Quick Cryptic 2612 by Breadman

A little bit harder than usual, I think. Lots of history-related answers but if there’s a theme, I can’t spot it. I earned a pink square for being ignorant of philosophers and their spelling. One or two slightly tricksy clues and a couple of chestnuts. In the end I managed a par time of 6 minutes (ish).

Oh, and it’s a pangram, too.

1 Part of shoe Alf’s found in cavity (4-4)
5 Audibly milk sheep (4)
EWES – Sounds like ‘USE’
9 Curtailed the strange monotonous sound (5)
10 Early Egyptian king initially relished cooked sesame (7)
RAMESES – R[elished] + anagram (‘cooked’) of SESAME
11 Unmarried girl with rook finding English hillfort (6,6)
MAIDEN CASTLE – self-explanatory. I was not familiar with the term, which apparently derives from the Celtic ‘mai dun’ meaning great hill. There are several of these dotted around England
13 At the end, notable player posed with unknown substitute (6)
ERSATZ – E R (ends of ‘notable player’) + SAT (posed) + Z (unknown)
15 Somewhere in Canada, plaque becomes visible somewhat (6)
QUEBEC – hidden word
17 Antique coach given to couple — it might represent preferential treatment (3,6,3)
OLD SCHOOL TIE – Self-explanatory
20 Relative emptied out Austin that’s dirty (7)
21 Open-mouthed, Georgia’s overwhelmed by primate (5)
AGAPE – GA (Georgia, USA) inside APE
22 One that can hear large aristocrat (4)
EARL – EAR (one that can hear) + L
23 Old rebel leader, terribly disheartened, left in rain? (3,5)
WAT TYLER – T[ERRIBL]Y + L inside WATER. He of the Peasant’s Revolt, who took on the teenaged Richard II and lost
1 Headwear husband owns no longer (4)
HATH – HAT + H. ‘No longer’ meaning it’s an outdated term. Some punctuation would make that clearer, but punctuation in clues is only ever there to be unhelpful.
2 Undeveloped creature right inside molten rock (5)
LARVA – R inside LAVA
3 Editor in Times, reflecting, longed for certain type of house (4-8)
SEMI-DETACHED – ED inside TIMES, all backwards, plus ACHED
4 Casual about occasionally fraying part of body (6)
LARYNX – LAX outside the alternate letters of fRaYiNg
6 Wife remains, contrary to expectation, lifting cleaning vessel (7)
WASHTUB – W (wife) + ASH (remains) + BUT backwards
7 Ancient coin southern engineer found under compound (8)
SESTERCE – S (southern) + ESTER (compound) + CE (civil engineer)
8 German philosopher‘s ailment UK man treated (8,4)
IMMANUEL KANT – anagram (‘treated’) of AILMENT UK MAN. I messed up by biffing this and spelling him with an E à la française, instead of his very Teutonic I.
12 Stalwart sore after playing musical instrument (8)
RESOLUTE – anagram (‘after playing’) of SORE + LUTE
14 Cocktail party above saloon perhaps (7)
SIDECAR – SIDE (party) + CAR (e.g saloon)
16 Bringer of bad luck ultimately avoided carrying a new piano (6)
JOANNA – Bringer of bad luck is a JONAH, remove the last letter (‘ultimately avoided’) insert A + N. Hands up who spent five minutes trying to wedge a P for Piano in.
18 Some final lessons? Everything considered (2,3)
IN ALL – hidden words
19 River erosion (4)
WEAR – double definition

131 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2612 by Breadman”

  1. 20 minutes with errors. A minute plus errors worse than my time on Wednesday which I had thought was bad enough. At times this felt more like a GK test than a cryptic puzzle, and one in which several of the questions were outside my range.

    NHO the German Philosopher, and all attempts to deduce him from anagrist were thwarted because the checkers suggested his first name would be EMMANUEL but there was only one E available. I don’t recall seeing the biblical name spelt with an I, but Wiki redirects to that as the preferred spelling if you search on ‘Emmanuel’.

    NHO of a MAIDEN CASTLE in any of its various locations.

    SESTERCE might have come to mind if the wordplay had been a little more friendly.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this wasn’t suitable as a Quick Cryptic because there needs to be a range of difficulty for those wishing to progress to the 15×15 – one of the stated aims of the format – but I would suggest that it was right at the top of that range and perhaps the setter failed at all times to supply easier alternative routes to difficult answers that an average solver may not have known.

    1. Yes agreed. Setters might forget that when one’s GK is lacking it’s actually very difficult to decipher the wordplay that seems obvious to the setter and is more easily got at by experienced solvers through a process (I suspect IMHO) of reverse engineering.
      Well into SCC and finished with the help of GK aids.

    2. Forgive me but if someone of your experience and expertise is struggling with some of these clues it most certainly isn’t suitable! Some of the knowledge required is by no means general and much of the cluing is tricky to say the least. I got here in the end but it was a real grind. Certainly not a quickie!

      1. Totally unsuitable for the target audience. The huge number of solvers with errors (I’m looking at you, you KANT) bears that out.

    3. I don’t usually comment on the QCs though I do them most days, as, since I retired I seem to have less time on my hands than when I was in gainful employment! I commented today on the 15 x 15 that there were a number of clues that had escaped from the QC. Here I would say the opposite is true. KANT’S first name, MAIDEN CASTLE and WAT TYLER were all difficult. My LOI was JOANNA and, as so often, it’s clues that begin with unches that are unhelpful. Well done to all who finished this one.

  2. I DNFed on this, missing SESTERCE, JOANNA and WAT TYLER. This definitely feels like one for those just about ready to transition to the 15×15!
    I struggled with the GK, having NHO Maiden Castle, Wat Tyler, Sesterce, or Joanna for piano (could someone elaborate on this please?).
    Despite the difficulty I did enjoy this crossword, almost every answer obtained felt like an achievement, but I wasn’t going to try and persevere past my 30 minute cut-off time.
    Appreciate the blog as always!

    1. I’m guessing JOANNA and piano is some kind of rhyme (CRS? It doesn’t fit the format). Whatever, it eluded me completely.

  3. Well it was certainly too tough for me, would never ever have got JOANNA for piano (didn’t know about Jonah either) and forgot about Kant’s stupid spelling. So that’s a DNF. I agree that some of these were a bit hard for a QC. But I also hit the fence on today’s 15×15 so maybe it’s just me. Right now I’m on the south coast of NSW and if I had the facility I would post a picture of the beautiful red and green king parrot which is sitting happily a few feet away, crunching its way through the seed in my improvised bird feeder. Thanks to Breadman and Curarist, a good weekend to all.

  4. DNF
    DNK JOANNA (or maybe saw it here once). No problem with KANT, an important philosopher who I’ve not read a word of, although I know (if that’s the word) of the categorical imperative and das Ding an Sich; and no problem with the spelling of his name. He also heads the Monty Python list: Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable, … DNK MAIDEN CASTLE.

    1. Yep, Monty Python to the rescue with Kant. The song helps with the unusual spelling as well, by over-emphasizing the first syllable.

      1. Yep. Having bought the Monty Python LP “Matching tie and handkerchief” as a teenager in the 70’s I am still word perfect on the philosophers song which starts with him 😀

        1. Surely EVERYONE starts singing the Bruces as soon as they realise that they need a philosopher’s name?!

      2. But it sounds like Eeeeeeeemanuel Kant. I notice, looking at all the comments, that no one had a problem with the double M; I would have spelled the name Emanuel, the name of my synagogue back in San Francisco (and many others elsewhere).

        1. Caused me enough doubt to google it again, not having heard it for years.

          Very much Iiiiiii-manuel to my untrained ear.

    2. I also needed Monty Python’s Life of Brian as a reference for Sesterce (can you spare 10 sesterces for an ex-leper).

  5. This was too difficult for me, and my only consolation is that all those commenting before me – including our blogger – also failed in one way or another. Quite apart from a minor query at milk = use/ewes (milk has rather different overtones to me from the much more neutral use), I mis-spelt Immanuel, could not parse the biffed Sesterce and had no idea at all what was going on with Joanna or Hath. Of those I think only the last was a true QC clue that I “could have, should have” got.

    I think this puzzle was misjudged and I suspect I will be far from the last DNF today.

    Many thanks Curarist for guiding us through this one – much needed today.

  6. Oh boy. I thought I’d take a break from a difficult email and do this and it didn’t help.
    Pangrams are not my friend.

    Okay so besides the tons of words I actually did not know, and the unobvious synonyms in the wordplay to get to those aforementioned NHO words, I might need more help from the blog

    How does milk = sheep? Is it just a way to use sheep?

    I don’t understand the wordplay for OLD SCHOOL TIE. I understand the meaning of the phrase.

    I know Jonah being a bad luck but is the slang of JOANNA being rhyming slang for Piana/Piano common? Or common in crosswords?

