i Cryptic Crossword 3546 Hoskins

June 20, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

All the trade-marks of a puzzle from Hoskins are on display in this enjoyable and entertaining puzzle. We have delightful and plausible surface readings – something I really appreciate in a cryptic clue. We have creativity and invention. We have humour. The latter is not quite as in-your-face as some other offerings we have had presented to us from this setter, but is distinctive enough for the persona of the setter to shine through.

This is not, perhaps, Hoskins at his best. I was a little disappointed with the double-definition for TRAIL, which seems just a tad pedestrian. And I did wonder whether anyone actually refers to the constellation Canis Major as anything other than that. But these are minor quibbles, included, I confess, to prove if only to myself that I am capable of writing something balanced about one of my favourite setters. Otherwise it would be a paean of praise.

From among many contenders, my favourite clue today has to be 11 across. We have a splendid surface reading. We have that creative way with a definition. We have that cheeky humour, with more than a little nod towards the identity-politics debate. “Romeo’s a bloke who prefers using female loos (6,3)”.

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/05/13/independent-on-sunday-1472-hoskins/

3 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3546 Hoskins”

  1. jonofwales said

    Two stars for difficulty here, though with a very slow start. I similarly raised an eyebrow regarding the constellation, agreed on the COD.

  2. thebargee said

    Really enjoyed this one, a great return to crossword-solving after a week’s holiday. GREAT DOG was indeed a little odd, but perfectly clear. COD for me was a toss-up between 11ac and 7d, which really made me chuckle.

    Agree with 3* difficulty.

  3. John E said

    Great Dog is in Collins dictionary.

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