Times Quick Cryptic 2505 by Trelawney

Hi everybody.  No real hold-ups for me today. I hope you also fared well and enjoyed it as much as I did.  I will award COD to 15a in hope that it will (but not via 23a!).  Thanks Trelawney.

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 Dance in colossal saloon (5)
SALSA — The dance is found in colosSAL SAloon
7a Temple too dilapidated for native American carving (5,4)
TOTEM POLE — An anagram of (… dilapidated) TEMPLE TOO
9a Out of shape female entering military group (5)
UNFIT F (female) going into (entering) UNIT (military group)
10a Novel, say, includes a Zulu with a large weapon (7)
BAZOOKA BOOK (novel, say) contains (includes) A and Z (Zulu), all followed by A
11a Defamation engulfs king and a politician (7)
LIBERAL LIBEL (defamation) surrounds (engulfs) R (king) and A
12a Back with silly red nose (7)
ENDORSE — An anagram of (silly) RED NOSE
15a Daily grind beginning to relent a little (3,4)
RAT RACE — The first letter of (beginning to) Relent + A TRACE (a little)
I don’t know who said it first: the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat
18a Spots new section (7)
NOTICES — An anagram of (new) SECTION
This took me a smidge longer than it should have to parse as I fixated on N = new.  (In fact I very nearly didn’t even notice that OTICES doesn’t mean section, which would have made an accidental biff!)
20a Scoundrel at home following football team (7)
VILLAIN IN (at home) following VILLA (football team)
22a Examine front of polyester garment (5)
PROBE — The first letter (front) of Polyester + ROBE (garment)
23a Gloomy when accepting one’s second sacking (9)
DISMISSAL DISMAL (gloomy) on admission of (when accepting) IS (one’s) and S (second)
24a Sly person is not opening art equipment (5)
EASEL — [w]EASEL (sly person) is missing its first letter (is not opening)
I wondered why the weasel might have given its name to a sly person, and found that cultural views of weasels have been many and diverse
1d Feature of a pirate flag from racing boat, reportedly (5)
SKULL — Sounds like (… reportedly) SCULL (racing boat)
2d Fail to be swimming? This may help! (8)
LIFEBOAT FAIL TO BE anagrammed (swimming)
3d Clothes from Santa regularly wear out (6)
ATTIRE — Alternate letters of (… regularly) sAnTa + TIRE (wear out)
4d Stunned a mother with last letter? (6)
AMAZED A + MA (mother) + ZED (Z, last letter)
5d Kerfuffle is not yet completed (2-2)
TO-DO — Dropping the hyphen gives TO DO (not yet completed)
6d Laid back regarding head of legal getting fired (7)
RELAXED RE (regarding) + the first letter (head) of Legal + AXED (fired)
8d Pills split by nine playing game (5,6)
TABLE TENNIS TABLETS (pills) around (split by) an anagram of (… playing) NINE
13d Charity is embarrassed and angry (3,5)
RED CROSS RED (embarrassed) and CROSS (angry)
14d Word of praise about advertisement’s boldness (7)
BRAVADO BRAVO (word of praise) around (about) AD (advertisement)
16d Fear a biathlon covering hot sandy region (6)
ARABIA — We have feAR A BIAthlon covering the answer
17d Joiner‘s plates smashed (6)
STAPLE PLATES anagrammed (smashed)
19d Initially settle on blue-green: a bargain! (5)
STEAL — The first letter of (initially) Settle on TEAL (blue-green)
21d Record composer on the radio (4)
LIST — Sounds like (… on the radio) LISZT (composer)

80 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2505 by Trelawney”

  1. 11:05. I put lifebelt first before I looked closer at the letters giving LIFEBOAT. I was also held up looking for the name of a novel in BAZOOKA instead of just BOOK. Around where I live weasels are vilified for reputedly killing all the hens in a henhouse instead of just enjoying a more modest meal.

    1. DOH! I hadn’t noticed that LIFEBELT doesn’t work so I DNF. I use the actual Times and a pencil so no pink squares.

  2. No probs here except I biffed BRAVery for absolutely no reason which made DISMISSAL a headscratcher for a while. Keep thinking SALSA is a type of sauce and wanted a book title for BAZOOKA. All done in 7.57. I’ve also had a look at the 15×15 and agree with vinyl1 that it’s quite approachable but there are a couple of trickier bits.

  3. 10 minutes with the last 2 of them spent in the SW corner where the intersecting answers BRAVADO, VILLAIN and LIST gave me problems It was one of those moments when having raced through everything else and with the end in sight, the mind goes blank. It was probably seeing ‘football team’ that did it.

  4. More haste less speed. As I rushed to get a record speed, I too whacked in LIFE BELT without a second glance and ended up with two pink squares as a punishment for carelessness and a missed sub 10 record. Only holdup was TO DO. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty for a gentle start to the week.

  5. Speedy solve with a bit of a hold up at the end where like Jack I struggled with BRAVADO, VILLAIN and LIST where I briefly wondered if there was a composer called Disk 🤦‍♂️.
    Finished in 5.29 with COD to TO-DO.
    Thanks to Kitty

  6. No real problems, although I carefully checked the anagrist before dismissing “lifebelt”, and was inexplicably slow in spotting that my LOI was an anagram too!

    TIME 4:01

  7. I fear there may not be enough desks at the front of the class to accommodate us all today, for this is what I’d call a proper QC after some of the contributions of late.
    13:55 for me would point to a return to previous form, but I’m not holding my breath!
    As Vinyl1 says, there were some very biffable answers here but I nonetheless enjoyed it and it’s given me a very good start to the week. I tried for too long to parse PHOBIA, until I saw ARABIA, and liked BAZOOKA and BRAVADO especially.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

  8. A gentle start to the week, and under 15 minutes when I was making no attempt at speed indicates it wasn’t hard. Slight delay with TO DO and RAT RACE, and nearly fell into the lifebELt trap.

  9. Gentle opener to the week sees me sub-Phil.

    BRAVADO LOI after spotting the VILLA in VILLAIN.

    A real introduction to cryptic crosswords. The editor must have been a-lurking.


  10. Bucking the trend I turned in a really slow time … 11:15 for a Day of Shame. I need a coffee.


    Many thanks Kitty and the Squire.


  11. Gentle enough, but I still didn’t get under 7. I was put right off BAZOOKA by seeing “novel, say,” and trying to workout the anagram of SAY A Z AL. There aren’t many, and it led me to the conclusion that you can do too many Mephistos and MCSs.
    Would you indulge a few whimsies that occurred while solving, probably also adding to the time?
    I was disappointed that TO-DO didn’t mention Dorothy.
    Is a female version of boldness BRAVADA?
    Should BAZOOKA have referenced bubble gum to make this puzzle less warlike?

    1. I, by contrast, immediately cracked it, realising that “novel” = SHE, “say” = EG and all I had to do was work out where the A Z went to make a large weapon. Having stared at SHAZEEG and SHEAZEG for a bit I got indignant about including such obscurities in the QC … and then decided that perhaps I should get some checkers 😂

  12. 9:53 (birth of Ælfheah, Archbishop of Canterbury)

    18a delayed me running through all the illnesses that produce spots before I finally noticed the correct answer. LOI was DISMISSAL.

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  13. A relatively easy start to the week, with only the same three clues as others have noted in the bottom left hand corner holding me up. The problem was I was looking for a more generalised term for the football club, like City or United rather than a specific one. Once VILLAIN was in place however, my LOI BRAVADO quickly followed. In the end I crossed the line in 8.24 for a decent enough start to the week.

  14. 11:45 for my fastest ever time on a QC. As it was a gentle one I am not celebrating too much. Held up for at least half of of that time by ARABIA/VILLAIN/BRAVADO but once I saw the hidden sandy region the other two fell in.
    Before I got my LOI, TO-DO, I was distracted by the Z and X in the NE into wondering if this is one of those grids that has every letter of the alphabet. Mind wandering on last clue? I will never be a speed solver!

  15. I also bucked the trend, with a 16 minute solve, held up mostly in the SW. VILLAIN eventually fell and opened up the remainder. I had started well with 5 of the first 6 across answers going straight in, so should have been much quicker. Thanks both.

  16. 7:17

    Didn’t seem too tricky but doing it in bed on ‘phone before zeds is non-optimal. BAZOOKA made me think of Bazooka Joe bubble gum – used to get a tiny plastic comic strip with the gum. LOI BRAVADO. I note that the two four-letter words might help us all get off to a good start in a new week….

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  17. Enjoyed this very much with just under 30mins, super fast for me. So now feeling 6a.

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  18. 16/25. Would have been 17, but I put LIFEBELT. The south-west corner stumped me.

    I tried the 15×15, and solved 25A, and then 2D, 7D and 15D. Definitely worth a try for everyone – if I can solve four clues…!

    1. Good stuff Ian – glad to see you’re still giving it a go 👍

      Have to agree with what you said about QC book #1 last week – at least with regards to Izetti. His four puzzles in there so far have come in at 9:57 / 27:35 / 9:48 / 12:37 for me! I actually managed to marvel at some of the clues in this most recent one – #40 in book

  19. Thank you, Trelawney, for a friendly and enjoyable puzzle this Monday morning. FOI SALSA, COD LIFEBOAT (brilliant surface), LOI LIST (obvious, I know, but just took time to see it). Agree, SW corner was the hardest.

  20. I was quick apart from the SW -a common theme today.
    My LOI was actually ARABIA where, as so often, I missed the hidden for too long.
    12 minutes in the end.

  21. Same as comments above really. Fairly straightforward, only hold-ups were DISMISSAL and ARABIA where I failed to spot the hidden at first. Thanks Trelawney and kitty.

  22. An easy enough return to the fray after a week’s holiday in warmer climes. Pushed out to 16mins by the same SW issues as others, even though List really should have been obvious. CoD for the parsing to Rat Race, thankfully no longer a thing of concern to this retiree. Invariant

  23. A nice steady 27 minutes with the only real hold up being TO-DO which took ages to drop after working through SO-SO, NO-NO, DO-DO etc. Nice clue though.
    COD to Lifeboat for the surface.
    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  24. A new PB for me. 25/25 in 13:37. Enjoyable!
    Thanks Trelawney – you’ve restored my motivation! And thanks Kitty.

  25. A pleasant challenge which needed a little thought in places. Only saw hidden ARABIA once I’d put it in. LOI RAT RACE.

  26. Most of this went in quite quickly but I was held up by a couple at the end. Couldn’t parse EASEL or ARABIA and didn’t stop to parse TABLE TENNIS which was obvious from the crossers. Managed to avoid the ‘lifebelt’ trap. Eventually finished up on 17 minutes with one very short interruption. Should have been quicker I think.

    FOI – 1ac SALSA
    LOI – 16dn ARABIA, entered with a shrug having completely failed to see the hidden.
    COD – 20ac VILLAIN

  27. An enjoyable 9 minute puzzle, lots of nice anagrams, would have been faster if I had spotted the hidden in my LOI Arabia for which I had started to contemplate a letter trawl before the penny dropped. I really should remember the mantra “if the surface makes little sense, look for a hidden”.

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  28. A quick one in just under 8 minutes. I join those who tried lifebelt for a time. Finished on attire. The colour teal was not a write in. A good Monday QC imo.

  29. 11:05 (1105 King Henry I invades Normandy, taking Bayeux and Caen)

    Flew through this, look8mg nervously at a record, but held up in bottom right. Also tried BRAVERY as the biffing had been going so well up until then.


  30. Definitely an easy one, only took half an hour. After a couple of hard ones at the tail end of last week, this gives a beginner like me hope. Still putting in answers like table tennis because they fit without making sense of the clue until I read the blog afterwards.

  31. Had a BreezeBlock solve and nearly failed to finish with TO-DO. I was very tempted by NO-NO. 10:09

  32. Was about to boast that I had been amazingly quick today when I realised I too had fallen into the Lifebelt trap.
    But yes, I was very fast and found this an enjoyable puzzle. I admit I biffed quite a few and forgot to go back and parse eg BAZOOKA, TABLE TENNIS, ARABIA (missed the hidden). Liked many inc VILLAIN, TO DO, LIBERAL, RAT RACE.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  33. Thanks for Wiki link, Kitty. I have never understood that Leonardo portrait as ermines are very small, i.e. stoats in a snowy coat. Maybe it was really a white ferret, or mythical beast.
    ‘The stoat can be easily
    told from the weasel
    by the simple fact
    that his tail is blacked
    and his figure
    is slightly the bigger.’

    1. “You can weasily tell because they’re stoatally different”, was what a gamekeeper teased me with as a boy – that rhyme would have been far better!

  34. 6:40, but I didn’t check the anagrist carefully enough and left LIFEBELT in even after thinking it could be LIFEBOAT. Quel un plonker! Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  35. FOI – SALSA, LOI – LIST (should have got this quicker) COD – LIFEBOAT, spotted the anagram indicator (swimming) so avoided the “lifebelt” trap. Enjoyable puzzle and a new PB of 9:01. Much gentler today than any of last weeks (at the time of writing 2502 and 2504 are still unfinished). Now for the 15 x 15….

    1. Congrats on the PB ⚡

      My inner sports scientist thinks Borg’s Rate of Perceived Effort scale. Why do setters never include that in QCs?!?

      1. “RPE scale”, very appropriate considering my initials (Robert Paul Eaton) and screen name.

  36. Three cheers for Trelawney. When asked to compile a Quick Cryptic he rarely fails – unlike some setters I could mention. I zoomed out of the blocks, completed the NW corner in double-quick time and looked to be heading for a possible PB at the 8-10 clues to go point. However, I found some of the Down clues more tricky and was held up at the end in the SE corner. Eventual time = 18 minutes and my first foray outside of the SCC since the beginning of September.

    First two in were SALSA and SKULL. last two in were STEAL and PROBE. Favourite clue (for its surface) was LIFEBOAT.

    many thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

    1. Wow, on form today- try and remember everything you did leading up to solving session so you replicate!

      1. Thanks CO … you can’t really expect me to go sprint up hills for 20minutes every day before doing the QC ?!!? 🤣

        It’s more the case Trelawney is currently the setter I get along with best. Last four have been 12:36, 10:30, 14:01, 8:45. And the 14-minuter I reached the objects/jetties last pair at 7+ mins.

        1. I’m in awe-running or, more realistically, walking up a hill for twenty seconds is more my speed!

  37. Toddled happily away until LOI ARABIA made its presence felt for some time.

    As a one time Villa Park season ticket holder I loved VILLAIN, COD for me.

  38. Dnf…

    Did everything after 14 mins, but for some reason put “No-Go” for 5dn. I pretty much went through every two letter combination, but missed “To-Do”, which seems so obvious in hindsight. Annoying, as it would have been a pretty quick time as well.

    Other than that, the rest was fairly straightforward, with perhaps the easiest NW corner I can remember for quite a while.

    FOI – 1ac “Salsa”
    LOI – 5dn “No-Go” (wrong)
    COD – 10ac “Bazooka”

    Thanks as usual!

  39. 4.31

    Quick here helped by not thinking of LIFEBELT and having seen the composer homophone a good few times now.

    Nice to see some pbs.

    Thanks Trelawney and Kitty

  40. Like some others, we were held up by the sw corner. Did not spot the weasel, but the definition was kind. Average time overall, at 30m.

  41. 11:50 with one error. Like many others, the SW corner was the last to fall, with BRAVADO taking a full 3 minutes all by itself and spoiling a rare sub-10 time, I thought. But then it turned out that I had fallen straight into the LIFEBELT trap, ho hum.

    Thanks to Trelawney and Kitty.

  42. Glad I never thought of lifebelt, but then, I’m not sure I know what a lifebelt is anyway. Another word for a seatbelt presumably. I finished in 11:47 with LOI RAT RACE, something I have mostly succeeded in avoiding. Ironically, both rats (pets) and races (running ones) are big parts of my life however. COD and WOD to BAZOOKA. Thanks Trelawney and Kitty.

  43. Nice and quick at under 8 but was surprised by a pink square. I knew it was TO DO but do remember typing “to to” instead and not questioning it. Odd. Anyway, enjoyed it.

  44. A very annoying finish somewhere between 10 and 11 minutes. Another opportunity to beat 10 mins blown, so frustrated. When a QC is straightforward like this, my objective is to make single figures, so anything over 10 mins is a disappointment.

    It was however refreshing to see a QC for beginners and intermediate solvers today. From an entirely personal point of view – and I can’t believe I’m saying this after recent calamities – I did too much biffing to think that my brain got a proper workout. However, I hope this has helped to bolster the confidence of many solvers. Congratulations to those who achieved PBs.

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

    1. Biffing is half the route to quicker times. While I bunged in quite a few answers, I also added a few seconds on many clues mentally parsing them.

      Mental/approach is everything though. While I PBed, I would still have been very happy with a 10-11min time as that would be in my top 10 all-time. If I were glass half-empty, I could say “well I only PBed by 11 seconds” and find fault – how does that set me up for a better day tomorrow? It doesn’t, it just leaves me regretting and dealing with bad inner emotion for 24 hours. Acceptance of how it turns out is everything but that doesn’t stop me striving to be better.

      To me, that’s what the Bazball approach is all about, maintaining optimism because if one keeps finding fault, one slowly cripples oneself through fear and shies away from the challenge. Then misses the opportunity when it is there due to self-doubt. To quote the Inner Game books “performance = potential minus interference”

  45. Thanks L-Plates, you’re right. Breaking 10 mins has become something of a fixation. Being objective, my time yesterday was excellent and much better than I might have managed say a year ago. I’ll try to remember the Bazball approach going forward.

    1. BTW there’s a good Quiptic over at The Guardian this week. Set by Izetti under his Pasquale alter-ego. I flew through it yesterday. Some tough ones in the NW but once I got going it all slotted in quite nicely

Comments are closed.