i Cryptic Crossword 2728 Hob

November 5, 2019

Hob, so we’re back behind the bike sheds, eh? Well, no, not really – except for 24d it’s all quite decorous this time, but that doesn’t mean that I expect many people to pleased with this one, and there may well be some sympathy for the Tortoise today. My feelings are mixed. It’s very gratifying to get the better of a setter who is going all out to bamboozle, and indeed I did in the end, but good grief – surely this is way too much for a weekday?

It being Tuesday there is a theme, and a perversely unhelpful picture hint. Mostly we are dealing with one of my pet hates, whose dreary oeuvre litter the grid in the form of a Nina as well as entries. Harrumph. Having spent far longer than usual disentangling all the wordplay I am disinclined to comment in detail, except to observe that Hob has included some easy starters which is to his credit, but for the most part it’s highly obstructive stuff. It all seems to work, just about, so long as the solver has a headful of obscure trivia upon which to draw. Clue of the day? Mine is 17ac, but how about you?

“Sort of plane coming from down under, having ejected Unionist Paisley? (6)”

The crossword first appeared on a Bank Holiday Monday (which makes sense) in August 2015; and Eimi has helpfully edited 16d to make things easy for us. Poor old Pierre drew the short straw over at Fifteensquared, and made a splendid job of the blog, which explains nearly everything bar a bit of mopping up in the comments. Talking of which, there is a good deal of discussion about the merits of popular music from the 1970s. The majority opinion seems to be that there are none, to which I say “Captain Beefheart” and rest my case.

13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2728 Hob”

  1. Topsy said

    I found this one to be a real toughie but I persevered despite rolling my eyes at Hob’s fondness for “No 1s”. Fortunately I was a great fan of Van the Man so several went in without even trying. I did smile at the old bangers because until recently I owned my father’s 1970s Moggy traveller, which was rotting in a garage. It’s new owner is completely renovating it and I am looking forward to a spin in it listening to Moondance on the eight track! 😀

  2. jonofwales said

    Good grief I think is the operative term here. Completed, but in many cases with no understanding at all of the wordplay. The theme was well flagged but a complete mystery as I remain blissfully ignorant of 14d’s output. Most definitely OTT for a weekday, and probably for any other day than a bank holiday I’d say.

  3. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I too am surprised not to see The Tortoise commenting in Another Place. But there is still time, I suppose.

    A real tussle, and I confess I resorted to aids and trawling through lists of words. I did resist looking up either discography, once I got the theme, as I thought that would be a cheat too far. I dare say I missed some references, and I didn’t see the Nina.

    I had forgotten (if I ever knew) about astral planes, although I enjoyed the wordplay. RESOUND’s wordplay was beyond me, and now I know how it works, it’s good but very obscure. More apositely, the wordplay of the gateway clue 14d was impenetrable, at least by me.

    And is MONSOONAL a word anyone has ever used?

    However, I enjoyed this, it being one of those where you get a lot of satisfaction on completing it. I loved the clue for LOWERS, btw.

  4. wanderlust said

    As one who considers the 70s as the most experimental. interesting and diverse musical decade of all time both in terms of extant and new genres (including the birth of funk, disco, hard rock, punk, electronic, dub and arguably reggae although Desmond Dekker would disagree with the latter) I get the feeling Batarde missed out big time 🙂 This puzzle was hard work to the point that I felt Hob was just being awkward. Got there in the end but had to go via the scenic route.

  5. Cornick said

    Well I got there without needing help except for 20d, and whilst only failing to parse tenor = BOE in 10a. On reflection I suppose I could have worked both out if I’d have been bothered.
    Didn’t enjoy myself though, unfortunately.
    As for the merits or otherwise of the theme, my expectation is that future generations will come to regard the 60s and 70s as being the golden age of pop & rock with as little contention as we do now about when the golden age of classical music, or of renaissance art might have been. Anyone who doesn’t like it almost certainly doesn’t like pop & rock music in any case.

  6. The tortoise vm said

    The i 2019 , a good well balanced & concise newspaper. Unfortunately I can not say the same for their 5 year old, already paid for crosswords.
    If the i is to maintain their readership & also increase it they need to cater for Mr average as well as the professionals, is it not possible to have two levels of puzzle to please all the readership. I appreciate a cost may be incurred. It would be nice to be able to finish a crossword now and again, anyway that’s my chunter over for today, by the way thank you Batarde and friends for there sympathy ,boy do I need it.

    • jonofwales said

      I wouldn’t say no to a second daily cryptic of the easier variety. I wonder though how much it costs to produce each puzzle, as the i have stuck to recycling Independent puzzles for many years. Setters are paid a pittance, but presumably there are other costs including the crossword editor’s?

      Many moons ago the i’s editor did tackle complaints from readers regarding the difficulty of the cryptic. His answer at the time, in the editorial, was that disgruntled solvers could subscribe to the Telegraph puzzles site, which is quite reasonably priced actually, and a surprising suggestion for a rival newspaper to make.

      I suspect therefore that nothing will change for the foreseeable future, especially as the content is already paid for as part of the i’s deal with the Independent.

      I do have some sympathy regarding disgruntlement with some of the particularly harder crosswords we get. The range of puzzles varies from simple write-ins to real headache inducing ones. While this does give solvers of all abilities something to challenge them over the course of a week, it can be frustrating if you’re looking for a solvable daily puzzle.

      Good to see you over on this side, btw. 🙂

      • Cornick said

        Of course the i used to cost just 20p and the whole logic of that was that its entire content was recycled or reduced versions of what was in the much more expensive Independent. I guess a bit of that still lingers on.
        nmsindy (also the setter Raich) published a list of his average solving times a while back which did indeed show the Indy to be the hardest of the daily cryptics – but only just. Here are those times in minutes:
        Indy (36.4), Guardian (34.6), Times (32.3) Telegraph Toughie (30.4), FT (26.3) Daily Telegraph (16.7). Sunday Times (32.3), Sunday Tel (15.3) and Observer Everyman (13.8).
        Full article is here: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2012/05/22/which-daily-cryptic-is-the-hardest/

        Much faster than me!

    • batarde said

      Indeed, welcome. 🙂

      I think the consensus here – amongst the bloggers at any rate – is that we like the variety of puzzles in the paper. My preference is for the tougher ones on grounds of value for money, but it’s obvious that all sorts of solvers should be catered for.

      Another tip: The Times’ “Big Book” series is perhaps the most economical way to stock up on quality crosswords to solve on paper, and real stinkers are very rare. It’s true that setters like Monk, Anax and Tees do work for The Times, but the editorial guidelines are much stricter there and wild flights of fancy are not encouraged.

  7. dtw42 said

    Hi tortoise – well at least you can see that we mostly struggled to. I for one have just finished this (7pm) and am mightily relieved to have done so. Plenty of flicking through Bradfords, and then finally electronic word list assistance for my last two (15ac and 7dn). Yes, all the workings seem to be fair but boy are a lot of them torturous. I did, eventually, manage to work out what he was playing at with 2dn, but if you’re going to do anagram of final letters then surely you need to indicate BOTH of those things, not just one of them?

    Pff. Now I can go and put me tea on.

  8. imsewell said

    Not sure why everyone is moaning. I didn’t find this much more difficult than many other weekday setters. That’s not to say I finished. I know Van Morrison’s stuff but persisted in thinking the theme was The Seventies! Enjoyable, nevertheless.

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