i Cryptic Crossword 2381 Scorpion

September 25, 2018

Another day, another crossword with complications, but this time it’s set by one of the masters of jiggery pokery which makes all the difference. No Nina today (despite the grid – which incidentally integrates the four quarters unlike yesterday’s), but there’s a rather familiar theme. Anax did something similar in March, I think.

Off to a slow start, and it wasn’t until halfway through that the light dawned about 24d. Not much of a gateway, that, but by then the location had become obvious. It’s a pity about 23ac, a perfectly good clue, but the solution was not confirmed by Chambers and needed checking online. Otherwise no obscurities, unless you’re a particularly unadventurous diner. Lots to enjoy of course and plenty of clue of the day candidates – but nothing stood out as a decisive winner. Thumbs up for 3, 5, 17 and 25 then, and the prize goes to 21ac:

“Beatle repeated the old drumming, initially out of touch (6-4)”

Good blog from Bert and Joyce plus mixed reviews in the comments over at Fifteensquared back in June 2014.

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2381 Scorpion”

  1. jonofwales said

    Now that was more like it, thoroughly enjoyable. I didn’t find this too difficult, though there were a few I couldn’t parse (cricketers and names of spacecraft being seemingly beyond me), and I didn’t know a couple of the dishes. But with Google to check the few I wasn’t aware of all was well. Was I the only person to expect the gateway clue to lead to Rome?

  2. Michael said

    A thoroughly enjoyable solve, completed in one session, in my usual one hour or so. Very enjoyable, and all fairly clued, in my opinion.

    I could not parse Exterior, being fixated on the X being ten, and needed to check that on Ffifteensquared. I had to check online that Spirilla was a bacterium, but otherwise no quibbles.

    I particularly enjoyed Day-glo, Gnomes and Starry-eyed.

    Like jonofwales, my immediate expectation was Rome, but gave up on that pretty quickly, and four-lettered Italian cities starting with P was a very narrow field ☺.

  3. Jimbo said

    Yuck. A gateway clue crossed with another clue that references it, a grid with only 11 starting letters crossing, a theme I care little for and my finding this considerably harder than yesterday meant I gave up less than a third of the way through. Different strokes…

  4. Wanderlust said

    A piece of torta once 24 was sorted, albeit circuitously having got the Italian connection and then having to narrow it down from Rome, Bari and Pisa.

  5. Cornick said

    Excellent in places and generally pleasing. A thumbs-up from me.
    Spirilla I did know (school biology) but (D?)exter I didn’t. Evidently there’s some variation in spelling for those theme words.

  6. sprouthater said

    Life is a minestrone
    Served up with parmesan cheese
    Death is a cold Lasagne
    Suspended in deep freeze

    Which is about the sum of my knowledge of Italian food making the puzzle pretty much inedible. That’s the problem with themed puzzles if your familiar with the theme you have a chance but if your not you are pretty much ostracized by it.

  7. dtw42 said

    I’m in the “made tough work of it” group with Jimbo & Sprouthater today.

  8. allan_c said

    I took a while to get going on this, but once I gor SALAMI and PISA it was al most plain sailing.
    SPIRILLA is in Chambers – it’s the plural of ‘spirillum’, a sub-entry under ‘spire’. I wasn’t quite sure about OSSO BUCO either; the answer was pretty obvious but I only had my older edition of Chambers to hand at the time, and it’s spelt ‘osso bucco’ there. In the 13th edition, though, it’s only got the one ‘c’ – and can be either two words or one.

    • batarde said

      I stand corrected. Getting sent to another headword is par for the course with the Inquisitor, but it doesn’t feel like especially good form for technical vocabulary in a daily.

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