Quick Cryptic 2577 by Pedro


Distractions, interruptions and messing up a spelling made this seem tricky but I’m not convinced. Overall time was about 13 minutes though, so I hope you all get on better.

The SW was my problem area and the spelling mess-up was for 23 ac.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 Dish? Here’s dish with pep, possibly (9,3)
SHEPHERDS PIE – anagram (possibly) of HERES DISH PEP.
9 Unusually large vehicle getting award (5)
OSCAR – unusually large (OS – outsized), vehicle (CAR).
10 Getting involved, with no time for water sport (7)
ANGLING – getting involved t(ANGLING) with no time (T). Not the first water sport which sprang to mind.
11 Trembling aspens holding unknown mental connection (7)
SYNAPSE – anagram (trembling) of ASPENS holding unknown (Y).
12 Recalled difficulty about the old person in market (5)
BUYER – recalled difficulty (RUB backwards) about the old (YE).
13 Water-heater supplied by bloke’s sound? (6)
GEYSER – homophone of GEEZER.
14 Welsh or Scottish river to carry on intensely (6)
DEEPLY – Welsh or Scottish river (DEE), carry on (PLY e.g. one’s trade).
17 Technical talk initially dismissed inert gas (5)
ARGON – technical talk j(ARGON) first letter dismissed.
19 Circle, then clumsily retake, a symbol of England? (3,4)
OAK TREE – aha! So not a red rose then! Circle (O) then anagram (clumsily) of RETAKE.
21 Doctor left it after working under night-time conditions? (7)
MOONLIT – doctor (MO) with left (L) and it (IT) after working (ON).
22 Noon, as it were? Correct (5)
AMEND – noon, as it were (AM END).
23 Bistro owner upset a TU treasurer (12)
RESTAURATEUR – anagram (upset) of A TU TREASURER. An ‘N’ crept into my answer and caused a hold up with the crossers.
2 Journalist longing to upend part of London (7)
HACKNEY – journalist (HACK), longing (YEN upended).
3 Aha! Repair plan potentially implies lots of equipment (13)
PARAPHERNALIA – anagram (potentially) of AHA REPAIR PLAN.
4 Reputation retained by the Spanish decorative coating (6)
ENAMEL – reputation (NAME) kept by the in Spanish (EL).
5 Meal for boxer? Not something that’s well done (4,9)
DOGS BREAKFAST – a boxer dog’s early morning snack.
6 Expensive press release initially lacking warmth (5)
PRICY – (P)ress (R)elease, lacking warmth (ICY).
7 Keenly, say, about to come in before due time (7)
EAGERLY – say (EG – backwards/about) inside before due time (EARLY).
8 Manager starts to back off somewhat sharpish (4)
BOSS – (B)ack (O)ff (S)omewhat (S)harpish.
13 Endpoint of failing memory: to damage language structure (7)
GRAMMAR – failin(G), memory (RAM – the IT sort), to damage (MAR).
15 Standard symbol of love mostly for upstart (7)
PARVENU – standard (PAR), symbol of love mostly (VENU)s.
16 Publicity material after the passing of the Queen? (6)
POSTER – after the passing of (POST – as in pandemic), the Queen (ER).
18 Defeat after first of games? Here’s an explanation (5)
GLOSS – defeat (LOSS) after (G)ames. Gloss as in put a gloss/spin on.
20 Headless toy that spins (4)
EDDY – headless toy t(EDDY) – what a sad clue to end on!


76 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2577 by Pedro”

  1. 9 minutes. I had GLOSS in mind as an abbreviation of ‘glossary’ which I see from the dictionaries it can be, but it also seems to be a word in its own right meaning ‘explanation’. I think of ‘gloss’ in the sense of ‘spin’ as something a bit shady like polishing the proverbial doo-doo.

    SYNAPSE was tricky but I dredged it up from wordplay.

  2. I didn’t know PARVENU and I’m really bad at spelling RESTAURATEUR, also HACKNEY is a place I’ve never heard of, and I couldn’t think of hack for a journo

    The rest I got but a few I couldn’t parse, so thanks for the blog

    GEYSER – I pronounce this ‘gaizer’ and didn’t know giza is how it’s pronounced elsewhere. I just parsed it as ‘guy’s er = bloke’s sound’ lol

    BUYER – I didn’t know Rub meant difficulty.

    I’m 0/3 for Saturdays at this point. I’m still thinking it’s more a me problem

  3. I found this tricky in places and was particularly careful re the spelling of RESTAURATEUR as I’ve come a cropper on this one before – it just looks wrong without an ‘n’.
    It took me far too long to see ANGLING as I got stuck trying to think of alternatives to sailing, diving etc and I needed most of the checkers before attempting to unravel PARAPHERNALIA.
    Started with OSCAR and finished with DEEPLY in 10.25.
    Thanks to Chris for the blog and Pedro for the enjoyable challenge.

    1. You just beat me to it (in my reply to Tina) and I hadn’t seen this further down the posts.

  4. 31:52
    Blimey, that’s the slowest all-green time I’ve posted in years. In the SCC and out the back door to the annexe.

    And on the combined Saturday challenge of QC + Parkrun, I’ve never run a 5k, but I think I could probably get round in under 31:52.

    Lots of great clues, but my spelling slowed me down with PARAPHERNALIA (there’s an R in ther?) and RESTRAUTEUR (there’s not an N in there?)

    Almost biff-free, and plenty of misdirection.


    1. Hello Merlin,
      If you want a word with me today you will have to continue on out of the back of annexe, then follow the path past the sheds all of the way to the bins by the back gate. I’m there, at least until Monday.

  5. I thought this was a really nice QC, taking me close to my usual cut off time of 15 minutes. One of those crosswords, with some nice misdirections, that typically feel a lot easier looking back when it is completed than it does while doing it.

  6. 7:43 but…

    …carelessly spelt EDDY as EDDT so pink square for me – Grr. Otherwise, pretty comfortable with a lot of biffing once a few checkers were in.

    Thanks Chris and Pedro

  7. On wavelength this morning – that just flew in, delayed only briefly in the SE by PARVENU and LOI DEEPLY (spent too long trying to work a Celt in there). All done in 06:24 for a nosebleed on the leaderboard and probably my best ever time vs Slippery Pete.

    COD to DOG’S BREAKFAST, since I had to delay starting this until after I had delivered that to our trio.

    Many thanks Pedro and Chris (the headless teddy was a bit sad!).


  8. Only 5 answers on my first readthrough – ENAMEL, ARGON, GLOSS, EDDY and the problematic RESTAURATEUR – which I remember coming up last year and getting lots of discussion on its spelling. PARAPHERNALIA also needed the letters ticked off to be sure. Finally got into it with BUYER which led to PRICY and then SHEPHERDS-PIE appeared 😋 Off down the left side from there for an anticlockwise solve finishing with DEEPLY.

    Came in at 18:01 – did have a typo on Haclney. All six for the week completed in 2hr05ish. That’s eight in a row, none of which had a NHO. Whereas I only solved 4 of the first 10 where I encountered 11 NHOs.

    5K to be done when breakfast has settled … not hopeful after yesterday’s hills …

    Edit: 23:48 (avg HR 152, max 157)
    A combined 41:49

  9. Biffed a few: the pie, RESTAURATEUR, PARAPHERNALIA, GRAMMAR, don’t think I bothered to parse. A SYNAPSE isn’t really a mental connection, it’s a neural connection, but wotthehell. 6:47.

  10. Set myself the challenge of learning how to do these things last summer with the goal of reaching the dizzy heights of “rank amateur”. Have been reading this blog every day since. Thanks to all for the a daily dose of humour and insight. Driven to finally post as I finished this in under an hour with every answer parsed. Still using the occasional aid, but think I can now wear the rank amateur badge. Couldn’t have done it without you 😁👏

    1. I am learning to do these too. I am starting to get the hang of the clues but I am getting lost in the blog what does LOI, FOI, POI and COD mean? Do you know?

      1. Good Luck

        In the top right hand panel of the Blog under Useful Links there is a Glossary which should help with these terms.

    2. Congrats Segw66 – excellent work. And welcome too! No shame in using aids – I’m sure most of us would own up to doing that from time to time. We look forward to hearing more from you 😊

    3. Hurrah! I’m just learning too. So much fun! Love the blog and comments, without which, as you say, not possible.

    4. Well done Segw66 and great to hear from you. Under an hour with all clues parsed? I did a similar time today, but I didn’t fully parse every clue. And that’s after three and a half years! I’m still learning and still trying to catch Mrs Random.

  11. Dnf…

    Hit my cut off and still had 14ac “Deeply” and 15dn “Parvenu” to get, which ultimately wouldn’t come. Annoyed about the latter, as I got the “Par” element, but couldn’t get the “love” bit (kept thinking “heart”).

    Definitely on the more tricky side, and another Saturday offering that I struggled with.

    FOI – 9ac “Oscar”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 22ac “Amend”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. Finished and enjoyed. Biffed the long ones which helped, plus GRAMMAR (unparsed and not that long a clue but helpfully placed).
    Also could not parse LOI BUYER.
    Thanks all, esp Chris.

  13. I enjoyed this slow and steady solve. Lots to enjoy along the way, especially those I couldn’t parse.

    For any newbies my time today was 77 minutes, but I don’t mind. Sometimes I have to return to puzzles such as the Killer Sudoku Deadly over several sittings and days. The main Cryptic I cannot even begin to want to tackle yet.

    COD ANGLING because once I had the A, I wanted it to be AQUA——— or something to do with AQUAINT.

    Thanks Pedro and Chris.

  14. 5:46. A little tricky in places, I thought. I bunged in RED ROSE for 19A and realised immediately I shouldn’t have, but it made a bot of a mess of that corner on paper. Dithered over the spelling of RESTAURATEUR until I got the checkers. I liked AMEND, although I expect it is a bit of a chestnut. LOI DEEPLY where the rivers took a while to come to mind. Thanks Chris and Pedro.

  15. 10:01 (Vikings Defeat Anglo Saxons at battle of Pinhoe in Devon)

    I spent the final minute carefully counting letters to check the spelling of PARAPHERNALIA and RESTAURATEUR.

    Thanks Chris and Pedro

  16. All done in about 11 mins, but couldn’t get deeply so came back to it later.
    Restaurateur has come up so often recently it went straight in.
    COD oaktree.

  17. Unbelievably, I’ve managed to complete this, albeit extremely slowly at 45 minutes. What a slog!

    I had a couple of MERs at SYNAPSE and GEYSER. I had exactly the same thought as KG, that SYNAPSE is a physical connection in the brain, not one of the mind.

    And GEYSER is a jet of heated water, not a water heater. My inflated bubble of righteousness on this point was punctured when Collins told me that a geyser is also an old British term for a water heater. Dammit. Who’s supposed to know that?

    Anyway, Pedro, this newbie claims victory as I still did it without aids. So there! 😀

    1. Having spent years teaching Philosophy of Mind, I can assure you that there are some who think the Mind and the Brain are identical – a minority view perhaps, but it is there……

    2. Congratulations! As for geyser – I once read a comment on here saying ‘we’re expected to know everything’ – well, that is a bit far maybe. A great thing about cryptics is that, if you don’t know the answer you can work it out or make an intelligent guess. ‘Trust the cryptic’ is another term I’ve learned here. Good luck!

  18. 10:40. PARVENU and POSTER were my favourites. I thought atone first for AMEND but then twigged I was an hour out. Similarly switched back and forth between starlit and lamplit before I remembered the MOON is often visible at night. I pronounce GEYSER guy sir so thought fine there’s a couple of blokes (maybe “bloke’s sound” could give blokes?). Anyways rather far-fetched so will instead just try to remember geezer pronunciation!

  19. Replying to Cinders
    LOI – last one in (last clue answered)
    FOI – first one in (first clue answered)
    COD – Clue of the day

    I have been doing the Quick QC from the start, and the blog and comments have helped immensely.

  20. My heart sank as I saw only three answers on my first trawl, but I persevered and came in all green at around 33 minutes, albeit with a coffee break between sessions because my brain was hurting. Lazily bunging in RED ROSE didn’t help things, and DOGS BREAKFAST proved to be annoyingly elusive – even after I’d worked that a boxer was actually a dog. Gets me every time. Doh! This was a tough one, in my opinion.
    Conversely, Parkrun was quite a leisurely affair today as I ran with an old running buddy recovering from injury (that’s my excuse anyway) and crossed the line a smidge under 33, so pretty much matching my QC time. That gives me a Saturday total of 66 minutes overall.
    Batten down the hatches and enjoy your weekend all.

