i Cryptic Crossword 2574 eXternal

May 9, 2019

“I’d like to play Russian roulette with Thursday please”, was my reply when Jon asked me my preferred day to swap for Tuesday. There’s no knowing what might turn up after all, but as it turns out I got off very lightly with an Independent on Sunday reprint. This may bode ill for Sprouters tomorrow.

eXternal’s crosswords can sometimes be rather demanding but this one was clearly designed to be accessible, and whilst solving wasn’t quite a matter of filling in a succession of read-and-writes, it wasn’t far off. None of the vocabulary is obscure, and the only quibble which comes to mind concerns the use of “surface” in 13d – which is a minor one indeed. All told a brisk, fairly entertaining puzzle. 7, 14, 15 and 24 all seemed good with some well-considered misdirection going on, and my COD is 18ac because the anagram fodder is masquerading as something else:

“Partly nervous university worker’s to avoid the classroom (4,6)”

Pierre at Fifteensquared didn’t quite know what to make of this one back in August 2015, and I can see why.


6 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2574 eXternal”

  1. Topsy said

    Thanks Batarde. I have to say, I was expecting the worst. eXternal must have been feeling benevolent when setting this one. Very enjoyable although I did struggle with some of the parsings. I still don’t get “beamer” 😦

  2. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    Yes, a nice straightforward crossword today, which I finished in much less than my usual hour.

    I could not parse the word-play in REDNECKS, but I accept that it is ok, having seen the explanation from Pierre, and I thought the surface made little sense. Again like Pierre, I am not convinced that elevated and exhilarated are synonyms. These are minor quibbles, though and I enjoyed solving this one, despite the grid giving four mini-crosswords….

  3. Cornick said

    I’ve greatly enjoyed all of eXternal’s earlier offerings, so in truth this was a little underwhelming by comparison – not least because of that grid.
    Not to worry it was good in parts and it would be unreasonable to demand the same pyrotechnics every time he/she puts pen to paper… It was still way better than anything I’ve encountered in some other newspapers I could mention.

  4. sprouthater said

    An accessible and mostly enjoyable puzzle from a setter that usually offers a degree of pain and frustration, the COD, 4dn and 14ac all got ticks but it was spoiled by the awful 8dn.

  5. jonofwales said

    OK, I couldn’t parse 8d, but the answer was clear enough so no complaints. Finished in super quick time today, with no questions elsewhere, and enjoyed thoroughly.

  6. dtw42 said

    Another here who couldn’t parse 8dn but lobbed it in anyway. The grid design is a bit rubbish, with the four corners only connected by that little bit in the middle; but the puzzle was fair enough. I did about 3/4 of it pretty rapidly, slowed down a little in the NW corner and for no readily discernible reason needed a bit of a nudge for 1ac at the end.
    Agree with sprouthater’s list of approved clues 🙂

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