Times Quick Cryptic 2121 by Orpheus – crossed tails

I found this hard for the reasons mentioned in the blog (for which please click – ‘read more’ below). I didn’t get a quadrant filled in and had several clues with partial answers before moving on in the search for further crossers. The unknown bird went in on 16 minutes.

I’ve spotted a couple of linked devices in the grid – you may be able to see more or work out a theme.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Empty-headedness and spite associated with son (10)
SCATTINESS – spite (CATTINESS) with son (S).
8 American attorney with face-covering — silk or linen, perhaps (6)
DAMASK – American attorney (DA), face covering (MASK).
9 Farm animal outside possessed tail (6)
SHADOW – farm animal (SOW) outside possessed (HAD).
10 A way one identifies sparkling wine (4)
ASTI – a (A), way (ST), one (I). A favourite tipple of setters.
11 Commercial centre of Newry, for example? (8)
DOWNTOWN – Newry is in counties Armagh and, more importantly for this clue, Down. I thought that this was going to be a clever play on the W being in the centre of Newry.
12 Ugly old women consuming US soldier’s Scottish dish (6)
HAGGIS – ugly old women (HAGS) consuming US soldier (GI).
14 Eg prisoner’s trendy sidekick (6)
INMATE – trendy (IN), sidekick (MATE).
16 Unattached girl’s mountainous island (8)
DISCRETE – girl’s (DI’S), mountainous island (CRETE). Never been to Crete and got sidetracked by unattached = single – as the wordplay intended.
18 Old Norse poems from some unremembered days (4)
EDDA – some of remember(ED DA)ys. Also called Elder or Poetic Edda – a collection of Norse poems from the 12th century. Dnk these but it just had to be from the clue.
20 Female artist capturing head of plucky Asian mountaineer (6)
SHERPA – female (SHE), artist (RA) capturing (P)lucky.
21 Cooking a bannock finally in Crosby (6)
BAKING – a (A) and bannoc(K) inside (BING) Crosby. For the sake of idle curiosity a bannock is a round, flat, unsweetened cake originating in Scotland. A VAT free food item then as opposed to flapjacks – here is the latest in vital legal rulings:

A range of flapjacks have been found to be sweets rather than cakes and therefore subject to VAT, in a judgment that could have big financial implications for manufacturers of the treats.

The tax tribunal ruled that 36 flapjacks produced by Glanbia Milk were not cakes, which are zero-rated for VAT purposes, because they would not be eaten for afternoon tea, were more commonly eaten on the go, were not baked and contained significant amounts of protein.

22 Make little of being subject to body politic (10)
UNDERSTATE – being subject to (UNDER), body politic (STATE).
2 Bungling councillor — like Perkins, ultimately (5)
CRASS – councillor (CR – new-to-me intiials), like (AS), Perkin(S).
3 Daughter in coach finally organising buying and selling (7)
TRADING – daughter (D) inside coach (TRAIN), organisin(G).
4 The Italian king’s type (3)
ILK – ‘the’ in Italian (IL), king (K).
5 Former version of Welsh rite (9)
ERSTWHILE – anagram (version of) of WELSH RITE.
6 Begin second baked dish (5)
START – second (S), baked dish (TART – definitely VAT free).
7 Shore bird raised tail, having intelligence (6)
GODWIT – tail – dog – raised (GOD), intelligence (WIT). Dnk the bird (an example of which is the sandpiper). Dog for tail crossing shadow for tail in 9ac. LOI
11 Ignore police officers on patrol, it’s said (9)
DISREGARD – police officers (DI’S), on (RE), homophone of patrol – guard (as in Home). Another double – girl’s (16ac) and police officers.
13 Dismount in flames (6)
ALIGHT – double definition.
15 Small carnivore: no more than a moggy, do we hear? (7)
MEERKAT – homophone of no more than (mere) moggy (cat).
17 Greek island favoured at first in my university (5)
CORFU – (F)avoured inside my (COR!) and university (U).
19 Go ballistic making ring-shaped cake across the pond! (5)
DONUT – go ballistic (DO NUT).
21 Watering hole buffaloes and rhinos initially used (3)
BAR – (B)uffaloes (A)nd (R)hinos.

