i Cryptic Crossword 3282 by Beet

August 14, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟

This was Beet’s one and only crossword for the Independent. More’s the pity because she’s extremely good. If you want to see more of her, you could always go to Big Dave’s ‘Rookie Corner‘ or ‘Not The Saturday Prize puzzle’ (you might need to scroll through the lists) where she cut her teeth, but regrettably as soon as she reached the Independent she seems to have thrown in the setting towel to concentrate on her career – as a lawyer, if memory serves.

I thought this was a real treat. First of all the entries in the grid were the sort of words we all like to be reminded of – Smorgasbord, Pompadour, Portmanteau, Diphthong, that sort of thing – not obscure at all, but rather what my son’s primary school teacher used to call ‘expensive words’ (I remember she banned the use of ‘said’ or ‘nice’). Then the grid shape was user friendly with plenty of starter letters given by other words. The surface readings were brilliant – especially those for EXTEMPORE, EXECRABLE, OPIUM, TABOO, AISLE, POMPADOUR and RUMP of course; then finally there were some really clever bits of misdirection and crypticness going on: 1a GRI[n]D; the nifty constructions of 11a PORTMAN/TE/AU and also 8d JUST /SO S/TORIES; well lots of them really. Even the ordinary clues like 2d RUPEE or 26a HEAT WAVE were still very good.

My CoD award goes to a clue which admittedly only works if you have a smattering of familiarity with the relevant Greek legend:

14a  Competition winner awarded an Apple iPad or the alternative (9)

Upon completion I wasn’t entirely sure that 17d was just a straight cryptic without anything else going on, but looking at Fifteensquared I presume it must be, even if Pierre’s blog seems to indicate otherwise (I think). I also failed to pick up the reference to Adrian Mole measuring his ‘THING’ at 18a – although I can well believe it’s famous beyond the confines of the books.

Here’s the link back to the puzzle’s first appearance with fully 46 comments.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/05/22/independent-9549beet/

14 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3282 by Beet”

  1. jonofwales said

    Yes, this was a real treat and a pity there’s not more to come. I started off slowly and wondered if this was going to be a real stinker, but perhaps it was just a wavelength or waking up thing because I then sped up finishing, yea, in 2* time. Lots of slightly off kilter / unexpected definitions, with always fun, interesting wordplay. Favourites here in addition to the COD were 11ac and 1ac.

  2. thebargee said

    What a delight, such a shame there are no more to come. I finished in pretty good time, although there were a couple of moments when I thought I was going to get bogged down, not least at the end when I just had the NW corner to complete, but RUPEE followed by RAP followed by GRID finished things off.

    So many good clues and words, all illustrated so well in Cornick’s excellent blog. The only one I couldn’t parse was 18a, but I get it now! There were perhaps more than a fair share of clues involving anagrams (I think I counted 8), but that’s probably being overly picky.

    Great choice of COD in 14a, it’s a very clever clue, but I have to say 27a got a big laugh hereabouts.

  3. Saboteur said

    Great stuff. So disappointing to find out there are no more on their way. I’m afraid the Adrian Mole thing went over my head, although the answer was pretty obvious. Otherwise, all good. I loved APHRODITE, JUST SO STORIES, and RAP. Good fun, impressive and enjoyable to solve.

  4. Willow said

    I thoroughly enjoyed this and would entreat Beet to lay down her wig and return to compiling, at least once in a while. The full resonances of 18a went over my head, but it was clued well enough to make it solvable. I particularly like the clue for VIBRATES, also HEAT WAVE and EXTROVERT, but I agree with 14a as CoD. And it’s always a pleasure to be reminded of Scooby, Shaggy and the gang.

    Difficulty wise, I wonder if this is pushing towards 3 stars, due to some very cryptic content? Such as the clue for SPRAT?

    • Cornick said

      Yup, I did ponder Willow 🙂 Edging that way definitely.
      I thought 2* rather than 3* because a typical Dac would have taken me longer, and we need to leave some leeway for the puzzles like Tyrus, Radian et al!
      SPRAT was my LOI. But with S?R?T I got it from one definition then the penny dropped on the other.

  5. Brock said

    A clever, witty and enjoyable puzzle which I solved fairly quickly, without any external aids apart from checking 22a in the dictionary. I’m pleased to say I got the Sue Townsend reference at 18a which eluded so many others! Two stars seems right.

    First in was 4d. I then spent some time considering what type of clue it was before deciding it must be a particularly ingenious “&lit”: “shakes” is the anagram indicator on the wordplay reading, but also the definition on the definition reading; “it’s a verb” is the anagram fodder on the wordplay reading, but also a supplementary indication of the definition – I think.

    Other clues I enjoyed were 11a, 20a, 27a (even though it doesn’t properly work any more), 8d, 21d and (today’s favourite) 3d – “oi” as a definition-by-example was inspired. 14a was my last in, and was extremely clever as well, but I’d forgotten about the apple so I didn’t fully appreciate it.

    I took 17d as a straight cryptic definition as well – I can’t see any other way of analysing it.

    Minor quibble on the enumeration at 26a (the COED has it as a single word), and on the definition at 24a, which the COED defines as “a range of open sandwiches and savoury delicacies served as hors d’oeuvres or as a buffet”. If I ordered one and was served a piece of bread on its own I wouldn’t be too impressed!

    • Brock said

      Please read “First one in was 4a” in the second paragraph. Sorry!

      • Cornick said

        Re your quibbles Brock, Chambers has HEAT WAVE as two words; Beet’s definition for SMORGASBORD is actually ‘Spread’.
        Paradoxically perhaps, the only out-and-out mistakes I can remember seeing in the i have been from those two very experienced setters Phi and Quixote. I suspect the newer setters have their offerings gone over with a fine toothcomb before they ever reach us 🙂

      • jonofwales said

        It’s very telling that Eimi had 3 different versions of Hoskins’ puzzle from Monday on his computer.

      • Brock said

        Oops sorry, I completely misparsed 24a! I had “spread” as an anagram indicator, and “roughly” as another one, so I thought it was:

        (MARG SO)* + (ROB)* + last letter of [ruine]D

        Should have read Fifteensquared more carefully. Thanks.

        Re “heatwave” vs “heat wave”, the former is almost definitely the dominant spelling in British usage nowadays – a quick check of newspaper articles on Google will confirm this. The other spelling is mainly US, I think, and can’t be said to be “wrong” though.

        I always try to stick to the principle of “usage is king” wherever I can, rather than relying blindly on any particular dictionary.

      • jonofwales said

        The dictionary is king in this game – if the setter can show that a word is contained in the dictionaries favoured by the paper / editor, then it’s in. Anything else leads to complete subjectivity and endless quibbling.

    • imsewell said

      I think the definition is ‘spread’, one of which is exactly what the COED mouth-wateringly describes.

  6. allan_c said

    What an excellent crossword! I had no recollection of solving it back in 2017 – possibly because, sadly, it was Beet’s one and only appearance.
    Just to be different, my nomination for COD is 19ac for the definition as not the opposite of the answer (an example, if you care about such things, of litotes).
    And I’d have rated it as 3*.

  7. dtw42 said

    Yup, that was fun. I confess I couldn’t parse 13 or 18 (the explanations at 15² are fair enough though); 11ac was absolutely top-drawer.

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