Times Quick Cryptic 2139 by Teazel

Today’s Quick Cryptic from Teazel is typically teazing with one or two tricky bits, including a couple of clever cryptic definitions. It helps to know your card games, operetta composers and South American geography, which I do – finishing in 5:08. I had a rare (for me) MER at 4D – was I right to twitch the eyebrows? Whatever, it was good fun. Thank-you Teazel. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword, number 51,  here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 51 here. And you can see us at our get-together in London on the weekend of our 50th here.

Apologies but I will be unable to respond to comments for much of the day today as I will be assisting on the Hawkedon Horizons 11 mile  walk in the wonderful Suffolk Walking Festival. I will reply when I can.

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

1 A long time later, when we’re closed? (5,5)
AFTER HOURS – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint.
8 A measure of force to implant monitor in rodent (7)
VOLTAGETAG (monitor; e.g. for some criminals on release from prison) [in] VOLE (rodent). The measure of electromotive force.
9 European married in Kent? (5)
SWEDEWED (married) [in] S.E. (South East; Kent). The ? shows this is a definition by example.
10 As hooter is heard, votes against (4)
NOES – Sounds like [as… is heard] NOSE (hooter).
11 One asserting he will play the dummy (8)
DECLARER – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint. A term in bridge for the person playing his/her hand and the “dummy”, i.e. their partner’s hand, which is laid on the table. A bit tricky if you don’t know the game.
13 Instrument that puts that woman on the spot (6)
ZITHERHER (that woman) after, [on], ZIT (spot).
14 Opposed directly, one had adapted (4-2)
HEAD-ON – (one had)* [adapted].
17 Enduring holding vote outside (8)
EXTERNALETERNAL (enduring) [holding] X (cross on a ballot paper; vote).
19 One marsh turning into desert (4)
GOBII (one) BOG (marsh) [returning] -> GOBI. I remember seeing it from a plane as I crossed it on a trip to Australia and marvelling at how vast it is.
21 US soldier back visiting a second friend from abroad (5)
AMIGO – GI (US soldier) [returning] -> IG, inside, [visiting], A MO (second). Hola AMIGO.
22 Daughter, robust but stupefied (7)
DRUGGEDD (daughter) RUGGED (robust).
23 At centre of village, social event for politicians (5,5)
GREEN PARTYGREEN (centre of village) PARTY (social event).
2 Sullivan’s partner given a new start, the nut (7)
FILBERTGILBERT (W.S. Gilbert, partner of Arthur Sullivan, originators of the Savoy operas), with the first letter replaced [given a new start], here with an F -> FILBERT. A bit of a hard one to crack, if you’ll pardon the expression, for a QC, I think
3 Spirit a little melancholy (4)
ELAN – Hidden in [a little] mÉLANcholy
4 Take notice? I’d say that man did (6)
HEEDED – Sounds like HE (that man) DID. Hmm. A MER from me – shouldn’t the definition be “Took notice”?
5 Poirot’s cases were never so like a baffling crossword? (8)
UNSOLVED – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint.
6 Shepherd’s first try to remove a fleece (5)
SHEAR – First letter of Shepherd [‘s first], HEAR (try). Nice surface.
7 Keep thinking of Paddington? (4,2,4)
BEAR IN MIND – Cryptic definition. Paddington, of course, being a much-loved fictional bear.
8 Uneven zeal’s undone South American (10)
VENEZUELAN – (Uneven zeal)* [undone].
12 Dreadful fare cooked, not all (8)
FEARSOME – (fare)* [cooked], SOME (not all).
15 Doctor is required in harmful weather (7)
DROUGHTDR (doctor) OUGHT (is required).
16 One begged for a repeat (6)
PARDON – Cryptic definition. If you want someone to repeat what they said you might say “I beg your pardon”.
18 Feeble golf becomes an obsession (5)
THINGTHIN (feeble) G (golf in the NATO phonetic alphabet).
20 Aunt cooked fish (4)
TUNA – (aunt)* [cooked].

62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2139 by Teazel”

  1. I finished this one! 🎉🎊🍾

    Okay bit of an early celebration because I didn’t quite parse them all.
    Can’t believe I didn’t remember that a filbert is a hazelnut. I think i would have liked the ‘f’ to be clued in as well, I was sitting there going ‘pilbert? Milbert? Dilbert?’
    DECLARER and PARDON were two I couldn’t understand, so thank you for the explanations.

    I wrote ‘GLUM’ for spirit a little melancholy.. Cos.. Spirit gum.. With a little, is melancholy, and I was happy with it, but it had to go

    FOI: Venezuelan
    LOI: Declarer
    COD: Bear in Mind

    Thanks again!

    1. Well done and congratulations!
      I remember starting cryptic crosswords in my late teens (it gave me something to do while waiting for my crinolines to dry and wondering if Mafeking had been relieved yet 🙂) and your progress has been far better than mine ever was back then.
      Keep up the good work!

  2. DNF. I had no idea about DECLARER–I know nothing of bridge. I also wondered about ‘Take’.

  3. 14 minutes, so yet another target missed. That’s becoming all too frequent just at the moment. I have half an excuse today because I agree with our blogger that there is something dodgy about the clue at 4dn where the present tense ‘take’ doesn’t match the past tense ‘heeded’ in the answer. I had thought HEEDED early on, but delayed writing it in until all the checkers were in place, and even then I hesitated and thought it all through again.

    The other source of delay was down to my my own carelessness writing VENEZUALAN at 8dn despite knowing perfectly well how to spell it correctly. That gave me problems solving 17ac which ended up as my LOI.

    FILBERT for ‘nut’ was a write-in following its appearance here as recently as 4th May.

  4. A bit slow today at 30 minutes.
    Top half fell fairly quickly including the long downs but then slowed right down digging out answers from wordplay.
    FOI: FILBERT what a nut.
    LOI: PARDON needing the crossers.
    Didn’t take a second look at 4dn, just saw HE DID and went with it.

  5. All the right letters just not necessarily in the right order. I was sure I’d spelled VENEZUELAN properly but hadn’t and that took a lot of unravelling. With an E at the front EXTERNAL suddenly became a write in and that gave PARDON to bring things to a close. Smiled at FILBERT, it had been unreasonably uncommon last time but went straight in this morning.

  6. DECLARER was difficult as I don’t play bridge. ‘Take’ is clearly a mistake. ‘He did’ and ‘heeded’ are also pushing it a bit.

    1. If you stress ‘he’ (I didn’t solve it as quickly as he did), it sounds near enough to me.

      1. Well into my corner chair in the club this morning after a lightning rattle through before grinding to a halt in the SW until EXTERNAL (COD), THING (MER) and AMIGO (LOI) dropped in.
        Couldn’t see why 6D Try = Hear.
        Thanks Teazel and John.

  7. Well into the SCC again, but shuffled over the line when DECLARER finally fell into place. Nothing unduly hard but I made heavy weather of it. A bear of little brain today.

  8. I was on the 7.45 flier from Filbert Street flier to Paddington.

    FOI 1ac AFTER HOURS after a second!
    LOI 17ac EXTERNAL decent clue!
    COD 11ac DECLARER – a bridge too far for some?
    WOD 2dn FILBERT – why is filbert so unknown we used to scrump them as kids. And Leicester City played for years at the aforementioned stadium until the Thais took them to the ‘King Power, the duty-free establishment from Bangkok.

    8dn VENEZUELAN – Hugo Chavez America’s New Democrat buddy!

  9. Flew through most of this and then required a fairly lengthy alphabet trawl for LOI, an unparsed, DECLARER. FILBERT was much easier today having seen it recently and I enjoyed ZITHER and DRUGGED.
    Ironically my memories of the Gobi desert are that it rained a lot and was quite boggy in places.
    Finished in 7.50 and agree with the doubts about HEEDED.
    Thanks to John

  10. Good one. I needed help from disinterested husband for the bridge clue, otherwise AOK. I don’t play cards nowadays as I had a sickening of them in my youth. Not bridge, though. I did try it, but oh! the responsibility.

    Good to be back.

    Thanks, John, and Teazel.

  11. Failed on PARDON but otherwise OK. Quite fast until the SW but got there in the end apart from 16d. I do play bridge so no prob 11a. Hard to guess if you don’t.
    Thanks vm, John.

  12. I started very quickly from the top but then came disaster.
    I found PARDON tough and entered DROUGHT very reluctantly (I saw drought as the result of weather, not as weather itself and thought it was a poor clue).
    No problem with HEEDED but I was totally thrown by DECLARER (Bridge is outside my orbit) and SHEAR so DNF. I have never failed to complete a Teazel QC until now.
    Not a good end to the week. John M.

  13. Day 2 on the new site and yet another DNF. I was going so well and at the 6 minutes mark had just 2 clues to solve. I got PARDON but not the unknown DECLARER. With BIREME yesterday and DECLARER today I’m a little worried about where the QC is heading.

  14. Fairer than yesterday’s for sure though a bit unkind if you don’t play bridge, as has been remarked. I agree that ‘take’ is a gaff -enjoyable though – thanks Teazel and John.

  15. Firstly, it’s marvellous to discover the new site and oh, so helpful blogs. Thanks to all involved!

    As for the puzzle, whizzed through most of it but got stuck in the NE in DNF with SHEAR and DECLARER unsolved.

  16. Very slow to start then the SE flew in. Thought I would best my target 20 mins but held up by DECLARER which resulted in a DNF for me after 30 mins. I have never played Bridge so I am glad I gave up and didn’twaste too much time.

    COD to UNSOLVED which I loved and was very pleased with when it went in.

    Thanks so much for the helpful blog and a good puzzle. Prof

  17. Finished but doubled my target time of 20 mins all thanks to 11A (don’t play bridge) 4D and 6D. I agree with John and was fooled by the tense in 4D… would have expected ‘Took notice’ but my wife tells me that the clue is acceptable.
    6D had me stuck for a long time. A lesson in looking at the obvious rather than my attempt to remove the letter ‘a’ from a word for ‘try’.
    Thanks John and Teazel

  18. Started this AFTER HOURS. No major problems, but PARDON took a bit if thought, and LOI, DECLARER was a guess, as I don’t play Bridge. 9:15. Thanks Teazel and John.

  19. Really enjoyed this puzzle which took me 30 mins, mainly because of SHEAR. I understand the “S” but still don’t get the “HEAR” bit. Would be very grateful if someone could explain the parsing for me.

  20. Finished in 7:47 which is below my usual time of 10 to 12 minutes. LOI was PARDON.

    Many thanks

  21. After yesterday’s curate’s egg, today’s seemed more straightforward apart from putting TUNU for 20D, which held up 23A and the rest of the SW corner for some time until spotted. As a non bridge player, 11A was LOI and followed several minutes of head scratching, trying to think of bridge terms.
    I would agree with other comments about 4D. I pencilled it in faintly and with some misgivings. However the crossers worked and I accepted it with a shrug.
    Looking forward to the Weekend offering, which I’ll try and refrain from looking at until tomorrow.

  22. Thanks both Teazel and John for an enjoyable crossword and erudite blog. Hope the walk goes well, John.
    Honestly, I’m finding more to like about this new site every day. The font is an absolute pleasure to type in and I like being able to scroll straight down the comments without having to move from page 1 to 2 to 3. I’m even going to get myself an avatar (once it flowers in the garden). If only the comments were numbered, it would be well nigh perfect…
    (I know! Don’t ask for the moon, SR, we have the stars…).
    I don’t play bridge either but have gleaned an overview of various terms from reading (particularly the Mapp & Lucia books and it comes up a bit in Agatha Christie, iirc).

  23. I was not at the races today finishing in 16.37. A good 5 minutes spent on DECLARER my LOI at 11ac. I spent a fair time on PARDON before the penny dropped, a good clue though.
    The ZITHER is an instrument you rarely hear played, in fact the last time for me was in a restaurant in Vienna, where they had a resident Zither player. At some time during the meal I walked over and asked if she would play the ‘Harry Lime Theme’. As I walked back to my table, I heard her whisper to the person closest to her, “What is it about the British and their obsession with that bloody film”

  24. “I beg your PARDON, I never promised you a Rose Garden” (Lynn Anderson), and I found this distinctly thorny, having to use aids for DECLARER (LOI) and hence a technical DNF after 5:39.

    4D only really works if it reads “took” rather than “take”.

    Not my favourite puzzle of the week, but COD to VENEZULAN.

  25. Another DNF – I’m losing the knack. Not a bridge player so DECLARER was beyond me and just didn’t see PARDON.

    Will be pleased to complete a quickie next week!

    Thanks Teazel and John

  26. 21:29 to complete. Loved THING and PARDON,also GREEN PARTY. Cringed at thought of a ZIT on HER and took too long to see bog instead of fen. Thanks for blog explanations.

  27. A rapid (by my standards) solve today, getting a larger than normal number of answers on the first read through. No real difficulties, although I did hesitate for a little while over 4dn, in common with most. Luckily I play bridge so 11ac required no great thought. 12 minutes, with all parsed except amigo.

    LOI – 17ac EXTERNAL
    COD – 7dn BEAR IN MIND

    Thanks to Teazel & John

  28. 14 minutes making the same mistake in spelling VENEZUELAN as Jackkt, which made EXTERNAL LOI. Otherwise, no real problems. Thanks both.

  29. Another frustrating dnf with a good 7 mins spent on 11ac “Declarer” until the shutters came down on the half hour.

    The rest gave some good clues, although I agree on 4dn and the muddling of tenses. Only other issues were trying to spell “Venezuelan” for 8dn and mistakenly putting “Gilbert” for 2dn which held up 1ac.

    FOI – 13ac “Zither”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 7dn “Bear in mind”

    Thanks as usual!

  30. “I’m Gilbert, the Filbert, the Knut with a K
    The pride of Piccadilly, the blasé roué
    Oh Hades, the ladies, who leave their wooden huts
    For Gilbert the Filbert the Colonel of the Knuts.”

    (My grandmother used to sing that occasionally, I’m not that old.)

    Found that all straightforward till I had to winkle out DECLARER. Crikey.

    FOI AFTER HOURS, LOI DECLARER of course, COD EXTERNAL, time 07:49 which is technically sub-K but sub-Ks don’t count on the rare occasions when the great man DNFs.

    Many thanks Teazel and John.


  31. 1hr15 and pleased to complete. Had 5 left at 45-mins, took a (long) break at 55-mins and came back and unravelled SHEAR, THING, GREEN-PARTY, PARDON. DECLARER was LOI with me trying to begin it HE’LL; not being a bridge player and all that.

    BIFD AFTER-HOURS and then questioning whether it was right until FILBERT dropped in. Easy given we had it a couple of Wednesday’s ago (#2127) and spent a long time trying to figure it out then.

    VENEZUELANS slotted in happily as my daughter loves the place and rarely stops talking of it.

    Spent far too long struggling with BEAR-IN-MIND, VOLTAGE (was thinking something like VOLTAirE). Went through variations of EXTERNAL (exterior, extracts) until FEARSOME (orig. FEARless) went in.

    Thanks to John and Teazel

    1. I potentially went for the “Hell” at the beginning of 11ac as well – mainly off the back of the use of “Heed” for 4dn – but, obviously, nothing would fit.

  32. Another DNF -just could not get to grips with SW corner apart from AMIGO and struggled to get DECLARER. Not a good day.

  33. 5d 😥 Otherwise basically what Horryd said (until DECLARER). After several minutes, I couldn’t be bothered to find another word for assert and decided not to use aids either. I find it quite strange that, thanks to crosswords, I know a little more cricket terminology than I used to – still don’t know what any of it actually means though! Now I’d better get to grips with bridge.
    I actually got stuck on 16d too, until my husband came up with PARDON, parsing it as ‘something you say after you’ve burped!’ Well, it is a sort of repeating – anyway, it worked 😂
    Although ZITHER was a bit yucky, it did make me LOL, and of course we had a discussion about FILBERT recently. Hello to our friend of the same name.
    FOI After hours COD Bear in mind DNF after about 15 minutes
    Thanks Teazel and John

  34. Hmm DNF. Didn’t get Declarer nor external or fearsome – I’d lost heart by then. Same spelling error as Jack and Rotter.
    Sunk by Bireme yesterday. Watched Verlaine on Twitch and he didn’t blink an eye with Bireme so it must be known…
    Thanks all

  35. I too had a MER at 4d -“take” rather than “took” a simple error I think.
    But rather foxed by 11a DECLARER. I do play bridge a bit and the declarer’s PARTNER is the dummy, and goes off to make the tea. Looks like the clue could be “won’t play” rather than “will play”. Or maybe the clue is saying that “he” (sitting opposite) will be dummy equating to “Not I.” All a bit tricksy.

    1. I read it like you and was all set to post and say wait this is backwards surely? On rereading however I think it works if you don’t think of “dummy” as the person, i.e. your partner ,but rather “dummy” as the cards themselves- the dummy hand. So when your partner goes off to make tea he,the DECLARER, will play the dummy(hand).

  36. I got off to a fast start with AFTER HOURS and all but one of its danglers. Much of the left-hand side followed quickly, as did BEAR IN MIND (my favourite clue) on the right and GREEN PARTY at the bottom. All of this meant that I had only six clues to solve as I entered SCC territory – astonishingly fast for me, given the setter. Unfortunately, however, that was when I ran into the sand.

    The remaining six clues were arranged as two trios: 1) SWEDE, DECLARER, SHEAR and 2) THING, EXTERNAL, PARDON. I got them all in the end, but only after an additional 40-minute struggle. DECLARER and PARDON (my LOI) were by far the most intractable. Total time = 59 minutes. Phew! Looking back at my records, I notice that Teazel has been setting some particularly tricky puzzles recently. Of his last 12 QCs, I have dipped under 40 minutes (my current unofficial par/target) only once – and four of the other 11 were DNFs

    Mrs Random has yet to attempt this QC, but she will have no problems with VENEZUELAN (she lived there for a few years in her teens – her father worked for Shell) and her favourite clue is bound to be BEAR IN MIND (she collects traditionally made teddy bears and has even made a few herself).

    Many thanks to Teazel and John.

  37. I usually struggle with Teazel, and plenty of opportunities here for coming unstuck, but all went in and I completed (paper version) in what seemed like five minutes but was probably nearer to 15! I agree that TAKE in 4d should be TOOK, but a little voice said “close enough” so I put in the answer. The same little voice prevented me from even thinking whether DROUGHT is weather! My MER was whether AFTER HOURS is necessarily a LONG time later, and though it occurred to me early on and helped with 2 to 6d, it was my LOI.
    My COD was PARDON, which on a bad day could have led to a DNF. FOI, FILBERT, reminded me of a (little known, seemingly) story about the great lyricist, which could be true. He was standing in evening dress outside the Savoy after a performance of The Mikado, when a patron, failing to recognise him, said “Hey man, call me a cab,”. Quick aa a flash, Gilbert replied “Certainly, Sir, you’re a four-wheeler!”. “What on earth do you mean?” blustered the patron. “You asked me to call you a cab, and I could hardly call you Hansom!” explained WSG.
    Thanks, Teazel and John.

  38. I found some of this quite tough. I answered Filbert as I understood the Sullivan part, but did not know that Filbert was a nut. So though I answered it correctly, I didn’t quite understand it. Others I struggled with were Noes and Declarer. About 30 minutes, but with help.

  39. Very slow today, one of us has played bridge for over 40 years, but was very slow to solve the clue, blame playing on line. SW corner we found tricky. Thanks Teasel for the workout.

  40. DNF. Although I play bridge I did not get DECLARER.

    I tend to find Teazel tricky and I made slow progress today.

    LOI (answered) PARDON

    Thanks Teazel and Johninterred.

  41. I seem to be somewhat in the minority here in (a) playing bridge, (b) therefore having no problems with Declarer and (c) partly as a result, zinging through this one in what is for me a very speedy 9 minutes.

    LOI was Pardon, put in from checkers and not properly parsed at the time as I read “one begged for a repeat” as the person who I ask to say something again. I think I now see how Teazel means the clue to work but not exactly his finest IMO.

    Many thanks to John for the blog and (in anticipation) to Phil for the Saturday Special, which I look forward to.


  42. Stumped by declarer. Knew it was a reference to bridge but that was about it. Also thrown for a long time by shear. Tricky end to week after a good start.

    Great blog as usual.

  43. Scorching through – always a good sign when 1ac goes in first instantly. For some reason went for WADI not GOBI which made DRAUGHT baffling. Feeble as THIN didn’t come and ELECTION instead of EXTERNAL completed my sinking in the bog of the SW corner. Tomorrow’s another day!

  44. 2d went in pretty much straight away, of course. But it all fell apart after that and I found it a real struggle.

  45. 10 min DNF. DECLARER and PARDON.

    Flying to Tokyo tomorrow, so I may or may not be an early player.


  46. DNF after many sittings, including another attempt this morning. Often find Teazel tricky. Stumped by DECLARER (not a bridge player), PARDON and DRUGGED. Otherwise much to like including UNSOLVED and ZITHER. Thanks all.

  47. We’ve done the weekend extra and would have liked to have commented but didn’t get allowed to for some reason. Anyway, it was great and well blogged too. Thanks.

  48. Just completed the Weekend Cryptic #51 … excellent puzzle by Phil … more my level.

    Having done it on mycrossword site, it highlighted 6D as incorrect due to a T in the middle. I’m assuming that’s a mistake as it parses with an I.

    Incidentally any reason it couldn’t now be hosted or at least blogged here (other than personal choices)? I’m reluctant to sign up for another bunch of registrations – simply to say “thank-you”

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