Quick Cryptic 2374 by Alfie

An engaging puzzle that came in just over par at 7 minutes, so perhaps more tricky than average. It’s also an example of that rare beast, the double pangram. Favourite clue is the very neat 21ac. Held up by 4dn because I never learn.

6 Exclamation of alarm as a horde assembled (2,4)
OH DEAR – anagram (‘assembled’) of A HORDE
7 Inter again later the club you swear by, ultimately! (6)
REBURY – last letters of lateR thE cluB yoU sweaR bY
9 Variable IQ reflected after taking in university pub event? (4)
QUIZ – Z (variable) + IQ  all backwards with U for university inserted
10 Make the most of revolutionary mix in corn (8)
MAXIMIZE – MIX backwards inside MAIZE. US spelling because the clue doesn’t work otherwise
11 Kiss Pole madly in winter sports setting (3,5)
SKI SLOPE – anagram (‘madly’) of KISS POLE
13 Eye venue for return, regularly — experiencing this? (4)
ENVY – reversed alternate letters of eYe VeNuE
15 A biscuit or photo? It’s the same thing! (4)
SNAP – triple definition
16 MP in France I involved in projects that take off immediately? (4,4)
JUMP JETS – MP + JE (in France, ‘I’) inside JUTS. The definition is a bit clunky but I suppose it’s a semi-&lit
18 Very unpleasant fag would, when put out (3-5)
GOD-AWFUL – anagram (‘put out’) of FAG WOULD
20 Charlie cut a toffee, perhaps (4)
CHEW – C + HEW. Chew is also a noun, of course.
21 City some discover on Adige (6)
VERONA – hidden word: discoVER ON Adige. Also a nice &lit because Verona lies on the Adige river, which I did not know until today.
22 Money order spoken for by vet or E European? (6)
CHEQUE – sounds like CHECK and CZECH
1 Say nothing: manage with knowledge that’s much reduced? (8)
SHRUNKEN – SH (say nothing) + RUN + KEN
2 Pram zone zoo’s organised for female singer (5-7)
MEZZO-SOPRANO – anagram (‘organised’) of PRAM ZONE ZOO’S
3 Cases of cider, ice-cream and Barolo for Christmas (6)
CRIMBO – outside letters of CideR + Ice-creaM + BarolO. Fairly familiar British slang word for Christmas
4 Girl endlessly tries to grab one kiss (6)
TRIXIE – TRIE[S] with I X inside. Better name for a dog than a person. Note in the 15 x 15 such a clue would use a synonym rather than the word itself, and it catches me out every single time in the QC. There are dozens of synonyms for ‘try’ (shot, bash, stab, go, essay, hear…) so I was barking up the wrong tree for a while.
5 Place in Austria making razors for paring down (4)
GRAZ – hidden word: makinG RAZors
8 Aircraft to lift alien’s coat (6,6)
12 Greek character with ukulele originally more musical (3)
PIÙ – PI + U for ukulele. Italian for ‘more’, used in musical notation. Apologies for pretentiously adding the accent.
14 Our vet is upset, becoming glassy (8)
VITREOUS – anagram (‘upset’) of OUR VET IS
16 Yes German females like oranges! (6)
JAFFAS -JA (‘yes’ in German)+ F + F + AS (like)
17 Evil intent of maiden, a girl in wonderland (6)
MALICE – M for maiden (cricket abbreviation) + ALICE
19 One arranged to keep ten cattle (4)
OXEN – anagram (‘arranged’) of ONE with X (ten) inserted

103 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2374 by Alfie”

  1. 11:52. Very pleased to be able to solve NHO’s PIU, JUMP JET and CRIMBO from the wordplay. SHRUNKEN and BOMBER JACKET were my favourite clues.

  2. 4:40 but I unaccountably spelled it mezzA-soprano

    Did spot while solving that it was a double-pangram. Impressive.

  3. I really enjoyed this; a great effort by Alfie to include a double pangram in a 13×13.

    All done in 9 minutes on the dot. I didn’t know CRIMBO but the clue and crossers made the answer clear. The Adige was a new river to me; as an Italian river it makes a change from the Po anyway and the clue was v. good.

    After the double pangram my favourite was TRIXIE for the reminder of Miss Trixie Delight, played by Madeleine Kahn, in the film “Paper Moon”.

    Thanks to Alfie and to Curarist

  4. Didn’t notice the pangram, unsurprisingly. I was glad the Z of MAXIMIZE was a checker. Biffed BOMBER JACKET, DNK JUMP JET. 6:28.

  5. 11’20” but with an embarrassingly criminal pink square with the phonetic ‘meTZo soprano’ entered early on 🤦‍♂️.

    Spotted something going on relatively quickly with the high scrabble scoring Js, Qs and Xs appearing (making the aforementioned rogue T even more worthy of a face palm).

    Very clever and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Alfie and Curarist.

  6. 8 minutes. I spotted the double pangram early on although at one stage during solving, having entered three Z’s I wondered if a triple might be on the cards.

    I was pleased to see a lesser-known ‘place in Austria’ especially as it’s one I spent some time in in 1990.

  7. 16.31 – I thought this was on the easier side for me (my average being around 25-30 mins).
    Use of “-ize” is often used in modern English (not just US), although not crossword land. Most Brits do still use “-ise”. However, “maximize” appears before “maximise” in Chambers and Collins which suggests it is the preferred usage?

    1. -ize tends to be favoured in Oxford Dictionaries. The people who insist on it know they are right.

        1. By coincidence I’ve just been watching an old episode of Inspector Morse in which one of the clues to a suicide letter having been faked was that the writer, an Oxford don, had included several words ending ‘-ise’. When asked by his Sergeant what was wrong with that, Morse replied, “Because it’s illiterate, Lewis”.

    2. We had this discussion a week or so ago and Penny and I both remarked that most British publishers use ‘ise’ nowadays, inc the Times itself.

  8. 10:11 here, the last three full minutes of which were spent gazing at C-E-. Sigh. I spotted that there was almost certainly a pangram going on, but it didn’t help me with any of the answers.

  9. I fair raced through this only to be undone by SHRUNKEN which, yet again, is so obvious from the wordplay. (I got bogged down with it beginning with SHTUM…. which really didn’t help.) So no time given but well under 15 minutes by my watch, which is light speed for me. Nearly biffed GERONA in my haste to get a good time until I checked the clue properly. Especially liked MEZZO SOPRANO. Enjoy your weekends all.

  10. 7.55

    Enjoyed this. CRIMBO a familiar term in this household so that can have my WOD.

    Thanks Curarist and Alfie

  11. A quick solve but a case of more haste… with a careless DOG AWFUL. I thought it sounded a bit strange at the time but didn’t think to revisit it🤦‍♂️, so a DNF on the easiest puzzle of the week.
    When I saw that it was Alfie I assumed there would be a theme and unusually I actually spotted it.
    Thanks to Curarsit

    1. ….. me too – thought it unfamiliar (but maybe akin to ‘dog’s breakfast’?) and didn’t revisit.


      1. I started that way, but did come back to it, prompted by the old joke about the atheist dyslexic who thought there was no such thing as a dog.

        1. And then there was the insomniac, atheist dyslexic who would lie awake at night wondering if there was …

  12. Avoided the SCC by a single second. All but two done in ten minutes then 9.59 on BOMBER JACKETS and JUMP JETS – almost all of which was down to saying ‘projects’ wrong. That and not expecting two Js. Huge and enjoyable PDMs to finish off the crosswording week.

    GRAZ went in quickly thanks to Sturm Graz being regulars in European football – apparantly the city was European Capital of Culture in 2003. Looks worth a visit. Search Graz Tourism!

  13. 1149 The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is consecrated

    With all those Qs, Zs and Xs I suspected a double pangram. Impressive as this puzzle only has 147 letters. Also only one clue has an odd number of letters in this grid.

    SKI POLES nearly worked, until I actually read the definition.

    “The people who insist on it know they are right.” Great phrase, Jack, I’m going to file that one away.

  14. Within target range.

    I did notice a lot of unusual letters appearing more than once, so suspected that something was going on, but never determined exactly what that was! Well done to Alfie.

    LOI was the NHO PIU. I liked the alcohol heavy surface for CRIMBO.


  15. 10:37 (1037, Harold Harefoot proclaimed King of England).

    I spotted that there was a pangram, but not that it was a double one.

    LOI was GRAZ.


  16. Nice one. I enjoyed the double pangram. Held up by trying to make 8D start with BUCKET and thinking 10A was an anagram of ‘mix in com’. I should have rernernbered it’s easy to confuse rn and m in this font! I liked the triple SNAP and double homophones for CHEQUE, but COD to the neat JAFFAS. Thanks Alfie and Curarist. 6:48.

  17. 16 minutes, one over target, but delighted with this clever puzzle from Alfie. I did manage to spot the double pangram, which is a remarkable achievement for the Setter – well done. Also thanks to Curarist for the blog.

  18. I found this the hardest this week, but seeing in the blog what I half-parssed, realise I was not on the wavelength. Did not know MAIZE could be spelled otherwise. A smoked fag used to be called a dog-end so DOG-AWFUL gave me a DNF. NHO. CRIMBO. FOI OH DEAR, LOI REBURY, COD to SNAP, having spent some time pursuing the fact that BISCUITS and PHOTOS can both be taken! Thanks Alfie and Curarist

    1. That’s a bit unfortunate with DOG/GOD awful. I’m sure I’ve heard people, especially of my father’s generation, saying your version to avoid blaspheming.

      1. My religious parents never blasphemed, and I never have, though I have believed for a long time that God probably does not exist. However I make no attempt to suppress vulgar expletives when tbings go badly wrong, and actually quite enjoy doing so when terminating an unsolicited phone call. But I find this clue distasteful, though I may be in a small minority.

  19. 23:10 with a typo for “oh deer” but this ain’t the world championships. I think it may actually be a keyboard/internet issue as one of my posts yesterday had two words ending with unintended “ee”.

    Fairly raced through enjoying this – at least until I got to my last two which were CHEW and finally GRAZ. They took a good five minutes to get and I was beginning to despair. Graz wasn’t helped by dithering over the spelling of MAXIMIZE and using the S version, which made spotting a place in Austria I barely know tougher!

    NHO PIU. Needed the blog to parse JUMP-JETS. MEZZO-SOPRANO I bunged in the 2nd word and then came back and chucked in MEZZO from memory and never thought to check off the anagrist, so kind of got lucky not to encounter the issues others did.

    2hr30 for the week with a 24-min median time from Monday’s DNF. Times ranging from 23-46mins with 3 solves, 2 correctable DNFs. First week without a SCC escape since February. Overall not too bad and feel I’ve righted the ship after a big wobble over Easter.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    1. Well done on righting the ship. You, me and Mr R have all had our troubles recently, so great to end the week on a positive. Also looks like some decent weather in Yorkshire this weekend – I hope you have the same.

  20. Was about to bung in CHIP at 20a to finish in under 10 minutes, but I have learnt that a hopeful biff is highly dangerous. A quick re-think revealed that I had put VETRIOUS at 14d; it’s a word I thought I knew!
    Anyway , correction made and LOI was CHEW. 13 minutes.
    Enjoyed this. Did not spot theme or pangram, will look now. COD to SNAP.

  21. Just for once I spotted the pangram, but it didn’t occur to me it might be a double. It made no difference to me in solving, but I admire the ability of Alfie to create the doubler.
    I went through this at a reasonable pace finishing in 8.39 for my third consecutive time within target. The only thing I hesitated on was GOD AWFUL which didn’t sound quite right. In the end I went for it on the basis that I thought I had heard the expression GOD DAMN AWFUL used in a few American films from yesteryear.
    After a few chewy puzzles earlier in the week, I needed a few reasonable times to get my weekly average back on target. Todays time means my weekly total is 49.48, giving a daily average of 9.58, a few seconds inside target.

  22. I just avoided the SCC in 19:40. NW went in pretty quickly followed by a lot of the SE (but not CHEW). I hesitated over GODAWFUL because I hadn’t sussed it was an anagram (doh!). Biffed REBURY but couldn’t parse it and MAXIMIsE meant I (like L-plates) was left with GRAZ and CHEW to find. Eventually spotted my error to get GRAZ and LOI CHEW popped up after a minute or two of panic! Thanks Alfie and curarist.

  23. A good Friday puzzle from Alfie and, whilst it was a genuine QC IMO, I thought there were some chewy bits, not least my LOI CHEW. Finished in 11.28 so well under target (and under 2K again) so very happy with that.
    I thought there was a pangram developing as soon as I saw MAXIMIZE but got on with the puzzle and ignored it. Once I saw the Z, I toyed with LINZ for 6d but soon moved to GRAZ. I forgive you for the awful expression CRIMBO, Alfie.
    Thanks to Alfie and Curarist for a good end to the week. I hope the previous few QCs have set us on the straight and narrow for next week. John M.

  24. Thank you Alfie for a friendly one today. PIU no problem for this musician; on the other hand MEZZO-SOPRANO was (stupidly) my LOI. FOI OH DEAR, COD SHRUNKEN (felicitous!). I would always spell it MAXIMISE and plead that I’m English, not “illiterate” (Morse, see jackkt above), but after searching fruitlessly for somewhere in Austria ending in S, the Z became obvious enough. So all green in about 40 minutes, good for me. If Blighter “forgives” CRIMBO, I suppose I have to forgive the vulgar GOD AWFUL, especially as Alfie was so awesomely brilliant as to create a double pangram.

  25. 5:32

    A pleasant romp around this grid of Alfie’s – for some reason the font has changed on the online version which gave it a weird appearance – don’t know if that’s just my laptop that’s done that or whether others experienced the same.

    Didn’t notice the double-pangram, mildly irked by the Z in MAXIMIZE though accept that GRAZ (which I only know through Deep Purple’s live album of a 1975 concert there) wouldn’t work without it.

    And yes, I momentarily considered DOG-AWFUL as well…

    Thanks Alfie and Curarist

  26. Enjoyed this one – very much at my level and completed in 14:32. COD to SHRUNKEN. Appreciated comments re -ise or -ize. I was taught ‘z’ was American at school and have ignored Word’s red underlining for years, dutifully correcting all the Zs to Ss… I stand well and truly corrected! Thanks all.

    1. -ise or -ize is a question of style, as we said. ‘-ize’ is US or mostly old-fashioned British usage. -ise is more usual in modern British publications. So you are perfectly correct to use it.🙂. And you can set Word to use British spelling, of course.

      1. Ok, good to know it’s more a question of style and I haven’t been wrong all these years! I know from above others may disagree, but that’s the beauty of the English language… and a forum 😁 Many thanks

  27. As usual the pangram, double or single, passed me by, but the puzzle was straightforward enough and enjoyable. I started with OH DEAR and finished in VERONA. CHEW took a moments thought. 7:24. Thanks Alfie and Curarist.

  28. Easiest of the week and the only one this week where I came in under my target of 15 mins. I was all done in 13 today and all parsed. I thought it was a pangram whilst solving, so I checked off the letters once I had finished. Having done that and noted 2 z’s and 2 j’s I wondered if it was a double but didn’t go back to check. MER at CRIMBO merely because it’s an expression I dislike.

    FOI – 7ac REBURY
    LOI – 20ac CHEW
    COD – 15ac SNAP

    Thanks to Alfie & Curarist

  29. Hooray! Alfie answered my plea. All done and double pangram spotted in just 17 minutes. Over the past few months I had managed to improve my success ratio to 90% and my average completion time to just over half an hour (around twice as quick as a couple of years ago), but my last seven QCs – DNF, DNF, 60, DNF, 47, 49, 59 – had knocked me seriously off course and I wondered about my sanity. But today was proper fun from start to finish.

    Amazingly, I solved 17 clues on my first pass through the grid and had also faintly written in the NHO PIU by that stage. A couple of clues were not fully parsed – JUMP JETS and MAXIMISE spring to mind – but their solutions seemed fairly obvious. My favourite clue today was CRIMBO and I finished with TRIXIE.

    Many thanks to Alfie and Curarist.

    1. Blimey you have been through the wars with that recent run – well done for powering on through. I recall you were doing well in March with a decent number of escapes so I’m sure the law of averages is now weighting back in your favour.

      Tough game for the 🍒 tomorrow although I often rate playing an opponent a couple of games after a change of manager. First game they’re all eager to impress the new man then he’s trying to implement his ideas which leads to mistakes. Chelsea upcoming too may also be the case. The rest of the schedule is amenable to staying up with games against West Ham, Everton, Palace, Southampton – so if they can’t dig themselves out of trouble against them, then they really deserve to drop back down.

