QC 2603 by Jalna

I’m in the US this week (Chicago), so a chance to do the crossword just after midnight. But not a roaring success. Definitely on the trickier end of the Spectrum, I squeezed through in 19:02.

A couple of the clues seem clumsy and one outright error/typo. The reversal indicator at 4D looks ambiguous at best, and this caused me real trouble in the top half.

Definitions underlined in bold , synonyms in (parentheses) (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, other wordplay in [square brackets] and deletions in {curly} brackets.

1 False part of expert’s research paper (10)
PROSTHESIS – PROS (expert’s) + THESIS (research paper)
8 Advanced nursing staff may be found here (6)
ONWARD – Nurses may be found “on ward”

This is “onward” as an adjective, such as an “onward progression”, not such a common usage. I struggled to find examples where it meant advanced rather than “forward”.

Or maybe those Christian Soldiers  were particularly ADVANCED for their time?

9 Irregular stuff inspires core of nationalist party (6)
RANDOM – RAM (stuff) with {natio}N{alist} (middle letter) + DO (party) inside [inspires]

“core of” for the 5th letter of a nine-letter word took some finding.

10 Quickly look around tower in a castle (4)
KEEP – PEEK (look) reversed [around]
11 Flawed protagonist — one featuring in another novel (8)
ANTIHERO – (ANOTHER)* [novel] contains I(one)

Only Appears hyphenated in the OED (which has as an example usage, Walter White from Breaking Bad). Collins likes hyphens, but the OED is anti-hyphen.

12 Literary princess lied so deviously (6)

Always linked with Tristan, who is another ANTI-HERO.

14 Retail customer ignoring the first jumper (6)
HOPPER – {s}HOPPER (Retail customer)
16 Country pub, unpleasant and noisy from time to time (8)
BARBADOS – BAR (pub) + BAD (unpleasant) + {n}O{i}S{y}

I am sure if Jalna had said “Island pub” I would have got it much faster. Of course Barbados is a country, but I always think of it as an island first.

18 Try to contact   young attendant (4)
PAGE – Double Def

Although page is now pretty much obsolete. When was the last time you saw a pager, or heard someone being paged on a PA system?

20 Court welcoming return of live discussion (6)
DEBATE – DATE (court) contains BE(live) reversed

CT=court gives plenty of scope for misdirection here.

21 Kid given lead part for the afternoon service? (3,3)
TEA SET – TEASE (kid) + T [lead part of T{HE}]

Very nice surface, my COD.

22 Different things OKed for flexible work set-up (3-7)

First usage is 1991, which is surprisingly early, as it predates the office PC and Email.

2 Managed, say, to climb several mountains? (5)
RANGE – RAN (managed) + EG (say) [climbed=reversed]
3 Section of head exposed at the front with large surgical tool (7)
SCALPEL – SCALPEL (section of head) + E{xposed} + L{arge}
4 How silly of me to overturn this carrying trough (3)
HOD – DOH (How silly of me) reversed

How silly of me, I put DOH into the grid. But it’s pretty hard to make the case that “to overturn this carrying trough” is not the cryptic instruction. This caused no end of trouble. Black mark for Jalna.

DOH™ came up last time I blogged (QC 2579), so it went in quickly today, but it still looks right to me.

5 Times spent inside for physio exercises? (9)
STRETCHES – Double def.

I’m not happy with this one either. “Time spent inside”, is prison, and a prison term is a “stretch”. I’m fine with that, but the plural is extremely clumsy.

And STRETCHES are physical exercises, not physio exercises. Physio is not an adjective.

It seems that physio was chosen to make us look for the (FOR PHYSIO)* anagram. Which I did.

6 Harmonise initial elements of sound, yet nothing’s clearly heard (5)
SYNCH – initial letters of s{ound} y{et} n{othings} c{learly} h{eard}

Was recently clued as SYNC.

7 Training programme is rough, we’re told (6)
COURSE – Homophone [we’re told] of COARSE (rough)
11 Guys in a fix ultimately sought change (9)
AMENDMENT – A + MEND (fix) + {sough}T contains MEN (guys)

Tricky. It was hard to assemble this in the right order, especially with MEN appearing twice.

13 Bogus journalist discredited (6)
SHAMED – SHAM (Bogus) + ED (journalist)

Sometimes these short ones are the hardest. This was my LOI, I knew exactly what was going on, but plenty of words were close, with those unhelpful checkers.

15 Lively pal kept providing moral-boosting words (3,4)

Surely this should be morale-boosting? That’s either a flat-out error or a typo.

Although maybe the Sermon on the Mount could be called “moral boosting”

17 Composer touring European holiday destination? (5)
BEACH – BACH (composer) contains E{uropean}
19 Inexperienced soldiers overwhelmed by information (5)
GREEN – GEN (information) contains RE (Royal Engineers=soldiers)
21 Fastening made from odd bits of twine (3)
TIE – T{w}I{n}E

77 comments on “QC 2603 by Jalna”

  1. A few of these in the NE – ANTIHERO, STRETCHES and especially COURSE – I should have got much earlier, they are actually pretty simple though antihero was a nicely constructed anagram clue. 11.27 for me, I share some of Merlin’s misgivings (ONWARD is still troubling me) but overall I thought this was fun and rather clever from Jalna. LOI was RANDOM, I waited for crossers because I couldn’t be bothered figuring out what the required middle bit of nationalist was. In another freaky crossword coincidence BARBADOS figured in this morning’s SMH puzzle, but clued less smoothly. Enjoy your spell in Chicago Merlin.

  2. I mean, I finished it, but I needed the blog for at least five or six clues. Including RANGE – I kept trying to say it out loud in my best English accent, highbrow and lowbrow and couldn’t work out what the homophone was.

    I couldn’t work out the parsing of AMENDMENT either. Two lots of men and.. ADT. Nor could I work out how RAM is stuff… Because I thought of the computer noun, not the verb.

    I put in Hod and Peek both the wrong way round!

    I enjoyed prosthesis.

  3. 18:30. RANDOM and ANTIHERO were favourites. I needed the blog to parse AMENDMENT-thanks, Merlin. Didn’t like ONWARD as advanced and NHO HOT-DESKING, so lucky for me it was an anagram.

  4. 5:58. I notice a lot more errors than usual among the early solvers on the leaderboard. I wonder if they plumped for INWARD? Not that it works of course, though I’m not totally convinced by ONWARD either.

    I’m another that dithered between DOH and HOD, but I think the setter’s use of “this” was meant to seal the deal. Still kept a mental note to not totally trust the H as a crosser.

    Thought ANTIHERO was a lovely clue and the example cited by Merlin is perfect. Never quite understood why I was cheering for Walter White all the way to the end!

    Liked BARBADOS as well. Thanks Jalna, and great blog Merlin.

    1. On inward I was thinking of splinters or invading armies working their way past the border to the centre. Those troops would be most advanced. A definition of inward being “moving toward the inside” in Chambers.

  5. 13 minutes. I admit to writing in DOH at 4dn but when I needed to change this to accommodate the checker in 8ac I could see that the surface of the clue reads far better when leading to the answer HOD.

    PROSTHESIS was my LOI and wasn’t a word I recognised until I looked it up and realised its association with ‘prosthetic’. Doh! as the saying goes.

    ONWARD / advanced is in Chambers.

    I don’t see a problem with PAGE, either meaning.

    ‘Physio’ can be mean ‘physiotherapy’ and physiotherapy exercises will almost certainly include STRETCHES . An old lag may have been ‘inside’ a number of times and served various STRETCHES.

  6. Well, I came in all green but it took a lengthy 29 minutes. Still, I can chalk it up as a success – albeit a laboured one. After my first pass I only had three answers so was a tad despondent but after PROSTHESIS, STRETCHES and AMENDMENT plopped into place things settled down, but my – it was hard going. Nice to see HOD making another appearance so soon.
    TEA SET and INWARD brought a twitch to my lips and I found BARBADOS especially satisfying, so a fair puzzle for me.
    Thanks to Jalna, and to Merlin in Chicago.

  7. A pink square for iNWARD – managed to convince myself about the nurses but the definition should have made me pause but Merlin has given me the confidence that the definition isn’t the best so I’ll keep the flagellation to a minimum. The O is next to the I on the keyboard but it wasn’t a typo! I’d been pleased to finish in 17.30 until the reveal. Couldn’t parse RANDOM – got the N from the core of nationalist (and nationalist party) but couldn’t make sense of ‘radom’, so thanks Merlin. Stunned to realise I’d heard of ISOLDE when the letters fell in that order – almost certainly from crosswords. Quite mild for Jalna.

    EDIT: 27 out of 50 finshers have an error, so perhaps ‘inward’ wasn’t such a bad answer!

  8. A long slog to a 42.42 finish. Also held up by peek instead of keep but having started with prosthesis had no doubts for hod. Thanks for the parsing of amendment. The SW took most of our time with amendment LOI and frankly biffed from the crossers

    Thanks Jalna and Merlin. We were in Chicago in September, great city, guessing it’s pretty chilly now though? Enjoy.

  9. Well, I finished this, but I thought it was an unenjoyable, MER-strewn mess of a crossword with dubious surfaces, a clear misprint in one of the clues and almost nothing to commend it in mitigation. I also had Doh for Hod initially – corrected when other answers emerged but unlike Jack I think the clue definitely reads better if the answer is Doh. In English (as opposed to Yoda-speak) the object of the verb to overturn usually follows it and the logical reading of the clue is that it is the carrying trough that is to be overturned.

    The rest were solvable or in too many cases just biffed: I didn’t like Onward for Advanced, and I never parsed Amendment, Random or Teaset (to clue T as “lead part for the” is entirely fair in retrospect and entirely in keeping with the rest of the crossword for awkwardness). 13 minutes to complete.

    Clearly not a day that Jalna and I saw eye to eye. Probably my fault, so I shall now get back into bed and then get out again, hopefully this time on the right side.

    Many thanks Merlin for guiding us through this one (and sympathies …)

    1. Cedric, there’s a great article in The Times today about some German academics who have concluded that most words in English can be made to mean “drunk”. This surely supports your (pro)thesis about anagram indicators.

  10. Thought I was on for my third over target finish in a row but a late flurry saw me sneak under.
    Fortunately I solved PROSTHESIS before HOD so missed the potential confusion there. I took the definition for 5d to by physio exercises which made sense to me even if it was a little clunky.
    Finished in 9.34 with LOI ONWARD where I initially put inward but couldn’t parse it so had a re-think.
    Thanks to Merlin

  11. INWARD and PEEP kept me from honours today. I thought I was on a roll, biff-wise, and obviously it was too good to be true. Nevertheless I shall KEEP ONWARD in my quest to achieve top 100-ness.

  12. I enjoyed this offering from Jalna, HOD being one of my early answers and went in without a worry. My only hold-up was I had to read the clue for AMENDMENT several times to see the parsing. Also, ANTIHERO with a DOH! seeing the anagrist.
    Smiley face against PROSTHESIS for its WP and definition.

  13. Having checked my original submission, the typo in 15d is all mine, so happy to take all the flak for that one. Sorry!

    1. Thanks for that, Jalna. It’s very noble of you to take the rap but setters surely have the right to expect that someone will test-solve their contributions prior to publication.

      I’m sorry that you seem to be given a hard time of it from some quarters today, but it’s early yet and I hope the negatives will be more than balanced out by favourable comments as the day progresses.

