Times Quick Cryptic 2276 by Breadman


Grandparent duties now successfully and fun-fully completed, I’m back an ocean away. Should get back over more often.
A big thank you to those who covered for me whilst I was away. If anyone else fancies having a go then you’d be very welcome.

So to the puzzle:
I found this pangram fun and it took me fractionally under 13 minutes. Only your times will tell if this puzzle is medium difficulty as my time will be skewed by lack of practice.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 Thanks Mike, when confronting stormy North Sea, for hat (3,8)
TAM OSHANTER – thanks (TA), Mike (M), anagram (stormy) of NORTH SEA. I’d have bunged in a couple of hyphens but I’m sure somewhere there’s a two word spelling.
8 Lie high-class religious books near Old Testament book (7)
UNTRUTH – high-class (U), religious books (NT), Old Testament book (RUTH).
9 Was guide around ancient city enticed? (5)
LURED – was guide (LED) around ancient city (UR).
10 Position east of Charlie on European lake (9)
CONSTANCE – position (STANCE) east if Charlie (C) on (ON).
12 One’s handling female’s doubts (3)
IFS – one’s (I’S) holding female (F).
13 Substitute some workers at zoo (6)
ERSATZ – some of work(ERS AT Z)oo.
15 Question, painting for example duck, size of paper (6)
QUARTO – question (QU), painting for example (ART), duck (O). QU stands for quart, quarter, queen, query and question.
17 On reflection, reject writer (3)
NIB – reject – bin – on reflection (NIB).
18 Overwhelming rush of pain besetting naval invalid (9)
AVALANCHE – pain (ACHE) around an anagram (invalid) of NAVAL.
20 Poet‘s private room almost west-facing (5)
ELIOT – private room almost (TOILE)t facing west. Liked this one.
22 Film in Europe initially engages bon vivant (7)
EPICURE – film (PIC) inside Europe (EU), (E)ngages. I’m missing the ‘R’ – anyone spot where it comes from?
23 Jersey might be so closely integrated (7-4)
TIGHTLY-KNIT – a jersey/jumper might be knitted tightly.
1 Giant bird on banks of Amazon (5)
TITAN – bird (TIT) on top of (A)mazo(N).
2 Medical officer Una carries special tent for Italian peak (5,4)
MOUNT ETNA – medical officer (MO), Una (UNA) holds an anagram (special) of TENT.
3 Wrongdoing outside public house by inscrutable person (6)
SPHINX – wrong doing (SIN) outside public house (PH), by (X as in times by).
4 Little weight in aluminium hand tool (3)
AWL – (W)eight inside aluminium (AL).
5 Row stifles stray dog (7)
TERRIER – row (TIER) around stray (ERR).
6 Lost ciders, concerning newsman, found again (12)
REDISCOVERED – anagram (lost) of CIDERS, concerning (OVER), newsman (ED).
7 Cricket interval: one team munched Spam? (8,4)
LUNCHEON MEAT – cricket interval (LUNCH), anagram (munched) of ONE TEAM.
11 Instruction from Edward, head lowered in auction (9)
EDUCATION – Edward (ED), the head (first) letter lowered down in auction = (UCATION).
14 Relative in Spain agreed on jewellery (7)
SIBLING – in Spain the word for agreed = yes = (SI) on jewellery (BLING).
16 Jack to mimic tracks, jesting (6)
JAPERY – Jack (J), mimic (APE), railway tracks (RY).
19 Heard nicked criminal on trial here? (5)
COURT – homophone (heard) of nicked – caught.
21 Tasteless stuff, whichever way one looks (3)
TAT – reads the same backwards as forwards.


69 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2276 by Breadman”

  1. I biffed a couple–TERRIER, REDISCOVERED, SIBLING, EPICURE. Forgot to check the last two. As for EPICURE, I’d imagine that it’s EUR for Europe. 5:01.

  2. Welcome back, Chris.

    9 minutes for this with no particular difficulty. When ERSATZ came up I made a mental note to check for a pangram at the end and then promptly forgot to do so.

  3. 11mins and disappointed it wasn’t quicker as they all went in without much pause for thought.


    No complaints on any clues.

    Thanks Breadman and Chris

  4. I found this tricky. Sat on a train so not pushed for time and unhurriedly reverse engineered more than usual – AVALANCHE, EDUCATION, LUNCHEON MEAT, CONSTANCE. Either I’m out of form or we’re in a tricky patch. No exact time as my tablet doesn’t seem to have given me one but not fast – I started in one county and was two stops into the next by the time I submitted. Under 30.

  5. I didn’t know some of the words like the hat, epicure and ersatz but I really really like the type of clue where you move a letter like for EDUCATION

    I never notice pangrams 🙁

  6. For once the Pangram helped, after getting SPHINX I noted the Q and J and wondered where the Z might be and this unlocked ERSATZ and SIBLING where I had been stuck on jewellery = ring.

    Surely the cricket interval is already called “luncheon”, this got me a bit confused with the extra “one”.

    Also mildly distressed with the missing “u” in QUARTO. I don’t buy that “question” can be abbreviated to QU. I’m running a conference later today, I’m going to ask for QU and A, and see how far I get.


    1. Extract from MCC Laws of Cricket published on the Lord’s website: 11.2.1 An interval for lunch or tea shall be of the duration determined under Law 2.3 (Consultation with captains), taken from the call of Time before the interval until the call of Play on resumption after the interval.

      Qu / question is in Chambers and the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Collins has it online under and American entry.

    2. On the occasions I’ve listened to cricket the commentary team only ever refer to it as LUNCH e.g. “they’re taking lunch”, “the score at lunch is” etc.

      I reckon had the setter used “luncheon” more of us would have been up in arms about that

  7. 21 minutes and I spotted the possibility of a pangram early, I think after SPHINX although it didn’t affect my solving and was confirmed as ERSATZ was clear to see.
    LOI: JAPERY after I got the WP.
    Favourite ELIOT.

  8. Started swiftly with TAM O SHANTER (not seen it without the apostrophe before) and thought it was going to be a speedy solve but got bogged down as I worked my way down the grid.
    Spent some time on REDISCOVERED as I was trying to make an anagram of ‘lost ciders’ followed by ed with concerning as the anagram indicator. EDUCATION, AVALANCHE and JAPERY also caused delays.
    Missed the pangram which would have been very helpful with LOI SPHINX.
    Finished this entertaining challenge over target in 11.27.
    Thanks, and welcome back to Chris

    1. Scottish hat. It’s true to say it always takes an apostrophe but as crossword grids have no means of accommodating punctuation it has to be ignored. Allowing for that, the enumeration (3, 8) is valid according to Chambers but the other usual sources (the Oxfords and Collins) have the hat hyphenated as tam-o’-shanter, so (3-1-7) might have been more usual. The character in Burns’s poem is Tam O’Shanter.

  9. I really like doing the puzzle on the train but I really don’t like doing it on my phone but if I do it on paper on the train I can’t do it through the Club. Aarrggh.

    Anyway. Fun puzzle despite lots of fat fingered typing. Enjoyed AVALANCHE, EDUCATION and COD LUNCHEON MEAT (I really hope it doesn’t still exist, though I bet it does). All done in regulation 08:22 for 1.7K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Chris and Breaders.


  10. After a disasterous DNF yesterday I was relieved to finish today in about 25 mins.
    ELIOT had me scratching my head for a while, clever.
    The ancient city of Ur was one of the first “only in Crosswordland” words I learned, but I haven’t seen for ages, so that raised a smile. On the other hand, by =X still gets me every time but at least it was obvious today.

  11. 35+ min DNF as only vaguely know EPICURE as a word. I’m glad to see Chris couldn’t parse it either – I went with USE for engage. EPICUsE seemed as possible to me.

    As ERSATZ went in, I thought “that’s unusual to have two days in a row with a Z”. Late on as I was struggling with the last intersection of EDUCATED, EPICURE; I saw the pangram and figured I needed the Q for my LOI QUARTO.

    Fortunately Simon Mayo on Greatest Hits Radio – Drivetime Show has been talking about TAM-O’SHANTERs recently so it sprung to mind quickly once TAM was in.

    Overall thought that was what I’d liked to see as a tougher QC. Just enough of a step up without being impossible (even if I did DNF!!)

  12. Finished and enjoyed, but struggled in parts. Missed pangram, of course.
    Liked QUARTO, ELIOT, ERSATZ, SIBLING, among others. Always good to see UR.
    Not sure why vet has to check dog’s teeth again but off we go. (🦷£££)

    1. If it’s any consolation, I’m convinced dentists do the same thing with unnecessary X-Rays.

      1. Amazingly only 90p for a new dog toothbrush today (£££ last week). Dog himself was highly relieved not to have to stay at vets.

  13. I seem to have found this tougher than some finishing over two and a half minutes outside target at 12.31. For newbies ERSATZ may present a few problems, but for those who are old hands in crosswordland, no problem. A knowledge of European lakes certainly helped with CONSTANCE, and were it not for the clear direction I would have had an A instead of an O in TAM OSHANTER.

  14. DNF. FOI TAM OSHANTER, LOI NIB, COD ELIOT. Defeated by SIBLING as I couldn’t get
    RING out of my head.. i found most of this easy, but some very difficult, especially the frustrating SW corner thanks Breadman and Chris.

  15. A good start with 1ac practically a write in, followed by most of the offspring. Slowed a little lower down, but I was still in with a shout of a sub-20 with just Epicure to dig out. Pen down three minutes later after a slow alphabet trawl- I’m surprised Breadman doesn’t know that ET is the standard film in the QC 😉. Several CoD candidates, but 7d Luncheon Meat wins for the smile. Invariant

  16. Hats off to those who whizzed through this one. I couldn’t get going at first and then half of the answers went in like an avalanche with lots of Biffing.
    I found the last few hard – all in the SW corner (compounded by guessing Pap for 21d). I thought SIBLING was tough but clever and, once I had corrected 21d, TIGHTLY KNIT and my LOI ELIOT followed (again clever when it emerged). Just into the SCC again (by a minute) and I am beginning to question either the standard of recent QCs or else my declining ability.
    I don’t appreciate Pangrams (I think they are an unnecessary indulgence on the part of the setter) and, again, I knew something was up when things failed to flow early on. Clearly, SPHINX was there in order to include the X but I biffed it and thought ‘times/by’ was poor (thanks, Chris, for clarifying this).
    Despite that, thanks to Breadman for the better clues and to Chris. John M.

  17. I started at breakneck speed and thought I was heading for a 6 minute completion; so I was a bit disappointed to finish in 12.
    The SW held me up. I did not read 7d properly so wasn’t clear on the definition; Luncheon Time did not have a good ring to it. Once I had LUNCHEON MEAT (COD to that) I finished quickly . LOI was TAT.
    JAPERY was tricky.
    Did not spot the pangram.
    A good QC.

  18. I more or less strolled through this, helped by having studied the Burns poem for ‘O’ Level English Literature. My LOI was all that remained after two straight runs through the clues, and brought back childhood memories of “plopped ham with chalk” as we and Dr.Spooner were wont to describe it. I suspected the pangram, but didn’t bother to check it.

    TIME 4:07

  19. 9 minutes for me, and I spotted the pangram early which certainly helped with one or two clues towards the end.

    Surprised no-one has commented before me on the trick in Rediscovered, where we are asked to form an anagram without being given all the letters, but instead needing to see concerning=over first. I have not seen this sort of two level wordplay clue in the QC before. Mrs S comments that it is not uncommon in the 15×15 but I think it is a bit more of a stretch for us mere QC-ers, and in the end one I biffed without parsing.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog – and welcome back.

    1. Not sure I quite understand what you mean. There are 3 things going on – an anagram of CIDERS, then concerning=OVER, then newsman=ED.

      1. You’re absolutely right – I not only misunderstood the clue, but then your blog as well!

        **Retreats in embarrassment**

        1. Please don’t retreat! All comments are very welcome – and no one else gets everything all the time – reference ‘Epicure’ and my stopping at EU for Europe and not carrying on for EUR.

        2. Nothing better than coming up with a fantastic explanation for something and realising you’ve totally got the wrong end of the stick.

          Happens to me on here many times 😀

  20. I couldn’t finish this one. I found it too difficult for me, with some words I was previously unaware of. Ersatz and Tam O’Shanter for example.

  21. Long alpha trawl for ELIOT, face palm administered when I finally got it.

    Otherwise I thought this a good puzzle. I liked two of the longer ones – LUNCHEON MEAT and TAM O SHANTER.


  22. Surprised by enumeration of FOI, TAM OSHANTER, but it had to be. LOI was AVALANCHE. 8:08. Thanks Breadman and welcome back Chris.

  23. Thought I was going to whizz through today but was slowed down in the SW and needed a full 25 mins. Got hung-up on closed-knit for TIGHTLY KNIT, couldn’t work out the anagram in LUNCHEON MEAT (feel under pressure whenever there is even a vague reference to cricket!) and needed the initial ‘e’ for ELIOT to finally fall. Thanks for explanations for non-parsed EPICURE and CONSTANCE. FOI TAM O’SHANTER, LOI ELIOT, latter also my COD. I loved the challenge today. Many thanks Breadman, and of course also to Chris.

  24. Taken into the SCC again, where my face is becoming more familiar to the regulars. 22 minutes after a quickish start in the north, where TAM and all of his descenders went straight in. EPICURE LOI, but slow on plenty of others in the south. A very good QC IMHO, with some slightly esoteric vocabulary, necessary for the pangram. Thanks and welcome back Chris.

  25. EPICURE – film (PIC) inside Europe (EU), (E)ngages. I’m missing the ‘R’ – anyone spot where it comes from?

    …isn’t it simply EUR rather than EU?

    2. Europe

  26. I found this difficult again, but at least I finished – crawling in at 34 mins.

    1ac “Tam Oshanter” was a write in as it’s often seen in crosswords (although I can’t remember whether there is an apostrophe after the “O”). Should have known Constance, but had other lakes in mind, and struggled somewhat on 7dn “Luncheon Meat”.

    Missed the pangram – but then I often miss the Ninas.

    FOI – 1ac “Tam Oshanter”
    LOI – 22ac “Epicure”
    COD – 9ac “Lured”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. 14 minutes, so a bit better than yesterday. The biggie on the other hand was hard work – I abandoned it after half an hour, so nothing like yesterday!
    Of course I didn’t notice this was a pangram – too busy focusing on solving. On reflection, I did think that ERSATZ and QUARTO were slightly unusual for a quickie 😅 SPHINX was also a little enigmatic!
    Overall, I thought this was quite fun, although a little chewy, and I was also initially confused about the R in EPICURE (that’s one I would pronounce!)
    FOI Tam O’Shanter LOI Eliot COD Court – not a problem for this non-rhotic!
    Thanks Breadman and Chris – nice to see you back 😊

  28. My crossword wouldn’t work!
    As I tried to enter clues, the previous letters disappeared.

    1. I know that in the menu you can select to ‘skip filled squares’ or not. I haven’t heard of previous letters disappearing.

      1. Hi- thanks, I was beginning to think maybe I didn’t exist!
        It was just impossible to fill in- letters randomly disappeared after I entered them.
        I was wondering if it had happened to anyone else.
        Thought maybe my sub had lapsed but existential torture seemed extreme (and it hadn’t)!

      1. Excellent plan- thanks. The rest of the day was going fairly badly, but I would like to think the answers lies in the real world!

      2. Thanks, a huge relief.
        Ovo and Marks and Spencer’s between had almost fully convinced me that my status as a person had been withdrawn.

        1. My daughter once got a letter from her bank which started “We are sorry to hear of your death and offer our condolences”. It went on on similar idiotic style including asking her to cut up her bank cards …

  29. I achieved a within target solve but unfortunately with a typo. I enjoyed quite a few clues including LUNCHEON MEAT, SIBLING and SPHINX. My LOI was ELIOT in 7:50 and one pink square. Welcome back Chris.

  30. A relatively simple solve today. No time, as I had to stop half way through to let a roofer look at a leaking chimney.
    Did not manage to parse EPICURE, since I had film=EPIC, and then could not make sense of the rest. Many thanks for the blog and the subsequent EUR explanation.

  31. A toughie today, for me. After my first pass through all of the clues, which took around 12-13 minutes, I had only solved six (and some of those were the shorties). This meant I was faced with great swathes of blankness to try to build on. However, I did eventually get a foothold and things started to ease up a little. After about half an hour I just had two to get (JAPERY and EPICURE). There followed a 10-minute hiatus, during which I stared and pondered and pondered and stared. I was on the point of throwing in the towel when I suddenly wondered if the whole thing was a pangram. Checking through, I realised I still needed a ‘J’, so I set about alphabet trawling JA___Y and that was enough to get me across the line. Thank goodness (for once) for pangrams!

    Mrs R didn’t notice the pangram, but also didn’t need to as she finished easily in 23 minutes. She particularly enjoyed CONSTANCE, as she studied German at university and spent her year abroad in Friedrichshafen on the northern shore of Der Bodensee (Lake Constance).

    Many thanks to Breadman and Chris.

  32. 19:46. Year before I was born! Had a lot of trouble thinking EPICURE= bon vivant and. realizing caught is pronounced COURT. Another who quickly entered PAP before correcting to TAT. LUNCHEON MEAT , SIBLING, and ELIOT were difficult too but had a good laugh when the latter revealed itself.

  33. Spent ages on 14d trying to think of a jewel beginning with S when suddenly SIBLING jumped out of nowhere. The brain is a complete mystery. After that the remaining 5 fell into place with a rush and I was finished in 1.30.49 according to the timer.
    I thought EPICURE was E plus PICTURE without the T but couldn’t make sense of it until reading the blog
    Thank you Breadman and Chris.

  34. Struggled with the SW corner and only got ELIOT (neat clue!) when left with E-I-T after finally seeing SIBLING.

  35. Hopeless, as ever. Could only solve four clues in all, two across clues and two down. So I did what Invariant suggested recently, which is to fill in the across answers from the blog and then continue. I did this and solved another five down clues. Many thanks to Invariant for this tip.

    1. I started when there was only the 15×15 and solved on paper. I would get the answers from the following day’s paper and try to work out why they were the answers. Too often I couldn’t so came to the blog. It’s a process but every clue is a satisfying puzzle to solve. Don’t expect easy – look for intellectually satisfying.

  36. Had this QC come out yesterday then I could have been of service as I had a delightful curry supper in the Long Room at Lord’s last night and so could have asked whether the break was originally called Luncheon. I’ve always thought the word archaic but that’s a relative term in the MCC. J

  37. Finished and fun, though firmly in the SCC. Very glad my wife knew EPICURE and JAPERY. Definitely a joint solve. And it’s definitely LUNCH for the cricket interval (well done Breadman)

  38. Lots of words I only know from doing crosswords – ERSATZ, EPICURE for example – so this would have been very tough for me a few years ago. Now it only just took me into the SCC at 20:16, so quite pleased with that. Thanks Breadman and Chris.

  39. DNF

    Was on the lookout for the pangram after the top half went in fairly quickly but couldn’t find the K and was left with EPICURE, TIGHTLY KNIT and ELIOT unsolved.

  40. I managed to solve this during the halftime break in the 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 v 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 match. For once, I was on the setter’s wavelength from the start. Despite one tough QC recently, Breadman is, for me, one of the gentler setters and so I tend to approach his puzzles with a positive mindset.

    FOI – 1ac
    LOI – 4dn
    COD – 18ac

    Welcome back Chris. Enjoyed your blog as always.

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