i Cryptic Crossword 2959 by Phi

August 1, 2020

Phi was on top form with this one I thought – a good smattering of easier clues to get us started then some really masterful examples of his work with the likes of 9a FINGERNAIL, an excellent reverse hidden in 1d AFFILIATE and 11d MOTHERLESS. 26a and 3d also got approving ticks. However I shall be visiting my Aged Pater and his sickly legs in hospital later today, where I hope to be witnessing the surface reading of today’s COD, and as a result of its solution. Here it is again:

1a Healing action at work around most of leg bone (10)

A propitious omen?

We also saw a repeat of ideas seen in two recent CODs – 8d FATAL (hopefully not an omen!) and yesterday’s ‘Ivan’ returning this time as IRATE. Given that these things are often submitted to the editor months in advance, we’ll just say great minds think alike.

On the other hand I failed to parse either 6a LOAF or 23a KNOCKOUTS properly, so turned to Duncan’s excellent blog over on Fifteensquared (click here), where in the comments Phi tells us the gridfill was inspired by a list of the least sexy-sounding words in English. Can you guess which ones from the puzzle made the list?

I’ll tell you – it’s phlegm, spatula, mutton, wart, ointment, snorkel, fingernail, loaf, and Keith. He also asks us if we can think of any words which have a nicer sound than we might expect given their meaning – my vote goes to the mellifluous-sounding ‘miasma’.

6 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2959 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Rather thin gruel this week as far as crosswords go, but this was a pleasant surprise indeed. Phi can be very good indeed, and this is the best I can recall for a long time. Happy bunny today.

    Beriberi. Not as pleasant as it sounds.

  2. saboteur said

    One of Phi’s best, I thought. All in good order this end, and I needed to peruse a list only for LOAF, another four-letter-entry-with-no-initial-crossing-letter. They always send me into a panic. Much helped by having done the Quick Crossword first, so I had found out something about Rusian whips.

  3. Henri said

    All easy, thought the definition of warts was not quite right.

  4. thebargee said

    Terrific puzzle! Like others, doing the concise crossword first helped with the parsing of KNOCKOUTS.
    Annoyingly, I failed to get HOLD, having become fixated on HULL or HULK. Seems so obvious now I’ve seen the answer!

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