Quick Cryptic 2284 by Pedro

I enjoyed this – interesting without being too difficult, and a fine set of surfaces, not a clunker among them. It came in on the dot of my par score of six minutes. I solved it more or less in order except for 8ac which I had to stare at for a while. I am told this is Pedro’s one hundredth QC, and there is a fairly straightforward Nina to commemorate the achievement.

1 Frightened to cross river bearing evidence of wounds (7)
SCARRED – SCARED with an extra R for River inserted
5 Disposed of hut (4)
SHED – double definition
7 Some regret naming a border town (6)
GRETNA – hidden word, denoted by the massive obvious klaxon that is ‘SOME’: reGRET NAming. Scots border town frequented by eloping couples for reasons that currently escape me.
8 Last couple returned in a short time for dance (6)
MINUET – A short time is a MINUTE, swap round (or ‘return’) the last two letters and you get MINUET. My LOI.
9 Useless pub about to contest closing for night (11)
INCOMPETENT – INN outside COMPETE, plus T (the ‘CLOSING’ letter of NIGHT)
10 Turn up two hours before noon with daughter (6)
12 Boss I initially observed in part of TV Centre (6)
STUDIO – STUD + I + O[bserved]
14 Basic spreading of dirty manure (11)
RUDIMENTARY – anagram (‘spreading’) of DIRTY MANURE
17 Purple strand (6)
MAROON – double definition
18 Nick a lot of this the day before (6)
20 Tools for accessing features on a piano (4)
KEYS – double definition
21 Admit formerly being taken in by three characters in succession? (7)
1 Knight’s title is upheld with support of King (3)
SIR – IS upside down + R
2 Piece in newspaper reviewed recital (7)
ARTICLE – anagram (‘reviewed’) of RECITAL
3 Actual opening of marine area (5)
REALM – REAL + M[arine]
4 America’s ready to embrace new Society, being stupid (7)
DIMNESS – DIMES (‘ready’ being a slang word for money) with N S inserted. Hands up who tried to make something out of ‘dollar’
5 Observe, taking in bridge team’s rational approach (5)
SENSE – SEE with N & S (north and south, bridge players) inserted
6 Give power to chosen railway, if included (9)
ELECTRIFY – ELECT + RY with IF inserted
9 A frenetic, chaotic meeting (9)
INTERFACE – anagram (‘chaotic’) of A FRENETIC
11 Fiendish protest event, not entirely pleasant (7)
13 Brewed ale in UK? That’s different (7)
UNALIKE – anagram (‘brewed’) of ALE IN UK
15 Doctor heading off employer? Nonsense (5)
16 Impractical idea I dismissed (3,2)
NOT ON – NOTION minus the I
19 Struggle? That’s life in France (3)
VIE – double definition

89 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2284 by Pedro”

  1. A first for me as I am the first to comment. What has happened to all our Far East and Australasian commentators?

    I was going very well until my last two, the Dimness/Minuet crossing. Neither would come until a run through all the dances I could think of gave Minuet, and then Dimness put in from checkers (not parsed at first as I overlooked the possibility that the inserted N S might not be consecutive).

    A good puzzle, 14 minutes in all. Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all.

  2. 5.52

    Agree with our blogger. Also paused at the end for MINUET. No stand outs; no weaklings. Liked it.

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

  3. Congrats to Pedro on his 100th QC!

    9 minutes for this one. I was delayed by DIMNESS (also my own) where – yes you guessed it, curarist – having immediately thought of ‘dollar’ and realising it wouldn’t work, I had some difficulty coming up with an alternative approach. The other problem was MINUET, an answer that had come readily to mind but I was baffled by wordplay so it didn’t go in for ages. I had been working on MIT being a reversal of TIM{e} [short] and the remaining letters be an insertion, but of what?

  4. 10:57. I was held up by MINUET and DIMNESS. The latter described my Nina spotting ability as well and I also spent some time trying to fit in “dollar”. MAROON for ‘Purple’? Well, sort of…

    Thanks & congrats to Pedro and thanks to Curarist

  5. DIMNESS and MINUET were my stumbling block. I didn’t see what “ready” was signalling. I tend to think of “readies” as being “money”, but no complaint from me.

  6. An excellent puzzle which steadily revealed it’s secrets. Lots of ah ha moments as I saw the clever devices in clues such as CONCEDE, ATTEND and MINUET. The biggest PDM of the lot came when I remembered the ready/money link for LOI DIMNESS. Would have been tempted to spell MAROON with a second ‘r’, so had a slight pause over that.
    Finished in a pleasing 7.57.
    Thanks to Curarist for the blog and pointing out the nina, which as usual had gone straight over my head

  7. Like others I struggled with DIMNESS and MINUET and although I cracked the former I failed with the latter so a poor week for me with a number of DNFs.

    Great puzzle and blog though, thanks Pedro (with congrats and respect for the century) and Curarist.

    I’ll have to wait for someone to point out the straightforward Nina, I’m still not seeing it (it’s been a VERY bad week!)

    1. Hint: It’s what I’d call a proper Nina rather than a themed puzzle (the two terms often get lumped into one) so try looking at the grid’s unchecked letters.

  8. Held up for ages at the end, like others, with MINUET and I’m another who tried in vain to make DOLLAR part of 4D. COD to the neat THIEF. Thanks Curarist (especially for pointing out there was a nina) and thanks and congratulations on the 100th Pedro. A minute over target at 6:30.

  9. Just beat the ten minute mark. Took an extra couple of minutes to see Minuet which is my COD. Very nice puzzle and a nina too! (Spoiler alert – look at the columns).

  10. This took me 27 minutes of steady pleasure this morning understanding the parsing as I went.
    FOI: SIR followed by SCARRED.
    LOI: DIMNESS after seeing its wordplay and that of the clever MINUET my COD.
    I also liked INCOMPETENT and DEMONIC amongst the many other good clues.
    And I spotted the NINA.

  11. Well over target every day this week. Not sure if it’s DIMNESS on my part, or whether it’s just been a stiff week.

    DIMNESS and MINUET were my last couple in, as for many above. I had to write out the anagrist for INTERFACE, and INCOMPETENT also took me a long time.

    Not at the races for a very neat puzzle! Even knowing the nina was there, I went back and looked for it, and couldn’t see it until I read a hint above.


  12. 10:46, with my last two also being DIMNESS and MINUET. I tried and failed to make DOLLAR fit, and even with all the checkers in place was convinced that a short time was a MO, and even wondered if there was a dance called a Mondeo.

    I did not spot the NINA – I rarely look that hard at the unchecked letters.

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  13. Pushed outside target by my LOI MINUET which I associated with a musical tempo rather than a dance. I had the M in place having solved DIMNESS early on (my hand is up as I initially went down the dollars route). The clue construction for MINUTE was very clever but my COD goes to NOT ON for both surface reading and simplicity. 9:32 and congratulations to Pedro.

    1. Agree with you on Minuet – I always think of it as a piece of music rather than a dance per se.

      After having a good time I always end up having a few stinkers afterwards – although in your case, outside of your target is still around my PB 😃

    2. I remember learning minuets in piano lessons, but knew they were dances – probably the result of having a mother who was a piano teacher!

  14. DIMNESS and MINUET were my first two in … only kidding, add me to the stack. Both parsed post submission too, so properly beaten. Well played Pedro.

    Very smooth and enjoyable puzzle. Finished in 06:58 but hit submit just as we entered a tunnel, and when we emerged the grid was wiped clean but the clock still ticking! It’s never done that to me before.

    Estimated 1.3K for an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Pedro and curarist.


    1. I entered a tunnel when I reached the three-clues-to-go point. And, just as yesterday, it took me 20 minutes to emerge – fortunately unscathed.

  15. An excellent puzzle which stretched me over target but I stayed a couple of minutes outside the SCC. Some very fine clues. I had the same issues as many of the contributors above and was grateful to curarist for parsing DIMNESS for me. I thought MINUET was a clever clue (as was CONCEDE).
    A minor quibble on 6d. Surely ‘chosen’ would be electED? It makes more sense to me if the clue was: ‘choose railway, if included’. On reflection, perhaps ‘give power to’ (elect) is ‘chosen’ as part of the clue as well as the answer (and I am being dim).
    Ah well. At least I was under target for parts of the week but my target shows no sign of dropping to former levels.
    Thanks to Pedro and curarist. John M.

