28174 Thursday, 30 December 2021 Tall and tan and young and lovely?

It’s quite difficult for me to avoid saying I found this very much on the straightforward side. I did, after all, spin through in 12.27 which for once puts me amongst the quicker solvers. With one exception, the words that probably don’t appear in My First Reader are not so out there as to be unguessable and the cryptics are generous. The Greek princess is the obvious unpleasantness floating in an otherwise tranquil pool and there is a choice of Greek letters to pick from with no real help in deciding which. The courageous will hit and hope, the less confident might be tempted to sneak a peek at Wiki, even if that means navigating the annual plea for funds. Always let your conscience be you guide.
I have provided the clues, the definitions therein and the SOLUTIONS, plus such notes as I hope you will find helpful. Merry New Year everone!

1 We’re told the fellow’s going to part of Oxford? (4)
HEEL We start with a homophone, “we’re told”, so he’ll, fellow’s going to becomes an Oxford (a style of shoe) section.
3 One smashing image representing lions and cat without company (10)
ICONOCLAST An anagram, re-presenting LIONS and CAT, placed around CO(mpany). Without can mean outside as in “there is a green hill far away without a city wall”
9 African native bloomer on the banks of one river (7)
GIRAFFE Here’s the bloomer that’s not a flower but a GAFFE, either side of I (one) R(iver)
11 Papers about arrangement for sitar or recorder (7)
DIARIST ID for papers is reversed, and a anagram (arrangement for) of SITAR is added
12 Tenet of millenarianism will have faded, for example (6,7)
FUTURE PERFECT Millenarianism is a belief system (not necessarily religious) which recognises that the state of the world is pretty grotty, but some coming climactic event will usher in a new, more peaceful, prosperous or generally rather nice time either for everyone or for the select few. The word has its roots in the Biblical book of Revelation in which 1000 years is either a time of struggle or a time of bliss, and sometimes both. Hence our answer as a shorthand form, and the example of “will have faded” of the grammatical tense.
14 Different water temperatures crossed by returning river boat (5)
YACHT Conventionally, there are two temperatures for water, C(old) and H(ot). Select a river at random, in this case the TAY, reverse it and set it outside.
15 Endless words to acclaim a hollow rockery’s little flower (9)
TRIBUTARY And here’s our flower that’s not a bloomer but flowing water. Remove the end from TRIBUTe for words to acclaim, add A in plain sight and the outer letters (hollow) of RockerY.
17 Word just in recent science fiction hit (9)
NEWSFLASH Recent is NEW, Science Fiction SF, and hit LASH.
19 It means getting more bread that’s flatter, not soft (5)
RAISE Bred as a euphemism for money. Flatter is PRAISE, leave off the P, soft in music.
21 Rope and anchorage at sea for expert there (13)
OCEANOGRAPHER  One of those pretty anagrams (at sea) where the fodder is well connected to the theme, in this case ROPE and ANCHORAGE.
24 Kid catching punch in the gut in English town (7)
SWINDON The kid is a SON, and WIND for punch in the gut is inserted. Swindon, in Wiltshire, has a proud railway history, is the second safest place to live in the UK and “in all its pebbledash and Anaglypta glory, has to be the ugliest, most soul-destroying town in England.”
25 I expect complaint: university with old teacher’s regressing (2,5)
NO DOUBT A reversal clue (regressing) TB for complaint, U for University, O(ld) and DON for teacher.
26 Thought about Hattie’s exterior, with a proudly displayed bust (10)
FIGUREHEAD In its more literal meaning as that carving under a ship’s bowsprit often a bust, and often with a proudly displayed bust. Here’s the Cutty Sark’s since replaced by a more chaste version. The wordplay, simply FIGURED for thought around the outside letters of HattiE, plus A in plain sight.
27 Cardinal, say, is back holding a letter-opener (4)
DEAR….  Yes that sort of letter opener. Cardinal is an example of RED. Reverse it (is back) and insert A, yet again in plain sight.

1 Like top execs, canned following dishonesty (4-6)
HIGH FLYING Canned here has the meaning of drunk, hence HIGH as a kite, then add F(ollowing) and LYING for dishonesty.
2 Unpredictable scoundrel housed in Morecambe? (7)
ERRATIC Seasoned campaigners will see Morecambe and think ERIC for the comedian, Throw in RAT for scoundrel.
4 Queen caught by group of stars and hit artist (9)
CLEOPATRA C(aught) plus LEO the constellation plus PAT for hit and RA for artist, Royal Academician
5 Russian girl after pinching a Republican’s bottom (5)
NADIR the Russian girl is NADIA, though the one that springs to my mind is Romanian. Pinch/remove an A and add R(epublican). The clue’s surface looks like a reversal of more usual practice.
6 French construction line pocketing one juicy cut (13)
CHATEAUBRIAND A French construction is a CHATEAU (which I can’t help translating as cat water). Add BRAND for line and insert I (one)
7 Variety star wanting covers for piece of music (7)
ARIETTA The setter making it easy. Remove the outer letters of variety star and voila! (or should that be ecco!?
8 Bear child, mother’s fifth (4)
TOTE Child is TOT, and the fifth letter of mother is -um- E
10 Jazzy riffs absorbing to guitar person just getting a record? (5,8)
FIRST OFFENDER So it’s an anagram (jazzy) of RIFFS taking in TO, and the guitar person s the immortal Leo FENDER, creator of the Stratocaster (which I expect to see amongst the avatars today).
13 Printer‘s extremely testy stare maintaining order (10)
TYPEWRITER The outside letters of TestY, plus PEER for stare and WRIT for order included.
16 Current character in Greece, mostly affable Greek princess (9)
IPHIGENIA Today’s candidate for the blank stares of non-classicists, and probably of some classicists too. Trust the wordplay, take I for (electric) current, add PHI (you hope) for the character in Greece and take most od GENIAL for affable on the end until you run out of space. She was a daughter of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra (I looked it up, you don’t have to).
18 Acting like a hound, seeking romance round female (7)
WOOFING Seeking romance is WOOING, placed found F(emale)
20 Clad like Elizabethan gent seizing uniform, the company’s own (2-5)
IN HOUSE Elizabethan gents wore doublet and HOSE, so IN HOSE with NATO Uniform seized.
22 What I might be in series from television, in theory (5)
NINTH Today’s hidden in televisioN IN THeory. It would have been cute if I was the ninth letter of television, but it’s not, by 1. But it is the ninth letter of the alphabet.
23 A riddle with no conclusion? Pull the other one! (2,2)
AS IF I think turned up recently with the same “definition”. A (for the final time in plain sight) plus SIFT for riddle with its end missing.

81 comments on “28174 Thursday, 30 December 2021 Tall and tan and young and lovely?”

  1. Lots of biffing today. I could have biffed ICONOCLAST from ‘one smashing image’, but the anagrist was unmissable. DNK ‘canned’, which made it hard for me to see how HIGH-FLYING worked; so I biffed it for my POI, and the G let me biff LOI GIRAFFE. No problem with IPHIGENIA; aside from the myth itself, and the play by Euripides, there are operas by Gluck and Wagner. The setter seems to like using initial/terminal letters in his clues: hollow rockery, Hattie’s exterior, wanting covers, extremely testy.
    1. Can you please explain the pun in the answer for 7Down… ARIETTA.
      What is the pun on ‘ECCO’ for ‘VOILA’ ?
      1. Not really a pun, merely an appropriate use of Italian rather than French, as Isla explained a couple of hours ago.
    2. I would have lost good money betting on an NHO from you on IPHIGENA! I bow to your superior learning!
    3. And readers of the NY Times would know of Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger matriarch of the publishing family.
  2. It’s happened again! Yesterday I typed ruritania but rurutania appeared after pressing submit. Today I typed chateaubriand and what should appear after hitting submit but chateuubriand. And I cross-checked my answers before pressing the button. WIHIH?!

    I had TYPESETTER in 13d for a while
    COD was definitely FUTURE PERFECT. I like clues like that!

    1. Can you please explain the pun in the answer for 7Down… ARIETTA.
      What is the pun on ‘ECCO’ for ‘VOILA’ ?
    2. Take a screenshot before you hit “submit” martin .. only way to get the drop on the computer. Or not, of course 🙂
    3. If you’re doing it on an iPad you may have my problem, which is that I press w and finish with wwwwww. Then I turn it over and instead I get ppppp for p. No wonder it takes me 40 mins to complete these things
      1. Thanks. I’m on a MacBook Pro. I can see how I might aim at I but hit U but not A and U. I shall have to sneak up on the thing when it’s not looking!☹️
  3. It was mctext who had the not-yellow Stratocaster? Haven’t seen him around these parts for years.
    Like others I included the SETT order of fauna; unlike others I didn’t notice when I overtyped it with oceanographer.
    Otherwise I found the LHS mostly impenetrable to start, and filled in the RHS. Then WOOFING unlocked everything, and I filled in the last 8 or so answers in 8 or so seconds, or so it seemed. Iphigenia was a hit & hope, as a non-classicist.
    COD woofing ahead of figurehead.
    1. On return to base I found your comments in my SPAM – Lord knows why – it was completely on its own. Anyway thanks for the consideration etc I did not think a homophone indicator was necessary, as there were only a couple of letters to fill in. I was simply trying to remain as cryptic as possible.
      1. Thanks for the gracious reply. You’re not the only one who never saw my emails when they landed in the spam folder. Something to learn for next time.
    1. Matching the language: Arietta is an Italian word, not French. Italian Ecco! is roughly the same as French Voila!
  4. 46 minutes for a very good puzzle spoiled by 16dn. I didn’t know the answer but having spotted how the wordplay worked my first thought for the Greek letter was PHI but then I made the mistake of considering other possibilities and decided that, of PHI, RHO and CHI, CHI was the most likely. What more can one do?
    1. I finally finished it today, and plumped for CHI. Drat! One letter wrong in the whole grid. And I read the Odyssey only 18 months ago.
  5. For some extraordinary reason (SOI) I bunged in CUBE at 8dn! (Bear child = Cub).
    This really held me up in the latter stages when I finally sought the missing definition. O me miserum!

    FOI 1ac HEEL – a sore point with Achilles

    LOI 8dn TOTE – a bookmaker in Britain which offered ‘parimutuel’ betting on British horse racing. The firm was owned by the UK Government from 1928 until 2011. Known UTC (Rhyming Slang) as ‘The Nanny’

    COD 9ac GIRAFFE – in 1414 a pair famously brought to Beijing for the delight Emperor Yongle (Ming Dyn)

    WOD 16 IPHEGENIA – who was nowt but trouble according to legend

    Let’s hope for a 12ac next year. Christmas still parcels arriving!

    My time was 55 inglorious minutes – but I enjoyed it immensely!

    Edited at 2021-12-30 07:20 am (UTC)

    1. [With reference to TOTE and parimutuel betting, I remember looking this up after TOTE appeared for the betting system (rather than ‘bear’) in at least one previous crossword. The history of the totalisator machine used to keep track of the bets placed and to calculate the payout is fascinating. A Google search on “Rutherford Journal, automatic totalisator” will point you to a couple of very informative (though lengthy) articles if you’re interested].
  6. The Miracle she wrought upon my Mind

    And what a miracle. Exactly 30 mins pre-porridge to polish off this (IMO) brilliant crossword. It has some really clever stuff, nice surfaces and big PDMs. I liked it, mostly the hound woofing, the African native and the Jazzy riffs.
    Thanks setter and great blog Z.

