Times Quick Cryptic 2325 by Mara

Hello everyone.  A double definition fest today, but all very enjoyable.  Nothing to send me bananas, and I rather liked the similarly-coloured 6d.  Thanks Mara!

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 Snapper arrived before tailless ray (6)
CAMERA CAME (arrived) before RAy without the last letter (tailless …)
4a Bulletin live show delivers, ultimately? (4)
NEWS — The last letters of (… ultimately) bulletiN livE shoW deliverS, with the whole clue also providing the definition (&lit)
9a Fool joining a cult: not the first — mug! (7)
ASSAULT ASS (fool) + A + cULT but not the first letter
10a Man on board leading woman (5)
QUEEN — A double definition; the board is a chess board
11a Balkan region amid ocean waves (9)
MACEDONIA AMID OCEAN is anagrammed (waves)
12a Cambridgeshire City turned over in rugby league (3)
ELY — The city is found in reverse inside (turned over in) rugbY LEague
13a Hydrogen-filled dark, inflatable vessel (6)
DINGHY DINGY (dark) contains H: it is Hydrogen-filled
15a Steaming in drink increased rapidly (4,2)
SHOT UP HOT (steaming) in SUP (drink)
17a Silent parent (3)
MUM — Two definitions
18a Restriction in large numbers for Indian city (9)
BANGALORE BAN (restriction) + GALORE (in large numbers)
21a Gorse seen regularly, like grass perhaps? (5)
GREEN GoRsE sEeN, taking alternate letters (regularly)
22a Irritating smoke circulating beside uncovered fire (7)
IRKSOME — An anagram of (… circulating) SMOKE beside fIRe missing its outer letters (uncovered …)
23a Applicant’s back with request for job (4)
TASK — ApplicanT‘s last letter (back) + ASK (request)
24a Way good man has caught plane, for example? (6)
STREET ST (good man) contains (has caught) TREE (plane, for example)
1d Make Black Sea magical (7)
CHARMED CHAR (make black) + MED (Sea)
2d Audio equipment briefly catching American songs etc (5)
MUSIC MIC (audio equipment briefly – briefly because it’s a short form of microphone, albeit a word in its own right) around (catching) US (American)
3d Bananas not far down the road? (5,3,4)
ROUND THE BEND — To go with the straight (as it were) definition, an alternative literal interpretation of the idiom
5d Most challenging of peaks: night before get some sleep (7)
EVEREST EVE (night before) + REST (get some sleep)
6d Brownish yellow in browns and yellows! (5)
SANDY — The answer is found in brownS AND Yellows
7d School memorandum stuck up (4)
ETON NOTE (memorandum) entered in reverse (stuck up, in a down entry)
8d What fraud squad might aim to do for one of those taken to court? (6,6)
SQUASH RACKET — A fraud squad might aim to SQUASH a RACKET
14d For example, one or two songs (7)
NUMBERS — Another double definition
16d Offering in this location (7)
PRESENT — Two more definitions
17d Power, possibly will (5)
MIGHT — Our final pair of definitions
19d Catch nothing angling in lake, initially (4)
NAIL Nothing Angling In Lake, first letters (initially)
20d Gas, one from Australia? (5)
OZONE OZ ONE (one from Australia)

72 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2325 by Mara”

  1. 11:41 Enjoyed Snapper=CAMERA, also IRKSOME and CHARMED. I think DINGHY is just H inside DINGY?

    1. Thanks – haven’t the foggiest what compelled me to type NIGHT instead of DINGY above! DINGYness has now been restored.

  2. No problems, other than trying to recall BANGALORE. What curryowen said about DINGHY. 5:23.

  3. Not too hard for me – I began with a clean sweep of the first six across clues, only to fail on dinghy, which ended up as my LOI.

    Time: 6:58

  4. 9 minutes. 7dn reminded me that I saw ‘Eaten Mess’ on a pub menu yesterday and wondered if it was intentional.

    1. Unlikely, I’d say. Anyone smart enough to think of it would also be smart enough to know that some customers wouldn’t see the joke!

  5. Slow one for me, with CHARMED / DINGHY being the holdouts.

    10ac (QUEEN) is COD for me. Leads to the riddle: where is a man a queen? On a chessboard.

    I liked the triple play of three consecutive double definitions. DDs can be tough, as there isn’t a way to build them up from bits. But when they pop into mind there’s always satisfaction. Although I think many experienced solvers will have seen them before.

    And in the 15×15, NUMBERS is usually clued by “anaesthetists”. Ho ho.

  6. Flew through this until the SE. I couldn’t crack SQUASH RACKET, wondering if ‘market’ or ‘jacket’ might be the second word took me miles away from the answer plus I inexplicably took court literally. Got there in the end when QUEEN arrived (excellent variation on the board/chess clue) but still couldn’t parse STREET, decided to go for it anyway and typed ‘STREtT’ – justice!. So a pink square finish in 11.

  7. I think Mendesest and I must have been on the same wavelength this morning.

    9’27” for me with QUEEN and SQUASH RACKET LOIs and I really liked both clues. Was thinking court was legal, then regal before finally clicking – late – on sporting.

    STREET went in and out and back in once parsed – could see what ‘reet’ had to do with things that fly in the air – then I saw it, so I like that one too.

    Thanks Mara and Kitty.

  8. I found this fairly gentle, getting off to a flier with 1a, 4a and most of their offshoots going straight in. The bottom half put up a bit more of a fight but there were no major hold ups. Had a lovely PDM re. the parsing of STREET but my COD goes to SQUASH RACKET.
    Finished in 6.01 with LOI TASK.
    Thanks to Kitty

  9. Fairly straightforward, I thought. I liked NEWS and SQUASH RACKET. Thanks Mara and Kitty. 4:15.

  10. Finished on line, a first for me as I usually stick to the paper version. But I don’t set the timer.
    LOI STREET unparsed. Slow on plane tree, and forgot St. In fact lots were biffs including QUEEN and DINGHY (not all dinghies are inflatable).
    Luckily have been reading a novel in which BANGALORE featured.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Kitty.

  11. I got properly stuck on my last three or four clues; not helped by having HONEST at 24a (ST for street and Hone for the verb to plane).
    I needed the excellent SQUASH RACKET to correct my error. But it took me ages to work it out.
    Also I fell for Man on board even having thought of PAWN. Anyway LOI was NEWS which had also misled me.
    An excellent puzzle from Mara. Trickery at its best.
    Took me 22 minutes. Glad I persevered.

  12. A very enjoyable puzzle. Most went in very quickly but QUEEN (clever) and SQUASH slowed me down (I saw the racket from the court reference but was slow to complete the answer). The first word in my LOI SHOT UP was then obvious.
    Some nice, accessible clues, I thought, but with some tricky ones to divert me from the right path. I was over a minute under target (all parsed) but it felt quicker.
    Thanks to Mara and Kitty for a good Monday QC. John M.

  13. Brisk business on a chilly Monday, despite being up and down for what felt like half the night with a young dog determined to bark the house down … passing fox probably to blame.

    All the acrosses in order at first pass except BANGALORE, which then became LOI after all the downs had fallen in order too. Very satisfactory. 06:16 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day. COD to SHOT UP.

    Many thanks Kitty and Mara.


      1. So close … I’ve only done it one or twice! Geography is one of my Achilles’ Heels. Can’t believe how many feet that chap had.

  14. Much of this went in easily enough, but I was stumped for a while on several clues.

    I was certain of QUEEN, but “man” threw me for a while. I gathered it was a chess reference from “board”. Then I remembered that chess pieces are often called “men”. The Q then lead me to SQUASH RACKET.

    24a was my last one in. I had guessed STREET due to “way”, but the rest of the clue had me perplexed, especially the plane. As it was my last answer and time was running away with me, I entered STREET. I had no idea how it worked until I came here.


  15. I never really got going, and ended up at top end of target.

    LOI was QUEEN, I was also slow to get to SQUASH RACKET, which was my COD.


  16. Felt slightly more challenging today. 12.47 with STREET unparsed. Thanks Kitty for making sense of it.
    Rare to see ELY as an answer in its own right, rather than part of a word clued by “see”, “bishop” or “diocese”. I am waking the Ouse Valley in slow stages, and my next stretch will be Aldreth to Ely.

  17. 12 mins…

    Enjoyed this with lots to like, but as a non-chess player I’m also not sure why the “Queen” chess piece is classed as a “man” on board.

    Particular favourites were 8dn “Squash Racket and 18ac “Bangalore”.

    FOI – 1ac “Camera”
    LOI – 10ac “Queen”
    COD – 14dn “Numbers”

    Slightly off topic, but I would also like to add my condolences in respect to Horryd. What I like about this blog is that you gain snippets of people’s lives from all walks of life and that their comments hold equal weight.

    Thanks as usual!

