i Cryptic Crossword 3290 Alchemi

August 24, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

You will be forgiven today for having missed a theme that was literally in plain sight, being tracks by Cream, because I suspect that solvers familiar enough with their output to spot them will be few and far between. I can name a total of zero songs, so I didn’t have a hope. Pretty tricky overall – I for one was feeling battered and bruised by the close and doubting my own solving abilities. Only 10ac and possibly 19ac could be described as being obscure, so any difficulty was purely by way of wordplay and lots of cunning on the part of the setter. Satisfying to finish, though I imagine solvers on a Monday when this was first published were feeling somewhat shell shocked by the close.

Quality stuff throughout needless to say, with my COD nomination going to 3d – “With English explanation of Roman numeral, church finally saves lives (10)”.

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


12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3290 Alchemi”

  1. Cornick said

    Yup, quite a rum mixture today for me – three-quarters was pretty straightforward in the 2* zone, then a few at the end which were so tricky that I resorted to the electronic assistance of a Wordsearch. NUMBATS? – I couldnโ€™t even parse it once Iโ€™d looked it up, largely because Iโ€™d wrongly guessed that the BATS bit was the synonym for mad; and then OVERCLUB was similarly impenetrable.
    Mind you, I did spot the theme early on from just WHITE ROOM, SPOONFUL and BADGE – not that it helped at all as I only thought of the other tracks after Iโ€™d solved โ€˜em.
    Agreed on 3d as CoD, closely followed by the Spooner at 14d.
    As for โ€˜Artierโ€™ and โ€˜Turgiderโ€™ – ouch! The least said the better!

    • Alchemi said

      And why would you mention ‘Turgider’ (unless you failed to solve the puzzle correctly)?

      • Cornick said

        Hi Alchemi – I usually solve online with the i app.
        Unfortunately it seems a different version of this puzzle has been loaded there. I had TURGIDER crossing with STAGE RIGHT and a yellow tick at the end (meaning a correctly solved puzzle). But I see now what Fifteensquared has… Hmm. Problems at HQ?

      • jonofwales said

        Ditto, thus my reference to the clue in the blog. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Saboteur said

    Yes, that was tough. In fact it was a Did Not Finish for me, as I couldn’t get OVERCLUB. Well, that’s to say the answer did occur to me as a possibility, but I didn’t put it in as I couldn’t parse it, and I gave up and came here to look.

    Broadly speaking, I found the NW half (except for 4d) much easier than the SW half.

    I loved the CoD, and the Spoonerism was excellent. Completely forgot to even look for a theme…

  3. Willow said

    An absolutely excellent puzzle – many thanks – which I managed to complete and parse within my usual sort of time frame – so I wouldn’t personally rate it as five stars. But, then again, I did already have a passing acquaintance with Numbats, and I knew Overclub. I agree with the CoD, but there were another eight also in contention. The theme completely eluded me, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

  4. thebargee said

    Wow! Just managed to finish this, with no e-help apart from confirming that WHITE ROOM is indeed something astronautical. I completed the top half with a lot of head scratching, but then stalled completely so decided to go and saw up some wood.

    On returning, most of the bottom half went in but I was left with half a dozen in the SW corner. Never having watched the Simpsons I was convinced I had no chance of getting 14d, so decided to throw in the towel. I was literally on the point of checking the blog when the answer popped into my head – penny drop moment! After that, ARTIER, BADGE and LOVE went in to complete the grid. Very satisfying!

    I did fall into the trap of bunging in WOMBATS for 10 early on, but soon realised that didnโ€™t parse so guessed NUMBATS. Being a modest sort of chap, I donโ€™t think Iโ€™d have much chance of finishing a true 5*, so for my purposes Iโ€™ve downgraded it to 4* ๐Ÿ˜Š.

    • thebargee said

      At the risk of over-commenting, I also meant to say that I thought the โ€˜remain homelessโ€™ device in 7d was particularly neat and a worthy runner-up for COD in my book.

  5. dtw42 said

    Gosh, what a mixed bag of reactions!
    For my part, most of it went in pretty smoothly (yes, I had some trouble finding the NUMBATS, but parsed it fine once found). It was the SE corner only that held me up, and and the end turned to electronic assistance with 17 and 19 unsolved. The software gave me 19a, and then the penny dropped for me to get 17d from it. So perhaps my verdict would be THREE stars.
    I would agree on the COD – 3d garnered a marginal “ha” from me.

  6. Alchemi said

    It appears that the editor has changed a couple of entires and clues for the republication, so apologies for the confusion above.

    I vaguely remember feeling quite pleased with myself for getting as many titles into the grid as I did.

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