Quick Cryptic 2521 by Teazel


11:42; all present and correct. Not as hard as the Orpheus I blogged a couple of weeks ago but still more than enough to keep the solver honest.  Favourites were 23a and 8d.

A few that I found difficult to explain convincingly, so as ever, suggestions welcomed.

Thanks to Teazel

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions marked by strikethrough

1 Demonstrate lack of leisure for entertainment (4,8)
SHOW BUSINESSSHOW (‘Demonstrate’) BUSINESS (‘lack of leisure’)
9 Lesson Mike has spoken (5)
MORALM (‘Mike’ in NATO alphabet) ORAL (‘spoken’)

Not too difficult to bung in, but to parse correctly you need to separate the ‘has’ and ‘spoken’

10 Instruction single young woman may want? (7)
MANDATE – Wordplay as cryptic hint. A ‘single young woman may want’ a MAN DATE
11 Saw how birthday cake was defective? (7)
NOTICED – Another wordplay as cryptic hint. One way a ‘birthday cake was defective’ would be if it was NOT ICED
12 Estimated trade is bad (5)
RATED – Anagram (‘is bad’) of TRADE
13 Drunken bachelor at bingo (6)
BLOTTOB (‘Bachelor’) LOTTO (‘bingo’)

This looked familiar and surprise, surprise, it was an answer in the Orpheus from a couple of weeks ago. Given the number of words for ‘drunken’ at our setters’ disposal, this re-appearance within such a short space of time merits a comment

14 Sportsman foiled? (6)
FENCER – Cryptic definition; ‘foiled?’ in the sense of armed with a foil, a small sword used by a FENCER

Another one I liked, though some may feel it is not cryptic enough

17 Relax, conserving energy for corrective operation (5)
RESETREST (‘Relax’) containing (‘conserving’) E (‘energy’)
19 One enters pantry, becoming fatter (7)
LARDIERI (‘One’) contained in (‘enters’) LARDER (‘pantry’)

I’d wondered if there was a difference between a larder and a pantry as they seem to be used interchangeably and are listed as synonymous in several thesauri. According to the OED, pantry originally came from the Anglo-French panetrie, meaning a “bread-room” and larder was originally used for a room in which “meat (? orig. bacon)” was stored, being derived from the Latin term for “lard” via Anglo-French

21 Insulting a form of transport I have joined (7)
ABUSIVEA (‘a’) BUS (‘form of transport’) IVE (‘I have’)
22 Exhaust beginning to drip with water (5)
DRAIND (‘beginning to drip’=first letter of ‘Drip’) RAIN (‘water’)
23 Understanding nervousness is catching (12)
APPREHENSION – Triple definition

We’ve probably had something similar to this before, but I still liked it

2 Nelson’s hard speech left unfinished (7)
HORATIOH (‘hard’) ORATION (‘speech left unfinished’=last letter deleted)
3 Tiger, eg, to attack when employees are out unofficially (7,6)
4 Ruined, like a messy bed (6)
UNMADE – Wordplay as cryptic hint. An UNMADE bed would be a ‘messy bed’

As a verb in the present tense, to unmake = to ruin. No, not a common sense or synonym but it’s in the accepted sources

5 Islands: nine birds here flying (5,8)
INNER HEBRIDES – Anagram (‘flying’) of NINE BIRDS HERE

Good surface. I had to mull over this for quite a while to work out the definition and then had to muck about with several options for the anagram fodder. I’m not sure that I’ve seen ‘flying’ as an anagram indicator often before, but it works for me. I could take a stab at the ‘nine birds’ but I’d need to look up the last few; anyway, there must be a few rum ones there that I don’t know about

6 Lift up old key (5)
EXALTEX (‘old’) ALT (‘key’)

It took me a while to see ‘up’ as anything other than a reversal indicator. I keep getting (and will continue to keep getting) EXALT mixed up with “exult”

7 Fine mess finally at bank perhaps (7)
SLENDERS (‘mess finally’=last letter of ‘mesS‘) LENDER (‘bank perhaps’)
8 Answer by the people? (4)
AMEN – This would do as an all-in-one / &lit for me, with the whole clue as an admittedly not very cryptic definition and all of the clue contributing to the wordplay: A (‘Answer’) MEN (‘the people?’) with ‘by’ as a positional indicator
13 Hairdresser’s spoken with a woman (7)
BARBARA – Homophone (‘spoken’) of BARBER and (‘with’) A (‘a’)
15 Fashionable journey round a city (7)
CHICAGOCHIC (‘Fashionable’) GO (‘journey’) containing (’round’) A (‘a’)

