i Cryptic Crossword 3395 Phi

December 24, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

Hurrah! For once I spotted a Phi-theme unaided! I even spotted it without completing the whole crossword and staring with fading hope at a grid waiting for some glimmer of inspiration.

It’s Christmas Eve, so a Christmas theme was of course to be anticipated, and my early entries of CHRISTMAS and CAROL confirmed my expectation. But there was more. My partner and I went on Tuesday to see a stage rendition of a Christmas Carol, and this was followed by a brief perusal of our copy of Dickens’ five Christmas novellas. So spotting references to A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Chimes, and The Battle of Life came very readily. A Haunted Man is not there overtly, but is alluded to, I suppose, in the GHOSTS entry, which relates to the first book as well.

This certainly helped with a few entries, particularly LIFE. One obscurity demanded a visit to the Internet: SCHLEMIEL. This was fairly clued as an obvious anagram, but there was just enough doubt left by the crossing letters for a check to be necessary. I did wonder at one point about a certain footballer, but I thought the definition was grossly unfair to him if it was (it wasn’t). One quibble: the Prince, famously married to an actress, was named RANIER, but the family are the Grimaldi, I believe. Not that it really mattered.

This was fun and enjoyable, and just right for Christmas Eve.

A very Merry Christmas to everyone, and I hope that whatever your circumstances (we have two family members who cannot join us as they are isolting) you will be able to enjoy some Christmas cheer.

Click here for the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/12/24/independent-on-sunday-1452-phi/

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3395 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    CHRISTMAS and CAROL were both obviously theme words, but as for the rest – well they were hardly in the league of Pickwick Papers or Great Expectations were they, so a typical bit of obfuscation from Phi, as we’ve come to expect, which passed me by yet again. Heigh-ho.
    Fairly gentle solve, 2* for me.
    Merry Christmas all.

    • Cornick said

      Ah, they’re all Christmas themed novellas. I see. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonnerer!

    • Saboteur said

      Even so, you have a point. I doubt whether many people have read any of the other four – and thus their obscurity would add to the appeal for our setter, I dare say. But an apt theme.

  2. Willow said

    I got everything except LIFE – I guessed TIME instead. Always good to see TOSCANINI making an appearance!

    Warm Christmas wishes to all. Enjoy a glass of sherry and mince pie.

  3. tonnelier said

    NW section proved tricky, and I didn’t get LIFE either, but an enjoyable 2-3 *s.

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes, Willow – mine will be in solitary – I was hoping for a really good Inquisitor to help pass the time, but we’ve been given a bogus bit of nonsense instead – very disappointing

    • jonofwales said

      Sorry to hear you’ll be on your own this Christmas, hope you still find ways to enjoy the day. I haven’t tackled the Inquisitor yet, but at first glance it seems to be more appropriate for the season than last year’s totally impenetrable (to me anyway) Harribobs.

  4. Grodnik said

    Been at the sherry already Cornick? Pardonnerer? See my further comment yesterday.
    I send season’s greetings to everyone who posts here. It certainly keeps me cheerful during these difficult times and I don’t feel so isolated. Some good news is I have just been informed that my application for a “Blue Badge” has been approved.
    Enjoyed this puzzle although I found it at least a three star, and 16dn had me completely foxed (well it is a bit niche!). Favourite difficult to choose, so much class, but 4ac beautifully constructed. NDY

  5. jonofwales said

    Happy Christmas everyone! 3* for difficulty sounds about right. I spotted CHRISTMAS and CAROL, and half thought something else might be going on, but the other titles I didn’t know despite seeing them in crosswords and elsewhere. The one obscurity noted above required a check with Google here too.

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