A very quick solve today, perhaps my quickest in the i for a while, but a thoroughly enjoyable one. Solved while enjoying the sunshine out on the patio. It makes a change from yesterday’s hail stones.

COD? 17d – ‘Levy for new bridge (7)’. Simple, but v nicely done.

Back to July 2011:


“Never mind, Citronella: let’s try another one. Now this one is two words, and what you’re looking for is a two letter word meaning a shot, or an attempt if you will, and a bird three letters long. Put ’em together and hey presto: got it!
“Oh dear”.

Last week I mentioned that in an attempt to buck up my wan and disconsolate sister, I’d encourage her to have a go at writing what she calls the “wordsearch blog”. Well, maybe not just yet, but nil desperandum, eh? Once again, therefore, I’m struggling somewhat to come up with something interesting to say about yet another impeccably turned out puzzle by the ever-reliable Dac. This one seemed very straightforward to me, and was finished in a trice. Amongst the many gentle lobs today there were a few nicely deceptive deliveries like 26ac and 20d, and a couple of well phrased long ones to disentangle at 5d and 18ac. Clue of the day for me was 23ac:

“Military order registered, in a sense (4,5)”

I’m a little surprised to find that some of the Fifteensquared regulars found the ground rather heavy going back in July 2011, but as one of them says, horses for courses.

Golf, eh? Not a sport I know a great deal about, so I was somewhat nervous about being able to complete this once I spotted the theme. As it was, it was 5ac and 21d which tripped me up at the end. Perhaps I’m prejudiced because I couldn’t get them, but I thought they were both an obscurity too far. The rest I largely enjoyed. Quite a few I didn’t fully understand on solving, and some of those it turns out were hidden words, which often elude me. I always feel a bit guilty on clues like 2d that are very carefully put together, but where the definition and answer are as clear as day.

COD? 1d – ‘Stand-up comic has a brush with it (7)’.

Back to July 2011:


As often seems to be the case on a bank holiday, we get a nice gentle puzzle from Quixote to give us plenty of time to be doing other, perhaps more productive things. I can’t quite match nmsindy’s time, but this was my fastest i solve in a while, and also a thoroughly enjoyable one. Hopefully any readers the i has picked up from the Independent will have felt the same. Dredged up 1d from the depths of my memory somewhere, and was pleased to get 22ac correctly from the wordplay, so I ducked the few bullets there were.

COD? The aforementioned 1d – ‘Support for churchwarden? (4,4)’.

Back to July 2011 when I’m hoping it was as sunny as it is today, but not as windy and cold. Enjoy the rest of your day…


Saturday 19th March  2016

Today I shall be wearing black – not necessarily because it’s Easter Saturday, with Jesus off in his cave so to speak (there’s a happy ending coming up I’m told) – but rather because the Indy printed its last paper last night. Ever.

We will presumably still be getting the puzzles from The Independent on line coming through to the i in 4 years time, so maybe a sort of resurrection for us at idothei, but a sad day none the less.

As for last Saturday’s puzzle, we were back to the usual setter Phi – with one of his more challenging offerings, I thought.  Yet another modernist composer, Harrison Birtwistle, made an appearance  – apparently he’s a bit like Messiaen, if you like that sort of thing. And talking of ‘apparently, we had to endure a repeat of ‘ap.’ , which is possibly my least favourite crossword abbreviation, even if it is in Chambers.

Plenty to like though, some real corkers in fact, amongst which were both of the linked pairs on the corners, one of which gets my COD:

7/8d Military’s arranged to issue one? (4,4)

Original blog from 2011 is here.

Ooh, and there’s a fun 20 x 20 prize puzzle in today’s Guardian – double letters theme…

The last time we had a puzzle by Hypnos there was some complaints that it was just a Y short of a pangram, well this time, according to the original blog, all 26 letters have been used. So that’s ok then?  Apart from the complete (to me) obscurity of 16d I found this fairly straightforward with only 21d and 11a delaying my progress. 11a due entirely to my complete lack of knowledge regarding any ball game.  I have never come across the abbreviation OC for ocean before and can’t find any reference to it any of my dictionaries.  The use of names such as Vicious and Quant  I find annoying but others seem to find it acceptable so I will just have to put up with it.

COD 18a Bread? It could be found in the bush.  (5)

Back to 2011 here  http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/08/14/independent-on-sunday-1121-by-hypnos/

Crosophile’s puzzles in the i to date have been very much on the easy side, if I remember rightly, but today I struggled from start to finish, chucking in many an answer on a wing and a prayer. The NE corner was the last to fall, partly because I was convinced for too long that 7d had to have HEEL in the answer somewhere. ‘envelopes’ in 2d is apparently a mistake, and should be ‘envelop’, though for what it’s worth the clue works perfectly well as it stands for me.

Both 1ac and 21ac made me smile, but for my COD I’ll go with 7d – ‘Knocked Achilles, say, around Troy and as far as this? (8)’.

The end of June 2011 today:


My attempt to sidestep my sister failed miserably, and Citronella has now taken up residence in one of the spare rooms. Poor thing: she’s rather down in the dumps, having failed to get a job as a Radio 3 presenter. Funny, I thought she was in with a good shout, but they decided she was “too vapid”, so she’s at a bit of a loss as to where to exercise her talents now that the obvious outlet has turned her down. Much morose mooning about. Perhaps I should suggest she has a go at the crossword blog once she perks up a bit.

Good job it wasn’t this week though, because by Wednesday standards this was quite a toughie. Top drawer stuff, mind you, with something for everyone including a few thumping great anagrams to resolve. All those checked vowels in 16ac didn’t help much, and I’d rather not say how long it was before the perfectly obvious solution suggested itself. On the other hand, 14ac jumped out at me straight away. Citronella was very helpful in explaining 5d, which seems a teensy bit obscure but such things are her strong suit, not mine. Honourable mentions for 12, 21, 9 and 14d, but the one which tickled my fancy today was 24ac:

“Dollar note and a cent pocketed by European (9)”

Solutions and appreciative comments from Fifteensquared back in August 2011 are available here.

Don’t mention the war! Well, somebody had to:

I’m not one to spot ninas / hidden messages very quickly, but 8d was my second clue in, swiftly followed by a few in the NW corner, so it was pretty obvious what we were looking for round the perimeter. 🙂 A few other references dotted about meant that this was a very quick solve, but no less enjoyable for that. As the hotel that was the inspiration for Fawlty Towers was demolished the other day, today’s puzzle is perhaps coincidentally topical.

COD? 11ac – ‘Flyer shows liberated nuns swigging alcohol (3,7)’.

Back to August 2011:


Quite a tricky puzzle to start the week, with several unknowns, and some difficult word-play. A bit of a shock after Quixote’s contributions to the IoS. Last in 7 / 13. The latter didn’t really work for me, surely it would be HIS and not HIM for the homophone?

COD? 21d – ‘No negative aspect to holidaying abroad with this gentleman (7)’, which might have held me up longer if I hadn’t read the feature on page 30 of today’s i first. 🙂

June 2011 once more: