i Cryptic Crossword 1531 Dac

January 6, 2016

Happy New Year, everybody, and many thanks to Cinders – sorry, Charmaine – for filling in for me last time.

Upon my return from the seasonal jollifications I found that the household had expanded to the tune of one black tomcat, size XL. Seems that he took a shine to Charmaine and invited himself in to stay. I don’t know what she’s feeding the animal, but he looks sleeker and more magnificent by the day. Now, I’m generally well disposed towards felines – ask anybody – but there’s something about this one I don’t altogether like. Probably the malevolent gleam in his eye, and the way he perches on the back of the armchair looking over my shoulder whilst I do the crossword. Disconcerting. Apparently his name is Asmodeus (I’d have gone for Pluto or Edgar, myself), and when asked why Charmaine just replied “‘Ouse’old pet, innee”? so I’m none the wiser.

Today’s puzzle was breezy in Dac’s usual manner: a rather stiffer breeze in the West, I found, and the solutions fell in a sort of clockwise progession starting in the NE corner and finishing up at 12 o’clock with 4d. Some rather spiffy clues led to a tick quotient of six, which is well above the average. Honorable mentions for 1d, 3, 7, 10 and 27 – all beautifully worded – but there’s a clear winner and Clue of the Day goes to 15d:

“Writers’ Bible (4,5)”

It must have been good, because the learned folk at Fifteensquared identified quite a few more favourites besides the ones I’ve mentioned back in April 2011. Somebody refers to Dac as “The Polisher”, which is thoroughly appropriate.

Today I have a bonus clue for you, found in an old Times puzzle, and so witty it nearly knocked me off my seat when the answer finally came to mind. I’ll supply the unches later if need be:

“Break tenses found immediately before this? (9)”


7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 1531 Dac”

  1. jonofwales said

    1d and 11ac at the close caused me more than a few issues, but the rest was a bit of a breeze. The Times clue made me chuckle, very clever. Not sure if I should give the game away, and the spoiler tags won’t work.

  2. Cornick said

    I thought we’d moved on from times tables, but what with Jeff Hutchinson from Devon on the letters page and now you…!

    Polisher is good – My experience was similarly smooth going round the clock from 1 to 10, so to speak, but I struggled badly at 11 and 12 for some reason… 😉

  3. AndyT said

    Well done, you two. 🙂

  4. Lozzie said

    Similar story for me also: last in were in NW corner, although I did like 1D and 3D. Not entirely happy with the use of slang, had to explain 16A OPPO and 1D GORBLIMEY to the wife, who had no knowledge of them. (I was interested to learn that the latter answer has its origins in the phrase “God blind me”). Lots of good things in this enjoyable solve.

  5. dtw42 said

    Ha, usually when someone posts a single isolated clue I am utterly unable to do it (leaving me irked at everyone else cheerfully chirruping about how good it is). But in this case, I’m there: nice one. And – since it’s about 2300 hours as I type this – time for a snackette before bed I think.

  6. AndyT said

    I’m glad that old clue met with approval. For the record here are the checked letters:


  7. Lozzie said

    The clue/answer seemed familiar to me, although I never take the Times newspaper. Thinking a similar one may have appeared in a Sunday Express skeleton crossword a while back.

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