Quick Cryptic 2720 by Pedro

An interesting puzzle with some nice compound anagrams. It seemed straightforward enough – I came in slightly under target at 5.30 – so maybe on the easy side?  There seems to be a fairly obvious theme, though I don’t think I’ve spotted all of it.

1 Henry getting fine reduced by 50%? (4)
HALF – HAL (Henry, e.g. Henry V in Shakespeare) + F for fine
3 Student of the sun seen around church (7)
SCHOLAR – SOLAR outside of CH
8 Notice dancer collapsed around piano — inclined to stumble? (8-5)
ACCIDENT-PRONE – anagram (‘collapsed’) of NOTICE DANCER with P for piano
9 Worldwide communication system subsequently ignoring Times (3)
NET – NEXT is subsequently, minus X or times
10 Feel sorry for overlooking first river bird (5)
EGRET – REGRET minus the first R for river
12 Town in Kent remains in favour of Duke (7)
ASHFORD – ASH (remains) + FOR (in favour of) + D (duke)
14 Lots of cars very loud, I found aboard reversing vehicle (7)
TRAFFIC – FF (very loud) + I, all inside CART backwards
16 Poor at birth, ends in profound poverty (5)
NEEDY – NEE (as in Née, at birth) + [profoun]D + [povert]Y
17 Heads for home over disgusting thing seen on building site (3)
HOD – acronym. Thing for carrying bricks.
20 I note junior staff member not following orders (13)
21 Unpleasant character cutting parking in school leading to horrible cry (7)
SCREECH – CREEP (horrible character) minus P for parking, all inside SCH
22 Some Minister mishandled time in office (4)
TERM – hidden word
1 Capital support from senior teacher and the others (8)
2 Rugby-player’s hair (4)
LOCK – double definition
3 Took exam involving working with a piece of music (6)
SONATA – SAT (exam) with ON (working) inside, + A
4 What you can still have after getting a clean bill of health? (12)
HYPOCHONDRIA – what do you call this? Cryptic definition I suppose.
5 Husband amongst toilet staff? It’s an ambiguous position (8)
LOOPHOLE – LOO (toilet) + POLE (staff) with H for husband inside
6 Quantity of film showing dance (4)
REEL – double definition
7 I transformed inedible fat, as can be recognised (12)
IDENTIFIABLE – I + anagram (‘transformed’) of INEDIBLE FAT
11 Driver perhaps strangely aroused over rear of car (4,4)
ROAD USER – anagram (‘strangely’) of  AROUSED + R (rear of ‘car’)
13 Father, with quantity of paper, wrapping unknown fancy (8)
DAYDREAM – DAD + REAM with Y inside
15 Former PM wrongly overlooked followers (6)
CHURCH – CHURCHILL minus ILL (‘wrongly’)
18 Fail to go to girl (4)
MISS – double definition
19 Right to avoid fireplace opening (4)
GATE – GRATE minus R

65 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2720 by Pedro”

  1. A fairly friendly offering from Pedro with only LOI HYPOCHONDRIA putting up much resistance – cryptic definitions seem to fall into two categories for me I either see them straight away or have to spend ages winkling out.
    Finished in 5.58 with COD to LOOPHOLE.
    Thanks to Curarist

  2. 11 minutes with a MER at the definition of LOOPHOLE until I looked it up afterwards and realised it’s absolutely fine.

  3. I finished with no problems other than not seeing the ‘Former PM’ and am now kicking myself and a little puzzled with the definition of 1dn HEADREST the wordplay was simple so the answer went in.
    I drew a smiley face beside the clue for LOOPHOLE.

  4. A return to a sub-10 minute finish after a struggle all week, but very much “a game of two halves”, as I spent almost as long on my LOI HYPOCHONDRIA as on the whole of the rest of the puzzle put together. A strange clue, as one can of course still have all sorts of things after passing a medical, and with no wordplay to help me and not much to go on, it was a case of a very slow letter search, and once I had gone through HAP-, HEP-, HIP-, HOP-, and HUP- with no joy I was beginning to doubt some of my other answers. Not my favourite sort of clue …

    Only other (slight) hold-up was for CHURCH, where cluing ILL as “wrongly” didn’t immediately come to mind. Not sure I see a phrase where the two are natural synonyms but I am sure others will find one readily enough. Otherwise a welcome softer puzzle after some recent struggles.

    Many thanks Curarist for the blog

  5. I echo Cedric in his comments about both HYPOCHONDRIA and CHURCH. COD ACCIDENT PRONE – lovely clue! Thanks Curarist.

  6. Not so easy for us. Wandered around the grid making bits of progress here and there until, like Cedric, arriving at our LOI and taking many minutes to find a word that fitted the letters until hypochondria finally popped out at 30.01

    COD to road user, I do like a clue that creates an unexpected mental image😀

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist

  7. 14:47
    A low number of posters this morning, many still glued to Election Night TV?

    Also struggled with HYPOCHONDRIA and CHURCHILL, which I failed to parse, although SUNAK for Former PM could have been a clever topical reference.

  8. A fairly straightforward 18 minute solve. Getting several long answers in early (I like anagrams) unlocked a lot of the grid, and even HYPOCHONDRIA didn’t put up too much opposition with H_P inviting only 6 possible letters to get things started.

    Guessed CHURCH from the friendly crossers – never did parse it and still don’t understand how ‘wrongly’ can = ILL.


    Thanks all!

  9. After flying through the NW I shuddered to a halt and struggled all over the grid. It was a very late night …

    13:42 for a Day of Shame. Many thanks Pedro and Curarist.

    1. Very apt for Rout of Winchester – it happened again last night where the Lib Dem ousted the Tory in what is traditionally Blue heartland…

  10. 10.52

    Was going great guns and thoroughly enjoying this until I got to GATE, which for some reason took fully half of my total (well above average) time.

    Well played Pedro, and thanks Curarist.

  11. Carelessly entered “rate” instead of GATE to earn a totally deserved pink square. I’d had a battle with HYPOCHONDRIA and LOI LOOPHOLE which stretched me to 5:14 and a disappointing blot on an otherwise good week. COD to ACCIDENT-PRONE (which, being dyspraxic, I am).

  12. 13:12 here, with last two in HYPOCHONDRIA and LOOPHOLE, which gets my COD. I never managed to parse SCREECH because I used the wrong C in SCH & was stuck on REEC + P somehow giving me an unpleasant character. Sigh.

    Thanks to Curarist and Pedro.

  13. It’s funny how we can be stuck on different clues. I nearly gave up on my LOI MISS which needed several alphabet trawls before the penny finally dropped.
    On 1a I could not work out how ‘alf’ could mean ‘fine’ until Curarist explained it.
    A nice puzzle thanks and all finished in 28m.

  14. Delighted to finish correctly in 50 minutes.
    A doable puzzle for a change.
    Doubtless the experts will think it was too easy.
    I don’t care.

    1. Well done, Mr K! And, despite completing the puzzle in around my recent average time, I certainly didn’t think it was “easy”.

    2. I may be mistaken, but after 10 years of QC puzzles I don’t recall any complaints that a puzzle was too easy.

      1. Maybe not complaints that the puzzle was too easy, but comments such as “fairly friendly”,
        “fairly straightforward” imply to me that some solvers would like a tougher puzzle.
        Just trying to make it clear to whoever wants to know, that I consider this puzzle tough enough and do not want puzzles to be much harder. I have had enough experience of failing to complete tougher cryptic puzzles and the occasional success is very important to me.

        1. I can’t speak for others, Gordon, but if I use such expressions in my blogs my intention is to give some indication of the level of difficulty as it appeared to me on the day. I know from comments made over the 10 years I have been blogging QC puzzles that some of our community find this useful. Similarly I post my solving times because when I stopped doing so I received requests to reinstate them. I have never complained about QC puzzles being too easy but I do support the Times policy of varying the level of difficulty from day to day so that solvers wishing to use the QC as a learning tool and stepping-stone to the 15×15 don’t lack for opportunities to hone their skills on more demanding material.

  15. Over average again, but not by too much, though definitely an orange day rather than yellow or green.. I had to fill in everything around the long ones, which is never helpful.

    LOI HYPOCHONDRIA, and I really wasn’t sure about SCREECH, so spent some time checking that, plus a proofread. LOOPHOLE my COD.


  16. Could not see HYPOCHONDRIA or LOOPHOLE, though I should have managed the latter, as I’d got as far as LOO, but ran out of patience and there were no more crossers. Mr Ego got them immediately. Still struggling with Thursday’s 15×15, so not inclined to do so with the Quickie. Interesting to see the comments above – it goes to show that there is no such thing as an ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ puzzle – simply what one finds easy or difficult, which varies from person to person.

  17. Hi, recently someone posted a joke “let’s call the whole thing cloth” in response to a clue, and for the life of me I can’t remember the lead in. Any help appreciated. Cheers Stephen

  18. Seriously slow with this one but got there in the end. No exact time but somewhere just shy of 30 minutes. I struggled with all the long clues and seemed to have mislaid my anagram hat. Most clues seemed quite straightforward but there were about half a dozen which I found quite inpenetrable. Definitely one up to Pedro. Didn’t parse CHURCH – didn’t think of Churchill for some reason and the connection between church and followers wasn’t immediately apparent.

    FOI – 1ac HALF
    LOI – 15dn CHURCH
    COD – 5dn LOOPHOLE

    Thanks to Pedro and Curarist

  19. Fun and relatively straightforward for me – apart from DNF loophole! I had loo but could not think of an ambiguity that was —o-e. I would have thought a loophole was clear enough and not ambiguous, but maybe I’m wrong. Accident prone an inspired anagram and daydream a neat cryptic. 12 minutes – thanks to Pedro and to Curarist. Little break for me now – off to rightward leaning France from leftward leaning UK. Funny how we’re often out of sync with each other!

  20. Not that easy, imo. But then I was distracted by various complicated emails and road closures, not to mention the Election.
    Once I got going, I was OK.
    Biffed various long ones including INSUBORDINATE and ACCIDENT PRONE.
    Early solves included EGRET, SCHOLAR, MISS, HALF.
    OK, I admit I had to look at the atlas for ASHFORD – how dim.
    Tried Indefatigable for 7d at one point, but pulled myself together.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

  21. Completed without too much difficulty, though needed Pumpa’s help with 4d.

    A good finish to what was a poor week for me where QCs are concerned.


    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈

    1. It’s been many months now that I’ve been trying to imagine how Pumpa is useful for solving QCs. All I can imagine is a miraculously non-random dance across your keyboard.

  22. I think I was quite lucky to cross the line in 27 minutes today, as I struggled to get started and thought I was in for the long-haul with six clues to go. Fortunately, SCHOLAR popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere, which was the catalyst for solving HYPOCHONDRIA, LOOPHOLE and REEL. They, in turn, led me to ASFORD, NEEDY and the finish line.

    I’m not sure I fully parsed every clue, but a solve’s a solve and I look forward to tomorrow.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  23. Definitely difficult for us at 33 minutes .
    Didn’t think loophole clue great.
    Churchill tricky.
    Liked daydream.

  24. 15:03
    With one error at 19d, where I bunged in RATE after being told to take something out of GRATE. Took forever to see HYPOCHONDRIA, and was convinced I had wrong checkers.

  25. DNF Unable to arrive at LOOPHOLE- couldn’t follow what it had to do with ambiguity. I guess I was overall thick today, not seeing the unfinished creep or followers giving CHURCH-also took ages on HYPOCHONDRIA. Oh well, must carry on!

  26. 9.52

    Struggled with MISS SCREECH and CHURCHILL at the end with the latter causing a lot of head scratching. Cameron May Truss Johnson Sunak and that’s just the last six months…

  27. 14 mins…

    One of the more straightforward solves for a while, although there were some slightly quirky definitions along the way. Enjoyed 15dn “Church”, 13dn “Daydream” and 1dn “Head Rest”.

    FOI – 1ac “Half”
    LOI – 5dn “Loophole”
    COD – 5dn “Loophole”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. Not one that we raced through but 11:20 was still comfortably faster than our average. A MER at LOOPHOLE, like some others, but enjoyed HYPOCHONDRIA.

  29. The overall feeling seems to be that this was tougher than average; I certainly thought it wasn’t that easy, although others seemed to have had no problems. That being said, I would have finished inside my target time if it hadn’t been for my final two, HYPOCHONDRIA followed by LOOPHOLE. It was over two minutes before the light dawned here. I eventually made it in 10.31, so not too bad.
    After two consecutive weeks when my daily average was either just over or just under seven minutes, I’m back down to earth this week with a total weekly time of 56.14 giving me a daily average of 11.15.

  30. 06:41
    Ignoring spnata.
    Nice, right level. Good surfaces.
    COD hypochondria/loophole/road user.

  31. Most enjoyable but stuck until PDM for the brilliant HYPOCHONDRIA enabled me finish in 23 mins.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Curarist.

  32. 8.45 A reasonably quick end to my slowest week since December. HYPOCHONDRIA needed all the checkers and GATE was LOI. Thanks Curarist and Pedro.

  33. From HALF to IDENTIFIABLE in 6:02. HYPOCHONDRIA needed a good few crossers, as did CHURCH! Thanks Pedro and Curarist.

    1. Well, if you are a ROAD USER, though there may be TRAFFIC, passing a GATE, you can get a Eurostar at ASHFORD which goes down a HOLE. Probably not a NINA.

      1. Other possible automobile-related clues? “As an ACCIDENT-PRONE driver I always adjust my HEAD-REST to protect my neck in case I have to SCREECH to a sudden halt-oh, and LOCK all doors”.

  34. DNF defeated by Hypochondria and Loophole. But enjoyable otherwise. Couldn’t parse Screech for the life of me, so thanks Curaist and of course Pedro

  35. Had completed all but CHURCH and HYPOCHONDRIA at full tilt, then faltered a bit as far as I was concerned straight forward mixed with troublesome. Enjoyed it, though.

  36. Felt a bit tricky to me but all done in 17:34, after a week off which has included smashing my big toe into smithereens and subsequently having to abandon the car in Llandudno. Woe is me, etc.

    Thank you for the blog!

      1. Thank you! The toe is healing nicely, more pressing is the matter of how to transport a car from north Wales to Surrey without spending either a whole weekend or a small fortune…

  37. 26 minute DNF

    Had all bar 4 answers in 8 minutes and then the usual cock-up.

    Put RATE for 19dn as I didn’t understand the clue. You might have thought that, after 4 years, I should have been able to work it out. I thought the instruction was to remove the first letter of GRATE, leaving RATE as a synonym for RIGHT(???). That’s how bad I am! The rest of you doubtless thought this was a write-in, which only makes it worse.

    On the off chance that anyone reads my comments or has any interest in my times, here is the horror that was my week:

    Mon – 55 min DNF (CORAL for CAROL)
    Tue – 21 min
    Wed – 20 min
    Thu – 41 min
    Fri – 26 min DNF (RATE for GATE)

    2 hours, 43 minutes
    No SCC escapes
    2 DNFs

    I am so desperate to do well and mortified at my level of performance. Part of me thinks that I have some form of cognitive impairment, such is the decline in my ability.

    Every other solver who began at or about the same time as me now leaves me in their wake. I find that very hard to deal with, because it makes me feel there is something wrong with me and that I am inadequate.

    I hate being the ‘village idiot’!

    Thanks for the blog.

  38. PS Just tried the proper crossword today.

    Over an hour and I got 11 with a few half-done.

    Total b****y nightmare!

  39. Finally got to it after a busy day, and was going along smoothly enough, but needed 6 minutes to find HYPOCHONDRIAC, LOOPHOLE, and REEL, so took 25:54. I had a lot of trouble accepting CHURCH for “followers”. FOI HALF, LOI REEL, COD ROAD USER for the wacky surface.

    Thanks Pedro and Curarist!

  40. I simply couldn’t cope with “church”. The word is not synonymous with “followers”.


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