Times Quick Cryptic 1977 by Breadman

I reckon your experience of today’s puzzle will depend on whether you solved the four longest answers quickly, or not. I’m in the latter camp, with 1ac my LOI.

Overall, this is a pretty grown up QC, but with nothing really obscure or difficult.

Definitions underlined.

1 Notable Elizabethan coin is found finally with garden tool (7,5)
FRANCIS DRAKE – FRANC (coin), IS, last letter of (finally) founD, and RAKE (garden tool).
8 Dance clubs no good in outskirts of Omaha (5)
CONGA – C (clubs), then N (no) and G (good) inside the first and last letters from (outskirts of) OmahA.
9 Filling morning with a large magazine to go over (7)
AMALGAM – AM (morning), A, L (large), and a reversal of (to go over) MAG (magazine).
10 Mark and Dorothy (3)
DOT – double definition.
11 Peers corrected worker initially over language (9)
ESPERANTO – anagram of (corrected) PEERS, ANT (worker) and the first letter of (initially) Over.
13 Wow female, upper-class, somewhere in Greece (5)
CORFU – COR (wow), F (female), and U (upper-class).
14 Relations love fair in New York (5)
NOOKY – O(love) and OK (fair) inside NY (New York).
16 Poet sadly edgier after depression (9)
COLERIDGE – anagram of (sadly) EDGIER, after COL (depression).
17 Four years establishing climbing plant (3)
IVY – IV (four) and Y (years).
19 Fruit counter in centre on right (7)
RHUBARB – BAR (counter) inside HUB (centre), next to (on) R (Right). Or vegetable?
21 See the registrar holding anaesthetic (5)
ETHER – hidden in (…holding) seE THE Registrar.
22 Rubbish trifle has glutinous quality (12)
FIDDLESTICKS – FIDDLE (trifle) and STICKS (has glutinous quality). Trifle is the verb, meaning to amuse oneself with something.

1 Confronted US agent restraining Bill (5)
FACED – FED (US agent) containing (restraining) AC (account, bill).
2 Tune Laura composed in the buff (2,7)
AU NATUREL – anagram of (composed) TUNE LAURA.
3 Beneath French castle, munched rib and steak (13)
CHATEAUBRIAND – after (beneath) CHATEAU (French castle), is an anagram of (munched) RIB, then AND.
4 Quick, like a crocodile? (6)
SNAPPY – definition and cryptic hint.
5 New organisation on Scottish isle get to recruit guys (13)
REARRANGEMENT – RE (regarding, on), ARRAN (Scottish isle), then GET containing (to recruit) MEN.
6 Cask from King’s Head, for example (3)
KEG – first letter of (…’s head) King, then EG (for example).
7 Represent doctor on duty primarily in case of emergency (6)
EMBODY – MB (doctor), first letters of (primarily) On Duty, all inside the first and last letters (case) of EmergencY.
12 From a bygone age, nasty one fired bumpkin slightly lacking (9)
NEOLITHIC – anagrm of (nasty) ONE, then LIT (fired), and all-but-the-last leter from (slightly lacking) HICk (bumpkin).
13 Military leader and Roman emperor beheaded Roman orator (6)
CICERO – CIC (Commander in Chief, military leader), and all-but-the-first letter of (beheaded) nERO (Roman emperor).
15 Wait, lifting half of leaf suitable for eating (6)
EDIBLE – BIDE (wait) reversed (lifting) then half of the letters from LEaf.
18 World War I battle certainly captivates pair (5)
YPRES – YES (certainly) containing (captivating) PR (pair).
20 Quentin regularly avoided academic institution (3)
UNI – every other letter from (regularly avoided) qUeNtIn.

56 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1977 by Breadman”

  1. I biffed RHUBARB and NEOLITHIC, parsing post-submission. This one felt rather difficult, although I didn’t go too much past my 6′ goal. 6:39.
  2. I biffed RHUBARB, parsing post-submission. This one felt rather difficult, although I managed, just, to achieve my 10′ goal.

