Times Quick Cryptic No 2666 by Pedro

We have several 4-part clues and, for once, no hidden answer in this tricky-in-parts teaser from Pedro. It took me a fair bit over target, finishing in 6:22. COD to 18A for the clever and uncommon bit of wordplay. Thank-you Pedro. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic.  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 102 here.

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

1 Energy left? Fellow initially joins sporting venue (4,5)
GOLF LINKS – A four-parter to start with. GO (energy) L (left), first letter of Fellow, LINKS (joins).
6 Small and delicate, French finish after the Spanish (5)
ELFINEL (the in Spanish) FIN (finish in French).
8 Zoo resident phoned in published article (5-4)
ORANG-UTANRANG (phoned), in OUT (published) AN (indefinite article).
9 A lot of criticism about old patient (5)
STOICO (old) in all but the last letter of STIC{k}
10 Tin with beer given to dry old painter (9)
CANALETTO – Another four-part construction job (aka charade). CAN (tin) ALE (beer) TT (teetotal; dry) O (old).
12 Producing chopped fruit product (6)
RAISINRAISIN{g} (producing) without the last letter.
13 Take weapons from police officers and a resident magistrate (6)
DISARMDIS (Detective inspectors; police officers) A RM (resident magistrate). That wasn’t an abbreviation I was familiar with but it’s fairly obvious.
16 Astute CIA and USA go off the rails with introduction of spies (9)
SAGACIOUS –  (CIA USA go)* [off the rails] and the first letter, [introduction], of Spies. My LOI.
18 Join fifth building on industrial estate? (5)
UNITE – If the buildings, aka units, of the industrial estate are named alphabetically, starting with UNIT A, the fifth one would be UNIT E. The ? indicates something cryptic is going on.
19 Account about Liberal member — entirely an alert (5,4)
ALARM CALLL (liberal) ARM (member), in A/C (account), ALL (entirely). Another 4-parter, this time with an inclusion.
21 Still I will take angling gear round river (5)
INERTR (river) in I NET (angling gear).
22 Police work not involved with deceit (9)
DETECTION – (not deceit)* [involved].
1 Cook coaching omitting a selection of dumplings (7)
GNOCCHI – [Cook] (co{a}ching)* without the A.
2 Studied: was inclined to receive element of basic education? (6)
LEARNTR (element of basic eduction) in LEANT (was inclined). The basic elements of education are Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmetic, known as the three Rs…. which, you will note, doesn’t include spelling.
3 Line of monarchs, not the first following the law (5)
LEGALL (line) {r}EGAL (of monarchs) but without the first letter.
4 Fruit barrel turned upside-down (3)
NUT – TUN (barrel) reversed -> NUT. All nuts are fruits (unless they go on a bolt or sit on top of your neck or are crazy people or an en or a small lump of coal… etc), but not all fruits are nuts, although a fruitcake can be one even though he/she doesn’t have a shell. [Enough! Ed]. I’ll get my coat.
5 Various memories not accommodating new episode of forgetfulness (6,6)
SENIOR MOMENTN (new) in [various] (memories not)*.
6 Trendies, alas, ruined Pacific location (6,6)
EASTER ISLAND – (Trendies alas)* [ruined].
7 Baffling element of decor (8)
FLOORING – Double definition. Not very obvious. I hope it didn’t baffle you.
11 Public transport route rebuilt terminal (8)
TRAMLINE – (terminal)* [rebuilt].
14 Mostly derisory, cutting latest in investment for diabetes treatment (7)
INSULININSUL{t}IN{g} (derisory). All but the last letter, [mostly], and also dropping [cutting] the last letter [latest] in investmenT. You didn’t just biff it and move on, did you?
15 African resident very much linked to African country (6)
SOMALISO (very much) MALI (African country).
17 Stand-up, say, having care of microphone (5)
COMICC/O (care of) MIC (microphone).
20 No odd bits of walnut for insect (3)
ANT – Alternate letters of wAlNuT.

105 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2666 by Pedro”

  1. 12:28. GOLF LINKS and ALARM CALL were fun to solve. I also liked the brief ones, INERT and LEGAL. John, really enjoyed your riff on NUT!


  3. Boy, did I ever need this blog for the parsing

    UNITE I shake my fist at it

    Peanuts are legumes though. Where can one be pedantic if not in the comments at TfTT?

    Edit: I just want to say that if I don’t write a time, it means I didn’t come close to finishing, or did finish but only after revealing a clue or two or three. Just in case anyone thought I was good at these now lmao

    1. I rest my case that not all nuts are nuts. At least we had a proper nut, i.e. Walnut, in another clue.

    2. I’ve always detailed the disasters (see below) of how long I spent in the hope it will encourage the lesser ability solvers to do so too. If I still revealed answers or any other assistance, I’d include it. Not going to make this an inclusive place by only talking about the good times!

      1. Yeah maybe I will. I never spend long… I’ve upped my patience to 20 min since the Meetup, it used to be 15 min then give up or reveal.

        1. Perseverance is a good (and important quality) for problem-solving. It’s amazing how stuff you were sure you wouldn’t get, you get later out of thin air. Patience is like a muscle – it builds with exercise

  4. We had a third letter of some word (e.g.: “third of October” = T) clue recently, which reminded me that while those rarely give me trouble I often get held up by the related “fourth inn” = “bar + d” thing – especially if it’s in the middle of a larger construction. I made an extra special mental note for the next time an ordinal number popped up in a clue. Well, here we are only a day or two later, there was ‘fifth’, and while Unite went directly in off the crossers, it cost me a minute in parsing.

  5. I didn’t even know they had units on industrial estates so quickly biffed UNITE in glorious ignorance until all was revealed by John. I still don’t buy it but never mind. I liked Pedro’s long charades and anagrams though they took a bit of working out. 10.01 all up, with FOI ELFIN and LOI SOMALI, delayed by the too-hasty insertion of the incorrect ALARM BELL at 19ac. Enjoyable QC, thank you J.

  6. 14 minutes with the last 4 spent on a an alphabet trawl at 7dn. Completely floored me for far too long.

    Whilst there was no problem coming up with DISARM I did have a query over the parsing which may have been obvious but I’m not sure QC setters should be relying on abbreviations that are not in either of the official source dictionaries for the puzzle -Collins and ODE – so that an expedition to the depths of Chambers was necessary to confirm its existence.

  7. I enjoyed this very much, especially UNIT E. Thanks Pedro and John.

    Good luck with my Weekend QC. Let me know how you get on.

  8. 13 minutes. Again generally slow without having to spend a long time on any one clue. I remembered RM for ‘resident magistrate’ from the 1980’s TV series The Irish R. M. starring Peter Bowles. I was sucked in by our ‘old painter’ for whom I was going to enter TINTORETTO for obvious reasons until I ran out of letters. Yes, appropriately enough, FLOORING was my LOI too.

    Favourite was the surface for EASTER ISLAND; I hope Pedro isn’t referring to the (different) ‘Pacific location’ where he currently resides.

    Thanks to John (I’ll even forgive the shell-less fruitcake gag) and to Pedro

    1. I knew there was a TV series with R.M. in the title but was unable to remember it, probably because I neither saw it nor had any idea what it was about. From the article on Wikipedia it seems that the title Resident Magistrate is (or was) common enough in Ireland and small outposts of British colonial rule.

      1. ‘Some Experiences of an Irish RM’ by Somerville and Ross was the original book. I don’t remember the Peter Bowles version so we must have been abroad. (always my excuse for gaps in GK)

    2. A clarification for those who find the reference to where our setter is mysterious. Pedro’s real name is Paul HEnDeRsOn and he lives in New Zealand. I enjoy his regular crosswords (under the name Phi) in the Independent on Fridays. You can find his website here.

