Times Quick Cryptic 2177 by Trelawney

I gave up on the NW corner pretty quickly, finding the NE to be more amiable. I then progressed anticlockwise, more or less, but still couldn’t see what 1ac was all about, so biffed it. LOsI were 10dn followed by 15ac, both also biffs.

It will be interesting to hear if this really is chewy in parts, or if I’m just suffering from the heat…

Definitions underlined.

1 Cartoon character frames mischievous graph (3,5)
BAR CHART – BART (cartoon character, from ‘The Simpsons’) containing (frames) ARCH (mischievous). I spent a very confusing couple of seconds trying to work out why ‘char’ was ‘mischievous’, then moved on.
5 Mark‘s small vehicle (4)
SCAR – S (small) and CAR (vehicle).
8 Young ladies returning, having adopted Northern jargon (5)
SLANG – GALS (young ladies) reversed (returning), containing (having adopted) N (Northern).
9 Mother with wooden dog (7)
MASTIFF – MA (mother) and STIFF (wooden).
11 Resistance unit primarily orders heavy machinery (3)
OHM – first letters of (primarily) Orders Heavy Machinery.
12 Mars alien appears after communist plot (3,6)
RED PLANET – ET (extra-terrestrial, alien) following (after) RED (communist) and PLAN (plot).
13 Require extremely large and pointy implement (6)
NEEDLE – NEED (require) and the outermost letters from (extremely) LargE.
15 High priest’s signifier of rank (6)
STRIPE – anagram of (high) PRIEST. I couldn’t get the idea that this was a double definition out of my head.
18 Wine lover disturbed carnivore (9)
WOLVERINE – anagram of (disturbed) WINE LOVER.
19 Tune from duo without piano (3)
AIR – pAIR (duo) after removing (without) ‘p’ (piano, softly on a musical score).
20 What a has-been may say is a deadlock? (7)
IMPASSE – a has-been might say “I’m passé”. I don’t think this is intended as a homophone clue, thankfully.
21 Offer a view on pie mixture (5)
OPINE – anagram of (mixture) ON PIE.
22 Occasion is cut short — that’s not odd! (4)
EVEN – EVENt (occasion) missing its last letter (cut short).
23 Intelligence to capture terrible hound in murder mystery (8)
WHODUNIT – WIT (intelligence) containing (to capture) an anagram of (terrible) HOUND.
1 Benefit when pinching fool’s instrument (7)
BASSOON – BOON (benefit) containing (when pinching) ASS (fool).
2 Monarch initially supporting genuine kingdom (5)
REALM – first letter of (initially) Monarch, beneath (supporting) REAL (genuine).
3 Casino big shots — they may rock the boat! (4,7)
HIGH ROLLERS – definition and cryptic hint, ‘high rollers’ referring to large waves.
4 Mike taken in by thin-sounding treatment (6)
REMEDY – M (mike, phonetic alphabet) contained by (inside) REEDY (thin-sounding).
6 Greek character not in favour of wine from Italy (7)
CHIANTI – CHI (Greek character) and ANTI (not in favour of).
7 Whistleblower is on top of computing overhaul (5)
REFIT – REF (whistleblower) above (on top of) IT (Information Technology, computing).
10 Award two silver medals maybe for a brief period? (5,6)
SPLIT SECOND – cryptic hint and definition, to ‘split second’ place one might award two silvers.
14 Overshadow some movie clips eventually (7)
ECLIPSE – hidden in (some) moviE CLIPS Eventually.
16 Serious art seen to become silly (7)
EARNEST – anagram of (to become silly) ART SEEN.
17 Very advanced phone ultimately beset by snag (2-4)
HI-TECH – last letter of (ultimately) phonE contained in (beset by) HITCH (snag).
18 Compose beginning of wedding ceremony (5)
WRITE – first letter (beginning) of Wedding, then RITE (ceremony).
19 Straighten a queue, reportedly (5)
ALIGN – A, then a homophone of (reportedly) “line” (queue).

81 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2177 by Trelawney”

  1. My only problem was WOLVERINE, where I started by taking ‘carnivore’ as the anagrist. 4:11.

  2. 11:48. I found this pretty straightforward , only holdups were seeing that high and priest needed to be separated and trying to make a wine lover out of the letters of carnivore. Really enjoyed IMPASSE and BAR CHART but thought the very clever SPLIT SECOND was COD.

  3. 2:40
    On my phone, with my fat thumbs

    So about as chewy as a bowl of soup, but I really did enjoy it

    1. A sub-3-minute time is pretty unfathomable to me. A sub-3-minute time on a phone is gobsmacking.

      1. 3.08 here on my phone. I get the answer in my head and use the reveal button which is quicker than trying to type the answers in. Came unstuck on the 15×15 today doing this. Need to slow down!

    2. Noooo I had planned to use ‘I solve these on my phone’ to excuse my longer times later down the track!

    3. 🔥🔥🔥 Wowser! That’s faster than I’ve ever managed, even doing it on paper. Well done!

  4. 3:54. Held up for many seconds by STRIPE, and put it in as a guess finally because I wanted the glory of a sub-4-minute time. In the end I convinced myself that the ST was RIPE, and that’s how we got a ‘high priest’.

  5. I finished this in 21 minutes! Which means there was no geography knowledge required. One wine clue though.

    It wasn’t straightforward I was picking off clues all throughout the board and using checkers to help me fill in the rest.

    All parsed, except like William, I wondered how ‘char’ was a frame. ARCH! of course.

    Foi: OHM
    Loi: STRIPE (took forever to see it was an anagram)
    Cod: I liked whodunit, but a lot of the clues had very smooth surfaces, not a lot of awkward reads, it was great.

    Thanks everyone!

  6. An enjoyable 15:17 today. FOI SCAR, was looking good for around 10:00 until I came to a screeching halt with SPLIT SECOND and STRIPE holding out for another 5 minutes. COD SPLIT SECOND, which made me smile once I figured it out.

  7. One of my fastest ever at under 7.30 (just). Raced out of the blocks with 10 on the first pass of acrosses and then downs went in nicely too. Held up at the end by EARNEST where in my haste I was looking for the anagrist to spell something silly not serious and by STRIPE where, like Jeremy, I had a ripe saint – knew it didn’t really parse but it fitted the checkers and the definition worked – not the first time I’ve missed ‘high’ as an anagram indicator.

  8. Pinballed around the grid for a problem free 6’50” (sub 3’ on a phone?!? 😳👏👏👏). Lots of mid-entry parsing including SPLIT SECOND, RED PLANET & BAR CHART all of which I liked.

    Is “high” a regular indicator of an anagram? It’s not one I recognise. Are you scrambled if you’re high from drugs? Seems a bit of a stretch. Maybe not now I dwell on it

    1. I took it as like meat being a bit “high” meaning it’s started to rot/decompose.

      1. I hadn’t thought of that, but am not sold on it: is that not further removed because does ‘high’ there not refer to the smell (which is as a result of ‘going off?’) Feels a bit tenuous. Will happily take the convention but would like to be a bit more convinced as to why!

      2. I now see a (Google dictionary) definition with regards to game birds with ‘high’ being ready to cook having slightly decomposed with no direct reference to the smell

        So that all makes sense and fits your reference Templar.

        Thank you!

          1. I assumed High was an anagrist on the grounds that it does seem that almost any word can be used as one. When I started doing the QC I dutifully made a list of all the anagram indicators, but when it got to well over 100 words I called a halt!

            Having said that I also parsed Stripe and “St Ripe, the high saint”. And only then saw it was also an anagram.


    2. “Are you scrambled if you’re high from drugs?” Well, there are many different results of drug-taking- euphoria, hyperawareness, manic episodes, cravings for munchies or orange juice, general feeling of love for all humanity,etc. But the very common outcome of a muddled,confused, mixed-up state of mind makes “high”to me a very apt anagrist.

  9. 14 minutes and possible my fastest finish. Although I don’t go for speed, I enjoy solving.

    FOI: BASSOON followed by REALM and BARCHART the top half falling quickly. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Slowed a little after that. BIFD SPLIT SECOND seeing the wordplay post solve.
    Favourite: OPINE for its surface.

  10. Almost matched LouWeed’s numeric time (24 minutes) due to sleepy start but then woke up and gathered pace.
    A good mixture of clear cluing thrown in with a few chewies. COD IMPASSE.
    Thanks William and Trelawney.

  11. A very quick solve was prevented by making a complete horlicks of 1a, where I got stuck looking for a cartoon character with an anagram of graph in the middle of it. I completely overlooked the fact that this would require double duty from ‘character’ 🤦‍♂️.
    Finished in 6.26 with LOI BAR CHART and COD to SPLIT SECOND.
    Thanks to William

  12. Great fun, but not chewy. Turn the fan on, William!

    FOI OHM, LOI STRIPE, COD SPLIT SECOND, time 06:33 for 1.6K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks to the Squire and William.


  13. Zoomed quickly through without stopping, first time for ages.
    Liked WHODUNIT, RED PLANET, SPLIT SECOND among others.
    Thanks, William.

  14. I have found Trelawney crosswords a bit chewy in the past, but not today, romping home in 3:30. It didn’t stop me admiring 3 clues along the way, leaving a tick on my copy – HI-TECH, WRITE and my COD, AIR. Neat puzzle. Thank-you Trelawney and William.

  15. Reasonable time, but slower than the last couple of days – not much sleep due to the heat and glass or two too many probably the reason.



  16. What looked like being a comfortable sub-20 turned into a race against the clock, as Hi-tech, Split-second and loi Stripe all took longer than they should have done. In fact I was still trying to parse Stripe at the 20min mark, but I had written the answer in. Needed the blog to see how it worked, and thankful that I am not alone. CoD, from a strong field, to Split-second. Invariant

  17. 16:57 – second fastest time ever, second SCC escape in a week …. I’ll take that!

    Lower half more of an issue than the top with WOLVERINE needing most of the checkers to unscramble. STRIPES then EARNEST finished it.

    Thought WHODUNIT had two Ns not that it particuarly mattered and likewise never a fan of words like HI-TECH which have been spelled/written in multiple ways over the years. Not sure anyone uses that phrase these days.

    ALIGN was helped by Monday’s “sleeve up the shirt” clue/answer.

    BARCHART – I mistakenly assumed the CHAR bit was related to “character” and zoomed onwards to fill in BASSOON which I couldn’t parse until post solve.

    COD to REFIT – liked the whistleblower misdirection perhaps because I saw through it almost immediately!

    Thanks to William and Trelawney 🙂

    1. WHODUNNIT is the preferred spelling in all the usual sources although all list WHODUNIT as an alternative. SOED claims the one-N is American.

      1. It’s good to know I’ve not been wrong about it all these years. Although on reflection, the one N of “who done it” does make sense.

        1. Other than in crosswords I’ve never seen it spelt with one N and it looks wrong to me. ‘Who done it’ is ungrammatical anyway so I don’t see why spelling logic should apply.

    2. Let’s goooooo L plates!

      I love things like whistleblower too, but I feel like those things are only amusing the first time. Other examples are flower for river and cow being a lower etc

      And yes agreed with align being a write it because of that dastardly sleeve clue from last time.

      1. Love your enthusiasm, Tina. Always like to read your highs/lows of the day!

    3. Well done. Perseverance pays off in the end. Let’s hope that it’s a sign of things to come.

      1. Thanks Gary, appreciate your support over the weeks. Feel like I’ve reached a stage where I can usually get to within 4-5 clues left within 30-mins which feels much more competent.

    4. Excellent time – perhaps you should be looking to move on to a P plate 😉 ?

  18. Did well today, but a typo effectively made this a dnf. Most of the answers went in fairly easily.

  19. Just inside 10 minutes, so a quickie for me. I also lost some time looking for a cartoon character and an anagram of carnivore. Otherwise, all plain sailing. Thanks both.

  20. 1249 University College, Oxford founded

    12:49 with LOI STRIPE, thinking that LEVITE looked good for the checkers I had at the time. COD both IMPASSE and SPLIT SECOND.

    A little red faced to have tried SLAGS at 8a.

  21. 16 minutes – held up like others by looking for a cartoon character at 1ac and trying to anagram carnivore at 18ac. Couldn’t parse 15ac – never saw the anagram. Otherwise no problems.

    FOI – 5ac SCAR
    LOI – 1ac BAR CHART
    COD – 20ac IMPASSE

    Thanks to Trelawney and William

  22. There are some very fast times on the leaderboard (Mohn 1:32 which is positively frightening !), so I must consider my time a disappointment (in 30th place).

    A pretty straightforward test, but nicely constructed.

    TIME 3:57

  23. Well I’m with William – I thought it was quite chewy! I seem to be having the same problem fairly often these days – trundling along quite nicely up to the 8-9 minutes mark, and then taking several minutes to solve the last three or four. Today was no exception – STRIPE, EARNEST, WHODUNIT and SPLIT SECOND didn’t take seconds 😅 But got there in the end – 15 minutes and all parsed. There were quite a few smiles on the way though which made it worthwhile.
    FOI Scar LOI Split Second COD Impasse
    Thanks Trelawney and William

  24. Still laughing at Merlin trying SLAGS at 8ac 😂.
    My times are getting progressively quicker this week, and a quick one for me today at 6.20. After some of the stinkers last week, I think someone has decided to pitch it at a more comfortable level this week. No doubt I’ll be proved wrong for Thursday and Friday!

    1. To be honest Andy I think it’s random how the puzzles come out and I’m not convinced that crossword experts are able to judge the fine line between what’s easy for a beginner and what is perhaps a little too demanding.

      1. Fair comment Jack, and I agree that there is a fine line in judging just how difficult a crossword is for those who are less experienced.
        I don’t know why, but I’ve always assumed that whoever decides the running order for the week, has a choice of grids to choose from (some harder than others), and likes to vary the difficulty to suit all solvers. The problem here of course as you suggest is assessing what constitutes an easy one or a tougher one. No doubt I am a long way removed from what actually transpires!
        I noted some time ago when Templar joined the blog, he based the success of his solve on the time of Kevin G, hence his 1.6K today. Strangely enough I have often regulated my success against your times! I have found over the years that our times for the QC are very similar. If you find it tough, I generally find it tough and vice versa for an easier one.
        In the final analysis I suppose it’s pretty subjective, but the important thing is that people enjoy the challenge, and newcomers or beginners aren’t discouraged, and reading the daily comments I think most people seem pretty content,

  25. 13mins…

    Fastest for quite a while. Lots to like and enjoy I thought.

    FOI – 8ac “Slang”
    LOI – 7dn “Refit”
    COD – 12ac “Red Planet”

    Thanks as usual!

  26. 20 minutes, today – smack on the SCC boundary and very pleased. I started with SCAR and finished with WRITE after quite a lot of jumping around the grid. I nearly put HUGE ROLLER for 3d, nearly biffed RIPOSTE (for IMPASSE) and wondered why WHODUNIT had only one N. However, these errors were corrected and I managed to fully parse almost all of the clues – RED PLANET being the only exception.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and William.

  27. Commenting later in the day means most of my observations have been made already by others. So let me just say I join those who found this very addressable (7 minutes for me), who tried hard to find an anagram of carnivore (it looked so promising with vino- as the start), who wondered about the spelling of Whodunit (how many Ns?) and who had at least a couple of goes parsing Stripe (answer fairly clear, but parsing could be a number of things).

    All good fun. Many thanks to William for the blog

  28. Obviously I DNF, but am delighted that this is my best ever result, with just 4 clues that stumped me. I correctly guessed RED PLANET, but it didn’t fit because I had the first part of 10d wrong! Many thanks to William for the blog and to everyone for the useful comments.

  29. I find the blog extremely useful especially in explaining the detail of how the solution was arrived at for the clue(s) I did not either a) did not get or b) answered but unsure about the reasoning.

    However, am I alone in becoming extremely annoyed with the comments section becoming a forum for the “ I finished it faster you na na” brigade. I enjoy the puzzle. I enjoy the challenge. So from now on I will check out the blog and go no further. One day soon someone will report that they finished the puzzle without reading the clues!

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way! I always thought this place was quite welcoming for all sorts of puzzlers. Newbies experts and in between. I think it may have started even as a place for people to brag about their times, thus why it’s called times for the times! Tons of commenters on the quick cryptic don’t have amazing times though? It’s just a handful that do, really.

      I think everyone here is quite encouraging, actually, so it is a shame that the comments make you feel bad 🙁

      I do agree that the blog is super helpful though, and I’m happy to read your comments even if you don’t read others!

    2. There have been many comments about this issue over the years, but as Tina says, it is called Times for The Times for a reason. Take a look at the ‘About this site’ section and you’ll find out more.
      I do sympathise with your view – I find reading some of the posts for the biggie can be quite tiresome sometimes and stopped posting some time ago.
      A few of the solvers here are on a different planet from the rest of us and solve in a very different way. Note Simon Ward’s system – not one I’ve ever even thought about!
      I would say that for most of us, solving is the fun / important part, the speed less so, but posting our times is just part of the overview – a measure of how easy / difficult we found the crossword that day.
      Of course, when you have a particularly good result, it’s natural to be happy and even a little bit proud, but we are an honest bunch, and when we have a bad day, we own up. You’ll notice that actually quite a few people don’t post their times at all.
      Some of us quite enjoy comparing ourselves with others who started posting around the same time, or who we feel have a similar skill set, but these aren’t necessarily the quickest. Mostly there’s a lot of humour, honesty and support if you want it.
      Hope you’ll continue to enjoy your times with us 😊

    3. Have forbearance! Sometimes the ‘time’ entries indicate not prowess but the relative easiness of the puzzle. Many such entries are only comparing times with their usual/average, rather than competing. I’m one of the many who have been solving for years and seldom get excited enough to notice how long it takes but just enjoy the challenge. As a result I seldom even make the SCC, but who cares! No-one minds that I don’t compete or offer fast times (seldom, any times). I do marvel at the speeds others attain when I’m still reading the clues, but am not interested in what that tells me other than a hint at the general difficulty of the day in question.

    4. I don’t think there’s many participants in the “I’ve finished faster than you na na” brigade. Perhaps it’s implied by one or two the posters, but mostly people are simply reporting their own times.

      Of course, one part of the issue is that the faster solvers are usually at the top of the comments so it can appear weighted towards them. Whereas when you take all day to do it, you’re down here with 60th comment.

      It’s a shame that many of the slower solvers (of which I often am) don’t feel confident about reporting their times. It would give a more balanced view and deshame it for all who aren’t quick.

      I look forward to when we have the Like button as it will allow to let the slow among us know they’re appreciated.

  30. 7:10 which is very fast for me – I usually need 10 min or more. Nothing really hard. 1ac and 1dn were my last ones in.

  31. I’m liking the standard this week, hope it’s the new norm. For me thoughtful but doable. Thanks all (And I ignore most talk of times other than SCC)

  32. Enjoyable puzzle but we had attire for 15a, missing the anagram. Otherwise fairly quick for us.

  33. I thought this a much easier puzzle than many of late. Possibly even a tad too easy! No holdups on a gentle solve, part in Costa and the rest at home.

    FOI 1a Bar Chart
    LOI 16d Earnest – just because I looked at it last of all
    COD – nil entry today!

  34. I struggled a bit today. Didn’t appreciate the alternative spelling of whodunnit and took ages to realise high was an anagram indicator. Into the SCC, but not by too much. Congratulations to those of you who have recorded some personal bests (or almost personal bests) today – well done!!

  35. My wife and I have a go at the QC together and have loved how much better we have managed to get over time. We don’t start a clock because we don’t care about the time. It would have to include refilling and top up pauses so the seconds don’t matter. If we can finish without having to seek help ( here) then we are pleased. The clever word play in the setting and the genius of the misdirection is just so enjoyable. So we completed today and enjoyed it enormously.

  36. Came to this very late after a busy day meeting ex colleagues for lunch, then running a Zoom folk session and imbibing a few beers. Started with BAR CHART and finished in EARNEST. Liked SPLIT SECOND. 5:33. Thanks Trelawney and William.


  38. Late entry! 12 minutes so actually very quick for me. Wolverine took time to see and I hesitated over red planet as I couldn’t quickly unravel why…
    I’m a bit out of practice…
    Thanks all

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