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 🙂

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I used to think that the puzzles in the dead tree version of the IOS were on the easy side but this one had for me anyway a bit of a sting in its tail. Started off briskly with both 1 and 6ac but I was soon reaching for the dictionary to check if “L” was a unit of induction and how 11ac fitted with money , all good so far but the dictionary wasn’t any help with 12ac where the answer is obvious once the crossers are in but why Jamaican? Regular readers will know of my dislike of setters using  French words in crosswords and Kairos must be congratulated on being the first this week to not use this tiresome ploy but hold those plaudits he expects us to know Hebrew in order to solve 20ac, this was a complete unknown to me and only solved by consulting Google. The lower quarter of this puzzle proved very tricky for me with 25ac clued as kitchen equipment, I can only presume that kettledrum is involved somewhere and the note Ti being the American version of our Te this only went in because it was all that fitted. It was back to the dictionary for the obscure definitions at 24dn, 26ac,and 28ac. As a whole an enjoyable puzzle with plenty that were nicely done and solvable from the wordplay my favourite even if did cause a bit of a grimace was

COD   21dn Express lift (5)

All the solutions but not much in the way of parsing  can be found in the blog from October 2013.

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/10/06/independent-on-sunday-1232-kairos/

 

A fairly accessible puzzle from Crosophile today, nothing too obscure but a few that were perhaps a little over complicated. Progress for the most part was pretty brisk with only a bit of lip curling and tutting at 4ac and 6dn it was the SE corner that proved a bit tricky with the convoluted 19ac and 21dn being the final entries. Most of this was good though nothing really stood out as exceptional 10ac amused and the clever concealment of 26ac got a tick but the word itself makes me shudder, the cruciverbalists favourite Norfolk town makes an appearance along with the well used leopard anagram. There is a Nina/theme that I missed. Overall a fairly enjoyable if not overly difficult puzzle

COD  4dn       Gives info why not to shop in Norfolk town on Tue PM say?  (9)

The original blog and all the parsing can be found here  http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/09/25/independent-8408-crosophile/

We have had a couple of tough puzzles already this week and today we get yet another and its another Saturday reprint! and oh joy its Anax . First in was 9ac, a nice solve from the wordplay that was followed by 15ac a straightforward anagram, as was 23ac. with perhaps three quarters of it solved the rest was causing a bit of a headache. 1ac went in because it fitted 3dn and 20ac required Google to confirm but 19dn remained blank I’d had enough after spending a long time with the SE corner and 4dn where I had entered “ruination” until the excellent 11ac was resolved. As usual there are some very good clues 8dn and 24ac among them but the one that I really enjoyed was of course

COD 25ac  Food – you don’t say its left! (4)

To October 2013 where this only drew three comments

http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/10/19/independent-8423-by-anax/

 

I’m standing in for Jonofwales today and as expected get a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Dac. I can do little more than direct you to the original blog where the introduction sums this up perfectly “What can one say? As we get on most Wednesdays, a perfectly-formed creation. The structure of the clues is always deceptively simple, which leaves little room for argument.”  The only bone of contention is regarding 14dn which probably doesn’t quite parse properly but the answer was plain enough, I had more trouble parsing 13ac and 16ac. Too many ticks to mention them all but 1ac got a couple and made me smile but-

COD   20ac      Word for short, tight-fisted type (7)

I’ve said before that Morph and I don’t always get along and this puzzle which has a theme that requires some knowledge of to solve and has quite a few long and convoluted clues was exactly not my cup of tea. Its always nice to read the first clue and solve it straightaway but 4ac just left me with a bit of a sinking feeling, fortunately there were some that were more accessible and I gradually started to solve more even underlining what I considered to be grossly unfair abbreviations, about halfway through I noticed the rather strange grid and that the bottom line read WTF, which is one of the few examples of Text Speak that I know, realisation then struck not that it helped that much. In the end it was just 22 and 23ac left, a lucky guess for 23 but I gave up with 22.

COD well 3dn and 18ac both scored well 9dn made me smile but

6dn  Most in rose garden might be attacked by one?  (7)

This was originally a Saturday Prize Puzzle from September 2013 and the blog and explanations are here http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/09/28/independent-8405-by-morph-saturday-prize-puzzle-21-september-2013/

 

 

After yesterdays exercise in mental torture we are back to more pleasant climes with this IOS reprint. Poins, as Pierre points out in his blog over on Fifteensquared gives us puzzles with “exemplary surfaces” and yes some are difficult to parse but this doesn’t seem to detract from the enjoyment and Pierre does an admirable job of explaining everything which is fortunate as I wouldn’t have been able to offer much enlightenment for 3dn which did cause me to tut slightly. Quite a few ticks but only two got more than one 24ac and

COD 10dn      Practise with Sue (9)

Is the top line an instruction?

Nestor has given us a tough ending to the week. It started very well with 1ac being the first in then not much else although a few were tentatively entered I did surprise myself by spotting 20ac straight off even though I’d never heard of it, this was one of the three obscurities in this puzzle, the Fig Tree in 13ac and the French puppet being the others two. The whole was an excellent example of creative and misleading wordplay that I would probable take the rest of the year to complete without some assistance. It is only 10ac that I still have some difficulty with, despite B&J’s excellent blog over on Fifteensquared I can’t see that either has more than two arms but I’m probably missing something as usual :). Plenty of candidates for COD 6dn and 22ac are deserving but probably just because I like the word its

16dn    Mind blown in more massive knockout (9)

Nestor makes an appearance on the other side to explain that the cup referred to in 17ac isn’t the one you drink your tea from I wonder if anyone parsed it as Nestor intended?

A very Happy and Healthy New Year to one and all.

Re. 10ac I’ve just got it now doh!

I usually find Morph tough and this didn’t disappoint in its toughness. Lots were entered without fully understanding why  9ac and 20dn being foremost amongst these, luckily there were a few write ins to get started with. I didn’t enter anything with complete certainty until 19ac and then it was then only 25 and 26 of the across clues that went in.  The supposed footie reference in 1dn didn’t fool me:-) and I was straight in with Hair but the rest of it was a little harder untangle likewise 2dn one of my final entries, I must admit “spikier” never occurred to me and I couldn’t find Reiki in the dictionary and on the internet into doesn’t mention massage just a Spiritual Healing, but having never indulged I must assume Morph knows what he’s talking about. 6dn is an obscure plural and was entered wrongly until I spotted the anagram at 14ac Deputy = MP  seems a bit strange to me as well. of the rest they all, on completion seem fair and as usual very clever with plenty to pick from for COD

1dn    Barnet manager praises performance after double left-right substitution (9

The Blog from August 2013 is here http://www.fifteensquared.net/2013/08/15/independent-8373-morph/

And finally  A very Happy Christmas 

A not overly difficult puzzle from Crosophile but there are a couple which were solved more by luck than judgement. Over on Fifteensquared the setter mentions that some of his clues are a bit too wordy and this is certainly the case with 1ac but the last line is a bit of a give away and gives a hint as to a theme.  21 and 26dn fall into this category and were my last two in, the Gangster being a bit of an obscurity and the  definition of Bear being new to me. Overall a puzzle with very few obscurities in the clues or answers but still a pleasant if rather quick solve.

COD 30ac  Contracts as ten merge after organisation (10)