluing from Klingsor today. Unfortunately I made it even more difficult for myself by misspelling 9a then spending ages trying to make sense of 5d. It didn’t help that I like the original blogger had never heard of 1a, when I see Brussels I just think of sprouts. My main complaint today is with the lack of space round the puzzle for all the working out I needed to do.

Of the clues only 14a is still a bit of a mystery, it was entered as it is the only fuel additive that I know and I could see the “tikka” part but where the rest comes from? Lots of ticks though I particularly liked 13, 18, and 24a  3, 4, 7, 12 and 16d but

COD 25a   Like Paddington Station originally surrounded by water?  (6)

The blog for this Saturday prize puzzle from December 2011 is here

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/12/24/independent-7854-by-klingsor-saturday-prize-puzzle-17122011/

A good crossword that I found on the easy side. My first answer in didn’t come until 14ac, so for a bit I thought I was in trouble, but as it turned out everything fell into place quite nicely.

Lots of clues I liked, but COD goes to 28ac – ‘Might this fruit sound sadder with 25? (5)’.

Back to the heady days of January 2012:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2012/01/25/independent-7887crosophile/

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot – except when one’s neighbour’s gardener is attacking the privet with a high-powered hedge trimmer. Couldn’t hear myself think. Therefore, although today’s crossword may well have been an easy one – opinions varied at Fifteensquared back in February 2012 – I made rather heavy weather of it.

Now that he’s finished and the pain killers have taken effect, I find a lot to like in the puzzle. For the most part it’s impeccable, although I wasn’t bowled over by 10ac and 19d. Oh, and was anyone tempted by the pot roast at 4d? Highlights: 16ac is a chestnut, but one of the best; 14ac is as apt as anagrams come, and amongst the gems scattered around I was particularly taken with 13 and 16ac, and 3, 6, 8, 14 and 17d. Lots of good downs today. My clue of the day is 5ac, however:

“Group of musicians – Queen – suppressing volume in arrangement of Hair piece (8)”

A fairly straightforward, fun puzzle from Anax, with a theme based around 23/13. For anyone familiar with the films (and who isn’t?) this was a major boost on its own, but the rest was surprisingly straightforward for a setter I usually struggle with.

Lots of ticks today, but COD goes to 10ac – ‘Major sulk, they say, the sign of an exclusive establishment (4,3)’.

We’re back to Christmas 2011:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/12/19/independent-7855-by-anax/

A little tricky in places today I thought. I stymied myself for an age by guessing SPOTS for 1ac, and struggled with the combination of 21d/25ac. I wanted CANE to be part of the latter for too long, and am still not particularly sure the clue works for me.

Lots to like as ever from the Don. COD goes to 17d – ‘Man sure jumping around? (7)’.

Back to January 2012:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2012/01/09/independent-7873-by-quixote/

Saturday 6th August 2016

Absolutely nothing unusual about this Phi crossword – which is of course unusual.

So I shall regale you with the story behind 12 across, which comes from The Book of Judges:

The men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? He said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him.

Harsh maybe, but 12a gets my COD award nonetheless:

Bible host destroyed by hard test word (10)

And for the full blog we need to dip back into the tail end of 2011 at Fifteensquared here.

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