i Cryptic Crossword 3424 Phi

January 28, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

Phi sets good, solid cryptic crosswords. He can infuriate sometimes with themes so ghostly that the very best of mediums would struggle to give them voice. But if you switch off to the ghost themes and consider them as straightforward puzzles, then you can rely on Phi.

As it happens, there is no theme to this crossword. And it is a good, solid cryptic. There is no contentious word-play, and just one potential obscurity, which is PITOT TUBE. I for one had not come across this before, but it was clearly clued with helpful crossing letters (the only question was whether it would be”pitot” or “potit”).

I think this was a good choice of crossword to follow yesterday’s perhaps too challenging one. Among many pleasing clues, my nomination for Clue of the Day goes to 14d, with its humorous surface reading: ” Concern about deity’s lumbering steed (9)”.

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared for the answers and explanations: http://www.fifteensquared.net/2017/10/20/independent-9679-phi/

10 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3424 Phi”

  1. Cornick said

    Thanks to setter and blogger. Agreed with all points above.
    Slightly embarrassed that I can’t recall having met a Pitot tube during my Geography degree… I was probably spending too much time doing the crossword.

  2. tonnelier said

    I also enjoyed this a lot, especially 6, 21 and 27. The use of weathered as an anagram indicator baffled me for a time, as did the lan part of 22, which I would never have been able to parse. Fortunately the crossers made the solution clear in both cases.

    My only tiny quibble about this excellent puzzle is “dose” in 8/10. I’m aware only of the phrase “a taste of one’s own medicine”.

    More generally, is anyone else surprised/disappointed that all the puzzles in the ! are reprints? I’m sure there are plenty of willing and able setters around, so I can only assume it’s just cheaper to use reprints??

    • Cornick said

      Sort of has its origins in the days when the i cost 20p, had about 12 pages of abridged articles from the Independent and readers accepted that the latter had to be better to justify the price difference.

    • jonofwales said

      It’s worth noting that the i went through a brief phase of publishing the Independent Cryptic on the same day as the Independent (just as we get the same Concise), and the editor was flooded with complaints about the puzzles being just too difficult. So much so that the matter reached the editorial. From that point on they returned to selecting older puzzles to reprint, though I’m not sure what ones (if any) we’re skipping now.

      The puzzles are also part of a package the i buys from the Independent, which probably makes it very cost effective for the i.

  3. thebargee said

    A welcome return of self-esteem after yesterday’s debacle. Enjoyed this solve, assisted by my apprentice daughter, finished in 2* time, but there were two of us.
    My only question mark was over the abbreviation of β€˜of’ to β€˜o’ in OMNIBUS. Is this a recognised bit of wordplay? It seemed to be stretching things a bit.

    • Cornick said

      John o Gaunt, will-o’-the-wisp; things like that I guess.

      • Saboteur said

        Those are the ones that came to my mind. A Younger Person pointed out to me that a certain hobbit-based book-and-film sequence is referred to as LOTR.

  4. jonofwales said

    Now that was much more like it. Accessible, enjoyable, solve-friendly. A few obscurities, but all perfectly gettable.

  5. Grodnik said

    A gentle solve in under par time. Quite a relief after yesterday. I first encountered the PITOT TUBE in the 1950s when building a scale model of the Hawker Hunter (of blessed memory, Neville Duke breaking the sound barrier at Farnborough in one was big news, I was there!) It is used, to this day, as a speed measurement device on aircraft. It’s one drawback is that if it gets blocked (for example by insects) it can give erroneous readings, and this has been held to be the cause of more than one airliner crash. NDY

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