i Cryptic Crossword 3020 eXternal

October 12, 2020

eXternal welcomes us to the start of another week with a puzzle that was three-quarters pretty plain sailing, and one-quarter being that to the SW somewhat chewier. In retrospect as two of the clues that held me up were anagrams I don’t really know why, apart from a careless crossing SCOUTED for 18d. Perhaps I just ran out of steam. 7d I suspect on a better day I would have got in no time at all, and hence the rest. Lots of fun to be had along the way nevertheless, with impeccable wordplay, and nothing that most solvers shouldn’t be able to get with a little patience. A pretty good start to the week, finished about par for the i.

COD? Let’s go with 26ac – “Small hero nervous of big dragons (5,7)”.

To July 2016:


13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3020 eXternal”

  1. Denzo said

    I enjoyed this puzzle though it was not all easy despite quite a few anagrams. The NE corner went in fairly quickly, then it got slower as I progressed anticlockwise. Held up on 7d thinking GAME PRESERVE was some sort of partridge chutney rather than the same as a Game Reserve. Not a Tolkein fan, held up on 26a, but having the B and suspecting a G vaguely remembered a Baggins from having read half o0f “The Hobbit” and Wikipedia rescued me.
    LOI was 15d; I thought beetroot for red serving for acting and preparing for REDACTING all a bit stretched, but decided the clue was fair and succumbed.

    My favourite was 21 across where “sent” as a verb in the answer is cunningly altered to an adjective in the smooth surface.

  2. batarde said

    Enjoyed that. A lot of the wordplay needed approaching sideways, mind, and like Denzo I am dubious about that beetroot. More of a perylene maroon if anything. Nonetheless, it was a fun puzzle free of chestnuts, and I particularly liked 7 and 19.

  3. saboteur said

    I’m not a Tolkien fan either, but I did see the films, having at the time a teenager who was keen, so I did know about FRODO BAGGINS. Very neat clue.

    A little tougher than usual for a Monday, but no quibbles or queries on completion.

  4. Cornick said

    I was a massive Tolkien fan in my childhood – it sort of picked up where Narnia left off, and I still retain a fondness for the memories, so yes, a worthy COD.
    However, my experience was a little different Jon, with 3/4 going in tic-tac-toe style then a real struggle to get through the SE corner. noble > Proud, preparing > Redacting, advance > Come, germs > Origins; none yielded to the jolly old brain thesaurus, so it was the rather fun but definitely tricky Pope II that came to the rescue.

  5. thebargee said

    One of those days when an initial session earlier in the day didn’t prove very fruitful. On returning to the puzzle this evening, everything dropped into place in no time at all and I was left 1ac! LOI was 20dn, the idea of germs as bugs being too firmly lodged in my brain.

    • thebargee said

      Meant to ask the panel – is ‘review’ a recognised reversal indicator?

      • Denzo said

        Probably not IMHO, but it is IMHO an acceptable anagr ind (especially if Phi can use ON as such!). Every reversal is also an anagram.

      • Cornick said

        I have several long lists of indicators on my computer and ‘review’ is indeed there. My feeling is that the less satisfactory indicators should only be used either to enable cracking good surface reading or else reluctantly as a last resort.
        A quick glance at the list makes me wonder if ‘After taking up command’ mightn’t have worked better – but that sort of fiddling about is something that can be very time consuming!

      • jonofwales said

        “Review”, to look back on something? It sort of works, if you squint.

  6. imsewell said

    A fine Monday crossword. Panic for ten minutes with no foothold, then a gradual growth in confidence leading to a smooth finish without any internet help! 2d was the turning point, second in and the iffiest clue, imo.

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