i Cryptic Crossword 3704 by Phi
December 21, 2022
Difficulty rating (out of 5): ⌛
Sometimes a particular clue will catch my eye before I start solving and this was the case here with 1dn which was a write-in for me as a chemist. That and possibly the small number of clues helped me to rattle through this over breakfast. The only slight hold-up being 14dn where there appeared to be three possible endings; however 21ac soon settled which was correct (and the only one to parse properly).
Phi’s puzzles often have a nina or a ghost theme. There was no obvious nina here, but spotting a ghost theme in a Phi puzzle can be difficult if not impossible as it may be no more than a few words he has come across as interesting to devise clues for. He will, though, sometimes explain the theme in a comment on fifteensquared but there was no input from him this time so probably it was just a ‘plain’ puzzle. Bert and Joyce, the original bloggers surmised that with a rather unusual grid (only 22 clues and six 13-letter entries) the challenge may have been to the setter rather than the solver.
For CoD 1dn obviously suggested itself to me, but there were other contenders such as the anagram at 12ac and the clue-as-definition at 6dn as well as the very neat 10ac and 18dn. For the final choice, though, I’ll come back to 6dn: ‘One should be gentle around gums, ultimately, when at work (6,7)’
Explanations, and a mere handful of comments, can be found at http://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/12/28/independent-10049-by-phi/