Quick Cryptic 2044 by Pedro

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I enjoyed this, though it took me over my target at 8 minutes. Looking back I’m not altogether sure why. It seems straightforward enough. 7dn probably my COD.


1 Judge and I am occupying large country residence (8)
5 Class-conscious one’s to be tearful, preserving name (4)
SNOB – SOB with N for name inside
8 Finally cut down book of maps (5)
ATLAS – AT LAST with the last letter cut off. A veritable chestnut.
9 Moralistic type’s play on words taking in girl (7)
PURITAN – PUN with RITA inside
11 Meal at work? Spooner’s had no impact (6,5)
PACKED LUNCH – Spooner would say ‘lacked punch’
13 Support the Spanish drive (6)
14 Expression of surprise on encountering a feature of eclipse (6)
CORONA – COR! + ON + A. Does anyone say ‘Cor!’ anymore? Maybe just in crosswords
16 One producing spirited autobiography? (5,6)
GHOST WRITER – cryptic definition
18 Polluted seas filled with sticky stuff for all time (7)
AGELESS – anagram (‘polluted’) of SEAS with GEL inside
19 One demanding freedom from retribution, dismissing naughty child (5)
UNITY – Freedom from retribution is IMPUNITY, minus the IMP
20 Call for assistance initially over working indifferently (2-2)
SO-SO – SOS + O. Not sure what to do with ‘working’ here, but since so-so is an adjective, I’ve put it in the definition.
21 A few run out clutching British headwear (8)
SOMBRERO – SOME + R + O with BR inside

1 Test moved to the afternoon? (4)
EXAM – Ex-am as in ‘was in the morning’.
2 Shot one pellet wildly? One’s good with shots (9,4)
TELEPHOTO LENS – anagram (‘wildly’) of SHOT ONE PELLET
3 Player notes one of the rugby backs (5,6)
MUSIC CENTRE – self explanatory
4 Cork, when top’s blown, will do for stylish hat (6)
TOPPER – STOPPER minus the first letter
6 I absolutely won’t say this about another’s autobiography? (3,2,4,4)
NOT ON YOUR LIFE – ‘Life’ meaning autobiography is a crossword staple
7 Idiot — there’s just one H in “spheroid” (8)
10 A guide to Tom’s domination? (4,2,5)
RULE OF THUMB – self explanatory
12 Something to see with Bond, say, taking drink (8)
15 Firm supporting a lot of recent painting (6)
17 Misprint in dirty poem (4)
TYPO – hidden word: dirTY POem

70 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2044 by Pedro”

  1. 13 minutes, so my QC week ended almost as badly as it began, but on this occasion I wasn’t stuck on anything, just generally a bit slow around the grid as too many clues needed to be skipped and returned to later.
  2. Same experience as Jackkt. This took double my other times this week but sans caffeine, stabbing away with my index pinky under the covers might have something to do with it.

    Last two were BONEHEAD (weird clue) and SNOB where I was looking to fit the wrong sort of class conscience in (Woke anyone…? On second thoughts let’s make that rhetorical)

    Thanks Curarist and Pedro for a fine blog and a decent challenge this morning

  3. I found this quite tricky and slow, definitely SCC for me but slightly lost track of time.
    I don’t really like clues like 4D where part of the answer is in the clue as I always think it can’t be that. I also dislike Spoonerisms. And didn’t really get bonehead until Curarist’s explanation. Also wasn’t sure about the definition of unity but it couldn’t be anything else.
    Both 2D and 12D were slow in coming but thought they were clever once I worked out what was going on. And quite glad we no longer have the “rule of thumb” these days.

    FOI Snob
    LOI Packed Lunch
    COD Telephoto Lens

  4. Got absolutely nowhere with this one. Way too difficult for me. Did not enjoy at all.
  5. An enjoyable if relatively tricky 12 minute solve with SNOB and BONEHEAD tripping me up but they shouldn’t have. The latter is my LOI and COD. I also liked 6D – very clever.

    The word “demanding” in 19A threw me. It makes the grammar of the clue work but doesn’t really fit with the answer. I’m probably missing something obvious.

    1. In the evolution that started with the gramophone/phonograph, the music centre was the device that came between record-player and hi-fi. It was a single unit (unlike later stacking systems) and often incorporated a radio, so comparable with the old radiogram but may also have included a means of playing cassette tapes.

      Edited at 2022-01-07 09:18 am (UTC)

      1. In the days when Sanyo used to sponsor eventing, Harvey Smith used to ride a horse called Sanyo Music Centre.

      2. Thank you for that, it clears up one of my queries on this clue which sadly for me was not self explanatory. I also didn’t understand the rugby reference. I looked for things going backwards but couldn’t see anything. What has a centre to do with rugby and backs please?
        1. You’re asking the wrong person, caroco, as I have no expert knowledge of rugby but my understanding is that in both versions of the game (Union and League) there are a number of players in each team called ‘Backs’ and the full title of some of them (2, I think) includes the word ‘Centre’.
          1. Thank you-weird though!! These sports games rules and definitions etc are a mystery to me. There is often a lot of cricket too which I have no idea on. Now give me Greek myths …. That’s a different kettle of fish 😊
    2. Andy, you must be very young. Lucky man! 😉

      Edited at 2022-01-07 05:12 pm (UTC)

  6. I enjoyed this one and a minor miracle occured – a spoonerism that didn’t have me tearing what’s left of my hair out. I was so surprised that I had to triple check there wasn’t something more complicated going on that I was missing. Most of this didn’t hold too many problems but LOI BONEHEAD held me up long enough to take me over target.
    Finished in 10.45 with my favourite being GHOST WRITER.
    Thanks to curarist
  7. Thin pickings to begin with and never picked up much speed on the way to a 24m completion. AGELESS was LOI where I wanted the first E to be the one from ‘seas’ and so made thinks (even) harder). Took a while to get MUSIC CENTRE despite us having one on the sideboard when I was little. If you pressed the Dolby button a green light came on. NOT ON YOUR LIFE and PACKED LUNCH were also slow to come which deprived me of checkers. A good work out I guess.

    Thanks for recipe suggestions yesterday, in the end I got a request for sausage pasta so I shall return to them at a later date. Had to look up farfalle.

      1. Soon to be rectified. The local coop has spaghetti, penne and fusilli so it’ll have to wait until I get to a bigger supermarket but salmon farfalle will be hitting plates around here before the weekend is out (or Monday at the latest).

        Edited at 2022-01-07 12:11 pm (UTC)

  8. … and most unusually, I found I could get half of a lot of the clues and still not finish them off for ages. Thus Centre came very quickly in 3D Music Centre, but the Music half resisted. Lunch came very quickly in 11A Packed Lunch, but Packed didn’t — even though the signposted Spoonerism clearly gave the initial P. All led to a 19 minute solve, escaping the SCC by a small fraction.

    I also thought some of the clues were at best 20A So-so. 6D Not on your life — not sure I understand how the answer is constructed, as while the overall meaning is clear, as Curarist indicates, and the “your life” bit is clearly “another’s autobiography”, where does the “Not on” come from? 7D Bonehead — the leap from Spheroid to Bead seems to me to be a bit of a stretch. Surface for 1A Estimate — what is the “and” doing? Ditto 19A Unity and the “demanding”. And so on.

    Always hard to distinguish between “I didn’t really enjoy this because the setter was not entirely on form” and “I didn’t really enjoy this because I was not entirely on form”, but whichever it was, I didn’t really enjoy this …

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

    1. “Will you climb to the top of the mast?”

      – reply, ‘not on your life!’, meaning, I absolutely will not undertake that job.

      A fixed expression, but not one that I have heard said, in the past 40, or more, years.

    2. With you all the way on this – not that it took that long, especially if you don’t count the time looking for my eyebrows!
  9. A very tough QC but full of clever clues. I was under pressure (late leaving for an appointment) which didn’t help.
    LOI was MUSIC CENTRE — just couldn’t see the centre. My COD was PACKED LUNCH.
    I ran well into the SCC — this was the hardest of the week by far. Thanks both. John M.
  10. I enjoyed this though it was a grind and I’m with those who think it was maybe a bit too tricky for a quickie. A few times I got the answer and felt that for a quickie we needed a bit more help. Eg the music centre maybe was a player. Thanks though!
  11. Failed on BONEHEAD, Got MUSIC but not centre. Should have got AGELESS and hence FRESCO.
    Liked GHOST WRITER ( a write-in) , PACKED LUNCH, SPY GLASS, SOMBRERO among others. 7d too cryptic for QC, imo.
    But thanks vm for much needed blog, Curarist.
  12. While I was doing this it felt hard, so I was surprised to find it all done in ten minutes, which is what easy ones usually take me – except for one clue. LOI music centre, which took another two minutes. Same thing happened yesterday – a quick solve leaving one or two more seemingly obscure or buried ideas. I thought some of this was very witty, and like Cedric above, I saw the lunch, but working and business didn’t fit, which says something about what kind of lunches I had or didn’t have at work. FOI atlas (chestnut, there were a couple more of these), eleven on first pass, so work to do. COD unity. Did not parse bonehead, or see the significance of Spooner. The clue for the top hat was a MER. Thanks, Curarist, and Pedro.
    1. I’m with you entirely on this one! Packed lunches are for me redolent of a walk in the countryside, or a day at the cricket. Working lunches may be anything from sandwiches to slap-up feast on (someone else’s) expenses, but the one thing they seldom are is packed!


      1. Children take packed lunches to school (or used to); I don’t why see the name would necessarily change if they continue this practice into their working lives.
        1. Ah, good point. But it is nearly 60 years since I took a packed lunch into school. And I don’t think I ever took one into work — all the places I worked had canteens, or clients to take out to a restaurant!
      2. My husband used to take a packed lunch into work and a girl in the typing pool — those still existed then — commented on it. “Well, says he, ‘how long does it take to cut some bread…” “You have to CUT it?” says she. “Well my wife doesn’t bake ready-sliced bread …”
  13. I found this a bit of a struggle, eventually coming in at 14:49. I took 19 across to have “One demanding” as the definition and to be a reference to Unity Mitford, who apart from being an apologist for AH was also quite “demanding” Thanks Pedro and Curarist.
  14. This was a tough QC which took me about 16 minutes on paper. LOI UNITY which I had trouble parsing, like several others before it. I had to dismiss UNIFY first and saw the IMP withdrawal.
    The parsing of MUSIC CENTRE was also a bit of a mystery to me at first. BONEHEAD another tough to parse.
    I liked the Spooner clue for once.
  15. Like others, I found this tricky and challenging, but everything worked when I saw it. In many ways a perfect crossword, clever in parts, but as there’s more to life than crosswords, it took too long for me to really enjoy it.😥
    FOI Atlas LOI Propel (delayed because I couldn’t get eyeglass out of my head COD Packed lunch (surprising for a Spoonerism
  16. 15:04. With LOI UNITY, which I couldn’t parse and UNIFY looked just as good. Didn’t parse (or like) BONEHEAD.

    Was convinced 2D was going to be TELEPHONE-something. I don’t usually write out anagrams, but had to admit defeat as the only word that worked was TELEPHONE LOST (a more modern Paradise Lost..?)

    The only people who say COR are the people who still have a MUSIC CENTRE.

    COD NOT ON YOUR LIFE. Very clever.

  17. Quite tough and with one or two slightly unsatisfactory clues (for example, like Cedric I still can’t see how NOT ON YOUR LIFE is supposed to work; and it seems inelegant to have “top” in the clue when the answer is TOPPER). Also some good ones, though, to be fair.

    FOI ESTIMATE, LOI TELEPHOTO LENS (had to write it out even when I had all the checkers!), COD PACKED LUNCH, time 11:43 for an estimate 1.7K and a Decent Enough Day.

    Many thanks Pedro and curarist.


  18. Have to disagree with the blog on this — I found this a struggle and pretty tricky. A lot of the clues were much more chewy than usual.

    After 35 mins I had everything apart from 18ac “Ageless” which just wouldn’t come. Stupidly, I thought of gel and the anagram of “seas”, I just didn’t put them in the right order.

    Lots of potential to go wrong — including putting “Telephone” for 2dn and trying to make a hat out of “A few run” for 21ac. Equating “bead” with spheroid made 7dn particularly difficult, especially as I thought it was “Conehead”.

    FOI — 1dn “Exam”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 10dn “Rule of Thumb”

    Thanks as usual!

  19. ….I was number 1 of 1 on the leaderboard. I thought it was a tricky puzzle, but expected to have slipped a considerable way down the rankings by the time I surfaced this morning. After all, I only sneaked inside my target with a second to spare ! Surpringly, I’m still 9th at the time of writing. Definitely not one for SCC members, or any unwary newcomers.

    17D proved not to be prophetic, as I’ve fat-fingered far too often of late !

    FOI ESTIMATE (a gift opener)
    LOI EXAM (very slow to see it)
    COD PACKED LUNCH (a 15×15 clue really)
    TIME 4:59

  20. Nearly taken into the SCC at 19 minutes, but avoided that fate with a couple of inspired guesses, subsequently parsed. FOI TELEPHOTO LENS. I rejected TOPPER at first because of the presence of half of the answer in the clue — MER when I realised it must be right. LOI FRESCO, otherwise no real problems or complaints — just slow, particularly after yesterday’s sprint. Thanks both.
  21. Hardest of the week leading, not surprisingly, to my slowest time of the week at 25 mins. Got quite a few answers on first read through but was then very slow after that, ending up with the 3dn/11ac pairing which probably took 5 or so mins to unravel. Several rather dodgy clues imo, compensated by a number of delightful ones (16ac, 10dn and 6dn particularly).

    FOI – 5ac SNOB
    LOI – 3dn MUSIC CENTRE (a poor clue imo)
    COD – 10dn RULE OF THUMB

    Thanks to Pedro and Curarist

  22. I’m having a bad week! Except for yesterday’s 15×15.

    Good puzzle, but really quite hard for me.

    13:40 says the clock, and it doesn’t lie!

  23. I didn’t find this easy at all. Needed some checkers and could not parse BONEHEAD (still don’t get BEAD = SPHEROID), UNITY or AGELESS – is GEL necessarily sticky?
  24. Well, I did manage to finish in the end, but it was a struggle along the way. Nearly gave up at the 25min mark, with half a dozen clues left, but Telephoto Lens then bridged a big hole on the LHS and gave me enough crossers to finish, just north of 30mins with loi Ageless. CoD to 10d Rule of Thumb, once Queen was out of the running. Invariant
  25. I thought I was going quite well until my entry at 6d NOT ON ones LIFE slowed me down. GHOST WRITER then corrected it and I was off again. Finally I returned to 3d and despite more than one alphabet trawl I couldn’t figure out CENTRE and even looking at the answer I still have yet to parse it. Music Centre is where my daughter went to learn to play flute (I never got past the recorder) so I am at a loss as to why the answer is self explanatory. Time to read all the comments for elucidation.

    OK I see how the clue works now but I agree with @peregrineflyer that the clue is poor.

    Edited at 2022-01-07 12:52 pm (UTC)

    1. Not a great clue I agree, but my Father had a “Music Centre” when I was young. It was a flattish thing consisting of a turntable and tape deck on top and an old fashioned dial style radio on the front.

