QC 2675 by Orpheus


13:28 Some obscurities held me up here, including a NHO which still looks an unlikely word, I should imagine a few solvers mouthing a word of prayer before pressing submit.

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

1 A jolly poster, perhaps, introducing a naval force (6)
ARMADA – A + RM (Royal marines = jollies) + AD (poster perhaps) +A

Royal Marines are called the Jollies, a piece of information I learnt doing crosswords and never heard IRL. For me, Jollies are holidays.
Obscure slang indicates an uncommon abbreviation, off to a tough start.

4 Way to stop a youth’s initial lack of interest (6)
APATHY – A + Y{outh} contains PATH (way)
8 Simple peasant meeting posh Asian worshipper (5)
HINDU – HIND (Simple peasant) + U (posh)

I have never heard of Hind=peasant, the OED has several similar meanings, and its an Old English Word that seems to have disappeared with other feudal designations for peasants like churl, villein, fyrd etc. The OED has no usage for 150 years.

I think in the QC should not use definitions like this, my alternatives:

Deer heads posh Asian worshipper (5)

Rear end touches posh Asian worshipper (5)

9 Afterthought about angry sea robbers (7)
PIRATES – PS (Postscript = afterthought) contains IRATE (angry)

VIKINGS and RAIDERS also possible guesses for “sea robbers”.

10 So ill, reportedly (3)
SIC – Homophone for SICK (ill)

SIC (sic) is a handy device for indicating that a quote contains a mis-speak, misprint or some other error that the quoter can feel superior about.

11 French cow, possibly, standing by back of large car (9)
LIMOUSINE – LIMOUSIN (a breed of cow from France) + larg{E}

I thought the parsing might be something to do with the sound of MOO, but it is simpler than that. Note that “large” is not part of the definition, although Orpheus helps out here, could have chosen an adjective like “miniscule” to misdirect.

12 Improves English manuscript, including the last bit (6)
EMENDS – E{nglish} + MS (manuscript) contains END (last bit)

I’ve blogged before on the difference between Emend (improve) and Amend (change).

13 Touch down on eastern half of this detached territory (6)
ISLAND – LAND (Touch Down) + th{IS} (Eastern half = second half)

I immediately thought of ENCLAVE, but of course an island is a detached territory too.

16 Nut-tree that breaks up as I chop it (9)

So that’s how you spell it.

18 Small 13, but crucial (3)
KEY – A cross reference to 13A=ISLAND, a KEY is a type of Island, as in the Florida Keys

KEY (also “cay”) comes from Spanish cayo: shoal, rock, barrier-reef, or possible from a long lost native word.

19 Canny ruler around at this time (7)
KNOWING – KING (ruler) contains NOW (at this time)
20 Empty-headed granny in outskirts of Ilfracombe (5)
INANE – I{lfracomb}E contains NAN (Granny)

This diminutive for grandmother is common in Northern England, often as “Mi Nan”,or “our Nan”. And my Granny (Ann) was called Nan by everyone, apart from her grandchildren who called her Granny.

22 Immaturity of horse carrying on excitedly at first (6)
NONAGE – NAG (horse) contains ON + E{xcitedly}

Geez. This was a NHO and didn’t look like a word at all. I can’t remember the last time I had to use a dictionary to confirm a word in the QC. I think usage is similar to “dotage”. The OED has a quote from as late as 1989:

“Industry was still in its infancy, the working-class movement in its NONAGE.”  — Journal of History of Ideas vol. 50, 1989

Sadly I cancelled my subscription after volume 49.

