When I see that Giovanni is the setter, I know I am in for a difficult but thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Today is no exception, even allowing for the fact that this interestingly shaped grid is more-or-less four puzzles in one. There were a handful of easier clues – just as well or you might never get started – but nothing so difficult that, even if you didn’t know the answer, you couldn’t work it out from the wordplay.
In his review yesterday tilsit introduced a phrase “double unch” (double unchecked square) which I hadn’t heard before and which I determined to remember for future use – well, I did not have to wait long, because today’s puzzle is full of them! It’s a bit of a curate’s egg really, with a few nice cryptic definitions and some attempts at misdirection, but some of the surface readings are pretty poor, notably 16d.