i Cryptic Crossword 3330 by Morph

October 9, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

(an average of half 🌟🌟 clues and half 🌟🌟🌟🌟 clues)

It’s a real treat to have Morph back – one of the best setters anywhere – and given his supreme abilities the (2,1) grid with a black square at (1,1) there was definitely going to be a theme or Nina going on. Unfortunately I missed it, which is a shame because it’s very nicely done and one of my favourite varieties which we don’t see very often – ‘A group of themed Ninas’ you could call it. Spoiler next:

Lurking in each of the paired across entries we had Lus/t, P/ride, Glut/tony, Gree/d, S/loth, En/vy and W/rath, and the clue for 15d BRINGS IN involves the Deadly Sins too. Personally I prefer to use ‘Avarice’ rather than ‘Greed’, but that’s probably just so that I can use my WASPLEG mnemonic!

The clues were a curious mixture of the easy and the hard with, as Hovis mentions on the other side, nothing much in between. Just one obscurity – DRUPEL at 17a was a nice word to learn, but the wordplay could have as easily been for ‘drupal’ so a slight blemish there perhaps. Surely everybody has heard of HYGGE and EMOTICON by now?

Favourites include the definition ‘Out of condition’ for 11a RIDERLESS, the cleverness of 19a PENINSULAS, 1d BROCHURE, 2d CLIP, 19d PRENUP, 20d NICETY, and 21d UNMOWN.

Pick of the pops for me though goes to one of the easier ones – assuming you knew the word, that is:

23d Like omelettes hotel served up in Scandinavian way? (5)

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared where Simon Harding provides all the answers and parsing – although I still don’t quite fully understand what’s going on in the parsing of 16a DEGREE or 16d DOE.

Fifteensquared Independent 9,590 by Morph

8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3330 by Morph”

  1. thebargee said

    That was a lot of fun. I’m so cross I didn’t spot the theme, it’s very clever, there can’t be too many ways to work GLUTTONY into a grid in that way.

    I didn’t find anything excessively difficult, although PENINSULAS took a while to unravel. I ended up in the SE corner, with HYGGE (new to me I’m afraid Cornick but very clearly clued) followed by EMOTICON, which I didn’t write in for a long time as I’ve always thought of it as a singular.

  2. Willow said

    I liked this a lot – thank you – even though I found much of it very hard, but I agree with the average difficulty level given by Cornick. I did spot the theme! In Wednesday’s puzzle there was a theme similarly disguised, along with several obscure words. So, having spotted a few obscure entries here, I looked for what might lie within the across lights, and was not disappointed.
    Sandi Toksvig hosted a series of Radio 4 programmes about HYGGE some months ago, so I was fortunately familiar with the term. That was one of my favourite clues, so I’m happy with the choice of CoD. Another was that for PENINSULAS, and another that for NICETY.
    DEGREE: AS could equate to EG, and R stands for RIVER, all inside DEE. You could say “To some extent/to some degree.” It took me a while to parse that one.
    DOE: to DO E could be to use ecstasy. DOEs are attracted to BUCKs.
    I thought the UR GENT might be someone like Abraham for a while, until I remembered that UR means original. UNMOWN was the only answer which I thought was perhaps a bit too vague.

    • Cornick said

      β€˜Take tablet’ = β€˜DO E’ – thank you Willow, I should have realised. As = E.G. I sort of saw without really being happy with it, but on reflection it seems fair enough πŸ™‚

  3. jonofwales said

    Reasonably tough I thought, about 4* for difficulty here. Theme duly missed, you won’t be surprised to learn. DRUPEL was close enough to the programming language Drupal that I didn’t struggle, most of the required letters leaping out, but I did check the answer to confirm the E/A dilemma. As entertaining as always from Morph, so thanks all.

  4. dtw42 said

    thebargee – I think the point re emoticon is that it is a singular thin (e.g. smiley face) composed of several characters (e.g. colon hyphen bracket).
    Anyway – glad the consensus was “mixed bag” as I did fine on exactly three-quarters of the puzzle and then got throroughly stuck (or is it unstuck?) in the SW corner. At that point, spotting the nina-theme (we need a word for that – hmm) helped a bit, but I still needed electronic help to get PENINSULAS (sticking out tongues was a bit of a definitional leap) and EXCISEMEN. After that, the penny dropped naturally for DOE, PRENUP and NICETY … and UNMOWN went in with a bit of a shrug.

  5. Saboteur said

    An evening solve for me, when I am not at my sharpest. This was a medium-for-Morph puzzle, I thought. Thoroughly enjoyable throughout. I did need to check online a couple of times for UNMOWN and DRUPEL.

    Some great clues. I liked the returning community worker in TAVERNA, and the cheeky definition for PENINSULAS. PRENUP was an outstanding clue, I thought, just brilliant.

    I missed the ninas, despite looking… (I love WASPLEG, btw. πŸ™‚).

  6. mcameron12 said

    What does nina signify again?

    • Cornick said

      A Nina is a hidden message – typically but not always in the peripheral unchecked squares, or those top and bottom.
      Here it was 7 hidden words linked thematically – a kind of β€˜gimmick’ if you will for which we are in want of a name!

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