An all too rare but very welcome appearance by Eimi today, the Professor Moriarty of the Indy Crossword. Ordinarily that means there will be a theme, and of course it’s Tuesday – but I wouldn’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the puzzle by hinting and shall therefore simply refer to the relevant Fifteensquared blog entry from March 2013.

A diverse mix of nicely phrased clues ranging from straightforward to distinctly devious made for a lively solving experience, with a few smiles along the way. I particularly liked the two long anagrams and the link between 16ac and 5d; and of course 28ac and 22d (which tipped me off to the theme). 9d struck me as exceedingly good, but my favourite and therefore COD is 12ac:

“Yeléna appears heartless after Astrov eventually gets embraced in sordid play (5,5)”

As remarked last week, sometimes solving a crossword with linked clues is like unpicking a jumper, and once one pulls on the right end the thing resolves itself in short order. Other times it’s more like tackling a particularly bony kipper. Off to a flying start with 5/17, making the two related entries obvious, but this being a puzzle by Tees there was bound to be something fishy about it, as it were. I managed to finish in a fairly respectable time without recourse to reference books, but the last half dozen or so clues took some unpicking.

Some general knowledge of culture high, low and in between was required today: architecture, drama and poetry; Hollywood and slang terms for proscribed drugs, and the works of Phillip Pullman respectively. All fair enough, but I did think that the “cattle” part of 15d was a bit much, being a variant spelling of a word only likely to be familiar to very poor losers at Scrabble. (Yes, that’s me). All told I thought this was an excellent puzzle which managed to provide a good challenge and satisfaction aplenty without making too much of a meal of it. There are some mild expressions of disgruntlement to be found over at Fifteensquared, as per, but by and large the response was appreciative back in April 2013.

Plenty of clues worthy of an honourable mention today, including 1ac, 5d, 6, 10, 19/1 and a few others, but my clue of the day by a whisker is the deviously constructed and elegantly phrased 11ac:

“English-American psychologist to receive writer – books not involved (10)”

Lucky me: instead of the battle of attrition I half expected this being a Thursday, here we see Crosophile at the top of his form and in jaunty mood withal. A glance at the grid and there’s obviously going to be a Nina; early appearances of J and K suggest a possible pangram, and is that a political theme developing? Wrong on the last two, but yes, there’s a Nina all right and a theme to boot – just not at all what was expected. Baffled? All is explained at Fifteensquared.

A couple of chestnuts (17ac and 18d) notwithstanding, there’s a striking array of different clue writing strategies on show and a good deal of wit and inventiveness. I do take issue with 10ac, an example of the “Uxbridge English Dictionary” tactic which is always good for a chuckle. In this case, however, the definition is deeply dodgy. Never mind though, no doubt we all knew exactly what he was getting at. Crosophile has taken a few liberties elsewhere, but my policy is to overlook that sort of thing when I feel that I’ve been well entertained. Rather an embarrassment of riches today when it comes to COD candidates – choose your own runners-up – but I’m plumping for the triple-definition just because they don’t come up very often:

19ac: “Wifer beater hit the drink (5)”

This virtuoso puzzle first appeared back in April 2013. Well worth a “bravo”, methinks.

A welcome return by Raich to the Tuesday slot with another fine themed crossword, long on entertainment and short on obscurity. At first glance all those linked clues sent a shiver down this humble blogger’s spine, but it soon became apparent what was going on and it was pretty clear what sort of things might be expected to appear in the grid. A bit of a shame about 25d, I thought, since no special knowledge of the subject was required otherwise.

There’s always a risk with a puzzle like this that it will to some extent solve itself, and there were some mild expressions of disgruntlement over at Fifteensquared back in March 2013. Fair comment, but I for one found plenty to enjoy and it did rather take the time pressure off. Special mentions for 11 and 29ac, and 8d (despite the dreaded “ana”); clue of the day for me is 2d:

“Bemused onlookers without specs get source of inspiration (7)”

A surprise to see Phi’s name next to the crossword today, but his fondness for themes, Ninas and whatnot makes him a good fit for the Tuesday slot. This puzzle concerns a certain John 22d, but solvers who are not fans will get on perfectly well without noticing it. If that’s you, there were plenty of similarly unenlightened souls over at Fifteensquared back in March 2013, where you’ll find the usual explanations and a note on how this puzzle came about.

