Times Quick Cryptic No 2519 by Breadman

Well this was a proper Friday test from Breadman today. I was held up by several clues including 12A, 14A, 16A, 23A and 13D. I ended up way over target, taking 9 1/2 minutes. But am I complaining? Not a bit of it! Great crossword! Thank-you Breadman. I’ve told you in the blog where I got bamboozled. How about you? And if you were faster than me, then well done!

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword here. (It is easier than today’s).  If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 89 here.

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

1 One daughter in demand, certainly (6)
INDEEDI (one), D (daughter) in NEED (demand).
5 Perhaps football‘s special in this place (6)
SPHERESP (special) HERE (in this place).
8 Therapeutic dog had food around four (8)
CURATIVECUR (dog), ATE (had food) around IV (four in Roman numerals).
9 Evelyn half concealed unknown wild cat (4)
LYNX – {Eve}LYN losing half the letters, [half concealed], X (unknown). Clever.
10 Scratching head, supply joke (4)
QUIP – {e}QUIP (supply) without the first letter, [scratching head].
11 Friend cultivated ideal ornamental shrub (8)
BUDDLEIABUD (friend) (ideal)* [cultivated]. I took a while to see “friend” = BUD, but then I’m not American.
12 Unhappy outside before broadcast (6)
SPREADPRE (before) in SAD (unhappy). Not sure why I was so slow seeing “before” = PRE.
14 UK county Graham represented (6)
ARMAGH – (Graham)* [represented]. The Northern Ireland county.
16 To change shape, fiancee regularly used strong drug (8)
MORPHINEMORPH (change shape) and alternate letters of fIaNcEe. I got stuck thinking it was the other letters in fiancee, i.e. FACE and the definition was “to change shape”.
18 Dismiss old Spanish dry wine (4)
SACK – Double definition. Did you also wonder what the Spanish for “old” was?
20 Proper gravy with roast, finally (4)
JUSTJUS (posh name for gravy), roasT [finally].
21 Late itinerant circling empty room in last station (8)
TERMINAL – (late)* [itinerant] around R{oo}M IN.
23 Race small vehicle (6)
STRAINS (small) TRAIN (vehicle). The second meaning of STRAIN, “A breed, race, stock, line of descent” is what Chambers says. That one held me up for ages.
24 Cockney’s religious, embracing writer publicly (6)
OPENLY – {h}OLY (religious) dropping the H like a Cockney does, outside PEN (writer).
2 Article about ancient city united Pacific island (5)
NAURU – AN (article) [about] -> NA, UR (ancient city) U (united). We had this island in another crossword recently.
3 Former partner, rather bulky specimen (7)
EXAMPLEEX (former partner) AMPLE (rather bulky).
4 Welshman departs on major road (3)
DAID (departs) AI (A1; major road).
5 Large duck that lady doctor put in pool of water (9)
SHELDRAKESHE (lady), DR (doctor) in LAKE (pool of water).
6 Henry and Alan’s meat conforming to religious law (5)
HALALHAL (Henry) AL (Alan).
7 Soldier maybe in boxing arena delivering tirade (7)
RANTINGANT (soldier, maybe) in RING (boxing arena).
11 Somehow not mind following graduate game (9)
BADMINTONBA (graduate) (not mind)* [somehow].
13 Fruit expert on the Tube? (7)
PRODUCTPRO (expert) DUCT (tube). This held me up for ages too, looking for a fruit beginning PRO. Tricky definition… and I fell for it. Did you?
15 On French island, fail to see weapon (7)
MISSILEMISS (fail to see) ILE (French island).
17 Sort of bread with hole at back (5)
PITTAPIT (hole) AT [back] -> TA. I tried for too long to make a word meaning “sort of” with 4 letters meaning “bread” followed by an E.
19 Creep — boring thing following councillor (5)
CRAWLCR (councillor) AWL (boring thing; a tool that bores).
22 Greek character‘s caviar announced (3)
RHO – Sounds like ROE (caviar) [announced].

82 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2519 by Breadman”

  1. … I did it. It took forever and I didn’t understand the parsing for so many until the blog (thank you John) It was like I opened my flatpak furniture box and the instructions were in a different language. Had all the bits didn’t see how they possibly connected to make the word.

    There were a lot of ‘lift and separate’ eg SHELDRAKE – I got it, but I read it that the lady-doctor was in the lake, not lady.. Then doctor in a lake

    Why does ‘itinerant’ mean turn backwards
    Does ‘about’ generally mean turn backwards? My brain thought it meant ‘around’.
    Why does Henry = Hal? Is that a nickname for Henry? Is Dai a common welsh name?

    I didn’t know the plant or the county but the wordplay was ok there once I got the crossers in

    Foi: lynx
    Loi: curative

    Second one in a row where the duck didn’t mean O. The cricket world cup is on, let me have this!

    1. Hal is Prince Henry’s (the future Henry V) nickname. Henry is also a term from physics, abbreviated H. And Dai is, indeed, a common Welsh name; at least it’s common in these crosswords. (also Sian, a Welsh woman.)

    2. Hi Tina, the itinerant in 21-across is just an anagram indicator, LATE becomes TE…AL. As for about, around etc, there are roughly half a million different ways these can be used by devious setters to trick us, but I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules…

    3. I think the parsing of HALAL should be H + AL + AL (one Henry and two Alans).

      The Henry in question being the SI unit of inductance, abbreviated to H

        1. You make a fair point Kevin, I missed the apostrophe on Alan’s. So I agree with the HAL + AL parsing. A shame really because it makes the clue a little less appealing to me.

      1. if so perhaps the apostrophe would be after the s…implying 2 Alans rather than a shortening of the word is. I parsed as Hal for Henry but see your point

    4. Hi Tina. I saw your comment this morning and saw others had replied to your questions while I was still asleep… but I see now nobody commented on “about”. It is a sneaky one for setters as it can be used as either an inclusion indicator, A around B = B in A, and a reversal indicator. BTW I’m with you on wanting the duck to be O.

  2. 14:22. RANTING held me up the longest as I got confused by RANKER, RANCOUR, and RANKING and took a long time to think of ANT. I was pleased to work out NHO’s BUDDLEIA , SHELDRAKE, and NAURU by being able to put the parts together. I guess OPENLY was my favourite. Football leading to SPHERE and fruit leading to PRODUCT were hard. to crack but clever.

  3. Terrific puzzle by Breadman, which I thought I had scaled in 11.13 only to find there is not actually a shrub by the name of BUDELDIA, so that’s a bust. My LOI was JUST and the shape-shifting MORPHINE was also elusive, mainly because I spent too long seeking an anagram of shape. Nice blog John, yes I fell into the same trap on PRODUCT.

  4. 14 minutes with the lower half harder than the top. Returning to parse TERMINAL accounted for an extra minute at the end.

  5. Definitely the hard end of the QC scale (for me at least) but a really lovely puzzle that took me a good deal longer than my usual 10-15 minutes. Definitely Friday fare!

  6. I managed this through sheer perseverance, but my it was hard going – coming in all green in about 30 minutes. But overall it’s been a good week with, what I consider to be, a selection of QCs worthy of that title.
    I was pleased to work out the NHO NAURU and SACK and couldn’t have spelt BUDDLEIA so had to work that one out too. I thought MISSILE and CURATIVE very nice clues and smiled to myself once I parsed SPHERE.
    So a good end to a good week overall, for me at least. The sky is blue and the air still and my solar panels remain on my roof which remains on my house, so all is good with the world.
    Have splendid weekends all, and thanks to Breadman and John for today’s offering.

  7. Nice but tough in the SW.
    Product, pitta (not parsed, just though we’ll it does have some sort of hole!), strain and LOI just all felt hard. Although I can blame too many holiday paulaner weissbiers.

    CODs just halal

  8. Tough going with hold ups all over the place but in particular with SHELDRAKE, BUDDLEIA, JUST and SPREAD (looking at the wrong end of the clue).
    My LOI was (with hindsight) the relatively simple QUIP, as I saw ‘supply’ and though ‘lithe’ and then left the blinkers on – Roly phrased it so much better yesterday. Serious forehead slap when an alphabet trawl revealed the answer.
    Finished in 14.11
    Thanks to John for the blog and Breadman for the workout.

  9. My slowest QC solve in many a moon, with almost half the time spent in the tricky SW corner. I biffed SHELDRAKE and STRAIN, but parsed them on completion.

    As John correctly states, my attached Weekend QC offering is a little easier than this one from Breadman!

    TIME 6:58 (I can do two QC’s in that sort of time as a rule 😂)

    1. Thanks for the weekender. Indeed most of it flew in quickly and all done in 10:12 which is decent for me 👍

  10. 9:42

    A step up from the Breadman with a few 15×15 level clues and answers. Took a while to get properly going until left with 12a 20a and 13d, the last of which was the first to fall, leaving the other two with a forehead-slapping ‘Of course!’ Didn’t parse TERMINAL until post-flight. Don’t know why I can never see ARMAGH – must be the strange letter arrangement.

    Thanks Breadman and John

  11. 24 minutes of fun brain exercise. Lots to enjoy. QUIP eluded me for some time; remember, I told myself afterwards, when there’s a U….
    ARMAGH was a reminder that UK includes bits outside England! Reading it quickly left me puzzled as there is no (English) county beginning in A, which I had in place already.
    Is Breadman’s inclusion of PITTA a move towards Oink’s trademark clueing?!

  12. Completed in 13 minutes, which given comments above from more experienced solvers I am not dissatisfied with. Actually, this set me thinking – this was definitely in places a struggle, but never less than a pleasure, whereas other setters presenting me with a 13 minute puzzle might leave me much less satisfied. I think the answer is that every word in this puzzle was one I might use in real life (yes even Buddleia, which for this non-horticulturalist says something). So it seems that tough clues I accept and enjoy, and it is obscure, obsolete or downright outlandish words that cause dissatisfaction.

    Back to the puzzle itself. Main hold-up was SW corner, with Product taking the most time – an unusual meaning of fruit, but a fair one. That apart, I parsed Indeed slightly differently, with “I need” as the demand containing a D, thinking that “I need” is as good as and perhaps even slightly clearer than “need” as “demand”. But either way it works!

    Many thanks John for the blog, and I look forward to the Saturday Special. One thing the SS’s almost never contain is obscure, obsolete or downright outlandish words!

      1. Yes, accepted, but hardly the first time a clue has had a superfluous word if it makes the surface smoother. Though “Daughter in demand” also works …

  13. 16:09 (Galileo demonstrates his first telescope)

    An enjoyable challenging puzzle. I wasted time on 16a looking for anagrams of “shape” to go before the ine, before eventually spotting morph. 13d was my LOI – even when the checkers had forced me to abandon ace in favour of pro, I spent a while mentally running through the fruit shelves of Waitrose before finally spotting PRODUCT.

    Thanks Breadman and John

  14. The Quitch is running at 150!!! Is this a record?

    I fell into most of the pits described by John and dug some new ones, just for me (surely there’s a Pacific island called THURE?). But I hauled myself out of them for 09:48 which in the circumstances makes me jolly happy and is an Excellent Day.

    COD to PITTA. Many thanks Breaders and JOhn.


    1. I did half wonder with Pitta whether Breadman was “doing an Oink” and including a bready clue.

  15. 10.35

    Also struggled in the SW with SPREAD MORPHINE and PRODUCT causing significant tankage. BUDDLEIA and SHELDRAKE were okay – isn’t there some medieval detective with that name? Rang a bell anyway

    Thanks all

  16. Slow in parts, but got there eventually. Rather dim about AWL = boring tool.
    Among LOsI were OPENLY, ARMAGH, SPHERE (COD) and really had to work on SHELDRAKE.
    Liked MORPHINE, JUST, CURATIVE, among others.
    Thanks vm, John.

  17. Way too difficult for me. No help from the cat today as he’s out with his girlfriend.

    Really got nowhere with this and feel it was far too difficult for a QC, and as a result I gave up.

    Really did not enjoy this puzzle at all.

    Doing far better with the Telegraph cryptic.

    1. The objective of the Quick Crossword is to provide an introductory level for solvers that will help them graduate to the 15×15. This does not mean the crosswords always have to be easy. To my mind, anything that is easier than an average 15×15 (which this one is) is a valid QC and there will be a spectrum of difficulty up to that level. Yes this is at the harder end, but that does not invalidate it as a Quick Crossword. The Daily Telegraph Crossword is not as difficult as The Times, so yes, that means sometimes the QC will not be easier than a typical Daily Telegraph.

  18. Yesterday I said I had four consecutive days under target and I wondered if there was a Friday stinker in store for us. Well, the Breadman certainly delivered with this crusty offering. I was quite relieved to finish exactly two minutes over target at 12.00, considering the difficulty of the puzzle. As is often the case I didn’t help myself by making some silly errors. ARMAGH came to me after I had exhausted English counties but I then misspelt it by writing in AMARGH. It was only when I solved 15 dn that I saw that correction was required. My next error was biffing TERMINUS for 21ac, and again it required me solving CRAWL before I saw the error. My LOI was JUST only after PRODUCT finally came to me. Although tough, I did find it very enjoyable.
    Today being over target knocked my weekly average a little, but my weekly total was 44.56 giving me a daily average of 8.59, which I’m more than happy with

  19. Fell into all the traps already mentioned above plus a few more of my own making! For example at 21ac I confidently biffed terminus without parsing it, thus causing difficulties in the SE corner until I revisited it. Similarly in the NW I put in skit at 10ac (first letter of scratching plus supply – although I admit that kit=supply is a stretch). This gave a k at the end of the Pacific Island and I couldn’t think of one. Getting 8ac finally induced me to revisit this as it meant I spotted NAURU as the island. All told I squeezed in at 29 minutes, just before my normal cut-off time of half an hour. I enjoyed the tussle, though I thought SHELDRAKE somewhat obscure for a QC and wasn’t at all sure how to spell BUDDLEIA initially.

    FOI – 9ac LYNX
    LOI – 13dn PRODUCT
    COD – 7dn RANTING. The therapeutic dog was good too.

    Thanks to Breadman and John

  20. Into the SCC again at 22 minutes with a short interruption. Some very good teasers here, congratulations to Breadman for getting things right. My LOI was RANTING which should have fallen much earlier. I fell into most of the traps mentioned above. Thanks John.

  21. I paused after 15 minutes with the SW blank. I made a cup of tea, sat down and finished in another 4 minutes with LOI MORPHINE. STRAIN held me up for ages. TRAIN was the last vehicle I was expecting. Maybe that’s a comment on our present-day railways?
    An excellent puzzle as noted above: nothing unfair but enough to trouble some of our best solvers.

  22. Struggled with this, and eventually ran out of steam with Spread, Product and Strain extant, by which time I was approaching the 30 min mark, so pulled stumps. Nauru and Sheldrake also went through numerous iterations along the way. Must try harder. Invariant

    1. “Must try harder”? I did – 12 minutes harder, to be precise. But it did me no good, as I still DNF’d.
      Hard luck, Invariant! Let’s hope for some respite on Monday.

  23. Did it finally. Is it just me? I really thought a lot of clues were clunky and not totally convincing.

  24. Short on time today so hit reveal for MORPHINE, PRODUCT and JUST, then kicked myself as all were eminently solvable. I really really don’t do well when I have a time limit… Wish I’d had time to persevere. This was one of the most enjoyable QCs for a while IMO – many thanks Breadman and thanks for blog, especially re: SACK.

  25. Bit of a disaster. I’m waiting in an Airport so had stacks of time, but gave up after 25 with blanks everywhere. I had LHERDRAKE, with the Lady Doctor in the Lake, this then gave LAHORE, didn’t parse at all, though.

    I saw PRODUCE for “fruit”, and wondered if Mussolini (el Duce) was somehow connected with the Tube.

    At least I got Wordle in 3.

    1. Wordle took me 6 today – I haven’t lost since it started but it def gave me a heart attack today. So you’ve got a win there!

      (I also wrote in lherdrake in before removing it)

  26. That was definitely a tough workout. I felt the SCC beckoning as I struggled with the SW corner, but didn’t quite make it up the steps to the lobby. MORPHINE, PRODUCT, PITTA and STRAIN were a 23a. 17:49. Thanks Breadman and John.

  27. 30 mins…

    Bang on my cut off, but eventually managed to dredge “Product” for 13dn (initially had “Produce”, thinking “Duce” was some kind of pipe) which helped me complete my LOI 23ac “Strain”.

    Definitely a bit of a Friday mental challenge from Breadman – especially in the spelling of 11ac “Buddleia” and the clever distractions on 16ac “Morphine” and the before mentioned 13dn.

    FOI – 4dn “Dai”
    LOI – 13dn “Product”
    COD – 17dn “Pitta” – couldn’t get sourdough out of my head for quite a while.

    Thanks as usual!

  28. This was INDEED a tricky one. I was JUST amazed to return to it after a walk and complete the second half. It is strange how the brain can then suddenly see things that it couldn’t before.

    Managed to put RINGING for RANTING even though I could not fully parse it.

    A slow plod through then for me but somehow enjoyable despite falling into every single trap.

    Thanks Breadman and John


  29. Another DNF. The SW corner beat me. I got MORPHINE but kicked myself for not getting PITTA and STRAIN. Nho JUS – obviously not posh enough.

  30. Well that was a struggle. Had the same problems as most others in the SW corner with PRODUCT, and MORPHINE my LOIs at around 28 minutes. I needed this blog to parse PITTA. Thanks to John and Breadman.

  31. DNF. Well beaten by the SW corner, where I just couldn’t get anything. But all are fair now I’ve read the blog. I also missed CUR for “dog”, so that stayed un-done because I couldn’t convince myself that PUGATIVE was a word.

    Ah well, onto next week.

    Thanks to Breadman and John.

  32. Another DNF to round off another bad week. I put pUpATIVE at 8a and guessed at its meaning. CUR for dog never occurred to me as, although I know it comes up in crosswords, I never hear or read it in real life. At 42 minutes, I was outside my target (40) in any case.

    Very challenging for me. In fact, most of the past six weeks or so has been much tougher than the previous year or two (my stats don’t lie). Either that or I need to ask my GP to assess my cognitive faculties (or lack of).

    Many thanks to Breadman an John.

    1. I like the idea of pupative as a word. I have my 9 week old cocker spaniel nestling on my foot as I type this and the first 6 days of bonding with her have been very therapeutic!

  33. I thought this was a terrific QC to end the week. It wasn’t easy but there were a lot of clever clues most of which I managed relatively swiftly. I did try using FACE from FiAnCeE at 16a…. right idea just the wrong letters! The only two that really held me up were JUST and finally PRODUCT in 9:55 which given the comments above I’m scoring as a decent day.

  34. 36:56
    Really struggled through this, but when the answers came, the clues seemed fair and reasonable. Is that something to do with ‘getting on the setter’s wavelength’?
    It seemed to take forever to get PRODUCT, JUST and SPHERE, but again, fair clues.
    A good mental work out before the weekend.
    FOI: 14ac ARMAGH
    LOI: 5ac SPHERE
    COD: 15dn: MISSILE
    Thanks to Boardman and John.

  35. On my phone and late in the day after a bracing walk on Exmoor this morning.

    I thought it was tricky and didn’t make things easy for myself by biffing “fruit” = KUMQUAT from the U and the T. Reversed it out when I got SPREAD, which gave me the correct fruit = PRODUCT and LOI MORPHINE.

    I seem to have done OK on the WITCH.


  36. 20.41 I was pleased to get the NHO SHELDRAKE. The parsing of TERMINAL eluded me, the SW was slow and EXAMPLE and QUIP held me up inexplicably at the end. A nice puzzle. Thanks to John and Breadman.

  37. That was quite hard work – like others I got stuck on my last three in the SW corner after 15 minutes, so decided to have a break. It’s amazing what a pain au raisins can do – I came back and got them all in about a minute! Maybe I should always tackle a Breadman puzzle while enjoying some baked goods. I got stuck with pal rather than bud at 11a (buddleia), tried to make an anagram out of shape+ine at 13 d (morphine) and wanted to put a plum or a pear on ace at 13d (product), but it all worked out eventually, and I must say that they were worth the head-scratching 😅
    FOI Lynx LOI Product COD Buddleia
    Thanks Breadman and John

  38. That was hard work! Resorted to checking answers on-line and certainly needed the reassurance that gave while I completed on my usual printout. Not an unpleasant experience but NHO Nauru. Phew….

  39. Another DNF, defeated by the SW corner – just couldn’t fathom 13 &17d or 12, 20 & 23ac. Bad day – worst for ages.

  40. New to this message board – thank you for it.
    I will soon learn the acronyms regarding DNF (which doesn’t apply to me today) FOI and LOI etc. so I will make sure I keep a note of them for future puzzling.
    Thank you for today’s Breadman, I enjoyed it. I was particularly pleased with my initial deduction of BUDDLEIA. JUST and SACK were also v. pleasing. Although I initially fielded TERMINUS I did end up changing it to TERMINAL on reflection given possibilities for 19d. Keep up the good work!

    1. If you’re not sure of the acronyms, there’s a link under Useful Links to the Glossary. You could open that as a second page while you’re reading through/posting.

  41. Completely shocked … 18:12 😮

    Looked at the QUITCH earlier in the day and saw it at 146 and thought “I’m avoiding that”.

    Finally got to it this evening and settled in for a big slog through. Really willing to put in a good hour on it. Surprised to see Breadman’s name attached as only had 1 tough puzzle from them all year everything else under 30mins.

    So I just got on with it very tentatively waiting for the difficulty to arise and it never really did. Got to final four of SPREAD, STRAIN, PRODUCT, JUST at 13mins and a couple mins spent trawling for the latter. NHO SACK for Spanish wine but was happy enough with everything else. Had standard minor panic at “oh no they want a shrub” but as I bought a BUDDLEIA in the summer, it was no problem once I had the B from BADMINTON.

    Somewhat mystified to come here and see the big guns of the board struggled with this relative to their ability. Especially JohnI – our esteemed blogger (thank-you as always). The last two days have been much sterner tests for me at 23-24mins. Total for the week coming in at 1hr31 with three escapes but the obligatory DNF yesterday when I’d had enough of alphabet trawling the last few clues and couldn’t be bothered to rethink the jerseys.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    1. Well done in avoiding the SCC with a tricky puzzle! As I get worse and you get better you will soon be able to take over my blogging slot… well maybe… I wouldn’t wish the travails of the Monthly Club Special on you quite yet.

      1. Thanks GA – I’m really quite stunned by how relatively easy I found it compared to everybody else. No complaints though

    2. Well done #50. That’s a very impressive time on a puzzle at the hard end of the spectrum. Take a bow!

  42. Yes, another DNF. Clearly us oiks in the (basement of??) the SCC are there to be discouraged (or challenged?). But at least I knew NAURU 😀 so I got off to an encouraging start.

    1. Hi Dave. Don’t be discouraged. As I said earlier… The objective of the Quick Crossword is to provide an introductory level for solvers that will help them graduate to the 15×15. This does not mean the crosswords always have to be easy. To my mind, anything that is easier than an average 15×15 (which this one is) is a valid QC and there will be a spectrum of difficulty up to that level. Yes this is at the harder end, but that does not invalidate it as a Quick Crossword. Learn from the blog (as I did) and you will soon be knocking these off regularly.

  43. Agree with all the above and experienced the same traps. This seems to back up the quality of the setting where differences in gk didn’t much come into it. Last two were at opposite corners – sphere and just – which shows how I had to scrap around the grid. Highly satisfying – 16 minutes. COD to buddleia- for teaching me how to spell it!

  44. Another nightmare day. 75 mins of hell.

    Completed the grid but 4 wrong:
    8ac – PUGATIVE
    20ac – CURT
    22dn – RHE (idiotic mistake)
    24ac – EVENLY

    I’m horribly depressed again by this. Every single time I make a bit of progress, I have a day like this. I’ve lost all confidence and am dreading next week. Will I never get the hang of this? I know it was hard, but I’m just not improving. I’m coming to realise that I haven’t got the mental dexterity for this and it’s driving me up the wall. How anyone completed the QC today is beyond me. Another weekend of anguish in prospect. I simply don’t know how to improve or get out of this dreadful run of nightmare times and brain freezes.


    Thanks for the blog John.

    1. Another of your nightmares GA. Everything points to it having been a toughie. Don’t think I’ve ever seen JohnI taking 9+ mins on a QC.

      I don’t know if you ever looked at sports psychology, as I did. Think it was in one of Bob Rotella’s golf books where he talks about putting. And how the drills he has players do are all about making short putts of 2ft. Sequences of 100-in-a-row, or drills where you start close to the hole and move out but as soon as you miss, you have to go back and start again. Most people would say “I can do that, it’s the longer putts I have trouble with” and they’d move to challenging themself.

      Rotella’s belief is that putting is all about confidence and seeing an image of the ball going in the hole repeatedly helps to build that. But here’s the really interesting bit. Obviously players still need to practice lag putts (i.e. hitting the ball from 30ft to either hole out or get close). Rotella never has players practice lag putts specifically – he has them hit towards the edge of the green; not the hole. The challenge is to judge the distance to the fringe and get the ball to finish exactly on it. Lag putting is all about judging distance and you may get lucky with it going in the hole. But from a psychology perspective Rotella recognises you’re rarely going to make those lag putts and therefore if you hit towards the hole, you put image of failure into your mind – an image of the ball missing the hole which becomes imprinted and knocks your confidence.

      How does this relate to The Times QC? Not overly but I will observe you seem to diminish your fast times by either saying “it was a biff-fest” or saying “It could have been quicker” – confidence knockers. And then when you get a day like today you imprint the tragedy and failure into your brain by beating yourself up. Putting down the pen before you get frustrated may well be part of the answer until you build the confidence. Catching what you did well – e.g. “I was pleased to spot Nauru” – will also help.

      Just some thoughts for you … I know you have it in you to be doing these well. Your “bad caddy” is holding you back 😕

      1. Thanks L-Plates.

        I read the Bob Rotella book in my golfing days and I remember the short putts drill. You’re absolutely right about confidence. I’m getting some of the old QC books for Christmas which will hopefully help as they are perhaps a little easier.

        It was a tough one today and it didn’t help that I’ve had a very long week at work, and was very tired when I sat down to attempt it. On another day I might have worked it out. My error with RHE rather than RHO caused two errors, and that is a mistake I can probably put down to fatigue.

        When I began the QC, Breadman was my favourite setter. I found his puzzles accessible and one of his was the first one I completed. Recently however he’s become my nemesis and I only need to see his name at the top of the puzzle to put me on edge. I need to get out of that mindset as I don’t want him to become another Izetti.

        I’ll sack the caddy and get a new one!

        Thanks again for your comments and congratulations on your fantastic time. Given the level of difficulty, this must be one of your best. Anything under 20 mins was hugely impressive. It won’t be long before you become one of our esteemed bloggers at this rate!

  45. Found it tricky and we didn’t get all of the answers – same ones as mentioned above by others. I query Terminal though – I put Terminus which is the last station. In my mind Terminal is either an adjective referring to the last station (or approaching death) or an airport building but it is not the end of the line itself. Humph

    1. Sadly, Chambers dictionary doesn’t agree with you on TERMINAL. “3. A rail or bus terminus”.

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