i Cryptic Crossword 3179 Morph

April 16, 2021

Morph has given us a relatively gentle puzzle with which to while away a little time this Friday morning. I don’t think there is anything controversial, or anything tightly convoluted enough to hold up even improving solvers, never mind the more experienced amongst us. For myself, my first in was the second clue I read, AKIN, followed by IDIOM, after which I worked more or less systematically clockwise round to the NW corner, each clue yielding fairly readily in its turn. Only with the final few clues, in the NW bit, did I find I needed to chew things over a little more, my last in being EVENS.

There was plenty of inventiveness and creativity on display, and it was never at the expense of the fine surface readings throughout the crossword. In particular, the clues winning ticks and smiles in my margin were: KNAVERY, with its neat double meaning of “state”, ROBIN HOOD, EXCRETE, the nicely-done hidden inclusion of SALAD HERB, the novel clueing of “us” by “Biden’s nation” in ONUS, and YAWN. But to my mind there is only one possible clue of the day, which is the excellent 1d: “Fail to consider what Little Red Riding Hood’ll do with wolf and bear (4,3,7)”.

To March 2017 for this crossword’s first outing, and all the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/03/11/independent-crossword-9488-by-morph/

25 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3179 Morph”

  1. Denzo said

    Possibly “gentle” by Morph’s standards, but I found it just as difficult as yesterday’s. However, I persevered as I enjoyed today’s, finding the wordplay consistently both fair and clever, in contrast to yesterday’s by Tyrus, much of which was, IMO, neither fair nor clever.

    There were too many candidates for COD to mention, but I agree with Saboteur’s choice, one of my last in. I eventually gave up with 1a, 3d and 5d unsolved, but all were fair and accessible and I might have got them eventually, or on a better day.

  2. Topsy said

    Once again , not my cup of tea 😦 I guess I will never appreciate Morph’s offerings. Prostitutes, drugs, scatology etc. He may be clever and to some, witty, but I came away thinking of a plukey teenager who thinks wee and poo is funny. Not big and not clever!!

  3. jonofwales said

    Yes, relatively gentle, and thoroughly enjoyable, though there were quite a few I failed to parse, including your COD.

    Observant readers will note that I have a letter published in today’s i, this time under the correct name too.

    • Saboteur said

      Ah! So I see. Interesting point. I heard something (but only with half an ear) the other day about trials using a mix-and match approach to using different vaccines.

      • jonofwales said

        I spotted that. I would have volunteered, but half the volunteers were going to get AZ again. 🙂

    • batarde said

      Yes, I did notice, and cast my mind back to a few days spent working in a remarkably friendly Welsh town sometime during the 1990s. As for the matter in hand, I am bemused.

  4. Veronica said

    Okay puzzle. I didn’t mind it too much today, but I do have sympathy with Topsy. I had two crosses next to clues (1 and 16 across) – neither were terrible, but both made me sigh. Having said that, I did smile at 10 across. The issue is, as Willow said yesterday, that occasional such clues are fun, whereas several just seem juvenile (here) or unpleasant (if also demeaning). I notice that sexual, excretory, and drug references are so common in crosswords, that I now feel sensitised to them – that’s not a great comment on the setting, in my opinion.

    Having said that, yes, several clever and enjoyable clues. I liked KNAVERY a lot for the two meanings of state.

    Jon – I agree with your letter.

    • Topsy said

      I suspect that setters perhaps feel that drug problems belong to the underbelly of society and low-lifes wouldn’t be doing crosswords, would they? The problem is that drug use has no class boundaries. I have a family member who has lost friends due to drug addiction (nice, intelligent, well brought up youngsters). Every time I see references to illicit drugs it hurts me.

  5. batarde said

    Another worthwhile challenge, leaving me a happy bunny. I thought 19ac was frightfully good, in addition to the worthy clues singled out by Saboteur. 20ac, by contrast, was awful enough to be worthy of Fozzie Bear, but of course I still chuckled. No complaints, but Tyrus gets my vote for most satisfying crossword of the week this time.

    • Denzo said

      Absolutely right with 19a, top rate clue. When you get it you know for sure it’s right. I thought the same about 20a when I eventually re-read it as “absolutely not” = “no way” having R inserted. I got a similar satisfaction from few clues yesterday, though I could see it might appeal to a different mindset.

  6. Willow said

    Veronica and Topsy have valid points. Despite my comments yesterday, I too perhaps have just come to accept that you get a certain type of clue pretty regularly these days, as the only clue that really winced at was 1 across, once I realised that “walk streets” was being used as a synonym for prostitution. I have walked the streets on many, many occasions, just for exercise and enjoyment.

