Quick Cryptic 2501 by Jalna

A pleasant puzzle without too many difficulties which I managed to complete within my 10 minute target with 15 seconds to spare.

The two clues which did give me some trouble at the very end were 5a and 9a; don’t you just love those so simple and obvious four-letter answers. I’d never heard of or had forgotten 9a and I only knew 5a from crossword land, though that says as much about my lack of world music knowledge as it does about the word being uncommon.

Thanks to Jalna

Sorry that I won’t be available again to respond to any queries or correct any errors until about mid-morning UK time.

Definitions underlined in bold,  deletions indicated by strikethrough.

1 New gallery housing old, symbolic work of art (8)
ALLEGORY – Anagram (‘New’) of GALLERY containing (‘housing’) O (‘old’)
5 Jazz tune accompanying a sitar melody (4)
RAGARAG (‘Jazz tune’) followed by (‘accompanying’) A (‘a’)

Just remembered in time to save an alphabet run-through, which I would not have welcomed at the end of the puzzle. Instant word association for me for ‘sitar’ is Ravi Shankar

8 Demand technical support and invite trouble (3,3,2)
ASK FOR ITASK FOR IT (‘Demand technical support’)

I parsed the wordplay as a cryptic hint, without drilling down further

9 Religious festival held by Catholics (4)
HOLI – Hidden (‘held by’) CatHOLIcs

I should have but didn’t know this Hindu festival. I fell for the surface and wasted a couple of minutes – nothing to do with Catholicism

11 Extra source of debts taken on by ace crime boss (3-2)
ADD-OND (‘source of debts’=first letter of ‘debts’) contained in (‘taken on by’) A (‘ace’) DON (‘crime boss’)
12 Retrospective pieces from magazines I meticulously catalogue (7)
ITEMISE – Reverse hidden (‘Retrospective pieces’) from ‘magazinES I METIculously’
13 Stupid people start to slander judge (6)
ASSESSASSES (‘Stupid people’) S (‘start to slander’=first letter of ‘slander’)
15 After noon, attempt to enter bar? Exactly! (4,2)
BANG ONGO (‘attempt’) following (‘After’) N (‘noon’) contained in (‘to enter’) BAN (‘bar’)

I suppose the question mark is present for the surface reading

18 Cook slowly eats the last portion of raw fish? (7)
SWIMMERSIMMER (‘Cook slowly’) contains (‘eats’) W (‘the last portion of raw’=last letter of ‘raw’)
19 Firms with extremely tenuous charges (5)
COSTSCOS (‘Firms’) TS (‘extremely tenuous’=first and last letters of ‘tenuous’)

COS as an abbreviation for “companies”

21 Compressed mass, oddly chalkier (4)
CAKE – Odd letters (‘oddly’) of ‘ChAlKiEr’

A CAKE didn’t initially strike me as a ‘compressed mass’, but I was stuck on the edible variety. Sense 5 in Chambers has “any flattened mass, baked as oatcake, or formed by pressure or drying, as of soap, clay, snow or blood” and Collins has a similar sense, so fair enough, especially for non-edible sorts of cake

22 Mountain dweller seen possibly carrying wooden stake (8)
NEPALESE – Anagram (‘possibly’) of SEEN containing (‘carrying’) PALE (‘wooden stake’)
23 Kind person (4)
SORT – Double definition

‘Kind’ as a noun, not an adjective and ‘person’ as in “a good sort”

24 Weakened pet cried out (8)
DECREPIT – Anagram (‘out’) of PET CRIED
1 A bishop welcomed by a Buddhist monk somewhere in America (7)
ALABAMAA (‘A’) B (‘bishop’) contained in (‘welcomed by’) A (‘a’) LAMA (‘Buddhist monk’)

The one-l lama, He’s a priest. The two-l llama, He’s a beast etc

2 Enjoyed having a relationship with no obligation, ultimately (5)
LIKEDLINKED (‘having a relationship with no obligation, ultimately’=last letter of ‘obligation’ deleted)
3 Gosh, nothing can be seen in nasty dense smog (8,2)
GOODNESS MEO (‘nothing’) contained in (‘can be seen in’) anagram (‘nasty’) of DENSE SMOG
4 Dried fruit is placed in water (6)
RAISINIS (‘is’) contained in (‘placed in’) RAIN (‘water’)
6 Devoted group supporting a party (7)
ADORINGRING (‘group’) following (‘supporting’ in a down clue) A (‘a’) DO (‘party’)
7 Active US soldier involved in sallies from time to time (5)
AGILEGI (‘US soldier’) contained in (‘involved in’) ALE (‘sallies from time to time’=every second letter of ‘sAlLiEs’)
10 I crashed an unusually old carriage (5,5)
SEDAN CHAIR – Anagram (‘unusually’) of I CRASHED AN
14 Small watch? It might be tacky (7)
STICKERS (‘Small’) TICKER (‘watch?’)

A watch is an example of something which ticks. I liked the surface; not the ‘tacky’ I was originally thinking of

16 Simple tea’s now being prepared (2,5)
NO SWEAT – Anagram (‘being prepared’) of TEAS NOW
17 A piece of cake or French cheeses picked up (6)
BREEZE – Homophone (‘picked up’) of BRIES (‘French cheeses’)

No, nothing to do with a compressed mass this time

18 Lets go of instrument in audition (5)
SACKS – Homophone (‘in audition’) of SAX ((a musical) ‘instrument’)

SAX as a common abbreviation for “saxophone”. I would have thought to sack someone is to dismiss them because of poor performance or a transgression, whereas to let someone go (from a job) may not be due to their failings but eg to the organisation being in difficulties. Still, I suppose close enough

20 One in flight crossing east, costing a lot (5)
STEEPSTEP (‘One in flight’ (of stairs)) containing (‘crossing’) E (‘east’)

83 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2501 by Jalna”

  1. 6:50

    Couldn’t sleep so decided to occupy my mind – probably not the best idea…. Nice grid from Jalna – NO SWEAT with 90% of it, but had to think about 9a and 22a. Thought 23a was a bit loose. Same thoughts as Bletch about SACKS – ‘Lets go of’ is somewhat euphemistic – had similar in one of my recent blogs of a Joker grid.

    Thanks Jalna and Bletch

  2. I think ‘we’re going to have to let you go’ is a nice way of saying ‘you’re fired,’at least that’s how I saw it. All done in 10.44 for me, much of which was spent in the bottom half. There was a little bunch of LOsI in the SW, mainly STICKER, SWIMMER, CAKE and BREEZE. Thanks BR for explaining ALLEGORY and LIKED, both of which I biffed from checkers and never went back to. All told an enjoyable QC from Jalna.

  3. 11:59. GOODNESS ME and NEPALESE were favourites. I took the most time seeing that linked led to LIKED. There was CAKE as an answer and cake in a clue. BREEZE and NO SWEAT were adjacent clues with almost the same sense. I also liked the South Asia feel of HOLI, RAGA, LAMA and NEPALESE-I wondered for a while if Kim was being referenced.

  4. Reasonably hard work after a solid six on the first pass of acrosses. Enjoyed the late arrival of ALLEGORY and NEPALESE, DECREPIT too. Couldn’t be sure of HOLI or RAGA but in they went. The sight of old carriage brought ‘phaeton’ immediately to mind which I am certain I owe to this blog and possibly to a clue Rotter devised – this is going back a bit so apologies if not! All green in 13. Good one.

    Edit: Thought I’d better do my own legwork, it was Rotter’s rotten clue writing competition from this blog: https://timesforthetimes.co.uk/times-quick-cryptic-no-2013-by-joker

  5. DNF NHO RAGA , didn’t look like a word, either. Since I didn’t think of RAG for jazz time I just put in random letters. My problem was that I couldn’t believe that a QC was asking for a type of sitar music. So I went with the rule that an obscure word usually indicates wordplay, often a hidden.

    That and HOLI seem a bit much. Also spend too long justifying SORT.


  6. 9 minutes. RAGA is a type of music I learned from crosswords some years ago. HOLI was unknown but obviously hidden, so not hard to solve. It seems to have turned up only once before in the TfTT era, in 2013, when it formed part of the wordplay in HOLIDAY.

        1. For which forbearance much thanks: it increases my chance of winning the £100, not by much, but every little helps!

  7. Taken over target by NHO RAGA which I eventually got by deploying one of my 3 pieces of jazz knowledge (rag, trad and Duke Ellington) and LOI NEPALESE where I was slow to spot the anagram and was looking for an animal of some sort. HOLI went in tentatively and with gratitude that it was a hidden as it was another unknown.
    An enjoyable and educational puzzle which I finished in 10.28.
    Thanks to BR

  8. 12 minutes, with L2I Holi and Raga both unknowns and put in from wordplay. My regular readers might expect an exasperated comment from me here on obscure words in the QC, but they were getable with the checkers, I am in generous mood this morning and Jalna is one of my favourite setters, so he (she?) is let off with a minor “please don’t do that too often”.

    Otherwise a nice crossword. Liked went in from checkers and then took the most time to parse, and Sort was, as others have suggested, not the strongest clue in the puzzle. Quite a groan when I finally worked it out.

    Many thanks to BR for the blog.

  9. DNF. Couldn’t bring RAGA to mind. Otherwise an enjoyable 10 mins with half an eye on the cricket.

    Thanks setter and blogger

  10. 10:04 (Sweyn Forkbeard invades East Anglia)

    An enjoyable solve with no difficulties. LOI was SACKS, although I do own a saxophone, albeit one I haven’t played for several years.

    After explaining to my wife a few days ago that “gallery” in a crossword clue always means Tate, it was nice to see an exception in 1a. I live in hope of it meaning Courtauld one day.

    Thanks BR and Jalna

  11. “What do they know of England,
    Who only England know?”
    I muttered bitterly to myself as I trawled through the alphabet looking for something that might be jazz-related, since I knew I had absolutely no chance of recognising anything to do with sitars. Got lucky. So today I have learned RAGA and HOLI. I wonder if they’ll stick.

    I liked SWIMMER and ALLEGORY very much (the latter chewing up time as I tried to work TATE into it). All done in 09:52 for a Decent Enough Day.

    Many thanks Jalna and Bletchers.


  12. The one that eluded me on my run through was SWIMMER, trying to think of any fish with a W in it. I put in SORT thinking I was going to have to change it when the downs went in, but it survived and so did my green squares. That said, almost nothing on the across run went straight in, but required a sort of double push from “can’t see that” to “know it after all”. Good fun, and 8.13.

    1. sWordfish, rainboW trout, Walleye, Whiting and Wrass to name 5, and then there is common or garden troWt.

        1. I’m sure Rotter has a trout pond in the extensive grounds surrounding his country house.

          1. If only you knew! I do have a W in the name of the little Wendy house I share with Mrs R in Surrey, but that’s as close as I get.

  13. To buck the trend of people having NHO two hardly esoteric areas of Indian/Hindu culture – RAGA and HOLI went straight in for me. If you’ve ever sat in an Indian restaurant and listened to the sound of sitar and tabla coming over the speakers, that will have been a raga. I recall many moons ago sitting in the Lake Palace at Udaipur, enjoying a buffet and listening to a live performance of raga. Fantastic stuff. Holi is in the photo news section of this paper every year – it’s the festival of colours, and a lot of paint gets thrown around.

    Back to the puzzle though, I seem to have been right on Jalna’s wavelength, with a very green indeed WITCH score of 65. SEDAN CHAIR LOI, I liked NEPALESE best.


    But otherwise much enjoyed. Pretty quick though slowed in SE somewhat. Knew HOLI. LIKED SEDAN CHAIR, NEPALESE, NO SWEAT, STICKER, among others. Cd not parse all, so thanks, BR.

  15. Enjoyed this puzzle very much even though I was beaten only by not knowing PALE = wooden stake. Is that where “impale” comes from?

    Thanks Jalna and BR

      1. Ah yes, thank you – it’s a phrase I have used but it never occurred to me to wonder what it referred to. EDASD!

  16. 26:34
    A bit of a struggle for me with a mix of easy and difficult clues. Biffed LIKED and NEPALESE (missed PALE from ‘wooden stake’), many thanks for the explanations BR.
    Only got RAGA from one of my Dad’s favourite movies – The Five Pennies and ‘Lullaby in RAG Time’ by Danny Kaye (I think I might be showing my age! 😊).
    FOI: 8ac ASK FOR IT
    LOI: 22ac NEPALESE
    COD: 18ac SWIMMER
    Thanks BR and thanks Jalna

  17. Like others, I struggled (but eventually came through) with RAGA and HOLI which took me just over 10 minutes. Liked SACKS a lot!

  18. 7.36

    Beaten by Jumeau on Wordle so nice to equalize here.

    ASK FOR IT and ALLEGORY both very neat. RAGA needed a few seconds but was known and as I started in the NE for a change was my FOI.

    Thanks BR and Jalna

  19. 13 minutes today of steady solving. LOI BANG ON which I took a while to parse.
    No particular hold-ups. I’m sure I’ve seen RAGA in other puzzles recently, not QCs perhaps but maybe on a Sunday or in 15x15s.
    HOLI was new to me, but an easy hidden.
    COD to ASK FOR IT.

  20. Not sure I’ve previously seen N for noon. Is that an accepted abbreviation? Otherwise an enjoyable QC. Thanks Jalna & BR.
    PS just introduced my granddaughters to the Jalna books which they are enjoying!

    1. Good point. In Collins you have to get to the 13th sense of N as an abbreviation in the American English section to find N = noon!

    2. Thanks for bringing up N for ‘noon’; as discussed below, one which just goes in without much thought but it’s always good to have the basis for these subject to scrutiny.

      Are you referring to the “Jalna” books by Mazo de La Roche? I’d never heard of the series until my Mum mentioned she had read and enjoyed them many years ago.

      1. Thanks for explaining N for noon. Yes I was referring to the Mazo de La Roche series written in the 50s. An enjoyable if not very taxing read! It’s the only connection I know of for Jalna.

  21. Like others I’d never heard of RAGA or HOLI but they were clear enough, even though the former was my LOI. Perhaps I wasn’t as sharp today, as others seem to have recorded fairly fast times, but I missed my target crossing the line in 11.04.

  22. Taken into the SCC at 23 minutes, and really struggled with this Jalna puzzle. Thanks for the much needed blog Bletchers. I’m now going to take it out on the golf course!

  23. Tantalizing; nearly there, but S-R- wasn’t enough to give SORT (stupidly failed to make the leap from adjective to noun), and -E-A-E-E no help towards NEPALESE. But no problem with 5 and 9 (NHO HOLI but had to be). Couldn’t quite parse BANG ON, so thank you, BR – but I’m with Yorkshirelass here: please, in what context is N = NOON?

    1. It begins with an “N” – and is probably abbreviated somewhere in some form of common (or not so common) usage.

      1. Yes of course it begins with N – that’s clear – but “afternoon” begins with A and no one would suggest that A is an abbreviation for afternoon. This is the point: “probably abbreviated somewhere” – ok, then: where?

        1. Whoa…steady on.

          I wasn’t being sarcastic – I was trying to be helpful. More than often these things are used as abbreviations somewhere (as noted above).

