Some very entertaining and devious cluing from Klingsor today. Unfortunately I made it even more difficult for myself by misspelling 9a then spending ages trying to make sense of 5d. It didn’t help that I like the original blogger had never heard of 1a, when I see Brussels I just think of sprouts. My main complaint today is with the lack of space round the puzzle for all the working out I needed to do.

Of the clues only 14a is still a bit of a mystery, it was entered as it is the only fuel additive that I know and I could see the “tikka” part but where the rest comes from? Lots of ticks though I particularly liked 13, 18, and 24a  3, 4, 7, 12 and 16d but

COD 25a   Like Paddington Station originally surrounded by water?  (6)

The blog for this Saturday prize puzzle from December 2011 is here

A good crossword that I found on the easy side. My first answer in didn’t come until 14ac, so for a bit I thought I was in trouble, but as it turned out everything fell into place quite nicely.

Lots of clues I liked, but COD goes to 28ac – ‘Might this fruit sound sadder with 25? (5)’.

Back to the heady days of January 2012:

A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot – except when one’s neighbour’s gardener is attacking the privet with a high-powered hedge trimmer. Couldn’t hear myself think. Therefore, although today’s crossword may well have been an easy one – opinions varied at Fifteensquared back in February 2012 – I made rather heavy weather of it.

Now that he’s finished and the pain killers have taken effect, I find a lot to like in the puzzle. For the most part it’s impeccable, although I wasn’t bowled over by 10ac and 19d. Oh, and was anyone tempted by the pot roast at 4d? Highlights: 16ac is a chestnut, but one of the best; 14ac is as apt as anagrams come, and amongst the gems scattered around I was particularly taken with 13 and 16ac, and 3, 6, 8, 14 and 17d. Lots of good downs today. My clue of the day is 5ac, however:

“Group of musicians – Queen – suppressing volume in arrangement of Hair piece (8)”

A fairly straightforward, fun puzzle from Anax, with a theme based around 23/13. For anyone familiar with the films (and who isn’t?) this was a major boost on its own, but the rest was surprisingly straightforward for a setter I usually struggle with.

Lots of ticks today, but COD goes to 10ac – ‘Major sulk, they say, the sign of an exclusive establishment (4,3)’.

We’re back to Christmas 2011:

A little tricky in places today I thought. I stymied myself for an age by guessing SPOTS for 1ac, and struggled with the combination of 21d/25ac. I wanted CANE to be part of the latter for too long, and am still not particularly sure the clue works for me.

Lots to like as ever from the Don. COD goes to 17d – ‘Man sure jumping around? (7)’.

Back to January 2012:

Saturday 6th August 2016

Absolutely nothing unusual about this Phi crossword – which is of course unusual.

So I shall regale you with the story behind 12 across, which comes from The Book of Judges:

The men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? He said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him.

Harsh maybe, but 12a gets my COD award nonetheless:

Bible host destroyed by hard test word (10)

And for the full blog we need to dip back into the tail end of 2011 at Fifteensquared here.

Hypnos at his toughest, well too tough for me. 3a beat me, yes I have heard of her but the clue was just to obscure for my taste. Also 7d was a stretch to far.  A lot of others went in just because they fit, which spoils a puzzle for me. Clueing Goon with Old Comic was I thought a bit dubious and where does the TR come from in 17a, Terrier I suppose but?. There were of course some of the more straightforward sort of clue which gave a bit of a toehold to get into the more difficult parts. Among these I think 5d fits for

COD – Fool taking in single Australian region with unknown cipher (9)

The original blog from January 2012 and a full explanation can be found here

Solvers back in the day found this quite tough, but I thought that it was, for the most part, about par for the i. That said, there were one or two I didn’t fully follow the wordplay on (8d, I’m looking at you), and I had to cheat on 18d at the end. An obscure answer with two fairly obscure bits of wordplay (no, I’m not particularly au fait with currencies of the middle east) = one confused solver. The rest was pretty fair, though I know some will complain about the use of a setter’s name in 8d.

Lots to like, with some inventive wordplay as expected from Tees. COD? 23ac, if only for the definition alone – ‘Shout at one repaying loan or more? (8)’.

Back to the end of 2011 on Fifteensquared:

For luncheon today, a soufflé. Simple ingredients; expert preparation; thoroughly delicious, and gone in no time flat. Much the same with the crossword.

Really, today’s puzzle was so exemplary that there’s very little to say, except to express regret that it didn’t last long. This was the gentlest Dac I can remember for a long time, and also one of the most thoroughly polished. No quibbles here, and quite a few ticks. 4, 9, 11 and 23ac, plus 6 and 24d were all particularly pleasing morsels – however in the hope of exciting a little controversy I have chosen 20ac as my COD:

“Who possibly could give backing to political leader in the wrong? (4,6)”

Solutions and comments from the estimable folk at Fifteensquared can be found by clicking here.

I made lightning progress today in the top half of the grid, but steadily ground to a halt moving south, struggling at the end with 21ac, 26ac and 20d. In my defence I believe that this is the first time I’ve seen ‘NG’ clued in this fashion, and we had some pretty tricky wordplay for pretty obscure words in both 21 and 26 which I thought a little off. The definition at 15d wasn’t really a definition, was it?

There were some bits I did like, and a mini-theme that made write-ins of a couple of the clues once you had one.

COD? 17d – ‘Old fisherman checking vault with measuring tool (9)’.

Our second IoS reprint of the week, and the Fifteensquared blogger either going above and beyond the call of duty, or scheduling his blog in advance for Christmas Day: