Quick Cryptic 2474 by Teazel

This was a proper workout which I enjoyed very much – a bit of general knowledge, some clever definitions and lateral thinking required throughout. Came in well over par at 9 minutes.

1 Obstinacy with which irregular shape designed (13)
PIGHEADEDNESS – anagram (‘irregular’) of SHAPE DESIGNED
8 Lady in pink? (7)
MILDRED – This took a while to spot. Pink could be described as a MILD sort of RED.
9 A defector returns holding one piece of jewellery (5)
TIARA -A RAT backwards holding I
10 Soft cheeses, we are told, number three on the scale (6,6)
GENTLE BREEZE – GENTLE (soft) BREEZE (sounds like ‘bries’). Third point on the Beaufort scale of wind speed
12 Not a professional poet? (6)
LAYMAN – Lay is a type of poem, so a poet might be called a lay man.
14 United Nations party cut short? That’s odd (6)
17 US sportsman in jug (7)
PITCHER – Double definition. The guy who throws the ball in baseball, and a big jug
19 Island’s whiskey ace (5)
20 Group of wives here are married with husband (5)
HAREM – ARE + M with H in the front
21 Something tossed annually landing badly? (7)
PANCAKE -Double definition, the second being the crash-landing of an aircraft
22 Sound as a bell, for such a battle? (4-4)
DING-DONG – self-explanatory
23 What Flanders and Swann have sung about (4)
GNUS – OK, no idea what to call this clue, which might be some sort of &lit or something, but… F & S wrote a famous song about GNUS, which is also an anagram (‘about’) of SUNG. Did you know, for I did not, that before they wrote that song, gnu was pronounced ‘noo’, and now we all pronounce it g-noo?
1 I have got out of bed, rising for the cat (4)
PUMA – AM UP backwards
2 Art display where one may see a lot of rogues? (7)
GALLERY – self explanatory
3 Bird, say, right to conserve energy (5)
EGRET – EG (say) + RT (right) with E (energy) inside
4 One avoiding artful pickpocket? (6)
DODGER -double definition, the second being a character in Oliver Twist
5 Entered month sadly for a major removal (12)
DETHRONEMENT – anagram (‘sadly’) of ENTERED MONTH
6 Delete article written in Irish (5)
ERASE – ERSE is Irish (from the Scots dialect I think), stick an A inside.
7 People standing too close to one in game? (5,8)
SPACE INVADERS – double definition
11 Slovenly old ships to be replaced (8)
SLIPSHOD – anagram (‘replaced’) of OLD SHIPS
13 Humiliated, made to dance under tree (7)
ASHAMED – anagram (‘to dance’) of MADE under ASH
15 Wickedly punching preening criminal (7)
VILLAIN – ILL (wickedly) inside VAIN (preening). The word ‘criminial set me off an anagram wild goose chase.
16 Call doctor at home about operation (4,2)
DROP IN – DR (doctor) + IN with OP inside
18 Venturing to take in place in Piedmont (5)
TURIN – hidden word: venTURINg

116 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2474 by Teazel”

  1. DNF I had no idea what is tossed annually and make nothing of the clue. I pronounce ‘gnu’ [nu:] and always have.

    1. Yes it is – except by Flanders and Swann! Granted, it’s over 50 years ago now. Very 50s humour, but irresistible. Sorry: now I read your blog, Curarist – *do* we all say g-nu now? I mean, maybe we do, but only ‘wink-wink’-like, as a nod to F & S?

  2. Took some work – a bit over 13 1/2 minutes – but I really enjoyed this. Favourites were the MILD RED (no spoilers, but echoes of a clue elsewhere), GENTLE BREEZE and SPACE INVADERS.

    My parents had the record so I’ve listened to “At The Drop of a Hat” many times. Yes, “g-noo” is how I pronounce GNU and I’m sticking to it.

    Thanks to Curarist and Teazel

      1. I don’t think songs about older men getting young girls drunk and then taking advantage of them would be considered quite so amusing or acceptable these days…

        1. It seems to me as valuable a moral warning today as it was then – and gentle humour can help get the message across.

          1. It was one of four by F&S that Auntie Beeb banned. Another was the Song of the Weather Freezing wet December, then……..Bloody January again! Another contained what Auntie construed as advertising, and I can’t remember the fourth. I couldn’t and can’t see what harm any of these songs did.

        2. Agreed. My parents always skipped that song. Being strict Baptists the booze upset them as well as the obvious ‘Nikita’ theme.

  3. 13 minutes. Another missed target making 3 out of 5 this week and taken over the line by the alphabet trawl necessary to eventually come up with SPACE INVADERS. I thought the definition ‘major removal’ for DETHRONEMENT was a bit loose and unsatisfactory.

    For some reason the setter’s name appears underneath the puzzle heading today instead of alongside it, and the word ‘by’ has been omitted. On the screen it’s in italics, but when printed it’s not. I wonder if this repositioning is an attempt to rectify the glitch that causes the setter not to be identified when the puzzle is viewed on certain devices? Perhaps someone who uses one could report whether it has made any difference?

  4. I found this tricky and it took me 14.58 which is a bit over par. Thank you Curarist for explaining MILDRED (I had no idea) and GENTLE BREEZE, I really should be more across that Beaufort scale thing. Enjoyed this from Teazel but there were some tough ones, notably the long anagrams for PIG-HEADEDNESS and DETHRONEMENT (that was not an easy clue) and the cryptics for SPACE INVADERS and EGRET which required careful consideration.

  5. A first for me this week with a clean sweep – of five failures, with today being the toughest. Maybe they’ve just been difficult or perhaps I’m just losing my marbles. Oh well, only time will tell. There’s always next week.
    Happy weekends all.

    1. Don’t be hard on yourself. This was a real stinker of a week.

      I’ve been hugely impressed by some of your times in previous weeks and I’m sure next week will see an upturn in your fortunes.

    2. I’ve found this week’s TQCs depressingly difficult…almost enough to make me give up. Almost.

      1. Thanks Anna. In an ironic way that’s quite reassuring! Let’s hope that next week’s QCs are a bit more doable 🤞

  6. Wrapped up a 0/5 week, bur at least this was not a DNF, just a rare entry into the SCC before towel was thrown. 25 mins.

    LOI MILDRED, and have to admit that’s a fine clue.

    I saw what was going on with the Beaufort scale, and BREEZE but couldn’t get the first word for ages. Another good clue.

    I thought LAYMAN must be some obscure poet, maybe like Milton, Dryden. LAY= poem/song is one I never remember.

    Good fact about GNU, I always pronounce it with a G, just like Gnome and Gnat.

  7. Some excellent clues in this one but it was difficult in places as well.
    I thought the Flanders and Swan clue was going to be impossible as they were well before my time but memories of my parents desperately trying to keep the peace on long childhood car journeys came to the rescue!
    Started with TIARA and finished with the very clever MILDRED in 16.18, which makes 3 (or maybe 4) over target completions this week, making this the toughest I can remember.
    Thanks to Excurarist

  8. DNF beaten by PANCAKE and couldn’t get past a caber or a salad, but, unlike KGregg, I have no excuse for the lapse as I still religiously (but sans capital R) toss one every Shrove Tuesday driven only by the tradition as I am utterly underwhelmed by the act itself and the subsequent feast on them by my daughters. I take one. To their cries of “We love pancakes!” I respond: “if they were that great you’d make them more than once a year.” They never do.

    I liked MILDRED but needed all the crossers (checkers?) before my PDM

    Thanks Teazel and Curarist

  9. My SCC entry card has been well utilised this week, and today with none of the long four clues coming easily, and SPACE INVADERS very nearly not at all, I am glad to have survived the week.
    F&S were a great favourite of my dad, so that was easy, and the breezy cheesy clue revived memories of dinghy sailing courses once I realised what scale was being referenced. COD to MILDRED.

  10. I seem to be in the minority about MILDRED. I can’t say how much I hate names as answers. I mean, where do you stop with them? Mzilikazi? I get that MILD RED is kind of cute, but you have very little chance of getting the clue without the crossers. Maybe that’s my beef; maybe the obsessive in me wants each clue to be solvable on a standalone basis, which I don’t think this one is, without trawling names.

    1. I tend to share your frustration with names. However, this is much less the case when the name is the answer which can hopefully be worked out from the parts of the clue.

      What I dislike is when there is some random name as part of the clue, often a three letter man’s name of which there are just so many.

  11. 8.05. Three minutes over target, so obviously a tricky one. Held up particularly by the long anagrams at one across and five down. My knowledge of Flanders and Swann is mercifully limited, but what else could it be?
    COD Space invaders
    LOI Dethronement

  12. just under 16 min with LOL PDM for Mild red and just PDM for space invaders and pitcher. Gnus made me think back to the first time I read this blog (old Russian platform I believe) and Times Quick Cryptic 1220 by Tracy blogged by Jack, who referenced the Armadillo song which I looked up and enjoyed enormously. So thank you Curarist Izetti and Jack

  13. I join Plymouthian in the SCC. I nearly set this aside after getting half way down the grid with only one result (UNEVEN) but I persevered, built up some momentum as crossers emerged, and finished slowly back in the NW corner. I finally found the correct anagrist for 1a which then helped with the last in: EGRET, PUMA and, finally, MILDRED (a desperate BIFD entry until the penny dropped).
    This was a tough end to a tough week. I have found it fairly dispiriting at times but I can’t imagine what newer solvers will have made of it. I am impressed by the ability of many setters to produce very clever clues but I am not impressed by their inability to pitch things at a QC level, at least for the less gifted amongst us.
    Some appreciation to setter for another serious teazer (and for clues like 10a) and thanks to curarist for a good blog which made light of some of the hardest clues and was a good read.
    Roll on next week. I’m glad to see the back of this one.
    John M.

    1. I’m a relatively new solver and have to say that Izetti and Teazel both take all the joy out of the QC for me and make me want to give up. What a horrible week!
      I get that it’s good to have a range of difficulty to challenge more experienced solvers but they can do the main Cryptic. This one’s called Quick for a reason!

        1. +2. I think it would now be false modesty to claim to be even a relatively new solver, but I too have found this week tough. All 5 finished but in well over average times and in at least one case with well under average enjoyment. And while I recognise the cleverness of some setters, I prefer those setters who – while fully capable of setting a difficult puzzle – nevertheless dial it back a bit for the QC.

          1. Thanks for the responses above. I am glad to know that I am not alone. I do try to give credit for the many fine clues that setters produce and I am sure it is not easy to keep coming up with fresh ones.
            However, I think a few setters were much better at producing a balanced puzzle (at a fair level for a range of solvers) in the early years of the Quick Cryptic. John.

            1. I’m relatively new to this game, but can usually finish (or get very close to finishing) the QC. Re the current level of difficulty – someone recently bought me the QC Crossword Book No.1 (all published in 2014) They are an absolute doddle compared with current ones.

      1. Just to offer a different perspective, I have been doing these for long enough where I am at the level that I almost always finish the QC (times between 10 & 30 mins) but have still never finished the 15×15. Izetti & Teasel puzzles are the right level for me right now, since they are HARD QCs but still easier than virtually all 15x15s

      2. I do sympathise. I have been doing the QC for a few years now and puzzles like this used to make me very cross! I do now appreciate why the editor throws in some hard ones now and again – it does expand your solving skills if you can overcome the frustration and read this blog to see how the clues are constructed and how the answers are derived. I was told that the QC was originally intended to be a ‘trainer’ for the main cryptic, I don’t know if that is still the case but it does mean that the ‘Quick’ in the title may be a misnomer!

      3. +3 A week designed to discourage those new / in the SCC. Given generic struggles (not just mine) one must ask WHY?

  14. Really did not enjoy this QC at all. It felt clumsy. It was almost have if the setter started off well but then lost interest in it. Some of the clues were clunky and desperate.

    Managed to complete with a little help from the cat.

    1. Each to their own, but although I found this tricky in places, in an enjoyable way, there was nothing that seemed clunky, or desperate, and the clues seemed of much the same calibre throughout. The last three of the Acrosses and Downs caused me less trouble than a number of the others.

  15. A lot of excellent clues from Teazel, but if yesterday’s QC caused consternation among the newer solvers, then I imagine this will only add to their feelings of frustration. LOI was MILDRED after 29:33, so well into the SCC but not quite the VSCC, although perhaps the boundary for that should be 40 minutes (with the USCC above that?). My COD kept changing as I deciphered more ingenious clues, but I think my favourites were HAREM and GNUS. Thanks Teazel and Curarist.

    1. Maybe we should add a mezzanine floor to the SCC for the Very Slow solves, and convert the basement, with soft music and hard drinks (and maybe padded walls) for those really hideous “I’m just not going to give in however long it takes” days?!

      1. The GC – Glacial Club for those taking over an hour
        The QC today has become the Quitter’s Club for me.

  16. Oh MILDRED, I just couldn’t get her.
    Otherwise finished in an UNEVEN kind of plod.
    Much liked GNUS though fear younger people won’t have heard of Flanders and Swan. My first thought on that clue was Mud!
    FOI SLIPSHOD. Liked PITCHER, PANCAKE, DODGER, LAYMAN, PUMA (LOI because cd not parse at first – oh dear).
    All in all, quite tricky but interesting. Thanks vm, Curarist.

  17. Managed to avoid the SCC today with 17:36. However, that could be regarded as a cheat as I already had 4 or 5 clues when I had to abandon “Crossword Club “ on my iPad and revert to the online version in the paper. Somehow, letters were being deleted as I entered the subsequent one. Anyway, I quite enjoyed this one, particularly for the reminder of Flanders and Swann who, whilst of their time, I believe to be very clever and amusing. Thanks curarist and Teazel.

    1. I have that same problem when solving with Crossword Club so have to just use online Times site.

  18. I struggled with this but most of it was fair and I got there in about 20. I liked the Flanders and Swann myself but yet again it might well be inaccessible to younger solvers. I wish setters would take this more seriously! I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone say g – nu unless they were joking as one might do with g- nashing of teeth. Thanks all!

    1. It is, I think, a common preconception that the G in GNU is pronounced… and I only found out it was wrong here on this blog a year or two ago! Personally, I blame it on the aforementioned Flanders & Swann’s pronunciation being taken up by their listeners, largely my parent’s generation, who passed it on to their offspring (as mine did). Well it’s a theory and all theories are equally valid until they a proven false (Occam’s razor notwithstanding). Oh and has anyone actually proved the earth is not flat and the moon is not made our of cheese?

  19. After a clean sweep of solves last week, that was a clean sweep of DNFs.

    I gave up at 30mins with 4 left & 2 wrong.
    Monday was 1hr29+ to have 1 wrong
    Tues 32mins with 1 wrong
    Weds quit Izetti at 30mins with 8 left. It was more doable than today’s I’d say.
    Thurs 28mins yesterday with 2 wrong.

    Avg time in August 30:12; avg time in July 21mins. My enthusiasm for the QC is waning badly, I don’t think I have the willpower to go back to being a beginner.

    Have a good weekend everybody

    1. Well, if it’s any consolation, my own times confirm this was a hard week and today’s was the hardest, totalling 28:51 for the 5 after 23:45 last week, taking me back to my average times of about 4 years ago.

    2. I know it’s probably not much consolation, but this has been the hardest week I can remember. The comments today demonstrate real frustration from many solvers. Had I not been on holiday – with the extra time that gives – I would have DNF’d at least twice this week.

      Put it behind you and come out fighting next week. As we know, these things go in cycles and September might prove to have a few more ‘proper’ QCs. If the editor reads the comments today, he might just get the message.

      Have a good weekend.

  20. I don’t even know who Flanders and Swann are … let along what they have … I guess they weren’t gangsters with guns as I thought … 🤷‍♂️

    That said, I’m also glad I didn’t happen to look at the site before attempting this. For some reason, the abstract on the Homepage mentions “g-nicest of g-nature” yet the blog doesn’t. Talk about a SPOILER

  21. I began by postulating NESS at the end of 1a, so ERASE, SPACE INVADERS and TIARA then dropped into place. PIGHEADED took a lot longer to arrived as I continued in a clockwise fashion. Similarly, BREEZE arrived long before GENTLE. Liked the GNUS. MILDRED was LOI. 8:14. Thanks Teazel and Curarist.

