i Cryptic Crossword 3096 Phi

January 9, 2021

The normally reliable Cornick seems to be MIA today, hopefully not in despair at missing yet another of Phi’s ghost themes. Because yes, there is one, apparently, and one I’m not quite sure I’ve got to the bottom of yet. But there are hints aplenty over on the other side, should you wish to delve further. For myself I enjoyed what seemed like a straight cryptic, slightly on the tough side I thought, though I was perhaps not on top form this morning. Both 1ac and 25ac threw me a little because, while I’ve heard the former used in phrases, I’ve never seen it set stand alone, and while I’ve met many coal miners, and have heard of other types of miners, iron ones are pretty thin on the ground as far as I can tell. Couple that with quite a few I failed to fully parse, in particular 21d, 1ac and 12ac, this morning saw me finish in a sorry state considerably over par for the i. Which is probably all my own fault.

So before I return to the day’s Inquisitor, I’ll just nominate 18d as my COD – “Expression of appreciation replacing love in marriage? That’s a rare thing (7)”.

And to October 2016 for all the answers and parsing of the clues:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2016/10/21/independent-9367-phi/

16 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3096 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    Humble apologies Jon – a quick trip out this morning turned into a saga – have only just come on to blog now – 3pm!
    Thank you, and apologies to our regulars. Off to look for that ghost theme now…

  2. Saboteur said

    When it comes to theme-searching, I don’t give Phi’s completed crosswords more than a fleeting glance these days. I looked briefly this time, and apart from the Greek letters, nothing struck me, so I stopped looking.

    I found this a bit tougher than usual, but for no particular reason. I struggled with IRON MINER, which just seemed unlikely, and with the parsing of O’CONNOR, where I spent far to long trying to do something with “Oscar”, before realising it was “honor” – but here we are heading into controversy….

    Some very nice cryptic definitions, I thought, particularly SAFE-BLOWING. A good and rewarding work-out, even if a little chewy.

  3. batarde said

    “… I don’t try to be wilfully obscure …”. Oh right, that clears that up, then. I did wonder. 🙂

    Perfectly decent crossword, although 25ac is a bit of an odd one. Lead, tin, copper, data – all fine, but one rarely hears of delvers after iron. Never mind, everything seemed to work satisfactorily. After yesterday’s discussion Phi supplies us with a fine example of creeping Americanisation at 2d, and no, I didn’t like it. However, it’s wordplay, not the solution, and therefore gets a grudging nod from me. Obviously my knowledge of Irish golfers was well and truly up to the job – not – but if you can get the right answer despite your ignorance it must be okay. Right, let’s have a gander at this Inquisitor, then.

  4. Denzo said

    Relieved to find that Cornick’s absence was not for the reason I feared!

    Another workmanlike but enjoyable puzzle of two halves – the bottom half taking twice as long. Hardly any clue was a write-in, and some involved quite a bit of thought, but all fair and gettable, none taking ages, though I wasn’t sure about the definition for GUN. I didn’t parse the unusual IRON MINER, though obvious on 225. More difficult than Phi usually is.

    I thought of GOOD OFFICES long before I dared put it in, probably for the reason Jon mentioned – that I’ve never seen it stand alone. But doesn’t this apply to many crossword answers?

    PEACH BRANDY raised a smile, but my favourite was ORDNANCE; although expecting a plural, the possibility struck me from the R and E, and it was satisfying to take the effort to find it worked.

    Of course I missed Phi’s theme, which, outed on 225, turned out to be even more esoteric than usual, music, unknown to me by a ditto composer, but which diverted me to a fascinating trawl through Wikipedia leading to a great musician whom I actually saw perform many years ago.

    Dipping into Wikipedia is one of my delights in lockdown, even more pleasurable when something like a crossword gives me the excuse!

  5. Veronica said

    Glad to hear everyone is safe and sound. Also relieved this one was not considered that easy … I gave up after completing, oh maybe a third.
    So I dare say it’s all very nice, but I can’t really comment 😮.
    Turned to the impossibly large and tricky jigsaw instead …

  6. thebargee said

    If I may indulge in a bit of muted trumpet-blowing, I found this pretty straightforward and finished in an under par time for me. I agree that IRON MINER is a bit odd, it was my LOI and only went in after I twigged that ‘nearly new’ was MIN(t) rather than NE(w).

    I also thought SAFE-BLOWING a bit strange, I’m more familiar with SAFE-BREAKING, but that’s probably just me. All very enjoyable nonetheless.

  7. Cornick said

    Is there a rule that commenters on Fifteensquared or here aren’t allowed to say what the ghost theme is, but must hint at it cryptically?
    If so, I’m now breaking it: Phi included a number of works by the contemporary classical composer John Pickard. If you Google him you’ll find out that he’s slightly less famous than the John Pickard of Channel 4’s ‘Hollyoaks’, who I haven’t heard of either.

    • jonofwales said

      I wish they would say, because it would save me a lot of trouble. 🙂

    • Denzo said

      If there is such a rule it has been broken several times on 225. There could be a convention that setters only hint. Usually when there is a Phi crossword, Phi himself pops up with a hint. (If he didn’t, no one would know there was one.) Then one or two of the contributors work it out and blurt it out.

      Don’t get me wrong. I hold Phi in very high esteem as a composer of crosswords, but not as a composer of themes.

    • batarde said

      On Tuesdays, when the theme tends to be well and truly in your face anyway, I try to make my picture hints arch and a bit childish. Faced with this one I’d have probably gone for a photo of Patrick Stewart.

  8. dtw42 said

    I’m inclined to side with Denzo today – top half completed at a reasonable pace (despite not having ever heard of ‘good offices’ or the golfer(s)) but then a goodly chunk of the bottom half taking a long tim. Safe breaking is more familiar than blowing (though too long, obviously), and that sort of cryptic def doesn’t give you any confirmation of the letters, so although I suspected it *might* be ‘blowing’ relatively early, it was only when I was getting nowhere with the crossers that I wrote it in on hope. Yes, iron-miner was a bit weird. No, of course I didn’t see the theme.

  9. Willow said

    All I needed to say has been said above! I enjoyed the puzzle.

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