Times Quick Cryptic 2321 by Breadman


7:08. Glad that the downbeat introduction to this puzzle didn’t continue on to the rest of the clues. Lots of merriment – drinking, raving and playing around in boats – to be had here. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks to Breadman

Definitions underlined in bold

1 Card game depressing seaman (9)
BLACKJACKBLACK (‘depressing’) JACK (‘seaman’)
6 Pinch small quantity of spirits (3)
NIP – Double definition
8 Some pundit told the same thing (5)
DITTO – Hidden (‘Some’) in ‘punDIT TOld’
9 Let down in dodgy deal (7)
ALLOWEDLOW (‘down’) contained in (‘in’) anagram (‘dodgy’) of DEAL
10 Helmsman’s counterfeit coins: wax (8)
COXSWAIN – Anagram (‘counterfeit’) of COINS WAX
11 Drag Harry around university (4)
HAULHAL (abbreviation of ‘Harry’) containing (‘around’) U (‘university’)
13 Eco-friendly judge, we hear, finding variety of plum (9)
GREENGAGEGREEN (‘Eco-friendly’) GAGE=homophone (‘we hear’) of GAUGE (‘judge’)

The same answer was seen elsewhere very recently. Gives an excuse to recommend “The Greengage Summer” by Rumer Godden. Idyllic and innocent but with a touch of the sinister.

16 Measure of land sacred at the centre (4)
ACRE – Middle letters (‘at the centre’) of sACREd
17 Fungi she cultivated, demonstrating Chinese philosophy (4,4)
FENG SHUI – Anagram of (‘cultivated’) FUNGI SHE
20 Parisian in America entering the rave (7)
ENTHUSEEN (‘Parisian in’ = ‘in’ in French) US (‘America’) contained in (‘entering’) THE (‘the’)
21 Archdeacon meets gangster open to corruption (5)
VENALVEN (‘Archdeacon’) AL (‘gangster’=Al Capone)

VEN is an abbreviation for “The Venerable”, a title for an ‘Archdeacon’ in the Anglican church.

I can never tell my venals from my venials. Maybe remembering this clue might help.

22 Eccentric goaded regularly (3)
ODD – Every second letter (‘regularly’) of gOaDeD
23 Hinder male cleaner (9)
DETERGENT – A charade of DETER (‘Hinder’) and GENT (‘male’)

A bit of a chestnut, but still held me up for a while

1 Person with cool, close-fitting attire (6)
BODICEBOD (‘Person’ colloquially) ICE (‘cool’)
2 Spread extra plaster (5)
ARTEX – Anagram (‘Spread’) of EXTRA

Never heard of this. According to Wikipedia: “…a surface coating used for interior decorating, most often found on ceilings, which allows the decorator to add a texture to it”. Those of you with DIY expertise will probably know all about it, especially if you have to remove it as Artex made before the mid-1980’s contained asbestos.

3 Tie small daughter, a hazard in the garden (8)
KNOTWEEDKNOT (‘Tie’) WEE (‘small’) D (‘daughter’)
4 A couple of Scotsmen leave Middle Eastern expanse (7,6)
ARABIAN DESERTA (‘A’) RAB + IAN (‘couple of Scotsmen’) DESERT (‘leave’)
5 Large oven left among relatives (4)
KILNL (‘left’) contained in (‘among’) KIN (‘relatives’)
6 Former prison‘s innovative entrance (7)
NEWGATENEW (‘innovative’) GATE (‘entrance’)
7 Training youth upset old boat (6)
PEDALOPE (‘Training’=abbreviation for Physical Education) DAL reversal (‘upset’) of LAD (‘youth’) O (‘old’)
12 An effect of drinking gallons in German city (8)
HANGOVERG (‘gallons’) contained in (‘in’) HANOVER (‘German city’)

No, not Munich, which was the first ‘German city’ to come to mind when I saw ‘drinking gallons’. My COD

13 Did a spin, with Tragedy playing (7)
GYRATED – Anagram (‘playing’) of TRAGEDY
14 Stare initially behind and round summerhouse? (6)
GAZEBOGAZE (‘Stare’) B (‘initially behind’=first letter of ‘behind’) O (’round’)

A GAZEBO is an example of, or can be used as, a ‘summerhouse’.

