i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2738 by eXternal

November 23, 2019

Saturday 16th November 2019

Was eXternal always like this? We’ve had a couple of dozen of his puzzles by now I think, but whilst my early impressions were of a tricksy innovator, he seems to have been much easier recently, and last Saturday’s seemed about as soft-boiled as they get in the i, with 7½ anagrams (most of the longer clues) and a couple of hiddens to boot.

Looking back through the Fifteensquared archive I see that several of his crosswords appeared in the IOS slot, which normally indicates an easier type of puzzle of course, but that he has also produced quite a few Inquisitor puzzles, which JonofWales will confirm are decidedly fiendish. So I suppose we can safely conclude that he’s pitching things just as he intends to.

All that means this was a good one for beginners and improvers, but won’t have caused the old hands too much trouble, I suspect. Writing this a week after the event, I certainly can’t remember being held up at the end by anything – my LOI was 15d which seems to be as straightforward as all the rest really. Just one quibble-ish glyph for the supposed synonym skirt/ round, but four ticks, with my favourite being this hidden:

11a A bit of Latin or the astronomy course? (9)

And you can whisk yourself back to September 2015 for all the answers by clicking here.

17 Responses to “i Prize Cryptic Crossword 2738 by eXternal”

  1. batarde said

    Nope, this one didn’t make much of an impression on me either. I note that Phi is well and truly back this week, supplying the Inquisitor as well as the prize puzzle. No preamble to the former – does this mean it’s going to be a straight Azed / Mephisto type?

  2. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    No, don’t remember much about this one either, and neither did I leave myself a note in last week’s comment, so I suppose it was uncontentious.

    As to today’s I have a crossing pair left unsolved and a couple more unparsed. As it’s a Phi, I have no doubt that when I return to the puzzle after lunch I will wonder what the problem was.

  3. jonofwales said

    Pretty straightforward, and thoroughly enjoyable. You never know what you’re going to get with eXternal – something pretty tough from a Thursday, an IoS reprint, or something akin to the Telegraph puzzles he now does. His IQ’s of course are worthy of the spot. 🙂

  4. dtw42 said

    Yup – I recall whizzing through this one and noting only that there were rather a lot of easy anagrams. Like Pierre blogging on the other side, I couldn’t parse 18ac though. 11ac was my COD too, and I noted what I assumed to be a Python reference at 12ac.

    As a mild plug, if anyone here’s doing the “@what3clues” puzzle on Twitter, this week’s latest was set by yours truly. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve correctly pitched it somewhere between trivial and impossible.

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