Times Quick Cryptic No 2512 by Wurm

I found this a tough offering from Wurm. After hoping in yesterday’s blog that today’s puzzle would be easier, since I was blogging, my hopes are dashed. This took me 22:56, so I’ll have my pick of the sofas in the SCC today.

I had issues with a couple of the clues: I’m looking forward to learning what I missed in my parsing of BEAVER; there’s a very dodgy homophone and a couple of definitions that I thought were a bit dubious. Also not my favourite grid: it is so much harder without first letters!

Picking up on the discussion from the last couple of weeks about how little time the speedsters need for thought: I solved this on paper, then transcribed it to the web site to obtain the blog skeleton. With a fully-completed grid, and (for once!) no typos, it took me 1:42 just to type in the letters. So the real speedsters are taking just a couple of seconds per clue to solve. Good grief.

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

7 Busy worker rejoices at first pint (4)
BEERBEE (busy worker) + Rejoices [at first].
8 Rough Timor Sea that generates spray (8)
ATOMISER – Anagram [rough] of TIMOR SEA
9 Wood and minerals wrapped in pink paper? (6)
FORESTORES (minerals) wrapped in FT (Financial Times, a newspaper printed on pink newsprint, hence a “pink paper”).
10 Old article about new things to be done (6)
AGENDAAGED (old) + A (indefinite article) enclosing [about] N (new).

I tried to make “ye” or similar be the “old article”, before realizing that I needed to lift and separate.

11 Pot displayed in Kyiv as example (4)
VASE – Hidden [displayed] in “KyiV AS Example”.

I’m amused by the fact that “displayed” is used to mean “hidden”, when in normal usage it is the exact opposite. Welcome to cryptic crosswords!

12 Creature roaming randomly round south (8)
ORGANISM – Anagram [randomly] of ROAMING including [round] S.
15 Be right about witty writer in puzzle? (8)
BEWILDERBE + R (right) around WILDE.

“Puzzle” as a verb, not as a noun. My LOI. Wilde as in Oscar, of course.

17 Top dog did you say? (4)
PEAK – Homophone [did you say?] of PEKE.

“Peke” being short for “pekingese”, which has just taken me several attempts to spell correctly.

18 How dam constructors work hard? (6)
BEAVER – I’m not certain of my parsing of this one, but it’s something to do with “beaver”, the noun (semi-aquatic mammal), and “beaver”, the verb (to work (hard?)).

The best I can come up with is that it’s just a cryptic definition. I’ve tried to make it a double definition, but “how” messes it up: “Dam constructors  work hard” would have been a DD, since the plural of “beaver” is also “beaver”, but I can’t make the clue as printed work.

21 Unsteady having joined company (6)
INFIRMIN (joined, as in “I’m in”) + FIRM (company).
22 Kind Shakespeare showing benevolence? (8)
GOODWILLGOOD (kind) + WILL (Shakespeare).

“Good” for “kind” seems a bit loose to me.

23 Rugby forward in bar (4)
LOCK – Double definition.

A “lock” forward in rugby is one of the pair of players who form the second row of the scrum. The second definition is “bar” as a verb, as in “bar the gate”.

1 Forlorn lad to see distressed (8)
DESOLATE – Anagram [distressed] of LAD TO SEE.
2 Stop dead in this wintry weather? (6)
FREEZE – Double definition.

This took me an embarrassingly long time: I needed all the crossers before the head-slap moment arrived.

3 Closer after dispute? Amen! (4,4)
LAST WORD – Double definition.

The first definition refers to having the last word in an argument, that last word being the “closer”. And “Amen” is the last word in many prayers.

4 Furniture up till now not finished (4)
SOFASO FAr (up till now) [not finished].
5 Farm animal one cooked for winger (6)
PIGEONPIG (farm animal) + anagram [cooked] of ONE.
6 On radio not many would quarrel (4)
FEUD – Homophone [on radio] of “Few would”.

Well, homophone-ish. “You would” is commonly abbreviated to “you’d”, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen “few’d”. And trying it out loud to myself, I always pronounce “few would” as two distinct syllables – at least when I’m listening to myself!

13 Fish served with mead animated cat (8)
GARFIELDGAR (fish) + FIELD (mead).

In something I once read, characters talked about “speaking forsoothly”, and one of their examples was “ye flowery meads”. Now I know what they were talking about. I’d always thought it was an odd phrase.  A little thought suggests – and a dip into the dictionary confirms – that “mead” is the source word for “meadow”. “Mead” is marked in my dictionary as “now poetic and dialect”, forsooth.

I had a MER at “animated cat” for Garfield, but a little research shows that there have indeed been TV shows and films featuring the gluttonous feline.

14 Plant fake diamond? (8)
SHAMROCKSHAM (fake) + ROCK (diamond).
16 Storm in Virginia extremely destructive (6)
INVADEIN + VA (standard abbreviation for the US state of Virginia) + first and last letters [extremely] of DestructivE.
17 Nonsense from fine female in tall building (6)
PIFFLEF for fine + F for female in PILE (tall building).

Neither the SOED nor Collins have “tall building” for “pile”. They both have “large”, and the SOED also has “a group of tall buildings”, but I’m unconvinced by this definition.

F for “fine” is a commonality, but now I come to look it up, the only meaning I can find is in the scale of hardness of pencils used in the UK, where “F” apparently designates a pencil that can be sharpened to a fine point. Is there another abbreviation that I’m missing?

19 Lover-boy among white roses (4)
EROS – Hidden in [among] “whitE ROSes”.
20 Headless bear in collapsed state (4)
RUINBRUIN (bear)[headless].

I tried to make EDDY work here. But it doesn’t.

94 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2512 by Wurm”

  1. 15:30. Yes, a lot of tough ones but enjoyable nevertheless( once you’ve solved them!). I think I might contract “few would” in speech- I could hear myself saying “Few’d think it was too much to ask”. Granted it does look awkward on the page. Meadow is an interesting word. I always imagined a meadow as a natural open space, an uncultivated field. However MEAD and meadow are derived from the verb to mow. Aftermath is another word related etymologically.

    1. Yes – my surname is Mather… apparently I am descended from an illustrious family of lawnmowers.

  2. Hey everyone, missed you all. I’ve been doing NYTimes American crosswords lately but thought it was time to come back here. I tried yesterday’s QC but really it just reminded me that I know nothing. It was brutal.
    Luckily today’s QC had no new vocabulary for me, and three anagrams to help me get gain a foothold, so I had a great time!
    Not to say I finished though. I couldn’t get FREEZE for some reason and had no idea the FT was pink. Still don’t know how a Pile is a tall building, but I biffed that.

    I really enjoyed turning on my cryptic brain again, trying to find synonyms for things like Shakespeare – is he a Bard? A Poet? An Odeist? Oh he’s just Will. 😂

    Happy to be back!

    1. Hello again -You’ve picked a tough week to return! If you have access to last week’s QCs you would be on easier ground. But there’s always room for another in the SCC; as The Eagles said, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave….

      1. Oh thanks for the suggestion – I did last Monday’s just now and I’m feeling much more confident!

    2. Hello everyone, Tina’s return prompted me to register as the women in this community seem few and far between! I have spent the last few years reading your comments out loud to my other half , they afford us much amusement. We have improved dramatically over time and now mostly finish the QC and sometimes the big one. Today’s offering was on the sticky side , but we loved Shamrock!
      Thank you both setter and blogger.

      1. Oh hi! I’m all about more women in my online spaces, I’m so glad you made an account.

        I’m encouraged by your improvement hopefully I can also improve and not throw in the towel too easily as I’m prone to do

  3. This early bird took 9.00 to get the Wurm, which judging by most comments so far wasn’t a bad time. Agree with the Doof et al re BEAVER and having trouble thinking of every ORGANISM as a creature. My main problems were in the SE, with PIFFLE (yeah I thought a pile was a large estate house, not a skyscraper), INFIRM and SHAMROCK bringing up the rear. I was looking for a flower ending in ice. As regards FEUD, I suspect few’d disagree that few’d doesn’t really sound like FEUD.

  4. I found this very difficult and gave up with 8 to do after nearly double my normal time Plants and bacteria are organisms surely but certainly not creatures? A pile is just a large building not a tall one – country pile. Unlike others I don’t mind feud which made me smile. A bit unsatisfying I am afraid.

    1. Perhaps the setter is using Chambers as a reference. Chambers gives a definition (admittedly the 11th) of PILE as explicitly ‘A tall building’.

      In any case, I was familiar with the use of pile for a large building so it didn’t seem much of stretch for me in a clue where PILE was so obviously the required word. I just put it in and moved on.

  5. It’s odd. The QSNITCH is suggesting that today is harder than yesterday but for me it was almost a write in. I only hesitated over a couple in the bottom right corner before coming in for a rare time (for me) of just under ten minutes.

    I guess that shows how much it matters to be on the setter’s wavelength!

  6. Mega hard. And even taking 33 mins didn’t spot EROd. Didn’t sparkle for me.

    Nice to see Tina back though!

  7. 11 minutes with BEAVER, RUIN and GARFIELD each requiring more than one visit to bring the answer to mind as the checking letters gradually fell into place.

    I knew GARFIELD only as a strip-cartoon but it was a reasonable assumption that it had been animated at some stage. PILE went in with a shrug on the assumption that a large imposing building (which would have been my definition) would be unlikely to be a one-storey bungalow or a two-up/two-down semi.

    FWIW I’d have categorised the BEAVER clue as a cryptic definition. The verb meaning is derived from the noun so I wouldn’t see it working as a double definition.

  8. A third struggle in a row and like others, a MER at Pile = tall building. But what else could the word be? A case where the answer describes what I thought of the clue.

    Also held up by Garfield (DK that meaning of mead), and like LindsayO, I tried to fit Ice into the shamrock clue.

    All led to a 16 minutes solve. I have spent longer on the first three puzzles this week than on all 5 of last week’s.

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog

  9. Oh dear, it turns out that a tricky puzzle and a fuzzy head is not a good combination.
    I think my solve could be summed up by spending far too long wondering if ‘aeromist’ could be a type of spray 🙄, my only defence being that desperation for a foothold was setting in by that stage.
    Eventually managed to grind my way through it starting with VASE and finishing with GARFIELD in 17.05.
    Thanks to Doofers

    1. Think yourself lucky you didn’t spend time wondering what sort of creature an INORGASM is …

    2. I actually wrote in AEROMIST! Took it out only reluctantly once it was obviously wrong.

  10. Made most of the mistakes listed above, plus took forever to remember that “pink paper” = FT (durr), and to realise that “one cooked” = EON (double durr).

    Still limped home in 10:48 which given that this is Wurm on a portcullis grid I’m rating as a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Wiggly Woo and Doofers.


  11. Hmm. My 4th missed target in a row. Not a honey-based drink at 13D and 23A wasn’t PROP. I saw BEAVER just as a CD. A couple of looser definitions than you normally get in a QC, I think, as others have noted. LOI PEAK. Not sure why it took me so long to see that old chestnut. Thanks Wurm and Doofers. 6:29.

  12. Dust in the keyboard (and lack of checking before pressing submit) led to an unfortunate triple-typo so I’ll be propping up the leaderboard for a bit.

    Otherwise 3:33 with a MER for FEUD – some of the clues (Beaver, Garfield, I’m looking at you for starters) maybe seemed more at home in the 15×15 as others have said

  13. Definitely on the hard side not helped by the grid formation
    Saw BEAVER straight away, the dam constructor and “to beaver away” means to work hard

  14. Ooof, another toughie, not helped by mine and Plett’s patented AEROMIST, or writing in ICE for diamond. At least I didn’t get a hat trick of DNF’s. I see I actually got identical times to Kevin in both concise and QC today.

    PEAK went in last after I took that ICE out and got SHAMROCK.


  15. 10:52 (Gruffydd ap Llywelyn defeats English army at Leominster)

    I found this easier than yesterday’s. LOI was BRUIN.

    Thanks Wurm and Doofers

  16. This took about 10mins for all the ones I could do, and then the best part of another twenty to get the remaining half dozen. Garfield, with mead for meadow, seems ridiculous (in both senses) for a QC, and 23ac was obviously Prop, until it wasn’t. Enjoy your holiday Martinů: you certainly timed it well. Invariant

    1. Thank you!! Didn’t expect to ‘exist’ today but just time to read this before we depart in an hour. Everyone has been so kind, I’m quite overcome. No: my main reason for butting in here is to answer the point about F = fine, since no one else seems to have done so. No other numismatists among our group? Coins are rated F = fine, VF = very fine, EF or XF, UNC. Going the other way, VG, G, Fair, Poor (no abbreviations for those, not so often used). So it’s quite Fair. Warm greetings to all. 😊

  17. I made my target, but this was quite tricky. Like Johninterred I considered PROP – I entered it, but had to back it out once I got SHAMROCK.

    TIME 4:41

  18. Failed to crack 20 minutes for the third consecutive day. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. 21 minutes for today’s effort, all parsed. Fell into most of the traps already mentioned although I did manage ATOMISER straight off. For some reason this one leapt off the page at me which ORGANISM at 12ac certainly didn’t (not helped by the somewhat loose definition).

    FOI – 7ac BEER
    LOI – 2dn FREEZE (I had the same experience as Doofers with this one)
    COD – 16dn INVADE, closely followed by 5dn PIGEON – both for the smooth surfaces

    Thanks to Wurm and Doofers

  19. Very hard. I am happy with FEUD and GARFIELD. Wasn’t sure whether it was PEKE or PEAK, and found the SW hard enough without that!
    I like the INORGASM!

  20. Marginally better than yesterday as at least I finished this one. I wasn’t keen on the cluing for FEUD or the use of PILE as a tall building. I needed checkers to guess RUIN and LOCK as I was unfamiliar with Bruin for bear and the rugby forward. No problem with ATOMISER (my FOI) but LAST WORD (my LOI) needed a PDM. 11:34

  21. Another tough one made harder by a late night.
    I even struggled with chestnuts like shamrock and bewilder. Organism and goodwill took a while.
    I also had hero for eros at first which didn’t help.
    Question marks next to pile and field.
    LOI bruin. COD forest.

    Garfield is strange for a quickie trying to encourage new/inexperienced solvers. Once the setter has gar for fish, why choose mead for field which is (also) obscure?
    So much more sensible/easier to go for something like:
    Cat glared if disturbed.

    1. GARFIELD made absolutely no sense to this member of the SCC. GAR as a fish? FIELD for mead? Seeking to max out on being obscure? And yes yet another DNF for me (Is my memory playing tricks, or were there days when I actually finished??)

  22. My SCC membership is getting full value this week. I think I was mislead in nearly all the ways cited above as I weaved my way home. Not a FEUD fan although it was one of few that didn’t delay me. GARFIELD I only knew on paper, and having looked at the animation I wasn’t impressed.
    Liked SHAMROCK once I realised it wasn’t “ice” at the end, a mean trick by our setter. BEWILDER did, for some time, but I liked it.
    No doubt tomorrow will bring something nice and gentle to calm us all. Maybe.

  23. Another hard puzzle needing a couple of guesses (PIFFLE, INVADE) and a bit of dictionary help to finish. LOI BRUIN as the SW corner took a while to solve.

  24. 4:56

    On seeing the name of today’s compiler, I was expecting another grind. I was surprised to find that it mostly went in pretty smoothly for my second fastest time against Wurm – the fog from the weekend trip to London must be clearing – nothing shocking in the top half though 6d was left until the end, SHAMROCK and INFIRM both chestnutty. Last two were the aforesaid FEUD – I think the homophone works OK – and the clever BEWILDER which was trickier without the other four letters as the checkers.

    Thanks Wurm and Doofenschmirtz

  25. Much too difficult. DNF++. Needed ideas from CCD and to reveal ORGANISM to complete. Looked up Cats to get GARFIELD. Annoyed I had to look up PIGEON as have about 30 resident in my garden, increasing every year.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  26. Almost seven minutes faster than yesterday, but still in the SCC with 21 minutes exactly. Bit of a MER at ORGANISM = creature, but otherwise I’m quite surprised at the clues people have had problems with. I thought mead (along with lea) was quite a common occurrence for field in crosswordland and in any case, how many animated cats are there? As for pile, it seems to describe a tall building rather better than a large one, and can’t large and tall be synonymous? Anyway, lots to enjoy. LOI (though it really shouldn’t have been) was SOFA, COD to FOREST. Thanks Doofers and Wurm.

    1. Well, setting aside the possibility of a fish + (mead)*, there’s TC’s gang (Fancy, Spook, Benny, Choo-Choo etc), and of course Jerry’s ‘friend’, Thomas. And those are just the ones from my childhood. I’m sure there have been plenty more since.

  27. Very hard.
    Dnf – garfield. Lots of UK streets have mead in them so know where that comes from.
    Liked beaver and didn’t have a problem with it.
    Didn’t like pile either .

  28. Well the general consensus is that this is tough today, but for some reason I found it pretty straightforward. My only minor delay was in the south east corner, but after solving SHAMROCK the rest followed on speedily. Bearing in mind the comments above, a very respectable time of 7.44.

  29. Dnf…

    Oh dear, it feels like one of those weeks – 3rd dnf in a row, and this was probably the hardest of the lot. In particular, the SE corner was a disaster. I put “Prop” for 23ac which left me head scratching at everything else. It didn’t help that I thought “Snowdrop” was some kind of alternative name for “Fake Diamond”.

    Didn’t think 6dn “Feud” was the best homophone.

    FOI – 7ac “Beer”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 5dn “Pigeon”

    Thanks as usual!

  30. Too hard for me. Gave up after almost an hour with no progress. Crispian asked “how many animated cats are there”. I was convinced GARFIELD was GERONIMO ?? so the SE corner was difficult, to say the least.

  31. Definitely on the trickier side! VASE was FOI and BEWILDER was LOI. GARFIELD wallpaper used to cover my kids bedroom walls years ago. ORGANISM took a while. 11:29. Thanks Wurm and Doofers.

  32. 12.15 with a typo

    Another (too) tricky one for many I suspect. I was in the quagmire for much of the time but eventually wrestled it into submission.

    When I finally got it, did rather like LAST WORD

    Thanks all

  33. Gave up on this uninspiring QC. As some others have pointed out, too difficult for a QC.

    This really did nothing to motivate me today.

  34. Another tricky QC. Persevered and eventually over the line with ORGANISM my eventual LOI. Like others not sure that this equates to ‘creature’. RUIN was biffed (NHO bruin). Thought of GARFIELD but NHO ‘gar’ (fish not my strong suit) and was expecting ‘mead’ to be a drink. Wasn’t sure about pile = tall building but had to be. Liked LAST WORD best. Overall a bit of a struggle. Many thanks all.

  35. Bucking the trend shown above, I completed this inside 10 minutes (by a handful of seconds) and found it relatively easy, despite the unhelpful grid. I was surprised to come here and find that so many struggled. I got the first 6 acrosses on first read, and then all of the descenders, and the top half was virtually done. Many thanks Wurm and Doofers.

  36. Started off OK but being convinced that the only 4 letter rugby forward was PROP caused havoc in the SE corner.

  37. A few sticky ones here.
    I guessed that it had to be an anagram for 12ac but didn’t see ORGANISM as an answer for “creature”. If I’d solved that I might have guessed GARFIELD as the cat even though I thought mead was a honey drink! Not sure about others’ concerns over BEAVER as this seemed obvious to me.
    However I am puzzled by how much I struggled with this QC as I was chuffed to have completed the main Cryptic today without any aids!
    Thanks again to setter, blogger and other commentators who all help educate us in our crossword practice.

  38. This was tough but highly enjoyable – I took my time and slowly worked my way through. Good Will stands out. Invade was clever – I thought the definition was ‘storm in’ for a long time so struggled to parse. As for pile – I thought of Wodehouse’s ‘noble piles’ (houses rather than afflictions!) which would have to have been tall. Finally finished with peak in 18 minutes.

  39. Looked at this when very tired after golf and struggled.
    A very hard QC I thought.
    I had ICE and PROP for too long.
    My last two were PEAK and SHAMROCK.
    A pile is a large house in my mind not a tall building.
    I could only think of Top Cat for a long time.
    And a very hard grid to boot.

  40. 58.31 A personal worst! I explored most of the dead ends mentioned above. The SE was bare for a long time, but it was BEWILDER and LAST WORD that held me up at the end.

  41. 7:45. Like vinyl, The Rotter and a few others it seems I’m in the minority and I didn’t find this too bad, certainly easier than yesterday’s. Still, I agree that FIELD for ‘mead’ doesn’t immediately spring to mind and I’m glad I didn’t have to try to explain BEAVER which, yes, I think is a cryptic def.

    BEWILDERMENT yesterday and BEWILDER today; are our QC setters sending us a message?

    Thanks to Wurm and Doofers

  42. 33:05

    Blimey, that was tough. After 20 minutes I only had a scattering across the left of the grid. Only once I twigged GARFIELD did the rest start to fall into place. LOI GOODWILL.

  43. Gave up after I don’t know how long with 6 clues unsolved and my worst performance of the year. That makes three dnfs this week .
    Plenty of comments above but a combination of the grid and difficult clues took this beyond my solving skills.
    It’s reassuring however that others found it hard. Thanks both.

  44. Total BEWILDERment! Completed in four sittings, because I did have some other things to do today.

    Sitting 1 (11 mins): First pass; 7 clues solved + 1 error (PROP at 23a).

    Sitting 2 (62 mins): Extremely slow going; 8 more clues solved, but error not yet spotted.

    Sitting 3 (80 mins): Speed about as fast as the movement of the tectonic plates; Another 7 clues solved and the error at 23a spotted, but not yet corrected

    Sitting 4 (16 mins): Final 2 clues (LOCK and SHAMROCK) solved and a glazed look on my face.

    Total time = 2 hrs 49 mins! By far the longest time I have ever spent on a QC. And I will never do anything like the same again. Basically, Wurm slaughtered me – not a pleasant experience.

    Mrs Random said she found it extremely difficult. She finished in 39 minutes – a long time for her, but less than a quarter of the time I needed.

    Many thanks to Wurm and Doofers.

      1. Actually, Mrs R wondered out loud on several occasions during the day “Why are you still doing this?”. And I have to admit, I couldn’t come up with a sensible answer.

  45. I’m really not sure there is much point continuing. A DNF after 90 mins. Put LAST POST for 3dn and so had no chance with 15ac. Got the BE…..R, but not the rest. I thought 3dn was a very poor clue, with 23ac & 17dn little better.

    This QC was aimed solely at the brain boxes and was way beyond the capabilities of beginners and intermediates (unless you have Mr R’s astonishing perseverance). Look at the solvers who have been driven away recently and draw your own conclusions.

    My confidence is at rock bottom again. After spending long hours at work, I dread attempting the QC. I’m not stupid, but I’m being made to look it.

    Totally fed up to be honest. Where is the enjoyment to be gained from this if you’re not an expert solver? I have now had 7 hour plus horror days in only a few weeks. Can’t take much more. What was once an enjoyable new challenge is now a cause of angst and frustration.

