Times Quick Cryptic No 2562 by Teazel

 

I found this a moderate offering from Teazel: not too hard, not too easy. A couple were biffed and only parsed during the writing of the blog. I finished in 16:01, a minute over my target, but I enjoyed the challenge.

A slightly terse blog today, as I have a houseful of guests to return to.

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

Across
1 Some stopped, largely to see travelling salesman (6)
PEDLAR – Hidden in [some] “stopPED LARgely”
4 Small impression made by streak (6)
SPRINTS [small] + PRINT (impression, as in footprint).

Streak as a verb.

8 Officer briefly backing the best legend (7)
CAPTIONCAPT (abbreviation [shortly] for Captain, an officer) + NO 1 (the best), reversed [backing].

1 = I comes from Roman numbers. This one went in unparsed, only parsed it as I wrote up the blog.

10 Dad at home? Make quick visit (3,2)
POP INPOP (Dad) + IN (at home).
11 Foam moving forth (5)
FROTH – Anagram [moving] of FORTH.

I’m bad at anagrams, but this was literally just switching two letters.

12 All gone to repair sailing ship (7)
GALLEON – Anagram [to repair] of ALL GONE.

I don’t recall seeing “repair” as an anagram indicator before, but I guess if your car is badly smashed up, then repairing it might consist of rearranging the pieces.  But it feels like a bit of a stretch.

13 Gets rid of a book he soils badly (9)
ABOLISHESA + B (book) + an anagram [badly] of HE SOILS.
17 In dispute, what’s needed for a 3? (2,5)
AT ISSUE – A double definition, or a definition with a cryptic hint? Either way, the second meaning is A TISSUE, which is needed for a sneeze: the answer to 3d is ATISHOO.

It always seems to be the case that when a clue refers to the answer to another clue, I always find the referring clue first.

19 Run hard alongside one river (5)
RHONER (run, from cricket) + H (hard, from pencils) + ONE.

I initially biffed RHINE once I had the R and the H in mind, but fortunately re-read the clue to find ONE sitting there.

20 Untrue statement about roughage (5)
FIBREFIB (untrue statement) + RE (about).
21 Some shorter miniskirts, the ends of lines (7)
TERMINI – Hidden in [some] shorTER MINIskirts”.

Unusual to see exactly the same hidden word indicator in two clues.

22 Covered in carpet, very hard-wearing (6)
RUGGED – Double definition, two different pronunciations.

I learned earlier this week that the word for two words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently is heteronym. Although when looking that up to see if I remembered it correctly, I found homograph as an alternative.

23 Watch article boil (6)
SEETHESEE (boil) + THE (article, from grammar).
Down
1 Calm, I start to feel, during fast (6)
PACIFYI + Feel [start to feel], inside [during] PACY (fast).
2 Polite and appropriate, showing luggage from embassy? (10,3)
DIPLOMATIC BAGDIPLOMATIC (polite) + BAG (appropriate, the verb).
3 Small explosion a little after noon — drive off (7)
ATISHOOAT 1 (a little after noon) + SHOO (drive off).

This one went in unparsed, but the cross-reference to 17a was helpful. Thanks to my Dad for giving me the parsing: I was trying to convince myself that “A tish” meant “a little”, and was very confused.

5 Small pet I left for schoolchild (5)
PUPILPUP (small pet) + I + L (left).
6 Impersonator of Manet, for example (13)
IMPRESSIONIST – Double definition.
7 In field accommodation, a new occupant (6)
TENANTA + N (new) in TENT (field accommodation).
9 Breaking egg, linnet is careless (9)
NEGLIGENT – Anagram [breaking] of EGG LINNET.
14 Fish eggs the boat race teams have, it’s said (4,3)
HARD ROE – homophone [it’s said] of “hard row”, what the boat race teams have.

I didn’t know the phrase, but apparently “hard roe” is the eggs of a fish, whereas “soft roe” is the sperm. Every day is a school day.

15 Foreman’s error? Right! (6)
GAFFERGAFFE (error) + R (right).
16 English visiting very pleasant city (6)
VENICEE (English) inside [visiting] V (very) NICE (pleasant).
18 European married in Suez, oddly (5)
SWEDEWED (married) in the odd letters [oddly] of SuEz.