    I avoided the Emmanuel Kant problem by being very diligent with my anagramming. 😇 Lol

        1. I think, without any confidence, that it might mean “use” in the sense of “I’ve got a company credit card and I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth”.

    1. JOANNA is certainly slang for piano and has come up before in crosswords, but despite there being no shortage of sources claiming it as CRS (including the OED apparently, although I have not seen the entry myself) I would dispute that as it doesn’t follow the traditional pattern. JOANNA is simply a word that rhymes with ‘piana’ as a some might pronounce ‘piano’.

        1. I’m sorry Rinteff, all of my cultural references pretty much start in the 90s…

          I did look him up though and can definitely see how someone like him would pronounce it ‘piana’ 😅

    2. I think it is “to school = coach” and “to couple= tie”. Our previous government was perhaps a good example of why the old school tie was perhaps not the best way to appoint people to positions….

  7. I’m with Cedric (and others). I don’t think I’ve come across a tougher Quickie than this one, and the times on the leaderboard seem to support that contention.

    Eventually got there in 15:04 with fingers crossed over SESTERCE. WEAR was my LOI. Kept running through all the four-letter rivers I could think of but got nowhere (no wear?) until WAT TYLER finally emerged on the bottom row.

    Very enjoyable challenge, but maybe a little out of place in Quickie-land. COD to ERSATZ for no reason other than I like the word.

    Thanks Breadman and Curarist.

      1. I grew up a mile from it, in Willington near Bishop Auckland, and used to go fishing for minnows as a child. (And trout as a teenager).

  8. We persevered for a total of 44 minutes needing to check a few as we went along. Joanna took a while but my dad was born in East London and always called a piano that! We had also spotted the pangram and were looking for the J so that helped.

    It’s only because we’re looking at the rain before going for a walk that we hung on in there on this one.

    Don’t understand why tie= couple. I think this is missing from blog? Ancient = Old, coach = school and…. Ah Mrs RH just had the PDM as I was typing: couple as in to couple, to join, to tie together!

    1. Oh thank you RH fam, I didn’t understand old school tie at all, I was really hung up about coach being a noun and school also being a noun.

    2. Rainy walk…. I’m sat I a car park by a swollen river Little Ouse in Thetford waiting for a group to assemble and take the bus to Brandon and start to walk th St Edmunds Way, which we’ve scheduled to walk on Wednesdays and Fridays in March. We ought to be wearing waders I think.

  9. Slogged my way through this with some biffing and pressed submit with fingers crossed but I got a pink square for misspelling the philosopher. I spent so long playing around with the order of the vowels that I confused myself and ended up with an extra ‘a’ and no ‘e’.
    Having recently listened to a Rest is History podcast on the peasant’s revolt WAT TYLER came to mind fairly quickly which was a relief as ‘old rebel’ is a frighteningly broad definition.
    I eventually guessed LOI JOANNA after thinking there might be a pangram so tried starting it with a ‘j’ and it looked as sensible as any other option.
    Not finished in 11.28
    Thanks to Curarist for making sense of things

  10. There are more solving times omitted for errors than there are solves on the QUITCH just now, I wonder which clue it is – Immanuel, maybe?

    1. Certainly was for me – didn’t read the anagrist properly, just bunged it it with the “normal” spelling of Emmanuel.

    2. My mistake too – I knew the philosopher, but spelled it the ‘normal’ way without checking the anagrist. Add to that a careless SISTERCE and HATS, trying to work out why ATS = owns no longer!

  11. Had almost all the GK by some miracle. Grew up close enough to MAIDEN CASTLE that we went there on school trips a lot – ranked second to Wookey Hole I would think – and WAT TYLER’s been retained from the Peasant’s Revolt in some early history lessin. Thought of Kant after Marx so was only held up by trying to spell him with an E until I checked the anagrist (or rather the I caught my attention). HALF SOLE and RAMESES were hard work and SESTERCE was a miracle recovery from the back of my brain and JOANNA from my Londoner Dad – but I couldn’t quite believe it was the answer. LARYNX was brilliant though and eye WEAR eye rhyme caught me out yet again to be LOI. All green in 16,

  12. 6:59. Certainly tricky for a QC in both clues and GK. Still, as our blogger said, there are plenty of easier clues and the trickier answers were all fairly indicated in the wordplay. I’d NHO HALF SOLE or MAIDEN CASTLE and was pleased to dig out SESTERCE from the dusty corners of my memory. I liked the collection of high-scoring scrabble letters in the middle. Having seen the Z X and Q helped to suggest a pangram and that 16D would start with a J. IMMANUEL KANT went straight in from the Monty Python song… and having done today’s Concise first. Thanks Breadman and Curarist

    1. Gaah, I even looked for a device like that (J V X C) clustered together. Would have got me JOANNA.

    2. I’m not so sure that the tricky SESTERCE is fairly indicated in the wordplay. ESTER is tricky in itself and even more so when clued only as a compound and CE for engineer is pretty rare too. Easy enough to parse working backwards from the answer but really quite difficult the other way round.

