A reasonably challenging puzzle today, that defeated me at the end on 7d, 24ac and 19d.

COD? Lots to like, but I’m nominating 6d – ‘Re all-new desert breaks – a holiday for an oilman? (4-6,4)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


i Cryptic Crossword 1203 Dac

December 17, 2014

A mixture of the very easy, and the very hard. I had to cheat on 25ac, and Google the source of sherry in 22d.

COD? 7d – ‘British Labour leader heading a meeting with Irish? (5)’.

Here’s the blog from 2009:


I made good time with most of this, then got badly stuck in the NE and SW corners. If I hadn’t spotted the Nina then I’m not sure how quickly I’d have finished. Similar questions to the original blogger regarding some of the clues.

COD? 5d – ‘One that’s a Russian at heart (4)’.

Here’s the 2010 blog:


A few bits of unfamiliar vocabulary held me up for a while today, making this a little slower than par.

COD? 24ac – ‘Lots will find thoroughly modern woman almost ‘eartless (8)’.

Here’s the blog from 2010, though I think they have 18d wrong – surely it’s TIPPED?


Saturday 6th December 2014

As with the week before: Good crossword, lots of long anagrams, pretty easy. Blog done.

So, with a bit of space to write something interesting, let me invite you to consider whether Niue is a ‘country’ or not.  They call themselves one, in free association with New Zealand, but they’re not one of the United Nations 193 ‘nation states’, although they are members of UNESCO.   The trick is in what you mean by ‘country’ as opposed to ‘nation’, ‘state’ or ‘nation state’.  I maintain Niue is a country;  Phi stayed on safe ground and called it a territory!

Oh yes, COD… Rivals where the last page of Leviticus is seen? (8,7)

2010 Blog here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2010/02/19/independent-7284phi/

A game of two halves – very slow to start, and very quick to finish, about par time for the i overall. Some of that may be due to the fact that I haven’t woken up yet.

COD? 12ac – ‘Certainly a misrepresentation of Thomas’s position? (2,5)’.

Here’s the 2009 blog:


There’s an interesting discussion on the 2010 blog about crossword difficulty, though specifically for a Saturday, when this was first published. This was certainly very difficult, and I failed on one or two at the end. For what it’s worth, I think there is a danger of driving solvers, and newspaper purchasers, away, if the difficulty level is too high. I’m reminded of a friend, who can do the concise in minutes, whose one and only shot at a cryptic was a Thursday Nimrod in the Indie. If it’s too difficult for an ex-Times crossword champion to solve unaided, it’s probably too difficult for a weekday cryptic.

COD? 26ac – ‘Circuits have lines within bounds (7)’.

Answers and analysis here:


i Cryptic Crossword 1197 Phi

December 10, 2014

As noted back in 2010, very tough for Phi. 10ac defeated me at the end.

COD? 8ac – ‘Man involved with dunes? Not exactly (8)’.

All the answers and analysis here:


An interesting theme today from Virgilius, which fell into place for the most part fairly quickly, apart from 22d and 26d. The former seems to me to be a bit of a stretch, TBH.

COD? 29ac – ‘Decisive factor behind policy (6,4)’.

All the answers and more here:


A little more difficult than usual for Quixote, 20ac and 22ac in particular slowing me down. A mistaken IN CLEAR at 16d didn’t help. Pleased to have finally found out what a 1ac is called.

COD? 23ac – ‘In lounge there’s some Californian wine? Nothing’s been drunk (6)’.

Back to March 2010 at Fifteensquared, for all the answers and analysis: