i Cryptic Crossword 2893 by Phi

May 16, 2020

Well I thought that was terrific. A good example of the fun generated by a witty Nina being well worth a pretty lengthy battle to get to the point where the penny dropped. For me that was with _ _ HCN_B at the bottom and TNORF _ _ at the top. When I realised that they both seemed to be running backwards, that led to BACK-BENCHER and BACK-TO-FRONT. From there it was an easy step to realise that the columns to left and right contained UP HELLY AA and UPSY-DAISY.  Brilliant!

You might expect a few obscurities with all that happening in the peripheral unches, but Phi managed to avoid all but BACCHIC in 20d, which I was quite happy to learn as an alternative to bacchanalian (although Mrs Cornick knew it perfectly well of course), and in any case a four-letter composer being Bach was hardly difficult. The ten 4-letter entries were pretty gettable this time – although I needed the help of the Nina to get the indirect hidden word DELI in 16a. Bit of an envelope-stretcher that.

Plenty to choose from for COD, including 22a, 7d and 15d. but I’ll go with this one by a nose:

3d Old German man blocking military vehicles and solders (5,5)

Answers and parsings from 2015 here.


9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2893 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Agreed in all respects. It was like the Phi of old (or at least a couple of years ago in the i) when there were a lot of terrific Ninas and not so many obscure ghost themes. A very agreeable surprise.

  2. jonofwales said

    Clever Ninas you won’t be surprised to hear are wasted on me, as I didn’t spot what was going on. An enjoyable puzzle nevertheless. 🙂

  3. saboteur said

    With a grid like that and a setter like Phi I was on the look-out for a nina. Spotted the ones on the top and bottom quite readily, but the two on the sides took a bit longer. Relieved to have it confirmed that there was no ghost theme, after looking for one unsuccessfully.

    No quibbles or queries from me, and no obscurities, apart from the modelling in America thing, DELI being my LOI.

    An enjoyable and rewarding solve.

  4. dtw42 said

    I was fine with the deli and the bacchic, but just couldn’t sort out a few in the NW corner. (V annoyed at myself for 11ac, because I had all the right bits and was just failing to put them together)
    I could see there was *something* nina-y going on – had spotted ‘bencher’ but was expecting something to work clockwise round the perimeter so hadn’t twigged to the back and up stuff; I like to hope the penny would have dropped if I’d got those last few in. Doubly galling since I am myself currently working on a grid that’s got a backwards nina in the top row. Doh!

  5. AndyO said

    Thoroughly enjoyable – spotting the ninas halfway through helped – especially in the NE corner for me with ‘deli’ also being my LOI – good fun!!

  6. thebargee said

    A real off-day for me… didn’t even manage half the grid :-((

  7. SmileyD said

    I have not heard of the ‘Up Helly Aa’ tradition before. Sounds very interesting & exciting – and another reason to add a trip to the Shetland Isles to my bucket list.

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