i Cryptic Crossword 3214 Alchemi

May 27, 2021

Rather surprisingly, today’s offering from Alchemi turns out to be an IoS reprint. I say surprisingly, because I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in finding this to be a little chewy, with a time at the close a little over par for these parts. Nothing impenetrable, with only the one potential obscurity at 13ac that luckily I sort of knew (with all the checking letters in place at the close), because it was one of several where I struggled with the parsing. The rather noisy removal of the chimney today may not have helped matters, the beginnings of a how-much-noise-can-they-possibly-make headache rather than clear thought process rather occupying me at the moment.

This being Alchemi, though, the puzzle fairly sparkled throughout, with a more than average number of ticks. For COD, with lots to pick from, I’ll nominate 10ac – “Characters changing used to be random vowels (10)”.

There’s a musical theme that you didn’t need to know to finish. Thankfully, because I suspect most wouldn’t have.

And so to January 2017 for all the answers and parsing of the clues:


15 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3214 Alchemi”

  1. Saboteur said

    Good and nicely chewable. A satisfying solve.

    I needed to resort to the Internet to find out about Asian boats, and that SERVOMECHANISMS were actual things, once I had disentangled the anagram.

    Loved the definition for WEREWOLVES once I got it.

  2. batarde said

    Well, that was jolly good fun. Having failed to spot the Beefheart theme on Saturday despite the hint, and with the grid bristling with suspicious looking words I made a real effort today and failed miserably once again. To be fair, someone I know of but not about this time. No doubt everybody will have been tickled by those werewolves, a worthy COD.

  3. Willow said

    I must say that I really enjoyed this, although some of the wordplay and indeed a few definitions needed a great deal of lateral thinking. How many average people know that Miserere is the first word in the Latin translation of Psalm 51? Having been fortunate enough to be educated (a) in a traditional church choir and (b) at a school in which the classics were still a central part of the curriculum, I at least had a sporting chance, but even so it was my LOI. I noted a couple of surreal clues which seem to be Alchemi’s hallmark. I was blissfully unaware of the theme as it whooshed past me, but now that I know it, it’s worth mentioning that the riff to Werewolves of London is still one which regularly goes through my head. I even once watched An American Werewolf In London to see if it had any relevance to the song, but it didn’t. Ninety-seven minutes of my life wasted … But don’t let that put you off watching The Lost Boys with title theme by The Doors, as covered by Echo and the Bunnymen.

  4. Alchemi said

    Fangs a bunch.

    I didn’t know that Miserere was the first word of the Latin translation of Psalm 51. I did know that a psalm which had often been set to music by billions of composers employed by churches was known as Miserere, though.

    What set this puzzle off was my noticing that ROLAND the HEADLESS THOMPSON GUNNER was (6,8,8,6) and could therefore be the middle couple of lines of a 15×15, thus making the theme blindingly obvious to the three people who are massive Warren Zevon fans (which don’t include me: I’ll listen to a show of his once in a while, but I find him quite pleasant rather than amazing). The only song Zevon actually had a hit with was WEREWOLVES of LONDON, which has been covered by loads of people, including Grateful Dead, so that had to be in there too.

    • jonofwales said

      Thanks for popping by. The first song title has me intrigued enough I’m going to have to give Zevon a listen. 🙂

  5. Cornick said

    An enjoyable and fairly breezy solve until I hit a brick wall with MISERERE, so a DNF today. Should I be ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know any of the psalms had names? Nah, I just didn’t know something, there you go. Now I’m curious to know if any others are referred to other than by number…
    Theme lost on me entirely.

    • Saboteur said

      You’ll be sorry you asked 🙂. But since you’re curious, all of the psalms have names, taken from the first two or three words of each psalm in Latin. Apart from Miserere, a couple of the better known ones are Jubilate and Venite. Cathedral choirs would know a goodly selection by name, and most church choirs that sing Evensong would know at least a few.

      However, I do concede that any solver who had never sung in a choir might legitimately complain if anything other than the most famous were referenced.

  6. Brock said

    Allegri’s “Miserere” is probably one of the best-known and most-recorded pieces of Renaissance music. None the less, I didn’t get 13a until nearly the end, and even when it was in place I couldn’t fathom 5d – I guessed it was an anagram but couldn’t work out how to fit the letters ACEIMMV into the blank spaces.

    I’d heard of the film “An American Werewolf in London” but was otherwise completely ignorant about the theme.

    • Cornick said

      And what a sublime piece of music it is! Never knew where the name came from though.

  7. Denzo said

    Mildly frustrated to DNF after an otherwise enjoyable solve, missing ROLAND because I’m not one of Zevon’s three fans, though the other themed items were OK. MISERERE not a problem for reason suggested by Alchemi. Did not find this particularly difficult and enjoyed the misdirection in STARTLED

  8. Veronica said

    Nowhere near finished. I didn’t have much crossword time today, though probably wouldn’t have finished it anyway.
    What I did do, I really enjoyed. High quality stuff that made me think.
    I too loved Jon’s COD.

  9. batarde said

    Since American Werewolf in London has come up, here’s the Brian Glover clip:

    It’s not as funny as him being thrown around the ring by Les Kellett when he was a wrestler, admittedly, but easily the most memorable thing about the film. And yes, that’s Rik Mayall.

  10. Dave said

    7 down changed from the 15² Nu’s with L’s? Disaster for me, never really got started

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