A fairly straightforward offering today and not to difficult by Nestors standards. 19a seemed a bit odd using anagram as the indicator and 8d was just too complicated for me and only went in once most of the checking letters were in place which seems to have been the case for most solvers back in 2012. As an ex printer 4 and 5d were write in’s although I cant ever recall hearing 5d used and novel is usually Emma.

Not a lot of multiple ticks, 5d and 12d each getting a couple and 24a particularly for the way warts is clued.

COD   15d Small amount of fun dancing in reel. (8)

for a full explanation especially of 8d and a discussion on Jean Harlow click here –


i Cryptic Crossword 1760 Punk

September 29, 2016

Easy in places, a little trickier in others, and entertaining all round. I was short of time today, so was rather hoping this was the kind of puzzle we were going to get, so thanks Eimi. 🙂 A nice, readily solvable long anagram at 4/28 opened up the grid very nicely, with a few checking letters, and things gradually fell into place from there. 13ac was new to me, but the wordplay was nice and friendly, so no complaints. Finished in the far NW and NE corners, time probably about par for the i.

Lots of ticks by the clues, but COD goes to 20d – ‘Knock up prune as something to roast? (7)’.

Back to March 2012:


i Cryptic Crossword 1759 Dac

September 28, 2016

If last week’s Dac puzzle seemed a touch lacklustre, this one is polished to a high sheen. With apologies to Sprouthater, it was rather amusing to see another four-letter port crop up so soon after the discussion of Aden – and not Deal, either.

Plenty of ticks to choose from, of which my favourites were 2, 10 and 13d. Which to choose? Well, the ladies and gentlemen of Fifteensquared were particularly keen on the first two back in March 2012, so I may as well go for the latter:

“Way I emulate Pepys perhaps, given allowance (11)”

Marches off, whistling jauntily. 🙂

i Cryptic Crossword 1758 Tees

September 27, 2016

So this was all about Tees then? 😉 Unlike the original blogger and a few in the comments back in the day I spotted the ubiquitous T’s with only a few clues solved in the SE corner, so this was, for me, relatively straightforward. As I often struggle with this setter, this meant a time about par for the i rather than through the roof. Quite a few I’m glad I didn’t have to blog from scratch, as there is lots of clever, sometimes complex stuff going on. All above board and thoroughly enjoyable. LOI 19ac, the gardener(s) in question being new to me.

COD? 2d – ‘Have faith in Tees to provide some lovemaking synonym? (4,2,4,3,2)’.

Back to March 2012:


A nice breezy puzzle to start the week, a good one for novice solvers. THOLE was new to me, but what else could it be?

COD? 23d – ‘Port that could be a haunt of vice (4)’.

March 2012 over on the other side:


Saturday 17th September 2016

In which we learned that STONE FRIGATES (across the bottom row) is the nickname for land-based naval establishments.  H.M.S. RALEIGH near Plymouth is the only one I’ve actually been to, but the grid also revealed WILDFIRE, DRAKE, SULTAN, NEPTUNE and EXCELLENT, whilst ENDURANCE was thrown in for good measure.  Very neat.  I didn’t spot all that of course before going to the Fifteensquared blog, although I did realise there was something vaguely nautical going on.

As for the solve, I started quickly, had plenty of ticks in the margin, but failed at the end with both the answer of 26d (I guessed FUG) and with the parsing of 10a STAID (it was ST[ate] AID).

COD?  Nice to see ‘maybe’ concealing some of the anagram fodder in 12d, but I liked 25a:

Show deference to bloke catching fellow in tricky clue (9)

A slightly easier challenge than the previous couple of days but it was in my case still a challenge. No complaints though It all seemed pretty fair. The wordplay for some like 15a and 6d seeming to me extremely complicated and not having read any Pooh stories for about 30 years didn’t help with my understanding of 17a either. 15d was the only one real obscurity although I doubt there are any 28a’s about nowadays. There was a theme based around 15d which is explained on Fifteensquared  I of course didn’t see it.

COD 29a  General hospital provides piece of cake (5)

i Cryptic Crossword 1754 Monk

September 22, 2016

The most difficult puzzle we’ve had in a long time I believe. All perfectly fair and above board, though, and I got there in the end, solving in dribs and drabs. On my first run through I had 11ac and nothing else and figured I might be in trouble. The longer entries proved, though, to be the key to getting into this, with a few long anagrams that turned out to be pretty solvable. It’s also a pangram, though for a long time I was looking for a double pangram after two Q’s appeared in quick succession.

COD? 3d – ‘Facetiously uses them all (6)’.

Back to February 2012:


i Cryptic Crossword 1753 Dac

September 21, 2016

Last Wednesday I speculated that Dac’s appearances in the i had moved to a week-on-week-off basis; now I have resolved to refrain from speculating.

Readers of the February 2012 Fifteensquared blog entry will find a chorus of praise for this puzzle, but I thought it was a little below par. All fair and above board of course and there are some super clues, but it’s quite a disappointment to find something like 14d in a Dac crossword. Whilst mildly amusing, 8d is similarly obvious. Never mind: with any other setter these would probably pass without comment, so accentuate the positive. Lots of well-earned plaudits for 7d at 15² – an exemplary &lit, and also for the complex construction of 6d. I particularly liked 5, 16 and 23ac, but the COD prize goes to 15d:

“One faction, having absorbed another, getting bigger? (7,2)”

i Cryptic Crossword 1752 Anax

September 20, 2016

We go for months without seeing Anax and then get him twice in a week. This was quite tough in places, as you expect from this setter, but I found it accessible, with lots of easier clues to get us into the puzzle, and though there were quite a few that I couldn’t explain at the end (spookily, almost exactly the same clues that the 2012 blogger struggled with), I got there in the end. A well flagged theme helped, of course, otherwise I suspect I would have been stuck in the far NW corner. 11ac still doesn’t work for me, as it didn’t for many back in the day, ironically as Anax apparently figured this one to be a fairly straightforward starter clue. Pleased to see that 22ac was edited for its appearance today. The editor’s on the ball. 😉

It appealed to my sense of humour, and made me groan, so COD goes to 10ac – ‘Madagascan native’s answer to “Où est le graffiti?” (5)’.

To the winter of 2012: