I know we buy a newspaper with a recycled crossword but a note telling us when it was first published would have helped a little here. I suppose the reference to a big occasion in 1ac and groom in two clues along with all the allusions to royalty throughout should have pushed me in right direction, but, as I have absolutely no interest in any of the above and probably spent the day in a cupboard avoiding any exposure to it, I missed the theme completely and only after reading the original blog was all made clear.Nevertheless the majority of the puzzle was very good with enough straightforward clues to give checking letters for the ones relating to “the big occasion”. The only real obscurity for me was 7d but I think I’ve seen it before relating to one A Hitler. 11ac and 19ac both struck me as very clever and 28ac with all its connotations was very amusing. However the COD today is

17d  Broken down, it’s solvers – you and me, ultimately  (9)

Back to that auspicious? day April 29th 2011



I blame Cornick, who commented last week “Am I the only one who quite misses the stinkers from Nimrod, Bannsider or Scorpion?” 😉 That said, this wasn’t a stinker, but it was certainly a little more challenging that we’ve been used to over recent weeks. Nestor’s puzzles are usually challenging, but always fair, as was this one, with the notable exception of 14ac, which was my last one in. Checking letters of ‘T.A.’, and quite obscure wordplay, this was a clue that should perhaps have been rethought.

COD? Amongst many many good clues, I’m nominating 19ac – ‘Seen in close-up, hem is model’s attempt to avoid offence (9)’.

Back to April 2011 once more on Fifteensquared:


i Cryptic Crossword 1514 Dac

December 16, 2015

Much rejoicing at my club last night, upon the return of Fiery Freddy Snodgrass (so named on account of a freak flambé accident, the tale of which I shall keep in reserve for another time). Freddy is quite the adventurer, and until yesterday the last we’d heard was that he was exploring the Aleutian Islands in a rawhide canoe. Intrepid, eh? Seems that he had rather a narrow squeak over the winter, being marooned on an uninhabited eyot surrounded by dangerously unstable pack ice, and was compelled to eat the old boat. “Dashed chewy stuff, elk leather” he told us, “could’ve done with some HP sauce. And of course when the thaw came I’d consumed my means of escape, and it was only by the purest chance that some locals happened by and gave me a lift back to Anchorage. Take heed chaps, and learn from my mistake” he concluded, “you can’t have your kayak and eat it”.

And so to business. For the second week running the puzzle from Dac can best be described as workmanlike. Maybe I’m just familiar with his style now, or perhaps anything following yesterday’s sterling effort by Tees was likely to be an anticlimax, but this one struck me as distinctly soft-boiled. Most unusually I had mild reservations about a couple of the clues, which are echoed in the discussion at Fifteensquared – but nothing to slow proceedings down. Two living people to irritate Sprouthater today, 21ac especially I suspect. A “well played sir” and a ripple of applause for 5ac, but clue of the day goes to 3d:

“Hero from Florida area (7)”

Solutions and discussion of cruciverbal grammar can be found in the May 2011 Fifteensquared blog here.

i Cryptic Crossword 1513 Tees

December 15, 2015

And today’s theme is… Tees as the Jeremiah who was clued in yesterday’s crossword (thanks, dtw42). Does he know something we don’t? Hopefully not, as I wouldn’t have bothered with my Christmas shopping otherwise. Lots of long anagrams to unscramble, but the answers were for the most part fairly self evident, even when they were unfamiliar (5d). Quite a few went in without fully understanding what was going on, but for the most part it didn’t matter. The clue which caused me the most difficulty was 22ac, where neither of the definitions were that familiar.

COD? 18ac was quite clever, but I’m nominating 25d – ‘Letter to Greeks in Shorter Collins (3)’.

Here’s the 2011 blog:


A bit tricky in the NW corner I thought, and a little obscure wordplay at 21ac (SP) and 26ac (YEA). This was Quixote’s last IoS crossword; if you look carefully across the diagonal from NW to SE, you’ll spot his signature.

COD? 10ac – ‘I perform as musician at end of concert, as an up-and-coming artist?’

Back to April 2011:


Saturday 5th December  2015

Phi was in his punning mode last week, so for example, backwaters were not a problem for ducks (arf!), whoopee cushions came notwithstanding (arf, arf!) and Islamic state was to be read as ‘I’m a mate’ … Oops, I’m not sure that idea would quite get past the In Tray in 2015, which makes the 2011 we were living in when this puzzle first appeared seem somehow part of a more innocent age…

COD: 18a  Fail to support marriage turning nasty? One’s back in pub (4,2,3)

Click here for all the answers from back then.

Crosswords from Poins, they don’t seem to come along very often. Not too much of a struggle though. On first reading 1ac looked fairly daunting to me, the length of it and the word Key in the clue . Key can have so many meanings I inwardly groan when I see it. This of course didn’t help when I came to 12ac where the answer was a key. 26ac held me up, where I was looking for an element surrounded by a fastener. A nice misdirection that I thought. I found 17ac a bit dubious with AD indicating Today. The solution to this and 1ac though were obvious when the checking letters were entered . Generally I found it a fairly entertaining way to spend some of my Friday morning.

COD?  8d  Isn’t Dicky to answer on books by Swift? (7)

The original 2011 blog is here




Another good puzzle from Crosophile, that I found a little trickier than his previous offerings. I was never really stuck, but overall progress was slow, with the long book title in particular taking a while to fall. Last in 12ac, which was a new one on me.

Lots of lovely clues, but COD goes to 1d – ‘Place that’s next to tee in golf – this will come later (7)’.

Back to April 2011, when it was revealed that Crosophile would be covering Dac’s spot one Wednesday per month:


“I say Onions, have you seen this item next to the crossword? Rather a rum story, wouldn’t you say”?
“It did strike me as somewhat unusual, sir”.
“Well, quite. I can’t imagine how the fellow managed to get the zebra into the car, for one thing, and surely stuffed giraffes can’t be in high demand. Who has ceilings that high? And think of the amount of sawdust involved – must be a specialised job”.
“Undoubtedly a tall order, sir”.

There was nothing in today’s puzzle which read more like a crossword clue than that headline, Dac’s surface readings being as polished as ever. This struck me as very gentle, and with the exception of 26ac there was nothing much to slow the solver down. I expect Sprouthater will disapprove of 6d, and I very much doubt that he’ll be on his own there, either. Nicely done though. My clue of the day is 24ac:

“A leggy bird heading off into dull city abroad (10)”

Here is the Fifteensquared post from March 2011

A fairly challenging offering from Radian, though one that with a little persistence was eminently solvable. Needless to say I missed the Nina, despite suspicions around what Wilson almost said, and a grid that just cried out hidden message. ‘Like 11’ didn’t work for me either in 30ac, but a minor niggle in an otherwise good puzzle.

COD? 27ac – ‘He may describe his job as ideal on radio (8)’.

Back to April 2011: