Quick Cryptic 2324 by Felix

A very elegant puzzle that took me just over my target of 6 minutes. One of the best collection of surfaces I have seen for a while. My favourite is the flawless 18dn. In addition, there’s definitely some sort of theme going on. Lots of solutions have repeated Bs and all but four have a repeated letter of some sort. Not sure what that all means, so over to you…

1 Permitted drops of water to escape, but not the ball? (8)
DRIBBLED – double definition of sorts
5 Fashionable greeting among Conservatives (4)
CHIC – HI with a C for Conservative on either side
8 Plane maybe carrying a pair of bishops, bearing more weight? (8)
FLABBIER – FLIER with A B B inside
9 Muse about painting being returned (4)
CLIO – C (about) + OIL (painting) backwards
11 A sister’s on for making new statements (10)
ASSERTIONS – anagram (‘for making new’) of A SISTERS ON
14 Top monks like to carry books and Old Testament (6)
ABBOTS – AS (like) with BB (books) and OT inside
15 Film maker arrived with artist (6)
CAMERA – CAME + RA (Royal Academician)
17 Big city fails: if let off, they’ll be fuming! (5,5)
SMOKE BOMBS – SMOKE (big city) + BOMBS (fails)
20 Bait boss regularly, producing childish articles (4)
BIBS – alternate letters of BaIt BoSs
21 A search to the east of pet cemetery (8)
CATACOMB – A COMB (search) to the ‘east’ of CAT
22 Finally see Hammond bowled by spinner (4)
EDDY – last letters of seE hammonD bowleD bY
23 Used soy sauce primarily for cooking Greek on epic journey (8)
ODYSSEUS – anagram (‘for cooking’) of USED SOY + S for sauce
1 Silly daughter at the back (4)
2 One minute before noon, prayer leader appears (4)
IMAM – I + M + AM
3 One minds young graduate being next to model (4-6)
4 The Spanish yet to produce a cricket team? (6)
6 Sacred greeting by day (8)
7 Part of goal to get from one end of pub to the other? (8)
CROSSBAR – double definition
10 Vessels: most at base, after refit (10)
STEAMBOATS – anagram (‘after refit’) of MOST AT BASE
12 Father’s dark brown — or fair? (8)
PASSABLE – PA’S + SABLE. I thought sable was black, but what do I know?
13 A little brother’s sitting up in bed, rapt (8)
ABSORBED – BRO’S (a little brother’s) backwards inside A BED
16 One’s yellow jersey, perhaps, found on a road (6)
COWARD – COW (e.g. Jersey) + A RD
18 One hundred and one becoming ninety-nine? (4)
CONE – C (100) + ONE. This is genius. Non-UK solvers may not be familiar with the ubiquitous British ice-cream van product called a Ninety Nine, which is a soft-serve ice cream cone with a chocolate flake stuffed in it.
19 Goes out on the beach? (4)
EBBS – cryptic definition

55 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2324 by Felix”

  1. 13 minutes for this one .

    It certainly looks like there’s something going on by way of Nina or theme and I have a suggestion that may be relevant or I could have imagined it. Here it is for what it’s worth:

    2023 marks 100 years of the British Broadcasting Corporation and this is being celebrated throughout the year by various events on air.

    In the first row answers there is BB C C (the second C possibly standing for 100)

    In the third row answers there is BB C

    In the sixth row answers there is BB C

    In the eighth row there is B B with no C but by just sliding down to the ninth row there is a C nearby at 18

    In the tenth row there is B B C. There’s also another C (100 again?)

    None of this explains the other double letters around the grid: SS x 4, DD x 1, TT x 1, LL x 1, plus an odd BB at 19dn.

    1. i thought maybe a football theme was developing – crossbar, passable. eleven, dribbled. But didn’t get anywhere. Nice puzzle though.

      1. Yes that was my first thought. It still could be, but a football theme might be more likely from Felix in one of his many other guises, Alconiere.

      2. BIBS and CONEs are used in football training. The turf at older grounds, such as Anfield or Old Trafford, is frequently referred to as HALLOWED. A easy shot on goal is a SITTER. Rowdy fans often let off SMOKEBOMBS from the stands. EDDY Howe currently coaches Newcastle United. And if you support Southampton FC like me, the game invariably EBBS away as the 90 minutes progress.

  2. 15mins for two pinks: a careless Odesseus and Iman not IMAM which I frequently mix up and should have used TheRotter’s rule recently referenced to correct, because I couldn’t parse the ‘a’ before my mistaken ‘n’ for noon. Arse!

    Agree with Curarist re CONE and did also wonder how non-Brits may scratch their heads at that one.

    HALLOWED took a while as ‘holy’ fitted and wouldn’t budge from my mind. I do remember reading books as a kid and wondering why ‘hello’, ‘hallo’ and even the occasional ‘hullo’ were all seemingly allowed…why wasn’t I given such flexibility by teachers with my spelling?!

    Great BBC spots by Jackkt.

    Thanks Felix and Curarist.

  3. DNK SMOKE=big city. I spent probably a minute or more trying to make sense of CONE or think of something better; absolutely no idea how it worked, and finally just decided that it had to be the solution. I should add that I’m perfectly aware that this is a UK puzzle, and have no complaints about the clue. Just regrets that I took so much time over what was very gentle cluing.7:15.

  4. Fun crossword. On CONE I immediately thought that overseas solvers would be clueless as to what a 99 was. When I worked as a student for Cadbury’s, we would ship out whole pallets of the flakes for 99s to seaside resorts all over the southwest (I think we only serviced the southwest from Keynsham).

  5. Lots of appreciation above but for me this was an almost pleasure-free solve. Obviously that means I struggled, crossing the line a shade under 30 having wanted to give up quite a few times. Only three on the first pass so I was never comfortable, especially in the SE. All my fault of course, I couldn’t budge Ulysses from my head – thankfully it didn’t fit – and I failed to separate ‘yellow’ from ‘jersey’. Agree with Curarist that CONE is genius! This is one of the those days when I’ll have to try the Telegraph at lunchtime to try and claw back some self respect.

  6. Yes BBC it is – tho the 100 years was not in mind.

    The other stuff is (I think!) a coincidence


  7. Just nudged into the SCC by this lovely puzzle from Felix. I spotted the repeat letters, noted a plethora of Bs and Cs, but didn’t get as far as Jackkt in explaining the significance of them – well spotted Jackkt. Given Felix’s admission above, I’m going to put my failure to get that far down to the distraction of the coincidental additional doubles. Thanks all.

  8. Top quality puzzle, as others have commented, which I made decent progress through.
    For some reason I’m experiencing a formatting issue in the Crossword Club so I can’t review my completed grid, but I think I started with CHIC, having made no sense of 1a, and finished with CONE (excellent) and CLIO, which I’d either forgotten or NHO providing a nice PDM to end with.
    Crossed the line in 8.34
    Thanks to Curarist for the blog, Felix for an enjoyable solve and Jack for figuring out the theme.

  9. Struggled more than usual with too many gaps to fill in. Comments as per Mendeset who typically has very similar experience and I just nod in agreement. COD CONE.
    Thanks Felix and Jackkt.

  10. V neat puzzle, I did note lots of BBs and Cs, but 2+2 did not quite make 4. Taken over target again, having to write out the ANAGRIST for STEAMBOATS and also ASSERTIONS.

    LOI and COD was CONE, an excellent clue, if maybe impenetrable to a non-UK solver. EDDY was also good. I’m stuck if the muses ever go beyond Clio, Erato, Calliope or Terpsichore. I might only expect to see the first two in a QC.

    Thanks to Curarist (and all bloggers), and Felix for the puzzle.


  11. 22min DNF with OWL … put DRIBBLEs, didn’t really get the clue afterwards but can see the tense of permitted means it required (or is that requires) a D rather than S. Very meh about it though. Don’t know my muses, so CLIO was a bit of guess that fitted the parsing.

    Once again found it tough and at about 15-mins was struggling but then a few checkers came in and I biffed my way round. Every clue felt it was stretching me to make the connection between the words and the answer rather than instinctively knowing it when I’ve got it.

    Been a tough week. Have a good weekend everybody

  12. An enjoyable offering from Felix even though I was defeated time wise against target by a few seconds, crossing the line in 10.16. I spent over a minute on my last two 6dn and 9ac, mainly because I was looking for a sacred meaning beginning with HI.
    Brilliant deduction by Jackkt to see the BBC link (as confirmed by the setter). I’m pretty hopeless at spotting these things and unlike others never look for them in solving.

  13. A very good puzzle indeed but also frustrating. I thought I was doing really well but, as usual when I am deeply immersed, it took a little longer than it seemed.
    Like rotter, I ended up on the cusp of the SCC but pleased that I had managed to deduce (and parse) all the answers. I finished with EBBS, CONE (a pdm for me which would surely flummox most non-brits), COWARD, and HALLOWED in that order.
    I really cannot pick out a clue of the day at this point but I am tempted by CONE. I will enjoy going through curarist’s concise and helpful blog to get the most out of a fine QC – many thanks to Felix. The BBC stuff passed me by completely but, for once, it didn’t seem to get in the way of my steady solve. John M.
    P.s. I agree with those who have found this a tough week. I hope this is not a trend….

  14. Welcome, Felix. Great to see the setter logging in to look at our attempts. As a sometime blogger (next Tuesday) it thrills me a little that the setter might stop by.

    16:10 for me, with a well timed break before finishing off with CONE and LOI DRIBBLED. For Cone I was trying to get something out of the Roman Numerals where CI(101) becomes IC(99), with ICE in there somehow.


  15. Most enjoyable puzzle, taking me 12 minutes. I noticed all the Bs and that many of them were doubled, but failed to join the dots.

    Some lovely clues, with Cone as already mentioned not just a clever one but a real memory jogger. Ah, summer holidays by the seaside in southern England 60+ years ago. But my LOI and COD was Coward – so pleased when I finally separated yellow and Jersey to see the answer.

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

  16. DNF, yet again getting nowhere.

    Not sure if it’s me or if these “QCs” are becoming more and more difficult. Very discouraging to say the least.

    1. I thought this was really tough. I went away and came back to it several times, gradually filling in the grid. I ended up putting a few guesses in on my phone and using the check option – generally to find I was getting nowhere. Then I resorted to aids for the last few.
      LOI was 16d where I couldn’t get tabard out of my mind.

    2. There was no obscure vocabulary so everything was gettable but I do agree this was a real challenge. Possibly my slowest completed solve.

  17. Felt a bit DAFT when I finally had to look up silly for 1d but this enabled me to solve LOsI DRIBBLED, FLABBIER.
    FOsI ODYSSEUS/EDDY. After which I struggled along. Every time I solved a clue the crossers revealed were just vowels. Sigh.
    A difficult week, slightly depressing. Thanks vm, Curarist.

  18. An excellent puzzle, as noted by several above, which took me 14 minutes.
    LOI was ODYSSEUS rather painfully constructed as I slowly realised what the definition was. Prior to that COWARD, another good clue. But COD to CONE.
    I spotted all the BBs but did not think of BBC.
    I wondered briefly if Big City =Stoke. And I thought of Iman for 2d before David Bowie put me right.

  19. 19:57 and all green. First time ever, I think, that I have worked my way through the clues getting everything as I went (some minor backward steps on the way, to be fair). Really enjoyed that feeling and the puzzle had some lovely surfaces. Couldn’t choose between CONE and COWARD for COD. FOI DAFT, LOI CONE. DNK CLIO but straightforward from the wordplay. After this week I must be due a sojourn in the SCC! Thanks Felix and curarist.

  20. A cracking puzzle which took me miles into my red zone. I’m blaming a rather half-hearted attempt to look for a football Nina after I’d got CROSSBAR!

    FOI CHIC, LOI EBBS, COD CONE (which didn’t actually delay me but was a brilliant clue!), time 15:45 for 2.1K and a Very Slow Day.

    Many thanks Felix and Curarist.


  21. A DNF after 40 minutes thanks to a careless DRIBBLES but having looked up the names of the muses to solve 9a it would not have been a proper finish anyway.
    A very enjoyable puzzle and I thought CONE was the best clue of the week. Also liked the 16d misdirection using ‘jersey’ for ‘cow’.
    Thanks Felix, Curarist and we’ll spotted Jackkt

  22. 12.01 I’m going to be contrary and own up to not loving this one. I did see all the double letters but didn’t separate the BB&Cs from the rest. Otherwise I found it a bit of a plod tbh. I’m doing the crosswords on my tablet this week and I find it much harder. I suspect that really affects my enjoyment, so – as usual – the problem is mine, not the setter’s!
    Having said that, I did yesterday’s biggie online late last night in about 17 minutes, so who knows 🤔
    FOI Daft LOI Coward (couldn’t see past jersey=top for a while) I did like Cone, so that gets the nod for COD
    Thanks Felix and Curarist

      1. I fibbed – it was 19 minutes 😅 I wonder whether a very nice French meal and a couple of good sized glasses of white beforehand might have helped. Shame I can’t do that every day!

        I’m off now to try today’s biggie – also online rather than paper, which I do find hard. Hope you had a good day 😊

  23. 20 mins…

    I really enjoyed this and agreed with the blogger that there were some lovely clues and surfaces. However, as usual, any potential Nina passed me by.

    Liked 8ac “Flabbier”, 1ac “Dribbler” and 17ac “Smoke Bombs”. Thankfully resisted biffing “Steamships” for 10dn. I also thought 18dn “Cone” was genius, but then had an internal debate about whether a “Cone” could be stretched to a 99 – but I guess the “becoming” element and question mark in the clue get around any doubts I may have had.

    FOI – 2dn “Imam”
    LOI – 18dn “Cone”
    COD – 18dn “Cone”, but also liked 16dn “Coward”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Lots to enjoy today, which just goes to show what pleasure a Dickens-free Felix can produce. As Curarist notes, those of us who like to parse the answers had one treat after another, with some really good surfaces. CoD to 18d, Cone by a nose (😉) from Chic. Loi Flabbier needed an alphabet trawl to prompt the pdm, and ushered me into a window seat on the SCC. No complaints, just couldn’t think of weight/flab, which sadly, in my case, is beyond irony. Invariant

  25. 10.24

    Bit on the slow side for me as I struggled to see DAFT for some reason and I needed that at the end for my last two FLABBIER and DRIBBLED which felt like it was a bit hidden in plain sight.

    Otherwise I did like this a lot and certainly did smile at CONE though not sure the surface makes an awful lot of sense

    Thanks Felix and Curarist

  26. Similar to yesterday in that I struggled through this but got there in the end (25 minutes, so a couple of minutes faster than yesterday). However I really enjoyed this because of the myriad of lovely surfaces and PDMs, making it seem much shorter than the elapsed time. Had to check CLIO as my knowledge of the Muses starts and finishes with Erato. Saw various football related answers and wondered if there was some sort of theme but, as I never see them, I didn’t spend any time looking further. The double letters completely passed me by.

    FOI – 14ac ABBOTS
    LOI – 6dn HALLOWED
    COD – probably 18dn CONE but there were lots of other lovely clues such as DRIBBLED, BABY SITTER and CROSSBAR

    Thanks to Felix and Curarist

  27. 4.16. I enjoyed this. One of my better times. I complete the paper version and I wonder if this is quicker than doing it online.

    I have never broken four minutes, and I wonder if I can write fast enough to ever do so.

  28. A 16:10 DNF. Didn’t do this v. good puzzle justice. Failed on the ASSERTIONS anagram and missed the theme/Nina. Guessed that’s what a ‘ninety-nine’ might be from the clever wordplay.

    Thanks to Felix, both for the puzzle and for dropping in, and to Curarist

  29. 4:36 this morning. I realise I’ve not posted anything for ages but felt today that I had to record my appreciation of a particularly well designed QC from Felix, a really satisfying solve.
    COD (among many) 18 d “cone”, although I’m aware non-Brits might have found it a little mystifying if not irritating.
    Incidentally, I’m still reading and enjoying the blogs and comments every day but will give myself a hundred lines “I must contribute more again”!
    Thanks to Felix and Curarist and Jack.

  30. I absolutely loved this QC today. 18 mins of steady solving and pausing to admire the clever surfaces and references. That said I did not notice the BBC reference so thanks for pointing that out. Lots to like but COD was always going to be CONE.

  31. 10:33

    Seeing Felix’s name once again, I suspected a nina but didn’t spot it (well done Jack) though I considered a football theme as others did.

    Liked CONE and DRIBBLED.

    Thanks setter and Curarist for deciphering.

  32. A tricky and elegant puzzle. I liked CONE, CHIC and COWARD as clues.
    I had a careless DRIBBLES at 1ac- I didn’t check the clue tense- so I’ve joined the OWL club today!
    Thanks for the blog, and thank you Felix

  33. An enjoyable solve with some lovely surfaces. FOI DAFT and LOI SMOKE BOMBS. I liked the cluing for IMAM, STEAMBOATS, ABSORBED and CONE but my COD goes to COWARD. On target in 8:23

  34. 7.49 with no issues. CLIO was my LOI. I keep intending to learn the Muses but never seem to get round to doing so.
    18dn was my favourite clue.

  35. No fun at all for me today. Perhaps I’m just being grumpy, but I thought 1ac was a slightly ‘iffy’ clue.

    No complaints about the rest, but I’m just not with it at the moment. Took somewhere in the region of an hour and never on the wavelength. Avoided a DNF but that’s about it.

    Thanks for the blog Curarist and best wishes to everyone for the weekend.

  36. Slower than the last two days, but finished in a reasonable time for us. Solved 18d from the word play, but missed and had forgotten the 99 reference. Enjoyable puzzle.

  37. 18:03. Saw a lot of B’s early on and was curious. I think looking for more B’s helped me with FLABBIER , ABSORBED, and DRIBBLED. Not sure how the “not the ball” in latter clue quite works sense- or grammar-wise. As I responded to Paul above I had CONE as “0ne under one hundred= 99.

  38. Am I the only one to carelessly put in Dribbler for 1a? Oh well nearly.
    No time to report as it was very interrupted but it was on the very difficult side to me…Clio LOI not known and Odysseus was only just fathomable.
    Enjoyed it though
    Thanks all

  39. 35:59

    Perhaps my slowest ever solve. I usually give up on the QC at 30 minutes. But the answers kept coming, just very slowly! FLABBIER troubled me but it was the bottom right where the real problems arose: CATACOMB, CONE, EBBS (was sure it was TIDE) and LOI COWARD.

  40. Struggled manfully, but needed help to finish SE corner. COWARD, CONE hard to get and (perhaps unforgivably), didn’t know CLIO. Not my best day
    , but appreciated an elegant puzzle.

  41. Finished this morning after giving up late last night with DRIBBLED, BABY SITTER and ASSERTIONS still unsolved. Eventually over the line in around 30 in total. LOI by a good 6 mins was DRIBBLED – couldn’t get past ‘permitted’ as definition… Anyway, got there in the end and enjoyed getting the grey cells working this morning. Agree with others about CONE, definitely my COD. I never spot a theme so as clueless as usual re BBC. Thanks Felix and curarist.

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