Hands up everyone who tried to make an anagram of SUEZ + M. This was my LOI.

94 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2562 by Teazel”

  1. I was going to biff CAPTAIN, but fortunately had ATISHOO in; but I never did parse the clue. DNK HARD ROE. The great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa wrote under different names that he called heteronyms (well, heterônimos), maintaining that they were not pseudonyms but different people. But I digress. 5:04.

  2. I thought I was in for a PB here but I spent about five minutes trying to untangle At Issue/A Tissue/Atishoo the parsing of which I needed the blog

    All up about 15:31

    I didn’t know the phrase ‘at issue’ and didn’t know Atishoo was a word really

    I thought FROTH was a double definition where it could also be used for ‘moving forth’ lol, we’ve had a lot of moving lately, nudge and budge and lunge, what’s one more I thought

    Was nice to get an easy win today, for sure 🙂

  3. I was well off wavelength with this puzzle and took a long time, mostly on GAFFER, FIBRE, ATISHOO, and CAPTION, although GAFFER and FIBRE at least should have gone in quicker in retrospect. I don’t recall seeing devises like “top” = NOI or “after noon” = ATI before either, and didn’t spot them while solving.
    The conversation on yesterdays blog about difficulty and QSNITCH was interesting. There’s no doubt that difficulty of a crossword is highly individual, but the SNITCH system is a very good proxy, and those who check it should consider supporting starstruck financially. Limitations aside, it’s very interesting data, and a really well-executed technical solution.
    I find there is quite a big gap in difficulty between even the easiest 15x15s and the hardest QCs (after comments in yesterdays QC blog I tried the main puzzle, and only solved about half of the clues). There’s definitely value in including harder clues in QCs to close this gap a little, however at the same time failing to finish a bunch of QCs in a row can be quite demotivating when one is used to finishing most puzzles.

    1. I try the QC most days, but rarely tackle the Big Brother unless I have more spare time than usual and someone mentions it is at the more approachable end of the Snitch. I agree that there is a noticeable difference in clues, which may just be a matter of adjustment.
      I am always amazed when, occasionally, people say they have struggled to do a QC as fast as they completed the other, and having done the QC I then look at the Big one and can barely manage a handful of answers. At some point I will find time to try both more regularly, and see what happens!
      As for this one, bang on my “all fun but not easy” happy point.

      1. Have a go at today’s – there are enough straightforward ones to give you a sporting chance at the more obscure if you don’t have the required GK.

  4. 12:03. Thanks for helping me parse CAPTION. I like your “rearranging the pieces” strategy for car repairs-very creative! AT ISSUE and ATISHOO were my COD’s.

  5. 12 minutes. Three clues caused minor delays:

    4ac SPRINT. Sadly ‘streak’ is one of those words that has taken on a meaning of its own so that the original has almost been forgotten. Yes, it still means to run, but to do so naked with the intention of disrupting e.g. a sporting event. It took me a moment to get past that.

    8ac CAPTION. My LOI, where as for other commenters the wordplay provided food for thought.

    6dn IMPRESSIONIST. Could the answer really be that obvious?

    With reference to ‘repair’ as anagrind I can confirm it is on Chambers extensive list. I took at as simply to mean ‘fix’.

  6. My usual performance – DNF.

    Most clues done in good time, then totally breezeblocked by the last few. Either lacking GK (eg HARDroe), tough clueing (ATISHOO), or just can’t see the answer (ABOLISHES).

    I generally enjoy the puzzles, but get dispirited by rarely finishing.

    1. It used to be that I very rarely failed to finish a QC. However, since early December-ish I have failed to finish around two a week (within my alloted 30 minute target). They have definitely become harder, or I am getting dementia or something. In the hope it is not the latter, I encourage you to keep going as I am sure the pendulum of difficulty will swing back to a more reasonable place for what is supposed to be a quick cryptic. Prof.

  7. 6:44

    Bit slow on the uptake with CAPTION – I too had CAPTAIN but ATISHOO blew that out of the water so bunged CAPTION in from definition and parsed at leisure post-completion. Never heard of HARD ROE either, so the checkers and wordplay definitely helped there.

