i Cryptic Crossword 2171 Scorpion

January 23, 2018

Scorpion: lucky me. Always a pleasure to find out what he’s come up with, so let’s see: no sign of interlinked clues but there are plenty of peripheral unches, so it’s going to be Nina, right? Wrong. As will become apparent, a certain word just keeps on cropping up throughout the puzzle. I don’t recall seeing this particular sort of gimmick before, but it’s an entertaining one and nicely done too.

Back in October 2013 opinion was divided at Fifteensquared – is this a difficult puzzle or an easy one? Both I’d say, since the top half felt surprisingly mild, but the bottom was distinctly bracing. No shortage of ticks today, and for a while my inclination was to hand the coveted Clue of the Day trophy to 17ac. Yes, football, believe it or not. Then there’s the matter of 9ac, which pleased me mightily. The winner, however, is a particularly thorny clue, but no apologies since it’s an object lesson in the art of misdirection. A round of applause, please, for 21ac:

“Fixed amount nurses prescribe finally turning red (3,3-4)”

By the by, it’s worth a glance at the comments on the other side because there was a brief outbreak of hilarity. Nothing tasteful you understand, but amusing nonetheless.

4 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2171 Scorpion”

  1. Emvee said

    Hm, I had “gusset” and “automotive” for 8A and 1D and tbh I’m quite happy to leave them where they are

  2. sprouthater said

    Top half certainly seemed easier than the bottom where it was necessary with a couple to follow the Jonofwales method and lob it in and hope.

  3. Cornick said

    I loved this puzzle very much, even if it did cause me quite a bit of head-scratching.
    Back in the days when The Guinness Book of Records was a thing worth having (I still have my copy), Ross & Norris McWhirter informed us that the word set is the most over-worked word in the English language, with 58 noun uses, 126 verbal uses and 10 as a participial adjective.

  4. jonofwales said

    After a leisurely lunch and a read of the i, I eventually got round to the cryptic. Not to worry, Tuesdays aren’t usually too tricky… And, well, I’ve just finished. The many SETs quickly became apparent, but even so this was a right monster. All good stuff, mind you, but this was the Scorpion of the good old days when he was always one of the tougher setters.

    I only know one football team that looks like ?? ?????, so in it went. Thought 8ac must be 8ac but struggled to justify it. And what is it with obscure rivers and lakes this week?

    Last in 19d, geography not being my strong point. As is solving cryptic crosswords, it would appear.

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