Quick Cryptic 2599 by Felix – off to the chippy with Peter Mandelson

Felix has given us a terrific mixture here – some gimmes like APE and DAWN, and some absolute snorters like BAGPIPER and EFFIGY. Ideal, to my mind, since the tough ones had a whiff of the 15 but you got enough checkers from the easy ones to help out. I was pushed over target and clocked in at 09:54. How did you get on?

(Because it’s Felix I’m assuming that there’s a Nina … but I can never see them and I didn’t today, despite googling Norwegian pop trio AHA to see if they’d written a song called FOOLPROOF GUACAMOLE. They hadn’t. Put me out of my misery, Nina-spotters!)

[On edit: and of course the Hive Mind has produced the answer. There’s actually a double-Nina here, both revolving round “PIPER at the gates of DAWN”. That was the title of Chapter 7 of “Wind in the Willows”, and it was then borrowed by Pink Floyd as the title of their first album. Felix has worked in references both to Grahame’s book and the Floyd. So: references to the book that I now see are PORTLY, RATTY and MOLE (in [guaca]MOLE), because the whole chapter is about Ratty and Mole going off to search for a missing young otter called Portly; and references to the album that I now see are ASTRONOMY DOMINE[eers] (first track on side 1) and BIKE (last track on side 2). There are also a couple of clues which have a flavour of each – “Proudly claim son has been placed in sailing craft” feels like a nod to Grahame because the chapter ends with Portly being placed in Ratty’s (rowing) boat to be claimed by his parents; and “Sort of rock music, trendy, to pass on” feels like a nod to Pink Floyd. There may be others! Many thanks to Sawbill, Ed Freshpot and simjt for spotting what I had missed.]

Definitions underlined in bold.

1 Large journal exchanging two letters for Scottish player? (8)
BAGPIPER – this has nothing to do with Macbeth, it turns out (ahem). Instead, a “large journal” could be called a “big paper”. Swap over the I and the A (“exchanging two letters”), and you have BAGPIPER, the player of Scotland’s most famous contribution to world music.  For people who start with 1a that was like getting a 95mph inswinging yorker first ball – I just couldn’t see how it worked and it ended up as my LOI. What a start.
5 Start doing art with numbers, first of all (4)
DAWN – this, on the other hand, was a half paced loosener outside off stump. It’s the first letters (“first of all”)  of “doing art with numbers” and was crashed to the boundary for my FOI.
9 Triumphant exclamation from a bowler, maybe, cut short (3)
AHA – I’m going to stop with the cricket stuff, despite this clue being given a cricket surface. It’s A for “a” + HA for “a bowler, maybe, cut short”. A bowler is a type (that’s why it says “maybe” – it’s a definition by example) of hat and if you remove hat‘s last letter (“cut short”) it’s HA. I can’t believe I’ve written so many words to explain a three letter answer.
10 Behaves imperiously: might be resolved to modernise (9)
DOMINEERS – an anagram (“resolved”) of “modernise”.
11 Reversing right, declares a line for crossing (9)
TRAVERSAL – “reversing right” = TR, because that’s RT (“right”) backwards. “Declares” = AVERS. A = “a”, and then L = “line”.
12 Old boxer appearing regularly in tabloid (3)
ALI – Every other letter (“regularly”) of tAbLoId. I suppose that Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), aka “The Greatest”, could be described as an “old” boxer, given that his last professional fight was in 1981, but ancient actors/actresses regularly get clued without the “old”. Anyway, fair enough. Fight fans will always wonder about peak Ali vs peak Tyson.
13 Quietly, Henry and I call (5)
PHONE – “quietly” = P, “Henry” = H and “I” = ONE.
15 Irritable Democrat, typically somewhat diminished (5)
RATTY – a hidden word, indicated by “somewhat diminished” inside “DemocRAT TYpically”.
17 Poem due to be recited (3)
ODE – a homophone (indicated by “to be recited”) of owed (“due to”).
18 Infallible pudding and what comes with its eating? (9)
FOOLPROOF – oh what a gorgeous clue. FOOL is a pudding, and the PROOF of any pudding lies in the eating, as the proverb remarks. Wonderful stuff and my COD. “Nothing can be said to be foolproof until it’s been tested on an actual fool”, as a former senior colleague used to say when a Judge failed to agree with one of his ideas.
21 Stretches, so elegant, when exercising (9)
ELONGATES – an anagram (“exercising”) of “so elegant”.
23 Many times shorter? (3)
OFT – I don’t really understand this. OFT is “Short for often” (Collins), and “often” means “many times”. If that’s all that’s going on it’s not much of a clue; if there’s more, I can’t see it.
24 Cycle from outskirts of Ballyclare, about one kilometre (4)
BIKE – the “outskirts of Ballyclare” are its first and last letters, BE, inside which we put IK for “one kilometre”.
25 From Ynys Môn, somehow emerges finally safe and sound, for example (8)
SYNONYMS – an anagram of “Ynys Mon” (indicated by “somehow”), + S for the last letter (“finally”) of “emerges”. Clever definition, though the grammar of the surface has been strained to breaking point. Ynys Môn, I now discover, is the Welsh name for what I have always known as Anglesey.
1 Proudly claim son has been placed in sailing craft (5)
BOAST – S for “son” inside “BOAT”. I protest against BOAT as a straight definition for “sailing craft”; I have a fishing boat and it most assuredly is not a sailing craft. This should have been a definition by example.
2 Ordered cola — a mug — and dash of exotic savoury paste (9)
GUACAMOLE – anagram (indicated by “ordered”) of “cola a mug”, plus E for “dash of exotic” (a little bit of “exotic”, here its first letter E). GUACAMOLE is mashed up avocado, tomatoes and other stuff according to taste. While visiting a northern chippy, Peter Mandelson is supposed to have pointed at the mushy peas and asked for “some of the guacamole”. I really hope that that’s true but I bet it’s apocryphal.
3 Sort of rock music, trendy, to pass on (5)
INDIE – I cycled my way through hard rock, glam rock and prog rock before deciding to wait for checkers. IN is “trendy”, DIE is “to pass on” if you’re a euphemistic type. INDIE music is made by new bands working with small, independent record companies.
4 Men he’s contrived to catch in net (6)
ENMESH – anagram (“contrived”) of “men he’s”.
6 Primate taking a series of exercises (3)
APE – A + PE.
7 Denial about still mostly being in a bad way (7)
NASTILY – NAY = “denial”, which goes “about” STIL (which is “still mostly”, that is all of “still” except its last letter). If you do something NASTILY you do it in a bad way.
8 Horn of insect, large on queen (6)
ANTLER – ANT = “insect”, L = “large”, ER = queen.
12 Studying stars eating well, but missing out on starter (9)
ASTRONOMY – {g}astronomy. Nuff said.
13 Saying rambler is in lead (7)
PROVERB – the “rambler” is a ROVER, and (s)he’s inside (“is in”) PB for “lead”. PB (the chemical symbol for lead) comes from the Latin “plumbum”, from which we get “plumber” (since all water pipes used to be made of lead before we realised that it’s poisonous).
14 Maybe guy’s iffy gel, mostly for styling (6)
EFFIGY – Sneaky sneaky sneaky. David Beckham was once hung in effigy after getting sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, but the most famous EFFIGY in these parts remains that of Guy Fawkes, ceremonially burned on bonfires all over Britain on the fifth of November every year. An anagram (“for styling”) of “iffy ge”, the last letter of “gel” being omitted because of the “mostly”.
16 Stout or fortified wine left years (6)
PORTLY – PORT = “fortified wine” + L for “left” + Y for “years”.
19 Nuisance having zero sauce (5)
20 Olympian trio running faster mostly (5)
FATES – in Greek mythology, the FATES were three goddesses who lived on Mount Olympus: thus an “Olympian trio”, which is a perfectly fair but slightly elliptical definition. They were sisters, each with their own role in creating the infinite threads which represented every human life – one span it, one drew it out and the third cut it. The third sister was often portrayed as blind, to emphasise the random nature of death. Here they are found by an anagram (“running”, think colours running in the wash and getting muddled up) of “faste” (which is “mostly” “faster”). A clever clue.
22 Approve going round a tree (3)
OAK – to OK something is to “approve” it, and that goes round A to give you Britain’s iconic tree.

82 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2599 by Felix – off to the chippy with Peter Mandelson”

  1. 12:47. Guy for EFFIGY and start for DAWN were tricky definitions for me. NASTILY and FOOLPROOF were favourites. SYNONYMS and BAGPIPER were fun because they offered different clue types (to me). I liked the misdirection of running Olympians too for FATES!

  2. Annoyingly I made an error so DNF in about 10. For DOMINEERS I too hastily put in dominates, even though that required me to overtype the final E of APE with a T. That gave apt, which looked like a proper word when I gave it a quick once-over at the end. But I agree with Templar that this was a quality offering from Felix. No Nina visible to me but there never is. I thought having both GUACAMOLE and PESTO might be the start of something but sadly that’s where it finished.

  3. 8 minutes. The question mark at 23ac made me suspicious of a more devious explanation. The best I could come up with is that 0 FT (zero feet) is probably ‘shorter’ than most. I’m not wholly convinced though.

  4. 17:59, continuing my run of slowish but enjoyable solves. I was held up in the bottom right, where SYNONYMS, FATES and FOOLPROOF were my last three. As often, COD and LOI go to the same clue: FOOLPROOF.

    No clue on a theme: had a brief thought that it might be Pink Floyd related from “piper” and “dawn” the the first row, but nothing else seems to fit.

    Thanks to Felix and Templar.

    1. I wondered about Floyd as well, especially as guacamole relates to their classic album Dark Side of the Enchilada.

      1. Hey Doof, I note from the comments of sawbill and Ed Freshpot below that we were righter than we thought we were!!

  5. 13:22. Yes, BAGPIPER was a nice Jeff Thomson sandshoe crusher to greet us with and it was close to my LOI too. The rest went in slowly though I was annoyed to miss how the PROOF part of 18a worked.

    I have a 100% record in not being able to identify a theme or Nina in Felix’s puzzles, a not so fine tradition which has continued on today.

    Thanks to Templar and Felix

  6. THe Nina relates to the Pink Floyd album PIPER at the GATES of DAWN. ASTRONOMY DOMINE. BIKE etc

    1. “I’ve got a BIKE, you can ride it if you like, it’s got a basket, a bell that rings, and things to make it look good…..”

      Syd Barrett at his manic best!

  7. I really enjoyed this puzzle (and blog!). I also loved FOOLPROOF, that’s a great clue, and was bemused by OFT.
    I was on wavelength today, to the extent that when I wrote out the anagrist for 25a I just wrote SYNONYMS!
    I didn’t mind boats for sailing craft—a sailing craft is definitely a boat, even if not all boats are sailing craft. I don’t know if that means it would usually have a question mark attached to it though.

  8. Having persevered long after my usual 30 minute cut off point, and after a reasonable start, I ended up getting bogged down with EFFIGY, FOOLPROOF and the NHO FATES eventually limping over the line all green in about 37 minutes. Ouch! (Serves me right for forgetting Valentine’s Day, Mrs ITTT will doubtless say.) Ho hum.
    I was mounting my high horse in order to rail against yet another cricketing clue (AHA) when I realised that ‘Bowler’ was a hat. That made me chuckle – nice one Felix!
    Looking back there was nothing wrong with this puzzle, I just wasn’t in the groove.
    Thanks to Felix and Templar for their efforts. I shall preempt Sir by gathering my things and taking myself off to the Special Table for the day.

  9. It must have been close to a record with 11 of the acrosses going in at the first pass but things got harder after that and I slowed to a crawl to finish with FATES (an anagram, clang!) and OFT (which I couldn’t really parse and so was glad to see the blog). Also took a long time over GUACAMOLE I think the added ‘savoury’ took up brain space. All green in 14, so a good week for accurate typing continues.

  10. I read 23A as O=zero and FT=feet—so zero feet gives many times shorter. I was not sure that was Felix meant (and, if it was, I didn’t/don’t think much of it) but OFT was so obviously the answer that I just shrugged and moved on.

  11. Great start with Mrs RH biffing bagpiper on reading the first clue and I quickly parsed it. Then got a bit bogged down with some anagrams couldn’t see without writing out. An enjoyable solve finishing slower than of late in 31.03

    LOI effigy and so irritated like many for khan yesterday that had to come to blog to parse ratty only to find it’s a hidden, d’oh

    Also foolproof for COD although we tried bombproof until we remembered it would be bombe.

    Thanks Felix and Templar for such a comprehensive blog

  12. Pink Floyd’s first album: Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is all there, as are two of the tracks from it Astronomy Domine and Bike. Also, but maybe not intentionally, Effigy is a Synonym for Scarecrow (another of the tracks.)

    1. And RATTY and MOLE are characters in the original Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in the Wind in the Willows.

        1. And PORTLY! It’s actually a double-Nina. I’ve added a note to the blog explaining what I can now see thanks to you three. Thanks!

          1. I would add (ELON)GATES also, as being part of the chapter heading. I saw RATTY but missed PORTLY!

              1. 🤣🤣🤣 V funny SRC.
                Also, I was interested in your comment regarding submitting offline – it does seem like manipulating one’s results. As I only solve offline, it’s not a problem I have to face!

  13. I usually struggle with Felix’s puzzles and today was no exception – just over 15 minutes on the clock and another day where I can say quite honestly that I enjoyed reading the blog much more than doing the puzzle. I can’t say why, as there are some very clever clues – I liked Bagpiper and Foolproof especially (when I finally got them) – but overall it just felt hard going.

    Not sure about Synonyms. Are “safe” and “sound” really synonyms? Two components of a saying, certainly, but to me they mean different things – which is what gives the saying its oomph, as in “both safe, ie out of danger, and sound, ie whole or unharmed”.

    Many thanks Templar for the very enjoyable blog

  14. Well beaten by Felix today. 1a set the tone for me as I read it in complete bemusement and assumed, like our blogger, that it was going to Macbeth related.
    Despite a few gimmes I struggled throughout the puzzle and only really enjoyed it post solve when I had the opportunity to appreciate the cleverness of some of the clues, including LOI BAGPIPER and FOOLPROOF.
    Fell over the line in 12.49.
    Thanks to Templar, great blog.

  15. Got the paper early and finished without too many problems over breakfast. I usually struggle with Félix, so a good start to the day.
    Did biff a few that I had to come here to parse, though (13d, 11a, 18a). I’m another confused by 23a.
    Don’t usually bother to look for themes as I don’t usually have the right cultural references. Never knowingly heard a Pink Floyd song, let alone seen any of their albums, I’m more of a Radio 3 listener…

  16. Putting in BUGLER for 8d, which almost parses, made 10a unsolvable even though I thought it might be an anagram. Must try harder next time but an enjoyable puzzle.
    COD to TRAVERSAL for generating an unusual word from the clueing.
    Thanks Felix and Templar, I could not satisfactorily parse OFT either.
    Incidentally I parsed the PB from lead in 13d as Personal Best but the blog makes more sense.

  17. Woe is me! I biffed ASTROLOGY without looking too hard at the wordplay, so ended with two pink squares.

  18. Biffed but could not parse BAGPIPER or TRAVERSAL – thanks Templar for clear explanations. Agree with the comments about OFT. A good workout from Felix and lovely COD for FOOLPROOF.

  19. 9.31

    Thought I was on for a quick one with the enjoyable BAGPIPER falling straightaway, but puzzled over OFT (it’s a very mild play on height?) and just couldn’t see FATES as I had an accidental e at the end of SYNONYM for too long.

    Thanks all

  20. happily I know only 1 Scottish player so 1a was a write in, parsing as I wrote.
    clever theme totally wasted on me.

  21. I enjoyed it, and on returning to appraise it on completion……I spotted the double theme! That seldom happens, and today it didn’t interfere with the clueing. All good stuff.

    TIME 4:46

  22. Not quite at the races today making heavy weather of this offering from Felix. Just for once I started with all the down clues, and began well enough, but I got slower and slower as I progressed. For some unaccountable reason I put in DUE as the answer for 17ac, even though it’s a word from the clue! It was only when I couldn’t get PROVERB to fit I realised what I’d done. I spent far too long on my LOI SYNONYMS, and as a result my final completion time had gone out to 11.45.

  23. As usual the ninas passed me by. I started with BOAST and finished with GUACAMOLE and then BAGPIPER. Scraped under my target at 9:22. Liked FOOLPROOF. Thanks Felix and Templar.

  24. Just over 15 minutes for me today, the last bit spent sorting out an error. I had biffed PORTER at 16d; it can mean Stout and it had Port in there for Left; however I did put a question mark next to it.
    That explains my delayed LOI SYNONYMS which forced the required correction.
    I agree with our blogger- a mixture of some easy stuff and some difficult clues.
    Completely missed the brilliant nina but it did not detract from the puzzle in my view.
    I see Nick Mason is touring with a live band to play Floyd’s early stuff, which seemed pretty good until the later stuff arrived.

  25. Not sure if it was me or the setter, but I found this QC to be boring and uninspiring. Nothing about it made me want to spend time tackling it. Of the answers I got none of them filled me with the desire to continue.

    Even Pumpa wouldn’t get out of his bed.

    The Daily Telegraph cryptic, on the other hand is a lot more fun, though trickier.

    Pumpa’s verdict: 💤

    My verdict: make some room in that cat bed of yours, Pumpa I’m joining you. 💤

  26. Your blog Templar seems to describe my solving experience but I was just a little bit quicker in 7:47! BAGPIPER was also my LOI and I was interested to see if I had missed something in the clueing of OFT…. seemingly not. The NINA also passed me by but that is no surprise. Thank you for the information on the FATES, like much of my new knowledge gained in QC land I file it away for future use at pub/club quiz nights.

  27. Had to use an aid to solve 18ac, which then allowed me to solve my LOI – EFFIGY. Eventually finished in a sluggardly 28 minutes. I got very few across clues on the first pass although things did pick up when I tackled the downs. Nonetheless it was very stop/start and confirmed my view that Felix is the setter with whom I struggle the most. Biffed BAGPIPER, TRAVERSAL and RATTY, the latter being the third time I’ve missed a hidden in recent days. The nina(s) completely passed me by as usual.

    FOI – 5ac DAWN
    LOI – DNF but would have been 14dn EFFIGY
    COD – 18ac FOOLPROOF. Also liked 13dn PROVERB

    Thanks to Felix and Templar

  28. Another puzzle where I decided to give up before reaching the end (Fates/Oft). I did however enjoy reading Templar’s blog. Invariant

  29. I think Felix must have become so embroiled in the process of compiling today’s puzzle whilst incorporating the aforementioned Nina that he lost sight of his primary objective – the setting of a QUICK cryptic crossword. Granted, some of the clues (and there were 28 today) were ‘gimmes’, but others were just too convoluted.

    I spent ages trying to get something (beguiled?) from BIG (large) GUIDE (journal), so BAGPIPER held out until the very last. FOOLPROOF stayed hidden for almost as long and FATES (vs FETAS) was a pure 50/50 guess, as I had NHO the three Greek goddesses. GK among only a fraction of the general public these days, I would humbly suggest.

    Several other clues, such as ASTRONOMY, SYNONYMS and OFT, were similarly difficult and I crossed the line feeling as though I’d battled my way through a mental assault course. OK for the 15×15, but just too much for the QC IMO.

    Time = 43 minutes, but that excludes a further 10-15 minutes spent trying (and in some cases failing) to verify my solutions.

    Many thanks to Felix and Templar.

    1. Re GK, I can’t remember much about Greek and Roman myths but we were taught about them as children, so the Fates came to mind. I certainly know nothing about Pink Floyd or any other pop groups since the 1960s, apart from Abba and Queen! One solver’s GK is another man’s NHO.

      1. Dear CW1,
        You are right, of course. Trouble for some (many?) of us is that Greek and Roman myths were not on the curriculum at school – even as an option. I suppose this depends a lot on the era one went to school and the type of school it was.
        P.S. In spite of you knowing “nothing” about PINK FLOYD, I enjoy your posts and always look out for them. Good luck tomorrow!

        1. 🙂 As I may have said: before I became a countrywoman, I spent a portion of my life sitting on distant verandas with nothing else to do but read. So am not strong on popular culture but know about random stuff, if I can remember it.
          I enjoy your posts too.

  30. Lovely to see the wonderful Ynys Môn being clued in a Times crossword, even if ô is not the same as o. Made my day. Anglesey otherwise does not seem to be anagramable.

    1. Ye angels revisited heavenly island

      Okay, so it’s 2 words, and “heavenly” is thrown in for the Welsh and for the surface. Happy memories of a childhood holiday on the island.


  31. Finished and mostly enjoyed. Started quickly, but slowed down with e.g. tricky anagram GUACAMOLE, more of a dip than a paste. Also slow on NASTILY, TRAVERSAL and DOMINEERS, as I missed the latter anagram indicator and biffed.
    FOI (guessed) BAGPIPER. Liked FOOLPROOF (COD), PESTO, ANTLER (tried Beeper at first), PORTLY.
    Could not parse e.g. PROVERB so thanks for much needed blog, Templar. I don’t believe the Mandelson story! As for the Nina….WFM (words fail me).

  32. I really enjoyed this one. Done in 13:45 (though without parsing BAGPIPER and RATTY). It felt like it was going faster but, looking back, we got few of the acrosses on the first pass. Perhaps it also feels faster when you’re puzzling more but enjoying the process. Loved COD FOOLPROOF. Thank you, Felix and Templar.

  33. Great QC with a lovely mix of clues. BAGPIPER and TRAVERSAL held out the longest. Felt easier than yesterday overall. Liked FOOLPROOF and BAGPIPER. As ever, didn’t spot any themes. Many thanks Felix and Templar.

  34. Found this difficult and needed a bit of help to get through to the end, with a couple of biffs needed. Didn’t get the theme, although I have the album.

  35. 14.06 with a typo of POTLYY for 16d. Gah! BAGPIPER went straight in but the parsing waited until I’d submitted. EFFIGY, FOOLPROOF, FATES and OFT took much of the time at the end. I couldn’t remember where the FATES lived and I shared Templar’s misgivings about OFT but, typos aside, it all worked out. Thanks Templar and Felix.

  36. Really enjoyed FOOLPROOF. Could not parse BAGPIPER but I have a lot of admiration for that clue! For some reason IFFY GEL automatically rearranged itself into EFFIGY before I could even read the whole clue. Did not know RATTY for irritable, but fortunately saw the hidden word. And at that point I thought of WitW but didn’t pursue the wayward idea. Great puzzle, lots to work on but a few pleasant gimmes, and many of what a friend of mine calls “wee satisfactions”.

    24:39 which is about par for me these days.

    Thanks Templar and Felix!

  37. 23 mins…

    Never saw the Nina of course, but it was enjoyable none the less. Liked 1ac “Bagpiper”, 25ac “Synonyms” and 18ac “Foolproof”.

    FOI – 5ac “Dawn”
    LOI – 10ac “Domineers”
    COD – 14dn “Effigy”

    Thanks as usual!

  38. Another steady solve completed in abt 25m, good for us. Nice to see the Ynys Mon, as one of us, the family come from there. Da iawn!

  39. 7:48 but…

    TARNATION! – One pink square somehow crept into my SYNONTMS. Otherwise, no real issues and for once I spotted the nina…

    Thanks Felix and Templar

  40. Second finish in a row. On paper est. 30 mins with interruptions (phone call from my builder, they rarely communicate, so had to take that).

    I’m one of those who does the across clues and then the down clues in order. The downs saved me!

    Thank Felix and Templar for a bouncer of a blog.

  41. Terribly slow today, but that was partly because I was trying to do the crossword in the same room as my husband, daughter and her two dogs, and they were really putting me off. When I went to find a bit of peace and quiet, my pace picked up a bit! But still – 17:20, so not great. But a few ticks along the way – DOMINEERS, SYNONYMS, GUACAMOLE and ANTLER were very nice clues.
    I didn’t understand BAGPIPER (d’oh), OFT was odd and of coursethe theme was wasted on me. Frustratingly, I did see PIPER and DAWN which made me think of Pink Floyd / Kenneth Grahame, but I didn’t explore any further. I have it on vinyl in a double album along with A Saucerful of Secrets. Haven’t listened to either of them for decades, so I have no memory of the contents – maybe it’s time for a bit of Syd Barrett whimsy. BIKE is a terrific track. Also time to reread Wind in the Willows – I loved it as a child.
    I wish I did have a recipe for an infallible pudding – a fruit fool is as close as it gets!
    FOI Boast LOI Effigy COD Foolproof
    Thanks Felix and Templar – another excellent blog.

  42. Knocked the ‘G’ from the front of one of the three graces to get to “races”, not FATES the parsing of which I would never have achieved

  43. 28:05

    Gosh, this has been a slow week. Well over target today. Took far too long for the penny to drop on 1ac, BAGPIPER and only then did INDIE and DOMINEERS fall into place. But then got stuck again bottom right with FATES and LOI OFT. Slow, slow, slow.

    PS a thoroughly excellent blog. Thanks Templar.

  44. Hard work today but success in the end
    NINA qcs always seem harder somehow.
    Did like foolproof as a clue

  45. 19:30, which I’m quite pleased with. I biffed quite a few and had to get the notepad out for GUACAMOLE after my brain got fixated upon “gochujang”, which isn’t a paste, despite the crossers. No excuses for AHA being my LOI, just chalk that one up to blatant incompetence.

    Thank you for the very entertaining blog!

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