  7. 29 minutes with LOI ARIETTA. COD to FUTURE PERFECT, not quite what I’m expecting in 2022. I also liked FIGUREHEAD. We have a splendid replica of one, a lady called Jane Owen, from a schooner which sank in 1889. I had TYPESETTER too, wondering why the badger was living there, before the OCEANOGRAPHER emerged from the deep. I get worse at long anagrams the older I get. Enjoyable puzzle.Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2021-12-30 08:21 am (UTC)

  8. 12:52 I started slowly but speeded up towards the end finishing with a biffed NO DOUBT. I liked YACHT and NEWSFLASH best. Thanks Z and setter.
  9. I was left hoping ‘phi’ was the Greek letter to get IPHIGENIA, and I needed all the checkers to get FUTURE PERFECT as I didn’t know what millenarianism was, but otherwise this was gratifyingly straightforward after a run of failures for me. NEWSFLASH and RAISE were both nice challenges in terms of separating the definition from the wordplay.

    FOI Erratic
    LOI Dear
    COD First offender

  10. Close to record time in puzzle where nothing seemed to hold me up. Classical education apparently not wasted, hence IPHIGENIA in straight away, and must have helped with ICONOCLAST (what an odd word it is? any other -CLASTs? Can only think of PYROCLASTIC flow which I encountered on Montserrat). Many thanks to setter and amusing blogger …
  11. Fell at the final fence when I went for CHI not PHI for the Greek princess. Otherwise I don’t recall any difficulties.
  12. 17ac! Have I missed much over my Yuletide absence in the forest? I hope not. Back into the schwing straight away with a breezy 11:38. My COD 3ac Iconoclast and WOD Chateaubriand and a bottle from Cloudy Bay.
  13. As I write this puzzle has a SNITCH of exactly 100, so all the NITCH and WITCH scores are identical. Mine were 122 with my 40-plus minutes but like others I found this hugely enjoyable. COD to FUTURE PERFECT for teaching me about a new set of cults. LOI was the exquisitely simple yet devious DEAR, which added several minutes on its own.

    Today the James Webb Space Telescope is enjoying a balmy 9C on its warm side, 620,000 km from Earth. The other side is slightly less comfortable at minus 153C!

    Thanks brilliant setter and excellent blogger.

  14. 28 minutes. Not too difficult though I couldn’t have told much you about the ‘Greek princess’ or exactly what an ARIETTA is. Favourites were the def for FUTURE PERFECT and the surface for FIRST OFFENDER.

    Thanks to setter and Zed, particularly for the Mrs. C. F. Alexander reference at 3a.

    1. There aren’t that many examples of “without” meaning outside, though I occasionally attended planning meetings held at St Botolph’s-without-Bishopsgate.
      1. Just outside Stamford, on the road to Burghley Park is the hamlet of St. Martin’s Without.
        As a kid I ever remember some vandal had added a rather rude word in black paint. My mother was utterly ghasted! Are we allowed to mention the male chicken on this forum?
  15. 28:46
    Nice puzzle; great fun. Iphigenia went straight in. I know her from K Amis’s Jake’s Thing, in which Jake identifies her as the subject of a stained-glass window.
    Thanks, z.
  16. Loved this one, not too hard but witty and elegant cluing.
    Iphigenia a write-in, I don’t have a classical education (apart from a couple of years failing to learn Latin) but she crops up all over.. plays, operas, paintings etc etc. Even mentioned in Downton Abbey, apparently.
    The only holdup was ARIETTA, and that not for long since I am pretty sure it appeared recently in another xword.
  17. I note that my two closest neighbours (usually) in the listings – KevinG and our blogger Z – seem to have had no trouble with this but I found it a struggle and was glad to clock in at 22.28. Now I’m not sure why the difficulty but it’s a good puzzle. Yes, SWINDON of not-so-blessed memory. It was our local train station when my parents lived in the pretty S. Cotswold village of Ashton Keynes and it always mortified my mother that it had to appear as a line in our address. Why does the Cutty Sark figurehead appear to be clutching a dark-haired scalp in Z’s picture?
    1. The figurehead is Nannie, the Cutty Sark, a witch who features in Burns’s Tam O’Shanter. She tears the tail from Tam O’Shanter’s horse while chasing him. I was a bit surprised by z’s comment about the figurehead: it suggested she had fallen victim to some sort of modern-day moral panic and been cancelled. It seems this is not the case: the previous figurehead was only installed in 1957, and was rotting so needed to be replaced. The new one is more in keeping with what the original is believed to have looked like (there is no record) but hardly more chaste than what it replaced.
      We used to go to see the Cutty Sark all the time when I was a child: my grandmother lived near Greenwich. I haven’t been since.

      Edited at 2021-12-30 01:01 pm (UTC)

      1. Ditto on visiting the Cutty Sark Keriothe. In my case it was my paternal grandfather who lived near. He was a navy man and also took me to lunch in the Painted Hall and to the naval cadets Christmas party.
      2. Since the 2007 fire and subsequent superb restoration, the Cutty Sark has been raised several metres and has an impressive Visitor Centre below. So if you are ever back here in Greenwich do come and admire her!

        And while I am here, thank you all very much for this brilliant site which has helped me progress from being able to solve very few clues a few years ago to a stage where with plenty of time I can often complete the puzzle! Am still trying to speed up…!

        M in Greenwich

  18. A bit of biffing today, which led to believe that the sci-fi hit in NEWSFLASH might be the Flash. Seemed unlikely, though.

    I didn’t know that definition of ‘canned’, and having written ICHIGENIA as my LOI, I had a last second change of heart to go for PHI and was glad that I did. 7m 07s for a nice puzzle.

  19. HEEL was my FOI and I continued happily on my way until arriving at LOI, IPHIGENIA, where I chickened out and checked it. Loads to like, especially WOOFING down CHATEAUBRIAND. 25:11. Thanks setter and Z.
  20. Perhaps because I was sleepy at the end of a long and busy day, but I really struggled with this, and thought I wouldn’t finish. I was another who entered TYPSETTER for 13, screwing my chances with 21a. Once I got OCEANOGRAPHER things started flowing more smoothly, but it still took me 50 minutes. I’m surprised IPHIGENIA caused problems. She features in several plays and at least one piece of music. On the whole I’m more conversant with characters from classical mythology than characters from the bible (my Achilles heel , one might say.
  21. I made hard work of this – but eventually limped across the line in one piece.

    COD: High Flying

  22. I made it difficult for myself by stupidly having NADIA for NADIR, also having TYPESETTER, not really knowing how it worked but thinking a peter might be a stare, so took well over the hour. Wasn’t really happy with raise = getting more bread until I realised that there was a financial link. At first I thought that it was a rather feeble way of saying that the bread would rise with more self-raising flour, or something of that sort. And the only French constructions I could think of were the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles.
    1. Notre Dame, perhaps? Arc de Triomphe? I suppose Eurodisney doesn’t really count..

      Edited at 2021-12-30 12:56 pm (UTC)

  23. ….of 15 minutes, and sorted out my biffs OK afterwards. A very enjoyable puzzle.

    FOI ICONOCLAST (from “Tarkus” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer)
    LOI DEAR (cardinal being neither number nor churchman — duh !)
    COD OCEANOGRAPHER (the best anagrams are self-referential)
    TIME 14:09

  24. Short but very sweet with lots of smiles on the way. COD FUTURE PEREFCT.

    I’ve unhappy memories of long waits for train connections at Swindon station. On a more positive note, they do have a statue of Diana Dors, who was born there.

    Thanks to z and the setter.

