i Cryptic Crossword 3302 Hoskins

September 7, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟

Singers of the feathered kind are mostly definitely part of our theme today, though I wasn’t sure if the human ones down in the SW corner were deliberately chosen too. Which is all pretty academic, as I suspect many solvers won’t have noticed in what was a pretty bright, breezy puzzle that was over in no time at all with no hold-ups of note. Some of Hoskins’ trademark references seem to have been reined in a little this time round, which will please some and disappoint others I’m sure. Lots to enjoy, good, solid clues throughout, lots of smiles, so I’m hoping this will be a bit of a crowd-pleaser in the midst of what has been a pretty tough set of puzzles of late.

COD? Just because the definition made me smile (and in spite of my statement above), 2d – “English people occupied by old lady gas? (9)”.

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


10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3302 Hoskins”

  1. thebargee said

    Yep, early start and early finish, no hold-ups here until right at the end when I was left with 23 and 25, two pesky 4-letter jobs with no initial crosser, so often my downfall! I confess I had to browse wordlists to hone in on the right answers.

    Otherwise bright and breezy as Jon says, although I would say bordering on 2* because of those 4-letter clues.

  2. tonnelier said

    Usual very enjoyable fun from Hoskins. I too was held up by a couple of 4-letter clues.
    I’ll have to mention the (to me) non-homophone of Attila and a tiller I suppose. Are there no setters with a West country or Lancashire background?

  3. dtw42 said

    First day “back” in the office (quote marks because it’s a new office so I’d never been in it before) today, so a late start.

    Yeah, I failed on 25d at the end, so feel thebargee’s pain there. Must confesss I’m starting to get a bit tired of the drug references. The singer anagram at 21a took me FAR too long to unscramble.

  4. Saboteur said

    I would never have thought that was a Hoskins puzzle had I not known; surprisingly mild…

    …but really good and enjoyable, as ever. I was taken in to thinking that the clues to the two human singers must be clues to birds, so that amused me. The theme certainly to confirm DOVE, which I got by systematically working my way through the alphabet. Fortunately D comes early on. (I break out into a cold sweat when I see four letter entries with no crossing initial letter, especially when the crossing g letters are vowels.)

    ATTILA was my favourite today.

  5. Willow said

    This was an interesting puzzle and I enjoyed engaging with it – thank you. I was fortunate to guess THE BIRDS and TWEET right at the start, although I didn’t ink them in immediately as both needed further confirmation. But that did at least indicate a possible theme, which proved invaluable in places. I also smiled at the inclusion of two human singers, and did you know that WOOD NYMPH is an informal term for a species of hummingbird? I thought that 4 might have been DUNNOCK at first – maybe Hoskins tried to put it in but had to change it.

    Yes – I appreciated that mention of sex and drugs had been toned down, but I still have to say that a fifth of the clues contained such references, mild as they are. If 20% of what I wrote or said was about sex and drugs you might think I was a bit odd …

  6. pmnimmo@hotmail.com said

    I am sure you all know my opinions about drug references etc. It really does hinder my ability to enjoy any puzzles from this setter, pity really because I do think he is clever.

    • Borodin said

      If you like this setter but not the sex and drugs look out for his puzzles as Slormgorm in the Financial Times (available online). He’s much more restrained there.

  7. Cornick said

    Terrific puzzle. Very happy with that. Nice to have a title at 1a too.
    No particular hold-ups, LOI was ATILLA.

  8. Cornick said

    Terrific puzzle. Very happy with that.
    Nice to have a title at 1a too.
    No particular hold-ups. LOI was ATILLA.

  9. AndyO said

    Like a few over on 225 my LOI was 1a but seems that was H’s aim all along – worth checking out all the comments – not all about the fabled drinks trolley…

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