  22. 10:11

    Definitely a step up at the end of the week, the longer answers being quite difficult – PIGHEADEDNESS pigheadedly only solved once the first two checkers in place, DETHRONEMENT required all checkers and LOI SPACE INVADERS had me thinking STAGE, STATE, SNAKE before SPACE eventually popped up. Of the longer answers, only GENTLE BREEZE went in without fuss.

    MILDRED entered from LRD checkers, and sorry to say that although I’m aware of it, I’ve never listened to the GNUS song.

    Thanks Teazel and no-longer-ex? Curarist for the entertaining blog

    1. Still ex-, but I think I’ve celebrated the fact sufficiently and the longer version is a bit of a mouthful.

  23. Oh Mr Curarist, have you given up on retirement?

    A real challenge this, with all the long clues proving real head-scratchers. All done in 14, but that’s 5 out of 5 slow times for me this week and my worst cumulative time for a week for a long time. We might have to rename this crossword “The cryptic formerly known as quick”, though I fear TCFKAQ may not catch on.

    Of the shorter clues, Villain held me up the most. Wickedly and criminal could both be anagram indicators, although the fact that both punching and preening are one letter too long soon scotched that idea. But Wickedly = Ill seems a bit loose to me.

    Anyway, Monday bring a new week and hopefully a slightly less chewy one. Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all.


    1. TCFKAQ – A brilliant acronym! It just rolls off the tongue, but only if you’re semi-literate like me.

  24. Stared at this for ages without seeing a single one. No wordplay, apparently (except two huge anagrams) – all references requiring a PDM. On that basis, then, eventually, FOI DODGER. First half hour: only five. Next half hour: the whole SW corner DROPped IN. Then MALTA, which was the key to 5d and hence the RH half. In the end the only one I just couldn’t see was MILDRED, but that’s because I had PUMA wrong (biffed PUSS) – so no wonder. Only two to the bad, then – very satisfied given the difficulty of this puzzle. Thank you, Curarist (no longer Ex-, then?), for your blog.
    Oh, COD to GNUS – loved it. I was absolutely brought up on F & S (97-horsepower London bus, bloody January again, lost my horn, and the car number 346 GNU) – must put on the record again, to educate the children! By the way, here’s a bit of trivia: it seems the song “A Gnu” was indeed part of the original show in December 1956 – but I’m sorry to have to report that Derbyshire issued the registration series GNU (with numbers before letters) only in February 1958. Sad, that…….

  25. Hard, with all the predictable bleatings of unfairness and/or poor cluing, with no examples of which clues are poor.

    I was a double typo DNF – PIGDEADEDNESS and GENTLE BREESE. NHO the Flanders & Swann ditty, but once I had the checkers, I put in my LOI GNUS.



  26. Seconds inside my 15 minute target with a fat-fingered DROP NN at 16d for which I forgive myself. This was definitely tough, but with some very satisfying PDMs, such as MILDRED. Thanks Curarist and Teazel.

  27. I just crept in under my target, and I found this to be pretty tricky. On the first pass, I only had two answers in the top half of the Across clues (plus BREEZE, the GENTLE dropping in on the second pass). The lower half was much more tractable, and I had enough crossers to largely fill the Down clues. My LOI was largely delayed by my thoughts tending towards surgical procedures. Although I have no hesitation in awarding my COD, I did feel it was perhaps more fitted to a 15×15.

    TIME 4:57

  28. Tiptoed through the door of the SCC for the 4th time this week, finishing in 22 mins. Started off very badly, only getting one of the across clues on the first pass. Thankfully the downs proved a little more tractable so I was able to get a foothold. Needed several crossers to get PIGHEADEDNESS, which I didn’t stop to parse although I knew it was an anagram, and needed almost all the crossers for DETHRONEMENT. I suppose there is such a word – not something I have ever come across as fas a I am aware. On the other hand SPACE INVADERS fell into place almost immediately, so it wasn’t all bad. I had also realised that the second half of 10ac should be BREEZE and thought the first half might be GENTLE but wanted to solve 3dn to confirm. Unfortunately I had no idea what was going on with the latter until a late PDM. I also wanted to put in PUSS at 1dn but managed to restrain myself as it clearly didn’t parse.

