Quick Cryptic 2364 by Rongo

A pleasant solve of medium difficulty from Rongo. I was only held up by a temporary fit of idiocy with the spelling of ‘censure’. Favourite clue has to be 2 dn – I do love a bullseye anagram.

1 Company letters about Italian wine’s non-ecological packaging (7)
5 Society follows a greater number of its conventions (5)
MORES – S for society after MORE
8 Elementary chart having the power to follow cyclic time (8,5)
PERIODIC TABLE – PERIODIC (cyclic) + T (time) + ABLE
9 Highest part of building making prof too dizzy (7)
ROOFTOP – anagram (‘dizzy’) of PROF TOO
10 Some feeble attempt to complain (5)
BLEAT – hidden word: feeBLE ATtempt
11 Place found before school takeover (6)
PUTSCH – PUT (place) + SCH (school)
13 Stirring scene, a meeting to raise spirits (6)
SEANCE – anagram (‘stirring’) of  SCENE, A
15 Alison ignoring boy when giving another name (5)
ALIAS – ALISON minus SON + AS (when)
16 Halt ice melting for good (7)
ETHICAL – anagram (‘melting’) of  HALT ICE
19 Delightful, being an earlier owner? (13)
PREPOSSESSING – cryptic definition
20 Crossing street, certainly not horrible (5)
NASTY – NAY ‘crossing’ ST
21 Very minor audible trickery (7)
SLEIGHT – sounds like SLIGHT
1 Musician parking in middle of Brighton attraction (5)
PIPER – P inside PIER
2 Rain shower, it’s wrecked suitability for flying (13)
AIRWORTHINESS – anagram (‘wrecked’) of RAIN SHOWER ITS
3 Empty trawler, away for fish (5)
TROUT – TR is trawler ’emptied’ + OUT
4 Upbeat church with extremes of inner purity (6)
CHIRPY – CH + InneR + PuritY
5 Varying dose of LSD swallowed by drug transporter (7)
6 Massaging round, um, narrow body part, staring curiously (13)
7 Darling second little piece of neckwear (7)
11 Confinement for the very young drama writer (7)
12 Constant study arranged around start of ordinary detention (7)
CUSTODY – C (constant) + anagram (‘arranged’) of STUDY, around O for ordinary
14 Criticises, but not re population survey (6)
17 Dislike admitting son’s rashness (5)
HASTE – HATE outside of S
18 Lower body part: it is not dodgy (5)

63 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2364 by Rongo”

  1. Two hours in and I’m the first to comment!

    I had no problems here but I was slow off the mark as I was hopping around the grid looking for easy pickings but found them few and far between until I had sufficient answers to build on. In particular I was avoiding spending time on the the long answers and had to return to most of them three or four times before the answers leapt out at me.

  2. I biffed the two long downs and the two long acrosses, which opened up a lot. 4:49.

  3. Started fast but crawled to a finish hopping around the RHS. Made LEGIT hard by being too hasty in going for ‘prepossession’ and was just slow to get to MORES and MUTABLE – good PDMs for both, especially the ‘tab’ bit. RUBBERNECKING took all the checkers even though I was on to ‘rubbing’ in a flash – biggest PDM of them all. Irony meter off the scale for my pink square, earned for ‘HASyE’. So not all green in 16 to finish a good QC week.

  4. Got bogged down with AIRWORTHINESS and could not see SLEIGHT and PUTSCH so no time for me today, disappointingly. A good puzzle though, so hats off to Rongo.

  5. 6.35 but..

    Bunged in CHIPPY without reading the clue properly. CHIPPER is indeed a synonym for CHIRPY but CHIPPY is … where I’ll be this evening

    Liked SWEETIE

    Thanks Rongo and Curarist

  6. Found this fairly gentle with the top going straight in but a little more thought was required in the bottom half.
    Particularly enjoyed the ‘p’ clues of PLASTIC, PREPOSSESSING and COD PLAYPEN with an honourable mention to the PDM for LEGIT.
    Started with PIPER and finished with CUSTODY in a brisk 6.43.
    Thanks to Curarist

  7. 5:48

    This seemed quite chewy at first glance, perhaps due to a less familiar name in the setter’s chair. However with a few answers in place, the crossers began to help fill out the grid. None of the answers were unknowns, just perhaps took a little extra thought to figure out, but I found once I’d got going, all fell into line quite easily.