15 Hand tool Mike found in sleeveless jacket (6)
GIMLETM (‘Mike’ in NATO alphabet) contained in (‘found in’) GILET (‘sleeveless jacket’)

A surfeit of BODICE(s) today. I thought neither the ‘Hand tool’ nor the ‘sleeveless jacket’ were obvious but maybe that’s just my lack of handyman skills and ignorance of fashion-related matters coming to the fore.

18 Hotel barrier not opening from this time onwards (5)
HENCEH (‘Hotel’ in NATO alphabet) ENCE (‘barrier not opening’) = first letter deleted from FENCE
19 Pool entertaining duke (4)
FUNDFUN (‘entertaining’) D (‘duke’)

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2321 by Breadman”

  1. ARTEX: Isn’t ‘spread’ the anagrind and ‘plaster’ the definition?
    And ‘hand tool’ the definition and GILET the jacket?

    1. Thanks v. much. Yes, you’re right for both. Blog amended.
      Not exactly gimlet-eyed today.

  2. 16:56 ARTEX and PEDALO were unknown but gettable from wordplay. I think of HANOVER as the English Royal dynasty but Hannover as the spelling on German maps. Similarly more familiar with GIMLET as a cocktail than as a hand tool. Gee, FENG SHUI as an anagram of fungi she was difficult. Not!

  3. 12’16” with a few that held me up slightly: GIMLET DETERGENT HENCE ALLOWED & NEWGATE – but all eminently gettable. I enjoyed this very much as nothing bar FENG SHUI was too obvious (I still liked it) and each presented a decent enough challenge causing pause for thought. I knew ARTEX from swirly patterns on various relatives’ 1970s ceilings but even so I assumed it was a trade/brand name and it didn’t jump out to me as a plaster.

    Thanks Breadman and BR.

  4. 12 minutes, missing my target by 2 although I wasn’t aware of having any problems whilst solving so must have been just a little on the slow side. No problems knowing ARTEX as it’s on all my ceilings. It was used in most of the properties around here and I’ve never heard of anyone having trouble with asbestos so I assume it’s of the safe variety.

    1. Surprisingly, the vocabulary was all familiar to me from years of half-hearted DIY but I thought I was making heavy weather of the bottom half till I realised I had finished in 23 minutes which is pretty much on par. Didn’t parse ARABIAN DESERT and thought a greengage was just a greengage. childhood memories of fun on Pedalos, more diving off them than pedalling.
      Thanks all.

  5. Under ten for the first time in a while. Had to come back to BLACKJACK but after that a pleasing eight on the first pass of acrosses. Downs filled things in nicely – including ARTEX which went straight in. Enjoyed building up ENTHUSE and the moment of realisation for ALLOWED where separating ‘let’ from ‘down’ is probably going to be my achievement of the day. Wondered of a gilet was spelleed gillet before seeing what to do – now to look up a GIMLET. All green in nine.

  6. 11 minutes for me. I thought this was going to be a pangram with Z, J, X… but no Q. I managed to drag up ARTEX from some recess in my brain after I’d ruled out RETAX.

  7. 7.01

    Couple of typos…no igea hiw they hapoen – maybe I need to concentrate better.

    Anyway nice puzzle – neat and tidy with some nice surfaces. No stand out – I thought they were all good

    Thanks Breadman and BR

  8. Nothing too challenging but I spent a frustrating couple of minutes trying to remember the name of the recent French protesters, as I knew that was the garment referred to in 15d but had a complete brainfreeze. Like Mendesest I will now need to look up what a GIMLET is.
    Other than that pretty much a top to bottom solve with a little bit of thought required for my last 2 – FUND and ENTHUSE.
    Finished in 8.41 with COD to GYRATE for the mental image the wordplay created.
    Thanks to BR

  9. All done in an enjoyable 9:18. I was pleased that my brain pulled up GILET from the “words I haven’t used in 30 years” heap, as a sleeveless jacket is a vest here in the US. I didn’t know the “tool” meaning of GIMLET – like curryowen, I only knew this as a cocktail.

    Favorite clues today are COXWAIN and ENTHUSE.

    Thanks to Breadman and BletchleyReject.

  10. Strangely, I got nowhere in the top half but worked up from the bottom and filled in the lower half completely (and with hardly a pause). I then began to fill in the rest and wondered why on earth I had had a mental block with answers like NIP and KNOTWEED.
    Not a good week for me so far.
    Thanks to Breadman for a puzzle that was fun with hindsight (if a bit ‘disjointed’ in parts). It caught me in a muzzy mood today. John M.

  11. A Breadman special in that it is almost a pangram (everything except Q) – he does seem very partial to this quirk. While I find full pangrams clever, if sometimes resulting in some strange words that the setter needs to complete the grid, I confess the point of an almost pangram is largely lost on me. A bit like a jigsaw with one piece missing?

    That apart, I found this somewhat workmanlike and it left me feeling slightly flat. As others have liked it, it is probably more due to my mood this morning than anything else, so I shall bank my 12 minute finish and move on.

    Many thanks to BR for the blog

    1. You might have put your finger on my poor performance today, Cedric. Could my brain have been failing to deal with the ‘strange words’ which Breadman introduced in the search for his (near) pangram?
      I agree; the point of a pangram (whether complete or not) is lost on me, too. Why do it if not to show how ‘clever’ the setter is? John

      1. I see a pangrams and Ninas simply as extensions to whole point of crosswords – which for me is a bit of fun with varying levels of cleverness required by setter and solver.

        For me the logical regression (if there is such a thing?!) of your objection to them is to not have a crossword grid at all but simply a list of cryptic quiz clues/questions.

        It’s clever enough that the setters make the answers all fit in a grid, and that’s not showing off…it’s just crossword setting (and you still get some obscure words, and clunky clues, whether or not they feature Q X Y or Z)

        I’m not sure I see why it’s ‘just being clever’ to add a pangram or Nina? It’s ALL clever to me. I’m grateful and hope the setters have some fun while they do what they do.

        1. Entirely fair comment, though as repeated discussions here show, pangrams, Ninas and the like can be a bit like marmite! Those that fall on the “do not like” side of the marmite divide will say that the search to complete a Nina or a pangram can sometimes lead a setter into some very obscure or unusual words. But when a Nina is done well, it can create not just a lot of fun for the setter but also a very nice PDM for solvers when it is spotted. (Not, I add, a PDM I have personally much experience of alas!)

        2. Thanks for tour comment, MM. As Cedric says, Pangrams/Ninas are a bit like Marmite.
          I fail to see your point about a list of cryptic quiz clues/questions. The build-up of answers on a grid with (crucial) crossers is an essential part of the whole exercise.
          I know the negative view of Ninas and the like divides solvers and I accept that (but I am pleased to know that some posters agree and know what I am trying to say). I think this blog is a forum for all opinions and I won’t repeat mine here. My points about clunkiness, lack of ‘flow’ etc were made in my second post on Kenny’s QC on Jan 20 at 11.35 am and I stand by them.

          1. Of course. As a Marmite lover who is married to the opposite, I can only say to you and Cedric together: understood and respected!

  12. As I was doing this I thought “Gentle Monday offering”, and then remembered that it’s Tuesday and I never found time for yesterday’s puzzle. Must catch up.

    Anyway, all acrosses bar 3, then all downs, then mopped up the 3 awkward customers – ALLOWED, ENTHUSE (was trying to use “dans”) and DETERGENT (was trying to use M or MAN). At a keyboard so no fat finger issues today! All green in 06:47 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and BR.


