i Cryptic Crossword 3583 Maize

August 2, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I think this was a very challenging crossword. Just the sort I like, in fact; where seemingly intractable clues eventually give way in moments of enlightenment, providing a very satisfying solving experience indeed. There is humour, misdirection in bucketloads, and plausible surface readings throughout. The setter has presumed a fairly high level of general knowledge (or at least access to the internet, I suppose…) but nothing too niche. As two examples, the solver had to know that there is another Lincoln apart from the one in, well, Lincolnshire, and that teachers read (or at least look for jobs in) the Times Educational Supplement.

Some highlights: the definition for TILDE hiddden in plain sight; the great surface reading of the clue for ICIEST; AC being clued by “roundabout” (a bit contentious, I dare say); the misdirection in STREET; the devious definition for the hidden inclusion of CRESCENT; the amusingly cheeky word-play for T-SQUARE. My Clue of the Day, is 6d, for having very funny word-play with a nice surface reading: “Demand money from Congress, bypassing leader of Senate (6)”.

The theme is geometry, with at least seven shapes or solids featuring in the grid (I’m not sure whether DICE and CRESCENT are part of the theme or not). Oh yes, and it’s from one of our own bloggers…

Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/06/12/independent-9879-by-maize/

17 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3583 Maize”

  1. Cornick said

    Thanks chum. Yes it was a hard one.
    Just to say that ‘roundabout’ in 18a ALMANAC is a reversal indicator. So it’s A+(CANA(M)L)< .
    This one was dedicated to the Maths teacher who got both my sons through their A Levels, so anything vaguely mathematical counts as thematic.

    • Saboteur said

      Well, that makes more sense than my parsing, which was: A + L(M)AN +AC. I had Local Area Network for “traffic” ( yes, I know, but it sort of made sense at the time… 🤨) and Ca for “about” turned round. Apparently you are quite good at all this 🙂.

  2. tonnelier said

    How odd! Having failed to finished yesterday’s 1* puzzle, I motored quite smoothly, with great pleasure, through this one which I’d put at 2, maybe just 3 *s.

    Lots of excellent clues here, with the brilliant one for EXACT a clear winner, (runner-up ICIEST),and only the T SQUARE clue seeming poor, very poor, to me.

    • Cornick said

      Yeah. I still quite like the T(rafalgar) SQUARE idea, but the ‘appointed’ thing doesn’t really work, does it.

      • Mighty_M said

        Maybe ‘E Landseer appointed to a tool for draughtsmen?’ would work? He was appointed to the commission rather than bidding for it, as was the case with most 19th century public sculpture, so that construction does make sense to me. I enjoyed this puzzle – probably about a 4* – and easier to get through than yesterday’s 1*!

      • Cornick said

        I thought it 4* too . Mine are usually either 3 or 4 because frankly that’s what I like solving myself 🙂
        The sense I was thinking was appointed as in a well appointed hotel, but with hindsight I’d probably use a different verb altogether – if only I could think of one!

  3. Veronica said

    Perfect. A real gem.
    Took me a while but all finished and parsed. Started it at our first coffee stop on the way home from our holiday, and finished it just as driving onto our driveway (with ALMANAC as that last tricky puzzler). For me it was a mere two answers in at first reading … and then lots of thinking per clue, which was such fun.
    My favourites were OCTAHEDRON (first one in, but such a nice clue), STREET and ESPRIT (which both took me ages, and made me laugh when I finally understood them).
    Thanks, Maize.
    And, by the way. I liked T SQUARE; I thought it was cheeky.

    • Cornick said

      Thanks Veronica.
      It’s funny with General Knowledge isn’t it? Those 5 Platonic solids seem really niche, yet I used to teach in primary schools where every Year 6 child in the country is supposed to be able to rattle them off!

  4. thebargee said

    Nearly didn’t bother today, having spent most of it driving to, attending, then driving home from, a funeral. But I’m so glad I did!
    This was an absolute cracker, I thought, chock full of very clever clues, but I must be in the zone today because it was no more than 3* for me. I struggled for a little while having bunged in PENTANGLE instead of RECTANGLE in 10ac (play PEN), but spotted the mistake soon enough. LOI was ALMANAC, which required my only visit to a word list. Very difficult to choose a favourite, but yes, 6dn does it for me. Ta very much Cornick!

  5. AndyO said

    Great fun – especially for us of a mathematical bent – bit tricky in places (my loi was 18) but more 3* than 5* I feel!

  6. Borodin said

    Slow going at first, but once I got all the 15-letter answers the theme becamr obvious and I was able to finish. I did find the T-SQUARE clue a bit iffy and thought ‘part of the alps’ rather vague to indicate ‘Austria’, but otherwise nothing to complain about.

  7. elbertn said

    I managed to finish this after realising my mistake in entering icicle instead of the more obvious correct answer. The parsing of several wasn’t clear before they were explained on 15sq but I still do not understand 15D; which animals go through the urethra?

  8. elbertn said

    One advantage of posting so late is that I hope no-one has read my comment. Of course! The only reason we are issued with a urethra is to give us something to pass through.

  9. Saboteur said

    I’ve come back to defend the T SQUARE clue. I think it’s great.

    Yes, it requires a little more than the typical General Knowledge, but a bit of googling readily leads to the lions of Trafalgar Square. Certainly, it does not conform to the precise classic crossword grammar that you might expect, but in my book creativity trumps a slavish application of the rules every time.

    If the clue has a flaw it’s that the surface reading needs a little more polish – but far be it from me to suggest something to this skilled setter.

    I dare say that since I spent much of my professional life doing theology and philosophy, where argument by analogy is common, this came to me a little more readily than it might have done to others. Even so, a superb clue.

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