Times Quick Cryptic No 2539 by Rongo

It took me a while to get going on this tricky Quick Cryptic from Rongo. I think today’s is at the harder end of the QC spectrum and has several clues that would not be out of place in a 15×15. No time from me as I was interrupted, but definitely well over target, and possibly in excess of 8 minutes. Some super clues, though. COD to the &lit 9A. Enjoy! Thank-you Rongo.

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword, entitled “All at Sea”, which is, I hope, rather easier than today’s from Rongo, here. If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 91 here.

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

1 Careless husband unhappy with chums all coming round (8)
SLAPDASHH (husband) SAD (unhappy) PALS (chums) all reversed -> SLAPDASH. My LOI trying to get something starting SHAD for too long.
5 Fluent but shallow, it’s stocked by lending library (4)
GLIB – Hidden in lendinG LIBrary. “Stocked by” is an unusual but fair hidden indicator which I failed to spot at first. Nice one.
8 Head away from discos etc to make an effort for one’s family (8)
ANCESTRY – {d}ANCES (discos etc) without the first letter, TRY (make an effort).
9 Primarily hound’s or wolf’s lament? (4)
HOWL – First letters of Hound’s Or Wolf’s Lament. A neat &lit and my COD.
11 Time to stop actual backtracking afterwards (5)
LATERT (time), in REAL (actual) reversed -> LAER.
12 Rake is broken in pigpen — like some bacon? (7)
STREAKY – A guest visit from Oink for this one… (rake)* [broken] in STY (pigpen).
13 Maybe the opposite of one crossing heart (6)
TICKER – Double definition, the first a (tricky!) cryptic hint, the opposites being a tick and a cross.
15 After equality, assume release from punishment (6)
PARDONPAR (equality) DON (assume an item of clothing).
18 Liberal composed letters to read with feeling (7)
BRAILLE – (liberal)* [composed]. Sneaky definition! It took me a while to spot this one. Super clue.
19 Something to sit on, right up to now (2,3)
SO FARSOFA (something to sit on) R (right). Sometimes the wordplay needs a different enumeration to the answer – like here. Another bit of sneakiness by our setter. Lovely!
21 Enticement to bend rule (4)
LURE – (rule)* [to bend].
22 Desire to eat a soft dainty (8)
APPETITEA P (piano; soft) PETITE (dainty). Nice surface.
23 A twisting rush of air (4)
WIND – Double definition.
24 You and I strictly must exclude November 23 (8)
WESTERLY – A bit of a stretch for a QC I think. WE (you and I), STER{n}LY (strictly) without the N (November; the NATO phonetic alphabet word for the letter). Referring back to WIND as the definition.
1 Red mark of damage on permit (7)
SCARLET -Not “red mark”, of course. SCAR (mark of damage) LET (permit).
2 Possibly an Aberdonian racecourse (5)
ASCOTA SCOT (an Aberdonian), with “possibly” indicating a definition by example.
3 Show contempt for hospital attendant behaving badly (10)
DISORDERLYDIS (show contempt for)  ORDERLY (hospital attendant).
4 Tension or anguish after DI is dismissed (6)
STRESS – {di}STRESS (anguish) without the DI.
6 Rotten old pear that may be spotted in forest (7)
LEOPARD – (old pear)* [rotten]. Hands up those who, like me, a) tried in vain to find a tree that fitted the anagram and b) didn’t know you found leopards in a forest. But they are, and often drag their prey up a tree, or so this article says. “Spotted in forest” is a great definition, though. Pipped only by 9A as my COD as a result.
7 Push around like a bovine male? (5)
BULLY – Double definition, the second of which could be from the Uxbridge English Dictionary. e.g. “Contrary epithet for bovine male idiot” says your blogger making another up on the spot. I’ll get my coat.
10 Entering wager, way the woman makes big paper (10)
BROADSHEETROAD (way) SHE (the woman) in BET (wager).
14 Church leading an expression of pleasure or displeasure (7)
CHAGRINCH (church) A GRIN (expression of pleasure)
16 North Surrey, awful place for the young (7)
NURSERY – (N Surrey)* [awful].
17 Little output from baker? It’s emotional to watch (6)
WEEPIEWEE (little) PIE (output of baker).
18 Roar when cutting one line in the following text (5)
BELOWBEL{l}OW (roar) without one L (line).
20 Perhaps a Dominican cooker that sizzles audibly (5)
FRIAR – Sounds like FRYER (cooker that sizzles).

85 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2539 by Rongo”

  1. I did this in about 14 min BUT
    I had absolute zero idea how my LOI WESTERLY worked (besides being a wind). I just went with it cos I couldn’t think of anything else. I find removing letters very difficult (see choc ice yesterday)

    The rest of it was on my wavelength though!

    Hey John: for BROADSHEET I think you mean ‘She’ not ‘Her’

    1. Thanks Tina. I was clearly not quite with it when blogging as well as solving. Updated.

  2. 15:13. The following text leading to BELOW and little output from baker giving WEEPIE were hard for me to unravel. Also the opposite of one crossing being a TICKER was clever but slow to reveal itself. CHAGRIN and BROADSHEET were hard too. I tried slipshod first until I saw SLAPDASH.

    1. I tried SLAPDASH first this time because the last time (recently) I tried SLIPSHOD first and it was SLAPDASH.

  3. 17:44. Really enjoyed this QC, tricky clues without too much GK, but all fair enough and I got through in a pretty good time (by my standards).
    Lots of definitions made me smile, including BRAILLE, TICKER, BULLY, etc.

  4. Terrific puzzle I thought, I did it in 7.39 but with a whole lotta biffin’ goin’ on. My main hold-up was in the SW where DISORDERLY, CHAGRIN and TICKER took their time arriving. Many excellent clues included WESTERLY, TICKER, BRAILLE and BROADSHEET. I thought for a second we were revisiting the woman = broad controversy, but no. Many thanks to John and Rongo.

  5. A bit under 12 minutes. As I was solving, one of these answers looked familiar; can’t think why.

    Everything seemed to be going in steadily enough but I was fooled by ‘November 23’ at 24a, wondering what day of the week, anniversary or saint’s day it was, until I cottoned on that it was referring to the clue immediately to the WEST of it. The ‘Maybe the opposite of one crossing’ cryptic hint at 13a also had me mystified until I had all the checking letters and it was my last in.

    Usually an &lit will be my favourite for the day, but good as HOWL was, I thought the touchy-feely Liberal at 18a was even better.

    Thanks to Rongo and John

  6. At 7 minutes, this was my fastest solve for a couple of weeks, and only my second sub-10 minutes in the last 12 puzzles. Must have been a wavelength thing if two of our bloggers (j and BR) found it tricky.

    1. Must have been wavelength Jack – and I wasn’t on it! I can’t remember you ever matching my completion time before.

      1. Yes, you do a lot of sub-5 minutes don’t you, whereas my aim until recently was to complete within 10 minutes, and I achieved that with a reasonable level success.

        One thing I would mention though is that I have never attempted speed-solving just to fill the grid as quickly as possible. Right from the start in 2014 my timings have always included parsing and fully understanding the clues unless otherwise mentioned in my comments. And even on those rare occasions it’s only the odd clue or two that I have needed to return to after stopping the clock.

        I’ve now upped my target time to 15 minutes to enjoy a more leisurely solve and I don’t think about timing during the process, just make a note of when I start and finish.

  7. 18:45 here, over my target but thoroughly enjoyed.

    TICKER would be hard for US-based solvers: a “tick” in the UK is called a “check mark” here. Btw John: do you want to underline both definitions?

    I thought NURSERY was going to be my COD, as I know people who grew up in Surrey, but it was eclipsed by BRAILLE.

    I got WESTERLY before WIND: it was my way into the SW corner, which was completely blank until then.

    Thanks to Rongo and John.

    1. Re: TICKER. Interesting point. My own convention with a Double definition where the second is a cryptic hint is to underline only the straight definition, treating the other as wordplay. Hence I’ve underlined only heart in the clue here.

      1. My convention – though I admit I don’t always stick to it – is to underline the straight definition in bold and underline the hint in unbold.

      2. Fair enough. I would probably have formatted it the same way but not classified it as a double def. Still a newbie at this blogging lark, although I think I’ve just passed my one-year anniversary.

        1. Some bloggers use DDCH in their blogs to distinguish from a straight DD. Congrats on the anniversary. I see I’ve been doing these for over 7 years now, but I too am a mere beginner compared to the likes of jackkt who has just passed his 16th anniversary.

  8. I got going very quickly and became quite excited about maybe joining the swots towards the front of the class this morning – until I ran up against DISORDERLY, which totally defeated me. So a grand score of 2/5 for the week.
    LEOPARD and BRAILLE made me smile especially and I felt it was overall a very good puzzle. I clearly need to do more revision over the weekend, however.
    Many thanks to Rongo and John.

  9. Quality puzzle with lots of head scratching along the way.
    Desperately wanted 1a to be slipshod but couldn’t make it work, like John I wanted LEOPARD to be a tree until a couple of checkers pointed me in the right direction and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what a hospital attendant was called for POI DISORDERLY – I got stuck on porter.
    Loved BELOW, BRAILLE and WEEPIE but my COD goes to HOWL.
    Finished over target in 10.33 with LOI WESTERLY.
    Thanks to John

  10. Well if John thinks it is tricky, you know it is well and truly at the harder end of a QC. And so it proved, as I took 18 minutes. All done and parsed eventually, but quite the Friday struggle. The SW corner proved the last to fall – I tried very hard to make Censure work for Chagrin (is chagrin really the same as displeasure?). Not a great fan of Bully, but what else could it be.

    Many thanks John for the blog and I look forward to the Saturday Special.

  11. Most went in smartly enough, with 3 left over, which were puzzled over for a couple of minutes and solved in the order BRAILLE (COD), TICKER, DISORDERLY. I also liked WESTERLY, though I know some are not fans of the cross-referenced clue type, and HOWL was also from the top drawer.


  12. An excellent puzzle which took me more or less twice as long as usual, but with total fairness and much humour. In addition to my COD, I also enjoyed TICKER, BRAILLE, and CHAGRIN.

    TIME 7:00

  13. 12:12 (fire in Southwark kills thousands, and burns London Bridge)

    A tricky but enjoyable puzzle.
    I’m not usually a fan of clues that reference other clues, but 24a worked well, briefly making me try to find something based on Thanksgiving before spotting the wind.

    Thanks John and Rongo

  14. Blimey. Yet another toughie. DNF after 30 mins with 8 unsolved.
    I circled this one for a while before finding a chink in its armour. Some clues were clever and enjoyable, but others were beyond me (November 23, for example).
    No problem with GK, but just found clues really difficult, and didn’t have enough crossers to see the words (I refuse to use aids).
    I will rest my weary brain over the weekend and hope next week brings me more joy. Have fun everyone! 😊 ❤️

  15. I thought that was brilliant, very funny, and not too difficult. Gutted that there’s no time from John because if he really was over 8 minutes then I would have beaten him for the first time ever! My time even starts with the same number as the great Busman himself (first and no doubt last time). I need a lie down. What this suggests to me is that this was the epitome of a wavelength puzzle.

    So many CODs to choose from but I’m going for WEEPIE, which made me laugh out loud when the penny dropped.

    Ended with DISORDERLY (long trawl – was hung up on “nurse”) in 07:45 for an Excellent day.

    Many thanks John and Rongo.


    1. Well done! 👏
      It must have been your twisted lawyerly brain that undermined Rongo’s defences. 😜

  16. Another DNF.

    I thought TICKER was pretty hard, and only got after seeing the blog comment about tick meaning marking correct.

    Did this after midnight this morning, In my confused state I conflated the two clues: Desire to eat a soft dainty, output from baker it’s emotional to watch , and with the checkers I had, came up with MADELINE, as in Proust.

    Some good clues in there, especially BRAILLE and HOWL.

  17. Inside 18 minutes, but not by much, for an excellent if hard QC – many thanks Rongo. Some excellent clues here including all those mentioned above as CODs. My own vote goes to BRAILLE. MY LOI was TICKER which was also a contender. Thanks for the blog John – see you all on the other side of the weekend.

  18. Outstanding puzzle. Congrats and thanks to Rongo for a superbly crafted offering which illustrated the setter’s art of mystery, intrigue and wit.
    No time but like a fine wine, enjoyed from first taste (SLAPDASH) to last gulp (WEEPIE).
    I parsed 11A as PAR with NOD = Assume but couldn’t see how it worked. Thanks John.

  19. I really enjoyed this one, particularly TICKER and BRAILLE, although COD to WEEPIE which really made me smile. Thought surface for SO FAR was really neat (economical) too. Held up by LOI ANCESTRY and took a while to parse SLAPDASH, otherwise all ok. This is definitely one of my favourite QCs of late with a nice mix of humour and the odd challenge. Many thanks Rongo. Thanks to John for the blog, and especially for explaining WESTERLY which I solved before WIND and couldn’t parse.

  20. 46:21 … another where any early enjoyment was long forgotten by the time it ended. Completed 26 of last 28 QCs which is fantastic considering where I was but I’m spending too long on something that’s advertised as Quick. Averaged 34mins this week – 44, 24, 20, 35, 46. To think, only four weeks ago my first three solves of the week totalled quicker than today at 8, 14, 18 mins.

    Clearly though, from the times of other posters, it’s just me who was out of sorts. Can’t complain about the puzzle – no weird words, everything parsed. I just don’t seem able to come up with any synonyms after my first pass.

    I don’t much like being a moaner but I’ve always thought it good to post on the days when I have crappy times to encourage all those lurkers who feel they are outclassed around here. I’ll just wish every one well. I will be back at some stage but most likely setting the QC aside for the next week or so. Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    Edit: just given JohnI’s weekender a shot. Done in 15:56 with 3-4mins spent on last 3-4 up in the NE. That’s about what I want from a Quickie – so thank-you to him and, as always for the blog.

      1. Tough 3 weeks for me. Think I’ve got a touch of SAD – these short winter days aren’t good. Your solar panels can’t be bringing in much.

        1. Only 3.5 kWh today despite the sun. I’ll join you on the SAD front . December is brightened a bit up by Christmas but OMG, January is deadly!
          Still, only 3 weeks till the solstice 👍

          1. 6.1 kWh from mine today. BTW I’m now with Octopus on their Flux tariff and I’ve recently changed my inverter settings to charge up my batteries in the middle of the night at the lowest energy cost and use it during the day, which halves my energy costs. I hope you do too, if not, let me know and I’ll share how to do it.

            1. That’s very interesting John. Looks like you’ve maybe got a bigger array than me, or fully south facing? (Or it’s sunnier!)
              I’ve got 14 panels split east/west along the ridge. And my battery is 5.7 kw. I’d be interested in taking in cheaper electricity at night, in the winter at least. I too am with Octopus and I use the FoxCloud app.

              1. I’ve got 9 panels, with a south-westerly aspect and a maximum output rated at 3.4kW, and 3 Pylon batteries giving 7.2 kWh battery storage. I think it just must have been sunnier for me (blue skies all day). See my blog post Solar Power Winter Settings for what I did. Since then I had my datalogger upgraded and I can manage the setting from my Solis App as well as on the inverter. I’ve upped the window when I charge to between 2:15 and 4:45 am so my batteries get fully charged overnight. If you have any questions you can use the “Contact me” form on the blog. Good luck.

    1. Sounds like a classic case of heading into winter QC burnout. Oh well, get lots of running in and come back refreshed!

      1. Thanks CO – I’ve been grumpy and mentally struggling for the past week. A touch of SAD I suspect so will have to get the lightbox in action. I get out running every day for 30mins so still got that. 7:20/mile pace yesterday vs 150 average heart-rate. Easy pace day today – 7:41/mile today at 142HR-avg. At least the ticker is getting a decent workout!

        1. I was 41 mins and also 26/28 – stuck on slapdash and then couldn’t see disorderly. Also struggled this week!

          1. Commiserations RachelS. I think at 40mins, I still had 4-5 left – yet once you get the right checker they can go in swiftly. As soon as CHAGRIN went in, I got BRAILLE/WIND/BELOW. SLAPDASH probably went in just before that and I only got DISORDERLY when I had a flash of inspiration that the “contempt” definition I thought was seeking could be a DIS- word. In some ways it was..

            Poorly worded comment above -I meant I’ve solved 26 of the last 28 QCs which considering I usually have about 75% success each month. Have edited it now.

  21. Lots of great clues today; and I required lots of time to solve them. 22 minutes with LOI DISORDERLY, where I struggled to get past nurses and porters.
    My favourites were PARDON,BRAILLE,SO FAR and NURSERY but other contenders too.
    This felt like a 15x 15 most of the time and there’s no harm in that occasionally.
    Thanks to Rongo.

  22. I had the opposite experience to John today, with a fast start followed by a real struggle. Everything down to Ticker went in with hardly a pause, but then Rongo changed wavebands and I was reduced to picking up scraps. At the SCC threshold, I was down to ‘just’ the SW corner, but that became quite a battle. Wind, Below, Lure, Ticker, Chagrin and CoD Braille fell in that order, albeit with the 30min line in sight. Standing room only for me today, but a really good puzzle all the same. Invariant

  23. Like others I thought this was tough, but I was sailing along quite nicely with coming up to eleven minutes elapsed with one to do, 3dn. For the second time this week I went into brain freeze (I’m putting it down to the weather!), and for the life of me I couldn’t come up with ORDERLY as someone who attends hospital. Eventually just as I was about to throw in the towel, it came to me. By this time, the clock had moved on to 18.50 just as I was about to knock on the door of the SCC Club respectfully asking for admittance.
    It’s been a funny old week for me with a mixture of quick and slow solves. My total time for the week was 59.50 (my longest since I’ve been recording weekly times I think), giving me a daily average of 11.58.

  24. None of you comment on Rongo whose name I haven’t seen before. New, or just a very occasional setter? Found this very hard, couldn’t do more than half, even after an hour or more.
    P.S. Thank you, John, and love the viper.

    1. Rongo has been a setter from the start (his earliest was number 12), but he provides a QC only occasionally. The only other 2 since June 2022 are in March and April this year. You can read about him here.
      P.S. My favourite clue of his is..
      Spiteful person used to remove vetness from vindscreen? (5)

      1. So kind, Cedric, thank you. Actually we have been away on the trip of a lifetime, round Peru. But to the point: I said I couldn’t stand the pressure stuck at the back of the class, and I meant it; I’ll only contribute if I have something to say that conceivably seems worth saying. It seems pointless to report each day just how miserably I have failed. (But yesterday I had no problem with etui / TUI – never say die, perhaps!) Greetings to you.

        1. Well good to see you back anyway. Would love to hear about the Peru trip at a meeting at The George sometime. As for miserably failing… well when I was starting on The Times crossword, solving maybe 5 to 10 clues a day, every clue solved was a success!

          1. Thank you, John, that’s most kind. I was so sorry to have mucked our proposed meeting last time – if there’s any chance of guidance as to what time it’s best to be there, I’ll make a big effort to get it right, and very much hope to see you again. Warmest best wishes.

  25. Double disaster with FRIAR, inexplicably attached the audibly to the Dominican and then spelled it FRIER so there’s no denying the responibility for that pink square. I though this was the best QC in weeks and weeks lots of smiles and some really good surfaces – with a special mention to 13a. My pink square is particulalary annoying as I’d got my count down to 3 in the last month before day – undoubtedly a record and proof that proofing works! Not all green in 15. Thanks John, just heard girls’ football is frozen off tomorrow so shall try the special with no time pressure. Before that, Lionesses at Wembley – could be chilly!

  26. Tricky but fun puzzle from Rongo which took me 20 minutes. I had everything parsed except TICKER – it was only after reading John’s blog for the third time that the penny finally dropped!

    FOI – 9ac HOWL
    LOI – 13ac TICKER
    COD – a lot of candidates today but for me joint first place goes to 17dn WEEPIE and 18ac BRAILLE with the awful Surrey NURSERY also a contender.

    Thanks to Rongo and to John

  27. 23:10
    Longest for a while and no hangover as an excuse.
    I almost gave up with half the grid outstanding, but persevered with: weepie, westerly, lure, friar, ticker, appetite, below, braille, and LOI disorderly, phew.

    COD ticker.

  28. DNF, despite seeking help. Foiled by SW corner: just couldn’t get BRAILLE or WEEPIE. Guessed WESTERLY: only thing that fitted in with letters I had. Didn’t associate leopards with forests, although anagram obvious. Not a good day.

  29. I managed to complete this one with the cat helping me with one clue (3d) – kicked myself when I finally saw the answer from the extra clue he gave me.

    I hesitated putting TICKER in for 13a, but in the end I went with it, although I did not understand the opposite of one crossing until I came here. Very clever clue.

    1a Took me a long time but eventually a low wattage bulb clicked on dimly in my head.

    A tricky QC but thoroughly enjoyable and a nice end to the week.

  30. DNF (submitted at 50:03), lots of great clues but WEEPIE (NHO) and WESTERLY (couldn’t parse the clue) were a step too far for my brain. Also only knew “diss” rather than “dis” for showing contempt but something to try and remember. Still very satisfying to get as many as I did, nice challenge to end the week.

  31. Like our blogger I have no time today because of various interruptions including a seasonal delivery, oven timer going off and a puppy needing to toilet. I doubt I would have made target as I got stuck in the SW corner. Having said that I enjoyed the PDMs for TICKER, BRAILLE, BELOW and WESTERLY. LOI WEEPIE with 15:28 on the clock.

  32. Had to check blog for Ticker, even then it took ages for the penny to drop on ‘opposite of one crossing’ 🤦‍♂️

  33. Well, that was better than yesterday, finishing in 21:44. Much more my style with words that I know!

    FOI SLAPDASH although I also tried SLIPSHOD


    Thanks Rongo and John.

  34. 25 mins…

    I really enjoyed this and thought there were some great clues. I didn’t mind the 23/24ac combo, and thought it was clever. Other highlights included: 18sc “Braille”, 17dn “Weepie” and 18dn “Below”.

    But my favourite has to go to 16dn “Nursery” just for the sheer audacity of the wordplay. Brought to mind my namesake’s comments about Ilfracombe on Have I Got News For You. Delightful.

    FOI – 5ac “Glib”
    LOI – 3dn “Disorderly”
    COD – 16dn “Nursery”

    Thanks a usual!

  35. A decent time in the end (31 minutes), but I found this hard work today. Only 7 clues solved after 12-13 minutes, none of which were in the left-hand side of the grid. Having read the comments above, it’s clear that some people had finished before I had solved my 3rd clue. Rather dispiriting, but I have learned not to despair or panic. Things eventually started to come together and I made more progress.

    I enjoyed BRAILLE and SLAPDASH (once I’d solved it) and my last three in were TICKER, ANCESTRY and DISORDERLY. Much relief!

    Many thanks to Rongo and John.

  36. 30.57 I was racing through this. The whole of the top half except DISORDERLY went straight in but then I ground to a halt. WESTERLY was the only word I could think of that fitted and began with WE, yet I still spent ages not getting the chestnut WIND. I finally twigged and it unlocked the SW but LOI DISORDERLY took another twelve minutes. An excellent puzzle though. TICKER and BRAILLE were both lovely. Thanks John and Rongo.

