Quick Cryptic 2601 by Teazel

Parkrun + solving time = 36:59.

Was it just me, or was this tougher than the average Quickie?

I’m not one that keeps track of particular setters.  Is Teazel generally regarded as a tough taskmaster?  There were a few that might have been impenetrable without checkers in place, but I guess that’s the point of a crossword.  I wonder if others spent as long on the KEYBOARD / EURO MP intersection as I did?

Let us know how you got on.

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.

1 Restrain worker going to strike (8)
HANDCUFF – HAND (worker) + CUFF (strike)
5 Stolen goods suitable at first to move to and fro (4)
SWAG – S(uitable) + WAG (move to and fro)
8 Am a saint, having converted island (8)

The only Australian state or territory with a cool-sounding name.

9 Stooge is a man on board (4)
PAWN – Double definition, the second one referring to a chess piece.
11 Solitary types ransacked chain store (10)

A monastic group who eschewed secular society and vowed to remain in one place permanently.

I can see them making a comeback if air fares stay the way they are.

14 Brussels frolic: is one involved? (4,2)
EURO MP – EU (Brussels) + ROMP (frolic)

Tough.  Aside from the unhelpful enumeration, it’s one of those where the definition references and relies on the wordplay.  The charade being that a Member of the European Parliament may find him or herself involved in a Brussels frolic.  Surely not!

Our Australian MPs don’t frolic, they just lie prostrate on public thoroughfares, as tired and emotional as a newt, shouting obscenities into their phone*.  Why can’t we be more like Brussels?

*For more details, google Barnaby Joyce.  Or Sir Les Patterson.  Same thing really.

15 Maybe warning notice has a bad fault (6)
ADVICE – AD (notice) + VICE (bad fault)
17 Poetry that’s deadpan? Very old language (5,5)
BLANK VERSE – BLANK (deadpan) + V (very) + ERSE (old language)

Unrhyming verse written in iambic pentameter.  I originally wrote this entire blog in iambic pentameter as a tribute, but changed it at the last minute.

20 Bravo — Noah guards this river (4)
AVON – Hidden in (brAVO Noah)
21 Here’s toe, broken, that you might put in boot (4,4)

A device used for preventing shoes from losing their shape.  Can’t say I’ve ever used one.

22 Boyfriend, old-fashioned being out of this? (4)
DATE – …which, if you’re old-fashioned, you’re out of.
23 Chattered, quietly unnerved (8)
PRATTLED – P (musical notation for quietly) + RATTLED (unnerved)
1 Strong emotion as husband took dinner (4)
HATE – H (husband) + ATE (took dinner)
2 Recognises, it’s said, facial feature (4)
NOSE – Homophone (it’s said) of KNOWS (recognises)

Somebody, somewhere, will claim that they’re pronounced differently.  God nose how.

3 Never run out of puff? (5-5)
CHAIN-SMOKE – Cryptic def.

Quite liked this one, possibly because I was lucky enough to spot it fairly quickly.

4 Left in box for journey (6)
FLIGHT – L (left) in FIGHT (box)

CHELST?  CRALTE? What the…?  Oh, that sort of box.

6 Tips for hot-weather clothing perhaps try one’s patience (4,4)
WEAR THIN – “Here’s a tip.  Wear thin clothing in hot weather.”

Here’s a better tip.  Stay out of Perth in February.  Especially this February, which is on track to be the hottest ever.  Sure, today is a merciful 34, but then we’re back to 43, 42 and 39 (109, 108 and 102 in the old money).

On edit: It got to 36 today.  If tomorrow and Monday similarly exceed expectations I’m moving to Antarctica.

7 Gets gran to change hood (8)
10 I travel over track, shimmering (10)
IRIDESCENT – I + RIDE (travel) + SCENT (track)

Would always misspell this one if left to my own devices, but having the crossers in place made it easier.

12 Which pianist addresses vital committee? (8)
KEYBOARD – KEY (vital) + BOARD (committee)

Slightly Yoda-ish definition, and it was one of my last ones in.

13 Go crazy and take four bananas (5,3)

Could easily mistake the anagrind for the definition, but of course it would need to be “go bananas”.

