i Cryptic Crossword 3276 by Phi

August 7, 2021

This will undoubtedly have proved a welcome relief for any solvers who’ve been feeling uncomfortable with the challenging puzzles of late, but if you enjoy them chewy – as I especially do at the weekend – then it might have been over a bit too quickly.

All was pleasant and correct – I wasn’t really sure what was intended by 14a HAPPY AS A SANDBOY, so that was got on definition alone; my parsing of 17d YARDSTICK was different to both the versions offered on Fifteensquared; isn’t it Measure = Yard + work = stick, as in to function successfully? And the only real obscurity was my last-one-in, the philosopher EPICTETUS, got by dint of scouring ‘E’ in the index of my only philosophy book. Mind you, a lot of his Stoical ideas seem pretty sound today, as capitalism arguably faces an existential crisis, e.g. ‘Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants’.

Anyhow, back to the clues, and my favourites included the intricately put-together 3a PECCADILLO, 12a ELSEWHERE, and the clever use of air and N(itrogen) in 22d CAIRN. This one pips them all though, and is my Clue Of the Day:

24a Make Parisian perhaps strangely iffy about separation, abandoning women (9)

Finally, here’s the link for all the answers and parsings on a Friday in 2017:

Independent 9511 / Phi

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3276 by Phi”

  1. Saboteur said

    Yes, a bit of light relief after the strenuous efforts required recently.

    Weill isn’t the first Broadway composer I think of, but he is the only one beginning with W, I dare say. Likewise EPICTETUS isn’t up there with Aristotle, although I did know of him. Otherwise, all pretty straightforward.

    I parsed 17d as yards (courts) + tick (work).

  2. dtw42 said

    Yus – as above. Count me as one relieved to encounter a more doable one! 😀
    I admit I had “huh?” in the margin alongside 14ac.

  3. Brock said

    A fairly straightforward one today, though not without its pitfalls. I originally had BANK (=BLANK – B) for 27d before thinking better of it at the very end. I also made the schoolboy error of thinking of oxygen as the main component of air, and then wondering why CAIRO was described as a “hill landmark”, before kicking myself a moment later. And my first attempt at 15d was PENURIOUS (RIO in PENS, albeit with two spare U’s), but 24a put me straight on that one.

    Favourite clue was 26d for the cunning concealment of SET IN; I also enjoyed 3a, 4d and the mild pun at 8d. Like others, I was underwhelmed by 14a, unless there’s some obscure reference we all missed.

    11a was unsurprisingly my last in, for which I needed Crossword Solver since the wordplay defeated me. I suppose EPIC = “large” is all right, but I’d have preferred clearer indications for such an obscure answer.

    I didn’t look for a theme or Nina, and the consensus appears to be that there isn’t one – although who knows with Phi?

  4. Brock said

    Wish it was possible to edit! Please read “I originally had BANK (=BLANK – L) for 27a…” in the second sentence. And “26a” for “26d” in the second paragraph.

  5. Grodnik said

    Certainly more malleable than some we have solved recently. My mother used 14ac quite a lot, suggesting that it is of early 20th century vintage. My father however used the rustic expression, “happy as a pig in muck” (which did not fit of course), to express the same sentiment. I was surprised to find that FRENCHIFY is a real word. Post-Brexit one can expect to see this being used as a term of abuse. EPICTETUS, never heard of him, though entirely fairly and cleverly clued, must surely have had few non-Googlers. Clearly I must rapidly complete my reading of Henning Mankell’s oeuvre and hit the philosophy books, although he does have quite a lot say about the human condition amongst the Wallander mysteries. NDY

  6. thebargee said

    Yes, all fairly straightforward (and enjoyable), over and done with swiftly. Like others I had to consult a list of Greek philosophers for 11a, I’ve never heard of him, despite having done Greek ‘O’ level back in the day.

    Today’s little nugget of knowledge – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word BLOWSY written down before, and always thought it was spelled with a ‘U’ rather than ‘W’.

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