Weirdly, this seemed near-impossible at first, but got easier and easier. Ultimately a very satisfying solve from a setter I used to fear – but perhaps not quite so much after today. ūüôā Fortunately I taught Ancient Greece as a topic during my primary school teaching days, but in any case the 8 gods here, whether Greek or Roman, are amongst the best known, so perfectly accessible for anyone prepared to enter battle with the intricate clueing.

COD 26a: Leading letter to editor railing about disease sewage’s created (9)

In which the definition is, unusually, neither at one end nor the other.

2010 blog can be found here.

I seem to remember Glow-worm being a medium hard setter but I think he was being kind to us here by giving us clues to those long answers, particularly 1ac and 1d, the way he did.

Never the less there were a few tricky ones near the end and a¬†couple I¬†couldn’t parse without visiting the Fifteensquared website here.

My COD goes to 5d –¬†just for the surface reading:

Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike via Snowdon? That’s a tough one (4,5)

An interesting discussion in the comments section of the Fifteensquared blog here: , in which I learned that Eimi, the crossword editor of the Independent, apparently favours Collins dictionary, which therefore must the best arbitor on the acceptability of abbreviations. My lack of knowing any of the 3 controversial ones here: P(ost), S(atisfactory) and (R)adical, didn’t hold me up too much . Enjoyable as ever.
COD : 24ac. Princess recoiled about origin of this four-letter word (9)

Tuesday’s are often a themed crossword from the masterful Virgilius, and Radian’s puzzle here, themed around One across, was every bit as good, I thought.

Here were¬†11 of those iconic words we’ve all heard, probably many times, in the soothing tones of a Radio 4 voice – it was just calling them to mind that was problematic!

COD 13a One whale capsized saintly victim nearly (8)

2010 blog here.

By the way, this was very definitely a theme, whereas the David Mitchell themed crossword I blogged on Saturday was, if I’m right, what’s called a ‘ghost theme’ because you wouldn’t necessarily spot it, or need to in order to finish.¬† A Nina is more of a private joke – using unches or whatever – with a hidden phrase or message.

Some well flagged –¬†and also rather amusing – long anagrams helped to make this a quick and relatively easy solve, ideal for a busy¬†Monday.

COD? The rather neat 15a: Organisation of new NHS timetable (13)

The 2010 blog with answers and parsing is here.

Saturday 18th July 2015

Smooth clueing with a dash of sparkle; this was Phi at his best, I thought.

David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘Ghostwritten’ and¬†‘Black Swan Green’¬†made for¬†a well concealed theme last Saturday, and how appropriate given that Cloud Atlas, with its hidden themes based around the number 6, has been described by critics as being ‘like a perfect crossword puzzle’.

Despite having read all three,¬†I¬†missed the ‘ghost theme’ entirely,¬†until going to the fifteensquared blog here – where you too¬†can see all the answers¬†and parsing.

My COD goes to 9ac:  Flat, half of which houses semi-humans (9)

Right down the middle of the fairway for the Indy, I thought, with some to stretch us dotted around the grid, loads of good clues and a friendly couple of 15-letterers to get us going.  Nice!  Ooh, and this was a really nice combination style grid diagram, if that sort of thing interests you.

COD?  It was also my first one in:

24ac: Quarantine means shifting scene of Chinese massacre (9,6)

For the 2010 blog with all answers click here

My last i before I disappear on holiday for a week and leave you in Cornick’s capable hands proved to be a bit of a challenge, as expected from an old prize puzzle. A few very long clues that took a while to fall meant it was a bitty solve, but always an interesting one. The 2010 World Cup feels like a lifetime ago, and I’d completely forgotten about, so the definition for 11ac completely bemused me. A first guess at OFF THE BALL for 1ac also messed up the top half for an age.

COD? 19ac – ‘Spending time in rehab? (6,7)’.

Here’s the old prize puzzle blog:

Perhaps it was just the shock of not seeing Dac in his usual Wednesday slot, but I found this a little more difficult than par for Phi. I knew 7d, but guess that would have been pretty impossible if you didn’t. I hadn’t, though, heard of either 7ac or 22ac, which slowed me down somewhat.

COD? My first in, 5/19 – ‘Rocky tells a blonde: “It’s an award for boxing” (8,4)’.

Back to September 2010:

Well, I spotted the theme early enough, and used to be a fan of the show back in its Clegg / Compo / Foggy heyday, but it didn’t stop this being a bit of a grind. I lost patience near the end, I’m afraid, and didn’t bother to finish. Bring back Virgilius. ūüôā

The 2010 blog can be found here, with some valid criticism of the grid from Mike Laws in the comments: