i Cryptic Crossword 3417 Knut

January 20, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟

Who would have thought that a Thursday reprint from Knut would turn out to be the most straightforward puzzle of the week so far? There were a couple of potential obscurities in the grid, notably the hidden word to the SW, but throughout the clues were pretty gentle, with only the Indian spinach in the wordplay at 3d and the odd reversed word at 29ac causing any real difficulty. In each case the answer was pretty apparent, so in they went with a shrug. You might have picked up on the anagrams in some of the answers, and the start of what looks like a Nina in the bottom row, all of which was apparently due to an old, abandoned grid fill based on anagrams followed by a re-write of the puzzle.

As well as being fairly gentle, this was thoroughly enjoyable too, with much to appreciate. A political slant to proceedings as expected for Knut, and so inevitably the COD goes to the well spotted and probably controversial 13ac – “E. Macron turned out to be a political failure (7)”.

All the answers and parsing of the clues can be found in the Fifteensquared blog from October 2017:


5 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3417 Knut”

  1. dtw42 said

    Yup; 2 starts feels about right – what a relief! Didn’t know the spinach, but hey ho. All done by 7.40.

    I found litotes, toilets, T.S. Eliot, 7/8 of stiletto and 7/9 of Aristotle … then Cremona, Cameron, romance, and 7/10 of coromandel … wonder if that earlier draft grid fill had Menorca in it somewhere too?

  2. Saboteur said

    Yes, a bit of a relief after a tough week so far. Enjoyable and satisfying.

    I learned a new word – IKEBANA – but since IKEA was the most likely Swedish institution it wasn’t too difficult to guess.

    I particularly liked CREMONA and ESSENCE. Good to see the setter resisting the temptation to clue T S ELIOT in connection with another entry.

    Like Dtw42 I noticed the multiple anagrams. I did at one point suspect that all the top row would be Ss, until METEOR went in…

  3. Willow said

    After some recent offerings, it was a huge relief to tackle a puzzle that was not only approachable but also highly entertaining and rewarding to solve, while yet posing some challenges – very many thanks to Knut. I greatly enjoyed this. The setter’s unpretentious style was evident throughout, not least in the clue for STAMPED OUT. Surface readings were invariably smooth and convincing.

    I too spotted the various anagrams and part anagrams. Very interesting. IKEBANA is a word I have frequently accidentally come across at while trying to find other words under ‘I’ in my dictionary, but I did wonder if the Swedish institution might be something to do with the Nobel prizes at first. SAG ALOO has always been a favourite side dish for me.

    Also of note is that INTERN forms the first part of INTERNATIONAL, as well as being INT (short for INTERNATIONAL) plus ERN (short for ERNIE as in WISE), and the the IK in IKEBANA can also be found in the full name of BAN KI-MOON.

    My personal COD would be the clue for CALFSKIN, with its subtle misdirection.

  4. Borodin said

    Solved in one sitting – I’d almost rate it only 1*. Interesting that Wednesday’s Punk and this one also appeared on consecutive days back in 2017 – is that of any significance?

  5. Cornick said

    A hard working week is maybe not the most conducive to solving cryptics – I found this one quite challenging again – at least in parts. 3* for me.

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