It’s Good Friday and the sun is shining, you don’t want to be stuck inside wrestling with a too difficult crossword puzzle when you could be out and about adding to the chaos on the roads do you?  Well, we have a Saturday Prize Puzzle reprint which I found largely accessible and enjoyable even if some is hard to parse. Two in particular – 11dn Daisy?  which according to the Fifteensquared blog refers to a 1955 Disney film, and 14dn where we are expected to know that Posh Spice’s surname was/is Adams, both of these got snorts of derision from me, unlike 6dn and 17ac – both slang terms which I can imagine causing displeasure to some solvers. And then we get to 13ac, I worked out the anagram and checked it in the dictionary and bunged it in not understanding the rest of the clue which it seems is related to the Nina which I didn’t spot either. Best if you refer to Fifteensquared again for an explanation. 

I said at the beginning that I found it largely accessible, thats because I got stuck with 12dn having entered Berry at 12ac, a much better answer I think but wrong, and as I want to be outside adding to to the pollution and traffic problems I left it there.

COD well quite a few but I’m going with 17dn

Turn nose up at housework over and aver again (4-4)


An IOS reprint and a new setter which some, me included, found a bit tough. I do like a puzzle that I can get straight into it but no chance of that here because solving 1ac relies on first solving 17ac which fortunately wasn’t too difficult. The linked clue device was also used in 11ac/12ac, where again 12ac being a bit of a write-in worked just fine. But 14ac and 19ac, while I had solved their associated clues, they needed some outside assistance to solve. Quite a few went in unparsed – 6ac where “in the theatre” is a homophone indicator that was new to me,  1dn Sister = Twin hmm and both 23ac and 24ac where my lack of Latin left me scratching my head. 6dn was one of those clues that the setter goes to a great deal of trouble to concoct but with a few checking letters this solver just bunged the answer in.

As I said I found this quite difficult, whether that was just unfamiliarity with the setter’s style or my lack of French, Spanish and Latin I’m not sure. There were of course some good clues – 25ac was well constructed although the “Jack” part seems a bit contentious and 28ac also got ticks but for COD mainly because I like the word

15dn   Crazy drugs  (8)

Fifteensquared provides all the answers and explanations plus a few comments including one from the setter Click here

A Monday reprint from Punk in which he proves just how clever he is and in some cases just a bit too clever for this solver at least. Like Gaufrid who originally blogged this puzzle my first pass through the clues produced very little. Unlike him I didn’t get 1dn which would have been helpful, it was fairly obvious that an anagram was involved but dashed if I could see of what though. It was only after completing the SW corner that I filled the answer in with a question mark, the parsing of this didn’t exactly go down well at the time being described by one solver as “an atrocity”. Another minor quibble of mine was 17dn – where did the “I” come from? It seems that it was there when first printed so it must have fallen off!  Similarly 4dn where the U got a question mark.  22ac should have been solved quicker but I was looking for a solution beginning with S or B as the clue seemed to indicate, and the devices used at 11ac and 7dn both got tuts of disapproval during solving, but in hindsight they both get a tick of approval. I am sure 22/10 was a write in for everybody as the Hip – Hop band in question is so well known. Hmm.

For COD I found 20ac clever and amusing

Winged god changing direction, one at home on the range ?  (6,3)

All the answers and parsing can be found here

For those among us who wanted a puzzle with a higher level of difficulty than previously offered – well, you got it, even the setter thought this was hard. As this was a Saturday prize puzzle the solvers had a bit of time to complete it, in one case three months. I haven’t got that luxury so I have to admit to a bit of electronic help and perhaps a downright cheat here and there.  The opening 8/1 clue had me completely bewildered as did quite a lot of the others to be truthful. I did know the bird at 9ac, the anagrams at 12,14 and 25ac were duly entered as was the write in at 21ac. The downs proved equally as difficult, 4 went in with a question mark but it turns out to be a really good clue, 5 raised a smile as did 14 and 15 – though I needed Google to check the spelling. The rest all became a bit of a struggle with answers going in as guesses. 3dn,10ac, 16ac and 20dn stand out among these with 16ac getting my pick for worst clue of the day, and 13dn a close second. 1dn Roost for Bed caused a frown as did Field for Entry at 22dn, but it all works (just about), even 8/1ac, explained over on Fifteensquared.

And so to COD, 5dn and 14 dn had ticks but my face palming moment was 24ac

Crucial assessment dictates outcome (4,4)

A Saturday prize puzzle reprint today and I found it quite hard going, but that’s probably me as the solutions and parsing over on Fifteensquared all seem quite fair with just 20dn causing any concern. The wordplay for 1ac had me baffled for a long time as did the new to me 8dn which was made more difficult by having to find a woman’s name and I presume a cricketing abbreviation to arrive at the answer. Another question mark was for 21ac – it was pretty obvious that it was an anagram, but the fodder proved difficult to find as I know EG as “For Example” but here it is “For One” which I’m not sure about at all. Apart from these quibbles there were some fine surfaces and plenty of excellent misdirection. Although it’s been done before 3dn is a candidate for COD as is 25ac. In fact there are a lot of ticks so I will go with the aforementioned 3dn

Lying is what urban improver will try to do? (9)

And don’t forget to check out our first Guest Puzzle this coming Sunday. It’s a good one, so don’t miss it – JonOfWales.

We end the working week with a fairly straightforward but nonetheless enjoyable Monday reprint, which I suspect most regular solvers will have finished perhaps too quickly. I started well with 1ac going straight in and worked steadily down the grid pausing twice, once to Google Sir Henry Cecil and secondly to Google the Barchester chaplain. This obscurity is the main bone of contention over on Fifteensquared and as I had to Google it I’m obviously in the too obscure camp.  It was the SE corner that caused me most problems though – 20dn was a hat that was new to me, and 21dn where, having the U and the T in I, I initially guessed at uncouth which seems to me to be more slobbish than unkempt. It was only when I remembered that American truck drivers were called teamsters that all of this became clear and 26ac went in. The setter seems to like American words as 6dn relies on us knowing that they call “Wind” “Gas”.

For COD – well, 1ac and 6dn both got ticks but it goes to 8dn which I thought the cleverest:

Prepare retrospective broadcast for 19:31? (5,4)

For all the solutions and a comment from the setter click HERE


We haven’t had a puzzle by Morph for some time, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect but I need not have worried too much as this proved fairly accessible. There are some grumbles over on Fifteensquared where the bloggers Bertandjoyce don’t particularly like 1ac and 7dn which, while not exactly write-ins were getable once a few checking letters were in and seemed reasonable enough to me. My main parsing queries were with 4dn, a distillery I haven’t heard of, and 15dn. I wasn’t aware that “Math” was restricted to the USA as I’ve heard it used often enough here. The main stumbling block though was 18ac – was I the only one to confidently enter Rude? (although it could have been Rued) and then fail to solve 7dn until realization dawned?

Overall I quite enjoyed this puzzle but nothing remarkable stands out so for COD so I’ll go with 14ac

Pirate might have one each of these with which to make fast (4,3,3)

With one exception this week’s puzzles have seemed to me to be on the challenging side, so perhaps today might be a bit of light relief? Well, it is a Monday reprint and they are usually on the straightforward side, but this is Tyrus who isn’t.  After reading through the across clues the grid looked pretty empty. The downs proved slightly more productive with a nice anagram at 4dn and well hidden solution at 5dn. 6, 7 and 8 followed swiftly and we were off, only now realizing that 1ac was an anagram. 9ac required knowledge of something that I have no interest in, but I supposed that is balanced out by 5dn. It was the SE corner that I found really difficult, not helped by tentatively entering Harold at 12ac, or the setter referring to 23ac as a “Friendly place”. But as is so often the case it all seems so obvious when explained over on Fifteensquared where there is much praise, although nobody mentions 2nd and those that express a preference pick 25/25 as their COD. But for me the long anagram at 1/21 is just eclipsed by the misdirection of

17dn  Local’s improved after barring setter, right? Anyone there? (9)

i Cryptic Crossword 2509 Anax

February 22, 2019

Looking back on previous puzzles by Anax I see that I’m not the only one that finds them extremely tough and sometimes a bit of a slog. In fact there is only one person who has consistently expressed pleasure, so Mr B will be a happy bunny today.  I started off well with both 1ac and 1dn going straight in but my euphoria was short lived as not much else followed. The blogger Twencelas over on Fifteensquared describes this as “a high standard of subterfuge” and he’s probably right but, for this solver the subterfuge is a bit too convoluted as in 7dn which beat me and the obscure 3dn which I only found in Chambers. The only other (to me) real obscurity was 18/21 which the setter had generously and cleverly made an anagram, but I only realised that when all the crossers for 21 were in, and what was left over could only be one thing.  As usual I had a few quibbles, Added = New, Enjoyed = Had – I’ve had lots of things that I haven’t enjoyed – and Soon = Then. Hmm.

And so to a COD, and there are quite a few to choose from. The excellent anagram at 5dn, 13dn and 27ac both got ticks as did two that initially were entered with question marks regarding the parsing – 4ac was one and 2dn was the other – and it’s this one that gets my nomination:

Picked bones while initially slicing one (5)

We end the working week with a fairly straightforward reprint of a Monday puzzle by Alchemi, nothing much in the way of obscurities here. Although both 1ac and 29ac aren’t words in everyday usage, they can be assembled by following the wordplay. A couple went in on definition alone – 20ac and 24ac. I’m not familiar with Greek islands, but “This place” in the clue had to be “here” which made the answer fairly obvious.

Over on Fifteensquared NealH had quibbles regarding 3dn and 17dn but they both seem fine to me. 3dn was originally entered with a question mark, but on seeing it written the parsing got a tick, and as there isn’t a lot else that stands out I will make that my COD:

If the Queen took up roller – skating, might she break this? (8,5)