i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2451 by Phi

December 22, 2018

Saturday 15th December 2018

Which featured Master of the Horse, On the Spur of the Moment, and Hammer of the Scots; with at least the first two pretty much handed to the solver on a plate.

So if they represented the starting point of my solve, it finished with a collection of fiendish clues for unknown words: ‘Sixteenmo’ crossed with ‘Stenosed’ and there was also ‘ELO Rating’; the first was an anagram which could have been Sixemento or any number of other variations of the given letters as far as I was concerned, while the other two (especially 27a) were, how shall I put it, just very hard.

You could be forgiven for thinking I’m a bit obsessed with the subject of obscurities appearing in puzzles and the truth is I do have mixed feelings about them.  On the one hand they undoubtedly provide solvers with one of the sweetest things about crosswords – the learning of new words, but on the other hand they often stop us completing a puzzle unaided, and I sometimes get a sneaking feeling that they only come about as a consequence of a setter giving up a bit during a tricky grid-fill.  Don’t know… maybe there’s a sort of Goldilocks zone, with words that ring a bell but are outside our active vocabulary.

Anyhow, here’s the COD:

18d/12a/25d Historic royal sledge seen at Aviemore (6,2,3,5)

Back to 2014 here for all the answers, but for 2018 do have a very Happy Christmas and, as well as the Guardian’s bank holiday puzzle, I’m looking forward to both JonofWales’ and Batarde’s annual reviews on idothei.

9 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2451 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Sixteenmo or one of those old paper sizes came up in a puzzle recently, so that was okay; stenosed took some tracking down, and as for ELO, I haven’t wasted any time speculating what that might be. Although if it’s Electric Light Orchestra, my rating would be null points. Anyway … enjoyed this one and was inclined to be indulgent of those oddities all things considered. Sometimes you can see how the grid fill got to be a headache, but in this case I suspect it was just devilment on Phi’s part.

    A Merry Christmas to one and all. 🙂

  2. dtw42 said

    I knew sixteenmo. Didn’t know the ELO thing (chess terminology, eh? … counts as obscure from where I sit) so incorrectly put in Eco out of desperation.

    Have a semi-festive puzzle from me: http://crossword.info/skirwingle/yuletide
    (fingers crossed that it’s any good)

  3. jonofwales said

    Most went in easily enough, but similar problems to others with stenosed and the ELO bit, both of which were decidedly obscure. An enjoyable offering nevertheless.

    Merry Christmas. 🙂

  4. sprouthater said

    Being a very old printer I knew sixteenmo but like others the ELO bit was an obscurity too far.

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