Times Quick Cryptic 2370 by Breadman


My solving time was 17 minutes.

I found this a lot more difficult than the average QC including one answer that might not appear out of place in a Mephisto puzzle. The presence of J, Q and Z alerted me to the possibility of a pangram but when I checked I found the letters V,W,X and Y are missing and thought it rather odd that they were consecutive.

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 Welshman’s raised floor (4)
DAI’S (Welshman’s). The name is derived from David.
3 Strained sweet courses knocked back (8)
DESSERTS (sweet courses) reversed [knocked back]
8 Exercise before small drink (5-2)
PRE (before), S (small), SUP (drink)
10 Suppose old identification number unusable ultimately (5)
O (old), PIN (identification number), {unusabl}E [ultimately]. I wasn’t sure about the literal here but on reflection it’s fine.
11 Group of musical mimics curtailed trip, reportedly barred on Scottish isle (7,4)
TRI{p} [curtailed], BUTE (Scottish isle), then BAND sounds like [reportedly] “banned” [barred]. I took ages to come up with this one.
13 Key tip joining variable fabric (6)
C (key), HINT (tip), Z (variable)
15 Jack and Nigel arranged short catchy tune (6)
J (Jack – playing card), then anagram [arranged] of NIGEL
17 Dark, cold agent, powerfully built, needing no introduction (11)
C (cold), REP (agent), {m}USCULAR (powerfully built). A very tough literal but the wordplay was helpful.
20 Friend in the past touring Michigan (5)
AGO (in the past) containing [touring] MI (Michigan)
21 Signior regularly holds arm up in the air (2,5)
{s}I{g}N{i}O{r} [regularly] contains [holds] LIMB (arm)
22 Move along slippery surface with girl following cones maybe (3-5)
ICES (ice-cream cones maybe), KATE (girl)
23 Eager, bringing forward new joint (4)
KEEN (eager) becomes KNEE when bringing forward N (new)
1 Fool declines credit (8)
DIPS (declines), TICK (on credit). It’s actually a metal rod for measuring the oil level in an engine but it was popularised as meaning a fool in the TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1981+) when used by Delboy to insult his younger brother, Rodney. He also called him a plonker.
2 Ancient British tribe somewhat artistic, enigmatic (5)
Hidden in [somewhat] {artist}IC ENI{gmatic}
4 Hat drunkard pinches quietly (6)
TOPER (drunkard) contains [pinches] P (quietly)
5 A Manc goalie, awfully self-important (11)
Anagram [awfully] of A MANC GOALIE. Another toughie. It seems that Manc is short for Manchester which comes as news to me. I’ve never been there. Edit: Thanks to Alf for pointing out it’s short for Mancunian.
6 Singular language used by golf party (7)
S (singular), HINDI (language), G (golf – NATO). Apparently the word had its origins in 19th century America, something to do with dancing on a crowded floor.
7 Fight between two outstanding lawyers primarily (4)
DUE (outstanding – still to be paid), L{awyers} [primarily]
9 One appearing in court in connection with a racket? (11)
A cryptic definition with reference to the game of badminton
12 Choppy sea, for me, horrifying (8)
Anagram [choppy] of SEA FOR ME
14 Slope incorporated railway (7)
INC (incorporated), LINE (railway)
16 Whimsical old fashion designer embracing individual (6)
QUANT (old fashion designer – Mary) containing [embracing] I (individual). The Times is breaking its own rule here as Mary Quant (b 1930) is still alive aged 93.
18 Mark, during Christmas, served up fruit (5)
M (mark) contained by [during] NOEL (Christmas) reversed [served up]
19 Tasteless stuff supported by one French filmmaker (4)
TAT (tasteless stuff), I (one). Jacques Tati (1907-1982).

60 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2370 by Breadman”

  1. 13:56. FOI-DAIS. LOI-DIPSTICK. COD- SHINDIG. I almost gave up on DIPSTICK but finally thought of tick for credit.

  2. 6:11

    In contrast to the 15×15, I blasted through this. Only hold up was QUAINT where the fashion designer took a while to come until I thought ‘if U, think Q’.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  3. 12:02. Yes, harder than usual though it didn’t help that I had an initial typo for INCLINE, making the tough CREPUSCULAR even more difficult. The crossing TRIBUTE BAND (do The Monkees count? 😉) and SHUTTLECOCK were also hard.

    Mary QUANT? Maybe our esteemed setter and editor have been hearing some greatly exaggerated reports.

    Thanks to Breadman and Jack

  4. Worked my way through this with care and made sure of the wordplay as I went from FOI the hidden ICENI to the LOI QUAINT needing the checking letters for the designer to come to mind.
    TRIBUTE BAND also needed checking letters before it fell.
    I think Manc is short for Mancunian, someone from Manchester.

  5. A very tricky one today, for me at least. I’ve never heard of TATI and tried PAPI so did not get given a time. But it would have long! I managed to build CREPUSCULAR from the word play and although it was clearly lurking somewhere in the recesses of my mind I couldn’t have told you beforehand that it meant ‘dark’. Hey ho. I very much liked EGOMANIACAL.
    This was very challenging start to the week which, with the concurrent downturn in the weather this morning, doesn’t bode brightly.

  6. Good morning from official Manchester (which is still and will always be Cheshire) where my son used to be “a Manc goalie” for many years, though only at Sunday League level.

    I found this very tricky and missed my target, but only biffed TRIBUTE BAND – not the Monkees, more the sort of outfit like Nearly Dan (Steely Dan) or the Bootleg Beatles.

    TIME 5:42

  7. This took me nearly 15 minutes so yes, certainly a tough one and I was cheered to read Jack’s opening comment in his blog! I had to dot all over the grid to get a foothold and never really found a rhythm, but all completed in the end. Crepuscular my LOI and entered with fingers crossed as although I knew the word I did not know it meant dark. Several others biffed then parsed, including Tribute Band (nice to see Bute as the Scottish island – a rarity) and Quaint, where I too like Mike resorted to “if U then Q” to find the answer.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  8. DNF as I had brain fog after a long Easter Sunday. Couldn’t get Quaint despite checkers and alphabet trawl. Wondered for a while how Slating could be a party and considered Spectacular (it fits) before remembering Crepuscular. Nearly entered Taki for the French director. Oh deary me!

  9. Very tough, even for a Bank Holiday. I finished well into the SCC and thought many of the clues were clever but, in all honesty, not at a ‘Q’C level.
    As with others, my last in were DUEL (d’oh), SHINDIG and TRIBUTE BAND (clever but hard to see, even with crossers).
    I will now read through jackkt’s blog and ponder.
    Thanks to Breadman for a serious workout and to jackkt for a good blog. John M.

    1. Didn’t know Bank Holidays were traditionally tough – makes me feel better. Other comments make me think the Telegraph may be a safer second puzzle today!

      1. Thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t find the DT 15×15 especially easy but I managed to complete it in 20 mins – less time than this QC took me. John.

  10. Just over an average time for me, although CREPUSCULAR and QUAINT, my LOI, took a while to come. I liked the self-important goalie and DUEL. Thanks Jackkt and Breadman, 5:36.

  11. NHO TATI so that added time to what was already a slow solve. Often there’s a bit “oh was that him” about looking up answers but I had zero recognition for any of his impressive achievements – including directing the 23rd greatest film of all time! Had to work hard to get to CREPUSCULAR and SHUTTLECOCK and QUAINT. I have heard of Mary Quant at least but (even) older solvers may have been better placed to bring her to mind – I think she was at her peak a while before I arrived in the early 70s. All green in 23.

  12. Agree this was a bit of a struggle – finished in 13 minutes. The linking chintz, incline and crepuscular were the hold ups at the end. 18dn didn’t help when I went all cross eyed and put in melon instead of lemon.

  13. Tough!
    It doesn’t matter that Ms Quant is still alive as the answer is quaInt.
    We’ve had Jaques Tati before, but possibly in the 15×15.
    Crepuscular means twilight or pre-dawn, not really dark IMHO.
    DAIS 1a obvious, but LOI as brain not fully functional.

    1. The rule about names of living people applies to answers, wordplay and clue content.

  14. Jack I think Manc is short for Mancunian.
    Thanks for the blog. Tough but fair. Came in around 17 min mark.

    1. Thanks. It had been mentioned by Alfweard above but I only just got round to adding a note to my blog.

  15. Horrible weather outside, so what better thing to do than spend time on a difficult but rewarding QC from Breadman?
    I went down some blind alleys such as trying to think of a Scottish island with 7,4 enumeration. Clues like CHINTZ were quite hard but the cryptics bailed me out.
    LOI was QUAINT which required a further two minutes at the end after several looks en route. 19 minutes in total.
    Lots to like but INCLINE made me smile.

  16. DNF beaten by CHINTZ, QUAINT neither of which I would have got (most musical terms are bound to leave me floundering and Mary Quant as an old designer is too hard for me) and DIPSTICK where I couldn’t get past DOPE being part of the answer and ‘fool’ as part of the clue.

    Thanks Breadman and Jackkt

  17. Another 17 minute solver here, 2 minutes over my target, with LOI CHINTZ. I then spent some time checking the suspected pangram, and like Jackkt, thought the consecutive missing letters a little suspect. We have had a Setter with a penchant for pangrams-minus-one, but I can’t remember who it was. If I remember, I’ll check Breadman’s back catalogue for similar instances. Thanks both – good puzzle and blog.

  18. I’m with most others on my assessment of this offering from Breadman, and found it particularly tough. I eventually finished in 13.27 with CREPUSCULAR my LOI. I only got this after CHINTZ then SHUTTLECOCK fell into place. I’m pretty sure there will be some slow times today with a good number of DNFs.

  19. No particular problems, except that the site hung after I pressed submit at 8:57 and when I refreshed it, started counting up again. After resubmitting it gave my time as 9:01. Not the end of the world, I know, but irritating. From DAIS to QUAINT in 8:57. Thanks Breadman and Jack.

  20. Mostly enjoyed, all parsed, and would have been completed in average time but for two difficult crossing clues, DIPSTICK and CHINTZ, the latter helped by the possibility of a pangram which always occurs if I see a Q or a Z, FOI DAIS, COD TOPPER, LOI CHINTZ. I liked most of the clues, but think of CREPUSCULAR as only partly DARK, and thought SHUTTLECOCK rather naff as a cryptic definition; why not BALL? Thanks, Breadman and Jack.

  21. Horrors! In my mission to inform the USCC (ultra slow coach club) aka by me as IFFY (I flippin’ finished – yay!) I have to record a 79 mins effort. Dredged up crepuscular from the deep recesses of my brain because it fitted the crosses – couldn’t have told you it meant dark.

    1. In my day, which was only about a year ago, we had the GC – the Glacial Club 👍

      Well done on the finish. If you know a word like CREPUSCULAR, you will soon be wanging through these.

  22. Really struggled with this, and had three left as I crossed into the SCC. Dipstick was a classic (for me) wrong end of clue failing, but at least sorting that out prompted Chintz. Sadly 16d, Quaint, was even less forthcoming and given my lingering doubts over the nho Crepuscular, I opted for a DNF. Invariant
    PS: There is a framed poster for Jour de Fête on the wall above me as I write this, but if you want to try out some Jacques Tati films, I suggest Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot is as good a place as any to start.

  23. This took just over 15 minutes (I was hoping for a time that matched the Scottish act of Parliament conferring the title Duke of Rothesay , named after a place on the island in 11a, on the heir to the throne, but then recalled that was 1469, which does not work as a solving time).
    I thought the crossword was tough but fair. COD to 5d, even though I did need to resort to pen and paper to sort the anagram.


    1. Well, could 14:69 be a sort of roundabout way of expressing 15:09? No, I guess not!

  24. There is a French story, similar to the Flying Dutchman, which begins ‘il y a un crepuscule…..’.

    Nearly nine minutes.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  25. Didn’t have any trouble with this one, although a couple of things (QUAINT, DIPSTICK) didn’t come straight away.

    Got CREPUSCULAR quickly from the crossers I had and the wordplay, but the pedant in me didn’t like ‘dark’ as a literal; ‘crepuscular’ doesn’t mean dark, it means twilit – darker than broad daylight certainly, but hardly dark. I didn’t like ‘suppose’ as a literal for OPINE either, since I’ve always thought of that as meaning to put forward an opinion – but I can see how, at a stretch, ‘suppose’ is OK.

    For some reason, although I saw the answer immediately from the crossers I had, I was annoyed rather than amused by the clue to SHUTTLECOCK.

    I think I must have got out the wrong side of the bed this morning…

  26. All done in my usual very long time. It was hard. But as I have said before I rather like it when they are so.

  27. Made heavy weather of this. Various bad guesses had to be erased. Needed inspiration from CCD for STRESSED, DIPSTICK, CHINZ & TATI.
    FOI DAIS. Weirdly another early one was CREPUSCULAR. Was careless with the spelling of EGOMANIACAL, which didn’t help. PDMs included JINGLE (LOI) , SHUTTLECOCK, TRIBUTE BAND.
    Thanks vm, Jack. Belated Happy Easter to bloggers and solvers.

  28. An enjoyable workout on a wet Monday but beaten in the end by DIPSTICK, CHINZ and SHINDIG which were all quite hard.
    Learning something new every time though and really liked KNEE.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  29. 30.35 Another hard one. I’m glad to find I’m not alone. DAIS, ICENI, EGOMANIACAL, JINGLE, AMIGO and KNEE went straight in but the rest was a struggle. The really slow final three were DIPSTICK, CHINTZ and QUAINT. Thanks both.

  30. Another tough challenge with plenty of pencil across the grid. Grateful to Jackkt for the parsing of 13a chintz among others. Had 23a the wrong way round (again!) until 12d Fearsome sorted me out.
    FOI 1a Dais.
    LOI 16d Quaint
    COD 22a Ice Skate.

  31. Thank you, Jackkt, for your sympathy – I too found this difficult. In fact, disastrous: managed almost all the right half, but hardly anything in the left. Many are doable with the crossers, but if the crossers ditto, then one is helpless….. NHO DIPSTICK (with this meaning) or TRIBUTE BAND (I’m the wrong sort of musician – cooler son knew it). A comfort to read that bank holidays are “traditionally tough” – thanks, Blighter.

  32. About 11 minutes. Overall, I quite enjoyed this one, despite my last two taking about three minutes between them. I was going great guns until then. DUEL took a silly amount of time, because I didn’t lift and separate the right bits, and then I thought I’d finished at 9:47 but discovered that I hadn’t done 16d QUAINT. By then, I’d stopped the clock, so don’t have an exact time.
    In retrospect I’m a bit surprised at that one, but imagine (hope) it was a blip. If we’re going to start getting more living people alongside brand names, I think we should be told!
    As others have commented, I was also unsure about the definition for CREPUSCULAR – I too always thought it related to twilight.
    FOI Dais LOI Quaint COD Jingle
    Thanks Breadman and Jack

  33. Agree with those above who found this on the hard side, crepuscular, tati unknown, thought the easy 1a dais was going to give an easier ride, how wrong.

  34. Solved on the road to Rio, well, on the flight anyway. Luckily took less than 8hrs although I did think at one point it could be a close call.
    LOI DIPSTICK. Inflight internet a mixed blessing.
    Thanks Jack and setter.

  35. 34 mins…in two sessions

    I think I was also suffering from some kind of Easter brain fog, as I found this a struggle. NHO of 17ac “Crepuscular”, although the wordplay was kind, and had difficulty in spelling “Egomaniacal”, originally missing out the second “a”. Debated somewhat whether fearsome was really horrifying, but came to the conclusion that it could be.

    Had to resort to an alphabet trawl for my LOI 19dn “Tati”. I had heard of him, but just couldn’t see it.

    FOI – 1ac “Dais”
    LOI – 19dn “Tati”
    COD – 21ac “In Limbo”

    Thanks as usual!

  36. Slow here too though I assumed that it was because I am utterly knackered after a day chasing my sons around the Alps. Now I sit here like a princeling as they and their girlfriends cook supper.

    All done in 11:58 which still has me in the top 100 on the leaderboard, showing how tough this was.

    Many thanks Jack and Breaders.


  37. Just too difficult for me. I gave up after 57 minutes, having found only cUbIsT and pUrIsT to fit _U_I_T, and having guessed CHINTy for CHINTZ. I did piece together CREPUSCULAR, although I had no idea what it meant, and I did get TATI, despite never having heard of him. Those four clues, only two of which were actually solved, took me more than half an hour.

    I am now officially worried about my diminishing crosswording skills (not that they ever really existed), as my records now show 4 DNFs in the last 10 days (and 8 in the past very few weeks). It feels like I have regressed by a year or more.

    Many thanks to Breadman and Jack.

    1. Don’t despair. You’ve also had some very quick times recently and I have been feeling that you and L-Plates are making real progress. I had a bad time last week, whereas today it just clicked, showing that we are all susceptible to peaks and troughs. I think some of your DNFs were near misses, which is frustrating but not insurmountable. I am absolutely certain that you remain on an upwards curve and that this is just a minor setback.

      1. Thankyou for your encouragement, Mr A. I always start every new QC with hope, so roll on tomorrow.

    2. Second letter U should always prompt a Q – says he who also forgot this rule. . .

  38. Glad there is now a USCC! (Ultra slowcoach club). But didnt even achieve that today as beaten by the obscure / NHO CREPUSCULAR (which also seems to have a dodgy definition from comments above). Also very glad my wife knows words like CHINTZ and TOPER (no, not me!)

  39. Late start and later finish, hello SCC, and never did see DIPSTICK.

    Felt hard to me.

  40. For some bizarre reason, I found this very doable. Perhaps I was just on our setter’s wavelength today. Managed over half on the first pass and, although a few were tricky, I avoided the SCC by 4 minutes. It helped that I knew TATI and CREPUSCULAR, and saw the long anagrams straight away (a rarity for me). Worked out 11ac from the literal and had enough crossers to work out the ones that initially proved elusive. As a David Jason fan, DIPSTICK made me smile.

    The awfully self-important Manc goalie must be Peter Schmeichel!

    A happy Monday for a change.

    Thanks for the entertaining and informative blog.

    1. Who can forget the great headline after Peter retired … “Keegan fills Schmeichel’s gap with Seaman”

  41. Late entry for me and found it hard going in places with SHUTTLECOCK, CHINTZ and TRIBUTE BAND causing a long delay at the end.
    Crossed the line in 12.31 with COD to DIPSTICK
    Thanks to Jack and Breadman for a quality puzzle

  42. If it’s possible, I’d say that was slow (24mins) but not hard. Everything was parseable once it went in but usually needed checkers to figure it out.

    Admittedly I did end up with 3rd DNF of the month (put PAPI midsolve when I was despairing and I do know of TATI – Monsieur Hulot’s Holday I believe). All three have been correctable so that is the solace I will take.

    Didn’t care much for OPINE, partly because of the def and secondly because with PIN being short for “Personal Identification Number”, it felt weird to have it clued as “Identification Number”.

  43. The most difficult QC I have ever seen . Solved 8 clues then gave up in despair. Way beyond my capabilties.

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