i Cryptic Crossword 2735 Dac

November 13, 2019

More goodness from Dac to ease us through midweek, and a pangram to boot. As pleasurable to solve as ever, I finished well under par for the i but was surprised to do so as this was one of those puzzles where you needed to pay close attention and take note of the always clear wordplay. Time spent working through Dac’s clues though is never a chore. C for “cycle” was a surprise from this setter, as was the erroneous definition at 11ac, but I doubt if many solvers were delayed over-long. The full parsing of 5ac eluded me as well, but with SIN pretty much a given at the close, and that definition…

COD? Just because it’s such a good example of Dac’s smooth surface readings, 22d – “Spaniard casts aside his fear (5)”.

To September 2015:


A week on from a particularly taxing inquisition… another jigsaw. You know how much I love jigsaws. This week at least we have clue lengths, and only the one set of clues.

  • Extra letters generated from wordplay, and subsequent message. Tick.
  • Unclued entries, similarly.
  • Highlighting. This bit is a favourite with the youngest two who wonder why and delight in the fact that I colour in the crossword every week. I must admit to enjoying it too.
  • And clues that are a level less fiendish than last week. A Jenny’s an ASS, a WRASSE being a fish that must be popular in crosswords as it’s stuck in my mind where things often don’t. ANALOG is a typical American misspelling. A tax is a LEVY.

And so on, which is all well and good but where to put the things? If I’d been thinking logically I might have looked for the 8 length clues first, and positioned my answers correspondingly considering crossing clues.

And I did get there, but only after a bit of a debacle with the washing machine. One having had the poor grace to break down a month after the extended warranty expired, the replacement ordered rather hurriedly without provision for removal of the old, or installation of the new. Installation required because have you ever tried removing a washing machine from its packaging?

An extended discussion with Argos later…

Sunday, where I have a limited time before a four, yes four hour dance presentation and subsequent competition to get to the bottom of this.

Those unclued entries proving to be a problem. They’re supposed to provide geographical assistance. The one along the bottom is evidently something VILLE. WAIATAS I was initially convinced was something else – some kind of Australian plant – leading me right down a blind alley until I realised I was a clue short on the solving front.

ROSEVILLE? KANSAS? A quick Google later, add FORT and BAXTER to that list to give the setting for The Phil Silvers Show. Now, I vaguely remember this from BBC 2 reruns back in the day I never really got into, so we’re relying on Wikipedia again.

The letters in the grey cells? Well, they can evidently be rearranged to give COLONEL JT HALL, Bilko’s superior.

And indeed along one diagonal is ERNEST BILKO himself, and in another PHIL SILVERS.

But are we supposed to highlight both, or just one, or something else? Fear of red herrings having reached fever pitch…

The extra letters generated from wordplay are supposed to help, but look pretty random.

Ah, we’re supposed to view in “conventional clue order”. Mine looked like this, the solving process having been as error-prone as ever: ?OTORPOOL MA?TER SHEGEANT ?ND AE??RS NAMES

As Bilko was apparently Master Sergeant of the motor pool, and the latter is presumably ACTOR’S NAMES (with a little shiver of doubt over the latter – is there more than one actor?)

My grid therefore looked like this, and hopefully that’s right, having taken an age already, and my mind not being in a particularly good place for reasons detailed above. Though it may be said that Kruger supplied a welcome, and enjoyable diversion.

An IoS reprint to start us off this week that was a little trickier than anticipated. I started guns blazing at 1ac, promptly ground to a halt, and then made slow progress from the SE corner upwards finishing somewhat over par for the i. No obscure words to cause such delays with the exception of 2d where thankfully I knew the first bit of the cryptic thanks to this gentleman who claimed to have been, but wasn’t, just good tricky wordplay throughout, and definitions that often weren’t all that obvious on first sight. Overall an interesting, enjoyable, challenging Monday wake up call.

I note, btw, that 11ac has been updated, and is much the better for it. In fact, let’s go with it for COD just for the good, late spot – “Rapper rejected some of the Kardashians (5)”.

Tell me, also btw, that I wasn’t also the only person to lob in Citroen at 17d? Well, it sounds like a colour.

To September 2015:


An IoS reprint from Poins today that I finished in a time well under par for the i, so on the easy side? Well, sort of, because at the close I had a number of question marks and doubts, so I wouldn’t say that it was a comfortable solve. In particular I didn’t know the synonym for short story in 23ac, and had doubts about the definition in the same clue which did cause problems to the south of the grid which was already a step up in difficulty from the rest. But elsewhere as long as you knew that a religious scholar is often DD, that salts are usually of the seagoing variety, and various other crossword staples, you wouldn’t have had too many difficulties. A good solid puzzle in other words, though I suspect dissent from some quarters on that point.

COD? As is common for IoS reprints nothing really leaps out, but I’ll go with 6d which is straightforward enough, but has a nice surface reading – ”
Single girl longed to possess Otto’s heart (10)”.

To October 2015:


A much gentler offering today that I suspect will be better received than recent puzzles. The wordplay in one or two eluded me, notably at 8d and 19ac, both of which in retrospect are very good clues, and we have quite the obscurity at 22ac which wasn’t ARSENIC no matter how hard I tried to cram that answer in there. Finish time under par for the i, though with my brain frazzled following this morning’s washing machine installation. This took the whole of the surprisingly lengthy window of 8-9 AM utilising the talents of two “professional installers” who announced they were giving up several times, cancelling the installation once before giving it “one last go”. One subsequently required first aid attention following pleas to my non-existent plumbing skills. In other words I claim a handicap.

COD? I’ll go with the aforementioned 8d – “All who might deserve favours if good when embracing daughter? (9)”.

To September 2015:


This was published on the weekend of the latest gathering of solvers and setters up York way. I also understand that it coincided with another celebration that meant it was no surprise our editor had given himself this week’s slot. Happy belated birthday, John!

An offering too that appeared on first, second and third glances to be as fiendish as they come. A jigsaw with no hints as to clue length, up or down, some stuff about clue order based on first or last letters, and also where they might start or end in the grid. It took me a day too long to appreciate that we were being thrown a much needed life-line… They say that with age comes wisdom, but evidently not in these parts.

I made do with floundering, badly. My copy consisting for a long time of answers jotted beside a pathetically short selection of clues. You know you’re in trouble when you start counting how many you’ve got and how many there are to go, the grand total of 14 by late Saturday evening.

In retrospect loads weren’t as fiendish as they seemed at that point. MED wouldn’t have taken half as long if I’d thought to Google the Latin looking bit. BURN should have been a given. The only one that was a little naughty was clearly flagged as being so – WIDED. It’s a cricket thing, apparently.

You know the thing with jigsaws is to look at what you’ve got and hope it’s enough to chuck in a couple of answers and get started. In my case a handy 6 cells in the NW corner, the same to the SE, and some nice long crossing answers – CUNJEVOI being particularly useful, having finally untangled that anagram.

From that point the grid was basically filled clockwise SW to SE, realising belatedly that the Terminal clues had a limited number of entry points, as did the Conventional, based on the position of the grey (yes, grey!) cells.

But I thought you started in the SE corner? Yep, but that’s where I also made the biggest hash of things. Oh well.

CONCERTO. I almost forgot, unclued entries. The birthday boy’s something of a classical music buff, though it took me too long to work out that the entry in question wasn’t in fact one of the clued ones.

So, CELL(O) CONCERTO. No prizes for guessing that we were looking for ELGAR elsewhere in the grid, another of Mr Henderson’s pen-names.

Job done, eventually, with an eyebrow raised on realising that ZEISS and ZEIN were fated never to meet.

Satisfying, too, so thanks. Though you do realise that GMT meant we only had the one extra hour to work with?

So our first outing from Hoskins? I think so. I also believe that this is my first attempt at solving one of his puzzles too, and if this is anything to go by I’m looking forward to many more. A pleasure to solve throughout, lively, a little cheeky, moderately challenging (I finished just under par for the i), with loads of ticks. What’s not to like? Not a lot, actually. I couldn’t parse 25ac, in common with the original blogger, though Gaufrid explains everything ably in the comments. I’m also unsure why HEAT = “round”, though with that definition and Hoskin’s reputation preceding him the answer could be little else. So yes, a big thumbs up from me.

COD? The very nicely done 2d – “It can end with legal work, unfortunately (6,9)”.

To September 2015:


It’s that time of year again when I’m going to have to trudge through the streets in the cold and rain with the youngest two 4d. So today being the 31st is very much on my mind, and I half expected a theme. But do we have one? Well no, not really, just a few references here and there to mark in a low key fashion what used to be a low-key day towards the end of Autumn but which seems to be getting seriously out of hand. On the other hand Film 4 have got a cracking series of horror films on this week…

The puzzle itself was quite tricky, finished considerably over par for the i, and more importantly after failing to solve the first 17 clues I had a look at, at which point I started to get a little alarmed. To be able to find a Fifteensquared link I first need to solve a single clue. 🙂 That first one in? Right in the middle, at 17ac, from which point on the grid filled slowly clockwise, sort of, from the SE, though my last two in were at 1ac and 2d, both of which seem obvious in retrospect. Perhaps I should have had a coffee before rather than after solving.

Loads not understood on solving too, so an evident struggle, though as enjoyable as Morph always is.

At which point I should probably go and eat, it being lunchtime.

COD? I’ll go with 13ac, appropriately enough, which I thought was very nicely done – “As for addiction, kick it here (5)”.

To an All Hallows Eve long ago:


A welcome return from Dac with a puzzle that was on the easy side, though with a couple of oddities dotted round the grid that may have caused solvers a few moments of doubt. 9ac, 10ac, 13ac and 16ac were all unknowns in these parts, the second in particular an answer that looked like it must surely be wrong. But as Dac’s a setter I trust to be fair and clear, in they went unchecked and lo and behold were correct. The TV interviewer for some reason I couldn’t parse, but thankfully he’s still on the box every week so didn’t cause any issues. Enjoyable throughout, which goes without saying really, and finished in a time well under par for the i.

COD? Just because it’s such a good example of cluing a complete unknown leaving no doubt in the solver’s mind, 10ac – “Sort of bar worker is bringing in little money: tough for such as ‘garçon’! (4,3)”.

To August 2015:


Point of order 1: Those squares are grey and not silver.

Second, it might have helped if I hadn’t done this arse backwards. ie. If I’d actually managed to solve some of those greyed entries, adjusted them “retrospectively”, which in retrospect is a good hint but at the time only confused me, and got the theme.

Because I failed miserably to solve any when filling the grid, and only got them… Well, at the close, having done everything else, sense having finally prevailed.

After filling the grid, which was on the taxing side anyway after a brief, unexpectedly quick solve of the SE corner before lunch, the oldest having got up slightly later than anticipated wished, being still in the shower. Tell me that you guessed LEPRA too with help from the BRB, and didn’t feel particularly confident about being IN THE CAN.

The ones without definitions being a problem, of course, until I spotted ISTANBUL. And BONN. Bingo, cities, chuck some in. No idea why, of course.

That final adjustment, and highlighting. Well, there’s LONDON across one diagonal, and a suspicious looking WI….ER surrounding it. So, WINCHESTER? And why? Well, I didn’t know that the latter used to be capital before the former. And why would I, having spent several years living just down the road but never actually bothering to visit… Let’s not go there. Literally.

So presumably the greyish entries are also former capitals? With one correction to give SCONE and not somewhere in some obscure country I’d not heard of. Oh, and after correcting an errant ERRAND to give ERRANT, CASTLETOWN along the bottom row I’d not heard of either.

With a little help from Wikipedia’s handy page of former world capitals, but sshh, don’t tell Nimrod.

Twenty four hours later…

You know. Those greyed entries. The original answers, they’re probably the contemporary capitals, aren’t they? So given the probable answers, and my decidedly amateurish parsing skills, it turns out they are, my grid entries being indeed (famous last words), correct.

As I say, solved arse backwards.

But correct, I’m going to say, and a pretty decent challenge.

Why the capital ONCE? once capitals, presumably?