Quick Cryptic No 2658 by Izetti


After two easier days in a row, I was braced for a struggle, which was reinforced when I saw the name of the setter. But I found it very approachable, and finished in 12:18.

There were two words that were new to me, and one clue’s definition continues to escape me entirely, but the word-play and the crossing letters were friendly.

Definitions underlined, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in strikethrough.

1 Distinct part played with ease (8)
SEPARATE – Anagram [played] of PART EASE.
5 Vehicle parking? Grumble (4)
CARP – CAR (vehicle) + P [parking, as on signs].
8 Males revolting in US city (5)
SALEM – Anagram [revolting] of MALES.

There are at least two Salems in the US: one was the site of the witch trials featured in The Crucible, and the other one I know of is the state capital of Oregon. Apologies if you live in another Salem.

9 Greek character, villain in canoe (7)
PIROGUE – PI (Greek letter, character) + ROGUE (villain).

Not a word I knew. But the checkers were helpful: I had P_R_G__, so PI was an obvious candidate, and then ROGUE came to me. Today I learned the difference between a pirogue (a canoe) and a pierogi (a dumpling).

11 Activists — people in tents drinking a gin excitedly (11)
CAMPAIGNERS – CAMPERS (people in tents) containing [drinking] an anagram [excitedly] of A GIN.
13 Something in wardrobe husband found with annoyance (6)
HANGER – H [husband] + ANGER (annoyance).
14 Food component — gorge to get energy needed initially (6)
GLUTEN – GLUT (gorge) + Energy Needed [initially].

I had a MER at ‘glut’ for ‘gorge’, as I’m struggling to come up with a sentence in which they are interchangeable. But my dictionary has “verb trans. Feed to repletion; indulge (appetite) to the utmost”, which certainly matches my mental definition of “gorge”. So fair enough.

17 Emotional part of hospital involved in various ailments (11)
SENTIMENTAL – ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat – part of hospital) inside an anagram [various] of AILMENTS.
20 Needing to make arrangements for the match? (7)
ENGAGED – a cryptic definition. Once you are engaged, you need to make arrangements for the wedding, or match.
21 Delayed  in a slippery situation? (2,3)
ON ICE – A double definition.
22 Time to demand a job (4)
TASK – T [time] + ASK (to demand)
23 One of the 11 less sophisticated, going round South Africa (8)
CRUSADER – CRUDER (less sophisticated) containing [going round] SA (South Africa).

I guess the definition has to be “One of the 11”, but I have no idea what it is referring to.

Mr Google tells me that:

  • there is a rugby team called “The Crusaders 11”,
  • there is a series of comic books called “The Crusaders” that had at least 11 books
  • The Crusader 11 was a British Army tank.

I look forward to learning what I missed here.

Edit: well, that didn’t take long. In the very first comment below, LindsayO points out that this is a cross-reference clue, referring to CAMPAIGNERS at 11ac. A crusade is a military campaign, therefore a crusader is a campaigner.

I’ve never liked cross-reference clues. Harrumph.

1 Thus repeatedly less than brilliant (2-2)
SO-SO – SO (thus), repeatedly.
2 Bird priest trapped in soft container (7)
PELICAN – ELI (Biblical priest) inside [trapped in] P (soft, from music) CAN (container).

You have to lift and separate “soft container”. ELI for priest is worth remembering.

3 Recalling English person in club, in clique? (11)
REMEMBERING – E [English] + MEMBER (person in club), all inside RING (clique).
4 Piece of headgear that is seen outside work (3,3)
TOP HAT – THAT (um, ‘THAT’) outside OP (work, opus).
6 View of one of Britain’s invaders? (5)
ANGLE – double definition.

The Angles and the Saxons together give us the adjective Anglo-Saxon.

7 Request to render song is delightful (8)
PLEASING – PLEA (request) + SING (render song).

I almost entered PLEASANT here, but fortunately common sense kicked in just in time.

10 Members of family embracing good upper-class rules (11)
REGULATIONS – RELATIONS (members of family) containing [embracing] G [good] + U [upper-class].

As Eton is to Merlin, so U for upper-class is for me. I swear they put it in specially for my blogging days.

12 Most pure Charles facing ordeal? (8)
CHASTEST – CHAS [abbreviation for Charles] + TEST (ordeal).

In my youth, I knew a Charles who went by Chas. I’ve never met another since.

15 Agreed to be restricted about everything (7)
TALLIED – TIED (to be restricted) containing [about] ALL (everything).

That’s ‘agreed’ in the sense of accounts balancing, for example. “The numbers agreed with each other”.

16 Top person offers newspaper article (6)
LEADER – A double definition.

I tried to convince myself that this was a triple definition, with “offers” being a reference to “loss leaders”. But I wasn’t persuasive enough, so it stays as a double.

18 Emperor, say, being entertained by rising star (5)
NEGUS – EG (say) inside [being entertained by] SUN (star), reversed [rising].

Another word I did not know. Turns out to be the Ethiopian Semitic word for “king” or “emperor”. The wordplay was helpful, even without knowing the word.

19 Explosive Irish fellow expecting to succeed? (4)
HEIR – HE (High Explosive) + IR (Irish).

That’s “succeed” in the sense of “inherit”, of course.

105 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 2658 by Izetti”

  1. Hey Doof the 11 refers to 11ac, CAMPAIGNER, which is another word for CRUSADER. Speed-solver Aphis99 was at our Melbourne get-together last night and I think some of his expertise rubbed off because I clocked 6.52 which I thought was pretty good. I also didn’t know the canoe or the emperor, and thanks for explaining how LOI HEIR worked because I couldn’t link explosive with HE.

  2. 10:31. NEGUS and PIROGUE were just on the edges of my GK. Didn’t think much of the clue for ENGAGED. Assumed a CRUSADE was a sort of campaign.

    1. Most people will be familiar with “Pirogue” without knowing it.

      It features in the Hank Williams song Jambalaya (On the Bayou).

  3. No particular problems. ‘He’ at the beginning of a clue (needs the capital H) can be ‘helium’ (and ‘As’ can be ‘arsenic’); worth remembering. 6:48.

    1. Between helium, high explosive, the governor and any random male, it would appear setters are spoilt for choice when it comes to clueing HE…

  4. You guys, I think hanging out with experienced people rubs off on you, it was lovely to meet a bunch of you last night, and I finished an Izetti!!! 18. 19

    Now. I didn’t *parse* everything. HEIR took a full alphabet trawl and I still didn’t get it. I nho NEGUS or PIROGUE

    I forgot ELI was a priest, and assumed CRUSADERS were a football team. Surely there’s a football team!

    I also didn’t really understand how TALLIED is ‘agreed’ but I understand so little I just accepted it.

    1. Have you tallied the assets and liabilities side of the balance sheet . Meaning have you agreed the balances.

      1. I’ve never heard the phrase ‘agreed the balances’ but I also have never done any sort of accounting so I will accept this

      2. May I suggest: rather than say “I have tallied…” it’s more common to say “these two columns tally”, i.e. they agree, so the accounts are correct. (I have… would be collated.)

    2. Crusaders are indeed not only a leading English Rugby Union team, but there is also a Dublin based soccer club in the Irish Premier League.

      1. There’s an RU team in NZ, I think the Canterbury Crusaders. I suspect all these teams will eventually change their names because people will suggest that glorifying invading conquerors of 1000 or so years ago may not be a good look…

      2. I suppose their impending promotion to National League 1 (Tier 3) makes Ding Crusaders a leading English Rugby Team, and I am guessing there must be a Crusaders football team amongst the myriad teams somewhere in Dublin, but Crusaders AC is a leading Dublin athletics club (Ronnie Delaney 1500 Olympic Gold, Melbourne 1956 was a member).

        Crusaders FC in Belfast play in the top tier in the Northern Ireland Football League, more commonly referred to as the ‘Irish League’, not to be confused with the southern-based, ‘League of Ireland’. Hope this bit of serendipity is a major contribution to crossword GK.

        PS, struggled a bit with this one, 35 mins with some cheating including Pirogue and Negus.

  5. Found this easier than the last few days, but I did have to cross my fingers about PIROGUE. NHO NEGUS either but it couldn’t have been anything else.
    I didn’t realise 23a referenced 11a but the wordplay was pretty clear.
    Lots of nice clues in this puzzle, would be a good one to show a newcomer I think. 2d is a real crossword-y clue, I was able to write the answer straight in but someone not in the know would be baffled.

    1. The convention is that an Arabic number refers to a clue, while a number spelled out doesn’t. (Of course this doesn’t apply to a number like 86!) So the setter here couldn’t have written ‘the eleven’. Having said that, I don’t like the ‘the’ in the clue; I would expect ‘one of 11 …’

  6. All done in 14 mins today. I didn’t get the cross-reference to 11ac, I too thought it was a football team. Also NHO NEGUS but the wordplay was clear. For 12d, I DNK Chas as a short form, I parsed “Charles facing ordeal” as the somewhat cryptic “C(harles) HAS TEST”.

      1. I really did not like that word. If that’s a word then so is chaster: I am CHASTER than thou…(I don’t mean you personally T!)

  7. 8 minutes. Quite easy by Izetti standards.

    I was very familiar with both words that seem to have given others trouble. PIROGUE crops up regularly on Countdown, most usually as a post-round offering from Dictionary Corner.

    NEGUS is an old family name, and my cousin on that side of the family was a highly successful graphic designer – the original BA Union flag tail fin was one of his most famous creations. Apart from being an Ethiopian Emperor, NEGUS is sometimes clued with reference to a hot drink of port and lemon juice, spiced and sweetened.

    1. Indeed Jack, when I played the word GROUPIE in one of my appearances on Countdown in 1992, Catherine Clarke in Dictionary Corner came up with PIROGUE as an anagram. The word has stayed with me ever since.

    2. The only Negus I’ve heard of, was Arthur on the antiques program ‘Going for a song’ in the 60’s.🙂

  8. Pretty tough for me today at 17:20. After a fast start PIROGUE, NEGUS, CRUSADER and HEIR among others, all held me up, not helped by a carelessly biffed PLEASant.

    Thanks Izetti and Doof

  9. Back down to earth here I’m afraid. It took me 30 minutes just to be defeated by PIROGUE (NHO and not helped by my lazy biffing of TIN HAT) and HEIR, which I couldn’t parse. A silly spelling mistake with SEPERATE and my fate was sealed scoring me minus 7 for my efforts. So after two very good days I’m now on 97% so far this week. Hey ho. That’s Izetti for you – well me at least.
    I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a bit squashed on the Special Table this morning so I’ll hurry on over there and claim my seat.
    Thanks to Izetti and Doofers.

  10. Wikipedia note on tally sticks gives a pretty good idea of how “tally” evolved to mean both “count” and “match/agree”. The first tally sticks were lengths of wood or bone with notches cut into them as a way of recording debts owed, taxes paid, cattle owned, etc.. Then circa 1100 somebody had the bright idea of a split tally: the notched tally-stick was split lengthwise and each party to the transaction kept one of the halves. In case of dispute, or just for future reference, the halved sticks could be compared/matched/tallied. A sort of one-time blockchain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tally_stick

    1. Sounds a bit like the old indentured agreements that were duplicates split in half for each party, each half with indented edges that could be matched for security.

  11. I am with the NHO’s today and the only NEGUS familiar to me was Arthur Negus of Antiques Roadshow in the past. A veritable emperor of the antiques world who brought warmth and charm to his art.
    As I am in Turkey for a quick work visit I shall indulge in a baklava and a Turkish coffee in an extended corner of the club.
    Thanks Doofers and Izetti.

  12. NEGUS, PIROGUE and ANGLE held me up at the end. The first two largely because I’ve never heard of them and the ANGLE through misdirection (looking for something with A and B in it). Quite a few others took a bit of extra parsing, like PLEASING and CHASTEST (C has test for me too) and that took me out to all green in 18.

  13. 11:30 and back on track after a couple of silly DNFs.

    As per others NHO PIROGUE and NEGUS. Wanted to bung in Venus as its a rising star in the morning during certain phases of its journey. Also NHO the ANGLEs but bloomin’ obvious when you think of Anglo-Saxons, Anglophiles etc.

    Had assumed CRUSADER was today’s religious clue as Izetti likes to include them, but Wikipedia seems to indicate they got bored of numbering the Crusades of 11th-13th century at around 7 or 8 and then called them the final ones. Seems all a bit like movie franchise.

    Enjoyed TOP-HAT, HANGER and the gin drinking campers!

  14. Like others I had to trust the wordplay for the unknown NEGUS but having spent many hours sitting in a PIROGUE whilst in South America this one was well known to me. Not the most comfortable form of transport, especially in a downpour, but the location more than compensated.
    Made fairly swift work of this starting with SEPARATE and finishing with CRUSADER in 6.06.
    Thanks to Doofers

  15. I’m with Doofers on the subject of cross-referenced clues, although this one went in on the second pass. I needed a little time at the end to collar my LOI.

    TIME 4:09

      1. A friend of mine used to collect old buses … and he never told his wife. He stored them some miles away. Strange!

        1. I am envisioning a whole movie or novel about this situation.

          I once bought a fiddle from a very traumatized widow who had just discovered her late husband’s penchant for collecting houses and musical instruments. But buses….

  16. 5:55

    Two words not normally seen in a QC – PIROGUE and NEGUS – as I think curryowen said above, just on the edge of my knowledge i.e. if you asked me whether the words existed, I would say yes, but if you asked me what they meant, I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t get the ‘One of the 11’ referring to another clue whilst in flight, but the rest of the wordplay was clear enough.

    Thanks Doofers and Izetti

  17. 11 minutes, which I’ll accept any time for an Izetti, with only the dastardly duo of Negus and Pirogue not known. But both readily derived from the wordplay and checkers.

    LOI Crusaders, a real PDM when i finally worked out what was going on.

    Many thanks Doofers for the blog

  18. I’m getting a decent grouping this week, only 4 seconds between best and worst, and all in the 3:50’s. Unprecedented times indeed, though not a drop of booze has passed my lips for 2 weeks. Correlation is not causation.

    V straightforward, despite the couple of NHO bits of vocab. All parsed too, which is rare for the quicker solves. I liked HEIR, and GLUTEN was my LOI.


  19. Just under 10 minutes. Another reasonably benign one from Izetti, apart from the two words many have already referred to. I did know PIROGUE, but had only come across NEGUS as the sweetened, spiced, hot alcoholic drink referred to by Jack above and not as the ‘Emperor’. Looking at Wikipedia, it’s interesting to see how many places (not all cities of course) in the US and Canada are named SALEM.

    Thanks to Doofers and Izetti

  20. A dnf thanks to Pleasant, which doesn’t parse, instead of Pleasing which does; what an idiot.
    Otherwise a most enjoyable Izetti using a fair number of the tricks I’ve squirrelled away over the last 18 months such as ELI, U, IE, OP, P and F
    Thanks for the informative blog.

  21. DNF, Nagus instead of NEGUS. Biffed PIROGUE, having gone through endless Greek heroes beginning with P. At least I got the P bird, PELICAN. Liked ANGLE when penny dropped. Quite hard going. Lots of rubbings out.
    Also liked ON ICE, GLUTEN, TOP HAT.
    Could not parse ‘one of the 11’! Nor HEIR as I didn’t know the HE abbreviation.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Doofers.

  22. 5:39. Held up by a careless TALLIES instead of TALLIED for 15D which doesn’t even fit the tense of the definition, making it my LOI when I corrected it after I struggled to find CRUSADER . Thanks Izetti and Doofers.

  23. Saw the DPS appear and looked accusingly at PIROGUE, entered as LOI on a shrug and a prayer … but no! It was right! What had I done? Fat fingered both CHASYEST and NEGIS, that’s what. Twerp. The train is a bit bumpy this morning. So 07:01 but.

    Hey ho, all good fun. I needed the blog to explain “the 11” and why NEGUS is emperor not sweet punch.

    Many thanks Izetti and Doofers.


  24. 16 minutes and a third SCC escape in a row which, subject to a check through my spreadsheet, is a first for me. Astonishmentness!

    SEPARATE and CARP gave me a good start and I managed to keep the ball rolling until just 3 or 4 clues from the end. I hesitated somewhat over CHASTEST, NEGUS and ENGAGED down in the SW corner and I had both PLEASure and PLEASaNT before PLEASING eventually came to me.

    The only NEGUS I’d previously heard of was Arthur, the antique furniture expert from Going For A Song. The cities of SALEM were also new to me and I DNK the word PIROGUE. Otherwise, all good!

    Many thanks to Izetti and Doofers.

  25. 9:01
    Same as nearly everyone else. NHO of NEGUS as an emperor, and only vaguely heard of PIROGUE. Failed to spot the cross reference in CRUSADER, and wondered if it was an alternative name for the twelve apostles minus Judas.

    Thanks Doofers and Izetti

    1. A pirogue is what Hank Williams (and Karen Carpenter) poled down the bayou in the song Jambalaya.

      Nice photo.

      1. Just listened to Karen Carpenter. Now know what to call the canoe if I want to paddle down the bayou.

  26. Another par solve today which I am pleased about given I didn’t know of NEGUS or PIROGUE. I also constructed CRUSADER without understanding the answer so thanks Lindsay/Doofs for the explanation. I normally enjoy Izetti’s wordplay but I wasn’t keen on the clue for ENGAGED and thought I was missing something…seemingly not. FOI SO-SO and LOI LEADER in 8:07.

  27. Vaguely heard of PIROGUE but didn’t know the meaning. NHO NEGUS – with others on the connection with Arthur Negus or the drink – but wordplay was clear. Am I a purist not liking CHASTEST? Surely (if you ever needed it) it would be most chaste. Tried to make KEIR fit as the fellow expecting to succeed Rishi. Thanks Izetti and Doofers for great blog.

  28. Can’t resist showing off: got the reference to 11 above, and guessed both NHOs PIROGUE and NEGUS. Only failed one, GLUTEN (will remember). For an Izetti, reasonably friendly.

  29. I made up for a poor start on the acrosses by rattling fairly quickly through the downs, ending up all parsed in 15 minutes. Knew PIROGUE as some sort of water craft but nho NEGUS except as the drink and the antiques expert. Spotted the cross-reference at 23ac, so a pretty good day for me. Bit of a MER at CHASTEST – is that even a word. I suppose it must be but I can’t imagine ever actually using it.

    FOI – 5ac CARP
    LOI – 13ac HANGER
    CODs – liked 21ac ON ICE and 7dn PLEASING

    Thanks to Izetti and Doofers

  30. I just about scraped inside my target at 9.57 for this one, finishing at a gallop after a slow start. I’ve heard of the word PIROGUE, but if asked to define it I wouldn’t have had a clue. My LOI was ENGAGED where I wasn’t convinced enough that I had the right answer, the clue seemed to lack something to me.

  31. A mixture of the straightforward and the downright impossible! NHO PIROGUE, and I didn’t get the reference to ‘11’ in CRUSADER, until I saw that 11ac referred to a campaign, which the Crusades were.

  32. From SO-SO to NEGUS in 6:00. PIROGUE and NEGUS were on the extreme edges of my radar and I couldn’t have said what they meant without context. Missed the cross reference to CAMPAIGNERS. Nice puzzle. Thanks Izetti and Doofers.

  33. As you have all already said! Didn’t look to see who the setter was, but towards the end it felt more Izetti-ish, as indeed it turned out to be. Quite a benign Izetti, I felt, a bit testing but fair and doable with some careful parsing for those of us who can’t just see and write/type in the instant. Happily in the SCC, enjoying the lack of rain but wishing the cloud would break up a little before the wet returns tomorrow.

  34. 8.24

    Sluggish here not helped but bunging in CLEANEST without reading more than the first two words of the clue. Serves me right.

    Thanks all

  35. I have to admit I guessed pirogue and negus: but, annoyingly, I put “Header” instead of Leader for 16d.

    Any chance anyone will agree that (at a pinch!) “header” also works?

