Times Quick Cryptic 1286 by Breadman

Just ticked over 10 minutes – held up by a 13 letter anagram of a boxer I could only dimly recall and my final crossing clues of a US filmmaker I didn’t know and, loi, a Japanese poem which sounded like something else and which was cleverly clued. Having said all that I quite enjoyed this – the clueing must have been tilted towards the QC as it all flowed pretty well. I wonder if this will be a marmite puzzle – I’m interested in hearing of your experiences.


1. HEADMISTRESS – School chief. Extremely (H)oars(E), anagram (working) of AMID, tension (STRESS).
8. ADIEU – see you (goodbye). Decline (DIE) in middle of tr(AU)ma.
9. ARCHIVE – store of historical things. A (A), Catholic (RC), producing honey (HIVE).
10. TEA – beverage. (T)aste, each (EA).
11. TEDDY BEAR – child’s plaything. Edward (TEDDY), to carry (BEAR).
13. HAIKU – Japanese poem – an epigrammatic Japanese verse form in 17 syllables. The NZ rugby/Māori war chant confused me here but that is a haka. This is a homophone clue in two parts. Homophone (when read out) of elevated (high) then ‘sound of bird’ (coo – of a dove). The phonetic is haɪku which sounds like high coo. I suspect that for some a COD – for others, a GR.
14. AESOP – Ancient Greek storyteller. Recalled (backwards) of the main (SEA), work (OP).
16. SYNTHETIC – produced artificially. Anagram (amazingly) of TINY CHEST.
17. EYE – organ. Finally restor(E), the of olden days (YE).
19. OF A SORT – inferior. Some s(OFAS OR T)ables.
21. ALERT – sharp. Beer (ALE), (R)esiden(T) emptied.
22. CHEESEMONGER – food retailer. Cheshire perhaps (CHEESE), anagram (upset) of MEG RON.


1. HEART – centre. Listen to (HEAR) leader in (T)own.
2. AGITATION – excitement. Silver (AG), im(ITATION) – one (I) and male (M) missed off.
3. MOUNT RUSHMORE – US memorial. Increase (MOUNT), charge (RUSH), further (MORE).
4. SHANDY – (slightly) alcoholic drink. Son (S), placed conveniently (HANDY).
5. ROCKY MARCIANO – heavyweight boxer. Rocco Francis Marchegiano, best known as Rocky Marciano, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955. He held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956, and retired undefeated as champion. It seems that this chap and Rocky Balboa inspired Sylvester Stallone in his epic saga of pugilism. Stony (ROCKY), area (A) inside an anagram (injured) of MINORCA.
6. SKI – runner on snow. Bound (SKI)p to lose power (P).
7. LET RIP – increase speed perhaps. The French (LE), on top of journey (TRIP).
12. EASTER EGG – seasonal gift. Anagram (disturbed) of TERESA, for example (EG), good (G).
13. HUSTON – late (surely redundant as only the Queen may appear if not deceased) US filmmaker. John. 1906–87, US film director. His films include The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1947), for which he won an Oscar, The African Queen (1951), The Man Who Would Be King(1975), Prizzi’s Honour(1985), and The Dead (1987). Anagram (cracked) of THUS, on (ON).
15. STATUE – piece of sculpture usually. Susan (SUE) collects tasteless stuff (TAT).
18. ENTER – go into. Medical department (ENT – ears, nose, throat), hesitation (ER – which is another medical department).
20. ASH – double definition and a cryptic definition which, I suppose, makes this an &LIT. Tree remains after fire (ASH), tree (ASH), remains after fire (ASH). What a nice way to end this clever puzzle.

45 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1286 by Breadman”

  1. This went pretty smoothly, although HEADMISTRESS & SYNTHETIC took some time, and I dithered between the two Rockys, MARCIANO and Graziano, once I remembered both. HAIKU a gimme from ‘Japanese poem’; the only other word that comes to mind is ‘tanka’, and that’s not going to show up here. HAIKU has appeared a number of times, at least in 15x15s. 4:54, first time under 5′ in a long time.
  2. Under 5 minutes for me, I think for the first time ever. I remembered the boxer, once I’d realized that it wasn’t the Stallone one. And living in the US, Mt Rushmore was another gimme. The rest then went straight in.
  3. 9 minutes. Time lost waiting for checkers to help with 3 of the 4 long answers. 1ac was the one that went straight in.
  4. Under 10 minutes including a spell check.
    Only hold up in parsing was mount for increase in 3d.

    Dnk huston but it was that or husnot.

    Liked archive and shandy, and cod to enter.

  5. Another sub-10 ruined by fat fingers – EETER and RUSHMOOE – even after I’d corrected the latter once when the cheese checker was wrong. Annoying but as usual I’m letting me off as I wouldn’t have done it on paper. HUSTON was fairly clued but I had to look him up as I hadn’t heard of him. I have heard of this films but don’t think I’ve ever watched one.
  6. of yesterday’s multiple dnf (first for a very long time), 10.17 and a PB today! Everything seemed to flow very smoothly from HEADMISTRESS (1st) to EYE (last). I stand in awe of the sub-5-minute times – I really don’t think I could ever type that quickly with one finger on a tablet! Thank you Breadman and, of course, blogger.
  7. There was a lot of GK in today’s puzzle and if you knew it it was straightforward. I was lucky and finished in 8:49 after agonising pauses before getting my last two: MOUNT RUSHMORE and LOI appropriately ADIEU.
    COD to ARCHIVE. David
  8. Slowest of the commenters so far with 12.11 but out of SCC today. Long anagrams, SYNTHETIC and HUSTON hampered progress.
  9. Inside 11 minutes, so definitely solver-friendly in my opinion. HAIKU and ROCKY dragged from memory, and AESOP appeared with the same clue quite recently I seem to remember. Nice little work out, although I don’t remember experiencing any little smiles of admiration for the clueing. Thanks setter and blogger.
  10. 19:58, so under my target by 2 seconds! Perhaps the long answers were a little too biffable from a few checkers, but I’m not complaining about a rare ‘easier’ puzzle.


  11. 11 minutes – a really enjoyable puzzle I felt with a good mix of clues in terms of style and difficulty. Hadn’t heard of Huston but with the checkers it had to be that. I also didn’t know that the living are banned from the crossword until I read the blog so thanks to both Breadman and Chris for a pleasing & informative start to the day.
  12. This would’ve been a PB for me at 4:59, BUT a fat fingered HEASMISTRESS ruined it. Despite a 20 second trawl for typos, I missed that one. Still a pretty good effort. I had the GK and everything flowed nicely. Luckily I didn’t think of Rocky G. As Kevin says, if you do the 15×15, you know HAIKU. Thanks Breadman and Chris.
  13. It seems I found that tougher than most but I was pleased to get there in the end. Couldn’t parse skip for bound, didn’t know the director, couldn’t remember haiku and hadn’t heard of the boxer! So 30 minutes with no mistakes seems reasonable!
  14. This would have been a warp speed 12 minutes for me today had it not been for that pesky goodbye. As my penultimate LOI was 1 down, all I had available for that 8 across teeth-gnashing session was “–i-u”. Once I’d got “heart”, I still couldn’t find “adieu” until a brisk cup of coffee came to the rescue. Got there in the end! Thanks so much, Breadman, and thanks, too, to Chris for a great blog.
  15. All very straightforward, except that I had never heard of HAIKU (I know nothing of English poetry let alone Japanese). However clearly clued, although I wrongly spelled it HEICU.
    LOI HAIKU (mis-spelt)
    COD ?
  16. 4:55. ARCHIVE my LOI. Several answers have appeared elsewhere recently – one even in today’s Concise. Fortunately knew all of today’s GK. COD to SYNTHETIC.
  17. Just under 2 Kevins, a Good Day. I was taught all about haikus in prep school, I think (looking back) because it gave the phenomenally idle English master very short homework to mark. DNK HUSTON, though, but as an anagram it was easy after checkers. LOI SHANDY which gets COD from me.

    Lovely puzzle and blog, thanks both.


  18. No problems with this one, which I thought was a very pleasant puzzle. I finished in 7:04, so within my target. Thanks to Breadman and Chris.


  19. ….HUSTON (apologies to ZZ Top for a missing O). John’s daughter Angelica is better known than him these days of course.

    I’ve taken to finishing the QC against the clock on paper, and then going online to fill it in, pressing submit to match my time. Today it took almost as long to fill the grid on my phone as it did to solve it on paper ! However I’m in the top 10 (just !) for the first time this morning – well, up to now anyway !

    If I’d spotted HEADMISTRESS straight away, I just might have got inside 3 minutes, but that one went in unparsed towards the end. I found this pretty easy, but I can see plenty of traps for the unwary.

    COD SKI – also liked MOUNT RUSHMORE
    TIME 3:04

  20. … to find two answers in both the QC and the T2 today (ADIEU & AESOP).

    Something of a biff-fest today with none of the long ones fully parsed until after completion. Held up momentarily by LOI HUSTON.

    Thanks as always to setter and blogger.

  21. As per Phil, I dithered a little too long around 1a, so also missed the magic mark, which is a shame as there are a good few gimmes and chestnuts ripe for picking (8, 10, 11,13,14 for starters) so may not get the chance again.

    I could always blame iPad solving over dodgy train WiFi, but I think that excuse is probably wearing thin now.


  22. I really enjoyed this one. Applying Jeremy’s lessons, I managed to parse everything and to be confident of my answers without checking on my phone as I went along (my usual practice).

    FOI 1ac and all went smoothly, dotting about as the checkers built up. Got held up by bottom left as I struggled to remember the word for artificial and am not very knowledgeable re US film makers. Japanese poem no problem as it’s the only one I know of.

    I must have done it in around 30 mins over lunch. Maybe I have finally graduated to the SCC! (but pride and fall comes to mind).

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    Edited at 2019-02-12 01:28 pm (UTC)

    1. Yes – it was the SW which did for me too. Congratulations on reaching the ‘parsing everything and to be confident of answers stage’. The SCC salutes (and welcomes) you!

      Edited at 2019-02-12 01:35 pm (UTC)

  23. I too managed this in around 30 mins which for a newbie like me is a PB. Luckily I knew the general knowledge this time and was able to work out the ones I didn’t know from the rest of the clue (eg. Huston). Getting 1ac quickly always seems to help the rest flow more easily.

    p.s I have been doing these for about a month now and already answers are starting to appear more than once (such as Aesop which I think came up recently). Is this quite common? This might explain in part why some of the finishing times above are quicker than I can read the clues!


    1. Hi, Sam – and welcome. Certain terms come up more often than others so, yes, experience does count. This applies somewhat more, I think, to parts of word play rather than answers with certain small words/names (e.g. DI, EVE) being useful for setters to fit everything together. This is where abbreviations come in (e.g, CH, CE, and EG!).
      Have a look at getting a free livejournal account – then any responses to your comments will be notified to the email you specify rather than getting lost in the rest of the comments.
  24. Under 8 minutes which I think is largely due to no unknowns. I biffed 13a HAIKU and I couldn’t parse it after. I tried CHEESEBURGER at 22a but quickly rectified my error. I am conscious that I biffed quited a few answers from definition and parsed whilst I was filling in the grid. I knew the boxer and the filmmaker from pub quizzes so no hold ups there. Thanks Breadman and Chris.
  25. PB for me. 15 minutes (well, and two seconds). loi OF A SORT, but stuffed it in from word play. HUSTON was also unknown to me, but I guessed from the clue, and the crossers.
  26. 5:45 for me. A bit of a biff fest apart from the US filmmaker who I have never heard of. Having now googled him, I have heard of many of his films so just more proof of my lack of culture!
  27. Another pb for us at 15m. As mentioned above some clues seemed familiar, 14a, 11a etc. which helped us along. Liked the hidden at 19a which was last one in. Thanks to all.
  28. Another PB here, beating my previous by 58 seconds.

    I biffed far more than usual, which explains the fast time and perhaps suggests the definitions were on the generous side. Never mind, after a few stinkers I needed that.

    Thanks Breadman and Chris.

  29. Started a little slowly and thought this was going to be difficult, but then everything started to click into place and I finished in 17 mins – nice to get below 20 for a change. It would probably have been a bit longer, but I knew Haiku from previous crosswords. I wondered in passing whether the word Shandy was too UK specific for those across the pond? Invariant
  30. A diffident start but picked up pace. Expected a leisurely solve but all done in 29 mins – so fast for me! FOI 1a. LOI 2d. COD 7d. What to do with a spare half an hour? Maybe another Costa to celebrate? Thx setter and blogger!
  31. Late start after a day in Stratford (upon Avon). Reasonably smooth solve in 13.03 with LI AGITATION and ADIEU. I liked SHANDY, SYNTHETIC, and ARCHIVE and I found the four longest answers among the easiest. Thanks to Breadman for a good puzzle and to Chris for his usual focussed blog. John M.
  32. Came to this late today after a postponed work Christmas dinner and was relieved to find it so gentle as I’m not sure my brain could have taken a toughie today. Completed in 7.52 with LOI ADIEU.
    Thanks for the blog
  33. Thanks but I couldn’t do it yesterday and I doubt I’ll be able to do it tomorrow either! This was a nice puzzle and jusy right for me.
  34. Under 10 mins, very quick for me – especially at this time of night!

    Still, bit of a confidence booster after yesterday, which took an age and was also a DNF (ikebana).

    Maybe tomorrow’ll bring something between the two…

    Goodnight x

  35. Inside 11 minutes, so definitely solver-friendly in my opinion. HAIKU and ROCKY dragged from memory, and AESOP appeared with the same clue quite recently I seem to remember. Nice little work out, although I don’t remember experiencing any little smiles of admiration for the clueing. Thanks setter and blogger.
  36. For some reason my 17a clue reads “finally restore the old organ”. No one else has commented on this so I assume I have a rare misprint, though how this has not affected anyone else I don’t know. Made it hard to get the correct answer.
    1. That is the correct clue – ‘finally restore the old organ’. The definition is organ = eye. That’s made up from finally restore – last letter of restore = E and ‘the old’ which is ‘the’ of olden days which = YE.

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