Times Quick Cryptic No 2437 by Orpheus

Solving time: 8:35

Until my most recent blog two weeks ago (QC2427), I had blogged Orpheus only once, back in December (QC2287) and now I’ve blogged them twice running… such are the mysteries of the QC setters’ rota. My own time was marred slightly by misreading 24a and spending time later hunting down the incorrect unch (unchecked letter).

I’d say this was a step-up from last time round. While none of the vocab was out of reach, I did have to wedge my thinking-cap on a little more firmly. I didn’t immediately see the hidden at 11a, and if you are from over the pond, you may not have heard of the town at 19a.

How did you all get on?

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

1 Army entertainer (4)
HOST – Double definition
7 Heavenly bodies a hormone finally produces (9)
ASTEROIDS – A STEROID (hormone) S [finally i.e. last letter of {produce}S]
9 Garment originally seen around Rajasthan institutions (4)
SARI – First letters of [originally] Seen Around Rajasthan Institutions
10 Crazy reason for building a railway engine (10)
11 Basil, possibly, taken in by another boy (4)
HERB – taken in by i.e. hidden in another boy

Only parsed post-solve.

12 Youth given rise restricting state benefit (10)
ADOLESCENT – ASCENT (rise) restricting i.e. surrounding DOLE (state benefit)
16 Promote smoked ham, perhaps, or game (10)
BACKGAMMON – BACK (promote) GAMMON (smoked ham, perhaps)

‘Perhaps’ is presumably because GAMMON isn’t always smoked…

19 Auction in Greater Manchester town (4)
SALE – Double definition

According to the 2011 census, the ‘town’ of SALE (which is in the Trafford area of Manchester) had a population of 134,000 (more than twice that of the ‘city’ of Lancaster where I live!)

21 Valet in minister’s residence initially vilified in tirade (10)
MANSERVANT – MANSE (minister’s residence) then stuff V [initially i.e. initial letter of V{ilified}] into RANT (tirade)
23 A container that’s slightly open (4)
AJAR – A JAR – a chestnut
24 Effusion a girl talked of before race (9)
EMANATION – EMA (a girl talked of – homophone of EMMA) before NATION (race)

Initially I’d bunged in the made-up word EVANATION and had to re-check all of my answers before correcting this.

25 Big fish aunt cooked (4)
TUNA – Anagram [cooked] of AUNT
2 Make a speech, initially outlining charge (5)
ORATE – O [initially i.e. initial letter of O{utlining}) RATE (charge)
3 Traffic problem a blind mouse would have welcomed? (8)
TAILBACK – The second part of the clue refers to the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice, the titular characters of which each have their tail removed by the farmer’s wife’s carving knife.

Any mouse (blind or not) relies on its tail for locomotion, defence, stabilisation and balance. In the case of the harvest mouse, it is also semi-prehensile and is used for grasping onto grass stalks.

A TAILBACK is perhaps a euphemism used by rush-hour radio announcers to avoid the dreaded words ‘traffic jam’.

4 Old Conservative carves up wall-coating (6)
STUCCO – O (Old) C (Conservative) CUTS (carves) all reversed [up – apposite as this is a Down clue]
5 Marge spread round top of muffin, a very small amount (6)
GRAMME – Anagram [spread] of MARGE round top of i.e. first letter of M{uffin}

Apparently, this is a UK spelling of gram…

6 Skirt-like garment Liberal leader included in gear (4)
KILT – L (Liberal leader i.e. first letter of L{iberal}) included in KIT (gear)
8 Learned man rested outside commercial vehicle (6)
SAVANT – SAT (rested) outside VAN (commercial vehicle)
13 Thrash young farm animal endlessly (3)
LAM – LAM{b} (young farm animal) [endlessly i.e. remove last letter]
14 Unvarying way worker supports scam (8)
CONSTANT – CON (scam) supported by ST (way i.e. street) ANT (worker)
15 Location accommodating a royal residence (6)
PALACE – PLACE (location) “accommodating” A
17 An American woman overseas (6)
ABROAD – A BROAD (An American woman)

I looked up what makes a woman ‘a broad’ and found this: “A woman who can hang with the guys when necessary but is still the best friend her girlfriends could ever wish for. A broad likes to eat and drink and laugh out loud. A broad is not offended by ribald or salty humor.”

Comments welcome (particularly from any broads)…

18 Chap that is conserving energy, a small-minded type (6)
MEANIE – MAN (Chap) I.E. (that is – ‘i.e.’ is short for id est in Latin) containing [conserving] E (energy)
20 Study Latin at first and make money (5)
LEARN – L (Latin at first i.e. first letter of L{atin}) and EARN (make money)
22 Behaved disgustingly in minor quarrel (4)
SPAT – Double definition


119 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2437 by Orpheus”

  1. I didn’t know SALE, and thought it might be SELL; finally went for SALE but submitted off leaderboard. Mike, your ‘definition’ of BROAD looks like it comes from the Urban Dictionary, which I find totally unreliable and useless. A broad is a woman, period. I don’t think it’s used much these days; it certainly shouldn’t be. 6:01.

    1. Kevin, do you only submit on the leaderboard if you’re sure of all the parsing? If so, that’s admirable. I’m afraid I have no such scruples and submit whether I’ve parsed everything or (more usually) not.

      1. Admirable? I normally submit on the leaderboard if I’ve completed the puzzle and know the time (for instance, I do the Jumbi off leaderboard because I do them in bits over time).

    2. I remember a conversation with an American about the Norfolk Broads which caused much hilarity.

  2. 7.10 for me, I thought it was an enjoyable and nicely balanced puzzle marred only by the word ‘given’ in the clue for 12ac, ‘youth given rise etc’ for ADOLESCENT. I can see where it’s going but I’m not sure it works. Also unsure about the MEANIE definition, in my experience a meanie was less small-minded than just plain mean in the sense of nasty. That was one hold-up for me, MANSERVANT the other. If I had paused to actually study the wordplay for both I would have been quicker. Like Mike I flirted with a girl called EVA but broke it off before too much damage was done.

    1. Certainly small-minded. In the Yellow Submarine the Blue Meanies’ main characteristic is hating all music!

  3. 8’59” held up by ASTEROIDS, ADOLESCENT and STUCCO, none of which are particularly tricky. Enjoyed TAILBACK. Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  4. 7:19. No major problems though early on I was stuck at the not hard 9a where I took ‘Garment originally’ to be G. SALE helped by having a local equivalent in this part of the world. I agree with LindsayO about a MEANIE being used more for an unpleasant person.

    Good puzzle without obscurities or over-complicated parsing.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike

  5. 11:24 Tyre falls to the Crusaders

    LOI EMANATION, my girl was EL{L}A at first, for ELAVATION.

    Calling a KILT a “skirt” could get you LAMped in Scotland


    My daughter and brother both live in SALE, so I go there often. Also home to one of the Rugby premiership teams, Sale Sharks.

    1. TBF, the clue does say “skirt-like”. Yes I wanted it to be EVANATION – it’s EL*E*VATION, isn’t it. I too have a friend living in SALE – a popular place, apparently!

  6. I fair raced through this in well under 10 minutes only to be undone by SARI, which I put in as that rarely heard of garment, the HANI. Doh! So two pinkies awarded.
    Everything quickly fell into place until I reached EMANATION, the parsing of which slowed me at the very end. That said I have to admit that I didn’t need to do a fat lot of parsing this morning and most answers just seemed to leap out at me. A very rare occurrence.
    I liked TAILBACK and STUCCO especially.
    Thank you Orpheus and Mike

  7. 7 minutes. A delightful curtain-raiser to the main event.

    That’s 5 consecutive 10-minute targets achieved now, something that hasn’t happened since mid-April.

  8. Ran for SALE Harriers for years so a nice easy one there once I’d realised Bury wouldn’t fit. Held up at the end by ADOLESCENT and STUCCO but before that things had gone quite well. Six on the first pass of acrosses and then a stready procession of downs. I needed ASTEROIDS to convince me GRAMME was correct. Ended up a shade over 12m but with LEAnN for LEARN for a pink square. Drat.

  9. Rushed from top to bottom in 19.03 with holdup at the last to alphabet trawl re EMANATION. Enjoyed TAILBACK. Thanks as above.

  10. 5.05

    Thought I was going to get mired in the southern hemisphere but suddenly the answers popped into view. And sans coffee.

    Thanks Mike and Orpheus

  11. A nice puzzle, all done in 9 minutes. Like our blogger I didn’t spot the hidden for Herb, but with Basil in the clue and -E-B, the answer was clear. No other problems until my LOI Emanation, where I also though vaguely about Eva before putting the answer in unparsed as the only word I could think of that fitted. And I have a daughter called Emma too! The shame …

    As for Gramme with an -mme ending, it’s our residual kowtowing to French-style spelling. It is seen also in words like telegramme, programme and diagramme, though increasingly these are spelled the short (US) way of -gram, and I think in computing, program is now the only spelling one sees even this side of the pond.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog

    1. Thank you, Cedric – only when you said that did I at last see the hidden HERB. After all, HERB is “another boy” ‘s name, too. Yes certainly in computers it’s always program, but a concert programme is always that, never program. I never saw telegramme – or gramme (but it had to be), for that matter.

      1. commenting here because I romped through this! I am not sure that a meanie is a small minded person and I didn’t know that a savant had to be male!! Enjoyable and satisfying crossword.

        1. I believe the female would be savante but his is all dangerous territory these days!

  12. Made quick work of this enjoyable puzzle with only GRAMME and SARI putting up a smidgen of resistance.
    Started with HOST and finished with EMANATION in 5.19
    Thanks to Mike

  13. As much of a write in as it’s possible to be. As always if it’s this quick, I only half parsed a lot of the clues e.g. my real time parse for HERB missed the hidden, I thought HERB was another boy’s name, like Basil. Only spotted the hidden on post solve review. A few others went in on definition and crossers e.g. ASTEROIDS and LOI STUCCO.

    I liked the surface of ADOLESCENT, so that gets my COD.

    Last 8 puzzles below average time. They must be getting easier. 😉


    1. Wow that is an impressive time. I don’t think I could write in the answers in less than 3.5 mins even if I knew what they were in advance! Having said that, for me understanding why they are the correct answers is part of the fun, so I take the time to parse each clue before moving on. I estimate for a 25 clue crossword that means 12-13 mins is my lowest possible time. you could do 3 QC’s in that time!

      1. Ah, now I would rarely bung in an answer in the QC unless I could at least half parse it (e.g. for STUCCO, I knew there’d be an OC reversed, but didn’t quite get to confirming the reversed CUTS before writing in the answer and moving on), and I’ll always go over the clues afterwards before coming here. For the 15×15, it’s quite common – i.e. it must be the answer (checkers, definition etc), but I just can’t see why until I go to the blog.

        That is also an outlier in terms of time for me. My average is about twice that at 6 3/4 mins so far this year, so firmly in the middle tier.

  14. Heading for a very quick solve until my LOI, EMANATION. I would never pronounce “EMA” as EMMA, but apart from this a superb puzzle up to Orpheus’s usual standard. FOI HOST, COD TAILBACK. Is it the third or fourth time AJAR has appeared during recent days? Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  15. Even I found this very straightforward with quite a few answers coming to mind before I had assimilated the clue completely. There were some nice, more chewy clues, too. I entered my LOI EMANATION in a couple of seconds over 9 mins (all parsed apart from EMA and the missed, well-hidden HERB) so I can claim ca. 1.5K today.
    I actually did a better job (and enjoyed it more) by being more relaxed, having taken on board the comment from sltrach yesterday who wrote: ‘… being up against the clock spoils the whole process for me’.
    The move back to genuine QCs continues. Hooray!
    Thanks to both. John M.

  16. Another outing from the SCC today at 16.39. My second time ever. Given my first was only last week, I can’t tell if this represents an improvement in my trend, or a small cluster of wins in a Poisson distribution. Time will tell.
    I was another who saw HERB as the other boy.
    Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

      1. I had an interesting email discussion with starstruck_au about statistical models and the SNITCH. I also thought of a Poisson distribution as I think the distribution of solving times has a long tail. However other factors have more of an influence – not least that the leaderboard shows only the top 100 times, which is why the SNITCH tends to fall later in the day as the slower solvers are pushed off it, and the ‘neutrino’ problem that the SNITCH cleverly solves. I’m in discussion with Mr SNITCH over futures for it – I think a SNITCH for the QC might be of interest for some. If people don’t know about the SNITCH, follow the link under USEFUL links to find out more.

        1. The SNITCH link was an interesting read, though Mrs Snail is showing increasing concern for me…
          The logical extension of the SNITCH analysis would be to automate a re-cast top 100, excluding those that have been determined with high statistical probability as being Neutrinos. However, I guess there may have to be an appeal procedure for a few real solvers who were labelled as Neutrinos, which would make the whole thing administratively burdensome. Not a problem for me – I speak from a position of safety as 1) I can’t type very fast, and 2) I can’t solve very fast (yet).

          1. The glossary is your friend – definitions of all the odd acronyms and terms used here. Not sure whether you’re on a phone or a computer, but it’s in the “useful links” link at the side or the bottom of the screen.

      2. Indeed, many of us track averages, (the mean), but not enough discussion of Variance, an interesting one to track, a measure of consistency.

        1. And we could perhaps then discuss coefficients of Kurtosis and Skewness.

          1. How can I tell if I’m mesokurtic, I wonder? But there are some more basic problems we need to address first. How do we deal with DNFs? Solved but with 1/2/3 wrong that are mistakes not typos? Giving up in despair and using aids to finish? Not that any of those are applicable to me for the QC, of course 😊,but sometimes the 15×15. The SNITCH includes only those who submit all correct, which I think is right. I think there’s enough in this topic for at least a Master’s thesis! Maybe not a Nobel prize winning study… but how about an Ig nobel prize? Any takers for writing a paper on the topic?

        2. I track both my mean and my variance. Mean is around 12 minutes, variance 4-5, but distribution clearly skewed not normal, as in 700+ logged times, I’ve been above 4SD from the mean on the long side but never once 2SD from the mean on the short side.

          Interestingly (which I know is a loaded word for many when one is discussing numbers) my mean for the Saturday Specials is about the same but the SD is under 2 minutes. Our Saturday compilers are Messrs Consistency personified!


      3. Hello Mendeset,
        I’ve just posted two (the only even prime number, btw) replies to comments in this trail. Is that enough to keep you going?

        1. I have absolutely loved dropping into this thread through the day! About to get into queueing theory- thank you!

          1. QT is one of the few topics I know something about, as it formed part of my degree many years ago and because I had the dubious pleasure of having to teach it when I returned to acadaemia much later in my career.

      1. Thank you! If I start delivering consistently better times, I may promote myself to Sloth.

        1. 😅 It may be quite soon, based on your speedy progress! However, I’m quite lost with this talk of statistics, even though I’ve had a lesson from Random. I understood it at the time 😅 On reflection, I think it was probability!

        2. I think you might be required to go through the Tortoise stage first before being allowed to progress to Slothdom.

    1. Well done Mr Snail …
      … and just to say that if your “wins” follow a Poisson distribution the intervals between those “wins” follow an Exponential distribution. Queuing (or ist it queueing?) theory applies here.

  17. DNF. Did not enjoy this puzzle as much as yesterday’s one.

    Broad is just an American derogatory name for woman, nothing more than that. Perhaps something like “bint” over here.

  18. I try to be positive in my posts and don’t want to be a MEANIE but I do find the use of the word BROAD in the clue and blog offensive. Our language is so rich and the setters so skilled, it is completely unnecessary to use words some consider to be offensive IMHO.

    I was enjoying it up till that point.

  19. For once I rattled through this one. Last in? Believe it or not HOST!

  20. All green in an hour; this is becoming the “new normal”. Compare some months ago,”all done in my usual 25 minutes” – maybe these are indeed a bit harder than some earlier? Several were easy, but held up by ADOLESCENT and the SW corner. FOI HOST, COD TAILBACK, LOI SPAT. Thank you, Orpheus. But some I couldn’t entirely parse, so thank you too, Mike.
    Yes we had AJAR just the other day – also TUNA for “aunt” (or other way round) recently, too.

      1. Very kind of you – so sorry, my memory is dim, did we have LOCO (= mad) before and I said I’d NHO it? Today I asked Mrs M “do you know, does LOCO mean mad?” and she had NHO it – but I thought I recalled it from some time ago – is that it?

          1. Yes of course I remember: ENGINE DRIVERS, and loco (= mad) was the anagram indicator. Well done making the connection!

  21. 12:47 Death of Robin Hood?
    Another top to bottom solve with no major holdups. FOI SARI, LOI EMANATION. I shall be wearing my “skirt-like garment” in a couple of weeks for a wedding just outside Edinburgh; a good reminder to get it out of the wardrobe and check that I can wear it comfortably following my recent abdominal op. COD probably ADOLESCENT. It’s nice to have had 3 SCC escapes in a row 🙂 Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

    1. Death of Robin Hood-what? Surely as long as there’s one oak tree left in England Robin lives on!

  22. A typically neat Orpheus puzzle. There have been discussions before about the use of BRAID. Perhaps that dated and , to many, offensive meaning should be disallowed in puzzles now. As for my solve, no problems, although I was slow to see the nicely hidden HERB was a hidden. LOI SPAT. COD to TAILBACK – very witty. Thanks Orpheus and Mike. 4:03.

  23. Thought that was going to be an Oink when I got to BACKGAMMON (we still can’t see the setter on the iPhone app, Mr Editor). Was amazed to discover that it’s Orpheus because I usually find him tricky and I went through that from top to bottom for 04:59 all parsed. Sub 5 is even rarer for me than sub-K so both in one go makes this a Frabjous Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Mike.


    Ps BROAD doesn’t seem to have been offensive in the 50s because it’s all over Guys & Dolls (“When a bum buys wine like a bum can’t afford
    It’s a cinch that the bum is under the thumb of some little broad” eg)

    1. Ah, those were the days – you could say anything you liked then….. (sorry, should even that remark be cancelled?)

    2. By curious coincidence, I was in Manchester last night watching Generation Sex i.e. two members of 70s punk band Generation X and two members of 70s punk band Sex Pistols, entertaining a large crowd with tunes from both bands’ back catalogue.

      The singer? Billy Idol (in remarkably good voice considering he is 67).

      The coincidence? Billy Idol was born William BROAD…

  24. FOI, ORATE, LOI, PALACE. Liked TAILBACK. Can’t belive I totally missed the hidden HERB! 6:51. Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  25. 8:10 (Birth of Kenneth MacAlpin, founder of the Kingdom of Scotland)

    A much easier solve than recently. LOI was ASTEROIDS, since I had forgotten that a steroid could act as a hormone.

    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

  26. Well, the easy ones were very easy and the hard ones. . . . a tad difficult, so I suppose that makes for a good puzzle. Mind you, I wasn’t too sure when stuck on my loi 12ac and with the clock heading for the 20min mark, but it’s amazing how much easier clues are when you look at the right end (or left in this case 😉). CoD, for the smile, to 3d Tailback. Invariant

  27. NHO Lam but it had to be.
    Thought EMA a bit of a stretch.
    Pleased with 17 minutes.

    1. LAM comes up two to three times a year in crosswordland. As do many other words that nobody ever actually uses!

  28. Another sub par time for me finishing in 8.52. I think all three puzzles so far this week have hit the mark in terms of measure of difficulty; i.e. neither too difficult or too easy. I join the list of others who failed to see hidden HERB, though the answer was obvious. My sister lived in Sale at one time, so no problem there.

  29. 13 mins…

    Felt I should have been quicker on this, as there were a lot of quick wins in the top of the grid. Main hold up was in the SW corner with 21ac “Manservant”, 24ac “Emanation” and the annoying 22dn “Spat” which required an alphabet trawl.

    FOI – 1ac “Host”
    LOI – 22dn “Spat”
    COD – 3dn “Tailback”

    Thanks as usual!

  30. On the wavelength today for this clever QC, fortunately. FOI HOST (Chestnut?).
    COD the witty TAILBACK. Also very much liked LOCOMOTIVE and BACKGAMMON. ADOLESCENT and MANSERVANT biffed before parsing.
    Luckily SALE sprang to mind.
    LOsI EMANATION and SPAT, both requiring some thought.
    Thanks vm, Mike.
    PS In ‘South Pacific’ a sailor sings that his girl is ‘broad where a broad should be bro-aw-aw-ad’ but that was in the 1950s, so yes a bit off nowadays perhaps.

  31. 4.30. Pleased with that time as I have Covid and feel pretty rubbish. I gather that it’s rife at the moment.
    I enjoy “Snail’s” witty contributions.
    I can’t get too upset about the use of the word BROAD, but then I am not one.
    There is usually comment on using nation as a substitute for race, but maybe I haven’t read carefully enough.

    1. Hello Koppite,
      I commented that ‘race’ does not equal ‘nation’, but I posted some time after you.

  32. A very enjoyable puzzle from Orpheus with many lovely clues. I finished in 13 minutes, all parsed except that I missed the hidden HERB. Started off symmetrically having filled in the NW and SE from the first pass of the acrosses with precious little in between. However the downs filled in most of the spaces and then it was just a case of mopping up the remainder.

    FOI – 1ac HOST
    LOI – 24ac EMANATION
    COD – 16ac BACKGAMMON but there were a lot of candidates today. I also liked TAILBACK and LOCOMOTIVE

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike

  33. Enjoyed this puzzle, thank you Orpheus. Also thanks for the blog, Mike. Always appreciate the ones with a little bit of extra information.
    Feeling a bit left out as we don’t actually know anyone in Sale. A friend in Stockport will have to do!

    I had no idea that BROAD is supposed to be a rude term for a woman. I thought it meant a feisty sort who could hold her own and took no nonsense.
    I thought I was up-to-date with most of the new cancelled speech – we also do the Guardian crossword and read a blog about that and I’m always saying “Ooh, they won’t like that”, but I didn’t see objections to BROAD coming.
    I shall remember to bristle if I’m ever called one 😉

  34. How does ARMY = HOST?

    I saw that HERB was a hidden, so am feeling very smug, but as I only solved 10 clues, I really shouldn’t!

    1. I think host is an archaic term based on the Latin hostis and related to our word hostile, but it does crop up historically as a synonym for army. Whatever its genesis, in the world of the crossword it is shorthand for army every day of the week!

      1. Thank you. Archaic words, unknown outside the world of crosswords, are exactly the sort of thing that puts newbies, like me, off.

        1. Host for army may be archaic, but it’s also biblical as in ‘the heavenly host’ ‘host of angels’ etc, which are still in common use.

          1. Yes “host” specifically and literally = army often in the Bible, as for example Judges 4:15 where the Authorised Version “the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host” is modernised in the New English Bible as “The LORD put Sisera to rout with all his chariots and his army”.

    2. host = large number of people/things
      so an army of volunteers/host of volunteers.

  35. I thought this was on the easier side and worked it through steadily. COD TAILBACK.

  36. I usually find Orpheus a challenge but not so much today. Lots of chestnuts inc. TUNA, AJAR, ORATE and PALACE. Really enjoyed TAILBACK. Also appreciated the surfaces for ADOLESCENT and SPAT. LOI EMANATION which took some time to unravel. Thanks to Mike and Orpheus. Btw I don’t like the term ‘broad’ either – I wonder how much it’s still in usage in the states though?

  37. A bit late coming in to comment

    Enjoyed this so thanks! However an american woman I met was offended by my joke about Norfolk Broads so beware. Also lam is a crossword familiar but I have never heard it or seen it otherwise in my 70 + years – fails my quickie test!

  38. Done in 2 parts as I got to the end and couldn’t see manservant or emanation straight away.
    Time 2 hrs 9 or roughly 15 m excluding the break.

  39. 13:20. NHO TAILBACK but have added it to my wordstore. Enjoyed LOCOMOTIVE most.I used to know some girls who revelled in being called broads as it meant they were tough-talking, hard-smoking and -drinking dames who took no guff from anyone. Oh well, to quote the Romans: “Tempora mutantur et nos in illis mutamur”.

  40. I was on the wavelength today: all done in 6:33, astonishingly fast for me, but found I’d somehow mis-typed KILT as LIIT. Gaaah!

    I’ve lived in the US for nearly 30 years, and can’t remember ever hearing “broad” used in real life, for what that’s worth.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike.

  41. I have enjoyed a fantastic run of quick (for me) solves recently – all of the last eight <30 minutes – but that sequence was brought to an end today by one pesky clue. As I entered the SCC at the 20-minute mark I had just solved my penultimate clue, but I was faced with E_A_A_I_N and no idea how the clue worked. A massive alphabet trawl ensued, but given that I DNK the word, that it took eons before I realised what 'talked of' meant and that I didn't (and still don't) equate 'race' with nation, I spent almost as long again before I found EMANATION. Even then, I came here more in hope than expectation. Total time = 39 minutes, but I'm thankful it wasn't a DNF.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Mike H.

  42. A lot of good/clever humour from a generous Orpheus today. This made it a pleasure to solve. Pretty well straight top to bottom. Agree ‘Broad’ may upset some, but then in the song oft quoted above so might ‘Bum’ but they were sung ‘in character’ and o the time. Maybe we’ve moved on… Only 24a Emanation gave pause for thought. Again it feels slightly old-fashioned to use ‘race’ for ‘nation’ but not impossible – esp in crossword-land. Missed the hidden Herb in my eager search for more fun clues.

    FOI 1a Host – a chestnut, and one of
    LOI 24a Emanation – was stuck with Emma, not taking in the homophone hint.
    COD10a Locomotion – just for the humour.

  43. Back again, I’m afraid!

    May I ask if someone (anyone) would mind explaining why ‘race’ = ‘nation’? To my mind, a nation is an artificial construction, whereas a race occurs naturally. And a race of people transcends nation states.

    I spent ages wrestling with ‘Asian’ and ‘Arabian’, as these seemed more likely.

    1. This won’t answer your question but …

      In my university days, probably the sports sociology module, I recall being told there is no such thing as race. That there are more genetic differences within races than between them. Discuss.

    2. Nation: a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.

      Also Nation: a North American Indian people or confederation of peoples.

      I think in both cases you could substitute ‘Race’ in a sentence and get the same sort of meaning.

      Nation does have not to mean a country.

  44. The answers flew in and all finished in 18 minutes except for 24a which took me to 29 minutes. A most enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks Orpheus, and Mike for pointing out the hidden herb.

  45. 6:44. Fastest for a while and no spelling mistakes either! I did this separately from MrB, who managed 10 clues on his own before we went through it together.
    There were several old friends – HOST, ASTEROIDS, AJAR and LEARN to name a few – but welcome all the same 😊 Only EMANATION put up much of a fight, as others have commented. I liked the surface for GRAMME, and TAILBACK made me smile, although it wasn’t hard when nearly all the checkers were there. This grid doesn’t provide much of a challenge IMO, but it was a fun crossword.
    FOI Host LOI Emanation COD Herb
    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

    BTW I got automatically logged out again today – I wonder what’s going on?

  46. On the wavelength and got home in 18 mins, with a few spent on EMANATION. Like others, I toyed with EVA- and ELA- before PDM. Also failed to parse herb.

    I’d always understood a nation state to comprise a country peopled by a particular race so had no problem with nation, but other posts suggest this may be incorrect.

    Lots of good clues today that made me smile.

    Are we on a run of towns in the Greater Manchester area! Sale today and Bury appeared very recently in a clue. I’ll need to get the atlas out at this rate!

    Thanks for the blog.

      1. Thanks L-Plates, and well done to you too! A rare example of a setter becoming a little more benign.

        There must be a killer from Izetti any day now. 🤣🤣🤣

        1. Def Izetti coming … maybe editor saving it to Friday so we can spend the whole weekend solving 🤣

          Any sign of your book yet?

    1. Looking back at Juno from two weeks ago, I note we had Preston that day (QC2428)

  47. Not sure what has happened with Orpheus as to mid-April, he was a rather fiendish (42, 38, 37, 43, 23, 38, 46) – just one time under 35mins. Since then 19, 13, 28, 23, 13, 17 today. I don’t think that’s purely better solving on my part.

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