Times Quick Cryptic 1291 by Felix

I found this to be medium difficulty at 12 minutes as I struggled at 21dn and loi, the rather wonderful, 7dn. Whatever your time, there’s lots of wit and wisdom to enjoy here. Have fun.


1. PAST – over. Father’s (PA’S), time (T).
3. PACIFIST – peaceful chap. I beat (I CAP) backwards, hand clenched (FIST).
9. ALI BABA – hero of folk tale. Champion boxer (ALI), graduates (BA x2).
10. PUFFS – excessively promotes – double definition. 1. exaggerated praise, as of a book, product, etc, esp through an advertisement. 2. Pants (breathing).
11. MASAI – race in Africa – a member of a Nilotic people, formerly noted as warriors, living chiefly in Kenya and Tanzania. Mother’s (MA’S), excellent (A1).
12. IMPART – contribute. This setter’s (I’M), piece (PART).
14. TELEGRAPH POLE – one holding the line. Anagram (corrupted) of ALLEGE PROPHET.
17. MANTRA – oft repeated phrase. Chap (MAN), skill going over (ART) backwards.
19. JAWED – talked. Jack (J), in state of wonder (AWED).
22. USHER – escort. Someone in a hurry perhaps r(USHER) – not the first.
23. GABRIEL – one of the archangels, the messenger of good news (we did learn once on this site that there is a hierarchy of angels which I confess to have forgotten – I would expect the arch ones to be top-dogs). Lass (GAL) carrying cheese (BRIE).
24. LADYBIRD – beetle. Boy (LAD), anagram (shaking) of RID BY.
25. TEEM – pour. Homophone (audibly) of side – team.


1. PLAYMATE – sporting colleague – I suppose there are many uses of ‘sporting’. Anagram (plied – to manipulate or wield a tool) of AMPLY TEA.
2. SWISS – European. Three sons (SSS) touring West Indies (WI).
4. AWAY IN A MANGER – carol. Rage (ANGER) after an entrance (A WAY IN), morning (AM).
5. IN PUP – expecting litter. Anagram (bent) of PIN, raised (UP).
6. INFERNO – blazer. Anagram (out to lunch – mad) of FOR NINE.
7. TOSS – cryptic definition. Heads/tails on a coin being tossed before a game could drop heads-up – additionally, when the coin falls to the ground, the heads of those involved drop to inspect the outcome.
8. RAVING – crazy. Called (RANG) around six (VI).
13. PENDULUM – swinger. Anagram (cavorting) of LUMP NUDE.
15. LOATHED – reviled. Article (THE) carried in cargo (LOAD).
16. HIJABS – they cover one’s head. How do you do? (HI), injections (JABS).
18. THROB – beat. The short (TH)e, boy (ROB).
20. WRITE – put words down. With (W), ceremony (RITE).
21. GULL – fool (someone who is gullible). Large (L) and heave (LUG) all upwards.

35 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1291 by Felix”

  1. I had all of this complete in 5:30 bar 7d. I then totally failed to see what was going on and at 8:52 bunged in TEST in desperation. It took me another minute staring at the 2 pink squares before the penny dropped. Drat! Eeejit! A biffed TELEPHONE POLE was corrected when I looked at 8d. The rest of the clues went in as I read them. Thanks Felix and Chris.
  2. TOSS and GULL held me up a little. The rest went straight in. I didn’t really time it since I loaded up the crossword and then got distracted replying to some emails with the clock running. But it felt like under my 8 minute “par”.
  3. 9 minutes. Was this intended for the Christmas season with AWAY IN A MANGER and the reference to herald angels?
  4. Got absolutely nowhere with this puzzle. I thought it a stinker and certainly not of middle difficulty for a relative newbie


    1. Don’t worry, I strongly suspect your view is the majority one. Most commenters on this (exceptionally useful) blog are keen to let everyone know the rapidity of their completion and, by implication…well you can complete the rest. If it’s any consolation, I’ve been doing the paper version of the quickie for at least a year or two and have never got anywhere near the rather fanciful times often quoted. It’s not a contest, other than between you and the setter, so keep at it.
      1. Well said. These are done for fun/challenge. People are, however, interested in the difficulty of a puzzle – to see how they did – if a ‘relative newbie’ does manage to complete a puzzle found tough by everyone else they, hopefully, will get more satisfaction (and encouragement to keep on). The only way to judge difficulty is for the ‘regulars’ to note their times and how that compares to their personal target/average.
      2. Agree with you 100%. It is very deflating, after struggling but eventually completing after quite some time, to read how Brilliant Bill did it in minus three seconds.
  5. I found this about medium, perhaps medium hard since it look me 19.33. A fair chunk of that was staring at two remaining four letter words with all the checkers in. TEEM fell before GULL both following alphabet trawls. AWAY IN A MANGER also held me up, it wasn’t until I biffed from the checkers that I realised carol was the definition and even then I needed the blog to parse. I wasn’t quite sure 13d worked, cavorting didn’t seem to really apply to nude, even if the solution was clear.
    1. Lump cavorting with nude swinger (8) – anagram (cavorting) of LUMP NUDE. The ‘with’ adds in nude to the anagram.

