Quick Cryptic No 2522 by Mara


One that is at the easier end of the scale today, with plenty of anagrams and double definitions. I count 6 of each. However, I wasn’t on form with anagrams, and ended up taking 16:20, which puts me dead last on the leaderboard as I type this.

I wasn’t keen on 1d and 5d: they seemed like a pair of weak clues that just about held each other up: DAD went in with a “well, what else could it be?” attitude, and then MUM in 1d confirmed that DAD was correct. I may be missing something and they may in fact be the cleverest clues ever, but if so, it was too clever for me.

Definitions underlined, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in strikethrough.

1 Seamen, I suspect, nasty lot (7)
MEANIES – Anagram [suspect] of SEAMEN I
5 Avoid  nothing (4)
DUCK – Double definition
7 Police force and uniformed personnel originally came together (3,2)
MET UPMET (Police force) + first letters [originally] of Uniformed Personnel
8 Look at  where one’s home is (7)
ADDRESS – Another double definition.
10 Metal, very little cut (3)
TINTINy (very little) [cut].
11 New receipts, including fifty for liqueur (6,3)
TRIPLE SEC – Anagram [new] of RECEIPTS and L [Roman 50].
13 Hard stuff bringing together two little girls (6)
ENAMELENA and MEL are both women’s names.

Perhaps the “little” refers simply to the length of the names?

14 Unwilling drunk, as ever (6)
AVERSE – Anagram [drunk] of AS EVER.
17 Veteran sorted gal out (3,6)
OLD STAGER – Anagram [out] of SORTED GAL.

This phrase is new to me. But the crossers made it inevitable.

19 Meal taken every afternoon, initially (3)
TEA – First letters [initially] of Taken Every Afternoon.
20 Slaver, something footballer might do? (7)
DRIBBLE – Double definition.

That’s “slaver” as a verb with a short “A” sound, meaning to drool.

22 Imperial unit formerly guarding university (5)
OUNCEONCE (formerly) around [guarding] U for university.
23 Sell sport the wrong way (4)
FLOG – GOLF (a sport) backwards [the wrong way].
24 Able to pay for vinegar, say? (7)
SOLVENT – Another double definition.
1 That’s confidential: you don’t say 5 down! (4,3,4)
MUMS THE WORD – Since 5 down is DAD, if you don’t say DAD, then perhaps you say MUM?
2 Number secured by girl — might one of those be on the house? (7)
ANTENNATEN (a number) inside [secured by] ANNA (random girl).
3 One’s clear about one becoming very eager (9)
IMPATIENTI’M (one’s) + PATENT (clear) around [about] I (one).

“One is” is the third-person equivalent of “I am”, so “One’s” as an indicator for “I’m” seems fair enough.

4 Fixed  charge? (6)
STATIC – Yet another double definition.
5 “Pop” as a palindrome? (3)
DAD – A word for “Pop” that is a palindrome.

Once the D was in place from DUCK, this just had to be the answer.

6 Game he’s into completely strategical, firstly (5)
CHESSHE’S inside [into] Completely Strategical [firstly].


9 Spook dancing centre stage (6,5)
SECRET AGENT – Anagram [dancing] of CENTRE STAGE.
12 Organ fund for city with two cathedrals (9)
LIVERPOOLLIVER (organ) + POOL (fund).

Don’t lots of cities have two cathedrals?

15 People following some mobile unit, erroneously sent up (7)
RETINUE – hidden in [some] reverse [sent up] in “mobilE UNIT ERroneously”.
16 Giant roses scattered round top of garden (6)
OGRESS – Anagram [scattered] of ROSES and G [top of Garden].
18 What dentist might use in practice (5)
DRILL – Our sixth double definition!
21 Huge piece of crab I grab! (3)
BIG – hidden in [piece of[ “craB I Grab”.

84 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 2522 by Mara”

  1. 13:44
    I biffed a lot of words only to find out they were anagrams (or hiddens!) after the fact.
    I really tried to anagram ‘seamen I’ into NEMESIS lol

    I GOT A DUCK MEANING NOTHING THE UNIVERSE HAS LISTENED! (did anyone see Glenn Maxwell’s innings last night, incredible)

    I nho of the girls name Ena, is that more popular in the UK?
    I needed the blog to parse IMPATIENT so thanks for that

    Foi: FLOG
    Cod: I liked the surface for CENTRE STAGE is that a chestnut, it’s so good

    Thanks everyone!

    1. Wish I had seen Maxie, unfortunately it was just too late and I had an early start for a long drive. Sounds amazing!

    2. Coronation Street was/is UK favourite TV serial.

      A much loved character was Ena Sharples.

      1. While I believe you and accept this, Neighbours is also a favourite Australian TV serial that has gone on for decades and a much loved character’s name was Toadfish. 😂

          1. Heck yes there was, but he wasn’t as beloved or as long lasting as our Toadie.

            I used to be a tutor on the Neighbours set for the teenage actors that didn’t go to school, it was great. Let it be known I tutored mathematics and I’m better at maths than I am at English 😂

            1. When I see how many Neighbours youngsters “made it big” you must have a pretty good contact list!!

  2. TRIPLE SEC took a long time to recall; but in general I was slow. Didn’t know their was dribbling in soccer; it’s what basketball players do. Biffed MUMS etc. without reading the clue, let alone parsing it. 8:59.

      1. FYI it ain’t soccer it’s football, where only the goalies are allowed to handle the ball whilst it’s in play!!!😃

  3. 14 minutes, which is only just within my new target. I wasn’t aware whilst solving of any particular hold ups although I did need some checkers to bring TRIPLE SEC to mind despite realising from the start that it was going to be an anagram.

  4. Apart from the odd DAD clue (like the Doof asked, am I missing something?) this was a fun and not all that easy Mara. 9.53 for me, the NW held me up for quite a while with ENAMEL, ANTENNA and LOI MEANIES being the main hold-outs.

  5. 20 mins…

    Started off slow on this and had to dip into the bottom half to get going. I thought something clever was going on with 5dn, so left it until the end when it became fairly obvious. Thankfully, 11ac was an anagram – otherwise I may never have got it.

    FOI – 19ac “Tea”
    LOI – 8ac “Address”
    COD – 3dn “Impatient”

    Thanks as usual!

  6. I fear I’ll be sent back towards the rear of the class today as this took me a good half hour. MUMS THE WORD went straight in but never having heard of OLD STAGER or TRIPLE SEC slowed me down significantly, as did trying to parse the ‘little girls’ in ENAMEL.
    Nonetheless I came in all green for the third day in a row, which was heartening.
    My favourite clue was RETINUE and today’s breezeblock, and therefore last one in, was ADDRESS.
    Many thanks to Doof and Mara for a nicely challenging start to the day.

  7. Did anyone else foolishly bung in the word “NEMESAI” for a dodgy plural of nemesis for 1A?

  8. 14 minutes, so not that easy for me, but today I do have extenuating circumstances. Like others, I struggled with TRIPLE SEC. I thought there might be a bit of a dental theme going on with DRILL, ENAMEL and DRIBBLE amongst the answers. Thanks Doofers and Mara.

  9. 5:16. LOI ENAMEL took a while to spot. “Hard stuff” along with the other drink references got me thinking I was looking for some sort of hard liquor. Anyone else think 3D might be an anagram of “one’s clear”? Too many anagrams for my liking. I needed the S and C crossers to see TRIPLE SEC. Thanks Mara and Doofers.

  10. The two little girls held me up a lot, because I was sure that the first one would be Eva. I dislike random names anyway, so having two of them (and one an antique to boot) was not a bonus.

    The rest of it went in reasonably briskly. I liked SECRET AGENT. As Doofers says, cities other than LIVERPOOL have two cathedrals, one Anglican and one Roman Catholic (Norwich, Newcastle and Portsmouth for example).

    All done in 07:15 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Mara and El Doofo.


    PS – the Quitch doesn’t seem to have an entry for today’s puzzle. Anyone else experiencing this?

    1. Plus my home town Coventry, with a rather splendid modern cathedral, adjacent to the ruins of the old one. I had the third letter V, and tried to biff it, but it wouldn’t fit, thankfully, seeing as it was nowhere near parsing either!

      1. A few cities have 2 cathedrals, but not many have a song about it:
        “… if you want a cathedral we’ve got one (two) to spare,
        In my Liverpool home.”

        1. Funnily enough, that’s a common song at Coventry games, except changing the name of the City obviously. “we speak with an accent exceedingly rare, you want a cathedral, we’ve got one to spare” etc. Lifted wholesale from the Liverpool version…

  11. 7:26 (Emperor Leo III bans the veneration of images)

    A very rare sub-K finish. No particular hold ups. LOI was RETINUE. Surprised at a non-feline clue for OUNCE. The leopard in question was once a common inhabitant of crossword land, but is now on the endangered list.

    Did anyone else have problems with the crossword club today? Accessing using Safari on an iPad, I got a completely blank page where the crossword club should be.

    Thanks Doofers and Mara

  12. Looks like I did OK on a reasonably tricky puzzle, or would have done but for SECRET AGNET, which also gave me OUNCN, and 2 pink squares. I’ll forgive myself for my records, but the leaderboard and the quitch won’t!

    LOI was STATIC after unpicking MEANIES.


  13. 5.23

    Rare train trip to the smoke today so fortunate to avoid typos with the juddering carriage.

    The surface for FLOG was rather apposite bearing in mind the Golf Wars taking place. LIVERPOOL was nice and smooth too.

    Thanks Doofers and Mara

  14. Slow to get going but gradually tuned in to finish in an averageish time only to get the DPS for a typo (despite proof reading it, grrrr).
    Had no idea about the number of cathedrals in LIVERPOOL but enjoyed the wordplay so that gets my COD
    Thanks to Doofers

  15. Struggled with this – anagram hat was in the wash, so of course Mara doubled down with the pesky things. On top of which I bunged in the usual Anne for the girl in 2d and didn’t notice (down clue) it was her cousin Anna until after several fruitless minutes looking at E*e*e* for the hardstuff. . . and it’s still too early for a consoling drop. Invariant

  16. Obviously a wavelength thing. No trouble with the main crossword but couldn’t get into the top left of this. I’ve got an old Oxford Crossword solver which bizarrely doesn’t recognise things like Triple Sec but will sometimes throw out a word which I can’t find in my OED.

  17. Solved, but did need the cat’s help with TRIPLE SEC. Never heard of it before.

    Didn’t like 17a.

    Other than that, a far better QC than yesterday’s.

    Doing well on the Daily Telegraph cryptic again today.

  18. A very fast time became 13 minutes as I struggled over a few at the end. LOI STATIC, obvious once you’ve thought of it. A long time spent on the unknown TRIPLE SEC. And I was slow to see IMPATIENT.
    COD to SECRET AGENT for the elegant anagram. But lots of good clues in a nice puzzle.
    My only frown was Mel for the girl but, as I think about it, there are plenty of them.

  19. Did finish in one go but dim on the top half. Should have got chestnut DUCK straightaway. Also slow on ADDRESS, ANTENNA, ENAMEL.
    Lots to like esp MUMS THE WORD, LIVERPOOL. Less keen on DAD clue.
    Agree that ENA Sharples was no little girl (hairnet emoji?)
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  20. 7:34

    Fast until the final quarter (NW) where I needed to make the 1a anagram to get 2d 3d and 4d before finishing with the hard stuff. Fortunately had the M at the start of 1a to avoid any possible word beginning NEMES… Noted too that 1d and 9d are mildly related…

    Never heard of any famous ENAs except for Mrs Sharples, though the next street to mine when growing up was ENA Road (steepest hill in the London Borough of Croydon).

    Thanks Mara and Doofers

  21. Found this both tough and frustrating, taking 13 minutes in all. Surprised at Meanies (needed the checkers to be totally confident that such a word was being used), Dad was in my view just a poor clue, no ifs no buts, and the surface for Mum’s the word was not IMO much better. I also share the dislike of random names – we had three girl’s names in this puzzle, and I too toyed with Eva as slightly less obscure than Ena. And while I have my grumpy hat on, didn’t much care for Address for look at either – if I am asked to address a situation, I think the boss wants me to do a bit more than look at it.

    OTOH delighted that for once Mara resisted the temptation to find a big cat reference for Ounce. Clever once, frustrating if used every time.

    Many thanks Doofers for the blog

    1. I guess the Blue Meanies in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine movie gives the word some credibility.

  22. I was pushed to a 10 mins solve by just a few uncooperative clues. I took ages to see MEANIES despite knowing it was an anagram. This also meant ANTENNA was a late solve because it involved a random girl’s name (my pet hate). I am awarding my LOI ENAMEL a GR. I knew what to do but ENA is a NHO girl’s name. I have never watched Coronation Street! On a positive note I did like LIVERPOOL and SOLVENT.

  23. Finished correctly in 48 mins today. Which is quite good for me .
    Struggled with a few (Triple Sec, Enamel, Solvent, Secret Agent) but can’t understand why I did. They are not unfair clues – though I had not heard of Triple Sec before.

    Minor quibble with Enamel. I expected an answer made up of 2 abbreviated girl’s names.
    Mel is short for Melanie but Ena is not an abbreviation.

    1. I read one source that suggested Ena is an abbreviation of Irene but haven’t found it verified elsewhere.

      1. Ena B Maxwell is a recurring joke in Private Eye – “At one point the magazine printed many letters from a reader named “Ena B. Maxwell”, of “Headington Hall, Oxfordshire”, the real-life address of Robert Maxwell. The letters were written by the Private Eye editorial team, and the pseudonym was attached to suggest that he was writing to the magazine under an assumed identity. The letters were careful not to make any legally actionable claims, instead containing material that was impertinent or absurd in order to ridicule Maxwell. “Ena” still makes occasional appearances in the letters column with varying surnames.”

  24. This could be the first 100% successful week. I am at 3 for 3.
    Times not important. Just finishing is enough for me.
    Nearly blew it with ENAMEL, I was looking for a type of drug!

  25. Found this easier than the two previous puzzles this week. All solved and parsed in 16 minutes for an encouraging day – maybe the brain cells haven’t died off after all. I agree with those who think that 5dn is just a poor clue and I don’t see that 1 dn needs to reference it really – just leave it at ‘…you don’t say!’

    FOI – 1ac MEANIES
    LOI – 4dn STATIC
    COD – 12dn LIVERPOOL but once again I think the last three words in the clue are superfluous. Also liked 18dn DRILL

    Thanks to Mara and Doofers

  26. Pretty straightforward, although IMPATIENT and STATIC took me longer than they should have to get. I am another who dislikes the boy/girl names clues.

  27. My third quickish time this week, finishing in 7.48. It didn’t look as if I would be under target at first as I was pretty slow to start, but I picked up speed and was flying at the end. My LOI was STATIC, and I needed all the checkers to solve it having returned to it for a third time.
    On my last visit to Liverpool, I went round both cathedrals and would heartily recommend anyone to do the same if they find themselves there.

  28. 11:08.
    Lots of anagrams.
    Found it quite chewy. Especially the north west.
    LOI Impatient
    COD Liverpool

  29. A DNF for me. Like others I couldn’t get away from the thought that one of the girls should be EVA, even though it’s not abbreviated. If we want to attract a new generation then words such as ENA need to go.

    COD Fixed charge?

    Thanks Mara and Doofers

  30. Managed to type SECREe AGENT for today’s typo – really must concentrate on elimating those sort of things. Took 12m over this. ENAMEL LOI which I quite enjoyed. I have seen Coronation Street but Ena Sharples was before my time (Reg Holdsworth era). Too young to know Councillor Roberts was a big man in bad shape before opening his shop until Moviedrome put that right some years later.

  31. 23:19 for me. Got held up at the end with TRIPLE SEC even though I had the anagram and the L.. I’m not good on alcoholic drinks having been TT or a simple wine drinker most of my life. Needs all the checkers for IMPATIENT as my LOI even though I am sure I’ve pretty much seen that same clue before. Still, a very pleasant solve over lunch in a pleasant cafe.

    Thanks to Mara and Doofers.

  32. Like others I needed the crossers for ENAMEL, although once I’d discarded EVA, ENA was the obvious choice. I had a long spell in hospital in the late 70s and one of the nurses was called Ena. FOI, MET UP. LOI, STATIC. 6:32. Thanks Mara and Doofers.

  33. 18:49

    Held up by putting MARINES in at 1a, misreading the anagram and misremembering the slang for the RM. It’s the Jollies not the Nasties.

    DAD, weak clue.


  34. Must have been reasonably well tuned in to the wavelength as I sneaked into the top 100 on the leaderboard.

    No stand out clues for me but a decent work out.

    Thanks Mara and Doofers.

    Time: 8:34

  35. I found this straightforward and finished in 33m making 3 finishes this week which is 3 more than last week.
    Fortunately I had an Aunt Ena so ENAMEL was not a problem.
    Nice puzzle and blog thanks.

  36. 11.28 All fairly straightforward with three minutes at the end spent on ENAMEL. Like several others, I was trying to find something that began with Eva. Thanks to Doofers and Mara.

  37. Has anyone drunk TRIPLE SEC in say the last 50 years? And ENA only being known from 1960 / 1970 sitcom? Please can we have clues less stuck in the past!

    But yes I enjoyed the anagrams and just about got there (including TRIPLE SEC because “what else can it be with these crossers”).

    1. Quoi ?!
      I drink triple sec nearly every night. COINTREAU is one of my favorite libations. Especially with cognac and lemon juice (a sidecar).

  38. 13:17
    I thought I was on to beat Monday’s 11:56 PB but I stalled on my last two in – STATIC and ENAMEL the latter, as others, with my brain stuck on EVA as opposed to ENA.
    Completely agree with Doofers on 1dn and 5dn.
    FOI: 1ac MEANIES
    LOI: 13ac ENAMEL
    Thanks to Doofers and MARA.

  39. Just the briefest of posts today, as I now have to act as a taxi service. I will read everyone’s comments later.

    Enjoyable. Quite challenging in places. Slow to get started. LOI = ENAMEL. Total time = 29 minutes.

    Thanks to Mara and Doofers.

  40. I’d point out DAD might have been DUD – an explosive that goes pop instead of bang 💥 So the reference from 1D clarifies that.


  41. Never heard of Old Stager?! I was desperate to put in Old codger with the letters I had – would have fitted nicely but would have made no sense! Triple Sec – is needed to make the BEST Margheritas ever. We have a bottle in our booze cupboard – highly rec if you love a salty Marg! Hic!

  42. 16:47

    If we’re going to have OGRESS, shouldn’t she be a GIANTESS? Struggled with LOI ENAMEL, not knowing Ena as a girls name.

  43. Another horrific outing. I am going backwards faster than an Olympic rowing team.

    I had all the clues bar one well inside the SCC cut-off. I was left with 4dn to finish:
    S-A-I-. Three lousy letters.

    What was my time? 1 hour!!!!

    There is absolutely nothing anyone can say to convince me that I am anything other than a total incompetent when it comes to the QC. I just freeze and can’t get the last clue. I’m well beyond breeze block territory. How the hell could I not get STATIC?

    I have had a nightmare four days and am feeling utterly useless. This has happened so often recently that I think there is something wrong with me.

    My times are an embarrassment and there is zero light at the end of the tunnel. My confidence and enthusiasm are both nil. I did better than this as a novice and I am now solving more slowly than any other solver. The harder I try, the worse I get. Where has my ability gone???

    Sorry to be so miserable, but that is the point I have reached with these exasperating puzzles. I cannot understand how it is possible to get worse despite doing the QC each day.

    Thanks for the blog.

    Dreading tomorrow. ☹️☹️☹️

    1. I have empathy with you! I always do the QC in the evening before bed and usually enjoy it but sometimes have to accept that my brain is not wired for hard cryptics! Failed on Enamel tonight, however when I do get to finish it, it is quite satisfying. Normally the QC is about ok for my ability but I never time myself. Keep at it and enjoy the successes!

  44. Better today – 9:32, but with one minute spent on my LOI! I liked the surface for LIVERPOOL (I also like the city!) My son is doing a masters there at the moment and was doing some work at the Anglican Cathedral last week, so that’s a nice connection.
    Bearing in mind that Dorothy, Elsie and Winifred are all becoming popular again, I wonder how long before we start seeing little Enas in the Times birth announcements!
    Triple sec – Cointreau 😋
    FOI Meanies LOI Enamel COD Secret agent (although it might have been more appropriate on Halloween! )
    Thanks Mara and Doofers

  45. Relax Gary A, I’m pretty crap at these as well. I don’t bother keeping a time because I dip in and out between calls. I finished this one apart from enamel – had Eva in my head and couldn’t see past it.

  46. Just musing that the reason why I got the answers of MEANIES and LIVERPOOL easily is that I subconsciously found a link between: seamen -> Yellow Submarine -> (Blue) Meanies who were the villains in Yellow Submarine -> The Beatles -> Liverpool.

Comments are closed.