QC 2595 by Breadman

Welcome to the latest of the new Saturday QCs.  And we have a gem from Breadman, with some lovely wordplay, some gently stretching GK and his signature “not quite a pangram” – all the rare and high-Scrabble-score letters are here, but we miss F, M and V.

I found this slightly more challenging than usual, and needed 13:55 to complete it.  Several of the clues though were OIH (Obvious In Hindsight), to use the most useful new acronym coined recently, and I expect many will have faster times than me.  It is usually the case …

Note: As I am blogging this puzzle, 19 across contains an obvious typo of brink in place of drink in both the Crossword Club and the online Times.   This will probably be corrected quickly, and most solvers should be able to guess  what was intended.

Thank you Breadman for an enjoyable puzzle.

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

7 Animal hunted  where excavations are carried out (6)
QUARRY – A Double Definition to start us off; and if you are like me, the moment you see a Q you start thinking Pangram.
8 Companion at home finally cut variable cotton fabric (6)
CHINTZ – A “build it from components” clue, with CH (Companion,  CH being the abbreviation for Companion of Honour) + IN (at home) + T (finally, ie last letter of, cuT) + Z (a generic variable in algebra).  And with the Z appearing, my Pangram alert is redoubled.
9 Legendary strongman runs through Chelsea, strangely (8)
HERACLESR (runs) in (Chelsea)*, strangely being one of the more straightforward anagram indicators.  Heracles may be better known to some as Hercules; this is the Greek version of his name.
10 Artist recalled church’s curved structure (4)
ARCHAR (RA, ie Artist, “recalled”, ie  backwards) + CH (church).  We have to lift and separate “church” and “curved structure” – this is not necessarily an ecclesiastical arch.
11 After, newsman wrote on social media (6)
POSTEDPOST (After) + ED (the crossword-setter’s favourite newsman, journalist etc).
13 Vast coniferous forest where wild cat heard (5)
TAIGA – sounds like Tiger (“wild cat heard”).  The Taiga area covers over 6 million square miles of northern Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia, so I think “vast” is justified.
14 Period dresser auntie displays (3)
ERA – Hidden in dressER Auntie, with “displays” our clue to look for it.
15 Spanish food tramp eats occasionally (5)
TAPAS – Every alternate letter (“occasionally”) of TrAmP eAtS.  Tapas were traditionally small snacks for enjoying with a drink in a bar; they were usually very salty to encourage people to order more drinks!
17 Fictional doctor and wife visiting family member (6)
WATSONW (wife) + AT SON (visiting family member).  Ah, that doctor – Sherlock Holmes’s companion.  I spent some time thinking the definition was “Fictional” with the wordplay being MO+W (“doctor and wife”) inserted into a word for a family member before the penny dropped.
19 Brewed drink left for duck (4)
TEALTEA (Brewed drink) + L (Left) gives us our waterfowl.  A charming little bird, with the males having a brightly coloured head with a striking green flash which gives its name to teal the colour.
20 Old poet excited Wilde, say (3-5)
DAY-LEWIS(Wilde say)*, with excited doing duty as the anagram indicator this time.  Cecil Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish poet and Poet Laureate.  He died in 1972 aged just 68, so a bit harsh perhaps to call him Old.
22 Relatives during gentle run having a laugh (6)
JOKINGKIN (relatives) in JOG (gentle run), and the third of the traditional “4 rare letters” appears.  The Pangram warning light is flashing fit to bust now.
23 Wide county, an ancient English territory (6)
WESSEXW (Wide) + ESSEX (a county). And the 4th of the rare letters duly appears.  Now all we have to check is that the other 22 are all present.  Ah, I forgot it was a Breadman puzzle …


1 Aristocrat and king in outstanding environment (4)
DUKEK (king) in DUE (outstanding).  Environment appears to be in the clue merely to give the surface a semblance of sense, rather than as part of any wordplay.
2 Animal protecting right area of body (6)
BREASTR (right) inserted into BEAST (animal).  “Protecting” is the inclusion indicator here.
3 Bikes encapsulating commercial for European archipelago (8)
CYCLADESAD (commercial) inserted into CYCLES (bikes).  This time “encapsulating” is the inclusion indicator.
4 Reserve small chilled desserts (4)
ICESICE (Reserve) + S (for small).  This is Reserve as in reticence rather than Reserve as in book a place; I’ve not often seen ICE as a synonym for it but certainly one can receive an ICY reception where the other person is unwelcoming and reserved.
5 Inspector lifted rule, overseeing one religious festival (6)
DIWALIDI (Inspector, ie Detective Inspector) + WAL (law, ie rule which is then lifted, ie backwards) + I (one).  As this is a Down clue, DIWAL is above, so overseeing, the I.  Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights, and a colourful and joyful occasion.
6 Back-to-back felines inside so disconnected (8)
STACCATOTAC and CAT (two felines “back to back”) inside SO.  I needed all the checkers to get this one but once they were in place, the clever wordplay leaps out at one.  My COD.
12 Oscar, then out to lunch, meets Dorothy punctually (2,3,3)
ON THE DOT – An IKEA clue, built up from O (O is Oscar in the phonetic alphabet) + NTHE (ie (then)*, with “out to lunch” indicating the anagram) + DOT (short for Dorothy).
13 Bird of prey‘s new cry of distress south of Devon river (5,3)
TAWNY OWL –  Our second Construction clue in a row, with N (new) + YOWL (cry of distress) south of, ie underneath, the Devonian River TAW.

A river of reasonable length (45 miles long) and some literary fame (it features in the book “Tarka the Otter”), but even so I suspect it might not be known to all – though the fact that all three of its letters are checkers from other clues will no doubt help those who don’t.

16 Place to preach sensational stuff connected to Italian (6)
PULPITPULP (sensational stuff) + IT (Italian).  I biffed this and only then saw the connection between “sensational stuff” and Pulp, as in Pulp Fiction.
18 Holy believer initially thwarts robbery (6)
THEISTT (initially, ie first letter of, Thwarts) + HEIST (robbery).
20 Appreciates  accommodation (4)
DIGS – A Double Definition, with both of the terms perhaps now slightly dated.
21 Plan article supporting freshwater fish (4)
IDEAA (article) underneath IDE (freshwater fish).  The ide is a very useful fish for both crossword-setters and crossword-solvers to know.

74 comments on “QC 2595 by Breadman”

  1. I found this a bit of a stinker, not helped by an error in 19a which online read “Brewed brink …” which totally threw me off. Based on this I was happy to assume that 9a was also inaccurate and HERCULES was the answer. Eventually I realised it wasn’t, but it took a long time to finish the NW corner, eventually finishing in over 50 minutes.
    There were plenty of clues I was unhappy with. Breadman has definitely proven their superior knowledge over the plebs like me today, I hadn’t heard of HERACLES, the River TAW, or Cecil DAY-LEWIS. I also didn’t like “sensationalist stuff” = PULP and putting “environment” on the end of 1d.
    Oh well, hopefully the next one is better.

    1. I get your annoyance over the error, it was matched by my own frustration at being unable to access the site!

      But you’re being a little harsh on Breadman. All of the unknowns you mentioned were signposted by obvious anagrams or generous checkers. As a fellow pleb I had HERCULES for far too long, but that was just good clue setting IMHO.

      PULP and “sensationalist stuff” are near-perfect synonyms, and “environment” is required in 1dn for the surface reading, whilst not detracting from the wordplay.

      1. My DQ came favour of not knowing TAIGA. Got the homophone and plumped for TEIGA. Then tried THIGA and before TAIGA.

        Was there a signpost I missed? I’m assuming there isn’t and it’s just not the best of clues for those lacking the requisite GK.

        1. If you don’t the word you have to guess the spelling. I don’t necessarily mind that, except when the word is quite obscure, which is somewhat individual (I thought TAIGA wasn’t too far out for the QC but it’s not exactly in common use).
          I always find it more satisfying when a clue could be solved by anyone, a tricky bit of wordplay made of common words is why I do these. Having to know a whole host of random Scottish islands or bits of outdated and localised slang is frustrating.

          1. Thanks David … re your comment about random Scottish isles. As I say in my comment further down last time Breadman clued the poet as Poet laureate once twenty-four hours on Scottish isle (3-5) and I couldn’t get it that day due to my poor geography skills. Think there’s been two islands so far this year (mISLAY and STAFFA) which both presented me with problems. I’m slowly learning them but geography has never been one of my subjects hence DQed yesterday by the sleepy commuter places which apparently people who did ‘O’ level geography knew!

            1. I wouldn’t have got Day-Lewis from that clue, that’s for sure! I do know Islay and Skye for alcoholic reasons, but other than that I struggle (Staffa definitely caught me out recently).

        2. This seems to be a response to me, but I didn’t comment on the TAIGA clue.

          Agree that it could be problematic for anyone that didn’t know the forest.

          1. When I first began to reply to you I failed to note you had delineated your comment with “All of the unknowns you mentioned”.

            After seeing it, I still blundered on with my comment. I wasn’t trying to take you to task – it just seemed as good a place as any to raise the query! 👍

          1. DQ – disqualified. Probably not in the glossary because it is a term I picked up while playing golf.

            Just that a DNF (did not finish) seems incorrect given that I had everything filled in but got something wrong.

            I’m probably just confusing the issue!!

  2. Chúc mừng năm mới for those who celebrate! Wish you all a year of seeing the hiddens and being able to quickly unravel the anagrams. 🧨🎊🧧🐉🐲

    The geography clues were beyond me today as was the poet. I choose to see this as an omen that I’ve got a year of learning new things ahead of me – not a year of just failing miserably

    STACCATO was my favourite. Putting that together was really satisfying. I loved the idea of back to back cats!

  3. I missed the typo too but couldn’t remember the name of the festival and had to figure it out laboriously from the wordplay, taking me to 10.16. DUKE, WATSON and the owl also held me up. Thanks to Cedric for alerting me to the fact that there was a lot more going on in the clues for ON THE DOT, TAWNY OWL and PULPIT than I had noticed as I happily biffed away. An anagram of then, I ask you! Having encountered at least three TAIGA/tiger replica clues in about a fortnight I’m calling it: chestnut.

  4. 10 minutes. It was handy for those who do both puzzles daily that TAIGA came up in the 15×15 last Tuesday.

    I’m surprised at some of the comments about Day-Lewis. He was Poet Laureate 1968 until his death in 1972, between Masefield and Sir John Betjeman. His son is pretty famous – the actor Sir Daniel Day-Lewis.

  5. 22:05. Had some big problems on this one. I misread the the poet clue so was looking for a one-word 8-letter answer instead of the 3-5 formation. Then my brain seemed to think an archipelago was a peninsula so CYCLADES was very slow coming. Oh well, got through eventually.

  6. A bit over 16 minutes. This was tough for me too. I couldn’t get WHO for the ‘Fictional Doctor’ at 17a out of my mind for several minutes and had to biff TAWNY OWL ; I’d never heard of the River TAW, thinking of the Tamar (it may be in Cornwall for all I know) and I couldn’t get beyond just OW for ‘cry of distress’. Luckily I didn’t notice the ‘brink’ typo.

    Like Cedric I was expecting the pangram which didn’t eventuate. Favourite was our ‘Back-to-back felines’ at 6d.

    Thanks to Breadman and Cedric

  7. Approx 38 minutes (Parkrun + QC solve).

    Anyone else have trouble accessing the Club site? No, just me then? Right, moving on…

    Nicely pitched Quickie today I thought. Took me a fair bit longer than usual, partly because of my Herculean efforts at 9ac. Maybe 42 degrees is too hot for solving. Certainly too hot for running.

    Thanks for another superb blog Cedric. It’s funny, after all these years I don’t recall ever thinking “pangram” whilst solving. Maybe I should!

    1. Yes, I got an error message trying to access it from Safari on my iPad. I tried it Chrome and it worked. Not sure what is going wrong.

  8. A rapid 16 minutes, if I’m allowed to ignore an absent minded typo in DIWALI, so a fine end to what’s generally been a tricky week on the QC front. I liked STACCATO especially, and THEIST raised a smile to these world-weary lips. The NHO TAIGA was a punt and CYCLADES had to be fully parsed, albeit very satisfyingly. It was nice to see WESSEX, my home, making an appearance.
    Off to Parkrun soon hoping now to get a combined time of sub-50.
    (Update: combined QCPR time of 46 this morning.)

      1. Thank you. I came in just the wrong side of 30 minutes. So frustrating! Well done on your sub50 too.

  9. 7:52 WOSE (with one stupid error)
    I typed in DINALI with confidence, being grateful that I was a crosser, and overlooking the fact that it didn’t parse. It was only long after submitting and realizing that should have been a W that I realized I’d confused the festival with the Alaskan mountain. No problems elsewhere, although TAWNY OWL took a while. Didn’t realize the D-Ls were related. TAIGA is making a comeback, I see.

  10. Entertaining puzzle despite my MER at the spelling of HERACLES.
    Several clues required some head scratching although all were fairly clued. I was convinced that the fictional doctor was going to be Who which held me up until the checkers forced a rethink.
    TAIGA would have proved much more difficult if I hadn’t seen it recently and I was thinking much further back historically for the poet.
    Started with CHINTZ and finished with WATSON in 9.29, although whether it’s all green is a mystery as the club site seems to have frozen mid submit. I think the whole of the Times website is having issues.
    Thanks to Cedric

  11. Yay! A rare escape from the SCC at 19.27, despite the brink/drink typo which held me up a fair bit until I realised that TEAL worked if the clue was a typo.

    That sets me up for a good day! 😊

    @Cedric – thanks for the very educational blog. I interpreted ICE as being “on ice” ie held in reserve.

    Happy weekend everyone. ❤️

  12. Regarding 4d – i used the other meaning of reserve from you: if you put something on ice you hold it in reserve?

    1. Yes that works well too. I wonder which meaning Breadman had uppermost in his mind.

  13. I’m another who carelessly put HERCULES without carefully inspecting the letters. That made BREAST impossible, which ended up being my LOI taking my time to over 20 minutes once I got everything fixed up.

  14. I see the TAIGA is burning bright again. I never noticed ‘brink’ either, even though I read the whole clue. My brain simply converted it to ‘drink’ once I quickly saw TEAL was a duck that fitted in to the crossers. Maybe I’ve acquired a human form of AI.

    I thought this was tricky in places, but there was plenty to enjoy.

    TIME 5:05

    1. I find it interesting that the typo barely registered to the faster solvers, but caused all sorts of issues for the mere mortals. I guess the more times you read the clue the more likely you are to notice a typo, and I re-read a lot!
      Your thought process is interesting to me, it sounds a lot nicer than my approach! I couldn’t decide whether “Brewed” or “duck” was the definition for that clue. I had to think about whether duck meant O or not? Is brewed an anagram indicator? Maybe replace an L with an O somewhere? Maybe left is in the context of left behind? And that’s just one clue!
      It sounds like those considerations would have never crossed your mind because you’d already got the answer (and probably finished the puzzle!) while I was still thinking.

      1. Rest assured I have just as many false starts and mind-wanderings as anyone else – if I mentioned all the rabbit holes, blind alleys and garden paths I followed before stumbling on the right answers the blog would go on for ever!

  15. 17:23 but with one typo, so a technical DNF.

    Unhappy with the misprint, several ways to attack it were wrong. “Brewed” as anagram indicator, but I went with “left for duck” looking for a four letter meaning “brink” with the “o” replaced by an “l”.

    Also burned time with HERCULES. I often look at the anagram as “close enough”, but this one was sneaky, with the three letters n question all unchecked.

    NHO Day-Lewis the father, but of course his son is well-known.


