Times Quick Cryptic 2251 by Orpheus

Hi everyone.  While Chris is busy grandson sitting, I am the first of those sitting in for him here.

A puzzle to phone a friend about?  I ask because a cockney reference and no less than three dogs (two of them eating) made me think of dog and bone.  I was almost tempted to take inspiration from Astro_Nowt and pen some suitable lines, but you are spared my doggerel!

I took a couple more minutes on this than on the previous Orpheus puzzles I’ve blogged.  Did you find it tougher than usual too, or was I just dogged?

Thanks Orpheus!

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

1a Beetle or spaniel eating husks, mostly (10)
COCKCHAFER COCKER (spaniel) around (eating) CHAFf (husks) without the last letter (mostly)
8a Duck found in a road bordering shopping precinct (7)
MALLARD A + RD (road) next to (bordering) MALL (shopping precinct)
9a Aquatic bird extremely eager to catch fish (5)
EIDER — The outer letters of (extremely) EagerR going around (to catch) IDE (fish)
10a Male creature crossing railway, an African antelope (4)
ORYX OX (Male creature) spanning (crossing) RY (railway)
11a Possible home of a French girl in part of East London (8)
BUNGALOW UN (a, French) and GAL (girl) in BOW (part of East London)
13a Girl originally from Hebridean island (5)
FIONA — The first letter of (originally) From + IONA (Hebridean island)
14a Deprived chap briefly kept by Napoleonic marshal (5)
NEEDY ED (chap briefly) inside (kept by) NEY (Napoleonic marshal)
16a Luxury food produced by male relative in a vast continent (8)
AMBROSIA M (male) and BRO (relative) in ASIA (a vast continent)
17a Dog eating primarily minced meat (4)
LAMB LAB (dog) around (eating) the first letter of (primarily) Minced
20a Game created by guerrilla leader’s son (5)
CHESS CHE (guerrilla leader) + S (son)
21a Metal grill making a rasping sound (7)
GRATING — Two definitions
22a Slovenly old nurse left Derby at last, drinking coffee (10)
SLATTERNLY SRN (old nurse), L (left) and the last letter of (… at last) DerbY around (drinking) LATTE (coffee)
1d Company doctor introducing old jazz group (5)
COMBO CO (company) + MB (doctor) before (introducing) O (old)
2d Sheepdog reportedly moves unsteadily, having upset stomach (12)
COLLYWOBBLES — COLLIE (sheepdog), homophone (reportedly) + WOBBLES (moves unsteadily)
3d Persuade helmsman to skirt area (4)
COAX COX (helmsman) going around (to skirt) A (area)
4d Keenness more difficult for a Cockney, do we hear? (6)
ARDOUR — ‘ARDER (more difficult, for a Cockney), sound-alike (do we hear?)
5d Coming out East, meeting and joining (8)
EMERGING E (east) + MERGING (meeting and joining)
6d Watering down of grown-up allowance, including wine ultimately (12)
ADULTERATION ADULT (grown up) plus RATION (allowance) containing (including) the last letter of (… ultimately) winE
7d Sleepy day arguments ultimately carry (6)
DROWSY D (day) + ROWS (arguments) + the last letter of (ultimately) carrY
12d Merry-go-round a man observed across river (8)
CAROUSEL CARL (a man) seen around (observed across) OUSE (river)
13d Future groom working in café (6)
FIANCE — An anagram of (working) IN CAFÉ
15d Restless type of female the writer would understand (6)
FIDGET F (female) + ID (the writer would) + GET (understand)
18d Evil spirit in marshland upset the old (5)
BOGEY BOG (marshland) + the reversal of (upset) YE (the, old)
19d Confront fine fighter pilot (4)
FACE F (fine) + ACE (fighter pilot)

54 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2251 by Orpheus”

  1. I biffed BUNGALOW, SLATTERNLY, & CAROUSEL, parsing post-submission. Didn’t know that FIDGET could be a person. 4:56.

  2. 24:34. This was harder than usual for me- it looks like each clue took around a minute to crack. COLLYWOBBLES and COCKCHAFER were vaguely recalled from somewhere. Thanks for explaining the “S” in SLATTERNLY. Thought of Flora for FIONA first and similarly egret for EIDER . I was a little surprised to see MALLARD and EIDER right next to each other. P.S. Please don’t hesitate to share doggy doggerel with us in some future blog!

  3. I just scraped under the wire taking exactly 10 minutes to solve and parse this one. The way things have been recently for me this may be my only ‘target achieved’ for the week, but we shall see.

    ADULTERATION was the only clue that needed revisiting several times before it gave up its secret. The corresponding long answer COLLYWOBBLES, however, was a write-in. SOED has its origin as a fanciful formation from colic + wobble, which seems a little too obvious. I’d never thought about it before but I might have hoped for something more fanciful.

    1. I fancied it derived from Cumberland, where it was a disease (first noted in 1553) carried by sheepdogs, who developed ‘the shakes’,after being bitten by a local sheep-tick Tegmites kendalis. Tither-b’yon!

  4. I thought this was another tough one. I only know the COCKCHAFER from puzzles and I’d mistakenly filed them under birds. Having Bertie the cocker spaniel at my feet meant the clue went nice and quickly anyway. Got to the ‘latte’ bit of SLATTERNLY fast but SRN came more slowly and I was slow on ADULTERATION too and could have done with that checker to put thoughts of -ING out of my mind. All green in 16 with only three on the first pass of acrosses.

  5. 19 minutes all parsed and no problems other than thinking of the fish for EIDER.
    I enjoyed the building of SLATTERNLY and FIDGET but my favourite is FIONA.

  6. Chewy in places with the NHO (or forgotten) COCKCHAFER needing an alphabet trawl at the end. Thought that the old nurse was an SEN which held me up, but the abbreviation is slowly starting to register in the memory banks.
    Finished in 9.18 with CoD to FIDGET and WOD to COLLYWOBBLES, which I’ve always associated with anxiety, so an upset stomach makes sense to me.

      1. Thanks.
        It seems my memory is better than I thought – just need to work on the others now.

          1. In my ‘gap year’ at the start of the 1970s I was a hospital porter. SRNs had blue uniforms and SENs green! Nursery nurses’ uniforms were pink. All were overworked and underpaid even then.

  7. On wavelength this morning with only the NE slowing progress. At school a biology textbook foolishly chose the COCKCHAFER as the example when discussing how insects reproduce. The hilarity which ensued means it is lodged firmly in my memory. Poor old Mr Robinson lost control of that lesson.

    LOI EMERGING, COD AMBROSIA, time 06:54 for 1.4K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Kitty and Orpheus.


    1. A similar outbreak of hilarity ensued at my school when the Sports Master leapt up on stage at the end of morning assembly, and announced to everyone that he wanted to see Cox (who happened to be captain of the school cricket 1st eleven) after assembly. There was a pause of perhaps one second before the entire boys only assembly erupted into laughter. The Sports Master looked puzzled.

      1. Though you boys thought otherwise, I would guess the Sports Master was actually struggling to keep a straight face himself!

  8. Yes, quite chewy (after a rapid, encouraging start). I liked many of the clues but got hung up on my LOI FIONA (easy when it clicked). This took me 3 mins over target. I thought I had been much quicker but, for me, this is a sign of becoming immersed in an enjoyable puzzle.
    I enjoyed COLLYWOBBLES, AMBROSIA, FIDGET, and SLATTERNLY, amongst many others.
    Thanks to Orpheus for a fine QC and Kitty for an entertaining blog. John M.

  9. I was COAXed into action by 4d, but needed all the top row danglers before I was able to construct COCKCHAFER. I then had a steady run to LOI, FLORA, which I quickly changed to FIONA on re-reading the clue. 7:35. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  10. 9 minutes and a bit for me. LOI was LAMB after BOGEY.
    I started with SLATTERNLY, it was the first clue I read in the paper, and that gave me a good start.
    I struggled with the beetle and needed all the checkers and a close read of the clue to get it.
    A puzzle of dogs and ducks which I enjoyed. Perhaps it’s a reference to the setter’s favourite pub?

  11. 18 minutes for me, 3 over target, mostly spent wondering how I could squeeze an extra letter into COCKROACH before COCKCHAFER was dimly remembered. LAMB was LOI, COLLYWOBBLES WOD and I had no obvious COD. Thanks Kitty and Orpheus.

  12. Despite some gifts from Orpheus (Collywobbles, Adulteration), I was comfortably into the SCC by the time I reached my last pair – 3d and 1ac. A real head slap moment when Cox finally came to mind for Helmsman, but even then Cockchaffer took a further frustrating minute or two. I think deleting a letter, albeit the last one, from a cross referenced word is pushing it for a QC. CoD to the more friendly build up construction of 11ac, Bungalow. Invariant

  13. Managed to get back to form on this one finishing in 8.44, almost 10 minutes quicker than yesterdays debacle. Nearly all clues needed thought with only a few gimmes I thought. What a great word is SLATTERNLY, which I have come across in crosswords in the past, and even used in conversation occasionally.

  14. I thought there were zero anagrams, but I forgot FIANCE. There seemed to be a lot of “take a letter and add another word” clues to unpack.

    I enjoyed it anyway, especially constructing the NHO COCKCHAFER, which also made me do a schoolboyish double take and chuckle. COLLYWOBBLES COD.


  15. I really enjoyed this. 1A and 3D were my LOIs but it all finally fell into place when I dredged up COCKCHAFER from somewhere in the back of my memory. Like The Rotter I had been trying to squeeze an extra letter into COCKROACH before the lightbulb moment arrived.

    As I went to an all-girls’ school I didn’t have a cockchafer snigger moment but I still remember the headmistress in assembly, when announcing a forthcoming school dance (the only occasion in the year when we were allowed anywhere near the next-door boys’ school) exhorting us all to wear our best ‘farty procks’. Cue hilarity all round.

  16. Very enjoyable puzzle today, fully parsed in around 20 mins but no time as I was frequently distracted by observing the partial eclipse this morning. Did anyone else see it (sun’s disc 20% covered at 11am in the UK and easily visible through a helpful covering of cloud).

    An insect, two ducks, an antelope, a lamb, a fish and two dogs. Is there a theme other than the animal kingdom?

    I was held up by Oryx as I had entered the alternative spelling ‘colliwobbles’ before spotting the error. I particularly enjoyed parsing the longer clues but COD to very clever Fiance.

    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  17. A nice steady solve for me, although I was aided by the inclusion of several animals. LOI was SLATTERNLY, which concerned me as I wasn’t sure of the abbreviation for the nurse and am only vaguely familiar with the word itself. Didn’t seem to be anything else it could be though so I stopped the clock at 18:13 and hoped for the best. I might have struggled more with NEEDY too, but Ney has come up recently and so was still in my mind. Hopefully now it will stay there. Anyway, COD to BUNGALOW. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  18. DNF: COCKCHAFER NHO, couldn’t remotely guess what might fit after Cock. Most of my guesses seemed straight from The Urban Dictionary and wouldn’t be best shared here (although “-sharer” was one).

    I have a blank whenever that French Marshall comes up. Isn’t there also a Marshall Foy? So I come up with Noy and Fey.

    Also got confused on ORYX, thinking that XY was the clue for Male, a neat device I don’t think if seen a setter use.

    Also was set on AMELIORATION, which fitted my checkers.

  19. Better frame of mind today, and puzzled away happily at this for just over 16 minutes.
    Quite chewy I thought; the NW corner was the sticking point, as I took a long time to remember Cockchafer, then puzzle out Oryx, then finally put in Combo from wordplay without any idea how it connects to a jazz band. But since no-one else has commented on that at all I can only assume it is a piece of GK that Everyone Else Knows.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

    1. SOED: combo – 3 A small instrumental band, esp. of jazz musicians. Cf. combination 2c. E20.

      1. Thanks Jack. Suspected it was something like that – combo as combination can be used in so many ways. At least the wordplay was very kind.

        1. It seems to be urban legend that the Beatles were referred to thus in court in the 1960s: “I believe they are a popular beat combo, m’lud.”

  20. This took me a very long 28 mins! NHO COCKCHAFER (never to be forgotten) and struggled to get COLLYWOBBLES even after having COLLY plus all the checkers… Much to like though including SLATTERNLY (SRN no trouble for this ex-NHS worker), ORYX and ARDOUR (COD). Many thanks all.

  21. DNF (and almost a DNS) beaten by 1AC.

    Felt tough throughout to be honest.

    SLATTERNLY not often used but enjoyed COLLYWOBBLES.

    Thanks all.

  22. Having just returned to the UK I have discovered that I left my solving skills in Mallorca. Just couldn’t get on wavelength for this one. I struggled from the off with the 1s requiring several visits. COLLYWOBBLES and SLATTERNLY also needed lots of checkers. Couldn’t parse NEEDY. LOI in a ‘room for improvement’ 10:59 was COAX which would have been straight forward had I seen COCKCHAFER sooner.

  23. A combination of the straightforward and chewy. Got SLATTERNLY and COCKCHAFER early which helped, but took a while to see the easier COAX, NEEDY and FIDGET. A very animal themed puzzle, with IDE making yet another appearance – at least it wasn’t LING.

  24. About 30mins total.

    16+ mins to have only COCKCHAFER, EMERGING and NEEDY remaining.

    10-mins of crickets so gave up and made a cup of tea. Returned to quickly remember the COCK-ER spaniel and finished off from there.

    Very much helped along the way by BIFing SLATTERNLY after first encountering the word a few weeks ago while doing QC 1528 from 16-Jan-2020 set by someone called Orpheus …

  25. Just over 4 minutes, but with a careless ‘fuance’. I was clearly not properly engaged (I’ll get my own coat…..)

    1. As per the Meldrewikipaedia, a ‘fuance’ is a daft error, divined by fat-thumbed cruciverbalists. (l’ll get me anorak)

  26. 3:53 this morning. Despite stalling at 1 ac “cockchafer” first time round I moved to FOI 8 ac “mallard” then picked up speed with only a few brief hesitations en route to LOI 1 ac revisited.
    Thought this was a very nicely constructed puzzle from Orpheus. I liked 15 d “fidget”.
    Thanks to Kitty and setter.

  27. Finished and enjoyed after long healthy walk and not so healthy pub lunch.
    Luckily remembered COMBO from a previous puzzle and knew Marshall Ney. Couldn’t parse CAROUSEL but it had to be. Liked COLLYWOBBLES (archaism??), COCKCHAFER, ARDOUR. Good old Che reappeared too. Was slow on LOI LAMB – very, very dim considering there is a Lab snoozing at my feet.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  28. Thanks Orpheus for an enjoyable puzzle and Kitty for the blog, showing me that I’d rushed my LOI, BOGGY, so achieving a DNF. I couldn’t quite see how the clue worked, but I knew the blog would tell me and didn’t consider the possibility of another word with BGY+2

    I remember being called a fidget some 80 years ago, but the word is used far less frequently as a noun now, one of several answers which I felt were used more frequently several decades ago, which should have given me an advantage. In fact the puzzle looked so easy, seeing the blog, that I wondered why I had taken the best part of 20 minutes.

    FOI COMBO, LOI BUNGALOW (since I can’t vote for BOGEY!)

  29. My first sub-ten minute solve in quite a while, so this was more on my wavelength than some recent QCs.

    Amused by 16a, as it brought back memories of Ambrosia Creamed Rice, which I would definitely not classify as a luxury food.

  30. Not a pleasant experience! Some solvers above (Pitcathlie, BUSMAN and possibly Kevin G) had finished the whole puzzle before I had even got off the mark with my first clue (CHESS). How is that possible? In the end, I struggled/fought my way to the finish (or so I hoped) in 56 minutes. Sadly, however, I had erred with my last two in. I put ‘sway’ (instead of COAX) and COCKsHAFER, and so ended up with a long and arduous DNF.

    I had NHO the beetle, or the Napoleonic marshal, or LAB for ‘dog’, or SLATTERNLY (or SLATTERN for that matter), or the luxury food (except as a brand name), and I never parsed FIDGET. An awful day and definitely not a QC.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Kitty.

    P.S. Mrs R knocked it off without any fuss in 23 minutes.

    1. Er, Lab is short for Labrador😯 and Mrs R has probably mentioned that Ambrosia was the food of the gods.

  31. fun but hardish solve late in the day
    did like bungalow as clue. My stepfather said that a bungalow was built by a lazy person who said just bung a low roof on

  32. Dnf…

    Another tricky one I thought. Main stumbling block was 1ac “Cockchafer” – but it didn’t help that I put “Sway” for 3dn, thinking a “Swy” was some kind of old helmsman.

    Struggled with a few others in the NW corner as well.

    FOI – 1dn “Combo”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 15dn “Fidget”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. Quite pleased to complete this one. Spent some time working out 1ac and 10ac, but a relief after yesterday‘s last clue horrors. Around the 25 min mark, so a steady solve.

    COD 14ac
    LOI 10ac

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

  34. Ludicrously hard for me.
    Took three hours and now I’m an hour late for bed.
    Fine if you know the old chestnuts.
    Didn’t really enjoy this at the end but had to keep going.

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