Times Quick Cryptic 2350 by Trelawney

Solving time: 9 minutes

I found this one quite straightforward and I hope you did too. My QC results last week were not too good so I’m hoping for better this time round.

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.

Across
1 Crunches some data, reportedly? (5)
BITES
Sounds like [reportedly] “bytes” (some data)
4 Rough chisel possibly grabbed by broadcaster (7)
SKETCHY
ETCH (chisel possibly) contained [grabbed] by SKY (broadcaster)
8 Male juggled with red stone (7)
EMERALD
Anagram [juggled] of MALE RED
9 Strange code close to body is a red herring (5)
DECOY
Anagram [strange] of CODE, then {bod}Y [close to…]
10 Witnesses red getting drunk, and more booze (7,5)
DESSERT WINES
Anagram [getting drunk] of WITNESSES RED. ‘More booze’ refers back to the red wine suggested by the surface reading.
12 Rush to suppress a cry of delight (6)
HURRAY
HURRY (rush) containing [to suppress] A
13 Rodent eats second hair product (6)
MOUSSE
MOUSE (rodent) contains [eats] S (second)
16 Expensive contract secures church for race (12)
STEEPLECHASE
STEEP (expensive), LEASE (contract) contains [secures] CH (church)
18 Australian creatures finally get place to sleep (5)
ROOST
ROOS (Australian creatures), {ge}T [finally]
20 Supply identification inside show (7)
PROVIDE
ID (identification) contained by [inside] PROVE (show)
21 Inhale herb tea mistakenly (7)
BREATHE
Anagram [mistakenly] of HERB TEA
22 Share some prosecco, at first, getting sloshed (5)
SPLIT
S{ome} + P{rosecco} [at first], LIT (sloshed – drunk). I think we’ve had ‘lit up’ for ‘drunk’ before but ‘lit’ on its own can also serve.
Down
1 Thickness of new red bath (7)
BREADTH
Anagram [new] of RED BATH
2 Negotiate to wander around certain valuable collection (8,5)
TREASURE TROVE
TREAT (negotiate) + ROVE (wander) containing [around] SURE (certain)
3 Worn out friend — that’s a no-win situation (9)
STALEMATE
STALE (worn out), MATE (friend)
4 Calm a steed that’s wild (6)
SEDATE
Anagram [wild] of A STEED
5 Lacking introduction, fix conclusion (3)
END
{m}END (fix) [lacking introduction]
6 Chicken crossing bridge with one dog (6,7)
COCKER SPANIEL
COCKEREL (chicken) containing [crossing] SPAN (bridge) + I (one)
7 Toy you twice left unfinished (2-2)
YO-YO
YO{u} + YO{u} (toy) [left unfinished] [twice]
11 One angry about man’s German medal (4,5)
IRON CROSS
I (one) + CROSS (angry) containing [about] RON (man)
14 Mountain lady to take a break (7)
EVEREST
EVE (lady), REST (take a break)
15 Pass with bad grade before failure (6)
ELAPSE
E (bad grade), LAPSE (failure)
17 Dull poet is sent up (4)
DRAB
BARD (poet) reversed [sent up]
19 Small child‘s small drink (3)
TOT
Two meanings

90 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2350 by Trelawney”

  1. Nothing to scare the proverbials. I biffed the two long downs (I don’t think I read the clue for TREASURE TROVE), parsed them after submitting. 5:35.

  2. Have lots to learn since I only started last summer, plus slowly using my CCD less. Today is a new PB with 39:27.

  3. 16:58. SKETCHY held me up the longest but eventually I remembered SKY as broadcaster had just appeared in the Weekend Quick Cryptic from Phil Jordan and it hadn’t yet disappeared from my brain.

      1. I wonder what the odds would be on us achieving the improbable co 1.00 LP some day!

        1. Good question 😁

          There’s 30-40 regular posters on here, I don’t recall seeing any pair record the same times, but I don’t look that closely.

          So with all those possibilities failing to turn up a match, I think the chances are low when it’s just us two.

          Especially as my times are a lot more variable than yours – so I’m not sure the chances are any improved by our ability levels being similar.

          It’ll probably happen next week having said all that !

  4. 10:28. The perils of biffing. For 2d I saw the enumeration, ‘certain’ and ‘valuable collection’ and thought great, this has just got to be “treasure chest”. In it went and of course it mucked up the SW corner; my excuse anyway for what should have been a quicker time.

    Overall, not too difficult. Best bit was the two consecutive ‘red(s)’ at 8a and 9a; one a figurative and one a literal ‘red herring’.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Jack

  5. Disappointing DNF on what felt like an easy Monday puzzle. Spent way too long on ELAPSE and DECOY, and the clock ran out with SKETCHY still empty. My cut-off is 20:23.

    Also had a pink square for BYTES on what felt like a very 80s pun. I work in Tech and haven’t heard anyone talking about bytes in a long time.

    I’ve never seen Hurrah spelt HURRAY.

    COD COCKER SPANIEL

    1. I’m no techie but surely the byte is a basic unit that gives us megabytes, kilobytes, terabytes etc?

      1. Not quite the basic unit. A byte is made up of 8 BITS* Each BIT is the binary computer’s storage of a 0 or 1. Therefore with 8 bits in a byte, you have 256 possibilities.

        Such were the things that 80s computer people understood when a ZX81 had only 1K (1,024 bytes of RAM). And the big home computers BBC Micro (32K), ZX Spectrum (48K), Commodore 64 (64K). It really is incredible how much memory has changed given a blank Word or Excel document takes up around 10Kb.

        * Along with the 8 BITS = 1 BYTE; there’s also 1 NIBBLE = 4 BITs (or 1/2 a byte)

        1. Thanks. All too techie for me, but presumably it will mean something to Merlin. What I meant was that the words I referred to plus gigabytes etc are in everyday usage as multiples of bytes, so BYTES can hardly be considered outdated terminology.

  6. Did this with Bertie the COCKER SPANIEL at my feet but I still needed all the checkers to crack that one. Submitted with fingers crossed for SKETCHY – serves me right for not doing Phil’s weekend puzzle (I prioritised a nap on the sofa for my spare hour). Special mention to 8a for EMERALD being the answer to a clue ending ‘red stone’, enjoyed that a lot. Didn’t understand the parsing of TREASURE TROVE or SKETCHY until I came here and waiveed over ‘lit’ for ‘drunk’ for going for SPLIT. All green in 12.

  7. A 9 minute solve for a gentle start to the week. “Lit” for drunk the only slight unknown but the answer to the clue was clear.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog
    Cedric

  8. A nice start to the week. FOI was BREADTH and immediately moved on to the crossers which left me wondering if there was going to be a red theme, but it seemed to be limited to the NW.
    Made steady progress with before finishing with an alphabet trawl for LOI EXPIRE where I got fixated on the wrong sort of pass.
    Crossed the line in 7.21 with COD to BREATHE for the mental image the surface provided.
    Thanks to Jack

  9. I completed this smoothly – 2 mins under my 15 min target. FOI BREADTH and my LOsI were SKETCHY, COCKER SPANIEL and SPLIT with the dog being one of a few biffs that shouted at me, given the key crossers. The anagrams dropped out quickly.
    An easier start to the week but a relaxed, steady solve rather than a race to the tape.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Jack. John M.

  10. Felt a bit off the pace today, just sluggish. I need a coffee! DESSERT WINES, DRAB and LOI SPLIT held me up the most. Puffed over the line in 09:38 for 1.7K and a Heavy Weather Day.

    Many thanks Jack and the Squire.

    Templar

  11. A gentle start to the week. I failed to note anything on my copy. 10A and 8D didn’t go in on a first pass, but did easily enough with some more checkers. I liked the reference to crunching data at 1A. BTW, I can recommend today’s 15×15 to the community here. With a SNITCH sitting currently at 60 it is not much more difficult than an average QC, I think, although there are a couple of tricky words. Thanks Trelawney and Jackkt. 4:12.

    1. Thank you John. I have tried it, and with a 22 minute finish for me, it is indeed very approachable

    2. Thanks for the pointer, John. I finished it quite quickly (for me) and enjoyed it. I speeded up as the grid filled – many answers came to mind without fuss given some crossers.

    3. What’s ‘tricky’ for one person is nho for another, but just about gettable.

    4. Recommendation on 15×15 taken and a first ever completion scraping in under the hour after carefully deliberation for 5-10mins on my last. A good 5-6 words never heard of. I must have learned something here to have built those answers!

      1. Well done! That’s brilliant, and a shining example to all how the QC can be bridge to the 15×15. We’ll be seeing you at the Crossword Championships (rumoured to be resuming this year) in a couple of years time, I bet.

    5. Thanks for the tip. I’ve always shied away from the big one but tried it today and to my amazement managed all but 6 clues.

  12. I enjoyed this and managed it in about 8 mins. I think LIT for sloshed is a bit obscure for a quickie. I don’t think I’ve ever come across it outside of a cryptic crossword, but the whole thing was clever so I shouldn’t nitpick. Thanks all!

  13. Pretty easy one this morning, but none the worse for that.

    I liked IRON CROSS, STEEPLECHASE and BREATHE.

    4:22

  14. It is Monday , and most of this came easily. My only real hold-up was LOI SKETCHY; the clue seemed a degree harder than all the others. 9 minutes for me.
    As noted a pleasant puzzle; good crossword fare.
    David

  15. No real difficulty today, apart from 10a where I could not untangle the anagram without resorting to pen and paper. LOI was SKETCHY. Finished in 11:29.

  16. Just inside my 15 minute target, with a couple of distractions, so a reasonable start to the week. Like Jackkt, my times have been below par recently (although Jackkt is in a league above me), so I am hoping for an improvement over the coming weeks. I managed to finish the Mephisto yesterday, so maybe that is a sign of progress. Thanks both.

  17. A gentle offering today. From BITES to BREATHE in 5:44. Thanks Trelawney and Jack.

  18. If I had seen BITES a little quicker I would have broken the 6 minutes mark. FOI BREADTH and LOI the not disimilar BREATHE. I biffed TREASURE TROVE and parsed post solve. There seemed to be a lot of anagram type clues which, with the exception of DESSERT WINES, were solved briskly. 6:01 for an excellent start to the week.

  19. I was expecting the general consensus to be that today was a bit tricky, but from the comments above clearly not. I struggled with this one, and in particular with my LOI which was SKETCHY. Even with all the available letters it took me approximately two minutes to think of a word that fitted. I finally crossed the line in 12.47 for a pretty poor start to the week. Having seen John’s comment above with subsequent comments, I’m hoping for better things on the 15×15.

  20. 12 mins…

    A nice start to the week. It helped that 2dn “Treasure Trove”and 6dn “Cocker Spaniel” were both biffed and 10ac “Dessert Wines” and 16ac “Steeplechase” followed quite quickly.

    Main hold up was my LOI 4ac “Sketchy”, where I was trying to shoehorn in BBC.

    FOI – 1dn “Breadth”
    LOI – 4ac “Sketchy”
    COD – 3dn “Stalemate” – no great stand outs today, but I liked the surface of this.

    Thanks as usual!

  21. 16:31 … quite a few flew in on first pass and about 2/3s done and I was still under 8mins. It became a race against time rather than any lack of certainty about finishing. ELAPSE was LOI.

    Bit of a mer at hurray as I wanted hurrah but the word play was clear. Nothing too difficult now but would have struggled with some of those a year or so ago. Some nice anagrams helped flesh out the grid.

    1. Good time #50.
      I had HOORAY at first thinking it might be one of these ‘sounds like’ clues but the crossers and parsing sorted out the spelling.

  22. Enjoyable puzzle. Biffed the long ones and was generally quite quick. Had to think about ELAPSE and LOI SKETCHY.
    FOsI the SW corner.
    Liked ROOST, COCKER SPANIEL, STALEMATE.
    Thanks, Jack. Though I solved the clues my parsing was sketchy.

  23. What was looking like a comfortable sub-20 slowly turned into desperate struggle against the clock, with first Treasure Trove (anyone else spend time looking at an anagram of Negotiate around Sure ?) and then Sketchy causing problems. Loi Split (nho lit for drunk) pushed me though the door into the SCC. Invariant

  24. Though completed I found some of the clues a little difficult. I didn’t like “more booze” in 10a, I thought it wasn’t a good piece of clueing.

    Had to use all my lives and needed up getting one wrong answer.

    32:36
    DNF (1x wrong answer)
    3/3

  25. A 40 minutes ‘solve’ which would have been a lot less without 15d. Spent ages on it and finally, over coffee, asked Mrs V to take a look and she immediately biffed Elapse. So a dnf for me.
    I liked Roost for its construction and enjoyed Cocker Spaniel.
    Thanks Trelawney and Jack.

    1. Unlucky #5 … you would have got that if you’d looked at it again later in the day for sure. I’ve seen Elapse come up 2-3 times over the past year and in the books, so while I didn’t see it until the end; it’s more familiar than before.

  26. A very approachable start to th week with no real stumbling blocks. Pity about TOT and DRAB: these old chestnuts should be consigned to the bin.

    1. Bearing in mind this is a QC with newbies in the early stages of learning it’s only fair to remember that one solver’s old chestnuts will be new to others and if the clues are easy that will boost their confidence so that they persevere and get to grips with the harder clues. It’s fair enough to point them out but not to want do away with them.

  27. We found this quite tricky
    DNF due to elapse and sketchy
    Didn’t like “lit”for drunk or “treat” for negotiate.

    1. Completely agree. Even I (a relative new boy) managed almost all, but these same two stumped me as well. We don’t have a satellite dish and I didn’t do the Weekend Cryptic (my fault, then!), so SKY evaded me. Sorry to see EVEREST yet again.

  28. I found this more tricky than most others have done. Started slowly with only a few across clues falling on the first pass, speeded up with the downs and then slowed right back down again with the last 4 or 5 clues. 22 minutes all parsed.

    FOI – 9ac DECOY
    LOI – 4ac SKETCHY
    COD – 11dn IRON CROSS

  29. My records show that I find Trelawney the kindest of all the regular setters and my 19-minute finish (HURRAY!) helped to cement his reputation here. Indeed, my time would have been 3 minutes faster had I not been held up at the end by STALEMATE.

    My FOsI were EMERALD (great clue!) and DECOY and I had probably populated just over half the grid by the time I finished my first full pass. This gave me lots of checkers, so clues like TREASURE TROVE and COCKER SPANIEL were biffable before I could fully parse them.

    Mrs Random finished in 15 minutes with only the LIT bit of SPLIT unparsed. I had the same problem, but also never fully parsed TREASURE TROVE and STEEPLECHASE.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Jack.

    1. The SCC is emptying out for a March holiday. Nice going Mr R.

      Great result for 🍒 considering how the August fixture went. Shame they didn’t talk more about it on MoTD 🤣

      1. 0-9 & 1-0 = 3 pts each. 50% better than two draws, so I’d take that every season (especially against L’pool).

  30. A very enjoyable completion in 20:57. FOI: breadth, LOI: elapse.

    As a commercial property solicitor, I won’t reveal quite how much of that time was spent looking at the letters LEASE and wondering how it could be a sort of contract…

  31. DNF.
    Failed on 2.
    15 DOWN – ELAPSE . Hard clue but fair.

    22 Share some prosecco, at first, getting sloshed (5)
    SPLIT
    S{ome} + P{rosecco} [at first], LIT (sloshed – drunk). I think we’ve had ‘lit up’ for ‘drunk’ before but ‘lit’ on its own can also serve.

    I thought this was a rubbish clue. “Lit” does not mean drunk. Not in a million years.

    1. There must be dozens of words in the English language that can be used for ‘drunk’ so, while I share your incredulity regarding ‘lit’, I accept that it will undoubtedly be covered in one of the reference dictionaries.

  32. Thought I was going to get my first sub 4 minute solve, then got stumped for awhile by sketchy. Totally on the wrong wavelength with that one assuming that the grabbed by broadcaster part of the clue indicated that the answer would rhyme with chisel.

    Spent 2 1/2 minutes on that one alone. Good Monday puzzle though I thought.

  33. Finished but with several unparsed. Thanks for the blog but . . .

    I’m with Dunlop65 with LIT never ever meaning drunk in my world.

    Was surprised by ETCH = CHISEL . For me a chisel is a large(ish) woodworking tool and etch is something delicate and / or involving lots of chemicals and generally involving metal.

    1. Chisel can be a verb too … I’m sure Micheangelo chiseled away carefully at the Statue of David.

      I’m in some agreement that to etch is a bit different. But I can see them as synonymous verbs.

    2. I am reminder of the delightful Flanders and Swan song Pillar to Post, which I have been known to perform myself, which includes the line “The standard lamps are beaming, they get lit up every night”, with the allusion to the meaning used in this clue. “And so… I feed him sandwiches, to show I understand” is a delightful image later in the song. Possibly my favourite of theirs.

  34. No problems except for 15d elapse, long clues were gentle and helped to a good time.

  35. A late solve waiting for a plane back from Bulgaria. 7:15 would have been in the low 6’s (which is my super stretch target – hens teeth rare) but for fat thumbs and a bit of bumbling round SKETCHY and ELAPSE.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the variety of thought and STEEPLECHASE in particular.

    Will use the biggie to eat up some of the flight time

    Thanks Trelawny and Jackkt

  36. 5:32 this morning, early start this morning followed by a power cut, so maybe my concentration was affected. Felt it was relatively easy but my time was above my average. No stand out clues but a well pitched puzzle overall.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Jack

  37. 8:20. I enjoyed this return to doing the crossword on paper after a week of struggling on my phone while in Amsterdam and Delft. A very apt connection to the biggie today!
    I liked the connections with all the reds and various drinks, without anything being very same-y.
    FOI Decoy LOI Elapse COD Breathe (I’m not a fan of herbal teas, so I would definitely only inhale one by mistake 😅)
    Thanks Trelawaney and Jack

  38. 13:17

    Struggled with the top row, BITES and SKETCHY on first pass which slowed things down. LOI ELAPSE.

  39. I was unable to attempt the QC on Friday as my copy of The Times was stuck in a snowdrift somewhere on the M62! Annoying as I was hoping for a 5-0 after four successful solves.

    My extended weekend off made me feel like a complete beginner again at first today, but I persisted with 1ac and the answer eventually came. A few tricky ones after that, but came home inside 20 mins for a pleasing escape from the SCC.

    FOI – BITES
    LOI – SKETCHY
    PDM – ELAPSE
    COD – SPLIT

    Congratulations to all my fellow escapees!

    Thanks for the excellent blog Jackkt.

  40. Well into the SCC at 25:20 today but thankfully all green. The delay mainly caused by LOI SKETCHY like so many others, but once I’d spotted SKY for the broadcaster, I had to accept that you could ETCH with a chisel – I’d like to see it being done! Otherwise not too bad. FOI BREADTH, COD COCKER SPANIEL. Thanks Trelawny and Jack.

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