We end the working week with a fairly straightforward but nonetheless enjoyable Monday reprint, which I suspect most regular solvers will have finished perhaps too quickly. I started well with 1ac going straight in and worked steadily down the grid pausing twice, once to Google Sir Henry Cecil and secondly to Google the Barchester chaplain. This obscurity is the main bone of contention over on Fifteensquared and as I had to Google it I’m obviously in the too obscure camp.  It was the SE corner that caused me most problems though – 20dn was a hat that was new to me, and 21dn where, having the U and the T in I, I initially guessed at uncouth which seems to me to be more slobbish than unkempt. It was only when I remembered that American truck drivers were called teamsters that all of this became clear and 26ac went in. The setter seems to like American words as 6dn relies on us knowing that they call “Wind” “Gas”.

For COD – well, 1ac and 6dn both got ticks but it goes to 8dn which I thought the cleverest:

Prepare retrospective broadcast for 19:31? (5,4)

For all the solutions and a comment from the setter click HERE



We haven’t had a puzzle by Morph for some time, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect but I need not have worried too much as this proved fairly accessible. There are some grumbles over on Fifteensquared where the bloggers Bertandjoyce don’t particularly like 1ac and 7dn which, while not exactly write-ins were getable once a few checking letters were in and seemed reasonable enough to me. My main parsing queries were with 4dn, a distillery I haven’t heard of, and 15dn. I wasn’t aware that “Math” was restricted to the USA as I’ve heard it used often enough here. The main stumbling block though was 18ac – was I the only one to confidently enter Rude? (although it could have been Rued) and then fail to solve 7dn until realization dawned?

Overall I quite enjoyed this puzzle but nothing remarkable stands out so for COD so I’ll go with 14ac

Pirate might have one each of these with which to make fast (4,3,3)

With one exception this week’s puzzles have seemed to me to be on the challenging side, so perhaps today might be a bit of light relief? Well, it is a Monday reprint and they are usually on the straightforward side, but this is Tyrus who isn’t.  After reading through the across clues the grid looked pretty empty. The downs proved slightly more productive with a nice anagram at 4dn and well hidden solution at 5dn. 6, 7 and 8 followed swiftly and we were off, only now realizing that 1ac was an anagram. 9ac required knowledge of something that I have no interest in, but I supposed that is balanced out by 5dn. It was the SE corner that I found really difficult, not helped by tentatively entering Harold at 12ac, or the setter referring to 23ac as a “Friendly place”. But as is so often the case it all seems so obvious when explained over on Fifteensquared where there is much praise, although nobody mentions 2nd and those that express a preference pick 25/25 as their COD. But for me the long anagram at 1/21 is just eclipsed by the misdirection of

17dn  Local’s improved after barring setter, right? Anyone there? (9)

i Cryptic Crossword 2509 Anax

February 22, 2019

Looking back on previous puzzles by Anax I see that I’m not the only one that finds them extremely tough and sometimes a bit of a slog. In fact there is only one person who has consistently expressed pleasure, so Mr B will be a happy bunny today.  I started off well with both 1ac and 1dn going straight in but my euphoria was short lived as not much else followed. The blogger Twencelas over on Fifteensquared describes this as “a high standard of subterfuge” and he’s probably right but, for this solver the subterfuge is a bit too convoluted as in 7dn which beat me and the obscure 3dn which I only found in Chambers. The only other (to me) real obscurity was 18/21 which the setter had generously and cleverly made an anagram, but I only realised that when all the crossers for 21 were in, and what was left over could only be one thing.  As usual I had a few quibbles, Added = New, Enjoyed = Had – I’ve had lots of things that I haven’t enjoyed – and Soon = Then. Hmm.

And so to a COD, and there are quite a few to choose from. The excellent anagram at 5dn, 13dn and 27ac both got ticks as did two that initially were entered with question marks regarding the parsing – 4ac was one and 2dn was the other – and it’s this one that gets my nomination:

Picked bones while initially slicing one (5)

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