i Cryptic Crossword 2895 Knut

May 19, 2020

Hard to believe, but it’s been nearly four and a half years since the subject of today’s theme died, and Knut’s tribute appeared a week later. Let’s just say that this is not my specialist subject, and I confess to having been mystified by the hysterical weeping, wailing and hullabaloo at the time. This placed me at something of a disadvantage this morning, but I managed to dredge up the relevant not-so-general knowledge. I concur with Flashling’s opinion, expressed in his Fifteensquared write-up, that this puzzle isn’t really soluble without it.

Anyway, it’s a perky one, this – or infuriating according to your taste. The clues range from corny write-ins like 11ac to cor blimey: I was happy enough with 22ac, but 23d, anybody? Sheesh. The two thespians are reasonably famous / infamous, but you’d have to be of a certain age to remember the cabaret singer, surely? Interestingly (or not), 29d turns out to be a registered trademark, something of which I’d usually disapprove in a crossword, but the penny drop moment was rather satisfying. Is it a fair clue? Not so sure about that. There are quite a few more quibbles, but you get the idea: Knut is one of the exuberant setters. High points for me included the cellist, naughty Kate, and this one which is my COD:

31ac “Refugees embrace Sharon, returning after university (9)”

All told I did enjoy solving this puzzle, but chances are that mileages are going to vary considerably today.

To the other bloggers: are you block editor ready? I’m dreading it. 🙂

10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2895 Knut”

  1. Topsy said

    Despite being a huge Bowie fan, today’s offering left me cold. I dislike cross referenced puzzles at the best of times but nowadays my brain cells seem to be addled and I just can’t be bothered! The only good thing I can say is I have got some favourite songs to revisit…. to the gramophone then 😀

  2. dtw42 said

    And all I can say is … thank goodness my ex is a massive Bowie fan and thereby introduced me to some of his oeuvre (she saw him in concert when she was a teenager, was ecstatic when the ‘Next Day’ album came out after so many years of silence, and was absolutely devastated when he died).
    But yeah, that 23dn … was my LOI and needed a wordfinder.

  3. Cornick said

    Like most things, my knowledge on the subject is patchy, but I did know Changes is the first track on Hunky Dory, and everything else seemed pretty mainstream. Thought it excellent – especially considering how quickly it was created back then.
    Calends yes, Coryza no; I initially bunged in Corysa, but then again I did know how to spell Oryza (rice) so probably should have guessed better.
    Surely Puglia has now overtaken Apulia in common usage, so ‘according to natives’ wasn’t really necessary in 28d.

  4. jonofwales said

    I’m afraid I opted for infuriating, solving loads really only because I knew the song and album titles referenced. A good one for a Bowie fanzine, but not a national daily I’d suggest.

  5. Grodnik said

    For me, totally insoluble without an e-list of Bowies’ oeuvre, so I cheated. With it the puzzle did not take too long. As for 23d, along with our current URTI beginning with cor, the common cold is a word once heard never forgotten. The i on line is keeping me sane. Is this the “new normal”? Stay safe everyone.

  6. saboteur said

    I’m not a fan but to my surprise I was able to dredge up from my unconscious enough knowledge of the subject matter to complete the crossword without aids and in less than my typical time. And I enjoyed it, despite the cross-references, which usually irritate, and despite the somewhat vague definitions like “single” or “album”. And I enjoyed it.

    I think this is a thoughtfully set puzzle. There were plenty of crossers, and the theme was pretty up-front, which meant that someone like me with only a passing acquaintance with the subject-matter was able to access it.

    Only spoilt by CORYZA, really.

  7. thebargee said

    Oh dear, third failure on the trot! Never was a Bowie fan, so it didn’t take me long to abandon this puzzle.
    I dare say I’d have made progress with a list of his songs and albums to hand, but frankly couldn’t be bothered.
    If I don’t do better soon, I may have to take up sudoku.

  8. The tortoise VM said

    A complete waste of time, for a cryptic crossword in a daily paper, when are going to get crosswords that the general readership can have a go at, I had a quick look at this one, gave up after a short while knowing I had no chance especially with the Bowie theme.
    Ah well all I have to look forward to is the “the five-clue cryptic crossword “ and the Codeword & the the Concise, come on mr/s i crossword selector can we not have two cryptic crosswords with different skill levels, especially during this period the lockdown .

  9. AndyO said

    Brilliant offering – despite the four years (maybe should’ve been five?) – and a reminder of a very prodigious talent who’s left a remarkable legacy…

  10. Gem said

    Curiously, I know nothing about Bowie but was quite happy with either Coryza or Corysa (much the same thing but in chickens). At least I do NOW know something about Bowie!

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