Times Quick Cryptic 2290 by Trelawney


Solving time: 9 minutes. A very pleasant puzzle from Trelawney that came together nicely for me. How did you all get on?

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 Singer in pub getting one note wrong (8)
BAR (pub), I (one) anagram [wrong] of NOTE
5 Help to bottle cold substance that’s corrosive (4)
AID (help) containing [to bottle] C (cold)
8 Cuban, say, with cracked red nails (8)
Anagram [cracked] of RED NAILS
9 Dashes back for short ride (4)
NIPS (dashes) reversed [back]
11 One in Derby beginning to regret wearing stockings? (5)
R{egret} [beginning] contained by [wearing] HOSE (stockings). The  Epsom Derby is one of the classic horse races.
12 Somewhat offended if I certify building (7)
Hidden in [somewhat] {offend}ED IF I CE{rtify}
13 Act shy moving around boats (6)
Anagram [moving around] of  ACT SHY
15 Wearing one item of clothing, buy some stocks perhaps (6)
IN (wearing), VEST (one item of clothing)
18 Airstrip harbouring a fugitive (7)
RUNWAY (airstrip) containing [harbouring] A
19 Animal’s home lacks small piece of furniture (5)
{s}TABLE (animal’s home) [lacks small – s]
21 Short message online is excessively sentimental (4)
TWEE{t} (message online)  [short]
22 Artists earn tips when dancing (8)
Anagram [dancing] of EARNTIPS
23 Reluctant to be beheaded for swear word (4)
{l}OATH (reluctant) [beheaded]
24 Saint to encourage swimmer (8)
ST (saint), URGE ON (encourage)
1 England‘s affliction unknown (7)
BLIGHT (affliction), Y (unknown). This can be used for Britain as a whole but often specifically England. I associate the term with the Great War as it features in a number of songs from that era but Collins gives its origin as follows, which suggests it dates from earlier days of Empire and The Raj:  1885–90; from Hindi bilāyatī the country (i.e. Great Britain).
2 Sovereign‘s piece of stationery (5)
Two meanings. One tends to think of paper and writing implements but one of the dictionary definitions covers all items sold by a stationer.
3 Hollywood won’t listen unfortunately (10)
Anagram [unfortunately] of WON’T LISTEN
4 Required north-east editor (twice!) (6)
NE (north-east), ED+ED (editor) [twice]
6 Upset with head measurement? (7)
CAP SIZE (head measurement)
7 Scandinavian holding top of cricket ball (5)
DANE (Scandinavian) containing [holding] C{ricket} [top]
10 Key worker‘s nap routine disrupted? (5,5)
Anagram [disrupted] of NAP ROUTINE. I took rather too long to solve this, needing checkers to bring it to mind.
14 Agree to have fiddle dispatched (7)
CON (fiddle – swindle), SENT (dispatched)
16 Trinidad’s leader gets on top of cause for betrayal (7)
T{rinidad’s} [leader], REASON (cause)
17 Despot with extremely tetchy tirade (6)
T{etch}Y [extremely], RANT (tirade)
18 Proportion of allowance not finished (5)
RATIO{n} (allowance) [not finished]
20 Note bishop always turning up (5)
B (bishop), then EVER (always) reversed [turning up]. It’s a musical note twice the value of a semibreve. Most musicians could play all day without encountering one but breves appear a lot in organ music, especially as pedal notes.

66 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2290 by Trelawney”

  1. I hesitated over RULER, and was slow to get PIANO TUNER, but otherwise sped along. A number of fast times already; I’m 7th on the leaderboard at 5:16.

  2. 7:07. Pleasant, confidence building start to the week. INVEST was the first one to hold me up, which is maybe excusable, and I was thinking of lairs, nests etc so also took some time to see TABLE.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Jack

  3. Stared at what became INVEST for about three minutes at the end, just couldn’t work out what I was looking for. Big groan in the end! The clues had all seemed hard but had most yielded up to coming to a standstill with one to get. Had no idea Blighty could mean anything other than Britain. All green in 14. Good one.

  4. I have to admit to being surprised that 3 of 4 comments to date have indicated difficulty with INVEST. Perhaps the expression ‘stocks and shares’ is not as familiar overseas as here, but the first thing I thought of on seeing ‘stocks’ was investments.

  5. 15 minutes is a fast time for me so must be on the easier side.
    Everything went in quickly with only the NE slowing me down.
    FOI: ACID.
    LOI: SPIN.
    Favourite: CAPSIZE.

      1. First one in, last one in. You’ve already solved one of our bits of jargon, so you’re well on your way! Take a look at the glossary where you’ll find lots more fun facts, slang etc. Welcome 😊

  6. I’m a bit speechless after what was a massive PB. Everything just clicked today and my fingers could scarcely keep up with my brain – I even spotted the hidden EDIFICE at first glance. The only clue that required a second look was LOL OATH in what was a top to bottom solve.
    Finished in 3.49 with CAPSIZE just pipping STURGEON to COD. It may be time to retire as I don’t think I’ll ever match that time again!
    Thanks to Jack and Trelawny

    1. OH MY WORD!! You’ve broken the time/space continuum and woken up in Phil Land, sitting next to Verlaine!


    2. What a wonderful time. Enjoy the moment.

      I’m going to say that I found this absolutely in the middle as far as difficulty is concerned.

    3. 3:49!? I’m still trying to get comfortable in my easy chair and trying to pry my eyes open by that time- much applause!

  7. 10’10” which felt an achievement as, unlike Lightning Plett11 (massive congrats), very few of these flew in apart from EDIFICE (pleased to have spotted a hidden at first sighting, they often trip me up) SPIN and CAPSIZE.

    I enjoyed the anagram for TINSELTOWN and, although it was clearly another anagram, PIANO TUNER didn’t leap out and so I liked the ‘aha!’ moment re ‘keyworker’ when it did surrender.

    Thanks Trelawney and Jackkt

  8. A steady solve, completed a minute under target (no match for the whizz kids above). I didn’t skip too many on first pass but took too long with PIANO TUNER and then finished with EDIFICE and CAPSIZE.
    Thanks to Trelawney for a fair and enjoyable QC with some very neat clues . Nice to see a mention of my homeland today – thanks to jackkt for illuminating the origins of 1d and for a good blog (his comments on BREVE and organ pedals make me wonder if he might be a fellow organist). John M.

  9. 5.22 but…

    …as I pressed submit having added RICE to CAP I knew my blunder. Didn’t parse and didn’t fit the definition. A deserved departure to the naughty step.

    Nice puzzle

    Thanks Jackkt and Trelawney

  10. I stumbled over RATIO, RULER and HORSE. Otherwise brisk business by my own standards. A gentle Monday offering, much enjoyed. Also really pleased by plett11 smashing his PB – what a day!

    All done in 05:52 for 1.1K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Jack and the Squire.


  11. A steady solve for me today, with not many hesitations. It all seemed to fall into place relatively easily. Liked BLIGHTY, STURGEON, INVEST, PIANO TUNER, among others.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  12. I must have looked at this for nearly a minute before getting going so I was pleased to finish in 8 minutes today. LOI was CAPSIZE.
    I thought there were some excellent surfaces and clues, in particular INVEST, PIANO TUNER and CAPSIZE.
    Very enjoyable; an excellent QC.

  13. Similar to Plett11 – all went in more or less as the clue was read.

    INVEST was LOI. PIANO TUNER was my favourite.


  14. Pretty speedy for me finishing in 6.55. The only notable hold up was getting PIANOTUNER where I needed all checkers in place before solving the anagram. Similarly BLIGHTY didn’t come readily to mind and this was my LOI.

  15. Wow! Some very fast times make my 14 minutes in target solve look very pedestrian. Congratulations all of you who surprised yourselves, very well done. I slowed myself down by repeatedly reading 15a as ‘buying some socks’, with the result that INVEST was last one in. As soon as I adjusted my specs and read it properly, the answer came immediately. Other decelerators were CAPSIZE and PIANO TUNER. The first I couldn’t get caprice out of my head, but couldn’t equate that with ‘upset’, and couldn’t make rice equal measurement, and the second I just couldn’t see the correct arrangement of the obvious anagrist for ages. Thanks both.

    1. I tried to persuade myself maybe a grain of rice was used as a standard of length in some eastern realm.

  16. 12:33 which is a bit faster than average for me these days.

