Saturday 12th July 2014

We solvers at the i had our first taste of Anax a month ago, but for the mothership Independent paper this was his very first puzzle; a significant event because Anax is a significant setter, with experience at the Times, Sunday Times, FT and the Telegraph Toughie. 

In his biog here, he confesses to a process wherein he sometimes writes his clues, rewrites the weakest clue then, through a process of continuous reselection, keeps rewriting until his puzzles inevitably end up being somewhat fiendish.  They are that, but I find Anax somehow very likeable so forgive him entirely, even though this one did take me into Sunday to finish!

The original 2009 blog here makes for excellent reading.

I have selected two clues for COD status – one anagram and one ‘bits & bobs’ type.  Take your pick!

3d     By changing centre “tip” becomes “tap” (9)

21d   One railroad only heads to centre of Santa Fe (4)

Incidentally, Anax has contributed several crosswords to Alberich’s website ‘Free Crosswords Online’; his first one here (as well as being quite a bit easier than last Saturday’s) is a beauty!

While this was no doubt a very good crossword, I thought it was a bit much really for a week day. How about moving Phi from Saturday to a Friday (which I was hoping they’d done, after his absence last week)?

Anyway, COD nomination goes to 14d – ‘Rated as compromise (5-3)’.

Here’s the old Fifteensquared blog:

An unusual puzzle – some incredibly easy clues, including a surfeit of hidden words, and some that were nigh on impossible. I failed on 4 at the end – 19ac, 18d, 18ac and 23ac. 18ac and 19ac I don’t think I would ever have solved, the former in particular striking me as being rather unfair.

Loads I did like, but my COD nomination goes to 1ac – ‘Water-carrying bags? (10)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.

Perhaps a little harder than usual for Dac, as noted on the original blog, though not excessively so. I never really felt stuck on any of the clues, just needed a little more thought than usual on a Wednesday.

Loads of ticks by the clues, but my Code Of the Day nomination goes to 25ac – ‘Footballer first to moan on entering a players’ training ground (8)’.

The 2009 blog is complete:

In which I wish I’d paid more attention at school when we studied parts of the orchestra. I found this reasonably difficult throughout, but my time wasn’t particularly high, perhaps because of the theme, which was lots of fun.

COD? 30ac – ‘Wood or copper, for instance? (9)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:

Steady progress throughout, nothing to hold us up for too long. Pleased to get 11ac and 24ac from the wordplay.

COD? 18ac – ‘Like some waves in hair, latest in fashion, saucy on the outside (9)’.

All the answers and breakdown of the clues can be found here:

Saturday 5th July 2014

Reasonably straightforward Phi last Saturday, enjoyable as ever.  I took ages on 12ac as I only knew ‘lumber’ in the sense of timber, and 14d took a bit of head scratching till I worked out it must be Nicholas Hawksmoor – nice clue…  However 6d, answer: ‘The Angel of the North’, had a clue which read: ‘Statue erected near Newcastle? Then flog another off’, and it gets my vote for the easiest clue of the year.  Still, Phi lives in New Zealand, so maybe that explains it!

 My COD is 18ac:

I fly round black line on map (6)

 The 2009 blog is complete (as they generally are these days) and here.

A gentle end to the week from our crossword editor, though the NE corner did put up some resistance. I must admit also to googling who was the Shadow Foreign Secretary in 2009. 🙂 I spotted the theme early enough, which helped with one or two.

COD? 19d – ‘Bedroom farce, or its effect on the audience, possibly (7)’, just because it tickled me.

Here’s the 2009 blog:

The NE and SE corners fell very quickly, but then I swiftly ground to a halt, failing at the end with 1ac, 2d, 3d, 12ac and 16ac unsolved. I can honestly say, looking at Fifteensquared, that I would never have solved several of them.

Less than happy about BLACK clued by Athlete in 24ac…

COD? 5d – ‘Dutch and British journalist given award for title (7)’.

The 2009 blog is complete:

I found this a little harder than usual, but as well clued as ever by Dac.

COD? 24ac – ‘Milligan’s words of encouragement? (4)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog: