Times Quick Cryptic No 2543 by Joker – and a teaser

Did anybody else recognise this grid as being identical to the one used by Felix for his Great Gatsby themed puzzle last Thursday, ably blogged by RolyToly? I spotted it straight-away, and remembered commenting on the unhelpful grid last week. I had similar difficulties again this week, needing to write out most of the anagram fodder (anagrists) on the way to solving. My time was a little over 12 minutes, which was a good bit better than last week.

I had never heard of the plant at 15d, or the historian at 14d, but they were both kindly clued and didn’t hold me up for too long. Other than those, 7a and 4d could be considered as slightly esoteric GK, but are in reasonably common use, so hopefully they didn’t catch you out.

Now a teaser for you. I accidentally spotted a kind of theme in this puzzle which is quite subtle, and extremely unusual for a Joker puzzle. Can you see it? I’ll reveal it later today if no-one else sees it and comments first.

My thanks to Joker, very clever!


1 Give up, utterly without energy (4)

QUIT QUIT{e} (utterly = quite, as in ‘I’m quite tired’ / ‘I’m utterly exhausted’) dropping the last letter (without energy).

7 Gelatin is in vitreous vessel (9)

ISINGLASS IS IN (is in) and GLASS (vitreous vessel). Familiar to me from home brewing in the ‘60s, but ISINGLASS is essentially gelatin.

9 Stagger, nearly attacked by a wasp (4)

STUNSTUN{g} (attacked by a wasp), nearly (drop the last letter).

10 Working at basic lab, getting paid leave (10)

SABBATICAL – Anagram (working) of [AT BASIC LAB].

11 Problem about large area of poor housing (4)

SLUMSUM (problem) containing (about) L{arge}.

12 Greedily wanting one new standard assessment task, one in competent style (10)

INSATIABLYI (one) N{ew} and SAT (Standard Assessment Task) with I (one again) and ABLY (in competent style). Quite a mouthful of an IKEA clue, this one.

16 Robber’s drunken manner with crew (10)

HIGHWAYMANHIGH (drunken) WAY (manner) and MAN (crew).

19 Sadly a girl is taken short (4)

ALAS A and LAS{s} (a girl) dropping the last letter (taken short).

21 Cheating with a huff until put right (10)

UNFAITHFUL – Anagram (put right) of [A HUFF UNTIL].

23 One is a leader of Muslims (4)

IMAMI’M A (one is a) and M{uslims} (leader of). An &Lit clue.

24 His maps I’d put in a mess somewhere on board (9)

AMIDSHIPS – Anagram (put in a mess) of [HIS MAPS I’D]. I have, from time to time, been in a mess in a mess somewhere amidships!

25 Dress used by ballerina twice the same day (4)

TUTU TU. Is an acceptable abbreviation for Tuesday in my online Chambers.



2 Prior to unit getting broken on line (5)

UNTIL – Anagram (getting broken) of [UNIT] and L{ine}.

3 Mint upset with this metalworker (8)

TINSMITH – Anagram (upset) of [MINT with THIS].

4 Topless omnibus, dreadful in rain cloud (6)

NIMBUS – Another anagram (dreadful) of [{o}MNIBUS] (topless = drop the first letter).

5 Shocked initially and greatly horrified at such treatment (6)

AGHAST – First letters of the last six words of the clue (initially)

6 Mum’s abandoned biggest dress (4)

MAXI MAXI{mum} (mum’s abandoned).

8 Remain holding British pounds securely (6)

STABLYSTAY (remain) holding B{ritish} and L (Libra, pounds in LSD).

13 A US city – whichever one (3)

ANY A and NY (New York – US city).

14 Historian girl is entertained by lieutenant (8)

ANNALIST ANNA (random girl) and IS inside (entertained by) LT (Lieutenant).

15 Plant unknown in Northern Ireland area (6)

ZINNIAZ (unknown) IN (in) N{orthern} I{reland} A{rea}. Apparently, ZINNIAs are bright showy flowers from America. No, I hadn’t heard of them either, but at least the clue was clear.

17 What’s regularly encountered in adults is some tendency to detachment (6)

AUTISM – alternate letters (regularly encountered) in AdUlTs Is SoMe.

18 Cake is warmer at home (6)

MUFFINMUFF (warmer) and IN (at home).

20 Expect a delay (5)

AWAITA (a) and WAIT (delay).

22 Keen to get a six on top of die (4)

AVID A (a) and VI (six in Roman numerals) and D{ie} (top of).

102 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2543 by Joker – and a teaser”

  1. 14:40. Still slow to see that One is can give I’M A. I always use Tue for Tuesday but TUTU is the only ballerina dress I know so it didn’t matter. UNTIL meaning prior to was hard for me to think of. QUITE took me the longest time trying to fit an E in somewhere to solve the riddle. MUFFIN was my COD.

    1. “One is” can become “I am”, abbreviated to I’M.
      Then the letter A, literally in the clue.
      Then M(uslim).

      So IM + A + M.

      1. Thanks, I should recognize this device by now but it still eludes me. I only see it after biffing the answer and then thinking “Oh yah, that one /I business”.

  2. Biffed a bunch, parsing post-submission: ISINGLASS, INSATIABLY (DNK SAT), SABBATICAL, UNFAITHFUL. Didn’t realize that ZINNIA is an American flower; but then there’s very little about flowers that I do realize. 6:32.

  3. 9.04 for me, after several days in the 6s or below. It’s took me a while to get going and QUIT, ISINGLASS and ANNALIST were major hold-ups. For TINSMITH I spent too long seeking something ending in IST and my LOI, ZINNIA, took a minute or more to figure out. Thank you Joker and Rotter, I have no idea what any theme might be but then again I never do…

  4. Got it Rotter – well spotted. As if it wasn’t enough to do it for one, to do it for two is extraordinary. I won’t give the game away other than to say it brings a certain famous fictional detective to mind.

    11 1/2 minutes. Funnily enough, for once the ‘Plant’ was not ‘unknown’ and the one that gave me most grief was MUFFIN, both as a ‘cake’ and the MUFF for ‘warmer’ bit of the wordplay. I liked the surface for MAXI.

    Thanks and well done again to TheRotter and congrats++ to Joker; I can’t imagine how difficult this must have been to compile

    1. Bletchers, the leaderboard has you down as 02:00 again (as yesterday). There obviously some glitch developed.

      1. Thanks. Yes, it may have something to do with me once having submitted a time as a blogger. Maybe starstruck_au can expunge any trace of my blogging persona from the Quitch!

          1. [Thanks and sorry about the unconventional format. To avoid confusion, I’ll report times in the mm:ss format from now on.]

            1. Looks like the Snitch is picking up the “2 minutes” part of your reported “11 1/2 minutes”. But at least you got a couple of good times out of it!

              1. That must be it, well played Sherlock Doofers. (I’m now going to adopt the 1/2 convention …)

  5. Hi
    Slightly hard and had to check in the dictionary before putting Zinnia (which was my LOI). Also had Maxi without being sure and only from the definition (I still haven’t understood how that worked).

    By the way: is the subtle theme the fact that it s a puzzle where all letters are represented (can’t remember how’s called) apart from J O K E R ? (But unfortunately even V, which wouldn’t know how to explain).

  6. 20 minutes with AUTISM as my LOI. I thought of it earlier as a word that fitted the checkers but didn’t see the wordplay and wasn’t entirely sure of the definition.

    I spotted the device (as identified by Rudi) because the presence of high-point Scrabble letters alerted me to the possibility of a pangram and whilst checking for that I noticed there was more to it. Mind you, I had two errors (one spotted before checking and one afterwards) that would not have fitted in with Joker’s game. Firstly I originally had INSATIABLE instead of INSATIABLY at 10ac which provided an unwanted E, and secondly I picked the wrong ‘unknown’ at 15dn giving me XINNIA instead of ZINNIA, which would have left the grid without a Z. I knew the name of the plant but not how to spell it.

    I’m amazed at the setter’s skill in avoiding all those letters, especially ‘E’. It reminded me of, and even surpassed Noel’s classic puzzle of 22 July 2015 which contained NO L (geddit?).

    Joker has previously given us two special device puzzles that we noticed (1050 and 1835), but of course there may have been others that we didn’t.

    1. My story is the same as Jackkt’s really. The other day, in a quiet hour, I built a little spreadsheet to determine the letter frequency in a puzzle’s answers and compare it against expected frequency in written English. Quite by chance (I wasn’t looking for a theme or Nina from Joker) I ran today’s answers through the sheet to test it. Obviously, it worked and flagged up the missing J, O, K, E and R. Missing J and K might be expected, but not the other 3, so I was pleasantly surprised by the discovery. As Jackkt says, very difficult for a Setter to miss common letters like E.

  7. Oh dear. I’ll be emptying my desk and taking the walk of shame to the back of the class after assembly today as I threw the towel in with ZINNIA, which to be fair I’ve never heard of, after 30 minutes. So 2/4 this week so far.
    I liked AMIDSHIPS, even though I did have to resort to pencil and paper to solve it, and also INSATIABLY even if I did lazily end it with an ‘e’ to begin with.
    Otherwise I’m quite happy with how it went and thought it a good, if trickier than usual, QC.
    Thanks to Joker and Rotter.

  8. 17:57

    What is it with crossword solvers and not knowing the names of beautiful flowers? 😅 ZINNIA was one of my first ones in.

    In fairness I had never heard of ISINGLASS and put it in for the wordplay and hoped for the best.

    The definition of ‘tendency to detachment’ for AUTISM makes me uncomfortable.

    It’s my turn today to complete this puzzle post Christmas party and I’m very happy to complete and very proud that I changed INSATIABLE to INSATIABLY

    1. For those who remember Oklahoma!, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top had
      “isinglass curtains you can roll right down
      in case there’s a change in the weather”

      1. It’s not so much a case of remembering the song, but deciphering the words. I never did work out what you could roll down!

    2. I always thought ISINGLASS was somewhere in Middle Earth, until this morning.

      1. 😅 I only found out what isinglass was when one of my sons became a vegetarian and discovered that he couldn’t drink certain beers!

    3. With a few rare exceptions, I believe the younger you are the less you know about plants and flowers. It’s just not something people learn or pick up in general life now. Sad I know.

      1. Nah I think with the flowers thing it’s a gender divide tbh

        I was extremely surprised one time when people in the 15×15 were stumbling over GERBERA, a common flower that every teenage girl I know has bought her girlfriends once or twice

        1. I really think in the UK we are divided into those who take an interest in gardens, and therefore flowers, plants etc, and those who don’t. With so many, particularly young people renting, there seems no point in gardening when you don’t own a property and may have to leave it at short notice. Coupled with the fact that people are more sedentary, work and travel longer hours and you have a population that doesn’t factor in being outside with a spade or trowel in their leisure time, let alone spending money on plants. I do like to keep my garden flourishing, but I still balk at going outside to prune and deadhead in foul weather like today.

        2. I’ve learned just about all I know about plants ftom my better half. I knew zinnia and gerbera. I even know the latin names of quite a few, especially trees.

    4. I had to ask Mrs Prof, who is a horticulturalist and garden designer, whether Zinnia is a plant. “Garish, drought intolerant, slug food” was her description. I’m not so worried about having not known that one!

  9. Clever as it may be I thought that this puzzle conformed to Cedric/Merlin’s view that Ninas/themes lead to a poor puzzle. I found today’s offering stiff and awkward, and was amazed to learn here that it’s a Joker (one of my favourite setters).

    I spotted that there were no Es and stopped there, though it did cross my mind that this might be a reference to the novel Gadsby (also no Es, but that was all I could recall about it) to go with our Great Gatsby puzzle.

    Anyway. Struggled home in 09:11 for 1.5K and a Poor Day. I knew we were due a harder one – after three days under 85, the Quitch is running at 120.

    Thanks Rotter and Joker.


  10. 15:10 (Peter Henlein invents the pocket watch)

    I found this very tricky, especially the lower half of the grid. I struggle with alternating letter clues, so took a long time to see AUTISM.
    I also have only encountered ISINGLASS in home brewing.
    LOI was ZINNIA – NHO, but seemed more likely than XINNIA or YINNIA.

    Thanks Joker and Rotter

  11. The theme is very clever (obviously I didn’t see it) but it did mean that I have to award a GR today for ZINNIA. To my mind clueing ‘unknown’ as an unchecked letter leads to guesswork unless you happen to have the required GK (Xinnia seemed equally plausible and Yinnia a vague possibility). Had my fingers firmly crossed when I submitted and was relieved to have guessed correctly.
    Other than that struggled with LOI ISINGLASS as it was a new one to me and finished in a sluggish 11.35.
    Thanks to Rotter

  12. A lot to enjoy here but I disagree with some of the definitions. If you are quite tired you are rather tired or a bit weary certainly not utterly. Also if you aren’t going to use x or y as the familiar unknowns it could be any letter (maybe apart from n). Thanks though!

    1. Quite – Collins definition 1

      1. to the greatest extent; completely or absolutely
      “you’re quite right”
      “quite the opposite”

    2. Quite is that adverb that describes both ‘a little bit’ or ‘the most’. I’ve heard that how you use might be geographically influenced but I don’t have anything to back that up

      It’s a word I pull out when people get mad that the word ‘literally’ now means both literally and figuratively. English is weird and infuriating and evolves all the time.

      Edit: also regarding unknowns, by the time we hit later high school mathematics we are definitely using three unknown variables x, y, z for the three dimensions in space when drawing graphs and vectors etc! I don’t think high school maths is too niche if I’m supposed to know random Latin phrases too

      1. I can see how ‘quite’ might work like that. When I was teaching algebra the examples in text books used every letter. As I say only x and y were really common. Times change I know!

  13. DNF in 10.05

    Sluggish and careless. Nuff said!

    Liked it when I got going but took a while

    Thanks Joker and TR

  14. Two pink squares. Since I was not looking for a Nina, because this is a crossword puzzle, not some kind of other word puzzle, I felt that having to guess between ZINNIA, YINNIA and XINNIA was unfair. Plenty of Greek word start with X (xylo- and xantho- are botanical suffixes), so XINNIA looked perfectly OK. And X for “unknown” is much more natural. Which pirate ever said “z” marks the spot, or who watches a show called the Z-factor?

    If I liked Nina style puzzles then I’d do the Codeword, that is essentially how the whole puzzle works. Every day’s a Nina.

    I now have to add Joker as a possible Ninaphile as well as other offenders.

    Other pink square was INSATIABLE, when after all that IKEA-ing I was just relieved to get to the end of the word.

    NHO ISINGLASS, it doesn’t really feel like a word, and (GELATIN) looked like it must be part of an anagram, especially when the right sort of checkers appeared.

    AUTISM is a dangerous word to try and clue in two or three words. Best avoided by setters I think, it’s complex and a short definition is likely to trivialise the condition.

    But, at least it has stopped raining.

    1. It’s also a spectrum where no two diagnosed people will have the same smorgasbord of traits in the same way so I’m glad you share my reservations about the AUTISM clue

      1. Chambers:
        Autism (noun)
        1. Absorption in imaginative activity directed by the thinker’s wishes, with loss of contact with reality
        2. An abnormality of childhood development affecting language and social communication

        I don’t think Joker should worry about thin-skinned folk taking offence.

        1. Yeah wow, no one here was getting offended and even if we were, an offended person isn’t automatically thin skinned unless I missed that in chambers too?

