Times Quick Cryptic 1796 by Orpheus

Even with two big hold-ups, I managed a time of just under 9 minutes. Generally, then, I found the level relatively easy but there were a few unknown terms which may prove to be a problem – but I hope no one is put off – learning new terms is part of cryptic solving. My hold-ups were 13ac where, with all the checkers, it was a half intelligent guess which proved correct. Finally, I was left staring at 22ac which, in the end, wasn’t really hard at all. So thanks to Orpheus for a QC with, for me, a few learning points. I was wondering about a theme having noticed a few religious references and the author’s name at 1ac. Please enlighten me if there is.


1. Like some 19th-century novels, a kind since abandoned (10)
DICKENSIAN – anagram (abandoned) of A KIND SINCE.
8. Profile of Conservative leader travelling from place to place (7)
CONTOUR – Collins has contour=the outline of a mass of land – which ties with profile. (C)onservative, travelling from place to place (ON TOUR).
9. Be concerned about daughter in service unit (5)
CADRE – colins has cadre as a small group of people specially chosen and trained for a particular purpose – so cadre. Be concerned (CARE) about daughter (D).
10. Lecherous look making us stagger backwards (4)
LEER – stagger – reel – backwards (LEER). The ‘us’ seems to be filler to allow the clue to form a sentence.
11. An account giving rise to extreme distaste (8)
AVERSION – an account (A VERSION).
13. Duke introducing American composer, a rich man (5)
DIVES – Collins again – Dives is a rich man in the parable in Luke 16:19-31. Dnk this but got there thinking that Ives is the most likely composer from -V-S. Charles Edward Ives 1874-1954 ‘noted’ for his innovative use of polytonality.
14. Head of class unwell, nursing start of horrible cold (5)
CHILL – (C)lass, unwell (ILL) nursing (holding) (H)orrible.
16. Hunt a boa slithering around German motorway (8)
AUTOBAHN – anagram (slithering around) of HUNT A BOA.
17. Move domestic animals from the east? (4)
STEP – domestics animals – pets – from the east/backwards (STEP).
20. Internet pest missing start of leisurely walk (5)
TROLL – leisurely walk – s(TROLL) – missing start.
21. Go berserk – hit boy attendant (7)
RAMPAGE – hit (RAM), boy attendant (PAGE).
22. Graciously departs in old cab by Cambs cathedral (10)
HANDSOMELY – departs (D) inside old can (HANSOM), Cambridgeshire cathedral (ELY). I could see the D and ELY but struggled for the old and cab with -A-S-O- for a while until it became blindingly obvious.


1. Like a nobleman‘s double, taking in Commons at first (5)
DUCAL – double (DUAL) taking in (C)ommons.
2. Safekeeping of satin cover on ground (12)
CONSERVATION – anagram (ground as in coffee beans) of SATIN COVER ON.
3. Winged statue thus about to be erected? (4)
EROS – thus (SO) and about (RE) erected/upwards/backwards.
4. Tried hard to get supper finally in oven (6)
STROVE – suppe(R) inside oven (STOVE).
5. Correctness of notes on church office (8)
ACCURACY – notes (A and C) on top of church office (CURACY).
6. Manage publicity initially required in small country? (12)
ADMINISTRATE – publicity (AD – vert), (R)equired inside small (MINI) country (STATE).
7. Report of senior officer – a bit of a nut! (6)
KERNEL – homophone (report of) senior officer – colonel.
12. Spanish queen, the first murder victim in one’s city? (8)
ISABELLA – original name Elizabeth Farnese 1692-1766, second wife (1714-46) of Philip V of Spain and mother of Charles III of Spain. First murder victim (ABEL) inside one’s city (I’S LA).
13. Shortage of food ultimately overwhelming planet (6)
DEARTH – foo(D) overwhelming (on top of) planet (EARTH).
15. Divided paintings briefly kept in outhouse (6)
SHARED – painting briefly (AR)t inside outhouse (SHED).
18. Shame about conclusion of padre’s godliness (5)
PIETY – shame (PITY) about padr(E).
19. Pulpit used by Uppingham boys (4)
AMBO – either of two raised pulpits from which gospels and epistles were read in early Christian churches. Well, we didn’t need to know this to see the answer in the clue – used by (in) Uppingh(AM BO)ys. For no particular reason I just checked and Uppingham school (for both sexes) is one of the leading British boarding schools and is in Rutland.

95 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1796 by Orpheus”

  1. This one didn’t feel particularly hard, but I was incredibly distracted with a chicken that needed to come out of the oven and screaming children and music blaring on the stereo, none of which helped with the many long anagrams in this puzzle.
  2. Straightforward, although I biffed HANDSOMELY from ELY (‘Cambs cathedral’ being rather a giveaway). HANSOM always comes to mind thanks to someone’s parody of Leigh Hunt’s “The two divinest things this world has got:/A lovely woman in a rural spot”, viz. “The two divinest things this world can grab:/ A handsome woman in a hansom cab.” 5:34.
  3. 9 minutes with the last 2 of them spent on 22ac where the HANSOM bit eluded me for far too long. I expect there is a ‘winged statue’ of EROS somewhere in the world, but it isn’t the statue in Piccadilly Circus as regulars here are no doubt weary of me pointing out.
  4. The NE was still totally empty when the rest of the grid was all but done so I couldn’t put it off any longer and then found it wasn’t as impenetrable as I’d feared. Helped mightily by ADMINISTRATE finally presenting itself. Don’t think I’ve heard of a curacy and I definitely didn’t know AMBO or Ives but after a flirtation with ‘Davos’ for rich man before remembering it was a place where rich men gather not a rich man stuck in DIVES with fingers crossed. Always hard when missing general knowledge clues an unknown word. Knew Isabella from school but couldn’t work out the cryptic – thanks to Chris for showing how it was done. Also wavered over KERNEL or kernal. Got lucky a few times for my all green 14.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 09:00 am (UTC)

  5. A level harder than yesterday. Could not parse ISABELLA, thank you Chris for deciphering the obvious. NHO Ives or DIVES, for a moment could only imagine Burl but correctly assumed that was too tenuous. No problem however with Ambo, having lived near Wendens Ambo in the past and looked up its meaning. Did not think “ground” was an anagrist, but it otherwise played no role.
    All in all a gritty half an hour. LOI 22A. Thank you Orpheus and Chris for several insights and more.
  6. I assumed that the Spanish queen was Isabella of Castile, who married Ferdinand of Aragon, uniting a large chunk of Spain for the first time, and who funded Columbus’s voyages. NHO Isabella Farnese that was. Not that it matters, although the Farnese seems a bit arcane for a QC.
  7. 7:53, with the usual holdups at 1ac and the other long anagrams.

    Pretty sure the reference will be to (Ferdinand &) Isabella

  8. A mainly swift solve with a couple of hold ups at the end, the primary one being which vowels to put into D_V_S. I eventually took a punt and submitted with fingers crossed so was relieved to see no pink squares. Untangling the parsing of ISABELLA also took some thinking. A number of clues stood out but RAMPAGE just pipped CONTOUR and DICKENSIAN to being my COD. Finished in 9.48.
    Thanks to Chris
  9. After yesterday’s QC/PB of 4.45mins – on the ‘Shanghai Express’- a 12 minute ride on the ‘PEKING STOPPER’ today! Total inconsistency, although five years back, I rarely took over ten minutes. Either they are generally getting harder or I am aging rapidly – or both.




    WOD 19dn AMBO

    Edited at 2021-01-26 09:08 am (UTC)

  10. I enjoyed this puzzle and took my time — 18 mins to be precise. I’ve finally decided that these puzzles are there to enjoy and not to rush through without ‘feet touching the ground’. Perhaps it is maturity, perhaps it is the effects of lockdown but I increasingly feel the need to get pleasure out of the things I do rather than to finish things quickly and move on to the next job. Rather like the difference between enjoying the scenery on a steady ground- or water-based journey and getting from A to B efficiently and quickly but blinkered in a metal flying tube. Why has it taken me so long to see this again?
    And, incidentally, I am actually starting to take the time to listen properly to music again and not to let it be a mere background to another activity (like crossword solving).
    Many thanks to Orpheus for a fine QC and to Chris for confirming my parsing (and explaining ISABELLA). John M.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 10:17 am (UTC)

  11. Another relatively trouble-free solve. FOI 1A.

    DNK AMBO, but had heard DIVES before, although coupling that obscure biblical reference with an obscure composer seemed a bit on thr tough side.

    I thought ISABELLA was a “sounds like” for “Is Abel ‘ere”


    1. Is Charles Ives really an obscure composer? Perhaps he doesn’t always get the attention he deserves but his output was impressive (and enjoyable, on the whole). I have just checked his list of compositions on Wikipedia and it is much longer than I had realised. Thanks for prompting me to look and to explore his music further. Another unexpected benefit of the TfT blog. John.

      Edited at 2021-01-26 09:50 am (UTC)

  12. Well done Uppingham, edging out Eton today; the alma mater of Jonathan Agnew of Test Match Special fame. NHO of AMBO though.

    Found the West generally more tractable than the East, with ADMINISTRATE particularly resistant (I kept trying to get “nation” in there). But no problem with KERNEL, instantly remembering a music hall song my grandmother used to sing – “I’m Gilbert the Filbert, the Colonel of the Knuts”. (Yes, nut with a K.)

    FOI DICKENSIAN, LOI PIETY, COD AUTOBAHN, time 1.9K for a Decent Day.

    Thanks Orpheus and Chris.


  13. Never heard of IVES, or DIVES, or AMBO, or ISABELLA so a DNF for me, though the rest was pretty straightforward. Took me a while to work out the parsing for EROS for some reason too, the coffee must not have kicked in at that point!

    Thanks Orpheus and Chris.

  14. Completed this one but with no real satisfaction. Many of the clues seemed just not to quite hit the right note (just like the appalling music of Charles Ives).

    For example 13 Across –
    solution=’DIVES’ for ‘a rich man’. Dives? Never heard that one before. Who has ?

    Also 12 Down Solution=ISABELLA
    First murder victim (ABEL) inside one’s city (I’S LA). ‘Abel’ is fair enough but-
    Inside ones city = I’S LA. Ridiculous.

    The winged statue in Piccadilly is now thought NOT be be Eros (probably Anteros but definitely not Eros).

      1. And everyone who’s seen Henry IV Part I – “No, I’ll be sworn; I make as good use of it as many a man doth of a Death’s-head or a memento mori: I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire and Dives that lived in purple; for there he is in his robes, burning, burning”(Falstaff)
      2. Having been to church every Sunday as a child, I thought of DIVES immediately. Not that obscure for some of us.
      3. Plus devotees of English folk songs or of Vaughan Williams who wrote 5 variations on the tune…
    1. What is wrong with one’s = I’S or city = LA (Los Angeles)?

      I note you haven’t read the earlier comments or you would have seen I had already the point about the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain in Piccadilly Circus. And actually it has always been known to be of Anteros by those in the know – including the designer Alfred Gilbert – it’s just a popular misconception that it’s Eros.

      1. There is of course a school of thought that maintains it is really Anteros’ partner Deceros
    2. 13 Across: The New Testament parable of the Rich Man (Dives) and Lazarus has been the subject of much art and music including that of an English folk tune, probably now most remembered through Ralph Vaughan-Williams’ “Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus”.

      12 Down: I think this is a very reasonable clue (perhaps a tad on the tough side for a QC). However, if I were to guess that the definition part of the word play is Spanish queen’, I would have been hard-pushed to think of a more likely candidate answer than ISABELLA from which to attempt parsing the wordplay. ‘In one’s city’ is fair setting.

      Thanks … to jackkt and (Anonymous) re ‘Anteros’ – new knowledge to me.

  15. After FOI EROS I always felt I was struggling with this. But I never got completely stuck. Ives is a popular composer in Crosswordland if nowhere else; and I vaguely remembered DIVES as a rich man. Struggled with PIETY, RAMPAGE and HANDSOMELY. LOI was ACCURACY. Time 13:26; could have been much longer.
    A good test. David
  16. I thought I was on course for a pb but was held up by Dives and Isabella. The biblical kicked in but I thought the cluing for Isabella was tough so the two in combination made it particularly tricky for me. I’m not sure graciously works for handsomely (wouldn’t generously be better? eg I was paid handsomely??) but I could see that it was meant to be. A good mix though. Thanks setter and blogger!
  17. CONTOUR. What a dingbat. I just didn’t quite see the definition..

    Otherwise, no hold ups and a swift solve at 5:13.

  18. Date: Tue, 26 Jan 21


    Time to Complete: DNF

    Clues Answered without aids: 12 (incl. 1x wrong answer)

    Clues Answered with Aids (3 lives): 2 (22a, 19d)

    Clues Unanswered: 10 (1a, 8a, 11a, 13a, 1d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 18d)

    Aids Used: Chambers, Bradfords

    Total Answered: 14/24

    Started off fairly well, but came to a grinding halt eventually.
    17a PETS – I actually got this one wrong. I put RATS. My reasoning was to think of a type of domesticated animal (Rats), then I reversed RATS to become STAR. I thought this was the answer due to the phrase “star in the East”. Once I saw the answer here I realised that I had used “from the east” twice. Once as a reversal indicator, and secondly as part of the definition. D’oh!

    My favourite clues were 9a, 21a and 15d as I answered this purely from working out the various parts of each clue, rather than knowing the answer first, then backwards engineering them.

    19d AMBO – probably would not have got this one in a month of Sundays, as I have never heard of the word before.

    So, another DNF. But who’s counting. I’m trying not too!

  19. I started with 3d Eros, and for a long time that was the only answer I had in the top half of the grid. The bottom half was a different matter. From Dives (I knew the composer) onwards they were, more or less, write-ins — I even spotted the unknown Ambo straight away. Perhaps that helped me tune in to Orpheus, as when returned to all the ones I had struggled with just a few minutes earlier, they seemed a lot easier and I finished in 22mins, with the Dickensian Accuracy my last pair. CoD to 8ac, Contour, for its ‘surface’. Invariant

    Edited at 2021-01-26 10:55 am (UTC)

  20. DNK DIVES or IVES. Two pieces of obscure GK in one clue seems a bit harsh. DNK AMBO either but seemed a reasonable guess.
  21. FOI 1D: DUCAL
    LOI 10A: LEER

    Straightforward solve only slightly delayed by trying to parse ‘us’ in 10A (to no avail).

    Thank you, chrisw91 and Orpheus.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 11:12 am (UTC)

  22. This took me just under 17 minutes to complete which I am happy with because, according to my newly devised crossword Exasperometer, that’s a Good Time for this level of puzzle.

    I started applying this, totally subjective, measurement of difficulty to the QC at the end of last week. The three-day run since then has been, starting with Friday, a 4; yesterday, a 1 (possibly a 2); and today, a 3.

    My Exasperometer grading works like this:

    5 – TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Lots of grinding of teeth. Probably a DNF, feeling thoroughly beaten and in a bad temper all day

    4 – REALLY HARD BUT STILL DOABLE. Rather less grinding of teeth but lots of caffeine and sugar needed. Probably takes 20 to 30 minutes of grumbling.

    3 – AN INTERESTING CHALLENGE. No grinding of teeth but lots of sucking of pens, less coffee needed but sugar always welcome.Probably takes 15 to 19 minutes of happy concentration.

    2 – FAIRLY STRAIGHTFORWARD. Some head-scratching but little, if any, urges to bash said head against the nearest wall. Probably takes 10 to 14 satisfying minutes

    1 – GLORIOUSLY EASY.Finished almost before the kettle has had time to boil for the first cuppa of the day. Sub-10 minutes of dizzyingly fast solutions leading to a heightened sense of euphoria for the remainder of the day. A temporary condition , clearly, lost as soon as the first 3, 4 or 5 arrives.

    And so, today’s 3 – an Interesting Challenge -stretched my mind a bit but not irrevocably. I was ok with DIVES from my Latin/biblical knowledge, although my first thought was that it was going to be Midas, especialy as my first letter for that clue was provided by the S of 12 down, ISABELLA, which I too, assumed was the Isabella that’s usually paired with Ferdinand. All I can say is that I’m just glad it wasn’t clued as “random girl’s name”. NHO 19 down, AMBO, but it couldn’t be anything else and at least there was no reference to Sylvester Stallone (or Eton).I liked KERNEL – for me, that was quite an unusual homophone indicator. Ditto the anagrinds, “abandoned” in DICKENSIAN, 1 across and “ground” in CONSERVATION, 2 down.These were my 2 LOIs.

    Thanks , kevingregg, for the Leigh Hunt parody and templarredux for Gilbert the Filbert. Loved both.

    Finally,thanks to Chris for the blog and especially for unravelling the “ives” bit of the rich man in 13 across (I was another who could only think of Burl Ives…) and the “one’s city” section of 12 down (where I could think of nothing). Thanks too to orpheus

    Edited at 2021-01-26 11:15 am (UTC)

    1. Sounds a lot like our current tier system – maybe you should send to Downing Street? May all your exasperometer readings be low ones.
  23. After 30 minutes, with only 13ac to complete, I took a punt and put in “Davis” — knowing neither the composer nor the term for a rich man. So a dnf for me.

    The rest went in slow but steady, with the bottom half taking the most time. 22ac took much longer than it should, but only because initially I put “Isabelle” in for 12dn. I’ve seen “Ambo” before, so the hidden word in 19dn was fairly straightforward.

    FOI — 1ac “Dickensian”
    LOI — 13ac — dnf
    COD — 3dn “Eros” — enjoyed the clueing here

    Thanks as usual

    Edited at 2021-01-26 11:20 am (UTC)

      1. Normally if it’s a longish 1ac I’ll leave it until later (so I don’t get bogged down), but when I read the clue I immediately thought of relevant authors and it just came to me when I saw the letters in the anagrist.

        I’d love to say they floated off the paper and rearranged themselves in front of me like something out of A Beautiful Mind, but they didn’t 😀

  24. After struggling with CADRE a little while ago, it was my FOI today, and thereafter it was a fairly steady solve until, after about 25 minutes I had just 13a to get. I had put DAVOS in but I was pretty sure that wasn’t right (though he sounds like he could be a rich Bond villain), so I spent a few minutes writing out the possibilities if it ended with US (American) and then another couple of minutes considering other vowels in that second spot. DIVES/IVES seemed the most likely combo of rich man/composer, though I had heard of neither, so I went with that and hoped for the best. Final time was 31:20. COD to 8a. Thanks Chris and Orpheus.
  25. DIVES was very tough vocab, particularly for a QC – I know the story of the rich man and Lazarus, but I don’t know it in Latin! No mention of Dives in my Bible or at my church, anyhow. Ah well, I knew IVES so just had to hit and hope.
  26. And kicking myself for not getting Dickensian but got the other long anagrams quite easily. Enjoyable.
  27. I knew IVES the composer but not DIVES the rich man, so spent a while trying to think of alternative answers, but stuck with my first inclination. AMBO known from previous cruciverbal experience. LEER was my FOI, leading to DUCAL, then EROS gave me inspiration for DICKENSIAN. Having felt as though I was making rapid progress, I was surprised to find I was almost at my target time as I shoved in my last 2, ISABELLA and HANDSOMELY. Nice puzzle. 9:46. Thanks Orpheus and Chris.
    1. I hate to be the one to tell you that you also didn’t know DIVES the rich man when he appeared an in an Izetti QC in May 2019.

      He has also cropped up in the 15×15 periodically over the years which is the only way I knew him (and the composer for that matter).

  28. I would never have solved DIVES without the explanations here — seems rather obscure choice of ‘a rich man’ to me.

    In a similar vein, however, I now recognise Ely as an answer that pops up not infrequently (as in 22A)

    I have yet to come across ‘on ground’ (2D) as an anagram indicator; that it indicates something ground-up really was new to me.

    A good range of question types, which made this fun, despite the set-backs !

    1. Watch out for Eli, usually clued as old priest, or sometimes just priest. Completely different, but I keep having to think which is which in a build up clue.
  29. Like Chris I also made a half intelligent guess at DIVES with the composer IVES sort of ringing a bell. HANDSOMELY, however, went in quite quickly which is just as well as I needed the O checker to convince me of the NHO AMBO. DICKENSIAN was a belated solve and my COD. The A and C in ACCURACY I failed to parse (overthinking it) and my LOI was ADMINISTRATIVE which I parsed after submitting. All green in just under 10 minutes.
  30. I didn’t know AMBO until I started doing crosswords — it has popped up before, probably in the biggie, but IVES was no problem in this house of musicians (I’m not one of them but have learnt a lot via them!) KERNEL made me smile — when my son was young, he used to produce comics featuring Colonel Nutt, so that homophone is close to home. Like his mother, he enjoys a bad pun 😅

    FOI Conservation
    LOI Handsomely
    COD Contour
    Time 10 enjoyable minutes

    Thanks Orpheus and Chris

  31. ….as I immediately thought “DIVES and Lazarus”, and although I’ve not heard Ives (apparently I’m lucky) I did know of him.

    Over my 45 year career as a cabbie, I’ve driven plenty of old cabs, but never a hansom.

    TIME 3:20

    Now for the 15×15, which SNITCH rates as being on the trickier side !

  32. Back down to earth after recent successes. GK, wavelength and some clue construction all missing. Couldn’t get a foothold resulting in a recipe for disaster.
  33. I have no idea how the blogger can count this as an easy puzzle. There were so many unknown words or strange definition of words. I did not enjoy this at all as I thought there were far to many obscure clues and answers. I usually enjoy Orpheus but this was a pig of a puzzle. I really doubt anyone who does not have a few years of experience would have come close to solving this.


  34. First message disappeared, oh dear. LJ doesn’t seem to save if you turn the page.
    After completing NE and most of bottom half, I looked up Profile which gave me CONTOUR. Shd have got that. Then managed to solve DUCAL and DICKENSIAN.
    Looked up Graciously and so got HANDSOMELY LOI/COD. Also liked KERNEL.


    NHO Pulpit = Ambo, but easy to biff. Ambo is usually short for Ambassador ☺️

    Thanks, Chris, as ever.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 02:04 pm (UTC)

      1. In Australia Ambo is an ambulance worker — leave my favourite contributor alone 🙂
  35. Sadly, we chose Miles Davis as the rich American composer in 13A (not familiar with Dives being a rich man in the parable) so we had our first DNF (technical or otherwise) in quite a while. Thanks for a very good puzzle Orpheus.

    FOI: ducal
    LOI: piety (but got Dives wrong so it was a DNF)
    COD: handsomely

    Thanks for the blog Chris – appreciate your explanation of Dives.

  36. Can’t get close to completing the concise in 10 mins but this was more up my street as Dives was my first one in and I worked steadily round the grid from there.

    Not quite the nirvana of a sub-Kevin but anything under 6 mins is good for me

  37. Steady solve to finish in 15 mins. NHO of ambo but what else could it be? Couldn’t parse Isabella and never spotted that 1ac was an anagram. Knew Dives and Ives though, so 13ac posed no problems.

    FOI – 8ac CONTOUR
    COD – 7dn KERNEL

    Good puzzle – my thanks to setter and blogger.

  38. I seem to be having a string of days where I keep getting interrupted when doing the crossey, so no accurate time today, but it was longer than it should have been. ISABELLA no problem as it was my mother’s middle name. Didn’t know AMBO, but spotted the hidden. No chance with DIVES although the D was clear, and Burl IVES did occur to me, but I resorted to aids before committing to it, so a technical DNF. Uppingham was the name of my house at grammar school, so that bought back some distant memories. Thanks both.
  39. Plain sailing for me with no shipwrecks or doldrums. FOI COUNTOUR, LOI PIETY. COD to 1A for the neat surface. 4:52.
  40. … with a pleasant solve in just under 10 minutes.

    Interested to see the comments on 12D Isabella. If I was asked to name a random Spanish queen I don’t think I’d have looked any further than Isabella (historical note: Isabella I, queen of Castile, became the first queen of Spain when the crowns of Aragon and Castile were joined in 1479). Indeed I am not sure I even know too many others, and for me the challenge was in parsing the answer not getting it, though eventually the penny dropped and I solved it as Chris has.

    Otherwise I was mainly held up by LOI 8A Contour, partly because I wasn’t sure about profile = contour and partly because I was not happy with my initial parsing of it as Con (Conservative leader? Weak …) and Tour (travelling from place to place — also Weak, as wrong part of speech). But I suppressed my concerns, entered it and all good.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

    1. To clarify from the blog:
      Leading letter of (C)onservative, travelling from place to place (ON TOUR) – like a rock band.
  41. Today was a 3 on Louisajaney’s exasperometer, albeit my times are a fair bit slower than hers. I will be using this measuring aid from now on.
    Couldn’t pass 6 or 12 down so thanks to Chris for enlightenment.
    Enjoyable day all round.


  42. Did not know ambo, but we suspected it was a hidden. Knew Ives which helped at 13a, bunged in Isabella and sorted out the parsing afterwards. Abt 15m which is very good for us. Thanks Orpheus for a pleasant solve.
  43. Luckily I had the GK for this clue. Charles Ives was an interesting composer. I remember him most from his piece The Unanswered Question, which was used by Leonard Bernstein as the title of a fantastic series of lectures about (poetry and) music, which taught me a lot I never learned in Music or English classes at school. They are all available on YouTube… The first lecture is “Musical Phonology” and you should be able find links to the others there.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 05:42 pm (UTC)

  44. A big DNF for me today. NHO AMBO (though guessed), (D)IVES. Could not parse ISABELLA (very contrived) or see CADRE in the context provided. Did not see the anagram in 1a (abandoned?). Disheartening.
  45. My record against Orpheus is poor (overall solve-rate <30%), but I worked diligently through today’s puzzle only to be beaten by 13a DIVES. NHO the biblical character, NHO the American composer, and there was no other way of parsing the clue. What a let-down after an otherwise good crossword.

    Looking back on my previous Orpheus DNFs, they are almost all down to a lack of general knowledge (about obscure classical references). Sorry to be dismal, but I am disillusioned today. Result: A 39-minute DNF.

    N.B. Mrs Random had the same experience, a 40-minute DNF, coming to grief on precisely the same clue as me (we both guessed DAVIS for 13a). An early ‘yardarm’ might be called for to raise spirits in the Random household.

    Thanks to chrisw91.

    1. On the upside, you beat Mrs R to a DNF by a full minute today, so I think you can chalk that one up in the matrimonial “Win” column.
      1. Thankyou for the suggestion, but I daren’t claim a full point. Our times only come into the frame if we both fully solve the puzzle. So it’s a half-point each, as we tied on the number of errors. I’m still OK with it though, as my usual score is 0.
  46. 16:37, so not a particularly good day. I just kept getting stuck on so many clues. I submitted with fingers crossed for DIVES of course, but also for KERNEL. Should it be spelled with an A? No. Phew.
  47. Knew this from my childhood Catholicism. There were two pulpits in church one for the priest to say gospel and sermon and the other for a layperson to do readings. Comes from the Latin meaning both.
    DNF due to Dives. Tried the 25 possible vowel combinations and nothing looked right. Glad I biffed Isabella having seen the parsing
    Good puzzle and blog. Johnny
  48. I’m a bit late leaving a comment but feeling quite smug as i had it all done and parsed without aids quite quickly for me – probably around 20 mins. No problem with Dives as I knew both the composer and the Vaughan Williams work “Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus” being variations on the theme of an English folk song.

    Also managed to drag up ambo from the depths.

    Another Very Good Day.

      1. Got my comuppance on Wednesday with Felix. Guess he’d had a bad day….

        Edited at 2021-01-27 03:35 pm (UTC)

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