i Cryptic Crossword 3300 by Phi

September 4, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟

After a week with two 5* puzzles – without even including the Serpent on Thursday – it feels quite reassuring to get back to Phi on a weekend, and this one was bang down the middle of his particular fairway. We had a theme which with CASABLANCA at 1a and CHINATOWN at 1d you hardly needed to be a film buff to notice – if you bothered looking that is. Given that there must be thousands of titles to choose from, I did wonder if there might be some extra connection between the seven I spotted, and there is – sort of. But it’s not that they share a director, or that they’re all Oscar winners for cinematography or anything, rather is it their symmetrical positioning in the grid, which means MATADOR must be a film title too, though not one I’d heard of.

The two new terms for me were RE-EDIFY and MODERN LATIN, although I guess HYMENEAN isn’t exactly everyday usage for most of us. And then for some reason I was unsure how to spell VINAIGRETTE, which is daft because I know how to spell vinegar in French better than in English. The clues from Phi were mostly pretty straightforward. TIN ‘T’ at 28a is a device Phi uses a lot, and having a hefty 10 deletions is also characteristic of this setter. My only unparsed clue was the ‘bra in’ at 3d which Phi wanted us to imagine as a text message, despite it’s not including any texting language. Oh well, Duncan realised on the other side, so perhaps that’s just me.

Favourite clue? Well I liked the ones for CABARET, SPARTACUS, and CHINATOWN very much, but my pick today goes to one from the (relatively) tricky NE corner:

11a Recalled me being like a Romantic poet (with a twist) in the early stages (9)

Click below for a link to the original blog from 2017 with all the answers:

fifteensquared.independent.puzzle-phi

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3300 by Phi”

  1. thebargee said

    A refreshing and enjoyable solve after yesterday’s abject failure, although over and done with too soon. HYMENEAN was new to me as well as the other two that Cornick mentions in his blog, and was the only one I had to check before writing it in.

    My LOI was 22d and I must admit that GIT feels distinctly more pejorative than ‘awkward bloke’ in my circles. The only one I couldn’t parse was TEA.

  2. Saboteur said

    I thought from the start that there was some sort of film theme – my first three entries were CASABLANCA, CHINATOWN and CABARET – but I decided not to sweat about trying to spot some esoteric link between them.

    A good steady work out, which seemed a touch on the easy side for a Phi. HYMENEAN was an unknown, but the crossing letters left little room for doubt, otherwise all good. I did like the clue for EMBRYONIC, and I thought the ODD was neat and amusing.

  3. Willow said

    Very enjoyable – many thanks. I thought it was a touch more difficult than 2*, but not hugely. It was possibly when studying Aeneid Book IV in A Level Latin that I discovered the link between Hymen and marriage, so I wasn’t thrown by 9. I agree with thebargee that GIT is not a polite word, but I think Phi lives in Australia, and it may be less of an issue down-under. I remember a South African colleague at my first school who would greet his classes every day with a hearty; “G’day you buggers,” until advised by senior management that it wasn’t really the done thing over here …

    Spotted the film theme! All clues were pretty good, but maybe a couple lacked a degree of fluency in terms of surface readings. Hardly worth mentioning, really.

    • Cornick said

      Antipodean indeed, Willow, but it was NZ the last time I looked. He’s been known to theme the odd puzzle around North Island villages and such!

  4. Grodnik said

    Enjoyed this puzzle very much. Took me back to the days when I went to the cinema at least once a week. Jean Seberg in “Au Bout du Souffle” stole my heart in no uncertain terms! Must now watch “Matador” as it is the only one of the eight with which I am not familiar!

    • thebargee said

      I’m a little too young to have seen that film the first time around and your comment prompted me to read about Jean Seberg. A truly tragic story.

  5. jonofwales said

    Well, that just goes to show how much attention I pay, because despite having seen most of the films mentioned, any theme went totally over my head. A matter of not being able to see the wood for the trees, I suspect, as per. Anyway, a good puzzle enjoyed, and one that came as a relief at the end of what’s been a pretty tough week in the i.

  6. Polly Fonnick said

    18ac would have been the easiest anagram in the world to crack – rather than my low – had I not confidently entered HYMENEAL at 9d without stopping to parse it. Oh, the shame!

  7. Polly Fonnick said

    Loi, not low (predictive text, of course).

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