Times Quick Cryptic 2117 by Mara

Lured into a false sense of security by Mara today. The NW corner went in smoothly and then I had to pick them off all over the place. Good fun though.

Definitions underlined.

1 Magnificent month (6)
AUGUST – double definition.
4 Too old, flier belonging to old man? (4,2)
PAST IT – PA’S (belongong to old man) TIT (flier).
8 Ring infiltrated by agent finally, a bit of a bloomer (5)
PETAL – PEAL (ring, of bells) containing (infiltrated by) the last letter of (finally) agenT.
9 Writer handled piece of advice (4,3)
FELT TIP – FELT (handled) and TIP (piece of advice).
10 Drink surely is potable, first of all (3)
SIP – first letter from (first of all) Surely Is Potable.
11 Spare toothless whatsit! (9)
THINGUMMY – THIN (spare) and GUMMY (toothless).
12 Slightly more willingly (6)
RATHER – double definition.
13 Old country in Abyssinia is reportedly making a comeback (6)
PERSIA – hidden in (in) a reversal of (making a comeback) abyssiniA IS REPortedly.
16 Controlling woman curtailed legal process in demonstration (9)
MATRIARCH – all-but-the-last letter of (curtailed) TRIA{L} (legal process), contained by (in) MARCH (demonstration).
18 Observe yours truly in audition? (3)
EYE – sounds like (in audition) “I” (yours truly).
19 First knots aligned (7)
LEADING – anagram of (knots) ALIGNED.
20 Letter a problem, the first to be dropped (5)
AITCH – A and hITCH (problem) after deleting the last letter (the first to be dropped).
22 Element concealed by faithful friend, devoted (6)
DOTING – TIN (element) contained by (concealed by) DOG (faithful friend).
23 Approval when shipped (6)
ASSENT – AS (when) and SENT (shipped).

1 A politician’s electronic device (3)
AMP – A and MP (politician).
2 Deteriorate — as would casserole ingredients? (2,2,3)
GO TO POT – definition and cryptic hint.
3 Close result, Croatian vote? (5,8)
SPLIT DECISION – definition and cryptic hint, Split being a city of Croatia.
5 Aggravated, hate large dogs fighting (2,11)
AT LOGGERHEADS – anagram of (aggrevated) HATE LARGE DOGS.
6 Carry mark: sign on pole? (5)
TOTEM – TOTE (carry) and M (mark).
7 Extract covering spicy nuts in baked alcoholic confection (5,4)
TIPSY CAKE – TAKE (extract) containing (covering) an anagram of (nuts) SPICY.
9 Festival nothing special (4)
FAIR – double definition.
10 Ordered to take off description of eggs? (9)
SCRAMBLED – double definition.
14 Symbolic object gathered respect (7)
SCEPTRE – anagram of (gathered) RESPECT.
15 Head on damp cloth for pain in the neck (4)
DRAG – first letter (head) of Damp, then RAG (cloth).
17 Possible breakfast tribute (5)
TOAST – double definition.
21 Part coolish, otherwise boiling (3)
HOT – hidden in (part) coolisH OTherwise.

23 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2117 by Mara”

  1. Nice to see AiTCH again and enjoyed THINGUMMY.Also learned a new snack-TIPSY CAKE.
    Other clues not too hard but good fun.
  2. I didn’t biff ALEPH, but I got myself stuck on it, trying to figure out how it would work. Finally thought of AITCH, but I put in SPECTRE, wondering about the definition but never thinking of SCEPTRE. Very irritating.
  3. 11 minutes with time lost on the second word at 3dn. I also had a wrong answer at 14dn where SPECTRE was the first anagram that came to mind and I managed to convince myself all too easily that it might be defined as something symbolic.
  4. DNF Stopped at 16 minutes with one missing.
    FOI: AUGUST then set off on a brisk pace thinking I was on for a fast time. Putting in TIPSY CAKE from wordplay as my LOI for 13 minutes then realised I hadn’t finished. After another 3 minutes decided to call it a day for my first DNF for a long time. I had for some reason ended 19ac with a C or in haste a bad G so 15dn looked like _R_C. By the time I had spotted my error, I had given up.
  5. Trickiesh

    AITCH in w/o thinking of anything else and SCEPTRE was my LOI

    Clever anagram for AT LOGGERHEADS

    Thanks Mara and William

  6. Oh, it’s SCEPTRE! Never got pasts SPECTRE, the one at the feast seemed enough like a symbol for me to move on but that doesn’t explain the object. Dodgy letters weren’t checkers so I was never alerted to my error and so that’s two pink squares for me. Fast start but ended up with only four on the first pass of the acrosses. NHO TIPSY CAKE, off wavelength for SCRAMBLED and MATRIARCH but enjoyed their arrival and very slow on RATHER. Liked THINGUMMY and seeing AT LOGGERHEADS leap from the anagrist.
  7. Technical DNF as had DRUG for DRAG … would have been an 8 minuter if I’d thought a bit more carefully but I couldn’t kick myself too hard as I thought you might take a drug for a pain in the neck…. Suppose rug for cloth was a bit of a stretch in hindsight.

    Great anagram for LOGGERHEADS, enjoyed AITCH and SCRAMBLED and learned the existence of such a thing as a TIPSY CAKE.

    Thanks Mara and William

  8. Twenty minutes with two to go. Had aye instead of eye and wondered if that was the problem – tried eye and found sceptre. Five more minutes passed. FOI August, eleven on first pass. LOI sceptre. Five unparsed – matriarch, eye, leading, tipsy cake and sceptre, did not see it was an anagram of respect, even after I solved it, and feel soft admitting it, but you have to, don’t you? Lots of good clues. Thanks, William, especially for all the parsing, and Mara for a cracking puzzle.
  9. I got up in the middle of the night to do this as I couldn’t sleep, and duly made a pig’s ear of it. Got totally stuck by biffing SPLIT ELECTION and then was unable to get RATHER. However I kept gnawing away at it and eventually saw my error. 14:27. Thanks Mara and William.
    1. Hopefully after putting your mind to work on the puzzle for some minutes you were able to go back to sleep and wake up both rested and a successful completed.
      1. Thanks, yes I completed the puzzle before going back to bed and managed to sleep ’til around 9am. My brain didn’t recover for the 15×15 though, took me twice as long as usual!
  10. LOI was the reverse hidden PERSIA. Several candidates for COD. MATRIARCH pipped THINGUMMY and TIPSY CAKE.


  11. 14:11, struggled a bit at the end with RATHER and LOI SCRAMBLED. Did not considered the Bigglesque meaning from RAF banter.

    COD GO TO POT, among many good ones today.

  12. I was very slow today at 22 minutes, and fell for the SPECTRE trap, so not a good start to the day. It took an age to see RATHER and MATRIARCH also tangled me up. Thanks both.
  13. Really struggled today. Didn’t spot the hidden in PERSIA, and hadn’t seen ‘gathered’ as anagram indicator before so didn’t get SCEPTRE… NHO TIPSY CAKE but got from the wordplay. Thanks William and Mara. Hopefully I’ll do better tomorrow!
  14. Like William, the NW corner went in fairly quickly but then I got bogged down. Misread 5dn, so was looking for a 13 letter word rather than a 2,11 which didn’t help. Thankfully, the “hot” I picked today for 21dn was correct!

    FOI — 1dn “Amp”
    LOI — 9dn “Fair”
    COD — 11ac “Thingummy” — I guessed it was this, but just couldn’t get the spelling right at first.

    Thanks as usual!

  15. The first half flew in, about 4 minutes for the top then came unstuck in the SW with DOTING, SCRAMBLED and especially LEADING causing problems. Took me forever to realise knots meant an anagram. But it was LOI FAIR that held me up for 5 minutes at the end.

    Edited at 2022-04-20 05:41 pm (UTC)

  16. Needed alpha trawl for Rather. In vain though as I had Spectre. Too much tipsy cake.

    COD scrambled.

  17. Tricky overall and I was another who fell into the SPECTRE trap. Glad I’m in good company. Would have been 25:50 but for that. NHO TIPSY CAKE and wouldn’t have spelt THINGUMMY like that (I note that spellcheck doesn’t like it either). Didn’t parse MATRIARCH or LEADING, but it’s nice to have a bit of a challenge. Thanks Mara and William.
  18. Was excited to get the NW corner done in 3-mins – 7 answers.

    Could today be the day? No

    Only HOT dropped in over the next 20+ mins so I took a break.

    Returned, stared for another 5+ mins before realising I’d miscounted the letters for the anagrist of AT-LOGGERHEADS and that got me moving again.

    All in all, a bunch I couldn’t parse.

    TIPSY-CAKE reinforcing my least-favoured trivia area of food&drink.

    Ended up DNFING because thought PERSIA was a homophone with “reportedly”; didn’t realise “in AUDITION” is a homophone for EYE and didn’t realise “Gathering” was anagrind for respect/SCEPTRE rather than put an R into a synonym for object.


    Beginning to lose the will on these. Just too challenging for a bear of little brain like myself.

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