16 Bottom two numbers (6)
NETHER – N (abbreviation for number) + ETHER (a number, something that numbs)

So if you add them together you have…two numbers!

18 Verbal lesson initially lost (4)
ORALMORAL (lesson)
19 Make one’s way with purpose (4)
WEND – W (with) + END (purpose)

And now I will wend my way towards the air-con, or a pool.  Hope you enjoyed the puzzle.

63 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2601 by Teazel”

  1. I found this by far the hardest QC I have ever tried, after 30 minutes I gave up with only 6 answers (HANDCUFF, TASMANIA, NOSE, AVON, FLIGHT, ORAL). After reading the blog, I’m glad I stopped, I had very little chance of getting much more, there is so much I had NHO and the cryptic definitions are effectively impossible for me without many checkers, which I couldn’t get.
    I had had a good week, at just over 90 minutes for 5 solves, but this well and truly blew me out of the water.

  2. Yeah, nah.

    I’m writing off this week.

    (thank you for the excellent explanations, galspray)

  3. 16.15. I agree, this was tough. I noted down a number that were a real challenge in the context of a QC, and they included NETHER, EURO MP, IRIDESCENT, HANDCUFF and CHAIN-SMOKE. I also puzzled for ages over my LOI DATE, but all up a clever and crafty offering from Teazel. Thanks Galspray. Now I know what happened to Melbourne’s summer, those bloody West Australians have been pinching it en route to here.

  4. 24:12. Very hard-EURO MP was main holdup. CHAIN SMOKE was simple in retrospect, but I was thinking cream for the first word(as in puff). NETHER, ANCHORITES and SWAG were further problems. Glad to finally make it through.

  5. 11 minutes with both checkers and a hasty alphabet trawl needed to come up with my LOI, WEND. I imagined ANCHORITES and IRIDESCENT may give rise to problems for less experienced solvers, but fortunately I knew both and they came quickly to mind. I still tried to spell IRIDESCENT with two RRs though

  6. My first DNF for some time. This was WAY too hard for me and has got to be my worst performance ever, having had to cheat to get the last five clues.
    So I can’t combine this with Parkrun today, which is just as well really as it’s my birthday and I’m walking it with a friend so was always up against it.
    What a disappointing end to the week.
    Thanks to Galspray for unravelling the answers.

    1. Happy birthday ITTT.

      Nice coincidence. Last Saturday was my birthday and I also used it as an excuse for a slow Parkrun!

  7. ANCHORITES took a lot of work with pen and paper but did seem familiar once it arrived. The real hold ups at the end were WEND (easier than I was trying to make it) and EUROMP which was just hard, not least because with that M, ‘me’ was too tempting for the second word and I alrhough I thought EU for Brussels immediately couldn’t make it work so moved on. Great, amusing clue but a bit wasted on me. Managed a rogue T in WEAR THIN so not all green – and now I have to run 5k in 18m to match Galspray – not sure I’ve done that this millenium – and with 2024’s pb at 23m perhaps I’ll just walk the dog.

  8. I also found this challenging, taking just over 15 minutes. Several clues took a lot of worrying at – Iridescent is a tough word for a QC and I never did parse Nether – but it was Euro MP that held me up at the end. Like Mendesest, I found the lure of ending it in ‘me’ hard to resist, but more generally, when does an abbreviation become a word not separate letters? I would expect M.P. to be enumerated as 1,1 not 2.

    Many thanks Galspray for guiding us through a real toughie.

    1. Good question re the enumeration rules Cedric. I deliberately avoided the debate (other than mentioning that it added to the difficulty) because I’m really not sure when or how the distinction is made.

      1. I know that apostrophes are never enumerated in Times clues and I’m pretty sure the same goes for abbreviations as I can’t recall a single example of seeing it done. Always willing to be reminded of such an example if it exists though.

    2. I’ve seen EMCEE clued many times as a word, but never MC. Makes you wonder whether EMPEE should exist. Perhaps not ….

      Once the current generation of rappers pass away, though, will the Times rule on dead personages allow such giants as MC HAMMER, ushering in a slew of clues referring to highland tools?

