i Cryptic Crossword 1950 Donk

May 9, 2017

Back in January 2013 this was Donk’s third appearance in the Indy, and it’s also his third in the i. Thus far he’d failed to make a deep impression on me, but that has changed now. My opinion of this puzzle evolved during the solving process: at the kick off my spirits sank as the thematic football clues stacked up; by half time I wondered if he’d misplaced his copy of the rule book, and in the dying minutes of extra time as that pesky 21d finally resolved itself I decided that this was a spectacularly good crossword.

With a couple of trivial exceptions, no special knowledge of the game was required – and thank goodness for that say I. The theme is in the clues rather than their solutions, which makes a change, and there is also a rather helpful Nina. The style is distinctly non-Ximenean, and a good deal of lateral thinking was required. The only obscurity, luckily familiar to me for some reason, is the spelling of 18d which some may consider a low blow. Of the 32 clues 17 have ticks next to them, which is the highest score in a long time and makes picking out one for COD a vexed business: I’m tempted to say choose your own, frankly. However, 30ac has it:

“Fine with game requiring initial suggestion (5)”

Lots of cheering from the stands atΒ Fifteensquared this time, along with the usual post-match analysis. Bravo, Donk.

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 1950 Donk”

  1. jonofwales said

    I wish I’d spotted the Nina, as it might have speeded up what was a very slow and involved solve. Very clever, mind you, and there was much to admire. My heart also sank when I saw the football theme, but then pleasantly surprised when it applied to the surface readings only for the most part.

    Was I alone in lobbing in VALHALLA for 18d, and then spending an age wondering what the obscure African team referenced in 18ac might be, before the penny finally dropped? πŸ™‚

  2. dtw42 said

    Have just finished this. The clue theme caused my heart to sink too. It never lifted very far after that, tbh. I seem to be in the minority in having carried my grumpiness at all that bloody futbol-speak right through to the end.
    Though it has prompted me to take away the task of attempting to construct a grid-fill based around the arrangement of a snooker table… Hmm

  3. sprouthater said

    Busy day then a crossword full of the dreaded football references. It may have been very clever in places but it couldn’t​ hold my interest though I did get far enough to get 18d wrong. Mido raised my hackles.

  4. Cornick said

    Full of admiration for this one. Ticked all the boxes, plus I do like the Beautiful Game as it happens – Bristol City now you come to ask.
    I was trying to do this all day in odd scraps of a minute here and there. Impossible. Then I got home, sat down, relaxed, concentrated and it was pure joy. Well maybe the W in 16d was a bit naughty – especially given that ‘having won’ could (to a libertarian) be taken as indicating V for victory.
    I also needed to come here to parse 5d and 21d, although both were fine, of course.
    Marvellous – very much looking forward to future Donks!

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