Quick Cryptic 2484 by Pedro

This was stretching it for a QC in my opinion, and I will be interested to hear how you all got on. There is some very tricky wordplay, and a few left-field definitions. I spent ages trying to crowbar a B into 3 down until the penny dropped. 10 minutes for me, way over target.

1 Rubbished chronic type of fireworks (11)
PYROTECHNIC – anagram (‘rubbished’) of CHRONIC TYPE
8 Less easy to restrain old obsessive person (7)
HOARDER – HARDER with O for old inside
9 Early religious leader favoured by former queen (5)
PETER – PET (favoured) + ER
10 Agitated man’s valid destructive behaviour (9)
VANDALISM – anagram (‘agitated’) of MANS VALID
12 Individual working with energy (3)
ONE – ON (working) + E
13 Aristocrat, oddly, regularly seen as unimportant figure (6)
NOBODY – NOB (aristo) + alternate letters of OdDlY
15 Coin showing delicate line around head of King (6)
NICKEL – NICE + L round K for king. Slightly odd definition of ‘nice’. My dictionary says it can mean ‘slight’ or ‘subtle’, but ‘delicate’ seems a bit of a stretch.
17 Chicken shed emitting quiet bird sound (3)
COO – COOP minus P
18 Severe rain and storms surrounding company (9)
DRACONIAN – anagram (‘storms’) of RAIN AND outside CO. Tricky for a QC
20 Consider flirting with detective at university (3,2)
EYE UP – (private) EYE + UP
22 Dishonourable recording about a good-looking person (7)
23 Dicky hated milder setting for fantasy novels (6-5)
MIDDLE-EARTH – anagram (‘dicky’) of HATED MILDER
1 Person easily manipulated to accept right component of cocktail? (5)
PRAWN – PAWN round R
2 Editor and assistant interrupting revolutionary in the act (3-6)
3 Passionate Dorothy, embracing one bishop after upset (6)
TORRID – DOT with IRR inside all backwards. Poor QC-ers. You’ve just got the hang of bishop always meaning ‘B’, then they chuck in RR for Right Reverend.
4 Top article amongst leaders of Conservative Party (3)
CAP – A inside C[onservative] and P[arty]
5 Year away from US city brought about start of television channel? (7)
NETWORK – NEW YORK minus Y for year, around T for television. Another one with too many moving parts for a QC.
6 Free access that’s arranged for central beach (5,7)
CARTE BLANCHE – anagram (‘arranged’) of  CENTRAL BEACH. Another odd definition. Freedom of action, rather than access, surely?
7 Son in possession of the best male toiletry (7,5)
11 Protective gear delivered to religious group — delivered by post? (4-5)
MAIL-ORDER – MAIL (protective gear as in chain mail) + [religious] ORDER
14 Reserved about new library item (7)
16 Awkward Frenchman’s left (6)
GAUCHE – double definition
19 Certain European flag over top of hall (5)
IRISH – IRIS is a flag, plus H for HALL
21 Drink up, finding mate (3)
PAL – LAP (drink) backwards

71 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2484 by Pedro”

  1. 10 minutes, so on target but only just as my first thought at 15ac derived from wordplay was FINKEL which might well have been the name of a coin, but not really eligible for a QC perhaps. After rejecting that I spotted delicate = NICE (a meaning I did happen to know) and NICKEL then fell into place.

  2. Not rioting exactly but I did note a bit of missing wit and sparkle. Dragged myself over the line in 21m. Best moment was finally seeing what was going on with BOOKEND but biggest relief was seeing NICKEL fitted – didn’t parse it though! Accurate typing today though!

  3. Well I came in all green at the end, but only after nearly 40 minutes (39:23) of my life had passed. It was a bit like wading through treacle and some of the parsing seemed incomprehensible even after I’d got the answer. (I also have to spend much longer spell-checking at the end with this new format.)
    So a tricky one to end to the week.
    I enjoyed PYROTECHNIC, once I’d seen the anagrist, and although I initially thought IRISH was ludicrous I saw it was a clever clue upon closer inspection. LOI BOOKEND.
    So a satisfying, if difficult, end to a satisfactory week.
    It’s another lovely morning here in the land of the Jurassic Coast, apple cake and heavily polluted bays, so happy weekends all 👍
    Oh, and thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  4. Didn’t find it as tricky as some but I never did parse DRACONIAN or NETWORK.
    NICKEL raised an eyebrow but there aren’t many coins that have a ‘k’ in the middle of them so it didn’t prove much of a hold up. The other clue I had troubles with was 19d where I wondered how IRISH could mean certain – for once too much lifting and separating!
    Finished in 8.00
    Thanks to Curarist

  5. Biffed PYROTECHNIC & DRACONIAN, parsed post-submission. No problem with NICE. A channel is affiliated with a network, it isn’t a network in itself, is it? In any case, QC or not, I thought it was a clumsy clue. 7:39. (6′ is my target time, set arbitrarily some time ago and seldom met recently.)

  6. Bizarrely, I managed to get this one done in 21 mins with no aids. However, there were several that I could not parse, and only got because of good crossers. Those were: IRISH, EYE-UP, NICKEL, DRACONIAN, RED-HANDED, TORRID.
    So, a decent time (for me) – I’ll take it, but got there ugly, as they say.

  7. By the way, I still don’t fully get EYE-UP. I get the EYE bit, as in private eye, and I get the U from university. But where does the P come from?

      1. I agree. I am proud to have earned three degrees from an excellent redbrick University and would never have described my time there as ‘up’ in any sense.

        It is one of the expressions that, historically, was used to separate those who imagined they were the elite from the grunts who didn’t reach their imagined heights. Few of the fine Oxbridge graduates I have worked very well with over the years ever thought of themselves as ‘up’.

        Similarly for London. I always go down to London because I live further north. That will set the cat amongst the pigeons, no doubt……

    1. I always imagined that one was ‘up’ when at university because it was the opposite of being ‘sent down’ or expelled, but what do I know – I’m an Open University graduate?

  8. Definitely a step up from puzzles earlier in the week, and it took me 16 minutes, well over my average. But despite our blogger’s concerns, not I think wholly unfair as a QC, even so, and there were a fair number of less demanding clues to give one a good entry to the puzzle.

    LOI was Network, and I never did parse it, but for me the bigger hold-ups were Carte Blanche (odd to define it as free access, and it took time and lateral thinking to find a word ending in …N-H-) and Torrid (yes, I did try to fit a B in there, but the bigger issue was Torrid = Passionate, as I tend to think more of Torrid as difficult, as in “he was having a torrid time”).

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

  9. This tricky puzzle took over average time, because I had to wait for crossers in 6d to see that the anagrist could not be FREE ACCESS IE, at first deceived by the insertion of “for” after the anagrind into thinking it could not be CENTRAL BEACH; one blot, IMO, on an otherwise superb puzzle. NHO MIDDLE EARTH novels, but it seemed likely enough to go in without too many qualms after discarding MIDDLE HEART. FOI PYROTECHNIC, LOI CARTE BLANCHE and COD IRISH. Thanks Pedro and Excurararist.

      1. Thanks. I suspected it was that. My late wife, a lover of all novels, suggested I start with The Hobbit when I asked what all the fuss with Harry. Potter was about. I didn’t enjoy it and gave up half way through. So a big gap in my GK!

  10. 1137 Birth of Owain Glyndŵr, last Welsh Prince of Wales.

    My totals for the week were 5 finished for a total of under one hour (just). After a black week of 5 DNFs the previous week, a marked difference.

    Not too bad, with rapid LOI PYROTECHNIC and LOI NICKEL. Guessing the likely position of K opened up NETWORK, where I misread “brought up” indicating a reversal. Also had PRO=favoured for that famous leader PROER, nearly looked him up.

    Didn’t like “storms” as an anagram indicator. And NHO of IRIS=flag, and they are my favourite flower.

    WOD CADDISH, though setter missed the opportunity for a homophone with Kaddish.

  11. No idea what my problem is but did this in 9 minutes when usually can’t finish at all – must be on the same wavelength as the setter

  12. Way over target for me, although my concentration was poor. PYROTECHNIC and CARTE BLANCHE both took a while (and some checkers) to see. I liked PRAWN. Thanks Curarist and Pedro. 7:10.

  13. Wavelength – decent time – top 20 at this early stage.

    I liked MIDDLE EARTH, CARTE BLANCHE was written out, IRISH LOI – iris = flag is one of my blind spots.


  14. After an enjoyable week of puzzles much more deserving of the QC designation, Pedro offers this to us for a Friday! Many very interesting clues but it was not a QC. Pedro should offer his talents to the 15×15 puzzle editor and leave us slow, ignorant solvers in peace. I am not embarrassed to have joined the SCC today.
    I leave others to judge this more rationally.
    Many thanks to Curarist for making an interesting blog out of this. John M.

  15. 19:40 (too much history happening to pick a single event. Maybe I’ll stick with 1940 – birth of Brian Josephson)

    I started very quickly on the top half of the grid, and thought I may be on track for a record time, then got bogged down in the SE corner. CARTE BLANCHE and NICKEL were my last two in. NICKEL is less obvious from a UK perspective – I had run through most of the coins I knew before my mind crossed the Atlantic.

    A narrow escape from the SCC. I enjoyed this puzzle, and would be happy if most QCs were about this level of difficulty.

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

  16. The left hand side went in quickly but in the end I took 16 minutes delayed by NETWORK and particularly LOI CARTE BLANCHE.
    I took a long time to see the anagram for Carte Blanche; the indicator Arranged is followed by FOR; so surely that has to be part of the fodder. Eventually I decided that For had no real role other than helping the surface; and really the word should not be there (agree with Ozned above). And the definition was loose to say the least.
    COD to IRISH.

    1. I saw 6d as a kind of reverse anagram with the ‘for’ telling you that the answer CARTE BLANCHE could be arranged to give CENTRAL BEACH.

  17. About 25 mins for me, but content to take my place in the SCC. Top half, apart from CARTE BLANCHE (LOI eventually) went in quicker than the bottom. Like Curarist I wasn’t helped by “access” in 6D but once all the checkers were in place I could see what went where.
    DRACONIAN also took a while to work through. The “oddly, regularly” in 13 A was cleverly confusing initially. Nothing I would moan about overall but not one to savour particularly for me.

  18. 8:49

    I have Pedro down as the toughest of the more regular setters, averaging more than ten minutes against them, so am not surprised by a chewier challenge today. Didn’t have too many problems apart from initially typing in DORRIT rather than TORRID, which delayed solving of 1a. Does a single channel qualify as a NETWORK? I don’t know, but with ‘brought about’ in the clue to 5d, I was trying to fit a backwards US city around T – couldn’t work out how to parse KROWEN……. doh!

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

  19. Finished it (in the usual hour)! A struggle, and the blog much needed for some parsings, so thank you, Curarist. FOI PYROTECHNIC (liked that one), LOI CARTE BLANCHE, whence my MER: “for” in the clue surely implies anagram of “free access” + “i e” (for “that’s”), arranged “for” the next bit which would be the definition – instead of which it’s the reverse – so what is that “for” doing there, please? Good: we agree carte blanche = free access is dubious. Anyway, for me Finished = a Good Day.
    So: NHO flag = IRIS (but had to be), and NHO storms or dicky as anagram indicators.
    Ach, confession: I used bishop = B to make the word TORBID which I now see doesn’t exist … will learn bishop also = RR, thank you, Curarist!

    1. In my humble opinion, the QC clues are a tad looser than those of the 15×15 where the clueing is very tight and every word is relevant (there are rare exceptions). For the QC, it is more common for the odd word to be there to make the clue read more smoothly without being part of the parsing. I think ‘for’ in the CARTE BLANCHE clue falls into that category.

  20. Struggled to complete this one, but got there in the end, with the cat helping me with just one clue (6d).

    19d I had I-I-H. Just had to be IRISH, but no idea how. I put it in as it was my last answer.

  21. Judging by the times so far submitted, it would seem much harder than average, although my time of 10.44 was less than a minute over target. I got a little bogged down in the ne corner at the end with NICKEL, PETER and NETWORK taking a while to work out. I think I must have thought of every British medieval coin issued before I finally considered that it may be a foreign coin.
    My total time for the week was 46.00, giving me a daily average of 9.12. So nicely inside target after the previous two weeks that averaged over 12 minutes.