      1. John, I am struck by how many of our setters, bloggers and TfTT contributors are from the wider Anglosphere not just the UK. And the site is immeasurably the richer and more fun for it. In all the pros and cons of living in an internet-enabled world this is one of the most unequivocal pros of them all.

  9. Only two on the first pass of acrosses (ELFIN and DETECTION) and not that many more on the downs. Then the hard work started. Ended up all green in 24 with ORANG-UTAN emerging from the mist being a particular highlight – not least because it finally made me let go of ‘absent minded’ to reach SENIOR MOMENT and from there GOLF LINKS. Excellent in retrospect, hard work at the time!

  10. 11:58 which ain’t bad after only having 3 in after the first run at the across clues. RAISIN was LOI and lots to enjoy with the rest.

    Thanks Pedro and great blog John!

  11. I started slowly, made slow progress in the middle and ended slowly with FLOORING proving to be today’s breezeblock. This resulted in a pedestrian 32 minute solve, although I can legitimately deduct at least 4 minutes from that owing to the interjections of outrage from Mrs ITTT, who had descended the marital couch earlier than usual to catch the overnight election results.
    However, with just one pinkie all week I’ve recorded an encouraging improvement despite the fact that I’ve been firmly ensconced within the Special Group pretty much every day.
    STOIC and SAGACIOUS were my favourite clues.
    Many thanks to John and Pedro.

  12. Lots of fun working out the parsing after biffing many today for a finish well inside target at 20.03 with LOI flooring at about the 6th attempt.

    Thanks John for the help with parsing of unite and insulin. For some reason we said surely it’s just most of insulting thinking just to drop the g and not noticing that t in the middle!!

    As a dinghy sailor when listening to others talking about the finer points of rigging, fancy bits of kit and polishing hulls etc, my response is always that the thing that slows my boat down most is the nut on the end of the tiller 🙈

    Thanks Pedro, liked Easter Island in particular for the surface.

  13. Tricky in places and, unusually, I started in the SW with ISLAND (it took far to long to unravel the EASTER bit of the clue) and worked my way up the grid.
    I tend to find wordier clues a bit of a challenge and there were a number today that made me struggle including GOLF LINKS, INSULIN and SAGACIOUS but all revealed their secrets very satisfyingly.
    Finished with SOMALI in 8.20 with COD to FLOORING (it’s usually soft furnishings that I find baffling!).
    Thanks to John

  14. 10 minutes but WOE, as I had FLOCKING for the elusive piece of baffling decor. Unhelpful to have 2 consecutive unchecked letters in the answer, and I didn’t think of Flooring as decor – to me it’s more part of the construction, like walls and a roof. And why anyone would ever want flocking wallpaper is indeed baffling to me. And, and – well we can all justify our errors, can’t we.

    That apart, some very interesting clues in a fine puzzle. INSULIN was a biff-then-parse, and I also enjoyed SOMALI. Mali is one of no less than 5 cases in Africa of “a country in a country” (ie Mali in Somalia, the others being Republic of the Congo in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea in Guinea-Bissau, Sudan in South Sudan and Niger in Nigeria).

    I’ll stop there … but as Tina says, if one cannot occasionally be a pedant in TfTT, where can one be?

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

    1. May I be a real pain of a pedant and say “no fewer than 5”, please?! And how about Mali in Malawi?

      1. Pedantry accepted and guilty as charged, m’lud. But Mali is not quite in Malawi in the same way as the other five instances, as there is an intervening -aw-. You could by that count say that Somalia is in Somaliland …

        1. This is a fun game! I suppose you can argue Somaliland is a country in the same way that Scotland is a country, in that both issue their own banknotes. Northern Ireland does, too. So why doesn’t Wales?
          Thank you, Cedric (below) for an encyclopaedic answer – and apologies also from me for worrying this hornets’ nest!

          1. WELL, since you ask, and at the risk of annoying all three of the Welsh, the Scots and the Northern Irish …

            Scotland is part of the UK by treaty and agreement between two sovereign states, and as part of the 1707 Act of Union that created Great Britain, negotiated the right to keep its own legal system, which down the track included its own banking laws. So the various acts that curtailed the rights of private English banks to issue bank notes (primarily the “Bank Act” of 1844) did not apply in Scotland.

            Northern Ireland is part of the UK as a remnant of the 1801 Act of Union that joined GB with Ireland to create the UK, and Ireland negotiated the same continuity of its legal system as the Scots did. So again the 1844 Bank Act did not apply.

            Wales is part of the UK (technically, part of England for legal purposes) because of firstly conquest (13th to 15th centuries) and then the “Laws in Wales” acts of 1535 and 1542, in which Henry VIII tidied up a legal anomaly in his realm and abolished the Welsh legal system and all Welsh laws. The acts simply say “The laws of England shall hold in Wales” – and that included therefore the 1844 Bank Act.

            So Welsh banks lost the right to issue banknotes at the same time as their English peers, and the Scots and Irish banks never did.

            Incidentally one of the Northern Irish banknote issuing banks is now owned by Den Danske Bank, which leads to the anomaly that Danske can issue sterling notes in the UK (and do so) but not Danish Kroner notes in their home country.

            Apologies to all for a long answer.

      1. And looking further afield, it’s also in Papua New Guinea, but other than this, Oman / Romania and Dominica / Dominican Republic, there do not seem to be any other examples worldwide (disappointingly I can’t even find Peru, Iran or Cuba sitting inside other countries). Are there any?

        In any case, Africa is undoubtedly the continental leader in country-in-country verbal peculiarities. It’s also the only continent that actually has a whole country literally engulfed by another, outside the alphabetical realm. I suspect most of it is a sad hangover from the Berlin Conference.

        1. Worth remembering the AUSTRIA / AUSTRALIA pairing. While not meeting the exact standard I have seen it come up a couple of times – at least once in the QC where it was add or remove gangster (AL).

          For what it’s worth colonially between Venezuela and Brazil, there were British / Dutch / French Guiana which are now Guyana / Surinam and still French Guiana which is an overseas department of France rather than a country.

  15. Filled all the boxes just into SCC time, then rushed here to work out various bits of parsing that had eluded me. From other comments it seems I was not unique in feeling a few 5Ds might be afflicting me.
    I must have seen the 1=A, 2=B etc thing before, but it hasn’t lodged in my brain as yet, so wasn’t clear what that E was doing although the answer was obvious. Didn’t like FLOORING, may be decorative but could just be concrete or plain wood. Liked SAGACIOUS, even if I am not.

    1. An intricate tangle of construction. A feast of biffing and b’owing (If this must be the answer, but ‘ow do you make it work) which invariably adds a minute or more per clue to the total solve time, hence my usual seat for breakfast in the SCC. Appreciated the U in OUT which prevented me from spelling ORANGATAN, clock ticked on too long for INSULIN and liked all the four parters. LOI. NUT. Bit of a Cadbury moment when the penny dropped.
      Thanks Pedro and John. Enjoy the Bank Holiday for all those concerned.

  16. 20:46
    Another QC outside my target time. Felt really hard, and LOI had several words that might fit, FROSTING and FOOTLING both came to mind first.

    I would never have parsed UNITE, glad I’m not on blogging duties today.

    So Pedro is a New Zealander? Look out for Kiwi vocab, the only one I know is Jandals for flip flops.
    Juliet replaces son in footwear Down Under (8).

    1. Have you come across the Crossword Who’s Who on the Best for Crosswords website? It tells you about many of the setters in the Times, Guardian etc, and there is even a mention of at least one member of this community!

  17. 13:14 (Bannockburn )

    It seems like I was in good company biffing INSULIN and UNITE without worrying too much about the parsing.
    Slowed down on the LHS of the puzzle, with EASTER ISLAND and RAISIN my last two in.

    Thanks John and Tina for the excellent discussion of nuts.

  18. John’s blog entry at 4d really had me chortling into my espresso – worth the price of entry on its own!

    I always find Pedro tricky and today was no exception. It took me a while to realise that “go” was part of the anagrist for SAGACIOUS; in all my puff I’ve never heard anyone ever say GOLF LINKS – it’s just “links” – so that was slow too; if I’d tried to parse INSULIN I’d have been here till next week (thanks John, and yes I did biff and move); and both RAISIN (fine clue, COD from me) and LOI FLOORING needed head scratching.

    So a good challenge, pushed me over target to 09:36 for 1.3K and a Meh Day.

    Many thanks Pedro and Nutter John.


  19. 11:14 for me LOI LEARNT but I always start from the bottom. Took me a while to piece together GOLF LINKS not being an obvious term for a venue. INSULIN was biffed and worked out later.
    An enjoyable mid-difficulty puzzle IMHO.

  20. 13:36 so either this was harder than usual or I am not on form today, I think maybe both 🙂

  21. Finished a Pedro! That’s some kind of PB. Some of the long-winded clues (e.g. 2, 13) are a bit clunky, and “selection” at 1d seems wrong. Liked EASTER ISLAND and RAISIN.
    Sad to see our dear friend ORANG-UTAN ignominiously clued as a mere “zoo resident”.

    1. I agree with regard to our friends- certainly not zoo residents by choice. The derivation of “orangutang” is actually from bahasa if i recall my indonesian classes. Orang = person, Hutan=jungle. Jungle Person 😁

    2. I remember visiting Chessington Zoo near London in the late 70s when it was still an actual zoo. There was a very sad and forlorn Orang Utan sat on an island apparently comatose when someone in the crowd threw over an orange. Like lightning his arm stretched out what seemed like 8 feet to make a perfect catch as it thundered by!

  22. Disaster DNF – absolutely my own fault. I would have been done in about 23mins but I put DESERT-ISLAND which I thought was a weak answer and I’d even checked the letters off on paper&pen (but obviously not). That meant I put DEFIN (D=delicate, FIN coming after Spain=E) and eventually after 15mins of trying the possibilities bunged TOILIN in for RAISIN, thinking it must be some fruit chemical product.

    Even before all this went wrong, I wasn’t enjoying it. First pass of the clues – I only got the ISLAND part of the anagram, COMIC, ANT and DETECTION. Beyond that, it all felt very laboured – haven’t got to the age where I talk about SENIOR-MOMENTs, the “will” in INERT clue, wouldn’t say STOIC=patient, can’t define SAGACIOUS, CANALETTO vho, needing to know finish in French etc, etc.

    Bit of a low point after doing yesterday’s 15×15 in 22mins

        1. Indeed. Was quite pleased to remember SN=tin when I first looked at the clue.

          I also thought I’d vaguely heard of DEFIN but … 🤷‍♂️

    1. You were perhaps due an off day after some brilliant recent performances! It was one of those QCs in which one small mistake could wreak havoc. I almost came unstuck in this way.

  23. Much biffing today, almost all of which turned out to be correct, except for ALARM Bell which made LOI SOMALI difficult until the penny dropped.
    FOI ELFIN which helped with EASTER ISLAND. Am very familiar with a SENIOR MOMENT. POI FLOORING. Biffed UNITE but wd never have parsed Unit E.
    So I finished fairly quickly but the blog was crucial, so thanks, John.

  24. 7:18

    Mostly OK – momentary two Ns or two Ls confusion with CANALETTO – needed some checkers to tease SAGACIOUS from the anagrist. As with others, left with 7d which required an alphatrawl – think that FLOOR or FLOORED would be more regular used in relation to something baffling, whereas ‘It is FLOORING me’ is not likely to replace ‘It is baffling me’.

