Quick Cryptic 2647 by Myles – what did the MCC ever do for us?

A really witty puzzle from Myles, full of clever devices and definitely on the tricky side. I enjoyed it very much, although it pushed me well over target at 10:59. If you aspire to graduate to Big Puzzle (I still haven’t), then this is a good stepping stone because it’s full of the sort of chicanery you encounter over there.

Definitions underlined in bold.

1 Incitement to riot, say, in second issue (8)
SEDITION – S for “second”, EDITION for “issue”. I questioned the definition but it’s in the dictionaries (eg Collins sense 3 – “an incitement to public disorder”) so fair enough.
5 One part of skirt that’s meant to attract attention (4)
AHEM –  one part of a skirt (or any garment) is A HEM; it’s also “a clearing of the throat to attract attention” (Collins). Nice surface.
8 1000 in America — or less (5)
MINUS – M for “1000” + IN + US.
9 Faked feeding frenzy? (7)
FEIGNED – anagram (“frenzy”) of “feeding”. Such a neat, tight surface, bravo.
11 Fish that’s set before me in scales, so to speak (3)
RAY – three letter fish starting with R. Has to be RAY. Can’t understand why. Give up and move on. Solve 2d; now it’s a three letter fish starting with R and ending with Y. It really has to be RAY. But why? Head scratch, stare out of window. Aha! A musical scale could be DO-RE-ME (etc). In that context the “re” sounds like (“so to speak”) RAY. A three letter clue and it did me all ends up.
12 Turmoil minutes after master interrupted by learner (9)
MAELSTROM – the final M is for “minutes” (nautical positioning), which comes “after” MAESTRO (“master”) with an L inside (“interrupted by learner”).
13 How board game ends decisively for patient, perhaps (6)
INMATE – you “decisively” win a game of chess through checkmate; it thus “ends” IN MATE. Patients are INMATEs but so are others (eg convicts) and so this is clued as a definition by example (“perhaps”).
15 Unusually, direct something seen at end of film (6)
CREDIT – anagram (“unusually”) of “direct”.
18 Parade statement that becomes true on April Fool’s day (5,4)
MARCH PAST – sometimes hyphenated but sometimes not, a MARCH PAST is a “parade”. And on the first of April, March is past. Badoomtish!
19 Local piece of music (3)
BAR – double definition.
20 Like days in June around South, affected by dryness (7)
THIRSTY -THIRTY days hath September, April, June … that goes around S for our answer.
21 Useful kind of cheque left in financial institution (5)
22 Sound from pen and old writing material (4)
OINK – scene in the Setters’ Common Room a few weeks ago: “I say chaps, wouldn’t it be a lark if Oink stopped doing piggy clues and we all started? What a hoot! Who’s in?”  Myles obviously raised his hand. O for “old”, INK for “writing material”. The pen here is the pigpen, of course. Top notch clue.
23 You are heard with kindness and with quick response (8)
URGENTLY – U R is a homophone (“heard”) for “you are”; GENTLY is “with kindness”.
1 Eastern fighters raised spirit in disordered parts of Asia (7)
SAMURAI – spirit is always “gin” – except today it wasn’t, it was “rum” which is reversed (“raised” in a down clue) inside an anagram (“disordered parts of”) of ASIA. Took me a while to work out which end was the definition.
2 Both extremes of democracy fine for Americans (5)
DANDY – the first and last letters of “democracy” are D AND Y. Very neat.
3 Experiment with strikes in international meetings (4,7)
TEST MATCHES – you “strike” matches, so if you are trying out matches to see if they work, then you “experiment with strikes” and thus TEST MATCHES. Ho ho!
4 Compensate for not shooting film? (6)
OFFSET – if a film crew is “off” the “set”, they probably aren’t shooting the film. To OFFSET means to counterbalance or compensate for.
6 Cricketing feat replicated a dozen times for MCC (7)
HUNDRED – please don’t tell me this is a chestnut because I’ve never seen it before and I want it to be original. Scoring a HUNDRED is a “cricketing feat”, so that’s the straight bit. As for the cryptic, MCC stands for Marylebone Cricket Club, founded in 1787 and based at Lord’s. But it is also the Roman numerals for 1,200 … so replicate a HUNDRED a dozen times and you get MCC (if you’re a Roman, anyway). Brilliant and my COD.
7 Mark first man’s address to female (5)
MADAM – M for “mark” (currency) + ADAM for the traditional “first man”.
10 Enigmatic, as unclear bits might be (11)
INSCRUTABLE – anagram (“might be”) of “unclear bits”.
14 Chap screening pictures — one is ET (7)
MARTIAN – a MARTIAN would be an extraterrestrial being or generic “ET”, so I suppose the definition is fair enough. However, *the* ET (in the Spielberg film) was not a Martian: if you dig around enough in associated sci-fi nerdery you discover that he came from Brodo Asogi. Me neither. MAN (“chap”) has inside it (“screening”) ART + I (“pictures – one”).
16 Name in part of Eurasia for old-fashioned jailer (7)
TURNKEY – N for “name” in TURKEY.
17 Professional who can work on either half of suitcase (6)
LAWYER – talking of nerdery, last time I described a clue as &Lit I had the Clue Nerd Police all over me. So I’m not doing it again, but strictly just for your eyes gentle reader, and please don’t tell anyone I said so, I think that this is at least the kissing cousin of an &Lit. If you’re a litigation LAWYER, like me, then you work on SUITs which could also be called CASEs. That means you could “work on” “either half” of the word “suitcase”. Very, very neat and I needed the checkers.
18 Saying “bottoms up” endlessly (5)
MOTTO – if you remove the first and last letters of “bottoms” you get “ottom”; if you reverse it (“up” in a down clue) then you get MOTTO, which is a “saying”. Another really top rate clue.
19 Be said to survive explosion (5)
BLAST – B is a homophone (“said”) for “B”; add LAST for “to survive” and that’s it, you’re done.

