Its Friday and usually a we get a puzzle at the tough end of the scale, but not today. Today we get Glow-Worm who sets enjoyable but not to challenging puzzles. I don’t know if its me but I seem to think we have had a lot more anagrams in the past week than usual, this isn’t a complaint as I like them, both 1ac and 23ac are worth mentioning. The last to go in was 12ac,even with all the crossing letters in place I struggled with it just doesn’t look right to me.

My COD Assist with noisy shoot (7)

2010 Blog is here

i Cryptic Crossword 1437 Phi

September 17, 2015

Is Thursday the new Phiday? Only time will tell. I prefer it to getting two hard puzzles in a row at the end of the week, as we did for a long time (reprints of old Thursday and Saturday Independent puzzles), but your mileage may vary.

Onto the puzzle. 5d, 12ac and the grid had me looking for a theme or nina, but it appears that there actually wasn’t one. The obligatory Latin phrase at 4d, and uncertainty over STE for good woman held me up at the end, but apart from that this was pretty plain sailing.

COD? For Phi, an unusually racy 19ac – ‘Wild man with sex aid grabs end of you with both hands (1,4,5)’.

Lots more here:

i Cryptic Crossword 1436 Dac

September 16, 2015

“Back to normal eh, Onions?” I remarked to my valet shortly after seeing Dac off.  “Must say that I’m pleased, for all that Poins was an entertaining enough visitor last Wednesday.  Dac’s devilish hard to beat for witty company.  Although”, I continued ruminatively, if that’s the word I’m looking for, “he doesn’t seem to be quite up to speed with political developments, does he?”  “A reference to 4d I assume, sir?” “Quite so, Onions, quite so”.

That quibble aside, which is a matter for the editor rather than the compiler, I thought that this was good even by Dac’s usual high standards, with quite a few potential candidates for clue of the day.  It did take quite a bit of head scratching before I managed to decipher the word play in 19d, knowing what the solution was but not why, so that gets an honorable mention along with 14ac and 2d.  The winner, however, is the rather splendid 5d:

Nervous feeling and worry with boat capsizing onto rocky isle (11)

The puzzle first appeared in December 2010 (which explains 4d), and the Fifteensquared blog can be found here:

i Cryptic Crossword 1435 Raich

September 15, 2015

I remembered that it was a Tuesday, and looked for a theme. I mean, really looked, when I was a little stuck at the end on 2d and 15d, but convinced myself that there wasn’t for once and struggled onwards. I’m not an Elvis fan, in my defence, but still… Wooden Heart, Lonesome Tonight, etc, are quite well known, and the name was literally spelt out. Thankfully, apart from a couple at the end, this was reasonably accessible, though it took me a while to get used to the style.

COD? 4d – ‘Music that could worry trapeze performer? (5)’.

Here’s the 2010 blog:

As noted back in 2010, this was a little tougher than usual for a Monday. I was doing OK until I was left with 2d, 8d, 9d and 15ac, which took about the same time again. I fell into the same trap as Flashling on 1ac, which didn’t help matters, and also felt fairly certain for a long time that Boris must be somewhere in 9d. A fairly obscure MAST didn’t help…

COD? 9d, despite the obscure nuts, because the B.R.. trap was nicely laid – ‘Mayor has what some deem unhealthy food containing old nuts (11)’.

Here’s the old IoS blog:

Saturday 5th September 2015

Phi might have wondered, when he came up with the idea for this puzzle, “Perhaps I can put CAT in the middle of the grid plus nine LIVEs hidden in the lights, without having to use any odd words like strepisoto or eohippus”. Well he half managed it, and after several permutations along the lines of tresposito and prestisoto, I did eventually get there. Then again, perhaps he does it on purpose.

Actually I rather liked eohippus, but I do have a few Crosswordese wordplay components which make me roll my eyes; LAM (used in 18d), SAN, UTE and VAN (=front) top the list , but I’m sure there must be others…

COD: 6d. Non-drinker spurning improved alcoholic drink (6)

2010 blog can be found here.

i Cryptic Crossword 1432 Tees

September 11, 2015

September 11, 2015

It’s a puzzle by Tees today or maybe someone else set the top half of this grid because I found it surprisingly straightforward. The lower half however was more like what I expect from Tees, quite challenging but fair. My only complaint is the use of BB to define King. ok if you are into his music I suppose but I’m not so struggled a bit with that one.

COD? Lots to choose from here but I will go for 15d – In green Scots hillside buried English bones.

All the answers and more comments can be found here

i Cryptic Crossword 1431 Phi

September 10, 2015

So Phi-day this week is a Thursday, in an effort to confuse us further. On the gentler side for Phi, I thought, though, with no obscure Latin phrases or musical terms to hold us up. I still have a question mark by 21ac, which despite the explanations on Fifteensquared doesn’t really work for me. If it’s a double definition as nmsindy suggests then ‘sandy spot’?

COD? 17ac – ‘I-I’m almost cured after relocation – this? (7,7)’.

We’re still in November, just, back in 2010:

“Poins”. I said, ruminatively pushing aside the remains of the second kipper and buttering myself a slice of toast, “I don’t recall meeting anyone by that name.  Do you, Onions”?  “No indeed, sir” replied my valet, who has a knack for remembering these things.  Quite the mystery, then, as I generally expect a visit from my old friend Dac on a Wednesday morning.

As it turned out, said Poins was a congenial enough visitor, but not one to hang about for long.  As crosswords go this one wasn’t especially puzzling, with rather too many gentle underarm lobs for my taste, and not much of the guile I’ve come to expect on a Wednesday.  I don’t imagine it will have given much trouble.  Poins’ strong suit appears to be nice, intelligible surface readings (which is appreciated) rather than deviousness, and my COD reflects that:

11ac – “Revolutionary incurs a level of vigilant surveillance” (12)

The Fifteensquared blog from November 2010 can be found here:

It’s Tuesday, so as usual have a theme, though yet again it took the comments on Fifteensquared to reveal all. A subtle one today, but there are the names of several newspapers scattered about the grid. The four clues round the edge were ones I especially struggled with, so I wish I’d noticed.

Overall reasonably challenging, with a nice mix of easy and harder clues. The answers for 12ac and 25d, though, were both clear enough, but the wordplay, if Fifteensquared is right, wasn’t particularly helpful, if not downright unfair.

COD? 24ac, which was very nicely done, given it took both the arrows and club mentioned to finish him off – ‘A saint, suffering after arrows, the club finishes (9)’.

Back to November 2010: