By the time I’d spotted the theme, it was too late to help with the few remaining entries… A little harder than usual, but always getable, even if I did Google to confirm one or two.

COD? 5d – ‘Romantic token coming to nothing? Not by the sound of it (4,4)’.

Lots more discussion, and the answers, here:

Sailed through the LHS, struggled badly with the rest. I suspect my state of mind on a Monday is more to blame than the difficulty level. Ray as a synonym for pencil was new to me, as was the poet…

COD? 7d – ‘Dogmatist has large set of religious books (5)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.

Saturday 9th August 2014

As soon as I got ‘Left of centre’ down the left-hand side almost at the beginning I guessed there’d be corresponding words top, bottom and to the right… not that it helped much!

The original blog is here and my COD was the pleasingly straightforward 1across:

Moved like a heavy sea round fish, one that’s extra powerful (12)

I really admire Phi for producing enjoyable, fair puzzles week in, week out, but the comparison between Phi’s clue for 24ac ‘example’ and  Morph’s clue on Thursday for the same word, shows, I think, why I enthuse so much about our ‘occasional’ setters:

Phi:           Former partner’s rather plump for instance (7)

Morph:  Slimmer of the year might be so described to others? (7)

A gentle end to what has been more like the kind of week we always used to get in the i, with the balance on the easier side of things.

I struggled with the spelling of the Soviet dissident, and the town in 14ac, but everything else was plain sailing.

COD? 22d – ‘Lord finds one of the disciples losing heart (4)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:

Lovely stuff as ever from Morph. I made good headway, then came unstuck with 5 at the end which took an age. One of these, 1ac, could have done with rewriting to bring it up to date, and therefore coherent (and as easy as it would originally have been!) without knowing when this was first published.

COD? 18d – ‘Paddington’s point of departure, and leads to Slough, Acton, Langley and Reading (7)’.

The 2009 blog is complete.

I found the SE corner slightly hard going, but made smooth progress through the rest. Eimi’s comment (no 8) on the original blog about sums things up.

COD? 5d – ‘Various older stars in this British film (4,6)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:

Phi on a Tuesday? There’s got to be a theme. MODERATION IN ALL THINGS? That must be it. But there wasn’t, though Mike Laws’ suggestion on Fifteensquared does have merit. Fairly straightforward, with lots of long anagrams to untangle. Good, fair, as ever from Phi.

COD? I would have nominated 6ac, but for the unwanted hits on the blog afterwards, so I’ll go with 5d – ‘Our side will have a spot of purple on arm.’

Here’s the 2009 blog:

A few unknowns in both the answers and clueing meant it took a while to get started today – my first answer was 24ac. Time about par for Quixote by the end, though.

COD? For me, as it turns out, his Azed prize winning clue, 10ac – ‘What a gremlin could be with regard to flying (6)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog. October already? It feels like it today.

Saturday 2nd August 2014

Phi is master of the Nina, and here he had ‘TREE’ concealed in all the rows bar one – the 15 letter 15across (which did, though have the word ‘theme’ in the clue).  The theme in question was there in   t(h)ree of the down answers – ‘pine’, ‘forest’ and ‘copses’, so the joke, for those who spotted it, was ‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’. 

Anax, in the comments section of the fifteensquared blog here loved all of that.  I just did the crossword and it passed me by completely!

COD?  7d: Skimpy garment – religious fellow in one will conceal nothing (8)

As challenging as you expect from Anax, but this was one that kept drawing me back to have another go. Very satisfying to finish. The fairly well flagged theme helped somewhat, as did a few easier clues.

Loads to like here, but my COD nomination goes to 1ac – ‘One in 20 teachers will admit abuse (6)’.

The 2009 blog is complete: