Times Quick Cryptic No 2428 by Juno

Phew, that was Quite Challenging!

We had a range of tricky vocab, tricky wordplay and tricky crosswordese (even if you’ve seen them before, such as the JOY of 8ac or the VAC of 15d). Tough bits all over the grid made for a slow solve, and then I had a while at the end waiting for 6d and the last word of 8ac to make sense of themselves.

I finished a bit shy of the 15 minute mark, well over twice as slow as Tuesday’s QC done just before: I’d put this easily on a par with some 15×15 puzzles, so chalk it up as good practice if you found it a bit of a slog.

Many thanks to Juno!

Anagram indicators in italics.
1 Divine messengers found in corners, moving left (6)
ANGELS – ANGLES = corners, move the L(eft)
4 Led far, reorganised and spread out (6)
FLARED – LED FAR reorganised
8 Climber using salesperson’s transport (10,3)
TRAVELLERS JOY – TRAVELLER = salesperson; JOY = transport. Transport for elation does crop up occasionally, along with the verb:  enraptured, etc. = TRANSPORTED, or simply SENT. I hadn’t heard of the climber.
10 Cut both large and small jumps on ice (5)
AXELS – AXE (cut) and then both L(arge) and S(mall). Dimly remembered, perhaps. Perhaps not. I’m surprised to see the term is named after Axel Paulsen (1855-1938), a Norwegian skater.
11 People scoffing a jinx? (7)
MOCKERS – double definition: the first as in jeering; the second as in the phrase “put the mockers on”, meaning to thwart or bring bad luck to.
13 Ace or idol somehow regulated by fan? (3-6)
17 Belly wobbling bad sign (7)
ABDOMEN – BAD wobbling, OMEN (sign)
18 Some change got from writer before church (5)
PENCE -PEN (writer) before CE (Church of England)
19 I end reversing loco — as do they? (6,7)
ENGINE DRIVERS – I END REVERSING loco. “Loco” meaning both MAD and a TRAIN.
21 One working for dictator perhaps using some trusty pistol (6)
TYPIST – “using some” trusTY PISTol
22 Lancashire football team mostly played very fast (6)
PRESTO – PRESTOn (Lancashire football team) “mostly”
1 Amphibious vehicle trapped in stream traced (6)
AMTRAC – “trapped in” streAM TRACed. Another NHO: a portmanteau of AMphibious TRACtor.
2 Stern detectives seen in burial ground (9)
GRAVEYARD – GRAVE (stern) YARD (detectives)
3 Property rights one’s displayed in glass (5)
LIENS – I (one) is displayed in LENS (glass)
5 Letter’s opening rewritten racily, like a poem? (7)
LYRICAL – L (Letter’s “opening”) RACILY rewritten
6 Old British government in shock after revolution (3)
RAJ – to JAR = to shock, reversed.
7 Rather dull line in food (6)
DRYISH – RY (railway = line) in DISH (food)
9 Light opera’s intro one had satirised (9)
LAMPOONED – LAMP (light) O (Opera’s “intro”), ONE, ‘D = had (as in you’d, say)
12 Risks conclusions involving annoyance (9)
ENDANGERS – ENDS (conclusions) involving ANGER (annoyance)
14 Actor, late, ultimately resents prompts (7)
REMINDSactoR latE “ultimately”, MINDS (resents)
15 Caution and worry after holiday is put back (6)
CAVEAT – EAT (worry) after VAC (holiday) is reversed/put back
16 Drops   exhortation to depart (4,2)
LETS GO – double definition, the second being LET’S GO
18 Pair consuming port earlier (5)
PRIOR -PR (pair) consuming RIO (port)
20 Pain of US private, quiet (3)
GIP -G.I. (US private) P (Piano = quiet). I’ve only seen it spelt with a Y, but the I is listed as an alternative.


89 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2428 by Juno”

  1. 16:46. Very fortunate to make it through this! AMTRAC, GIP,and MOCKERS were all entered not knowing the definitions. I was just about to give up on the TRAVELLERS JOY/DRYISH conjunction as I thought the J from RAJ must give jet and the line in DRYISH must be an L. When finally RY for (railway) line hit me everything fell into place. GRAVEYARD, CAVEAT and ENGINE DRIVERS were favourites. With the Lancashire football side PRESTOn losing its “end” letter I wondered if the setter considered doing something with the team’s name North End in the wordplay?

  2. Slow going, coupled with a typo which gave me 2 errors. DNK TRAVELLERS JOY, DNK MOCKERS. I biffed CAVEAT thinking the caution was CAVE, never actually parsed it. 8:19, but.

  3. Unlike vinyl1 I DID find this hard, as my time of 19.25 attests. I’m with rolytoly in thinking some of these would not be out of place in the 15×15. Grateful for having LAMPOONED and REMINDS explained. TRAVELLER’S JOY and RAJ (I know it was a British government, but jeez…) held me up for many minutes at the end but I was way too slow getting started and took ages to get some of the simple anagrams and words like GRAVEYARD and AXELS. Still not sure about GIP, I always thought it had a Y and I was not familiar with the ‘pain’ definition which I am having trouble finding with a cursory search. I thought it meant cheat or steal and is now considered to be an offensive expression.

      1. Not heard of that one, but I see there is a usage from northern England relating to vomiting so it sounds like it lines up with that. Like what happens when you go to a gastropub that isn’t kidding about the gastro…

        1. Actually in reasonably common usage for me , as in “my knee is giving me gyp today, must be the weather”

  4. Yesterday I celebrated my first QC in five days solved within my target 10 minutes, all of the previous ones having been missed by 3-4 minutes, but today I crashed and needed 23 to finish this. That’s a time in which I’d hope to solve a 15×15 on a good day.

    Other than AXELS (a word I’m familiar with but failed for ages to bring to mind) I couldn’t say where the difficulties lay, but I was just very, very slow throughout.

    Like others, I have never seen GIP rather than ‘gyp’ but the wordplay left no room for doubt as to what was required.

  5. Too many pinkies to be given a time today, but do I care? No, because I’ve never heard of TRAVELLERS JOY or LEINS before so feel totally exonerated. MOCKERS was a strange clue and I biffed CAVEAT having only been able to parse as far as CAV- – -.
    This was way too hard for a QC .
    The good news, though, is that we had some rain in the night down here in Dorsetshire, so Hoorah! Mrs ITTT can at last have a morning free of trotting back and forth from the well laden with pails of water to keep my roses blooming.

  6. Tough today but some of that will be my fault for working out what was going on at 1a and typing in ‘angles’ instead of ANGELS anyway – that made the unknown LIENS even harder at the end – and entering ‘dryest’ in place of DRYISH even though I didn’t know what a ‘dest’ was and it not really fitting the definition. Struggled with AXELS too. Didn’t know TRAVELLERS JOY. Glad to be able to put it down afer 26m of mostly joyless slog.

  7. Forgot to mention earlier that Juno has been regular but rare visitor to the setters’ bench since 2014 when QC’s began, and this is only number 18. But every one of those has had a theme or something going on so there’s probably something today too.

    I have a note in my archive that I have long suspected Juno is another pseudonym of RR (aka Felix, amongst many others), but I don’t know on what this was based other than the regularity of themes and Ninas.

  8. 26 minutes. I definitely found this hard. I was stuck in the NE corner with the crossing RAJ and NHO (or rather forgotten) TRAVELLER’S JOY at the end and was on the point of giving up until an alphabet trawl gave me the ‘Old British government’. A few other uncommon words as mentioned above didn’t help in building up a good head of steam. If there is a theme or Nina, it has escaped me.

    Thanks to Juno and rolytoly

  9. Solve of two halves for me. Most of the top went straight in, although I spent some time looking for types of jet for the unknown climber until I saw what was going on with DRYISH.
    The bottom proved more obdurate especially in the SW with ABDOMEN, REMINDS and CAVEAT being the last to fall. Like others I did a bit of a double take at GIP not having a ‘y’ in it but the wordplay was clear.
    Finished in 8.31 with COD to RAJ for the surface.
    Thanks to Roly

  10. Gave up at 45mins with 4 left in NE. Everything else done in around 20mins. Four DNFs in five days. The joy has faded.

    Edit: postrun reflection – I was always going to DNF with this due to RAJ / JOY – I’d gone for WAY and an unparseable WAR.

    Had the DRY- part but was blocked by putting MACBETH in as a jinx having earlier discounter “mockery”. 3rd time this week we’ve had a double def this week beyond me even when presented with the answer. Monday “this artist”, Tuesday “pole, pig food”

  11. Definitely tricky. I finished but had to use an aid for 15d, couldn’t see vac for holiday… Dredged up the climber, a wild clematis, IIRC. Struggled with others but finally managed to biff my way through it..

    There’s some sort of travel/transport thème, maybe ?

  12. Slogged through this joyless assault course in 19 minutes – my slowest complete and unaided solve for a long time – and then much heartened to come here and find others found this equally challenging. NHO Amtrac (saw the hidden but then said “can’t be that, that’s the US passenger train service, and it has a K anyway”), NHO Travellers joy (not even sure whether it has an apostrophe or if so where), never seen that spelling of Gyp/Gip (or that meaning – a gippy tummy is certainly unpleasant but may or may not be painful), thought to call the Raj a “government” was a real stretch (it wasn’t just the government, it was the whole Imperial system, including the Princely States and so on).

    A shame, because there were some nice clues. The double use of loco in Engine Drivers was very neat, as was Presto (tried to fit Bolton in there for a moment in honour of our fellow blogger BW), and Abdomen had some splendid misdirection (did anyone else try to find an anagram of Bad sign? – Spoiler alert, there isn’t one). But overall – and I know people have been saying this quite often recently – this was Not A QC. If Juno really is RR in a different guise he might perhaps consult himself about what QCs are meant to be.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

    1. It’s true I wouldn’t associate ‘gippy tummy’ necessarily with pain as I think its mainly used for having the runs, but I’ve certainly heard people of my parents or grandparents generation complain that some complaint or other, e.g. corns or gout or arthritis (the screws!) was giving them ‘gyp’, and that most definitely meant pain was involved.

      Filbert has suggested a travel/transport theme, and that’s the only thing that had occurred to me, but I also wondered if the unusual spelling of GIP might fit in with some sort of word-pattern game such as Juno has set in the past. I couldn’t spot anything though.

      1. I am familiar with expressions gyppy tummy (upset stomach) and gip (pain), but recall having seen neither written down before. I have just consulted Collins whick helped little and COED, which confirms the former as derived from Egyptian and the latter as GYP or GIP, unrelated. It also gives two further unrelated uses for the latter. It is surprising we don’t see them more often in puzzles.

  13. I’ve lost my QC mojo and have struggled to finish many recently and this was no different.


    Ho hum. Maybe need a break.

    Thanks Juno and Roly anyway.

    1. Don’t think it’s just you. Looking back at my results lately, there’s been more dnf’s in the last few weeks than over the past few years I think.

      They’ve either been hard or I’m on the slippery slope of decline.

  14. To say this was quirky is to be polite. I shared many of the problems mentioned above. I thought RAJ and DRYISH were difficult. I had a problem with GRAVEYARD simply because, having been pleased with myself for seeing AXELS, I spelled it AXleS (I assumed this because of the spinning action, having never seen the word written down). I only sorted this out when the burial ground became too obvious to ignore and AXELS was then my LOI.
    Never heard of TRAVELLERS JOY, thought MOCKERS was a bit weird (but had to be), never seen GYP spelled GIP, and had only ever associated AMTRAC with US trains (yes, I know it is AMTRAK). I biffed LAMPOONED and I liked PRESTO (but am not sure what solvers outside UK would make of it) and CAVEAT.
    Very much a Curate’s egg of a puzzle and it took me into the SCC by a couple of minutes. Can’t say I got too much pleasure from it.
    Yesterday’s puzzle from Orpheus had me thinking that we were beginning finally to move back towards actual QCs this week but clearly not.
    A possible theme has been mentioned. I really wouldn’t waste any of my time looking…..
    Well done Roly for making sense of it all. John M.

  15. “It’s DRYEST”, I thought. “Oh no hang on, that doesn’t work – it’s DRYISH. Yes.” So I then carefully typed in DRYEST. What a twerp. This is Dreaded Pink Square Week.

    It was tough, especially not being able to get the NHO TRAVELLERS JOY until all crossers were in place and then just bunging it in in desperation simply because it fitted. What is it anyway? A plant? Come on Mr Blogger!

    Done in 11:17 but WOE for 1.4K and an Idiotic Day (as part of Stupid Week).

    Many thanks Juno and Roly.


  16. Another tough one. Will the setters not think of my average time?!

    Go to my LOI MOCKERS in the end. It was that top right corner that took up the time. NHO TRAVELLERS JOY, aka Old Man’s Beard! I liked RAJ once I’d got it, but old British Government didn’t have me looking to the subcontinent immediately – I was trying to do something with the O and the B.


  17. I had to drag TRAVELLERS JOY from my subconscious but was familiar with all the other slang and somewhat obscure; nevertheless the puzzle was tricky enough to take at least average time. I particularly liked the precision of the wordplay which this setter managed to achieve whilst also remaining down to earth and often humorous. FOI ANGELS, LOI ENDANGER, COD LAMPOONED. All parsed except the crafty REMINDS. Many thanks, Juno and Roly.

  18. I was wondering why Juno included AMTRAC. Once I saw MOCK and LAMPOON, I presumed it was CARTMAN reversed. I can only see ALEX and PENCE so, a coincidence? I am not a South Park aficionado.

  19. I didn’t realise this was taking me so long. When I finally decided on TRAVELLERS JOY (NHO) and LOI DRYISH 16 minutes had elapsed.

  20. Resounding DNF needing aids to confirm the NHO traveller’s joy, never seen GIP spelled like that, Chambers has AMTRACK as the amphibious vehicle, doesn’t allow the dropping of the K, MOCKERS got but very weird, all leading to a general feeling of shoehorning answers to fit a theme, that I haven’t spotted yet. No time to look now, but I’ll check back later to see if anyone has cracked it. Thanks Roly.

  21. The first clue I looked at had to be Gyp, but the parsing led only to GIP.
    One of those days, I thought; rare alternative spellings etc.
    But I was mightily cheered up by the reference to Preston (North End) which is still in Lancashire. I am going there on Saturday if Avanti can be bothered to run some trains.
    Anyway I battled through this to finish in 15 minutes. POI was DRYISH which led to JOY rather than JET. Unknown plants added to rare spellings etc.
    A tough QC.

  22. Alas, the very easy 1ac and 1d were deceptive, and only six others were solved before the towel had to be thrown in. NHO TRAVELLERS JOY or AXELS, nor MOCKERS (= jinx), nor loco (= mad), nor LIENS, nor jar (= shock), nor GIP. So, simply all way beyond my ken – a GRAVEYARD (though I got that one). Misery. Thank you, Roly, for all the essential instruction.

    1. Not sure if further context may help with jar=shock … “It was a jarring ending to the film” … “I was jarred awake in the middle of the night by a sudden noise”

      1. Thank you. Interesting: your first sentence I would understand as “an unexpectedly disturbing ending to the film” (rather than shocking); and the second, “I was rudely disturbed” (again, rather than the more extreme “shocked”). I concede that the dictionary, along with the expected “a harsh, discordant noise” (or the verb, to make ~), further allows “a jolt or shock”; I can only plead, NH it!

  23. Yes, agree, tricky! Gave up with only the fiendishly clever MOCKERS to go. Now I understand it I rather like it! Needed blog to parse LAMPOONED. Dimly remembered TRAVELLERS JOY but needed to solve RAJ first as I hadn’t thought of transport = joy before securing the ‘j’. DRYISH took some time as I wanted to put an ‘l’ into a food.
    I know some feel this is not a QC but where’s the fun if you can complete a puzzle easily and don’t learn any new words?! Thanks Juno, very enjoyable. Thanks also to rolytoly for the much-needed blog.

  24. 15:44 (Henry VIII captures Boulogne, Earl of Hertford captures Edinburgh)

    Much harder than yesterday, taking more than twice as long. NHO TRAVELLERS JOY. LOI was CAVEAT, unparsed.

    When watching Pointless, I often guess Preston North End for any football question, and it is frequently both a correct answer and a low scoring one.

    Thanks Juno for the enjoyable challenge, and Roly for the blog.

  25. I don’t often do the QC, but Nealchi on the Bigger Brother said it was was the harder of the two, so I thought I’d try for myself. I fully expected AMTRAC to be pinked, despite being a hidden, mostly because I thought it was American railways and not spelt like that. But enjoyed the solve, and completed in 9.48, which coincidentally is the foundation year (minus the dot) of my Alma Mater.

    1. Put me down as one who completed the 15×15 but DNF the QC. Travellers Jet did it for me.

      948. St Albans school?

  26. This must have hit my GK and vocab sweet spot, as I ambled down the grid without much angst and probably a little faster than my average. The plant I knew, the long anagram came quickly, and generally the wordplay presented itself smoothly. Haven’t gone Nina hunting yet though.

  27. The grid still looked like a Swiss cheese as I joined the lengthy coach queue, but at the 30min mark I just had a couple in the NE corner to sort out. . . Raj surely suggested Jet for the transport element of 8ac, but Detest was a non-starter for 7d Dull. What to do ? Pull stumps or persevere ? It’s been a poor solving week, but I do have a stubborn streak and (eventually) thought of the transport/joy connection. Dryish then became an obvious loi. CoD to 9d, Lampooned – what Juno did today to the concept of a QC. Invariant

  28. I join others in finding this a really tough challenge, and assumed most others would have agreed. I crossed the line in 13.16, but felt I was actually on relatively good form to finish over three minutes beyond target.
    Watching Torville and Dean on tv many years ago helped with AXELS otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue. My LOI was TRAVELLERS JOY mainly caused by my inability to get DRYISH for so long, as I was trying to get an L into the answer instead of RY.
    A definite touch of the 15×15 with this one.

  29. Failed to parse 14d REMINDS, so thanks blogger for that. I thought it was hard. Odd choice of words and spellings, some very slangy like GIP. Liked COD 9d LAMPOONED.

  30. In a hurry today so obliged to ‘reveal’ a few answers. Did not want to spend all day worrying about this tricky one.
    Actually I might have got TRAVELLERS JOY if I had persevered!
    Thanks for blog, Roly.

  31. 11:15

    I enjoyed this somewhat chewier challenge, some of which (1d, 8a) would not have been out of place in the 15×15. Didn’t enter any of the acrosses until 17a (though guessed 4a would be an anagram), then all of those subsequent acrosses went in straight off. Bottom half then filled itself in.

    4a, 5d and 6d (RAJ) gave me a toehold in the NE, followed by LAMPOONED and DRYISH – never heard of the plant at 8d but guessed that the second word was JOY and the first word went in from the cryptic. In the NW, GRAVEYARD and LIENS (remembered from the law module of my business studies course 40 years ago), gave ANGELS, leaving the unknown 1d and couldn’t-remember-the-word at 10a. Guessing that 1d was a hidden gave the final checker for 10a.

    Thanks Juno and Roly for an entertaining challenge

  32. I found this tricky too and missed my target. At least I had no pink squares today. ANGELS was FOI. Needed POI, DRYISH, before I was able to complete the OY of LOI, TRAVELLERS JOY. 11:43. Thanks Juno and Roly.

  33. I felt more than a little sluggish on this and I see I’m not the only one, finishing in my slowest time since September last year. LOI was REMINDS where I was misled (as elsewhere on the gird) thinking it was [ultimately] resentS for too long. No problem with LIENS, TRAVELLER’S JOY, GIP or MOCKERS, though. COD to the neat ENGINE DRIVERS. I wonder what the theme is? Something satirical or transport related? Thanks Juno and Roly. 8:18.

  34. I was happy with this as a QC. I knew travellers joy and mockers which unlocked a few difficult clues in the top half. I don’t time my efforts as I am still learning but am getting quicker and able to finish more often.

  35. No exact time today as I forgot to check but it doesn’t matter as it was a DNF. I gave up after about 15 minutes. Totally unstuck by LIENS, which is annoying because I realised I had to pop an I in somewhere, and as I’m going to have pre-assessment for a cataract op tomorrow, lens should be at the forefront of my mind!
    I didn’t think it was too hard until MOCKERS and the aforementioned LIENS. No problem with TRAVELLER’S JOY though – the wild clematis / old man’s beard is great for winter flower decorations 😊
    FOI Angels COD Engine drivers
    Thanks Juno and Roly

    1. Hello Penny,
      I hope your cataract procedure goes/went well today.
      Best regards also from Mrs R.

  36. I enjoyed this. It was moderately challenging except for TRAVELLERS JOY, RAJ and DRYISH, which defeated me, and I gave up after half an hour. COD ENGINE DRIVERS.

  37. Here in Manchester (U.K. not NH that is) gyp is still used to indicate pain as in “my lumbago is giving me some gyp today”. Like many others I have never seen it spelled “gip” or even “grip” as the spell checker just insisted!

  38. DNF, having given up at around 45 mins. At that point I was still missing 10ac, 6dn, 7dn and the second word of 8ac. No JOY at all! I originally had SLICE in at 10ac which clearly put the MOCKERS on 1, 2 and 3dn. NHO of AMTRAC (saw the hidden and googled it to check it was an amphibious vehicle). Knew AXELS and should have got it and just lost the will to live in the NE corner. No problems at all at the bottom of the grid although I couldn’t parse LAMPOONED. Thought 11ac was a strange clue but I can’t put my finger on why. All in all a day (if not a week) to forget.

    FOI – 1ac ANGELS
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 17ac ABDOMEN

    Congratulations to Rolytoly for deciphering this one

  39. Got there in the end (35:56) but glad to have a couple explained by the blog. AXELS was ok – I never aspired to one myself , although a Salchow I did achieve. Lucky enough as a teenager to dance at Streatham Silver Blades with Diane Towler. Liked ENGINE DRIVERS. Very comfy in the SCC. Thanks Juno and roly.

  40. Finally thrown in the towel on the QC. It is getting to the point where there are never any encouraging or simpler ones for beginners. I feel the editors have failed to get the right balance.

    1. I am beginning to lose contact with the beginner mindset but I can empathise with that 👍 There have been QCs I’ve ripped through recently and thought “I wasn’t getting that a year ago”. As well as a tough run of them for the past week or so.

    2. I was in the same place last Friday. To call today’s offering a QC borders on the ridiculous, so put it behind you. We do get some runs of ‘proper’ QCs, so try not to lose heart.

  41. Dnf…

    Just not on this at all. When I reached 30 mins, I still had four clues to go: 11ac “Mockers” (to put the mockers on something does ring a bell – but it’s fairly obscure if you ask me), 7dn “Dryish”, 8ac “Travellers Joy” (got the first bit, but thought the last three letters might be “jig”) and 15dn “Caveat”.

    A toughie I thought. Spent too long looking for an anagram of “bad signs” for 17ac “Abdomen” and had to take a punt at 1dn “Amtrac”.

    FOI – 1ac “Angels”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 22ac “Presto” – I knew piano lessons would come in handy for something.

    Thanks as usual!

  42. Sorry folks found this hard

    There is of course a Nina which no one was going to spot, and it’s a plug for the MriyaAid.org Ukrainian charity, with the only 24/7 live Twitter space, three of whose stalwats are AXEL Jacobs, DOMEN Presern and MOCKERS.
    I strongly recommend a listen occasionally and for those who wish to make a donation to various non-lethal aid causes, one can do so on via their website (easily Googleable) or Twitter

    1. Thanks for letting us know Juno, but I think it unfair to set a theme that is virtually impossible for solvers to find, however good the motive might be. I will look into MriyaAid.org, but I would feel more inclined to support them had I not wasted a bunch of time looking for an unfindable theme earlier today. Well done setting a puzzle that ultimately defeated me.

      1. Ah but Ninas are not necessarily there to be discovered.
        I only bothered to explain this one as I felt it was worth it.

        Some people have more to worry about in their lives than struggling with crosswords, as I explained in a separate post that appears to have “disappeared|”

    2. Thanks for popping by and explaining 👍

      My only request would be that if you’re going to clue unusual stuff e.g. Traveller’s Joy / Mockers – make the clue easy for the QC.

  43. I’m not going to pretend this was easy. In fact I found it very difficult. Never heard of Amtrac, though I did think of putting it. But when I checked the dictionary and even Googled it with no results, I assumed it was not a word.

    Another joyless “QC” for me. I do think this was was too difficult to be classed as a QC.

    1. Weird. As said above, I found AMTRAC easy – stared me in the face. But I agree it’s hardly on google, so where did I get it from – did I dream it? Now there’s a fantasy, dreaming tomorrow’s crossword solutions….

  44. With 18A, I thought “some” at the beginning of the clue meant that it was a hidden word clue…but this one wasn’t! Have I been misled, or is this clue a cheeky exception?

    1. It’s an exception. Like most clues, components can have multiple meanings e.g. if you see “good man” it might mean “ST” or it might be looking for something like “G-AL”.

      The tip off that’s it probably not a hidden is that you’re only looking for a 5-letter answer, so if it were a hidden straddling 3 words – you still have a lot of words left either unused or a weird definition.

  45. Have just given up on the last 4 clues. Usually I’d look again tomorrow but something tells me I could stare forever at them. Very hard and have been attempting these for 4 years now. Have sat by the window many a time and had much TRAVELLERS JOY on Amtrak but did not know it was in my own back yard. NHO the amphibious form thankfully or I’d never have travelled on one. Pretty disappointing week after all the enthusiasm of last Saturday. What will tomorrow bring????

    1. Welcome! Glad you’ve taken the plunge with commenting. Good to see you on Saturday. Don’t despair. There are easier ones, but I have an inkling that tomorrow’s may not be that much easier.

  46. Thought I had finished after 55 mins of toil, but put JET instead of JOY for 8ac and had DATISH for 7dn. Did spot DISH for food and RY for line, so might have got this one, but stymied by not having heard of the plant.

    When an earlier poster says they completed the big crossword but not this one, that really says it all. This was even worse than an IZETTI, and will just have the effect of discouraging all but the most skilled of solvers.

    No fun and only a ‘learning experience’ in the way that a 10-0 drubbing in a football match is a learning experience.

    Thanks for the blog. You were landed with a real stinker today.

    1. Teachers will tell you that kids don’t learn much if they’re not enjoying things. After a tough slog on a QC, I have zero inclination to go away and find out about the new words or GK I’ve learned!

      I see the QC as a test. I’m doubtful any of this year’s GCSE / ‘A’ level students will go back and swot up on the stuff they couldn’t do in their exams …

      1. Agreed!

        On a happier note, I attempted the Quintagram just now and solved it quite quickly, so not all bad on the cryptic front today.

        1. 4:09 on the Cryptic Quintagram … #1 & #5 straight in then crickets.

          I haven’t really been trying it recently. With the recent QCs, I just haven’t had the enthusiasm to face more.

          1. I know what you mean, but I’ve found it enjoyable as I don’t care about the time I take or necessarily getting all of the answers. It’s just something different and a genuine opportunity to learn without any pressure.

  47. I would say this was impossibly difficult, but I did finish it, astonishing myself, so it clearly wasn’t. I confidently put in SLICE for 10A and at first was so convinced by the answer that I thought there must be a mistake in the crossword. LOI Mockers. I still don’t understand Engine Drivers – why is “I END REVERSING” loco… oh, it’s an anagram! Doh! Liked Typist.

  48. I bucked the trend with this one – perhaps I should do it in the evening more often!

    I cleared most of it in one pass, and having all the crossers in place made the hidden NHO AMTRAC easier than it might otherwise have been.

    I nearly came unstuck with my LOI, but fortunately checked the parsing before going with it – to me that spelling suggests a hard G as in given, whereas a Y would soften it as in gyrate. I know which way I will continue to spell it!

    TIME 3:03

    1. As Bobby Jones once said to Jack Nicklaus: “You are playing a game with which I am not familiar.”

      (Nicklaus probably now says the same thing to Tiger Woods et al)

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