    Thanks Teazel and Doofs

  8. Threw in the towel after 30 minutes. Beaten by ATISHOO (what sort of word is that?) SEETHE and CAPTION. Score this week so far: 0/3.
    I’m sorry to have caused a small spat yesterday following my remark about whatever happened to the “good old down to earth QC”. Whilst not wishing to prolong the debate, anecdotally all I will say is that in the first few years of doing these it was extremely rare for me to finish over my 30 minute cut off point, (maybe two or three times in a year, if that), and on a good day I could go sub-10. Now, nine or so years later, aged 66, it is highly unusual for me to go sub-15 (sub-10 would be a dream) and I’ve had 3 DNFs this week alone.
    Regardless of any statistics, unless I am losing my faculties, which I’m assured I’m not, these have definitely got harder and as a consequence less enjoyable, and I think this is born out by the comments of others. I will leave it there and keep plodding away.

    1. The difficulty with extrapolating a universal statement (“definitely got harder”) simply from one’s own experience is that others may have different own experiences. For example I estimate that my average solving time has roughly halved over the last 5 years. Am I to conclude that the puzzles have “definitely got easier”?

      1. I’m not looking for an argument. I’m just making an observation. Admittedly I maybe should have said ‘harder for me’ but I fail to follow your logic. You have got quicker because you’ve improved over time. That’s not surprising.
        For me, I’ve got slower over time so, unless I am losing my faculties, (which I think I can discount), I should be at least standing still if not improving, as you are.
        The only other explanation I can think of therefore is that they’ve become harder.

        1. I wish I could be as certain as you that I am not losing my faculties! No sign of anything dramatic as yet, thank God, but little things here and there…

        2. I’ll add my vote to your side, ITTT! For me today’s was the easiest Teazel yet, but he’s (for me) the hardest setter of them all, and I still couldn’t quite finish it.

          1. Now that’s weird, Martinu, since I had a go at today’s puzzle, which I rarely do with the Quick Cryptic, because I find them difficult. I found this one very straightforward, in the way that a 15 x 15 easy one is. Mostly I find the quickies harder to solve than the main puzzle, including the ones that people claim are the on the easy side. I quite often get to the last 3 or 4 and am completely stumped, and I put this down to the fact that a) I’m not used to doing them and b) that they are somehow clued differently to the big one, requiring a different mindset or approach. Maybe a topic for discussion at our next reunion at The George?

              1. I’m leaving that to Johninterred to organise, hopefully when the weather improves! You’ll need to keep an eye on the homepage for that, though – no sneaking straight to the Quick Cryptic! Hope S got the results he wanted for university.

                1. That’s extraordinary – how did you know about that? We must have met at the George … I am so sorry, I just never remember conversations. Wonder who you are (were) and what else we talked about. Thank you: yes he did and is now studying Spanish and Russian at Edinburgh – but the Spanish course is a bit disappointing.
                  ‘Fraid I always just click on my bookmark … so I’ll just have to hope I find out about this year’s George meeting somehow. Greetings to you!

                  1. Ha, ha, yes, we met at The George. I said I’d come from Winchester and you said you had a son there, who’d just finished his A’s. Turned out I’d invigilated him several times and knew exactly who he was, because his surname had caught my eye as being possibly Spanish and he was studying languages. (I speak Spanish and French.) Plus he did rather stand out, even amongst his peers.

                    1. Of course I remember now exactly. I would say “this is all a bit personal and social for this blog”, but since it’s yesterday’s and no one much will be bothered by it, perhaps it’s forgivable. That’s very funny – Sasha laughs and sends his regards to you. We’re sure he chose those languages because my wife and I don’t; I speak German and Italian, she speaks Indonesian and Malay. But to go back (and more relevantly, to the subject in hand), I am totally flummoxed at anyone saying they can possibly find the QC harder than the 15×15. Isn’t that like saying you find arithmetic harder than calculus? Or a Mozart piano sonata harder than a piano concerto?

                  2. To sum up, when I say they are harder, I mean harder to finish, as no amount of pondering seems to help with getting the answer, and the wordplay is not enough to get there on its own. Does that make sense? Usually, with a 15×15, I can eventually get the answer by pulling the parts of the wordplay around until I see what I’m missing, but that isn’t often the case with the quick one. Having said that, Jalna, (not a frequent setter) compiled one of the competition ones which was absolutely first class, so I’m eagerly awaiting when he does another for the Quickie so I can have a go!

                    1. I think maybe I understand what you mean: that the QC depends on a PDM which you either have or don’t (in a month of Sundays) have. What I didn’t know was that the 15×15 doesn’t equally contain some clues that depend on such PDMs – is that the case?

                  3. Well, that seems to be the case for me. I don’t by any means finish every 15×15, some because they are simply too difficult, in which case I’m often in good company; others because I can’t get my head around the cryptic, in which case I’m kicking myself when I see the blog. But I do finish most, crucially because I won’t give up at the half hour or whatever. However, when I whizz through a quick cryptic in 10 minutes and then can’t do the last 2 clues at all it becomes very frustrating, and to be fair, I don’t spend much more time on it because the previous clues haven’t been that brilliant that I’d want to. And I haven’t done enough to work out which setters I’m at home with. But I plan to do more from now on…

                      1. I’ll admit this is based on poor statistics, but as I’ve (slowly) improved with the 15×15, to the point where I can actually finish some of them, I seem to have moved backwards with the QC; so A_E may have a point.

                      1. Sorry, I thought (and do really think?) that PDM is a standard and often-used acronym meaning Penny-Drop Moment – surely it’s in the glossary? Nice to hear from you!

    2. I just made a similar reply to Pi-curious. It used to be that I rarely had a DNF. Now it’s around two a week. In my experience the QC is either getting harder or I am joining you in the decline to senility. Prof

  9. 4:01. DNK HARD ROE, but it had to be that. I managed to avoid bunging in FABLE for 20A and KETTLE for 23A, although they were both tempting biffs with the checkers in place. LOI CAPTION. Thanks Teazel and Doofers.

    1. I remember as a child being presented with hard roe, which had a slightly gritty texture and was in the shape of a fishcake. Soft roe was more like squidgy entrails in texture. We don’t seem to eat them anymore, except in the form of caviar!

  10. An enjoyable puzzle from Teazel with nothing too daunting – although the parsing of ATISHOO and CAPTION took a bit of thought.
    Started with PEDLAR and finished with the unknown HARD ROE in 7.08.
    Thanks to Doofers

  11. “Small explosion” was a pretty sneaky definition for ATISHOO, I thought, and that (and its linked clue) took a while. So did the NHO HARD ROE; thanks for the explanation, Doofers.

    I liked the SWEDE (raises hand), FIBRE and RUGGED, so the SW was my favourite corner today.

    All done in 07:50 for 1.6K and a Pretty Good Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Doof.

    Templar

    1. Funny, I was defeated by ATISHOO (never seen it and thought, nah, that can’t be a word) but the “small explosion”, combined with the kind hint from 17A, told me it had to be something about a sneeze, but just couldn’t get there. Well. Wrong mindset. Would have got there with more faith in parsing and keeping the fact that I=1 firmly in mind.

      7:50. In my dreams.

      Some lovely clues today and great blogging, thanks for sourcing the “word clues first letter” instances!

  12. Credit where its due – excellent QC today. Some hard but all very fair and respectful. (Controversially for some, i always think this of Izetti). No portcullis goes a long way. Thanks to Doofers and Teazel.

  13. I think I agree that the QCs are getting harder, but I can only encourage others to keep buggering on. I veer between the occasional sub 10’ and a fair few DNFs on the QC and they have definitely helped me achieve the huge satisfaction of a very rare success on the biggie. Today here I was very happy to get 10’17” for what I thought was an esoteric and quite brilliant puzzle – the clueing and solution for AT1SHOO alone warrant a special tip of the hat, with the kindly reference to it in 17Ac helping this solver end the head-scratching.

    NHO HARD ROE but the clue was more than fair. DIPLOMATIC BAG and IMPRESSIONIST were maybe less impressive but the fact that several commenting biffed ‘captain’ for CAPTION shows exactly the kind of misdirection by the setter that can catch out the careless.

    Thanks Teazel and Doof – I hope your guests didn’t feel too abandoned.

  14. Chalk and cheese compared to yesterday’s, and all done in 9 minutes. But not all parsed as I needed Doofers’ helpful blog to explain Atishoo. And unlike John I did initially try Kettle for 23A, but fortunately I invoked the memory of The Rotter and said to myself “If it doesn’t parse …”.

    A thought for the Puzzles editor. We all know puzzles vary in complexity, and that “some like it hot”, or at any rate hotter than others. So there is a place for the harder puzzles.
    What is a frustration to some solvers is a stinker “from left field” – one sits down for a pleasant solve and 30 minutes later one is left dismayed/baffled/annoyed by something one did not expect.

    Other puzzles are very definitely graded. Some, eg the kenken, run from easier to harder as the week progresses. Others, eg the sudokus, have their degree of difficulty indicated. The result is that expectations are managed. I suspect I will unite the whole of the TfTT community in opposition if I suggest this for the QCs, but is it worth a thought?

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog
    Cedric

    1. Does not the QUITCH serve that difficulty grading purpose now? Though the scores seem to cluster a lot more round the 100 mark than the main puzzle SNITCH, but there are a few outliers well over 110, which definitely indicates a harder puzzle, which could be avoided, or started with an “I’ll have a bash, but no matter if I don’t finish” mindset.

      I’m not sure why anyone would be dismayed/baffled/annoyed by not being able to do a puzzle, or not to be able to complete it as quickly as normal. It’s a puzzle, it’s meant to make you think, and if you enjoy doing puzzles, surely you enjoy being made to think a bit more sometimes. Otherwise, you’d just do a codeword, or a word search, or something like that – just to fill in letters in a grid.

      I rarely finish a Friday 15×15, or any of them where the SNITCH is >125 really, and anything >100 is noticeably slower for me, but I still attempt them, and also the stylistically different puzzles over at the Guardian. Therefore I am still making progress – the more clues and clue types you see, the more likely you are to encounter them again, or be able to try a different tack when you’re stuck. Moving on from being a flat track bully on the QC and the 50-75 SNITCH 15x15s.

      1. I assumed that Cedric was suggesting that puzzles be marked ‘difficult’ or whatever so that one had an idea before starting; the Quitch wouldn’t do that unless you waited for a number of people to solve first (and of course if everybody waited…). Anyway, I agree with your 2d paragraph. I’ve long been impressed by the amount of complaining here (not a proper QC, etc.); one doesn’t see this with the 15x15s.

        1. Yeah, I did think of that, but my (admittedly UK centric and selfish) experience is that evening solvers from points west of Greenwich, and morning solvers from points east, as well as night owls from the UK give me a baseline score by the time I have a go at about 8:30 a.m. I mean, I’d do it anyway, as will many others, but for those that might be put off by a tricky puzzle in the UK a.m., there is that score there.

    2. Please no to graded puzzles because they would only create a whole new range of opportunities for people to complain about the Editor / Setter not getting it ‘right’ in their opinion.

      For the record, although setters and editors may look in here occasionally they do not follow our discussions day by day and TfTT has no influence over the content or level of difficulty of the puzzles. In any case their responsibility is to the wider Times readership who probably don’t even know that we exist. Contacting the Crossword and/or Puzzles Editor at The Times or posting constructive complaints and suggestions in the General Feedback forum at The Times Crossword Club might be a better method of ensuring they reach the people who actually have the power to implement changes if they were to agree they are necessary.

      1. Thank you Jack and you make a very valid point about “a whole new range of opportunities for people to complain”, which I am happy to accept. (I’m not sure that people complain about eg the sudoku gradings, though there is the very obvious point that they don’t have a forum like this to do so in, which may have a lot to do with it!)

