Quick Cryptic 2184 by Breadman

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

I enjoyed this. Medium difficulty I’d say, but nice surfaces and rewarding wordplay. Held up by biffing LANCE CORPORAL for 6d, and again by misspelling SERGEANT. Panicked at 17dn thinking there was some special word for the dots on a die that I didn’t know, but in the end a very neat clue. Slightly above par 7 minutes for me.

1 Poorly Alec OK facing doctor somewhere in northern Italy (4,4)
LAKE COMO – anagram (‘poorly’) of ALEC OK, plus MO for doctor
5 Tip left among snooker equipment (4)
CLUE -L inside CUE
8 In South American port, notice transistor maybe (5)
RADIO – AD inside RIO
9 Love affair, with fabulous bird enthralling chap, European (7)
ROMANCE – ROC with MAN inside, plus E
11 Part of day, we are shortening formal attire (11)
13 Type of film Mick regularly recorded in space (6)
ROMCOM – MC (alternate letters of MICK) inside ROOM
14 Mum is reversing fast (6)
SILENT – IS backwards + LENT
16 Pop’s one to vocalise, daydreaming (11)
18 Fortress constructed at the front with elaborate detail (7)
CITADEL – C for constructed + anagram (‘elaborate’) of DETAIL
19 Destroy period staircase heartlessly (5)
ERASE – ERA + StaircaseE
20 Daughter perhaps painting English river (4)
21 Condition inside half of ground not declared (8)
1 Some fully restore old musical instrument (4)
LYRE – hidden word: fulLY REstore. That word ‘some’ again.
2 Child, glowing, lifted church somewhere in West Midlands (13)
3 Private Honda convertible within easy reach (5,2,4)
CLOSE TO HAND – CLOSET + anagram (‘convertible’) of HONDA
4 Large fish right and left in sea (6)
MARLIN – R+L inside MAIN
6 Army officer‘s weapon prepared around range when training (5,8)
LANCE SERGEANT – LANCE (weapon) + SET (prepared) around anagram (‘when training’) of RANGE
7 Denounce former partner, City judge (8)
EXECRATE – EX (former partner) + EC (city, of London) + RATE (judge)
10 Noble Tim, a fencing freak (11)
MAGNIFICENT – anagram (‘freak’) of TIM A FENCING
12 Introduced quiet official before pilot departs (8)
PREFACED – P (quiet) + REF (official) + ACE (pilot) + D
15 Dicky tucks into part of fish substitute (4-2)
FILL-IN – ILL inside FIN
17 Spot on side of dice: pip (4)
SEED – SEE (spot) + D[ice]

70 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2184 by Breadman”

  1. I need some time off from this site – wrote merlin for MARLIN. Pink square for a second day. Didn’t check the anagrist for CLOSE TO HAND for ages, thinking it was ‘close at hand’ and that made ROMCOM tricky at the end. Started with 1 a and 5a but then only got one more on the first pass of acrosses. I found this quite tough.

  2. 6.59

    Same as our blogger re the officer and that wasted a good little time

    Didn’t see the parsing at all for FANTASISING but it had to be

    Thanks Curarist and Breadman

  3. 11 minutes, missing my target 10 for the first time since last Friday. The only clue that delayed me unduly was 6dn where like our blogger I immediately thought LANCE CORPORAL but couldn’t make sense of the wordplay so had to have a re-think. It may be down to memory failing with age or my brain still fried after the heat on Monday and Tuesday, but I can’t be sure that I have ever heard of LANCE SERGEANT before.

  4. I didn’t know Kidderminster, I don’t know why closet = private, I nho of a lance seargent (corporal fit, dammit)

    I nho roc, and I biffed a fair few of these. It took me ages to get going.

    1. Lake Como, Kidderminster, Rio and River Dart – a geographyfest for Tina 🙂

      If you keep something in the closet, you’re keeping it private.

      Have a good weekend … LP 🙂

      1. I do know Rio is a port now!

        Now I think of it I do know what a roc is, there was an egg in like a fairy tale or something

        1. It did cross my mind that there was a lot of geography for you 😊 Do Australians still refer to the OE? Maybe you should indulge – come and visit all these places you’re discovering via crosswords 😅 The Dart is another regular in crosswordland – IRL it’s another exceptionally pretty river which wends its way through Devon.
          Why would you know where Kidderminster is? I wonder whether many Britons know exactly where it is, unless they’re steam railway freaks!

          1. I’ve probably only heard of it because of Kidderminster Harriers football team making the Football League at one stage and probably some FA Cup runs. And that’s despite having lived in Cheltenham for three years and friends still in Worcester.

            My first K attempt was Kenilworth which is fortunately not long enough and probably more SE Midlands than west. Reread clue and child=KID jumped out and BIFD it in there.

            1. That’s interesting about the carpets! You really learn new stuff here all the time. Having a steam railway buff in the family I was well aware of the Severn Valley heritage railway, but also remember going to the nearby West Midlands Safari Park many years ago. There’s more to Kidderminster than meets the eye. Still an unusual choice for a crossword clue 😃

              1. The local paper is the Kidderminster Shuttle – another reference to carpets.

    2. Hi Tina – some people come out of the closet because their lifestyle is private to them. Like most people never heard of Lance sergeant either 🙂

      1. Of course! But I wouldn’t say the words would fit a substitution test in that sense?

        Do people say they come out of the private?

        I never know if there’s a UK usage of a word I don’t know

            1. I’ve discovered my brother in law is a closet 15×15 solver but had NHO the blogs. He doesn’t need them, I guess.

              1. I sometimes find them easier than, these but generally I don’t know about a closet – maybe a darkened room:)

  5. Raced through top half thinking I was on for fast time but fell down by biffing ‘LANCE CORPORAL’ – NHO ‘LANCE SERGEANT’. Also biffed 3D, putting AT instead of TO, which should teach me to be more careful about checking the parsing. This held me up with my LOI 13A.
    Nice QC.
    Thanks Curarist and Breadman

  6. 26 minutes. Tough in parts.
    FOI: LYRE.
    LOI: SEED as it was the last one I looked at.
    Struggled with ROMCOM even though on reflection the cluing was clear. Also, BIFD FANTASISING just didn’t see the parsing. I would never have thought of Fanta.
    I too thought of LANCE CORPORAL first but it just didn’t work…

  7. So close … 15min29 DNF … rushing to finish BIFd tANTAliSING for FANTASISING and that blocked me into a silly answer for PREFACED. Apart from those two, was all done at 11:30ish.

    LANCE-SERGEANT, tried to go down the corporal route but blocked by ERASE and always want to spell “seargeant”. Had to build it from the clue.

    LAKE-COMO … what a fantastic place. Went there thirty years ago on my interrailing holiday. Always said I would go there for my honeymoon – never got married, so never been back 🙁

    SEED was helped by failing to get pip last Thursday. Had to dig hard to remember EC=city.

    COD to FILL-IN

    Three great days in a row – for me at least.

    Thanks to Curarist and Breadman 🙂

  8. 13’ with a small break.

    Ditto many of the above: couldn’t parse FANTASISING. Nho LANCE SERGEANT (but if a Corporal can carry/be a ‘lance’ it makes sense that there may be others!) and tripped myself up with ‘to’ not AT with regards to CLOSE & HAND.

    Did a ROC appear in Arabian Nights or similar? I have vague memories of a Ray Harryhausen-style stop motion bird attacking someone in an old film. Might be imagining it.

    1. Yep, ROC is a mythical bird … think it’s in one of the Sinbad films that Ray Harryhausen does the stop-film. Possibly the one with Tom Baker … possibly called Seven Seas of Sinbad

      Edit: Looked it up … 1958s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad … no Tom Baker

      1. I directed a Sinbad panto where a group had to spot a Roc flying overhead. You wouldn’t have thought there were so many ways of saying “It’s the Roc”. Also our props guy queried the use of a big yellow feather on the grounds that his research showed the Roc to be black. My response “and that’s the only thing you think is unrealistic”.

        1. I can empathise with the props guy, sort of “missing the wood for trees” thing I would come out with 🙂

    2. There’s a theory that the ROC was sighted by Arabian explorers on Madagascar, where the Elephant Bird lived. It went extinct around 1500, so the dates just about work.

