i Cryptic Crossword 3374 Scorpion

November 30, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Our theme today is to do with various sorts of trains, which are dotted about the grid. Not that I noticed, it must be said, more sure of the pangram which was there, and feeling anyway pretty battered and bruised by the close. Because yes, this was as tough (I hope) as they get, and dare I say much too tough for a weekday. Enjoyable in a masochistic sort of way, but by the close I was just relieved to have finished. Top quality clues from Scorpion as you’d expect, with a couple of obscurities in the grid, but all were among the easier clues to parse, so no complaints here, and I will admit to feeling smug on getting the unknown (to me) footballer.

COD? I’ll go with 19d – “Rosy wants first in biology – a strain at such a university? (8)”.

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


11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3374 Scorpion”

  1. Mr Cedric Constant said

    I imagine it is a very small percentage of solvers & prospective solvers who got anywhere with this puzzle today. May I suggest in order to reconcile β€œall” cruciverbalist’s is it not possible to have two cryptic crosswords, one for Mr/s average & one for the more advanced on a daily basis.
    Without this choice puzzles like todays, Mr/s average are left only with the β€œCodeword” & β€œConcise” although entertaining they are not as challenging.

  2. tonnelier said

    I came very close today to breaking my “not more than an hour” rule for weekday puzzles, but just managed it in the end. This is as tough as it should get for a weekday, in my opinion.
    Outstanding clues were 10, 17 and 25. My only tiny quibble was plonk for lay in 22. Everything else is just brilliant, and there’s a considerable amount of satisfaction here in having finished it. We don’t want puzzles this hard every day, but once in a while the challenge is enjoyed.

  3. Grodnik said

    Have to agree with tonnelier, a five star toughie for me. Managed to finish within the cut-off limit, but only just, and with a bit of electronic help. Would have failed otherwise. Very clever clues everywhere. Scorpion stung me today. NDY

  4. Saboteur said

    Two sittings required today. Really difficult, but as Jonofwales said, enjoyable in a masochistic way. I had to have a break after I ground to a halt, but needed to come back to get the satisfaction of finishing it. I agree, that it is probably too tough for a midweek, really. The prospect of a pangram helped, especially with AXIS.

    I’m not sure that the clue for FREIGHT really works, and I needed e-help for PAPILLAE. Lots of other clues required lots of list-scouring for inspiration.

    It being theme-Tuesday, I looked and saw the train connection for GHOST, FREIGHT and SLOW, but missed all the others. Probably exhausted 😩.

  5. Cornick said

    Breakfast, morning break, lunchtime, and just finished now in afternoon break. Definitely 5*
    Off now to Fifteensquared to discover the parsing of the ones bunged in on a wing and a prayer., like TILTING and HOSPITAL.
    Spotting the theme definitely helped.

  6. Willow said

    Very, very difficult, and not entirely rewarding, but I did manage to finish and parse nearly everything. FREIGHT was the exception, and I’m still not convinced by it. I sympathise with Mr Cedric Constant (hello Cedric!) but I’m not sure two cryptics in one issue is possible. Maybe the crossword editor should consider giving us an indication of the level of difficulty, perhaps along the lines of: “This was a prize crossword on a Sunday,” or: “This was originally printed on a Wednesday.”

  7. dtw42 said

    DNF here, so well done to those of you who persevered with it. I got to about 80% before just being exhausted and having better things to do with my time.

  8. Borodin said

    Definitely 5* but I got it all apart from 16ac where I had an unparsed LISTING (well, sort-of parsed).

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