Times QC 2346 by Teazel – Infinite Loop

A very clever device, which is new to me, made this an interesting puzzle. Even then I found it challenging in several places, and yet again, missed my target time on my Blogday.

Each of the corners contained cross references to the same set of letters, ingenious when you figured out what was going on. The letters E,V, I,L formed the answers for 1A, 25A, 7D and 21D. Which then refer to each other in an infinite loop, using four different anagram indicators. Clever.

My first problem was recognising “21” as a cross reference indicator. (The rule seems to be that small numbers are cross references when “spelled” as digits).

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Unusually 21, as it happens (4)
LIVE – See preamble. “Unusually” is the anagrind.
3 Parent’s fur just about acceptable (8)
PASSABLE – PA’S (Parent’s) + SABLE(fur)
9 Show strain, present for example in court (5,2)
TENSE UP – TENSE (present tense is an example) + UP

UP as in “Up in front of the judge”? Not sure that I’ve heard it by itself. I guess if a prisoner says to another “I’m up next week” that means he’s either in court, or starting at Oxbridge.

10 North European taking one Indian dish (5)
BALTI – BALT (North European) + I (one)

I went through DANE, LAPP and FINN making up interesting sounding Indian dishes before hitting on BALT.

11 Runners’ individual results in the paper (5)
TIMES – Double Def.

Our overlord making an appearance rather than its rival “FT”. Maybe the new Times editor, who is a Murdoch man, has told the crossword editor to not use rival papers in clues.

12 Insect has hair, not its own, on part of head (6)
EARWIG – EAR(part of head) + WIG (hair, not its own)
14 Resolution’s extremely decisive conclusion (13)
DETERMINATION – DE (“extremely” indicating first and last letters of “decisive”) + TERMINATION (conclusion)
17 Mafia scowlingly covering up debacle (6)
FIASCO – Contained in Mafia scowlingly
19 Breathe hard, needing oxygen for stage show (5)
PANTO – PANT (Breathe Hard) + O[xygen]
22 One good toilet in blockhouse (5)
IGLOO – I (one) + G[ood] + LOO (toilet)

Whimsical definition, it is definitely built from blocks, ice blocks, not breeze blocks.

23 Mausoleum site shown in indistinct map (7)
DIAGRAM – AGRA (Mausoleum site) inside DIM (indistinct)

Agra being the site of the Taj Mahal, which is a a free standing burial monument, like the tomb of King Mausolus in Bodrum (Turkey) from which the word derives. It’s a Wonder of the World, though not much more than rubble these days.

24 Tragic scene of wickedness in European legends (8)
ELSINORE – SIN (wickedness) inside E[uropean] + LORE (legends)

Elsinore (Helsingør) is the site of Hamlet’s tragedy, so this clue could be classified as &lit, where the whole clue acts as the definition.

25 Cover up 1ac broadcast (4)
VEIL – See preamble. “broadcast” is the anagrind.

The setter had to use “1ac” here, rather than 1, because there are both a 1ac and a 1d. If you hadn’t been thinking of cross-referenced clues thus far, this was a hint.

1 Tolerance of commonplace remark? Not the first (8)
LATITUDE – [p]LATITUDE (commonplace remark)
2 Spite of archdeacon initially over Mass (5)
VENOM – VEN (abbreviation for archdeacon) + O[ver] + M[ass]
4 Perfect regularity of request for dessert (5-3,5)
APPLE-PIE ORDER – Double definition, with the second being cryptic.

Not an easy phrase to find, but the OED has it as “perfect order or neatness”. There is some folk etymology here: some say it comes from  French nappes pliées for ‘folded linen’,  but sadly not supported by any documentary evidence.

5 Without excess: in this way, live right (5)
SOBER – SO (in this way) + BE (live) + R[ight]

A master might say to an apprentice : “Do it just SO”

6 One part of Ireland supports Ring composer (7)
BELLINI – BELL (Ring) + I(one) + NI (Northern Ireland)

Vincenzo (1801 – 1835) was an Italian composer, Giovanni was a Venetian painter, whose colours inspired the cocktail. Neither composed the Ring, that was Wagner.

7 Wickedness when 25 is ripped up (4)
EVIL – See preamble. “ripped up” is the anagrind this time.
8 Water-heater bloke heard (6)
GEYSER – Sounds like “geezer” (bloke). Chestnut.
13 Attending class, a learner relaxed (8)
INFORMAL – IN FORM (attending class) + A + L[earner]

I expect many will have joined me in trying to find an anagram of (A LEARNER)* with “relaxed” as the anagram indicator.

15 Plays idly, taking first of these firearms (7)
TRIFLES – T[hese] + RIFLES (firearms)
16 Allure of court case (6)
APPEAL – Double def
18 Disdainfully ignore small growth on foot (5)
SCORN – S[mall] + CORN (growth on foot)
20 Sister’s name sure to be changed (5)

Senior Nurses have been called “sister” since the 1700s. Some hospitals have changed the title to ‘ward manager’ to acknowledge the fact that men also carry out the role.

21 Disgusting sort of 7 (4)
VILE – See preamble. “sort of” is the final choice of anagrind.

92 comments on “Times QC 2346 by Teazel – Infinite Loop”

  1. I dislike cross-referring clues, especially when 1ac is one; but this one was amusing; I hope it doesn’t show up again. LOI DIAGRAM took me some time. 5:44.

  2. 18:26. I enjoyed INFORMAL and ELSINORE most. Took me a while to see AGRA sitting there in plain sight in DIAGRAM. I thought BELLINI might be Berlioz for a while and my Canadian pronunciation of GEYSER as Guy-sir had me thinking there were two blokes involved! Eventually I speculated that you Old World folk must pronounce it to sound like geezer. I also first thought the North European starting with B might be a Brit.

  3. While I was solving I thought there were more sneaky kind-of cryptic definitions than usual, but when I went back so I could refer to them here they’d all morphed into clarity. Thanks, merlin (check the underline at 10a)

      1. I was kind of thinking it was on the tough side, and at the same time I personally found today’s 15×15 on the over-easy side. I have a theory that the biggest contributor to easiness in clues is directness and clarity in the definition, and a lot of these definitions were either cryptic or well concealed

  4. A bit over 12 minutes. I’m not a great fan of cross-referenced clues, but this variation on the theme was v. clever. I also liked the misdirection of the ‘Ring composer’ at 6d and FIASCO.

    Thanks to Teazel and Merlin

  5. 11 minutes, just missing my target again. I thought the clues to BELLINI and ELSINORE would have been very difficult to solve in isolation without assistance from checkers.

    Nappes pliées / nap-pe-pli meaning ‘folded linen’ or ‘neat as folded linen’ seem quite plausible to me as the origin of APPLE-PIE ORDER and also the related expression ‘apple-pie bed’ for a bed which has been booby-trapped with one of the sheets folded back on itself so that a person’s legs cannot be stretched out.

  6. Realised I’d been had when I was redirected for the second time at the start of the puzzle. I had trouble with DIAGRAM where I needed all the checkers to make up for my lack of general knowledge and ELSINORE where getting to ‘lore’ from legends with just the R was tough. Shakespeare is a big blind spot for me, we did MacBeth, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet at school (B at A level since you ask!) and that is as far as I took it – I did recognise that ELSINORE was something when it appeared but I certainly needed Merlin to tell me what it was. All green in 13 but I watched the screen through my fingers after submitting.

    1. At my school, one half of my year-group studied classical English literature, medieval history and traditional maths, whereas my half studied nothing before Hardy and Dickens in English (yes, incredibly no Shakespeare!), no history before the 1800s and modern maths (matrices, etc.). Despite making to and through university (Maths/Stats/OR), I have felt embarrassed about my education ever since.

  7. I got 1ac as my FOI so quickly followed by 25ac, 7dn and 21dn. I see no problem with linked clues as they appear in other crosswords I do.
    LOI: DIAGRAM. Solving in a relaxed manner and untimed, also with help from checking letters for BELLINI and ELSINORE.

  8. Clever circular links good for a change but wouldn’t want to see them too often.

    It was not the reason for my DNF – beaten by ELSINORE, DIAGRAM and the ORDER of 4D which is NHO for me, though biffable in hindsight.

