Times Quick Cryptic 2301 by Izetti


Hello and Happy New Year to everyone.

I’m the B-side of the new Tuesday blogging team following Merlin’s debut last week / month / year. A big thanks to Chris who has blogged the Tuesday Quick Cryptic for many years.  I doubt I’ll match his record of 443 blogs, but I’ll do my best to maintain the high standards set by him and other TfTT bloggers.  Apologies in advance for the almost inevitable bumps as I’m settling in to my new role and getting used to driving at the wheel, rather than just from the back seat.

An enjoyable and not too taxing puzzle which I completed in 8:13. I liked the novel construction of 16a and the references to various place names and people.

Thanks to Izetti

Definitions underlined in bold.

1 One must have to have it! (9)
OWNERSHIP – cryptic definition
6 A hundred up for a prize? (3)
CUPC (‘A hundred’) UP (‘up’)
8 Idle cat moving around fortress (7)
CITADEL – Anagram (‘moving around’) of IDLE CAT
9 European bound to escape secretly (5)
ELOPEE (‘European’) LOPE (‘bound’)

As in Gretna Green

10 Problems re ”abstainers” getting drunk (5-7)
BRAIN-TEASERS – Anagram (‘getting drunk’) of RE ABSTAINERS
12 Everybody is in endless rush in US city (6)
DALLASALL (‘Everybody’) contained in (‘in’) DAS (‘endless rush’=DASH with last letter deleted)

Site of a tragic event which occurred 60 years ago this year.

13 Lord penning pages for the season (6)
PEPPERPEER (‘Lord’) containing (‘penning’) PP (‘pages’)
16 Dubious ism, doctrine I suspect that takes people the wrong way (12)
MISDIRECTION – Anagram indicators x 2 (‘Dubious’ and ‘suspect’) of ISM DOCTRINE I

Interesting construction! This is my take anyway but I can’t see how ‘suspect’ can be part of the definition

19 Dance held by generous ambassador (5)
SAMBA – Hidden (‘held by’) generouS AMBAssador
20 Alarm, we fancy, finding bad program (7)
MALWARE – Anagram (‘fancy’) of ALARM WE
22 Story that is written by learner (3)
LIEIE (‘that is’=id est) L (‘learner’)
23 Delighted daughter by the front door, say (9)
ENTRANCEDENTRANCE (‘the front door, say’) D (‘daughter’)
1 Some touching that hurt (4)
OUCH – Hidden (‘Some’) in tOUCHing
2 Note someone with innate talent (7)
NATURAL – Double definition, both nouns.

I’m tone deaf, but Chambers tells me a NATURAL is “A tone that is neither sharp nor flat”. I’m more familiar with the second definition, as in “He/she’s a NATURAL”, describing someone with an innate ability for a particular activity, often sporting.

3 Revolutionary looking angry? (3)
RED – Another double definition. ‘Revolutionary’ as a noun to describe a communist or left-wing extremist, or as an adjective to describe a communist group eg RED Brigade.  Someone ‘looking angry?’ may be RED faced.
4 Old land workers re-established hostel (6)
HELOTS – Anagram (‘re-established’) of HOSTEL

This word comes up quite often in crosswords and I usually just bung it in and move on without giving it much thought. The HELOTS were a subjugated group of people, ruled by the Spartans, who worked on the land, hence ‘Old land workers’. There is apparently debate as to whether they really were slaves, but slaves or not, they were not well treated by their rulers.

5 Pervasive plant ever spreading (9)
PREVALENT – Anagram (‘spreading’) of PLANT EVER
6 Husband in essential task (5)
CHOREH (‘Husband’) contained in (‘in’) CORE (‘essential’)
7 Quiet tenant, one bringing joy (7)
PLEASERP (‘Quiet’) LEASER (‘tenant’)

P for “piano”, a musical term for soft or softly

11 One female relation and one companion being inert (9)
INANIMATEI (‘One’) NAN (‘female relation’) (‘one’) MATE (‘companion’)
12 Boy upset about some troubled maiden (7)
DAMOSELDAL (‘Boy upset’=reversal of LAD) containing (‘about’) anagram (‘troubled’) of SOME

I didn’t know this spelling, being more familiar with “damsel”.

Instant word association with “damsel” = “in distress”. If I have ever heard the word used in another context, I can’t remember it.

14 Unimaginative professionals needing ace in charge (7)
PROSAICPROS (‘Professionals’) A (‘ace’) IC (‘in charge’)
15 Mathematician’s achievement displayed outside empty room (6)
FERMATFEAT (‘achievement’) containing (‘displayed outside’) RM (’empty room’= first and last letters of RooM)

He of the Last Theorem, a French mathematician who lived between 1607-1669. He was also a lawyer and was fluent in six languages, so was indeed a true polymath. Euler has been the ‘mathematician’ du jour for crosswords for some time, so good to see someone else getting a look in.

17 Thus madame is seen in one of her rivers? (5)
SOMMESO (‘Thus’) MME (‘madame’ = French abbreviation)

A word and river which will always be associated with the dreadful World War I battle and the horrors of war in general.

18 Drop article into cot? (4)
BEADA (‘article’) contained in (‘into’) BED (‘cot?’)
21 Jump endlessly in meadow (3)
LEALEAP (‘Jump’) with last letter P removed (‘endlessly’)

82 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2301 by Izetti”

  1. I didn’t notice at the time, but 16ac looks like an error to me; I’ve never seen two anagram indicators in one clue. And ‘dubious’ is otiose: ‘Doctrine, ism I suspect that takes people the wrong way’ works fine. 5:28.

  2. 13:13. Everything went in fairly quickly by my standards. I always thought the LEASER was the landlord not the tenant. I’m more familiar with lessor and lessee and would have said a LEASER was synonymous with the former. I only knew of DAMOSEL from the poem” The Blessed Damozel” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti – but he spells it with a “z”.

    1. I think in this context LEASER can be either the tenant or the landlord, i.e. take a lease on for the former, or lease out for the latter?

      1. Wiktionary has:
        leaser (plural leasers)
        1) (nonstandard) One who leases or gleans; lessor.
        The owner of the property is the leaser when they rent it by lease to a lessee.

  3. 9 minutes. FERMAT is a name I recognise from a previous puzzle or two and I vaguely associate with matters of science, but I’d never have thought of him without clear wordplay to jog my brain.

    No problem with the two anagram indicators at 16ac since the answer is clued as two separate anagram elements helpfully divided by a comma.

    Welcome to the team, BR!

    1. OK, so it’s not (ism doctrine I)*, it’s (ism)*, (doctrine I)*; fair enough, I guess.

    2. Thanks Jack. That makes more sense – two anagram indicators, each acting on separate components of the anagram fodder.

  4. 10’23” and happy with that given the three NHOs FERMAT HELOTS and DAMOSEL.

    I enjoyed OWNERSHIP as a cryptic opener – it made me think twice even as my FOI – and also PEPPER, PROSAIC and MISDIRECTION in an interesting puzzle with a good mix of clues and difficulty.

    Thanks Bletchley for a great blog, good luck with the new gig.

    Thanks Izetti too.

  5. And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here…

    …for BletchleyReject’s debut. Welcome. Unlike others so far, I found this one a tough QC that took me 18 minutes with one wrong – I mombled PLESSOR at 7dn. I was OK with the two anagrams together. I liked INANIMATE and SOMME. LOI the odd looking DAMOSEL after trying the wordplay various ways. Many thanks for a fine blog

  6. Bletchley and I are your new Tuesday bloggers, not sure which of us is Gilbert and which is Sullivan.

    14:22, bang on average for me. LOI OWNERSHIP, a tricky cryptic at 1A. Good info on HELOTS, not Hotels then. For MISDIRECTION I actually used the two anagram indicators, I had MIS for some time then went back later to fill in the anagram for “doctrine I”.

    Beef with DAMOSEL, surely an obsolete spelling for Damsel. Was really panicked because DAMESOL looked just as likely, and started with “dame”. Went back and forth, and was fully expecting a pink.

    Very good and informative blog, impressive start.

    1. Thanks Merlin. Maybe we’re Sancho Panza and Don Quixote. I won’t say which is which!

  7. 27 minutes the top half being quicker than the bottom.
    A couple needing wordplay HELOTS and FERMAT checking Wiki post solve. Also with the SOMME river, MME for madame.
    FOI: OUCH.
    LOI: BEAD, only because it was the last one I looked at.

  8. Fast start them struggled to the end. As Vinyl predicted I’d NHO FERMAT, DAMOSELS or HELOTS so teh cryptic didn’t help as ‘holets’ or ‘damesols’ were feasible – plus is took me a long time to get to ‘feat’ for achievement. So it felt a bit like a GK crossword to me. Had a typo when I first typed in INANIMATE which I seem to have corrected inaccurately, not all green in 19.54. I’d hoped for better on my birthday! And we’ve run out of milk!

    1. Happy birthday Mendeset 🎂 Agree with the ‘holets’ and ‘damesol’ rearrangement issue

    2. As long as you haven’t run out of something to celebrate with – happy birthday 🎂

  9. Welcome to the blogging team, BR. An easy Izetti, for once, if you knew, as I did, HELOTS and FERMAT. I romped through this in 3:34. I liked the double anagram for MISDIRECTION. Thank-you Izetti and BR.

  10. Steady going for the most part but tricky in places.
    Took far too long to spot HELOTS, despite studying ancient history at university, as I was focused on the middle ages with serfs and peasants etc. Always nice to see a US city in a clue that doesn’t involve putting LA or NY into the answer so had a nice PDM when DALLAS went in. FERMAT was dredged from the depths from past crosswords and I finished in the SW with SAMBA and SOMME after unravelling the unusual DAMOSEL in 9.25
    Thanks to BR for an excellent debut blog

  11. Welcome BR and thanks for taking a stint at the wheel (I must say they’re a pleasant, if rather rowdy, bunch in the back!). Thanks for the excellent blog. I just tipped over 10 minutes – after having enjoyed 1ac, I spent a while enjoying the other clues on the way. Such are the delights of retirement!

  12. Good blog, BR. Welcome.
    A mix of the easy and arcane from Izetti. I went through most of it ‘at pace’ (such an annoying, near-meaningless expression, mainly from politicians who don’t want to be pinned down) but came back to a leisurely finish in the NW.
    Some good clues, some easy gifts. Fermat came quickly; I hesitated over DAMOSEL and HELOTS but they had to be. It still took me a few seconds over target, though and was a considerable improvement over yesterday’s QC.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  13. I also mombled PLESSOR – had to look up momble in the tftt glossary but perfect description!

    1. Plodger and Plessee also featured briefly in my momblings (great word, delighted to have found it!)

  14. 7 minutes for me today including time working out LOI 12d; I came up with DEL (boy) plus an anagram of SOME. Quite a fun clue for the never seen DEMOSEL ( spelling confirmed in my mind by the French Demoiselle). But it was wrong.
    A fun QC with a couple of unusual words. I did get HELOTS.

  15. 27:12 was good considering my first pass only netted RED, CUP, CHORE, LEA, BEAD with INANIMATE passing through my mind fleetingly and also missing reading the clues for MISDIRECTION and MALWARE which I might have unravelled. So I was left staring at a very empty grid with some anagrams that felt tough to unravel without checkers.

    DALLAS got me going in the SW and it spread from there. Laughed out loud at ENTRANCED. Wasn’t sure about the abbreviation for Madame (Mde?) so given my lack of French river knowledge SOMME was a little bit of another tentative. INANIMATE had fleetingly gone through my brain on first pass but our family was too southern and wannabe middle class to have NANs so we had proper grandmas 😉

    Both DAMOSEL and HELOTS were NHO and the checkers do nothing to help you figure out which way to put the vowels into what are equally possible words. The former was more familiar as, BletchleyRejcect our new blogger, points out with damsel. Welcome BR – a lovely blog.

    The NW was where it all finished up. CITADEL took longer to unravel than it should have, I even touched on it in my memory palace at one stage but the connection wasn’t quite there and I’d biffed HATH in 1D as a hidden word – now can’t believe I didn’t spot OUCH until 3rd from end! It was hiding in plain sight all the time. OWNERSHIP and NATURAL are those cryptic defs which you either recognise immediately or spend time trying to build answers so they slowed it up.

    Overall fairly pleased to get it done in under 30-mins after the slow start, there being some tentatives and it being an Izetti 👍

    1. See my post below, but based on your previous comments I might start actually recording my times.

      I have a loose idea of averages, but maybe I should see how I fare against certain setters. I feel a spreadsheet coming on.

      1. Go for it – can’t beat a good spreadsheet! 💪

        My one for last year was simply Date, QC No, Time, Solve or DNF, Setter, Comments. That meant I had to do some sorting and filtering to get to a summary but hey … what else is there to do between Christmas and New Year?!?

      2. Dear Mr Ed46,
        May I offer one tip? The mean of a set of times is awkward to calculate if they include one or more DNFs. I get around this problem by allocating a nominal finish time of 1,000 minutes to a DNF and then using the median, rather than the mean. This gives me my average performance across all attempts. The mean of all successful solves may also be calculated, of course, as a comparison.

        1. Fair comment.

          I was going to use the mean of successful solves and classify DNF’s separately, however the median option is not a bad shout if you want to include everything, especially for a bit of data stratification if I ever get the strange urge to do such a thing.

          1. I would have gone with Mr Random’s median option last year but … as I only had a 47% success rate the median figure became whatever I allocated to my DNFs 😂

            The other benefit of the median is, of course, to avoid the situation where the avg can skew towards big times if you persevere on toughies; but has a finite fast time that can’t pull the mean down.

            1. True…and I would agree if you were just doing a simple mean across everything. But if you drill down and start looking at means based on individual setters, then it can be useful to identify clusters of difficulty (again, you would probably have to strip out the Dnf’s and look at them separately)

  16. Ploughed through this in a steady 9.08, only briefly held up by having to correct SEINE which I temporarily biffed as the French river. I initially shared Curryowen’s doubts about whether the leaser was the tenant, but I suppose it can be viewed both ways.
    After heads up from Countrywoman1 that I was on the Antiques Roadshow two days ago, I thought I’d check it out on playback. My other ‘alf Looby Loo (who I affectionately refer to as Adjacent facilities 5,3) was miffed not to get a mention. No mention either of my old mucker Teddy, who always brought great comfort to me over the years. He always suggested however that I was highly strung and easily manipulated!
    I’ll get my coat …….

  17. Tricky. NHO HELOTS, but biffed it as more likely than Holets. Yes, only knew Damozel from the poem, so another biff. Also slow on PEPPER, as failed to see seasoning until PDM. Yes, dubious about Leaser but it had to be. Vaguely heard of FERMAT.

    Thanks vm, BR, and welcome!

  18. I found this to be on the easier side from Izetti – so much so that I’m 5th (really 4th) on the leaderboard in a time 2 whole seconds quicker than Verlaine ! It’s been quite some time since I last broke 3 minutes.

    LOI MISDIRECTION (but for which I’d have done a straight through solve !)
    TIME 2:52

    1. 2.52?!?! You are not allowed to drive a bus that fast.
      That doesn’t give the conductor time to check the tickets.
      Brilliant time.

  19. Welcome Bletchley Reject, as the second half of the new Tuesday Team!

    Pretty smooth going for an Izetti, I had a minor quibble about the dual anagram indicators, but I see Jack has cleared that up above. I knew HELOT and FERMAT, so no problems there. FInished with the hidden SAMBA, which gave me my LOI and COD SOMME. I’d been thinking of SEINE and SAONE, but couldn’t make them work, so I’m glad I waited for the final crosser.


  20. Very enjoyable overall thanks Izetti and Bletchley reject! Never heard of Fermat and hadn’t seen that spelling of Damsel so that took me to over 10 mins ( unnecessarily scratching my head). I prefer it when quickies stick to words and spellings that are in everyday use. For the second day running I needed a word which wasn’t in my Oxford Dictionary of English.

  21. 13 minutes of enjoyment, as i have come to expect from the Don. Nice to see Fermat get a mention. I surprised myself by seeing OWNERSHIP straight away for FOI. An excellent first blog BR, welcome to the team.

  22. Started off very well and had at least three-quarters done in about 12 minutes, but DAMOSEL, OWNERSHIP and NATURAL really held me up and I only unravelled everything after 30:45. Sticking in Literal for 2d didn’t help. I remembered it had some other meaning to the usual one I know, so I thought it could be a note, but it’s actually a typographical error. Anyway, welcome and thanks to BR, happy new year to everyone, and thanks to Izetti. COD to MISDIRECTION.

  23. Welcome BR and very nice blog!

    Despite the comments from the experts that this was relatively straightforward, I found this puzzle tough, and if 2023 continues in the same vein as the first two QCs of the year I am going to be struggling. Eventually finished and all green in 13 minutes, but not before problems with the same three clues as several others – Helots (knew they were an underclass, did not know they specifically worked the land), Fermat (eventually dragged out of the deep recesses as the author I believe of a Last Theorem – but no idea what said Last Theorem is about …) and LOI Damosel, a word in everyday usage in the Statherby household … NOT!

    Like Merlin, I do wonder about words like Damosel in a QC, This is a word which in this form hasn’t been in current use for a very long time: in my etymological dictionary this exact spelling is indeed recorded, but marked as “Middle English, now obsolete”. As the dictionary (Walter Skeat’s “Etymological Dictionary of the English Language”, 4th edition, 1910) was issued over 110 years ago and so is itself no spring chicken, that suggests Izetti really has scraped the barrel here! I suspect he found he was looking at D-M-S-L, did a word search and found that this was the only word that fitted. Is it too much to expect of our setters that when constructing a QC, if the only word that fits for them is described as “Middle English, obsolete” they should change the rest of the grid? Keeping the D-M-S–, one can have (eg) damasks, demesne, demised, all of which give many options for 22A.

    Grumble over. And I grant that it was generously clued, so even not having heard of the word I could get it. But QCs should be “all clues solvable relatively quickly by average solvers” not “all but one clue solvable …”


      1. As it happens, yes – my average time is 12 minutes or so. But times are all relative and personal – some will finish this crossword in very quick times, much faster than me (Busman took under 3 minutes), some will take much longer, and no-one should consider themselves either better or worse than others based on their times.

        My comment though was more about consistency of clue standard. Damosel stands out in this otherwise challenging but entirely fair crossword as a word that is obsolete and with an unusual spelling to boot, and was clearly dredged up from the deep recesses of the language to solve the setter’s self imposed problem of a grid that required a word going D-M-S-L. I think that lessens the attraction of the puzzle, especially as (as I observed) there were other solutions to the challenge of setting the grid which did not require such an obscurity.

        1. I’m with you on this. I don’t mind learning new stuff, like the Helots that Bletch researched today. But archaic spellings, no thanks.

        2. I have to agree with Cedric Statherby’s comment. Damosel was an absolute stretch. I got it from the wordplay, but had never heard of the word. As Cedric says, if you can’t fit in a good word, change the grid.