  9. I did this at midnight, and was “Number 1 of 1 on the leaderboard” at five past. That I’m still 7th of only 49 over 8 hours later tells its own tale. This was Teazel at his trickiest, but luckily I was on his wavelength.

    TIME 4:18

    1. I noticed that Phil, nice work. And noticed that old mate Ulaca left a few of us in his wake as well.

  10. Yes tricky old Teasel eh! Number chestnut held me up until PDM. Thanks Galspray for your excellent blog. Hope you aren’t obliged to wear thin for long. Would ‘Take four bananas’ pass muster in a cryptic?

  11. Wow that was hard. DNF after 53+

    Wend held out at the end after a long a difficult struggle with most of the rest. Pleased to have worked out most of the rest. Had wear early on but thin wouldn’t come for ages.

    Got shoe tree but bizarrely typed in tree shoe and those pink squares left an impossible anagram to find!

    Thanks Galspray and Teazel (I guess)

  12. Tough – not helped by starting this in a foul mood and not in the right mindset (that’s my excuse anyway😒). Put it down and when I came back I made slow but steady progress, finishing in the SE with NETHER, PRATTLE and WEND in 14.56. Lots of fine clues but probably pitched a bit too high to be a genuine QC.
    Thanks to Galspray

  13. I must say that I am getting to that age where it turns out I can’t be sedentary and eat junk forever and expect to just be lovely and spry all the time, and maybe joining in the Saturday park run might be the kick I need

    1. Tina, given that it’s free of charge, non-competitive and you can walk the whole way if you want, there’s no real downside to giving it a go. Tends to be quite a friendly vibe as well.

      Just google “Parkrun near me”, get yourself a barcode and wander down there next Saturday. If you hate it, no harm done.

    2. I must admit decades of loafing around and overeating and drinking have taken a toll on my appearance and athleticism too.

  14. Teazel puzzles are always enjoyable head-scratchers and this was no exception. Really liked working out BLANK VERSE and EURO MP. LOI was KEYBOARD (doh). NHO ANCHORITES but sounded plausible. WEAR THIN probably took the longest to solve. I knew it was WEAR- but couldn’t get ‘less’ out of my head. Another to want to spell IRIDESCENT with two Rs but it didn’t parse. Needed the blog to understand NETHER (ah, that kind of number…). Am I right in thinking Saturday QCs are generally pitched a little harder? Many thanks galspray and Teazel.

  15. 5:28. All but one answer completed in about 4:30 but EURO MP held me up for another minute. Quite tricky in other places too I think but nothing else noted on my copy. Thanks Teazel and Gallers.

  16. 9:25

    Mostly OK but held up at the end with writing out ANCHORITES, being mildly stumped by EURO MP and a longish alphatrawl for WEND (I had HEAD in mind but couldn’t justify it even with ‘looser’ QC parsing). Enjoyable nonetheless.

    Thanks Teazel and Galspray

  17. Dnf…and to think it all started so well.

    40 mins and I still had the SW corner to do. Definitely one of the toughest for a while – it therefore keeps that nagging feeling that Saturday QC’s are on the harder side.

    Didn’t help that I put “Greek Verse” for 17ac which caused issues for 12dn “Keyboard” (which is now incredibly obvious). But even then, I got 19dn “Wend” wrong -so not a great day overall.

    FOI – 1dn “Hate”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 10dn “Iridescent”

    Thanks as usual!

  18. 15:13

    Yes, I had ONOA for a good minute before I saw AVON. No, I’m not proud of that.

    Wee bit tougher than usual for me. SWAG was the one that had me going longest, but ORAL and NETHER were very cunning.

    Probably COD to SHOE TREE. Didn’t Panorama do a documentary on Swiss shoe tree plantations once?

  19. DNF x 4. I put Head instead of WEND (parses?). Missed PAWN.. Got EURO but not MP, despite having the M – oh dear. Also too worn out to solve the relatively easy last clue ADVICE, though I did get e.g. ANCHORITE, CHAIN SMOKE and IRIDESCENT, after a struggle.
    Kind of a weird clue for KEYBOARD but solved.
    Thanks vm, Galspray. Blog much needed. (Any weather over 30 degrees is too hot, imo)

  20. Quite tricky.
    I usually find Teazel straightforward but with a few toughies.
    LOI nether, where I saw the ether but didn’t twig n for number!

    COD Freak out

  21. I thought this was a bit tricky and, like Jack, tried to put 2 Rs in IRIDESCENT. HATE was FOI. KEYBOARD and EURO MP brought up the rear. 8:16. Thanks Teazel and Galspray.

  22. 19:53, of which the last six minutes or so were spent on EURO MP. The EURO part was fine, but a trawl through the vowels, giving MA, ME etc. led to nothing that made sense. Was EURO MY some expression that had somehow passed me by? Eventually spotted the MP, and parsed it just in front of the doors of the SCC.

    Glad for the “on board” in the clue for PAWN, after yesterday’s 15×15 where we were expected to know queen=man without any chess- related hints.

    Thanks Teazel and Galspray

  23. Well I am glad that it wasn’t just me who was nowhere near finishing. I had 6 spaces and a sheet covered with letters to work out anagrams.

    Didn’t get Euro MP. While I’m happy to use abbreviations in the wordplay, I didn’t expect one to be an answer. I do thinks it’s amusing though.

  24. ParkRun wasted frustrating due to slow runners starting too near the front and then making it difficult to pass. QC was also slow, but I was happy to find all the answers apart from Euro MP. Combined time well over an hour.

  25. DNF in 36.42. I did a very nearly comprehensive alphabet trawl and by the time I got to words ending in AWN I thought “there’s only DAWN and YAWN” and skipped PAWN. It’s doubly annoying because I’ve stumbled over the board/chess connection several times before. KEYBOARD, EURO MP and FREAK OUT took a good while and I never did parse NETHER. Number/ether has also cropped up a few times now so I should have seen that too. A tough puzzle and a poor show on my part. But I had a very good day on the Concise so I’m still pleased about that. Thanks galspray and Teazel.

  26. Yes, more difficult than average but, reading the comments, I’m happy that we did OK with 15:20. Somehow, and perhaps appropriately, dredged ANCHORITES from the back of the brain once we had all of the checkers in. Liked the PDM with NETHER when it finally came, though I look forward to the day when that sense of number occurs more quickly. Also pondered for an unfeasibly long time over EURO MP which if it wasn’t actually the LOI must have been very close. Thanks Teazel and galspray.

  27. DNF so no Saturday Parkrun QC time

    This was too much for me. Took an eternity to complete and then found 2 pink squares. Put BLACK VERSE and had no idea what was going on with the Brussels question, ended with a punt, EURO ME. In any case, wouldn’t it be EURO MEP? I’m not remotely impressed with this clue.

  28. (Update: today’s DT 15×15 is relatively straightforward and enjoyable. Done and dusted in 26 minutes 👍)

  29. Haha Barnaby, the gift that keeps on giving. Certainly tough, but still enjoyable. I don’t feel bad about a DNF with Anchorite.
    Thanks Galspray and Teazel

  30. SWAG got me started and I made reasonable progress until I was left with an almost entirely blank SW corner (AVON being the exception) after about 25 minutes. Several times after that I nearly threw in the towel, but I kept picking up my pencil again and finally staggered across the line, all fully parsed, in 61 minutes. So, an extremely tough outing for me.

    Thanks to Teazel and Galspray.

  31. Had 7 left at my 20-min cutoff and then a glut of answers came to me and I was all done by 25-mins except NETHER*. Didn’t jump off the page as meaning bottom when I considered it during my alphabet trawl and didn’t know what to do with the clue. So I went for zephyr not understanding that any better.

    I thought DATE was a good example of how not to write a clue for the QC. Teazel managing to mangle the language and comprehensibility. Likewise KEYBOARD. And well, I could go on.

    Parkrun with my daughter at her pace at Poole today – her 2nd best time ever at just under 26mins. She’s booked herself in for Buenos Aires marathon in September – so I’d better get on and write her training plan!

    * I seem to recall Izetti presented a similar clue late last year. Maybe given the presence of ANCHORITES, he and Teazel have been conferring.

    QC2389 – “Uncertain number, number that’s lower (6)”- 5th May – not as recently as I thought!