    2. I didn’t even notice it! And it was obvious what was meant anyway, so this wasn’t one which could have affected the meaning of the clue.

      Thanks for the puzzle, good work out.

    3. Up to a point, Jalna! The subs should pick up literals like that, so you certainly don’t carry all the blame today. Thanks for popping by, and for the mental stretches 😅

    4. Very decent of you to stop by and comment. I suspect that many setters lurk here to see the reaction to their puzzles. Hopefully the feedback is taken in the right way, and apologies for the strident views of PoisonedWyvern.

  14. Got off to a flying start with PROSTHESIS and, as others, went for HOD (yesterday too) which gave some scalp scratching to get ONWARD. I seemed to make good time but still managed to clock 27 minutes to finish.
    liked TEA SET and AMENDMENT.
    No time to relax in the club, Lord Lieutenant coming to visit so need to polish my shoes.
    Thanks Merlin and Jalna

  15. Struggled with the acrosses today but the downs were much more amenable. At the time I thought it was obviously HOD but now can’t imagine why I was so confident!

    PROSTHESIS was my LOI and a real snorter to get at 1a. I seem to be struggling with 1a every time at the moment; I think I’m going to have to learn to start somewhere else. Favourites were PEP-TALK, TEA-SET and HOT-DESKING.

    Got home in 08:39 for an OK Day. Many thanks Jalna and Merlin.


  16. 11 mins…

    Funny how we all differ, I found this fairly straightforward. Main problems were getting started and the numerous clues that could have gone either way (Hod, Keep). Some good clues though.

    FOI – 3dn “Scalpel”
    LOI – 16ac “Barbados”
    COD – 1ac “Prosthesis”

    Thanks as usual!

  17. This QC was awful. Sorry, I know it will upset the elite core here, but it was totally unenjoyable and did not hold my interest for more than a few minutes.

    Even Pumpa was tempted to spray his mark on it.

    I agree with Cedric in many of his points, but you were wrong in one: it wasn’t your fault. The puzzle was poor.

    1. In this one respect, you and Pumpa remind me of my husband. If he couldn’t do a crossword, he would reckon it was ‘a silly one’.🙂

    2. I’m not “core” and def not “elite” but this was engaging and fun. Pumpa needs to get out more.

      1. 🤣🤣🤣 Pumpa spends more time outside than all of us together. He’s very much an outdoor cat. Treats my home like a bed and breakfast (and dinner, and snacks).

        It’s amusing how some of you are assuming I couldn’t answer the clues. I actually answered all the clues I attempted, but I just did not find it engaging enough and lost interest. The Daily Telegraph cryptic is generally harder than this QC, but I do find it far more enjoyable. Not sure why that is. I complete this QC far more often than I do the DT. Especially on Fridays. Wow, it’s always tough on a Friday. Yet I enjoy it.

  18. Pleased to finish in 45m but failed to parse INWARD for obvious reasons (doh!)
    I thought this was a very good puzzle at the harder end of the QC but with lots of clever clues. Really liked ANTIHERO, BARBADOS and TEA-SET.
    Thanks Jalna and Merlin.

  19. FOI RANGE. Put Inward without thinking hard(again doh!) Solved PROSTHESIS next, so no problem with HOD.
    Otherwise plodded steadily through, biffing various. Liked ANTIHERO, HOT DESKING, STRETCHES. (Why are there so many crime- related clues, I wonder?), DEBATE.
    Had to do an alphabet trawl for LOI TEA SET.
    Thanks vm, Merlin. Blog much needed.

  20. DNF. As galspray and others point out iNWARD doesn’t parse at 8a, but ONWARD isn’t much better. Couldn’t work out 9a RANDOM either but my cheating machine gives:
    most of which I don’t know. I had already BIFD RANDOM before cheating.
    Liked ISOLDE at 12a.

  21. Amazingly, I finished this.

    28.35 is hardly speedy, but for what I thought was a tricky puzzle, I’m happy with that. Needed the blog to parse a few though.

    I struggled with TEASET as “first part for the” did not instruct me to take the letter T. Had it said “first part of the”, I would have seen it. (@Merlin – you blogged the parsing the second way but the clue was written as the first way).

    I also got distracted by moral/e, but assumed it was a typo.

    I don’t understand the E in SCALPEL. I got the answer, but why would one assume you take the initial of exposed – is there some usage of E as an abbreviation for exposed? Many thanks in advance for some clarity here. EDIT: Ignore – I understand it now!


  22. Not too bad, I did put in DOH, but PROSTHESIS put me right. Apart from that, I didn’t notice any of the things that caused others to complain, mind you, I rarely do.

    DEBATE looks like it went in last, though I don’t recall why. I liked BARBADOS.


  23. I liked this puzzle admiring the surfaces in several clues; KEEP and ANTIHERO were my favourites.
    I was going quite quickly so biffed CAMBODIA at 16a knowing it probably would not parse. I was right and I spent a fair bit of time unravelling it after STRETCHES, my POI.
    BARBADOS got me home in 10 minutes.
    Did not notice the minor error.

  24. 11:46

    Bad first round scoring only two acrosses and four downs – possibly ‘work’ getting into my head a little. Slowish time notwithstanding, I found this an enjoyable challenge – ANTIHERO and BARBADOS opened things up, TEA SET eventually puzzled out (had TEA POT initially – needed GREEN to discount that). Finished with the excellent PROSTHESIS. I didn’t notice Jalna’s typo but fair play to them for sticking their hand up.

    Thanks Jalna and Merlin

  25. I’m always relieved when I get here and realise others also found it tough. Was quite deflated initially as only got around 3 on my first work through the acrosses. Was heartened a little going through the downs. But I biffed more than few needing the blog to fully parse them. LOI shamed in 18 minutes.

  26. Well I found this rather challenging in places and was well and truly misdirected by PROSTHESIS. In a former life as an auditor (before a drastic career change) I once spent several days counting prosthetic limbs… Other hold-ups were STRETCHES and BARBADOS (dearie me). Very enjoyable, especially PROSTHESIS and HOD (doh is much-used by me). Thanks Jalna and Merlin.

  27. With the QC, my time rarely strays outside the 8-10 minute range, regardless of whether I think it tricky (like this one) or not. INWARD worried me, so I changed it with my last key press, Gott sei dank. It really does mean advanced, you know, perhaps with military or Shakespearean usage, certainly not worth a complaint!
    Many acquaintances of mine have PROSTHESES, and while I get “false” most of them would point out that it’s just differently real, and might just whip it off and whack you over the head to prove it. They tend to be a feisty lot in my experience.
    Look, I won’t say this was my favourite of all time, but it was stretchy, to phrase a coin, and BARBADOS was both a great place to visit and a fine clue.

  28. Slow to start and I kept back tracking to 1a every time I got an extra checker but it held out until the very end. I never did parse AMENDMENT. COD to BARBADOS. 8:07

  29. Jalna seems to be getting a fair amount of criticism today for some reason, which is completely unjustified in my opinion. I found all the clues worked perfectly well including HOD and ONWARD, which some have highlighted. All right a mistake was made in clueing of 15dn, which I failed to notice as I quickly got the answer, but only a small blemish on a well constructed crossword in my opinion. I just managed to finish within target at 9.44, which for me at least confirms that the puzzle was set at the right level.

    1. I completely agree – some of the views being expressed are a little discourteous. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Like the sub, I didn’t notice 15a, but full marks to Jalna for ‘fessing up. My only slight gripe would be the NHO ISOLDE that imho sits more appropriately in the 15×15, but I seem to be the only ignoramus here of that opinion!

      Thanks for the blog, Merlin. I don’t know whether you’re a native of Chicago or just visiting, but certainly here in the UK physio can act as an adjective (e.g. “I’ve got my physio session on Tuesday…”). It’s short for physiotherapy, which I believe is called physical therapy in the US. Additionally, I really don’t understand your problem with the plural of STRETCH? Saying, “He’s done two stretches, for robbery then arson” would certainly not be clumsy. You could perhaps argue that the surface of 5d doesn’t read quite as smoothly as gems like 1a, but I do think that calling it clumsy would be harsh.

      Thanks Jalna.

  30. I was thwarted by TEA SET today, and I’m still not entirely sure how it works. As for the rest of it, I had more than usual unparsed today so particular thanks to Merlin for the blog!

  31. A 14 minute fail with INWARD, even though I couldn’t make it fit ‘Advanced’. A pity as I found this enjoyably challenging and it would have been satisfying to finish with all correct.

    Thanks to Jalna (my second tussle in two days) and Merlin

  32. 8.08 with INWARD

    It felt a bit off but I find it tough to change clues when there is something that is clearly right (the WARD bit). Must try harder.

    Otherwise like Hopkinb the issues raised by others completely passed me by but I did notice some nice clues/surfaces of which ANTIHERO was one

    Thanks all

  33. Hi Merlin, thanks for the blog. NHS consultant here – pagers are not obsolete, our juniors all carry them on call, and in theatres we still use a tannoy to summon people from the coffee room!

    PS I struggled with this one for no good reason really and gave up. All missed clues were fair enough. Brain just not in the right space today.

    1. I’m so glad you posted this as I nearly mentioned in one of my earlier postings that I thought pagers are still in use in hospitals but wasn’t completely sure of my grounds.

    2. Ah, Gasman – does that make you an anaesthetist? Or, as they call them around here, a number?

  34. 17:00
    No time as work got in the way.
    Got stuck on course, random, stretches, and LOI prosthesis.

    I don’t want to say it wasn’t enjoyable, just that it took me too long, as long as the 15×15 so I suspect the setters/editor need to finesse the difficulty.
    COD Barbados/inward

  35. This took me 1 minute less than the biggie, at 22:06, and WOE is me, so it was a DNF after all that.
    I thought it was really tricky, but – as usual – when reading it through afterwards, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why! I couldn’t get started on the first half dozen acrosses, so went to the downs. I really couldn’t work out whether it was DOH or HOD, so that made PROSTHESIS even more difficult. And, yes – I put INWARD, not understanding it, so DOH indeed!
    But as is often the case, the hard yards make for the rewarding solve, and there was so much to like – BARBADOS, TEA SET,STRETCHES and SHAMED all got ticks.
    Happy to see Some RANDOM Chap get a mention 😅
    FOI Range LOI Prosthesis COD Antihero
    Thanks Alex and Merlin

  36. I thought this tough but quite enjoyable. It was one of those where I was sure i wouldn’t quite finish, but the clues finally resolved. A hallmark of good setting in my humble opinion. I hope Cedric’s bed isn’t against the wall on the other side.
    Thanks Merlin and Jalna (another sign of a good setter is appearing in the blog and owning their typos!)

  37. Another who joins the INWARD set. In my defence I was distracted by the arrival of my Morrisons delivery just after puzzling over why INWARD was advanced, and I forgot to ponder further when I returned to finish the puzzle. I also found the puzzle on the tricky side and went over my target at 10:18 with that 1 error. Thanks Jalna and Merlin. Didn’t notice the typo at 15d.

  38. Took much longer than the QC usually does, but at least I finished it – or so I thought. I put ‘INWARD’ for 8ac, even though I couldn’t parse it. But then I can’t parse ‘ONWARD’ either: “onward” as a synonym for “advanced”? not in my book, not ever. Onward is mostly used as an adverb, which advanced never is; as for the adjectival usage, e.g. an onward journey, you can’t substitute “advanced”, it wouldn’t mean the same thing at all.

    Rubbish clue.

  39. A better than average 11:45 for us. PROSTHESIS went in on the first pass so no problems with HOD/DOH. Never worried about ONWARD once we realised it worked rather better than first thought INWARD. Never noticed the typo in morale until I came to the blog! Perhaps had most problems with ISOLDE as I’d initially formed the view that it was going to be some variant on Swan Lake’s Odile but, with the L in place, Odilse seemed improbable. Thanks Jalna and Merlin.

  40. I can’t accept that there was much wrong with this puzzle – ONWARD went straight in, and my only hold up was squandering 10% of my solving time on my LOI.

    TIME 4:37

  41. Liked PROSTHESIS, STRETCHES, ANTIHERO and ISOLDE, all worthy of the 15×15. Missed the typo. Bit of a MER at soldiers being clued as RE – that’s a) a bit specific and b) out of date – I might be wrong, but I thought they were now REME. However, it didn’t delay the answer unduly. INWARD would never have occurred to me – nurses are always ON a ward, not in it.

    1. But RE (for soldiers) has been in crossword-land for *ever*, so I’m surprised at your MER! Also (for info) Wikipedia has this for Royal Engineers:
      >>> The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is the engineering arm of the British Army. <<<

      Otherwise I agree with your favourite clues, and your comment on ONWARD – this was a lovely crossword, thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you, Jalna.

  42. Two days of extremes: romped through yesterday, but today I couldn’t get started at all. Finally after an hour, saw TIE, and another half hour got most of the SE corner done (total 6½), but that’s my lot today. Misery.
    A shy hand up at the back of the class: may I suggest that the definition for “keep” isn’t only “castle”, it’s all four words “tower in a castle”?

  43. 21:34 here, held up by having D’OH for 4d. The typo of “moral” for “morale” sailed way over my head, and I never got past the “child” meaning of “kid”, so TEA SET was completely unparsed and a real head-slap moment when I read the blog.

    Thanks to Jalna and Merlin.

  44. I found this really hard and was so sure that DOH was the right answer even though it made 1ac and 8ac impossible that I DNF. ☹️

  45. Struggled with this at first, especially the across clues, so I had to dodge around the grid somewhat. I also had to break off this morning due to a prior engagement and so had to polish off the remaining clues when I got back. Several were biffed and I didn’t have time to parse them after the event so thanks to Merlin for his helpful blog. 25 minutes over the two sessions. I didn’t see too much wrong with the puzzle (apart from the fact that it took me rather a long time which is hardly Jalna’s fault) and the typo at 15dn passed me by. Never considered any other answer at 4dn except HOD.

    FOI – 14ac HOPPER
    LOI – 9ac RANDOM
    COD – 1ac PROSTHESIS. Also liked SHAMED

    Thanks to Jalna

  46. 18.26 WOE. ANTIHERO was nice. STRETCHES too. TEA SET was unparsed. I spent an age in the SW until ISOLDE came to mind and the rest followed. But I had a pink square for INWARD, which was obviously wrong. Gah! Thanks Merlin and Jalna.

  47. I needed a couple of sittings for this.

    I found it enjoyable despite being unable to parse a couple and falling into all the traps, but heck that’s the fun of puzzles.

    PDMs for HOPPER especially as I was SHOPPING for a JUMPER today, and btw found what I was looking for.

    PDMs also for DEBATE, RANGE and SCAPEL.

    Thanks Jalna and Merlin.

  48. I really am utterly useless.

    I finished in 19 mins and was ready to celebrate (for once), but then I came here and saw that 8ac was ONWARD, not INWARD as I had put. I knew it didn’t parse but I still put it in. What a daft thing to do, when a bit of thought would have led me to the correct answer.

    The fact that otherwise I had a good day is no consolation at all. A DNF is a black day and means another week is ruined. Just when I think I am getting somewhere, I contrive to mess it it up. Pull your socks up Gary, this isn’t good enough!

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