Prize Cryptic Crossword 2199 by Phi

March 3, 2018

Saturday 24th February 2018

It’s probably invidious to do so, but with nothing much to say about last week’s Prize puzzle, I’m going to compare Phi with the only other once-a-week setter, Dac.

They’re not a million miles apart really, but Phi on a non-themed, non-Nina day is clearly a measure harder. He uses more obscurities – words like Lar as a deity in 12a, or 11a Beaumur would be surprising indeed on a Wednesday, but are common enough on a Saturday. Whilst Dac is rightly celebrated for his smoothness of surfaces and seemingly effortless wordplay – he’s been called ‘the best pound-for-pound setter out there’ (or something like that) – we can all look to Phi to give us something a bit more challenging to get our teeth into at the weekend – a wide general knowledge goes a long way and there’s a good measure of the unexpected to boot.

COD was my last one in:

15a Dead ringer initially seen in ring of shadows (9)


Update. I’ve just read the 2013 blog on Fifteensquared here and discovered there is indeed a Nina. Frankly I despair, and I’m afraid Phi and I will have to agree to differ as to whether Ninas are there for the setter’s amusement or the solvers’.


4 Responses to “Prize Cryptic Crossword 2199 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    I have a sprinkling of ticks, including the worthy COD; a “yuk” next to 27ac, and “again?!” by Zelda. Don’t worry, I’m not about to repeat my tirade on that subject. Not a great deal to say about the puzzle as a whole, but it’s interesting to have my suspicion confirmed that Phi uses Ninas as a means to get the grid filling process started. Mike Laws used to do something similar when compiling Mephistos, so he says, but I never spotted what he was up to and probably wasn’t intended to. Perhaps it’s a commoner strategy than we think.

  2. jonofwales said

    A little tricky here and there I thought, and enjoyable with or without spotting any Nina. 🙂 And a Saturday when I had a newspaper to solve off – we’re still a little cut off here. Shelves stripped bare, and punters desperately seeking milk (don’t tell them I’ve got a cupboard full of long-life), and in my case the i, to no avail.

  3. sprouthater said

    Despite the compulsory classical music reference and the odd obscurity I quite enjoyed this perhaps it was the absence of a theme or the inclusion of one of my favourite words at 19dn.
    Here in Somerset we had the i and bread but no milk.

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