  37. 16.14

    Wowsers – slowest time for ages. As others have said no complaints. Couldn’t see what was going on with BELOW but once that fell I was able to finish off

  38. Maybe not on wavelength but I found this harder than the 15×15 today. Somehow didn’t register the “23” in the clue until I came to the blog! Pondered WESTERLY for a while wondering where the definition was was…. some nice clues I thought.

  39. DNF. Made some good guesses but then some bad ones. Couldn’t get BRAILLE, WEEPIE (good clue), or APPETITE. Failed on DISORDERLY too, as could only think of porter. Oh dear.
    Did well on RHS, but slow on left. Managed eg LEOPARD, but couldn’t parse eg TICKER. Liked BELOW, SCARLET, PARDON, among others.
    So thanks for much needed blog, John.

  40. I’m obviously not a typical crossword solver, because I found this one quite easy, apart from my LOI Ancestry, and not being able to parse Ticker. But yesterday’s was fiendishly difficult and I did not finish, failing to get the three-letter obscure word. I can’t believe that yesterday’s got only 91 on the Snitch! I liked Braille (it made me smile) and admired Howl (it was very clever). Thanks Rongo, and thanks John for the blog and the weekend crossword which I plan to enjoy tomorrow.

  41. Another DNF to round off a thoroughly rubbish week. Half of this went in fairly quickly but then it was grinding through clever clues (clues too clever for me) to fail on DISORDERLY (is ORDERLY more arcane vocabulary?) and TICKER

  42. That was tough. The SCC was closing by the time I arrived. Lots of pencil but all worked out in the end. I always thought 17d was Weepee so had to venture Weepie. Foxed by 24a but if starting ‘we’ then Westerly had to be answer, but failed to parse. Generally, I find Rongo a challenging setter and being physically and mentally tired after a strenuous day made it a doubly difficult solve. Lots of tricks and traps set by Rongo eg 3d ‘behaving badly’ suggested an anagram but I needed to see past that.
    FOI 5a Glob
    LOI 24a Westerly
    COD – several contenders, but – 22a Appetite
    Looking forward to the Saturday Special tomorrow.

  43. The most straightforward QC of the week and I still messed it up.

    A miserable 28 mins for what should have been a sub-20. I was on the wavelength for almost all of this. Yes, some were tough but there were sufficient ‘easy’ ones to make them gettable. I appreciate that many found it hard, but, when you’re on the wavelength, it is particularly galling to come up short of expectations.

    Had my usual disaster at the end, with DISORDERLY, APPETITE and WESTERLY. This was my LOI, where I stupidly wasted 5 mins on a very simple clue. When will I learn that ‘you and I’ means WE, not US? With obvious reference to WIND, this should have been a gimme.

    A thoroughly bad week in QC land, ending a shocker of a month. My time for the week is somewhere beyond 2.5 hours, which is not good enough. I’m still making far too many silly mistakes and have come nowhere near a decent time. Deep into SCC every day and December has begun badly.

    Thanks for the blog John and I hope you all have a great weekend. I will, as usual, spend it in a darkened room (joke!)

    1. Good grief, Gary. To be on the wavelength for most of it and come so close on a tricky crossword is an achievement not a failure! When I started The Times crossword (there was no QC or TimesforTheTimes blog… or Internet for that matter in those days) I thought getting 10 out of 30 clues, say, a positive result!
      P.S. It was definitely not the most straightforward of the week. My previous times were 4:28, 4:12, 5:05 and 5:02 and this was at least 6:40 and maybe over 8.

      1. Thanks John.

        I have a tendency to be a little hard on myself. It was only when I saw the blog/comments that I realised it was a tricky one. I know it’s subjective, but I found this a little easier than some of the other QCs this week. Isn’t it strange how solvers have different views of the same puzzle?

        The absence of TUI-like answers definitely helped today.

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