Times Quick Cryptic No 2212 by Orpheus

I can scarcely be said to have finished this puzzle, but let us say it came to an end in 13:28. I’m not sure if it was actually that difficult, or if the puzzle just involved many words unknown to me. Or I was just way off the wavelength.

My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in italics. I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.

1 Possible milk supplier [given] chips by Scotsman, perhaps (8)

Dutch dairy cattle.

5 Reportedly crucial place for loading and unloading ships (4)
QUAY – homophone of KEY

This is the year I learned to pronounce this word. It’s come up a bunch in the Chronicles of Narnia, which I am reading to my children.

8 Impress popular writer (8)
9 Criticism originally faced by the French / king (4)
FLAK – first letter of FACED + LA (‘the’, in French) + K
11 Expert having tendency to conceal notes (5)
ADEPT – APT around D + E
12 Old Arab nomad partially relishes a race north (7)
13 Cut out PE without hesitation (6)
15 Ravine [identified by] Tory touring a US state (6)
CANYON – CON around A + NY
18 Noblewoman initially devouring undercooked / game (7)
19 Qualm about king[’s] possible aircraft accident (5)
PRANG – PANG around R

This was hard for me. Couldn’t really see ‘qualm’ = PANG and didn’t really know PRANG.

21 Devotional carving kept in attic once (4)
ICON – hidden in ATTIC ONCE
22 Jarring sound principallyassociated with Neptune’s spear (8)
STRIDENT – first letter of SOUND + TRIDENT
23 Carefully looked at fish, it’s said (4)
EYED – homophone of IDE
24 Insecure shifting dunes at end of bay (8)
UNSTEADY – anagram of DUNES AT + last letter of BAY
1 Destruction surrounding gear [in] warship (7)

Didn’t see ‘destruction’ = FATE. Feels like a stretch.

2 Edition of magazine [for] children (5)
ISSUE – double definition
3 Pretty sash adapted [for] dance in Scotland (10)

This was quite the guess. First I was trying more esoteric combinations ending with -STEP. I didn’t look up the answer but I didn’t submit it either.

4 Good queen supporting a British nun (6)
ABBESS – BESS under A + B
6 Ill-fated United Nations woman entertaining king (7)
UNLUCKY – UN + LUCY around K
7 Part of Canada that inspires our country? (5)
YUKON – YON (that) around UK
10 Bike patron misplaceda situation at Wimbledon, maybe? (5,5)
14 Ride round outskirts of Orpington [in] violent storm (7)
CYCLONE – CYCLE around first and last of ORPINGTON
16 Like King Arthur’s men, losing head regularly (7)
NIGHTLY – KNIGHTLY without the first letter

I found this quite tricky.

17 Crystalline compound I demonstrated? (6)

Never heard of it.

18 Energy [shown by] revellers at first in seedy bar (5)
DRIVE – first letter of REVELLERS in DIVE
20 Neighbourhood accommodating new stadium (5)
ARENA – AREA around N

66 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2212 by Orpheus”

  1. Similar to Jeremy here. I needed 13 minutes and finished with an error, I SET ON instead of I SAT IN at 17ac. I never heard of this or have forgotten it, but I really should have spotted the wordplay that would have led me to it.

    I knew STRATHSPEY as a dance but needed most of the checkers to bring it to mind.

    I’ve learned that my understanding of ‘a prang’ has been somewhat inaccurate as I’ve always thought of it as a minor collision with little damage and this made the association with aircraft in the clue seem a bit unlikely. But the dictionary definitions make no mention of it being minor, and most of them refer to aircraft before adding cars and other types of vehicle.

    1. The wiktionary (which is not official) does make mention that it is a ‘minor’ accident esp in Australia and NZ but only after the #1 definition of plane crash

      I had honestly never heard it in relation to planes either

    2. In the comic books of my childhood, Battle of Britain pilots, mostly with handlebar moustaches, never talked about crashing their planes, but spoke instead of their ‘wizard prangs’.

  2. Orpheus, mate, please have mercy on our limited vocabularies!

    Here be a list of things I didn’t know:
    Fate = destruction
    Saracen (this might be common knowledge, unsure)
    Yon = that

    Words I did know that I didn’t six months ago
    Ide being a fish, issue being children

    Clues I found tricky
    Quay – I know how to pronounce it but I found that it was overly described with too many words
    Prang – a Prang is a slight car accident to me, not sure about a pang being a qualm either

    I knew my Canadian place and my type of cow and my religious lady and my warship (I read too much aubrey/maturin) so go me I guess!

    1. I’m still thinking about the pang = qualm and I’m confusing myself with ‘definition by example’

      A pang is not a qualm, a qualm is a type of pang. A pang of doubt is a qualm.

      Therefore, should the clue Qualm about king[’s] possible aircraft accident

      Have the word ‘maybe’ or a question mark near the qualm or am I misunderstanding DBEs completely

      Also.. Why is ‘possible’ part of the definition in this case?

      Thanks I’ve not had a ‘how do cryptic crosswords work’ question in a while!

      1. I can’t help you re pang / qualm, but ‘possible’ is there to indicate that ‘aircraft accident’ is a DBE of PRANG which can also be a car accident etc.

    2. I love the Aubrey/Maturin books too. Some great words that deserve a second chance. I think my favourite is “ahoo” to mean “dishevelled”. My kids (now grown) still tell of the blank looks that told them that “you’re all ahoo” is not commonly used here in California. 😀

  3. 16:32. Wasn’t sure if I was going to get FRIESIAN or STRATHSPEY but when enough checkers appeared they both were solvable. Similarly when I realized ” sat in” was “demonstrated” ISATIN became clear. Most of the same qualms(pangs?) as Tina re definitions that seemed a bit of a stretch. My problem seems to be that while I can see after the fact ,using the substitution test ,that the definition is justified, in the heat of solving I only tend to rifle through my own store of obvious synonyms. Must rethink strategy. COD to NIGHTLY.

  4. Managed once again to overlook a typo–I had several due to sloppy typing that I had to fix as I typed. I’d never heard of ISATIN either. STRATHSPEY has appeared once or twice in 15×15 cryptics, and a couple of checkers were enough to jog my memory. I realize now that I biffed DUCHESS and never parsed it. I was surprised to see ‘nomad’ in 12ac: I knew SARACEN as a word formerly used for Arab or Muslim, but I see that ODE gives a second definition: ‘a nomad of the Syrian and Arabian desert at the time of the Roman Empire’. Perhaps not the best clue for a QC. I didn’t care much for FATE=destruction, either. 6:22 but.

  5. When the top grade players turn out for the village team on Sunday afternoon, they used to be listed on the team sheet as ‘A.N.Other’.

    I thought this ‘Quick’ had a few clues like that, which really should have been appearing in the 15×15! 13ac, 3dn, 17 dn, …

    As for PRANG, I seem to remember that a WIZARD PRANG frequently occurred in boy’s novels about the RAF in WWII.

  6. Another single pink square, ISATON. Did not see “sit in” as a demo, and was thinking of “ sat on” as in delayed. On reflection, the -in suffix looks vaguely biochemical (cf niacin, riboflavin – thanks, Kellogg cornflake boxes).

    Also was looking for country dances ending in step, such as the “sarythstep” or “shrytastep”.

    Tried SELUCID for old Arab, at first.


    1. Were you thinking ‘Seleucid’? I don’t know if they’d count as Arabs, but they weren’t nomads.

    2. I also had a DNF with I SAT ON. It’s taken me ages to see demonstration not as ‘a showing of’ but as ‘showing opposition to’.

  7. Got up early to do this as I was unable to sleep, but didn’t find it relaxing at all. Was left with ISATIN and STRATHSPEY at around 9:30, but 11:29 had elapsed before I worked those 2 out. If you’ve read any Biggles, you’ll know about PRANGs. Had to write out the anagrist for UNSTEADY. Thanks devious Orpheus and Jeremy.

  8. 12.21

    A struggle here as well.

    As well as STRATHSPEY I was unaccountably delayed by DUCHESS and UNSTEADY arguably two of the gentler ones. ISATIN NHO but clear as my LOI once the other checkers appeared

    Thanks Jeremy and Orpheus

  9. Steady going today but with a sting in the tail for the forgotten/NHO Scottish dance, which I wanted to end in ‘step’ and LOI ISATIN, which required an alphabet trawl and crossed fingers.
    Enjoyed PDMs for NIGHTLY and COD EXCISE and scraped in under target in 9.58.
    Thanks to Jeremy

  10. Couldn’t finish this one because of the obscure Scottish dance. Never heard of it.

  11. The 15 x 15 today is very difficult but beautifully crafted. I think Orpheus set it as well.
    However, I did not enjoy this QC much, sorry. I didn’t even bother to complete the dance.

  12. I was dancing the STRATHSPEY at the Lochaber Ball recently so that was a write in. Apart from ISATIN (!!) I was reasonably on wavelength and didn’t find that too hard. Alas the combination of phone, fingers and bumpy train led to UULUCKY and not typing the N in STRIDENT.

    FOI FRIGATE, LOI ISATIN (you wot?), COD EXCISE, time 09:07 (but) for 1.4K and a Frustrating Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.


  13. Just over 17 minutes again to continue a tough week. I hope it improves tomorrow for my blog! ISATIN from wordplay (NHO) and slow on ADEPT.

  14. I made a very poor start in the NW and, perhaps, this set my mood. I enjoyed this even less that Izetti’s QC yesterday. Weird in parts, clever in others. I did a bit of biffing e.g. CANYON, ISATIN, PRANG, FRIGATE, NIGHTLY (!), ADEPT and only even managed biffs when almost all the crossers were available so this took some time (edging the SCC again).
    I added ISATIN because I knew the compound and could fit in nothing else. I always parse answers but took ages to parse this word rationally – then ‘sit-in’ for demonstration hit me. Poor clue. Just an example of some wilfully odd clues.
    This was a poor QC IMO with too many clues that belonged in a 15squared. My average times for QCs have gradually been driven up by over 50% over the last year or so and I still seem to have the same marble count for other puzzles and activities. I am being driven elsewhere for approachable Cryptics that are testing but fair.
    Thanks to Jeremy. John M.

  15. I found this tough all round today. After 20 minutes I returned to LOI the Scottish dance. I ended up with SARYTHSTEP because I assumed it would end in Step. Couldn’t fit the Gay Gordons into it.
    I also biffed CRASH at 19a which caused me quite a delay.
    DNK ISATIN but gettable from the clue. The Scottish dance is another matter.

  16. Similar to above comments. The dance and the compound were guessed correctly from checkers, ADEPT took ages, and I found the 1d clue a bit of a stretch.
    Quite tough!
    Many thanks for the blog

  17. Fortunately used to dance the STRATHSPEY in days of extreme yore, so it wafted into my mind. Had to look up Demo for ISATIN, NHO, and failed on ADEPT so a DNF. Nonetheless I enjoyed the puzzle, sort of. Nearly ever time I worked out the answer, I realised it should have been obvious sooner. Unable to parse YUKON or FRIGATE. Thought of PRANG straight away but couldn’t parse at first. Oh well.
    Thanks vm, Jeremy.

  18. Orpheus really stretching us with this one, and I completed over target at 11.45. Even then I went for the wrong option at 17dn where I thought there were four possibilities with either SET or SAT and IN or ON. Eventually I went for ISATON as I thought it sounded more compoundish. FRIGATE held me up as I felt FATE was not appropriate for destruction.

  19. A DNF for me.
    Like everybody else I had never heard of ISATIN and, as there were so many options (I SET ON, I SET IN etc) I left it unwritten. I also couldn’t get ADEPT although in retrospect I should have done.
    I didn’t know that STRATHSPEY is a dance, although I knew that it has something to do with whisky so I biffed it. And to me a prang is a minor car accident although never having watched war films I can see that it could have originated as RAF slang.
    I agree that this was more like a Monday 15 x 15 than a QC. I’m a bit disappointed.

  20. I had already crossed the SCC threshold before Isatin came to mind. That just left the Expert Dance combination. Spent a long time trying to shoehorn Ace into 11ac before Adept ironically came to the rescue. However, even with all the crossers and the anagrist to play with, I couldn’t make a sensible looking word for the unknown dance, so pulled stumps for a disappointing DNF. Invariant

  21. DNF
    Strathspey – didn’t have time to unravel. Went with syrathstep!
    Thanks, pj.

  22. DNF. NHO STRATHSPEY (despite graduating from Edinburgh University many moons ago) or ISATIN. Also failed on ADEPT.

  23. NHO isatin, despite having done A level chemistry many decades ago. Not sure how“sat in” means demonstrated. Tried isaton, so DNF

    Otherwise OK, to a slow finish in 16:49

  24. Not happy today. Slogged through some poor clues (destruction = fate? Saracens all nomads?), unparsed guesses (Yukon), obscure dances (Strathspey the place I’ve heard of, but not the reel) and dated slang (Prang) only to find Isatin awaiting me. NHO, DNF, DNE (did not enjoy).