  24. I was reasonably pleased with my 21:08 although I was held up by the NE corner. FOI OWNERSHIP which came straight at me. LOI PLEASER, after messing about with plessor. HELOTS not familiar, nor DAMOSEL . Enjoyed this one – thanks Izetti and BR.

  25. Unlike Oran yesterday, I thought Izetti was in a generous mood, albeit with a couple of teasers (not you, 10ac) thrown in for good measure. A slight hold up with Helots/Holets at 4d, before deciding that the former was vaguely familiar- though if you had asked me to write down the definition there would have been much sucking of teeth. Luckily I have seen Loi 23ac, Entranced, clued similarly before, so I managed to squeeze in a welcome sub-20. CoD to 8ac, Citadel, as we are fortunate to have one here in Warrington during these hard times.
    A big welcome to BR for an excellent maiden blog. . . that belies his ‘trainee’ status 😉 Invariant

  26. I found this tricky. Some words here I have never heard of: DAMOSEL and HELOTS. Also, I have never heard of FERMAT. Had to use all my three lives for this one.

    Lives: 3/3

  27. My FOI was POSSESSOR which was immediately ousted by OUCH, at which point I took OWNERSHIP. A steady trot to the finishing post, BRAIN TEASERS, took 7:11. Thanks Izetti and BR. Great first blog!

  28. About 11 mins, held up by having to write out the anagrist for brain teasers, and also by damosel and LOI helots.

    COD to ownership and second to samba for the Ferrero Rocher association.

  29. I started with the downs, having been a bit baffled by 1a (OWNERSHIP). I pencilled it in, and once I’d got the checkers, I got the confirmation I needed! It wasn’t a clean sweep by any stretch of the imagination, but I had few nice runs of clues, so was happy with 9:40 for this mostly friendly offering from Izetti. HELOT, DAMOSEL and FERMAT were knowns (the first only from crosswords) but as I wrote them in, I wondered if they might cause a few problems!
    FOI Ouch LOI Inanimate COD Brain-teaser although Prevalent was a close second
    Thanks Izetti, and welcome to the alternative Tuesday hot seat BR – thanks for an excellent first blog

    I’m currently reading a book by David Crystal called Spell It Out, which explains how and why English spelling is so bananas (not his phrase!). It’s really interesting and helps you understand the many routes and influences that lead to modern English spelling – I don’t know if it will help with crossword solving, but you never know 😊

  30. 13 minutes all parsed, so a welcome bit of light relief after yesterday. NHO damosel and only vaguely recognised helots as some sort of historical underclass but had heard of Fermat and his last theorem. Funny how you can sometimes “see” anagrams straight away and at other times they prove incrdibly elusive. I saw the double anagram MISDIRECTION immediately but BRAIN-TEASERS literally did tease my brain!

    FOI – 6ac CUP
    COD – 13ac PEPPER

    Thanks to Izetti for an enjoyable puzzle and thanks (and welcome) to BR for an equally enjoyable blog.

  31. Excellent blog, BR!

    31 minutes for me, but HELOTS and DAMOSEL were both pure guesses. I had NHO either and, unusually for Izetti, neither was unambiguously clued. Also, and very weirdly, I solved NATURAL (2d) from the clue for 1a (I didn’t have OWNERSHIP at the time). I wonder how my brain managed that.

    N.B. Should anyone be interested, I can strongly recommend Simon Singh’s book FERMAT’s Last Theorem. It’s very readable, perfectly accessible to non-mathematicions and a great account of how it took 300 years until the relatively simple theorem was proved by Prof. Andrew Wiles in the 1990’s.

    Many thanks to Izetti and BletchleyReject.

      1. Thanks for the link. I read the book and watched this program at the time, but fancy another look at this.

      1. Good morning, Mme B,
        Yes, of course! Please could you e-mail me at gary@priddidis.co.uk and we can continue our discussion there in the first instance. I could also send you a link to it. Mrs R and I would be delighted to host you and Mr B.

  32. Welcome to our new bloggers Bletchley Reject and Merlin. Thank you for stepping up.

    Just two clues pushed me over target. The first one was HELOTS which at least rang a bell but despite being a mathematician FERMAT was an unknown and constructed from wordplay. I didn’t have a problem with 16a and the inclusion of 2 anagrinds. The surface reading worked for me. 9:29

  33. Thanks for the welcoming comments and for the extra discussion about several interesting points, eg the place of words with unusual spelling in the QC and the pointers to more info about Fermat’s Last Theorem.

    See you all again, in the role of a blogger anyway, in a couple of weeks.

  34. Thanks for taking over the blog BR and congratulations on an excellent debut. I found this extremely tough and was deeply into the SCC. Just not on the wavelength at all at the moment. As with yesterday, I will satisfy myself with avoiding a DNF, although I suspect I will be the slowest today. 😢

    LOI – PEPPER (totally missed the significance of ‘penning’)

    Some of the above times are stunning.

  35. Welcome Bletchley Reject – a very helpful first blog since 3 answers were NHOs for me: FERMAT, HELOTS and the spelling of DAMOSEL (not DAMSEL). A rather chewy puzzle all round, I found.

  36. Welcome BR, and thanks for the blog.

    I didn’t have my anagram hat on today, so found this one very tough until I cheated (a little) with BRAIN-TEASERS MISDIRECTION, and PREVALENT. After that, everything went in reasonably smoothly. I’d heard of DAMOSEL: I think it features in a Bertie Wooster story somehow. Happy to have finished in 16:10.

  37. Thank you for an excellent blog. I was held up by 1ac (needed crossing letters, as I didn’t get the cryptic definition), and the bringer of joy was a PLODGER/PRENTER for some time in my head (Doh!).
    DAMOSEL and HELOTS were new words. Good to see FERMAT: Simon Singh’s book is excellent on his and Andrew Wiles’ story.

  38. Completed in 2 sittings, time unknown. Same NHOs as many others (HELOTS, DAMOSEL, FERMAT). Initially unsure about NATURAL until I realised ‘note’ could be musical note. Liked clueing of INANIMATE. LOI OWNERSHIP – needed all the checkers. Great first blog BR – many thanks. Thanks to Izetti too.

  39. 19 mins…

    I enjoyed this, with the main hold ups being the NE corner. For some reason, I just couldn’t see 6ac “Cup”.

    Didn’t know 4dn Helots, so it was a bit of punt based on the letter combos. However, Fermat’s various theorems were well known for 15dn.

    Not sure whether 16ac is an error or not, as I’ve seen many a clue with superfluous words in it – I guess the question is whether having two potential anagrinds confuses things beyond the norm.

    FOI – 1dn “Ouch”
    LOI – 9ac “Elope”
    COD – 13ac “Pepper”

    Thanks as usual and a hearty welcome to BR for his blog!

    PS. Based on previous comments – I might start actually keeping my times. I roughly know my average and my PB – but maybe I should be a bit more statistical like L-Plates.

  40. DNF

    It’s annoying when the clueing to a word you don’t know is an anagram. Had 2 choices for LOI but put HOLETS.

  41. Tricky but completed this in two sessions – probably around 20 minutes in total. Ownership straight in for a pleasing start.
    I needed the blog to see why Samba – ha a hidden!! And also to explain why natural = note, and confirm Helots.
    Lots to enjoy.
    Thanks all

  42. As a solicitor- Leaser is not and has never been in my “dictionary”. A landlord is a lessor and a tenant is a lessee. The contract that binds them is a lease. I rest my case my lords.

  43. I have to agree with Cedric Statherby’s comment. Damosel was an absolute stretch. I got it from the wordplay, but had never heard of the word. As Cedric says, if you can’t fit in a good word, change the grid.

Comments are closed.