Quick Cryptic 2344 by Pedro

Not too tricky, though there was a lot of biffing. Some of the clues have rather a lot of moving parts which may trouble some. I quite like 3dn and 4 dn. 7 minutes for me.

1 Travel document shown by directors in Golf? I don’t know (8,4)
BOARDING PASS – BOARD (directors) + IN + G (golf, NATO alphabet) + PASS (I don’t know)
8 Bird’s name given to music party (5)
9 Exclamation of surprise with herb appearing in floral arrangement (7)
10 Last characters in text indicate uncertain number (3)
TEN – last letters of texT indicatE uncertaiN
11 A new suggestion regarding opening course (9)
13 Fine place for mascara that’s overly decorative (5)
14 Attempt meeting of bridge opponents, for example (5)
ESSAY – E[ast] + S[outh] (bridge opponents) + SAY
16 Most of each part of the golf-course staying fresh (9)
17 An opening for trainee soldier (3)
ANT – AN + T[rainee]
19 Thin material turned fat, horribly fat, with infusion of energy (7)
TAFFETA – TAF (‘fat’ turned) + anagram (‘horribly’) of FAT, with E for energy inserted.
21 Material business in place before November (5)
LINEN – LINE (business)+ N (NATO again)
22 Australian monarch getting defamation (12)
1 Exploded item of statuary incorporating King (5)
BURST – BUST with R inserted
2 A TV and broadcast age offering benefit (9)
ADVANTAGE – anagram (‘horribly’) of A TV AND + AGE
3 Treatment of teeth: repositioned in head gently, with minimum of effort (6,7)
DENTAL HYGIENE – anagram (‘repositioned’) of IN HEAD GENTLY + E for effort.
4 Subtlety? Good attempt, but not right (6)
5 Various items — a harp, a praline — scattered around (13)
PARAPHERNALIA – anagram (‘scattered around’) of A HARP A PRALINE
6 Father supporting Southern resort (3)
SPA – S + PA
7 Iron company avoiding settlement is a criminal act (6)
FELONY – FE is iron. COLONY is settlement. Take off CO for company
12 America turned dirty on a continuing basis (9)
13 Celebration, after loss of heart, encourages and cheers (6)
FIESTA – FIRES minus the middle letter + TA
15 Inclines to have millions invested in race venue (2,4)
LE MANS – LEANS with M for millions inserted
18 Singer partly prone to getting upset (5)
TENOR – reverse hidden word: pRONE To
20 Viral infection was airborne, according to radio report (3)
FLU – sounds like ‘flew’

72 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2344 by Pedro”

  1. 7 minutes on the nose for me — I found this more difficult than usual.

  2. 18 minutes, so I was back into my red zone for the second time this week. QUEENSLANDER was my very belated LOI, but the wheels had come off earlier when I realised the anagrist at 5dn had an R unaccounted for in my spelling of PARAPHENALIA so I decided bung it in to make PARRAPHENALIA. Having written this in the grid it gave me problems finding all the intersecting answers.

  3. Bit biffy for me too. That mostly paid off except for trying ‘nuance’ before NICETY and having surgery as the second word of DENTAL HYGIENE. All in vain as I having finally decided a double anagram of fat was plausible I then managed to squeeze an R into TAFFETA. QUEENSLANDER wasn’t the last one in but it was the toughest to crack – just took too long to separate Australian from monarch. Not all green in a shade under 15.

  4. 24.15 – pleased with that because I struggled to parse a lot of it as I was going along. FELONY needed the blog to explain and seems a bit above QC-level. FIESTA too perhaps. Had to write out PARAPHERNALIA as I didn’t realise it had a second R. Likewise not sure how to spell TAFFETA. Along with CORSAGE (LOI), LINEN, statuaries these are not part of my general life!

    Positive week after the moans and groans of Feb to have 4 successes and total less than 2hours solving for the week. There was a time I would spend that on one grid alone. Actually last Thursday and Friday together took longer!!

