Times Quick Cryptic 2150 by Pedro


Solving time: 9 minutes with time lost thinking that 9dn was going to be a pure anagram instead of just a partial.


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 Boot produced in New Zealand city (10)
Two meanings
7 Dark period — imminent source of trouble (5)
NIGH (imminent), T{rouble} [source of…]
8 Feeble leaders from England and France attending festivity (6)
E{ngland} + F{rance} [leaders], then FETE (festivity)
10 Return of tailless bird provides something to chew over (3)
DUC{k} (bird) [tailless] reversed [return]. Ruminant animals such as cows chew this.
12 Award no mild ale after brewing (9)
Anagram [brewing] of NO MILD ALE
13 Insect not found to contain copper (6)
LOST (not found) to contain CU (copper)
14 School is beginning to mend division of opinion (6)
SCH (school), IS, M{end} [beginning]
17 Chairman’s upset, advocating disorder (9)
Anagram [upset] of CHAIRMAN’S
19 Set goals every lesson, initially (3)
G{oals} E{very} L{esson} [initially]
20 Allow recommendation regarding hairstyle? (6)
A straight definition and a cryptic hint requiring the insertion of a space: PERM IT
21 A lot of shops brought back source of wool (5)
A + MALL (lot of shops) reversed [brought back]
23 Normal electricity supply runs into working unit (10)
MAINS (electricity supply), then R (runs) contained by [into] TEAM (working unit)
1 Small group in West Indies close to supply of drink (4,6)
CELL (small group) contained by [in] WI (West Indies) + NEAR (close)
2 Left, for instance? There’s a right one, too! (3)
L (left), EG (for instance). You really need the whole clue as the definition here and even then it’s all a bit vague unless I’m missing something?
3 Narrow strip of land is accordingly crossing motorway (7)
IS, then THUS (accordingly) containing [crossing] M (motorway)
4 Acquisitive editor printed in paler black? (6)
ED (editor) contained by [printed in] GREY (paler black). I imagine the question mark is present because the definition of ‘grey’ is a bit iffy.
5 Meat product not fresh? Not quite entirely (5)
OFF (not fresh), AL{l} (entirely) [not quite]. I’d rather not be thinking about offal that’s going off!
6 Remarkable    industrial action (8)
Two meanings
9 Resolved main fear about start of fine novel (6,4)
Anagram [resolved] of MAIN, then ALARM (fear) containing [about] F{ine} [start of…]. As mentioned in the intro I wasted time here having assumed the answer would be an anagram of MAIN FEAR containing F{ine}. The book by George Orwell was published as ‘a fairy story’ in 1945.
11 Stated: “Last month Liberal will get ahead of a Communist” (8)
DEC (last month),  L (Liberal), A, RED (Communist)
15 Fantastic castle turned up: item at auction (7)
CAME (turned up), LOT (item at auction). The castle and court of the legendary King Arthur.
16 Pay attention: there’s something false about street name (6)
LIE (something false) containing [about] ST (street), then N (name)
18 It gives one pause, particularly in this clue (5)
A straight definition and a hint referring to the punctuation mark in the clue.
22 Took nutrition at end of race (3)
AT, {rac}, E [end]

51 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2150 by Pedro”

  1. Biffed MAINSTREAM, WINE CELLAR. Like Jack, started by thinking (main, fear)*. 4:16.

  2. 14:37. For a while thought OFFAL might start with ox as the meat . Enjoyed CAMELOT and NIGHT but COD to WINE CELLAR. Thanks for explaining how MAINSTREAM and ANIMAL FARM work and rest of blog. (I guess if grey is pale black then pink could be pale red).

  3. I felt slow here at 6:40. For ANARCHISM I kept thinking ANACHRONISM and wondered for too long whether ANACHRISM was something. MAINSTREAM also took a long time because I couldn’t see MAINS.

    Did much better on the main today. (No pun intended.)

  4. Also, I would say the ‘definition’ for LEG is “(there’s) a right one, too”, where ‘definition’ here is ‘defining phrase’. In this case, a phrase which refers to the surface reading of the clue.

    A defining phrase is not unusual; for example, from Monday’s NYT puzzle, we have “Macbeth” has five of these, which I hope is a clue for ACTS, but neither that phrase nor any part of it is synonymous with the answer; the clue is simply a phrase which defines the answer. (I suppose you could say ‘these’ = ACTS, but that doesn’t pass the substitution test: you can’t say “Macbeth” has five of ACTS. And you can say “Macbeth” has five ACTS but ACTS isn’t synonymous with ‘of these’.)

    1. I was thinking consonants. Must be why I am in the SCC and you are not!

  5. I was sailing through until I got to the bottom right hand corner. Mainstream and Animal Farm really did a number on me. So about half an hour all up, but a good five or so minutes on Mainstream.

    Maybe a good few min on the tailless bird too. I was like, can ya chew on a RIB?

    I also found the Permit parsing very difficult.

    Foi: wellington
    Loi: mainstream
    Cod: I like clues like Declared where I just put in the word play first and get the definition after.

    Thanks Jackkt and Pedro!

  6. There are two possible answers to 1ac. WELLINGTON and CANTERBURY! The latter is a well-known brand of Rugby Boot which derives from New Zealand. ‘The ‘All Blacks’.have used them for decades.’ H0wever, brand names are not allowed in week day puzzles, even tho’ today we appear have ‘Camelot’ Lottery Solutions represented subliminally!

    Cock-eyed grid I’ve not seen before!

    FOI 1ac WELLINGTON – the wellie – green wellies to go with one’s Barbour!
    LOI 20ac PERMIT
    WOD 8ac EFFETE

    I failed to time myself – it was hardly spectacular

  7. ANIMAL FARM was never going to be an anagram of MAIN FEAR F since it is one letter short. But it was close enough for me to write in the answer without worrying about the clue. A few others were ones where I guessed the answer before I even read the clue.

    1. One letter short

      Yes, but I’d already started down that road before I noticed! It all counts as time wasted when trying to solve against the clock.

    2. Ah, but if you add “c” for “about” you have the right number of letters. I had worked out the anagrist using this, then saw the answer and didn’t check back to see if it fitted completely – is this a semi-biff?

  8. I liked the ‘fantastic castle’ and WINE CELLAR … you are never far from drink in the West Indies? Thanks all.

  9. I have often struggled to get to grips with Pedro but other than biffing ANIMAL FARM and WINE CELLAR I moved leisurely through in an enjoyable 23.30 to start the week from my usual corner seat in the club. Enjoyed COMMA
    Thanks Jack and Pedro.
    I hope you were all suitably jubileed, refreshed and ready for whatever you are doing today.

  10. A gentle start to the week – I thought I might be on for a clean sweep until I missed PERMIT. COD to ATE Thanks Pedro and Jackkt. 3:17.

  11. 30min20 … off to a flying start with 5 of the first 6 across clues going in. Couple more down the bottom then I started on the downs and zip, nothing, nada for a while. The bottom half was a lot slower than the top.

    In the good moments I was BIFfing the clues and then seeing the parsing. But then when I biffed NIGHT, I couldn’t see its parsing and took it back out. God knows where I dregged ISTHMUS from.

    Couldn’t unravel the CHAIRMANS / ANARCHISM anagram until 4th or 5th attempt. I guess the -ISM ending was holding me back until I got CAMELOT. And WINE-CELLAR sat there irritatingly unsolved despite having all the checkers.


    Thanks to Pedro and Jackkt

  12. A flyer today as I finished in a fraction under 6 minutes – not quite a PB but it is rare indeed for my time to start with a 5. And I usually struggle with Pedro too. But from the very start the answers fell in very smoothly.

    “Paler black” is an interesting concept; one can, I am reliably told, have 50 shades of grey but black is by its nature rather more of an absolute. Though no doubt the paint manufacturers will have multiple names for it …

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  13. Pedro was in a surprisingly generous mood today. Started with WELLINGTON and my only real delays were parsing ANIMAL FARM, LOI MAINSTREAM and EFFETE, which was made more challenging by misspelling grRedy at 4d. Finished in 7.19.
    Thanks to Jack

  14. Held up for some time by my LOI, 23A, even with all the checkers, but all done eventually in 18 mins. Liked DECLARED.

  15. A steady solve for me and I was under target at 14.28. Some nice clues. Thanks to Pedro for a pleasant start to the week and to jack for a good blog. John M.

  16. Well my time started with a 15, but there were too many seconds after that number to claim I was on target – 15.38! Held up like others by the parsing of ANIMAL FARM, although if I’d just biffed it, I probably would have made target, but without knowing why. An awful lot of Ms in the grid, I thought.

    It’s been a pleasant weekend, with street parties, celebrations and cricket.

    Thanks Pedro and Jackkt.

  17. LOI MAINSTREAM which took me a while as I wanted it to start PAR for normal.
    11 minutes on the clock. Did not pause to parse ANIMAL FARM or would have been longer. Had all the checkers so was very confident.
    A nice start to the week.

  18. Quite slow at first, but better after a few random clues slotted in. Pity WINE CELLAR was LOI, as that would have helped earlier. Biffed ANIMAL FARM after a few checkers. Liked MAINSTREAM, COMMA, CAMELOT, LLAMA.
    Blog much needed, thanks Jack.

  19. I was slowed down at 1d as I biffed bottle instead of CELLAR. COMMA also gave me pause for thought but it was MAINSTREAM that forced me outside my target 9 mins. 9:24

  20. Failed as I had WING COLLAR for 1d, LOI, thinking nothing else could possibly fit. On reflection I thing it’s called a “ winged collar”, so a double fail. Also struggle with PERMIT, where “regarding”=RE set me off on a wild goose chase.

    18d(COMMA) would have worked equally well for COLON, I had the initial C so had to really squint to see which one it was.

    I liked DECLARED as COD.

    1. I have issues making out small things in print too so pulled out trusty magnifying glass to confirm which punctuation mark it was!

  21. COMMA and PERMIT held me up at the end, though still within target range.

    Odd looking grid!


  22. WELLINGTON started the proceedings. Last 2 in were WINE CELLAR and ANIMAL FARM, both biffed. 6:00. Thanks Pedro and Jack.

  23. Whizzed through the “top left triangle” and then got totally stuck on the “bottom right triangle”, wasting lots of time trying to find an extra letter to add to “main fear f” and thinking that 23ac would end “therm”. I was also using the Club site for the first time for ages, which substantially increases the pressure of every delay!

    FOI WELLINGTON, LOI PERMIT (tried to make “helmet” work for a while), COD SCHISM, time 10:27 for 2.2K and a Poor Day.

    Thanks Pedro and Jack.


  24. Quite a gentle start to the week with only MAINSTREAM causing a real hold up.

  25. A good start in the NW, with Wellington a welcome write-in. Steady progress thereafter left me comfortably placed for a sub-20 but my last pair, Comma/Permit, put up enough resistance to push me into the SCC. I was convinced 20ac began Re-, right up until the moment I finally saw Comma. One that got away, so well done Pedro. Invariant

  26. “Beware ! There are LLAMAs” (Monty Python’s Flying Circus).

    I really thought a PB was on here, but my LOI interrupted an otherwise top to bottom solve. After fully half a minute’s deliberation I biffed it – thanks Jack !

    TIME 2:58

  27. Hello folks, Never been a cryptic crossword solver until the start of lockdown from which time my wife and I have been steadily getting more in tune with the devious ingenuity of the band of setters! We have never been to the stage where we have actually set a clock to see how fast we can do it but its rarely less than an hour and we often have to come to this site to fill in the last one or two. Like probably thousands of other users of the site I have never commented here before but thought I must just say that I raced through this one so easily I was astonished to have completed all but Mainstream within the time I took to drink a cup of coffee ( its usually at least three cups! ) Sadly I was so excited about the prospect of being able to say i was within the elite band of sub about ten minuters that I rushed and all I could think of was Nannotherm, I had convinced myself that it must be therm as a “working unit”…. oh well, it would have probably taken me another 50 minutes to get that so i suppose I will still have count myself as an approximately 1 hour solver! Thanks all you regular contributors for all your help getting me this far after the last couple of years plus! Chips.

    1. Great to hear from you! Do keep posting now you’ve broken the ice. Last Clue Fever is a well-known disease in these parts, so you have my full sympathy.

    2. Welcome Chips,
      I think from reading all the comments that MAINSTREAM proved problematic for many ….. I too wanted it to end in ‘therm’.

    3. Welcome – well done on the almost sub-10 – still pretty impressive to get so much done in that time.

      I post here to moral support for the slower solvers!

  28. 22 mins…

    Started fairly easily in the NW corner and made steady progress, but then got bogged down with 3dn “Isthmus” (tried to insert an “i”) and 23ac “Mainstream” (where I tried to insert “therm” at the end). Eventually it all fell into place for a good start to the week, even if I nearly fell over when I saw the price of the Times.

    FOI – 1ac “Wellington”
    LOI – 23ac “Mainstream”
    COD – 18dn “Comma”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. I did well on this one, being unable to answer only two. MAINSTREAM, which I could see once I came here. Also, EFFETE, a word I am unfamiliar with.

    Did not time myself today as I was on and off with this during the course of the morning.

  30. 4:31 – clean sweep and a PB. I must have slept well.

    Thanks for the blog Jack.

  31. Found this one nice and gentle for a Monday, although PERMIT and MAINSTREAM held me up. Like others on here I was also chewing on a RIB for a while.

  32. Sailed through most of this until the last three clues, 23a mainstream, when we also tried to fit therm into the end of the word. Still finished well within our target. Thanks Pedro for a pleasant start to the week.

  33. My PB has stood for a day shy of a year without me getting even close to it (nearest was 1:43 off) but today I was whizzing through and thought I had a shot at it, albeit with some serious biffing going on. Furiously I scribbled in my LOI PERMIT and stopped my watch….5 seconds out in 8:39. Slightly disappointed therefore, but nevertheless pleased with the effort, especially as I am sure it was a tougher puzzle than the Oink one of a year ago. COD to LOCUST as it got both an animal and a chemical symbol, two of my favourite things, in to the same clue. Thanks Pedro and Jack.

    1. Unlucky on the near PB … but well done on the first sub-10 in that time. Bittersweet – but focus on the positive!

  34. Others have commented on the unusual grid – has it been seen before? Got through ok with FOI 1a Wellington. LOI 23a mainstream. COD 17a Anarchism (I’ve know many a Chairman create anarchy…). Grateful that Jack has provided more articulate parsing for a couple I muddled through. A nice puzzle, solved through a number of sittings in a busy day and evening, so thanks too to Pedro.

Comments are closed.