i Cryptic Crossword 3266 Knut

July 27, 2021

I was transported back some fifty years to my school geography lessons as I solved this fun crossword. I’m sure we were taught lots of interesting stuff in the years that I studied this subject, but the only two topics which seem to have stuck in my memory are Australia’s Snowy River hydro-electricity project (I can still identify, if no longer draw, the rivers of south-east Australia) and glaciation. I am fairly sure that I was a bit of a pain to the rest of my family, on our holidays in the Lake District, as I pointed out (how accurately I don’t know) such things as a DRUMLIN, a MORAINE, an ARETE, an ESKER and so on. Add in ICE AGE, STRIATED, and perhaps ALASKA, and there is your theme

How familiar these words are to the generality of solvers I’m not sure. Trying to look at them objectively, they seem rather technical, but all were very fairly clued with helpful crossing letters. The crossing CREATINE and ARCADY seemed a little obscure, but perhaps other solvers would disagree. At any rate I needed the internet and dictionary only for checking purposes, so I would rate this enjoyable puzzle as at the more accessible end of the range.

I was impressed by the two long anagrams, HAEMATOLOGICAL and CAPTAIN AMERICA. ANGINA made me smile, for obvious reasons, and OSTMARK was a laugh-out-loud moment when I got it. But my nomination for Clue of the day goes to 4ac: ” ‘This instrument used to be difficult to get to grips with’ Diddley (9)”.

You have a choice of two links to follow for the answers and explanations today. It would never happen on idothei! 🙂

Independent 9,508 / Knut

Independent 9508 / Knut

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3266 Knut”

  1. tonnelier said

    Seeing Knut’s name always cheers me, and this puzzle certainly didn’t disappoint.
    Arete, moraine and esker are all words I know well purely because of having done so many crosswords, and the answers went in quickly enough until I got stuck in the NE section. Having resorted to Anagram Solve for 6 down I was able to finish it, marvelling at both 5 and 7 – especially 7 which I would put in any list of Best Clues Ever.
    I didn’t know Ice Age was a film franchise, of course, and didn’t spot the truncated spurs, but it didn’t matter. This was an outstandingly enjoyable puzzle with only one tiny reservation in 20 – I just hate the use of KEY to indicate any letter from A to G.

  2. Cornick said

    With a degree in Physical Geography this was up my street – mind you, I’m pretty sure I’d met all that vocabulary by Year 10 – 4th form in old money.
    Talking of old money, I can see why the ostmark/ ‘O St Mark!’ clue is clever, but both bits of general knowledge – the patron saint of a foreign city and the currency of an old country nobody was allowed to visit at the time – were veering towards the obscure; right on the edge of my general knowledge anyhow, so not a clue for my taste.

  3. Brock said

    This felt more like a tough geography exam than a crossword puzzle! I don’t even have O level geography, I’m afraid. Most days I expect to find one or two answers that I have to check in the dictionary, but in this one there were at least half a dozen (including 11a, which isn’t even a geographical term). In fairness, the wordplay was generally clear in all of them, and they were mostly guessable on that basis; but normally I don’t enjoy puzzles where I’m constantly thumbing through the dictionary.

    But getting away from the thematic stuff, there were some nice clues. I agree with 4a as Clue of the Day, and I also liked the anagram at 9d and the hidden answer at 21d. 18a was clever as well, except that I expected to see CO rather than COL as the abbreviation for Colorado. 2d was a cheeky one (but why the tautology of “rural village”?).

    I had RANGE rather than RANCH for 8d, which seems to fit the clue just as well; consequently I had ABASE for 13a, which fits the definition but not the wordplay. I simply assumed that BASE = “party” was some obscure reference I didn’t understand.

    A red card for 10a, I’m afraid. NINA for “hidden message” is a piece of crossword insider’s jargon, which I didn’t know until I joined this blog – I’d been solving cryptic crosswords for about 40 years previously and I don’t think it can be considered general knowledge. It’s not in the COED and I’d be surprised if it were in any other standard dictionaries.

    Not my favourite puzzle, but at least I got through it after a fashion!

  4. dtw42 said

    I confess that for some reason I couldn’t do 15 or 18. But that aside, I got all the geological themette stuff, and enjoyed the rest of the puzzle. I’m with tonnelier re 7dn, and had a tick next to that. Horses for courses, of course, of course. I also had a “ha!” annotation against 10ac, tough I can see how that might irritate those not au fait with cruciverbalists in-house terminology.

  5. Willow said

    Didn’t get OSTMARK and would never have done so, despite (retrospectively) knowing that the Basilica of San Marco in Venice was crucial to the development of Western music as we know it today, under the musical directorship of both A and G Gabrieli, and Monteverdi. I did however very much enjoy the geological theme. Astonishingly, as a musician who doesn’t even have an O Level in Geography, (or indeed History), when I was asked to teach Geography to Y7, 8 and 9 students, I accepted. The Head of Department at the time reassured me by saying (a) it’s all common sense, and (b) you’ve clearly proved you know what you’re doing when leading D of E groups in the Peak District. I always liked maps. I still watch out for alluvial fans and roches moutonnees. Many thanks for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  6. thebargee said

    Grrrr… fell at the last again, completely failed to get 7d. Then retrospectively discovered I’d made the same mistake as Brock with RANGE/ABASE. Overall though I enjoyed the solve, but I’m also with Brock re 10a.

    Elsewhere, is 2d a homophone? I certainly don’t pronounce NONET as NO NET, but I’m happy to be corrected.

    • Cornick said

      Hi Bargee – I don’t think Knut intended it to be a homophone, but rather a complaint often to be heard in country villages (including mine) – ‘Grrrr, there’s no net again!’

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