i Cryptic Crossword 3137 Nestor

February 26, 2021

It’s been a good week for crosswords – especially if you like a challenge. And if you like a challenge, this was certainly one to get your teeth into. I would rate it as tough.

But only tough while you’re doing it, if you see what I mean. Each clue that I struggled with seemed obvious after it was solved. And that’s the mark of a tough-but-satisfying crossword, in my book.

Since I was blogging I was particularly alert to the possibility of a nina, and I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t see the connection between top and bottom, and I wondered if the ninas signified a theme. But no. No theme and no connection, other than enumeration.

Some clues seemed particularly chewy, and I struggled to unravel the word-play for CYBERTERRORISM and ACUTE ANGLE. As for SUE – did anyone manage to parse it? I dare say this clue could provoke controversy. You can read what the setter has to say about it in the original Fifteensquared blog.

So many good clues to short-list: STRANGEWAYS, SCRAP IRON and ENGLISH CHANNEL were all impressive. But my Clue of the Day nomination goes to the marvellous 21ac: “Poles bound by Latin and English instructions to seize reptile (6,5)”.

16 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3137 Nestor”

  1. Denzo said

    Agreed this was a challenge, but less enjoyed than yesterday’s. I got about a dozen fairly quickly, particularly liked 1d and 13a. Eventually I solved 3d but did not like it. Alyone who doesn’t follow sport is likely to struggle with this clue. Deep is not an adequate definition – the clue gives no hint that any sport is involved.

    I realised that, as a cricket follower, I was lucky to have solved this clue, but I was only part way through the puzzle and there would probably be other esoteric clues which would evade me. So at this point I decided to give up and put Nestor on my short list of setters on whom I am willing to spend only a very limited amount of time. Looking at 225, there are several more I would not have enjoyed.

    We saw yesterday that it is possible to compile a very challenging crossword which is also both precisely and fairly clued. I began to have my doubts yesterday when thinking of EXALTATION, which looked likely from the parsing and crossers, but, although someone “having a lark” might feel exalted, this seemed too much of a stretch for Klingsor. So I researched and all was well when I found a meaning which either I had forgotten or never knew.

    However, I’m sure others will disagree, having enjoyed this!

  2. Veronica said

    Nope. Too hard for me.

  3. batarde said

    Rummy old crossword – strong contender for the idothei Weird One Of The Month award, if such a thing existed. It seemed fair enough for the most part, assuming that it’s aimed at persistent solvers with a bit of time on their hands. SUE however, is unfortunate: it would have been very good were “sub” not short for a word with an “e” on the end, leading Sil van den Hoek to conclude that it was a “scoop out the middle” sort of clue and a bit rubbish. Like me. Nothing to indicate that it was worth expending any more mental effort on it except the italics, which didn’t tell me much. So right answer; wrong parsing; not bovvered. I don’t much care for 23d, which has a Trumpish sort of ring. Otherwise, pretty good fun, especially guessing the spelling of the Welsh town before looking it up (sorry, Jon). Agreed on the COD, which is proper natty.

    Another crossword week that was by no means devoid of instructive features: nice one, Eimi – ta ever so. 🙂

    • Cornick said

      Agreed on 23d, which is indicated as being derogatory in the dictionary. It’s curious that derogatory terms like ‘squaw’ for example are not allowed in crosswords, but some targets are permissible.

  4. jonofwales said

    The Welsh town it will come as not surprise was my FOI (and a bit of a write-in at that), swiftly followed by some of the surrounding answers. This will be a quick one then, I thought, but how wrong I was. Spotted the possibility of a Nina pretty quickly, which helped no end, but still, this was a bit of a slog. In retrospect nothing looked that difficult, which was indeed a sign of a good puzzle, albeit an exhausting one. Thankfully regarding 15ac the correct Trident-carrier was one I thought of pretty early on.

    • Denzo said

      Spelling DOLGELLAU not a problem for me. Just don’t ask me to pronounce it! I thought of MASAI, but realised I’d forgotten exactly where they came from, and google corrected my spelling to MAASAI. Weird.

  5. dtw42 said

    7.35pm and I have just scraped my way to within three of the end, given up and come here. Hey ho.

    There’s a name for the sort of word that ‘grounded’ turns out to be – where both sets of alternate letters also make real words … but I can’t remember what it is. So that’s useful, ahem.

  6. Cornick said

    Yowser! I had a brief look at this last night but it soon became clear that it was one for a morning solve, so I put it off till my brain had had its statutory 7 hours R&R.
    All solved eventually – although after the first few each one seemed to require a lot of thought. I didn’t bother parsing SUE at the time, Saboteur, but upon reading the question in your blog above, the letter-shaving idea did pop into my head. FWIW I’d say that’s perfectly fair and I dare say if we met it more often (several years since we’ve seen it here I think) we’d all be fine with it.

    • Saboteur said

      B > E, G > C, O > C, W > V? Are there any others?

      • Cornick said

        Erm, trying to remember – E>F is a similar sort of idea which rings a bell, so there may well be a few… Not something I’ve ever used myself, but I applaud Nestor for doing it in a 3-letter clue, which for my money is where novelty-style clues like this sit most happily.

      • Saboteur said

        Agreed. If you are going to try something innovative and potentially controversial, then a three-letter entry with crossing first and third letters is about as safe as it comes.

  7. Willow said

    This is the hardest puzzle I have done for years. I think the second hardest was this week too …

    I very nearly agree with Saboteur:

    But only tough while you’re doing it, if you see what I mean. Each clue that I struggled with seemed obvious after it was solved. And that’s the mark of a tough-but-satisfying crossword, in my book.

    The clue for CYBERTERRORISM was so contorted that I would go as far as calling it perverse. And that for SUE was simply unbelievable. But I loved the clues for CARPET SNAKE and DICAPRIO. After what seemed eternity I completed and parsed everything, apart from SUE. I had to put that in and hope for the best.

    Also spotted the Nina, which helped with two clues, but I still don’t understand its relevance, unless it’s some sort of reference to BT?

    On the whole, a real slog, but worthwhile in the end. But then, I do have the time to attend to this sort of thing. Many others do not, and I don’t blame them if they gave it up as a bad job.

    • Cornick said

      If you like producing puzzles with peripheral Ninas, it can be tricky to come up with nifty ideas sometimes. But grids are supposed to be symmetrical of course, which means that B-MOVIE and MODEL-T fit into with symmetry quite pleasingly. And that, according to Nestor on Fifteensquared, is really all there is to it!

  8. Saboteur said

    I guess that a lot of people who attempted to solve this would have simply given up. Perhaps it was too tough for even a Friday, which seems of late to have become the day for challenging puzzles.

    It took me a very long time (I think I’d be embarrassed to say how long) and I did resort to an awful lot of electronic help, scouring lists for inspiration, etc. How I got the blog out in good time I do not know – hence my untypical brevity. Like Willow, I had the time for solving a tough one, and not everyone would. Having the time, I was able to appreciate it. Not a luxury available to all.

  9. The Nanas said

    Working behind as usual but we did complete this eventually but with many words put in because they fitted and the parsing, at least partially, beyond us. Always pleased to come here and find that others have found it tricky as well!! No doubt 225 will parse the clues for us do we can see how those we entered blind or possibly got wrong we’re constructed. The great thing about these blogs is that we can see how about to all worked and stow away information to use another day!
    Thanks to all for entertaining and informative blogs and comments.

    • Saboteur said

      Keep going! What you are doing is the best way to improve! You’ll catch up in due course.

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