i Cryptic Crossword 3514 Tees

May 13, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟🌟

How much General Knowledge is necessary for a daily newspaper cryptic crossword? Self-evidently, basic GK is essential. Beyond that, it is surely reasonable for a puzzle in a UK newspaper to presuppose some knowledge of the British (usually English) cultural staples, such as Shakespeare and Dickens. (And by some convention, a familiarity with certain cricketing terms, like “leg” and “on” for example, is a must. The prevalence of cricket and rugger content over, say soccer or darts is surely something to do with the class of people doing crosswords as the genre was evolving.)

Today’s fine offering from Tees requires an awareness of one of Dickens’s lesser known novels, an undeservedly obscure component of the Four Quartets and a novel by Walter Scott hardly ever read these days, I venture. Whether these entries, with the well-known EMMA, plus BURGESS and perhaps KATHERINE as well, are connected in any way I’m not sure, but a literary theme is there, to be sure. I was expecting something in the perimeter by way of a nina, given this unusual grid, but obviously there is nothing there.

This was enjoyable and satisfying to solve. It took me a fair bit of time, but was completed without the need to use reference books or the internet. I encountered no parsing problems, although I scratched my head over the clue for DAREDEVIL somewhat. My favourite clue, and so my nomination for Clue of the Day is the delightful homophone in 2d: “Asian joint said to be very small (4)”.

You can find all the answers and explanations by clicking here: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/03/21/independent-9808-tees/

8 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3514 Tees”

  1. thebargee said

    Well, I rattled this one off (all except for INCA, which completely eluded me) pretty quickly while waiting to go to theatre for hernia repair earlier. Those pesky 4-letter ones with no initial letter can be so difficult!
    No more than 2-star for me, but I was concentrating hard to take my mind off the impending surgery!

    • Saboteur said

      I hope the surgery goes well!

      I can see how a situation like that would make you concentrate intensely on the crossword!

  2. thebargee said

    Meant to say favourite was ANTONYMOUS, it provided a nice penny-drop moment.

  3. jonofwales said

    Just into 4* territory here, for what was an interesting end to the working week. I wouldn’t say that my GK is that extensive, but with friendly wordplay to help, such as was the case today, I’m able to make a sort of intelligent stab at the answer. Agreed on the COD.

  4. dtw42 said

    3 or 4 stars perhaps for me; certainly not a finished-over-the-brekfast-table one (which is my informal criterion for easy), bit I think I had it done at work by a little after 8.15. Struggled with the ‘Eliot’s village’, and my last ones in were BURGESS (even though I’d done a similar contained-in-B.S. clue myself only last month) and IVANHOE.

    Tick against 21 (clever).

  5. Cornick said

    EAST COKER was the only bit of GK that posed a challenge today, but overall I thought this was very well pitched to be a stiff crossword but a satisfying one.

  6. Mighty_M said

    I also didn’t get INCA but was worn out by then so gave in and looked up the answers here and on 15 squared (where I was a bit shocked to see some argy-bargy going on!). I loved TINY. Unfortunately, I had inadvertently seen DAREDEVIL when I was looking up Thursday’s blog but restrained myself from putting it in until I’d got a few of the acrosses in.

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