i Cryptic Crossword 3222 by Phi

June 5, 2021

A typical Phi crossword, with a ghost theme based around the nicknames of six of Chopin’s études which he tells us were playing in the background as he compiled the grid: OCEAN, BLACK KEYS, AEOLIAN HARP, BUTTERFLY, WINTER WIND, and REVOLUTIONARY. I’ve heard of Chopin, I knew he wrote études, but the chances of my spotting that were precisely zero. Well done to Andrew at Fifteensquared who did.

The clues were mostly pretty straightforward and of the sort an experienced setter like Phi produces with seemingly effortless ease – one doesn’t get the impression of his going through the tortured agonies of the creative fire particularly – although there was a lovely bit of originality at 21d, so that gets my nomination for CoD today:

Astronomer to maintain unpleasant look half-heartedly (6)

Where the difficulty was racked up a bit, it was more likely to be the vocabulary that caused it to be so – Aeolian Harp, Butterfly in the sense of dilettante, declarants, penlight, Kepler- rather than deceptive surfaces or tricky constructions, so a below average time for most solvers I suspect. Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

Here’s the link to the original blog with all the solutions and parsings:

Independent 9,529 by Phi

10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3222 by Phi”

  1. Saboteur said

    Yes, agreed with all of that. Nice, enjoyable puzzle. No problems encountered en route. No quibbles, no queries, no recourse to the internet.

    I spotted a hint of a music theme with AEOLIAN HARP and BLACK KEYS but didn’t even try to go further than that.

  2. batarde said

    Yes, pretty swift today, and a little Groundhog Day-ish – but pleasant enough whilst it lasted. It’s now almost a point of principle with me not to expend any effort on searching for a theme, but this one I must admit is a lot more like fair game than many. If that sounds like I spotted it despite myself, you’ve got to be kidding. Chopin is far too sophisticated for the likes of me. If Phi fancied playing a variation on the theme with Haydn symphonies there’s an outside chance I might stumble across that one – that’s if he hasn’t already.

    • Saboteur said

      Much the best way to approach a Phi-theme. Give it thirty seconds or so, and then move on. Otherwise one risks destroying the satisfaction one gets on completion.

  3. jonofwales said

    Yes, enjoyed that, in a time that was pretty sharpish as expected. No chance of spotting the theme here, despite an inkling of things musical going on.

  4. dtw42 said

    What everyone else has said. Which is a relief, because I couldn’t get into yesterday’s Serpent at all (which I put aside mid-afternoon after solving about six).

  5. thebargee said

    What everyone else said, so I won’t repeat it. But I needed two bites at this one – did about half then ground to a halt. On returning to it after an hour or two’s pottering, I was left wondering why I couldn’t finish it earlier, everything just fell into place. Funny how that sometimes happens, is it perhaps an age thing?

  6. Willow said

    Absolutely loads of excellent material! I very much enjoyed this – many thanks – but completely failed to spot the Chopin link. I know some Chopin pieces, (although I’m not sure I have enough fingers to play them properly …), but my areas of expertise lie immediately before and after the period when he was active – or at least that’s my excuse.

    If I might indulge in a little digression suggested by one of the clues:

    YOUTH = INEXPERIENCE. Perhaps, but youth is also a quality which today’s society very much needs. Youth = imagination = energy = industry = determination = invention. People often say, “Young people are the Future,” which is quite true, but they are more than that: they are our Present, and they need support and a voice, particularly following the privations of the pandemic.

    • Cornick said

      Hear, hear! Spoken like a true educator – or should I say someone who understands young people 🙂

    • batarde said

      Seconded! May I venture a further digression by recommending “Youth”, one of Conrad’s tales of seafaring misadventure? It’s easily seen off in an evening, and a pretty good read.

  7. Veronica said

    Not sure anyone will be looking now as I’m way way late. But 👋 anyway.

    Oh, okay. Well, I did finish it, so not “hard”, I suppose. But my solve wasn’t swift. Well done to all who got there fast!
    However, all smooth and very pleasant to solve. Each time I got the answer, I thought “well, obviously” – but only a few went in without a lot of thought.

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