Times Quick Cryptic 2000 by Des

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Solving time: 8 minutes.

Today we have another milestone as we reach Quick Cryptic #2000 and it’s fitting that it should be set by Des as he was responsible for the very first puzzle published on 10th March 2014. He has given us only 22 puzzles over the years but they are always top notch and more recently they have usually contained a surprise of some sort. Amongst these, was a previous milestone Quick Cryptic #1000 in which the grid contained only the letters: ONE THOUSAND.

Today’s puzzle has its own trick (neither a Nina in the true sense, nor a theme – unless I have missed something). Did you spot it? I’ve hidden the explanation below in case you don’t want to know at this stage, in which case best avoid the comments beneath the blog for now.

[Hidden device…]
All 20 letters at the edge of the grid are C, each representing 100 in Roman numerals. 20 x C = 2000.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

6 Scoundrel keeping Oscar, behold in the shade (6)
CUR (scoundrel) containing [keeping] O (Oscar) + LO (behold). I’ve often wondered why AV bible uses the expression ‘Lo and behold’, surely a tautology?
7 Fashionable Post Office, one found by river naturally (5)
HIP (fashionable), PO (Post Office). I’m tempted to post a link to the F&S song but I think we all know it by now.
9 Grain seen reflected in moonrock (4)
Hidden and reversed [seen reflected] in {moo}NROC{k}
10 Rotter I ring to return luxury car (8)
CAD (rotter), I, then CALL (ring) reversed [to return]
11 Curtsies afresh, serving oranges, say (8)
Anagram [afresh] of CURTSIES
13 Brief detailed description   you gamble on? (4)
I interpret this as a double definition. SPEC can be a shortened [brief] version of ‘specification’ (detailed description) and also of ‘speculation’ (something you gamble on)
15 Cry of rook perhaps, possessing large talon (4)
CAW (cry of rook perhaps) containing [possessing] L (large). Rooks, crows and ravens are said to ‘caw’.
16 As copper, for example, call time after disturbance (8)
Anagram [after disturbance] of CALL TIME
18 Reduce run for one travelling to work (8)
COMMUTE (reduce – a prison sentence. for example), R (run)
20 Boy having beer cold (4)
ALE (beer), C (cold)
21 Genning up: it regularly leads to boredom (5)
{g}E{n}N{i}N{g} U{p} I{t}
22 Ace detectives in charge becoming sour (6)
A (ace), CID (detectives – Criminal Investigation Department), IC (in charge)
1 From part of empire, perhaps: no one local, sadly (8)
Anagram [sadly] of NO I (one) LOCAL. A rare QC visit into Guardian territory with this partially indirect anagram.
2 Female compatriot of noble line without husband (12)
COUNT (noble), RY (railway line), WO (without), MAN (husband). A straightforward assembly job.
3 Dangerous reptile descending on American plant (6)
CROC (dangerous reptile), US (American)
4 Charlie conceals rebukes (6)
C (NATO Charlie), HIDES (conceals)
5 Last part is false — authentic originally (4)
COD (false – hoaxing, parodic), A{uthentic} [originally]. The final section of some pieces of music.
8 Coy Bill plays daft: not like these words! (12)
Anagram [daft] of COY BILL PLAYS. ‘These words’ being ‘coy, bill, plays, daft’ all of which are monosyllabic.
12 Girl only feet from the TV, immobile (3)
{th}E {T}V {immobil}E [only feet – last letters – from…]
14 Long poem cut by half causes widespread ill-feeling (8)
EPIC (long poem) contains [cut by] DEMI (half)
16 Measuring system encountered, endlessly valuable (6)
MET (encountered), RIC{h} (valuable) [endlessly]
17 Sailor with waterproof coat found on road (6)
TAR (sailor), MAC (waterproof coat)
19 Oil exporters work with European Community (4)
OP (work – opus), EC (European Community). Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

50 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2000 by Des”

  1. For some reason I couldn’t see how EVE worked, and though it was the obvious answer, I spent some time trying to figure it out. A major ‘D’oh!’ moment. I never spot Ninas, and didn’t notice anything while solving, but when I went back to the puzzle just now, it jumped out at me; very nice. 5:47.
  2. This was rather easy as you will see.

    I was on the 5.30 18ac, — how was it for the ‘Steak City Club’?

    FOI 5dn CODA

    LOI 16dn METRIC

    COD 12dn EVE

    WOD CADILLAC which was luxury — until Lexus knocked ‘em off their perch, with all the extras included in the price.

    7ac 12dn and 21ac were the odd ones out. Nice one Des!

    Edited at 2021-11-08 02:47 am (UTC)

  3. Insomnia strikes again, so a bleary half awake 29 minutes on this. I did see what Jackkt could see in this grid, whilst not greatly enjoying the overall experience of solving it. Did appreciate 8D.
    Good to see our colleague getting a mention at 10A, and maybe a reference to another at 22A? And indeed, 1D. But maybe it’s just my sleep-deprived mind wandering, zzz…
  4. Lovely little puzzle to commemorate 2000! I was fooled by SPEC, thinking I was going to have to shorten a word.
  5. Just missed the SCC at around 18 mins, so medium to easier solve for me. I got a little stuck in the southeast corner, taking a while to work out the anagram for polysyllabic, and musing on spec. I also didn’t see how countrywoman or eve worked so thanks Jack for the explanation.

    Only saw the C’s after looking back at the grid, thanks Des for a clever 2000th puzzle.

    Hippopotamus was one of the first Greek words I was taught at school, meaning horse of the river, so that’s one I always remember.

    FOI Corn
    LOI Spec
    COD Epidemic

  6. Spotting the theme, helped me get SPEC, COLOUR and CODA. Also, getting the long down clues helped, getting me done in 20 minutes. I seem to remember AZED 2000 having a similar theme, but my memory might be playing tricks on me.
    Thanks for the blog and for the puzzle
    1. Sorry to seem a bit thick, but how did spotting the theme
      help you to get SPEC, COLOUR and CODA ?

      1. Once you realise that the setter is going for all Cs (20 of them) in the outside squares, that knowledge lets you know that the outside answers begin or end with C, even if you have nothing else to go on, knowing that an answer begins or ends with C is a great help.
  7. I didn’t notice the theme until Jack mentioned it, but when I looked at the grid again, it jumped out at me. COLOUR went in first, then a steady progression around the grid, coming back to finish off with SPEC. POLYSYLLABIC was POI. 9:16. Thanks Des and Jack.
  8. A smidge over target today, but it would have been a lot longer had I not spotted the theme with CODA and SPEC still to solve, as these were proving tricky.
    I was looking for merc, rolls or limo for the luxury car as all I know about Cadillacs is that they appear to be huge. Are they considered luxurious in the States?
    Finished in 10.41 with LOI CODA.
    Thanks to Jack and Des
  9. As a 2000th QCC I looked in vain for the twist, thanks Jack. Lovely. Appreciated Des.
    Done pre and post sleep in 1.1xSCC after tedious drive to/from London. 2.5 hours each way for a worthwhile 1 hour in an exceptional gallery. I had forgotten the frustrations of London’s gridlock. Grateful at least not to be obstructed by anyone glued to the 17D. Train wasn’t an option unfortunately. ‘Bumped past’ Indiana Jones going into Annabel’s (he was, I wasn’t). Don’t think he recognised me!
    Nice to see 2D and Rotter get a mention.
    DNK Cod was anything except fish or Cash On Delivery, biffed it. Nothing else too obscure.
      1. He could have been on a mission. There seemed to be a lot of comings and goings of rather dubious looking foreign folk.
  10. wavelength.

    Spotted the hidden device early (after 6 across clues in the middle of the grid) for the first time ever, even counting those C’s to confirm there were 20 post submission. Also in PB territory — knowing the first or last letter of the all the clues after the first 6 helped a lot.



  11. The 20 x C was a neat touch. Like others, I was held up by a few answers (notably my LOsI CODA and SPEC) all of which would have been much easier had I spotted it. I can’t see why I didn’t see it, now I look at the grid. Sadly my clue myopia took me just into the SCC.
    A good celebratory puzzle but a disappointing time for my 2000th solve. Many thanks to Des for another significant puzzle and to jackkt for the helpful blog. John M.
  12. Into the SCC today at 21 minutes, and would have been slower if spotting the theme hadn’t helped with CODA, SPEC and COLONIAL. A satisfying solve in the end, with EVE obvious, but hard to parse slowing me down. When I saw my handle in 10a early doors, I wondered if the theme was going to be a tribute to the bloggers / commentators here, but no such luck. Well beaten by Des, many thanks for that, and thanks too to Jackkt for the blog. Congratulations all on our attaining 2000 (2001) QCs.
  13. Tricky in places, but completed without opening Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

    I didn’t notice the “nina” until the final three clues. Once I noticed it, it did make solving the remaining clues a lot easier.

  14. 16:04. Did not spot the theme, as would have made LOI SPEC a lot easier. I went for “on spec”, which is something you might gamble on.

    “COD” in CODA as in “Cod Latin”, I think: only example I can think of. Shame setter did not use our blogspeak for

    Last part is clue of the day — authentic originally (4)

    Did not parse the non-Ximean clue at 1D (COLONIAL). Indirect anagrams are a Bridge Too Far for me, let’s hope they don’t make too many more appearances in the QC.


    1. COLONIAL isn’t really indirect. Abbreviations feature in Times anagram clues all the time. It’s an indirection of representation rather than meaning.
      1. Not so. Indirect anagrams are absolutely a rarity in the standard Times cryptic puzzles, the convention being that all letters of an anagram have to be in the anagrist section of the clue. The Guardian puzzle, as mentioned in my blog, is a foreign country where they do things differently.

        Edited at 2021-11-08 07:23 pm (UTC)

        1. It is surely just a single letter introduced into the mix – I’ve seen this many times in the QC before.
  15. … so just time to say solved this excellent puzzle in an on-par 12 minutes, and much enjoyed it. Did not spot the theme until Jack said there was one, and then it leapt out at me without needing to unhide his hidden.

    Fairly sure we have had Ennui at least once before recently. That is one thing this puzzle did not deliver!

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  16. ….but, although I didn’t spot the theme while solving the puzzle, I must applaud him on this occasion. I expected something involving MM in a number of answers today, but this was much more artful, and didn’t in any way make the answers seem forced. Chapeau !

    TIME 3:43

  17. I did not spot all the Cs until I had finished, so no help there.
    I thought Des might have hidden something away but I was too tied up in the excellent clues to notice. LOI COUNTRYWOMAN which took me quite a while to get, even with all the checkers. Prior to that held up by parsing EVE and reversing Pandemic for EPIDEMIC.
    12:51 on the clock.
    A big thank you to all those involved in starting the daily QC which gave me my entry point to Times crosswords two thousand puzzles ago.
  18. As it was an anniversary, I anticipated something to do with 2000 and consequently saw the commemorative initials very quickly, maybe after about four clues, which helped me to a time of 8 minutes. TBH I popped all the Cs in round the edges at that point, which in a way took the challenge out of things a bit, as I ended up biffing a few, only parsing post solve. Still, a very clever crossword – such a wide range of vocab based around one letter (apart from the three that Horryd mentioned). I liked CADILLAC, SPEC and CODA.
    FOI Corn
    LOI and COD Polysyllabic
    Many thanks Des and Jack – here’s to the next thousand!

    Actually, it’s quite disturbing to realise that I have done about 2900 of these – no, that’s not a typo and doesn’t include the biggie which I started attempting four or five years ago! The reason being that I decided some time ago to revisit the quickies from the first couple of years when I rarely completed one to see what I’d missed. Of course, once I started that, I couldn’t stop, so am now on #917 again 😅

    Edited at 2021-11-08 11:22 am (UTC)

  19. DNF. Close but no cigar, as they say.

    Failed on 2 clues :

    6 Across: COLOUR
    5 Down: CODA

    No reason for not getting these as I have seen “shade” = COLOUR and “last part” = CODA
    plenty of times before in these QCs. I am just not in QC solving mode yet this week. .

    As to “ENNUI” – I think we had this last week – I am getting bored by it now.

    Hopefully, another do-able QC tomorrow.

  20. Ah. I forgot it was QC 2000 and I didn’t look for a theme. Perhaps if I had remembered I wouldn’t have spent 3 minutes looking at my LOI 2d COUNTRYWOMAN. 12:54 for a poor day with an unparsed SPEC.
  21. Very fast until it wasn’t. All green in 21 with half that on COLOUR, cur never occurred to me and the definition took a while to emerge, SPEC where an abbreviation for speculate is new to me, and CITRUSES, where I couldn’t see how the anagrist worked for COLONIAL so thought an I was off limits (never seen that before and I don’t like it!).
    1. I’m not sure how often it occurs in the Quick Cryptic but things like ONE for I, C for a hundred etc are used all the time in Times crossword anagrams
      1. You’ve already said this above. It’s not true.

        To clarify, the abbreviations in themselves are fine and occur all the time but not clued indirectly as anagram fodder. The letters of the anagram have to be in the clue. If a letter is introduced having being clued separately (e.g. one = I in today’s example) it would normally go in by means of an insertion/enclosure/containment indicator. This is usual Times practice. As I have said other puzzles elsewhere e.g. The Guardian are not so particular.

        Edited at 2021-11-08 11:48 pm (UTC)

  22. 3:41 this morning. Like others I was expecting something special and spotted the theme on the periphery immediately upon completion, which is early for me! Nice one Des!
    COD 8 d “polysyllabic” which I thought was excellent but also enjoyed 12 d “eve” and several others.
    Thanks to Jack for his blog and optional concealment of the theme and to Des for a very enjoyable celebratory puzzle.
  23. No problems today with everything going in fairly quickly. Spotted the theme post-submission. Thanks Des and Jack. FOI HIPPO, LOI SPEC, COD COMMUTER.
  24. Didn’t spot the 2000 theme until I had finished, which was a pity as it would have been a big help with Spec and Coda. In fact the Spec/Epidemic pairing took me a good 5mins into the SCC, with too much time lost on Saga for the long poem. Epidemic was good though, so it gets my CoD vote. Invariant
  25. A good crossword, I knew there were a lot of C’s in it but forgot to look further for a theme, as usual for me. Fifteen minutes today, FOI corn, LOI colour. COD crocus. Thanks, Jack, for all the parsing I was too lazy to bother with, and Des for a great puzzle.
  26. We didn’t look for a Nina until we read Jack’s blog and then it jumped out at us. Perhaps we would have finished slightly sooner than our 16 minutes had we noticed the pattern.

    Our journey into cryptic crosswordland started with the very first QC and we’ve done every single one ever since. Thanks for providing the start date Jack, we had lost track of how long we’ve been doing the puzzle. We get so much pleasure from the QC and from this blog — thanks all!


    Thanks Jack and Des

  27. Made a meal of this, but at least completed it bang on my cut off time of 30 mins. I didn’t spot the “C’s” until the end — but they were very fitting.

    Main issue was the NW corner where I struggled with 6ac “Colour” and 2dn “Countrywoman” — even 3dn “Crocus” nearly ended up as “Cactus”.

    FOI — 7ac “Hippo”
    LOI — 2dn “Countrywoman”
    COD — 8dn “Polysyllabic”

    Thanks to Des for the 2000th QC — here’s to another 2000!

  28. I was stuck at the end on SPEC (S_E_) when I noticed the theme so I knew it ended in C and then it was obvious.
  29. Enjoyed this one though only saw the Nina when I read the blog. Actually I failed to parse 2d but it had to be. Also couldn’t parse EVE, but most clues sprang to mind quite quickly. Rather dimly, I didn’t see ‘widespread feeling ill’ at first. Other fun clues: HIPPO, SPEC, CADILLAC.
    Thanks vm, Des and Jack.
    Happy anniversary, all. Now I have clicked on the Hidden Device section of Jack’s blog I have finally grasped the significance of all the Cs!

    Edited at 2021-11-08 05:15 pm (UTC)

  30. Didn’t believe Eve since I couldn’t see her feet, must remember this trick, if it’s not heads it’s toes. It was my No Finish and I had some scanty parsing too. Minutes = 1.25 score seems to be a regular time for me.

    Loved the big Cs when explained and seen. Does anyone know Roman multiplication, how do you do XX x C?

  31. I am somewhat embarrassed to report that I accidentally finished today’s milestone puzzle slightly quicker than Mrs Random. Unless I’ve got something wrong, I think my 21 minutes is less than Mrs R’s 27 minutes (I’m still checking the maths). The only explanation I can think of for such an occurrence (impertinence?) is that I spotted Des’s theme early (after my first four clues – CORN, CITRUSES, CLAW and COMMUTER), whereas Mrs R didn’t see it at all. This definitely sped up some of my later deliberations.

    The only clues I was unsure of today were ENNUI, even though it appeared sometime last week (I think) and CODA (my LOI), where I couldn’t see why false = COD.

    Many thanks to Des and Jack.

    Edited at 2021-11-08 05:43 pm (UTC)

    1. Perhaps a celebratory drink? Don’t get too comfortable though, as you may end up on the end of a backlash when QC 2001 appears.
  32. A first for me, I spotted the nina. Ok, it was a pretty obvious one but without it I was struggling with spec. In fact the last 3, colour, spec and Epidemic took 7 minutes so it could have been very fast (for me) but wasn’t. Nice puzzle.
  33. Just into the SCC with 20:50. Spotting the Cs would no doubt have helped a bit, so I’m glad I didn’t until just after I finished. Overall an excellent puzzle I felt, with joint COD to CADILLAC and EPIDEMIC. Interesting grid too. Thanks to Jack and Des.
  34. I didn’t attempt this for some reason at the time and had put it to one side — until this morning.

    No real time — probably around the 25 minute mark — but came to the blog with Spec and Epidemic incomplete.

    I didn’t notice that the crossword was number 2000 nor did I see all of those magnificent ‘C’s!
    (Which may have helped with the last two)

    But seeing 49 comments for the 2000th (2001) I just had to round it up to 50!

    Thanks all,
    Especially Jack and Des.
    Great stuff

    John George

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