Times Quick Cryptic 2460 by Mara


Solving time: 8 minutes. Nothing too tricky here for me but I had to look several times at 7dn where the answer seemed obvious on first reading but the parsing didn’t become apparent until later.

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 See lids flipped over (4)
TOPS (lids) reversed [flipped over]
4 Computer file maybe not working, boy saves nothing (8)
DOWN  (not working), LAD (boy) contains [saves] 0 (nothing)
8 Dig near a wild shrub (8)
Anagram [wild] of DIG NEAR A
9 Pole to prosper (4)
Two meanings
10 Train line going the wrong way — one’s not to be trusted (4)
RAIL (train line) reversed [going the wrong way]
11 Poor, lean suspect released conditionally (2,6)
Anagram [suspect] of POOR LEAN
12 Relic oddly missed in dry capital city (6)
{e}E{l}I{c} [oddly missed] contained by [in] BRUT (dry)
14 Good heavens, I don’t come cheap! (4,2)
A literal plus a cryptic hint
16 Start when industrial action finished (6,2)
STRIKE (industrial action), UP (finished)
18 Some tub at home? (4)
Hidden in [some] {tu}B AT H{ome}
19 Something like worm   food (4)
Double definition
20 Musician changed into rags (8)
Anagram [changed] of INTO RAGS
22 Who needs mince to cook Chinese dish? (4,4)
Anagram [cook] of WHO MINCE
23 Half a dozen deliveries finished (4)
A literal preceded by a hint relating to cricket
2 Sweet pile ran out (7)
Anagram [out] of PILE RAN
3 House party, right after Tuesday (5)
TU (Tuesday), DO (party), R (right). A royal house in this instance.
4 Deafening, irritating noise, first of all? (3)
D{eafening}+ I{rritating} + N{noise} [first of all]
5 Finished — as gift may be? (7,2)
Another literal with a cryptic hint
6 Country where I live in shabby lair (7)
I + BE (live) contained by [in] anagram [shabby] of LAIR
7 A figure lost in Bikini, say (5)
A, TOLL (figure lost as in ‘death toll’)
11 Exact resting place for spectacles (2,3,4)
Another literal with a cryptic hint
13 Arch of colours from artist in front of ship (7)
RA (artist), IN, BOW (front of ship)
15 Difficult times, as painter (7)
Anagram [difficult] of TIMES AS
17 Lighter part of Merlot or Chablis (5)
Hidden in [part of] {Merlo}T OR CH{ablis}
18 Trash location and leave house (5)
BIN (trash location), GO (leave). ‘House’ and ‘Bingo’ are calls made in a game of Bingo to indicate that a player has completed a winning line of numbers
21 Benefit, refusing a drink (3)
G{a}IN (benefit) [refusing ‘a’]

89 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2460 by Mara”

  1. 17:16. ATOLL came to mind quickly but I couldn’t parse it. The blog explanation puzzled me at first too but I get it now. DOWNLOAD was slow for me also because I kept thinking DOS was involved. The rest were pretty straightforward but my brain seemed rusty after the two day break.

  2. I thought I might be going for a speed solve too, but slowed in the NW with TUDOR and LIAR holding me up and GARDENIA my LOI. I think when I see the word ‘shrub’, ‘plant’ etc I’m mentally defeated before I even start, there are so many of them. The fact that there’s a gardenia right outside my window didn’t make it any easier. Ended up with 7.24 which I’m happy with. Thanks jackkt for explaining ATOLL which I bunged in so instinctively that I didn’t realise it wasn’t parsed.

  3. A gentle start to the week for me coming in all green at 16 minutes. Anagrams were quite straightforward, although GARDENIA took a little while, and there were no real traps to negotiate. LOI BOOM.
    Thank you Mara and Jackkt.

  4. Gentle going, although I never parse ATOLL.
    Started with SPOT and FINISHED with BOOM in 5.36.
    Thanks to Jack

  5. Lovely anagrams and I liked the ‘who needs mince to cook…’ Thanks Mara and jackkt.

    May I suggest the 15 x 15 is worth a shot today?

    1. Most definitely worth a go. And The Guardian 15×15 was not very challenging either so I’m finished with solving early today and can get back to my book.

      1. You were wise not to fall for the trap, Snail. I did and spent three quarters of an hour (with a few not unwelcome interruptions). I managed to get some pleasure out of it but there were some MERs from me (both major & minor), not least an obscure dialect at 17d which was the only barrier to my completion. John

        1. 😂 Well done for trying, though.

          Edit: Purely out of curiosity, I had a look at the blog for the 15×15. Although most of the GK is okay (but NHO the Latvian one), the obscurity of the clues would have cost me too much time today. So, very happy I made the right decision. I don’t aspire to doing the 15×15 as there are so many higher priority ways for me to productively spend my time. The QC ticks my puzzle box adequately.

          1. Please can we avoid discussing or hinting at the actual answers from the 15×15. I got a sense there was something revealed in this series of replies when I was reading through earlier.

            I had the one a couple of weeks ago ruined by someone pointing out that an answer was the same in both 15×15 and QC. Even something as seemingly innocuous as that ruined my satisfaction as the knowledge popped to mind when my solved had come to a standstill.

            1. Fret not. Nothing of the answers was revealed. The references were only to the clues. I’m well aware of the sensitivity!

  6. 8.15

    Struggled to get going for some reason, and needed a long time for BOOM at the end (couldn’t get boon out of my mind) but straightforward enough in between.

    Thanks Mara and Jackkt

  7. 1010 Viking explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni attempts to found a settlement in North America

    Also motored through this, although an early biff of ON REMAND slowed me a bit. Still PB-able until the bottom right corner where BINGO/OVER wouldn’t come right away. Liked the misdirection of “half a dozen deliveries”, although there are no Overs in the cricket on the telly at the moment.

  8. Done over breakfast. Didn’t have to resort to aids, so a success. Like others, couldn’t parse ATOLL. Still not convinced – in “death toll” it’s the cost, like a toll road, not a number, as implied by “figure”.

    1. COED: toll – the number of deaths or casualties arising from an accident, disaster etc

  9. Just under 8 1/2 minutes. No major problems, apart from working out ATOLL which I only did after clicking on the Submit button. Good to have the two different senses of ‘house’ at 3d and 18d.

    Thanks to Mara and Jack

  10. A nice QC to start the week. Straightforward with just a couple of blips for me – LOI BOOM and a hesitation over the parsing of ATOLL. I quite liked BEIRUT and OVER.
    All done in 11.30 so well under target.
    Thanks to Mara and jackkt. John M.

  11. 9:08, but with one typo as I did not proof read before submitting.

    Could not parse ATOLL. Thanks for explaining how toll=number lost.
    Nice in 1a to see “see” mean something other than Ely.

  12. Nice start to the week.

    Didn’t parse ATOLL, liked CHOW MEIN, GIN was my LOI, because I nearly missed it, but thankfully I spotted the 99% complete message before banging that OK button.

    All the 4’s


  13. Only four on the first pass of acrosses so I seem a little out of step but the downs helped a lot with the only big gaps in the NW. SPOT, TUDOR and PRALINE then went in fast to leave me with GARDENIA to summon, ATOLL to ponder (never parsed but like it now) and LOI BOOM (another good one, a new use of post to me). All green in 13. My typing must be improving because the monthly leaderboard shows zero errors for the first time in memory – although I have missed few lately with just 13 tackled this month.

  14. Exactly as many others – enjoyable puzzle, faster than usual time (8½ minutes), did not parse Atoll.

    Did we not have Chow mein quite recently? I am sure a mathematician can explain the chances of rare events, but the number of times this happens – unusual word (or in this case words) not seen for ages then occurring twice in very quick succession- never fails to surprise me.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

    1. PS I am now back to being logged in all the time. A relief, but puzzled as to what happened a few days ago. There is probably nothing more baffling to a non-techie than an intermittent computer error when as the user you are not aware that you have changed anything!

    2. Yes we did. Clue was something like “noodle dish: dog chewed mine”.

      On the face of it the repeat of the answer seems unlikely. But perhaps it’s similar to the fact that among thirty people, it is very likely that two share the same birthday. The pool of possible answers for a QC is not unlimited and some short words seem to turn up all the time, but the chances of a longer answer being duplicated a little while later are not tiny. As with the birthday example, the trick is not to specify which answer or date will be repeated.

  15. 10 minutes despite not feeling that I am firing on all cylinders, so this must be an easy Monday grid. I parsed BINGO very slightly differently to Jackkt, with HOUSE being an alternative name for the game BINGO, at least where I grew up in the Midlands. I thought ATOLL clever, and liked DEAR ME. Thanks both.

    1. I first met the game in the 1950s referred to as ‘Housey-Housey’ and assumed that ‘House’ as a victorious call was derived from that. I’m not sure I ever came across ‘House’ as the name of the game, but wouldn’t swear to it either way.

  16. DNF! Some nice wordplay made this an enjoyable challenge. I entered ATOLL unparsed, and, seeng the bloog, am not sorry I failed to parse it considering what has happened recently in the Pacific. Missed the split anagram for CHOW MEIN, and did not persevere, expecting it to be a dish I didn’t know having carefully avoided Chinese food since being poisoned 60 years ago. Thanks Mara and Jack

        1. Only just alive, after that! I was off work five days, which never happened before or since, and no other stomach upset has lasted more than a day. But I can’t remember if it was shi tzu or chow that I ate.

    1. I had a similar experience with some dodgy fish and chips fifty years ago. Fortunately I got back on the horse within a week and have enjoyed a ton or so of God’s gift to mankind since.

  17. WRAPPED THIS UP in one sitting which is good for me. Not a write in though as 18A BATH was my FOI, and made me smile. I also enjoyed TUDOR and BINGO once I saw what was going on in the two houses.

    A very enjoyable puzzle pitched at the right level.

    LOI DOWNLOAD Why couldn’t I SPOT that before?

    Thanks Mara and Jack.

  18. Didn’t parse ATOLL.
    Contrary to others I thought it was hard. The clue to DOWNLOAD was totally meaningless to me and I had to wait for all the crossing letters. I wasn’t going to get LIBERIA in a hurry as “I be” wouldn’t come to my mind as it is ungrammatical. Beirut was a bit dodgey too; BRUT for dry applies only so far as I know to champagne which I never drink – gives me a headache.
    Anyhow congrats to all you on PBs and please forgive my negativity. I did enjoy fighting it!

    1. Traditionally local yokels in the West Country are supposed to say ‘I be’, but that’s not really a consideration here as in cryptic crosswords it’s common practice to ‘lift and separate’ when parsing clues. So ‘I = I’ and ‘live = BE’ in this clue – e.g. ‘To be or not to be’ as Hamlet contemplates suicide.

  19. Glad you all found it so easy. Cricket and bingo are alien to me, hence no possibility of getting “deliveries” = OVER and NHO “House!” – so is that synonymous with “Bingo!”, please? (But curiously I do seem to remember the game being alternatively called housey-housey?) Found the NW corner difficult, too, but got there in the end. Thank you, jackkt, for explaining lost = TOLL.
    Still musing over 18d: surely “location” in the clue is superfluous?
    Thank you, Plymouthian below.

      1. With respect, I agree “location” is not wrong – but that since “to bin it” = “to trash it”, the two words are synonymous even without the addition of “location” which is therefore (surely) superfluous?

        1. I think to trash is to ruin not dispose of responsibly, so once you’ve trashed something you (or more likely someone else) still has to bin it!

          Got all the numbers on your card? Shout BINGO or House, either is fine. Went to bingo on a stag do once. Loved it – all the wives played the game, the husbands smoked and read the paper. Really ought to go back.

  20. Monday brain syndrome, but completed at about SCC entry level before wandering over to do the Biggie somewhat slower, but successfully.

  21. My first ever sub 10 minute (9:43). FOI was ON PAROLE, LOI was BOOM, and COD goes jointly to ON THE NOSE and DEAR ME, both of which made me smile.

  22. 4:35

    My best time against Mara, this was indeed very comfortable with a short pause for thought to come up with the less obvious BOOM as LOI.

    Thanks Mara and Jack

  23. Join with virtually everyone in saying an easy start to the week. I finished in 7.52 but had to wait a while before BOOM came to mind.
    Incidentally, I like the new multi coloured presentation Jack, the answers certainly stand out!

    1. Thanks, Andy, I was just experimenting with a style I liked when used by someone at Fifteensquared. I don’t know yet if I shall keep it up.

  24. One of my best times at 11:19, so a good start to the week. Seemed hard at first, but then I jumped around and crossing letters quickly enabled progress. FOI SPOT, LOI MATISSE, liked TUDOR, BINGO and COD CHOW MEIN. ATOLL, as with others, not parsed but what else could it be. Thanks Mara and Jack.

  25. Under 8 mins but with 2 typos including oo the nose! Even more annoying as I was on the laptop today.
    COD bingo.

  26. Completed, but like others I saw ATOLL yet could not see how the clue worked. To be honest I didn’t like it and felt that Mara could have done a lot better there.

    Otherwise nothing too strenuous for me.

    1. Not sure what ‘better’ means here. The definition of a not uncommon word is precise, and the wordplay, if not immediately obvious perhaps, contains nothing obscure. It just needed a bit of thinking about.

      1. Hmm, if you don’t understand what the word “better” means, then I am not sure you can help me. Thank you for trying though. It’s appreciated.

  27. A gentle introduction to Monday morning from Mara led to a rare (for me) sub-10 minute solve (9 minutes and some change). The only slight hold-ups were the shrub at 8ac (horticulture not being my strong point) and 15dn where, with the last 3 crossers in place, I had to resist the temtation to put in ‘artiste’. Luckily common sense prevailed.

    FOI – 1ac SPOT
    LOI – 9ac BOOM
    COD – 15dn MATISSE

    Thanks to Mara and Jackkt

  28. Potentially a first sub-10 of the year and third best time ever with 8:59, but having stopped my watch, I decided that Gardinea looked more likely than GARDENIA, which I had put down. When I put it in I was unsure of the spelling and cursed Mara for making it so neither the E or the I were checkers. I started my watch again and allowed a few seconds to elapse for my thinking time and then switched the letters round and stopped my watch again before checking on here which was right. So, a dilemma. Do I count it as a DNF, since I had the wrong answer when I did my version of submitting, or do I conveniently ignore the fact that I changed my answer as I had originally stopped my watch on 8:59 with everything correct? Answers on a postcard please.

  29. A careless Parline at 2d caused a bit of havoc in the shrub department before I spotted the mistake, and left me wondering how much quicker my 13 mins might have been. Still, no complaints about a gentle start to the week, with just Atoll left unparsed (thanks, Jackkt). CoD to 11d, On The Nose, for the smile. Invariant

  30. A red-faced DNF. Failed on BOOM (despite sailing in days of yore) and OVER (despite watching cricket in d of y).
    Otherwise sped through. No problem with BINGO or ATOLL. Liked STRIKE UP, DEAR ME, ON THE NOSE.
    Thanks vm, Jack. Liked the red.

  31. Once again, a miss at 23m. Got stuck on BOOM (should have known as I used to sail), BINGO and OVER (cricket is an alien activity to me, as are all ball sports, frankly). I soldier on.

    1. It’s worth learning some cricket terminology for the QC. It comes up on a fairly regular basis (as I have learnt to my cost on several occasions). Runs, byes, maidens, on, off, leg, over, delivery and many others crop up frequently.

  32. Found this to be very straightforward. Everything just dropped into place.

    My first time out of the SCC! And all WRAPPED UP in a time of 14:31!!

    Thanks to Mara and Jackkt

  33. I don’t go for speed solving, so am happy with getting this all done and dusted in 8:39. Yes, a nice friendly start to the week, but just enough to ponder to make it interesting. In fact, I’d say it was less of a biff-fest than today’s biggie, which I found pretty easy and finished in 16 minutes. As others have suggested, if you’ve never had a go at the 15×15 before, I hope you’ll find it a nice introduction, and will surely get a good lot of answers, even if you don’t finish 😊
    Back in Quickieland, I thought this was a typically tight crossword from Mara, with some fun surfaces – I particularly liked BATH and OVER.
    On the other hand, I had to look several times at 22a (CHOW MEIN) where the answer seemed obvious on first reading but the parsing didn’t become apparent until later (copyright Jack!)
    FOI Spot LOI Praline COD Dear me (particularly apposite considering we were again discussing old-fashioned phrases the other day – dear for expensive being one I find very dated)
    Thanks Mara and Jack – yes, I like the new look too

  34. A mix of easy and harder clues I thought but all done in a respectable, for me, 44 minutes.
    BINGO made me laugh when it finally dropped into place and that led to LOI OVER which I could not parse so thanks Jackkt.
    COD to 3D TUDOR which was very neat.
    Thanks Mara for a nice start to the week.

  35. 4th DNF of the month … what am I like 🙄

    BOON felt like the word I was looking for. It obviously wasn’t.

    So I will have to settle for a corrected DNF in 9:42. Can’t complain about what would have been an almost one minute PB. I’m sure another will be along soon 🚌

    Edit: CQ 1:51

      1. Thanks #5 … I see it as a confidence builder rather than disappointed about what could have been. Good work yourself 👍

    1. Very frustrating for you but surely the positives outweigh the negatives today? I think you are so close to achieving that sub 10 solve. Great time on CQ as well. 👏👏

      1. I’m cool with it … see reply to #5 above.

        Good time yourself and a success to start the week. Yep, Izetti due – normally does two per month and there’s only two and a half weeks left. Oh well, let’s have them both this week as my clean sweep is already screwed 🤣

        1. 🤣🤣🤣

          I just hope we don’t get one on Friday if I’m still on target for the week!

  36. 8.19 BOOM required an alphabet trawl but this was otherwise straightforward. I’m not a fan of hiddens but 18a was quite nice. Thanks to jackkt and Mara.

  37. Dnf…

    Had everything in 18 mins, but couldn’t get 7dn “Atoll”. Not only could I not parse it – I’ve never heard of it. What’s it go to do with Bikini’s? Am I being completely dense here?

    FOI – 1ac “Spot”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 21dn “Gin”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Bikini Atoll is an island or reef in the Pacific ocean, somewhere to the North East of Australia. I don’t know why I know this factoid. Must have been famous for something.

    2. The Bikini Atoll (part of the Marshall Islands) was used extensively in the 50s by the Americans for their A-bomb tests.

  38. Finished in the doorway of the SCC – Exactly 20 minutes for me and I am perfectly happy with that.

    Quite a few clues solved during my first pass, although that usually takes me 12-14 minutes or thereabouts, and the rest solved at the second time of asking. Nice to see DEAR ME (a very civilised utterance) and GRUB (I’m still waiting for Mrs R to get off the phone, so we can have some lunch). Parsed ATOLL, but not confidently.

    Many thanks to Mara and Jack.

  39. All done except for BOOM in 10:00, and then that last word just would not come to mind. Eventually resorted to CCD to see the list of words that match B_O_, and there it was. So a technical DNF for me, but unable to submit on the app since the “Crossword Club” section is MIA again.

    Thanks to Mara and Jackkt.

  40. Held up in the NE corner with download and atoll boom crosser. Otherwise a pleasant fairly easy solve to start the week.

  41. Enjoyed this one. LOI BEIRUT, couldn’t parse ATOLL (doh) and LIBERIA took an embarrassingly long time. Liked ON THE NOSE and the surface for GARDENIA. Thanks all.

  42. First post in a while – 11 minutes of fun.
    Algeria, Albania oh no of course, Liberia!
    All good though. Praline took a while too.
    Thanks all

  43. Thank you for recommending the 15×15. I managed to do it with no aids in what I considered a good time (just over half an hour?) On the other hand this QC was a DNF. I couldn’t do BINGO and OVER as I missed the cricket reference and, although we used to call it Housey Housey or Lotto, I’ve never heard of House being the word to say when you win. SPOT and TUDOR took me a while too. Thank you for the blog.

  44. GARDENIA could have gone either way as shrubs are not my thing. No trouble parsing BIKINI as I was familiar with the nuclear tests carried out there.

    Finished in 12 mins. Yes, I know I should be happy with that, but still had daft hold ups. Didn’t have the confidence to put in LIAR until checkers (why??) and saw LOAD immediately for 4ac but didn’t think of DOWN (why??).

    Should have done this in 10 mins, or possibly less. Still, it’s a decent start to a week in which I am sure we shall see the return of Izetti.

    Thanks for the blog Jackkt. For once, I parsed everything.

    CQ was very tame today and solved in under 5 mins.

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