Times Quick Cryptic 2450 by Jalna


I needed the full 10 minutes of my target time for this one as I managed to misread the clue at 17ac and wrote IDOL as the answer. This gave me problems with 18dn until I realised by error.

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 Wine distributors invent fantastic rosé every now and then (8)
Anagram [fantastic] of INVENT followed by R{o}S{é} [every now and then]
6 Lots of artics carrying furniture (4)
Hidden in [carrying] {lot}S OF A{rtics}
8 Handle covered with last drops of some eggshell paint (6)
NAME (handle) contained by [covered with] {som}E + {eggshel}L [last drops of…]
9 Where you may see England and Australia declare (6)
AT TEST. The cryptic hint requires a space inserted.
10 A Republican linked to each district (4)
A, R (Republican), EA (each)
11 Companion boarding earlier sailing vessel (8)
CH (Companion of Honour) contained by [boarding] SOONER (earlier)
12 Gizmo requires light cleaning at the back (5)
THIN (light), {cleanin}G [at the back]
13 Books about a certain musical ensemble (5)
NT (books – New Testament) containing [about] ONE (a certain)
15 A learner had to acquire vehicle with plenty of options? (1,2,5)
A, L (learner), ATE (had) containing [to acquire] CAR (vehicle)
17 Revered person picked up for doing nothing (4)
Sounds like [picked up] “idol” (revered person)
19 Underling working next to car (6)
MINI (car), ON (working)
20 Father has puzzled looks (6)
FR (father), OWNS (has)
21 Border of grass trimmed at the front (4)
{s}EDGE (grass) [trimmed at the front]
22 New pet dog is fatter than the rest (8)
Anagram [new] of PET DOG IS
2 Intimate meal with no starter (5)
{d}INNER (meal) [with no starter]
3 Drums of paint I’m mixing (7)
Anagram [mixing] of PAINT I’M. Kettledrums.
4 Fish in Eastern European lake (3)
E (Eastern), E (European), L (lake)
5 Big transformation of a hen’s cage, possibly (3,6)
Anagram [possibly] of A HEN’S CAGE
6 Ready for fight (3-2)
SET TO (ready for). The hyphen disappears for the alternative reading.
7 Football group’s trial is the least time-consuming (7)
FA’S (football group’s – Football Association’s), TEST (trial)
11 Green veg and Italian sauces served up without warning (5,4)
RAGUS [Italian sauces] reversed [served up], SNAP (without warning). Chambers allows  the abbreviation of ‘sugar snap pea’.
12 Teams initially joined forces, that’s agreed (7)
T{eams} [initially], ALLIED [joined forces]
14 A robin flying over one city (7)
Anagram [flying] of A ROBIN, then I (one)
16 Rate elements of each idea (5)
Hidden in [elements of] {ea}CH IDE{a}. SOED: rate – chide, scold, reprove angrily.
18 Large signs for golf course (5)
L (large), INKS (signs). ‘Ink’ meaning ‘sign’ seems to be an Americanism.
20 Take time away from flipping stupid craze (3)
DAF{t} (stupid) [take time away] reversed [flipping]

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2450 by Jalna”

  1. Biffed VINTNERS from checkers, never parsed. ATTEST was slow in coming, but SOFA, surprisingly (and irritatingly) was my LOI. 6:51.
    Today’s main puzzle has an extremely low SNITCH rating; might be worth having a go at it.

    1. Thank you Kevin for the tip off. I did give it a try and was rewarded with my fastest time on the 15×15 by a country mile – 14½ minutes against a previous PB around 23 minutes (and very few completions under ½ hour). Indeed fully 10% of my QC finishes have taken me longer.

  2. 15:15 Knew of sugar peas and snap peas so the jump to SUGAR SNAP seemed possible. It took me a good while to parse. MINION took longer than it should because I had trouble seeing the car to go before ON. COD to PODGIEST.

  3. 1048 The city of Oslo is founded by King Harald III (Hardrada) of Norway

    Steady solve, nothing too challenging. Thought the “hidden” at 6a was SCAR, for some obscure furniture class.

    Agree that the 15×15 is pretty OK if you are a confident biffer.


  4. Just over 12 minutes. To add to what others have said, I found this more difficult than today’s 15×15. I’d forgotten SUGAR SNAP peas and spent an unreasonably long time frowning at FROWNS among a few others that needed crossers or a second look. I presume the AT REST in the the far right column of unchecked letters is serendipitous.

    I liked our round ‘New pet dog’ best.

    Thanks to Jalna and Jack

  5. It’s strange how different people tune into different puzzles. I found this very easy and came in all green in 12:55, which is light speed for me.
    I didn’t understand CHIDE as ‘rate’ – (‘berate’? yes) – but it had to be. Otherwise I particularly liked SUGAR SNAP and SCHOONER. TIMPANI we’ve had recently, I remember, as it prompted some comment in here.
    Thank you Jalna and Jack for a satisfying start to the week, even if I do feel a little short-changed by not needing much time to chew things over. (There’s just no pleasing some people! Indeed, Stephen, the cat, is quite miffed that he only got 12 minutes curled up next to me rather than the normal 20+.)

  6. A good Monday puzzle* and completed in 8 minutes with no real hold-ups. Rate = Chide caused me a minor hesitation, but compared to some links we have seen it is pretty rock solid. Set to meaning “ready for” also needed a second look as I tried without much success to think of a sentence in which they were interchangeable, but given the checkers the answer was clear.

    * Is it statistally true or an urban myth that Monday puzzles are often easier than average (and Fridays harder)?

    Many thanks Jack for the blog

    1. The Snitch analysis would support this hypothesis for the 15×15. No Snitch has been constructed for the QC.

    2. Given that there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the QC setters’ rota, the relative easiness of puzzles may be that little bit harder to confirm without a Snitch-style tool…?

  7. Spent a while wondering why Hedge was acceptable as a kind of grass which took me to 21.20 to rush to my usual corner seat. Didn’t stress too much over SUGAR SNAP which I like but failed to grow. Would have preferred a 12 letter clue to squeeze in PEA.
    Thanks Jalna and Jackkt.
    May have a tilt at the grown up puzzle later.

  8. Strange solve with the top half going in at a gallop then had a 3 minute brainfreeze as I stared blankly at the bottom half before THING and SUGAR SNAP put my brain back into gear and I resumed my previous pace. A case of more haste less speed as the pressure of a potential sub-5 minute solve appeared on the cards.
    Crossed the line in 7.55 with COD to PODGIEST.
    Thanks to Jack and Jalna

  9. 27:55 – most of it flew in, the six in the NW in under a minute. But 15mins of crickets in SE – undone by Jalna’s misdirections/wordplay and NHO SUGAR-SNAP or even realising that I was looking for a vegetable rather an unexpected occurrence 🤷‍♂️

    July stats coming in with 14/21 success, six of the failures corrected and one quit. Take out the two Izetti’s this month and everything was under 35mins apart from a Pedro. About 22mins avg time without the Izetti’s. Median time of 20:48. Two silly errors this month, three impatients and a couple of couldn’t do’s.

    As for my QC bingo card this year, I have ten numbers left to get … 01, 03, 04, 07, 08, 13, 14, 18, 27, 47.

    1. Can you explain the bingo card? Is this the number of seconds on the clock when you submit?

      1. That’s it, Merlin. So I would have crossed off 55 and you would cross off 48. A little bit of a side attraction and, like the Panini sticker albums of my youth, the last few are the hardest to get!

        1. Loved those albums as a kid. I suspect they always kept a few stickers back so you had to send off for them to complete the album.

          1. My theory was that certain cards were more prevalent in certain areas. I’m sure I remember going to see my cousin and they had loads of the one which was rare around our area! I’ve always wondered how they randomised the packing of the cards.

            My first album was Italia Euro ;80. I also got the Spain ’82 and Football League ones 81-85. I’m sure I have at least one with Paul Sturrock in! There were a few other randoms like Return of the Jedi and Dangermouse. I’ve still got them all upstairs. But our school’s collecting fad ended somewhere around 1983-84. I did make a nostalgia collection of Euro ’96 😁

            1. Interesting theory, never thought of that one.

              I began with the 1977-78 season if memory serves me correct.
              Paul S would have been a Dundee U regular from about that time until late 1980s, if not a bit longer.

              My favourites were the shiny stickers with the club badges.

              I kept going until mid-1980s at a guess, but it was good fun while it lasted.

          2. Just had a quick look through and …

            Football ’81 – the whole Dundee Utd team … Jim McLean, Hamish McAlpine 🤣 Iain Phillip, Frank Kopel, Derek Stark, David Narey, Paul Hegarty, Eamonn Bannon, Graeme Payne, Derek Addison, Willie Pettigrew, Paul Sturrock

            Football ’82 – Jim Mclean got his own stick while Hamish McAlpine 🤣 shared one with John Holt as did Eamonn Bannon / Paul Sturrock

            Football ’83 – got the D.UF.C. badge formed in 1910. Individual stickers for Ian Britton, David Dodds.

            Football ’84 – just Jim McLean and Hamish McAlpine 🤣

            That was the last album I did and there’s barely any stickers in it

            1. What a team. We won the League Cup back to back in 1980 and 81, although the best season was 82-83, when we won the League.

              Hamish M was quite the character. He was a scratch golfer and, for a while, our penalty taker. I’d forgotten about Ian Britton, but he was a bit part player at best.

              I’d also forgotten about shared stickers. They wouldn’t have dared to do that to Jim McLean, who made Alex Ferguson look like the model of calm and patience.

              Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories for me.

              1. Fantastic – I love when I look back through these tattered albums. So many old faces who later became managers – I saw Jon Gregory (Villa?) and Steve Coppel just now. And AlexF looking youthful on the Aberdeen page along with wee Gordon Strachan.

                You won’t believe it but … Jim and Hamish got a half sticker each in ’84 but you had to cut them down the middle so they were still separates just half sized.

                Everybody loved the badges and they always pulled in higher trade value in swapsies. In the Euro and WC albums, I loved all the stadia pictures and mascots and foreign language translations which meant nothing to me!

                1. How dare they give Jim only half a sticker! 🤣🤣

                  He had various nicknames and sobriquets, my favourite being ‘The Terror of Tannadice’.

                  How well I remember Alex F at Aberdeen. But for them, Dundee U might have won a lot more. Think I’m right in saying that Aberdeen’s 1985 League triumph was the last time it wasn’t won by the Old Firm.

                  Happy days, when the big boys didn’t have it all their own way.

  10. A good Monday outing. I finished a minute under target but it seemed quicker.
    Nothing to add to the comments above.
    Thanks, Jalna and to jackkt for refinement of some of my hurried parsing. John M.

  11. 6.03

    Nice one. Liked ATTEST though worried by what might transpire today.

    Thanks Jalna and Jackkt

    1. The Oval is in between my home and my office. It was drizzling when I left home this morning, and looking out of the window now, there is a lot of cloud cover. I don’t think it will be easy batting today. In fact, looking at over by over, I see they have lost 2 early wickets!

  12. 16:32
    Jack, I did exactly the same as you: put in idol. Then I spent 10 mins trying to find a golf course starting with O … Saw my error in the end.
    Great blog, thanks.

  13. A gentle Monday puzzle. SCHOONER appeared somewhere else recently, which helped. Does NONET come up more often in crosswords than concert programmes, I wonder? Thanks Jalna and Jackkt. 4:04. PS I too recommend today’s 15×15 for QCers -it took me less than twice my time for this.

    1. I believe we’ve been asked not to comment on prize puzzles before their solutions are available.

    2. SCHOONER came up in Friday’s QC … clued something like “Ship initially comes hastily in earlier ”

      Edit: it was “Ship catching halibut originally coming in earlier (8)”

  14. 10:25 (Constantine VIII becomes Byzantine Emperor)

    On first pass I only got two of the across clues, and thought this was going to be a very hard QC, but it all became easier with the down clues.

    COD to ATTEST – the questions about when Stokes should or shouldn’t have declared will be discussed endlessly.

    Thanks Jalna and Jack

  15. Speedy solve as I biffed almost every answer correctly at once, but had to go back and check the parsing. Still missed hidden SOFA but it had to be!
    Liked ATTEST, MINION. Glad for anagram NAIROBI as a little slower in SE.
    Thanks for heads-up re 15×15 and Jumbo. There was me thinking I wd not have to waste any more time on crosswords today.
    Thanks for blog, Jack, as I could not parse eg SUGAR SNAP and ENAMEL.

  16. 18 mins…

    Thought I was on for a quick completion, having done the majority of the grid in 9 mins, but then came unstuck in the SW corner where I had a bit of a mind block on 15ac “A La Carte”, 12dn “Tallied” and 19ac “Minion”. Also, I initially put in the wrong “idle” for 17ac which didn’t help with the golf course.

    Overall though, a nice start to the week.

    FOI – 1ac “Vintners”
    LOI – 12dn “Tallied”
    COD – 9ac “Attest” – purely for its current relevance.

    Thanks as usual!

  17. 0845 to Exeter

    Like others NE corner went in first, SW last.

    Enjoyed the misdirection at 8A when I assumed some technical name for eggshell paint, also at 14D where I expected an obscure crosswordland bird.

    Fortunately my cricketing knowledge held up for ATTEST.

    Loving cooking SUGAR SNAP was a write in.


    Thanks for the recs for the Jumbo and 15 x 15.

    Thanks Jalna and Jack

  18. I was very slow in the SW corner and finished over target with EDGE and CHIDE in 12:28 only to find that I had not checked the anagram fodder for PODGIEST. I had pudgiest.

  19. Darn and blast! So close! I was just opening the exit door to the club, and had one foot out before the barman escorted me back to my chair. A good Monday workout for me though I entered some answers without understanding why. Like FAD. And INNER feels a bit tenuous. Anyway, thanks J and J.

    1. That is extraordinary. Not just same answer but with the same clue number!

      It is not as if it is that common a word outside crosswordland either. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one perform live.

  20. Another IDOL here, eventually finding the golf course and realising the error. Also wondered how a hEDGE could be considered grass and a double take with CHIDE and rate. Having said all that, a green finish in 17:47 so no complaints. I didn’t manage to parse FAD so thanks Jack and thanks to Jalna.

  21. Yet another who initially put IDOL in, and I don’t think I’ll be the last! Solving LINKS of course put me back on the fairway, and the rest was completed without too much trouble. My time was just within target at 9.45 and my thanks to Jalna for a nice puzzle.

  22. 12 minutes for a good start to the week, and I’ll look at the 15 x 15 later. I also spotted AT REST in the last column and wondered about it, but as BR suggests above, it is probably nothing more than a fluke. Thanks both.

  23. 6:33

    SUGAR SNAP failed to jump out from the cryptic so went with the definition and three checkers. Wanted to enter PORKIEST initially for 22a but was a few letters short…

    Thanks Jalna and Jack

  24. A gentle start to the week. From VINTNERS to SUGAR SNAP in 7:26. Thanks Jalna and Jack.

  25. 7 minutes with no hold-ups, just the SW left-then the cricket started.
    But I got very held up by SUGAR SNAP and never managed to parse THING.
    Wasn’t sure about CHIDE.
    So overall quite a test for me. No exact time but plenty of minutes.
    Now back to the cricket -two wickets down!

  26. No problem with the SUGAR SNAP missing its PEAS.
    Couldn’t parse A LA CARTE, so thanks for that. Must remember ate=had occasionally.
    But don’t see the definition part of AT TEST, to attest is to give evidence or opinion to a matter, nothing to do with where or seeing. Am I missing something?

    1. ATTEST = declare. Where you might see Eng Vs Aus = at test e.g. at the Oval right now.

  27. Not much difficulty for me today, though CHIDE =RATE confused me. But with the letters already present it was the only word I could see.

    Never heard of SEA CHANGE.

    1. Ariel, in “The Tempest”:
      “Full fathom five thy father lies,
      Of his bones are coral made,
      Those are pearls that were his eyes,
      Nothing of him that doth fade,
      But doth suffer a sea change,
      into something rich and strange,

  28. No probs, though some of the clues “felt” tricky, though I saw the answers relatively quickly. Wavelength I guess.

    I don’t recall my LOI. Liked ATTEST.


  29. Stupidly, I took you lot at your word, thinking the 15×15 today would be a breeze.
    2h15 later, I have just completed it. I agree that the GK is accessible, but the clueing is tricky. Never again. I’ll stick to my knitting, thank you very much.

    1. Well done on completing it in 2hr15 even 👍

      I will try the 15×15 later but I have tried some of the low 60s Snitches (even a 59) and done worse on them than on those score in 70s and 80s.

      That said, the blog title and someone above did say it’s a biffer’s paradise i.e. the clue may not be helpful.

      Edit: I came in at 53:42 albeit a slight dissatisfaction as a comment above got me over a hump and the last 5-6 went in quickly after that. I like these things to be all my own work. Second ever successful solve. Must admit I biffed quite a few.

    2. True, you lost a sizeable portion of your waking hours and probably suffered much mental exhaustion and frustration- but still…you FINISHED it!

    3. Well done, you finished.

      I have never had the courage (or the time 🤣) to attempt the big one.

  30. 12.20 Not quick but no big hold ups either. I failed to parse THING but it couldn’t have been anything else. LOI FROWNS. A nice puzzle. Thanks to jackkt and Jalna.

  31. 8’11” and enjoyed SUGAR SNAP & (LOI) PODGIEST.

    Thanks Jalna and Jackkt

  32. Fairly gentle although held up at the end by SUGAR SNAP, A LA CARTE and LOI TALLIED. Paused over chide = rate, and hadn’t spotted the hidden for SOFA. LOI VINTNERS. Liked FROWNS and PODGIEST. Will try the 15×15 later on. Thanks Jack and Jalna.

  33. Whoosh! 5:59 for a breathless, and somewhat stunning sub-K. No idea how that happened – well, all the vocab was familiar and it all just clicked together. Phew! Now on to the biggie.

  34. Slowish in the SE but everything else ok. Finished in 17 minutes with a couple not parsed. Managed not to go down the ‘idol’ route but only because I never thought of it (and consequently couldn’t parse IDLE).

    FOI – 8ac ENAMEL
    LOI – 20dn FAD
    COD – 10ac AREA for the surface.

  35. Had to comment re 1 ac. Great clue, but then I would say that wouldn’t I?
    I also liked A LA CARTE. Jack, I nearly fell into the same trap at 17 but luckily took the right road. Very enjoyable. 8.49. Thanks Jack and setter.

  36. All done in 15:02, a shade over target. Like others, I was puzzled how “hedge” could be grass, and was all set to come here and harrumph until the blog reminded me of the existence of sedge grass. Liked ATTEST as particularly timely today.
    Thanks to Jalna & Jackkt.

  37. Greetings from a soggy Stranraer. Managed 13 miles this morning before the rain started, but now bucketing it down. ☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️

    As I’m on holiday, I am having a break from the tyranny of the clock and just enjoying the solve.

    I found this a mix of the straightforward and the tricky. Only dimly aware of SUGAR SNAP and NONET, and a few others were hard to parse.

    Great fun overall.

    Many thanks for the blog, excellent as always.

    PS Never heard of sedge, so just looked it up. You live and learn!

    1. Well done GA. Think you will profit from a few days away from the timer 👍

      1. You’re right. I felt much more chilled doing it today. There were some tough ones to tease out, but I truly appreciated the skill of the setter.

  38. 22:15, edging slowly towards sub-twenty-minute territory. I’m mostly just pleased to have finished it after Friday’s shocker.

    Thank you jackkt!

  39. 7:36. I think I might be getting onto Jalna’s wavelength at last – hope I’m not tempting fate here and have a horror show next time! This definitely seemed to flow more smoothly for me and I parsed as I went along..
    I did this hours ago, so can’t remember much about the solve, but I did put a tick next to 20d. Take time away from this pastime – I don’t think so! It isn’t a craze or a FAD, is it 😅
    I did particularly like the surface for 22 a – our daughter (who made an appearance in the biggie today) and her two dogs have been staying with us over the weekend. One of them is rather fits the definition!
    FOI Sofa LOI Chide (I was another who didn’t really see rate as chide) COD Podgier
    Thanks Jalna and Jack

    I did the biggie in under 20 minutes today, and again parsed as I went along – no biffing!

  40. Blimey. I found this too hard and caded a DNF, defeated by SW corner. Just couldn’t work 12d 15a or 16d. Must be the sun here in France. Hope for better tomorrow, if I get the time.

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