Like the original blogger (here) I found this hard and unsound in too many places. And at least in 2008 one didn’t have to cast one’s mind too far back to remember Ming Campbell. But some very nice clues too, such as 18d: “Hearing aids for the gullible (7)”.

A nice crossword from Nestor, hard enough to keep you scratching your head but not so hard that you become stuck and irritable. Originally seen in 2008 and blogged here, all bar the three lights below.

Two particularly fine clues stand out: “Some medicines rarely counter poison (7)” at 17a, and the witty “Butt softly? (4)” at 20a. The original blogger got the wrong answer to the latter – you’ll have to look in the comments for the right one, and for the full explanation of a couple of others including 7d.


9. APATHY: PAT in {HAY}.


3. QUEEN BEE(r).
11. THE HARD STUFF: d.d.

Football, cricket, golf, tennis, boxing, athletics, skiing, skating, snooker, speedway (a sport I’ve never even heard of), horse racing, and possibly archery (I am thinking of 23a) all get a look-in in Mordred’s sporting spectacular extravaganza. I know nothing of sport but by and large Morded was kind enough not to require much special knowledge, though a few clues were of somewhat convoluted construction. The puzzle’s 2008 vintage shows most in 17a, a reference to a then-current sports presenter who died in 2009.

Original blog here; previously unblogged lights below. For clue of the day I nominate 20a, “A ball left by Knowles for Tottenham’s No. 8 results in temporary suspension (8)”, though it relies on a sufficiently obscure piece of knowledge that I would never have got it without some of the useful crossing letters. The surface reading smoothly and misleadingly refers (thanks, Google) to this footballer, who inspired the song Nice one, Cyril, with its well-known chorus. When I were a lad it was still obligatory, when saying “Nice one”, to add the word “Cyril”, though until today I never really knew why.


12. VIGOUR: U (fifth in COLOURS) in VIGOR (VIRGO with R, first in REDS, shifted).
15. SNOWIER: NOW for K in SKIER.


3. JAGUAR: d.d.
7. TENNIS: <(SIN NET). A let (replayed point) in tennis may be caused by a net.
21. BEAMER: d.d. A cricketing term, apparently.
24. GOLF: <(FLOG).

A mostly very easy excursion from Dac, though not having heard of Alan Ladd held me up for the last couple of clues the SE corner. I couldn’t make sense of 1d, which appears to require ‘handgrip’ to mean ‘bag’. Chambers doesn’t support this, but according to a comment by Eimi himself on the original blog, here, Collins and the Concise Oxford do.

Clue of the day is 27a: “Top male in a bit of a sweat (6)”. Lights not previously blogged below.


13. EWERS: brEWER Systematically.
25. HAVANA: H + A VAN + A.
27. BEHEAD: HE in BEAD. The definition is “top”, of course.

8. GREASE: d.d., alluding to the film.
23. IRATE: I + RATE.

A great puzzle from Merlin, who really does seem like a magician with 4d: “What could modify strands reworking Lord of the Rings (9,5)”. We will say nothing of the odd slightly duff clue like 17a and 3d. The 2008 blog is complete.

Jonofwales is away so I am at the helm this week. A nice gentle start to the week with one of Quixote’s easier numbers. The original blog is complete, though with a slight error in the answer to 17a which is left as an exercise to the reader to discover:

For clue of the day I choose ‘Hot tempers erupting from someone new to the family? (10)’ at 5d, for the nice anagram.

I wondered if I had just forgotten how to do crosswords, but the first blogger also found this another extremely hard crossword:

The original blog is complete. After yesterday’s Nimrod and this today, I only hope we have some gentler rides in store for next week.

I admire Nimrod’s inventively misleading surfaces, but I found this difficult puzzle a bit of a chore. Sometimes the i.m.s.’s take priority over a strictly fair clue. My view is the other way round: if a clue is tricky it’s especially important that the pieces fit properly. However, no such criticism can be levelled at 17a which I nominate for clue of the day: “Revolutionary poetry circle having current status affected when the heat is on (4-8)”.

Original blog is here. Remaining lights below.


12. HIGH POINTS: d.d.
13. ROCK.
19. PYRE: e.d. giving scope for my usual tirade against this type of clue. It could just as well have been HELL – which I nearly filled in when I first saw the clue.
24. SATNAV: SAT + <(VAN).




July 12, 2013

I forgot to pick up an i this morning and am at a meeting all day in the middle of nowhere, so have no way of picking one up … maybe jonofwales can come to the rescue?

A mostly decent crossword from Monk with a range of devices, if a somewhat excessive reliance on the ‘directions/points’ trope to get rid of unwanted N’s, E’s and S’s. Original blog 2008 here is complete. Rather than nominate a clue of the day I will raise my usual complaints about so-called cryptic or elusive definitions as a clue type. ‘Jaguars may hasten after me’ (at 28a) is not only a terrible clue for SPEED BUMP or SPEED HUMP, but as usual when there is no wordplay, gives no way to choose between the synonyms – and in this case the grid doesn’t, either.