    1. I considered ‘header’ before thinking of LEADER but sadly ‘header’ doesn’t really satisfy either of the definitions in the clue.

  36. Same problems as everyone else with PIROGUE and NEGUS. Didn’t get the cross reference in CRUSADER and mis-parsed HEIR (I thought it was anagram ‘explosive’ of HE/fellow plus IR/Irish – I know it doesn’t work!). Wasn’t sure I got ENGAGED right but now I understand it it’s definitely my COD. Great to learn a couple of new words today. Thanks Izetti and Doofers.

  37. 30 minutes for me, with the last 10 working out Angle and Pirogue. In my (limited) experience of Izetti, the word play gives you the right answer, even if you don’t know the word (Pirogue). I spent too long thinking up Greek characters before trusting the setter! Pleasing made me chuckle and expecting to succeed was neat. Excellent puzzle and informative blog – thanks both. And great to catch a glimpse of the Australian 11a or 23a – what fun to meet up!

  38. Managed to finish this one correctly in an hour- goodness knows how.
    Very nasty, I thought:

    PIROGUE ? Never heard of this one before. I hope I never hear it again.
    NEGUS ? The only Negus I have heard of is Arthus Negus. He may have been a rising star 120 years ago. Long dead.
    CRUSADER ? “One of the 11” – God knows what that means. A ridiculously unfair clue.

  39. 20:09 which I’m happy with. I quite liked the surface for 11a. RE 11d, I parsed it as IR (Irish) and HE (fellow), with ‘explosive’ being an anagram indicator. HE for high explosives probably makes more sense.

  40. 22 mins…

    Half expected my answer for 9ac “Pirogue” to be wrong, so was pleasantly surprised when both that and 18dn “Negus” were correct. Never did get my head around the cryptic nature of 20ac “Engaged”.

    FOI – 1dn “So So”
    LOI – 9ac “Pirogue”
    COD – 17ac “Sentimental”

    Thanks as usual!

  41. I love that song JAMBALAYA but never paid attention to that second line before.

    Thank you – its now in the juke box in my head and will bring back happy memories of a misspent youth Cajun dancing.

    I was happy with the word NHO as the cluing was fair.

    Thanks Izetti and Doofers

    1. Dear Lady, help me here. Tonight I’m gonna see my cara mio (or something). I seriously don’t know what you’re referring to but I also love that song, what have I missed in today’s QC?

      1. Google as ever helpful here: I wondered too:
        Goodbye, Joe, me gotta go, me oh, my oh
        Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
        My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
        Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

  42. 22:11 and really had to work for this one.

    I enjoyed many of the surfaces: 5A, 6A, 11A, 2D for the bizarre imagery–what does a “bird priest” look like anyway 🙃, 7D, 12D. Could not parse HEIR but maybe now I’ll remember HE for high explosive, and still haven’t internalized that “priest” is code for ELI. I thought FR for “father” and kept trying to make PALFREY somehow work. Had no idea about CRUSADER but it had to be. NEGUS was startling as I only knew of the drink. Trust the wordplay, indeed.

    Thanks to Izetti and Doof!

  43. Like many others I guessed then looked up NEGUS and PIROGUE to see if they existed and put in CRUSDAER with a shrug, not linking the clue to 11a. Pondered over CHASTEST, but it couldn’t be anything else.

  44. All going swimmingly until the lower reaches when having ENGAGED messed up 16d, my on-line dictionary gave a drink as the definition of NEGUS so I didn’t enter it and I was convinced that KEIR was expecting to succeed and might be an Irish name.

  45. Only read if you enjoy horror stories…

    61 minute DNF

    Put KEIR for HEIR. Not a typo, just didn’t have a clue.

    I am nearing the point of no return with the QC. Looking at what others have done, I am utterly humiliated. My time is abysmal under any circumstances, but when I see how easy this was, I feel 100 times worse.

    I invite you all to have a good laugh at me because you may not get many more chances. I may throw in the towel and accept defeat. I have learnt nothing in the last four years if this is how I perform. I try so desperately hard and yet am nowhere. There were many clues that I didn’t understand and basic error after error.

    I am just embarrassing myself here and its ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

    How do those I compare myself with avoid the SCC and I take over an hour? Why can’t I do these wretched puzzles? Why do I tie myself in knots time and time and time again?

    Here are some of my idiocies:
    – thought Needing in 20ac was an anagram
    – thought 19dn was BEST (as in George)
    – put ALL in 15dn and crossed it out at least 5 times; couldn’t see how it fitted
    – thought say meant IE rather than EG
    – still haven’t got it into my thick skull that newspaper article means LEADER
    – still forget that Irish means IR
    – thought reference to 11 in 23ac meant a cricket or football team

    To compound the misery, I scored 0/5 on the Quintagram. I didn’t understand a single clue.

    No hope left at this precise moment. I fail at the QC, and this makes me feel like a complete imbecile. Perhaps I am one?

    Well done to those with good times today.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. As a complete imbecile could not write so expressively, you can be sure you’re not one.

      I just have one possibly helpful observation. One is that when I have a DNF or an insanely long solve it’s often because I’m rattled by not living up to my expectations of myself. Related to that is what you say about performing and humiliation and so forth. It just makes it harder when I have those feelings about being “good enough”.

      So in your shoes, if I wanted to keep doing the QC, I would play without a timer, read the blog for the answers and parsing so I could continue to learn, but avoid the comments for a while so as to quiet the competitive urge to prove myself.

    2. You certainly don’t strike me as an imbecile.
      With regards to whether to continue with the QC or not – I’d simply ask yourself whether the pleasure you get from trying it outweighs you frustrations. I’d also back Steel City’s suggestion of ignoring the timer and just try to enjoy the process.

    3. I echo Steel City’s advice. Forget time and take as long as necessary. I usually have three or four sessions throughout the day and often a clue that was meaningless on the first go just drops into place later. Also have you tried solving on paper? I don’t solve online but even when looking at a word in the grid on paper it sometimes doesn’t come to me but if I write it out separately by the side it often dawn’s on me. When I started to solve I waited until the next day to try and work out the answer so Steel City’s advice about using the blog is very good advice.
      I hope you stick with it.

      1. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I’m already a paper solver as I often need to write out the anagrams before the penny drops.

    4. I whizzed through yesterday’s puzzle in under 10 minutes. And then today? A double DNF with the clock heading towards 35 minutes. Sometimes you’re just not on the right wavelength. Make a note of the tricks used by the setter, because they keep coming up and keep persevering.

    5. Gary, it sounds really tough to be so worried about the opinions of others, especially people you don’t know (‘I invite you all to have a good laugh at me’). I wonder why it’s so important that you compare yourself to anyone at all rather than just enjoying a rather wonderful, if at times frustrating, pastime, gradually learning ‘the code’ over an enjoyably long period. I’ve been doing QCs for 10 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how slow I can be at solving rather obvious clues! I don’t time myself so that I can just enjoy the process without any outside pressure. I honestly couldn’t give a monkeys how quickly other people solve the QC. I think, for me, this would spoil a lovely hobby. Just saying. Go easy on yourself. Sending you all good wishes.

      1. Thanks fabian. I’m very grateful to you and all the other solvers who have offered me help and support today. I will persevere with it.

  46. 15.33 Slow but happy with the time. I found the bottom half tough and I was pleased it didn’t take any longer. PIROGUE and LOI NEGUS were new. Thanks Doofers and Izetti.

  47. Same as everyone else regarding NEGUS, PIROGUE, CHASTEST🤨, CRUSADER and ENGAGED! However, at 10:53 for an Izetti, I’m not complaining 😅 No real stand-out clues for me today, but I did quite like HANGER and PLEASING.
    FOI Separate LOI Leader
    Thanks Izetti and Doofers

    MrB has been having a go at the new Guardian 11×11 Saturday quickie, and is getting on well. Who knows – one of these days he may get promoted to a 13×13, or even more!

  48. Looked at this after golf and managed to finish in 9 minutes.
    LOI NEGUS which I knew as a word. PIROGUE another which I could not have defined.


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