Quick Cryptic 2636 by Mara

One for the double-definition fans. I started well in the North, then got a bit bogged down in the West Midlands before storming the rest.  Came out as an on-par 6 minutes in the end.

1 Crime from girl of large proportions? (6)
BIGAMY – Big + Amy
4 Photograph game (4)
SNAP – double definition
9 Finally, nosh in feeding container finished (7)
THROUGH – last letter of NOSH inside TROUGH. I had assumed this usage of ‘through’ was American, but my dictionary doesn’t agree
10 Wife in love mistreated one of five characters (5)
VOWEL – W for wife inside an anagram (‘mistreated’) of LOVE. There are five vowels, obviously.
11 Different, Iceland? It is the same! (9)
IDENTICAL – anagram (‘different’) of ICELAND IT
12 Some steelyard in cathedral city (3)
ELY – hidden word
13 Blabbing finally, informer is free (6)
GRATIS – G (last letter of ‘blabbing’) + RAT (informer)  + IS
15 Master mixed up class of similar ability (6)
STREAM – anagram (‘mixed up’) of  MASTER
17 Unfinished song expected (3)
DUE – DUET without the last letter
18 Really, I find that hard to believe (9)
SERIOUSLY – double definition, the second usually accompanied by a question mark.
21 Super amount of cash (5)
GRAND – double definition
22 Wheel around old ship (7)
COASTER – CASTER is the wheel, with O inside
23 Where tools may be left abandoned (4)
SHED – double definition
24 Book of songs, many strangely found in empty hotel (6)
HYMNAL – HL (HOTEL ’emptied’) containing an anagram (‘strangely’) of MANY
1 Washing that’s delicate in sack (7)
2 Plant found in Beijing or Seoul (5)
GORSE – hidden word
3 Eccentric, tedious man in bank (12)
MOUNTAINSIDE – anagram (‘eccentric’) of TEDIOUS MAN IN
5 Non-existent location present at this moment? (7)
NOWHERE – NOW (at this moment) + HERE (present). A bit of a chestnut, this.
6 Close friend under pressure (5)
PALLY – P (pressure) + ALLY (friend)
7 Smart nestling brushing off tail (4)
CHIC – CHICK minus the last letter
8 Leader having been deposed, insurrectionist changing (12)
EVOLUTIONARY – REVOLUTIONARY minus the first letter
14 Declare duration of life ordinary (7)
AVERAGE – AVER (declare) + AGE (duration of life)
16 After month, test of municipal official (7)
17 French artist has wise decision initially overturned (5)
DEGAS – SAGE (wise) + D (first letter of ‘decision’) all backwards
19 Seaside’s sweet music? (4)
ROCK – Double definition
20 On a chair, an evil spirit (5)

71 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2636 by Mara”

  1. 14 minutes. I should have come in under 10 minutes on this one but I hit a wall towards the end from having carelessly put CURIOUSLY at 18ac. The C-checker this provided prevented me spotting the anagram at 3dn and until I had realised my error and added MOUNTAINSIDE to the grid I was unable to get GRAND as my LOI at 21ac.

  2. Hoo-Rah! Finally, I’ve finished one thus avoiding a complete run of DNFs this week. That said I felt it was a tougher than usual offering from Mara, who I feel generally provides a very well pitched QC.
    I very nearly biffed CHARTER instead of COASTER and took far too long over AVERAGE and SERIOUSLY. But I really enjoyed EVOLUTIONARY, MAYORAL and IDENTICAL. All green in about 22 minutes so I’m not off the Special Table yet but am a little more encouraged.
    Thank you Mara and Curarist for a good end to the weekday QCs.

  3. I enjoyed this puzzle, not least because I can easily imagine using all the answers in everyday conversation. Not something one can always say …

    No real holdups on my way to an 11 minute completion, though I never fully parsed my LOI Coaster, entered from definition and checkers. Cue John Masefield and his “Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack”, great poem.

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

    1. I’m with you – I get irritated when the answers are only ever used in crossword land – especially in a quickie!

        1. … but how might one clue it? Perhaps “Two siblings (one short) join the Engineers afloat – what a ship!”

  4. A few head scratchers today, but I got through them and finished in a respectable (for me) 22m.

    To continue yesterday’s Dad joke theme:
    Why did the art thief’s vehicle run out of fuel? He had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh. (*groan*)

    Admittedly, you have to use some poor pronunciation to make the joke work, but that’s okay in Dad-joke-land.

    Happy Friday. Pi

  5. My only issues today were due to a self-inflicted ‘prom’ at 19d which made things tricky towards the end.
    Started with SNAP and finished with EVOLUTIONARY in 7.59.
    Thanks to Curarist

  6. Right on target at 24.23 for us. Was diasappointed buxom didn’t have enough letters to put in 1a but COD to bigamy when we got there.

    Mrs RH was also keen on curiously for a while until we finally unravelled mountainside then seriously was obvious.

    Thanks Mara and curarist for the blog on one of those rare days when we parsed them all ourselves, yay.

    Note for those thinking of attending the get-together in June, that’s the day of trooping the colour! We’re thinking of going down to the Mall to watch the parade in the morning, which starts around 920 then heading over to Borough Market, and we will have a fly past at 1 pm 😊

      1. Hi, John. I seem to have missed any information about a June get-together at the George, despite seeing the blog nearly every day. I was expecting to see something on the Home Page, but if it’s there, I can’t find it. Can you point me to it, or just let me know when it is? I’d like to attend if I can – last time was great fun.

        1. It was mentioned on my last QC blog last Friday… “SAVE THE DATE – Saturday 15th June at The George, Borough High St from 12 noon. After we had such fun with a summer get-together last year, attended by some TimesforTheTimes old hands, bloggers and commenters, we thought we would have another one.” It would be great if you could come again.

        2. Saturday 15 June, at the George in Borough High Street near London Bridge. Gathering from around mid-day, and don’t expect to get away any time early …

  7. 4:10. Nothing to scare the horses here. Nothing written on my copy apart from the answers, an underline of the anagrist at 3D and my time. I liked the criminal Big Amy. Thank-you Mara and Curarist.

  8. A gentle stroll to kick off the Easter weekend.

    LOI COASTER (parsed afterwards)
    TIME 3:55

  9. 8:34 (birth of Aud the Deep-Minded)

    No especial hold-ups. LOI was SERIOUSLY. COD to BIGAMY.

    Thanks Mara and Curarist

    1. “Aud the Deep Minded” must be seriously the best moniker of any woman in history! Quite a woman too, she spent most of her life in the British Isles and only sailed to Iceland (on a ship she commissioned and controlled herself) when her son was killed: she was by then quite elderly and already a grandmother. Her story is told in Laxdæla saga.

  10. 17:04

    Took an age to unscramble the long anagram for MOUNTAINSIDE which then gave me LOI BIGAMY.

  11. 13.15, just wrote an entire entry that vanished so will just say thanks to M and C. Are these QCs getting harder lately, or is it just me? ROCK took ages, as did BATHING and MOUNTAINSIDE which is, btw, one helluva bank…

  12. A bit over 10 minutes. I thought COASTER was pretty sneaky, with CASTER for ‘wheel’ not immediately obvious and MOUNTAINSIDE was a good anagram. Seeing the double defs early was a big help, so not too many hold-ups.

    Thanks to Mara and Curarist

  13. Not too troubled by this one finishing in 8.26. I must have spent getting on for a minute on my LOI which was SHED. An alphabet trawl came to the rescue eventually. The only other clue that delayed me was MOUNTAINSIDE which seems a bit steep for a bank! I was initially looking for a synonym of eccentric which didn’t help.
    My total time for the week was 46.01 giving me a daily average of 9.12, for a pretty good week with only yesterdays toughie letting me down.

  14. No really challenging clues today, although COASTER took some time to work out. COD BIGAMY, one of those that brought a smile, and admiration for the setter’s thinking process.

  15. This felt more like a “normal” QC. I was almost finished after ten minutes but needed SHED and LOI COASTER, which I did parse, to cross the line. 13 minutes in the end.
    Lots of nice clues including ROCK and SATAN.

  16. Very fast for me until the SW where I got really gummed up on SHED/AVERAGE/GRATIS (LOI). All pretty obvious once solved but as usual once I start down a blind alley I seem to have to run up it three or four times just to make sure.

    Loved BIG AMY, though not enough to marry her. All done in 06:54 for a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Mara and Curarist.


