Times Cryptic 28,109. A Friday Classic.

Here I am pinch-hitting in the baseball play-off season, soon to be the “World Series” (sometimes known as the Fall Classic) while Verlaine is in transit back to the UK.  This was a Christmas pudding of a puzzle and I felt like Little Jack Horner pulling out plums – it remains to be seen if I’ve been good but the puzzle was excellent.   We’ve been given an old-fashioned panorama of Crosswordland:  Shakespeare, Bible stories, cricket, rowing, sailing, classical mythology.  As I write this there is one clue I can’t parse and one where I feel I’m missing something.  If dawn doesn’t break before I have to post this, no doubt one or more of the clever people here will enlighten us.  This took me almost exactly 20 minutes – I prefer not to dwell on what Verlaine’s time might have been.

Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.  I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to render the clues in that pretty blue colour so you’ll have to make do with B&W.


1.  Tiny contribution I’d placed in bowl over by clock (6,4)
WIDOWS MITE.  ID in WOWS=bowled over.  SMITE=clock.  Story from the NT about the small donation by a poor widow representing a much greater share of her goods than the larger amounts given by richer people.
6.  Arena, somewhere you go round in reverse (4)
OVAL.  LAV O reversed.  Famed cricket ground in South London which even I know.
10.  Stern and bow of ship going in one sudden movement (7)
ASCETIC.  ACE=one containing S=first letter (bow) of SHIP with TIC=sudden movement.
11.  Cause of malfunction of foreign government changing leader (7)
GREMLIN.  Change the K in Kremlin.
12.  One who’s retiring to keep hotel by remote country dwelling (9)
FARMHOUSE.  FAR=remote.  MOUSE=one who’s retiring containing H[otel].
13.  Closing bars best at Henley, perhaps, when whiskey’s run out (5)
OUTRO.  If you remove the W (NATO alphabet whiskey) from OUTROW=beat the other boat at Henley Royal Regatta, you get the music term.  The members of the Leander Club would not be happy if the bars were closed and the Pimms ceased to flow, never mind the whiskey.
14.  One swallowed an orange juice after returning hot (5)
JONAH.  AN OJ reversed with H.  An OT story this time – in which he is swallowed by a whale.
15.  One might get bite in water tank, following one earlier (9)
FISHERMAN.  F 1 with Sherman=tank.  WWII US tank named after William Tecumseh Sherman, Civil War Union general.  Liked this one a lot.
17.  Drink from tap’s to sell (4,5)
MILK STOUT.  MILKS=taps.  TOUT= to sell.  I had to circle back to solve this one because I’d initially got the wrong first word in 18d.
20.  I’m surprised to find a Communist being driven with Poles (5)
OARED.  As in – Oh, a Red!
21. Misbehave in a court — in a court!  (3,2)
ACT UP.  A – CT – UP.
23.  Sail in front of dishonest judge, interrupting what he’s telling?
FLYING JIB.  It’s a kind of fore-sail.  LYING=dishonest.  J=judge. Contained in (interrupting) FIB=what he’s telling.  Neat one.
25.  Joint protection from men on board, with movement for peace (7)
KNEECAP.  K=king and N=knight on a chessboard with anagram (movement) of PEACE.
26. Bun to have when consuming most of a pop (7)
TEACAKE.  TAKE=have containing (consuming) EAC[h]=a pop.
27.  Queen alter The Colour of Money for radio (4)
DIDO.  Sounds like (for radio) dye dough.  Queen of Carthage jilted by Aeneas.  Our classics reference.
28.  Trinket taken from jug — gift we might pick up (10)
KNICKKNACK.  KNICK sounds like (we might pick up) nick=jug.  KNACK=gift.


1.  Landing place with fifty percent changing hands (5)
WHARF.  W[ith] HALF changing L to R.
2.  Bones initially needed in experiment to do with teaching (9)
DOCTRINAL.  DOC=bones.  TRIAL=experiment containing N[eeded] initially.
3.  Chap set a switch incorrectly; pay attention in future!  (5,4,5)
WATCH THIS SPACE.  Anagram (incorrectly) of CHAP SET A SWITCH.
4.  The implication is one would let in old Scottish lord (7)
MACDUFF.  Our Shakespearean clue and the one I don’t understand.  Macduff is the Thane of Fife, born by caesarean section.  His wife and children are murdered by Macbeth (“the Thane of Fife had a wife”).  In the final reckoning between the two, Macbeth believes the witches’ prophecy that he can’t be killed by “a man of woman born”, not knowing about the caesarean which apparently didn’t count as a proper birth.  He says “lay on Macduff” and is beheaded.  Um, any ideas?  I know I’m going to feel stupid.  On edit:  I thought of a duff Mac but rejected it as unlikely.  Thanks to BletchleyReject (maybe they should have had him/her after all) et al infra as confirmed by setter/editor.
5.  Vicious female gets sir wound up (7)
TIGRESS.  Anagram (wound up) of GETS SIR.
7.  Servant present finally after so long in Rome (5)
VALET.  VALE=goodbye in Latin.  [presen]T (finally).
8.  Dream location maybe, where you only get green lights? (4,2,3)
LAND OF NOD.  Where you go when you sleep.  Or the OT place East of Eden which always gives you the OK.
9.  Bug I planted on advocate to be avenged ( 3,4,3,4)
GET ONES OWN BACK.  BUG=get to.  ONE=I.  SOWN=planted.  BACK=advocate.
14.  Heaving bag into the sea after approval from Hans?  (3-6)
JAM-PACKED.  JA=German approval.  PACK=bag contained in MED=sea.
16.  Ruin a jam after smashing a pot (9)
MARIJUANA.  Anagram (after smashing) of RUIN A JAM with A
18.  Does away with secure feature of delivery (3,4)
OFF SPIN.  OFFS=does away with.  PIN=secure.  I  started out with “top spin” but had to re-think when 17a didn’t work.
19.  Pathologist’s outside, I see, after sample of enzyme (7)
TRYPTIC. P[athologis]T contained in TRY=sample and IC=I see.  Of the enzyme trypsin which is something to do with digestion and may be related to the sleepy feeling you get after too much Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey – or is that another one?
22.  Current minister to set about Republican (5)
TREND.  R contained in TEND=minister to.
24.  Rest?  One may be needed during it (5)
BREAK.  This is the one I see but I don’t see.  A rest is a break and is also a pause in music notation when nothing is played, or what you tell someone to give you when they’re bothering you, or what?  What am I missing? I completely dropped the snooker ball – in fact I never thought of it.  Thanks again to BR et al infra.

88 comments on “Times Cryptic 28,109. A Friday Classic.”

  1. Easy for a Friday, but as Olivia says, lots of goodies. FOI 1ac, biffed from “I’d”. I couldn’t remember what goes on at Henley and biffed, then saw RO. DNK MILK STOUT (LOI) or TRYPTIC (POI). I had ?s at BREAK and MACDUFF; all I could think of for BREAK is that one might need a rest when one takes a break (from arduous work, say). MACDUFF I can’t make heads or tails of. (Is the definition ‘old Scottish lord’ or ‘Scottish lord’?)
  2. I thought MACDUFF might be a DUFF (=poor, no good) MAC (=Macintosh) which would ‘let in’ rain. I think BREAK refers to a snooker break, during which you may need a ‘rest’ for your cue.

    Great puzzle. Lot of clues which needed some thought to get out. Took 71 minutes but happy to have made it.

    Thanks to Olivia for filling in and to setter.

  3. Like you, I had trouble parsing Macduff. I think it might be a play on ‘thane’, with ‘the’ around ‘an’ impled in the first half of the clue. A bit of a stretch!
  4. Had no idea about the parsing of MACDUFF, but I think Bletchley’s leaky raincoat theory stacks up. Also agree that “rest” and “break” are snooker references.

    Great blog Olivia, they should invent an extra day of the week so that you can be a regular. Excellent puzzle as well, not fully appreciated until reading through the blog.

    Enjoy the weekend everyone. Start planning your visits to Australia, we’re re-joining the world on November 1!

  5. I agree with the black dog that 24d is a snooker reference, and I like his leaky raincoat for MACDUFF though it still doesn’t parse fully. Is there a word missing from the clue? Rain?
    Thanks for the blog Olivia. And thanks to the setter for a Good Friday challenge. 31:50
    1. Definitely a word (or two) missing – ‘rain on’ perhaps? Otherwise the clue really doesn’t parse. But great crossword, 20m 33s. I’m also a bit surprised about the repetition of ‘out’ in tne clue and the solution in 13ac.
  6. I have no idea what was going-on in the ‘Scottish Wordplay’!
    Good to see Olivia at the helm. whilst Lord Verlaine is being transported. We certainly need more Lady Verlaines!


    LOI 6ac OVAL good clue!


    WOD 17ac MILK STOUT – with fond memories of ‘The Snug’ at The Rovers Return’ with Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst! Keep up Miss Tremble!

    I think Corymbia is on the right track – however not a word missing – just a letter from the type setter. Is there an Editor in The House?

    I forgot my time – 32 minutes. Jack – 31 minutes called it, ‘one of the easiest’; the Bolton Wanderer – 34 minutes called it ‘a stinker’! I’m lost!

    Edited at 2021-10-15 09:54 am (UTC)

    1. ‘One of the easiest for a Friday’. I usually expect a stinker on a Friday.

      I blogged that day myself for many a year and often struggled to solve and publish before it was time to go to work. I set out at 06:00 in those days.

  7. Enter Meldrew – ‘Might the clue have been, “The implication is one would let in cold Scottish Lord”?’

    Edited at 2021-10-15 02:29 am (UTC)

      1. I reckon the setter originally put in wet, but the editor thought it too obvious, so had it changed to cold, which went in a letter short! Cigars all round!
        1. Briliantly observed ‘orryd. And “the Scottish wordplay”, very droll.

          You’re on fire today.

    1. My favorite part of solving is trying to figure out what the clues should have been 😛
  8. My favourite part of solving is spotting edits that have gone awry – it’s far easier to spot in old books than crosswords however: I do it for a living – ‘Quantum History’.
    1. Speaking as both setter and editor I can assure all that the clue is presented as it was originally written: where I come from “let in” means “leak” and Chambers agrees (“leak inwardly”)

      It did puzzle me when I revisited it tho – for a few seconds 🙂

      1. So it’s a regional dialect thing ‘let in’ meaning ‘leak’?
        This could be termed ‘dialectic’, and we could have a logical argument about its validity.
  9. A few short at the one hour mark.

    I had bones =DICE, for 2d which killed off DOCTRINAL and didn’t understand any part of MILK STOUT. Several others not parsed, including KNICKKNACK which remained in pencil throughout, after a luck guess early on.

    “Hans” was surprising as the canonical German. I work for a German company and don’t think I know any Hans’s. I thought of Hans Christian Andersen and got it via the Danish (also Ja)

    I saw the “hands” device in WHARF straight away, but then desperately tried to get “poles” to mean NS in OARED. NHO an oar being called a pole, and surely surprised=OH, as written in the blog. Where did the ‘H’ go?


    I think I’m the only blogger who usually fails to complete, but slowly getting there.

    1. Mr. Merlin, You are not the blogger here, today that is Olivia. You are the commenter, as are the rest of us.
      1. My Horryd, the phrase ‘the only blogger who’ implies one of several, so clearly not limited to the blogger of the present puzzle.
        Reading comprehension C-, could do better.

        Edited at 2021-10-15 10:39 am (UTC)

        1. So where does Merlin 55 blog? I think we should know. Further, I had absolutely no idea Horryd was your property!? Does he know? 🙂
          1. I assure you I’m not!

            Re- Lord K’s disdainful comment:-

            Mr. Merlin on today’s QC- “Only one completed this week. I don’t think I’m getting worse, as I am doing better on the 15×15, so it seems to me the QC is getting harder.”

            These are not the words of a blogger!?

            Edited at 2021-10-15 02:12 pm (UTC)

            1. It should therefore be noted that Merlin produced a blog for johninterred’s “Weekend QC” last Saturday. Thus he (just about) qualifies.
  10. 31 minutes for surely one of the easiest Friday puzzles for a while. My only major delay was my LOI, DOCTRINAL, which I visited at least half a dozen times during the session before it finally gave up its secret. I was distracted by having thought of DOCTOR for ‘bones’ early on but there was no room to fit the second O (in D?C?R????) and nothing in the clue to indicate leaving it out.

    I enjoyed reading your blog, Olivia.

  11. Rather pleased to have finished this one at all, albeit getting on for two hours. Lucky Friday is the weekend here in Riyadh so had the time to spare. FOI MARIJUANA after 14+ minutes. LOI ASCETIC. COD was OARED which made me giggle out loud.

    Thanks for the excellent blog.


  12. That in that fairest lake had placed been,
    I could e’en Dido of her grief beguile

    30 mins pre-brekker (toast and honey).
    Very clever. I had no trouble with Duff Mac (I have owned a few), nor needing the rest during a snooker break.
    Maybe it was Too clever.
    Thanks setter and Olivia.

  13. I thought that this crossword was ace
    And I solved at a reasonable pace
    Though maybe MACDUFF
    Was a bit of a fluff?
    Will the setter explain? WATCH THIS SPACE!
  14. What a stinker for a locum to get, Olivia! MACDUFF was a total biff from me, whether I was laid on or led on, as was TRYPTIC, a word I’ve heard but never bothered to think of its meaning. In fact I think I’ve previously confused it with the word for the three part picture. But I’’m here all present and correct in 34 minutes. I assumed BREAK and rest referred to Snooker. MILK STOUT brought back memories of the Snug at the Rover’s Return with Ena, Martha and Minnie. I bet they has toasted TEACAKEs for their tea first. COD to DIDO. The WIDOW’S MITE wasn’t a tiny contribution of course. A toughish puzzle but highly enjoyable. Thank you Olivia and setter.
  15. Super-fast (by my standards, anyway) for a SNITCH currently reported as 122 – and also super-fun – but wow, did I do a lot of biffing.

    WIDOW’s MITE was a rather generously-clued instant start, and for the first 10 or 12 answers I was guessing this to be sub-100 difficulty – then I started half-solving ‘em, then a quarter…
    …sure felt really queasy putting in KNICKKNACK (can a word really have two consecutive Ks?). Had to correct TOP SPIN to OFF SPIN in order to get STOUT, then convinced myself that I’d learned in o-level biology about an enzyme called Dimethyl Tryptamine – turns out it’s a recreational psychedelic sometimes known as “businessman’s trip”.

    That gave me LOI FLYING JIB – the end of what felt like a thrill ride (or as near as it gets in the somewhat staid world of The Times cryptic. Whew! Thanks O and setter

    1. I had a dekko at your comment and nearly choked on my brekkie .. but I assure you, the clue is entirely pukka. No dodgy bookkeeping here.
      1. OK – evidently, I was still breathless with excitement for the solve when I made that unguarded comment.

        Guessing keriothe was referring to chukka, Aussie commenters – please spare me the quokkas!

  16. I thought this was feisty, witty and meaty, rather like Ena Sharples as manifested by 17A. I visited countless pubs in my drinking years but have never seen or tasted MILK STOUT. Does it really contain milk?

    Many contenders for COD for me but as a former rower I’ll give it to the surprising carful of Eastern Europeans.

    Thanks for an excellent blog Olivia, and to those who unpicked BREAK and revealed the true genesis of MACDUFF, both of which bamboozled me — and of course thanks to the top class setter.

    1. Milk stout, a dying art, contains lactose. Mackeson is probably the best known brand.
      1. has the same chemical formula as fructose (the sugar found in fruits) but form an L-D isomer pair (left-right symmetry.)
        As it happens yeast is able to change fructose to alcohol, but cannot affect lactose. The point of milk stout is that the added fructose adds sweetness, but no more alcohol, hence the ghastly taste, worse that non- and low-alcohol lagers IMHO.
    2. My granny drank it, so she could pretend it wasn’t really an alcoholic drink. It was vile.
  17. Thank you bletchleyreject for BREAK and thank you horryd for MACDUFF.
    And particular thanks to Olivia for a very entertaining blog.
    I would have been quicker had I not opted, initially, for TOP SPIN in 18d. TOPS for “does away with” was very seductive.
    In my sailing days, life was much easier if the race rules precluded the use of a jib or jibs.
  18. I started with VALET and OVAL, then TIGRESS allowed me to biff, then parse, WIDOWS MITE. I then made solid progress until I was left with a large part of the SE corner. KNICKKNACK was my way in, with BREAK following, although I missed the snooker reference. The JIB part of 22a was next. The F from OFF SPIN was there but LYING didn’t arrive until it became my penultimate entry. MARIJUANA was the ante-p once I spotted that ruin was part of the anagrist. TEACAKE had arrived slightly earlier and I eventually managed to parse it. That left the NHO TRYPTIC, which I eventually managed to construct from crossers and wordplay. Enjoyable tussle. 33:25. Thanks setter and Olivia.
  19. ….and especially for parsing WIDOW’S MITE (I suspected it immediately, but resisted biffing it as FOI). Thanks also to Horryd for rumbling the MACDUFF problem.

    As well as Surrey’s home ground in Kennington, there is the Kensington OVAL in Bridgetown, Barbados where the West Indies play Test cricket.

    I tried in vain to parse/justify “acestic” at 10A. You stupid boy Jordan !

    I couldn’t see how TREND worked at first, but needed it before the PDM of my LOI.

    LOI DIDO (Queen was inactive (4))
    COD KNICKKNACK (wot, no hyphen ?)
    TIME 15:37

  20. Cracking puzzle. No time, as I did it in three goes. Probably around the half-hour mark. Had to come here to find out how Macduff worked.
    Great blog, Olivia – congrats. And I learnt what a pinch-hitter is! 🙂
    1. Knock Knock

      Who’s there ?

      It’s the Avon lady — when are you getting this doorbell sorted out ?

  21. 9:06. Very enjoyable.
    I didn’t know what the Land of Nod was known for but didn’t really need to.
    Add me to the TOO SPIN list.
    The raincoat explanation for MACDUFF looks the most likely but it seems to be missing something.
    1. There used to be a sign post, somewhere near Scarborough, that pointed to the ‘Land of Nod’.
      1. It’s a hamlet in the Yorkshire Wolds, near the village of Holme upon Spalding Moor.
  22. 22:13 Only 1 across answer on a first read through, but the downs got me going. I had no idea about MACDUFF, but tip of the hat to Horryd for the editing mistake theory. Lots of lovely clues. And great blog. Thanks Olivia and setter.
  23. For me, the easiest of the week, though I pushed my time over 20 by trying and failing to understand MACDUFF, BREAK (snooker didn’t occur) and LAND OF NOD (why was NO D a green light? D’oh) before submission. Relieved at green lights.
    Oddly enough, one of the things that made this easier was the preponderance of Js and Ks (and other high scoring letters) something that more often happens in MCS puzzles. If all you’ve got for crossing letters is Es and As (like TeAcAkE) the trawling can be harder.
    I have a clouded memory of MILK STOUT prescribed for expectant mothers (possibly even on the NHS) back in the day.
    Excellent blogging, Olivia.
  24. Good one I thought, definitely a Nod from me. No problems except parsing 4dn, d’oh!
    If you have time the article on flying jibs in Wikipedia is an interesting read .. as I’m sure you know, a jib is “set flying” if it is not attached to the standing rigging ..
  25. Lovely puzzle, on the easy side for a Friday, where unfortunately in my race to try and get a good time I didn’t properly check the letters for MARIJUANA, instead going for MARAJUANA. Possibly showing what a sheltered life I’ve led, as well.
  26. Thank you BR and you are right on both counts (MACDUFF and snooker BREAK). Blog updated accordingly.
  27. I was pathetic today. It took me over an hour. The people whose times are usually similar to mine did far better.

    It was asked where the h went in the ‘oh a red’ clue. I can’t see an answer. It baffled me and still does: surely ‘o’ is an old-fashioned form of address? There’s no homophone indicator in the clue.

    Had leg spin for a while, which mucked everything up (legs = legs it = runs away = does away was my thinking, very doubtful I know). For a long time I thought the drink was some sort of a split.

  28. The mysterious wavelength factor. I found that everything went in quite easily. MACDUFF and BREAK were actually obvious entries to me (the first after all checkers were in place and the second as a naked BIFF that just leapt out at me) but admittedly they did require a bit of afterthought to parse. My LOI was TEACAKE. Again it had to be but the parsing took a bit of extra time.
    1. Wholeheartedly agree! One really does have to be attuned. Both today’s QC and 15×15 were quick for me. It is further mysterious that when Verlaine is ‘off-duty’ on a Friday, I do far better! His speed is intimidating, but worse is his stentorian ‘avatar’; even though I know he bears little resemblance to it, either in look or character.
      A sigh of relief when I glimpsed Olivia, on my way to check Mr. Snitch.

      Edited at 2021-10-15 02:24 pm (UTC)

  29. Hello from Humberto Delgado Airport in Lisbon where I’m in travel limbo for a few hours.

    I’m not sure if I’ve slept (it’s 4am my time or something?) but it only took 6m41 to solve this puzzle regardless. I biffed in quite a few, most of which have been well trodden in comments elsewhere.

    Onwards to London!

