Times Quick Cryptic 1757 by Jalna

A relativley rare offering from Jalna, and the first one of theirs I’ve blogged. It did feel a little different, although I don’t subscribe to the idea that a setter’s style reliably gives them away, but I didn’t find it especially hard. A few solutions are in the ‘not everyday words’ category, for me at least (see 23ac, 2dn), but my LOI was the cryptic definition – these always trip me up as I jump to deconstruct a clue and find wordplay indicators, and all you get in this instance is an innocent looking question mark.

Definitions underlined.

8 Where Joan of Arc died is in question (2,5)
AT STAKE – double definition.
9 Japanese cartoon featuring in seminars from the east (5)
ANIME – hidden in (featuring in) sEMINArs reversed (from the east).
10 Vet tailed by vehicle is cut up (5)
CARVE – all but the last letter of (tailed) VEt, by CAR (vehicle).
11 Various different means of being delivered (7)
SAVIOUR – anagram of (different) VARIOUS.
12 Slump, depressed, next to item in playground (9)
DOWNSWING – DOWN (depressed) next to SWING (item in playground).
14 Very soft bread dipped in gravy? (3)
SOP – SO (very) and P (piano, soft).
16 It’s painful parking after fitness centre closes early (3)
GYP – P (parking) after GYm (fitness centre) missing its last letter (closes early).
18 Biography of Fry mixed up with Eliot’s (4,5)
LIFE STORY – anagram of (mixed up) FRY with ELIOTS.
21 Sailor originally rowed into state by river (7)
MARINER – first letter of (orginally) Rowed, contained by (into) MAINE (state), then R (river).
22 North American company importing hot food from Mexico (5)
NACHO – NA (North American) and CO (company) containing (importing) H (hot).
23 Charlie smuggled by decoy for ill-gotten gains (5)
LUCRE – C (charlie) contained by (smuggled by) LURE (decoy).
24 When shattered, I forgot to strive for success (2,3,2)
GO FOR IT – anagram of (when shattered) I FORGOT.

1 A boxer good at putting up a guard? (8)
WATCHDOG – cryptic definition. The surface reading makes you think about a ring fighter, but the cryptic meaning is of a breed of dog that stands guard.
2 Bond needed in companies’ crowdfunding (6)
ESCROW – hidden in (needed in) companiES CROWdfunding.
3 Fast runner — he holds a record at first (4)
HARE – HE contains (holds) A and the first letter from (at first) Record.
4 Karate instructor is seen getting beaten up (6)
SENSEI – anagram of (getting beaten up) IS SEEN.
5 Salvage works outside small desert city (3,5)
LAS VEGAS – anagram of (works) SALVAGE, containing (outside) S (small).
6 Intolerant people try to get involved in scraps (6)
BIGOTS – GO (try) containing (to get involved in) BITS (scraps).
7 Sport: tired, endlessly (4)
WEAR – the last letter removed from (endlessly) WEARy (tired).
13 Crooner pens a line for an American author (8)
SALINGER – SINGER (crooner) containing (pens) A and L (line).
15 Work on the top of a bottle to get port (8)
PLYMOUTH – PLY (work) on MOUTH (top of a bottle).
17 Crime of passion is initially risqué (6)
PIRACY – first letters from (initially) Passion Is, then RACY (risqué).
19 A long time mostly producing fodder (6)
FORAGE – all but the last letter of FOR AGEs (a long time).
20 Awards zero marks (6)
OSCARS – O (zero) and SCARS (marks).
21 Whisky and mead oddly left at the end of banquet (4)
MALT – odd letters from (oddly) MeAd, then L (left) and the last letter of (the end of) banqueT.
22 In the first instance, niceties usually feel fairly sufficient (4)
NUFF – first letters from (in the first instance) Niceties Usually Feel Fairly. Slang word for ‘enough’.

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1757 by Jalna”

  1. With a good two minutes spent on my last in, WATCHDOG. Al dente, I’d call this puzzle.
  2. I can’t say I was pleased to see NUFF; aside from its inappropriateness, I can’t think of a time when it would be used to mean ‘enough’ aside from ” ’nuff said “. I have nuff money to last the week? It’s easy nuff once you’ve practiced a bit? I’ve written nuff on this subject? 5:05.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 07:48 am (UTC)

    1. I expect this is very non-PC, but my Dad used to have a little rhyme: “There was a man, his name was Nuff. He was a fairy; fairy nuff!”
  3. Just could not see WATCHDOG, even though I had twigged that boxer=dog. Also failed with WEAR, as did not see usage such as “ he sports a bow tie”, not common but fair.

    GYP was a tough old clue, was pleased to parse it.


  4. I’ve struggled with all of Jalna’s 3 previous offerings (13, 18 and 23 minutes) and at 13 minutes – again – this was no exception.

    The killer was SENSAI at 4dn which I never heard of and I jumped the wrong way when selecting where to place the unchecked anagrist. Some will know that I have an aversion foreign or obscure words clued as anagrams.

    I had no problem solving 1dn but didn’t think much of the clue. Are boxers particularly noted for their WATCHDOG qualities?

    I also note that yet again we have a grid with no 1ac.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 06:38 am (UTC)

    1. I concur with your aversion to obscure words being anagrammed, but I would not have put SENSEI into that category. Not that this proves anything, but a quick Google search yields 238 million hits (compared to 53.4 million for ESCROW) so maybe it’s reasonably well known in popular culture.

      What’s wrong with the grid having no 1ac? Isn’t that quite a common occurrence?

      1. By any standards I’d say SENSAI is obscure for a Quick Cryptic, a bit so for a 15×15 too perhaps but nobody’s suggesting that should be a walk in the proverbial park.

        The difference between SENSAI and ESCROW (which I agree is also obscure by the same standards) is that the latter is a hidden answer signalled in the clue, so anyone with a moderate grasp of how cryptic puzzles work stands a good chance of spotting that, will get the answer right and be sure of it. With SENSAI, if you don’t know it, even if you have all the checkers in place you can only guess between options.

        On the grid, I’d take them as they come but for the fact that a while ago one of the Times crossword editors told us that grids of this sort would be discontinued from use in Quick Cryptics. Somebody asked your same question here a couple of weeks ago and here’s what I wrote then:

        The grid layout, not having 1ac, nor any answers running along the edges makes life more difficult for solvers as the first letters of (in this case) 11 answers are unchecked and it’s harder to think of an answer when you don’t have its first letter. Normally solving, say, 1ac would give you the first letters of several Down answers.

        Of course in the main puzzle one doesn’t expect to have things made easy but the Quick Cryptic is supposed to be more accessible to less experienced solvers and it has previously been stated by one of the Times Crossword Editors that this type of grid was to be discontinued for QC’s. That was some time ago, yet today was the third consecutive day we’ve been presented with such a grid.

        Edited at 2020-12-02 11:46 am (UTC)

        1. Well all I can say about SENSEI is that despite not being a fan of fighting sports nor movies/dramas featuring them it was nevertheless still somehow quite familiar to me. I guess I must have picked it up in a quiz or another crossword in the dim and distant past.

          Hmm… I see what you mean about grids having too many answers with unchecked first letters being tougher, but I don’t think the lack of a 1ac is really the problem. I mean, if you rotated this grid 90° it would have a 1ac, but exactly the same number (7) such answers. As there are 26 answers overall here that’s ~27%. Looking back at some recent grids I see 1752 by Tracy – which does have a 1ac by the way – has 9 out of 25 such answers making it 36%. Whereas 1748 by Rondo and 1747 by Joker, which I think are the kind of grids you really object to, have ~42% and ~48% respectively. By comparison with those, this grid seems relatively tame.

          So perhaps your assessment shouldn’t be whether the grid lacks a 1ac, but what percentage of answers have unchecked first letters. With anything more than say 40% being considered too many?