    My sympathies as well as thanks to Jeremy whose fate (destruction?) was to blog this, and roll on tomorrow.

  25. 4:02 this morning, for what seems to have been a “Marmite” QC, from the range of earlier comments.
    Maybe I got lucky that my GK was up to the occasional obscurities. I vaguely remember getting lessons on the Strathspey at school and this is the first time since then that it has come in useful!!
    After yesterday’s struggles, pleased to say I got both the hidden word clues (12 ac Saracens and 21 ac icon) right away.
    Another MER for the definition of “fate” for 1 d “frigate”. I’ve always associated the word with inevitability as opposed to disaster but Chambers includes both senses of the word.
    COD 7 D “Yukon”
    Thanks to Orpheus and Jeremy.

  26. Just about managed to finish this, but it took 38 minutes due to the nho Scottish dance (if you’re going to put in something obscure, why clue it with an anagram?), though it had taken about half an hour without it. I only got it by thinking that Strathclyde was a place so the first part of the word was more likely to be STRATH than anything else. Also never heard of ISATIN, but I did get that from the wordplay eventually. Lots of good clues despite the tough ones though. COD to DUCHESS. Thanks Jeremy and Orpheus.

    1. Strath is quite a common place-name component in Scotland – it comes from the Gaelic Srath which means “a wide valley”, usually a river valley. Hence Strathclyde, as you say, and Strathspey, and quite a few others.

  27. I liked building abbess and enjoyed 1A too- we used to do Scottish country dancing in PE at school so 3D was obvious once, like others, I dismissed …step! Difficult puzzle but no less enjoyable- thanks for the stretch Orpheus and for the blog Jeremy.

  28. No joy today. ISATIN, I don’t think so. There must have been something else the setter could have found that was within the vocabulary of most.
    STRATHSPEY? If it’s not on Strictly it’s not known to me.
    Fortunately the plane I was on today en route to Nice did not prang. Well done Easyjet.
    Thanks Jeremy and Orpheus.

  29. A rare case of CBA with my last two, the dance and the crystalline structure. NHO the former, but should have tried harder with the latter!


  30. I must have got lucky with the vocab, as didn’t have any problems apart from the obscure isatin. Got all the parsing too, by no means a common occurrence. MER in this household about destruction- fate but my elderly Concise Oxford gives ‘death, destruction’ for fate. Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.

  31. DNF. NHO ISATIN or STRATHSPEY, can’t see how ADEPT fits (expert = apt??) Also FATE = DESTRUCTION not at all obvious, but FRIGATE guessable. Not a happy day.

    1. As Jeremy shows, ‘expert’ is the definition. ODE, sv ‘adept’: ‘a person who is skilled or proficient at something’.

    2. I think “adept” is”expert” and “apt” is “having tendency”. If you’re adept at something you could be called expert in that field. I think adept=expert works as both adjective or noun. At first I couldn’t see tendency=apt but “having tendency “=apt works.

  32. Another DNF here – I gave up with one to go after about 12 or 13 minutes. Yes, it was 17d! Remembering isotopes and that sort thing, I got stuck on ISO + something! I was also thinking demonstrated = showed, rather than protested, so reached stalemate. Up to that point, I was tootling along at my normal pace.
    STRATHSPEY came to me suddenly, as I too had initially pencilled in something + step.
    It’s been a while but we have the same word appearing in the QC and the biggie, clued in a similar fashion. I always find it odd that the editor doesn’t swap puzzles around when that happens.
    Funnily enough, although I thought the biggie was very hard, I did actually finish it, albeit in two sittings, as I went for a massage / torture in between. As my therapist looks after the British Olympic swimmers, I’d say I’m in very safe hands, but wow, it’s not like a session at a spa 🤣 I think I need a brain massage after today’s puzzles now!
    Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy

  33. Saracen was easy enough as they’re my local rugby team. Surprised they’re still called that in the current climate. Some fans wear a fez which is not really a lot to do with Saracens.
    Exeter Chiefs no longer use the headdress associated with native Americans. They’ve found an old tribe from the West Country. J

  34. I’d nho the dance, so invented the “shratystep”, which I think sounds fun. Also totally missed the “sit-in” meaning of “demonstration”, only being able to bring the “showed” meaning to mind. Wasn’t helped by ISATIN being completely unknown to me. A slightly grumpy DNF for me when I threw in the towel after 25 minutes.

  35. Correctly guessed the dance but had ‘I sat on’ rather than ISATIN… Otherwise rather slow progress but all seemed reasonably fair to me. Finished in around 25 mins with much time spent on the dance and the compound. Interesting to hear views about PRANG. I also thought it meant a minor accident and didn’t know it had anything to do with planes. Took ages parsing SARACEN as hadn’t spotted the hidden. Liked ADEPT and YUKON. Bit of a slog today… Thanks all.

  36. Wow! Despite my woeful time of 67 minutes, I still appear to have beaten a whole bunch of better crossworders above who recorded DNFs today. And, that was after an absolutely terrible start.

    I typically work down the first half of the across clues in order and then the first half of the down clues, also in order. Today, that encompassed 14 clues (8 acrosses + 6 downs). Then, I normally move down to the lower half of the grid. Today, the 8-10 minutes it took me to work through those first 14 clues yielded absolutely nothing – not a sausage! I was seriously concerned at that stage. Fortunately, the bottom half was kinder and I finally started to make some progress.

    CANYON and SARACEN were the first to fall (eventually) on my return to the top half and I was somehow able to build from them. I had NHO the Scottish dance, but did know STRATHSPEY as a whiskey/area. Nor had I heard of the crystalline compound. In summary, a real toughie from Orpheus, pitched right out at the limit of my ability.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Jeremy.

  37. Held up by isatin but got it in the end having remembered sit ins of old
    Parsed adept by apt plus d and e as notes

  38. DNF as ran aground on ISATIN – got as far as ISO then failed. FOI – QUAY. Clearly Orpheus has been on holiday north of the Border. Amused by PRANG – an RAF friend of mine once commented that any landing you walk away from is a good landing, irrespective of the state of the aircraft.
    Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.

  39. Another struggle today. Somewhere around the hour mark but I see I wasn’t alone. I still don’t understand 7dn – why does inspire indicate one word contains another?

    I twigged that 17dn was referring to a protest but ‘sat in’ is a bit of a stretch.

    Either I am getting worse or these puzzles are becoming more and more difficult.

    1. . . .because inspire can mean inhale/take in, so Yon (that) takes in UK to give Yukon.

  40. DNF

    My Scottish dance did indeed end in STEP. Never heard of the compound either and went ISATON. The whole thing exceeded 30 minutes so way beyond my target 20.

  41. I hope the setter is very pleased to have set a crossword that could not be completed by so many.
    I don’t normally comment on the quickie but always read the comments- todays comments suggest some poor choices

  42. Another DNF because of ISATIN. Does a word that obscure really belong in the QC? Guessed STRATHSPEY because it sounded suitably Scottish. Would that clue have been better without mentioning dance??

  43. Beaten by ADEPT & STRATHSPEY. A couple whiskies down myself (assume Speyside has to be related to the dance) I couldn’t see past the anagram ending in STEP…

  44. I had trouble with the Isatin but sort of got it.
    Remembered prang from reading books about fighter pilots in the war when I was little.
    The Strathspey is a beautiful slow dance (not a reel !). Scottish dance classes will be starting again soon wherever you live – give it a go it’s great fun and fab exercise for mind and body! Also very sociable and friendly. We are on holiday in Scotland just now and joined a class in the Western Isles for an evening of fun and friendship. No Strathspeys sadly but a great Duke of Perth reel.

  45. Another catch up…and another dnf.

    This time, 3dn “Strathspey” and 17dn “Isatin” both of which I’ve never heard of.

    FOI – can’t remember
    LOI – didn’t finish
    COD – 1ac “Friesian”

    Thanks as usual!

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