  9. It felt as if I was on Breadman’s wavelength as some of this seemed quite tricky but the answers kept jumping out at me. Like others, the army rank was new to me but I already had a couple of crossers when I came to it so was able to immediately discount the corporal option.
    Started with LAKE COMO and all it’s offshoots and finished with SILENT, which became easier once I’d corrected my spelling mistake in sergeant, in 8.34. Particularly enjoyed piecing together PREFACED and the NHO EXECRATE.
    Thanks to Curarist

  10. 805 Battle of Canburg: The Franks defeat the Slavs and conquer Bohemia

    8:05, with no real hold-ups. Top to bottom solve, needed this blog to parse PREFACED, not seen pilot=ACE and D=departs is always a mis-direction for me, makes me hunt for a missing letter.

    Never heard of Lance Sergeant, and thought it might be Lance-General (like Major General, Brigadier General etc). I just read that the “lance” prefix means a temporary promotion. We should use it in business : a lance-manager, a lance-president etc.

    MARLIN made me smile, we had MERLIN recently.

    Where does D=dice, is that in Gaming worlds where we talk about a 6d or 20d? If so, I welcome slang from a new demographic!

      1. I think it’s “spot” = SEE, which is “on side of dice”, ie on D, which is one side of the word “dice”. That’s how I read it, anyway!

  11. ‘Medium difficulty’ hmm, that only works with easy at the top and very difficult lower down. Off to a fast start but the SW corner was a bit of a nightmare until Citadel fell into place. Dnk Execrate, though the cluing was fair, but fortunately did know CoD Lance Sergeant. 26mins in total. Invariant

  12. I found this mostly straightforward until the two long clues that everyone else has commented on held me up at the end and pushed my completion time out to 15 minutes. Fantasising was eventually biffed once I had enough checkers, but never parsed until I read Curarist’s blog – and when I did, I confess surprise at seeing Pop clued as Fanta. Is this not a proprietary name? And like for almost everyone else, Lance Sergeant was a rank I had NHO. I see it was created in Victorian times, but was rare even when current, and was abolished (except for the Foot Guards and the HAC, the internet tells me) some 75 years ago. Clearly Breadman’s idea of GK is more elevated than mine!

    Cluing D as “side” of dice in Seed had me wondering a bit: I can see it fits the surface in this particular clue rather nicely but I am more used to the first letter of a word being the “head”, “top” or “front”. I suppose one could therefore also use “side of” to be the last letter of a word – I shall store that one away.

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

  13. 12 minutes despite falling for the Corporal and CLOSE at HAND traps. I have met some LANCE SERGEANTs – I think it was a Guards regiment I worked with for a while in Derry back in the day, so I should have avoided the first trap. LOI SILENT for me, as I was slow to think of that meaning of mum. A very good QC in my opinion. Thanks Breadman and Curarist.

  14. Started well then gradually slowed. Could you parse corporal so quickly removed it. Silent and Romcom last 2 . Cod silent.

  15. This was all about error correction for me. I wrote in LANCE COPRORAL early on and also had CLOSE AT HAND. When trying to go quickly, I don’t always stop to parse fully-a mistake.
    I did parse FANTASISING which was the clue that helped to undo my errors.
    16 minutes in the end.
    Another good QC. COD to SILENT.

  16. Avoided the corporal but I was another who shoved in AT hand not TO hand, so had to unpick that later.

    Otherwise reasonably smooth sailing though had to use a cold wet towel for EXECRATE!

    FOI LAKE COMO, LOI EXECRATE, COD SILENT (really liked that, terrific surface), time 07:56 for 1.1K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and curarist.


    1. “Breaders”! Do you have inside knowledge that Breadman is part of the Test Match Special team (Johners, Aggers, etc.)?

  17. I too give my COD to silent- very pleased to remember its connection with mum- shame I struggled with fast/lent, but got there in the end- thanks Breadman and Curarist.

  18. I’ll bet Breadman is chuckling to himself that as he intended, almost everyone biffed LANCE CORPORAL for 6dn. It was only when getting to the middle a in erase that we realised we were going down the wrong path.
    A good test, and I was fairly speedy at 8.25 with 16ac my LOI.
    Like L-Plates above seeing LAKE COMO brought back happy memories of a great holiday, and if anyone is debating which of the lakes in northern Italy to visit, I think having visited them all, this is the pick.