          I don’t think it was wrong to say that something as complex as autism (via the second meaning) is maybe shouldn’t be clued in only two or three words

          ‘hey guys there’s another definition of Autism in Chambers, I don’t think Joker was trivialising anything’ would have also gotten your point across without the name calling, I think

          But thank you for pointing it out, I learn something here every day

    2. I knew the flower so it wasn’t a problem, but you are correct in saying that Xannia seems just as likely – though, for the avoidance of any doubt, I have never watched a single minute of X Factor.

    3. “Which pirate ever said “z” marks the spot“. That comment made me laugh out loud, with a little snort at the end. People are looking at me…. 😂

    4. Not that it would necessarily help in this case, but lots of plants are named after people, so chop off the -ia and see if what remains resembles a surname. Examples are zinnia, dahlia, fuchsia, tradescantia, alstroemeria, etc.

  15. 37 mins…but at least I finished 😀

    7ac “Isinglass” was a bit of a punt, but luckily I was right. Still not sure about the parsing of 6dn “Maxi” – probably being thick, but can anyone explain? Luckily 15dn “Zinnia” came up in another puzzle I did the other week.

    FOI – 9ac “Stun”
    LOI – 7ac “Isinglass”
    COD – 16ac “Highwayman”

    Thanks as usual!

      1. 🤦‍♂️

        Oh dear – I thought the mum element related to “Ma” – no wonder none of it made sense.

    1. With MINI/MIDI/MAXI all being possible dresses, this is a clue to leave until a checker appears.

  16. 6:05 but…

    …the trouble is I didn’t see anything wrong with INSATIABLE – I’ve always thought it a bit underhand for setters to try and make us pay more attention than necessary 🙂 That’s three in a row I’ve fluffed – two fat fingers and a wrong answer – not doing my average any good 🙁 And no, I didn’t spot the nina.

    At the time of writing, my position in the Times Crossword Club table is 59th (joint presumably) out of 125 so I guess many others were also fooled by INSATIABLY

    Thanks anyway

    1. Since the definition for INSATIABLY was GREEDILY the answer must clearly be an adverb rather than an adjective. INSATIABLE just does not fit the definition, nor the wordplay.

  17. A bit of a mixed solve, with some odd looking clues that had me checking the setter’s name. Isinglass held out almost to the end, and it was only then that Aghast (surely the easiest clue on the grid!) revealed itself. Loi, in a futile attempt to save a sub-20, was a hasty InsatiablE, so a DNF in the end. CoD to 18d, Muffin, closely pursued by (a) Highwayman. Invariant

  18. DNF – stupidly didn’t properly read 12a and lazily entered INSATIABLe.
    23a IMAM didn’t notice the &lit and thought it was a bit flimsy, but no!
    1a QUITe was sloooow to come.
    No idea about the theme – as usual. But it was QUITe an achievement.

  19. DNF after 27 minutes.

    For the first 12 mins, I was Biffy the Crossword Slayer, biffing merrily and with confidence.🤺⚔️

    Then I hit the wall with QUIT, MAXI and ISINGLASS. Troubled by QUIT as others are, and NHO MAXI as dress. Also NHO ISINGLASS. I even typed it in from the wordplay and thought there’s no such word, don’t be so silly – and even if there were such a silly word, nobody would put in in the QC!

    It seems I was wrong. 😩 I forgive you Joker, but please, not again!

    Peace to you all. ❤️

  20. 22 mins, going well until slowed down by ANNALIST (which I had to look up on the internet) and ZINNIA (which I had to source from Mrs Prof).

    Contrary to Rotter, I actually found the grid helpful in having lots of easy four letter words leading into the longer words.

    I never knew a sabbatical was paid leave. Certainly in my corporate career it is unpaid if you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers them. Mrs Prof tells me that academics get it paid. I am clearly following the wrong career path.

  21. Another undone by a lazy INSATIABLE. LOI QUIT by several minutes. The rest went in reasonably easily although NHO ISINGLASS (until now). Didn’t spot the theme despite noting the x and y… As others, not sure about clue for AUTISM. Many thanks all.

  22. My comment has not appeared but anyway it was a DNF disaster which I did not enjoy.
    But thanks, Rotter.

  23. Well, two traps were laid today and I fell head first into them both. As documented by others, INSATIABLE seemed perfectly reasonable at the time but I admit INSATIABLY is a better fit for the clue. Again as others have said, I had heard of the plant and carefully considered what I thought to be the most likely spelling, but unfortunately elected to go with XINNIA, even convincing myself that I’d seen it spelt that way.
    My finishing time was 8.55 but with two errors, but I must say I enjoyed the test. Very clever of Joker to have devised a crossword with those particular missing letters, and well spotted Rotter.
    I remember ISINGLASS from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma, where the lyrics to ‘Surrey with the fringe on top’ mention “isinglass curtains you can roll right down in case there’s a change in the weather”.

    1. I remember isinglass being used in the 1940-50s as an egg preservative. Fill a bucket with eggs and then cover with isinglass.

  24. I had all the requisite GK for this having heard of both ISINGLASS and ZINNIA. This allowed me to complete in a reasonable 18 minutes, all parsed, after a rather slow start. Didn’t see the them, but when do I ever?

    FOI – 11ac SLUM
    LOI – 9ac STUN

    Thanks to Joker and Rotter

  25. “Greedily” tells you it had to be INSATIABLY. NHO ISINGLASS or ZINNIA but both had to be (X and Y too improbable). Mrs M is currently on SABBATICAL and (indeed, Prof) is not being paid! CNP MAXI, but correctly biffed, at least.

    1. Just replying to myself here as a “testing 1 2 3”
      – hooray, it works!!!!! Thank you, John – at long last.

  26. 6.20. So more than a minute over target, with much of that spent trying to get one across at the end. So obvious, so why did I take so long with it?
    I usually like a Nina, and this was no exception, although I always need them pointing out to me. I did not think it detracted from the quality of the clueing at all.
    Zinnia is well known to me, although I totally get it that an unchecked letter makes it very difficult to get the answer if you don’t know it already.
    Many thanks Joker and Rotter

  27. This was a DNF for me as I couldn’t answer 7a. Never heard of ISINGLASS and so I put it down to it being a made up word by the setter. It must be made up as even the cat hissed at it. 🤣

    Other than that, an enjoyable QC.

  28. My run of write ins has come to an end. 1a QUIT held out for a long time. I forgot to look for the Q next to the U. I nearly fell into the trap of substituting Es for Ys in both STABLY and INSATIABLY but painstakinglY went through the parsing. AMIDSHIPS seemed like a made up word to me but it had to be. Zinnia however wasn’t a problem although I have NHO ISINGLASS which was my LOI. I’m sure the clue for AWAIT is a chestnut but it caught me out today so I am awarding it COD. 12:53 for a poor day.

  29. NHO ISINGLASS and ANNALIST – looked them up to see if they existed! Worked steadily through the rest, not without difficulty, however. Lots of ZINNIAS in Garden Centres and seed packets! Brilliant to do a crossword without an O, E or R, never mind J or K!!

  30. Was quite pleased with 17:12 as Joker, whilst not quite in the same league as Izetti, often causes me problems. I was thinking highwaymen rather than man on the basis the apostrophe in robber’s was window dressing and crew seemed more plural than singular but plumped for man in the end

      1. Different problem as I had heard of neither Zinnia or Xinnia. I just got lucky as the former seemed a little more likely.

  31. 14.19 Not a quick time so I was surprised to find myself 61st on the leaderboard, but many of the regulars seem to be INSATIABLE today. ZINNIA was a guess and MAXI wasn’t parsed. I didn’t spot the theme but it was very clever. An enjoyable, steady solve. Thanks Rotter and Joker.

