i Prize Cryptic Crossword 1888 by Phi

March 4, 2017

Saturday 25th February 2017

Phi has a reputation of being a consistent setter we can rely upon to have solid clues – kind of Dac on a Saturday with Ninas and themes thrown in for free. Indeed many recommend him for developing or even novice solvers.  But it seems to me that his form has been a bit variable lately; some really cracking puzzles which I’ve loved, but also a good deal of ‘variety’, especially in level of difficulty.

Last week’s offering, for example, was put together with quite a few Christian names (my pet hate, alas), foreign words and obscure wordplay components like Dun, Ana, Neu, Cie, and Lien. I don’t mind hard – just not that kind of hard! So a slightly grumpy blogger here.

I got there in the end, but with considerably fewer ticks in the margin than usual. I liked the anagram for [Sir] Stanley Spencer – the wonderful portraitist who gives us the puzzles ghost theme (Phi is brilliant at anagram clues) – and also 26a and 22d, but the award for CoD goes to the following, which was also my last one in:

12a Wolf could do for them? (8)

Everyone over at Fifteensquared here, where you can find the answers of course, seemed happy enough though!

NB. If you like all that Lien and Dun malarkey, maybe this is a good week to have a go at The Inquisitor – which is also by Phi, as it happens.

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7 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 1888 by Phi”

  1. AndyT said

    Yes, I liked 12ac too, and was pretty confident it would be the pick for COD. Not too much trouble with this, but as you say there was rather a lot of crosswordese which could well be offputting to those who are relatively new to solving. I had more of a struggle with today’s, as it turned out.

    Jon’s new Inquisitor column on Wednesdays has given me a nudge to try a bit harder, so I’ll definitely be having a go.

    • jonofwales said

      Good luck with the Inquisitor – interesting one this week.

      • AndyT said

        Yes, it is. About half way through and a pattern is emerging nicely … but the jumbling remains a mystery for now. I have decided to bow to the inevitable and upgrade to the new Chambers, on the basis that’s it’s the only way the old one is ever going to turn up. 🙂

  2. Rick King said

    Glad I’m not the only one who wasn’t a fan of this offering, my least successful in a while… On to the next one!

  3. jonofwales said

    Yep, I struggled with this one too. I’m often not at my best on a Saturday morning, but still… I noted last week that it was the NE corner that gave me particular grief.

  4. Cornick said

    Me too wit that NE corner… If anyone’s at a loss – maybe seeking respite from the Inquisitor perhaos – then Radler’s NTSPP on Big Dave’s website is a cracker:
    http://bigdave44.com/2017/03/04/ntspp-369/

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