i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2528 by Phi

March 23, 2019

Saturday 16th March 2019

I’m sure you all spotted that the grid last Saturday had top to bottom mirror symmetry rather than the usual rotational symmetry. Which was clearly flagged, of course, by the words TOP and BOTTOM appearing in the appropriate rows and also LEFT and RIGHT in the appropriate columns. What’s that you say? You put ‘Sleep like a Log’ in the top row and missed the Nina altogether?

Well actually the Log error was mine. Which meant I was unlikely to see the Nina, and I didn’t notice the symmetry thing either. Oh, I’ve heard the expression ‘sleep like a top’ but it just didn’t occur to me, and instead I got a mental image of those Canadian log spinners in Lake Winnipeg, or wherever they do it.

My only quibble came with the clue for 12a which I failed to parse; fortunately the Fifteenquared blog is now restored to enlighten me. It’s PENDING with the D moved to the front to give DPENING, but you have to spell out the D to get DEEPENING, that last step being unindicated. Brilliantly worked out by the affable and clever pair of Bert and Joyce, but dubious from Phi, I’d say.

On the other hand I liked 8a very much and 14a, 24a, 8d, 20d all got ticks. However my pick of the crop, largely because it made me feel all cultured and that, goes to the following:

19a End of sonnet material (5)

Coming back that error of LOG not TOP, I see on page 46 of today’s paper that yesterday’s answer to 20d was FLIGHT not ALIGHT. Hmm. Two grids to remind me of my shortcomings stacked next to today’s puzzle – I’d better go carefully!

And a reminder too that JonofWales will be posting the first ever puzzle on the idothei site tomorrow – Don’t miss it!

6 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2528 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Perhaps “sleep like a top” is an idiom more commonly found in some areas than others? At any rate it was familiar to me, and therefore I did spot the Nina for once: partly because it’s been done before at least once. No ticks or other annotations this time, which usually means that I was on autopilot, and not that the puzzle failed to entertain. The sonnet clue pleased me too, even though being required to count my way through the alphabet usually provokes a scowl.

    Regarding yesterday’s “flight” / “alight” controversy, I think the blame for that has to rest with Klingsor, because a weakish case can be made for both, but neither solution feels entirely solid. Highly unusual for one of the most meticulous of all compilers.

    In view of my lousy medium-term memory it seems prudent to follow Michael’s sensible lead and leave a note-to-self regarding today’s crossword whilst it’s fresh in the mind: very entertaining with a chucklesome gimmick.

  2. dtw42 said

    [Fishes last week’s paper out of the recycling pile …]
    Ah.
    Okay, I had ‘log’ too. Never heard of ‘sleep like a top’. didn’t see the nina or the non-standard symmetry. Also put in ‘deepening’ without understanding the parsing: yes, that does seem a bit iffy here too. Oh well.
    [Puts paper back on recycling pile]

  3. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    Even I noticed that there was a Nina this time, the very unusual grid causing me to be on the alert for something or other. I noticed LEFT and RIGHT, but failed to get TOP and BOTTOM – because I too put in LOG…

    I see from my note-to-self (thank you, Batarde ☺) that I had no quibbles or queries, although I do recall putting in DEEPENING eith a frown. As for today’s, very pleasing indeed.

    Flight versus alight? I do think that it is a weak and ambiguous clue. Having re-read it today, I could persuade mysrkf in either direction, but found neither wholly convincing.

  4. jonofwales said

    I failed miserably to spot the Nina, though did get TOP correct despite never having heard of the phrase before. Yes, I looked in the big red book, having struggled throughout.

    Regarding yesterday’s, I still stand by ALIGHT, whatever the solution says. 🙂

    • Cornick said

      I now have it from a higher authority that there was an error involved – so you can make of it what you will!
      You have mail on the subject.

      • jonofwales said

        I suspect the mail has gone to my work account, in which case I’ll check it first thing Monday. 🙂 Intriguing.

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