  30. I have deleted my own comment made late last night as the bletchleyreject and horryd nailed it! The editor has subsequently stated he wasn’t involved! Why ever not!?
    I would surmise that it was the setter who made the change from ‘wet’ to ‘cold’ off his own bat. A Mackintosh’s prime purpose is to keep out the ‘rain’ and secondarily the ‘cold’. Yes, it does both, however the latter is more 19dn. (I know!) My time was 14:54 and this was a pleasure – Jam-Packed with goodies – my COD
    1. As previously stated I am both the setter and the editor and no change was made to the clue 🙂
  31. Got there in the end, but with no great certainty. Didn’t understand MACDUFF or KNEECAP, had to work out the unknown WIDOWS MITE and FLYING JIB from wordplay, wasn’t sure that ASCETIC means stern, didn’t parse the first half of KNICKKNACK, and had to trust that TRYPTIC relates to enzymes. A very enjoyable challenge nonetheless.

    FOI Wharf
    LOI Ascetic
    COD Fisherman

  32. Didn’t find this as easy as others with several unparsed/unknown — about 8 mins over over my target time. Certainly not the easiest Friday for a while as some have suggested (the SNITCH backs me up on this — 116 when I first checked, 97 for last Friday) — suggest it’s a wavelength/general knowledge thing — my two unknowns imho both specialist knowledge.

    NHO: WIDOW’S MITE; FLYING JIB (another ridiculous sail name);

    Unparsed — OUTRO from definition without seeing OUTROW; KNEECAP from the chess pieces — didn’t parse the rest; EAC(h) in TEACAKE — didn’t get it; MACDUFF from definition — no idea what was going on here; BREAK — missed the snooker reference

    POI — DIDO took a while to spot
    LOI ASCETIC from checkers — I had A-something-TIC rather than ACE with an S in it.


    Edited at 2021-10-15 01:18 pm (UTC)

  33. A pleasure this lunchtime to complete most of this. The sun’s out and I’ve got to mow the lawn now but I wanted to see the answers to my blanks and check for mistakes.
    The SE was my problem partly caused by two biffed mistakes: MILK SHAKE and AXE SPIN (not proud of this as a cricket man).
    Did not parse MACDUFF. COD to DIDO.
  34. 25.30. Very enjoyable. Plenty of head scratching but all worked out in the end. Having the P and the S from the outside of pathologist’s rather than the P and the T from the outside of pathologist gave me trypsic which had to be revisited in order to get LOI teacake. The ‘a pop’ in that LOI was a nice pdm too, I had been thinking along the lines of a da(d) or a ban(g) for quite a while.
  35. Just over the hour, stuffed by banging in TOP SPIN as others seem to have done. Perhaps more tennis (my ex game! ) than cricket. I found this more difficult than some getting stuck in the SE.

    MACDUFF was a guess as was WIDOWS MITE (NHO). Yes I had had probs in the NW too! I did like LAND OF NOD and KNICKKNACK.

    The trouble with coming late to the party, is that everything has already been said. So I will just thank Olivia for the blog. Well done.

  36. I whizzed right thru this, top to bottom, slowing a bit in the southeast—LOI TRYPTIC. Totally biffed MACDUFF, though! Nice blog, Olivia!
  37. As usual this week, being on hols, I was very slow. MACDUFF was just biffed without any consideration of the cryptic. I had trouble with my LOI DOCTRINAL, where I didn’t see the trial or the bones, which are usually tarsi or similar. Not sure if he is still alive, but maybe BONES should have gone into space too?
  38. 36 mins but a DNF. Undone by putting in pool at 6 ac which meant I could never get valet. Disappointing end to a good run over the last fortnight and so simple when it’s explained. Argh!

    Despite the failure , really enjoyed the puzzle and loved macduff and wharf. Thx setter and blogger.

  39. 20:37 late this afternoon. I tend to be strapped for time on Fridays and so this afternoon started biffing all over the place to try to complete within the time I had available. I simply got lucky. The picture of a bull in a china shop with miraculously no breakages, springs to mind. Come to think of it, as well as keeping a personal record of my times, perhaps I should also record the number of biffs for each puzzle. I feel a new database coming on.
    COD 24 d and LOI “break” which I couldn’t parse but by that time my neural circuitry was totally mac-duff.
    Thanks to Olivia for a top notch explanatory blog and to setter for the workout (to put it mildly)
  40. An hour spent waiting for deliveries so it felt like time well-spent. DNF – me, 24, setter, 4 – doctrinal, Jonah, jam-packed and milk stout. Makeson makes great Carbonnades Flammandes. Lots of biffing. Thank you for the blog, Olivia, and for the entertainment, setter.

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