i Cryptic Crossword 3523 Hob

May 24, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Our theme this Tuesday is roles played by 27/4. Now, I’ve seen a couple of the films referenced, but had forgotten who played the parts in question, so that it would only be on referencing Fifteensquared that all became clear. This is a Thursday reprint, and it’s Hob, so it’s very much on the tough side. Loads went in not at all understood – you needed a knowledge of obscure Scottish resorts to parse 17ac, to be very much in tune with Hob’s sense of humour to follow 24ac, know who Tom Hank’s son was to understand 14ac, and possibly to know a bit about Les Mis to enter 6/13 with any confidence. In other words, I’m not entirely convinced this puzzle didn’t cross the line into unfairness, and we were without the prior knowledge Independent solvers would have had, on a Thursday, that something pretty tough would be on offer.

Hob as ever is inventive though, so besides the general struggle through the grid there was plenty to keep the solver entertained, and to be fair there were a fair few accessible clues to get things going.

COD? 22ac is certainly worthy of mention, with my pick going to 5d – “Hob’s drug-free, right? Fabulous (8)”.

All the answers and parsing of the clues can be found in Fifteensquared’s blog from March 2018:


9 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3523 Hob”

  1. Saboteur said

    Very tough indeed. I needed a lot of e-help for this, and wasn’t always confident I’d got the right answers. By the end, I couldn’t really be bothered to search for a theme.

    I think you are right to suggest this bordered on the unfair in places. I’m not sure that REAVE has any place in a daily cryptic. Knowing the name of Tom Hanks’s son, and that there was a film in 2004 called KINSEY is a bit of a stretch. “House, partly” to clue LIVING ROOM seems too much, too.

    Lots of good clues, too, and plenty of creativity to enjoy, but I think this was too tough, on balance for a midweek cryptic.

  2. thebargee said

    Tough indeed, and I had a couple of lucky guesses, REAVE included, but ultimately failed on the last one, 7dn. In retrospect, I should’ve thought of Mr Balls, but it eluded me.

    Timewise I actually did ok, more like 3*, but there was a healthy dollop of luck involved.

  3. dtw42 said

    Ooh, well I had it finished by 7.45 (though with a bit of e-help), so didn’t expect to see it flagged as 5-stars. I was thinking 3ยฝ. I confess I didn’t parse the wordplay of 9a though. Maybe being a film fan helped, or the fact that I myself have previously clued the fella in question (“Actor in Aliens/Omen mash-up”) before…

  4. Grodnik said

    I found this tough and not helped by having no idea about the CV of Liam Neeson. Still managed to complete with a little e-help. GK and general mood improved by learning the relatively new name for Bangkok. My first brush with โ€œreaveโ€ was in the late great motor racing world champion Jim Clarksโ€™ biography where he described racing for a team called the Border Reivers. Different spelling, but meaning the same. Iโ€™ve never encountered it since. NDY

  5. David said

    The theme passed me by as I have no memory of Liam Neelson. Perhaps his name would have been vaguely familiar at the time this puzzle first appeared.

  6. Cornick said

    I didnโ€™t need e-help today but did need a dictionary to check the unlikely looking REAVE; uncertain as I was that there were no synonyms for โ€˜partโ€™ that go ??A?E other than โ€˜leaveโ€™.
    Apart from that, Colin Hanks (who he?) and the strained clues for both EXTREMELY and MACARTHUR, I thought this was brilliant, so thanks to Hob – such inventive clueing is bound to involve some risk taking I guess.
    Oban is a pretty major town Iโ€™d say; the KINSEY film less so; personally Iโ€™d rather that had been clued as โ€˜reportโ€™.

  7. Henri said

    Most difficult of recent memory. Got it all, and even parsed most, but Iโ€™m ashamed to say how long it took.

  8. Borodin said

    After an easy ride and obvious theme last Tuesday it was back to normal with a vengeance this week. Definitely five stars, and I didn’t even look for a theme as I was relieved just to finish. The theme wouldn’t have occurred to me anyway.

  9. Mighty_M said

    I enjoyed this and knew some of the Liam Neeson films (apparently heโ€™s made 102!). Struggled with REAVE as it was unknown to me and couldnโ€™t parse EXTREMELY until the penny jolly well dropped.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: