QC 2695 by Jalna

Neat puzzle from Jalna, nicely pitched at the easier end of the scale (I thought). The long anagrams at 1a, 14a and 4d gave lots of useful letters if you could crack them early. There was one possible obscurity for non-classicists at 9a, but it was very gettable from wordplay and checkers. All done in 06:25 which is quick for me. Hope you enjoyed it too!

Definitions underlined in bold.

1 Change one’s view using no decorum, possibly (4,5)
COME ROUND – anagram (“possibly”) of “no decorum”. “Change one’s view” is the second definition of “come round” in Collins.
6 Total amounts you claim at the end (3)
SUM – the last letters (“at the end”) of “amounts you claim.
8 Vegetable from standard crop (7)
PARSNIP – PAR = “standard”, SNIP = “crop” (as in cut).
9 Protection, for example, accepted by Mafiosi from time to time (5)
AEGIS – in Greek mythology AEGIS was Zeus’s shield, and the word has thus come to mean any metaphorical shield or protection. The wordplay is EG = “for example”; that goes inside (“accepted by”) every other letter (“from time to time”) of “Maf iosi”. The grid supplied three of the five letters as checkers, so even if this was an NHO you had a sporting chance of getting it. A very grand silk of my acquaintance was once asked to give a second opinion on a tax scheme. The original opinion had said that HMRC would probably accept the scheme had the “aegis or mantle” of legitimacy. His second opinion began “An aegis is for Zeus, a mantle for Elijah. I propose to confine myself to the law of England and Wales.”  
10 Call bringing in working companion (5)
CRONY – CRY = “call”; that has inside it (“bringing in”) ON for “working”. I wasted some time here trying to work in CH for Companion of Honour, but “conch” wasn’t getting me anywhere so I had a rethink.
12 Additional bits of old refuse cut back by 20 per cent (6)
EXTRAS – EX = “old”. TRAS is four out of the five letters of “trash”, which is “refuse”, and therefore equates to “refuse cut back by 20 per cent”. That’s the explanation but while solving, did I biff and move on? Reader, I did.
14 Price reduction newly introduced as benefit, finally (5,8)
TRADE DISCOUNT – anagram (“newly”) of “introduced as” with T as the last letter (“finally”) of “benefit”.
16 Undercover soldiers in splinter group (6)
SECRET – Crosswordland’s favourite “soldiers” (the Royal Engineers) are the RE inside (“in”) SECT for “splinter group”.
17 Suggestion read out for people waiting (5)
QUEUE – aural wordplay (© jackkt) (“read out”) playing on cue for “suggestion”.
19 Intend to go round Michigan and somewhere in Florida (5)
MIAMI – rubbish as my non-Scottish geography is, even I know that MIAMI is in Florida. MIA is “aim” backwards (“intend to go round”), followed by MI for “Michigan”.
20 Coffee maker in pub is totally abandoned to begin with (7)
BARISTA – BAR for “pub”, IS for, err, “is”, TA for the first letters (“to begin with”) of “totally abandoned”.
22 Duke featured in old English verse (3)
ODE – D for “duke” inside (“featured in”) O for “old” and E for “English”.
23 Fruit is good to use again (9)
GREENGAGE – G for “good” and RE-ENGAGE (you have to imagine the hyphen) for “to use again”. It take a particularly warped mind to spot “re-engage” lurking in GREENGAGE so this gets my COD; well played Jalna.
1 Volume limit placed on a large town (8)
CAPACITY – CAP for “limit”, CITY for “large town”. I have a distinctly twitchy eyebrow at the proposition that “city” can be defined as “a large town”. In the UK, city status is conferred by the monarch and has nothing to do with population size – thus our smallest city is St Davids in Pembrokeshire (pop 1,751), whereas Reading (pop 300,000+) remains only a town. This distinction has given rise to what may be the most obscure song in world football, in which the supporters of Norwich City taunt their rivals from Ipswich Town by chanting “You’ll never be a city“. Niche.
2 Thrust upwards and do damage (3)
MAR – “ram” for “thrust”, reversed.
3 Sprinted extremely gracefully, having long legs (5)
RANGY – RAN for “sprinted”; GY for “extremely gracefully“. I lost time here by having the definition at the wrong end and trying to make “raced” work; it doesn’t.
4 Variable, strangely abrupt decline (13)
UNPREDICTABLE – anagram (“strangely”) of “abrupt decline”.
5 Radical doctor in charge of taking all scientific tests at first (7)
DRASTIC – DR for “doctor”, IC for “in charge”, and in between them (“taking”) the first letters (“at first”) of “all scientific tests”.
6 Distinctive, oddly stingy character (9)
SIGNATURE – SIG for the odd letters in “stingy”, NATURE for “character”. Think  a chef’s “signature dish” or Oink’s “signature clue”.
7 Mother and son have hot potatoes (4)
MASH – MA for “mother”, S for “son”, H for “hot”.
11 Typically, one circles a grave uneasily (2,7)
ON AVERAGE – ONE goes around (“one circles”) an anagram (“uneasily”) of “a grave”.
13 Cheapest seats always once included in part of journey (8)
STEERAGE – poets and others used to say “e’er” for “always”, so EER = “always once”. That goes inside (“is included”) in STAGE, which is “part of journey”.
15 Making money from scholarship, but not initially (7)
EARNING – “learning” for “scholarship”, but without its first letter.
17 Religious text starts to question unusual rationales about Neo-Christianity (5)
QURAN – the first letters (“starts to”) of “question unusual rationales about Neo-Christianity”. I’m glad that the spelling was in the clue because I’d naturally have used “Koran”. I hadn’t come across the phrase “Neo-Christianity” before; per Collins, it means “any interpretation of Christianity based on the prevalent philosophy of a given period”.
18 Medical officer supports morning rounds (4)
AMMO – MO is our “medical officer”, and he/she comes underneath (“supports”) AM for “morning”.  “Rounds” as in “bullets”, of course, sneakily hiding in plain sight at the end.
21 Special area where you may go to relax (3)
SPA – SP for “special”, A for “area”. I hate SPAs, they are full of whale song and scented candles and people trying to align your chakras. Not my natural habitat.

69 comments on “QC 2695 by Jalna”

  1. 14:15. GREENGAGE, STEERAGE, and SIGNATURE were my picks. I’ve only ever passed quickly through SPA towns, but hearing they could well feature some of my favourite things-whale songs, scented candles, and chakras- maybe I’ll try to get to Baden Baden this summer.

  2. 8:49
    LOI was AEGIS, heard of it as some missive defence system used by the US Navy.

    I had MASH as the first letters of “Mother and son have”, with no idea why “hot” was an initial letter indicator.

    Are STEERAGE seats? I thought they were just the cheapest bunks or cabins. “Cheapest seats” implies a theatre and are often known as “in the gods”.

    COD GREENGAGE, although I have never knowingly come across one.

    1. There’s no indication that only the initial letter of “hot” is used because H is a common abbreviation for “hot,” as C is for “cold”—in crosswords and on water faucets. And as S is for “son.” But M isn’t for “mother,” so we have the whole word “Ma.”

  3. 13 minutes, so within my new target but over my original by 3.

    I realised just now that I had an error because although I had spotted the unheard-of spelling of QURAN in the clue, when it came to filling in the unchecked letters the habit of a lifetime took over and I wrote O and A to make QORAN.

    I agree with Merlin about ‘seats / STEERAGE’ as I never heard of it with reference to seats only.

    1. While I accept that the origin of term STEERAGE suggests a distinct absence of ‘seats’ as we think of them today, I find the term is still used often by people these days to describe the less than comfortable seating in planes and trains etc, ‘You are in business? No such luck for me, I am back in steerage’.

  4. Nice puzzle, maybe there are some chestnuts but many are still new to us. Satisfying to finish in a time that could be used by simjt of 19.48 😀

    Great blog Templar and we enjoyed the aegis anecdote, what a great put down. As you said we got it from wordplay and some checkers, looked at each other and both said, I know the word but have no idea what it means!

    Haven’t seen a greengage in a long time, but they bring back happy childhood memories of feasting on them when fruit was seasonal and we enjoyed the glut from a tree in our garden in the autumn.

    As is often the case COD to LOI secret, nice.

    Thanks Jalna.

  5. Thanks for the usual excellent blog Templar. Having biffed my way through much of the puzzle, I enjoyed your contribution to my day more than I did Jalna’s.

    TIME 5:17

    1. Thanks Phil. Just done your Saturday Special from last weekend – what a word to chuck in at 7d! 😮 Great fun, thanks.

  6. I do like a greengage. Must be in season soon – our bush didn’t survive an ill-advised decision to move it to where its prickles would be less painful. Submitted then came here to see how MIAMI worked (thanks Templar), saw Jeremy had gone for “came round”, feared I had too and headed back to the grid sure I’d done the same. But no, all green in a little under eleven.

    1. I think you’re thinking of gooseberries – greengages are like plums, don’t have prickles and aren’t in season till August usually!

      1. Yes! I do like greengages a lot but that was indeed a gooseberry bush. I like gooseberries too.

  7. A steady solve coming in a smidge under average time.
    I was slow to see Templar’s helpful anagrams so missed out on a lot of helpful checkers and also spent far too long on LOI SECRET where I was looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition.
    Finished in 8.14 with COD to AEGIS.
    Thanks to Templar

  8. I biffed quite a few today including both the long ones UNPREDICTABLE and TRADE DISCOUNTS. I haven’t seen the cluing for GREENGAGE before so I enjoyed the PDM. Greengage is one of those fruits that I know of but have never eaten. FOI was CAPACITY and LOI the unknown AEGIS in 7:06. Thanks Templar for the detailed explanations.

  9. 24 mins but got them all, very enjoyable (even if I needed the blog to understand 19a and 13d)

  10. 8:40
    LOI was SECRET.
    I liked the clue for GREEENGAGE. I have a greengage tree in my garden, planted in 2019, which has yet to bear fruit. The damson planted next to it looks like it will fruit this year, for the first time. The French plum “Reine Claude” is in fact the same thing as a greengage.
    AEGIS was on the very edge of my word horde, and mainly worked out from the wordplay. Thanks Templar for the interesting discussion of AEGIS.

  11. Biffed EXTRAS and STEERAGE. Knew AEGIS but not the derivation – thanks for the interesting info in the blog Templar.

  12. 5:29

    About as quick as I can write the answers, although I paused a little over POI SIGNATURE, and could still have broken 5’ but for LOI STEERAGE.

    Thanks Jalna and Templar.

  13. All in and parsed in a good time. I liked the quote from the grand silk of your acquaintance Templar! I remember sitting in conference with counsel (v.grand – Graham Aaronson KC) many years ago with Eurotunnel (as they were) and being very impressed with the biscuits we were served (the tax analysis mainly went over my head – being very young and new to tax at the time).

    GREENGAGE COD – my grandmother used to make quite a sharp preserve out of them. LOI UNPREDICTABLE -waited for the checkers.


  14. DNF. This one totally floored me. I will just have to write it off as a learning exercise.

    Re 1 Down : Volume limit placed on a large town (8). CAPACITY – CAP for “limit”, CITY for “large town”

    I live in Bolton, the largest town in the North West – like Reading it has a population of around 300,000. Yet city status was quite recently given to Preston – 20+ miles up the road (population 95,000). Possibly the powers that be decided that having 3 cities in Greater Manchester (rather than just Manchester and Salford) would be too many.

  15. I didn’t find this as straightforward as most seem to have found it, outside my target time at 11.50. Very few clues were solved at the first pass, so I must put it down to an off day I suppose.

  16. 4.18

    Sub-Phil/Hopkinb/Galspray = reddest of red letter days. Just one of those puzzles where they all flew in.

    Liked GREENGAGE and of course the blog.

    Thanks all

  17. 16 minutes, so really fast for me and a day out from the SCC. Fantastic to get COME ROUND, SUM and CAPACITY very quickly, as they supplied several starting letters between them.

    The lower half of the grid slowed me down a little and I never did fully parse QUEUE. Otherwise, all fine and I now have a little more time than usual to go into the kitchen and pretend that I’m a properly trained BARISTA.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Templar.

  18. I started slow on this QC but gathered momentum as I progressed.

    Needed The Orange One’s help with 16a and 13d.


    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈

  19. I had wry smile reading that Templar ‘wasted some time’ on Crony but still finished in 06:25. It took me 41:52 but I agree that it was good fun.
    AEGIS was vaguely known but well clued and one of the joys of the QC is to discover the proper meaning of a word and its derivation.
    Thanks Jalna and Templar.

  20. I needed a few of the crossers to get the 1ac anagrist in the right order, but after that slow start it became a steady solve. I did try and ‘ginger’ things up a little by trying to enter Steerage in 15d, and was left wondering why it didn’t fit. Loi Signature also took more than one attempt to sort out. For 17ac I thought cue/suggestion was a bit of a stretch, but I see it’s in the dictionaries. CoD, after a pleasant 17min solve, to 23ac, Greengage, for the parsing. Invariant

  21. Steerage brings a persistent memory. Travelling in the rearmost business class seats just in front of the door, from Philadelphia to Manchester, I was woken by a flight attendant and asked to move into steerage. I was befuddled having never heard the term before. Apparently they were unsure that the door had locked properly and didn’t want me sitting near it on descent and landing. (It was OK) They didn’t want a rumour going all round the plane so asked my not to say what had happened. My new neighbour in steerage was puzzled to get someone next to him for breakfast.

  22. Made no headway working from the top, so went from SW up and that worked much better, albeit well into the SCC. My anagram hat must need cleaning as I was very slow on those today.
    Liked GREENGAGE. Nice to see Templar -almost- get a mention at 20A… Fun blog, thank you.

  23. 08:30
    Decent time considering I’m tired after a drop off to school at quarter to one this morning for lifestyle inhibitor #3’s trip and then early start for to take no #2 somewhere.
    LOI and COD trade discount.

  24. 6:14

    Gentle jog with Jalna – GREENGAGEs remembered from my Mum’s cooking – in a pie or simply stewed with custard – yum! Couldn’t have told you what AEGIS meant but seen the word many a time, and it fit the wordplay. Very enjoyable blog T – the ‘city’ (Lancaster) I live in is another that is laughably small with only around 50k inhabitants, but it boasts both a castle and a cathedral…

    Thanks also to Jalna

  25. From MAR to GREENGAGE in 6:58. Was vaguely aware of AEGIS so no trouble there. Thanks Jana and Templar.

  26. 8.49 Fairly quick for me with lots of biffing. EXTRAS was last one in with the parsing only becoming obvious once I’d typed it out. Thanks Templar and Jalna.

  27. 11 minutes. Steady as she goes, with the crossing 13-letter answers taking longer than they should have. I agree with Templar about SPA(s); anything but relaxing in my book.

    I loved the AEGIS anecdote; maybe a “very grand silk” but still in the Rumpole tradition.

  28. Good puzzle, great blog! 9½ pretty trouble-free minutes in all.

    As I am one of those who keep records I shall briefly bore everyone by mentioning that this was my 1,000th QC since I started doing them regularly. I appear to have got faster and better for about the first 700, but thereafter plateaued – if that is a word, and if it is, it is probably the only word I know to have EAUE in it. A challenge to our setters to include it in a puzzle!

    Many thanks Templar for a most interesting blog.

  29. Dnf…

    After 20 mins had everything apart from 23ac “Greengage”. Have to admit, never heard of it, and will have to look it up. Slightly annoyed, as I could see the parsing and was trying to think of something “re-en….” to signify use again, but nothing sprang to mind and I lost interest.

    FOI – 6ac “Sum”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 6dn “Signature” – nice surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  30. 11:19. A flying visit as my offspring are making a flying visit this afternoon! I promise to read the blog later.
    Yes, a really fun crossword with some terrific surfaces. Hard to choose a COD but when I was explaining how 16a works to MrB, I plumped for that! Ticks next to AEGIS, GREENGAGE, RANGY and DRASTIC.
    FOI Sum LOI Come round (just didn’t see the anagrind!) COD Secret
    Thanks Jalna and Templar

    A fail on the biggie today – yesterday’s possible PB, followed by a DNF today! It looks as if the law is confirmed 😅

  31. 12:12. I got very few of the acrosses in the top two-thirds of the grid on my first pass, but the downs were friendlier. COD to GREENGAGE, which must be sold under a different name here in California, as I don’t recall ever seeing one.

    Thanks to Jalna and Templar.

  32. The problem with a late-in-the-day post is that most things have already been said. Suffice to say – just under 10, loi secret, cod signature, great puzzle and blog. Thanks.

  33. I would echo Doofers experience – a hard slog on the acrosses with things improving markedly once I tackled the downs. Had to write out the longer anagrams which took a bit of time. 18 enjoyable minutes, all parsed except (for some reason) 16ac.

    FOI – 6ac SUM
    LOI – 16ac SECRET
    COD – 23ac GREENGAGE

    Thanks to Jalna and Templar

  34. 14:47, a relatively quick time for me and a return to normalcy after yesterday’s walloping. Loved GREENGAGE. Kicked myself when I saw CAPACITY because I’m sure it’s come around before.

    Thanks to Jalna and Templar! LOL at the aegis/mantle story. Legal writing can be a marvelous source of wit.

  35. An enjoyable crossword and thanks for the blog explaining the ones we biffed!

    I would say though – MO for medical officer doesn’t have to be ‘he’ – I am one (a medical officer in the army) and am female – a good opportunity for the non-gendered they?

  36. 17:40

    After a shocker of a week comprising careless pink squares I took my time over this one, no biffing, no careless typing. Had to scratch my head over AEGIS and LOI STEERAGE but otherwise fairly gentle and well under my 20 minute target.

  37. Re-engage with an introductory G to turn it into a Reine Claude is what I regard as crossword genius – love it! Who remembers that evocative film The Greengage Summer? I confess to 25 minutes or so for this one, not helped by an inspired (?) biff at 6d – Sigismund! I was convinced the radical doctor had to be Freud. Oh dear: when Extras fell, rethink time: and signature (dish) followed. Fun puzzle, excellent blog, and Aegis set me thinking: in civil service days we used to talk of issues being “within my aegis”. Did we understand the protection ref – I doubt it, but we all knew what was meant. Big thanks to Jalna and Templar. Now off to dine and sing in an otherwise deserted House of Lords!

  38. Found this very difficult, but battled through and managed (eventually) to finish – remarkably correctly!

  39. Fun? Easy end of the scale? Enjoyable?

    For me, none of the above. Nightmarish would be a better description. I began today with a glimmer of hope and ended it in a pit of despair.

    50 minutes of sheer torture as I took forever to get TRADE DISCOUNT and SIGNATURE (30 minutes +).

    Today was irrefutable proof that I simply have not got the ability to do this and that yesterday was nothing more than a fluke. I had TRADE and SIG, and I still couldn’t see the answers! How about that for sheer incompetence? Day after day I have the same problem, being unable to get the last couple of clues. It’s getting worse, not better. My mind goes blank, I panic and lose all focus. Stress takes over and my capacity to think rationally disappears.

    136 minutes for the week and it’s only Thursday. A dreadful performance.

    I dare not read any other comments as I have a feeling that there will be many good times, so congratulations if you did well.

    Thanks for the blog.

    PS Now read the comments. A mistake. Two 50+ minute finishes this week. I’m not much better than when I started and there is no satisfaction in that. Others take up the QC and are soon out of the SCC. I’m there for keeps.

    1. Gary, I confess that I am at a loss to understand the variability in your solving times. What I will say, however, is that 14mins for yesterday’s Izetti (HALF my time, and even a tad better than Penny’s) can be described as many things, but fluke isn’t one of them. When you get stuck on the last couple, just take a break and do something else (cup of tea/coffee, read the paper, anything). You are putting yourself under too much pressure to finish in a ‘good’ time, and suffering the consequences.

  40. DNF and called it a day at 39 minutes 35 seconds as we couldn’t get STEERAGE and GREENGAGE. Very enjoyable!


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