Times Quick Cryptic 2032 by Orpheus


5:29, but I needed to check on the unknown 5 Down. A gentle affair which befitted my post-booster exhaustion.



1   Unsuitable environment for Republican poet (4)
BARD = BAD around R

4   Refined European press chief (8)

8   Snowstorm initially battering reptile, it’s said (8)
BLIZZARD = B + homophone of LIZARD

9   Time to go back and make improvements (4)
EDIT = TIDE reversed
As in Christmastide, Eventide, etc.

10   Eager / to express grief (4)
KEEN = double definition
Sweeney Todd is often described as ‘keening’, which is how I learned this word, I think.

11   Possesses objects Henry lost in battle (8)

12   Dazed state disorientating Proust (6)
STUPOR = anagram of PROUST

14   Trendy group securing start of county cricket, perhaps (6)
INSECT = IN + SET around C

16   Dryer hotel cat damaged (3,5)
TEA CLOTH = anagram of HOTEL CAT

18   Vehicle used on farm? About right (4)

19   Eg Sikes[’s] account (4)
BILL = double definition
From Oliver Twist.

20   Example of fashionable attitude (8)

22   Poisonous plant identified by male sailor (8)
As in Sir Francis Drake — but I just biffed this one.

23   Depart hurriedly, biting insect being heard (4)
FLEE = homophone of FLEA


2   Illness doctor met in LA (7)
AILMENT = anagram of MET IN LA

3   Have forty winks before noon? No, twelve (5)
Here the ‘no’ suggests that a different word for ‘twelve’ is called for.

4   Vegetable eaten at first in Pennsylvania (3)
PEA = E in PA

5   Female metalworker in once besieged city (9)
I hadn’t known this city. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladysmith,_KwaZulu-Natal

6   Class extremely impressive in glasses (7)

7   Observing the old up in Gateshead at first (5)
EYING = YE reversed + IN + G

11   Initially how any respectable girl makes a wind instrument (9)

13   Chose to cross lake, being the worse for wear (7)

15   Start to consult adviser, making small boat (7)

17   Girl from United States, leaving in the morning (5)

18   Tease husband in popular eating-place (5)
I always thought it was CAF.

21   Institute legal proceedings against university in Home Counties (3)
SUE = U in SE

58 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2032 by Orpheus”

  1. I couldn’t think of Sikes’s name for a while. We seem to be getting CORACLE a lot. 5:35.
        1. When you see my ‘Jolly Fisherman’ avatar, you surely know my tongue is firmly in my cheek!
  2. At the time of the siege Ladysmith was just a garrisoned fort enclosing a small township. It has become a city more recently, since the famed Siege in 1900. I don’t think America has the least interest in the events of the Boer War, they were far more involved in events in Cuba at that time.

    FOl 7dn EYING

    LOI 1ac BARD

    COD 11ac HASTINGS a battle fo the ages


    TIME 11.30 five minutes slower than yesterday!

    1. Ladysmith is also twinned in my mind with that other siege town from the Boer War, Mafeking, which was where Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, first came to public notice. It was the answer to a clue in another crossword I did recently, only the answer the crossword setter wanted was Mafikeng, (one of) the acceptable modern spellings in post-apartheid South Africa. Frustratingly both Mafeking and Mafikeng fitted the grid, so I think that one really should have been a case of “either answer correct”!


  3. 11 minutes, missing my target by 1. Actually I completed the grid in 10 but then immediately revisited 17dn where I was not satisfied with ELIZA and realised my mistake.
  4. 20:29. Made heavy weather of this.

    With an initial L I biffed LENINGRAD for a besieged city. I had CHAFE for “tease”, which looked fair enough, but made LOI FLEA impossible.

    I knew that 13d (PICKLED) would be slang for drunk, but as Michael MacIntyre observed, just about any noun can be so used. “I got absolutely gazebo-ed last night”.

    KEEN(wail) is a usage that is common in crosswords but rare in speech.


  5. Fast, fast, fail …
    … as after romping through all but one clue in about 8 minutes I came completely unstuck on 17D Erica. After some thought I essayed Eliza for the inevitable 2 pink squares. And I know two people called Erica too, though in my defence they both spell it Erika. That’s my excuse and I’ll stick to it!

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

  6. All green in 14 with a while at the end on three four letter words: EDIT, FLEA and BARD. BARD was just me being slow, with TIDE I got fixated on ’emit’ (which fitted and it literally time reversed) and with FLEA I’d made the same mistake as Merlin on ‘cafe’ on ‘caff’ — I had wondered what ‘popular’ was doing in the clue — and couldn’t find a four letter insect beginning with E. Surprised myself with CORACLE and LADYSMITH coming to mind quite quickly.
  7. ….and a gentle warm-up before my clinic appointment. 15×15 will follow on my reyurn.

    TIME 3:15

  8. It took me 43 minutes to complete this one, and I am not going to use the excuse of the cat not making up his mind whether he wanted to go out or come in!

    I only knew LADYSMITH from Steptoe and Son. Ladysmith being Albert’s middle name, if I recall correctly.

    However, despite completing it (with two trips to Chambers), I had one wrong answer, resulting in a DNF.

  9. Emit instead of EDIT. As it didn’t make sense I shd have gone back to check. Liked my last two in – ERICA and MANDRAKE, also BLIZZARD, HASTINGS, HARMONICA, LADYSMITH. A clever and amusing puzzle.
    Thanks for blog, Jeremy.

    Edited at 2021-12-22 09:39 am (UTC)

  10. Aargh, just managed to delete my comment somehow.
    I found this relatively straightforward but am glad that I did it pre- booster, unlike our blogger. Initially biffed LENINGRAD despite knowing it made no sense and went for CHAFE until FLEE made it impossible.
    Mandrake was vaguely known but I had to run through the usual sailor synonyms before realising that I was looking for a person.
    Finished in 7.53 with COD to LADYSMITH for the PDM.
    Thanks to Jeremy
  11. I started very quickly in the NW and thought I was on for a quick one. However, I was soon slowed by many of the difficulties, including CHAFF/CHAFE, shared by earlier posters. I rather liked LADYSMITH and HARMONICA but TEA CLOTH took too long (doh) and MANDRAKE only clicked when I finally saw ERICA. My LOI was EYING — I was slow to accept this and entered it with fingers crossed.
    Relieved to finish all correct but unhappy to be on the cusp of the SCC again. Thanks to Orpheus for a clever QC and to Jeremy for a good blog. John M.

    Edited at 2021-12-22 09:48 am (UTC)

  12. Elapsed time was 17 minutes, 2 over target, but that included a very welcome call from the hospital with good lab results — a disturbance that I was happy to receive. Good crossword, good news. I saw NAME hidden in the 6th row and wondered if it pointed to a theme, with SUE, BILL and ERICA all in the grid, along with MONICA, and others, but I can make nothing of it. Anyone else?

    Edited at 2021-12-22 09:49 am (UTC)

    1. Well spotted, rotter. You could add LIZ, DI, STAN, and LEE and even STU, NIC, CORA, LOT (Biblical), ARMON, ART (Garfunkel), DRAKE, and ERIC. John.

      Edited at 2021-12-22 10:00 am (UTC)

  13. Another CHAFE until FLEE corrected it. BARD was FOI, MANDRAKE brought up the rear. LADYSMITH took a moment’s thought. 6:34. Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.
  14. Fifteen minutes, so not easy, not hard. I have been finding the QC’s rather ho-hum lately irrespective of difficulty, and this one was an exception. Thoroughly enjoyable, with many clever and witty ways of constructing the posers. Actually a DNF as I did not see Erica, which in hindsight was clear enough. FOI keen, seventeen on first pass, LOI (apart from Erica) bard, COD’s lots – blizzard, Ladysmith, etc., etc. Thanks for the blog, Jeremy, and for the fine puzzle, Orpheus.
  15. Jeremy to explain time=tide, I did flirt with EMIT, but couldn’t make it mean to make improvements. Apart from that, pretty straightforward, and I enjoyed it, especially LADYSMITH and HASTINGS.

    thanks Jeremy & thanks Orpheus!


  16. 14.36 so set about right for me. but Ladysmith biffed (it couldn’t be much else at the end)- seems to me to be rather obscure GK for a QC.
  17. Named after Lady Smith, the wife of the British governor. She was in fact Spanish, having married an English officer during the Peninsular War.
  18. Found this quite tough at c.20mins but LADYSMITH went in among the first of the second round of entries – Recalled from distant history history but known from recent music history through Black Mambazo.

    Couldn’t see ERICA til the end (Emily, Edith…aaarrgh) and had FLEA for a pink square at the end for which I received a hearty kick from me.


    Good puzzle, great blog.

  19. What is going on at LJ? I opened this up just now to find every posting had ‘Link/Reply/Thread’ as the only options. I recalled ‘liking’ The Rotter’s posting as a way of congratulating him on his good medical news, but it was only by clicking on ‘Thread’ that I found that, along with 2 other likes. Every day, and every puzzle, something different.
    1. Ah, exactly the same here, Kevin. I’m guessing that it isn’t just a problem with needing to clear my history / cookies etc after all!
    2. Yes there’s something going on. This morning I needed to log in – something that happens only very rarely.
  20. I was on the wavelength today with my first sub 20 for a while. Did toy with lodesmith for a bit before remembering ladysmith.

    Thanks Jeremy & Orpheus

    FOI Keen
    LOI Edit
    COD Hastings

  21. I was nearly caught out by EDIT wondering why it might be EMIT – my LOI. My WOD goes to Ladysmith and COD to KEEN.
  22. A good puzzle from Orpheus, with a slightly up-market feel to it. Unfortunately in my haste for a finish while still sub-20, I didn’t re-visit 9ac Emit, which I always had doubts over. In any case, not at all sure the extra minute would have produced tide/edit, so Orpheus wins that one. CoD to 11ac, Hastings. Invariant
  23. 11 minutes again. I liked this one – lots of nice surfaces but chewy enough to make it fun without being a trial! Not a lot else to say, so I won’t 😅
    FOI Blizzard
    LOI Tea cloth – this one took a few moments, as I would say drying up cloth or tea towel, but not tea cloth
    COD Hastings
    Many thanks Orpheus and Jeremy
  24. 4:49 this morning, for a fairly straightforward and well pitched QC from Orpheus.
    LOI 17 d “Erica” where, like some others, I biffed “Eliza” but was determined not to doolittle about it when the parsing failed. The correct answer duly appeared quickly.
    Another brief hesitation at 5 d “Ladysmith” once I had got “Troy” out of my head.
    COD 3 d “dozen”. Nice surface.
    Thanks to Jeremy and Orpheus
  25. Really nice QC from Orpheus which took me 18 mins to complete. Managed not to fall into the chaff/chafe trap which at least made 23ac pretty straightforward. Never managed to parse Erica (doh!) but luckily it was the only woman’s name that occurred to me and I also needed Jeremy’s help to understand how eying worked.

    FOI – 8ac BLIZZARD
    LOI – 17dn ERICA
    COD – lots to like but the award goes to 11dn HARMONICA with 5dn LADYSMITH a close 2nd.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Jeremy.

  26. … but by the skin of my teeth. I have only once before broken half an hour for an Orpheus (he is my most feared setter), but MANDRAKE, ERICA, KEEN and BARD conspired to push me out past that threshold to 32 minutes today. I’m still very pleased, especially as I didn’t solve a single clue in the first five minutes. Fortunately, HASTINGS finally fell, after which others came rolling in at a steady pace throughout.

    I couldn’t parse 17d, and having not solved MANDRAKE, I was faced with choosing between EDITH/ELISA/ELISE/ELIZA/ERICA/ERIKA for the girl’s name. Also, I had NHO the other meaning for KEEN, had NHO LADYSMITH, and wasn’t at all sure about BARD (my LOI) or CHAFF. All in all, I came here a little apprehensive.

    Mrs R also recorded 32 minutes today for a rare Random tie. She was also unsure about BARD, but had no real trouble elsewhere.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Jeremy.

  27. We were on for quite a fast time until a wild biff at 4A really slowed us down as we tried to sort out the NE corner. In the end we came home in 12 minutes.


    1. Herds of Wild Biffs which roam the West Canadian Prairie, have done terrible damage to the swathes of Lewisia and Clarkia found thereabouts – Meldrewpedia
  28. Completed this earlier but forgot to blog. An enjoyable puzzle from Orpheus which I found a little easier than most of his offerings. Still took me 22 minutes though. Never heard of the city of LADYSMITH (though I knew of the band Ladysmith Black Mambazo) so I’m glad to have rectified that. MANDRAKE I knew of through Harry Potter. In fact I saw a rather bizarre stuffed toy one for sale only a couple of days ago. COD to INSTANCE. Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.
  29. once I had got “Troy” out of my head – this sounds to me like ‘Wooden Horse Syndrome’.
  30. Hurried through this in 17:22 but was never confident and had EMIT for time to go back rather than EDIT. Rather less forgivable put ELIZA no ERICA.

    Completely missed the NINA.

    Edited at 2021-12-22 03:47 pm (UTC)

  31. I must learn my boat names — had everything in after 25 mins but struggled with 15dn therefore a dnf for me.

    Overall a nice puzzle from Orpheus.

    I misparsed 18ac “Cart” — thinking used on a farm was a “cat” 🐈

    FOI — 4ac “Polished”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 11ac “Hastings”

    Thanks as usual!

  32. Joined the emit crowd, had trouble with the four letter clues, 1a, 17d where we were slow choosing between erica and eliza. Just missed our target. Certainly more of a test than yesterday, but enjoyable.
  33. Well I am an AM person, but couldn’t a place for these two letters and never thought of taking them away, from a word that wasn’t there. I unsettled for Elisa, and must admire the clue. The cautious Edit, Cart, and Chaff all proved ok, to complete at spot on 30 min, another GN6. Compliments of the day.
  34. Pleasant solve by the fire after a lovely snowy walk up the smallest Munro in Glencoe. Fell for all the traps already mentioned — was it EMIT or EDIT, why wouldn’t tar/Jack/AB/salt work, surely it’s TEA TOWEL etc etc.

    FOI HASTINGS, LOI MANDRAKE, COD AILMENT, time 08:56 for 1.7K and a Pretty Good Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.


  35. Another excellent cryptic.

    Thanks also for the blog. Helped me to understand some of the answers which I’d guessed!

  36. Too many distractions again for a time and did much better at second attempt.
    I just couldn’t get Edit — I was another Emit.
    I knew that Emit was wrong but would never see tide as time despite the blog examples. So naturally I didn’t enjoy that clue as much as the rest of the puzzle.
    Also another Chafe then Flee then Chaff candidate.
    Thanks all
    John George
  37. SPECIES is a technical term in biological taxonomy, and CLASS is another – with a different meaning. So, to define SPECIES as a “class” is at least misleading, and in my opinion incorrect.

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