i Cryptic Crossword 3331 Peter

October 11, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

An all-too-rare appearance from Peter brings us a relatively gentle introduction to the crosswording week. I say “relatively” because hitherto I have thought of Peter as setting the most novice-friendly and accessible of puzzles, but this time she has offered just something a little more challenging than we have had from her before.

It was an enjoyable and engaging crossword, which parsed neatly throughout, and in which the surface readings of the clues are plausible, convincing English sentences. I needed two visits to the Internet; to check on ABELE, and on “gaff”. While I was there I also looked at DISTAFF, which was a word that I knew, although I didn’t really know what it meant. It was good to have a different river from the usual Ure, Dee and Exe, etc, as well.

There are a couple of controversial bits of word-play: using “downbeat” to clue an anagram of “down”, and “close to Styx” for “ten”. The entries were clear enough, but those parts of the clues may have left some solvers perplexed.

Clue of the day goes to the delightfully whimsical 14ac: “Entitlement to drink is absolute! (9)”.

Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/06/25/independent-on-sunday-1426-by-peter/

8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3331 Peter”

  1. dtw42 said

    Yeah; 14d and 18d were my last ones in, and without those it would have been all finished over breakfast. The ‘close to Styx’ bit was decidedly sneaky. Took me far too long to unpick the anagram at 16 (’cos one’s naturally trying to find likely *English* word shapes)…

  2. jonofwales said

    In common with solvers back in the day I found this to be actually quite difficult – easily 4* for difficulty, much to my surprise. Tricky wordplay throughout, plus an obscure French term across the middle of the grid, weren’t what I was expecting either from Peter or an IoS reprint.

    Lots of great clues, though, so no complaints! Favourites here 9ac and 14d.

  3. Topsy said

    I found this particularly difficult so checked out the other side. I didn’t beat myself up when I saw that even Hoskins found it tough going. Never mind, I enjoyed the ones I managed 😁

  4. thebargee said

    Loved this. I thought ’close to Styx’ was inspired, it held me up for a fair while. I didn’t have a problem with any of the wordplay although I failed to parse EMPEROR, I didn’t twig the meaning of ‘restricted’. LOI was AQUARIA and favourite today was 14d.

  5. Cornick said

    Yeah, a curious mixture of 3/4 at 1* level and a few, like DISTAFF, ABELE and DISHEARTEN which were much, much harder.
    Peter seems fond of straightforward wordplay like anagrams and the simple, amusing charades we saw in CHOPSTICKS and HUMDINGER for example, but she is also fond of non-Xim tricks like the ‘downbeat’ thing or indeed the pretty common use of ‘verbiage’ like ‘at’ or ‘to’ (as in 14d) which aren’t really doing anything other than helping the surface reading yet do make things trickier.
    Loved ‘uninhabited Aegean’ among several other good bits.

  6. Willow said

    This really was very good – thank you – although the solver has to have a wide-ranging vocabulary, a keen sense of lateral thinking, good general knowledge and quite a few crossing letters. I did enjoy DOWN getting beaten, and TEN for X at the end of Styx, but they are both pretty advanced clues. Plenty of possible choices for CoD and I’m happy with Saboteur’s choice. But it wasn’t a 2 star for me; more like 4.

  7. Borodin said

    All pretty straightforward – or it would have been had I not unthinkingly bunged in ‘own label’ for 17dn and been slow to equate ‘close to Styx’ with ‘ten’. Agreed on the difficulty level, but I’d have gone for 9ac as CoD.

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