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)


A straightforward-ish IOS reprint from Hypnos which probably comes as a bit of a relief to some and slightly disappointing to others due to it being finished quite quickly. Well, you can’t please everybody. It has a varied selection of clues of the more traditional sort and nothing that could be described as obscure, although 16dn went in only because it fitted, was a bit convoluted and got a question mark. I see from the Fifteensquared blog that the “Little” refers to somebody who plays the violin. Hmm. While I breezed through most of this it was the NW corner that caused a problem. I really should have seen 1ac earlier but even with 2dn in it remained, like my brain, blank. 1dn too – I had considered the correct answer but discarded it thinking it was a tree. Oh well, it made it last a bit longer.

COD? Well, many ticks but I quite liked 28ac

Irregular American at heart protecting strikebreaker (7)

An enjoyable and fairly tricky in places Saturday Prize Puzzle reprint From Tees today. I was pleased to get 9ac straight away and with a few of the down clues solved the top half quite quickly, which didn’t help with the bottom half as it was almost entirely disconnected. However, 15ac is a well used clue and will be familiar to most solvers, much like Neat for Ox in 3dn, but others in the lower half proved a bit more difficult. The rather complex clue at 16dn where the hidden answer remained, er, hidden for a bit too long and the (to me) unknown poem at 19dn… Well, that needed a bit of electronic assistance. And then there was 24ac – just the one little word, it would have helped if it was printed in a larger size, but after trying all sorts of phrases consisting of “leading” I looked more closely and spotted the italic font. Bingo. None of this was helped by being unable to solve 23dn. I don’t know many Shakespearean characters, and know nothing of Latin, so I consulted a list of characters and bunged this in because it fitted.

And so to pick one for COD. Well, 24ac is certainly a candidate, as is 6dn and 9ac, in fact most clues except 23dn, but, and I don’t really know why but I liked it –

17dn  Say a cart goes uphill – say how far? (7)

All the solutions and parsing can be found  in the excellent blog by Bertandjoyce over on Fifteensquared


I am filling for Jonofwales today and was very pleased to see that the puzzle was by Quixote only it’s not It’s Kairos who produced this IOS reprint. Thats not a bsd thing but I did have too many for my liking that went in without fully parsing ,12ac stands out here where the solver is expected to deduce SCR from Lecturers and 20ac Sus is apparently the accepted abbreviation for Susanna in the Apocrypha hmm well he should know he is a priest after all which probably explains 16ac where I was undecided between Amaze and Agape. Other oddities included EE for Cummings, Mongolian tents that weren’t Yurts and a constellation and star that I had vaguely heard of probably in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  Fortunately we have the excellent Fifteensquared blog by Pierre to turn to for all the solutions and parsing.

As always there were some good clues 13ac, 23ac, 28ac and 15dn all had ticks but COD went to 11ac

Instruments of death returned by doctor (9)


A Saturday Prize Puzzle from Anax and it beat me. Perhaps if I had had all week to solve it things might have been different but I haven’t so after a sparse start, mainly the two anagrams and a few others that were less torturous than the likes of 1 and 2dn, it became a case of hurl it in and hope, which in most cases was a successful if unsatisfying method. Google was needed to sort out 10ac. It was to me an obvious anagram but of what? All that sprang to mind for Delightful was Nice. So with long forgotten tree huggers and birds I’d not heard of I staggered on failing miserably to understand the subtleties of the wordplay. But as usual we have the blog at Fifteensquared to enlighten us, although I still don’t understand some – especially 17ac.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I haven’t got very many to choose from for COD. While the previously mentioned anagrams at 7 and 13dn get ticks, it is 15 dn that when eventual solved gave me that forehead slapping moment.

