This reprint of a Saturday prize puzzle from Monk is much like his other offerings, a few excellent clues a few easy and some downright obscurities all wrapped up in a pretty meaningless Nina but at least we get to learn something about cows stomachs, at least these were confirmed by consulting Chambers as was the obscure pheasants nest but  I can’t say the same for Joking = Rotting which isn’t in the editions I have, then we have 21d another oddity, confirmed by Chambers though. After all this it seemed that that what started off with a few brisk entries finished as a trudge. I do have two that I awarded more than just a tick to 1dn and

COD 11ac  Bizarre old aunt thrashed his bum (10)

All this is unpicked and parsed by mc_rapper67  over on Fifteensquared


Todays puzzle is a reprint of a Saturday prize puzzle from June 2013 and I for one found it very difficult although in hindsight there is only 27ac that was new to me as both a definition and as a cheese and 9ac was only solved once all the crossing letters were in as “Wagner Lover” meant nothing to me. After reading all the across clues I had only solved with any certainty 15 and 25 with a few others penciled in lightly as I couldn’t fully parse them, luckily the first few of the down clues were all quite gettable even if I did have to look up Medick. It was the NW corner that was last to fall with 23ac only going in after taking a punt at 23dn , “vital structure” being a bit vague I thought, then resorting to a wordfinder for 27ac. On completion I had plenty of ticks among them were 5ac, 24ac, 5dn and 16dn but for its clever misdirection

COD      18ac   A head’s no time to take class (4)

The original blog and all the parsing can be found  here at Fifteensquared

Oh no not Monk again, his last puzzle went down like the proverbial lead balloon with some correspondents here. There seemed to me quite a few on the easier side to get started with but there are also quite a few that only went in once I had all the crossers and they seemed the best fit, chiefly amongst these was 1dn closely followed by 11ac and 8dn. 4dn wins the most obscure answer prize, at least a normal anagrid “about” is used compared to “high” and “totty”.

I don’t usually spot themes and apart from noticing “Me” being used a couple of times nothing was apparent, however being Monk there is something just as obscure as some of his wordplay. Its all revealed over on Fifteensquared but it took two months!

Overall I quite enjoyed this and had quite a few ticks including 17ac, 25ac, 6dn and 7dn but I think COD must go to

1ac  A beastly pair paralyse bait for one (7)

i Cryptic Crossword 2073 Tyrus

September 29, 2017

Tyrus which in the crossword world is usually a synonym for tough appears to have excelled himself with todays offering. I spent a long time looking at a grid where only 7ac, 10ac, 23ac, 5dn and 7dn were solved, it wasn’t that the answers themselves were very obscure, although 2dn and 16dn were new to me and 6dn and 14dn are both terms I was unfamiliar with but the wordplay was devious to the extreme resulting in quite a few being solved from the synonym only with a complete lack of understanding of the cryptic part. I am not alone in finding this extremely difficult and needing electronic help to finish as most of the good folk on Fifteensquared report similar experiences even the redoubtable RatkojaRiku who makes an excellent job of parsing it. You will also find an apology from the setter!

COD  (even though I couldn’t parse it)  4dn  Upset part-timers in uniform told to get lost. (2,3)

A fairly tough but enjoyable puzzle with only the single obscurity (for me) all the other answers being familiar words or phrases. The three long anagrams helped to get started and give some checking letters to help with the more devious clues.  15dn was my obscurity but the once 2dn was solved the wordplay and a check on Google cracked it. The couple of clues that required a bit of French didn’t present too much of a problem but 16ac with its hidden German was I thought a bit unfair and 14ac well I don’t understand Rap so that got a grunt of disapproval as did the Thatcherite = Dry at 20dn.  Quite a lot of ticks though with the most going to

COD  6ac Stuffed geese I adapt for …? (4,2,4,4)

