i Cryptic Crossword 3348 by Phi

October 30, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟

In which were hidden the titles of the Thomas Pynchon books ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, ‘Vineland’, ‘Vice Inherent’, ‘Bleeding Edge’ and ‘[the] Crying [of Lot 49]’. One assumes Phi has read them all, or perhaps like me and ‘The Brothers Karamozov’ they’re just sitting on his bookshelf waiting for him to get round to it; ‘Oh well, I’ll put ’em in a crossword, perhaps that counts’. Needless to say I didn’t spot said ghost theme, nor have I read any of the books. In fact I hadn’t even heard of the author in question. Heigh-ho.

A mostly gentle solve hereabouts, with just a couple at the end provoking some head-scratching Sometimes Phi will put in the odd trick, piece of invention or sleight of hand, but this was pretty much down-the-middle-of-the-fairway stuff today I thought. It’s a while since I’ve heard marriage referred to as a NOOSE, but MACARONI as a dandy (which puzzled the original bloggers) was plain enough and no particular hold-ups elsewhere until CAMEL-CORPS which combined a term that rang only the most distant of bells with some quite intricate wordplay; well done if you got that without help.

My CoD nomination goes to this one:

17a Range of colours shown by East London artist? (7)

Back to July 2017 for Bert & Joyce’s original blog and some discussion as to whether or not this was a ‘vanilla’ crossword:

Fifteensquared Independent Crossword 9595 by Phi

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3348 by Phi”

  1. jonofwales said

    About 3* for difficulty here, and a very stop / start sort of solve. I’ve heard of Pynchon (he’s pretty famous) but not read any, so had no hope with any of the titles. 11ac caused me some difficulty, and 5d was lobbed in with a shrug, but the rest went in pretty much parsed and understood. A good puzzle for a Saturday, I thought.

  2. Saboteur said

    Much as our blogger said, really. I have heard of Pynchon, but couldn’t tell you the names of any of his books. Getting CAMEL CORPS and then parsing it took me almost as long as solving the rest of the puzzle. NOOSE from “marriage, say” was new to me (and seems both cynical and ‘dated’ in its tone). Otherwise, a pleasant enough solve.

  3. thebargee said

    I found this to be about the same as yesterday’s, difficulty-wise. All except the NW corner went in fairly smoothly, with a bit of good fortune on being able to dredge up CAMEL CORPS from some cobweb-infested corner of my brain.

    The final quarter took as long as the rest of the puzzle, starting with LAIKA which I guessed from the wordplay and confirmed by googling before writing it in. My last 2 in were 1dn and 16ac. Didn’t see the ghost theme of course, I’ve never heard of the author or the books.

    On the subject of vanilla, I’ve never understood why it has the connotation of ‘bland’ – personally I think it’s a lovely flavour😊.

  4. tonnelier said

    I came to this hoping for something straightforward after an unequal struggle with Inquisitor, and found it far from straightforward. At least 3*, and possibly 4.

    The rainbow clue was by far the best in a not very enjoyable puzzle

  5. batarde said

    Read ’em all; got the theme for once. Inherent Vice (sic) is riotously funny and a good place to start … unsuitable for the easily triggered.

  6. Willow said

    A most enjoyable solve – thank you. Obviously, I didn’t spot the theme! I’ve always felt very sorry for Laika. She died in what must have been quite dreadful pain as temperatures in the spacecraft rose. The rocket engineers hadn’t expected that – rather that she would survive for a week and then die from oxygen starvation, which would have been comparatively quick.

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