Quick Cryptic 2394 by Felix

Lots to enjoy in this medium-difficult offering from Felix. A just-over-par 7 minutes for me. My favourite has to be the highly sarcastic 16dn, with the exquisite 4 ac a close second.

1 Some mob Attlee arriving at Waterloo for one (6)
BATTLE – hidden word: moB ATTLEe
4 Running scared, making for trees (6)
CEDARS – anagram (‘running’) of SCARED. Fantastic surface.
8 EU about to prepare very loud noise protection (7)
EARMUFF – EU around ARM, then FF
10 I refrain, with us out for divine blood! (5)
ICHOR – I + CHORUS minus the US
11 Yankee needing attention in eg 1944 (4)
12 Abused in wrangles, as jury must be (8)
UNBIASED – anagram (‘wrangles’) of ABUSED IN
14 Everybody hiding in steeple had finally risen suddenly? (9)
SPIRALLED – ALL inside SPIRE + D (‘had’, finally). Is a spire really the same as a steeple? Ecclesiastical architecture pedants apply within.
17 Certify account — and believe (8)
ACCREDIT – AC (account) + CREDIT
19 Show one’s behind satellite (4)
MOON – double definition
21 Composer of Euphoria? (5)
BLISS – double definition
22 Composer of Fairytale in Indian dress (7)
SALIERI – LIE inside SARI. Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) now mainly remembered for not murdering Mozart.
23 Sea plus meadow — and all kinds of everything? (6)
24 Wild dances are coming up (6)
ASCEND – anagram (‘wild’) of DANCES
1 Farewell from a couple of extras (3-3)
BYE-BYE – In cricket, a bye is an ‘extra’, i.e. a run added to the score but not credited to a batsman. Other examples of extras are wides, no-balls, leg byes, and penalty runs added because the bowling side have been sandpapering the ball (see 6 dn).
2 Steps to include foremost of heroes in storylines (7)
THREADS – TREADS with H for Heroes in
3 Crude fellow all of us oddly missed over time (4)
LOUT – alternate letters of aLl Of Us + T
5 The Spanish major, one the French upset, is qualified (8)
ELIGIBLE -EL + BIG + I + LE all inverted
6 Sporting event from which to rise like a phoenix? (5)
ASHES – The Ashes is a biennial series of test matches in which Australia cheat at cricket against England.
7 A small bit of hush, then visibly embarrassed? (5)
9 Dreams Stefania’s playing (9)
FANTASIES – anagram (‘playing’) of STEFANIA
13 Pub landlord maybe ordered silence before start of Eurovision (8)
LICENSEE – anagram (‘ordered’) of SILENCE + E
15 See part of Lebanese Co. I directed on the up (7)
DIOCESE – reverse hidden word: lebanESE CO I Directed. See means diocese, as in the Holy See.
16 Relax with a French victory: first of dozens (6)
UNWIND – UN + WIN + D. Love this preposterously unlikely surface.
17 Collection of songs, nearly all no good (5)
18 Letter from Greek lord, one amused by toy? (5)
20 Sadly, diva ill: opera flops, ultimately (4)
ALAS – last letters of divA ilL operA flopS

90 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2394 by Felix”

  1. 5m

    I assumed the victories referred to in 16dn were of a sporting nature (e.g rugby, football etc) and therefore it’s entirely accurate.

    1. I thought of Napoleon’s long winning streak until he overreached by trying to go deep into Russia.

      1. Now we know it’s Eurovision related, a quick lookup shows France have won outright on 4 occasions (1958, 1960, 1962, 1977) plus in 1969 when they finished in a 4-way tie with Spain, Netherlands and the UK who were represented by Lulu – Boom bang a bang. Imagine a modern ‘sporting’ contest finding a 4-way tie acceptable 🤣

  2. 12 minutes. I found this hard. Seeing Felix as the setter I expected there to be a theme and there seems to be, although I’m not sure quite what it is – something musical perhaps.

    The clue at 13dn mentions ‘Eurovision’ (currently in progress with the final coming tomorrow). 1ac mentions ‘Waterloo’ the song by ABBA which won in 1974, and 23ac has ‘All Kinds of Everything’ the winning song by Dana from 1970. It’s not my specialist subject, so there may be more that I have missed.

    At 17dn there’s ‘collection of songs’ in the clue and ALBUM in the grid, and MEDLEY at 23ac.

    On a classical note, ‘composer’ at 21ac and 22ac gives us BLISS and SALIERI.

    The Eurovision thing seems intentional but the other stuff may well be nothing.

    1. “The other stuff maybe nothing”? I think you do Felix a massive disservice !

      Perhaps the EARMUFFS required for most of the event’s output also fit the Eurovision theme but…

      …after a bit of research I can see Felix has been specially attentive to the theme as we have: STEPS (UK entry 2012), references to FRANCE, SPAIN and GREECE along with LEBABANON and AUSTRALIA (Ashes) who have both stretched the Euro part of entry qualification, plus STEFANIA (Ukraine 2022), HUSH (Latvia 2022), BELIEVE (Russia 2008), RUNNING SCARED (Azerbaijan 2011), BYE BYE (Finland 1994), FAIRYTALE (Norway 2009), DIVA (Israel 1998) and BLISS (Slovakia 2009). In addition as we go more tenuous (but let’s cut some slack here, this is genius level stuff) MOON features in the title of Latvia’s 2021 song title…but wait a minute oh ye of little faith…it’s not tenuous at all as SATELLITE was Germanys winning song in 2010!

      Also references to the jury, wild dances, ‘suddenly going up’ (there’s always a key change in the Eurovision hits) , the ‘first of dozens’ (points are awarded 1 up to 12)… I’m sure there’s more. I suspect there’s a link somewher in every clue.

      This has to be one of the greats when it comes to themes. Bravo Felix

      1. Thanks. I said it was not my subject, although if he’d gone back to the days of Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, the Alisons, etc I’d have stood a better chance of spotting it.

        Your thoughts about the earmuffs had occurred to me too.

        The reference to UNBIASED jury at 12ac is most definitely off theme, so nul points for that one!

        1. I promise you that NONE of the insight in my previous post came to me without google…I would like to be clear that Eurovision is NOT my subject either😂

          1. Came second in 1961. I met one of them some years later after their fame had faded.

              1. It was a good one. At least it got to No 1 in the UK charts but a hazy memory is that they trusted their careers to an agency owned by a prominent singer and never realised their potential or received their just rewards for their one big hit.

        2. not so – General Franco bribed some juries to help Spain on one occasion long ago!

  3. 10’01” with the clever ‘refrain’ of ICHOR(us) sending me in the wrong direction for a while as my LOI.

    Thanks Felix and Curarist. Agree re the smoothest of smooth clues for CEDARS. Edit: which, now I know the Eurovision theme, is even more brilliant!

  4. I fair raced through this morning until I came up against ICHOR, which I’d never heard of. Like many, I’m guessing, I was barking up entirely up the wrong tree by assuming ‘refrain’ meant to stop rather than chorus. Clever! Also, I didn’t realise that ‘lea’ could be spelt as ‘ley’ for MEDLEY. (Even my spell checker on here doesn’t like it!) But a very nice puzzle this morning so thank you Felix. I liked SALIERI and SPIRALLED especially.
    No time today but quicker than normal, I’m thinking, as I didn’t even get onto my second cup of coffee.

    1. Thank you ITTT, your first paragraph so exactly matches my experience (even down to querying the alternative spelling of Lea/Ley) that I am excused from making a separate comment.

      We part company on your second paragraph though as this took me a longer-than-usual 13 minutes. A good and fun Friday workout.

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

  5. Like ITTT? and MM ‘refrain’ has me barking up the wrong tree for a while at the end, not helped by ELIGIBLE being the SLOI and me not knowing ICHOR. Not sure I’ve heard of either BLISS or SALIERI either but I expect I will have heard their music advertising something or other over the years. I wondered about steeple and spire being the same but now I realise it was towers and steeples and their different symbols on OS maps I was thinking of. Bit of a battering on GK today but the parsing all went well on the way to being all green in 14 – and since it’s becoming fashionable a weekly total of 64 (2x sub 10 and 1x 20+).

    1. SALIERI was demonised as the guy reputed to have poisoned Mozart. Probably untrue but immortalised in the Shaffer play ‘Amadeus’ – turned into, still, one of my favourite films in the 80s.

      1. I saw the original production at the RNT with Paul Scofield as Salieri, which was absolutely amazing. After that, the film (without Scofield) could only be a let-down. Simon Callow, then virtually unknown, as Mozart came as a bit of a shock to the system though!

        1. It would have been a shock to Simon Callow too because it was Tom Hulce, then (and since) pretty unknown, although he was in Parenthood and voiced Quasimodo in the first and follow up to (did it need one?) Disney animation.

          1. Sorry, I’d gone back to talking about the play, which did feature Simon Callow as Mozart.

            Callow had a small part in the film, playing Emanuel Schikaneder, impresario, composer and librettist – he wrote the libretto to The Magic Flute. I felt it was a bit of a come-down having created Schaffer’s version of Mozart on stage, but I guess he needed the money.

            1. Ah! That makes perfect sense, apologies. I enjoyed the film immensely – as did the critics and awards juries -but it would have been special to have seen any of the early NT productions.

  6. 28:44 – I was stuck in the NE and SW corners in a strange grid. Some stuff there I should have got quicker but bifd “blush” in place of SHRED and NHO ICHOR. Couldn’t unravel CEDARS and tried to unravel “wrangles” rather than UNBIASED. In the SW, LICENSEE was the only option but took an age to think of; NHO BLISS composer and I ended up with a hit and hope at MEDLEY because I’m used to getting in a quibble as to whether meadow is lea or lee. COD to MOON

    I thought there was some kind of theme going on when SALIERI (NHO) went in. Very unQC word but clued generously. Like Jackt, I saw the Battle of Waterloo, All kinds of everything, unbiased jury for Eurovision potential but not a lot else. Kind of disappointing that if you’re going to ruin some people’s day by sticking a theme in then at least go all in with some stuff we know e.g. Congratulations or Bucks Fizz.

    Time for the week scraping a few seconds under 2hr25 – 4 solves with 1 corrected DNF – just one taking longer than thirty minutes. I have to keep reminding myself of the progress on a year ago.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍 Enjoy Eurovision if it’s you’re thing.

    1. Yes, Bucks Fizz could have contributed towards a double pangram – surely not too much to expect!

    2. I agree that Bucks Fizz would have been a good answer. My interest in Eurovision both began and ended with their win!

      A decent week, spoiled by yesterday’s offering, but steady progress nevertheless.

      1. Story to tell – the previous British winner to Bucks Fizz was Brotherhood of Man in 1976 with Save all your kisses for me. They were an ABBA-like concoction of 2 men, 2 women; one of whom was Nicky Stevens. She lives locally – in fact just across the road from my mum’s friend. My mum has a copy of Nicky’s “The Road to Eurovision and beyond” autobiography 🤣

        Noting also that Austria’s song in last night’s semi-final was “Who the hell is Edgar?” – inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

        1. These connections and coincidences are amazing. I think a couple of members of that group (possibly Nicky Stevens) appeared on an edition of Pointless a couple of years ago, singing that very song. I knew the song, but hadn’t appreciated it was a Eurovision winner.

          I see from a quick google that the Austrian song has gone viral on TikTok. A bizarre theme for Eurovision but then perhaps that’s part of its attraction.

          1. I’m sure you recall I said I get lots of coincidences. Good example this morning. I started listening to a BBC podcast on Weds about the F1 Spygate scandal in 2007 between McLaren and Ferrari. I’m not a F1 fan so I had no idea of the story but I like sports and I thought I’d give it a listen. Continued on Thursday and Friday.

            This morning, I was checking my emails and people from four companies had searched me on LinkedIn this past week. Often I don’t have anyone searching me, I don’t really use it, I’m not looking for work on it. Yet somewhat amazed to see one of four was McLaren Racing!

  7. Another slow but successful solve for me. About 30 minutes with POI &d
    LOI THREADS and YEAR respectively. Other clues I found difficult were MEDLEY and LICENSEE in the SW corner. I was doing well with threequarters solved at 15 minutes and hoping to break the 20 minute barrier .. .. .. but not today.

  8. Just popping in briefly:

    The idea was that the songs appear in the clues. All winning ones. So fascinatingly BLISS is a complete fluke: it’s EUPHORIA, one of my personal favourites as it was played everywhere in Kyiv in 2012 during the Euros.
    And winner Loreen is back this year!

    1. I usually hate themes, and find they often distract from the quality of the clues. Whilst I’m certainly NOT a lover of the Eurovision contest, I spotted the theme very early on. I needed the excellent blog to fill in a lot of the unknowns – but I will take off my hat to you sir – this was an absolute gem !

    2. Felix, I think this is absolutely genius level stuff. Massive respect to you.

      Through the day on the blog there may be those who think the imposition of a theme automatically detracts from the smoothness of the clueing. I disagree, even when they may have a point, but for me this is the best example I’ve seen where the opposite is true. A huge doff of the cap to you.

    3. What fun! Thanks. My wife doesn’t do crosswords but she is a big Eurovision fan so I’ve printed out a copy for her to see how many of the songs she can find tonight. It was seeing 1944 that pointed me in the right direction.

  9. Very clever theme, which completely passed me by but a tip of the hat to MangoMan for the research.
    Made good progress through most of this starting with both the 1s for the second day in a row, which always sets a good tone.
    I had a quick look for a homophone for MEDLEY as I’m more used to the ‘lea’ spelling but it couldn’t have been anything else. ICHOR went in unparsed and with a great deal of relief when it emerged from the depths of my memory. Likewise, BLISS was a whisper in the back of my mind, but needed a couple of checkers before making itself heard.
    Finished in the NE with ELIGIBLE in 7.44
    Thanks to Curarist

  10. As I’ve observed in my reply to Felix above, I enjoyed this immensely, despite not having much of the Eurovision “knowledge”. But I must also salute Curarist for his comment on ASHES which was a laugh out loud moment.

    TIME 4:29

  11. A game of two halves. I started quickly and thought I was on for a sub-10 min solve. Then a switch clicked to ‘off’ and I started to crawl. No complaints; there were some very clever clues (and they were all fair game with hindsight apart from ICHOR which stumped me) but, after the smooth first quadrant, the puzzle seemed dislocated.
    An awful end to an otherwise very enjoyable and on-target week for me. I disagree with MM on the subject of ‘themes’ and wish that Felix would desist. Still, if people get pleasure from them, who am I to spoil their fun?
    Roll on Monday….. John M.

  12. 10.09

    Unashamed Eurovision lover here (my handle gives a clue why – it really is incredibly popular in parts of Europe – the only TV my wife watches the entire year so it’s hard not to get caught up in the event)

    Having said that I missed the theme entirely!

    Great effort Felix and thanks Curarist for the blog

  13. Obviously missed the excellently worked theme, but well done to MangoMan, and it’s always good to see setters pop in here. Douze points all round.

    I found the puzzle a bit harder than average, THREADS was LOI, I liked ELIGIBLE and ICHOR.

    31 mins 11 seconds for the week, so in line with my average and target.


  14. Saved from the SCC by a whole two seconds, with ICHOR only vaguely remembered and LOI. Congrats to Felix for a very clever and well executed theme (only some of which I spotted), and to Curarist for an amusing blog. SALIERI also reminds me of the excellent film ‘Amadeus’ – Jackkt, you should give it a go. Many thanks all, and have a good weekend.

    1. The original play Amadeus is even better. Superb production at Chichester a few year ago with Rupert Everett as Salieri. I would have like to have seen Paul Scofield’s performance. I have used Part of Salieri’s opening speech for auditions.

    2. Thanks. I have seen the film but found it disappointing after my experience with the production at the Olivier. It transferred to the West End later with Frank Finlay replacing Scofield but the production was cut about so that was disappointing too. There exists an archive video recording of Scofield at the Olivier but iirc it uses only a couple of cameras which doesn’t do it justice.

  15. I saw it was Felix and knew we would be in for some extra fun today. I thought that 1944 in the clue for year must have some significance in association with BATTLE at 1A, but then I googled and found the song…. and then several more. Favourite for me was “Collection of songs, nearly all no good”. Well that’s the clues… as for the answers, LOI was ELIGIBLE. No problem with BLISS and SALIERI as composers, but the general level of difficulty and wondering about the theme as a solved slowed me down. 7:03.

  16. I enjoyed the puzzle, missed the theme, read the blog (and chuckled a lot, great stuff Curarist) … and then to cap off a very enjoyable day, read MangoMan’s and Felix’s comments! What a superb piece of craftsmanship, my hat is doffed.

    Thought I was on a for fast time but missed 5 acrosses in the bottom half. Fortunately all the downs went in and I was able to mop up with the help of the checkers. All done in 07:53 for 1k + 5secs and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks (really) Curarist and Felix.


  17. A good start with 1ac/1d as write-ins, and fairly swift progress for a time thereafter had me thinking this was one of Felix’s gentler offerings. The sting in the tail was the Eligible/Ichor pairing in the NE. Getting one would possibly have prompted the other, but Ichor (in a QC ?) was too deep in the memory and I just couldn’t sort out which bits were up and down in 5d, so pulled stumps for a disappointing DNF. Invariant

  18. Not a Eurovision watcher so missed the v. clever theme.
    Difficult puzzle in parts. DNF, NHO ICHOR. Also feebly needed help with ALBUM ( good clue!) as I was stuck in the SW.
    MOON was also witty. Managed the NW & SE more easily. Luckily the composers sprang to mind. Liked BLISS, MEDLEY. LOI LICENSEE.
    Not as much fun today , but I did have several interruptions.
    Thanks vm, Curarist et al.

  19. Started well and ended badly. Had to resort to aids for my last two, ELIGIBLE and ICHOR (a word I think I have come across but knew not the meaning). Even after the help I couldn’t parse ELIGIBLE until the blog explained the whole thing was reversed. Some very minor quibbles but they are completely wiped out by the absolutely genius work by Felix I can hardly even imagine being that clever! A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle despite my abject failure. Thanks Felix and Curarist.

  20. Struggled for another hour before throwing in the towel; failed on four. NHO ICHOR (context, please?); like ITTT I was fixated on refrain meaning stop. Wanted it to be SPIRALLED but couldn’t parse it; biffed MEDLEY (NHO LEY); just couldn’t see LICENSEE or DIOCESE. Dear oh dear. Totally in awe of Felix’s ingenuity.

    I’m totally with jackkt about the original Amadeus – unforgettable – have associated Simon Callow (who is seen at the Wigmore Hall every so often) with Mozart ever since.

    1. The nearest I can get to reliving the experience is listening to the tape of a BBC radio original cast recording and supplying my own visuals. I don’t know whether this is available commercially.

      1. Thank you – most interesting. But I wonder: if some of us (above) are indeed familiar with ICHOR, I wonder how many have HO Petrichor – is that the next for a QC?

        1. I know of Petrichor because it’s a question The Doctor has to answer in the 2006 Dr Who story 42. An episode that is rather like a themed QC as it is supposedly set in realtime with the episode lasting 42mins. A concept that was originally used in the American TV series 24 where each episode is one hour of the day.

          1. Sorry – I don’t have time for crosswords *and* TV! But I do concede, some crossword clues assume GK of TV programmes, and there I can easily fail.

            1. I didn’t own a TV from 1995-2011 !! I barely watch it now, don’t think I’ve turned it on since watching the Coronation last Saturday.

  21. I certainly echo the comments above regarding this offering from Felix, a top class crossword in its own right but with such a brilliantly worked theme. Well done MangoMan for researching it so thoroughly.
    It was tough enough for me to miss my target yet again this week, but not by much, crossing the line in 10.28. I only managed one sub 10 minute solve this week, with a cumulative time of 58.29, giving a daily average of 11.42, comfortably my worst week for some time. Either they’ve been tougher this week or I’ve been suffering brain freeze, or maybe a bit of both!

  22. Started fast and thought I was on for a quick time but slowed right down for the last few clues. Eventually came in at 16 minutes, all parsed. No problem with ICHOR which I dredged up from somewhere (pretty certain I’ve only seen it in crosswords) or with the composers. Never saw the theme (but then I never do) and anyway I’m not a Eurovision fan. However I’m in awe of anyone who can work that into the clues without in any way destroying the surfaces – quite the opposite in fact.

    FOI – 1ac BATTLE
    LOI – 5dn ELIGIBLE, where it took me a while to fit together the various components
    COD – 17dn ALBUM, closely followed by 19ac MOON (not that I’m fixated on posteriors!)

    Many thanks to Felix and to Curarist for the entertaining blog

  23. DNF.
    Have not managed to complete one of these so called “Quick Cryptics” for some weeks now. They are just too hard and I will leave them to the small group of self congratulatory experts who seem to enjoy the obscure and outlandish .

    With clues like 10 Across – answer = “ichor”, ordinary mortals like me might as well not bother.

    1. I’m with you Dunlop65. Lots of cleverness in the puzzle with all the Eurovision links BUT on what grounds was this a QC for mere mortals? Words like ICHOR and lesser known composers. Some of the word play was also tricky (like ELIGIBLE)

      1. Dear Dave and Dunlop,

        Please don’t give up. There are many of us who were where you are until quite recently. It does get better, albeit slowly. I still struggle on a regular basis and am one of the slowest solvers among the regular posters. I can also find it dispiriting when I see so many amazing times from our more experienced solvers. I agree that ICHOR was a bit of a swine today and there have been some very hard QCs of late, but these things go in cycles and we may get some easier ones in the next few weeks. Don’t compare yourself to others and, as L-Plates advised me recently, don’t set expectations.

    2. So sorry, Dunlop65; that sounds rather bitter. Many possible answers there:
      1) if you don’t enjoy it, do something else – it’s not for everyone
      2) we all start from zero, learn as we go, and gradually find we’re solving more and more clues – which is rewarding. Then, when finally you manage to complete a whole one, it’s irresistible to wave your hands in the air and shout Wow! That’s not really being “self-congratulatory” – rather, it’s sharing the excitement
      3) yes every so often there are obscure words. But you’ll find that they recur – and then your virtue in hanging in there and learning them will be rewarded
      4) once you get outside the SCC (no, not yet me) I suppose you get the feeling that you belong to a club of like-minded enthusiasts, who enjoy sparring (is that NEEDLE-ing?) their quickest times with each other
      Does that make sense?

      1. If you needle someone, you’re trying to get under their skin. So it tends to be much more pointed competition. Like a Man Utd vs Arsenal match in the days of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger; or England vs Argentina; or John McEnroe vs Jimmy Connors. Thankfully we don’t have that sort of rivalry around here.

        1. Yes of course you’re right (and I should really have added a “wink” emoji if only I knew how to find them on this keyboard). By the way, since NEEDLE (yesterday) was a noun, how does that work?

          1. I don’t really know. I wasn’t completely happy with it as a rivalry but I’m generally not one of those quibblers on these things, it was close enough for me. I wouldn’t be surprise if “giving someone the needle” is a valid example of a noun

            1. Thank you – how kind of you to engage with my question. But let’s say you’re right and it is valid – you can’t substitute “rivalry” for needle there, can you?!

              Thank you to MangoMan (below) – this is exactly what I had NHO but now that I see it, it’s clear. Thanks.

              1. I think you can. “There’s fierce rivalry between A and B” is along the lines of “There’s real needle between A and B” which you do sometimes hear in the build up to big sporting showdowns. ‘Needle’ implies that the rivalry goes towards unpleasantness.

  24. An enjoyable QC that I flew through until I got to my last two, 5d and 10a. I have never heard of ICHOR and ELIGIBLE had me confounded for ever and a day it seemed. Had to ask my cat for assistance with those two.

  25. I missed the theme, not being a Eurovision fan, but very clever. Had to look up ICHOR as NHO, otherwise a steady solve, although LEY not LEA was a bit offputting and ELIGIBLE took a bit of working out.

  26. 10:35

    Must say that the theme passed me by having forgotten it was Eurovision this weekend. I did think it a little odd to read ‘all kinds of everything’ in one clue. But hats off to Felix for the cleverness and to MangoMan for deciphering with some help from Google.

    I found the going a little sticky with LICENSEE and ACCREDIT holding firm at the end.

    Thanks Curarist for the blog.

  27. 4.52. I thought this a little tricky in places, and it took a while to parse earmuff and eligible.
    Excellent theming, all of which I missed. Clearly my mind thinks in straight lines with answering the clues and misses the fun and games going on all around me.

  28. A very clever theme that unfortunately was lost on me. I had to rely on the word play for ICHOR and SALIERI. My LOI, MOON, took a while but made me smile 9:24

  29. As usual I missed the theme, but hats off to Felix for this one! FOI was BATTLE and I finished with MEDLEY in 8:16. Thanks Felix and Curarist.

  30. Dnf…

    NHO 10ac “Ichor” and stupidly put in “Fantasise” for 9dn which made 22ac “Salieri” a tad difficult to obtain.

    Can’t stand Eurovision , so the theme passed me by (although it probably would have anyway).

    Seem to be going through one of those spells where I’m struggling to get a decent run of form.

    FOI – 1ac “Battle”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 19ac “Moon” – at least it made me smile.

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Commiserations James .. your bad run continues. I’m not quite as dispassionate about Eurovision as you but haven’t watched it since late 90s. Got rather bored of Terry Wogan / Graham Norton’s cynical commentary among other things.

      Hope you refind your mojo next week 👍

      1. I hope so.

        Every now and then I go through a period where I wonder if this is it, and I’m starting to lose it 😀.

        Although, part of me also thinks they’re getting harder.

        1. I had a very bad run until this week. I think we’re all prone to these and I also have the feeling that the QC is getting harder. Good luck next week!

  31. 9.22 I did yesterday’s and this one back-to-back. Yesterday’s was terrible – 20.25 – but seems to have served as a warm up for this one, my best for a couple of weeks. ELIGIBLE and SPIRALLED were the last two in. I missed the theme but it is very impressive.

  32. 12:04 (1204 Death of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Crusaders sack Constantinople. King John loses Normandy to King Philip of France.)

    I failed to spot the Eurovision theme, despite watching it most years.

    LOI was 13d.

  33. 13:31. I had the greatest puzzlement over ELIGIBLE. Not too aware of Eurovision history-I guess the only singing contest I follow is the Independence Day Song Festival every summer in Jamaica. ICHOR was well-known to me as I’ve spent a lifetime trying to track down what the ambrosia and nectar of the gods were in an attempt to improve my health (and as a by-product maybe achieve immortality).

  34. 8:58. This was fun – and funny! As someone who does quite enjoy Eurovision, I felt it had the right mix of fandom and mickey-taking, so congratulations * to Felix.
    The GK didn’t cause any problems – I’ve seen ICHOR before, although probably not here, and knew the composers. Not so much all the Eurovision song titles, although a fair few jumped out at me. So for once I spotted the general theme. Big thanks – and more congrats – to MM for the research and additional revelations 😊 I especially liked ALBUM and MOON. I’ve just noticed that the clue for 18d features Lordi (lord one) – is that also a fluke? Hallelujah either way!
    FOI Battle LOI Eligible COD Cedars
    Many thanks Felix – enjoy the fun tomorrow – and Curarist for a very entertaining blog.

    * An piece of Eurovision history I didn’t know before – according to an article in today’s paper, Cliff Richard was denied the top spot in 1968 due to vote rigging by Franco.

  35. I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. I had a vague sense that something musical was going on, but never thought of Eurovision. That vague sense led me to enter FANTASIAS for 9dn without checking the anagrist properly for a Vile Pink Square. Other than that, all done in a speedy 10:49, comfortably my fastest of the week.

    Thanks to Felix & to Curarist for an excellent blog.

  36. When I saw the setter I immediately guessed the subject of his theme, but I spotted only a small handful of the Eurovision references on the way through. Not having watched it since the 70’s is possibly one of the reasons, I presume.

    I got off to a good start as BATTLE and CEDARS went in within the first half-minute (that’s very fast for me) and much of the top half of the grid followed suit, albeit at a slightly more leisurely pace. Clues like SALTIERI and BLISS slowed me down in the bottom half, but I entered my penultimate solution (ELIGIBLE) fully three minutes before the SCC summons. Unfortunately, my LOI was ICHOR and it took a further seven minutes to arrive. I had NHO the word and didn’t think of the required meaning of refrain, so an alphabet trawl was required. Just before throwing in the towel I came up with ICHaR(US) and ICHOR(US) followed soon after.

    Mrs Random dashed it off quite quickly, but didn’t spot the theme. She also struggled with ICHOR, but ELIGIBLE was her LOI.

    Many thanks to Felix and Curarist.

  37. That was fun, thank you Felix and Curarist! I don’t know what my time was cos my crosswording was rudely interrupted by a meeting, but it was the best part of an hour. Somewhat surprisingly the clue I got most easily was ICHOR, which came to mind before reading the clue when I saw I_H_R and couldn’t think of anything else it might be.

    COD has to be SPIRALLED for me. Spent ages on that one but it was very satisfying when the penny dropped.

  38. I saw the theme today, which is a rarity.

    The champagne remains on ice. I needed a 16 min finish today to achieve a sub 2-hour week and I hit 15 mins with just I_H_R left. As with several others, ICHOR was my Waterloo, and, by the time I finally worked it out, 23 mins had elapsed, so the cork remained in the bottle.

    I’m not too frustrated because it was an NHO and I can often take an absolute age to see the last clue. Also, I was impressed by the word play and the clever use of ‘refrain’.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ve become accustomed to a 3-day weekend recently, so the absence of a Bank Holiday is a bit of a shock to the system!

    Thanks for the excellent blog and to Felix for making an appearance. If memory serves, Felix did this on another occasion, and it’s great to see a setter engaging with us.

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