Times Quick Cryptic No 2389 by Izetti

Today we are treated, once again, to a Friday Quick Cryptic from Izetti. No Coronation theme, as someone suggested there might in yesterday’s comments, but that’s not really Izetti’s style. [Update: Although it’s not easy, you might like to try today’s 15×15 for a topically themed puzzle]. Being fortunate enough to know all the required general knowledge, I managed to sail through this in very nearly a clean sweep, leaving only 12A and 11D to return to after passing through all the clues once – all done in 4:08. Thank-you Izetti. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword (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 76 here.

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

1 Topple series of deliveries worth recycling (9)
OVERTHROWOVER (series of cricket deliveries) ( worth )* [recycling].
6 Foundation established by graduates coming to island (5)
BASISBAS (graduates) IS (island).
8 Male animal found by old character in shrub (9)
BUCKTHORNBUCK (male animal) THORN (old character). Did you know the character (and the shrub)? “Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ) is a letter in the Old English, Old Norse, Old Swedish and modern Icelandic alphabets, as well as modern transliterations of the Gothic alphabet, Middle Scots, and some dialects of Middle English. It was also used in medieval Scandinavia, but was later replaced with the digraph th, except in Iceland, where it survives.
9 Some backwards diagonal line, that’s plain (5)
LLANO – Reverse hidden in diagONAL Line. A South American treeless grassy plain.
10 Miners get retrained as fighting units (9)
REGIMENTS – ( miners get )* [retrained]. In the second world war coal miners, such as my grandfather, became exempt from conscription as they were workers in a “reserved occupation”.
12 Uncertain number, number that’s lower (6)
NETHERN (uncertain number) ETHER (number; anaesthetic). I hesitated over entering this for a while before seeing how the wordplay worked.
13 Duck escapes from two-wheeled vehicle — this duck ? (6)
SCOTERSCO{o}TER (two-wheeled vehicle) without one of the Os [duck; 0, escapes]. This dark-coloured mollusc-eating duck is quite rare and endangered in the UK with only 52 breeding pairs. Read more about them here.
16 Hotel in awkward situation with a piano in pile of rubbish (9)
SCRAPHEAPH (hotel in the NATO phonetic alphabet) in SCRAPE (awkward situation) A P (piano).
18 One business coming to a holiday island (5)
IBIZAI (one) BIZ (business, especially one connected with entertainment) A. Anyone for a TimesforTheTimes holiday rave there? I suspect not.
19 A great number intended, we hear, to get plot for growing (9)
ALLOTMENTA LLOT MENT sounds like, [we hear], A LOT (great number) MEANT (intended). I recently walked through the allotments of Leisten. A great number – over 200 of them. Amazing for the size of the town.
21 This chief is a male always (5)
AMEERA M (male) E’ER (always, as always always is in crosswordland… except when it’s AY).
22 Leader adroit with lie unfortunately (9)
EDITORIAL – ( adroit lie )* [unfortunately]. Ah. That sort of leader!
1 So upset, tolerated British dramatist (7)
OSBORNE – SO [upset] -> OS, BORNE (tolerated). John Osborne, best known for his play Look Back in Anger.
2 Confine knight in the City a long time (6)
ENCAGEN (Knight in chess notation) in EC (city, postcode of most of the city of London), AGE (a long time). EC for City is worth remembering – it comes up often.
3 Emblem to carry over top of mountain (5)
TOTEMTOTE (carry) over [top of] M{ountain}.
4 This Greek character is heard in sequence (3)
RHO – Sounds like ROW (sequence).
5 Richard is now shifting item of furniture (7,5)
WINDSOR CHAIR – ( Richard is now )* [shifting]. A popular type of wooden chair constructed of turned (shaped on a lathe), slender spindles that are socketed into a solid, saddle-shaped wooden seat. I have them at my kitchen table.
6 Old market ‘s advertising poster’s over entrance (12)
BILLINGSGATEBILLING’S (advertising poster’s) GATE (entrance). London’s old Fish Market. Read about its history here.
7 A tree was rotting in brine (8)
SEAWATER – ( A tree was )* [rotting]. And became driftwood, I expect.
11 Sanction to fail to get up? (8)
NOTARISE -My LOI. NOT ARISE (fail to get up). Hmm. I was a little underwhelmed by this one.
14 Big character in eg Belfast? (7)
CAPITAL – Double definition.
15 Enemy destroyed one Arab native (6)
YEMENI -( Enemy )* [destroyed], I (one).
17 Feature outside house with touch I love (5)
PATIOPAT (touch) I O (0; love).
20 Garland that is left to be put up (3)
LEI – I.E. (that is) L (left) [put up] -> LEI.

84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2389 by Izetti”

  1. Biffed OVERTHROW and SCRAPHEAP. DNK BUCKTHORN, but DN have to. ‘always’ can be AY, as well as EER. 5:02.

    1. AYE ‘always’ can be AY too. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment. Blog amended.

  2. 15:04. Almost gave up on NETHER. Enjoyed SCRAPHEAP the most. Great blog-packed with lots of interesting info.

  3. Didn’t finish – didn’t know LLANO, SCOTER, AMEER (as leader) or even BUCKTHORN. Got some of these from clueing but even slower than normal. Gave up after 40 mins.

    1. AMEER is a variant spelling of ’emir’; it’s not in ODE, which does have ‘amir’, although it is in Collin. I’m not sure variants are appropriate for QCs.

      1. I agree. There is always a challenge in transcribing words from other alphabets, but Ameer is not even a much used version in Arabic-speaking countries, where the local English language press for example use Emir most of the time and Amir almost all of the rest of the time. A frustrating clue and not Izetti’s finest I fear.

        1. Then there’s Amir Khan, the British boxer, and Aamir Khan, the Indian actor. Putting Arabic or Hebrew words into English is always problematic. Shalom(Hebrew) and Salaam(Arabic) look to me like they refer to the same word. I think Jesus and Joshua come from the same original and I’ve read Mohammed, Muhammad, Mahmud ,Mehmet among many more variants as renderings of the Prophet’s name in English.

      2. Couldn’t agree more – I think quickies should steer clear of obscurities!

  4. No problems but I wondered if this was because, like John, I had all of the requisite General Knowledge. COD to NETHER.

    Let me know how you get on with my Weekend Cryptic.

  5. I suppose WINDSOR CHAIR could be a Coronation reference, but more likely just a coincidence.

    11 minutes with BUCKTHORN unknown but easy enough to work out as I was aware of THORN as an ancient character. This was the shrub’s first appearance in one of the standard cryptic puzzles.

  6. I really enjoyed this one but was undone by my LOI, NETHER. (Although I have heard of ‘nether regions’ I’ve never really stopped to think about its meaning, other than it being a little saucy.) NOTARISE was a guess confirmed by the wordplay and AMEER slowed me down as I always thought it was spelled as AMIR.
    Today’s favourite clues were SCOTER and SCRAPHEAP. BUCKTHORN I liked too.
    May you all enjoy the coming weekend by managing to avoid/celebrate (please delete as applicable) the coronation, depending on your royalist inclinations.
    Dull and wet, but a little warmer at 13 degrees, this morning here in Dorzet.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘amir’, although ‘ameer’ shows up from time to time in the NYT puzzle. Collins refers from both to ’emir’, and from ‘amirate’ to ’emirate’. Apparently ‘amir’ is closer to the Arabic pronunciation.

        1. Oh well done Katy. I knew I had seen that spelling before! And if you haven’t come across him, see the cartoon with the song of the same name here.

  7. Hard going for my 16m. BILLINGSGATE, AMEER, LLANO, BUCKTHORN and SCOTER all revealed aspects of my ignorance. NOTARISE just had me scratching my head as I failed to focus on the right sanction. Billing held me up, I think of it as the position of an act on the bill rather than the bill itself – Chambers online has it as North American so perhaps that explains my dimness. My big Chambers is in the loft while I sort out the living room (it’s been a long process) so that’ll have to do for research on the matter.

  8. Like our blogger and Sawbill, I had all the required GK. A straight pass through the clues left only 4 of them unsolved, and they were rapidly mopped up.

    TIME 3:34

    1. Very well done, Busman. I had solved just one clue (REGIMENTS) by the time you crossed the line. I finally came in more than 20 times slower.

  9. 9.45 for me, so under my 10 minutes target. But with a careless typo so technical DNF. Before the thorn was replaced with “th” it was replaced with “y” for typesetting purposes, hence “ye olde shoppe”, where “ye” is simply “the” and pronounced that way. Didn’t know AMEER but guessed (correctly it seems) it was a variant spelling of “emir”.

  10. 28:16 – corrected DNF as plumped for not-ten instead of NETHER, having alphabet trawled it for 5+ mins and come to no particular standout answer. NETHER was my 2nd choice.

    A streak of 9 in a row ending – which dates back to the last Izetti – which says it all. I maintain he doesn’t belong in the Quick camp especially not fortnightly. Admittedly one of his easier puzzles but still NHO AMEER, SCOTER, LLANO, BUCKTHORN, OSBORNE. I biffed my way round once checkers went in and it got easier.

    Have a good weekend everybody and enjoy the Coronation, if it’s your thing. Not particularly mine but it’s history so will make the effort to watch. God save the King!

  11. Johninterred – our esteemed blogger. Well done on your 4:08 💪

    1. Thanks. Well done on your 9 in a row. Shame you couldn’t make it 10 this time. For me, it brings to an end a decent week with only Breadman’s on Tuesday at 6:00 taking me over 5 minutes – 23:25 for the week in total, if anyone is interested.

      1. Astonishing. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am with that.


      2. And I should add thank-you for a detailed blog. Amazing how much extra research you were able to do with that extra minute spare over your average finish time 😉

  12. Beaten by NETHER and NOTARISE. I should maybe have got the former, would not have got the latter.

    Thanks Izetti and John.

  13. Decidedly chewy in parts and then undone by a typo in SEAWATER, which was particularly frustrating as I’d spent a while looking for an obscure tree before the penny dropped.
    NOTARISE and LOI NETHER also took a lot of thought and had to trust the wordplay for AMEER.
    ‘Finished’ in 10.59
    Thanks to John

  14. I found this tough and it took me 16 minutes, with the SE corner the main hold-up. Not familiar with Notarise as a synonym for Sanction, very slow to see that Business meant Biz, and Ameer is a most uncommon transliteration of the much much more usual Emir or Amir. I concede it is not actually wrong, but it seems a tough one for a QC!

    That apart, Nether the main other hold-up as I keep forgetting that number can mean “that which numbs”. All in all a stiff workout and a Slow Day.

    Many thanks John for the blog and I look forward to the Saturday Special.

  15. Biffed LOI, NETHER; I always fail to read number as anaesthetic/ether. Biffed NOTARISE from wordplay. NHO LLANO, but clear from clue. Dredged SCOTER, BUCKTHORN from the deep recesses of my mind! 11m 18s, so under my target time of 15m.

  16. I was heading for a really quick solve, but held up by NOTARISE, IBIZA and SCOTER.. I had all the necessary GK, but those three took ages to rise to the surface. Share the doubts about the suitability in QC of AMEER (NHO, but guessed, knowing that EMIR has several variants, and already had A***R). FOI OSBORNE, LOI IBIZA, COD NETHER,. Thanks Don and John.

  17. A bit longer than average for me, but worked steadily through it.



  18. 9:43. My list of ducks finally came in handy today with SCOTER. Otherwise all in without too much trouble except for my last NOTARISE which looked as if it was going to defeat me until the wordplay finally made sense.

    Thanks to Izetti and John

    1. Didn’t Bill Oddie once say “There are only three types of bird: small fluttery ones, big flappy ones and ducks”?

  19. 10:30 (death of St Olaf, King of Norway.)

    LOI was NETHER. I failed to see the ETHER part of it, having forgotten that in crosswordland the work of an anaesthetist is to numb people.

  20. A slow start and I hoped for the best when I began to accelerate as I jumped around the grid, picking off the amenable clues. However, there were too many clever-clever Izetti quirks for me. I finished (all luckily correct) having tipped into the SCC and was fortunate to get away with LLANO, AMEER, SCOTER (I trusted the wordplay), NOTARISE, and my LOI NETHER (the anaesthetic eluded me again). I thought BIZ for business was a sad lapse for a setter like Izetti.
    Not an enjoyable end to the week and a dramatic contrast with the previous 4 excellent QCs.
    Thanks to John for some necessary clarification. John M.

  21. Another 16 minute day, with some tough GK. I got THORN before BUCK, struggled with NOTARISE and NETHER, and the vaguely remembered SCOTER was LOI. Thanks both.

  22. 15 minutes for all but 12a which I had looked at a few times: another three minutes to get LOI NETHER. Only saw the parsing as I sat down to type this.
    In many ways a typical Izetti puzzle: some obscurities which you could work out from the cryptic. In my case the only thing I did not know was that spelling of AMEER; the cryptic instructions were clear.
    Worth remembering SCOTER; only seen by me in crosswords.
    COD to NETHER.

    1. The SCOTER lives happily in the Crosswordland Zoo, alongside the eft, the ounce and the erne

  23. Finished it (about an hour)! But golly, many NHOs and biffs: LLANO (NHO in English, anyway), SCOTER (but it had to be), AMEER, even OSBORNE. FOI REGIMENTS, COD SCRAPHEAP, LOI NETHER, couldn’t parse that, so thanks to John for the excellent blog. I had 8 BULLTHORN (also valid!) for ages. No need for a rave in IBIZA – just try the warm sea in October. How is carry = TOTE, please? And is sanction = NOTARISE? Comments below seem to sanction (if not notarise) my MER here.

    1. If you listen to Paul Robeson singing Ol’ Man River, you will hear ‘tote (pull) that barge, lift that bale’, but tote can also mean carry.

      1. Thank you – know the song well (what an incredible voice) – so, in US “English”, you mean?

    2. This meaning of tote is nothing to do with the other meaning as “a system of betting based on the use of the totalizator, in which dividends are calculated according to the amount staked rather than odds offered.“, but “carry, wield, or convey (something heavy or substantial).“. A “tote bag” like I’ve always used for my shopping has become fashionable over recent years. A real trendsetter, me… not!

      1. Thank you…… but I’ve now looked it up and my dictionary says it’s “U.S.”. Do we accept that (like “reliable”) it has since entered the English English language?

  24. I found this to be on the tougher side of average although I managed to creep in just under target at 9.55. The furniture at 5dn took me a while to figure out not helped by the fact that I initially biffed BUCKTOOTH for 8ac. SCOTER also took a while as did NOTARISE.
    My total time for the week was 49.06, giving a daily average of 9.49, which is just under my target time.

  25. Overthrow and Billingsgate were write-ins and, despite hold ups with Notarise and nhos Ameer and Llano along the way, I was heading for a pleasing sub-20 with ‘just’ loi Nether to go. Nearly five minutes later I finally recognised Ether as the numb-er would produce a word that, usually paired with regions, might be the answer. So, a window seat in the SCC to end the week. CoD to 22ac, Editorial, for the pdm. Invariant

  26. Many of the same problems as others – NOTARISE and NETHER LOsI. FOI BASIS and COD SCRAPHEAP. Biffed AMEER, not recognising that spelling at all. Scraped in at 29:07.Thanks Izetti and John, especially, for an excellent blog.

  27. My GK is sketchy so I was pleased to have solved LLANO (from my rudimentary Spanish), SCOTER and AMEER (because it sounded like an alternative to emir). WINDSOR CHAIR was also unknown but it fitted with the letters and I must have seen BUCKTHORN before because I confidently typed that one in. My LOI NETHER required an alphabet trawl and pushed me just outside target in 9:16.

  28. AMEER was constructed from wordplay and BUCKTHORN was held up by a very careless ROH at 4d, but I managed to scrape in under my target again. FOI, OVERTHROW, LOI, NOTARISE. 9:47. Thanks Izetti and John.

  29. Completed but needed help with two clues (8a and 21a – never seen Ameer as a word, Amir yes. Ameer no.

  30. Couldn’t (and still can’t, really) see why NOTARISE should mean “sanction”, so I spent a long time thinking about that before shrugging and hitting “submit without leaderboard”. Also only parsed (LOI & COD) NETHER post-submission. Didn’t know either LLANO or AMEER. The SCOTER surfaced just in time. All in all some hard yards, leading to 13:48, 2.7K and a Terrible Day.

    Many thanks Izetti and John.


      1. That’s how I read it too. The dictionary says… “give official permission or approval for (an action)..

        1. That’s what “sanction” means. But Collins gives only a single definition for NOTARISE, which is “to attest to or authenticate (a document, contract, etc) as a notary”. Maybe I just got trapped into thinking like a lawyer (occupational hazard).

          1. I can be fairly confident that I have completely missed the subtlety of your point but. . . doesn’t a notary have to countersign (sanction?) documents to confirm their legal standing, or are you querying the grammar?

            1. I’m with Templar here. Notaries merely say that a document is official, real, etc. They don’t indicate any agreement with or approval of what the document says. I thought the clue “muddled” when I solved it and I am hardening that verdict to “dubious, questionable” if not an outright slip by the maestro.

  31. 9:40

    Felt like the hardest of the week with answers revealing themselves slowly. Needed a few passes to plug the gaps – didn’t know that’s what NOTARISE means and not heard of the BUCKTHORN (hardly surprising as I’ve not heard of a lot of plants!)

    Thanks Izetti and John

  32. Dnf…

    Struggled with this – really wish Izetti would stop spoiling my Fridays.

    Got to 30 mins and just couldn’t see 12ac “Nether”, 13ac “Scoter” nor 11dn “Notarise”.

    Annoyingly, I thought of “ether”, and whilst I recognise “Nether” as a place name, which can mean lower, it just didn’t twig here. Like L Plates, I ended up with “Notten”. Similarly, for 13ac, I just couldn’t get Moped out of my head, and didn’t even think of Scooter (which I now associate more as a kids thing).

    FOI – 18ac “Ibiza”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 1ac “Overthrow”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. A pleasing start to an Izetti. But undone by a new shrub called Bullthorn and on paper splitting 5d to 5,7 instead of 7,5.
    Never heard of said chair but Windsor seems to be de rigeur this weekend so would have got it I hope. J

  34. Finished all correct thanks to biffing NETHER and SCOTER (LOsI). Yes, I always forget number can mean anaesthetic in Crosswordland. Was also slow on BILLINGSGATE. Knew OSBORNE who may have been an Angry Young Man, I can’t remember. Anyway he helped with BUCKTHORN. We’ve had Thorn = old character before luckily.
    PDM with EDITORIAL. ENCAGE unfamiliar but it had to be.
    Thanks vm, John.

  35. Please could someone have a word with the crossword editor and/or Izetti, as that could never be described as a ‘Quick’ Cryptic? I have been doing these for nearly three years now and, whilst a lot less experienced/talented than many here, I have learnt enough not to have to struggle for ages and ages over so much obscure GK, strange vocabulary and very awkward wordplay. If I wanted that I would go to the 15×15 or Saturday Jumbo. 72 minutes for me – the sort of time I was doing when I started in 2020 – and a >40 minutes DNF for Mrs Random (she gave up, saying she had “much better things to do with my life”).


    I’m sorry, but I can’t provide an upbeat report from the Random’s today. Maybe things will look up next week.

    Many thanks to John for the excellent blog, and congratulations on a stunning time.

    1. I agree with every word Mr R. I wish I had the good sense to abandon ship like Mrs R.

      Let’s not lose too much sleep over it. It’s a long weekend and I’m looking forward to the coronation. 😊

    2. I agree. There was nothing quick, or fun, about today’s QC.
      Roll on the coronation!

  36. Tricky in parts, taking me to 20 minutes all parsed. Some fairly obscure knowledge required as well, and I had to summon up LLANO from the depths. Also never seen AMEER spelled in that way so I waited for all possible crossers before putting it in.

    FOI – 10ac REGIMENTS
    LOI – 12ac NETHER
    COD – nothing really stood out for me. Lots of nice clues with good surfaces but no laugh out loud moments!

    Thanks to Izetti and John

  37. 18.05 I found this hard and was surprised it was all green at the end. NHO SCOTER, BUCKTHORN and LLANO, didn’t know AMEER with two e’s and couldn’t fathom NETHER which I biffed. And now I can’t believe I missed the number chestnut. Still, it could have been worse, I was even slower on the concise crossword today. Thanks both.

  38. DNF (again), beaten by NOTARISE (NHO) and AMEER (NHO) and only guessed NETHER, LLANO (NHO) and SCOTER (NHO). These QCs are getting too hard for us non-experts. The above answers are surely main crossword standard, where I am lucky to get only the occasional clue right!