    1. Well, you gave it a proper battle- it definitely was a toughie. Good luck to your daughter in Buenos Aires!

      1. Thanks CO – in hindsight I was glad to get what I got inside 25mins – wasn’t feeling quite as positive as I hit 20min mark with only 2/3s done.

        You look like you had a right battle yourself, not sure we’ve seen you at the SCC for many a month. Always nice to have you pop in though. Bring some decorum to the place.

        Daughter is hoping for a sub4 time, today’s run gives her potential for a 4hr05 at the moment. If she trains consistently she will get it done. The plan begins tomorrow with hills …

  32. DNF, thanks to the aforementioned KEYBOARD / EURO MP intersection. The latter has made me slightly grumpy. Thank you to galspray for a very helpful blog, and I hope it cools down soon!

  33. 10:58. I’ve been loving the Saturday Quickies. Is it just me or do they seem to be harder than average weekly puzzle? I’m hoping this is intentional!

    1. One of the editors posted after the first week or two that there is no strategy to make the Saturday QC any different from weekdays.

  34. I also thought this was very tricky, and ended up doing it two parts. My aim was to do the quickie before going out for a walk to look at snowdrops, but I abandoned it after about 10 minutes as we had to leave, and finished it off later with a total time of 18:45. Many of the snowdrops were past their best, the walk was very wet and muddy, but the tea and homemade cake in the village church were delicious! And now it’s raining again – cue Supertramp. I guess I prefer that to 36 degrees and rising though.
    Anyway, the crossword: I’m not sure why I found it so hard because it mostly seems very fair, and there were a few delightful clues – PRATTLED, FLIGHT, GANGSTER and NETHER all got ticks. The double reference to numbers caught me out. Number now always makes me think of ‘ether’ which I had for a while but just couldn’t see the (now) totally obvious N!
    FOI Hate LOI Nether COD Euro MP
    Thanks Teazel for the challenge and Galspray for a cracking blog

  35. My first DNF in a while. I was very dull and thought well, of course dummy! after getting a few such as WEND and PRATTLED. Encountered my first number = ether in the wild, after being warned by this blog, thanks very much!

    I despaired of EURO MP and revealed it after taking 49 minutes for all the rest. Then, as I generally do, I had to admit that I could have seen it. Sheesh.

    Some enjoyable clues though–COD BLANK VERSE. Thanks Teazel and Galspray!

  36. DNF here. I had PLAIN VERSE for 17a, which blocked KEYBOARD and CHAIN SMOKE. And I was nowhere near EURO MP or PAWN, and never parsed NETHER (“NET HER???”) for a frustrating start to my weekend. Ah well, there’s always next week.

    Thanks to Teazel and Galspray.

  37. Fell into the same traps as everyone else.

    Unusually for me the anagrams took their time coming.

    PDMs with ORAL and FREAK OUT – with the Nile Rodger’s version of the latter now on the juke box in my head. Another one to go and see if you get the chance.

    Thanks Galspray and Teazel

  38. Completed eventually. Hard but enjoyable. MER at MP as a “word” but, after much head scratching, it parsed and nothing else did. Maybe just a bit tooo clever. Overall, I was just a bit not clever enough but made it to the end which is good enough for me.

  39. Can someone please remind us how to download the Saturday Quick Cryptic so we can do it on paper. Thanks.

    1. I go to the Times web page, front page of paper appears, click on menu, three small bars at top of page. From menu select puzzles, crosswords should then appear. Click the one you want, puzzle comes up. Click on three bars over top of clues, you should then have option to print. Hope this helps. I only solve on paper – a luddite!!

    2. I find the right puzzle on line then click on the three small bars and then email. I have a rather complicated system where I have to copy and paste the link!

  40. 11 minutes. Late post, but I decided to have my two bob’s worth because I enjoyed this so much. Just to pick out a few favourites: the EU ROMP, CHAIN-SMOKE, KEYBOARD, the ‘two numbers’ in N ETHER and the not so simple WEND.

    Thanks to Teazel and galspray

    1. As long as you comment on my blog Jenny we are officially BFFs!

      Good luck with your solving and your running, and keep us up to date on how you’re doing with both.

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