Quick Cryptic 2084 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
For some reason I absolutely tore through this in 4 minutes, which is my quickest time in ages. Everything is pretty familiar, to an experienced solver at least. The only one that gave me pause was 23 ac

1 Benefit to a smaller extent in Crosby? (8)
BLESSING – LESS inside BING (Crosby)
5 A revolutionary form of suffering (4)
ACHE – A + CHE. As usual, the anodyne description ‘revolutionary’ is used, rather than the more accurate ‘psychopathic murderer’
8 Coarse person in Derby, a hooligan (5)
YAHOO – hidden word: DerbY A HOOligan
9 Subjects about right for the Torrid Zone (7)
11 Military men carrying a pole for rowing (3)
OAR – OR (other ranks) with A inside
12 Veronica’s source of methamphetamine? (9)
SPEEDWELL – A well full of speed
13 Boisterous girl’s play about old doctor (6)
TOMBOY – TOY around O MB
15 Thus delicate fabric provides comfort (6)
18 Himalayan ridge a girl surprisingly ran up (9)
ANNAPURNA – ANNA + anagram (‘surprisingly’) of RAN UP
19 Chart made by woman going west (3)
MAP – PAM written towards the west, i.e. backwards
20 Possibly draw flatfish to east of harbour (7)
21 Like old Peruvian serving prison sentence (5)
INCAN – IN (the) CAN (slang for prison)
22 Meadow flower, originally, or part of one (4)
LEAF – LEA + F for flower
23 Install Queen, one seen around north (8)
ENTHRONE – ER + ONE with NTH inside. Took me a minute to spot this, as I haven’t seen NTH as an abbreviation for North before
1 Blacklist young lad on bed, it’s said (7)
2 English novel meeting resistance in Surrey town (5)
ESHER – E + SHE + R. ‘Novel’ in crosswords is often an anagrind (i.e. indicates an anagram). When it refers to an actual novel, it is usually She by H Rider Haggard
3 On board ship, how formal headgear produces a sensation (4-7)
SHOW-STOPPER – A ship is SS. ‘On board’ it we have HOW. Then TOPPER for formal headgear
4 National leader — complete gonzo! (6)
6 Agree with artist, it’s a fanciful dream (7)
CHIMERA – CHIME + RA (Royal Academician)
7 Calm conclusion of Liverpool supporter (5)
EASEL – EASE + L (end of Liverpool)
10 Fussy one-time desire to tour Arab state (3-8)
OLD-WOMANISH – OLD (one-time) + WISH round OMAN. ‘Arab state’ is always OMAN
14 Male marine predator circling popular Mediterranean island (7)
MINORCA – M + ORCA round IN for popular
16 Cost of keeping female swans in river? (7)
EXPENSE – PENS are female swans, inside the river EXE
17 Criminal pinching a chap’s drawing implement (6)
CRAYON – CON surrounding RAY
18 Horrify a person like Revere, do we hear? (5)
APPAL – Sounds like A PAUL
19 Virile Chinese leader once restricting church (5)
MACHO – MAO outside CH

54 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2084 by Orpheus”

  1. One wrong after 32 minutes of relying on wordplay to tease out some of these like TROPICS where I don’t think I have come across Torrid Zone before.
    SPEEDWELL went in with a shrug looking up after and my error MENORCA from MEN and ORCA but ‘circling’ puzzling me.
    LOI: ENTHRONE as I struggled to make sense of the parsing and didn’t spot the abbreviation for North.
  2. I definitely did not tear through this. It took a good degree of pig-headedness to see it through. 24 all green but with precious few smiles. Remembering SPEEDWELL for veronica was a high point — slowly turning into one of the experienced solvers curarist mentions in the intro, even if there is a long way to go — and I enjoyed MINORCA. I thought everyone would find it hard but the leaderboard suggests I’m at 7Ks, so clearly not!
  3. 14’30” not helped by a fat-thumbed NUUTER. Was about to be disgruntled with an obscure crime writer as an answer before I discovered that those purple plants I see everywhere are the original Veronica SPEEDWELLs – horticulture clearly NOT my strength.

    I can see the day when TOMBOY and OLD WOMANISH may not be acceptable as Times crossword answers – I am already slightly uncomfortable with the latter in particular. I understand the thinking but am not as offended by CHE being clued by “revolutionary” over our blogger’s proposed possible alternative

    Thanks Orpheus and Curarist

    1. I agree with you that the definition for ‘old-womanish’ is uncomfortable and rather dated. Let’s hope it is replaced, soon, by some term that is current and accurate! 🙂
  4. However you want to characterise Che, I’m getting tired of seeing him here. Biffed ENTHRONE–never ever seen NTH–and SPEEDWELL, assuming it was the same as veronica. 3:57.
  5. A good time but a rather unsatisfying puzzle cotaining several lazy, well-worn devices such as the Novel ‘She’, Che and Mao. And “Nth” as an abbreviation for North?

    I still don’t understand SPEEDWELL

    COD APPAL : Paul Revere not the most famous Paul, but a good choice.

    1. Which end of the clue?

      Speedwell is another name for the plant Veronica, like Ling is another name for Heather.

      Methamphetamine is “speed”, “well” is a source. A well full of meth is pretty unlikely, but if you had one in your back garden, you might call it a speedwell, and plant Veronica around it for jokes.

    2. Not sure I agree re Revere. If I was humbled by Veronica Speedwell being a plant before being a detective, I don’t feel the same about not knowing an 18thC US engraver, industrialist and patriot. Then again, this is all about expanding one’s horizons and I’ve done that today for sure.

      Agree re ‘She’

      If Methamphetamine (being a drug also known as speed) had a source (aka a well) that might be termed a ‘speed well’ – apologies Hopkinb beat me to it

      Edited at 2022-03-04 09:46 am (UTC)

      1. Paul Revere …
        … is certainly very well known by our US cousins; his heroics at the start of the American Revolution/War of Independence are very much part of their national story. One might even say he was Revered for it.

        My contribution for the worst pun of the day ….

        1. and to anyone who’s watched Guys and Dolls!

          “I got the horse right here
          The name is Paul Revere
          And here’s a guy that says if the weather’s clear
          Can do! Can do!
          This guy says the horse can do!
          If he says the horse can do – can do, can do!”

          1. Here’s another connection between the American patriot and music. There was a rock group from Portland, Oregon ,I think ,called Paul Revere and the Raiders who sported 18th century colonial dress with three-cornered hats and whose biggest hit “Kicks” went against the grain of the times by discouraging consciousness expansion through drug use!
            1. The original line-up of the band was from Boise, Idaho. I used to have “Kicks” on a 45, but they were one of a number of bands in the late 60’s/early 70’s who had plenty of success in the States without ever breaking through over here
  6. A promising start turned into another slog with ENTHRONE, EASEL and LOI OLD WOMANISH all requiring alphabet trawls. SPEEDWELL seems to have been the plant of choice in recent weeks so went in with a shrug. Enjoyed ANNAPURNA but other than that roll on next week.
    Finished in a sluggish 13.31.
    Thanks to Curarist
  7. Nothing speedy about this for me I’m afraid hitting the 42 minute bell as mind distracted by events. Perhaps old chestnuts for some but new to me. Momentary smile for Kray-on, FOI BLESSING once I had separated Crosby from the Mersey, liked TOMBOY as the MB resonated, LOI ENTHRONE which I failed to parse. Thank you Curarist and Orpheus.
  8. Twelve minutes with lots of PDM’s. FOI ache, nineteen on first pass, then a pause wondering where the next was going to come from. Then it all seemed to fall into place. LOI speedwell, which is also my COD. Did not parse enthrone. Thanks, Curarist, and Orpheus.
  9. The best this week for me but that is not saying much at all. A minute over target and some pleasure along the way. I wasn’t happy with my attempts to parse SPEEDWELL and ENTHRONE but biffed them anyway (together with one or two more which I then parsed).
    I quite liked INCAN, MINORCA, and NUTTER but I was not impressed by OLD-WOMANISH as an answer.
    Thanks to Orpheus for the best QC this week but roll on next week, I say. Thanks to curarist for a succinct, clear, helpful blog. He was clearly on speed today. 😁 I could have done with some this week! John M.

    Edited at 2022-03-04 09:40 am (UTC)

  10. Thought I was on a for very fast time having got all the acrosses bar TOMBOY and ENTHRONE at first pass, but alas the downs were more resistant despite all those checkers. NUTTER, EASEL, OLD-WOMANISH and MINORCA all took a while, although in MINORCA’s case it was because I was looking at the checkers for TOMBOY by mistake!

    Anyway. Great relief to hit target for the first time in a while. Solved at a desktop today, which I do find faster than on my phone.

    FOI BLESSING, LOI NUTTER, COD SPEEDWELL, time 08:22 and despite that being 2.1K (the value of K is seriously low today!) I’m dubbing this a Good Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and curarist (another great time).


    Edited at 2022-03-04 09:34 am (UTC)

  11. BLESSING was FOI. ENTHRONE was LOI. No hiccups. 7:29. Thanks Orpheus and Curarist.
  12. Just snuck home within my target 10 minutes – only a second or two to spare. That was without parsing ENTHRONE which I also failed to parse after completing the grid but before turning to the 15×15 last night. On returning to it this morning I spotted how it worked with the unusual NTH for ‘north’ which I knew existed but don’t recall ever seeing in a puzzle before.
  13. I definitely did not tear through this, but finally crawled over the line resorting to help to get OLD WOMANISH – not a phrase I recognise for fussy. I know that Veronica = speedwell.
  14. For my first 9 minutes I was solving steadily. I then ground to a halt. Another 14 minutes later I finished with OLD WOMANISH which had to be extracted painfully from the cryptic. ENTHRONE was unparsed but I decided to run with it.
    My other problems were SPEEDWELL, NUTTER and TROPICS.
    So I rate that as a difficult day, particularly as there was GK needed to get some clues. There is only one Bing Crosby; but how many Veronicas can you think of ?
    A good challenge. I don’t mind the appearances of She and Che.
  15. Biffed a few, parsed a few.
    Had to wait for the checkers for SPEEDWELL, SHOW STOPPER, PORTRAY, ENTHRONE, and LOI OLD-WOMANISH. Hm, not all old women are fussy.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.
  16. A prompt start in the NW, followed by a slow and steady solve, saw me reach the 20min bell with just five left — Nutter (never heard of Gonzo), Tropics, Speedwell, Old Womanish and Solace. Unfortunately they were clustered together (why do setters do this…), so it took me another 10 mins to tease them out with a crowbar. Overall, an enjoyable enough solve with CoD to 6d, Chimera. Invariant
    1. Dear Invariant,
      May I please borrow your “crowbar”? I suffered my worst DNF for a year and a half – 8 clues unsolved, in 72 minutes. And it followed on from a 4-clue DNF on Thursday. I think I need to book my brain in for a service.

      1. You may, but I will need it back…
        More seriously, read the blog and try and work out why you struggled with particular clues — was it lack of the required GK, a misunderstood target/cryptic, or a setter’s trick that you should remember for next time? Finally, just ignore the speed merchants’ times, their brains are wired differently to the rest of us.
  17. Still a way to go before I could be called an “experienced” solver…
    … but when one sees Veronica and immediately writes in Speedwell, one is perhaps moving on from complete novicedom. Not a connection I would ever have made before I met the QC — botany is a noted weak-spot — but I recall we have had it before here.

    As others have said, a better end to quite a stiff week, and all done for me in 11 minutes, but 10D Old-womanish only parsed post submission and 23A Enthroned not parsed at all; like others, I’m not sure I’ve seen Nth for North before.

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

  18. But maybe not.

    Much better than yesterday’s 15 minute slog on a packed plane on the way back from a work-related trip to Edinburgh.

    CHIMERA was good I thought, but I also liked SHOW STOPPER.


  19. DNF – having pieced together ANNAPURNA I failed on ENTHRONE and came here to see the parsing. NTH for north seems very strange.
  20. 17 minutes, which is average for me. A number of old chestnuts interspersed with some trickier stuff. Didn’t fully parse ENTHRONE or MINORCA. Spent some time wondering what the source of methamphetamine might be, neither chemistry nor botany being my strong points (thought the answer might be an anagram of Veronica’s until 10dn put a stop to that.

    FOI – 8ac YAHOO
    LOI – 12ac SPEEDWELL
    COD – 21ac INCAN

    Thanks to Orpheus and Curarist

  21. 30 minutes and I thought a good challenge with a mix of quick quick slow slow.

    Didn’t know speedwell = Veronica but it looked right. 3d took ages, 4d PDM and 6d had similar before.

    LOI 10d — very obscure to me — will try to remember Oman as the go-to Arab state.

    23a Install doesn’t really equal enthrone to me. Install Queen does equal enthrone. Which discounts the use of Er as construction tool. North backwards in is in Ene — was that meant to be One?? Either way it doesn’t quite work for me.

    Thanks all

  22. A slow end to a slow week….what’s going on with us? We started off at a pretty good rate and then struggled to the end in 23.13.
    Lots of good clues to enjoy and chew over.


    Thanks Curarist and Orpheus.

  23. Another one where I seem to be out of step with the blogger.

    I thought this was tough again (have any been straightforward this week?). Whilst an “ache” may be a form of suffering — it is an incredibly mild one, whatever you think of Che the revolutionary.

    Luckily I knew Annapurna and Paul Revere, but I was stumped for a bit on 12ac “Speedwell” and 10dn “Old Womanish”. DNK “Yahoo” was a coarse person — I thought it was just an expression shouted in Westerns and of course an early ISP.

    FOI — 5ac “Ache”
    LOI — 10dn “Old Womanish”
    COD — 12ac “Speedwell”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Yahoos appeared in Gulliver’s Travels. From Wiki: Yahoos are legendary beings in the 1726 satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels written by Jonathan Swift. Their behaviour and character representation is meant to comment on the state of Europe from Swift’s point of view. The word “yahoo” was coined by Jonathan Swift in the fourth section of Gulliver’s Travels and has since entered the English language more broadly.
  24. The usual! Going along nicely until the last two, which slowed me down a bit. All done in 9 minutes which is the best for a while – but OLD-WOMANISH took a bit of unlocking and I didn’t fully parse ENTHRONE.
    No problem with SPEEDWELL following our discussion about GERMANDER a few weeks ago! 7d reminded me of the Scousers from the Harry Enfield Show – Calm down! Calm down!
    FOI Blessing
    LOI Enthrone
    COD Annapurna
    Thanks Orpheus and Curarist

  25. ….I found this an absolute doddle. I concur with our blogger’s view. The first 8 answers flew in, but I failed to scale ANNAPURNA straightaway.

    Why would you need to abbreviate North to NTH rather than to N ? I do know the expression “to the NTH degree” to signify absolute accuracy — still, it didn’t delay me.

    TIME 3:16

    1. Dear Mr Jordan,
      “Absolute doddle” – I am miggtily impressed, as I suffered my worst experience almost since I started these QCs in June 2020. I gave up after 72 minutes with 8 unsolved clues. It must have been some sort of payback exacted by the setters after my 12-minute PB from a couple of weeks ago.

  26. and solved today, easier than a few in recent days. Started and after 45 min wakened up, not sure about the time in between, maybe there was a snooze in there. Well it is a Friday. Thanks for clues and blogs all week.
  27. 14 down I believe is Menorca , correct spelling. Popular Med island is the clue. Male (Men) marine predator ( Orca)
  28. Meh to this one.

    Gave up with NE corner of NUTTER, TOPICS, ACHE, EASED, SPEEDWELL, CHIMERA left. Would have DNFed anyway because had ANNEPURNA.

    Far too much specific knowledge required.
    – Who is Veronica SPEEDWELL (had a guess the amphetamine was speed)
    – BING (thought of Mary!)
    – Novel=SHE
    – Knew Paul Revere
    – Gonzo (kept thinking of Gonzo journalism or the muppet)
    – Torrid Zone
    – CHIMERA – always thought this was a monster

    COD underwhelmed by them all

    1. Keep going!

      Not that long ago, I would have given up. I managed to finish today, with one or two guesses. Took me about an hour. It’s been a v tough week. Let’s hope next week is a bit more kind.


    2. Dear Mr Plates,
      I think I may have outdone your DNF, as I gave up after 72 minutes of toil with 7 clues unsolved and 1 error. An utterly hopeless and dispiriting performance. Quite how some of our fellow solvers knocked it off in4 minutes or less simply beats me. It caps an awful week for me, which involved more than five and a half hours of struggle.
      Good luck next week

    1. N = first letter (aka Leader) of National + utter as in ‘I made a complete and utter fool of myself’…. it always looks easy with hindsight, but took me a while too. Cheers – A
      1. But you wouldn’t say “I made a complete and complete fool of myself”, so ‘utter’ can’t mean ‘complete’. Surely?

        1. My phrase is fairly common usage. The ‘utter’ in my example is there for emphasis- to reinforce ‘complete’. You could delete either ‘complete’ or ‘utter’ and it would still mean the same thing. Ergo, they are equal in meaning.
  29. It’s been a tough week and today was no exception, nearly 10 minutes over target. Struggled with TROPICS, ENTHRONE and LOI OLD WOMANISH.
  30. I completed today’s QC but didn’t feel particularly elated. For those of us still quite new, some of the clues were extremely hard.

    I’ve found this week to be a grind. However the excellence of the blogs has helped my understanding no end.

    Have a good weekend.


  31. Toughie! FOI 11a oar. LOI 10d old-womanish (not really happy with this phrase in the QC). COD 18a Annapurna – which came to mind from somewhere or other!
  32. Started very late last night but ground to a halt with around 4 clues to go. Spotted some more this morning but just could not see OLD WOMANISH (hadn’t thought of old for one-time) or ENTHRONE. NHO SPEEDWELL (pre-blog LOI) but can see from comments it makes a frequent entry. FOI ACHE, COD MINORCA (many happy family holidays there in days gone by). Found old womanish and tomboy out of date and mildly irritating but enjoyed the challenge otherwise. Thanks to Orpheus and Curarist.

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