      1. Good luck with your team L-Plates (Bournemouth for those who don’t know who the Cherries are), they have every chance with a run-in like that. My team Newport County have been hovering above relegation places all season, but are probably safe now.
        Your team Bournemouth was the opponent in my first football match when Newport played them in 1957. The score was a 5-3 win for Newport! As a naive 9 year old, I assumed all football matches were like that. 65 years on, and Bournemouth are in the premiership while we languish three leagues below in division 2.

        1. I support Dundee United. Someone has to. Talk about a rotten season. Bottom of the league and on our third manager.

          I hope Bournemouth survive. Good to see a small (in the nicest possible way) club mixing it with the big boys.

          1. Thanks chaps.

            AndyPandy – Newport City – now there’s a team. Didn’t they used to quaify for Europe via the Welsh Cup? Great first match to get your enthusiasm up with.

            GA – and Dundee Utd via the Scottish Cup?

            Bournemouth will likely always remain a small club. Smallest ground in the EPL at 12,000. Will be interesting to see what our new American owner (bought out the Russian billionaire) does.

            1. They’ve always been Newport County not Newport City L-Plates, but your memory is spot on otherwise. They did indeed qualify to play in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1980, and got as far as the quarter finals when they went out to Carl Zeiss Jena the champions of East Germany. We actually drew the first away leg 2-2 in Germany before losing 1-0 at home, after totally outplaying them. They went on to lose the in the final
              We had a young striker playing called John Aldridge who our manager had just acquired from non league football. He didn’t do too badly after leaving us for greater things!

              1. 🤦‍♂️ I knew something was wrong as I wrote that but couldn’t pinpoint it. Best of luck to Newport County for the rest of the season.

          2. Greetings to a fellow Arab.
            Still think we’ll survive, even if it pained me to need a favour from Aberdeen tonight.

    2. Poor Trixie – I hope she wasn’t too upset 😂
      Glad to hear you’re back on form – onwards and upwards 👍

    3. Well done Mr R. Always good to finish the week on a high. Forget the past and concentrate on what’s to come.

      Gary 😊

  30. Found this much easier than most recently and came home with my second fastest of the year so far (and 10th fastest ever) at 11:11. Didn’t notice the double pangram, but very impressive, especially given that none of the words (with the exception of PIU for me) were particularly unusual. Lots of great clues, my favourites being those for SNAP and QUIZ. LOI was JUMP JETS. Thanks Alfie and Curarist.

  31. Doofer’s time reversed – 11:01! I had the same issues regarding MAXIMIZE and GRAZ, and could kick myself because I realised that the corn was MAIZE (after also initially reading it as COM) but still whacked in MAXIMISE (my default spelling, as discussed last week 😂) Trying to resolve that took a minute or so.
    As soon as I saw Alfie’s name, I knew we were in for a letter-based theme, and saw the pangram, but not the double. And yet, I was very surprised by the numbers of Zs. Not enough to follow through though! OH DEAR is right 😅
    FOI Oh dear LOI Graz COD Jaffas
    Thanks Alfie and Curarist

    1. Well done PennyB – back to form after your SCC application was rejected! 😀

  32. In contrast to most other comments I found the wordplay very clunky and its only saving grace is that it is a double pangram (although I only spotted one pangram).

    As a Christian I find CRIMBO and GOD AWFUL slightly offensive and I would never use either expression myself. I’m sure our Jewish and Muslim friends would also have the same reaction to certain expressions.

    Anyway, rant over.

  33. A clever puzzle which was enjoyable to work out after all the trials of the 4 tough ones this week. For once I noticed the surfeit of unusual letters and saw their were two of each: well done, Alfie!

  34. Thank you Fatima for your Christian rant – with which I agree. We do however sometimes get Christian belief references in the various cryptics! The double pangram was excellent and ingenious, though the puzzle I thought on the easier side. COD PIU.