‘Journey’ as a verb for GO

16 Run away from church in warm coat (6)
FLEECEFLEE (‘Run away from’) CE (‘church’)
18 Heavy fall and small swelling (5)
SLUMPS (‘small’) LUMP (‘swelling’)
20 Place in society held by veteran knight (4)
RANK – Hidden (‘held by’) ‘veteRAN Knight’

83 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2521 by Teazel”

  1. 11:11. I thought of undone first as it better expressed the idea of ruin but of course UNMADE fit better with the messy bed. Anyways MANDATE put that quandary to rest- and also gave INNER instead of outer for the HEBRIDES. Thanks for interesting pantry/larder explanation.

  2. Like curryowen I thought first of ‘undone’, but as he says. I liked APPREHENSION, once I got it. 5:36.

  3. 8:30 for a steady solve at first – had to Ling-er over several clues, then it all went in a rush at the end. Loved the blog comments about Inner Hebrides – appreciation levels are Skye high.

      1. Have to Mull this over – a bit of a Rum show. But I shall try to Muck in, before I Coll it a day.

        I’ll get my coat …

        1. My Scottish mother -in-law used to say: “Born in Eigg, lived on Rum and died in Muck.”

        2. Nice one, Cedric. If you ever venture to these gilded parts of our isles, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of Coll, Rum, Mull and several others.

  4. – too many cryptic definitions for me unforch, my brain finds them difficult
    – I only know of one definition of APPREHENSION so while I biffed it, I didn’t understand it (edit: no wait, I just finally understood ‘catching’ like to apprehend a suspect, goodness I’m dim)
    – I nho Wildcat Strike but the wordplay was clear
    – glad I knew of the islands from a previous crossword
    – to me, a Man Date is a date, often platonic, between two men, and therefore not something a young woman would want, single or not lol but the clue was cute

    – EXALT was the hardest one and my LOI I tried so many keys – DEL, ESC etc but it turns out my downfall is not thinking of ‘old = ex’

    – with BARBARA – does it not matter that the homophone of Barber is Barbar which isn’t a word? So confusing esp since I pronounce Barbara as Barbra unless singing Common People by Pulp

    – all in all not impossible, no vocab beyond me except wildcat strike.

    Thanks all!

    1. No, it doesn’t matter that BARBAR doesn’t exist as a word in its own right ; it’s the sound that matters as indicated by ‘spoken’. And even then, as with all homophone clues, some flexibility has to be allowed to cater for varying accents, rhotic speakers, setters having a bit of fun, etc.

      1. That’s good to know, thank you!

        When I was trying to work it out I had ‘barba’ as my ‘barber’ homophone because well, I’m Australian, and then couldn’t work out where the extra Ra was going to come from

        1. Hello Tina,
          I used to have a book entitled ‘How to Speak Fraffly’. As I recall, it referred in places to people who speak Strine.

  5. 12 minutes for this one having been delayed a couple of times along the way by answers that didn’t come immediately to mind and required return visits as checkers arrived. Nothing stood out as a major problem although APPREHENSION as my LOI maybe took the longest to sort.

  6. Woke early and wandered through this not quite fully alert in 17 mins. 1A came quickly, the Downs off it were a bit slow but I solved down the grid more or less in formation. Enjoyed the dodgy cake.

  7. At 13.38 I found this on the tough side but it was no less entertaining for that. It took me a long time to get going and I had to stare at some (FLEECE, for instance, and AMEN) for quite a while before they succumbed. I think WILDCAT STRIKE and BLOTTO probably went out of regular usage at around the same time, I’d guess the 1960s. FOI RATED, LOI FLEECE, COD APPREHENSION. Thanks to BR and Teazel.

  8. DNF with a big fat ‘Doh!’ as I threw in ‘rung’ unparsed instead of RANK.

    I wasn’t racing through what I felt was quite a tough puzzle but looking back it all looks fair. Great anagram for the islands.

    Thanks Teazel and BR

  9. All green in about 13 minutes, which is light speed for me. If hadn’t got bogged down with the EXACT/MANDATE intersection I’d have likely been sub-10. Blimey, I need a lie down!
    Thanks to BR and Teazel for another very nicely balanced QC.

  10. Trouble in the NE. Had ‘rough’ where RATED ended up for a long time, it fitted ‘estimated’ (better than rated!) and I knew rough trade was something (and yes I have now looked it up and while it may make the Private Eye puzzle I’m not sure it fits here). Once that was resolved SLENDER looked a lot easier and EXALT didn’t have to end with a U. Stuffed it up by rushing to ‘resit’ for RESET even though I knew it was E in rest – annoying. Very good puzzle. Not all green in 15.

  11. Another DNF. I haven’t actually completed one since I became a “reference solver” for the Quitch. It was EXALT that did for me, I have failed to recognise key=ALT every time, and was trying letters A-G instead. Alphabet trawl revealed ENACT and EXACT, I went for the latter, knowing it was likely wrong.

    Slower than I should have been with the chestnutty MANDATE, but BLOTTO, another chestnut went in straight away. I think the neologism Blottery has great potential as in “there was a good deal of blottery after dinner”.

    I thought FENCER was a bit weak. He participates in the foil competition, but does that make him “foiled”?

    Generally slow with the whole puzzle, I blame Jet lag, being halfway through a journey through 12 time zones.


  12. 3:48. My fastest for a while. LOI SLUMP. I wasn’t keen on unmade = ruined, but I see unmake = ruin is in Chambers, so fair dos. Luckily I just had to underline the anagrist to see INNER HEBRIDES without writing the letters out. Thanks Teazel and BR.

  13. Elegant puzzle and surprisingly accessible for a Teazel. Quite a few second looks required, and I nearly came a cropper with “rung” for LOI RANK. Sneaky hidden (especially with N for “knight” visible as a checker) so that gets my COD.

    All done in 06:45 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Bletchers (excellent blog – I am looking forward to displaying my newfound knowledge about the difference between larders and pantries!).


  14. Pretty swift for me today breaking the tape in 7.05. I decided to leave the islands in 5dn till enough crossers were in place, and this was a good strategy as it was then a write in. Unlike others I didn’t consider an alternative for UNMADE, as the answer sprang to mind immediately courtesy of Tracy Emin’s Turner Prize creation.

  15. Excellent stuff from Teazel, and a return to normality after my blitzkrieg effort yesterday – this time I completed two passes through the clues, but was left with my LOI which I was unaccountably slow to spot.

    I seem to recall previous discussions on the difference between a larder and a pantry, and it may have been on the Letters page of the Times rather than here. A fine explanation from BR (and a really good blog overall).

    TIME 3:41

  16. A brisk solve with no serious dramas. My biggest issue was chucking in walkout STRIKE which made me think harder than necessary about NOTICED.
    Started with SHOW BUSINESS and finished with MANDATE in 6.48.
    Thanks to BR and Teazel

  17. 12:25 (Henry III re-issues Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forests)

    I took a while to get going with this – FOI was FENCER, but then it all slowly fell into place. LOI was APPREHENSION.

    Had I been 1 second faster or slower, I could have had some historical event from the INNER HEBRIDES, but Ragnavald, King of the Isles, did not seem to do anything memorable in 1225.

    Thanks BR and Teazel

  18. Bah, RESIT for RESET, I didn’t think it quite worked, and I is current, not energy, but I never went back. More haste less speed.

    Otherwise, not too bad for Teazel.


  19. A very nice puzzle, all completed in just over 7 minutes. All parsed too, though Apprehension was a slow boil – LOI and put in at first from all the checkers, then I saw the first meaning, then the second, and finally the penny dropped that it was a triple definition. Great clue.

    As for “Amen” as the people’s response, I was helped to get this by having been last night to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. This is the formal locking up of the fortress (apparently the ceremony is conducted every single day, even Christmas Day, and has been for over 700 years), and it concludes with the Captain of the Watch announcing that the Castle is now secure and then saying “God Preserve King Charles”. To which we were all instructed to reply with a hearty – you’ve guessed it – “AMEN!”

    Many thanks BR for an excellent blog

  20. Finished and enjoyed. Had to correct Abusing to ABUSIVE to get LOI FLEECE. Another bad biff (Fenced) made me a little slow in solving SLENDER. LHS went in quickly, ditto the four long clues, which helped with the confidence.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  21. Awful puzzle from Teazel. I had to check I hadn’t printed off the 15×15.

    Got nowhere with this one. Even the cat hissed at it.

