i Cryptic Crossword 3055 by Phi

November 21, 2020

As far as I can recall, Phi is the only setter for the i to have used ‘Rugby Posts’ in a clue to represent HH, and I’ve been racking my brains this morning trying to decide if I do indeed remember it as a thing from my student days (Phase 1 of my crosswording life before the long pre-i hiatus) or whether that’s a false memory… not sure. Anyhow, if Phi wanted to establish it as a convention on the map of Crosswordland, he couldn’t have done better than today’s creation, which was a lot of fun and sprinkled with pairs of ‘rugby posts’ in fully six of the answers plus 29a itself.

Mostly a fairly quick solve – especially if you got the gateway clue early on – but I was beaten by the parsing of 30a FETE at the end, and in the opposite corner my last ones in were the intersecting 1a and 1d; the clue for DISH being rather weak, I thought, compared to most of the puzzle, and the term DOUGHBOYS being a new thing learned – Saboteur should like that. On the positive side I loved the clues for 11a COURGETTE (for some reason the botanical pedants don’t seem to ever complain that it should be called a fruit – go figure) and for 21a LOWESTOFT.

Here’s my nomination for COD, which is a masterful example of a setter, seemingly having painted themselves into a corner, deftly getting out of it.

6d Wells, say, including one with 29 fish – soles of extended size (4,5)

Click here for all the answers from Head Honcho Gaufrid at Fifteensquared.

27 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3055 by Phi”

  1. jonofwales said

    Little to say today – a great puzzle that was on the easy side after a slow start. The double H’s raised a smile, though the so called gateway clue was one of the last to fall. Phi at the top of his game.

  2. Denzo said

    Somebody once said “Rugby is a game played by men with odd shaped balls”, so, having decided that 29A needed to be solved sooner rather than later, and the ball being the most unique feature of rugby, was about to write it in but realised it didn’t parse – neither did R UNION. POSTS parsed, but didn’t seem sensible. Oh dear! HATER was not too difficult, and the penny dropped when I found I was HH short in HEIGH HO.

    This was, as Cornick suggests, a clever invention by Phi, which must have made the puzzle far more of a challenge for the setter than the solver. I really enjoyed it, but sadly it was a DNF for me. I couldn’t parse 27A, as I couldn’t get away from the “certainty” that “(employment) arrangement ” was the definition, the second time this week this has happened – when will I learn? And I didn’t notice that I hadn’t even tried 30A.

    The lazy AP for appearance was IMO below Phi’s usual standard (or is it an abbreviation I don’t know?) and I didn’t know DOUGHBOYS or SLOUCH HAT, though I often wear the latter in summer. I spent a little too long fixated on COURTIERS for 11A, until I realised I only needed some of the word, so I will name that my CoD, but this was full of good stuff, and Phi is to be congratulated on finding so many HHs.

    • Cornick said

      For abbreviations to be accepted by the editor they must appear in one of Chambers, Collins or the Oxford Dictionary of English (single volume edition). As AP is in neither of the former, I presume it must be in the ODE. Didn’t like either!

    • Guy Barry said

      “Phi is to be congratulated on finding so many HHs.”

      Surprised that WITHHOLD didn’t make an appearance – the only non-compound word I know with a double H.

  3. Topsy said

    A DNF for me today, not for the first time this week. I doubt I will ever get “goes” into my head. I had “miss” for 1a so no chance of completion. Ah well…. 23a šŸ™‚

  4. batarde said

    Completely ignored 29 for most of the puzzle, but tumbled to the HH business early on with 10ac, and thought to myself “aha! rugby posts”. The phrase was the last thing I wrote in. This was a pleasure to solve and it shows how good Phi can be: it’s also nice to get a different kind of complication for a change. So, is it new? I’m absolutely positive I’ve seen it before, possibly in a grid with big black “H”s, but don’t ask me to provide chapter and verse, please.
    Wholeheartedly agree with Denzo that “apparently” for AP is lazy, but whilst it isn’t yet a commonplace it has come up a few times, unfortunately. It’s in Chambers 13 Revised.

  5. Jayjay said

    Like batarde, I think I’ve seen an ‘H’ crossword long ago, where the grid featured the shape of the letter and every answer began with (?) H. I keep no records, so that’s the end of that speculation. This one kept me smiling throughout. Very nice device, and the entry clue was eminently gettable. Thanks to Phi and Cornick.

  6. Saboteur said

    Indeed, Cornick: I was pleased to extend my vocabulary today with my only visit to the internet, having correctly guessed it from the parsing and the crossers.

    I too couldn’t parse FETE, although it was easily guessed. I got the gateway clue very quickly and guessed the intention and so I was able to solve this puzzle fairly quickly. It’s a good and clever gimmick and I enjoyed this more that is typical for Phi.

  7. Guy Barry said

    Well, I’m feeling very stupid today. I, too, got the “HH” device early on and completed all the clues containing it without much difficulty. Couldn’t work out 29ac at all, and left it until nearly the end, at which point the best I could manage was RUGBY BOOTS. Had no idea why “boots” = “online comments”, and assumed that HH must be the name of a well-known brand of rugby boots! Duh.

    Not my only wrong answer: last one in was DASH for 1a, on the grounds that “dash” = “put paid to” (as in “dashed hopes”), and a “dashing” beauty! Oh well… not as stupid as RUGBY BOOTS anyway šŸ™‚

    A few quibbles on the ones I did get right: apart from AP in 13ac (which no one liked, it seems), why ICE = “reserve” in 22d? Is the UVULA (5d) really “part of the mouth” (it’s in the back of your throat)?

    First one in was 7d, favourite was 16d (mainly because I used to be one). Good puzzle, if a bit frustrating at times.

    • Denzo said

      Keep it on ice?

    • batarde said

      Rightly or wrongly I’ve always taken this to refer to the frosty demeanour or froideur (smashing word) of a person determined to maintain their social distance in the pre-Covid sense. Chances are that there’ll be some suitable supporting quotations to be had, but I’m reminded of the speech bubbles with icicles on them in the Asterix books.

      • Guy Barry said

        Certainly “icy” is used in the associated sense (e.g. “an icy stare”). For the noun, the OED Online has mainly metaphorical uses like “the ice in her heart started to crack”. I suppose there’s a fine line between metaphorical and non-metaphorical meanings in this instance.

  8. Guy Barry said

    Since Jon commented on the pun in yesterday’s Concise (didn’t buy the paper but it was FORTY CHEWED – very nice!), I’d just like to say that today’s appears to be the product of a twisted mind šŸ™‚

  9. dtw42 said

    FETE was certainly the one whose parsing had me scratching my head the longest ā€“ did twig in the end though. Unlike my DNF in the concise! The top-right corner with the elevator inventor and the bathe stared at me blankly until I googled the former. Pah!

  10. Polly Fonnick said

    ‘AP’ in this puzzle, used for apparently (not appearance), is in the 2003 Chambers as ap., with full point.

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