i Cryptic Crossword 2470 Scorpion

January 8, 2019

An interesting and rewarding puzzle from Scorpion as always: by no means trivially straightforward, but there are enough comparatively gentle ways in to give everyone a chance to make progress. Atypically I spotted the theme early on, and it turned out to be helpful towards the end; without it the chances of getting 10ac would have been slim indeed, and the similarly underhand 26ac could have been a sticking point rather than the key to resolving the SE corner.

All the across entries are thematic which strikes me as quite an achievement, but of course Scorpion specialises in this sort of bravura performance. There are some tricky parsings in addition to the pair mentioned above: 11ac and 18d were singled out for special discussion at Fifteensquared back in August 2014. Solvers of a certain age will have been at an advantage with the former, and Sprouthater in particular will probably appreciate the trenchant comment from Wil Ransome concerning the unlovely Americanism in the latter. Nothing else felt controversial to me. 18d was a strong COD contender, along with 22ac, but when the penny finally dropped (with a little help from the actress with the silent “t”) 23d became the clear winner:

“Empty space in Charlie’s room (6)”

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15 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2470 Scorpion”

  1. Topsy said

    not impressed!! I still don’t get some even when I have seen the solutions. Ah well…..

  2. Cornick said

    Highly enjoyable I thought.
    For some reason I started at the bottom, which proved to be a lucky choice as the first few flew in and the theme became apparent with just 4 across solutions entered – after all, this is Tuesday, so something must be going on.
    18d was a bit too complicated for a little known answer, I thought, but otherwise no complaints, and very much my kind of grid fill, especially as ‘town in Britain’ was never mentioned.

  3. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I enjoyed this as well, and by-and-large found it fairly straightforward and rewarding. I could not parse SAWGRASS, which was my last one in, with a bit of a shrug, and I struggled with BARNET, before the scales fell from my eyes. It would have helped if I had spotted the theme, which I utterly and completely missed. BEDFORD and HARLOW did need the solver to have long memories, though…

  4. dtw42 said

    18dn beat me, had to come here for that. Lots of others went in in pencil, and I resorted to a wordfinder for a few. … 11ac was definitely before my time. (So was 26ac but I think most of us are more likely to be aware of old-time film stars than old-time athletes, no?)

  5. jonofwales said

    Pretty tricky I thought, with the far SE and NW corners causing the most difficulty. Spotting the theme at the close helped. 🙂

  6. sprouthater said

    I have nothing but praise for the excellent puzzle I did today.
    But this wasn’t it.

  7. Barrie cooper said

    I found it rather irritating and not at all enjoyable

  8. Topsy said

    glad I wasn’t the only one!

  9. S A M Hudson said

    I used to enjoy the cryptic crosswords in the I but those on weekdays are now the most difficult – and obscure – I’ve come across. And that’s after I’ve read fifteensquared explanations. The Guardian’s are challenging but you have a fair chance of solving most, if not all of the clues. I’m therefore stopping buying the i.

    • dtw42 said

      To be fair, it’s only SOME of them that are like that. Today’s I finished off over breakfast (admittedly a long leisurely breakfast because I have the day off, but still) – with the exception of ONE name-of-a-play that I had to check because I’d not heard of it.

    • batarde said

      S A M: if you happen to be passing, and my apologies if you’ve already gone down this route – my hot tip for good quality crosswords played straight is The Times Big Book Of … series. You’ll get the occasional obscure word and it’s still a good challenge, but the editorial guidelines are much stricter which puts a stop the setters’ wilder notions. Also, they work out at fourpence per puzzle.

  10. AndyO said

    Only finished by biffing 10, 18 and 23 but a nice tester with a good few ‘aha’ moments rather than say last week’s Sunday Times write-in…

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