Quick Cryptic 2144 by Mara


One for the anagram fans, this was pretty straightforward and workmanlike. I was anticipating a pangram but alas no X. COD 10ac, 6 and a bit minutes for me

7 Love huge for Greek character (5)
OMEGA – O (zero, love to a tennis player) + MEGA
8 Cooked veal and pork almost coincide (7)
OVERLAP -anagram (‘cooked’) of VEAL POR[k]
10 Extraordinary strike by opener for Bangladesh, cut (7)
BRISKET – anagram (‘extraordinary’) of STRIKE next to B for Bangladesh
11 Tory gains cut by 60 per cent, dance! (5)
CONGA – CON + 40% of GA[INS]
12 Jog one’s memoryas would campanologist? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL – double definition
14 Gossip just as wicked, originally (3)
JAW – first letters of Just As Wicked
15 Charity some Canadians backed (3)
AID – reverse hidden word: canaDIAns
16 Never stopping, vessel guzzled by ancient drunk (9)
INCESSANT – SS (vessel) inside anagram (‘drunk’) of ANCIENT
18 Curry scoffed by Jack or Margaret (5)
KORMA – hidden word: jacK OR MArgaret
20 Go away — as would busy workers? (4,3)
BUZZ OFF – busy workers being bees
22 Muscle priest strained carrying lid of casket (7)
TRICEPS – anagram (‘strained’) of PRIEST, with C for casket inserted
23 Bit of a step up for taxi drivers, vintage car ultimately (5)
RISER – last letters of foR taxI driverS vintagE caR
1 Something worn in crowd lifted, boy in hat (6,6)
BOMBER JACKET – MOB backwards, plus JACK inside BERET
2 New designer left job (8)
RESIGNED – anagram (‘new’) of DESIGNER
3 Spot old European currency (4)
MARK – double definition
4 Bit of a smart outfit, fixture in the East End? (3,3)
BOW TIE – Bow being a district in the East End of London
5 Labour man: he’s cruel, unfortunately (8)
HERCULES – anagram (‘unfortunately’) of HES CRUEL
6 Odd characters in cult ain’t family! (4)
CLAN – alternate letters of CuLt AiNt
9 Take a risk?”, I reply — what if foolish? (4,4,4)
PLAY WITH FIRE – anagram (‘foolish’) of I REPLY WHAT IF
13 Lively dancing in ad entertains friend (8)
ANIMATED – anagram (‘dancing’) of IN AD with MATE inserted
14 Heartless judge with a bad feeling of resentment (8)
JEALOUSY – JE (judge without his ‘heart’) + A + LOUSY
17 Spaniard initially inspired by old measure, Picasso say (6)
CUBIST – CUBIT with S for Spaniard inside
19 Coach with roof off, wet (4)
RAIN – TRAIN minus the first letter
21 Queen in Australia rising for nothing (4)
ZERO -ER inside a backwards OZ

58 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2144 by Mara”

  1. 7 minutes. I was pleased to finish with my target time (10 minutes) as I’ve had rather too many failures recently. I missed the parsing of INCESSANT along the way and was planning to return to it but forgot, however I don’t think it would have taken me long to spot it.

  2. All green in a shade under 10 for a good end to a tricky week. Eight on the first pass of acrosses followed by a long time trying to parse BOMBER JACKET – quite a lot going on in that clue. I also spent a while unravelling INCESSANT, the best hidden (part) anagram for a while. Enjoyed BOW TIE and JEALOUSY. Good one.

  3. 17 minutes which I consider a decent time for me and no problems along the way, all parsed.
    LOI: JEALOUSY as it was the last one I looked at.
    Favourite BOMBER JACKET as it jumped into mind from the O of OMEGA, the B of BRISKET and ‘crowd’ lifted.

  4. Eight anagrams as well as seven letter addition/removal indicators (opener/cut/originally/lid/ultimately/initially/roof off). Enjoyed BOW TIE.


    1. Kevin. You’re not a curry man. Korma is a beginners curry with lots of yogurt. I introduced my sons to it when they were about 10. Now they love curry. A much better investment than the school fees. I completed this in 22 while eating a Lamb Bhuna so would have been sub 15. My target is 2 Rotters so he was having an off day. J

      1. Kevin I believe is resident in Osaka. I am a curry man and have always disdained Japanese curry. Too mild, sweet and devoid of any character. That was until I visited The Art House in Kyoto one lunchtime. I was served with a beef curry, something verboten in India, that was out of this world! Rich, dark, peppery gravy and gorgeous, melt in the mouth mildly chillied beef with delicate, fragrant rice, with a cucumber relish and a side salad. It was probably more akin to Bangkok than Kolkata but it was lovely. I returned a couple of days later for a replay!

  6. 16:36 !!!!!!!! Free at last … fastest ever …

    After yesterday, that was a thing of beauty. FOI RESIGNED … not surprised given it’s a swap of the first and last letters. They just flew in after that. BIFD my last three – ANIMATED, INCESSANT, CUBIST. Plus needed blog to explain RISER.

    Thanks to Mara and Curarist … I’d also like to thank my agent, my parents, my friends, the fans who’ve been with me on this near six month journey to get out of the SCC … begins to cry …

    1. Oh my gosh L plates! I finished too! Granted it took me a lot longer at 45 min but maybe this was one for the noobs!

      1. Thanks Tina. Well done on your solve too.

        I’ll be issuing a test tomorrow on names of rivers 😀

    2. Well done. Now I understand the cr bit at the end, but how many letters ?

      1. Ha ha … reminds me of the “Overworked postman” crossword clue !!

    3. Really well done! I took longer than you and have been doing these for a few years now!

  7. Nothing too tricky today, although a complete brainfreeze on LOI BOMBER added a minute to my time. Finished in 8.22.
    Thanks to Curarist

  8. 9:46 hoorah! A very rare sub 10. A generous sprinkling of anagrams and lots of lurkers too.
    Anyone else find the skip filled square toggle button reversed or the timer continuing after congratulations and all green? Might be my Android phone.
    Thanks Curarist and Mara

  9. 8’38” lots of biffing without parsing incl. BOMBER JACKET & INCESSANT.

    Enjoyed it though after, like Jackkt, a few disappointments recently – although mine were DNFs as opposed to missed target times!

  10. I thought I might break 3 minutes at one point, but then I got held up for almost two minutes by the crossing BRISKET and BOW TIE. Still within target though.

    TIME 4:47

  11. Wasted time at the start by thinking “It would be handy to get 1dn on this grid” and then inevitably being unable to crack it. Otherwise pretty straightforward and lots to enjoy.

    “Labour man” for HERCULES is probably a chestnut but it was new to me and I loved it.

    FOI OMEGA, LOI BOMBER JACKET (still had to winkle it out even with all the checkers!), COD HERCULES, time 07:59 for 1.2K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Mara and Curarist.


  12. I have just noticed that our new website lacks the opportunity to give one’s comment a title, but I don’t really miss it. I would have titled my post “Anagram lover”, as when solved there is rarely cause for doubt that it is right. So I enjoyed this – thanks Mara and Curarist. All parsed, nothing unknown. FOI RESIGNED, LOI RISER, COD INCESSANT. Most time taken on ANIMATED, unhelpful crossers, and spent too long with PAL rather than MATE

    1. Titles …
      … can still be inserted. But one needs to hand-craft them using bold type in the first line of the comment.

      1. Thanks, I can’t do bold type with Android on this site, but I’ll try on my desktop when I want to do one😊

  13. I finished this one too! I gave in and worked out the anagrams on paper (I do the crosswords on my phone) and I used the ‘letters in a circle’ method suggested by our friends on this blog and lo it worked so well

    I was really chuffed with myself after working out BOMBERJACKET only to find practically the exact same clue in the quick cryptic of like 14 Jan 2021 (I’m working my way through old ones). I really do think experience counts for a lot in these puzzles.

    I’m having curry tonight for dinner now, the idea won’t leave my brain.

    COD: BOMBERJACKET (despite the repeat)

    I’ve also just discovered the Cryptic for Beginners series of articles on the Guardian website so I’ll be perusing lists of river names this evening.

  14. 1150 (Edessa falls to the Turks)

    Straightforward solve, and a well-constructed QC. Stuck for longest time on BOMBER JACKET, could not get any parts of that clue. With “random boys name” in somewhere, and “hat” also not providing much to go on. I was sure it would end in an R, and only TRICEPS closed that off.

    Many quality anagrams today, with HERCULES my favourite. But COD to BRISKET for the great misdirection, where “cut” was the definition not a truncation instruction.

  15. Thanks to Mara for a nice puzzle (and a genuine QC) to end the week. Best of the week for me at under 2K (11.45). Some clever clues and lots of good anagrams (my LOI was HERCULES, too). Thanks to both. John M.

  16. I was very surprised to see the clock had stopped at 17 minutes when I finished this one – my pace was steady rather than spectacular or sultry, and I thought I was doing ok! I initially wanted BOW TIE to be top hat, with just the O crosser in place, I miscounted the letters in designer, so looked for the anagram with an L for left added into the grist, but otherwise no real problems except biffing RISER and only spotting the parsing device post-submission. LOI CUBIST. Thanks both.

  17. Finished in one fell swoop and much enjoyed. Fun to have an easier QC to end a difficult week.
    Couldn’t parse BOMBER JACKET but it had to be. Also biffed INCESSANT.
    BOW TIE made me smile, as did HERCULES, when penny finally dropped.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  18. I agree with Blighter – a genuine QC, which took me a most enjoyable 11 minutes or so. With two Js and two Zs I was looking for a pangram like our blogger, but not only is there no X, but there is no Q either. I think there is a word for a puzzle with all but one of the 26 letters (Lipogram?) but presumably even the keenest cruciverbalist hasn’t coined one for a puzzle missing 2 letters.

    A fairly straightforward solve in the main, though I entered 1D Bomber jacket from the definition and checkers alone and never managed to parse it. LOI was 17D Cubist – it took a while to remember Cubit. My first guess at a 5-letter word for old measure going C-B was Cable, but that was never going to make a workable word!

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

  19. It was a relief to get a gentle one after 3 over-average puzzles in a row. Nice one. Thanks Mara and Curarist. A rare sub-4 minutes for me. 3:44

  20. Very enjoyable after struggling with yesterday’s QC. Rather a lot of anagrams helped with that. Biffed 16A – my LOI – not expection yet another (part) anagram. Finished just inside my target 20 mins.
    Thanks Curarist and Mara.

  21. Started with OMEGA and finished with BOMBER JACKET. 7:28. Thanks Mara and Curarist.

  22. Relieved to break 10 minutes after three consecutive misses. My time of 8.57 would have been a good deal quicker if I could have sorted out the nw corner more speedily. LOI 3d MARK.

  23. A fairly straightforward Friday offering from Mara had me heading for a comfortable enough sub-20, until I reached the Animated/Incessant crossing. I misread the 16ac clue and thought it required a vessel with an ancient drink, and I couldn’t get mead to fit. . . Bow Tie also took a long time via words with a dropped aitch. The end result was a seat in today’s nearly empty coach. CoD to 5d, Hercules. Invariant

  24. My first ever sub 10 minutes!
    I completed in 9, all parsed except for 1d.
    LOI 3d Mark had my head in a twirl as I was trying to complete and needed a quick spin through the alphabet.
    Some real write-ins amongst the pack and a lovely end to the week.
    I liked the Korma clue especially.
    Thanks all
    One of my very few sub-Rotter times!

  25. 27 mins with incessant and riser biffed (thanks Curarist) – always happy just to complete instead of being missing 1 -4 answers.

  26. I too started with OMEGA and finished with BOMBER JACKET. My LOI required several looks and even then I biffed it as I had not unravelled the parsing. INCESSANT also not fully parsed and late in.
    I was solving online and going well when someone came to the door- and I did not stop the clock. So my 100 minutes was probably 10 to 12 of solving.
    Favourite was HERCULES- new to me; very clever.