    Very much enjoyed 14ac and 22ac.

  3. Great puzzle, lots of clues hinted at needing GK but turned out to be a bit friendlier. Only three on the first pass of acrosses — DOT, IVY and ETHER — but the downs went better and so FRANCIS DRAKE appeared. Enjoyed constructing 14a to find NOOKY — my most coffee splutteringest moment of my crosswording year. COLERIDGE should have been easy given my parents live so close to Nether Stowey but the Tour de France always make me think a col is a hill. Ended up with CONGA where I thought years of dodging Strictly were going to haunt me but it turned out to be about my level. All green in 16, about half yesterday’s time.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 06:03 am (UTC)

  4. Lots to enjoy in this one and it definitely made us think. Seemed to take ages to solve NOOKY — we ended up finishing in 16 minutes.


    Thanks William and Breadman.

  5. A favourite joke of my dad.s was to ask for a crocodile sandwich, and to make it snappy!

    Enjoyable crossword and thanks again to the blogger – I got Faced and Cicero, but needed blog to understand the cryptic solution. One day I’ll remember all these various military and police related abbreviations – Cic, Fed etc

  6. I found today’s a bit harder than yesterday’s, taking me just over 20 mins and into the SCC. I ran aground in the SE, with Nooky, neolithic, fiddlesticks & my LOI embody taking at least the last 5 mins. I thought the clueing for embody was tricky, I’d forgotten doctor could be MB as well as MD and MO and spent ages trying to see how ICE would fit for in case of emergency. Thanks for the much needed blog explanation!

  7. As Mr. Vezetque noted it’s Breadman and ‘dad joke’ day.
    A sandwich walks into a pub, and the barmaid says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food!”
    So the sandwich settles for a pint of Pride. Mother’s Pride! Taxi for one!

    I was off to a good start with Sir FRANCIS DRAKE at 1ac.

    LOI 7dn EMBODY


    WOD 14ac NOOKY — Bear anyone?

    Time a stolid 15 minutes. l need to be under 10 tomorrow — Meldrew

    On Edit: Mr. Jordan, Sir! ‘Spade Guinea’!? Did you not mean ‘Arthur Crown’ or ‘Florin Nightingale.’?

    Edited at 2021-10-06 08:18 am (UTC)

  8. I also found this fairly tricky. AU NATUREL was FOI, followed by CONGA FACED and our roving Elizabethan. The top half was completed in 4d fashion, but I slowed considerably down under. NEOLITHIC, FIDDLESTICKS and LOI, REARRANGEMENT took up a goodly stretch of time at the end. 9:25. Thanks Breadman and William.
    1. That’s an interesting perspective. This was my second fastest ever at 10:11. It usually takes me 20 minutes and I often DNF at all. I guess there were a lot of general knowledge type questions which removed much of the word play – name an Elizabethan, a battle beginning with Y, a Roman orator, etc. No doubt tomorrow will be back to the usual struggle.
  9. I was pleased to manage under 10 minutes with more clues than usual seeming to require several readings.

    FOI: KEG

    Thanks to william_j_s and Breadman

  10. ….and I missed my target. I didn’t help myself by rushing the start with a ridiculous attempt to enter “spade guinea” at 1A ! Backing it out meant that I immediately lost around 40 seconds.

    TIME 6:06

  11. FRANCIS DRAKE went straight in and most of the rest swiftly followed but NOOKY (COD), NEOLITHIC and FIDDLESTICKs took as long as all the other clues put together. Finally an alpha trawl led to NOOKY (so to speak) and this unlocked the final two. Finished slightly over target in 10.55.
    Thanks to william and Breadman for the entertainment.
  12. 17:24, with much time spent on last two, NOOKY & FIDDLESTICKS.

    Stared for ages at FIDDLESTICKS, which is a common enough crossword clue. Even with (count ‘em) 6 checkers nothing would fit. My new tactic in this situation is to put in any pronounceable word (“kindlestaces”) , then replace letters randomly.


    Just finished reading The Marlow Murder Club , which features a protagonist who is a cryptic crossword setter. Not a bad read, very similar to Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club It only contains one cryptic clue, though

    Two girls, one on each knee (7)

    1. I solved it but this isn’t my kind of clue as it involves two random names and some anatomical knowledge. I probably would have been quicker with some checkers!

      Edited at 2021-10-06 11:05 am (UTC)

    2. That clue is usually attributed to Roger Squires, now retired, who used to set as Rufus in the Guardian and is regularly cited as the world’s most prolific crossword compiler. It’s also the title of a book about crosswords by Alan Connor, who writes about crosswordy things in the Guardian.
  13. Seemed to be on the wavelength, more or less. Lots of biffing then parsing. First one in, the steak, LOI EMBODY. POI NOOKY – was surprised to read that one🙂.
    Had a PDM with FRANCIS DRAKE, COD. Lots of v clever clues inc CICERO.
    Thanks, William.
  14. I enjoyed this puzzle. I managed it quickly (under 2K). Some very neat and quirky clues. NOOKY made me smile. Satisfying to be back under target again; perhaps my brain still has some active cells left. Many thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 08:45 am (UTC)

  15. the comments so far, I thought I had done well, until I saw pedwardine had smashed this one out of the park!

    I liked this one, though there were several only semi-parsed on submission, NEOLITHIC, YPRES, COLERIDGE (is a COL a depression – I thought it was a mountain pass – I see it’s the lowest point between 2 peaks, hence a depression of sorts), EDIBLE, FIDDLE=TRIFLE (hadn’t picked up the verb). So, I did well without fully appreciating the clues until afterwards, and in the case of FIDDLE=TRIFLE, reliant on the blog, so thanks william_j_s.

    Being puerile, as I’ve said before, NOOKY was my COD.


  16. Chewed over this for half an hour. Thought I would have to give up or have a break as was stuck on nooky, neolithic and fiddlesticks, but I stared at it long enough and they emerged eventually, don’t know how. FOI Francis Drake, hello, I thought, quick time coming? How wrong can you be. LO’sI already mentioned. Did not parse rhubarb, rearrangement, embody. COD Coleridge. Left feeling a bit befuddled, but enjoyed the process. Thanks, William, and Breadman.
  17. Six minutes to do all bar NOOKY, NEOLITHIC and EMBODY. Another ten minutes to do those! I think I’d have been faster to see NOOKY if this had been the Private Eye puzzle.

    FOI FRANCIS DRAKE (I too tried to make some variation of “spade guinea” work), LOI EMBODY (“case of” threw me), time 16 mins for 2.8K and a Terrible day.

    Many thanks Breaders and William.


  18. I should have checked the anagram fodder in what was a rather unsatisfactory solve. I biffed too many. Of the four long ones only CHATEAUBRIAND went in without a struggle. 11:54 with one error and too many clues unparsed. Hey-ho, there is another one tomorrow.
  19. Definitely a struggle for me, even though 1ac and 3d went in quite quickly. A fair bit of biffing and I had to come here to understand a few that I couldn’t parse at all, so thanks for the explanation.

    No problem with Coleridge as I happened to be listening to Samuel Coleridge Taylor (British composer as opposed to the poet) as I was doing this qc.

    Had to look up FIDDLESTICKS as I couldn’t see it, even with all the checkers.

    Not sure about RHUBARB as a fruit but my wife assures me that, as it can be eaten with custard, it must be.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 09:33 am (UTC)

    1. Does that mean treacle sponge is a fruit, as well? One of our five-a-day then.
  20. 18 minutes, and quite a struggle for me. LOI AMALGAM which I saw early, but couldn’t parse or justify until I had all the checkers, which meant EMBODY needed to be solved first. FIDDLESTICKS also required all the checkers to be in place. As others have said, this was tricky and sophisticated but not obscure, although I have to knock off one point for sophistication as a result of NOOKY.
  21. 4:38 this morning. I thought this was a top notch QC and I was pleased to complete it under target.
    Lots of excellent and witty clues including the misleading surface ( at least as far as I was concerned) of 1 ac “Francis Drake” where I was looking for Elizabethan coinage for a little while.
    COD 16 ac “Coleridge”. You may be aware that Samuel was a good mate of Wordsworth and on one occasion in winter, when visiting Dove Cottage, he crossed Dunmail Raise ( a col between Keswick and Grasmere) on foot during a storm and contracted pneumonia. So ” poet sadly edgier after depression” is spookily accurate. I wonder if Breadman was aware of this episode — if so a brilliant clue! On the other it could just be me and I should get out more…..
    Thanks to William for the blog and to Breadman for my favourite QC for some time
  22. Same as yesterday – struggled throughout. Recorded the same time as well at 25 mins. A fair puzzle and enjoyable puzzle though, but some of the clues seemed a bit clunky (12dn for example). Carelessly wrote in AU NATURAL for 2dn without checking, so one error. I also, like others, struggled to see FIDDLESTICKS, although it seems obvious now!

    FOI – 10ac DOT
    LOI – 7dn EMBODY
    COD – several candidates but I particularly liked the surface of 11ac ESPERANTO.

  23. 14 minutes, having biffed THINGUMMYBOB (‘trifle’ and ‘glutinous’ etc.) made lower half difficult.
    Was also put off by definition of RHUBARB as ‘fruit’ but now remember “fruit of the earth”.
  24. 8 mins still on phone. Decent time so luckier than crispb yesterday on a relevant puzzle for me, 1977.

    Last 2 were the long rearrangement and fiddlesticks.
    Cod au naturel.

  25. Couldn’t get into the flow today, and beaten by NEOLITHIC, EMBODY and FIDDLESTICKS, the latter particularly I just couldn’t parse to find a way in. Thought rubbish might be (vb) Dis… and tried to tag the other bits on, obviously in vain. Wasn’t thinking as far back as neolithic and again couldn’t work the clue. EMBODY, forgot MB for Dr. All fair, but middling tricky, i thought. Enjoyed the bits i could do!
  26. Very tricky but for me enjoyable challenge.
    Slowly working through — most clues requiring a lot of thought to unpick….
    Fiddlesticks POI and couldn’t parse — likewise Neolithic couldn’t parse.
    But I conceded with Cicero unsolved. Not over familiar and didn’t get CIC or the beheaded Nero.
    But hey ho pleased to get so far.
    Thanks all
    John George
  27. Late to this today, but pleased to complete it in 18 mins. Quite a few tricky clues I thought with a decent degree of GK needed. Thankfully 1ac “Francis Drake”, 13dn “Cicero”, 12dn “Neolithic” and 18dn “Ypres” were all known.

    A keg may be the equivalent of a cask, but cask beer is definitely not the same as keg. Wasn’t sure about “fiddle” = “trifle” — need to look up later.

    FOI — 8ac “Conga”
    LOI — 7dn “Embody”
    COD — 14ac “Nooky” — always think of Carry On when I see this.

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2021-10-06 02:10 pm (UTC)

    1. Indeed, Jim Dale plays the role of “Dr Nookey” in Carry On Again, Doctor.

      …there have been several incidents with nurses.
      Oh come come, you know as well as I that all young Doctors indulge in a bit of jiggery pokery.
      Sir, I do not object to jiggery but I take exception to pokery!

      And that’s the level of humour in “Carry On” . Rinse and repeat for 31 films.

      1. It’s fair to say that even now in my late 40’s I can watch a Carry On Film and suddenly spot a double entendre that passed over my innocent head when I was very young. I used to laugh at Dr Nooky — just because it sounded funny, not because of any other connotation that I was blissfully unaware of 😊
  28. Found this slow going but we were pleased to get there in the end, some not parsed eg neolithic, enjoyed 14a, nooky.
  29. … as I not only found this tough, but also found rather too many of the clues leaving me with question marks. I am clearly in the minority over 14A Nooky, as everyone else seems to think it a brilliant clue, but I struggled to see Relations = Nooky, and took far too long to see OK = fair. With doubts over both meaning and wordplay, but no other word I could think of to fit N-O-Y, that one was my LOI and went in with a considerable shoulder shrug. 15D Edible and 19A Rhubarb also biffed but not parsed, didn’t connect Fiddle with trifle, didn’t think of Col as a depression (more of a saddle to me, and interestingly in meteorology it usually means a region of slightly elevated pressure). And so on.

    Definitely not on Breadman’s wavelength then. But you cannot win them all and tomorrow is another day.

    Many thanks to William for the blog

  30. At least 1/3 of clues unanswered, found this quite hard to get to grips with.

    Happy with myself for seeing the wordplay in AMALGAM and NOOKY before the definition.

    Gave up after 35 minutes.

  31. … but I got there, in 34 minutes.

    I found three of the four long clues (FRANCIS DRAKE, REARRANGEMENT and FIDDLESTICKS) very hard to crack, which gave me precious few checkers elsewhere. I particularly liked EMBODY, and CICERO was my LOI (I didn’t know what he was famous for — shows the paucity of my GK).

    Mrs R and I are each visiting our own parents today, so I will have to report on how she will have smashed my time in due course.

    Many thanks to Breadman and William.

    Edited at 2021-10-06 04:23 pm (UTC)

    1. I knew Cicero was a Roman statesman and orator. However, rather than coming from some learned knowledge of ancient Roman history, I picked it up from the Robert Harris novel Dictator.
        1. That genuinely made me laugh as I hadn’t noticed it in the glossary before. The mere fact it is there means I can’t be the only bluffer then 😀 (unless the original quote was being ironic of course)

          Edited at 2021-10-06 05:51 pm (UTC)

  32. Came to this late in the day after a few hours work digging tree roots out at my daughter’s house. My reward was a decent enough time (16mins), and in both cases the satisfaction of a job well done. I didn’t think it would turn out that way when I read the clue for 1ac, but 1d Faced gave me enough of a hint to see what was going on. After that, a fairly steady solve, with a few biff then parse solutions (Rearrangement, Coleridge, Rhubarb) to get me over some tricky spots. Loi was 22ac, Fiddlesticks, via a mercifully quick pdm. CoD to 14ac, Nooky, even if I couldn’t quite believe it the first couple of times I looked at it. Invariant
  33. A lightning solve (by my meagre standards), at half the target time. Once a few checkers were in there was lots of biffing with fiddlesticks the last to fall.
  34. Where I come from nooky is synonymous with shagging or screwing which I wouldn’t expect to see in a Times crossword!
    1. Dear Mr. Anthony Mouse – Believe it or not – it’s how we all got herein the first place! Smelling Salts!?
  35. Hardly a moment to see CHATEAUBRIAND 😉 but FACED and the much referenced FIDDLESTICKS were altogether a different story. Several visits to the grid during the day in between work and walk, so no definite time but I would not take issue with an hour overall.
    Definitely more difficult than yesterday, Biff and hope and away we go.
    Thanks William and Breadman
  36. I was sharing the answer to 13d with my classicist daughter who pointed out that as well as referring to [N]ERO, “beheaded” also refers to “Roman orator”, since Cicero was beheaded (and had his head impaled on a stake, whereupon Fulvia stuck hairpins in his tongue).

    Otherwise, I’m afraid I didn’t complete this one, and had to have help with 14a, 22a, 7d and 12d. Pleased with myself for biffing Chateaubriand since I’d only ever heard of the French writer (1768-1848) rather than the steak.

    1. Dear William Morris It far is better if one puts the actual words in, as most of us can’t be fagged to scroll back to find out what 13d 14a, 22a, 7d and 12d are! You’ll have to get out a bit more to discover the joys of the other Chateaubriand (for two).

      19ac, 19ac, 19ac! Kind regards Meldrew

    1. Hi Anon,

      It stands for Medicinae Baccalaureus, or Bachelor of Medicine.

      ‘Doctor’ in a clue sometimes indicates: DR, MB, MO, MD, GP, DD, or rearrangement (anagram).

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