  16. Dr. Watson, though fictional, was almost certainly based on Patrick Heron Watson – in Conan Doyle’s time as a student simply Dr. Watson- but later Sir Patrick Heron Watson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Heron Watson had many of the attributes conferred on Holmes’s Watson. He was a bronzed military man with a moustache, who had trained in the Crimea, was an expert in forensic medicine and on gunshot wounds. He too was a pupil of Dr Joseph Bell, whose persona was the inspiration for creation of arguably the most famous sleuth of all time -Sherlock Holmes.

  17. 6:25. Hello from Clitheroe – we’ve taken a westerly diversion on our way home from daughter’s graduation in the snow in York to visit my sister-in-law for a couple of days. Solved online as I have no access to a printer and spent a lot of time correcting my typing mistakes. But, like Paul above, my biggest hold up was bunging in HERCULES without checking the anagram which made BREAST impossible to find until I realised the error. Nice puzzle. Thanks Breadman and Cedric.

  18. Started well but I didn’t have the GK to go faster. NHO DAY LEWIS as a poet nor STACCATO (but a great clue once I got it) nor CYCLADES not TAIGA. Elsewhere just slow to let go of ‘armpit’ as the part of the body where BREAST ended up, to see WATSON – despite listening to Sherlock & Co in the car (new episodes on Tuesdays) – and to realise I’d bunged in Hercules. I support Yeovil Town (in WESSEX), so I’m well aware hobbies aren’t always enjoyable. All green in 24.25.

    1. Your hobby should be enjoyable this season with Yeovil looking a racing certainty to get back into the National League at the first attempt. After that it becomes rather less predictable…..

      1. Not sure even a 10 point lead is enough for the Glovers but it’s nice not to be at the wrong end of the table after four relegations from Championship to regional footballs in 10 seasons and close shaves in most of the rest!

  19. Dnf…

    I hit my cut off, but didn’t have 7ac “Quarry” (always gets me) nor 2dn “Breast” – the latter mainly caused by bunging in “Hercules”. I realised it didn’t fit the anagram but changed it to Hercales, which was obviously still wrong. I then found I had 8ac “Chintz” incorrect as well. Not a great day if I’m being honest. At the time of writing, the “brink” still hadn’t been corrected either.

    Is the great actor Daniel Day-Lewis any relation to the poet?

    FOI – 1dn “Duke”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 6dn “Staccato”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. As per my comment above, yes, Daniel is his son. Daniel’s mother was Jill Balcon, the poet’s second wife, who was the daughter of Sir Michael Balcon, famous as head of Ealing Studios amongst other things in the film industry.

      1. Apologies – missed that. Had a feeling the surname was a little too obvious not to be connected.

      2. Cecil Day-Lewis was a great admirer of Thomas Hardy and when he died in 1972 he arranged to be buried in the same churchyard as Hardy at Stinsford, a hamlet just outside Dorchester – which is, of course, in WESSEX.

      3. I am listening to The Cazalets (again) narrated by Jill Balcon. It must be the same person.

  20. Hercules went in far too quickly and had to be back-tracked. I was sure I wouldn’t know the doctor or poet but both ended up being obvious. I was grateful for doing the 15×15 a few days ago where I first encountered TAIGA. 11:15 – an entertaining puzzle and blog.

  21. I seemed to make a right meal of this although, as our blogger said, many clues were OIH. Crossed the line eventually but some hiccups along the way. Another careless Hercules for HERACLES which frustrated both BREAST and LOI QUARRY. Typo in 19a caused delay as I tried to think of synonyms/anagrams/1st letter indicators involving ‘brink’… eventually saw TEAL and all became clear. Another to have benefitted from seeing TAIGA in the 15 x 15 recently. Favourite clue STACCATO. Great puzzle Breadman and many thanks Cedric.

  22. DNF

    All done in 19 but NHO TAIGI which resulted in a pink square as I spelt it TEIGA. Annoying as I quickly spotted the not quite a pangram which allowed me to solve QUARRY. So no combined QC Parkrun time this week but it would have been up towards 50 minutes today.

