i Cryptic Crossword 3366 by Maize

November 20, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟🌟

Whilst I suppose it could be some sort of a joke, I doubt very much that Eimi (the i‘s crossword editor) has ever realised that along with masquerading as Maize I also blog for idothei on a Saturday. So once again I’ve been landed with my own puzzle, and this will have to be a diary-type blog rather than any sort of critical review.

As you may have noticed, there is a double pangram, but that was really just an afterthought, the seed for this one was the pair of reverse (or DIY) anagrams at 16/18a and at 13d; Don Manley refers to them as ‘Inverse clues’, and in my 30-odd previous puzzles (in various places) these were my first two. Once they had been found homes in the grid, I remember taking JERUSALEM from my ‘Clues awaiting puzzles’ file and putting it at 1a; I used to suffer from anxiety about that slot – ever since I’d heard it referred to as the ‘calling card for the whole puzzle’. A jonquil, some paparazzi, and a bit of syntax later had the grid complete. Double pangrams honestly aren’t that big a deal.

There were a hefty 3 substitution style clues – 6d WARRANTY and 10a SQUIRRELS probably both worked better than the clue for MAUI. The solitary &Lit was AUTOMOBILE, then the hidden at 2d ROLLING OVER was 11 letters long because hiddens should surely be as long as possible.

The clue for JESU seems to have gone down rather badly back in 2017 – ‘Pie and this?’, while being a definition Charlotte Church might have appreciated, was clearly a bit too vague.

For CoD this fairly simple one seems to have gone down best:

22a   Lady rabbi condemns empty words (6)

All the answers and parsings can be found here:

Fifteensquared/Independent 9632 by Maize

11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3366 by Maize”

  1. dtw42 said

    Ah well I solved JESU pretty early and liked the definition enough to put “ha!” in the margin, so nuts to the curmudgeons. Also enjoy a hitchhikers reference, obviously.
    I finished in the NW corner, with 1d, 9a and then finally 15a.
    Unless I’m overanalysing, nice extra subtlety to 7d – as well as the parsing presented by ms_rapper67 over on 15², I took it also as a suggestion that ’16’ and ’18’ were examples of ages. O, to be 18 again. [sigh]

  2. Cornick said

    Not over-thinking at all dtw. In fact the minimum age for marriage moving from 16 to 18 has been in the news just this week.

  3. thebargee said

    As soon as I saw MAIZE at the top I was on the lookout for a pangram or two and wasn’t disappointed 😊. Not that it helped, I found this to be a relatively straightforward solve and a thoroughly enjoyable accompaniment to a Saturday morning coffee. I’d say 2* was about right.

    1ac was a write-in, and so would 1dn have been had I not for some unfathomable reason written WHACK into 9ac instead of 6ac. Doh!!

    I particularly liked 10ac, 27ac, 2dn… well, lots really, but my fave was UXORIAL, such a nice word and reminded me of Latin lessons. My LOI was AGE, which I confess I couldn’t quite parse.

    Thanks Cornick for another great puzzle, looking forward to the next one…

  4. Saboteur said

    Just dropping by to say that I have a busy day today and decided to save this for tomorrow. Not boycotting you. 🙂

  5. Willow said

    I have to say I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, I was greatly impressed by the double pangram and a plethora of excellent clues – of which I would rate at least ten as being outstanding. On the other hand, I couldn’t help feeling that the setter was trying to be difficult for the sake of it in some other clues. I have nine such examples highlighted in my copy, of which that for JESU was perhaps the most brow-furrowing – and I am very familiar with various musical settings of the Requiem mass.
    I did wonder if there was going to be a William Blake theme – images of dark satanic mills in 16/18A. Always nice to be reminded of Hitchhikers, but would 20- and 30- year olds of today recognise the quotation from the ‘trilogy?’ Incidentally, I saw a couple trying to hitch a lift on the A57 out of Sheffield towards Glossop this morning. A very rare sight these days. I was running and so couldn’t assist, but had I been driving it would have been a different matter.
    All in all – this kept me interested, it was cunningly wrought, and I enjoyed it for the most part. Many thanks.

    • Cornick said

      As I’ve said many times before on these pages, pangrams are no harder to compile than non-pangrams, and doubles are also very easy indeed to compile; give it a go if you don’t believe me!
      The difficulty/ ‘cleverness’ level is simply the level I enjoy solving myself 🙂

  6. jonofwales said

    The hardest puzzle we’ve had in some time I thought, but no complaints when it’s scheduled on a Saturday and when it’s as good as this. “[A]nswer to ultimate question” for 42 raised a smile, JESU a “what”?, JONQUIL a frown, being particularly obscure. The NE corner was the last in and trickiest for me, mostly because of the Scouse slang I was blissfully unaware of. I suspect I wouldn’t have spotted the double pangram if I hadn’t already been aware of it, though PAPARAZZI was a bit of a big clue. 🙂

  7. Saboteur said

    A first-rate puzzle.

    I’m glad I saved this to do today rather than trying to fit it into a busy Saturday, partly because it gave me time to enjoy it, and partly because I needed the extra time because I found this to be very challenging, four-star at least, if not five.

    As with other setters that I enjoy, what raises this up a level or two is the creativity and novelty on display. The clue for JESU is a case in point; some might say that the prayer in question is a little niche, but surely the ubiqity of the Lloyd Webber / Charlotte Church version means it is very well known. The accessibility of the word-play left me in no doubt of the entry, and left me space to appreciate the cheekiness of the definition. Lots of other really good constructions and imaginative definitions.

    I needed the double pangram to be sure of AGE, my last one in.

    Really enjoyable.

    • Cornick said

      Thanks.
      Yes, 4* is what I was going to put, but I nudged it down after what mc_rapper then our own Tonnelier had to say.
      I’d need some obscurities to make it a 5*, which I don’t think there were this time. 🙂

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