Times Quick Cryptic 2286 by Teazel


Having just written out the blog, I’m not sure why this took me 13 minutes. All very enjoyable – thanks, Teazel.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics

1 Band that used to be someone’s pawn? (5)
QUEEN – in chess, a pawn which gets to the other side of the board can become a queen.
7 A social event including cake, lots of it (9)
ABUNDANCE – a (A), social event (BUN DANCE) including cake (BUN). I’ve been to a barn dance but never the bun version.
9 Make sense, in total (3,2)
ADD UP – double definition.
10 Can I become genial? (7)
11 Suspended sentence? (7)
HANGING – cryptic definition.
12 From which presenter reads rolling news? (7)
AUTOCUE – cryptic definition.
15 Hospital ward struggling on — to such a success? (4,3)
HARD WON – hospital (H), anagram (struggling) of WARD, on (ON).
18 Confusing speaker helping himself to sugar? (7)
SPOONER – a spooner could spoon sugar.
20 Understanding relationship of music and wine (7)
RAPPORT – music (RAP), wine (PORT).
22 A large limb creates panic (5)
ALARM – a (L), large (L), limb (ARM).
23 One playing with brass elephant, perhaps (9)
TRUMPETER – double definition or a humorous reference.
24 Announce day finally set (5)
TELLY – announce (TELL), da(Y).
1 Cancel soft drink, after taking top off (5)
QUASH – soft drink s(QUASH) without the top letter.
2 Put at risk, need Gran resettled (8)
ENDANGER – anagram (resettled) of NEED GRAN.
3 Not available, shocking pink cloth (6)
NAPKIN – not available (NA), anagram (shocking) of PINK.
4 Junkie using very large cup, one breaking law (6)
ADDICT – very large cup (DD) and one (I) breaking (inside) law (ACT).
5 Handle king, then aristocrat (4)
KNOB – king (K), aristocrat (NOB).
6 Little creature allowed outside always (7)
LEVERET – allowed (LET) outside always (EVER).
8 Ignatius, apt to fail in difficulties (2,7,2)
UP AGAINST IT – anagram (to fail) of IGNATIUS APT.
13 Gosh: new boundary for county (8)
CORNWALL – gosh (COR), new (N), boundary (WALL).
14 Relief organisation is nervous about it (7)
CHARITY – nervous (CHARY) about it (IT).
16 Exclamation, making mistake with croquet equipment (6)
WHOOPS – with (W), croquet equipment (HOOPS).
17 Initially, musician with light-weight skill? On the contrary (6)
MOZART – &lit. (M)usician, light weight (OZ), skill (ART). Mozart certainly wasn’t a light-weight musician (on the contrary). COD.
19 Strong drink before my card game (5)
RUMMY – string drink (RUM), my (MY).
21 Sulky look when nothing is in place (4)
POUT – nothing (O) inside place (PUT).


72 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2286 by Teazel”

  1. DNF after 15 minutes. I couldn’t get NHO AUTOCUE-is it really a cryptic definition? It just looks like a straight definition to me. Thanks for parsing of ADDICT- I entered it quickly from definition but didn’t see the cups or ACT for law . I thought edict was somehow involved. Oh well, aside from those problems I really admired many clever clues- MOZART, CORNWALL, WHOOPS, ABUNDANCE, KNOB, and QUEEN especially.

  2. 9 minutes, no problems. Ref Curryowen’s query about AUTOCUE, I think the pun on ‘rolling news’ makes it cryptic rather than straight.

  3. 14:08. Took some time to see the required sense of ‘set’ at 24a which was close to my LOI. I had no idea about the ‘pawn’ who can become a QUEEN at 1a. I just about put in “lour” for 21d until rescued by the crossing first letter P.

    MOZART was the stand-out clue for me. Do serious classical music lovers regard him as ‘light-weight’? I hope not.

    Thanks to Teazel and Chris

    1. I think ‘on the contrary’ in the wording of the clue gives support to the accepted view of Mozart.

  4. Fairly steady solve – all done in under 20 minutes. Lots to enjoy, such as 13a & 16a.
    Should the parsing of 7a be a (A) social event (Dance) including cake (Bun)? This would eliminate the rather awkward concept of a ‘Bun Dance’.
    Thanks for the very clear blog – needed it to parse e.g. OZ in 17a. Very Clever!

      1. Shame, I rather liked the idea of a bun dance, and if it became rowdy it would naturally turn into a bunfight!.

        1. Indeed! I have just discovered that if you type ‘Bun Dance’ into Google, you do get a video of buns dancing…….

  5. I thought I was on for a DNF at one point with lots of gaps in the top half particularly in the NE. Finally tried K not R for king, KNOB appeared and I was off. Ended up with the 1s – I had P for the soft in the clue so became fixated on ‘punch’ for ‘cancel’. Never parsed ADDICT and tried to force ‘chess’ into 1a at one point but couldn’t make the leap to QUEEN, so although easy-peasy once QUASH fell, that was LOI. All green in just under 18. Good one!

  6. This took me forever, and I can’t remember why. I do remember struggling to recall the Brit word for teleprompter, and probably needed most of the checkers to recall it. 10:13.

  7. 13 or so

    A struggle. All fair I think but a good few needed teasing out.

    MOZART was nice but WHOOPS was my favourite when I finally realised what was going on

    Thanks Chris and Teazel

  8. 22 minutes over two sittings between making coffee and I really enjoyed the puzzle, fun from start to finish. It lifted my morning.
    LOI: TELLY so top to bottom.
    I marked several as favourites but AMIABLE, ADDICT in particular for their fun WP and MOZART.

  9. Steady going today. Like Curryown I had a slight MER at AUTOCUE as it seemed to be more suited to the concise crossword, but other than that I thought this was a very entertaining puzzle.
    Started with ADD UP and finished with an unparsed ADDICT with lots of contenders for COD, including MOZART, TRUMPETER and WHOOPS.
    Crossed the line in 8.39
    Thanks to Chris

  10. About 20mins with an unplanned break, I found this tough but very satisfying with some clever chewy clues.

    I liked TRUMPETER, WHOOPS, ABUNDANCE and TELLY but none of them came without checkers or inspiration.

    Like Curryowen I did wonder at first whether AUTOCUE was too simple but agree with Jackkt that ‘rolling’ made it cryptic. Now I can’t decide whether it’s a great clue or a ‘meh’ one!

    Thanks Teazel and Chris

  11. 7th over target, this time double target time. I thought I was going to chuck in the towel at some points.

    Pretty hard, but quite fair. Never parsed ADDICT, so thanks for that Chris. I liked ABUNDANCE (LOI), MOZART, WHOOPS,.


  12. A rare DNF for me, but I loved the many clever and witty clues. Thanks to Teazel for the puzzle and Chris for the parsing.

  13. I thought this quite tricky, getting only 4 across answers on a first read through. LOI MOZART. Some nice clues. I liked QUEEN and ADDICT the most. Thanks Teazel and Chris. 5:56.

  14. Oh pity I didn’t think harder about LOI Talky instead of TELLY. So DNF. Enjoyable puzzle, but tricky in parts. Lots of PDMs.
    Liked many clues inc SPOONER, RAPPORT, WHOOPS. Not so keen on gruesome HANGING!
    In haste.

  15. I think this was a bit too tricky for a quickie. For 1a you had to know your bands and understand chess – it didn’t get much easier. Ground my way through it and I agree there was lots to enjoy. Thanks all

  16. “Today I saw a little worm
    Wriggling on his belly
    Perhaps he’d like to come inside
    And see what’s on the TELLY.”

    (Spike Milligan.) I recited this aged 5 at my primary school and was told off by Miss Codling for using the word “telly”. Little did she know that it would be so respectable decades later that it would enter the hallowed portals of Crosswordland.

    Loved that, with only LOI SPOONER needing significant pause. All done in 06:55 which makes this a Red Letter Day and must be my biggest sub-K ever; I think Kevin must have been to a Christmas party last night and be feeling a little jaded. COD MOZART.

    Many thanks Teazel and Chris.


  17. Count me among those who thought AUTOCUE was a straightforward definition, and I also found HANGING weak, though on another day could have laughed out loud. Otherwise a much enjoyed 15 minutes or thereabouts and I loved what I took to be a cheeky reference to Rev Spooner whose clues, mercifully, seldom if ever feature in the QC. FOI. QUEEN (a tiny minority of whom were ever pawns!) LOI and COD SPOONER. Thanks Teazel and Chris.

  18. A struggle – but eventually done in 27:19. FOI ADD UP, LOI ADDICT, which I needed the blog to parse. COD MOZART. I immediately thought of AUTOCUE but felt it wasn’t cryptic, until I realised that it’s the device that rolls rather than the news. Thanks, both.

  19. I had this done by 12:05 am and was top of the leaderboard. Oh, OK then – I WAS the leaderboard.

    I needed three passes to finish, mainly because I biffed “hard way” which briefly put me UP AGAINST IT 😂

    TIME 4:26

  20. A good puzzle which took me 13 minutes after a holdup in the NE.
    LOI was ABUNDANCE after ADDICT ( COD for me but several contenders). A bit slow getting KNOB and AMIABLE (another good clue).
    FOI QUASH and I thought I was on an express train to begin with.
    I also paused at AUTOCUE but I think it’s fine.

  21. First pass was rather dispiriting and for a while I was looking at an almost blank grid, but they slowly started coming and once Up against it emerged the rest followed. I share the slight MER at Autocue – not really cryptic IMO – and I was mildly surprised to see Bun = Cake but nearly all the other clues were top rate, and overall a clever puzzle with much to enjoy that kept me busy for 15 minutes.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog

  22. Plodded steadily through this one but had a few holdups, especially last 2 in, QUEEN and QUASH. Can’t see why now that they’re done! AUTOCUE also looked like a straight definition to me, although I get the nuance now. 11:03. Thanks Teazel and Chris.

  23. Like others, my first pass produced meagre rewards. It came together gradually, though and I thought there were some excellent teazing clues, as expected.
    I must have taken 20 mins or so but I had lots of interruptions whilst I waited for my wife’s car to go through its MOT test.
    I slowed myself down by entering READY instead of TELLY. I think it was a fair alternative – READ for ‘announce’ (as in newsreader/announcer) plus ‘y’ making READY = SET. It gradually became untenable, though, because it made MOZART (brilliant clue) and CORNWALL impossible.
    Many thanks to Teazel and Chris. John M.

    1. READY for me too Blighter. Never felt right having A-R at the end of the down clue and that was confirmed once TRUMPETER made it -ARR. So out it came!

  24. 17 minutes for me, but with a couple of slightly unsatisfactory clues in my humble opinion: AUTOCUE and SPOONER, I’m looking at you! The first is a straight clue, and doesn’t pass the cryptic test despite Jackkt’s attempt to justify it, and the second is very weak wordplay – ‘helping himself to sugar?’ to give SPOONER? In the intended sense the word isn’t even in my on line Chambers, with only spoonerism available. MER. for me, where the M stands for major. Otherwise, some nice stuff, but I think Teazel lets himself down with those two. Thanks Chris.

    1. I feel my reply will be teaching you to suck eggs so apologies if any offence caused.

      I agree AUTOCUE doesn’t feel very cryptic. But I believe “rolling news” refers to the 24-hr news cycle we now live with. Constant updates. As you know, the AUTOCUE is a device that rolls words up for a presenter. So while I am also slightly MER, I tend to agree with Jackkt that it is not really a straight def.

      SPOONER isn’t looking for a definable word, it’s pointing us at the Reverend Spooner himself. A quick search of Chambers online doesn’t having definitions for Atlee, Churchill or Presley either.

      1. Autocue is debateable at best, and I respect your and Jackkt’s views, whilst disagreeing with them.

        On SPOONER I have no problem with the definition ‘confusing speaker’, but I do think that the wordplay is weak, ‘helping himself to sugar?’ is referencing a non-existent word, and not a very good reference at that. I haven’t really thought very hard about it, but wouldn’t something like ‘Confused speaker, famous for his leached blocks?’ be better.

        As for Atlee, Churchill and Presley, the only thing they have in common with Spooner is that they are proper names that aren’t real words that exist in a dictionary.

    2. Wiktionary:
      spooner (plural spooners)
      1 One who spoons; one who engages in spooning.
      2 (dated) A person who engages in kissing and petting.
      3 A person who lies nestled against their partner in bed, back-to-front on their sides

  25. A bit of a struggle, especially with the SW corner (CHARY/RAPPORT/POUT/HARD WON). Biffed ADDICT and took a while to see SET = TELLY at 24a. Thought AUTOCUE a straight definition too. COD ABUNDANCE.

  26. Enjoyable, though did need an aid for charity.

    Rapport took a while for me to work out, but then again I do not consider rap to be music. 🤣

    I was not sure about “light-weight” and still not sure to be honest. However, Mozart seemed to be the only answer I could think of, so in it went.

  27. 18 mins…

    One of those puzzles where it seems really tricky, can take an age to get going, but ultimately falls into place quite quickly.

    Enjoyable overall. Had my usual internal debate about whether a knob was a handle and DNK “chary” for nervous. The fact that I know a “set” is a “telly” feels like one of those words where I know the generation(s) directly under me might struggle (see also “taping”, “recording” and anything else vaguely analogue). As a result, I suddenly felt quite old.

    FOI – 4dn “Addict”
    LOI – 7ac “Abundance”
    COD – 17dn “Mozart” – he wasn’t bad.

    Thanks as usual!

  28. Hmmm … first pass of the clues gave me five answers ADD-UP, ENDANGER, RUMMY, ALARM and the incorrect readY (instead of TELLY). Then crickets and I gave up at 16-mins unable to see any way into the grid other than the long indecipherable anagram down the middle.

    I came back and banged it all out in 21min30 – 2nd attempt. Tentatively put a NA- in at 3D, saw ABUNDANCE (old cracker joke) and immediately got KNOB and then was able to solve UP-AGAINST-IT. I think decent solvers underestimate the benefit of checkers to being able to solve quickly.

    Total solving time of 37min30. December has been a beast for the QC. After my first attempt I thought this was another, after my second I’m not so sure 🤷‍♀️

  29. I thought this was a bit of a mixed bag – some great clues, but one that was barely cryptic, and one that took far too long! AUTOCUE seemed so obvious that I thought I needed to look for something more complicated (I take Jack’s point about the pun, but even so …) whereas I couldn’t see ADDICT for a couple of minutes, even though the definition was jumping out at me 😅 It was nice to see SPOONER as an answer, rather than an irritating device (irritating because I really struggle with spoonerisms!).
    I did wonder at one point if it was a pangram, as there were a few of the more unusual letters, but then there was no F, J or X to be seen.
    QUEEN gets Band of the Day – I saw them quite a few times in the 70s and they were just brilliant live.
    FOI Queen LOI Addict CsOD Abundance and Amiable – both made me smile
    Thanks Teazel and Chris

  30. I found this slightly hard going but really enjoyed the many witty clues, which reminded me of Tracy’s oeuvre.

    I noticed that a lot of the answers have double letters in the them. Is there a name for this, or an underlying pattern, or is it just the setter enjoying themself?

  31. I thought this was an excellent offering by Teazel with some first rate clues. I particularly liked the MOZART clue linked in with TELLY, the former being my LOI. No reservations from me about the AUTOCUE clue, I think it works perfectly well. My time was 10.38, so once again just outside target.

  32. Not a fan of AUTOCUE. I was stuck at various points around the grid including QUEEN/QUASH, ADDICT, AMIABLE and LOI RAPPORT. 15:16 for a ‘can do better’ day.

  33. Confidently entered ‘Alice’ at 1ac, thinking of hair bands and the chess board in Through the Looking Glass. Reading the clue to 2dn forced a rapid rethink! Also had a problem at 12ac, not because it was hardly cryptic, but because I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the machine which displays the rolling text. It wasn’t until I solved 13dn that it sprang to mind. I didn’t think much of it as a clue and the same applies to 11ac. Other than that a fine puzzle and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. All done in a rather pedestrian 22 minutes.

    FOI – 9ac ADD UP (although my wrong answer at 1ac technically preceded it)
    LOI – 20 ac RAPPORT
    COD – 10ac AMIABLE

    Thanks to Teazel and to Chris

  34. First ever finish in under an hour: 37.29 minutes to be precise (oddly just 1 second ahead of L Plates)
    LOI was 16d WHOOPS after rejecting WHOOPE which didn’t look right.
    COD 17d MOZART
    Old enough to remember ‘what’s on the telly?’
    With K,Q,Z,K and Y appearing I was expecting to need an X somewhere but it didn’t materialise.
    Thanks Teazel and Chris

    1. Well done that man 👍 Very satisfying when you finally break a barrier and, in your case, absolutely smashed it 💥

    2. Excellent performance. Talk about smashing the hour mark! Delighted for you and a just reward for your patience and perseverance.

  35. Only two clues solved after my first reading of the Acrosses … and one of those (‘ready’) was wrong. So, given that I struggle with Teazel more than with any other setter, I really expected a right roughing up today. However, the Down clues proved more submissive and I started to make some genuine progress. I made two other mistakes, putting ‘mugger’ (a law breaker who uses a large cup) and ‘AffABLE’ before AUTOCUE forced a re-think of 4d. Both ADDICT and AMIABLE then fairly soon came to mind. I DNK the meaning of CHARY and was unsure about HANGING, but I was pleased to see WHOOPS. Despite my slow start, I crossed the line in a very respectable (for me, at least) 34 minutes.

    Mrs Random worked through the clues more quickly than me and finished in 24 minutes. Unfortunately, however, she had biffed ‘article’ instead of AUTOCUE, so it goes down as a DNF.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Chris.

  36. some nice funny clues
    Oz for ounces was easy to parse.
    Only got rapport when looking at charity and found support didn’t fit

  37. Interesting, this newbie who happily lives in the SCC found this straightforward and very doable. All completed without aids. All parsed except for ADDICT. Thank you Teazel.

  38. 17:00

    I inadvertently pressed submit with 2 to go but a quick glance at the top left corner added QUEEN and QUASH in a matter of seconds. Nothing particularly difficult today, just a steady solve.

  39. Can’t make up my mind as to whether I enjoyed this or not. Began it 15 mins into the WC semi-final and had it done just after the ref blew for the break, so a decent time. But never felt I was on the wavelength and struggled with parsing.

    COD – 7ac
    LOI – 20ac

    Great blog Chris, many thanks

  40. PS Made me smile to read that Kevin took ‘forever’ – 10.13 mins. What I wouldn’t give to be able to say that!

  41. Only nine clues solved today. AUTOCUE leapt off the page, which, by my low standards, proves that it is not suitable for a cryptic. The other eight, ENDANGER, ADDICT, KNOB, CHARITY, UP AGAINST IT, CORNWALL, AMIABLE and HANGING went in quickly, but everything else stumped me.

  42. Unlike everyone else I didn’t like 17 d. Easy to put in Mozart but why both initially M for musician and the definition for the same word ? Maybe missed something. Never parsed Addict. Not so knowledgeable re. bras. Didn’t like Spooner. Nothing particularly to do with sugar. Maybe I am getting too picky in my old age.

    1. Mozart is an ‘and literally so’ (&lit) type of clue. The whole clue makes up the answer – which is the answer.
      Some others have agreed with you on spooner – in my view it’s OK – cryptic crosswords need give the solver a chance of solving with hints and tips but then make them do some work for the answer.

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