          1. Thank you, Templar (and sorry, James – did I imply you were being “sarcastic”? not intended) – I wonder whether anyone can come up with a context for that abbreviation, even on the other side of the pond? Has anyone ever seen it here?

            1. N for noon is in all the usual sources so it’s one of those abbreviations we tend to take for granted and don’t think about too much. Then having thought about it I wasn’t able to help you so I asked my AI assistant, and here’s what he wrote:

              The abbreviation N for noon is most commonly used in nautical and aviation contexts. It is also used in some scientific and technical writing.

              In nautical and aviation contexts, N is used to indicate the time of day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, which is typically around 12:00 PM. This is important for navigation and flight planning, as it allows sailors and pilots to calculate their position and heading.

              In scientific and technical writing, N is sometimes used to abbreviate noon in order to save space or to avoid ambiguity. For example, a scientist might write “N = 12:00 PM” to define the variable N for use in a mathematical equation.

              Here are some examples of how N is used to abbreviate noon in different contexts:

              Nautical: “The ship’s position at N was 41°N 59°W.”
              Aviation: “The flight will depart at N and arrive at 10:00 PM.”
              Scientific: “The temperature at N was 25°C.”
              Technical: “The system will be shut down at N for maintenance.”

              1. Thank you, jackkt – those four examples above are exactly what I was requesting, and I’m most interested and curious to see them. All I can say is, NHO and never seen – they look (to me) most odd. If confronted with any of them, it would not have occurred to me to understand that N = noon. Have any others of us ever seen this in actual use? Is it (maybe) only in USA?

              2. Slightly beside the point, but I don’t think a scientist would say “N=12:00pm”. 12:00 is neither am or pm, it is just noon – or possibly midnight !

              3. Not sure if you will see this as I didn’t have time to reply yesterday but thanks very much jackkt for a great reply to my query.

  24. Some challenges here and there but I plodded rather doggedly through this one until LOI SWIMMER held me up for quite some time – very obvious when I finally realised what was going on! No problems with RAGA. HOLI was new to me but spotted the hidden fairly early on. Wondered about CAKE but seemed to fit. BREEZE/bries has come up recently so went in straight away. Didn’t know pale = stake. Liked STEEP as I was totally misdirected to start with (birds/planes) and BANG ON, just because. Many thanks br and jalna.

  25. Seemed quite tricky to me and I wasn’t helped by interruptions from the phone and the door bell. All done and parsed in a rather slow 23 minutes. Vaguely remembered RAGA from somewhere (probab ly another crossword) but NHO HOLI, which I shall try to commit to memory.

    FOI – 8ac ASK FOR IT
    LOI – 17dn BREEZE
    CODs – 8ac ASK FOR IT and 14dn STICKER

    Thanks to Jalna and BR

  26. 23 mins…

    A good puzzle from Jalna I thought. I didn’t know 9ac “Holi” either, but it was obtainable. For some reason, I wasn’t acquainted with “Pale” for “Wooden Stake” – although I’m sure it’s probably been on here before.

    Spent far too long on 16dn “No Sweat” because I was trying to create one word. This has happened to me previously, even though the (2,5) is staring me in the face.

    FOI – 1dn “Alabama”
    LOI – 22ac “Nepalese”
    COD – 8ac “Ask For IT”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. Yes! A return to form after 3 weeks of anguish. Or will it turn out to be just a blip? All done and dusted in 22 minutes today, despite having NHO RAGA or HOLI. My favourite clues were NEPALESE, GOODNESS ME and ASK FOR IT. A MER at SACKS, as it’s a much more forceful separation than ‘let go’ implies. Also, shouldn’t ADORING be ‘devoted to’?

    And for the data nerds (like me), here are my average times for the past 15 weeks. The data is split into 3-week chunks and includes DNFs. Given that each data point is an average of 15 attempts, my sudden loss of form (or was it a step change in QC difficulty?) is plain to see.

