Saturday 11th June  2016

This was an ideal puzzle for less experienced solvers. I suspect there might be quite a few who were cock-a-hoop at finishing an i puzzle for the first time.  Equally, if anyone times themselves, this might very well have been a PB.

For those wanting a stiffer challenge – well, why not try the Inquisitor?

My favourite clue was 4d:

Certainly troops in centre of Greece would be something one wouldn’t want to see (7)

One minor quibble though. Following on from a recent duplication of ‘working’ as an anagram indicator, this time Phi had ‘university’ abbreviated to U twice in the same crossword, which is a bit of a no-no.

The original Fifteensquared blog from 2011 is here.


I found this a bit of a slog to be honest. When finished I had more question marks than ticks, most of which were resolved after reading the original blog, some though I still find a bit iffy, as in slinky = spring and passed ball = fed. Plenty of dog breeds to find, none of which were unusual and only one obscurity in 13a. The dreadful Kray’s make an appearance for the second day running.

COD 1a   Pardon former copper heading for Manchester? look goes round.  (6,2)

This clue seems to have been changed from the original, can’t see for what reason though.

The blog from October 2011 is here

Another puzzle from Anarche that was certainly inventive, but also pretty tough. Some bits here and there I thought a little obscure / off – HOW for hill, C for many, FAR for much, ‘Manx cat’, amongst others. Not sure either if I love or loathe 3d. 🙂 Lots to like at the same time, perhaps this is one where, if I’d had more time, I might have appreciated it more.

COD? 27ac – ‘Statement of policies and aims, often unreliable (9)’.

October 2011 over on Fifteensquared:

Did anybody like 18ac? Possibly not, which is a shame since the surface is so pleasing, but the fact remains that if anybody spells it like that I haven’t met them. With that out of the way, I’m free to lavish praise on Dac for one of his best puzzles in recent memory, crammed with cryptic goodness. Just about every trick in the crossword compiler’s book is represented today, from lengthy apt anagrams to a very natty & lit at 7d, by way of a couple of first class puns. Onions was particularly tickled by 16. Quite the bravura display, all told.

Amongst the many and various treats on offer, my favourite didn’t come in for much attention in the Fifteensquared comments back in October 2011:

8d: “As writer, achieve comparatively little during revolution (5,7)”

I was looking for a theme, as it’s Tuesday, and when I was a little stuck at the end on 1d I looked even harder, but decided in the end that there wasn’t one. It turns out that there are chocolates galore scattered about the grid, close to my heart indeed, even if they all managed to pass me by today. Slow solving, as you expect from this setter, but nothing that wasn’t solvable with a little patience, and you didn’t need to spot the theme to finish. Total time a little over par for the i.

COD? 6d – ‘Uses toilet across yard with mostly split chain (8)’.

Some debate over on Fifteensquared about the grid, though I have to say I didn’t notice today, and it didn’t present me with any difficulties:

A fairly straightforward, enjoyable start to the week from Raich. I had a little trouble in the NW corner, especially with the unfamiliar definition at 3d, but the rest went in without too much difficulty. The 2011 blog can be found here: Spot the fairly weak attempt at spam in the second comment from a year later, and whatever you do don’t follow the associated link.

COD? 1ac – ‘Cold, like island port? (6)’.

Saturday 4th June  2016

Phi was doing his best to introduce us to a bit of culture last weekend, with the Classic Italian film ‘Bicycle Thieves’ and Renaissance poem ‘Orlando Furioso’ forming the heart of this grid.  You’ll doubtless know both well; I knew neither in the slightest.  Suk and Rilke both rang a bell though and Vivaldi, well, even my goldfish knows Vivaldi, so that doesn’t count.

Apparently Phi had accidentally made the puzzle a pangram, which surely supports the view that pangrams really aren’t such a big deal.  After all, a typical puzzle contains 23-odd letters of the alphabet in anyhow (judging by my sample of one).

The blogger at Fifteensquared picked out 10a, 29a, 16d and 19d as favourite clues, but I rather liked ACIDIC at 21d with ‘I’ being entered twice (ones variously) into AC/DC (currents), so it gets my nomination for Clue Of the Day

And you can check out that blog in full by clicking here.

This was described as chewy by a fellow cruciverbalist when it originally appeared in the Independent and I can only agree with him. I had a lot of question marks next to clues where I just couldn’t understand the cryptic parsing, most were removed after reading the Fifteensquared  blog, some like 2d and 4d just a bit to convoluted for my taste. The two long anagrams (1d and 10d) really helped me get into this puzzle which was eventually finished though not without some help from my trusty Chambers Crossword Completer, 6d was an unkown to me. My LOI was 18d which in retrospect was one of the more obvious solves. I share Twencelas’s quibble about the pluralising of Daughter in 19a as I spent a lot of time trying to fit two D’s into an answer. 8a,12a,14a and 25a all got ticks from me but for COD my pick is 26a European more particular about losing folio in something published again. (7)

I found this pretty tough in places, but there again I often struggle with Tees, so your mileage may vary. Quite a few went in with a question mark beside them, especially 17ac and 19ac, the latter of which some might argue was a tad obscure. Lots to like anyway, COD for me 14ac – ‘Good riddance seen in after-effects of boozing with Scotsman from Royal House (10)’.

Back to September 2011:

Last night’s rattling thunderstorm having failed to clear the air, it’s turned out to be another one of those hot, humid and thoroughly enervating days here at Batarde Mansions. Citronella is draped over the chaise longue and fanning herself with The Lady; Onions has fallen asleep over Euripides, and even Prof. Mgurure’s flicking of the duster lacks the usual brio.

Fortunately the crossword presented no difficulties worth speaking of, leaving me with just enough energy to compose a blog entry. I find myself in exactly the same position as the estimable RatkojaRiku, who did the write up of this puzzle at Fifteensquared back in September 2011 – full of admiration for Dac’s craftsmanship, but hard pressed to single out an individual clue for special praise. I liked 1, 7 and 21 a good deal, as well as the three long ones, and have decided that my clue of the day will be 11ac:

“Late accounts from journalist attached to newspaper probing Britiish politicians (7,7)”

2d raised a few eyebrows, mine included – any opinions?