Quick Cryptic 2254 by Teazel

Well that didn’t put up much of a fight. A long series of write-ins, held up only slightly by 17dn which I was convinced would start with an S. 5 minutes for me.

1 Constantly changing direction in loose footwear? (4-8)
FLIP-FLOPPING – double definition, sort of
8 Stated handouts ultimately help (4)
SAID – S (last letter of handouts) + AID
9 The month I’m a graduate, I get hammered (7)
MARIMBA – MAR + IM + BA. “The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars that are struck by mallets.”
11 Hormone abuse with temperature dropping at home (7)
INSULIN – INSULT losing the T for temperature + IN. Principal hormone of glucose metabolism, and favoured murder weapon of psychotic nurses in cheap medical dramas.
12 Stockpile great crowd heard of (5)
HOARD – Sounds like HORDE
14 Bachelor, lusty, showing spirit (6)
15 Partisan established around island (6)
18 Maybe gathers weeds from slopes (5)
RAKES – Double definition
20 Instrument accompanying wordless tune is boring (7)
21 Produce profound effect with “I am a reporter” (7)
23 To use one’s brain less than fully is poor (4)
THIN -short for THINK
24 Showing initiative, gain admission using force (12)
2 Look at an aquatic predator? One takes excessive interest (4,5)
3 Used bike, we hear, offered for sale (7)
PEDDLED – sounds like PEDALLED
4 Regret Old Testament book half missing (6)
LAMENT – half of Lamentations, Old Testament book coming between Jeremiah and Ezekiel
5 Fresh hotel in Scottish city (5)
6 From the start, introduces severely Marxist ideology (3)
ISM – initial letters of Introduces Severely Marxist
7 Woman of influence made garden fancy (6,4)
GRANDE DAME – anagram (‘fancy’) of MADE GARDEN
10 How high trees grow in season around German city (10)
13 Positive statement senoritas need translating (9)
ASSERTION – anagram (‘need translating’) of SENORITAS
16 At home with friends, convicts (7)
17 Second drink for hunter (6)
CHASER – Double definition, the first being an accompanying drink as in “A lager shandy and a Babycham chaser, please”
19 Complete quiet always for poet (5)
SHEER – SH + EER, poetic way of saying EVER
22 Cat perhaps in bad mood (3)
PET – double definition

54 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2254 by Teazel”

  1. 7 minutes here. The solutions flowed very smoothly off each other until the grid was complete.

    1. 11 mins for me. Southwest corner slowed me down. TIMBERLINE is not a word I know and with IMPRESS in I was looking for the too obvious ‘winter’ to be the season, when I should have started with the German city.

      Can’t think I’ve ever heard or seen PET as a bad mood.

      Some great clues here including for 1AC, 9AC and 2D

      Thanks Teazel and Curarist

  2. Interesting, I thought this was at the more challenging end of the Quickie range. Possibly because I was unfamiliar with the OT book and the percussion instrument, and took too long to see the hormone.


  3. 17.18

    One of my slowest times ever. Nho TIMBERLINE; forgotten MARIMBA; had AMASS for ages; mind blank on OT books; stumped on PET

    Tbf am tapping one-fingered half-asleep and uncaffeinated which doesn’t necessarily help

    Even so Teazel 5-0 Dvynys

    Liked THIN

    Thanks Teazel and Curarist

    1. Ooof.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has miles out of range stinkers from time to time!

    2. I “breezed” through it in a slower time than yours and it was one of my quickest ever.

  4. No problems. ‘How high trees grow’ is a nice definition. GRANDE DAME is a bit unusual in that it’s an anagram of ‘made garden’ while DAME is an anagram of ‘made’ and GRANDE is an anagram of ‘garden’. 5:26.

  5. FOI: LOAN SHARK. Then I had a little trouble with my last one in SHEER until I corrected 18ac RAKES where I had RAKED. Other than that just an unhurried 27 minutes.
    Favourite: ENTERPRISING.

  6. Super puzzle, with lots to enjoy. NHO my LOI TIMBERLINE (I’ve always said/seen “treeline”, like vinyl) so thank goodness the German city was obvious!

    Pretty slow today – I wonder if I was subliminally influenced by seeing (on opening the Club site) that the average time taken was 20+ mins, so that I was expecting a stinker? All done in 09:18 for 1.7K and an Undistinguished Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and curarist.


  7. A game of two halves, as they say, with the top half flying in almost as fast as I could write and the bottom half considerably slower. 12 minutes in all, of which more than half on my last three clues, Timberline (like Vinyl1 I tend to think of treeline here), Impress (very neat and my COD) and then LOI Chaser, which like our blogger I had starting with an S for a long time.

    A nice puzzle to end the week. Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all.


  8. I thought this was going to be a toughie, with HOARD my FOI, but after a couple of Downs the grid started filling quickly (for me).
    Flip-flopping being quite pertinent to UK Government policy over the last few weeks…
    Thank you for the blogs this week.

  9. Ah well. Clearly I am not nearly as sharp and on form as the bloggers above. I just didn’t develop any momentum at all and jumped around picking off answers where I could. I avoided the SCC but not by much. There were some neat clues with some clever misdirection but least said, soonest mended.
    Thanks to Curarist (but you might have chosen a more palatable example for 17d than ‘A lager shandy and a Babycham chaser’. Ugh!
    This has been a pretty poor week for me. Roll on the next one. John M.

  10. DNF after a clumsy PEDaLED – gawd knows what I was thinking! Everything else went in ok and in reasonable time, including TIMBERLINE, which I had heard of, and MARIMBA which I hadn’t. Thanks both.

    1. Marimba came easily as I’ve always been intrigued by the stage name of Arthur Dyer Tripp III – Ed Marimba, who was percussionist with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

      1. Some will know the song Sway recorded by countless singers over the years, most recently perhaps by Michel Buble, also Diana Krall. It begins:

        When marimba rhythms start to play
        Dance with me, make me sway
        Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
        Hold me close, sway me more

  11. Really pleased today….then looked at timer. 22 mins. How you solvers do it in 5 mins is beyond me! Takes me that long to read the clues! Hey Ho!

    1. Similar time to yours. More interesting question is why do puzzlers who solve these in sub 5 min bother. I do suduko and never bother with anything less than killer as I can do them in 3-5 min. If it is not a challenge I cannot see the point. Clearly for some these puzzles are not remotely challenging. For me they are still a struggle.

  12. I didn’t find this particularly easy, but worked steadily from ISM to TIMBERLINE. 9:46. Thanks Teazel and Curarist.

  13. Thought I was heading for the SCC but a late flurry helped me to avoid it. Completely off the pace all over the grid but the major blocks were CHASER (no idea why), HUMDRUM, MARIMBA and LAMENT. Also tried very hard to get winter into TIMBERLINE.
    Collapsed in a heap over the line in 18.39
    Thanks to Curarist

  14. Nearly finished in ten minutes, but got the dreaded “unlucky” because I can’t spell – I had peddled with one d and two ls.

    I managed TIMBERLINE from the wordplay, but have always said tree line.

    After the recent discussion on MA, glad to see BA clued as “graduate” rather than “student”.

    Many thanks

  15. My printer ran out of ink today so I couldn’t print the puzzle. Instead I used my iPad. I hate solving these puzzles electronically. I always feel rushed as the timer is ticking away.

    DNF for me. Never heard of TIMBERLINE (Yep, another made up word 😉)

    RAKES never heard that word being used to describe a slope.

    Enjoyable puzzle despite the fact I couldn’t finish.

      1. Yes, and the ground floor of the auditorium usually has a rake too so that people can see the stage over the heads of others.

      1. Indeed you can. But if you turn it back on you’d see that the timer was still running. So I’d know it was running even though I couldn’t see it. 🫣

  16. After hesitations, I put Slip-slopping for 1a. (Not familiar with the US usage = contradictory policies) Apart from that, all correct, though I thought the puzzle was pretty difficult. LOI THIN after PDM. Agree we always say Tree-line, but NHO TIMBERLINE was biffable. Liked HUMDRUM, BIASED, ENTERPRISING, CHASER, IMPRESS.
    Thanks vm, Curarist. A SCC++ here.

    Later – There seems to be a distinction between treeline and timberline too long to explain here.

  17. I am really surprised how easy most people seem to have found this puzzle. I really struggled and it took me ages. NHO TIMBERLINE, but guessable from clue and SHEER didn’t come at all. Very hard.

  18. I thought this teaser from Teasel was a bit tougher than average, and some of the times submitted above confirm that, although earlier contributors including Curarist found it more straightforward. I was relatively pleased to finish in 11.12, although just outside my target time.

  19. Speedier end of target range.

    Fun puzzle, I liked TIMBERLINE and MARIMBA best.

    PERTH was LOI, because I missed it – I put what I thought was my last clue in, but it didn’t submit.


  20. After a few days of doing well (for me,), when others appeared to struggle, i was today off wavelength and/or out of form. FOI +. COD LOAN SHARK, LOI PET, there was nothing obscure or unfair. Familiar only with TREELINE, but the wordplay for 10d was friendly. Took some time to recall the lessser-used definitions of RAKE and PET, and failed to spot the wordplay of 9d, biffing SHEER as a NHO poet! Many thanks Teazel
    and Curarist

  21. I found this tricky and had got down to 23ac in my first read through before I solved a clue. After that things improved although I was still jumping around the grid a lot – there really was no flow to it today. Eventually finished in 20 minutes but, like Rotter, found I had entered PEDALED at 3dn – no idea why as I was well aware I was looking for a homophone.

