i Cryptic Crossword 3192 by Gila

May 1, 2021

Gila has some extremely plausible surface readings in these clues. In particular the anagrams, partial anagrams, and acrostic style clues have been put together with a lot of care, and for me that adds a whole extra layer of pleasure. I suppose some of the definitions could have been a bit more cryptic, but I enjoyed the overall experience plenty; chip in with your experience in the comments below.

Mind you, I did have to Google my LOI 1a John MADDEN; Both Cornicks Junior have an inexplicable passion for American Football (one even had a trial for the GB team, yes there is one) so I’ve been exposed to it more than most, but the name rang no bell whatsoever. Nor does Google have him in the 50 faces that appear in that strip when you enter ‘American sports commentators’. Maybe he’s considered ‘legendary’ because there’s a computer game named after him? (I only got there after initially checking ‘Harden’, which could also mean ‘aggravate’ I thought). MUU-MUU and ALLNESS both seemed a little odd in the grid-filling department, but were solvable from the wordplay. Both are the kind of words I feel compelled to check in the dictionary afterwards.

Plenty of ticks in my margin. An amusing surface in 8d NASAL, a believable one in 25d SIEVE, 21a with a reversal of ‘Epicer(ie)’ was interesting, plus more ticks for 2d, 6d, 21d, 23d and 15a. For the COD this one provided a fine penny-drop moment:

20d Strip for very little money (7)

Which also went down well back in 2016 on Fifteensquared. For the hyperlink to Duncan’s blog just click on (new word for me) this bit of HYPERTEXT.

Quick edit: Having just got around to reading Duncan’s fine blog, I wanted to express a slight difference of interpretation; I thought that ‘HYPER’ in 18d probably means ‘one who hypes’ hence the words in the clue which read ‘one flashily advertising’. That’s all!

24 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3192 by Gila”

  1. Denzo said

    By and large, I agree with Cornick: didn’t like the grid, but made a good start on the East side. Delayed a little before I got the right Murdoch, then with HYPERTEXT, though I am familiar with the word, and one side was fairly soon complete with TERRESTRIAL and a couple of letters on the West.

    However, I remember a previous Gila puzzle which was mostly enjoyable and fairly easy but made almost impossible by one or two obscurities. This was another – how many UK residents will have heard of an American Football Commentator even if their kids follow the game? So many other words would have fitted there, so this was indeed MADDENing. I might have got the Pacific islanders with perseverance, but my concentration was already waning; PEANUTS went in without my knowing why, and I should have got EQUAL.

    So, a mainly enjoyable puzzle, marred for me by some unnecessary frustration.

  2. batarde said

    I have nothing constructive to say.

  3. Paul Methven said

    Quite a good puzzle – slightly spoilt (IMHO) by the inclusion of ALLNESS and MUU-MUU, two words I’ve never, ever heard spoken or written! I can attribute (grudgingly) my lack of muu-muu knowledge to my ignorance re Pacific Islanders – but “ALLNESS” really grates – an irritating word invented (I suspect) to p**s off otherwise enthusiastic solvers. Grrrr!

    • Cornick said

      Ha! It’s in Chambers, so nowadays that means I force myself to let it and it’s like go with no more than a shrug.

  4. jonofwales said

    Nice puzzle I thought, not overly taxing. Madden was a bit of a write-in, mostly because of the game it must be said. Muu-Muu while obscure couldn’t have been more clearly flagged, so no complaints here.

  5. Saboteur said

    What Cornick said, really. Good surface readings, and plenty of variety and imagination in the clues. I likewise had to Google MADDEN quite persistently to be confident of the answer, which I guessed from the crossing letters (“harden” hadn’t occurred to me , I have to say).

    An enjoyable and entertaining solve, rather spoilt by the anti-climax of my Last One In, ALLNESS. I’m inclined to agree with Paul above, it does grate on me. I agree it’s there in the dictionary, so its OK, but it was a disappointingly irritating end to an otherwise fine solving experience.

    Favourite clue was RECIPIE, which sort of encapsulates Gila’s inventiveness and good surface reading.

    • Cornick said

      I remain slightly mystified as to why Gila rejected ‘Illness’ for such a strange and arguably ugly word.

    • Denzo said

      IMO for the same reason as he chose MADDEN instead of PARDON or GARDEN. He thinks his puzzles are too easy otherwise. When he finds a better way to tweak them, I shall enjoy them.
      RECIPE, NASAL, SIEVE were all excellent.

      • Cornick said

        I have no opinion as to Gila’s motives, but I can see a strong case for its opposite, expressed perhaps in the formula: difficult wordplay > well-known solution = big penny-drop.

      • Denzo said

        The man himself says on 225: “feedback is very welcome as I try to adjust my style and level of difficulty.” My memory suggests he has commented similarly before. Your formula would be a much more solver-friendly way for him to achieve this.

      • batarde said

        Oh, for crying out loud – it’s just a rummy crossword. Monday, ho!

  6. dtw42 said

    Okay, I failed at the end and came here for the answers to 1ac and 3dn. Having seen them now, I guess I should have got 3, if I’d managed to think of a vertical board rather than a horizontal one. But who the flipping flip is MADDEN?
    ALLNESS was bunged in as a guess, and garnered a marginal “??”
    On the other hand – as others have said, PEANUTS got a tick, and NASAL got an “arf”, which is a sort of a laugh 🙂

  7. dtw42 said

    Ha. FWIW, I just fired up an old unpublished Crossword Compiler file of my own to see if it was worth doing anything with, and in it I see the clue:

    …American fliers left for Hooters? (5)

  8. thebargee said

    Exactly what dtw42 said regarding failure to finish, the same last 2 for me.

    Hated ALLNESS, I couldn’t actually believe it was the answer, but it had to be. Never heard of the MADDEN chap, never heard of a MUU-MUU… I can feel myself becoming slightly irked by (for me, at least) too may obscurities recently.

    • thebargee said

      Aarrggghhh… many, not may!!

    • batarde said

      Well, quite so. There are two types of obscurity in my book: the “oh, look – an interesting new word” sort, and the “how on earth can I be expected to know that, and why would anybody want to?” kind. Muu-muu (a feline vocalisation specific to the central Pacific islands and not to be confused with the similar Kenyan equivalent) is firmly in the former category. Football + American + commentator + video game is pretty much the definition of the latter. “Allness” was downright strange too. I wanted to like this crossword because the compiler is so clearly a nice guy, but it felt gratuitously solver-unfriendly.

  9. Veronica said

    Well, here’s a first for me for maybe a year … spent half an hour on the crossword and completed about a third. No more time because I had too much else to do today. Goodness!!!!!! 😊😊😊😊
    What I did I enjoyed.

  10. Willow said

    Well, I very much enjoyed this, obscure words and all. It made me think, and I found it very satisfying to complete, although it did take two sittings. I don’t understand why people don’t like ALLNESS. It might not be very common, but the construction is exactly the same as WHOLENESS, surely?

  11. Dave said

    Hurrah, one I can finish! Got stuck as I spelt eyrie aerie 😦 but finally figured that out.

    Had to Google muu- muu allness & madden.

    Couldn’t parse 28 or 21 & 21 but at least they were filled in. A bit dubious about foreign words epicurey(!) muu-muu & foreign references (madden) but don’t want to sound too much like Farage!

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