i Cryptic Crossword 2901 Alchemi

May 26, 2020

We know by now what to expect from Alchemi: nicely polished crosswords with a good variety of clues, and a difficulty level sufficient to keep things interesting without risking a cerebral haemorrhage. Today’s themed puzzle answers that description to a T, and there’s a pleasing twist with some of the 22d appearing as wordplay rather than solutions.

Quibbles are rare with this setter, but here we go: the definition for 16ac is supported by Chambers of course, but ferrous metallurgists could be forgiven for losing their temper. Mind you, it’s come up before so forewarned is forearmed. Otherwise … nope, it all seems fine and dandy to me. We have a couple of odd words in the NE corner and a slightly dubious plural cheese, none of which bothered me much. Why is 17d hyphenated but not 27ac, you may well ask. Dunno. Anyway, on to the standouts. I liked 7, 15 and 29 in particular, but those theme-as-wordplay clues really tickled me. Plaudits therefore for 11, 19 and 28, of which the latter is my COD:

“Anger smelly one of the 22 (7)”

All good, inventive stuff, then. Here’s the April 2016 Fifteensquared blog, where blogger and commentariat were similarly impressed.

6 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2901 Alchemi”

  1. dtw42 said

    Yes, I did better with this one than with yesterday’s. Felt 17dn was a bit complicated, and there were a couple of new words to look up in the dictionary (4ac and 6dn – but the wordplay made it clear enough what they *ought to* be), but all fine and dandy. LOI was 19ac, which I’d noted in the margin earlier but without parsing and then had to come back to at the end.

  2. Cornick said

    A very rare (nowadays) DNF for me. Gave up on the NE corner.
    Prior to that it had been a steady fill, then a rush of Franks once I found the key to the gateway clue, then increasingly frustrating until I gave up.
    Not my day.

  3. thebargee said

    A surprising and very satisfying finish for me, although I was silently cursing all the cross-references until I guessed at 2d which in turn led me to the answer to 22d.
    I struggled with the NE corner and had to google a couple of the answers. LOI was 8d which I couldn’t parse – no wonder really, as I’d put in MARKET instead of MARTEN!

  4. jonofwales said

    Extremely tricky I thought. The gateway clue took an age to fall, and even then I struggled to pluck the (sometimes obscure) required 22d’s from thin air to sort out the wordplay. A finish time about twice par for the i, with much frustration throughout. At the close again, I’m afraid to say, I felt more relieved than entertained.

  5. saboteur said

    I had no issue with ANNEALED as “strengthened”, but was disproportionately niggled by the questionable plural MOZZARELLAS. I did have to check online for ABOMASUM and MARATHA, and I have some sympathy for Cornick as I too found the NE quadrant containing those two words to be quite tough.

    I’m glad I didn’t give up on that bit, though, as entering SCHOONERS brought back memories of elderly great-aunts drinking sherry on rare outings to hotels for dinner.

    Otherwise, I think Batarde summed this up nicely. It was tough, but not outrageously so, and always entertaining. A great sense of satisfaction when the yellow tick appeared!

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