A very tough Thursday reprint that I didn’t finish unaided, and in a couple of instances checked my answers on Fifteensquared before entering because I couldn’t really see how they worked. 1ac being one of those –  I had the Bud+Ape, but the st? Turns out Anax made “Apest” up… While this was the only instance of made up words, there were plenty of other oddities both in the clues and the solutions, with 10ac and 15dn being particularly obscure but perfectly fair. If only I’d had a few more hours to ponder them… I didn’t know the alternative name for a chaffinch and the Spoonerism certainly didn’t help. Fortunately Anax has included a few less convoluted clues and half a dozen long anagrams to give us something to work with. I’m of the opinion that this would have been better scheduled in the Saturday paper when we could have given it more time.

COD? 19dn –  “Mole’s genitals say (6)”


Our third IOS reprint of the week and like the other two quite straightforward, although I did struggle a little to get going. The wording of 1ac seemed to me to indicate an anagram but I couldn’t find it and it was only after changing tack and solving the down clues that the answer became apparent. Annoyingly the “term” in question is something I am well aware of as it is frequently used in puzzles but just didn’t ring any bells this morning. The rest of the of the grid was soon completed with only 14dn requiring confirmation, although 7dn and 25ac went in on definition alone. 4dn was a bit convoluted – “app” for software seeming to appear in every other puzzle recently, and I wonder if “hen” for woman might be a bit offensive in today’s P.C. climate.

Whilst this is a reasonably enjoyable solve nothing really stands out as exceptional but as is traditional, COD – 11dn   “A creature having right to move north before start of year in country (10)”.

All the solutions and explanations can be found on Fifteensquared



A Monday reprint this time from Tees, a setter who I would have thought a bit on the tough side to start the week but this puzzle is quite straightforward by his standards.

Two clues with very long answers helped to fill the grid. The first of these, 9ac, was pretty obviously an anagram and the X in the fodder gave the answer away without too much trouble. The other long answer at 14ac had me fooled for a while – the first word being “revised” and the next two words having the required amount of letters had me thinking it was another anagram, which of course it wasn’t. Very nearly made a mistake at 13ac but couldn’t parse the obvious answer – the actual solution was very good. The “troublesome rift” at 7dn made me smile. Both 1dn and 3dn are fairly obscure words but I suspect regular solvers will have seen them before although I don’t recall seeing “ore” clued as Scandinavian money, but Chambers confirms that it was. My only other queries were 28ac where Tees wants us to extract “use” from “good” which I find a bit of a stretch and the updated 5dn which was my LOI mainly because my glasses malfunctioned and I missed the last line of the clue😣 Once this problem was rectified the answer was obvious but I needed the Fifteensquared blog to parse it.

Most of the clues in this puzzle had ticks but I have to give COD to 15dn  –  “Gimme hot sex in Hampshire town? (4,2,4)”.

Witty and inventive are the two adjectives usually applied to a puzzle from Punk and this one doesn’t disappoint in either department. This is a Monday reprint which is probably why it seems a tad easier than some of his previous puzzles, as usual there was a smattering of obscurities, I hadn’t come across 5dn or 18ac before but both were cryptically sound and just needed confirming with Google or Chambers.

This is undoubtedly my puzzle of the week and with ticks all over the place picking just one is difficult 7ac, 2dn 9dn all deserve mention as does 23ac for the misleading “tower” but I think I prefer

13dn  Daft issue – potential trouble (6,4)

Back to January 2014 for a complete explanation and a few comments from happy solvers  http://www.fifteensquared.net/2014/01/27/independent-8513-by-punk/

I have not had a good week as far as crossword solving goes so I approached today’s puzzle with a degree of trepidation, however my concerns were somewhat alleviated by solving 1,4 and 9ac in short order even if I couldn’t quite parse the first two until I saw them written down and the word play became obvious, 1ac getting a metaphorical round of applause as I thought it was excellent. The rest of the puzzle didn’t take too long to crack even if it did generate more question marks than ticks. Who knew that Bam was a hoax or Prop was to stop suddenly, well not me, but the answers went in after a visit to Chambers. 10ac was another where the solution went in with a ?  Tom Mix eh I’m old but I don’t remember him, whilst I did know of John Pilger I didn’t know he was a 3dn. This was my LOI and only solved with the help of a wordfinder.  This was an IOS reprint which was considered a bit tough by those over on Fifteensquared when it was originally published. I thought it a bit chewy in places but quite an enjoyable way to end the working week.

COD? As I’ve already mentioned 1ac I will go for the nicely misleading 13ac: Buffet at college is put together hurriedly  (5,2)



Tees is usually tough and some of this I found exceptionally chewy, not all though there were some that stood out as quite easy on the other hand some went in just because they fitted, the ELF in 19/21? 13ac and 25ac.  9ac was new to me but much like 17dn which I’m fairly sure I’ve come across before was solved from the cryptic once a few crossing letters were in. Throw in a few  anagrams where the fodder was well hidden and we have a fairly stiff but enjoyable puzzle. My only real dislikes were the SIS in 16dn and someone that I’ve long forgotten in 28ac.  Quite a few to choose from for COD, the nice misdirection in 14dn deserves a mention and the anagrams at 6dn and 26ac but even though it includes a compilers name

27ac     Males to bed ace i compiler – why no sex?  (8)

The January 2014 blog with comments from the setter is Here

We finish the working week with an excellent puzzle from Morph that was originally in a Monday edition of the Independent which may explain why it is on the easy side for this setter. As is usual there is some low level ribaldry and smut to make this solver smile, a few nice anagrams to get started with and some, 7dn, 18, 20, and 23ac primarily that were only parsed after I had written them down and stared at them for some time, all of them excellent.  Do people still Twerk? I doubt it but it was probably quite popular back in 2014, fortunately I knew the band in 24ac but they may be a bit of an unknown to some solvers which brings me to 3dn my LOI and to me the only real obscurity in the whole puzzle.

With lots to like here picking one is quite difficult but with apologies to Jonofwales

COD  4dn    Good-for-nothing drunken Welsh sort  (9)

To January 2014 and the original blog and comments    http://www.fifteensquared.net/2014/01/20/independent-8507morph/


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)