    FOI – 9ac TIARA
    COD – so many candidates. Especially liked GENTLE BREEZE, PUMA, DODGER and SPACE INVADERS

    Thanks to Teazel for the workout and to Curarist for the blog

  29. Gosh, this has been a tough week. Finished in exactly 22 minutes, my second visit to the SCC this week.

    I liked GNUS, and have always followed F&S’s pronunciation. I remember as a child being confused by a Spike Milligan cartoon of a gnu with a clock showing 10 o’clock, captioned “the gnus at ten”, and needing to have the “correct” pronunciation of gnu explained.

    I biffed MILDRED as the only name that fitted, but need the blog to see that mild-red could be pink. LAYMAN went in from the non-professional part of the clue, but I assumed there must be some poet of that name that I hadn’t heard of.

    All the malts that I enjoy are Whisky, not Whiskey, so I wasted a lot of time looking for words starting with W, on the assumption that Whiskey must be a NATO alphabet reference.

    LTI were SPACE INVADERS and UNEVEN. It is over 40 years since I last played space invaders, on a machine in my college’s bar.

    Thanks Teazel and Curarist

  30. Another bad week. I finished in the SE corner with LOI GNUS in 14:33. The QCs are certainly getting tougher.

  31. I usually try to be positive about the puzzles. Because they are supposed to be fun. But honestly.

  32. A few seconds over 10 minutes caused by the Gentle in Gentle Breeze, Villain and, finally, TURIN. Loved Mildred and Gnus. Dnk the plane crash meaning of pancake but it just had to be. Thanks for the blog.

  33. For the fourth day out of five this week I was outside target at 11.55. It’s been the toughest week I can remember in the QC, and I think there were a number of clues that may have been more likely to be seen in the 15×15. My LOI was GNUS where I spent far too long looking for a hidden, despite being old enough to enjoy Flanders and Swann in their pomp. Before that I was held up by SPACE INVADERS and GENTLE BREEZE, though I must say I did like both clues a lot.
    My total time for the week was 62.28 giving a daily average of 12.30. This was by far my worst average since the QC first appeared. Nuff said!

  34. 15:13. Loved PUMA,GNUS and MILDRED but COD to VILLAIN. Tried many letters in S_A_E before SPACE appeared to be promising and indeed was. DETHRONEMENT was difficult, even with it being a clear anagram, until the required sense of major removal came to me. Re the discussion above about how difficult the QC’s are pitched I tend to give the setters a lot of slack. I don’t know how they come up with so many intriguing puzzles day after day for my enjoyment and am grateful they negotiate the line between too hard and too easy with a lot of success. That being said I do empathize with those who come hopefully to the daily challenge and have a terrible experience instead!

  35. No doubts about Gnus: as the clue said, it is ‘SUNG about’, i.e. reversed. Tough QC to start with, but then my brain adjusted to the quirky cryptics and somehow the answers popped-up.

    1. Bushmills perhaps?

      I think some other Irish distilleries have a malted whisk(e)y these days too.

    2. It grates on me, but W in the NATO phonetic alphabet is the Irish/American spelling of Whiskey rather than the proper Scottish term. I suppose it distinguishes the undistinguished stuff from the proper malts, but then an island (e.g Islay) malt surely would be a whisky, so I’m with you on deprecating today’s clue.

  36. Dnf…

    29 mins for everything – but put “Ends” for 23ac – literally didn’t have a clue what was going on here if I’m being honest.

    The rest of the clues I enjoyed, even if they took an age to complete. So wanted to put “Puss” for 1dn, but couldn’t parse it.

    FOI – 17ac “Pitcher”
    LOI – 23ac (incorrect)
    COD – 7dn “Space Invaders”

    A week to forget.

    Thanks as usual!

  37. I thought this a bit tricky for a QC, although not intractable to an experienced solver. Like Jackkt, I really didn’t like “major removal” as the definition for DETHRONEMENT. I liked MILDRED and the PANCAKE landing. Thanks Teazel and Curarist. My slowest of the week at 6:41.

  38. 21.39 That was tough but very satisfying. Only three solved on the first pass. LAYMAN was unparsed. I thought of MILDRED when I only had the final D and I put it in last, still with no idea of what was going on. I think my subconscious is better at these than I am. The four long clues and GNUS were all very nice. Thanks to Curarist and Teazel.

