i Cryptic Crossword 3299 Tyrus

September 3, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

I think the star-rating system is working well. Quite often there is a bit of minor disagreement about just how easy or difficult a puzzle has been, but that is only to be expected. Unless I have been particularly obtuse this morning, I doubt that there will be much disagreement that today’s offering from the always erudite Tyrus was Very Hard.

It took me considerably longer than usual. When blogging, I solve on the dead-tree version (which I much prefer) but I needed to use the app today in order to check that a few entries were correct, not least the gateway 16ac, which yielded far too late to be particularly useful. I might have been tempted to use the “cheat” functions to reveal the occasional letter – or even a complete word – had I not been determined to write the blog having actually solved the puzzle.

In that self-challenge I failed. Yes, eventually I got all the right letters in the right boxes, but there were several which I just could not for the life of me parse. Quite often the gateway clue can be a little more easily solved, in order to give the solver a break, but that was not so today, and the mystery of 16ac remained even after I had cracked a couple of the themed entries. There were four multi-entry, multi-word answers, which compounded the difficulty level. I don’t think there are any particularly obscure words – with the exception of the gateway clue itself. I’m sure we’re all familiar with “solecism” but this adjectival derivative was far from obvious.

It is, of course (having seen my unparsed answers on Fifteensquared) impeccably clued, and was another impressive construction. But it was very tough. My Clue of the Day is a fairly simple and straightforward one, and the only one which raised a laugh: “Say John Lennon’s old name out loud (5)”

Follow the link for the answers and explanation, commentary from other solvers who also found it tough, and including some thoughts from the setter: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/06/10/independent-9566-tyrus/

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3299 Tyrus”

  1. Topsy said

    Well that was all very clever, wasn’t it ๐Ÿ™„
    Couldn’t get the gateway clue and even if I had I would still be baffled. Fortunately, I have plenty of other things to occupy me today so giving up this crossword allowed me get more things done.

  2. Cornick said

    Blunking โ€˜eck!
    Well I got there eventually, but that was t-o-u-g-h. My last one in was the gateway clue, but itโ€™s broad meaning was apparent from the Pink Floyd song, which was nicely done. My particular laugh-out-loud moment was the TEN ITEMS OR LESS clue – a favourite moan hereabouts although I havenโ€™t seen it in years.
    Liked the Speke clue too; although I knew full well where the airport is, I hadnโ€™t realised that it once bore that name, so that was late to be solved too.

    And now for a lie down…

  3. Cornick said

    My only criticism is that the puzzle would have been more accessible if Tyrus had used โ€˜solecismโ€™ rather than SOLECISTIC as the gateway – I wonder if perhaps he did so in his first drafts of the grid fill, but then changed it to fit in with the other entries?

  4. jonofwales said

    Blimey, and blimey again. I think we’ll all agree that was 5* for difficulty. I started off well with the SE and then the NE corners falling fairly quickly, but by the close was badly stuck in the SW corner, not helped by the pretty tough 18ac and 20ac which I thought needed some pretty specialist knowledge to crack. A bit much all in all for me I must admit, especially for a weekday.

  5. Willow said

    Yes – very difficult indeed. But, (even though I almost gave in about half way through), having persevered, I enjoyed immense satisfaction on completing the puzzle – many thanks. That’s not to say that I thought there were several clues that bordered on being utterly unfair, not least that for ATHENIAN, which was my LOI, and for which I needed electronic assistance from the-crossword-solver. But, that was the only one which required help.

    I don’t know if Tyrus did it intentionally, but including a number of popular song references certainly provided great scope for misdirection, and I only stopped looking for such links when I realised that the writers of Ain’t She Sweet – Milton Ager and Jack Yellen – would not fit anywhere in the grid. My only real grumble is the number of clues that had anagrams made up of some given words combined with abbreviations or alternative versions of other given words – eg 15/13 – even though in the final analysis they were all impeccably clued, as Saboteur says.

  6. Willow said

    Well – I wrote a pretty detailed and positive comment five minutes ago, but for some reason it hasn’t been posted. In short – really difficult but mostly fair, and very enjoyable in the long run.

  7. thebargee said

    Been out all day and didnโ€™t get a chance to look at todayโ€™s offering until 10 minutes ago. Managed to get 2d, 5d, 11a and 15a, after which it was clear I was never going to get very far with this, so gave up. Perhaps if Iโ€™d started after breakfast and spent all day on itโ€ฆ

    Iโ€™m wondering if 5 stars are quite enough?

    • Polly Fonnick said

      I did start after breakfast, and returned now and again during the rest of the day. Got the lot apart from 10/26: I’m sure I’ve seen it more often as ‘nine items or less’. A toughie like this is so rewarding when one does chalk up successes one by one.

      I was helped by getting 16ac from Saboteur’s intro before getting stuck in (having checked that no actual answers were revealed); on seeing the comment about the adjective derived from ‘solecism’ my immediate thought was ‘What else could it be but “solecistic”?’

      Must now try to wind down before bed, long overdueโ€ฆ

  8. tremargooner said

    Hardest puzzle of the year for me by far. Gave up after getting about 10 clues.
    Never mind. Onwards and upwards.

  9. Borodin said

    Anagram solver and wordfinder to the rescue, and even then it took ages! Glad I didn’t have to blog it.

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