i Cryptic Crossword 2731 Nestor

November 8, 2019

One measure of when cruciverbaphilia tips over into cruciverbamania could be how excited the solver feels at the prospect of a possible pangram. Getting a Z in the second clue I read, and my first one in, ELIZABETH, had me positively brimming over with anticipatory delight. Of course, as we now know, this was nowhere near a pangram, so perhaps that sort of excitement, generated by a mere crossword, is more a measure of the limited horizons in my otherwise, dull and probably meaningless life…☺.

This was a nice, straightforward and, I believe, accessible puzzle. Only TITLARKS caused me to put a question mark in the margin. I suppose TLA is indeed a three-letter acronym, but not one, I venture, that anyone beyond this crossword has ever used, and it is in danger of disappearing into itself in a kind of self-referential loop. Once the crossing Ts and K were in, the only three-letter acronym I could come up with was the commonplace TLC. The answer was pretty obvious, even to one with a limited knowledge of birds – but that bit of word-play seemed unsatisfactory, shall we say?

I was momentarily tempted to enter “noggin” at 2d, seeing the crossing O, G and N, and thinking how unbearable a lack of booze having no gin would be. But the only Noggin I knew would not have turned anyone to stone. Fortunately, my childhood reading stretched beyond Noggin the Nog to Roger Lancelyn Green’s Tales of the Greek Heroes, so I was able quickly to put in the right answer.

RARA AVIS caused a moment’s frowning, but once the crossers were in the word-play left only limited options, and googling confirmed the answer, even if the definition was a touch allusive.

I enjoyed the clue for LITTLE JOHN, which made me smile, but the nomination for Clue of the Day from this solver, who eagerly awaits Topsy’s recently-promised puppy-themed crossword, goes to 24a: “Produce litter with assistance (5)”.

From the Independent in September 2015: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2015/09/17/independent-9025-nestor/

16 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2731 Nestor”

  1. jonofwales said

    Surprisingly straightforward for a Thursday Independent reprint, and for Nestor too, finished well under par for the i. I ran into the same difficulties as you, and also liked 5d. πŸ™‚ Good fun throughout, more like this please!

  2. jonofwales said

    btw, I’m guessing there was much fun to be had in the i office yesterday judging from the write-up at the bottom of page 4.

  3. batarde said

    Polished, witty and accessible, this puzzle ought to go down well with almost everybody you’d think. Quite a few smiles today, and a more than creditable tally of ticks. TLA for three letter acronym is an old gag satirising the fad for them amongst business types in the 80s and 90s I think – at any rate it was familiar and amusing. The bird in question is a reclusive one – a 19d in fact – only to be found skulking in cryptic crosswords to the best of my knowledge. Incidentally, 28ac is a swine of a word to clue by any other means than a hidden, isn’t it? Yes, Cornick, you can take that as a challenge if you feel like it. πŸ™‚

  4. Topsy said

    I am having another busy and frustrating day so not in the right frame of mind to finish this one but the answers I did get were enjoyable, particularly 5d. I am afraid that until the renovations on my cottage are done there is little hope of a puppy themed crossword any time soon!

  5. wanderlust said

    Not much more to say other than I really enjoyed this one for some reason. Came together nicely apart from 19D which was left at the end with lightly suggested alternate letters i.e. I guessed it.

  6. Cornick said

    Nestor delivers yet again – thoroughly good in every way.
    Over-confidence on 2d saw me bunging in Medusa (oops) so my grid’s now a bit scruffy, but otherwise a steady fill and reliably entertaining solve. Agreed on all the clues mentioned so far, and would also commend both the long entries. Top moment for me though was the idea of re-recros[s] in 16d – brilliant!
    Bought my paper in the Co-op on Church Street today and made enquires after you, Michael, but it was the afternoon staff, so I drew a blank. I do like your car key homophone idea for khaki though. The most intractable word I’ve yet tried to clue was a bit similar: KABUKI.

    • michaelatcobblerscottage said

      Sorry to have missed you. I am surprised they still had an i in the afternoon, as there only ever seems to be three or four copies even before eight when I go. If you had walked 5 minutes down Church Street you would have found Cobblers Cottage. Maybe next time.

      • Cornick said

        That would be nice – I saw a postman & nearly asked him. On my way back from visiting St Columb Minor School πŸ™‚

  7. dtw42 said

    Circumstances beyond my control meant the paper wasn’t in my grubby mitts until nearly 8pm today. So a late teatime start … yes, quite pleasant, not too hard. TLAs are very familiar here so no problems with that part.

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