i Cryptic Crossword 2665 Morph

August 23, 2019

Just what we have come to expect from this setter – challenging, witty and in places infuriating. Bit of a slow start – I could see some of the parts of 1ac, but the clue wasn’t  much help with the synonym and as I know nothing of drugs this was left until plenty of checking letters were in. 9ac impressed with its misdirection and again needed crossers before the lightbulb came on. So 12ac – a nice normal anagram – was my first followed by the clever anagram at 18ac. With the grid starting to fill others went in even if I couldn’t fully parse them. 2dn and the Bucks bit 7dn and a German word that got a harrumph but it was 24ac that got a large? The Fifteensquared blog explains it as Vera Gel whatever that is. LOI was 26ac – whilst I have a vague memory of seeing it before but I couldn’t bring it to mind and the Homophone part didn’t help so it was a word search to fill in the blanks.

Lots of clever clues – 14ac, 21ac (but the word itself is awful) and 17dn all worthy – but the one that I prefer is the succinct 13ac:

Get down (on it) (4)


15 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2665 Morph”

  1. Michaelatcobblerscottage said

    What Sprouthater said: “challenging, witty and in places infuriating”. One of those solves that ought to have been rewarding on completion but which somehow, strangely wasn’t.

    I don’t get AMPHETAMINES. Yes, I can see the word-play, which is how I solved it, but where is the definition? “Such things”? Is it meant to be some kind of &lit or cryptic definition?

    Never heard of vera gel, but when I googled it a picture of a product from Holland and Barrett came up, so fair enough. “Cheers” = “bucks”? I was interested to see that this caused comment over on Fifteensquared, as well. And the use of an unusual foreign word (“sieg”) seems indefensible, to me. I concede that, for example “one in Provence” and “the French” are commonplace, but where might this end? Rant over. ☺

    On the other hand, HYGIENE was brilliant, hiding as it was in plain sight!

    • jonofwales said

      re: AMPHETAMINES. The definition is “such things”, presumably following on from the reference to speed earlier in the clue.

      Agreed entirely on the German, which was more than obscure.

  2. jonofwales said

    Well, I started the week with a personal best time for the i, and finished it with my worst. To be fair my first two sessions were pretty fruitless, and the third of a more reasonable length, but still. One of those days were the setter was on one wavelength, and I was on another entirely. Oh well, a nice long weekend to rest and recuperate coming up!

  3. batarde said

    Got off to a flying start by writing the solution to 10ac where 9ac should be, thus putting myself into the foulest of humours. My customary geniality wasn’t fully restored until 21d went in, which was quite a while later. No complaints here: it was well up to the usual Morph standard and perfectly fair in my opinion.

    Surely “Sieg” is one of the half dozen German words everybody knows, by the way? It certainly didn’t strike me as an outrageous offence against good form, unlike Phi’s disgraceful clue in the last prize crossword.

    • jonofwales said

      Interestingly (or not) thinking about it it’s obviously a German word I’ve heard, but without ever actually knowing what it meant. In fact, the phrase as a whole I’ve only just translated thanks to Google. All those war movies…

      • dtw42 said

        quite – same here

      • batarde said

        It could be just me … anyway, there’s a handy little story, apparently true, which should fix that bit of vocab in the brain permanently. Readers of a certain age will recall that Triumph used to make cars as well as motorcycles, and some rather nice ones too from the ’50s to the 70s, but the company was on its last legs by the beginning of the 80s when they decided to christen a thoroughly mediocre saloon the Triumph Acclaim. It went down badly in Germany, because the name translated as … well, you know the punchline.

      • jonofwales said


      • sprouthater said

        Being almost entirely monolingual I’d ban any foreign words apart from the hundreds or possibly thousands that we use everyday🤐 Like Jon I had heard the word but didn’t know its meaning.

      • Michaelatcobblerscottage said

        Perhaps a no-deal Brexit means we won’t be allowed to use any foreign words in our crosswords after 31st October, and so we ought to make the most of them now. 😀

      • jonofwales said


  4. dtw42 said

    I made a good start, and was smug for getting 26ac very early on. It all fell apart at about the 2/3 point, and, determined NOT to repeat yesterday’s DNF, I resorted to electronic assistance. Got there in the end, but several frowns were generated by the same sort of issues already discussed. My marginal notes include “yikes” against 7dn, “strewth” against 17dn, “dearie me” against 21dn, and “??” against 24ac. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that spelling of 6dn.

  5. Cornick said

    To be fair to the setter, Seig Heil does appear in Chambers, but SIEGE was still my LOI — possibly because I’ve always wrongly imagined the German phrase to start with a Z.
    Filled from the bottom up (what else could K _ K…. be?), this was the puzzle of the week by a margin for me.
    And I must have been on Morph’s wavelength too I guess, because this was completed in a time that was below my average for the i with just the comb/ curry thing in need of checking afterwards.

  6. Grodnik said

    This puzzle was “class”, beautifully clued and just difficult enough to make me think I would not be able to finish it. Never heard of 26ac but sieg presented no problem. My only gripe, “obscene” As an anagrind. Don’t like it!

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