I’ve reached a similar point to beermagnet back in 2009, where “After I had about 10 answers I came to a complete halt, totally stuck.” I probably won’t, though, have time for several goes at this today, so here’s the Fifteensquared blog:


Not only did I miss the fact that the 14ac’s are hidden in the grid, but I still can’t find Porthos.

One or two I thought were a little obscure (25ac), but otherwise a nice challenge.

COD? Loads I liked, but I’m nominating 23ac – ‘Protest about renegade politician (8)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


Good stuff as ever from Dac, loads of ticks by the clues. About average time, though it felt harder while solving.

COD? 26ac – ‘Mischievous child wore knitted clothes the wrong way round (6)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


Well, 17d was my last in after struggling with the SE corner, and it was only then that I spotted the theme. 🙂

COD? Lots to like, but I’m nominating 13ac – ‘Work by top academics – removing of despots (10)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


The RHS fell into place very quickly, the other half took twice as long again. 1d last to fall.

COD? 14d – ‘The Yorkshire wag and the gutless revolutionary communicated by computer (9)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


Saturday 18th October 2014

Half of Phi’s clues last weekend were of the ‘envelope’ style – one word split around another word, like bookends, so to speak. And there at 1 across was ‘BOOKENDS’ – O.OK inside BENDS.

Now if that had been Virgilius, he would have likely made every clue like that;  you may recall how he recently had all clues being of the ‘remove the first letter’ style, e.g. [-f]UTILITY.

But Phi, it seems to me, uses an idea like this, or a Nina, or a theme perhaps, to overcome what he has called (tongue in cheek, no doubt) “the ever-recurring dread of having to fill in a new grid”. Once the puzzle’s under way, such devices are no longer needed.

And why not, indeed!

COD?  12ac Father seen around cooking area, I fear (6)

2009 blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/04/independent-7219-by-phi/

A fairly chewy debut from Raich, aka nmsindy. I spotted the theme, and hoped it would help, but then realised I’d already filled in the thematic entries. 🙂

COD? 9ac – ‘Would-be showman questions clothes (6)’.

Here’s the 2010 blog:


It feels like an age since we’ve seen Punk, so today’s was most welcome. A little easier than usual for him, but 17d/27ac and the NE corner did hold me up for a while.

COD? Because it took me so long to spot, 4d – ‘Fat, of spectacular dimensions! (4)’.

Here’s the 2010 blog:


Yet again Dac shows how it should be done. Lovely puzzle, just the right side of challenging, with the more difficult answers very clearly clued.

COD? 12ac – ‘Famous Frenchman’s former resistance to European Union (7)’.

Here’s the blog from 2010, with all the answers and analysis:


I’m afraid I’m in agreement with many of the solvers back in the day – too obscure by far for a weekday puzzle, and worse I gave up with several unsolved just because the process was getting so tedious. I did spot the theme for once while solving, but it was never going to help with some of the clues. 12ac and 15ac should never have got through the editing phase.

Here’s the 2009 blog, with answers and analysis: