Quick Cryptic 2563 by Trelawney

Rest in peace, Jeff. Alternate Thursdays were “Rotter Days” and we will miss you.

After a few tricky ones this week and some feisty exchanges of views on the blog, Trelawney has served up an elegant and gentle puzzle today. We have a sprinkling of fairly simple anagrams to give encouragement to the solver throughout and nothing obscure. Finished in 06:20 so I hope that this will be generally hailed as being on the easier side. Thank you Trelawney!

Definitions are underlined in bold italics. Be nice to me, people, I’ve never blogged anything before except some of the Saturday Specials and vinyl has had to explain the mysteries of JavaScript to me very patiently!

[On edit: thanks for all the kind words, which are much appreciated! I’m travelling for most of today and won’t be able to add anything until the evening, but I’m sure that the wise heads will be able to explain anything meanwhile.]

Across
1 Flag obtained from Jack, Oliver, and another guy (5,5)
JOLLY ROGER – J for “Jack” (bridge notation), followed by his two chums OLLY (“Oliver”) and ROGER (“another guy”).  This always reminds me of “Under Milk Wood” – “The boys are dreaming wicked of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrodgered sea”.
8 Don’t drink at basin for a change (7)
ABSTAIN – an anagram (indicated by “for a change”) of “at basin”.
9 A bit of whisky, say, before a play (5)
DRAMA – a write-in for me, sitting in the Highlands as I am today. DRAM (“bit of whisky, say”) before “A”. The “say” indicates that you can have a dram of other spirits, which is no doubt technically true but I’ve never been offered a dram of rum or vodka. Dram has its ultimate origins in the Greek word “drachma”, in its sense of a measure of weight.
10 Hurting Greek god’s back (4)
SORE – the god in question is Eros, son of Aphrodite and the Greek god of love. Spell him backwards and you get SORE.
11 Leo possibly stirred tsar’s gin (4,4)
STAR SIGN – Leo is one of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac (“possibly” indicating that this is a definition by example). An anagram (indicated by “stirred”) of “tsar’s gin”, which isn’t served in drams. Nice nod to Tolstoy in the “Leo” as well, bravo.
13 Tiara moved around lobbies (5)
ATRIA – one lobby is an atrium; two lobbies are ATRIA, the Latin plural. An anagram (indicated by “moved around”) of “tiara”.
14 Silly to accept ultimately poor sketch (5)
DRAFT – here “silly” = “daft”, into which we insert the last letter of “poor” (“ultimately poor”) to get DRAFT.
16 Saint who’s after some eggs? (8)
BENEDICT – I really liked this and it gets my COD. “Eggs Benedict” is the name for ham and poached egg on top of a muffin, covered in Hollandaise sauce (yum). So BENEDICT is a saint whose name comes “after” “some” eggs (not all eggs, because there are lots of other ways to serve eggs). Very neat.
17 Rule announced for horse riding gear (4)
REIN – a homophone for “reign” (“Rule announced”). My LOI and I stared at it in blank despair for some while. Eventually Dame Jilly Cooper DBE came to my aid.
20 Rents dilapidated part of ship (5)
STERN – an anagram (indicated by “dilapidated”) of “rents”.
21 Quibble with returning metal tool (7)
NITPICK – the “returning metal” is “tin”, which you reverse to get NIT; then add a PICK as the “tool”.
22 American predator beginning to disturb pirate (10)
BLACKBEARD – this is very clever and had me barking up several wrong trees as I tried to fit US or AM or USA into it. The “American predator” is the BLACK BEAR, Ursus Americanus, to which we add D as the “beginning to disturb”. BLACKBEARD was the nom de guerre of Edward Teach, the notorious C18 pirate and captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. JOLLY ROGER at the top and BLACKBEARD at the bottom, but if there’s a theme I’ve missed it as usual.
Down
1 Frenchman’s trousers? (5)
JEANS – just as a Frenchman’s beach shoes are Phillipe Phollops, so his trousers might be JEANS. A play on the male French Christian name “Jean”.
2 Left a runner holding queen’s office equipment (5,7)
LASER PRINTER – an Ikea clue, in which you assemble the constituent parts while swearing at the inadequacy of the instructions. L (“left”) + A + SPRINTER (“runner”), into which you insert ER (“queen”).
3 Pine cut short for a period of time (4)
YEAR – “yearn” (“pine”) without its last letter (“cut short”).
4 Fancy a tenor badly (6)
ORNATE – an anagram (indicated by “badly”) of “a tenor”.
5 Mythical city found in field or a dockland (2,6)
EL DORADO – a neatly concealed hidden (indicated by “found in”) – “fiELD OR A DOckland”. For centuries Europeans believed in the existence of a South American lost city of fabulous wealth, and launched numerous expeditions in search of it. The useful by-product was the mapping of much of Colombia, Venezuela and Guyana.
6 Region containing Peru has Inca material all over the place (5,7)
LATIN AMERICA – an anagram (indicated by “all over the place”) of “Inca material”.
7 Publication to acquire something attractive? (6)
MAGNET – at first I thought that this was a reference to the long defunct “story book for boys”, The Magnet, of Billy Bunter fame. But just as I was bracing for the wrath of Merlin I realised that in fact it was just MAG (“publication”) + NET (“to acquire”). Phew.
12 Queen, perhaps, at home with a large Catholic leader (8)
CARDINAL – Another trip to Ikea. CARD (“Queen, perhaps” – another definition by example, since other cards are available) + IN (“at home”) + A + L (“large”).
13 Surprise attack in the morning north of outback (6)
AMBUSH – AM (“in the morning”), which is “north of” (ie above, since this is a down clue) BUSH (“outback”, defined by Collins as “the remote bush country of Australia” – one for Tina).
15 Beautiful perfume reduced by one hundred (6)
SCENIC – a synonym for “perfume” is “scent”, remove its last letter (“reduced”) for SCEN, add I (“one”) and C (“hundred” in Roman numerals).
18 Dane confused about king not wearing anything (5)
NAKED – anagram (indicated by “confused”) of “Dane”, going around (“wearing”) K for “king” (chess notation – “king” can also indicate R for “rex” or CR for King Charles, or if the setter’s feeling really mean some long dead king, like GR).
19 Skewer bananas upside down (4)
STAB – to skewer means to pierce with a long thin piece of wood or metal, so that’ll do for STAB. The cryptic bit is that when read from bottom to top (“upside down”, this being a down clue) you get “bats” (= “bananas”) .

126 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2563 by Trelawney”

  1. And greetings and welcome from your co-Thursday blogger. Vinyl1 can give you my contact details if you run into any snags on the day. Fun puzzle, great clear explanations. I thought I was going to get all the across answers in one go, but could not see NITPICK on a first pass. 3:05.

  2. 8:57. Yes, Templar off to a great start- entertaining and informative! My only holdup was thinking STUN instead of STAB until the B appeared from BLACKBEARD.

    1. You may have been 3-up with 257 to play … but it’s now only 2-up with 256 to play 🤣

      (That’s a rough guess on how many there are. Hoping we get the promised Saturday QC)

    2. I too carelessly biffed STUN but it helped me as I then got NITPICK from the right letter in the wrong answer, and then BLACK BEAR D fixed nuts > bats.

  3. Thank you, Templar, for taking on the job, on such short notice, and so well!
    This was a fairly easy QC for me, although I took 13d to be AM including something. I further slowed myself down by putting in STUN (nuts reversed); didn’t feel right but I went on, to be unable to get BLACKBEARD until I saw the light. Still, managed a 4:56.

  4. Welcome Templar, and thanks for explaining what was going on with several clues that I ran straight over the top of on my way to 7.12. Just couldn’t see SCENIC which added a good minute at the end, but seeing I was watching Oz v Pakistan from the SCG at the same time I thought that was on ok time for an enjoyable Trelawney.

  5. Welcome to the team, Templar, and congrats on the quality of your very first blog.

    I completed this in 8 minutes. As an oldie myself my first thought when parsing 7dn was of The Magnet comic or ‘story book’ as the publishers described it when launched in 1908.

    My second thought, as was Templar’s, was that it would not go down well with those amongst our contributors who campaign against such outdated references, so I was also relieved when it turned out there was an alternative explanation.

    I never readThe Magnet as it ceased publication in 1940, some years before I was born, but like many of my generation I was aware of it because it was the original source of Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School which was adapted for BBC Children’s TV in the 1950s.

    JOLLY ROGER and BLACKBEARD reminded me that when I blogged Trelawney’s very first QC (#1420, 19th August 2019) I also considered the possibility of a pirate theme after noting that ‘Squire Trelawney’ was one of the leading characters in RLS’s Treasure Island – another story adapted for BBC Children’s TV in the 1950s, as it happens. I managed to wring out another 6 or 7 possible references to nautical matters in the clues and answers, although I admit now that most of them were tenuous and the puzzle was very unlikely to have had such a theme. But today’s two pirate references have set me wondering again about the setter’s choice of pseudonym.

    If anyone’s interested in revisiting Trelawney’s first QC, my old blog is available in the archive here.

    1. Enjoyed reading your blog of Trelawney’s first QC. The only other possible Treasure Island reference I saw in that puzzle was LONG( for Mr Silver of course). It was also fun to be reminded in your intro of Trelawney of the Wells(“hev we no cheers?”).

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever got so many clues from the definitions alone before, only needing the wordplay for confirmation. Only minor holdups gave me a very rare sub-10 minute solve.
    LOIs were REIN and SORE, and I liked the construction of LASER PRINTER.

  7. Thanks to Templar for an excellent blog. I worked through this without too many delays with SCENIC as my last in. Favourites were the surface for LATIN AMERICA and our ursine ‘American predator’ in BLACKBEARD.

    Thanks also to Trelawney

  8. Templar! I’m pleased to see your blog and appreciate the shout out lol
    I also appreciate the extra explanations and newbie pointers a lot.

    I also bestow your first blog with my PB and first ever sub-10 time of 5:38! Apparently that year King Vitiges of the Ostrogoths ended his siege after over a year and abandoned Rome.

    My lack of vocab came in handy today as it was a lot of biffing then parse for me today. I know the name of like… Two flags 🇬🇧 🏴‍☠️, two pieces of riding gear, two catholic leader positions etc

    I enjoyed the Jolly Roger/Blackbeard top tail and also will recommend the show Our Flag Means Death to anyone who will listen (if you like quirky New Zealand comedies about pirates)

    My COD was EL DORADO. I looooove a good hidden, they always surprise and delight me.

          1. You know maybe I have, but I feel like I would have recalled feeling as pleased and as smug as I do now 😜

            And there was a possibility in 2022 I was still using anagram aids until someone here gave me some tips on how to be better at them

    1. 🔥🔥
      Congratulations on the rapid time! I’m also a big fan of Our Flag Means Death, and hoping they do a third season.

  9. A pretty rapid 7m solve for me and the first in a while in the usual breakfast and coffee slot.

    Not as fluid as others it seems – took a while to not lift and separate ‘American’ and ‘predator’ on the way to BLACKBEARD and had a while staring blanking at the space where NITPICK ended up.

    Couldn’t get the Club to load, so will find 7.10 later on to enter that time – might get me above the 400s in the monthly leaderboard for once.

  10. Enjoyed the puzzle and the blog equally. The NW corner was last to fall for me with JOLLY ROGER, JEANS & YEAR all causing a delay leading to 11’33”.

    Like others STAB went in as ‘stun’ on first pass until BLACKBEARD set me right.

    Thanks Trelawny and Templar

  11. A wonderful blog which even The Rotter would have been proud of, informative, helpful and with style. Thank you Templar and if that is a foretaste of alternate Thursdays we are blest indeed that you have stepped into Rotter’s shoes.

    And a fine puzzle too. I also essayed Stun for Stab until Blackbeard appeared (it clearly didn’t parse but if even Kevin toyed with it …), and I wondered very briefly about Boniface for Benedict when I only had the B-N checkers. Otherwise no hold-ups and much enjoyment for an 8 minute solve.

    Cedric

  12. The Rotter’s baton has been passed on immaculately, doubtless he is twirling his moustache and nodding his approval to an engaging blog.
    Just under 12 minutes, so storming through by my standards, without trying for speed. Had I known it was going to be so friendly I might well have made an effort and broken 10 mins but I only noticed I was rather faster than usual when I realised there wasn’t much left to do!
    Quick, but most enjoyable. A “hidden” like EL DORADO cannot help but be blindingly obvious, but well done for the construction. The Inca anagram was very clever and apt. REIN was bafflingly elusive for a while. All good fun.

  13. Congratulations Templar on a clear, informative and entertaining blog – the French footwear comment made me snort!.
    I sped through this gentle puzzle in 4.54, starting with JOLLY ROGER and finishing with a slight pause over REIN, where initially focused on laws/regulations etc.

  14. 7:42 Sturm, disciple of Boniface, establishes the Benedictine Abbey of Fulda (present-day Hesse) in Germany. Fact chosen as it includes BENEDICT and BONIFACE ( my first saint which fitted the checkers B-N- – – – -)

    Super fast, today. And this after a slow FOI

    ELDORADO too easy from the 2,6 enumeration, but very nice “hidden”.

    Great first blog, Templar. Thanks for explaining BLACKBEARD.

    COD STAR SIGN

  15. Templar, welcome and a very good blog.

    Reading 1a I had no idea what was going on at first but after that I fair flew the crossword and finished in a very fast time for me of under 10 minutes. However a few went in unparsed such as 22a and 2d.

    FOI ABSTAIN
    LOI SCENIC
    COD BENEDICT

  16. Congratulations on the elevation to blogdom Templar! A fine example of the art.

    I thought I was on course for a Vinyl-bothering low 3 minuter on this pretty straightforward puzzle. I got held up in the bottom right though. Getting CARDINAL unlocked BLACKBEARD though, and then they all came pretty quickly, ending with NITPICK.

    As good a time as any to extend a thank you to all the bloggers, who take the time to produce informative and entertaining work.

    4:26

  17. Ooh so much better than yesterday’s nasty offering – 14minutes which is good time for me. Only hold up was pencilled in stun for skewer, bananas reversed instead of stab and that delayed the SE corner for last few minutes.
    COD Jeans
    LOI Blackbeard
    FOI Sore

  18. Great blog!

    Used a typewriter today to enter the answers and ended up with a massive PB (4.15) and currently in 18th place, an area of the leaderboard I have never come to close to visiting. Whether the two are connected will become evident no doubt in the days ahead …!

    Big thank-yous to setter and Templar.

    1. Congrats on the PB. Somewhat bemused by your using a typewriter! A proper one with ink soaked ribbons, clacking typebars and a ting! when you start a new line with that lever thing? Or just a keyboard instead of jabbing at a touch screen?

  19. 6:39 (birth of St Aldhelm, bishop of Sherborne)

    I was pleased with my time, but coming here and seeing some of your times, I realise I am among the also-rans today.

    Congratulations Templar on an excellent blog.

  20. Welcome Templar and thanks to you and Trelawney. Having moaned a bit about setters getting the level wrong recently, I thought this was perfectly pitched. Thanks again!

  21. 7:49 for a PB. And I faffed around. Trying to put Union-Jack, pen&paper to tick off the letters for LATIN-AMERICA, couldn’t remember the name of the Saint, missed the homophone meaning of rein so didn’t put it in first pass. Also in the stun/nuts camp.

    Post-solve review reminded me of how easy these become when you’ve got experience and I’m grateful to be able to recognise this. So many write-ins, yet my inner beginner of two years ago would have sat and stared at some of these clues in bewilderment.

    Always love a Trelawney – easily the setter I get my fastest times with. Enjoyed JEANS when it arrived.

    1. Yes! Like I’ve never seen a dram of whiskey in my life… Now I see the word and I think Drama? Or NATO alphabet?

      Congrats on the PB!

      1. I don’t think I’ve ever had a whiskey – let alone a dram, nip or tot* of it. There are some parts of life that are just a whole different world to me and I’ve only ever seen in films.

        * A word that sometimes comes up in double-definitions with youngsters. Nip can also contribute to “nipper” for a small child. I guess there’s a “small things” etymology going on there.

        1. Hey, but don’t go totally Pollyannish on us- a little moany grumpiness now and then helps keep things interesting !

          1. Don’t worry. I’m sure my foot-in-mouth will manage a misplaced word or 200 at some unexpected turn 🤐

  22. 5:45

    Trelawney tends to be one of our gentler setters – the ‘QCs are getting harder’ brigade should be temporarily appeased with today’s offering 🙂 – a couple of less common words in NITPICK and ATRIA, but all fairly clued.

    Congratulations on your first blog Templar – most entertaining and educational – looking forward to reading many more of yours, every other Thursday.

  23. Nothing to difficult for me in today’s QC. Though I don’t time my solves, this was a quick one by my standards. No help from the cat required today. In fact, this was possibly my easiest QC solve.

    Having only just heard of the sad passing of The Rotter, I dedicate this best solve of mine to his memory. RIP Rotter. 😢

  24. What a lovely surprise on a number of fronts!

    1) A fab crossword with very neat surfaces and fun answers;
    2) A wonderful blog that was informative and fun (chapeau Templar!) and helped me understand BLACKBEARD;
    3) First ever escape from SCC at 16 mins.

    I’m sure some will say it was too easy, but I will say it fits the bill perfectly for a newbie and meets the/my spec for the QC – less daunting than the main cryptic, accessible GK, and very enjoyable.

    This is one happy bunny here!!! Maybe even GaryA will be smiling too?
    ❤️🤗

    1. More congratulations! Well done Pi-c!

      Hopefully Trelawney knows what a boost he’s given a few people today.

    2. Well done on the first escape 👏 Hopefully the first of many.

      (Don’t concern yourself with whether it was “too easy” – I still stumbled through some obvious ones today – enjoy it for what it was)

  25. Welcome to Templar and congrats on the blog.
    The puzzle took me just under 9 minutes.
    Nothing too difficult but I needed a while to get my last two: CARDINAL and BENEDICT.
    COD to JEANS and nicely clued overall.
    David

  26. Fine blog from Templar. Enjoyable QC from Trelawney but (and of course you can’t please everyone) I finished it over breakfast and prefer something slightly more chewy so I have few clues left for lunch.

    In my younger days I thought that ‘bush’ and ‘outback’ were synonymous. After visiting that great country I learned that bush is the undeveloped countryside around towns and farmland, while the outback is the wild and woolly interior, a long way from civilisation where you shouldn’t venture alone or in just one vehicle.

    1. Thanks for elucidation. When I finally fulfil my dream of visiting Australia and going walkabout, I will stick strictly to bush and not venture into outback.

  27. Thanks for the blog Templar, useful and entertaining. 8′ interrupted by making my good lady’s tea. Putting niblick in my first pass needed a rethink later.

  28. Very fast then held up in SE by BLACKBEARD, STAB, and NITPICK.
    (Was thinking of Blackguard and Niblick, which turned out to be a golfclub!)
    Liked BENEDICT, JOLLY ROGER, DRAMA, AMBUSH, and JEANS which made me smile.
    Thanks so much, Templar.

  29. Firstly, well done Templar – a duck to water if ever I saw one. As for the QC, I lost a minute or so looking for potential anagrist in 1ac before the Y in foi Year unfurled the Jolly Roger. Thereafter it was a straightforward (and enjoyable) solve, with a pdm for loi Benedict at the 16min mark – quite fast for me these days, but a distant speck on the skyline compared with some of the times posted above. CoD to 15d, Scenic – very neat. Invariant

  30. Well done Templar, great blog and explaining all so precisely. Big boots to fill after The Rotter, but I know you’ll do a great job. I should also congratulate the many people who achieved PBs today, particularly Tina and the solver previously known as
    L Plates, great times.
    As far as I’m concerned I seem to be the only one who didn’t smash it, coming home in a pedestrian 9.38. Normally I’d be quite happy with that time, but seeing what others have achieved I feel I underperformed. I was held up by nearly two minutes by my last two clues, but eventually BLACKBEARD came to me and then the realisation that 19dn was not STUN.

  31. 12:41

    My first complete solve of the year! It was rather easy though. Flew through all but the SE corner in 5 minutes and was hoping for a record time only to be slowed down by BLACK BEARD, SCENIC and LOI NITPICK.

  32. An absolutely excellent blog – thank you Templar!
    18:40
    I think this might have been my most enjoyable QC ever (and not just because of JOLLY ROGER and BLACKBEARD which I, disappointingly, biffed 😊).
    FOI: 8ac ABSTAIN
    LOI: 19dn STAB
    COD: 21ac NITPICK
    Thanks again Templar and thanks to Trelawney.

  33. Thank you Templar – great blog. Zipped through this one pausing on ATRIA and LOI ABSTAIN only. Agree with Mike L – prefer a few more challenges otherwise the fun is over too quickly! COD JEANS. Thanks Trelawney. RIP Rotter.

  34. 7 mins…

    The giant pendulum of the Quick Crossword swung to the easier side today. Interestingly, I was compiling my 2023 stats (which I’ll share briefly tomorrow) and Trelawney is the setter that I complete the fastest (average of 13 mins – with a completion rate of 77%), with my two PB’s coming under their watch.

    FOI – 1ac “Jolly Roger”
    LOI – 21ac “Nitpick”
    COD – 1ac “Jolly Roger”

    Great to see Templar stepping in to do the blog.

    Thanks as usual!

      1. Well…funny you should say that…as I’ve just had to book an eye appointment, as I have reached a point where I can no longer look at my watch or even do this crossword comfortably.

    1. Congratulations ⚡ For clarity, is today a PB or just another fast Trelawney?

      Commiserations on needing an eye appointment. I have been doing a lot of focusing exercises over the past six months to try and stem the tide. But I particularly noticed the eyesight issue yesterday while trying to do a jigsaw* quickly. Who said I’m competitive?!?

      * 1hr55 for a 540piece -3D globe puzzle. 10mins to put together the 7-piece stand which came with wrong instructions 🤣

      1. It is a joint PB – as my last Trelawney PB back in the first half of the year was also 7 mins. I could probably shave a minute or so off if I didn’t try and mentally parse as I go along.

  35. 08:18
    Nice puzzle, epitome of a QC. Enjoyed jolly roger, abstain (I didn’t hence the mediocre time in comparison to others), star sign, jeans, magnet, and COD blackbeard.
    LOI rein took a while.
    Congrats Templar.

  36. The top half went in with a flurry of sub second biffs but it all slowed down a bit further down. Ended in 7:50. So happy to see that quick-for-me time beaten by so many who have shown such improvement and enjoyment for the puzzzles. Templar – you are very welcome (and proficient!) – thanks for stepping up.

  37. Fabulous debut blog Templar. Highly enjoyable and educational! And what a fabulous QC! Thank you Trelawney. one of my very rare finishes! I’ll take up one of the SCC bunks for the afternoon if I may.

  38. NEW DRIVER mentioned a “promised” QC on Saturdays. Any news on when this might happen?
    I found this very “do-able” but needed the blog for some of the parsing. L don’t record my time – don’t want to frighten the horses.

          1. Thanks. My next one is at the test drive stage. The plan is to continue of there is sufficient interest… after all the Sunday Times doesn’t have a Quick Cryptic (yet) does it?

  39. Slàinte Mhath Templar 🥃 Rotter is a hard act to follow, but you have done it in style – a toast to you both.
    Congrats to everyone who hit the peaks today – sadly I’m still in the foothills. After a very quick start, I totally breezeblocked at SCENIC and BLACKBEARD which took me to 11:24. At least I finished today – this week has been a very mixed bag so far. Setters 2 Penny 2! I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
    FOI Abstain (I shan’t) LOI Blackbeard (boo) COD Benedict (yum)
    Thanks Trelawney and Templar – many thanks for a fab first blog.

  40. Well done Templar. Love the Phillipe Phollops explanation. So much information! I think you took considerably longer blogging than solving.

    FOI JOLLY ROGER. LOI BLACKBEARD. Not as fast as Tina but done in 5:56.

  41. Like many others I found this easier than normal and came in at 8.46. According to my scoring system this put me 3 under par. Most were not really solved if I’m frank as the definitions and checkers were enough. Didn’t stop me wondering if “inalpope” was a queen: probably Egyptian.
    Congratulations to Templar on being handed your cap today and thank you for the blog.
    Thanks to Trelawney

  42. Though this was certainly quick I was held up today in the SE. BLACKBEARD was a quickly thought of possibility but I deferred typing it in because I couldn’t immediately see the parsing. I then ruled it out because it clearly didn’t fit with STUN, which I convinced myself could somehow mean skewer! Cue much headscratching because at that stage I hadn’t been able to see LOI SCENIC where I was attempting to reduce some NHO longer word by IC. 9:45 in the end which is still fast by my standards. Thanks to Trelawney and Templar and congratulations to Tina!

  43. Congratulations on your splendid first blog Templar. You had a hard act to follow but you’ve risen to the challenge admirably. I started with YEAR, immediately followed by JOLLY ROGER. Steady progress ensued, although BLACKBEARD caused a bit of a holdup, then the SW caused me more problems. I was very slow to see AMBUSH and needed BENEDICT to light the way. He also helped with LOI, SCENIC. 7:51. Thanks Trelawney and Templar.

  44. Lovely level for a perfect lunchbreak 15’33”.

    Would have been quicker if I hadn’t spent a full minute staring at SOUTH AMERICA trying to work out why several of the letters I needed for the anagram weren’t there!

  45. Another happy solver here! Steady progress and delayed just enough by BLACKBEARD to enter the SCC. Thanks all

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