Quick Cryptic 1994 by Felix

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I enjoyed this. I wondered if we were in for a Nina with all the mercy and charity going on. Largely straighforward, but I couldn’t see 1dn for some reason. I suppose ‘scum’ for ‘film’ is a bit of a stretch, and breaks the law that says ‘film’ always means ‘ET’. 24ac also slowed me down with the misdirection of ‘smells’, rather like the old joke. (‘My dog has no nose.’ ‘How does he smell?’ ‘He can’t, he hasn’t got a nose!’). 9 minutes for me, a bit over target so i’ll be interested to see what you all make of it.


8 Being kind of racy, hit condemned (7)
CHARITY – anagram (‘condemned’) of RACY HIT
9 Steal a little salt? (5)
PINCH – double definition
10 English Catholic overwhelmed by the writer’s compassion (5)
MERCY – E + RC with MY outside
11 Rewards, perhaps, on boarding public transport (7)
12 Irate hack dealt out a punishing blow (1,5,3)
A THICK EAR – anagram (‘dealt out’) of IRATE HACK
14 Rules you should follow? Endless medicine! (3)
DOS – As in dos and don’ts. DOSE minus the last letter
16 Firm prepared collection (3)
SET – triple definition. Wehey!
18 Shakes exposed, tailless reptile (4-5)
21 Brief account describing July weather, perhaps, hopefully heard! (7)
SUMMARY – Sounds like ‘summery’.
22 Dismissed, if turning communist (5)
FIRED – FI (‘if’ turned) + RED
23 Dot’s son getting a quick kiss (5)
24 Ferns, if rotten, something that smells (7)
SNIFFER – anagram (‘rotten’) of FERNS IF

1 Film many despicable folk (8)
SCUMBAGS – SCUM (film) + BAGS (many)
2 Boisterously enthusiastic reunion at home initially, repeated (3-3)
RAH-RAH – initials of Reunion At Home x 2
3 Very little to see up in Brooklyn, I think (4)
TINY – reverse hidden word: BrooklYN I Think
4 Two runs are so long! (3-3)
BYE-BYE – A bye being a type of run in cricket
5 Protesting vehemently, Pam ruins rambles (2,2,4)
UP IN ARMS – anagram (‘rambles’) of PAM RUINS
6 Brand new university students meeting press chief (6)
UNUSED – U + NUS (National Union of Students) + ED
7 It follows itch: pulse dropping regularly (4)
THUS – alternate letters of iTcH pUlSe
13 Moan old ship’s appearing where you’d expect vehicles (3,5)
15 Posters framing quiet people splashing cash? (8)
SPENDERS – SENDERS with P for quiet inside
17 Lumberjack’s warning doctor to get in line (6)
19 Most retiring, indeed, when in bed (6)
20 Purposeless, disorganised raid on newspaper (6)
ADRIFT – anagram (‘disorganised’) of RAID on FT (newspaper). Newspapers that feature in crosswords: FT, SUN, and don’t forget I (the independent spin-off)
21 Band ultimately ignores a request for silence (4)
SASH – S (last letter of ‘ignores’) + A + SH
22 Mild expletive from female on edge (4)

49 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1994 by Felix”

  1. Also a bit over target …
    … though my targets are more modest than our blogger’s! 14 minutes in all.

    It was going to be much faster until i was held up on my last two, 18A Rock-snake and 19D Coyest. Guessed Shyest for the latter, realised I had no hope of parsing it, and brain then froze. It took an age to remember that in crosswordland, most beds are cots. With that sorted, on to my LOI Rock-snake — NHO, but an inspired guess.

    Very nice puzzle, but did not alas see the Nina.

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

  2. ‘film’ is also MIST from time to time.
    Well spotted, Jack. I’d forgotten the daughters’ names, and Tom/Ruth’s, and indeed pretty much all the characters except Sarah Gamp and Pecksniff. 7:18.
  3. Took an age to get SCUMBAGS at the end but then I was looking for the name of a film to fit ‘many despicable folk’ for most of that delay so not surprising. Briefly wondered in ‘frim’ might be a mild expletive. Spotted A THICK EAR quickly but did wonder if that was the result of a punishing blow rather than being the act itself, a bit like defining a baby as romance.
  4. Good speck from The Master — Felix Puzzlewit?

    FOI 1dn SCUMBAGS what an unpleasant word!?

    LOI 18ac ROCK SNAKE as I, like Cedric, was SHYEST at 19dn.

    COD 16ac SET as I do like a good triple. Wey-hey!

    WOD 2dn RAH-RAH!

    4d BYE-BYE!

    Edited at 2021-10-29 08:14 am (UTC)

  5. I spotted the theme once I saw Jack’s comment. TINY was my FOI, followed by MERCY and RAH RAH. No particular hold ups and I finished on SPECK at 7:55. Thanks Felix and Curarist.
  6. 10 minutes.

    Today we have another themed puzzle from Felix along the same lines as several previous ones set by him. I’ve posted details and hidden them. Click below if you want to read them


    It’s Dickens again! This time Martin Chuzzlewit. The names I spotted are:
    MARY Graham ((21ac)
    CHARITY PECKSNIFF (8ac/23ac/24ac)
    MERCY PECKSNIFF (10ac/23ac/24ac)
    Tom/Ruth PINCH (9ac)

    We so nearly have SETh PECKSNIFF (16ac/23ac/24ac)

    Shame there wasn’t room for one of the most famous characters, Mrs Sarah Gamp, often the worse for drink, who lent her name to the umbrella.

      1. Brilliant, many thanks, John! And that finally establishes its status as a genuine Nina, not just a theme.
  7. Fits and starts today. I assume it must be at the extreme of difficulty to incorporate a Nina into the setting. Well done Felix and thanks to Jackkt for unveiling it. I rarely see them and never had a chance with this.
    Liked the triple — Game, Set and Match?
    Just a smidgeon under 1.5xSCC but would have been on par x1 but for the LTI.
    Thanks Curarist. Have a good weekend.
  8. Mr.Curarist: An even older joke is:-‘My dog has no nose.’ ‘How does he smell?’ ‘Awful!’ ;o)

    Edited at 2021-10-29 09:29 am (UTC)

  9. Well that’s a really good start to the day. Lots of anagrams and clues just too difficult to get immediately. I enjoy having to work at it a bit.

    Didn’t get the Nina of course, far too busy trying to work out the clues themselves.


    But I couldn’t get DOS (it isn’t a word, and I never thought it might be plural), so dnf in the end, but satisfying.

    So a big thank you to Felix and Curarist.


  10. I started very quickly and was soon immersed — to the point that I was surprised when my time showed me on the cusp of the SCC. No matter — it was a very good puzzle. LOsI were RAH RAH, DOS (clever), and SCUMBAGS. Some great clues and some nice misdirection. My favourites were CAR PARKS (which came to mind immediately but needed a minute to parse) and ROCK SNAKE. Many thanks to Felix and curarist. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-29 08:25 am (UTC)

  11. A spectacular series of errors, led to a very Pink Day.


    Was in a hurry to finish so did not look to carefully at some clues where I got the definition, half of the clue, and figured that the other half must be there somewhere.

    Was also thinking that perhaps FRIM was a mild swearword I had not heard of (for FLIP).

    COD PINCH : Nice dd that gave me a smile when I saw it.

  12. This blog comes up as QC 1684 on my online edition (‘Classic’ Times download on an iPad).
    Is it just me? It should be 1994, I think.
    However, I have just checked and the more recent Times software downloads it as #1994. Perhaps the older version of the online Times app is not maintained with the usual vigour. It will be withdrawn in due course, no doubt. Pity. I much prefer the older layout.

    Edited at 2021-10-29 09:06 am (UTC)

