A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Dac today, although that’s probably stating the obvious as his puzzles are rarely anything else. 3dn was the only new word for me but the clue made it fairly straightforward, the only other obscurity was the author at 16dn which was nicely hidden in the clue. 11ac went in with a question mark the clue had both “in” and “house” in it but I couldn’t see what the “fellow” was doing, this is all explained over on Fifteensquared where there are a few tetchy comments regarding 18dn strangely as it seems fine to me.

Lots of candidates for COD, 4ac ,12ac,6dn and 10dn all worthy but I really enjoyed

14dn  Boss has little time at work: out to lunch for the most part (3,6)


Jon is away today so I am covering the fortnightly appearance of Quixote which I found a touch harder than is normal for this setter in fact 26ac was left unanswered. My first one in wasn’t until 13ac the two CD’s at 1ac and 10ac only going in once there were enough checking letters to make the answers fairly obvious, I hadn’t seen 10ac in the singular before which didn’t help. The grid was sprinkled with a few unusual words, 3dn, 6dn, and  11ac  but these were all fairly clued and solvable once a few crossers were in. 17ac was new to me and a search on Fifteensquared only finds it in this crossword so perhaps it is more obscure than it seems. With the exception of 26ac I found this an tougher than expected but enjoyable challenge with the COD going to-

14ac    Pessimistic old rocker rolling over – somehow fate is sealed (9)

Back to November 2013 for all the answers and explanations    http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/11/04/independent-8442-by-quixote/

We end the working week with an enjoyable offering from Alchemi who we havn’t seen since early January. Nothing too obscure although I do wonder what younger solvers make of 4 and 5dn nevertheless this is a good introduction to cryptic crosswords with various clue types and hardly any obscurities the only question marks I had were for the “Chinese” in 3/13dn and 19ac. These are explained over on Fifteensquared where strangely there are no comments about the puzzle just answers to the accompanying picture quiz.

Quite a few ticks  too many to list so

COD  1/11dn   Joint operation with Phi?  (3,11)

Phi on Friday, odd, so there must be a reason, and there is. This was originally printed on Good Friday 2014 and that’s where the theme lies not that I or RatkojaRiku in his blog over on Fifteensquared spotted it.

Quite a straightforward puzzle I thought, the only question mark was for the “cry”in  20ac. Most of this was completed while I was in A&E waiting for my wrist to be checked after crashing my bicycle yesterday and it was just the unfamiliar terms at 7dn and 14ac that I was left with but both of these were solvable from the cryptic with a little thought.  Enjoyable though this was nothing really stands out as exceptional but I thought this was clever.

COD 18ac   Item of food scrounger has in bar? (3)


Perhaps not as difficult to solve as some from Morph but in some cases very difficult to parse in fact so devious that the setter himself doesn’t know how 24ac works.

The two fifteen letter down solutions which I didn’t parse as with a few crossers in the solutions seemed obvious and the slightly smutty couple at 13 and 16ac provided enough help to solve some of the more unfamiliar answers like 14dn, I’m not keen on homophones, and 15dn where we need to know about films made by Ms Streep which like the ball kickers in 11ac is something I don’t feel the need know, however with a bit of help from Chambers it all became apparent unlike 19dn which like the LE in 23ac is explained over on Fifteensquared.

Despite all this clever deviousness I don’t have many ticks whilst all except 24ac work well nothing stands out, I like 10ac  but just for its fairly dubious wordplay i’ll go for

COD 16ac   Shut up – that’s what you get when you kiss ass!  (6,4,3)

Another Thursday reprint this time from Punk who is making a second appearance this month. As expected this wasn’t quite so straightforward but there were a few on the easier side and half a dozen well clued anagrams to get started with and get some letters in to help with the more convoluted clues some of which went in without fully understanding why, which is all very well but 1/16 stood as typically Punk, the parsing of this will be seen by those who know about Beethoven as extremely clever or by others, like me, as a bit too obscure. 6/24 was similar, easier to solve but why I am expected to know where this person comes from is beyond me he’s actor, nobody important. This brings me to 26 ac which remains blank but I don’t see this as a fail just an extremely unfair clue. Of the rest quite a lot to like ticks for 7/9ac, 10ac, 23d and 11/5dn but

COD  4dn  Fit, strong thing in timeless celebration with some regulars? (8)

For the solutions , parsing and much discussion  click here  –  Fifteensquared

A reprint of a Saturday prize puzzle from Tyrus and yes I found it very tough with a large number being entered without fully understanding why, however I think that is probably more my fault than the setters as in hindsight and with the benefit of the admirable Fifteensquared blog  most clues when picked apart and reassembled seem quite reasonable, 6dn being a prime example of this with only 4dn  still seeming a bit dubious. 15dn presented a not unusual problem, the answer was fairly plain but was it “Your” or “One’s” I choose the wrong one which was only resolved when I eventually  solved 1dn. This was a puzzle that was a bit of a struggle to do but very satisfying to finish, quite a few ticks but my favourite was one of the extremely helpful anagrams

COD 7dn     Wasn’t sad, stupid, weird or unsophisticated (4,3,7)

Normal for Punk is how I would describe this, clever, inventive,entertaining and as far as I’m concerned challenging. Punk seems to have gone for economy today with seemingly a few less clues than usual and some of them very short indeed. Some solvers might not like clues 8dn, 11ac and 19ac but whilst the first two were fine 19ac had me stumped for a while, it may have been 12dn that was causing that confusion or that I only associate Domi with Norton the best motorbike to have during my youth.

As usual quite a few needed assistance from fifteensquared to parse especially 16dn where “looking to God?” indicates a reversal, a ploy that was new to me, also new or perhaps forgotten was 21ac. The only real dislike was 9ac and that got two grimaces as opposed to 10ac and 13ac which both got ticks but COD goes to the one that caused the most forehead slapping upon realisation –

20/2        Type of meal – (8)

A reprint of a Thursday puzzle from Klingsor and not quite as difficult to solve as might be expected although parsing some of them needed our friends over at Fifteensquared help especially in my case 14ac and 13dn.

A slow start with nothing going in until 18ac although I thought Of Dacha I couldn’t see why and I dismissed Eland as well thinking it too obvious ho hum. The down clues proved more lucrative and it was all over perhaps too soon with 13dn being the LOI. The only grumble would be that a lot of the clever cryptic parts were missed by me as with a few crossers in the answers seemed a bit obvious and only a secondary reading brought an appreciation of the clueing.

Picking a favourite isn’t easy as there are plenty to choose from, 4ac got ticks for its devious use of vehicle and starting the answer with Car which wasn’t the vehicle we were looking for, the clever anagrams at 15ac, 21ac, 25ac and the multiple ticked 11ac but my pick is the short but satisfying 19ac

Lose everything being drunk? (4)

The end of the working week and we get a puzzle that is on the easier side, it did originally appear in a Monday edition of the Independent so providing you don’t mind a bit of geography this shouldn’t take too long. A reasonable selection of clue types with seven anagrams which certainly helped fill the grid. Over on Fifteensquared the blogger’s only query is with the anagram indicators in 6 and 7 down and the parsing of 14a none of which I found problematic in fact my only real problem came with (you’ve probably guessed) 19dn.

COD 14ac       Rung by rebel, it’ll free? (7,4)

A Happy New Year to any Chinese readers 🙂