Quick Cryptic 2531 by Orpheus


12:29. Not as hard as the Orpheus from 4 weeks ago but the two long answers and some less common words, eg 12a, extended my solving time.

Overall though I think there was nothing unfair here and I enjoyed the challenge which I was happy to complete with no errors. Favourite was the aspiration of our artistic MP at 8d.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough.

1 Woman priest, one who runs things (8)
DIRECTORDI (‘Woman’) RECTOR (‘priest’)
5 Prophet a doctor originally supported (4)
AMOSA (‘a’) MO (‘doctor’) S (‘originally supported’=first letter of ‘Supported’)

One of the Twelve Minor Prophets I’m told and he has his own book in the Old Testament. Orpheus was being generous as he can appear in crosswords clued as just “book”. You can read about him here.

9 Drink provided by commander in short outdoor garment (5)
COCOACO (‘commander’) contained in (‘in’) COAT (‘short outdoor garment’)
10 Erudite Shakespearean king with extremely nubile daughters (7)
LEARNEDLEAR (‘Shakesperean king’) NE (‘extremely nubile’=first and last letters of ‘NubilE‘) D (‘daughters’)

Despite never having read King Lear, thanks to crosswords I know who the three daughters are; we had one in the 15×15 last week. My knowledge however doesn’t extend to being able to comment on whether they were extremely nubile or not.

We’ve had the discussion before and I think it has been agreed that “d” can be an abbreviation for ‘daughter’ in the singular or plural

11 Hawthorn blossom could — possibly (3)
MAY – Double definition

I’ve opted for a double rather than a triple definition, as ‘possibly’ is another way of saying “maybe” rather than MAY. However I could possibly be missing something

12 Overlord’s shelter by river at end of estate (9)
POTENTATETENT (‘shelter’) in this case after (‘by’) PO (‘river’) AT (‘at’) E (‘end of estate’=last letter of ‘estatE‘)
13 Drink to follow for small pet (6)
LAPDOGLAP (‘Drink’) DOG (‘to follow’)
15 Aim to express disapproval (6)
OBJECT – Double definition
17 Angry about a hybrid style of music (9)
CROSSOVERCROSS (‘Angry’) OVER (‘about’)

My LOI, though the CROSS for ‘angry’ should have been a give-away.

Over=about? “He thought over / about what had been said”; there will be better examples

19 Family member, one that shines, we’re told (3)
SON – Homophone (‘we’re told’) of SUN (‘one that shines’)
20 Scottish writer given right to build obstacle (7)
BARRIERBARRIE (‘Scottish writer’) R (‘right’)
21 Extremist involved in adult radicalisation (5)
ULTRA – Hidden (‘involved in’) adULT RAdicalisation
22 Leader leaving crazy military force (4)
ARMYBARMY (‘Leader leaving crazy’=first letter of BARMY deleted)

I believe that the two words have been known to appear together

23 Troubled bloke crossing the river Wye at last (8)
BOTHEREDBOD (‘bloke’) containing (‘crossing’) THE (‘the’) R (‘river’) E (‘Wye at last’=finally letter of ‘WyE‘)
1 Sort of currency claimed when travelling (7)
DECIMAL – Anagram (‘when travelling’) of CLAIMED

Our changeover was on the 14th of February 1966, a date ingrained in my mind from the educational campaign and animation leading up to the big day. Here’s the full story and animation from our National Film and Sound Archive

2 Unstable, like some mountain peaks? (5)
ROCKY – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint
3 Support son over joint sports contest, perhaps (12)
CHAMPIONSHIPCHAMPION (‘Support’) S (‘son’) HIP (‘joint’)
4 It hurts to give licence to young bird (5)
OWLETOW (‘It hurts’) LET (‘to give licence to’)

A bit of a crossword chestnut. Who knows, maybe they even eat them?

6 Decree DA meant to develop (7)
MANDATE – Anagram (‘to develop’) of DA MEANT
7 Grasslike plant primarily straggling border (5)
SEDGES (‘primarily straggling’=first letter of ‘Straggling’) EDGE (‘border’)
8 Painter does what would-be MP may hope to do (12)
GAINSBOROUGH – An MP would hope to GAIN a BOROUGH, a borough being part of an electorate

Very good

14 In favour of light weight computer file (7)
PROGRAMPRO (‘In favour of’) GRAM (‘light weight’)

I’m treading on very thin ice here. I would have thought a program was made up of a number of files, but I suppose say a single .exe file is an example of a program. Comments from those more 10a in the field welcome

16 Doctor drank a pint at last — from this? (7)
TANKARD – Anagram (‘Doctor’) of DRANK A and T (‘pint at last’=last letter of ‘pinT‘)
17 Sturdy horse runs over a venomous snake (5)
COBRACOB (‘Sturdy horse’) R (‘runs’) A (‘a’)

Not the Suffolk punch today but this equine creature here; all very complicated as the website says

18 Sign right in the centre of Galician port (5)
VIRGOR (‘right’) contained in (‘in the centre of’) VIGO (‘Galician port’)

We’re given specific instructions here as to where to place that R. A city in NW Spain which I should have known more about

19 Relax on a rug initially, playing this instrument? (5)
SITARSIT (‘Relax’) A (‘a’) R (‘rug initially’=first letter of ‘Rug’)

93 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2531 by Orpheus”

  1. Nope

    Nope nope nope nope nope

    Not today

    DNF all over the place. Half the words I got I couldn’t even parse today and then the words I revealed I never would have known. Some of it was just me being not very bright.

    List of words unknown to me, but hopefully will remember them for next time: Amos, May (flower), Potentate, Bod (dude), decimal (currency – i guess in my head the change over happened in the real olden days, like when everything was black and white 😜 – my kids ask me if I had electricity when I was born so I get it), Gainsborough (painter), cob and Vigo

    At least I knew the Scottish writer and I’ve read King Lear – you know how teen girls love bad boys in fiction? 15yo me had a crush on Edmund lmao

    I’m glad the app doesn’t tell me who the setter of the crossword is, because at this rate if it’s not Oink tomorrow I might not even try

    1. Never forget that these crosswords are aimed squarely at those who grew up in the UK with black and white TV!

      1. …. and primarily men from a certain background. Hence the regular cricketing, rugby and rowing clues. I’ve never, ever seen a clue involving netball, hockey or lacrosse in the few years I’ve been doing these.
        Keep going Tina. Come the revolution…….

        1. The names of those sports come up regularly but you are probably right that we don’t often see references to the jargon of the games.

        2. One day (probably not soon) there will be references to boybands and then it will be my time to shine

    2. Put it behind you Tina. Just a bad day at the office.

      I’m sure you’ll be back on form tomorrow!


  2. 19:51. Very hard for me today. I wasn’t getting much joy so rashly entered TARGET and OUZEL for OBJECT and OWLET. Big mistake. CHAMPIONSHIP, GAINSBOROUGH, and POTENTATE had me floundering more than was called for. BOD for bloke, COB for sturdy horse and RECTOR for priest all slowed me down too. Luckily I knew the Galician port from following European football – Celta VIGO is in the Spanish league. On a more positive note I fairly raced through SON and MAY to escape SCC!

  3. I found this difficult, getting home in 14.33. A few – DIRECTOR, OBJECT, CHAMPIONSHIP – should have gone in quicker but POTENTATE, BOTHERED (bloke = bod? Uh-huh) and GAINSBOROUGH were never going to yield without a fight. BR’s admiration for the latter is not shared by me because I can’t see that the grammar works, a successful MP gains (a) borough but a would-be MP hopes to gain one so the S disappears. I’m also not sure how ULTRA can be a noun meaning extremist. Over and about no problem, we disagreed over/about who should pay. Tina you may care to know that the Hawthorn AFL team were originally the Mayblooms before toughening up their image and becoming the Hawks…

    1. I did not know that about the Hawks! Do you have information on why they have the ugliest colour scheme ever too? 😂

    2. I take your point about GAINSBOROUGH; probably doesn’t quite work grammatically but I still like the idea of the clue. I agree it’s more commonly used as an adjective, but ULTRA as a noun for ‘extremist’ is in the usual sources and I think it’s OK to use to refer to a member of an extremist movement.

    3. ‘DOES what would-be MP may hope to do’=GAINS borough
      No problem whatever with ultra (N)=extremist (N)

    4. I read it as aspiring MP reads headline.. Smith Gains Kingston! and thinks… I want that. Not sure that excuses the excess s!
      SCC today and yesterday ho hum

      1. I think Kevin explained it well (the s comes from ‘does’) but as I look again it still feels strange. Anyway, upward and onward! Life’s too short…

  4. Decimalisation in the UK (and Ireland) was actually 15 February 1971. I remember it well as I was working on the till in a hospital cafeteria during my gap year (saving up for a hitchhiking trek around Europe) … Pretty chaotic to start with!

  5. 12 minutes with the last 2 or 3 of them spent on the intersecting OVER (I had the ‘cross’) and VIRGO where I was distracted by Galician and couldn’t even remember with any certainty which country it is in.

    I was interested to read the various dictionary definitions of ‘borough’ after the event in order to satisfy myself that the one in the clue is correct. It is, but in 60+ years of following UK parliamentary elections and for a while taking an active part in them, I can’t recall ever hearing the word ‘borough’ used in the context of an area represented by an MP. That’s almost exclusively referred to as a ‘constituency’ and if it needs to be broken down into smaller units these are called ‘wards’. ‘Borough’ seems to be more of a historical thing in parliamentary terms (which doesn’t invalidate its use in the puzzle, of course) and it survives otherwise in the names of local councils throughout the country and the 32 districts that make up Greater London, each of which may well contain more than one parliamentary constituency and return more than one MP.

    1. Thanks Jack. I got there via “rotten boroughs”, which every schoolchild knows (or used to).

  6. DNF with 1 missing after well over an hour.
    I found this incredibly hard. I had some overconfidence from finishing yesterdays puzzle inside 20 minutes, but today after 20 minutes I had about 10 answers, and no more came for a long long time. Eventually I got a couple and the checkers helped get me all the way to 12a. I’m glad I stopped there, as I would never have solved it.
    I disliked computer file as a definition for PROGRAM.
    The QSNITCH is tracking at record levels, so at least it seems I am not alone in struggling today.

    Edit: Should add that I though TANKARD was an excellent clue, great demonstration of what makes cryptic crosswords enjoyable.

  7. Enjoyed turning to Po and finding it actually helped for once – need Ur to make an appearance tomorrow to keep balance in the crossword cosmos. Perhaps tin for SN on Thursday. Hard on the right, OK on the left. Struggled with POTENTATE and BOTHERED in particular. Tried to be grumpy about GAINSBOROUGH on the grounds that Boroughs aren’t constituencies but then remembered my old employers at Gravesham where they are perfectly aligned so just had to be cross with myself for not having Gainsborough jump out at me when I needed a 12 letter painter. Enjoyed this – especially in retrospect. All green in 18.

  8. I was going to throw in the towel with five unsolved but a final push saw me look at a map and spot Vigo (I’ve heard of the Celta football team, didn’t know it was a port) to give me VIRGO, biff POTENTATE, throw in BOTHERED with fingers crossed, suddenly see – still don’t know how – GAINSBOROUGH, and land OBJECT.


    Tough puzzle. I was in the camp with those who thought the GAINSBOROUGH clue didn’t quite work grammatically but Kevin’s right of course – it does.

    A proper work out. Thanks (I s’pose) Orpheus. Good work BR.

  9. I had to think hard about Galicia, and my LOI was still left after my second pass. I only parsed it afterwards.

    Switching on my inner pedant, I don’t really see “barmy” and “crazy” as synonyms, the former being considerably milder than the latter in my book. I’d describe myself as barmy at times, but crazy is more Vladimir Putin territory.

    TIME 4:05

  10. 1/2 this week so far. A very tricky one again today, but I did persevere and eventually came in all green. I don’t have a time but it was well over half an hour, largely because Mrs ITTT arose early and proceeded to harrumph at regular intervals about the Covid inquiry findings in today’s Times. Oh for my quiet time!
    GAINSBOROUGH was my last one in and a truly excellent clue I thought. DIRECTOR too made me smile. POTENTATE and the NHO CROSSOVER also slowed me down significantly. I’ve been to Vigo quite recently, by accident, so VIRGO was a write in.
    Thanks to Orpheus and Bletchers for their efforts.

  11. Some tricky clues mixed in with plenty of checkers to give a foothold. CrossOVER and VIRGO proved particularly stubborn at the end with the deeply buried Vigo only coming to the surface once I’d put in the answer.
    Happy to finish under target in 8.58 with COD to GAINSBOROUGH which needed careful construction.
    Thanks to BR

    1. Really salty today then? Adds some flavour to the solving experience though. Better luck tomorrow.

  12. Well I didn’t think that was too bad. I did get stuck on GAINSBOROUGH though, because I didn’t realise that I was looking for an actual painter – I thought it was a jokey cryptic definition and was trying to think of something like whitewashing or plastering which would work as a synonym for a thumping election win. Unsurprisingly it was my LOI!

    Apart from that, top left to bottom right. All done in 07:46 for a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Bletchers and Orpheus.