  39. Well, I absolutely loved this puzzle. Tricky? Yes, in places, but for me many satisfying PDMs including COD GENTLE BREEZE (wonderful), MALTA and LOI SPACE INVADERS. Thought MILDRED was also very clever once I’d worked out the parsing. Much to enjoy here. Many thanks for the blog (comments about GNU pronunciation especially interesting). Thanks to Teazel – very enjoyable.

  40. Yes this is on the tricky side but I don’t understand why some contributors throw in the towel and say it’s not fair when there are plenty of crossword aids including word finders and anagrammers that one can use to get the more difficult puzzles finished.

  41. 44:15

    Possibly my slowest ever solve. I usually give up at 30 minutes if not before, but this was one of those where the answers kept coming. Just very very slowly.the top half was actually ok but then ground to a halt with SLIPSHOD, SPACE INVADERS and LOI PANCAKES. I never did parse the landing badly but.

  42. A late, but very satisfying solve for me. 28 minutes in total, which I could hardly believe was possible at around the halfway stage. I was facing a whole bunch of clues that I could make neither head nor tail of and I couldn’t even hazard any guesses.

    The MILDRED/PUMA pairing took the longest to crack and GENTLE BREEZE was my LOI, but VILLAIN/GNUS and TURIN/DING DONG also gave me a deal of trouble.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Curarist.

  43. 40 mins for today’s offering.

    I completed all 5 this week, but it took me 3 hours, 12 mins. No SCC escapes and 4/5 took 30 mins or more. It was only as a result of being off work, and so having more time, that I managed the full set.

    I appreciate that I had a better week than some of my SCC comrades, but this week was a joyless exercise.

    Thanks for the blog and best wishes to everyone for the weekend.

  44. Yet another very hard “Quick” crossword. Needed help to arrive at GENTLE BREEZE and SPACE INVADERS and took ages to get the long anagrams. I have improved over the years at the QC, but this week’s offerings have been right at the top end of difficulty. Still can hardly solve anything on the 15×15, however.

  45. Hard work, but very enjoyable. Lots of amusing lateral thinking evident. The humour kept me going. Only one across solved on first pass – and that at 22a. Took a moment to reverse ‘sung’ but F&S were terrific value and good entertainment – No problems with the Madeira song – it’s as valuable a moral song now as it was then. I see no point in carping about difficulty if I can’t solve clues – there are always lessons to be learned, and it isn’t a matter of life or death is it now.
    FOI 22a Ding Dong – oh happy memories of Leslie Phillips…
    LOI 1d Puma – so easy when you see it but needed Mildred first
    COD well, loads really eg 10a 12a to name but two.

  46. Been doing qcs for a while now and I can say with some confidence that this was the hardest I have seen. By the way, i have tried to register but the link always arrives after the cut off point.

  47. I’ve no idea how long this took because I kept coming back to it. Only just finished it late this evening. LOI Egret.
    Not that anyone will read this comment, but I found this a really satisfying solve eventually. Yes it was very difficult, but as others said, still nowhere near as hard as the 15×15.
    So a good workout and eventual success.
    I remember my Dad being tickled pink by Flanders and Swann – great clue to honour a great record of its time.
    Thanks all

      1. You shouldn’t have been ( awake, that is)! Mrs R is worried that you might have been out clubbing. “Inadvisable” in her view.

        P.S. What’s Mr B’s take on Flanders and Swann? I wonder if any rock/prog/metal/reggae/hip-hop artists have covered any of their stuff.

        1. Oh I’m a night owl – but not clubbing I’m afraid. Those days are long past although I do like a 70s style boogie at a party💃🕺
          I remember a few F&S songs from Junior Choice on Saturday mornings and our daughter did the mud song in primary school choir about 20 years ago, so still known by some young people 😅
          MrB and I have been watching reruns of the Armstrong and Miller show recently, which feature some very naughty spoofs of F&S!
          Hope all is well with you and Mrs R 😊

    1. You’ve got more readers than you think-and those of us responding here are probably just the tip of the iceberg!

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