Times Quick Cryptic 1261 by Tracy

In rather a hurry today so expect typos etc. I took 14 mins which seems heavy weather having now looked back at it. Thanks Tracy – and don’t mind my GR at 23ac – bit rushed, bit grumpy! Cod 5dn.


1. HIGHLY STRUNG – very nervy. Charles Blondin crossed the 1,100 ft Niagara Gorge on a tightrope – I have no information on his motivation but one would hope it was more than just for a dare.
8. MAPLE – tree. Fictional detective Miss (MArPLE) overlooking right (R).
9. OUTCOME – result. Arrive (COME) following published (OUT).
10. SHYLOCK – usurer. Jam (LOCK – to become stuck or locked – the switch has jammed) after retiring (SHY – he was very retiring/shy).
11. RALLY – mass meeting. Everyone (ALL) inside (R)owd(Y).
12. RATING – ordinary seaman. Can (TIN) during fund raising event (RAG).
14. TEASER – tricky question. From qui(TE A SER)ies.
17. IGLOO – house (possibly an Inuit’s). (I)nuit, despondency (GLOO)m missing last letter.
19. PARAPET – low wall. Section (PART) breached by clumsy type (APE).
21. HAYWIRE – crazy. Anagram (silly) of WAY splitting rent (HIRE).
22. DREAM – fantasy. Short play (DRAM)a about univers(E).
23. TOWER HAMLETS – London borough – tough, I should imagine, for non-U.K. solvers. Keeps (TOWERS) hosting Shakespeare play (HAMLET). This was my penultimate having seen hamlets from the checkers. With towers for keeps as well this was my personal Golden Raspberry but it is all fair – in love and crossword land.


1. HOME STRAIGHT – section of racecourse. In (HOME), unbending (STRAIGHT).
2. GUPPY – fish. Fellow (GUY) eating very soft (PP – musical).
3. LIE DOWN – rest. Unhappy (DOWN) supporting cock-and-bull story.
4. STOCKY – sturdy. Cattle – (STOCK), valle(Y).
5. ROTOR – what may go round and round. The word also reads the same up and downwards. Very neat.
6. NOODLES – Chinese (and Japanese – so I would have thought a ‘perhaps’ was due) food. New (N), bags (OODLES).
7. NEW YORK TIMES – American newspaper. Anagram (unfortunately) of ITS KEY MEN ROW.
13. TALLY-HO – sporting cry (the ‘?’ means it’s an example of a sporting cry). Heading off w(HO) after count (TALLY).
15. EARLDOM – what Macmillan had. Anagram (nasty) of ORDEAL plus (M)ilitary.
16. SPEECH – sermon. Look (SEE) round quiet (P), church (CH).
18. OLIVE – fruit. I seem to remember a similar clue recently so not sure why this was my LOI – old (O), bad (EVIL) turning upwards.
20. PIECE – double definition – bishop (perhaps = an example of one) – newspaper article.

39 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1261 by Tracy”

  1. Was on the wavelength for this one apart from my LOI, PIECE, which took a moments thought. Took me a few moments to see the parsing of MAPLE too. Liked HOME STRAIGHT. 6:08. Thanks Tracy and Chris.
  2. No particular problems. ‘Fictional detective’ gave me Poirot, which led to Marple. I agree about 6d; a ? would have done the job. TOWER HAMLETS not a problem; it’s fairly well-known, I think. 6:38.
  3. Another tough day for me. The low wall was LOI and must have taken at least two of my 19 minutes – even then I got the spelling wrong (ignorance not a typo) as having got SPEECH as my SLOI I suddenly saw it, didn’t parse it and shoved in PAPAPIT – I’ve clearly been saying it wrong my whole life. Didn’t get the long clues at 1a and 1d until quite late and that held me up. Right hand side went in much quicker than the left.

    Edited at 2019-01-08 05:33 am (UTC)

  4. 12 minutes, also held up by STOCKY and TOWER HAMLETS.

    As an oldster I had no problem with the Macmillan clue myself but thought it was a bit too tricky for a QC. He’s been dead for 32 years having retired from public office 21 years before that, and although he was an MP for 39 years, serving the last 6 as Prime Minister, he didn’t become an earl (Earl of Stockton) until he was 90, two years before his death in 1986.

  5. I DNF. Found this very tough going but not sure why. Could not connect the clues so obviously not on tracy’s Wavelength
  6. Just over 10 mins. Biffed PIECE after belatedly solving PARAPET. Last two in were 10a SHYLOCK which required an alphabet trawl and finally 4d STOCKY which was obvious once the K checker was in place.
  7. I liked this puzzle, at least partly because I got one of my better times – 8:41. Helped by working in Tower Hamlets – that was a great clue.
  8. After rushing yesterday and failing to spot answers,I decided to read the clues properly today. It worked I think as I finished in 14:03.
    There was nothing too difficult on reflection. A lot depends on what order you get the answers. My last two were Highly Strung and Lie Down. Stocky took me a while.
  9. Some return of form with 12.18. Quite liked IGLOO. Having read Merchant of Venice for O level Eng Lit, 10ac immediately leapt to mind. Funny things, brains.
  10. I thought I was going to be slower when my FOI was 11A, but things dropped into place once I saw HOME STRAIGHT and NEW YORK TIMES. I needed most of the checkers, though, to see TOWER HAMLETS and SPEECH, my last 2 in. COD to the Inuit house. 5:19.
  11. More or less wrote this in, so I still have to believe that I can break the three minute barrier one day.

    TIME 3:03

  12. I thought this was going to be a struggle when I could not answer any of the left hand across clues at the first look, but once I got going it all fell into place nicely with no hold ups. 12.22 in the end which is amazing for me looking at the times of some of the very experienced solvers.
  13. Ain’t life strange? As a grateful member of the SCC and quite often an affiliated country member of the DNF club, I clocked a PB of 8.41. You just never can tell when setter and solver coalesce in a beautiful pas de deux. Or something. Back to reality tomorrow no doubt.

    Briefless Barrister

  14. Felt tough in parts, perhaps because I did it on my phone instead of on paper, but clocked in at under 2 Kevins which makes it a Good Day – it just didn’t feel like it!

    Can’t think why Chris gave a GR to TOWER HAMLETS, I rather liked it!

    COD to IGLOO from me. Thanks Tracy and Chris.


  15. Unlike the previous contributor, I am back firmly in the SCC with a 24.12. Thought I was going well (quite a few dropped out easily from the definitions) but slowed down by SPEECH, TOWER HAMLETS and HIGHLY STRUNG (because I stupidly had FLAT STRAIGHT for 1d and nearly biffed APPLE for 8a. Slowed down by recovery from a (very successful) cataract op which means I can’t use my normal specs and reading is difficult (i have been having difficulty with the tiny grid numbers for a while…. Thanks to setter and blogger. John M.
  16. 16 minutes for me – started well with some quick answers, then got stuck for a while before getting Tower Hamlets which set me off again and (for once) didn’t get stuck on the last 2 clues resulting in (for me) a quicker than average finish. As this is my first one of the New Year after taking a break over Christmas I’m hoping it’s a good sign…. COD 1ac, LOI 4d. Thanks Tracy
  17. I forgot to time this one but I guess about 7 minutes. No particular problems but 10a was my LOI. Thanks to Tracy & Chris.


  18. On a plane after champagne in the lounge and a few reds on board, but completed on the paper so happy with 15 mins.

    Last few were maple (after finally getting past morse, holmes and poirot), lie down, shylock and loi piece.

    Cod noodles

  19. A bit slow today after a quick start in the north. It was the south what done it! PARAPET, SPEECH, PIECE and HAYWIRE all taking longer than they should to take me two minutes over target at 17 mins. I didn’t connect PIECE with Bishop and chess until after completion, and wondered for a while if there was a famous Bishop Piece that I should have been aware of – stupid boy!
  20. I’ve never come across APE as a synonym for ‘clumsy’ before. Does anyone know if it is referenced in any of the usual sources? Not that it held me up at all. The four long perimeter clues were write ins and the rest quickly followed. Liked HAYWIRE.
    Thanks as always to setter and blogger.
  21. Getting 1ac and 1d straight away is always a confidence booster, and with Tracy as the setter it was certainly helpful today. Not too many of his customary 14ac clues this time round, so it was pens down after 24mins. LOI was Tower Hamlets – as part of the 80% of the UK population that doesn’t live inside the M25, I look forward to areas such as Fazakerly and Wythenshaw featuring in future QCs. . . Invariant
    1. 🙂 Fazakerly – yes please! I also want to see Collyhurst or Weaste in there, there must be a neat way of cluing those….
    1. He may have had many other things as opposed to earldom being the only thing he had. Hence the ?

      Edited at 2019-01-08 05:34 pm (UTC)

  22. No real problems today. I will never, I suspect, get below a 15 minutes’ solve but today came close! Some super clues here. Unlike Chris, I really liked 23 across. As an English teacher, I’m always gratified to come across references to the Bard so two in one day is a real treat! I also think that 1 across is a bit of a cracker and 5 down is also very clever. Good mood all round. Thanks so much, Chris, for the excellent blog and thanks, too, to Tracy for a great puzzle.
    1. A. Sub 15 will happen!
      B. Not so rushed now – so wish I’d been able to do the crossword/blog and savour it more. As the saying goes GR in haste and repent at leisure!
  23. Well this all went in quickly until I came to a grinding halt with my LOI 23a, which I stared blankly at for a couple of minutes before resorting to an alphabet trawl. When I eventually got to the Ts Tower became apparent and Hamlets followed shortly after. A frustrating finish to an otherwise enjoyable solve. Completed in 15.02
    Thanks for the blog
  24. All straight forward in about 15mins would have bee less but I had 22a as 7,5. No, there isn’t anything that fits
  25. Had a finish, which is always good news. Held up by RADAR for 5D — visions of lines sweeping circular dials from WW2 films. Or was that Asdic?
    Anyway, finished! Thanks to blogger, setter.

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