  32. Well both yesterday and today finished with the dreaded pink squares, today from INSATIABLE instead of INSATIABLY. I did know ISINGLASS from deep in my memory somewhere although needed most or all of the checkers. Did not know the historian and had to look up the word to see what it was although it seemed the only thing that fitted. Not a good run this week, with two good days on Monday and Tuesday inside my 20 minute target and two days with wrong answers after well more than 20 minutes.

    Thanks to Joker and Rotter.

  33. 16:15 (well, almost)
    As with others, got caught with INSATIABLE for my first red square, and hence DNF, since blogging ☹️.
    ‘Z’ was my first guess for ‘unknown’ in ZINNIA and I must confess to checking in Google – so, arguably, deserved the DNF. NHO ISINGLASS, but it was clued very well.
    LOI: 6dn MAXI
    COD: 24ac AMIDSHIPS (well I am a Captain 😁)
    Great post Rotter and thanks Joker

  34. Delighted to cross the line without any mishaps in just 26 minutes. I was fortunate to know ZINNIA, which I first encountered en masse at Great Dixter some years ago, and ISINGLASS (remembered from home brewing donkey’s years ago – the worst beer I’ve ever tasted). However, I DNK ANNALIST and had TIFFIN at 18d for quite some time.

    My LOsI were ALAS, MUFFIN, ANNALIST and HIGHWAYMAN, and I did not spot Joker’s anti-Nina.

    Many thanks to Joker and Rotter.

  35. Thought I had mistakenly picked up the 15×15 as I struggled with the across clues. Luckily the downs gave me enough checkers to get most of it done before checking blog for Zinnia!

  36. About 30 minutes with ANNALIST a NHO and so checked it was a real word before entering. INSATIABLE because I took the definition as Greedily wanting. Seemed perfectly good until coming here and learning of Joker’s trick 😥

  37. DNF – Too tricky for me and fell for lots of the above issues:
    NHO Isinglass
    Highwaymen – thought crew would be men not man
    Didn’t see quite as utterly
    Xinnia instead of Zinnia
    Tomorrow is another day!

  38. 27:08 with 1 pink square for INSATIABLE, my LOI and so perhaps not fully checked. But as mentioned above, it works if “Greedily wanting” is the definition. Just not as well as the right answer.

    I had a lot of trouble with ANNALIST, which I had parsed to put the girl and IS inside LT, which left me looking for a very unlikely girl’s name after the N, A and L crossers made themselves known. Also had troubles with all the anagrams, especially UNFAITHFUL which just had too many Us and Fs to possibly be a word. A definite reversion to the mean after three easier days in a row.

    Thanks to Joker and TheRotter.

  39. So do I understand this is a pangram without the letters J O K E R. .?
    My Covid brain cannot cope. Too clever to be enjoyable.

  40. Look away now…..

    Another day in hell.

    DNF after 40 mins.

    Waded through treacle to ‘finish’, only to find that XINNIA needed a Z. Cruel, particularly given that I initially had Z and then changed my mind. That just about sums up where I am at present. If there’s a bad call to make, you can be sure I’ll make it.

    When I look at the times others achieve, I really wonder why I bother. How anyone could enjoy today is truly beyond me!

    Yet another week of failure. In almost 12 months, I have achieved my modest goal (5 solves in less than 2 hours) just once.
    Dreadful beyond measure and clear evidence that my solving skills are diminishing. How is that possible?

    To add to my woes, I got a truly pathetic 2/5 on the Quintagram.

    Back for more suffering and humiliation tomorrow when, no doubt, I will struggle once more. One day I may come here with good news to report, but don’t hold your breath.

    Thanks for the blog Rotter.

    1. Oh Gary! If I was the suspicious type, I’d think you were fishing for hugs! 😜
      But I’m not suspicious, so here they are…🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

  41. 21:55

    A little guesswork needed to finish this. NHO MAXI or LOI ZINNIA but the wordplay and the fact the grid seemed to contain every other letter apart from E and O helped. Oh, and J. Obviously something going on there.

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