QC 636 by Grumpy

I seem to have had many hard QCs to blog of late so it was refreshing when this one seemed simple – but then 9ac and 10ac had me in knots. 12 minutes in the end but overall I’m quite happy that they weren’t all write-ins as I was left with a bit to think about.
I expect some will breeze through with record times – but do let me know if you joined me in a blind alley or two.
I’ve switched the answer and definition at the start of each clue. Let me know how this works for you.


1. Remedy – nostrum. NO, saint (ST), RUM.
7. Incredible – amazing. A, graduate (MA), ZING.
9. More offensive – grosser. Homophone of grocer. I went straight for grouser – one who grouses so can be offensive but it nagged at me until I realised that grouser isn’t ‘more’ offensive.
10. Piece of cake – brownie. A double definition in the end but I was convinced that it was a girl’s name (probably Ann) inside a 4 letter word for uniform.
11. Story – tale. Time (T), ALE.
12. Be sensible – see reason. Before (ERE) inside time (SEASON).
14. Fuel store – gasometer. Anagram (converted) of MEGASTORE.
16. Most important – main. US state (MAIN)e dropping last letter.
17. Trainee – learner. L, EARNER.
18. Ancient city – Antioch. ANTI, old (O), church (CH).
21. Had leading role – starred. Small (S), sailor (TAR), embarrassed (RED).
22. Quickly, put into words – express. Double definition.


1. Birds – nightingales. Reference to Florence Nightingale.
2. Immaculate – spotless. Dalmatians may have many qualities but their spottiness is the one they’re usually associated with.
3. Others, take it easy – rest. Double definition.
4. Stone – marble. MARE holding (BL)ue.
5. Wrecker – saboteur. Anagram (prepared) of TO USE BAR.
6. Write ones name, indication – sign. Double definition.
8. Birds – greenfinches. Anagram (nuts) of SEEING FRENCH.
12. A school for fathers – seminary. COD for the definition. Anagram (involved) of SIRE MANY.
13. Tree – sycamore. Vexed (SORE) around an anagram (moving) of YMCA?
15. Long angry speech – tirade. One (I) inside TRADE.
18. The first man – Adam. In Can(ADA M)aybe.
19. Prevent – stop. POTS upwards.

21 comments on “QC 636 by Grumpy”

  1. 9 minutes, but 1dn leapt out at me before the my copy was out of the printer. I try to avoid looking at that stage but it was unavoidable. I’m not sure that 9ac would be clear as to the answer expected but for the enumeration.
  2. Not an expression of the ease or otherwise of the puzzle, but a dubious definition of BROWNIE, which surely is a whole cake? Was reminded of 14ac by the recent Test at the Oval. COD 12d, for its use of ‘fathers-to-be’. And, incidentally, Florence is named after where she was born, and she invented the pie chart. 5′ today, thanks Grumpy and chris.
    1. I’m not an expert but I believe that this cake is cooked in a large pan from which an individual serving is a brownie. I think therefore that the clue holds up.
  3. I made a self-inflicted blind alley by trying to fit the answer for 3d into 6d (not easy with *i*n to work with) but didn’t like lien as an answer and then realised my mistake. Apart from that hiccup, I thought this was a straightforward QC, set at about the right level for beginners. 20ac and 12d were my favourites today. Invariant
    As to your trial way of listing the answers, Chris, I’m not sure that it’s an improvement. What do others think ?
    1. Thanks for the feedback. My thinking was to try to hide the answer a little hoping that someone having a quick glance could pick up the definition rather than be presented with the answer. I wondered about putting the definition in bold.
    2. Thanks for the feedback. My thinking was to try to hide the answer a little hoping that someone having a quick glance could pick up the definition rather than be presented with the answer. I wondered about putting the definition in bold.
      1. Ha ! I was going to say that the new style made it hard to see the answer, but didn’t want to seem overly negative. So, you have definitely succeeded in your aim, but do people really look at the blog before doing the puzzle ?
        1. Ignore that last bit – I’ve re-read your reply and can see that you mean giving someone a hint to help them get to the answer. Good idea. Invariant
  4. Invariant questions Chris’s listing method – it would help a lot if the answers were in CAPITALS as per standard.

    8.45 for what I thought was a fairly stiff challenge and certainly not for novices as such.

    FOI 9ac GROSSER.

    LOI 6dn SIGN but only ‘cos it was last clue I read!

    COD 10ac BROWNIE which is a piece of cake rather than the whole cake IMO.

    horryd Shanghai

  5. Easiest for puzzle for ages. Only hold up was parsing SEE REASON which was clearly the answer. So thanks Chris for the explanation.
  6. 9 minutes – a record for me – for once I just wrote all the answers in without much thinking time. So I guess it was easier than usual!
  7. We found this fairly straightforward but were slowed down by 12 a, being slow to parse ‘see reason’. Enjoyed 12d, quite misleading! Elin and Ian.
  8. I completed this in 25 minutes, which would normally indicate that I found it harder than average, but the 12s, my last two in, took the final 10 minutes of that – I just couldn’t make head or tail of them. I finally realised that 12d was an anagram and 12a quicly followed. COD 12d for the misdirection – does a word for men expecting children actually exist?

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