Apologies for the late post.  Problems with the host server, I think.  Anyhow this was yet another beautifully smooth puzzle from Dac – I really don’t know how he does it.  I got a bit held up in the SW  corner, but all the clues  were wonderfully constructed and I for one am grateful for a year of such consistently high quality setting from him.

My COD goes to 12ac, but it’s  really a draw between all 28 clues!  Here it is  again : Short cut taken to work several times over  (6)

Original blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/30/independent-7240dac/

If proof were needed that the person charged with transferring old Indy crosswords to the i doesn’t really look at the clues,  then 28ac provided it! Even the humblest intern at the i could surely have changed ‘Thursday ‘ to ‘Wednesday ‘

I’m not  moaning  though, because this was a cracking puzzle, a theme based around 1ac and lots of inventive ideas sprinkled amongst the clues.

My COD goes to 6d-  Tale of a bleak tree-felling ( 5 ) but there were loads of goodies to choose from.

2009 blog is here : http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/29/independent-7239glowworm/

Typical Quixote puzzle which gave me the impression that it had been produced with speed and efficiency.   I have to dash off to Manchester now so I”ll just leave you with the 2009 blog here : http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/31/independent-on-sunday-1037-by-quixote-27-dec-2009

Apologies for late blog; problems accessing idothei…

Saturday  20th December 2014

Yes, as the original blogger Beermagnet pointed out in 2009, this was a bit easy by the standards of an Indy prize crossword.

But it was pretty hard by the standards of a Phi Prize Crossword in the i.   I needed recourse to my reference books for the two long lights across the middle: ‘Brewers’ gave me ‘The Greek Calendes’ and ‘The Oxford Companion to English Literature ‘ gave me  ‘Peregrine Pickle’ respectively.   I feel like a cultural Philistine.

Also the ‘Veni, vedi, vici’ Nina in the middle unches passed me by completely.   Heigh-ho!

COD?  13ac Belt and socks etc. (7)

Christmas 2009 blog here :  http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/25/independent-7232-by-phi-sat-19-dec/

I’m dashing off to London this morning so am posting this link before finishing the puzzle and without choosing a fave clue.  I invite you to pick your own!

I did spot the carol straight away from the enumeration alone, and I’m guessing the others will prove to be pretty straightforward… some themed clues but not a theme in the way we get from some other setters who take more time than Quixote seems to do.

The 2009 blog is here:


At Christmas time we can rely upon the i to give us a themed puzzle, so it was no surprise to come across the lengthy anagram, the second line of Clement C Moore’s poem ‘A visit from St Nicholas’.  Curiously we had had the first line ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ last year from Phi, you may recall.

Lots of fun and quite a stiff challenge, with two I couldn’t parse (8d, 21d) before visiting the original blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/01/01/independent-7237-saturday-prize-puzzle-26-december-by-radian/ .

Loads of ticks by the clues but my COD nomination goes to the cleverly disguised 21d, even though I failed to parse it:   One may be sent to recall Members of Parliament? (5)

And I’m sure you spotted that 5d assumes the puzzle is being solved on Boxing Day.  Could have easily been edited to read ‘will bring tomorrow’.  I hope you get what you’re hoping for.

Merry Christmas One and All.

Another ingenious and delightful crossword from Virgilius, with a case of white wines in the top half of the grid and a case of reds in the bottom half, linked by ‘Six of one and half a dozen of the other’. Brilliant.

Unlike the original blogger here http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/15/independent-7228-by-virgilius/ , I found the top half easier than the bottom, with ‘helotage’ plus the parsing of one or two others holding me up a bit towards the end.

COD: 20ac Product of Bordeaux French drink a good deal (6)

Well it’s been said before, but Dac’s just so good at writing clues!  He makes it seem almost effortless sometimes, and the end result is that it’s a real pleasure to engage with any of his puzzles, this one included.  The original bloggers here http://www.fifteensquared.net/2009/12/16/independent-7229dac/  were very taken with the Tiger Woods clue at 11ac, but it’s a bit dated now, so I’m going to pick a very simple little clue as my COD nomination, which somehow typifies for me what Dac does so consistently well:

8d  Discharge small rifle (8)

Saturday 13th December 2014

Dac is sometimes called the best clue for clue setter in the dailies; I find him the most consistent of all the setters at the i and, as all regulars will know, he has superb surface readings.

Last Saturday’s offering was well up to par.  A range of clues from pretty easy in the NW corner to pretty hard in the middle east, if you follow me – Kreutzer at 12 across being the hardest.

COD?   16d. A character of Wilde’s goes about the house making pithy comment (8)

March 2010 blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/03/03/independent-7294dac/

I was about to say that this was a nice gentle end to the week, but then looked on Fifteensquared to find that they thought it quite hard. Perhaps I was just on the setter’s wavelength today.

Anyway, thought this was excellent, with lots of ticks by the clues. My COD nomination goes to the combination of 21ac and 26ac – ‘Alternative group of 12 crossed with 9? (8)’ / ‘Alternative group of 9 crossed with 12? (9)’.

This will be my last blog of the year, with Cornick kindly covering the next two weeks, so may I wish you all a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year. See you all in 2015!

All the answers, analysis and discussion here: