Times Quick Cryptic 1991 by Teazel

A difficult blog day – including a very unusual (for me these days) train journey and much less leisure to enjoy the pursuit of crosswordland than usual. So I have no time to report but think this may have been a little tricky but with much wit to enjoy – I’ve enjoyed piecing the blog together. Apologies  if I haven’t given the normal level of attention to typos.

Have fun, all.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Fairground ride is to revert to previous state (10)
SWITCHBACK – revert to a previous state (SWITCH BACK).
8 Quiet about incident, far from the first (7)
SEVENTH – quiet (SH) about incident (EVENT). 6 away from the first.
9 Fine palace, outside demolished, in republic (5)
NEPAL – I didn’t know that Nepal’s constitution of 2015 affirms Nepal as a secular federal parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Demolish the outside of fi(NE PAL)ace.
10 Not a single sister is heard (4)
NONE – homophone (is heard) of nun.
11 In van rode wildly around lake, avoiding the water (8)
OVERLAND – anagram (wildly) of VAN RODE around lake (L).
13 Lie about what is in roughage (5)
FIBRE – lie (FIB), about (RE) – it’s what breakfast is all about!
14 Wind’s double force in the end (5)
TWINE – double (TWIN), forc(E). Wind – not  the noun – the verb.
16 Parts of hearing as murder is dissected (8)
EARDRUMS – anagram (is dissected) of AS MURDER.
17 A good artist in Indian city (4)
AGRA – a (A), good (G), artist (RA).
20 Part of chain put on Charlie in prison (5)
CLINK – part of chain (LINK) then put Charlie (C) on top.
21 This protective garment superior to the rest? (7)
OVERALL – superior to the rest (OVER ALL).
22 Hermits confused in chain store (10)
ANCHORITES – anagram (confused) of CHAIN STORE. An anchorite – or anchoress (if that’s allowed these days) – was, and maybe still is for all I know, a person who lives in seclusion – a religious recluse/hermit.
1 Girl taking tin round America (5)
SUSAN – tin (SN) around America (USA).
2 Virgin excited by capital composer (6,6)
IRVING BERLIN – anagram (excited) of (VIRGIN) by (next to) capital (BERLIN).
3 Miraculous place is able to amaze at the start (4)
CANA – is able to (CAN), (A)maze. The miracle here was water into wine – I seem to manage this in reverse so I’m clearly no redeemer.
4 Two very common verbs cause no trouble (6)
BEHAVE – two very common verbs (BE HAVE).
5 Trick rather obvious? Sorry! (8)
CONTRITE – trick (CON), rather obvious (TRITE).
6 Role with lines: not coming out with them all? (8,4)
SPEAKING PART – not coming out with them all – only SPEAKING PART.
7 On the shelf, pawn love token (6)
PLEDGE – pawn (P) is on the shelf (LEDGE). I think we’re in ‘pledge/plight one’s troth’ territory here.
12 Guards hat from worrying break-ins (8)
BEARSKIN – anagram (worrying) of BREAK INS.
13 Al with this painting would be in the open air (6)
FRESCO – Al (AL) with this painting (FRESCO) would be ALFRESCO – in the open air.
15 Sound like a cow in school, but get kissing (6)
SMOOCH – sound like a cow (MOO) inside school (SCH).
18 Set of maps a sailor put up (5)
ATLAS – a (A) then sailor put upwards/backwards (SALT – TLAS).
19 Some share a ride back (4)
REAR – some of sha(RE AR)ide.

55 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1991 by Teazel”

  1. I would have said that I didn’t know SWITCHBACK, but I must have come across it, since I biffed it from the S_I. (I just looked it up now, and see that it means ‘roller coaster’; that, I’m sure I didn’t know.) 6:38.
    1. Had to look it up too to confirm it too, but then again I’m only 69 so i wouldn’t have come across it would I
  2. Well into the SCC, making hard work of NEPAL/PLEDGE/TWINE at the end. “Outside demolished” is a new device, but applying it to multiple preceding words gave a lot of options. And of course F=fine, like F=force (in 14a) were both misdirections today.

    Is TWINE really a verb ? Entwine maybe: OED has lots of quotes but nothing since 1900. Here’s a quote from Tennyson
    The light soul twines and mingles with the growths of vigorous early days.

    ANCHORITES was a tough old clue, for a long time “hermits” looked like the anagram.

    For 13d FRESCO both “fleece” and “fierce” had to be discarded as fitting the checkers. It seemed unlikely anything else would fit.


  3. An insomnia solve around 3 a.m. so not at my, never sparkling, best, but finished in 35 minutes. Didn’t know 1A as a fairground ride and made no progress in the top half. Eventually worked from SE corner to NE and then back across. Liked the confused hermits. Now to try to get some sleep.
  4. 11 minutes with CONTRITE and TWINE taking me 1 minute past my target 10. Nice to know that Irving Berlin hasn’t been forgotten – his songs never will be of course.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 07:43 am (UTC)

  5. I was desperate to put ironmonger for ‘chain store’. Bit short of GK today. Didn’t know the ANCHORITES or what a SWITCHBACK was but I did know IRVING BERLIN — couldn’t knowingly hum a tune though. A shade under 20 minutes — quite a lot being misdirected by PLEDGE. Lots to enjoy here but a bit unevenly spread!
  6. After yesterday’s 15×15, with DITTANY and SURCINGLE, we now have CANA and ANCHORITES. I feel we are having a tour of the obscure backwaters of the dictionary and GK. Still, got there in the end. NEPAL was a good hidden.
  7. … well these days for me they are rarer than they were. But this one fell into place nicely in just over 9 minutes, with the bottom half especially going in smoothly.

    I am another who spent a wee while trying to make an anagram out of hermits in 22A Anchorites, and I also looked for a wind (the noun, as in breeze) that ended in —FF for double force for 14A Twine — I eventually worked out how the clue worked but like Merlin I had a double-take at Twine as a verb. Longest hold-up was, perhaps unexpectedly, over 1D Susan. The answer was clear, especially once I had the checkers, but the parsing delayed me at the end: one is so used to “America” giving US not USA that I wondered how “tin” could lead to “san”. A nice PDM when I realised that tin was actually SN.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  8. Like others, I struggled with switchback which I don’t think I’ve ever heard of as a fairground ride. Spent some time trying to get something about swings in. Irving Berlin was also slow to come although seems obvious now, and also was looking for a republic starting with F. I liked “behave” as don’t think I’ve seen a clue like this before. Firmly in the SCC though with around a 25 minute solve.

  9. I found this tough with a couple of unknowns in ANCHORITES and SWITCHBACK and a decidedly chewy NE corner. CONTRITE, NEPAL, TWINE and LOI PLEDGE had to be crowbarred out with alpha trawls aplenty.
    Despite my struggles plenty to enjoy along the way, finishing well over target in 15.26.
    Thanks to chris for the blog and Teazel for the workout.
  10. Thought this was going to be a toughie at first as the first few didn’t reveal themselves at all. But after getting none, I got NONE and things started going much better. As so often happens, however, it got tougher in the end and my final three, the NHO ANCHORITES, TWINE and PLEDGE, took me up to 34:23. COD to FRESCO, and while I’m on the subject, Chris, shouldn’t the definition of FRESCO be “painting” and not “in the open air”? Thanks Teazel and Chris.
    1. Thank you – yes, you’re quite right. This was rather an unusual clue now you’ve got me to think about it. A definition not at either end is quite rare. Blog updated.

      Edited at 2021-10-26 08:58 am (UTC)

  11. This seemed about right for me, as I came in at twenty-one minutes, about my usual time. A twenty-minuter makes me feel satisfied – no too easy, not too hard. FOI none, though hesitantly as it doesn’t sound like nun when I say it. Surprised to have eleven on first pass as I didn’t think it was going at all well. Held up in the NE with pledge, Nepal and twi*e (LOI). It was a toss-up between twine and twice. Twine I use in the garden, twice is double, so I opted for twice. Thus, DNF by one pink square.

    Needed all the checkers for anchorites. COD. Most enjoyable. Thanks, Chris, and Teazel.

  12. A tricky one today where I was relieved to squeak in under my target. CANA was FOI and FIBRE LOI. Pleased to have previously met the ANCHORITES in the big puzzle. Spent a while going down blind alleys for TWINE and PLEDGE. 9:31. Thanks Teazel and Chris.
  13. I found my experience close to that of many bloggers above. I got nowhere in the top half at first but moved up steadily from the SE. NHO ANCHORITES but it had to be. I hesitated over CANA (I wanted to add an extra A) and took too long over SWITCHBACK. Last in were PLEDGE and TWINE (a mer there for me — I would expect ENtwine for the verb). I was slow today but can’t say how slow after two phone calls and two deliveries… Some nice clues and some tough ones. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 10:38 am (UTC)

  14. This was a tricky offering from Teazel and I just scraped in under target. I had no problem with SWITCHBACK as I have seen it recently in either a Telegraph crossword or the Times concise. I had to guess both CANA and ANCHORITES. As others have said the NE proved trickiest. I struggled with the device for NEPAL which was my penultimate solve. I can’t remember seeing P for pawn before but had a PDM to solve my LOI PLEDGE. 8:49 for a good day.
  15. ….and was too early to comment. There was nothing I didn’t know, and I felt I should have dispatched it a shade more quickly. My LOI unaccountably held me up though, and I’d already had to back out a ridiculous biff (chaff at 13A), the folly of which was soon revealed by BEARSKIN.

    TIME 4:39

  16. I managed to get it all right in the end but it took me just over 20 minutes on paper. I see other regular solvers have struggled too.
    ANCHORITES perhaps vaguely known and CANA constructed but uncertain. Did not parse SUSAN correctly. LOI PLEDGE after TWINE where I was looking for FF in the answer.
    COD to FIBRE which I had just been reading about in the T2 and I still didn’t get it immediately.
    A clever and rewarding puzzle, if you have the time- as I did today.

  17. casting about in ignorance, much gurning, wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I got there in the end.

    Not on Teazel’s planet, let alone wavelength today.

    All the traps and mers as above, looking back, ANCHORITES was my favourite, and TWINE went in last.


  18. I guess we are past the birthday year / crossword numbers for many of us now, but today is a double date (so to speak) for me – 1991 was the year my son was born, and today is my birthday!
    As for the puzzle: well, I found it quite tricky (as is often the case with Teazel) and had a similar experience to many above. All done, but not entirely parsed, in 13 mins. I didn’t understand SPEAKING PART and I can’t say I really liked the clue. I had exactly the same experience as Cedric on 1d, the only difference was that I still didn’t fully get it as I forgot that Sn was Tin.
    No problem with the GK – just the solving! I remember the miracle at CANA from RE lessons decades ago, and knew about ANCHORITES. I think it was a bit of a thing to have a hired hermit / anchorite in the grounds of your stately home in the 18th C – absolutely bizarre!
    FOI None
    LOI Eardrums
    COD Seventh (although I’m not really in seventh heaven as a result of this puzzle today!)
    Many thanks Teazel and Chris
    1. Happy birthday. I also remember Cana from RE; it was reinforced by being the theme of the priest’s sermon at my wedding.
  19. One of my occasional fully-solved-with-no-aids. 46 mins so under my allowed hour (I get fed up with any longer and start cheating by peeking at the blog!) Happily an RC background helped (eventually) with Cana and Anchorites.
  20. After 20 minutes (the SCC boundary, I believe) I had solved only 7 clues – my worst start since my very early days in this game. 20 minutes later, and I had added only 7 more clues. And so it continued, until I finally had something in every blank cell … after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Clearly not a QC, IMHO. Might the Trade Descriptions Act cover inappropriately labelled crosswords?

    Worse was to come, though not unexpectedly. CANA was a guess, albeit quite an easy one. ANCHORITES was much more of a guess (a 1:12 chance). But, I’m afraid FRESCO just never came to mind. I thought of FIERCE, FLEECE, FLEECY and FLETCH, but ended up plumping for FRENCH, even though I couldn’t parse it. Mrs Random just told me to “think of more words”. She’s so helpful.

    So, whilst Mrs R did find it quite trick today – 29 minutes, I suffered my second DNF in a row, and my 3rd in the past 6 days. The wheels have come off!

    My CoD? REAR, as it was my one and only write-in.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Chris.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 10:43 am (UTC)

  21. Is it me? I found this decidedly tricky and took 25 minutes to solve it. It felt like it was a sixties puzzle (a pre-QC QC). SWITCHBACK, CANA, ANCHORITE were all NHO or at least misremembered, with LOI CANA a complete mystery to me, and only got from wordplay, and I still put in my LLI (last letter in), the final A, with bated breath. Other hold-ups have been referred to above — pledge, Nepal, twine. A real struggle, and my longest solve for a long time — I don’t usually struggle with Teazel, but fair play to him today — done me good and proper.
  22. Got off to a flying start with 1A ROLLAROUND until 1D was obviously (!) SUSAN which put 1A into delete and re-start with S, so SWITCHBACK (ride) jumped out. I suppose it is a US common term for Rollercoaster but surprised it caused ?? here.
    NHO Anchorites and TWINE took a while even though I thought of synonyms for noun and verb.
    A reasonable outcome with a 1.6xSCC which is an alternative yardstick to xK.
    A lot of Covid cases around here. Keep safe and jabbed everyone.
    Thanks Chris and Teazel
    1. I like your suggested new yardstick, and I will try to remember to use it regularly.
      So, my week to date is Mon. = 1.1xSCC and Tues. = 3.95xSCC. Trouble is, both were one-clue DNFs.
  23. Having sensed my gloom, Mrs Random has just brought me a second cup of coffee, this time with a home-made peanut butter cookie!
  24. 6:40 this morning. A second day of struggling for me, although I can see from many of the the above comments that others have had the same experience.
    LOI 14 ac “twine” which I wasn’t able to parse before entering.
    I find I get more picky about individual clues the slower I take to solve them, so I’ll just call it a bad day at the office and leave it at that!
    COD 22 ac “anchorites” which fortunately I’d heard of before somewhere.
    Thanks to Chris and Teazel.
  25. Thanks for all the birthday messages — how nice to be part of such a friendly group 😊

    On edit: I’ve just seen the funniest story in the Times Diary – here it is, for those of you who don’t see the paper:

    A spectacular moment of Dumb Britain in yesterday’s edition of the ITV show Tipping Point. A contestant was asked “In his epic poems, Homer often refers to nectar as the drink of the gods and which other substance as their food?” They confidently replied: “I know he likes doughnuts”.

    Reverse Ninja Turtling?

    Edited at 2021-10-26 01:56 pm (UTC)

  26. DNS.
    Could not even start this one.
    A very nasty one this.
    Never heard of Anchorites or Switchback or Cana. Far too much obscure rubbish.
    Still, it keeps the select band of expert solvers happy – God help the rest of us.
    Far too hard for a so-called “Quick Cryptic”.
  27. Oh dear, couldn’t do half the top clues apart from e.g. SUSAN, NONE and CANA. Completed the bottom apart from the ANCHORITES who made themselves scarce. Managed SPEAKING PART but failed on IRVING BERLIN.
    SWITCHBACK is admittedly a good clue but DNK it was a fairground ride.
    Oh well. Thanks for much needed blog, Chris.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 01:19 pm (UTC)

  28. Was quite pleased to nearly finish after 20 mins, but just couldn’t get 7dn “Pledge” nor 22ac “Anchorites”. Don’t like the latter type of clue — if you don’t have the GK then with the combination of letters remaining it could have been anything.

    NHO of “Switchback” as a fairground ride in my life — sounds like it could be American — will have to look it up later.

    FOI — 1dn “Susan”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 4dn “Behave”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Ok — from the comments above it seems it’s a rollercoaster. I thought it might be the dodgems or something.
  29. I found this rather challenging today but ground my way through it. Even though I had all the crossing letters I had to look up ANCHORITES – completely unknown to me.
  30. We thought we were doing well until we came to the ne corner. Did not help in dividing 8d incorrectly, slow to get twine and pledge. Still finished within our target so not a bad day.
  31. Like many others we found this a little tricky. Somehow we were able to dredge SWITCHBACK from our memory stores but have NHO ANCHORITES so we had to work out the anagram from the checkers. Nice puzzle though, gave us a welcome 16 minute mental workout.


    Thanks to Chris and Teazel

  32. Interesting fact about the SWITCHBACK — some of the later versions of these were modified into what we now know as the Waltzer… A staple of the fairground scene here in the UK. The same undulating track was used and platformed with the spinnable cars added.

    A tricky solve no doubt, but I had all but 2 clues written in 35 minutes, which is fairly quick by my standards!

    Held up by PLEDGE and TWINE.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 05:38 pm (UTC)

  33. Very pleased with this to have finished in 28 minutes.
    But this needed persistence and a bit of luck.
    LOI Pledge and wasn’t sure with the definition.
    Likewise Twine was thought of quickly but not happy to go with early….
    Anchorites needed all checkers and NHO…
    Cana very distant memory.
    Contrite also troublesome.
    Actually all I was going to say was that I had the same experiences as many others.
    Thanks all
    John George
  34. Gosh, I rarely fail to complete a QC but I could only do about half of this one. I couldn’t even get FRESCO with all the checkers because I was reading AL as AI and thinking of artificial intelligence. I think that is an apt description of my brain today. Thoroughly beaten by Teazel. Looking at the blog I can’t say it was especially hard, I just couldn’t get on the wavelength. Hard day at work is my excuse. P

  35. NHO switchback or anchorites and wasn’t about to get either. Gave up after 25 minutes With a very poor 6 still to get.
  36. Tough one, but on holiday so maybe too much sun and sangria.
    Dnk switchback.
    Loi pledge.
    Cod speaking part or irving berlin.

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