  22. 44mins (DNF) after correcting fInKEL and having already spent last 8+ mins trawling IRISH for other possibilities. Those two clues with delicate=nice and “certain European” highlighting everything that was inappropriate about this for the QC. You needed to be a 15×15 person stepping down – to know stuff the setter probably thought was standard fare like DISH=good-looking person or IRIS=flag.

    Elsewhere I was held up by thinking Proer was an early religious person and spotting the not-hidden TORODE upset in passionatE DOROThy for some kind of middle of the clue def for a bishop. That then prevented VANDALISM. Further issues with MAIL-ORDER, DRACONIAN crossing pair.

    People always say “don’t worry about your times, it’s about the enjoyment”. And they’re absolutely correct. Unfortunately I’ve lost my enjoyment for the QC – it’s been too variable over the last couple of months – I find myself fearing them each day; it’s an obligation over when it’s done. The book of QCs #1 I’m very much enjoying as they are usually under 25-mins. And I’ve started doing the Daily Express Crusader which has come in this week at around 18, 21, 36, 17, 16 so has been a nice QUICK workout – I guess I know my place!

  23. After a week surrounded by extremely pyrotechnic devices, 1A gave no hesitation. Against the flow of comments, I breezed through today in a rare sub 15 min (14.55) finish, with LOI IRISH biffed as I NHO flag.
    Thanks Curarist and Pedro.
    Interested to read about SNITCH. Not sure it is relevant to my routine of QCC on Times Android App followed by TFTT if I have time.

  24. Taken over target to 17 minutes for this Pedro puzzle, and not unhappy with that. My LTI were DRACONIAN and RED HANDED. Thanks both.

  25. Am I the only one to take issue with “emitting” in 17A? Does it have a meaning of Omission that I’m unaware of? [Just had a thought: is it supposed to be a kind of play on the words “putting out” = leaving out? Blimey: somebody please enlighten me – I’ve wasted far too much time this morning getting indignant ..]

    1. As per your thought, the word COOP (chicken shed) emits its P (quietly), leaving behind COO (bird sound).

  26. Pity, I put Pater instead of PETER. LOI NETWORK.
    Enjoyed this otherwise, though slow. Perhaps I am gradually getting better at anagrams.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  27. 18 mins…

    I thought this was ok. There were a few tricky clues but nothing out of the ordinary in my opinion.

    Trickiest element was trying not to insert Netflix for 5dn.

    FOI – 4dn “Cap”
    LOI – 5dn “Network”
    COD – 7dn “Shaving Cream”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. I usually do the 15*15 and didn’t find this hard at all. I think these two facts explain why some didn’t like it.
    I guessed that the Carte Blanche might be an access card to get into the secure office?

  29. Taken just over my target by this trickier offering from Pedro. FOI was CAP and NETWORK brought up the rear. 10:44. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

  30. 9.14

    Totally froze on IRISH and particularly DRACONIAN – just couldn’t see the parsing. Seconds became minutes so I tried bunging CO in the middle and the answer jumped out. Good clue.

    Thanks Curarist and Pedro

  31. It’s been a busy week but I have stopped by every day to see what you’ve all had to say!
    Today took 10:40. I agree with most of what has been said above – quite tricky, but then I seem to have a bit of an issue generally with Pedro, and can’t exactly say why. Same with Hurley. For the most part, I do like knowing who the setter is, but wonder whether it affects my expectations. I definitely get a smile on my face even before I start on an Oink puzzle, although recently I’ve found him more difficult too. Still funny though!
    Anyway, this week has been much better – no DNFs and some quite good times 😊
    FOI Pyrotechnic LOI Bookend Nothing really stood out as COD – I did like CARTE BLANCHE until I read the comments and found myself slightly going off it, but TORRID made me titter.
    Thanks Pedro (I really appreciate the effort and skill) and Curarist (ditto)

  32. 13/24. Those 13 were: pyrotechnic, vandalism, one, nobody, nickel, coo, eye up, middle earth, cap, shaving cream, mail order, bookend, pal. I found those to be very easy. Took about 30 minutes. Everything else stumped me!

  33. I am always amazed at the setter’s skill with the anagrams, here especially with VANDALISM and PYROTECHNIC. I needed two sittings to see CARTE BLANCHE.

    I am not worried about loosely clued offerings or those not quite synonyms – it’s only a puzzle, but I do enjoy all the debate around them from those who do mind. TfTT is always an interesting and entertaining read.

    So thank everyone and to Pedro and Curarist.

  34. 12:26 I found this quite mild. Flag meaning iris is new to me so IRISH was a biff. Thanks to Curarist and Pedro.

  35. Made heavy weather of this today. LOI NICKEL. Needed blog to parse IRISH (thanks curarist). COD to COO – made me smile. Also liked PETER and CADDISH. Wrote in most of the long anagrams then double-checked with anagrist. NETWORK took a predictably long time to solve and although it parsed I still wasn’t convinced. Thanks Pedro and curarist.

  36. Toughest puzzle this week and chuffed to solve it, albeit with a little guesswork – NETWORK, NICKEL. I agree that OMITTING for EMITTING would have been more appropriate.

  37. 16:11 DRACONIAN, CADDISH, EYE UP and. SHAVING CREAM were my favourites. Unlike many others I had no problem with free access in regard to CARTE BLANCHE, but agree with others that channel isn’t very good for NETWORK.

  38. I was stuck with 5 to go and used aids to get NICKEL then the rest followed with a bit of effort. I’m actually quite pleased with that as this was a tough QC.
    Just over an hour to finish.
    COD PRAWN which made me laugh after looking for cocktail ingredients like olives.
    Thanks Pedro and Curarist, I learned a few things today.

  39. 30:17, which is about average for me. Enjoyed it, but I’m currently in Kos on the outside of several glasses of cava so am kindly disposed to the world in general. Iris = flag is new to me, and I will try to remember it without great hope.

    Thank you for the blog!

  40. 24:02, raced through then spent half the time on the last 5 clues. FOI 1ac, LOI 16d – I knew the French meaning, just not the English.
    I guessed (is that ‘biffed’?) 19d IRISH – thanks for the explanation Curarist, didn’t know IRIS was a flag.
    COD 5d NETWORK – never seen that type of cryptic clue before.
    Thanks again Curarist and Pedro.

      1. Thanks chabuduo, only joined up Wednesday, though I have been a frequent visitor.
        I didn’t know there was a glossary – Thank You! An enormous help.

  41. Well good! Not my time (33 minutes) particularly, but just to finish such a tricky QC at all and without errors.

    I lost count of the number of times I thought I had entered my last clue, but on each occasion I somehow wrestled another one to into submission. I ended up with 5 clues to get, all in the SE corner, but after a 4-5 minute hiatus I found DRACONIAN and the others (MAIL ORDER, IRISH, CADDISH and GAUCHE) all followed fairly soon after.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  42. I thought that was an absolute regulation puzzle in terms of difficulty; in fact I would have placed it on the slightly easier side. I only got stuck on NICKEL, NETWORK and LOI PETER, and came home in a time smack in my bog standard range (08:08 – Monday 07:12, Tuesday 08:30, Wednesday 08:55, Thursday 08:11). I’m obviously a creature of habit. Got the DPS today, though, having fat-fingered CCP for CAP. Durr.

    Some great clues in there – PYROTECHNIC and SHAVING CREAM worth the price of admission alone.

    Many thanks Pedro and Curarist.


  43. All done inside target in 14:00, although I wasn’t keen on NETWORK, my LOI.

    I’ve always found the English meanings of GAUCHE and ADROIT to be interesting: clear evidence of pro-rightie bias!

    Thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  44. A fight pretty well all the way! I usually solve on a print-out and resorted to ‘Check word’ on-line a lot to see I was still on-track. Got there in the end. Phew…

  45. Interesting that was perceived as hard as this was my first 40min solve (usually I am 50min to an hour). I understood the wordplay on DRACONIAN but on some clues I didn’t understand the parsing also guessed correctly eg TORRID.

    Thank you Curarist and Pedro 👍

  46. I enjoyed this crossword and especially shaving cream and red handed. I suppose I didn’t finish as I couldn’t quite get Peter. I had p- – er but again couldn’t quite get network to help me. I knew what it was getting at but didn’t quite get there. Also had Torbid instead of torrid! I decided it couldn’t be turbid because what would that say about Dorothy! 😆
    Good fun though.

    1. Torrid/torbid…… I must confess to trying to shoe-horn DORRIT into the grid. I even went so far as to check on any possible connection to ‘Little Dorrit’!

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