35 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2121 by Orpheus – crossed tails”

  1. I had no idea what was going on with DOWNTOWN, but it fit the checkers. NHO Newry (not Jewry, Chris!), let alone that it’s in County Down; I wonder how many solvers knew. DNK GODWIT, but was pretty sure of WIT, and finally thought of ‘dog’. ‘Bungling’ is a stretch, at best, for CRASS. All in all not a great QC; who set it? 7:02.
    1. The setter’s name should appear in the printed newspaper which is expected online as e-paper around dawn so I will advise then unless someone else gets in first. But there’s a SOW reference at 9ac which might suggest it’s one of our porcine pal’s offerings.
  2. Never thought of CRASS meaning “bungling” either. Also took me a long time to see cattiness as spite. In both cases ,however, after looking up the meanings online there was an enough overlap for both to work. Thanks to blogger for all the explanations!
  3. I didn’t know scattiness was a word. I can’t see how bungling = crass, so no hope there
    I got the wit part of Godwit but I had never heard of it. Downtown was also impossible for a non English person imo

    Again with the Greek Islands! I didn’t know DI for police, couldn’t get discrete.
    Also never heard of ASTI but I will try and remember it for next time. There really aren’t that many words that end in I

    Why does my = COR?

    Not many anagrams today!

    FOI: trading
    LOI before I gave up: start

    1. DI=detective inspector (UK)
      Cor! is an exclamation of surprise, etc. As is My!
      my=COR shows up often enough, so it’s one more to keep in mind
    2. The DOWNTOWN clue might prove difficult for many an English person too, including this one! Northern Ireland in many ways is a mystery to all but itself.
      1. I live in Central Scotland, but as a crossword solver I’m expected to have an intimate knowledge of London boroughs and villages in Surrey. (And anywhere within a ten mile radius of either Oxford or Cambridge.)

        Why shouldn’t the boot be on the other foot, for a change?

        1. A fair point perhaps, but Orpheus required us to wander much further afield today, requiring as we did, an “intimate knowledge” of Scottish delicacies (HAGGIS and BANNOCK), American lawyers (DA), Italian wines (ASTI), Greek islands (CRETE and CORFU), Himalayan ethnic groups (SHERPA), Norse poetry (EDDA) and American spelling (DONUT).
  4. 13 minutes, so another missed target for me.

    I had thought GODWIT was a mild oath appearing in Shakespeare or works of his era, but apparently not. But I’m familiar with ‘peewit’ as a bird, so I wrote in the answer deduced from wordplay with some confidence. Whilst looking up GODWIT just now in SOED I found this word which I can’t wait to use, especially in its second sense.:


    An affected, fussily decorative, or over-elaborate style of gardening or garden design. Also, archaic and affected language.

    Edited at 2022-04-26 02:20 am (UTC)

    1. Thomas Edward Brown, 1830-1897, “My Garden”, begins
      A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
      It doesn’t get much better.
      1. “A thing of beauty and a joy forever”. My late father often opined that ‘joy’ was a typo, and should have read ‘job’.
  5. Another in a lengthening streak of puzzles I’ve found hard. I had the S from son at the end of SCATTINESS and that took CRASS to sort out. CRASS itself took a long time to unravel as the definition is off and CR isn’t a short form of Councillor, or at least I’ve never come across it in many years of town planning — think of the time I could have saved if I’d not used Cllr all those times! NHO DOGWIT but one ‘wit’ arrived to complement the checking O and ‘reversed tail’ it seemed a safe bet. Took ages to see ERSTWHILE was an anagram, the likely E from 1a made me fall headlong in the trap of putting EX for former — drat.
  6. 24 minutes of fun.
    FOI: CRASS followed by the next four downs giving me SCATTINESS which I BIFD.
    COD to both SHADOW and DOGWIT as they took me the longest to crack.
  7. Eleven minutes. FOI damask, LOI discrete. Not convinced by the clue for Corfu. I saw the wit in 7d early on and as mentioned above, had peewit in mind, until dog for tail gave godwit, and shadow followed on in. At least godwit is a proper name for a bird. Two in the UK, the Bar-tailed and the Black-tailed. Thirteen on first pass, the rest dropping in nicely. Did not see a theme, but then I usually don’t.
    Thanks, Chris, and Orpheus.
  8. Disregard had to be right as did Corfu. Thanks for the explanations but these two alone tipped this over the edge of reasonableness. Thanks blogger and setter too though the latter pitched it wrong today in my view.
  9. Hard going today, particularly in the NE, where not spotting the anagram for LOI ERSTWHILE didn’t help matters. I knew that Newry was somewhere in Ireland but the link to Co. Down didn’t spring to mind so that went in unparsed. Like others I was unconvinced by the link between CRASS and bungling.
    Finished in 15.26
    Thanks to Chris
  10. ILK, DAMASK and ASTI made CRASS inevitable, and once START was in SCATTINESS followed. ERSTWHILE was LOI as I was convinced it was going to start with EX. I knew Newry as an Irish town so it was as small leap to associate it with County Down. I also knew GODWIT, so no major problems today. 8:14. Thanks Orpheus and Chris.

    Edited at 2022-04-26 02:34 pm (UTC)

  11. Thought this was tricky, but managed to get to my last two of 9ac and 7dn after 20 mins. But for the life of me I couldn’t get either.

    I created the new bird species of “Pitwit” for 7dn, which meant I didn’t have the right checkers for Shadow (could have sworn there was something with “pit” or “pip” in previous QC’s). Unfortunately, NHO of Godwit.

    Seem to be having a plethora of Greek Islands lately, although I did like 16ac “Discrete”.

    FOI — 4dn “Ilk”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 11dn “Disregard”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. All but 3 done in 4:30, then those 3 took another 2 mins.

    DISCRETE, DISREGARD and SHADOW (not sure why…).

    I did like DOWNTOWN, I knew Newry was in NI, and made the assumption it was in Co. Down.


  13. Taken to 17 minutes, and 2 over target by this little puzzle, with CRASS and SCATTINESS last two in, in that order. I also struggled with the NHO GODWIT, but that was more easily gettable from the wordplay. EDDA was barely remembered, but leapt out at me from the clearly signposted hidden indicator. All-in-all this was tricky. I can’t see an obvious theme, but there are a fair few double-letters scattered about, and the word NOTE in the central column. Thanks both.
  14. Just under 7 mins, struggled with discrete, downtown, and LOI dogwit.

    COD erstwhile.

  15. I made very good progress to reach SCC territory with only five clues to solve (very fast for me with Orpheus). Those five held me up for a further 15 minutes, but got them all, despite not being able to parse DOWNTOWN and DISREGARD (my second last in). My FOI today was DAMASK and my LOI was DISCRETE, which arrived quickly after a long struggle with DISREGARD (I just never seem to see ‘on’ = RE).

    Total time = 35 minutes, and I am jolly pleased to get back on track after several tough days.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Chris.

  16. Just inside the SCC today and would have been on for my quickest time for a while but held up for ages by DISCRETE — was looking for an unattached (single) girl… FOI DAMASK, CsOD MEERKAT and DOWNTOWN. NHO EDDA but obvious from clueing. GODWIT was also unknown but eventually spotted ‘dog’ for tail, and already had ‘wit’. Tricky in places and I was certainly misdirected at times. All part of the fun. Many thanks to Chris and Orpheus.
  17. ….since I knew NEWRY, and GODWIT, so both were shoo-ins. I didn’t know Crete was mountainous, but the knowledge was irrelevant. MER at CRASS = bungling, but it didn’t delay me.

    Crosby being in Merseyside, I doubt you’d find a bannock in any bakery within 200 miles or so. It’s an essentially Scottish product.

    All but five solved on the first pass, and easily swept up thereafter.

    LOI DISREGARD (parsed afterwards)
    TIME 3:37

  18. Rather a struggle with SCATTINESS, DISCRETE (why do setters have so many “girl’s names”?), and CRASS (Councillor = CR?)being the last to come to mind. Guessed EDDA from clue (NHO) and pleased to remember GODWIT. Nice to see ERSTWHILE making an appearance.

    My brain is rubbish these days. I know I’m screwed when it takes an age to figure out ALIGHT and unscramble ERSTWHILE without it being WILTSHIRE.

    Like the clues in SE corner for BAR, BAKING, MEERKAT, DONUT

  20. Donut clued as “across the pond” – fine.
    Isn’t “Downtown” across the pond, too? Grudgingly accepted, though.
    My real gripe is describing a godwit as a shore bird. It’s only a shore bird across the pond – we call them waders this side of the pond.
    1. Yes, DOWNTOWN is American but well-known this side of the pond as the title of a major hit for Petula Clark, written by another Brit, Tony Hatch. He admitted that when he wrote it he was thinking of Broadway/Times Square under the misapprehension that that was ‘Downtown New York’.
      1. Also, whereas, in England, people would often use the phrase, going into town, in Northern Ireland, the term ‘going down town’, is more usual.
  21. Newry has been the only City in Co Down since 2002 (ER jubilee)

    Are anonymous posts no longer possible?

    Edited at 2022-04-27 02:34 pm (UTC)

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