Quick Cryptic No 2646 by Teazel


A puzzle that I found of medium difficulty from Teazel. A mixture of write-ins (SAMPLE, KEEP, KITE, OZONE, GALA) with some slightly trickier ones, particularly the odd-looking JACKKNIFED meant that this took me 14:47, with perhaps the last 5 minutes spent on my last two, ATTAIN and CHEW.

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

1 Sailor, stabbed, doubled over (10)
JACKKNIFED – JACK (sailor) + KNIFED (stabbed).

I thought this looked most peculiar as a single word. But my SOED has “jackknife” as a verb as a top-level entry, so I guess it’s kosher.

The “doubled-over” meaning refers to when an articulated lorry has a mishap which ends up with the pulling part pointing in almost the opposite direction to the pulled part.

8 Shortly put down one chapter in colloquial speech (7)
DEMOTIC – DEMOTe (put down [shortly]) + I (one) + C (chapter, as in bible references).
9 Basket maker more comfy out of cold (5)
OSIERCOSIER (more comfy) without [out of] C (cold).

Baskets are made of osiers, so an osier is a “basket maker” in much the same way as a brick could be a “wall maker”. I’m struggling to come up with a real-life example of “X is made of Y, so Y is an X maker”, though.

10 Prepare to swallow a red wine at the start (4)
CHEW – CHE (Guevara, communist: red) + Wine [at the start].

My LOI and COD: seeing “swallow” next to “red wine” meant that it took me forever to separate the “red” from the “wine at the start”.

11 Set of bells in collar, moving (8)
CARILLON – Anagram (moving) of IN COLLAR.

I think I dredged this up from The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. An excellent book. But a very unusual word.

13 Get thanks when opening a can (6)
ATTAIN – TA (thanks) inside [opening] A TIN (a can).

I’m struggling to find an example where “opening” means “inside”, although I’m sure I’ve seen it before in Crosswordland.

14 Son makes big strides skiing here (6)
SLOPES – S for son (as in Who’s Who entries: “s. of Lord and Lady Wossname…” + LOPES (makes big strides).
17 Regular staff, one looking after cattle (8)
STOCKMAN – STOCK (normal, regular) + MAN (staff, as a verb).
19 A convict returning for festival (4)
GALA – A LAG (a convict) reversed [returning].
21 Female at Hebridean isle? (5)
FIONA – F for female + IONA (Hebridean isle).

“Female” appears to be doing double duty here, being both the definition and part of the wordplay.Perhaps the question mark is there to show us that Teazel knows he’s being a bit naughty?

I wondered whether there was perhaps another island called Fiona, to make “isle” the definition, but came up blank on a Google search, despite this rather wonderful map of Denmark from 1634: the caption has dropped an “I” from “Fionia”, the title that actually appears on the map.

22 Simulated pressure on nurse (7)
PRETEND – P (pressure) + RE (about, on) + TEND (nurse).

I had a moment of “but ‘PRE’ isn’t a valid abbreviation for pressure”, until the penny dropped about ‘RE’ and the harrumphing subsided.

23 Part of simple sum in school exam (6-4)
ELEVEN-PLUS – “Eleven plus three” (or any other number) is a simple sum, so “eleven plus” is “part of a simple sum”.

The “school exam” refers to a test given to children at age 11 or 12 to determine where they will go for secondary education. It was compulsory for all in the past (my parents took it) and survives – at least in spirit – in the entrance examinations for some grammar schools.

2 Support for limb motionless initially in seizure (7)
ARMREST – Motionless [initially] in ARREST (seizure).
3 Bird of prey  child has on a string (4)
KITE – double definition.
4 By the sound of it, swallowed a delicious drink (6)
NECTAR – Homophone clue [by the sound of it]. With a willing mind, I can just about say that NECTAR sounds a bit like “necked a” (‘swallowed a’, in horrible slang).
5 Briefly run up to a series of boats (8)
FLOTILLA – FLOw (run [briefly]) + TILL (up to, as in ’till now’/’up to now’) + A.

I was much more confident of the parsing of TILL before I wrote it down.

6 Bore  strict training (5)
DRILL – Another double definition.
7 Best seats here, but a thousand can’t sit down? (10)
GRANDSTAND – GRAND (thousand) + STAND (what you do if you can’t sit down.)
8 Remove restrictions from disc, safely reformatted (10)
DECLASSIFY – Anagram [reformatted] of DISC SAFELY.
12 Steal identity, an informal one (8)
NICKNAME – NICK (steal) + NAME (identity).
15 In large level area place a meal for all to see (7)
PLATEAU – PL for place + A + TEA (meal) + U (for all to see, film ranking).

I think the “In” at the start of the clue is just filler for the surface reading.

16 Specimen, small, more than adequate (6)
SAMPLE – S (small) + AMPLE (more than adequate).
18 Toxic gas over region (5)
OZONE – O (over, from cricket) + ZONE (region).
20 Secretly look up to find castle tower (4)
KEEP – PEEK (secretly look), reversed [up, since this is a down clue].

90 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 2646 by Teazel”

  1. I have to go back to school. I have never heard of ELEVEN-PLUS, CARILLON, OSIER, DEMOTIC, JACKKNIFED

    FLOTILLA is on the edge of my vocab, and the flippin’ Hebredies! I looked up a list of the isles and got IONA but was really iffy on the wordplay about the Female being used twice.

    I found DECLASSIFY tricky also.

    Twas a disaster here.

    1. There’s a Carillon in the middle of Lake Burley Griffin – time to join the next school trip to Canberra 😛
      Very tough, kind of gave up with two words remaining.
      Happy Wednesday to Pi!

      1. Oh yes, now you mention it, I remember the Carillon on Lake Burley Griffin from days of yore. Must’ve been why I knew the word.

      2. We’ve got a carillon here in Loogabarooga (as an Australian is supposed to have pronounced it!) Entertaining recitals twice a week – but everyone pronounces it carrillion 😅

  2. 11:40 I needed help from the blog to parse PLATEAU, CHEW, and PRETEND-thanks! I was pleased, though, to be able to parse FLOTILLA, DEMOTIC and NECTAR on my own.

  3. With a SNITCH of 112 at the moment, not an easy one evidently. It certainly took me over my target of 6′. LOI ATTAIN took me a while, and I hesitated over FIONA. No problem with CARILLON, though; the campanile at UC Berkely has one. JACKKNIFE isn’t particularly truck-related; it’s a dive where the diver doubles up. Is “child has on a string” a definition? 7:48.

  4. 12 minutes. I started off well but then was slowed down by a few like CHEW and the “beginner clue” OZONE. I biffed FLOTILLA and wasn’t sure of the parsing for ELEVEN-PLUS, eventually coming up with the same explanation as Doofers. I only knew the “popular” and not the ‘colloquial speech’ sense of DEMOTIC. Kevin’s comment reminded me that JACKKNIFE can also be a noun. I took ‘child has on a string’ to be a sort of cryptic hint.

    I parsed FIONA as an &lit, with FIONA being a Scottish (or I now see Gaelic) name and the question mark suggesting that any ‘Female at Hebridean isle?’ might be called FIONA.

    Thanks to Teazel and Doofers

    1. In Greece nowadays people speak Demotic, i.e. every day Greek, as opposed to Katharevousa which is, or was, used in official documents. As far as I remember, that is.

  5. At 14 minutes I found this hard too.

    LOI was DEMOTIC which went in eventually just because it was the only word I could think of that fitted the checkers, and as it turns out there are no others. Like Bletchers, I have never heard of it in the sense of ‘colloquial speech’. It has appeared on five occasions over the years in the regular puzzles, each time without comment from me, and each time but one defined simply as ‘popular’. The exception was ‘in popular language’ which I suppose is equivalent to today’s definition, but that was 12 years ago and I hadn’t remembered it.

    I can’t think of a particular example of a CARILLON in the UK (I’m sure there must be some) but they are hard to avoid when travelling around Europe where they are almost commonplace in historic town squares often in the form of a musical clock. They are used in orchestras occasionally and CARILLON is also the name of an organ stop that gives the effect of bells. For solvers who enjoy cringeworthy puns I feel that an opportunity was missed to clue it with reference to a popular series of comedy films starring Sid James et al.

