Times Quick Cryptic 2042 by Mara


3:30, which is probably the closest I’ll ever come to one of Verlaine’s times. Probably got lucky with the big anagrams, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many find this on the easier side.



1   Ignore grids: read novel (9)

6   Swimmer turning over for medic (3)
DOC = DOC reversed

8   Food tasted again including brilliant sauce (7)
My last in.

9   Appearing in census, historical Japanese dish (5)
SUSHI = hidden

10   Irascible recreating Saturn on cake (12)

12   Day before critical for baboon, say? (6)

13   Doubled up, is able to dance (6)

16   Fundamentals for joiners? (4,3,5)
NUTS AND BOLTS = double definition

19   Dog / fighter (5)
BOXER = double definition

20   Twister spoiled a party (7)

22   Manage / flow (3)
RUN = double definition

23   I’m not joking / very much (9)
SERIOUSLY = double definition


1   Zero / meat (4)
DUCK = double definition

2   Mark welcoming American support (7)

3   Greek character fed up (3)
ETA = ATE reversed

4   Passionate drunk ranted (6)
ARDENT = anagram of RANTED

5   Dope dares to upset gangster (9)

6   Club in back of shed is firm (5)
DISCO = CO after last letter of SHED + IS

7   Red lips in Tory (7)

11   Reference the end of many prehistoric animals? (9)
Very funny, I thought.

12   Source of alcohol has addled brain after I’m stood up (7)
MINIBAR = anagram of BRAIN after I’M reversed

14   Weapon injured girl (7)

15   Publisher tried changing around introduction to opus (6)
EDITOR = TRIED anagrammed around first letter of OPUS

17   Beef in can that’s poisonous (5)

18   Some chap on yonder horse (4)
PONY = hidden

21   South American city rich in opportunity, initially (3)
RIO = first letters of RICH IN OPPORTUNITY

57 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2042 by Mara”

  1. 7 minutes again. I’m another who thought MUSTARD at 8ac for a while. For some reason the DUCK at 1dn eluded me until the C-checker provided by CUSTARD had arrived
  2. At 18 minutes this was my fastest solve to date. I had no idea what irascible meant, so I had to look it up in the dictionary. Not sure if that counts as using an aid. Regardless, I am pleased with my time today.
  3. I broke the 10 minute mark today so pretty straightforward. My only slight holdup was the 1D/8A intersection where I wanted to put mustard although wasn’t sure why mud was tasted again food.

    Thanks Jeremy & Mara
    FOI disregard
    LOI custard
    CoD thesaurus

  4. 5 Jeremy’s today. Held up by the ox in poison and mistakenly following; the wrong dog. Great fun and many thanks as always

    Edited at 2022-01-05 09:07 am (UTC)

  5. Pity I didn’t time myself as I must have been on the wavelength. Every clue sprang to mind straight away apart from my LOsI DUCK and CUSTARD which I also seemed obvious when I returned to them, tho not delicious together. FOI DISREGARD.
    MINIBAR made me smile, as did MONKEY and the aforementioned CUSTARD.
    Thanks vm, Jeremy.
  6. I have found Mon/Tues/today all on pretty much a par of difficulty but appreciate that is personal. All cut the Mustard of a QCC and occupied an enjoyable relax in the corner of the SCC without undue stress.
    Thanks Jeremy and Mara
  7. Similar to yesterday, so relatively straightforward. Like others I was tempted by mustard but couldn’t make it work so resisted biffing it. I needed to write out the letters for WOD CANTANKEROUS and waited until I had all the checkers for DESPERADO.
    An entertaining solve, finished in 7.23 with LOI CUTLASS and COD to THESAURUS.
    Thanks to Jeremy and chapeau for your time.
  8. On the SCC border today with a few pauses in an enjoyable solve. Would have been quicker but for the distraction of a not entirely bad start to the cricket. THESAURUS gave me a laugh when I saw it after some confusion as to what was going on.
  9. From our blogger Jeremy today! Impressive.

    I struggled a bit, but I think I normally do with Mara.

    I was nearly a minute over target. A wavelengthy puzzle with quite a few DD’s.

    THESAURUS was my LOI and COD.


    Edited at 2022-01-05 09:23 am (UTC)

  10. My last two in were CUSTARD and DUCK. The rest went in over about 15 minutes.
    Struggling with the 15×15 today, after doing ok with Monday and Tuesday’s offerings.
    More coffee needed
    Thank you as always for the helpful blog
  11. I thought I was in for a tough time today, getting almost nowhere at the top at first (like some others). I therefore began at the bottom and ended up wondering what had held me up. I made up for most of my lost time with a 12 min finish, my best this week.
    COD was THESAURUS (very clever and amusing). Thanks to Mara and to Jeremy for a good blog (and for parsing CUSTARD for me). John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-05 09:31 am (UTC)

  12. About 10m today. Held up in the NW where DUCK came late and cleared up whether or not is was going to be CUSTARD or not — needed the blog to parse that last one. Good puzzle I thought.
  13. Eleven minutes so one over the “easy” benchmark for me. FOI disregard. Although this was a bit of a write-in in parts I enjoyed resolving the long words. Didn’t know whether it was doc or cod for a while until crimson put me right. COD thesaurus. LOI seriously, needing all the checkers. Spent a few minutes reading about the Snitch yesterday, very impressed with the way it is constructed. Awesome! Thanks for the blog today, Jeremy, and for parsing custard for me. I normally like the longer solves myself, chewing the cud. But this one was enjoyable for the wit and long words. Thanks for the puzzle, Mara.
  14. … was me coming back to earth with a bump after yesterday’s unusual success, as this one (or more particularly the Duck/Custard combo — now that’s a really unappetising culinary mix!) took for ever. The rest of the crossword flew in in single-digit minutes time, so in passing I agree that this was not on balance a toughie, but then I had, in sequence, pause and think … make coffee and think … drink coffee and think … abandon and go for walk … return to double PDM. I am really not sure what the time was but it was looong; forget the clock, my main consolation was that I both started and finished on the same page of the calendar!

    Strange how sometimes crosswords do this.

    Agree with our blogger that 11D Thesaurus was very clever; our son Sam was completely besotted by dinosaurs at the age of 7, so much so that we got him a T-shirt announcing him as “Samuelosaurus”. He was thrilled with it. 12D Minibar also very clever — I was well misled into wondering what the ingredients were one can make alcohol from (grapes, grains, potatoes, etc).

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

  15. I seem to be the outlier finding it tough going today, with 17:55 and one pink : RAN for RUN. I found the terse clues rather unnerving, when I first glanced it I thought it might be the Concise puzzle (which usually has short clues).

    Last in, like many the DUCK CUSTARD pair.


  16. I was slower than yesterday largely because I couldn’t see DUCK and CUSTARD. I also had to wait for all the checkers for my LOI CANTANKEROUS as I genuinely couldn’t remember what irascible meant. 7:43 COD to THESAURUS

    Edited at 2022-01-05 10:28 am (UTC)

  17. I spotted DISREGARD straight away so got off to a good start. I needed CUSTARD to get DUCK. The rest flew in until I finished with a SERIOUSLY reasonable time of 5:58. Thanks Mara and Jeremy. Cracking time Jeremy!
  18. Just inside target at a few seconds below 15 minutes, but this should really have been quicker. I think I was slowed by a terrible night after a portion of mussels last evening. However, look on the bright side — the sky is blue and clear, Chrissy decs come down today ( or is it tomorrow?), and spring is on its way, but slowly! I liked THESAURUS, MINIBAR and CUSTARD. I’m another who dithered about COD / DOC until CRIMSON came to the rescue. Thanks Jeremy and Mara.
  19. Possibly a pb for me 4 or 5 mins. Got lucky by being on the right wavelength I think. thanks setter and blogger!
  20. I am still at a loss to understand why Duck wasn’t a write in, but I see that I am in very good company in finding the Duck/Custard (+Sustain) grouping to be the final hurdle in an entertaining puzzle from Mara. What should have been a comfortable sub-20 instead became a scramble to get a seat on the coach, with Minibar my CoD. Invariant
  21. Like many others I struggled with the DUCK/CUSTARD/SUSTAIN group. SERIOUSLY took ages too.
  22. Just avoided the SCC by coming in at 19 mins — a good 3 mins of that sorting out the Duck and Custard combination (I also initially put Mustard).

    Some nice clues although generally straight forward I thought.

    FOI — 1ac “Disregard”
    LOI — 1dn “Duck”
    COD — 11dn “Thesaurus” — probably a chestnut, but another one that made me smile.

    Thanks as usual!

  23. Steady solve finishing in 15 mins with all parsed. Needed crimson to decide whether 6ac was doc or cod. Otherwise not much to say.

    LOI – 12ac MONKEY
    COD – 11dn THESAURUS

    Thanks to Mara and Jeremy.

  24. That was fun! 7 minutes and a lot of ticks and smileys today. I seem to be bucking the trend by getting DUCK before dropping in CUSTARD which I forgot to parse, so thanks for the explanation Jeremy. Duck obviously is a meat (magret or crispy duck pancakes anyone 😋) but wasn’t the first one to spring to my mind. Excellent misdirection at 12d too. Loved the surface for 1a — I probably should. I spend far too much time with grids / blogs etc! A big smile for THESAURUS too.
    FOI Disregard
    LOI Thesaurus
    COD Minibar
    WOD Cantankerous — although I’m certainly not after this entertaining puzzle. Let’s see if that’s the case after my trip to the biggie.
    Many thanks Mara and Jeremy

    On edit; have just finished the biggie in a tad under 30 minutes. Unfortunately one error meant I couldn’t sort out my LOI and I didn’t fully parse a couple of others, but on the whole not too bad. Why not give it a go if you’ve got time 🙂

    Edited at 2022-01-05 01:05 pm (UTC)

    1. Dear Peebee,
      Gave it a try. Snitch score 93 – marginal. I managed to solve eight clues, and will look forward to seeing the answers in the paper tomorrow. Yes, I know I could look them up now, but delayed gratification is supposed to be good for the character.
      1. Hi Wombat — sorry 😔 It took me years before I finished a biggie, but I do remember feeling very despondent when experienced solvers used to say how easy or vanilla a puzzle was when I’d been grappling with it for hours! I normally take between 45 and 60 minutes to finish the 15×15 — that’s if I do finish, which is not a daily result. So if I do it in half an hour or so, my immediate reaction is that it must be easy! But — as we all know — wavelength is a wonderful thing!
        I never check the snitch so can only make personal comparisons. Perhaps I shouldn’t make recommendations at all 🙄
        Hope it becomes clear tomorrow, best wishes Penny
        1. Yes you should make recommendations, you can only play it as you see it! Thanks for your reply, best wishes SHN Wombat
  25. Whizzed through in 7:06 today, very fast by my standards.

    Liked the misdirections here, which slowed me down a little:
    – I was another in the MUSTARD/CUSTARD brigade, but when I saw 1dn had to be DUCK it was a fairly easy fix
    – 12ac played around with “Day before” = EVE before seeing how the clue was constructed
    – two anagram indicators in 20ac, with neither of them indicating an anagram!
    – “end of many prehistoric animals” was a bit of a head-scratcher

    Huge thanks Jeremy and setter

  26. CUSTARD/DUCK took us ages because we (i.e. me, Mrs Peel) confidently entered MUSTARD even though it made no sense at all. We really enjoyed the puzzle though and finished it in 11 minutes.


    Thanks Jeremy and Mara.

  27. I crossed the line in 26 minutes, my last few in being THESAURUS, BOXER (which required an alphabet trawl), TOXIN and everyone’s favourite, DUCK. This also required an alphabet trawl – no idea why.

    Mrs Random’s LOI was also DUCK and, as usual when I record a fast time, she paced her effort just fast enough to hold me at bay – 24 minutes for her today.

    Many thanks to Mara for the confidence boost, and to Jeremy.

  28. Time 8:30 which somehow seemed far slower. NO TRAINS TODAY.

    FOI 4ac COD later DOC!

    LOI 1dn DUCK!!


    Edited at 2022-01-05 05:24 pm (UTC)

  29. Like others, found this on the easier side. Finished in just over 20m, held up by putting in toxic for 17d. No problem with duck and custard.
  30. After 12 minutes yesterday this was 28 minutes today.
    I just couldn’t see Nuts and Bolts (LOI) so Cutlass late. Also struggled with the NW corner but pleased to stick at it and get to a finish.
    I suppose I don’t consider Duck as a meat….in my mind it is a bird….not a traditional ‘meat’ animal. I must remember for next time!
    Duck for zero sadly too apt at the moment!
    Thanks all
    John George
  31. Late to this after golf.
    Last two were DUCK and CUSTARD.
    About 15 minutes.
    Good puzzle.
  32. Over the past week or so I’ve been slotting in answers without batting an eyelid which others of you have found difficult, so was feeling somewhat smug when I started today’s which was very enjoyable though perhaps a tad on the easy side. But I couldn’t parse MUSTARD at 9a and was completely stumped for a DUCK. However I SERIOUSLY believe that if I had twigged one I would have twigged the other, and SERIOUSLY would have been my COD if I’d seen it! So a seriosa DNF, but on seeing the answers, they were simply TOO EASY.☹️ That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!
  33. Although it was straightforward to pause, in which parallel universe are editor and publisher synonyms?
  34. This more than made up for yesterday’s silly mistake which cost me my sixth fastest ever time, as I finished over a minute quicker in 10:17, making it my 4th fastest (missing the podium by 6 seconds). Most of it seemed to go in straight away, so it’s at times like these when I am most in awe of those of you who complete in under 5 minutes. I’m just not sure I could read and write that fast. FOI was DISREGARD, LTI were CANTANKEROUS and then THESAURUS. Several contenders for COD. CUSTARD and THESAURUS would be up there, although as I got them late on I’m afraid they were both biffs. NUTS AND BOLTS was also very good. Thanks Mara and Jeremy.
  35. Another sub 20 finish suggests an easy puzzle. Couldn’t decide between COD and DOC but obvious once checkers in place. Also had MUSTARD before I saw DUCK and made the necessary correction.
  36. Very enjoyable steady solve at 13 minutes fully parsed and less than a minute outside my PB. Sitting by a lovely fire with a drink so probably could have gone faster if I had known there was a potential PB there!

    Thought SERIOUSLY was very cleverly clued but COD to THESAURUS for giving me a big smile.

    Thanks Jeremy and Mara.

    Could someone please tell me what SCC is? I have seen it in blogs and comments as something to be almost achieved (or possibly avoided?). Prof

    1. Have a look in the glossary for explanations of all sorts of stuff related to the Times crosswords and TfTT, inc the SCC (slow coach club). You’ll find it either at the top right or very bottom of the the blog’s front page, depending on your device. Full of useful / entertaining info 😊
      Congrats on the time — and the very civilised way you achieved it!
      1. Thanks pebee. Please could you gibe me a little more guidance on where to find the glossary? I’m not sure where to find the blog front page. I’m not too expert on Live Journal. I access it via an iPhone (which may be my issue!). Thanks

        1. I’m not much of an expert when it comes to IT and terminology but I’ll do my best! Also I can only tell you based on my devices, which are Windows and Android, but here goes. When I log into LJ on my laptop before I go to the quickie blog, there’s a list of links on the right at the top of the page. On my tablet and phone, I have to scroll right down to the bottom of the page (past all the entries) to find the links. There’s all sorts of interesting stuff there as well as the glossary. Hope that’s clearer than mud 😅 If not, perhaps an Apple user can come to your aid!
  37. Well well — Duck was my second one in after Disregard. I was annoyed by failing to see mustard earlier especially as my sheep chew the cud daily. But we finished pretty quickly (for us) and enjoyed it.
  38. Enjoyed seeing lots of fast times particularly Jeremy’s — impressive

    Steady solve here — though was staring at the grist for MINIBAR for some time until the loose change dropped

    Also liked THESAURUS

    Thanks all

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