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

  5. A quick start with BOARDING PASS and a number of it’s offshoots going straight in, but slowed down after that.
    Wrote in FIESTA, then deleted it as I couldn’t parse it but then put it back in when all checkers were in place and never did fully parse it. Needed to write out both of the long down anagrams before seeing the light and would have had trouble spelling PARAPHERNALIA if I hadn’t done so.
    Enjoyed the PDMs for QUEENSLANDER and FELONY and finished with NICETY having earlier resisted the temptation to biff nuance.
    Crossed the line in 9.28
    Thanks to Curarist

  6. 11:05. 1105 Crusaders extend their reach in the Levant by winning key battles.

    A glance at 1a led me to guess the second word was PASS. With the initial P I looked at 5d for my FOI of PARAPHERNALIA. However, a misspelling (-PHREN-) lay hidden in the middle holding up my LOI ESSAY, as I had R-S-Y.

    The way 13a was constructed seems a little unfair. The instruction “after loss of heart” precedes the word it acts on, “fires”. Most QC-ers, like me, feel pleased to have spotted the device, then try to make it work on “celebration”. Then I gave up and later banged it in from checkers. The surface is more QC as

    Celebration encourages after loss of heart. Cheers! (6)


    Just checked my cumulative times for the week, 54:23 for five puzzles. Definitely a good week.

    1. I like the idea of assessing the week’s cumulative times. As it happens my times this week produce a total exactly the same as yours – 54 minutes (I complete on paper so measure by watch and only to the minute). I shall henceforth consider “under an hour” to be a Good Week too – while noting that “fast times” and “enjoyable puzzles” are not synonymous.

  7. Found it really tough to get going and thought it was getting too hard but after a bit of grid pinball I finished with BURST and TEN to hit a relatively pleasing 12:58.

    Like L-Plates and Plett11 I learnt how to spell PARAPHERNALIA as it went in to fill the boxes – I know the word and knew it had to be the answer but haven’t ever written it down – think it’s at least 2 letters longer than I thought!

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  8. PS The 15×15 blog is worth a visit today as some of the clues are brilliant. Particularly 8 Across
    One does associate with poachers at last catching game (4)

    1. (I don’t think that’s a particularly good clue, assuming I’ve solved it correctly!)

      1. Are you sure you’re solving it or parsing it correctly? I made it my clue of the day, I thought it was brilliant!

        1. Yes and yes … hey ho, “marks for artistic merit” disagreements not that uncommon!

  9. Definitely some tricky clues here, as I took 13 minutes to complete the grid. Held up by a biffed Antipasti, before Felony reduced my first course to a single solitary Antipasto (diet time?), and I never did parse Fiesta – I agree with Merlin here that the clue was both clumsy and not quite QC-oven-ready, and his version is certainly smoother.

    Queenslander was the first outing “in earnest” of my newest trick, learnt courtesy of comments here on TfTT, that “if U try Q”. So I do read and learn from those wiser and more experienced than me …

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

    1. An ANTIPASTO may consist of lots of small pieces but it is still an ANTIPASTO … the reason the menu always says “antipasti” is because it’s a list of all of them!

  10. Like MM, I found it hard to get any momentum and, as soon as I did, I was interrupted by phone calls and a knock at the door. So, I can post no time but fear it was an SCC job.
    I can’t really comment further except to say that were some good, chewy clues. I needed the blog to parse FELONY and FIESTA and thought the latter was a poor clue.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  11. Back inside target – just – a few seconds inside 15 minutes. Some good stuff here from Pedro that properly exercised the old grey matter. LOI was SUSTAINED for no very good reason. FOI was BURST which enabled BOARDING PASS for a quickish start. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  12. Like yesterday, tricky enough to make one think and was pleased to finish in below my average time thanks to a good deal of biff first, parse later. FOI BURST, LOI ESSY COD started off with bottom eow, then the top, but settled on ANTIPASTO. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  13. I enjoyed that. LOI was RAVEN, having first thought it would be ROBIN (but then being disabused by ADVANTAGE) and then REVEL because that was a music party but might be a bird. Well almost everything turns out to be a bird somewhere, doesn’t it? Anyway, I got there. COD to ANTIPASTO.

    All done in a reggo 08:45 for a Sub-K and thus a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Curarist and Pedro.


  14. I was not at the races today. Both of Pedro’s puzzles this year have taken me well over my target.

    Not to say that it was a bad puzzle, not at all. I liked FELONY, ANTIPASTO, QUEENSLANDER. LE MANS was my LOI, as I was not thinking of motor racing, but rather the gee gees.

    Like others, I needed curarist’s excellent blog to parse the biffed FIESTA.


  15. I found this one tough and was dodging around the grid a fair bit, but I eventually finished in 10.29 just outside target, so I’m fairly happy with that. Like others the spelling of PARAPHERNALIA was a problem, and I initially omitted the middle R and had a double N instead. I’m glad I took the trouble before finishing to check the letters from the anagram to find there was a second R and only a single N.
    I like Merlin’s idea of a weekly average, I think I’ll check mine and report back. It should give each of us an idea of how realistic or accurate our target time is.

    Edit: My cumulative time for the week is 47.38, so a daily average of 9.32. With a target time of 10 minutes, I seem to have achieved my target for the week.

  16. Got about halfway through and gave up. Far too difficult for me. Did not enjoy at all.

    1. Have a good look at the ones you couldn’t get – that’s the best way to learn.

    2. FI agree heartily. I still think fiesta is horrible – fires for encourages? – the whole thing just too tortuous. I got felony but had no idea why the company avoiding settlement worked. And didn’t like ant for 17 across.
      I love clues where, even if you don’t get the answer, you feel enlightened when ellyou see it. Conversly, I hate it when you feel cheated and unimpressed, like the three I have referred to.
      So i don’t appear too stupid, I can spell paraphernalia without a problem, and do not see any problem with antipasto.

  17. I like to be home & hosed in under 10 minutes, so I’ll take 9:56, no doubt saved by knowing that it’s O at the end of ANTIPASTO and not an A, and despite having a bit of a blind spot with the spelling of PARAPHERNALIA.

    FOI – BOARDING PASS (good one)

    EDIT -My weekly average is 11:12, so some work to do next week to get it under 10.

  18. Missed my target but enjoyed the battle. I might have made it if I hadn’t been another “surgery” victim, or more likely with a quicker start.

    TIME 5:27

  19. 5.35 but

    Annoying typo at the very end as I shovelled in my last two. Shame as a decent time and v rare to get close to Busman.

    Liked NICETY

    Thanks all

  20. Another tricky end to a week. Boarding Pass at least provided a foothold, but it was hard going in places. Couldn’t parse Felony nor Fiesta and, like others, struggled to spell Paraphernalia. Essay and nho Corsage also seemed more like 15×15 material. Loi Queenslander capped off a difficult solve for me and ensured that I was again a passenger in the SCC. CoD to the wrong end of clue Antipasto. Invariant

  21. Couldn’t parse Antipasto and paid the price by spelling it with an e instead of an i making the final score for the week setters: 3; me: 2.
    I did a lot of biffing with parsing to follow where possible and still don’t understand Fiesta despite Curarist’s helpful blog.
    It’s been an enjoyable week of puzzles. Thanks to all.

    1. FIES = “after loss of heart, encourages”. That’s because FIRES could mean “encourages” (certainly as “fires up”, anyway), and if you take out its middle letter (“after loss of heart”) you’re left with FIES.

      TA = “cheers” (slang for “thank you”).

    2. Frustrating but almost there #5 I think you’re a lot more successful at these than I was in my first six months or so. Not an easy one today, so well done to make good traction into it 👍

  22. A very hard time getting through this one but delighted to solve all – 37 minutes….
    Needed the blog to understand Felony.
    NE corner took longest – until PDM seeing Nicety.
    Not being great at biffing made this a tricky but enjoyable slog….
    Took far too long to see Boarding Pass.
    LOI Corsage – just got it.
    Thanks all

  23. DNF. Way off the pace today with 5 clues unsolved and 3 right but unparsed. No joke!

  24. 28 mins…

    I made heavy work of this, so was slightly heartened to see that others didn’t find this straight forward either. Like many, struggled to parse 13dn “Fiesta” even if it couldn’t have been anything else. I also had issues with 14ac “Essay” and 12dn “Sustained” – some of it driven by my abject failure to spell “Paraphernalia” properly.

    FOI – 1ac “Boarding Pass”
    LOI – 14ac “Essay”
    COD – 11ac “Antipasto”

    Thanks as usual!

  25. Solved all the long ones and all on LHS but slow on right and finally had to look up NICETY which gave me CORSAGE (COD). Should have remembered sage is a favourite herb in Xwordland. Did solve PARAPHERNALIA and eventually ANTIPASTO. ESSAY was difficult as was trying EW or NS for bridge partners but biffed answer eventually.
    A tricky one, again. Thanks vm, Curarist.

  26. 13:19. Good puzzle with many bunged in first and parsed later, as others have commented. Couldn’t work out the parsing of FELONY in the end and learnt how to spell PARAPHERNALIA.

    Favourite was QUEENSLANDER, aka (with the utmost respect of course) “banana bender”.

  27. Definitely tricky! 34 minutes and all but FIESTA fully parsed. Great to get BOARDING PASS within the first minute, as that led me to 3-4 of its dependants.

    I DNK CORSAGE and only remembered ESSAY after several attempts at the clue. FELONY, ANTIPASTO, ANT and TENOR all held me up, but none for as long as my LOI, QUEENSLANDER.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  28. I need some help. I must have had my brain turned off whenever the term BREEZEBLOCK has been used in comments to these blogs. What does it mean in connection to crosswords? Maybe it was explained previously but I missed it!

    1. It means that you BREEZE through almost all the puzzle but then you get BLOCKED by the last clue (or maybe two) and so you end up with a much slower time than you thought you were going to get. When this happens to me I am full of self-pity.

  29. Very slow solve, made a meal out of 3d, got the dental half straight away but for some reason could not get the second part for an age. Should have had the G and T’s earlier.

  30. 5:05 this afternoon. Had just finished reading my mail, in particular a letter from my NHS dentist informing me she was going private ( can’t say I blame her really) , so my SOI 3d “dental hygiene” was a bit of a coincidence.
    Liked 11 ac “antipasto” and 19 ac “taffeta”.
    Thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  31. All that money spent on our education, and we still can’t spell paraphernalia . . .

  32. 7:00 on the nose (that’s twice this week) to match Plusjeremy.

    Like others, didn’t see the parsing for the LONY part of FELONY – everything else was OK.

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

  33. I think that I have a wonky crossword brain! For me Queenslander was a write in (what else could it be) while I only got ant because eventually it could not be anything else. With regard to the 15 x 15 anyone who doesn’t think 8 across is brilliant has not understood the parsing. Great misdirection both in the definition and the wordplay!

    1. Or (like me) they have been stalking deer all their lives and thought it was a write in

  34. What a difference compared with last week. Last week was 1/5 solved, this week 4/5 (and just one clue stopped it being 5/5. Thanks for a run of crosswords that provide some encouragement to those of us living in the far reaches of the SCC.

    1. Well done DaveC – certainly a better week for those of us frequenting the SCC

  35. 13.30 A bit quicker than the last few days. The first pass only yielded about a quarter of the answers and I got stuck for a while but BURST led to BOARDING PASS and the rest flew in with much biffing. Enjoyable.

  36. I thought it was antEpasto as ante means ‘in front, before’ eg ante meridian whereas anti means ‘against’ as in opposed to something.

    As antipasto is an Italian starter I thought maybe the derivation would have meant ‘before the pasta’ rather than ‘against’ the pasta!

    Luckily the checkers prevented me from a red letter!

  37. I was somewhere around the 30 min mark for this one, so back in usual territory after some extraordinary highs and lows recently.

    I loved this QC, but was a little disappointed to come on here and see so many great times. I thought I had done extremely well with a hard offering from Pedro, but my time looks like nothing special.

    Perhaps it wasn’t as hard as I thought, but it struck me as tricky, with some fantastic wordplay and misdirection.

    LOI – LE MANS (breeze block ish)

    Great blog as always Curarist.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend. I’ve got to work tomorrow unfortunately ☹️

  38. I did this hours ago – I wonder if anyone is even reading the blog at this time of the evening! It’s been a busy day.
    13:50 – I often struggle to unravel Pedro’s clues for some reason. I tried to put drivers pass in at 1a, getting quite cross that it should be ‘licence’ when I realised I was going in the wrong direction! Once I got BURST, everything fell into place 😅 But it was a bit of a plod. I biffed FELONY – thanks for the explanation Curarist.
    My weekly total was a nicely palindromic 50:05 – but doesn’t entirely count as I had one letter wrong at the beginning of the week.
    FOI Burst LOI Corsage COD Paraphernalia made me smile
    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

    1. Hello Penny,
      I also have read your post, albeit just now (Sat. pm). Your 50 minutes total for the week is mighty impressive, but does my 5-0 (in a total of 2hrs 25 mins) trump your 4-1 result? If thge truth be told, I don’t think it does.
      Btw: I finally finished Sandy Balfour’s ‘Pretty Girl In Crimson Rose (8)’. An entertaining read, so thank-you once again. I will pass it on to another like-minded friend.
      Enjoy your weekend!

      1. Glad you enjoyed the book 😊 MrB is enjoying A Fabulous Creation and will get it back to you in the next few weeks. BTW we now have a red Honda Civic. Not a batmobile though 😅

  39. I’m reading it Penny (before an early night), so your post wasn’t in vain! I look forward to the day when my weekly time is under the hour mark. There are still days when a single QC takes me perilously close to this.

    Gary 😊

    1. Imagine only taking 50mins for the week 😮 This was probably my quickest week ever (1hr51+). I’m thinking a sub 1hr40 week is the equivalent of escaping the SCC – at least as a first stepping stone.

      My times are gradually improving and this year has just one solve over the hour, which turns out to have been Pedro’s other contribution! There’s a

      It reminds me of my golf days. One bad round for a pro can destroy a pro’s tournament. One bad hole can destroy what had been a good round. Improvement comes by wiping out the shanks and thins so that nothing too bad ever happens. Then slowly honing the accuracy.

      Sorry to hear you’re working tomorrow GA – but at least you won’t have the QC to distract you 😉

      1. Imagine taking only 1 hr 51 mins for the week. Well done, Mr Plates! I took 2 hrs 25 mins in total, for an average of 29 minutes. Sub-30 was almost unheard of a year or so ago, so I am very pleased with this outcome. Good luck next week!

  40. A good week L-Plates, very well done. We are all getting better (slowly), but it’s a long old process.

    I avoid crosswords on a weekend, work or not. It heightens my enthusiasm for the battle on Monday.


    1. Hello SRC, L-P and Gary A. Considering you guys are all recent residents of Crosswordland, I think you should all be immensely proud of yourselves. You’ve stuck with it through thick and thin and you can solve in times you might not have dreamt of a year or two ago 😊
      There are plenty here who probably achieve an average of well under half an hour a week. I’ve been doing these since the beginning and I think I’ve reached my level! In any case, as has been said many times before, for me it’s about the time spent enjoying the challenge, not the actual time. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t get a liitle rush when I have A Very Good Day, but it’s not my main focus!
      And yes, Random – your 5-0 definitely trumps 4-1. A mistake is a mistake!

      1. That’s very kind of you to say Penny. I think we do sometimes forget the progress we have all made. One thing I am apt to forget is that, when I began, I was using a list of the most common abbreviations as an aid, whereas now I solve unaided.

        You are also right to emphasise that it is embracing the challenge which really matters. That was why I enjoyed Friday’s QC so much.

        I hope you’ve had a good weekend.

        Gary 😊

  41. A very late comment as was not around yesterday due to a celebration at Claridge’s (name dropping like mad!)
    Found it hard and biffed some. Antipasto in particular.

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