Quick Cryptic No 2682 by Orpheus

I found this one trickier than average. I was taken back to when I first started doing these during my first pass through the across clues. Nothing yielded until 17a and I ended the pass with only 2 of the acrosses done. Fortunately the down clues were more tractable and I was able to finish in 17:55, beyond my target 15:00, but not by much.

My COD goes to PILOT. I do love a good pun.

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

8 Woodland plant, one with unusual name (7)
ANEMONE – Anagram [unusual] of ONE NAME.

I think this is a bit of a loose clue: there’s no real indication that ONE is part of the anagrist.

edit: thanks to Kevin for pointing out that the parsing should be ‘anagram [unusual] of NAME, + ONE’.

I got this right on paper and then switched the M and the last N when submitting online. Rats.

9 Onset of primitive impulse to eradicate (5)
PURGE – First letter [onset of] Primitive + URGE (impulse).
10 Plain retired vicar dipping into Holy Writ (5)
OVERT – REV (vicar), reversed [retired] inside OT (Old Testament, Holy Writ).
11 Gourmet cooked pie to preserve (7)
EPICURE – Anagram [cooked] of PIE + CURE (to preserve, like meats).
12 Study horse’s previous record — and go with the stream (7)
CONFORM – CON (study) + FORM (horse’s previous record).

“Form” for “previous record” is from horse-racing.

14 Support part of UK backing Asian republic (5)
INDIA – AID (support) + NI (Northern Ireland, part of UK), all reversed [backing].
15 Clear-headed law lord covering island group (5)
LUCID – LUD (law lord, as in “m’lud”) outside [covering] CI (Channel Islands).

Knowing my audience, I’m not even going to try to explain who gets called “m’lud” in British courts. No doubt it will all be explained in the comments.

17 Some retired people wear one near formal strip (7)
NIGHTIE – NIGH (near) + TIE (formal strip (of material)).

That’s “retired” in the sense of “gone to bed”.

19 Take courses in shelter? That’s most clever (7)
NEATEST – EAT (take courses) in NEST (shelter).
20 Sanctimonious bunch making TV try-out (5)
PILOT – PI (sanctimonious) + LOT (bunch).
22 Go-between — a pukka fellow! (5)
AGENT – A + GENT (pukka fellow).

“Pukka” has evidently entered British English in the 30 years since I left the UK. I needed all the crossers before I saw this one.

23 Oscar, writing half-heartedly, finds opportunity (7)
OPENING – O (Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet) + PENnING (writing, half-heartedly).

I’m going to be a bit pedantic here and say that “half-heartedly” should mean to find the middle letters and remove half of them. Which means you can only do that to words with even numbers of letters: the two Ns in PENNING are not in the middle: only the second N is in the middle. Not my favorite clue, but one that I was happy to bung in and move on while solving, less happy with when writing the explanation.

1 Starchy cereal principally served in the past (4)
SAGO – First letter [principally] of Served + AGO (in the past).

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten sago. Which confirms the truth of the surface reading, I suppose.

2 Small number crossing river, the UK’s longest (6)
SEVERN – SEVEN (small number) crossing R for River.

The Severn is indeed the UK’s longest river. Although (say) seven children is not a small number of children to have, I think “small number” for seven is OK, as numbers go on for ever and seven is, well, the eighth smallest natural number.

3 Club accommodating old vessel (4)
BOAT – BAT (club) containing [accommodating] O for old.

Didn’t we have “club” for “bat” just yesterday?

4 Resolve to put off race crossing major road (13)
DETERMINATION – DETER (to put off) + NATION (race) containing (crossing) MI (M1, a motorway in England).
5 Leader of union forcing rebellion (8)
UPRISING – First letter [leader] of Union + PRISING (forcing).
6 Dry land  reduced to powder (6)
GROUND – Double definition.
7 Purchase cheap newspaper during formal reception (8)
LEVERAGE – RAG (cheap newspaper) inside [during] LEVEE (formal reception).

I knew LEVEE from reading the Patrick O’Brian books. Apparently it originates from the practice of the French kings granting audiences as they got up in the morning.

12 Stop, for example, in Hebridean island (8)
COLONSAY – COLON (stop, as in punctuation) + SAY (for example).

I cheated on this one and looked up a list of Hebridean islands. I didn’t know the island, and I had the clue all backwards, trying to fit EG into an island’s name to get something that means ‘stop’.

13 Strange chaps originally transmitting such miscellaneous items (8)
ODDMENTS – ODD (strange) + MEN (chaps) + first letters [originally] of Transmitting Such.
16 Alcoholic drink a girl takes to begin with (6)
CLARET – CLARE (a girl) + first letter [to begin with] of Takes.
18 Story about king, one in early film (6)
TALKIE – TALE (story) outside [about] K (king), I (one).
20 When speaking, beg for quarry (4)
PREY – Homophone [when speaking] of PRAY (beg for).
21 Going north, obtained a historical garment (4)
TOGA – GOT (obtained), reversed [going north] + A.

89 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 2682 by Orpheus”

  1. Up there with the hardest ones I’ve tried imo. Top 5. Didn’t help that I thought anemones were just the sea ones.

    I only know the word ‘pukka’ the way Jamie Oliver used it when he described delicious dishes back when he was The Naked Chef.

    I threw in the towel when I saw I was supposed to know yet another Hebredian island

    I’ve read most of Patrick O’Brien and didn’t remember Levee which shows where my brain is really lacking.

  2. If I thought there was such a thing as a wavelength, I could say that I was off it today, in spades. I didn’t notice the half-hearted problem, but Doofers is quite right. ANEMONE isn’t an anagram of (ONE NAME), it’s an anagram of (NAME) + ONE. ‘Pukka’ has been around since the days of the Raj, although for all I know it’s gone out of use. NHO COLONSAY, so I looked it up before submitting. 11:13.

    1. There’s a brand of pies you can find in many a fish and chip shop here in the UK called “Pukka Pies”, so the word lives on if only through that.

      1. Also a football stadium staple these days, though I perceive the fillings have been somewhat reduced in recent years…

    2. For me there’s no such thing as wavelength. It’s just an excuse people make when they found a puzzle to be tough, causing them to take a whole two minutes longer than usual to solve, but don’t want to admit they found it so. 🤣

      I won’t use wavelength as an excuse. I just accept I’m dumb. 🤣

      1. I don’t agree, its just being more in tune with a setter.
        I usually do quite well on certain Fridays on the biggie when the snitch is high.

      2. I, and others, sometimes use it to say the puzzle seemed easier than it might have been on another day, that we seemed to have a telepathic connection with the setter.

  3. 20:45. Like our blogger I could get very little going on first pass of across clues. LEVERAGE was my COD, I also liked TALKIE. LUCID was obvious but took the longest to parse. COLONSAY appeared after I had the C-L at the start and Colon for stop and say for for example fell into place. I don’t think of a PI LOT as a pun-but maybe I need to investigate exactly what a pun is?

    1. I may have been too loose with my definitions. At least I resisted the temptation to trot out “a good pun is its own re-word”. Oh darn, look what I’ve just done.

  4. 14 minutes.

    I’m sure we’ve had the ‘half-hearted’ thing before, if not here then I’ve seen it at Fifteensquared re a Guardian puzzle. The explanation (get-out?) is that you don’t lift and separate the wordplay – in this case also ignoring the comma which is standard practice anyway.

    So ‘Oscar writing’ = OPENNING and ‘half-hearted’ gives us OPENING.

    I got the Hebridean island from wordplay and didn’t recognise COLONSAY although I’d consider myself pretty good on Scottish islands, particularly off the west coast. It came up once before 3 years ago almost to the day.

    I’m familiar with the levee on which one waits for the Robert E Lee, but the ‘reception’ meaning has passed me by until today.