    27 June – 17 July 28 mins (0 DNFs)
    18 July – 07 Aug. 35 mins (1 DNF)
    08 Aug. – 28 Aug. 33 mins (2 DNFs)
    29 Aug. – 18 Sept. 30 mins (2 DNFs)
    19 Sept. – 09 Oct. 52 mins (3 DNFs)

    Many thanks to Jalna and BR.

  28. No proper time for this as I forgot to start my timer until I was halfway through a first pass of the across clues. I knew RAGA but wasn’t sure about HOLI until I had the checkers. Some nice clues and surfaces. I liked BANG ON and SEDAN CHAIR. Thanks Jalna and BR. About 5 minutes.

  29. 8:45 but I somehow managed to incorrectly rearrange (seen)* into SEpaleSE at 22a. Drat! Thanks Jalna and BR.

  30. 22.09 Quite challenging today. Understanding LIKED took an age. RAGA, HOLI and NEPALESE were the last three in. Thanks to BR and Jalna.

  31. Another DNF. Had to give up on 5 across knowing zilch about jazz, the sitar or anything about most sorts of music.

    I found this hard, but LIKED it and lots made me smile, especially the dried fruit placed in water and that religious festival held by Catholics (which I did know).

    COD the firms with extremely tenuous charges – don’t we all know lots of those.

    Thanks Jalna and BR.

  32. Some tricky but clever ones today and you really had to keep your wits about you. I’d never have managed these homophones or the hidden at the start if the year so that’s progress.
    I was stuck in the NE but after looking up RAGA finished in 47 minutes.
    COD to NEPALESE. I remember ‘beyond the pale’ which I was told originated in Ireland.
    Thanks Jalna and BR.

  33. Definitely tricky for this permanent resident of the SCC. I had heard of RAGA (from previous crossword?) and assumed HOLI was a festival (And checked online). It was a DNF because of NEPALESE (anagram a word that isn’t in the clue? In the QC??). And the checkers (E, A, E, E) weren’t helpful.

    1. It isn’t an anagram of a word that isn’t in the clue. It’s an anagram of “SEEN”, which is in the clue. That anagram then goes around (is “carrying”) PALE, for “wooden stake”. Hope that helps.

  34. Never heard of raga, couldn’t see sacks , needed a dictionary to see if holi was a word.Still quite new at this cryptic game but getting there.

  35. Thanks for everyone’s comments. I was interested in the N for ‘noon’ question and subsequent discussion. Like Jack, N for ‘noon’ for me is “one of those abbreviations we tend to take for granted and don’t think about too much” so thanks to him for confirming that the abbreviation is indeed valid and for the further elucidation.

  36. Found this trickier than yesterday, particularly raga and holi. Also 17d breeze and 22a Nepalese caused us trouble, though we could not see why.

  37. Oh dear. 24:50 with two errors. I bunged in ARIA instead of RAGA for 5A & then forgot that I wasn’t happy with it. That left me looking at R_O_I_G for 6d, which I managed to convince myself was ROOTING despite all evidence to the contrary. Ah well, tomorrow is a new day.

    Thanks to BR and Jalna.

  38. Denied entry to the SCC due to my DNF – BREEZE/NEPALESE evaded me for some reason. I thinkSomeRandomChap has passed his brain fade on to me. Feeling very dense today.

  39. I thought this was a bit tricky in places – STICKER was a bit sticky and I struggled with NEPALESE too. I did briefly wonder if there was some sort of theme going, what with RAGA and HOLI, as well as the above-mentioned mountain dweller, but it seems not. Not quite ADD (all done and dusted) in 11:25, as I didn’t parse 2d.
    But I LIKED lots of it, and found it quite hard to pick a COD. Ticks went next to ITEMISE, GOODNESS ME and SEDAN CHAIR – all terrific surfaces!
    FOI Raga LOI Nepalese COD Ask for it (because in my world it’s so true!)
    Thanks Jalna and BR.

