Prize Cryptic Crossword 2104 by Phi

November 11, 2017

Saturday 4th November 2017

Which was a largely solid and eminently solvable puzzle.

I’ve long suspected Phi must use Chambers dictionary quite heavily to define wordplay components. Both ‘mere’ (27a) and ‘rear’ (6d) were defined in obscure ways (‘pure’ and ‘to hold up’ respectively), just as they’re defined somewhere near the end of the entries for those words in the Big Red Book. That makes them legitimate I suppose, even if it doesn’t make me like ‘em!

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was ‘held up’ by initially misspelling overweening as overweaning, but otherwise made steady progress. A sprinkling of ticks in the margins with my COD going to one of two fine matryoshka-style clues:

13d Shop isn’t involving son in tedious work (5,5)

2013 blog here.

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2 Responses to “Prize Cryptic Crossword 2104 by Phi”

  1. AndyT said

    An enjoyable puzzle, as ever. This business of digging out recondite definitions seems to be becoming more common, unless it’s just my imagination. Whilst legitimate, it’s hardly the most honourable tool in the setter’s kit, and I can think of one compiler who appears to revel in that sort of malarkey to the distinct detriment of his crosswords.

    Phi’s two examples struck me as pretty unexceptionable, because they’re the sort of thing one might reasonably be expected to have come across in the course of general reading: Victorian novels, say, or famously Yeats, in the case of “mere”. It’s when things get really out of the way that I start muttering.

    Anyway, obscurities can sometimes be a delight, like 12ac in today’s puzzle. Couldn’t find it in Chambers, mind.

  2. jonofwales said

    Battling the Inquisitor means I’m used to searching for more obscure definitions. I’ve got Chambers on my phone which means it’s always close to hand in case I want to check anything. Which didn’t help me today, of course. 🙂

    Quite a few I was unsure about last week, but I still seem to have managed to finish pretty quickly, and under less than ideal conditions. Last in was 27ac, which I evidently made a hash of because I can’t read my copy now.

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