Times Quick Cryptic No 2442 by Izetti


After a few easier outings over the last few weeks, Izetti is back to stretch us. There were two words in the solutions that I had genuinely never seen before: SCUP and EAGRE. I finished in 18:37, but needed aids to complete the BLITHERING – MEAGRE pairing. I spent 5 minutes looking at those: I wasn’t able to un-see “BRIGHT” as the start of 3d.

I think there was a good mix of clues in this. Some were at the easier end (TERM, WELL), the anagrams were not too long and fairly indicated, and so there were almost enough crossing letters to get the hard ones.

Definitions underlined in italics, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in squiggly brackets.

1 Ruthless tactics in difficult social gathering (8)
HARDBALLHARD (difficult) + BALL (social gathering).
5 Fish stored in this cupboard (4)
SCUP – Hidden [stored] in “thiS CUPboard”.

I hadn’t heard of this type of fish. Per Wikipedia, “the scup (Stenotomus chrysops) is a fish that occurs primarily in the Atlantic from Massachusetts to South Carolina.” One to try to add to the memory banks.

But “stored” had alerted me that this was probably a hidden word, so when the C and the P turned up, in it went.

8 Warnings — a count is fiddled (8)
CAUTIONS – Anagram [fiddled] of A COUNT IS.
9 Cathedral cleric will get caught out soon (4)
ANON – {C}ANON (cathedral cleric), with C for caught (cricket abbreviation) removed [out].

‘Anon’ for ‘soon’ feels quite Shakespearian, if only because of the scene in Shakespeare In Love.

11 Most superficial son greeting old temptress Mae (10)
SHALLOWESTS for son + HALLO (greeting) + WEST (old temptress Mae).

Less common form of ‘hello’, but it’s in the dictionary, so fair enough.

14 Poor maiden meeting bore (6)
MEAGREM for maiden (another cricket abbreviation) + EAGRE (bore).

My second unknown word. From the SOED:

eagre – a tidal bore in a river; now esp. that in the River Trent.

A “tidal bore” is when the incoming tide forms a wave that flows upstream in the river. Some are big enough to be surfed on.

15 For every boy there’s somebody (6)
PERSONPER (for every, as in “one per person”) + SON (boy).
17 Surprised to see one imprisoned in Birmingham outhouse (10)
ASTONISHEDI (one) inside [imprisoned in] ASTON (part of Birmingham, UK) SHED (outhouse).
20 Period in winter months (4)
TERM – hidden [in] “winTER Months”.
21 Monks having troubles — right to intervene (8)
BROTHERSBOTHERS (troubles) with R for right added.
22 Beloved  costing a lot of money (4)
DEAR – double definition
23 A second gathering, regardless of ethical considerations (8)
AMORALLYA + MO (second) + RALLY (gathering).

If a second isn’t ‘S’, it will be ‘MO’.

1 Nag  poor journalist? (4)
HACK – double definition, the first being in the sense of a horse.
2 Defeat when Lancashire’s No 9 gets dismissed (4)
ROUTR [the ninth letter of LancashiRe – ‘Lancashire’s No 9’] + OUT (dismissed, as in cricket).

I don’t think I’ve seen this construction before, it gave me a nice PDM when the R from HARDBALL went in.

3 Like an idiot in cheerful group? (10)
BLITHERINGBLITHE (cheerful) + RING (group).

With B_I_H_ at the start, I was convinced that this was going to start with BRIGHT.

4 Pine endlessly, coming to Cambridge city in need of company (6)
LONELYLONG (pine) without the G [endlessly] + ELY (Cambridge city).

Definite eyebrow raise at defining Ely as “Cambridge city”. “Cambridgeshire city”, sure, but it’s about a 30 minute drive from Cambridge to Ely.

6 Study tragic Hardy girl, a noble female (8)
CONTESSACON (study) + TESS (tragic Hardy girl) + A.

The girl in question is the titular character of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, a tragedy by Thomas Hardy.

I originally had COUNTESS, even though I wasn’t happy with the parsing.

7 Remorseful writer with intent to drop first name (8)
PENITENTPEN (writer) + I{n}TENT [intent without the first N for name].
10 One fixing “funny” part of the body for example (10)
BONESETTER – I think this is just a cryptic definition, the reference being to the “funny” bone in the upper arm. More correctly known as  the humerus, which I’ve always found pleasing.
12 Had an influence as little devil, having done something (8)
IMPACTEDIMP (little devil) + ACTED (having done something)
13 Bugs in bear and cat, I fancy (8)
BACTERIA – Anagram [fancy] of BEAR CAT I.
16 A quiet sheep in retreat (6)
ASHRAMA + SH (quiet, as in “sh!”) + RAM (sheep).

I faintly knew this word, defined in my dictionary as “In the Indian subcontinent: a hermitage, a place of religious retreat”.

18 In good health? Fancy that! (4)
WELL – A double definition, the second as in “well, well, well, three holes in the ground”.
19 Catch sight of English agent (4)
ESPYE for English + SPY (agent).

86 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2442 by Izetti”

  1. My experience was much closer to the Doof’s end of the scale than vinyl1’s, in fact I set a new PW with 20.57. My last four – ASTONISHED, MEAGRE, BONESETTER and BLITHERING – took more than half my total time. NHO eagre, was all at sea with bonesetter and it never occurred to me to link Aston and Birmingham. Toyed with blithe for a while after rejecting bright, but while the phrase ‘blithering idiot’ is well-known it went straight past my brain for far too long. I suspect this terrific puzzle will engender many complaints but I enjoyed it and am happy to give Izetti the points today.

  2. Close to 10’ for me, so not too easy.

    I was with our blogger on the NHO “SCUP”, and didn’t bother parson ASTONISHED. I liked BLITHERING, when I finally got it.

  3. 16:00. Enjoyed AMORALLY, ASTONISHED, and BLITHERING the most. NHO SCUP or EAGRE but crossing letters made SCUP likely as the hidden and I thought EAGRE for bore must be a variant spelling of “auger”. I learned however that EAGRE the tidal bore and the auger as drill aren’t related.

  4. I never look to see who the setter is, but from all the comments I’ve seen on Izetti, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that this was one of his. I biffed ASTONISHED, so not knowing Aston was not a problem. EAGRE has appeared several times in 15x15s. I knew 3d had to be BLITHERING, but it took me a while to see why. DNK SCUP. 4:45.

  5. I expect lots of fellow sufferers will be joining me at the bar of the SCC for a swift reviver after this one.
    Some easy, some enjoyably challenging; ASTONISHED raised a smile.
    The BLITHERING/MEAGRE pair were my last in and took forever. I didn’t think of blithe for a long time but that was the PDM. MEAGRE went in last with a shrug on the basis of definition and M with no inkling of what the EAGRE part was. Never met a SCUP either but the clue was clearly a hidden.
    I foresee a few moans on the vocab today!

  6. 10 minutes. I’d also never heard of SCUP but like curryowen I guessed from the clue that it was hidden and bunged it in as soon as the checkers confirmed it.

    Bore/EAGRE is a regular thing and sometimes appears with reference to the River Severn (illustrated in the link in Doofer’s blog) so that was no problem.

    The one that nearly took me beyond my 10-minute target was BONESETTER, firstly finding a word that would fit and then trying to justify it because even as a cryptic clue it’s a little loose to rely on the connection with ‘funny’.

    I didn’t blink at ‘Cambridge town’ as the ‘-shire’ suffix is commonly dropped from county names. The setter is let completely off the hook by the second entry under ‘Cambridge’ in Collins: short for Cambridgeshire.

  7. This is one of the hardest ones I can ever remember. Defeated finally by HARDBALL and BLITHERING and struggled over all but the most obvious ones. Never heard of a SCUP, but it had to be. Much, much too hard for a ‘quick’ crossword in my opinion.
    Despite Jackkt’s explanation above I would want to argue that ELY is a Cambridgeshire or Cambs city, not a Cambridge city. (Who ever says ‘I’m off to Cambridge today’ meaning somewhere in the county?) Also, ASTON might be a suburb of Birmingham but it is not a substitute for that fair city. Some very dubious clueing here. A disappointing start to the day.

  8. Approached warily after only getting four acrosses on the first pass but despite having to to work hard throughout ended up with a pleasing 14m solve. SCUP and MEAGRE like others but ASTONISHED was fine, I’ve used the Aston Expressway many times and been to Villa Park once. Couldn’t have told you with any confidence what an ASHRAM was before sitting down but the cryptic seemed clear. All green again – could my typing be improving?

  9. 18’47” and came close to throwing in the towel on a number of occasions – only 2 went in on first pass! Happy to have struggled through though with BLITHERING and BONESETTER my last two with HARDBALL also proving elusive. DNK EAGRE but will file away (and forget).

    Thanks Izetti for a proper workout and Doof for the fine blog and for having a completion time very similar to mine!

  10. An educational offering from Izetti today. SCUP and EAGRE were both new to me as was that definition of blithe, which I’d always associated with being casual or careless.
    Got off to a good start with most of the NW going straight in but had some struggles later on with LOI BONESETTER needing an alphabet trawl- I find that I either see cryptic definitions straight away or they cause me all sorts of problems with very little in between.
    Despite my battles I managed to finish within target at 9.12.
    Thanks to Doofers for the blog and Izetti for an enjoyable challenge.

  11. Even the SCC turned me away from the door today, so I’m holed up in a bus shelter, nursing a consolatory bottle of moonshine. I always vow to skip the QCC when next I see Izetti’s name, and yet somehow, when I see it, I get duped into thinking that it might be different this time. Nope.

    1. I made the same vow a few weeks ago, kept it this week, and, seeing blog and comments, am glad I did.

  12. I wondered when we would see Izetti again after enjoying a good set of actual QCs since his last outing.
    He did not disappoint – this was an interesting and testing puzzle but, as feared, just not a QC (at least for the majority IMO). It took me a few minutes into the SCC but was a dispiriting experience, overall. I found it a strange mix of the simple and the arcane.
    My memory tells me that Izetti used to provide quite demanding QCs that were, nevertheless, generally accessible puzzles. I used to enjoy them and finish them without being made to feel inadequate. We have the 15×15 for that.
    Thanks to doofers for a good blog. John M.

    1. You won’t be prosecuted for not doing them – see above. Although Izetti’s wordplay is always impeccable, I find most of his clues humourless, and when I complete one of his “Quick” crosswords I feel a similar satisfaction as completing a drive on the M25 in rush hour.

  13. 6.37

    For a change, suspected this was an Izetti, when solving. Also wanted BRIGHT something but RING had to be right so it couldn’t be.

    Liked ASTONISHED. Not sure BONESETTER quite worked and like Jackkt that was my LOI

    Nice time from Kevin. Not too many sub-Ks today methinks

    Thanks Doofers and Izetti

  14. Got there in the end though struggled in NW with HARDBALL and BLITHERING. Had to biff a few, eg NHO SCUP. NHO EAGRE= bore. Cd not parse ROUT.
    After all this time, when I see Cambridge city, I think ELY, so the tricks of the trade are sinking in at last.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  15. Taken into the SCC today at 21 minutes for this challenging puzzle. What everyone else said really, and little else to add. The Don flexing his muscles and taking the points. Thanks both.

  16. DNF for me, just couldn’t see BONESETTER. By then MEAGRE and BLITHERING and others had taken me to nearly 14 mins. Found that really tough.

    Oh well, there’s another one tomorrow!

    Thanks Izetti and Doofers.


  17. Just under 13 1/2 minutes. Outside my target but I wasn’t too disappointed as I’d become bogged down with BLITHERING (same initial thoughts about BRIGHT as a few others) and then BONESETTER at the very end, which I almost gave up on. One more piscine creature to add to the list, or so I thought but I had come across SCUP before and no surprise had completely forgotten it.

    Thanks to Doofers and Izetti

  18. I am 100% with Blighter that if Izetti wants to set puzzles with words like Scup (even though very getable from the obvious hidden) and Eagre (which my dictionary marks as “dialect term, origin early 17th century, of unknown origin”) then he has the 15×15 for that. I do not want the QC to introduce me to random obscure words I do not know, and would never use or see again outside crosswordland having been told about them.

    Sorry if this sounds a bit hacked off. Of course Izetti knows more than me. Of course his vocabulary is wider than mine. Of course he can set very fine crosswords. But the inclusion of such erudition in a QC is uncalled for and comes very close to showing off. His colleagues are much better at setting appropriate standard puzzles and giving the average solver here an enjoyable experience. Which is the object of the exercise.

    End of rant. For the record I completed the grid, all green, in 11 minutes, but with no idea about Scup, a MER at Bonesetter (poor clue IMO) and aids required to check Meagre.

    Many thanks Doofers and bad luck meeting a poor QC in my view.

    1. When you’ve tackled my Weekend Specials, you’ve been full of praise for them. However I’m not averse to throwing in obscure words, and there’s nothing wrong with that – always provided that the surface is fair.

      1. Fair point, though there is also a difference between “a word I didn’t know but might have done and am happy to be shown” and “an obscure word I have very little likelihood of ever knowing or needing to know in the future”. And no I can’t always explain which words will get which reaction either. Throw in my right to have got out of bed on the wrong side and various other entirely scientific factors and I’m afraid I am not exactly a model of consistency. But for the record I don’t think my eyebrow-raising muscle ever gets much workout on a Saturday…

      2. You, three, set weekend qcs that pitch the challenge at qc level, every time.
        The best setters!

    2. Totally agree. If anyone wants a workout with obscure / useless / arcane vocabulary, there’s the 15×15

  19. I enjoyed this so thanks Izetti and Doof, However I did find it exasperating in places. I’m not sure why the quickie setters dabble with obscure words and usages. I think it causes unnecessary exasperation or courts needless controversy.

  20. DNF, I banged in REASON with one second left on the clock (20:22), having spent an age on BONESETTER, which I didn’t think was a great clue. Having done these crosswords for some time I’m never surprised at a new NHO fish. Hello SCUP, please meet SHAD, CHAD, RUDD, CHAR, CHUB, LING, SCAD etc.

    EAGRE also seems a bit much for a QC. I 100% agree with Cedric, the QC is not for setters to show off their vocab.

    Can BLITHERING ever be used without “idiot”?

    1. Mrs S frequently uses it in eg the phrase “Oh how perfectly blithering”, to mean annoying, frustrating or just (qua “like an idiot”) outright stupid.

  21. All of the above. Finished in 32 minutes without much of a smile. Sagged into my usual corner chair and perked up with a chocolate croissant.

  22. Lots of great, even if unknown/tricky, stuff here which was highly entertaining. Bonesetter seems an unusual clue but no less welcome for that. My solve was far from straightforward- to the extent that I finished up in the NW. 14 minutes – without a care that this was 3.5 Ks or so! Thanks for the blog.

  23. Like others I consider this to be on the tough side, although it’s interesting to note that some of the regular American contributors produced good times, in spite of a number of obscure English geographic references.
    I would have been under target if it hadn’t been for my LOI BONESETTER, which took me well over two minutes to solve. In the end I broke the tape in 10.58.

  24. Hack and Hardball went in straight away, so I thought this was going to be an ‘easy’ Izetti 🙄 In the end, exactly the same issues as Doofs, (especially thinking 3d had to be Bright-), with an added Bonemender diversion at 10d until the Brothers came along. Eagre/Bore really is way too specialised for a QC, and took the edge off what otherwise proved to be an enjoyable DNF. CoD to 17ac, Astonished, if only to celebrate the use of somewhere outside the home counties in a clue. . . Invariant

  25. HACK, ROUT and HARDBALL got me off to a quick start. BLITHERING and BONESETTER needed crossers and some cogitation. SCUP was a new one, thankfully hidden. Knew eagre for bore, so made reasonable progress to LOI, BROTHERS. 6:50. Thanks Izetti and Doofers.

  26. 16 minutes. LOI BLITHERING.
    I have now done enough crosswords to know that almost any likely combination of letters can be a fish, so not troubled by the unknown SCUP.

  27. What an awful offering from Izetti. Come on Izetti! This is supposed to be the QC. I sometimes wonder whether these setters know the difference between the QC and the 15×15.

    Got absolutely nowhere with this. Totally unenjoyable. Not impressed with Izetti’s offering at all.

    1. You just need to work on your parsing skills. There was nothing here that couldn’t be cracked with a little patience.

    2. Not unfair, but challenging to us wot aren’t 15x15ers. But if we are not challenged, we could just be banging in similar solves every day.
      I felt there were enough easy clues to provide a foothold for some of the less obvious ones, which gave most of the crossers for the real tough (in my view) few. Nothing wrong, I feel, in really having to work the parsing muscles with Izetti.

    3. I know exactly where PW is coming from.

      To state the obvious, the more clues one solves, the easier the remainder of the crossword becomes. For those of us who are not natural solvers and who often find it hard to establish a foothold when a QC is this difficult, it can be demoralising to make a pass at the grid and have very few answers inserted. I think I had 5 or 6 after the first pass today. Faced with that, it is extremely hard to work out almost all of the answers from scratch, with very few checkers. Add to that the insertion of some very uncommon words (such as EAGRE), and that is when the QC becomes unenjoyable and is instead a long, slow slog.

  28. 25mins for all but BROTHERS / BONESETTER. Took a break after 10mins of staring and gave it another 15mins on a 2nd attempt but could never quite get there. Sadly I now consider it a win to have four or fewer left at 30mins on an Izetti 😢

  29. DNF, used aids for bonesetter even with all the checkers. I felt it was a bit dodgy, but I have now decided it is very good.
    SCUP easy enough as a hidden, but came as a surprise. Porgy would have been OK because of the opera, but it doesn’t fit obv!
    Aston easy enough because of the Aston Expressway which anyone using the M6 must know. Actually I am a brummie, but don’t know Brum well.
    Eagre very familiar from crosswords. On the Severn it is usually called a bore, apparantly eagre is associated more with the Trent as it is a local word.

  30. DNF. Interestingly I worked out the BONE bit but couldn’t get SETTER. Poor clue in my opinion. The rest of the grid took about 13 minutes.

  31. I thought it was at the easier end of Izetti’s scale, despite the unknown fish, and the generalisation of Aston, and two passes proved sufficient.

    TIME 3:43

  32. Dnf…

    I occasionally get a rare “sub 10”, but sometimes I also get a rare “nowhere near” – and this was one of them. Gave up with at least 7 blank answers.

    Couldn’t see 1ac “Hardball”, 3dn “Blithering” or 10dn “Bonesetter”. DNK “eagre” is a bore. A few I concede I should have got, but sometimes when you’re flailing across the grid in despair, you don’t always think straight.

    FOI – 1dn “Hack”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 11ac “Shallowest”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. Surprisingly I also thought it was (mostly) at the easier end of the Izetti scale despite taking 19 minutes. This was because I had all bar two (1ac and 3dn) done in 12 minutes. For the third time this week I have been held up to the tune of 5+ minutes by the last couple of clues – maybe my brain switches off after a while. Like most others NHO SCUP or EAGRE but the former was an obvious hidden and the latter couldn’t really be anything else. H-R—L- at 1ac looked very much like ‘horrible’, but that’s hardly a synonym for ruthless and anyway didn’t parse. It took a long time to unthink it however. I liked this puzzle with the possible exception of BONESETTER which seemed a little odd.

    FOI – 8ac CAUTIONS
    LOI – 1ac HARDBALL
    CODs – 11ac SHALLOWEST and 2dn ROUT

    Thanks to Doofers for the blog

  34. A DNF after about 80 mins.

    This was another horror show from Izetti. I struggled but after 25 mins or so just needed MEAGRE, BONESETTER and BLITHERING. Eventually got the first two but couldn’t see beyond BRIGHT for cheerful. By that point, my brain was so frazzled that I just couldn’t go on.

    That’s the 2nd day in a row that I have failed on the last clue. For several weeks now, the QC has left me feeling quite useless, and today did nothing to buck that trend. I’m too competitive for times not to matter and I don’t regard spending an hour plus on the QC as any kind of ‘learning experience’. The only thing I get is a bucket load of frustration. I also find it humiliating to come on here each day and record the details of my abject performances.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. My time was similar to yours, though I got there eventually only by using blunt force and online word solvers etc. Not a graceful performance.

    2. I wasn’t in the mood to persist today.

      I assumed, being Izetti, that he wanted the name of some obscure order of monks – and while I toyed with friars, brothers never came to mind. Earlier this year he came up with Cistercian and Clare nun; while last year it was Carmelite.

      Given one of the books I am currently reading is Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, it’s a good bet me and Izetti wouldn’t get on.

      1. Surprisingly brothers was one of the few I didn’t have too much trouble with. Cross with myself for not getting blithering but I was mentally done by that point. I’m not enjoying his book at all, but that is perhaps because I dislike his QCs so much.

        I read the Dawkins book some time ago. A very good book which made me think.

        1. Judging by other posts today, I feel we were at least a couple of months ahead of everybody else in our anti-Izetti rants 🤣

          Honestly though I can’t fathom why he has suddenly become so unapproachable for the QC. When I look at my stats, I felt I’d got to grips with his puzzles. Avg 34mins for Jan-Mar with 6/8 successes but only 1/8 since avg’ing 58mins. Crazy.

          Anyway – he is what he is. It’s the other setters you can get on track with – get your mind back in gear for those. You had 3 good solves last week. No room now for negative self-talk, just focus on unravelling the clues and going through all the techniques / synonyms you know 👍

          1. It’s unfortunate that he has become so tricky. As Mr R often says, his clues are fair in their construction but sometimes more suited to the ‘big’ crossword.

            As you suggest, I’ve put yesterday behind me and am looking forward to the offering today, although it’s unlikely I will get to it until mid-evening.

            Hope it goes well for you today.

            1. I’m a few days behind and have just struggled through Izetti’s Wednesday QC in 44 minutes. Very hard, I would say, and I was quite lucky to get across the line. _O_E_E_T_R was not an easy alphabet trawl. Phew!

              P.S. Yesterday’s Orpheus and today’s Teazel still await me.

  35. A marmite puzzle. Far too difficult for me which, unsurprisingly, I did not enjoy. I remember Izetti’s first QC in 2014 which I completed in well under 10 minutes.

  36. Copy and paste from the last Izetti outing…

    Bonesetter is hard to clue without using bone, so I am ok with that clue.
    I struggled the most with meagre.
    I think the little flourishes like using old temptress mae to clue West can throw beginners, most setters would just use mae by itself.

    Liked astonished, COD Rout.

  37. In haste to get under 10 minutes bunged in IMPARTED from checkers without reading clue – didn’t pause over the NHO SCUP, as it was simply hidden.

  38. 7:19 (719, death of St Pega, in Peakirk near Peterborough)

    I found this surprisingly easy. NHO SCUP or EAGRE, but in both cases there was no alternative answer.

    As a resident of Cambridgeshire, I read “Cambridge City” as if the missing “shire” were there, and knew that Ely is the only city round here short enough to be on the map of crosswordland.

    Thanks Izetti and Doofers

  39. 21.17 This morning I was in part of Birmingham city centre that is technically part of Aston, though it didn’t occur to me at the time. This experience didn’t help at all with ASTONISHED. SCUP and MEAGRE were both guesses. I realised immediately that Lancashire’s No 9 was the R, but persisted in trying to remove it from something. Got there eventually. BLITHERING was nice. An enjoyable challenge. Thanks to Doofers and Izetti.

  40. I enjoyed this one, and grinned at ASTONISHED. Finished in what has become my typical half-hour. Thank you to Doofenschmirtz and Izetti!

    I haven’t seen CON as “study” before. Is this another bit of early 20th century terminology?

    1. In my experience study is either con or den 95% of the time, not sure about the origins but in the Times ‘early 20th century’ usually means ‘now’…

  41. VERY difficult and a real slog to finish, but needing a bit of help to do so. As so many others, NHO SCUP nor (M)EAGRE but guessed answers as I did with BLITHERING. Not particularly enjoyable, but I did like ASTONISHED, knowing that Aston is a part of Birmingham.

  42. Went back to this again and again and finally finished in 1h43m. Some very hard clues but also some very enjoyable ones. COD to 2d ROUT.
    NHO EAGRE, ASHRAM or SCUP and must confess I looked up Ely.
    Thanks Izetti and Doofers.

    1. Well done #5 for sticking with it.

      Put ELY in the memory bank. It comes up regularly – usually in connection with cathedrals and their relationship to “See” which is something like the diocese of an bishop. It is obvious to see why given the potential for -ELY endings. You only need to do a Find on this page to begin to get an indication of how many of those there are.

      1. Thanks #50. Locking all these tips away in the memory. Just hope they can be recalled later. CON for study is another that is slowly sinking in.

        1. Don’t forget that DEN can also be clued by study.

          Given the difficulty of the QC, it’s a real achievement to have finished yesterday. Well done!

  43. I think I’d get bored if I could complete every QC with ease…which is just as well because I found this very tricky! LOI/POI HARDBALL/BLITHERING after much head-scratching. I have NO problem with obscure words – I love learning them even if I only meet them again in crosswordland. New words today were eagre and scup. Enjoyed ASTONISHED. Like ROUT too, now that I understand it – thanks for the blog Doofers. Thanks too to Izetti for a right ol’ workout.

  44. DNF

    Easier than the previous Izetti but put BONEHEALER instead of SETTER so couldn’t figure out BROTHERS for the monks.

  45. I was very late to start this, let alone add a comment, but moved to say: Somewhat surprised at the outrage expressed by others. I was rather intimidated to begin with but working at it I began to like it very much. One man’s meat, another man’s poison…. but anyway more than just a matter of taste! Especially liked Rout.

  46. I usually struggle with Izetti but, for some reason, not today. Indeed, I didn’t notice the setter and was surprised when I came to the blog and saw who it was. The unknown SCUP went in when the crossers appeared and I biffed MEAGRE having no idea how it was parsed. All done without too much head-scratching, probably well inside my 20-30 min target. I’m surprised…

  47. I’m sure no one will see this, 12 days on! Did this in the aeroplane to Crete (where we have no Times or internet), so had 4 hours on it, but still NHO EAGRE and so convinced 3d started BRIGHT that there was no hope of seeing BLITHERING. NHO SCUP but it had to be. NHO HARDBALL but it occurred in two of the books I read on the beach so there’s education for you. Off again now but see you all again on Friday 4th.

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