  13. Slightly bucking the trend (and the Snitch) here as I found this a well crafted and addressable puzzle, all finished in just under 11 minutes. The port of Vigo was well signposted, and I visited it some 35 years ago so no problem there. LOI Gainsborough and a very nice PDM when I saw how the clue worked – like Templar the association was “rotten boroughs”.

    Many thanks BR for the blog. Loved the decimalisation film, can’t remember anything so catchy in the UK in 1971. But I do remember two jingles from a failed attempt to get the UK to go fully metric: “A litre of water’s a pint and three quarters” and “Two and a quarter pounds of jam, that’s about a kilogramme”. But 50 years later I still think in Imperial units …

    1. Rugby Union went from the 25 to the 22 without the world stopping. Cricket, football and especially American Football (“yardage”) still stuck in old money.

    2. I think in a weird mishmash of Imperial and metric. Distances are miles. Length is metres and centimetres. Heights are feet and inches. Temperature is centigrade. Speed is mph (and it REALLY annoys me when Sky Cricket sometimes gives the bowling speed only in kph). Bodyweight is stones and pounds, fruit and potatoes are by the pound, but cooking weight is kg and grams. Land is in acres. I guess it’s what comes of being born during the changeover – some of it stuck!

      1. For temperature, I use Fahrenheit in summer (Phew what a scorcher! 80+ degrees sounds really hot), and I use Centigrade (I still refuse to say Celsius) in winter when the number of minus degrees tells me all I need to know.

    3. I am a bore on the subject of the half-arsed metrication idea. We have to use a bastard mixture. We buy petrol in litres but the odometer and the speedo and the roadsigns are in miles. We have been pretending that we are converting for at least 50 years. My first day at Uni in 1967 the lecturer said we have to use the MKS system, but he couldn’t be bothered to convert so he would use poundels etc. Humph!

      1. I too went to uni in 1967 in the Welsh School of Architecture. We were the first year to be taught in the metric system using millimetres, centimetres and metres as our reference. The year before us starting in 1966 continued with their feet and inches!
        As it was a five year course, you could say this was a strange decision!
        When we qualified in 1972 and went out into the big wide world of the building industry, there was a complete mish-mash of building site operatives many of whom were still only conversant in the imperial system, and others who thought metric. Even when I retired about seven years ago, most people (including myself I have to say), still referred to a 200mm by 50mm floor joist as an 8 by 2!

        1. Started work as an engineering apprentice in 1974, depending on when the design drawing were first made we’d spend a lot of time converting (in our heads) 16ths, 32nds and 64ths into metric. Can still remember the conversions after 50 years (but where did I put my keys???).

        2. Talk of 8 by 2, I built a frame for a built-in cupboard, checking before I started that plasterboard is available in 8 * 4 feet. Built frame, discovered the 8 * 4 was actually something in metres, probably 2.5m (8′ 2.5″ by 1.2m (3′ 11.25″). No apology was forthcoming, nor was the missing 3/4 of an inch made good. Obv the extra 2.5 inches was not much use to me.

  14. Just into the SCC, but I spent too long getting stuck in the NE to begin with. Once I started filling in elsewhere the whole started to come together. The long ones didn’t fall quickly however. No particular favourite clues but a good challenge throughout.

  15. 10:54 (Macbeth defeated at Dunsinane)

    LOI was OBJECT. COD to GAINSBOROUGH – much time wasted looking for words beginning RA until the penny finally dropped.

    Thanks BR and Orpheus

    1. The hatchet job Shakespeare did on Macbeth is awesome. In reality he was not a bad king, and reigned for 17 years – he even found time for a pilgrimage to Rome during his reign. It should make us more suspicious of the rest of Shakespeare’s “histories”: just because the Bard wrote it, it doesn’t mean it is true!

  16. Tricky but got there in the end ( 14 mins) Overall enjoyable so thanks setter and blogger! I’m not sure that bod is valid for bloke – just a body or person as far as I know but no complaints 🙂

  17. Another bad DNF. Didn’t see GAINSBOROUGH and at first thought it would be a painting technique like “masterchamber” or “enterlobby”. Towards the end I thought it might be a long painter name, but after Michelangelo I came up short. With an initial letter I would probably have got it, good clue.

    Was stuck on POTENTATE ending with R(iver) ATE after a five letter shelter. Likewise “drank” as a containment indicator for “AT” for the TANKARD clue. And for “bloke” tried man, guy, cove but not “bod”.

    I agree with Tina, more clues from sports I know: backgammon, cribbage.


  18. DNF as I had to hit reveal on GAINSBOROUGH at about 17 minutes. No complaints though, although I didn’t like the random DI in DIRECTOR. Everything else was fair enough. Thanks BR and Orpheus.

    1. My dislike of random, especially short, names has been mentioned more than once, so agree with you about Di.
      11 minutes, so more than twice my target time, and I know I shouldn’t be relieved that others suffered a bit too, but it makes me feel slightly better.
      COD to Gainsborough, and thanks to KG for explaining why it wasn’t an error as I had thought.
      All very fair I thought.

      1. I’m not too keen on obscure random names but ‘girl = DI’ has been a staple of cryptic crossword setting (and not just in The Times) at least since the relationship between Diana Spencer and Prince Charles began around 1980, if not before. Rather late to be concerned about it now, I feel.

  19. I’m sure the majority will find this as tough as I did. I was slow to get going and virtually ground to a halt for two or three minutes with about half a dozen to solve. Getting 23ac BOTHERED at last got me going again which helped enormously with GAINSBOROUGH. My LOI POTENTATE still delayed me a further minute and I eventually staggered over the line in 14.05. I didn’t help myself by biffing BARRAGE for 20ac thinking there must be an obscure Scottish writer called Barage.

  20. I thought this was a tricky QC, and so wasn’t surprised to find myself well into the SCC by the time I got down to the last two – Bothered and Gainsborough. Unfortunately that was still the situation at the 30min mark, so I pulled stumps and came to the blog for enlightenment. CoD, from the ones I did, was 12ac, Potentate, which gets its regular airing in the hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns. Invariant

    1. Isn’t that the hymn that also has “ineffably sublime”? They don’t write em like that any more.

  21. I was another troubled by the GAINSBOROUGH grammar. This was my LOI after 19 minutes including 3 at the end to get the painter. I was looking for Representing in some form.
    Otherwise a good QC.
    COCOA made me smile so COD to that.

  22. My LOI was also GAINSBOROUGH. I was looking for a sort of painting technique. Otherwise all went in fairly smoothly. NHO POTENTATE but followed the wordplay and it sounded plausible. Didn’t know precise meaning of COB – I do now. I liked this one. Thanks all.

  23. 12:36

    Just not on the wavelength today. Indeed after three minutes, I still had only entered two answers. Obviously things picked up, but was left with the two long ‘uns CHAMPIONSHIP and GAINSBOROUGH before OBJECT and LOI POTENTATE (know the word but wouldn’t have known what it meant). That’s two toughies in a row from Orpheus…

    Thanks to BR for the blog and the decimal film.

  24. Same as yesterday, didn’t flow, scrapping around on half parsed bits and pieces.



  25. Given many of the above comments, I am very pleased to have finished this testing puzzle relatively quickly. Got POTENTATE from TENT (shelter), GAINSBOROUGH from the letters already in – ditto BOTHERED when I twigged BLOKE = BOD. Phew!!

  26. 19:25
    Got stuck on several clues at the end: director, cocoa, rocky, and Gainsborough.
    Had to come back to get LOI potentate (not putinrate).
    COD Gainsborough.

  27. Unlike some I’ll admit that I found this one very tricky. You’ll hear no excuses from me 🤣.

    I had to DNF in the end with four clues remaining unanswered.

    However, I did enjoy it.

  28. DNF as had to look up painters and Galician port.
    I remember decimal currency day in 1971 as I was practically the only person shopping in John Lewis in Oxford St!
    Thanks, BR. By the way, nubile (strictly speaking) means marriageable but two of Lear’s daughters are already married and Cordelia needs to choose between two chaps.

  29. 7.14 DNF

    Looks like a good time but another typo. Did do this on my computer rather than the phone – a bit clunkier to move around the grid but much quicker to actually type the letters in (if anyone is in the slightest bit interested).

    VIGO needed some thought at the end which then gave the OVER in the type of music.

  30. I found this on the trickier side and went over my target. AMOS was FOI. I tentatively inserted LANDS at the top of 8d, but SEER, SCAPER etc were all too short. It was only when I got BOTHERED that BOROUGH put me straight. VIRGO was LOI. 11:00. Thanks Orpheus and BR.

