Quick Cryptic 2494 by Felix

Just about par for me. Because this is Felix I’m racking my brains looking for the Nina, but I can’t spot it. Maybe the trick is that there’s no trick…?

6 King and bishop visiting miserly comic character (2,4)
MR BEAN – R (king) + B (bishop) inside MEAN. Chancellor of the Exchequer 1997-2007 and Prime Minister 2007-2010.
7 One’s got a large bill, we hear also prison (6)
TOUCAN – TOU (sounds like ‘too’) + CAN (prison)
9 One had, close to collapse, a brainwave (4)
IDEA – I’D (one had) + E (end of ‘collapse’) + A
10 Lie in bed, writhing: such awful food! (8)
INEDIBLE – anagram (‘writhing’) of LIE IN BED
11 University books with girl’s stories (8)
UNTRUTHS – U (university) + NT (New Testament, i.e books) + RUTH’S
13 Mediterranean island hotel based in the centre (4)
ELBA – hidden word: hotEL BAsed
15 Chance meeting with a character abroad (4)
BETA – BET (chance) + A
16 Lay-by for Americans and others, none parking on street (4,4)
REST STOP – REST (others) + O (none) + P (parking) + ST (street)
18 Part of Mass some varied: sung avidly backwards! (5,3)
AGNUS DEI – reverse hidden word: varIED SUNG Avidly. Love a good RHW.
20 Put down large assistance (4)
21 One giving out cards, but not giving away cars! (6)
DEALER – Double definition
22 Man is upset about variable, brutal philosophy (6)
NAZISM – anagram (‘upset’) of MAN IS with Z (variable) inserted
1 Wisdom of rugby union devotee, initially blocking change? (8)
PRUDENCE – RU (rugby union) + D (start of ‘devotee’) inside PENCE
2 It’s bound to be useful to those in need of a fix (6,6)
REPAIR MANUAL – Cryptic definition. ‘bound’ meaning it’s in a binding, i.e it’s a book.
3 Silent after moving sign up (6)
ENLIST – anagram (‘after moving’) of SILENT
4 Directs cattle (6)
STEERS – double definition
5 I’m thankful I left the last part! (4)
TAIL – TA (I’m thankful) + I + L
8 Fresh anvil seizure to make for everyone (12)
UNIVERSALIZE -anagram (‘fresh’) of ANVIL SEIZURE. Goodness knows what the surface is supposed to mean.
12 Waste no time — once in hospital, that is (3)
HIE – H (hospital) + IE. Old-fashioned word for ‘leg it’.
14 Bachelor: most slimy, and most drunken! (8)
16 Artist and attorney extremely reckless, we detect (6)
RADARS – RA (Royal Academician, i.e. artist) + DA (district attorney) + RS (each end of ‘reckless’)
17 Family in southern New York looking underfed? (6)
SKINNY – KIN inside S + NY
19 Knowledge besetting Raskolnikov’s heart leads to depression (4)
GLEN – L is Raskolnikov’s ‘heart’ (i.e. middle letter), insert into GEN (knowledge). When there’s an obscure name like this, you never need to know who they are, it’s always the wordplay.

69 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2494 by Felix”

  1. 12:31 – fairly satisfying, but the DEALER clue was a bit too easy/riddle-like, I thought. Figured out that GLEN was a valley which I really should have known already.

  2. 9 minutes, so a welcome return to code green to finish the week.

    I think 2dn may be straying on the verge of ‘green paint’ territory. Collins Cobuild gives examples of REPAIR MANUAL used in sentences but there’s no dictionary entry for it.

    If there’s a theme or Nina here I can’t see anything to suggest it other than the setter’s name.

    1. Was all set to ask what a ‘green paint’ clue was until I remembered the glossary! Now I know.

  3. I enjoyed this, though some took a bit of figuring out and I came at at 12.03. Felt I probably should have been quicker, but not by a lot. No particular issues, agree re ANVIL SEIZURE and I’m not mad about IZE endings either. FOI MR BEAN, LOI BOOZIEST, thanks Felix and Curarist.

  4. I grew up near Sparkford where Haynes Manuals are produced but I had no idea they were part of the REPAIR MANUAL genre. I took a while to persuade myself that ‘chance’ could mean ‘bet’ and couldn’t parse ELBA for ages until I realised it was right in front of me. Didn’t know I knew what Americans call lay-bys until REST STOP jumped out but it was getting the ooziest of BOOZIEST that took the longest. Quite glad to see the back of this one. All green in 19.

  5. Fat fingers spoilt this one with a random extra ‘l’ in TAIL.
    Bit of a ho-hum puzzle that I found tricky in places and underwhelming in others. As already mentioned UNIVERSALIZE was a poor clue – surely Felix could have come up with decent anagram fodder using a ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’, unless he needed it for the so far undiscovered nina. Also didn’t particularly like REPAIR MANUAL or OOZIEST for most slimy.
    Crossed the line with LOI the NHO HIE in just under 10 minutes – but a pink square so a DNF
    Thanks to Curarist

  6. 17 minutes for a puzzle I found difficult to start, difficult to finish and difficult to enjoy. FOI was not until Hie, and much of the rest were just as tricky to extract. NHO Rest stop, but it fitted the checkers. Universalize a very poor surface (and it hit my bugbear of -IZE not -ISE to boot). Glen for depression seems to me weak. And then I came to the NW corner which stayed pretty much virgin territory for a very long time. Prudence was a struggle with its multiple moving parts, Mr Bean should not have taken so long and LOI Repair Manual was IMO an awful clue – as Jack says, a green paint clue, and anyway these days instruction manuals are usually on the internet and not bound at all. I can’t remember the last time I bought something with full printed instructions.

    I don’t usually find Felix this difficult or this uninspiring, so I can only presume that either he or I just had an off day. Or possibly both of us.

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

    1. There’s little future in worrying about -IZE endings as it’s the standard Oxford spelling as described here:

      The Oxford spelling affects about 200 verbs, and is favoured on etymological grounds, in that ‑ize corresponds more closely to the Greek root, ‑izo, of most ‑ize verbs. The suffix ‑ize has been in use in the UK since the 15th century, and is the spelling variation used in North American English.

      They list -ISE as an alternative but -IZE is always first.

      1. All of which I accept, and having studied Greek I should be more swayed by the etymology which as you say points unequivocally to -IZE. But it does not stop me preferring -ISE, which I think on balance is more common in British English (so I am not entirely alone in this). Nobody says one’s pet bugbears have to follow logic, provided one accepts that they are just that, bugbears not rational positions.

          1. I am used to ISE from long residence in the UK, and thought I understood the subtleties until I saw Morse tell Lewis, in a particularly disgusted Morse
            “isn’t this obvious?” tone, that the writer of a note they were studying was clearly ignorant and uneducated (which turned out to be correct) due to using the ISE rather than the IZE form.

            1. I remember that incident in Morse, Paul, as I have re-watched the whole series quite recently. Morse was of course speaking as ‘an Oxford man’ and a cultural snob who was actually not half as clever as he liked to think. He was always correcting Lewis’s grammar but there were moments (rare, but to be savoured) when the canny Lewis caught him out breaking one of the rules he had just expounded, and corrected him back. I should mention that I’m only going by the TV programmes, as I have never read any of the books where his character may be different.

  7. Yet another DNF with loads of empty squares. No fun at all, with obscurities like HIE, UNIVERSALIZE etc causing particular frustration. Needed the blog – thanks Curarist – though I think the 6a explanation should show R instead of K.
    Not a good end to the week.

  8. 13:44. Took ages to get going and was starting to panic, think idea was FOI.
    Gradually picked up speed and only held up by LOI repair manual. Had manual straight away but still needed a couple of minutes for repair.
    Liked untruths, hie and COD booziest.

    I think the definition for Hie includes “once”.

  9. I never spot Ninas and have no idea what’s going on here, though if you look hard enough at 11, 13 and 15 across you can see Babe Ruth. OK it’s Ruth Babe. I told you I wasn’t very good at this.

    I share the general apathy to this one expressed above. REPAIR MANUAL is surely a green paint clue, though maybe I’m just annoyed with it because it pushed me over 10.

    All done in 11:06 for a Grey Day.

    Many thanks Felix and curarist.


  10. Not my finest hour or part thereof.
    It all makes sense when you have all the answers which I didn’t have at the time. DNF.
    Thanks ex ex Curarist and Felix

  11. Breeze blocked by REPAIR MANUAL, though would probably have got it much quicker if the crossers were reversed.

    I quite liked assembling PRUDENCE and the reverse hidden in a plausible surface for AGNUS DEI, but wasn’t sure about whether a block of metal could have a seizure.


  12. Didn’t so much solve this as fail to not complete it, just. Time; pah! A mere concept. COD AGNUS DEI, v clever. Various other clever clues from which I wasn’t clever enough to derive much enjoyment.
    NW was the last section to complete, tied myself in knots thinking of comic characters a la Beano or Disney rather than taking the obvious “mean” from the clue and inserting the R and B.
    3D failed to see that silent was the anagrist until far too late on, and so it went.
    A bad week for me generally in QC land, but I’ll be back on Monday to try again.

  13. 18:47 First US Postage Stamp produced

    Stamps on my mind as I made a point to see the 1856 1c British Guiana stamp that was on show in London this week.

    Did not enjoy this puzzle for many of the reasons already given. Two minutes for FOI, LOI REPAIR MANUAL.

    3D was a clever clue constructed so that it could be read as an anagram of (SIGN UP)* just as easily, especially when my first two checkers were an N and I.

    When I was a choirboy we had a dyslexic chorister who thought it was “Angus Die”


  14. Nothing held me up much. I liked IDEA and INEDIBLE. I can’t see the Nina either. Thanks Felix and Curarist. 4:28.

  15. Began to think I would never finish this but eventually came home in just under 45 minutes. All seems reasonable, once finished, but it was like blood out of stone. Maybe not one of Felix’s finest, and certainly not one of mine – possibly the reverse. Many of the same comments/issues as already expressed. Must do better! Thanks curarist and Felix.

  16. It’s just occurred to me that both MR BEAN and PRUDENCE are words associated with Gordon Brown. Now I’m starting to see incomplete names of other politicans of that era – Milburn, Prescott, Cable (who made the Mr Bean remark) Gah. I need to stop staring at it…

  17. WRT the Nina. If you look at the ‘orphaned’ letters on the periphery of the grid you will see IMPREST (or REST), NEAP, PDM, ABU, BAD, YET.

    No idea if there is any link so I will shut up now!

    1. “Imprest neap PDM Abu bad yet” at least makes more sense than “Fresh anvil seizure to make for everyone”!

  18. After 4 years of QCs I seem to be developing PRUDENCE and getting the IDEA, managing to finish this during one REST STOP. I found those beyond my RADAR to be fairly clued.

    COD STEERS for its surface and succinctness.

    Thanks Curarist and Felix.

  19. Started ok but eventually struggled to complete this. It took me 21 minutes all told, with everything parsed except ELBA (can’t believe I didn’t see the hidden). Struggled with BOOZIEST, UNIVERSALIZE (ugly clue for an ugly word, although I have no particular aversion to -IZE endings) and the first part of REPAIR MANUAL. I never look for ninas as I can never spot them anyway

    FOI – 7ac TOUCAN
    COD – 18ac AGNUS DEI. Also liked 5dn TAIL

    Thanks to Felix and Curarist

  20. Despite one or two interruptions from Mrs ITTT and Stephen, the cat, I successfully waded through today’s offering in 29:56.
    No real stand out clues for me but I did especially like UNTRUTHS.

  21. 9.10

    Quite tough and pleased to finish under 10 minutes.

    Hadn’t noticed the surface for the anvil. Now I have…oh dear. Hope Myrtilus isn’t looking.

    Thanks all

  22. Yuck. What a horrible QC this was. Parts I enjoyed. Parts I did not.

    Didn’t like 8d or 12d amongst others.

    Even the cat hissed at this QC.

  23. Like others, I found this tough, struggling to cross the line at 15.49 with my LOI being GLEN. It didn’t help that I initially put my FOI which was TOUCAN in the wrong squares at 6ac.
    Poorish week generally for me with three days well over target. My total time for the week was 58.46, giving a daily average of 11.45. In my defence, I don’t think it helps in trying to solve a crossword with the Ryder Cup on the box.

  24. I started this with one eye on the Ryder Cup so was never going to time it. But it would have been a long time on this particular QC.
    I broke off to get my Covid jab with UNTRITAS at 11a with a huge question mark. And 12d ,my LOI , was no help.
    I saw UNTRUTHS on my return by thinking of more random girls’ names; not my favourite sort of clue, but actually this one is quite good.
    LOI From parsing only -HIE; never heard of it.
    A tough QC.

  25. 31:42 was beginning to lose the will to live by the end.

