Times Quick Cryptic 2355 by Teazel – in which 12a describes your blogger …

Hello everyone.  This puzzle took me nearly 10 minutes, the time at which I start to feel that either the puzzle is a little hard for a QC or I’m having an off day.  Happy to stay the right side of the boundary, but still, you can tell me which!  In any case, thanks Teazel.

I didn’t notice until writing up the blog that there are few double definitions, but I couldn’t miss the cricketing bent.  Perhaps that accounts for my needing a little extra time, finding myself stumped on occasions.  At least I wasn’t caught out entirely, so no knock to the confidence.  I was bowled over by the appropriateness of 12a to my solving experience and got into a spin over what looked like a mysterious missing linked clue after 13d.  I didn’t need to get Googly with any internet help, but have included the odd Wicketpedia link below.

I’d better stop now or I’ll go batty.  Gotta run – bye!

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 Obstinate Liberal, one into very soft stuff (6)
MULISH L (Liberal) and I (one) go into MUSH (very soft stuff)
5a French city is seriously annoying (6)
ANGERS — Two definitions
8a Cricket ball hit a bloke in the face (8)
CHINAMAN CHIN A MAN (hit a bloke in the face).  A type of cricket delivery
9a Carried in tidal flood (4)
BORE — Another double definition.  The Severn bore is pretty impressive
10a Health food runs into prohibition (4)
BRAN R (runs) inserted into BAN (prohibition).
As a kitten I used to call Bran Flakes Brain Flakes, and went through a phase of modifying the packet to show this.  These days I call muesli muesli and definitely have fewer functioning brain cells
11a Heard of bygone times forgotten (6,2)
PASSED BY PASSED sounds like (heard of) PAST (bygone), and we add BY (times, as in multiplied by)
12a Cat perhaps, one thinking about nothing (6)
MOUSER MUSER (one thinking) around (about) O (nothing).
My state through much of this puzzle: I saw this clue and my mind immediately obliged by going blank.  I should perhaps add that I’m certainly no mouser!
14a Having learned, repeat city is taking part in ceremony (6)
RECITE EC (city) is inside (taking part in) RITE (ceremony)
16a Cautious about empty words in guarantee (8)
WARRANTY WARY (cautious) around (about) RANT (empty words)
18a Greatly multiply little bit of sugar (4)
CUBE — Another double definition
20a Make quiet money (4)
DOSH DO (make) + SH (quiet)
21a To request computer assistance is to invite trouble (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT — The answer, if the second word is spelled out, could also mean to request – ASK FOR – computer assistance – IT
23a See you run twice (3-3)
BYE-BYE BYE (run), twice. Cricket again
24a Daughter understands plaited hair (6)
DREADS D (daughter) + READS (understands).  Do you read me?
2d Escort our party with that woman (5)
USHER US (our party) with HER (that woman)
3d Lottery pay-out wife wasted — that’s a knock (7)
INNINGS — [w]INNINGS (lottery pay out) with W (wife) not used (wasted).
The definition sailed over my head when solving, but I have confirmed that a knock can mean an innings or a spell at batting
4d Sound of bee is sweet, but not bug (3)
HUM HUM[bug] (sweet) but not BUG
5d Novel variety of energy: gas (5,4)
AGNES GREY — An anagram of (variety of) ENERGY GAS.  Novel by Anne Brontë
6d Top of wall is good fit (5)
GABLE G (good) + ABLE (fit)
7d I barter nuts for cheesy snack (7)
RAREBIT I BARTER anagrammed (nuts)
11d Descent of leaf with a tear in it (9)
PARENTAGE PAGE (leaf) containing (with … in it) A RENT (a tear)
13d Powerful speech from either a Labour member … (7)
ORATORY — The solver is invited to complete the sentence with … OR A TORY.
Until I’d solved this one I was surprised to see no answering ellipsis beginning the next clue
15d Ride round working in strong wind (7)
CYCLONE CYCLE (ride) round ON (working)
17d Chap in pub turning up: where did he dry out? (5)
REHAB HE (chap) in BAR (pub) all reversed (turning up, in a down entry)
19d Unable to see what may be on the window (5)
BLIND — Two definitions
22d As king, I had a child (3)
KID K (king) + ID (I had)

81 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2355 by Teazel – in which 12a describes your blogger …”

  1. 13:28. Luckily I had just enough familiarity with cricket to not be held up. Very humorous and entertaining blog- much appreciated!

  2. Where I come from, CHINAMAN is not used; I haven’t heard or seen it in decades, and didn’t know it was also a cricket term. 6:45.

    1. I doubt if it helps, but a chinaman is a left-arm bowler’s equivalent of a leg break and thus spins from off to leg if the batter is right-handed. There are very few exponents of this style of bowling.

        1. What I meant is that where I’m from, one would no more say ‘Chinaman’ than one would say ‘Jap’.

          1. Indeed … if it were called a “N-wordball” or “P-wordball” … it would quickly be changed

    2. Did you know? Ronald Reagan spent time in the UK and became interested in cricket. Later he said to Maggie Thatcher to watch out for the Chinaman. The foreign office spent weeks trying to identify the person mentioned! David

    1. Two clues based on trivia, A minor French city and an obscure novel, crossing each other…

      Pretty hard for non UK GK folks like me.

    1. Indeed I did, Merlin. Slip up in the very first clue – oh dear! Now corrected, thanks.

  3. 11:03. I liked the blog (and the puzzle) with the cricketing references. Had a mental block towards the end for the ‘French city’ which was becoming ‘seriously annoying’; no excuses as it’s a major French metropolis, in crossword land anyway. Favourite was the unpaired ellipsis device for ORATORY.

    Thanks to Kitty and Teazel

  4. 10 minutes. Does ‘passed by’ mean forgotten? Maybe in a context I’m not seeing at the moment.

    1. I thought of someone being “passed by” for promotion being a “forgotten” person.

      1. Thanks. Yes, I think that works although the expression I know is “passed over” for promotion.

  5. 19:50 with a pink square for AGNES ‘gray’ not GREY.

    Having defended the odd tough quickie last week, this one felt rather brutal.

    CHINAMAN, ANGERS, the aforementioned novel, MULISH, PARENTAGE, MOUSER and even PASSED BY, which, in a contradiction I know, I would have as applicable to something forgettable, but not necessarily forgotten, all had me stumped for a while.

    Was going to throw in the towel with loads of empties but struggled through to the silly pink one.

    Thanks Teazel and Kitty -tough one to blog!

  6. I thought that was tough but then I had a poor night, which seems to affect my times. Let’s hope I’m more effective in Court today!

    I liked HUM and ASK FOR IT. LOI MOUSER. All green in 16:06 for 2.4K and a Terrible Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Kitty.


  7. Quite hard for a QC just over 12m. Been to Angers a few times (lovely) so got a good start in NE. really scratched my head over Oratory so thanks Kitty. I know my cricket but Chinaman not common now. Bye bye.

  8. Several visits to the SCC to complete this, but got there in the end. Sometimes I couldnt see the obvious – RAREBIT was clearly an anagram but wouldn’t click, on the other hand I had never heard of AGNES GREY so waited for all the checkers before fitting the other letters into what seemed most novel title-like. Not encountered ANGERS in France, or Crosswordland yet, so another left until the end for a tentative entry. ORATORY was a fairly quick PDM but a favourite.
    Nice blog, Kitty, just manageable but challenging enough, Teazel.

  9. There were some very clever, chewy, ornery clues but this was just not a QC in my opinion. Perhaps I was just not in the mood but I did not find this a pleasure and it was my slowest solve for months. Well done the above posters!
    Thanks to Kitty for a good blog. John M.

  10. Similarly found this very difficult for a quick crossword. Loved the amusing cricket references in the blog but hated them in the puzzle as I’m really not very familiar with cricket terminology which is often a problem when trying to solve crosswords!

  11. Dnf…

    30 mins at my cut off and I just couldn’t get 12ac “Mouser” nor 11dn “Parentage”. The definition for the latter deceived me, so I can’t complain – but I had a bit of a shrug for the former. NHO of “Chinaman” for 8ac but I guessed it was some obscure cricket term.

    Overall – a very tough start to the week I thought, and I am guessing there’ll be some grumbling 😀

    FOI – 4dn “Hum”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 21ac “Ask for it”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. Very witty blog. Thoroughly amused by it. Thank you. Finished well inside my usual time so happy all round. Fred.

  13. Blogger thinks that anything over ten minutes is a little hard for a QC. I had to chuckle over that. Trying standing in my shoes where anything under 30 minutes is a good time.

    After half an hour I had only got halfway through this mediocre QC. I did like 11d, and I thought 13 was very clever.

    Never heard of Agnes Grey (the clue that eventually had me give up).

    1. That’s why I don’t like giving solving times, PW. Sometimes I don’t, but then I feel like I’m not joining in properly, since it’s the done thing here to share and compare times. Lose lose.

      My plan is to get around this in future by quoting times compared to my average (which I need only disclose once and then link back to for anybody who is interested). Just have to calculate that! Everthing is collected together now, just a bit of error checking needed. So after next week everything will be relative.

      I will now also be able to calculate average times per setter too, thanks to Jackkt’s kindness in providing me with a list of the puzzles with their setters.

  14. 8:08

    Not too many in on the first pass, but things picked up with a few checkers in place.

    No problem with CHINAMAN – very rare to see one bowled as to start with there are fewer left-arm bowlers than right-armers, and even fewer of those bowl wrist-spin i.e. from off to leg if a right-handed batsman is facing. A CHINAMAN is the slow left-armer’s ‘surprise’ ball, bowled out of the back of the hand so that it spins the other way from leg to off against a right-handed batsman.

    Thanks Teazel and Kitty

  15. 42.09 – enjoyed the blog much more, thanks Kitty 😽

    Fortunately I was interested enough in cricket as a teenager to not be stumped by any of those. I attended some Hampshire matches when they used to come for their annual week in Bournemouth during the school holidays. Slowly lost interest (like most professional sport) when the international matches went to Sky and then Hants built the Rose Bowl to host all their games.

    ANGERS was my LOI. Dredged from the depths of memory of a QC last year. French cities not my thing unless they played in European football competition or hosted an international match along the way.

    AGNES GREY also dredged which was decent given I saw it was an anagram and I was looking for a book title but only had the –N-S —- to work with. It actually opened up the grid for me around 30-mins to which point I was less than half done and muttering oaths.

    Didn’t like the ORATORY clue. Began with ORAL— BIFD the answer but missed the elipsis and had to put it to the back of my mind.

    Not been a fan of Teazel’s QCs this year. Which is shame because on reflection there were some good clues / answers in here. And I should be pleased with myself to have finished it. But … the grind.

  16. Will some statistician please tell me the odds against the same word, similarly clued appearing in consecutive Times puzzles in the same grid position (I won’t elaborate!)

    1. Odds are long I would say, and I noticed. But forgot that the last time was yesterday!

    2. The odds of such a thing happening in two specified consecutive Times puzzles are, indeed, very low. However, given the number of Times puzzles that have been published over the years, the odds of such an occurrence never having happened are also very low. The likelihood of it having happened at some stage is therefore very high.

      Another example of this is the birthday paradox. Assuming births are distributed uniformly throughout the year and that no one was born on Feb. 29th (both are false assumptions, of course), the probability that two or more previously named guests at a 23-person gathering share the same birthday is 1/365 (<0.3%). However, the probability of any two (or more) of those 23 guests sharing the same birthday is 50%. If the number of guests swelled to 75, the probability that two or more shared the same birthday would be 99.9%.


      1. Thank you Random! You have saved me writing a much longer comment. I’m grateful for that – and also delighted that it should be Mr Random proving a good understanding of randomness!

        A while back, Mr K did some calculations about repeated words in grids (not in the same position, it is true).

        The latest of these is here, hidden inside a spoiler box, and also linking back to a couple of previous bits of analysis/discussion in blog intros.

        The crossword answer analogue to the birthday paradox (which assumes each answer to be equally likely, also a false assumption) gives a 50% chance of a repeat after only 260 clues, or about 9 puzzles.

        Of course, same answer, same place, consecutive day, is another story. But there are lots of different stories. Same answer, same week? Same answer, same weekday, consecutive weeks? Same answer, same day, another publication? …

        A surprising number of these individually unlikely things are bound to happen, just because there is a vast number of such things.

      2. Sorry Random, that birthday paradox hurt my head – but then again, I never liked probability when doing Maths – much preferred mechanics.

        1. I remember a teacher testing the birthday paradox in our class of around 30 kids in middle school and indeed a pair turning up.

          Strangely I just did this week’s Quiptic in The Guardian and it had exactly the same clue/answer as the crossword I did last night – which was in a newspaper from March 8th! We’re talking a 13-letter word here so not a run of the mill word like IMAM, ENNUI which seem to come up regularly.

  17. DNF again at my 30 min cut off. No time to spend on what should be a ‘quick’cryptic. Failed on the triple of BORE, GABLE and ANGERS. I do not recall hearing of this city despite multiple visits to France. Sounds like somewhere in North Africa! I would not describe a gable as the top of a wall. Otherwise, what would you call the top of the part of the wall that forms the gable? I know I am perhaps being a little pedantic.
    I loved the clever way of cluing ORATORY at 13d and had a good chuckle at ASK FOR IT which I shall try to turn into a joke next time I have computer problems.
    Thanks Kitty for the fabulous blog.

    1. Having now googled Angers I find it is the origin of the Angevin people, most notable for me being the Angevin kings of Henry II, Richard I and John. Also having now looked at where it is in France, I have to own up to having actually been there! As AlanH says, it is indeed lovely. So now I would like to thank Teazel for bringing back some memories. Hey ho.

      1. From my rudimentary understanding, I believe there are a few early Plantagenet kings/wives buried in that region.

    2. As I say above, I’d only heard of Angers from a previous QC.

      Looking it up, it was #2239 – an Izetti on 7th October 2022. I recall the details vividly because it stuck in my memory as I failed on “Perils bringing death to French city (9)” (ENDANGERS) which intersected with a down clue for NANOMETRE. I’d mistakenly given it an -ER ending thereby suggesting a word beginning R- and I eventually plumped for the made-up REDANGERS thinking along the lines of dangers=perils 🤦‍♂️

  18. Gave up after an hour with 8 unsolved after looking up 2 via synonyms and checking that AGNES GREY was a novel. NHO a CHINAMAN in cricket.
    This is the fourth Teazel this year and I’ve solved 2 and failed on 2 but this has to be one of the hardest QCs this year.
    Some enjoyable clues though. Thanks Kitty for the blog and explanations but I don’t understand how EC is derived from City.

    1. The area known as “The City”, London’s financial district, coincides with postcodes beginning with EC (East Central).

    2. Toughie today #5. I felt the clueing really left us needing checkers to be able to get to answers. Not easy

  19. Years ago trying to find my way to Angers I stopped to ask directions. “Ou et Angers” I asked in my best Yorkshire French accent only to be met with blank looks. Showed my guide the map “Ah On-zhay” was his reply 🤣

  20. Definitely chewy, and the crossing of Angers and Agnes Grey (both I would say less well known, verging on the obscure) held me up the longest. It’s tough if two obscurities share a first letter! Parentage = descent also not one that came easily. But eventually all done in 13 minutes.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog, definitely the highlight of the day and more fun than the puzzle IMO!

  21. I agree this was above average difficulty, though clever and I enjoyed it.I wondered if CHINAMAN was fair, as it is about the least common delivery in cricket and usually called something else nowadays: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/28/the-spin-cricket-chinaman-phrase
    FOI ANGERS, COD CYCLONE, LOI MULISH, I can’t recall when, if ever, I last heard that word, but easy enough to guess, with crossers. Thanks Teazel and Kitty, whose cricket swung beautifully.

  22. I found this very difficult, but have no time as constantly distracted by Mrs R. As an ex-cricket umpire I should have had no major problems with the cricketing clues, but they all came slowly. NHO AGNES GREY, and also struggled with several others. MULISH was LOI. This was a clear win for Teazel.

  23. Very much a toughie from Teazel I thought, and I was actually quite relieved to finish in 10.45, in spite of this being outside my target time. I thought many would come a cropper on CHINAMAN as it is now quite an obscure cricketing reference, but judging by the comments above apparently not. Thanks Kitty for the amusing blog.

  24. Perhaps tougher than average, taking me 15 minutes. My big hold-up was having HUSH at 20a -it seemed a slight stretch but Hush = Make quiet and Hush Money. Anyway I struggled to get ORATORY but once that was parsed DOSH was LOI.
    Agnes Grey has been in a recent puzzle so was familiar to me; maybe a 15×15 . Am surprised that Angers is little known, although I’ve never been there.
    COD to REHAB; felt original and clever.

    1. I did exactly the same with HUSH until the O crosser made it impossible.
      I thought HUSH was a better answer! John

  25. Chinaman guessed, mulish LOI.
    Rarebit is nice but restaurants tend to burn the edges of the bread!
    COD oratory

    1. A cheesy snack in my book is either a pack of mini cheddars or some wotsits, so the anagram threw me for a while.

  26. Mr SR’s knowledge of cricket came in very handy today. I’d heard of all of the references thanks to him, but would have laboured a lot longer to bring them to mind.
    Really liked ASK FOR IT and ORATORY- the unpartnered ellipsis device being a new one to me.
    We also had HUSH instead of DOSH initially at 20a and muttered that we didn’t think it was a very good clue. ORATORY put us right on that; often find that if we don’t like a clue it’s either wrong or we’ve missed something in the parsing. Should have more faith in the setters, I suppose.
    No new GK for us, but solving together helps a lot as we have some different spheres of interest.
    CYCLONE reminded me of my much loved Basil Brush album (my first LP):
    “My aunt’s on a cycling tour of Scotland. She’s doing awfully well: I heard them say on the news ‘Auntie cycling over the Hebrides’! Keep it up, Auntie!”.
    Many thanks for the fun, Teazle, and for the witty blog, Kitty.

  27. Two U’s for I’s gave me two pink squares. That’s solving on a phone I guess. Hard but without much sparkle to redeem is my verdict.

  28. Yes, difficult I thought. Was going to give up but struggled on for a 44:07 finish. Thoroughly enjoyed your blog, Kitty! I thought a BORE was a wave not a flood (although it probably happens on a flood tide). I’d also never really thought of a GABLE as the top of a wall, more as the (typically triangular) section of wall under intersecting roof pitches – would the top of a wall under a flat roof be a GABLE? And then other obscure references….. Enough of my woes. Time to forget and move on. Thanks Teasel and kitty.

  29. Those of you who struggled with ANGERS have clearly not been doing the Weekend Special, as it appeared in my last one !

    Definitely on the tricky side for a Monday, and my commiserations to those caught in the slips, but I got inside my target figure. Thanks Teasel, and Kitty for the usual enjoyable blog.

    TIME 4:47

  30. Very clever and amusing blog, thank you, Kitty.
    I thought I knew nothing about cricket, but managed to complete this crossword, so, maybe I do.
    Thanks, Teasel, tough, but fair, today.

  31. Well, I found this tricky for a Monday QC, but not as tough as most offerings from Teazel. I had NHO AGNES GREY, but did know what a CHINAMAN is in cricket. The two clues that held me up the most were RECITE (I have never yet managed to remember EC for ‘city’) and MULISH (my LOI). The two clues I enjoyed the most were ASK FOR IT and ORATORY. Total time = 28 minutes, so I’m quite happy.

    Mrs Random sped through in just 18 minutes today. She didn’t have a lot of time to “waste” on it today, as she had to dash off to her sculpture session. I think she is making some dragon-like creature.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Kitty.

  32. Definitely found this a tough one. Struggled from the off, NHO of the novel although I could see the anagram, GABLE for “top of wall” seems a bit of a stretch as well. Good candidate for toughest QC of the year so far.

  33. I enjoyed this crossword. Finished in 10:45, with LOI CYCLONE.
    23a was surprisingly similar to a clue in a crossword we can’t discuss until the weekend.
    Thanks for the entertaining blog.

  34. Quite a difficult puzzle. No problems with wither ANGERS (lovely castle) or AGNES GREY, but spent a while over MOUSER and RECITE and guessed DREADS: I suppose this is short for DREADLOCKS?

  35. Miles off the pace today. Eventually gave up at 32 minutes with a substantial part of the top half, especially the NE, blank. I can’t remember ever lacking so many answers in a Times QC (I can normally do better than this on the 15×15). Even fairly standard clues such as 2dn seemed a struggle today (although I did eventually solve that one). No idea why – a combination of a tough puzzle and a bit of a head cold I think. Although I had heard of the French city and the novel I thought they were a bit obscure for a QC. I had also heard of the CHINAMAN as a cricketing term, although I had no idea what it was, so no real excuses.

    FOI – 10ac BRAN
    LOI – DNF
    COD (of those I managed to solve) – 21ac ASK FOR IT

    Thanks (I think) to Teazel and thanks (Definitely) to Kitty for unravelling it all.

  36. I was slow to start with FOI BRAN and I never moved up a gear. Cricket is not my thing so with the exception of BYE BYE, INNINGS and CHINAMAN (LOI) were hard won. 12:57 and hoping for an easier QC on Tuesday.

  37. I found this on the tricky side too, but managed to come in just under target at 9:21. FOI HUM, LOI RECITE. Thanks Teazel and Kitty.

  38. 26.39 Very slow throughout. At the end RAREBIT, GABLE and ANGERS took an age and then I threw in BORN for a DNF despite being familiar with the Severn bore. And the correct spelling in that sense is borne. Gah! I enjoyed it anyway. Thanks both.

  39. Well this was an old fashioned Test. 5 days hard labour and no result. And I thought the QC was supposed to be Bazball. I haven’t heard the C word in a while- now a quick way to end a lucrative TV career. Similarly the term Chinese snooker has disappeared (difficult cueing over another ball). May have something to do with the amount of Renminbi now invested in the game. Good riddance to both terms. IMHO. J

  40. Very slow today, only finished by checking some clues, eg Agnes grey and China man. Tough start to the week.

  41. Tough going. Started off in my normal morning slot before realising I had no chance of finishing it before leaving for work so downed tools until getting home.
    Got very stuck in the NE with AGNES GREY and ANGERS both unknown and had a brainfreeze over the cheesy snack.
    Got there in the end in 10hrs 26minutes and 14 seconds (I forgot to pause the puzzle when leaving for work).
    Thanks to Kitty

    1. Dear Plett11,
      My longest ever fully correct QC solve is 1 hr 36 mins, so your time today knocks mine into a cocked hat. Well done, however, for getting it done in the end – and for giving Mrs R and me a good laugh!

  42. DNF disaster.
    AGNES GREY was one of the few I did solve, having re-read it relatively recently. No idea about CHINAMAN (agree not very appropriate either), and failed on too many others to mention. ORATORY was faintly amusing. Also liked ASK FOR IT.
    I will draw a veil now.
    But thanks, Kitty.

  43. DNF

    Defeated by CYCLONE, which is obvious with hindsight. Even then, it was slow progress today.

  44. I was another who struggled with this QC, and yet, on reflection, I was very close to solving many of the clues quickly but just failed to see the whole word. I also missed some of the standard abbreviations. A bit OTT on the 🏏 (and I say that as a Yorkshireman). I finished somewhere around 40-45 mins. It should have been much better, because I honestly don’t think it was as hard as it first appeared.

    Well done to Mr R for a sub-30 solve. Given some of the other comments, this must count as a good time today.

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

  45. Very late to post this evening! I did this in 15:35 this morning. I seem to be getting slower every day 🙄 A lot of ticks by the clues, but the biggest tick goes to Kitty for the pun-laden blog 😅
    FOI Mulish LOI Mouser CODs Oratory and Ask for it (have you tried turning it off and on again?)
    Thanks Teazel and Kitty

  46. Of course 20A was not HUSH, my first thought, but ORATORY fixed that. As Phil’s crossword editor, I had no problem with ANGERS. The one that held me up at the end was PARENTAGE, not thinking of that sort of descent for too long. Fun puzzle. Thank-you Teazel. And thanks Kitty for the equally entertaining blog. 5:40.

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