    Thanks Rongo and Curarist

  8. 8:02. Second very good one in a row. A few unusual words like PUTSCH spiced up the mix of plenty of other PREPOSSESSING clues.

    Thanks to Rongo and Curarist

  9. 13:40. 1340 King Edward III of England declares himself King of France

    LOI RUBBERNECKING took a couple of minutes. I was sure there was an anagram in there, with “massaging” and “curiously”. Even the “um” looked like an unlikely pair of letters. Good clue.


  10. I was a bit slow seeing a couple of the anagrams (ETHICAL and CUSTODY), but no real difficulties. I liked MUTABLE and the bizarre surface for RUBBERNECKING. All done and parsed in 4:54. Thanks Rongo and Curarist.

  11. I believe our first puzzle from Rongo this year, and a nice end to the week. But even a (fast for me) 8 minutes could not bring me home under the hour for the week as a whole, courtesy of some tough ones at the start of the week.

    Much to enjoy here, with Rubbernecking my LOI and most fun to parse – biffed and nice PDM when I worked out how it worked. Legit had me wondering what the rules were on abbreviations, but I suspect it is now a word in its own right (I can hear my grandfather harrumphing over the word phone, which he always spelled ‘phone, and no doubt my great-grandfather was similarly dismissive of the common shortening of omnibus).

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

  12. Rongo had me completely off balance from start (MORES) to finish (PUTSCH). Many of my hard-won answers looked obvious when I finally entered them. Life got easier with crossers (which I needed for the long answers) but I cannot explain my dimness overall. A very slow completion with an entry to the SCC to mull over at the end of an otherwise fair week.
    I’ll go back over Curarist’s fine blog to try to gain some composure.
    Thanks to Rongo for some excellent clues – too many to list. John M.

    Note added later: I must confess that I first thought of Seneca as a possible answer to 13a. I know it doesn’t fit but I was amused (post-solve) to find the ‘raising of spirits’ in one of his quotations:
    ‘It does good also to take walks out of doors, that our spirits may be raised…..’
    I just found an alternative crossword clue for Seance, too:
    Seneca’s work featured in spirit-raising sessions (7)
    I think I should go for a walk and clear my head.

  13. I spent far too long looking at 1ac to begin with. I just couldn’t break it down but foolishly kept trying. It ended up being my LOI, with a real forehead slap at PLC. So that’s what it was driving at!

    Otherwise a steady clockwise solve, only really pausing again at the excellent PLAYPEN (my COD). All done in 08:33 for 1.7K and a Very Good day. Weekly total 38:53 for an Excellent Week.

    Many thanks Rongo and Curarist.


  14. Another in-target solve for me – exactly in the middle of my target range in fact, I thought it would be quicker, but my last few came quite slowly. 31:26 for the week – one over target, one under, and three within the range.

    I was slow to see PREPOSSESSING and LEGIT, and my LOI was SLEIGHT. I quite liked RUBBERNECKING, even though it was initially bunged in. MUTABLE was my COD though.


  15. Many thanks to Rongo for allowing me a personal record: all done in about half an hour (first time I’ve completed it all in one go). Lovely; all readily parseable (though I don’t know enough about drugs to know they’re transported by mule?), nothing obscure, no MERs, all very plain sailing. Great fun. LOI PUTSCH.

    1. I think (I have no personal experience) that a drug mule is someone who tries to smuggle drugs on their possession from one country to another.

      PS Well done on the full house 👍

      1. Thank you for your kind words and for your reply. Thank you for mule – we learn all the time, even about things we would perhaps rather not know about! (I believe you…..)

  16. Thank you Rongo for a pleasant 18min solve to end the week. Might have been a shade quicker on a better day, but my last pair (Prepossessing and Census) provided a gallant rearguard. Airworthiness, Rubbernecking and write-in Periodic Table all helped to balance the time sheet, but I’m really not sure how I would have spelt Putsch without the cryptic – one of my many ‘known unknowns’ in English. My CoD, for a reason at least Flashman might guess, is 11d Playpen. Invariant

  17. Top half filled in very quick but struggled below.. put in ALIEN at 14a, so couldn’t get CUSTODY., Short of time so didn’t go back to check and DNF. Liked PLAYPEN. Thanks Rongo and Curarist

  18. 11 mins which I’m happy with after too much organic dunkertons cider…

    LOsI legit and prepossessing.
    CsOD alias, legit, or airworthiness (not playpen like Invariant as ours our way too old although it would be nice to be able to secure them in somewhere).

  19. 11 minutes, and should have been quicker after first five across answers entered in the order read, until PUTSCH turned me to start looking at the downs. PUTSCH ended up being LOI. Some nice clues, and some gimmes, but nice balance overall. Thanks for the blog C.

  20. My quickest solve of the week at 7.13, which was pleasing as there were one or two words that don’t crop up too often in everyday usage such as MORES and PUTSCH.
    My total time for the week was 44.19, giving me a daily average of 8.52, with only two days just outside my ten minute target. So all in all a good week.

  21. Nice puzzle, particularly liked rubbernecking. 6.11 so a little over target, but I needed at least a second look on most clues. Simple hold-ups, such as plastic, where the Italian wine had to be “it” but somehow reversed.
    I see a couple of you set yourself cumulative targets for the week, which I have never thought of doing, I’m not sure I want to do, but the idea has piqued my interest! I’ve always preferred Matchplay golf to stroke play golf as one bad hole can ruin your round. I would have the same fear with my crossword times.

  22. No major holdups today and comfortably within my target. 8:04. Thanks Rongo and Curarist.

  23. An enjoyable puzzle completed in two straight passes through the clues.

    TIME 3:39

      1. Now how would you know a thing like that, unless……. ? (Note the “usually”?)

        1. Heh…trust me, the closest I’ve ever come to drugs is watching “Trainspotting” on the telly! I’m so boring, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. Of course I only meant that doses of LSD are usually *referred to* as tabs.

          1. I trust you. We have that in common: I too have never smoked even a puff of a cigarette. But we have to accept (don’t we) that a certain amount of cigarette-related vocab is fair game in a crossword. For example GASPER the other day (for “ciggie” in the clue), which I hadn’t actually heard of but just had to be. So, all no worries.

            1. Oh yes, totally. REEFER is another word that comes up a lot, playing on its double-meaning of a marijuana cigarette and a type of jacket.

  24. Slower than yesterday at 9:52. PUTSCH is a regular visitor to crossword-land but it still took me a minute.

    Average for week – 8:48, no doubt helped by Thursday’s puzzle.

  25. All done in under 40 minutes for a good end to the week.
    Very nice puzzle. COD 7d SWEETIE but also MORES and PUTCH.
    Only solved 6d after spotting thin body part was NECK.
    Thank you Rongo and Curarist.

  26. 15 mins…

    A nice end to the week with a few good clues. Main puzzler was 6dn “Rubbernecking”, which I initially thought was a convoluted anagram, whilst the other long clues were biffed in fairly quickly. Similarly, some good misdirection in 12dn “Custody”. 11dn “Playpen” always bring a smile.

    FOI – 1dn “Piper”
    LOI – 19ac “Prepossessing”
    COD – 6dn “Rubbernecking” – a very Private Eye like clue which brought a chuckle.

    Thanks as usual!

  27. DNF after 30 mins with PUTSCH, CUSTODY and PREPOSSESSING missing. I actually wrote down putsch but didn’t know it was a word so didn’t put it in the grid. Don’t know why I could not solve Custody as it’s a straightforward clue. Not sure I am happy with prepossessing meaning delightful. Attractive, yes.

    Anyway, rest of puzzle was great and went in quickly so on balance an enjoyable end to the week.

  28. Enjoyably quick, I thought, but then stuck on LOI PUTSCH. Finally forced to look up Place to get Put, then penny finally dropped. POI CUSTODY.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  29. Very pleased to come home in 26 minutes today, as I struggled to get going and experienced several mind blanks, which threatened to ruin the day. My last four in were PUTSCH, SLEIGGT, RUBBERNECKING and MORES.

    Is LEGIT a real word?
    I definitely didn’t fully parse everything, so I kept my fingers crossed as I read the blog.

    Many thanks to Rongo and Curarist.

    1. LEGIT is legit in my view. My Chambers agrees, showing it as an informal (not abbreviated) form of legitimate.

    2. M C Hammer had a song “Too Legit To Quit” back a few decades ago. Not sure what he meant there by “LEGIT” though!

  30. Seemed relatively straightforward when I was doing it and I thought I really should have posted a better time than my 19 mins. Lost time after puzzling over a non-existent anagram at 6dn. Didn’t get too many of the across clues on first pass but had better luck with the downs and then it was a case of steadily filling in the blanks. Thanks to Rongo for an enjoyable puzzle and to Curarist for the blog.

    FOI – 9ac ROOFTOP
    LOI – 11ac PUTSCH
    COD – 11dn PLAYPEN, closely followed by 7dn SWEETIE

  31. 9.45 Yesterday felt slow and today felt quick but the times are about the same. 67 minutes for the week.

  32. Clearly not on setter’s wavelength today – took around an hour with a few bites at the cherry.

  33. Enjoyed this one. All done in 11:32 with only my LOI RUBBERNECKING unparsed, but with all those crossers it couldn’t be anything else. COD PERIODIC TABLE, for the “elementary chart” definition😀

    Thanks to Rongo & Curarist.

  34. 11:05. The long ones were gettable from definition and then parsed after being entered. I was scratching my head over the clue for LEGIT because I could only think of LOINS for a lower body part starting with “L”. Liked the clue though once I remembered I had LEGs! Like many others PLAYPEN was my COD. Needed blog to learn of PLC.

  35. I enjoyed this crossword. Finished in 10:30 (1030. Death of St Olaf, King of Norway).
    LOI was CUSTODY, delayed by expecting “study” to equal con or den, rather than being itself.
    RUBBERNECKING put me me in mind of the notice common in computer rooms in the 1970s, that ended in “Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen das hands in das pockets. Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights”. Our school computer (a PDP8e with a massive 8k of RAM) had one of these signs, and we thought it highly amusing.


  36. 7:16. I found this pretty straightforward, apart from 1a! ASTI for the Italian wine is common enough but PLC for company letters was clever, so the penny took a while to drop. I seem to be out of sync with everyone as I wasn’t so keen on the surface for RUBBERNECKING – I thought that was quite clunky.
    Like our blogger I like bullseye anagrams, so ticks went next to SEANCE and AIRWORTHINESS.
    FOI Piper LOI Sleight COD Ethical
    Thanks Rongo and Curarist

  37. Just popped in again to report that, upon my return from a couple of days with my elderly parents, I found that Mrs Random had equalled her PB today – 10 minutes! She said she was pleased mainly because it gave her a bit more time to sow some seeds in the shed, finish mulching some areas of the garden, make some bread, do some errands in town, read her textbook on the psychology of eating, process two washing loads, … the list goes on.

  38. Entertaining and amusing puzzle for the end of the week. Slowed up in the SW with 11d 20a and 12d but resolving 19a with the help of lots of crossers help a lot. Otherwise pretty well a top to bottom solve.
    FOI 1a Plastic
    LOI 11d Nasty
    COD 6d Rubbernecking
    Lets hope we get at least one dry day this weekend!

  39. 21:33

    Fairly straightforward but held up by a typo on LEGIT which made PREPOSSESSING tricky but it was LOI PUTSCH that took me well into SCC territory.

  40. Great end to the week. Got the first six across clues off the bat and was dreaming of glory. Slowed a little after inserting ALIBI instead of ALIAS, but the error was quickly corrected. For the first time in several weeks, I felt that I was truly on top of the QC and came home well inside the SCC cut-off.

    A host of fine clues, with particular mentions for MUTABLE, PUTSCH and LEGIT.

    Four escapes from the SCC this week, marred only by a midweek struggle. Positive signs overall, but still miffed about blowing an easy one yesterday.

    Hats off to some great times from earlier posters and best wishes to one and all for a good weekend. I’m walking on the Cleveland coast tomorrow, so hoping for reasonable weather.

    Thanks for the blog, informative and entertaining in equal measure.

    1. Well done this week Mr A, and enjoy your walk. By “walking on the Cleveland coast” do you mean on the land or on the water?

    2. Fantastic week GA – especially after your travails of last week. Your doubts then have certainly been put back in their place. I would have had three escapes this week if it weren’t for the Tuesday Bergamot issue. 9 of my 18 March solves were escapes which is easily best month ever. But the failures weigh heavier on me than the successes, perhaps it’s the next step in the learning curve 🤷‍♂️

      I’ll be running along the Dorset coast tomorrow. Half marathon!

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