i Cryptic Crossword 3025 by Kairos

October 17, 2020

I first met Kairos on Big Dave’s crossword site where he sets puzzles as Prolixic, gives detailed reviews of new setters’ puzzles on ‘Rookie Corner’, and has written an extremely good guide on how to compile a crossword (click here and find the pdf at the bottom of the page). So it’s no surprise that his crosswords invariably present a scrupulously fair challenge.

And so it was today; the word ‘straightforward’ seems to be a bit like damning with faint praise, but probably fits about half of the clues here – at least they were straightforward to solve for any experienced solver I suspect. Which is not to say they weren’t amusing; here’s my COD:

18d Print Starbuck’s warning? (7)

But then there were a good few where the difficulty bar was raised a few notches: ‘up’ as an anagram indicator in 1a, counterintuitive word order in 7a, a tricky clue for 8d LEAP DAY and some challenging vocabulary like PING in 2d, TRUMPET STOP, DUSTY MILLER, HYPOTONIC and AFRIT. That last, as well as being an Arabian sort of genie, was also the name of Ximines’ predecessor at the Observer, responsible for the famous setter’s injunction mentioned by Raich over at Fifteensquared where you’ll find all the answers: “You need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean”.

11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3025 by Kairos”

  1. Denzo said

    I agree tha half the clues were straightforward, and all were fair, except a minor ambiguity on 7d. I stared at a blank grid for a while, beginning to despair of getting any. Then I went to the bottom, spotted VICHY, and the rest of the bottom half went in quite quickly. I thought mybe Starbucks loge was a shot of a mug (which it isn’t!) which served as my wordplay for 18d, unaware (though awake) of its humour until I read Corniock’s blog above.
    The top half was still difficult, partly because, like the 225 blogger, I tried to find a word with T in the middle for 1d, and for 1a couldn’t imagine Trump being better than anything! Although AWAKE, I was not conscious of the controversy about 7d, so entered AWARE, (which I actually think is a better answer), threrby achieving another DNF. I also struggled with 2d thinking only of ruination until the penny dropped (as I spent it) – this must be my CoD.

    • Guy Barry said

      I didn’t think of AWARE for 7d either, but it’s a perfectly good alternative solution, so I would regard that as a completed puzzle! It’s not your fault if the setter overlooks an ambiguity.

  2. saboteur said

    Agreed. A lot of answers went in fairly readily, but then there were a few recalcitrants who were reluctant to yield… I didn’t help myself by entering “Lady Day” at 8d, albeit that I was slightly puzzled by the parsing. This slowed me down until I realised it had to be MELODRAMA at 10ac.

    Other than that, it was an enjoyable and rewarding solve. I had to check AFRIT, but no quibble about the cluing.

  3. Guy Barry said

    Polished this off in less than an hour, but not without noticing all the irregularities you mentioned. I really don’t think “up” should have been used as an anagram indicator in 1a; it wouldn’t have been allowed in a Down clue because it’s not a reversal, so why allow it in an Across clue?

    7a was my last one in for precisely the reason you suggest: I took “miss” as the definition and (“upset” – F) as the wordplay, and I’m not sure if the clue’s quite fair in that respect. I was surprised by the use of a specialist term like PING in 3d as well, although I knew it. Entered LEAP DAY without really understanding it, but can now see the justification.

    The rest was basically OK, and I thought 18d was quite clever. 14a made me smile because (the story goes) the title “My Fair Lady” was partly intended as a pun on the Cockney pronunciation of “Mayfair”. This may be apocryphal though!

    • jonofwales said

      “up” as “up in the air”, presumably.

    • Denzo said

      It seems that almost any word can be an angram indicator these days. A few days ago we had “on”, so why not “up”. It could cause confusion in a down clue, but don’t we expect setters to confuse us? Nevertheless, it did raise an eyebrow here, as did AIL and PING, for the same reasons, but I only complain when I don’t get the clue! PING is in Wikipedia, incidentally, although I happened to know it.

      Interesting story on Mayfair Lady. I think if it was intended as a pun, Eliza would have said “I want to be a Myfair Lidy” or similar. The musical was based on a 1939 American film of Pygmalion rather than Shaw’s 1913 original. I am not sure Broadway audiences would have appreciated the pun.

  4. jonofwales said

    A few odd words dotted round the grid made this feel a little tricky in places, but as it’s the weekend it’s allowed because we’ve all got dictionaries to hand, rather than being stuck on the hypothetical commuter train. 🙂 Finished pretty sharpish when I wasn’t perhaps feeling 100%, enjoyed, with the incorrect assumption that this was the IoS reprint we’ve been long awaiting.

  5. batarde said

    Since he literally wrote the book it must be pukka, then. I didn’t care for it all that much: too many tricksy definitions and not enough clever constructions made it a summat and nowt puzzle in my opinion. Sorry. Crossword of the week for me, unsurprisingly, is Thursday’s Maize in the Indy.

  6. dtw42 said

    Hmm. I see “up” as an anagrind often enough that I don’t consider it contentious. Anyhoo, got *most* of this done happily enough, then struggled over the last three or so.
    I too put AWARE – so it should have been AWAKE, should it? Pff.
    Clear = GUT garnered a marginal “??”
    My last two in – by quite some way – were 8dn and 7ac, the latter a distinctly peculiar clue, IMHO.

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