i Cryptic Crossword 3310 Serpent

September 16, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

A Saturday reprint courtesy of Serpent eases us towards the end of another week. A fairly breezy offering I thought, with a foothold gained in the SE corner and steady progress made to then finish to the NE with 12ac. Of note were not only a triple definition but a quadruple one too, and a combination of a hidden word and nicely done surface reading at 26ac. Thoroughly enjoyable, with just the right mix of accessible clues and ones to get you thinking a little more, and smiles throughout.

COD? I’ll go with 14d – “Teasing dog in run is one way to lose digits (8)”.

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


5 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3310 Serpent”

  1. Saboteur said

    One of my favourite setters, and this was another really good one. Wonderful surface readings throughout, and lots of invention and creativity on display. MINUEND was new to me, but with those crossing letters I had zero doubt about what I needed to look up on Google. I struggled to parse DRESSED, but it was obvious when I got it, if you see what I mean.

    I think I would have rated it a three, or even a four – which just goes to show how subjective these things are.

  2. Willow said

    I found this immensely challenging, needing a great deal of lateral thinking and recourse to unusual synonyms, but highly enjoyable – thank you – although I thought the clue for TRACKS was unnecessarily contorted. LIMBER and MINUEND were new to me. I guessed DRESSED quite early on, but it took ages to parse the clue, and so that was my LOI. I appreciated the wide range of different types of clue.

  3. Cornick said

    I think our esteemed JonofWales finds these things easier than most of us – I’d have given it either a 3* or maybe a 4!
    Great clues from a great setter, my favourites today being the triple and quadruple definitions.
    Given Serpent’s track record and the look of the grid, I felt sure there would have to be a ghost theme, Nina, pangram or some other gimmick going on, but it appears not…

  4. dtw42 said

    Yeah maybe a 3* here. I never did parse DRESSED or TRACKS.

  5. Borodin said

    I usually manage to get on Serpent’s wavelength, but I found this quite a struggle and agree with Cornick that it ought to rate 3*, possibly 4. One problem was the solver-unfriendly grid with only three links between top and bottom halves and four between nright and left making it virtually four mini-puzzles.
    I didn’t know the alternative name for a water pistol, and had to check MINUEND in Chambers. I did wonder when J, Q and X appeared if we were heading for a pangram but in the end it was a few letters short.
    I liked the clue for NADIR. Interestingly there was a bit of discussion on yesterday’s (Thursday) 15^2 blog for the Indy, about possible new ways of clueing ‘nadir’ following the cabinet reshuffle.

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