QC 1795 by Mara

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Mara showed a great sense of humour and also gave me the best clue I think I have ever had on my blogging watch at 6D (as it happens I do enjoy a 6D of golf whenever I get the chance but of course that has not been possible recently). So thank you very much Mara for an entertaining morning cup of tea.

6D was naturally therefore my COD. My FOI was 6A and I believe my LOI was, unusually, 1A. On my first run-through I was fixated on MP for representative and I had to put it on the subconscious back burner while working through the rest before the correct representative finally turned up.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

1 French produce representative in Tom, perhaps (9)e my
CAMEMBERT – MEMBER (representative) ‘in’ CAT (tom ‘perhaps’, as other varieties of cat are available).
6 Wine studied, we hear? (3)
RED – RED wine as opposed to white wine, and sounds like READ (studied).
8 Popular team getting runs, one with special advantage (7)
INSIDER – IN (popular) + SIDE (team) + R (runs, as in Cricket). INSIDERS have a special advantage as for example in INSIDER dealing, or in helping with an INSIDE job.
9 Wake in river behind stern of steamer (5)
ROUSE – R (stern, i.e. back, of steameR) + OUSE (river).
10 Tough cut of meatthat’s by the way (4,8)
HARD SHOULDER – double cryptic definition. A tough cut of meat could be a ‘hard’ shoulder, which could also be ‘by the way’ when you are driving on a motorway. Unless of course you are on a so-called ‘smart’ motorway, where as far as I can tell there is no hard shoulder and therefore nowhere to stop in an emergency except directly in front of all the traffic behind you. No doubt the equations of cost and convenience in building motorways all work out to justify the increased risk of massive pile-ups but who am I to judge.
12 County where people sleep (4)
BEDS – double definition, BEDS being the generally accepted abbreviation for the county of Bedfordshire.
13 Article I encountered on the way back (4)
ITEM – I + TEM (MET (encountered) ‘on the way back’).
17 Rudeness: unfortunate recipient, men! (12)
IMPERTINENCE – sraight anagram (‘unfortunate’) of RECIPIENT MEN.
20 Rough-sounding canine (5)
HUSKY – double definition.
21 Nothing in new design of nicest part (7)
SECTION – O (nothing) in an anagram (‘new design’) of NICEST.
23 Pastry spoiled, odd bits removed (3)
PIE – remove the odd letters of sPoIlEd and that’s what’s left.
24 Complete one sort of clue correctly (9)
DOWNRIGHT – DOWN (sort of clue, but not like this one of course which is an ACROSS clue) + RIGHT (correctly). As in “the ex-President was telling downright lies”. Maybe younger people will not have heard of this expression but it was still a mild swearword in my early schooldays although I believe it had pretty much gone by the time I left. I remember one particular teacher who seemed ancient to me who used it a lot and I think it was really only current amongst that older generation. As children we just used all the exciting new (and mostly monosyllabic) swearwords that filtered down to us from our parents and the other younger adults in the ‘liberated’ 60s and 70s.
1 Bit of money I invested in fiddle (4)
COIN – I ‘invested in’ CON (fiddle).
2 Rub mother’s herb (7)
MASSAGE – MA’S (mother’s) + SAGE (herb).
3 Dirt making uniforms dirty, primarily (3)
MUD – ‘primarily’ Making Uniforms Dirty.
4 Piece of primitive art, hysterically coarse (6)
EARTHY – hidden word: ‘piece of’ primitivE ART HYsterically.
5 Quite sour nuts, greenish-blue (9)
TURQUOISE – straight anagram (‘nuts’) of QUITE SOUR.
6 Of course, all holes circular (5)
ROUND – a clever cryptic definition here. If you play a ROUND of golf, you play ‘all holes’ of the course. Thus: ‘Of [a golf] course, all holes’ = ROUND.
7 Tedious last part filling empty day (6)
DREARY – REAR (last part) ‘filling’ DY (empty DaY, i.e. day ’emptied’ of its middle). This is similar to the recent clues that have come up on my watch where the removal of the inner letters was clued by the phrase ‘on vacation’ meaning ‘on emptying’ as opposed to the surface meaning of ‘on holiday’. That phrase caused some solvers a bit of difficulty at this level and this more literal device is perhaps more suitable for the Quickie.
11 Wrecked, replacement of odd tyres saving vehicle, finally (9)
DESTROYED – anagram (‘replacement’) of ODD TYRES + E (vehiclE ‘finally’). The word ‘saving’ indicates that the ‘E’ should go ‘inside’ the anagram rather than at either end. Effectively it could be clued simply as an anagram but ‘saving’ completes the surface and is consistent with the cryptic.
14 Remarkably ethnic, good work of art (7)
ETCHING – at about the same time as people were calling each other DOWNRIGHT liars (see 24A above), euphemistic proposals to ‘come up and see my etchings’ were common, at least in popular humour, as were many conversations that were imagined to take place between actresses and bishops. But back to the clue. It’s an anagram (‘remarkably’) of ETHNIC + G (good).
15 Cool dance music genre (3-3)
HIP-HOP – HIP (cool) + HOP (dance).
16 Puzzle: was soldier Jack set up? (6)
JIGSAW – this is a Down clue, so ‘set up’ means ‘reverse’. Reversing  WAS + GI (soldier) + J (Jack) gives the answer.
18 Gum spread round bottom of canvas (5)
PASTE – PATE (spread) ’round’ S (‘bottom of’ canvaS).
19 Insect featuring in design, a termite (4)
GNAT – hidden word: ‘featuring in’ desiGN A Termite.
22 Motor competition not entirely uplifting (3)
CAR – RACe (competition) ‘uplifting’. ‘Not entirely’ tells us to remove the last letter and, once again, as this is a Down clue, ‘uplifting’ means ‘reversing’.

103 comments on “QC 1795 by Mara”

    1. Thanks Jeremy, but I didn’t say we were looking for a particular cut of meat. I just said that we had a double cryptic definition. That a HARD SHOULDER could either be a tough cut of meat OR the spare lane at the side of a motorway.

      The one that didn’t come to me so easily was 1A where my mind was initially thinking of ‘representative’ as MP but eventually came to me as MEMBER.

      Best wishes


  1. A rare sub-5 for me. I deliberated about the word before SHOULDER for awhile. Like our blogger, I assumed that we were looking for a cut of meat called a (something)-shoulder. But in fact it’s just wordplay: HARD (tough) + SHOULDER (cut of meat). Of course I probably wasn’t helped by the fact that we don’t have hard shoulders in the US, but somehow I’ve seen the term before.
    1. We have soft shoulders, which we’re warned of by road signs, at least in California; by implication at least the other shoulders are hard, although I’ve never heard the term used.
      1. Could be. My standard reference for American English is Merriam-Webster. They don’t have ‘soft shoulder’, and ‘hard shoulder’ is listed as British.
  2. Earlier this year I decided to do the QC every day if possible, and have progressed from completing only two or three clues per attempt to routinely finishing all in around 25 minutes. Today I was only able to finish because I had had the abbreviation ‘Beds’ for ‘Bedfordshire’ explained to me several weeks ago when it made an appearance in another QC (British geography somewhat lacking in the NZ curriculum).

    Thank you to all who blog and comment, it is much appreciated by strugglers like me. I will persevere in the hope of regularly achieving the single-digit times reported by others!


    1. Yes welcome WB. I have been doing the QC regularly for a couple of years now and using this blog to help me improve. I also work through past QCs on the crossword club site by number (search all puzzles entering no X where X = number of QC puzzle) I’m on no 221 now. From regular DNFs to hour plus solves, I have got my times down to sub 20 minutes now and today I was sub 13 minutes. I hope this encourages you and all others starting out. Many thanks to the setters, the bloggers and the fellow solvers who comment here

      1. Hi
        I’m another who started off only being able to get 2 or 3 clues but thanks to this brilliant blog can now complete most days and today managed 22 minutes, which was very satisfying. So thank you to all the bloggers.
        The crossword club site has passed me by. What is it? And where is it? I’d love to be able to access earlier crosswords to practice too?
        1. Th Crossword Club is part of the Times newspaper and you can access it here provided you have a valid Times subscription: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/puzzleclub/crosswordclub/

          Alternatively you can go to the Puzzles section of the Times site and click on Crossword Club – it’s the first icon underneath ‘Puzzles’.

          Edited at 2021-01-25 09:58 am (UTC)

          1. Thanks. I am a Times subscriber so will take a look. I normally access it via my iPad app. So will access it via the link.
  3. I completed this in 7 minutes but it was fortunate that I decided to look at the Down clues for checkers before writing in my first thought at 1ac which was CHAMPAGNE or I’d have wasted solving time trying to justify it beyond the very obvious ‘representative’ = MP.

    Ref the discussion above, I’ve never heard the term ‘soft shoulder’ used in the UK but we do have ‘soft verge’. It’s official motoring terminology with its own warning sign listed in the Highway Code, but any visitors from across the pond who drive onto one thinking its the equivalent of the US ‘soft shoulder’ may be in for a nasty surprise!

    1. In the US, a soft shoulder is a shoulder that isn’t paved; a shoulder is paved, and isn’t, so far as I know, called a hard shoulder. It sounds as if UK soft verge is the same as US soft shoulder.
      1. You may well be right about the comparison but I have no knowledge of the US version. The fact that the official use of ‘soft verge’ in the UK is on a hazard warning sign tells us that it’s not intended to be driven on. It may be grass or mud, and very likely uneven, sloping away from the road at a steep angle, so that in adverse conditions vehicles straying onto it could become stuck or even tip over, perhaps into a ditch.
    2. Whenever I am driving my French female relatives around this country and they see the sign “Soft Verge” they dissolve into fits of giggles. After Vinyl’s comments last week I am afraid I am not at liberty to explain why.
      1. Intriguing!

        Can you not give a clue? I didn’t see the comments you refer to last week…


          1. Thanks!

            I though my French was OK but I hadn’t heard of that. Although as we might say I had already done the equivalent of ‘biffing’ it.

              1. Yes. And that strangely literal way the French language has of saying things in about ten words when two will do.
  4. Steady going, so not as tricky as some of Mara’s offerings, with the bottom half proving much simpler than the top. I spent some time wondering if hysterically could be an anagram indicator in 4d before the H from SHOULDER came to my assistance. CAMEMBERT proved tough to crack but once solved allowed me to finally work out what was going on with LOI EARTHY. Finished in 10.42 with my CoD being DOWNRIGHT, but it was run close by HIP-HOP – the clue being far more enjoyable than the actual music.
    Thanks to Astartedon
  5. This took me 12 happy minutes, all parsed, to solve. Lots of great clues here. Like Don, I especially liked ROUND – it’s really clever. There were lots of COD runners up, though eg CAMEMBERT and MASSAGE and I enjoyed the super images that these clues produced, from hysterically coarse artworks to dodgy loose change investments. Great surfaces.

    While I’m here, I wonder if I might recommend a beautifully written book that I’ve recently come across? It’s called “Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose” by Sandy Balfour. On the cover, it is described as “a memoir of love, exile and crosswords ” and that’s exactly what it is, with the emphasis on the last word in that list. The dozens of crossword clues, and the skills required to solve them, become emblematic of the, often extraordinary, events in the narrator’s life. It is a paean to crosswording and I loved it. Even the title is a crossword clue.

    And finally, thanks, Don, for another interesting and thoughtful blog (BTW, totally agree about so-called ‘smart’ motorways ) . And thanks, too, to Mara.

    Edited at 2021-01-25 08:39 am (UTC)

    1. Hi Lisa

      Thanks as ever for your comments.

      The book looks really interesting. I have just ordered it and will let you know how I get on.


      1. Great book, and the title is actually “Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose (8)”, to indicate that the title is itself a clue.
        1. Yes, and it was when I looked for it online and saw the (8) that I managed to solve it. Up until then it had been a bridge too far for me to solve a clue of indeterminate length!
    2. Hi Lisa – thanks for the recommendation, I’m going to try and get hold of it too. It’s sounds fascinating . This could be the start of a TftTbook group 😉 Penny

      Edited at 2021-01-25 02:15 pm (UTC)

      1. I really hope you like it, Penny.

        Love the idea of suggesting books and films and other lockdown pass-the-timeries

  6. I’m another relative newbie of about 2 years and finished this one in 29 minutes. LOI was 1 across which for me was chewy, but just one such clue is manageable. Thank you to Mara and Don. DavidS
  7. FOI iD: COIN

    Fun and easy (time spent included the need to send an urgent email).

    Thank you, astartedon and Mara.

  8. Lots of fast times today. Not for me though, I had to battle quite hard to get through the second half. CAMEMBERT, ETCHING, DREARY, IMPERTINENCE and CAR (!) all taking their time to arrive. Found this one really enjoyable, all the clues that resisted never felt impossible. Nice to start the week all green.
  9. Having entered COIN at 1d, like Jack I considered CHAMPAGNE, but also CHAMPERS and CHAMPIGNON at 1a before MUD disabused me of those possibilities, so a minute or two went astray there. However the anagram at 5d soon put me on the scent of the cheese, and I MASSAGE(d) my HARD SHOULDER and carried on. I finished up in the SW with HIP HOP and finally HUSKY. 8:34. Thanks Mara and Don.
  10. A good puzzle to start the week. I found it fun and accessible but with a few chewy clues to make it interesting. I just broke my 15 min target by a second (it felt quicker) but I am content with that. LOsI were HUSKY and PASTE – it took me a while to see pate/spread. Thanks to Mara for a genuine QC and to Don for a helpful and interesting blog. John M.

    Edited at 2021-01-25 09:43 am (UTC)

  11. No difficulties, although I waited for all the checkers to solve IMPERTINENCE when the answer didn’t leap out. That and LOI HUSKY were the two that stopped a clean sweep. Fastest solve this year, though. 3:44.
  12. … and today was one of those days, with all done in just under 7 minutes – I think my fastest ever for a Mara puzzle. As he is also the setter I most often DNF, he shows a wide range!

    I was helped by the long anagrams – Impertinence, Destroyed, Turquoise all went in very smoothly and early. I left 1A Camembert until I had some checkers for it and therefore never felt tempted by Chamapgne (well, I am tempted by champagne, but not here …)

    Many thanks to Don for the blog. I also agree on smart motorways, and I see they are much in the news again in our media – but then again we do have lots of other fast dual carriageways which routinely don’t have hard shoulders and no-one makes the same comments about them.

    1. Thanks cedricstatherby. Your point about dual carriageways had occurred to me but I think there is a sort of ‘follow my leader’ mentality that afflicts people when they get on the motorway which can lead to the sort of horrific pile-ups that we see periodically, which really seem to happen mostly on the motorways. Still, they happen on motorways with hard shoulders a lot of the time so perhaps they aren’t very preventative although I imagine they can mitigate the seriousness to some degree by allowing an escape route for some. Plus they are also useful corridors for emergency services in those situations.

      But hey. We could debate all day and we’re only here for the crosswords after all. But just to acknowledge your comment and admit that it’s not clear cut, and of course I don’t really know what I’m talking about anyway.


  13. 8.08, so moderately hard for me but I am still coming to terms with online solving and find long anagrams like 17ac and 11dn difficult to do in my head.
    Downright isn’t a swearword, mild or otherwise, and is not listed as such in Collins or OED. It just means “very, completely,” as in “downright dangerous” or similar.
  14. Nothing to report, really, save that far from thinking ROUND was a brilliant clue I spent some time looking at it thinking “Is that really it?”.

    Lovely to read some success stories above about people progressing through the blog, well done and welcome all!

    FOI COIN, LOI ETCHING, COD CAMEMBERT, time 1.9K for a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Mara and Don.


    1. Thanks templarredux. I didn’t really think it was a ‘brilliant’ clue, I just thought it was an interesting device and it struck me as probably the best that I have blogged (sadly I don’t get the time to do the QC except when blogging so I can really only comment on clues that have come up on my watch). I often say that COD in the Quickie for me isn’t really based on difficulty but more on surface, device, humour etc.

      I think probably, like you, the answer came to me very quickly, but whereas you saw it as so obvious as to be uninteresting, I just liked the way it had been constructed. It appealed to me, but obviously not to everyone!

  15. I too liked ROUND, my FOI; although it’s painful we cannot play at present. Before the puzzle, I’d just been reading about (the lack of) hard shoulders, so that was in my mind.
    No big hold-ups today although the long anagram IMPERTINENCE held me up till the end-I’ll make that COD. LOI was HUSKY and time 09:33.
  16. A lovely start to the week- difficult enough to be challenging and very enjoyable.

    COD DOWNRIGHT – I’d love to have the sort of brain that can set these clues so superbly.

    Thank you, Mara and Don.


  17. A lovely Monday puzzle for me. Had to watch the birds in the garden briefly, otherwise I might have erred outside SCC limits (assuming that is indeed 20 mins) but enjoyed almost every clue, occasionally misled but never for long. Enjoyed the cheesy starter and the meaty middle, and mostly all the rest. Mara in ideal mode, thank you, and blogger.
  18. A steady work through and a satisfying finish today. Some neat clues in an enjoyable puzzle.
  19. A great start to the week with what I thought was a nicely balanced QC. All done and dusted in 14 mins, which I think is my best time for quite a while. Can’t think of anything controversial neither.

    After chuckling through Doctor in Distress yesterday with the late, great James Robertson Justice and his cries of “don’t be so impertinent!”, 17ac came a lot quicker than it normally would. I remembered 10ac “Hard Shoulder” from previous crosswords, so that was also an immediate write in. Liked 1ac “Camembert” and 24ac “Downright”.

    FOI – 1dn “Coin”
    LOI – 21ac “Section”
    COD – 6dn “Round”

    Thanks as usual.

    Edited at 2021-01-25 11:02 am (UTC)

  20. jerrywh is probably right about this not being a ’swearword’. As I check now I can’t find any authority for it. I made the comment really from my childhood memories (which may well be false) where I seem to remember the word being used and provoking an accusation of ‘bad language’ although even at the time I didn’t understand why. Since that time I have lumped it in with things like ‘damn’ and ‘dashed’ and ‘crikey’ and ‘blimey’ and other mild expletives, no doubt incorrectly.
    1. “Damnright” can be taken as slightly more offensive. I remember saying it at primary school during a game of rounders and effectively getting sent off by the teacher for inappropriate language. I didn’t think it was that bad.
      1. Yes, that is just the sort of situation I am talking about, although for me it was definitely with DOWNRIGHT. I know it wasn’t me personally that got censured for it, it was someone else, but I do remember being surprised at the vehemence of the reaction to a word that I thought pretty commonplace.
  21. A fairly gentle start to the week from Mara, which I decided to make slightly more testing by wondering who on earth Tom Chaagne was, and whether Cold Shoulder could ever mean tough. Those two delays apart, my only other hold-up was the parsing of 6d until the golf (good walk, ruined) connection came to mind. All done in 19mins while watching the cricket, with CoD to 16d, Jigsaw. Invariant
  22. I enjoyed this one. Several clues linked to food and drink (1A Camembert, 6A Red Wine ,”Tough Cut of Meat” clue for 10A) – subjects close to my heart. Keep it up, Mara.
  23. Date: Mon, 25 Jan 21

    FOI: 3d MUD
    LOI: 20a HUSKY

    Time to Complete: DNF

    Clues Answered without aids: 17

    Clues Answered with Aids (3 lives): 20a, 24a, 2d

    Clues Unanswered: 1a, 21a, 23a, 1d, 18d, 22d

    Aids Used: Chambers, Bradfords

    Total Answered: 20 /26

    Though it was a DNF for me, it was a nice start to the week. I answered 17 clues myself before having to report to aids, with 6 leftover that I was not able to answer. However, when I saw the answers here, I was kicking myself. 19d and 22d I did pencil in but did not ink them due to my not being convinced that I was right. That happened last week too. I really do need to go with my convictions. I was sure I would not know the word in 1a when I looked it up here, but again it was a word I was familiar with.

    So, looking at it after completion I really should have completed this one. Reading through the comments here today, I seem to be in the minority in having not been able to complete it.

    1. You are absolutely right not to get too worried about completing the grid every time.

      For those new to cryptic crosswords I recommend the following:
      – set yourself a time, say 30 minutes, and just do as much as you can in the given time.
      – you may find two lots of 15 minutes, with a gap in between, will work even better.
      – don’t use aids. The temptation to use them every time you get stuck never goes away
      – when time is up come to TfTT to review any you didn’t get
      – whenever you come across a new word look it up in a dictionary to understand all its meanings and help it to lodge in the memory

    2. Have you tried putting it down for a while and then trying again? Often works for me…
  24. Not sure I remember any hold ups, but I had to help my daughter with her schoolwork half way through, so backed out of the puzzle – never sure whether this then stops the clock.

    LOI JIGSAW after DOWNRIGHT, which was my favourite today.

    4:39 on the clock.

  25. I haven’t got a clue how long this took today as I didn’t time myself correctly, but I think it was in the 10-12 minute region. I certainly hadn’t finished my porridge by the time I finished the crossword! Anyway, it was a nice start to the week, as everyone says – I liked the idea of the top row 😊 A toss-up for COD – ticks went next to CAMEMBERT and HIPHOP but 6d got the smile. Red wine’s also mentioned in today’s biggie, which I found quite accessible.

    FOI Camembert
    LOI Hard shoulder
    COD Round

    I’d like to add my welcome to all of today’s new posters – hope we’ll see more of you!

    Thanks Mara and Don

  26. Sunny day. Snow on the ground. Did my Covid-19 volunteer chauffeuring Lovely QC. 25 mins but would have been quicker were I not watching England test match victory. And now a Burns haggis brunch. And I can have a drink next week. 😀Johnny.
    1. Cock-a-Leekie soup for lunch nearly ready. Haggis for dinner tonight. I too enjoyed the cricket, listening online. Sunny crisp day… Walk this afternoon in the remnants of the snow, I think.

      Edited at 2021-01-25 12:54 pm (UTC)

  27. … after a torrid time last week! Every time I thought I was about to get properly stuck a solution, or part of one, seemed to just pop into my head. This led to my first sub-half hour solve (I finished in 27 minutes) since Noel on Christmas Day.

    Mrs Random is pleased at my success today, as I should be “less grumpy” for the rest of the day. In fact, Mrs Random has noticed that the length of time I spend “going on about it” is directly proportional to the time I spend trying to do the daily QC. Quite observant is Mrs Random.

    P.S. Mrs Random did 16 minutes today.

    Thanks to Mara and to astartedon

  28. A steady solve in 17 minutes today and a nice start to the week. Thanks to Mara for an entertaining puzzle with some lovely clues. Thanks also to Astartedon for the blog.

    FOI – 8ac INSIDER
    LOI – 20ac HUSKY
    COD – 6dn ROUND. Like some others I hesitated to put this in at first but what a brilliant clue!

  29. I spent a lovely 8 minutes solving this QC. My FOI was COIN and my LOI DREARY for the simple reason it was the last clue I looked at. CAMEMBERT was only solved once all the checkers were in place. I wanted to put in Enigma instead of JIGSAW but it didn’t parse and I initially juggled the letters of ‘O’ and ‘design’ before solving 21a SECTION. A big welcome to all the new commenters and thanks to astartedon for his detailed blog.
  30. Yes, was delighted to finish while munching my lunch. FOsI COIN, RED, DREARY, HARD SHOULDER, CAMEMBERT , though cd not parse the latter.
    LOI DOWNRIGHT – COD, not too difficult.

    Thank you, Don, as ever. And welcome newcomers. I, too, am a member of the Slow-Coach Club. Glad to say I’ve been for a walk on this beautiful morning which must have refreshed my brain as I was relatively quick today.

    Edited at 2021-01-25 03:27 pm (UTC)

  31. A good “pre-conquest” time for me, I’m on a roll after completing the weekend Times Cryptic Jumbo again (which seems easier than the daily 15×15).

    1A was LOI : which I can’t remember happening before

    COD 15A HIP-HOP. “One for the kids”, there.

    1. Yes. I was in discussion recently about possibly helping out with some Jumbo blogging but I hadn’t done one for ages. So I went and did about 3 recent ones and I did think that a lot of the clues were nearer Quickie standard than 15×15 – just a lot more of them to do in one go. Plus you do get the odd ‘weird word’ in them but by and large they are fairly straightforward.

      The other thing about Jumbo blogging is it is a pretty lonely furrow to plough. Looking at the comments on typical puzzles there might be 10 on a good day and more usually about 5. So if I did take it up I was going to try to use that pitch on this blog constituency to appeal for some company over there – to say “those of you who want to take a step towards the 15×15 you could do a lot worse than having a go at the Jumbo… you might not finish it but you’d be surprised how many clues were within your grasp and it would be a useful stepping stone to the 15×15”.

      I won’t be taking it up immediately though as I have too much going on at present. But watch this space.


      1. I think the reason is that there is a prize. So you shouldn’t start the blog until 10 days after it is published. Then casual solvers like me fail to go back and check.

        Frankly, the Times should drop the prize aspect, which is a hold over from the 1950s. It actually diminishes my enjoyment of the puzzle because I can’t discuss it with anyone in a timely fashion.

        The prize is “A Collection of Times Reference books”. Not mind-blowing. And it’s 70p to mail in the answer.

        1. I rarely get the Times at the weekend and so would have to do it online, not my preferred medium. And the lack of a blog for 10 days would definitely be a disincentive.

          Edited at 2021-01-25 02:23 pm (UTC)

  32. 12 minutes just working through without too many pauses. DOWNRIGHT just means ‘completely’ to me – as in ‘downright wicked’ – I’ve never thought of it as a swear word. Thanks to all.
  33. ….with some excellent clueing. I was often accused by my late Latin master, “Beaky” Hodgkinson, of DOWNRIGHT IMPERTINENCE.

    TIME 3:42

    1. I think all Latin masters were the same. I remember being similarly accused in precisely the same terms by several of mine over the years.
  34. A nice start to the week, especially after the tribulations of the last week or so’s QCs. This one all finished and parsed without external help – no specific time, as I do it on paper and today, it was over lunch, but I’d say about half an hour – for a Vey Good Day!

    I dotted around the grid, starting with the 3 letter clues (but ‘red’ didn’t come immediately, as I was looking for something more specific). Camembert came before coin and my LOI was 14d . Even the anagrams came quite quickly, not one of my strong points normally.

    Thanks for the blog, as always, and to Mara for making me feel batter about the QC…

    Edited at 2021-01-25 02:21 pm (UTC)

  35. As resident QC blogger for the day I would also like to welcome all the new people. And to thank all the recent new people for coming completely on board and setting up an identity.

    All you new people, I hope you can see that we are a friendly bunch and we’d all love it if you would sign up and become part of the community. Obviously you are welcome to carry on anonymously for as long as you like, but it’s more fun if we all get to know each other better!

    See you on the inside!


    1. Well said, Don. Only to add, for newbies, if you don’t want to go all the way and sign up with an identity, please just add a name or pseudonym at the end of your contributions to distinguish yourselves from other anons.
      1. Hi Johnny, it’s a long time since I did it and I know I messed it up the first time (which is why I ended up as Astartedon instead of the simple Astarte that I really wanted to be!) so I’m not the best person to ask.

        So I’ll mention jackkt here and like a genie from a bottle he normally appears to give any assistance needed!

        I’ve also got his email contact so I’ll send him a direct message as well and we’ll have you in in no time!

        All the best


      2. To sign up for LiveJournal go to this link https://www.livejournal.com/create
        choose a username and fill in your details. You don’t actually have to post anything on your blog. If you log in you can post comments here and they will be tagged with your username. You will also be able to edit your posts later if you wish, until such time as somebody has replied to them.
  36. 4 completed puzzles in a row following a blank start to the year. Hope this form is not temporary.
    No strange words for me and on a good wavelength for a change made it very accessible.
  37. Held up by Paste and Husky for no obvious reason. Otherwise a fairly quick solve for us. Our tip if you sre stuck is a G and T, can work wonders. Thanks for the excellent blog today and to Mara.
  38. FOI 1d LOI 1a
    11 minutes for pretty much a PB and at least 2 of those on 1a.
    Pleased to see Impertinence quickly as well as most clues really. Husky would have been tricky except the checkers made it obvious.
    Cheese and wine to kick off with! Just right!
    Thanks all,
    John George
  39. 4 completed puzzles in a row following a blank start to the year. Hope this form is not temporary.
    No strange words for me and on a good wavelength for a change made it very accessible.
  40. Managed to complete this in a gap before supper, sadly no haggis this year. Interesting and informative discussion and very clear Blog. FOI 6a Red. LOI 18d Paste as held up by 20a too. COD 6d Round – as a non-golfer I puzzled over it for a while before convincing myself it was correct. Nice to complete a Mara puzzle relatively easily for once, so thx too there. Needed all the checkers for 1a. My debate over 10a hard/cold not helped by 11d using the same last letter, but ‘hard’ parsed more completely. I see ‘downright’ is a term of emphasis – downright filthy/rude/disgusting – and used as part of an angry reaction to something that possibly, to others, might be taken mildly. Nice start to the week.
  41. Finally. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, thank you Mara and Don for the many helpful comments. After a fruitless weekend failing to complete the necessaries for my, and offsprings’ tax returns, I set about to get them done today in between interminable work Zoom calls. Having done 3/4 of today’s (now yesterday’s) QC intermittently in gaps in the day, I had two to finish, DOWNRIGHT and CAMEMBERT and both were very satisfying.
    Thank you all for entertaining comments too.
    Good night!
  42. This simply flowed in.


    LOI 14dn ETCHING



  43. Thanks for a super puzzle Mara. Really fun to do – took us 13 minutes.

    FOI: red
    LOI: coin
    COD: downright

    Thanks for the blog Astartedon.

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