  13. A gentle solve in 7.48. Almost a clean sweep but I missed ALLOWED and HANGOVER on the first pass.
    Most of the ceilings in my house are ARTEX, and I have never been brave enough to try and remove it. My DIY skills are just about up to repairing cracks and matching the texture to the surroundings.

  14. I was very slow to get started and then held up by the NEWGATE / ALLOWED crossers at the end, for an 18 minutes finish. I couldn’t get ablated out of my head for allowed, and it wasn’t until I saw NEWGATE and the W appeared that I saw the light. I was also very slow to see HANGOVER- maybe I’ve got one!

  15. Very quick today by my standards, as I knew all the vocab. FOI BLACKJACK then zoomed through. LOI BODICE, which made me smile, as did DETERGENT, KNOTWEED, ARABIAN DESERT.
    One of our homes in days of yore was ARTEX all over, but we just left it in situ, not knowing about asbestos worries.
    Deeply shocked you chaps don’t know what a GIMLET is.
    Oh, dxxx, I now see I put Paddle instead of PEDALO. So DNF. Serves me right for feeling smug.
    Thanks all, esp BR.

    1. To keep the side up, SomeRandomChap knows what a gimlet is – and a bradawl. I have both in my toolbox.

      1. Your hogging of essential male knowledge (☺) has forced me to do some research. Am I right in thinking that a gimlet has a spiral around the shaft for removing the wood as it makes the hole, whereas the (usually larger) bradawl has a cut away section that does the same job (a bit like a minature cheese taster’s probe) ?

        1. Yes and no, really. In my experience both are small tools of similar size. Gimlets are definitely threaded – sometimes like a narrow screw/corkscrew, sometimes more like a drill bit and sometimes both. Bradawls are not threaded. Some are pointed, like a thick-ish nail, wheras others (like mine) are flat ended, like a screwdriver for slotted screws. I use mine for making enough of a hole/indentation to get a screw to bite.

          1. My dad’s toolbox contained what he always called a bradawl, which had a screw like tip followed by a shaft with a ‘C’ shaped cross section, and a wooden T handle. It was used quite a lot in the days before power tools and screws with extra sharp threads.

  16. Another one that was quite tricky in places, with my last pair, Fund/Detergent – chestnuts can be quite difficult first time round – easing me into an SCC window seat. I enjoyed Breadman’s teasers, but they have prompted three questions: What’s the difference between a gimlet and a bradawl; Was Coxswain always pronounced cock-sun; Do hence and henceforth really have the same meaning ? Thanks in advance for any answers. Invariant

    1. Good question re delta between gimlet and bradawl. I would guess that the gimlet is for making holes and the bradawl for starting them (I.e. making an indentation where you want to drive a nail or put a screw), or is it the other way around?

      1. See the above comments to/from SRC on the issue which may help. . .or not. Care to have a stab (metaphorically) at the coxswain ?

        1. Coxswain is usually pronounced koks’ n, but can be kok’swain, or simply koks, as in the boat race crew member. The word is a kind of portmanteau of cock (a boat) and swain (young man) and has been used in the Royal Navy for hundreds of years to describe a boat steersman or a Petty Officer in charge of a ships boat – where cox’n and coxswain are still regularly used as the pronunciations.

  17. My aunt and uncle arranged for a plasterer to remove their artex ceiling- it was the same workman who had put it in 25/30 years previously- it’s his new expertise!

  18. No problems.



  19. It ain’t over till it’s over. I was done in under 8 minutes apart from 14d. Could not think of a summerhouse ending in O; and mistakenly thought the word started with an S. After an alphabet trawl I got GAZEBO . 10 minutes in the end.
    A nice puzzle I thought. COD to HANGOVER.

  20. Phew, first finish after 6 dnfs in a row taking just over an hour. These QCs are quite a mental workout.
    Thanks BR for the blog as I could not parse PEDALO or KNOTWEED which I was sure had to be bindweed except for the O in DITTO.
    Note for other beginners: I was stuck with about 8 clues to go but after a break these clues all revealed themselves in the space of 10 minutes. I’m sure the brain must work away in the background.

    1. Well done Ian! I think your tip about taking a break is great advice. It’s something I often do and it usually proves successful.

  21. Sped through this pretty nippily in 7.02, with only the misspelling of FENG SHUI holding me up. I always seem to transpose the E and the U for some unfathomable reason. The E in DESERT put me on the right track enabling me to finish correctly.

    In my early working days, certainly in the 1970s and 1980s, I specified ARTEX as a ceiling finish almost by default as everyone seemed to love it. Developers and house builders seemed to like it because it was more forgiving in not showing cracks I suspect! We were of course unaware of any link with asbestos at that time, or indeed any problem with asbestos products at all, as all architects routinely specified asbestos based insulation products in virtually all their projects. It makes you shudder to think of it now. I even have ARTEX ceilings in my own home designed in 1985. In spite of the fact I no longer particularly like the look of them, I have decided to leave them be rather than disturb them for obvious reasons!

    1. When we moved into a 1970s house with Artex ceilings and wanted them removed, the builder’s solution was to cover them with plasterboard rather than risk disturbing asbestos. This means the ceilings are maybe 10mm lower than before, but better safe than sorry.

      1. Unfortunately Jim that wasn’t an alternative in our case as we have high level coving. In your case however, a safer solution as you say.

  22. DNF yet again. 5 clues which just made no sense to me at all, and therefore left unanswered. Never heard of the plum variety.

    1. Greengages are delicious, sweet and, yes, green, but you don’t see them around nowadays.

      1. Interestingly, our local supermarket always has greengages in the autumn- usually imported from France or Spain. Still delicious though 😋

        1. Will look about this year. We had a greengage tree when we first moved here, 5 fruits one year, two the following, then it died!

          1. We have an old one, and sometimes get an occasional fallow year but it’s generally reliable, and the greengages are very much enjoyed by our son-in-law. We also have a six year old Mirabelle tree, that last year managed its first token offering, for which we have high hopes.

    2. My daughter’s allotment has a greengage tree and a damson tree, both of which give terrific crops. My jam, compote, chutney, etc. skills are increasing by the year! Delicious.

      1. I planted a damson tree and a greengage tree in 2019, both as cordons. The greengage tree has yet to produce any fruit. The damson tree produced a single damson last year. Hoping for better things in the future.

  23. 16 mins…

    Thought I was going to be quicker, but got stuck on 14dn “Gazebo” and 20ac “Enthuse”.

    FOI – 2dn “Artex”
    LOI – 19dn “Fun”
    COD – 3dn “Knotweed” – amusing surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Back on track after a long, drawn-out experience yesterday. 28 minutes in total, which is good for me, although the last half-dozen clues took 10+ minutes of that time. My FOI was NIP and I went on to solve 7 of the acrosses during my first pass. ALLOWED and NEWGATE were my LOsI.

    ENTHUSE was arrived at after travelling via thenUSE and tenushE, and I took a quite a while to progress from DETERrENT to DETERGENT. Fortunately, I already knew about ARTEX and what a GIMLET is, but I DNK how to spell BODICE or the meaning of VENAL. So, I learned some things today.

    Many thanks to Breadman and BR.

  25. Finished in 12 minutes, but not all parsed. I saw ARABIAN DESERT almost immediately and didn’t bother to parse it. The same for PEDALO although it took all the crossers to see that one. I was expecting a pangram after seeing j, x and z and so I was on the look-out for a q, but it was not to be. Confidently started writing in BINDWEED at 3dn before being brought up sharply by the o from DITTO.
    Thanks to Breadman and to BR for supplying the missing parsings.

    FOI – 6ac NIP
    LOI – 19dn FUND
    COD – 23ac DETERGENT (chestnut or not it still made me smile). Also liked 13ac GREENGAGE.

  26. On for my best time ever but a carelessly biffed ‘paddle’ for PEDALO put pay to that. No problems with vocabulary today. GREENGAGE seems to come up frequently in cryptics; I’ve never tried one though. Very familiar with ARTEX being a child of the 60s. Awful awful stuff. Liked KNOTWEED and ENTHUSE. FUND took a while but opened the door for LOI DETERGENT. Interesting blog and comments. Thanks all and thanks Breadman.

  27. 8:05. Lots of to-the-point cluing today with some lovely surfaces, and yes, it would seem Breadman was in party mode! I liked VENAL, but I did wonder how many gangsters are NOT open to corruption? I wonder why it didn’t read ‘Open to corruption, archdeacon meets gangster’. It would have been even more amusing. I also liked HAUL, GYRATED and ARTEX, but there was only one candidate for COD!
    Well, I don’t actually like Artex – it’s fine until something goes wrong, but then… oh dear. The ceilings in our house are Artex, but just a subtle stipple – no migraine inducing swirls! Unfortunately BR’s comments are particularly relevant to us at the moment, as we’re having to deal with a late relative’s early 80’s house where the ceiling has just fallen down following a burst pipe 😱😱 Asbestos checks, water removal, dehumidifying, builders, decorators – the list goes on. And – of course – not forgetting insurance companies. Triple aargh!
    FOI Nip LOI Hence COD Hangover
    Thanks Breadman for the fun, and BR, for the entertaining and informative blog

  28. Recently someone said that Breadman was one of the “easier” setters, so I was delighted to start, but soon crashed! Only six correct today, and two misspellings, so should have been eight correct.

    1. I think that was me(?), although I did say he had become harder of late. Keep going Ian. I think this was one of those QCs that, as has been noted above, was or the marmite variety.

  29. 14.03 Hanover is the only place I’ve been to in Germany so I really shouldn’t have struggled with HANGOVER and then I spent too long at the end trying to shoehorn bedeck into 1d, but it all worked out.

  30. It’s rare that I really ‘get on top’ of a QC and don’t have at least one long frustrating wait for inspiration. Thankfully, today was one of those days. I managed a rare escape from the SCC and enjoyed this offering from Breadman.

    FOI – NIP
    LOI – FUND

    Great blog as always BR, many thanks

  31. Poor effort from me, with two errors. I slapped in BEDECK for 1d (BODICE), on the basis that it was “attire” and “nothing else can fit those checkers, surely”. I never see bod=person.

    And I also had DETERRENT, which is a hindrance not a hinder, again, “what else could possibly fit there”.

    I find my balance of biff vs parse to be a little off the mark. Maybe more use of the Pencil so I can go back to the dubious ones before pressing submit.

    Also have to confess to looking up the highly plausible TEDACO as a boat, with “training youth” as “cadet”. Sounded just like a Middle Eastern craft, like the Felucca or dhow.

    COD ALLOWED with the very clever elision of “let” and “down”.

  32. I just managed target in 8:53 with LOI ENTHUSE. COD for me is GYRATED because I love the imagery of Steps performing a Bee Gees song (possibly one for the younger generation of solvers. I’m not sure where that puts me since I also know what ARTEX is).

  33. A good start to the week for me, staying out of the SCC (and no pinks) yesterday(17:38) and today (18:35). Was a bit slow on some that should have been straightforward but an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Breadman and BR.

  34. Pleased to finish in a reasonable time for us, loi 23d detergent. No real holdups. Thanks, Breadman.

  35. 18:11

    Done on the iPhone so always a bit slower. Took a while to see ENTHUSE and LOI PEDALO but nothing too bad.

  36. I was so sure it was going to be a pangram so when I was left with ?U?? for 19d and only the Q missing from the pangram I popped in QUAD sure it must be right even though I couldn’t parse it. Grr!

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