i Cryptic Crossword 3370 Serpent

November 25, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of 5): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

For a while now I seem to have been struggling badly with puzzles by Serpent, and today’s Saturday reprint is no exception. To be fair, perhaps my mind wasn’t in the right place for solving today, but still, I got there eventually, but only with a great deal of help, and still find myself mystified by some of the parsing, in particular 26ac which still makes no sense at all to me, and am less than convinced that “lifting” and “raising” in 24d and 19d justify the switch in order of the wordplay elements. A few of the definitions seem tenuous, in particular at 20ac, but perhaps I’m just being particularly dim today. Always a possibility. There’s a pangram in the perimeter, which I guessed would be present early on, but I had so few in place for an age that it did little to help. At the close I found myself feeling generally disgruntled, so not one for me, sorry! The general reception on the other side seems to have been very positive, however, so perhaps I just got out of bed the wrong way. Do let me know how you got on.

COD? I’ll go with 6d – “Enacts changes on railway line (8)”.

All the answers and parsing of the clues can be found in the 2017 blog from Fifteensquared:


6 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3370 Serpent”

  1. Cornick said

    This is exactly the kind of puzzle I like.
    Zero obscurities, zero bits of Crosswordese, scrupulously fair without a wasted word, and the difficulty came entirely from inventive and creative originality. Oh and a Nina as a bonus.
    For me it was no more than a 3*, possibly a 4* because not everyone is going to be on Serpentโ€™s wavelength.
    26a surely parses as 1 inside ZERO (nothing) + NON(e) (75% of nothing).
    20a whilst not an obvious synonym perhaps, was a legitimate one, and the anagram was pretty clear I thought.
    24d MINX would only work in a down clue, which it is of course.
    Loved it all!

  2. tonnelier said

    I’m on exactly the same wavelength as Cornick today. Three *s, just a few uncertainties about precise parsing, but it all checks out perfectly now. Brilliant puzzle.

  3. thebargee said

    As usual with Serpent, I threw in the towel with only just over half done. Having looked at 225, I would never have finished, so it was the right decision๐Ÿ˜Š.

    One of the clues I did get was 26ac, which I parsed as โ€˜Iโ€™ inside ZERO+NON(E), i.e. 100% of ZERO +75% of NONE. But as for some of the othersโ€ฆ not in a month of Sundays. Dribble=ooze? Shot= iridescent? Donโ€™t tell me, theyโ€™re all in Chambersโ˜น๏ธ

  4. Saboteur said

    Absolutely brilliant. Loved it. A real treacle-toffee crossword.

    No parsing problems in the end and no obscurities -although I did use a list or three for inspiration. Spotted the pangram, and finally noted it was all in the perimeter, which helped hugely with MINX and OOZE in particular (this last being one of my panic-inducing clues; four letters, no crossing first letter and unhelpful ones that do cross).

    I especially liked QUORUM, ZERO IN ON, and NORMALLY.

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