    A bit miffed by some of the clueing, but I can’t really justify my miffed-ness (maybe I just found it hard!) so will, with some frustration try to graciously accept defeat.

    Thanks Teazel and Merlin

  9. I agree with the comments about the clever device. I dislike inter-dependent clues. Amusing as a one-off but not to be used often, I hope. I was slow today -Teazel unsettled me for some reason. As I hurried to finish, I stupidly biffed Rossini for 6d and completely knackered the NE corner. Only when I saw PASSABLE as inevitable did I think again and it all fell into place (but I was well over target).
    Quite a few PDMs – DIAGRAM, ELSINORE (like MM above), LATITUDE, SOBER. APPLE-PIE ORDER was my COD.
    Not one of Teazel’s easier efforts for me but thanks anyway. Thanks also to Merlin for a good blog. John M.

  10. Found this quite chewy, despite seeing the linked clues early – can’t make up my mind whether I like this device or dislike it.
    Slow seeing GEYSER, ORDER, FIASCO, LOI DIAGRAM and ELSINORE the last of which provided a lovely PDM.
    Finished in 12.57 with COD to IGLOO
    Thanks to Merlin

  11. Seems to be quite a bit of agreement that the four linked clues were (a) very clever and (b) nice to see once but (c) not again please in a Times crossword! Them apart, I found this a bit of a struggle, with several clues not parsed when I finally reached completion – Elsinore and Diagram among them – and I share our blogger’s slight MER at Up = In court. Also a mental blank over Bellini, where my familiarity with the painter blocked out knowledge/memory of the composer. So a bit of a scramble all round, but eventually all green for a 13 minute finish.

    Geyser is unusual in being a loan-word in English derived from an Icelandic place-name – Geysir (with an I) being a hot spring/gusher in the country’s south. I’m struggling to think of too many other common words we have borrowed from Iceland’s geography.

    Many thanks to Merlin for the blog

    1. Well, there’s Jökulhlaup, which any glaciologists will be familiar with. Admittedly a fairly niche word.

      1. Great word, I agree. Named after a geographical phenomenon, not a place, but I think it passes the test.

  12. Yet another 18 minute solve for me – which is rapidly (or should I say slowly?) becoming the new normal. APPLE-PIE ORDER was a write in from the clue and enumeration, although not a phrase that slips lightly off my tongue, and I followed all of the cross-references before I twigged EVIL and then worked my way backwards. It certainly gave this Teazel puzzle a different feel, and the initiative should be applauded, despite raising the hackles of a few of our group. Thanks also to Merlin for an excellent blog. I, for one, enjoy the blog sub-text, and will endeavour to follow suit when next on duty.

  13. I enjoyed the symmetrical anagrams, waiting till I got through a first pass of the clues before finding them. No marks on my copy after a steady solve so nothing else to say. Thanks Teazel and Merlin. 4:28.

  14. I thought the linked clues were great fun. One has to think of the setters sometimes – why shouldn’t they amuse themselves with themes, Ninas and other flights of fancy every now and then? They need to enjoy themselves too!

    Chugged through this steadily enough but with frequent pauses. A good work out. Ended up with APPEAL, COD to the excellent ELSINORE. All done in 09:44 for 1.8K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Merlin.


  15. Stodgy from me. I’m not that bothered by dependent clues, they can be an interesting diversion, and this one was pretty simple and neat.

    DIAGRAM (looking hard at the wrong end of the clue), ELSINORE and LOI BELLINI were what took me well over my target. I liked INFORMAL.

    I think Teazel is my QC nemesis – 5 puzzles so far this year, one under target, three over target (2 of which are well over), and my only DNF so far.


  16. I’m in the camp that doesn’t like cross referenced clues, clever though the device might be. There is only one other type of clue that I dislike more, and that involves our old friend Dr Spooner. Having had my moan, I’m happy to say that the rest of the puzzle was enjoyable and challenging. I was surprised to find I’d finished under target at 9.29; it somehow seemed longer.

  17. No real problems, but definitely trickier than yesterday. It took a while for Agra to come to mind.

    TIME 4:27

  18. This required 20 minutes of full concentration from me. And I realised early on that four clues all consisted of L I V E; although I read the word in 25a as LAC ( on paper), so had a question mark there .
    LOI GEYSER, so not a chestnut for me. Prior to that DIAGRAM, unparsed; tricky for a QC that clue.
    I managed to remember BELLINI eventually having gone through various parts of Ireland. I saw one of his operas once which was memorable, but not in a good way.
    Overall I enjoyed the puzzle; but tough for beginners.

  19. A tad chewy this morning. I too dislike the linked clues thing, but only until I work them out haha. I should have got DIAGRAM quicker than I did because I’ve seen it before, but that’s what happens when you watch “Are You Being Served?” at the same time as doing the crossword.


  20. Quite liked the evil, live, veil, vile trick although like earlier comments I don’t usually and also dislike spooners.

    24 is not an &lit as tragic scene doesn’t form part of the wordplay.

    Held up for ages on trifles.
    COD geyser.

  21. Slow progress to start, and almost gave up, then I had the crossers for EVIL, and realised that LAC (as it appeared in my paper edition) in 25a was in fact a reference to 1a. “1ac” rather than “1a” or simply “1” as in the other three cross-referenced clues was probably unintentional deception, but unfortunate especially in a dodgy device, but accept that the device as a whole was clever and agree with the above comments. FOI FIASCO, LOI DIAGRAM, COD ELSINORE. Thanks, Teazel and Merlin.

  22. I’m going to say it: what an awful puzzle! This was, perhaps, the most clumsy unappealing QC I have attempted in a long time.

    Far too many cross-references to other clues. Meaning if you haven’t answered the referenced clues you can become totally mired in confusion.

    I stopped after twenty minutes having absolutely no interest in continuing.

      1. . . . between the three of us, I stop as soon as I see this setters name.

  23. Rather enjoyed this as the VEIL was lifted early on and I solved a few random clues. Had to give a lift to a friend but on return home completed the puzzle without too much difficulty. LOsI BELLINI, ELSINORE (from crossers) and TRIFLES. Had to think about DIAGRAM, liked APPLE -PIE ORDER, INFORMAL, IGLOO, GEYSER.
    Thanks vm, Merlin, for much needed blog.

  24. Unlike most others I found this very difficult (worthy of a Monday 15 x 15) and I eventually limped home in 21 minutes with DIAGRAM as my LOI. It didn’t help that I thought the mausoleum was the definition and it was only when I looked at the checkers D-A-R-M for the umpteenth time that the solution finally stared me in the face.

    I spotted the anagram loop of 1A, 21D, 7D and 25A right away and I entered these first. After that, though, it was a slog with almost every other clue holding me up. I think I enjoyed the workout and maybe I just wasn’t on Teazel’s wavelength today.

  25. 7.09

    No problems but no fan at all of cross reference clues so four in the same puzzle was not my pot of tea. For me much of the beauty of these things is the smooth cunningly deceptive surface, lovingly crafted by the setter leading to a pleasing PDM. Not b****r, where is (s)he taking me next on the wild goose chase

    But each to their own!

    Thanks Teazel and Merlin

  26. I liked it! I wonder how many 4-way one word anagrams there might be? Like some others, I saw the trick immediately but found a handful of other clues a bit stubborn. And like some others, would cheerfully ban Dr Spooner……

      1. OK, we have six from the man in the back with the wizard hat,do we have seven? Anyone? Going once, going twice…

        1. Least, setal, slate, stale, steal, stela, taels, tales, teals, tesla. That’s ten!

          1. Oh hang on. Spear can do eleven!

            Apers, apres, asper, pares, parse, pears, presa, rapes, reaps, spare, spear.

            (ASPER is “a former Turkish monetary unit, a silver coin, worth 1⁄120 of a piastre” and PRESA is “a sign or symbol used in a canon, round, etc, to indicate the entry of each part”, in case you were wondering.)

            1. Ten, no wait, now eleven from the chap in the third row kitted out like a Crusader knight-you,sir, are now proud owner of Most Anagrams From A Single Word Award!

          2. Also salet (Chambers “sallet or salet – (in medieval armour) a light helmet extending over the back of the neck”)

      2. Also luters (Chambers “lutanist, lutenist, luter or lutist – A player on the lute”).

      3. For what it’s worth Noel did QC 1522 with CEDARS, SCARED, SACRED, CADRES in the four corners and CREDITS / DIRECTS in the unches down the sides from them.

  27. I found this quite a chewy puzzle. My FOI was VENOM having suspected that 1a was going to be LIVE from the definition, so the rest of the cross references dropped into place easily enough. I’m in the camp that doesn’t mind these once in a while, but find them tiresome if overdone. APPEAL was LOI after DIAGRAM. Looking back nothing seemed particularly difficult, but I was still taken over my target to 12:01. Thanks Teazel and Merlin.

  28. 12:52

    I quite enjoyed the four linked clues. My problem was in the top left where I didn’t have much apart from LIVE. Once I’d spotted LATITUDE, the rest filled themselves in.

    Thanks Teazel and Merlin

  29. Found this one tough taking 1h 9m to complete.
    LOI and toughest clue was ELSINORE which required the crossers and 10 minutes of guesswork to complete. Couldn’t see what I was trying to solve for: a legend, a wicked place, an anagram of ‘scene’ or what?
    I liked the linked clues idea which was clever and fun to solve.
    Thanks Teazel, and Merlin for the blog.

    1. Well done #5 – faster than me today! I’ve never read Hamlet (or any Shakespeare) so Elsinore my LOI as a NHO for me.

    1. This was a tough puzzle, Teazel can be like that.
      Sometimes on the 15×15 it can seem impossible. So…

      Look for the hidden, there is almost always one, and the clue type is usually easy to spot, included in, somewhat etc, that gives you fiasco. Sometimes there is also a reverse hidden.

      Then there are a couple of easier ones in this puzzle. The breathing hard with oxygen, is going to be gasp, or pant, with an O somewhere, so hopefully you get panto. From this you have the n in 20 down, so the rest of that clue after name (N) is an anagram of sure, so hopefully you get nurse.

      Balti, I didn’t know Balt, but I saw the one (I) and presumed the Indian dish was the defintion, I could only think of Balti so in it went.

      After that checkers will help you get more, but if I’m stuck I literally go through each clue and think: is this an anagram, count letters, look for anagrind etc

    2. Ian,
      a) Good to see you back
      b) Useful tips from Flashman
      c) Appalling luck in choosing Teazel for your return

      1. Echoing Invariant’s thoughts …

        The day after you left I remarked you missed out on a good solving opportunity. Likewise the past week has been more accessible than previously.

        Miss you when you’re not here. But you can checkout any time but never leave!

  30. 25 mins…

    I actually liked the cross referenced clues – although it didn’t help that I confused 1ac with “lac” for 25ac. In the print edition at least, the typeface is incredibly similar, so I was looking for a non existent anagram/homophone/hidden word.

    Saying that, the rest was fairly chewy and it took me an age to get going. I didn’t know 24ac “Elsinore”, but it was obtainable from the wordplay (as was “Bellini”).

    For a while, I wondered if “boiler” was slang for a bloke 😀

    FOI – 12ac “Earwig” – a thing of childish nightmares.
    LOI – 6dn “Bellini”
    COD – 1ac, 7dn, 25ac, 21dn – clever!

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I have wondered if print is becoming harder to read because of screens / fonts or because of my ageing eyesight. The magnifier app on my phone has been used once or twice for hardcopies!

      Well done on 25mins 👍

      1. To be honest, I’m getting to that age where I’m finding it difficult to see things closer up, especially if it’s gloomy – but in this case, I definitely think it was confusion between the “1” and “l” on the printed typeface, which were almost indistinguishable.

  31. I didn’t mind the cross referencing …. at least they were getable. I struggled with APPLE-PIE ORDER which is not a term I am familiar with. The NW corner, with the exception of LIVE, held out until the very end with LOI GEYSER. 12:03

  32. 33.46 Completely off the wavelength today. I enjoyed the cycle of anagrams. The problem was everything else!

  33. Too hard for me today and so a DNF beaten by DIAGRAM, VEIL & INFORMAL in SE corner. Took ages to get the rest as well. Didn’t enjoy this much at all and, as ever, did not see the 4 linked clues as I didn’t get one of them!

  34. Definitely chewy – it took me 24 minutes, exactly double yesterday’s time. Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, including the 4 interlinked clues (maybe because I spotted them fairly early on!).

    FOI – 3ac PASSABLE
    LOI – 17ac FIASCO (can’t believe I didn’t see this hidden much earlier)
    COD – liked 23ac DIAGRAM and 4dn APPLE-PIE ORDER

  35. A nightmare puzzle for the rookie solver. Arghh! Threw in the towel pretty quickly I’m afraid.

    1. Agree. The cross-referenced clues were a brilliantly clever idea, but I was totally stuck, only got five clues at all………
      Been to all the Baltic countries, but I’ve never heard of a BALT!

    2. Good decision to give up early. Sticking at it when it’s above your level just leads to frustration and demotivation.

  36. A 1hr16+ fiasco 🙄 And that was after taking a break at 1hr05 with six left.

    Think it was the hardest one I’ve seen in months – I only had the four corners plus IGLOO and NURSE in the first 10-15mins. Not even possible letters dotted around that might contribute to other answers.

    If the grid hadn’t looked so bleakly empty at 30mins, I would likely have given up. But I just couldn’t believe I could be failing so badly, so stuck at it and when the SE corner finally unravelled at 45mins, it hooked me back in for another twenty mins.

    My 2nd visit got five of the six clues within 5mins and then it was ten mins spent decoding ELSINORE

    One best forgotten in my opinion.

    1. Well done for sticking it out. I’d have probably given up after 30 mins.

      You probably already know this, but I often find there is usually at least one corner that has a number of more straight forward clues – sometimes I whizz through the grid to identify this as and use it as an anchor for everything else.

      It’s like picking at a jumper until you find a loose thread and then pulling it until everything starts to unravel.

      1. It’s strange … when I do QC I always read every clue on a first pass and then pick the area that looks most promising to work from.

        Other crosswords I tend to build off clues that I’ve got. I guess that’s due to the difference between speed solving and not.

  37. 6:54 this afternoon, brought down to earth after yesterday’s peformance – but Teazel’s puzzle today was much more difficult.
    Was a little non-plussed when I first saw the 4 linked clues (is Teazel a Grauniad setter in his spare time?) but they didn’t actually cause me too much grief. Overall, I think we should applaud setters who try to be inventive on occasion and in any case it gives us lot the chance to debate a little!
    Maybe Teazel just got to me, as I found several clues more than a little chewy en route to POI (and COD) 8d “geyser” and LOI 16 d “appeal”, which wasn’t too hard with all the crossers in place, but took me rather long to crack for whatever reason.
    Thanks to Teazel and to Merlin for an entertaining blog

  38. I liked the whole crossword including the linked clues – they were easy to solve and made a bit of extra fun.

  39. Very difficult puzzle. Couldn’t get a handle on the four interconnected clues – just chasing round in circles, so required multiple aids to get the thing going.

  40. Both Randoms agree that this was a case of Teazel extracting payback, on Orpheus’ behalf, for our temerity to escape the SCC so easily yesterday. This was tortuous and only Mrs R made it to the finishing line. She did so in 40 minutes (vs 11 mins yesterday), but BELLINI was a lucky guess over BaLLINI, both of which parsed.

    As for me, I was forced to throw in the towel after a whopping 73 minutes with D_A_R_M unsolved. I had NHO the mausoleum site, did not see DIM for for indistinct and alphabet-trawled my way past the correct solution on at least three occasions. I found DrAb for indistinct, but R_M for map proved impossible.

    Actually, I thought this required quite a bit of not-so-general knowledge. In addition to the NHO mausoleum site (AGRA), I had not come across the composer (BELLINI), the tragic scene (ELSINORE), the North European (BALT) or the phrase for perfect regularity (APPLE-PIE ORDER). All of these were painfully pieced together from their cryptic wordplay only.

    My conclusion is that this was beyond the limits for a QC, but I will still thank Teazel for the workout and Merlin for his explanation.

