i Cryptic Crossword 3086 Math

December 29, 2020

Yoohoo! It’s me again, and no longer self-insulating. I have the run of Batarde Towers and environs, but will be sticking with the Plague Turret as my operational base because … jacuzzi. Celebrated my freedom yesterday by taking myself off for a walk to Hurling Hill to have a look at the Trebuchet. It stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking Aunt Sally’s Cottage (in ruins): I always wanted to have a go but unfortunately all the ammo’s down there. As Aunt Scarlet says, it’s small wonder that the locals have been referring to the family as the Silly Batardes for generations.

And so to the crossword, and then we can do the fun bit. Math has presented us with a theme of Phi-ish obscurity, so that’s safely ignored, then. For details, you’ll find a link in the comments on the original Fifteensquared blog from October 2016 which may well be fascinating. Mr B says that fish boosts brain function, so perhaps all those codfanglers have done some good ‘cos I found this trivially straightforward; not unentertaining though, despite a few sigh inducing clichés. All told a bit heavy on anagrams and elementary wordplay, but I liked 5 and 13d and 22ac well enough. 8d is Clue Of the Day mostly on grounds of being one of those that you’d think would’ve been done before, but if so I can’t remember it:

“Drifting off, flat fish has raised tail section (9)”

Competition Time! There might even be an honest to goodness real-world prize, and a celebrity judge. All you have to do is comment in the form of a haiku (you can bang on prosaically afterwards of course). For the rules, see Google, or check out this little number:

Five, seven and five
Syllables; three lines and that’s
A haiku, innit?

The winner will be announced when Mr B finally gets around to posting his list of 2020 Tuesday themes, so probably New Year’s Eve. I’m expecting great things of you, folks.

Charmaine xx

29 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3086 Math”

  1. jonofwales said

    But should a haiku
    be seventeen syllables?
    No, not really, no.


    One of my own modest contributions to the genre can be found in the anthology below, though I would suggest not paying the price Amazon is asking.


    But oh yes, the puzzle. Pretty gentle by Math’s standards, with lots of ticks throughout, and a few smiles too, in particular at 1d. Theme? I half expected one to do with ciphers, but was not surprised to find that I was blissfully unaware of the details regarding the actual one.

    More Charmaine please. 🙂

    • batarde said

      Yes … superficial conformity to some arbitrary rules whilst driving a coach and horses through the important stuff is sort of the whole point of the exercise in this instance, Jon. 🙂

      • jonofwales said

        I have though now fulfilled my duty to duly note the above every time somebody raises the subject. 🙂

  2. Denzo said

    Some dodgy wordplays,
    no ninas for the ninnies,
    the theme passed me by!

    Otherwise a reasonable, not-too easy puzzle! Technically a DNF, as, defeated by a very dodgy wordplay at 28 , I lazily inserted TUCKS IN. Where is the indication that Christ = SON? I was also unhappy with graphic novel= COMIC, and CREPITUS is more commonly a sound from a joint. I got 5A from the wordplay, though defeated by the “definition” and 2D from the crossers though beaten by the wordplay; however, seeing 225, both are fair and clever.

    was correctly in the grid
    but I’m not happy!

  3. Cornick said

    Hurling Hill now climbed
    Sally burns the trebuchet
    Best revenge served hot

    As for the crossword, rather enjoyed it in a none-too-taxing sort of way. A theme that even Phi himself might have thought too little known perhaps? Young Neil and Stephen Stills, I learn, so maybe it’s actually quite good…

  4. Veronica said

    It was okay. I didn’t get GIDEON, but otherwise mostly too easy, even for me! Nothing to make me puzzle and puzzle …
    Though some good ones along the way. I liked 23 down for the surface, and had a wry smile over the Brexit clue.
    (But, after yesterday’s discussion, a nice well mannered crossword was quite a delight 😊)

  5. Grodnik said


    My daughter visited from Switzerland in august and endured a similar vigil in our own plague turret. She also survived.
    My appreciation of today’s puzzle is contained in my first ever attempt at a haiku.

    Quarantine will help
    us, today it gave me a
    personal best time.

    Great stuff, please carry on.

  6. Saboteur said

    Solved and parsed without
    Trouble; nice enough, I suppose.
    Perhaps a bit dull.

  7. dtw42 said

    Slate-grey Basingstoke
    skies; cold, yet still no snow.
    The duvet’s siren call.

    OKAY, breezed happily through 90% of this. Couldn’t make up my mind whether 17 was pointing us to the earnings or the earrings, so I didn’t get 21. And like Veronica, I failed on 20dn.

    • jonofwales said

      Shift the “The” from line 3 to 2 and I believe we have a contender for 1st prize. Though really I shouldn’t interfere with the judging. 🙂

  8. thebargee said

    Started late today
    My New Year’s Resolution
    Must start earlier!

    As is often the case with a late start, I failed to finish with a few in the SE corner left. I found the top half extremely easy though.

  9. Denzo said

    As there’s probably not a special prize (as I hoped😣) for getting five sillyballs out ov just three characters, pliz aksept also the followwing submishon, hic!

    I gave this puzzle
    but still got it wrong!

    • batarde said

      Oh, there’s a prize all right, and multiple entries are encouraged. The competition is open until post-prandial drinkie time on New year’s Eve so by all means keep ’em coming.

      • Denzo said

        Just wondering if the judge will be the fair Charmaine or the Right Hon Batarde himself.. I mean, should we keep things tidy or shall we venture offerings of the Punk/Daedalus/Hoskins ilk?

    • batarde said

      Neither of those, Denzo, but we are talking a National Treasure here. Wouldn’t want to influence your creative decisions either way, but tidiness is by no means a prerequisite.

  10. Denzo said

    In view of the season..

    Why did the chicken
    cross with a leopard? – To get
    an “Old Speckled Hen”

    But, seriously, as we’re talking National Treasures, I remember, a friend who does the Grauniad Crossword (beyond my prowess, I’m afraid!) gave me a clue two years ago which went something like

    A is for Attlee,
    B is Blair, C’s Cameron,
    so D is what? (6)

  11. allan_c said

    Starting points of words
    have all in Ko-be using
    a verse form like this (5)

    As for this puzzle
    was the second time around
    simpler? Not really!

  12. PJ said

    Recovery’s slow
    post-ICU COVID but
    crosswords raise a smile.

  13. Cornick said

    If our VIP adjudicator wants a steer – allan_c gets my vote.

  14. Topsy said

    “On Scottish Cattle” …. ahem

    Ayrshire bull above
    Roaming. Sorry my mistake
    It’s just a high coo

  15. […] why either – something to do with Charmaine living it large on a neighbouring Crossword blog, HERE, with cousin Batarde. I have read all the entries, my favourite is by Dtw42 [I accept the edit […]

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