  31. DNF. Was pleased to get Amos (after learning about him last week in another puzzle) and Potentate but struggled on Gainsborough and a few others. Oh well… a few more words in the mental store…

  32. DNF thanks to Gainsborough, bothered and tankard where I foolishly missed the anagram.
    Not as hard as yesterday which had six clues unfinished but still a tough one.
    I remember decimalisation as I was studying accountancy at the time and adding up in decimals was a lot easier than pounds, shillings and pence.
    Thanks for the puzzle and the solutions.

  33. Enjoyed this one although still outside of my time target at 23:55.

    FOI. AMOS – I used to be able to recite the books of the Bible in order once upon a time …
    LOI BARRIER while I know J M Barrie, I didn’t know he was Scottish and could only think of Walter Scott so I needed all the checkers to see that.

    Had to guess that Vigo was a Galician port but otherwise everything fell within my knowledge although I have never read King Lear and hate Shakespeare. I did the Scottish play every year leading up to O level – at least I knew 20 general purpose quotes from it by then to use in any answer or essay!

  34. I found this quite tricky as evidenced by a time of 24 minutes. Stuck at the end on 3 clues, 15ac, 23ac and 8dn, so I went away and did something else for a while. It often works and I managed to polish them off quickly when I came back. Enjoyable puzzle though.

    FOI – 5ac AMOS
    LOI – 15ac OBJECT

    Thanks to Orpheus and BR

  35. Extremely pleased (PD?) today, given the level of difficulty. just 22 minutes, which is fast for me even on an easy day.

    I started with LEARNED and MAY and had solved exactly half of the clues by the time I had read them all. As this took 12 minutes, I must have completed the second half in 10 minutes – negative splits!

    I think I solved quite a few of the clues by finding a word to fit the space before parsing, but I did parse all of them before putting down my pencil. My last two in were OWLET (with a shrug) and POTENTATE.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and BR.

  36. 22.23 Another toughie. GAINSBOROUGH, OBJECT and CHAMPIONSHIP were the last three in. Like david1, I was distracted by representation as a possible connection between artists and MPs. I have no problem with Bod being specifically male*. Thanks BR and Orpheus.

    * http://www.thechestnut.com/bod.htm

  37. Finished it but took most of the day. Championship was second last which gave the p for LOI potentate . Bothered fitted the spaces left after Gainsborough went in, l would never have worked out the clue.
    How many qc’s does one need to finish before sub 20 min times are achievable on a regular basis?

    1. Dear AI Man,
      Having started im June 2020, I have now tackled just over 900 consecutive QCs and during that time I have escaped the SCC (i.e. sub-20 mins) just over 50 times. Today was close, but it’s still a relatively uncommon achievement for me.

  38. hard work for the grey cells.
    Ok with Gainsborough.
    A computer file is a location where stuff is stored.

  39. Dnf…after 23 mins I ended up chucking in the towel.

    Haven’t read all the comments above, but either I wasn’t on it (a distinct possibility) or this was much harder than I thought. Had a real struggle with the RHS, and didn’t get 12ac “Potentate”, 8dn “Gainsborough” (too clever in my opinion) and 15ac “Object” (for which I have no real excuse).

    FOI – 1dn “Decimal”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 16dn “Tankard”

    Thanks as usual!

  40. Very tough, but got there eventually. I stopped the watch and gave up after 40 minutes with several left to do. I continued to ponder however and came up with COBRA after a minute or two. I restarted the watch and ended up finishing in what must have been about 50. Thanks (I think) Orpheus and BR.

  41. Another QC to confirm my ineptitude (not that I required any confirmation).

    47 mins of hell. Any semblance of competence has disappeared. Over 1.5 hours for the week – it’s only Tuesday.

    The fact it was hard is zero consolation. After more than 3 years, I should be doing far, far better. I really am not much better than when I started judging by my recent pathetic efforts.

    I’m sick of these miserable performances and have lost all sense of enjoyment and inspiration.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. By the way Gary, following on from last week, I did wonder at one point if 8d ended -borough, but completely failed to recognise that *a*n* would give the name of a painter. It happens to us all.

  42. 16:29. Late to this today: held up by GAINSBOROUGH and several of the intersecting clues.

    Thanks as usual

  43. Stumped by 23 A. Bloke = lad giving “lathered” instead of “bothered”. Makes perfect sense up here!

    Always enjoy the QC, never any complaints, I just do better at some than others.

  44. Struggled with this one, but did finish. The 1832 Reform Act (with the rotten boroughs) was the first thing I learned about in my O Level History course. NHO Galicia, but have now. I thought it was harder than the Snitch suggests.

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