A challenging puzzle from Mass to end the week. Thankfully, it required little knowledge of chess, as otherwise I would have been well and truly stuck.

COD? 15d – ‘Plays great moves, then fades (9)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


Another good one from Punk, with a few fairly obvious long phrases to open up the grid. That said, I struggled badly in the SW corner.

COD? 14ac. ‘Caught indeed? (6,2,3,3)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


A little harder than usual, though solved in a hospital waiting room, so your mileage may vary.

COD? 15ac – ‘Possibly pretty as a picture? (8)’.

The 2009 blog is complete:


A quirky little crossword from Virgilius today, with a few long quotes making up the theme. A very fast solve, without too much to hold us up?

25d came in for some criticism in 2009, probably justifiably, but it was fairly guessable, as the K sounded much more likely than an R. To me at least…

COD? 18ac. ‘One preferring male company – Douglas? (4,3)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


This took me a while longer than usual for a Monday. A few sticky points like 24ac holding me up for a quite some time.

COD? 4d. ‘Covering for a pump? (8)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


April 5th 2014

 I must confess to having accidentally used last Saturday’s paper to start a fire on Wednesday evening before I got round to writing this blog.  Oh no!  I do remember it being fairly straightforward and I felt everything had been more or less said by the original blogger here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2008/04/04/independent-6698phi/

There was an interesting debate started about foreign words used as components of the wordplay.  Doubtless those who did Friday’s puzzle were okay with ‘bien’ and ‘tour’, and words like ‘agua’ from Spanish seem fine to me, but ‘blut’ (blood) as part of the answer for 7d is hardly everyday tourist-level German.  Personally, where I struggle is with the Latin, but I’m grateful to crosswordland for educating me, all be it slowly!

A nice gentle end to the week from Phi, with a fair amount of French thrown into the mix. For once I spotted the hidden message, though only after I’d finished. This week feels a lot like the allocation of setters / difficulty I’d expect in the Indie. Wonder if that’s the way we’re going?

COD? 2d – ‘Something aggravating about cross-dressing? (3,3)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


Perhaps it was because I had more time this morning, but I found this a little easier than I expected for Nestor. Knowing 23ac certainly helped. Quite a few went in without fully understanding them, especially 5ac and 5d, where I made very lucky guesses. All in all, an enjoyable solve.

COD? With 24ac a close second, I’m nominating 11ac – ‘Result of politicians interfering with goat, say? (5,5)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


I feel that I made harder work of this than was required, spending too long staring at large empty patches of the grid. A mid week slump, I suspect.

An example of how quickly contemporary references fade, or at least how quickly they fade in my memory, is that I’d completely forgotten the name of the Harry Enfield character referenced in 4ac.

COD? With 24ac close behind, I’m nominating 25ac – ‘Are not outwardly on good terms like mum and dad (10)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.


Well, this was good. Some wordplay that I didn’t fully fathom at first, one or two obscurities, but all in all nicely balanced. No theme that I can see.

COD? Loads that would have easily been nominated any other day, but I’m going for 7d – ‘Isn’t it common for Eskimo to have change of heart? (5)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.