Times Quick Cryptic 2375 by Trelawney – no Norwegian Blue here

Hello everybody.  I’ve had a long and tiring weekend so haven’t expanded much below, but as ever if you have any questions please ask.

I liked 10a, and thought 19a a particularly deft example of its clue type.  Surfaces don’t get much more natural than that.  Actually, there are lots of lovely smooth surfaces here.  All much appreciated – thanks Trelawney!

Timing-wise, I was 55s faster than my 2022 median but over 30s slower than average for this setter.  My LOI was 7d, which accounted for a good few of those seconds.

How did you find it?

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Illegal scheme that’s used in court (6)
RACKET — We start with a double definition
4a Preserve business qualification in tree (6)
EMBALM MBA (business qualification) in ELM (tree)
8a In a good position, somewhat, after police operation captures computers (7,6)
SITTING PRETTY PRETTY (somewhat) after STING (police operation) goes around (captures) IT (computers)
10a Ceiling is on fire, I’m stuck inside (5)
LIMIT LIT (on fire) with IM inserted (stuck inside)
11a Imitate large bird after midnight, say (7)
EMULATE EMU (large bird) + LATE (after midnight, say).
I wondered what an emu sounds like so had to find out: they are quite emusing
13a Great storyteller to run race unsteadily (9)
RACONTEUR — An anagram of (… unsteadily) TO RUN RACE
17a Queue a long time for family tree info? (7)
LINEAGE LINE (queue) + AGE (a long time)
18a Inclination to catch some fish? (5)
ANGLE — A second double definition
19a New theme song for a fantasy TV series (4,2,7)
GAME OF THRONES — An anagram of (new) THEME SONG FOR A
21a A tune playing about king’s personality (6)
NATURE A TUNE anagrammed (playing) around (about) R (Rex, king)
22a Begrudge being dispatched again (6)
RESENT — Two definitions; to dispatch again = to RESEND
1d Steal cattle, perhaps, with terrible result (6)
RUSTLE — An anagram of (terrible) RESULT
2d Pet dashed around a mother’s boat (9)
CATAMARAN CAT (pet) and RAN (dashed) around A and MA (mother)
3d Decree found in Japanese dictionary (5)
EDICT — The answer is found in JapanesE DICTionary
5d Spoil most of sovereign’s tent (7)
MARQUEE MAR (spoil) + all but the last letter of (most of) QUEEn (sovereign)
6d Fitting carpets on a regular basis (3)
APT — Regular letters from (… on a regular basis) cArPeTs
7d Could he initially monitor disorder? (6)
MAYHEM MAY (could) + HE + the first letter of (initially) Monitor
9d You can’t build upon this karate qualification! (5,4)
GREEN BELT — Another double definition
12d Orange car represented self-importance (9)
ARROGANCE ORANGE CAR anagrammed (represented – re-presented)
14d Extremely controversial affair producing uproar (7)
CLAMOUR — Outer letters of (extremely) ControversiaL + AMOUR (affair)
15d Work hard over an advertising catchphrase (6)
SLOGAN SLOG (work hard) above (over) AN
16d Musical gang and alien people flying for pleasure (3,3)
JET SET JETS (musical gang – from West Side Story) + ET (alien)
18d Concur with a European, mostly (5)
AGREE A + GREEk (European) without the last letter (mostly)
20d Yoga accessory essential for amateur (3)
MAT — It’s inside (essential for) aMATeur

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2375 by Trelawney – no Norwegian Blue here”

  1. I thought I did quite well, finishing in 3:35 but found myself a mid-table 7th out of 16 about an hour ago.

    Anyway very easy as usual from this setter, unlike today’s 15×15 which is unusually tricky for a Monday.

  2. DNF. I thought I was done in just over twelve minutes but instead of MARQUEE I could only think of marrule and assumed it must be a kind of exotic tent. Oh well, I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle especially MAYHEM.

  3. Like Lou, I thought I’d done pretty well, but I’m a minute behind him, and no. 12 of 24. MAYHEM was my LOI. 4:38.

  4. 7 minutes, so a comfortable start to the week for me. Little did I know what was coming with the biggie!

  5. 8:20 Byzantine Emperor Leo V is assassinated in the Hagia Sophia, at Constantinople.

    Early start for a 7:00 am flight allowed me a rare top 30 finish, even a chance for a PB until 7d (MAYHEM) and 4 A (EMBALM) held me up. HAYWIRE and AMBUSH just wouldn’t get out of my head, although I knew they couldn’t be right.

    I’ve never watched Game of Thrones.

    COD GREEN BELT, very nice.

  6. 12:33 – an excellent time for me, so I suspect lots of us will regard this as quite a gentle start to the week. No real stand out clues for me today although I did enjoy SITTING PRETTY. I even managed to finish before Mrs Is That The Time? descended the stairs to make me my second coffee of the day – an extremely rare occurrence! Enjoy the warming weather all.

  7. As others have said, a gentle stroll to start the week, with only the parsing of MAYHEM putting up much resistance.
    Started with EMBALM and finished with MAT in 5.50.
    Thanks to Kitty

  8. A bit under 10 minutes. Glad to see I wasn’t alone with MAYHEM being my last in. I wondered if GREEN BELT could be parsed as a cryptic def too, but looking it up there are a few colours above this before reaching the black belt which ‘You can’t build upon’. Like Merlin, I’ve never watched GAME OF THRONES but you hear so much about it that it went in pretty quickly.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty

    PS As alluded to by Lou and Jack, if you’re thinking of dipping your toes in a nice and gentle Monday 15×15, today probably isn’t the day.

  9. 7’19” for a pleasant start to the week. Agree with Kitty on the smoothness of a number of clues. MARQUEE my LOI.

    Thanks K and Trelawney.

  10. Nice to finish well under 10 at 7.44 but not nice to see a pink square for AGRrE – not that I would have done that on paper so I’ll let me off. We often see people who know about stuff disputing the precision of defintions so as a town planner I shall wade in by pointing out that far from being something you can’t “build upon”, about 9 km2 of previously undeveloped green belt is developed each year – although new designations means the total amount of it is still growing. Held up at the end by MAYHEM and at the start by only getting six of the across clues on first pass.

    On a separate note I took up the Telegraph’s offer of a year’s subscription to their puzzle site for £1, worth tracking down for those who like an occassional second puzzle. Must remember to cancel before renewal at the full rate.

    1. The puzzles section is only £3 per month full rate. I do their Saturday and Sunday 15×15, as well as the odd weekday one, and find them very doable.

    2. I sub to the Telegraph too and do the 15×15 everyday…well, except Friday when it has a tendency to be extremely fiendish. On most days the cryptic is very accessible; I took to it immediately when I started doing it which surprised me a little as I expected it to be on a par with the full-sized Times, which imo it isn’t. Or maybe I’m just on the TG’s wavelength. Heartily recommended, though.

  11. A good QC but I can’t say I found it as easy as the earlier posters. I finished 2 mins over target but enjoyed the journey. The two long answers came to mind easily, given just a few crossers (no, I have never seen Game of Thrones, either) and they helped a lot. My LOsI were EMBALM, MAYHEM and MARQUEE.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  12. On the wavelength. Zoomed through without stopping so must be an untimed PB. I biffed SITTING PRETTY unparsed once I had the S from RUSTLE and luckily the crossers fitted. Liked GREEN BELT, GAME OF THRONES (my offspring said it wasn’t suitable viewing for me though), EMULATE, CLAMOUR, CATAMARAN.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  13. Brain: “That message says your puzzle is 99% complete! Don’t press submit!!”

    Finger: “Sorry, what was that? I wasn’t really listening, I had a button to press.”

    So it goes.

    05:58 but missing an E in JET S-T. Idiot.

    Many thanks Kitty and the Squire.


  14. I think that’s a PB for me, if not, then certainly second best.

    I had one clue to get at 2:50, so thought I might break 3 mins for the first time, but the thought of that meant that LOI EMULATE was quite slow coming – mainly because I saw U, and wanted to put a Q in, until I sorted out the large bird required.

    GREEN BELT and the anagram/surface for GAME OF THRONES were both good, but I think MAYHEM wins today’s COD for me. A very good crossword in retrospect, but as I was writing them in as I read the clues, I didn’t appreciate it at the time.


  15. Very definitely a friendlier puzzle and all done in a shade over 5 minutes – I have completed a puzzle faster than this, but I think only once or twice. Only very small query was over “essential for” meaning included in – though I suppose if you try to spell Amateur without MAT you won’t get far.

    All in all, much enjoyed and after the warnings above I shall refrain from trying the 15×15 today! Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  16. Well well. I thought I could never to a QC in less than 10 mins but at just over 9 mins today I have blown away my PB by 4 mins! What an excellent start to the week, even though it appears from that comments that this was an easier one. I even had time to enjoy some of the clever surfaces and parse every solution on the way.
    COD to GREEN BELT, even though I agree with Mendesest’s comment that sadly the Green Belt is being built on all the time.

  17. 8:04 for a very good time for me, although I have no idea what my PB is, as I don’t keep records, and don’t remember if I have been quicker. I’m always very happy to get inside 10 minutes, so frabjous day, calloo callay! Some very neat surfaces here, as others have commented, so thanks Trelawney, and to Kitty.

  18. Thank you Trelawney for a friendly puzzle today; all green in (my usual) circa 40 minutes. FOI RACKET, COD ARROGANCE (love the idea of the orange car representing self-importance – the hideous 3-wheeler Bug was always orange), LOI MAYHEM (me too). No, I haven’t seen GAME OF THRONES either, but fortunately it was obvious. Only confession: AGREE was biffed – I missed the GREEk (thanks, Kitty).

  19. I think everyone is in agreement that this was a nice easy one to start the week, and perhaps the editor was mindful of recent comments suggesting that the occasional grid that was more easily solved may be more encouraging to newbies.
    This was reflected in my time of 5.15 which is certainly quick for me, although I didn’t start particularly quickly but got speedier as I got into it.

    1. Speaking as a newbie, today’s grid definitely encouraged me! I’ve only been doing these a few weeks and while I still DN quite F (stupidly fixated on the wrong definition for EMBALM and assumed it was a tree I didn’t know) I got the others without too much trouble.

      1. Well done, Wombat. A DNQF is only one step away from a DNFTF (Did Not Fail To Finish), which is good if you’ve only recently started this infernal game.

  20. 5:53 (Goths expelled from Italy by invasion of Franks).

    A rare sub-6 minute for me. I don’t keep records, but it feels like it may be a PB.

    LOI was MAYHEM. RESENT brings back memories of emails at cross purposes – I resent that attachment- oh, what did you resent about it?

    Thanks Kitty and Trelawney

  21. A gentle start to the week from Trelawney with some lovely surfaces amongst the clues. I was all done and parsed in 12 minutes, which is faster than I have been for some time. Given the comments about the 15×15 I don’t think I’ll try that today!

    FOI – 10ac LIMIT
    LOI – 11ac EMULATE
    CODs – 5dn MARQUEE and 9dn GREEN BELT

    Thanks to Trelawney and to Kitty

  22. 5:55 – possibly a PB. Nice to see everyone having a bit of a boost after some of the more recent offerings. Yes, it was a gentle start to the week, but I’m not sure I entirely agree with LouW – sometimes I find Trelawney to be be quite tricky.
    As Kitty says, there are a lot of smooth surfaces here, and equally, solving this went pretty smoothly. My only hiccup was that I forgot to return to 1a, so I thought I’d finished with 21a NATURE – fortunately it only added a few seconds to check the grid and see the missing clue 😅 I liked the surfaces for BEGRUDGE, RUSTLE, APT and ARROGANCE. There is certainly a type of orange souped-up car whose drivers aren’t too fussed about others – yes, that comes from the heart! One regularly roars up and down our street.
    FOI Embalm LOI Racket COD Game of Thrones (although I’ve also never seen it)
    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

    I’m getting anxious about the biggie!

    1. 5:55? Blimey! Well done, Penny!
      It took me about 6 minutes just to read through the acrosses.

  23. 7 mins…and I think a new PB!

    Nothing to say really, apart from everything going in pretty much at first glance. Quite a few chestnuts in there and a few straight forward biffs I thought.

    FOI – 1ac “Racket”
    LOI – 7dn “Mayhem”
    COD – 19ac “Game of Thrones”….all together now…duuh duh, duh-duh, duuh duh, duh-duh, duuh duh…(repeat forever)

    Thanks as usual!

  24. 5:01

    Gentle start to the week – no unknown words and the longest were only nine letters.

    Now for the 15×15 – thanks for the heads up that it’s not the usual plain-sailing Monday…

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  25. Gentle solve over a coffee. About 15 minutes. Initially couldn’t get started on the across clues, but the down clues were easier.
    I liked the long anagram to the TV series

  26. Having jetted (not setted) from Brazil to Florida, thought I had better get the puzzle finished before Musk’s rocket lands on my head to add the final touch to hurricane Ian’s devastation. To my surprise I just worked top to bottom without a hold up except to link ‘somewhat’ to pretty. Probably a PB as I had a phone call interruption and still finished in 19 min, so, could have been sub 15. Would head to the basement prior to arrival of Musk’s rocket but don’t have one. Will sit on the balcony and enjoy the view instead.
    Thanks all, nice to have a proper Monday puzzle to give a confident start to the week.

  27. I’m afraid this post is somewhat abbreviated as, having written my comments, I pressed ‘Enter’ and was instantly transported to today’s 15 x 15 blog and I now don’t really have time to say much.

    My FOI was EMBALM and LOI was MAYHEM. I found it quite difficult to get going, but then picked up pace and finished successfully in 22 minutes – fast for me. After finishing I still had to go back to parse JET SET. This took me about 2 minutes, but I decided not to add it to my time.

    Mrs Random knocked it off in 14 minutes and wasn’t really held up anywhere. She is now back out in the garden – pricking out, potting on, dead-heading, digging up, re-planting, sowing seeds and so on.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

  28. A rare foray into sub 5 minute territory for me today, so obviously not a difficult one. From RUSTLE to JET SET in 4:59. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  29. 3.52. COD to Game of Thrones, which I too have been told by my (adult) kids is not suitable for me to watch.

  30. 6:56 for a gentler experience than of late. Sign me up as a non-Thrones watcher, too.

  31. Just over 10 mins so very likely a PB for me – don’t keep any kind of score but know I normally take anywhere between 15-30 mins! Felt very gentle. Liked JET SET and SITTING PRETTY. LOI CLAMOUR. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  32. I wish I could claim NHO GAME OF THRONES, but my grandson was watching it once when I called round so I got force-fed 20 minutes or so. It struck me as absolute drivel.

    Easy puzzle, but nicely clued. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

    TIME 3:23

  33. As a relative newcomer, may I ask what a ‘smooth surface’ is and what does ‘Mer’ mean?
    I think I get ‘Biff’ and ‘Parse’ from their contexts.

    1. There is a glossary linked at the top right. The entry for surface describes a smooth surface (i.e. a clue that is a natural sounding sentence) without actually using the word smooth.

    2. Biff comes from Bunged In From Definition – BIFD, which then developed into a verb in its own right
      MER – mild eyebrow raise, when you’re just a bit doubtful about a clue
      Parse – working out how the clue is constructed
      As chabuduo says, the glossary will give you a lot of further insight to our strange and wonderful world and its jargon 😂

  34. 5.55 PB, w00t! I never watched Game of Thrones because I intended to finish the books first, but the author seems unlikely to complete the series now. Lovely crossword though. Thanks both.

  35. 4.27

    GoT was an excellent clue. My kids will be excited to see something they’ve watched (and I rather like too) when we do this together.

    Thanks Kitty and Trelawney

  36. Thank you Trelawney for a great start to the week. At just under a quarter of an hour I still had 1a, 1d, 8a and 7d to go but then I spotted Sitting pretty, filled in the others rapidly and finished in 16 minutes, a good time for me. I couldn’t see where ‘pretty’ came from so thank you Kitty for the blog. I’m pretty satisfied with my result!

  37. 4:26 so most likely a pb but I don’t keep score. Chuckled at COD green belt.

  38. Whizzed through with most of the down clues going straight in.
    FOI 1a racket
    LOI 19a game of thrones – had heard of it, but waited until I had all the crossers to see what would fit
    COD 11a emulate

  39. Had this not been a Monday, I would probably have achieved a PB. As it was, I wasted the first few minutes not getting any of the first 5 across clues whilst my brain got itself into gear.

    Finally began with RACONTEUR and thereafter it was pretty plain sailing. There was a lot of biffing going on and I came home somewhere round the 13-14 minute mark.

    Liked EMBALM and MAYHEM. MARQUEE was my LOI.

    Congratulations to those of you with PBs today. 👏👏👏👏👏

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

  40. I am a regular reader of the blog but have never plucked up the courage to post as have always felt a bit of an imposter when it comes to doing cryptic crosswords not helped by having a Mrs J who does the 15×15 everyday and can usually knock out the QC before I have read all the clues
    The blog has helped me immensely over the last couple of years of doing the QC on a regular basis having given up full time work and now having more time.
    The reason for the entry is I have just avoided SCC for the first time getting a time of just over 19 mins. Hugely satisfying but also reflective of the ease of the QC.
    Many thanks to the those who post the solutions and the amusing blogs.

    1. Congratulations, Jonners! Your story sounds very similar to mine. I started in June 2020 and Mrs R has always seemed a distant speck on the horizon to me. One SCC escape will lead to others and your PB will inch down towards the low teens in due course.
      Do please post some more of your trials, tribulations and successes. I will read them with interest.

    2. Welcome, Jonners, and well done! Like Mr Random, I look forward to hearing more of your progress.

  41. Well played Jonners, that’s fantastic. I’m sure it will be the first of many escapes from the SCC!

  42. Very easy, but some very clever and enjoyable clues. I particularly liked 19A Game of Thrones, 6D Apt and 9A Green belt. It was a relief to have a breather after last week.

  43. Well done to everybody with achievements to report today. Sorry not to applaud you all individually but it’s quite a roll of honour!

Comments are closed.