i Cryptic Crossword 3007 by Phi

September 26, 2020

As usual I started in the top left corner – all jolly nice and pretty quickly filled in; Top right – a similar story, possible pangram on the way? Bottom right was tricky to get started with, in part because of the relatively isolated nature of each quarter but it fell in average sort of Phi-time. But oh how I struggled to get a foothold in the South west! 15d and 16a were my last ones in, and they were the only joining lights from the other corners, so it was simply a matter of scratching the old bonce until eventually the likes of DMITRI, TITULAR, and NECKTIE yielded, each presenting difficulties for different reasons. in the end I only got 16a after I’d had a look at the IMDb page for the pretty clearly flagged theme of The GRAND BUDAPEST Hotel, where I learned it had been directed by Wes ANDERSON, and then 15d with its questionable definition (is a BISHOPRIC a religious centre?) became apparent. Phew.

Notable features in the clues this week were a couple of instances of pushing the boundaries on anagram indicators: ‘freedom to’ in 16a and ‘Activity displayed by’ in 5d. Taken in toto I’d say this was one of Phi’s better puzzles, if not quite out of his very top drawer.

COD? Let’s go with 23a Studies book, engaged in stories and pictures? (10)

Here’s the link to the answer for that one, and for all the others in fact.

Well done if you spotted any of the characters (ZERO, AGATHA, DMITRI, GUSTAVE) from the film; I’ve not seen it, so didn’t.

6 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3007 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    Much the same here: brisk in the North, more interesting in the South. It goes without saying that the theme flew under the radar, it being quite the event when I do spot one of Phi’s. In addition to the COD my favourites were 16 and 21. All told I concur with the view that this was one of Phi’s best puzzles in recent months.

  2. Denzo said

    I agree with coments to date about the good quality of the puzzle and experienced similar difficulties. Getting ZEBRA fairly quickly, I told my self to “think pangram”, encouraged by J and V. I’m normally poor at spotting these, themes or ninas, but was pleased to remember. However, I backed the wrong horse and wasted too much mental energy trying to find a Q or Y. I saw the film (as seeing Ralph Fiennes in anything was de rigeur when my late wife was here), but didn’t think it was great. Had I spotted GRAND and BUDAPEST, i might just have remembered ZERO, a major character, and, if stuck, searched wikipedia for the others, whom I had forgotten. However I managed without and enjoyed it, though almost stuck in the SW corner until I sussed mock. My CoD woukd be STA(L)IN, for its cheekiness, AND SNORE a close second for similar reasons.

  3. Guy Barry said

    Polished this one off reasonably quickly without being aware of the film, though the SW corner was a bit slower. 17d seemed a bit overlong for a cryptic definition – I had a few goes at trying to parse it before I realized there was nothing to parse!

  4. dtw42 said

    I started in the SE, which I found dead easy, and thought it was going to be a breeze. Then worked across the top at a middling pace, and came back at the end – like most of you by the sound of it – to finish in the SW.
    I think it was the rubbishness of the CD at 17dn that might’ve held me up – I had both NECKTIE and ID EST pencilled in the margins with little confidence for quite some time, before I finally unpacked TITULAR, which convinced me to bung them in anyway, and then SLIT went it as the last one.
    Didn’t see the theme; haven’t seen the film (but, as is so often the case, I have got the soundtrack).

  5. jonofwales said

    Similar difficulties here I’d assumed were brought on by the emotional and physical exhaustion ensuing from the delivery of the oldest to university, but it appears not. I’ve seen and enjoyed the film, but the references to it I failed miserably to spot.

  6. thebargee said

    I do wonder how obvious a theme needs to be for me to spot it… needless to say, even though I’ve seen the film, the theme went sailing over my head.
    The top half all went in without to much trouble although I didn’t spot the meaning of ‘pants’ in 10ac for a while (not the first time I’ve missed that one). The bottom half was a bit more meaty, but there was nothing I couldn’t chew. I did like ANDERSON, I think it was my favourite of the day. Like dtw42, SLIT was my LOI.

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