i Cryptic Crossword 2689 Hob

September 20, 2019

Before I get onto the puzzle itself, the observant among you will have noted that Sprouthater is no longer occupying the Friday slot, having hung up his blogging boots after years of faithful and much appreciated service. No fear, you won’t be stuck with me for long because Michael – a regular in the comments section – will be picking up Fridays in a couple of weeks. If anybody else does fancy having a go at blogging other days, though, do let me know as volunteers are always welcome. 🙂

To the puzzle, which isn’t an IoS reprint, despite what the link says, but from a Thursday long ago. I’ve found Hob to be extremely difficult in the past, and Pierre seems to have struggled over on the other side, but I suspect I got lucky because I fairly whipped through, recording my fastest time of the week. I sort of spotted today’s ghost theme without really registering it, though it wouldn’t have helped with some of the more obscure entries if I had. There were a couple I couldn’t parse, in particular 10/15, but the checking letters were generous enough they went in with little ado. Sound and enjoyable throughout, my only criticism being that there seemed to be a surfeit of hidden answers.

COD? Just because of the Man from Uncle reference, which was a nice bit of misdirection, 22ac – “Loner?  Perhaps Napoleon I’s tendency at first”.

To December 2014:


12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2689 Hob”

  1. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I completely missed the theme, which is not unusual for me, even though I had mentally noted that there were four words ending in -tics; I just failed to think it through 😯.

    10/15’s VITAL STATISTICS I got purely from the crossers, which left little room for doubt. The clue seemed mind-boggling before I had the answer, as I couldn’t make sense of either word-play or potential definitions. However, once I had the answer I could see that the clue was in fact impeccably constructed.

    The word-play for RADII eluded me, and ISLAND being defined as “label” also meant nothing to me.

    Otherwise, all nicely challenging and a rewarding solve. I too loved the Man from Uncle reference – although it possibly means nothing to anyone younger than 50!

  2. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I’m off on a holiday this weekend, in a non-i zone. Looking forward – with some trepidation – to blogging after my return…

  3. batarde said

    This was a pleasant surprise, previous Hobs having displayed rather too much giddy-goatery for my tastes. Not so this time: it’s a rock-solid puzzle of excellent quality with nothing puerile or lavatorial in sight. Amazingly I spotted the theme (mind you, it’s something close to my heart): 22/14 isn’t quite right if it refers to the blacksmith, but it’s a fine effort. 10/15 is a superb clue. Ordinarily this would easily be a crossword of the week, but unfortunately Hob’s up against Punk so it’s a “very highly commended” from me.

  4. Cornick said

    Wow! What a brilliantly worked theme – and it’s a rare week where Dac doesn’t make it into the top three.
    With 10/15 it seemed pretty certain that the solution wasn’t at the beginning, so that meant it was going to start VI and the rest was likely from the enumeration & definition, confirmed by the clever wordplay.
    Less joy with the wordplay on RADII though, which eluded me entirely, and was bunged in from definition.
    Didn’t mind the 2 or 3 hiddens (depending in the way you look at it) but 10 anagrams is overdoing it in my book.

  5. dtw42 said

    Okay, super-busy day at work for me today, so I only got a chance to do about half of this before coming home. At about the three-quarter mark (when 17dn went in, actually) the theme hit me, BY TOUTATIS!

    (Batarde, according to Wikipedia, Semiautomatix was the father of Fulliautomatix … though I admit I wasn’t familiar with either of ’em.)

    What Cornick said re both 10/15 and 21ac. I was okay with the Island label reference and the Man from Uncle though. (Anyone read the celebrity birthdays on p.2? It was David McCallum’s 86th yesterday!)

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