Saturday 28th January 2017

Well that was good. A theme of epic poems showed the breadth of knowledge possessed by Phi – who gives us a lot more than just astronomy, classical music and modern literature.

In order of familiarity we had The Iliad, Faust, The Ramayana, The Aeneid, Gilgamesh and Kalevala. Well that’s my order but some of the solvers over at Fifteensquared, being rather more up on their 19thcentury Finnish revivalist works than the pillars of Hinduism, would evidently beg to differ.

The clueing was pretty good too – all fully explained over at Fifteensquared here – although I’m not sure everyone will have appreciated d.h. for the German version of i.e.

My favourite was 20a which had both pleasing surface and wordplay:

Both sexes embracing love with enthusiasm (6)

A further point of discussion has stayed with me since duncanshiell expressed the following sentiment on his blog for Thursday’s Monk: ‘I think I prefer messages to themes’.  Controversial!

I thought this IOS reprint was a bit lacking in its challenge, all completed in too shorter time and to me, despite a couple which I couldn’t completely parse, 12d, Hals was an unknown and in 1a I completely missed the matter – pus connection but due to the user friendly nature of the grid all the solutions were fairly apparent. the only real complaints I have are the football reference in 26a and the hackneyed use of REM in 27a .

COD 20d     Wine is held up when taking in quiet potters accessory (6)

Back to September 2012 for a full explanation and very little comment

A challenging puzzle, but one that was always fair and solvable with a little persistence. There’s a Nina I failed miserably to spot. It might have helped a little with my last two in – 1ac and 28ac – though only a little, as the letters in question I’d already more or less settled on. There were a couple I failed to parse on solving – notably 23ac where I initially penciled in ONE TO ONE before it became clear it just wouldn’t fit with 16d.

Lots of ticks, with COD going to 6d – ‘Book without readers? Thanks a lot! (5,3)’.

September 2012 over on the other side:

Was I the only person to struggle with this? Nobody seems to have back in the day, so I suspect it’s just me having an off day. Especially as 5d was one of my last in, despite having been a fan of the group in question for too many years. Or I can blame the editor for not spotting that 28ac needed updating. 😉 The exclamation mark in 12ac looks a lot like an l, doesn’t it?

A happy belated birthday to Dac, BTW.

COD? 1ac – ‘Waffle or bun? (6)’.

Back to August 2012: