Times Quick Cryptic 2155 by Jalna

Warm greetings from sunny Dorset, where I am staying with my friend Willow the cat and his humans.

I enjoyed this one, from the neat 1a to the smooth 19d.  Lately I seem to fare better than usual with puzzles ending in 5: perhaps blogging focusses my mind.  Therefore, I will just leave it to you all to report back on how you found it.  Thanks Jalna!

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

1a Toy soldier cannot aim when broken (6,3)
ACTION MAN CANNOT AIM when anagrammed (broken)
6a Football, perhaps gold and black (3)
ORB OR (gold, in heraldry) + B (black)
8a Everything considered as part of final lesson (2,3)
IN ALL — The answer is part of fINAL Lesson
9a It’s used by artists in moderate amounts, initially (7)
TEMPERA TEMPER (moderate) + Amounts, first letter (initially)
10a Pathogen changing shape (8)
HEPTAGON PATHOGEN anagrammed (changing)
11a Time to request some work (4)
TASK T (time) + ASK (to request)
13a Polish front of sideboard with rag? (9)
SANDPAPER — The first letter (front) of Sideboard + AND (with) + PAPER (rag, newspaper)
16a Shout about everything (4)
CALL C (about) + ALL (everything)
17a Small metropolitan area accepting vehicle shortage (8)
SCARCITY S (small) and CITY (metropolitan area) containing (accepting) CAR (vehicle)
20a French country house requiring gas and local water? (7)
CHATEAU CHAT (gas, natter) and EAU (local water, i.e. the French word for water)
21a More evil packing material, unopened (5)
ILLER — fILLER (packing material) without the first letter (unopened)
22a Had lunch in canteen, occasionally (3)
ATE — This is alternate letters of (… occasionally) cAnTeEn
23a Acted up, finally, with respect to what a barworker did? (9)
PRETENDED — The last letter of (… finally) uP + RE (with respect to) + TENDED (what a barworker did?)  The trick here is to think of a bartender
1d Come down to earth after a match (6)
ALIGHT After A is LIGHT (match)
2d March right up in front of a politician (5)
TRAMP RT (right) reversed (up) comes before (in front of) A + MP (politician)
3d Artist’s colour I left inside in a pot, possibly (3,5)
OIL PAINT I and L (left) inside an anagram of (… possibly) IN A POT
4d New competition providing a home for extremely unfamiliar film (6,7)
MOTION PICTURE — An anagram of (new) COMPETITION  going around (providing a home for) the outer letters of (extremely) UnfamiliaRI was happy to find that the film was not the usual ET!
5d Celebrity in the morning visiting Tyneside? (4)
NAME AM (in the morning) inside (visiting) NE (Tyneside?)
6d Candid atmosphere displayed outside? (4-3)
OPEN-AIR OPEN (candid) + AIR (atmosphere)
7d Stockpiles containing fifty empty cartridges (6)
BLANKS BANKS (stockpiles) containing L (fifty)
12d Piece of software put up for review (8)
APPRAISE APP (piece of software) + RAISE (put up)
13d Rescue fierce creature, grabbing end of tail (7)
SALVAGE SAVAGE (fierce creature) around (grabbing) the last letter of (end of) taiL
14d Plant‘s account supported by a covert US group (6)
ACACIA AC (account) followed by (supported by, in a down entry) A + CIA (covert US group)
15d Cross, somewhat tetchy bridegroom (6)
HYBRID Somewhat tetcHY BRIDegroom
18d I was the manager after days, and did very little! (5)
IDLED I + LED (was the manager) after D (days).  D = days (plural) in is Oxford (ODE)
19d Spring meadow with the first sign of poppies (4)
LEAP LEA (meadow) the first letter of (first sign of) Poppies

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2155 by Jalna”

  1. 18:15. Tried to put fame in for NAME but luckily realized Tyneside was NE. Think of SANDPAPER as abrading a surface not smoothing it but I guess there are times when it does the latter. I used to never know which was which between TEMPERA and Tempura- and the egg with the paint and not with the food added to the confusion! COD to ACTION MAN. Thanks for helping parse many of these for me.

    1. Sandpaper grades go from v coarse to so fine it’s like writing paper. I did a woodworking course a couple of years ago and polished the piece I was making by going through the grades. SO – why couldn’t I see it straight away at 13a???

  2. 5:12. OIL PAINT eluded me — I didn’t see that IN was part of the anagrist.

  3. I already forget what slowed me down, other than ILLER. I biffed OIL PAINT & MOTION PICTURE; never bothered to parse the latter. Like Jeremy, I didn’t spot IN as part of the anagrist. Sandpapering is not polishing. 9:02.

  4. l was on the 15:00 heading for the Chateau.

    FOI 6ac ORB
    LOI 21ac ILLER
    WOD 14dn ACACIA

    13ac the finer grades of 13ac SANDPAPER are indeed used for polishing!

  5. 11 minutes, missing my target 10 yet again but I can’t see what delayed me. Certainly 1ac was a write-in so there was no delay in getting started.

    As has already been pointed out SANDPAPER can be used for polishing, depending on its grade.

    1. Kevin is correct. I have never found a grade of sandpaper that can achieve a true polish. Fine sandpaper can achieve a high level of smoothing but the residual scratching needs a much finer grade to achieve a polished, shiny, finish.
      See my comments below. I think there is a lingering confusion with different, much finer, materials that are applied to paper and cloth to achieve a polished finish. I do not recommend using any grade of sandpaper when polishing gemstones or glass.
      I wish this particular misunderstanding could be laid to rest.

  6. 18 minutes with no hold-ups other than my last one in running through packing materials.
    Favourite: SCARCITY.
    No problem with SANDPAPER for polish which has come up before.

    1. Hopped around a bit but was left with a sense of disappointment and head shake (is this a MER+) with LOI ILLER. Felt OK with (F)ILLER but ‘more evil’? Just did not work and not convinced. “I don’t wish someone ill/evil” maybe, but, ILLER??
      Par SCC time around the 24min mark but that includes 5 minutes on LOI.
      Thanks Jalna, Kitty, cat and all

  7. 7.29

    Bottom up solve as ACTION MAN didn’t immediately spring to mind

    I was also (bit embarrassingly) confused by the TEMPERA/TEMPURA thing.

    “..front of sideboard with rag?” was rather good – can understand the polish issues but maybe if is a very fine grade

    Looking back the smoothness quotient was very high to my eyes – nice one Jalna and thanks Kitty

  8. A slow and steady solve: no out-and-out hold-ups but it still took me 15 minutes to complete this very nice puzzle. For once all parsed as I went along too, though it took two attempts to work out exactly how 18D Idled worked, as at first I thought “I managed” had to be taken together to give I LED and then didn’t see how “after days” implied inserting a D. Once I separated the I and Managed, all was clear …

    Many thanks to Kitty for the very full blog

    1. PRESERVED seemed pretty good for 23a (PRETENDED), with “served” for “ what a bar worker did”. This led to a DNF in that corner. I also missed ILLER, which I thought was a poor clue. I challenge the bloggers to use it in a sentence where its meaning is “more evil”.

      Unlike last week’s TETRAGON, no complaints with HEPTAGON. Math fans will know the regular heptagon is not constructible with compass and ruler and is the smallest regular polygon with this property. The 20p and 50p the coins are heptagons, the sides are curved outwards to allow the coins to roll smoothly when they are inserted into a vending machine.


  9. 17 mins…

    Thought there were a few tricky definitions in this: 1ac “Action Man” for Toy Soldier, 13ac “Sandpaper” for Polishing, 21ac “Iller” for More Evil. They’ve all come up before and aren’t new, but still caused some hesitation. For some reason, really struggled with the parsing for 2dn “Tramp” – I always think of right as being a single “r”, never “rt” – similarly I tend to get unstuck whenever “pr” is used for pair.

    FOI – 1ac “Action Man”
    LOI – 23ac “Pretended”
    COD – 12dn “Appraise” – for nearly sending me down the “Approval” route.

    Thanks as usual!

  10. We’ve had polish for SANDPAPER before so it didn’t hold me up, but I don’t like it. To me polishing involves making something shiny, and I don’t care what grade it is – sandpaper doesn’t do that! Ask any Australian cricketer.

    FOI TRAMP, LOI ILLER (golden raspberry from me), COD MOTION PICTURE because I was so relieved that it wasn’t the name of a film I’d never watched, time 10:28 for 1.2K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Jalna and Kitty.


  11. A toughish start to the week I thought with quite a few answers slow to dawn on me, finishing in 11.08, a minute or so outside my target. Didn’t realise 4dn was an anagram for a long time, and didn’t help myself by misreading the clue and looking for a six letter second half of the clue instead of seven. I seem to do this regularly on two word clues, I’ve no idea why!
    I too wasn’t impressed with ILLER as an answer. LOI was 23ac which took me far longer than it should have.

  12. An enjoyable puzzle. I was content with a time of 10 seconds over target.
    However, I must take issue again (this came up a year or two ago) with the use of SANDPAPER as a synonym for polish. Sandpaper (made from sand) is an abrasive, not a polisher. Ask any wood- or metal-worker. There are fine papers/cloths that are used for polishing metal, gemstones (e.g. emery cloth and crocus cloth) which I also use for glass polishing. However, they do not use sand. Most use very fine iron oxide particles. Sand can never achieve the polished finish that these materials produce.
    I agree that ILLER was pretty weak, too. A pity. I liked PRETENDED, though. It was my LOI and took me a while to see, even with crossers.
    Despite my quibbles, thanks to Jalna. And thanks to Kitty for the blog. John M.

    1. Yes, we’re in the realms of too much knowledge here (as a trained musician I often have similar gripes about musical matters) but setters are guided by dictionaries and dictionary compilers reflect usage which is not necessarily the same as technical accuracy as it changes or widens over time. All the usual source dictionaries reflect sandpaper/polish and vice versa somewhere in their definitions and some inform us that sandpaper isn’t necessarily made with sand anyway. Stand up for your corner by all means but I’m afraid you’re in for disappointment.

        1. Anything exercise-related for me. Fortunately there hasn’t been too much to quibble about over the months other than “PE” for gym

      1. Polish implies glossy.
        Smooth is OK because it doesn’t.
        The definitions I have looked up don’t use the two words interchangeably.
        It is not such a fine balance (!). I am happy to let the compilers ‘polish’ their precious metals and gems with sandpaper (however fine the grade) and see how they get on.
        All it needs is to change:
        Polish front of sideboard with rag? (9)
        Smooth front of sideboard with rag? (9)
        It would save any misunderstanding and all the comments (above and below).
        Thanks for your comments. John.

  13. I was expecting some super quick times today for this one as I found it straight forward. FOI ACTION MAN and LOI APPRAISE. I biffed MOTION PICTURE from checkers and my COD goes to HEPTAGON for the surface. 6:26

  14. I found this quite tricky in places. Got off to a bad start by getting assuming 1a referred to those little lead soldiers some people collect – so ACTION MAN came much later once some checkers were in place – and was held up at the end by ALIGHT, NHO TEMPERA and LOI ILLER.
    A lot to enjoy in the middle, especially the sigh of relief that 4d wasn’t some obscure B/W film from several decades ago.
    Finished in 12.32 and now off to try my luck with the biggie which I see has a low snitch score.
    Thanks to Kitty

  15. Started with NAME finished with PRETENDED. No dramas. 6:46. Thanks Jalna and Kitty.

  16. ILL (noun) is defined as a synonym for evil in my Chambers, but there is no ILLER. It can also be used in the evil sense as an adjective (he had evil thoughts), but I don’t think the superlative works, surely one would use more ill or most ill rather than iller or illest? I don’t like it, but it didn’t hold me up because I thought of filler almost immediately. Otherwise, a good crossword that took me 17 minutes, with TEMPERA LOI. Thanks both

  17. Taken a little over target, but not really sure by what!

    ACTION MAN, PRETENDED and SANDPAPER I think – all of which were good clues.


  18. Mostly fairly straightforward imo but with a few trickier items. All done and parsed in 18 minutes but with a couple of interruptions. Agree with the comments about 21ac ILLER – I thought of {f}iller immediately but hesitated to put anything in until I had crossers as I wasn’t sure it was even a word. I’m fairly neutral on the SANDPAPER debate but again I waited for crossers before entering anything.

    FOI – 6ac ORB
    LOI – 13dn SALVAGE
    COD – 10ac HEPTAGON

    Thanks to Jalna and to Kitty

  19. Cockney’s rubber bird (9)

    Of course our friend from the East End would “sandpiper” the surface first. If he wanted a shiny finish, he’d varnish it.

    I thought this was quite tricky for a Monday, but I was still well inside my target. I note from the leaderboard that Jason finished in 2:12 – shame about the two errors….

    FOI ACTION MAN (ce n’est pas moi)
    LOI SANDPAPER (aye, there’s the rub)
    COD CHATEAU (un chat pour Kitty !)
    NCOD ILLER (rubbish !)
    TIME 4:11

  20. I’m afraid loi 21ac, Iller, was such a shocking clue/definition that it has completely tainted my view of Jalna’s puzzle. Golden Raspberry is far too generous: the clue should have been taken out (and shot). I spent several minutes reviewing all the answers in the SE corner, as I couldn’t believe a setter who had produced such a smooth surface for 4d Motion Picture wouldn’t have re-worked the entire grid if necessary. And don’t get me started on sandpaper/polish. . . Invariant

    1. Don’t hold back Invariant 🙂

      I agree with “Iller” – the more I think about it, the worse it seems. As far as I’m concerned, “Iller” is what I feel after I’ve had one too many drinks or over indulged.

    2. Thank you, Jalna for adding value to mine. I enjoyed your puzzle – loved CHATEAU and MOTION PICTURE and if ILLER wasn’t my favourite clue it certainly didn’t wipe the 15 minutes enjoyment I got from the whole thing. Keep up the good work. 👍

    3. Thanks for replying, and don’t worry you haven’t, but honestly, what a clue. Invariant

  21. Harrumphed a bit at ILLER but genuinely have no issue with SANDPAPER as ‘polish’, regardless of the finer technicalities of what does what in smoothing vs polishing – as Jackkt explains it’s more about usage than exact science and it didn’t jar with me.

    APPRAISE held me up for a good few minutes but once in I couldn’t see why it had.

    Thanks Jalna and Kitty (and Jacktt too)

  22. Fast start, slow finish again. MOTION PICTURE was clearly harder for me than others. Slow to SANDPAPER – not the first time ‘and’ from ‘with’ has done me in. Loved HEPTAGON. LOI was ILLER which seemed impossible until APPRAISE arrived. APPRAISE had me totally misdirected. Good one. All green in 18.

  23. Welcome to Dorset Kitty. I’m a resident of the BCP conurbation and it is indeed a lovely sunny day here today!

    31-min completion to start off this week’s catalogue of failure 😀

    My FOI ORB (being the answer for “football”) raised the thought “Oh, it’s going to be like this today” and it didn’t get much better as by about 18-mins, I had a scattering of answers around the grid but felt like I need to go off and do all the other things I need to do today. Just as I was about to go, I BIFD the PICTURE part but not the MOTION (which came later when I saw it was an anagram) and BIFD SANDPAPER. After that, it all steadily went in.

    I liked IDLED while I thought it was a version of “I had led” but, like others, less impressed by ILLER but was comfortable putting it in once I saw the missing F. To finish off, I was left with ACACIA (don’t know plants), SALVAGE and NHO TEMPERA (guess for LOI).

    Overall, felt quite tough but the checkers were generous for BIFfing.

    Thanks to Kitty and Jalna

    1. Just to say that I was brought up in the C part of the “BCP conurbation” and that I will be visiting my elderly parents there tomorrow and Wednesday. A lovely part of the country, except for the volume of traffic thesedays.

      1. “You can check out but you can never leave” although I’m fairly certain The Eagles weren’t referring to Christchurch!

        BCP might as well stand for Bournemouth’s Car Park with its volume of traffic. Safe journey to you, the weather looks good for at least a couple more days. That beach hut will be calling out …

      1. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Urban Dorset and a good place for a holiday if all the B&Bs in Somerset are full.

        1. Ah…of course. Should have known that considering I’ve been to Mudeford Quay and the surrounding area quite a few times.

          1. I once made the mistake of switching to the B roads to avoid the traffic on a trip to Winfrith – caravan club territory!

          2. One of my brothers is fortunate enough to own a beach hut at Mudeford (on the sand spit between Christchurch harbour and the sea). They’re worth a fortune nowadays – some in the range of £300k-£400k.

      2. There’s a folk rhyme quoted in E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End (1910) : “Bournemouth is, Poole was, and Swanage is to be the most important town of all and biggest of the three.” So two of the three of BCP referenced with Swanage instead of Christchurch.

    2. Thanks L-Plates. My friend lives in Bridport and I haven’t been able to visit since the before times … had a lovely day today, taking in Abbotsbury Swannery.

  24. LEAP reminded me that I’m confused by use of LEE and LEA.

    Is it simply meadow=lea and lee=out of the wind? Or are they interchangeable?

    1. Pronounced the same, but two completely different words, with the meanings you identified.

  25. I was reasonably happy with SANDPAPER for ‘polish’, as it seems close enough for a crossword clue, but ILLER was poor IMHO. I spent a full 5 minutes at the end trying to convince myself that it was even a word – a task made more difficult by not being able to parse the clue. fILLER finally dawned on me and I was able to put my pencil down after 29 minutes – still a good time for me.

    I enjoyed ACTION MAN and HEPTAGON, but not IN ALL or the unknown-to-me TEMPERA.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Kitty

    P.S. At the end of May I passed the 2-year mark since starting these infernal QCs. A few simple stats demonstrate my (rather slow) progress during that time:
    – First 2 months: Solving success ratio = 35%, Median time (excl. DNFs) = 49 mins
    – Last 2 months: Solving success ratio = 85%, Median time (excl. DNFs) = 35 mins
    – No. SCC escapes (sub-20 mins): Year 1 = 5, Year 2 = 10
    Clearly, I won’t be entering competitions any time soon.

    1. Maybe not as far as competitions are concerned, but you’ve indicated a clear improvement that I’m sure will continue. Hopefully this will demonstrate to the so called SCC solvers that perseverance pays off.
      I did my first cryptic crossword over 50 years ago as a student. It was way too difficult for me and after a week I still hadn’t finished it! I simply didn’t understand many of the cryptic crossword conventions. I did however graduate to easier crosswords and remember the elation in finishing one for the first time.
      I still get that feeling after 50+ years after solving a stinker!

    2. Liking the stats. Unfortunately I didn’t keep any in the first 2-3mths. May’ stats show I completed 50% (11 of 22) but the times range from 1 SCC escape, 3 sub-20s, and the other 7 all over an hour. Think I am a triumph of perseverance. The first couple of months I was using checks and reveals and usually taking 2+ hrs in total, so it’s improving.

      Further to AndyPandy’s, I was shown by a friend how to solve Cryptics back in 1990 and would occasionally look at them when a newspaper was lying around but they were beyond me getting 2 or 3 answers.

      Stumbling on the QC online has been a godsend as its easier than the main Cryptic but also the immediate feedback with the check/reveal. This blog has also been a big part of my sticking with them. So thanks to all involved.

      PS Said friend usually does QC in 6-7 mins. Had a slow one today at 8+ mins

  26. We were slow solving this. Cannot see why when seeing the answers, blame the active puppy!

  27. 30 minutes for me — wooden spoon territory compared to the rest of you whizzkids!

    This one didn’t come at all naturally. Was hard work all the way through. I agree with others’ gripes re ILLER. But at least I finished it.

  28. Did this much earlier today before going out to do my volunteering stint. 9 minutes, all parsed. I didn’t much like ILLER either. It really doesn’t look like a real word 😅 Otherwise there were a few ticks and smiles along the way.
    FOI Name (it just jumped out at me) LOI Blanks COD Idled (fun surface)
    Thanks Jalna and Kitty

  29. Found this perhaps harder than it should have been and put this down to Monday ‘rust’. I puzzled over iller. Took ages for 19dn as the house I grew up in was called ‘Springlea’, and so I didn’t separate spring and meadow.

    Thank you for the excellent blog.


  30. Found this really tricky today and needed 3 sittings to complete. LOIs were PRETENDED, APPRAISE and ILLER in that order. As others, wasn’t convinced by ILLER. NHO TEMPERA but wordplay was generous. COD CHATEAU. Not on Jalna’s wavelength today. Hoping for an easier time tomorrow! Many thanks Kitty and Jalna.

  31. Many thanks to Kitty for the super write-up and to all for the comments, which are always an amusing read and much appreciated.

  32. I just want to add for posterity that to me ‘iller’ means ‘cooler/better’, like in a rap song.

    The Urban Dictionary backs me up on this one and I bite my thumb at the Chambers 😂

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