QC 2711 by Myles

Four thirteen letter words, none of which were clued by anagrams, and two had tricky parsings. Get these and you are well on your way. If not, then like me you will struggle (12:25).

Following our discussion on the recent “Gen-Y” crossword,  on Saturday, The three clues 10,11 and 13 across standout as examples of very tight clueing, which are timeless. No need for either “boomer argot” or “Gen-Y memes” in order to solve. Just excellent constructions, not chestnuts or formulaic.

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

1 Audibly protested about eg John, Paul, or George (not Ringo) being amplified (7)
BOOSTED – BOOED (Audibly protested) contains ST (saint)

John Paul and George are all Saints. And as yet, there is no St Ringo. Ringo’s real name is Richard (plenty of Saint Richards)

5 Noted diarist? Yes, frantically penning page after page (5)
PEPYS – (YES)* contains P{age} and P{age}

The number of noted diarists is pretty small, (OK, I’ll give you Anne Frank)

8 Study at four in place of worship, deep in thought (13)
CONTEMPLATIVE – CON (study) + TEMPLE (place of worship) contains AT + IV (four)
9 Paginates old book of verses (7)
NUMBERS – Second definition refers to the book of Numbers in the bible (books of the Bible are split into verses)
10 Tacit reform for Upper House? (5)
ATTIC – (TACIT)* [reform]. Great definition.
11 Rewrite any incomplete clue? Madness (6)
LUNACY – (ANY CLU{e})* [rewrote]
13 Here’s why, we hear, it shouldn’t be believed (6)
HERESY – HERES + Y (sounds like “why”) ; HEARS + Y also works if the homophone extends back to the first word.
15 What in tarnation is odd for school? (5)
TRAIN – odd letters of t{a}r{n}a{t}i{o}n

BTW “tarnation” is a euphemism for “damnation”, mainly US.

16 Something used in cutting mediocre journalist understood (7)
HACKSAW – HACK (mediocre journalist) + SAW (understood)
19 Strengthening control for hard stuff (13)
REINFORCEMENT – REIN (control) + FOR + CEMENT (hard stuff)
20 Introvert, individual splitting left and right (5)
LONER – ONE (individual) inside L{eft} and R{ight}

I think Introvert and Loner are not the same thing, but I accept that one word synonyms can always be criticised for over-simplification.

21 Computer program for casual reader (7)
BROWSER – Double def
1 Philosopher that’s brought home successfully (5)
BACON – Cryptic def, refers to the expression “Bringing home the BACON”

Knowledge is Power, France is Bacon.

2 Refer to part of bible in speech for embellishment (13)
ORNAMENTATION – ORATION (speech) contains NAME (refer to ) & NT (part of Bible)

Easy definition, but parsing was tough, especially as I was thrown by trying to work AMEN or LAMENTATIONS in somehow.

3 At that point, it’s repeatedly said to offer reassurance (5)
THERE – Refers to the expression “THERE THERE”, what one says to reassure someone (usually a child)
4 Put out of office, editor upset over attitude (6)
DEPOSE – DE (ED{itor} reversed) + POSE (attitude)
5 Pacify situation around area, with temperature lower (7)
PLACATE – PLACE (situation) around A{rea} and T{emperature}, although this parsing doesn’t account for “lower”
6 Lack of purpose? Not so, when embraced by heads (13)
POINTLESSNESS – LESS(Not so) surrounded by POINT and NESS, both of which are heads (geographically speaking).

Tricky parsing.

7 Small sailing boat, first of yachts, partly designed (7)
SKETCHY – S + KETCH (sailing boat) + Y{achts}
11 Subsequently a learner produces creative kind of thinking (7)
LATERAL – LATER (subsequently) + A + L{earner}

Lateral thinking was named by Edward de Bono in 1967. It breaks step-by-step progression, and is often what is needed to crack a particularly tough parsing (looking at you, 6 down)

12 Leader of Indians having powwow around tree (7)
CONIFER – CONFER (pow wow) contains I{ndians}
14 Beautiful child trapped in crèche? Rubbish (6)
CHERUB – Hidden in crèche? Rubbish
17 Statement of aims about encore (5)
CREDO – C (circa= about) + REDO (encore)

I would say a Creed is often a shared and established statement of belief, but a CREDO is a personal statement of an individual’s principles and values.

And there I was scratching my brain for why “reed” would mean encore.

18 What can make a wet mixture? Right (5)

Semi &lit, as the instructions are part of the definition. Clever.

89 comments on “QC 2711 by Myles”

  1. 10:23 Very clever puzzle- lots to enjoy. Didn’t understand less meaning not so in POINTLESSNESS nor, like Merlin, see what to do with lower for PLACATE. Can it just be that the T is below the A? Too many favourites to list each one. Certainly WATER, THERE, CONIFER, and BOOSTED were fun and ORNAMENTATION, CONTEMPLATIVE, and REINFORCEMENT too.

    1. If, say, you made 2 currys and the second one was ‘less’ spicy you might describe it as ‘not so’ spicy

  2. I nearly got this but fell apart with HERESY. I just couldn’t work out what I was supposed to say out loud.

    I also don’t understand how pose = attitude.

    The diarists I know are Pepys, Frank and Nin.

    I didn’t know about the saints. I figured the three of them were…guitarists. Egotists? Haha I tried to explain ‘boosted’ to myself lol
    Ringo is my favourite anyhow – growing up with Thomas the Tank Engine will do that.

    I really enjoyed the long clues they gave me a big sense of accomplishment when I pieced them together.

    1. Apparently an Attitude is a particular pose in ballet, beyond the more generic use of the terms.
      An unusual and enjoyable QC, thanks Myles and Merlin

      1. (Through The Looking Glass)

        “All this was lost on Alice, who was still looking intently along the road, shading her eyes with one hand. ‘I see somebody now!’ she exclaimed at last. ‘But he’s coming very slowly—and what curious attitudes he goes into!’
        (For the Messenger kept skipping up and down, and wriggling like an eel, as he came along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.)
        ‘Not at all,’ said the King. ‘He’s an Anglo-Saxon Messenger—and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes. He only does them when he’s happy.'”

  3. I found this quite hard, but a very enjoyable puzzle.
    Wouldn’t want this level of difficulty every day, but the clues were very good, apart from a few bit that felt imprecise (not so/less, sketchy/partly designed, the lower that did nothing).

  4. Unlike Tina, who pieced the answers to the four long ones together, I got none of them legitimately, using a combination of guessing and biffing for all four. So I am much indebted to Merlin for going to the trouble of figuring the parsings out. Two heads, interesting. Very enjoyable puzzle, 10.13 for me but I too am in the dark about how less = not so. I thought ‘lower’ meant the T was under the A for area.

    1. If you were out for a hill walk you could say “Take this route to the summit as it less / not so steep “.

  5. 12 minutes with a few unparsed as I solved when I realised the 13-letter answers were likely to require more time to work out in detail. But any savings made were of no benefit in the end because I had biffed CONTEMPLATING at 8ac which gave me a problem with 7dn that needed extra time to sort out.

    Myles first appeared in the earliest QC days back in 2014 giving us puzzles #10 and #19 but then disappeared and didn’t re-emerge until QC #2410 in June 2023. Today’s is only his (?) 9th contribution in just over 10 years. One of these, QC #2470, had a religious theme and since then I have looked for themes in subsequent puzzles without success, but today I noticed religious, or vaguely religious, elements to a number of clues (7 or 8 of them) which made me wonder if there was more going on. On reflection I doubt it’s intentional but may simply reflect the character of the setter.

    The Beatles clue took me ages to solve but nagged away at me as I worked away at the
    rest of the puzzle because I knew I had seen something similar on a previous occasion. Having completed the puzzle I searched the archive and came up with this from 15×15 #25785 in December 2023:

    Salutation appropriate for John, Paul, or George, but not Ringo (5) TOAST – TO A ST

  6. DNF. I unfortunately biffed “bleated” at 1A, and never rechecked it. I was thus totally stumped by 2D.

  7. We were very pleased to finish in 24.37. A great puzzle at the top end of the difficulty scale we thought, but lots of satisfaction as we worked out most of the answers.

    We are also very indebted to Merlin for the parsing of several that we either biffed or only half constructed. COD to contemplative, took a while to get temple then after looking at several contemp??? words, squeezed in the four to get the right answer, phew!

    Spent a while thinking 1a had something to do with popes but didn’t get to saints.

    Thanks Myles

  8. Tricky in places and one day I will get round to writing down crossword setters favourite philosophers which will make life easier as I seem to have a complete inability to retain them. So far my list consists of BACON, MILLS and the German chap whose name I can never spell but is an homophone of Neechy.
    Anyway, back to the crossword which I thought was an excellent challenge starting with PEPYS and finishing with an unparsed ORNAMENTATION in 9.12.
    Thanks to Merlin

      1. It was INCREDIBLY UNSPORTING of Myles to use a philosopher who is not in the Bruces’ drinking song 😡

  9. 10:51 so went over the 10 minute mark today. I did find this harder than average. LOI ORNAMENTATION for me also

  10. Done in 13 minutes, but very much a biff-fest for me too, with several parsings not understood so I certainly needed Merlin’s blog. Did not get the reference to saints in BOOSTED (nice, and I’ll remember that one for future reference), did not see paginate = number and got nowhere with ORNAMENTATION – that “refer to” can mean “name” is another one I’ll try to (but almost certainly fail to) remember for future use. All of which made the NW corner something of a struggle.

    The rest of the puzzle was less intractable, though POINTLESSNESS was also unparsed (less = not so? Not so!). So a pretty tough one today I thought. At which point the house style on this forum is to declare that it was “all the more enjoyable” for the hard work entailed, but while no-one wants clues to be too easy, I’m not sure I really enjoy puzzles where whole areas are a mystery to me and only solved the inelegant way of “guessed from checkers and definition alone”.

    Many thanks Merlin for doing the hard work of unravelling what I thought were some pretty tough clues.

  11. 5:36. Good puzzle and, yes, tricky in places. I saw none of teh 13-letter answers without getting checkers first. I’d seen the Beatles trick before but took an age to remember it. LOI ORNAMENTATION. Thanks Myles and Merlin.

  12. DNF disaster. Should have been more patient but had to reveal some to get going, eg BOOSTED. Couldn’t parse the sainted Beatles. Did biff a few others.
    FOI PEPYS and then HACKSAW. Liked ATTIC, HERESY, LONER, BROWSER but my performance was SKETCHY. Will draw a veil over my numerous bad guesses.
    Not enjoyable. But thanks for vital blog, Merlin.

  13. 11:55
    Took a long time to get started, with only PEPYS and LONER spotted on first pass of the across clues. BACON is not mentioned by Monty Python, and therefore took longer to get than most philosophers would.
    I remembered the TOAST clue from last year, so got the sainted Beatles.
    LOI was HERESY.

    Thanks Myles and Merlin

  14. V good, I like them like this. Taken a little bit over average, but a tiny bit better than expected for the difficulty.

    BOOSTED was LOI, parsed after submission. I had pencilled in an old= O as the first letter of 9 across, which didn’t help matters up in that corner. I got BACON though, which sorted it out. Lots to like, but I think I liked WATER best.


  15. A clever QC with great clueing. Needed blog to parse POINTLESSNESS and thanks Alan W for example of ‘less’ meaning ‘not so’. Also thought ‘lower’ in 5D meant the T came after the A. Thanks Merlin for the informative explanations.

  16. I’m really not convinced that this should have been classed as a QC, but that does seem to be a Myles trait.

    I did better than I thought I would (over half of the puzzle completed). However, I was needing so much help from Pumpa that I stopped, as it was hardly my effort.


    My verdict: No thank you!
    Pumpa’s verdict: Even he found this one hard. Said he’s going to find out where Myles lives and dig up his garden.

  17. 15:37

    Very clever puzzle. Despite a poor time I thoroughly enjoyed the battle.

    LOI BOOSTED as I couldn’t let go of a Beatles reference.

    Thanks Myles and Merlin

  18. 9:59

    That was quite chewy I thought – three acrosses on the first pass (PEPYS, ATTIC, LONER) and not too many more on the downs – some educated biffing was involved as I didn’t entirely parse any of the 13-letter words whilst in flight. I liked the Beatles clue, but did recall something similar before, as Jack mentions above.

    Thanks Myles and well done Merlin for breaking down this monster

      1. So glad! Yes it’s a super piece. Such a pleasure to meet you the other day. Greetings Jonathan

  19. I had no problems with the 13 letter clues however I DNF because I couldn’t see BACON or BOOSTED. Never thought of ST for Saint but did think of R for King.

  20. A lot harder than yesterday, but I still finished well inside target at 7.36. Looking at some of the times posted so far and the number of DNFs, I think I must have been right on the setters wavelength. I did however initially do a fair bit of biffing, but for once I didn’t need to alter anything. I particularly liked 1ac BOOSTED, an example of my biffing, which took me a while to parse.

  21. Got there in the end, though could not parse POINTLESSNESS.

    “Knowledge is Power, France is Bacon.“ Too funny, Merl. 😂

    1. When I was young my father said to me:”Knowledge is Power….Francis Bacon”

      I understood it as “Knowledge is power, France is Bacon”.

      For more than a decade I wondered over the meaning of the second part and what was the surreal linkage between the two? If I said the quote to someone, “Knowledge is power, France is Bacon” they nodded knowingly. Or someone might say, “Knowledge is power” and I’d finish the quote “France is Bacon” and they wouldn’t look at me like I’d said something very odd but thoughtfully agree. I did ask a teacher what did “Knowledge is power, France is bacon” mean and got a full 10 minute explanation of the Knowledge is power bit but nothing on “France is bacon”. When I prompted further explanation by saying “France is Bacon?” in a questioning tone I just got a “yes”. at 12 I didn’t have the confidence to press it further. I just accepted it as something I’d never understand.

      It wasn’t until years later I saw it written down that the penny dropped.

  22. 10.09

    Got the long ones quite quickly for a change but really struggled with 1a and 1d until the B finally appeared. Also had the silly DEPART for DEPOSE which held up NUMBERS.

    Thanks M & M

  23. Tricky, but therefore more enjoyable IMO. Quite a few biffed then parsed. DEPOSE, BOOSTED and THERE caused the most problem. Liked BACON and SKETCHY. Took me much longer than usual but able to enjoy another coffee so all good (thanks Myles). Great blog Merlin. Interesting to hear about LATERAL and grateful for parsing of ORNAMENTATION.

  24. Finished correctly. One hour and 5 minutes.
    A very tough one , I thought.

    1 Down “Bacon”. Not heard of Francis Bacon the philosopher. I have learnt something from this cryptic.
    5 Pacify situation around area, with temperature lower (7) “PLACATE”.
    Yes the “lower” part of the clue confused me for a while. Eventually I ignored it.
    8 Across “Contemplative”. Quickly put in contemplation – which made it impossible to get 7 Down correctly. Eventually revisited it and put in “iv+e” as the end part of the answer to solve 7 Down as “Sketch”.
    13 Across “Heresy”. Is the setter suggesting that “heresy” sounds like “hearsay” ? If so then this is correct in that hearsay ( ..it shouldn’t be believed.. ) is usually invalid in court testimony.

    1. No with HERESY, ‘here’s why’ sounds like ‘here’s Y’… Which spells HERESY.

      lol I’m trying to explain it and it still looks bad, this is why I didn’t get it

        1. I agree with Merlin’s suggested possible parsing:
          Sounds like hears = here’s
          Sounds like why = y
          Here’s + y = heresy

  25. Mostly done in 6 minutes but I had problems with the NW. I struggled mightily to get what should have been LOI ORNAMENTATION. But I too had biffed BLEATED because it felt vaguely plausible with those letters.
    After corrections I was done in 16 minutes.
    COD to BOOSTED ; the parsing defeated me, very clever-as was the puzzle as a whole.
    And I have just visited the Beatles-Platz in Hamburg-felt a bit tawdry to be honest.

  26. 25:17 and found it both hard and very, very entertaining. Not *because* of being hard, not *in spite* of being hard. More the other way I guess. The cluing seemed to take me on pathways previously untrodden, which was great fun. So, hard because entertaining.

    FOI PEPYS, LOI HERESY, COD POINTLESSNESS. Had to ponder popes and kings before the saints gave me BOOSTED. Got hung up on “hearsay” and “hereby” while working on HERESY. On 15A spent time muttering “but a train is not a school!” (newbie thinking) before I remembered to switch parts of speech. Nice to see “tarnation” here, it always reminds me of Mark Twain. Loved THERE THERE.

    Thanks to Myles and Merlin!

  27. 17 minutes. Heading straight to the SCC until my bête noire, the NW corner, finally yielded at the end after I’d worked out the tough ORNAMENTATION.

    I liked the surface of PEPYS. The other not so obvious diarist who I eventually brought to mind is John Evelyn and of course there’s also Nobody.

    Thanks to those well-known names in the 1930’s-40’s aviation world Myles and Merlin

    1. No one seems to have mentioned Adrian Mole yet…..

      Eh? What do you mean, “he’s not real!”?

  28. I found rhis hard in parts. I am commenting because I thought the cueing of St with the use of beatles names was very clever and definitely threw me off!

  29. I definitely found this one of the harder QCs but, at 20 minutes, my time was still quicker by a full 5 minutes than I have ever managed to achieve on even the easiest main crossword so it definitely qualifies as a Times QC for me.

  30. Found this difficult, ORNAMENTATION had to biff after some abortive efforts involving’ref’ and ‘chapter) hence late finish

  31. 12.14 The long ones waited until I had enough checkers and got biffed. BACON and BOOSTED took a couple of minutes at the end. I knew those Beatles weren’t all kings or popes but didn’t think of saints until I’d finished. Thanks Merlin and Myles.

  32. Needed FOI, BACON, and THERE and DEPOSE before I saw what was going on with BOOSTED. LOI was POINTLESSNESS. Liked CONIFER. 7:08. Thanks Myles and Merlin.

  33. Myles is a terrific setter, twisty and inventive. I really enjoyed that, thank you.

    COD to LOI BOOSTED, which required every single checker and a massive slap to my forehead when I finally got it! So clever, especially beginning with B which made me sure that some variant on Beatle was involved.

    Great blog, Merlin, thanks for unpicking it. All done in 09:17 which I’m going to count as a Good Day.

    1. Based on my experience, if it seems obvious it relates to a particular topic eg. The Beatles, it generally isn’t. I got the fact it probably related to Saints, but couldn’t parse the rest of it.

    2. The woods are lovely, dark and deep
      But I have promises to keep
      And a “Myles” to finish before I sleep.

  34. A lot of biffing required to solve this. 4 13 letter words a bit much on a hot day! LOI BOOSTED, after seeing BOOS.

  35. Dnf…

    Too hard for me this – especially the NW corner where I did particularly bad. I got 3 out of the 4 biggies, but struggled with 2dn “Ornamentation” which now seems fairly obvious. DNK “Bacon” was a philosopher, I thought he was an artist, and was ignorant of the term “Paginates”.

    FOI – 5ac “Pepys”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 13ac “Heresy”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. You’d be right! Two Francis Bacons – one a philosopher and the other an artist, a few centuries apart!

  36. A tough QC, not helped by solving after lunch in a bit of a lethargic haze. I was also subjected to several interruptions but I would estimate a solving time of around 25 minutes. I wasn’t very quick with any of the long 13-letter answers and was unable to parse quite a few (thanks to Merlin for the enlightenment). I was slowest in the NW where I thought 1dn was bound to end in ‘in’.

    FOI – 5ac PEPYS
    LOI – 1ac BOOSTED
    COD – 10ac ATTIC

    Thanks to Myles and Merlin

  37. We enjoyed this puzzle, 3 of the 4 long clues went in quickly and a steady solve after. Thanks Myles.

  38. Bombed! Couldn’t get 1D because of a poor guess of SHOUTED for 1A. Once (through checking 1a) we’d established that the S was wrong BACON became apparent and that led to a (very) belated appreciation of 1a. Incidentally, whilst Francis Bacon seems to get all the coverage I’d also come across the 13th century Roger Bacon, allegedly an inspiration to David Cameron.

  39. Tough but finished so happy, several unparsed though including BOOSTED and POINTLESSNESS.

    As an introvert I object to introvert = LONER. I thought others might too.

  40. 27 minutes

    Dreadful performance which proves how meaningless yesterday’s 10 mins was.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. Gary one day we’re gonna meet up at one of these crossword meets and I’m going to give you a hug 😂


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