Quick Cryptic 2524 by Felix

Nice compact offering from Felix, little harder that usual, and with a few that took a while to parse. There are quite a lot of geographical references but if it’s a Nina I can’t see the connection. 8 minutes for me.

1 Tailored suit in a foreign land (7)
TUNISIA – anagram (‘tailored’) of SUIT IN A
5 Polish Yankee’s gem (4)
RUBY – RUB (polish) + Y
7 Manage to flee (3)
RUN – double definition
8 Stares at yours truly and cries out loud (8)
EYEBALLS – sounds like I + BAWLS
10 Regular features of exposé on ME racecourse (5)
EPSOM – alternate letters of ExPoSe On Me
11 Tramp around island to find collection of papers (7)
13 Learning about a hotel in Pakistani city (6)
LAHORE – LORE around A + H
15 Bargain ultimately not available after struggle to produce capital (6)
VIENNA – N (last letter of BARGAIN) + N/A after VIE
17 Thumbs down shattered Donna & co (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO – anagram (‘shattered’) of DONNA + CO
18 Expression of disapproval, note, for the whole orchestra? (5)
TUTTI – TUT + TI (do re me etc )
20 Having rest of peelings thrown out? (8)
SLEEPING – anagram (‘thrown out’) of  PEELINGS
22 Girl from eastern America coming west (3)
SUE – E (eastern) + US all backwards
23 Region that’s part of Far East (4)
AREA – hidden word: fAR EAst
24 Mouth a sort of English? (7)
ESTUARY – double definition
1 Pasta to order in one round container, finally (10)
TORTELLINI – TO + TELL + IN + I  with R (last letter of CONTAINER) inserted
2 Audible denials from 15 figures (5)
NINES – In 15ac (VIENNA), denials are NEINS
3 Something pressing? Sadly, it means nothing — about right (5,4)
STEAM IRON – anagram (‘sadly’) of IT MEANS + O with R inserted
4 Improves as noon strikes? (6)
AMENDS – AM (morning) ENDS at noon
5 Heads for ravine in awfully narrow coastal inlet (3)
RIA – first letters of Ravine In Awfully
6 European ale in GB getting drunk (7)
BELGIAN – anagram (‘getting drunk’) of ALE IN GB
9 Surreal yet real, Vic, in an imaginative way (10)
CREATIVELY – anagram (‘surreal’) of YET REAL VIC
12 Family time in view: hugging one! (9)
14 One interrupting Speaker — drat! — Liberal, before short hesitation (7)
16 Coppers in change initially pocketed by Rod (6)
POLICE – first letters of In Change inside POLE
19 Opera, not from southern California (5)
TOSCA – TO (not from) + S + CA
21 Some waiter arrives in time (3)
ERA – hidden word: waitER Arrives

69 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2524 by Felix”

  1. I was surprised to see the SNITCH at 109, but a few high numbers raised the average; I suspect the number will drop with more solvers accounted for. I biffed the first 3 downs and SKINTIGHT. 5:11.

  2. 10 minutes. No problems other than not being able to spot the theme or Nina which surely lurks somewhere within the grid. Like curarist I noticed the topographical stuff in the top half but this wasn’t carried through into the lower half.

  3. AMENDS held me up for ages, just couldn’t see “AM ends”. Also held up by think ‘Mae’ was reversed in ‘eastern america’, obviously never got beyond the first two letters and got too eager with the mention of west. Finally had to reconsider when I realised TOSCA fitted the checkers and the clue once I looked carefully. All green in 14,

  4. For a Friday puzzle a bit easier than usual, I finished it in just over 20 minutes although I had a couple of clues put in only by the combination of letters and the definition rather than by “getting it” straightaway: eyeballs, dossier and estuary the culprits. Had also to double check on the dictionary the meaning of ria to be 100pct sure (would this make it a DNF?)
    Tosca, Tortellini & Tutti: as an italian today I feel very represented 🙂
    COD: Amends for the definition, and Skintight for the construction.

  5. Fell at the post with NINES, which I confidently put in as nonos (ok it’s spelt wrongly and should probably be hyphenated, but hey.) Otherwise not too tricky and gives me 3/5 correct finishes this week, which feels like an improvement.
    I liked the musical references, TUTTI and TOSCA (maybe VIENNA), and SKINTIGHT made me smile. I very smugly put in VOE, which is a Shetland inlet, instead of RIA which buggered up the crossers for a time until I saw it at last and my smugness evaporated.
    As very much a Mr Average, I do feel that the QCs have been more deserving of their name of late with just the odd stinker thrown in to stretch us a bit.
    Thanks to Curarist and Felix, and enjoy your weekends all.

  6. Got a lot of this done fairly quickly and then really struggled with COD AMENDS, POLICE and VIENNA before finishing with NINES. The parsing of TORTELLINI also needed some head scratching post submission.
    Finished in 8.48 and I shall await news about the nina with interest.
    Thanks to Curarist.

  7. Slightly delayed by misspelling the pasta and wanting the racecourse to be Ascot not Epsom.

    And held up at the end by NINES which I liked.

    Nice puzzle with just the right amount of difficulty for me at least.

    Thank you Felix and Curarist

    Time: 8:08

  8. 8.16

    8 seconds slower than the Jumeau today. Must try harder 🙂

    Was a bit slow on the uptake with some of these. NINES went in then came out till I got to 15. The pasta was bunged in unparsed.

    BELGIAN was good

    Thanks Curarist and Felix

  9. A breeze compared to yesterday. Idly looked for a theme, seeing Felix as the setter, but no joy.

    I liked the puzzle very much, lots of neat surfaces and devices, but I liked NINES best I think.


  10. 24/26 after 20m. DNF as I could not get NINES or EYEBALLS. Frustrating, as I was breezing along for most of it.

  11. 13:18 (death of Edward Bruce – Earl of Carrick and King of Ireland)

    L2I were VIENNA and NINES. Not a fan of clues that only work when another has been solved. I believe Austrians tend to say Na rather than Nein.

    Thanks Curarist and Felix

  12. Biffed both TORTELLINI (could not parse) and ESTUARY (NHO Estuary English). 16D reminded me of primary school maths with rods, poles and perch. Thanks Felix and Curarist for a good workout.

  13. I enjoyed this especially those that made me smile such as 4D and the girl from Eastern
    America coming West.

    I even enjoyed researching and learning about the words I had NHO but was able to work out – TUTTI and RIA.

    LOI CREATIVELY mainly because I was looking for a word meaning SURREAL. Had to use an anagram helper for that one unusual for me as they are normally my strength.

    ESTUARY English no problem to this native speaker.

    Thanks Curarist and Felix

  14. 4:11 finishing with NINES. Quite straightforward for a Felix, I thought. I can’t see the theme, though. COD to EYEBALLS for the surface. Thanks Felix and Curarist.

  15. Most enjoyable puzzle, all done in 8 minutes to end a good week – even with yesterday’s I was well within my 1 hour target for all 5. Some lovely clues, particularly Skintight (though would have expected a hyphen in it) and Amends (very neat and my COD). LOI Tortellini, put in from checkers (could not be anything else) but only parsed post completion.

    Note to some other setters: it is possible to create a QC which is all four of challenging, doable, fun and only uses words the average solver will have heard of.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog, and a good weekend to all.

  16. Bang on the money today finishing this one in 10.00. I thought it slightly harder than average with some very inventive clues. Having to cross reference as in solving 15ac to get 2dn always slows you up a bit. An enjoyable offering from Felix.
    All solves this week have been on or under my target 10 minutes, the first time for a while. Total for the week was 41.54 giving a daily average of 8.23.

  17. 14 minutes for me. LOI VIENNA which confirmed NINES.
    NHO RIA but I am getting used to writing in unknown words when the clueing is clear.
    I liked TOSCA.

  18. Oh, VIENNA, this means nothing to me … and LOI NINES meant nothing to me, until I’d cracked VIENNA.

    Neat, witty puzzle. COD to AMENDS. All done in 07:49 for 1.5K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Felix and curarist.


  19. DNF disaster. Failed on NINES, AMENDS, EYEBALLS, SKINTIGHT.
    Vaguely heard OF RIA, PDM with TUTTI, once I revealed 12 down.
    Maybe I should have put this one aside and come back to it later.
    Thanks, Curarist.

  20. 16:21. Enjoyed SKINTIGHT and EYEBALLS most. Clues like AMEND and TOSCA always make me smile. SLEEPING took the longest as I missed the anagram.

  21. DNF. Going well, until the last two. I did go with AMENDS, but couldn’t parse it, trying to make N=noon. Good clue, too good for me. Just couldn’t eyeball EYEBALLS, “cries out loud” could be WAILS or RAILS.

    Only one Finish this week. Must try harder.

  22. I was slow this morning and avoided the SCC by about 10 seconds, with LOI POLICE (should have been easy). Incidentally, I counted 28 DNFs or equivalent in yesterday’s comments – I wonder if this is a record. I can’t see a Nina here, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Thanks both.

  23. DNF.
    Just too hard. Gave up after a few minutes. Very, very nasty one.
    I am sure that the experts just loved it.

    1. Make sure you don’t end up like me. I had the skills to escape the SCC – after much trying – and then lost it completely!

      1. N/A in my world normally equates to Not Applicable. Never heard it used as Not Available too!!! Hence Vienna was a struggle and so too Nines. Other than that all fair in love and war.

  24. 23 mins, so a Friday seat in the SCC, satisfied with the finish. Liked AMENDS a lot, SKINTIGHT raised a smile. Pasta clues make me nervous about getting Os and Is right, and any double letters, but it worked out ok today. A fair and fun Felix, and I’ll wander back later to see if anyone has spied a theme.

  25. 20:39 – that’s decent for me on a Felix.

    Biffed Berlin off the NINES clue and so that along with just about all the east side held me up. Think Felix is the king of hard to spot anagrams, so I simply didn’t get SLEEPING, BELGIAN, CREATIVELY quickly. Finished up in the NE with AMENDS, EYEBALL and tentative RIA (NHO). Also didn’t know TUTTI meaning but have heard it. ESTUARY I recall coming up in my early days, almost two years ago now.

    It was okay but I don’t enjoy the crosswords where I have to double-check the parsing rather than being able to see the parsing instinctively. It’s fine if my brain is sharp, but some days it makes things a grind. That’s how it was today. TORTELLINI I had to parse postsolve. But was happy to bung it in as I could see TELL=to order, the INI=in one and like pasta!!

    Anyway a clean sweep for the week. Thought they were pretty rare for me but turns out to be the 8th of the year. Second in four weeks and I’ve actually completed 17/20 QCs successfully.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    PS LAHORE – kept thinking of that yesterday when I was stuck on Izetti’s.

    1. Well done on your clean sweep, L-P, but expecting to parse everything instinctively is perhaps a luxury that might be put on the backburner for a while. After 60 years of cryptic puzzle solving and blogging here for the past 16 years I might expect to achieve that most days with the QC but far less often with the main puzzle. It’s the setters’ job to challenge us.

      1. Thanks Jack. You’re no doubt correct about the QC and everyday parsing – I can usually see everything within a glance and I rarely try the 15×15. I think today just came too soon after a mentally taxing one yesterday.

      1. Thanks GA 👍

        Enjoy your weekend and formulate yourself a new plan for next week’s solving. Some kind of remedetiative action is required – the old plan isn’t working and recriminating isn’t helping. So give yourself a fresh start. I’d set the bar low so you can tick off targets and rebuild confidence would be my advice. And if that doesn’t work, set it even lower the following week …

  26. Second go at posting so I’ll be brief. Much gentler than yesterday. COD to EYEBALLS, it being a homophone and all. Forgot to go back and parse NINES (very nice) and POLICE (obvious now) – thanks for explanations curarist. Liked this one. Thanks Felix.

  27. A good solid start, but then I slowed considerably, and my last four, Amends, Skintight, Nines and nho Tutti took nearly as long as all the others put together, producing a disappointing nigh on 30min solve. CoD was set to be Skintight, but Curarist’s decoding (thank you) of Amends promotes it to first. Invariant

  28. 20:45
    Very slow, got stuck on tortellini (unparsed), eyeballs, and LOI amends.
    Felt like there were lots of anagrams but I counted only 6.

    COD tosca or skintight.

    1. Collins:

      estuary English
      in British English
      a variety of standard British English in which the pronunciation reflects various features characteristic of London and the Southeast of England

      Innit bruv

    2. An Estuary accent is Essex/Cockney but not as strong. It’s the kind ov accent popstars use, innit. Just google.

  29. Dnf…

    Still haven’t finished yesterday’s (I was away and I got the sense it wasn’t going to be a quickie). On this, however, I had everything after 20 mins but 8ac “Eyeballs” and 4dn “Amends” just wouldn’t come. Nothing too tricky, so not sure why I struggled. In the end, it didn’t matter as I made up “Nonos” for 2dn, obviously getting the wrong end of the stick with the 15ac connection.

    FOI – 1ac “Tunisia”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 11ac “Dossier”

    Thanks as usual!

  30. I DNF but I got the bulk of it while in a queue for a pop music festival
    I didn’t know the other def of Estuary and couldn’t get skin-tight.

    See you all Monday!

  31. DNF as I failed on VIENNA and hence couldn’t justify NINES. Gave up with 14 minutes on the clock having already guessed at ESTUARY.

  32. Pleased to cross the line in 34 minutes today, especially after yesterday’s nightmare. I got going with RUN, EPSOM, LAHORE and SLEEPING down the LHS, but then put maE in at 22a (very clever mis-direction, Felix). SUE didn’t appear until much later after I had found TOSCA. The NHO TUTTI and RIA were written in faintly (how do you do that when solving online?), as was reacTIVELY before I found CREATIVELY sometime later.

    My last two in, which took around 8 minutes, were AMENDS and EYEBALLS. I then needed a couple of minutes more to parse both fully.

    Thanks to Felix and Curarist.

    1. Well done Mr Random 👍 What was your total for the week? I came in at a shade over 2hrs.

      Re: your putting them in faintly question. In the Crossword Club online, you pencil them in using the Pencil option!! But that means faffing between modes so I’ve never used it.

      My method is just to put in the checkers and leave the unches blank.

      1. Well done, L-P! I think you have overtaken me now. The four I completed took me 2 hrs 18 mins. However, yesterday’s Izetti was a 70-minute DNF with 7 clues unsolved.

  33. 27.57 WOE. I put TORTELLINI, but I was sure it was spelled TORTELLONI so I changed it. Apparently tortelloni are big tortellini. Gah! I should have parsed it more carefully. VIENNA, AMENDS and NINES were the last few in but I was slow throughout. Thanks to Curarist and Felix.

  34. Didn’t get NINES, not seeing that 15 was linked to the clue (even when I got VIENNA) and put NONOS as a hopeful guess. AMEND took a while (if you amend something you don’t necessarily impove it), and EYEBALLS last in – can’t see a “sounds like” in the clue to suggest BALLS = BAWLS. All the rest pretty straightforward, although guessed RIA (NHO).

      1. I believe the ? at the end of the clue leaves amending open to the possibility that it won’t necessarily improve it.

        I’d say bawls=cries and “out loud” is the homophone indicator

    1. Brilliant.
      Have just viewed the YouTube video on my computer, with lyrics on my phone. The last word is Tortellini!
      Had not seen this before -thanks.

    2. Thank you Felix – I had been thinking No 2s in the UK charts – VIENNA famously kept off the top by Joe Dolce; RUBY don’t take your love to town….. but ran out of steam very quickly

  35. Bother! I forgot numbers like 15 are linking to answers within the crossword. So it was a DNF because of 2d NONOS rather than NEINS. Liked RIA because of holidays in Vigo 😀. I’m still claiming my seat in the SCC though!

  36. Started off very well on this one, getting most of the across clues on the first pass. Unfortunately I found the downs more intransigent, so slowed appreciably after that. I eventually finished in 18 minutes but didn’t parse TORTELLINI (had all the crossers so it was obvious) or NINES (hadn’t solved 15ac at the time and didn’t understand the reference). Not sure whether I’ve ever heard of RIA – seemed to ring a very faint bell.

    FOI – 1ac TUNISIA
    LOI – 15ac VIENNA
    COD – 4dn AMENDS

    Thanks to Felix and Curarist

  37. A good level of QC for me, challenging but doable with a bit of head scratching. I don’t time accurately, but around 15 to 17 minutes kept me out of the SCC where I often finish up. The Nina was way beyond me as I’m not familiar with either the Ultravox or Vic Reeves versions.

  38. 26:41. Slow but thoroughly enjoyable. Last two in were AMENDS and EYEBALLS, which were also my two favourite clues. I find that happens a lot!
    Thanks to Felix and Curarist.

  39. My misery is complete.

    Thought I had everything bar 8ac and 4dn after 10 mins. Then took 23 mins to get EYEBALLS and AMENDS. I’m definitely not complaining, but I would never have guessed AMENDS was a synonym for improves (shows how thick I am).

    Of course, that was just the appetiser for my disappointment. The main course was served up when I DNF’d, having put nonos rather than NINES. How could I be so dumb when the word audible made it screamingly obvious it was a homophone? Over three years experience and I still miss the obvious. Why did I miss the reference to 15ac? It couldn’t have been clearer.

    So a DNF in 33 mins for my worst week since I stopped using aids. 4.5 hours and two DNFs. My best for the week was a 40 minute solve. Truly appalling and completely unacceptable.

    I only aspire to avoid the SCC regularly and there was a time when that seemed possible. Now I can barely finish, and, if I do, any satisfaction is replaced with frustration as I will doubtless have been breeze blocked. Hard to believe I once hoped to move on to the ‘proper’ crossword.

    My Achilles heel has always been to compare myself (unfavourably) to others. I am now so far behind people that I was once on a par with that I can barely believe it. Several weeks of horrific times tell their own story. Feels like 3 plus years of struggling have been for nothing.

    FWIW I am determined to continue – not sure why.

    Have a good weekend and thanks for the blog.

  40. 6:49 but…

    NUTS! Bunged in a careless TORTELLONI from checkers without parsing – I blame it on the Abbot Ale…

  41. DNF again. Entered Mae instead of Sue and couldn’t see it even after thinking 19d might be TOSCA. Didn’t get Vienna or tutti either.

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