i Cryptic Crossword 1830 Punk

December 20, 2016

Punk, and his Guardian alter ego Paul, is a firm favourite of mine: inventive, quite challenging and invariably witty. Today’s themed puzzle is a good example of his workmanship. The subject is something which used to be close to my heart, but hasn’t received much attention from me for quite a while, but no matter. The thematic entries are likely to be familiar to most I should think.

No complaints here: Punk’s style is towards the “libertarian” end of the spectrum and some lateral thinking is required, along with the odd mental jump. Highlights, of which there are many, include both 1s, 5, 20, 21 29, 30 … and so forth. It’s one of those puzzles which will most likely produce a diversity of opinions as to the COD. My choice is the cheery 25d:

“Opener skies pull before tea (6)”

Speaking of which, there’s quite a bit of thematic cleverness going on beyond the 34-related solutions, but it would be tiresome to rehearse all that here – especially when the carcase has already been so thoroughly picked over in the original July 2012 Fifteensquared blog entry. Further to Saturday’s discussion here, you’ll find just a spot of quantum mechanics (or The Physics of the Absurd, as I think of it), which addressed a niggling doubt about 17 – but left me none the wiser, of course.

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7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 1830 Punk”

  1. jonofwales said

    An enjoyable puzzle on a theme about which I know very little, but luckily the names in the grid were all very well known. I started quickly, but got stuck a little at the end in the NE and SW corners. Was I the only person to get several of the themed answers before the gateway clue?

  2. dtw42 said

    Bah. I’ve only just finished this. Didn’t understand the 5’4″ reference, and didn’t much enjoy having to bring to mind a bunch of proper names. 4ac was last in (just after 7dn) as a result of this. Neither did I much like “spinner” as a definition: I’m not a physicist either but as far as I understand it all fundamental particles have a property that is called ‘spin’ but which isn’t ACTUALLY rotational movement, therefore calling them spinners feels a bit rich.

  3. Cornick said

    Very enjoyable, and I’m glad no-one balked at the large number of clues, possibly a record for the Indy?

    I know almost as little about cricket as I do about particle physics, but all of this was perfectly accessible with the usual proviso of having to be laterally minded in the way cryptic puzzles require.

    Gateway clue came quite a way in, but I think ‘six-footer’ is a bit of a chestnut, so it was just a matter of trying to think of the right insect!

  4. sprouthater said

    Most clues were pretty sound but it doesn’t help when you have never heard of some of these people. I only got the gateway clue after solving 1d.

  5. ThePlayerKing said

    Finished it and really enjoyed it. Never seen a punk crossword before, but loved the extensive use of double meanings for words you thought were still 34 related. Strangely, although getting 34 quite early on to unlock the puzzle…. still don’t understand how it fits with the actual clue! Can anyone enlighten me? No idea what the 5’4″ and six-footer is…

    • AndyT said

      Glad you enjoyed the puzzle. Punk is an occasional visitor to the Indy / i, but a regular at the Guardian (as Paul) and also seen at the FT (Mudd), the Telegraph (Dada) and The Times (anon).

      34 was a little controversial – it’s certainly more than a little tortuous. “Six-footer” is a well-worn trope for an insect, in this case a cricket, and 5’4″ is the height of HM the Queen (“ruler”). Yes, really. News to me too, but since the solution was clear, in went ER with nary a second thought. The definition part adds another layer of obfuscation: a cricketer may well be found fielding at point.

      • Ah!!! Thanks Andy! Makes sense now! I knew it was right and it of course unlocked everything else. Yet weirdly was the ONE clue that I couldn’t make fit the answer. Thanks for this and Merry Christmas! 🙂

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