i Cryptic Crossword 3592 Phi

August 12, 2022

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟🌟

Phi is a consistently reliable setter who provides good, solid cryptics, albeit usually with a twist. My approach to his puzzles is simply to ignore any potential hidden theme, and enjoy the solve. When I am blogging, however, I do feel I owe it to our readers to put in the effort to see if I can find out if there’s something going on. Usually, this involves staring blankly at the completed grid in the forlorn hope that enlightenment will come, followed by googling more or less random groups of slightly unusual words in the hope that, for example, a series of books will be suggested. But not today. The Rowan Tree of Stavanger and The Agave on the Patio are yet to be written.

Enlightenment came only when I consulted Fifteensquared and saw that the diagonal from top left to bottom right has the first eight letters of the alphabet. No doubt this is a device used by Phi to get him started. I doubt there is anything else meant by it.

Otherwise, this was good, satisfying stuff. No queries about the word-play, no strange definitions, no obscure entries, just well-crafted clues. I did wonder about the RDA in YESTERDAY, but Madame La Saboteuse said it was common currency amongst people who watch carefully what they eat. “Olio” rang a bell, if rather indistinctly. I did check on the “group of cats” but I’m not sure why, as the crossing letters left no room for doubt. We had a couple of good, long multiple-word entries to get us going, and a few write-ins as well.

My Clue of the Day is the niftily constructed 25ac: “Reverence is adopted by head in old church (9)”.

Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/06/29/independent-9894-phi/

7 Responses to “i Cryptic Crossword 3592 Phi”

  1. tonnelier said

    Quite a relief after yesterday’s struggle. Only 2*s I think – just stagger and Stavanger gave me pause today.

    The DOORFRAME clue stood out for me, with PROFANITY also tricky because for once regret isn’t rue.

    Congratulations on spotting the A-H diagonal sequence – clearly deliberate on Phi’s part but I bet it will have gone unnoticed by the vast majority of solvers – including me!

    • Saboteur said

      All I did was read it in the comments on 225 πŸ™‚. As Cornick points out, it was Hovis who spotted it.

      I do look for ninas, especially when blogging. There was obviously nothing in the horizontals or verticals. Never thought about the diagonal…

  2. Cornick said

    Credit due to Hovis I think for spotting that diagonal Nina. There’s a range of ghost-like tricks that include almost everything you could think of through to and including acrostics in the clues rather than the grid, and sometimes it’s just a matter of whether or not you can be bothered to go through the entire mental checklist!

  3. thebargee said

    Nice to finish one after barely making an impression on yesterday’s puzzle. This was 2* for me, a one-coffee puzzle, and very enjoyable. My LOI was SUN, a bit of a guess I confess. I didn’t quite get SUNK=SET, but hey-ho, the big golden tick appeared on my screen, so I’m happy.

    I’ve never heard of OLIO, but there wasn’t much doubt about the answer. Favourite today was DEEP-TONED, I’m a sucker for a bit of toilet humour. Now I think it’s time to turn on the fan…

  4. dtw42 said

    Finished at 9.25pm. Perhaps my brain just doesn’t work at all in this heat.

  5. Borodin said

    A bit chewy for a Phi crossword but all gettable without help. I did know about St SEBASTIAN from numerous paintings and a ‘mystery play’ with music by Debussy. Tne crossing STAVANGER and STAGGER were my last ones in. But I’m intrigued by the potential for books entitled ‘The Rowan Tree of Stavange’r and ‘The Agave on the Patio’ – now who might be tempted to write them, I wonder?

  6. The Nanas said

    We enjoyed this and managed without too many difficulties. A couple of long clues in early and some write ins to help. Didn’t know anything about Sebastian but the clue was clear in its instructions. We made unnecessarily hard work of 1a and 1d. Sometimes I think we expect to struggle with them so we do even when they’re straightforward! We liked 25a – it’s a lovely word! Also liked 4a and 21a. Did not enjoy seeing pictures of the Loire and the Rhine with dry beds- very disturbing.

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