i Cryptic Crossword 2982 Monk

August 28, 2020

One of my favourite books when I was a child was Roger Lancelyn Green’s Tales of the Greek Heroes. And one of the joys of being a parent was reading it aloud some twenty-five or thirty years later. So I did know about the ERYMANTHIAN BOAR. But it was an age before I unravelled the anagram and worked out what was going on. The form of the clue was fairly straightforward and the anagram seemed pretty clear – but I needed a good fair few of the crossing letters before I got it. En route, I wondered if I was mistaken and, having got the O from GENIUS LOCI, perhaps the second word was “work” (I had not by that point solved RICE KRISPIES, so a K at the end seemed realistic). On solving PHILADELPHIA, the E made me wonder if it meant “polled” and was something derived from “electorally”.

This was the toughest challenge I have experienced in a long time, and I might have given up had I not been blogging. And I do hope it did not discourage less experienced solvers. I needed help – a lot of it – throughout my solve, and when all the answers were in I still had a number of clues unparsed, such as OPAL and TEAS. RING-FENCE in particular had me perplexed. It still does. I was relieved to find that the good folk on Fifteensquared had a similar experience. No-one got the nina. (Yes, I know, I didn’t think so either).

There was lots of imaginative defining such as “puffed up little things” and some fiendish word-play (of that which I could unravel) such as that in MADE and VIPERS, and apart from the aforementioned Labour of Heracles, one or two obscurities, like CZARDAS.

My nomination for clue of the day goes to 22d, which has ingenious word-play, an imaginative definition and an amusing surface reading: “Picked up a dear bachelor, camp at heart, swinging either way (5)”.

13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2982 Monk”

  1. Topsy said

    Heigh ho, it’s Monk 😦 no I didn’t finish this one and looking over the other side, I could see why. I must have led a sheltered life is all I can say.

  2. jonofwales said

    My only thought while solving, and eventually completing, was that this was insanely difficult for a daily cryptic. It was only sheer bloody-mindedness that saw me through to the bitter end. Oh well, tomorrow’s Inquisitor should provide some light relief. 😉

  3. Cornick said

    Monk bowled us some humdingers today – bags of clever invention in those deliveries. However, for me half a dozen or so were ‘no-balls’ for a daily solve.
    The definition for STALLION, the Tom = Pro in PROCREATE, a Latin phrase I’d never met before and a few others including the COD – which seemed to be lacking any definition.
    Oh well, I did get there eventually and would certainly rather have Monk’s creativity than a puzzle that was merely ‘safe’.

  4. dtw42 said

    In my first pass at this over the breakfast table this morning, I put in TWO answers (mother-in-law and made). On that basis I decided, in the words of Roger Murtaugh, that “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit”, folded the paper up, put it on the recycling pile, and got on with the day’s other concerns.

  5. Denzo said

    I usually struggle with Tees and Monk, and though yesterday’s Tees went in quickly until the SE corner, and was finished, today I didn’t put in a single answer; even if I’d allowed myself 250 minutes rather than 25 would have managed only a handful. I guessed OPAL but couldn’t see the parsing, and correctly parsed VIPERS but didn’t put it in as I thought no setter would ever write such a clue. Altogether, I thought several clues were unfair, in particular 8, 12, 23A, 4, 7,18 and 22D. On the other hand, 9 and 15A were ingenious.

    After the comments in 225 I am surprised and somewhat annoyed that the editor chose to recycle this puzzle.

    • Brakewynde said

      I can see exactly why Eimi chose to recycle this one. He very often picks one with a single solution repeated from the previous day, in this case BOBCAT. A real toughie for even well-seasoned solvers, but definitely worth the perseverance!

      • Denzo said

        I’ve noticed that before. An entertaining twist for the minority able to solve the grid, but lost on the vast majority of us who agree with dtw, therefore insufficient justification IMHO for publishing this stinker again.

      • Cornick said

        I have always assumed that recurrences of words is statistically inevitable and therefore no more than coincidence.

    • saboteur said

      I think Denzo makes a good point. The comments on 225 were at best luke-warm, with some regular and respected commentors who are experienced solvers not completing it. There was also a number of notable absences, regular solvers who usually comment, but who did not do so on this occasion – perhaps because they too had given up. Brakewynde is in a small minority, I guess; I suspect that a lot of well-seasoned solvers found this too much. The comments here this time round seem to confirm the consensus from four years ago.

      So on what basis was this deemed worthy of a repeat?

      • jonofwales said

        I suspect that Eimi, if he does check, takes the comments on Fifteensquared with a big pinch of salt. He used to engage with solvers on there a long time ago, but hasn’t for yonks.

      • Cornick said

        I’ve never looked into it in detail, but it appears that Nimrod doesn’t get repeated at all these days – I wonder how many others fail to be deemed worth a second outing?

      • saboteur said

        Thats interesting, Cornick, and rather a shame. Not sure that I can recall any offering from Nimrod that would merit his being cast into outer darkness.

        Likewise I would be disappointed if we never saw Monk again. He sets very challenging puzzles, to be sure, but generally less impenetrable than this particular one. And even so, as we both noted, this one displays much invention and creativity. But it was out of place in a mainstream daily.

  6. thebargee said

    Much like dtw42 for me, only my two were VIPERS and MOTHER-IN-LAW. I also had a suspicion that 10ac was SLOW-MO, but there I left it, way too difficult for me unfortunately.

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