i Cryptic Crossword 2159 Alchemi

January 9, 2018

Alchemi appears to have been rather pleased with this crossword, judging by his comment (no. 16) on duncanshiell’s typically thorough Fifteensquared blog post back in September 2013. As well he might be: I thought this was something of a masterclass in how to put together an extensively themed puzzle with a few bits of recondite vocabulary whilst still keeping it brisk and entertaining.

Anybody else woefully ignorant of 7d? How very judicious of Alchemi to provide a straightforward hidden, then. Throughout he seems to have had his eye on the solving experience, tailoring the difficulty level of the clues to the familiarity or otherwise of the answers. I particularly enjoyed the use of the thematic phrase in clues unrelated to the subject, as in 29ac and 23d, say. Plenty of COD candidates this time, with the prize going to my LOI, 10ac:

“Comments about someone said to inspire revolutionary leader? (7)”


5 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2159 Alchemi”

  1. Cornick said

    In complete agreement with all of the above, although the NE corner was my first in and, apart from 1a, I basically went clockwise round the quarters.
    Though Alchemi’s always been very good, I can’t remember him being this good before – a real tour-de-force and he’s every right to be pleased with himself!

  2. dtw42 said

    Agreed – although for me the NE corner was LAST in.

  3. jonofwales said

    A very impressive enjoyable puzzle. Like many solvers back in the day I was a little daunted by the theme, but didn’t need to be as it turns out. Started and ended in the NW corner that I thought a little trickier than the rest.

    The sloth at 29ac was rather obscure, even if the answer wasn’t. I also raised an eyebrow at the group at 3d being described as revolutionaries, though I suppose technically they were.

    20ac raised a smile, as did 5d.

  4. Got there in the end. I didn’t really know 7d either, or the three toed sloth of 29a. 5 – 2 I think.

    • AndyT said

      Yes, that was a rare sighting of the sloth, which is usually unknown outside barred puzzles or aggressive games of Scrabble. Not really something to be encouraged in the normal run of weekday puzzles, but worth making a mental note.

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