When I first looked through these clues I thought ‘God, I’m not going to be able to do any of these’ but, slowly, one by one, they are starting to yield.  I’m off to the woods again to build dens (it’s what passes for a job during holiday season in Cornwall) so, when I return to Computerland around 6pm, I shall let you know whether or not I finished!

Meanwhile, if you want the answers, click here for the 2009 blog.

Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow in the woods for me.  Made a silly mistake with 8ac and put in ‘Hurleys’ rather than ‘earlies’ which stopped me getting 4d or 6d.  Durr.  Apart from that I also failed on the ninja/ mcjob intersection NW 😦 .

However there was some delightful invention in this stiff challenge from Tyrus.  My COD?

14ac Nightwear’s on the ground – that’s surprising (3,6,1,5)


The 2009 blog is here.

My comments and COD will appear this evening…

Mostly the super-smooth Dac we’ve come to expect – thing’s like ‘British villain’s accent’ for ‘brogue’ just seem to be effortless for him.  My only quibble was ‘hook-tips’ which I had to check when I got in just now after a long computer-free (and reference book-free) day.  Not in Chambers, not in Collins. Ah, just googled it and it’s a moth.  All forgiven!

COD 18ac Scripture worthily rendered in translation (4,4)

Absolutely brilliant from Morph who, although only an occasional setter in the i, is rapidly becoming one of my favourites.  Seven countries appear, not as themselves, but rather as homophones.  I.e. Rusher, Garner, Grease, Marley, Chilli, Louse and Career(s).  The whole theme was indicated by the word ‘intonation’, which is itself a homophone for ‘into nation’.  Although some of the commentators on fifteensquared, don’t like this sort of punnery, for me it’s the life-blood of crosswords! 

COD: 11ac  The way you say things can turn each of 1, 4, 12, 18, 20, 23 and 14 (twice) this (10)

Original blog here.

Quixote is undoubtedly one of the pillars of the crosswording world, so he probably doesn’t care much what I think, but I’m afraid he’s my least favourite setter of the i team.  I know he deliberately tries to make his Monday offerings easier for people new to cryptics, but I get the impression they’ve been rather tossed off (pardon the expression) in about half an hour.  Sorry.  Also Delhi isn’t the capital of anywhere, that’ll be New Delhi and calling Fidel Castro a dictator is definitely divisive!

Heigh-ho.  COD: 4d. Supporting established area favourable to wildlife? (6)

Original blog complete and here

Saturday 19th July 2014

Phi back to his regular Saturday slot last week, with a mostly straightforward and entertaining challenge.  I made steady progress until my last two, 1 across and 21 across, the second of which required Chambers Word Wizard to solve.  Well I say ‘required’… I really mean I just got bored of looking at A_U_R_L_E without being able to do the wordplay.  Maybe I should persevere a bit more…

COD: 14ac  Film describing odd bits of diet (egg dish) (1,4,2,7)

The 2009 blog with all the answers is here.

JonofWales is away for a week, so I shall be deputising.  Not a particularly useful start by me though, as I shan’t be near a computer till this evening, alas ( I’m running den building in the Lost Gardens of Heligan – definitely off the net!).

Meanwhile my contemporary at the University of Leeds (1978 – 81), Mark Kelmanson, is working partly as a Maths professor and partly as Monk, today’s setter.  Monk has a fairly fearsome reputation, but, half way through, I’ve found this one fairly gentle so far.  No time to finish it now, but here’s a link to the 2009 blog which seems to be complete (although I was looking at it through scrunched-up eyes so that I couldn’t see the answers!):


Finished with less difficulty than some Monks… Didn’t get the word play on 23a or 24a (my fault, was thinking of dugongs not manatees) and, although I spotted the Nina, I didn’t know it came from The Fast Show – mater paneer = cheesy peas, arf!

COD 12ac: Plan possibly used at Mafeking? (6,3)

Presumably making up for the Saturday he missed a few weeks back. 🙂 Good as ever from Phi, nothing controversial I think. Last in 6d and 18ac.

COD? Quite a few I liked, but I’m nominating 15ac – ‘I’d put stress on press release – one likely to cause upset? (8-5)’.

The 2009 blog is complete:


I found 19/22 and 12d a little tricky, but the rest was as expected on a Wednesday, and as nicely clued as ever.

COD? 21d – ‘Female Egyptian banker’s limited company (6)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


Not as easy as 13ac, as far as I was concerned, time about twice the average for Virgilius, even with the theme to help.

COD? 3d – ‘Ice cream, as served in California (7)’.

The 2009 blog is complete:


I made harder work of this than was perhaps necessary, in part because 15d convinced me I should be looking for a z somewhere.

COD? I liked 2d – ‘Waste product has this – get involved (4,2)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.