Times Quick Cryptic 2120 by Tracy – You’ll have had your tea?

Solving time: 9 minutes. I found this quite straightforward. I hope you did too.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.


1 At top speed, punctured tyre abroad (4,3)
FLAT (punctured tyre), OUT (abroad)
5 Large   spruce (4)
Two meanings, the first as in ‘a tidy / large sum of money’
7 Question disguise Mike dropped (3)
{m}ASK (disguise) [Mike dropped – NATO]
8 Type of house built by a French girl in East End district (8)
UN (a in French) + GAL (girl) contained by [in] BOW (East End district)
10 Technician’s beginning to study surface of tyre (5)
T{echnician’s} [beginning], READ (study)
11 Relative by a river, hazy (7)
UNCLE (relative), A, R (river)
13 Pick up summary of events? (6)
Two meanings, although the second one requires acute accents: résumé
15 Is concerned about son’s pet (6)
CARES (is concerned about), S (son)
17 Token or note oilman tossed (7)
N (note), anagram [tossed] of OILMAN. This is an example of something that came up last week about mixing of anagrist and abbreviations. Here, the abbreviation ‘n’ for ‘note’ precedes the anagrist and is not part of it. In last week’s example ‘n’ for ‘new had to go in with the mix and was cause for comment. I think in The Times puzzles you will see both but perhaps very few of the second type in QCs.
18 Ghostly eastern lake (5)
E (Eastern), ERIE (lake)
20 English journalists inside like this coffee (8)
E (English) then PRESS (journalists) contained by [inside] SO (like this)
22 Also accepted king must leave (3)
TOO{k} (accepted) [king must leave]
23 Manipulated American editor (4)
US (American), ED (editor)
24 Is following order about right latticework (7)
TELL (order) containing [about] R (right), then IS
1 Overpraising Cockney milliner in Scottish dance (10)
{h}ATTER (milliner] [Cockney] contained by [in] FLING (Scottish dance – Highland Fling)
2 Cause irritation, blowing top in joint (5)
{r}ANKLE (cause irritation) [blowing top]
3 Resort bad? Summon one who looks into complaints (9)
Anagram [resort] of BAD SUMMON.  A word borrowed from the Swedish. The British official known by this name was first appointed in 1967 but his actual title is Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, .
4 Mouth organ? (6)
A barely cryptic definition, but rather a good one nevertheless,
5 Crew missing last meal (3)
TEA{m} (crew) [missing last], The food served at afternoon tea may consist of cake and biscuits and sometimes sandwiches, but in some parts, particularly Oop North  you’re more likely to get ‘high tea’,  a main meal served in place of supper or dinner.
6 See cod? I see flounders (7)
Anagram [flounders] of COD I SEE
9 Flourishing, the Duke of Milan and us (10)
PROSPERO (the Duke of Milan – The Tempest), US
12 Female companion in timeless novel’s beginning? (9)
CHAP{t}ER ONE (novel’s beginning) [timeless]
14 Savouries available in Greek island, for instance (7)
SAMOS (Greek island), AS (for instance – such as)
16 Small cupboard, shut tight, initially (6)
CLOSE (shut), T{ight} [initially]
19 Badger-like creature later let loose (5)
Anagram [let loose] of LATER
21 Visually embarrassed about daughter (3)
RE (about), D (daughter)

33 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2120 by Tracy – You’ll have had your tea?”

  1. I biffed BUNGALOW, OMBUDSMAN, CHAPERONE–they were just too easy once I had a couple of checkers– parsed post-submission. 5:07.
  2. I got on with this puzzle a lot better than I managed with The Tempest, which I never really got my head round. Up there with TS Eliot and his etherised dawns…
  3. I finished, in about half an hour, but there were many words I did not fully parse.

    Grateful if someone could explain to me diocese = see to me?

    Things I learnt: greek Island names, a character in The Tempest, Bow being a district (is that like the Bow Street Runners of the sherlock novels), cockney people dropping their aitches, a ratel

    Things I need to really remember going forward: the NATO phonetic alphabet

    COD: I liked Ratel because I was able to get it despite never having heard of this creature and it painted a nice picture

    1. I think you’re thinking of the Baker Street Irregulars; the Bow Street Runners were disbanded in 1839.
    2. SOED has: see – ecclesiastical – the throne of a bishop or archbishop in the principal church of his diocese, also a city regarded as the seat of authority of a bishop or archbishop.

      Technically we could have ‘see’ clued by or cluing any of the cities in England that qualify as above but in practice setters use very few of them. ‘Ely’ is he most common one as so many words end ‘-ely’, and ‘Salisbury’ has come up quite a lot recently.

    3. Also Bow Street (of Monopoly and Runner fame) is not in Bow, its in the West End, Bow is the East End. Very different.
      1. Adding to the complications: the great bell of Bow of the nursery rhyme is at St Mary-le-Bow in the City of London, not in the East End! Traditionally a true Cockney was born within the sound of those Bow bells, which centuries ago could be heard from quite a distance. Nowadays, I suspect you wouldn’t hear them from even quite nearby 😅 I have also just discovered that St Mary-le-Bow is the Australian church in London — how about that!
  4. 20 minutes all parsed.
    COD to CHAPERONE for its wordplay.
  5. Being firmly in the lower reaches of middle brow I haven’t seen Mrs Brown’s Boys but also have a weak grasp of Shakespeare beyond my A level texts, so while I’ve heard of Prospero, that’s where it ends. I’m a bit rusty on Greek Islands too (geography A level too (and history since you ask)), so PROSPEROUS and SAMOSAS both had to be painfully extracted. Also held up by CHAPERONE where Tracy outclassed me, including by confusing me by including ‘female’ in the clue. An early typo in BUNGALOW held me up in the NE before ending up all green in 17. Lots to like in this puzzle.

    Edited at 2022-04-25 06:23 am (UTC)

    1. I had no idea he was the Duke of Milan and my only acquaintance with the play is from my daughters primary school production. However Forbidden Planet was a fun film with pretty much the same plot. Mrs Brown’s Boys? Don’t bother!
  6. Tracy can sometimes have me in knots, but not today.

    Not many acrosses on the first pass, but if I don’t get ’em, I move on tooty sweety. DOwns were much more helpful, giving helpful crossers. I vaguely remembered RATEL.

    BUNGALOW my favourite, TRELLIS LOI, SAMOSAS made me peckish.


  7. A decent puzzle but let down by RATEL, which I dredged from the depths having come a cropper on the unchecked letters previously. Other than that nothing particularly tricky. Finished in 7.33
    Thanks to Jack
  8. Considered Tonsil before getting my head round TONGUE. Was grateful to my first (and penultimate) acting role as Adrian in a school production of the Tempest. The wonders of education. Couldn’t parse my COD, CHAPERONE, and NHO RATEL. In the end it was CARESS that inexplicably escaped my mental gymnastics to take me well into the club at 30:22.
    Very enjoyable. Thanks Tracy and Jack
  9. 11:08, with LOI and NHO RATEL/RETAL, can’t even remember which one I went for. Felt just like Wordle.

    COD CHAPERONE, very clever
    Also, TIDY was a very tidy clue. Extra points for clues which describe themselves.

    No problem with the N + anagram fodder today, but last weeks was “not on”, with the N having to be mixed in.

  10. Needed a bit of help from the blog with this one (thanks Jack) as not much time today and just not on Tracy’s wavelength. CHAPERONE and SAMOSAS were unparsed (not previously aware of ‘as’ being ‘for instance’) and couldn’t get TIDY or TEA…
    Incidentally in our house we have ‘lunch’ at lunchtime and ‘tea’ in the evening. This represents an equitable joining together of my (southern) lunch + dinner and my northern husband’s dinner + tea.
    Many thanks Tracy and Jack
  11. I thought this was pretty straight forward as well – in fact I could have had a better time if I hadn’t got hung up on 13ac “Resume” and 14dn “Samosas”.

    I’ve said before I don’t like clues like 19dn — for me it was a coin toss between “Ratel” and “Retal”, luckily I picked the former which sounded more animal like.

    FOI — 1ac “Flat out”
    LOI — 14dn “Samosas”
    COD — 12dn “Chaperone”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. I fairly ratel-ed through this in about 8.30 with nothing particularly holding me up. I continue to be astonished by the times of some of the speed merchants; I don’t think I could complete the grid in 5 minutes if you gave me all the answers and I just had to type them in!!

  13. ….the RATEL (or honey badger) as it’s likely to turn up fairly frequently. It’s a setter’s dream, especially being an anagram of ‘later’, as here.

    I missed three across clues on the first pass, but all the down clues went straight in. A very fast solve, and at the time of posting I’m 6th of 95 correct solutions on the leaderboard. I suppose it can only go downhill from here….

    TIME 3:11

  14. 13 minutes with my favourite being DIOCESE — unusual for me to pick an anagram as COD, but with the definition hiding away as the first word and providing an alternative set of anagrist, it stood out for me. Nothing else remarkable, except PROSPEROUS and the badger were only vaguely remembered. CHAPtER ONE was also clever. Thanks Tracy and Jackkt.
  15. … with FLAT OUT, but even after one clue (at 9-10 seconds) I was already behind the clock if I’d harboured any thoughts of trying to keep up with the fastest solvers here. I progressed from there at a more sensible pace and found myself with eight clues to go as I entered SCC territory. Unfortunately, it then took me a further 40 minutes of brain-wracking frustration before I finally crossed the line.

    PROSPEROUS was my LOI (I had NHO the Duke of Milan), nor had I heard of the Greek island of SAMOS or the badger-like creature (RATEL). Please could someone appeal to the setters not to leave us with 50/50 guesses, such as RATEL vs RETAL in the QC? I was lucky with my guess today, but I can remember many counter instances and they spoil the solving experience.

    Other clues I really struggled with were RESUME, CHAPERONE, CARESS and TOO. Eventually, after much alphabet-trawling and re-reading/interpreting of clues I put down my pencil after 60 minutes. At least it was quicker than Friday (88 minutes).

    Many thanks to Tracy and jackkt.

  16. I started FLAT OUT and kept going with a whole lot of biffing. PROSPEROUS and CHAPERONE were my last 2 in. I did the Tempest for O Level. 5:29. Thanks Tracy and Jack.
  17. Beaten by PROSPEROUS CARESS and CHAPERONE. All perfectly clear from the blog but no amount of taking a break and revisiting was going to break the deadlock for my brain today.

    Cross with myself about CARESS as I think we’ve had similar clueing for the word before.

    Not close enough to my Tempest to know Prospero as Duke of Anywhere so wouldn’t have helped and went blank on alternatives for flourishing.

    Disappointed with CHAPERONE as I love the clue and parsing now I see it.

    Ho hum . As Ms Armatrading used to sing, “Some days the bear will eat you.” Looking forward to a return to the days when it’s my turn to eat the bear.

    Thanks Tracy and Jackkt

  18. … apparently it’s not a ReTaL.

    Got 10 answers this morning in 25-mins with DIOCESE being them last of them.

    Came back and did the left side in next 15.

    Then poor clock management while I ate late lunch (early TEA) and BIFD my way through CHAPERONE.

    Supposedly I was top set for English in ‘O’ level year but we never did Shakespeare, so the Duke of Milan was beyond me but easily parsed once figured out.

    Then I was left stuck for the final 20-mins or so on 1A until I realised a Cockney hatter isn’t a chATTER.

    NHO RATEL, Duke-of-Milan, SAMOS
    Couldn’t parse TIDY (from a large perspective), BUNGALOW (obvious now), CHAPERONE

    That’ll be 9th DNF in a row!

    Edited at 2022-04-25 02:55 pm (UTC)

  19. 10 minutes. I couldn’t parse CHAPERONE but really liked it once it was explained (thanks Jack). No problem with RATEL — not a word I knew before starting this game but it has appeared quite often over the last few years (maybe more often in the biggie?) I guessed the duke must be Shakespearian but had no idea which play he might have appeared in so that took a bit of working out.
    Tea / supper / dinner — now that could open a can of worms (Heinz spaghetti on toast?) 😂 I’d go so far as to say that high tea, such as I had as a child in the south east, is different from tea in the north and midlands — round here, it’s just your evening meal.
    Thanks all!
  20. Finished with a little help for 9d to check prospero, also needed 6d diocese to solve 5a tidy, forgot that it could mesn large. Pleasant puzzle solved in about 30m.
  21. Twelve minutes, a couple of parsing nuances missed. Needed all the checkers for prosperous, LOI, COD. Thanks, Jack, and Tracy.
  22. Struggled in the SE, not knowing Prospero and failing to get chaperone for a long time. NHO RATEL so the A and E could have gone either way.
  23. DNF by 6
    There is always tomorrow but have come to not like tracy’s crosswords
  24. Failed on PROSPEROUS after staring at _R_S_E_OUS for about 15 minutes (making 34 minutes in total). I was thinking of flourishing in the growing plants sense rather than growing money, and though I guessed I needed a Shakespearian Duke, I am not familiar enough with the Tempest for Prospero to spring to mind. My LOI (not counting PROSPEROUS as I didn’t get it) was my COD CHAPERONE. Oh well, thanks anyway.

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