i Cryptic Crossword 3297 Vigo

September 1, 2021

Difficulty rating (out of five): 🌟🌟 

Many thanks to Vigo for providing a really enjoyable puzzle today, in which I found some clues quite straightforward, but others distinctly more challenging, several of which I would never have got without the help of crossing letters provided by the easier answers. So, less experienced solvers should have found much of this approachable, I think. It is also a pangram, not that I spotted that myself.

All clues are carefully and thoughtfully crafted, and the majority have absolutely excellent surface readings. I smiled at the seemingly naïve simplicity of 9 (FLEE) and 16 (OBJECTS), and appreciated the clever construction of 19 (WASTED), in which the definition might either have been DRUNK or DEVASTATED. 1 (BUREAUCRAT) held me up for a while as I was originally thinking of REF rather than RAT for the WHISTLE-BLOWER, and I hesitated over 5 (JUNG) before writing it in, as the word GERMAN in the clue distracted me, until I twigged it was simply part of the wordplay: Jung was Swiss. I should have got 15 (GADZOOKS) much earlier, but initially dismissed the possibility of there being a word in which D was immediately followed by ZOO; and 6d (ST LUCIA) was my LOI, partly because of the misdirection afforded by COMING FROM SOUTH (I already knew there was an S to start with …) and partly because I had to search my memory before realising that CULT can be a synonym for FASHION.

12 (OVERDO) might have been my nomination for CoD, but this is one of the few clues in which the surface reading is actually less than effective, so instead I am going for 3:  “Starting off chaos and confusion bears fruit (7)”

A full analysis of today’s puzzle can be found by following the link below, and I for one am most grateful that the Fifteensquared bloggers tackle their work with such enthusiasm and dedication: