Quick Cryptic 2673 by Breadman

Parkrun + Solve = 44 minutes flat.  The puzzle itself took me about triple my average time for a Quickie, which would imply that it was rather difficult.  Is that how you found it?

Will be interested to hear whether others struggled with 18dn for as long as I did.  Aside from that one we have a lot of IKEA-style clues where the overall solution was tougher than the sum of each element.

I tend to do well with anagram clues and there were precious few of them today, so maybe that slowed me down as well.

All good fun though, thanks Breadman for the challenge.


Here’s how I parsed it.  Would be delighted to hear your thoughts / complaints / corrections:

(In the clues, definitions are underlined and anagram indicators are in italics.

In the explanations (ABC)* indicates an anagram of abc.  Deletions and other devices are indicated accordingly, I hope).

1 Sun’s somehow keeping house policy’s irreverence (10)
UNHOLINESS – UNSS (sun’s)* “keeping” HO (house) + LINE (policy)
8 German car with corrosion knocked back inspector (7)
AUDITOR – AUDI (German car) + TOR [ROT (corrosion) knocked back]
9 Invalidate article Greek character left (5)
ANNUL – AN (article) + NU (Greek character) + L (left)
10 Horny creature, one primarily beguiling former partner (4)
IBEX – I (one) + B [first letter of (primarily) Beguiling] + EX (former partner)

One of those impressively-horned species of goat.

11 Jean curtailed rubbish, being green? (8)
JEALOUSY – JEA (jean “curtailed”) + LOUSY (rubbish)
13 Cry of surprise initially falling upon island (5)
CORFU – COR (cry of surprise) + FU (“initially” Falling Upon)

“Cor” is a very English expression.  It first came to my attention at a young age reading Tiger and Hurricane comics.

14 Award huge coach (5)
OSCAR – OS (huge) + CAR (coach)
16 Swiss resort represented most ostentatious luxury (2,6)
ST MORITZ – ST MO (most)* + RITZ (ostentatious luxury)

For some reason St Moritz is the first Swiss resort to come to mind.  Not sure why.  Probably from Peter Stuyvesant commercials of 50 years ago.  Or Alpine maybe.

17 With Ecstasy gone, supply crack (4)
QUIPEQUIP (supply) with E (ecstasy) deleted (gone)

Crack in the sense of a witty remark.

20 Fiona evidently conceals birthmarks (5)
NAEVI – Hidden in fioNA EVIdently

Not a particularly familiar word, but it’s hard to complain when it’s a hidden.  I mean the answer is literally written out for you.

21 Keeper right to return American casual shirt (7)
TRUSTEE – TR [RT (right) “returned” + US (American) + TEE (casual shirt)
22 Draconian press worker joins media chief (10)
IRONHANDED – IRON (press) + HAND (worker) + ED (media chief)

Eah element is a bit of a crossword standard, just a matter of putting them together.  Easier said than done.

1 Savoury taste of cumin, nothing extreme, captivating mother (5)
UMAMI – cUMIn [without the first and last letters (nothing extreme)] “captivating” MA (mother)

“The fifth taste”, so they say.  The more tastes the better I say.

2 Cutting tool husband used on border with more spruce (5,7)
HEDGE TRIMMER – H (husband) + EDGE (border) + TRIMMER (more spruce)
3 Regularly flaunt variable jump on ice (4)
LUTZ – LUT [fLaUnT “regularly” (every second letter)] + Z (variable)

A type of jump in competitive figure skating.  See also axel.  I’m sure there are many others but it’s not a sport I’ve seen a lot of.

4 Tended feverish user in middle of London (6)
NURSED – URSE (user)* in ND (middle of loNDon)
5 Cross after minor operation brought about complaint (8)
SMALLPOX – SMALL (minor) + PO [OP (operation) reversed (brought about)] + X (cross)

Again, a number of simple enough elements combined to make a not-so-simple clue.

6 A Parisian, on time, briefly meets Edward without interruption (12)
UNPUNCTUATED – UN [French (Parisian) for “A”] + PUNCTUA [punctual (on time) “briefly” (last letter missing)] + TED (Edward)
7 Ballad penned by each musician (6)
PLAYER – LAY (ballad) “penned by” PER (each)
12 One who excavates square uncovered waterway lacking volume (8)
QUARRIER – QUAR [square “uncovered” (with outside letters removed)] + RIER [river (waterway) “lacking” v (volume)]
13 Place to gamble on savings account, Charlie having retired (6)
CASINO – ON + ISA (savings account) + C [Charlie {NATO alphabet)] all reversed (retired)

A reminder of my old croupier days.  Gamble responsibly folks.

An ISA (Individual Savings Account) is very much a UK term but is also a bit of a crossword standard, so not unfamiliar.

15 Item of data on popular type of drug (6)
STATIN – STAT (item of data) + IN (popular)
18 Fraudster prosecuted reportedly (5)
PSEUD – Homophone (reportedly) of SUED (prosecuted)

One of those words that doesn’t look like a word, and was responsible for a large portion of my solving time.   Was I the only one that just couldn’t see it?

I think it was the clue of the day for my money.  Or was it too hard for a Quickie?  Or just too hard for this blogger?  In any case I was happy when the penny finally dropped.

19 Top half of planet seen by Jack somewhere in the Hebrides (4)
JURA – J (jack) + URA [top half of Uranus (planet)]

Not a place I was familiar with.  And with a population of 196 I guess that’s not surprising.  Looks nice though.

52 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2673 by Breadman”

  1. I found this extremely hard. 5d and 14a to me quite a while, but 18d beat me completely. Thought it was a double pangram bit I think it’s missing K and W at least (I did entertain the idea of going for PWLKD!).
    Seems to me this would have been better off slightly expanded as a 15×15.
    Lots of clues to like though, including TRUSTEE, HEDGE TRIMMER, JEALOUSY, NURSED, etc.

  2. I did spot the two JZQX areas on the grid which helped me with SMALLPOX (I still didn’t parse it though)

    And couldn’t help me any further with JURA. I will learn these Hebredies one isle at a time through crosswords.

    I also didn’t get PSEUD. I’d never heard of the word as pertains to being a poser. I didn’t know it had a noun form like that.

    Either way even if I did, a ‘ps’ starting word is tricky to see.

    1. Private Eye has a regular column called Pseud’s Corner containing examples of the fatuous and pretentious ramblings of the great and the good. They are fraudsters in the sense that they are pretending to be what they are not rather than necessarily swindling somebody out of money.

  3. Yes, I found this hard for a QC too. I stopped the clock at 15 minutes with one answer missing (22ac) and returned to the puzzle later when after another 2 minutes the solution came to me. I’d got as far as HAND (worker), ED (media chief) first time round, but for some reason the crossword chestnut IRON (press) had eluded me. I can only think that IRONHANDED is a word that I doubt I have ever used in conversation in my life although of course it wasn’t unknown to me. I might say the same for many other answers here.

  4. I waded through this as through treacle only to be defeated by PSEUD at the end. I also misparsed UMAGI, having only very vaguely heard of this.
    This was a very hard QC in my opinion but rounds off quite a successful week overall for me so I’m not too downhearted. (But I am upset that I slept through a very impressive display of the Northern Lights during the small hours – something I’ve long wanted to see and vanishingly rare down here in Dorset.)
    But oh, what a beautiful morning – again. It’s as though someone just switched summer on. No PR for me this morning as I’m attempting a RNLI coastal run tomorrow. I just hope it’s not too hot! (Mr Never-Happy or what?’)
    Happy weekend everyone. See you on Monday.
    Thanks to Breadman and Galspray.

  5. Bucking the trend a bit I didn’t find this too hard, until I hit the SE corner!!
    NHO of IRONHANDED so needed a few checkers before I could enter it with confidence (note to self – trust the wordplay, which was clear).
    My issues were with QUIP, where I was trying to remove an ‘e’ from the end of a word and LOI and COD PSEUD where a mountain of pennies dropped when the initial ‘p’ finally went into the grid.
    Finished in 10.28.
    Thanks to galspray

  6. I was reading Galspray’s analysis when I thought, I don’t remember TRUSTEE, so I opened up the puzzle and remembered that I hadn’t finished. IONA (forgot totally about Jura, if indeed I knew the island as well as the mountains) put paid to TRUSTEE. Gave up on UNPUNCTUATED, too, so a DNF with knobs on.
    NAEVI came easy, especially as I don’t usually get hiddens, since I learned ‘naevus’ from a lab report a couple of years ago, where “maybe a Spitz naevus” was crossed out and “melanoma” written in. Whatever it was, it’s gone.

  7. 07:40. Gosh that was tricky for a QC. Nice to see Breadman up to his/her tricks with JXQZ again. LOI UNPUNCTUATED took me the longest. Thanks Breadman and Glaspray.

  8. A nasty piece of work. At the time of writing I’m 2nd on the leaderboard behind a neutrino, yet I barely managed to break my 6 minute target. I took IRONHANDED on trust (spell check on here doesn’t like it either), and was left with SMALLPOX, and my eventual LOI where great vigilance was needed to avoid a typo.

    COD QUIP *
    TIME 5:45

    * Those of you who tackle the 15×15 in the Sunday Times will immediately have thought “David McLean”.

  9. A pretty comprehensive DNF and DNE (did not enjoy). I thought this was a travesty of a QC, with several very obscure words and some very loose definitions. I actually failed on QUIP, as I could not make any of the many words going -U-P make sense with the clue, but by then I had already used aids for several clues and had long since stopped trying.

    Smallpox = complaint? (It’s rather more than that!). Car = coach? Trustee = keeper? Jealousy = being green? (parts of speech don’t match but presumably our setter doesn’t mind that). Naevi = what?? Throw in a few pretty unusual words like Quarrier (I would say Quarryman), Lutz (a classic “you know it if you know it”, and if you don’t then Luty is just as likely) and Ironhanded (like Jack I can work out what it means but that doesn’t make it a good word).

    And to cap it all, Breadman’s signature “I’ve used J, Q, X and Z and you think it’s going to be a pangram but it’s not” (no K or W). I’ve never understood the point of this quirk, though I do note for the record that this is a double Breadman special: two Js, two Qs, two Xs, two Zs and two letters missing.

    Apologies for long grumble. Really not a QC.

    Many thanks Galspray for the blog and I’m very relieved the puzzle fell on your Saturday to guide us through it not mine!

    1. Among the (near) synonyms you highlighted, some seem OK to me:
      Railway trains have cars/coaches.
      You might well suggest, “jealousy is being green”.

      I didn’t like IRONHANDED either!

      1. You’re probably right, and yes I accept that what I call a railway coach or carriage is in other parts of the world called a car. But I was in the mood for a grumble: while I might accept one looseness and even tolerate a second, there is also the cumulative effect and my natural patience with setters and their quirks (and we would not want them all to be identikit bland automatons!) was well and truly exhausted well before the end of this puzzle.

    2. Well said! This was truly horrible for a QC. I spent ages trying to squeeze a K and W into the last few answers. I won’t be making that mistake again.

  10. The Times came without the review section today. I was hoping this would lift my mood but it proved to be another irritation. Nothing like a quickie – sorry to rant!

  11. Ha ha I took 20 minutes to do the regular prize puzzle today then took 30 minutes to do the „quick“ crossword!

  12. *whispers* I really enjoyed that even though it was so tough. Very clever puzzle, I thought, far too good for me.

    Raced through the top half, smacked in the face with a baseball bat in the bottom half, limped to a finish on LOI QUIP which took a massive trawl and is the sort of clue I always struggle with (“think of a synonym and remove a letter from it”). Talking of which – JURA was also really tough, because you had to think of a planet and remove half of it. Fortunately JURA is (a) on my boating patch and (b) on my whisky list.

    Anyway, it all added up to my worst time in a long time (14:09) and I feel well-stretched. Many thanks Breaders and gallers.


  13. Dnf…

    I know it won’t hold up to rigorous statistical analysis, but I just can’t seem to finish the Saturday quick cryptic anymore. They always seem to be rock hard.

    Anyway, I had numerous clues left after 30 mins and had to resort to the blog, and it’s fair to say there are a few I would never have got.

    On the bright side, got a wonderful view of the Northern Lights last night and, if I’m lucky, may get to see them again tonight. Cheaper than going to Iceland and seeing nothing like I did a few years back.

    FOI – 10ac “Ibex”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 12dn “Quarrier”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Last time we were in Reykjavik the Northern Lights were so spectacular they made the BBC news. We were oblivious and slept through it. So tremendous to get such an incredible display from the comfort of my own home in SE England last night. As for today’s QC? Impossible!

  14. 8:52

    My average for Breadman before this grid was bang on 9 minutes, so I was pleased to come in under the line. Although it was a considerable step up for a QC, I thoroughly enjoyed it – pleased to remember UMAMI, LUTZ and NAEVI without any trouble – no problem with PSEUD either (as Jack suggested, the Private Eye column ‘Pseud’s Corner’ leapt to mind here). The collected scrabble letters certainly helped get SMALLPOX, QUIP, JURA, JEALOUSY and QUARRIER more quickly than I might have. COD to TRUSTEE.

    Thanks Breadman and Galspray

  15. Because I was quicker than usual on the 15×15 I did this as well and although at first lots of clues went in straight away I was utterly becalmed on the long (well, long for a 13×13) answers: IRONHANDED (one word? Yes, in Collins; hyphenated in Chambers), SMALLPOX, QUARRIER, UNPUNCTUATED. which I had to use aids on. Not out of place in a 15×15. No time to report because my piles of books fell over in the middle and I had to replace them and forgot to stop the clock. But not quick.

  16. Big fail for me today. Bad start with confusion over the Japanese UNAGI, which has a savoury taste.

    IRONHANDED doesn’t seem a phrase I’ve ever heard of, and not helped by having ANT for worker in there.

    Didn’t see PLAYER either (Lay=song is crossword standard, but I always forget), likewise the OS of OSCAR is one I always forget, since it is now replaced with XL, it setters stubbornly hang on to it, because it is useful, and XL is not.

    If I’d seen the JXZQ thing it would have helped. It I didn’t.

    And the FU of CORFU is also an expression of surprise.

  17. About 10 mins and then 2 sittings looking at P_E_D.
    I even had PS and PH in the alpha trawl.
    Finally clicked.

  18. 24:45. Quite a gruelling session, almost gave up several times. I thought JEALOUSY might start DENI instead of the straightforward JEA and it took many minutes to see PUNCTUA. I had trouble with JURA until I went through the planets and saw only Uranus offered three useful starting letters. I thought Savings Account would just be SA but the solution was obvious though unparsed until I read about ISA here. Held up by thinking ANT for worker in IRONHANDED and also only thinking of ironhearted as a term I knew. Still, glad to finish, with QUIP, QUARRIER, and HEDGE TRIMMER favourites.

  19. I suspected this was a bit tricky when I found it had taken me just over my target time to complete, but I obviously didn’t find it as tricky as a lot of you. It may have helped that I had a generous slug of Jura 10 yr old before going to bed, had just borrowed my neighbour’s HEDGE TRIMMER 15 minutes before starting the puzzle, saw QUIP straight away and was familiar with PSEUD. Having said that I struggled with SMALLPOX until I figured out JEALOUSY, had to build the weird IRONHANDED from wordplay and struggled with LOI, UNPUNCTUATED. 10:06. Thanks Breadman and Galspray.

  20. DNF, beaten by UNPUNCTUATED and QUIP. The latter, I thought, was unkind and could have been clued more generously. Thank you for the blog!

  21. Very hard and my time was well into SCC territory. Seeing the double JQXZ trick helped with QUIP but like galspray and a few others I spent ages before I eventually saw PSEUD. A good challenge but just a bit too tough for a QC for me.

    Thanks to Breadman and galspray

  22. DNF

    That was a bit of a monster. My worst effort in years with fully 6 clues unsolved, all from the RHS. Parkrun wasn’t great today either. At least the northern lights put on an unprecedented display last night.

  23. We joined those who found it rather tough. No problems with e.g.,JURA or UMAMI but took several minutes at the end to finish with UNPUNCTUATED and then the NHO IRONHANDED going in just shy of 22 minutes. NAEVI was also a NHO though the suspected hidden was easily confirmed once we had a couple of checkers.

  24. Like most, I found this much harder than average. However, I have no time as I had to do this in several seatings.
    I considered entering Lutx before guessing LUTZ.
    I have a bottle of whisky called JURA which helped.
    I enjoyed the description of ST MORITZ. Even the Swiss find it ostentatious.
    An enjoyable solve. Thanks to the setter.

  25. 45.08 That was hard. I spent slightly longer on this than on the previous five days put together. LUTZ was NHO and JURA took a long time to remember. SMALLPOX, QUIP and PSEUD were the last three. Except for SMALLPOX, where I couldn’t decide which end was the answer, the parsing was fairly straightforward so it shouldn’t have been so difficult. Thanks galspray and Breadman.

  26. Came here expecting to find a lot of quick times, so was relieved that it wasn’t just me that found it hard to finish. No problem initially, except SMALLPOX and being unable to parse ST MORITZ, but spent an age on my last 3 – UNPUNCTUATED, QUIP and PSEUD. Even with – U-P it was slow, as I never notice patterns, so wasn’t looking for a Q, though I was helped by someone on TFTT’s advice to try for a possible Q when faced with an unobvious U. I did wonder about a Pangram, but fortunately didn’t waste any time looking for missing letters.

  27. DNF. Gave up after half an hour, with QUIP and UNPUNCTUATED unsolved. I was convinced I was looking for a word beginning UNT, and failed to see the other meaning of“on time”.

    Thanks Galspray and Breadman

  28. Yes, agree with others, this did seem rather tricky, although I was helped by knowing the GK. Gave up with PSEUD remaining then kicked myself. I’d considered ‘sued’ only to reject it (doh). Definitely COD. Wasn’t sure IRONHANDED was a word but seemed to fit. QUIP took a while. Enjoyable challenge. Thanks Breadman and galspray.

    1. I didn’t reject it but consider it the biggest ugh of the lot: “sued” and “prosecuted” mean action was taken in civil and criminal law respectively and are not interchangeable. The Crown does not sue those charged with crime, and you can’t prosecute your spouse for divorce.

      1. Fair enough, but a lot of words take on a broader definition outside the domain from which they emerge.

        The primary definitions for “prosecuted” in all the dictionaries I checked make no mention of it being restricted to criminal proceedings.

        The first definition in Chambers, for instance, is “To pursue by law”.

          1. In a crossword clue, and especially one that that employs a homophone, I think it’s completely acceptable for prosecuted and sued to be considered generally synonymous. A legal context is of course very different.

  29. I also took three times as long as my recent average time …. and then gave up with UNPUNCTUATED unsolved. So, a DNF after 91 minutes of hard graft. Not nice, not appreciated and not a QC.

    Perhaps more surprising than my difficulties, Mrs Random gave up after more than an hour with 6 (six!) clues still unsolved. I need to check my records, but I don’t think Mrs R has ever fared so badly. She’s not at all happy and wondered aloud whether to stop doing these QCs.

    I hope the crossword editor has words with Breadman and ensures he goes for some re-training and only comes back after a long holiday.

    Many thanks to Galspray.

    1. I think we need to arrange a cage-fight between Mrs Random and Breadman.

      My money’s on Mrs R.

  30. I found this really tricky and didn’t enjoy it at all. I was missing five answers and don’t recall missing as many for a very long time. I don’t usually give up but couldn’t face it any longer. Thanks for the blog.

  31. I messed around with this while watching the rugby, but gave up after about 30 mins of solving time, with quite a few gaps in the SE corner: pseud, quip, ironhanded and unpuntuated. Not sure if Breadman or the Editor should take the blame for thinking this was at an appropriate standard for a QC, but neither should sleep easy tonight. Invariant

  32. I eventually stumbled over the line in 35 minutes, the longest I can ever remember taking on a QC. Very hard indeed, and a real shame the QUITCH doesn’t cover Saturdays: I think this would set the record.

    Thanks to Breadman and Galspray.

  33. My, my, my! What a to-do today on the blog! Having finished this after many interruptions (small house full of holiday fun) and just let the clock keep going, I’m surprised and yet not surprised at how hard everyone found it. Certainly at first the answers came rolling in even as I gave it only half my attention. Finally came back while everyone else was napping, with perhaps five outstanding, saw after some work that I must stop interpreting “time” as T and watched UNPUNCTUATED go in as if by magic. Hurray, almost there. Oops. PSEUD finally fell but not without much squinting and dubiousness.

    Well, you’ve all long moved on to other things but I thought I’d drop in anyway. Much envy to those who saw the northern lights. We might have had a chance here but the sky is completely overcast, sob.

    It seems to me something weird is going on with U as well as JQZX today.

    Thanks much to Breadman and galspray!

  34. After reading the comments above and noting the extended solving times and DNFs, I feel ok about getting the job done in 17.36, about double my average I’d guess. I did it about a day ago and didn’t make any notes but I recall UNPUNCTUATED, IRONHANDED and QUIP being among those that caused the biggest problems. My beef with PSEUD is that I don’t think it is a homophone for sued for most people. Thanks to Breadman and Galspray.

  35. A day late, and needing a lot of help to finish. Not really a QC imho.
    But, mainly, not FUN.


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