i Cryptic Crossword 3087 Morph

December 30, 2020

It seems the world has been turned upside down these odd days between Christmas and New Year, because instead of our accustomed Dac, or suitable replacement, we have Morph and a Saturday Independent reprint. Not that I’m complaining, because Morph is always a pleasure to solve. Today was no exception, with always interesting wordplay, a bit of effing but no blinding that tickled me and should have been benign enough not to raise heckles elsewhere, a fun reference to the king, and lots of contemporary references (if slightly less so four years on in the case of a Top Gear presenter even I was aware of, it really not being my thing), which can only be a good thing for our little world.

Things I didn’t know were the Dutch airport, though working back from the definition and ATA would have got most solvers home safe and sound, or how to spell 22ac with the Russian being of little help. Never mind, a time clocked here a little above par for the i, and ribs tickled throughout.

COD? While it would be tempting to list all the clues, because yes this was that good, or 6d which was nicely done, or 21d similarly, I think 12ac just gets it for me – “Singer endlessly nabbed by copper – it’s to do with what’s at bottom of trunk (6)”.

So without further ado over to October 2016 for all the answers and parsing of the clues:


18 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3087 Morph”

  1. Denzo said

    It was satisfying to finish this puzzle and not have to go to 225 to know all was correct, though I was curious to see how OLEAGINOUS, solved from definition and crossers, was parsed.

    The downside of that was more times than usual where I needed crossers to check the parsing. 20A was one of the last in, not confirmed until I had the B because LIMB is not the most obvious definition of branch and climb is not the first thing to come to mind from scale (more commonly a noun). Likewise 1A and 4A were in pencil for ages, which caused a very slow start, though once I cracked WANDERLUST, made steady progress starting in the NE corner and ending in the NW. Having said that, the majority of the answers were unambiguous CONSTRAINT and RESTART as well as the two hidden words and anagrams.

    My only complaint is that the clue for 27A should read “King of the French captured..); I had to look up REDUX. I see that PELVIS is a worthy CoD, but I had spent ages thinking about a tree trunk encased in Cu..! I liked 21d best – it produced a laugh as well as confirming LIMB.

    This crossword had less
    of which to disapprove and
    far more to enjoy.

    • Veronica said

      LIMB took me a while, too. Loved the slight misdirection on scale, hinting at it being a measurement. Clever.

  2. Cornick said

    Bags of quality and cleverness on show again from Morph – very much enjoyed.
    Having said that, I did struggle to understand REDUX, the double definition for SIDE and TWISTER because of its definition combined with the wordplay ‘taken down a notch’ to indicate changing a T to an S.
    Everything else was clear though.

    If you like Morph, I’m told that his offering in tomorrow’s Indy is going to be a bit special…

  3. Veronica said

    What a lovely crossword. What’s more, I finished it all and understood it all (except I’m going to have to assume twister is a type of ball throw or something). Plenty of puzzling and ah-ha moments.
    Basically agreeing with what everyone else said.
    I ticked 14 clues as potential CODs!

    Just to continue the previous days conversation on smut etc … 21 down is how to slide the odd one into a crossword and raise a smile instead of a frown.

    I even looked for a Nina before coming here. None. Ah well, I’m at least learning to look.

  4. dtw42 said

    I had Cornick’s difficulty with 17dn, but everything else was good, and I marked “haha”s against 10 and 16. The scale didn’t fool me for a moment! 😛

  5. tonnelier said

    Los of ticks here too (notably 1d, 22, 25), but I couldn’t finish because of the annoying error in 27. Morph is not the first setter to play fast and loose with French.

  6. Denzo said

    Maybe I’m imagining things, but I didn’t hesitate with TWISTER, thinking it’s a description of a football kicked in such a way as to make it twist deceptively in flight, often after a free kick. (eg As in “Bend it like Beckham”).

    • Cornick said

      I know the beautiful game pretty well and have never heard the term used. Hence I assumed it was a cricketing term, but I suppose now that it might possibly be baseball or basketball??

      • Cornick said

        Collins says ‘a thrown or batted ball that has been given a twist’ but I can’t find any particular association with any particular sport anywhere on the internet. To make things even more opaque, several sports have balls manufactured by a firm called ‘Twister’.

      • Veronica said

        I assumed it would be cricket or football. But Twister is a mystery then! Interesting comments about it – thanks for research!

      • Denzo said

        So just lucky imagination, but I had no doubt that TWISTER was a sort of ball. Could be cricket but they talk about seamers and swingers there. However I was not so lucky with other clues.

      • dtw42 said

        FWIW, Iooked in the OED Online to see it if would give more detail, and it says cricket.

      • Cornick said

        Makes sense. Thanks for putting us out of our misery!

  7. thebargee said

    Yes, concur with most comments, a thoroughly enjoyable solve that I was pleased to finish. Too many good clues to mention, but I did enjoy 22ac; having popped in CHIPOLATA to get the initial ‘O’, I guessed the answer might be OLEAGINOUS (amazingly enough) and backfitted it to the clue. Familiarity with a certain Russian character in a TV ad may have helped!

    The NE corner was last to finish for me, with 9ac, 6dn and 11ac in that order. Would have finished sooner but I seem to have a blind spot for containment clues.

  8. Saboteur said

    I found this tough and had to set it aside for a while and pick it up later, when it all fell into place. No fault of the puzzle, as I had no question-marks in my margin at the end – apart from the annoying misprint (I presume) in the clue for REDUX.

    Sort of expected a nina, and maybe a pangram, after getting EQUINOX.

    Otherwise a good work-out.

  9. batarde said

    All good, or more accurately everything was good enough or better than that. 12 and 17 didn’t appeal all that much, but the whole puzzle was watertight leaving no room for doubt about what had to go where. Sometimes being a duffer at French is an advantage, I suppose. Nice forehead slapping moment with 1ac, which might well have been my leading COD candidate. Oh, and I’m on the same page as dtw42 re 20ac and that “scale” – a read-and-write.

  10. Willow said

    I loved this. Just as a matter of interest, I originally entered BLISTER at 17 D (A-Lister brought down a notch/ blister = a ball of some sort?) but eventually realised that 16A must be STAR SIGN. Completely agree with Veronica about 21 D.

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