Times Quick Cryptic 2161 by Breadman


I found this a very enjoyable QC taking 8:10. All very gettable, I thought, but interesting enough to have me referencing the dictionary for some fine definitions and the unknown instrument at 3dn. It’s worth taking a post-solve read through the surfaces – excellent stuff – thanks Breadman.

I noticed a money reference in 7ac – does Breadman ‘do an Oink’ at all? I haven’t previously noticed but I know you’re all keener eyed (and have better memories) than me.

Definitions are  underlined in bold italics.

4 Very cold, heron-like bird emitting note (6)
BITTER – (BITTER)n – emitting (giving off) note (N). Emitting is so much more satisfying for the surface than omitting – and avoids any duplication with 10ac.
7 Top wine, one thousand pounds, rowing team picked up (5,3)
GRAND CRU -one thousand pounds (GRAND), homophone of crew.
8 Chaps coming across to assist racehorse without a win (6)
MAIDEN – chaps (MEN) across assist (AID).
9 British backing also affected military training centre (4,4)
BOOT CAMP – British (B), backing also – too (OOT), affected (CAMP).
10 Leave out distinguished medal, Italian (4)
OMIT – distinguished medal (OM), Italian (IT).
12 Jack prepared mainly orange seasoning (8)
TARRAGON – Jack (TAR), anagram of ORANGe.
15 English painter captures revelry occasionally (8)
LANDSEER – captures (LANDS), r(E)v(E)l(R)y. My LOI.
18 Upon retirement, received a one-piece garment (4)
TOGA – received – got – backwards (TOG), a (A).
20 Method of cooking father and friend reinvented (3-5)
PAN-FRIED – father (PA), anagram (reinvented) of FRIEND.
22 Returning in Cadillac: a placid South American creature (6)
ALPACA – in t clue backwards Cadill(AC A PLA)cid.
23 Slovenly cricket fielder, Henry, covered in some turf (8)
SLIPSHOD – cricket fielder (SLIP), Henry (H) covered by some turf (SOD).
24 Business admits a transgression — gambling’s prevalent here (6)
CASINO – business (CO) admits a (A) and transgression (SIN).
1 Threesome finally toast with port (4)
TRIO – toas(T) with port (RIO).
2 Understood Sun altered useless articles by newsman (8)
UNSTATED – anagram (altered) of SUN, useless articles (TAT), editor (ED). Understood in the sense of well known so not requiring utterance. Great surface.
3 Measuring device worker tracks sometime in autumn? (6)
OCTANT – worker (ANT) is after sometime in autumn (OCT). An instrument used for measuring angles similar to a sextant.
4 Part of car seat salesperson lifted (6)
BUMPER – seat (BUM), salesperson – rep – upwards (PER).
5 Expend great effort and time on painting (4)
TOIL – time (T) on painting (OIL). Another good surface.
6 Uniform on lad good for religious service (8)
EVENSONG – uniform (EVEN), lad (SON), good (G).
11 Came up with Al incorrectly — it’s my fault (3,5)
MEA CULPA – anagram (incorrectly) of CAME UP with AL.
13 Sack a former partner wanting a rise (3)
AXE – a (A) then former partner – ex – upwards (XE).
14 Character on keyboard deviously tries to put in request (8)
ASTERISK – anagram (deviously) of TRIES put inside request (ASK).
16 Assist Cockney when round US city (2,4)
EL PASO – assist in Cockney (‘ELP), when (AS), round (O).
17 Rank administered by police force (6)
RANCID – administered (RAN), police force (CID).
19 Levy on one vehicle (4)
TAXI – levy (TAX), one (I).
21 Famous school event’s outside, happening (4)
ETON – (E)ven(T), happening (ON).


71 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2161 by Breadman”

  1. 16:15. Liked BOOT CAMP and BUMPER but COD to SLIPSHOD. Pleased to work out OCTANT and UNSTATED solely from the parsing- something I’m not usually able to do. I thought “emitting” was obviously a typo but thanks for explanation. Tried to put in “Mudder” for MAIDEN but luckily saw the light in time. Should racehorse be underlined as well as ” without a win” for the definition?

    1. Yes – I’ve changed the blog to underline racehorse – thank you. I missed it off initially because I was thinking of maiden as meaning first (e.g. maiden century) but the racehorse part would have been unused in the clue.

  2. I DNF at 23 minutes with two to go because I didn’t know the English painter and wouldn’t have gotten captures = lands anyway. I also didn’t know Grand Cru, but I probably shouldn’t have given up on that one, the wordplay pretty clear

    I don’t know my rivers but at least I know my cricket terms. Thanks to Chris for the parsing of Unstated.

    Foi: OMIT
    Cod: I liked bumper!

  3. 5:39
    For some reason, if any, I’d thought that LANDSEER was American. DNK OCTANT but, as they say, it had to be. Biffed MEA CULPA, parsed post-submission. PAN-FRIED feels odd as a method of cooking; pan-frying, or maybe pan-fry.

      1. Of course it is, always was; but it’s not the name of a method. Pan-fried chicken is not a method of cooking chicken, it’s chicken that is pan-fried; the method of cooking the chicken is pan-frying.

        1. Oh, I see what you mean, yes, agree, but actually ‘pan-fried’ is an American term that has crept into recipe and menu headings in recent years.
          I will check my Mrs Beeton, but, as far as I recall, in days of yore food was just fried, the frying pan’s involvement being unstated.
          Later: It would take me too long to read through all my 50 cookbooks to find out when Pan-Fried first appeared, but Mrs B refers to shallow frying and deep frying. Then there is stir-fry these days, of course. I guess Pan-fried is a niftier term than Shallow-fried.

  4. I was on the 13:00. from The Casino to El Paso. Not an Arapaho in sight!

    FOI 1dn TRIO

    Educating Tina and Kevin.
    WOD 15ac LANDSEER. Sir Edwin LANDSEER was a highly gifted London born painter and sculptor. He famously sculpted the Lions in Trafalgar Square. He died in 1873 at the age of 71 just after being declared insane.

    1. Did you just know that about Landseer off the top of your head or you a cut and paster from somewhere else

      1. In 1968 I attended art college and progressed to being an art director and later to being a creative director. My daughter is doing her Art History MA. My mother was an artist and her father a noted Art Deco architect and painter. I was for many years a member of the Chelsea Arts Club in London. I give occasional talks on art and artists here in Shanghai. Latest was the American Edward Hopper. My wife is a painter. We have an enormous Library dedicated to the arts.
        Everyone should read the brilliant book by the Australian Art Critic, Robert Hughes, ‘The Shock of the New!’

        1. I read The Fatal Shore, the classic account of Australia. Did not know the author was an art critic. Learn something everyday in this blog.

        2. Impressive! Especially from my perspective, as someone who is still trying to crawl out of the gutter in these things.
          I have just about accepted that anything can be art, as long as it has been created intentionally as a work of art by someone. However, I am still struggling to find any objective measures of the quality of a work of art. How can a heathen, like me, determine whether or not an arrwork is any good?

  5. 13 minutes, delayed a little by the unknown OCTANT. I had thought of OCT re autumn but mistakenly tried to use it for containment OC???T. I got there eventually by thinking of sextant.

    LANDSEER is well-known both as an artist (notably for The Monarch of the Glen after which a TV sitcom was named) and as sculptor of the lions at the base of Nelson’s Column. If one has even a passing interest in English painting one is likely know this stuff.

    1. ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ is widely known because of its presence on shortbread biscuit tins and whisky bottles: it is something of a cliche these days. Art can soon become ‘kitsch’ if propelled by those with little more than a passing interest.

  6. Some tough stuff here. Using the Jackkt test I don’t have even a passing interest in English painting and have never knowingly looked at a Landseer although I’ve passed the Lions many, many times – I feel sure that knowledge will be retained – thanks Horryd. Didn’t know an OCTANT either and didn’t help myself by thinking ‘Jack’ would mean ‘Card’ not ‘tar’ so I got in a pickle trying to parse ‘cardamon’ where TARRAGON ended up (common checkers drew me further into the elephant trap). Mental blank on ways to describe “very cold” beginning with B and didn’t know a bittern was heron like. One of those that badly exposes my ignorance. All green in 22 but now I need a lie down.

    1. My tours round Central London are free, but here’s a spicy tip for you;
      it is cardamom and not cardamon! Not an uncommon error.

      1. Oh dear, I can’t even get my wrong answers right. I’m blaming Greg Wallace.

      2. Oh what? I went and looked on the jar, and yes, it does end in m. I must have been spelling it wrong for over 30 years. It was my first answer to the Tarragon clue too.

    1. Is ‘fender’ still used in the USA, rather than ‘bumper’? I prefer ‘fender’!

  7. 6.07 but…

    Committed a bish with BITTEN – would like to say it was a typo but in fact thought “sounds like bittern; like frost bitten”

    Wrong on so many levels. More haste etc

    Did know LANDSEER from somewhere

    Nice puzzle; smooth surfaces. Liked the lift and separate for BUMPER

    Thanks Breadman and Chris

    1. A LANDSEER is also a type of ‘Newfoundland’, those huge Canadian dogs who require so much exercise.

  8. 19 minutes with nothing to trouble the horses.
    FOI: TRIO.
    Favourite ASTERISK although I would prefer GRAND CRU.

  9. 18 mins with about 3 of them struggling over an alphabet trawl with TOIL for some reason.

    Agree with Chris on enjoying the smooth unclunky clueing – although I read ‘Al’ as The acronym for artificial intelligence and so MEA CULPA did not jump out as I suspect it would/should have done.

    Thanks Breadman & Chris.

  10. Had a brainfreeze with LOL TOIL for some inexplicable reason which took me over target. Also delayed by the unknown artist which eventually went in with fingers crossed having dismissed the unlikely looking TAKESEER.
    An entertaining solve completed in 10.47 with COD to RANCID.
    Thanks to Chris

  11. LOI TOIL provided much toil, and moved me into a slower time, 17:43.

    Camp=affected came up a couple of weeks ago, remembered it this time.

    I read AL as AI (Artificial intelligence), so could not parse that one at all. On my iPad, the sans serif font renders l and I exactly the same. Could have been A1 (the road) as well. Serifs are used for clarity, and since the Times actually invents, copyrights and sells its own classic serif font, maybe they could use it here.


  12. 13 minutes, helped by knowing all of the GK (LANDSEER, MEA CULPA, OCTANT, EL PASO et al). I wanted BITTER to be Baltic initially, but it wasn’t – couldn’t find a bird in it. TOIL was LOI, and took a few seconds to get. I also wanted ASTERISK to start with ALT followed by an anagram of tries, but that wasn’t going to work. A very nice puzzle, much enjoyed, along with the blog and Meldrew’s interjections. I did know about LANDSEER and the lions, but all I could think of from his work was the Monarch. Thanks all.

  13. This is the clue which ruined this crossword for me and prevented me from really starting to solve it:

    4 Very cold, heron-like bird emitting note (6)
    BITTER – (BITTER)n – emitting (giving off) note (N). Emitting is so much more satisfying for the surface than omitting – and avoids any duplication with 10ac.

    Emitting, should I think be omitting and usually omitting would be used. These crosswords are hard enough without setters using any obscure meaning they choose. Clearly emitting has a very different meaning to omitting. It cannot be used as a synonym. “Giving off” does not mean omitting. A very unfair clue which has ruined my day.

    1. If something emits a noise (or radiation) it sends it away from itself. In this case Bittern is sending away the ‘N’. I thought it was great – especially as I had to think about it. When I had, I admired the setter’s witty creation of the surface.

      1. No, the meaning of emit to send out light, sound, or a smell, or a gas or other substance: The alarm emits a high-pitched sound if anyone tries to break in.

        “Emit” does not mean to omit or remove anything. When a radio program is broadcast then radio waves are emitted. Neither the content of the radio program or the radio waves themselves are removed. I do not think that you understand physics properly.

          1. Oh no. All questions/anything anyone is unsure about is what this blog all about.

        1. In this case the ‘N’ was emitted – which as you say means to send out/away. The setter asked us to send out (=remove) the ‘n’ from Bittern.

  14. Gave up just after the hour with GRAND-CRU and OCTANT unsolved. Also had ASTERISK wrong (as had ALT-ERIST).

    NHO the wine – took me an age to realise “one thousand pounds” wasn’t some clever I-K-LB type set of letters and just plain GRAND. CRU – well, I knew a rowing team is an eight or crew or perhaps some clever OU or CU but just didn’t realise it was a homophone. Didn’t know RIO=PORT so that left me unsettled in NW even though TRIO was FOI.

    ALPACA – I went the wrong way in the hidden word and had cALLIDAc which left me with -I-I (mini?) for TAXI. If I’d done the clues in the reverse order I’d have been alright.

    BIFD BOOTCAMP, TOGA and TARRAGON (not happy about 3 food-related clues – my worst subject).
    LANDSEER was a parseable dredge.
    EVENSONG – we had a few months back so it came quickly once I saw the EVEN part.

    Minor victories in answer-building BUMPER and MAIDEN.

    Not at all easy hence an hour of slogging.
    Thanks to Breadman and Chris.

  15. This was a very nice puzzle and I got out of bed the right side this morning – both considerable improvements on yesterday, and both together led to a most enjoyable 12 minute solve. I DK the racing term Maiden for a horse without a win (even if a male horse?), or the obscure instrument the Octant, but both were generously clued and got from wordplay.

    Like Rotter I initially thought that Asterisk might start with ALT, but once the checkers were in, a run through all the words that might go ALT-R-S- showed nothing. So back to square 1 and eventually I reworked the wordplay and Asterisk became my LOI.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  16. Quite slow – possibly due to doing the puzzle while a presentation was running in my ear.

    The unknown OCTANT was my last in.


  17. Under 8 minutes for me despite the unknown OCTANT; the instructions seemed clear.
    LOI was UNSTATED which had been my first thought but rejected as I did not see the required meaning at first pass. TOIL took me a while.
    A lot about painting and painters today. I knew Landseer. The Times Daily Quiz above the QC in the paper asks us to identify a building associated with a Portuguese painter. I could not think of any.

  18. Whizzed through this in 7.04, a quick time for me. Never heard of an OCTANT ,even though I used a variety of measuring devices in my working life including a theodolite.
    My old Latin master would have been astonished that I was able to write MEA CULPA straight in, as I really couldn’t really see the point of learning a dead language. If I’d known how useful it would be one day in helping to solve certain cryptic crosswords, I might have paid more attention.

    1. Special for you Andy, ‘O Tempora’ – a Latin Crossword appears on a Saturday(?) in The Times!
      Tempus non volare.

      1. I can’t think of anything I’d like to do less! But thanks for pointing it out 😀

  19. Well, this went rather well apart from OCTANT which took ages to deduce. I really should have seen the connection with Sextant. Live and learn……
    No problems with the other GK and I think I was near my target but cannot say – I am sitting in a car park while my wife does her exercise class and the ***** clock has apparently been ticking away on my iPad since we left home. No Wi-Fi connection to it and the ‘Smart’phone I am now using is as much use as a chocolate pencil for crosswords.
    Good puzzle, though. Thanks to both. John M.

  20. A very enjoyable 14min ‘sprint’ from Bumper to Toga. One of those rare days when the answers just pop into thought. In fact, if I hadn’t struggled with trying to make Alt + (Tries)* into a keyboard character, and trusted the unknown Octant first time round, this could have been one of my better times. Spoilt for choice when it comes to CoD, but I think 16d, El Paso, gets the nod in a strong field. Invariant

  21. That was a really enjoyable puzzle, with lots of smooth and witty surfaces. If ETON had a fiver for every reference it gets in the Times crosswords it would be rich … oh.

    FOI & COD BITTER, LOI OCTANT (NHO, wing and a prayer), time 07:17 for 1.4K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and Chris.


  22. 18 mins. Enjoyable with quite a few that I was able to write-in and parse afterwards. Slowed down because the dictionary was needed for NHOs – 8A, 3D & 11A.
    Thanks Chris and Breadman

  23. “You can’t forgive, and you won’t forget. We did something that we both regret – MEA CULPA.” (Mike & the Mechanics).

    I can certainly forgive Breadman after I struggled to see this off. I wasn’t on his wavelength this morning, and that was entirely MEA CULPA. It is, in hindsight, an excellent puzzle.

    I took about half of my total time over three clues, being totally unable to see ASTERISK (I wasn’t quite seeing stars !), and trying to understand why the painter wasn’t Vermeer when the last three letters were already in. As for my LOI, I really can’t explain why it took so long to parse.

    TIME 7:03

  24. 7:39, but I bu**ered it up by mistyping AASTERSK and not proof reading. **%$$**! Thanks Breadman and Chris.

  25. Most of this went in quite quickly but then I was left with 4 or 5 clues that were a real struggle. I also tried to fit ALT at the beginning of 14dn and briefly toyed with ALTERIST as a word until the penny dropped. Luckily MEA CULPA went straight in from the checkers although I couldn’t parse it at first, having read AL as AI. A MER at CID being equated with a police force at 17dn – surely it’s a division of a police force. NHO OCTANT but trusted to the cryptic and saw the analogy with sextant. Nice crossword which I should perhaps have finished more quickly than my time of 18 minutes.

    FOI – 4ac BITTER
    LOI – 17dn RANCID
    COD – 16dn EL PASO

    Thanks to Breadman and Chris

  26. 4:53. An enjoyable crossword. Bit of GK needed. Top half harder than bottom I thought.

  27. Lots of lovely surfaces today and very enjoyable but another DNF for me. After 27 mins I had OCTANT and ASTERISK left to solve. It didn’t help that, like others, I had convinced myself that the keyboard character was ALT. NHO an octant but it was obvious from the clue. I even had the ‘ant’ part!

    I also didn’t help myself because I confidently entered MEAL for 10a instead of OMIT. Can anyone tell me if this would have been a valid alternative solution to the same clue? If you leave out ‘d’ for distinguished (as in DFC for Distinguished Flying Cross, which is a medal so I thought it was part of the clever surface) from ‘medal’ you get ‘meal’ of which ‘Italian’ is an example.

    Anyway thanks Breadman for clever QC and Chris for helpful as always blog.


  28. 23 mins…

    Fairly enjoyable this, with main delay around 15ac “Landeseer” (obtainable, but couldn’t help but think they sounded Dutch rather than English).

    FOI – 1dn “Trio”
    LOI – 15ac “Landseer”
    COD – 20ac “Pan Fried” – amusing surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  29. Would have finished just inside the SCC today but for my LOI LANDSEER which was only half-known and submitted with fingers crossed. Much to like here including EL PASO and SLIPSHOD. Any cricket knowledge I now have is entirely due to crosswords – I’m more of a tennis fan myself 😎 Biffed OCTANT but a little worried too much like sextant… No problems with emitting rather than omitting for BITTER – clever surface. Very enjoyable. Many thanks to Breadman and Chris.

  30. Worst day for a while. Failed on OCTANT, TOIL (shd have got). Had to check TARRAGON too as I didn’t think of Jack Tar. Yes, I thought the top half was more difficult than the bottom. Liked BUMPER, SLIPSHOD, and GRAND CRU, once pennies dropped.
    LANDSEER came to mind once I had the two EEs, but, as far as this long-serving SCC member is concerned, not an easy QC. FOsI OMIT and MEA CULPA (seem appropriate in view of what was to come).

  31. Too difficult for me. It would be nice if occasionally there was an easy puzzle for encouragement. I have been trying to learn puzzling for a while and it is interesting to note very few new people are commenting. This suggests that if the quick cryptic is to encourage new people to play it is failing By the way a fender and bumper are the same thing. Just U.S terminology.

    1. Give it another forty or so years an the Millennials will have it all to themselves! Thanks for the thumbs up on the fender/bumper situation.
      I wonder if Kevin even drives?

  32. Very enjoyable and on the wavelength today. No official time but definitely not in the SCC!

  33. I see I neglected to comment at a reasonable time again, but I had to rush out this morning to lead a 12-mile walk in the lovely Suffolk countryside. I note the discussion above about BITTER and “emitting”, but I’m with our blogger. My take is that the required meaning of “emitting” is figurative rather than literal, which is what makes crossword compiling an art rather than a science. No notes on my copy apart from my time, a very average 5:24. I thought some of the surfaces a little, um, fanciful? COD to TOIL for the best surface. Thanks Chris and setter.

  34. Had to work hard at this, but very enjoyable as progress started to pick up as I tuned in. FOI10a Omit LOI 5d Toil. COD 15a Landseer. Thx to Chris for explaining 18a and to Breadman for a good puzzle.

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