i Cryptic Crossword 1880 Tees

February 16, 2017

I’m afraid I found this a bit of a slog that took much longer than I’m really prepared to spend on a daily cryptic. It wasn’t a surprise to see that this is an old Indy Saturday Prize Puzzle reprint, where perhaps it was better placed. Tees isn’t amongst my favourite setter, so your mileage may vary.

COD? 26ac – ‘Gambler now attending Gamblers Anonymous? (6)’.

To October 2012:


A steady, reasonably 16ac solve today, courtesy of a reprint from the Independent on Sunday. Little to query or cause much controversy. The use of 26ac was probably unfamiliar to most solvers, though the wordplay was straightforward enough that most will have got there in the end. And we have a rare lapse by the editor at 6d. What would crossword setters have done without Mr Cable?
I had a fair few ticks by the clue, COD going to 16ac – ‘Model having money problems (7)’.

We leap from February to October 2012:


i Cryptic Crossword 1878 Eimi

February 14, 2017

There’s definitely something in the air today – just go to Google and you can play with the animated pangolins. For those of us who prefer more sophisticated pastimes, Eimi’s crossword from exactly four years ago is full of sweet nothings, as it were. A dozen of them, in fact, unless I’ve miscounted. Yes, it’s a romantically themed Valentine’s Day puzzle: not especially difficult but full of clever touches to enjoy.

It seems that there aren’t too many jazz buffs amongst the good folk of Fifteensquared, many of whom were misled by “Tatum”, doubtless as Eimi intended. F. Chacksfield has slipped into obscurity, although I daresay I’m not the only one who remembers his contemporary. Manuel and the Music of the Mountains … dearie me. You probably have to be of a certain age to tumble immediately to the correct Derek in 12ac, which pipped 14 and 18 at the post as my clue of the day.

“Nothing Derek put into lines for Romeo (5-3)

On the offchance that he looks in here, Happy Birthday to Kathryn’s Dad.

“I won’t be a minute,” my wife said, nipping into Sainsbury’s. Needless to say I’d finished Crosophile’s puzzle in a time rather over the allocated minute, while waiting in an icy cold car, and wondering when frostbite might set in. Luckily this wasn’t too taxing, with much flying by and only 24ac and 5ac holding out for particularly long at the end. I thought that this might have been an IoS reprint, it felt like that sort of puzzle, but apparently this was one of Crosophile’s regular Wednesday outings in the Indy: 26th September 2012 on Fifteensquared.

COD? 4d – ‘Caught by policeman criminal shows deference (10)’.

Saturday 4th February 2017

Everyone over at the 2012 blog on Fifteensquared was happy with this, and why not. For me it seemed a workaday offering from Phi, without very much either to get the blood racing or indeed to comment upon.

But let’s not forget our debt to Phi for his consistently high standard of output over the years – I well remember the first time I ever spotted a Nina was in one of his puzzles an earlyish edition of the i with ‘Ladybird’ and ‘Honeybee’ down the left and right hand columns and with ‘Insect Repellent’ down the centre. I got very excited!

Anyhow, enough of the nostalgia, my Clue of the Day award for this puzzle goes to the geographically neat 11a:

Fire observed back in the mountains (8)

When this puzzle first appeared it provoked much comment and mostly praise from the Fifteensquared community, it is not until comment 16 that any criticism is voiced about the “looseness” of some of the clues. Well maybe its an age thing because I to wasn’t very enthused by some of this, especially, 27a where a knowledge of the French language is required to make any sense of the parsing and 23d, I don’t like this sort of clue. This whole corner was made difficult by my failing to realise that the editor had amended 22a. Doh. I also took ages to see the hidden answer in 12a that wasn’t helped by my not really associating the answer with ostentatious  but with pretentious or posh.

The clue that really stood out today though is

COD 10a  TimeWarner panic to fix copyright infringement (5,5)

A lot of discussion with an input from the setter can be found here http://www.fifteensquared.net/2012/09/24/independent-8095rorschach/


At first I thought this might be quite difficult, when I only managed a few of the across clues and none of the downs on my first pass. Once a few more had fallen into place, though, the rest fairly flew by. No doubt solving in an office where the heating appears to have packed up didn’t help with the cognitive processes. I had to check 5d, French departments being something I always dread seeing in a crossword, as I must admit to not knowing any, but there didn’t seem to be any other obscurities. All in all an enjoyable diversion.

COD? 8d – ‘Cliff scene done in new way showing aplomb (4-10)’.

To the equally cold days of October 2012:


As good as ever from Dac, with so many good clues. On the easy side I thought, which was a relief after yesterday. It’s a pangram, apparently. Not that I noticed. 🙂 Sorry to be brief, but somewhat rushed today…

COD? 12ac – ‘Strict order from top cop in part of Clapham? (5-10)’.

Back to September 2012:


My favourite comment from the original August 2012 blog on this crossword over at Fifteensquared, is no. 7: ” Puzzle about average Indy difficulty”. Oh really, nmsindy? That’s me told then … I thought it was just a touch on the tricky side.  😉

A slow start today, with progress accelerating in a clockwise direction from SW to SE and finishing with 20, which is an exceedingly cheeky clue. My knowledge 8d is fair to middling, but Newnes Crossword Dictionary was required to check the thematic entries – and 20 isn’t in the list, for good reasons. The answer was clear enough, but it took some research to find out why.  Ho hum. 24 was new to me, but eminently solvable from the wordplay. Anyone else remember 21?

Lots to enjoy: the matched pair of 1ac and 11; the mild ribaldry of 1d and 23, and some clever individual clues like 5, both 14s and 15. My COD is 12ac, on account of the bathos:

“Solo physician, in good health, left support on stair (8)”

Our Indy reprint today dates from February 2012, rather than the summer of the same year as has recently been the case, presumably to mark this occasion: Queen 65 years on throne. Royalists will no doubt be delighted, republicans less so, and the rest of us probably a little indifferent, if pleased that the editor has taken the trouble. 🙂

Anyway, this was an enjoyable, not too taxing puzzle to start the week. I hadn’t heard of 12ac, 2d or 11d before, but the wordplay and a few letters got me safely home.

COD? 22d – ‘No absorber for repeated pee? (5)’.