Times Quick Cryptic 2062 by Tracy


3:49, which continues a bizarre streak of fast times for me (my average solving time for the Quick Cryptic is about 7 1/2 minutes). These went in about as fast as I could type and think. It’s hard to believe there are those who can solve these puzzles twice as fast!



7   Course holding permit for game (8)

8   Close small cabin (4)

9   Seafood affected one after seconds (6)
SCAMPI = CAMP + I after S

10   Poem from English stage, “Journey’s End” (5)
ELEGY = E + LEG + last letter of JOURNEY

11   Pawn fashionable brooch (3)
PIN = P + IN

12   Good large stove in farmhouse (6)

14   Wife, maybe, requires support, heading off (6)
SPOUSE = ESPOUSE without first letter
Not parsed on initial solve.

16   Record label millions love, tenor’s first to admit (6)
MOTOWN = M + O + first letter of TENOR + OWN
Another one barely parsed.

18   Burning, a hollow across river (6)
ARDENT = A + DENT around R

19   Donkey in Christmas setting (3)
ASS = hidden

20   That woman behind us is a theatre attendant (5)
USHER = HER after US

21   Rubbish written about husband’s party (6)
My last one in. I dithered over it for at least 20 seconds, as I didn’t know this meaning of ‘thrash’.

23   Rework text of Nesbit, perhaps unfinished (4)
EDIT = EDITH without the last letter

24   One thought unlikely to win, away team against second in group (8)
OUTSIDER =  OUT + SIDE + second letter of GROUP


1   Piece of music from show, Oscar’s first (8)
CONCERTO = CONCERT + first letter of OSCAR

2   Almost round purple fruit (4)
PLUM = PLUMP without the last letter

3   Band‘s kit on edge of stage (6)
STRIPE = STRIP + last letter of STAGE
This one also took me awhile as I didn’t know the requisite meaning of ‘strip’. Chambers has: “a lightweight uniform”.

4   Level pegging on board in game (6)

5   Space traveller‘s damaged radio set (8)

6   Girl in game, losing heart (4)
RUBY = RUGBY without middle letter

13   Novice in religious order, one they ordered to keep quiet (8)
NEOPHYTE = ONE THEY anagrammed around P

15   Threatening nun outside home (8)

17   Strict with new pointer (6)

18   Shrewd moving statue (6)
ASTUTE = anagram of STATUE

20   Ruin United Nations function (4)
UNDO = U.N. + DO

22   Runs over to help attack (4)

93 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2062 by Tracy”

  1. I didn’t know STRIP either, but figured wotthehell. THRASH vaguely familiar. 5:49, only two minutes slower than Jeremy!
  2. 10 minutes with 3 of those spent on my LOI, RUBY at 6dn as I thought of RUMMY as the game and lost time trying to make RUMY a girl’s name.

    In the UK the ‘STRIP’ are the colours and design of clothes worn by a football team on the field and no doubt it applies to other sports too. Ardent fans like to wear the same and some clubs change the design from time to time so that their supporters have to buy the latest. Needless to say they are not cheap!

    Edited at 2022-02-02 07:05 am (UTC)

  3. My LOI 16ac MOTOWN — today’s little roadblock, already!

    FOI 7ac ROULETTE it was rather too obvious

    COD 6dn RUBY


    Yet another ’Portcullis’ grid! My time was 9:45 minutes. All trains and flights cancelled today due to the wrong kind of snow!

  4. Found this a little tough going this morning taking 35 minutes from FOI: SHUT to LOI: SPOUSE made more difficult by having the O and I the wrong way round in ASTEROID and trying to find a wife from S_I_S_ which cost me time till I corrected my error.
    Also wasn’t sure about THRASH for party.

  5. I struggled with the musical clues – CONCERTO and MOTOWN, before being left with the girl’s name where I couldn’t get Lucy out of my head, despite knowing it couldn’t be the answer. I’d never heard of Ms Nesbitt but the answer was obvious and I now know what a NEOPHYTE is.
    Finished just under target in 9.48.
    Thanks to Jeremy and well done on your time.
    1. The Railway Children? I bet you’ve seen the film at some point! The end still brings a tear to my eye, even after watching it many times.
  6. 14:10 with another slow start, FOI SHUT, and as yesterday, the bottom half much easier than the top. Three games were mentioned, but surely Rugby and Sevens are sports?

    Not happy with “on board” means surround with SS. I know SS is a ship, but still don’t get it. This was an unsatisfactory LOI.

    I was wrong about the parsing of ARDENT, I thought it was to do with Arden in Warwickshire.


    1. On board …
      I justified this (after biffing, I confess) as “on board” = “on a ship” = “in a ship” (bit of a MER) = “in SS”.
      1. DNF
        Gave up after 35 mins. Just too hard.
        Not heard of PIN (as brooch), NEOPHYTE, SEVENS, GRANGE.
      2. i don’t agree with you Jackkt, These puzzles should should be a test of logic – not of remembering obscure ‘chestnuts’.
        1. This particular chestnut has been in Crosswordland since at least 1962! So not that obscure. Up the revolution, Comrade!
        2. I was only trying to save Merlin time in the future by pointing out that he will see it again and again.

          If one is on or in a ship one is said to be ‘on board’ it, so EVEN (level pegging) is on board i.e. in SS. If that’s illogical or obscure to some, then fair enough, but I’m afraid I don’t see it.

          1. Seemed logical to me, having got it first pass through and I have only been doing the QC for a few years

            1. Prof, did you have problems seeing the today’s blog, or yesterday’s by Chris, like you did with mine on Monday? I noted that both used the same ‘hide’ link as mine, so if theirs are okay but mine was a problem I need to investigate further.
    2. Yes, it is a ‘sport’, but it’s also a card ‘game’. I still play it with my 92yo father from time to time.
  7. Taken out to just about five Jeremys by the SW. A fast start but the simple (in retrospect) CONCERTO and NARROW held me up before MOTOWN really held me up — I was the most misdirected I’ve ever been by ‘to admit’ for ‘own’ at the end of the clue. All green for once though.
  8. “FOI 7ac ROULETTE it was rather too obvious” quoth Horryd

    “LOI 7ac ROULETTE it was jolly hard and took a long alphabet trawl” quoth Templar

    Good fun, time 09:17 for 1.6K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Tracy and superspeedy Jezza


    Edited at 2022-02-02 09:02 am (UTC)

    1. Did you notice that Roulette was Phil’s FOI.
      And Mr. Rotter’s! And Invariant!
      I wonder which was Jeremy’s?

      Anyone for Russian Roulette?
      Lau Feng Pi

      Edited at 2022-02-02 12:02 pm (UTC)

      1. I know, I feel an even bigger twit now! I just couldn’t see it … I could see how the clue worked and got LET quickly, but I was trying first to find synonyms for “course” meaning “hunt”, and then when that didn’t worked moved on to “course” as signifying the name of a race-course. Not my finest hour.
        1. I wouldn’t worry. My FOI was SHUT despite also seeing the LET part of the clue very quickly…. and I don’t feel a twit.
  9. I found this the most unsatisfying puzzle I can remember. I took no pleasure in finishing (very slowly) and have nothing more to say except to marvel that Jeremy’s brain is sufficiently on Tracy’s wavelength to solve this in 3.49. Probably just me?
    Roll on tomorrow. John M.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 09:22 am (UTC)

      1. As I said, I really have nothing more to say (without revisiting a frustrating experience). No offence!
        However, I was concerned that my marbles might have slipped so I had a go at today’s DT Cryptic to see if I had any brain cells left. I finished it in record time, taking around 12 mins (much less time than I spent with Tracy today).
        So, it was clearly a ‘wavelength’ thing. Jeremy (plus you and others) were ‘on’. I was clearly way off. It happens! John

        Edited at 2022-02-02 02:18 pm (UTC)

          1. Another poster mentioned the ‘Portcullis’ grid used today.
            I would not wish to overstate it but perhaps the chosen grid can have a greater effect than might be expected? John
  10. Quite tricky in places …
    … especially the top part, but the latter clues felt easier and they led to a South-to-North solve in 13 minutes. Major hold-up in NW, because having got the final O as a checker for 1D Concerto, I guessed the musical piece was Oratorio. I couldn’t parse it and knew it was wrong, but then could not get it out of my mind and concerto refused to come for ages.

    Delayed also a bit by 23A Edit. Presumably others will tell me Edith Nesbit is a very famous author indeed but another case where I was stumped until the GK was dredged somehow of the back memory.

    Overall a nice challenge. But I am in awe of Jeremy’s time!

    Many thanks for the blog

      1. There’s no secret about that. He set the Everyman for the Observer continuously for 21 years until 2015 and also sets or has set for the Spectator and Listener in addition to the Times 15×15.
          1. I read somewhere that there’s a Thunderbirds link— his name is Allan Scott! But perhaps it should be Brains 😅
  11. Seventeen minutes and DNF – Judy, Lucy, Ruby or Suzy? Which one has got the “ge” in it, innit? FOI pin, eleven on first pass, no LOI. Beaten by Tracy today. Thanks, Jeremy, and Tracy.
  12. Finished with a struggle. After a lone PLUM, the SE corner went in fast followed by ASTEROID and ELEGY. Judy didn’t parse so plumped for RUBY.
    Had to think hard about NEOPHYTE, MOTOWN, CONCERTO (LOI) , ROULETTE, STRIPE.
    Where does ‘ requires support’ come in (SPOUSE)….?
    Thanks, Jeremy.
  13. ….which I just managed to better by 3 seconds. I doubt anybody would be twice as fast as you today Jeremy (neutrinos excepted).

    A fairly routine puzzle, and hardly a thing of WONDER, though my LOI needed a SUPREME effort. I shall resist the TEMPTATION to over-egg the MOTOWN references….

    TIME 3:46

  14. Never got in tune with this one, wandering around the grid to amass enough checkers to make progress with my many blanks.
    Didn’t see ROULETTE for ages — clearly I play the wrong sort of games. Lots of blanks at the top so worked rather more bottom up, feeling like a complete NEOPHYTE, which took a while to resolve as well. Whilst the 15x15ers seem to have found this unchallenging, and well done Jeremy, I will be interested to see if other SCC regulars find the unwinding of some of these clues quite so obvious. I felt there was a bit more of the 15×15 vibe in there today.
    28 mins to crawl over the line, having thought more than once I wouldn’t.
  15. I wasn’t sub 5 but I did manage within 10. Enjoyed it so thanks setter and blogger. Only reservation is that I don’t think girl or boy should indicate a forename. The only Ruby’s I know are women.
    1. I know of a girl (approx. 11yo) named RUBY. There’s also RUBY Walsh, the well-known Irish jockey, although I think RUBY is a nickname in his case.
      1. I am old enough to remember Ruby Murray, immortalised as a curry in rhyming slang! 😎
      2. Yes my point is that your 11 year old might not appreciate being called a girl when she grows up. Thanks for reply though1
  16. Started top right and most clues followed the rules nicely for a 35 minute solve. Tried hard to squeeze ELERGY into 5 spaces before seeing the error of my ways. No problems with the sports associations and sadly been too long since any participation of anything remotely considered to qualify as a thrash. LOI MOTOWN which took about 10 minutes of deep thought.
    I can see that non-natives may rely on the pasing which I found quite friendly.
    Thanks all.
  17. spectrum for this puzzle, though a little slower.

    I thought I might dip under 4, but thinking about why STRIPE and SEVENS were correct pushed me over.


  18. Off the wavelength today with the NW corner proving troubling and left until last. Just PLUM(FOI) and SCAMPI appeared on the first pass. The rest of the puzzle went in without much trouble, but I had trouble coming up with SEVENS and STRIPE until ROULETTE was revealed. GRANGE followed and LOI, CONCERTO, was dragged kicking and screaming into place. 12:16. Thanks Tracy and Jack.
  19. 1 second under 14 minutes for me, slowed considerably at the end by the CONCERTO MOTOWN pair, but otherwise it seemed fairly quick. ROULETTE FOI, WOD THRASH (a common enough synonym for a party in the UK, but I can see how non-Brits might struggle with it). I don’t want to kick off another ‘what’s a game, what’s a sport’ discussion, but I think for the purposes of clueing in recreational crosswords it is reasonable to use them interchangeably. Well done Jeremy, and thanks both.
  20. Found this very difficult, especially top half: RUBY (hate these ‘name’ clues), SEVENS, SCAMPI, THRASH, MOTOWN. Guessed SPOUSE, which I couldn’t parse. A real struggle.
  21. Had a very good run with the across clues from foi Roulette down to Usher, but I missed out on a sub-20 because I realised 6d Lucy must be wrong. In the end an alphabet trawl produced Ru(g)by and I crossed the line in time for a window seat at the front in the SCC. CoD to the image produced by 15d — no doubt still checking for any open fruit pies… 😉 Invariant
  22. I read 2d as a triple definition as plums can be purple, red and yellow. Almost round … purple … fruit.
  23. Snuck in at 19 mins, but it was a strange case of working my way from the bottom up as at first passing nothing was yielding at the top.

    Felt like there was a lot of sport and games on offer, so the old faves of “rugby”/“sevens” etc. immediately came to mind.

    FOI — 21ac “Thrash”
    LOI — 7ac “Rouelette”
    COD — 13dn “Neophyte” — mainly because I remembered it from an earlier puzzle.

    Thanks as usual!

  24. … I had to finish with three clues not fully parsed. They were EDIT (I had NHO the author), PLUM (the word ‘plump’ never occurred to me) and SEVENS (not well clued, IMHO). I got as far as EVEN/EVENS for ‘Level pegging’ and SS for ‘on board’, but I can’t see anything in the clue to indicate that one element goes inside the other, or that the other element surrounds the former. In fact, I would suggest that ‘Level pegging on board …’ gives EVENSS or EVENSSS, depending on whether ‘Level pegging’ = EVEN or EVENS.

    My last two in were RUBY, as I needed an alphabet trawl to get past LUCY, and ARDENT, which also needed an alphabet trawl.

    Many thanks to Tracy and Jeremy (fantastic time).

    Edited at 2022-02-02 01:05 pm (UTC)

    1. I parsed it as EVEN (level) ‘pegging’ or inserting or fixed in SS (on board), which is what Jeremy said without being specific about the role of ‘pegging’.
        1. My apologies. If that was your understanding, how do you answer somerandomchaps’ questions – where is the inclusion indicator? Level = EVEN, and pegging provides the otherwise missing inclusion indicator, but each to their own.
          1. “On board” carries with it the inclusion indicator. In other words, if you are “on board” a ship then you are “in” the ship, and so “X on board” means “X inside SS”.

            So here: “Level pegging on board in game” breaks down as:

            “Level pegging” = EVEN

            “on board” = “inside SS”

            So the wordplay = EVEN inside SS = SEVENS

            Hope that helps!

            [on edit – I now see that Jack’s done all this above, but I’m going to leave it here anyway since Rotter clearly hadn’t seen Jack’s explanation]

            Edited at 2022-02-02 02:03 pm (UTC)

            1. Yes, this is exactly my understanding: “abc on board” has always meant S(abc)S to me.
  25. We were just outside out target time at 11 minutes. Can’t really explain why but we didn’t seem to be on Tracy’s wavelength today.


    Thanks “super speedy Jeremy” and Tracy.

  26. …by a few seconds. FOI CONCERTO, LOI RUBY (wanted it to be Rumy…). Held up for several minutes by NARROW and THRASH (latter guessed — not in my usage!). Just couldn’t parse SCAMPI but obvious now of course and my COD. Thanks Tracy and plusjeremy. Just can’t believe some of the times you experts post!
  27. The portcullis grid didn’t cause as much difficulty as I had expected.
    Motown flew in as did several others.
    Neophyte (NHO) took longest as did Spouse.
    I enjoyed this workout.
    Thanks all
  28. I was on for a 9-minute finish when I realised that I hadn’t sorted out 6d, and that took me another 3 minutes. Annoyingly, I did think of RU as that often signifies a game (or sport) here, but abandoned it as I couldn’t see what to do with the removed heart! Judy and Lucy were determined to join the THRASH but RUBY finally saw them off.
    I’m with OldBlighter – this didn’t do a lot for me and I can’t explain why, although I did like the two musical clues. No problem with E Nesbit (as she was usually known) – as mentioned above to Plett, The Railway Children is such a lovely film which many of us will have seen either as children or with them, even if we haven’t read the book. I remember loving Five Children and It as well. She was a fascinating woman, friends with William Morris and HG Wells among others, and one of the earliest members of the Fabian Society.
    FOI Shut
    LOI Ruby
    COD Motown
    Thanks Tracy and Jeremy
  29. because I was able to guess a bunch of correct answers THRASH, SPOUSE, PLUM, SEVENS, ELEGY; so not surprised Jeremy got this done quickly. If you’re on the right wavelength, I think they’d go in quickly – unfortunately I’m not.

    DNFed at 1hr50 – six left having already using the checker once or twice.

    FOI ASS (was beginning to feel desperate by the time I reached it)
    COD USHER – loved it

  30. Just to record 26 min today a GN5 (divide by 5 it’s easier to manage), but more important to offer moral support for Person L or Person Plates above. I know exactly how it feels to work really hard on every clue and still not work them out. I think I may be stuck on today’s level, which is fairly regular for me now, but there is no doubt that the answers start getting easier when little lightbulbs flash saying “We’ve had this one before!”
  31. With times ranging from 2 minutes to 110, the extremists seem to catch the eye! My 5 mins dead is therefore nothing to write home about. FOI & COD 7ac ROULETTE I note gambling is not for ‘suits’ apparently. My WOD 16ac MOTOWN.
    I have now discovered who Stan Cullis was!

  32. Just completed in 23 mins which is respectable for me but outside my target 20 mins. I didn’t seem to struggle with any of the contentious clues discussed in the comments today. RUBY seemed obvious by focusing on the game with a letter missing rather than the girl’s name. SEVENS went in straight away from the parsing which seemed totally fair. What held me up was a bit of pedantry on some of the other clues.

    In what context does ‘m’ mean millions (plural) rather than million (singular)? If I write £10m it means million. This is different to ‘s’ meaning seconds which was also in today’s puzzle.

    Anyway, all complete and parsed and some more learning to tuck away to hopefully one day be regularly out of the SCC.

    Thanks Tracy and Jeremy. Prof

    1. It’s a standard abbreviation in all the usual dictionaries e.g. m = million(s) – SOED.
      1. I don’t think it’s standard Jackkt. It’s not in Cambridge or Collins or Merriam-Webster. Anyway, the point is when would you ever use ‘m’ to mean millions (plural). I don’t think that actually exists.

        1. Thanks, Paulo, and apologies for citing Collins by implication – the usual source dictionaries for Times cryptic puzzles being Collins, Oxford dictionaries (also on-line as Lexico) and Chambers, although I’m never quite sure how official the last of these is – it’s certainly relied on some by setters on occasion.

          m = million(s) appears in all four levels of the Oxford dictionaries I have access to, including Lexico. It’s also in Chambers, both the free on-line cut-down version and the full printed dictionary.

          As for usage, I can’t think of an example, but for crossword purposes if it’s in at least one of the usual sources it’s allowable by the setter subject to any restrictions imposed by the editor. The Times policy is quite choosy about the single-letter abbreviations permitted but I doubt they would differentiate between million and millions if both are listed as above.

          On another matter, did you see my earlier posting asking if you were experiencing the same problems with Jeremy’s or Chris’s QC blogs that you reported re mine on Monday? I’d be interested to know, especially if it’s only mine that are affected?

          1. Thanks Jackkt, that makes sense.

            So sorry I missed your earlier question about blogs. No, I rarely have an issue with viewing blogs. I think it has only happened three times and those have been yours. However, I don’t look at the blog every day so perhaps missed a blog with which I would have had an issue! I cannot be certain but I also think it doesn’t happen every time with your blogs either. I also have not tried accessing via a PC and only ever access via my phone, so that might have something to do with it.

            I would be happy to monitor and let you know further down the road if that would be helpful. Prof

            1. Thanks, Paulo. If you post whenever you have a problem with any blogs that would be useful. As far as I’m aware nobody else has joined in when you raised the matter so that may be significant, but how many view on iPhones I wonder? I have one myself and haven’t had any problems.

  33. Found this tough going, just didn’t like the definitions and took 22 minutes only to find there’s a girl who’s _U_Y that isn’t LUCY. Careless!
  34. All bar two done in about sixteen and a half, but it took another four to get CONCERTO and LOI NEOPHYTE, which sounds more like a pioneering plant species than a novice to me (having just looked it up, I now see that I am almost right in that it can also mean an invasive non-native plant), so I ended up just in the SCC on 20:36. Still, after yesterday’s sleep punctuated debacle, I’ll take that. Overall very enjoyable with my COD to my LOI as the surface was good, the device well hidden (at least from me) and I learned something. Thanks Jeremy and Tracy.
  35. This setter has been my nemesis before so v pleased to finish in a little short of an hour. Staggered at the times some of you achieve.

    Gary A

  36. Seriously not on Tracy’s wavelength, bringing up the rear of the SCC. But I did know THRASH as a party (with dubious look from the wife!) Dave (and Sal)

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