This took a bit longer than usual to get into, with the down clues really opening things up for me. COD? 6d. ‘Test at Eton is doing this for a residential community (7,6)’.

The 2008 blog is complete:

i Cryptic Crossword 817 Phi

September 28, 2013

September 21st, 2013
Sometimes our Saturday setter seems to start on a theme (in this case ‘exempli gratia’ was accompanied by a couple of clues elsewhere with ‘eg’ in them) and then, well, lose interest!
Not that it really mattered as, looking back at my newspaper – retrieved just in time from the firelighting pile – nearly all of the clues here had ticks in biro next to them and two had double ticks. In the end the delightful clue for Cat Stevens’ current moniker ‘Yusuf Islam’ was pipped for COD by 15ac which had ‘Soldiering on’(given by the wordplay) morphing into ‘Soldering iron’ for the solution. Very nice.
The original blog is complete:

i Cryptic Crossword 822 Nestor

September 27, 2013

Inventive and enjoyable puzzle from Nestor this morning. Particular plaudits for 21ac: “To France he departed since in Hackney he is uncomfortable (3,2,4)”. The original blog from 2008 is complete.

To paraphrase the original blogger, challenging without being unnecessarily difficult. Though I’m happier having puzzles like this on a Thursday rather than a Monday, as it was originally.

Lots of lovely clues – 1ac, 2d, 3d, 15d, 26d amongst them. But my COD is 1ac. ‘What could make top geese afraid? (4,2,4,4)’.

The 2008 blog is complete:

i Cryptic Crossword 820 Dac

September 25, 2013

A few unfamiliar references / names this week, but Dac, as ever, is clear and fair enough that this didn’t matter.

COD? 10ac, with honours to 14ac and 17ac amongst many excellent clues. ‘Dog, and what it might do about middle of walkies? (4)’.

Here’s the 2008 blog, which is complete:

i Cryptic Crossword 819 Punk

September 24, 2013

I thought I was in real trouble here, as it took an age to get my first answer. Slowly, though, things began to fall into place, though with quite a few I didn’t understand fully, and I was done in about half the time I expected!

Lots of lovely, very clever, inventive clues,but my COD is 16ac. ‘Finally, English admitted to final contradiction? (4,3,3,5)’.

Here’s a link to the 2008 blog, and clues missed.


12 WI(RE)T A P


5 Hidden in summerS? NO, Winters
18 ARTIFICE – (race if it)*

Our usual gentle start to the week, with the only words unfamiliar to me (24ac and 25ac) very clearly clued. COD? 20d. ‘Gold that is given to heaven-born infant ultimately – from the East (6)’.

Only the one clue’s been missed from the 2008 blog.


4 BIRD SCARER – (R R bad cries)*

i Cryptic 811 Phi

September 21, 2013

September 14th, 2013

 You may well have noticed something a bit different about Phi’s offering last week.  Rather than having the usual rotational symmetry it was 21a 5d, also known as cater-cornered (16a, 16d).  Ooh, very clever…

There were at least 5 answers that I needed to either find or double-check in a dictionary – if you already knew any of 6d, 11a, 12a, 17a or 22a then I offer my congratulations.   As for the rest of us, we can use the new words we’ve learnt to justify the hours spent on these things to those around us who think we’re wasting our time.  As if!

An additional point of interest was Phi’s choice of definitions for 7d and 13d.  One of the joys of Crosswordland is that it is a world where PC only stands a one in four chance of meaning ‘politically correct’.  In the real world, the only time we’d be allowed to jingoistically assert that Britannia rules the waves would be in a song, and the only time we would dare to suggest that single parent families were  ‘unfortunate’ would be in an Oscar Wilde play.  Both allusions were of course completely deliberate and, like the rest of this crossword,  great fun.

Here’s the original blog from 2008 and the clues missed:

1a           LEFT, BACKS  – a charade

10a         RE, MEMBERS  – where would we all be without the Royal Engineers?

7d           ONE-PARENT FAMILY   – &Lit – As the inimitable Lady Bracknell had it in The Importance of Being Earnest ( around the time she said ‘In a ha-andbag!’)“ To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune;  to lose both looks like carelessness”

13d         BRITANNIA –  &Lit  – The reference here is to “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves” –as in the Spanish Main.  Or British, in this case.

16d         CORN,ER


As tough as you’d expect from Scorpion, and I finished without fully understanding some of the clues. But, unlike yesterday, I felt like I was given a fighting chance…

COD? 2d. ‘Relatively insignificant end to doubles match possibly (8)’.

Here’s a link to the 2008 blog, and clues missed.


6 BASE – Double Def.
20 NETSPEAK – Cryptic Def.
22 HUNG(AR<-)Y



i Cryptic Crossword 815 Hypnos

September 19, 2013

Sorry, but I didn’t like this at all. Too difficult for a weekday (and if it needed to be this difficult because of the theme, which I didn’t spot, the theme should have gone.) Often, it seemed, wilfully obscure. Dated – see 27ac in particular, but also 3d and 10ac. Comments 7 and 8 in the original blog also have valid points.

The 2008 blog is complete, he said grumpily: