i Cryptic Crossword 3088 Lohengrin

December 31, 2020

So, we reach the end of what has been an eventful year, and what a puzzle we have to end it. Challenging, certainly, but all eminently doable with a little patience, some attention to the wordplay, and an eye for several well disguised definitions. For me this turned into one of those puzzles that, after a moment of concern on finding few easy in-roads, turned into a delight, each clue unfolding nicely with a little attention to the detail. And needless to say a little relief on checking letters going in and likely contenders easier to identify.

At the close there were just the two I didn’t parse on solving – 16d and 25ac – but both are parsed ably over on the other side, and in retrospect with a little more thought I would have too. Perhaps the sudden drop in temperatures has just frozen my synapses.

Finish time comfortably over par for the i, but this was a pleasure to solve, and satisfying to finish without any resort to aids, so no complaints here. First in where I started, 21d, and the false promise of a quick finish, last in 22ac.

COD? I suspect there will be a multitude of picks, because yes it was that good, with my nomination going to 13ac – “Anger left in some boxing matches? (12)”.

Tomorrow I will be publishing my annual review of the year, so do tune in for that as well as the first puzzle of 2021. Happy New Year to all, and to a better one too.

Lastly, as is customary, over to Fifteensquared for all the answers and parsing of the clues:


18 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3088 Lohengrin”

  1. dtw42 said

    Glad it’s not just me that’s frozen.

    I too solved little on the first pass but gradually picked up answers – mostly in a diagonal stripe from NE to SW. The SE took a little longer, and then I struggled with the NW for a long time. It was only when I banished thoughts of LARDERs and (with Bradford’s aid, I confess) managed to think of a different food store, that I was able to break the back of it. I was pleased at parsing 7dn.

    For a real treat, head to the Indy for today’s Morph.

  2. Denzo said

    This puzzle was made more difficult by the setter’s
    lazy overuse
    of (mostly single-letter)
    four of which feature in the two clues which Jon failed to parse, and more in SHUTTLE, which I wrote down but could not parse. After solving the two long down clues I gave up after inserting only a handful more. This was partly due to the difficulty of the crossword, but more because i was not in the mood, having overslept or simply not on Lohengrin’s wavelength.

    For example, no one talks of Chennai curry, so the reference to Madras should have been a giveaway, but having wrtiten down and stared at HARD CURRENCY for ages, I couldn’t justify entering it in the grid. And although well aware of PEP Guardiola, it seemed so unsubtle that the answer to19 would be in anyway connected with footvball that I didn’t explore the possibility.

    However, for those who persevered, there was much to enjoy. My favourite would have been BARGEPOLE.

    • Cornick said

      Nothing lazy about creating a puzzle like this Denzo!

    • Cornick said

      Also there aren’t any abbreviations at all in any of the three clues you picked out for over-use of abbreviations!!!

      • Denzo said

        You’re right on the “clues I picked out”, Cornick – I misread the clue numbers. On the general point.taking odd letters (eg [CHARLOTT]E, ENC[LOSURE], many of which are indeed dictionary abbreviations I found examples in 15 of the 28 clues, some clues containing several, making 22 in all. In my opinion that is too many in a single crossword. But chacun à etc.

        My use of the adjective lazy referred to this overuse, not the setter, and like most adjectives should be interpreted as comparative rather than absolute. I don’t think you’d find this amount of letterplay (as opposed to wordplay) in a puzzle by Dac, Phi, Klingsor, Hob or even, on a better day, Lohengrin.

      • Cornick said

        Well this is getting a bit petty, but I will continue to defend Lohengrin from the accusation of being lazy: He had abbreviations in 13 of his clues, compare that with today where Phi had abbreviations in 16 of his clues. I can’t really be bothered to go back through averages for each setter, but it’s meat and drink to use abbreviations in cryptic clues and doesn’t really need defending in any case.
        If a setter ever did set out to be lazy (I don’t think they do) then the way to be so is to use lots of anagrams, especially in the long lights. With modern technology that’s an incredibly easy way to generate clues.

      • Denzo said

        I have not checked what you said about Phi, but will accept it. My comment related also to odd letters which are not dictionary abbreviations.

        This is indeed a bit petty, but it’s also personal. My original comment was how I reacted personally to the puzzle, namely that the odd letters were an issue which I found difficult. It was not an issue for me with the Phi puzzle, whatever the statistics.

        One explanation could be that Phi, a more experienced setter, was able to deal quickly with the issue, whereas it would have taken Lohengrin, who is probably not lazy, an unreasonable amount of time to find a better clue.

        Another explanation is that what was an annoyance for a comparatively inexperienced solver, such as me, was not a problem for those like yourself with more expertise.

        Perhaps a bit of both.

      • Cornick said

        Sure 🙂

  3. Saboteur said

    I did know that Pep Guardiola is the manager of Man City, honest, I did. 😉. PEPPER was my last one in after trying to get “temper”, as something vaguely meaning “season” to work. Then I resorted to the internet, and the penny dropped.

    I missed the word-play for CINDERS, which I got from crossing letters, and took to be a cryptic definition, missing the anagram.

    Otherwise a good, enjoyable and rewarding solve. A bit on the tough side, and it took me longer than usual, but it was well worth it.

    My nomination for CotD, btw, would have been the superb TRENDIER.

  4. thebargee said

    Nope, definitely not on this setter’s wavelength. Got all the long ones and a few more (including PEPPER, for me the easiest of the handful I managed to solve 😊), then fell gently asleep for a while. Whether through boredom, frustration or over-indulgence I don’t know, but on waking, inspiration was nowhere to be found, so I gave up.

    Having cribbed all the answers from the other side I can see that this would have been an enjoyable solve for the more experienced/inspired/talented in these parts, but it was too hard for me!

    May I wish all a Happy New Year and a less grim 2021.

  5. batarde said

    Without wishing to be branded a sourpuss or a grump, I think this amounted to less than the sum of its parts. Long on cleverness, not so long on entertainment value, alas. It was all right, and I don’t want to pick it apart – just not my sort of thing really.

  6. Willow said

    Personally, I thought this was simply the finest and most rewarding puzzle I have done this year, and there have been plenty of good examples to choose from. Really subtle, elegant clues, lots of humour, all achieved without a hint of pretentiousness. Brilliant! Many thanks Lohengrin, and my best wishes to all contributors.

  7. Veronica said

    I agree with Jon – good fun, with superbly hidden definitions, and scarily hard at first but yielding the answers with careful thought.
    It took me and husband a l-o-n-g time, but we got there! All solved, all parsed. (I’m not sure I’d have got there by myself – maybe.) I really liked it – though I agree with Denzo about the single letter abbreviations.
    There were several excellent clues, but my COD is RADIATE, because it made me laugh when I finally discovered it, after puzzling for ages. Liked CINDERS for the &lit.
    I’m truly impressed by 21 across being 1st one in. It may be obvious when solved, but it was one of my last ones in.

  8. Cornick said

    I thought that was excellent. Each clue had clearly had a lot of work done on it to create layers of deception and misdirection which was extremely rewarding to unpick. FOI was the PEPPER clue, LOI was CINDERS. All duly (if slowly) solved and parsed without aids except for 16d TRIAL RUN which clearly had to be although I couldn’t see why.
    Happy with the choice of COD among several strong contenders.
    Off to print off the Indy Morph now, to which I am very much looking forward.

    Happy New Year all.

  9. John Smith said

    An enjoyable crossword, but I’m still a bit puzzled by 24ac. I understand that it’s an &lit clue, and I presume the ‘child princess’ being referred to is ‘Cinderella’. But has Cinderella ever been called ‘Cinders’? I’ve certainly not come across that name for her, so clearly I must be missing something.

    A happy new year to you all!

    • Cornick said

      Indeed. Standard panto terminology. In Grimm’s fairy tales she has to sleep in the ashes by the fire, so they called her Aschenputtel – ‘Cinder’-ella.

      • John Smith said

        Ah I see, I’m not very big on pantos, hence why I’ve never come across the name ‘Cinders’. Thanks, the clue makes sense to me now.

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