Times Quick Cryptic 2265 by Hawthorn

Hi everybody.  I started apace, then slowed down somewhat to finish in a normal-for-me-for-a-quickie time of 07:16. My last in was 3d: I knew I needed to think a bit laterally, but still took a few moments to coax my creaky brain up a gear.  No complaints – which, considering that I’m in a distinctly grumpy mood as I write this, might just be high praise!  5a is my COD – for the penny-drop, natch.  Thanks Hawthorn!

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 Former lover acting falsely is revealing (8)
EXPOSING EX (former lover) + POSING (acting falsely)
5a Trick created by cheeky fellow (the penny’s dropped!) (4)
SCAM SCAM[p] (cheeky fellow) in which the P is removed (the penny’s dropped)
8a Unpleasant matter hidden by being ungentlemanly (5)
GUNGE — The matter is concealed inside (hidden by) beinG UNGEntlemanly
9a Maximum speed of prat: ego out of control (3,4)
TOP GEAR — An anagram of (… out of control) PRAT EGOI paused at this, but thought of the equivalence of gear and speed here as in a multi-speed/multi-gear transmission.  I’m sure it probably also works figuratively, but I found limited dictionary support – although Chambers does give the meaning I was searching for under “high gear”: “Maximum speed and efficiency, peak performance (figurative)”
11a Unlimited happy medicine for chosen person (11)
APPOINTMENT — Without outer letters (unlimited), hAPPy + OINTMENT (medicine)
13a An abridged motif for stirring song (6)
ANTHEM AN + all but the last letter of (abridged) THEMe (motif)
14a Vague problem making Chinese dish (3,3)
DIM SUM DIM (vague) + SUM (problem).  I seem to recall sum=problem being questioned in the past; Chambers covers the required meaning with the definition “a problem in addition, or in arithmetic generally”
17a Hit a balding criminal perceived unfavourably (2,1,3,5)
IN A BAD LIGHT HIT A BALDING anagrammed (criminal)
20a Get working security device, having been taken in by swindle (5,2)
CLOCK ON LOCK (security device) inside (having been taken in by) CON (swindle)
21a Mob heard getting stash of riches (5)
HOARD — HORDE (mob), homophone (heard)
22a Colour of writing fluid on page (4)
PINK INK (writing fluid) + P (page).  Pink is a word with surprisingly many definitions.  Hawthorne has kindly stayed in quickieland and stuck to the first one
23a Foreign police officer sorted out danger ahead of me (8)
GENDARME — An anagram of (sorted out) DANGER preceding (ahead of) ME
1d Headless golf club giving slight advantage (4)
EDGE — Without the first letter (headless), wEDGE (club – a golf club)
2d One being fussy about new necklace adornment (7)
PENDANT PEDANT (one being fussy) around (about) N (new)
3d High-Churchman? (11)
STEEPLEJACK — A cryptic definition
4d Fool, I note, upset with another fool (6)
NITWIT I and N (note) reversed (upset) + TWIT (another fool – i.e. a different fool to the answer)
6d Team at sea against east Cheshire town (5)
CREWE CREW (team at sea) + E (east)
7d Release one barge back on the ocean (8)
MARITIME — In reversal (… back), EMIT (release), I (one) and RAM (barge)
10d Place to practise making plants — in snooker or gardening? (7,4)
POTTING SHED — A definition (the gardening one), plus a more imaginative possible interpretation of the answer.  The snooker reference relies on the meaning of plant as a shot in which a ball is potted from a collision with a ball other than the cue ball
12d A victor breaks record, winning tennis tournament (5,3)
DAVIS CUP A and V (victor) goes inside (breaks) DISC (record) + UP (winning)
15d Site far off looking dry and sunny (3,4)
SET FAIR SITE FAR anagrammed (off)
16d Look briefly good with jousting weapon (6)
GLANCE G (good) + LANCE (jousting weapon)
18d Tree fruit‘s ace crop (5)
ACORN A (ace) + CORN (crop)
19d Lied about being lazy (4)
IDLE — An anagram of (… about) LIED

62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2265 by Hawthorn”

  1. Thanks Kitty for the snooker definition of POTTING SHED.
    Thanks also to Hawthorn for a great puzzle.


  2. Biffed CLOCK IN but thought it through and corrected it. I wondered about TOP GEAR, but as they say, it had to be. MARITIME, CREWE, & SCAM slowed me down a bunch. Problem=SUM has been in a dozen 15x15s or more. 8:33.

  3. All green in 15 from a very slow start. Just three on the first pass and all in the bottom half. Tried to persuade myself a rack was a security device but finally managed to find CLOCK ON. MARTIME and APPOINTMENT were the last to fall. Hawthorn is always tricky for me, today was no exception. Fun though.

  4. 8 minutes. Like Kitty I had some doubts about the definition of TOP GEAR but as the answer was clearly correct I bunged it in and moved on. Thanks for going the extra mile with research, Kitty, so that I didn’t have to.

    Casting contestants into a GUNGE tank has featured in numerous TV game shows over the years. Wiki records the first of these dating from the 1960s as a regular spoof sketch called Poet’s Corner in Not Only… But Also in which that week’s guest would be challenged to an improvisational poetry contest against Peter Cook, with Dudley Moore acting as referee. Each contestant would sit at the corner of a square tank of “BBC Gunge” on a rigged seat that could be triggered so as to catapult the occupant into the tank. The referee would sit at one of the other corners in a similar chair. Any use of repetition, hesitation or deviation from the challenge theme would precipitate the offender into the tank. The sketch always ended with all three personalities in the tank, chest deep in slime and reciting poetry.

      1. Yes, I was hoping to post a link to YouTube but couldn’t find one and I don’t recall ever seeing it. Many of the episodes were wiped by the BBC but enough survive that there should be some examples of a sketch idea that played out over several programmes.

  5. Had to chew on MARITIME for a while because with the M checker already in place I thought the ocean was going to be MED. Also took a while with LOI NITWIT, and still parsed it wrong. Can someone tell me why “note” sometimes = N rather than a musical note? What’s the context for that as an abbreviation?

    All fast otherwise and stopped the clock at 08:02 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Kitty and Hawthorn.


    1. N as an abbreviation of ‘note’ is something we take for granted almost every week so it’s good to question its origin. Sadly I haven’t come up with an explanation. It’s listed in most of the usual sources but the only further info is in Collins under American English, where it mentions it in the context of finance. Even then I don’t know why that would be, and I suspect whatever the origin it doesn’t need to rely on American usage.

        1. Of course, but since N[ota] B[ene] translates to “note well”, I find that a helpful suggestion for how to remember that “note” can simply indicate N.

  6. Made fairly brisk progress until slowing down at the end.
    Was sure that the Lancashire town was going to be an anagram of ‘team + e’ which didn’t help matters. Once the penny dropped the previously intractable SCAM and MARITIME followed, leaving just STEEPLEJACK, which I stared at blankly for a while – not my favourite type of clue because if you don’t see it immediately there’s not a lot of wordplay to fall back on.
    Finished in 8.35
    Thanks to Kitty

  7. A very speedy Monday puzzle, done for once on my phone as I am travelling (I’m more usually a pen-and-paper solver). This give a rare accurate time, and at 8.32 an even rarer sub-1K (by 1 second). As the time implies, no real hold-ups though like Mendesest I also had Crack on as a possible until (a) the checkers and (b) the parsing refused to work.

    A minor thought at Appointment – it had to be from the wordplay, so it went in fast enough, but the chosen person is surely the appointee not the appointment itself.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

    1. Collins on “appointment” – “2. the act of placing in a job or position
      3. the person who receives such a job or position”

      1. Well, if it is in Collins then it’s OK – those are the rules of the game. But it is so not what anyone would say in practice. Can you see the chairman of a selection board approaching one of those selected and saying “Congratulations, you are an appointment”? (Mind you, the negative does work. My father would rather too often say to me when I was small “You are a disappointment” – it was his preferred way of expressing disapproval).

        1. “Liz Truss was an excellent appointment”.

          I bet your father couldn’t do the crossword as fast as you!

          1. “Liz Truss was an excellent appointment” – there is so much to take issue with in that sentence, not least whether she was appointed or elected! But it is a good counter-example to my concern, and it shows a very interesting aspect of the language, because “X was an excellent appointment” presumably started life as “The appointment of X was excellent”, and is therefore a transference of meaning from “The appointment of X” to “X as the appointment”. Thus does the language develop …

  8. A biffed TOP RATE was swiftly changed to TOP GEAR when CREWE arrived, and I looked at the anagrist properly. Otherwise, a straightforward solve in 7:10. Thanks Hawthorne and Kitty.

  9. 9.00

    Bit sluggish this morning

    Liked the APP plus OINTMENT w/p for that one.

    Thanks Kitty and Hawthorn

  10. Putting Laver Cup instead of the much more obvious Davis Cup caused 17a to remain a mystery.

  11. Must have been on the wavelength today for a change. FOsI EDGE and EXPOSING. STEEPLEJACK and POTTING SHED sprang to mind straight away which helped. It took me a little longer to work out the parsing of MARITIME and had to wait for the blog to parse APPOINTMENT. PDM with DAVIS CUP. Liked DIM SUM, 3d, PENDANT, IN A BAD LIGHT, among others.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  12. A genuine QC – thanks to Hawthorn.
    A quick start and this continued. I had a problem with the NE simply, as others seem to agree, because a gear is not a speed. Poor clue. SCAM held me up too (why?) but it was a good clue and a d’oh moment when the penny dropped.
    I wasted time at the end simply because, in my haste, I unaccountably biffed Crack On for 20ac (like Mendesest and Cedric above). I didn’t find my LOI DAVIS CUP easy (it was a good clue, though when I parsed it carefully). These late hiccups took me 30 secs over the 10 min mark. Better than my recent times but…..
    Thanks to Kitty, too. Good blog, as we have come to expect! John M.

  13. All but SCAM went in on the first pass through the acrosses giving me the checkers to whizz through the downs without any significant hold ups. I liked POTTING SHED and the neat PINK. Thank-you Hawthorn and Kitty. 3:56.

  14. 13 minutes for me, with a small pause deciding between CLOCK IN and ON (which was the right choice, but less familiar to me). I justified TOP GEAR by not thinking of velocity, but equating working in TOP GEAR and working at TOP SPEED. There seemed to be a lot of Ms in the grid. Thanks both.

  15. 18 mins for me…

    I was a bit all over the place at first, but luckily things started to come together. Needed the checkers for 3dn and just by looking at the grid the answer appeared (probably wouldn’t have got it otherwise).

    I always thought of “top gear” as an expression of being at maximum speed rather than taking it literally. I also nearly put “Clock In” for 20ac before I rechecked the parsing.

    Lots to like though with 4dn “Nitwit”, 10dn “Potting Shed” and 14ac “Dim Sum” standing out.

    FOI – 1dn “Edge”
    LOI – 7dn “Maritime”
    COD – 11ac “Appointment”

    Thanks as usual!

  16. Just under the quicker end of target, for a decent start to the week.

    STEEPLEJACK needed all the checkers. LOI was ACORN for no discernible reason, I just missed it out I think. COD was the concise PINK.


  17. 9 minutes for me and no big hold-ups. I’ve been watching a lot of Fred Dibnah recently so STEEPLEJACK came quickly.
    I biffed NUTTER at 4d but knew as I was writing it seemed wrong. I did take quite a lot of time to parse Davis Cup =was sure at first EP or LP would be in there.
    Same thought about GEAR as others.

  18. FOI EDGE, LOI CREWE, COD GUNGE.Took a long time to get CREWE as I was expecting AT SEA to be anagrind, and, though familiar with GUNGE, this also took time; I blame excellent cluing for both delays!

    I am familiar with the snooker usage of both plant and potting but not shed, so that clue only partly worked for me. (ie the garden part!)

    Nothing very easy or very difficult and much enjoyed in average time,; thanks Hawthorn and Kitty.

  19. Just outside the SCC today but needed help with parsing MARITIME, NITWIT and APPOINTMENT (all biffed). I was pleased to spot a few clues I’d seen before (IDLE, GENDARME and HOARD) which helped me make up for the extra time spent on CREWE/SCAM/MARITIME. Liked DIM SUM. Many thanks for the blog Kitty and to Hawthorn for an enjoyably QC-ish QC.

  20. A nice middle of the road puzzle from the setter which was a nice introduction to the week. I finished in 8.49 with only the crossers MARITIME and APPOINTMENT delaying me slightly. I was looking for a potential anagram for the Cheshire town for too long before the penny dropped. My heart always sinks when I see a clue requiring knowledge of Chinese cuisine as I don’t eat the food, but in this case the answer was clear.

  21. Zoomed through this without a hitch. Pehaps my quickest solve ever! Must be right on Hawthorn’s wavelength.

  22. 16 mins and very happy with that. Struggled with the NW but the SE went in straight away and I worked steadily backwards until my LOI with CREWE. I had co vinced myself it was an anagram ‘team’ with an e on the end so fell for the misdirection.

    Much to like here from Hawthorne but COD for me was NITWIT for the clever construction with two fools in the clue, requiring a lot of careful parsing!

    Thanks Kitty. Prof

  23. I seem to have found this a bit more difficult than others, or perhaps the aftereffects of last night’s dinner party are to blame. Either way, a 22min solve with most of the delay in the NE, where the Scam, Maritime and Appointment cluster caused problems – why setters put all the hard clues next to each other is a constant source of bafflement. . . CoD to 12d, Davis Cup. Invariant

  24. A nice, well constructed crossword was the view chez SR. Thanks to Hawthorn and to Kitty for the blog.
    Did anybody else wonder if the surface of the clue for “TOP GEAR” could also contain a reference to the programme and an erstwhile presenter ?
    Surely it’s not just my bad mind…?

  25. Unfortunately this was a DNF for me as I was not familiar with the Chinese dish.

    I didn’t like the “note” part of the NITWIT clue, though I could see no other word with the letters already in place, so in it went.

    Gendarme, I believe, are members of the French Military Police who act as the civilian police force in certain small towns. Maybe those near/under the jurisdiction of military bases. However, whenever I see/hear the word Gendarme, I immediately think of Del Boy.

    Any enjoyable puzzle despite the fact that it was a DNF for me.

  26. 7’55” and happy to break 10. CREWE was LOI.

    Thoroughly enjoyed POTTING SHED and APPOINTMENT

    Thanks Hawthorn. Cheers Kitty for a comprehensive and clear blog

  27. 7:35 and .9K, so A Good Day and a nice start the week. I’ve really been enjoying Hawthorn’s return to the setting the quickie – clearly a wavelength thing!
    I viewed TOP GEAR much as Rotter did – in fact, I really liked the clue. It made me laugh (somewhat bitterly) as its surface summed up a type very well – tail gaters, under-takers, cutters-in, and mostly in German cars 😱 I also liked Scam a lot for its crossword reference.
    FOI Exposing LOI Appointment (for all the reasons discussed above – I couldn’t see what the definition was) COD the above-mentioned Top gear WOD Gunge
    Thanks Hawthorn and Kitty

    I didn’t find the biggie too difficult this morning – about 20 minutes, if that’s any encouragement 😊 On edit: just realised I got one wrong – I was thinking chocolate bar 😅

    1. Thanks for the pointer to the 15sq today. I managed to finish it (and got a lot of pleasure from some of the cleverer clues) but I found it difficult overall. I certainly multiplied your time by 2 or 3. I have learned not to time myself for the big one. It gets too depressing otherwise. John

      1. That’s good news! I’m always wary of actually recommending a 15×15 – that’s come back to bite me you-know-where more than once! I don’t time myself very precisely on the biggie, and today’s time was unusual, which is why I thought I’d mention it.

    2. Had a go at the 15×15 after the QC this morning and got nowhere. Having read your comment, I picked it up again this afternoon and this time the answers came without too much trouble. All very odd.

  28. 12:41 Held up the end by CREWE since I was looking for an anagram of team, rather than a crew. It required a map search for places in Cheshire before I finally got it. I had forgotten how far East of Chester the county extends.

    I had trouble on 21ac working out which of hoard/horde was the answer, and which was the homophone. I originally read it as having Mob as the definition and”heard getting stash of riches” as the indication I was looking for a homophone of hoard. When I got to 15dn I realised that I needed to read it the other way.

    Many thanks

  29. Almost 12 mins. Last few: steeplejack, (don’t know how Fred D could climb those chimneys), crewe and exposing.
    COD scam or idle.

    1. I remember watching a Fred D programme years ago, when – although he was meant to be out of shot – you could see an enormous D-shape to the side of the screen! To this day, my husband still cracks up about it 😅

  30. I managed an on target solve despite my initial biff of crack on instead of CLOCK ON and my lengthy deliberations over my LOsI APPOINTMENT and CREWE. I have travelled through/changed trains at Crewe so many times yet I struggled to place it as a Cheshire town. COD to DAVIS CUP although I rather enjoyed the un-pc balding criminal too. 8:09

  31. Rather pleased today, because each time I thought I was getting stuck another solution somehow popped into my head – from where, I do not know. The only clue that really held me up was CREWE, my LOI. And, given that I spent 15 years of my working life living in Cheshire (in two stints), spending around 4 minutes on C_E_E was somewhat embarrassing. Total time = 27 minutes.

    Mrs Random is racing through the puzzle right now, but I wonder if she will also get held up by the same clue.

    Many thanks to Kitty and Hawthorn.

  32. When I finished this, I was surprised how quickly it fell into place. Ignoring neutrinos, I’m probably in the top 10 on the leaderboard and I’m not quite sure how. Nothing to add, and thanks to Kitty for sorting out TOP GEAR which caused a fluttering eyebrow and a mild shrug.

    TIME 3:26

  33. steeplejack went straight in, must be my twisted mind
    all done in under one course
    first time my surname has appeared

  34. Thanks Kitty. I think this post is in the wrong category – Daily Cryptic instead of Quick Cryptic.

  35. Quite a thorny one I thought, but I came home only just over target in 21:54, so it can’t have been too bad. It’s not often one gets to say that ACORN is a chestnut, but it seems to be. COD to APPOINTMENT. Thanks Kitty and Hawthorn.

  36. It always takes me the first few across clues to blow away the Monday cobwebs. Managed only 6 across clues on first pass but relatively straightforward thereafter. Spent too long thinking ‘team at sea’ was an anagram and needed help with the parsing of a few.

    Somewhere around the 20-25 min mark, which I will take for a Monday.

    FOI 11ac
    COD 10dn
    LOI 6dn

  37. I agree the surface of 11ac does bring to mind a certain TV programme and larger than life presenter

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