i Cryptic Crossword 3586 Hoskins

August 5, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

Hoskins’s style in cluing is distinctive. I don’t mean by that to refer to his reputation for presenting a certain persona. Rather, I mean that he is very happy to use loosely allusive cluing, a whimsical approach, in which he sits lightly with the precise textbook cryptic cluing conventions. This setter so evidently loves words and enjoys playing around with them, and is able to craft great clues with splendid surface readings – but which may seem opaque if you aren’t able to think as he thinks. I don’t think I could teach crossword-solving using a Hoskins puzzle. I would use one from Dac or Phi, who both brilliantly use the conventions, consistently, in contrast to Hoskins. I am of the opinion that if a solver raises (perfectly legitimate) quibbles over the precise parsing of, for example, SON OF A GUN then perhaps they aren’t enjoying Hoskins’s style.

Accordingly, different solvers will have different experiences according to whether or not you can tune in to this setters wavelength. If you can, it may be that you rattled through this in no time at all. If not, you may have put it down incomplete, in bewilderment. My difficulty rating of three stars reflects that this puzzle took me about my typical time, and that I did not need to refer to the dictionary. My sole visit to the internet was to check on IN A GOOD SEAM. It was a clear anagram, and the enumeration and crossing letters left me in little doubt, but the phrase meant nothing to me. It seems to be slang from somewhere more northerly than I am familiar with.

Purely to show that I can find something to criticise in a setter I love: I think CASITAS should have had an indication that we were looking for a word borrowed from abroad.

With so many double-ticks and smiling faces adorning my margin it is hard to choose just one clue. I’m offering 13ac as Clue of the Day for its clever concision: “Turn and Leave (2,3)”.

Here’s the link to Fifteensquared for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/07/08/independent-on-sunday-1480-hoskins/

4 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3586 Hoskins”

  1. jonofwales said

    First to comment? This was solved while distracted – by sun, sea, etc – but still felt like a very odd solve, quite difficult for Hoskins. The cryptic definitions in particular left me feeling like we were on completely different wavelengths. Thanks all for covering to date!

  2. Mighty_M said

    As I’m still getting to know the setters it took a while to get into this but once I was in the correct gear for the incline, I found it a nice solve. Mistakenly had ON THE LEFT for 25a and therefore didn’t manage CASITAS. Somehow I’m yet to apply the rule of β€˜if you’re that stuck, maybe one of the crossings is wrong!’ Favourite answer has to be MUGGINS which, if I dare, was quite Hoskinesque.

  3. elbertn said

    I agree wholeheartedly with Saboteurs comments. I started this crossword last night and got virtually nowhere, every clue seemed opaque. When I looked again this morning, presumably with a different frame of mind, the whole thing took no more than about 15 minutes simply because my reading of the clues was rather more fluid.
    Great crossword. The only recourse to outside help was to confirm the existence of casitas, a word I’ve never coma across.

  4. The Nanas said

    We found this moderately difficult but we’re still get back into daily solving mode. This was a fun solve and many of the criticisms laid at Hoskins door were less prevalent. It was whimsical and fun which, we think, is Hoskins at his best. One of the joys of solving is trying to get into the head of each different setter. Delighted to see some new names ( to us) posting on the blog. Thanks to Saboteur for his fulsome blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: