Times Quick Cryptic 2026 by Teazel

Good to be back with you. I’ve been jabbed, boosted, passported, Lateral Flowed until I’m blue in the nose, PCR’d and even Located on a Passenger Form. These were more wearing than the actual travel but it was all worth it to help and connect with a wonderful young family in Missouri (who, thankfully, were missed by the recent tornados).

Now to the puzzle. Even accounting for 4 weeks of rustiness, I found this tricky and took 13 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to complete the 13dn/21ac crossers and the long LOI 7dn needed a great deal of careful thought as to where to place the I and Y. I’ve enjoyed writing the blog and so being better able to relish some of the wonderful clue constructions.

I hope you fared well.

Definitions are underlined.

1 In poem airborne soldier dies horribly, way off course (8,4)
PARADISE LOST – airborne soldier (PARA) anagram (horribly) of DIES, way off course (LOST). It’s an ‘epic poem in blank verse’ by John Milton. Stop me where I go wrong, but it seems that blank verse restricts itself to regular metrical lines and messes about with iambic pentameters whereas free verse can’t be bothered with any of that and goes off and does its own thing.
8 Fury convulsed Regan (5)
ANGER – anagram (convulsed) of REGAN.
9 Coupon one confirms as valid (7)
VOUCHER – I’d say that someone who vouches for something / confirms as valid (a Voucher) is a humourous description rather than a straight second defintiion. But who knows? If you do then let me know.
10 Wife putting out extra cotton wool (7)
WADDING – wife (W), putting out extra (ADDING).
11 A poster’s oddly seen in recesses (5)
APSES – a (A), (P)o(S)t(E)r(S).
12 In depression, beginning to turn stormy (6)
TROUGH – (T)urn, stormy (ROUGH).
14 Lent is wrong for Christmas decoration (6)
TINSEL – anagram (wrong) of LENT IS. Nice nod to the upcoming festive period.
17 Victoria for example collapses (5)
FALLS – double definition.
19 Social climber out of bed to get going (7)
UPSTART – out of bed (UP), get going (START).
21 Repay engineers completely (7)
REQUITE – engineers (RE), completely (QUITE). I enjoyed the eventual PDM.
22 Transmits time signal to cover end of programme (5)
PIPES – time signal (PIPS – at the third pip it will be…) covering/around programm(E). Transmit as in piped music.
23 Just arrived, establish secure island (12)
NEWFOUNDLAND – just arrived (NEW), establish (FOUND), secure e.g. a job (LAND). Flew by this not so long ago.
1 Take big risk with hi-fi we partly repaired (4,4,4)
PLAY WITH FIRE – anagram (repaired) of HI-FI WE PARTLY.
2 Refusing to compromise and falsify identity (5)
RIGID – falsify (RIG), identity (ID).
3 Risking swallowing large sweet (7)
DARLING – risking (DARING) swallowing large (L).
4 Wild herb covers area at head of valley (6)
SAVAGE – herb (SAGE) covers area (A) and (V)alley.
5 Liberal ambience is the making of a girl (5)
LAURA – Liberal (L), ambience (AURA).
6 Message about church is creating ruptures (7)
SCHISMS – message (SMS) about church (CH) and is (IS). I don’t remember seeing SMS for message before.
7 Non-verse style I’d worked out and campaigned for (12)
PROSELYTISED –  non-verse (PROSE), anagram (worked out) of STYLE I’D. No verse or pentameters (iambic or otherwise) in prose. To proselytise is to try to persuade/convert someone to your beliefs and I’ve only seen it in Crosswordland.
13 Inclined as old boy to spill secrets while talking (7)
OBLIQUE – old boy (OB), homophone of spill secrets – leak (LIQUE). Great homophone which wins COD.
15 Popular taste one day becomes uninteresting (7)
INSIPID – popular (IN), taste (SIP), one (I), day (D).
16 In office, you are texting boyfriend to come round (6)
BUREAU – ‘you are’ in txt is (UR) with boyfriend (BEAU) coming round. Good link to SMS in 13dn.
18 Glide over water with double force in small boat (5)
SKIFF – glide (SKI), double force (F F).
20 First-grade mountain, hard ascent at first (5)
ALPHA – mountain (ALP), (H)ard (A)scent.

67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2026 by Teazel”

  1. Sluggish today. I biffed the two long downs and NEWFOUNDLAND, which didn’t help that much, as it turned out. A lot of time was devoted to POI OBLIQUE and LOI REQUITE. 8:02.
  2. Another OBLIQUE / REQUITE struggler. WADDING also did not inspire confidence, so I didn’t even submit.

    The main puzzle only took me three minutes longer, for what it’s worth.

  3. My LOI was TROUGH, since I’d mistyped OBLIQUE as IBLIQUE and didn’t notice for far too long. Once I fixed that the answer was obvious. The only problem I had with any of the long ones was PROSELYTISE since I only looked at the clue when I already had all the checkers for some reason. So 15 mins due to the TROUGH problems at the end.
  4. This will not please the SCC, as it was a stiff Teazelly Test.

    FOI 8ac ANGER

    LOI 4dn SAVAGE after I had entered SAVORY


    WOD 23ac NEWFOUNDLAND — a very large dog that cannot be crossed with a poodle!

    10ac was poorly clued IMHO

    Edited at 2021-12-14 03:47 am (UTC)

    1. Some friends of ours have a NEWFOUNDLAND. They are one of the few breeds of dog to have webbed feet and are very powerful swimmers — strong enough to tow a fully grown man to safety.
      1. My old Citroën DS mechanic and his wife had two – but due to their weight they rarely live to more than eight years.
      2. I’ve seen a Newfoundland crossed with a English sheepdog, so not quite so big. It’s ony a matter of time before a cross such as that will be bred with a poodle or a labrador!
  5. A stiff test that was hard throughout. Eventually it all yielded in 20m. Only three on the first pass of across but then built from the SW. Didn’t know NEWFOUNDLAND was an island or that the ‘lique’ of OBLIQUE sounds like ‘leak’ but now I’ve tried it, it does! That Q allowed REQUITE which I was a long way from solving otherwise — we have had that sort of ‘quite’ quite recently, I think.

    I found TROUGH hard — the ‘in’ from the clue threw me — and also SCHISMS where I guessed it quickly but only entered much later when SMS finally clicked.

    All green in 20m, which passed very fast.

    Edited at 2021-12-14 06:46 am (UTC)

  6. Took a while to see 1ac or 1dn, which slowed progress. I loved Milton until starting out my undergraduate life reading English, which was enough to kill off enjoyment of most poetry. Thank goodness I switched to Law.

    FOI ANGER, LOI NEWFOUNDLAND, COD DARLING, time 11:55 for 1.5K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Chris (welcome back!).


  7. A slow start, but made it in the end, and all correct. I liked the texting and SMS references.
    I’d forgotten about Newfoundland as an island. Getting 1d opened the puzzle up for me.
  8. 3 seconds into the SCC today, held up by the usual suspects and an early start (hospital appointment later today). Nothing unfair, although some of the vocab is a bit tricky. I couldn’t spell proselywhatsit, which slipped me into the SCC, so I forgive myself that! Thanks both and welcome home Chris.
  9. Just under two Horryds, so this member of the SCC is happy enough, although I found this chewy in places. The OBLIQUE REQUITE crosser was my last in, having got off well with 1A &D but then slower over at 7D. Slow to realise I needed to stick the A in front of PSES and was wondering what to do with that odd set of letters — pre coffee brain lag.
    1. I’m not sure I should be used as a benchmark, as I am woefully inconsistent at times. I strongly believe the ‘Kevin’ is the correct measurement of achievement hereabouts. He tends to be a somewhat more reliable ‘Plimsoll’ – if he’ll pardon the expression.
      1. I’m wildly inconsistent, so if I am on a better day and you are not, I can gain a quite unjustified sense of achievement. Kevins are such a serious measure, and I have no sense of seriousness about my crosswording. Glory in the occasional happiness you bestow on a SCC stalwart. : )
  10. Was not St. Paul known as ‘The Great Proselytiser’? So not just in Crosswordlandia. My COD. Newfoundland is surprisingly the world’s 16th largest island! My WOD
    My time a slowish 7:22 mins.
      1. First Corinthians 7:8–9 – ‘Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.’ The King James version says simply ‘to burn’ – which has led to some misunderstanding via the fires of hell!

        Edited at 2021-12-14 10:06 am (UTC)

  11. I thought this a bit tricky too, struggling with the long answers around the outside, but once I get going they fell into place. COD to LAURA for the mention of my daughter’s name. 5:43.
  12. Tricky today around the 30 min mark with 1 typo. Not helped by biffing obliged which then made Newfoundland impossible. I thought schisms was rather clever and good to see a 21st century reference.
    Thanks Teazel & welcome back Chris.

    FOI Anger
    LOI Requite
    COD Schisms

  13. Like others, I ended in the SW corner which opened up for me when 1D finally clicked. LOsI were OBLIQUE, REQUITE, and TROUGH. My time was just into the SCC (again!) and within seconds of rotter’s time. A good puzzle with some clever twists, as expected from the Teaser.
    A couple of part-parsed buffs so I’ll now read chris’s blog to check my reasoning. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-12-14 10:08 am (UTC)

  14. Half way between easy and hard at 15 minutes, with some nail-biting in anticipation of a maybe DNF, but avoided this in the end. FOI anger, could not do a straight pass, needed to go back over things several times to get what I could and ponder the rest. LOI darling, needing all the other clues to see it. Missed a few nuances on parsing. COD oblique. Welcome back, Chris, glad you enjoyed your trip to see your family, thank you for the blog. Thanks for an interesting QC, Teazel.
  15. ….before totally failing to check the anagrist for PROSELYTISE and earning two pink squares. Not fat finger today — more fat brain.
  16. As others have said this was fairly tough going in places, particularly the SW, so I was surprised to record my fastest time for a while – although still over target.
    I experimented with a couple of spellings of 7d before settling on the correct option, wadding was also slow to fall and I needed a couple of PDMs for my final two – OBLIQUE/REQUITE. Finished in 10.19
    Thanks for the blog Chris, it’s good to have you back
  17. I think I was nearer 15 today which was disappointing because I hade been racing through the main one. Lots to enjoy but tricky for sure. Putting out for adding seemed a bit odd and we have girl to clue a feminine first name again, which may rattle some cages. Generally good stuff though – thanks!
  18. 11:40 today with LOI APSES requiring several looks.
    I found the rest of this do-able, a relief after yesterday.
    Care was required but nothing particularly held me up. Finding the girl’s name did a bit -how could Louis work? Of course it couldn’t for many reasons, but I did try to justify it for too long. LOIS-ing the plot perhaps.
  19. Apologies if anyone saw my comment before I deleted it. Posted a comment to the wrong puzzle.

    Edited at 2021-12-14 10:04 am (UTC)

  20. I thought it was my normal difficulty with Teazel, but it seems we were all in the same boat today, and I actually made a reasonable fist of it.

    The long ones that weren’t PROSELYTISING took a while, then REQUITE and OBLIQUE.

    All v fair though.


  21. FOsI PARADISE LOST, PLAY WITH FIRE. Like others, I had to think about the spelling of 7d. Quite a lot of biffing then parsing today. Liked FALLS, INSIPID, SCHISMS, REQUITE, NEWFOUNDLAND.
    LJ tells me I have been a member for two years, and though still SCC I have made progress, despite DNFs on bad days.
    Thanks, Chris. Glad you had a good trip.
  22. Tricky but clever wordplay which is my forte. My FOI was 1d and the LHS of the grid filled up very quickly with the exception being just a RE at 21a. PARADISE LOST needed a few checkers. I slowed a little with both the REQUITE/OBLIQUE and PIPES/ALPHA crossings. My LOI was PROSELYTISED which I constructed carefully from the bottom up. 8:53 or 1.1K for an on target solve. Welcome back Chris.
  23. Found this tricky, though it was the SE rather than SW corner that did for me – just couldn’t see a route to solving UPSTART, PIPES, and INSIPID.

    Done in just under 18mins, thanks Teazel and blogger!

  24. DNF


    With clues like this – stood no chance.

    These QCs used to be quite enjoyable – not as tough as the main puzzle but usually do-able. Now they are just obscenely difficult with obscure and ridiculous clues.

    1. I’m pretty sure that you’ve been spouting the same intemperate paranoid nonsense about QCs since you started posting though.
      1. I am just as entitled to my point of view as you are to yours.

        I am not intemperate or paranoid just annoyed with these
        so-called Quick Cryptics.

  25. ‘We must thoroughly clear away all ideas of easy victories, without hard and bitter struggle, without sweat and blood.’
    1. You may disagree with my view as expressed in my post , but
      Mao also said:

      “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend”

      1. Thank you. I was not aware that freedom of thought and speech were so encouraged during his leadership.
  26. 9:43, a rare sub-10.

    Was uneasy about SCHISM as did not see SMS, also unsure of spelling of PROSELYTISED

    NoT doing so well on the 15×15 today, though.


  27. Beat this into shape eventually. Long wordy clues are not my favourite so they needed checkers and I didnt start with the easier clues. I did at least know how to spell that long one on the right hand side (ie guessed where the y went)

    Happy enough with the time and liked quite a few of the clues

    Thanks Chris and Teazel

  28. Like others, the REQUITE/OBLIQUE cross took ages to get. The rest was not easy, but gettable – eventually!
  29. I didn’t find this obscenely difficult, just a nice mix of clues, some fun surfaces and a couple of interesting bits of vocab, and all done in 10 minutes. I liked NEWFOUNDLAND and ALPHA in particular.
    I know we’ve discussed before the variations in people’s GK, but surely most of us here have heard of Paradise Lost, even if we’ve never read it? Count me in that group.
    I have been known to use the word PROSELYTISE but banging on about something is also quite a useful phrase – of course, I never do that. My family might disagree 😅
    FOI Paradise Lost
    LOI Trough
    COD Play with fire
    Many thanks Teazel, and thanks and welcome back to Chris.

    For what it’s worth, I did the biggie in just over half an hour. Now I’ve got to go and spray some teasels gold for Christmas decorations – I really struggle with the spelling now!

  30. I managed this in 8:01 and carefully checked the anagrist for 7d, which showed that my PROSELETYSED was wrong, but I only managed to correct it to PROSELITYSED. Bu**er! Thanks Teasel and Chris.
  31. According to my records (the data don’t lie), my most afeared QC setters are Orpheus, Joker, Teazel and Izetti – and all four have now appeared in the past four days. And, I am delighted to say, I have successfully solved all four of their offerings – although this one took 48 minutes of concentrated effort.

    I had the same difficulties towards the end with (the NHO) PROSELYTISED and REQUITE/OBLIQUE intersection as others above, but I very nearly DNF’d with SCHISMS. I thought SOS was the ‘message’ and spent some minutes trying to justify SCHISOS or SCHOSIS as the answer. I also spent far too long trying to make UPSTAGE work for 19d.

    At the half-hour mark I was properly worried, as I had fewer then 10 clues written into my grid. My frustrations were greatly eased when, finally, I saw PLAY WITH FIRE. PARADISE LOST followed a minute later and several of their dependants tumbled out as a result. Overall, a hard, but satisfying challenge.

    Mrs Random got 1a and 1d early on, and also somehow knew the word PROSELYTISED (I know not how). However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for her, as I think TROUGH, OBLIQUE and REQUITE slowed her down somewhat. She crossed the line in 33 minutes today – situation normal in the Random household.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Chris.

    Edited at 2021-12-14 12:33 pm (UTC)

  32. … as I found this satisfyingly doable, and finished in 9 minutes, well on the fast side for me. The 13D Oblique / 21A Requite cross were the last two in and held me up most, though like others I had to be careful with the exact spelling of 7D Proselytised. Nice piece of misleading in 18D Skiff too — took a moment to remember one can ski on water as well as on snow.

    I went to Newfoundland once, about 40 years ago, to go fishing in the rough country. Being a naïve Englishman I asked the local police about a fishing licence — they were very puzzled but eventually agreed to draw me up a handwritten one so I felt better. They then asked how many salmon I would like as my daily limit, and “would 2 dozen a day be enough for you?”. At that point in my life I don’t think I had caught 24 salmon in my entire fishing career!

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  33. We were in SCC today finishing in 17 mins. We thought it was a great puzzle — quite tough but enjoyable and very satisfying to complete.

    COD: PARADISE LOST made us smile

    Thanks and welcome back Chris.

    1. SSC is over 20 minutes — so you’re in ‘Coach Class’ and good to go! Paradise Gained! Cheers Meldrew.
  34. 31 mins for me, so just over my target for what I thought was another toughie. There felt like only a couple of what I class as QC clues — so it definitely had a mini 15×15 feel about it.

    For the first 10 mins I hardly had anything, and it was only by getting 1ac “Paradise Lost” that things began to tumble into place. DNK 7dn “Proselytised” but it was generously clued.

    My main issue was the SE corner and getting 15dn “Insipid”, 22ac “Pipes” and 20dn “Alpha.

    FOI — 8ac “Anger”
    LOI — 15dn “Insipid”
    COD — 16dn “Bureau” — great surface, but it could equally have been 6dn “Schisms”.

    Thanks as usual!

  35. Found this slow going especially in se corner and 7d, eventually finished in 40m way over target.
  36. As a founding SCC member (although I think your membership lapsed a long time ago), I thought I’d raise with you an issue which has come up in comments further down (page 2 on my iPad) between TheMayfield and Victor. The question raised is what is the time bar for SCC entry? 15 or 20 minutes are referenced. I’ve always thought that some subjectivity may be involved.
    1. Chris, I have always taken it as 20 mins. I think most others do, too.
      You could check with therotter. I have always thought he used 20 mins, too, but I would like to know if we are on different pages. John.
      1. I have always assumed that 20 minutes was the threshold to the SCC proper. Jackkt and others who live on different planets set 10 minutes (or even 5) as a target, and Jackkt goes into his red zone at 15 minutes I believe, but for those of us who regularly solve between 10 and 15, I think 20 works for SCC performances. Just my humble opinion though — I have no insider knowledge.
  37. DNF
    22a / 13d and 7d did for me.
    Requite is not a word that I have come across in many a year. ‘While talking’ missed as homophone for some strange reason…..
    7d no chance NHO
    Otherwise tricky and enjoyable.
    Thanks all
    John George
  38. Another toughie today, again not helped by being tired. Finally finished on 44:11 with WADDING. I put the i and y the wrong way round in PROSELYTISED so technically a DNF, but I think I might forget about that. Lucky it wasn’t a pb. COD to SCHISMS. Thanks Teazel and Chris.
  39. Newfoundland is my COD though I took a long time to see it. I was a hospital worker there one student summer, and begged to go cod fishing, with fishermen in an open boat and outboard motor amongst the icebergs. You dropped your jigger into the water with its fearsome hooks and hauled up fish. No longer. Tough teaser finished today = 133 min but long interruptions. Many thanks to all.
  40. Not for me at all. Could only struggle to about half of this puzzle. It’s very rare that I can’t beat one into submission but not this one.
  41. Just couldn’t get into my stride with this one at all. Kicking myself about PARADISE LOST as this was one of my A Level texts back in the early 80s and I loved it! Gave up after a few sittings. Many thanks for the blog Chris — they’re always obvious when you see the answers. No complaints here. Thanks Teazel — tricksy!

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