i Cryptic Crossword 3081 Radian

December 22, 2020

As hinted last week I have a house guest and you have a guest blogger. Those of you who have put up with my witterings for a long time will perhaps remember my cousin Scarlet’s niece. Space does not permit me to explain what has transpired ‘twixt then and now, but it’s a tale of modern slavery, incarceration and malnutrition. For more details you’ll have to sift through Scarlet’s blog, and if cryptic is your thing you’ll just love Wonky Words, trust me. Anyway, I’ve bunged said cousin’s niece in the Plague Turret for the statutory period of quarantine, and with some misgivings handed the blog over to her. So, without further ado, it’s Charmaine.

Hellooo lovely crossword people! Remember me? Mr Bustard has asked me to do the honours today, but he reminded me that you’re a classy lot so I’d have to write it proper. “Fret not, aged relation” I said, “I’ll grammar it good, y’get me”? Tell you what, it’s well swish here at Batarde Towers, and the food is well lush. Not a codfangler in sight. What with me being in turpentine and all dinner is sent up by dumb waiter – his name is Scallion and he really isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, poor lad. Not like Mr Onions, who is now in Costa Rica, Interpol reckons. Whoops … I’m going off on a t. Onwards, to the puzzle.

This one comes from everybody’s favourite outsourcing company, Radian, and on this form I reckon they deserve one of those government PPE contracts. Clever stuff. There’s an air of idealistic unreality about it, and for a full explanation of the theme, solutions and just a measly three comments, you should have a look atย this old blog by Bertandjoyce. What to say? I’m giving this a difficulty rating of medium-gnarly; there’s loads of variety, a comprehensive theme, no quibbles or grid oddities and yadda yadda yadda. It’s always the same with this setter, who is Mr Reliable. My margins are bristling with ticks, don’t know about yours. 1, 9, 14, 16 and 17 were all particularly wicked in my opinion, but what do you think? Come on folks, let’s show that Fifteensquared lot what a comments section should look like! There are two homophones today, and 13 is a right toe-curler. 23 however, is my clue of the day:

“Leaves end and start of hole, say (5,3)”

Okey dokey, that was fun. Next week it’ll be the annual theme report, something about siege engines, and a competition! Wot larks, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3081 Radian”

  1. Cornick said

    Jolly splendid to have you back Charmaine; more than one normal rule of engagement suspended today, with a much-appreciated hen’s tooth of a clue at 6d to brush out the old cobwebs, and all told a fantastic bit of escapist fantasy from Mr R., which seems to suit the needs of the times with prescient topicality.
    Off for more surrealism chez Scarlet now – what fun!

    • Saboteur said

      I do hope 27ac was your first one in…

      • Cornick said

        Obviously ๐Ÿ™‚
        Am still unsure as to whether itโ€™s a Double def. plus wordplay as B&J thought, or simply an extended definition, which maybe seems more likely.

      • Saboteur said

        Yes, I wasn’t too sure either, although the pedant in me thought that while the project is certainly a garden, the project is not in a Cornwall garden, but is in a claypit, so I favoured wordplay then two definitions.

        I suppose if that is so it complements CASTLE which is one definition and two word-plays.

  2. Scarlet said

    Oh my goodness! That girl is getting above her station.

  3. Willow said

    I finished this about ten minutes ago and I am now trying to think rationally and objectively. Yes, a very clever set of themed clues, and some rather imaginative and abstract definitions. All good stuff. However, I confess that the clunkiness of many surface readings affected my mindset, made me grumpy, and didn’t dispose me well to the setter. I suppose I went into a bit of a sulk. The fact that WIDE is also a perfectly valid solution to “Extra mushroom, last to be eaten” put me off a bit until I realised MORE could also do. I’ll try to be more positive in future!

  4. Saboteur said

    Splendid, indeed Charmaine! Your blog has brightened up my day!

    It had to be HAPPY, but I failed to twig the Seven Dwarfs reference, so that one defeated me, I suppose. CASTLE was certainly a surprise, and nicely done. Needed to check ONEIRIC, but what else could it have been?

    A nice little puzzle, enjoyable to solve, and so good to have all those thematic references, when our present reality is anything but.

  5. jonofwales said

    Welcome back Charmaine, you have been missed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the puzzle? About middling difficulty, with a theme I sort of twigged but not fully it transpires. The parsing of CASTLE confused me somewhat, but the rest went in understood and enjoyed too.

  6. Denzo said

    Somewhat on the difficult side, mostly, I thought, but with something for everyone. I learnt about ICE FLOEs calving. I thought HEAVEN ON EARTH was well done getting perfect parsing for a 3-word answer. I did not like “rendition” as a homophone indicator for VOLTAIRE – as to a musician rendition signifies the way it is performed – otherwise a clever clue, which I missed. I’m with B&J on EDEN: words 1&2 wordplay, 3 definition 1, 4-6 definition 2. (By interesting contrast, CASTLE was wordplay 1, definition, wordplay 2.)

    I’m with Willow on the clunky surfaces. I gave up with less than half done; I had to go out, but wasn’t really enjoying it.

    • Denzo said

      Whoops, I see I’ve duplicated Saboteur’s comments which weren’t there when I started typing.

      Great minds…๐Ÿ˜‡

    • Cornick said

      Yeah, maybe. I worked at Eden for nearly 15 years, and for us it was most definitely an environment and educational project which happened to take place in a garden. However, I agree that probably wasnโ€™t what Radian was thinking!

  7. Veronica said

    Nice blog. Crossword way too hard for me!

  8. Veronica said

    Crossword way too hard for me!

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