Times Quick Cryptic 2230 by Orpheus


Solving time: 11 minutes


My target missed yet again, but only by a minute this time. I was slow to dispose of  a number of clues that should have been easy, in particular 13ac as my LOI which I must have read a dozen times during the solve. I’ve absolutely no idea now what my problem was.

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.

1 Beg audibly for quarry (4)
Sounds like [audibly] “pray” (beg)
3 Little girl keeping a sort of porcelain bird (8)
FLO  (little girl – short for ‘Florence’) containing [keeping] A + MING (sort of porcelain)
8 Visible perspicacity (7)
IN SIGHT (visible)
10 Greek character American soldiers backed (5)
AM (American) + GI’S (soldiers) reversed [backed]
11 Bringing back memories about slight smell? (11)
RE (about), MINI-SCENT (slight smell)
13 Sailors observed going about in the morning (6)
SEEN (observed) containing [going about] AM (in the morning). As mentioned in the intro this was my LOI. I thought immediately of ‘saw’ for ‘observed’ and found it hard to think past that.
15 Fortified building with increased running costs (6)
UP (increased), KEEP (fortified building)
17 Reformed rabble came east, suitable for hugging (11)
Anagram [reformed] of RABBLE CAME, E (east). I’ll take any excuse to listen to Nat King Cole!
20 Grumble when husband gets in hock, perhaps (5)
H (husband) contained by [gets in] WINE (hock, perhaps)
21 N Atlantic island, one originally colonised by large antelope (7)
I (one), C{olonised} [originally], ELAND (large antelope). I lost time here considering ‘Ireland’ as a possibility.
22 £1,000 initially spent on young relative (8)
GRAND (£1,000), S{pent} [initially] ON. Perhaps ‘younger relative’ might have been a better definition. 
23 Fine loose fibre (4)
F (fine), LAX (loose)
1 Top nun’s urge to tour Brazilian port (8)
PRESS (urge) contains [to tour] RIO (Brazilian port)
2 Racecourse some keep so meticulously (5)
Hidden in [some] {ke}EP SO M{eticulously}. Home to two English Classic horse races, The Oaks and The Derby.
4 Up-to-date info from US city trial (6)
LA (US city), TEST (trial)
5 Successfully learn short musical work, an outstanding creation (11)
MASTER (successfully learn), PIECE (short musical work). I’m not sure that a piece of music is necessarily short but the intention  is clear enough.
6 Strange thing that is worn in retirement? (7)
Anagram [strange] of THING, IE (that is)
7 Female, heading off for Arabian sultanate (4)
{w}OMAN (female) [heading off]
9 Sandy needs money to make flavoured cake (11)
GINGER (sandy), BREAD (money)
12 Part of book   removed from a theatregoer, perhaps? (8)
Two definitions, one cryptic
14 A married woman’s vast place across the pond (7)
A, M (married), ERICA (woman)
16 Fabric produced by girl briefly engaged by company (6)
ALIC{e} (girl) [briefly] contained [engaged] by CO (company)
18 Cry out, securing end of major punch-up (5)
BAWL (cry out) containing [securing] {majo}R [end of…]
19 Cotton on   small shoot (4)
Two meanings. ‘Cotton on’ and ‘twig’ are both slang expressions meaning ‘understand’.

44 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2230 by Orpheus”

  1. 14:02. Entered attendee too hastily for APPENDIX because I had the wrong kind of theatre in mind ,but UPKEEP set me straight. Also flux seemed likely at first for FLAX because “loose” and”fibre” had me thinking of a bodily function. Luckily I realized I had to properly parse the clue and when I eventually thought of lax for loose the right solution came. Enjoyed AMERICA and BRAWL the most.

  2. After a week of slow times, finally below my target time. ‘Sailors’ immediately triggered TARS/ABS/RN before I thought it might be the definition. ‘Brazilian port’ not just ‘port’, ‘Arabian sultanate’ not ‘country’ or ‘sultanate’: signs of a QC. 4:54.

  3. Came to a halt with TWIG at the end. Took an age to see ‘S’ wasn’t involved and that ‘cotton on’ was a unit. Thoroughly misdirected. Also took a long time to remember the eland – a crossword staple – and was sure N Atlantic would have been North Atlantic unless the N was literal and that delay held up CALICO. Some big hold ups on the way to all green in 13.

  4. Found this fairly straightforward, which was fortunate as my laptop died at the weekend so had to do this on a tablet. One finger typing is really not my thing and had to keep a sharp lookout for typos.
    Started with PREY and finished with CALICO, which needed to be dredged from the depths, in 7.45.
    Tanks to Jack

  5. 22 minutes.
    FOI: PREY.
    LOI: CALICO although I had written this to one side earlier I just couldn’t parse it at the time.

    Made a mistake putting BUDS in at 19dn but quickly removed it upon seeing WHINE also, wasted time going through the greek characters ending A with 5 letters and writing them backwards until I reached SIGMA. I would have saved time if I had read the WP fully.

    Favourite: I had marked REMINISCENT but then chose APPENDIX.

  6. 7.00

    Some nice misdirections but always plenty of clues to keep you going. Couldn’t see FLAX for a bit but once that came APPENDIX and UPKEEP followed

    Thanks all

  7. This had a real Monday feel to it but was as elegantly clued as always from Orpheus. I particularly enjoyed my last two in, UPKEEP and APPENDIX (which raised a real chuckle at the PDM and gets my COD).

    All done in 06:15 for 1.3K and a Very Good [on edit: Excellent] Day.

    Many thanks Jack and Orpheus.


    1. I think I would record that as an excellent day or do you have to record a sub 1K before you can post an excellent day?

      1. Hmm yes, maybe I undergraded it! The raw time is indeed an Excellent Day since I don’t often get under 7 minutes but then the K time was only 1.3 so it’s quite an easy puzzle. Sub-Ks are always graded as a Red Letter Day!

        (Very impressed by your cycling endeavours, by the way.)

          1. When I started the K scale my target was under 5K … which I rarely achieved … so keep going!

  8. 9 minutes, so on the less challenging side as others have said, but not without some lovely clues. My LOI was Appendix, put in from the checkers and the first part of the definition – I only understood the cleverness of theatregoers when reading the blog and having done so, it certainly gets my CoD.

    Agree with Bativy that three random girl’s names is perhaps more than one might wish to see!

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  9. Slight improvement over last week as I squeaked in to my target range (5:30-6:30) by 0 seconds. Hmm, maybe therefore I was one second outside.

    SEAMEN LOI, APPENDIX my favourite – theatregoer indeed!


  10. I started very well and thought I would finish well within target. However, I ended up a minute over because of my last two: 3a and 5d. I biffed ALICANTO which is a mythological South American bird (alic/a for a short girl/a/ and then my brain moved on). That will teach me to rush and part-parse! This made 5d impossible. Only when the inevitable dawned did I clear 3a and get to grips with MASTERPIECE before the correct bird emerged.
    Ah well, roll on Tuesday.
    I liked FLAX but my COD is the clever APPENDIX. Thanks to both. John M.

  11. Encouraging start to the week as I finished this in one steady swoop, starting with PREY and finishing with FLAX (unparsed, dimly).
    Actually FOI EPSOM, come to think of it.
    Liked many, inc UPKEEP, APPENDIX, WHINE, MASTERPIECE and REMINISCENT. Felt good to be on the wavelength after recent struggles.
    Thanks vm for blog, Jack.

  12. I must be half asleep still because I struggled. The NW corner held out longest with my last two being FLAMINGO and OMAN. The latter caused problems because I was trying out yet another name for a female rather than female = woman. CsOD APPENDIX and NIGHTIE (although I don’t have one). Time taken: a sleepy 9:53.

  13. Sluggish 13 mins. Even LOI g_n_e_bread took longer than it should have as I didn’t equate sandy with ginger.

    COD Reminiscent.

  14. A slog for me today. Over the line in 28 mins. Embarrassed to say that I took way too long over FLAMINGO, even though I had the ‘o’ 🙄 LOI was MASTERPIECE which fell as soon as I had flamingo… Not my finest hour. Brain seemingly absent today. Pleased to finish at all. As many others, APPENDIX was COD – very clever. Many thanks Orpheus and Jack.

    1. It’s a bit late now, so not on top form but I didn’t have the ‘O’ until after the bird so I ended up struggling in the same area. 13 minutes and not a quick solution ‘in sight’.

  15. Finished under target at 9.30 but would have been much quicker if I hadn’t initially messed up 1dn. Seeing a reference to Brazilian port and top nun I put in SUPERIOR without properly parsing it. After then failing on 8ac and 13ac I finally twigged something was amiss. COD and LOI was APPENDIX for me.
    I always do the times2Crossword before this as a warm up, and notice that both crosswords contain the same two answers as crossers. Unless this is a big coincidence, I presume Orpheus was responsible for the other crossword.

  16. My FOI was SUPERIOR at 1d -Mother Superior was the thought. And my LOI was PRIORESS after a few lengthy corrections.
    Nevertheless I was finished in 13 minutes. But I had put CAMINO -Am(y) in CO- assuming that must be a fabric. Not my best day.
    COD to AMERICA from several good clues.

  17. Unlike my usual cadre of fellow solvers who target 10 – 15 minutes for these puzzles, and who appear to have bettered their target, I struggled to complete in one minute over this morning, at 16 minutes. No particular sticking points, but APPENDIX was LOI after UPKEEP and FLAX gave themselves up. Substituting GINGER for sandy also took a while. Thanks both.

  18. Under target at 8:44 after a week of being consistently slow.
    Last two in were MASTERPIECE and GINGERBREAD – I’m not sure that a piece of music is necessarily short, and had quite forgotten that redheads could be called Sandy.

  19. I struggled with this one, only being able to complete it with the aid of a crossword dictionary. It was Calico that got me. Oddly enough I did think of calico earlier on, but dismissed it as I couldn’t get past thinking of a cat. I struggled with Prioress and flax for a long time too.

  20. Steady solve finishing in 17 minutes with all parsed except REMINISCENT. Glad to finish in under 20 minutes, something that I failed to do all last week. A fine crossword, pitched at just the right level for a QC, imo.

    FOI – 10ac SIGMA
    LOI – 23ac FLAX
    COD – a joint award to 12dn APPENDIX and 14dn AMERICA. Also liked 8ac and 9dn.

    Thanks to Orpheus and to Jack for the blog.

  21. 18 mins…

    Nice start to the week with a challenging but enjoyable puzzle from Orpheus.

    Struggled a little with 11ac, trying to make an anagram out of memories and also had a mind block with 9dn “Gingerbread” (for some reason Sandy Lyle annoyingly kept popping into my head). Eventually twigged 19dn was, er, twig (and not swig like I first thought).

    FOI – 1ac “Prey”
    LOI – 19dn “Twig”
    COD – 12ac “Appendix” – an old chestnut that always makes me chuckle.

    Thanks as usual!

  22. It was Orpheus, so I kept thinking that I would grind to an early halt. However, other than PRIORESS (which took 5 minutes), the clues kept falling and I crossed the line in just 23 minutes. PRIORESS delayed me because I didn’t know the word, I hadn’t solved SEAMEN and I thought that RIO involved the second ‘R’ (P_I_Rio_). Still, after two DNFs and one very slow time last week, I am very happy and looking forward to a successful week.

    Mrs Random did just enough to maintain family equilibrium by finishing in 20 minutes. I feel a bit awkward on the rare occasions that I record a faster time than her.

    Many thanks to Orpheus (for a genuine QC) and to Jack.

  23. Note from the TftT Administrator: I have had to remove Ed Freshpot’s comment, as it gave the answers to another of today’s puzzles. I’m sure he was unaware of our rules, and will not do this in the future.

  24. Very slow all over the grid today with FLAX and APPENDIX last in; I was looking for a triple definition answer for the former and really enjoyed post-solve the clueing for the latter.

    Thanks Orpheus and Jackkt

  25. 4 clues today, one of which needed the dictionary! Definitely time to abandon all hope of ever completing a QC. I don’t intend to try again. Many thanks for the helpful blog.

    1. Sorry to hear this, Ian. 4 is something to build on. I hope you will feel motivated on another day to give it another shot.

    2. Ian,

      You will get there if you persist. When I began, I found online a list of common crossword abbreviations. I printed it off and used it every day for at least 6 months as aid (I still occasionally resort to it). When you get used to the abbreviations it makes such a difference.

      You can also find online details of how each type of clue can be identified. I printed off a single page from the internet which proved invaluable when I was learning how to spot each type of clue. There are only 8 types of clue and it is relatively easy to spot them once you have a crib.

      I hope you find this useful and that you will persist.


  26. 20:31

    All going well until the SE corner where came unstuck on UPKEEP and was fooled (again) by that type of theatre for APPENDIX and LOI FLAX.

  27. A very enjoyable puzzle, with indeed elegant clues, and a good mixture of clue types. Top half went in easily, short pause over Seamen and Upkeep, then bottom half followed. 10 minutes. Thanks Orpheus and Jackkt. Always appreciate the blog.

  28. Worst outcome for me almost ever! Funny how it goes isn’t it? I didn’t get this puzzle at all.

  29. I don’t particularly time myself (as I have a season ticket in the SCC), but I was unofficially all done in 18 mins.

    I avoided my usual Monday blind panic and worked out most of the clues. Didn’t parse 16dn. LOI was 13 ac. For once, last clue syndrome didn’t strike and this held me up only very briefly.

    COD 12dn. Brilliant.

    Thanks as always for the blog.

  30. Bit of a shocker this morning – not so much wrong wavelength as FM vs Longwave. Had to bail out after 20 laborious minutes to visit a relative who lives about a hundred miles away. Came back this evening and polished off the remaining half of the puzzle in less than 5mins. No idea what’s going on with my brain these days 🤷‍♂️ CoD to 12d, Appendix, which was impossible until it became obvious ! Invariant

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