Blog from May 2013  is HERE

i Cryptic Crossword 2061 Monk

September 15, 2017

This reprint of a Saturday prize puzzle from April 2013 is probably on the easier side for Monk but still a stiff challenge compared to some other setters. Monk usually includes a theme or Nina and while missed by me it is there and I’m sure more attentive solvers will spot it.  3dn, 23ac and 13ac were all entered with question marks as I found the parsing pretty obscure. Lots of discussion and explanation from the setter himself over on Fifteensquared mainly about the abbreviation of Over and 13ac which was my LOI and only entered because it vaguely sounds like Scarper . Quite a few ticks today17a,21ac 2dn and 8dn were all good and 17dn gets a nod because I haven’t seen Novel = She for a long while but

COD 12ac   Primarily take time to wrap present needing nothing in addition (7)

i Cryptic Crossword 2053 Dac

September 6, 2017

Another fine puzzle from Dac which I have to be honest and admit beat me. 17dn and 25ac were the two left, 17dn was an unknown and I just couldn’t think of an alternative to Ado for Bother and my go to film director is Lean so as to get this blog done in a reasonable time I cried enough. Surprisingly due to my complete disinterest in cricket I got 15dn, being one of the six anagrams helped that cause. A bit of debate over on Fifteensquared about the parsing of 7dn which I only got once I’d spotted the USB element the rest I’m still a bit hazy about. My only other question mark was 6dn another new word. lots of good clues as is usual but the one that took my eye was

COD 12ac     Test’s cakes mom baked with unknown ingredient (4,5)

i Cryptic Crossword 2049 Tees

September 1, 2017


I hadn’t seen an E less puzzle until Monk gave us one last month and now Tees comes along another “e-lipogram” or an almost pangram? Why? well it seems to make an extremely tough puzzle. Tees tells us over on Fifteensquared that the original had no anagrams either but he bunged a couple in just to give solvers like me something to get going with, very kind of him. I certainly needed all the help I could get. Much of the discussion back in May 2013 seems to be about 1d and is an MA a doctor? seems the answer is no, having absolutely no knowledge of drugs this was left unsolved by me, shouldn’t the enumeration be 1,1,1,1?  In amongst all this were some excellent clues, the new to me tree at 18d and fish at 28ac were gettable from the word play and the anagram made the unknown Hashemite at 24ac solvable ticks to 11ac, 22ac, 13dn but

COD 23dn  Group founder to receive millions by the end of the day (6)

Like Ali on Fifteensquared I seem to be getting all the Kairos puzzles, and this IOS reprint is like his other offerings being pretty enjoyable, but as is normal for a Monday fairly solvable, although some of the alternative definitions caused a bit of brow furrowing  Facility = Ease in 19ac for example. Both 7dn which was my LOI and 26ac were entered without fully understanding the word play but they couldn’t really be anything else given the crossing letters. Maybe it was all over a bit too quickly if you were looking for something to do on this Bank Holiday or It might be just right if you want to annoy the neighbours by mowing your lawn. Anyway

COD 17ac  Rural worker loses a good type of pin (6)

For the second Friday in succession we get Nestor. I found this quite difficult and hard to get into. A bit of knowledge about Belgian geography, long forgotten battlefields and obscure plants will assist the solver. I was pleased to get the battle at 1ac from the cryptic but the plant at 20ac left me a bit bewildered as Leaf Ridges = Veins is a complete unknown to me, similarly 16ac the John part of the clue was a bit iffy unless you are familiar with prostitutes. 18dn was solved from the anagram but the rest of the clue left me baffled and 11ac had a question mark by it. Despite thinking that Ship = She a bit loose 28ac amused me and creates a bit of discussion over on Fifteensquared . There is a Nina which I expect you all spotted (I didnt) which I suppose describes the setters opinion of this puzzle and whilst mostly the clues are sound nothing jumps out as an “Oh thats really special” so

COD  10d Minute: 1,000 or 10,080 of them (4)