Quick Cryptic 2645 by Bubbles


How exciting – a new setter! A big welcome to Bubbles.

A very enjoyable debut puzzle from Bubbles. I didn’t have too much trouble apart from a few inexplicable hold-ups such as for the not very difficult 14d. Four homophones, none of which I thought were very controversial. I finished in 10:12 but should have been a bit speedier.

Thanks and look forward to more from Bubbles.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions marked by strikethrough.

1 Beg to be included among Jobcentre attendees (7)
ENTREAT – Hidden (‘to be included among’) ‘JobcENTRE ATtendees’
5 Look to carry on in recession (4)
PEEK -Reversal (‘in recession’) of KEEP (‘to carry on’)

Possibilities from the P_E_ entered by crossers were the usual suspects for ‘look’ of peek, peer and peep, with the first coming up trumps.

7 I triumphed in broadcast (3)
ONE – Homophone (‘in broadcast’) of ‘triumphed’= WON

ONE for ‘I’ as either the Roman number, or when used in a formal, archaic sense as the first person singular subject pronoun.

8 Scoff at bear repeatedly (4-4)
POOH-POOH – Winnie the POOH (‘bear’) and again POOH (‘repeatedly’)
10 Poem about the cinema (5)
ODEONODE (‘Poem’) ON (‘about’)
11 Bishop and I plugging nobleman’s sparkling water (7)
PERRIERRR (‘Bishop’) I (‘I’) contained in (‘plugging’) PEER (‘nobleman’)

Very appropriate for our new setter. I wonder if a similarly effervescent clue for each puzzle will become a Bubbles trademark.

A brand name – tut, tut – but seen commonly enough nowadays in Times puzzles. RR is an abbreviation for Right Reverend, another term used for a Bishop in the Roman Catholic or Anglican Church.

13 Broadcast by single politician causes damage (6)
IMPAIRAIR (‘Broadcast’) preceded by (‘by’) I (‘single’) MP (‘politician’)

‘Broadcast’ not used as a homophone indicator here. I parsed this with ‘(to) damage’ as the def, as ’causes damage’ doesn’t fit the wordplay and would suggest the answer should be IMPAIRS. There may be a better explanation.

15 A place to go for moles? (6)
AGENTSA (‘A’) GENTS (‘place to go’)

No, nothing to do with a furry creature’s habitation; ‘moles?’ as a definition by example for “spies”. A ‘place to go’ in the sense of “a place to urinate”, a crossword chestnut.

17 Curse I heard after returning as it happens (4,3)
EVIL EYE – Homophone (‘heard’) of ‘I’= EYE following (‘after’) a reversal (‘returning’) of LIVE (‘as it happens’) = EVIL
18 Some exile murdering a Madagascan native (5)
LEMUR – Hidden (‘Some’) in ‘exiLE MURdering’
20 Obese top celebrities: one accepting of his lot? (8)
FATALISTFAT (‘Obese’) A LIST (‘top celebrities’)
22 Turning tail, sailor is a traitor (3)
RAT – Reversal (‘turning tail) of TAR (‘sailor’)
23 What cat does in street (4)
MEWS – Double definition, the first a non-cryptic hint

I thought of MEWS as more of a yard but the ODE and Collins both have ‘street’ as part of the definition.

24 Backing inexperienced leader, an explosive sort (7)
WARHEAD – Reversal (‘Backing’) of RAW (‘inexperienced’) = WAR then HEAD (‘leader’)
1 Cut expenditure — on comedies possibly (10)
ECONOMISED – Anagram (‘possibly’) of ON COMEDIES

Looks like it’s been happening quite a lot recently.

2 Article about yours truly making comeback? That’s an idea! (5)
THEMETHE (‘Article’) containing (‘about’) a reversal (‘making comeback?’) of ME (‘yours truly’) = EM

A theme as a recurring idea. Can’t see one in today’s crossword.

3 Dear wife no longer brooding (9)
EXPENSIVEEX (‘wife no longer’) PENSIVE (‘brooding’)
4 Acting companies on tour, did you say? Or soldiers? (6)
TROOPS – Homophone (‘did you say?’) of TROUPES (‘Acting companies’)
5 Little dog running up and down (3)
PUP – Palindrome = the same word reversed (‘running up and down’) in a down clue
6 Eastern nation upset rival to boy at Harrow? (7)
ETONIANE (‘Eastern’) then anagram (‘upset’) of NATION
9 Disappointed engineer trusted RAF (10)
FRUSTRATED – Anagram (‘engineer’) of TRUSTED RAF
12 One in charge of large tour abroad (9)
REGULATOR – Anagram (‘abroad’) of LARGE TOUR
14 Soldier being discreet (7)
PRIVATE – Double definition
16 Look back at satirical show on radio (6)
REVIEW – Homophone (‘on radio’) of REVUE (‘satirical show’)
19 Detective Inspector, horny creature having change of heart (5)
MORSEMOOSE (‘horny creature’) with the middle letter O replaced by R (‘having change of heart’)

No indication as to what the ‘change of heart’ letter should be, but not difficult to work out.

