Times Quick Cryptic 2137 by Tracy

Only the first of these was unknown to me, and was consequently my LOI. Otherwise another solid and gettable puzzle from Tracy.

Definitions underlined.

1 Hurt boxing schoolboy champion (7)
PALADIN – PAIN (hurt) containing (boxing) LAD (schoolboy). NHO right off the bat! A ‘paladin’ is the champion of a cause.
5 Fish and chips ultimately devoured by graduates (4)
BASS – last letter of (ultimately) chipS contained in (devoured by) BAS (B.A.s, graduates).
7 Hunting dog beginning to bother bird of prey (6)
BEAGLE – first letter of (beginning to) Bother, then EAGLE (bird of prey).
8 Sailor has to achieve objective (6)
TARGET – TAR (sailor) and GET (to achieve).
9 Clear to race having changed throttle (11)
ACCELERATOR – anagram of (having changed) CLEAR TO RACE.
10 Charm, a cross, close to chest (6)
AMULET – A MULE (a cross), then the last letter of (close to) chesT.
12 Fat English king’s food store (6)
LARDER – LARD (fat), E (English), and R (Rex, king).
14 Gave some thought to food store reprimanded (11)
DELIBERATED – DELI (food store) and BERATED (reprimanded).
17 Satisfy publican’s initial tenancy agreement (6)
PLEASE – first letter of (…’s initial) Publican, then LEASE (tenancy agreement).
18 New intel about northern songbird (6)
LINNET – anagram of (new) INTEL containing (about) N (northern).
20 Accomplished, Dylan’s first single (4)
DONE – first letter of (…’s first) Dylan, then ONE (single).
21 Not easy to make out relative by a river (7)
UNCLEAR – UNCLE (relative), A, and R (river).
1 Over in patisserie, I purchased a pasty (3)
PIE – reverse hidden in (over in) patisseriE I Purchased.
2 Reasoned correctly, US soldier must be in pub (7)
LOGICAL – GI (US soldier) contained by (must be in) LOCAL (pub).
3 Live with wife in small wooded valley (5)
DWELL – W (wife) contained by (in) DELL (small wooded valley).
4 Quick learner, free from affectation (7)
NATURAL – double definition.
5 Pop starts to build up reserves, saving thousands (5)
BURST – first letters from (starts to) Build Up Reserves Saving Thousands.
6 Lead parade she organised (9)
SPEARHEAD – anagram of (organised) PARADE SHE.
9 Member, notice, with poorly old animal (9)
ARMADILLO – ARM (member), AD (notice), ILL (poorly), and O (old).
11 Gold placed under item of furniture in nativity scene, maybe (7)
TABLEAU – AU (gold) beneath (placed under) TABLE (item of furniture).
13 Followers reunite abroad (7)
RETINUE – anagram of (abroad) REUNITED.
15 Permission to depart (5)
LEAVE – double definition.
16 Historical object carried by minstrel (icon) (5)
RELIC – hidden in (carried by) minstREL ICon.
19 Expensive dropping daughter’s organ (3)
EAR – dEAR (expensive) after deleting (dropping) ‘d’ (daughter).

67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2137 by Tracy”

    1. I was pleased to see that, even after a long hiatus, I can still keep pace (occasionally) with you! We tied to the second.

  1. I always assumed PALADIN had something to do with SALADIN but apparently the former derives from Latin not Arabic. Enjoyed mule for cross in AMULET and I would also enjoy getting to see or hear a LINNET some day. This was very quick for me -12:24- as only working out SPEARHEAD seemed to cause a delay. Thanks for blog!

  2. At 15 minutes one of my quickest finishes concentrating on wordplay the answers just fell into place even the anagrams.
    FOI: PIE.
    COD: Henry VIII’s LARDER.

  3. My daughter’s in my bad books. No sooner had I started than she brought me an IT problem to fix. Sorted that, then back to the puzzle. Both solved in 9.02. Nine on the first pass of acrosses and then practically all the downs, missing out on BURST. PALADIN was LOI, couldn’t have defined it before settling down but it seemed familiar enough to trust the wordplay. Glad it was a quick one, time’s getting on and the dog hasn’t been out yet.

  4. This afternoon I was on the 13:00 from’Paladin’

    LOI 11dn TABLEAU
    COD 5ac BASS
    I did not parse 10ac AMULET my POI

  5. 22:01 – I think that’s a record breaker Roy!

    Time seems to have slowed down as I do these. Glanced at the clock with a third done and I was only 8-mins in. Had 6-7 to go at 15-17 mins. One to go at 20:36 – exiting the SCC tantalisingly close.

    Had to be careful on ACCELERATOR and cross off the letters to get the right ending.

    Got stuck in the crosshairs of AMULET, TABLEAU, DELIBERATED towards the end until ARMADILLO unravelled itself.

    Bunch of stuff in there I’d NHO tar=sailor, a mule=cross, couldn’t have told you the meaning of paladin. Unsure about LINNET (could it be linten?). Brain was good on the anagrams.


    Thanks to William and Tracy

    1. Very well done, Mr Plates! Let’s hope for more of the same (or even faster) in the coming days and weeks.

  6. I was able to get Paladin from years of fantasy novels and video games I think 🙂

    1. Ah yes – that’s probably how I know it too. A misspent youth of D&D and Dragonlance Chronicles and Shannara books or some such.

      1. I grew up on Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston Fighting Fantasy Books (if anyone remembers them) – I’m sure there were Paladin’s in many of them as well.

        1. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Citadel of Chaos, Forest of Doom, City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon … I gave up around book 7. Those were the days when you could only buy what your local John Menzies or WH Smiths stocked!

          I revisited all that stuff three years ago when I was clearing out the loft. A box of old magazines included the four issues of the shortlived “Warlock” magazine that Jackson/Livingstone published. They’d included “Firetop Mountain” across the first two issues so I gave it a go and was surprised how much I’d both remembered and forgotten.

          Did look online for a copy to give my godsons as thought it might interest them but the modern book has lost the fantastic artwork of the original edition. Very sad.

          1. Funnily enough, I also bought the short lived Warlock magazine.

            I thought the books were great, albeit you ended up cheating by inserting a crafty finger in the appropriate page just in case you got killed.

            They have been rebooted in app form.

            1. Indeed, the fallback-finger. Trudging through those early pages (again) becomes simply too demanding when you’ve played a few times.

              They are likely well suited to an app although there is nothing like the building anxiety while you fumble your way to the correct page, or accidentally seeing spoilers of a picture or room description as you do and wondering how to get there!

  7. Very gentle going apart from NHO and LOI PALADIN. The only other minor pause was waiting for all the checkers for LINNET, which was buried deep in the archives. Enjoyed putting ARMADILLO together from the Ikea instructions. Finished in 5.22
    Thanks to william

  8. A fair and enjoyable QC. I was a minute under target. LOsI were PALADIN (that came from some deep recess) and, annoyingly, SPEARHEAD (couldn’t get ‘shepherd’ out of my mind). Thanks to both. John M.

    1. Yes, Mr B – I also toyed for far too long with SHEPHERD/SHEPHERDESS. A sort of leader, I would say.

  9. Another who didn’t know the meaning of PALADIN. I liked the novel clue for BASS, although it isn’t served in my local fish&chip shop. Thanks both. 4:07.

  10. Gosh, some quick times here! That was pretty much par for me, almost exactly the same time as yesterday. I had to dredge up PALADIN and was also slow on NATURAL (where I was looking for a 6 letter word for “quick” followed by L) and TARGET.

    FOI BASS, LOI NATURAL, COD AMULET, time 08:47 for 1.6K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Tracy and William.


  11. Yes, 14mins definitely counts as ‘quick’ for me. Helped by too much TV as a youngster (Have gun will travel – thanks for the link, Jackkt) and having seen mule/cross enough times for it to finally lodge in the brain. Some smooth surfaces today, with my CoD vote going to 8ac, Target, just ahead of 3d, Dwell. Invariant

    1. Please consider these words as a fire emoji, Mr L. Very well done!

  12. He made a shield of morion,
    of coral and of ivory.
    A sword he made of emerald,
    and terrible his rivalry,
    with elven knights of Aerie
    and Faerie, with paladins
    that golden-haired, and shining-eyed
    came riding by, and challenged him.

    I can remember the exact time and place when I first came across PALADIN and many other wonderful words…

    11 minutes for me, no hold-ups.

    1. What’s this from Rotter? And when / where you if it’s not too private?

      1. It’s one verse of a long poem / song / saga by Tolkien called Errantry, and definitely published in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, but I think may have appeared in one of the novels. It’s too long to reproduce here, but you should be able to find the full lyrics at the following link:


        As a youngster, I was fascinated by the poem, and even learned it by rote – I couldn’t do that now. Words like paladin, chalcedony, habergeon and plenilune were like magic to me, and parts of the poem still appear unbidden in my head from time to time.

        I was on a Royal Navy frigate in the Caribbean and reading my edition of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, which I still have – I’ve just taken it down from my bookcase. It was 1971 and I was 20 – this edition of the book had just been published, the first edition in 1961.

        1. Very interesting – thank-you.

          There is something quite magical about the first time you fall into the Middle Earth world of Tolkien. While I never got around to reading Tom Bombadil, we read Farmer Giles of Ham at middle school and one of my teachers used to bring in a reel-to-reel recording of the BBC Radio’s Lord of the Rings which we listened to every Monday morning!

  13. 09:57 which included quite a lot of time over LOI PALADIN and also AMULET and ARMADILLO.
    Solved online today which seems to make me try to speed up.
    Another good QC from a very reliable setter. Lots of good clues; I liked UNCLEAR.

  14. I was absolutely in the groove today with a time of 5.03 not far from my best. I actually beat the time of Kevin G which till now I considered impossible!
    Paladin was put in as I knew the word if not the meaning., and 10across was my LOI.

  15. Seemed much easier than usual though had to biff PALADIN as I didn’t really know what it meant.
    We performed nativity TABLEAU(x) at my old fashioned school every year. I was the Angel Gabriel in gold.
    Thanks vm, William.

  16. PIE went in first followed by LOGICAL. The somehow familiarish PALADIN arrived after the NE corner allowed NATURAL to go in. Steady going with UNCLEAR LOI. 6:26. Thanks Tracy and William.

  17. A 25 minute solve for me today. I wasted a few minutes with a typo (SPEARHEED) which caused the iPad Times Puzzle app to keep telling me, “unlucky, not quite there yet”.

    Took a few minutes for paladin to come to mind.

    I liked this puzzle. Got me head-scratching a few times, but I got there in the end.

    1. Well done, PW! Not too far away from escaping the SCC. Have you achieved that yet? If not, it will surely happen in the not too distant future.

  18. 22 mins…

    Rattled through much of it and then got stuck for probably 5 mins on 1ac “Paladin” and 4dn “Natural”.

    “Linnet” is one of those animals/birds I only ever dredge up when doing the crossword.

    FOI – 1dn “Pie”
    LOI – 1ac “Paladin”
    COD – 1ac “Paladin”

    Thanks as usual!

  19. A lot faster than yesterday although still firmly in the SCC. Got stuck on my last two, Paladin and Natural, for some reason. The remainder seemed to have gone in fairly easily with a few write-ins having the wordplay worked out afterwards.

  20. Knew paladin, although not the precise meaning. I therefore had to wait for all the down clues before it became obvious. Other than that a relatively straightforward top to bottom solve in 11 mins. Didn’t stop to parse deliberated as I had enough crossers in for it to be obvious.

    FOI – 7ac BEAGLE
    LOI – 21ac UNCLEAR
    COD -12ac LARDER

    Thanks to Tracy and to William

  21. “There are times, when all the World’s asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man” (Supertramp : The LOGICAL Song).

    Nothing ran too deep here though, and I’m old enough to remember Richard Boone and Duane Eddy.

    FOI BASS (not Fontella)
    COD LINNET (the nickname of Runcorn, once a leading non-League club, and fierce rivals to my beloved Altrincham. Three divisions below us now.)
    TIME 3:22

    1. Ye Gods, 3:22??? Busman, are you by any chance the artist formerly known as Phil Jordan?

      The Linnets are also King’s Lynn FC (Lynn … linnets … geddit?).

    2. There’s a Supertramp tribute band, called Logicaltramp. They recently played at Trading Boundaries, which is a brilliant music venue situated to the NW of Uckfield in E Sussex.

  22. I was on for a potentially Phil (BUSMAN?) bothering time, with one to go at 3:10, but then being pigheaded, I refused to write out the anagrist for SPEARHEAD and took a further 1:08 to unravel it in my head.

    Pretty straightforward today from Tracy, biffed PALADIN.


  23. I’m another one who knew the word PALADIN but not its meaning – I was getting it muddled with palanquin, which is quite a different thing! A lot to like today – LARDER, DONE and RETINUE all got ticks.
    For some reason I just couldn’t parse NATURAL – I didn’t see it as a straightforward DD and tried to make it far more complicated 🤔
    Anyway, much quicker today – a tad over 7 minutes.
    FOI Bass LOI Deliberated COD Accelerator
    Thanks Tracy and William

  24. A dead-heat at the Random’s today. We both finished in 18 minutes, so an extremely rare case of us both escaping the SCC on the same day.

    My FOI was BASS and I built from that almost at will. Not many clues held me up for long, although NATURAL was slow to come. Once that was in I was able to guess PALADIN (a word I had NHO) and to finish off with TARGET (my LOI).

    In my (relatively short) experience, an excursion out of the SCC is usually followed by a thumping great DNF. I will have to be on my guard tomorrow and Friday.

    Many thanks to Tracy and William.

    1. Nice one Mr RC

      (Feel that’s an inappropriate homophone for someone who is unremittingly supportive !)

  25. Fastest time ever for the QC today at 12:24! Found it so much easier than yesterday’s. Like others, knew the word PALADIN but not its meaning (thanks William). Biffed AMULET and needed blog to parse. Used to work in a hospital with a LINNET ward so no problems there, despite woeful bird knowledge more generally. LOI PLEASE, liked TABLEAU. Many thanks all

  26. Didn’t see what was going on with 1A for far too long, but then went up from the south and all went quite smoothly for a SCC- bordering time. Fun puzzle overall.
    Great to be back here with everyone.

  27. Great to be on the new site, well done to the team that made it all happen.

    Was looking at a good time for today, but a careless entry of “ACCELERATED” put paid to 6d, where I just could not get “shepherded” out of my mind for “lead”.

    WOD PALADIN, a great user name for those looking upscale their name on the new site. HARLEQUIN also available. But MERLIN is taken.

  28. Two quotes from Stephen Moss’s Birdwatch column in The Guardian, 2012: “The linnet was a powerful emblem of a lost way of life,for it is one of the classic birds of our farmed lowland landscape”.
    ” During the Victorian era linnets were trapped in vast numbers. For people of that newly urbanised society keeping a caged songbird in your home was a reminder of their rural roots.”

  29. Rare escape from the scc today at 11m plus another 2m to sort out the unknown paladin.

  30. Belated thanks to all those for transitioning to this site. Really good to be rid of the intrusive undesirable adverts. Nice font too which makes for easy reading on phone and such like. The UI is much preferable to LJ.
    Having the back catalogue available is extremely useful, particularly for those of us that are slowly working through the published Times QC puzzle books. Thank you for transferring it all. It must have been a gigantic task.
    Managed to avoid the SCC by a couple of minutes today and only struggled foolishly to fail to parse A Mule. Definitely felt a bit of an Ass, which makes AMULET my COD.
    Thanks Tracy and William

  31. I only knew the linnet as a bird from the song ‘Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way’. The music hall song reflected Curryowen’s comment above that it was kept as songbird.
    ‘Off went the van wiv me home packed in it,
    I walked behind wiv me old cock linnet’.

    I thank the BBC’s ‘The Good Old Days’ for my knowledge of music hall songs.

  32. 6.44

    It’s all been said. SPEARHEAD wanted to be a misspelt SHEPARDED (don’t ask) but otherwise smooth enough other than the w/p constructed 1ac

  33. A leisurely solve and was undecided whether to speed up (as 11a and 10d all went in so easily at the first pass) or slow down to prolong an enjoyable ride! FOI 5a Bass. LOI 1a Paladin, which needed validation although I couldn’t think of an alternative word to fit. COD 14a Deliberated – I do enjoy Ikea clues.

  34. Some sparkling times above and I chip in with a 7-minute finish today, one of my quickest for some time. From which I deduce that yes, Tracy was feeling generous today.

    All went in fairly smoothly except Paladin. I did know the word, but even so it needed the checkers before it came to mind.

    Spearhead is a word that is much misused in corporate-speak. I once worked for a boss who never asked one to “lead” or “head” anything – everything was “spearheaded”. The word lost all meaning for me …

    Many thanks to William for the blog

    1. My current corporate phrase to detest is ‘reaching out’ to someone rather than just saying speak to them!

  35. 10.44, didn’t know paladin but trusted the cryptic with lad and pain.
    Has horryd morphed into melrew?!

    COD Bass, although for me it was mainly kebabs from Abduls in Manchester.

  36. Another hugely enjoyable QC with a brilliant website and blog.

    Thanks to everyone.

  37. Pretty straightforward apart from PALADIN which was a guess from the letters already in.

Comments are closed.