This looked like it might turn out to be a ten minute quickie for a while as the majority of the across clues fell neatly into place on first reading, but I hit some stony ground in the NE and SW which slowed proceedings down.

Comrade Cornick recently characterised Dac’s puzzles as “flawless”, and there’s certainly precious little to complain about – nevertheless, I’ll give it a go. Without wishing to come across as a pompous blimp, it has to be said that 3d is a little low rent for my tastes; and then there’s the matter of the chestnut in 12d. Doubtless it would be familiar enough to readers of the Racing Post, but that’s not me. The definition, however, amply compensates for that niggle. Otherwise, yet another impeccable puzzle from Dac – surely the most reliable of setters?

Stand out clues for me included 9, 11 and 24ac (not forgetting the six-letter British engineer at 23, proving that it isn’t always Brunel after all), and 2, 5 and 14d. One does one’s best not to follow 15²’s lead re the clue of the day, but on this occasion there’s a clear winner, despite that nut:

12d: ” Silly people consuming cereal with chestnut and butter product? (5,6)”

The crossword was first printed in April 2012, and for the usual analysis, witty commentary and exercises in trichological bisection, please consult this Fifteensquared blog entry.

A bit of a challenge today for the geographically challenged amongst us. A few places up north I’d heard of, and a few like 24 that might as well have been in Outer Mongolia as far as I was concerned. 🙂 Add to that a bird and ‘writing material’ I’d not heard of either, and I was left with a solve that started at a fair clip, but finished at a crawl.

COD? 18ac – ‘Saint’s dingy resistance, nipping Devil’s extremity (7)’.

Back to April 2012:

An IoS reprint to start the working week in a, for the most part, gentle fashion. I say for the most part because I’m guessing that, beyond the answer, 21ac was probably pretty incomprehensible to most solvers. I’ve never heard of the department in question, never mind the fact that they were in the news four and a half years ago. 26ac and 23d were also quite tough, I thought, and took an age at the end. I also had a question mark by ‘form’ as an anagram indicator in 6d, and was also left a little bemused by 15d.

COD? 7d – ‘Where ups and downs (and locations of loos?) feature? (6,3)’.

Back to March 2012:

Saturday 8th October 2016

Pop over to Fifteensquared to read all the answers and parsings for this one – although be prepared for a bit of slightly unnecessary nit-picking from the other channel for what I thought was a puzzle without flaw.

Several questioned the phrase ‘make a long arm’ which is common enough down our way – I use it, and shall now make a point of doing so on a daily basis.

Someone else objected to ‘around’ and ‘keeping’ being a repetition of a containment indicator in 7d – whereas ‘around’ was actually part of the definition.  Another objected to the enumeration in 16a whilst still more objected to clueing ‘Béarnaise sauce’ as ‘light yellow sauce’ which is of course exactly what it is!

Take heed fellow bloggers, lest we too might ever descend into groundless fault-finding.

Who, me?

Narrowly pipping 1a for the accolade of CoD was the imagery provided by 16a:

Rising and falling aboard ship, Henry and friend appear uncertain (12)





Quite tricky but not over complicated I thought. A couple of quibbles, 8a doesn’t work as a homophone for me and ones = jokes in 5d seemed a bit vague. 7d was entered because it was all I could see that utilized fang and fits with the other checking letters ,this provokes a bit of discussion on Fifteensquared but I still wonder where the W comes from? Apart from these niggles I really enjoyed this puzzle. Despite the football reference at 19d nothing I could see needed any specialist knowledge, I liked 10d a lot, 1d and 14d also were excellent but my favourite was

COD 12a  Cooler, another one with Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion (3)

Well, by the end I had lots of ticks by the clues, but I must admit to finding this one hard going. It was solved in fits and starts, with long pauses where I was stuck and getting nowhere. Perhaps at this end of the week my mind isn’t up to the twists and turns required to untangle Morph’s always inventive clues? Or perhaps it’s just the thought of the impending Brexit-driven Marmite shortage. They make Pot Noodles just down the road from us though, so not all is lost. 😉

COD? By a long shot 5d – ‘Woodland inhabitant – Allen-a-dale? (4,2,3,6)’.

Back to the cold(er) days of a Tuesday in February 2012 where, unusually, there wasn’t a theme or Nina to be found:

A lovely crisp early autumn morning here, and a similarly crisp crossword by Dac. As Sidey remarked back in January 2012 on the Fifteensquared blog entry for this puzzle, there isn’t often much to say about a Dac, on account of his consistent excellence.

Not a great deal of head scratching required today: 18ac was rather spelled out for us which is just as well. Dashed slippery language, Gaelic – it’s all very well knowing the word but assembling all the right letters in the right order is another matter entirely. Some Fifteensquared solvers reported a spot of bother with 23ac, described by one of them as a semi-&lit. I couldn’t possibly comment on that, but the parsing is clear enough. 22d employs probably the least familiar definition of the word in question which isn’t actually obsolete, so that might have raised some eyebrows. Highlights: all the long ones, and for some reason 9d took my fancy even though it’s decidedly familiar. My choice of COD is the appetising 12ac:

“Examination of what might be spotted briefly during dinner (7)”

Did anyone out there spot the theme? Even after reading Eimi’s comment @13 on the original blog it still took me a while to work out what he was getting at. Anyway, even without picking up on that, this was a fairly 4ac, not too difficult solve. I raised an eyebrow at 27d being used as a noun rather than a verb, but it’s in the dictionary so that’s my fault. The original blogger commented that this would be a good one for solvers still learning the trade, which is probably fair, though there were some tricky bits here and there – B for bomber in 33ac, for example, which threw me for a long time. Last in the NW corner, where 10ac proved to be a key, but difficult clue.

COD? 9d – ‘I’m definitely not hot on education basics, bishop (4)’.

April 2012 over on the other side:

Back in the day the consensus seemed to be that this was harder than usual for Quixote, with a few unusual words. The Don often likes to throw in some unusual vocabulary, so I didn’t quite get that bit, and overall found this to be about the normal level of difficulty. 16ac was a little tricky, unless like me you just looked at the checking letters, the likely definition, and lobbed in the answer. 😉 The answers I hadn’t heard of, of which there were plenty, were pretty evident if you followed the cryptic part, as ever.

COD? 5d – ‘Character at head of Society – what that one is, contemptible! (6)’.

Back to January 2012 today:

Saturday 1st October 2016

A brief account of my solve last weekend:

Minute 1.  With this being Phi and with a grid like that – unches to left and right and 7 three letter lights – remember to look out for a Nina or theme.

Minute 10.  Flying through the Left hand side; half done!

Minute 15. No further progress and I’m stuck.  Ooh, what about that Nina?  …Nothing down the left edge… Hmm, unches across the middle perhaps? (ponderous checking…) Horc ??? … and Harry Potter.  Ah-ha.  HORCRUX, and there in front of me (apart from Harry himself) were DIARY, CUP, LOCKET and SNAKE.  So it’s bound to be quick from now on!

Minute 30. Not so quick after all then.  Ravenclaw’s DIADEM is there, but I’ve been distracted (this usually happens) still have 5 answers to go and, with concentration wavering,  am completely ignorant as the identity of the final horcrux.

Minute 31. 15-yr-old enters room and comes to the rescue with the last horcrux ‘RING’.  Almost there.

Minute 40 (ish) After failing to see the last two intersecting 8d and 10a for what seems like an eternity, the penny finally drops and it’s done, as I grumble/mutter something about NAPLES being defined as ’here’.

COD 2d: Where you’ll find a valley filled with one – Switzerland? (9)

Original blog from Fifteensquared is here.