Times Quick Cryptic 2205 by Pedro

Hi all.  Many thanks to Jackkt for covering for me while I was away.  I’ve been almost completely out of the crosswording loop for the past few weeks, but now look forward to catching up on puzzles and news I may have missed.

Thanks to Pedro for this enjoyable crossword.  I was on the slow side (though under the 10 minutes after which I start to get impatient), but suspect that could well be down to post-holiday rustiness.  Or perhaps it isn’t and you will tell me that this was tricky for a Monday.  In any event, I was held up at the end by the intersecting trio of 1d, 8a and 11a in the NW corner.  Once I twigged 1d the others followed directly.

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

1a Instant support (6)
SECOND — A double definition
4a Entertained us, plunging into a sea (6)
AMUSED US going inside (plunging into) A and MED (sea)
8a Stain resembling small lake? (7)
TARNISH — Like a tarn (small lake) might whimsically be styled (indicated by the question mark) TARNISH
10a No carrying stone that’s unpleasant (5)
NASTY NAY (no) containing (carrying) ST (stone)
11a Fail to include old American institute (4)
OMIT O (old) + MIT (American institute)
12a Dislike a variant? (8)
14a Fancy a whisky? Very quickly! (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT LIKE (fancy) + A + SHOT (whisky?)
18a Applaud revolutionary role? Nonsense (8)
CLAPTRAP CLAP (applaud) + the reversal of (revolutionary) PART (role)
20a Box, additional, but not full (4)
SPAR SPARe (additional) but without the last letter (not full)
22a Lack of interest in proven nuisance (5)
ENNUI — Whatever, the answer is found in provEN NUIsance
23a Be careful — yobbo packing punch that takes head off (4,3)
LOOK OUT LOUT (yobbo) around (packing) hOOK (punch) removing the first letter (that takes head off)
24a Location of Greek oracle guided retreating Greek character (6)
DELPHI LED (guided) reversed (retreating) + PHI (Greek character).  Phi is another of this setter’s pseudonyms, incidentally, prompting me to wonder about the even-more-mythical Oracle of Delpedro
25a Fruit and nuts, mostly (6)
BANANA BANANAs (nuts) without the last letter (mostly)
1d IT firm investing in odd bits of some TV series? (6)
SITCOM IT and CO (firm) going inside (investing in) odd letters of (odd bits of) SoMe
2d Very agreeable drink (7)
CORDIAL — Two definitions
3d Nothing keeping article secure (4)
NAIL NIL (nothing) containing (keeping) A (article)
5d The writer’s keeping on meeting mischievous royalty? (8)
MONARCHY MY (the writer’s) around (keeping) ON and ARCH (mischievous)
6d American tucked into his unusual Japanese food (5)
SUSHI US (American) inserted into (tucked into) an anagram of (… unusual) HIS
7d Very keen about Queen using a towel (6)
DRYING DYING (very keen) around (about) R (Queen)
9d Be greatly entertained to be ready for soccer? (4,1,4)
HAVE A BALL — To play sportsball you will need to HAVE A BALL
13d King, coming in to occupy throne, twirled this, being playful (8)
SKITTISH K (king) inserted into (coming in) SIT (to occupy throne) + an anagram of (twirled) THIS
15d Stewed apricot not right with a pudding (7)
TAPIOCA — An anagram of (stewed) AP[r]ICOT without R (not right) + A
16d Sikh’s opening statement of belief? It’s a long document (6)
SCREED Sikh’s first letter (opening) + CREED (statement of belief)
17d Anger erupting about closing of elegant wedding venue (6)
GRETNA ANGER anagrammed (erupting) around (about) the last letter (closing) of eleganT
19d Cancel removal of second article from regular publication (5)
ANNUL — Here we need the removal of the second A (article) from ANNU[a]L (regular publication)
21d Furniture item till now is lacking base (4)
SOFA SO FAr (till now) doesn’t have the last letter (is lacking base, in a down entry)

46 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2205 by Pedro”

  1. No problems. CORDIAL has made a few appearances lately; if I recall its drink meaning was unknown to a lot of Brit solvers. 4:45.

    1. Cordial is a syrup that we dilute for drink here in Australia, popular with children. If we didn’t get that from the UK where did we?!

        1. Ah. But it’s still a drink then in the UK? Just not an alcoholic one? I enjoy Elderflower cordial and I’m pretty sure that’s British.

  2. 18:52. Took awhile to see dying as very keen and sit as occupy throne. Also put in take a shot for LIKE A SHOT so had to rethink that. CODs to TARNISH and CLAPTRAP. Welcome back, enjoyed the entertaining blog!

  3. I didn’t have much patience today so I DNF.

    A few things I didn’t know well like CLAPTRAP and skittish meaning playful, arch meaning mischievous, the word Tarn.

    Lots of words I had to remove letters from.

  4. C.15mins with NW corner and DRYING slowing me down.

    Enjoyed TARNISH and HAVE A BALL the most.

    I see CORDIAL as any kind of dilutable fruit drink and a slightly old fashioned substitute for ‘squash’.

    I always assumed there was a green in a place called GRETNA so don’t have a massive problem with that as the venue, although can see why it’s the location of a venue rather than the venue itself, so can understand others’ MERs

    Thanks Pedro and welcome back Kitty.

  5. 8 minutes, and rather surprising as I was very slow finding my first one in and the next two or three answers didn’t immediately flow. GRETNA is a town and Gretna Green a village on its outskirts on the other side of the railway tracks. The local wedding industry boosted by tourism is not confined to the village.

  6. 17 minutes so not a bad start to the week.
    FOI: SITCOM then a steady work through top to bottom finishing with LOI: BANANA all parsed along the way.

  7. A gentle puzzle to start the week but I managed to make things more complicated than they should have been.
    At 7d I read the definition as using a tRowel and couldn’t make head or tail of it, I got stuck wondering if a VARN could be a type of lake and a typo in CORDIAL left me looking at O_D_ for LOI OMIT.
    After all that I was pleased to come in under target at 9.45, with COD unusually going to a hidden – ENNUI.
    Thanks to Kitty and welcome back

  8. 12 minutes, so run of the mill for me. Nice to see SECOND as an answer rather than part of the clue. It was my FOI. LOI GRETNA, and everything else flowed nicely in between. I also liked the way ENNUI was clued. Thanks Kitty and Pedro.

  9. I found some of the clues a little tricky resulting in my having to use aids a couple of times to finish.

  10. I struggled a bit with this, mainly due to frequent interruptions, but I was also slow to see some of the more straightforward bits. Started with 1d/1ac and then couldn’t see the offspring, so moved on to the NE and began a hit and miss solve. Have a Ball and Like a Shot both needed quite a few crossers, but Nail, Cordial and Tarnish were the time killers at the end. No exact finishing time, but certainly well into the SCC. Invariant

  11. Whizzed through most of this, I thought I was on for a sub 4, then got a bit stuck with the last 3 or 4 clues in the top left of the grid. I eventually assembled SITCOM from its constituent parts, and then it all quickly fell into place, with CORDIAL my LOI.

    A bit early for a whisky, but LIKE A SHOT was my favourite.


  12. Unlike most it seems, I found this definitely challenging and took 17 minutes over it. NW and SE corners held out the longest, and I completely failed to parse Look out – I got as far as L…OUT, the punch with its head off (cLOUT), being packed by (ie stuffed by) OOK, but failed to make Ook from yobbo. All is clear now … except I remain a mite surprised that “A packing B” implies that it is the A that is on the outside not the B.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog, and I am now on holiday in the BOB (back of beyond) for 3 weeks so posting may be irregular for a while (please do not all cheer at once).

  13. Nothing too hard. Took a while to see SECOND (POI) and couldn’t think what letter added to SPAR made “additional”, so thanks for explaining that, Kitty.

    FOI AMUSED, LOI CORDIAL, COD TARNISH, time a pleasingly precise 07:00 for 1.5K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Kitty and Pedro.


  14. Started with SECOND and finished with SCREED. No dramas. 6:33. Thanks Pedro and Kitty.

  15. 22 mins…

    I found this tough going for the beginning of the week. Nothing would drop for the NW corner on the first pass and nearly biffed “Blemish” for 8ac. DNK 16dn “Screed”, misparsed 23ac “Look out” (thinking punch has something to do with KO) and couldn’t unravel the structure of 5dn “Monarchy”, but eventually they all dropped in and I crossed the line into the SCC.

    FOI – 4ac “Amused”
    LOI – 1ac “Second”
    COD – 8ac “Tarnish” – living near the Lakes I should have got this quicker than I did.

    Thanks as usual!

  16. Thought I was on for a really quick time then stuck in the SE corner for ages. Once I finally got GRETNA I could then see BANANA and SOFA (not sure why the latter two not immediately obvious but hey-ho). Came in just inside the SCC today. Many thanks to Kitty and Pedro. Favourite clue definitely TARNISH (brilliant!). FOI SITCOM (if I can’t do 1a I always go straight to 1d for some reason). Very enjoyable.

  17. Like Kitty I was held up by NW corner until I saw TARNISH, then others followed easily. A nicely pitched puzzle today.

  18. Like Jackkt didn’t find a quick starter and thought I was in for a slow one. Managed to finish speedily, but was still surprised I finished in 7.40, it seemed so much longer.
    With 23ac LOOK OUT, I initially took the punch to be KO, recognised LOUT to be the yobbo and wondered where the extra O came from! I then remembered ‘enerys ‘ook, that killer punch that Henry Cooper deployed to floor Muhammad Ali back in 1960s.

  19. 3:07 this morning. Might have broken the 3 minute barrier (an extremely rare occurrence for me) had I not initially assumed “ER” for queen rather than “R” at 7 d “drying”.
    Have to admit that I got lucky with 23 ac “look out” where I assumed the answer was “KO” inside “Lout” but when one has built up a head of steam and there are crossers in place, I just went for it.
    Liked 15 d “tapioca” – the clue, that is, as opposed to the subject matter . Funny how persistent memories of school dinners can be!
    Thanks to Kitty (welcome back!) and to Pedro for a gentle start to the week.

  20. Like some others, I did not find this easy. It certainly contained some quirky clues. I worked my way through most of the grid but was stuck in the NW corner for far too long. Once I got SECOND, I was able to access NAIL and CORDIAL. I found TARNISH from somewhere and then had a long giggle because it brought back many happy hours listening to ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’ on BBC Radio 4. (Only those who have listened to this brilliant programme and appreciate it will know what I am talking about).
    I finally managed to biff SITCOM and then parsed it with the clock on the (wrong) edge of the SCC again.
    Not my finest day but thanks to Pedro and Kitty. John M.

    1. Dear Blighter,
      I hope you weren’t trying to get to Mornington Crescent whilst solving. The ISIHAC teams always seem to have great difficulty, even without a QC hanging over them.

    2. P.S. Mrs Random and I went to a live recording of ISIHAC in January, 2020. It must have been one of Tim Brooke-Taylor’s last appearances before he succumbed to Covid a few months later. We mourned his loss.

      1. ‘We mourned his loss’
        Moi aussi (as the Australian said in Paris).
        Apologies. Clue 8a today sent me off to my Uxbridge English Dictionary and it will take me some time to recover.

  21. 7.20

    Liked GRETNA. Otherwise pleasant standard fare. Thanks Pedro and Kitty for the blog

  22. Solved on a phone and tried super hard to avoid typos – but failed. Pink square for DRYINh. Surprisingly fast given how I toiled at 11m. SITCOM and OMIT had to be prised out.

  23. 1hr16 to solve. That was a slog. Other than SUSHI had nothing in the top half but then LIKE-A-SHOT opened up the SE. As momentum gathered, I was thinking SOFA, so good …

    SW NHO SCREED. Couldn’t think of DELPHI although I know it. SKITTISH and MONARCHY didn’t come easily even with all checkers and was trying to anagram “be greatly” rather than the dd of HAVE-A-BALL.

    Think I was left with the NW corner at about 45-mins but having put blemISH – thinking it was a smaller version of Lake Bled; I was stuck for a long time. Took a break at 1hr and came back and removed bleMISH eventually. I’m sure I’ve heard of a TARN(ish) from my orienteering map reading days but couldn’t tell you what it is. On reflection SITCOM now looks obvious as I was trying to stick IBM round the B of “blemish”. Not helped by failing to get OMIT. CORDIAL then SECOND was LOI.

    Thanks to Kitty and Pedro 🙂

  24. I found this rather chewy but still came in at 8:29. Like others I smiled at TARNISH – a definite Uxbridge English Dictionary clue!

    CORDIAL and TAPIOCA definitely evoke a post-war childhood!

  25. Like some others, I got a bit stuck in the NW. LOI was OMIT after about 15 minutes.
    I did not parse LOOKOUT properly.

  26. Steady throughout until I came to the NW which was completely blank. Eventually got SECOND and CORDIAL and then everything else followed on reasonably quickly. Didn’t fully parse LOOK OUT but otherwise all parsed in 20 minutes, constituting a not very good day but at least not an absolute disaster.

    FOI – 4ac AMUSED
    LOI – 1dn SITCOM
    COD – 8ac TARNISH, closely followed by 18ac CLAPTRAP

    Thanks to Pedro and Kitty

  27. Pleased to finish all correct in 30 minutes today (not bad for me), as I suffered somewhat last week. I started slowly, just seven clues solved during my first pass, but the pace picked up as I worked my way back up the grid.

    My last few in – SITCOM, TARNISH, SECOND, NAIL and CORDIAL – were all interconnected in the NW corner.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Kitty.

  28. 9:42 here, for a pleasing sub-10 minute day. Like others, NW corner held out longest: I tried to convince myself that “moment” could mean “support” until SITCOM revealed itself and a blinding flash of the bleeding obvious ensued.


  29. Finished just within our 30m target. Right hand side went on fairly quickly, nw corner slowed us down and we needed the crossers to get 1d sitcom . Nice start to the week.

  30. 10 minutes and not a very structured solve. Nearly halfway down before I got my FOI, and – as others experienced- the NW gave me most trouble. I didn’t really parse SKITTISH but, on reflection, it is a most entertaining clue (and a great word). I also liked TARNISH.
    TAPIOCA with stewed apricots -sounds most unappetising. But rice pudding with apricot compote – yum! In fact, I might make some – I’ve got some fresh apricots!
    FOI Omit LOI Gretna WOD Claptrap
    Thanks Pedro and Kitty (welcome back)

  31. Started with 14ac and 9dn just because I liked the cross!
    After that a gentle write in.
    Did like tarnish
    Thanks all round

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