i Cryptic Crossword 2811 Hieroglyph

February 11, 2020

Here is the Batarde system for solving a crossword:

1: Work through the across clues in order.
2: Work through the down clues in order.

I know! Spontaneity isn’t really my thing, and it’s confounding when something comes along to upset the routine, as was the case today. Still, there was nothing for it, so:

1: Work through the down clues in order.
2: Work through the across clues in order.

That worked nicely – a little too nicely in fact because about half of those across lights could have been filled in correctly without consulting the clues. Which, as we have discussed before is a major problem with this sort of explicitly themed puzzle.

Anyway, at the risk of establishing myself as the resident sourpuss I can’t say that I find a great deal to admire here. The grid is pretty gruesome, and the filling thereof with all those themed lights would have been more impressive had not so many of them been of the sort ordinarily to be found infesting the Inquisitor. The clues were for the most part standard fare and at the straightforward end of the spectrum, so all in all this was a crossword with a gimmick that was no more interesting than a great many without. It’s not a matter of poor workmanship, just misplaced effort in my opinion. I did rather like the linked combination of 6 and 22d, and am happy to slap a rosette on 18d as an elegantly turned out Clue of the Day:

“12 down under study outside (5)”

For a more somewhat more positive appraisal and a spot of snark from the chorus here’s Duncan’s Fifteensquared blog entry from November 2015.

10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2811 Hieroglyph”

  1. Topsy said

    I have a dislike for themed puzzles, generally having difficulty with the gateway clue but this one was so obvious as to be almost insulting. I heartily agree about misplaced effort! It was a DNF for me purely because I got bored. Sorry Hieroglyph 😦

  2. jonofwales said

    I didn’t find this as easy as you, many of the 1D’s being far off the beaten track as far as I was concerned. 21ac in particular caused some difficulty, crossed with a bird I also didn’t know. You can see a pattern forming here. That said I finished only a little above par so it wasn’t that tricky.

  3. dtw42 said

    Middling difficulty for me. Your Cod of 18dn was my last one in.
    My grumbles: a COVE isn’t a cavern, is it?
    And, more importantly, a PILL BUG isn’t an insect. (allan_c’s explanation letting Hieroglyph off on a technicality doesn’t cut any ice with me.)

  4. Cornick said

    Cove is too etymologically similar to cavern for me to be comfortable with it, but that was the least of my worries today. ANTLION, PILL BUG, ELATER, OESTRUS, BEE MOTH. This is most certainly not the way to make the case for themed puzzles, especially on a grid like that.
    Some of the clues were excellent, but for me the price paid for the theme, through sheer annoyance, was way too high.

  5. Jimbo said

    This was almost a DNSOP (Did Not Start On Principal) for me. Every crossing letter of the gateway clue was in an across clue requiring the answer to the gateway clue. Poor form IMO, regardless of how easy 1d was. Someone somewhere will have been floored by it and given up.

    • jonofwales said

      I’ve often been floored by gateway clues and had to reverse engineer them from themed answers. Sometimes it’s more interesting to solve them that way too. 🙂

  6. dtw42 said

    Okay, fair enough re the cove, Batarde.

    Meanwhile, here’s one of crosswordland’s weird coincidences… Next week’s Radio Times comes out today; I subscribe, so when I got home from work it was on my doormat and I’ve just started tackling the crossword. At exactly the same place & number in the grid, it too has MOSQUITO. (And the 6-letter word to the left of it also begins BE–.) Had a moment’s deja vu there.

    Neither setter seems to have been tempted by the clue structure I’d have found irresistible: SQUIT inside MOO. (“Low contemptible character’s brought in – what a pest! (8)” or some such…)

    • Cornick said

      So do I – but Mrs C does the quick version, alas, so I shall gaze at the clues wistfully.
      Never heard of a squit before, but a nice idea 🙂

  7. saboteur said

    I’m another who did not particularly enjoy this, for various reasons touched on by everyone else. I did like the INSECTS / IN SECTS pun in the clue for 6d, though.

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