Times Quick Cryptic 2187 by Orpheus

Nice and gentle for me today – hope you had a similar experience. LOI 18dn (familiar with the river(s), but hadn’t equated the definition with muddy before). And I biffed 17ac, only parsing afterwards.

Definitions underlined.

1 Person protecting commercial vehicle in front? (8)
VANGUARD – GUARD (person protecting) with VAN (commercial vehicle) in front.
5 Fine atmosphere in travelling entertainment (4)
FAIR – F (fine) and AIR (atmosphere).
8 Story spun to CE dean (8)
ANECDOTE – anagram of (spun) TO CE DEAN.
9 Residence in Home Counties, next to motorway (4)
SEMI – S.E. (South East, home counties), then (next to ) M1 (motorway).
11 Young relative with £1,000 told off once for pinching pound (10)
GRANDCHILD – GRAND (£1000), then CHID (told off, old fashioned, i.e. once) containing (pinching) L (pound).
14 Give latest news at university, meeting girlfriend, perhaps (6)
UPDATE – UP (at university) then DATE (girlfriend, perhaps).
15 Take part in French joke, eagerly to begin with (6)
ENGAGE – EN (in, French), GAG (joke), and the first letter of (to begin with) Eagerly.
17 Scottish scam taking in Welshman — and Scot, perhaps (10)
CALEDONIAN – CON (scam) containing (taking in) ALED (Welshman), then IAN (Scot, perhaps).
20 Ship’s officer serving time in West, perhaps (4)
MATE – T (time) contained by (in) MAE (West, perhaps).
21 Dullness of doctor on backing theatre award (8)
MONOTONY – MO (doctor), a reversal of (backing) ON, then TONY (theatre award).
22 Woman, certainly not an academician! (4)
NORA – NO (certainly not) and RA (an academician, of the the Royal Academy).
23 Valets possibly curse, seeing such clothing (8)
MENSWEAR – MENS (valets, possibly), and SWEAR (curse). And indeed they might.
1 Girl consuming last of sausage meat (4)
VEAL – VAL (girl) containing (consuming) the last letter of (last of) sausagE.
2 Requirement identified by Northumbrian press chief (4)
NEED – N.E. (North East, Northumbrian), and ED (editor, press chief).
3 Learn too little to be reserve actor? (10)
UNDERSTUDY – double definition.
4 Ordinary seaman’s evaluation (6)
RATING – double definition.
6 Person from abroad sorted out in camera (8)
AMERICAN – anagram of (sorted out) IN CAMERA.
7 Creatures from Greenland ultimately, always under control (8)
REINDEER – last letter of (ultimately) greenlanD, and E’ER (always) after (under) REIN (control).
10 Caught in casual footwear around old university? Disgraceful! (10)
SCANDALOUS – C (caught) contained by (in) SANDALS (casual footwear), again containing (around) O (old) and U (university).
12 Netherlander’s Cockney wife on island (8)
DUTCHMAN – DUTCH (Dutchess of Fife, ‘wife’ in Cockney rhyming slang) then MAN (island).
13 Worshipper of false gods led a riot at sea (8)
IDOLATER – anagram of (at sea) LED A RIOT.
16 A US city individual, no matter who (6)
ANYONE – A (a), NY (New York, US city), and ONE (individual).
18 Muddy deposit in British river, we hear (4)
OOZE – sounds like (we hear) “Ouse” (British river).
19 One changes shades extremely dejectedly, with hesitation (4)
DYER – outermost letters from (extremely) DejectedlY, then ER (hesitation.

84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2187 by Orpheus”

  1. Biffed CALEDONIAN (DNK Aled). Fortunately I double-checked the anagrist for 13d IDOLATER and saw there was just the one O; I never remember how to spell this. 4:53, 3d day in a row under 5′.

    1. I have many a problem with -OR and -ER endings, especially as in some cases both are valid as alternatives, but this one I find easy to remember since I read it as ‘I DO LATER’.

