i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2684 by Phi

September 21, 2019

Saturday 14th September 2019

Puzzles by Phi having neither theme nor Nina are becoming as rare as the proverbial poultry incisors, so by now I’m betting we all give at least a cursory glance to see if something’s going on; and that was all it took last week to see REALIO TRULIO in the left and right columns of the completed grid.

Put that into Google and you get The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash.  I’m slightly surprised that didn’t feature in my childhood along with Lear and Belloc really, as it’s perfectly pleasant – maybe my parents thought it was too American or something. If it did yours, then the words DRAGON, CUSTARD, BELINDA, PIRATE and KITTTEN will have doubtless jumped off the page.

The grid filled pretty readio steadio until the last four where I suddenly hit a brick wall and had to come back later for a second sitting. The tricky ones for me were 25a – a reversal of ‘I to R’ to give ROTI, KIT+TEN in 20d, 12a [he]AL(D)ERS and 19a LOOK HERE. And in 21a, [b]UN+ROLL I couldn’t picture how ‘without crust’ could mean remove one side of the word but not the other, but maybe that’s why the QM is there.

COD? Despite my finding it fiendish at the time, I reckon the following was the most remarkable clue of the day:

23a Word for Indian bread, 10 letters (entered in reverse) (4)

For all the answers there’s yet another fine blog from Duncan Shiell, who also spotted NASH as a Nina in the bottom row. Nice.

3 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2684 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Hmm, right. I didn’t trouble Google with my suspicions about the realio and trulio, thus missing out on the delights of the theme. Never mind: I can quote an Ogden Nash poem in full though. Ready?

    “A bit of talcum
    Is always walcum”.

    It’s called “On Babies”, if memory serves.

    The crossword was perfectly decent, although 25ac being an example of the loathsome “let’s count the letters” sort of clue, that one got its own four-letter entry in the margin.

  2. dtw42 said

    Huh. Count me oblivious to themes and ninas. Hey ho. Never heard of 17dn.

    My favourite bit of Nash is “One thing that literature would be greatly the better for | Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and metaphor.”

  3. jonofwales said

    Needless to say I once again missed the theme, despite halfheartedly looking for one. This was another slow but steady Phi solve, which seems to be par for the course these days, with one or two not fully understood.

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