  23. 5:29

    Middling for a Breadman grid – nothing to scare the horses. Saw the mistype when I looked at the clue immediately seeing that four-letter duck ending in L is going to be TEAL. Spent a few moments puzzling over which doctor it might be, but the W helped considerably.

    Thanks Breadman and Cedric for the enjoyable blog

  24. Enjoyed this but failed on Taiga. The typo bothered me until I realised it was much easier to put in a drink than a brink.

  25. 7:13 ( death of King Ealdwulf of East Anglia)

    I found this on the easier side today. LOI was IDEA, I had forgotten the fish.
    TAIGA, TAIGA, burning bright; Who has set the trees alight?

    Thanks Cedric and Breadman

  26. I liked the way Izetti adjusted his cluing to suit the dread portcullis grid recently. I didn’t like the way this setter didn’t.
    I like Cedric’s commentary as ever.

  27. 15.11 I was off form today. The TAW was NHO. STACCATO was nice. HERACLES took a good while and DAY-LEWIS, DIGS and JOKING were the last three. Thanks Cedric and Breadman.

  28. Drat and double-drat! I missed a rare opportunity to escape the clutches of the SCC by writing HERcaLES at 9a and, increasingly forlornly, spending 10+ minutes trying to find a solution to 2d that would fit _R_c_T. My inadequate education/GK did not extend to the Greek name for a mythological strongman, although I could see that Hercules wasn’t the correct answer. Outcome = DNF in 30 minutes.

    Thanks to Breadman and Cedric.

  29. Slow but fun at 33:25 today. Really enjoyed this puzzle, can’t decide which I like more, STACCATO or THEIST (went around the barn a few times before getting it).

  30. BREAST was FOI, and my first thought for 1d was KNOB, but that didn’t work with the anagrist for 9a. My next thought was EARL which held up 9a, as my outstanding environment, EAR, wasn’t actually ouside of a king. Doh! DUKE then arrived with HERACLES a close follower. TAIGA ruled out the FALCON I was dabbling with at 13d and I had to accept that my knowledge of Devon rivers didn’t include the Taw when N-YOWL fitted the wordplay. No problem with DAY-LEWIS, but LOI, WATSON, took a while as Dr Who took some shaking! I found this quite tricky and crossed the line in 13:37. Thanks Breadman and Cedric.

  31. 13:59 here. Enjoyed that, although I slowed myself down by trying to fit TURKEY into 7a, until BREAST made that impossible.

    Thanks to Cedric & Breadman.

  32. It still says “brink” and I didn’t even notice! TEAL are good shooting and delicious. Certainly the keeper’s spaniel who wolfed three of mine in the back of a Land Rover last December thought so.

    That went in pretty jolly fast with nary a pause apart from last two, DUKE and BREAST.

    All done in 06:50 for a sub K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and Merlin for a lovely blog.


  33. Enjoyed this one. Got TEAL and decided it was my poor printing that had brink instead of drink. No problem with HERACLES, always spelt it with a C. Mislead myself towards end looking for non existent last few paragram letters!

  34. I avoided the HERACLES trap but fell victim to TAIGA, so 27:31 but with an error. Leaving aside the brink/drink typo I’m afraid that I found today’s puzzle to be somewhat unfriendly, not least the addition of “environment” in 1d.

  35. I too unfortunately put HERCULES straight in. Biffed DAY LEWIS as probably being relative of actor. For some reason struggled with CHINTZ, altogether good puzzle I thought . 30 mins although attention distracted by rugby

  36. Sorry not to share the enthusiasm for STACCATO, but two felines back to back would give SCATTACO. What we have in 6d is two felines facing each other.

  37. DNF. Failed in NW. Should have got QUARRY, and carelessly put HERCULES. Shd have got DUKE, though confused by environment. Looked up Russian forest then realised I vaguely knew the word TAIGA.
    OK with the rest. Liked ON THE DOT, STACCATO, DIWALI , POSTED.
    Noticed the typo but it had to be TEAL. No problem with Day Lewis, WATSON, CHINTZ.
    Thanks vm, Cedric.

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