21 Girl losing her head, the idiot (3)
ASSLASS (‘Girl’) with first letter deleted (‘losing her head’)

82 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2645 by Bubbles”

  1. Welcome Bubbles, a very nice first outing which took me 9.51. I too felt I might have been quicker but a few acts of dopiness one my part (warlord not WARHEAD, misreading the anagrist for REGULATOR) held me up. Thanks to BR for pointing out 1ac was a hidden and explaining EVIL EYE, both of which I just biffed. Liked FATALIST and will probably be told it’s a chestnut. Interesting point our blogger makes about PERRIER, if Bubbles intends to make it a theme there are no end of possibilities. Cheers!

  2. ONE & AGENTS took me much too much time, giving me just about the worst NITCH. BR, you’ve got a typo at THEME: ME–>EM. 7:57.

  3. 13:17
    Early solve due to being in Texas to watch the eclipse. If you’ve never seen one, get down to Valencia in 2026.

    Some nice clues here, especially FATALIST and MEWS. Needed help parsing AGENTS. Very surprised to see PERRIER as a clue, I really dislike this. Soon brands might start sponsoring clues, maybe they already have.

    1. Us Australians can see a total eclipse in 2028 – I had to check it because the photos my American friends were sending me were amazing

    2. I don’t know about Perrier specifically, but brand names have been appearing for some time. Audi just showed up in a 15×15 the other day, Rolls-Royce has made several appearances, some (English) Ford models, and so on.

  4. I didn’t check it properly and wrote TROUPE instead of TROOPS 🙁

    Just as well, cos I didnt get WARHEAD anyway. I thought it was very accessible though! It felt new, so interested to see it is a new setter/pseud

    1. I also put TROUPE, thinking PE must be some acronym for soldiers (there are so many!) and TROU as an anagram of TOUR…

  5. Very enjoyable, and welcome Bubbles. At one time on seeing that name my first thought would have been of the delightful painting by Millais originally called A Child’s World but later nicknamed Bubbles when it was used in advertisements for Pear’s soap. Sadly today my first thought was of Bubbles DeVere from Little Britain which is not such a pleasant image! Hopefully I shall soon get past that.

    As for the puzzle, I was celebrating a second consecutive sub-10 minute solve (the last time that happened was on 20/21 March) until I came here and read the blog and realised that I had TROUPE at 4dn instead of TROOPS. Utterly careless of me as I simply failed to pay due attention to the wording of the clue.

    1. I too thought of Millais first, but then of West Ham (“I’m forever blowing bubbles”), so I claim today’s lowbrow crown!

  6. A quick one for me today at about 14 minutes, but I was undone by lazily biffing PEER instead of PEEK. Doh! This was a nice QC though. AGENTS took the longest and was my last one in.
    Thanks to Bubbles and to Bletchers.

  7. Yay! A long overdue SCC escape for me today with 19.30.

    Bubbles goes straight onto my like-list.

    Happy Tuesday, all. Pi

  8. AGENTS was a great way to finish, sat there being stuck when sudddenly the light dawned. Great stuff. Held up by REGULATOR on the way- just couldn’t juggle those letters – and by MORSE. Once it wasn’t a rhino, deer or goat I was in trouble. I do like to see Colin Dexter referenced though – it was a radio piece on his crossword book that made me get that book and start this hobby. Happily coincided with my wife’s car being off the road and me chivalrously taking the bus. Just looked it up, that book was published in November 2009. With 15 years on the clock I should start improving soon.

  9. Thanks BR & Bubbles.
    13ac parses correctly when ‘(to) broadcast’ = ‘(to) air’:
    I (‘single’) MP (‘politician’) AIR (‘broadcast’)

  10. A promising debut from Bubbles, provided I accept that that people count “won two three”, which nobody I know is guilty of.

    TIME 4:23

  11. Beaten by WARHEAD – went for WARlord instead and so MORSE was ungettable – I was biffing ‘murdo’ instead, guessing their may be a fictional Scottish DI in there somewhere.

    Welcome and thanks to Bubbles and cheers for the blog BR!

