i Cryptic Crossword 3206 Radian

May 18, 2021

Radian (who has supplied fully a quarter of this year’s Tuesday puzzles thus far, by the way), has not been making things easy of late. The last few have tended towards thorniness, but today normal service has been resumed, I think. So, here we have a crossword of mild to moderate difficulty with varied clues of consistent high quality, and an extraordinary amount of thematic material. The only cloud on the horizon, and I can’t say that it bothered me much, is the Bromptonesque grid.

Now, when I suggest that this was fairly gentle, your mileage may very well vary. John’s did, back in January 2017, but his write-up for Fifteensquared is a model of magnanimity. Anyway, perhaps we can all agree that the setter did a sterling job of crowbarring so much woody stuff in with almost nothing in the way of obscurities. 16ac needed checking in my case, but just for purposes of confirming what is clearly the correct answer. On non-blogging days I probably wouldn’t have bothered. I have no quibbles, and no inclination to expose myself to a charge of “pedantic grumpiness” two days running, either. Opinions on 5d would be interesting, however: it’s fine by me.

Of note: well, this is always difficult with Radian. Generally there’s a COD and about twenty runners-up snapping at its heels, which is the case today. There was a lot of good stuff in the NE corner, I thought, but pipe up if you have favourites to nominate. Mine was the aforementioned and doubly clever 16ac:

“Tree in Maracaibo yielding saccharin now and then (4)”

22 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3206 Radian”

  1. jonofwales said

    No problems with 5d here either… Thorny throughout as you expect from Radian, and I did check a number of the thematic items it being far out of my comfort zone. Finished a little above par.

  2. Cornick said

    Acai (16ac btw) is a pretty common ingredient in fruit smoothies and the like these days; thought of as a ‘superfood’ by some (not me), it’s sold by Innocent, and also all the major supermarkets I expect. Local small-scale retailers are available.
    I normally struggle with Radian but today’s was quicker than average for the i for me – maybe 14 years working at the Eden Project helped? No complaints, happy with the CoD, enjoyed it.

  3. dtw42 said

    5dn fine here too. I confess I failed on 16 (ac and dn) at the end. Took me a while to parse the wordplay in 20dn.

  4. Saboteur said

    No problems with 5d here, either, although I confess I had to look at it carefully.

    A good and enjoyable solve. I did rather like the word-play for ACAI. BAOBAB caused a moment’s hesitation. It was clear what the tree was, and how to construct the word was also clear, but “baba” for “Indian holy man” didn’t register.

  5. Topsy said

    What a plank I am…. I threw in cashew at 1ac which, to me, was a perfect fit but made that corner impossible. Never mind, I enjoyed the ones I got 🙂

  6. Veronica said

    Ah, yes, pies! Took a while to get 6 down due to those pies, entered with a grump and great uncertainty but then forgotten about. But I saw the light after a while. Phew!
    TAIGA was my third “guess” to look up, once I had all the crossing letters, but I knew it was right as soon as it entered my head, with a vague memory of the word. Also had to check the meaning of ACAI and BODGERS, also both clearly correct.
    Nice crossword throughout, with a good theme which even I couldn’t miss. I enjoyed it a lot, even if finished too quickly.
    Runner up favourite was MY FAIR LADY (yeah, I know, not a masterpiece of a clue, but I just really liked it). Best was BODGERS – absolutely brilliant word with a great meaning.

    • Veronica said

      And 5 down – fine by me. I can read the clue to give its required meaning.

    • Cornick said

      It’s funny, modern children’s atlases all have Taiga, and all children seem to know it nowadays as well as they know tundra or desert.

      • tonnelier said

        But it doesn’t sound the same as tigER! This is my only complaint with what was otherwise a splendid puzzle, especially the genuine homophone at 9a,

      • Cornick said

        Interesting. How do you pronounce it Tonnelier?

      • Cornick said

        Ah – the rhotic R on the end of Tiger!

      • Veronica said

        Never underestimate my lack of knowledge 😯😊😉.
        Interesting about children, though.

      • tonnelier said

        Indeed, Cornick, it’s that rhotic R again! This is a particularly good example of why I’m “right” (!!!!). Taiga should be pronounced with a very definite A sound at the end, almost AH. That makes it very different from tigER.

      • batarde said

        Henceforth, as part of my project to liven up the crossword lexicon, I shall be referring to contentious homophones as Hfuhruhurrs.

  7. thebargee said

    Ah, so near and yet so far! Hook, line and sinker with 15a, thought it was too easy (and since when are pies made out of wood?) but never gave it another thought, so I was left with 6d at the end.

    This is particularly galling, since I have spent a good deal of time during the lockdowns enjoying a return to my boyhood hobby of… yes, you’ve guessed it… building model aircraft. Doh!!!

    That apart, I enjoyed this one, the only one I couldn’t parse was 5a. The COD was indeed clever, but I quite liked 16d too.

  8. Brock said

    Nice puzzle all round. I thought it was particularly thoughtful of Radian to give us two separate pieces of wordplay for 16a, given that the word was particularly obscure. I wish other setters would do this!

    I thought of PIES for 15a but immediately rejected it on the grounds that the clue would have been all wordplay and no definition. It fell into place as soon as I got 6d, which was probably my favourite clue.

  9. Polly Fonnick said

    I might have done better if I hadn’t put CHEKNOV by mistake and then couldn’t see anything but ANUSOL for 11ac (sorry, Topsy!).

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