Times Quick Cryptic 2535 by Teazel – Paris in the the spring

Hi all.  Thanks to Teazel for an enjoyable puzzle.  It’s always nice to see the reversal in 11d and hope it delighted some solvers who hadn’t seen it before.

There were a few THEs (in 10a, 11a and 14a) which I can’t comfortably incorporate into the parsing.  I skated merrily by these when solving, but in a blog have to decide what to do with everything.  (In the end I just ignored them below too.)  Timewise I was about a minute less than average, or normal for a Monday.  How did you find it?

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Touched soft material (4)
FELT — Double definition
4a Man in chinos tearing round US city (8)
NICHOLAS CHINOS anagrammed (tearing) around (round) LA (US city)
8a Dominant woman, perhaps Victoria B (5,3)
QUEEN BEE QUEEN (perhaps Victoria) + BEE (B)
9a Use horn, coming and going (4)
TOOT — “Coming and going” indicates a palindrome: the answer is TOOT in either direction
10a Opening of hostilities, also known as the rugby challenge (4)
HAKA — The first letter of (opening of) Hostilities + AKA (also known as)
11a The way to encourage a caviare producer (8)
STURGEON ST (way) + URGE ON (to encourage)
12a Hot stuff very quietly eaten by earl? (6)
PEPPER PP (very quietly) inside (eaten by) PEER (earl?)
14a Not stay for the decisive contest (3-3)
RUN-OFF RUN OFF (not stay)
16a Motorway got on the nerves, so went elsewhere (8)
MIGRATED MI (motorway) GRATED (got on the nerves)
18a Mad for a bushy hairstyle (4)
AFRO — An anagram of (mad) FOR A
19a Exchange hands when returning (4)
SWAP PAWS (hands) when reversing (returning)
20a Inhabitant of bowl, proverbially very public (8)
GOLDFISH — A GOLDFISH bowl is used to depict a place situation without any privacy, hence “proverbially very public”
I think I’d consider this a definition plus a cryptic indication which extends it.  (See also 13d.)  I nearly underlined the whole as a cryptic definition here though, and wouldn’t disagree with you if that’s your view
22a During school time, nine of the Romans mingle (8)
INTERMIX IN TERM (during school time) + IX (nine of the Romans)
23a Fine fabric that may be watered? (4)
LAWN — Two definitions; I had to dig through my mindrubble to unearth a faint recollection of the first!
2d Copy one that can’t fly behind (7)
EMULATE EMU (one that can’t fly) + LATE (behind)
3d Old volunteer army producing letter from Greece (5)
THETA THE TA (old volunteer army: the Territorial Army)
4d Coming up, forbid arrest (3)
NAB — Reversal of (coming up, in  down entry) BAN (forbid)
5d Having mixed fortunes, sort of flag (9)
CHEQUERED — Two definitions
6d A month back, new plane shape (7)
OCTAGON OCT (a month) + AGO (back) + N (new)
7d Keenly expectant, with nothing in abundance (1,4)
A GOGO AGOG (keenly expectant) + O (nothing)
11d Plan to bring huge pastries over (9)
STRATAGEM MEGA TARTS (huge pastries) reversed (over)
13d Sort of hat one could eat? Or just swallow? (4,3)
PORK PIE — One could eat a pork pie (food) or swallow a pork pie (lie)
15d So far we failed, as predicted (7)
FORESAW — An anagram (… failed) of SO FAR WE
17d I must meet old, pale statesman (5)
IOWAN I + O (old) + WAN (pale)
18d Legal to be beheaded? That’s terrible (5)
AWFUL — lAWFUL (legal) removing the first letter (to be beheaded)
21d Undisciplined, goes without speaking (3)
LAX — LACKS (goes without), sound-alike (speaking)

91 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2535 by Teazel – Paris in the the spring”

  1. I struggled with this, eventually landed in 13.47. My LOsI were A GOGO (didn’t know that meaning) and NICHOLAS where for too long I was looking for a US city. Others that gave me pause were CHEQUERED, RUN-OFF and MIGRATED. Enjoyable puzzle, thanks Teazel and Kitty.

  2. 14:56. I first tried silk for LAWN because I’d heard of watered silk, but realized that wouldn’t give a cryptic definition. I couldn’t parse OCTAGON because I thought the definition was just shape and wondered what to do with panel. I was misled by thinking the clue for QUEEN BEE referred to a Spice Girl. I didn’t know that meaning of A GOGO; I could only connect the term with seventies discotheques and dancers in cages!

      1. Yes, of course, thanks. I think even if I’d read it right I would have still wondered what to do with plane!

  3. Neither of the top row answers came to me until later in the proceedings so I was missing the first letters of all their danglers and failed to work up any speed. Like Lindsay, I was looking for a US city at 4ac and NICHOLAS was my LOI.

    13 minutes.

  4. 20:48 but lots of alphabet trawling, lots of cryptic definitions, I saw PORK PIE and thought that Oink had betrayed me by making this difficult

    I didn’t know A GOGO meant in abundance, i struggled with CHEQUERED spelling, I must spell it the American way. I didn’t know the first definition of Lawn

    My COD was QUEEN BEE simply because I could not get Posh Spice out of my head, turns out there used to be a queen named Victoria, did anyone know that? /s

    1. Queen 1819 -1901. Eponymous Australian state, period of architecture etc, tube line and much else. I doubt there will be a Charles line but perhaps a breed of spaniel will suffice.

      1. I’d love to have things named after me, so long as they were positive (or delicious like the Arnott’s Tina Wafer)

        The ‘/s’ in my post was to indicate that I was being sarcastic as text is not so good at communicating tone – I never know what internet lingo is good where, but I promise I have heard of Queen Victoria, though I admit that Posh is much much more important to me as a millenial woman.

  5. Great start to the week. STRATEGEM definitely did make me smile Kitty, if I’ve seen it I’ve forgotten it and like Tina I was thinking ‘spice’ for too long. Held up mainly in the NE where CHEQUERED needed all the checkers and by NICHOLAS where I knew what I was doing by forgot what definition I was going for, so spent a while trying to get those letters to make a US city before having all the checkers made life easier. Ended up with LAWN which fitted both L-A- and one of the definitions. All green in 13 exactly.

  6. Enjoyable puzzle that needed some head scratching along the way.
    I’m another who was looking for a US CITY for LOI 4a and I only saw the error of my ways once CHEQURED had come to mind. Two NHOs today – LAWN being a fabric but the answer couldn’t be much else and IOWAN being a statesman, but the wordplay was kind.
    Finished in 9.30 with COD to STRATAGEM, which was new to me (or seen and forgotten).
    Thanks to Kitty

    1. I think an IOWAN is a statesman in that it’s an inhabitant of Iowa – a man of that state, if you will.

      Happy to be corrected however!

  7. Looking at other times I’m now very happy with my 10’20”being slowed up for a good while by my LOIs QUEEN BEE and CHEQUERED.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this and I have no issues with any ‘extraneous’ ‘THEs’ if they make the clue flow more naturally. Sometimes it feels like the clues are written in shorthand ‘text speak’ and can jar a little. For all I know there may be some clue-writing rules somewhere that I care little for.

    Thanks Kitty and Teazel.

    1. Anyone wanting to be put off thinking about clue writing rules forever should read yesterday’s ST discussions!

      1. Having now looked at yesterday’s blog for last Sunday’s puzzle I see what you mean Jackkt. Two very learned discussions around entrenched positions. Perhaps we should have had a HAKA before the start.

        1. I wonder if you followed the link I posted there to the 2008 discussion about DBEs which was equally heated.

          1. I confess that I did not follow the link J. I was either so engrossed in the argument that I couldn’t allow myself to be distracted, or I had had enough of the argument by then. I’ll leave it to you to decide which it is.

  8. A pleasant tussle over breakfast. All done in 20 mins or so, I would guess. A few biffs that I eventually managed to parse, inc 11d. Might have heard of LAWN as a fabric but had to check with my crossword advisor (Mrs F) to be sure. Struggled with 10a, not being a rugby afficionado. Wondered if it might be HAHA but eventually realised that I’d heard of the word.

    Biffed IOWAN from checkers and wordplay, but had no idea what it could mean – some medieval knight maybe? A former liberal politician? Looking it up gave me a person from Iowa – I doubt I would have ever have got that definition. Anyway, it’s not really a STATESMAN. A man (could it not just as easily be a woman?) from that state – that would be a STATEMAN. Maybe a man from The States? I’m tempted to award at least a MER.

  9. 13 mins, never heard of A-GOGO or LAWN in the senses used here. Had a question mark over (I)OWAN as a I was looking for a staetsman’s name (Rowan, Cowan???) until the penny dropped. thanks all.

  10. 8 minutes for a relaxing Monday loosened. Like most people it seems, I NHO the meanings of A gogo and Iowan but they were generously clued and quite guessable.

    Perhaps one of our US colleagues could explain Iowan? What is special about this particular state?

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

    1. Nothing. It’s just a state. A statesman can come from any state, the solver just had to find one that fitted the wordplay and grid.

      1. Oh I see – that meaning of statesman! Thank you. And here was I being terribly proud of my knowing that the Iowa caucus kick-starts the primary season and wondering how that fitted the clue.

  11. A very poor start to the week for me, giving up on NICHOLAS, CHEQUERED and the nho AGOGO at the 40 minutes mark.
    I may as well head straight to the desks at the back of the class after assembly today.
    Oh well, tomorrow’s another day………

  12. As I hit enter I gloomily predicted a typo, since today my index finger had seemed unusually large and my iPhone unusually small, resulting in endless corrections as I solved. I knew I’d miss one, and lo the DPS duly appeared (“emulaYe”, since you ask). So 08:19 WOE.

    I liked GOLDFISH, PEPPER and INTERMIX. I’ve encountered the mega-tarts before (oo-err matron) or that would have been COD.

    Many thanks Kitty and Teazel.


    PS I thought B for BEE was a bit feeble

  13. 4:28. I don’t remember seeing MEGA TARTS before so COD for that. Held up at the end by CHEQUERED and, my LOI, NICHOLAS – like others I was expecting a US city. Thanks Teazel and Kitty.

    1. We had mega-tarts from Mara in QC1670 (August 2020). Mara also gave us tarts on a gem in QC727 way back in December 2016, when all this was prairie.

  14. 11:53 (Treaty of Wallingford acknowledges Henry Plantagenet as heir to King Stephen)

    Like several others, I hesitated for a while over IOWAN before spotting what sort of Statesman was intended. LOI was CHEQUERED.

    Thanks Kitty and Teazel

  15. 14 minutes after a quick start with 1 and 2 both going straight in. I needed all the checkers before switching from US city to random man for the definition of 4a, but I did know both senses of LAWN, and spotted what was needed for IOWAN very early. PORK PIE was nice, like a triple def, but not one. Thanks Teazel and Kitty. Now I’m going back to look at yesterday’s discussion of the Sunday puzzle as per Jackkt’s not quite recommendation. BTW, I was delighted to receive a runner-up prize for the Mephisto in the post on Saturday. I’ve only just started doing it, very gratifying!

    1. Congrats on the Mephisto, J. It’s unknown territory for me following two abortive attempts 10+ years ago.

      1. Another confession. I use aids for the Mephisto – I don’t believe it is solvable without as so many of the words are completely new to me. I do however work out a possible answer first from wordplay before checking its existence in Chambers. It gives a fun hour or two of discovery on a Sunday morning.

        1. I gather that’s standard and my understanding is that no one who contributes here solves a Mephisto without using aids to some degree.

    2. Congratulations! On getting award…. but more so for getting post by 9.37! Bravo Royal Mail in cyber week.

  16. I found this quite tricky, and share Kitty’s thoughts on the spurious definite articles. I could have understood it with HAKA, had it been presented as “The Rugby Challenge”. I was another who tried in vain to justify ‘silk’ at 23A (I actually entered it, removing it once I solved FORESAW), and I’m almost ashamed to admit to my LOI which I only parsed afterwards. I blame only having had one cup of tea before starting the puzzle.

    EOD “Einstein A GOGO” by Landscape**
    TIME 4:35

    *STRATAGEM is also a hat – but of the old variety, having been encountered on a number of previous occasions.

    ** E for Earworm

  17. Most went in swiftly, but the last few needed some thought. I see my QUITCH average has increased by a few seconds, as I thought it might.

    Last couple were NICHOLAS and CHEQUERED, where a pencilled in Q was very helpful.

    IOWAN was a good penny drop – I held off following the wordplay, as I’d never heard of a statesman called that. However, getting MIGRATED confirmed it, and only then did I get what Teazel was driving at!


  18. Rattled along at usual pedestrian pace to puzzle over IOWAN (thanks Jackkt for pointing out), A GOGO triggered thoughts of nightclubs a la Whisky a gogo but DNK it had a meaning in itself. Liked PORK PIE. LOI NICHOLAS. As above. Thanks all. Have a good week.

  19. Second one completed with no cheating! Took me just over two hours with breakfast in between – having a break and coming back really helped as several clues suddenly seemed obvious. A few that I got from only half of the clue and had to check here after, including annoyingly the mega tarts one! (Is this what you term ‘biffing’ here?). I also fell down the US city hole for ages which is incredibly annoying because my name is Nicholas!!

    1. You’re on fire!

      Biffing is from BIFD – bunged in from definition – where you treat the crossword like a normal one and guess the answer from the meaning without understanding the wordplay

      There’s a glossary in side bar/bottom under ‘useful links’ that explains all of the vocab we use here!

  20. The general consensus seems to be that this was harder than average, certainly judging by one or two seasoned solvers times. Just to buck the trend for once, I found it pretty straightforward finishing in 6.46. I initially biffed LACE for 23ac, subconsciously thinking that a drink may be laced, but watering doesn’t really mean that I know. Getting 15dn made revisiting the clue straightforward in terms of getting LAWN. I confess I put IOWAN in with a shrug thinking it’s some obscure statesman I’ve never heard of, possibly Welsh!

  21. 11 minutes with three going in quickly at the end: Emulate, Felt and Pepper.
    I had not seen the STRATAGEM reversal before; COD to that.
    A nice QC to start the week.

  22. 20:25, two seconds off target time.

    Also slow to accept IOWAN, and had PILL BOX as a type of hat you might want to swallow. That gave a handy X for the “nine Romans”. Eventually SWAP caused that house of cards to fall.

    In what way is INTERMIX different from Mix?


      1. Here’s an attempt at it:

        A group of people may mix and mingle. Another group of people ditto. But if the two groups meet up they may intermix/intermingle?

  23. Nearly didn’t finish, NICHOLAS/CHEQUERED bamboozled me for ages. The mega tarts were new to me so a big smile at that. MIGRATED was good too. Don’t think I will be lonely in the SCC today.

  24. Took a while with this. Main holdups were INTERMIX and IOWAN. Got NICHOLAS early on which helped me secure A GOGO. Brought back memories of ‘Einstein a Go Go’ (1981) by Landscape – anyone else?! Embarrassingly FELT was my LOI, whereas LAWN was a write-in. Loved STRATAGEM and now have a great way of checking the spelling. Needed all the checkers for RUN OFF (still doesn’t sound quite right to me). Typically Teazelly – challenging but fun. Many thanks Kitty.

  25. Entertainingly tricky puzzle. Last 2 in were CHEQUERED and NICHOLAS – like others, a lot of time spent trying to find a city. Not seen MEGA TARTS before. Biffed A GOGO and IOWAN. Didn’t we have the same clue for AWFUL very recently?

  26. 25 mins so a little slower than my average, held up by making silly spelling mistakes that I managed to spot and correct when the crossing clues would not fit. I have apparently been spelling Stratagem incorrectly for my whole life. Mega tarts indeed!

    Smiles a gogo though for some clever clues. I especially liked HAKA and STURGEON. The superfluous ‘the’ in the clues doesn’t bother me. As MangoMan says above, I prefer the clue to scan properly.
    Like Cedric above I thought IOWAN was reference to the US presidential caucus. Over-thinking again.
    ‘Bee’ for ‘B’? Is that how you spell the letter B?
    Thanks for the blog Kitty

  27. Seemed quite tricky while I was solving it but I ended up with a respectable (for me) 17 minutes spread over 2 sessions. Had to parse several after completion including the clever mega tarts, which I don’t remember seeing before. I was another that confidently put in ‘silk’ at 23ac before AWFUL renedered it impossible. Luckily I vaguely remembered LAWN as a fabric, probably from an earlier crossword. Never heard of A GOGO as an expression, although it has now triggered the inevitable earworm.

    FOI – 1ac FELT
    COD – 22ac INTERMIX, closely followed by 8ac QUEEN BEE

    Thanks to Teazel and Kitty

  28. Seemed to be on the fast wavelength, but then slow on NICHOLAS which gave LOI CHEQUERED. Put IOWAN, but penny failed to drop for a minute or two. An amusing puzzle helped by the poem “Caviare comes from the virgin sturgeon…the virgin sturgeon need no urging…etc.”
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

            1. Infected is incredible. Dusk better still. Roll on seeing The The at Ally Pally next year.

  29. I had DECAGON for OCTAGON for a while until the other clues suggested the correct solution. It does seem to work the same way but I may have missed something.

  30. I really struggled with this. One of those odd ‘wavelength’ days when I took longer to do the QC than I did the main 15×15.

  31. Very pleased with a 28-minute finishing time today, especially as Teazel is my most afeared setter. Some clever clues plus some awkward wordplays (for me, at least), but all necessary information provided and no really esoteric or archaic language or GK – perhaps apart from LAWN as a fine fabric.

    I started well down the LHS, but the NE corner held out until much later in the proceedings. My favourite clues were QUEEN BEE and (after having read Kitty’s blog) STRATAGEM.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Kitty.

  32. 7:30, but despite having parsed 11d as MEGATARTS reversed, I managed to type STRATEGEM. Drat! Thanks Teasel and Kitty.

  33. A rather chequered attempt from me, but eventually all green in 61:01. Some went in before I’d finished reading the clue and hugely struggled on others. Didn’t help that I had A VOID for 7d (avid with an ‘o’, “nothing in abundance” as an overlapping definition) for a while until I decided the obvious answer to 11a should overrule it. Liked 11d but only after coming here so thank you Kitty for the explanation and Teazel for the puzzle.

  34. I struggled with this one and gave up in the end.

    7d was utter gibberish to me. Even when I saw the answer here it was one I’d never heard of.

    I saw CHEQUERED, but was confused as I thought of a CHECKERED flag.

    4a had me going for a while as I too was looking for a US city. 8a had me stuck for a while. With both these clues I was lead in the wrong direction. So I reassessed and followed a different path and finally getting the answer.

    Can’t say I really enjoyed this one, but wouldn’t describe as unenjoyable either. So for me a mediocre QC. Daily Telegraph one is a lot more enjoyable today.

    No cat to help me today as he spent a night out on the tiles and hasn’t returned yet.

    1. I hope your cat is of age to be allowed out unsupervised overnight. It runs the danger of being taken into care by the juvenile welfare authority.

  35. 7:21

    Troubled by my keyboard not reliably typing the letters I’d thought I’d typed so some seconds wasted on retyping. Vaguely recall LAWN as fabric appearing somewhere before, but I’d all forgotten about it.

    I enjoyed the reminder of the erstwhile Scottish Nationalists leader NICHOLAS STURGEON….

  36. 17:57, slow but acceptable post weekend.
    Gold fish was a bit meh.
    Troubles caused by last few: chequered, octagon, and LOI Nicholas.
    COD Stratagem.

  37. Dnf…

    Just couldn’t get to grips with the NE corner. 4ac “Nicholas” is now obvious, but I wasn’t looking for a specific name (I know a lot of people hate it when names are used), which caused problems for 5dn “Chequered” and 6dn “Octagon”. Didn’t help I put “Peep” for 9a either.

    Enjoyed 13dn “Pork Pie” when I realised it wasn’t “Flat Cap” (like the mushroom 😀) and 21dn “Lax”.

    FOI – 1ac “Felt”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 11ac “Sturgeon”

    Thanks as usual!

  38. 26:26
    As with others, I struggled with this one taking overly long with NICHOLAS looking for a US city. This wasn’t helped by also struggling with the crossers QUEEN BEE, CHEQUERED, RUN-OFF and my LOI A GOGO (a meaning I did not know).
    I still don’t understand how THE(TA) is derived from ‘old volunteer army’ and feel IOWAN very definitely warrants a MRE.
    FOI: 1ac FELT
    LOI: 7dn A GOGO
    Thanks to Kitty and Teazel

    1. The organisation now known as the Army Reserve used to be known until 2013 as the Territorial Army, or “The TA” for short.

  39. DNF. Abandoned a somewhat joyless and very off-the-wavelength attempt after 25 minutes, with CHEQUERED, MIGRATED and RUN-OFF still missing. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

    Thanks to Teazel and Kitty.

  40. I liked this puzzle and felt in tune with Teazel but putting PEEP instead of TOOT in 9a made 6d and 7d rather difficult until I spotted the alternative.
    FOI 1a FELT which was a good start.
    LOI AGOGO which i didn’t parse and assumed it meant ‘keenly expectant’
    Thanks Kitty and Teazel.

  41. 15.51 Mostly quick but slow at the end. I’ve only just twigged what IOWAN meant. That was followed by MIGRATED, CHEQUERED and NICHOLAS to finish. Thanks Kitty and Teazel.

  42. 14:13

    A nice easy start to the week, well under my 20 minute target. Only holdups were the last 2 IOWAN and LOI AGOGO. That last one familiar from the 80s song Einstein A Gogo.

  43. 25 mins.

    I suppose that’s ok given recent performances, but I’m not that happy with it. Glass half-empty day, because I expect better of myself. Too tired to list my silly mistakes.

    There was a time when I would have escaped the SCC with this. Just a pleasant memory now.

    Quintagram was a write in, which makes my time all the more galling. Unlikely to hit weekly target based on today’s effort.

    Thanks for the blog.

  44. I had been working on a needle felting project prior to starting the puzzle, so the word “felt” was top of mind and FOI. I was definitely on the right wavelength for this one, finding it one of the easiest offerings in recent memory. Really enjoyable, a gentle start to the week!

  45. A pleasant tussle over breakfast. All done in 20 mins or so, I would guess. A few biffs that I eventually managed to parse, inc 11d. Might have heard of LAWN as a fabric but had to check with my crossword advisor (Mrs F) to be sure. Struggled with 10a, not being a rugby afficionado. Wondered if it might be HAHA but eventually realised that I’d heard of the word.

    Biffed IOWAN from checkers and wordplay, but had no idea what it could mean – some medieval knight, maybe? A former liberal politician? Looking it up gave me a person from Iowa – I doubt I would have ever have got that definition. Anyway, it’s not really a STATESMAN. A man (could it not just as easily be a woman?) from that state – that would be a STATEMAN. Maybe a man from The States? I’m tempted to award at least a MER.

    1. Hi Siobhan. I was just referring to the word “the” as it appears in some of the clues.

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