i Cryptic Crossword 3262 Nestor

July 22, 2021

A Saturday reprint from Nestor today that I suspect may be somewhere within Cornick’s Goldilocks Zone – difficult enough in places to be interesting, while being accessible but not a write-in either. A few of the longer entries will probably have tripped up a number of solvers, with temptingly alternative IC and IA endings, especially if like me you’re a little hasty, but thankfully we had some common synonyms for “car” and “win big” to set us straight. At the close 11ac, 21d and 14d were the ones here to cause me issues. Elsewhere there were a few unparsed – well done in particular if you knew the synonym referenced at 10ac. There’s a minor theme that Nestor points out in the comments over on the other side, being so minor that most of us will have blinked and missed it. Excellent as expected from this setter, finished quite comfortably under par for the i.

COD? I’ll go with 22ac – “Hard ring made from keratinous growth (4)”.

To February 2017 for all the answers and parsing of the clues:


11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3262 Nestor”

  1. Topsy said

    I was stumped by several clues but at least I keep on trying! 🙂

  2. Saboteur said

    Well, I found this really rather tough. Sometimes it takes me a while to get into the setter’s way of thinking but I just couldn’t do that today.

    That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the struggle – otherwise I would have given up – but it was a bit of a masochistic pleasure…

    Quite a few went in unparsed, and a couple remained unparsed even after I had finished and gone back to look again. Some erudite knowledge was called for. I did know that “avus” meant grandfather in Latin – I had that kind of education – and hence “aval” for the adjective. I also knew of the Plains of Sharon. But these do seem to me to be solver-unfriendly expectations. I dare say Carl Sagan is sufficiently well-known.

    • Brock said

      Yes, I forgot to mention in my own comments that I didn’t know “aval” and thus entered 10a unparsed. Perhaps that one could have been clued in a friendlier manner.

  3. Brock said

    This was a really satisfying puzzle – just that little bit harder than it appeared on the surface, so that I had to work hard for some of the answers but didn’t feel defeated by any of the clues.
    My clue of the day had to be 13a, possibly the shortest “&lit” I’ve ever seen (though not picked up as such by the Fifteensquared blogger). But there were plenty of other great ones: 15a (sneaky definition + clever concealment), 17a, 19a, 2d (brilliant allusion), 8d and 24d are all to be commended for various reasons. Like some others, I mistakenly entered PHOTOSYNTHESIS for 1a, at first leading me to deduce from the enumeration that 8d must be SKATE ON THIN ICE! Eventually I realized my error.
    I didn’t get 6d until near the end, partly because I’ve never thought of Hong Kong as a “city” (it’s officially a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China). But the Hong Kong government’s own website says it’s a city, so it must be. Similarly I’d always thought of 4d as a vegetable, but apparently it’s technically a fruit.
    Completely missed the parse of 21d, much to my annoyance. Very clever indeed! Last one in was 18d. I’m not sure if the Fifteensquared analysis as “semi-&lit” is right; I took “fading” as the definition, then “out” = DYING, but it works either way I suppose.
    11a was the only slightly “dodgy” word; I needed Crossword Solver for it and missed the parse. But overall one of the best puzzles I’ve attempted recently.

  4. Veronica said

    I failed on 11 across (unmanlike), 5 down (nominee), and 20 across (Sharon). I doubt I’d have got them however long I tried 😞. However, I’m proud to say that I did know “aval” 😊.
    8 down was a struggle … but it became much easier after I’d corrected the lines I put in to separate words, and was no longer trying to solve it as “clean up 3, 4) instead of “clean up 4, 3)!!
    Enjoyable throughout, with several in early to encourage me, and then several which required a lot of thought.
    I’m not so sure about claustrophobia – does the definition make sense if not claustrophobic? But it didn’t hold me up, since Claudia was required.
    My favourites were HIGHTAIL IT and GARBO.

    • Brock said

      The definition in 9d does at first suggest an adjective, but the suffix “-ing” can be used to form verbal nouns as well, e.g. “preferring open ranges is a form of claustrophobia”. At least that’s how I justified it.

      • Veronica said

        Mmm. Okay, I can see that.
        I do think, with a bit more thought, there could have been a better clue along the existing lines!

  5. Cornick said

    Goldilocks zone indeed – I loved this. Tough, yes, but in an absorbing way, not an irritating one.
    The ‘all reversed’ method used to be my Achilles heel, but I was more alert to it today, even if it did cause the intersecting 5d NOMINEES and 11a UNMANLIKE to be my last ones in.
    Aval was unknown to me, so that was the only bit not fully parsed today.
    So many great clues, a real Rolls Royce of a crossword I thought, the great shame being that it’s the last ever blocked crossword from Roger Phillips in the i as Nestor – he’s been nabbed by the Times and Telegraph, although he does still contribute to the Inquisitor series apparently.

  6. Willow said

    Yes – a really impressive crossword which kept me hooked throughout. Most enjoyable – many thanks. Loads of excellent clues, but I did like STUN best. My only slight quibble is that many modern Methodists in this country would certainly not describe themselves as Evangelicals, but the movement was founded on the ideal of bringing the gospel (Euangelion in Greek) to the poor, so fair enough.

  7. dtw42 said

    Just finished – around 7pm. As with others of you, I found it interesting, and managed about 4/5 without too much trouble, then had a bit of difficulty with the last six or so.
    I’s not heard of AVAL either; thankfully I had myself clued the word LARVA very very recently (keep an eye out, folks) and used almost the same def, so that came to the forefront of my mind unbidden. 11 (today’s “rubbish word”) 14 and 21 went in without understanding the parsing, and then my LOI was 18 (which I *did8 at least understand).
    9d got a chuckle in the margin so would be my COD.

  8. thebargee said

    Thought I’d have a crack at this after a long day’s travelling for yet another funeral.
    I must say I really enjoyed what I did, although I ran out of energy with half a dozen not filled in. Like others, I’d never heard of AVUS/AVAL and couldn’t parse 14d or 23a, but the answers were guessable.
    Some pretty nifty wordplay and clever clueing, wish I’d had more time to spend on it. My empty entries were 11,26,28a and 5, 24,25d. On a normal day I’m sure I would have got them all with the possible exception of UNMANLIKE – ugh!
    Never mind, it took my mind of the day’s sad proceedings.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: