i Cryptic Crossword 2996 Punk

September 14, 2020

Well, I was glad on nipping over to Fifteensquared to find that everyone there struggled too, as I assumed until then I’d lost my touch. Cornick should be happy as he commented a couple of weeks back that he peaks at the start of the week 😉 , but I imagine a lot of other solvers will be floundering. Lots of quite tough wordplay, more than a few obscurities, and a couple of trips to the BRB required. Thankfully the wordplay once untangled was fair and above board, and there was a good dose of Punk’s (in)famous humour to make the journey an enjoyable one. The definition in 23ac and wordplay for that matter too is very nice, 8ac raised a smile, as did 13d. Of the obscurities 22d was perhaps the oddest, as I presume that it’s a common term that isn’t so common in this neck of the woods. Foodie types might have known 27ac, but my tastes aren’t as sophisticated as that. Regarding 1d, I’ll just note that in almost half a century of consuming American films and novels, that one was new on me. Finish time more akin to a Thursday reprint, the bar for both quality and difficulty now set extremely high.

COD? It’s got to be 13d – “Hand, one dispensing with the king’s business? (5,5)”.

To June 2016:


9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 2996 Punk”

  1. Topsy said

    As part of my new attitude to crosswords, I managed a few but didn’t get far so I gave up!!

  2. Denzo said

    Seeing the Setter’s name made me look for a certain factor first in each clue looked at, and as a result I dealt with His Majesty’s business instantly, with no crossing letters. This has to be COD, closely followed by 17d.

    The puzzle was very much the curate’s egg, three quarters of it reasonably easy, the rest either 17d, obscure, or just b…y difficult so, like Topsy, I gave up, wisely as it turned out because, seeing 225, I would not have got many more.

    Comforting to come here and find others still strugling.😁

  3. batarde said

    13d got an “ugh!” in the margin from me. Super stuff throughout, and whilst it was a worthy challenge no references were required. Getting ten 5,5s into one crossword is pretty impressive – I look forward to hearing Cornick’s thoughts on that. 22d did seem a bit of a strange choice, but 1d – well, that’s a funny thing, because like Jon I’ve never heard the expression used but it has certainly turned up in a crossword and not that long ago, either. Seems that it was probably Scorpion’s snakes and ladders puzzle which came up on a Tuesday late last August. Anyway, excellent value today from one of the masters.

  4. thebargee said

    Hmmm… I think I tend to peak later in the week. Popped in 1ac, 2dn and 3dn, then ground to a halt. Didn’t take me long to lose interest after that.

    Maybe I’m just worn out after tackling my first ever Inquisitor yesterday – nearly finished it too 😊

  5. saboteur said

    Very tough -but compelling. I had to put it down twice but was engrossed again each time I picked it up. Lots of clever stuff, and very satisfying. Needed electo ic help for BRONX CHEER, which I couldnt parse even so. Neither could I parse ABSTRUSE.

  6. Cornick said

    I have no idea how Punk does his grid filling, but one way would be to visit CrosswordSolver.com which would supply you with nearly 2000 (5,5)s. Turning that list into such an excellent gridfill is quite another matter though, and the only two obscurities were self-inflicted – he could just as easily have had ‘Largely’ and ‘Earwax’, say, at 19d and 22d if he’d wanted to. Some setters like Quixote deliberately add obscurities, some try to avoid them. Vive la difference.
    Actually JoW, I did find this pretty trouble-free – probably easier than a Monk and on a par with a Klingsor or Morph for difficulty. SE corner the trickiest where I needed 15^2 to see the connection between ‘demand’ and ‘sale’ in 27a. Probably would have struggled desperately if it had appeared on a Friday!
    But hey, wasn’t it terrific? Brilliant clues all over the place. I too remember Bronx cheer appearing what was surely earlier this year some time.

  7. dtw42 said

    I got no more than halfway through it.

  8. imsewell said

    Just finished. Pleasing because I found all the clues obscure until I had key crossing letters in. So it was a grind. Worth it for the Eureka moments. ‘Those booted …’ was my fave.

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