i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2403 by Phi

October 27, 2018

Saturday 20th October 2018

I wonder who spotted the Nina last week?  Phi managed to conceal C E N T R E both vertically and horizontally in the grid, in column 8 and row 8. Very nice, and to top that he had BRINK, SKIRT and PERIPHERY around the edges. In the comments section over at Fifteensquared (click here), he points out that he nearly had VERGE at 1d, but whether he tried that at first but couldn’t make it work, or whether it occurred to him afterwards, he didn’t say.

Despite those shenanigans there was nothing more abstruse than SATINED in the grid fill – and that seems a perfectly reasonable word, so no complaints allowed this week about Ninas forcing obscurities upon us. Which is not to say this was easy; indeed the general consensus is that the clues was harder than average for a Phi – PERP for US criminal, FR for frequently (although I think that’s one we’ve had before), the parsing of BRINK and PERT amongst them – but overall I thought our regular Saturday setter was on good form.

COD? 13d Writing version of Utah religious service excluding women (10)


6 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2403 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Pfffft … don’t look at me. I suffer from Nina blindness. Sadly the recycling maid has been over enthusiastic this week, but if memory serves the puzzle struck me as about par for the Saturday course with nothing to inflame the passions either way.

    On the general point about added complications, I see no reason to complain even if they are ridiculously abstruse so long as the crossword can be solved independently. The “mooing / lowing” ambiguity in yesterday’s Monk was a rare case of the cart getting before the horse – a trivial one no doubt but it was rather irritating.

  2. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I am very much inclined to agree with batarde’s point. I have little objection to using a dictionary/thesaurus or googling to check a word I am unfamiliar with provided it has been ‘fairly’ clued and so solvable. I hate it when I have to resort to trawling through words from checking letters when I only have an inkling of what I am looking for.

    Likewise, I am afraid neither I can never remember what a crossword from a week before was like… Generally I find that Phi pitches them just right, and I don’t recall this being anything other than that. Completely missed the Nina, as usual.

  3. jonofwales said

    I thought this was pretty straightforward and thoroughly enjoyable. Perhaps solving in a quieter environment than is usual on a Saturday morning did the trick. And no, I didn’t notice the Nina.

    On the subject of Nina’s causing added complications. I don’t mind obscurities in a grid, but I do mind when the setter has basically been forced to abandon any rules regarding what might be regarded as a fair / solvable puzzle in favour of a hidden message / theme. Sadly, it happens all too often.

  4. Topsy said

    Yoo, hoo, I’m still here! I generally enjoy Phi’s crosswords so maybe I will just stick to Saturdays. I agree with all of your comments. Some setters, IMHO, are too clever for their own good!

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