      Edited at 2019-02-19 07:36 am (UTC)

  6. I felt like the inter-city train going at over 100mph suddenly confronted by the red light of 7d and 21d. Mostly I just wrote in the answers; a pause and a re-check for THROB. Under ten minutes as I approached my last two. I almost went for TEST at 7d but was not convinced and eventually saw TOSS -definitely COD.
    LOI was GULL. Thankful that G is near the start of the alphabet.
    So a similar experience to other early reporters.
    14:00 exactly for me. David
  7. I was heading for a rare below target finish at 17 minutes with only 21D to go, but in the end the clock stopped at 21. I can see why beginners would have struggled, there were lots of ‘usual suspects’ in the wordplay, which have to be learned from experience.


  8. Some of this was a bit tricky for a QC. I liked the cryptic TOSS at 7D and the “How do you do” in 16D. COD to AWAY IN A MANGER. 6:11.
  9. 10.48 and a stupid pink square for HIJABI as a plural (doh!). Thought I was on for a PB before TEEM, GULL, the clever misdirecting Carol, THROB and TOSS slammed on the brakes. 4 and 7dn faves today.
  10. Same time as Chris i.e. 12 minutes but with a reversal of my last two in. 7d TOSS was my penultimate solve and 21d GULL my LOI. I DNK GULL as a fool so had to solve the wordplay in an alphabet trawl. Also biffed 3a PACIFIST so thanks for the explanation Chris.
  11. My reaction was pretty similar to those above. Thought it was going to be a record (no problem with the longer anagrams) and then reality kicked in with some of the short answers. Much desperate head scratching over TOSS and GULL. THROB took longer than it should have done, too. A bit quicker than yesterday but still nearly 20 mins. John M.

    Edited at 2019-02-19 09:40 am (UTC)

  12. Started like a rocket, but got bogged down in the SW corner. Also entered “in pod” at 5D so couldn’t spot IMPART at first. Sheer carelessness. Just inside my 5 minute target though.

    TIME 4:57

  13. I thought it was a good puzzle – took just under 30 minutes which is about 10 outside my target. DNK Gull – never heard it used.
  14. I found this one quite tricky. Finally finished in 12:39, having been bogged down in the SW corner for what seemed like ages. Thanks to setter & blogger.


  15. Just under 30 mins, so about average for me. GULL took a while, in fact I would have struggled more with that had not fool = gull been a good old standby.
    Thoroughly enjoyed TOSS, clever clue.
  16. Found this tricky in parts and failed on 21d where we put pull in, although suspecting it was wrong. Just over 30m, our average time. Certainly better than yesterday.
  17. Hi all,

    First post here. I’m at the sitting-down-with-cuppa-and-paper-for-1hr then consulting this page for help on clues I’m stuck on…but I’m getting there. From 0-1 answers 2 months ago to 13 today before I gave up. So thanks for this blog and everyone’s involvement.

    Quick question after looking at Philjordan’s post. I’m guessing COD = clue of the day, but can anyone help me out with LOI and FOI please?

    My highlights were getting TOSS and the Xmas carol…it may be a year until I complete the Quick Cryptic but with your help I’ll get there, so keep up the good work all.


    1. We all started the same – experience really does tell at this game.
      Do feel free to ask for further clarification if the blog is too brief (no question is silly).

      I see I’ve just been pipped at the post for abbreviation clarification.

      One last thing – if you get a free livejournal logon then any responses to your posts will be flagged to the email you give.

      Have fun!

  18. Keep at it Chris; I’m you about a year down the line and generally finish in about 30 mins or so over a coffee (paper version). The big help is remembering the conventions.
    FOI – first one in
    LOI — last one in.
  19. Thanks for the answers, help and encouragement all.

    Will get a login for this and hopefully be down to anonymous’ 30min mark before long.



  20. A late start today but it all went in fairly smoothly until my last 2 GULL and TEEM, which took me just over my target time – completing in 15.19.
    Thanks for the blog
  21. I quite liked this one. It moved along nicely. In Pup got me for a while as I couldn’t get away from thinking of rubbish for litter and the “little ones” kind. Everything worked well.

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