i Cryptic Crossword 2904 Anax

May 29, 2020

Things I have learned today: what a “wang” is (although since I left school several decades ago my opportunities for deploying such slang are strictly circumscribed); that an EANLING is a sort of young sheep (and although I have miles of countryside on my doorstep I don’t think I know any shepherds, with whom I might apparently casually converse with such specialised vocabulary); now I know who MOBY is – I think a different clue might have been devised linking it to the aforementioned “wang”, but clearly Anax has better taste than me: and finally a word for “doubles” very clearly linked to the Heavenly Twins Gemini. All of these required a check on the internet, but only after the word-play had indicated what it was I should be checking.

This was a tough – very tough – but glorious crossword. The cluing was elegant and remarkably straightforward. I think 11 clues relied on simple charades, and 10 were insertions, three included anagrams, three included a subtraction, three were cryptic definitions and only one each were a double definition, a homophone and a hidden inclusion. Every clue has impeccable parsing and the surface readings are never clumsy. This resulted in a very pleasing experience and a satisfying solve. It was originally a Saturday Prize Crossword, and the level of challenge was perhaps better suited to that spot rather than a weekday one.

With so many delightful clues, choosing a stand-out is difficult. The CD-plus-D for CAN’T BUY ME LOVE was splendid, but my nomination for clue of the day goes to the remarkable and unlikely anagram in 14ac: “Gary Neville wants training, so showing off? (11)”.

To January 2016 for Beermagnet’s admirable explanation.

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2904 Anax”

  1. jonofwales said

    As expected from Anax this was pretty tough, but enjoyable and inventive too so no complaints. Too inventive for me in places – loads went in on a bit of a wing and a prayer, including, yes, TWANG. But where I needed it the wordplay did help, so a thumbs up here. Finish time about the same as yesterday.

  2. batarde said

    It’s interesting to have a detailed breakdown of all the clue types, confirming that Anax has a wide range of strategies for working his magic. I was not desperately impressed by 25ac, but blimey – one slightly lacklustre clue is easy to forgive when the rest are so good. Excellent value today, for those who are prepared to engage with something fairly challenging.

  3. thebargee said

    I take my hat off to you bloggers that manage to solve puzzles of this ilk.
    Way beyond my pay grade.

    • thebargee said

      Not sure I’m entitled to gripe at my skill level, but one of the few I did write in was BALTI, not understanding the wordplay. Now I’ve seen the explanation, does BI really mean swinging? Not in my book.

      • Cornick said

        Hi bargee, I remember those swinging parties from the 70s my friend’s parents used to go to apparently, but here I suppose Anax was giving a nod to the expression ‘S/he swings both ways’.

  4. Cornick said

    Superb. Some words I didn’t know like Eanling and Geminates, but no need for internet or reference books – just, well, puzzling it out – which is exactly as it should be.
    That Gary Neville clue is in top spot for anagram of the year at the moment; you have to feel for poor old Tramp in the comments at Fifteensquared eh?
    Talking of which 17a COR was beermagnet’s LOI and unparsed, but those of us who did yesterday’s Tyrus all had the benefit of the My/ Cor thing fresh in our heads. Luckily enough.

    • saboteur said

      Yes, I did feel for Tramp when I read the comments. It is one of those anagrams that once known is impossible to forget, so Tramp may have a long wait before he feels he can use it. And the other remarkable thing is – two setters separately discovering such a fantastic anagram.

      • Cornick said

        At least he avoided what happened to me recently when I recently put ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Boaty McBoatface’ both in the same puzzle, only to be told in the comments that someone else had done the same thing a couple of weeks earlier!

  5. dtw42 said

    Well I did need to revert to wordfinders for assistance with the last third of that, and when it starts throwing up words like EANLING and SPEED CHESS then I start to pout a bit. Still, I thought 10dn was very good fun.
    I think any of us who’ve ever set a puzzle will quickly recognise that sinking feeling of seeing someone else use the same construction you’d been proud of yourself for spotting. I know the first time I saw someone else clue “Equus” as “Horseplay?” I felt like writing a letter of complaint.

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