i Cryptic Crossword 3209 Morph

May 21, 2021

Things I have learnt today: that Anaga is an area of Tenerife, and ABAYA is an item of clothing. I’ve also expanded my knowledge of BANDICOOTs, which may one day come in useful. Or maybe not.

This was quite a tough challenge, I thought; one that took me well over my typical time. The setter informs us over on the original Fifteensquared blog that it is his hundredth crossword, although there is no theme or nina or other gimmick to mark the occasion – just good-quality, creative setting, resulting in a rewarding and enjoyable, though far from easy, solve.

There’s lots to like, although I was sorry to see the derogatory reference to women in YELLOW BRICK ROAD. The only bit of parsing I struggled with was for MAKE MINCEMEAT OF, although I suppose I was overthinking it, as it seems fine now I’ve looked at it after a bit of a gap. Hume is perhaps a lesser-known philosopher, but the definition was clear and the crossing letters couldn’t have made it easier. If, that is, the solver knew of the element YTTRIUM. This was one of those words that I had come across before and was able to drag out of my store of useful-but-only-for-crosswords knowledge (I did have to check the spelling, I confess).

I liked the “thing a thong” idea, and the clue for EARTHWORM made me smile. The aforementioned YTTRIUM was neatly done. Clue of the Day for me, however, is 5ac: “Hint of balsamic in salad saucer for tossing (7)”.

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3209 Morph”

  1. dtw42 said

    The NW corner took me as long as the whole of the rest of the puzzle, ’cos I was just stuck with an empty sector. (I was sure for a long time that “extremely summary” was just going to be SY and therefore the def was “scoundrel”.) No, I didn’t really undertsand the parsing of the MINCEMEAT one either. Frisée was new to me. My COD was definitely that for the OSTEOPATH.

  2. Cornick said

    Similar here. Long entries went in early but were tricky to parse, thereafter bottom half excellent (I liked OSTEOPATH very much too) and top half tricky. The Violet Elizabeth seemed so obvious that I dismissed Thong at first, but I suppose it’s one of those you either know or you don’t.
    Talking of not knowing things, for me that was ‘Fly-by-wire’ and the intersecting ‘Frisee’, my last two in. But I can certainly see the appeal of 5ac for those who know their endives.

  3. batarde said

    Always interesting, but I can’t really say that this was Morph’s finest hour by my reckoning. There was a certain amount of lip curling, even. However, it was still a good way to spend some time. I did know about the salad and the Arabic garment, but still haven’t the first idea about Tenerife – what gives? As for the elements, so long as they’re not too new to be in the song that’s never a problem. Another enthusiastic thumbs up for 24ac, but my favourite was 11.

    • Alchemi said

      The alternatives for 22d were ABAYA or ANAGA, and looking up ANAGA gives the Tenerife result.

      I always enjoy Morph’s puzzles because his clever clueing gives me ideas.

      But I’m really only dropping in to let you know that tomorrow’s Indy puzzle will be Fine By You..

  4. Veronica said

    Didn’t quite finish in that I couldn’t parse THONG. I essentially guessed why, but Victoria Elizabeth was unknown to me and didn’t come up on a quick Google search.
    Like dtw, the NW corner took me (at least) as long as the rest put together, but I struggled on and got there. Also held up by originally entering “ethos” in 2 down and “cock-a-hoop” in 14 down.
    … Things I learned today the derivation of cock-a-hoop (encouraging me to accept it as the answer) and – yep, me too – Anaga is in Tenerife.

    Mixed feelings about it.
    Mostly really enjoyable, with some clever clues and smooth surfaces, and fun to tease it all out.
    However I winced big time at 13 across and also at 17 across (because of my unpleasant mental image!).
    Favourites were YTTRIUM (no probs with that one for me) and FRISBEE.

  5. Saboteur said

    Interesting. For me OSTEOPATH was one of those read-the-clue-and-write-the-answer entries. (I think I probably had some crossers in, although I can’t be sure). Consequently, it didn’t really register with me as a potential contender for CoD. Looking at it again as a result of the above comments, I can see now how neat a clue it is.

  6. jonofwales said

    Another one who got badly stuck in the NW corner. I must admit to getting a little frustrated then, which is a pity because I’d thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the puzzle. Oh well.

  7. Willow said

    Yes – a very good puzzle with plenty to keep the mind working – thank you. My only real quibble was INPUT. I could see what the answer should be, but couldn’t parse it because PUT appeared in the wordplay. I finally got it much later on.

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