Cruciverbo ergo sum

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Not a very satisfying solve, as most of the clues weren’t that challenging, and I am sure that, had I not been rusty and distracted, I could probably have completed this in half the time it eventually took me.

Solving time – 9 mins


1 MA-SCAR-A(pplied)

5 BABYSAT – a good CD I’ve seen somewhere else quite recently


10 REA(R)M – R before end of REAM

12 ESOTERICA – (a coterie’s)* – a new word to me, tho’ it’s meaning is obvious

13 GRANDCHILDREN – (England Richard)* without one of the As

17 COMPLEMENTARY – think I’ve picked the right one

21 DESCARTES – he of the “cogito ergo sum” quote

24 SAL-SA(l)


27 NAKEDLY – (lady Ken)*



2 STRATAGEM – (start)* + (game)*


4 AMSTER-DAM, where AMSTER = (stream)*

5 BASSO – “employed” in “cluB AS SOloist”

6 BAR-BELL – like the cryptic definition

7 SWAM-1 – I also liked this one

8 TOM(PAIN)E – the ultimate revolutionary being a supporter of the American independence movement and the French Revolution

14 HIND-SIGHT – is this word adequately defined in the clue, I wonder?

15 ROYAL MAIL – homophone of MALE – “service” may not be an appropriate word for this company just at the moment

16 ACID RAIN – not cryptic enough, in my opinion




23 TIPS-(lorr)Y

17 comments on “Cruciverbo ergo sum”

  1. 15 minutes is becoming fairly typical for me but this should have been quicker. Inexplicably held up by the eventually simple 20D, mostly because my brain kept telling me to see C as the third letter. This must have added around 3 minutes to my time.
  2. .. as I thought at first as I had trouble getting started, but the bottom half went in quite quickly for me. I can’t fully explain 10A and I’m hoping 17A is spelt with two Es.
    1. 5:50 for this, also struggling for a while with 10A before seeing that it’s REAM=drill, with R (just) before its end to make REARM which clearly had to be the answer. 17A: you’re right – freely given = complimentary is the one that it sounds like.
  3. I was pleased to finish this one in 5:41. I can explain 10A – it is REAM (“drill”) with a “right” before the end. I also have 17A with two “e”s and believe that is correct. I am a little unhappy with the definition for 22D “join firm”, which seems loose. Can anyone justify? I thought 5D was a relatively good “hidden” clue, although it didn’t stay hidden for very long in this case. I assume 15D was supposed to be ironic! Jason J
  4. 15D is a nice touch. 7D held me up, ‘executed butterfly’ is very neat.

    There is more than one ‘Complimentary Therapy’ clinic around here. I suspect they don’t mean it…

    1. I just spent five minutes grubbing about in Collins thinking that ‘executed’ meant ‘decapitated’! Oh well. At least I got the clue right (and grubbed around afterwards). Was pleased to guess 25a right as well. Time here of 37 mins. Can’t say I’m a big one for seconds 🙂
  5. Completed in about 11 minutes, but simultaneously eating a fish & chips lunch, so may have achieved a rare sub 10 under laboratory conditions.
    Executed butterfly = SWAM is pure genious. I also enjoyed bacon=PIGGY BACK.
  6. It’s definitely been an easy week. Nothing really tricky here, though I did initially put in MOPESY for 1 down without thinking too much about the wordplay (I don’t suppose there is such a word but it filled the spaces), then went back at the end and saw PISH for ‘Fidddlesticks’. I also liked “executed butterfly” in 7 down. perhaps the brilliance of the clue excuses the lack of a ‘perhaps’ or ‘say’.
  7. I suppose you could definitely call this a ‘stroke’ of genius. Swami had to be right but spent a bit of time trying to decapitate a butterfly which is not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish.
  8. 9:31 for me, quite a lot of it spent on SWAMI, where (like others) I tried to decapitate a butterfly – similar to breaking one on a wheel, I suppose. I wasn’t quite so keen on this clue, as I’m of the (old?) school that would prefer to see a “perhaps” (or equivalent) in there. I also wasted time trying to think why “Girl almost doubled up in lively dance” should be GALOP. Strangely, this puzzle contained two out of the five answers I’ve got wrong so far this year in the daily cryptic: BABYSAT and RANKER.

    1. I have to agree with the ‘perhaps’ comment – shame to see the etiquette changing (I’m sure Ximenes would be unimpressed). I found more or less the whole NE corner a bit of a stretch, taking a long time over ‘babysat’, never having heard of Tom Paine (though I guessed him without too much difficulty), not fully understanding rearm or barbell and getting swami wrong. Ouch.
      Also not sure about 25a – I put ‘aciar’.
      1. Don’t have the puzzle to hand, but I’m sure 25A was AVIAN. Very deceptive use of “rail” which is, among other things, a bird.
  9. Not going to mention how slow I was!

    I think the word ‘pish’ is great and I love to see it used. Avian finally finished the puzzle.

    The way I remember complementary v complimentary is complementary ‘comple’tes something.


  10. This was a relatively easy one that I did not find disappointing at all. Quite entertaining for me. I managed to complete and parse correctly all but two. An – would you believe it – they were 2 of the 4 “easies” omitted from this blog. Luckily these two are mentioned in the comments above and have helped me to complete the missing answers from the blog:

    11a Instrument, one held by leading player (5)
    S 1 TAR

    26a Like rails, for example, one carried in a railway carriage (5)
    A V 1 AN. Rails as in the bird. They occur in ASIA and could be ASIAN but they occur elsewhere and A SAN does not adequately relate to a railway carriage.

    28a Learner , in time, followed by less typical youngster (7)
    T ODD L ER. The learner is in the following less typical.

    20d Even more flagrant in private (6)
    RANKER. Double definition. I could not see this. Simple DDs can be my downfall. DARKER was my best effort. Wrong!

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