Times Quick Cryptic 2119 by Felix

Today we are treated to a Quick Cryptic from Felix, with plenty of his characteristically entertaining definitions, wordplay and surfaces. As always with this setter, I was looking out for a theme, but what did I find? See below. At the harder end of the QC spectrum, this took me a couple of minutes over my average of 5 1/2 minutes, but I thought it was a lot of fun. Thank-you Felix. How did you all get on?

[See what I think I saw]

I suspect there may be a theme related to the answer to 4D, an Irish series, of course, but never having watched it I don’t know if we’ve got any references elsewhere. One for the commenters to help me out with, this time! Of course, as jackkt points out, there may not be a theme at all. Sawbill got it… It’s Dombey and Sons (No I’ve not read it). Thank-you Sawbill. See his comment below.

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find his latest crossword, and a date for the diary here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 49 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Rare cream deli took back (9)
RECLAIMED – (cream deli)* [rare].
6 Eggs round five, with starter of anchovy (3)
OVAO (round letter; round) V (five in Roman numerals) [starter of] Anchovy.
8 Troubles after finally installing breathing equipment (5)
GILLS – [finally] installinG, ILLS (troubles).
9 Small sea mollusc in sink (7)
SCUTTLES (small) CUTTLE (sea mollusc). It was only recently that I discovered (through another crossword) that a cuttle is a mollusc.
10 Refurbished marina with empty room closely joined (3,2,3)
ARM IN ARM – [Refurbished] (marina)*, [empty] RooM, i.e. without its middle letters.
11 Some singular notion that runs through Florence (4)
ARNO – Hidden in, [some] singulAR NOtion. The river.
13 Woman left behind by inconsiderate driver? (4,5)
GOLF WIDOW – Cryptic definition. Ho ho!
16 Whistle excessively strident, ultimately (4)
TOOTTOO (excessively) and last letter of, [ultimately], stridenT.
17 Different menus are what’s needed for computer access? (8)
USERNAME – [Different] (menus are)*. Nice definition.
20 Greek character about to leave for US city (7)
CHICAGOCHI (Greek alphabet character) CA (circa; about) GO (leave).
21 Enthusiastic about grasping right opening (5)
INTROINTO (enthusiastic about) [grasping] R (right). You need to separate “right opening” for this.
22 Close relative, one boarding steamship (3)
SISI (one) inside, [boarding] SS (steamship).
23 Tea might be healthier so Sun argued uselessly (9)
UNSUGARED – (sun argued)* [uselessly]. Another characteristically quirky definition from our setter here.

1 Student charity event to seize collection (6)
RAGBAGRAG (student charity event) BAG (seize).
2 Boy in relaxed state about university (5)
CALUMCALM (relaxed state) [about] U (university).
3 Faslane’s rapidly storing up weapons supplies (8)
ARSENALS – Reverse hidden in, [storing up], FasLANE’S RApidly. Nice surface, Faslane being the base of the UK’s Trident submarines (see here).
4 Show Rory boss’s new BMW, wrecked! (3,6,4)
MRS BROWNS BOYS – (Rory boss’s n BMW)* (with n for new) [wrecked]. Brilliant anagram. I’m afraid to say I’ve never watched the show, but I’ve heard it’s very funny.
5 Doctor has tips on using medicine (4)
DRUGDR (doctor) and outside letters of [tips on] UsinG.
6 Over time, leave behind blooming good series! (7)
OUTGROWOUT (blooming) G (good) ROW (series). Beautifully deceptive definition again and great surface. A comment on 4D, perhaps?
7 Most primates together in LA spread dogma regularly (6)
APEDOM – Alternate letters, [regularly] of LA sPrEsD dOgMa. Another whimsical definition.
12 Decking gran, I nod wickedly (8)
ADORNING -(gran I nod)* [wickedly]. Clue surface of the day, but not something we should condone, I think.
13 With sentimental words, perhaps, passes on nice things (7)
GOODIESGOO (sentimental words) DIES (passes on).
14 Supplies punishment once (6)
STOCKS – Double definition.
15 Spy holding you up to get past (6)
BEYONDBOND (spy) outside [holding] YE (you) [up] -> EY. Another impeccable surface.
18 Turn from a lieutenant meeting queen (5)
ALTERA LT (lieutenant) ER (queen). Hmm. I’m not quite convinced by the definition, which seems a bit of a stretch for a QC.
19 UK sailor turning up in foreign capital (4)
BAKU – UK AB (sailor) [turning up] -> BAKU. Capital of Azerbaijan.

49 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2119 by Felix”

  1. I live in the USA so I’d never heard of the show at 4D, but with most of the checkers and the anagrist there wasn’t much else it could be. I also was not sure about BAKU although the wordplay was so clear I was pretty confident. I think those were the only holdups.
  2. Gave up after 40 minutes unable to see RAGBAG. Thought rugrat was maybe a (very young)student but that’s as close as I came. Enjoyed many clues, especially GOLF WIDOW, APEDOM and UNSUGARED -thanks for explaining so much for me!
  3. I needed all the help I could get with this one. I finished, by biffing a lot of it or putting in the wordplay and hoping for the best

    Things I didn’t know: rag for a charity event, Arno the river, golf widow, ss for steamship, AB for sailor, the word apedom, that cuttlefish can also be called cuttles

    I didn’t see the hidden for Arsenals nor the anagram for username

    It took me forever to work out which words I needed to anagram for Mrs Browns Boys (turns out I needed just the n for new)

    I was also surprised by the word Bond for spy, though I guess if one day I want to graduate to the regular puzzle I should get used to actual names etc

    FOI: ova
    LOI: scuttle, but it really was OUTGROW that was simply impossible for me. I was looking for all sorts of words for ‘time’ and had no idea what to do with the word ‘blooming’
    COD: I did like golf widow once I biffed it

    1. Definitely remember SS and AB; they’ll show up time and again. Also, for ‘sailor’, OS (ordinary seaman), TAR.
      1. Oh thank you! I didn’t know OS or TAR either

        ER for queen came up again, I think we saw that recently and it was new to me, so slowly these things are getting much easier. Honestly impossible without this blog

    2. RAG week is a university tradition where they raise money … Receive And Give
  4. This was a toughie and I took 16 minutes to fill the grid. This landed me in my Red zone (15+ minutes) for the fourth consecutive Friday. I needed only 11 minutes more for today’s 15×15!

    I have also never watched Mrs Brown’s Boys but following your suggestion, John, I looked at its Wiki pages and list of characters but I couldn’t spot anything relating to the crossword.

    I noticed repeated letters in some of the rows
    AA RRR
    LL SS TT
    but that idea doesn’t appear to go anywhere.

    Perhaps Felix is playing with us and decided to set a puzzle with no theme just for a change. EDIT: Sawbill has it sorted! See below.

    I note we have a 3-letter word today that turns up twice in the main puzzle, once in its own right and once as part of something else.

    Edited at 2022-04-22 12:43 pm (UTC)

  5. I found this tough too, taking 32 minutes to complete.
    FOI: OVA. LOI: RAGBAG which I just couldn’t see and took a chunk of my time.
    COD: CHICAGO with INTRO also marked.
  6. Stuck with it with grim determination. Ended up all green in 32. I saw Verlaine took over 3.28 so I knew it was going to be tough. Not getting MRS BROWNS BOYS early caused me problems and I was slow to GOLF WIDOW too even though I got to golf quickly. The M-S at the start of the show made me think my lack of culture was going to frustrate my efforts to find a worthy French play, so very well misdirected — horrible, horrible surface though. Very low numbers of finishers on the leaderboard for the time of day.

    Edited at 2022-04-22 09:36 am (UTC)

  7. Tough end to the week, and a DNF for me…
    Can’t see how ‘Rory boss’s new BMW’ (15 letters) is an anagram of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ (13 letters). Only by taking ‘new’ = ‘n’ does it work, and I can’t see anything in the clue to indicate this. Am I missing something here…?
    Otherwise, thanks John for parsing quite a few others I biffed but couldn’t see!

    Edited at 2022-04-22 08:02 am (UTC)

      1. Wasn’t a criticism of the blog at all (!) – more a question ‘to the floor’ about what indicates that two random letters should be removed from the anagrist here? Without any direction in the clue to do this then surely almost anything could be an anagram of almost anything else if you include enough spare letters! (In which case, I give up!!)
        1. That’s an interesting point, Alan, and I certainly think it’s unusual, if not an innovation for a QC clue to require a word to be abbreviated and that abbreviation then to be incorporated as a general part of the anagrist. I’m not sure if it happens in the main puzzle, but it’s used a lot in The Guardian puzzles which I do every day so I didn’t think twice about it today.

          What you will see in other circumstances (to use ‘new’ as an example) is new = N before or after anagrist where N is the first or last letter of the answer. Or there may be an insertion indicator telling you to reconstruct the anagrist around the N.

          Edited at 2022-04-22 08:32 am (UTC)

          1. “New” stands for just N often enough in 15×15 anagrist that this did not strike me as odd.
        2. I agree, this is a weak anagram in my opinion. I can see how the indicator (“wrecked”) can wreck “Rory Boss’s” with the intervening “new”, which is not wrecked. One of several clues I missed today. Not a good surface either.
  8. I missed the theme as usual, but didn’t find the puzzle too difficult. GILLS was FOI and the rest of the NW followed rapidly. MRS BROWNS BOYS arrived after SCUTTLE, and opened up the rest of the puzzle. ADORNING was LOI. 7:39. Thanks Felix and John.
  9. Twenty-five minutes with outgrow unparsed. FOI ova, twelve on first pass. LOI ragbag, knew rag was in there somewhere…but where? Aha! Enjoyed the crossword, it was a challenge. Haven’t read Dombey and Sons so even knowing the title I still can’t connect with that. I couldn’t get on with Dickens as a young person, but have started to appreciate him as an older one. Thanks, John, and Felix.
  10. I think that the theme is Dombey and Sons. I can see WALTER, DOMBEY, GILLS, CUTTLE, MRS BROWN …
    1. Well done indeed, Sawbill! That brings my count of Dickens puzzles by Felix to 9 although it’s possible we missed some before we realised his fondness for the subject. We may have another 2 or 3 to come before he runs out of major works.

      Edited at 2022-04-22 08:44 am (UTC)

  11. I think this was a little too tough but not outrageously so. 4d is a bit naughty and as you say 18d is a bit of a stretch. Thanks though! Just about got there in the end!
  12. I’m sure, but why does blooming = out in outgrow? Struggled mightily with this QC …. DNF in 75 mins!
  13. ….Dombey and Sons, but unfortunately I have seen the appalling MRS.BROWN’S BOYS. Those of you who have managed to miss it, either for geographical reasons or through being forewarned, are truly lucky.

    Missed my target, but that’s hardly surprising. Not my favourite setter.

    TIME 5:35

    * I do like a pun

    Edited at 2022-04-22 10:21 am (UTC)

    1. I have only ever seen the final 2-3 minutes of Mrs Brown’s Boys (whilst waiting for the next programme), and those ghastly moments have never tempted me to watch the whole show.
  14. is normally a tricky setter, and so it proved.

    A good challenge though, that I enjoyed.

    Missed the reverse hidden, again…even with “Faslane” in there, which meant nothing to me..

    LOI was BAKU, I liked GOODIES and golf widow.


    Edited at 2022-04-22 10:50 am (UTC)

  15. My longest ever QC solve I am sure, at 34 minutes — I nearly gave up, but thankfully persevered. I was left at the end with BAKU, UNSUGARED and BEYOND, which went in in that order, but only after I spent an age working out MRS BROWNS BOYS. Some very tough stuff from Felix, and by the time I had finished, I was too deflated to look for the theme that I knew was there somewhere. Well done Felix and thanks to John.
    1. … and also nearly mine, although I took almost three times as long as you. Your longest time is about my average, these days. Well done!
  16. A bad end to a bad week in QC land for me.

    Hit my 30 min limit and still had about 4 clues to go. I couldn’t get the right combo of letters for the anagram at 4dn and just didn’t see “Mrs Brown’s Boys”, which I can reliably inform isn’t funny (to me at least). Struggled on 13ac “Golf Widow” and 13dn “Goodies” although I had a feeling the former had something to do with the sport.

    FOI — 6ac “Ova”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 10ac “Arm in Arm”

    Thanks as usual!

  17. Like the appalling show referred to in the puzzle the less said about my solve the better. Finished in 21.48.
    Thanks to John
  18. My enthusiasm for the QC is rapidly dying. This was the worst I’ve done all year with 9 clues unsolved.

    I could tell early on when I’d got APEDOM, UNSUGARED, ARSENALS (with the S) and the abbreviated SIS that we had something going on. So it was just going to be impossible – and it was (for me at least).

    Had RAGtAG (as in a ragtag collection). Had the WIDOW part but couldn’t see GOLF.

    For a while I thought IN-DIANA might be a Greek character about to leave, but then realise it’s a state rather than city!

    Outside of Italy – who tf has heard of the River Arno? I did BIF the hidden word and manage the GROW of OUTGROW.

    All in all, crap week. Five more DNFs using up 2hrs, 1h40, 1hr25, 40mins and 1hr45 today – taking my streak to 8-in-a-row.

    1. Please keep the faith, Mr Plates. I’m approaching my 500th consecutive Times QC and my comments below should tell you what I thought of it. Your skills will develop, but improvement will be haphazard – three steps forward and two steps back, for example. Best of luck for next week.
  19. Mrs Random found this hard. I could tell she was in full concentration and it took her 48 minutes to cross the line. “Very cryptic” was her verdict. She is now out in the garden potting-on, re-potting, watering and so-on. I will join her soon to tackle some of the heavier tasks.

    Despite staring quickly, RECLAIMED and OVA went straight in, I ground to a halt at the 25-minute mark with about 10 clues to go. All eight clues around the edges were filled in and the NW and SE corners were reasonably well populated. However, the SW/NE diagonal and central area were largely blank and remained that way for a very long time.

    The most intractable clues for me were MRS BROWNS BOYS (a show I wish I had NHO), GOLF WIDOW, GOODIES, OUTGROW, DRUG (MER: ‘tips ON using’ doesn’t make sense) and SCUTTLE. Perseverance and bloody-mindedness eventually got me to to the tape in 88 minutes, which I think is my second slowest successful solve ever, and I will now go out and work off my frustrations in the garden. I will probably move some heavy pots around and Mrs R will tell me to move them back again.

    Many thanks to Felix and John.

  20. Got the dreaded two red lines today and am feeling pretty rough, so I didn’t push myself with this one. However, I think I would have found it very difficult under normal circumstances. I also didn’t have the energy to look for the theme and as I don’t know much Dickens (and tbh don’t really care), it was — as usual — wasted on me. I don’t think this is just covid talking, because although it was a slow process, I did rather enjoy the biggie, and I finished it too.
    Re Mrs Brown’s Boys: I watched the first episode on recommendation and it has never sullied my tv again. Lucky overseas solvers who have never heard of or seen it!
    Thanks all
    1. Get well soon. I tested positive on 4th April and it was the 16th before I tested negative again. On the whole, I’ve had worse colds, but it wasn’t pleasant. Nearly back to normal now. There were only a couple of days when I felt really rough. Rest is best, and paracetamol, strepsils and Sudafed help a lot.
  21. A DNF here. Several biffs and 4 or 5 left unsolved and no enthusiasm to dig for the answers. Did think, eventually, of BOND for the spy but couldn’t see how it could be used. I’m off to try the cryptic in the Malvern Gazette, might be easier but it’s very variable.
  22. Out of interest, is anybody else just getting Russian ads here these days? I haven’t seen any others for some time. Fingers crossed Vinyl and the team will have some news for us soon!
  23. DNF. Couldn’t do the SW corner -13d, 14d and 16a. Struggled mightily with the rest and managed them with a lot of had scratching. Hardest QC for a while.
  24. I struggled to find the blog today as I search for the QC number which should be 2119, not 2109. I also struggled with the crossword itself and ended up with a DNF. One for the experts I think.

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