i Prize Cryptic Crossword 1816 by Phi

December 10, 2016

Saturday 3rd December 2016

I suppose when you compose a themed puzzle there’s a high chance that you’re going to alienate anyone who doesn’t like the theme. So maybe I should just quote ‘Conrad Cork’ from the Fifteensquared blog in 2013 who declared last Saturday’s puzzle to be ‘outstanding’ and leave well alone.

But that would be disingenuous because for me, and having enjoyed literally hundreds of Phi puzzles over the years, this one was, alas, my least favourite of his many creations.

I got the gateway clue straight away, but my heart sank at the theme (sorry dog lovers) and I encountered way, way too many obscurities thereafter. One puzzle’s quota of the abstruse was used up on the dog breeds (very few of which I knew of course – did I mention that dogs aren’t my thing?) but another couple of puzzles’ worth was used to accommodate them in the crossers.  Anagrams for which the answer could be just about anything abounded and with the puzzle only three-quarters done I just lost the will to carry on.

So I offer my humble apologies; your Saturday blogger has clearly failed in his duty to inspire, and will say no more but pass you straight on to the 2012 blog here.

COD? 12a Source of hug right for American? (4,4)

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6 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 1816 by Phi”

  1. AndyT said

    Ah, you did hint that a diatribe was in the offing. Sorry, but I rather liked it, with a couple of reservations. Namely 7 and 8d: I have heard of a beefalo and a yakalo, but 7 was an obscure beastie to me; and as for 8, exotic fruit is a bit of a blind spot. Otherwise, put me down as a happy customer. Agreed on the COD; 14, 25 and 27 also struck me as particularly good.

  2. jonofwales said

    Another thumbs down from me I’m afraid. I too know little about dog breeds, and found myself getting increasingly exasperated as time went on. Normal service I see has been restored this week.

  3. sprouthater said

    So it wasn’t only me that found this overly obscure and tedious.

  4. Rick King said

    A fail from me also, mixed feelings about the actual puzzle. The theme was OK, too many obscurities for me, but I always wonder if that’s more about my cultural level…
    I liked Cornick’s cod 12a also but I could not see the indicator for bear vs bare, did I miss something?

    • AndyT said

      I took it to be a somewhat surreal riff on a bear hug and the Second Amendment, nothing more. One has to wonder whether bears really have arms, mind you.

      • Cornick said

        Hmm… T’internet tells me they have four legs but, in the context of the imagined act of hugging said forelegs are used as if they are arms and therefore to my mind are de facto arms. So I’m happy.

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