Times Quick Cryptic 2405 by Orpheus – plenty more fish

Hello everyone.  At first this Quick Cryptic seemed like it would live up to its name and I zoomed along … until I didn’t.  I stalled over the last half dozen or so and ended up over the 10 minute mark, with 10:32 on the clock.  No matter, I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Thanks Orpheus!

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 Irritable about party mostly — it’s a mockery (8)
TRAVESTY TESTY (irritable) around (about) RAVe (party) without the last letter (mostly)
5a One overwhelmed by graduate’s prejudice (4)
BIAS I (one) inside (overwhelmed by) BAS (graduate’s)
8a Galloping Etruscan “horsemen” (8)
CENTAURS — An anagram of (galloping) ETRUSCAN
9a Maintain stronghold (4)
KEEP — A double definition
11a Price hotel fixed for air transport (10)
HELICOPTER PRICE HOTEL anagrammed (fixed)
14a Group of peacekeepers perhaps, and what they may do after flight? (6)
UNPACK UN PACK (group of peacekeepers perhaps)
15a Position of sculptures Epstein initially turned out (6)
STATUS STATU[e]S (sculptures) with the first letter of (… initially) Epstein removed (turned out)
17a Eg Hannah’s daughter after friend in Italian city (10)
PALINDROME D (daughter) after PAL (friend) and IN, followed by ROME (Italian city)
20a Scotsman possibly crossing river in Asian republic (4)
IRAN IAN (Scotsman possibly) around (crossing) R (river)
21a Conservative leader too old for media exposure (8)
COVERAGE — The first letter (leader) of Conservative + OVERAGE (too old)
22a Part-song giving rise to impish enjoyment (4)
GLEE — Two definitions
23a Change position in pub, finding horizontal beam (8)
CROSSBAR CROSS (change position in) + BAR (pub)
1d Food for a friar (4)
TUCK — Two definitions
2d Composer contributing to popular newsletter (4)
ARNE — The composer is embedded in (contributing to) populAR NEwsletter
3d Fading Welshman with money touring East (10)
EVANESCENT EVANS (Welshman) with CENT (money) around (touring) E (East)
4d Vegetable found in vessel in dump (6)
TURNIP — The answer is found in URN (vessel) in TIP (dump)
6d I disclaim concealing songbird’s individuality (8)
IDENTITY I DENY (I disclaim) hiding (concealing) TIT (songbird)
7d Restrain journalists overcome by drink? (8)
SUPPRESS PRESS (journalists) underneath (overcome by) SUP (drink)
10d Unfathomable — not like A Midsummer Night’s Dream (10)
BOTTOMLESS — Bottom is a character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so something BOTTOMLESS is not like the play
12d Give up fish for doughy pudding (8)
DUMPLING DUMP (give up) + LING (fish)
13d Leak found by wise man swallowing tablet (8)
SPILLAGE SAGE (wise man) taking in (swallowing) PILL (tablet)
16d Keenness more difficult for a Cockney, we hear? (6)
ARDOUR — This sounds like (… we hear) ’ARDER (more difficult) with the initial h dropped (for a Cockney)
18d Young creature Mike brought into research-room (4)
LAMB M (mike) brought into LAB (research room)
19d One bound to succeed‘s reported bearing (4)
HEIR — A homophone of (reported) AIR (bearing)

53 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2405 by Orpheus – plenty more fish”

  1. 14:12. I really enjoyed PALINDROME . I racked my brain trying to remember who Hannah was the mother of in the Bible but after just concentrating on the actual elements of the clue I finally realized what role the word Hannah played. The droll BOTTOMLESS was my COD and for some reason KEEP was very elusive and LOI.

  2. I found this rather difficult, with several–e.g. EVANESCENT, DUMPLING–taking some time to work out. I see we have a Scotsman and a Welshman; I thought of IAN immediately, but couldn’t get past DAI for a long time. I saw how 8ac worked immediately, but couldn’t arrange the anagrist. LOI PALINDROME I biffed from the checkers without reference to the clue; parsed post-submission. 7:03.

  3. DNF. Could not see STATUS, hence BOTTOMLESS also missing.

    PALINDROME took some getting.


    1. Ditto. DNF caught out by the same two along with CROSSBAR – ‘change position’ just a bit too obscure for me to find ‘cross’ but in hindsight ‘horizontal beam’ is a bit of a giveaway!!

      Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

    2. We were the same but got status. Also liked centaur.
      Not sure about bottomless being unfathomable.

      1. One meaning of fathom is to measure the depth of water. If a body of water has no bottom it would be impossible to measure its depth.

  4. Too hard for me. I had to give up after an hour with about 20% unsolved. This is my first ‘could not finish’ for longer than I can remember.
    So, not a great start to the week. Hope fellow SCC-ers fared a bit better.
    Happy Bank Holiday Monday All 🌞

  5. I thought this was actually quite gentle, and I completed it in two passes. Having recently used horseman to define CENTAUR in the ST Clue Writing Competition, I’d welcome views on the necessity (or otherwise) of the inverted commas in 8A.

    TIME 3:40

    1. I had actually intended to comment on “horseman”, specifically to say that the scare quotes were a QC touch–they wouldn’t have been used in a 15×15; or so I imagine.

    2. Actually liked the inverted commas as centaurs really are horse/men so made me smile the more when the penny dropped.

  6. Eventually dragged myself across the line with this one. Some were straightforward, but I had to use brute force attack on others and trawl the alphabet until I got them. Going back to bed.

  7. A bit under 12 minutes. I was stuck on PALINDROME for a while and ‘Unfathomable’ was just that until I had a few checkers. I agree the “horsemen” inverted commas at 8a were generous, in retrospect anyway, as noted by Kevin. I knew GLEE had something to do with singing and I’d heard of a “GLEE club”, but didn’t know it was a ‘Part song’. EVANESCENT is a word I have to be careful not to use when I mean “effervescent”.

    Four food references today, which I think is about normal.

    Thanks to Kitty and Orpheus

  8. 9 minutes for this very nice puzzle, with most time spent on Palindrome: I was so pleased I remembered that Hannah was the mother of Samuel in the Old Testament, and that she had a further 3 sons and two daughters, that I spent far too long (a) preening myself and (b) trying to remember her daughters’ names. But the Bible doesn’t give them, so I abandoned that tack and then saw how the clue worked. Very nice and my COD.

    Apart from that, no real holdups, though I toyed with Carrot for Turnip at first. But it only half parsed (well, not really as much as half) so it came out again.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  9. A very nice puzzle for a nice sunny day. All done in 43 minutes.
    In the process I learned the proper meaning of Evanescent, that Disclaim is not the same as Declaim (careless reading), that there are two Ps in Suppress and that Glee is a part song. These QCs are educational.
    COD to Palindrome closely followed by Bottomless.
    Thanks Kitty and Orpheus. May the week continue in this style.

  10. I found that tougher than usual, but then since it’s a Bank Holiday I idly did it in bed rather than after a coffee! Struggled with EVANESCENT (like Kevin I was stuck on “Dai”). The scare quotes in 8a may have been gentle but LOI TRAVESTY was tough for the QC – in the QC “party mostly” typically would signal “par”, not “think of a synonym for party and then remove a letter from it”. We don’t usually have to work that hard!

    So all that pushed me out to 13:04 which is 1.9K and a Poor Day.

    Many thanks Kitty and Orpheus.


    1. As for “think of a synonym [for party] and then remove a letter from it”, we had a similar clue very recently in puzzle 2403: “Certainly taken aback about most of calm positive image? (6)”, which Rotter explained was SMILEY – YES (certainly) reversed (taken aback) and containing (about) MILd (calm, mostly – drop the last letter), and there was some comment on whether it was quite fair for a QC then too. Perhaps we are being taught that it is…

      1. Fair point. I think this clue was closer to QC standard as it was easier to get from Mockery to Travesty than from Positive Image to Smiley. Also Testy was a reasonable definition from Irritable.
        I solved it with the crossers plus Testy and then parsed RAV afterwards whereas I just could not see SMILEY on Friday.

  11. All green in 15 but hard and with the exception of PALINDROME not too many moments of heightened pleasure.

  12. Found this tricky with TRAVESTY, BOTTOMLESS, CROSSBAR, PALINDROME (seen this type of clue before so annoyed not to get it quicker) and the NHO EVANSECENT all putting up a major fight.
    Particularly enjoyed COVERAGE and finished in 13.02.
    Thanks to Kitty

  13. Taken out to 18 minutes by Orpheus today. LOI HEIR took forever to see and IDENTITY and SUPPRESS were also slow, not helped by completely and repeatedly missing the clue for KEEP in my several passes through. When I finally looked at it, it was obvious, and the two connecting down clues quickly fell. Thanks Kitty and Orpheus.

    1. Sorry to see your boys get relegated yesterday Rotter, too good a side to go down in my opinion , but it’s such a cut throat league isn’t it! Hopefully they’ll bounce straight back.

      1. Let’s hope so, but a lot of rebuilding to do first, including finding the manager to do it. Thanks for the comment though.

  14. Wandered down the RHS before spending an age trying to parse part-song. Thanks Bletchley for awakening distant recollection of Glee club and barbershop quartets.
    A leisurely holiday 30 minutes to pass with coffee and petit pain au club.

  15. 12 minutes with TRAVESTY, CENTAURS and ARNE holding up the NW while all the while LOI GLEE waited unsolved down in the SW. NHO the song but it eventually went in based on the other definition.

  16. I enjoyed CENTAURS when I finally got the anagram using the checkers. I biffed GLEE from the enjoyment definition and the name of the American TV series without knowing the musical definition. LOI was the NHO EVANESCENT. 11:32

  17. Taken to the edge of the SCC today by this good but chewy puzzle. I slowed over the same clues as many of the above but enjoyed the PDMs when they came (e.g, PALINDROME, BOTTOMLESS).
    My mood/concentration were not helped by spilling a whole mug of coffee over a light cream wool carpet before starting the QC. I spent the previous half hour on hands and knees with detergent, lots of water, and suction. A proper, powered, carpet cleaner, bought years ago, was a godsend.
    Thanks to Orpheus for a welcome distraction and Kitty for the blog. John M.

    1. Many such spills over the years have led me to prefer coffee-coloured carpets(and shirts)!

  18. 11 minutes for me with LOI BOTTOMLESS.
    I had a very fast start but was slowed down by PALINDROME and DUMPLING.
    Lots of nice clues but no obvious COD for me.

  19. DNF for me – at 35 minutes I got fed up trawling the alphabet for 19d and shoved in pEeR just to get finished. It sort of worked with a pier supporting (or bearing) something and a hereditary PEER succeeding. It was all a bit dubious, though. No idea why I couldn’t find HEIR but these things are sent to try us. I also struggled with TRAVESTY and TUCK and it took a while to drop DAI and discover EVANS. All that said there were some nice clues – I liked BOTTOMLESS, CENTAURS, IDENTITY and my COD PALINDROME. Hoping for better things tomorrow. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty for her usual excellent blog.

  20. I was a bit sluggish with this one today finding it tougher than average. I was delayed mainly by two four letter answers GLEE and my LOI HEIR which probably accounted for nearly two minutes. I eventually crossed the line in 11.28 feeling I should have done better.

  21. 7:28

    Everything fell into place in the last minute or two after a slow start, EVANESCENT, SPILLAGE and UNPACK being my last three in. Toyed with CANTEURS as some unusual type of horsemen until the penny dropped.

    NHO GLEE as a part-song, guess there’s nothing really surprising in crosswordland.

    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  22. ARNE, TUCK and TURNIP led to a TRAVESTY, but I SUPPRESSed my ARDOUR and kept going. BOTTOMLESS made me smile and PALINDROME arrived more quickly than usual despite my morning after STATUS. I needed DUMPLING before LOI, GLEE came to mind. 9:14. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  23. Bank Holiday blues, perhaps; threw in the towel after an hour and a half with eight undone. Just too difficult for me. FOI BIAS; COD CENTAURS; I was ok with EVANESCENT, BOTTOMLESS, KEEP and CROSSBAR, but just could not see UNPACK, STATUS, PALINDROME, COVERAGE, SUPPRESS, DUMPLING, ARDOUR and HEIR. Misery. Thanks to Kitty for the instructive blog.

  24. Avoided the SCC, but unfortunately at the far end, so Shanks’s pony for me today. Tip of the hat to anyone who managed a par with what I thought was a tough QC from Orpheus. NHO Evanescent was an early warning that this wasn’t going to be quick, but the four letter loi Heir took longer to solve than any other clue, albeit Bottomless gave it a good run. CoD to 17ac Palindrome, mercifully spotted quite quickly. Invariant

    1. What is the far end of the SCC? I wasn’t aware the door ever closed …

      1. It’s never been defined, but personally I would regard anything north of 30mins as having ‘missed the coach’. Today was c45mins, so no chance !

  25. Found this tough today. Finished in just under half an hour. LOI DUMPLING. Even with all the checkers I couldn’t see this as a pudding… Biffed GLEE as DNK part-song meaning. HEIR took a while, although I’m not quite sure why. Liked PALINDROME and ARDOUR. Biffed TRAVESTY early on then went back to parse pre-submission. Very enjoyable although a bit tricky in places. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  26. DNF after 22 minutes. Mostly done after ten minutes. BOTTOMLESS took another ten and was quickly followed by CROSSBAR but, like mozbadel, I was completely stumped by HEIR.

  27. DNF. Loved but missed BOTTOMLESS.
    Also failed on ARNE, HEIR, COVERAGE (good clue too), STATUS.
    Worst performance for ages but never mind.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  28. I too started off fast and assumed it would be plain sailing. But then I ground to a halt and the last clues required work. Loved PALINDROME and BOTTOMLESS.

  29. No dramas for me. LOI EVANESCENT. So that’s what it means! I liked CENTAURS and HELICOPTER. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty. 4:39.

  30. We usually find Orpheus tricky and so it proved. Needed some help to nearly finish, failed on 19d, heir. So obvious after knowing the answer.

  31. Plenty to enjoy as usual with Orpheus. All complete in about average time though plenty of hold-ups. FOI TUCK, COD DUMPLING, LOI STATUS, and don’t know why it took so long when it stands out as one without a smooth surface. Hesitated on PALINDROME as Hannah’s isn’t one, and on EEVANESCENT, as I wanted it to be a word but wasn’t sure that it was. GLEE puts me i n mind of mirth and mic but I don’t see PART-song. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  32. Beaten by BOTTOMLESS and STATUS today. Getting either might have led to the other, but after gazing at them for a good five minutes, I resorted to aids, and ended up liking the PDM for both clues a lot. Other than that, all done in 13 minutes or so. COD prize shared between PALINDROME and BOTTOMLESS.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Kitty.

  33. 35-40 mins

    Nothing good to say so I’ll say nothing, other than to thank Kitty for the blog.

  34. DNF. My first QC for a few weeks as I’ve been travelling the Far East. So, maybe I’m rusty or maybe this was just hard but 6 unsolved at 20 minutes so gave up.

  35. Extremely tough! 59 minutes for me, and only with fingers crossed for several clues.

    Having NHO ARNE or EVANESCENT, and inadvertently having CaNTeURS for CENTAURS made solving the NW corner almost impossible. Also, I had NHO the part-song definition of GLEE, and both HEIR and and TRAVESTY gave me real difficulty.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Kitty

    P.S. I simply can’t believe that anyone found this easy/gentle/nice or that it posed few problems, but some above found it so.

    1. Re: ARNE – I suddenly dredged him up when I had the A-N- checkers and saw the hidden.

      Possibly I was just thinking of the lovely area in the Purbecks which you may well be acquainted with 👍

  36. Late to this, but DNF.

    I always like to blame the bank holiday on days like today, but I did find this somewhat tough. The stop-start approach due to other commitments probably didn’t help.

    FOI – 1ac “Travesty”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 17ac “Palindrome”

    Thanks as usual!

  37. 27:50 for me. Maybe didn’t struggle as much as others but didn’t particularly enjoy it.

    What I can’t fathom is what Orpheus was thinking with the clue for HEIR? Many of us struggled to see this and with -E-R checkers any alphabet trawl was likely to throw up a bunch of possibilities.

    Clue was One bound to succeed‘s reported bearing with succeed really being the only decent clue towards the answer. I don’t think it would have suffered to have clued it as “One born to succeed ..” as that would still have left the homophone to be parsed. And “bearing=air” is not obvious stuff.

    I look one clue to the left and we have Young creature Mike brought into research-room – proper QC clue in my opinion. Got it on my first pass with no checkers.

    It’s my opinion that when you have tough enough clues for PALINDROME, BOTTOMLESS and a few others; this clue for HEIR is unnecessary and inappropriate for the QC.

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