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Archive for November, 2006

Independent 6279/Nestor – what a challenge!

Posted by nmsindy on 30th November 2006


This was hard by Indy daily standards – and there’s one I don’t understand and fear I missed – any guidance welcomed! Solving time (if I’ve got it!) 60 mins (way longer than normal)

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Posted in Independent | 15 Comments »

Today’s Independent puzzle by Nestor

Posted by neildubya on 30th November 2006


Apologies for the delay – a review of today’s debut by Nestor will appear shortly.

Posted in Independent | 1 Comment »

Guardian 23937/Pasquale – pretty tough for a weekday puzzle

Posted by linxit on 30th November 2006


Solving time – 45 minutes. I feel sorry for anyone trying to do this on the train – after struggling in vain for 20 minutes to get half of it I resorted to the Internet, and it was still hard going. Probably not so tough for anyone from Oxfordshire, although all the lesser known towns have relatively easy wordplay. I’m fairly sure Pasquale (Don Manley) is from Oxford, so it’s an appropriate theme.

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Posted in Guardian | 13 Comments »

Guardian 23936/Gordius – Whose teeth are gnashing?

Posted by ilancaron on 29th November 2006


[This is actually courtesy of loonapick who due to technical difficulties asked me to post… so please direct all compliments to him and complaints to me about the formatting]

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Posted in Guardian | 9 Comments »

Independent 6278/Dac – and so to Beds.

Posted by petebiddlecombe on 29th November 2006


Some of you may have seen this post appear, disappear and reappear. That’s because I posted on the wrong day after looking at last week’s schedule and then removed it while I found out what today’s planned contributor wanted to do. Do not adjust your browser!

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Posted in Independent | 14 Comments »

Independent 6277/Virgilius – That’s logic

Posted by rightback on 28th November 2006


Solving time: 13:16 (one mistake)

Another excellent puzzle from Virgilius with a theme (7, arguably 10 answers) based on a work by one of my favourite authors. Anyone unfamiliar with the excerpt in question can read it here, while the whole book can be found here and its predecessor here. Unfortunately I made a pig’s ear of this puzzle, starting with a time-costly mistake (see 1dn) and finishing with another (17dn).

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Posted in Independent | 4 Comments »

Guardian 23935/Araucaria – no good deed…

Posted by ilancaron on 28th November 2006


No good deed goes unpunished. I volunteered to do Tuesday’s cryptic thinking that I’ll probably get someone tractable like Shed, Quantum, etc. – but no… and we’re left with four wordplays I can’t work out (thanks to Loonapick and michod and Peter Owen below we have all of them resolved now).

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Posted in Guardian | 8 Comments »

Independent 6276 by Obtrox – Nervous start

Posted by neildubya on 27th November 2006


Solvers of advanced cryptics will recognise the name Obtrox as he/she has compiled a number of crosswords for the Listener, Enigmatic Variations and the Independent’s own Weekend Magazine over the past few years.

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Guardian 23934/Rufus – I’m DOWN

Posted by ilancaron on 27th November 2006


Typical fair Rufus fare. A couple of nice turns of phrase (e.g. 24D), one Shakespearean reference that had me checking Hamlet (22D) and a wordplay whose decoding had me going for a bit (7D). So the downs have it – and I’m a bit surprised that Rufus let DOWN appear twice in the puzzle (18D and 25A).

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Azed 1799

Posted by neildubya on 26th November 2006


Azed – A brief introduction

If you regularly finish the puzzles in the “dailies” and fancy a new challenge then a barred crossword like Azed (or Beelzebub in the Independent and Mephisto in the Sunday Times) is the obvious choice. The vocabulary is wider than the daily crosswords (both in the clues and the answers) and the cluing is that little bit more subtle. On the other hand, you get more help from grid – the amount of “checking” (i.e. letters that appear in both an across and down answer) is much more generous than in barred puzzles.

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Observer 3138/Everyman – The Cs have it

Posted by ilancaron on 25th November 2006


Seems like the theme might have been words starting with C given the high proportion (CHERISHED, CARPETBAGGERS, CROWN, CHILE PINE, CHESS, CHRISTABEL, CONFIDENT). Quite an accessible puzzle with generally sensible surfaces (except for 11D – unless I’m missing some local knowledge about dwarfs in Sale) and accurate wordplay.

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Independent 6269 by Merlin – Hard to smoke out that Frenchman (and an error!)

Posted by nmsindy on 25th November 2006


This was really tough.  Merlin has a monthly slot in  the Indy. As a solver who tackles the Times Listener Crossword every week, Merlin is familiar to me in that context also as a very talented setter.  Of all the Listeners I’ve tackled, his Royal Flush at the time of the Golden Jubilee in 2002 remains my favourite.

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Guardian 23927/Paul – dem bones

Posted by neildubya on 25th November 2006


A nice thematic puzzle about bones….

1 VAC, ATE – A brief holiday is a vac(ation) and Ate was the Greek goddess of blind folly and delusion.
9 OTIS – “Mr Redding” gives it away really but it’s worth noting OT=Old testament (“books”), which crops up a lot in cryptic crosswords, along with NT (new testament).
10 I, NUNDATING – brilliantly worded clue and groan-inducing (in a good way) pun. If you have a sister as a girlfriend, you are of course, dating a nun.
11 MBA in ELM
12 USE,T in HOOP
13 ENCHANTED – clever stuff again. An ad for a buxom lady might read “Wench Wanted”; liberate two women (w) and listen out for more groans.
15 B,ONE – the key to a number of other clues in the puzzle and quite tricky. 1 down 3 down is “VITAMIN THIAMIN”, which is also known as B1.
21 LONELIER – anag of “Nellie or”. I liked “Rocky” as the anag indicator here.
25 ULNA – found in the alternate letters of “dUbLiN bAy”. We don’t often see this type of clue in the Guardian (I don’t remember many anyway) but it’s fairly common elsewhere. The setter usually indicates whether it’s the odd or even number letters you need but Paul uses “every so often” – I’m not sure if that would be accepted anywhere other than the Guardian though.
1 VITAMIN – quite a tricky one this, especially as the thematic clues depended on you getting this so that you could then get 15A. Anyway, it’s TA (half of tank) in VIM (energy) + IN.
2 COST,A – which is a technical name for the rib, Fact Fans.
3 In growTH I AM INdebted
8 BUSH TELEGRAPH – lots of elements to put together here: BUS (something you catch) + H TE (anag of “the”) + LEG (member) + RAP (hit) + H (hard). The clue reads pretty well too.
14 HORSETAIL – anag of “soil” and “earth”. I’m hopeless with plants so this was a guess and one of the last few answers I filled in.
18 BI (one born “up”)+V+ AL(i)VE – Collins Word Exchange explains this much better than I can. The last one I filled in.
19 STERNUM – Top Tip of the Day – phrases like “I’m not sure”, “hesitates” etc usually give “er” or “um”.

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Independent 6274/Phi

Posted by Colin Blackburn on 24th November 2006

Colin Blackburn.

Solving time : 30 minutes.

In many ways a typical Phi puzzle, very fair. The clues that marred this puzzle for me were a couple of cryptic definitions that I didn’t feel worked that well, or perhaps didn’t understand. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Independent | 3 Comments »

Guardian 23,932 by Shed

Posted by michod on 24th November 2006


Some nice touches and some tough clues here – 8ac and 18ac took some thought. This Guardian grid pattern’s not the easiest, with no first letters for more than half the words, and eight with more unchecked letters (unches) than checked, which I believe the Times and Indy don’t allow.

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Posted in Guardian | 5 Comments »