          1. Thanks for your input and it’s true that the worst offenders are grids as used by Joker in #1747 and Rongo in #1748 – the second and third referred to in my comment quoted above, which came on the back of #1746 by Hurley to make three in a row. As far as I remember the reference to grids without 1ac came from the puzzles editor which is why I lump all such grids together in my comments.
            1. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be critical, it just struck me as a curious thing to note. I suppose 1ac will be missing from the most egregious grids, but as the Tracy puzzle I mentioned shows, it can exist and still be a much worse grid in that respect than today’s – which is identical to #1746 by the way.
        1. Maybe so but that still makes it specialist knowledge and not the most suitable of words for inclusion in a Quick Cryptic puzzle.
    2. This was a gimme for me, as you might imagine, but for what it’s worth I might note that the term has nothing to do with karate–in fact, I didn’t actually know that it was used there, although I wasn’t a bit surprised. SENSEI is an honorific given to e.g. teachers and doctors; where to you I’d be Gregg-san, to my students I’m Gregg-sensei (at least face to face; God knows what they call me behind my back). I must agree with you that it’s not the best clue for a QC.
      1. Thanks for your local knowledge. The setter is covered by the definition in Collins, the first part of which makes your point:

        a Japanese title for a teacher, master, or professional; (in English) used esp for a martial arts teacher

      1. Thanks. Just goes to show I haven’t learnt from today’s experience and the next time it turns up I shall probably be none the wiser and claim I never heard of it!

    3. I went with NEESSI, because I didn’t think the editor would allow such unfairness: an obscure word being clued by an anagram. It sort of (only sort of) makes sense, if you accept that ‘beaten up’ can indicate reversal in a down clue.
  5. NHO SENSEI but nothing else made a word to fit, LOI WATCHDOG. Had the DOG but struggled where to fit a G for good in the middle before coming up with the answer from a subliminal look at the clock and thinking of a watchdog timer. Not overjoyed with NUFF.
    Enjoyable all the same. Thanks to Jalna and William.
  6. Being a Yeovil Town supporter is tough at the moment but afflicted me doubly today as I couldn’t seen past bitter rivals Weymouth for the port for far too long – right up until my LOI when S_W wouldn’t yield bread in gravy. Not that I’ve heard of SOP, or ESCROW for that matter beyond it being an account the finance bods mention now and again. Time also ticked by as I battled with WATCHDOG – I always panic when clues have punctuation at the end, it’s never a good sign – and WEAR which fell with a nice groan after a long alphabet trawl. Miscounted my odds and briefly wondered if a melt was a whisky based drink before looking again to see MALT. Knew something unusual was happening today and quite liked it, thanks Jalna and thanks William for firming up my suspicions.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 08:02 am (UTC)

  7. My knowledge of desert cities, ports and American authors is limited but I managed to find Las Vegas, Plymouth and Salinger without too much difficulty. However I needed a dictionary for anime, sensei and escrow and I couldn’t get the spell checker to allow nuff.
  8. I found this one to be not quite so easy as yesterdays, yet still enjoyable.

    At the one hour mark (the maximum time I allow myself to complete the crossword) I had completed 18 of the 26 clues, though I did have to resort to the Chamber’s Crossword Dictionary, and Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s List after the half hour mark (I do not allow myself to use aids, other than my Scrabble tiles for solving anagrams, for the first 30 minutes).

    FOI: 16a GYP. I liked this one as I had solved it by working out the various stages of the clue.


    I also liked 22a, another clue I had worked out by breaking down the components of the clue, rather than just guessing the word and working back to the clue.

    1. Very impressive to start with GYP, which I thought was one of the harder clues being an obscure, archaic Brit-ism, and the clue construction (“closes early”) is not common (or obvious).
  9. This felt a bit different to me and initially I started to worry that it was going prove problematic as I drew a blank on the first few across clues. I finally got going with an incorrect DOWNSLIDE but it gave me enough correct checkers to make a start – LAS VEGAS eventually helped me see my error. I made steady progress after that before ending in the NW with WATCHDOG and AT STAKE (I’d fruitlessly been trying to think of French towns).
    Finished in 10.28 with COD to PIRACY and a GR to NUFF.
    Thanks to William
  10. Ah well, back to the new reality of the SCC after a welcome respite yesterday. Just over 20 mins but this was a good puzzle with lots to tickle my remaining few grey cells. LI were WATCHDOG, SOP and PLYMOUTH after moving around the grid. Some slightly unexpected answers – GYP, NUFF (both raised a smile) and I didn’t know SENSEI. The SW corner was fun – LUCRE, MARINER, PIRACY, MALT and it was an enjoyable, if chewy, outing for me. Thanks to Jalna and William. John M.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 09:41 am (UTC)

  11. As a Sudoku and Samurai type, I try, from time-to-time, to exercise my inadequate lateral thinking skills by attempting the Quick Cryptic. Yesterday, I was able to finish it. Today’s might as well have been a 13 x 13, as I couldn’t get started and, after looking at the solutions, could have kept at it all day and still made no headway.
  12. Curses. A DNF because of the WATCHDOG / CARVE combo. In 10 across, I couldn’t get out of my head the idea of “to screen” as a meaning for “vet” and I was also fooled by “tailed” as I thought it meant that a shortened (“cut up”) word for a vehicle was the last part of the answer. In short, I was all over the place with this one. That meant that I didn’t have enough to complete 1 down, with only “*A***DOG” in the bag. Again, fixated ideas blasted me out of the water as I was trying to get ALI in there somewhere. Ah, well, I was beaten fairly here.
    I liked 18 across, LIFE STORY and 11 across, SAVIOUR, but tend to agree with others here that NUFF is a bit of a GR.
    Thanks, William, for the blog and thanks too to Jalna.
    1. I read somewhere that Magoo attributes much of his success to being able to abandon a parsing very quickly if the answer isn’t immediately forthcoming. But, hey, we all do it!


      1. That’s really good advice! I so often sabotage myself by sticking with something that patently won’t work…
  13. I thought this was a bit too tricky for a quickie. My heart drops when I’m asked for a port or similar – UK or international – who knows? I could get sop from the cluing which did help with Plymouth but who ever uses that term these days? To be sure of escrow, which I doubt is familiar to many, you had to be confident of downswing which is far less common than downturn. A bit too much of this sort of thing for me but thanks to the setter for the challenge and to the blogger for explaining some of the madness :).
  14. Found this hard – 43 minutes- wondered if Jalna is a US setter – lots of US clues and I think Nuff is American (?southern) slang.
    Thanks for all the blogs – I am a novice so hugely helpful.
  15. I’m another who couldn’t work out WATCHDOG and I needed to come to the blog for an explanation. I’m still not sure about the clue. I have NHO of either ANIME or SENSEI but deduced both from the wordplay and checkers. The GYP spelling looked strange but it had to be and I didn’t like NUFF. I missed the anagram indicator for SAVIOUR so that is my COD. Gave up at 16 mins.
  16. I was another downslider – although we say chute in Scotland. Tried to fit rhea for 3D- they do run fast! Thanks all- lovely puzzle.
  17. I don’t know why I didn’t get CARVE since I biffed WATCHDOG (after trying to fit in Ali) and GYP which was a word my mother used. (Reckon a boxer wd be a pretty useless watchdog.)

    A bit of a slow struggle today but I enjoyed it. I did look up SENSEI as my GK doesn’t extend to Karate, though ANIME eventually sprang to mind.

    Also took a while to get Life Story anagram, though of course it should have been obvious. FOI gruesome At Stake.

    Thanks, William, as ever.

    Edited at 2020-12-02 11:53 am (UTC)

  18. Count another DOWNSLIDEr here. Luckily LAS VEGAS was trivial so the mistake was quickly rectified. Got stuck on PLYMOUTH for way too long. No real problems with WATCHDOG or ESCROW or SENSEI. Got interrupted, so time a little uncertain (I wish the iPad would stop the clock when one moves away from the “window”), but 10-11 minutes.


  19. 22 minutes trying to get on Jalna’s wavelength, but eventually finished with the unknown SENSEI, which I had thought of earlier, but mistrusted. No problems with ESCROW, which I know from the IT source code sense. I agree some chewy stuff here, and I couldn’t believe NUFF initially, but what else could it be? Thanks William.
  20. 3 down was my FOI, but I certainly didn’t HARE through this puzzle! SENSEI was unknown and I had to make an educated guess at where the letters should land after chucking them in the air. ANIME was vaguely familiar, but I’d have struggled if it hadn’t been hidden. PIRACY was my LOI and exercised the spare neuron for a while. 12:13. Thanks Jalna and William.
  21. I love the way you explain things, jackkt – sincerely, it always makes such perfect sense.
  22. Started with the rather gruesome At Stake flowed by Hare, but after that it was a case of hopping around the grid to pick up any scraps to try and get a foothold. After more than 30mins I came to my last pair, 1d/10ac, via a well hidden Escrow. I couldn’t make any progress, for the simple reasons that a) I had marked up the grid on my paper copy as needing (2,6) for 1d and didn’t spot the mistake, and b) 10ac was too good a clue for me. I for one won’t be too disappointed if Jaina stays an infrequent setter. Invariant

    PS. We all know why today was tricky, don’t we James? 😉

  23. Steady solve and then couldn’t see WATCHDOG for ages and had to do an alphabet trawl that took another couple of minutes. If you don’t know the word SENSEI then you didn’t have kids that watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in the 80s and 90s.
  24. A slowish 45 mins – but 15 mins of that was chewing over 1dn “Watchdog” and 8ac “At Stake”. Overall though, I enjoyed this.

    Anyone who knows the Karate Kid would probably have got 4dn “Sensei”. Other tricky clues included 23ac “Lucre”, 15dn “Plymouth” and 7dn “Wear” (although I was lucky to see that early).

    As many have said, wasn’t that keen on 22dn “Nuff”.

    FOI – 9ac “Anime”
    LOI – 1dn “Watchdog”
    COD – 11ac “Saviour” – nice surface

    Thanks as usual.

  25. We were happily solving away until we arrived at 16A and 17D when we came to a complete halt. In hindsight it’s easy to see the solutions but no matter how hard we tried they simply eluded us! I thought nuff was very strange – always thought it was bad slang and not a proper word.

    FOI: at stake
    LOI: DNF (piracy, gyp)
    COD: bigots

    Thanks to William and Jalna.

  26. took ages, and was responsible for me going well over 10 mins to 10:45, WATCHDOG too, not helped by me putting in IN for the 2 letter word of where J of A died.

    Never at the races really, must try harder!

  27. As a well-seasoned user of the crossword I felt that this would be immensely difficult for a beginner and, indeed, discouraging. Setters really should remember that this is, in effect, a learning ground.
  28. Totally off the wavelength today, eventually completing in 42 mins. Originally had DOWNSLIDE at 12ac but didn’t like it and it was soon corrected once I tackled the NE corner. Kept wanting to put UNDERDOG in 1dn even though it made no sense. Had no problem with ESCROW and ANIME and managed to dredge up SENSEI from whatever part of the brain serves as a repository for words which I have vaguely heard of but will never use. Hated NUFF.

    FOI – 16ac GYP
    LOI – 17dn PIRACY
    COD – 20dn OSCARS

  29. Quickly realised this was going to be harder than usual and so abandoned my normal puritanism of “all acrosses then all downs” and solved where I could. Thought my 12:26 would be sluggish but I see others struggled a bit too.

    FOI DOWNSWING, LOI PIRACY, COD OSCARS (really neat), time 2.4K for an Ouch Day.

    Many thanks Jalna and William-Sensei.


  30. Found this to be a slow plod. Made matters worse by bunging in several for 11a. This completely messed up the ne corner, which defeated us. Not a good day!
  31. This was way beyond me today. 2 goes at it and still only half done. Just not on the right wavelength at all.
  32. Wow, that was difficult. Even using aids, I didn’t finish. DNK anime or sensei but I had a vague idea that escrow was a word. I put downslide instead of downswing (equally valid?) and failed to notice that it didn’t fit with Las Vegas. For some reason I couldn’t get Plymouth and I didn’t get Oscars either. Ah well. Tomorrow is another day. Thank you Jalna and thank you for the explanations William.
    Blue Stocking
  33. Finished,but did not enjoy this …

    … with just about every one of my bugbears: obscure foreign words as anagrams (4D Sensei), more obscure foreign words (9A Anime, NHO), a foreign author I did not know (13D Salinger), a clue which I thought very weak (1D Watchdog – are all boxers used as guard dogs), a grid without a 1A, and so on.

    So Mr Not Happy today, and with a 19 minute grumble behind me I do rather agree with Invariant that Jalna could stay an infrequent setter.

    Added to that my internet browser has changed and now makes it hard to add a heading to my comment. Joy o joy my cup of happiness runneth over.

    Thanks to William for the blog

  34. Just done the 15×15, which it turns out was to be one of the Championship puzzles. No way, I hear you say, and if I’d known it was before I started I might not have started! But it turned out to be pretty easy, so have a go and see how you fare. Start in the SW and you might be pleasantly surprised by how you do 🙂


  35. Hi all,

    Many thanks to William for the blog and to everyone who has taken the time to comment so far.

    I’m sorry if this one didn’t strike a chord with everybody. For what it’s worth, this puzzle was in an initial batch submitted for consideration quite some time ago now, and was acknowledged to be on the tougher end of the scale in comparison to previous puzzles. I’m not new to setting, but am new here, and admit that I’m still finding my range. Hopefully things will improve and I’ll turn those frowns upside down.

    Regarding the choice of words in the puzzle. I can see that some of them may be less than commonplace, but this is a perennial problem for setters and I dare say editors. As someone who grew up in The Karate Kid era for example, SENSEI was well known to me. ESCROW is certainly newer I guess, but the clue gimmick is at the easier end of the scale. Everyone’s mileage differs, but I’m a firm believer in crosswords being a great way to exploit, expand and promote learning in language, so more than anything, it would give me great pleasure just to think that someone has had a first exposure to – and now knows – the word ESCROW (or SENSEI) because of this puzzle.

    As for NUFF, I’m slightly flummoxed by the largely negative response to this, and would kindly ask if somebody could explain what it so GR(?) about that word in particular?

    Oh, and I’m not American btw.

    Best wishes to all

    1. Thanks for the puzzle. I agree with the comments above that this is a training ground for the main cryptic (for most), but disagree that this means they should all be easy, since we’re all at different stages in our training! As far as I’m concerned, a range of difficulty is welcome and consistent with the aims of the puzzle.

      GR = Golden Raspberry, an accolade of sorts.

      I knew SENSEI (luckily) so did not think to comment on it. I could not have defined ESCROW before now but, as you say, it was simple enough to solve and I now know a new word. That NUFF is a real word was a surprise, though. Maybe because one doesn’t expect to see it written down? And I admit turning immediately to the dictionary in order to check your homework!

      Don’t take the ‘less of this sort of thing’ to heart. It can be a somewhat cliquey place, and I’m sure that most here will come to solve your future (no doubt tricky) puzzles with a begrudging respect.

    2. I am very much one of the SCC, I finish the QC most of the time, but slowly. Rarely venture to the Big One.
      I was fine with this and the vocabulary generally. I don’t consider myself expert in any area but I knew all the words, once I worked them out. NUFF was clearly clued, I thought, even if I was surprised that it was “proper word” rather than a slangy abbreviation.
      COD, obviously, PLYMOUTH
    3. As one of the more ponderous solvers here, as said, I had never heard of SENSEI but it was just about the only way the letters would fit to give something that was pronounceable. There did not seem to me to be any other words that were not common place. But, when I come across a word I am not familiar with, as happens not infrequently in xwdland, I keep it in mind for its next outing in a similar setting. This was not the hardest crossword IMO, Monday’s, this week, was much more challenging with tougher cluing and the occasional archaic word to boot.
      I look forward to your next puzzle, and as
      Holden Caulfield said “I like it when somebody get excited by something, it’s nice”
      Certainly a lot of somebodies here seem to have got a whole lot excited. Nice job!
    4. Hi Jalna, I thought today’s was tough, but fair. It took me 30 minutes, which is about ten minutes longer than my average.
      Thank you for commenting here and I would be very happy to tackle regular quick cryptics from you, a good brain workout.
      As others have said, please don’t be discouraged by any negative comments, I think that perhaps some solvers are rather precious about their solving times!
    5. I solved this today as I didn’t get round to it on Wednesday and I’d just like to say that I found it one of the most enjoyable solves I have done for ages. I too grew up in the Karate Kid era so I was very surprised to see so many people seem not to have come across SENSEI. I thought it was a wonderful clue, just pipped for my COD by SAVIOUR. The only thing I hadn’t heard of was ESCROW, but it was clued fairly so I could easily get it once I had a couple of checkers and thereby learn a new word, which is always a bonus. My target time is about 30 minutes, though anything up to an hour is not unusual for me, but I completed this in dead on 20 minutes. As far as I am concerned it was just about the perfect QC, so thanks very much Jalna.
  36. What an interesting discussion today. Maybe I’m a bit contrary but I found this the most engaging and enjoyable puzzle for ages. Certainly not easy, but every clue was one I really wanted to crack. It motivated me more than most. On my first pass I had 7a’s and 9d’s, with a pretty empty NW. I think 11a was FOI; LOI 1d where I had …c..dog and eventually found a fit; COD – just so many to choose from – probably 22a Nacho. Struggled with 8a as there was no place for Rouen. I knew 9a was a term for a Japanese cartoon style but was never sure exactly what it meant. Didn’t help myself on the second pass since I had put the correct answer for 16 in 14a…making 6d an impossible -I-O-G. Moving it enabled me to get 17d Piracy. From the start I was keen to press on solving and really disappointed to break off to prepare supper as I suspected it would break my stride. As it happened, I had done all the ‘easy’ ones and there was real head-scratching on my return. Unlike some of you, I’d welcome more from Jalna if they are going to be like this one. Just loved it! Time? – well, missed the last coach home – but that never matters. What matters is the enjoyment derived from working out 26 or so puzzles. This also why our bloggers are so useful – today, William gave me a couple of more elegant and complete parsings than I managed, even though I completed the grid successfully. So I salute him too.
  37. I solved this late after golf. No real issues; about 14 minutes. Enjoyed it, including NUFF. SENSEI vaguely known but fairly clear from the available letters I thought. LOI GYP.
  38. I guess that you have to be in the right frame of mind sometimes. I was having a carpet fitted today – first in 10 years – and when the fitters arrived – 7:20pm!! I took to the crossword to try to relax. I eventually finished it at 10:30pm and was on and off this for probably a total of 90 minutes. I found many clues very difficult but just felt a compulsion to try to finish – (as I did the other day with an Orpheus and ended up with a meltdown and rant….) but this was a different kettle of fish.
    As soon as I began I realised it was tough and relaxed into it and wrote so many comments and the odd eyebrow raise as documented by many..
    Great crossword, but in the mood. And the carpet looks terrific. I will sleep for a week..
    Thanks all
    John George

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