  17. Finished and enjoyed. Liked BIG AMY, VOWEL, DEGAS. was a bit slow on MOUNTAINSIDE and EVOLUTIONARY.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  18. Nothing too scary today although I didn’t know the word HYMNAL. I started with BATHING and BIGAMY. Unlike others here I solved the anagram of MOUNTAINSIDE quickly with the M in place. My only delays were in the SE corner, COASTER was the key. LOI was EVOLUTIONARY. 7:51 for a GOOD Friday. Thanks to all for the entertaining comments.

  19. An enjoyable DNF for me today. I say DNF but I did finish it, with two incorrect answers. Not sure I should be calling it a DNF.

    I did need some help from the Orange One today, despite the fact that he came in bearing evidence of having been fighting!


    My verdict: 👍
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🤺

  20. 16 minutes – enjoyed this one – looked tricky but all fell into place with some thought.
    One of these days I will spot answers like evolutionary from revolutionary early rather than have to wait for checkers!
    Thanks all

  21. 8:16

    Slowish perhaps – Snitch of 90 would suggest a time somewhere around 7:30 – I seemed to have a block in the NW corner freed up by BIG AMY, and then in the bottom right where with four left, Mrs H asked me to unload three bags of compost from her car. As I was mentally constipated at that moment, I acceded, and of course on resuming a few minutes later, the blockage was cleared and the final four went in with a flourish.

    Thanks Curarist and Mara

  22. What should have been a comfortable sub-20 only produced a seat next to the driver, with CoD Big Amy (true to form?) blocking the door from the waiting room when Through Bathing. Rather annoyingly, I had considered Bathing for 1d right at the beginning, but thought ‘in’ was ‘in’, which of course just left ‘th’ for delicate (Those whom. . .etc). All became obvious when finally written out horizontally.
    However, Easter is nearly with us, so pride counts for nothing. Invariant

  23. 16 mins…

    A relief after yesterdays debacle with an enjoyable and entertaining puzzle from Mara. Only query was “Satan” as an evil spirit. Evil, more than likely (although I’m sure Satanist’s might disagree) – but a spirit?

    FOI – 2dn “Gorse”
    LOI – 1dn “Bathing”
    COD – 1ac “Bigamy” – I challenge anyone not have a little chuckle at that one.

    Thanks as usual, and hope everyone has a good Easter!

  24. Also a bit of a MER at SATAN – I’d initially thought demon, but COASTER put paid to that. Slight hold-up trying to remember DEGAS or indeed sage and a pause to tackle the unravelling of MOUNTAINSIDE, which is a bit more than a bank, IMO. Otherwise a steady solve, but with some nice clues, particularly BIG AMY.

  25. 11:43 so par score.

    Held up by quite a few: coaster, satan, bathing, chic, bigamy (COD), mountainside, and seriously (LOI).

  26. 25/26, which by my standards means that I am nominating this one as the easiest QC this year. I just couldn’t see EVOLUTIONARY, unfortunately.

  27. 18:45, so truly a Q (for me). Liked the crowd-pleasing big girl, saw MOUNTAIN early on but thought it must be a misdirection since that is something much, much larger than a bank, in my world. Also, as long as I’m being picky, a DUEt might be a song, but it might not. But why be picky, I really enjoyed the puzzle.

    Thanks Mara and Curarist!

  28. Very QC-ish today I thought. Started with SNAP and finished with BIGAMY. Liked NOWHERE. In contrast to others I missed there being an unusual word or two to get the brain cells firing. Otherwise very enjoyable. Thanks C and Mara.

  29. GORSE, then BIGAMY, (who gave me my first laugh of the day after my coffee maker exploded) were first 2 in. COASTER put an end to the proceedings. 7:10. Thanks Mara and Curarist.

  30. Totally on Mara’s wavelength today and solved from top to bottom with everything parsed too. Very enjoyable.

  31. 17:07. COASTER and MOUNTAINSIDE both took a long time. I saw PALLY early but didn’t think it was a word so was slow to enter it. For ROCK I kept reading the clue seaside’s and then sweet music, instead of seaside’s sweet and then music!

  32. Heading for a 20 min finish before failing in the SE corner with Seriously and Coaster. But enjoyed it. COD has to be Big Amy!

  33. DNF – failed with COASTER (NHO CASTER), plus SATAN and ROCK – just couldn’t see them. Bad day. Happy Easter to all QCers.