    It’s meant to be quick but when is it ever going to be quick if you have to rewrite Raskolnikov on a piece of paper and count through the letters?!? There were a bunch of clues where I added 20-30s having to think through the parsing rather than instinctively understanding it.

    Enjoyed ENLIST. UNIVERSALIZE horrible to unravel. Couldn’t think of or spot ELBA. Couldn’t think of the REPAIR part of MANUAL until LbOI. NHO HIE (albeit from Curarist’s description maybe it’s when people “hie tail it out of here” but I’d always assumed that to be high-tailed.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    PS I take the “Fresh anvil seizure to make for everyone” is a surface alluding to some form of Communism where the blacksmith’s anvil was seized so that everyone and anyone can have horseshoes or whatever 🤷‍♂️

  26. 11:31. I groaned but enjoyed BOOZIEST and OOZIEST. Hmm, maybe we’ll even see snooziest, newsiest, bluesiest or flooziest some day? PRUDENCE was my favourite.

  27. Started in the middle with HIE. Finished with UNTRUTHS. I used to own quite a few Haynes Workshop Manuals. They may still be lurking in the garage! As usual I can’t spot any theme. 7:11. Thanks Felix and Curarist.

  28. 6:56

    No issues though mildly irked by the Z in 8d. Nothing to add to the Gordon Brown nina theory other than I had a vague notion that he uses the word UNTRUTHS rather than lies, but maybe just my imagination.

    Thanks Felix and Curarist

  29. 15 minutes on iPhone in doctor’s waiting room, so no Setter’s name, and didn’t search for a theme until I saw Felix’ name on the blog when I got home. Still didn’t find anything, so it is obliquely Felixesque, if it is there. Thanks both.

  30. DNF, foiled by four clues in the NW corner (Mr Bean, untruths, repair [I had the manual bit] and enlist). Most of this one was excruciating, unfortunately – seemed vastly more difficult than the average QC.

    Thank you for the blog!

  31. Given that this is by our crossword editor, I am looking forward to him explaining a wonderful Nina that I shall applaud. Otherwise the grid, word choice and poor clueing are not defensible.

  32. My copies of The Times have had something other than the QC printed in its place all week. Has anyone else had the same problem?

    Monday’s puzzle was OK, I suppose, but all four since then have felt like wading through treacle (I should have very strong quads by now). 54 minutes for me today, which makes my total for the week 3 hrs 50 mins. The only thing that defines this week as something other than a horror show is the fact that I did actually solve every clue. There were no DNFs.

    Earlier in the week I listed the 12 (of 24) clues that I really struggled with. Today, however, it’s easier to list the 5 (yes, only 5) clues that didn’t really cause me any trouble – LAID, DEALER, RADARS, SKINNY and GLEN. Nothing at all in the top half or the middle of the grid came without a fight.

    My last few in were BETA, TOUCAN and STEERS, at which point I breathed a massive sigh of relief.

    Many thanks to Felix and Curarist (and let’s hope my copies of The Times are printed correctly next week).

  33. 15:40 on a ‘I’m really not in the mood for a Felix QC’. NHO of HIE. Slow to think of MR BEAN and NAZISM as a philosophy. Spent 3 minutes on LOI REPAIR MANUAL.

  34. Finished but was a bit of a slog today. FOI MR BEAN, LOI REPAIR MANUAL, the repair part holding me up for ages. Remembered HIE from a line in Romeo and Juliet. Struggled to parse ELBA before belatedly spotting the hidden. I remember being interested to learn from a previous discussion that -ize was the British as well as US spelling so had no qualms with UNIVERSALIZE, although it still looks odd to me from a stylistic perspective. Thanks Felix and curarist.

  35. Dnf…

    Nowhere near to finishing today. When I think of a comic character, I don’t think of Mr Bean, even if you could argue he is (which I don’t, because I can’t stand him).

    Definitely on the hard side. I had “Die” for 12dn, which I felt like doing after 30 mins. Apart from a few clues, nothing wasn’t obtainable, it was just difficult wordplay.

    FOI – 5dn “Tail”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 15ac “Beta”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. After years of knowing of Rowan Atkinson only as Mr. Bean, I was surprised to discover that he’s quite funny.

      1. To be fair, it’s the character that doesn’t appeal, not Mr. Atkinson. Quite happy to watch Blackadder.

  36. A real struggle to finish this today. Needed an hour off to reset the brain. NW corner proved the hardest with PRUDENCE LOI. Phew!

