Quick Cryptic no 2334 by Jalna

Enjoyable and straightforward with only a single cricket-related quibble. Dead-on target 6 minutes for me.

1 Excellent physical education: hurting all over? (6)
4 Chap requiring some oxygen, temporarily (4)
GENT – hidden word: oxyGEN Temporarily
9 Nilote worked with hard, stone tool (7)
NEOLITH – Anagram (‘worked’) of NILOTE + H for hard
10 Greek letter is nothing fantastic (5)
11 Lacking will, hitch-hiker finally abandons US highway (9)
12 Have beef perhaps, but no starter (3)
13 No attempt to catch a solicitor (6)
NOTARY – NO + TRY with A inside
15 Information about university rank (6)
STATUS – STATS outside U for university
17 Ancho that’s somewhat spicy (3)
HOT – hidden word: ancHO Thats. Behold Curarist’s 39th law: if a clue contains an unfamiliar word, don’t look it up, look for a hidden word or anagram. See also 9 ac
18 Female — one leaving an Egyptian city (9)
21 Piece of music is not a soul track primarily (5)
NONET – NONE (not a soul) + T for track
22 Type of ball — extremely large — pings around (3,4)
LEG SPIN – LE (‘extremes’ of LARGE) + anagram (‘around’) of PINGS. Not sure the definition quite fits – I don’t think anyone says ‘what a great leg spin that was!’ You’d say ‘leg break’ or maybe ‘leg spinner’. ‘Leg spin’ means a style of bowling, not an individual delivery. [Note for Americans: in cricket, a leg spin delivery is a ball bowled with rotation that causes it to deviate off the pitch from the leg side towards the off side, thus attempting to beat the outside edge of the bat, assuming the batsman is right handed. Clear? Good. You’re welcome.]
23 Chuck out every other bit of your cake, it’s gross! (4)
YUCK – alternate letters of YoUr CaKe
24 Small, small person is a pain (6)
STITCH – S + TITCH. A sharp, pleuritic chest pain that I haven’t experienced since I was made to do cross-country runs at prep school
1 Money for retiree in French boarding house (7)
PENSION – double definition
2 A Liberal frequently high (5)
3 Minute distance this bear had moved across river (5-7)
HAIRS-BREADTH – Anagram (‘moved’) of THIS BEAR HAD + R for river
5 Head away from most dangerous mountain (7)
6 Quality and skill rising with it (5)
TRAIT -ART backwards + IT
7 Which individual gets a command to stop? (4)
8 The final section of the histogram changed (4,8)
HOME STRAIGHT – Anagram (‘changed’) of THE HISTOGRAM
14 Enormous bird — a kind with no tail (7)
16 Stay loyal (7)
STAUNCH – double definition
17 Useful tips taken from hypnotherapy? (5)
HANDY – The ‘tips’ of hypnotherapy are H and Y
19 Fish drift off, mostly upside down! (4)
EELS – SLEE[P] backwards
20 Opted to switch bank (5)
DEPOT – Anagram (‘to switch’) of OPTED

45 comments on “Quick Cryptic no 2334 by Jalna”

  1. I biffed HAIRS-BREADTH without checking the anagrist. HOME STRAIGHT took me a while to recall; I say ‘home stretch’. 7:17.

  2. Being picky, a notary isn’t the same as a solicitor; although obvious from the wordplay. I wasn’t on Jalna’s wavelength today so a slower solve.

    1. Correct – some solicitors may be notaries but not all notaries are solicitors, although rare.

  3. 10 minutes, scraping in on target but only by a whisker. I didn’t notice a problem with LEG SPIN but after all the business earlier in the week over ‘optional extra’ I was not planning to spend more time regarding the niceties of cricketing jargon.

  4. 1420 Filippo Brunelleschi starts construction of the dome of Florence Cathedral


    “Home Run” is the original term for the last, straight part of a horse race. Still used occasionally in British English, although HOME STRETCH is now more common. Of course “home run” has a completely different meaning in the US.

    STAUNCH is synonymous with “devout”, “committed ” etc. But, these words tend to pair up with certain sects. It’s always a “staunch Protestant” and “devout catholic”, never the other way round.

  5. I found Jalna to be as tricky as always today. Only five on the first pass of acrosses followed by some good tussles with PEACHY, STAUNCH and STITCH among others. Enjoyed INTESTATE and HANDY. Most flummoxed by EELS which finally put paid to LEG SPIN being a ‘big something’. Good one. All green in 15.

    No problem with HOME STRAIGHT for this (long retired) 800m runner – it’s the one opposite the back straight. Although it was the only the final section on the second lap.

  6. Didn’t find this as straightforward as our blogger but managed to sneak in under target.
    Both the long down anagrams proved tricky and HAIRS-BREADTH ended up being my LOI, once PEACHY had finally succumbed.
    Lots to enjoy with a number of changes of mind for COD as I progressed through the grid with INTESTATE eventually edging out HANDY.
    Crossed the line in 9.11
    Thanks to Curarist and Jalna

  7. Found this tough and was beaten by the STAUNCH STITCH combo corner. Couldn’t get past S TOT- – for the latter and was convinced that ‘stotis’ or ‘stotsa’ had to be a medical term for something and so no amount of alphabet trawling was going to get me home on the former.

    HAIRS BREADTH and HOME STRAIGHT both neat anagrams and the latter is definitely the recognised term for me with regards to track athletics or horse racing.

    Thanks Jalna and Curarist

  8. All completed in 7:50, or 1.08K, which is probably as near to the elusive 1K as I have ever achieved. Curarist’s 39th law did indeed come in very handy on 9a and 17a. I agree that a ball of leg spin is a bit odd, although “an over of leg spin” is OK.

    Thanks Jalna and Curarist.

  9. Just as MangoMan did, I spent a glacial age putting in first “stotis” and then “stotsa” and then trying to make 16dn work. It wouldn’t. It’s funny how hard it is to change tack once an idea has really lodged. I’m blaming a terrible night’s sleep.


    Many thanks Jalna and Curarist.


  10. Let me join the bloggers (silent so far) who, I fear, will find this QC far from ‘straightforward’. I was just not on Jalna’s wavelength and thought it was unusually tough. It took me quite a way into the SCC. Not a good end to my week.
    Some very good clues and I will look through them again when I have recovered my composure! John M.

    1. What do you mean “silent so far”? Before you posted there were two DNFs (me and MangoMan), Plett saying “Didn’t find this as straightforward as our blogger “, and Mendesest saying “I found Jalna to be as tricky as always today”.

      1. I meant, and should have said, ‘many of whom have been silent so far’ simply because there had, unusually, been so few responses to this QC when I (and you) posted our comments. My apologies. I would never deliberately underplay the views of others.
        A bit touchy today? John

  11. 12 minutes with STATUS LOI. I was trying to fit MIT in there as the university until HOME STRAIGHT closed the door on that. Otherwise, no problems and much to enjoy. I couldn’t remember whether or not Jalna was one of those Setters that can be relied on for a theme or Nina, so I had one eye open for that throughout. Thanks C and J.

  12. I thought some of the clues today were very clever, but perhaps a bit too clever for a QC ? Either way, it became an enjoyable 18min solve once I adapted to Jalna’s style. CoD to 17d, Handy, for the pdm – once the crossers were in place. Invariant

  13. I thought this was tricky with some excellent clues.
    Finished in 16 minutes. LOI was STITCH after a long analysis of the anagrist to get HOME STRAIGHT.
    INTESTATE and HAIRS BREADTH got ticks from me.
    I felt this was a puzzle where you might get stuck for a very long time ( see Blighter above). Nothing unfair although I agree with our blogger about LEG SPIN; it didn’t delay more than a few seconds but is not strictly right IMO.

  14. After giving up on yesterday’s with 75% done, (though I usually enjoy Orpheus’s), I was pleased to enjoy today’s, finished in below average time. FOI PENSION, LOI TRAIT, COD INTESTATE, MER LEG SPIN, for the reasons given by Curarist before I read his blog. Spent too long on 1a at the start, even asking myself if ACHYPE was EXCELLENT before moving to 1d, when the penny soon dropped. Thanks Jalna and Curarist.

  15. All green but a lengthy 29:30. Nothing I thought was too difficult but still pretty chewy in places. FOI GENT, LOI HANDY. I had similar problems around STOTIS but eventually found TITCH to replace TOT. COD INTESTATE. NHO Ancho but HOT seemed straightforward. Thanks Jalna and Curarist.

  16. I usually find Jalna’s offerings quite chewy and this was no exception, taking me just over double what I took yesterday. I think I might have been quicker had I started with the Downs, but that’s not the way I do these. The SW trio of NOTARY, NONET and TITANIC held me up the most. I’ve learnt from these that a musical group is often a NONET (more often in crosswordland than in the real world I think, or is that just my ignorance?) but I can’t remember it clued as a piece of music before. Anyway, time: 22:19, LOI: TITANIC, COD: DEPOT. Thanks Jalna and Curarist.

  17. I was going great until those big ‘uns down, HAIRS-BREADTH and HOME STRAIGHT. They held me up so I staggered home in 12:19 (a little slow for me) I didn’t think it was *that* easy to be honest, kind of medium because there were a few tricksy clues, and I agree about LEG-SPIN, it seemed a little clunky at the time. Onwards and upwards!

  18. 9:13. STAUNCH was the one that held me up at the end and I took longer than I should have to get ALEXANDRA. Not too many other hold-ups along the way.

    Far be it from me to question the medical eminence of our esteemed blogger, but a STITCH as “pleuritic chest pain”? I can identify with the “cross-country runs at prep school” but whenever I developed a stitch it was in the lower abdomen. I’ve since sought an independent second medical opinion (my brother) who tells me that a stitch is thought to have a diaphragmatic origin, so maybe it can be referred to the chest.

    Thanks to Jalna and Curarist

  19. That was a real confidence-booster today, after a tough few days. All fully parsed in 27 minutes, which is quick for me.

    HANDY was very clever, YUCK is a good word and STAUNCH made me think of Monty Python (“She’s a staunch”, but what film/sketch is it from?).

    Some discussion about notaries and solicitors above. Could a piano be described as a NOTARY? Oh dear, I’d better take my leave.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Curarist.

  20. I was another that found it tougher than average, and I finished a little over target at 10.57. It’s strange how sometimes the simplest of answers elude you, and today my LOI must have taken about a minute to sort out. The pretty straightforward GENT at 4ac was my problem clue where as usual I was slow to spot the hidden. I was convinced for far too long that the answer must contain the letter O.

  21. 8:06.Although I realised that 1a started with PE, I couldn’t quite see where it was going, so I moved onto 1d, which kicked things off. A nice steady solve thereafter, and my quickest Jalna by some way, I think. I enjoyed this one – there were some fun surfaces, and quite a few ticks are dotted around. I liked INTESTATE, HOT, NONET and HANDY in particular. I have some dried ANCHO chilis in the larder, but they don’t seem too hot to me , and I’m quite a wimp.
    Cricket – aargh! I find pretty much everything about it as clear as mud. I do know LEG SPIN is something to do with it, and that’s as far as it goes 😂 All I need for a crossword, I suppose!
    FOI Pension LOI Staunch COD Titanic – my favourite birds to visit the garden are long tailed tits, adorable little fluff balls with tails longer than their bodies, so some nice misdirection here!
    Thanks Jalna and Curarist

  22. Enjoyable crossword, but my take on the ‘cricket’ clue is that leg spin would always be referred to as ‘a delivery,’ never a ball. Since we were given the letters it was not too difficult, but I needed some of the crossers even so.

  23. I did finish this one but I found it to be very difficult and needed to use an aid once. However, I did not answer 17d (HANDY) correctly. I put HAPPY. I was not comfortable with my answer but could not see anything else. I did pencil in HANDY but could not work out its relationship with hypnotherapy. When the clue said “could be taken from” I thought it meant using some of the letters for the whole answer. Seeing as there were two Ps and no D, in went HAPPY, as is a “happy tip”. It didn’t sit right with me and so I had a wrong answer. Unfortunately this lead me to answer 21a with PINOT as I had P_N_T. I knew it was a wine but thought perhaps it could have been a piece of music too. Not heard of NONET.

    DNF – 2x wrong answers.

    1. Bad luck, PW! I DNF’d on Wednesday due to an answer I knew to be wrong. Why do we do these things?

  24. I found this one tricky too. No problem with ALOFT and PENSION, but PEACHY was a late entry after HAIRS BREADTH. I also raised an eyebrow at LEG SPIN. ALEXANDRA was LOI. 11:21. Thanks Jalna and Curarist.

  25. 14 mins…

    I didn’t find this too bad and thought there were some nice clues. Personally, I didn’t have any issue with 22ac “Leg Spin” – I’ve heard it used in various commentaries and, compared to some of the dubious definitions that sometimes appear, I thought it was pretty mild.

    FOI – 1dn “Pension”
    LOI – 7dn “Whoa”
    COD – 11ac “Intestate” – nice surface

    Thanks as usual!

  26. Took a few wrong turns, looking for EN in (boarding) a house, and 21a (inast).
    However got there in the end, c 13m.
    COD handy. Have been stumped over this type of clue a few times before.

  27. I found this hard, especially the SE corner and the 2 long anagrams. Not sure how common PEACHY is.
    Took ages, with a couple of time outs to hope that the brain worked on its own! (It didn’t!)

  28. My second midday solve in a row…Happily, out this evening so it won’t be missed from its usual spot. A good start but slowed up as I got further down the grid with the SW and parts of the NE proving tricky. My eventual breeze-block proved to be the very simple 4a Gent which immediately allowed LOI 6a Trait.
    FOI 1d Pension
    LOI 6d Trait
    COD 11a Intestate where it took me too long to see which way the clue worked.

  29. This was hard and I was completely stumped by STITCH, STAUNCH and STATUS but came back an hour later and they went straight in without a thought.

  30. I didn’t have my anagram hat on today, so this was my slowest for a long time, coming in at 30:05, and with a vile pink square for a careless typo on HAIRS BRRADTH. Lots to like here, but without the crossers from the long anagrams and without STAUNCH, the SE corner took an age.

    Thanks to Jalna & Curarist.

  31. 4:36 this afternoon, after a morning dodging a plethora of potholes in Central Edinburgh with Mrs P.
    From my point of view, the puzzle completed a week of QCs mostly of average difficulty, apart from Tuesday.
    Only hold up was in the NW corner, having failed to nail 1 ac” peachy” and 3d “hairs breadth”at the outset but returning to find helpful crossers in place. Can’t say I’ve used peachy much in day to day conversation!
    Maybe a peachy dinner from Mrs P tonight?
    Thanks to Jalna and Curarist.

  32. 16:04

    Fooled by HANDY, especially having biffed SONET so was held up for a couple of minutes in the SW until the penny dropped.

    1. The setter’s technique for “handy” is relatively common and is worth storing in the memory banks.

  33. A real challenge today, but very enjoyable. I came home in around 25 mins, which I will happily take. Jalna is a great setter, with some chewy but ‘gettable’ clues.

    FOI – GENT
    PDM – WHOA

    Thanks to Curarist for an excellent blog and best wishes to everyone for the weekend.

  34. Very late to this today but an enjoyable 11 minute solve. It is interesting how often cricketing terms feature in these crosswords – and how often they lead to comment on this site.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all

  35. Loved this. I was 66 on the morning of 17th so officially became an OAP. And what should the first clue be but PENSION! (As if I needed reminding!) Spooky or what?

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