    Really liked CAPSIZE and STURGEON. Might be chestnuts, but new to me.

    LOI was 1a, BARITONE, as I thought “wrong note” meant that a letter from A-G was going to get replaced with another from A-G, which would have been a clever device, so did not see the simpler construction.

  17. 19minutes, including several interruptions of a Christmas tree related nature.

    LOI was BLIGHTY. This had not immediately occurred to me as a synonym for England (as opposed to the UK), but Oxford dictionaries have “Britain or England” in their definition, so I guess it is OK.

    PIANO TUNER was my favourite.

  18. 6:26

    Sneaked into top half of leaderboard (61st out of 124 at 11:20am) – no real hold ups, but if I hadn’t had half a mind on work, might have shaved off another 30 seconds…

    Thanks Trelawney and Jack for the breakdown.

  19. A very nice start to the week, all done in 9 minutes. Fleeting concern about Ruler being stationery (I usually think of stationery being just the paper) but Jack has explained that. Otherwise a fairly straightforward solve – even the long anagrams fell out fairly painlessly.

    Many thanks Jack for the blog

  20. A steady solve from BARITONE to OATH in 6:31. Liked PIANO TUNER. Thanks Trelawney and Jack.

  21. A nice puzzle, though I struggled with capsize and invest for a while. Have never heard of TWEE, but tweet was the only thing that seems to fit (minus the T).

  22. Wow! Some amazing times above! Feeling a bit out of practice as haven’t found time to do a QC for quite a few days. Just inside the SCC in around 18-19 mins I would guess (had a few distractions). Nothing too troubling. Last two in were CAPSIZE and INVEST (obvious when you’ve cracked them). Liked PIANO TUNER and BLIGHTY. Many thanks Trelawney and Jack.

  23. Very pleased with my time of 25 minutes, even though it’s comfortably within the SCC and some others have recorded lightning-fast times (congratulations to them). My main goal is always to solve and parse the whole puzzle correctly.

    ACID was my FOI, but I didn’t get properly going until the bottom half of the grid. The NW corner proved the hardest area to crack, but my LOI was CAPSIZE – although I flirted with CAPrIcE for far too long.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Jackkt.

  24. A gentle start to the week, with a top to bottom solve of every clue in order.

    TIME 3:00 (despite having to fix a typo)

      1. I was a regular in the Championship going way back to the late 1970’s. I won the old Northern Final in 1998 and a lovely decanter has pride of place on the bookshelf, but my greatest achievement was finishing 3rd in the National Final in 2008.

    1. Every clue in order – that’s the “holy grail” – my problem is that if I don’t see the answer immediately, I move on. Congrats!

  25. 13 mins…

    Although it looks like there were some pretty quick times.

    Nothing really too difficult I thought, but I did hesitate over 2dn “Ruler” and stupidly biffed “Text” for 21ac (thinking there was a pangram), so that held me back.

    FOI – 5ac “Acid”
    LOI – 15ac “Invest”
    COD – 11ac “Horse” – amusing surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  26. As for Mr Random 5ac went in fairly rapidly but then not much else until the bottom half. This led to a bottom-up solve finishing, like Mr R, in the NW corner. Mostly straightforward, a couple of clues holding out till the end. Wasn’t sure about RULER as stationery but I gather from Jack’s comment that it’s OK. All done and parsed in 14 mins (except for 1dn which was parsed afterwards).

    FOI – 5ac ACID
    LOI – 1dn BLIGHTY
    COD – 6dn CAPSIZE. Also liked PAINTERS and STURGEON

    Thanks to Trelawney for a well-judged (imo) QC and to Jack for the blog

  27. Fairly zipped along and finished in 7 minutes, more or less on the dot, so A Good Day – I can’t write much faster without it turning into a scrawl, so no chance of catching Plett. Like Invariant, I used to measure myself against P11, but no more!
    I didn’t see BARITONE straightaway, so I moved onto 5a and proceeded to go round the grid clockwise, ending up back in the NW, but it seemed to work .
    This was fun – quite a few chestnuts, as others have said, but no less enjoyable for that. All I could think of for Cuban was heels and cigars, and I got stuck on hats for Derby, but they didn’t slow me down for too long. STURGEON and TINSELTOWN got smiles.
    FOI Acid LOI Horse COD Piano tuner
    Thanks Trelawney and Jack – most interesting about the derivation of Blighty

    I did the biggie in about half an hour, although there are a couple of answers I’m a bit unsure about – I haven’t checked the blog yet.

    1. Hello Penny,
      Just to say that I have now listened to some of Turisas’ Battle Metal album, as you suggested. My verdict is that I would put it in a playlist that was set to ‘shuffle’, but I found it quite exhausting to listen to more than 3-4 tracks in a row.
      I liked that some numbers were lead by the violin, and the synths/orchestration were fine. Most tracks were sufficiently melodic, but I would have preferred more key and time signature changes. Nice to have some female vocals and I can cope with metal screaming/growl as long as it’s not overdone – which I think it was on this album.
      Many thanks for the recommendation.
      P.S. And congratulations to Mr B on his degree.

      1. Hi SRC – that was brave of you! I wouldn’t have called it a recommendation, so much as wondering if you’d heard of them. I think you’re very tolerant – I find all that stuff exhausting, too much roaring. The only song I know by them is a cover of Rasputin, which is more than enough. The BoneyM version was pretty dreadful too imo 😂 Certainly not my cup of tea, but MsB likes her metal very heavy. Mind you, she also likes Alestorm (Scottish pirate metal!), Dolly Parton and Disney soundtracks, so what can I say! P 😊

  28. 15 minutes. RULER was slow because I thought stationery was just paper. I also took a while to get caprice out of my brain so I could make room for CAPSIZE.

  29. Blighty is a term regularly used in the Flashman novels which commence in the mid nineteenth century. George MacDonald Fraser was a stickler for research so inclined to believe him. But of course it could predate them. As a word believed to derive from an Asian language I suspect it means British rather than English due to the number of non English regiments in the British army. No doubt there are theses on this. About 20 today so happy. J

  30. Finished in 1h 10m which is a good start to the week.
    LOI – 15a INVEST because I’d read ‘stocks’ as ‘socks’
    COD- 10d PIANO TUNER for the clever misdirection.
    Very nice puzzle thank you.

  31. Beyond dreadful today – I aspire to be merely terrible again. Only four clues correct today. I had all the letters in circles for 8A, 3D and 10D, but just couldn’t see the answers! I don’t know what’s gone wrong recently – a couple of weeks ago I managed 20-something clues correct.

    Edit: I have just looked at the across clues on the 15X15. I managed four of those! I wish I could figure out what I’m doing wrong with the QCs!

    1. Perhaps you are reading too much into them? I find with some setters that I expect them to be fiendish and so miss the (relatively) obvious.

      There are a number of chestnuts today which I would have struggled with not that long ago, so it’s a very useful blog.


      PS I never even look at the big crossword, so well done for that!

  32. An enjoyable start to the week. Plenty of anagrams helped us to a reasonable quick time, for us. Loi 6d capsize. Nice clue.

  33. After seeing so many speedy times I was disinclined to comment as it takes me five minutes just to read the clues! I was encouraged by IanV’s submission as I always seem to take about an hour (10Kevins!) and am just happy to complete the QC without any mistakes. I find that stopping after half an hour and revisiting it later helps considerably, maybe my subconscious keeps working in the background!

    1. So do we! But, we always combine filling in the QC with either lunch or supper and, at this time of the year, it is usually supper. Our brains are aging fast we think but as we were well over 70 before we started doing crosswords, we are content with the mental challenge.

  34. Don’t recall Trelawney ever having been so generous. Lots to like here.

    FOI 1a Baritone
    LOI 10d Piano Tuner
    COD 24a Sturgeon (I just like these IKEA clues).

  35. Did like the misdirection with key worker, got train and then got stuck with the rest of the letters
    All done and dusted

  36. I had a good day and managed to avoid my usual seat in the SCC. As I use the paper and pen method (and use capital letters as my normal handwriting is truly dreadful), I am never going to get near a Plett time, but very happy nevertheless.

    COD – 10dn
    LOI – 1dn

    Thanks as always for the blog.

    1. Well done, Mr A.
      I use the same process – pencil, paper and capital letters. One benefit is that I never get any pink squares (whatever they are).

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