        1. We will probably end up with chesspersons at some point, but for now they are all ‘men.

  18. I thought this was going to be harder than it turned out to be. Round the Bend certainly helped to open up the grid, but a few tricky ones in the bottom half pushed me towards the SCC. Fortunately Squash Racket and loi Street tumbled a minute short of the 20min mark. CoD to 22ac, Irksome, for the pdm. Invariant

  19. Lots to like and nothing to niggle about in this puzzle which I completed, all parsed, in below average time. I liked ROUND THE BEND, but SQUASH RACKET has to be COD. FOI CAMERA, LOI ELY, spotting that I had missed it after spending too long on the tricky TASK. I think that BANGALORE is now something like MENGALARU, so can’t blame Mara for not going there! Thanks Kitty and Mara.

  20. Mostly plain sailing but a few tricky ones thrown in. Took me 16 minutes, all parsed. No problems with the parsing of STREET but I did hesitate over QUEEN. Eventually assumed that all chess pieces are masculine, even the queen (seems a bit heretical these days).

    FOI – 1ac CAMERA
    LOI – 1dn CHARMED

    Thanks to Mara for an enjoyable puzzle and to Kitty for the blog

  21. 17:22 today. Initially biffed SQUARE RACKET which frustrated SHOT UP until I saw my error. Needed blog to parse STREET. Really liked QUEEN, although I I’ve heard ‘chess pieces’ used more recently than ‘chessmen’. Anyway, enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks Kitty and Mara.

  22. Bit of a curate’s egg today. All except 1d and 13a done in about 17 mins. Then another 10 mins before DINGHY suddenly came to mind (as a former dinghy sailor and current yachtsman, I’ve no idea why that took so long to materialise). LOI CHARMED then fell easily into place. The other main hold-up had been QUEEN which quickly enabled SQUASH. FOI CAMERA and COD – I think probably SHOT UP.

    Thanks Mara and kitty

  23. All finished in about 30 minutes. Solved on paper for a change which may have helped.
    LOI was BANGALORE. incidentally GALORE is one of the few words to have been adopted into English from Scottish or Irish Gaelic, along with Whisky of course.
    Thanks Mara for a good puzzle and Kitty for explaining 9a.

      1. Indeed, a book by Compton Mackenzie and then a film. I was on Eriskay last year holding one of the bottles liberated from the SS Politician in 1941.

  24. 10 minutes, though with Queen parsed post completion – I guessed it must be the answer, but left it as my LOI as I waited for the Q checker to confirm it. No other hold-ups in a most pleasant start to the week.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog, though in 21a, does not “regularly” apply to the first two words, ie GoRsE sEeN, to give the answer?


    1. Thanks Cedric – no idea what possessed me to leave out sEeN from the fodder. Clearly must have been half asleep at the blogwheel. Now amended.

  25. Brain definitely somewhat obtunded today after a session of spirit raising at Twickenham watching England get beaten.
    LOI Squash Racket, which I learned to play at my alma mater, and many years thereafter, sadly in the news for the wrong reasons today.
    36.30 but seemed longer.
    Thanks Mara and Kitty

  26. 9:45. Back on paper after solving online while enjoying a delightful few days in Sussex. A bit of a scrappy solve today as I wandered around the grid – no chance of a (near) clean sweep a la Templar, I’m afraid! I didn’t even get started until a third of the way down and have no idea why CAMERA didn’t click straightaway. Sometimes I move on too quickly – just a couple more seconds thought here and there might help.
    At 4a, I also did my usual thing of only looking at the last letter of the word preceding ultimately, so got the S but not the NEW! So that went in unparsed 🙄 Shame, because it was a good clue and I missed its finer details!
    FOI Macedonia LOI Might COD Irksome
    Thanks Mara and Kitty

  27. 8:32. No major hold-ups though needed all the crossers for SQUASH RACKET, my LOI. Enjoyed seeing the old QUEEN as ‘Man’ trick again. Favourite was the nice NEWS &lit.

    Thanks to Kitty and Mara

  28. I found this quite straightforward except for Street – I’d forgotten plane was a type of tree, despite them being planted all over Melbourne and shedding copious amounts of pollen every Spring 🙁 🙁

    I enjoyed it very much

  29. No time today as done either side of a long errand. Also slightly downcast by the news about Horryd. Otherwise, a fine puzzle. Thanks.

  30. 16.13 An enjoyable puzzle slowed down by failing to understand why QUEEN was right until the very end, which hindered SQUASH RACKET.

  31. 5.36

    As others have said, straightforward-ish but none the worse for that. The RACKET was good.

    Thanks all

    1. Yes you will. There were some tough ones today. Keep using the blog as a great learning resource. For example, any reference to a board is often a clue about a chess piece, and a reference to court might be legal but could just as easily refer to a sports court. I know it’s a slow process, but it will ‘click’ at some point.

  32. So slow today. I was held up for a considerable time by QUEEN and I needed the Q to solve SQUASH RACKET and my LOI SHOT UP. 11:42

  33. I’m sure it’s brain fog but could someone please explain to me why ST is good man? Had a glance through the chat but couldn’t see it.

    1. Yes, mozbadel is right. I should have expanded the abbreviation in the blog.

      What I deliberately didn’t add, to see if there would be any comments, was that there are plenty of female saints – yet when saint/st is clued by “good woman” (as has happened) it tends to draw the question, “why specifically a good woman?” There is a recent example of this fresh in my mind: ST ST indicated as “two good women” in last Wednesday’s Independent by Eccles, 15a.

  34. Most answers went in readily, but then laboured dreadfully to get QUEEN, SQUASH RACKET, SHOT UP and to parse STREET. Not one of my more alert days, obviously!

  35. A fraction under 7 minutes for a very swift start to the week. Some lovely surfaces – I particularly liked SQUASH RACKET and TASK.

  36. An atypical start for me, as I quickly solved five of the first six I looked at. I was then able to maintain that early pace until I reached the quarter-hour mark, at which point I had just five clues to get. Unfortunately, however, I couldn’t also muster an atypical finish and those five clues – PRESENT, CHARMED, SQUASH RACKET, STREET and DINGHY (my LOI) – conspired to add a further 20 minutes to my time. Total time = 35 minutes.

    Squash is my second favourite of all of the sports I have tried (beaten only by orienteering), so why I took so long to find RACKET I do not know. Clever misdirection by the setter, perhaps. Then, both CHARMED and DINGHY required laborious and frustrating alphabet trawls. Still, a time in the mid-30s is about average for me nowadays – and way faster than I could ever have imagined a couple of years ago.

    Many thanks to Mara and Kitty.

    1. Orienteering ?!? Perhaps our paths crossed trudging round Ringwood or Wareham forests along the way.

      I totalled 32min45 over 2 attempts. Lost the will to live at 28-mins over on the left side at first attempt.

      1. Quite possibly! I have competed many times in Ringwood Forest and Moors Valley Country Park (and at other locations in the New Forest), but not as far West as Wareham. Unfortunately, I can only proceed nowadays at a hurried walking pace. My goal has moderated from trying to get on the podium to trying not to come last.

        1. My best friend at school got me into it. His parents were very involved in it beginning in the 60s and I suspect when his older brother outgrew it, they invited me along to keep him company!!

          I was decidedly terrible at it. Firstly because my distance running skills were awful (I used to come 2nd-to-last at cross-country at school) and secondly my map-reading skills were awful. Not really a great combination for an orienteer 🤣

          As per the QC, my only redeeming quality was perseverance and hence why I once took around 1hr15 on a M13 5K course until eventually I deliberately punched the wrong control to avoid directly having to admit defeat.

          I joined WIM and did go to a couple of JKs and SouthWest championships which I look back fondly on; getting lost and cold less so. Thought about giving it a try again a few years back when I was at Moors Valley parkrun and some orienteers were there trying to drum up interest.

          1. May I suggest that you do try again? It’s a cheap sport, unless you travel widely, and (as I am finding) you can still compete even if/when your body starts to fail through injury or other chronic problems. Nowadays, I do the Green course.
            Just remember though, DON’T wear your L-Plates, as other competitors may mistake you for a control!

  37. Some tricky ones today. The left-hand side was completed with just a scattering on the right. Took me some time to force my way through. Eventually remembered the chess code for 10a to find Queen and that helped with 8d Squash Racket (I recalled a debate on racquet v racket so was prepared to compromise on my spelling) and also confirmed 15a Shot Up. Liked 18a Bangalore, and 24a Street.
    FOI 1a Camera (haven’t we seen that word recently?). No-one complaining today about ‘that school/college’..?
    LOI 24a Street – I had earlier but was foxed looking for the parsing
    COD 8d Squash Racket.

  38. I have been struggling with the QC of late, but today was one of my better efforts. I was just into SCC territory, courtesy of grappling with QUEEN and SQUASH RACKET (not alone there by the looks of it).

    A typically clever but accessible offering from Mara.


    Thanks for the great blog Kitty.

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