      1. Thanks. I take your point, curarist, but that is a bit too quirky for me to have seen. John

  16. Having a busy week but just time to do this and comment.
    All done in 10 minutes bar MINUET and LOI DIMNESS. 17 minutes in the end having tried so many dances and gone down the dollar route- like nearly everyone else it seems.
    COD to INCOMPETENT. A very good puzzle.

  17. DIMNESS (LOI) and MINUET my downfall. 18 minutes up to then – another 12 minutes before getting the last two. DIMNESS had crossed my mind much earlier but I was looking for an adjective for stupid, not realising “being stupid” was the definition (of my solving as well as the clue!).

  18. My mer of the day is describing maroon as purple. I’ve always thought of it as a dark red. A quick google turns up definitions all relating to red but not purple. Also, probably only in crossword land do we have a singular of “readies” for a monetary unit.

    1. This is from dictionary.com:
      maroon 2
      / (məˈruːn) /
      a dark red to purplish-red colour

    2. I think we had a discussion about ‘ready/readies’ not long ago, though it may have been re a 15×15. Someone pointed out that the slang comes from ‘ready money’ which was later abbreviated to ‘ready’ so if anything ‘ready’ is closer to the saying’s origins than ‘readies’.

  19. Finished and enjoyed. LOI DIMNESS, like others. Liked RUDIMENTARY, THIEVE, INTERFACE, VIE, GRETNA, among others. Nina?
    Agree that MAROON is not purple, but otherwise good clue.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  20. 12 minutes, with last two in MINUET and DIMNESS in that order – the last not fully parsed as the readies went over my head, despite being familiar with the device from previous puzzles. As a consequence, no need to raise my hand as dollars also never occurred to me. My daily scan of the unchecked letters at the end revealed the Nina, the first proper Nina for ages it seems. I can’t remember when we last had one. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  21. I finished in under 12 minutes but biffed DIMNESS – thanks Curarist for the parsing. Unfortunately dimness is still besetting my brain as I can’t see the Nina in spite of the clues. Another hint please!

  22. Really struggled with this, limping over the line at the 30min mark. Interface took ages even with a few crossers in place, and that held up Incompetent (yes, noted) and hence Dimness (ditto). It seems it’s just me, but surely ready refers to paper money, not coins ? That quibble apart, I enjoyed the challenge, with half a dozen possible CoDs, the pick of which I thought was 21ac, Concede. Invariant

    1. SOED has ready as: Immediately available as currency; having the form of coin or money. ME. I think these days it’s just taken to mean cash as opposed to other forms of payment.

      1. I’m pretty sure it was just £1 notes when I was a boy, but then fivers and above were such a rarity !

      1. The unchecked letters (i.e. the letters that don’t form a word in the north / south direction) in the third and third last columns actually do spell words when looked at one column at a time. Read from top to bottom.

  23. Also held up by MINUET and DIMNESS. INCOMPETENT was LOI, SCARRED was FOI. 10:25. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  24. Would have been nicely under target if it wasn’t for my last two. Probably no need to say what they were, as everyone else seems to have had the same experience. I also biffed DOLLARS which didn’t help matters for a while. Eventually got there in a time of 10.02 a whisker outside target.
    I am a little confused by Maroon being defined as purple, I always thought of it as a shade of red, although the dictionary defines it as reddish-brown.

  25. I get a bit grumpy when setters resort to clumsy clues in order to accommodate a nina or pangram, but this puzzle was not such, beautifully clued throughout and my only regret is that I would have enjoyed it far more if I had known there was something extra to look for. Generally I found this easier than average, but then the last two took as long as the first 22! FOI SCARRED, COD INCOMPETENT, LOI DIMNESS (partly parsed until I came here), penultimate MINUET. Thanks, Curarist and Pedro, looking forward to the bicentenary.

  26. An enjoyable struggle. LOI DIMNESS – didn’t see the ‘ready’ link with DIMES, but guessed answer from ‘stupidity’. Couldn’t parse INCOMPETENT either. Didn’t see the NINA, but then I rarely, if ever, do!

  27. Dnf…

    What is it with these last two clue pairings? There have been at least three this week where I’ve struggled on a down/across intersection. So, being consistent with everyone else, I was stuck on 4dn “Dimness” and 8ac “Minuet”, although I lacked the patience to spend any longer than 5 minutes to solve them. No doubt it is in the dictionary, but I still associate money with “readies” rather than “ready”, so I personally didn’t think it was a great clue (but then I would, because I didn’t solve it).

    Liked the rest though. Main holds up were 9dn “Interface”, 10ac “Attend” (I thought it was Intend at first) and trying to parse 12ac “Studio” – can anyone enlighten me why “O” is abbreviated for observed?

    FOI – 1ac “Scarred”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 18ac “Thieve”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Dear Mr Ed46, I think the “O” is derived from ‘initially observed’ (and the “I” is derived from ‘I’).

      1. Yep, you’re right. Read it too quickly.

        Just have a thing about random initials used for things, usually obtained from some 18th century card game or something.

          1. Exactly – although in that example the use of a capital “S” may be of significance.

    2. It wouldn’t be so bad, if only the setters wouldn’t persist in making the difficult clues overlap! We see the same thing with farmers always putting the gate in the muddy part of the field. . .

      1. Whilst I am sure that is slightly tongue in cheek (although I don’t disagree with you) – you can blame the animals for that. They tend to congregate around gates and thus cut up the ground beneath them.

        Who hasn’t done a walk into a field only to have their heart sink when they see the exit gate/stile surrounded by cows?

        1. I was reminded of the muddy scene in Withnail and I when “I”has to throw his bag of groceries at “the randy bull” after he and Withnail foolishly left the gate unlatched.

          1. 😃

            Most of the Lakes scenes were filmed just east of Haweswater near Shap – although I think it’s fairly common knowledge that Penrith was not Penrith.

            1. I doubt it’s common knowledge where any movie scenes are actually filmed but fewer still would recognise somewhere as not being in Penrith.

                1. You’re probably right, but I always assumed The Penrith Tea Rooms were indeed in Penrith. And I lived there!

  28. An uncannily similar experience to yesterday – going well with just three to go as I approached the SCC entrance, but a further 20 minutes passed before I staggered across the line. Those three clues were INCOMPETENT, DIMNESS and MINUET. Mrs Random said that I spring to mind when she thinks of two of those three words. Total time = 39 minutes, so just inside my new informal target.

    Mrs R finished all correct in 21 minutes today to record her umpteenth 5-0 week against me. I don’t mind these domestic drubbings, but I’m less keen on receiving them from the setters.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

    P.S. I was on the lookout for ‘BOSH’ today, but it didn’t appear. I suppose it was too much to ask.

  29. DNF, but an encouraging QC. The only ones I couldn’t solve were DISMISS, SENSE, MINUET and MAROON.

    Can’t see the nina.

    1. Well done Ian. Be encouraged, be very encouraged. MAROON is one of those double defs that you either get or don’t. And not too many of us got DISMISS 😀

      Nina – don’t look at the words themselves, just look up and down the grid at the letters and find new words

  30. Hmmm … heart sank seeing Pedro’s name … it was only Monday of last week that we had the asocial lesser-spotted pratmigan at the local sports ground facing off with a piglet in absolute zero temperatures. A day I DNFed in 1hr35.

    Today felt a little easier with clues going in steadily but struggled to unravel INTERFACE and RUDIMENTARY while REALM took 10+ mins I somehow avoided seeing despite initially putting REAL-. That was a typical theme of today – lots of SMH as things became obvious.

    Don’t think I’ve ever used RUDIMENTARY but I like it. It’s a good word and I think it needs more airplay.

    Like others, the final two of MINUET and DIMNESS held me up for too long. Half of my 53min30 time spent on them having reached the endgame in 26+. DIMNESS I thought wanted D—–R for dollars with S for society on the end. Just couldn’t think around the variations of dimmest, dumbass to get the answer quickly.

