i Cryptic Crossword 2801 Phi

January 30, 2020

Hands up if you spotted today’s theme. Not surprisingly it was one I failed miserably to spot, despite a couple of names I was aware of dotted about. The central column in the grid in retrospect is pretty well defined, almost as if to cry out – look for a Nina here – but needless to say I didn’t.

What I did was enjoy a puzzle of about average difficult, albeit with one word I couldn’t find in Chambers (14ac), and some very curious words in the NE corner where I ended up. Mushrooms, again, is there a theme running through the week in general?

Loads I failed to parse on solving, including the mushroom, the pain, and the phonic thing, mostly I suspect because I didn’t need to because in retrospect there’s nothing that tricky there. On the other hand I was particularly pleased to get another unknown, 17d, from the wordplay albeit with little confidence in my answer.

COD? Excellent stuff as ever from Phi, with my nomination going to 28ac – “Figure left behind when mines were union-dominated? (7)”.

Back in time to October 2015:


12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2801 Phi”

  1. Topsy said

    Big fail for me today (I blame the builders). I did know the mushroom though. When I did the concise at 9a what should crop up again. I was beginning to think it was National Mushroom Week. I was wondering if the poet came from Denmark and could the shot at 2d be alcoholic….. not my day today but that is no slur upon the setter.

  2. Cornick said

    I have heard of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, but was a bit too young to have ever listened to it (or seen it if it was on telly, not sure). Certainly didn’t know the acronym; was that a thing back then, like TW3?
    So no chance with Nina or theme – especially when Bill Oddie was indicated by ‘oddity’, Brooke Taylor by a separated Brook and Tailor etc. Hrrmph.
    I loved the wordplay in 13d: ‘High jinks and at it’ … It feels like a familiar phrase, but nothing on Google or in Chambers – does it seem familiar to anyone else, or am I being delusional?

  3. The tortoise VM said

    Another load of gobbledygook,
    Ok for the whiz kids.
    Not for mr average
    Especially for a well balanced paper like the i
    Probably ok for the Independent 5 years ago.

    • Cornick said

      Eh? How are Independent readers 5 years ago different to us now?

    • jonofwales said

      We get some puzzles that are definitely ones for the whiz kids. This wasn’t one of them though, being Phi doing what Phi does most Saturdays.

    • Grodnik said

      Wind your neck in tortoise. Put in the hard yards and after 3 or 4 years it will get easier. It took me two years to complete a Phi unaided (I started serious cruciverbalism about three years ago to ward off dementia, it seems to be working) and now I manage it about twice a month. Sorry this post is late, still arranging the black crepe for Saturday.

  4. Topsy said

    Hey Tortoise, I am neither a whizz kid nor (obviously) a Mister although I suspect I am average. I have a stab at crosswords and take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes I get grumpy if things are too tough but equally, I feel disappointed if the puzzle is too easy. It’s not necessarily essential to finish a crossword. If it was I would stick to my local paper.

  5. dtw42 said

    Super-busy work day here so after putting in about two over the breakfast table, the whole of the rest of it had to wait till after 6pm. After which it was slow but steady progress: got it all in in the end, didn’t see the theme or nina (though yes I do distantly recall the show). Today’s shroom was fractionally more familiar than yesterday’s, in that I thought to myself “boletus, that’s a thing, presumably the plural would be boleti; is it a fungus? dunno, let’s look it up … oh yes … bung that in then.”
    17dn is a word I always deliberately and hilariously mispronounce to rhyme with “Luddites”.

    • jonofwales said

      Until now I was blissfully unaware, having not heard of it before today, that 17d wasn’t. You’ve saved me from a potential social gaffe.

  6. batarde said

    Spotted Messrs Garden, Brooke Taylor and Oddity, and thought “oh goody, I’ve spotted a theme for once”. Came here, had another look at the central column as hinted and all became clear. This was a far, far better puzzle than Phi’s effort on Saturday last, and a pleasure to solve. As for ISIRTA, it’s on 4 Extra on Thursday evenings and is enthusiastically recommended.

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