i Cryptic Crossword 3516 Nitsy

May 16, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I do crossword puzzles for pleasure, and I usually find something to enjoy: perhaps the delight given by the exquisiteness of a finely crafted puzzle; perhaps the battle of wits that takes place when a setter presents a puzzle with a high degree of challenge. Even where there is something in a crossword I don’t like, usually the positives more than outweigh the negatives.

Not so today, I’m afraid to say. There were a number of clues which left me with such uncertainty that there were no actual penny-drop moments, just a sense of “I suppose that must be it” after looking something up. I solve on paper, but today I chose to resort to the app version, so that I could be confident of the correctness of my answers. So if you see this, Nitsy, I am sorry, but this one didn’t work for me. I dare say, indeed I hope, that other solvers enjoyed it.

The ones I was discontented with were mainly in the SW quadrant, including the crossing AFLOAT, UNWELL and in particular OVERHEAD, but there were others, or at least components of others, including POORLY OFF. My last pair in were the crossing ADULTERY, which seemed barely cryptic, and CAROL. I wondered whether Our Younger Solver would get who this might be, her mother’s term of office having ended over thirty years ago (amazingly).

There were, of course, things to enjoy, and my nomination for Clue of the Day goes to 4ac for its amusing surface reading: “Whilst tight, laughter about hot pants (8)”.

Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/05/06/independent-1471-by-nitsy/

11 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3516 Nitsy”

  1. tonnelier said

    This is a curious offering indeed. Just the one tick, for common sense, and quite a few ?s and (unfavourable) )!s. The clues for overhead, poorly off, unwell, afloat and adultery all seemed weak. Nitsy not at his best with this one.

  2. jonofwales said

    I was surprised to see Nitsy in the IoS slot, but I finished in about 1* for time, albeit with a few question marks at the close, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been. I did enjoy this, in particular (a first?) reference to the soft drink in the SW corner, and 10ac which was my COD.

  3. thebargee said

    This was a curious solve indeed. I finished in 1* time, yet never felt that I was on the setter’s wavelength. The answers went in with more of a shrug than a fist pump!

    Having said that, I did like ALTHOUGH.

  4. Cornick said

    I have absolutely no idea how long Nitsy slaved over this puzzle of course, so I could be completely wrong, but it does seem to bear the hallmarks of a speedy bit of compiling – the grid; lots of long anagrams; a couple of short hiddens and a couple of dodgy straight cryptics.

  5. Borodin said

    As thebargee says, curious. As far as difficulty goes I wouldn’t go higher than 2*, but otoh I share our blogger’s reservations about clues such as 3, 17, 20 and 24.
    And, not that it’s relevant, I vaguely remember a FawltyTowers themed crossword and when I got BASIL as first one in I wondered if this was going to be the reprint. Obviously it wasn’t, and the original might not have been in the Indy anyway.

  6. elbertn said

    When I logged on to this site this morning I thought I must have got the wrong day. I confidently expected this offering to be rated 1*. While I often struggle with some crosswords only to find them rated as easy, I managed to complete this one fully parsed over a cup of coffee before getting up. We’re all wired differently!

  7. Saboteur said

    I’m now wondering how I came to give a four-star difficulty rating. Something less to do with time taken and more to do with my difficulty in getting into the setter’s mind

    • Cornick said

      If you’re enjoying a puzzle you can get deeply absorbed by it, which means you’ll solve better.
      Conversely if you’re not enjoying yourself you can become detached and an 1* quickly becomes very hard work!

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