    1. There is a carillon at St Albans cathedral. The organ there has a cimbelstern, which whilst not a carillon, is bell related.

      1. Interesting. I used to visit there a lot but never knew that. Also I always thought it was officially an Abbey but, at least according to Wiki, referring to it as ‘The Abbey’ is very much a local thing. I suppose I lived close enough to qualify as a local and picked it up at an early age.

        1. I think you’re correct. I sing there from time to time, and I usually tell folks locally that I’m off to sing at The Abbey.

    2. And I used to know the beautiful one at Bournville well. DNK even the “occasional” use of a carillon in the orchestra – would be very interested, please?

    3. I remembered Dr Johnson in Black Adder the Third referring to his ‘pre-meditated orchestration of demotic Anglo-Saxon.’ Much more low-brow than Lindsay O’s example!

    4. There is a carillon in Loughborough! And also a bell foundry in Loughborough (near Leicester for those who need a reminder). Loughborough also boasts a great university 😀

      1. If I remember my history correctly, Loughborough was also the destination for the world’s first package holiday (from Leicester organised by Thomas Cook). I’m not sure I’d head there for my holidays these days though.

        1. You’re both right on all counts. Taylor’s Bell Foundry is the last one in the UK. Also the Great Central Railway – the UK’s only double track, main line heritage railway – is based here. Something for everyone!

  6. 12.36 for me, a tough Teazel made tougher by my inability see easier ones like KITE, NICKNAME and STOCKMAN until late in the piece. Thanks to the Doof for explaining PRETEND and PLATEAU. Not a fan of the NECTAR clue. There is a splendid CARILLON in Canberra, on an island in Lake Burley Griffin, donated by the people of GB to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Canberra. Quite a magnificent gift for a rather ho-hum event. At 8ac I was reminded of The Wasteland, when Mr Eugenides ‘asked me in demotic French/to luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel.’

      1. After I wrote that I suddenly realised I might be spiking the guns of Myrtilus, then remembered this was a QC and I don’t recall seeing him here!

  7. A tricky one for me this morning so I threw in the towel after 30 minutes with CHEW and ATTAIN to go. So that’s 1 pinky and a DNF so far this week.
    I liked GRANDSTAND and ELEVEN PLUS – (even though I’m very anti it!)

  8. Failed on the LHS – DEMOTIC, CHEW and ATTAIN all beyond me. I got NECTAR but hadn’t parsed. I got the ‘necked’ bit but it wasn’t until I read Doofer’s hint that I put it in a sentence and said it out loud – my first words of the day! – that I realised it worked. DNK CARILLON but all the letters were there. ELEVEN PLUS alive and well and earning tutors a living in Buckinghamshire. Both my daughters sat it as do all children in year 6 across the county (Kent and Lincolnshire too I think).

  9. I found this decidedly tricky, especially the SW corner, but very enjoyable nonetheless and a great example of a QC that shows what is waiting for those who want to progress to the main Times crossword.

    Interestingly, at just a shade under my cut off time for a QC, it took me almost exactly the same time as did yesterday’s main crossword which was one of my fastest times there ever. So I guess that, for me at least, a hard QC is equivalent to an easy main.

  10. I join those who found this hard going – 14 minutes but several clues biffed but not parsed, several words not really known (eg Demotic, Osier), query over whether Declassify means remove restrictions, took an age to understand the wordplay in Attain, thought clueing Eleven-plus as “part of simple sum” very iffy and imprecise (so are lots of other possibilities), shrugged at Fiona because the wordplay asks too much of the F, understood Grandstand but surely it isn’t can’t sit down but don’t sit down, etc, etc, grumble, grumble … Oh, and the timer on the app is still broken and won’t stop on completion.

    Clearly Teazel and I did not see eye to eye on this one. Onwards and upwards and tomorrow is another day.

    Many thanks Doofers for the blog

  11. No exact time but estimate 19:00.
    Found this very hard, there were some great clues but the left hand side of the grid was tough.
    Getting stockman was the catalyst to finishing. The other ones I found hard were:
    Demotic (dnk), chew (COD), attain, Fiona, armrest, nickname.

  12. 6:21 ….which counts as reasonably hard in my book. LOI DEMOTIC – I word I knew, but not what it meant. A good workout. Thank-you Teazel and Doofers.

  13. Decidedly tricky. Timer on the app still broken (not accessed via crossword club) and all green in 8:57… which I’ll take because I was sitting very comfortably on the SCC couch for some considerable time. Anyone else MER at arrest=seizure? Cardiac… arrest=stop and seizure=ictus=apoplexy=fit in doctorese or am I missing a non medical meaning apprehend =seize???
    Tricksy Teazel. Thanks Doof

  14. Found this hard going with the LHS being particularly tricky. NHO DEMOTIC and I initially biffed a tentative ‘dialect’, which further slowed things up. Needed all the checkers before attempting the unknown CARILLON.
    Persistence (and a break) paid off and I eventually ground out the solution in 14.46 but with NECTAR unparsed which, to my mind, simply doesn’t work as a homophone for necked.
    Thanks to Doofers

    1. There’s the “a” after swallowed – (“necked” “a”) = NECTAR, no doubt not in all accents, but close enough in mine.

  15. 9:22

    I too found this to be on the harder side – only three acrosses in on the first pass, and not that many downs either! Eventually made it to three left after 7 minutes – CHEW, NICKNAME and finally STOCKMAN (didn’t know if this would actually be a word but bunged in nevertheless). Not keen on the ELEVEN-PLUS wordplay and couldn’t have said what DEMOTIC meant either. So a bit meh on the whole.

    Thanks Doofenschmirtz and Teazel

  16. Ah, so it was Teazel, my regular Nemesis. Back to earth with a bump at 12:16, struggling all over the grid including on many of the clues loftily dismissed as beginner level (like OZONE, KITE and GALA – I tried hard to convince myself there must be a festival called “noca” for a while). LOI was STOCKMAN, where “regular staff” and a starting S convinced me that this began SAF. Hey ho, it was hard but it was fun. 1.6K for a Tough Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Doofers.


  17. 10:28 (Cnut deposes St Olaf, to become King of Norway)

    There is a CARILLON in Bournville,, which gives recitals most Saturdays, and well worth a visit if you are in the Birmingham area.

    There were two today that I biffed without being able to parse – FLOTILLA and PLATEAU. Thanks Doofers for making sense of them.

  18. I barely scraped inside my target, and I was slow to see how a number of the answers worked. DEMOTIC was a word I didn’t know, and I came close to biffing “flora” before the truth dawned on my LOI.

    TIME 5:43

    Fairly slow. I did know DEMOTIC, see above, having lived in Greece some 50 years ago.
    Liked STOCKMAN, GRANDSTAND, NICKNAME, OSIER, despite particularly disliking the word Comfy.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  20. Tough for me, into the SCC with several in the NW still holding out. LOI, CHEW went in on the basis that it fitted, and seemed likely to include a W, but failed to separate Red and Wine to see the parsing. DEMOTIC (barely remembered, definition forgotten) and ARMREST also evaded me for ages.
    Good to see the PEEK KEEP clueing making a speedy return – funny how often that seems to happen.
    NECTAR amused me, also GRANDSTAND. Enjoyable brain exercise. Thanks for a helpful blog.

  21. Also thought this very chewy. NHOs CARILLON and STOCKMAN, although at least the latter was parseable.

  22. Found this tough today but I got there in the end without any errors. ATTAIN was my last. Stockman took forever.

  23. I found this pretty tricky, with the left hand side remaining quite bare. I kept plugging away though, with JACKKNIFE & DECLASSIFY opening things up. WITCH showing it’s a wavelength puzzle, with lots of green, but lots of orange and red too.

    LOI was STOCKMAN, COD was DECLASSIFY, though I thought there were lots of neat clues.


  24. May I plead that in Bible references Chapter is always Ch, not C?
    Surely “simulated” = PRETENDED?
    NHO “necked a” (glad to say)
    Managed less than half this (3 out of 4 of your “beginner clues”, vinyl1 – DNK OZONE was toxic – so I’m nearly up to “beginner” standard …)

    1. One of the hard (or equally fun) things about these crosswords is that way the setters use sometimes less obvious grammatical forms of common words. In this case, it is the adjective form of both SIMULATED and PRETEND that the setter is using rather than the more obvious verb form.

      1. Thank you! Actually, I did think of that. But I judged a phrase such as “a pretend gun” to be only colloquial (even, only by children in the playground?), not strictly correct; was that wrong, i.e. it is correct in literary English? Even colloquially: would criminals say to each other that they are carrying “pretend guns”?

        1. I don’t know about literary English, but I have used “pretend” as an adjective in a scientific paper (in a context where “virtual” was open to ambiguity), and got the word past the peer reviewers.

  25. Struggled a bit but finished without parsing CHEW and PLATEAU. Also not sure about the clue for FIONA, although the answer was obvious. Pleased that OSIER and CARILLON are still in my aging brain! Thanks Teazel and Doofers for the clear explanations.

  26. Well reading the comments above this is clearly a tough one. For some reason I found myself on the setters wavelength, and finished nicely under target at 8.59
    I didn’t make the mistake I made yesterday when I managed to submit PEEP instead of PEEK. This time round KEEP was pretty straightforward.

  27. Some challenges in this one, not helped by misspelling JACKNIFFED! Once that was seen NECTAR was obvious, although hardly homophonic with necked…

  28. Very hard. I too failed to split red & wine for 10a CHEW and the 5d FLOTILLA was a total biff. Also didn’t get the 23a ELEVEN-PLUS instruction, but it fitted so in it went. Thanks to doofers and Teazel. 21a I too was tempted by FLORA and agree that the Female is doing double-duty for FIONA.

  29. Echoing comments above, I found this quite tough getting stuck in the NW.
    JACKKNIFED unlocked it. LOI DEMOTIC which I knew was a word at least. 18 minutes.
    Biffed OBTAIN which caused a hold up and was slightly worried about the parsing of FIONA.
    Enjoyed the discussion above about CARILLON.

  30. DNF.
    Sorry to moan but this is another one which is just to difficult for the average solver.
    I just looked at the first few across and thought – this is another QC for the ‘experts’ :
    1 Sailor, stabbed, doubled over (10)
    JACKKNIFED – JACK (sailor) + KNIFED (stabbed).
    8 Shortly put down one chapter in colloquial speech (7)
    DEMOTIC – DEMOTe (put down [shortly]) + I (one) + C (chapter, as in bible references).
    9 Basket maker more comfy out of cold (5)
    OSIER – COSIER (more comfy) without [out of] C (cold).
    10 Prepare to swallow a red wine at the start (4)
    CHEW – CHE (Guevara, communist: red) + Wine [at the start].”

    These are supposed to be quick cryptics for goodness sake.
    Very depressing for a wet Wednesday morning.

  31. 12:44 but with 1 error. I did not see FIONA and thought it was a straight double def, and that there might be an island called FLORA.

    Very good clues, but tricky in places. DEMOTIC is a pretty obscure word. I think one of the scripts on the Rosetta Stone is called Demotic.

    Bruges has a CARILLON, but true Brits prefer the mathematical nature of a peal as done in “change tinging”. Tunes? From Bells? How foreign.


    1. If you think a Carillon is weird, take a look at a Glass Armonica (concentric glass bowls mounted on a revolving central shaft and played with wet fingers.) There is one in the Copenhagen music museum (along with many other wonderful instruments).

  32. Hard but doable with just the two NHO words (given that I’ve long since forgotten that I’d never heard of OSIER before I started doing crosswords so it now seems normal and hence was my FOI) that most others didn’t know either; CARILLON and DEMOTIC. LOI was ATTAIN after 25:10. Thanks Teazel and Doofers.

