Quick Cryptic 2669 by Jimmy

Aren’t I a lucky boy then; another new setter after Bubbles’ debut a couple of weeks ago.

I found this an enjoyable first offering from Jimmy. There are some good surfaces with a few harder ones and another on the edge of my knowledge of pop culture which only extends to about the late 70’s!

Finished in 8:34. Thanks and welcome to Jimmy

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough.

1 Mother blocking change in old school, say (4,5)
ALMA MATERMA MA (‘Mother’) contained in (‘blocking’) ALTER (‘change’)

The ‘say’ is in the def as an ‘old school’ is one example of an ALMA MATER which could also be another educational or training institution such as a university or a hospital.

6 Small, silver sink (3)
SAGS (‘Small’) AG (‘silver’)

Ag as the chemical symbol for silver.

Silver, just about always being AG in crossword land, is easier than gold, which can be either AU or OR.

8 Class remains disorganised (7)
SEMINAR – Anagram (‘disorganised’) of REMAINS
9 Mythical ship, on lake, proceeding slowly (5)
LARGOARGO (‘Mythical ship’) following (‘on’) L (‘lake’)

‘Proceeding slowly’ in musical terminology.

10 Change of a blueprint struggling commercially (12)
12 Playing boules in female attire (6)
BLOUSE – Anagram (‘Playing’) of BOULES
13 Manages to carry you, we hear, in cars (6)
COUPESCOPES (‘Manages’) containing (‘to carry’) U (‘you, we hear’= homophone of ‘you’)

COUPÉ in British English, COUPE in US English, as in Little Deuce Coupe.

16 Italian team needing goal and break in play, say (12)
INTERMISSIONINTER (‘Italian team’) MISSION (‘goal’)

As for 1a, the ‘say’ as a ‘break in play’ is one example of an INTERMISSION, which may also be a break in studies or in one’s career. The ‘Italian team’ is Inter Milan.

19 One’s energy returns, getting fizzy drink (5)
PEPSI – Reversal (‘returns’) of IS (‘One’s) PEP (‘energy’)

I’ve had a few of these commercial names on my watch. I don’t know that I approve.

20 Runners of errands welcoming learner drivers, perhaps? (7)
GOLFERSGOFERS (‘Runners of errands’) containing (‘welcoming’) L (‘learner’)

I don’t know how often GOFER is used in the UK. Collins has it as “slang chiefly US & Canadian“. You need to separate the ‘learner’ and ‘drivers’, something I didn’t do for a start. Not the sort of ‘drivers’ we were led to expect from the surface.

22 Secretary getting unknown remuneration (3)
PAYPA (‘Secretary’) Y (‘unknown’)
23 Some characters in exquisite Levi’s edited broadcast (9)
TELEVISED – Hidden (‘Some characters in’) ‘exquisiTE LEVI’S EDited’

Good hidden, extending across three words. Neither ‘edited’ nor ‘broadcast’ are anagram indicators here, as I had first thought they were going to be.

1 Too dismal, sordid houses (4)
ALSO – Another hidden (‘houses’) in ‘dismAL SOrdid’
2 Souvenir of chaps in feminist movement briefly (7)
MEMENTOMEN (‘chaps’) in ME TOO (‘feminist movement briefly’)
3 Perhaps bishop‘s staff (3)
MAN – Double definition

‘Bishop’ as a chess piece (or man) and ‘staff’ as a verb.

4 Argument about a right price (6)
TARIFFTIFF (‘Argument’) containing (‘about’) A (‘a’) R (‘right’)
5 Stories from Dumas père and fils or Martin and Kingsley Amis? (9)
RELATIONS – Triple definition

RELATIONS as in accounts, narratives or ‘Stories’. I parsed this as a triple def, with the other two defs being definitions by example. ‘Dumas père and fils’ and ‘Martin (fils) and Kingsley (père ) Amis’ are relations and as it happens writers of stories. 

Alexandre ‘Dumas père’ wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. In my ignorance I’m not sure I’d heard of ‘Dumas fils’ before but he wrote La Dame Aux Camélias on which La Traviata is based. In turn, the père de ‘Dumas père’ had an extraordinary life – here is his Wikipedia page.

6 Clean vessel with king aboard (5)
SCRUBSUB (‘vessel’) containing (‘aboard) CR (‘king’)

SUB as an abbreviation for submarine, CR for Charles Rex.

7 They keep people locked up and glare so awfully (7)
GAOLERS – Anagram (‘awfully’) of GLARE SO
11 Check transport during time off work (9)
RESTRAINTTRAIN (‘transport’) contained in (‘during’) REST (‘time off work’)
12 What Oasis made, having drained beer, vermouth and soft drink (7)
BRITPOPBEER (‘drained beer’) IT (‘vermouth’) POP (‘soft drink’)

Outside my popular music comfort zone which is much more Little Deuce Coupe, but even I had heard of them and could appreciate the surface reading. Oasis were an English rock band from 1991-2009 and a big part of the Britpop movement. I remember one of the Gallaghers was a bad boy while on a trip here many years ago.

IT for ‘vermouth’, short for Italian or sweet vermouth, is a crossword favourite; gin and It is a cocktail which only exists in crossword land in my (limited) life experience.

14 Skill shown by journalists drinking old whiskey (7)
PROWESSPRESS (‘journalists’) containing (‘drinking’) O (‘old’) W (‘whiskey’)

No stereotypes here! There was a discussion a little while ago on a Sunday Times 15×15 blog (see the posts as well as Guy’s explanatory comments for 10a) about the ‘whiskey’ v whisky thing, including its use for W in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

15 Ancient poet runs wearing watch (6)
VIRGILR (‘runs’) contained in (‘wearing ‘) VIGIL (‘watch’)
17 Hint sentry’s outside, slightly sozzled (5)
TIPSYTIP (‘Hint’) SENTRY (‘sentry’s outside’)
18 Crossword setters and our boss getting employed (4)
USEDUS (‘Crossword setters’) ED (‘our boss’)

ED as the usual abbreviation for “editor”, or our (‘Crossword setters’) boss

21 Algarve oddly ignored for convenience (3)
LAV – Even numbered letters of ‘ALgArVe’

90 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2669 by Jimmy”

  1. I’m glad Oasis had to be capitalised; although I knew the name of the group, I know nothing else about them. I liked TELEVISED. 6:14.

  2. In the great Britpop wars of the 90s between Oasis and Blur I came on the side of Pulp.

    I DNF today over COUPES and GOLFERS. I often stumble over the golfing misdirections.

    1. Me too. I used to marvel at Jarvis Cocker’s long gangly legs which seemed to move about independently of his body!

    2. It was Oasis for me but their stuff hasn’t aged nearly so well as Blur or Pulp. A nice clue though.

  3. I remembered IT from another crossword fortunately, but I was let down (yet again) by my inability to spell MEMENTO. This must be the 3rd or 4th crossword that I’ve DNFed by writing MOMENTO.

  4. Nice debut puzzle from Jimmy which took me 8.50. I started out OK but was delayed by the COUPE and the nice misdirection around GOLFER. I was held up for a while at SCRUB because I was looking for a vessel to put an R into, then I remembered we had CR now. Thought ‘of a blueprint’ was a terrific anagram because the letters look nothing like UNPROFITABLE. Thanks Jimmy and BR.

  5. 11 minutes for Jimmy’s first offering.

    I’ve heard GOFER used quite frequently here in recent years usually referring to junior staff working in TV, films and theatre although I believe ‘runner’ is the preferred term for it.

    The king in SCRUB cost me a 10-minute solve as I was ready to biff the answer but was puzzled for a moment by the wordplay.

    The association of Oasis with BRITPOP was completely lost on me, but I was aware of the first as the name of a group (never knowingly heard by me), and of the second as a word I’ve heard bandied around without ever knowing what it is.

    We have yet another word that appears in the main puzzle, but please no-one mention what it is.

  6. Six on the first pass of acrosses and then pretty quick, although slowing to check the parsing and then correct MEMENTO so avoiding “doing a david”. Then really stuck, for ages, on the gaps where VIRGIL and GOLFERS ended up. Big groan for GOLFERS, I’d considered trying to force in ‘woods’ and had been on motorists my brain wouldn’t let me try to person who uses woods until there was 16m on the clock. All green though. Good one.

  7. Having spent a heady day with the boys at the front of the class yesterday I’m afraid it’s back to earth with a gentle bump today with a 23 minute solve. It would’ve been sub-20 had I not stupidly misspelled TARRIF which meant that UNPROFITABLE, which I had thought of quickly, would not fit. So having spent far too long trying to hammer it into place, much like Father Dougal with his jigsaw puzzle, I eventually realised what was wrong and then eased towards the finish line with no errors.
    This was a very nice puzzle I thought, but PEPSI? Well!
    ALSO made me smile when the penny finally dropped but my COD was undoubtedly BRITPOP.
    Many thanks to Jimmy and Bletchers.

  8. Welcome Jimmy and thanks for the puzzle. Our second sub 20 solve in a row at 19.40 with golfer LOI after a lengthy alphabet trawl.

    Only really know gofer from the Muppets.

    Liked the misdirection in coupes, had copes quickly but somehow when looking at the letters the addition of the u doesn’t shout out such a significant change in pronunciation!

    Mrs RH is very partial to a gin and it and has never been met with a “what’s that” from a bartender 😀

    Thanks BR for the extra bits of info.

  9. An enjoyable debut from Jimmy which didn’t put up too much resistance.
    MEMENTO is one of those words that I would have spelt incorrectly had it appeared in the Concise crossword as, however many times I see it, I still want there to be an ‘o’ as the second letter.
    Started with ALMA MATER and finished with GOLFERS in 6.27 with TELEVISED and BRITPOP being my favourites.
    Thanks to BR

    1. Me too on memento. And if only I had spotted the “me too” I would not have had a pink square.

  10. 4:43. Welcome to the QC setters club Jimmy. I was surprised to see PEPSI as an answer. How long until we get IRN-BRU? COD to the simple but elegant PAY. Thanks Jimmy and BR.

  11. Here I am with only a dozen or so posts ahead of me and it has all mostly already been said. I add my welcome to Jimmy, an MER at the commercialisation of including PEPSI, and being misled by SCRUB. Such a simple clue, but it seems I was not alone in thinking I was inserting an R and wondering what kind of vessel a Scub was. I also biffed but failed to parse MEMENTO (could not work out what Meto was) and BRITPOP, because I NHO Vermouth being called It.

    All in all a solve that was a bit like my skiing in my youth – quite fast (11 minutes for the puzzle), ultimately successful (in that I got to the bottle of the hill/end of the grid in one piece) but all over the piste and lacking somewhat in finesse and style.

    Many thanks BR for the blog

      1. I think the Après-ski may have included (but be far from limited to), beer, wine, gluhwein and whisky aplenty. But I can categorically say that Vermouth would have been unlikely, as I have not to my knowledge ever drunk it.

        Actually given the general mood of the skiing parties in my early twenties (to nearly quote our late Queen, “Memories are hazy”) there could have been Vermouth in the mix for all I know …

    1. Isn’t their some unwritten rule that the only living person who can appear in these puzzles is King Charles?

      1. Not sure which comment you are replying to, Hector, but yes, there is such a rule (not for Sunday puzzles though). I think it has been established that it doesn’t apply to e.g. pop groups.

        1. Thanks. I was responding to Cedric’s hesitation over CR.

          Whenever a monarch or queen came up in a clue ER was always my first thought. Only if that didn’t work would I look at R. I guess we’re still getting used to the change.

  12. 5:30 Ditto what Cedric said re Jimmy, Pepsi, “scub” and skiing. Took longer than I should have over GOLFERS, but otherwise not too bad.

    Thanks for the excellent blog Bletch.

  13. Woe. 1 pink square after 8:13, with MoMENTO. My poor spelling skills are a severe handicap to successful crossword solving.

  14. 13:22
    Did not parse MEMENTO, though good to see bang up to date usage like #METOO, much better than IT=Vermouth.

    I didn’t really understand RELATIONS, and it was my LOI as RELATIVES seemed just as good. In COUPES I don’t think I’ve seen “you we hear”=U before. And I also hovered over SCRUB, not having heard of a “scub”.

    I always thought it was spelt Gopher, like the animal and the internet protocol ( which still works, http://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/). Thanks, Tim Berners-Lee for saving us from Gopher.

    “of a blueprint” for UNPROFITABLE is top anagramming, but as it’s Jimmy’s first puzzle maybe he’s been saving it up.


    1. Ha! I’d nearly forgotten those few painful times of trying to use Gopher before the Web magically appeared and solved everything.

  15. The only one that defeated me was GOLFERS. Thanks for the instruction, BR.
    Surprised how many of us (ME TOO) were wondering what a SCUB was, when “king” = CR is surely perfectly standard. Also, we had vermouth = IT quite recently; I’d NHO it, but learnt it then.

  16. Gin-and-It is a delicious cocktail and still very much being drunk – we took a crowd of fashionable young things to a Soho cocktail bar before my youngest son’s birthday dinner a few weeks ago, and about a third of them ordered one!

    Puzzled over SCUB, clutched my pearls at PEPSI, LOI GOLFERS.

    Great fun, thanks and welcome to Jimmy, nice blog Bletchers. All done in 07:13 for 1.2K and a Good Day.


  17. Hello Jimmy. Could not work out RELATIONS but assumed it was more obvious than cryptic. Pondered a while in the face of misdirected driver and had to convince myself that PEPSI had to be correct. Gin and IT has come up here enough times for it to be a write in. All in all, this took me nicely into the club for a coffee. Thanks B Reject.

  18. 10:57 so just beyond my target time. Noel G lives opposite so BRITPOP was an easy one but a great clue. VIRGIL and GOLFERS were my POI and LOI.
    Good fun puzzle.

  19. Gosh, I thought that was quite difficult but finished all correct. Biffed a few inc ALMA MATER, MEMENTO.
    FOI ALSO. LOsI VIRGIL, GOLFERS. Almost caught out by MEN.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  20. Welcome Jimmy, and well done for providing a puzzle that most people will be happy with I would imagine. I finished in a fairly speedy 7.12 with nothing holding me up to any great extent. Momentary hesitation in parsing SCRUB, but King Charles has been included on quite a few occasions now, and will no doubt continue to do so. As far as BRITPOP was concerned, I’d at least heard of it which helped, although I rather lost interest in pop after the golden age of the sixties.

  21. A day off the puzzles yesterday, and I was slowish today. All ruined anyway by TIPSY somehow being entered as IPPYY. I’m blaming an unfamiliar keyboard.

    It was LOI GOLFER, COUPES and PROWESS that held me up.

    Welcome to Jimmy!

    7:12 but.

  22. A fast start, and after 11 minutes I just needed two. 15 minutes in the end.
    It took an alphabet trawl to get VIRGIL- as often happens I nearly gave up after T to think again.
    LOI GOLFERS; I am one and you would not normally equate drivers (which are clubs) with golfers who are people. That’s possibly what fooled others. You can say someone is a good driver of the golf ball etc. so it just about works for me.
    And a welcome to Jimmy.

  23. Liked the 13a Little Deuce COUPE. I find spelling 4d Tariff tricky, tempted by Tarrif. Either way it derives from Tarifa in Andalusia I gathered from my boss in the Customs, so no lead on the doubles.

  24. A qc that fitted, nicely, into its description. I found that it flowed smoothly. I didn’t mean to leave the timer on, but here is what it displayed: 10:58 minutes.

  25. Fairly plain sailing, until last two that is (GOLFERS and RESTRAINT). Wanted latter to be ‘restrict’ even though it neither fitted nor parsed, and was misdirected well and truly by the former. Remembered ‘it’ from previous crosswords. Same issues initially as other commenters with MEMENTO (still looks wrong but I do like Rosie’s tip above). Thanks all.

  26. I found this quite difficult, getting very few across clues on first pass. Fared better with the downs and eventually finished in 18 minutes, not having parsed UNPROFITABLE as I had almost all the crossers by then. However I had ‘men’ at 3dn, having hesitated between that and ‘man’ and gone for the former (reasoning that there are 4 of them on a chessboard). MER at PEPSI.

    FOI – 6ac SAG
    LOI – 20ac GOLFERS
    COD – 2dn MEMENTO, closely followed by the clever hidden TELEVISED at 23ac

    Thanks and welcome to Jimmy and to BR for the blog

  27. Spring has arrived and it’s going to be a good day. Sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed this offering from a new setter. What’s an MER?
    FOI: SAG
    Early lunch to come, followed by an afternoon of croquet. What could be better?

    Thanks to Jimmy and Bletchley Reject

    1. Mild (or Major sometimes) Eyebrow Raise. There’s a helpful and entertaining glossary linked from this page.

  28. First of all, welcome to Jimmy for producing a really good example of a QC from the off. A mix of straightforward and more challenging clues, with my last pair, the Golfers/Virgil double, combining to prevent what should have been a comfortable sub-20. Or perhaps it was the earlier hesitation over Man/Men in 3d. Either way, this was still an enjoyable 21min solve, with CoD to 14d, Prowess. Invariant

  29. Welcome to Jimmy. Yes, I enjoyed that. I raced through the top half of the grid and slowed just a little in the bottom half. I didn’t fully understand RELATIONS and BRITPOP needed more than the first B. FOI ALMA MATER and LOI GOLFERS. COD to UNPROFITABLE. 6:51

  30. 4:10

    On fire for the second day in a row – minor pauses for RELATIONS and RESTRAINT but otherwise another day where everything I thought of slotted in more or less first time. No problem with BRITPOP either (The Northern powerhouses that were Oasis trounced the Southern softies (of which I am one) that were Blur – honourable mentions to Pulp, Elastica and Sleeper)

    Thanks Bletch and nice grid Jimmy!

  31. We enjoyed this first, very do-able crossword by Jimmy and also the extra nuggets of info in BR’s blog – thanks both. Thought there were some very neat surfaces.
    Luckily, between us, we cover the gamut of pop knowledge from Little Deuce COUPE to BRITPOP (and eras before and since, due to taking notice of parents’ and offsprings’ tastes).
    I was familiar with “gin and it” from my holiday barmaiding job as a student in the 80s. It was surprising how many people ordered it thinking it was another name for gin and tonic – it was wise to clarify what was actually required as, of course, they’re very different drinks!

  32. Dnf…

    Welcome to Jimmy…but I found this hard and had to throw in the towel after 30 mins. I couldn’t see 15dn “Virgil”, 20ac “Golfers” nor 13ac “Coupes” – none of them particularly hard, but whilst I was thinking of golf clubs for 20ac, I never actually thought of golfers themselves. Considering “IT” is a crossword favourite for Vermouth, I don’t think I’ve come across this before.

    FOI – 6ac “Sag”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 12dn “Britpop”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. 12:52. BRITPOP and MEMENTO favourites. I think of BRITPOP as flowing from George Formby through Lonnie Donegan and Cliff Richards, culminating in The Yardbirds. Then I kind of lost touch after that.

    1. Nice work bud 👍

      I had a Cliff Richard calendar last year! It is standing joke with my friend who is sort of a fan of the old Wired for Sound album. I saw a stack of them at a local charity shop last June priced at 20p so bought three(!) for £1. He got it in August! This year’s cost me £1 as I got it in early April but at least he’s getting 8+ months of value.

      1. Cliff Richard cracked my Spotify most listened end of year list last year

        I’m really happy that there is still a market for Cliff Richard calendars

          1. I see what did there. 😀

            You should also look out for Tom Jones calendars – they’re not unusual!

  34. 18:04 for a pleasant stroll – welcome Jimmy! Not much to add to everyone’s comments, except that I admired many of the surfaces, especially 9A LARGO, which evoked a poetic image. COD to 18D USED. It seems to me that when there are engaging surfaces, solving takes somewhat longer as I pause to admire or chuckle. Which is fine with me, I’m here for the entertainment, though it can get frustrating if I’m much over 25 minutes.

    Thanks to Jimmy, and to Bletchley for the great blog!

    1. Nice work. I’m sure there’s a joke somewhere there about SC not being in the SCC make C 🤷‍♂️

          1. I thought so, but didn’t witness the renaming directly. Learner Plates / Long Play?

            1. L-Plates it was. I would ordinarily stick to the same avatar / name at all costs but every time I posted a decent time people would say I’d pass my test. After 8/10 escapes over Christmas period, I decided it was time to turn over a new leaf in 2024.

  35. Welcome Jimmy. An excellent tough, fair QC 👍
    Thanks BR – i still have no idea why Bletchley would reject you.

  36. Welcome to Jimmy. ALMA MATER was FOI. No particular problems with this one, apart from needing crossers to see BLOUSE. Doh! Thought “of a blueprint” was a brilliant anagram. LOI was RESTRAINT. 6:32. Thanks Jimmy and BR.

  37. DNF as did not see GOLFERS at all. Pretty straightforwward otherwise, apart from COUPES, which took me a while.

  38. Just finishing the main puzzle too – looks like there’s a bit of product placement going on 🙂

  39. All correct in 24:24, so about average for me.

    Slightly nonplussed to see Pepsi in the grid, but otherwise a good offering – liked BRITPOP and the appearance of “me too” in wordplay (without which I’d probably have fallen into the “mOmento” trap.

  40. Well done Jimmy, and thankyou for presenting us with a real QC. I crossed the line in 16 minutes with MAN being my LOI.

    I think the comments above encompass pretty much everything I wanted to say, so I will stop right here today.

    Many thanks to Jimmy and BR.

  41. DNF, obvs, but I continue to think the brand names ought not to be in the QC. I thought that the answers had to be in Collins Dictionary? Or have I got my wires crossed again?!

    1. Collins, Oxford Dictionaries, Chambers (occasionally and perhaps unofficially), but proper nouns are an exception although many are in Collins anyway. There are other exceptions not so easily categorised. Despite all the adverse comments today, brand names have appeared in Times crosswords for years although there seems to have been a policy against them at one time.

  42. 13:24 here. Held up by the parsing of ALMA MATER, where I had an unexplained MA until the blog gave me the answer. D’oh. Like others, paused over the unknown ‘scub’ until I remembered CR. Really liked UNPROFITABLE and PROWESS.

    Thanks to Jimmy and BR.

  43. 7:22. Another MER at all the references to brands, inc Levi’s in 23a. However I did like the clue – I smiled at the idea of the TV crew in their top of the range jeans.
    I don’t have a problem with It for Italian vermouth – it’s only another way of saying (brand alert) Martini, which personally I prefer with ice, lemon and a splash of tonic, but without the gin! But how does a gin and It differ from a Martini cocktail?
    I liked the stately galleon (shades of Joyce Grenfell) but
    struggled a bit with the surface of UNPROFITABLE – it seems a bit awkward to me – but what a cracking anagram.
    I was told that gofer was a corruption of the request /command to a junior ‘Go for this or that’ – not sure if it’s apocryphal.
    FOI Sag LOI Restraint COD Televised
    Thanks and welcome to Jimmy and thanks BR for the entertaining blog.

  44. We made it difficult having restrains for 11d which caused problems with 23a. otherwise a pleasant if not quick solve.

  45. Does a new setter make one wary and overthink the answers? I was certainly in the slow lane today for a fun puzzle from Jimmy. Having entered Pepsi I spent an age wondering if the boules anagram might be Loubes, short for the fashionable Louboutin shoe with 12 inch heels! When Britpop dawned, blouse followed. Got golfers without parsing, so some trepidation but all well in the end. Comfortably in SCC today!


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