        I’ve seen the odd comment here by our editor and even very occasionally by setters (to be fair, mostly to put their hands up after a clear error), so I suspect they do peek at TfTT from time to time. But in any event my suggestion was to our peers, not them, as I wanted to feel whether it was a complete non-starter with everyone before even thinking of raising it with higher authorities. Which I now probably won’t …

    3. I have enjoyed various QCs hailed by others as “stinkers”, including those I didn’t finish. It is surely the inevitable consequence of having a number of setters with individual styles and quirks. I take the MER clues as part of the cryptic experience and that what is clear to one is opaque to another.
      I don’t look at the Qsnitch but anything other than that seems likely to provoke a separate line of argument about grading alongside debate about the clues themselves.
      And jackkt’s comment is pertinent: we are the minority who choose to come here and chunter on about the puzzles. I haven’t seen any “Sir – Your QCs need attention” on the Letters page so presumably most are content as it is.

  15. 13:02 (Robert Bruce and other Scottish nobles submit to Edward I)

    I did not like the linked homophones in 17a/3d.

    LOI was CAPTION, unparsed. I had wanted to biff CAPTAIN, but the I from ATISHOO stopped that, the I started to look for words beginning COP…

    Thanks Doofers for the blog.

  16. I breezed through this in 10 minutes – a fast time for me. Maybe I was on that mysterious thing called the wavelength or maybe it was just because I was tackling it earlier in the day than I usually do, so the brain was fresh(er). The only slight hesitations were with ATISHOO and CAPTION, neither of which I could parse (thanks Doofers) and HARD ROE which I’d never heard of.

    FOI – 1ac PEDLAR
    LOI – 14dn HARD ROE
    COD – 17ac AT ISSUE

    Thanks to Teazel and Doofers

  17. Back on track this morning thank goodness. NHO HARD ROE, but, as Johninterred says, it could hardly be anything else. Straight through in two passes, carefully looking at every answer immediately on entry rather than grid-checking at the end – it worked with one typo being corrected.

    FOI PEDLAR
    LOI VENICE
    COD ATISHOO (but don’t fall down!)
    TIME 3:57

  18. 11:08.
    1108 — Chichester Cathedral finished and consecrated

    Rattle along, with LOI PACIFY / CAPTAIN. I had convinced myself that best=top and fast=lent. As often in this game, you need to know when to backtrack and try again.

    Got AT ISSSUE and forgot to check the cross reference which would surely have helped.

    I liked the spelling of FIBRE, makes a change from my head hurting in Wordle with US spellings.

    COD Rugged, although “covered in toupee” might have been better.

    Thanks, Doofers for explaining what “soft roe” is. I’ll give that a swerve if I see it on a menu, some seed just shouldn’t be eaten.

    1. IMHO it’s delicious – as are sweetbreads. Better not to even think about what they are.
      Did you mean CAPTAIN? I had that, but then had to rub out ATISHOO – it had to be one or the other!

  19. Never parsed ATISHOO, other than it sounding like AT ISSUE, so thanks Doofers. I see CAPTION was biffed too. HARD ROE NHO and LOI, and only went in with a shrug after a bit of head scratching. Otherwise, I thought at the easier end of Teazel’s spectrum. I liked PACIFY and GAFFER for the neat surfaces, though there were a few like that today.

    5:32

  20. Submitted in 8.53 with an eye on HARD ROE expecting it to turn a rather appropriate shade of pink. Turns out I do know what hard roe is, though I don’t think it’s now available at my local chippy, and I recall they just called it cod’s roe. Not hard enough to bang nails into the plasterwork.

  21. 18:23
    A really nice balance of clues (imho) with some I found nice and easy and some quite challenging.
    For me, that made this QC very enjoyable as opposed to yesterday’s. I do however accept that striking a balance for every solver is likely impossible.
    As others, I had CAPTAIN until I worked out ATISHOO (AT ISSUE signposting the answer for me) and NHO HARD ROE.
    FOI: 1ac PEDLAR
    LOI: 14dn HARD ROE
    COD: 15dn GAFFER
    A big thank you to Doofers and Teasel.

  22. New to this forum and glad I found it as sometimes the clues completely fox me. This one was not too bad, although like others I struggled with Atishoo until the penny dropped with a clang). On average I have 2 clues left with Teazel but managed to complete this one.

  23. 10 mins…

    Compared to yesterday, this definitely felt easier, with 2dn “Diplomatic Bag” and 6dn “Impressionist” pretty much write-ins.

    I didn’t have too many problems with 3dn “Atishoo” and its partner 17ac “At Issue”, and thought they were both clever clues. Like the blogger, I hadn’t heard of “Hard Roe” either.

    FOI – 1ac “Pedlar”
    LOI – 14dn “Hard Roe”
    COD – 3dn “Atishoo”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. I was tuned in to Teazel today finishing in 7.27. I decided against biffing CAPTAIN after a brief forlorn effort to parse it, so no crossings out were necessary once ATISHOO was in place. The clue that cost me the most time was my LOI HARD ROE, as I’ve never heard of it. I spent a little time on an alphabet trawl to see if there was a possible alternative to HARD, and on checking in to the blog half expected to find that my answer was wrong.

  25. As a regular puzzler of around 4 years I enjoyed this. Good mix of tough and easier clues, new devices I’ve learnt for words I was sure were correct but couldn’t parse, and new meanings of words.

    I agree with some of the sentiments above.
    I wouldn’t enjoy it if they were a write in completed in a few minutes and wouldn’t bother, just as I don’t bother with anything less than a Killer Sudoku Deadly.

    So thanks Teazel, Doofers and all commentators above.

    1. I also only do Killer Sudoku Deadly and nearly always finish taking no account of any time constraints. But even they vary considerably and there was one last week (maybe Friday’s?) when after half an hour faintly pencilling in options and possibilities I still didn’t have a single definite number entered in the grid. I gave up and put it aside without considering complaining to the editor and I didn’t lose any sleep over it. The following day the Deadly was so easy I wondered if it had been mislabelled.

      1. I do sudoko most days. The main dislike I have is that when I can’t finish there’s nowhere to go to see what I needed to do to complete it. Unlike a crossword blog where I can find not just the answer but the path to to get them. These blogs in particular have been very helpful in improving my crossword technique especially since I started the 15×15 a year or so ago.

      2. Yes Fridays was really hard, but the satisfaction you get when coming back to it over time, starting over again etc and then finally getting it is wonderful. Then afterwards I thought why was it so hard?

        I do persevere over days with it as I believe with pure logic and numbers1-9 , I should be able to do it in the end unlike a crossword where there are NHOs or word finding difficulties.

        1. The thing about cryptic puzzles though is that there’s nearly always an alternative route to an answer so one can just keep looking for it.

  26. Accidentally revealed CAPTION and looked up Foreman, so needed aids to finish. COD AT ISSUE, which made me smile. Found the SW the most difficult . Yes, DIPLOMATIC BAG and IMPRESSIONIST were write-ins. NHO ‘HARD’ ROE but biffed.
    Liked PACIFY, FIBRE, SPRINT also.
    Thanks, Doofers, as cd not parse eg 3d

  27. DNF

    Well the NY isn’t starting too well. Not a single complete solve! Beaten today by ATISHOO which I’ve always spelt ACHOO. Disappointing as this seemed straightforward otherwise with the exception of HARD ROE which was a guess.

  28. There seems to be a theme in the comments re the parsing of ATISHOO (my LOI), CAPTION or CAPTaiN and how many people have heard of HARD ROE. I join the many who stumbled over these clues but picked myself up and dusted myself off to cross the line in a very acceptable 7:24. Thanks to Doofs and all the commenters.

  29. A little over 13 minutes. CAPTION was a very good example of misdirection, which sucked me in and I didn’t know there was such a thing as HARD ROE. Maybe I’m just being a grump, but I didn’t find the AT ISSUE /ATISHOO pairing very effective as they sound so similar; imagine the protests though if the cross-reference had been a homophone indicator.

    Thanks to Teazel and Doofers

  30. I thought it was hard to get going, but got easier.
    I am astonished how many say they NHO hard roe. Perhaps it is that hard/soft has been dropped but in the 1950s and 60s Mum often served roe, and was quite explicit about hard or soft. I see from Wiktionary that the soft is aka White Roe and milt.

  31. 4 Across.

    Streak does NOT mean sprint.

    This clue is complete rubbish.

    No point in my trying to do these so called cryptics with clues like this.

