Times Quick Cryptic No 2594 by Felix

Yippee! I’ve another Felix Quick Cryptic to blog. From experience I was expecting a bit of fun, and today’s was no exception. A few tricky clues as always, including 22A, 2D , 6D and 12D, stretched my time to 5:51. LOI was the last of these, 12D. Great stuff. Thank-you Felix. How did you all get on?

Of course, with Felix being our setter, there is something hidden in the crossword…

The grid contains MAN FRIDAY at the start with ROBIN underneath. Robin Friday, described as “The greatest footballer you never saw” was a professional footballer in the 1970s who died tragically young. He played for READING and CARDIFF and was both born and raised and died in ACTON (all to be seen in the grid). He was was written about in two  TRIBUTE books by Stuart CaneMan Friday : The First Half  and Man Friday : The Second Half. You can read more about his extraordinary career firstly at Reading (see here) and then at Cardiff (see here). Oh and there are other football references in the grid too  – REF, GOAL and PARK. Have I missed any?  [Edit: As Jackkt pointed out, we also have, in the clue for THEMATIC, the words TIE and MATCH. Furthermore, as Zenpublisher suggests, we have NOT ON (= offside).] Interesting to read about and clever stuff from Felix getting all that into the grid.


Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. The Times has bowed to pressure and started publishing a Saturday Quick Cryptic crossword (albeit online only). But there is still no Sunday Times Quick Cryptic so we will continue the series of Weekend Quick Cryptics. This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword  here. If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 96 here.

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

1 Twenty four hours on island for personal assistant (3,6)
MAN FRIDAYMAN (island) FRIDAY (twenty four hours). My first one in.
6 Article of note about hotel (3)
THETE (note) about H (Hotel in the phonetic alphabet).
8 Steal from home a bird (5)
ROBINROB (steal from) IN (home).
9 Studying English commercial, interrupting call (7)
READINGE (English) AD (commercial)  in RING (call).
10 On the subject of tie, match fixed! (8)
THEMATIC – (tie match)* [fixed].
11 Dive endlessly: you’ll get a breather! (4)
LUNG – {p}LUNG{e} (dive) without the last letters [endlessly]. LUNG{e}, as I originally had it, works too.
13 Line of children, one appearing to be in tears? (9)
CROCODILE – Double definition, the second a cryptic definition referencing “crocodile tears”. It’s ages since I heard a procession of school children called a crocodile, but I saw at least a couple just yesterday in the centre of York (in the snow).
16 Stop and leave, quietly joining old ship (4)
PARKP (piano; quietly) ARK (old ship like Noah’s).
17 Print design showing kind countenance (8)
TYPEFACETYPE (kind; sort of) FACE (countenance).
20 Faraway river, alternatively island, with no company (7)
ORINOCOOR (alternatively) I (island) NO CO (company). I wondered if this could be a thematic answer, but couldn’t find a fit.
21 Unacceptable, going back and forth (3,2)
NOT ON – A palindrome [going back and forth]. NOT ON reversed -> NOT ON.
22 One’s concerned with fouls, primarily? (3)
REFRE (concerned with) F{ouls} [primarily]. A semi-&lit, with the whole clue being the definition and all but “one’s” being the wordplay. Nice one!
23 Squire having depressing experience on network (9)
LANDOWNERLAN (Local Area Network; network) DOWNER (depressing experience).
1 Plus points possessed by customer, it seems (6)
MERITS – Hidden in, [possessed by], custoMER IT Seems. Although my kids used to get them, I don’t remember having anything like that when I was at school, just impositions, detentions and the odd caning. All stick and no carrot.
2 Peer is not a Tory, not upper class! (5)
NOBLE – Slightly tricky, this one… NO BL{u}E (Tory) without the U [not upper class; not U].
3 Perennial protesters seemingly being rude to barmen (4-1-3)
RENT-A-MOB – (to barmen)* [seemingly being rude]. Is there no end to the different ways to indicate an anagram? Apparently not! Well not one I’ve seen before, anyway. There was a lot of discussion abut this. Thanks to Penfold for clearing it up. “Chambers has rent-a defined as Denoting: (as if) rented or hired, organized for a specific occasion or purpose. So I think that must make “Perennial protesters seemingly” the definition as a “rent-a-mob” isn’t always the same people, it’s just as expression that suggests it is.”  So it’s (to barmen)* [rude].
4 Sleepy part of commuter land? (9,4)
DORMITORY TOWN – Cryptic definition. I liked this. We don’t often get straight cryptic definitions in Quick Cryptic land. From early comments, it would appear this is a phrase used in the UK, but not elsewhere.
5 Yankee needs attention for some time (4)
YEARY (Yankee in the phonetic alphabet) EAR (attention).
6 Plaudit is attempted, endless, but restrained (7)
TRIBUTE – Another tricky one. You need BUT  held in, [restrained], TRIE{d} (attempted) without the last letter, [endless].
7 Employ rotten gag: entertaining, somewhat! (6)
ENGAGE – Our second hidden. RottEN GAG Entertaining, [somewhat]. Not easy to spot, I think.
12 Crazy vetoing I indulge (4,2,2)
GIVE IN TO – (vetoing I)* [crazy]. My Last One In and as good an example as any to illustrate “John’s approach to impenetrable looking clues”. My first reaction on reading this clue was “What?”, but then I applied my aforementioned process… 1. What’s the definition? It’s almost always at one end of the clue or the other. That means the answer  in this case had to be something meaning “Crazy” or “Indulge”. 2. Are there any wordplay indicators? In this case I spotted “crazy” and thought “Aha, it’s an anagram”. 3. Test the wordplay idea. “vetoing I” contains the required 8 letters… jumble them up… et voila!
13 Informal eatery across road, one in British city (7)
CARDIFFRD (road) I (one), in CAFF (informal eatery). Some solvers would, like me, see “British” and infer that, because it didn’t say “English” the answer would probably be a Welsh or Scottish city. Did you?
14 Our rap somehow causes commotion (6)
UPROAR – (our rap)* [somehow].
15 One tending to be less fat (6)
LEANER – Double definition
18 Keep playing part in west London area (5)
ACTON ACT ON (keep playing part).
19 Turn fifty, pursuing a purpose (4)
GOALGO (turn) A L (fifty).


103 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2594 by Felix”

  1. I DNF and I was having such a good week too

    I have never heard of a line of kids being a CROCODILE so I had no hope there because the tears clue didn’t help

    I need more explanation for DORMITORY TOWN too, that’s gone right over my head

    I know that it’s a British crossword in a British paper but I did think it was making am assumption when calling ORINOCO a ‘faraway’ river (not mad about it) . (am I the only person that automatically hears Enya when seeing the word.. Sail away sail away sail away)

    I know any and all words are anagram indicators but I really didn’t like ‘seemingly be rude’. I don’t get it at all.

    Missed the hidden for MERITS. They’re such gimmes and I miss them more often than not, it seems.

    I did enjoy this one though, despite my troubles. Lots of tricky bits and pieces.

    1. I also DNFed on CROCODILE, having never heard it used in relation to children, and the cryptic definition proved too cryptic. I did get DORMITORY TOWN but it was a guess without too much confidence. I struggled elsewhere too, I think this had a lot of tricky clues.

    2. Ok i googled Dormitory Town. We don’t have those in Australia. Everyone lives in a city or in a country town. We just… Urban sprawl instead of building new hubs nearby.

    3. A DORMITORY TOWN is somewhere where everyone commutes a distance to get to work so no-one is at home during the day – i.e. it’s a place mostly used just for sleeping, at least during the working week. Sadly, in East Anglia (at least – probably elsewhere too) there are a lot of villages which are like that. The lack of people about during the day tends to destroy a sense of community.

      1. My home town of Altrincham was referred to as a DORMITORY TOWN in geography lessons at my Grammar School back in the late 1950’s. I understood the principle (many commuted the 8 miles into Manchester on the UK’s first electric railway dating from 1931), but we also had considerable industry in the Broadheath area at that time, so I thought it was rather labouring the point. Today 98% of the industry has gone, the train is now a tram, and the usual term is “market town”, though that market is a mere shadow of the one I knew back then. My Dad was right : “Progress is one step forward, and two steps back”.

        1. Just to say that when Mrs Random and I first moved in together (in 1980) we rented a first-floor bedsit in Navigation Road, Altrincham. Our favourite haunt was The Maltshovels.

      2. John,
        Re: 11 Across – Shouldn’t ‘Dive endlessly’ be {p}LUNG{e} without its first and last letters?

        1. Good point, but LUNG(e) works and isn’t too clever-clever. Not sure but FWIW I would guess that was the setter’s intention.

        2. I thought exactly the same; I parsed it as (p)lung(e) so was interested to see no ‘p’ in johninterred’s solution above.

          1. I find “plunge” closer to “dive” than “lunge,” which didn’t even occur to me.

      3. I lived in Leighton Buzzard for many years, just 30 minutes by (very busy) train north of London.

        I couldn’t tell you what it was like during the day as I only really slept there in the week 🙂

    4. I’m with you, no hope of CROCODILE, thus didn’t get RENT-A-MOB (also never heard of, but makes sense). Tried to make CHAMOMILE and CRINOLINE work but c’mon…. Maybe if I had seen the theme? Not sure if there are crocs in the story. Oh, but going back to our esteemed blogger’s explanation, of course I never heard of Robin Friday, I wondered what happened to SON and CRUSOE, and looked in vain for DEFOE. Wrong theme.

      DORMITORY TOWN made sense to me, though not sure I’ve seen it before. No hope of parsing NOBLE, but must remember Tories = blues. I actually felt the rest of the puzzle was pretty straightforward and very entertaining.

      The ORINOCO seems to be where Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked (near the mouth of the “Oroonoque”), for what that’s worth.

  2. 6.20 for me, delayed a little by deciding it would be OK to enter DORMITORY BELT and demanding the ORINOCO conform accordingly. Nice work from Felix and thank you John for the blog, I too was stymied for a while by 12dn until crazy gave the game away, the anagram was revealed and GIVE IN TO arrived. Gosh that hidden theme remained well and truly hidden, which is unsurprising for someone who has never heard of poor the late Mr Friday. After seeing MAN FRIDAY and ROBIN I wondered if there was some link involving male assistants, but when neither JEEVES nor ALFRED appeared I gave up.

  3. Just over 10 minutes. I didn’t know that a CROCODILE file/line was mainly used to describe children either and DORMITORY TOWN is not a common term here for the reasons explained by Tina. Like her, I also thought of Enya with ORINOCO. Fortunately, I did manage to see ‘Crazy’ as an anagram indicator for 12d without much trouble.

    I’d never heard of ROBIN FRIDAY so the theme was lost on me too; from reading the Wikipedia article, maybe a “cult hero” but a very sad life.

    Thanks to Felix and John

  4. 9 minutes. Of course with Felix as setter I was expecting a theme, and expectations increased when I saw THEMATIC as one of the answers, but I was never going to get an obscure (to me) footballing reference.

    ‘Rude’ as anagrind seems fine to me. We had RUDE defined as ‘rough’ in Wurm’s QC on 29th January, and some discussion about it, and that would seem to cover it. Also it’s in the Chamber’s list.

      1. I hadn’t given it the same attention as I would on a blogging day, but I assumed ‘seemingly’ was part of the definition. Not so sure now, but in any case the clue would have worked perfectly well without it in any capacity.

          1. I did consider whether “seemingly” was part of the definition (which may be what our setter intended) but decided it referred to “being rude” in the clue surface, with the mob pretending to be incensed. Another possible way of parsing it is having “Seemingly being” as the link phrase between definition and wordplay, which I’ve not seen either, but is probably the cleanest interpretation. What was our setter’s thinking, I wonder? We may never know.

            1. Chambers has rent-a defined as Denoting: (as if) rented or hired, organized for a specific occasion or purpose. So I think that must make “Perennial protesters seemingly” the definition as a “rent-a-mob” isn’t always the same people, it’s just as expression that suggests it is.

              That means “being” is a link word and “rude” is the anagrind, so we can all go home happy.

              1. My initial reaction to seeing you is always, “Penfold, shush” and then the Danger Mouse theme song being stuck in my head

                I definitely do not want to shush you I like your answer v much and am quite happy

    1. Re THEMATIC. Of course! In this case it’s a thematic equivalent of a reverse cryptic clue where the thematic answers TIE and MATCH are in the clue for er… THEMATIC. Nice one! Blog updated.

  5. DNF
    I think I’ve come across CROCODILE, but lacking the first O (DNK RENT-A-MOB), I couldn’t come up with it. ‘Seemingly being rude’ is anagrind? Give me a break.
     A DORMITORY TOWN is what in the US we’d call a bedroom community (in Japan, beddotaun ベッドタウン).

      1. Round here that’s known as Ninja Turtling. Four Renaissance artists only known as heroes on the half shell. And cf Richard Osman’s Highbrow/Lowbrow in his House of Games.

  6. I followed yesterday’s discussion amongst some of the chaps, about writing down the words in each clue one under the other to aid parsing, with interest. However, being too indolent to put pen to paper I rather cleverly decided that I’d read each clue backwards this morning to achieve a similar effect. It didn’t help.
    So despite another fast start, only to be breezeblocked by TYPEFACE and (the rather clever) LEANER, I came in all green in about 23 minutes.
    Many thanks to John and Felix for an entertaining start to the day.

  7. I thought this was cracker, so I was most surprised to read there’s a theme. Like Bletchers I took to Wikipedia and enjoyed seeing all the answers start to make sense – also interesting that Paolo Hewitt who I first discovered in the notes on The Jam’s Snap compilation album and wrote their biography also wrote one on our theme. Glad I’m not in a hurry this morning. Slow start with just four on the first pass of acrosses – enjoyed LUNG – then quite fast until having to carefully consider CROCODILE, LEANER and LANDOWNER. All green in 15.

  8. Just under our target at 24,03 today. LOI rent a mob took 3 minutes of trawling the alphabet only to then spot it’s an anagram once found, d’oh. Thanks John for explaining Noble and ref which we couldn’t quite parse. As an IT geek landowner gets my COD, great heteronym.

    We always forget Felix has ninas but anything football will pass this house by.

    Yep, Sail Away will be today’s ear worm as Tobermory is my womble of choice

    1. Maybe we can divide everyone here between those who watched the 70s Wombles vs those who watched the 90s Wombles (me)

  9. I found this straightforward, having one of those days when the answers seem to appear instantly on reading the clue – or even part of the clue. Had a bit of a pause for LOI CROCODILE but other than that a top to bottom solve.
    Finished in a sprightly 4.54.
    Thanks to John for the blog and Felix for the entertainment.

  10. Mrs Thespian is of a generation where the only entertainment on Sunday was to go for a walk in a crocodile in school uniform after church. I think it was quite a common description for organised institutional walks in the sixties…they live long in the memory. Never forgotten.

    1. I think it’s just generally used for the safe and convenient means of conducting large groups of children through the streets e.g. if their lessons are at different locations, to sports grounds, chapel and church etc. Also for organised school visits to museums and other places of interest. Two-abreast is easy for teachers to supervise and guarantees each child has another to talk to. As very young children we had to hold hands with our neighbour.

      1. You still get them, I find it fascinating that these days they all have to wear a high-viz vest.

        While there is a temptation to jump to the conclusion of “health & safety gone mad”, actually it’s such an easy thing to get the kids to do at no cost other than a set of bibs – it makes sense. Especially given how much busier roads are these days.

        1. I’d imagine it makes the scamps a bit easier to spot when they start to go wandering off, too!

        1. Excellent reference. My daughters’ favourite book, we even named our dog Genevieve (Jenny)

    2. In the 70s we had to walk in crocodiles to the refectory for lunch … being small boys, however, the crocodile was constantly flexing this way and that as we jumped in puddles/tried to pick up a conker/decided to talk to someone three rows back. It must have been infuriating for the master in charge.

  11. DNF in 27mins as despite living in England, I’ve NHO DORMITORY-TOWN and put DOWN as the latter word thinking it was some place in the South Downs or something. As per others CROCODILE bit of a stretch to know as a line of children.

    Unlike our esteemed blogger, JohnI, who has done a fabulously comprehensive blog today – my reaction to seeing Felix is “Oh @*F&!”. Always a struggle to finish, always a grind, a theme I rarely know and often a DNF with some outdated/NHO term. I thought today was actually a bit more approachable than their other recent ones but still took almost 10mins longer than anything else this week.

    Looking at John’s thought process on GIVE-IN-TO is pretty much what I do. Just a lot slower than him!

    For those not back tomorrow, have a good weekend everybody 👍

  12. I didn’t actually find this too tricky today. Needed help to parse MERITS (often miss a hidden) and RENT-A-MOB (a write-in with anagram completely missed). No problems with CROCODILE – ‘in tears’ sealing the deal. Some digging in required in the SE with ACTON, LEANER and LOI TYPEFACE all holding out for a while. Never spot a theme so will now go straight to the answer. Many thanks for a great blog John.

  13. 11:46
    Sped through most of this, but came crashing to a halt on crocodile and dormitory town.
    I normally give COD to one of the difficult last few, but not today. Crocodile is what Tony Sever would call vocalophobia, fear of mainly vowel checkers.
    Dormitory clue was a bit meh.

    COD Thematic

  14. 9:56 (St Dunstan exiled by King Eadwig, as punishment for discovering the King in flagrante delicto with two women after his coronation)

    On seeing the word THEMATIC I knew there must be a theme, but NHO Robin Friday, so unable to spot what was going on.

    ORINOCO known from Enya and The Wombles – definitely a musical collaboration I would love to hear.

    Thanks Felix and John

    1. Today’s historical nugget was rather over-stimulating/racy for me. I think I’ll take a cold shower then sit down and read some scripture.

        1. But you see, SRC, the formal, often somewhat dated language in my King James version( e.g. begat) tends to have a calming, cooling effect on me- no matter what hanky-panky is being described.

  15. Missed the theme of course … but after hitting reveal I didn’t kick myself much, if at all.

    Lots of neat, witty clues. I did like NOBLE especially, once I’d puzzled it out. Not so keen on “seemingly being rude” as an anagram indicator though, and RENT-A-MOB was duly my LOI.

    All done in 06:21 for a Very Good Day. Many thanks Felix and John.


  16. I enjoyed this so thanks Felix and John. I thought crocodile was clever and like others hadn’t realised it was about schoolchildren. Only downside for me was Rent a Mob. I put it it without seeing the anagram. I’m with those who think the anagram indicator is ridiculous! About 12 minutes so one of my slower solves this week.

  17. Another DNF today. I could not see RENTAMOB, CROCODILE or MERITS. 😞

    @John – I humbly submit to your prowess and experience, but I think pLUNGe is maybe a better solve than LUNGe?

    Anyway, maybe I can redeem myself tomorrow.

      1. Hmm. Yes. That works too and was probably what the setter intended. Will update the blog.

    1. Your humility is gracious, your analysis correct. I’ve noticed “endless” in these puzzles quite often means both ends.

  18. 9:27.
    Started poorly immediately by writing “DAY” as the first word of 1a, (“24 hours”) had to be.

    Also came at the river with just the two “O”s at the back, so LIMPOPO was a good first stab. Also tried the expression “give it on”, and thought about TENDER, for “one who tends”.

    3d was LOI, never saw the anagram indicator, and still don’t really get it as noted above.

    I’ve started the new technique of separating vowels and consonants for anagrams when I am stuck. Good results so far, but if you don’t know it’s an anagram it doesn’t help, right? When I was a newbie, I started out writing a list of anagram indicators, but decided a dictionary of every word in the English Language was pretty much the same thing.

    REF COD.

  19. Quite a “British-centric” puzzle today and I whizzed through it in just 8 minutes, though as usual the Nina not so much passed me by as was in another universe. I am none the wiser even after reading John’s notes.

    Many thanks John for the blog and Sawbill in anticipation for the Sunday Special.

  20. DNF. Failed on the intersecting RENT-A-MOB (poor anagram indicator IMO) and CROCODILE. Correctly guessed DORMITORY TOWN. I’m not sure being British helped me Cedric!

    1. I was convinced that 3d was a type of perennial plant – plant names are often built like that. Like others, didn’t realise it was an anagram – even after I biffed the answer.

  21. Curiously it was GOAL that held me up most in the end: wrong end of the clue.
    Completely nutmegged by the theme: when seeing from John that there was one I did a Friday grid stare (Listener aficionados know what I mean) looking either for Crusoe or Thirteenth to go with the top line. Now if he’d played for a decent team…

  22. 7:28

    No problem with any of the answers, though some took a wee while to puzzle out. Sadly the nina passed me by – I thought I was pretty strong on ’70s footballers but have never heard of ROBIN FRIDAY. Read his Wiki page though – hilarious! Also noted from that page that I may well have seen him score in a 1-1 draw away to Palace in 1976 (Third Division)…

    Thanks Felix and John

  23. Another puzzle spoiled for me by shoe-horning an obscure theme into it. I spent practically half of my time over my LOI, and finally biffed it. Now John has unravelled it, I think it’s exceptionally poor. Indeed, I would posit that Sawbill’s weekend special is a better example of the setter’s art.

    TIME 5:45

    * I once had an interesting argument with a traffic warden who wanted to book me while I waited for a taxi customer in an area defined “no parking”. I was, in fact, “waiting” which is not the same thing at all. These days it’s usually “no stopping”, so they’ve got you both ways .

    1. In Australia they’re called ‘No Standing’ which confused me to no end as a child as we were all seated in our car idling under the sign

      1. I did. She retreated looking bemused, and said she’d have to discuss it with her supervisor.

    2. Hope you pulled out a copy of Collins to show them the difference between parking and waiting 😂

  24. I wondered if CROCODILE would cause a few problems for those domiciled away from Britain, and it appears to have done so. My initial thought for 4dn was DORMITORY TOWN, but thought the setter might have gone for BELT instead. It left me scratching my head on 20ac, until I got ORINOCO which meant my original thought on TOWN was correct after all. CARDIFF was no problem as I only live 10 miles away, and it came readily to mind. I finished comfortably within target time at7.59.
    Surprisingly the name Robin Friday was unknown to me, in spite of me being an avid supporter of the beautiful game (to quote Pele) all my life. According to the stats I see he played 21 games for Cardiff scoring 6 goals, but unfortunately had a reputation as being a bit of a bad boy both on and off the pitch.
    A much better week for me at last after a pretty poor run. My total for the week was 41.21, giving a daily average of 8.16.

  25. Actually found this fairly straightforward and even though a football fan failed to see any theme whatsoever until reading the blog. Enjoyed 9 and 23a. Thanks Felix and John. Took about 30 minutes.

  26. 11:23. NOBLE, TRIBUTE, and TYPEFACE were favourites. Interesting bio of ROBIN FRIDAY, although as a Canadian I consider Junior Hoilett the greatest footballer to play for both Reading and Cardiff. Thanks, John, for your breakdown of how you solved GIVE IN TO- very useful.

  27. Back after a couple of days away to a relatively easy offering from Felix.
    Done in 9 minutes, LOI LANDOWNER.
    I liked this overall, knew Felix’s reputation for ninas but that did not distract me. I will now look up the NHO footballer.
    We live near several schools and crocodiles are very common round here.

  28. On the wavelength today, so pretty quick, despite never having heard of Robin Friday.
    No problem with CROCODILE. LOI MERITS, as I missed the hidden.
    CARDIFF clever, also liked ORINOCO, GIVE IN TO, ACTON, DORMITORY TOWN. Missed anagram for RENT-A-MOB, but biffed straight away.
    Thanks for much needed blog, John.

  29. I didn’t get too many of the across clues on the first pass but the downs made up for it, almost all going straight in. I eventually completed in 14 minutes with all parsed except TRIBUTE, which I parsed after completion. The phrase ‘perennial protesters’ at 3dn, together with the division into 3 words, meant that RENT-A-MOB went straight in and I never bothered looking for the anagram. No problems with CROCODILE meaning a line of children. I often see them walking past our house from the primary school at the end of the road with a teacher at the head and a second one at the tail. Never saw the nina but it would have to be very obvious for me to notice it.

    FOI – 6ac THE
    LOI – 15dn LEANER

    Thanks to Felix and John

  30. 30:43, less however long it took me to make two cups of tea. Unusually for a Friday I’m in the office with only two other people, which means I get to slack off and do crosswords and sudokus for most of the day. I’m also using a different browser (Chrome) instead of my usual (Firefox) and apparently there isn’t a pause button when using Chrome.

    I spent a very long time indeed on GIVE IN TO because when transcribing the letters into notepad to juggle them around, I neglected to observe that there were three words in the answer. I am now reasonably convinced that there is no eight-letter English word of the pattern _ I _ E _ N _ O in which the missing letters are V, T, I and G.

    Thank you for the blog!

  31. 22 mins…

    Probably could have been a bit faster, but got bogged down with 12dn “Give In To”, 3dn “Rent A Mob” and 17ac “Typeface”. Interestingly for 12dn, I did exactly what John suggested: looking for the definition, seeing if the number of letters make up an anagram etc, but made the fatal mistake of thinking the answer was actually an 8 letter word rather than the 4-2-2 combination. I’ve done this a number of times now, so must keep referring back to the clue.

    I’m guessing anyone doing Geography in the 70’s/80’s (and probably earlier) would have got Dormitory Town – as it was a staple of the urban geography syllabus around that time.

    Haven’t looked at the theme, but based on 1ac thought it might have something to do with Robinson Crusoe – but no doubt that is probably too obvious.

    FOI – 8ac “Robin”
    LOI – 3dn “Rent A Mob”
    COD – 1ac “Man Friday”

    Thanks as usual!

  32. Challenging! Especially the NW corner which, 25 minutes in, was still completely empty. Given that I also had some problems in the SE corner, I was really expecting a DNF at that stage. Finally, however, I found THEMATIC and that proved to be the key that unlocked that whole area of the grid for me. In the end, I finished with ACTON and TYPEFACE down in the SE. Time = 33 minutes.

    Mrs Random cruised to a 22 minute finish with only RENT A MOB causing her any real anguish. She wanted it to be RaNT A lOt for a while.

    Many thanks to Felix and John.

  33. I spotted there was a theme going on but, never having heard of Robin Friday, I was unable to work out what it was. MAN FRIDAY was FOI and ACTON was LOI. No problem with CROCODILE or DORMITORY TOWN. 8:22. Thanks Felix and John.

  34. As a loather (is that a word?) of footie I was NEVER going to get the Nina. NHO Mr Friday the footballer. I won’t look him up on Wiki.
    Not too challenging I did more-or-less top to bottom.
    Haven’t noticed any crocodiles since the early 60s, so maybe that was obscure for the young and foreign solvers?
    Was tempted by DORMITORY belt, so left those 4 out until crossers. Looking in dictionaries I’ve found TOWN in all and BELT in none.

  35. 9.34 Another gentle one though I did spend far too long wondering where the island of Manfri is. PARK was LOI. 47 minutes is my quickest ever week, and the Quitch rates this week as the easiest too. Thanks John and Felix.

  36. I’m a footie fan, esp in the 70s, but never heard of the hard drinking, up-for-a-fight subject of the NINA. I did look him up on Wiki and seemingly the Super Furry Animals dedicated a song to him called “The Man Don’t Give a ####”. Spent a while looking in the grid but….

  37. 9 mins held up at the end by rent-a-mob – it had to be the answer but I took ages to see the anagrind/anagrist. Dormitory Belt went in at first- confusion with stockbrokers but Orinoco cleared that up. A great achievement to fit all that theme into one small puzzle – and then to spot what it was. Well done, all!

  38. Easiest QC for a while. Guessing 10 mins for completion by pen n paper. Checkers helped get answers missed on first pass.

    LOI Tribute
    COD Orinoco OR Noble

    Thanks all

  39. 20:12

    I know nothing of football so no chance at spotting the Nina. A steady solve, just over target 20 minutes. LOI CROCODILE.

  40. My first thought was that this would take ages, but it turned out as 25min. I usually hope to take longer as it’s part of my winding-down at the end of the day/evening/night. I only know the time as, unusually, I solved on-line so had a clock tell me. Not being interested in football, the nina passed me by. An excellent puzzle, helpful blog, and interesting discussion. Looking forward to tomorrow and the extra for Sunday!
    FOI 1a Man Friday
    LOI 13d Cardiff
    COD 23a Landowner – not sure when squires (as attendants) became landowners…

  41. Thanks all: I did in fact see Friday play – twice in the games mentioned on his Wikipedia page as follows:

    “After scoring in two successive Reading home wins on 4 and 7 September, against Walsall and Wrexham respectively …”

    However, he did not score in the first of those games as claimed, as both of Reading’s goals that afternoon came from John “Minto” Murray from the penalty spot. Murray in fact also missed a third penalty – saving his manager a few bob who had bet Murray he’d not score a hat trick! The Reading manager then? Charlie Hurley after whom my fellow QC setter is named

    1. Charley Hurley came along with Brian Clough to open one of our school sports days, at Sunderland, sometime in the 1960s, when I was slightly younger!

  42. Agony!

    I was on it for once and going well, but delayed by my last two – TYPEFACE and LEANER.

    As a result, I missed out on a great time. I did finish in 17 mins, but that put me over my target of 5 solves in under 2 hours. I ended up with 5 solves in 2 hours and 1 minute.

    Given that the QCs this week have been straightforward, that is very frustrating. An SCC escape isn’t much consolation, but it’s better than I was expecting.

    Thanks for the blog John. I hope you enjoyed your trip to God’s Own Country. I shall be eating a hanging kebab at The Botanist in York tomorrow, before hiking on the edge of the North York Moors on Sunday.

    1. Good luck with the hiking. You might need waders. Everywhere looks rather soggy. In Clitheroe now visiting sister-in-law… and it’s stopped raining. Daughter’s photos in her graduation gown on Thursday were done with snow falling.

      1. Thanks John.

        Thursday was not a great day for a graduation. It took me 10 mins to clear snow from the car in Leeds. I hope the graduation was nevertheless an enjoyable event. Warm congratulations to your daughter.

        Waders at the ready for tomorrow!

  43. This looked a bit tricky when I first came across it, so I saved it for later and focussed on the Killer Sudoku instead.

    It turned out not as bad as I first thought and I enjoyed so much of it especially the PDMs for
    15D – LEANER
    17A – TYPEFACE
    19D – GOAL

    I did not get the NINA but never mind.

    Thanks so much to Felix and John and to everyone for all your interesting observations above!

  44. DNF – didn’t see the TO BARMEN as an anagram and couldn’t see RENT A MOB as the answer. Quite tough all round, I feel. Didn’t see the NINA at all, despite being a footie fan: far too obscure!

  45. Finished this when I got in from work tonight.

    I found it to be tough in places, but did enjoy it.

    Never heard of a dormitory town, but have heard of a line of children being called a crocodile. I assume this more refers to a line of very young children holding hands.

    Ask Pumpa: 13a, 4d

    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 😸

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