    I’ve been really busy recently hence my erratic attendance – just as well we don’t get marked for truancy! We’re off to Cornwall for a week so it’ll be hit and miss again – but I do always try and log in to see how you all are 😊

    1. … and Mrs R and I are off to visit friends on the Isle of Man for a few days, but I also will come here whilst we’re away. Enjoy Cornwall, Mme B!

      1. Have a great time 😊 Have you got a chicken sitter? Probably a bit far to offer MrB’s services this time!

  40. Not easy, but managed to finish with BREEZE & NEPALESE last in. Guessed HOLI, BANG ON and LIKEDwhich I couldn’t parse.

  41. DNF after 28:50 because of RAGA. By chance I only got one letter wrong as I bunged in RAMA thinking that it sounded Indian and that a ram might be a jazz tune. NHO of HOLI either, but at least that was gettable from wordplay. Bit of a MER at SORT, though I did put it in first run through. “Person” just seemed a bit of a vague definition for it, unless the kind was doing double duty. Thanks Jalna and BR.

  42. DNF

    Made a mess of the top right corner. Couldn’t think of a jazz tune and no idea on sitar Melodies. Put ALIVE instead of AGILE and missed the reverse hidden ITEMISE.

  43. How anyone derived pleasure from this is beyond me. Perhaps being stressed out with work issues doesn’t help, but I took over an hour to wade through this QC. NHO RAGA or PALE. Did spot anagram of seen but thought stake was CANE.

    The QC is now, for me, just a daily exercise in displaying my ignorance. I am sick of doing reasonably well on most clues and then coming completely unstuck on one or two. I never seem to improve or to learn, despite spending ages reading the blog and unpicking the clues.

    My target (5 solves in 2 hours) is now unattainable and it’s only Tuesday. I’m not sure where I go from here, because my trajectory is ever downwards. Perhaps I’ve just hit the limit of my abilities?

    The QC reminds me of my golfing days – 17 decent holes, 1 bad hole and a ruined card. That is what it feels like at the moment – 1 (or 2) disastrous clues spoiling everything.

    Thank you for the blog.

    Back no doubt for more of the same tomorrow. I should have stuck to my decision to quit last week! I’m not accustomed to being bottom of the class and I really don’t like it.

    1. I didn’t find it easy, but it had its good points.
      If you found / are finding it it as much of a task as you imply, it does seem that you have made it another “task” to fit into your crowded schedule, rather than something to give you some light relief from it.
      I hit the limit of my abilities some time ago, which is generally finishing but usually with a struggle somewhere, but I don’t race the clock and if I don’t finish, well, it’s only a crossword. I found that the more I stressed about that elusive last clue or two, the less likely it was to come.
      You are clearly more competitive, but maybe treating it as just a bit of fun rather than a potential indictment of your intellectual manhood would work better.
      And you are hardly bottom of any class. Those who post here are a self selecting group from the very many more who attempt the QC. Many will fair far worse than you, they just don’t post to say so.
      I’ll go back to my drink in the SCC now…

  44. Thanks Plymouthian. I appreciate your comment.

    I may see you in the club bar later today. 😊

  45. We knew Holi from having played it in India – out in the streets powder paint flying everywhere. Even the cows play Holi! It’s a fun festival and you are usually safe after midday like April Fools here. We stayed at the Lake Palace Hotel too – wonderful place. It cost us £25 for a room for the night – just about affordable for us in 1984! We managed by staying in a very cheap £1 per night room the night before. That was interesting. I don’t think the Lake Palace is very affordable now. Raga we knew too but were defeated nearly by Nepalese. I think the paling fence was to protect the compound and if you were ‘beyond the pale’ you were out of bounds and in the danger zone. Would it be the Wild West?
    Enjoyed the crossword thanks Jalna and Bletchley. Also love the Jalna books which presumably the setter does too?

  46. Didn’t have time to check the comments yesterday but thanks very much to everyone for the N = noon discussion.

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