  13. About 14 minutes on paper today. LOI was an uncertain ROCK SNAKE; I couldn’t think of anything better and missed the NAKED parsing.
    Some good clues. COD to TIMBER and SPECK second.
    Did not spot the nina when solving and still can’t see it. I’ll have to look at Jack’s prompt.
  14. A very good puzzle by Felix which led me to a DNF as I had shyest and wondered why it wouldn’t parse, and therefore didn’t get the snake. Not that I would have even if I had seen coyest, since I NHO a rock snake. FOI mercy. I did see charity straight away, but couldn’t work out why for a while. Couldn’t see whether I was looking for being kind or condemned, then the PDM. LOI car parks. Then a brain-rack for the kind of snake, leading to nothing. Towel thrown in at seventeen minutes, then came here. Coyest was a surprise, then doh! of course. I’d have to give COD to rock snake as that was the one that defeated me. Didn’t see the Nina. Thanks for the blog, Curarist, for pointing out the Nina, Jack, and for the puzzle, Felix.
  15. ….in which I expected a theme/NINA which would spoil it. I’d never read Martin Chuzzlewit, so wasn’t going to spot it, but I applaud Felix’s cleverness, and the fact that it didn’t spoil my enjoyment.


    LOI SPECK (once TIMBER stopped my efforts to justify SMACK !)


    TIME 4:46

    1. We are at one on Ninas but I agree — there was nothing in this one to spoil my (our) enjoyment! John.
  16. My turn for a sour grapes moment. I looked up rock snake and I contend there is no such thing! There’s a rock python, which is still a common name for several species, but no rock snake. Unless you count the strings of rainbow-coloured stones that have been created in places during the pandemic. My quick search did come up with a spectacular photo of a python that had swallowed a porcupine. Not a good outcome for either animal, perhaps.
  17. Back to 17 minutes and 2 over target today with this very good puzzle from Felix. I never saw the theme / Nina, despite looking for one. Jackkt, for a self-confessed artful Dickens-dodger, you are spotting these extremely well — congratulations. My LOI was DO’S, NHO ROCK SNAKE, but all fair and square. Let’s see what next week brings.

    If you ever read Dune in your youth, let me recommend the newest film version (Part One), which Mrs R and I saw yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed. Can’t wait now for Part Two.

    1. I read it in my somewhat more than youth, and was impressed by his (forgot his name) inept writing. ‘National Lampoon’ did a lovely send-up of it.
  18. Easy peasy, I thought, but then came to a grinding halt on SCUMBAGS and ROCKSNAKE. Like others, I had biffed shyest for 19d.
    Lots of clever clues. I liked, among others, SUMMARY, BYE BYE, MERCY, CAR PARKS.
    Thanks all, esp Curarist.

  19. Defeated by SCUMBAGS today, and didn’t get SET either, and that was after spending far, far too long unravelling the NE. I would have been greatly helped in that regard by writing the second B of BYE BYE more neatly so that it didn’t look like an R. This prevented me seeing BONUSES for ages. As for the Nina, I suspected there might be one as it was Felix, but I knew I was never going to see it. I really should read some more Dickens, having only read “A Christmas Carol”, but somehow I just can’t face it. Thanks Felix and Curarist.
  20. My heart sank when I saw that Felix was the setter, and guessed we would be in for yet another Dickens Nina — just ships in the night to me. However, at a brisk 17mins, I think this was my quickest Felix by a long way, and a distinct improvement on yesterday’s effort. Started with a quick look at 1d, but decided to push on with the other downs and bank a few crossers — even then, Scumbags was still my loi. 15d Spenders was a biff then parse guess, and CoD Rock Snake, was unknown but the cryptic was helpful. I sincerely hope Mr Random finds it as accommodating. Invariant
    1. Thankyou for your good wishes, Invariant. I have just finished and, whilst I did actually complete the puzzle successfully (62 minutes!), I just feel rather numb.
  21. Well over my target 6 mins.

    ROCK SNAKE was LOI, as SHYEST was bunged in, RUST SNAKE did cross my mind, but RUSTS does not equals “shakes”, so I was careful to go back and unpick it.

    I have never read any Dickens, so was never going to spot the NINA. Felix is one of the setters where I automatically penalise myself by assuming that his puzzle will be hard because of the NINA that I never spot.



  22. Delayed by the SCUM*A**/**T intersect but otherwise no big delays and 22 mins or so to maintain my proud SCC ( Savouring Cryptic Clues) tradition. Digest slowly, preferably without serious concentration, and let the clues gradually unwrap as they choose. No particular fav today but all enjoyable.
    Now to work out why my login keeps failing, possibly a more challenging task.
  23. Rather struggled with this — perhaps the shock of going into the office for the first time in over a year. Strangely feels less busy than home 🤔 Positively looking forward to November 2022 when I next come in 😀

    Seemed to find hold-ups in various places but SCUMBAGS was definitely last in.

    Liked Bleak House when I finally got past page 84. Life’s too short to embark on any others

    Nice puzzle

    Thanks Felix and Curarist

  24. A fine puzzle which I really enjoyed. Progress was slow and steady rather than spectacular which left me with a time of 21 mins for a fully-parsed finish – slightly outside target. Didn’t look for the nina as I never spot them. Certainly wouldn’t have got anything based on a novel I haven’t read. Wasted a good bit of time trying to parse SHYEST at 19dn until the penny dropped. Thanks to Curarist for the blog and of course to Felix for the puzzle.

    FOI – 10ac MERCY
    LOI – 18ac ROCK SNAKE (NHO)
    COD – 6ac PINCH

  25. Having very little knowledge of Dickens the nina passed me by. Does anyone know how many novels he wrote/when we can expect Felix to find another theme for his ninas?
    This one took me a couple of minutes over target with some of that accounted for LOI SCUMBAGS, where I was looking for the name of a film. An enjoyable end to the week and I finished in 12.14.
    Thanks to Curarist
  26. 6:04 this morning, although after a poor night’s sleep I wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders, so not too disappointed with missing my target.
    Again the NINA passed me by, but what’s new?
    1d “Scumbags”, a tad vulgar for a Times QC, old boy? Whereas 22d “flip” was indeed mild.
    No spectacular clues but quite liked 14 ac “dos”, a good surface for a three letter word.
    Thanks to Curarist and Felix
  27. I have never really read Dickens Sixth – far too long – he thought it was his best! I much prefer Raymond Chandler – the ‘Long Goodbye’ particularly. COD to PATHÉ simplicity itself. Time 5:57 minutes which is a tad slower than Verlaine’s 15×15! What is his wavelength/IQ/age rating?

    Edited at 2021-10-29 03:49 pm (UTC)

  28. We enjoyed this puzzle, nina lost on us though. Just the rock snake unknown and we finished in about our target. Thanks to Felix and for the blog.
  29. … so I will use the weekend to lick my wounds and to come back fighting on Monday. 62 minutes today! Well outside my average over the past few months, but at least it wasn’t a DNF and a 0-5 whitewash was averted – just!

    As yesterday, I was faced at the end with a completely blank NW corner. I didn’t have 1d (SCUMBAGS) or 2d (RAH-RAH), nor did I have any of the four crossing clues (CHARITY, MERCY, A THICK EAR, SET). Worse still, due to a mis-reading of the reverse hidden in 3d, I had THIN instead of TINY. These, along with COYEST and (the NHO) ROCK SNAKE, tried my patience for nearly half an hour before I finally crossed the line. CAR PARKS did bring a smile to my face today, though and I will hang on to that as motivation to recover my form next week.

    The good news from the Random household today is that, whilst I was struggling, Mrs Random knocked off today’s puzzle in 26 minutes and yesterday’s Joker in 24 minutes. This extends her unbeaten run of QCs to 30. So, on average we’re doing OK.

    Many thanks to Felix and curarist.

    1. Are you perhaps the new PW, who appears to be having a sabbatical presently? My regards to Mrs. Random.
  30. Enjoyed this, but still dnf after 30 mins — with 1dn “Scumbags” and 6dn “ Unused” defeating me. For the former I put “Scummass” — an invented word which didn’t sound too bad at the time.

    I don’t think I’ve seen Scum — but is that an early Ray Winston effort? Will look it up later.

    DNK “Rock Snake”, but at least it was solvable. For 13dn nearly put “Car Pools” for some inane reason.

    As usual, missed the Nina.

    FOI — 3dn “Tiny”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 17dn “Timber” — took ages to remember this

    Thanks as usual!

  31. Got stuck on puzzling Rocksnake, which couldn’t be a Rattlesnake, but one can only admire the clue, revealed by Curarist with grateful thanks, It’s one of those clues that makes you feel you might make progress, if you only cracked them soon enough!
  32. It’s Saturday, so just for the record….Pretty straightforward but with lots of interruptions we came in at 14 minutes.


    Thanks Curarist and Felix.

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