i Cryptic Crossword 2758 Hob

December 10, 2019

My initial thought on seeing Hob’s name next to the grid was that Topsy will be displeased; however on completion I think perhaps almost everyone will be pretty happy today. The rather curious grid contains a theme so big you can see it from space, and it’s made glaringly obvious by 10ac. Hardly my specialist subject, but as it turned out no references were required and everything was sort of familiar.  Done and dusted in about the same time as yesterday’s, surprisingly.

It might be said with some justice that 5d is an unnecessarily obscure word given that there are common alternatives for that space, but it’s a fine clue and picks up on a running pattern of numerical misdirection which pleased me a good deal. Never let it be said that this setter is shy about putting his cleverness on show. The “shining example” in 11ac still baffles me, unless it’s an idiom like “bright as a pin” I haven’t come across, but the required entry was perfectly clear and elsewhere everything parses to my complete satisfaction. John at Fifteensquared had all the explanations back in October 2015 if anything remains mysterious, and there are some amusing comments from curmudgeons. Standouts for me included 2, 5, 14, 20, 21, 25/28 and 30ac, the last being my choice for COD:

“Where reaction might occur when opening bars around 6 (2,5)”

11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2758 Hob”

  1. jonofwales said

    Similarly baffled by 11ac, but overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable, straightforward puzzle finished a lot faster than yesterday. I groaned on spotting the theme, assuming I’d need references to complete, but as it turned out everything was easily solvable from the wordplay, and I surprised myself with the number of thematic entries it turns out I did know.

  2. The tortoise VM said

    Sorry not for me, for experts only.

    • Cornick said

      tortoise VM – do try looking through the parsing on Fifteensquared. I’m sure you’d be able to teach yourself how to do this level of difficulty of puzzle if you try. Neither my mother nor my sister are numbered among the 14M+ graduates in Britain, yet either of them could have polished this off in minutes. Why? Because they took time to learn the tricks.

  3. Cornick said

    What a joyous, fresh and bold style Hob has!
    Thoroughly enjoyed this, even if it was over a bit too quickly. Freshwater Bay I didn’t know, and obviously I kept expecting the places I did know like Sandown and Ventnor to turn up, but no real hold-ups apart from that Latin word for a chain at 5d. Still, my favourite aspect of the puzzle was the riffing on the theme of TEN, so I can hardy grumble at the setter for that.
    Perversely enough 11a was my favourite clue – I took it to be an example of the theme that literally shines when the sun catches it.

  4. dtw42 said

    Okay, I’ll stick my hand up and admit that I just couldn’t get 3dn.

    Aside from that though, everything went in pretty much like a rat up a drainpipe. 5dn, while I didn’t know the word itself, I do know “catenary” which is the curve made by a chain hanging from two points, so the jump to assuming CATENA must be some sort of chain was a very small one. Didn’t parse the “25 in the morning” part of 21, but the def was obvious enough.

  5. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    Thoroughly satisfying rewarding, with lots to enjoy. I too was able to solve this without resorting to atlases or the like, which surprised me, given how little time I have spent there, and how long ago.

    THE NEEDLES puzzled me as well, although the entry was clear enough, and the word-play for DEWY-EYED took me a while to untangle.

  6. allan_c said

    I see from fifteensquared that I didn’t like this the first time around. How things can change! I didn’t remember it at all and coming to it afresh I thought it was a quite delightful (and quick) solve.

  7. Topsy said

    My face fell initially when I saw the grid and when I saw it was by Hob, it fell some more. However, when I persevered I got the Victorian residence and that gave me 10a and then the rest fell into place. A happy Topsy for a change!

  8. David Bebb said

    Re 11ac, The Needles is a lighthouse, as well as the rock formation, so presumably this is the ‘shining example’ referred to.

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