    1. Agra was fair enough. It’s pretty famous for the Taj Mahal, which is the go to mausoleum. Bellini? No, me neither.

    2. Good analysis Mr Random. I agree somewhat with DH about Agra although it’s not one that springs to mind for me.

      And I think when you combine the GK with defs like “water boiler” for geyser and “map” for diagram and the big clue across the middle for determination, the word that kept running through my head as I struggled on was impenetrable. Of course, it wasn’t because I got there in the end but it was close.

      Like you I never studied Shakespeare. I was supposedly in one of the five top sets for English Literature but while the others studied it, we didn’t. I never felt entirely sure we weren’t being gamed on that front.

      I have subsequently been to Brownsea Island on four occasions for their Open Air theatre productions and seen Much Ado, As You Like It, Midsummer Night’s, Hamlet plus watched the films of Much Ado and Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet. I get nowhere with it because of the language.

      1. The last two times I’ve been to Brownsea I swam around the island (4+ miles, if I remember correctly), along with a whole bunch of others in the annual Poole Lifeguard swim.

        1. I worked with someone who did that, undeniably impressive in my book. To do it twice, may just be stupidity 😉 I assume therefore the Pier-to-Pier has been ticked off also

    3. For crosswording purposes, it’s worth remembering that Bellini wrote the opera “Norma”.

    4. Also, if you choose to keep banging your head against Teasel, try and remember Incubus (pl Incubi), a demon. He is the only setter that uses it occasionally.

    5. I agree that this was extra difficult and not one that I enjoyed particularly.

      I nearly gave up with only a handful completed (which did include the cross- referenced circular quartet).

      Had to look up Panto (hmm) Diagram and Informal.

      Clues took generally too long to solve.


  41. 30 minutes in and still ten clues left. Another 10 mins and still 9 left. Several of the missing clues I had answers to but couldn’t parse so didn’t risk. NHO apple pie order or Balt although I eventually got apple pie with crossers. Linked clues were FOI. Could probably have completed if I’d devoted more time but didn’t feel inclined to. Thanks Teazel and (especially ) Merlin.

  42. 29:26

    Got the four corners quickly enough but a real grind after that. Well outside my 20 minute target. LOI SCRORN.

  43. Given the comments of quite a few, I feel pleased to have finished at all (never mind it taking a jour or so). Glad I’m not alone in thinking this was very hard for (comparative) rookies.

    I parsed BALTI as BALTIC and talking one (letter off). Made sense to me and certainly NHO BALT.

    1. Same here…totally misparsed it, thinking it was just lobbing the “c” off Baltic. Still worked though.

  44. DNF.
    I did not stand much of a chance with this one. I thought that 1 across might be LIVE but could
    not work out how to get to this from the clue. So I gave up. I read the explanation regarding the the “infinite loop”. I do not even understand the analysis !
    This is supposed to be a “quick cryptic” for goodness sake.

    1. The four corners are anagrams using the letters E, I, L, V as I’m sure you now realise.

      Each corner clue basically points to another corner and says “Anagram the word that’s there”.

      1A Unusually 21, as it happens (4) = LIVE – anagram of VILE (21D)
      25A Cover up 1ac broadcast (4) = VEIL – anagram of LIVE (1A)
      7 Wickedness when 25 is ripped up (4) = EVIL – anagram of VEIL (25A)
      21 Disgusting sort of 7 (4) = VILE – anagram of EVIL (7d)

      Hope that helps. Merlin’s blog will explain the anagrams/defs further if required.

  45. I hope my friends in the SCC won’t be too unhappy if I admit to having really enjoyed this puzzle. My time was into SCC territory (37 mins), but I enjoyed the challenge. I can however fully understand why some solvers didn’t like Teazel’s offering.

    Took me ages to see what was going on with the infinity loop, but I was full of admiration when I worked out what was happening. Made a nice change to see something new (at least new for me).


    Great blog Merlin. Needed it to parse DIAGRAM amongst others!


  46. The clue for ELSINORE is not an &lit, as the “Tragic scene” part of the clue does not contribute to the wordplay. You could possibly argue that it is a semi-&lit, though that normally implies that the surface reading is necessary to understand the definition. I saw it as just definition (“Tragic scene”) plus wordplay, though of course how a clue is classified is not the most interesting part of any puzzle.

    Thanks for the blog, and I do enjoy the random bits of history that your solving time comments bring up.

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