i Cryptic Crossword 3194 Radian

May 4, 2021

Today’s rather loose ghost theme concerns people whose careers lie in ruins, or 14ac in other words. Of late Radian’s Tuesday appearances have been quite challenging and this puzzle is by no means trivially straightforward, with some tricky constructions and vocabulary which does not come up every day. Good: this I like. What I didn’t particularly appreciate were the two American soldiers and the use of a setter’s name as a component. This isn’t unprecedented, but it feels cliquey.

No dictionary required this time, although in the case of 1d the chances of me spelling it correctly in other contexts would be remote. You can, however, depend on the wordplay. Features of interest include but are not confined to some pretty complex constructions (eg. 9, 10 and 25ac), a bit of whimsy (4ac, 11 and 19d), a couple of audacious homophones (17ac, 7d), and two notable oddballs: the unusually oblique 13ac and the very nice spot at 8d. The last two are obvious COD contenders, but my choice is 24ac:

“Choice of letters with unknown old duchy (8)”

For solutions and banter it’s back to March 2017 for Duncan’s Fifteensquared write-up.

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3194 Radian”

  1. Cornick said

    Too stiff a challenge for me to enjoy much really, and I ended up using a Wordfinder at the death for some in the NE corner, my knowledge of rocket fuels not being up to scratch, evidently.
    Agreed that the use of Anax in the clues was unfair, especially as he only appears a couple of times a year in the i these days (a setter whom I’ve never met did this to me once, and I was mortified) but i didn’t like that CoD unfortunately. ‘Choice of letters’ = N or M? – surely it could have been anything! True, we were able to ‘back-parse’, but I thought it decidedly unhelpful when compared to 4a ‘wife or daughter’ = W or D which was specific and therefore much more to my taste.

    • Cornick said

      Apologies. “What is your Christian name, answer N or M” is from the Book of Common Prayer, so it is specific. And furthermore my Aged P. trots it out from time to time, so I should have realised.

      • Denzo said

        As I was reminded by 225, N or M? is also the title of a story by Agatha Christe, (going fdrom the sublime to the ridiculous or vice versa, you decide?). So I would concede a worthy CoD, though far to obtuse for me!

  2. jonofwales said

    Agreed with Cornick above – I sort of lost interest at the close, which I put down to feeling disgruntled after the Bank Holiday weekend. Perhaps it wasn’t just me then!

  3. Denzo said

    Not for me, so a DNF. This setter stretches definitions too far for me.

    The NW corner, helped by the uppercase D in 1a, went in surprisingly quickly considering my memory of Radian as difficult. I had the A and C in 14a, but didn’t bother to see if ARCHAEOLOGISTS parsed, because many such are young although they study old artefacts, so that couldn’t be the right answer. Moving to the SE corner, I inserted NEEDLE, holding my nose, as I would suggest Unneeded, but not Needless as a synonym of Redundant. I agree with Batarde and 225 about the ANAX clue.

    Nothing else hit me and I decided to throw in the towel early. Although I saw one or two on 225 which I would have cracked,had I continued I would still be struggling and not enjoying the puzzle, so shall instead enjoy the rest of the day.

  4. tonnelier said

    This took twice as long as average, but I got there in the end.

    Mostly admirable, especially shards, sagittal, password and undated, but I agree with others that the use of Anax in 5 is too cliquey. The other one I didn’t like was 7, where the homophone is excellent but we’re surely entitled to something better than agent at Cape Canaveral.

  5. Saboteur said

    A tough challenge, rather spoilt by the use of Anax. I agree with everyone else that this felt very unfair and cliquey.

    Needed crosswordsolver to get my LOI, DOLMEN, and I needed Google to find out about “Ards” in SHARDS. It took me ages to get that BURIED TREASURE was a homophone, and the laugh that evoked went a little way to mitigate things.

  6. thebargee said

    Most of this went in fairly rapidly (unusually for a Radian puzzle), but I was left with 27a plus a few in the NE that proved too chewy for me, so a DNF. Agree with others re the use of Anax, although the answer was gettable.

    My first 2 in were 1a and 3d, so I was convinced there was going to be a Northern Ireland theme; wrong again!!

  7. dtw42 said

    Hmm. Finished around 2pm, having sought electronic assistance for a few in the NE corner. No wonder I bunged in 13 without parsing. ACID-HEADS are still (4-5) in chambers, not (9). Yes, referencing other setters is jolly good fun for the setter but a tad unfair on the solver, especially if said reference is one who – despite undoubted prestige and long service – doesn’t feature particularly often.

  8. Veronica said

    Another DNF. I was defeated by 8 down (DOLMEN) and by the parsing of GRAVE. But, having read fifteensquared, I think they are both very good!
    I agree it’s not ok to use another setter’s name – the crossword should be accessible to non regulars of the i. Other than that, I rather liked the complexities. There were several clues which took me a long time – only to think “of course!” when I realised how to do them, eg ANAEMIC, ARCHAEOLOGISTS. I love that.

  9. Willow said

    Took a long time, but having spotted the theme early helped. My only real quibble was, as many others point out, the cronyist use of Anax. Otherwise, petty impressive. Thank you.

  10. allan_c said

    I think for once I must have had a subconscious memory of doing this back in the day because I fairly rattled through this in one session, and spotted the theme! Favourite, as before, was GRAVE.

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: