Times Quick Cryptic 2382 by Orpheus

I thought I was in for a real battle here after my first pass through all the across clues resulted in only three answers. However, I found the down clues more approachable, and ended up finishing in 16:07, after spending far far too long barking up the wrong tree at 13 across.

Definitions underlined in italics, wordplay indicators in square brackets, synonyms in round brackets.

1 Run for an aid to climbing (6)
LADDER – Double definition, the first being as in what happens to women’s legwear.
4 How we may heat wine, we’re told — or fish (6)
MULLET – Sounds like [we’re told] “mull it”, one way in which wine gets heated.
8 Suspicion of scam associated with starter to meal (7)
SOUPCONSOUP (starter to meal) + CON (scam).
10 Version of Bible kept in bird sanctuary (5)
HAVENAV (for the Authorized Version of the Bible) inside [kept in] HEN.
11 Everybody initially occupying a Clackmannanshire town (5)
ALLOAALL (everybody) + O (initially Occupying) + A.

I didn’t know that Alloa was in Clackmannanshire. I dredged the fact that it is a Scottish town up from years of listening to the football results being read on the TV on Saturdays as a child. (When I always wanted to hear “Forfar 4, East Fife 5”, but never did.)

12 Brawler disturbed small songbird (7)
WARBLER – Anagram [disturbed] of BRAWLER.
13 Degrade your, and my, carriage (9)
DEMEANOURDEMEAN (degrade) + OUR (your and my).

My LOI, only after I finally gave up looking for an anagram of “your and my” that would give me some type of carriage. But there were just too many Ys!

“Your and my” as a synonym for “our” took me a minute to justify, but then I came up with “your, and my, child” – when addressed to my wife – is synonymous with “our child”.

17 Disease spread about where many take their holidays (7)
SEASIDE – Anagram [spread about] of DISEASE.
19 Cheeky, for example, about ship (5)
SASSYSAY (for example) enclosing [about] SS (ship, as in SS Great Britain).
20 Chosen priest principally taking Evensong (5)
ELITEELI (priest) + first letters [principally] of Taking Evensong.
21 Word in India for bus depots, perhaps (7)
TERMINITERM (word) + IN + I (India, in the NATO phonetic alphabet).
22 Shame about last of farrowing sows, and where they may be kept (6)
PIGSTYPITY (shame, as in “it’s a pity”) enclosing [about] the last of farrowinsowS.
23 Bird of prey pursuing bishop’s dog (6)
BEAGLEEAGLE (bird of prey) after [pursuing] B (bishop, in chess notation).
1 Sailor in US city with small vehicle (6)
LASCARLA (US city) + S (small) + CAR (vehicle).

I have to confess that I’ve never actually known the definition of LASCAR before now. I’d always vaguely assumed that it was some sort of national origin, but checking the SOED gives “A sailor from India or SE Asia.” So now I know.

2 Duplicitous lookalike distributing cards at table (6-7)
DOUBLE-DEALINGDOUBLE (lookalike) + DEALING (distributing cards at table).
3 Old assertion of right making us cry out (7)
EXCLAIM – An ex-claim is an old assertion of right. Groan.

I think the “us” in the clue refers to us, the solvers.

5 Person showing us round  Poe’s house? (5)
USHER – Double definition, the second referring to The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1839.
6 Wild revels closing way across track (5,8)
7 A way teachers turned up in permanently frozen area (6)
TUNDRAA + RD (way) + NUT (teachers), all reversed [turned up].

The National Union of Teachers is a frequent visitor to Crosswordland.

9 Retailer keeping wise man in recently issued books (9)
NEWSAGENTSAGE (wise man) in NEW (recently issued) NT (books, abbreviation for New Testament).
14 See old boy act as waiter (7)
OBSERVEOB (abbreviation for Old Boy) + SERVE (act as waiter).

“Old Boy” (or girl) is the British equivalent of “alum”, for our American readers. Normally only applied to secondary schools, not universities.

15 Snake outside shelter, having forty winks? (6)
ASLEEPASP (snake) outside LEE (shelter).
16 Row holding up extremely busy author’s identification (2-4)
BY-LINELINE (row) below [holding up] the first and last letters of [extremely] BusY.
18 Bungling writer going north in it (5)
INEPTPEN (writer) reversed [going north] in IT.

87 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2382 by Orpheus”

  1. 8 minutes for me. A few unknowns. I knew a LASCAR was a sailor but I couldn’t have told you what type. I knew ALLOA was a town in Scotland but not which region it was in. Didn’t know USHER in the Poe context. Plus, to me, MULLET and “mull it” are far from identical. But nothing that held me up.

    1. Surely, “not identical”, no, hence “we’re told” – i.e. sounds like – isn’t that how it works?

  2. 13:05. I didn’t think TUNDRA was “permanently frozen” as I’ve seen pictures of tundra scenes with various forms of sparse vegetation growing. Looking it up I see the subsoil at least is permanently frozen. My COD was PIGSTY.

  3. 11:23. Same comments as Doofenschmirtz about ALLOA and LASCAR to which I’d add that I barely knew ‘Clackmannanshire’ was a county and wouldn’t know where it is without looking it up. I liked the ‘carriage’ def for DEMEANOUR and the cryptic def’ish surface for NEWSAGENT.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Doofenschmirtz

    1. Clackmannanshire is a historic county (and the smallest in the UK at the time), but it was abolished in the local government reorganisation in the 1970s. As with so many of the old counties though, the name lives on in local minds – and it seems in crossword setters’ minds too.

      1. Thanks for the information Cedric. Maybe it’s time for a Rutland-style renaissance.

  4. I was very chuffed to correctly work out LASCAR and ALLOA, having heard of neither, however I spent far too long, and was ultimately defeated by, trying to anagrammatise ‘your and my’ into some form of transport. (DYMYANOUR?) Doh!
    Looking at the clock, all in all it took me about 25 minutes to fail. One clue coaxed an uncharacteristic smile from my lips today, however, and that was TERMINI.
    So No Time Given yet again this week. A dull start to a dull day here. But it is a tad warmer than yesterday morning and it is not raining, so I will take that as a positive.

    1. I enjoy your weather reports- if my weather’s better I can gloat and if mine’s worse I think oh well at least somewhere people are enjoying their day!

      1. I’m glad to be of some service, even if not with the solving!
        Where are you based then?

        1. Across the pond in Canada, just north of Toronto. Gloomy,cool, and rainy here today!

  5. 10.13

    Bit of a sleepy early solve for me (really struggled to get a toehold) but liked it a lot, particularly MULLET .

    It had the feel of an Oink which I thought was confirmed by the piggy clue, but it appears not

    Thanks Orpheus and Doofers

  6. Had to look up the NHO LASCAR – I had been looking for a sailor to go in L-S-AS to mean vehicle. Not even a flicker of recognition of the word – but will try to file for the future. Managed to enter WARBLEE to ruin TUNDRA and give me two errors from that pink square. Like Doofers needed to recall the classified football results for ALLOA (Athletic). Did even worse than Doofers on the first pass – switching to downs before the end. 16m with an aid and still not all green.

  7. Crossword Club displayed weirdly for me today – this comment from The Times’ crossword Board may be useful to those wishing to see it as usual for tomorrow:

    The link to the Crossword Club from today’s Times, namely https://www.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword-club-grgvnj0kb takes you to a non-scrolling frame, in Safari at least. If you want to see the home page as intended, use the link from the general Times links at the very bottom of any Times page, namely https://www.thetimes.co.uk/puzzleclub/crosswordclub/. Apologies for placing this information here. On a more relevant note, I enjoyed today’s crossword immensely, following a run of particularly fathomless offerings.

    1. Can you clarify what you mean by a non-scrolling frame? And whether it relates to what I’ve written next …

      I used to get all the clues scrolling up or down in a box. Everything fitted on the page and I could fill out the crossword with no formatting issues.

      About two months ago, the Clues box became bigger and I now have to scroll the page itself down to see the lower clues. This means I no longer see the timer, and more importantly lose checkers available for longer down clues.

      1. I just copied and pasted that bit! If you click on the second link, if your problem is the same as mine, it should display bettter / as it used to.

    2. Thank you. The problem is currently the same in Firefox too, but your link worked for me.

    3. I have previously accessed the puzzles from the Times home page and, as L-Plates said, this has been a problem for a couple of months. I just tried using your link to the crossword club and that fixed it. Thank you!

  8. Beaten by LASCAR, SOUPÇON (terrific clue) and DEMEANOUR. Tough puzzle with some great clues throughout

    Whether all the checkers fitting an anagram of “your and my” was deliberate or not I dont know but I’d have never looked anywhere else but for an unheard of old carriage name of DYMYANOUR!!!!

    Loved SEASIDE/disease anagram.

    Thanks Orpheus and Doof

  9. A good test this morning, starting with MULLET, which works as a homophone for me and finishing back in the NW.
    Like Mendes I was trying to fit a word for sailor into L_ _ _AS that meant a vehicle at 1d and only when SOUPCON came to mind did I realise that I’d been looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition – annoying because LASCAR was known to me.
    Other than that it was a steady solve with only the other problems being not knowing about Poe’s House of Usher and spending time cursing that I can never remember the various words for the other type of carriage that appear from time to time
    Finished in 9.01
    Thanks to Doofers

  10. Having been caught out before by the ladder trick, 1ac was a write in, but Lascar (knew the word, not the meaning), Soupcon and a blank at 4ac made me think this was going to be a tricky solve. Happily the down clues were much more friendly, with the two long ones going straight in. CoD Newsagent helped fill in the centre of the grid, but I needed an alphabet trawl for loi Mullet to prompt a pdm and a 16min finish. Invariant

  11. 9 minutes for a very nice puzzle, with the Mullet/Usher crossing holding out till the last. I really must remember the House of Usher – I am sure it has come up before and it stumped me last time too.

    I was another who tried to find an anagram of your and my (as I am sure Orpheus hoped we would), but fortunately the unlikelihood of a word with two Ys stopped me spending too much time on a wild goose chase. And a slight MER at the association of Old with Ex. I may be old – I am certainly very old if you ask my children – but I am not, yet, Ex.

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog

    1. Well done Cedric – 25% quicker than average!

      I banged in DEMEANOUR and then wrote down “your and my” to check how it anagrammed and immediately saw there were no Es. A good 20-30s wasted on that and finding the correct parsing.

      As for ex- and old, I believe it’s more about “old girlfriend” / “ex-girlfriend” than relating to age.

      Nice ‘wording today 👍

  12. 18.44 with a gamble on LOI LASCAR after studying it for the last 4-5 mins. Everything else went in fairly quickly which is amazing for an Orpheus whose previous 7 QCs have averaged 38mins with four fails and only one under 30-mins.

    While not easy, I thought it was generously clued – so well done Orpheus on bowing to the needs of the SCC.

    My only big complaint would be LASCAR for the same reasons as Plett and Mendes above allied to being a NHO. Couldn’t be sure there couldn’t be another vehicle e.g cab that would fit but realised I’d be left with a choice between equally possible words. So decided to preserve the SCC opportunity and take a punt on what turned out to be correct. Secondary complaint about “Clackmannanshire” which I’ve NHO and the clue wouldn’t have lost much with “Scottish city” but I suppose it wouldn’t give the misdirection required.

    Glad to get through that unscathed! 👍

  13. Nice puzzle completed in below average time. Like others, half-knew ALLOA,
    USHER, LASCAR and wasted time with DEMEANOUR, the sort of things that make a puzzzle enjoyable. FOI MULLET, LOI and COD LADDER. Thanks, Orpheus and Doof…

  14. DNF. Gave up at 20:23 cut-off with the NW missing LASCAR, SOUPÇON, LADDER and DEMEANOUR. Just could not see the first word of DOUBLE DEALING, stuck on “wheeler dealer”. Did not see the Poe reference, also took ages to get FOI.

    I know all my Scottish towns from the football results, which, shockingly the BBC has now axed from the radio. How are we going to learn Montrose, Cowdenbeath and Hamilton Academicals?


  15. I was slow because I didn’t have the GK. FOI LADDER. USHER was a guess from the available checkers after belatedly getting the, for me, dodgy homophone MULLET. My LOI was LASCAR which I have NHO. 11:26

    1. On the contrary, dear Desdeeloeste.
      From my perspective you were speedy, despite not having the GK.

  16. 13 mins, tricky in places. My struggles were with mullet, demeanour, exclaim and COD soupcon.
    dnk poe’s usher.

  17. Not usually on Orpheus’s wavelength but I was today. Can’t believe I finished this in one go. (Due to a series of lucky guesses, I admit)
    When I saw carriage, like others I thought oh dear another obscure horse-drawn vehicle but soon DEMEANOUR appeared.
    Thanks, Doofers, as I needed the blog to parse PIGSTY ; TUNDRA.
    Actually I don’t think of Soupçon as meaning suspicion, just a small amount of something.

    1. A very slight trace is indeed one of the definitions of suspicion. E.g. There was a suspicion of a smile on her lips as Donald went off on one of his rambling and incoherent monologues.

      1. Yes, but you would never say there was a soupçon of a smile. At least I wouldn’t.

        1. No, I wouldn’t in that case, but there are examples where the two words are interchangeable – perhaps when referring to cooking ingredients. I don’t think it’s in doubt that suspicion = slight trace/small amount = soupçon.

          1. Hm? Wouldn’t use it in cooking to mean a suspicion, but I admit that soupçonner means to suspect in French. And le soupçon does also mean suspicion in FRENCH🙂

            1. “There is often a suspicion of garlic n my cooking” was how I solved the clue. ButI’m prtty sure I have heard people whi like to speak in an affected way (TV chefs perhaps) say “Just a soupçon, darling”instead of Just a smidgeon.

      2. Thank you for that example. I was about to complain about ‘soupçon’but now understand the reference

    2. Trying to remember stuff works! Your mention of unknown carriages brought PHAETON to mind and I learned that from the Rotter’s November 2021 blog – although I did fail to remember the SPIDER bit. Hopefully LASCAR will still be stored in 18 months’ time.

  18. 12:21 (Llewelyn the Great builds Castell y Bere)

    I am another one who was held up at the end by 13a, thinking it an anagram. I spent a while wondering if Dynyamour was a type of carriage before eventually spotting Demeanour.

  19. Enjoyed this challenge – thanks Orpheus and Doofenschmirtz. Should it be teachers once? – the NUT doesnt exist anymore. My very old spellchecker says Lascar is obscure and my Oxford Dictionary of English says its dated so I’m not sure its apt for a quickie but minor quibbles!

    1. Abbreviations / acronyms continue to exist historically even after there has been a change of name and it’s at the discretion of setters whether or not indicate the change. I take the view that it should never be necessary unless it’s something that’s long forgotten . How many people outside the profession, I wonder, would know that NUT is now NUET?

      1. I understand but after a while the crossword might only be accessible to older users My 36 year old son is becoming proficient at cryptics but is often defeated by age bias. Btw its the NEU . Thanks though!

        1. Thanks. I must have misread NUET. I’m not sure where one might go to find cryptic puzzles free of age bias, but certainly not The Times! 😊

          1. This all explains to me why the NUT aren’t taking part in the teachers’ strikes this year 🤣

        2. Many words that are no longer used in everyday parlance can still be commonly found in historical fiction and regerence books. ‘Lascar’ is a good example – a word that I have never used or heard spoken but still knew from various sources.

  20. Nearly there! But NHO LASCAR or BY-LINE, and I agree with Countrywoman that SOUPCON has nothing to do with suspicion; my dictionary says “a hardly perceptible quantity”. But apart from those three, all green, no problem with USHER or ALLOA. Thanks to Doofenschmirtz for explaining NUT and AV, both worth remembering. LADDER was a quick FOI; COD NEWSAGENT.

  21. After a torrid few days ducking and weaving, and seeing my bat comprehensively beaten, Orpheus finally sent down a juicy half volley which I could ease to the boundary and stem the steady rise in average time.

    No problems with the sailor (probably Sherlock Holmes stories) or the Scottish town (classified football results). I liked the two long down clues, as well as PIGSTY and SOUPCON, and EXCLAIM was my LOI.


  22. Pretty straightforward for me today crossing the line in 8.35. My only hold up was initially putting in SLEEPY instead of ASLEEP at 15dn, but solving 22ac made me reassess and rectify.
    I agree with Merlin’s comments regarding BBC radios decision to axe the reading of the classified football results at 5pm on a Saturday – disgraceful. My father told me I was born at precisely 5.00pm on a Saturday afternoon, just in time for the football results. He was obviously concerned he might miss them!

  23. I was taken to nearly 19 minutes with this one, and thought that I may be in the SCC at one point when I found it hard to break it open. Thankfully things picked up towards the end, and EXCLAIM completed the puzzle for me.

    There was a question yesterday about the brevity of crossword clues, and I mentioned a quick piece of analysis I did a couple of years ago which I published in a blog at the time, promising to look it up. I eventually found it and copied it into the comments yesterday if anyone is still interested.

    Thanks both.

    1. I did see it Rotter, and found it fascinating – and most impressive that you had found the time to do it in the first place. Thank you for retrieving it. I agree wholly with your comments on first letter checkers – I recently did a crossword (in another publication) in which of the 28 clues, only six (yes six) started with a checked letter. It was quite a challenging puzzle to complete.


  24. DNF, defeated by LADDER (doh!!) and the unknown LASCAR. Is TUNDRA permanently frozen? Took a while to see MULLET.

  25. Having failed on 4 of the first 5 acrosses, I then got all the rest and most of the downs in a rush. There then followed a massive arm-wrestle with the NE corner, where LADDER, LASCAR, SOUPCON (COD), ALLOA and EXCLAIM (LOI) put up ferocious resistance in hand-to-hand combat. Hard yakka.

    Anyway, despite it being slow-quick-slow I ended up with a more or less respectable 09:06 and even though that’s 2.25K I’m still going to rank this as a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Doofers.


  26. 8:03

    Reeeeally slow start as per our blogger. Took a while to find the wavelength after which normal service was resumed. No problem with ALLOA, but couldn’t have told you what a LASCAR is/was.

    Thanks Orpheus and Doofenschmirtz

  27. No problems for me. From up a LADDER to the SEASIDE in 5:50. Thanks Orpheus and Doofers.

  28. Probably not as difficult as I made it seem.

    TIME 5:09

  29. Yes, it was a slow start for me too with very few acrosses on first pass. As for others, the downs proved more amenable and by 15 mins I only had 4 clues in the NW to find. This took a costly 7 mins – eventually SOUPÇON led to LASCAR, then LADDER to the EX part of my LOI EXCLAIM. All green in 21:41. Oh, for an escape from the SCC! Thanks Orpheus and doofers.

  30. Dnf…

    I did create a new carriage: the “Dymnayour” – which based on the proliferation of weird carriage names didn’t seem as unrealistic as I first thought.

    All the rest went in after 24 mins. Hadn’t heard of 1dn “Lascar”, but once I’d exhausted my climbing equipment of pietons, harnesses and ropes, I eventually got 1ac “Ladder” with an accompanying forehead slap.

    FOI – 4ac “Mullet”
    LOI – 1dn “Lascar”
    COD – 17ac “Seaside” – purely for the amusing surface.

    Thanks as usual!

  31. I was slow to start and to immerse myself in this one (we are away in the Lake District to meet up with old schoolfriends and it has been difficult to find the time. However, I did accelerate as the grid filled and I ended up just a few seconds over my 15min target. (Much better than yesterday, though – that was a truly awful experience.)
    I knew Lascars from childhood reading and I groaned when the Poe reference came to me. My LOI was DEMEANOUR which came to mind early but was set aside in favour of anagram containing Ys. My COD was SOUPCON.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  32. Did some over breakfast, some more with coffee and finished in a mad rush after lunch. I’m convinced the brain does some solving during the breaks. 46m all in.
    COD to Pigsty.
    I think ‘suspicion of’ was the clue for 8a.
    Thanks both.

    1. Well done #5

      I’m not sure we can say for sure what happens while taking a break but … I’ve noticed mine tends to come back and try new options. On a bad day, I get stuck with certain thoughts about a clue/answer. The break helps me get unstuck from the rut.

      1. Thanks #50. Good time from you I see.
        In answer to an earlier question I started dabbling with the QC in the Autumn but started seriously in December and have been doing the puzzle daily since then.
        This blog has been invaluable for explanations and encouragement not to mention entertainment.

  33. Same experience as most others – slow start, speeding up in the middle and almost grinding to a halt at the end. Finished in what I consider a respectable 17 minutes. Luckily had heard of Poe’s play, the Scottish town (couldn’t point to it on a map though) and soupcon. Also wrote out an anagram at 13ac before realising that it was unlikely to result in a word, after which I re-thought the clue with an almost immediate PDM.

    FOI – 4ac MULLET
    LOI – 16dn BY-LINE
    COD – 2dn DOUBLE DEALING. Also liked 10ac HAVEN and 23ac BEAGLE for the surfaces.

  34. I see I neglected to comment earlier. No difficulties but a slight MER at NUT as it became, through merger with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in 2017, the NEU – over 5 1/2 years ago. My wife is their union representative at her school. I liked SEASIDE and PIGSTY best. Thanks Orpheus and Doofers. 5:05.

  35. 18.57 The bottom was straightforward but I was slower at the top, particularly in the NW. LADDER, EXCLAIM, SOUPCON and LASCAR brought up the rear. SOUPCON for suspicion seemed a stretch, but it’s in the dictionary. Like others I wasted time on LASCAR looking for a vehicle and on DEMEANOUR looking for a carriage from the letters of “your and my”.

  36. Very hard! Unsurprising, given the setter. I did eventually complete the puzzle successfully, albeit in 46 minutes.

    I had NHO the Poe reference (USHER), the sailor (LASCAR) or the version of the bible (AV), and I never managed to parse DEMEANOUR. My favourite clue today was LADDER.

    Mrs Random put down her pencil after 19 minutes, thereby escaping the SCC. When I asked how she arrived at my NHO/DNK answers above she was unable to explain. All she said was “Well, I just wrote in the correct answers and thought no more about them”. Perhaps that’s what I should start doing: just write in the correct answers.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Doofers.

    1. She certainly has a foolproof strategy- I’m surprised more of us don’t use it!

  37. Another lovely puzzle. Took a short while to get on the wavelength and then at the end floundering around in the NE. Seems I joined a number of others in my struggle with 13a demeanour.
    FOI 1d Lascar
    LOI 4a Mullet
    COD 22 Pigsty

  38. A bit tricky, but completely fair. I was sure for quite a while that ‘starter to meal ‘ must be M……..Thanks as always.

  39. Like many NHO LASCAR. I also wonder about any solvers who didn’t listen to the football results to know ALLOA, but that was (of course) compulsory listening in the 60’s to this old male.

    And I probably knew (house of) USHER from Steeleye Span or the like.

    Thanks Orpheus for a mostly accessible QC

  40. A mix of the hard and the easy. Finished in SCC territory (about 22 mins) which was frustrating. I’ve lost my mojo with the QC and am failing to see some clues that I would have got immediately a few weeks ago, when I was really getting into the setter’s mind. Did my usual trick of getting 12 on the first pass and then suffering brain freeze.

    Liked LASCAR (knew this one from the Basil Rathbone series of Sherlock Holmes films) and SOUPÇON. ALLOA was easy due to its football team. Struggled with DEMEANOUR despite seeing OUR part straight away (D’oh!!).

    Congrats to those of you with good times.

    Thanks for the blog Doofers, particularly the information about Poe. USHER was a bung it in and hope for the best.

    1. Of course! I must have watched those films half a dozen times but couldn’t recall where I’d heard the word. Thanks!

  41. DNF

    All done in 20 but fell for the anagram trap and had to make up a word, DYMNAYOUR. I knew it was wrong but when it still worked after the checkers were all in I capitulated.

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