i Cryptic Crossword 3526 Eccles

May 27, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Just the sort of crossword I like. It offered plenty of challenge (a little more than I expected from this setter) but I never felt I was drowning, so to speak, and so there were lots of penny-drop moments as I worked my way through.

I completed this in just a little over my typical time, and was tempted to rate it at three-star, purely in terms of time taken. However, I bumped it up a bit to take account of the fact that I needed some help where my general knowledge was lacking. These were the Greek musician and PLAYAS. This was my last in, and I had to trust the (clear) word-play to work out what I needed to check in the dictionary. The other one which I spent a disproportionate amount of time on was SEEPAGE, where nothing came to mind and I had to resort to crosswordsolver, but that was just my failing, as the clue is fine and the entry is far from obscure.

Lots of ticks and smiles in my margin. I loved OFFCUT and MAGICALLY. TEA BREAKS was very neat, I thought. Clue of the Day for me, though is the delightful homophone (yes, I know, I know) at 3d: “A period of time off to watch Ms Rantzen broadcast (6)”.

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/05/02/independent-9844-eccles/

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3526 Eccles”

  1. jonofwales said

    The most difficult puzzle in what has been a tricky week I thought. Too many I couldn’t make head or tale of for comfort here – I didn’t know the Johnson in question, and suspect most betters would hope to get more than small change by way of WINNINGS. In other words, I suspect Eccles was on one wavelength, and me altogether. Oh well!

  2. thebargee said

    Nah, not for me today, I never really got going, although I did complete most of it in the end. Unfortunately I lost interest with the SE incomplete. Ho humโ€ฆ

  3. Grodnik said

    I agree with jon. This was the beastliest of a tough week, but it would be no fun at all if everything was beautiful but easy. Basketballsโ€™ Johnson was an inspiration to his country, unlike our current party-animal. I am definitely not on Eccles wavelength so extra time and thought had to be invested, but did not let that defeat me. Enjoyed 3dn but had to convince myself that PLAYAS might be something other than Spanish beaches. NDY

  4. Cornick said

    Loved it. Loads of fine pdmโ€™s and a welcome 4 homophones, of which I wish we had that many more often.
    I didnโ€™t find this as tricky as others, it seems – 2* today. And lest anyone thinks Iโ€™ve suddenly got better at these things, I doubt it; the days of my railing about a puzzle being much harder than the blogger rated it will be back next week as sure as eggs is eggs.

  5. AndyO said

    Dnf for me (3 & 27) but COD for me was 9 for reference to the Greek composer (long time based in London apparently) who passed this week – a great talent who’ll be much missed!

  6. dtw42 said

    I usually am on Eccles’ wavelength, but found this one far harder than usual from him, and have just finished it (8am Saturday). Needed electronic help for the last few, and (as a soundtrack nerd and owner of a number of Vangelis albums) had an absolute massive self-kicking moment when 9a was revealed.

  7. Borodin said

    This took a bit of sorting out, and a bit of electronic help too. I’m mildly surprised that people didn’t get the Greek musician (always think, does score/d refer to music?) as his death was announced in the past few days; I wondered in fact if the puzzle was slotted in at short notice because of that but maybe it was just coincidence.

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