i Cryptic Crossword 3408 Alchemi

January 10, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

An enjoyable and accessible start to the working week. This will not have held up many solvers for too long. Just right for Plough Monday, at the start of the first full working week after the festivities.

Just a couple of things needed checking online: an unfamiliar bird, and a less well-known Spanish name. Both were very clearly clued, though, with helpful crossing letters, so it was really a question of checking my guesses rather than consulting lists.

Only one bit of parsing eluded me, which was PUGILISTS. It was another entry with useful crossing letters and a straightforward definition, but the word-play eluded me, largely because I never thought of IS for “terrorists”. I mistakenly fell for the misdirection in 17ac, and overconfidenty entered “Go to sea” and had to correct it when the anagram for EARDROP failed to yield. For a moment or two, as well, I failed to notice the old trick of “es” from “French art” in REDESIGN. These, I think, push this otherwise very accessible puzzle up into two-star territory.

Clue of the day goes to the humorous and nicely done hidden inclusion in 2d: “Johnson’s laughter seen partly as an attack (9)”.

Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/10/23/independent-9681-by-alchemi/

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3408 Alchemi”

  1. jonofwales said

    Enjoyable and pretty straightforward, finished comfortably in 1* for time. Your unknowns were unknown here too, but taken on trust based on the cryptic and checking letters.

  2. Alchemi said

    Thanks. It’s mildly interesting that your COD has become more rather than less topical with the passage of time.

    • Saboteur said

      Thanks for dropping by, Alchemi.

      Yes, and I wonder if it will still be topical another four years hence…

  3. Cornick said

    With a user-friendly grid things all went in smoothly and enjoyably for a seasoned solver like moi, but quite a few bits of trickiness here and there where I chose to bung in from definition, and which might have held up newer solvers perhaps? REE, PILAR, ODISTS, Nelson EDDY, SER, IO, ID, IS, ES; a shade or two higher than entry level!

  4. thebargee said

    Very enjoyable start to the week, but more like 3* hereabouts.
    I felt the need to check the philosopher before bunging it in and wasn’t sure of the parsing of 8dn (it was that β€˜es’ thing I didn’t get) but understood everything else (I think).

  5. Willow said

    Very enjoyable, but I share some of Cornick’s thoughts. Incidentally, I have always loved it when setters use the French ES.

  6. Borodin said

    As thebargee says, Very enjoyable start to the week, but more like 3* hereabouts.

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