i Cryptic Crossword 3298 Serpent

September 2, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

A lightly themed puzzle eases us towards the end of the week, based around 17ac. I suspect though that I wasn’t alone in finding that most of the themed entries were a bit of mystery and thus no help with the solving process. There was nothing mysterious about the wordplay though, so I expect that most will have found this to have been a fairly steady, enjoyable and pain free solve. My only question mark at the close was regarding the definition at 20ac, it being seemingly quite outlandish, but evidently correct. Lots to appreciate too, outside of the COD ticks beside 12ac, 14ac, 23ac and 2d. Yes, it was that sort of puzzle.

To the COD then, with my nomination going to 21d – “Witness observed pivotal childhood experience (6)”.

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


9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3298 Serpent”

  1. Cornick said

    Itโ€™s plain to me that you find solving much easier than I do Jon! Well, most days at any rate ๐Ÿ™‚
    Iโ€™d put this up there with Tuesdayโ€™s Radian on (for me) a 4*. But werenโ€™t those clues good!
    However, the real star of the show for me was that grid fill. I donโ€™t think anyone on Fifteensquared quite appreciated how special it is, but to have all across entries themed with only one slight obscurity – the musical term at 19d – is an extremely difficult thing to do. Having done so with an average word length for the puzzle of greater than 7 is, as far as I know, unique.

  2. thebargee said

    What a great puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed! A first for me in that I spotted the theme and it proved to be of use with some of the answers – I knew what kind of word I should be looking for.

    I agree with Cornick, this seemed like 3- bordering on 4-star to me, but very educational, Iโ€™ve never heard of a lot of them there nouns. Homophones are often controversial and Iโ€™m not sure 1d quite worked for me although the answer was clear enough. Also, I parsed 8d as PUG the dog (on the grounds that it looks a bit like a boxer dog), but I dare say thatโ€™s just me.

    I think this is the second SERPENT Iโ€™ve completed recently, I generally get a cold sweat when I see that name. I dare say thereโ€™ll be a stinker turning up in the next few weeks.

  3. Willow said

    Very satisfying and enjoyable – many thanks – and I would agree with the overall difficulty level being around 3*. I suspected something collective might be going on once I had got CLAMOUR and TROOP quite early on, and was delighted to learn some new terms by the time I had finished. I thought all the clues were excellent both in terms of wordplay and surface readings, and I particularly liked those with a musical connection. Clearly a great deal of thought had been put into this. Well worth it.

  4. Saboteur said

    A great crossword and thoroughly enjoyable. I would rate it as a 4, though, rather than a three, as I found it quite challenging in places.

    I didn’t know UNA CORDA, my last one in, but the helpful crossing letters led me to one of my only wo Google searches, which rapidly enlightened me. The definition in DISGUISING was my other.

    Completely agree about SEESAW, brilliant definition!

    My admiration for Serpent just grows and grows.

  5. Polly Fonnick said

    I rather liked the near-overlap in the clue for 15d, ‘suspenders’ being the US term for braces.

  6. Borodin said

    Just wondering if this was dug out of the Indy archive to compete with Brummie in the Graun and Falcon in the FT who had collective noun themes within the past week or so.

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