  37. Did not enjoy! What’s abroad about Beta? Hie? Glen for depression? A US rest stop is more than a lay-by. Long hard slog to a DNF. Thanks for the enlightening blog!

  38. 24.58 This was going well but then I spent the last fifteen minutes on ENLIST, BETA and REPAIR MANUAL. It didn’t help that I spent a while looking for words containing J, Q, W and X. Thanks to Curarist and Felix.

  39. Computer crashed (died) this morning, hence no avatar – unable to achieve the process all over again (or, indeed, “log in” at all) without help.
    Took ages to get more than half a dozen, and after an hour would have given up, but had a train journey so kept at it and eventually (in perhaps another hour) finished it all, though a few parsing queries so thank you, Curarist. FOI MR BEAN, COD AGNUS DEI, LOI TAIL (liberated by POI TOUCAN). Amused by UNIVERSALIZE because the only clue in today’s 15×15 I could do was UNIVERSAL.

  40. I came to this late and had interruptions. Can’t blame them for my lack of enjoyment slogging through this QC.
    Good in parts but not enough of them.

  41. 90 minutes for this and 0/5 for the Quintagram. Total, utter incompetence and humiliation. Two good times earlier this week just makes it even more embarrassing. How can I be so completely useless? I give up.

    1. Don’t give up Gary! If you look at the Quitch you’ll see we had three puzzles over 100 this week, and yesterday’s was harder than anything we’ve had for weeks.

    2. Bloomin’ ‘eck GA … 1hr30 disaster 😬 But at least you persevered and got the solve.

      Think you’re being somewhat harsh on yourself. Look through the blog and probably 80% of people found this hard today. I’m not sure why other than. perhaps the portcullis grid added difficulty. The clues and answers don’t seem that difficult on reflection.

      As Templar points out the QSnitch highlights this as having been difficult. I’d say it was actually tougher than Izetti’s on Thursday. While that snitched slightly higher it had a lots of DNFs which mean those times don’t get counted.

      The two 11-min solves you had on Monday and Weds are a fantastic indication of potential but the setting is too variable to be expecting to hit that standard every day. I know I’m not always the most mentally stable person for taking the rough with the smooth but I have been working on resetting my expectations, as well as checking how much mental resolve I’ve got before attempting them.

      See you Monday 🙂

      1. Thanks L-Plates. It’s the inconsistency that I struggle with. In football terms, from the Championship (11 mins) to whatever league York City (my local club) are marooned in (90 mins). There are days when I lose the plot completely, and this was one of them.

        I’m glad I persevered to achieve a finish (and I eventually got two of the Quintagram clues).

        I’ll be back on Monday, with absolutely no expectations.

        Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 😊

        1. Football provides a very good analogy. Because while you might think of being in the Premier League as a sign of having made it, some days you’re going to have to face Man City … other days you’ll be playing Sheff Utd, Burnley or .. ahem, Bournemouth 🤣

          The question is what sort of team do you see yourself as?

          Realistically, I’m just doing well enough to stave off relegation each season. Occasional good cup run. When we match up against Man City, we’re hoping to avoid getting tonked, keep the goals to a minimum and maybe even dream of getting a win. Invariably that is shattered within the first twenty minutes of the game! Hoping one day to start pushing for a European place …

          1. Good question.

            Probably mid-Division One for me, but capable of promotion, and definitely capable of a big cup upset on occasions. Friday was akin to being drawn against a Man City or Liverpool in the cup and being totally outclassed.

            I hope Bournemouth turn things round. I like to see smaller clubs mixing it with the big boys and coming out on top occasionally.

  42. Late on parade as usual.

    I’ve never waded through treacle but I have waded through mud, and this was very much like wading through mud. Hated 8dn and 14dn.

    The only bright spot was 2dn which like others brought to mind the Haynes series which I’ve always regarded as a good thing in a wicked world.

    Finished, but timed on a calendar rather than a stop watch.

  43. I would like to remind the editors of the original purpose of cryptic crosswords: A puzzle that should be possible to complete by someone of reasonable education without resorting to works of reference. So many of the recent submissions have fallen short of this. I think we’re getting to a point where only experts at the 15×15 will continue to do these puzzles. I offer these observations in the hope they will be a cause for reflection

  44. There is a Nina in this: 19 down provides a clue.
    But it’s linguistically obscure and wasn’t really intended to be spotted

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