A couple of mild obscurities at 1ac and 2d, both of which needed checking although they’re perfectly deducible from the clues. Oh, and a knowledge of the theme did help with 21ac. Otherwise, the usual brew from Phi, familiar from Saturdays, and jolly good stuff it is too. My COD is 10ac:

“Simple singing recalled in surrounds of Russian lake, mostly with this (9)”.

I wonder whether there’s something unusual lurking in the wings for next Saturday?

This is Jambazi’s second appearance in the i as far as I know, and just like last time he presents a decent challenge with scope for a spot of grumbling. There’s a Quentin Tarantino theme which requires no special knowledge, but it didn’t start out that way according to the setter’s comment at Fifteensquared. I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle and am therefore happy to overlook a few peculiarities of syntax, vocabulary and some odd definitions. 7d delighted me, but there will be complaints, methinks.

Candidates for clue of the day include the aforementioned 7d, as well as 20/14, 16ac and I suppose 18ac – described delicately by Eileen as “audacious” on the other side, which is one way of putting it. My choice is 27ac:

“Game is off top inventor and poet (8)”

Back to the night after the Oscars in February 2013.

The Tuesday theme is perhaps rather inchoate this week, with some jiggery here, a dash of pokery there and more than a few entries which put one in mind of breakfast. It’s clever stuff, but shouldn’t cause the solver too much difficulty. What’s really fiendish is the Nina: no, I didn’t spot it until I read the comments at Fifteensquared, but it deserves a ripple of applause. Cheers, Crosophile!

As for the clues, nothing really leapt out for good or ill. There are a few sitting ducks, and a couple of really rather tricksy ones: for instance it took me an age to dismantle 1ac, despite there being no doubt about the answer. My favourite is a bit silly:

23ac: “Metal-worker is like a more contented cat? (8)”

The puzzle dates back to March 2013.

Working on the assumption that if I spot a theme it has to be pretty obvious, it won’t be giving much away to say that there are rather a lot of points in this puzzle. And what do points mean? All manner of things, but not prizes in this case, alas.

The ever-reliable Radian is always good for a decent tally of ticks, and your humble blogger finds himself in a bit of a quandary vis-à-vis the clue of the day. The cheeky 13ac, fiendish 1ac and 20d and the oh-so-elegant 28ac all deserve a special mention, but my choice is 11ac:

“A bishop in a clapped-out vehicle can be reached (10)”

We’re back in March 2013 this time, when this crossword met with unaninimous approval from the Fifteensquared regulars.

I don’t recall Morph being much of a one for themes, but it being Tuesday there is one with a number of linked clues loosely based around 21d and 14ac. Please see the original February 2013 Fifteensquared blog for much hilarity and a reminder of how very topical this combination of subjects was at the time. The more you look, the better it gets. This setter can be relied upon for a fair old tussle, and it was a matter of a slow start with heavy going, gathering pace until the dash for the finish line in the final furlong. My last ones in were 16d and 25ac: a sneaky pair.

Lots to enjoy today, with a good tally of ticks and no quibbles. All four 12-letter peripheral entries are noteworthy, and my choice for COD came down to either 1d or 10d. I’m going for the latter, because (like 27ac for that matter) not only is top drawer, it also combines both halves of the theme:

“Devour stewed filled trotters for these? (4,8)”

Regarding 11ac, I assume that another venerable and relevant anagram came readily to everybody’s minds? Full marks to Morph for resisting the temptation.

This morning I was woken at 3.44 by our cat beating up a full-sized fox … quite possibly everyone else in the neighbourhood had a disturbed night too, as it was a noisy business.  Recent neurological studies on sleep deprivation make for alarming reading, so seeing Scorpion’s name by the crossword gave me pause.  I may have been seen to shudder slightly, even.  No need to worry as it turned out though, because by this setter’s standards the puzzle was a gentle one with a very familiar theme; innocent of obscurities but with plenty of the elan we’ve come to expect.  Just right, in fact.

This one dates back to January 2013 and attracted surprisingly few comments over at Fifteensquared, but they’re duly appreciative and nobody found anything quibbleworthy.  I have a welter of ticked clues to choose from, but must agree with the consensus over there that 27ac was a gem.  Clue of the day, therefore:

“Stern action from nurse perhaps, redirecting blokes in casualty (5)”