i Cryptic Crossword 3364 Phi

November 18, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of 5): 🌟🌟🌟🌟

An interesting puzzle from Phi draws us towards the end of the working week (am I the only person to begin cheering silently inside when we reach Thursday?) On the trickier side for this setter I thought, occasioned by a number of distinctly odd entries in the grid – 17d in particular was as fairly clued as you would like, but is a rare spelling of an even rarer word. The reason for this would seem to be what’s going on with some of the checking letters in a number of the clues – check out 7ac and 8ac as a starting point. This will no doubt raise the hackles of a number of solvers, but didn’t concern me in particular as all the obscurities were very clearly clued. The only one, ironically, to cause me any problems on the parsing front was 7ac, where it took an age to spot where the BS came from, despite the answer being as clear as day.

Also likely to raise hackles in some quarters I suspect will be the biblical references – with 22ac and 16ac leading me to look for another theme altogether which it appears isn’t there – but, well, it’s all part of the rich cultural fabric.

Thoroughly enjoyable throughout, and extremely satisfying to solve with all the odd entries in particular. COD? I’ll nominate 26ac – “Endless commotion in front of American burial area (7)”.

Stuck for any of the answers or parsing of the clues? Look no further than Fifteensquared’s blog from August 2017:

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/08/25/independent-9631-phi/

11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3364 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    No quibbles about the need for obscurities from this quarter, because rather than a recondite ghost theme, this time Phi has given us a clever bit of grid-filling that a 5-year-old could appreciate; even if a professor of medieval literature might well have missed it!

    Having probably more in common with the former than the latter, I twigged things about a quarter of the way through (although I missed the T’s in STATUTE) and enjoyed the whole thing, 17d – already forgotten – was got from the clear wordplay, LOI was INCHOATE. Quite a quick solve today.

    Good puzzle, thank you Phi.

    • jonofwales said

      It’s evident that your grid awareness (as Don Manley would put it) is much better than mine! I rarely spot such things even after completing a puzzle – it was only Fifteensquared’s blog that alerted me today.

      • Cornick said

        Apparently Araucaria once did a grid in which every single vowel in the grid was an A. I reckon you’d have spotted that πŸ™‚

  2. thebargee said

    Count me as one who didn’t particularly enjoy this. I probably have only myself to blame – having glanced at the anagram fodder for 4d I hastily and incorrectly bunged in OLEAGINOUS. This of course made 8a impossible, so I gave up with that and 17d incomplete. Pfff…

  3. Saboteur said

    I found this fairly tough, especially the SE corner. I wasn’t aware of the variant ODALIQUE. I did think of “odalisque”, briefly, but dismissed it as the entry because it did not fit. It took all the crossing letters to be in place to get me to check in Chambers, and there it was.

    I missed the gimmick, which was neat, probably because I chose not to look too deeply for a theme.

  4. dtw42 said

    Well, I came here to find the answer to 20dn, which had eluded me at the end. Before that my last two in were 7ac and 3dn. I didn’t spot the gimmick in the 7-letter words. I had heard of ODALISQUE but only the spelling with the S; like others I was frustrated and confused that it did not fir, so googled to see if there was a variant spelling.

  5. Willow said

    I had no awareness of the theme/gimmick until I read Fifteensquared. What I was looking for, with 75% completed, was a pangram, and this helped me to get ODALIQUE, but I looked in vain for K, W and X in the remaining answers. I was completely engaged while solving, but there were too many question marks for me to say I properly enjoyed this, clever as it was. I have never thought of CUSTARD as being a sauce, but I suppose it is. And, while I am familiar with the Song of Solomon, I can’t speak for other solvers. I did like the clue for MILITIA.

  6. Malcolm Wilkinson said

    Custard?? It’s mustard, as in cut the mustard. Then you get more for 20d

  7. Malcolm Wilkinson said

    Mire for 20d, not more (predictive text)!

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