i Cryptic Crossword 3365 Hoskins

November 19, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

A surprising choice for Friday, I thought. I usually write the blog on this day of the week, and I have come to expect something at the challenging end of the range. This one, however was distinctly at the accessible end. Most of it felt almost one-star in terms of difficulty, but two or three knottier ones pushed it up to two-star in my estimation. It took me considerably less time than usual, and certainly less than I expected and allowed for. The dog will be pleased to get a much longer walk.

We were treated to the excellent surface readings and clever word-play that is characteristic of Hoskins, with all of his trademark originality and inventiveness. I commented last week that with this setter the personality – or at least a persona – shines through. This is still true again today, but it is perhaps a rather milder persona that we see.

I don’t think there is any obscure vocabulary, misdirections notwithstanding. I have not seen “ce” from “Chancellor (of the Exchequer)” before, but it makes a change from cluing it with “church” – an example of this setter’s creativity. I loved the whimsical definition of a circle of lowing cows, and the delightful image of the champion bread-maker. The word-play and its interconnection with the surface reading for GOOD was neatly done, as well. Clue of the Day, though, goes to 17d: “Jumpers and anoraks go for alterations (9)”.

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared for all the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/07/17/independent-9597-by-hoskins/

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3365 Hoskins”

  1. Cornick said

    Agreed on all points.

    The app has 16a SMACKER as ‘Pound for a kiss?’ – presumably an earlier draft.

    And 3d is a rare thing: we often see commenters saying that an alternative interpretation of a clue works just as well, when really it doesn’t; but today I’d say (s)OLDER does indeed make as much sense as the actual (w)ELDER – until you have the crossing word of course.

    • Saboteur said

      Same clue in the dead tree version. I hadn’t noticed the earlier version on Fifteensquared.

      Interesting point about 3d. As I had 1ac in first that alternative construction never occurred to me. I can see that if you had the “wrong” version in before 1ac it would have you scratching your head.

  2. tonnelier said

    As one of Hoskins’ biggest fans, I have to say this was not one of his best. Usually my copy of a Hoskins is littered with ticks and approving exclamation marks but today it’s remained almost pristine. Still a good puzzle of course.
    Two *s I agree with because the NE section held me up making it almost a two-coffee job. I thought the clue for 9d was outstanding but was less keen on 3d and 22d.

    • Grodnik said

      Agreed on all points. Not his best, and a little pedestrian in places I thought, but rescued by 8d. Brylcreem, careful combing and a tyrolean hat. Ah, the memories. NDY

  3. jonofwales said

    Over in a flash here, easily 1* for difficulty, and enjoyed as always. I suspect Hoskins today (the second Friday in a row) and Peter earlier in the week were scheduled to balance a few tougher offerings. Serpent tomorrow?

  4. thebargee said

    Yup, a gentle ride for a Friday, but entertaining in the way that only Hoskins can be. I completely failed to parse 26 and initially put LOUTS in for 24, but quickly realised my mistake.

    Regarding 3d, I initially thought (s)older but dismissed it only because I interpreted ‘joiner’ as a person that joins (which would have been solderer) rather than a material used to make a join. Just lucky I suppose😊

    Is 1d an &lit?

  5. dtw42 said

    It was fine; a finish time of 7.34 suggests the ** rating feels about right. 4dn garnered a marginal “ha”, but the drug reference are starting to grate, TBH.

  6. John E said

    I thought 8dn was a really clunky clue.

    • Saboteur said

      That’s interesting, John. I liked the slightly old-fashioned use of “(hair-)do” for an old-fashioned hairstyle as the entry. And the surface reading was such that the Hoskins persona shone through.

  7. John E said

    I am in the right age bracket to be old-fashioned, but I’m afraid I have never come across ‘do’ as shorthand for hair-do, nor did it occur to me as a possibility after I’d put DUCKS ARSE on the basis of the crossers and the anagram fodder. That rather coloured my view of the clue.

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