    Tough week with a total of 4hr45 but pleased to get today solved and haven’t had 4-in-a-row since mid-Sept so that’s a positive. Realising that when they are quick for me, I often have a minor error for a DNF whereas the grinders tend to be all correct because each word gets so much attention.

    1. Well done, LP! It took me 6-9 months before I decided to focus first on solving all of the clues correctly, rather than on speed. My DNF rate then fell quite quickly, although I still suffer clusters of 4 DNFs in 7 and the like.

    2. I’m just the same with my rare quicker solves. Often a silly typo.

      Yesterday apart, this week has felt very hard. I don’t think we’ll be handling in our SCC membership badges just yet!

  31. Over 13 minutes. Another hand up for dollar and another who missed the obvious in retrospect parsing of MINUET. I didn’t think originally of KEYS as tools or DROSS as nonsense but eventually came to my senses!

  32. A consistent week for me with 5 dnfs.
    Beaten by Dimness, Minuet, Incompetent and Interface. Also a careless Uptend.
    Not disheartened though and looking forward to next week’s offerings, though I will be 7 hours behind the UK by then.
    Lots of good clues but COD for me was 15d Dross.
    Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

    1. I had upTEND for a while but took it out when I could see the anagrist of INTERFACE didn’t have a P.

      Around that area I ground to a halt but then started to play with the unused letters of the “rudimentary” anagrist which almost immediately gave me DROSS and from there I finally unscrambled RUDIMENTARY which gave INTERFACE and then ATTEND.

  33. In common with everyone else, spent half of my time on the DIMNESS / MINUET intersection. Until I had the crossers, I was trying to think of a dance that included ZY, for ‘last couple returned’. Sigh.
    Thanks to Pedro & Curarist

  34. 16:52

    Fairly straightforward but failed to parse LOI DIMNESS.

    I note in passing that this week has been the easiest since at least 2015 for the main cryptic, according to the SNITCH.

  35. Well, I got one of the NINAs but missed the second until prompted by Rotters comment to keep looking. Congratulations and thanks to Pedro for reaching the ton milestone.
    Was trying to parse 8a as the last of lasT + couplE (returned) and ‘Minute’, but was stuck for the U. Now I know better. Thx Curarist. Stuck it in anyway!
    Lots of nice clues, not spoiled by the Nina.
    FOI 1a Scarred
    LOI 4d Dimness – having got all the crossers, it was all I could fit in, and then the PDM
    COD 21a Concede

  36. 11:15 today – not bad for a Pedro, who I often find quite tricky! In the past, I have found his clues to be wordy, but these were very concise and neat. MAROON took a few moments as I too tend to think of the colour as more of a very dark red, not purple. I started to list the surfaces I particularly liked but realised that it was too hard to highlight just a few 😊
    I didn’t notice the nina until Curarist pointed it out, but it was quite clear after that hint. TBH I don’t usually look for ninas or themes unless RR is setting in one of his many guises – maybe I should.
    FOI Shed LOI Keys COD Vie (although I suspect the French would disagree!)
    Thanks and congrats to Pedro and thanks to Curarist

    I nearly finished the biggie today – just one I couldn’t see at all. Not a great time though!

  37. Not surprisingly I was unable to reproduce the heroics of yesterday. Guess what my last two were? Annoyingly, I almost biffed dimness early on which would have much improved my time. I was slightly thrown because I failed to appreciate that the ‘n’ and ‘s’ didn’t need to appear together. I thought they did, but that’s another lesson learned.

    I was somewhere around 40 mins, not helped by a phone call just as I was getting started.

    COD – 6dn (although I did like 19dn).

    Great blog as always.

    Best wishes to everyone for the weekend.

    1. What a week eh Gary? 🙄

      Re: DIMNESS … it’s not clear in the blog but I think it’s “DIMES embracing New” i.e. DIMNES and then add S for society. Rather than DIMxExS embracing them both but separately.

    2. Besides appreciating the positive message, Gary, I also welcome your Friday good wishes for another reason. Since I left work and then moved I often have no clue what the day or date are. Your weekly post gives me a heads -up the weekend is nigh!

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