Is it just me, or do the films of 22ac spring to mind a lot less easily than they might have done a few years ago? Thankfully, they were all reasonably famous, which opened up lots of the grid, cutting through some of Anax’s typically fiendish wordplay. That said, this was on the gentle side for him, and I finished reasonably quickly.

COD? 11ac – ‘Churchill’s home help, a nimble dancing master (8,6)’.

Here’s the 2011 blog:

A bit tricky in places today, unless I’m rusty after the weekend. 21/22 and 4/9/1 in particular tripped me up. It appears that this may be one of the last few regular Quixotes looking at the comments on the original blog… Congratulations to Mark Goodliffe, BTW, on his 8th consecutive Times Crossword Championship win. No doubt he would have finished this in the time it took me to get my first answer.

COD? 1d – ‘Call for skin treatment (6)’.

March already, crikey.

Saturday 10th October  2015

Rather than discuss the supposed ‘mini-theme’ – three words which happen to come from the 21st century (!) –  I’d like to analyse one of Phi’s preponderancies:  Have you ever noticed how fond he is of deletion style clues? I’ve been meaning to talk about it for months.

Last weekend we had eleven: deletions from the tail were indicated by ‘mostly’(twice), ‘not entirely’ (twice), ‘reduced’ (twice) and almost; for deletions from the middle we had ‘though not’, ‘eradicating’, ‘will disembark from’ and ‘not’.  No deletions from the front of words, but he does those a lot too… Just something to look out for!

COD: 29a Sleep gently, some lecture’s words reverberating (6)

23a Most significant sacred texts accepted by economist? Not entirely (7)

The full answers can be found by clicking here.

After the last two days fairly gentle strolls through Cryptic crossword land I found todays offering a bit of a trudge. Having to solve 14/15ac to get the theme which is Prizes was a bit of a challenge as although an anagram the answer wasn’t a phrase I was familiar with, however once I had solved 1,3,6,7,8 and 13dn it all started to fall in place. Not usually a fan of Spoonerisms but I did enjoy 1dn. 16ac and 22ac were new to me but fairly clued making them solvable. It felt to me as though a lot of thought had been given to the thematic clues but some of the other clues were a little below Phi’s usual standard. My COD though is not  one of the themed clues and was my last entry.

5d – Serve it up after one’s entered immediately? Quite the reverse (4,4)

Everything you need to know about this crossword including comments from the setter can be found here

Even if you didn’t spot the message round the outside of the grid (and GOOD LU) at the top was a bit of a giveaway, there wasn’t much here that should trouble most solvers. The anagram at 22ac took a moment or two to come up with something sensible looking, and 14ac was also new, but workable with a few letters to help.

COD? 15d – ‘Seize treasurer ousting director in contempt (8).’

We’re back to November 2010:

A fairly straightforward offering from Dac today, my only real problems came with 6ac and 6d, which held me up for a minute or so at the end. Am I the only person who’d be happy with a puzzle from Dac every day?

COD? 6ac – ‘Call doctor’s number when problem starts (6)’.

Here’s the 2010 blog:

6ac’s is our theme of the day, with each pair of across answers giving an example of one. A definite tour de force on the part of the editor. Lifting straight from the comments on Fifteensquared:


A quick spot helped with some of the tougher clues. Yes, I mean you, 22ac. As far as Google is concerned, marjoram = oregano, which didn’t help much. Thankfully the theme gave the game away. A few of the shorter answers were also a little tricky, the double definitions at 24, 25 and 26 particularly so.

COD? 6ac – ‘Psychoanalytical method of gospel group? (4,11)’.

February already:

Every week the i caters for those amongst us who can’t quite cope with the fact that it’s Monday again. I learnt one or two new things as ever, and was quite happy with a grid that didn’t hold out for too long.

Had you heard of a charm of goldfinches before? I hadn’t, but 12ac still gets my COD – ‘Such is the charm one associates with goldfinches (10,4)’.

Back in time to 2010:

Saturday 3rd October 2015

Ha-ha! Spotted one of Phi’s obscure Ninas at last! The tell-tale signs were the grid with unches top & bottom, several short words, plus the slightly odd words like oleo, daff and mealier which clearly weren’t there for the innovation of their clueing – oleo was a ‘hidden’ and an alternative like ‘omen’, for example, could have provided a better (and probably more amusing) clue… no, that ‘o’ on the end had to be for a Nina.

A quick search on Google revealed Marcus Falco to be the central character in a series of books by Lindsey Davis (although I hadn’t heard of either) which include ‘Alexandria’, ‘Nemesis’, and ‘Saturnalia’. Unsurprisingly Phi eschewed ‘Australian’ to clue the last – I suppose, like carthorse/ orchestra, it’s an anagrammatical cliché.

Oh the clues? Yes, good, I think… I liked 9a, 30a and 20d, but my COD goes to:

5d. Uprising in African country dislodged government control (4)

Click here for all answers and parsing from 2011 at Fifteensquared.

Sprouthater is still on holiday, so you’re stuck with me for another Friday. As it’s a Morph today, and a good one at that, blogging this was no trouble at all. 🙂 A theme running throughout of 27’s which was very nicely done. I found this a lot easier to start than finish, with a few of the four letter clues holding out at the end.

COD? 11ac – ‘Writhed topless – and not just that! (5)’.

Here’s the 2011 blog: