i Cryptic Crossword 3059 Monk

November 26, 2020

A bit of a rush job because of work, the ongoing saga of the builders, and a lunchtime jaunt to the orthodontists, so apologies… Today’s offering comes courtesy of Monk, and from a distant Thursday, which always meant that it was going to be fairly tough. I duly struggled throughout, and lobbed a few in on a bit of a wing and a prayer, helped somewhat on spotted the Nina in the top and bottom rows. A good puzzle needless to say, finished somewhat over par for the i, but one sadly I didn’t have time to do justice.

COD? I’ll go with 15ac, despite the quibble regarding the name of the ballet – “Ballet held in head apartment on Ritz, maybe (10,5)”.

To August 2016 for the answers and parsing of the clues:


33 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3059 Monk”

  1. Denzo said

    Made a good start by going to the long clue, and “on Ritz” as opposed to “in Ritz” suggested some skulduggery, so that was quickly solved. I also twigged the Cambridge Uni, having fallen for that wheeze in a puzzle about a year ago, (though I believe it was then Harvard, which is in the same suburb of Boston). I was making unbelievable progress for this setter.

    However, I have yet to finish a Monky Puzzle, and this was to be no exception. With the grid just over half full, I ran out of ideas, and METHODIST put paid to some half baked ideas for the two long down clues, which I believe I would never have got.

    However, I enjoyed what I did. FACE CREAM was my fav.

  2. thebargee said

    Like you Denzo, a DNF for me, which is par for the course with Monk. I think I may have finished one of his puzzles once, but that may be wishful thinking.

    I actually got all the NW corner in pretty quickly and thought this might be my day, but I only managed a few more before deciding I needed to get on with the main job of the day – erecting some fence posts in the garden. I’m sure I wouldn’t have finished this puzzle if I’d spent all day on it!

  3. batarde said

    Pretty easygoing for Monk, I found, resulting in what might be a record time for him. Some very nice stuff in there as expected, leaving this punter feeling well and truly entertained. It reminded me of those Times puzzles they use to sort out the competitors in the final rounds of the tournament, carefully calibrated to be quite testing but not completely cor blimey. Quite possibly a ten-minuter for Mr Goodliffe, but the Nina does help so perhaps not. 🙂

  4. Saboteur said

    Just right for me. Not as challenging as Monk often can be, but just enough so to engross me for the duration. Good and enjoyable.

    The nina helped with AGOUTI and THE SEAGULL.

    One quibble. Wasn’t Keneally’s book called Schindler’s Ark? “Story” to me seems to imply “book” rather than “film”. But perhaps not.

    • jonofwales said

      I actually hesitated to enter Schindler’s List because of exactly that.

    • Guy Barry said

      Why should “story” imply “book”? The COED says “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment”. That could be a book, a film, an oral narration, even a song… anything really!

  5. Willow said

    I enjoyed this a lot, but I do have to quibble with NUTCRACKER SUITE, which is a selection of orchestral excerpts from the ballet called ‘The Nutcracker,’ inspired by the ETA Hoffmann story ‘The Nutcracker and The Mouse King.’ Also there is a redundant and potentially confusing A in the clue for 10 Across, and the surface readings of 25 Across and 3 Down are somewhat clumsy. But I did finish, and I did spot the Nina.

  6. Guy Barry said

    I really must train myself to look out for Ninas. I was close to giving up without about ten clues to go, then came here and saw there was a Nina. Worked it out instantly and finished the puzzle in about five minutes after that!

    Favourite clue was probably 12ac, simply because the anagram fodder was such an everyday phrase. Liked 15ac across, despite the legitimate quibble mentioned by Willow (which I admit I didn’t spot).

    My main gripe was with 3dn, since ESC is an abbreviation of ESCAPE; surely it’s bad form to clue a word using a version of the word itself? Also 19dn gave me pause, since I thought the convention in “hidden” clues was that all the letters of the answer had to appear in sequence. I’d probably have got it a lot earlier otherwise.

    We were discussing question marks not long ago, and it occurred to me that 9ac is the type of clue where I’d really have expected one (as opposed to, say, 21dn where it seems redundant). There still don’t seem to be any hard-and-fast rules.

    But a good puzzle nonetheless.

    • Cornick said

      Hi Guy – ‘application’ for FACE CREAM is arguably whimsical, but arguably not, I suppose. The QM on the end of 21d clearly doesn’t fit the answer, but it might have been Monk’s intention to (quite legitimately) misdirect us into thinking that it did!

      • Guy Barry said

        It’s not the “application” bit that struck me as whimsical – it’s the “dial-tone” bit. Very clever clue but I wouldn’t have minded a nudge that someone unusual was afoot. (I got it eventually but only after rejecting FULL STEAM and various other inappropriate things.)

      • Cornick said

        In order to earn a QM, one of ‘Dial’, ‘tone’ or ‘application’ would have to be whimsical… I don’t really see it!

      • Cornick said

        Gosh what a lot of comments, by idothei’s historic standards that is!
        Puzzles in the i allow punctuation to be misleading – like the hyphen here in Dial-tone – and it isn’t required for a setter to give any indication that the words should be treated separately. Indication WOULD be needed if the word was dialtone, but it ain’t!
        House rules do vary a smidgen between the papers, so for all I know that’s different elsewhere. Quite rightly an editor retains the right to set the rules as he or she thinks fit.

  7. Cornick said

    Very well crafted indeed, with some lovely touches, my personal favourite of which was ‘Repeatedly, this’ to furnish the first 5 letters of THE SEAGULL; He’s a great innovator, Monk (can’t believe I never twigged the Monky Puzzle/ Araucaria gag before, Denzo – talk about slow on the uptake!)
    Pretty gentle for this setter I’d say, although it took me an age at the end to rumble that straight cryptic at 23a, even with all the crossers.
    I know Monk does top/ bottom Ninas an awful lot, and there’s surely a limit to the expressions that fit 7/7 or 8/8, but is there any significance to ONE SIZE FITS ALL that I’m missing?

    • Guy Barry said

      My first guess when I saw “repeatedly” was THE THEATRE! A for “adult” in 2 x THE (=”this”) + TRE (which I hoped might mean “fool”).

    • batarde said

      I couldn’t see the significance, but Monk does peculiar Ninas. One turned out to be where he’d been on his holidays if I remember aright, and there was the “holes on a harmonica” puzzle which had me spitting feathers at the time. In order to get the gag you had to be a Larry Adler or Captain Beefheart wannabe … of course, being repeatedly exposed to Phi eventually wears you down to the point that you just shrug and think “ach, whatever”. Must admit that today’s is niggling me even now, but it might have been opportunistic – a case of having quite a few of the letters and seeing a chance for bonus bamboozlement.

      Agreed on 14d: that’s some superior clue making, all right. I doubt we’ll see its equal for a while.

      • Cornick said

        You know he’s running the Maths department at Leeds these days? Well his other love happens to be playing ‘harp’ in a Jazz (or is it Blues?) band.

      • batarde said

        Yep, I think we might have discussed this at the time. Good job his hobby isn’t genetic sequencing, I suppose. 😉

  8. dtw42 said

    Pff. The last quarter involved bunging a bunch in without really understanding them, then needing Crossword Compiler’s “find word” feature for 2dn, 14dn, and 23ac at the end. My marginal note against 14dn was “tsk”, so I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

  9. imsewell said

    I would like to add my own quibble with what I found a gritty solve after two- thirds was in. What is there in 4d that suggests an independent school could be abbreviated as ‘sch ind’? ‘Up-front’ might indicate the letters should be reversed but not the word order switched.

    • Guy Barry said

      I’ve never seen “up-front” indicating a reversal. I read the clue like this:
      “independent” = IND
      “school’s up-front” = move SCH to the front of the answer
      then an anagram “moving” of SIR TELLS.

  10. Denzo said

    Amongst some very challenging and clever clues there were two no-balls among the googlies.

    Although I quickly solved NUTCRACKER SUITE, it is NOT a ballet.

    I seem to be alone in taking issue with FAITS ACCOMPLIS. The English term FAIT ACCOMPLI carries an implication of underhand activity, as it does in French. I believe it is never used in the plural in either language.

    I trust Monk will strive for greater accuracy in future – his puzzles are difficult enough without mistakes.

    • Cornick said

      ‘Faits accomplis’ is in Collins; ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ is indeed a piece of music that accompanies a ballet, but I could imagine Tchaikovsky saying to a mate ‘I’ve written 3 symphonies, 2 concertos and one ballet’. No? Please yourself, that clue was read & write for some of us!

  11. Guy Barry said

    I’ve written a response about FAIT ACCOMPLI but it seems to have gone in the moderation queue (probably because I put too many links in it!). Briefly, I don’t think there’s any implication of underhand activity. It generally occurs in French as part of the set phrase “placer/mettre quelqu’un devant le fait accompli”, so a plural wouldn’t arise, but “faits accomplis” seems to be accepted by several English dictionaries.

    • Denzo said

      Avoiding accents and links, as these might get altered by software, my French Dictionnaire Robert says “Mettre qqn devant le fait accompli = l’obliger a accepter une chose sur laquelle il n’ya plus a revenir”, which to my mind implies that, taken together,the words acquire an additional something – sometimes but not necessarily underhand, I accept – which is beyond the individual words themselves; this is also the case in its English usage, and, as you say, a plural would not arise. The fact that a plural is shown in English dictionaries does not mean that anyone has ever actually used a plural in either language.

      • Guy Barry said

        The phrase has certainly been used in the plural in both English and French – unfortunately my post with the relevant links didn’t show up. If you google for the phrase you’ll find several examples, including the title of a 2014 English-language book by Anna Martin, and a 1975 article in Le Monde about Cyprus.

      • Denzo said

        You’re right, I googled and found a few other examples in French – all in a political context, unsurprisingly.

        I still don’t like the clue!

  12. Christopher said

    Please could someone explain what ‘iceberg’ implies in 5D? If it is examples of healthy food this has passed me by so far in my life.

  13. Christopher said

    Thanks! I do buy them very occasionally but failed to spot the connection. Must have been blinkered due to watching the film Admundson last evening,

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