  25. 26:16 with a bit of a car crash in the SW where I had HIGH FLYERS, an anagram at 10d somehow involving “guitar” and other mental blanks. I saw FLASH and didn’t think past the eponymous Gordon or register it as unlikely, unlike mauefw; I can’t afford to waste time thinking.
  26. 10:54. A steady solve: I didn’t do very well on my first pass through the acrosses but the downs proved a bit more tractable.
    I don’t recognise this use of ‘canned’, but you can use more or less any word to indicate drunkenness. ‘I was absolutely wallpapered’.
    I was glad for the wordplay to guide me in spelling IPHIGENIA. I was slightly surprised by the lack of familiarity with her, thinking I knew her from Gilbert and Sullivan. But that’s Iolanthe, and I actually know her from Racine, a slightly more esoteric source in a UK context.
    Very enjoyable puzzle.
  27. Delighted to have finished in a reasonable time after a couple of weeks in which I considered abandoning crosswords as I was clearly regressing to a state in which I would never complete one again. My excuse is that I had Covid the week before Christmas which, while relatively mild, clearly disrupted my mental faculties. (Even I don’t believe this feeble excuse.)

    No problems with this one other than not being able to parse 23 dn because I didn’t think of the appropriate meaning of riddle. In 4dn I was looking for an artist and in 5 dn for a Russian girl for too long. Liked the surface of 10dn. COD to 12ac.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  28. Well Z, you wanted a Strat and now you’ve got one. My ‘94 LA bought, black US Strat.

    55 mins but technically a DNF ‘cos I couldn’t get (didn’t know) I-phone-e-genius, or whatever her name is. So I looked her up.

    I liked FUTURE PERFECT, CHATEAUBRIAND (though I’d prefer a claret or a good Rhône to Cloudy bay. Are their reds, Pinot Noirs I believe, up to the steak?) and NEWSFLASH. GOOD STUFF.

    Another who had TYPESETTER for a while.

    Thank you Z and setter.

  29. Thanks for a really nice blog. It was beautifully set out and was not jumbled up. For some reason my android phone does not display things nicely when using the livejournal app.

    I got stuck after half a dozen clues, then found it all fell in place for a time of about 45 mins. The puzzle was hard enough for a relative newbie to make it a satisfying solve. Fortunately the Princess lurked in a deep corner of my memory so i got lucky there.

  30. I am no classicist but 16d was one of my first in, having studied Goethe’s “Iphigenia auf Tauris” at university.
  31. 20 minutes for all done except the unknown Greek lady. Couldn’t decide whether IPHI.. or ICHI.. rang a faint bell,so came here to find out rather than use Wiki. Excellent puzzle; liked TRIBUTARY and giraffes are my favourite animals.
    Thanks z nice blog.
  32. Late to finish today, and slow (more than an hour) and with a seriously messed up grid from my fat fingers on my phone on moving trains from Perth to London. With a lucky guess at PHI, and ignoring the typos, I was only beaten by 7dn ARIETTA, described in the blog as “the setter making it easy”. I see it now of course.
  33. I’m having a really weird time of it today. It’s this Iphigenia thing. You see, I confidently had her as a perfectly normal source for a chorus of miffed NHOs and you whats?
    You lot have made it abundantly clear that she’s pretty much in the same category of well-known-ness as Lady Macbeth or Joan of Arc. Lands sakes, there’s Euripedes, Gluck, Wagner’s version thereof, even a raucous play called Iphigenia In Splott.
    And I recognise none of this! Like the reverse of that film.where the guy wakes up to find he’s the only person who knows the Beatles.
    I shall have to go and spend some Stout Cortez time, staring out on a new horizon, silent on a peak in Darien.
    1. It seems a solid quarter to third of contributors today seem not to have heard of IPHIGENIA, which in this erudite company surely qualifies her as at least moderately obscure.
        1. Well I was surprised at first, as I said, but if it hadn’t been for my French education I suspect I wouldn’t have heard of her either. I’m not aware of any of the various operas and whatnot mentioned by others.
  34. Not too bad considering that I am still solving on my back on the sofa. I now think I have vestibular neuritis. Too many letters for a 15×15
  35. For the past few days, I’ve had to try to solve the QCs and 15 x15 when I’ve had a moment to spare, so haven’t been recording times on the Crossword Club. Despite (or maybe because of) the absence of the stopwatch, I have to say this is the most enjoyable puzzle I’ve tackled for a long time.
    Lots of clever constructions, with plenty of traps to trip up the unwary. I had 15 clues ticked off for approval when I had reviewed upon completion.
    Only niggle was 16 d “Iphigenia” where I can only echo Z’s comments in the blog. My knowledge of the Classics doesn’t even extend to the St Leger I’m afraid.
    Anyway, as a strangely subdued Hogmanay approaches, thanks to Z for an entertaining blog and to setter for an excellent puzzle to cheer me up!
  36. 24.30. FOI heel, LOI yacht. A few roadblocks eventually negotiated ,chief among them being future perfect. But giraffe and high flying took a while, for some time I was convinced top execs referred to hair in some manner or means.

