QC 2065 by Mara

I don’t think I was fully on my game here as I seem to remember quite a few blank spaces before getting my FOI which I think was 15A. Once the answers started going in things went fairly smoothly but I found it more difficult to get going than usual. I think my LOI was 10A. COD goes to 13A for a holy trinity of original definition, good wordplay and smooth surface. Many thanks to Mara for a puzzle that I found more than usually challenging for a Monday morning.

It is with great sadness that I announce that my next blog will be my last. I’ll say goodbye properly in two weeks’ time.

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

1 Mean to put in suits for poetry, music, etc (4,4)
FINE ARTS – NEAR (mean) ‘put in’ FITS (suits).
5 Book details initially lost (4)
ACTSfACTS (details) ‘initially’ lost. The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the New Testament.
9 Exam’s ultimate test, right? (5)
MORAL – M (exaM’s ‘ultimate’) + ORAL (test)
10 List covering old bird (7)
ROOSTER – ROSTER (list) ‘covering’ O (old).
11 Ain’t my checks free? One’s on the house! (7,5)
CHIMNEY STACK – straight anagram (‘free’) of AIN’T MY CHECKS. Cryptic definition.
13 Aim a pistol originally confiscated by father (6)
ASPIRE – A + SIRE (father) ‘confiscating’ P (Pistol ‘originally’).
15 Creative genius tucked into bed, is one? (6)
EDISON – hidden word: ‘tucked into’ bED IS ONe.
17 Noted treatment that might make US mate chirpy (5,7)
MUSIC THERAPY – straight anagram (‘that might make’) of US MATE CHIRPY.
20 Conference remains unusual (7)
SEMINAR – straight anagram (‘unusual’) of REMAINS.
21 Two people behind bishop (5)
BRACE – RACE (people) ‘behind’ B (bishop).
22 Number playing around in nets, cutting 50 per cent (4)
NINE – anagram (‘playing around’) of IN + NEts (nets cut by 50%).
23 A bird shielded by friend, protective (8)
PATERNAL – A + TERN (bird) ‘shielded’ by PAL (friend).
1 Celebrity initially fooling around, musical entertainer (4)
FAME – initial letters of Fooling Around Musical Entertainer.
2 Point in dissertation or theorem (5)
NORTH – hidden word: ‘in’ dissertatioN OR THeorem.
3 Comprehensive recalling MBA fails (3-9)
ALL-EMBRACING – straight anagram (‘fails’) of RECALLING MBA.
4 Shocking film, possibly, that’s served up at Christmas? (6)
TURKEY – double definition.
6 Weapon injured young woman (7)
CUTLASS – CUT (injured) + LASS (young woman).
7 Punching marked (8)
STRIKING – double definition.
8 Great message about legal position, right (12)
CONSIDERABLE – CABLE (message) ‘about’ ONSIDE (legal position) + R (right).
12 Standard beginning to slip in average cheese (8)
PARMESAN – PAR (standard) + S (beginning to Slip) ‘in’ MEAN (average).
14 Crooked stamp on, he delivers (7)
POSTMAN – straight anagram (‘crooked’) of STAMP ON.
16 Nepalese phrase translated (6)
SHERPA – straight anagram (‘translated’) of PHRASE.
18 Simple flier, we hear? (5)
PLAIN – sounds like (we hear) PLANE (flier).
19 Healthy source of water (4)
WELL – double definition.

47 comments on “QC 2065 by Mara”

  1. ASPIRE, my LOI, took some thinking. I misparsed CONSIDERABLE, taking ‘about’ to be ON and SIDE to be ‘legal position’, not noticing that that left the inclusion unexplained; it wasn’t until I came here that I saw the light. 6:50.
      1. They both can mean ‘stingy’. Why are you asking me?

        Edited at 2022-02-07 07:36 am (UTC)

        1. I’ve accidentally replied posts recently instead of starting my own, including one of yours! I think something is different with how LJ presents options. I am now more vigilent!
  2. 15 minutes which is about as fast as it gets for me. I don’t get enjoyment from going too fast preferring to savour the setters art along the way.
  3. Crawled over the line. LOI was ASPIRE where it took an age to see father was a verb, also failed to try ‘tern’ for the bird in PARENTAL and forget to try the bible beyond OT and NT for ACTS. All reminding me that good crossword habits are nothing like all learned yet. Took a while seeing how CONSIDERABLE worked and carefully checked the letters for ALL EMBRACING before entering. All green in 16. Good one!
  4. 9 minutes for this one and I was off to a flying start as 1ac FINE ARTS was my LOI in a puzzle somewhere else within the past few days and I really struggled with it then. This time I was ready for it!

    Many thanks for your blogs, Don. We have already ‘spoken’ behind the scenes.

  5. I struggled with this one and I never did parse FINE ARTS as I’d not come across that synonym of mean. Also found CONSIDERABLE, ASPIRE and ACTS to be decidedly tricky. Finished in 13.36.
    Thanks to astartedon for today’s blog and all your previous contributions
  6. Poor start to the week for us as we just couldn’t see ASPIRE so we turned in a DNF after 16 minutes.

    COD: MUSIC THERAPY (lovely anagram)

    Thank you Astartedon for today’s blog and all all of the other we’ve enjoyed. Thanks to Mara too.

  7. … and my FOI was not until 17A (a rare case of getting a 12 letter anagram with no checkers!). But then the bottom half went in smoothly and the top half followed eventually for a 13 minute solve.

    Several clues only parsed after entry: I was slow to see Onside = legal position in 8D Considerable, DK the meaning of Near = Mean in 1A Fine arts, and was too fixated on Celebrity meaning “the person who is famous” rather than the fame itself in 1D Fame. Also, should there not be a question mark in 16D Sherpa? Not all Nepalese are Sherpas, even if (as far as I know) all sherpas are Nepalese.

    Slight MER at describing 15A Edison as a “creative genius”. In my view that description is more appropriate for someone like Beethoven or Michelangelo; Thomas Edison was an inventor, entrepreneur, businessman etc but not really a creative genius I would have thought.

    Will add proper congratulations and best wishes for Don in a fortnight — for now, many thanks for today’s blog.

  8. 12 minutes with CONSIDERABLE holding up the RHS. Legal position=onside never occurred and I chipped away at the crossers until only one answer fitted. Finally I was held up by ACTS. Having stared at _C_S for some before any light dawned.
  9. Trickier than the average puzzle. I started with FAME, NORTH and MORAL, but once I’d followed with ALL…. and FINE ARTS, I had to search the grid for low hanging fruit before returning to the less obvious answers. Like Vinyl, MUSIC arrived well before THERAPY and CONSIDERABLE was eventually biffed. By the time CUTLASS and LOI, ACTS were in place 11:53 had elapsed. Thanks Mara, and thanks for all your contributions Don.
  10. Could not parse FINE or CONSIDERABLE but banged them in anyway. Ended up with MATERNAL and a pink square due to carelessness or perhaps Oedipus influence.
    Thanks Mara and a big thank you to you Astarte Don. I hope you will be well in your retirement. Mondays will miss you.
  11. Sorry to hear that Don will only blog once more. Thanks for all your interesting comments and clear explanations over the years, Don. I trust you will still still add your comments from this side of the fence.
    A funny start to the week for me. Didn’t parse FINE ARTS and quite a few answers were parsed post entry. I took my usual stroll around the grid after running out of steam in the top half and my LOsI were ACTS and STRIKING (that took me too long but just wouldn’t click). Just into the SCC so another poor effort at a Mara puzzle. The longer anagrams slipped in very easily and I liked PATERNAL and ASPIRE. Thanks to Mara and, again, to Don. John M.

    Edited at 2022-02-07 09:38 am (UTC)

  12. Seven anagrams! Fortunately I was able to lay hands on my trusty Anagram Hat this morning. Struggled with much of the word play though, biffing both FINE ARTS and CONSIDERABLE. Not that taken by “details” for “facts” or “cable” for “message”.

    FOI MORAL, LOI ASPIRE (long trawl), COD BRACE, time 11:37 for 1.7K and a Poor Day.

    Many thanks Mara and (for the penultimate time) Don.


  13. Despite warming up with a few clues from today’s 15×15, I found this hard going.
    After a slow start FOI was FAME. I tried to put SAPIRE at 13a for no good reason.
    Big hold-ups were STRIKING and ACTS. And I paused for ages to parse NINE.
    LOI was PLAIN after 21:09.
    Nothing wrong with the puzzle, just my performance.
    Thanks Don for all your blogs over the years. Sorry to see you go.
  14. Thank you for all the enlightening blogs, Don, hope you continue to enjoy your crosswording and to hear from you here. Excellent crossword today which took what felt like an age to complete. FOI chimney stack, only four acrosses on first pass. Thus it was that I had to keep going back over the grid and infill. LO’s in were fine arts, fame and moral. I had star for celebrity which messed up the whole corner, then the penny dropped with fine arts, leading to the finish line. Was unsure whether to plump for plane or plain, so tried both and found the latter worked. COD parmesan. Some biffed from definitions, so thank you for the parsing, Don. Thanks to Mara for this stimulating puzzle.
  15. So dim of me not to see PLAIN. Was trying to think of a bird. Failed to get bird in PATERNAL though, so DNF.
    Enjoyed it otherwise. FOsI FAME, FINE ARTS. I managed the long anagrams, but slow on STRIKING and ACTS and PARMESAN, NINE. Biffed CONSIDERABLE.
    Thanks, Don, for all your brilliant blogs.

    Edited at 2022-02-07 11:06 am (UTC)

  16. We’ll miss your blogging Don, but hopefully not your comments. Thanks. 16 minutes for me, where the main culprit for my over-target time was 1a. I got ARTS almost immediately, but for the wrong reason. I was looking for a word meaning mean to put in Hxxx ARTS (put in suits), which was never going to work. It was only when I abandoned my fixation on suits in a deck of cards that I could see the answer. My LOI was BRACE after I cracked CONSIDERABLE. Thanks again to Don and Mara.
  17. My FOI was FAME but I failed to see FINE ARTS (NEAR unparsed and seemingly an archaic word for mean as in stingy) which brought up the rear just after TURKEY and before my LOI ACTS. EDISON required several attempts and ASPIRE was a late entry, initially biffed and parsed post solve. 8:43 for a good day. Thanks Don.

    Edited at 2022-02-07 10:55 am (UTC)

  18. DNF.
    Seemed a very tough one to me. Gave up after 20 minutes.
    Just not on the same wavelength as the setter at all.

    On the plus side, I solved today’s Times chess puzzle. So my brain must be still working ok.

  19. Bit of a horror show for me this morning. I threw in the towel at 30 mins with 3 remaining (13ac, 15ac and 8dn) and resorted to aids. That cracked ASPIRE and CONSIDERABLE (which I couldn’t parse) after which I immediately saw EDISON which was hiding in plain sight. Several went in unparsed (like Rotter I was fixated on suits of cards for 1ac) and I was held up in the SE by having originally put in PLANE at 18dn. It had started so well too, with both the long across anagrams going straight in. One to forget I think!

    LOI – 15ac EDISON
    COD – 9ac MORAL

    Thanks to Astartedon for today’s and previous parsing assistance and to Mara.

  20. Real Monday blues effort, missed several that seemed almost chestnuts: BRACE, FACTS, STRIKING.

    I though 18d might me PIGIN, an alternative version of pidgin which is a simple version of a language. Would have been a good clue for a (6).

  21. 26 mins to find out that my 5ac “Ocus” was embarrassingly wrong — even more annoying was that I did think about biblical books and missed the obvious one.

    I think I’ll blame Monday morning brain fog, as I also struggled with 4dn “Turkey”, thinking of Tinsel, and even Trifle, before the obvious penny dropped.

    A toughie overall I thought even though it felt quite anagram heavy.

    FOI — 1dn “Fame”
    LOI — 13ac “Aspire”
    COD — 8dn “Considerable”

    Thanks as usual — and thanks to Don for all of his informative blogs!

  22. Thank you, Don, for all of your blogs. They’ve been interesting, entertaining and educative.
    You’ll be a hard act to follow. Best wishes, Pam
  23. Glad to see that I am not the only one to have a bit of a struggle today. The NW went in fairly well, 1A included, but further on ACTS and NINE resisted my glaring at them for unduly long, and failing to think average = par held me up substantially. By now that should be a well known definition for me but somehow it hid from me today. I would have had big problems but for the high number of doable anagrams.
    Sorry to see you go, Don, but hope you will still make your thoughts heard here. All the “team” provide such a big help to the likes of me, and provide a lot of entertainment too. Many thanks.
  24. Seems that the puzzle was just a bit tricky though.

    Never parsed FINE ARTS or CONSIDERABLE (for which thanks go to Astartedon, and indeed for all the blogs), and some of the anagrams took a while to fall into place.

    A sluggish effort.


    Edited at 2022-02-07 12:47 pm (UTC)

  25. Thanks Don — big respect for all your blogging.

    This was a DNF due to ACTS slipping past me. Of course I see why it could only be that now and am kicking myself but are ‘facts’ and ‘details’ really synonymous?

  26. Thank you so much everybody for all your kind comments. It really is hard to leave but as many of you have said I’ll still be joining you on this side of the fence. I won’t say any more now — I’ll say a proper goodbye in my final blog.


  27. Just couldn’t see ASPIRE probably because I wanted it to start APP

    Otherwise not many on my first pass at the acrosses but it picked up speed thereafter

    Thanks Don and Mara

  28. Lot of interruptions while we were solving. Enjoyable puzzle though, the many anagrams suited us. Did not solve 13 a aspire, difficult. Fine Arts put in without parsing. LO I 12 a parmesan. Thanks, Don for your many blogs and Mara for an interesting puzzle.
  29. 5+ minutes elapsed before my FOI (SEMINAR) and another 3+ minutes before my second (NORTH) did not bode well. I then progressed in fits and starts until around the 45-minute mark, at which point I had 5 clues remaining. A further 20+ minutes effort produced nothing at all and I gave up (disheartened) after 66 minutes, with ACTS, STRIKING, CONSIDERABLE, EDISON and BRACE all unsolved. I also never parsed FINE ARTS or TURKEY.

    This felt like it was 20 months ago and I was starting all over again.

    Many thanks to astartedon and Mara.

  30. This took forever. My only excuse is I did it on a small phone on a crowded train. But even so, terrible. The last 2, ACTS and STRIKING must have added 5 minutes alone.
  31. OK, I’ll ask the question – why is “onside” a legal position? Are we talking sport, here?
  32. 2hr20 to get today’s completed DNF. Had a good ten clues in first 10-15 mins then took a break at 25-min. Came back for an hour and added some more which completed the left side. Eventually gave up on ROOSTER, CONSIDERABLE, ACTS, EDISON

    Looking at how much I got correct, fairly pleased with it. Couldn’t parse FINE ARTS (the near bit), ASPIRE, BRACE, ARTS even when I knew they were correct. Some tough ones in there I’d say.

    COD CHIMNEY STACK (although TURKEY runs it close)

  33. Yes this was a toughie that took me nearly 30mins, so I only just squeezed onto the coach. Main hold ups were Brace, Acts and Striking (all obvious in hindsight) and Aspire, which I still think was a bit of a stinker. CoD to the surface in 12d, Parmesan. Invariant

    Can I add my best wishes to ‘Don for a happy retirement from blogging duties — your blogs over the years have been very informative and your observations on more general topics are always entertaining.

  34. for blog.I may be dim but should I know your Avatar, is it your name, someone explain. Very good wishes.
    Not ideal today, fell into the Plane trap, casual with parsing, stymied for Paternal, and startled by abstrusity of Acts = knew the answer but didn’t get it, and it must be a special sort of mind to see it from the clue. Failed to finish this one, I’m afraid. Sunny day though.
  35. Slow start but sped up nicely.

    FOI 10ac ROOSTER

    LOI 13ac ASPIRE


    WOD ditto

  36. Found this very chewy and eventually came to a halt with just 5a to go. Just couldn’t figure it out as the only words that seemed to fit were ices and aces. The annoying thing is I seem to recall being flummoxed by ACTS once before, again for not thinking of a T going between the C and S. Anyway, gave up after 47 and bunged ICES in. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and at least I learned another meaning of ‘near’. Thanks all.
  37. Tough start to the week. Progressed well until the last few. Never heard of ‘near’ as being another word for mean!

    Chuffed with myself for finally getting acts (that wouldn’t have happened a few months ago) and eventually got aspire as LOI.

    Close to the hour mark but at least I got there.

    Gary A

  38. Sorry to see you are going, Don. Many thanks for your helpful blogs.

    Absolutely hopeless today – could only manage about half. My worst effort for a very long time – just could not find the right wavelength at all.

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