i Cryptic Crossword 2572 Alchemi

May 7, 2019

So bones, runners and the number 11 make up our odd rag-tag of themes this Tuesday. Nothing that was too tricky, and some nice contemporary references at 26ac and 8d, what more could you want on an ersatz Monday? Batarde on duty, perhaps, but he’s otherwise engaged today so you’re stuck with me. Talking of bloggers, the latter clue raised a smile when I imagined Sprouthater’s likely response, the Beckham in question having cropped up previously. A pet hate of my own – “drawback” for TIE appeared in the former clue, a device that thankfully doesn’t appear that often.

At the close I had a full grid completed in a pretty good time, but also a load of question marks where the answer was clear enough but the wordplay less so. Luckily duncanshiell is on the usual fine form over on the other side to explain all:


COD? I did like how clearly clued the pretty obscure 21d was, and 8d raised a smile for reasons other than the one given above, but in particular I did like both the definition and the amusing wordplay for 24d – “Enterprising XI’s rudely try and attract top cricket club’s attention? (5)”.

To complete the roll-call of bloggers, how about nipping over to the Indy website to try Cornick’s latest a-Maizing puzzle? It’ll be a good one.


17 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2572 Alchemi”

  1. Topsy said

    I am not keen on cross referenced clues but fortunately 11d made this one rather enjoyable for me! I did get a bit too clever for my own good and came up with Skelton (poet and Henry VIII’s tutor) rather than that other “John” at 9a. πŸ˜€

  2. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    Rather more challenging than I first thought. The ME quadrant went in readily, but then I made steady, but much slower progress after that. All very enjoyable, especially with the misdirections / ambiguities of Eleven/11/XI.

    I could not parse DECEIT, and I share Jon’s distaste for drawback = eit. Not sure why I don’t like it though… 😞. I had to check on the succulent, but that was my only recourse to electronic help.

    I failed to parse SKELETON, which I guessed correctly pretty early on. But I was fixated on John being the sculptor Skelton, and could not make sense of all the (what seemed to me to be) superfluous word-play. Or possibly the Tudor poet of the same name. What a sad and out-of-touch life I lead…☺.

    I too loved 24d. But SHE-ASS came a close second.

  3. batarde said

    Thank you for covering so ably, Jon – readers shouldn’t breathe easy just yet though because I’ll be blogging on Thursday.

    By rights this puzzle ought to have fallen in half given the grid, but that’s not the way it played out and I only noticed that after finishing. Highly amused by 8d of course, and 26 to a lesser extent. Quite a perky puzzle all told, and definitely enjoyable. Like Topsy must first thoughts were of that poet, the other John being somebody I prefer to avoid if possible.

    I’ve also had an opportunity to solve today’s Maize, and strongly recommend it. πŸ™‚

    • jonofwales said

      I’ve finally got round to Maize’s puzzle, and can second that recommendation. Rather late to the party, I know…

      • dtw42 said

        Not as late as me – I’ve just downloaded it and had a go today.
        Lots of very clever stuff going on in there and some unusual clues. Hats off to Cornick. (LOI for me was 21ac, the only one I couldn’t parse.)

      • dtw42 said

        (further to earlier – have now seen how 21ac worked)

  4. sprouthater said

    Yes snorts of derision for 8dn and 26ac, had to check that I hadn’t got The Sun instead of the i. When I see “John” in a clue I think of Loo or Can or Lav but this time it was the Potty mouthed one ugh. Despite all the foregoing I rather enjoyed this, 21dn was good all the components were there just needed sorting into the right order but it was 21ac that got the most ticks.

  5. Alchemi said

    Thanks everyone. I’m not sure I’d use drawback for EIT now; I rather agree with those who don’t like it – but it’s five years on and I quite liked that sort of device then.

  6. Cornick said

    Good stuff as per from Alchemi, I enjoyed that.
    On the positive side I managed to finish with everything parsed and without aids; on the other hand it took me longer than I care to admit, done as it was in furtive snatches throughout the day.

  7. dtw42 said

    For me … ΒΎ fell quite happily (incl. 9ac, where, having solved from the def first, I did manage to retrospectively deduce the correct John, and 8dn which garnered a ‘tsk’). Didn’t think much of ‘she-ass’ as a word, but I suppose the only other reasonably familiar candidate for S_E_S_, ‘sheesh’, wouldn’t have been much better.
    Several in the bottom third of the grid held me up a bit longer, and 21dn was LOI on the basis of ‘never heard of it … assemble a plausible word from the wordplay then go look up if it’s a thing’.
    I quite liked all the misdirection of elevens, some being cross-references and some not.

  8. Anyone else unaware of the giant cactus?

    • Cornick said

      I work with plants, Faith, and hadn’t ever heard of it (don’t tell the boss). Nevertheless it was so clearly clued, I bunged it with complete confidence. Now what was it called again?

    • batarde said

      Entirely ignorant, and I didn’t bother checking either. Have done just now … you weren’t kidding about the giant bit, were you?

    • jonofwales said

      Ditto the above, but it couldn’t have been more carefully spelled out. A perfect example of how to clue an obscure word.

  9. AndyO said

    Thoroughly enjoyable – only a minor question about 5a – but guessed correctly! Lots of clever misdirections from the ‘theme’ like 29, 24 and 25 – raised a chuckle or three when the penny dropped!

  10. Sharky said

    Really enjoyed this from Alchemi with a nice accessible theme too. Had to concede defeat in the SE corner thoughwith 21d & 22d far beyond me. 15d was my personal favourite .

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