        1. We have a large solid Victorian dining table – it does have casters and is definitely not a trolley. Looking around this room I can see three tables with casters that are not trolleys. Trolleys have bigger wheels generally. Sorry to be pedantic myself🙂

  34. First walk through this week, like ITT became obsessed with CHARTER(without knowing why) rather than COASTER, but hit target. After bad week, somewhat perked up

  35. Not at all easy, particularly towards the end. However, I did make it across the line – 36 minutes, which is a little slower than average for me these days.

    Of the two long down clues EVOLUTIONARY came fairly easily, but MOUNTAINSIDE was a real struggle. I even spent quite a long time trying to justify MOUNTAINised (What a plonker!).

    My last four clues – SERIOUSLY, ROCK, SATAN and COASTER – resisted all of my efforts for 8-9 minutes before SERIOUSLY eventually revealed itself and the other three just tumbled out from there.

    Many thanks to Mara and Curarist.

  36. Enjoyed this but found it more difficult than some. 24 minutes with a long pause in the middle before an inspired mountainside started some unraveling.
    Thanks to setter, blogger and all contributors- enjoyed the Dad joke which might get repeated!

  37. Work has prevented me from crosswording much this week, so I’ve got a nice backlog for the long weekend. I’ve decided to go through them backwards and this was a very pleasant start, finishing in 14:46.

    Thank you to Curarist for the blog, and solidarity with Big Amy!

  38. 14.34

    Mightily struggled probably because I don’t always get on with DDs and long anagrams. Not helped by not seeing BIGAMY for far too long ditto MOUNTAINSIDE and even SERIOUSLY and SATAN. The rest was straightforward!

  39. 10.00 on the dot. I miscounted again so 3d didn’t seem to be an anagram. Once that was resolved SERIOUSLY, SATAN and COASTER were the last three. Thanks Curarist and Mara.

  40. FOI the rather lovely BIGAMY. LOI MOUNTAINSIDE and by that time the anagram was clear and we’d almost forgotten it was meant to be a bank. Very steady solve, if having to go backwards and forwards a bit, and all done and parsed in a rather faster than average 10:24.

  41. I’m losing the will to carry on with this.

    Another day in hell. I had everything bar COASTER in 15 mins. Thought this was CHARTER but couldn’t parse. After 45 mins, entered CHARTER, knowing it was wrong. Haven’t a clue what a caster is (don’t tell me, I can look it up), and NHO COASTER. After yesterday’s exhibition of incompetence, this was the ultimate kick in the teeth.

    The last 2 days have been a nightmare and I am thoroughly defeated. I’m never going to get this, no matter how much I try. Can you imagine the agony of being so close to a good time and ending up with this pathetic result? Where can any pleasure be found in that?

    My times for the week are humiliating:
    22 mins
    14 mins
    19 mins
    62 mins
    45 mins DNF

    I can’t put into words how frustrating that is! How is it possible to get such a range of times? The same thing has happened in consecutive weeks.

    My levels of enjoyment, satisfaction, accomplishment etc are zero. I haven’t read any other comments today as I just can’t stand the comparison any longer. I am simply incapable of turning in any kind of vaguely decent week. My self-esteem can’t take much more.

    I shall spend the weekend berating myself in readiness for the next horrible chapter on Monday.

    No comments are necessary.

    Thanks for the blog.

    PS If I remember on Monday, I’ll tell you about one of my wrong answers for another puzzle I failed today. It’s hilariously bad and Exhibit No 1 in support of my assertion that I am an appalling solver who really doesn’t belong here.

  42. An enjoyable QC after yesterday’s DNF. The right side of the grid was completed fairly quickly, though I was surprised to see COASTER as I’m used to seeing the wheel as CASTOR. All the UK DIY websites call those furniture wheels castors. A bit of a struggle getting into the left side, and needed all the crossers to solve MOUNTAINSIDE. Bank to mountain was like expecting a mouse and receiving an elephant.
    Finished in around 18 minutes, so avoided the SCC for a change.

  43. That’s bigamy – it’s big a me too was Groucho Marx’s rejoinder. This one flowed nicely until I slowed in the SE corner – seriously took a while. But lots to elicit a smile and nicely judged. 20 minutes or so, it felt very solvable. Fun puzzle.


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