  12. An excellent debut from Bubbles – it’s always exciting to see a new setter (or pseudonym) appear.
    Like others I particularly enjoyed FATALIST and AGENTS. I did wonder about a brand appearing but other commenters have covered that so my eyebrow has reverted to it’s resting position.
    Started with ENTREAT and finished with WARHEAD in 7.59.
    Thanks to BR

  13. 11:24
    Nice. Keep it straightforward and don’t stray into 15×15 territory (constantly) and you will be great, people have jobs!
    Similar thought to Jack re name.
    COD agents.

  14. “Every crossword’s passed its fizzio”, as the 1970s Corona ad claimed of its bubbles. Sparkling debut indeed.

    Unaccountably once again the answers magically appeared as I read the clues, and I broke the 5 min barrier for a second day. Unbelievable, Geoff. Funny old game, Saint.

    I liked the PENSIVE EX and the FAT A-LIST most. Excellent.

    All done in 04:58 for a dead heat with yesterday’s miracle and another Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Bubbles and Bletchers.


  15. 5:19. Nice puzzle. Welcome Bubbles. Held up by a careless IMPACT for 13A where I got only as far as “single politician” in the wordplay before bunging it in and I took a while to see the detective. LOI AGENTS which was my COD. Thank-you Bubbles and BR.

  16. 9:04 (Hywel Dda marries Elen ferch Llywarch, heiress of Dyfed)

    Welcome Bubbles, thanks for an entertaining crossword. I liked AGENTS. LOI was WARHEAD.

    Thanks BR for the blog.

  17. I enjoyed this one. I managed 5:19, I note exactly the same as a previous poster, despite not seeing 4 of the across clues on the first pass. I quite liked MEWS (one of the ones I didn’t see the first time round). Slightly disappointed to check and find this was 6 seconds outside my PB, ah well, never mind. LOI was also AGENTS, clearly Johninterred and I are on a similar wavelength today!

  18. An enjoyable QC. Pleased I was on the right wavelength today for a fairly quick solve with most clues not immediately too obvious. Thanks BR and looking forward to more sparkling entertainment from Bubbles.

  19. Very fast, then stuck so DNF. Lazily revealed IMPAIR, REVIEW, WARHEAD and also failed on MEWS and PEEK.
    Welcome, Bubbles! Thanks BR.

  20. Straightforward enough, but with some entertaining clues, though I felt MORSE could have been improved upon – really don’t like these ‘change the letter to something else’ clues. Liked FATALIST and AGENTS. A warm welcome to Bubbles.

  21. First of all, welcome to Bubbles, especially for producing a genuine QC straight off the bat.
    I was quick with most of this, but was then breezeblocked by loi 23ac. Just couldn’t see what was needed and in the end bunged in Sees (on the ‘basis’ 🙄 that cats eyes let you see the road ahead. . . believe me, options of a much worse nature were rejected along the way) rather than the more London specific Mews. So, a 15min finish WOE. CoD to 20ac, Fatalist, in a strong field. Invariant

  22. Nearly breezeblocked by AGENTS which took much staring before the light dawned, WARHEAD and PEEK only slightly less. COD to FATALIST. Medium hard for me overall. Plenty of other good clues and I look forward to the next Bubbles offering.
    Guessed MORSE quickly but then couldn’t work out why MOUSE was described as a horny creature… Rabbits, maybe, but mice? Then realised another MOxSE creature was available!
    My iPad solve isn’t congratulating me again today, maybe it’s become judgemental and will only do so in future if it thinks my time is worthy of recognition.

  23. Just two hold ups today and both were on the last line. FOI ENTREAT and LOsI MEWS and WARHEAD. I liked AGENTS and MEWS best. Welcome to Bubbles 7:52

  24. That was fun! A new and friendly setter to rival Hurley in (at least) my affections. All good except AGENTS – wasn’t familiar with “a place to go” which seems a bit clunky but if standard fare, must be learnt …

  25. I finished dead on target at 10.00 for this one, and thought it a pretty good test for a QC. It turns out however that it was a DNF, as I put in PEEP for 5ac. Nobody so far seems to have made the same mistake, so perhaps I’m alone with this one. I parsed the answer as being ‘to carry on in recession’ being a direction that it read the same backwards as forwards. It kind of works in a way.

  26. Welcome Bubbles 🍾🍾🍾 ! A very nice crossword at the more approachable end of the spectrum, which took me just under 8 minutes. Very slightly surprised to see Perrier as a trade name in the answers but maybe rules are relaxed these days – can we expect to see the likes of Krug and Bollinger in future puzzles from Bubbles?

    Not entirely sure about the clue for Morse but otherwise all much enjoyed. Many thanks BR for the blog.

    1. I share your doubts about Morse. Bubbles is clearly no zoologist: antlers and horns are not the same thing.

  27. 18 mins…

    Very enjoyable from the new setter with some lovely surfaces. Could have been a few COD’s – including 11ac “Perrier” and 15ac “Agents”. For a while, wondered why a “Mouse” would be horny for 19dn.

    FOI – 1ac “Entreat”
    LOI – 15ac “Agents”
    COD – 3dn “Expensive”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. I enjoyed this puzzle from a new setter.
    Lots of good clues including EVIL EYE, REGULATOR and AGENTS.
    Finished in 10 minutes. LOI MEWS where I had to eschew rather down-to-earth answers.

  29. A very slow start for me, really struggling on the across clues, and I thought maybe the new setter would prove to be too much for me. However the bottom half of the grid proved more tractable and most of the down clues flew in. I finished up, all parsed, in 17 minutes – not a bad time given the slow start.

    FOI – 10ac ODEON
    LOI – 5ac PEEK
    COD – much to like here. I think 20ac FATALIST was my favourite but I also liked POOH-POOH, AGENTS and EXPENSIVE

    Thanks and welcome to Bubbles and thanks to BR

  30. Well pitched from Bubbles – raise a glass to yourself and welcome!



  31. Not too difficult for me today, though I did have to ask Pumpa for help with 23a. In reply he just gave a little cry. He earned a TESCO cat stick treat for that one.


    My verdict: 🙂

    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈

  32. As an octogenarian who likes to complete the crossword at leisure I found this one full of charming clues but just too easy. Only warhead defeated me – and I gave in a bit easily!

  33. I too thought of Bubbles Devere – oh dear. Great puzzle. Thought it was going to be a bit too easy until I was held up by WARHEAD and REVIEW. Favourite clue was MEWS, although my first thought was mess 😆 Also liked AGENTS. Thanks Bubbles and BR.

  34. 6.38

    Great first puzzle Bubbles. Seemed to be a nice mix of clues surfaces and difficulty.

    EXPENSIVE did raise a smile

    Thanks BR

  35. Quick but some very enjoyable surfaces. LOI the cat doing it in the street which, after having “gents” earlier, the *E*S was unfortunately taking me somewhere similar before MEWS came to my rescue…

    Thanks Bletchley and Bubbles.

  36. I must admit to not looking at who the setter was today, so I wasn’t aware we had a new one until I read the blog. Welcome Bubbles! Many of the acrosses went in on the first pass, apart from a few in the bottom half, but I had to make several passes before the downs started to fill up meaningfully. ENTREAT was FOI and FRUSTRATED was LOI. When I submitted however, I was fortunate to notice the 99% complete message and found I’d entered ECONOMISE without noticing the blank square at the end. That delay added 30 seconds to my time. 6:56. Thanks Bubbles and BR.

  37. Let me join the applause for a great start, Bubbles! I’ll even forgive you (as a Yorkshireman by birth) for having mistakenly thought that one and won (wun!) sound the same. LOI the rather good FATALIST, for which we needed all the checkers, giving us a time of 11:54. Like yesterday, that was well short of a PB but pleasingly faster than average.

  38. Didn’t find this that easy with a DNF at 25 minutes. Eluded byMews and regulator.
    Welcome Bubbles!

  39. I think Bubbles is the first “new” setter I have experienced, so I read quite a few clues before taking pen in hand, just to get the feel of things. And then it flowed very nicely, with Pooh-pooh, pup and Perrier opening up the NE corner. Expensive was my COD as a great example of lift and separate: dear, wife no longer, brooding. A few months ago I would not have known where to start! Give or take 20 minutes – cheers!

  40. 13.51 This seemed very gentle but then I spent five minutes on last two in REVIEW and WARHEAD. Thanks BR and welcome Bubbles.

  41. 20:04, spending the last 5 or so minutes on two (!) alphabet trolls to find MEWS. Not a kind of street we normally have around here unless some anglophile has been at work.

    A very enjoyable stroll otherwise, many nice surfaces, with EXPENSIVE my COD.

    Welcome to our new setter! Thanks to Bletchley for the blog, I was too lazy to parse MORSE and settled for the aroused mouse.

  42. Good crossword. Managed to finish just after target of 30mins, put in TROUPE instead of TROOP – never sure how to approach these

  43. I enjoyed this puzzle from Bubbles and look forward to the next. Nice to have another setter.

  44. I was another so amazed at PERRIER that I didn’t write it in before checkers. Otherwise a pretty slick solve at 8:40.

  45. I didn’t know that brand names were allowed. A pity, because that could have unlocked 9D, 12D, 15A and 24A for me. As it is, 18/26, which is quite good by my standards.

  46. Nice puzzle -had TROUPE instead of troops, not having read the clue properly;
    liked FATALIST.


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