    I got Iphigenia reasonably quickly. A sad tale but at least Clytemnestra ensured her loving? husband got what he deserved!

  37. 26.12. A really good puzzle, solved whilst listening to a cd of Gorecki’s third symphony, a Christmas present which I asked for after a blog from Pip a little while ago in which it was described as hauntingly beautiful. I can’t disagree. It was the high flying, future-perfect section of the grid which I struggled to unravel. I thought first offender was the best of the bunch.
  38. Me neither.
    But I’d have thought the Greek princess would be well-known enough. It’s a memorable name.

    Expanding your comment took me to a different page again! Drat!

    Edited at 2021-12-30 05:40 pm (UTC)

  39. Couldn’t get to this until the morning, and was pleased to finish it before I had to “commute” to my desk…
    FOI OCEANOGRAPHER. It took a little time, but was worth it.
    Happy to have guessed SWINDON correctly.
    I feel that if you’ve seen the name IPHIGENIA once, you’re likely never to forget it, but maybe that’s just me…
  40. A rare visit to the 15 x 15 for me after encouragement from someone on the QC blog. This was a really enjoyable and witty puzzle. Commenting this late I find it’s all been said. I got iconoclast as my FOI, oceanographer as second. Only five on first pass meant I had my work cut out. Ever so gradually, the light began to dawn, and I was tickled pink to finish, even after over forty minutes. Liked all the clues. Giraffe was my favourite. LOI arietta. Struggled for ages for a piece of music beginning and ending in a. Needed all the checkers. Biffed loads. So thank you, Z, for all the parsing, and setter and bloggers for the entertainment. Would like to “like” some of the comments here, but am denied the facility which I gather is a glitch in the site at the moment.

    Edited at 2021-12-30 05:52 pm (UTC)

  41. Nothing more to add either

    Lovely puzzle blog and comments from everyone

    My Xmas pressie vinyl of choice to listen to was Joni Mitchell’s live recording of her 1969 Carnegie Hall concert. Recommended. I got it for my daughter and my wife got it for me after I let slip how much my daughter would enjoy it. 🙂

    I’m in the “Iphigenia straight in” category as a result of my Greek A Level — at least it turned out to be useful for something

    Thanks Setter and Z

  42. 35 minutes, so not very hard, though I bunged in lots of answers which needed revision later (TYPESETTER becoming TYPEWRITER, STILTON evolving to SWINDON, NEWSPEECH maturing to NEWSFLASH). Goethe helped me find IPHIGENIA (he wrote a play about her). COD perhaps to FIRST OFFENDER.
    1. You’d have to know about it in the first place to forget it.

      Edited at 2021-12-30 08:05 pm (UTC)

  43. By hook or by crook, I’ll be last in your book — due to Xmas etc I’m a day behind everything at the mo, so hope to catch up with today’s (28175) later on.

    Rotten start to this one due to familial shenanighans — only 1 clue fully completed and parsed after 12 minutes. Went to bed to escape the noise, and continued in the morning with no-one around. Zoomed through the remainder apart from the tricky ICONOCLAST, NADIR (foxed somewhat by bunging in FUTURE PRESENT (no idea about either Millenarianism or tenses)) and ARIETTA (like others I’d had CUBE instead of TOTE for some time).

    Of course, IPHIGENIA was unfair as there was not enough parsing to have any chance with letters 2 and 4 if one has never heard of her (which 99% of the population won’t have, including me). Naughty setter!

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