Fifteensquared

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Guardian 26,530 – Crucible

Posted by Andrew on 27th March 2015

Andrew.

An enjoyable and reasonably straightforward puzzle, though I made things harder for myself by careless entering a couple of vaguely-plausible but wrong answers early on. Thanks to Crucible

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Posted in Guardian | 18 Comments »

Azed 2232 – Double Trouble

Posted by Andrew on 22nd March 2015

Andrew.

My Azed blogging has been perfectly synchronised with the appearance of specials recently – this is the fourth in a row that I’ve had to contend with. I was going to say that I hadn’t seen this type before, but a little googling revealed that Azed used it a couple of years ago in puzzle 2089 (see also John’s blog). Maybe the clueing was a bit gentler than usual, but I found that the adding or removing of the extra letters didn’t make much difference to the difficulty of the puzzle once I’d got my head round the instructions. Nevertheless, up to the usual Azed standards of soundness and satisfaction.

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Posted in Azed | 2 Comments »

Guardian 26,523 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on 19th March 2015

Andrew.

I thought I was in a for an easy ride when the first two acrosses were write-ins; things slowed down after that, but I made steady progress and found it a satisfying solve. Perhaps less humour than usual for this setter, but still a solid and enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Paul

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Posted in Guardian | 37 Comments »

Guardian 26,516 – Vlad

Posted by Andrew on 11th March 2015

Andrew.

Another week, another new setter. Actually Vlad has appeared a couple of times as the setter of the Genius puzzle (including the current one), but I think this is his (?) first appearance in the cryptic slot. As with Screw last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and took a long time to get started on this one, and even once I got going it wasn’t an easy task, with some stragglers in the NW corner being the last to fall. So I narrowly escaped impalement – thanks to Vlad, and welcome.

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Posted in Guardian | 90 Comments »

Guardian 26,509 – Screw

Posted by Andrew on 3rd March 2015

Andrew.

A new setter makes his Guardian debut, and a very promising one, with a good variety of sound clues. I found this quite hard, perhaps partly because I didn’t know what to expect, but it all yilded nicely in the end. Thanks to Screw, and welcome.

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Posted in Guardian | 65 Comments »

Guardian Genius 140 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on 1st March 2015

Andrew.

The special instructions seemed vaguely familiar, and after a bit of searching I found that the idea of the definition applying to the answer of a different clue was used a couple of years ago in Genius 116, which by coincidence I also blogged. However, that one had some extra complications that this one didn’t, and this one had the extra feature that all the answers began with one of the letters W H A M (seven of each), that letter being “not further defined in the clue” (I think that’s a slightly confusing instruction – perhaps “not indicated…” would have been clearer). I don’t know whether Paul intended some kind of tribute to the 1980s pop duo, or if there’s some other significance to the use of the word.

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Posted in Guardian Genius | 7 Comments »

Guardian 26,502 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on 23rd February 2015

Andrew.

Eleven cryptic definitions out of 26 clues? I think that must be a record, even for a Rufus puzzle; and some of them are rather weak, or otherwise satisfactory, as noted below. So, not to my taste, but others may disagree.

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Posted in Guardian | 49 Comments »

Guardian 26,500 – Puck

Posted by Andrew on 20th February 2015

Andrew.

Some good Puckish fun today – nicely positioned in difficulty, but with a twist…

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Posted in Guardian | 44 Comments »

Guardian 26,493 / Tramp

Posted by Andrew on 12th February 2015

Andrew.

I found this very hard, and a bit of a slog – I seemed to be staring at a virtually empty grid for ages. Even getting the long answer at 11,2 didn’t make things much easier, though looking back there’s nothing particularly tricky in most of the clues. Tramp is one of my favourite setters, but somehow this one didn’t hit the spot as much as usual. Maybe it’s just me. Thanks to the setter.

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Posted in Guardian | 36 Comments »

Azed 2226 – Playfair

Posted by Andrew on 8th February 2015

Andrew.

I’m glad to see I’m not the only blogger who gets worried when landing on a Playfair puzzle. “I admit to a slight feeling of trepidation when I … noticed that it was a Playfair puzzle” (bridgesong); “the clues in italics often give me the jitters, and even though they’re supposed to be relatively easy (Peter Biddlecombe): my thoughts exactly. As per my usual strategy, I tried to get all the uncoded answers first, which fortunately I was able to do without too much difficulty.

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Posted in Azed | 7 Comments »

Guardian 26,486 – Shed

Posted by Andrew on 4th February 2015

Andrew.

A good week for Guardian puzzles continues with a welcome return of Shed after a bit of a gap (his last weekday puzzle was last September). My first one in was 1a, and I thought it might be leading to some kind of theme, but I can’t see anything. Nothing too hard here, but good solid clueing. Thanks to Shed.

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Posted in Guardian | 38 Comments »

Guardian 26,479 – Brendan

Posted by Andrew on 27th January 2015

Andrew.

A very welcome return by Brendan after an absence of more than six months. I thought this was going to be a walkover after filling in the NW corner very quickly, but things got a little tougher after. Once again I am rather short of time, so please excuse the brief (and in one case incomplete) explanations below.

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Posted in Guardian | 38 Comments »

Guardian 26,472 – Rufus

Posted by Andrew on 19th January 2015

Andrew.

I’m short of time this morning, so please excuse the rather brief explanations below. A very Rufus-y Rufus today, with six double and eight (!) cryptic definitions: some of the latter rather obvious, others less so. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Guardian | 62 Comments »

Guardian 26,470 – Crucible

Posted by Andrew on 16th January 2015

Andrew.

For some reason I found this a bit of a slog while I was solving it, but looking back I see that there’s a nice variety of clues and lots to admire. There are couple of items of “general knowledge” requited that might puzzle non-UK solvers. Thanks to Crucible.

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Posted in Guardian | 56 Comments »

Guardian 26,463 – Pasquale

Posted by Andrew on 8th January 2015

Andrew.

A tough challenge from Pasquale, with quite a few names in the answers, which with the need for some “general knowledge” and a couple of obscure words might not make this to everyone’s taste. Having got that out of the way, I enjoyed it, so thanks to Pasquale.

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Posted in Guardian | 64 Comments »