See it both ways through opening. (7,4)

A Saturday prize puzzle reprint – so it might be a bit tricky… But surprisingly there were a lot of  clues that were fairly straightforward even if I couldn’t fully parse them – 15ac, 20ac and 17dn where Ent = Forester. Apparently it’s a Lord of the Rings thing. Also new to me was Ana for Gossip in 5dn, but it was 26ac which I couldn’t parse at all, but with a few checking letters in couldn’t be anything else. In the end though I needed some help as I was left with 18ac, 7dn and 22dn. 18ac I can understand even though I hadn’t come across the term before but 7 and 22dn, well they both went in with hopeful shrugs. Despite these obscurities and oddities I rather enjoyed this and have several candidates for COD with 12ac just coming out on top.

Reducing severity of X10, U18 in rough reports? (11)

All the solutions and parsing can be found by clicking here


I found getting into this offering from eXternal very difficult but after losing more hair than I can afford 9 and 10ac finally fell giving a much needed foothold. 1dn was an obvious anagram but of what, the nasty setter had used both Bendy and Bewilders in the clue which left me a bit er bewildered. Similarly 4dn, I’ve been doing these things for long enough but the cricket references still fly over my head. The clues that proved hardest to parse for me were 12ac and 22dn but they didn’t fool the estimable Bertandjoyce on Fifteensquared where you can find all the solutions and explanations. This was an excellent work out with just a few grumbles – primarily 2dn, yes I remember her now but not as a cake maker, and 25ac Plateau = Roof . Hmm.

So to COD where I have a few ticks,1ac is a very well constructed cryptic clue and deserves mention but I think 5dn just takes it –

Initially bewildered in Indian state, grandmother’s to freak out (2,7)

A puzzle from the easier end of the spectrum, an IOS reprint from Poins with a varied selection of clues and only a couple that could be called obscure – 1dn which I have seen before but needed all the checking letters to get, and 3dn which I had to check with Google. Mostly though it was quite straightforward. A couple went in by definition alone – 7dn ( I’d forgotten about that song), and 17dn. The bull bit had me scratching my head but it’s all explained over on Fifteensquared.

Nothing really stands out as exceptional. I liked 11ac but for COD I will go for

18ac  Conflict caused by Sadat after an illegal act (7 3)

Happy Christmas😀


i Cryptic Crossword 2450 Monk

December 14, 2018

For those wanting something a bit chewier than we have had recently the appearance of Monk must have seemed like their wishes had been granted, however I suspected they may be a little disappointed. There is nothing wrong with this puzzle – it’s just that unlike previous offerings from this setter it’s, er, quite accessible. Getting 6ac straight away helped leading to the NW corner being completed in no time at all. It wasn’t all plain sailing – some required a bit of head scratching, notably for me 11ac and 5dn, 23ac and 20dn and most of the SE corner. The only one of these that I couldn’t parse was 23ac, but that was resolved over on the Fifteensquared blog where mention is made that this puzzle appears in the Friday slot that is usually occupied by Phi and speculation as to why. Well, one of the clever people over there spotted a Nina which I still can’t see.

Despite being easier than expected there is plenty to like, the Glaswegian part of 2dn being probably the most obscure, but the Elmer Fudd part gives it away. 21ac was given a couple of ticks but for COD I liked 14ac:

“Bumbling don so effete and supercilious  (6 – 5)”

More football, a bit of cycling, and some politics, but it turned out quite nicely. Yes, there are some quibbles… 5/12 – what was that about? Well, you have to be familiar with Harry Potter to understand it. Both 11ac and 26ac are perhaps slightly a bit too cryptic, but it’s all explained in Gaufrid’s excellent blog over on Fifteensquared  where some mention is also made of 23dn and 31ac, and the vulgar slang used for bottom. While the setter tells us it’s American in 31ac, he doesn’t bother in 23dn where it’s also American. We say Arse not Ass. My first in was 10ac – a well hidden word, but a word I hate so that went in with a grimace. Subsequent progress was quite rapid until I got stuck in the SW corner where I hadn’t read the clue for 30ac properly and entered Gas instead of Ski (this of course made 20d a bit difficult), and my LOI 18dn which took me a while to decipher. Lots of good stuff though – even the anagram 19/1 was a good clue. I did Google him to make sure of the spelling. 28ac and 6dn  were considered for COD but 18dn just takes it:

“Thoroughly punctures slicks? They’re shafted!   (3,5)”