  13. I went for that Greek Goddess, DOPNIA, who brought bad luck, and was a twin to Pandora. This from D [ultimately {avoided}D] + (PIANO)* [ anagram indicated by “new”]. Perfect parsing except DOPNIA doesn’t exist.

    I was more worried by SESTERCE which I have only heard the plural Sestertii, and so the singular is Sestertius, I didn’t realise there was an “english” version of this Latin word. Which classicist made that one up? Gibbon probably.

    I realised it was a pangram, and if I had checked I would have tried to bung a J in the SESTERCE clue.

    Very hard puzzle, but nearly got it.

    1. I’m glad I am not alone at wondering at the spelling Sesterce, as I too only knew the coin as sestertius – the name comes from semis tertius, or “half the third”, a sestertius being worth 2½ asses. But a quick look at Wikipedia tells me that “English-language sources routinely use the original Latin form sestertius, plural sestertii; but older literature frequently uses sesterce, plural sesterces, terce being the English equivalent of tertius.”

      So there we are. Not only a difficult clue, but an archaic word to boot.

  14. No time today as I was frequently interrupted by the demands of the three dogs I’m babysitting. However I too spelled IMMANUEL wrongly, as well as SESTERCE, so 3 pinkies for me. This was definitely on the tricky side.
    Thanks to Breadman and Curarist.

  15. 14:47 with one pink square on a misspelt IMMANUAL.
    LOI was JOANNA, after spending ages trying to fit a P into -O-A-A

    Thanks Breadman and Curarist

    dydd gwyl Dewi hapus

    1. Happy St David’s Day to you- and everyone else- too. (I’m currently chopping up some leeks to go on my scrambled eggs in honour of the day).

  16. And another DNF from me today (no surprise there).

    I was doing surprisingly well until I hit the SW corner (I tend to solve in quadrants), whereupon a great gaping void did I behold. I should have gotten ERSATZ, RESOLUTE and UNCLEAN…but didn’t. JOANNA, WAT TYLER and SIDECAR were NHOs for me.

    Happy Friday all. Pi

  17. Well, if I had read the anagrist for the very rarely stable philosopher, I would have done very well on a puzzle with a very red QUITCH.

    I had most of the GK, though JOANNA was a biff, not knowing JONAH = bringer of bad luck.

    6:14 WOE, so a big fat DNF!

  18. There’s always two or three I’d never get in a hundred years. NHO ESTER (what’s that?); NHO Jonah being the bringer of bad luck – he got out of the whale, after all! RESOLUTE very difficult to put together even with all the crossers. Where is CE = civil engineer found?
    But no problem with WAT TYLER, at least, and MAIDEN CASTLE was just one those things that somehow had to be (= both rook and hillfort).

    1. Pedant Alert!
      Jonah was swallowed up by a fish, not a whale. This is a popular misconception.
      Hope this helps 👍

      1. The “great fish” that swallowed Jonah could be translated “whale” as the realisation that whales are not fishes is relatively recent. In Tudor times a whale that beached in the Thames during Lent (when meat was banned but fish allowed) was welcomed as a source of meat, since it was deemed to be a large fish.

      2. Please forgive me, all of you: I’ve always approved of pedantry. But in this case “the platform is irrelevant”; the point is that whatever the genus of the creature, Jonah got out of it!

        1. No no no. Jonah symbolises bad luck because it was his fault that the sea was stormy; it only calmed down when the crew threw him overboard (he volunteered, to be fair) and their luck changed. See Jonah Chapter 1, in particular v12 (“Jonah told them, ‘Pick me up and toss me into the sea. Then the sea will calm down for you, because I know that it’s my fault that this mighty storm has come[j] upon you.’ “).

          Hence Collins sense 2: “a person believed to bring bad luck to those around him”.

      3. Well now. The Hebrew in Jonah’s story has it as דג גדול, dag gadol, which translates to a generic large sea creature. The Greek in Jesus’ citation is kétos, again generic, translated to (ventre) ceti in the Vulgate, which is still generic but tends towards whale. My beloved Tyndale translated the Hebrew to greate fyshe, but the Greek to whale, setting the precedent for many of the translations that followed, including the KJV.
        Of course, we now with our superior understanding of natural history know that no whale can swallow as much as a herring. You’re still much more likely to see the story headlined as “Jonah and the Whale”, rather than “Jonah and the Big Fish”. Misunderstanding it may be, but it’s still a whale of a tale!

        1. Oh dear. I suspected this might excite some comment. However, having been brought up on King James I’m going to stick to my guns! 😂

          1. If you start your comment with “pedant alert!” with this lot you can guarantee a slew of comments! And (sticking to the KJV) you might find yourself disagreeing with Jesus!

    2. True Jonah emerged unharmed from the sea beast’s belly but I always felt his bad luck was illustrated most starkly by what happened to him as he sat and waited outside Nineveh for the Lord to destroy the wicked city. Anyways Jonah complained it was very hot out in the sun so the Lord caused a shade tree to quickly grow. Just as Jonah was getting comfortable the Lord sent a worm to eat all the leaves! Not a good day for Jonah- and to top it off the Lord decided not to destroy Nineveh after all, thus totally ruining Jonah’s credibility in that part of the world as he had told the Ninevites they were going down if they didn’t start to behave better.

    3. Acid + Alcohol > Ester + water. Similar to acid + alkali > salt + water. O level chem or less.
      so eg HCl (hydrochloric acid) + c2H5OH (ethanol) > ethyl chloride [an ester] (c2H5Cl) + H2O (water) obv.

      1. Thank you but that’s Greek to me (no – I know rather more Greek than chemistry). What does > mean? Never even attempted O level chem.

  19. Blimey! Having read the comments above, I am now absolutely delighted with my time of exactly 30 minutes, today. And all fully parsed, to boot.

    I was helped significantly by getting both Across clues at the top, followed by five of their six dependants. The sixth (SESTERCE) held out until the very end and was my LOI. The lower half of the grid proved a much stiffer challenge, both from a cryptic and a GK point of view. Phew!

    Many thanks to Breadman and Curarist.

  20. “ I don’t feel like dancin when the old Joanna plays” sang the scissor sisters.
    I must’ve been on wavelength with this, as every single one went straight in.

    Never heard of maiden castle though, but what else could it be? 4.22

    1. Oh! Is that what Jake Shears was singing! I have never grasped that lyric and never looked it up.
      I won’t forget Joanna now. (this comment will probably age like milk)

  21. 12 minutes before returning to LOI 16d. Like Merlin, I derived a perfectly parsed DOPNIA.
    So another DNF here.
    I knew or guessed everything else. You had to find where to put the I in Kant etc.
    Half-sole was new to me.
    COD to HATH -I liked that one.

  22. 26:30 DNF with eMMANUiL KANT corrected. Took the time to look at the letters available so knew it wasn’t my preferred bif of EE. Rather miffed after struggling for 2-3mins over the SESTERCE (NHO in that spelling) eventually plumping for a CE ending for the unknown engineers and a vaguely known ESTER.

    Three DNFs in a row. A disheartening week although today at least started much better and I thought it would be done in 15-20mins. It’s always depressing to be unable to fill in a couple of letters as occurred with OLD SCHOOL -I-.

    On a lighter note, there is a Maiden Castle near Dorchester which I visited on a school trip, as a helper, when my daughter was about 8 years old. All I recall is it was absolutely covered in sheep droppings. Every couple of feet there was 💩💩💩. And the kids went on and on and on about it 🤣

    Have a good weekend everybody who is not back tomorrow 👍

  23. I agree with most of the comments above regarding the difficulty of this puzzle, and felt for most of the time as if I was on the 15×15. A good general knowledge was helpful here with some obscure characters as answers. My main problem was spelling them correctly, and I initially spelt SESTERCE and RAMESES incorrectly but fortunately returned to them to construct them from the cryptic direction. One notable exception was the German philosopher Kant who was known to me, but I confidently spelt his Christian name as EMMANUEL. Before stopping the clock I checked the letters of the anagram to find an I. I was so confident that his name began with an E that I changed the second E and ended up with an unlikely looking EMMANUIL. If I’d given it a little more thought instead of bunging it in and hoping for the best, I might have got there.
    My finishing time was a pretty creditable 11.59, but of course including the error.
    My total time for the week was 52.31 giving me a daily average of 10.30. Only one out of the five puzzles was under my ten minute target, so I make this a tough week. But none so tough as today for sure

  24. As stated earlier, I didn’t feel this was realistic as a QC. Fortunately my Python knowledge made me check the anagrist – yup, there’s a I in there that doesn’t fit anywhere else – and I’d actually clued ERSATZ in my last Weekend Special. I knew of MAIDEN CASTLE, and the correct spelling of WAT TYLER. I biffed HALF-SOLE.

    I was pleased to avoid fat finger (3 times this week!) and despite missing my revised 6 minute target by a trifling amount I got home safely.

    I must stress that I enjoyed the challenge, and that Breadman should be thanked by the more experienced among us for a good workout – it just doesn’t belong here.

    TIME 6:07

  25. DNF with no luck on JOANNA or SESTERCE. I did enjoy many though, especially SEMI-DETACHED, WASHTUB, and WAT TYLER.

  26. I started with the first seven across clues, before Old School Tie brought that run to an end. Semi-detached, and a carefully checked Immanuel Kant, helped to fill in some of the gaps, and at that point a sub-20 looked just about possible. No such luck. I had the ‘i’ in Tie, but thought it was part of Pair (couple) and spent a fruitless few minutes messing around with Put/pad/pen etc something Air 🙄. Kirs excepted, you can count my lifetime consumption of cocktails on one hand, and a Sidecar certainly wasn’t one of them, . . .nor a Sidebar for that matter. Sorting that lot out took me up to the 30min post, at which point I took one look at loi 7d, S*s*e*c*, and pulled stumps for a DNF. Invariant

  27. DNF SESTERCE (when will I remember ‘ester’ – it comes up quite a bit in crosswords) and another to start with E instead of I in IMMANUEL KANT. Struggled with SIDECAR (NHO as cocktail) and LOI WAT TYLER (heard of but couldn’t tell you who he was). Liked JOANNA and really interesting to read the whale v fish comments above. Always amazed at the specialist knowledge of other commentators. This was very hard! Thanks for the much-needed blog c.

  28. Though I found this one to be tough enough that I gave up about halfway through, I did enjoy it.

    This week has been a terrible week for QCs for me. I don’t think I completed one. Was it me? The puzzles? I vote the latter 😉

    I have heard of Wat Tyler (didn’t Blackadder reply to Baldrick’s request for time off with “Who do you think you are, Wat Tyler?”)

    I am sure I have heard of KANT before, though I was unable to answer it until I came here.

    Never heard of ERSATZ or the old coin.

    On the whole not an enjoyable week for me on the QC front. Let’s hope the setters are a bit
    kinder to poor dimwits such as I next week. 🤣

    My verdict: Too tough for me, but enjoyable, (for the week: new setters please! 😄)

    Pumpa’s verdict: Hisssssss, (for the week: HISSSSSSS!

  29. A 15 minute fail, with an initial E instead of an I for the ‘German philosopher’ (at least I’m not alone), despite the anagram fodder being in plain sight. Annoying, as there would have been a real sense of achievement in solving what I found a very hard QC.

    Thanks to Breadman and Curarist

  30. DNF as I didn’t have the required knowledge which was certainly not general knowledge. I really don’t think anagrams are an appropriate tool for getting to an esoteric answer as in IMMANUEL KANT. I also failed on the unknown SESTERCE and TIE of all things! I did manage the NHOs HALF SOLE and MAIDEN CASTLE. JOANNA was belatedly solved because I could see the posibility of a pangram and WAT TYLER from the wordplay and it rang a bell. GR duly awarded.

  31. DNF, defeated by ERSATZ (should have got that) and JOANNA (don’t think I would ever have got that). Luckily I checked the anagrist carefully before adding Herr Kant’s first name, so managed to avoid a pitfall there. NHO HALF SOLE or MAIDEN CASTLE but they didn’t cause much of a hold up. Couldn’t parse SESTERCE and had to look up the spelling of it anyway. Not a good end to a generally disastrous week.

    FOI – 10ac RAMESES
    LOI – DNF
    COD – too dispirited to nominate one!

    Thanks Curarist for the much-needed blog

  32. 14:56

    Is Breadman the editor? If so no wonder the difficulty of the puzzles is consistently higher than appropriate for being described as quick/or for learners. Good for me and other experienced solvers.

    I remembered the coin as sistertii from Asterix books but I must be mistaken.

    I thought it would be Emmanuel but having to write out the anagrist can be a benefit.
    Couldn’t parse Wat but wat else could it be.

