Times Quick Cryptic No 2523 by Izetti

Well, this was a surprise from Izetti, containing plenty of new (for me) general knowledge, including a town in Texas, a Flemish coin and a target for Zen Buddhists. I managed to complete in 17 minutes, 2 over target, so the unknowns were reasonably generously clued, and I found the whole puzzle very satisfying, with some real challenges – just what we have come to expect from The Don.

After seeing the early British, heavy-browed, square-jawed Bronze-agers getting a mention in the fourth row, I looked for more paired answers, but nothing stood out, and it isn’t really Izetti’s style to include a Nina.

Some of our newbie solvers may complain about the difficulty level, but I loved it.  What did you think?


7 Yours truly’s in the French capital (4)

LIMAI’M (yours truly’s) inside LA (the in French). LIMA is, of course, the capital of Peru.

8 What orchestral leader did at beginning or end of concert? (4,1,3)

TOOK A BOW – I think this is a pure &Lit, where the whole clue is the definition. Whilst an orchestra may be led by a conductor, the orchestral leader is typically the principal or first violinist. He / she will TAKE A BOW at the start of the concert to be able to play his / her instrument, but will also TAKE A BOW (pronounced bough) at the end when thanked by the conductor for their leadership.

9 Magistrate with little hesitation producing a vessel (6)

BEAKERBEAK (magistrate, old slang) and ER (little hesitation). A BEAKER is a large drinking bowl or cup..

10 Folks work, engaged by famous footballer (6)

PEOPLE OP (Opus, work) inside (engaged by) PELE (famous footballer). Last week we had George Best in a clue. It is arguable which is more famous.

11 Preserve Southern Avenue (4)

SAVES{outhern} and AVE{nue}.

12 Garment gran ruined with acid (8)

CARDIGAN – Anagram (ruined) of {GRAN (with) ACID]. I do love a cardigan!

15 Various characters in Leeds are set free (8)

RELEASED – Anagram (various characters in) of [LEEDS ARE].

17 Scottish island’s slime? (4)

MUCK – Double definition, the first in the Inner Hebrides.

18 Where pupils may be learning – in brief (6)

INFORM – IN FORM = in class, where pupils may be learning. To brief someone is to inform them.

21 Arrange again to go to one US city or another (6)

LAREDOLA (one US city) and REDO (arrange again) to give LAREDO (Texas city, another one).

22 Relation up a tree? (8)

ANCESTOR – cryptic clue relying on an ANCEST{O}Ral tree.

23 By the sound of it, wins sporting trophies? (4)

URNS – Homophone clue, sounds like EARNS (wins). At first I had an MER for URN = sporting trophy, and then I remembered The Ashes, the cricketing trophy.


1 Dog given fresh air and drink (8)

AIREDALEAIRED (given fresh air) and ALE (drink).

2 One of those rising in anger? (6)

HACKLE – Cryptic definition and &Lit. If your hackles are raised, you are angry!

3 A stretch of land’s said to offer charms (8)

ATTRACTS – Another homophone (said), sounds like A TRACT’S (a stretch of land’s).

4 First course thus over? (4)

SOUPSO (thus) and UP (over).

5 Some babysat, originally finding enlightenment (6)

SATORI – Hidden (some) in {baby}SAT ORI{ginally}. I admit to not knowing this, but it was an obvious hidden. SATORI is a state of enlightenment sought in Zen Budhiism.

6 Gosh – lake is anything but warm (4)

COOLCOO (Gosh) and L{ake}. GOSH and COO are each expressions of surprise.

13 Severe warning upset the German – later modified (3,5)

RED ALERTDER (the in German) reversed (upset) and an anagram (modified) of [LATER]. We had a few RED ALERTS last week for Storm Ciaran

14 What can produce mishap? Misdirected edict can (8)

ACCIDENT – Anagram (misdirected) of [EDICT CAN].

16 Went off to the match unannounced? (6)

ELOPED – Cryptic definition.

17 Girl invited to garden to embrace artist Harry (6)

MARAUDMAUD (girl invited to garden – cast your mind back if you will to the popular poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, set to music in 1857 by Michael Balfe and first performed by Sims Reeves). MAUD is interrupted in our answer by RA (artist).

19 Number at home visiting Durham’s region (4)

NINEIN (at home) visiting (inside) NE (Durham’s region).

20 Coin shows tiny creature (4)

MITE – Double definition, the first an old Flemish coin of very small value, the second any of various tiny arachnids.

105 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2523 by Izetti”

  1. 14:24. Some clever and unusual definitions were my main holdups. MITE for coin, COO for gosh, UP for over, BEAK for magistrate, and REDO for arrange again all stretched my time out. I think my ANCESTORs might well have been BEAKER People( or maybe they just came straight down from the trees). I guessed MITE from the widow’s mite in the Bible and quite liked Tennyson’s MAUD when I had to study it in my youth. On the other hand I didn’t think SATORI in Paris was one of Jack Kerouac’s best.

    1. Well done CO – good time on a tough day. If Kerouac’s Satori in Paris didn’t do it for you, maybe give Netflix’s Emily in Paris a try ?! 😂

  2. DNF.
    lots to learn. I’m sorry this is going to be v long. Thank you for the excellent explanations Rotter.

    ‘yours truly’s’ It has taken me five minutes to not see that as a possessive but as a contraction.

    ‘beak’ I could not think of any four letter words for magistrate. Collins Dictionary tells me Beak can be used for a headmaster too.

    I nho George Best, he stopped playing before I was born, but I def know Pele. I nho Muck, I thought I was doing well for even remembering the Inner Hebrides last time. I nho Laredo. I nho of the Flemish mite coin.

    I’m not a fan of ‘aired’ being given fresh air.. Like, it’s the same word.

    Fine with Maud being our girl today, still don’t understand the answer though. Does Maraud mean to harry? I would think it’s a lot more… Intense than being harried. Is there person names Harry Maraud? Google just gives me Harry Potter results

    I found the ones I *did* get very hard too! SOUP!

    Seems the past few days lulled me into a false sense of security. Izetti and I are not on the same wavelength ever.

    1. Hi, similar experience for me with exactly the same clues I never heard of. Missed out on Beaker, Hackle, Muck, Laredo, Maraud and Mite. On top I even missed Ancestor as frustration set in and decided to come in here and learn what I didn’t know asap.
      Talking of CODs, after 3 days of relatively good solving (average 12 min, for me a great result), today I’m feeling a bit battered.

      1. Oh yeah, i could tell it was gonna be one of those days I would just have to give in to the ‘reveal’ button and I didn’t groan at any of them because I flat out would never have gotten the answer

    2. DNF.
      Commiserations. Well done for having a go, though. If you perservere I am sure that you will solve most of these QCs.
      I gave up at this one fairly quickly , recognising that many of these clues were just too far out of my reach. Satori, for example. I would count these as too hard for a QC but the experts find these acceptable., so who am I to disagree.

      1. I got Satori, having never heard of it – there just aren’t many words that end in I, and the ‘some’ did tip me off to a hidden

        I give up rather easily when they expect me to know geography things. I know a lot of geography around Australia/pacific/Asia but the crosswords are quite Europe heavy which I guess is to be expected

      2. I would never call myself an expert, but my target for these is about five minutes. It’s took me 14 today, so I would consider this to be very tough for a quick cryptic.

      3. For me, the toughest QC I can remember and, had I passed the hour mark, I think I would have given up and had my first DNF since joining the blog.

  3. Really enjoyed most of this but it was a real challenge and will, I’m sure, promote arguments about what the Q in QC stands for. It took me 18 minutes, which is not what I call Q. The lower half was the toughest, with MITE, ANCESTOR, INFORM and URNS taking a long time to fall. But LOI MARAUD took me to the brink of surrender. OK it was a popular song in about 1915 and some people will recognise the garden link instantly, but I suspect for many it will be mystery. Also, while we all love a bit of misdirection I would suggest that putting an initial cap on Harry when harry is the definition is getting close to dirty pool. Anyway I was just glad to finish, thank you Rotter.

    1. The arbitrary cap on “Harry” is a common subterfuge among setters. It’s justified by the fact that any word may be capped in a lexicon or dictionary.

  4. I’d call TOOK A BOW a Cryptic Definition, but it’s two different definitions, and for two different words!
    John Cale did a memorable version of “Streets of LAREDO.”

  5. 16 minutes.

    I didn’t know SATORI although it has come up twice previously in recent times without adverse comment from me, so I assume that like today it was clued fairly. A hidden answer indicated by ‘some’ is standard practice in a cryptic puzzle, but if it had been clued as an anagram that might justifiably have been considered unfair.

    Fans of Westerns and songs about ‘The Wild West’ will have no problem with LAREDO but otherwise it may prove tricky to non-Americans.

    SOED defines both MARAUD and ‘harry’ with reference to raiding and plundering. Come into the garden, Maud used to be known widely but will probably not be known to anyone under a certain age unless they have made a particular study of poetry. It was also set to music as a popular song performed by Marie Lloyd.

    1. Jack, did Starstruck tell you what went wrong with yesterday’s Quitch? It still hasn’t picked my time up!

  6. I really loved this QC which took me within a whisker of my breakfast cut-off time of 20 minutes. Very much a Times crossword and definitely at the tough end of the QC scale for me. But still (in my opinion at least) a quick crossword given that the tough end of the main crossword will typically see me giving up after an hour and a half with a few still unsolved.

    I did have a slight humph at 1D, where I thought it was weak to have AIR in both the clue and the answer, but a great crossword nonetheless and thoroughly enjoyable.

    I would argue that this QC is probably harder than some of the easier main crosswords and, from a beginners perspective, I think that is perfect. It would be disheartening for a beginner to get to the stage where they were comfortable with the QC on a regular basis and then, on going to the main puzzle, finding themselves in a totally different world of difficulty. In contrast, if a beginner has got to the stage where they can consistently do the QC, even with harder ones like this, then they will find that the easier end of the main puzzle scale will be perfectly accessible and they can make a smooth transition.

    And of course, the SNITCH is a great tool for deciding whether the main puzzle is worth a go or not.

    1. I second this. Today’s took 36mins to finish. Often have a go at the easier mains (SNITCH sub 75), and normally finish within an hour. Wouldn’t get that enjoyment without the QC execises!

    2. I assume a setter like Izetti using AIR in both the clue and answer sees it as his way of helping out the beginner solver. Likewise by expanding MAUD from being a “girl” to a “girl in the garden” he helps them out. Except it doesn’t – it just adds more confusion.

  7. Well, my roll has come to an end. I bunged in MITE, LAREDO and SATORI with fingers crossed but was finally undone by MARAUD and ATTRACTS, both fair clues in retrospect. I especially liked TOOK A BOW.
    Very tricky for a QC but that’s what we’ve come to expect from Izetti. One to learn from.
    Thanks for the explanations Rotter.

  8. Thanks Rotter and Izetti of course. 24 minutes and very comfortable in my SCC seat this morning considering this offering, which was (imho) a pea thus over of antiquated and other rather obscure GK. Unlikely to inspire the millennials, Ys or Zs (again imho) I don’t mind a high bar or a high brow for that matter but for a QC, sub-stratospheric would be nice… now half to the setting moon are gone…

  9. I’ve gotten used to completing QCs I was getting overconfident, that imo shows me how far I have to go to have any chance at completing the big one regularly. DNF with 9 clues outstanding, almost none of which I felt I could have gotten when I looked up the answers

  10. DNF. After 19m I still had not got 4d. I bunged in POOP (in the hope that a poop deck may be the first in a course of decks, and that “thus over” may be a palindrome indicator), but SOUP makes much more sense.

    COD to MARAUD.

    Thanks Rotter and Izetti

  11. 14/24 in 20m. Given it’s Izetti, I knew there was no point in continuing and I’m glad I didn’t, now that I see the answers. I’m sure it’s all really clever, but it’s not for me – I just don’t have the time.

    1. I used to have a racing snail who seemed to have all the time in the world – he would amble along, always finishing last. I wondered how I might make him more competitive. Finally, I thought what would Ferrari do? They would reduce weight somehow, so I removed his shell. Didn’t work – just made him more sluggish! I’ll get my coat!

  12. 7:36. Quite an educational workout from Izetti. But Grr – held up for an age at the end by the unremembered LAREDO. The unknown SATORI wasn’t a problem and MITE remembered as a coin (but not where from) only from, I think, a Mephisto. I remember a friend singing “Come into the garden Maud” in his “Puccini voice” which had us all falling about laughing. Thanks Izetti and Rotter.

      1. Yes I remember that, but I think I’ve seen reference to the coin too. I’ve looked, but I can’t find it in any Mephisto blogs since I started doing them, though.

  13. Hard, I think mainly with clues/definitions that have caught me out before. ANCESTOR, LAREDO, NHO the island MUCK, (BEAK)ER, AIREDALE, NHO MITE as a coin, nor the song inviting Maud into the garden.

    LOI was the dog.

    Personal NITCH very red, WITCH acceptably yellowish, so I’ll take that.


  14. DNF. That was wasted on me. The Quitch is running at 166, which is its highest ever level.



  15. DNF

    15 minutes and still three to go

    No idea what was going on with the girl in the garden so not sure I was ever going to get MARAUD. And not a great fan of URNS for sporting trophies as there is only one sporting contest where the battle is for an urn. And is earning the same as winning? Maybe. Even if I had got them the dog remained a mystery to the very end – AIR in both clue and answer? Maybe I was making it more difficult than it was but dog breeds not my strong suit (though I did know this one).

    Thanks all

  16. Thanks, corrected – I’m afraid the error is a weakness of mine. No need to delete your observation.

  17. Having assumed that 21A would have A as second letter, I should have got this but NHO the city of Laredo and the second part, now so obvious, wasn’t coming to me. Drat.
    Otherwise, very Izetti-y, and I enjoyed winkling it out. MARAUD nearly beat me too, but the garden reference eventually rang the required bell. MITE only from biblical associations, URNS earned a flicker of eyebrow but acceptable, I think.
    I await choruses of disapproval later in the blog, but I take AgileJames’ approach that some QCs should be at the upper end of the QCness, and this is.
    Rotter, liking a cardigan? I cannot imagine that TT would never don such a garment! A rather louche smoking jacket surely…

  18. I only managed to answer half of the clues before giving up.

    I felt that some of the clues really pushed at the boundaries of good and bad.

    Have to agree with another poster that URNS is not a great word for trophies. I felt that Izetti certainly has the talent to do a lot better on that one.

    I also think the city in 21a was a bit unfair. Certainly not a city that comes to the minds of most.

    However of what I did manage to answer I did enjoy.

  19. This was interesting. I did it on my phone, which does not show the setter, but less than half way through I guessed it was by Izetti. The usual combination of obscure words (Satori), very small islands (Muck, 2 miles long and population c.35, so a somewhat niche piece of GK) and regional cities (Laredo) gave it away, but in this case they were all three generously clued – very generously for Izetti – so they did not hold me up.

    I spent much more time on Airedale (very unhelpful checkers, and a weak clue IMO with Air in both surface and answer) and I am not sure I have ever seen Hackle in the singular, but even with all this I managed a 11½ minute completion. Which given the setter, the snitch and comments from others I shall treat as a Good Day. In fact any day I complete an Izetti at all without grimacing, let alone in a reasonable time, is a Good Day …

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

  20. Pass me my trumpet! Helped by years of experience with Izetti in his many guises, and by knowing everything except the very fairly clued SATORI, I am currently 3rd on the leaderboard behind a neutrino and aphis99 who is always one of the pacesetters. I was 8 seconds quicker than Verlaine too!

    I knew it was a toughie, but I still cleared it in two passes.

    TIME 3:53

    1. Omg you deserve an urn 🏆

      Screenshot that and stick it in a frame, today’s the day you were quicker than Verlaine

    2. Very well done, Busman!
      Your excellent performance is a good example of how the times of the more accomplished solvers are relatively poor indicators of the level of difficulty of easier crosswords, such as the QC. Very slight differences at the top end often mask absolute carnage further down the list.

  21. I did this in just under 10, even having put in TAKE A BOW to start with. Must read the clue!
    Three CDs is pushing it, though they’re quite good.
    My great aunt used to complain about the salacious lyrics to songs (we’re talking 60’s here, so no smack my b*tch up, but still). Our comeback was always “what do you think was going on in “come into the garden Maud – I’m here at the gate alone?”.

  22. I was very much on Izetti’s wavelength today finishing in 8.26. Even though this is a quicker than average time for me, I recognised that this was indeed a toughie as the comments above would confirm. With that in mind, I’m definitely thinking of this as being one of my better days. I’m old enough to have heard someone belting out ‘Come into the garden Maud’ which gave me the answer immediately. Well I certainly enjoyed this one, but I can sympathise with those who found it less than satisfying.

  23. 8:11

    An enjoyably chewy challenge though could have been a disaster having virtually-pencilled in MUDD at 17a and POTS at 23. Serendipitously, ACCIDENT put paid to both of those. Thought LAREDO was a stretch for non-US solvers, eventually got the Scottish island and MARAUD – I’d been thinking ‘quite contrary’ MARY for the girl at 17d, but eventually twigged.

    NHO MITE as a coin – that went in from both checkers and the ‘tiny creature’ definition. Ninja-turtled SATORI from the Bauhaus EP ‘Searching For Satori’ – didn’t know what it actually was… Notably, the second track on that EP is ‘Harry’ which was the definition for 17d…

    Thanks Izetti and Rotter

  24. 3rd DNF of the week. Towel thrown at 25+ mins with 7 blanks. “Come into the garden, Maud”? Wow, that’s pretty obscure. As is LAREDO, TX. And I didn’t put AIREDALE in on the basis that Izetti is too good to have AIRED=air.

    I liked TAKE A BOW which I didn’t fully understand til coming here.

      1. I don’t think the issue was in the parsing.

        It was that Izetti had used the same word in both the clue and answer.

  25. Sorry but the lower half was unintelligible ! I think Mr Izetti took too many liberties today with people like me who have no aspirations to the 15 x 15. Some clues bordering on (or even right in) the arcane !

  26. Just got time for quick comments.
    Two needed after 14 minutes. The same after 20, then took a break.
    I had MARAUD as a possible and once I returned to the puzzle, I could see it was right. URNS came quickly after that.
    About 22 minutes with some tough bits en route.
    COD to INFORM.

    But, as agreed above, too difficult for a QC. (not a newbie solver. Maud was FOI thanks to my age and studying Tennyson at school.)
    Thanks for much needed blog, Rotter.
    By the way, am fascinated by all the stats. Quite a chappish interest. I don’t believe women go in for that kind of thing.

  28. 13 mins exactly. I avoided a DNF with an alphabet trawl for BEAKER…must have skipped over the B on my first attempt. There were a lot of unknowns (SATORI, MITE coin, MAUD and the spelling of LAREDO) but as it was Izetti I was confident in the wordplay. Thank goodness someone on this blog listed the islands of the Inner Hebrides just the other day as MUCK was a write in. Thanks for the workout Izetti.

  29. Lima and Took (Take until dinner time) a Bow went in without difficulty, as did People and Cardigan, so things seemed set for an easy(ish) Izetti. The bottom half of the grid soon convinced me otherwise. Although the garden Maud and (widow’s) Mite eventually helped to fill in some blanks, Laredo and Hackle in the NW held out long enough for me to lose patience, with stumps pulled at the 30min mark. Invariant

  30. DNF. Reached my cut-off time of 30 minutes with only 1dn with its unhelpful crossers outstanding. Should probably have got this but was not expecting the word to begin ‘air..’. Satori was unknown to me but clearly signposted in the clue. I have vaguely heard of Laredo and knew of mite as a small amount of money from the biblical reference.

    FOI – 7ac LIMA
    LOI – DNF but would have been 1dn AIREDALE
    COD – 22ac ANCESTOR (it might be a chestnut but still caused a smile)

    Thanks to Izetti and Rotter

  31. 21:08
    One of the hardest as the snitch confirms.

    Took a bow is not an &lit. More like cryptic definition.

    I think Izetti needs a new years resolution to produce crosswords that are a little kinder to less experienced solvers.
    Struggled with mite, laredo, hackle, airedale, eloped. Didn’t like muck, urns, or Maraud.
    COD ancestor.

  32. Well, this was a struggle today, but loved every very long minute. Last few to fall were ANCESTOR (looking for wrong sort of tree), SOUP (assumed misdirection so looking for wrong sort of course) and RELEASED (assumed ‘various characters’ was definition until the penny dropped). Knew LAREDO, MITE and SATORI. Surprised as others by the clue for AIREDALE. Thanks to Rotter for explaining the following: MARAUD (hadn’t come across the poem – just read it) and INFORM (had parsed as ‘where pupils learn’ and as shorter form of ‘information’ or ‘learning’ – dearie me). DNK MUCK as Scottish island, but I do now. Many, many thanks. Tricky but satisfying. Thanks Izetti.

  33. DNF, defeated by MARAUD, MITE and URNS. Surely URNS are not sporting trophies: there is only one urn containing The Ashes that is a sporting trophy. MITE – NHO. MARAUD – extremely obscure and does harry = maraud? Surely too weak for that.

  34. I thought this one was a bit trickier than usual, but managed to sneak in under my target. Knew the Garden song and got MITE from the Widow. From LIMA to ELOPED in 9:45. Thanks Izetti and Rotter.

  35. An absolute stinker from Izetti, IMO. I had 7 clues to solve after 25 minutes of hard graft, but then remained completely baffled by all of them for the next three-quarters of an hour. Eventually, I threw in the towel (after 70 minutes!) with all 7 of those clues still unsolved. Those clues were HACKLE, ATTRACTS, MARAUD, MITE, LAREDO, ANCESTOR and URNS. Before that, MUCK and SATORI were pure guesses and BEAKER was just very hard.

    In my view this was not a QC.

    Many thanks to Rotter.

  36. So much for my hopes of a 6 for 6 week! The SW corner totally defeated me although having seen the answers I think I gave up too soon. Must try harder.

  37. Reading the comments is interesting. I did not finish and it seems more had DNF that completed. That should be an indication that this was all wrong for a QC. I think Izetti should stick to the 15*15.

      1. When I looked in the morning it was at 163. Now a day later is at 139.

        I’d say it was possibly the hardest I’d seen in a while but that was because I had three separate ‘islands’ unsolved at 30mins gone. I felt like it was going to be tough to break into all three unaided. Somehow I did but it took the better part of an hour.

  38. 40.20 The unknowns were very gettable. I was mostly held up by the cryptic definitions and their neighbours. AIREDALE was LOI.

    As Templar noted, this has the highest ever Quitch. Even my dreadful time crept into the top 100 on the leaderboard. Very pleased to have finished it. Thanks to Rotter and Izetti.

  39. Currently it seems I’m the leading contender to win the SCOTT*

    My time of 1hr – could be a few seconds above, maybe some below was across three attempts.
    – First attempt saw me bung in around half the answers in easily less than 15mins. At 28mins, I took a break as I had reached “sit and stare” mode. Still had 11 to go.
    – Went out and ran some intervals. Gasped for breath a lot. It was rather more exhilarating than the QC to this point. Maybe I should have done a few extra and let myself off the QC. Anyway while I was jogging around I did get my head round TOOK-A-BOW / SOUP where I’d gone with TAKE and was therefore unable to see why SKIP would be correct.
    – 2nd attempt lasted around 25mins and I managed to knock off the SW corner. Suddenly remembered Izetti had used ANCESTORS/tree trick in a June QC which I quit at 1hr22. Also picked up AIREDALE in the NW – thought using fresh air to get to AIRED was subpar for Izetti.
    – 3rd attempt – finally unravelled LAREDO – I can name all 50 state capitals of the USA but that was a vaguely heard of, MUCK (I’d only got from the Inner Hebrides punning earlier this week) and MARAUD was a bit of an alphabet trawl once I had the RA in place. And of course URNS then became obvious.

    After that it was just the BEAKER/HACKLE pairing. Decided I was going to have to brute force every combo for BEAKER which I already had -E–ER in place. So imagine my joy when after immediately discounting AE- beginning … the first combo gave BEA-ER !! Finally alphabet trawl for HACKLE to avoid the temptation of RANKLE where that could fit for anger and might be someone who rises up the ranks but not fully parseable.

    Rather disappointed in Izetti who I felt had turned a corner through Sept/Oct and was becoming approachable again. Only MITE as a Belgian coin was unheard of and there was a lack of religion (and actually Zen is my thing) so I don’t know what went wrong.

    Oh well, it was a completion. Albeit taking 20mins longer than the first three of the week.

    * Slowest Completion Of Today Trophy

      1. That SCOTT is mine today – I’m sure of it.

        Although I’ll be looking over my shoulder until I see how GaryA has done. He’s like The Terminator for unrelenting perseverance and more than capable of finishing this one off.

