i Cryptic Crossword 2994 Serpent

September 11, 2020

This crossword is quite a remarkable achievement. I don’t think I’ve come across Serpent before,but if this is representative of what is to come, then we shall have much to relish in future.

To be sure, this was fairly challenging, and it took me a little longer than usual to complete, but it was a joy throughout. A nice mix of clues, some readily solved, others requiring a good deal of head-scratching, this was a thoroughly engrossing puzzle. There was one clue that I couldn’t quite parse, which was RETALIATED, although the definition and crossing letters made clear what the answer ought to be. A couple of novelties took me by surprise: the use of “exuded” to mean “got rid of” in the clue for REEK, which certainly added to the surface reading, and which had me puzzled for a while, and “projected” as a homophone indicator in IDOL, which likewise had me going down the wrong road a little distance. But then I do tend to panic when I come across four-letter-entries-with-no-initial-crossing-letter…

That it might be a pangram was a suspicion from the very beginning for me, when my first two in, the crossing JUVENILE first, and then ZEAL revealed a J and a Z. This helped a good deal, particularly with QUADRANT, and my last one in, FILIGREE. I had also wondered about a nina, what with all those uncrossing lights in the perimeter. When I realised that the perimeter actually included each and every letter of the alphabet once and once only, I was filled with admiration.

Nomination for clue of the day goes to the aforementioned 4D: “Intricate pattern young woman said matches everything but the walls (8)”.

To the pivotal month of June, 2016 for all the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2016/06/09/independent-9252-serpent/

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2994 Serpent”

  1. Cornick said

    I’ve taken an interest in Serpent for a while on Fifteensquared – this was typical of his often extraordinary and inventive grid filling. Fortunately he’s been pretty prolific over the years too, so today marks the introduction of a significant setter indeed, Today’s was certainly a cracker, and the Nina helped plenty.

  2. batarde said

    Cornick is being excessively modest as usual, when it comes to extraordinary peripheral Ninas.

    As for Serpent, if this is the way it’s going to be, wheel him on as often as possible, say I. A super puzzle, full of interesting touches and a pleasure to solve. It’s been a good crossword week, hasn’t it?

  3. dtw42 said

    Having the day off work, I was able to take as long as I liked over this one. First 2/3 went in pretty quick, then a bit of pen-chewing for the other third. It was only two from the end (last ones being 2dn and then 10ac) that I realised we have a perimeter pangram; very nice.
    Re 4dn – I spent far too long trying to work out if there was an 8-letter alternative spelling of “guilloche” before finally heading in the correct direction.

  4. jonofwales said

    Yep, a good one from Serpent. I spotted the perimeter pangram fairly early on, which did help at the very close in the NE corner where I’d got a little stuck.

  5. Denzo said

    It was indeed a good crossword week until today’s which I found challenging for the wrong reasons. Duncan on 225 found some of the wording “a bit“ odd and I found some of it too odd – exude instead of exclude was IMHO unfair, though “discharge”, a synonym of both, would have made a great clue.

    I was familiar with THEREMIN, but didn’t put it in as I couldn’t get my head round “small period” for MIN. I neither suspected “Projected” as a homoophone nor considered vain as a synonym for idle, and not having pencilled in IDOL, didn’t have enough to encourage me to work at the wordplay for QUADRANT (which crossed my mind), but which was actually perfectly fair and not actually too difficult. On the other hand, I wasn’t quite sure about RETALIATED (LATER back, I and DATE anag?), but still put it in

    It was one of those where I should have just put in answers without worrying about the wordplay, and, had I spotted the perimeter pangram might even have completed it.

    Having looked at 225 and realised that, had I persevered I would have enjoyed the puzzle’s clever stuff, only adds to my frustration on those which I got but didn’t put in!

  6. thebargee said

    The first few went in pretty quickly – JUVENILE, ZEAL, ELAPSE, POPLIN, ICEBOX. I even thought this might be a Friday finish for me, but alas after slowly managing to fill in just over half if the grid I decided I’d done as well as I had a right to expect at the back end of the week and conceded defeat. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed the half I did complete.

    It didn’t help that I persistently read ‘projected’ as ‘protected’ at 10 ac! Reading clues accurately is a fundamental skill when it comes to crossword-solving! I did give myself a pat on the back, though, for correctly parsing 11ac and 13dn to work out the answers.

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