  33. Given so many DNFs and complaints about the difficulty of today’s offering, I am very pleased to have completed it! Like others, I have Monty Python to thank for Kant, and JOANNA (LOI) came in a flash when I realised that the answer was a piano – the old Joanna. I am smirking!

  34. DNF.
    Could not even start this one.
    Ridiculously hard.
    Much too hard for a “Quick Cryptic”.
    If setters are going to make them as hard as this then the Times management
    should just stop producing a so-called Quick Cryptic and just have the main crossword.

    1. No, Gordon. This is not ridiculously hard. The aim of the Quick Cryptic is to be an introduction to the 15×15. That means it should be of variable difficulty from very straightforward to the difficulty of an average 15×15… which is what this is. By way of comparison, today’s 15×15, which is of average difficulty, as verified by the SNITCH, took me 80% longer. If you want to see what really hard is, see this. It is something to test 15×15 solvers. I think you will agree it is somewhat harder than than this properly categorised quick cryptic.

      1. Hmm. . . I don’t know but suspect that Gordon is new to this game, and likely more than just a tad disappointed at not even being able to make a start ?

  35. 9:26

    This was definitely a step up from what we usually might expect of Breadman, but very much enjoyed on my part. There were a few bits which I took on trust – HALF-SOLE and MAIDEN CASTLE (vaguely heard of perhaps) – though was on much firmer ground with KANT (don’t know the Python tune so though I couldn’t name any of his works, I must have registered the untypical spelling of his name at sometime in the past). No problem either with JOANNA being a Londoner. LOI was SESTERCE (dragged from the depths once all checkers revealed).

    I’ve always thought that Wat Tyler and The Peasants’ Revolt would have been a decent band name in the 14th century….

    Thanks Curarist and Breadman

  36. Well, I enjoyed this, and my time of 7:01 suggests it was at the top end of QC difficulty but far below a 15×15. Having said that, there were a few crossword staples here that I don’t think a complete beginner would get, most notably ESTER for the compound. But then, you have to come across them *somewhere* for the first time, and get used to trusting the wordplay on occasion.

    The spelling is a bit tricky – but Kant is surely not an obscure philosopher!

    Thanks both.

      1. Ah, fair enough – not my usual fare! It comes up in occasionally in cryptics thanks to its setter-friendly letters, so I needed memory to dredge it up & confirm how to spell the half-remembered coin.

        1. And esters smell quite interesting. I remember the fun of making some in A level chemistry. They are what give fruits their fruity smells.

  37. OK, seems I did relatively well by *only* having to look up Coin to get LOI SESTERCE and carelessly spelling IMMANUEL with an E. Remembered WAT TYLER, and biffed JOANNA/pianna and the CASTLE. ERSATZ featured in a previous QC. I remembered because my parents used it as meaning ‘of inferior quality’, rather than just a substitute.
    I actually enjoyed this one much more than yesterday’s, immediately biffing quite a few of the long ones.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  38. Thought this was hard.
    I’m repeating some of what’s above as I wrote this before coming here.
    1a HALF SOLE NHO, but gettable. Added to the cheating machine.
    16d JOANNA was hard, Wiktionary gives joanna (lower case) as CRS for piano, but it is irregular CRS as we expect 2 related words, the second rhyming and optional or omitted as in “apples (and pears, stairs)”.
    Did anyone else notice 22a EARL was also a hidden? Coincidence I expect.
    7d Wiktionary seems to prefer SESTERCi to sesterce, and it is an unch, so a bit unsatisfactory, but the civil engineer shows what is wanted.
    8d for those such as our esteemed blogger the Python’s Philosophers song is required reading:

    Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
    Who was very rarely stable
    Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
    Who could think you under the table
    David Hume could out-consume
    Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel
    And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
    Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel
    There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya
    ‘Bout the raising of the wrist
    Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed
    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
    On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill
    Plato, they say, could stick it away
    Half a crate of whiskey every day
    Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle
    And Hobbes was fond of his dram
    And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart
    “I drink, therefore I am.”
    Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed
    A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he’s pissed

    1. Kant was so “stable” that the good folks of his hometown would set their watches by the sight of him on his daily constitutional.

  39. Dnf…

    From reading the comments above, I’m glad I was in similar company. I don’t mind tricky QC’s – but one’s with obscure GK that are not obtainable from the wordplay really are annoying.

    After 30 mins, I was pleased that I only had one left to get – but I didn’t stand a chance with 7dn “Sesterce” and read the letters for 8dn as (4,8) – so came up with the well known German philosopher of Emma Kunliant. Of course, the correct answer I’d never heard of.

    Not a great end to the week, with three tricky days on the trot.

    FOI – 10ac “Ramses”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 9ac “Thrum”

    Thanks as usual!

  40. DNF

    So why does Joanna mean Piano? It would have been a slow time anyway as there were lots to hold me up here. Finally had them all in 30 minutes but had to guess the last one. Tried an anagram of PIANO as it fit the checkers but was never hopeful. Not surprised when the pink squares popped up.

      1. I thought the point of Cockney Rhyming slang was that it didn’t actually rhyme with the word used but a word that goes with it, so China for mate, plates for feet, etc. I’m still nonplussed by Joanna. One to remember for future, thanks.

        1. That is what Jackkt means by JOANNA apparently not following the “formula” for CRS. I only reported what Collins says. At any rate, it does rhyme with how an East Ender might say “piano,” and is an informal term for the instrument.

  41. DNF! The first for a long while on the QC. Gave up after 16:30 and revealed the ‘was never going to think of’ JOANNA, not really expecting it to be the NHO DOPNIA. Knew of Joanna as rhyming slang and remembered Jonah once I saw the blog but too difficult a clue for us. All the rest were within bounds though we were already below par at that point. Knew KANT though briefly worried about E/IMMANUEL but the anagrist made it clear. Thank you Curarist for clearing up JOANNA. Thank you too, Breadman, for a predominantly enjoyable puzzle though the cause of our DNF felt like a bit of a low punch in a QC (it might have felt OK if the J had been given by a crosser.)

  42. I am relieved to learn that I am not alone is knowing “The Philosophers Song” word perfect.
    It is a great relief.

  43. I enjoyed this one, and found it easier than yesterday’s! 11/24. Would have been 12, but I had HATS rather than HATH. I’m always happy if I can solve half the clues.

    1. ” I’m always happy if I can solve half the clues”. I’m a bit more experienced now, but I remember that feeling.

  44. DNF

    All but JOANNA in around 10 but gave up on it even though I now realise I did know it. I got slightly confused by thinking that carrying meant the an went at the top rather than in the middle but no excuses

    If anyone ever asked me the skills needed to do cryptics I always think they’d be surprised to know that “good at words/English” comes very far down the list. Latin Cricket Flowers Rivers Geography and History in that order for me and my Latin and History A Levels meant SESTERCE and WAT TYLER weren’t too much of a problem. And actually bit surprised Kant is not better known but perhaps my interests are more niche than I thought

    Thanks Breadman and Curarist

    Ps on the subject of GK nice moment on Cracking the Cryptic last week when Mark G casually and slightly apologetically writes in the never-heard-of-goat and rarely-heard-of-capital as if they come up in conversation twice a day. Awesome watch 🙂

  45. Ninja Turtle special – KANT via the Bruces (every time I need a philosopher I just sing that song); JOANNA via Chas and Dave; SESTERCE via Asterix. Fortunately we had a discussion this week about why “rook” = CASTLE.

    Lowbrow or not, the upshot was that I didn’t find that *too* bad – and I am no expert, finishing the 15 maybe 10% of the times I try it. Maybe it was a wavelength thing.

    All done in 11:03 for a Very Good Day. Many thanks Breaders and Curarist.


    1. Well done. It just goes to show how important the advanced skill of Ninja Turtling is in the crossword solvers armoury. I employ it whenever I can, but I can’t claim to be an expert at it.

  46. I was surprised, having come to this late in the day, to find that although I just scraped under my target time, I was 37 on the Leaderboard! It may have helped that I grew up close to the banks of the WEAR and went to Uni at Durham, where the sports field was called MAIDEN CASTLE, but despite not knowing the Philosophers Song, I did know Mr KANT, although I needed the anagrist to rescue me from EMMANUEL. SISTERCE also popped up from the recesses, again corrected by the wordplay. HALF SOLE was unknown, but easy to construct. FOI was HATH, LOI, JOANNA, which I did know. 9:51. Thanks Breadman and Curarist. Now onwards to the 15×15.

  47. Quite frankly, for a so-called Quick Cryptic, this was garbage! Silly contrived clues, obscure and inaccurate words and spelling. Breadman should do a better jobe than this…….

    1. Hmm. Garbage? Frankly I think that’s more than a bit rude – it’s unappreciative and insulting. Silly contrived clues? Obscure and inaccurate words and spelling? What do you mean? Like “jobe” perhaps?

  48. Biffed SESTERCE without knowing what an Ester was, also did Kant a disservice by spelling IMMANUEL with an ‘E’, apart from that ok


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