Times Quick Cryptic 2077 by Orpheus

A bottom to top solve, in which 1ac gave me the most trouble.

Definitions underlined.

1 Eccentric chap — Welsh (8)
CAMBRIAN – CAM (eccentric) and BRIAN (chap). This was my LOI having had trouble thinking of the association with the mechanical part.
6 Crazy nocturnal flyers (4)
BATS – double definition.
8 Fellow European, one from Odense, perhaps (4)
DANE – DAN (fellow) and E (European).
9 Stack of fruit in Irish county? (8)
LIMERICK – a RICK (stack) of LIMEs (fruit).
10 Knowledgeable English press chief pocketing old gold coin (8)
EDUCATED – E (English) and ED (press chief) containing (pocketing) DUCAT (old gold coin).
12 Principal supplier of gas or water (4)
MAIN – double definition.
13 Cart making noise at back of pub (6)
BARROW – ROW (noise) following (at back of) BAR (pub).
16 Tailor’s small boat (6)
CUTTER – double definition.
17 Comedian digesting beginning of royal court document (4)
WRIT – WIT (comedian) containing (digesting) the first letter (beginning) of Royal.
18 Declaration of doorman, one bringing in goods (8)
IMPORTER – “I’M PORTER” (declaration of doorman).
21 Avoid fish, offering young bird (8)
DUCKLING – DUCK (avoid) and LING (fish).
22 Simple, being tolerant (4)
EASY – double definition.
23 Poem initially recalling European river (4)
ODER – ODE (poem), and the first letter of (initially) Recalling.
24 Policeman’s information American woman takes in rapidly at first (8)
GENDARME – GEN (information), then DAME (American woman) containing (takes in) the first letter of (at first) Rapidly.

2 A protégé’s recognition of merit (5)
AWARD – A and WARD (protégé).
3 Extra purchase, by the sound of it (3)
BYE – sounds like (by the sound of it) “buy” (purchase).
4 Small detached territory one’s rented out (5)
ISLET – I’S (one’s) and LET (rented out).
5 Old CID man surprisingly inclined to wander (7)
NOMADIC – anagram of (surprisingly) O (old) and CID MAN.
6 Term a bore devised for a measurer of pressure (9)
BAROMETER – anagram of (devised) TERM A BORE.
7 Tangible diplomacy over French island (7)
TACTILE – TACT (diplomacy) before (over) ÎLE (island in French).
11 Race round track regularly, finding concierge (9)
CARETAKER – CAREER (race) containing (round) every other letter from (regularly) TrAcK.
14 A singular reason for being beached (7)
AGROUND – A and GROUND (singular ‘grounds’, as in ‘grounds for’, reason for).
15 Hanging about for work in restaurant (7)
WAITING – double definition.
19 Heathen god of flocks and herds around Georgia (5)
PAGAN – PAN (Greek god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, god of flocks and herds) containing (around) GA (Georgia).
20 Old record thus maintained principally in horse racing venue (5)
EPSOM – EP (old record), SO (thus), and the first letter from (principally) Maintained.
22 Beginning of Egyptian sun god’s time (3)
ERA – first letter (beginning) of Egyptian, then RA (sun god).

80 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2077 by Orpheus”

  1. CAMBRIAN was my LOI, too, for the same reason as William. I don’t think I knew that LIMERICK was a county, but with a couple of checkers it was clear. William, you forgot Georgia in PAGAN. 5:30.
  2. I was delayed at 1a by my assumption that 4d would start with S, but then postulating CAM for eccentric soon revealed the very naughty boy. I guessed Odense was in Denmark, and having looked it up afterwards now know that it’s the 3rd largest city there! The rest of the puzzle went in without further delay with EPSOM at the end of the home straight. 7:20. Thanks Orpheus and William.
  3. 8 minutes. I wasn’t sure about Odense being in Denmark but I resisted the temptation to do an alphabet trawl on ?A?E looking for an alternative to DANE.
    1. Odense is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. I was there once for a conference so didn’t see much, but what I saw was quite pleasant.
    2. Odense featured in some of the POW escape stories I read as a boy as a target destination to stow away on a ship, but I still had no idea where it was!
  4. About 20 minutes to solve this offering from Orpheus with no stumbling blocks.
    FOI: BYE followed by NOMADIC. Last in EASY/EPSOM. COD: TACTILE.
    BIFD CARETAKER just seeing an anagram of Race and not looking further until parsing post-solve.
  5. Had BUY not BYE and not knowing where Odense was I biffed GARY where DANE should have been thinking ‘sounds like a place in Germany, that’s In Europe, take MAN away, leaves GARY, hey presto, that’s a fellow” which of course fails on every single level. Ho hum. Self kicking in progress.
  6. Started with BATS and BAROMETER and went round the grid clockwise from there. CAMBRIAN was my LOI and I’m still unclear as to the cam/eccentric link as I can’t see any references in Collins.
    Other than that no real problems, finishing in 8.32.
    Thanks to William
    1. A cam is, IIRC, a lobe on a shaft. Hence camshaft, which is the thing in an engine that makes the valves open and close.
      1. The camshaft opens the valves but it’s the springs that close them. Unless, of course, you’re got a Ducati with desmodromic valve gear in which case one cam opens the valve and another one closes it.
        Sorry but drank a whole mug of pedantry this morning !
    2. I too found the blog less than enlightening on “eccentric” for “cam” and so turned to Lexico, which has this as the second entry for “eccentric” as a noun: “A disc or wheel mounted eccentrically on a revolving shaft in order to transform rotation into backward-and-forward motion, e.g. a cam in an internal combustion engine.”

      So I think it’s really a definition by example and strictly should have had something like “say” included, but that would have made the clue less elegant

      Edited at 2022-02-23 08:47 am (UTC)

        1. Yes, I have added it to my list of things that I need to remember but usually don’t!
          1. When you reach my age you’ll find that said list includes things like “buy milk”. The level of forgetfulness increases on an annual basis. Off to drink my unsweetened black tea…..
      1. I’m sticking my neck out here and am ready to be corrected by those in the know, but I don’t think the DBE conventions are intended apply to elements of wordplay, only to literal definitions (Welsh/Cambrian) in this clue. If they did it would be very restricting for setters and we might have question marks at the end of nearly every clue.

        There is a school of thought that doesn’t believe they should apply in any situation. I don’t agree with that but I’m more relaxed about it since I started solving the Guardian puzzle regularly.

          1. Definition by example

            It was (and still is, according to some) a convention that if a setter uses e.g. “bay” in a clue to define “horse” in an answer this requires some sort of indictor that the definition is by example. The most common indicators would be: perhaps, say, for example / e.g., or simply a question mark at the end of the clue.

    3. Thanks for bringing the cam/eccentric conundrum up as I was at a loss too. I won’t be caught out next time.
  7. I think this must have been a PB — but I don’t time myself. Probably around 10 mins, I’m usually nearer half an hour. I started with BYE and quickly pencilled on CAMBRIAM., which soon proved correct as the downs went in. After that, it was pretty much top to bottom. Loved BATS.

    Thanks, Orpheus, for a very enjoyable QC. And William for the blog.

    Edited at 2022-02-23 08:39 am (UTC)

  8. Greetings from Belgium. Like others 1a lasted longest. Went a bit nuts putting Ian for Welsh so needed a five letter man to give something meaning eccentric — got there in the end. Ended up all green in 14 after only 3 on the first pass of acrosses.
  9. DNF at DANE as although I’ve been to Denmark many times I’ve never heard of Odense. Alphabet trawl came up with several near misses, but guessed that maybe Odense was a type of horses mane (hence “man” for fellow).

    At 13a I had B=“back of pub” then that left arrow=noise, which I couldn’t quite see…


  10. Finished NE first then finally ended at CAMBRIAN after alphabet search.
    Liked IMPORTER, GENDARME, WRIT among others.
    No broadband, and now no heating, but others far worse off, so won’t moan (much).
    Thanks all, esp William
  11. Got completely stuck on 1ac — and since that’s where I always start but today it was also my LOI, that means I got stuck on it twice. Even when I came back with the checkers and so could see it was likely to be “Brian” and thus CAMBRIAN, “eccentric” for “cam” made no sense to me and I agonised over whether “madbrian” could be a word. I think that clue accounted for half my time today!

    FOI BATS, LOI CAMBRIAN, COD IMPORTER, time 10:57 for 2K and a Bad Day.

    Many thanks William and Orpheus.


    Edited at 2022-02-23 09:00 am (UTC)

  12. A pleasant solve …
    … and all done in 11 minutes, but interested to see Dame clued as American woman. Any number of honoured Englishwomen, from Dame Helen Mirren downwards, might debate that one.

    Otherwise a minor hold-up before I remembered the other meaning of Cam (when it isn’t being a river), but no real problems. A good start to the day.

    Many thanks to William for the blog

  13. 13 minutes which could have been 11 if only I had seen AWARD and DANE more quickly. No problems with CAMBRIAN which I saw as soon as BYE went in. Incidentally, I wondered if BYE was a triple def at first, with buy, bye and by all being possible homophones in the clueing. I think I liked AGROUND best. Thanks William and Orpheus.
  14. Could I ask regular fast solvers such as Kevin Gregg and, particularly, glheard (today 3.31) for any tips on how to complete these crosswords in under 4 minutes? I have occasionally masqueraded as a “neutrino” just to see how fast I could complete the grid without having to think about the clues at all and I still struggle to achieve the clearly genuine times I see regularly posted by some solvers. I’m not really trying to emulate these super fast solvers and am more than pleased to achieve (occasionally) times below ten minutes but I’m curious as to the techniques used to complete the grids online at such speeds.
    1. I’m afraid I have nothing to tell you, as I have no idea how I solve. I’ve been doing these for about 15 years, started off hopeless, slowly got better. No strategies, no techniques that I know of, at least.
      1. I’ve been doing cryptics three times longer than Kevin. You simply speed up with experience, but start to slow down with age. I can solve faster on paper, but I’ve taken to a tablet for convenience.
        1. Phil, I have been solving the same time as you and echo your sentiments entirely.

          By the way, you need to buy milk … just being helpful (vide supra).

          1. Thanks for all your responses. I too can solve faster on paper than online, and possibly too my solving times are slowing down with age – I started doing The Times Crossword as a sixth former in 1964, encouraged by a far-sighted modern languages teacher. Perhaps then it’s an age thing but I’m still amazed at how quickly some of you can fill in the grid (all green) online. Perhaps I need the help of a teenage amanuensis. I’d still be interested in viewing Verlaine’s video should it become available again.
            1. My advice FWIW would be to forget about times and just enjoy solving. I have little competitive spirit so it’s easy for me to say that, and I appreciate that others have different motivations.
              1. I entirely agree with those sentiments and indeed have in the past expressed my view on these pages on speed solving without parsing the clues – so-called “biffing” – (I was shot down I seem to remember). Nevertheless that doesn’t stop me being impressed at just how quickly it can be done.
              2. Good advice. For many of us, the enjoyment is in the solving and the completion time is much less umportant.
  15. As usual, I motored quickly at the start (apart from my LOI CAMBRIAN) but soon slowed down. I took too long over fairly simple clues that were easy with hindsight — e.g. DUCKLING (although LING went in immediately), GENDARME (I had the wrong American woman to follow GEN) etc. No problem with CAM — my first car had a side-valve engine but I had to adjust the overhead cams on my second car at frequent intervals.
    16 mins in the end so slightly over target yet again. Some very good clues, although BYE took me too long and I was not engirely happy with EASY at first — seemed just too easy. Thanks to Orpheus and William. John M.
  16. 10 minutes today. My last two were CAMBRIAN and ISLET. FOI ERA after taking a while to get started.
    Lots of unchecked first letters made this tricky in places.
    But good clues. COD to IMPORTER.
  17. I can’t remember being this troubled by a puzzle for a very long time, still being 6 away after the 20 minute mark. Felt like I wasn’t seeing anything at all after a reasonable start, but there’s always tomorrow. Thanks to William for the enlightenment.
  18. Twelve and a half minutes. FOI bats. Only three acrosses at first. Didn’t do a first pass as such, solved all over the grid as letters went in to assist. LO’sI were aground, and duckling, for which I needed aground. Biffed Cambrian, Limerick. Thought easy was too easy, as stated previously. COD barrow, but liked aground also. Thanks, William, and Orpheus.
  19. A tip of the hat to anyone who had Cambrian as foi — I needed all its offspring and a long pause over eccentric/cam. Apart from that, a reasonably steady solve put me in with a shout of sub-20 with just two go. Unfortunately they were Writ and Aground and initially i could only think of Wag for comedian and As* for a singular. Cue much sucking of teeth until the pdms with Writ and loi Aground, which also wins my CoD vote. Invariant

    Edited at 2022-02-23 10:36 am (UTC)

  20. …snuck into sub 4 territory, but CAMBRIAN nudged me just over, with CAM going in unparsed for me.

    Otherwise no hold ups.


  21. First solve for a while (if I said there’s been too much good chess on You Tube would you believe me? Thought not).

    Essayed on my computer rather than tapping on the phone which does seem to be a bit easier.

    No real hold ups. AGROUND loi

    Thanks all

  22. DNF
    Gave up after 20 minutes- much too hard for me.
    Not sure what 1 Across was all about.

    CAM = Eccentric ; chap= BRIAN ?

    With clues like this I might as well give up these QCs.

    1. Don’t give up..we all struggle sometimes ! It is clear from others that 1 across is somewhat of a poor clue. A cam is probably only known in engineering, and Brian is only one of dozens of chaps names..so there we go! David W
  23. A pleasing 14 mins for me for what turned out to be fairly tricky in places. I DNK “cam” = eccentric — in fact, I didn’t know that actual meaning of “eccentric” either. Similarly, “rick” = stack is something else that appears to have passed me by.

    For a while nearly had “Mane” for 8ac, not knowing where Odense was — but then realised it probably had to be someone from a European nation and “Dane” was the only that seemed to fit.

    FOI — 3dn “Bye”
    LOI — 1ac “Cambrian”
    COD — 7dn “Tactile” — nice surface.

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2022-02-23 11:20 am (UTC)

    1. Historically ‘hayrick’ and ‘haystack’ used to be in common parlance and seen on every farm, but maybe not now as farming methods have changed.
    1. Ah, I didn’t realise there might be a problem. I only ever looked once (too depressing!) when the link was presented in the blog on the day. Somebody else may be able to help you, but otherwise I would suggest you follow V’s Friday blogs and no doubt he will advise when there’s a new one available.
  24. ….instantly abandoned. However, when I came to the second pass I had all the crossers, so CAMBRIAN fell straight into place. Apart from EASY, which I thought was rather weak, I found this a decent offering from Orpheus.

    TIME 3:43

  25. Rather a struggle, but successful in the end. Could not parse CAMBRIAN – did not see how CAM = eccentric.
  26. … but not as agonisingly as yesterday. 31 minutes in total, which is excellent for me when Orpheus is involved. In fact, I have only once dipped under 30 minutes when he has been the setter.

    BATS, BAROMETER and TACTILE were my first three in, and I proceeded from there down the RHS of the grid fairly comfortably.IMPORTER and LIMERICK held out a little, but I enjoyed the latter when the penny dropped.

    My main trouble today was with the LHS of the grid. ODER, DUCKLING and WRIT all required careful thought and some trial and error, but my last two in were back in the NW corner – DANE and CAMBRIAN. Indeed, I wondered if MADBRIAN was something to do with Welsh for some minutes. Luckily though, even I didn’t think it was a real word and an alphabet trawl eventually yielded the correct solution.

    Mrs Random is visiting her parents again and will have to tackle today’s and yesterday’s puzzles sometime tomorrow. Perhaps she will knock them both off, along with tomorrow’s of course, in less time than I take tomorrow.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and William.

  27. After my lightening charge yesterday (and thanks to all those kind commenters’ flames), I have retired to my usual corner chair in the club after a 26 minute circuit. All the aforementioned gotchas got me but in the end I felt that it was a worthy challenge. COD EPSOM for its memories of a time past.
    Thanks Orpheus and William
  28. We seemed to plod through the puzzle today — perhaps because we’re on holiday. Any how we finished in 17 .53 with CAMBRIAN taking ages to solve (will have to try and remember CAM for future reference).


    Thanks William and Orpheus.

  29. Finished in abt 28m. No problem with Odense, once we had changed buy for bye. Two holidays in Denmark many years ago to go to Legoland with the kids. Slow to get 14d aground, the word singular in the clue seems superfluous. Enjoyable puzzle.
  30. I was surprised by a couple of clues. I would have expected that there would be something indicating it was not a British policeman in a QC, although it was fairly obvious with some checkers, and In 5d I was expecting the “O” for old to be the first letter of the answer rather than part of the anagrist. I don’t recall seeing this before (but with my memory…), to me it seems close to including something which isn’t in the clue in the anagrist. “CID man surprisingly hides old wanderer” seems to be a better construction to me.

    Edited at 2022-02-23 04:23 pm (UTC)

  31. Too many obscure defs in there for me with Odense, rick=stack, cam=eccentric, ile=island in french, ducat, Oder. Even CAMBRIAN itself, I thought was a geological period rather than an area. BIFD through some but came up stuck in the NW.

    Didn’t have the mental push today after an unusually busy morning.


    Edited at 2022-02-23 04:37 pm (UTC)

  32. Was doing well until the cambrian/islet crosser.
    Completed on the laptop for the first time in ages, which is much nicer than the phone.
    COD bats/limerick.
  33. Packed up after 12 solves in 26 clues today. No great effort from me but perhaps a gentle hint on overall QC difficulty. Others may have views.
  34. Enjoyed today’s QC
    Sympathy with those who just do it without really knowing how. I am tne same with anagrams. I get the answer but cannot work out how i do it so i can’t teach any one else.
  35. Just when I thought I was about to complete the second QC in two days, Cambrian completely floored me! Got the brian bit but the cam eluded me. Maybe better tomorrow?
  36. Did this online, so slower than normal. CAMBRIAN last in.
    Not much else to add.
    Thanks for the blog.
  37. All was going well. The RHS flew in but gradually slowed until I was stuck for a full 5 minutes on last 2 ISLET and CAMBRIAN.
  38. I did complete it but with a lot of biffing. But in many multiples of 4 minutes.

    Cam/eccentric is a bit much for me.

  39. A similar pattern to yesterday with most of it going in quickly, but being slowed down at the end by a four letter word that required an alphabet trawl. Fortunately, this time I wasn’t scuppered by having spelt one of the crossers of the 4-letter word wrong, and as D is near the start of the alphabet, it didn’t take too long to come up with DANE. I still wasn’t sure of it, mind, as I was fairly certain Odense was on the Black Sea, and I now see I wasn’t being entirely (O)dense as I was thinking of Odessa. Anyway, 21:11 in the end. FOI BATS, LOI DANE, COD LIMERICK. Thanks Orpheus and William.
  40. Have had quite a busy day so a very late posting from me. I did this in 9 minutes this morning, and found it pleasant enough. Having seen CAM for eccentric quite often in the biggie, it didn’t cause any problems, and we’ve crossed the CAMBRIAN hills a few times, so that wasn’t too much of a stretch either! Talking about the biggie though 😱 Four inked in and two pencilled after about half an hour — it was like being back in the early days of solving! I abandoned it and haven’t even bothered looking at it again.
    FOI Bats
    LOI Writ
    COD CAMBRIAN (possibly a bit controversially 😅)
    Thanks Orpheus and William
  41. For us members of the SCC, Cambrian was v tough. I guessed it but then, like others, associated it more with geological periods. Didn’t know cam for eccentric, and at one point had ‘madbrian’. Then I thought it might begin with ‘dai’. After 30 mins put in Cambrian, and was surprised to find it was right.

    Cambrian apart I was on a flyer. As it is, I was somewhere around the hour mark.

    I’ll know it next time!

    Gary A

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