  39. Defeated by AMEER and NETHER but was pleased to cobble together LLANO and SCOTER, as it’s quite rare for me to get a word I’ve NHO. Very satisfying.

  40. Too many obscurities for my test. By the time I got to AMEER I threw in the towel. I knew BUCKTHORN from Watership Down: source of many plants for me.

    1. Thanks Merlin…I was trying to remember why I knew of BUCKTHORN and others on here didn’t.

  41. DNF. Beaten by NETHER, which is a bit of a stinker IMHO. In retrospect the other meaning for number is very clever but combined with a hard clue it was beyond me.
    I don’t think NOTARISE means Sanction.
    Had to check LEI and LLANO before putting them in.
    A pretty hard end to the week but still a 3-2 win against the setters.
    Thanks both and enjoy the long weekend.

    1. 3-2. Well done! A win’s a win, as the football manager’s often say.

  42. Mr Random is absolutely right. This was too hard. If the point of the QC is to encourage people to get into and begin to enjoy cryptic crosswords, this type of puzzle will have the opposite effect, and I think that is a real shame.

    I am very conscious of my significant shortcomings as a solver, and I have enormous respect and admiration for those of you who are astonishingly good solvers, but, for me, this was like an 18-handicap golfer being asked to play in the Open Championship.

    I finished in something over an hour. I slogged my way through everything up to 12 ac. I spent ages trying to decipher the clue, but couldn’t see it. I did see NETHER as a possible word quite early but was unable to parse it. Put it in eventually as the only word that made any sense (other than NUTMEG), but I still don’t get the ‘ETHER’ part of the word play. I’m going to look it up.

    I don’t mean to whinge, but this is not enjoyable and neither does it facilitate learning the skill of cryptic solving for those of us who are still relatively inexperienced or just not that good.

    Thanks for the blog John, which I enjoyed as always. Your time for the week is jaw dropping.

    I hope everyone has an enjoyable long weekend, whether royalist or republican.

    PS: post-solve PDM. I get ETHER now, but I still think the clue doesn’t belong in a QC!

    1. Well said GA and Mr Random

      I’ve realised I’ve begun to feel demoralised, rather than inspired, whenever Izetti’s name turns up. That is a not good feeling – I’m currently feeling between a rock and a hard place about it. I will see what happens on the next one. An answer will eventually come to me.

      Have a good weekend and enjoy the Coronation !

      1. Having now done more than 70 Izetti QCs since I started, I would suggest that he is both the fairest and one of the least fair of the primary setters – at the same time. Fairest in that his cryptic wordplay is invariably meticulously crafted, but one of the least fair in the level of GK, vocabulary and cryptic crossword experience/skill required. Izetti is Mrs Random’s nemesis.

        1. I agree. When he sets a QC that is tough but doable, I enjoy Izetti as much as most other setters. Unfortunately he sometimes goes a little too far with the difficulty. NETHER was superbly clued yesterday, but more appropriate for the ‘big’ crossword.

          Anyway, I enjoyed the coronation today and will enjoy my long walk in the countryside tomorrow.

      2. Don’t get too disheartened L-Plates. I think the approach to adopt is akin to the advice you gave me a few days ago, namely to have no expectations and just get as much pleasure from it as you can. Hopefully Izetti is a reader of the blog and is a touch kinder next time.

  43. Took a long time to get 12 across and never did understand the parsing given. My thinking was that N + anagram of ‘ether’ viz ‘three’ was the uncertain part ! Though I missed number as anaesthetic it still didn’t work.

    1. Clever. But too clever for a QC and it wouldn’t be allowed anyway as it’s an ‘indirect anagram’ – i.e. you have to solve the wordplay element ‘number’ to get THREE and then make an anagram of it. Indirect anagrams are generally deemed ‘not fair’ and not to be seen in respectable crosswords. As for my parsing, I failed to point out that ETHER is an anaesthetic, which is something that numbs, so it’s a ‘number’ (groan). It’s a bit of wordplay that comes up quite regularly. The N at the front comes from its use to indicate an arbitrary or unknown, or in this case ‘uncertain’, number.

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