Times Quick Cryptic 2145 by Tracy

Hi all.  Tracy is a setter who can be relied upon to produce entertaining and perfectly sound easier-end puzzles.  If I say that there is nothing to complain about and that the clues read smoothly it might sound like damning with faint praise.  But, rest assured, I am praising.

From the wide range of toasted crumpets in 10a to the double whiskey in 24a, I found plenty to savour today.  (Mine’s a scotch and not from a can, but a setter has to use the materials at hand.)  I also liked 13a and 15a – and the down clues weren’t too shabby either!  Thanks Tracy!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Inside information worried armed French policeman (8)
GENDARME GEN (inside information) + an anagram of (worried) ARMED
6a Fish only (4)
SOLE — Two definitions
8a Some crass, lurid aspersion (4)
SLUR — The answer is hidden in some crasS, LURid
9a Very delicate eastern article, genuine (8)
ETHEREAL E (eastern) + THE (article, of the grammatical kind) + REAL (genuine)
10a Wide range of toasted crumpets (8)
SPECTRUM — An anagram of (toasted) CRUMPETS
12a Son leaving smooth vegetable (4)
LEEK — S (son) removed from (leaving) [s]LEEK (smooth)
13a Leave suddenly, affected by low grades? (6)
DECAMP CAMP (affected) next to (by) D and E (low grades)
15a Stand down after head of state breaks rule (6)
RESIGN — The first letter of (head of) State goes inside (breaks) REIGN (rule)
17a Loud turn, in reality (4)
FACT F (loud) + ACT (turn, of the theatrical kind)
19a Recount story that’s revealing (8)
TELLTALE TELL (recount) + TALE (story)
21a Piece of the woodwork from pub on bridge (8)
CROSSBAR BAR (pub) next to (on) CROSS (bridge)
23a One entering through wharf (4)
PIER I (one) going inside (entering) PER (through)
24a Whiskey in can, a double? (4)
TWIN W (whiskey) in TIN (can)
25a Service still good around middle of morning (8)
EVENSONG EVEN SO (still) and G (good) surrounding (around) the middle of morNing
2d Blot out imperfect pieces, about fifty (7)
ECLIPSE — An anagram of (imperfect) PIECES around (about) L (fifty)
3d Style of architecture in Finland, or Iceland (5)
DORIC — The answer is found in FinlanD, OR ICeland
4d Regret is genuine after losing time (3)
RUE — [t]RUE (genuine) having removed (after losing) T (time)
5d Passing maple, here in resort (9)
EPHEMERAL MAPLE HERE anagrammed (in resort)
6d Extra, and almost certain, advantage (7)
SURPLUS — All but the last letter of (almost) SURe (certain) + PLUS (advantage)
7d First of landlords to reduce rent (5)
LEASE — The first letter of Landlords + EASE (to reduce)
11d Trustworthy agent on university board (9)
REPUTABLE REP (agent) + U (university) + TABLE (board)
14d Train as mobile mechanic, perhaps (7)
ARTISAN TRAIN AS anagrammed (mobile)
16d The Spanish convict brought over on vessel (7)
GALLEON EL (the, Spanish) and LAG (convict) reversed (brought over) + ON
18d A quarrel involving thrower’s last dart (5)
ARROW A and ROW (quarrel) containing (involving) throweR’s last letter
20d Sat up eating father’s light snacks (5)
TAPAS SAT reversed (up) around (eating) PA (father)
22d Cereal grass forming part of military experiment (3)
RYE — The answer is contained in (forming part of) militaRY Experiment

75 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2145 by Tracy”

  1. 3:56, which while not my fastest time ever, is about as fast as I can imagine going. And it always boggles the mind that there are those who can do the puzzle still twice as fast.

    I’ll have to take Kitty’s word for it when it comes to the elegance of Tracy’s clues — I scarcely had time to read them.

  2. 12:14. FACT and DECAMP were my last ones in. Took a while to see “affected” sense in latter.Tried to fit EPHEMERAL into 9 AC but it had a letter too many. So imagine my surprise to see it fit the next clue I looked at- 5 down. COD was EVENSONG-thanks, Kitty, for helpful blog.

  3. I was doing really well! Until I wasn’t haha
    I haven’t really heard of DECAMP or EVENSONG and the relative trickiness of the clues didn’t help me

    Other things I didn’t know: gen = inside information, lag = convict. First time I’ve seen F for loud, I should have known, given we have P so often, but I was too busy saying synonyms for ‘turn’ out loud in my best English accent hahaha

    I also got stuck with tell-tale for a bit, I turned tale backwards and was sure it was.. Relatable or relating or relation but no it didn’t work

    We had spectrum – crumpets recently!

    My favourite clues are the ones that construct themselves like ETHEREAL

    I do like Tracy’s puzzles, thanks Kitty for the blog!

    1. GEN=info, LAG=convict; definitely need to be remembered. CAMP seems always to be clued as ‘affected’.

      1. Thanks Kevin! I have written those two down in my little notes section on my phone.

        1. Also write down f (forte) loud and p (piano) soft – which you will find on page one of most musical notation manuals.

        1. Lol don’t go

          I reckon any cryptic crossword fan that doesn’t like a pun is a liar

  4. 11 minutes. Another target missed, but only by 1 minute. For some reason I had a mental blockage in the NE corner with SOLE, SURPLUS and LEEK all reluctant to come to mind.

    1. I had written in BEET trying to convince myself that English people use ‘beset’ as a slang term for smooth 😂 I got to leek eventually

  5. I didn’t care for GENDARME; armed–>darme isn’t much of an anagram. 4:08, which may be a PB.

    1. The Liverpool fans in Paris on Saturday didn’t care for them much either!
      At 4.08 I could just about see the PIER at RYE!

    2. A good start to the week arriving a few minutes before the club doors open.
      FOI Gendarme. Always happy to start at the top left. COD EVENSONG. Thanks Tracy and Kitty. Have a good week. Don’t forget to get yER party hats ready.

      1. If I celebrate the Jubilee with my first cigar for over 10 years, I shall hold you personally responsible for putting the idea in my head 😂

  6. I was on the 7:30 schooner from Helsinki to Rye.

    FOI 1ac GENDARME- le rozzer
    LOI 21ac CROSSBAR- that bit of the woodwork!
    COD 13ac DECAMP – a French coffee with essence of chicory and served by a Sikh barista.
    WOD 5dn EPHEMERAL – so not Blackpool then?

    I enjoyed the Westminster-centric reference at 15ac to ‘Partygate’, which Jeremy missed, in his haste.

      1. I missed it too but not exactly relevant anyway as it’s not the head of state who’s broken rules.

        1. The way be has behaved recently I assumed, from afar, that King Boris was our Head of State. RESIGN!

    1. I wondered who was the telltale who slurred Boris by leeking details of the No 10 parties. Maybe Piers Morgan will write an article about the dis-reputable behaviour investigated by the London gendarme?

  7. 22 minutes from FOI and COD GENDARME to LOI: DECAMP.
    Three hiddens.

  8. Came up a few clues short in the SW corner. Pencilled in DECAMP but could not parse, was thinking “low grades” meant not hilly, flat. Surprised that “on” means “after” in an across clue. I was trying BAR or (INN, LOCAL etc) at the front.

    Liked having both ETHEREAL and EPHEMERAL in, crossing each other.


    1. It’s pretty much a rule that ON means after in an across clue. It’s worth remembering if you get stuck. In a down clue it’s always the case that ON means before.

  9. I’m another to race through the top and stall a bit at the bottom. Ended up with PIER where it looked liked it fitted the definition, I could see the I insertion but for some reason in my mind that left me with ‘pee’ for through and it wasn’t until I wrote it in that spotted the R. Odd how the mind works. Wrote SPECTRUM in on sight but tussled with ARTISAN. All green in 12 with a sense I’ve missed out on a really quick one.

  10. I agree with the assessment of this setter and this puzzle. For me, time is not of the essence, although I aim for under 15 mins and I am pleased if I achieve under 10 mins. More importantly, the Quick Cryptic has radically improved my ability to do the main puzzle with confidence by teaching me the basics in action.

  11. Very neat and typical Tracy, I think. Not a single mark on my copy except the filled in squares and my time… 3:42. Thank-you Tracy and Kitty

    1. Oops. Sorry. That was me still logged in as administrator. [Spelling fixed – thanks Steakcity]

      1. You do seem to be having the occasional keyboard malfunction today 🙂

  12. 3.49

    Like Jeremy this is as fast as I could possibly imagine going and a PB for sure probably by a minute.

    As Kitty says smooth, straightforward and spot on for a Quickie


    Thanks all

  13. A pink square due to carelessness and then only doing a perfunctory spell check in my attempt to get a sub 5 minute time, which I missed anyway 😂 – that’ll teach me.
    I stuck eThemeral at 5d, which I can only explain as a result of entering it directly after ETHEREAL. Other than that a pleasant top to bottom solve, finishing with CROSSBAR.
    Thanks to Kitty

  14. One of the easiest for a while I think. 3:04 here, and I was looking for a rare sub-3 until I ran aground in the SE corner with PIER and EVENSONG not coming immediately to mind.

    1. Now there’s a familiar face! I haven’t seen you here for a long time, Andy. Welcome back!

      1. Thanks Jack.

        I still get very little time for crosswords these days but as you’ve all gone to the trouble of building a whole new site (something I thought about often and never got round to) I thought I’d try and start contributing again when I can.

        1. All good news, but I wonder happened to your avatar between your first and second comments. I miss the little dog!

          1. My theory is that the system had logged me out. I tried resubmitting it after logging back in but that didn’t work. As I’m logged in now though the avatar should be there this time.

  15. A puzzle of two halves as like some others I found the top half went in very smoothly and the bottom half needed a bit more thought. All done in 11 minutes – not my fastest, but a very enjoyable solve.

    I did enjoy the idea of Doric columns gracing the architecture of Finland and Iceland! And just the thought of a spectrum of crumpets is enough to get me salivating. Only slight query was over telltale, which I always spell hyphenated as tell-tale, but I see on checking that the one word version is allowed.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  16. I started really quickly and was totally immersed in this nice QC. I was surprised when the clock showed I was only a minute under my 15 minute target. I thought it had been much quicker and I was further deflated on seeing so many whizzy times above. Ah well…..
    Thanks to Tracy for a good Monday puzzle and Kitty for the blog. John M.

  17. I loved this puzzle, taking a little extra time to appreciate the cleverness of some of the clues; 15a, 21a, 5d for example, and still coming in a minute under my 20 min target.

    I was held up by DECAMP as I couldn’t get it from the ue and needed and alphabet trawl to find a letter that would work between a and p.

    It took me a few minutes to parse EPHEMERAL as I could see the anagram from the checkers but could not see ‘resort’ as ‘re-sort’. Haven’t come across that as an anagram signal before.

    COD must be the clever RESIGN

    Thanks Kitty and Tracy, good start to the day. Prof

  18. Much enjoyed aa usual with Tracy, and agree with Kitty’s blog, which I didn’t need for once, but thanks anyway. Most went in quickly with only occasional input from grey cells. FOI GENDARME, LOI GALLEON, COD DECAMP – made me laugh, but not quite as clever as RESIGN, where I missed the joke in my haste.

  19. I agree with Kitty about the puzzle. My COD was PIER which held me up a bit.
    Last two were ARROW and FACT coming in at just over 8 minutes. A nice start to the week.

  20. Enjoyable QC. Good to zoom through for a change, though I slowed down in SW. LOI the fairly easy FACT. Quickly biffed but couldn’t parse EVENSONG, DECAMP, RESIGN.
    Thanks all, esp Kitty.
    (We had a wonderful choral evensong in the village a few Sundays ago with a visiting Oxford choir)

  21. FOI GENDARME, LOI TELLTALE. Considered EPHEMERAL for 9a, which conjured it up for 5d. 7:01. Thanks Tracy and Kitty.

  22. Like Blighter, I was surprised to see that this had taken me 14 minutes to complete, with the top half being considerably quicker than the bottom. My LOI was EVENSONG after REPUTABLE gave me its first letter.

    If Tracy had really wanted to make a political statement at 15a, he could have made the clue ‘Step down after head of government gets into repeated evil’.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog, and to Tracy for a fine example of the QC arts.

  23. ‘One more ARROW landing in a shady spot somewhere….’ (Elton John, from the album ‘Too Low for Zero’. I ARROWed through this, avoided typos…..then submitted without the leaderboard. Ah well !

    COD RESIGN (in the name of God, go !)
    TIME 3:26

  24. 16 mins…

    Thought it was going to be faster, but I also got bogged down at the bottom and initially put “Depart” for 13ac which didn’t help with “Reputable”.

    Always find it amusing when we get clues that seem to mirror current events, 1ac “Gendarme” and 15ac “Resign” (accurate or not). However, did we need “Inside” for 1ac? I always thought Gen=Info anyway – guessing it’s for the surface only.

    FOI – 1ac “Gendarme”
    LOI – 11dn “Reputable”
    COD – 25ac “Evensong”

    Thanks as usual!

  25. Raced through until held up by DECAMP and CROSSBAR which I eventually got after much head scratching. Finally over the line in 19 mins. Needed blog to parse EVENSONG and EPHEMERAL (did not spot ‘in resort’ as anagram indicator) – many thanks for the explanations Kitty. Thought DECAMP was very clever, even though it was my LOI. Also liked RESIGN! Many thanks all.

  26. 6 1/2 mins so fast for me. Esp after football related drowning of sorrows.
    COD galleon.

  27. Fairly quick for me at 7.35, held up briefly by EPHEMERAL. Like Flashman not happy with the result on Saturday. With all that went on prior to the match involving the reds supporters, two answers today GENDARME and RESIGN are very applicable!

  28. Very pleased to cross the line in 27 minutes today, which is very fast for me. My only doubts along the way were DECAMP, which I couldn’t parse until I read Kitty’s blog (very clever!), and PIER, which I still can’t understand. Why does ‘through’ = PER?

    Mrs Random is busy giving her latest teddy bear some eyes at the moment. It looks a horrific operation, what with the size of the needle she’s using and the detached head, etc.

    Many thanks to Tracy and Kitty.

    1. Chambers has one definition of PER as Through, By means of, According to.
      Must say that I, like you, was a bit unsure about it.

  29. Nice Tracy puzzle for a Monday.
    Raced through top half thinking I was on a fast time only to guess DEPART for 13A – without parsing. This held me up going into the SE corner until I had the other crossers for 11D and looked more closely at 13A to correct my earlier mistake.
    Finished as quickly as I began with the remainder in around 17 minutes.
    Thanks Kitty and Tracy

  30. I was troubled in the SW corner but not for too long. I didn’t equate mechanic with ARTISAN. I know it is perfectly fair and I have definitely seen mechanic/artificer before now. Thank goodness it was an anagram. My LOI was CROSSBAR purely from the checkers and wordplay. Not surprisingly when I searched for an image of a crossbar I got a surfeit of goals. 7:02 for a very good day.

    1. As an ex RN Engine Room Artificer, equating Artificer with Mechanic goes against the grain somewhat. In the RN they are two very different species!

  31. From Collins: Quarrel- an arrow with a four-edged head, shot from a crossbow .I wonder if setter was aware of this when he chose a synonym for “row”? So there’s a definition
    for ARROW at start and end of clue!

  32. “easier-end puzzles” … ha ha ha … really it wasn’t. I suppose the top two lines were as I had first four across and 3 down within a minute or two.

    55-mins DNF with 3 wrong – SURPasS and ABEL (son) plus FAiT for FACT (thought TURN=FIT and with so many other answers I couldn’t parse, assumed it was another).

    Just couldn’t see stuff today. Took forever to get what I consider should have been BIFs in ARROW, GALLEON (got stuck thinking of gondola), PIER, REPUTABLE (even though I had the REP part).

    Slow to unscramble ARTISAN (I obviously don’t know what it means if it could be a mechanic) and slow with EPHEMERAL (partly because I was trying to shove in an extra E for real, probably nudged into that by ETHEREAL).


    Thanks to Kitty and Tracy

    1. It’s all relative, L-plates! I really meant relative to all cryptics, although my time today was about the same as the last QC I blogged, which is fast for me.

      Having lost my L-plates a few years ago (very careless…) it’s great to get your perspective, as well as that of other relative newbies, and follow your progress. 🙂

  33. A quick one here too, at 7:10, all parsed. In fact, I zipped through it so quickly (for me anyway) that I didn’t really appreciate the subtlety of some of the clues, so really enjoyed going back and savouring them again. Hard to pick a best of today – I liked RESIGN, EVENSONG and GALLEON in particular😊
    FOI Gendarme LOI Crossbar COD Decamp WODs Ethereal and Ephemeral – but there was nothing wispy about this crossword!
    Many thanks Tracy and Kitty

  34. A gentle stroll today.
    Nearly had a mer about arrows quarrels and darts but decided not to

  35. 14:41

    Very much at the easier end of the er spectrum today. Slight hold up with SURPLUS and LOI ETHEREAL, but nothing tricky.

  36. Perhaps it’s Monday rust, but I struggled after a good start. I took in the region of 40 mins which seems pathetically slow compared to many. A bit frustrating!

    I needed the blog to explain decamp and resign.


  37. Slowed down by the sw corner, but still a quick solve for us. Pleasant puzzle to start the week.

  38. Helloo! It’s a bit late now, but just wanted to drop in and say hi. I always read your comments with interest as they arrive, but can’t usually reply until evening. Work has been so busy lately that I’ve found the last thing I then want to do is write more words. I hope that will change. In any case I am happy that there is always someone from this wonderful community who is able and willing to respond to questions as they arise.

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