i Cryptic Crossword 3402 Nitsy

January 3, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

How does one rate a crossword for difficulty? Quite often I have found my own rating of a puzzle considerably at variance with that of ther contributors to idothei. Regularly I end up wondering how other people seemed to have sailed through something that felt to me like wading through treacle. Much less often I wonder what other solvers found so challenging.

When rating, I tend to take three things into account, generally. Principally, and rather obviously, the time taken is a key consideration. In addition to that, however, if I have had to resort to, first the dictionary or thesaurus, or second the internet (whether lists or to look something up) because the definition is cleverly opaque, then that will cause me to raise the difficulty rating, even if I have finished it within my usual time. Third, if there are obscurities aplenty, even if easily spotted in an online list, that could cause an extra star to be added.

Today’s fun and enjoyable offering from Nitsy I solved in about one- or two-star time. But I needed recourse to aids because of some obscurities: RIBALD from “mean” and INSTINCT from “charged”. Both of these were readily “solved” from the word-play and the crossing letters, but they required research for confirmation. Additionally, and rather unusually, I used a word finder to look for a ten-letter word “extra…..”. I got EXTRA from the definition and the crossing letters, but struggled to see what word I was supposed to be halving.

I found lots to enjoy today, and I like learning new stuff from crosswords, which I did. My favourite clue was 11d: “Girl’s set to be let down (12)”.

Here’s the link for the entries and the parsings: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/01/07/independent-on-sunday-1454-by-nitsy/

5 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3402 Nitsy”

  1. Cornick said

    I do struggle with puzzles like today’s where the clues are structurally simple but we have to cast about in our minds for synonyms.
    Some good clues though, 3* was how it was for me.

  2. jonofwales said

    About 2* for time here, though it did feel a little knotty in places, and I took some of the odder definitions on trust. We don’t see Nitsy very often, but I would welcome more based on today’s offering.

  3. thebargee said

    Mostly 2* here, but as I stared at an empty grid for several minutes before getting started I’d bump it up to 3. Once I got going, though, everything went in pretty quickly, with a break at half time to dismantle a rather sad-looking Christmas tree.

    I took RIBALD and INSTINCT on trust as the wordplay was clear, and (luckily) guessed EXTRANEOUS as the word to chop in half. I thought there were some clever removal indicators (is there a proper term for that?): e.g. 13a, 20d and especially 22d.

  4. Willow said

    Absolutely loads of excellent clues – many thanks for that. Like others, I guessed hopefully when inserting EXTRA(NEOUS) and discovered a new meaning to INSTINCT. However, at 12A I put SLIME, which made sense to me at the time. S for small, and LIME for “make something white,” with perhaps SLIME being a slang synonym for RAT/BETRAY/GRASS. SWINE makes much better sense. Maybe I should start to insert guessed missing letters from the end rather than from the beginning of the alphabet in future. As a very brief and completely irrelevant aside, pupils whose surnames began with T, U, V, W, Y and Z always appreciated it when I started reading the register from Z. We did have a few pupils with Z surnames – Zaman, for example.

  5. Borodin said

    Would have been 2* for me had I not failed on SWINE and GENIUS – bothe perfecrtly obvious once I saw them. As for SWINE it’s curious that if I see ‘wine’ in a clue I often think ‘red’ (rarely ‘white’) but not the other way round – perhaps its just because so may words end ‘…red’.

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