Quite a bit harder than we’re used to with Dac, I found, nothing solved until 17ac. Last in the hidden place name at 13ac!

COD? 14d – Turn blue, then hot, later getting unwell? (2,8)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


Another nicely themed puzzle from Virgilius, quite subtle in places I thought. Last in the combination of 10ac / 5d, though overall finished in fairly easy time.

COD? With honours to the nice bit of misdirection in 6d, I’m nominating 9d – ‘Composer who mainly gets held up by bad singer (8)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


Some unfamiliar words in both the answers and wordplay held me up at 3d / 10ac, but the rest was mostly our usual gentle start to the week.

COD? 4d – “‘Oink’ is what you’d get from good little pig? (5)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


i Crossword 996 Phi

April 26, 2014

April 19th, 2014

A whole week has gone by and I’ve completely failed to work either ‘aleatoric’ or ‘stenotic’ into a conversation; I must be slipping. Of course Phi knows these words will be new to all but a few solvers, so helpfully provides us with well signposted anagrams – ‘bubbling’ and ‘flapping’ pointing the way to these two.  No, the one I struggled with was 12d, not knowing beforehand that ‘yellow material’ could be synonymous with ‘gutter press’.  And who says that crosswords aren’t educational?

COD  5d:  A long letter (5)

Original blog (as they tend to be nowadays) is complete here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/04/10/independent-7015-by-phi/

Quaiteaux’s very first puzzle for the Independent here and, if there are any aspiring setters out there, it shows just how good you have to be.  I found it a lot of fun to do, with all of the clues duly yielding when given a bit of careful thought.  The only one that held me up was 16ac, because I kept thinking of West Germany as FDR , but of course it was also known as the FRG. Oh, and there’s no such jumping animal as a fdor!

That was my LOI and my FOI was the long 22a, which opened up the grid nicely.

COD 18ac:  Open with a high card, moving into the lead (10)

Original blog is complete here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/06/09/independent-7066-by-quaiteaux/

i Crossword 1000 Dac

April 24, 2014

I had really been expecting something to mark the i crossword’s 1000th birthday today.  Never mind, happy birthday anyway!
Dac gave us a relatively comfortable ride today, I thought – just lots of classic good clues, amongst which my favourite was the following:
2d Feeling angry and unusually energised (6,3)
The 2009 blog is complete here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/06/10/independent-7067dac/

Actually, I do have a quibble – with 13across. Although I’m just as guilty because I guessed Joe Orton from the definition ‘infamous playwright’ alone, I don’t think it’s fair to label him so. That’s all!

i Crossword 999 Quixote

April 23, 2014

So fixated was I on wondering what we might get for tomorrow’s puzzle number 1000, that I completely overlooked today’s being puzzle 999 – hence the answer for 10/11ac with 12, 13 and 14 giving us a mini theme. 

Pretty straightforward in the main, with a couple of new words including the answer to 23ac which, thanks to its colourful and apposite surface reading, gets my nomination for COD:

Hostile characters chucked bits of stone (7)

The original IOS blog is complete: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/04/09/independent-on-sunday-999-by-quixote-5-apr-2009/

i Crptic 998 by Morph

April 22, 2014

I like to see Morph as a setter and this, although admittedly challenging, was also brilliantly intricate and lots of fun. 

As soon as I saw ‘eight answers here’ in 17ac it was frankly obvious there was a theme (whatever the 2009 bloggers thought) and that helped enormously.  The eight French towns which eventually emerged were all also English words – Orange, Nice, Tours, Condom, Lens, Ales, Nancy and Dole.  ‘Cross them off’ and you’ve ‘de-villed’ the puzzle, so to speak.  Brilliant!

Loads of ticks by the clues.  COD has to be 17ac.  Here it is in full:  Seasoned fellow went first – crossed off eight answers here? (8)

The 2009 blog is complete here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/04/13/independent-7017-by-morph/  

i Crossword 997 Quixote

April 21, 2014

Very enjoyable start to the week from the ever-reliable Quixote. 

When published in 2009 1 across started with a clever reference to this being the 1001st IOS puzzle “Number of Sunday crosswords done…” = MI .  Same answer today, but the clue has been changed to “Busy motorway leads to anxiety for lover!” = M1 STRESS  

I liked that a lot, but it would be churlish not to give my COD nomination to 4d:

Segregate out yesterday’s sweet item (6,3)

Here’s the original blog: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/04/23/independent-on-sunday-1001-by-quixote-19-apr-2009/

Which I must thank for putting me right on my old testament prophets in 6ac.  Job was patient, Lot had a wife who turned into a pillar of salt. Oops. I remember now.

i Crossword 990 Dac

April 19, 2014

12th April 2014

Dac on good form again with last weekend’s puzzle.  Certainly not as hard as some of the Thursday/ Friday offerings we get from the i (I really struggled with yesterday’s admittedly brilliant Mass).  No, last Saturday’s was right down the middle of the fairway.   I really liked the punning in clues like 19ac ‘nix on’ for Nixon and even better in my nomination for COD 5d:

Assume position prior to drinking (10) 

All the answers are present and correct on the 2009 blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/05/13/independent-7043dac/