Times Quick Cryptic 2445 by Trelawney – beastly shenanigans

Hi all.  It’s a nice normal Monday in crosswordland.*  Well, that was my experience – yours may differ.

Lots of clues appealed including 9a, 11a, and even 16a.  I also liked 17d, partly just because I like the word, and 19d.  Thanks Trelawney!

* (It’s looking ominously likely to be busier than normal in workland, so I may not be able to return to the blog until late.)

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, specified [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 Competition is a game of golf with hero’s sidekick (5,5)
ROUND ROBIN ROUND (a game of golf) with ROBIN (hero’s sidekick, the hero in question being Batman)
8a Standard article from northern France (6)
NORMAN NORM (standard) + AN (article, of the grammatical kind)
9a Some moan I’m a lawless beast (6)
ANIMAL Some moAN IM A Lawless
10a Crustacean runs inside taxi (4)
CRAB R (runs, cricketing abbreviation) inside CAB (taxi)
11a Almost yearn for leader’s shenanigans (8)
MISCHIEF — All but the last letter of (almost) MISs (yearn for) + CHIEF (leader). ‘S should be decoded as is in the cryptic reading: {wordplay} is {definition}
12a Erica messily eats large dessert (6)
ECLAIR — An anagram of (… messily) ERICA takes in (eats) L (large)
14a Reddish-brown and gold stream (6)
AUBURN AU (gold) + BURN (stream)
16a Dog located outside animal hospital (8)
FOXHOUND FOUND (located) around (outside) OX (animal) and H (hospital)
18a I’m a leader of Muslims (4)
IMAM IM A + the first letter of (leader of) Muslims, &lit
20a Naughty child initially ignores seafood (6)
SCAMPI SCAMP (naughty child) + the first letter of (initially) Ignores
21a Hint to head of espionage — move stealthily (6)
TIPTOE TIP (hint) + TO + the first letter of (head of) Espionage
22a Cheer pilot flying this? (10)
HELICOPTER CHEER PILOT anagrammed (flying).  The definition doesn’t stand in isolation but points back to the rest of the clue: something a pilot may be flying
2d Beginning to object over unfriendly atmosphere (5)
ODOUR — The first letter of (beginning to) Object above (over) DOUR (unfriendly)
3d Man am I biased exhibiting an African country (7)
NAMIBIA — A hidden clue: maN AM I Biased is exhibiting the answer
4d Fled from Middle Eastern land with no leader (3)
RAN — We get the answer from iRAN (Middle eastern land) without its initial letter (with no leader)
5d Military bigshots reportedly prohibited a music group (5,4)
BRASS BAND BRASS (military bigshots, the top brass) + BAND, a homophone of (reportedly) BANNED (prohibited)
6d Heard no noise from a horse (5)
NEIGH — This sounds like (heard) NAY (no)
7d Duke, say, scoffing an Indian cheese (6)
PANEER PEER (duke, say) consuming (scoffing) AN
11d Creature in puma’s lair disturbed (9)
MARSUPIAL — The answer is found in an anagram of (… disturbed) PUMAS LAIR
13d Duck down, right into a piece of furniture (6)
CROUCH R (right) goes into COUCH (a piece of furniture)
15d 90s music piece including Queen and old man (7)
BRITPOP BIT (piece) containing (including) R (Regina: queen) + POP (old man)
17d Carry bench, finally producing exasperated noise (5)
HUMPH HUMP (carry) + the last letter of (… finally) bencH
19d Make amends around lunchtime, perhaps? (5)
ATONE AT ONE (around lunchtime, perhaps)
21d Quirk of brief noise made by a clock (3)
TIC — Without the last letter (brief) TICk (noise made by a clock)

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2445 by Trelawney – beastly shenanigans”

  1. I biffed ROUND ROBIN, never bothered to parse it. I dithered over BRITPOP, taking me past my target time, because I couldn’t see how it worked. Enlightenment came just after I hit the ‘submit’ button. 6:17.

  2. I thought I was in the running for a possible PB until I hit a wall in the SW quadrant and finished in 9.39. CROUCH, HUMPH and FOXHOUND (I think I was saved by this appearing recently in the 15×15) held me up but no real problems and all was fair. Because of its construction (helico = helix, ptera = wing) HELICOPTER is a favourite word of mine.

    On a more serious issue, I hope our friend Coco Shawl is ok. In a blog discussion last week about retsina and ouzo he mentioned he was leaving the next day (July 18) for a week’s holiday on Rhodes. Let’s hope all is well.

    1. That’s very thoughtful of you – yes, let’s hope we get good news soon.

  3. 23:36. Very fortunate to reach the end of this battle- glad I didn’t give up. PANEER and BRITPOP were the last to reveal themselves. HUMPH, FOXHOUND, MISCHIEF, and ODOUR all gave lots of trouble too. Atmosphere as the definition for ODOUR, yearn for MISs, carry for HUMP and unfriendly for DOUR all eluded me for many minutes. My exasperated noise is usually a harrumph but I take it there must be those who merely HUMPH.

    1. I will be taking y/our case up with The Committee. It appears there may have been a mix up in the results as it seems highly unlikely that I genuinely finished in 0.53 CO 🤔

      1. Great result, L-P. (I refuse to get overly concerned until you achieve a lower than .5)!

  4. 10 minutes, delayed a little by my LOI – the unknown PANEER. I may have heard the word before but had no idea of its meaning.

  5. I trotted steadily through this one only to come against the nho PANEER and then MISCHIEF, both of which I successfully parsed, eventually. I still managed to surprise myself by coming in at 13:20 which must be one of my fastest times ever.
    NORMAN, ROUND ROBIN and HELICOPTER were today’s favourites.
    A gratifying start to the week. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  6. Just over the 9 minute mark for a not too difficult start to the week. Like curryowen, ODOUR for ‘atmosphere’ and MIS(S) for ‘yearn for’ (obvious now) stopped me from getting a quick start. I needed the crossers for AUBURN and BRITPOP but the rest went in without too much of a struggle; I even managed to remember PANEER. Favourite was the small but perfectly formed IMAM.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty

  7. A nice gentle start to the week with only our furry friends causing me any hold up – I was trying to think of types of animal for MARSUPIAL and the 1st and 3d letter of LOI FOXHOUND proved briefly elusive. PANEER was vaguely known and sprang to mind once all the checkers were in place.
    Finished in 5.53.
    Thanks to Kitty

  8. Much the same delays as Curryowen, but slower to sort them out, taking me to 30 mins over breakfast. Maybe I can’t think and eat, as nothing was really hard but my brain was definitely running slow. Frustrating, but finished.

  9. 9.06

    Doing anagrams in my head is not a strong point and I had to wrestle the two long ones into submission. “Cheer pilot” must be a chestnut for helicopter (?) but I don’t ever recall seeing it. Nice clue in any event. Also liked BRITPOP

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  10. I thought I was on for a really fast finish with just 5 minutes elapsed as I approached my final two. But Foxhound amd Mischief took more time than the rest of the puzzle put together and the clock finally stopped at 11 minutes. Not sure why those two held me up so much, especially as with all the checkers the first could only end in -hound and the second could only start mis-. Monday morning brainfade…

    That apart, no issues and I even knew the Indian cheese, though a mini-MER at Odour = atmosphere. Not the first (second, third …) meaning that came to mind. I thought the 2 long anagrams Helicopter and Marsupial were especially good – nice surfaces for both too.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  11. A cloudy, hungover, coffee-less, Ashes-less Monday produced 10:06 for 1.7K and a Humph Day. COD to TIPTOE.

    Many thanks Kitty and the Squire.


  12. A good Monday puzzle with a couple of tripwires for me although, after a quick start, I finished only a minute under target (all parsed).
    I took a minute to see PANEER but filling in the final R didn’t help with 14a as much as it should have done. I was strangely fixated on AmBeR_ for too long.
    Some enjoyable PDMs.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty. John M.

  13. 10:51 (birth of Edgar Ætheling)

    Easy start, then struggled over 11d and 11a. I had to write out the anagram before seeing MARSUPIAL, and did not equate miss with yearn.

  14. I enjoyed this offering from Trelawney, although several took longer than I would have hoped. 17:35 for another escape from the SCC. FOI ROUND ROBIN, LOI FOXHOUND, which I got fairly quickly but took ages to parse. Thought I would struggle with the Indian cheese but once the R was there, it came back to me. Didn’t parse BRITPOP but it had to be so thanks for the explanation, Kitty.

  15. Most of this went in without too much trouble, but I had drifted into the SCC by the time I was down to the hold-outs: Paneer (nho), Mischief and Foxhound. Changing (Brass) Hats to Band made the dog somewhat more obvious, and Paneer went in on word play alone, leaving Mischief to a head-slap pdm. Overall, a slow start to the week, with CoD to 1ac Round Robin (. . .nothing to do with Leander, then). Invariant

  16. I seem to have been the exception this morning, going over target at 15.30. I was slowest with my last two in, NORMAN and ODOUR, but also slow to see BRITPOP and FOXHOUND. I vaguely remembered PANEER after constructing it from the wordplay. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  17. 13 mins…

    Nice start to the week. NHO of “Paneer” but it was obtainable. Resisted the temptation to bung in Ozone for 2dn.

    FOI – 1ac “Round Robin”
    LOI – 7dn “Paneer”
    COD – 16ac “Foxhound”

    Thanks as usual!

  18. In spite of being held up on the SW corner, i enjoyed this in fast time. .Probably on form, as MARSUPIAL came to mind immediately, whereas I have sometimes needed to write out the letters and struggle for shorter anagrams . FOI NORMAN, LOI HUMPH, COD HELICOPTER, LOD MISCHIEF. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  19. Like others, I was heading for a very quick time until arriving at the sw corner. MARSUPIAL FOXHOUND and CROUCH held me up for about three minutes, but I still managed to finish well under target at 7.53. I’d no idea what BRITPOP represents but I knew the word, and in spite of sampling just about every cheese I’ve ever come across, PANEER was new to me.

    1. PANEER isn’t worth trying – it’s very bland, and in Indian cuisine it’s more of a thickener than a flavouring.

      1. I really must challenge your opinion!
        A muttar paneer or a paneer masala is an essential accessory to any delivered curry and a measure in my book to the quality of the chef.
        Paneer is now sold by Tesco and Sainsbury and is a good meat substitute preferable to Quorn.
        I would recommend it! Give it a try.

        1. Muttar paneer and sag paneer are delicious. The much missed Kastoori in Tooting did an excellent version of both.

  20. Soooo close with 20:05 on the clock.
    That could have been my 4th exit from the Club, but for a stupid mistake entering DACHSUND for the dog, which meant CROUCH wasn’t visible. I then spotted I had missed the 2nd H from DACHSHUND (doh!), whereupon CROUCH appeared, followed by FOXHOUND.
    I have now, charitably, forgiven myself after a bout of severe self-admonition (a few cross words were uttered).

  21. Frustrating day.

    Well on the way to escaping SCC but held up by HUMPH and FOXHOUND. Totally deceived by latter for a time, thinking I was looking for a 3 letter animal located inside Hound and meaning hospital. A very hard clue in my opinion.

    23 mins – humph!

    Off to Northumberland later today for a couple of days walking at Bamburgh.

    PS Solved Quintagram very quickly so humphing has now ceased

  22. Slowish but within target at just under 20 minutes. I was slow to see MISCHIEF, ATONE and BRITPOP and took an age over FOXHOUND (looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition and thought hound went round the outside!). A most enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.

    FOI – 9ac ANIMAL
    LOI – 19dn ATONE
    COD – 5dn BRASS BAND. Also liked HELICOPTER and ATONE

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty

  23. A good start to the QC week. FOI RAN which then gave me ROUND ROBIN. I thought of BRITPOP but couldn’t see the parsing so I moved on. LOsI were the unknown PANEER followed by MISCHIEF in 7:57.

  24. NHO PANEER, but the wordplay was kind. ROUND ROBIN was biffed after first 2 in, RAN and BRASS BAND. MARSUPIAL was LOI. 7:47. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  25. Enjoyed this especially as PB of 14 minutes. Steady solve. Especially liked helicopter.

  26. Enjoyed this one. LOI ATONE was my favourite. Elsewhere slight hold-ups in SW, notably FOXHOUND which I biffed early but took a while to parse. No problems with PANEER, with saag paneer (spinach and cheese) a regular side dish on our takeaway curry order 😋
    Thanks Kitty and Trelawney.

  27. Just under six minutes, so a bit longer than usual.

    Held up by mischief and foxhound for some reason, but all good and fair stuff. Thank you Kitty and Setter.

  28. On the 11:03 from Paddington

    I TIPTOED round the grid. No NHOs for me today.

    LOI CROUCH great misdirection, thought I was looking for another crosswordland bird.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

    Just passed Reading so still time to have a go at the 15 x 15 today. I completed it for the first time ever last Monday.

    1. Well done! I’ve only ever completed it twice unaided (quite some time ago now). You’ve inspired me to try and attempt it a bit more regularly 😃

    2. Congrats on last week’s success. I hope you’re getting on ok with today’s biggie – I thought it was rather a mixed bag, with some easy ones and some difficult anagrams. But it was 1a and 1d that did for me!

  29. Nothing here to frighten the horses. I was never in a “Blur” with BRITPOP, and was well acquainted with the cheese.

    TIME 3:08

  30. 7.49 Mostly straightforward with MARSUPIAL, MISCHIEF, CROUCH and FOXHOUND bringing up the rear. Thanks to Kitty and Trelawney.

  31. 9:30. I thought this quite an entertaining crossword, with a few ticks and smiles along the way. ROUND ROBIN confused me a bit, as I always think of it as a letter to a group, like the Christmas ones we get most years (and send out too, in all fairness!)
    I liked the surfaces for MISCHIEF, IMAM and HUMPH, although the last time I helped carry a sofa, I lived with the consequences (a damaged shoulder) for some years! Now I let everyone else do the heavy lifting. Humph and indeed ooow would be about right 😅 PANEER and pea curry – yum.
    FOI Norman LOI Crouch COD Helicopter
    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

    Rather pleased to see our local river used in a clue in the biggie today, which was OK but I got very bogged down by my last two in.

  32. 12:36 – Trelawney solidifying himself as my (current) favourite setter – 4th fastest time of the year #1 & #2 also set by him. I’m assuming T-is-he.

    Didn’t actually have a lot on first pass – although I deliberately left the anagrams of ECLAIR, MARSUPIAL as well as ROUND-ROBIN and NAMIBIA (missed the hidden, biffed it as anagram) among others.

    COD to FOXHOUND – very cleverly constructed with the located=found. HUMPH a close second just for a great word. Needed blog to understand first part of BRITPOP.

    CROUCH held me up as was trying to remember eider so got misled there. Liked others ended up stuck with MISCHIEF, AUBURN, PANEER (LOI). Was trying to get an I in there thinking of phonetic alphabet but now realise that’s India whereas the clue is Indian.

    Pleased with that because it never felt like it was going in fast. I did have to do some thinking along the way and yet a combination of generous and clever clueing resulted in a decent time 👍

    1. Great time #50. I also biffed NAMIBIA as an anagram and only saw the hidden from the blog.

      1. Thanks #5 – agree with your comments – I’d forgotten how much I liked NEIGH and ATONE when they went in. I really need to ingrain the latter = making amends as it comes up from time to time.

        1. Thanks GACO or is it COGA 🤔

          GA – Enjoy Bamburgh. I flew the CQ as well – 1min47 – I don’t keep records but that’s about as fast as I can remember doing. Usually at least one bit of touchscreening on the crappy interface that has to be undone, but not today.

          CO – The Committee have informed me that the results will stand. Fear not though, I feel you are safe from <0.5 for a long time yet. There just aren't enough Trelawneys …

    2. That’s less than 2 kitties (I was 6:21) – you may have to switch back to the P-Plates!

      Yes, ATONE does come up from time to time: every day at an hour after 12 🙂

  33. Very nice puzzle helped possibly by an early morning swim to waken the brain.
    Stuck for a while in the SW trying to make an anagram out of childi before SCAMPI revealed itself.
    Particularly liked NEIGH, IMAM and ATONE.
    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  34. C.10mins.

    Are odour and atmosphere synonyms?

    Like some above I’ve been know harrumph. Not sure I’ve ever humphed.

    Thanks Trelawny – some lovely clues and words here – and Kitty for the fine blog

    1. I think odour and atmosphere can be synonyms, albeit not very often. “There’s an odour/air of corruption about x.”

      I “humph” on occasions (eg when solving barred puzzles over Zoom), sometimes lengthening it to “Humphrey!”

      1. Im sure dictionaries may have it as a direct synonym but it still doesn’t sit quite right with me. Your example is a fair one but for me still has odour and atmosphere at two degrees of separation with air as the link. I won’t lose sleep over it!

        I shall consider Humphreying in the future!

  35. With the school holidays upon us, I hope to be here a bit more frequently and this was a nice way to start. Slightly held up by MISCHIEF, ODOUR and LOI FOXHOUND, but still stopped the watch on 11:53 for my 3rd fastest of the year and 14th fastest ever. COD to BRASS BAND. I think I’ll now have a go at the biggie. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  36. I didn’t finish. Crouch foxed me. Was slow anyway because I thought 1 was short round, assuming that might be a good term for golf and is for sure the name of Indiana Jones’s sidekick in the Temple of Doom. I knew it was a bit weird. But I stuck with it until I could no longer do so….

  37. Rattled along at a furious pace at the crack of dawn to finish well under my usual 20 minute par. Must have been the inspiration of yesterday’s Open held in miserable rain. Hats off to participants who appeared immune to horizontal rain throughout the day. Sad that our cricketers were altogether less fortunate.
    Thanks Trelawny and Kitty

  38. All done in 8:54, quick for me. Both NEIGH and ATONE got smiles from me.

    On a separate note: am I alone in not having the usual “Crossword Club” link on the “Puzzles” page of the Times iPhone app today? I’ve tried logging out of the app and back in.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

  39. 1645 English Civil War – Battle of Naseby

    Well, I found this much harder than average. Never really got going, and LOI MISCHIEF. 15×15 done and dusted first, though.

    So that’s what PANEER is, I’ve eaten it many times, thought it was some kind of Tofu.


  40. Got held up in the SW with the crossing FOXHOUND/HUMPH. No trouble with (matar/saag) PANEER. Still took 10 minutes – so not a sprint.

  41. Pretty straightforward for me, even jabbing at a phone screen in the Canarian sunshine, which is much cooler than parts Mediterranean.

    Surprised that many haven’t heard of paneer. Maybe the cooking of the subcontinent is not as well known as I thought.


  42. Everything just seemed to fall into place for me today. My LOI (MISCHIEF) delayed me a little, but I still finished in 15 minutes – extremely fast for me and what I would call a genuine QC. No unknown words, no obscure GK, straightforward parsing, etc. A heartening start to the new week.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

  43. 20:58, a new PB! A fair chunk of it was scratching my head over FOXHOUND and HUMPH but I got there in the end.

    Perhaps one day I shall achieve the dizzying heights of < 20 minutes.

    1. Thank you both! I think my home is in the SCC but I’m OK with that, and I’m still slowly improving. It really is a marvellous hobby – a very pleasant string of little dopamine hits. I only wish I’d bothered to figure out the basics earlier, but life is too short for regrets.

      I must say that this is a very warm and encouraging community, and thank you to everyone for making it such a pleasant place (and for your patience with my daft questions).

  44. Struggled with FOXHOUND, MISCHIEF and PANEER, but the rest quite straightforward.

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