i Cryptic Crossword 2781 Hob

January 7, 2020

Hob’s back, and with a vengeance it seems as this was really rather difficult. Our theme revealed itself quickly enough, and in retrospect I should have guessed some of the thematic answers much sooner than I did, but thanks to the sheer fiendishness of Hob’s clue-writing and ability to hide definitions this took me about twice my average time for the i.

Things I didn’t like would have to include 12ac which is a bit too clever for its own good, and some wordplay that strikes me as being overly obscure. Throughout there was much I didn’t understand on solving, being relieved to be honest just to get some answers in the grid.

Things I did like? There’s no lack of invention on show, with wordplay that is often very deftly put together.

As an overall summary I’ll offer my comment jotted beside 22d on getting the answer and looking back at the wordplay – “Yikes”.

COD? I’ll go with 18d – “Bit of bromide taken by randy model railway man (6)”.

To December 2015 when solvers would have had rather more time on their hands:


10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2781 Hob”

  1. Topsy said

    Oh dearie, dearie me!!!

  2. Topsy said

    Furthermore, when I get irritated with the “cleverness” of the clueing I lose the motivation to solve perfectly easy ones like 9a. Grump, grump 😦

  3. michaelatcobblerscottage said

    Well, yes. I did finish this, insofar as I had all the right letters in the boxes, but so much remained either not fully parsed or even not understood and just guessed at.

    Lots to admire, when I did unravel the parsing, but as Topsy points out, rather irritatingly “clever”. For example: 16d APPLE PIE, where we were invited to delete one P only to add two more Ps; “Mix tape pile on Piano…” would have been fairer.

    The trouble is, when I can’t unravel the parsing, I don’t find it a very satisfying experience even if I get all the answers right.

  4. dtw42 said

    Agreed with all the above – took me far too long (good job I had the day off really), several were bunged in without understanding and a few needed electronic help because I was getting bored of staring at the empty spaces. Never having heard of 3dn didn’t help.

  5. Topsy said

    While I am in full-on grumpmode…… Is anyone else irritated by the recent positioning of the crosswords with annoying double page ads taking pride of place?? I am almost feeling as if we are being sidelined……

    • jonofwales said

      Personally I find that the double page ads give me plenty of scribbling / working room, especially with a puzzle like today’s. But I don’t think that’s what the advertisers had in mind. 🙂

  6. Brakewynde said

    A bit on the chewy side, but nonetheless very enjoyable. I was a bit stuck on a handful of clues at the end, so went out and bought a pack of lightbulbs. The fresh air made it all clear! 21 was my LOI, which I should have spotted much earlier. When I saw the name of the author alluded to in 14 I was hoping for an Arsenal FC reference somewhere, but it didn’t happen…

  7. Cornick said

    Well I’m a big fan of Hob, so most of this I found delightful. I think 14a was my first Nick Hornby novel – very much pitched at my demographic – and the theme certainly helped today.
    However there were a couple which were just a bit too tricksy for me to understand the parsing, namely 21a and 19d so I do share some of the frustration expressed above.

  8. batarde said

    All present and correct with no references required, so I should be happy. The level of difficulty was welcome, but the clever-cleverness got to be wearing rather than entertaining in the end. It’s rare for me not to parse everything down to the last dot and comma in my obsessive, geeky way – but today I couldn’t be bothered.

    Thanks for covering again, Jon: this was a tricky one.

  9. allan_c said

    All solved and parsed without help this time – it must have been buried in my subconscious as I didn’t recall having done it the first time. Not that I didn’t struggle at times.

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