    1. A simple google of “streak verb meaning” gives the second definition as:

      “move very fast in a specified direction”, with a list of synonyms including “sprint”.

      It’s best to look before you leap sometimes.

    2. But you persevere, despite several similar previous posts of a “ this is rubbish, why do I bother” theme. Gives one faith in mankind’s refusal to back down in the face of insuperable obstacles.

  32. Very tricky in places. I started with PEDLAR, POP IN and FROTH among the crosses, and with DIPLOMATIC BAG, PUPIL and IMPRESSIONIST among the downs. But, that’s where the road became a bit more rocky for me.

    ABOLISHES was a hard anagram, HARD ROW was a NHO and VENICE was just plain awkward. However, as described by several contributors above, ATISHOO and CAPTION were by far the most difficult clues. Together, they added 12-13 minutes to my time, which ended up as 32 minutes. Not particularly good, but a lot quicker than Monday’s 55 minutes and infinitely better than yesterday’s two-clue DNF.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Doofers.

  33. Very happy to scrape in under 10 minutes (9.58).

    The debate about how hard crosswords are is interesting. If you can quickly get all but one clue, and that clue takes you ten minutes, does that mean that the crossword as a whole is hard?

    If I’m stuck on my last clue and use an online tool to help, is it unethical for me to submit my time in the crossword club?

  34. I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that this is the easiest QC for a long time, and the easiest Teazel that I have ever encountered!

    I didn’t finish it, obviously, but I did manage all but 3 1/2 clues. I put CAPTAIN rather than CAPTION. I couldn’t see ATISHOO, which meant I couldn’t get ABOLISHES. I saw ROE, but didn’t know that HARD went with it. Everything else was – for me – easy. I doubt it will be the same tomorrow!

    1. Very similar result here – I agree with you. I was pleased to PDM ABOLISHES just before throwing in the towel.

  35. Entertaining, but another DNF. Put CAPTAIN for 8a and had no idea for 3d (ATISHOO) so let it stand. Also failed in SW corner, not seeing FOREMAN = GAFFER: surely gaffer is the boss, and only thinking of LIE for UNTRUE STATEMENT. Must be my stinking cold that is blocking my thought processes.

  36. 12.18 A very slow start but it came together in bits and pieces. HARD ROE and RUGGED in the carpet sense are new to me. I would have used BERUGGED but I see it’s not a word. On streaking, I’ve twice heard that the German word is nackerblitz. I hope it’s true. Thanks Doofers and Teazel.

  37. Felt fairly gentle for a Teazel. Enjoyed the ATISHOO/AT ISSUE clues. Another not to have heard of HARD ROE. Didn’t see the DD for RUGGED and wondered what GED was doing (doh). Thanks for the blog Doofers.

    The harder I find a QC the more I learn and the more I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do them if I found them easy – what would be the point? I’m starting to be able to do more of the 15×15 puzzles so for me it’s a really useful training ground. Just my opinion. Others clearly disagree and that’s the benefit of this forum – everyone is respectful and can accept that others may hold differing opinions. Thanks Teazel.

  38. No time to read preceding comments, but I found this on the easier side.
    Only hold up ‘HARD ROE’. Will come here later to find the explanation.

  39. I really enjoyed this one, even though I failed to finish. I biffed captain for CAPTION which meant I couldn’t spell ATISHOO even though I knew that was what the answer must be, even having entered the ‘shoo’ part. All round a fair and enjoyable solve. GAFFER made me smile, ABOLISHES was clever but COD to the linked 3d/17a. I love that device when we see it.
    Prof

  40. Well, quite some change from yesterday. Today a PB of 8:52! The snitch is presently about the same as yesterday where we struggled and were unable to finish with CAMBRIDGE after over 19 minutes (my comment to that effect never seemed to make it onto the blog). Thank you Teazel and Doofers.

  41. 07:55
    Good time and nice puzzle, but I thought LOI hard roe was a bit unfair, I did an alpha trawl, and put in hard with fingers crossed. I also took some time to get sprint.

    I’m not sure if the puzzles are getting harder (I think yes) but thankfully there seem to be less obscure plants which always seemed to scuttle my chances of finishing when I first started doing the quickie.
    COD Abolishes.

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