    1. Dear Mr A,

      I count my attempt today as a once-in-a-lifetime aberration. I had the opportunity and the mindset to keep coming back to it. It, most certainly, will never happen again.

      The vast majority of the time I allow myself one hour (max.) and give up at that point, unless I have only one or two clues left to solve. I notice that JamesEd46 does the same, but even more rigourously and at 30 minutes. This is the way that I have not been worn down when the going gets tough and have maintained my enthusiasm for this game.

      May I suggest that you pick a cut-off time (50 minutes, say – or 2 mins per clue on average) and only go beyond that if you have a realistic chance of finishing and the motivation to do so?

      Just a thought.

      1. Thanks Mr R. I had been thinking along those lines. Most of my very bad days are caused by last clue syndrome, which is perhaps why I have often gone to 90 mins or so before throwing in the towel, hoping that either inspiration or an alphabet trawl will do the trick. This approach is however getting me down, so I will give your suggestion a go.

        1. I seem to recall Mr Random previously saying that in his early days if he hit a block with no answers in a 20-min period – he would take the DNF. This might be a good extra rule if you’re stuck on that last one.

    2. Gary, sorry to hear about your struggles. A few ideas (feel free to ignore completely).

      a) It sounds like you need a break – if not from doing these, then at least from having to confess your struggles to one and all

      b) Why not use the new QC Snitch to pick out the ‘easy(ier)’ ones to help restore/build up confidence (I regularly do this with the 15×15)

      c) L Plates has been practising on the very early ones (QC #1 onwards) – no time pressures, and you can still refer to the old blogs for help

      Hope some of this helps. Invariant

      1. Thanks Invariant. I appreciate you taking the time to give me your ideas. I’m planning to get hold of the early QCs and will use the Snitch as you suggest.

        I’m conscious that my daily self-flagellation is perhaps not in my best interests and I may take a break from commenting (or at least just give my time without the gripes).

        Thanks again,

    3. I admire your tenacity. If I’m not done before I’ve finished lunch, maybe 25 min, then I assume it’s a word I don’t know and just reveal the whole damn puzzle (often to find that I might have worked it out). I do learn from the answers I reveal and I do feel like I’m revealing less and less as time goes on.

      I enjoy the clues I’m able to get. I think sometimes it’s like video games where some people think they’re only worth playing on hard mode because it makes the achievements worth something but I play lots of games on easy mode because turns out I do things to have fun and entertain myself!

      Improving is part of it and solving difficult clues are so satisfying, but I’m not here to feel bad about myself, and there’s always tomorrow’s puzzle!

      I haven’t been here for a while but I know you’ve improved a lot since I was last here, so you got this!

  46. I found this very hard because the clues were tricky and it was a portcullis grid. Like Mr Random, I spent far too long on it (but I did not shock myself by measuring how long it was). I saw Beaver as an overlapping double definition: “How dam constructors work” and “work hard”. I’d never heard of Lock in relation to rugby, but it seemed likely to be the right answer. I liked Last word. BTW Tina and Susie, I am a woman too!

    1. Dear Zajonc,
      I may be living dangerously, but I do like a good graph. Would you be kind enough therefore to explain your avatar?
      Many thanks, in anticipation.
      Mr R.

      1. With pleasure, Mr R. It shows the relationship between arousal and performance. The greater the arousal, the better the performance, up to a point, but if there is too much arousal, performance will decline. The shape of the relationship depends on the perceived difficulty of the task. For example, if you are doing an easy crossword and someone whose opinion you care about is watching you, you are likely to do it more quickly than left to your own devices and a peaceful cup of tea. If it is a difficult crossword, then the same situation may have a detrimental effect and you might struggle more to complete it than if you do it by yourself in a quiet room.

          1. That looks like the Inverted-U hypothesis … but what about Hardy’s Catastrophe theory?!?

            1. Probably Hardy’s is more relevant. I sometimes get that feeling when I see Izetti’s name at the top…

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