i Cryptic Crossword 3422 by Hoskins

January 26, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of 5): 🌟🌟

Well, I don’t know how fair a review I can write about this. I’m not a fan of Hoskins these days and usually give his puzzles a miss as I find his penchant for smut, drugs, booze and schoolboy humour about bodily functions very tiresome. I’m not averse to occasional risqué surfaces but when almost every other clue contains such references it’s a bit much. Today’s puzzle is a prime example, starting with the first word of the first clue.

So I may as well acknowledge that having solved a handful of “normal” clues I sloped off to the fifteensquared blog and wrote in most of the answers to the setter’s “trademark” clues, which means that my assessment of the difficulty level is a bit of a guess.

So did I enjoy any of it? Yes, there were several clues which took my fancy – 10, 13 and 24 across, plus 4, 5, 6, 7, 15 and 21 down. Of those I particularly liked 10 and 13 across but my nomination for CoD goes to 6dn: ‘Cross and weary after the Spanish turned up (7)’

The original blog and comments, with extended input from the setter, can be found at http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/10/01/independent-on-sunday-1440-hoskins/

12 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3422 by Hoskins”

  1. jonofwales said

    Struggled today, never really getting on Hoskins’ wavelength, finishing in about 4* for time. The trademark smut doesn’t really worry me, but there was a lot of it today!

  2. Topsy said

    I saw the setter’s name and my face fell. After scanning the puzzle I decided to give it a miss. Yuk!

  3. tonnelier said

    2* about right, maybe just straying in to 3*category. I remain a firm fan of Hoskins, simply because his clues are so ingenious and varied. The smut bothers me not at all.

  4. Saboteur said

    Loved it!

    Maybe three-star for me.

    The thing about Hoskins is his delight in word-play resulting in great creativity. Consider, for example, the clues for EIDERDOWN, TEASER, OPPRESSOR, SOD IT and PIECE. All of these contain some entertaining novelty.

    A couple I struggled to parse, but that was me, as once I did actually work out what was happening I could see they were fairly done.

  5. thebargee said

    Quite enjoyed this, although I have to say there was a surfeit of suggestive smuttiness. If you can put that to one side, there’s no doubt about Hoskins’ cleverness with wordplay.

    I found it much easier than yesterday’s TEASER for some reason, 1* bordering on 2* for me. I liked all of those Saboteur mentions, also THE WEED, it took a while to twig the sense of ‘gone’ in the clue even though I was on the lookout! LOI was WHATEVER.

  6. Willow said

    I regret that I can longer stomach the smug complacency relating to drugs etc displayed by this setter. It rivals that of BJ’s connection with the truth.

    I have cancelled my subscription to the i newspaper and will try the Guardian instead.

    I have enjoyed being part of the idothei community since lockdown began, and I have valued your incisive and instructive comments. I genuinely wish you all well.

  7. Topsy said

    I have sent a letter of complaint to the editor, again! You would like to think they will take action as Hoskins particularly is alienating readers. Good luck Willow and thanks for your contributions.

  8. Grodnik said

    Enjoyed this right from the NW corner republicanism through to the SE corner reference to tobacco (nicotine is a drug) I had not heard in years. Hoskins is my kind of setter, iconoclastic, clever and humorous. Smug?, hardly. Creative?, very. Almost the T20 version of the game (a cricket reference). Both versions enjoyable if you don’t take them too seriously.
    Looking forward to the revelation of the new decorations in No.10. I’d pay for the whitewash myself and expect nothing in return. NDY

  9. dtw42 said

    Okay, well for me it started off looking like ** territory, as the first half went in fairly swiftly, but then the second half was a chore and took it up to ****. (Have just finished, ca. 7.25pm.)
    With regard to the setter’s style, yes, he is jolly inventive, and I personally don’t mind smut (have implemented it occasionally in my own clues), shrug my shoulders resignedly at schoolboy juvenilia, but grind my teeth at all the drug stuff, which, er, gets under my skin and up my nose as it were. The last couple of puzzles from Hoskins were quite light on that front, so I thought he was growing out of it, but the sluice gates were fully open again today. I really sympathise, Willow.

    • Topsy said

      I find this setter to be extremely clever and inventive. However, that skill is lost because of the “low life” nature of their clueing. In my book, not big and not clever. Such a shame. After too many offerings, today was the pits. Henceforth, if I see the setter is Hoskins I will turn the page. I am not quite ready to cancel my subscription to the i but more of Hoskins druggy/smutty drivel and I will. Crossword editor take note!

  10. Cornick said

    Clever? Maybe. But I find the persistent attempts to be funny by putting in ‘naughty’ words akin to somebody saying ‘Willy!’ every 5 seconds, laughing, then making me feel like I’m a prude because I’m not laughing too.
    So no, not for me, sorry – and I speak as a fan of Viz, The Fabulous Freak Brothers, and, from time to time, Private Eye.

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