i Cryptic Crossword 3706 Eccles
December 23, 2022
Difficulty rating (out of five): ⏳⏳
This was delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed solving this crossword. We were treated to lots of creativity and originality. For example, we saw the use of “newscast” to indicate the removal of Ns from another word. In another clue “behind schedule” was used to instruct us to move a letter to a position later in the word. Throughout, the surface readings were not just plausible but many were entertaining, amusing and misleading – a mark of a well-crafted crossword.
Most of this went in at a pretty rapid pace, but it wasn’t plain sailing all the way. I struggled a little with OBSTRUCTS. Some crossing letters suggested “restricts” to me, which had the merit of starting with a R for “Russian”. I couldn’t parse anything beyond that. When I got SHOT PUTTER, I had a rethink, but couldn’t parse the “structs” part, after the Russian river Ob. It took me a while to work out the in Yorkshire someone might be a tyke. As for obscurities, MALTOSE is a little niche, and I do wonder if anyone one still has a WASHBOARD (as my grandmother did, for use alongside the copper) never mind uses one as an instrument. Those were as nothing, however, compared to COLPORTEUR – definitely a word new to me. Homophones, or rather alleged homophones can be contentious. I don’t object to near-homophones, but some solvers genuinely do, and I suspect this will be one. On the basis of this one alone – my last in, and guessed at prior to a dictionary trawl – I raised the difficulty rating from ⏳ to ⏳⏳.
My Clue of the Day is 11ac. Its a well-spotted anagram and it has a good and misleading surface reading: “she’s changed the locks of broken box and reopened lid (8,6)”.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas! May you have a great holiday, however you celebrate it. I’m responsible for the blog on Boxing Day; it will appear, I assure you, but please don’t expect it too early in the day!
Here’s the link for the answers and explanations: https://www.fifteensquared.net/2018/12/23/independent-on-sunday-1504-eccles/