According to the Crossword Solver, Orpheus could have chosen NINIGI (grandson of Amaterasu and first ruler of Japan). Couldn’t have been any worse

23 Artist’s workplace and breeding establishment originally in Oxford (6)
STUDIO – STUD (breeding establishment) + I{n} + O{xford}
1 Remains of an oleaceous tree? (3)
ASH – oleaceous is a genus of tree, which includes the Ash

When seeing a word such as oleaceous my usual approach is to look for a “hidden”, but “remains”=ash is common in crosswords, so I just assumed that ash was a type of oleaceous tree. As are olive, jasmine, lilac, forsythia, privet.

oleaceous is not in my Apple autocorrect, which confirms its obscurity, but I am tempted by the suggested replacement of “olé Aloysius”

2 Chap carrying can over form of restraint (7)
MANACLE – MALE (chap) contains NAC (“can” backwards)

Took some time to parse, as of course the first thing to try is MAN + ACLE, and then thinking that ELCA could be a type of Can, which would be at the same level of obscurity as hind, oleaceous or nonage.

3 Scheming lookalike finally fled London borough (6-7)
DOUBLE-DEALING – DOUBLE (lookalike) + {fle}D + EALING (London borough).

Was tempted to look for a London Borough that fitted the enumeration, Tower Hamlets comes close.

5 One banging about in the kitchen? (13)
PERCUSSIONIST – “kitchen” is slang for the Percussion section of an orchestra

Pretty obscure, also used in Jazz bands. “Battery” is used in a similar way, look out for that one too, I guess.

6 All the players — nearly half the ice cream (5)
TUTTI – TUTTI-{frutti} (ice cream)TUTTI is the instruction in sheet music for everyone to join in after a solo.

Be warned about asking for one in Belgium where, according to Wikipedia, Tutti Frutti contains a combination of raisins, currants, apricots, prunes, dates, and figs.

7 The old strayed badly in the recent past (9)
YESTERDAY – YE (“The” in Olde English) + (STRAYED)*

Other bloggers have commented about Ye, with the “y” really being an old character for “th”. You can read more here: Ye olde.

9 Big cat identified by secretary without hesitation (4)
PUMA – PA (Secretary) contains UM (hesitation)

Without, opposite of within. As in the church St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate.

10 Covering of animal pen sheik’s replaced (9)
14 Difficult week disturbing a protégé (7)
AWKWARD – W{ee}K inside A WARD (protege)
15 Hooligan initially hiding in towing vessel (4)
THUG – H{iding} inside TUG (towing vessel)
17 Sneer at last of this cereal (5)
SCORN – {thi}S + CORN (cereal)

I had SCOWL here, even though I didn’t see cowl=cereal. But i was making no progress with NONAGE, so it stayed in for too long.

21 Self-esteem and energy to depart (3)
EGO – E{nergy} + GO (depart)

98 comments on “QC 2675 by Orpheus”

  1. 9:47. TUTTI, AWKWARD, ARMADA, and DOUBLE-DEALING were favourites. Path was a surprise as I was looking for ST or RD in APATHY. There are lots of HINDs in Shakespeare, with some being peasants and some female deer. Great blog, Merlin, lots of amusing bits and informative nuggets.

  2. Straightforward. Hind, jolly, nonage, kitchen all likely to show up in a 15×15 (can’t imagine calling a US Marine a jolly unless from a safe distance). ‘oleaceous’ (definitely NHO), on the other hand is not. But it’s extraneous, a red herring here; Orpheus could have said ‘remains of a tree?’, but that’s a pretty boring clue. I’d extend the underline at 17d to include ‘at’. And–this has cost me a pink square in the past–it’s minUscule. 4:23.

  3. Sorry can someone explain to me EMENDS again.

    The E is English. The MENDS is improves. So where does ‘manuscript’ come into it?

    Complete biff fest for me today. Lots of little crossword words I didn’t know. I gave up though, PERCUSSIONIST was beyond me.

    As was LIMOUSINE. did anyone know about the type of French cow?

    1. Sorry, blog was not clear. I updated it : EMENDS – E{nglish} + MS (manuscript) contains END (last bit)

    2. limousin cattle are BIG and from the limoges area as was a make of big car. English adds an e for some reason.

  4. I thought this was a great QC, easily one of my favourites in recent memory. I enjoyed a lot of clues here, and nothing felt all that easy even though I finished nicely under average (despite a good 3 or 4 minutes thinking about TUTTI).
    I had NHO NONAGE, kitchen for percussion section, or hind, but the cluing and crossers were clear enough. I didn’t know if TUTTI FRUTTI was a type of ice cream but thought it most likely was. I trusted that I remembered something about a Limousin cow.

  5. Hmm, yes, well. Saw ‘a jolly’ at 1ac (A jolly poster, perhaps, introducing a naval force) and immediately thought the answer was marine: the poster being ME (Orpheus, he posted the crossword did he not?) with A + RIN (for royal Irish Navy) introduced to it. This stroke of genius slowly lost its lustre as words like MANACLE and DOUBLE arrived, forcing a substantial rethink. Never mind, no harm done, all good in 8.48 and an enjoyable offering from Orpheus. At least this time I was hip to the kitchen device. Held up at the end by SHEEPSKIN and KNOWING which look pretty simple now, and NONAGE which arrived from WP. Thanks Merlin, very informative. Ye as an old form of ‘you’ is still ok, right?

  6. 7 minutes, although it struck me when solving that it contained a few words or bits of wordplay that would not be known to all. I was fortunate that I have seen LIMOUSIN in a puzzle within the past two weeks, a word that had to be dragged from the depths of my memory on that occasion.

    Some of the unknowns mentioned are regular crossword things that need to be learned at some stage, such as ‘jolly / RM’ and ‘kitchen’ referring to the percussion section of an orchestra. Obscure words in a QC clue are most likely to form part of a hidden answer but ‘oleaceous’ was an exception and although I had little idea what it meant I instinctively thought of ASH the moment I saw ‘remains’, ‘tree’ and (3).

  7. I have just returned from the 15×15 which I found (mostly) very approachable. Some are saying it’s the easiest they’ve encountered, so for those reluctant to stray from the QC it might be a good day to make the move and give the biggie a go!

    1. Thanks for the tip. I completed today’s 15×15 in 24mins which is probably a PB for me (and not much longer than I spent completing Orpheus’s rather chewy offering today).
      More fun than today’s quickie. I don’t often post nowadays but I would add my support to Lindsay’s encouragement. It is definitely worth a go.

  8. A decent enough 20.58. Very much echo others thoughts today on nonage but the WP seemed quite clear so like Merlin checked it in the dictionary. A bit of a biff fest with several unparsed so very glad of the blog, thanks, and a little gratifying that it took you a while to unravel manacle. Percussionist only came with all the crossers and never heard the kitchen reference. If you ever get the chance to see a live performance of Bernstein’s West Side Story suite, it’s brilliant and requires a huge team of percussionists and they surely cannot have left anything at home in their cupboard – if you can shake, bang, rattle or hit it, it’s in the score 😀

    Thanks Orpheus

    1. You’re right, the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (to give it its proper name) does boast a huge array of percussion instruments. But actually the piece only needs four players (i.e. Timp + 4); that is moved right into the shade by Varese’s Ameriques which demands no fewer than 13 players in the “kitchen department” (always called thus, by the way).

      1. Ah! Thanks 🙂 I just rember seeing it performed by a full Syphony Orchestra a few years back and I guess they were just really adept at picking things up and putting them down quickly!!

      2. I remember playing timps in Mahler’s Ressurection Symphony in Canterbury Cathedral as a student. There were two tympanists playing 7 drums with an extra percussionist drafted in for the Descent into Hell in the final movement where 6 drums were rolling fff all at the same time. My ears are still ringing 46 years later! But, Wow!!

        1. Wonderful. I was lucky enough to be drafted into the chorus when the Whitehall Orchestra did it about 10 years ago in St Sepulchre’s without Newgate, Holborn. (I don’t work in the civil service but the conductor was a good friend of Mrs RH). We tenors were the other side to the percussion but were sat in front of a huge array of horns, trumpets and what seemed like countless trombones. Yes, wow indeed!

        2. Did you now?! That is quite some memory to cherish – well done. Yes you can just about get away with 7 drums (some performances use 8 or 9). Yes, the big moment uses the third player – I think even then you can only really say three “drums were rolling fff all at the same time” – you’d need six players for 6 drums! But it’s a colossal racket, yes – always a great occasion, that piece. It was Simon Rattle’s party piece when he started out (still is, in a way).

          1. Well if memory serves we were ‘rolling’ 6 drums. Two-note chords on each pair. But I could be wrong. It was a long time ago. You’ve got me wanting to dig up the score to check it now!

            1. It’s a lovely idea! I can’t find it – you try. You can simply look at all the timpani parts – google IMSLP Mahler 2, then scroll down past “Performances” to “Sheet music”, click “Parts (36)”, then click on “14 more”, then click on “Percussion”, then they just make you wait 15 seconds ‘cos you haven’t signed up, then up they come. See what you can find! At the least, it’ll be nostalgic. All best, Jonathan

        3. 1984, Southampton Choral Society, Berlioz Requiem with extra timpani and brass as the basses (including a very young Merlin) try not to get overwhelmed singing of the Dies Irae.

          1. How lovely! Spine tingling even. I love the Berlioz. My favourite Dies Irae though is a toss up between Mozart and Verdi. 🤔. (I sang the Mozart in Southampton with the BSO a few years ago.)

            1. Heard this at RHA when the brass were set up around the circle as well
              Superb evening all round

          2. You were in Southampton in 1984? I was conductor of the City of Southampton Orchestra all through the 1980s – did we meet?! I didn’t get to do the Berlioz Requiem – but maybe you sang Beethoven 9 with me?

            1. I started at uni at Southampton in 84 though my pastimes were perhaps more primitive 🤔. Many fond memories.
              A 30 min biff fest today.

  9. Held up mightily by NONAGE and SCORN at the end. I thought of ‘scoff’ and spent much too long wondering if ‘coff’ was a cereal when N_F_G_ was clearly going nowhere. Got NONAGE and then it seemed easy. Tried to cram ‘vache’ into the space where LIMOUSINE ended up and fat fingered my way to utter nonsenese for AWKWARD – unscrabbling that in a down clue was surprisingly hard. Great puzzle, ended up all green in 12.

  10. All green in about 24 mins, but it was slow going. I’ve not heard of NONAGE, although the wordplay was helpful, and I hesitated for a long time over HINDU wondering why it was specifically a worshipper. As a former (amateur) tympanist I should’ve seen PERCUSSIONIST sooner and the other long one, DOUBLE DEALING, which also took an age and was my last one in. My COD was PIRATES.
    So although I’ll be gathering my things after assembly and making my way to the Special Table I’m not too downhearted. I thought this was a good puzzle, albeit more at the difficult end of the scale.
    Many thanks to Orpheus and Merlin.

  11. YE, of course, is both “you,” “used originally only as a plural pronoun of the second person in the subjective case and now used especially in ecclesiastical or literary language and in various English dialects” (M-W) and archaic “the.”

  12. Took a quick look at the top left hand corner and decided it was not to my liking so headed immediately down to the bottom right hand corner and started from there. That turned out to be a good decision and the grid started to fill in nicely. NHO Hind. Vaguely recalled NONAGE which parsed, but couldn’t see the relevance of oleacious which I assumed was olive related. Liked DOUBLE DEALING
    Overall, home sub 30 mins, and still room at my usual corner table.
    Thanks Orpheus and Merlin

  13. A good mix of the tricky and the more straightforward, which gave some helpful footholds.
    Only a last minute change of mind prevented me submitting with HANDU at 8a, like Mendes I toyed with ‘scoff’ at 17d and LOI NONAGE went in with fingers crossed. I also completely lost my anagram hat with SHEEPSKIN where I wondered whether ‘henspikes’ might be a thing 😂.
    After all of that I was pleased to finish in 8.15.
    Thanks to Merlin

  14. Chambers tells me that “hind” for peasant is Scottish, rather than archaic? I find meeting these old and unusual meanings of words part of the joy of cryptic crosswords.

  15. 12:30 having bounced all over the grid to complete. I had to resist ‘Tower Hamlets’ as a potential FOI because I was so pleased that a 6,7 London borough jumped straight to my mind.

    NONAGE my LOI with fingers ever so slightly crossed too, although it could parse as nothing else.

    A very enjoyable if chewy grid. Thanks Orpheus and thanks Merlin for a fine and educational blog.

  16. 10:58 (Malcolm Canmore assassinates Lulach the Unfortunate, to become King of Scotland)

    Add me to the list of LOI NHO NONAGE.

    A very enjoyable crossword. SIC and DOUBLE DEALING were my favourite clues.

    Thanks Merlin and Orpheus

  17. 4:16. DNK NONAGE or the 3rd meaning of HIND, but the crossing letters and wordplay left no doubt. Thanks Orpheus and Merlin.

  18. 8 minutes. Enjoyable puzzle with a few unusual words added to the mix. Same comments about NONAGE as many others, one of those words I’ve come across before but have never known the meaning of. Otherwise not too many delays though HIND for ‘Simple peasant’ was also one I had forgotten.

    Thanks to Orpheus and to Merlin for the v. informative blog

  19. Seen most of the devices before, but LOI NONAGE was a new one to me, and I spent a while making sure the wordplay was spot on before submitting.

    Where I had a bit of a purple patch a couple of weeks ago, I’m very much back to average or worse at the moment! WITCH scores for the last 3 weeks being distinctly orangey-red.


  20. I’ve never had to biff so many clues. Could not parse ARMADA, HINDU, LIMOUSINE, MANACLE and PERCUSSIONIST. Thought I had reasonable GK but the NHO NONAGE and obscure meanings didn’t make for a satisfactory solve. Thanks very much Merlin for the clear explanations.

  21. 8:11

    Excellent puzzle. Steady solve ending upon return to the NW with LOI ARMADA.

    Thanks Orpheus and Merlin

  22. 11 minute for me; LOI APATHY, looking for a ST rather than a path.
    Some obscure stuff but it didn’t hold me up as the parsing was clear. NHO NONAGE. 1d could only be ASH.
    Enjoyable overall; I liked MANACLE and YESTERDAY.

  23. Finished and enjoyed but certainly couldn’t parse all, and had to biff NHO NONAGE. Also biffed ARMADA but quickly as it had to be. (NHO Jollies!). Vaguely, very vaguely thought Hind might mean peasant. NHO French cow but 11a an easy guess. No idea about orchestra ‘kitchen’ but biffed PERCUSSIONIST from the checkers.
    Thanks for essential blog, Merlin.

  24. Finished it, yes, but agree with the words of prayer. Couldn’t understand jolly (1a), simple peasant (8), French cow (11), NHO the small Isle of Key (18) or NONAGE, or the relevance of oleaceous (1d), but all had to be and were pencilled in with a shrug of the shoulders.
    Please, Merlin, may I beg that we remember it’s minuscule, not – as a QC actually had recently, but it’s wrong! – the common solecism “miniscule”? Otherwise, lots of laughs in your excellent blog, thank you.
    I suppose the point about “relevance of oleaceous” is that the remains of any tree are ash. OK, so adding oleaceous has the virtue of giving the clue a double pointer – good. I’ve been losing sleep over “Dish fit for a queen” = CATFOOD yesterday, which lacked exactly that. No pointer in the clue towards CAT – it could have been any queen – bad clue, I suggest.

    1. A Key refers generically to small islands (see also Ait, beloved of setters) – you’ve probably heard of Key Largo for instance. As for Queen = female cat, you may as well learn it, as it comes up all the time in crosswords!

  25. Guesses aplenty today but after yesterday’s DNF I just went for it. The checkers helped. And the answers correctly guessed were LIMOUSINE, NONAGE, TUTTI and my LOI PERCUSSION. 7:20 and a big thank you to Merlin for the blog….I can’t remember the last time I needed so many clues explained.

  26. Miraculously, I managed to finish this monster in 40 minutes.
    Could not parse several clues – never heard of Nonage, Jollies= Marines, Percussion section=kitchen,
    You live and learn, I suppose. But is retaining this sort of stuff in my memory important ?
    My memory is limited – it might mean that I have to forget something really important.

    1. It can help to build up a list of common things that crop up, like jolly = RM, rivers, islands etc

    2. My doctor would say stretching your brain helps to keep it functioning, slows down mental decline, and can even improve its capabilities. So bring on more cryptic crosswords!

  27. Manage this in about half an hour but with a number of clues unparsed and entered, as our blogger suggests, with fingers crossed. Happily, all was well. Knew NONAGE from somewhere, but ignorant of the “Jollies” and “Kitchen” references – ultra obscure!

  28. I didn’t know NONAGE either and was confused by vaguely knowing nonagenarian which refers to someone in their 90s. Apparently nonage is from old French (not of age), whereas nonagenarian is from Latin (ninety). Remembered kitchen from a previous crossword. Vaguely knew the French cow and also thought ‘moo’ might be involved at first. Biffed ARMADA as I didn’t know jolly = marine. LOI APATHY. Thanks for the informative blog Merlin. All very enjoyable although took a while.

  29. 5.06

    Also a bit surprised to see the NHO NONAGE but the checkers and w/p led you to the answer. Quite a few biffs elsewhere including ASH straight in from the first word of the clue. So quite a mixed set of clues but mebbes nothing wrong with that

  30. All the acrosses in order bar one (LOI LIMOUSINE), followed by all the downs in order. So satisfying. despite that this was nowhere near PB territory – the clever cluing required plenty of thought in order to parse with confidence.

    We’ve had “hind” from Orpheus before – “Indian peasant at entrance to university” (Orpheus QC 2176, July 2022); “Old Scottish farmworker, initially identifying Asian language” (Orpheus QC 1935, July 2021) – and it stuck with me. I do like Merlin’s alternatives though!

    All done in 06:05 for 1.4K and a Satisfying Day. Many thanks Orpheus and Merlin.


  31. I was pretty well tuned into the wavelength of the setter finishing in 6.57. There were a few unknowns for me with HIND as a simple peasant and the French cow. I have come across NONAGE a few times, not in crossword land though, but in the research I did into my family history. The word crops up in a number of ancient wills, when the testator bequeaths something to a minor who may be referred to as being in their nonage.

  32. 5:38

    Great blog, Merlin – a thoroughly good read. I was in biff-mode today – ARMADA, HINDU, LIMOUSINE all bunged in without too much wrangling over peasants and cows. Didn’t know NONAGE so that was a bit of a damp squib on which to finish.

    Thanks Orpheus and Merlin

  33. Enjoyable puzzle and had no problems with any obscurities as all was gettable.
    I had 1dn ASH marked as a double definition with the second DBE and with AWKWARD WK as an abbreviation of ‘week’.

  34. A nice puzzle with, as others have observed, several unusual words in amongst it. It is a sign that I have now been doing these puzzles for a wee while that Jolly for the Marines and Hind for a peasant were familiar, even though I’ve never met either outside Crosswordland. But Nonage was entirely new to me.

    As today is a Good Day and I clearly have my sunny hat on not my grumpy one, I will say thank you to Orpheus for extending my vocabulary not make any more adverse remarks for the obscurities.

    13 minutes in all, slightly over par. Many thanks Merlin for the excellent and informative blog.

  35. Had fun with this but found it quite challenging. Last two in were scorn and then a biffed nonagy: never heard of it but the parsing indicated non and agy for immaturity! Nonage, a new word (as I approach dotage…). For those puzzled by jolly, it is often the term given to a small rowing boat taking you out to a larger vessel: I’ve often been in the jolly boat! And in the SCC, I admit.

  36. This was a challenge, with several answers such as ARMADA, clearly correct but without understanding the clue ? Jolly, NHO. COD KEY, as in the Florida Keys. Also smiled at SIC, very neat!

  37. Had a bit of initial trouble with the French cow as I was trying to work with Charolais which had the right number of letters. NHO nonage, kitchen for the percussion section or jollies, but never too old to learn something new. All green in 18:20. Thanks to Merlin for an informative and amusing blog.

  38. Well, this was heading for a comfortable enough sub-20, even after the Nonage blip, as I returned to my last three: 4, 5 and 6 in the NE. I only vaguely knew Tutti/Tutti Frutti but it seemed to fit, which just left the bored banger combination. I had the required GK but it was hiding (an impressive feat in a small mind), so of course I went down the kitchen utensil route and got nowhere. Looked again at 4ac, stuck an ‘s’ in front of the ‘t’ from Tutti. . . and still got nowhere. Nearly gave up, but then saw path would also fit and Apathy, and then Percussionist followed almost at once for a window seat finish 🙄. CoD to 19ac, Knowing, for the surface. Invariant

  39. 14 mins…

    There were definitely a few unknowns (as noted above), but Orpheus was generous in his clueing which allowed for educated guesses.

    The Belgian Tutti Fruiti sounds 🤢

    FOI – 1dn “Ash”
    LOI – 12ac “Emends”
    COD – 20ac “Inane” – after William Shatner’s infamous stint on HIGNFY, I’ve never been able to see Ilfracombe in the same light.

    Thanks as usual!

  40. An interesting one – there were a couple of words which I’ve come across before now (hind, jolly and nonage) and somehow or other I knew the French cow (not a charolais then), which helped. I did wondere if they would raise some eyebrows though! So thanks to experience, I finished in 9:55. The biggie only took 15 minutes longer! As others have said, apart from a couple of unknowns, that was a pretty entertaining puzzle, with some really quirky definitions.
    I also thought this was a fun crossword – APATHY, EMENDS, PISTACHIO and DOUBLE-DEALING all got ticks. I didn’t know the ash was oleaceous – just olives – and I didn’t parse MANACLE.
    FOI Hindu LOI and COD Percussionsist
    Thanks Orpheus and Merlin – a most entertaining blog 😊 The Belgian tutti frutti sounds dangerous!

  41. Have come across hind=peasant before and knew the cow. I also knew the word NONAGE, although I might have struggled to define it. From ARMADA to NONAGE in 6:13. Thanks Orpheus and Merlin.

  42. Thanks Merlin. Your comments are spot on, and much appreciated by someone who see themselves as a QC solver, rather than a 15×15 veteran.
    Cheers to Orpheus as well, I guess.

  43. I crossed the line successfully in 36 minutes (Phew!), but I know there’s no way I would have finished at all 2-3 years ago. RM for jolly, TUTTI in music, SIC for so, KEY for island, U for posh and EMENDS were all NHOs back then. Neither would I have had the confidence to go with NONAGE or HIND for peasant or PERCUSSION for kitchen, all of which were NHOs before today.

    So, it seems that the countless hours of graft and frustration have actually taught me something. Mrs Random, who is off visiting her parents today, just wishes that that “something” was more useful.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Merlin.

  44. 10.41 I enjoyed this. It was a steady solve but I had to think about it. I thought the Quitch (currently 78) would be higher. HIND meaning peasant and NONAGE were new to me too. AWKWARD was LOI. Thanks Merlin and Orpheus.


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