i Cryptic Crossword 3344 Hob

October 26, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Things 21 were our theme for the day, for a challenging puzzle that I suspect will have been more challenging still if you weren’t aware of the likes of 17ac, 11ac and 9ac. Certainly I suspect you will have found that some of the more popular word search sites will have let you down if you were stuck. I’ve given this four stars for difficulty, but it’s easing somewhat towards a five, and I’m expecting a bunch of DNF’s too dependent on your age and / or willingness to put answers in on a bit of a wing and a prayer as I did for the “Italian barman”. I suspect too there will be a few solvers unhappy with the number of linked clues. 😉

As well as being challenging, though, this was an always interesting and engaging puzzle, if sometimes to the point of being infuriating, and always inventive. Outside of the COD I particularly liked the misdirection of “Chill out” at 12d and the nice surface reading at 19ac. It’s also refreshing too, it must be said, to see a number of very still-contemporary references in a crossword.

So, to the aforementioned COD, with my pick going to 18ac – “Went on a horse, say, in northeast Germany (6)”.

Still stuck? Look no further than Fifteensquared’s blog from July 2017:


8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3344 Hob”

  1. Cornick said

    I used the term ‘swashbuckling confidence’ to describe Punk last week, and I think the same could be said of Hob. So very inventive and clever.
    Didn’t mind the computerese, despite being in my sixties now, but I’ll never be a fan of cross-referenced clues when they’re used heavily as with 21a today.
    4* seems about right, although I found it easier to finish the last few than yesterday’s, and my solving pace was even throughout, which for me is the hallmark of a good puzzle.

  2. thebargee said

    I liked this one a lot. Having said that, I do have a certain amount of domain knowledge courtesy of my erstwhile career as a computer nerd – without that, I dare say I would have found it hugely frustrating, with the likes of 9, 11, 17 and 22 most likely to bamboozle.

    Given the above, I would rate it a 3*, but it obviously won’t be for everyone. I loved ‘Italian barman’ in 25, the use of ‘fell’ in 29 and the sneaky indirect containment in 27 that had me guessing for a while. There was also a nice PDM when I twigged 24. Tough to choose a COD, but for me I think the aforementioned 29 just gets it – the wording of the clue, plus the initial ‘H’, had me convinced that ‘HOB’ must be part of the answer.

  3. Grodnik said

    Enjoyed this, despite not possessing a mobile phone nor membership of anti-social media. Approaching my 90th decade I was still able to complete the puzzle as I still have my wits about me and was able to reference 5,9,11,13,17, and 22 across from various random readings of otherwise unintelligible “pop-up” junk.
    12d reminded me of the front cover of Private Eye when Emperor Hirohito paid a state visit in 1971. It read “Nasty 12d”. You couldn’t do it today (unless perhaps you were Ian Hislop)! NDY

  4. tonnelier said

    I found this very enjoyable, a really classy puzzle, and definitely four *s. Same COD for me too.

    I was both pleased and a bit surprised that I solved NEARLY all the computery clues. Just flickr eluded me ( if you’ve never heard of it it’s more or less impossible to guess).

    It’s a long time since I saw barman as a definition for composer – it’s a bit cheeky but somehow that didn’t matter in a puzzle as inventive and entertaining as this one

  5. Willow said

    Finished with everything parsed, but I seem to be on my own in not having enjoyed this one bit.

  6. Saboteur said

    An evening solve after a busy (in a good way) day, and what a delightful way to round things off. Challenging, to be sure, but so much inventiveness on display it was a joy to solve. Sufficiently au fait with the social media in question for it not to be a problem.

  7. Borodin said

    Quite tough, needing two sessions to solve – well, almost; I’d forgotten ICLOUD as I don’t use it (except when others send me links to it) and wondered if there was something called ‘Accord’. I did remember FLICKR though one I’d got the crossers. Agreed about the 4* rating.

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