  35. Enjoyable QC. FOI REBURY (only saw parsing later). LOsI CHEW and GRAZ, having put MAXIMIsE at first.
    Am surprised some of you chaps haven’t heard of JUMP JETS, though I have the advantage of working on a naval magazine in days of yore, when the Harrier was first deployed.
    TRIXIE features in Call the Midwife!
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

      1. Not a journalist, but have worked on various types of publications on and off most of my life. Now retired to the Parish Magazine😇

        1. Interesting! Having worked in internal comms most of my working life, I am now retired to a volunteers newsletter – still enjoy it too and deadlines are more flexible 😊

  36. A very interesting puzzle and a 9 minute completion brings the running total for the week to exactly my target 60 minutes. Not quite all parsed (Jump Jets was put in from the two Js, and the explanation for Bomber Jacket also escaped me – should have got that one), and a few clunky surfaces, but the cleverness of a double pangram probably excuses those.

    As for the ISE/IZE question (again …), I’m an ISE person on the whole. Sometimes it matters (eg prise/prize), sometimes only one version can be right (eg size) but most times, each to his own. Just please don’t shout at me for using the version you don’t!

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all

  37. I only knew Crimbo from a neighbour hailing from Liverpool. My SE/East Anglian upbringing never used it!

    1. Interesting. I always imagine it being a Bertie Wooster sort of word. “Aunt Agatha’s for Crimbo? Dash it all, Jeeves!”

      1. Oh no, it’s a ghastly word from Merseyside that’s crept into our language in the last few years. One of my pet hates.

        1. Hmmm … I’m sure we used to refer to Crimbo back in the 90s. Maybe it’s a southern thing.

          I don’t mind terms like that until they get overused like “hollibobs” or “thanks lovely” 🙄 Then it just becomes sickly.

          I remember the days when people complained about it being called Xmas ….

  38. Interesting the blogger comments harder than average. I think the average over the last few weeks has steadily got harder to the point where I am not sure why we have QC’s. Certainly we no longer have the 30-40% easier ones as we used to. I accept I will never run through the puzzles but it would be nice to get the occasional easy one. I know there are some who solve the puzzles in sub 3 minute times but not sure why they bother as it is clearly not a challenge for them and if it is not a challenge what is the point other than bragging rights. So a plea to setters give those of us trying to learn crosswords some hope with at least 1 puzzle a week that is on the easier side.

    1. I would agree with the blogger that over the long term this was harder than average. Not that I’m sure what average is these days.

      Prior to the QC, I did the Quick Crossword in the paper my mother gets for about four years. I was usually solving that in 4-5mins. My fastest was around 2min40 and a few in the 3s. I never got bored of it because I was always looking for the elusive faster solve. That became the challenge.

      Nnetheless I empathise with your desire for easier ones here. I would like to have a chance at quickening up my faster solves!

  39. Well said Tim. I must add that I was also a bit disappointed to read (above) that anything over a 10 minute solve qualifies one for the oft derided ‘Slow Coach Club’. That seems a bit harsh to me. I dread to think what club I get allocated to when I limp over in 30+ minutes! Suggestions on a post card please…..

    1. I thought it was over 20 mins. Has it changed? Have I been frequenting the SCC all this time?

      1. Apologies. You’re correct. I take it back. I misread Mendesest’s comment. 😊

    2. Oh please don’t think the SCC is derided – it was coined a while back very much in jest by someone who found themselves usually in the 20 min + region (I’m afraid I don’t remember who) and is meant to be good-humoured.
      As someone who really struggled in the early days, I do agree that a gentler crossword is much needed every now and then to boost your ego. I think Vinyl’s point earlier this week about setters finding it hard to judge difficulty is a good one. It’s easy when you know what you meant or when you’ve got the answers in front of you, as I frequently shout at Paxo on University Challenge 😅

      1. Penny, I must confess that the term ‘SCC’ was originally down to me in 2018 after a series of comments from bloggers similar to the current ones. I will paste one of many subsequent comments – from me in 2019- in answer to a query from another solver, the esteemed Don (Astartedon). Others quickly became involved – bloggers like sonofjim and former bloggers like Don also joined the discussion. It was always used in fun and never, ever used as a derogatory term. It always referred to times of 20 mins + (as you say).

        SCC = Slow Coach Club. The term has been credited to me and sonofjim** because we both try to be very honest about our times
        and are beyond being embarrassed by taking longer that members of the ‘Formula One Club’ who vie to post times below 5 minutes. I think many newer, less-experienced, and less quick-witted solvers can still get enormous pleasure from pitting their wits against the QC and deserve to do so without any feeling of embarrassment or inadequacy because they take their time. John M.
        ** Note. I used the term ‘slowcoach’ earlier – on Nov. 19th 2018 – and sonofjim picked up on it less than half an hour later. I think quite a few people now take some pride in enjoying their crossword-solving as members of the SCC.

        Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. John.

        1. It’s a club I enjoy being a member of, although it’s nice to escape every so often.

        2. How time flies – how could I have forgotten the founder of such an illustrious club!
          I am also with you regarding -ise 😏

          1. How kind. I am still proud to be a member of the SCC from time to time. Perhaps a little too often in the past week or more!
            Yes. The ‘ise’ have it! 🙄

    3. I think you might have misread Mendesest’s comment above where he took 10 minutes on first portion, then almost ten on second part. He says he just escaped SCC by a few seconds but my first quick reading thought he said 10 minutes was cut-off. Puzzled,I reread and saw the 20 minute standard was indeed affirmed!

  40. Well thank goodness for that! I haven’t done the QC regularly for a while and this week’s offerings made me think I was losing my touch. Tuesday’s QC I completed with aids, Wednesday’s I could only do two thirds of even with aids, Thursday ‘s required help but today I completed it unaided in a shortish time and thoroughly enjoyed it. Crimbo made me laugh. Thank you Curarist and Alfie.

  41. 16 mins…

    A fun end to the week, and whilst I spotted it was a pangram, I didn’t notice it was a double one.

    Like a few above, I nearly put Dog Awful for 18ac, but thankfully changed it. As a kid in the 70’s, I used to have a rather bright blue padded “bomber” jacket with multicoloured stripes across the front – although the UK bomber jackets were different to the ones actually worn by pilots. As a small aside, I believe 5dn “Graz” is the original birth place of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    FOI – 5dn “Graz”
    LOI – 7ac “Rebury”
    COD – 16dn “Jaffas”

    Thanks as usual!

  42. 7.09 After a dreadful week (total time 106 minutes) this made a nice change. NHO PIU. Completely failed to spot the pangram. CRIMBO made me smile and I might have struggled with CHEW if we hadn’t had HEW a few days ago. Good fun. Thanks both.

  43. Thanks Alfie for a return to sanity! I should have timed carefully, I might just have escaped the SCC today!! Time around 20 minutes. And like some others I am hurt by CRIMBO for CHRISTMAS.

  44. While we found most of this straightforward we failed with 4d trixie, and 3d crime.

  45. Nice end to the week! Missed the DOUBLE pangram.
    FOI 6a oh dear
    LOI 7a rebury – unsure of part of the clue
    COD 8d bomber jacket

  46. Well inside the SCC cut-off today for a happy end to the week. I did a lot of biffing and only appreciated the quality of the clues when reading the blog.

    A host of fine clues, with particular mentions for SNAP, JAFFAS and GRAZ (got this from my knowledge of European football).

    A few NHOs (PIU and VITREOUS), but all capable of being worked out. I hate the word CRIMBO, but I did like the clue for this.

    Thanks for the excellent blog. I hope everyone has a great weekend and that the ☀️ shines!

    PS Congratulated myself for spotting a pangram, only to find it was a double. D’oh!!!

    1. Good to see you back on it GA 👍 Enjoy the sunshine. Think things are calming down for us after a week of high winds. The longer, lighter days are definitely helping

  47. 13:58

    Was on the lookout for a pangram as soon as I had QUIZ, but failed to notice the double.

    Given the challenge of getting every letter in twice this was surprisingly easy with no obscure vocab, only LOI GRAZ holding me back as I’d spelt MAXIMIZE with an S.

  48. That I should live to see CRIMBO and GOD-AWFUL in the Thunderer. O tempora, o mores.

    Brilliant to achieve a double pangram in the 13×13. I had a junior once who’d been a classicist and insisted on Zs everywhere; he said it was Hellenic. I told him we were writing in English.

    All done in 07:22 for 1.2 K and an Excellent Day.

    Thanks Alfie and curarist.


  49. Did this one earlier today and thought it was the easiest of this weeks offerings – actually managed to escape the SCC, which is a very rare occurrence for me! Spotted the pangram early on, but failed to spot the double in the excitement of a fast completion.

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