Times Quick Cryptic 2190 by Orpheus

Solving time: 10 minutes. A swift return by Orpheus who set for us only last Wednesday. I found this straightforward, but I wonder how you got on?

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.

7 Game played by good university teacher (4)
G (good), U (university), RU (game – Rugby Union)
8 Pal I shot mistakenly — and where he ended up? (8)
Anagram (mistakenly) of PAL I SHOT
9 One in pursuit of spirit to follow beer, perhaps (6)
Two definitions not entirely unrelated
10 Creature identified by duke on small low-lying island (6)
D (duke), ON, KEY (small low-lying island)
11 Almost set out to be a celebrity (4)
STAR{t} (set out) [almost]
12 No longer virginal, but not pursued, we hear (8)
Sounds like [we hear] “unchased” [not pursued]
15 “Two portions of meat — and be quick about it!” (4-4)
CHOP + CHOP (two portions of meat)
17 Change  item in variety show (4)
Double definition
18 Take a lot of time to become socially accepted? (6)
BE LONG (take a lot of time)
21 Blue pigment provided by fellow Lithuanian, perhaps (6)
CO– (fellow- ), BALT (Lithuanian, perhaps)
22 Forceful surgeon engaging macho types (8)
VET (surgeon) containing [engaging] HE-MEN (macho types)
23 Genuine-sounding angler’s device (4)
 Sounding like “real” (genuine)
1 Songbird principally nesting under material on roof (8)
 N{esting} + U{nder} [principally], THATCH (material on roof)
2 Accepted in Jodhpur, serving ship’s officer (6)
Hidden [accepted] in {jodh}PUR SER{ving}
3 Painstaking, albeit lacking in refinement (8)
THO‘ (albeit), ROUGH (lacking in refinement)
4 American journalist subjected to exploitation (4)
US (American), ED (journalist)
5 After struggle, woman raised capital in Europe (6)
VIE (struggle), then ANN (woman) reversed [raised]
6 Instance of arsenic being brought into church (4)
AS (arsenic – periodic table) contained by [being brought into] CE (church of England)
13 Size of area in top conurbation (8)
A (area) contained by [in] CAP (top) + CITY (conurbation)
14 Farmer digesting extremes of horror in crime novel (8)
TILLER (farmer) containing [digesting] H{orro}R [extremes of…]
16 Pair entertaining great fondness for shore bird (6)
PR (pair) containing [entertaining] LOVE (great fondness)
17 Army poet’s sleeveless jacket (6)
TA (Territorial Army), BARD (poet)
19 Equable English archdeacon (4)
E (English), VEN (archdeacon). ‘The Venerable’ is a style or title used within in the C of E to denote Archdeacon.
20 Silver-haired poet mentioned in speech (4)
Sounds like [mentioned in speech] “Gray” (poet – Thomas Gray)

61 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2190 by Orpheus”

  1. I failed by a margin but I admit I was both distracted and wasn’t feeling it today. I thought the clues were all fair

    I nho conurbation. And I really gotta remember that Rugby is a game! I always consider such things as only sports

    I liked THOROUGH

  2. Straightforward, although I did have a bit of a MER at UNCHASTE: being no longer a virgin is a necessary condition on being unchaste, but hardly a sufficient one.
    If the poet spelled his name Grey, would the clue have worked? 4:17.

  3. 16:24. Was familiar with the word TABARD from somewhere but didn’t know the meaning. Took the longest on GURU and BELONG and had COBALT as COD.

  4. 24 minutes with the top half falling quickly. The bottom half required a bit more concentration to dig out the answers.
    FOI: GURU followed by HOSPITAL and all the downs from the top.
    LOI: GREY I needed the checking letters to see the obvious.
    Favourite: CAPACITY.

  5. Just over 20 today slowed down by unchaste and cobalt. Put it down to overly celebrating the brilliant Lionesses last night! Thanks as always

  6. 7.29

    Good straightforward fare though I was delayed a bit at the end on the VIENNA and DONKEY crossers. Thought of VIE but was trying to remember the capital of Malta which to be fair does start and end with V and A but otherwise was an unnecessary distraction

    Thanks Orpheus and Jackkt

  7. 20.20 for a different kind of game as distracted by the celebratory morning news at the same time.
    Managed to make WARSAW work instead of VIENNA until Hospital clearly put paid to that. Pity.
    COD THOROUGH but Hat-tip to VEHEMENT.
    Thanks Orpheus and Jack

  8. Back on track after last week’s struggles, so thanks to Orpheus for a well pitched QC. Main hold up was LOI on DONKEY where I needed an alphabet trawl. Particularly enjoyed THOROUGH and COBALT and was relieved that the ‘e’ of GREY was a checked letter as I never remember the correct spelling of the colour.
    Finished in 8.06
    Thanks to Jack

    1. Much easier to remember the correct duelling of the poet, since “gray” for colour isn’t wrong, it’s just a US usage.

  9. A gentle introduction to the week, although I’m not a fan of the portcullis grid. I liked COBALT. Thank-you Orpheus and jackkt. 3:53.

    1. Did you notice the weekend invitation for a new setter? You, Phil and Sawbill should apply!

        1. You are, Sawbill.
          John, Jeremy and you set testing, but fair cryptics, each fortnight. I enjoy them immensely, but the site won’t let me log in, to say so. Glad to have this opportunity to say so.

          1. Hi Pam. Thanks for the comment, although I think you meant Phil rather than Jeremy. You should be able to comment without having a google account anonymously. Several people do and just add their names at the end of their comment. Glad you enjoy the puzzles. It’s feedback like yours that keeps us motivated to keep going.

      1. Much as I should like to reach the lofty peak of publishing puzzles in The Times, I don’t have a computer, and am totally reliant on the goodwill of johninterred to convert my efforts into an accessible format. And I think Sawbill has the edge over me anyway.

      2. Thanks for the kind suggestion. I don’t think I’m in that league, though.

  10. I finished just outside my target of 9 minutes having been delayed by BELONG, COBALT, DONKEY and finally VIENNA. For the latter I thought the answer was going to be a European capital on a hill (Athens, Lisbon). I think my favourite was BELONG. 9:18

  11. Once again, I thought I was on for a quick one after some easy, short clues. However, there were significant trip wires lurking in the unfriendly grid.
    It took me perilously close to the SCC. All fair, though.
    I, too, was seduced by Warsaw for 5d and only changed tack when I finally saw DONKEY. This opened the way to my LOI, VIENNA. I liked COBALT, NUTHATCH, and VEHEMENT. I was about to list my other favourites but that would simply repeat much of Jackkt’s excellent blog.
    Thanks to Orpheus for a fine start to the week. John M.

  12. Glad to see I wasn’t alone in wrestling with the DONKEY/VIENNA crossing. Even when I had all the checkers I convinced myself that there might be a bird called the “dunnet” and spent a while trying to make that work, thinking there might be a bird theme.

    Good puzzle. FOI HOSPITAL, LOI DONKEY, COD UNCHASTE, time 07:24 for 1.8K and an OK Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Jack.


    1. At the risk of annoying Astronowt, I’m guessing you were thinking of the dunnock (or hedge sparrow).

  13. Fast then stuck on VIENNA/DONKEY too. (Was fixated on ait or eyot but forgot key and Not helped by biffing Tirana.). Also couldn’t get VEHEMENT though might have done if I’d set it aside.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  14. Taken over target by one minute, at 16m. Late night last night as after watching the Lionesses do their thing, I was tempted to watch Invictus, both of which I really enjoyed. As I did this puzzle from Orpheus. Some very nice clues here which exercised my grey matter like a devil sauce livens up a boiled egg. Thanks both.

  15. Bit slow – mainly due to the alphabet trawl for DONKEY, and the GURU/PURSER crossing, PURSER being my LOI.

    MER at GREY, but the crossers took away the ambiguity.

    COBALT was my favourite.


  16. Most done fairly quickly, but needed time to get DONKEY and VEHEMENT. Hesitated over GREY – too obvious!

  17. DNF today – just could not get VEHEMENT. Interesting to hear Paul describe it as a chestnut so definitely one to remember! Also initially had Sienna instead of VIENNA, even managing to quickly parse it as ‘s’ (struggle) plus Annie backwards when of course Siena isn’t a capital, nor does it have a double n, and it wasn’t even Annie backwards!!! Amazing what the brain will accept…
    Favourite clue was COBALT. Many thanks Jack and Orpheus.

  18. Sigh….dnf

    Had a bit of a nightmare in the SW corner not knowing the poet at 20dn and therefore struggling with 18ac “Belong” and 22ac “Vehement”. In addition, put “Tyre” for 17ac 😂.

    Rest of them were fairly clued, although I didn’t think of a Tabard as a sleeveless jacket (even though it obviously is).

    FOI – 7ac “Guru”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 3dn “Thorough”

    Thanks as usual!

  19. Well I found this difficult. FOI STAR after reading several clues. Made reasonable progress but had four left in the SE at the end.
    My cause was not helped by putting in UNCHASED thinking that word looked odd. Corrected in time. LOI was TURN.
    Time 19 minutes. I always find grids without checked first letters quite difficult.
    Nothing wrong with the puzzle, just my performance.

  20. Well and truly in the SCC club today at 18.40. I was sailing along quite happily under 10 minutes until I came to the 18ac and 20dn crosser. It took me a full nine minutes to get BELONG before GREY quickly followed. I was determined not to give up just like the mighty Lionesses last night after Germany equalised.

    1. SCC does not open until 20.00 so you were just knocking on the door! Probably just as well as there were only a few chairs still available but always plenty of room at the bar!

  21. Time about average. I solve on the paper so do not check precise times. Apart from GURU, my COD, the top half went in quits easily. The bottom half was much trickier, though I struggled less than some others appear to have. FOI HOSPITAL, LOI TURN, slowed by TABARD. THANKS, Orpheus and Jackkt

  22. I’m not going to offer any excuses for my poor performance today. The top half of the crossword went in relatively easy. However, the lower half was much more difficult. In the end I had to stop with six clues remaining unanswered. Like I said, I’m not using any excuse, I was just not good enough today. Orpheus is one of the setters I tend to struggle with.

      1. Kind of. I just got into work. They’ve put me on the candy section tonight. Yay.

  23. Top half relatively straightforward, the bottom half another matter entirely. Eventually finished in 19 mins with all parsed, although needed aids for my LOI VEHEMENT (this not helped by originally having entered GRAY at 20dn).

    FOI – 11ac STAR
    LOI – 22ac VEHEMENT
    COD – 21ac COBALT

    Thanks to Orpheus and Jack

  24. 5:14 . Felt I was rushing this morning and tripped up on 21 ac “cobalt” by trying the rather dubious “colett” (rubbish because lett is Latvian) and on 12 ac “unchaste” where I entered “unchased” as I read the clue too fast.
    Anyway a very fair and well constructed puzzle by Orpheus and any difficulties were of my own making.
    COD 1 d ” nuthatch”.
    Thanks to setter and to Jack for the blog.

  25. Not on it today and well beaten by VIENNA, TABARD, VEHEMENT, COBALT. All fair clues mind so no complaints.

    Tough start to the week. Hope it improves.

    Thanks Orpheus and Jack

  26. Generally, slow but steady. Had 7-8 left when I had to get some chores done at 22min30 mark.

    Came back and mentally stuck in VEHEMENT and CAPACITY before I’d even reopened the grid. Discovered my bif of “churlish” was wrong when I spotted UNCHASTE.

    Didn’t know what to do with the Lithuanian other than to stick LT on the end of C—LT which biffed me COBALT as a blue colour but that it’s a pigment is unknown to me. That left TURN and TABARD, the latter of which was a dredge once I thought poet=bard.

    33-mins total – a good start to August on a QC I wasn’t sure I’d get completed when I took my break.

    Thanks to Jackkt and Orpheus 🙂

  27. A very nice puzzle which I completed in 14 minutes, though Thorough was not parsed and I needed the blog to see it. I got as far as Albeit = Though, but stopped there, assuming the OR in middle was justified by some parsing that was too clever for me.

    That apart, just the right level of challenge to be stretching but eminently doable and much enjoyed.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  28. 23:14 with aids. As others have said, the top half was generally quick and the bottom half slow. Could not see DONKEY despite having all the crossers: I was looking for a five-letter word for the island and got fixated on ATOLL, even though I knew it didn’t fit. And as for not seeing GREY despite having been “silver-haired” for years, well, there’s just no excuse. FOI HOSPITAL, LOI GREY, COD COBALT.

  29. A similar experience to my last effort from Orpheus. Missed 4 across clues on the first pass (though HOSPITAL really shouldn’t have been one of them !), but got all of the down clues on first reading, hence mopping up was easy. The usual well-clued puzzle from Orpheus.

    TIME 3:23

  30. Thank you Orpheus and Jackkt. I liked vehement and cobalt but not sure on unchaste. As with others, delayed by Donkey in Vienna. Fun all the same.

  31. 1743 Last wolf killed in Scotland

    17:43, a bit on the slow side for a Monday, but like others, I was down the pub watching the game. My mother said it was the first full football match she had watched since the 1966 World Cup Final.

    LOI VEHEMENT, we’ve had surgeon=VET before, and I always try to get FRCS in there. Which never works. Found GURU tricky. Also went with albeit=THOUGH and was surprised coming here to find that I had mis-parsed

    COD CHOP CHOP and COBALT. 1-1 after regulation time.

  32. 13 and a bit minutes for this enjoyable puzzle. I liked BELONG, VEHEMENT and NUTHATCH a lot but my COD made me laugh out loud.
    FOI Guru LOI Capacity COD Hospital – a lovely surface.
    Thanks Orpheus and Jack.

    Strange how these things happen: after commenting last week on not having seen Kiss Me Kate for decades, I noticed that it’s on tv this afternoon. May have to watch it tomorrow evening on catch-up when MrB goes out on the razz!

  33. Gosh that was tough! Needed help to get through. Bif’d Donkey and needed the blog to understand how it worked
    FOI 7a Gura
    LOI 20d Grey
    8a Hospital – just found that amusing
    Roll on tomorrow!

  34. We had trouble with 17a and 17d. Had vary for 17a. We were rather slow overall, but an enjoyable puzzle.

  35. Late to this today but worth the wait. All green in 12 with VEHEMENT unparsed – I had ‘men’ as macho types and was pretty sure a vehet couldn’t be a thing but submitted anyway – makes up for all the pink squares for typos in recent weeks.

    Went to Wembley for the game yesterday. Easily as good as all the reports say. Might be hard to get daughters excited about Huish Park after a packed Wembley and I’m already in danger of losing them to Wycombe Wanderers.

  36. Relieved to finish all correct in 29 minutes today, after last Thursday’s and Friday’s maulings by Hurley and Alconiere. Orpheus is my most feared setter, but I was very pleased to parse every clue – even including DONKEY when I DNK the required meaning of KEY. Phew!

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Jack.

    1. Well done Mr Random – back in the game.

      I’ve heard of the Florida Keys. Not that I’ve been there, but that’s enough for me to have a vague idea they’re island related on seeing D-ON-KEY.

      How is Mrs R doing? Did she get mauled as well last week?

  37. Late to this, and ‘rewarded’ with a sluggish 25 min solve. Most of it went in without too much trouble, but a few clues at the end proved distinctly troublesome. Unchaste sounded and looked odd, but then I don’t think I’ve heard chaste used (quiet at the back!) more than half a dozen times in my lifetime, so no great surprise there. Vehement was a head-slapping pdm, and loi Donkey needed an alphabet trawl. Small island indeed 🙄. Really must do these earlier in the day. Invariant

    1. It is, check the Wikipedia entries for nuthatch and songbirds. Can’t paste a link as I’m on my phone. I do have a MER at plover being a shore bird, though. It’s a wader but more of an inland bird, I think.

  38. Catching up after a weekend away and travelling yesterday. FOI, GURU, LOI VEHEMENT. 6:52. Thanks Orpheus and Jack.

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