    1. From The Gondoliers:
      Then, if business isn’t heavy
      We may hold a royal levee
      Or ratify some Acts of Parliament.

      1. Just shows I can be dumbed down on occasions, being more familiar with the words of Al Jolson songs than the patter of WS Gilbert!

        1. “Drove my Chevy to the levee” was how I got there, so I’m claiming today’s Lowbrow Point.

            1. Obviously. Hence the next line (“And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye”) – he was contrasting their abundantly alcoholic good fortune with his own regrettably teetotal state at the dry levee.

              [This is genuinely how I understood the lyrics as a teenager, having looked up “levee” in the SOD and found “formal reception” as the first definition, specifically for the US. It was before Google, kids …]

              1. I always thought 1) but rye IS whiskey; 2) if the levee had been wet, he and his Chevy would be in trouble, 3) what stupid lyrics!

                1. And “Vincent” is even stupider. “I could have told you, Vincent…” Don McLean couldn’t have told Vincent van Gogh anything.

    2. I parsed the half-hearted as in not having one’s heart in something and at the heart of the 7 letter word PENNING is the second N so remove it?… but absolutely see it could be an indication to use only half of the N’s in the 8 letter OPENNING

  5. Third time typing in after WordPress errors.

    Slow 24+mins with no fewer than 4 errors. I started my bad run with the plausible S+AGE, which is certainly a plant. This led to EVERY=plain, based on the expression Everyman for man-in-the-street. Still with me? It gets worse. At 3D I now had a final Y, and after alpha trawling through possible combos of POLY/PLY TORY/TRY I went with BOUY/BUY.

    And finally I had a brain freeze at the chestnut PREY/PRAY and went with PLEA/PLEE, where Plee must be an old French word, like LEVEE.

    I now understand the lyric in “American Pie” that he is taking his Chevy to an audience with an old French King.

    And how does LEVERAGE =buy? I hear the word all the time in deathless corporate-speak where it is a pompous word for merely “use”.


    1. I’ve never understood the “Chevy to the levee” lyric either. Where I live now, the levees are the artificial banks of the river that (usually) prevent it flooding during the rainy season. And while it is possible to drive a vehicle along them, they’re not the place you’d go for a mournful Buddy Holly commemoration.

    2. Dear Merlin,
      I also toyed with PLEE for a long time. Whilst I did eventually get PREY, I never found NEATEST or (the NHO) COLONSAY. Despite working on these two clues for 20+ minutes, I never saw COLON for ‘stop’ (actually, I don’t think I’d have seen it in a month of Sundays), NEAT for ‘clever’ or NEST for ‘shelter’ (I was thinking of TENT). Orpheus beat me all ends up today.

    3. P.S. Mrs Random and I went to see Don McLean last year (I think) at the Brighton Dome when he he was on his 50th anniversary tour of the American Pie album. His voice was not quite as strong, understandably, but his (and his band’s) playing was excellent. It was the first album Mrs R ever bought.

  6. If I’d known it was an anagram of NAME plus ONE I would have saved myself from putting in ANENOME for a double-pink in 14. This was mostly a steady solve until the COLONSAY/NEATEST intersection, where I ground to a halt that persisted for several minutes. Like others I figured colon might be in it, but where’s the eg? And I’m not that sure about neat = clever, my mum never told me that my room needed to be cleverer. Thanks Orpheus and Doof, and we’re off tomorrow for a month of sheer purgatory in the Greek Islands so you’re unlikely to hear much from me for a while, yiassou!

      1. Yeah I get it in that form, it just seems a bit awkward in the comparative sense, neater or (as here) neatest.

  7. 10 minutes. I didn’t find this too difficult although I’d forgotten LEVEE for ‘formal reception’ in the wordplay for 7d and for some reason I took a while to work out CLARET at 16d.

    I have eaten SAGO and am not unhappy that it’s ‘served in the past’, not in the present.

    Thanks to Doofers and Orpheus

  8. Managed this in 7:32 last night
    Random fact, Anemones grow from corms, something I remember from my childhood

  9. COLONSAY was parsable but I didn’t and didn’t have the GK to biff. Whole of the SW was hard. Three on first pass of acrosses before NW and SE went in. Had a partially parsed LEVERAGE – didn’t know that levee but was pleased with myself for trying ‘rag’ in different places until a word appeared. Gave up on 20.

  10. I biffed ‘chaser’ for 16 dn but got no pinks to my surprise. Internet in this part of Wales is a bit lumpy but AI surely hasn’t given it a mind of its own?

  11. A strange solve as I found most of this fairly straightforward but the SW proved completely intractable.

    At the bottom of my lengthening to do list, in very faint pencil, is an entry which says ‘learn Scottish islands’ but knowing me it will stay there and I’ll just have to absorb them slowly over time!!
    Eventually I ground my way to the finish only to discover I’d misspelt ANEMONE, in spite diligently checking it a couple of times and seeing how it parsed 🤦‍♂️.

    Oh well, hopefully tomorrow will be better.
    Thanks to Doofers

  12. 5.16

    Knew COLONSAY which helped enormously. Think I also knew ANEMONE as a plant which must be a first ever. Have taken to using one of those apps on walks but get chided/laughed at for using it on common or garden flora which “everyone” knows.

    Thanks Doofers and Orpheus

  13. 4:27. Unlike others, the first 6 and last 3 across answers all came before I moved on so I had plenty of checkers for the downs. Like Maxythetaxy I tried CHASER for 16d, but it didn’t fit the wordplay so I thought again, making it my LOI. I also took a while to see how TIE was a formal strip. I’ve only worn one for wedding, funerals, graduations and formal dinners for about the last 20 years. I didn’t remember that meaning of levee, but that’s what had to wrap the rag. Thanks Orpheus and Doofers.

  14. 7:34

    As with Doofers, found the initial pass of acrosses tough – think I had four in. Downs seemed a little easier to get into. NHO LEVEE as a formal reception. Somehow knew the Hebridean island which went in once I had three checkers and ‘eg’ was looking like it wouldn’t fit anywhere, so thought of SAY. L2I were CLARET followed by LUCID.

    Thanks Orpheus and Doofenschmirtz

  15. This was a struggle, from the first clue I looked at (“Oh no, a woodland plant, no chance of getting that”) to my LOI Leverage, where I stared at -E-E-A-E for a very long time before deciding that while I had no idea what a levee was, it did at least give the answer. And in between we had quite a few clues that I thought “people are not going to like that” – Colonsay is a charming island (I visited it 2 years ago) but hardly well known, Neat for clever might be thought loose, Seven as a “small” number (why bother with the word small in the clue?), and so on.

    In the circumstances I was quite surprised that the clock stopped at just under 12 minutes – it had the feel of a slower and less satisfying solve than that. But all done and, if I am honest, quickly filed and we move on.

    Many thanks Doofers for the blog

  16. I found that pretty straightforward, certainly easier than yesterday’s. So maybe there’s something in this wavelength business.

    PUKKA has been around for 300+ years, definitely not a Johnny Come Lately. Very familiar to any Kipling reader (here’s a great article on Kipling and slang http://thedabbler.co.uk/2012/06/heroes-of-slang-17-rudyard-kipling/ ).

    COLONSAY was very clever and gets COD from me for the misdirection. As a barrister I have never heard anyone, ever, say “m’lud” so LUCID puzzled me momentarily. OPENING was very good too.

    Cracking puzzle done in 07:32 for a Red Letter Day. Many thanks Orpheus and Doofers.


    1. I agree about the use or non-use of “m’lud”. It’s an exaggerated use of the judicial address “My Lord”, which is otherwise the accepted way of addressing senior judges of High Court rank or above in England & Wales, and of course it doesn’t work if the judge is in fact “My Lady”. See: https://www.judiciary.uk/guidance-and-resources/what-do-i-call-a-judge/.
      Modes of address in Scotland or Northern Ireland may differ. I wonder whether “m’lud” belongs to another era, but you would be pushed to hear it now, as counsel are very alert to the mixed composition of the bench nowadays.

      1. Am I correct in thinking that Parker used to address Penelope as M’Lady in Thunderbirds?

        1. Mrs Invariant insists on going to a particular restaurant every time we visit Ypres. It’s quite a good restaurant, but I suspect the clincher is that the Flemish owner always addresses her as ‘My Lady’. . .

  17. Very frustrating. Hampered by all of the above which tied me up in knots.
    Thanks for the insight into LEVEE. I still think it referred to an embankment for the Chevy’s destination. DNF.
    Thanks Doofers for the explanations.

    1. Certainly a setter with all sorts of knowledge I don’t have including LUD for law lord), LEVEE (for banquet) and COLONSAY (Hebredian island). Not, I suspect, knowledge I will ever need again. Hence DNF today.

  18. A long solve falling to lots of misdirection. COD definitely to nightie once the PDM for retiring is going to bed.

    Thankfully saw anemone immediately as the only woodland plant apart from bluebell that I know, thankful for the WP to spell it correctly.

    The NE held us up the longest before seeing uprising which was the key for the rest apart from leverage – spent too long trying to fit buy into it before Mrs RH putting in rag and remembering levee then “oh THAT kind of purchase”!!

    Thanks Orpheus and Doofers for the smiles and parsing of lucid

  19. FOI ANEMONE and that NW corner but then drifted about finding few answers except eg AGENT, CONFORM and UPRISING. LOI LEVERAGE. Biffed INDIA early on but stupidly slow to parse.
    Quite pleased to have finished, very slowly, and with only a small peek at the atlas for COLONSAY. Liked EPICURE, OVERT, LUCID, GROUND, ODDMENTS.
    Thanks vm, Doofers. Thought NIGHTIE a bit ageist until you pointed out what retired meant.

  20. Disastrous! At least one person above had finished before I had entered even a single answer into the grid. Not one of the across clues went in on first pass, a process which took just over 5 minutes of fruitless effort. The down clues proved more yielding, but only up to a point.

    I hit several significant blockages all over the grid, but I eventually ran into the sand in the SW corner. LUCID was written in, but only faintly as, hard as I tried, I could not make the clue parse. That left me trying to fill C_(L)___A_ and __A_E_T, a challenge that I worked on in vain for well over 20 minutes. I did think of SAY (as well as the obvious EG), but I’d NHO the island. I also found NEATEST, but I didn’t see its link to the required definition and I never thought of EATing courses. Gloom!

    Outcome: DNF (2 unsolved) in 72 minutes.

    Thanks to Doofers and (through gritted teeth) to Orpheus.

  21. I had no problems with the top half of the grid (save parsing 7d), but then someone switched off the light and I really struggled in the basement. A second sitting sorted out the SE corner, but the SW was still surprisingly empty (off season ?) at the 25min marker. Oddments, Lucid and Agent were eventually winkled out with my trusty crowbar, but nho Colonsay and loi Neatest needed a third sitting. What a slog. Invariant

  22. 14:34

    Struggled like many with the SW corner. POI NEATEST gave me a reasonable guess at the unknown island, which proved correct. Tough for a QC, taking longer than many a 15×15.

    Thanks all

  23. Either I’m dumb or the setters have been unfairly tough this week. Again, as with the past two days, I have got nowhere, finding them to be wholly unenjoyable.


  24. Tough one today reflected by my finishing time of 12.30. Nearly three minutes was spent trying to solve my last two which were NEATEST and finally COLONSAY. My problem with the former was that I thought it had to begin with T and end with ENT. I consider myself to be well up on British place names, but COLONSAY was a new one on me, and I was relieved to see it was correct. I so nearly fell into the trap of spelling ANEMONE incorrectly, but having got it wrong on a previous occasion, the correct spelling went in.

  25. DNF. Breezeblocked by CLARET, and gave up after 20m. CHASER was the only word I could see that fitted the definition, but it didn’t fit the wordplay, so I did not press submit.

    Thanks Doofers and Orpheus

  26. DNF due to leverage (NHO Levee) and Nightie.
    Lucid a bit of a stretch.
    As always enjoyed the contributions of the blog (as well as the crossword of course)

  27. A bifftastic 12:31 today. Needed help parsing NIGHTIE, LEVERAGE, LUCID and probably others which my brain has let slip. Not sure how colon = stop.

    I was helped by having visited Colonsay as a boy for a camping trip with my scout troop. My only memory of the trip is the occasion upon which the troop embarked on a hike without noticing that I was in the tent reading a James Bond book. They made substantial progress before realising that I wasn’t among them, prompting a retracing of steps to go back and get me. I was not popular that day! Wasn’t happy either; I was enjoying the book and would have much preferred the opportunity to read it in peace.

  28. Dnf…

    Hmmm…another toughie in my opinion. After 30 mins, still had a lot of the SW to complete. Wasn’t just off-season, but full on emergency evacuation – maybe it’s something to do with the water?

    Anyway, NHO of “Levee” for formal reception, and the island of “Colonsay” isn’t one of the most obvious of the Hebrides. Did think about “Lucid” for 15ac, but for some reason didn’t think it fit the definition. Similarly, I wasn’t 100% convinced about “Neatness” for “most clever” on 19ac. Took a while to understand the parsing for 20ac “Pilot” as well. At least it didn’t take me long to get the ubiquitous “Anemone” for 8ac, which a few years back I wouldn’t have had a clue about.

    FOI – 1dn “Sago”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 4dn “Determination” – seemingly wasn’t enough to complete this.

    Thanks as usual!

    FOI –

  29. ANEMONE was FOI. Didn’t know the reception meaning of Levee, but it had to be. Knew COLONSAY. Had to make several passes before finishing with CLARET. 7:52. Thanks Orpheus and Doofers.

  30. Once I got a foothold I found this quite straightforward. Albeit, the meaning of levee was an unknown – I’m with Templar on Don McLean, and also Led Zeppelin for “When the Levee Breaks” (amazing through headphones – apparently a spliff enhances it, but I’ve not gone down that road).

    TIME 4:04

    * There is a huge housing estate on my old taxi driving patch where all the roads are named after Scottish islands. COLONSAY Close is one of them. I’ve never envied the residents of Benbecula Way trying to get their address over to call centre staff.

    1. Some years ago (30+?), I read a report in a running magazine by someone who ran the Benbecula marathon (4 participants) one Saturday and the London marathon (20,000+ participants) the very next day. Their report focussed on two things: the logistics involved in doing so and the stark contrast between the two events. I was a keen runner at the time and I never enjoyed running in crowds.

  31. 8a Am very ignorant on plants and didn’t clock anemone as of woodland. FWIW I remember the spelling as “Annie-moan” and that has never let me down.
    22a I’m surprised that Doofenschmirtz claims that “pukka” wasn’t in widespread use 30 years ago. That is contrary to my memory (which is dodgy, TBH.) I have definitely used the word, sometimes (tongue in cheek) in the phrase “pukka sahib.”
    23a I suppose disheartened rather than half-hearted would have been OK then? It didn’t worry me then or now.
    12d Cheated so DNF. I had added Colonsay to my cheating machine so it has cropped up before. Needless to say I had forgotten it, and won’t try too hard to remember it for next time.

  32. Breezeblocked by CLARET & NEATEST, and NHO the island, couldn’t unpick the wordplay (stop = colon wasn’t ever going to come to mind), so gave up at 6:49.

    Hardly any acrosses on the first pass either, but the downs fairly flew in.

    Another day to forget! They seem to become more frequent.


  33. Don’t try to tell me there’s no such thing as wavelength. I breezed through this with barely a pause for thought whereas Mara’s puzzle the other day was completely obscure to me – drawer for Artist, for goodness’ sake, though all of you seemed to find it easy! Yet today most people are saying it’s difficult. Just goes to show one man’s meat is another’s poison…

  34. 14.48 The whole of the top half except LEVERAGE went straight in so I thought this would be quick but the SW was very slow, eventually unblocked by COLONSAY. Like Merlin I spent a while wondering if a PLEE was some kind of quarry. I’ve read the Patrick O’Brian books too but the audience meaning of LEVEE hadn’t stuck so LEVERAGE was a biff. Thanks Doofers and Orpheus.

  35. Not really a pukka QC puzzle
    About 5 mins.
    Then another 13 to get the final 3 clues that I didn’t enjoy:
    agent (pukka fellow = gent!), leverage (levee = formal reception), and Colonsay.

  36. Almost a rewarding hours effort only to fall short with PLEA instead of PRAY. I was waiting for the blog to tell me how PLEA meant quarry!!
    Very tough but enjoyably challenging with a couple of new words I’ve never heard of (or more likely don’t remember!)
    Thank you Doofers and Orpheus

  37. I have done the QC since number 1 and I seem to remember that Orpheus used to produce some cracking examples. This was not one.
    It reminds me why I don’t take the alleged QC as seriously as I used to and why I just drop in on the blog from time to time to enjoy some of the craic.

  38. However you define wavelength, or if it even exists, I wasn’t on it. Relieved to find my experience mirrored by so many others. Few of the acrosses on first pass, especially in the bottom half. Then better luck with the downs but still slow in general until I was left with 4 clues outstanding, all in the SW. Stared at them for a couple of minutes before I had to give up and go out for a lunch appointment, by which stage my time was already at 21 minutes. When I got back I tackled the SW again but got nowhere so cheated and looked up a list of Hebridean islands. I had vaguely heard of COLONSAY but a bit of a MER at colon = point. LUCID and NEATEST followed in short order but I couldn’t see 16dn, so had to use aids to find CLARET. Time for the whole exercise around 35 mins.

    FOI – 8ac ANEMONE
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 7dn LEVERAGE

    Thanks to Orpheus, who definitely won today’s round, and Doofers

  39. On first run through I only got 17a. Fortunately the downs started giving me a foothold as the NW corner fell into place. I see ANENOMES in the local wood and the SEVERN from the window. I had to do a trawl to get COLONAY as I also wanted to fit eg into an island to make stop the answer.

  40. I seem to have fared reasonably well in comparison – finishing in 10:34. Knew – and liked the clue – Colonsay, and I’m another in Pukka Pie Land so that wasn’t a problem. Getting the long 4dn soon on helped. Finished on Leverage – having hmm’d about levee. Thanks for the blog.

  41. DNF, defeated by SW corner + 7d LEVERAGE (LEVEE = RECEPTION??? NHO). NHO COLONSAY either, and gave up with trying to find yet another girl’s name for 16d: random names should be banned. Just too hard for me.

  42. DNF

    COLONSAY? LEVEE? LUD? Gosh this was tough. Still had a few to go when I gave up at 30 minutes. Seeing the answers I’m glad I did.

  43. 35 mins, but had Plea instead of Prey. Got colonsay from word play plus it had featured in wildlife programmes, puffins or other interesting birds live there. NHO of Levee apart from a built up river bank but it provided purchase. Thanks Doof for parsing that one.

  44. 30 minute DNF

    Put NEAREST rather than NEATEST. Not a typo, I’m just a cretin. Don’t tell me that I did well to get that far. A fail is a fail is a fail.

    What’s the point of carrying on with this? I get progressively worse and there’s no fun in being this bad.

    Every day here is an unhappy one and I am the resident expert when it comes to new ways of mucking it up.

    Thanks for the blog.


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