i Cryptic Crossword 3303 by Dutch

September 8, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Dutch is an occasional setter for the Indy with only seven appearances in the last five years, so it’s not easy to get on his wavelength. Consequently I found this a bit tricky in places and would agree with the fifteensquared blogger’s rating of medium difficulty.

There were some nice touches such as the penny-drop moment in 1ac when I realised the answer was a PI’s typical attire rather than the name of a detective agency. Another nice touch was the ‘unstable summit’ in 21dn. I also liked the (not too) cryptic definition in 13dn in that it implied a different enumeration from the answer.

One or two entries didn’t quite hit the right spot for me, notably 9ac and 12ac although I can’t put my finger on any specific faults with them. I did wonder about 26ac in that the answer is not one of the definitions of GP in Chambers, but then I realised that G and P had to be treated as separate abbreviations.

What I didn’t like was 18dn with its reference to a US communications director no longer in office โ€“ in fact he had already departed by the time the puzzle was originally published in 2017. Whether or not topcal references get updated for the i does seem to be a bit hit-and-miss.

Overall, though, a pleasant enough puzzle for my first idothei blog. CoD? 1ac and 26ac came to mind while I was solving but on reflection I’ll go for 20ac โ€“ Utterly perplexed as she may be, he treats wind casually (2,3,4,3).

To July 2017 for all the answers and comments โ€“ http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/07/13/independent-9594-dutch/

13 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3303 by Dutch”

  1. jonofwales said

    Welcome on board Borodin, and thanks for the great post! (Borodin will be covering all but the 1st Wednesday of the month, which is picked up by Willow).

    Agreed on the rating, as I found the puzzle to be a little knotty in places, though accessible and thoroughly enjoyable. 18d bemused me too, as did 12ac somewhat, mostly I suspect because I was expecting to find the name of an actual drink. Oh well, my fault and not Dutch’s! The rest went in fairly steadily with a fair number of ticks, 26ac being my favourite.

  2. Grodnik said

    Welcome indeed composer-chemist, you too are much braver than me! I must be on the same wavelength as Dutch as I solved this in well under par (for me) time. I had reckoned a 1* before I read the comments. FOI was 1ac, as almost never happens, and LOI 23ac, inexcusable for a retired chemist I guess.
    One quibble, could we stop calling deliberate lies โ€œalternative factsโ€. A fact is testable, not malleable, despite what the first (and subsequent) press secretary to 45 may have said. Like 110%, the expression is meaningless. Now, setters, I look forward to the incorporation of Psaki into a solution. NDY

  3. dtw42 said

    Very much a puzzle of two halves for me – I put in about 55% as practically read-ad-write; then came thoroughly unstuck on the other 45%. 23a got a “yikes” in the margin, and 18d was *definitely* LOI, only got after looking at list list of possibles.

    I think perhaps the hard-to-nail-down issue with 9 and 12 is that they aren’t really standard dictionary phrases.

  4. Saboteur said

    Welcome, Borodin!

    12ac had me scratching my head, too, as I thought it must be some particular kind of drink, and KCAL was a rather anticlimactic last one in. I didn’t like SPICIER, my penultimate one in, as I had no idea who was being referred to. Otherwise, all good.

    I actually did this alongside my (adult) son, who, I am pleased to note, seems to be showing some signs of having inherited the crossword-thing. Sometimes it was very hard not to shout out the answer, as I listened to him working it through – but not as hard as when he got the answer before me!

  5. Willow said

    Many thanks Borodin – a very fine write-up. One of the things I like about Dutch is that he doesn’t actually refer to himself when using “Dutch” as part of a clue. I thoroughly enjoyed a great deal of this puzzle, including the GP for GRAND PIANO, even though the wordplay was decidedly cryptic and most people will have needed crossing letters to solve it. I remembered Spicer as being a person in the White House, but it is a long time ago now. Loads of very fine clues, but HO for PRO is perhaps both obscure (at least in this country) and a touch demeaning? The only reason I know the term – I wonder if it is a contraction of WHORE – is because I once wanted to buy a hoe and looked that up on Google …

  6. Topsy said

    Curate’s egg of a puzzle for me. I didn’t get 9ac nor 2d and I am glad. My distaste for derogatory terms for females, plus drug references, remains.

  7. Cornick said

    Yup, welcome aboard Borodin.
    Lots of good and inventive clueing today, with a few unorthodox grid entries like ACHING FEET, MIXING DRINKS and AT HER WITโ€™S END that I doubt youโ€™d find in dictionaries. None of those presented me with as much difficulty as SPICIER or my LOI KCAL, both of which had me scratching my head for ages.
    Thanks for an enjoyable challenge Dutch.

    • Polly Fonnick said

      I have no recollection of Sean Spicer, but it amused me to think that Michael Spicer of ‘The Room Next Door’ fame could be said to have acted on numerous occasions as a US communications directorโ€ฆ

  8. Borodin said

    Thanks, all, for your welcome and appreciative comments. Just to put the record straight, as it were, I have been an occasional commenter here for a while but I thought a new pseudonym would be appropriate on joining the blogging team. Also, in most cases, I have solved the puzzles when they first appeared in the Indy, but have quite forgotten them in the four years since then so it’s a case of solving again from scratch.

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