Quick Cryptic 2589 by Alex


I’ll be sharing the Saturday Quickie duties with Cedric for the foreseeable future, and he’s set the bar high with his critically-acclaimed debut performance last Saturday*.

Old-timers here might recall that I shared the Jumbo and Quickie blogging duties for a year or two in 2016 and 2017, back in the LiveJournal days.  We’re on a new website now but not much else has changed, except that we’ve lost a few of our good’uns along the way.

But enough.  What about today’s puzzle…

I don’t have a time because I was more preoccupied with the new blog software, but it was pretty straightforward wasn’t it?  Certainly no obscurities in the answers, with the possible exception of “sharp practice”.

A pretty typical Quickie I think.  We had our standard selection of illicit drugs, and most of the setter’s tools of trade were in play.  There’s even a triple def, but surprisingly few anagrams (three by my count).

What did you make of it all?

In the clues, definitions are underlined and anagram indicators are in italics.

In the explanations (ABC)* indicates an anagram of abc.  Deletions and other devices are indicated accordingly, I hope.

*Speaking of last Saturday, I see from the comments that we have some dedicated Parkrunners on board.  I like their notion of a combined “run + solve” time so I’ll be posting my own in future blogs.  Not today though.

1 Landed gentleman holding right large rodent (8)
SQUIRREL – SQUIRE (landed gentleman) holding R (right) followed by L (large)
5 Try cricket equipment that’s been returned (4)
STAB – BATS (cricket equipment) in reverse

As in let’s have a stab at solving this thing.

8 Urban sedition somehow becoming defiant (13)
10 Declare government plight (5)
STATE – Triple definition

What was that English sitcom where the husband was doing time?  I recall the female characters using the expression “two ‘n’ eight” for state, referencing the third definition here.

The only other thing I recall is that their house was in Brian Close (tee-hee).

11 Crazy about detectives and naked people (7)
NUDISTS – NUTS (crazy) around DIS (detectives)

Or Detective Inspectors, to be precise.

12 Fold outside of carrier with facility (6)
CREASE – CR (“outside” of CarrieR) + EASE (facility)
13 Radical people on reflection embracing calm (6)
PLACID – Reverse hidden in raDICAL People
16 Quiet part of church with plant in (7)
APPEASE – PEA (plant) inside APSE (part of church)
18 Dismiss leaders of English judiciary evaluating covid tribunal (5)
EJECT – Leaders (first letters) of English Judiciary Evaluating Covid Tribunal
20 Dodgy dealing pacts reap rich changes (5,8)

Quite a dated term and I think it’s mainly restricted to legal circles.  I’m sure I’ve seen it in the context of the Laws of Cricket but a quick search suggests it’s not there now.

21 Son guided wheelless conveyance (4)
SLED – S (son) + LED (guided)
22 Hurries after Charlie and subdues (8)
CHASTENS – HASTENS (hurries) after C (Charlie)
1 Vessels with small joints (5)
SHIPS – S (small) + HIPS (joints)
2 Draw attention away from happy male on ecstasy (7)
UPSTAGE – UP (happy) + STAG (male) + E (ecstasy)
3 Masseuse character is OK (11)
RUBBERSTAMP – RUBBER (masseuse, as in one who rubs) + STAMP (character)

We need the verb sense of OK here.  Was anyone else surprised to see this rendered as one word?  Google suggests it’s not as common as the two-word version, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

4 About to return currency commission (6)
ERRAND – ER [RE(about) in reverse] + RAND (currency)

As youngsters we were sent to do “messages” rather than errands.  Not sure if that was a localised usage.  Anyone?

6 Second bit upside down in nets (5)
TRAPS – S (second) + PART (bit).  All upside down
7 Officially approved of minor getting in cot? (7)
BLESSED – LESS (minor) in BED (cot)

Let’s just let that one go through to the keeper.

9 Treats silenced gun badly (11)
12 French ass isn’t holding framework (7)
CHASSIS – Hidden in frenCH ASS ISn’t

“Holding” is one of the myriad devices for indicating a hidden.  Also see bottles, invests, part of, etc

14 Caught vicar with meth and crack (7)
CREVICE – C (caught in cricket) + REV (vicar) + ICE (meth)

Kid, you’ll never make it in Crosswordland if you don’t know your drugs.

15 Lack of hatred unusually (6)
17 Quiet road transport (5)
PLANE – P (piano, musical-ese for quiet) + LANE (road)
19 Swarms encounter rising sun initially (5)
TEEMS – TEEM [meet (encounter) reversed] + S (sun, initially)

74 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2589 by Alex”

  1. My pride in a PB yesterday was followed by a fall today in the form of a DNF after about 40 minutes, missing squirrel, upstage and errand. I couldn’t come up with any of up, stag, squire, or rand, and have never heard commission used synonymously with errand, so in retrospect I should have thrown the towel in earlier.
    I thought there were a number of tricky clues and was happy to get most of the puzzle out, sharp practice, rubberstamp, etc were challenging for me.

  2. 13:40. I had quiet road as SH +AVE but was unable to see any connection to transport, so back to the drawing board to come up with PLANE. I took a while to see quiet could mean APPEASE. The landowner helping produce the SQUIRREL was my COD. Veteran bloggers, new bloggers, now a returning veteran-glad to have you, Galspray-what a crack ensemble!

  3. I’m so grateful for the bloggers, explaining things to me and often entertaining and educating me beyond the wordplay

    I DNF this – I didn’t know a squirrel was a rodent, I didn’t know a squire could own land (I just think of them as attendants to knights, I’ve watched too much Game of Thrones), I couldn’t get UPSTAGE, stag for male didn’t occur to me nor up for happy

    I also nho SHARP PRACTICE and for whatever reason TRAPS was beyond me.

    But I’m happy I got the rest, and glad I remembered my p for quiet and di for detectives. I’m expected to know a lot about illicit drugs for work. I do not know anything about drugs. My work google search history is alarming.

    1. Come to think of it Tina I may have misjudged the difficulty of this one.

      Sometimes when you write the blog and work carefully through the parsings you can suffer a bit from “obvious in hindsight” syndrome.

      (Note to self for future blogs).

      Good luck with the drug education!

      1. Oh no i think difficulty is completely subjective. Maybe the only time something is truly difficult is if a word is obscure and clued by more obscure words with red herring wordplay thrown in

        But even then, what’s obscure to me isn’t obscure to others and vice versa!

      2. I think OIH for Obvious In Hindsight should be added to the wonderful Glossary we have. I would certainly be a very regular user of it! There is hardly a day that goes by when I don’t biff a clue, then finally parse it, then go “Why could I not see that straight away”.

  4. And today’s cricketing clue was…. STAB. Hoorah!
    I found this quite tricky this morning, coming in at around 27 minutes with two pinkies in TEEMS, which means technically that I failed. Mine was a very slow start and I thought I was on for a likely DNF, but once INDULGENCES and SHARP PRACTICE emerged it became easier. This was a fair puzzle though, so thank you Alex.
    I hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend. Fortuitously, Mrs ITTT is off on a shopping expedition to Bath today so I have an afternoon of peace and quiet and a Six Nations fest to look forward to, plus some Theakstons Old Peculier to help lubricate proceedings. Bliss!
    Thanks to Galspray for helping dismantle the unparsed cryptics.

      1. Mrs ITTT and I honeymooned in Robin Hoods Bay in 1987 and the bar where we stayed served Old Peculier. It was a revelation. Each evening I’d stumble down the stairs from our room for yet another pint of this nectar and the barman would say, “Another pint of brain damage lad?” It’s been my favourite ever since.

  5. 13 minutes. All my solves this week apart from Monday have been 11,12 or 13 minutes. Monday by Wurm was 8.

    All the usual sources agree that RUBBER-STAMP with a hyphen is the correct form of the verb. I had to think about ‘character / STAMP’ but eventually justified it. SOED gives this example: Freudian psychoanalysis…bears the stamp of its creator’s personality.

    Welcome back to Galspray, and thanks again to Chris for covering the Saturday slot for the first 3 weeks of the new era. I hope we shall continue to hear from you in the discussions when you have time. Your total of QC blogs now stands at 445, a record that’s unlikely to be superseded for many a year, if ever.

  6. A steady solve with a couple of minor hiccups along the way.
    I confidently typed ‘crushes’ into 22a and was genuinely surprised to see blank square still remaining and a quick rethink was required. I also had a slight panic (if that’s possible) that I was going to need to know the French word for donkey until the hidden revealed itself.
    Started with SHIPS and finished with the tricky APPEASE in 8.05 with CsOD to STATE as I’m a sucker for a triple and EJECT for the surface.
    Thanks and welcome back to Galspray for the excellent blog

    1. Plett, our similarities really are quite uncanny. I too typed in “crushes” and then gazed in slackjawed amazement at the missing letter; tried to work in the French for donkey (ane, seemed pretty likely); and ended with APPEASE. But I was slower!

      1. We do seem to have very similar solving experiences. At least you knew what the French for donkey was to be able to rule it out – I couldn’t get past ‘burro’ which might be bastardised Spanish 😂.

  7. Galspray welcome back, a safe pair of hands behind the wicket.
    Were you thinking of Birds of a Feather?

  8. Slow going today although on reflection I’m not really sure why. Last two in were SQUIRREL followed by UPSTAGE. Spent ages trying to solve CHASSIS before very belatedly spotting the hidden. Also took a while working out the long anagrams. ERRAND didn’t seem that obvious for commission. COD to SQUIRREL once the penny had dropped. Great blog galspray and many thanks for stepping up (again).

  9. 13 minutes today, slowed by only SHARP PRACTICE of the long ones going in promptly. For 8a, I had -IOUS and then -ABLE pencilled in, both out of the anagram fodder and looking likely. Might have been quicker had UPSTAGE not been my last. Sometimes you just don’t see with the same spectacles as the setter. Not Alex’s fault!

  10. Good to see you Galspray, and thanks for the blog. I found this a pleasant Saturday morning stroll once I got started properly, though I only parsed my LOI afterwards. I’ve drawn the conclusion that my ability to spot reverse hiddens is inhibited by my dyspraxia. Nice to see a triple definition in a QC.

    TIME 4:41

  11. All correct in the end after a struggle. Managed a few at the bottom like SLED, PLANE and EJECT, after a panic that I couldn’t start let alone finish.
    Slow on INDULGENCES, but like INSUBORDINATE and RUBBER STAMP, but why masseuse as opposed to masseur?
    PDM with CHASSIS, also worried about French for donkey. (ane , ‘a’ has circumflex, but don’t know how to type it on iPad)
    Am sure my numerous SQUIRRELS don’t consider themselves mere rodents.
    Thanks vm, Galspray.

    1. Grey squirrels are referred to as tree-rats in the Invariant household. We used to have quite a lot of them 🙄

  12. Terrific blog, Galspray, what a pro.

    Lovely puzzle. I stared for a long time at the French ass (matron!). Talking of whom, thank goodness the NUDISTS’ nuts were clued so innocently.

    Got there in 09:08 for a Slightly Sluggish Day, I blame my inner Sid James.

    Many thanks Alex and Galspray.


  13. Found this tough at the end. Nearly all done at 28 mins but took until 41 for the PDMs for rubber stamp, appease and plane.
    Couldn’t imagine that French for donkey was something we should know so applied Tina’s maxim that if it makes no sense it’s probably a hidden.
    Thanks for the blog.

  14. Dnf…after 30 mins.

    Another go on the crossword club, but this time I got a pink square on 2dn “Upstage”. I put “Upstane” – knowing it didn’t make sense, but struggling to think of any other “male”. In addition, 1ac “Squirrel” took an age (forgetting that it was a rodent).

    FOI – 1dn “Ships”
    LOI – 2dn (incorrect)
    COD – 14dn “Crevice” – brilliant surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  15. A warm welcome to my fellow Saturday blogger – as a duo we represent the full spectrum from the greatly experienced to the complete novice!

    I too found this rather more of a challenge than most puzzles, taking just over 14 minutes in all. But then I usually struggle with Alex’s rare offerings. The long anagrams were the main sticking point for me, and they mostly needed all the checkers – as they form the framework of the puzzle from which much else flows that made getting a toehold slow. Also a MER at Less = minor; they are not really the same, as for instance one cannot have the phrase Less Eyebrow Raise for my reaction to the clue.

    COD to the 17D, mainly for the surface which in three simple words manages to be totally misleading: the answer, Plane, is not remotely either quiet or road transport.

    Many thanks Galspray for the blog and a good (rest of) weekend to all

    1. I see lesser as closer in meaning to minor than LESS. A minor problem=a lesser problem.

      1. Thanks CW and Goose, I’m actually thrilled to hear that. It’s so completely out of use now that I was beginning to think I’d imagined it. Quite a quaint usage though isn’t it? I might try to bring it back!

        (Rural NSW me, but Donegal ancestors from way back, so it sort of figures).

  16. 6:01

    Pretty gentle – no hold-ups though I didn’t immediately see character = STAMP and I had to write out the letters of INSUBORDINATE. L2I were PLACID and APPEASE.

    Thanks Alex and welcome back Galspray

  17. 15:52
    Lots of clues dropped in at the second or third time of asking. LOI ERRAND, with ERRING and ERRANT looking possible.

    ICE=meth, I thought it was diamonds. So that explains why that small bag I was offered was cheap for gems.

    1. Merlin, I can only speak from the experience of watching Breaking Bad, but I’m not sure which small bag would actually be worth more!

  18. 15:34 (Act of Supremacy establishes Henry VIII as head of the Church)

    I’m another one who typed in CRUSHES only to find a space still to be filled.
    NHO of ice=meth. COD to SQUIRREL.

    Thanks Galspray and Alex

  19. Definitely on the tricky side.
    DNF due to state and upstage.
    OIR is interesting. There are often so many possibilities and in retrospect you see the connection which therefore seems easy.
    Sometimes our esteemed bloggers suggest puzzles easier than the rest of us and suspect that comment comes after looking back on it and seeing lots of OIR.

  20. I found this one this one hard in places although after reading the blog I can’t see why. RUBBERSTAMP, UPSTAGE and CHASTENS took some working out and I never did parse the latter assuming Charlie was Chas.
    Thanks Galspray for the blog and Alex for a nice Saturday puzzle.

  21. Despite the fact that the indicators (embracing, holding) were total chestnuts, I missed seeing both PLACID and CHASSIS as hiddens and had to wait for Galspray’s excellent blog (welcome comrade) to have this simple fact explained to me. OIH, thank you Cedric. I clocked 12.09 and thought some of this was quite hard, especially the NW where SQUIRREL, UPSTAGE and ERRAND were last to fall. I didn’t think SHARP PRACTICE was that obscure but agree that RUBBERSTAMP needs a hyphen. Thanks Alex and G.

    1. Just between you and me Lindsay, in a random encounter, Gough once addressed me as “comrade”.

      1. I had a couple of brief encounters with Gough but I’ll never forget the great man’s last words to me. As I recall it was the late 90s at some crowded event at the National Gallery in Canberra. Gough and Margaret both had mobility problems by then and were getting around on those electric buggy things. Gough misjudged the line going round a corner and consequently ran over my foot. He looked up ruefully from under those imperial eyebrows and intoned the unforgettable words ‘Sorry comrade.’

        1. Wait what

          Are we talking whitlam? He called you both comrade?

          That’s like Taylor Swift calling me bestie or something, I’d be telling every person I knew 😂

            1. Taylor Swift probably calls everyone her bestie too doesn’t make it any less awesome

              Whitlam is also dead and no longer calling anyone comrade

          1. I will admit to walking away from that (extremely brief!) encounter feeling ten foot tall.

        2. We lived in Canberra in the 1970s and I have a photo of my husband shaking hands with Gough. Gough vv tall and husband not!

  22. 25.35 I found this one really hard. The anagrams were helpful but SQUIRREL, UPSTAGE and ERRAND took an age and PLACID was LOI because I never did parse it. And it was a flipping hidden. Gah! Thanks Alex for the challenge. Thanks and welcome back galspray.

  23. Made heavy use of the crowbar to tease out the last few (make that a good half dozen) of Alex’s challenges, with loi Errand taking me way past my normal 30min cut off. Still not entirely sure it was worth all the effort.
    Before we had fridges, we had things called pantries. The latter had to be re-stocked with fresh food on a (very) regular basis. Running an errand to the local shop was the bane of my childhood: a 20min wait (on a good day) in the queue to hand over the list of items, followed by the trudge back with frquent stops to carry the shopping bag in the other hand. What joy. Invariant

  24. A DNF today after resorting to aids after 17 minutes for LOI UPSTAGE. I do like Cedric’s suggestion of OIH. Expected happy to be UP but just could not see STAG today. POI RUBBERSTAMP took a bit of staring too but add me to the list of those disliking it as a single word. Thanks Alex and Galspray.

  25. 12:36

    The big anagrams provided a quick framework to hang the rest on making this pretty straightforward. Well inside 20 minute target.

    This week’s combined parkrun / QC time is 42 minutes. Dream would be to get under 40 but thats’s going to need a really easy crossword because I can’t see the running getting any quicker.

    1. I definitely agree that shaving time off the solve is easier than off the run. Too bloody hot in Perth at the moment to run any faster.

      All fired up for my 150th Parkrun next week, only to find that 150 is not a recognised Parkrun “milestone”. And 250 seems a very, very long way away.

      1. I was thinking during my run yesterday (I’m gradually getting back to sub30) that there might be some money to made by marketing 150 and 200 run running shirts. 100-250 seems such a long haul.

  26. Welcome back Galspray. Great blog! I found this trickier than you suggest, although that may have been because I was still reclining half asleep with my first coffee and the ipad, and had no pen and paper for the long anagrams. SHIPS were the first to dock, but the rest of the NW had to be extracted like teeth later in the proceedings. No problem with SHARP PRACTICE though. Can’t remember now whether RUBBER STAMP came before or after the Tree Rat, but they finally opened up the final corner with ERRAND LOI. positively tortoiselike 16:40. Thanks Alex and G.

  27. 17:17
    Very slow but par for the course on a Saturday after Friday night.
    Liked rubberstamp, nudists, and chassis.

  28. Enjoyed this one but my could not get rubberstamp or parse Placid. Otherwise I’d been happy with my 22 mins

  29. Very tough indeed! I had only four solutions written in after my first full pass (NUDIST, EJECT, CHASSIS and TEEMS) and 12 minutes had elapsed by this stage. My solving pace increase slightly after that, but I found myself staring at the clues without any ideas how they worked for long periods on several occasions.

    The bottom half of the grid did eventually fill up and the NE corner followed sometime later, but the NW corner remained completely blank until I managed to crack the INSUBORDINATE anagram with only the second I and the E in place. By this stage, I was 40+ minutes into proceedings and I was anticipating an almost certain DNF. However, INSUBORDINATE unlocked several clues for me and I finally staggered across the line in 50 minutes. Phew!

    Many thanks to Alex and Galspray (and ‘No! It wasn’t “pretty straightforward”, at least not for me’).

  30. DNF for me. These are getting rarer but I struggled with much of this and was finally undone by the SW corner. Must remember to check harder for hiddens. Thank you for the very enlightening blog!

  31. A fairly desultory solve this morning taking over 7 minutes before getting a lift to the station for my train to Colchester and the Winter Beer Festival there. (No Newcastle Brown Ale or Old Peculier there today). Another who wrote in CRUSHES before finding it was a letter short. LOI CHASSIS and COD to the druggie vicar. Thanks Alex and Gallers.
    I felt a little guilty after meeting Galspay at The George last summer (see here) not to have asked him if he wanted his old blogging spot back (I took over the once-a-fortnight Friday QC and every fifth Jumbo blog from him in 2017), but good to see you back, Gallers. You wouldn’t like the Jumbo Cryptic slot back (and Monthly Club Special too), by any chance?

    1. Thanks John. Great to be reminded of that excellent day (evening, night…) at The George. We can discuss the Jumbo blog next time we’re there!

  32. I’m very dull today, coming down with something I hope isn’t covid, but decided to wander through the QC anyway. No idea how long it took, forever compared to the times here. But finished, surprisingly. Really enjoyed the long ones. For sure I’m not well, as my last ones in were the rather obvious STAB and TRAPS!

    Thank you for the entertaining puzzle and the excellent blog.

  33. Finished in just over 37 minutes with two moseys down to the ‘check’ button (weaning self off this- am I the only one who came up through this path?)
    Wasted some minutes trying to accommodate French donkeys.
    Did not relate ‘up’ to happy, fleetingly attributed it to status of ‘stag’ in context of male on ‘stag’ night (doubtless not woke, but I am old. No excuse, simply explanation).
    Once again I have been set straight by the blog (on that matter and on several others).
    Enjoyed this. Thank you Alex and Galspray.

    1. Sounds like perfect use of the check button TOL. They call it “scaffolding” in education circles. Provide a bit of support along the way and gradually remove it as it’s no longer (or rarely) required.

      I first learned cryptics by doing puzzles in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that had two sets of clues, cryptic and straightforward, for the same answers. Gradually came to understand the cryptic clues by reverse-engineering the answers to the straightforwards.

      1. That’s really clever: I’ve never seen that. But there’s a thought: provide a set of concise-style clues for the puzzle. No, no, that way lies madness.

  34. 19:24 here. Enjoyed this very much: CHASSIS may be my favourite hidden to date. Welcome back to Galspray.

  35. Hello everyone, time to step gingerly into the light. I’ve been lurking, just looking, for some time when I’ve found it hard to parse a clue or got to that aggravating ‘not going to finish on my own’ moment, but decided to join the chat today.

    Been doing the QCs on and off for as long as TT have been publishing them and sometimes have a stab at the biggies but usually only get < half the clues. I can finish most QCs on my own but very rarely with a time outside the SCC. I'm very pleased when I get a score over 600!

    Today TRAPS beat me completely, then when I pressed submit I found that I had typed BLEESSD instead of BLESSED, so didn't even make 600.

    I enjoy reading the comments on here as much as the blog itself – helps me see how other people think. Anyway see y'all again soon, and thanks for today's help (and apparently welcome back) Galspray.

    1. Welcome Mrs Taite and congrats on dipping your toe in!

      Unfortunately the caravan moves on pretty quickly around here so your comment will go almost totally unseen by those who would normally welcome you aboard. I only saw it because the blogger gets a notification whenever a comment is posted.

      Please post again as soon as you can, preferably on the day of publication of the crossword if possible. Based on your first post I imagine you’ll fit in very well.

    2. Welcome!!! I’m feel very validated? That someone else also struggled with TRAPS. Such a face-palm moment.

  36. Enjoyed dipping in and out all over the weekend. Just got there with APPEASE being my LOI. Is there now a need for a “some random plant” club???!

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