Quick Cryptic 2491 by Teazel

An enjoyable puzzle from Teazel with several clues needing more than a bit of thought.

I was slow to get going and didn’t really pick up speed during the rest of the solve. A couple could be parsed as double definitions or as definitions with a cryptic hint; please say if you disagree. I was scratching my head over my last in 8a, thinking MAN had to be in there somewhere until the light finally dawned.

A bit over 14 minutes and I felt I had earned my congratulatory message from The Times when I’d finished.

My apologies – I won’t be able to respond to any comments until mid-morning UK time so I’m afraid mistakes will stay uncorrected or not commented upon by me till then.

Definitions underlined in bold, deletions indicated by strikethrough

1 I must visit more flexible furnisher (8)
SUPPLIERI (‘I’) contained in (‘must visit’) SUPPLER (‘more flexible’)
5 City where one may clean up (4)
BATH – Double definition or definition (‘City’) with cryptic hint
7 A search in East London for relative (4)
AUNTA (‘A’) UNT (‘search in East London’= HUNT, without the aitch, as would be pronounced by a (crossword land) cockney from East London)
8 His meal is on us? (8)
CANNIBAL – Cryptic definition

A variation on a theme for clues for this answer which I always fail to spot

9 One after large tiger, say, produces safety device (8)
LIFELINEI (‘One’) following (‘after’) L (‘large’) FELINE (‘tiger say’)
11 Solution is somewhat unexpectedly easy (3)
LYE – Hidden (‘somewhat’) in ‘unexpectedLY Easy’

The wordplay describes the difficulty of this clue very well.

I knew the word and that the solution is an alkali, but not much else. The Wikipedia article gives a good summary with (mercifully) little chemical jargon

13 Birdsong belted out regularly after conflict (6)
WARBLEBLE (‘belted out regularly’=every second letter of ‘belted‘ deleted) following (‘after’) WAR (‘conflict’)
16 Donkey’s extremely enjoyable time long past (6)
EEYOREEE (‘extremely enjoyable’=first and last letters of ‘EnjoyablE’) YORE (‘time long past’)
18 Born in endless poverty (3)
NEENEED (‘endless poverty’)
19 Returning, is called to be taken by tube (8)
SIPHONEDSI (‘Returning, is’= ‘is’ reversed) PHONED (‘called’)
20 Popular individual not using an agent (2,6)
IN PERSONIN (‘Popular’) PERSON (‘individual’)
22 A jewel returned: great! (4)
MEGAA GEM (‘A jewel’) reversed (‘returned’)

Better than DEF anyway

23 Mike and Eleanor at first quietly become engaged (4)
MESHM E (‘Mike and Eleanor at first’=first letters of ‘Mike’ and ‘Eleanor’) SH (‘quietly’)
24 Strangle vicious Trot in wild rage (8)
GARROTTE – Anagram (‘vicious’) of TROT contained in (‘in’) anagram (‘wild’) of RAGE

Two anagram indicators here. This word always makes me squirm. I remember first hearing it in connection with Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun which we studied at school

1 Bird’s down (7)
SWALLOW – Double definition

For the second definition, ‘down’ as a verb

I initially entered FEATHER for this as a cryptic def, but it’s not cryptic at all and of course the crossers didn’t fit

2 Affix a warning for apron (8)
PINAFOREPIN (‘Affix’) A (‘a’) FORE (‘warning’)

FORE as a ‘warning’ shouted in golf to other players or spectators who may be in the path of a wayward shot. We had an unconnected FORE as part of an answer and ‘golf’ as part of the wordplay in a Myles puzzle last week

3 It’s inches out, an irritation (9)
ITCHINESS – Anagram (‘out’) of IT’S INCHES
4 Perhaps a single series (3)
RUN – Double definition, or definition (‘series’) with cryptic hint
5 Belfry’s bats surrounding one for a moment (7)
BRIEFLY – Anagram (‘bats’) of BELFRY containing (‘surrounding’) I (‘one’)

Appropriate anagram indicator

6 Kitchen appliance, one offering health (7)
TOASTER – Double definition
10 Watch first of batters’ startling performance (3-6)
EYE-OPENEREYE (‘Watch’) OPENER (‘first of batters”)
12 For correction, guy notes the last to arrive (8)
YOUNGEST – Anagram (‘For correction’) of GUY NOTES

As in YOUNGEST child

14 An old poet played slowly (7)
ANDANTEAN (‘An’) DANTE (‘old poet’)

Once I’d worked out the def, I was considering largo, adagio and lento, none of which had enough letters. Others may be able to explain the differences between these musical terms

15 Beg to live and visit church (7)
BESEECHBE (‘to live’) SEE (‘visit’) CH (‘church’)
17 Aged men stumbling into final stage (7)
ENDGAME – Anagram (‘stumbling’) of AGED MEN

I would have spelt it with a hyphen but Collins and Chambers both have this spelling without the hyphen

21 Slump as long story is never-ending (3)
SAGSAGA (‘long story is never-ending’)

67 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2491 by Teazel”

  1. 16:35. BESEECH was my favourite and I also enjoyed finding phoned in SIPHONED and feline in LIFELINE. CANNIBAL was last in because like BletchleyReject I was thinking it would end with man.

  2. DNF in 5:51. Oops! After yesterday’s biff-fest I went a little too fast, putting IN SEASON, mistaking ‘popular’ as the definition and ignoring the rest of the clue. Shame on me!

  3. Yet again I was fooled by a clue whose answer turned out to be CANNIBAL, must try harder. That and TOASTER (a few variations on that theme have also undone me several times) took me out to 13.42 but this clever and enjoyable Teazel was never going to be a sprint for me. I had to get halfway down the grid before FOI WARBLE broke the drought, and the NW put up stubborn resistance right to the end. Really nice surface for BRIEFLY and I also like SIPHONED and LIFELINE. The latter might have come sooner if I had not entered sparrow for SWALLOW on the basis that (a) it started with S, (b) it ended in W and (c) it had seven letters. Thanks BR.

  4. Just scraped home with a second to spare on my 10 minutes target.

    I might have gone for two definitions at 14dn with RUN as ‘a single’ in cricket and ‘series’ as a sequence of related things e.g. numbers.

    I wasn’t quite sure that the CANNIBAL clue worked until I thought of The Owl and the Pussycat who ‘dined on mince and slices of quince’.

  5. I did myself no favours by biffing “sparrow” at 1D on my first pass. Only when I realized that my penultimate answer had to be LIFELINE did my rashness emerge.

    TIME 4:44

  6. Somehow I just managed to erase my whole comment in one stroke. But then I really had nothing to say. Liked (LOI) CANNIBAL. Barely squeaked in under my (rather unrealistic) 6′ target at 5:59.

  7. Tricky Teazel today, but lots of clever clues and PDMs to entertain along the way which made up for the terrible grid – I was completely stumped by LYE but the answer was given to me and I only spotted the hidden during my proofread.
    Whinging over, I particularly enjoyed LIFELINE and SIPHONED and struggled with the old poet as musical terminology remains a weakness, and LOI CANNIBAL which needed an alphabet trawl.
    Finished in 10.43.
    Thanks to BR

  8. Gave up at 30mins with CANNIBAL unsolved – terrible obscure clue wording – and that’s before we talk about the gendering used. I’d assumed I was looking for a real or fictional person who cadged.

    Wasn’t helped by already struggling to identify BATH from the million cities we have in this world – and it’s only 50miles up the roads from me. Wasn’t helped by putting STEAMER in for TOASTER until 25+ mins. ALDANTE was the other problem – unfamiliar musical word teamed with poetry.

    Maybe I’d have been willing to persevere with more of an alphabet trawl on CANNIBAL but it’s Teazel. Like Izetti, ‘he’ is now on my C.B.A list. Personally I’d feel aghast if I were setting Quicks and decent solvers were quitting on them.

    1. I suppose if the setter had put ‘Their meal’ instead of ‘His’ he’d have been in trouble for the answer being in the singular.

      1. Indeed – although I believe with modern pronouns “their” is quite allowable for singular when the gender is unknown.

        Obviously good setting isn’t easy and when you get into this sort of deliberation over how to do a clue, it’s probably time to rip it up – or keep it safe for the 15×15. I’m reminded of the Stephen King phrase “Kill your darlings”.

        1. As far as I’m concerned the clue is absolutely fine and I see no reason for deliberation over it. I was just following your argument to its logical conclusion.

      2. How about ‘One whose meal is on us?’? Like LP and others, I spent many frustrating minutes trying to solve C_N_ImAn. Not the best clue, IMHO.

    2. Funny how differently we can each see, or not see, different things – I thought it was barely cryptic and stuck it in immediately, but stumbled around elsewhere.

      1. Yup – some days you see them, some you don’t. I guess it’s a good example of being on the wavelength. I expect I might have come back half an hour later and bunged it in on a fresh look. That’s the trouble with online, you can’t pick the paper back up when you’re passing while the kettle boils.

        Anyway, I’m just being grumpy because I’ve been defeated by it. I’m best ignored from here onwards

        1. I think one of the great features of this blog is members having their personal comment, or indeed, rant, about whatever annoys, or pleases, them on any given day. So often I’m there shouting “Yes! Me too!” and sticking pins in the setter for some perceived failure by them to get on my personal solving wavelength. They just don’t understand how we suffer…

      1. Terrible because I don’t see it gives any direction for solving but I suppose that is the nature of the pure cryptic clue. There’s enough people DNFed on here to suggest it’s a difficult one.

        And as I went on to say in subsequent comment, it might be appropriate for the 15×15 but not for the quick. And that’s before we even start to think about “he” being a particular male and I do think “on us” sends one away from the idea of cannibalism

  9. 15:02 (Death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Duke of Cornwall).

    Technically a DNF, as I had a typo in BFIEFLY giving one pink square.

    SUPPLIER was my LOI, as I was thinking of makers of furniture or soft furnishings, forgetting the other meaning of furnish.

    The settings on my metronome have Andante at 76-108 beats per minute, Adagio 66-76, Larghetto 60-66 and Largo 40-60, but musicians are in practice more flexible than that,

    Thanks Teazel and BR

    1. It’s not the world championships, so genuine typos allowed!

      Thanks for the list of musical terms 👍 Had come to know Adagio through the crosswords and vaguely heard of others. Although Andante is much more likely to be how I avoid doing my pasta!

        1. I know it’s Al Dente – the exclamation mark was there to indicate it was a joke/pun/play on words. I fell foul of Poe’s Law 🤦‍♂️

          1. Yes, I got that, but I was referring back to the typo ALDANTE in your original message which was why I stated the posting time. But not to worry, exchanged attempts at humour often go awry here. At least we’ve established that we share a dislike of undercooked pasta!

  10. Enjoyed in spite of being garrotted and toasted by a cannibal. Only easy LYE NHO, but tricky throughout so average time.. FOI BATH, LOI EYE-OPENER, COD IN PERSON. Thanks Teasel and BR

  11. I started quickly and almost completed the left-hand side before making any headway on the right. I then crawled to an SCC finish, delayed by all the hurdles mentioned by earlier posters, especially CANNIBAL and my LOI IN PERSON.
    A typical Teaser from the master. Many very good clues but this was an interesting experience rather than a pleasure for me. My COD was EEYORE which raised a smile.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  12. Pinks at 23:28. Frustrated by the two cryptics at the end TOASTER (where I had to go through various -ER appliances such as blender, mixer, chopper etc). Gave up on CANNIBAL as train approached Waterloo. Just could not see it, went with CONVIVAL as nothing else would fit.

    Did no one else go for YEA(=solution) at 11a with “somewhat” indicating a hidden, and there it is in unexpectedlY EAsy. This messed up my Right Hand Side.

    Spent ages hunting for a FOI, eventually got AUNT, but thought the parsing was H{aunt}, with haunt=search.


  13. I found this tougher than usual, and took 15 minutes, with the LOI being Andante, not because I didn’t know the musical term but because I forgot/DK that Dante was a poet. POI was Swallow, which I got from checkers and the definition and then having decided that the Low at the end was the “down” part of the word play, wondered for some time where Swal came from. Doh.

    Not a helpful grid on the whole – words like Cannibal and Andante had unhelpful bunching of checkers and unchecked squares which made both a struggle. But it did have the saving grace that I found I had “solved” Lye without even trying – just as well as I have NHO the solution!

    Many thanks to BR for the blog

  14. Once again, just not on Teazel’s wavelength; passed on eight (= 69%, only marginally better than the last Teazel). MER at ANDANTE which is not any of the correct words for “slow” (Lento, Largo, Grave, Adagio); it literally means “going”, often defined as “at a walking pace” – many composers write Piu Andante (sorry can’t do the accent on that u) to mean faster.
    NHO LYE but had to be; had 24 THROTTLE which almost works but hence couldn’t parse 21 SIT.
    Thank you, BR, for all your instruction.
    Dear oh dear: since those two were wrong, down to 61%, worse than the last Teazel. Misery.
    P.S. I was commenting (rather cautiously, avoiding spoilers) on that Cryptic Jumbo dated 5 September to which you alerted me, John, but I can’t find those posts any more. Anyway, triumph: solved those last two – all done (just in time before tomorrow).

    1. “it literally means “going”, often defined as “at a walking pace” – many composers write Piu Andante (sorry can’t do the accent on that u) to mean faster.”

      So is it fast or walking pace? Walking pace seems a reasonable example of going slow

      1. As to whether “walking pace seems a reasonable example of going slow”, I suppose that’s a matter of opinion, as demonstrated by the fact that some composers write Piu Andante to mean faster, others to mean slower. But Andante does not mean “slow”, any more than “we’re making progress” (does that imply slow progress?) *means* slow progress.

  15. DNF today at 30 mins with CANNIBAL and ANDANTE unsolved. Cannibal is fair enough, I should have seen it but, as others have said, I was convinced it ended in ‘man’ and then decided it must be a latin name for some sort of louse.

    I remember from piano lessons that Andante was always ‘at a walking pace’ so ‘played slowly’ is a bit off. Depends how slowly one walks I suppose.

    I do have a gripe about 23a. ‘SH’ does not mean quietly in any sense I can think of. It can mean quiet but not quietly. Can anyone explain?

    1. You’re in a library, talking too loud to one of your students, and I’m studying at an adjoining table. ‘SH!’ I say. I don’t want to stop you, just quieten you down a tad.

      1. Wouldn’t that ‘SH’ mean ‘be quiet’? It’s a stretch to interpret it as a request to speak more quietly.

        1. I tell you to start doing something, you start doing that thing but much too loud, I might then say “Sh” indicating that you shouldn’t stop doing it but should do it more quietly

  16. 13 minutes today with a fair amount of time at the end over BATH, then TOASTER and LOI CANNIBAL. Like others, I have been caught out by Cannibal before.
    This was a good test and enjoyable I thought.
    COD to SIPHONED but other candidates too.

  17. A BreezeBlock solve with the culprit being CANNIBAL. 11:32 but I seem to be in good company.

  18. Rounded up to 14 minutes from a very similar time to LindsayO. I am surprised to see that so many have struggled with this to DNF. I thought that it was relatively easy for a Teazel. I am as unmusical as it is possible to get, but the general meaning of ALDANTE is familiar enough to me to make it gettable from the wordplay. I guess one has to be more musical than I to be offended by the slight inaccuracy of the definition. I thought CANNIBAL a good cryptic clue. Thanks both.

  19. Felt slow and stupid this morning, but almost finished. Like others, failed on CANNIBAL.
    FOI BATH then had to slog around the grid. Should have got SWALLOW sooner, ditto the easy TOASTER. Liked EEYORE, PINAFORE (LOI) SUPPLIER (also a late solve), BESEECH, ANDANTE.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  20. 9:09

    For me, that was the fastest of the three Teazel grids in September, though still felt slow, picking up the odd one or two on the acrosses and trying to fill in some gaps with the downs. Heard of LYE but didn’t know what it was. A hastily-bunged-in SPARROW didn’t help with POI LIFELINE and finished with the same LOI CANNIBAL as several others.

    Thanks Teazel and BR

  21. Leisurely but enjoyable, avoided the SCC by two minutes. Liked BRIEFLY and SIPHONED amongst others, and CANNIBAL went in almost instantly. The 1s weren’t as immediate so it took me a little time to sort out the top corner before progressing down. Didn’t like the grid much but it didn’t cause me any particular issue.

  22. I thought that was really tough and was surprised to see that the Quitch is only running at 106. Mind you I did open a bottle of Chateauneuf last night.

    Anyway, massive case of the NW Yips as SUPPLIER, SWALLOW, PINAFORE and LOI LIFELINE engaged me in ferocious hand-to-hand combat. And that was after COD CANNIBAL had already left me battered and bruised.

    Limped home in 11:05 for 1.8K and a Tough Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Bletchers.


  23. Same as a few others, ran out of time with Cannibal o/s, so like Merlin whacked in convival.

    I will be gracious to Teazel, so COD to cannibal.

  24. 24:59
    Frustratingly enjoyable.
    Frustratingly staring at too many clues just not seeing the answer, then seeing the answer and, after seeing the clue’s clever construction, enjoying the solve.
    FOI: 11ac LYE
    LOI: 20ac IN PERSON
    For me, a frustrating, challenging but ultimately enjoyable puzzle.
    Thank you Teasel, and thanks for the blog BR.

  25. Something of a breezeblock with CANNIBAL – I think I’ve been stumped by a similar clue before. Quicker than normal for me with Teazel.

    I also biffed SPARROW from “bird” and the checkers I had – S, A and W, which made LIFELINE harder than it should have been until I realised.


  26. Just over 10 minutes, because of course my last one in was CANNIBAL and of course I spent time looking for the wordplay!

  27. Beaten in a fair fight by SIPHONED which I just could not see despite having SI and three other letters. The PH combination didn’t help with an alphabet crawl either but it was a perfectly reasonable clue and obvious once I came to the blog.
    A very enjoyable puzzle for me.
    FOI was 1a for once
    Thank you Teazel and BR.

  28. I thought I might be in for a fast time as the bottom half went in quickly, with only SIPHONED not falling on the first pass. However the top half proved a great deal more intransigent as seems generally to have been the case, although I did manage to resist biffing sparrow at 1dn. Ended up all parsed in 16 minutes. Nice puzzle from Teazel I thought, pitched at about the right level.

    FOI – 5ac BATH
    LOI – 8ac CANNIBAL
    CODs – 2dn PINAFORE, 9ac LIFELINE and 5dn BRIEFLY

    Thanks to Teazel and BR

  29. Failed to get on the wavelength for a lot of this. All bar about 3 done in 20 mins but after 30 I gave up on CANNIBAL. LOI ANDANTE which, like others, I didn’t immediately connect to slow playing. Thanks br and Teazel.

  30. 14.26 Quite slow but fairly steady. SWALLOW, LIFELINE, BESEECH and MESH were the last few in. Thanks to BR and Teazel.

  31. A rare DNF on the QC for me today, where for the life of me I couldn’t get CANNIBAL. I had spent just about ten minutes to get to that point, and then another six minutes or so getting nowhere. Having discovered the answer I cannot fathom how it didn’t occur to me, but there we are. I stopped the clock at 16.15 with a pathetic attempt at a misspelt CANDYMAN with an I in lieu of the Y.

    1. Dear Mr Pandy,

      I also spent several minutes agonising over CANdImAn. Fortunately, my 94-year old father (I’m visiting him) having dozed off, I had nothing better to do than to keep on alphabet trawling until I found the correct solution.

      P.S. Do you have a Welsh brother called Tony?

      1. 😀 Nice one!
        In fact Tonypandy is about 25 miles from me deep in the Rhondda Valley. By a strange coincidence my older brother was called Tony, but he sadly is no longer with us.

  32. Double unches contributed to my downfall. Did not know Dante was a poet and NHO ADANTE and could have used that extra checker. SIPHONED took an age too, working on ‘named’ for ‘called’ and again could have done without the extra blank. LOI was CANNIBAL where an alphabet trawl was the only way out. 23m and relieved to make it.

  33. Another failing on CANNIBAL. Spent so much time looking for wordplay I couldn’t see the almost straight clue. Otherwise enjoyable. Favourites were LIFELINE and SIPHONED, the latter taking me quite some time to unravel. I found the grid mildly off-putting but it did provide the unknown LYE for free. Didn’t think too long and hard about ANDANTE but I can understand the minor gripes above. An enjoyable challenge and typically Teazely. Many thanks BR.

  34. 9.16

    Held up by the TOASTER CANNIBAL crossers at the end. A bit trickier elsewhere and never really got into a speedy flow.

    Am sitting in 5ac (town not soap suds) so that can be my WOD though also liked LYE

    Thanks Teazel and BR

  35. Completed in brief stages whilst at work. Hard to concentrate in a room full of people, so didn’t bother with the clock. I normally need total silence to even think about a half-decent time. Tricky but enjoyable.

  36. Hello and a belated thanks to everyone for the comments. I was interested to hear that many found CANNIBAL difficult (as I did) and I was educated by simjt, Martinu and others about ANDANTE and (to me) similar musical terms. I agree that this was on the hard side as my time suggested.

  37. Dnf…

    Frustrating as I only had 8ac “Cannibal” and 6dn “Toaster” to get before my cut off time, but they just wouldn’t come.

    However, enjoyed the rest of it, including 1dn “Swallow”, 16ac “Eeyore” and 12dn “Youngest”. Only slightly raised eyebrow was “Andante” for “slowly”. I always understood it to be “at a walking pace”, which I appreciate is open to interpretation, but always seemed just a little quicker than “slowly”.

    FOI – 13ac “Warble”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 19ac “Siphoned”

    Thanks as usual!

  38. Took a very long time. Spent a while on 10d trying to find a word beginning with B before the penny dropped. LOI IN PERSON – just couldn’t see it. Dictionary trawl needed for CANNIBAL. Not a good day.

  39. As is often the case with Teazel, I struggled today. My last three in (BESEECH, ANDANTE and CANNIBAL) accounted for nearly 20 minutes, so the earlier enjoyment had turned a little sour by the time I crossed the line. 47 minutes for me in the end.

    En-route, I was delighted to see EEYORE making an appearance, I had NHO LYE and I spent ages trying to make thRotTlE parse before SAG gave the game away.

    Many thanks to Teazel and BR.

  40. I made only an average start, but made good progress until Cannibal, which baffled me for quite a while, until I suddenly saw it. I thought it was a fair clue given that the crossers were helpful. Otherwise I might have thought differently. I liked Briefly. Thank you Teazel and Bletchley Reject.

  41. 18:43

    One of those that started easy but got gradually chewier despite the checkers going in. The last 5 took half my time including nearly 3 minutes on LOI CANNIBAL.

  42. Another QC completed.

    Avoiding the dreaded DNF is my aim, and I’ve been in the clear for some weeks now, but it took three attempts each side of shopping and walking the dog.

    Nothing really foxed me for too long, though like many LOI CANNIBAL kept staring back at me. COD EEYORE, laughed out loud.

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