i Cryptic Crossword 3384 by Maize

December 11, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟🌟

Me blogging one of mine again. Oh well.

This one featured that sub-variety of Nina which has two 8-letter words hidden top and bottom, both linked to 15-letter entry in row 8. Those words being QUESTION, CROSSWORD PUZZLE, and SOLUTION, and as I mentioned in the comments to the original blog, the idea was pinched from Phi who did the same back in 2008 with HONEYBEE, INSECT REPELLENT and LADYBIRD, but arranged vertically – very nice.

The Nina put some constraints on the words used – OYEZ, OYEZ should surely be threefold rather than two, then there were ULLMAN, YEO, TENTH RATE, and NO DEAL which are frankly all a bit sub-optimal in the grid-filling department.

Difficulty can be hard to judge on your own puzzles, but I think these clues were quite mixed;  several were straightforward but then a few were definitely more in the curved ball department. For example we had PTO ‘cycling’ to become OPT, a substitution of ‘O’ for ‘and Well’ in BATHOS, and a double ‘promotion’ of the T in set-set to make TSETSE. Unfortunately that’s what you get with my puzzles; I seem to have (or should I say ‘had’, because it’s a few months since I’ve actually done one) a yen to be ‘creative’ which sometimes comes over as being downright tricksy for the sake of it. Still, at least Eimi seems to be scheduling them for the weekends, when we hopefully all have a little more time.

My nomination for CoD goes to that central clue:

18a Kiss, promise, and then wonder what you’re doing (9,6)

And here’s the link to the 2017 blog by Bert & Joyce:

Fifteensquared Independent 9658 by Maize

9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3384 by Maize”

  1. jonofwales said

    Solved in about 1* time, but for the second time, so it’s possible (though unlikely given my memory) that I had a vague recollection of it. NE corner my last in, followed by the central bit of the Nina, with more Z’s than seems feasible. Thoroughly enjoyed, with ticks beside 9ac, 16d and 21d.

  2. Topsy said

    Well congratulations and thank you!! My first one in was 1ac which amused me. I’m not terribly good at solving but I thought “pangram” which really helped. Thank you for a pleasant solve!

    • Grodnik said

      I looked for 1 ac but couldn’t’ find it. Maybe it should have been clued “ This soon to be ridiculous conspiracy theory”. NDY

  3. Topsy said

    As I said, I am not very good at solving puzzles and I just couldn’t see 13ac so used electronic help. The only word it came up with was “tailzie”. So I lobbed it in by thinking it must be an RAF expression for a tailspin! It worked for me 😁

  4. Saboteur said

    Brilliant. And great fun too.

    Two things I look for in a crossword are good and ideally amusing surface readings and lots ofcreativity / originality, and these were certainly on display today.

    Three-star seems about right for me. No recourse to aids needed, although I did look up OSTINATO after I’d got it from the word play, just to check that it was what I thought it was. The one I spent longest on, it seemed was one of the two shortest, OPT. Fortunately, once the crossing O and T were in, there were only four or five possibilities for me to work through.

    My favourite from among many was the clue for BATHOS. What with that and also LITOTES, I did wonder early on whether we were going to get some sort of grammar theme.

    Thanks, and bravo!

  5. Willow said

    Absolutely excellent in all respects – a most enjoyable solve – many thanks indeed.

    A few comments:

    About a fifth of the way in I thought: “Some solvers will complain that the clues are non-Ximenean,” and then XIMENES turned up as an answer. Non-Ximenean doesn’t bother me in the least – these clues are imaginative and stretch boundaries.

    The Nina certainly helped. And then I looked for multiple pangrams, but it wasn’t to be. Can’t have everything.

    At least two crossword compilers are alluded to in the grid – did you want to include more, I wonder?

    I entered OUT for 28. “Go!” could mean “Out!” and TUO is a type of cycle turbo trainer. But I only got that by looking online. OPT is certainly the better answer.

    I completely disagree with your statement that some answers are sub-optimal. They are all fine.

    All clues have beautifully crafted surface readings – fantastic!

  6. dtw42 said

    Yup, this was good fun and it was the lovely surfaces that were the highpoint for me. No polypangrammery but still lots of Zs and Xs and a Q. I had “haha” annotations against OYEZ OYEZ and TURIN but could easily have had against some others too.

  7. thebargee said

    Thoroughly enjoyable, although a bit of a head-scratcher for me. It was a really slow start, but things began to fall into place once I’d got a toehold. In the end I needed a teensy-weensy bit of electronic help to finish.

    I found the NW corner most troublesome, but eventually spotting the Nina helped a lot. There were also several I bunged in without understanding the wordplay (OPT, BATHOS and TSETSE to name but three).

  8. Borodin said

    Late to the party as I don’t tackle Saturday’s puzzles till Sunday evening, but just popped in to express appreciation of the puzzle. I thought XIMENES for 12ac as soon as I saw it but it wasn’t until I saw the nina and got 1dn that I was confident to put it in, albeit unparsed.

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