        1. You must be joking! On my current form, I was lucky to DNF with only four wrong answers. The trophy is all yours. 👏👏👏

  40. 52:28
    Considered giving up for a first DNF since joining the blog. Persevered for my longest ever QC completion time and well off my 20min target time.
    Not sure I can claim to have enjoyed this one – I thought I’d strayed into the land of the 15×15 with a number of the clues.
    HACKLE, BEAKER, INFORM and MITE accounted for about a third of the time, though once seen, seemed reasonable.
    FOI: 11ac SAVE
    LOI: 9ac BEAKER
    COD: Can’t say I had one (might be sour grapes!)
    Thanks to Rotter and a grudging thanks to Izetti

  41. All complete but way over my target.
    Agree with the comments about Urns and Airedale.
    Fair enough, but I would like to dispense with words like coo which I have not heard used in decades.

  42. 21:48. I enjoyed this, despite some definite eyebrow motion at 1D having “air” in both the clue and the answer, but the crossers prevented it from being an anagram (fresh) of AIR + DRINK, which was how I had initially parsed it.

    I took a first pass at this, then paused to find my anagram hat & came back to it. I’d NHO SATORI, only knew the coin from the bible, and missed the verb sense of INFORM, thinking it was an abbreviation of information.
    Thanks as always to Izetti and TheRotter.

    1. Doofers – well done on getting there today.

      FWIW now, I put a comment on yesterday’s Mara blog about a possible explanation for the parental refs.

  43. Just an aside, I do wish the better solvers would stop trying to justify difficult QCs on the basis that it’ll make the step up to 15×15 easier for beginners.

    They really don’t seem to have much empathy for what beginners go through or knowledge of what makes crosswords hard for them. There’s a whole range of problems involved. And if you’re already good at these things, you’ve probably never struggled in the same way or forgotten when you did.

  44. I’ve adopted a new strategy for dealing with Izetti puzzles, in which I get what I can within ten minutes, and then cheat and try to understand how the wordplay works for the revealed answers. I’m no longer willing to agonise over an Izetti when I could be doing something else.

    On a wider point, I’m not really sure who the QC is supposed to be for. Anyway, thank you for the very helpful blog!

    1. Indeed having a Plan B for Izetti is worthwhile.

      During July/Aug I took the approach that if I’d got down to my last four within thirty mins on an Izetti, I’d considered myself to have done well. That then turned into quitting at 30mins.

      He seemed to got back on track the last couple of months so I was willing to persevere today as I’ve mostly been ripping through the QC for the past month so my Hacklometer is currently registering low.

      There’d better be something quick tomorrow though.

    2. I wish the app would tell me who the setter is

      That way I can pull out my list of religious terms for an izetti and find pig words for Oink

  45. Came to this late hoping for something gentle after a long drive and got this instead. Not helped by putting in taKe a bow and RED ALEET, only sheer stubbornness and a couple of alpha trawls got me over the line.
    Too tricky to get much enjoyment out of I’m afraid.
    Thanks to Rotter for the blog, I needed your wisdom for a couple of my biffs today.

  46. DNF as I had NHO LAREDO and couldn’t work it out. I found this hard, but I do like the variety of difficulty of puzzles over a week.

    Needed help from The Gentleman to get URNS. I’ve come across AIREDALEs and the family tree in crosswords recently so dredged those answers from the not so depths.

    Again I wish to complain about old fashioned names such as Maud – or maybe it’s one of those coming back? And certainly any mention of Tennyson brings back awful memories of school.

    COD 16D after I’d read the blog to understand what was going on.

    Thanks Rotter and Izetti.

  47. Definitely DNF here. Three not done: 2d, 17d, 23a. Also a couple of others where I had to biff and check if they went green. NHO satori but knew Laredo, I seem to remember it from a cowboy program in my youth. Like others, I thought of the widow’s mite.

  48. DNF

    Gosh, that was chewy. Gave up after 30 minutes with much of the LHS unsolved. NHO BEAK or MITE.

  49. Seeing Izetti and portcullis grid got the bowels moving. An hour with 3 left with aids
    Good to see Maud have an outing after her sister Ena yesterday.
    What an earth could you buy with 1/24 of an old penny. Reminds me of the adage five-eights of f@@@ all. J

  50. Part of the carnage from today’s (not at all) QC. Given some of the experiences above, I feel slightly pleased in “only” having 6 unsolved!! And I have NO interest in doing the 15×15, so this being “Good training” (or similar) is totally irrelevant to me.

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