Times Quick Cryptic 2206 by Jalna


8 minutes for an anti-clockwise solve finishing with 6dn. I’m a bit tight on time today so let’s snap into it.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 New dating site got going (10)
INSTIGATED – anagram (new) of DATING SITE.
8 Catch business associate mostly lying around (6)
ENTRAP – a business associate is partner – take most of it and turn it around r(ENTRAP).
9 Power held by very severe overseas correspondent (3,3)
PEN PAL – power (P) held by very severe (PENAL). Did we need the ‘overseas’ bit?
10 Run one marathon, perhaps (4)
RACE – run (R), one (ACE).
11 Macerate bananas for afternoon treat? (5,3)
CREAM TEA – anagram (bananas) of MACERATE. Would cream teas be as popular (or cost as much) if someone hadn’t invented the three layer plate thing?
12 Blunders and fears losing face (6)
ERRORS – fears losing the first letter t(ERRORS). I would equate fears with terrors plural so maybe ‘losing face’ is meant to take off both ends?
14 Log touching piece of rope? (6)
RECORD – touching [upon] (RE), piecing of rope (CORD).
16 Visualisation of data from each trip out (3,5)
PIE CHART – anagram (out) of EACH TRIP.
18 Remain behind everybody else (4)
LAST – double definition.
20 Artist hosting one West Indian festival (6)
DIWALI – artist (DALI) hosting one (I) and West (W).
21 Cross, somewhat tetchy bridegroom (6)
HYBRID – some of tetc(HY BRID)egroom.
22 Insect worn out eating top of gnarly plant (4,6)
STAG BEETLE – worn out (STALE) eating (G)narly and plant (BEET).
2 Japanese combatant seen in jazzy trousers (5)
NINJA – ‘trousers’ means pockets/takes/holds so the answer is within the clue see(N IN JA)zzy.
3 Pressure injected in to overhaul weapon (7)
TORPEDO – pressure (P) injected in to (TO), overhaul (REDO).
4 Doctor taking a break (3)
GAP – doctor (GP) taking a (A).
5 Like 007’s work, until SPECTRE crumbled (3-6)
TOP-SECRET – until (TO), anagram (crumbled) of SPECTRE.
6 Material dug up (5)
DENIM – dug – mined – upwards (DENIM).
7 Person tending to accept European job (6)
CAREER – person tending (CARER) accepting European (E).
11 Damage a car travelling round island country (5,4)
COSTA RICA – damage (COST – what’s the damage?), anagram (travelling) of A CAR around island (I). Tricksy jigsawing that one together.
13 Dried fruit is placed in water (6)
RAISIN – is (IS) placed in water (RAIN).
15 Be concerned about Liberal bore (7)
CALIBRE – be concerned (CARE) about liberal (LIB).
17 Church carols regularly creating confusion (5)
CHAOS – church (CH), c(A)r(O)l(S).
19 Even so, it’s somehow extremely logical (5)
STILL – anagram (somehow) of ITS, (L)ogica(L).
21 Hot ring broke at the front part of cooker (3)
HOB – hot (H), ring (O), (B)roke.


71 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2206 by Jalna”

  1. I was doing fine, but couldn’t figure out 15d; I finally saw that REST wasn’t right for 18ac, and CALIBRE went in immediately. I don’t see the problem with ERRORS. 8:22.

    1. Obviously too much haste today – I must have thought that the answer was error. Another update made, thank you.

  2. 15:31. Lost most time on RECORD and CALIBRE. COD to STAG BEETLE. Thanks for pointing out damage as cost and overhaul as redo, plus rest of blog.

  3. Wow am I having a hard time. I got to six minutes before I put my first one in being Costa Rica and the rest was a shambles.

    1. Hey Tina – I only had four on my first parse and that took me 8 mins … a lovely CREAM-TEA and a PIE-CHART cooking on the HOB. It was CHAOS today. COSTA-RICA took 40mins to spot even though I could go on Sporcle and type 180+ countries into a quiz in 15-mins!

      Three tough days in a row. Demoralising but I got QC book #7 for birthday so maybe that’ll rekickstart the brain!

      1. You know! I can also do the 180 countries into Sporcle! Why is my geography so bad in crosswords!

        Happy birthday L plates!

  4. As my target 10 minutes passed I had 14, 15 and 16 outstanding and all resisting my attentions. Like Kevin I had REST in mind for 18ac but never went so far as to write it in. RECORD and CALIBRE arrived via wordplay eventually but still stuck on 18ac I bunged in LOSE without much conviction as, if correct, it would have been a single definition clue with little or nothing of the cryptic about it.

    Apart from all that I steamed through this one so it was disappointing to finish both late and with an error.

  5. 17 minutes the same as yesterday.
    FOI: TOP SECRET. I looked at ‘SPECTRE’ and spotted SECRET instantly.
    LOI: STAG BEETLE parsing after I had noted the solving time.
    TORPEDO also BIFD parsing post solve.
    Favourite: DIWALI. An old friend of mine used to mention this festival every year.

  6. I biffed several and decided not to try and parse obvious answers which led to a sub 20 minute completion but left me feeling rather uneasy. I realise that I would rather have the satisfaction of fully parsing every clue and relaxing in the club rather than simply ticking all the boxes.
    Thanks Chris for the helpful blog and Jalna for a challenge.

  7. About 12 (problems with the Crossword Club Site meant I had to restart it on the normal puzzle page half-way through)

    Same as Kevin but 4 minutes slower.

    Thanks all

  8. Loved LAST, huge groan when I realised how to split the clue. Great stuff. Enjoyed CALIBRE too where the definition foxed me. Slow to RECORD thanks to a wonky T in TOP SECtEt that I took too long to question. Ended up all green in 16 with the SE being the cause of a big chunk of that.

  9. I always seem to find Jalna a bit tricky and it didn’t help that I tried to put INITIATED at first for 1A before checking the anagram fodder. I liked CREAM TEA and DIWALI. LOI ENTRAP was also good. Thanks Jalna and Chris 6:10.

  10. 17 minutes, taken over target by REST and being slow to see CALIBRE as a consequence. LOI ERRORS after a steady solve otherwise. Thanks both.

  11. Top quality puzzle but like others struggled in the SE with STAG BEETLE, CALIBRE, LAST (also very tempted by ‘rest’) and RECORD needing to be crowbarred out. All very clever with LAST standing out as my COD.
    Considering the comments above I’m not too disappointed at just missing my target, finishing in 10.17.
    Thanks to Chris

  12. Another 1hr+ slog to a DNF. Think that was above QC level given I couldn’t parse a bunch of it. Even when I’m crap, I can usually figure out parsing afterwards.

    Ultimately, DIvALI was always wrong – never seen it written and while I knew it was an Asian festival, I got caught by the surface of “West Indian”. I spent last 15+ mins on RACE / TORPEDO where the latter kept having TORnaDO intrude (as pressure) and I was trying and thought the “in TO” meant first and last letters.

    Meh – three toughies in a row. Thanks to Chris for the blog 🙂

    1. In defence for your Divali, the v/w sounds very similar in Hindi so if you are saying ‘diwali’ it kinda sounds like ‘divali’!

      But yeah wouldn’t parse though.

      Diwali is my favourite holiday I don’t celebrate. The houses all down my street are done up in lights (that they keep til Christmas). There’s always lights and dancing etc at my work to celebrate, I love it.

      1. My old boss was an Indian guy and I remember him explaining Diwali (hence why I hear it with a V). I’m sure he said it was known as the festival of lights which would explain your neighbourhood. I wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise.

        Slightly annoyed with myself for not spotting the “West Indian” surface trick but, being kind to myself, when you can’t parse a bunch of other stuff in a grid you get lulled into expecting there to be stuff you won’t know. My backup guess was DImALI – as in I’m=hosting one (the setter). I was certainly being dim 😀

  13. Wow that was tough. I got to the foot of the Club steps for my worst time in ages.

    My main issue was putting REST at 18a, which I actually think is at least as good an answer as LAST, and the only word I could think of to fit C-R-B-E (“curable”) didn’t make any sense, so much head scratching ensued. I also wasn’t sure at 22a whether I was looking for a plant or an insect; even after I got there I couldn’t parse it and now Chris has explained it to me I think that “beet” for “plant” was pretty tough. I also thought that ENTRAP was tough – reversing most of a word which isn’t in the clue seems pushing it to me, given that there’s a convention against anagrams of words which aren’t in the clue.

    FOI NINJA, LOI LAST, COD DENIM, time 18:04 for 2.2K and an Awful Day.

    Many thanks Chris and Jalna.


    1. The above sums up my experience pretty completely too so saves me retyping it! Definitely right on the edge of the standard for a QC in my view and pushed me well into the SCC – and that without all parsed too.

      Many thanks to Chris for the blog, more than usually necessary today.

  14. “CREAM TEA – anagram (bananas) of MACERATE. Would cream teas be as popular (or cost as much) if someone hadn’t invented the three layer plate thing?”

    What is the three layer plate thing?

    Down here a cream tea is scones with jam, cream and a pot of tea. Used to be a treat on our family holidays to Devon.

    Anyone know if you should put the jam or cream on first … 😉

    1. Cake stand, three levels of plates on a central column! So you can get more calories in a single plate space! And jam first. There is no other way, ever, at all. Nah.

      1. We call that ‘high tea’ in Australia, where they charge you an arm and a leg for a few cucumber sandwiches and some cakes on a three tier stand

        But you get to sit in a fancy setting and gossip with your friends and pretend you’re one of the upstairs folk in Downton Abbey and it’s worth it

        1. Tina, my limited Aussie ‘high tea’ experience is very different from the ‘civilised’ experience you describe.
          I spent some extended periods in Queensland and I remember driving slightly inland from the coast south of Rockhampton one weekend exploring a pretty wild and sparsely populated area. Quiet red dirt roads and a very ‘outback’ feel. I came across a few houses and one of them had a nice garden full of plants with a sign outside for ‘Devon Cream Teas’.
          It seemed so incongruous. I now regret that I didn’t stop and check it out.

          1. Oh no Devonshire tea is different! That’s with scones and jam and cream. I’m from a refugee/immigrant background and when I was a kid once a year my mum took me to this botanic garden that served it and I thought it was the HEIGHT OF FANCY AND DELICIOUSNESS

            As an adult when I found out it takes 15 min to whip up an entire trayful of scones while dinner was cooking on the stove it was like all my Christmases come at once. (if I celebrated it. Which I didn’t, cos immigrant)

        2. Oh yes, the three levels of plates thing is high tea; possibly “afternoon tea” around here. It seems to me they would be wasting good cake space by putting cucumber sandwiches on there too.

          Do you get to polish off all the cake from the tiers or are you supposed to be polite and only take one, possibly two slices?

          1. Cucumber sandwiches without the crusts is the best thing on those tiers. I could eat entire trays of them

            But yes you get the entire three tiers for you and your guest, they often have hot savouries too like tiny quiche

            Men should come to these more often imo way more delicious than whatever men get up to of an afternoon

            1. What-and cut into precious beer and pickled egg time at cosy watering hole? Unthinkable!

            2. We once saw three or four soldiers in fatigues in Betty’s in Harrogate (v. posh tea shop, if you don’t know of it) with a couple of those posh three tier china stands on the table. Looked most incongruous!

      2. Was invited to “afternoon tea” last weekend which included the proverbial three tier cake stand, decorated in festive ribbons remaining from jubilee celebration. Home made scones with home made jam in profusion and dollops of clotted cream. Absence of crustless cucumber sandwiches was more than compensated by home made blackcurrant sorbet. Bring back afternoon tea!

  15. I thought this was a very good puzzle but it was certainly tough. I completed a very jumpy solve with DIWALI, ENTRAP, ERRORS, and my LOI LAST (apt but I didn’t get the neat parsing at first). I got BEETLE early and STAG followed but I needed Chris to parse it for me.
    In the end, I was over target (I took a minute longer than Rotter) but I was not unhappy in the circumstances. Chris’s blog and the comments above really say it all.
    Thanks to Jalna and to Chris for clarifying/confirming lots of quirky bits of parsing. His blog was well worth another careful read, I found. John M.

  16. Elegant? Hardly! This was a tough one to get going. After my first trip around the grid I only had one answer. However, I kept soldiering (should be “sailoring”) on and eventually completed the puzzle.

    I did need help with the Indian festival, never heard of Diwali, and I’m sure a lot of people would have had to look that one up, whether they admit it or not 🤣. I had to guess “last” as the clue didn’t really bring it home to me. I had L_S_, so I could see no other word that seemed correct.

    1. Well done on sticking with it PW. It was certainly a slow build today. On reflection, a lot of it looks easy but that’s because I now know what definition they were searching for.

  17. I got INSTIGATED straightaway and then proceeded quickly. After 12 minutes I just needed 15d.
    Like Templar and others I was sure REST was correct. However I have now been doing these things long enough to realise that if you are trying to get for example CURABLE or CARIBLE to fit a clue (especially in a QC), you have probably made a mistake.
    It took me another 6 minutes to unwind things and find LAST and CALIBRE.
    As noted by others, this was a high class puzzle with some tricky parsings. Tough for beginners. Hats off to Jalna.

  18. A very neat crossword, with some tricky, but well clued definitions. LAST, CALIBRE and DIWALI all standing out. All the surfaces were natural and no wasted words. The more I look back, the more I like this puzzle.

    I had REST instead of LAST until I got CALIBRE, and so LAST lived up to its name for me.

    Thanks to Jalna for a terrific puzzle, and to Chris for the blog.


  19. DNF after 30 mins today – also fell into the ‘rest’ trap meaning I couldn’t see CALIBRE. Unable to parse STAG BEETLE or COSTA RICA, and hadn’t understood ‘trousers’ in NINJA (many thanks for the much-needed blog). Extreme brain fog today. Liked DIWALI because of the tricky misdirection with ‘West Indian’ – this reminded me (again) of the need to lift and separate… one day I may even remember! Many thanks all. Thanks too to Jalna.

  20. I couldn’t parse STAG BEETLE, I had beet as being worn so I was never going to make sense of it! My fav was CALIBRE, thanks all and Happy Birthday to LP!

    1. Thanks DoubleL. Birthday was at weekend but only just finished blowing the candles out! Trying to ration the cake through the week rather than finish it in one go.

      I went down the “beet” = worn route for trying to parse STAG BEETLE although I think if it were that route, it would be “beat”. Always use The Beatles to remind myself that the insect spelling is EE.

  21. A nice puzzle which took me a little while to settle into. DENIM was FOI and it was much later that I saw the simple GAP. In fact I had to replace my biffed INITIATTED(In my defence _N_T___TED was already in place) with INSTIGATED before the penny dropped. However once that was sorted out the rest flowed nicely and I finished with CAREER in 8:47. Thanks Jalna and Chris.

  22. I struggled with this and nearly gave up with 9A and 18A unsolved until I managed to split 18A into ‘remain’ and ‘behind everybody else’ instead of ‘remain behind’ (stay?) and ‘everybody else’ (rest? all?). I had P-N -A – for 9A and I knew there had to be another P somewhere but it took a complete alphabet trawl to arrive at PEN PAL as I was looking for some kind of newspaper reporter. A very slow 14 minutes for me.

    Question- how do I join the club? I presume it isn’t possible as I do my crosswords in hard copy.

    1. Fatima – If you have a Times subscription package inc the digital version, you can access the crossword club via that.

    2. Though if you’re referring to some posters pulling up their favourite chair in the club, or similar, that’s the SCC, or Slow Coach Club, which you can join by virtue of taking 20+ minutes to solve the QC.

      1. Hi Hopkinb

        I meant the show-offs club but there is always a chance that I might end up in the SCC some times!

  23. I enjoyed this one although as most seem to agree it was a toughie! I was more than pleased to finish within target at 9.15. It took me a while to parse STAG BEETLE, but my LOI was actually RECORD. Didn’t think of REST as an alternative to LAST otherwise I may have been tempted into thinking that was the answer.
    Off to the football tonight to see my Newport County take on Portsmouth (Pompey) in the 2nd round of The League Cup. I seem to remember a contributor to this site regularly used to finish his post with ‘Play up Pompey’. Are you still out there?

  24. Dnf….

    Fell into the “Rest” trap and just couldn’t get 15dn “Calibre” (not being familiar with the definition).

    Apart from the SE corner everything else went in steadily over about 15 mins.

    FOI – 2dn “Ninja”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 5dn “Top Secret” – like a good film reference.

    Thanks as usual!

    1. On the BORE definition, it wasn’t until I got here that I realised it was referring to the CALIBRE of a bullet. I’ve heard of small bore rifles or pistols along the way.

  25. 6:59 this morning. What a difference a day makes, over double the time from yesterday!
    Basically a much more difficult puzzle imo, combined with a failure on my part to get to grips with several clues immediately. Have to say it was a cracking QC from Jalna with several excellent clues.
    Particularly liked 5 d “top secret” and 15 d “calibre”.
    With my statistician’s hat on, I know that my long term average QC solving time is just under 5 mins but life’s too short to calculate the standard deviation. However I would reckon it’s pretty high and getting higher!
    Thanks to Chris and Jalna

    1. I’d echo the toughness. I average 12 minutes with a standard deviation of 3 (⅔ of my times are between 9 & 15, 95% between 6 & 18). This was more than 3 standard deviations above the mean …


      1. A quick Excel of my completions for July & August gives me a mean average of 39mins and a std dev of 21min57. Now if I can just get 2SDs better than the mean … 😀

    2. I use the median to calculate my average time, because it allows me to include DNFs in the calculation. I allocate an arbitrary 1,000 minutes to a DNF (a fate I suffer roughly every 6-7 puzzles), which would move the mean hugely, but not the median. I occasionally work out the mean and SD of my successful solves, but those metrics are of secondary importance to me.

  26. DNF as, like some others, I had REST for 18a and also did not see the BORE = CALIBRE. A challenging crossword!

  27. Like others, I found this quite tough; unlike them I didn’t really enjoy it that much, although I do see their point about the neat setting style. I think I’m still having trouble getting on to Jalna’s wavelength really.
    Anyway it took me just over 17 minutes, so I’m in good company with Rotter, Templar, Blighter and David 😊
    FOI Race LOI Errors
    Thanks Jalna and Chris

  28. I thought the QC was pitched just about right but then I did see LAST straight away. FOI was INSTIGATED and LOI was CALIBRE. I enjoyed the clues for ENTRAP, DENIM, CAREER and CALIBRE. 8:12 for a good day.

  29. This was tough and took me 27 minutes. Surprised to see so many people struggling in the SE corner. I got only two on the first pass of the across clues – RECORD and HYBRID (did much better on the downs). This enabled me to solve from the SE upwards. As has been the case all too frequently recently I had two outstanding which took an age to solve. Today it was the PEN PAL/DENIM crossing – all very straightforward with the benefit of hindsight.

    FOI – 14ac RECORD
    LOI – 8ac PEN PAL
    COD – 20ac DIWALI, for the West Indian misdirection.

    Thanks to Jalna & Chris

  30. I found this hard work, only managing HOB at the first pass of all the clues. Once on the right wavelength answers began to flow. Liked ENTRAP, LAST and DENIM; biffed STAG BEETLE and TORPEDO (as both only half parsed) and stared at CAREER (trying to fit EU for European in somewhere, forgetting that EU is the E Union) for some time, thus LOI. Pleasing puzzle, all the same. Thanks Jalna and Chris.

  31. We also joined the rest and curable brigade, also slow in solving 9a penpal. Finished within target but two incorrect.

  32. There was a lot to enjoy in this – at least for the first 20 mins or so. By that stage I was down to my last few clues. At the 25 min mark I had finally worked out what was going on with Diwali, so just had 15d left. A few minutes later I realised I must have one of the crossers wrong but deduced it was probably Record, the parsing of which seemed iffy at best, and Rest was obviously right. . . Pulled stumps at 30mins for a frustrating DNF and came to the blog to find, like others, I had been well beaten by Last/Calibre. Invariant

  33. On the subject of pen pals, Chambers says “An otherwise unknown person (usu abroad) with whom one corresponds” so yes, overseas is unnecessary and maybe even incorrect!

  34. Dreadful again! Only got NINJA. Feel less bad on reading that many others found it tough, possibly too tough for a QC?

    1. I reckon so. Was a toughie if you couldn’t get started. Not sure I’d have got far if I hadn’t unravelled CREAM-TEA, PIE-CHART and INSTIGATED. Even the latter might have passed me by as my first writedown of the letters threw up IGNITED + STA.

  35. 22:33

    That started really tough with only PIE CHART and DIWALI on the first pass and only 5 answers after 10 minutes. Once the checkers started to fill in the rest eventually fell into place with LOI ENTRAP.

  36. Very late solve today, as it is Mrs R’s birthday and we had a lovely day out.

    Tough for me (44 minutes), but not so hard for Mr R (28 minutes). ERRORS required a long alphabet trawl.

    Many thanks to Jalna an Chris.

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