i Cryptic Crossword 3404 Hoskins

January 5, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five):  🌟🌟but maybe a bit more than that in places?

I very much enjoyed solving this puzzle – many thanks to Hoskins for providing such a well-crafted piece of work. I have put at least one tick against all clues but one, (more on that shortly), and several have two or even three, reflecting how carefully and imaginatively the setter has tackled this. Lots of humour is also in evidence, and Hoskins has been sensitive in the amount of slightly risqué content he has included. There’s nothing which is in the least offensive here, as far as I’m concerned.

I hesitated to enter FOOTPRINT in the Long John Silver clue, imagining it must be some sort of cryptic definition, and it was only when I looked at Fifteensquared that I properly understood this. However, I must admit that if this is the only bad clue in the puzzle, it’s still perfectly possible to work it out.

Personally, I was fortunate to experience little difficulty in recognising elements in several clues which perhaps some other solvers will have found obscure, which is why I have suggested this possibly edges towards a three-star level of difficulty. These included LOUT for YAHOO in 6; GOUT as THE KING’S DISEASE in 20A; ORAL for SAID in 23, and how to replace the O with RU; LOAFERS as a form of footwear in 29; the fact that two setters are indicated in 4; DOVE for PEACENIK in 9; and the Latin RES for THING in 27. I thought these were all excellent, and that those for ENDORSE, HEADFIRST (good to see a lovely Spoonerism), RIO GRANDE and OTTER were outstanding.

However, the Clue of the Day I’ve chosen is 11: “Wearing retro Levis or elegant clothes (7)” A very fine example of a fluent surface reading which gives the reader entirely the wrong idea at first glance, and yet contains a concise set of logical instructions showing you how to get the correct answer.

Here’s the link for all the answers and explanations:

5 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3404 Hoskins”

  1. jonofwales said

    Closer to a 3* for difficulty here, though when probably not at my best very early in the morning! Favourite was the Spoonerism, which must be a first. Enjoyed as ever from Hoskins.

  2. Saboteur said

    Much as our blogger said, really, especially with respect to the good surface readings.

    What I would emphasise is how funny Hoskins is. Not merely amusing or even witty, though he is certainly that. He makes me laugh.

  3. dtw42 said

    Definitely ** territory for me; finished at 8.49. A couple of “haha”s in the margin (and an “ooooh” at 4dn).
    The only one I failed to parse fully was 23ac, and I thought it a touch odd to have two instances of “hospital department”=ENT, but otherwise thoroughly ENTertaining.

  4. thebargee said

    Great stuff as usual from Hoskins, and surprisingly lacking in innuendo. Like dtw42 it was 2* for me, but I didn’t fully understand 21 or 23 until I’d looked at 225.

    Favourite was 15dn – as for 4dn, discuss!

  5. Cornick said

    Super-talented, irrepressible (evidently), cheeky (witness 4d), egotistical (FOUR mentions of his own name) – you can’t ignore our ‘Arry.

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