i Cryptic Crossword 2746 Raich

November 26, 2019

Today’s theme is weird words. Oh, all right then, it’s really all about 1 across, but it was the vocabulary that caught my attention. We have Ukrainian cash; one of those Irish names which sound nothing like they look; an antiquated spelling of a dairy product; everybody’s favourite port in New Zealand; a well-clued Arab; an unfamiliar gazelle; a shambolic national leader called Boris, and another one from Tanganyika. Also a dodgy rebel and a football manager. Phew.

None of this should mean that the puzzle is beyond the reach of a notional “average” solver, because Raich is not that kind of setter. Everything is spelt out, and it’s just a case of following the instructions – of course that’s the case for all cryptic crosswords, but Raich is exceptionally clear and never falls foul of Arachne’s Law. Easy clues for hard words, and vice versa. Consequently solving this one was a pleasure and an education. As noted above our old friend at 24d was unusually well done and I also particularly liked 14 and 23. The COD for me is 18ac, because this sort of thing doesn’t come along very often:

18ac: “Become more intense, hard – this clue has letter missing? (8)”

For solutions, commentary and everybody chipping in about 28ac, here’s John’s September 2015 Fifteensquared write-up.

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2746 Raich”

  1. dtw42 said

    …it’s all a bit stuck in the past though isn’t it? A 1980s manager, a 1990s Russian, a 1968s-to-80s Tanzanian, a mid-90s cover of a 1960s song!

    18dn was the sort of thing that, if you’ve not heard of it (as I hadn’t), you take what the clue logically gives you and ask yourself “can that POSSIBLY be it?” But it is.

  2. jonofwales said

    Ah, that theme, the one I failed miserably to spot. 😉 Fairly straightforward as Raich usually is, though I did get a little stuck to the SE. Yes, the ancient England boss and obscure African leader. In retrospect I should have spotted what was going on, but was clearly not paying enough notice.

  3. Topsy said

    Yup, I missed the theme as well but never mind. I enjoyed completing this one especially because it was beautifully clued with none of the smut of other setters. 😀

  4. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    I agree with dtw42 that this had a strangely dated feel. I did think that if I had been a bit (ok, a lot) younger, then some of these names would have meant nothing to me.

    But that did not spoil a thoroughly enjoyable crossword, which as has been pointed out was a follow-the-instructions-and-you-will-get-there one. So HYYVNIA was completely unknown but clearly clued so I had no hesitation entering it when I had a couple of crossing letters.

    I got the theme, as well!

  5. Cornick said

    Glad others enjoyed this, but for me it was frustratingly absent of anything to get my teeth into until the very end. The anagram across the top went is straight away along with all the downs coming off it before I drew breath, then the one at the bottom and frankly I’d lost interest by the time I got to HRYVNIA, which I didn’t bother entering.
    Oh well, horses for courses n’ all that.

  6. dtw42 said

    Okay, I was sure somebody had directed us to Eimi’s Independent puzzle for today, but I can’t see any mention here . Perhaps it was on Twitter somewhere instead?

    At any rate, whoever recommended it was right, so I’m re-recommending it. Go seek it out if you haven’t already. 🙂

  7. The tortoise VM said

    At last puzzle I nearly finished except for the bottom right) congratulations Raich for a well balanced crossword. I look forward to another from you in the near future.

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