  19. Yes, another who biffed Corporal and at hand. “You don’t have to say you love me, just be close at hand” (Dusty)
    I was very fast at first but stuck in SW. Finally had to look up Introduced in the CCD. LOI ROMCOM after swapping At for TO.
    An enjoyable puzzle though.
    Thanks, Curarist.

  20. Yet another LANCE CORPORAL. NHO LANCE SERGEANT until it had to be. CLOSE AT HAND held up ROMCOM. Took a while to see FANTA for pop. However, the run of typos continues, and I didn’t see that I’d overwritten the I in SILENT with MAGNEFICENT. Drat! 11:14, but. Thanks Breadman and Curarist.

  21. 26 mins and pleased with that having spelled Sergeant incorrectly (seargent) which held me up with ‘fantasising’ until I spotted the error.

    Nice puzzle. COD to EXECRATE but lots of clever surfaces and constructions today.

    Thanks Breadman and Curarist

  22. An on target solve starting with LYRE and ending with FANTASISING which I struggled to parse even after submitting. COD to EXECRATE 8:53

  23. Have to say I did not enjoy this one at all. Some of the clues were beyond me.

    I had six unanswered before I gave up.

    Lance sergeant? Never heard of that rank before. I don’t believe it’s a general rank in the army, therefore I’m guessing it’s a particular regiment rank, such as lance bombardier. Perhaps it’s what the LB is promoted to? Anyway, it’s army, so it doesn’t count. Navy/Marine ranks I’m good with. 😄

  24. Having solved only two clues during the first 5-6 minutes, I was starting to brace myself for a big DNF – rather strange, as I normally find Breadman to be one of the kindest setters. However, something clicked in what passes for my brain and I picked up speed. Like others above, I fell into the LANCE corporal and CLOSE TO home traps before CITADEL and ERASE forced me to realise my errors. My FOI was RADIO , my LOI was PREFACED and I crossed the line in 26 minutes. Twice the time I achieved yesterday, but still very pleasing as, on average, I escape the SCC only about once per month.

    N.B. Only 22 clues today. A rare occurrence, in my (relatively limited) experience.

    Many thanks to Breadman and Curarist.

  25. 4:43 this morning to end a somewhat reassuring week of QCs for me. Enjoyable puzzle from Breadman and satisfying to solve with several clues that required a bit of thought.
    FOI 1 ac “Lake Como” – indeed a beautiful place but Lago d’Iseo nearby is quieter and is where Sophia Loren built a residence on one of the islands.
    My traditional side still baulks a little at brand names appearing in Times crossword clues, as today in 16 ac “fantasising”.
    LOI 10 d “magnificent” which took no time in itself, since all the crossers were in place. Might have been otherwise if I’d tried to tackle it first.
    Thanks to Mr Baker and Curarist

  26. 15 mins…

    Really enjoyed this – thought there were some lovely clues, although like pretty much everyone I did the “Lance Corporal” thing. I’ve had a discussion on here before about Fighting Fantasy books from the 80’s – therefore having owned the “Citadel of Chaos” 18ac came fairly quickly.

    Also enjoyed 14ac “Silent” and 10dn “Magnificent”.

    FOI – 8ac “Radio”
    LOI – 20ac “Dart”
    COD – 16ac “Fantasising”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. Whistled through this in a very fast (for me) 20 minutes. Like many others, NHO Lance Sergeant. I pencilled in the Lance but held off putting in sergeant until I’d got some checkers.
    14A was my LOI, where I was trying to look for a word for “fast” starting SIAM – MA IS reversed. Suddenly realised my mistake that I was looking at the wrong end of the clue. Had to look twice at 16A and the use of the trade name.

  28. 11 minutes today. It wasn’t until I reread the clues that I realised how clever and / or delightful many of them were – I started very quickly, parsing as I went and didn’t take time to appreciate the surfaces. There was a touch of melancholy in some, what with poorly Alec and the denounced ex, and ROMANCE in others inc the type of film and Noble Tim! I liked FANTASISING a lot – I wish my Honda was convertible but it hasn’t even got a sunroof!
    LANCE SERGEANT slowed me right down – I wasted quite a bit of time on that, but once I got it, it finally put 14a (SILENT) to bed. I’m not sure why I found that last one so difficult.
    FOI Lake Como LOI Silent COD Close to hand
    Thanks Breadman and Curarist

  29. 19:39. I originally had morningwear and FANTASISING with a “z” so those needed to be rethought before I could finish successfully. I have to make ROMCOM my COD as just a few days ago my daughter gave me quite a detailed explanation of the difference between ROMCOM and chickflick.

  30. DNF as I put close AT hand, so couldn’t get ROMCOM and just didn’t see MUM as in keep mum = silent. As many others, NHO a Lance SERGEANT but guessed it. Struggled with ERASE, FILL IN and CITADEL too. Not a great day!

  31. Followed the trend by biffing LANCE CORPORAL at 6dn and then, when I eventually realised it couldn’t be, failing to spell SERGEANT correctly. Also fell into the CLOSE AT HAND trap due to another injudicious biff. Failed to parse the first part of FANTASISING, not expecting to find a brand name. However I did vaguely remember there was such a rank as LANCE SERGEANT and I did know the word EXECRATE, so it wasn’t all bad! Great puzzle. Even though it took me 24 mins (exactly double yesterday’s time) I got there in the end.

    FOI – 1ac LAKE COMO
    LOI – 13ac ROMCOM (having corrected 3dn)
    COD – 18ac CITADEL

    Thanks to Breadman and Curarist

  32. A nice puzzle with quite a few twists. Thanks to Breadman.Difficult for any solver that doesn’t know UK and UKisms. I saw the long anagrams quickly but hesitated over the unknown (to me) LANCE SERGEANT after it became clear that Lance Corporal made no sense. I also hesitated over EVENINGWEAR – I wanted it to be two words.
    I did this in a relaxed mood after a lovely half day in Kirkwall (Orkney) with sun shining. Perhaps too relaxed because it took me 3 mins over target at 18 mins. Hey ho! Difficult to pick out best clues but I join others in finding SILENT rather clever. I biffed FANTASISING so thanks to Curarist for the blog. John M.

  33. 20:27 here with a careless typo in MAGGIFICENT. Darn. As others have said, surprised by the brand names Fanta and Honda, and also fell into the trap posed by the lance corporal. FOI LAKE COMO, LOI PREFACED, COD SILENT

  34. Slowed down by 6d, lance sergeant and 7d execrate. Kidderminster just up the road so no problem.

  35. I biffed LANCE CORPORAL without thinking about it too much, and that didn’t last long. I also didn’t pay enough attention to the anagrist and put CLOSE AT HAND which made my LOI ROMCOM impossible, but it seemed unlikely that MCT was ever going to work, so I erased the T and everything fell into place. But it took me 15 minutes.

  36. Got there…finally. Initially had ‘close to home’ which I couldn’t parse so knew was wrong, but I persisted until FANTASISING made it impossible. Held up mainly in the south west by PREFACED and CITADEL, but FILL IN was the most troublesome and my LOI. Fell into the same trap as everyone with the army officer initially… didn’t quite enjoy this one as much as usual. Clearly not on Breadman’s wavelength as I took a full 35 mins to complete, and also followed after a rather difficult day. Many thanks for the blog and appreciate everyone’s comments – better luck next week!

  37. Lots of tricks employed to trap us today. Am I the only one to have a MER at 6d as I consider Army Officer specifically excludes NCO’s…. Also, I thought Fanta a trade name and therefore banned….?

    FOI 1a Lake Como – spent my first day with a new employer at an ‘off-site’ there back in 1986 and was never really sure whereabouts I was!
    LOI 15d Fill In – needed to unravel 21a to get the correct last letter
    COD 10d magnificent – I found this anagram tortuous.

  38. I made the LANCE CORPORAL mistake that Curarist and several others have owned up to – but I did realise fairly quickly when some of the other clearly correct answers didn’t fit with it – and I have no excuse, since I have heard of lance sergeant; usually I parse my biffs, but was lazy/over confident on this occasion.

    Incidentally, this crossword gave a prime example of one of my pet hates; 10D – sorry, no way is ‘noble’ remotely a synonym for ‘magnificent’. I guess the setter had in mind a noble gesture/magnificent gesture, but they aren’t the same thing at all. If I’ve missed something here , perhaps somebody would be kind enough to point it out. It didn’t hold me up at all because the anagram was obvious, but all the same…

  39. Harder than the average Breadman and struggled with some parsing. 30 mins or so but very enjoyable.

    Excellent blog – I need it today!

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