      Always remember it because the cassette slot opened like Arkwright’s till on Open All Hours – you had to stand back in case it took off your fingers.

  26. DNF after 12 mins for me as well, with only BONEHEAD to fit in. Just couldn’t parse the bugger.
  27. FOI Not on your life closely followed by Telephoto Lens as I concentrated on the long clues as a way of getting a kick start. A new tactic which is serving me well

    Just couldn’t see Snob at all and it was my last one in having solved Bonehead

    Didn’t like Topper and glad to see even the experienced solvers shared my disquiet but finally after 31 minutes all done and it felt very satisfying but probably not as satisfied as Mr Bairstow this morning.

    Thanks all and best wishes for the weekend

  28. We found this one quite tough but in a very good way — lots of clever clues which really made us think. We finished in 18 minutes so just missed the SCC.

    COD: PACKED LUNCH (great Spoonerism)

    Thanks Curarist and Pedro.

  29. This really wasn’t a quick cryptic imho. I couldn’t finish it, gave up and had a cup of coffee.

    Roll on tomorrow.


  30. I still have mine, a Mitzubishi one. It’s just being repaired, for about the 5th time, but the sound quality is superb!
  31. Like Emma and Steed – this took me 18 minutes.

    FOI 2dn EONS


    COD 11ac PACKED LUNCH int’ ‘snap-tin’ when we went shooting, as a lad.

    WOD 16ac GHOST WRITER – Ian Fleming for one!

    Tough cookie from Pedro in his SOMBRERO

  32. 3dn Music Centre rather held me up – I originally thought music kettle – like a fish kettle only musical – bass being a musical fish. COD 6dn Not on your life. WDO Typo.
  33. Actually, speaking as a confirmed member of the SCC, I think it does us good to have to work really hard once a week or so. A fair mix makes for an interesting time.
  34. …with only one clue (ATLAS) after 10 minutes. Eventually, however, I got SOMBRERO, which led to TYPO, FRESCO and (surprisingly) RULE OF THUMB. SNOB then gave me a way into the NE corner, and SO SO did likewise for the SW corner. Bit by bit, I made progress and, with UNITY, I was able to put down my pencil in a total of 44 minutes.

    I never managed to parse FRESCO, and the one rugby position that played hard to get was the one we were looking for. In summary: jolly difficult, but very satisfying to finish unscathed.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  35. I agree with everyone, but of course I would never join a club willing to make me a member … [with acknowledgements, etc]
    1. Ah, but one doesn’t choose to ‘join’ the SCC. It confers memberships unrequested.
  36. Greetings and good wishes to all for 2022! This was hard but I let it flow, very very slow. If the cryptic brain decides to work you will get there sometime. All answers right today, including Unity without a parse, in a sort of dreamy time, no idea how long. Thank you.
  37. Forgot to check in this morning. I liked BONEHEAD, which used up a lot of time. Did a lot of random jumping around the grid, so quite a difficult one. 4/5 this week. I shall remember President POLK from this week.
    Thanks for today’s blog
  38. A real challenge today! Slow all the way and 5 minutes over target when SNOB and finally BONEHEAD went in. Pleased just to finish.
  39. Found this one of the most comfortable of the week — definitely on Pedro’s wavelength.
    Old enough to remember a Music Centre — I think our first was a Bush. Not quite a Hi Fi.
    Only one I didn’t parse was unity — didn’t think of imp. Think that one is older than me.
    About an hour — happily watching the golf again. Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth both playing well in Hawaii.
  40. Over an hour today but I got there. I’ve found this week tough going, with today being the hardest of the lot.

    Thanks for a great blog.


  41. Please could some kind person explain the parsing of music centre? I understand the definition, but what has “notes one of the rugby backs” got to do with it?
    1. ‘Notes’ is a loose synonym for ‘music’, and in rugby union there are two broad categories of position, forwards and backs – ‘centre’ being one of the latter.

Comments are closed.