  21. Restaurateur / restaurant.
    The word restaurant is a French present participle (‘-ing’ word) derived from the verb restaurer, meaning to restore. The ‘-er’ ending of the infinitive restaurer equates to the word ‘to’, which we place before the verb to indicate the infinitive form. Take it away, and we’re left with restaur. Now we add the ‘-ing’ ending, which in French is ‘-ant’, giving us restaurant, meaning restoring (to be totally accurate, we actually add ‘-ant’ to the ‘nous’ form of the present indicative from which ‘-ons’ has been removed; the only exceptions to this are étant, sachant and ayant. In the case of restaurer, the ‘nous’ form minus ‘-ons’ is also restaur, so we can keep it simple and just take ‘-er’ off the infinitive). The French quite like using this ‘-ing’ / ‘-ant’ form as a noun: the place where you eat restores you – it’s a ‘restoring’. The person who owns it is one who restores, or a ‘restorator’ – a provider of restoration. He is therefore a restaurateur. The N that we are tempted to add has no place in this word, as it belongs to the ‘-ant’ (‘-ing’) ending of the present participle of the verb restaurer. We see this in a number of other French-derived word pairs such as applicant / applicator, refrigerant / refrigerator, etc. Hope this helps 🙂

    1. Merci! Lived in France and acquired a lot of vocabulary but never made this connection.

    2. Well, that’s me told. 😄 Thank you so much for the lesson – much appreciated/needed!

      1. Great blog, Chris, thanks. I’m a retired comprehensive school MFL teacher (French, Spanish and German), so I find it difficult to resist droning on about nouns and verbs!

  22. A quick glance at the anagrist and enumeration at 1a brought the SHEPHERDS PIE steaming from the oven, as I EAGERLY grabbed the ENAMEL dish, and avoided tripping over the kitchen PARAPHERNAILIA and making a DOGS BREAKFAST of it. My status as a RESTAURATEUR thus proven, I stuck up a POSTER and submitted at 8:29. Thanks Pedro and Chris.

  23. 21:48

    Tied up in knots on RESTAURATEUR. Yes, it’s an anagram and all the letters are there but was sure there’s an N in the middle. Only once all the downs were in place could I finally assemble the correct spelling. And even then, I’m still not convinced.

      1. Indeed. I read your comment after I had posted my own. Most enlightening, thank you.

  24. I struggled to get going with only PARAPHERNALIA on the page after five minutes or so, but things improved and at the half-hour mark I had just four clues to get. Unfortunately, they were all interconnected down in the SE corner. Almost a further 20 minutes passed before before I made any further progress and I ended up crossing the line in a very disappointing 52 minutes. I suppose I should be thankful that I did eventually finish all correct, but it’s hard to feel that way so soon after such a brain-numbing experience.

    The four troublesome clues were:
    DEEPLY – Couldn’t think of the river and ‘to carry on’ = PLY never came to mind.
    AMEND – Couldn’t interpret ‘as it were’ and I couldn’t get past ALTER for ‘correct’.
    PARVENU – Couldn’t think of PAR for ‘standard’ or VENUs for ‘symbol of love’ and I DNK the word.
    EDDY – We’ve seen this clue before, but could I remember it? Of course not!

    Thanks to Pedro and Chris, and I’m sorry to be so useless.

    1. Sometimes I take days over a printed 15×15 – and I enjoy the challenge until enough becomes enough when I check the blog – not for ann answer but for which part of an unfathomable clue is the definition. That often is enough to get me going again.
      Chin up!

      1. Thankyou, Chris! My chin is already back up again – ready for Monday. I’m an optimist by nature, which is probably why failure to hit target (30-40 minutes for me) darkens my mood for a while. I’m the same with online chess puzzles and games. Mrs Random tells me just to write in the correct solution more quickly next time. Helpful advice, as usual.

  25. Well, if I was even vaguely adequate at spelling (or today even putting the right answer in the right spaces) this might have been a lot closer to a finish around the 20min mark. Instead, it took an alpha-trawl to get loi Poster before my 30 min cut off – and that included a lucky Parvenu write-in. CoD to my earlier hold-up, Eagerly, for the parsing, just ahead of Amend. Invariant

  26. 9:24 – the first time under 10 minutes this week. I’ve often found Pedro to be quite tricky but he’s in my good books today!
    A few ticks and smiles along the way – I liked HACKNEY, mostly for nostalgic reasons, having both been a journalist and bought my first flat in said district back in the 80s. I also liked OAK TREE and POSTER (although that was a little melancholic) and was very pleased having finally learnt how to spell RESTAURATEUR. I remember Harmonic Row’s fulsome explanation last time this word appeared – really detailed and very interesting.
    20d was sad though, and reminded me that I lent my teddy to a younger child 50-odd years ago. The little so-and-so ripped his head off and although we mended it, my poor teddy has never been able to turn around again! I’m not bitter or twisted though 😂 Perhaps it’s time for The Repair Shop!
    FOI Shepherd’s pie LOI Eddy COD Paraphernalia
    Thanks Pedro, Chris and HR.

    I really didn’t get much further with yesterday’s biggie, but today’s is going somewhat better, thank goodness.

    1. Thanks, Penny. I wanted to cut and paste my last post on that into today’s blog, but I couldn’t find it, so wrote it again. I’ve saved this one just in case 🙂

        1. Thank you, ND, that’s extremely kind of you. I’ve retrieved the text and stored it in Word. Yes, I drifted away from gerunds there!

      1. Probably a good move, bearing in mind that it may well come up again 😁
        BTW I remember you mentioning some time ago a music/supper club in Sussex – is it Trading Boundaries?

        1. Yep, Trading Boundaries, just inland from Brighton. Well worth a look – great little venue 🙂

    2. Hello Mme B,
      Just to say that Mrs R knows an expert soft toy restorer near us. In fact, the lady concerned taught Mrs R how to make traditional Teddy bears and has also recently featured in a programme similar to The Repair Shop (Toy Hospital, Channel 5?, 1st episode). She used to run one of those little retail sheds in Cobblestone Walk behind the clocktower, but now only does repairs by mail order. Please let me know if you’d like her contact details.

      1. Thanks both. Perhaps I’ll make inquiries and bring the old boy down with me in the summer (and I don’t mean MrB!) He’ll be coming anyway 😅

  27. I had a very, very slow start and then suddenly it was pretty easy. I loved SYNAPSE, and POSTER gave me an “awwwww” moment. Experience is definitely making a huge difference: I saw the headless toy and thought, surely I’ve seen exactly this clue before, haven’t I? Then Ms Memory yielded up the answer shortly after I had moved on.

    Thanks for the blog (never would have figured out where OS came from in OSCAR) and puzzle!

  28. 9 minutes for this most enjoyable puzzle, of which fully a third on my L2I, the Amend/Eddy cross in the SE corner. I’m not sure why they took so long and I may even have seen both before, but sometimes it goes like that.

    Many thanks Chris for the blog, a sterling effort on the new Saturday puzzles.

  29. A reasonably straightforward 12:23 today. Slowest in the NE corner where I had most difficulty in working out EAGERLY but my SYNAPSE(s) were also a little slow for 11a. And even though I do know that there is no N in restaurateur I still had to back up a little today when I realised that I was starting to run out of space.

  30. Thx Harmonic.
    I do remember your comments on this in the past.
    Is this the same reason for passager/ passenger? Or is that something else?
    15m today which is tres bien pour moi. J

  31. 14:42, thoroughly enjoyed this one. I think Pedro reads this blog: we’ve had discussions about the spelling of RESTAURATEUR and PARAPHERNALIA here, as well as a discussion of the multiple rivers called Dee.

    Joint COD to the two long anagrams above, due to the feeling of slightly stunned smugness when I remembered how both are spelled.

    Thanks to Chris and Pedro.

  32. 15.49 Quite sluggish but enjoyable today. MOONLIT and POSTER were last two in. Thanks Chris and Pedro.

  33. Can I just add a word of encouragement to new solvers too. I’ve been attempting the Quickie since it started, a really welcome addition as I never got very far with the 15×15! I probably finish 3 or 4 each week but on days when I get really stuck I come here to see why. Sometimes it’s me being stupid like missing the hidden ‘incur’ on Tuesday! I always solve on paper and don’t worry about how long it takes me but just enjoy the solving. It’s worth trying the concise daily as it helps with GK and sometimes the same word will crop up in both.
    Don’t give up on bad days, look forward to the next it might be a doddle!

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