i Cryptic Crossword 3186 by Phi

April 24, 2021

A puzzle sprinkled with Phi’s hallmark touches this weekend. There were bits of very clever invention like P AND/OR A in 7a which went over my head, deletion-style clues numbering into double-figures, and some obscure words necessitated by a ghost theme relating to the Nina MAHLER in the bottom row. Phi tells us the thematic words come from the apparently wordy titles of the movements of Mahler’s 3rd symphony. I really don’t think we were supposed to realise that. Here on idothei we were recently talking about what constitutes a ‘finished’ puzzle. Perhaps today we could say that spotting MAHLER was more than enough. If anyone feels like researching those themed words though, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

As for those obscurities, 10a PRECENTRESS did ring a vague bell once I’d got it, and the wordplay was reasonably friendly anyhow, 28a is well known in our family since my father made it the oft-repeated rhyme of his father-of-the-bride poem at my sister’s wedding. Sample line: ‘Even Margaret, reckoned the brainy one/ was baffled by 12 down Epithalanium’, but 17d APOTHEGM had me completely baffled.

My COD is 8a:

Love lessened by accepting nothing of threats (7)

To understand how that and all the others work, just click here for Bert & Joyce’s typically convivial and comprehensive blog from its first appearance in the Independent .

Talking of which, Eimi has kindly given yours truly a slot today, under my setting name of Maize (I know, why have multiple names, it’s all a bit silly really) which you could have a go at by clicking here – or else just wait four years!

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3186 by Phi”

  1. batarde said

    A good crossword, admirable in fact, but the Nina drew a sigh. Really, there was enough as it stood, without having to chase stuff up. Anyway, done the masochist’s way without dictionary: testament to Phi’s fair cluing in the case of 28ac, which I most certainly didn’t know but could enter with complete confidence. More trouble with 17 which is usually “apophthegm”, surely? Familiar word; variant spelling. All good, including the four letter entries this time. I think 1ac would be my COD, given the resounding clang when the penny dropped.

  2. Saboteur said

    So glad Ino longer seek out Phi-themes! I spotted Mahler, but very late, and it wouldn’t have made much difference if I had seen it early.

    All a bit of a struggle, with fewer penny-drop moments than visits to the internet for words like APOTHEGM and to check that DE FALLA actually existed.

    PRECENTRESS is welcome. Why shouldn’t she lead the singing? And I did like CINDERELLA. EPITHALAMIA I did know, but only after I found it via crosswordsolver, if you get what I mean. PANDORA, though obvious with one crossing P, went over my head, too.

  3. Saboteur said

    So glad Ino longer seek out Phi-themes! I spotted Mahler, but very late, and it wouldn’t have made much difference if I had seen it early.

    All a bit of a struggle, with fewer penny-drop moments than visits to the internet for words like APOTHEGM and to check that DE FALLA actually existed.

    PRECENTRESS is welcome. Why shouldn’t she lead the singing? And I did like CINDERELLA. EPITHALAMIA I did know, but only after I found it via crosswordsolver, if you get what I mean. PANDORA, though obvious with one crossing P, went over my head, too.

  4. Denzo said

    I normally enjoy Phi’s puzzles, but didn’t like last week’s, and couldn’t get on his wavelength today so gave up with about a quarter finished. Not sure if I am losing my marbles, but the simlarity between 30a and 1d might suggest I am not alone! I would not have enjoyed some of the weird wordplays (eg 7a and 21d) and obscure definitions, about which they were rather polite on 225, knowing that the great man himself would make an appearance to explain the theme they’d all missed.

    I would have had a problem with “deaf” as “unable to appreciate music” considering that the greatest musician who ever lived composed some of his best music when completely deaf, and also with describing Tracey Emin as a DRAIN (unless I have missed something?). I do not appreciate her art, but many do. It is not clever to be disrespectful.

    On the other hand FORESTALL and SUMMER were good clues which I should have got.

  5. Willow said

    De Falla wrote the Ritual Fire Dance which I only know because it appears in the text book Adventures in Music by Roy Bennett, which I only know because I did a PGCEd in Music at Durham University in 1980. Spotted Mahler, and enjoyed the puzzle! Thank you!

  6. Veronica said

    Too hard for me. 😞
    Half completed only.

  7. jonofwales said

    One where a little thought was needed throughout, with a smattering of unknowns that were getable with a little thought. I spotted MAHLER to the south, but too late to help with any of the answers. I wondered for a while whether the top row might turn out to be significant too, perhaps in terms of musical notes, but then got the one that wasn’t.

    Congratulations on the latest publication, that I must have a look at later!

  8. dtw42 said

    Finished at 8.06pm; needed some electronic help. Did not spot Mahler. Could not parse wordplay in the PANDORA one.
    5d garnered a “ha”, but 14d got a “bah”.

  9. thebargee said

    A Sunday DNF. PRECENTRESS, EPITHALAMIA, APOTHEGM (by way of POTHER), enough already!! Pfff.

  10. Saboteur said

    Nice puzzle, Maize! I shall look forward to doing it again in four years time! 🙂

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