    Thanks Pedro and John

  25. Came in a few seconds before 10 minutes with LOI GOLF LINKS. Obvious now. Thanks for clearing up the biffed UNIT E.

  26. Started with 1ac and then successfully bifd both the long down clues, so thought this was all set up nicely for a quick solve. . . 30 minutes later I pulled stumps with Flooring, Raisin and Sagacious extant. Quite a lot of tricky stuff along the way, with Unite completely mis-parsed (I thought the UN building was involved 🙄), but I did crack CoD, 19ac, Alarm Call. Invariant

  27. Lots of biffing then parsing (GNOCCHI, LEGAL, ORANG-UTAN, CANALETTO, SAGACIOUS, INSULIN, DETECTION) and a couple of brief head-scratchers (INERT and GOLF LINKS). Really enjoyed this one and seemed to come in around the usual one coffee mark. Liked ELFIN and UNITE. Thanks for the blog John, especially your bit about nuts 😁

  28. This was a challenge and required a revisit. I enjoyed ELFIN and STOIC, and biffed UNITE. COD GNOCCHI. NHO Resident Magistrate but JP didn’t work!

  29. Resorted to much biffing today, so thanks for the explanations! RAISIN and FLOORING last in.

  30. I think this was a PB at 10 minutes (or so) – started much earlier in the day than usual so maybe BP (brain power) was elevated 🤔. In several cases the solution (Sagacious, senior moment, Canaletto) preceded the parsing: big smiles at the can of ale! Elfin tricky for those with no French or Spanish and I was certainly floored for a while by the décor. John, what an excellent blog – thank you. Oldies like me know the R M from Somerville and Ross: all in all a great puzzle and start to the day

  31. A biffers feast today by the sound of it, and I was no exception. It took me a while to get GOLF LINKS and to work out GNOCCHI. I was fairly well tuned in to Pedro and crossed the line in 9.09, which was a welcome relief after yesterday’s poor showing.
    My total time for the week was 53.41, giving me a daily average a little outside target at 10.44. After a good run of weekly averages, this reversal was entirely due to yesterdays 17.43 horror show.

  32. After 12 minutes I just needed two. But I needed four more to get STOIC and LOI FLOORING which I did not immediately associate with decor (as others have commented).
    This was a fun solve. I was surprised by the hyphen in orangutan.
    Struggled with some parsings but generally in a good way.

  33. I’m a relative newbie who enjoys looking at the blog when I’ve finished the puzzle. I’m an on-paper solver and am just experimenting to see if I can contribute to the blog

    1. Welcome. I’m a paper solver too, although I enter my answers online after solving to generate the blog (or to enter competition crosswords).

    2. I’m a paper solver too but come here after I’ve finished (or not!!) to check my answers. Like today when I wasn’t convinced FLOORING was right.

      1. I used to be an on-paper solver but went online when I came here. I find it’s quicker but at the same time I sometimes miss sitting down (in a pub, say) with the paper and a pen and puzzling it out at leisure. Welcome Muscovite, this place is one of the internet’s unequivocally good things.

        1. Thanks for the welcome. I’m not particularly bothered about speed. Think my best time for the 15×15 was 14 or 15 minutes. Now have got to the age when sitting down with a pen, the paper, a coffee and a cheroot is just a pleasant thing to do in the morning

  34. A biff-fest today – too many to mention individually but luckily all correct. I did manage to understand ‘unit e’ after staring at it for some time and thinking “it must be UNITE but why?”. Got the two long down anagrams fairly quickly which was a great help. Eventually completed in 18 minutes which I felt was a decent time for a puzzle that felt tricky throughout.

    FOI – 6ac ELFIN
    LOI – 7dn FLOORING
    CODs – 9ac STOIC and 10ac CANALETTO

    Thanks to Pedro and to John for the nutty blog

  35. Excellent crossword today with a good amount of challenge for me. I had a few 5 downs along the way but at my advanced years perhaps that’s allowable. Very happy to finish under my 20 minute target at 18:40. Thanks to Pedro, and John for an instructive blog – who knew there were so many nuts in the world?

    1. One useful to know for crosswords – it comes up in the 15×15 quite regularly, it is perhaps a little obscure to be used in the QC. It is a printing term for a space…
      A unit of measurement equal to half an em (printing)
      and an “en dash” is
      A dash that is one en long, used as a punctuation mark.
      And in the Chambers dictionary entry for nut the tenth meaning is
      10 An en (printing)

      1. Have been aware of measures en and em since I were a lass, but nho ‘nut’ in this context.

    2. It’s a printer’s term for a unit of measurement, half the width of an em, and is also called a ‘nut’.
      Sorry, John, clashed with your more lengthy response…

  36. Various connectivity issues delayed me this morning.

    Puzzle was finished in an average sort of time. Plenty biffing, and LOI was FLOORING, both ends of the clue proving a test for me.


  37. FOI: ELFIN
    LOI: (like others here) FLOORING
    An ok day today as there were no unknown words and no hiddens which I have struggled with of late. I thinking solving EASTER ISLAND early on helped move things along although I was aware of some quite tricky wordplay. 8:29

  38. 21:02 and my persistence was rewarded with some new knowledge: “stick” can mean criticism, “industrial estates” exist (probably what we call “industrial parks”), RM for resident magistrate, the ordinal-number=letter of alphabet trick, ALARM CALL is not an instance of “green paint”, and all that lore about GB and UK legal systems, thank you to Cedric!

    Like most here, I found it easier to see the answers than to justify them. I’m rather proud of myself for correctly parsing UNITE, though without certainty. Enjoyed the solve, especially 6D, 7D (LOI and poignantly relevant to my real life at the moment), and 15D simply because at long last I’ve developed the response “very much” = SO.

    Thank you to Pedro, and to John for the amusing blog!

  39. After a slow start (Why are the early across clues always so difficult?) my pace picked up and, despite struggling right at the end with FLOORING, I crossed the line in 22 minutes – a jolly good time for me.

    Not fully parsing the clue at 16a and not knowing the meaning of SAGACIOUS, I wasted some time trying to force AUSPICIOUS into the available cells. However, I gained time by getting both of the long outside Down clues in a flash, each of which provided plenty of checkers.

    Many thanks to Pedro and John.

  40. A pleasant and reasonably challenging one from Pedro (it’s always nice to learn information about our setters, Johninterred, thank you, and do keep it up!). No unknowns, but some attention to detail required for eg SAGACIOUS, and GOLF LINKS, the latter part of which held me up until I realised ‘joins’ provided the clue. I, too, thought of FLOCKING before FLOORING, but luckily held off until the correct word popped in.

  41. A nice mix of write-ins and head scratchers taking 45 minutes to finish.
    The NE corner was tough with LOI ORANG UTAN which completely threw me as I never considered it as two words.
    Thanks Pedro and John for an instructive blog.

  42. Much encouraged today, easily PB @20mins, but biffed UNITE and INERT, not withstanding still seem to be slower than rest of world, but after today will press on

  43. Yet again I had to do the down clues first to get started. Quite a few tricky clues which kept me on my toes today. FLOORING had me, er, floored until it was my POI, then RAISIN finished things off. 8:34. Thanks Pedro and John. Nice nutty flavour to the blog! I had walnuts with my breakfast porridge.

  44. 10.45 Lots of biffing, all parsed afterwards except UNITE. I really wasn’t keen on LOI FLOORING and half expected it to turn pink. 49.31 in total is a very good week. Thanks John and Pedro.

  45. 16 mins…

    An enjoyable Friday challenge. I didn’t think there was anything too obscure, although some of the clues did require a bit of thinking. I’ll be honest in that I didn’t really know what “sagacious” meant either – but it sounded plausible and fit the parsing I’d come up with, so in it slotted.

    FOI – 4dn “Nut”
    LOI – 7dn “Flooring”
    COD – 10ac “Canaletto” – nice surface, plus I like his paintings.

    Thanks as usual!


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