Saturday 23rd April  2016

I got very excited last Saturday when I thought Phi had made a crossword especially for the i – a superfluity of Shakespeare themed crosswords, perhaps?  But no, it’s not the ‘six hundredth year’ (the Nina in rows 1 and 15) of the Bard’s death (that’ll be four hundred years, of course), but of the founding of 1d/5d.  Never mind…

Another fine crossword from Phi. 19d was a bit tricky, but otherwise nothing to slow up a gentle completion.  I have ‘COD’ written next to 23d, so here it is again:

Describing bible at regular intervals, but overlooking Biblical city (4)

For all the answers and parsing, please click here.

By the way, and further to dtw42’s ingenious puzzle under his slightly catchier name ‘Marvin’ (see Thursday’s Tees comments) I have a new puzzle published on Big Dave’s website today. Click here.

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A fairly straightforward offering from Crosophile today I thought. Yes I missed the Nina which is apparently a diving term and was meant to be part of a hidden theme that, apart from 18a and 26a, failed to surface. A couple I had trouble parsing properly. 14a where we had to drop the elect from electrical clued by “discharging saved” didn’t make much sense to me and 25 down Hay = Dance was new to me. The rest made for a very acceptable if not too challenging puzzle.

A visit to a pub yesterday evening where I imbibed one or two pints of  Palmers Tally Ho! prompts my COD 22d   Refills for dogs after time on owners lead (3-3)

At the beginning of the month Jon blogged a Glow-Worm puzzle that had been omitted from Fifteensquared this blog explains why.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/09/04/independent-on-sunday-1124-by-crosophile/

I’m posting from the SAU Unit of the local hospital where my GP has seen fit to send me, but where there is thankfully Wi-Fi, so this will be quick. 😀

This is exactly the kind of puzzle I was hoping we’d get when I realised I’d be in for a lot of waiting round. Quite tough, lots to get your teeth into. Spotted the double pangram, but failed to notice that it was actually a triple. Quite an achievement!

COD? 30ac – ‘Go without nookie (4)’.

Here’s the 2011 blog:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/08/25/independent-7756-by-tees/

An old friend appears at 5d today, reminding me that it’s high time to venture down into the wine cellar and check the brickwork.

After yesterday’s offering from Glow-Worm it’s nice to get back onto firmer ground, and here we see difficult solutions being matched to gentle wordplay, thank goodness. For instance, those who are strangers to the billiards table may well be unfamiliar with 21d, but it’s readily deduced, whereas my clue of the day is an object lesson in the art of misdirection. Highlights for me included 4ac, 3 and 18d, and of course 10ac which got a lot of praise in the comments at Fifteensquared, but the aforementioned COD is 16d:

“Rather clever, having answer to clue filled in (8)”

Solutions and discussion from back in August 2011 can be found here.

A word of thanks to Cornick for supplying a link to a highly enjoyable puzzle once again: for anyone who missed his post on Saturday this one is well worth a look.

At the risk of re-igniting the fierce discussion that followed this puzzle’s first appearance, I’m afraid to say that this wasn’t really my cup of tea. I don’t mind crosswords being hard, but this seemed to be willfully obscure at times – see 3d, or the use of ‘d’ for drawn in 16d. 4d was clever, but SAXE for blue won’t be on many solvers’ radars. I’m never very fond of cross-referenced clues anyway, so perhaps I’m prejudiced, but in this case 1ac also referenced a slightly tenuous cryptic definition that fell far from quickly.

On the plus side, I did like 10ac and 19d, and it was fun to find all the 1A 5’s, but by the end I had far too many points of disgruntlement and not enough ticks. Sorry Glow-Worm!

COD? The aforementioned 10ac – ‘No lemon, then, for 1A 5? (7)’.

Here’s the IoS blog from October 2011:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/10/09/independent-on-sunday-1129-glowworm/

A fairly gentle, relaxing puzzle from Quixote to start the week. 15d gave me pause for thought – it was apparent that LAMB was the meat in question, but the answer was unfamiliar, as did 19d, my LOI, which I dredged somewhere from the depths of my memory.

Lots to admire today, in particular 10d – ‘Key concern for politicans wanting votes in e.g. Birmingham? (6,7)’.

To the warmer days of August 2011:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/08/22/independent-7753quixote/

Saturday 16th April  2016

There was an abundance of top quality wordplay to delight us in Phi’s clues last Saturday (plus a pangram if you like that sort of thing) my only misgiving was that the definitions were often so straightforward that the wordplay wasn’t really needed – Scottish dish (6), Mexican resort (8), that sort of thing.

A couple of constellations reminded us that Phi is also an astronomer; did anybody else spot the rare bit of ambiguity with Canis Major/ Minor both being possible answers for 8a? Held me up a bit on 5d…

Enough grumbling already, there was loads to like. Amongst my faves were 7a, 12a, 6d and 13d but, like Eileen in the 2011 blog which you can read by clicking here, my COD goes to the following:

9d Whole Aust’s implied here? Yes and no! (3,5,5)

Its a gloomy wet Friday and some pop singer has died. After reading through all the clues and only managing to enter a couple of solutions with any certainty I was feeling a bit down myself. I am not really keen on overly long and complex clues but after a second reading and a bit of gnawing on the end of my pencil I had solved the four long answers around the edges which gave a footing to solving the rest (well nearly, 3d defeated me).  I didn’t understand it all but the excellent blog gives a detailed explanation to all the answers. Lots of excellent clues to choose from 1a,8d and 27a all stood out to me but I think  I must give COD to

9d   £25 to cover raised fees. left with plain brown wrapping under a false name (14)

The very detailed 2011 blog is here

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/10/22/independent-7800-saturday-prize-puzzle-15-october-2011-nestor/

A pretty tough offering from Poins today, with the SW corner in particular putting up a lot of resistance. I wasn’t convinced by either 22d or 27ac, which didn’t really help, and it’s only now that I’ve spotted the definition in 14d, which I can only blame on myself and not Poins.

COD? 21d – ‘Kind of government found in African country (6)’.

Here’s the old IoS blog from October 2011:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2011/10/23/independent-on-sunday-1131poins/

i Cryptic Crossword 1621

April 20, 2016

A question for you, prompted by 16d. Can anybody tell me the difference between a joist and a girder?

I always feel a little cheated when a solution comes to me instantaneously based on the letter count without any thought, and that’s what happened with 10ac, followed immediately by 2d. A firm toehold thus established the rest of the puzzle didn’t put up much of a fight. That’s the trouble with long words and phrases I suppose: they either hold proceedings up interminably or do the crossword for you. Anyway, that aside today’s offering was par for the Wednesday course: pithy, elegant and generally unimpeachable. Clue of the day? Well, candidates included 1, 21 and 23ac; 3, 15 and the aforementioned 16d among others, but simply because it’s rather flippant and amusing I settled on 9d:

“Cries of delight from doctor before surgical proceedures (6)”

The original and distinctly autumnal 2011 Fifteensquared blog contains a suggestion in the comments that 26ac is obscure. This is clearly nonsense, because if I’ve heard of him, he can’t be. QED.