  27. Mostly enjoyable, but a tortuous finish!

    Just three clues remained as I entered SCC territory, which is very fast for me. Then I well and truly hit the buffers. After a further 5 minutes and faced with __B_S_, I guessed CUBIST for 17d. However, I couldn’t parse it and rubbed it out some time later on. The remaining two clues, 16a (____S_A_T) and 13d (A___A_E_) proved impossible to alphabet trawl – probably because I had too many gaps – and I was completely devoid of ideas as to how either clue worked. Eventually, I reinserted CUBIST (still unparsed) and finally found INCESSANT (also unparsed). That lead me to ANIMATED (again unparsed) and a feeling of deflation.

    Total time = 51 minutes (21 minutes for the first 21 clues, followed by 30 minutes for the last 3).

    Mrs Random couldn’t understand why I was struggling, as she finished all correct in just 16 minutes. I’m very pleased for her, as she fell whilst out for a run yesterday and is complaining of significant pain, instability and clicking inside her knee joint. Oh dear!

    Many thanks to Mara and Curarist.

  28. Just over 15 mins which I’ll count as a success after a herculean amount of red wine.
    Bifd donkey jacket for 1d but removed when I couldn’t parse anything except Jack.

    Lots of nice clues from Mara: brisket, overlap, bow tie, incessant (unparsed at first like Jackt), hercules, but COD to hercules.

  29. Lightning speed for me to finish in 15:07. Didn’t know KORMA but it sounded right. Now we have coincide=tally=OVERLAP. Enjoyed three B clues most- BOW TIE, BRISKET, and BOMBER JACKET. Didn’t parse latter so missed beret in there- thanks for showing me that plus rest of blog.

    1. With a name like “curryowen” I’m surprised you didn’t know Korma…

      1. Apparently the Curry branch of the family goes back to a 17th century Knaresborough haberdasher and not to the exotic East. That being said ,since first trying it, I have never knowingly passed up a chance at a goat curry.

        1. If I rightly remember, there used to be a place in York that served up a good goat curry (I used to live between Knaresborough and York)

          1. Good to know-will look out for it when I ever get over to search out Yorkshire roots!

  30. Finished in 13 minutes but several biffed from crossers (bomber jacket, riser, jealousy). Thanks to Curarist for explaining all those. Thanks also to Mara (a compiler whom I have struggled with in the past) for a relatively gentle Friday offering.

    FOI – 7ac OMEGA
    LOI – 23ac RISER
    COD – 22ac TRICEPS for the smooth surface. Also liked HERCULES.

  31. 12:31

    Nice and easy today. Didn’t parse BOMBER JACKET but it fit. Slight hold up misspelling JEALOUSY but obvious once I had INCESSANT.

  32. I was much more on the wavelength for this than yesterday. My only query was whether coach really equated to train as a coach is only part of a train. Then it came to me – they are both verbs!

  33. 9 min biff fest…

    One of my best times of late, although I ended up biffing quite a lot and not stopping to parse: 1dn “Bomber Jacket”, 9dn “Play With Fire”, 16ac “Incessant” come to mind. The NW corner went in fairly easily, and for once I didn’t grind to a halt.

    A nice end to the week.

    FOI – 3dn “Mark”
    LOI – 17dn “Cubist”
    COD – 5dn “Hercules”

    Thanks as usual!

  34. I was on the 8:00 Inter City from Shanghai to Bangladesh, arriving on schedule.

    FOI 3dn MARK – our dog with the hair-lip
    WOD 18ac KORMA

    This ‘portcullis’ style grid is not particularly conducive to a quick start.

  35. Nice end to the week although I’m not brilliant with anagrams. Didn’t parse everything so blog was very welcome.

    Have a good weekend everyone.


  36. Finished in 2 sittings in around 18 mins. Nice way to finish the week after some very tricky puzzles. FOI OMEGA, LOI MARK, COD INCESSANT. Many thanks all

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