    FOI – 23ac THIN
    LOI – 4dn LAMENT

    Thanks to Teazel and Curarist

  22. Too many obscure references – slope for rake, pet for bad mood, and worst of all pert for fresh.

  23. Horrendous! Only three clues solved in the first quarter of an hour, and one of those was only entered in faintly. Therefore, nothing to build on as I started my second pass through the clues. And it carried on in the same vein until I finally crossed the line in 68 minutes. Trouble was that I still had several question marks, but had run out of the will to live and just came here with my fingers crossed. My question-marked clues were ISM (surely not a word), MARIMBA (NHO), RAKES (DNK definition), PET (=bad mood?) and SHEER (could not parse). To my amazement, all of these were correct. Phew!


    Mrs Random cruised home in just 26 minutes, but I felt as I did when I started this game more than two years ago.

    Many thanks to Teazel (my nemesis) and Curarist.

  24. This one put up a great fight against me, and it won! Five correct, three with assistance (aka cheating!) and one wrong, when I put PEDDLES rather than PEDDLED. Very annoying! Thank you for the very helpful blog.

    1. That’s not bad at all, way to keep at it! One day you’ll get them all with assistance, and then next stop, full solve unaided! Woo woo!

  25. Dnf…

    Read the comments from the blogger and thought I must be way out of step with everyone – thankfully there are others who also found this difficult. As noted above, it definitely was a game of two halves – the top half went in fairly quickly but then I was left floundering in the bottom half of the grid and it took an age to get a foothold.

    Some are fairly obvious in hindsight, 10dn “Timberline” for example, although time = season wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. NHO 9ac “Marimba” but it was obtainable from the clueing. Not a particularly enjoyable end to the week to be honest.

    FOI – 1ac “Flip Flopping”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 11ac “Insulin”

    Thanks as usual!

  26. Well, we got there in about 45 mins (minus the tree) but were completely fooled by the clue for timberline, both thinking it referred to how high an individual tree grows!!

  27. I’m one who found this really difficult with only one across answer on the first pass. I just didn’t seem to be on the right wavelength as this setter and required word searches finally to get across the line. LOI timberline which I couldn’t see even with all the crossers. Was thinking about the heights of the trees, not how high up the mountain they grow which I would have called the tree line anyway.

  28. 6:39 this afternoon.
    This morning Mrs P and I had visited the Impressionist Exhibition in the Scottish National Gallery and followed this up with a very pleasant lunch in Cote restaurant. How could we refuse the offer of a complimentary Martini Cocktail? Then a glass or two of Pinot Noir to enhance the mood further seemed like a good idea at the time. Whatever, all this probably took away the edge of the performance for today’s QC but it was worth it!
    COD 10 d “timberline”
    1 ac reminds me…..What do you call a Frenchman wearing sandals? Philippe Feloppe.
    I put it down to the Martini myself.
    Thanks to Curarist and Teazel.

  29. I’ll join the chorus of people who found this harder than average: nearly 24 minutes. FOI was LOAN SHARK, LOI BRANDY as I was trying to shoehorn either BA or MA into the answer. TIMBERLINE was also slow to arrive, which held me up in the SW corner. Thanks to both setter & blogger.

  30. Pretty much bang on 10 minutes earlier today. Strangely, when I’d finished, I was surprised to see the time – tbh, it felt a bit quicker than that! I definitely prefer it when it’s the other way round 😅
    FOI and COD Flip-flopping LOI Enterprising

  31. Didn’t put up much of a fight? I feel like I’ve gone 15 rounds with Tyson Fury.

    That was very hard and I’m with L Plates and Mr R. NHO rakes for slopes or pet for a bad mood. Worked out marimba but had no idea what it was. Just managed to work out timberline.

    I eventually finished in somewhere around the 50 minute mark, but took very little satisfaction in doing so, as I had too many guesses. This week has left me feeling like a complete beginner again. Very much a sense of back to square one.

    Thanks for the blog. I’m going for a lie down.

  32. Put me in the slower coach today. Really struggled in bottom half, not being able to get TIMBERLINE inhibited progress. Tried lots with Bonn. And Winter.

    Why PET=Bad mood?

    1. It’s another somewhat dated term! To be in a pet means to be peevish or sulky. I wonder if it comes from petulant?

  33. I found it tough to get going with few answers on the first pass, but once I got going they flowed quite nicely.

  34. Couldn’t get anywhere with this but then I didn’t get 1ac or 10dn. These 2 clues opened up the first letters of 11 more clues.
    May explain the polarisation in the comments above. J

  35. Came to this late, a bit tired and two pints down and took over half an hour. Despite bloggers comment there are a remarkably low number of finishers in the club. A slog I didn’t enjoy.

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