    Doing far better with the Telegraph cryptic today.

      1. It certainly does make it awful in my opinion. Remember, these opportunities for us to make posts are a means to air our own opinions. This board is not centred around your opinion only.

        I found this “QC” awful, yes. I’m sorry if you disagree with that but you’re just going to have to accept and learn that not everybody shares your opinion.

        1. Well, sometimes people give reasons why they believe clues are flawed, or at least don’t belong in a QC.

  22. I was held up a bit in the NE and needed 16 minutes for this.
    LOI was EXALT , my COD along with MANDATE.
    I hesitated over the obvious RATED as I did not see it as Estimated initially.
    SLENDER another hold-up as I tried to justify STELLAR (teller the idea) for a while.
    An excellent puzzle .

  23. 6:04

    All done and dusted though I missed the hidden LOI RANK having to guess that one.

    Thanks Teazel and Bletch

  24. Very close (within a couple of seconds) to our Blogger (BR’s) time for another gentle puzzle this week. AMEN LOI because I had completely missed it until the end. DaRAASAY (dare I say) I enjoyed the Hebridean puns above! I actually have a connection with little Raasay as my wife’s sister-in-law is the daughter of the famous Calum MacLeod, who built Calum’s Road on the island (Google Calum’s Road if you don’t know the story). We visited a couple of years ago and I drove (Mrs R walked) along the road to the Croft he lived in and which is still in the family. Thanks both, and apologies for my self-indulgence.

    1. No apologies needed, imo.
      I really enjoy reading these extra bits of information (like the Ceremony of the Keys mentioned above).
      Islay bets that no Jura would convict you of self-indulgence (although the pun police may now be after me).

    2. Yes, I second StoneRose’s comments about these little extra bits of information contributed by commenters. Very interesting.

  25. Another relatively straightforward puzzle although had to check on Google if “wildcat strike” could have been the answer as I hadn’t heard about it before.
    I liked “noticed” – but I think I had seen it before – and “mandate” (mmm.. can we still make these assumptions 😃??).
    My cod was the “Inner Hebrides”, I know it s just an anagram but they are still my favourite part of the United Kingdom.

    1. I agree that we shouldn’t make such assumptions in real life these days, but I also think it’s probably OK to do so in Crosswordland. Does modern PC-ness really need to be extended to clue writing? Bit of a shame, if so.

      1. I’d argue that the MAN DATE thing wasn’t making assumptions anyway since it was followed by a question mark.

  26. I only got one on the first pass, so thought I would get nowhere. Fortunately once I was BLOTTO and RESET my thinking everything fell gradually into place. I am however still struggling with APPREHENSION, my LOI.

    Thanks for all the interesting comments and info above and to Teazel and BR.


  27. 6.30

    Pretty gentle stuff from Teazel though I also struggled with my LOI MANDATE.

    COD BARBARA – (if you’re reading Mum!)

    Thanks all

  28. Quite hard I thought.
    Not happy with the def of Mandate as instruction; direction perhaps? But I liked the pun.

  29. As wih several others, APPREHENSION my LOI and needed a checker to get it. Quite difficult and pleased to finish it.

  30. 57 minutes.
    Actually finished one crreectly – the first one for weeks !

    Sorry for all the moaning previously.
    I just thought the QCs were getting too hard for me to do.
    Apparently not.

    1. Very well done!
      So pleased you are sticking with it.
      Your Avatar looks like a happy golfer. My Dad, who was a very keen golfer once explained that you experienced the full spectrum of emotions in a round of golf.
      I find the same can be said with the QC! 😊

  31. Some chewy clues in here but completed after a few attempts.
    LOI SLENDER after rejecting SPENDER.
    Could not parse CHICAGO but I see now, thanks to BR, that both CHIC and GO go round A.
    Like Struggler that’s 2/2 so far this week.

  32. Had a couple of interruptions while doing this one but remembered to pause it. HORATIO was FOI and APPREHENSION finished the job. Always enjoy my trips to the INNER HEBRIDES. 7:43. Thanks Teasel and BR.

  33. Hard going, I thought. Slow to get the ball rolling and quite a few proper head scratchers towards the end.

    Does APPREHENSION really mean ‘understanding’? Comprehension yes, but …… It doesn’t work for me, I’m afraid.

    My LOsI were SLENDER, EXALT and MANDATE, but CHICAGO and FENCER were similarly challenging. Time = 39 minutes.

    Many thanks to Teazel and BR.

      1. Thankyou Jack. That’s me put in my place. The SRCED is clearly much shorter than the SOED.

  34. Another slow solve for me at 26:09 although I am eating lunch in a noisy Cafe Nero which may not have helped. Was romping through quickly for about half of the clues and then got bogged down with EXALT, CHICAGO and FLEECE amongst others for no good reason.
    Thanks to Teazel and BletchleyReject.

  35. Having endured a tortuous DNF yesterday this one took me 26 minutes spread over 3 sessions. I’m coming to the conclusion that the majority of my brain cells went missing over the weekend. Nothing wrong with Teazel’s offering – just me being glacially slow.

    LOI – 6dn EXALT
    COD – 10ac MANDATE (whether PC or not!)

    Thanmks to teazel and BR

  36. Held up by a rash OUTER HEBRIDES which caused problems in the North East corner and slow to see the other long ones.

    Not on the wavelength and outside my target time but no complaints about the puzzle.

    Like APPREHENSION when I realised it was a triple.

    Thanks Teazel and BletchleyReject.

    Time: 10:20

  37. 39.29 DNF MANDATE is just the kind of pun I was looking for but it completely passed me by. The meaning of ALT was unknown to me, so I was unsure about EXALT, which didn’t help. But I was pretty slow throughout. Thanks to BR and Teazel.

  38. I’m not sure why but I just failed to see BUSINESS in 1a for such a long time. Needless to say I finished in the NE with LOI EXALT in 8:54. I wasn’t keen on NOTICED. Who has an iced birthday cake these days? I associate iced cakes with Christmas and weddings.

  39. 12:09 here, so inside my 15-minute target. FOI SHOW BUSINESS, LOI SLENDER, where the alphabet-trawling technique of starting with N backfired somewhat. Must try to remember LENDER for “bank”.

    COD to FENCER, as my son is a foilist. I’m still waiting for the opportunity to use “lame” in the sense of the conducting jacket worn in foil and sabre bouts (where it is pronounced “lah-may”, in case anyone is interested).

    Thanks to BR and Teazel.

    1. Have heard of lame but thought it was v decorative and with gold bits in it.
      Just checked now; two meanings both with metal woven in but for different reasons, in fencing to register hits electrically. Oh well, live and learn. I like “foilist” as opposed to fencer, who sounds as though he’s trying to keep the sheep in.

      1. Foil is the way nearly all fencers start, then epee and sabre are further options: very different styles. Epee is very precise, you can score hits on any part of the body from head to foot. Sabreurists thrash away, you can use the edge as well as the point of a sabre on anything above the hip line, very piratical. It’s all very fast and surprisingly physically demanding. And those jackets are hellishly hot.

  40. Thanks to everyone for their comments. Sorry for the lame (definitely not lamé) attempt at humour in the comments for 5d; I promise I’ll try not to do it again.

  41. Generally enjoyable for me (once I got started) and very disappointed with myself to be DNF. I failed on S+LENDER even though I once worked for a subsidiary of the Midland (!!) Bank. I enjoyed the puns like NOT ICED

  42. Dnf…

    After yesterday’s highs, brought down to earth with this. To be fair, I had everything after 20 mins apart from 8dn “Amen” and 11ac “Noticed”. Probably should have done better with them, but I stared and stared and nothing came.

    FOI – 2dn “Horatio”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 6dn “Exalt”

    Thanks as usual!

  43. I to went for stellar and couldn’t see rank for looking at it. On the whole, quite enjoyable.

  44. Penny’s Law strikes again – and with a vengeance 😅 A total disaster with three – yes three – utter blanks. They were MANDATE, FENCER and SLENDER – all perfectly fair but I breeze blocked on them and couldn’t get unstuck! Bizarrely I finished the biggie in a reasonable time.
    I packed it in after 15 minutes with four to go, came back later, got EXALT and that was that, so a big fat DNF today.
    Thanks Teazel (it was my fault) and BR – no need to apologise for the jokes. I for one love a good (or bad) pun 😅
    Fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow!

  45. 40 minutes.

    Actually had all the answers after 30 minutes but took 10 mins to decide that FENCER was correct.

    Like wading through treacle again. No fun at all, but that is simply because I am struggling badly and finding the QC tough at the moment.

    Great blog, thanks.

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