i Cryptic Crossword 3405 Tees

January 6, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

An enjoyable challenge from Tees draws us towards the end of the mercifully short first working week of the New Year. The kids being back in school today meant an earlier start, and therefore the feeling of exhaustion that’s been creeping up on me all week moved on apace, but for a Thursday Independent reprint I found this to be relatively straightforward, finished in about 2* for time. I’ve added an extra star for a few tricky bits of wordplay (notably 6d which was one of many that went in on definition and / or checking letters alone), and a definition or two that may have left solvers scratching their heads, in particular the Essex sailor that I took on trust.

I thought there might have been a theme of sorts developing regarding certain fictional creatures of the night, but it didn’t really seem to come to anything beyond a few related answers.

Lots to appreciate, with the hidden Spoonerism, 18d and 24ac in particular enjoyed here, with my COD going to 29ac – “Right to enter guilty plea? (9)”.

All the answers and parsing of the clues can be found in the Fifteensquared blog from January 2018:


8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3405 Tees”

  1. dtw42 said

    Yep, I had it flagged as *** as well. Most of it went in fine, but I needed electronic help at the end for 3dn and 22dn, which I just couldn’t see. Plus that “Essex sailor” needed Googling for an explanation. New to me.

  2. thebargee said

    3* here too, and like dtw42 I needed e-help for 3d. I’m sure I’ve seen the Essex sailor crop up in a crossword before, so that wasn’t completely new to me, but the 2 that held me up longest were APLOMB and SHEER. Loved the Spooner reference.

  3. Saboteur said

    Good fun, and a little easier than I expected from this setter. Three stars seems right for my experience.

    One of the things I love about cryptics is the little journeys of exploration the solver can be led on. Today I read rather more about Owen Coffin than was desirable whilst eating lunch…

    I too wondered about a theme, what with BLOOD and COFFIN and VAMPIRE, but maybe not. How many does it have to be to constitute a theme?

    Loved the Spoonerism device, among other good clues.

  4. Cornick said

    Loved the Spooner/ Vampire thing; agreed on 3*; like some others I struggled at the end with both Macedonian and Aplomb, unlike them I also struggled with Apricot.
    Good puzzle.

  5. Johnny B said

    If anyone’s interested, the tale of Owen Coffin is on BBC1 (started at 10:40pm).
    Coincidence? Maybe.

  6. Willow said

    I found this very difficult indeed and only finished after two sittings, the second of which was early on Friday morning. Lots to appreciate, but I think I would have preferred a leisurely weekend solve in this instance. I did remember Owen Coffin from a puzzle some months ago. However, I have to say that the clue with the rodent, the horn and the lord made absolutely no sense on the surface.

    • Cornick said

      I’m really disappointed with myself that I didn’t even notice that nonsensical surface reading, Willow. Perhaps I’ve succumbed to the ageing solvers trap of going straight for the cryptic reading. I do hope not!

  7. Borodin said

    Fairly straightforward as I managed to solve the linked clues early on, helped by remembering aboput Owen Coffin from the puzzle’s previous appearance. Didn’t remember anything else from it, though, so I’d rate it somewhere bertween 2* and 3*.

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