Times Quick Cryptic 2096 by Mara

Lots to enjoy here – and lots of anagrams. I got into all sorts of problems in the SW where I confidently entered completely the wrong answer for 22ac. Over in the SE I hit a blank spot for how to spell 20dn. I did get over these issues in the end but also over the 10 minute target. A good challenge for me – but if you didn’t have these troubles you may have breezed through. Do let us know.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Entertain army (4)
HOST – double definition.
3 US state a right state! (8)
ARKANSAS – a (A), right (R), state (KANSAS).
9 Tongue I wash off with iodine after first of lesions (7)
SWAHILI – anagram (off) of I WASH with iodine (I) after (L)esions.
10 Category includes good cat (5)
TIGER – category (TIER) includes good (G).
11 Article set for messenger (5)
ANGEL – article (AN), set (GEL).
12 Loco, flyer (6)
CUCKOO – double definition. I’m not sure where the term cuckoo comes from in its ‘mad’ meaning but could be because of the repeating monotony of the bird call. If you consider that, therefore, cuckoos are bird brained/mad then the whole clue could be an &lit.
14 Vague teatime, dinner breaks (13)
17 Character from Greece turning ma bald! (6)

LAMBDA – anagram (turning) of MA BALD.

19 Minister voted in, Conservatives are reticent initially (5)
VICAR – (V)oted (I)n (C)onservatives (A)re (R)eticent.
22 A lecturer welcoming king in dress (5)
ADORN – a (A), lecturer (DON) holding king (R), I bunged in TUTOR thinking the definition was lecturer. I suppose dress = TUTU, king = R came to mind (such as it is)  but none of this or anything else worked!
23 Different aid sent as an alternative (7)
INSTEAD – anagram (different) of AID SENT.
24 Brown, off dancing (8)
TANGOING – brown (TAN), off (GOING). A smile at this one.
25 Just like that, English banished from the United States (4)
THUS – English (E) banished from the United States (TH)e(US).
1 Latin American power in China is extraordinary (8)
HISPANIC – power (P) in an anagram (extraordinary) of CHINA IS.
2 Made song about learner’s jargon (5)
SLANG – made song (SANG) about learner (L).
4 Iran, ancient or new, being given new life (13)
5 Lorry stuck in traffic, I travelled in the opposite direction (5)
ARTIC – in the clue but backwards (in the opposite direction) – traffi(C I TRA)velled.
6 A ring so battered for young lady (7)
SIGNORA – anagram (battered) of A RING SO.
7 Organise nature (4)
SORT – double definition.
8 Cereal plant discovered, seedy inside (6)
MILLET – discovered (MET) with seedy (ILL) inside.
13 That man marrying women in Scottish group (8)
HEBRIDES – that man (HE), marrying women (BRIDES). A bigger smile – COD.
15 Soldier with battle-axe catching head of opponent (7)
DRAGOON – battle-axe (DRAGON) holding (O)pponent.
16 Lay out, wearing undergarment (6)
INVEST – as in ‘some cash’. Wearing (IN), undergarment (VEST).
18 Drink served up after prohibition — one of those with strings attached (5)
BANJO – drink – orange juice – OJ upwards (JO) after prohibition (BAN).
20 European vet on the radio? (5)
CZECH – homophone (on the radio) of CHECK.
21 Separate bit (4)
PART – double definition/&lit.

32 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2096 by Mara”

  1. 11 minutes for me. Don’t remember any specific problems, just not fast today.
  2. I suffered brain-freeze with one answer outstanding having completed the rest of the grid in 10 minutes. I did several alphabet trawls at 12ac but after a further 5 minutes and coming up only with COCOON to fit the checkers I threw in the towel. I’ve no idea why I wasn’t able to think of CUCKOO in connection with either of the definitions.
    1. Dear jackkt,
      Much as wouldn’t wish it on anyone, it is slightly comforting to know that interminable LOI alphabet trawls can strike even the most experienced solvers. I suffered the same experience today, although my 5-minute hold up was at least successful in the end.

  3. 20 minutes from FOI: HOST to LOI: SORT. I had SORT early on but for some reason left it till last.
    The ILL ‘seedy’ connection also stalled me for a while.
    COD: THUS for its surface.
  4. Bunged in the two long anagrams without really checking the anagrist in either case. Can’t really remember anything about the puzzle, but it took me longer than it felt at the time. 6:38.
    1. Dvynys, did you know that you can edit your comments unless someone has replied using the Reply facility? There will be a pencil icon that appears when you hover or tap, depending on the type of device you are using.

      Edited at 2022-03-22 10:52 am (UTC)

  5. HOST FOI then steadily worked clockwise round the grid finishing with ARKANSAS

    Slightly hesitated over INVEST wondering whether it needed a ? at the end.

    Liked TANGOING

    Thanks Chris and Mara

  6. Rather chewy for me as I slithered into all the gotchas which took a while to unravel when combined with Fat Finger Syndrome (FFS!). COD Dragoon. Sank into my corner chair bang on 32.00 with no time to enjoy the usual badinage today. Thanks Mara and Chris
  7. Thanks Mara and Chris, though, unusually for me, I parsed everything without the blog. Also, the two long anagrams were slotted in withoutchecking all the letters. Such difficulty as I found was largely of my own making, such as continuing to try ADRON at 22a until, with all crossers, the penny dropped. FOI ARKANSAS, LOI HISPANIC, COD ADORN.
  8. Twenty minutes. Also thought of tutor at 22 ac but wasn’t sure so didn’t put it in. Part was obvious, so tutor was out. FOI host. Twelve on first pass. I also saw cocoon, which didn’t parse. Then I had a PDM for cuckoo. I dithered about which check/Czech was on the radio. I toyed with check, which left skis as the only option for “just like that,” which made no sense, so I put in the Czech and hey presto, out popped “thus.” All done, all parsed, but needed some sorting out, hence a slow time. Just up my street, I like to ruminate. Thanks, Chris, and Mara.
  9. Steady solve for me today and getting the long anagrams helped. FOI indeterminate, LOI millet.
  10. No major hold ups, although I didn’t enter MILLET until the end as I couldn’t initially work out how to parse it. Wasn’t expecting a foreign word at 6d so needed most of the checkers before the penny dropped.
    Finished in 9.13
    Thanks to Chris
  11. ….as I stupidly biffed ‘intermediate’, only to find it was a letter short and so having to back it out. Sheila vacuuming before her newest great-granddaughter arrives shortly did nothing to help my concentration. At least I didn’t replicate my fat-finger on ‘sagari’ yesterday.

    TIME 4:04

  12. HOST and SLANG went straight in, but HISPANIC held out to the end, when I finally spotted the anagrist. No other particular hold ups, and I submitted at 8:27. Thanks Mara and Chris.
  13. 19 minutes again today, just generally slow. Some good clues and answers here. I can never work out why the last syllable of Arkansas is pronounced so differently to the last part of Kansas — very strange! Thanks both.
  14. Slow to start and slow to finish, although I did a little better in the middle! Still led to a slowish time of 22 minutes with all parsed except BANJO (couldn’t see orange juice for OJ). Some good clues here with fine surfaces.

    LOI – 18dn BANJO
    COD – either 24ac TANGOING or 13dn HEBRIDES

    Thanks to Mara and Chris

  15. A pleasing 15 mins for me, although the SW corner was a struggle.

    Nearly put “Apron” for 22ac, but it wouldn’t parse and then, based on recent discussions that tights are not stockings and crochet hooks are not needles, I came to the conclusion that an apron isn’t a dress.

    Anyway, got there in the end although I DNK “dragon” is a battle axe.

    FOI — 2dn “Slang”
    LOI — 15dn “Dragoon”
    COD — 3ac “Arkansas”

    Thanks as usual!

  16. Not sure of my time today as I forgot to note my start and by the time I finished, I’d already forgotten it! Oh dear 🙄 Suffice to say, things went in fairly smoothly, although 3a took its time. An MER at the definition for SIGNORA as it means MRS or madam. Not sure that the ‘young’ part was necessary – although (covering my back here) obviously you will find young SIGNORE! I still enjoyed the surface of that one though.
    It’s strange how a few words can send you down a wormhole – I’ve never watched Sex in the City or its follow-up, but am aware that the only English actress in the series was not included in its most recent iteration, which was called – And Just Like That 😅 I wonder if Mara is a fan of Kim Cattrall!
    FOI Host
    LOI Arkansas
    COD Thus
    Thanks Mara and Chris

    Edited at 2022-03-22 02:46 pm (UTC)

  17. Jolly rapid (for me) today, despite not solving any of the first six clues I looked at. I tried the ‘all the acrosses then all the downs’ technique and my FOI was INDETERMINATE, which I saw as soon as had written down the letters. LAMBDA, VICAR and ADORN all followed and I was up and running, as they say.

    I think I parsed everything except CUCKOO as I went along and, with only 13d to get after 19 minutes, I was moments away from a rare sub-SCC. Unfortunately, HEBRIDES held me up for a further five minutes, so in the end I crossed the line in 24 minutes.

    Many thanks to Mara and Chris.

    P.S. As expected, the sea was *@!/$#£(; cold yesterday, even with a wetsuit.

    1. I once went into the sea at Dubai. It was grey and had waves just like the North Sea so I had all the usual hesitations. When it turned out to be hot I didn’t know what to make of it.

      Edited at 2022-03-22 03:41 pm (UTC)

      1. Likewise. I’ve experienced numerous hurricanes in SW Florida over the years and still find it disconcerting that despite terrific wind and rain that the air temperature is still very high. Hardly the same as a freezing cold, wet winter gale in Wales.
  18. Completed in our usual time — i.e. the length of time we have for lunch! But enjoyable today, thanks.
  19. 10 minutes or less waiting for an eye test. LOI TANGOING.
    Nothing held me up.
  20. We seemed to be a bit dim today, so rather pleased that others did not find it easy. Put in banjo without understanding the word play, found 12a cuckoo tricky, and also 13d hebrides, missing the meaning of group.
  21. Tried for 11-mins at 7am this morning and got SLANG, TANGOING, VICAR but realised my brain wasn’t able to cope with it early. Example: overlooked lambda on my recitation of the whole Greek alphabet. Likewise a trawl through the US states didn’t turn-up arkansas.

    Came back to it this afternoon and done in 45-mins. SW corner got me going with ADORN, LAMBDA, BANJO slotting in.

    After that slogged through until ARTIC, CUCKOO, DRAGOON and MILLET were left.


    Couldn’t parse – ARTIC, MILLET, INVEST, CZECH, BANJO

    Feel like I’m continuing to make progress. Wouldn’t have got HOST or SORT a few weeks back among others.

  22. Had to restart my watch twice on this one, as I saw words that I had either incorrectly put in (I had the unparsed CICADA for 12a because my hastily written O in SIGNORA looked like a D at first glance) or just failed to put in at all in the case of 25a. Thankfully both came quickly and so I’m just pretending I didn’t stop my watch. Final time was THUS about 17 minutes. A few too many anagrams I thought, but lots to enjoy too, particularly TANGOING and THUS. Thanks Mara and Chris.

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