Times Quick Cryptic 2056 by Mara

All bar the last few clues were happily put to bed in 5 and half minutes. The last four (1dn, 17ac, 18dn and LOI 20ac) stayed up late and took just over another three mintues. Still, I’m always happy with a time of 8 minutes or so.

Definitions are underlined in italics.

1 Two items of underwear, most daring (7)
BRAVEST – the two items in question are (BRA and VEST). A great start.
5 Jack and I have a dance (4)
JIVE – Jack (J in cards – not tar or ab) and I have (I’VE).
7 Least good street behind terrace knocked over (5)
WORST – street (ST) after terrace – row – knocked over (WOR).
8 Information on the floor? (3-4)
LOW-DOWN – anything on the floor would be low down.
10 Sign of fierce animal returning in jumbo, elephant (3)
LEO – inside but backwards in jumb(O EL)ephant.
11 He’s fit: man working in tunnel underground (9)
MINESHAFT – anagram (working) of HES FIT MAN. Walked by Boulby Mine on the NE coast last year – 1,000k of tunnels (from Wikipedia) going out something like 4-5 miles offshore (from memory – there was an interesting artwork on the Cleveland Way with info).
13 Bequeathed property ending in garbage, say (6)
ESTATE – garbag(E), say (STATE).
14 Fix us some dessert (6)
MOUSSE – anagram (fix) of US SOME. Nice surface.
17 Happening all the time, batting stances requiring adjustment (9)
INCESSANT – batting (IN), anagram (requiring adjustment) of STANCES. Constant obviously wasn’t the answer but it kept getting in the way.
19 Everyone in denial, lately (3)
ALL – inside deni(AL L)ately.
20 Relevant language, English (7)
GERMANE – language (GERMAN), English (E). Clutching at the answer for some time but it kept slipping away so had to keep coming back to it.
22 A profit one more time (5)
AGAIN – a (A), profit (GAIN).
23 Sad, like some eyes (4)
BLUE – double definition.
24 Seat sis mended breaks in Spain (7)
SIESTAS – anagram (mended) of SEAT SIS. Not unknown in the chrisw91 household.
1 Amazing soul encapsulating actor Gene (11)
BEWILDERING – soul (human BEING) encapsulating actor Gene (WILDER). Needed lots of checkers.
2 Where might one check in? Look left (7)
AIRPORT – look (the AIR of), left (PORT).
3 Item as set out in rough calculations (9)
ESTIMATES – anagram (out) of ITEM AS SET.
4 Terrific athletes originally with advanced skill (6)
TALENT – (T)errific, (A)theletes, advanced (LENT). COD for the surface with ‘advanced skill’.
5 Gossip just as wicked, initially (3)
JAW – (J)ust (A)s (W)icked.
6 An instrumental Shakespearean character? (5)
VIOLA – Viola-Cesario from Twelfth Night. GK not required, I’d have thought, given the checkers and ‘instrumental’ clue.
9 Northeast Shetland worried about conclusion of mother country (11)
NETHERLANDS – northeast (NE), anagram (worried) of SHETLAND around mothe(R).
12 Crispy biscuit — or “gatea”? (9)
SHORTCAKE – I suspect there’s a ‘U’ missing from gateau – unless I just don’t move in gatea people’s company [thanks to vinyl1 – gatea is one letter SHORT of being a CAKE – very clever]. We had a discussion about shortbread/cake a few weeks back – shortbread and shortcake (hence the gateau) are the same.
15 Lass ate appalling condiment, perhaps? (3,4)
SEA SALT – anagram (appalling) of LASS ATE.
16 Person recording this finally gets to the point (6)
TAPERS – person recording (TAPER), thi(S).
18 Female name in song? (5)
CAROL – well, is this a triple definition? It’s a female name + a carol is a song + ‘Oh, Carol, I am but a fool’?
21 Drop tool (3)
AXE – double definition,

54 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2056 by Mara”

  1. I had no idea what ‘gatea’ meant, and simply biffed SHORTCAKE. Having just gone to Collins to see what the difference is between shortcake and shortbread, I’m more confused than before. And I still don’t get the clue, even with the U. 6:12.
  2. 6 minutes though I had to do a letter trawl on 21dn as my LOI and X is nearly at the end of the alphabet. That probably cost me what would have been a rare 5-minute solve.
  3. Time for the pb klaxon for a 6.27. The only hold up was right at the end on AXE where the alphabet trawl took a while. Enjoyed SHORTCAKE and TAPERS.
  4. FOI: JIVE Then a steady work through leaving 3 in the SW which seemed to take an age to solve with GERMANE, AXE then LOI: TAPERS after a PDM. All done in a slow but enjoyable 29 minutes.
    COD: ESTATE and a smile at SHORTCAKE.
  5. Biffed SHORTCAKE from the checkers — only later did I see what a good clue it was! Liked the courageous underwear too, new to me. Fun all round though a long trawl for my LOI. And I always forget that “Jack” can just be J, wasting time with AB etc.

    FOI BRAVEST, LOI TAPERS, COD SHORTCAKE, time 07:58 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Mara and Chris.


    Edited at 2022-01-25 08:05 am (UTC)

  6. Enjoyed the clue for SHORTCAKE. For some reason couldn’t get JIG out of my head when I was trying to think of JIVE, but all done in 8.56 — a rare sub-10 minute solve for me, so a good start to the day.
  7. Back in my usual armchair in the corner of the SCC following a 30 minute careless solve. Bizarrely wrote Germain which caused grief and delay over TAPERS until I spotted the error of my ways. Tried to put Gene Kelly somehow into 1D and wondered if Genie and Soul were clued together before LOI and summarising my state of mind it dropped in with all the gaps completed.
    Could not see the relevance of Gatea but biffed it all the same. A brief spell of BRAVERY (most) didn’t help either. Thanks Chris and Mara. It all seemed to be going so nicely until it wasn’t. I suppose I should have realised earlier that the general rule applies (if it seems impossible to fit the right word in, you have probably made a mistake already).
  8. 6:47 on an enjoyable solve. BEWILDERING needed all the ‘acrosses’ (checkers?) before I could post-rationalise Gene Wilder. “Gatea” made me smile and TAPERS made me pause and cost me a 5 minute something but is a quiet contender for my COD.

    Thanks Mara & Chris

    Edited at 2022-01-25 08:25 am (UTC)

  9. Severe case of last-clue-itis …
    … with all but one clue done in a lightning 6 minutes — even both solving and parsing 12D Shortcake, which I thought very clever — and then a further 5 staring at LOI 16D Tapers. Unhelpful checkers (-A-E-S) meant an alphabet search was not really on so I sat, and thought, and sat … and eventually it emerged from the fog.

    Strange how some clues can do that. I’m sure setters don’t set out to make one clue much tougher than the rest, and equally sure some people will have solved it in a second and without a second thought. But I didn’t. So an 11 minute finish today.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

    Edited at 2022-01-25 08:31 am (UTC)

  10. Another case of “last-clue-itis” here too…..16D slowed us right down and we finished in 13 minutes.

    COD: a toss up between BEWILDERING and SHORTCAKE

    Thanks Chris and Mara.

  11. Super clue, nearly as good as the biscuit!

    Couldn’t think of the actor Gene Wilder, which delayed me a bit.


  12. A very quick, clockwise, grid-fill came to a sudden halt with SHORTCAKE (brilliant clue but I needed all the checkers), TAPERS, and my LOI BEWILDERING. I went from a quick solve into the SCC. A typical sting in the tail from Mara.
    Good puzzle, though. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-25 09:38 am (UTC)

  13. Fastest one ever for me at 21+ mins. Have struggled over the past week, staring at these for an hour or two across the course of a day – usually resorting to getting some letters revealed.

    Appreciative of the blog. Always demoralised by the people doing it in “terrible” times of eleven or twelve minutes but I know it’s all relative.

    FOI Jaw, LOI Again, COD Blue

    (Will sign up one day when I can think of a username and feel willing to give my online details to yet another website)

    1. Might I suggest ‘l-plate’ as a user name and similar for your ‘avatar’. You can then update when you achieve say 11 or 12 minutes.
  14. 15 mins for another enjoyable puzzle. Couldn’t parse 12dn Shortcake, and swiftly realised “crispy” wasn’t an anagrind. Now that I’ve seen the solution it is indeed very clever.

    FOI — 1ac “Bravest”
    LOI — 23ac “Blue”
    COD — 16dn “Tapers” — generated an audible “very good” when it finally clicked.

    Thanks as usual!

  15. Fairly straightforward with minor hold ups in the same places as chris. TAPERS was my LOI with those unpromising checkers. An enjoyable solve finished in 7.19.
    Thanks to chris and Mara
  16. On paper today. FOI BEWILDERING, a good place to start. No problem with SHORTCAKE although I needed a few letters; a good clue. 8 minutes before revisiting LOI 16d. This needed a full alphabet trawl and some decoding as I had MAN= Person and EP =Recording. TAPERS emerged after a further 2/3 minutes.
    A good QC.
  17. Just inside target at 14 minutes, and really enjoyed this. LOI MINESHAFT (I just didn’t spot the anagrind), after the clever biscuit fell, and also struggled with BEWILDERING and TAPERS. Good to see BRA clued as undies rather than supporter (FOI), Thanks Mara and Chris.
  18. About 25 minutes working fairly much top to bottom, with longish pauses in the same places as most others. 1A was a great first clue. Took a while to find a suitable Gene, but then went smoothly until I failed to see the MOUSSE. A few crossers helped me over that and I finished, slowly, in the SW with GERMANE and TAPERS. Fortunately saw what was going on with Gatea fairly quickly, and another fun clue. Mara has started my day brightly.
  19. Like Chris, I started quickly but then got bogged down with the last few clues. BRAVEST was FOI. The NW then filled up with WORST immediately bring the correct Gene along. Took a moment to see JIVE. I was eventually left with 11a and 12d, but managed to juggle the anagrist mentally to get MINESHAFT, which allowed me to biff SHORTCAKE and reverse engineer it. Very clever: the clue looked like gobbledegook until the penny dropped. 7:36. Thanks Mara and Chris.
  20. FOI BRAVEST, LOI the clever TAPERS.
    GERMANE and WORST helped with BEWILDERING (had been wondering how to fit in Kelly.)
    SHORTCAKE also v clever – biff then PDM. Also liked TALENT.
    Thanks all, esp Chris
  21. Fourteen minutes, was going like lightening but then found the SW tricky. Couldn’t see how Hackman fitted in the amazing soul encapsulating him. I could see the other Gene, the Willy Wonka one, in the hat, and that, but couldn’t recall his name and needed all the checkers to do so. FOI bravest, LOI tapers. Lots of clever clueing here, much to enjoy. COD mineshaft. Which isn’t a tunnel, it’s a shaft. Never mind. Quite a few nuances to the parsing found here. Thanks, Chris, and Mara.
  22. Mara and Joker continue to move in opposite directions! At just 13 mins fully parsed, this was one of my fastest Mara solves, and in all likelihood in my top 10 for any solver. Bewildering needed most of the crossers, but that was my only real hold up until loi Tapers. I thought that was going to be another curse of the loi, but fortunately I remembered Taper, as one who tapes, from a previous puzzle. CoD to the standout clue 12d, Shortcake, and of course my thanks to Mara and Chris. Invariant
    1. Have to agree with your Mara and Joker comments. I would also add Oink into the mix of another setter who seems to be getting more and more difficult.
  23. ….was unaccountably derailed at the 8th hurdle, and I was miffed on the second visit to immediately solve what was, in truth, a pretty straightforward anagram. This and my LOI were the only delays.

    TIME 3:42

  24. Just shows how we all stumble at different fences, I put SHORTCAKE in straight away and was totally defeated by 2 “average” clues.

    Top half flew in and was on for another sub 10 with just two left at 7 minutes. Just could not see ESTATE (tried to make ENTITY work), I had “property ending” for “y” and “TAT” for garbage.

    And TAPERS would not come from its checkers, not sure I like the clue too much, and I think I’ve always spelled it “tapir”, which of course is an animal and a possible homophone clue.

    COD split between SHORTCAKE and BEWILDERING.

  25. … by 4-5 minute delay on LOI (CAROL), due to inadvertent transposition of C and S in INCESSANT. I did manage to resolve the problem, but not until my watch had slipped into SCC territory at 21 minutes.

    Despite my LOI frustrations, I am still very pleased with how today’s QC turned out for me. 1a (BRAVEST) and 1d (BEWILDERING) were my 2nd and 3rd last in, but they didn’t really delay my progress too much. I never saw the nuances of SHORTCAKE, but I think I fully parsed everything else as I went along.

    Many thanks to Mara and chrisw91.

  26. SW corner for second day in a row was the slow bit for me. Some lovely clues here: 11a could be a Geordie miner describing his colleague’s athletic prowess; 12d I got, but like some, the subtlety of the clue passed me by.
    Thanks Chris and Mara
  27. I was quick but I could have been quicker had I seen the 1s earlier in the solve. I couldn’t see how Hackman fitted in 1d! My FOI was JIVE and my LOI was TAPERS in 6:25 for an excellent day.
  28. …couldn’t parse ESTATE of all things and needed the blog — thanks Chris. Just outside the SCC today and very happy with that. COD SHORTCAKE 😆 LOI TAPERS. Great puzzle thanks Mara.
  29. I was almost done fairly quickly, until 15dn reared its ugly head. I stopped after 15 minutes and went out for someone’s (Corin’s) ‘Buns Night’ birthday dinner in Pusi. Haggis wi’ neeps and tatties was on the menu. On return saw the answer straightaway.

    ‘Person recording finally gets to the point’ would have suited me a bit better – methink – Mr. Mara!


    LOI 15d TAPERS


    WOD 20ac GERMANE

    11ac – didn’t need ‘in tunnel’ IMO

  30. Very slow today at 29 mins, of which probably 10 mins or so were spent on my last 3 – 1dn, 20ac and 16dn. Took ages to recall the right actor to mind and tapers just wouldn’t come for ever, with the unhelpful crossers precluding an alphabet trawl. A frustrating day – here’s hoping tomorrow goes more smoothly.

    FOI – 7ac WORST
    LOI – 16dn TAPERS
    COD – 14ac MOUSSE

    Thanks to Mara and to Chris

  31. I am kidding – it was like the Commonwealth of representatives here my LOI. My FOI was 1ac Bra-vest. My COD was 12dn Shortcake and runner-up to 1dn Bewilderment. My time was 7:37 mins.

    Edited at 2022-01-25 03:01 pm (UTC)

  32. Enjoyable. SW corner last to fall with 23a LOI.
    Mineshaft took too long to spot, as did Low Down.
    Pleased when Incessant helped with the conclusion.
    Just saw Taper as a recording person and avoided having to dig that one out.
    Thanks all
  33. All going so well today, until my final clue when I saw Tapers looming, or rather I couldn’t see it until I saw the point! My coach ticket was Fast, a 20 min total solve for the first time ever, a precise GN4. All thanks to Clue and Blog and Comment friends today and over a long long time!
  34. Cut 8 seconds off my previous PB but that was last July! I very rarely break the 10 minute barrier and often loiter around the SCC, so I am cock-a-hoop!! Amazingly I parsed everything too… even the cheeky “gatea”. I have to revel in this, as it may be a VERY LONG time before I get anywhere close to it again. MM

    FOI: Bravest
    LOI: Tapers
    COD: Shortcake – super clue

  35. ….should have added that I would never have been able to do any of this without the amazing help I receive from all the bloggers and contributors on this site. Thank you all so much for teaching me this fun skill!! MM
  36. Happily for him, Gene Hackman will be celebrating his 92nd birthday in five days, and as such is still ineligible for inclusion, even if he had fitted.
  37. Again thought I was on for a really quick time for a while, but the last few slowed me down. LOI was TAPERS for a finishing time, just a tad faster than yesterday, of 18:31. COD to MOUSSE and MIMR (Meaning I Must Remember) was GERMANE = relevant. Thanks to Mara and Chris.
  38. Looked like a rare sub ten but slowed by the last few especially SHORTCAKE and LOI MOUSSE.
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