i Cryptic Crossword 3400 Phi

December 31, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

There’s no theme today – or if there is, no-one, not even the setter himself, has yet pointed it out. But a seasonal quality is given by the linking of two entries by the one clue to give us WATCH NIGHT, as the transition from the old year to the new is known in certain circles.

*Edit: I am grateful to Cornick for drawing my attention to the theme, and that it was identified by a commenter on Fifteensquared.

This was a relatively accessible puzzle, with little in the way of intractable parsing. There is one entry requiring a knowledge of Greek mythology, the story of ACTAEON, a hunter who was eaten by his own hounds. There is a reference to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, although the entry SUSANNA is a sufficiently common name for the anagram to have been unraveled, even without the helpful crossing letters. Is EULER obscure? Perhaps. The only other bit of obscurity was the use of “plaint” for objection. PLAIN TEXT was my last one in.

My favourite clue today is 20ac: “Refusal to involve East German? Discrimination (9)”.

So, a relatively low-key ending to our year of crosswords. Let’s hope that 2022 brings us not only a wealth of cruciverbal delight, but quite simply a better year all round. Happy New Year, everone!

Here’s the link to the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/09/29/independent-9661-phi/

8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3400 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    Very cleverly, James in the comments on Fifteensquared pointed out the theme of Rembrandt paintings, including ‘Watch Night’, though it passed me by of course.
    I’m glad we don’t talk actual solving times on idothei, but I think I am allowed to say that this took me nearly twice as long as yesterday’s Serpent. I did enjoy some of it though.
    Happy New Year to all.

    • Saboteur said

      Thanks, Cornick. Somehow I missed that in the 225 comments – just as I missed the theme itself, despite having seen the Night Watch a couple of years ago on a trip to Amsterdam (purely for cultural purposes, you understand).

      • Grodnik said

        I found this one difficult, at least four stars, but easier than yesterdays’ Serpent. Perhaps it’s end-of-year fatigue! ACTAEON was familiar (those racy paintings) but PALMY and OCEANIAN were both new to me.
        I read recently that since “The 28ac 1ac” was cleaned and restored it actually portrays a daylight scene, so should it not be renamed “The 1ac”? NDY

  2. Willow said

    It was refreshing to have an actual artist to enter into the grid, when the word so often points to RA in crosswords. Not that I have any objection to that at all. But I didn’t spot the theme. It was well disguised.

    Loads of excellent clues – thank you. But I did wonder about the reference to 26 in the clue for OCEANIAN. ZONE would have sufficed instead, maybe? Perhaps an unnecessary link.

    All best wishes for 2022. I do very much appreciate the various contributions people make on these pages. Those, and the puzzles themselves of course, help to keep me sane.

  3. jonofwales said

    Another very slow solve here – more like 5* for me. Theme, what theme. 😉

  4. Happy New Year. I finished it eventually, but would agree that it was not remotely a two-star solve and I still have to sort out some of the word play. I have not discovered the Sunday crossword but will do a search.

    • Saboteur said

      Hi, Christopher,

      Welcome to the nlog, and a Happy New Year to you. Jonofwales provided the I fo you need to get the Sunday puzzle in the comments to the 30th December blog.

      As to the difficulty ratings, these are somewhat subjective and different solvers often have varied experiences. It’s great that people put their own opinions on difficulty in the comments.

      • Thanks Saboteur & Jonofwales. I have found the Sunday cryptic. I have posted a few comments in the past, but seem to use a different ID each time! However I always read the comments with enjoyment.

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