102 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2647 by Myles – what did the MCC ever do for us?”

  1. 18:02. Well, some really clever and enjoyable clues. I loved the short OINK, AHEM, and RAY, but also the longer HUNDRED, OFFSET, and INMATE. I guess overall FEIGNED would have to be my COD. Gee, I see I forgot to mention DANDY and SAMURAI. What a great puzzle!

  2. Tricky!

    My brain refuses to believe that ‘feeding’ is an anagram of FEIGNED.

    I loved all the surfaces too, though it didn’t help me much. Thanks for the explanation for RAY. I wrote it in but didn’t get it, and now it’s explained to me it seems very obvious!

    The MCC also stands for Melbourne Cricket Club for me, I think the waiting list to become a member is 200k+ people long. Gotta get two current members to vouch for you then wait decades, apparently. Anyway, the clue was brilliant.

    No new (to me) vocab here at all, yet still very tricky, I think ones like this are my favourite even if I don’t complete them.

  3. Wowser. Every one a winner. Savoured them all as I limped around the grid. No hesitation with Doh-Ray-Me as I always spell it that way (incorrectly no doubt). Needed all my 25 minutes to get home for an early entry to my usual chair in the club. Somehow churlish to pick a COD as there were so many contenders.
    Thanks Myles and Templar

  4. Great fun. My LOI was the MCC one, since I was baffled for some time and couldn’t fit a word with all the crossers. Then I saw it. Brilliant.

  5. I enjoyed this, but I’m glad they aren’t all this hard. I had to biff then parse more clues than normal, and a couple I couldn’t parse at all, so thanks for the explanations (especially RAY!). Happy to get them all in about 1.5 times my average time.

  6. Great puzzle, and thanks for the much-needed blog. I failed on LAWYER and THIRSTY, both great clues. So many today were not formulaic. I think hard construction with familiar vocab makes a change from familiar construction with hard vocab.

    I see that both HUNDRED and TEST MATCHES appear, two forms of cricket. Cue brickbats.

    1. “hard construction with familiar vocab makes a change from familiar construction with hard vocab” – that’s very well put, Merlin.

  7. 11.27. Terrific crossword from Myles, some absolutely outstanding clueing and surfaces as everyone has already pointed out. I was slow to start, apart from AHEM I got nowhere on the acrosses so at about half way down I tried the downs and started making progress. Was similarly slow to finish, with LAWYER and URGENTLY holding me up for some minutes and even then the answers were largely fluked. Many thanks to Templar for explaining HUNDRED, RAY and MAELSTROM (I thought it was master + L and wondered where the O came from). I’m not fully convinced about ‘might be’ signalling an anagram, but who cares?

  8. 17 minutes, missing my extended target by 2. Nothing particularly hard here, but I was generally a bit on the slow side.

    I’m not a follower of cricket but it was hard to avoid when I was growing up so I was a little surprised by HUNDRED. The clue is certainly inventive but in my limited experience the milestone score was always referred to as ‘a century’.

    I am also a little surprised that ‘might be’ is not in the Chambers list of anagrinds, but it includes ‘perhaps’ which surely amounts to the same thing?

  9. Thirty two minutes for me, so well under my new two hour target time 👍
    I scored two pinkies by biffing DINKY instead of DANDY and overall found this hard.
    So that’s 1 triumph, 1 DNF and 4 pinkies so far this week which is not too bad, but far below the success rates I used to enjoy up until about 3 years ago.
    As for answers, I liked MAELSTROM and SEDITION very much, and MARCH PAST made me smile.
    Also, I was yet again grateful for the daily cricketing clue – always a shoe-in for us chaps who enjoy cricket, so thanks for that. (Let’s just hope that the wokerati don’t start whingeing that girls’ schools’ sports are never referenced. Heaven forbid!)
    Still, this was a good puzzle so thanks to Myles and to Templar for their efforts.

    1. As a member of said wokerati I do like the cricket clues!

      I made peace a long time ago with the fact that the Times crosswords in particular are enjoyed by/catered to a specific audience/demographic. It’s very noticeable in photos of Meetups of this blog!

      It’s not that I want more feminine things referenced (wouldn’t mind though) – I just get annoyed when outdated sexist terms are used when they could easily just not be.

      Out of interest, what sports do girls’ schools traditionally play? My years of Enid Blyton boarding school stories have convinced me it’s all Tennis and Lacrosse.

      1. What about jolly hockey sticks, as played by Angela (yes, she really is a brick) of the lower fourth?

        1. Yes, hockey sticks feature as the weapon of choice brandished by the girls of St Trinian’s in the cartoons by Ronald Searle.

        2. Oh of course!

          I went to an all girls’ private school. I was very alarmed when my uniform list included shin guards and a mouthguard for my one season of compulsory hockey.

      2. I have consulted Mrs Templar (Roedean in the 1970s/80s) and she says firmly lacrosse, rounders and netball.

        1. You know. Netball positions would be EXCELLENT crossword fodder. GA, WA, C, WD etc

          What’s rounders? Is that like softball with a cricket bat?

          1. We had a netball position clue in January’s Monthly Club Special…
            8D Moulding of netball player into star (8)
            ASTRAGAL – GA (Goal Attack; netball player) in ASTRAL (star).

      3. These days you can add soccer, rugby union and cricket, at all of which the England women’s teams are rather good. And, should you be so inclined, rugby league.

          1. Having failed the 11+ (something that still embarrasses me today – 56 years later) I was sent to a dreadful secondary modern school where the chief sports were soccer, smoking in the toilets and shoplifting, sadly.

            1. I failed my 11+ twice as I was allowed a retake at 12, I think! I realised long since that this was mainly because it involved tests of a kind I had never experienced before and nobody had thought to explain to me beforehand the techniques required to achieve success. I suppose it’s arguable that if I’d been clever enough I would have worked all this out for myself, but I didn’t. Fortunately the entrance exam to a local private school involved the sort of tests I was used to (more academically based) and I did well enough to win an assisted place there.

              1. Weirdly I passed the 11+ but I was coached in it for a whole term of 30 minutes a day (or was it a week) which of course is totally against the point; it only measures IQ or whatever it is supposed to measure if all contestants are equally (un)familiar with the format. Amazing.

    2. I have no problem with the vast majority of the cricketing clues as my father, husband and sons played. What is more, we did play cricket at my obscure girls’ boarding school, plus lacrosse, hockey, tennis and even a sort of golf.
      I wasn’t much good at any! I was considered “brainy”, by the low standards of my school, but that was not admired.

  10. 16’45” for what was the best example for some time of the quickie as a mini-biggie (although yesterday’s biggie was comically impossible to this amateur)

    Two and a half only in on my first pass: CREDIT, BLANK & MARCH.

    BAR & BLAST my LOIs.

    Enjoyed OINK, MOTTO, RAY, FEIGNED, HUNDRED, OFFSET, DANDY, LAWYER…wow, to think I was about to chuck in the towel to come here and moan about it all being too hard!

    Thanks Myles and Templar.

    *EDIT* coming back having reread the blog. MASSIVE thanks to Templar for a brilliant, in-depth, characterful blog. Top class and worthy of the level of the puzzle.

    1. You are too kind, thank you! (PS I have nicknamed one of my juniors MangoMan in your honour and sent him your avatar, because he eats a pot of mango from Pret every afternoon.)

      1. Haha! I’m honoured but the moniker is a long story because strangely enough I don’t even like the bloody things!

          1. Blimey Tina – that’s rather impressive to have a favourite poem from the 1200’s! Mine would probably have been Spike Milligan’s “Silly Old Baboon” (very much from the 20thC!)

            However, I recently saw John Cooper-Clark at the London Palladium. His opening support act was Luke Wright and his “Are Murmurations Worth It?” blew the audience away: https://www.lukewright.co.uk/video/are-murmurations-worth-it/

  11. All green in 19 on the nose after a tussle in the SW. Special mentions to MINUS and SUITCASE. MARTIAN was LOI after I’d tried to cram ‘alien’ in there – did wonder about whether Martians really had to come from Mars. Huge PDM for MARCH PAST and I’m with Tina on getting FEIGNED from ‘feeding’ – mind blowing. Great stuff.

  12. 6:12. I too thought this rather tricky. Some clever clues. I liked HUNDRED and MOTTO best. LOI MARTIAN. Thanks Myles and Templar. P.S. I’m afraid 17D is just a cryptic definition as there is no wordplay to generate the answer, although the cryptic is a play on words. Confusing, isn’t it?

  13. 11 minutes. Excellent puzzle and blog to match. Plenty of good clues with RAY, HUNDRED and LAWYER my favourites.

    Thanks to Templar and Myles

  14. 14:12 here, and enjoyed it very much. COD to HUNDRED by a nose from AHEM, followed by a large pack of excellent clues.

    Thanks to Templar and Myles.

  15. I was surprised to finish this so quickly, because I really had to think about the parsing – yet I still slew the beast in two straight passes. A fine puzzle from Myles, and a great blog from Templar.

    COD RAY (HUNDRED also excellent)
    TIME 4:09

  16. Hello SCC my old friend it’s been a while but Myles decided I needed to revisit my old stamping grounds😂.
    I just couldn’t make head or tail of large parts of this and only stubbornness kept me going. Eventually there were a few unparsed answers but at least they were all green.
    Started with INMATE and finished with OINK in 20.42.
    Thanks to Templar for the much needed (and very entertaining) blog, I’m now off to lie down in dark room for a bit.

  17. Very enjoyable puzzle which kept me busy and much amused for 14 minutes, and accompanied by an equally stellar blog which was also much enjoyed. Hats off to both setter and blogger!

    Doing this on my phone means I don’t see the setter’s name, and when 22A came along I was convinced we had our piggy setter, perhaps with the most blatant self-reference possible to make up for his recent omission. But no …

    I also wondered about a cricketing theme with Hundred and Test match (and MCC), but just as two swallows don’t make a summer, two references don’t make a theme.

    Too many good clues to single one out as COD. Many thanks Myles and Templar for a great start to the day.

  18. 15:55 (Latimer and Ridley burned at the stake)

    I found this very tricky, and very enjoyable. I especially liked AHEM and HUNDRED. LOI was URGENTLY – letter homophones often elude me.

    Thanks Templar and Myles

  19. This had me in knots. Well done Myles for producing an excellent crossword.

    LOI was LAWYER, but other hold ups/likes were SAMURAI (anyone else enjoying Shogun?), HUNDRED, THIRSTY.

    Thanks also to Templar and all the team of bloggers for their sterling work.


  20. I’m glad so many enjoyed this. Not for me though. Many of these clues are much more suited to the main cryptic which I found easier!

  21. 8:00

    Enjoyed this very much. Held up briefly by COD for me D and Y, and for some reason, LOI BLAST.

    Thanks Myles and Templar

  22. 6.17

    Excellent fare. Couldnt believe it wasn’t an OINK but certainly up to his standard – liked FEIGNED AHEM OINK THIRSTY HUNDRED LAWYER and BLAST.

    Great blog as always as well

  23. My brain hurts. Glad of the explanations that’s for sure but I did get most of it. Bottom right was my last bit. Bar took me forever strangely. Lawyer was devious and March Past was my last even though I had March early on. Hundred I got from ‘cricketing feat’ but the MCC bit was very clever.

  24. 35.35 … no hidden words, no initialisms, no old chestnut – the thing that helps me out. I’m wondering if Myles thinks making clues wordier makes them easier, whereas I find it just adds more to confuse and think about.

    There were some cracking clues in here which would have been enjoyable had I been whizzing through but instead my mind was focused on all those I still had to do. Had eleven left as I entered the SCC and finished off in the SE. Everything was parsed once I figured out where the O of MAELSTROM came from and why there wasn’t an anagrind for “master”.

    My aspiration to move up to the Big Puzzle is met in a simple way. I go and try it. As I did for Monday (54min completion) and Tuesday’s (six left atthe hour). I’d like the QC to stay quick – having continued success at builds confidence and the willingness to take on new challenge.

  25. Excellent and difficult QC. It took me two minutes to get started with MADAM.
    After 15 minutes I just needed to crack the SE. Finally crossed the line after 20 minutes with LOI LAWYER, having been bemused by the suitcase.
    So many good clues; I starred FEIGNED and URGENTLY whilst solving and LAWYER has to be up there.
    I did wonder whether ET was a Martian but on such a day I’ll let that pass.
    And great blog Templar.

  26. I would say this is the best QC I have ever done. It was a lot of fun and almost every clue made me smile, or should I say smyle! It makes a cute anagram. Well done Myles!

  27. Well, for the first 10mins or so Myles took me back to when I first started doing these things, as I desperately tried to develop a couple of minor toe holes in an effort to get going. I considered giving up at one point, but I’m glad I didn’t because this turned into a slow and enjoyable solve. The 30min post had long gone by the time I crossed the line, all done and parsed, but this was surely one to pick over and enjoy at leisure. It’s impossible to choose a CoD from such a strong field, so instead just a big thank you to Myles and Templar for the blog (not sure I’ll ever again be able to refer to the SCR without thinking of our Setters ☺). Invariant

  28. Took a while to get going (FOI Dandy) but the humorous wavelength suddenly clicked and one by one they fell – all except 23 where I biffed Priestly, thinking of a kindly, responsive sort of chap (just off to a Memorial Service). Oink was lol. So was Ahem. Great puzzle and different to many in the genre.

  29. Aargh, BLAST, I was so busy with last-minute PDMs in SW, ie MOTTO and OINK (COD), that I forgot I had not solved 19d.
    Now exhausted. A witty and amusing puzzle.
    Thanks vm, Templar. Great blog. I liked the vision of the Setters’ Common Room.

  30. 11:01

    Tricky sometimes to get to grips with a different setter’s slant on clue-building – Myles is up there with Pedro as the setters that I have most difficulty with. I liked this a lot with each answer offering enough in the way of checkers to assist with other answers. OINK was very good but was held up at the end by URGENTLY and LAWYER. I wondered whether ET should be taken literally as the film character or as a more general extra-terrestrial which would certainly fit the MARTIAN answer.

    Thanks Myles and Templar for the blog

  31. Nice puzzle, great blog! SEDITION was FOI, URGENTLY was LOI. MARCH PAST and LAWYER required some cogitation. I had a number of 21a-s on first pass. Loved OINK. 8:44. Thanks Myles and Templar.

      1. Yes, last week I finished them all, with a bit of help, but this week is another matter. Clever stuff, but far too obscure and tricky for me.

  32. I struggled with this one from the off with only three across clues solved on my first pass. I didn’t really pick up speed at all, and ended up dodging all over the grid to complete. Ironically, bearing in mind my lack of speed, my LOI was URGENTLY. I was glad that I actually managed to complete in the end, as I had my doubts at one time. Having said all that, I enjoyed it, but it did lean towards the biggie in terms of difficulty. Well outside target today, lurching over the line in 12.54.

  33. I really enjoyed this one. Harder than usual, but no terrible clues and nothing I didn’t know.

    As a big cricket fan (though not a member of MCC, I freeload on all my mates from my cricket club who were good enough, unlike me, to play their way in), I very much liked HUNDRED. Given the MCC connection, I can’t help thinking that the setter missed an open goal for an &lit. Maybe they don’t do them in the quickie? I’m sure somebody can say for certain if they do or not.

    e.g. “A dozen such scores for MCC” (I think this very poor effort demonstrates why I am not, and never will be, a setter 🙂 )

    1. Just realised my effort isn’t even an &lit. Never mind. I refer to my earlier comment about not being a setter…

  34. 20.57 Back in the SCC. This was tricky but an excellent puzzle. I particularly liked LAWYER, HUNDRED, BLAST, DANDY and AHEM. RAY was an unparsed LOI. A great blog too. Thanks Templar and Myles.

  35. I thought 22A was PINK, as in the sound from an engine. Sound would be the definition, then P for pen and INK. I solved six clues today.

  36. 16:57 of tough wrangling with many very fine clues, several of which would have been CODs in other QCs. I made the same error on parsing MAELSTROM as LindsayO so thanks, Templar, for putting us straight. Thank you, Myles, for a challenging but ultimately very satisfying puzzle.

  37. Too hard for me – most of the left hand side remained blank despite coming back three times to see if the brain had been working in the meantime – sadly not. Just not up to this level of difficulty.

  38. 27 mins…

    Probably one of the best QC’s in quite a while – over half of the clues had me chuckling and nodding in approval. Hats off to 5ac “Ahem”, 17dn “Lawyer”, 22ac “Oink”, 18ac “March Past” and many more. Only one that puzzled me was 12ac “Maelstrom” – as I thought it was an anagram of ‘Master’ and couldn’t see where the extra “o” came from.

    FOI – 1ac “Sedition”
    LOI – 17dn “Lawyer”
    COD – 6dn “Hundred” – just had to be…

    Thanks as usual!

  39. A real toughie. No entries at all for quite a few minutes. Ended up working up from the bottom, but much to savour when I eventually got a foothold. Favourites were AHEM (brilliant), OINK, DANDY and RAY. Mind goes blank when a cricketing clue is spotted so I solved HUNDRED last – had no idea about the parsing though. This felt very different in style to other QCs but maybe it was just harder! Really enjoyed working everything out but it felt a stiff challenge to the end. Thanks for the great blog.

  40. I had a very slow to start for the second day in a row. However getting SAMURAI really helped as I was able to complete all the across clues in the NW from there. Finally finished in 21 minutes, with all parsed except BLAST, which I needed Templar’s excellent blog for.

    FOI – 15ac CREDIT
    LOI – 19dn BLAST
    COD – almost impossible to choose a winner in such a strong field but I think it has to be 6dn HUNDRED. Also very much liked MOTTO and RAY

    Thanks to Myles and Templar

  41. 19:51
    With a head that I think our blogger described as crapulous, so reasonable.
    Tough though.
    Liked hundred, march past, oink, and dandy.

  42. Possibly my favourite QC I’ve done. So many great clues! Ray was too clever for me to parse so thank you for explaining that one.

    Special credits to Oink, Lawyer, and Hundred

  43. It was hard, it felt very 15x15ish, it was great. I don’t know when I last did a QC that so constantly tipped me between confusion and admiration. Bravo, Myles.
    And a similar tip of the hat for the blog. QC heaven.


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