  33. Definitely in the SCC today, taking far too long to get ‘kite’ and ‘nectar’ which seemed obvious once solved. Searched memory for a Hebridean isle called Lora until Iona popped up! In collar suggested carillon immediately (the anagram would have been harder with the German Glockenspiel) and, to answer Martinu, not many carillons seem to figure in orchestral works: unless we include Papageno’s magic bells in Zauberflöte. Britten played a lot with bells and chimes too, with exotic effect. But a proper carillon can weigh 40 tons or more! COD jackknifed (which looked wrong but had to be) and LOI attain which was no attainment on my part! Tough puzzle.

  34. Very tricky. I finished in 24 minutes but with an error – I had ‘flora’ at 21ac having failed to remember the correct Hebridean isle. Several unparsed or not completely parsed – PLATEAU, CHEW, ELEVEN PLUS – so thanks to Doofers for providing the key to those. Knew OSIER, CARILLON, STOCKMAN and DEMOTIC, although I would have been hard pressed to provide a definition of the last of those. Looking forward to a better effort tomorrow!

    FOI – 19ac GALA
    LOI – 10ac CHEW

  35. I got bored with this one after answering perhaps 2/3 of the clues, and submitted off leaderboard incomplete. Just didn’t entertain neither myself nor Pumpa.

  36. Dnf…

    I found this hard and gave up after 35 mins with 10ac “Chew” and 13ac “Attain” both blank. Just couldn’t see the former, and was thinking more along the lines of ‘gulp’ etc. In addition, I put “Armband” for 2dn which didn’t help.

    FOI – 3dn “Kite”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 22ac “Pretend”

    Thanks as usual!

  37. Very tough. Biffed CHEW, ATTAIN with a shrug before giving up – amazed that both were correct! Looked up D-M-TIC to find DEMOTIC – NHO. Top end of difficulty for a QC.

  38. 42:17 over two sittings, having taken a break this morning at thirty-five mins with DEMOTIC, NICKNAME, STOCKMAN left.

    [rant]Eight puzzles from Teazel this year – only 1 completed in under 25mins. That’s well above my average. I contend he/she is inappropriate for the QC slot. My list of NHOs was extended to 47 for the year by DEMOTIC/STOCKMAN and possibly CARILLON should be on there too. 10 of those NHOS are assigned to Teazel, next highest is Orpheus at six and no-one else is above four. I couldn’t parse PLATEAU at all and while I saw what was going on in ATTAIN – it’s a poor clue for a QC [/rant]

    Pleased to finish it and can see why some of the clues looked QC level but I don’t think it was.

  39. Definitely on the tricky side! I had to leap around the grid. ARMREST was FOI. DEMOTIC from wordplay. Took a while to see KITE, but it then allowed me to see JACKKNIFED. ELEVEN PLUS was LOI. 7:59. Thanks Teazel and Doofers.

  40. 13.00 I found this quite hard but after belatedly solving DECLASSIFY and JACKKNIFED it became very biffable. LOI PRETEND. Thanks Doofers and Teazel.

  41. One of the hardest QCs requiring much use of aids. The jackknife double K seems to need a hyphen to make it look right.

  42. Gave up after 30. Horrible horrible. But then again Teazel is hard and should not be on the QC’S. There’s my moan for the day.

  43. Plugged away at this but needed help to finish the LOI ATTAIN.
    CARILLON has come up before as I remember looking it up being convinced it had two i’s but it turns out that was the Company involved in a scandal.
    This was tough but on the plus side I would have been nowhere near finishing when I started these QCs 18 months ago.

  44. 32:29 and I thought it was just me (have a horrible cold) until coming here. When I started reading the clues they were complete gibberish! GALA was my FOI and I feared it would be my last. Finally the wheels started turning. LOI STOCKMAN, COD ARMREST. I’m sorry to say that CHEW and NECTAR put me off my breakfast.

    Never in a million years would I have parsed PLATEAU. TEA as a meal is a stretch for me, but I do recognize it. The codes for film classification, though! Thank you Doof!

    Thanks to Teazel for an enjoyable challenge.

  45. Hard but fair except for the fact that an arrest is not a seizure or vice versa! DNK demotic, DNF for me

  46. 6.26

    Definitely wavelengthy but not sure why. DECLASSIFY straight in and worked round from there. Did see DEMOTIC quite quickly which helped

    Thanks all


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