Times Quick Cryptic No 2369 by Pedro

Well that was a bit tricky in places, but a great QC from Pedro today. Some super clues including a reverse cryptic and a diverse range of geographical references, including one of my favourite towns in Suffolk. COD to 12D, of course. My slowest QC solve this year at 8:02, but I see I found Pedro’s other recent crosswords on the hard side too. Thank-you Pedro! How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword, entitled “A New Season Begins”, (and news of a London get together in June) here. If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 74 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and [] other indicators.

1 Theatrical performance allowed daughter to participate in display of poise (6-7)
BALLET-DANCINGLET (allowed) D (daughter) in BALANCING (display of poise).
8 Wise Democrat backed French painter (5)
DEGAS – SAGE (wide) D (Democrat) [backed] -> DEGAS , the French Impressionist. Following on from 1A – one of his most famous paintings is The Ballet Class.
9 Furniture item that now is broken (7)
WHATNOT – ( that now )* [broken]. A stand with shelves for small objects. We all probably are more familiar with using the word as a synonym of thingummy, but see here… “A what-not is a piece of furniture derived from the French étagère, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century.
10 Beg to have food after rent laid out (7)
ENTREAT – ( rent )* [laid out] EAT (have food).
11 Hold limiting wrestler’s third upward move (5)
HEAVE – This one’s a bit tricky. HAVE (hold) outside, [limiting], wrEstler [‘s third].
13 Overlooked , but counted in after review (9)
UNNOTICED – ( counted in )* [after review].
17 Shadow I ignored in part of Italy (5)
UMBRA – Also a bit tricky, I think. It’s UMBR{i}A (part of Italy) with the I [ignored].
19 Honour good Parisienne, backing one of her articles (7)
ENNOBLE – BONNE (french for good, feminine; good Parisienne) [backing] -> ENNOB, LE (french article).
20 Artist with stringed instrument not finishing pasta dish (7)
RAVIOLIRA (artist) VIOLI{n} (string instrument) [not finishing].
22 Prince blocking trouble for thirty days (5)
APRILPR (prince) in AIL (trouble).  I pondered this for a while before spotting PR for prince. I don’t remember seeing that abbreviation before, but it’s in Chambers.
23 Linguistic confusion from mother & pa, apparently (5,8)
MIXED METAPHOR -Rather clever, this. A reverse cryptic where the answer is a clue to wordplay part of the clue… [mixed] ( metaphor )* gives you MOTHER PA! Worth the price of admission on its own, but will some find it a bit too tricky? A 15×15 level clue, methinks, but I think it can be biffed with the checkers in place.
1 Inadequate equipment not a worry (6)
BADGERBAD (inadequate) GE{a}R (equipment) without the A.
2 Easy to cry when upset: it’s illuminating (5,4)
LIGHT BULBLIGHT (easy) BLUB (cry) [upset] -> BULB. It took me a while to see the second half of this.
3 Festival production’s ending towards sunrise (7)
EASTERNEASTER (festival) productioN [‘s ending].
4 Incumbent on US TV series in eleventh-hour situation (4,2,3,4)
DOWN TO THE WIREDOWN TO (incumbent on) THE WIRE (US TV series). I’ve never watched the series. Is it any good?
5 Welsh town, without ice, say, getting heated at first (5)
NEATHNEAT (without ice) H{eated} [at first].
6 Pair of names applied to one tavern (3)
INNI (one) N N (name name; pair of names).
7 Understand contribution to meeting at Hereford (6)
GATHER – Hidden in, [contribution to], meetinG AT HEReford. Nicely hidden.
12 Duke tucking into beer and hot food served up in Suffolk town (9)
ALDEBURGHD (Duke) in ALE (beer), H (hot) GRUB (food) [served up] -> BURGH. A delightful seaside town and home of the composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. It has great fish and chips! Read all about it here.
14 Choral piece leads to choir acknowledging new cheers (7)
CANTATA – First letters, [leads to], Choir Acknowledge New, TATA (goodbye; cheers)
15 Minimum number of people required question nothing strange (6)
QUORUM – Ooops. I missed this one initially. QU (question) O (o; nothing) RUM (strange).
16 On the radio, dealer is wine supplier (6)
CELLAR – Sounds like, [on the radio], SELLER (dealer).
18 Duck? Keen to catch duck (5)
AVOIDAVID (keen) outside, [to catch], O (0; duck).
21 Very old partner causing concern (3)
VEXV (very) EX (old partner).

91 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2369 by Pedro”

  1. 11:36

    Not particularly quick though there aren’t too many unknowns, except perhaps the town which fortunately I’d heard of.

    Biffed a few: BALLET DANCING, MIXED METAPHOR, but can’t say I had any particular LIGHT BULB moment. More VEXed that my time wasn’t a few minutes faster….

    Thanks Pedro and John for a fine blog.

      1. Biffed, or more correctly BIFD, is “bunged in from definition”, when one gets the word from the “meaning” part of the clue but cannot see how the wordplay works.

  2. DNF. After slogging through the rest of the puzzle, I found myself unable to deal with BADGER. Non-UK solvers may not be pleased to find NEATH and ALDEBURGH. I ‘knew’ both (not sure I knew Neath is in Wales), but it helped immensely that I had just seen Aldeburgh mentioned in something I was reading. I liked MIXED METAPHOR, although John’s probably right.

  3. DNF beaten by BADGER and EASTER.

    Having written recently in defence of the occasional tough quickie this one really felt like a biggie to me and was a real struggle with, to my mind, more than MIXED METAPHOR being worthy of 15 x 15 status including the two that beat me and ALDEBURGH, DOWN TO THE WIRE, LIGHT BULB, ENNOBLE, BALLET DANCING and CANTATA. No complaints about the very clever clueing for any of them but suspect there may be a few DNFs today.

    Thanks Pedro for the tough workout but let’s not have it too frequently?

    Thanks John for the fine blog.

    Late edit: finished the 15 x 15 with no aids and just one biff in just over an hour (a rare event for me) and I am now even more convinced that many of Pedro’s clues here are worthy of the next level.

  4. 11:52. Everything seemed to be going in OK, but I then became stuck on DOWN TO THE WIRE (haven’t seen the TV series either), thinking it must finish with “time” and even though it was an anagram, WHATNOT also took a bit of dredging. Makes sense, but I didn’t think of HAVE for ‘hold’ at 11a; from this day forward, I’ll remember it.

    I liked the MIXED METAPHOR reverse anagram, for which crossers (especially that X) and the def helped. Probably unintentional, but it was good to see DEGAS following BALLET-DANCING.

    Seems an odd thing to say for a Friday, but the 15×15 is worth a go today.

    Thanks to Pedro and to John (BTW, looks like that pesky WordPress software has expunged your parsing of QUORUM; that’s my explanation anyway)

    1. QUORUM – Ahem. Well now enough people have visited the blog, I’ve answered it. No idea how I missed that out. As for DEGAS following BALLET-DANCERS I made a similar observation in the blog, but I suspect the segue was intended.

      1. Apologies John, I didn’t read your observation closely enough and should have put “as noted in the blog” or similar.

  5. I parsed the second part of 14d as TA, TA being two occurrences of CHEERS = TA!

    1. Possible, I suppose, but there’s only one cheers in the clue, unlike the “pair of names” in 6D, so you’ve not convinced me.

  6. The long answers delayed me a bit as he answers didn’t leap out at me so I had to return to each of them several times as checkers were added. Prince / PR is something I don’t recall seeing before. 14 minutes.

  7. I found this hard, and on first reading I found a few in the bottom half and then slowly worked up. 1A went in very late and enabled me to finish the NE. Many of the clues had more going on in them than the average QC clue, I felt. More biffed than usual and then deducing the cryptic element.
    ALDEBURGH would have been a real struggle if I hadn’t known an otherwise small and fairly obscure town; NEATH likewise – good luck to the overseas contingent.

  8. A tough one for me. Took far too long and was flummoxed by QUORUM and MIXED METAPHOR so no time given, yet again. Not a great end to the week ☹️

    1. Very sorry to hear that ‘Is that the time’ could not submit a time today. Ironic, but a great pseudonym! Good luck next week!

  9. DNF down to the simple BADGER, where I was worried that it might be DODDLE (= not a worry), and that the first word of BALLET DANCING was wrong and might be one of those many French ballet words instead.

    At 19a I only had BON for “good”, and wondered where the other EN came from. Damn French and their feminine adjectives.

    PR= Prince? Any actual usage spotted, Pr William? Pr of Wales?
    Also was missing the U in QUORUM, as I thought question was abbreviated to Q. Let’s have some QU and A about that.

    I agree with Mangoman that the Big Brother puzzle is not too bad today, a Good Friday Puzzle, in fact.

  10. On yesterday’s blog someone predicted that there would be a toughie today and Pedro didn’t disappoint. Not seeing 1a until most of the checkers were in place didn’t help and I never did parse MIXED METAPHOR.
    I’ve now learnt the real meaning of WHATNOT as I’d always assumed it was a synonym of thingummy/whatsit etc. Lots of enjoyable PDMs including my joint CsOD and LOsI, AVOID and BADGER.
    Finished in 13.17
    Thanks to John for the blog and Pedro for the workout
    Happy easter to all

    1. Ah, we think alike on whatnot! Apologies – I had not seen your comment when typing mine (just 8 minutes after, below)

      1. I think it was only through a crossword I discovered what the furniture meaning of WHATNOT is. Your meaning is the first listed in the dictionary. As for the etymology of this answer, “A what-not is a piece of furniture derived from the French étagère, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century.“. I’ll update the blog.

    2. I think that was me and my prediction came true. I’ll shut-up from now on haha

  11. I enjoyed this excellent puzzle from Pedro. It was a steady solve for me and I benefitted from not trying to rush it. There were some enjoyable chewy bits and I ended up nearly 3 mins over my 15 min target but I am content with that.
    I enjoyed BADGER, CANTATA, ENNOBLE, DEGAS, QUORUM, AVOID… and that is just the shorter answers. The three 13-letter clues were brilliant (thanks, John for fully parsing MIXED METAPHOR for me) and BLUB made me smile.
    A fine end to the week. Many thanks to Pedro and John and a happy Easter to all. John M.

  12. Definitely a tough one. Completed in 14 minutes, which even though above my average I was not dissatisfied with, and seeing others’ comments and times it stands up well enough.

    Completed, yes, but not all parsed. Mixed Metaphor was above my pay grade (though good occasionally, he says through slightly gritted teeth, to be introduced to some of the more advanced tricks of the crossword trade), and Down to the Wire was tough if one has not heard of the TV show – the checkers for the last word were not helpful! Whatnot I solved from the anagram and checkers without knowing it is a piece of furniture – I use the word to mean something I know but have forgotten the name of. Aka Thingummyjig, etc.

    Even some of the clues I did eventually parse caused problems. Did anyone else try to make an anagram of Easy to cry in 2D, or wonder if Aril was another word for trouble in 22A (using P as the abbreviation for prince – I have never seen PR used for it)?

    A challenging end to what up until today had been a much smoother week. Many thanks John for the blog, and I look forward to the Saturday Special.


      1. I got as far as Casey Tory and decided that if that was the best I could find, I was looking in the wrong place!

    1. We had another reverse cryptic earlier this week (see here). And there’s one in my Weekend Quick Cryptic that’s a bit easier, I think.

  13. Taken out to 21m today. Bit of a stuggle but a good learning day. Had the GK for towns but the parsing was tough. Reading the blog I realised I didn’t parse MIXED METAPHOR – and may never have – and I’m joining Richard D in solving CANTATA via two cheers. Took an age to get to BALLET DANCING, HEAVE, BADGER and even EASTERN but enjoyed the PDMs for each. Only two on the first pass of acrosses and I had lots of workings out on my paper by the end.

  14. DNF in 16 minutes with a rather careless SELLER instead of CELLAR. Looking back, I do think there is some ambiguity in the clue regarding which of the homophones is required. DOWN TO THE WIRE got from some checkers and the enumeration, but not familiar with the tv series. MIXED METAPHOR was bif’d from the helpful checkers, although I was initially tempted by mixed message. Thanks Pedro and John.

    1. Me too – and I was feeling pleased with myself for getting all the more difficult clues! “Dealer” was nearest to “on the radio” so I think it’s right that the answer is Cellar.
      That’s “me too DNF” not “me too 16 minutes”. I don’t think I’ve ever done a QC within 16 minutes.

      1. Well done completing Zajonc, never mind getting the wrong end of the homophone, and never mind the time – we do these things for enjoyment and pleasure and to learn. Interesting avatar and name – I assume Robert Zajonc is the inspiration, but don’t recognise the graph in the avatar – but then I know nothing about RZ.

        1. Thanks Rotter! I enjoy the QCs tremendously, and never time myself, but if I do the crossword on the train I make a note of whether I solve it before or after I get to Basingstoke! Yes, it is Robert Zajonc the psychologist, and the graph is from his Social Facilitation theory. If you search for “arousal vs performance graph zajonc” you should find it. According to this, people should be able to solve easy crosswords more quickly, but hard crosswords more slowly, if there is an audience.

  15. Certainly at the tougher end of the QC scale, but there was nothing unknown to me. I’ve been to NEATH, and, although it isn’t my basinful of fun, I’ve certainly heard of the ALDEBURGH Festival. Unusually my COD/LOI are the same, although I was impressed by MIXED METAPHOR as well

    TIME 4:35 (9th of 101 on the leaderboard at the moment 😊)

  16. You know that you’re going to struggle when the clue requires a US TV show and the last one you watched was Dallas …

    A relief to come on here and find that everyone else had to work hard too. I really struggled with that, being unable to get any of the long ones and hopping around the grid looking for footholds. In the end completed bottom up, finishing with BALLET DANCING and LOI EASTERN. COD to MIXED METAPHOR, which I biffed with checkers and then stared accusingly at for at least 30 seconds before I could see how it worked!

    Limped home in 13:26 for a Pretty Poor Day.

    Many thanks Pedro and John.


  17. Enjoyed this but I was distracted by A HINT down the centre and UNNOTICED. ALDEBURGH and CANTATA made me look for a musical theme. I can see a few near instruments VIOL, CELL etc and an anagram of VIOLIN in the unchecked downs. There’s also 1 APRIL on the 20 across row which took my eye. Probably seeing things that are not there.

    1. As I struggled at the end I began to wonder if there was a pangram there with the Q, X and other unusual letters. But on a quick look through couldn’t see F, J, K, Y, Z.

      Again the difficulty I had compared to other days and it being a (not-so-Good now) Friday left me wondering if there was some hidden theme or Nina in there.

  18. I missed my target for the first time this week finishing in 10.40. Having seen the comments and relative times above I think I have to be pleased with that. I think many will regard this as the QC Friday stinker with I suspect many DNFs. Like others my LOI was BADGER which cost me a finish within target. My COD has to go to MIXED METAPHORE which I think is the best clue I have seen for some time.
    A check back through my weeks times tells me that my running total is 41.30, giving me a daily average of 8.18. Bearing in mind that some of this weeks QCs have been on the tricky side, I’m more than happy with that.

  19. 13.40

    Tough for me. To be fair I knew all the little-knowns but was completely discombobulated by BALLET DANCING which I just couldn’t see and thought I was looking for something more complicated/unknown.

    That was incredibly my POI followed by another tank before BADGER fell

    No complaints and like the reference to The Wire

    Thanks all

  20. Ps as those who have watched it know The Wire takes a few episodes to get into but it suddenly becomes the best thing you’ve ever watched

    1. The very last series, unfortunately, wasn’t as good – but everything else was superb.

    2. Agreed. The best series I’ve ever watched, and I agree with Barack Obama about this. 🙂

  21. A difficult QC from Pedro, that I made somewhat harder still by marking the enumeration for 1ac as (7,6) on my paper copy 🙄 – I had Ending as the only plausible second word for quite some time. . . I did however spot Mixed Metaphor quite quickly, thanks to dabbling in the 15×15 from time to time, and nho Aldeburgh was easy enough to build up from the cryptic once the crossers were in place as a guide. CoD Neath was much more forthcoming. An additional five minutes at the end of an already glacial solve trying to work out the parsing of 1d Bodged (inadequate), before realising what(not) was going on. Invariant

  22. Somewhat relieved that everyone found this tricky (except BUSMAN!).

    On my phone again, and so the setter was a mystery, but this was a high quality puzzle.

    I’m glad the X was there, which let me solve my COD MIXED METAPHOR quickly. LOI was EASTERN, the festival part of which may or may not be serendipitous. BALLET DANCING also a vg clue. Thanks to Pedro and John.


  23. Definitely a challenge today! I’ve heard of ALDEBURGH but needed all the checkers to get it, and there were a few other tricky clues in a crossword that could’ve been compiled by a geography teacher in his spare time. NEATH an easy tap-in for a Welshman. LIGHT-BULB is deliciously clever. Good to see old chestnut RAVIOLI too….I think ENTREAT is also on it’s way to nutty-hood.

    12:25 -my slowest time of the week
    9:37 – average time for the week

  24. I’ve walked on the shingle at ALDEBURGH and sat on the shell sculpture on the beach. My kids took me to a cottage near there for my 60th birthday. That cottage was where I started doing the Times crossword. That first one took me 3 days with every aid I could find, and I got 75% of the way through it. A couple of months later, I discovered Times for the Times, and things started to look up. That was 12 years ago and there was no QC. Today’s puzzle was another which tipped me over my target. ENTREAT and DEGAS started me off and BADGER was LOI. 11:10. Thanks Pedro and John.

  25. I found this easier, quicker and more enjoyable than yetsterday’s ****, though I suspect I still took a fair bit longer than our blogger’s 8 minutes. Amongst many lovely and witty clues the three musical offerings at 1a, 12 and 14d were not 13a, I waited for crossers for BALLET DANCER, but FOI, LIGHT BULB, came very quickly. COD MIXED METAPHOR, LOI AVOID. Thanks Pedro and John from Suffolk.

    PS just noticed I had DOWN TO THE LINE, so DNF. NHO The Wire, as it is so long since I found anything of interest in US entertainment. But I might take out a Netflix sub when they air “Srormy and Don”, and Netflix won’t need to embellish the story.

  26. Thought that was badly misdjudged QC. Took 54+ mins to end up with a DNF on a silly mistake (seller for CELLAR). Totally destroyed what had been a good week of 21mins, 18mins (corrected DNF), 19mins, 18mins.

    Three obscurer geography places (ALDEBURGH, NEATH, UMBRIA), a musical word, obscure piece of furniture, a U.S. TV series. Thought the cluing was very unhelpful for us lesser mortals.

    One to forget in my opinion. Thanks to John for the blog, I will have to read through when I’ve got over myself. Parsed everything other than BALLET-DANCING and DOWN-TO (the-wire) but what a grind.

    Have a good weekend everybody (and bank holidays where we have them).

    1. Isn’t it weird that other countries celebrate the anniversary of their independence or some other historic national occasion, whereas in the UK we celebrate the fact that the banks are closed?

  27. 18:11 (1811 The future George IV becomes Prince Regent).
    I started fine on this one, but was held up for a long time at the end by BADGER, HEAVE and GATHER. I wasted a long time thinking that understand=get, and stared at it for ages until finally spotting the hidden.

    Aldeburgh is one of my favourite Suffolk towns also.


  28. Commiserations to all of you who found this rather too tricky. I think you’ll find my Weekend Quick Cryptic a bit easier, especially if your a fan of the sport alluded to in the title.

    1. But it’s probably good for us to be knocked about a bit, from time to time.
      Some years ago, I was an amateur swim coach for a triathlon club. As part of my development as a coach I attended a whole-day workshop at Crystal Palace, which was led by the then National Performance Director for British Swimming, Bill Sweetenham (an Aussie and a very hard task-master). His plan, when entering his talent-squad swimmers into competitions, was based on cycles of six events. Three out of every six races should be against swimmers of a similar standard (thereby providing close competition), two out of every six races should be at the level below (to get his athletes used to winning and being the favourite), and one out of every six events should be against stronger swimmers (where the coach’s responsibility was to pick up the pieces afterwards). It worked for Bill S, so perhaps it’s a metaphor for us ‘development’ crossword solvers.

  29. DNF.
    Absolutely no chance with this one.
    Much too hard for a “Quick Cryptic”.

    With clues like this one I might as well not bother trying :
    “23 Linguistic confusion from mother & pa, apparently (5,8)
    MIXED METAPHOR -Rather clever, this. A reverse cryptic where the answer is a clue to wordplay part of the clue… [mixed] ( metaphor )* gives you MOTHER PA! “

  30. Finished it! Took for ever, though, and drat! like BletchleyReject NHO DOWN TO THE WIRE (neither expression nor TV series) so biffed TIME instead, so no score. For this musician CANTATA and ALDEBURGH were easy. FOI DEGAS, COD ALDEBURGH, LOI HEAVE (clever, that – like it). Actually one more I got wrong: can someone please instruct me? I thought, “On the radio, dealer is wine supplier” means “when you talk, seller sounds like cellar”, so the answer should be SELLER. What is the logic by which it’s the other way round, please?

    1. I think the only hint I had was the convention that the definition is either right at the start or right at the end of the clue, not in the middle. So the definition is “wine supplier” and dealer/seller can only be the homonym.

      No doubt one of the more experienced solvers will offer a better explanation.

      1. Yes that’s true. But also a clue will break down into a definition and a wordplay element. “On the radio, dealer” is not a definition, so it has to be the wordplay and the remaining “wine supplier” has to be the definition.

        1. Thanks for this clear explanation. I often have trouble figuring out which one of the two homophones is the answer, especially like here when both cellar and seller could fit grid.

    2. Martinu, I reply as a total non-expert, but I think the approach is (i) Ignore punctuation, in this case the comma. So think instead “on the radio dealer”, something that sounds like a dealer, or seller. (ii) By convention, in these crosswords the definition part of the clue is always at the beginning or end. The definition isn’t “on the radio”, so it is “wine supplier”, or CELLAR.

      1. Thank you, that is a very good explanation and sound guidance. Thanks to Johninterred, too.

  31. Absolutely not a QC. A ridiculous puzzle without offering starters a chance. This should never have been allowed as a QC. Really annoyed that there are no standards set for QC puzzles.

  32. I thoroughly enjoyed this tricky offering and noted there were some top quality clues with lovely surfaces. I liked the two long ones BALLET DANCING and MIXED METAPHOR. The surface for ALDEBURGH was great but perhaps not gettable for all. My COD goes to BADGER. 9:02 and a Happy Easter to all.

  33. The Wire is a masterpiece but rather like cryptics don’t give up after one attempt. 5 series and when I watched them all again I think I understood most of it though had to biff some plot lines.
    Outside my target 25 today with quite a few biffs. Southwold man myself. J

  34. I’m against trend today finding this not too bad and finishing in 9:30. Final two were the NEAT/HEAVE crossers. Badger went in easily so I’m surprised at the trouble it caused – but then, you see it or you don’t. Down to the wire went in with a shrug as I have no idea of US series.

  35. 21 mins…

    Definitely on the tricky side, but some great clues.

    Thought 1ac might be “Ballet Recital” at first, but then a few checkers pointed to the correct answer. NHO of 9ac “Whatnot” and wasn’t familiar with 12dn “Aldeburgh” although I’ve been to Southwold further up the coast.

    I can definitely recommend The Wire, which at the time was pretty unique television and launched the careers of quite a few UK actors (Idris Elba, Dominic West) and had memorable characters played by the recently deceased Lance Reddick and Michael Kenneth Williams. Well worth seeking out if you like gritty drama.

    FOI – 6dn “Inn”
    LOI – 11ac “Heave”
    COD – 1dn “Badger”

    Thanks as usual!

  36. Very few on first pass and it didn’t really improve much after that. A slow grind but I was quite glad to finish all correct in 26 mins. Just not on Pedro’s wavelength. Never managed to parse MIXED METAPHOR and biffed several others, parsing after the event. NHO the US TV series so WIRE was entered with fingers crossed.

    FOI – 10ac ENTREAT
    LOI & COD – 1dn BADGER

    Thanks to Pedro and especially thanks to John for the much needed blog

  37. Needed a lot of aids after getting nothing in the top half on first pass. Eventually completed but five were unparsed or incompletely parsed and I also had Down to the Line. I have heard of but not watched The Wire. A hard bank holiday puzzle.

  38. 17:48. Lucky to get everything- many unparsed or only partially parsed so very grateful for blog. The harder or NHO clues had enough checkers to eventually appear. Interesting to learn the vague WHATNOT actually can have a specific meaning. Several commenters have mentioned “thingimmy”- I assume that is what I term a “thingamebob”!

  39. Could not agree more.
    The clues giving “Mixed Metaphor” and “Ballet Dancing” were just ridiculously hard.
    If the Times is not careful then these so called “Quick Cryptics” will only be used by experts
    which is just not right.

    1. Dunno; I reckon I’m a newcomer (lucky if I finish at all, not yet up to setting a stopwatch) and I got both those, in fact all except the two (others) I got wrong. So maybe it’s just that we’re all different?

  40. Another mighty struggle for me, but at least I made it home in one piece today.
    Only four clues solved after my first pass (UMBRA, RAVIOLI, NEATH and INN), so not many checkers to build from. WHATNOT came next and I was up and … well, not quite running. Half an hour in and I still had more to do than I had already done, so it became a battle right to the end. Only 9-10 minutes spent on my final clue today (BADGER). Total time = 60 minutes.

    I had NHO the Suffolk town (ALDEBURGH), the French painter (DEGAS), the US TV series (THE WIRE) or the abbreviation for prince (PR). I thought MIXED METAPHOR was a very poor clue until I read John’s blog, where he characterises it as a reverse cryptic. I also very nearly failed on another such clue, ABSTRACT ART, a couple of days ago so I must learn how to spot these. My final clue, BADGER, gave me a lot of trouble because I didn’t read it as ‘equipment not a’. I know I have come to grief on this type of construction several times before, so that’s another thing I have to hammer into my thick head.

    Mrs Random crossed the line in 25 minutes, only really struggling with her LOI, BADGER. She toyed with BoDGEd, as it nearly means inadequate, but she couldn’t make it parse. Her verdict: “Well, it didn’t waste too much of my life”. I think that was meant as a compliment to Pedro. We also discussed the reverse cryptic, MIXED METAPHOR. Her comment on that was “Too clever for it’s own good”, but I know that was not meant as a compliment.

    Many thanks to Pedro and John.

  41. 25.06 I thought that hiding the timer while solving might improve my performance but it had the opposite effect! I did think it was all fairly clued though. The clue to BALLET DANCING contains an extra hint, being a display of poise itself. Today is Good Friday, of course the festival was EASTER. And yet I struggled. Still, it was satisfying to complete it. Thanks both.

  42. Trouble with badger and cellar, the long clues went in without too much trouble, although ballet dancer was a guess. Fairly tough but enjoyable.

  43. Rather pleased to have finished it especially when I see the number of DNFs. Although it took me a very long time. Hard but fair I thought though I was lucky to know all the words. Fred.

  44. Tricky, but I completed in 24:41 (a pb from another area of my life; running 5 miles, though that was set 16 years ago, so I don’t think that’s going to get beaten). Lots to enjoy, but no time to write it. Just thought I’d better say something as I so rarely get to post these days. Thanks John and Pedro.

  45. Solved this after playing golf this morning (so tired) and whilst watching The Masters (so distracted).
    This QC felt like an escaped 15×15 to me. Lots of tough clues.
    I knew Aldeburgh and got Neath eventually. No problems there. BADGER emerged late but parsing was clear.
    My LOI was GATHER continuing my problems with hiddens.
    A high quality and difficult puzzle. Had I been timing it, my time would have been well over average.

  46. I found this desperately hard. Being stretched is a good thing, but this QC is likely to put off those of us with more limited experience/skill. I completed it in around 45 mins, and was proud of myself for doing so, but I can’t say that the solve was enjoyable.

    I very much needed John’s excellent blog as the parsing of several clues passed me by.

    Best wishes to everyone for the weekend.😊

    1. Well done on completion, Gary. I guess that was like my experience with the Monthly Club Special today, which I have to solve because I blog it, but it took me over 1 1/2 hours. Completing it and parsing everything had some satisfaction though and I hope that, like me with the MCS, you appreciated some of the clever clues here in retrospect.

  47. Thanks John.

    Yes, with assistance of your blog I was able to appreciate the setter’s skills. I particularly enjoyed 1ac. The first annotation I made next to this clue was LETD, so I just needed BALANCING and I would have solved it. A brilliant if difficult clue. I also enjoyed QUORUM and AVOID. Every QC is an opportunity to learn something new. The trick is keeping the different types of wordplay at the forefront of my mind.

    Thanks again for the blog. The explanations provided by you and the other setters are hugely appreciated.

    PS Given your time with the MCS, I suspect it will be a while before I am able to attempt this. It must have been fiendish.

  48. A toughie. On review, I see it is mainly in ‘pencil’. I started this at lunchtime in Costa and only completed 6 clues (but that did include 23a Mixed Metaphor). Restarted after a late supper with only another 3 in ‘ink’. With QUVX I thought we might be heading for a pangram. But sweated it through only to be caught out with the 16d seller/cellar error. Grateful for the tips on 16d given above – they might help me in future. Now to download the weekend puzzle. ‘Night all.

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