Times Quick Cryptic 2430 by Pedro


Solving time: 16 minutes with one wrong answer at 12ac. I was also delayed by a clue that I was (and am still) unable to parse, but I think I was generally too slow to have achieved my target 10 minutes anyway.

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 Contemptible  centre of operations (4)
Two meanings
3 Sword: I’m the very thing to cut lasting mark (8)
I’M + IT (the very thing) contained by [to cut] SCAR (lasting mark)
9 Happiness initially is only for so long (7)
CHEER (happiness), I{s} + O{nly} [initially]
10 Large crossword needed for journey in this? (5)
A literal with a cryptic hint
11 Quantity of statistical data, initially sufficient (5)
I’m baffled by this one and suspect we have yet another clue error. I imagine ‘quantity of statistical data’ would be ‘sample’ and ‘initially’ is part of a failed attempt  to indicate removal of the first letter.

[edit] Thanks to Lou Weed for his suggestion below as to what was intended, and it seems likely the clue is missing the word ‘not’.

[edit] Further edit. It’s now apparent that the clue appears on some platforms, and in the printed newspaper as:

Quantity of statistical data, not initially sufficient (5)

12 Setback for the French, about to broadcast several programmes (6)
LES (the, French) containing [about] AIR [broadcast] all reversed [setback]. Careless biffing and lack of attention to wordplay landed me with a wrong answer here: STREAM. A moment of madness when  I disregarded everything I know about solving clues! I had intended to go back and check before stopping the clock but by that stage I was way over-target, and having been preoccupied with the problems at 11ac I completely forgot to do so.
14 Handy skill imitated by Rex, somehow (13)
Anagram [somehow] of IMITATED BY REX
17 Rest arrive briefly for TV programme (6)
SIT (rest), COM{e} (arrive) [briefly]
19 Very good soup I cooked (5)
Anagram [cooked] of SOUP I
22 Enthusiastic period enshrined by former monarch (5)
AGE (period) contained [enshrined] by ER (former monarch). Having been for decades the only living person permitted to appear in Times crosswords there’s really no need following her sad death last year to specify that Her late Maj is no longer on the throne.
23 Hurry back to celebrate caring vocation (7)
RUN (hurry) reversed [back], SING (celebrate)
24 Foremost record of year disposing of duke’s animal book (8)
BEST (foremost), {d}IARY (record of year) [disposing of duke]
25 One out of condition is losing heart (4)
UN{f}IT (out of condition) [losing heart]
1 Mostly support quantity of gold for gambling game (8)
BAC{k} (support) [mostly], CARAT (quantity of gold)
2 A lot of icy weather beginning to penetrate nap (5)
SLEE{t} (icy weather) [a lot of], P{enetrate} [beginning]
4 One interrogating angry ex, a pitman? (5-8)
CROSS (angry), EX, A, MINER (pitman)
5 Important judge participating in climbing range (5)
J (judge) contained by [participating in] ROAM (range) reversed [climbing]
6 A lot of alarm with time running short over getting drums (7)
TIM{e} [running short], PANI{c} (alarm) [a lot of]
7 Demonstration, not heading for top of building (4)
{p}ROOF (demonstration) [not heading]
8 Enthusiast embracing King as chum (6)
FIEND (enthusiast) containing [embracing] R (King)
13 Vision certainly possessed by rowing squad (8)
YES (certainly) contained [possessed] by EIGHT (rowing squad)
15 Wedding participants carrying grand crosses (7)
BRIDES (wedding participants) containing [carrying] G (grand)
16 Specialist to strain to restrict power (6)
EXERT (strain) containing [to restrict] P (power)
18 Expression of surprise over US soldier’s dog (5)
COR (expression of surprise), GI (US soldier)
20 Numbers upset after eating one vegetable (5)
NO + NO (numbers) reversed [upset] containing [eating] I (one)
21 Part of speech never bettered, but only part (4)
Hidden in [only part[ {ne}VER B{ettered}

69 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2430 by Pedro”

  1. I couldn’t make sense of AMPLE, and like Jackkt concluded it was an error. I wasted time over SERIAL, wondering if it wasn’t STREAM, and failing to parse it; I saw LA as ‘the French’, and LES never occurred to me. 7:06.

  2. 16:47. The MAJOR/JUMBO conjunction held me up the longest. Sometimes I think I forget there’s a J in the alphabet. I thought AMBIDEXTERITY might involve adroit somehow but then saw it was an anagram. I’m glad Jack and Kevin agreed that AMPLE must contain an error as I couldn’t see any way to make it work. I also thought of STREAM first when I looked at S—A-, but luckily kept going till I found an answer with le, la, or les somewhere in it. I really enjoyed the IM IT in SCIMITAR, also BESTIARY and BACCARAT.

  3. 3:36

    AMPLE was my last, and I biffed it. Probably it’s supposed to read “not initially sufficient”, or possibly even just “initially insufficient”, though I’m not sure if that would be sufficiently clear

    1. Yes, I think your first suggestion for the clue is probably what was intended, so:

      Quantity of statistical data not initially sufficient (5)
      {s}AMPLE (quantity of of statistical data) [not initially]

  4. 14:26. I couldn’t parse AMPLE either and took a while to see a few others like AMBIDEXTERITY and even ONION. I liked JUMBO though I still have trouble sorting out the def and wordplay v cryptic def aspects of the clue; anyway it works well.

    Thanks to Pedro and Jack

  5. This was not easy and took a bit of time to get into, and throughout I found many words that make sense now but refused to appear when staring at empty spaces and no checkers. No idea about AMPLE. Overall this crossword was a bit like a building site, lots of chopping bits off and lifting things up and inserting this bit into that. Thanks to jackkt for explaining SERIAL which I biffed without really thinking about. FOsI JUMBO then CROSS-EXAMINER, round in 14.32.

  6. A tricky one (again!) but I persevered and came in with no pinkies just 4 seconds shy of half an hour. I liked this one though and am pleased to have started the week with a full house.
    AMBIDEXTERITY took a long time to see, even though I knew it was an anagram, but it was a nice clue. CROSS EXAMINER took some time too, but once those two were in place things speeded up a little. (I think they must’ve amended the clueing to AMPLE by the time I got up (05:00h) as there was no problem with this.)
    BESTIARY, PIOUS and TIMPANI (because I used to play them – very badly) were my favourite clues.
    It’s a sunny morning here in Dorset and I must soon hasten to Southampton’s shops, for it is Mrs ITTT’s birthday tomorrow and I traditionally provide her with a gift of fragrance. Sadly Bournemouth, where I would normally have gone, is now a shell of its former vibrant self since all of its department stores closed and parking charges ramped up. Another sign of current decline, or maybe just the march of progress? Discuss.
    Thanks to Pedro and Jackkt 👍

    1. Just wondering how you accessed the puzzle (Club or Times on-line) and device used (via an app perhaps)? The error in the clue is still there when I view it although the facsimile of the published newspaper has “Quantity of statistical data not initially sufficient (5)”.

      1. I take The Times daily on my iPad and open it from there. The clue had been corrected by the time I opened it and it was a very straightforward parse.

        1. I don’t know what is going on. I have just updated my copy of The Times using the ‘classic’ app (where it is now complete with the inclusion of ‘not’) and also on the separate ‘new’ app where it has still not been corrected (despite my ‘refreshing’ the app three times and being told ‘Your edition is up to date’). My latest ‘refreshed’ updates were at 9.06 and 9.14 am.
          I think it would be helpful if posters would make clear which app they are using when they discuss an online problem. John.

        1. … where I would normally have gone, is now a shell of its former vibrant self since all of its department stores closed and parking charges ramped up. … Discuss.’

  7. Slightly bucking the emerging trend by finding this very addressable with an 8 minute solve. Main holdup was Ambidexterity, where I first biffed Ambidextrous and was so keen to move on that I did not even notice it was one letter short! It took Timpani to put that right.

    On the day’s talking point, Ample, I got the answer, which was clear enough, but I could not parse it; at my level of solving this happens not infrequently and I moved on not thinking for a moment of the possibility of a setter error, which it now seems most likely to be.

    Rare to see Pious in full as the answer to a clue rather than the (overworked, in my view) Pi as a component part.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  8. No real hold ups today. I put AMPLE in early on but then deleted it hoping that when I came back later my unconscious would have figured out the parsing but eventually it went in as a shrug as LOI. Like Cedric, at my level the occasional one goes in unparsed anyway so I wasn’t too hung up on it.
    TIMPANI and SERIAL were the others that needed revisiting and a bit of thought – ‘tomtoms’ and ‘series’ were trying to tempt me into some careless biffing.
    Finished in 8.08
    Thanks to Jack

  9. Not a fan of so many dropped letters and did not warm to this puzzle which took me far too long to reach my usual corner chair. Popped in AMPLE without thinking too much about another dropped letter other than to think it poorly clued.
    Thanks Jack

  10. I try never to put in an unparsed answer but after a long time wrestling with AMPLE, and spending a while wondering whether an “apple” might be a new word for a packet of data, AMPLE went in unparsed. Delighted not to see a DPS, less delighted by the additional minutes on my time.

    Hey ho, these things are sent to try us. I liked SCIMITAR and PIOUS. All mercifully green in 10:17 for 1.5K and an Annoying Day.

    Many thanks Pedro and Jack.


  11. I made no real progress after FOI BASE when I started from the top but did much better when I worked up from the bottom. I didn’t regain my mojo quickly enough to beat my target but was under 3 mins over it. I kicked myself for not seeing more on my first pass (e.g. SCIMITAR, CHEERIO, JUMBO).
    I had no trouble parsing SERIAL (O-level French is so often a help with crosswords) but I had to biff AMPLE. There were some very good clues mixed in and I will now go through them again with jackkt’s blog.
    It could have been a better start to the week for me but thanks to both. John M.

  12. Bang average for me today.

    Not helped by putting in {M}ARCH for top of building. I wasn’t that convinced by the definition, but demonstration = march so often. SCIMITAR put me right though, which was probably COD, though the anagram for AMBIDEXTERITY was neat. The version I did just before 9 was still wrong for AMPLE, but I assumed a missing “not” and moved on. Interesting that different versions have gone out.


  13. 7:26

    Slow to get off the mark – first in was SITCOM. Rather like Vinyl, didn’t really stop and think about the AMPLE clue too much, biffing the answer from scanning ‘statistical’ and ‘sufficient’. SERIAL also bunged in with only a passing notion of any parsing. LOI FRIEND

    Thanks Pedro and Jack

  14. I was a bit slow getting going on this. Even though I thought it was the answer, I wrote out all the letters for the AMBIDEXTERITY anagram to check. I never noticed the problem with AMPLE even though my printout from the club site didn’t have the correction. LOI BASE as it was the last I came back to. There seemed to be a lot of letter deletions, but that’s maybe because I’m not great at “think of a word and remove a letter” type wordplay. Thanks Pedro and Jackkt. 6:30.

  15. DNF in 12:45. I fell into the STREAM, but am pleased to be in good company.

    On the website, using Safari on an iPad, the clue for AMPLE is still missing the “not”.

    Thanks Pedro and Jackt

  16. 19 mins…

    Bang on average for me (I have 6 month stats to share later, if anyone is interested)

    I do the crossword on the printed edition and didn’t have an issue with 11ac, but I share frustrations with those struggling with the apps. Not sure what’s going on, but there seem to be all kinds of different types out there, and they can be quite clunky to use.

    Anyway, after an initial pass of the top half that yielded nothing, I had better luck at the bottom and managed to work my way back up. Main hold up was the NE corner, and the 5dn “Major”/10ac “Jumbo” axis.

    FOI – 19ac “Pious”
    LOI – 10ac “Jumbo”
    COD – 6dn “Timpani”

    Thanks as usual!

  17. 8IT rather than the crossword provided my biggest frustration – no internet in central London (close to Borough Market) was surprising and my pre departure downloading failed. Slowest in the NW and held up by AMPLE where my version of the clue made no sense but I could see where it had gone wrong but generally writing in what you think the setter meant is a recipe for disaster. No time because I resorted to Kindle and that version is untimed but probably pretty similar to my 20m for the DT on the train but with more lag and retyping for missed letters. Enjoyed it though!

  18. I was incredibly slow to start. I put SERIAL in, but then took it back out because I couldn’t parse it (I kicked myself for that during my second pass). As my FOI was in the bottom half of the grid (possibly a first for a QC) I was looking at practically no crossing letters when I began the down clues. I just took AMPLE as an error on the second pass. I have no idea why BASE didn’t jump out and bite me much earlier.

    TIME 6:10

    1. BASE didn’t jump out for me because I was fixated on “centre of operations” meaning AT.

  19. Thanks at least in part to solving on the printed edition, I enjoyed the challenge whiich I found one of the quickest and easiest for some time. AMBIDIEXTERITY was handily defined and quickly entered seeing B and X without looking further att the anagrist. FOI BASE, LOI SLEEP, COD either EYESIGHT or PIOUS. Thanks, Pedro and Jackkt.

  20. The error in the online version at 11ac has now been corrected, apologies.

    1. Mick, I have just refreshed The Times on the ‘new’ app and the ‘not’ is still missing from the clue (10.39am).
      The ‘classic’ app has been complete with ‘not’ since before my earlier post (above).
      Are you using the ‘classic’ version? I thought I was one of the few dinosaurs still wedded to it because of its friendlier layout.

  21. I did the puzzle on the Club site using the Times website on my laptop and the problem with 11a had been corrected, so I avoided any delays over that. I found the puzzle very approachable and went from FOI, SLEEP, to LOI, UNIT in 7:01. Thanks Pedro and Jack.

  22. FOI BASE and LOI SERIAL. Not an easy solve as reflected by my time of 12:56.

  23. A very chewy puzzle. Very few answers on first run through, but gradually some emerged and slowly I got there, with the NW corner last in. I imagine there will be a few DNFs for this.

  24. I too was very slow to start. I read lots of clues before FOI PIOUS.
    After that it was a steady solve-on paper- and I managed to decode everything including AMPLE in 14 minutes. LOI BASE.
    I too had M /ARCH which made me think Scimitar might be wrong (I’d biffed it); but it was a short delay.
    Quite a tough puzzle but all fair unless you had the Ample misprint.

  25. I was so slow to begin with I could see a 15 minute plus looming, but I picked up a little after three or four minutes. In the end I crossed the line in 11.40, but it seemed so much longer and I was pleasantly surprised I had managed it as quickly as that.
    As a paper solver 11ac was correctly clued so no problem there, although I did start to write in the answer to 3ac SCIMITAR with an H after the C until I ran out of room.
    I’m still in a huff after yesterdays display of poor sportsmanship from those Aussie cricketers. They would do well to look how their antipodean neighbours New Zealand conduct themselves on the field of play.

    1. Hard to believe that Carey comes from the same country as Wally Grout (Titmus, ’64)

    2. Re: Bairstow’s dismissal yesterday.
      Embarrassment all round, I would say:
      1. Bairstow – for not ‘playing to the whistle’ (a schoolboy error)
      2. Carey – for taking advantage without prior warning
      3. Cummins – for not withdrawing the appeal
      4. Umpires – for not suggesting (assuming they didn’t, of course) to Cummins that he might consider withdrawing the appeal
      5. Some MCC members – for lack of respect towards the Australian tem and for being bad losers

      1. At the time all of that was going on, I was stuck on the M6 in a tailback for more than seven hours, trying to drive from Scotland, home – a journey that usually takes 7 hours taking more than fifteen! The controversy and TMS kept me sane for a part of the delay!

  26. Not a pleasure – struggled to do only just over half this. Misery. NHO “the very thing” = IT; I too had (M)ARCH; otherwise no excuses. Thanks jackkt for all the lessons I still need to learn…… No problem with AMPLE (remembering Johninterred’s deft solve of “ample” + S = SAMPLE at the meeting last Saturday!) or AMBIDEXTERITY, at least.

  27. I managed to complete this one albeit I did need help with 24a, which was utter gibberish to me until I came here for the parsing.

    I managed to answer AMPLE, but I think it’s because I did not overthink it. I had A-P- –

    I liked 4d.

  28. 9.36

    Interesting bunch of comments with quite a mix of easy and hard views.

    I probably found it on the harder side though it didnt seem at the back end of my normal times when solving

    One obvious delay was that I just couldnt see the anagrist (specifically the b) for AMBIDEXTERITY when it was staring me in the face. Strange crossword blindness

    Thanks Jackkt and Pedro

  29. 5.06. Nice puzzle I thought, but then I do it on paper so did not have a problem with the dodgy clue. COD to JUMBO as it made me smile.

  30. 16 minutes, no problem with the clue for 11a on the iPad app at 11:00. Thanks all.

    1. Which app do you use, Rotter?
      Classic or the ‘new’ app?
      I assume that you use the ‘classic’ because on the ‘new’ version, this is still not fixed at almost midday. John

      1. I use the new app (Times Live) and the clue was fine when I downloaded the edition just before 11:00 am. Maybe there is a cache problem if you downloaded the edition earlier. Try closing the app completely and re-downloading it to see if that fixes the problem.

        1. Thanks for your response, Rotter.
          I closed the app and re-opened it each time earlier but it always omitted the ‘not’
          I just cleared cache on my iPad and went through it again and it still misbehaves.
          Strangely, it manages to include the correct clue on my iPhone.
          I give up! John

  31. A little cheesed off with the clue error (still there in Version 800000.13.1 of the online app). This lead to MEANS which seemed a good shout. MEAN (statistical data) + S, with the definition used as someone with wealth.

    This held up the entire NW corner, and I’m glad I threw in the towel at 20 mins.

  32. One man’s meat etc, I actually found this fairly straightforward, albeit immediately spotting the two long answers was a big help. A pause over Fiend for enthusiast was resolved when Ample left no other option, but apart from that and a tricky loi Un(f)it, it was steady going for a 16min completion. CoD to 6d, Timpani, not Tomtoms ! Invariant

  33. 1D FOI so I thought it was going to be impossible. Unusually for me I did it in one sitting. I was on the mARCH until slashed by the SCIMITAR. Totally amazed at the brain that can deliver AMBIDEXTERITY as an anagram.
    LOI MAJOR/JUMBO I think I was trying to find a way for ELI to sit in judgement.
    NHO bestiary, don’t think it will become part of my lexicon.
    Favs were 13D and 17A
    Thank you Pedro and Jack

  34. Considering some of the times posted by the expert solvers, 27 mins doesn’t seem too bad. FOI was 17ac and thought it was going to be another killer.

    Failed to parse many answers and NHO BESTIARY. Liked 4dn and pleased with myself for realising 12ac couldn’t be STREAM, and then spotting SERIAL (unparsed of course).

    Thanks for the blog Jackkt.

  35. 16 minutes all parsed, which is about average for me. Certainly more straightforward than 4 out of last week’s 5 puzzles. No problems with 11ac as I solve on paper. All in all a good day.

    FOI – 3ac SCIMITAR
    LOI – 8dn FRIEND

    Thanks to Pedro and Jackkt

  36. I thought this was straightforward and fair for a QC. Could not parse AMPLE or SERIAL but they felt right and for once they were.
    I’ve stopped keeping track of times and am just enjoying the challenge of finishing.
    COD 10a JUMBO
    Thanks Pedro and Jackkt.

    1. Enjoyment should be the most important thing, Ian, and the satisfaction of finishing if achieved. I think I understand what motivates the speed merchants but when I read that they bunged in an answer and moved on without checking if the clue parses I can’t help feeling they are missing something. But each to their own and all that! Any solving times that I post include parsing, and if I sometimes fail to understand how a clue works I will always mention it.

  37. None of the first five clues made any sense to me at first, so I thought I was in for a bumpy ride today. However, getting SERIAL (my FOI) and AMBIDEXTERITY (without any checkers) boosted my confidence and I fairly romped through the grid until I had one clue left after just 17 minutes. Unfortunately, that clue (UNIT) seemed like gobbledegook to me and I found the solution only at the end of my second full alphabet trawl. Time = 22 minutes (jolly fast for me), but another SCC escape opportunity goes begging.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Jack.

    1. Still a good time Mr R. This was tricky, so I think you’ve made a good start to the week.

      1. Thankyou, Mr A. I was very pleased with today’s effort, despite the LOI shenanigans.
        Good luck tomorrow!

  38. I found this fairly straightforward. I use the classic app on iPad and had no ‘ample’ error but sympathise with those that did – very frustrating. The only one I struggled with was LOI UNIT which I couldn’t see for ages. Got the two long anagrams early on which really helped. Needed the blog to parse SCIMITAR as hadn’t thought of ‘it’ = ‘the very thing’. Liked BESTIARY. Many thanks all.

  39. 9:58 I was also bamboozled by the parsing of SERIAL but a gentle start to the week otherwise. Thanks to jackkt and Pedro.

  40. Ah, ‘bestiary’ – another word known only from Flanders & Swan… Some tricky stuff here but nothing like last week. LHS fell first and then the SE.
    FOI 11a ample. (iPad/Classic edition)
    LOI 7d roof
    COD 9a cheerio
    Back to some semblance of normality after the second half of last week!

    1. Quite a few computer games have a bestiary of the various enemies that one encounters over the course of the game, which is just as well cos I’d never have got it otherwise.

  41. Took longer than expected, got stuck on loi unit. Some nice clues. cod pious.

  42. 27:13, which is a bit better than average for me (well, anything better than a DNF is better than average for me). After a head-scrambling day of work I started off without much hope, but my brain miraculously threw SCIMITAR and AMBIDEXTERITY at me without much conscious thought on my part. Perhaps I should try solving while drunk.

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