Quick Cryptic 1954 by Teazel

I enjoyed this one. I’ve given up pronouncing on difficulty because I always seem to have the opposite view to the rest of you. Nothing unfair in the wordplay, though perhaps a slightly dodgy anagrind* in 1dn. My favourite probably 4dn. 6 and a bit minutes for me.

(*Anagrind = word or phrase signalling an anagram. Anagrist = the words used to form the anagram)


1 Take exercise, a drug (4)
DOPE – Do P.E.
3 Introduction before gentle walk (8)
PREAMBLE – PRE (before) AMBLE (walk)
9 Heading for the main prize after serious effort initially (7)
SEAWARD – AWARD after S(erious) E(ffort). ‘Main’ means the sea in crosswords.
10 Japanese fighting finish in knockout (5)
KENDO – END inside KO
11 After work can choose to take part (3,2)
OPT IN – OP (work) + TIN (can)
12 Our country rejected, hold on for another (6)
KUWAIT – UK backwards + WAIT
14 In helpful spirit, one financing our competitor? (8,5)
GUARDIAN ANGEL – An angel is a financial backer, especially of a theatrical production. The Guardian is a competitor to the Times. ‘Us’ or ‘our’ generally refers to the newspaper
17 Doctor was not bad (6)
WATSON – anagram (‘bad’) of WAS NOT
19 Country clipped its old coin (5)
FRANC – FRANCE shortened
22 Finally coppice thin wood (5)
EBONY – E (last letter of COPPICE) + BONY (thin)
23 Clothes start to look old rubbish (7)
24 In this port regularly sail over entrance (8)
PLYMOUTH – PLY (regularly sail a particular route) + MOUTH
25 A little grape, a ripe fruit (4)
PEAR – Hidden word: graPE A Ripe

1 Force out idle dogs with a kick (8)
DISLODGE – anagram (‘with a kick’) of IDLE DOGS
2 Organise time in factory (5)
4 Thinks tragedy out of order — prospect of a fine day? (3,3,2,5)
RED SKY AT NIGHT – anagram (‘out of order’) of THINKS TRAGEDY
5 Like gardens to be asymmetrical (5)
ASKEW – AS (like) + KEW (gardens)
6 Possible republican slogan in the finance industry (7)
BANKING – “BAN (the) KING” is what a republican might say
7 London statue painful to knock over (4)
EROS – SORE backwards
8 Advised in fighting retreat having to be reversed (6)
WARNED – WAR (fighting) + DEN (retreat) reversed
13 Safe signal fully understood (3,5)
ALL CLEAR – double definition
15 Physical structure of a defensive alliance: goodness! (7)
16 Supply a fine car (6)
18 Authority is silent? (3-2)
SAY-SO – SAYS O (nothing)
20 Native American leaving hospital fast (5)
APACE – APACHE minus H for hospital
21 Little pressure to mourn (4)

44 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1954 by Teazel”

  1. Thanks Curarist. Was that a Teazel? (Unable to tell from the online version in my phone app) If so it didn’t seem as tricky as I would expect. Just over 13 min and BIFD or semiparse BIFD (in that I got the beginning or end of the answer from the cluing as in goodness=my) I enjoyed the the fully parsing after the event and must thank you for the says 0 PDM
    Now I must get ready for a day at The Oval. What fun!
  2. Again, too many utter gibberish clues for me. What a bad week this has been. Let’s see what next week brings.
    1. I agree with you about this week’s puzzles, and am getting a firm impression from previous weeks also that they are no longer aimed at those of us whose brains aren’t able (or particular want) to do the main cryptic.

      Sadly, I’m not enjoying them nearly as much as I used to — too much of a struggle.

      Those who are lucky enough to have the brains for both seem to be in the majority of commentators now. I envy them their skill, but I can’t match it myself.

      Having said that, I really should have got both SEAWARD and PLYMOUTH – particularly since we used to keep our boat there.

      So perhaps it’s only me and I’ll improve when I feel we’re really out of this difficult time.

      Thank you, Teazel and, particularly,


      1. I share your feeling that things have been getting much harder this week (and on quite a few earlier occasions) — I have been into the SCC more than out of it this week. It is very easy to think that it is ‘just me’ when so many other solvers bemoan the fact that they take almost 10 mins. Nevertheless, I was happy to admire Teazel’s setting skills today even if the result was a puzzle that was half way to a 15×15 in difficulty (in my view). We ‘steadier’ solvers must keep the faith. Maybe next week will restore some of our confidence? John
        1. We just seem to take longer but I have to admit that my husband (of 54 years yesterday!) is now finding them much better than he was when we started, some 2-3 years ago. This week did seem full of convoluted clues.

      2. Although I agree that this week’s puzzles have been more testing than average, I wouldn’t say this is a general trend. I am currently working my way through the Times Quick Crossword Book 1 which features 80 of the early puzzles (from 2014 I think) and overall I would say that I find them more difficult than those I do these days. My times are often slow for me and there seems to be more DNFs. As to the proportion of experienced solvers who comment, I think this must have a lot to do with lockdown. When I started commenting on here a couple of years ago, I was usually the slowest by miles. Hardly anyone ever admitted a time of below 30 minutes, and I was in the 30-60 bracket usually. During lockdown I guess lots of new people started to come on here and the range of times increased, but maybe now they’ve had to go back to doing whatever they were doing before.
        1. I agree with you about the books. I’m on 3 now, intermittently. I used to do them when sailing when there was no internet access, and have always found them more difficult than the daily paper.. I’ve wondered what logic the author uses when choosing them.


      3. I am taking longer to do the QC puzzles these days too, so I think they may be a little harder —but for where I am on my learning curve the extra challenge is probably a good thing, and I do manage to finish the puzzles. What’s more, I’m having some success these days with the 15×15, albeit with long solving times if I ever manage to finish them. So I reckon I’m making progress.
        I enjoyed this Teazel a lot, especially the ‘dodgy anagrind’!
    2. There is not one gibberish clue. If you mean ‘too many clues I couldn’t figure out’, say so; don’t blame the setter.
      1. Calm down. I’m not blaming the setter. That’s why I said too many gibberish clues “for me”, meaning I found them gibberish, not that the setter had written gibberish. I thought that by putting “for me” it would have been clear for even a dummy like me to understand. Obviously not.
        1. Kevin Is quite right! It’s all terribly logical.

          Doing crosswords is an art form —not a GCSE.

          One requires a decent vocab, some intuition and a bit of artistry.

          Superficially Chinese looks and sounds like gibberish, but I can assure assure you it is not.
          Crossword Is a language too. If after a time you’re not improving you’re are most likely on the wrong bus. But there are other buses If this one isn’t that comfortable.

          I have been filling in squares, playing LEXICON, SCRABBLE, BOGGLE, reading and writing profusely since I was eleven (Daily Telegraph) that’s sixty years worth, two visits to the Championships, where I met a man who always finished, but never filled it in! And a couple of years in Hong Kong when the Times cost me nine quid a day!

          I do it because I enjoy it — not because I hate it – that would be self defeating. Therefore
          I won’ be getting off the bus until they carry me off!


          1. I have to say that I I don’t agree with you about being on the wrong bus. I get huge pleasure when I complete a QC, but I also know that my tiny brain won’t ever manage the C (I do try occasionally, unsuccessfully) .


            1. Hello Diana,
              This is just to reassure you that there are the likes of me still out there. I can count number of times I have escaped the SCC on my fingers and still have some left over. I also only occasionally manage to outdo Mrs Random, so I can’t often claim bragging rights even in my own household. Successful completion of the QC is never a given for me, and I’m always delighted when my final solution goes in. I’m also quite happy to stick with the QC and not to dabble with the 15×15.
              All the best for the coming week,
              Mr R
  3. The last solve sat on this verandah on the Isle of Wight for another year. A forced break midway to find socks for daughters which helped me focus on the tougher bits. Saw RED SKY AT NIGHT and PLYMOUTH as soon as I sat back down. Particularly enjoyed the PDM of seeing why GUARDIAN was right among a lot of good clues — honourable mentions to SAY SO and AFFORD.
  4. A stroll in the Kew gardens until I was dashed against the Plymouth rocks.

    I stared at P_Y_O_T_ for what seemed an eternity before the penny dropped. Or half-dropped, I still didn’t really parse it until coming here.

    Thanks curarist and Teazel. Have a good weekend everyone.

    1. Yes. I was left with P-Y-O-T- as the last clue, and biffed in PAYBOOTH ! Well it’s an entrance of sorts, isn’t it? Doh!
      I found this a tad tricky, but got all the other clues correct.
  5. … especially in the SW corner for some reason, where I stared at a blank corner for several minutes before getting any of them. Most odd, as the other three quadrants sailed in, and I was on for a fast time, but more than 10 minutes later I limped over the line on 18 minutes, my slowest completed Teazel for some time.

    Did not parse 18D Say so at all, so thanks to Curarist for explaining that. Took an age to see 22A Ebony; was thinking of all sorts of words for thin (slim, lean, etc) but bony did not come to mind. Got completely the wrong end of 17A Watson — I thought doctor was the anagrind and bad was the meaning. And totally misunderstood what was going on in 24A Plymouth, my LOI — I tried to make “regularly sail” into either SI or AL, which l was hoping to fit into a 6 letter port to make a word meaning entrance (and yes I knew that left “over” still to explain). Only when all the checkers were in did I give up that struggle.

    So I have to give Teazel the accolade today. A real struggle which I was very relieved to complete all green.

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

  6. An excellent end to the week with lots of smiles as I made my way round the grid, ending in the SW. Like Cedric I was looking at the wrong end of the clue for WATSON and I was running out of words for thin until the Y from SAY SO came to my rescue. Finished in 9.32 with LOI PLYMOUTH. Hard to pick a favourite but the anagram for RED SKY AT NIGHT probably takes it.
  7. 10 minutes, but literally down to the last second within my target time.

    Oddly enough my last in was PLYMOUTH where I was distracted by ‘over’ in the wordplay. In a Down clue there would have been no problem but in an Across clue it seemed out of place. I eventually concluded that it has to be part of the definition of PLY i.e. ‘regularly sail over’, which is fine, but a little unexpected.

  8. Rather struggled with this. The SKY phrase eluded me for a while (but a v good anagram) and I couldn’t justify SAY SO until the pdm but it was ANATOMY which delayed me at the end which finally allowed PLYMOUTH, biffed not parsed

    The error was a very hastily biffed DISGORGE bunged in without checking the fodder properly

    Thanks Teazel and Curarist

  9. All of the above. Initially WEYMOUTH which caused a problem with 21D until I plied my trade. Liked SAY SO but tried to rationalise Say No.
    10 mins top half, 10 mins bottom right, 15 mins bottom left.
    Now to head to the park to try to take some of the energy from my (proxy) enthusiastic small bundle of fun so I can get some work done.
  10. 4D: RRD !!!

    I know it’s Fat Finger Syndrome because every time I click ‘Submit’, I spot a pink square and say ‘FFS’ to myself. (Trying to solve 20D too often makes me 21D).

  11. Threw in the towel with 6 to go, then enjoyed seeing how Teazel had outplayed me with the parsing here. Combination of usual terms (‘with a kick’ in 1d), unusual uses of terms (eg ‘regularly’ in 24a], and elegant surfaces that invited entirely the wrong line of thought were too much.

    But it is a delight to be thrashed by such wit and ingenuity. 9a especially was a thing of beauty!

    Thanks to Teazel and Curarist for making a loss almost as much fun as a win.

  12. I thought this was a very fine puzzle indeed. That said, I laboured for around 25 minutes (not sure — interrupted by receipt of a photo of granddaughter in her new school uniform on the way to her first day at school).
    Too many excellent, clever, witty clues to list — with so many false starts and much head-scratching. I’m left with a sense of satisfaction that I managed it all and no embarrassment at my slow slog.
    I’m now about to go through curarist’s excellent blog to savour Teazel’s teasing at leisure. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-09-03 08:47 am (UTC)

  13. About 11 mins while also conversing with my husband (that is the polite description). I biffed BANKING so thanks for the explanation curarist. Hold ups a plenty. KUWAIT, WATSON and PLYMOUTH spring to mind. Thanks all.
  14. FOI DISLODGE which didn’t help as much as I hoped. Solved the rest of the grid fairly slowly. PDM w GUARDIAN ANGEL. Most of bottom half OK. Finally solved NE with PREAMBLE (good clue). RED SKY AT NIGHT went in early. Liked KUWAIT.

    To return to NW, just before throwing in the towel I saw SEAWARD out of the corner of my eye. And as I had looked up DOPE, I biffed the rest of that corner. Liked ANATOMY, WATSON, ASKEW among others.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

    Edited at 2021-09-03 02:42 pm (UTC)

  15. Battled for a long time, but many great clues, especially BANKING, GUARDIAN ANGEL, and COD the tricky little DOPE at 1a.

    But DNF after 30 mins with one of my peeves/bugbears main=sea. I went for SEAHEAD (a plausible geographical term, I thought) where “heading for the main prize” was “ahead” ( as in a race). Didn’t quite work, but plenty of words looked possible for 8d ( WARNED), went with LEANED. Outcome was a pretty pink cross in the middle of the grid.

    I am not sure if they are getting harder, but I have been trying the 15×15 all week and don’t see much difference in the clues. I mean 1a in the 15×15 today is a write-in chestnut that we’ve definitely had here a couple of times.

    Edited at 2021-09-03 09:05 am (UTC)

  16. ….seem to bear out my impression that it was essentially a shrunken 15×15. Once the speed merchants are removed from the equation, there are some quite slow times, and no small number of failures.

    I made my target after missing half a dozen answers on the first pass through the clues. Not one for members of the SCC though.

    TIME 4:19

  17. More or less what Cedric said. I finished in 16:57 with LOI SAY SO which I hadn’t been able to parse. Was considering Say No and other variants.
    PLYMOUTH took ages and trying an unparsed OPINED at 8d was a big error. WARNED was POI.
    I agree with Phil that this was a mini 15×15.
    A good puzzle though. I liked BANKING and GUARDIAN ANGEL best.
  18. and my time would suggest it was, a good couple of minutes slower than yesterday.

    WATSON went in last after much sleuthing.


  19. I’m with Cedric and David; yikes what a struggle. I still don’t think that the “over” in 24ac was fair cluing – I may have my test match brain in, but I was sure it was indicating an “o” somewhere. But otherwise no complaints – just too good for me!

    FOI PREAMBLE, LOI APACE (after a long trawl … when will I learn to take the sage advice offered on here that all trawls should begin at L?), COD BANKING, time 17:32 for 3.5K and a Horror Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and curarist.


  20. Glad other people found this one tough too. Didn’t think I was going to make it for a while as I had 14a and 6, 8 and 15d still to do, with little idea how any of them worked. Then I saw the MY = goodness of 15d and managed to think of ANATOMY, but it didn’t really help with any of the others. It was seeing BANKING that was the real PDM. Can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner given the B_N_I_ _, but when I did, the G was enough to make me see GUARDIAN ANGEL and then get LOI WARNED. Total time was 40:12 to gain entry to the Double SCC, but at least I finished, unlike yesterday. FOI was PREAMBLE, COD to APACE. Thanks Teazel and Curarist.
  21. My fastest time of the week at 22 mins. I can’t remember ever failing to beat 20 mins for 5 days on the trot, so either the puzzles are getting harder or I am getting more stupid (or, of course, both). A lovely puzzle though, so many thanks to Teazel. Thanks also to Curarist for providing the parsing for SAY SO, which had completely eluded me, and WARNED, where the second half had eluded me for some reason. Looking forward to next week when perhaps I shall be able to revert to my normal solving time of 15-20 mins.

    FOI – 10ac KENDO
    LOI – 20dn APACE
    COD – 6dn BANKING, with 14ac GUARDIAN ANGEL a close second.

  22. We join those who have struggled, but as ever, when you see the answer, you wonder why you have been so slow. Agree this week has had some harder puzzles, last week they were, on the whole, more straightforward.
  23. 38 mins for me — so another slowish time. About half of it was taken up with the SW corner which I particularly struggled with — it also didn’t help that I was looking for even letters with “sail” and other convoluted combinations.

    Was about to get stroppy thinking how can Take = Do for 1ac, until I realised the context and had the pdm.

    I’m not sure whether these are getting more difficult or if I’m just going through another slow period — but I can generally complete the QC’s when often I don’t get anywhere near the 15×15.

    FOI — 1ac “Dope”
    LOI — 21dn “Weep”
    COD — 15dn “Anatomy”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Being at the slower end — perhaps my advancing years ! — usually struggle but interesting that it always tends to be the same clues that baffle other contributors as well !
    Usually finish eventually though 4 days out of 5 on average.
  25. Outside my target by 2 minutes. Really struggled with the across clues before getting a footing with the downs. Even then Guardian Angel and Seaward took forever to click.
  26. FOI 1ac DOPE

    LOI several all at once.

    COD 14ac GUARDIAN ANGEL ‘cos it cleared the way south.!

    WOD 10ac The Japanese comedian KENDO.


  27. I’ve been stumped by many of the QCs this week so it’s been interesting (and comforting) to hear that others have been finding them challenging too. Today I was foiled by SEAWARD, AFFORD and BANKING. I must remember main = sea! Didn’t get supply = afford, although I understand was supplied with = afforded with… Banking was embarrassingly obvious when I saw the answer! COD ASKEW — very nice. Still enjoying the process despite the lack of recent success. Many thanks Teazel and curarist.
  28. Had to work on this over a couple of days but I thought this was a super QC which gave me a lot of pleasure. Some very clever clues.

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