        1. Not so helpful after all, I’m afraid, although I have been using it for years and it has never let me down. But following a comment below I checked the usual sources and found that Collins allows both endings, with -ER classed as an American alternative. Chambers printed dictionary allows both but with -ER listed first, and no mention of America. The Oxfords hold out for -ER but the Lexico version lists ‘self-idolatOR’ but not ‘self-idolatER’.

          I guess in future we’ll just have to hope for reliable wordplay to determine what’s required.

          1. Or online crosswords that accept more than one correct answer for a clue? The Times should put the subscription money from those of us who only do their crosswords (and maybe read the occasional obit) towards fixing this obvious shortcoming in their software. I’m a software developer and even I can’t imagine it’s that hard.

            When I solved these things on paper I certainly didn’t count it as an error if I put in an alternative spelling that wasn’t indicated by the wordplay

  2. Well. You’ll be surprised to know that I knew both that Northumbrian was NE and Home Counties was SE. Only because they’ve come up before.

    I also know the river Ouse!

    Okay I didn’t know Caledonian, but we have New Caledonia near Australia and so I figure the original has to be somewhere.

    I will defeat you one day, Geography!

    Cheers to Dutch = wife coming up recently!

    I nho ALED or knew that MO is a doctor, I feel like I should know that. I also didn’t know a RATING was a sailor.

    I finished this fairly steadily I didn’t have a time though… Sometime under half an hour.

    Oh and I was amused at American being a person abroad, I know it’s the London times but you know.

    (also E’ER was tricky)

  3. 13:42. Like Tina helped by recognizing so many familiar pieces-Dutch, Ouse, Aled, Northumbrian, Home Counties, motorway etc-that I’ve learned over the last year or so. UNDERSTUDY was COD for me. I must have a deficient sense of humour but I don’t see why valets curse in this situation? NORA made me think of James Joyce’s wife, Nora Barnacle, who was ,according to his biographies, very down-to-earth.

    1. MEN=valets, possibly [‘men’ as in servants; my man Jeeves]; SWEAR=curse. (William’s parse has a superfluous S.)

  4. My first ‘target achieved’ since last Thursday, but at 9 minutes it was a close thing. I had all but one answer after 6 minutes so had plenty of time in hand, which was fortunate because I needed 3 minutes and several trips through the alphabet to come up with OOZE at 18dn, and like our blogger I knew nothing of its association with mud.

    1. I also needed several trips through the alphabet to get OOZE, and I wasn’t at all certain it was correct when I found it. Given that OOZE can also be many non-muddy substances, shouldn’t the clue be ‘Muddy deposit perhaps …’?

  5. 3:45
    TIL Ouse does not rhyme with house – who knew? I suppose anyone who doesn’t learn these words from crosswords

    1. I was at Uni in York and the student newspaper was cleverly(?) called ‘The Nouse’ but bizarrely was referred in speech to simply as ‘noose’ (‘have you seen noose today?’) undermining any cleverness. Flippin’ students eh?

      1. You could also take that as having some “now-se” ie. brains. But maybe I’m over thinking that.

  6. 13:23 for a rate sub 15 finish for me. Biffed CALEDONIAN and probably could even have been sub 10 if I hadn’t struggled for several long minutes with LOI NORA. Bloody Norah indeed.
    Thanks Orpheus and William.

  7. 17 minutes. A reasonable time for me all parsed other than CALEDONIAN BIFD.
    FOI: VANGUARD followed by FAIR and all their hangers.
    LOI: OOZE As I’m not far from the Great Ouse and that river did come to mind even though the muddy connection didn’t.
    Favourite: DUTCHMAN.

  8. Completed this in a very rapid 7 minutes, only to have a pink square for IdolatOr. My excuse is that that’s how I spell it (and in my defence I see it is an allowed variation), but even so should have checked the anagram letters. Bother!

    Otherwise I found this one of Orpheus’s more gentle offerings with a number of old favourites – Dutch, NE and SE and the Scot, who was inevitably called Ian. Are there any men in Scotland with a name other than Ian?

    Many thanks to William for the blog

    1. Lots of Cameron, Gregor and Blair christian names north of the border too – sure there are loads others with primarily Scottish connotations.

      Interesting that ‘Ian’ is the Anglicised version of the Scottish ‘Iain’ which clearly doesn’t work in most of the instances it would need to in crosswordland. I’m very proud of my Scottish ancestry but my name is spelt in the anglicised way (perhaps some trade off between a Scottish father and English mother?!)

  9. When we lived in Buckingham we were very close to the Great Ouse – the flooding used to stop a door or two down the road – by I had OOZE left to the end. ‘British’ in the clue confused me, I thought it must be doing something more than limited the rivers to be considered and also had ooze as a verb not a noun firmly in my mind, so that added minutes to my time. Enjoyed ENGAGE where I was trying to remember the French for joke but it seems to be blague or plaisanterie so I don’t think I knew it anyway. Words for funny are more familiar but wouldn’t have fitted. Ended up all green in 17 with a sense I’d been outsmarted. Good one!

    1. Re: “British river”.

      I noticed 1A was easier with “commercial vehicle” instantly giving me van rather than car, bus, train, tram or any other possible.

      Likewise I spot “casual footwear”=sandals.

      It’s these nuances that make clues slightly more biffable for me and put the Quick into QC !! 😀

  10. Actually could someone explain to me why ALED is a Welshman? Is that just a common name for men in Wales? Like Ian/Scotland?

    If so, does the ‘perhaps’ part of the clue refer to welshman as well

  11. Aled is a common Welsh name and has come up here before, usually resulting in references to the singer, Aled Jones, who famously sang Walking In The Air from The Snowman, and someone (usually me) pointing out that although he recorded the hit-parade version of the song, he didn’t perform it on the soundtrack of the film — that was Peter Auty, whose voice had broken when the record came to be made.

  12. Thought I might be on for a PB until I required an alphabet trawl for LOI OOZE. Then to my disappointment I got a pink square for idolatOr – so my poor run of results this week continues, but only have myself to blame.
    Thanks to William

  13. 1022 More obscure Byzantine wars

    10:22 for a gentle outing. Pleased to get LOI OOZE as had the clue backwards, looking for rivers first that sounded like mud.


    Never did parse REINDEER as was so scarred by the usual rule to “lift and separate” that I did not want it to be actual “creatures from Greenland”. Did not see E’ER = control.

    Anyone else have PAT+E for 1d?

    1. The E’ER is ‘always’ REIN ‘control’.
      At 1dn the E is inside ‘Girl consuming last of sausagE’.

  14. 11’50” held up entirely by OOZE. Never had it as a noun and considered and dismissed it as an answer early on. Was at Uni in York and recently revisited for first time in years – had a pint in The Kings Arms, the Sam Smith’s pub on The Ouse that famously floods – all plug sockets in the ceiling as last high water mark was about 12” from hitting it. Pub has strict rules of cash only and no mobile devices to be used inside. They enforce it too. Makes a nice change to see people chatting with each other and not heads down.

    1. As someone who lived in that area for many years, I visited many times. You’ll also find that the “cellars” are upstairs as well . Used to frequent the Wonky Donky (Three Legged Mare) and other establishments that used to serve York Brewery beers (Guzzler, Terrier etc.) – however I think they have ended up being bought out by Black Sheep when they ran into financial trouble a few years back.

  15. Is the quickie crashing anyone else’s Times Classic app on iPad? Can read all the paper but opening the QC crashes the app. Have un- and re-installed and still the same. Hope it’s a one off today.

    1. I had (and still have) the same problem (except that the whole app crashes on opening even though it downloaded OK an hour ago). Glad to know it isn’t just me – I thought they might have been trying to force us ‘classic’ users to use the new app by removing the old one.
      I resorted to the new app but much prefer the way the classic app works.
      Perhaps they will fix it. John

    2. Yes.
      In fact I came to this blog purely to check it was a problem with the app – not just my iPad.

      I’m wondering if they’re beginning to push us in the direction of the separate “Times Puzzles” app.

    3. Same thing happened on my iPad and Mrs R’s iPad (two different generations of iPad). I uninstalled / reinstalled but made no difference, so we both have crashed Times classic apps for now. I had to resort to doing the crossie on my iPhone. Poor show – both the Times and my time for completion. I’ll check the app again later today, and will have to reinstall if I want to read the paper.

      1. How annoying! I deleted the app (again) and reinstalled (again) and re-registered (again) and downloaded the paper (again) and tried the 15 x 15 and the app crashed (again), so I did it all again (again) so that I can read the paper! If anyone from The Times is reading – please – we need to get this sorted out!

        1. I agree. I much prefer the classic version. So much easier to find the articles. It was working fine until we came to do the QC and then both our iPads crashed. Very annoying.

    4. Same experience here, initially assumed it was linked to my iPad being very old but then realised there hasn’t been an app update recently so no idea what’s going on.

      1. Yes, I had no ‘mind games’ at all on my iPad despite updating the app… I too wondered whether we were being pushed towards the puzzles app but maybe it’s just a blip. Completed this on the iphone app and found out just how tempting it is be able to reveal an answer – you can’t do that on the iPad app! Duly revealed my LOI OUSE, which I would otherwise have slugged away at till I got it! Hoping the iPad version’s ok tomorrow… Finished, bar OUSE, in around 17 mins today. Thank you for the great blog, as ever.

    5. I can (smugly) report that looking at the QC has never crashed our newspaper, nor has opening our newspaper ever crashed the QC (or any of the other puzzles). However, our new paperboy did deliver The Daily Mail to us on Monday.

        1. Yes! And highly embarrassing it was, too. Mrs Random even concealed in a bag when she returned it to the newsagent.

          1. . . .I think you are missing an ‘it’ – but thanks for the image 😃

  16. Not my finest. Too many names Val, Aled, Ian, Nora for my taste. FOI FAIR and LOI MENSWEAR. COD to OOZE. 9:19

  17. 16:26 DNF on NORA having BIFD nerd. That would have been a PB.

    It really was quite BIFtastic today. First ten clues straight in and I had 5 left at 7min30

    Reached my last one at 10-mins which was OOZE. Not sure I like that as a “muddy deposit”, which suggests it is stationary whereas things oozing are moving. My lengthy alphabet trawl, of course, overlooked a double-OH starter and it was only when I began to think about rivers that I can name, it occurred.

    Oh well, all done and dusted very quickly, thankfully

    Thanks to William and Orpheus 🙂

  18. LOI was 18dn, despite having recently walked the Fen Rivers way following the Ouse from Kings Lynn to it’s junction with the Cam.

  19. Pretty straightforward, but if I’m being strict, it was a DNF, due to DURCHMAN. I normally let myself off obvious typos, but if I submitted via the club, it would be a pink square and a fail.


  20. Well within target until I hit my LO(N)I – OOZE. I just couldn’t see it. Perhaps I was unsettled after faffing about with the classic app (see MangoMan’s post above). Like L-Plates, I overlooked an ‘OO’ starter during my alphabet trawl.
    John M.

  21. Vanguard took too long- couldn’t get outrider out of my mind- didn’t parse Caledonian so thanks for the blog- Iain is the even more Scottish version. COD to menswear.

  22. After zooming through at an amazingly speedy rate, I stuck in the muddy OOZE. Also, like others, I put IdolatOr.
    Liked VANGUARD, ANECDOTE, MONOTONY, MENSWEAR, CALEDONIAN, among others. Some amusing clues.
    Thanks all, esp William.

  23. Lots of stuff that was straightforward for experienced QCers. I had three left after 7 minutes. MATE and MENSWEAR took another minute each.
    Then I stared at 18d and was unable to improve on BORE (Severn Bore ??). Same as Blighter -again.
    So a definite DNF for me; and I had Idolator -see comments above.
    Surely OOZE is a verb and the answer requires a noun? Perhaps this has been covered above?

    1. Noun
      ooze (plural oozes)

      Soft mud, slime, or shells on the bottom of a body of water.
      A piece of soft, wet, pliable turf.
      The liquor of a tanning vat.

    2. Oozes are usually on sea bed, some in very deep water.several types of ooze depending on their components. My favoured example was globigerina ooze, just because I liked the name. Also a mention of the river Ouse in East Sussex

      1. And, situated on the Eastern bank of the E Sussex Ouse in Lewes, is Harvey’s Brewery – independent since 1790. They brew some wonderful ales, my favourite of which is Tom Paine. “We wun’t be druv”.

  24. Missed out on my own top 10 by a second, and it felt faster than the 11:51 my watch said. Should have been faster to sort out my LOI DYER, but I’d put in MONOTONE for 21a and that put just enough of a spanner in the works to hold me up for an extra few seconds. COD to ENGAGE. Thanks Orpheus and William.

  25. I struggled to start with this one, but once a few answers came to me, the rest wasn’t too bad.

    I did need help with just one answer (MONOTONY). I got the MONO, but the rest just wouldn’t come.

    Not sure how UP = “at university”. U = university, I know. But UP?

    1. When at university, if one is expelled, it is called being sent down. The reverse is if one goes to university, it is described as being up. Comes ‘up’ a lot, so worth remembering.

      1. I was once told by a friend that it had something to do with railway lines, and the relative (geographical) position of London, Oxford and Cambridge, but then he did have a twinkle in his eye!

        1. That’s a separate meaning for up. Chambers: “Towards a centre (such as a capital, great town, or university)”. You might hear someone mention the “up train”.

    2. Ever since I wrote down up = at university in my notes maybe six weeks ago, it has come up (lol) at least five times I feel.

      Also u = university but u = posh as well

  26. Off to a good start with VANGUARD kick starting the NW corner. Then a gentle amble to LOI MENSWEAR. 6:14. Thanks Orpheus and William.

  27. 6.56

    Nice puzzle save for OOZE which I was quite pleased only took a minute at the end. Not sure that was a great clue. Lots of good stuff otherwise

    Thanks William and Orpheus

  28. Two DNFs in a row, this is becoming a habit! Took just 7 minutes before coming to 18dn, and just couldn’t think of an appropriate river or homophone of one that would fit. Like Blighter didn’t even consider the ‘oo’ starter on the alphabet trawl and also went for BORE, but knowing it was almost certainly wrong. I hate having to resort to the alphabet trawl, particularly as it’s so time consuming, even more so when it’s unproductive!

  29. A quick start in the NW, with Vanguard and its offspring, but a steady solve thereafter was slowed by Scandalous and Menswear. Any remaining chance of a sub-20 was lost when Caledonian put up a stiff resistance. LOI Ooze then turned the knife by needing an alphabet trawl, but only once I decided Bo*e was getting me nowhere. 24mins in total, with CoD to 3d, Understudy, for the smile. Invariant

  30. dnf…third time this week – any more of this and I will have an unheard of full sweep for the week.

    To be fair, I had everything after 20 mins but just couldn’t get 18dn “Ooze”, so a classic last clue stumper. I actually considered the Ouse, but dismissed it and went on a fruitless alphabet trawl. For whatever reason, I just didn’t connect “muddy deposit” with “ooze” (I tend to think of it more of a slow, chemical kind of release).

    The rest went in steadily, with only 7dn “Reindeer” not parsed and a brief dabble with “Duchess” for 12dn which obviously didn’t fit.

    FOI – 2dn “Need”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 23ac “Menswear”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. You’re not the only one who struggled with this one. I didn’t equate ooze with muddy deposit, but we’ll both know it next time!

      Keep going.

      1. Ooze = Muddy deposit. Yes, I agree that we’ll know it next time. But rembering it is is another matter entirely – or at least it is in my case.

  31. 4:54 this morning, pretty straightforward until brain freeze kicked in for 18 d “ooze” (again I note I wasn’t alone). I kept visualising a solid dollop of mud and the homophone was reluctant to reveal itself for about a minute. Still, within target… just.
    Thanks to Orpheus and William for the blog.

  32. OOZE didn’t take too long but I froze when confronted by a surfeit of Os in -O-O-O– … fortunately the Y came to my rescue! An enjoyable and gentle outing.

    FOI VANGUARD, LOI (long trawl) ENGAGE, COD MONOTONY, time 06:28 for 1.3K and a Very Good day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and William.


  33. 17 mins and heading to come in under targetbuntil stuck on parsing NORA (I had the name but could not get the no RA) and failed to get OOZE so ended with a DNF.

    Nice puzzle. COD to GRANDCHILD. Very clever.

    Thanks William and Orpheus.

  34. Took average time, but feel it should have been faster as my only problem was the usage of OOZE which I eventually put in anyway. FOI FAIR, LOI OOZE, COD MENSWEAR.
    Thanks Orpheus and William.

  35. A mild puzzle, possible we were out of the scc, no exact time, which is unusual for us. Last ones in 23a menswear and 18ac ooze, mention of the river was a help.

  36. Mrs Random raced through today’s puzzle in 13 minutes and then dashed off yesterday’s Teazel in 17 minutes, whereas I really struggled with just todays’s, taking significantly longer than her combined time just to complete today’s Orpheus. 44 minutes for me.

    My main problem-clues were:
    OOZE (can be many things – not just mud)
    MONOTONY (NHO the awards)
    VANGUARD (just couldn’t see it)
    DUTCHMAN (had DUTCHess for a long time, even though I know it shouldn’t include a T)
    MATE (due to DUTCHess)
    NORA (also due to DUTCHess)
    AMERICAN (didn’t see it was an anagram, and was trying to include ‘alien’ into the answer).

    So, three tough/non-quick QCs for me this week. I’m hoping for some lighter relief tomorrow.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and William.

  37. My usual MER/moan about the Home Counties not being in the SE! We used to put HC in adverts to indicate Herts/Beds/Bucks area as code for sunny Luton…. Followed the clue to avoid Idolator. Amused by the easy Vanguard, Understudy, Monotony and Menswear but nothing very hard about any of this once I re-read the clue at 12 having first seen ‘Neanderthal’!
    FOI 1a Van guard
    LOI 18d Ooze
    COD 6d American

  38. I somehow found I was trying to enter my FOI down instead of across, so 25 seconds elapsed before I started in earnest. Then I was taken a second over my target by somehow failing to see my LOI for 45 seconds or so. Straightforward otherwise.

    TIME 5:01

  39. I found this QC very hard. A DNF as I didn’t appreciate that ooze could mean a muddy deposit. Thought reference to British river meant it began with B. As most of you found this simple, it’s depressing to think that I struggled badly. Roll on tomorrow.

  40. 7:18 which is not bad after a few ales from the local Donnington brewery. Oh well its the start of our holiday..

    COD DYER. Reminds me of a fabric shop on baker st, in the window it had: we will dye for you.

  41. Well I have to post a comment. Enjoyed this Orpheus offering except for the much commented upon Ooze. I thought of Ouse and didn’t transcribe that into Ooze because I had my favourite river in mind – which no one else appears to have mentioned – the river Mole.
    So DNF – dang. But to think of the Mole and Mickleham and kingfishers etc – happy day.
    Thanks all

  42. Thanks, Orpheus and William_j_s. Enjoyed the crossword but took time over 12D as I was taught the rhyming slang for wife was ‘trouble and strife’.

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