    There was a time when risque clues were rare. So rare that a former rugby-playing, hard-drinking, laddish colleague of mine – also one who was highly capable linguistically – pointed one out to me fifteen years ago and asked if this should really be allowed.

    To the nub of the puzzle, however:

    Mostly very enjoyable. Is Kentucky really a south-eastern state, though? In relation to Idaho maybe. In relation to Florida, no. Talking of New York, wasn’t the clue for YAWN over-contrived for such a short word? But I split hairs. Some excellent clues, not least the Riding Hood one.

    • Saboteur said

      Having looked at a map – well, Google, anyway – I’m inclined to agree that Kentucky isn’t really SE, but having northern state as part of the word-play justifies a little latitude (ahem, or is it longitude?) in order to add to the neatness.

      As for YAWN, isn’t part of the jollity of the clue lies in using so many words to clue just four letters?

    • batarde said

      Kentucky is officially a southern state, and usually the Mississippi is regarded as the dividing line between east and west, I believe. It also has a star on the confederate flag, which is somewhat indicative.

  7. tonnelier said

    Once I’d changed channel hopping to surfing this worked out fairly quickly, with NE being the toughest, because of both 1s, 3 and 5 – three of which turned out to be extremely good clues. The exception is 1a, which I found not offensive but just poor.

    Everything else is very clever and entertaining, especially the truly brilliant 1d. Closely followed by 9 and 25.

  8. Cornick said

    I’ve been a big fan of Morph ever since his heavily themed puzzle on British birds back soon after he started, so it’s never really occurred to me that he might be considered risqué – he’s certainly pretty mild compared to some other setters we’ve got in the pipeline – but I scan certainly see how might find the repeated drug references wearisome at least. Maybe the slang of E, H, SNOW etc etc is just too convenient from a setter’s point of view. And it’s quite remarkable how often the only clue in a puzzle that’s a bit smutty gets mentioned either here or on Fifteensquared as having been a favourite or caused great hilarity, so I blame the solving community for that – I imagine most setters aim to amuse, and these blogs are surely the best eedback there is.
    As to today’s, I liked it a lot, especially 1d, although I put the puzzle to one side with 1a and 3d unsolved for most of the day. Perfectly fine though, once I eventually got my head round them.

    Well done on the letter JonofWales – very well reasoned as we would expect 🙂

  9. thebargee said

    Hmmm… a late solve for me and a DNF, just couldn’t get the answer to 6ac!!

    I was feeling fairly chuffed to get as far as that until I read our blogger’s first sentence – it didn’t seem that gentle to me☹️. I was held up for a while after bunging in CHANNEL HOPPING for 8d, but eventually realised my mistake. Quite enjoyed the solve overall though.

    • Cornick said

      My paper also has HOPPING underneath the heavily biroed SURFING. And I didn’t it gentle either, Bargee 🙂

  10. Saboteur said

    Interesting that the comments reveal a range of solving experiences, not necessarily connected to whether one views oneself as an improver, say, or a world-weary old hand. Much determined I dare say by whether one can tune into the setter’s wavelength.

    One of the things I like about the i puzzles is the range of setters and the range of accessibility levels, even if they are not subjectively experienced in the same way. Quite unlike some other papers, in my experience.

  11. dtw42 said

    DNF here. I found the right hand side easy enough (though yes I was another who had to tippex out HOPPING in order to put in SURFING) but then the left-hand side extremely difficult. In the end I came here for the answers to my last three or four: I had the FULL STOP only lightly pencilled in and i didn’t have 1, 3, or 5 at all. Having seen the answer to 1, my response is “pffff”.

    • jonofwales said

      Am I the only solver who, on making a hideous mistake, just writes REALLY HEAVILY over the incorrect answer thus making the copy illegible? As I also did with CHANNEL HOPPING, which seemed so obvious, despite having considered the alternative.

      • batarde said

        No, that’s what I do, too. Didn’t happen today; utterly infuriating when it does because I have a bit of a thing about filling in the crossword neatly.

      • Saboteur said

        No, you’re not the only one, Jonofwales, me too, usually.

        Although when I’m blogging I do tend to not put something in heavily if I’m unsure, on the grounds that it helps if I can actually see what the answer is when I come to write it up.

        (However, today I already had the S from ISOSCELES, so I wasn’t tempted by hopping).

      • dtw42 said

        Ah, SOMETIMES I’ll do that – depends on how near at hand the correction pen is, TBH.

  12. allan_c said

    I too initially put HOPPING instead of SURFING – just as I did the first time around.
    And I see the clue for ONUS has been updated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: