What could prompt what I believe is Anarche’s first puzzle in the i, and a reprint from 2012 too while we’re still making our way through 2011? LEAP DAY across the bottom of the grid, and MARRY ME across the top, of course. February 29th being the one day of the year that, traditionally, the female of the species is allowed to propose. Spotted a few hints elsewhere to things romantic, in 8ac for example, and otherwise in 11ac and 6d. 🙂

Thought this was a fun puzzle, of about average difficulty, though with a couple of obscurities (in 5d for example), but none to be fair that weren’t possible to guess.

COD? 6d – ‘Smug, oily bastard accepting firm, sound discipline (10)’.

A very thorough blog by duncanshiell can be found here:


Saturday 20th February  2016

Straightforward for the most part – workaday by Phi’s high standards.  Just a couple of quibbles amongst the general excellence: ‘as’ in 4d seems to be doing nothing and describing the Hippocratic oath as a ‘medical quantity’ in 7d is decidedly odd.

All the answers and parsing are on the Fifteensquared website here, where quite a few of the commenters seem to have met ‘clowder’ and ‘bireme’ for the first time in this puzzle – everyday banter words down Cornwall way.

Nothing really stands out as an obvious COD, but I’ll go for topical (today) &Lit at 6d:

I can lour sadly over day (4-5)

i Cryptic Crossword 1575 Eimi

February 26, 2016

A crossword themed around Bob Dylan album titles is what we have today evidently, I wouldn’t know as I have precisely none or nada of them, this only caused a problem with the unfamiliar  18/29a.  A strange crossword  I thought only twelve across clues and six of those were anagrams and twenty down clues, half of which were three or four letter answers. Eimi also managed to include the cockney reference in 6d the schoolboy humour in 7d and the famous? golfer in 30a.  I suppose I’d rate the whole thing as average, the stand out for me was

COD 24/8a    What the model artist would produce  (4-8)

The original blog from 2011 is here


It’s been a while since we’ve seen Mordred in the i, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out we got a bit of a challenge, but not unduly so, with a few unknowns (for me at least) at 12ac, 27ac, 18d, etc, and some quite novel wordplay. 29ac I think just works as an &lit, but only just. There are a few animals dotted round the place, but no nina as far as I can tell. I’m guessing I wasn’t the only person to have to check 22ac?

COD? 23d – ‘Mashed treat? (5)’.

Back to June 2011:


i Cryptic Crossword 1573 Dac

February 24, 2016

To: Oliver Duff Esq. (Editor of the i)


I beg leave to add my humble voice to those calling for the Inquisitor puzzle to be preserved for the nation in the pages of your esteemed organ. Quite apart from being something of an institution, the barred crossword serves the useful function of taking one’s valet down a peg or two, keeping him docile, and giving him something to think about other than split infinitives in headlines on page 4. One a day would be ideal, but if you can only run to Saturdays I would still be greatly in your debt. I have the honour to remain, sir, your obedient servant.


There … send. One lives in hope. Not much to detain Onions in today’s offering, which was dispatched in a healthy time of rather less than ten minutes. Quite the contrast to the struggle yesterday. Dac seems to have been in light hearted mood this time, and 17ac had something of The Beano about it. Stand out clues for me included 11, 19 and 24ac, also 3 and 6d – but my clue of the day was the groan-worthy 25ac:

“It could be vegetable that makes you collapse (4,4)”

A ripple of applause from the June 2011 Fifteensquared blog for yet another elegant puzzle from this most reliable of setters can be found here.

i Cryptic Crossword 1572 Tees

February 23, 2016

Well, it started well, with the NE corner filled in a matter of minutes, but it was all downhill from there. I think last week’s Azed took less time to complete than this. 🙂 There’s a little theme based round the pairings below, which I completely missed. I’d just assumed we were looking at various old, extremely obscure gods.


Talking of obscurities, there were too many in this for my liking, 2d being the chief culprit. By the end I had a completed grid, but with tons of question marks and outstanding queries scribbled beside the clues. Less like this please.

COD? 24d – ‘Charlie lives alone in retreat for VIPs (7)’.

June 2011 once more:


How’s your American geography, biology, and knowledge of opera? Mine isn’t really up to scratch, so a few of these needed some googling to check, in particular 20ac where there were several possibilities given the wordplay. A stiffer challenge than we’re used to from the Don, then, but one that rewarded a bit of patience and perseverance.

COD? While I’m tempted by the dig at the then ubiquitous puzzle referenced in 10ac, I’ll go with 4d – ‘It may put a king in an unstable situation (5,2,5)’.

June 2011 once more:


Saturday 13th February  2016

In which Phi put a circle of long lights around the outside and managed to fill in the rest without recourse to either theme or Nina.  Phew!

‘Dreidel’ at 16a defeated me because, having guessed it from the wordplay, I went looking in both Chambers and Collins but found it not. It’s a Jewish spinning top, as you probably knew.

I liked 14a – expects – although it caused some controversy over on Fifteensquared, hinging on whether ‘abandoned animals’ are necessarily ‘ex-pets’ – did it require a question mark, some wondered?

My COD, however, goes to possibly my favourite clueing devise, the inverse anagram. Here it is again:

8d A dangerous thing, the panel? (5,8)

And for the original blog with answers click here.

I Cryptic Crossword 1569 Monk

February 19, 2016

I thought this was tough. Missed the palindromes around the edges until the end so I missed the help that they could have provided. Some very clever clues here but some like 4d 5d 15a and 26a were, to me dubious also didn’t appreciate the unnecessary IN at the beginning of 27a.

Despite these complaints I found this an enjoyable mental tussle.

COD for me is the lovely misleading

23d Transported me to sides of Hoover Dam (6)

For a full explanation return to the palindromic 11/6/11 here


i Cryptic Crossword 1568 Punk

February 18, 2016

A fun, and pretty straightforward puzzle from Punk, with loads going in from the definition and / or partial wordplay alone (5d, 26ac, 13d for example). First in 1ac, last in 8d. No theme today as far as I can tell, despite 5d.

COD? 9ac – ‘Composer Bliss shaved during sleep in Sussex village (5,5)’, just because I liked the z’s for sleep.

Back to June 2011: