Times Quick Cryptic 2540 by Orpheus

Solving time: 9 minutes

After a fortnight without a sub-10 minute solve, I have had a run of three of them since last Thursday . I wouldn’t suggest they have been getting easier, only that they have suited me better. How did you all do?

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 The majority long to adopt high-class facial growth (9)
MOST (the majority) containing [to adopt] U (high-class), then ACHE (long)
6 Delight in   archaeological excavation (3)
Two meanings
8 Managed to proceed, reaching Burmese city (7)
RAN (managed), GO ON (proceed)
9 Man or woman backing sailor’s dance (5)
SAM (man or woman), AB (sailor) reversed [backing]
10 It’s a principle, whichever way you look at it (5)
The answer is signalled as a palindrome
12 Old citizen’s article connected with prohibition (6)
THE (definite article), BAN (prohibition). There have been two ancient cities of Thebes, in Greece and in Egypt.
14 Assorted male cousins unexpectedly entertaining the Spanish (13)
Anagram [unexpectedly] of MALE COUSINS containing [entertaining] EL (‘the’ in Spanish)
16 Criticise a close relative’s headgear (6)
PAN (criticise), A, MA (close relative). The hat from Ecuador.
17 Danger originally preventing return of old Italian currency (5)
P{reventing} [originally], then LIRE (old Italian currency) reversed [return of…]
19 Rowing crew had a meal, some would say (5)
Sounds like [some would say] “ate” (had a meal)
20 Sort of coffee popular fellow initially took (7)
IN (popular), STAN (fellow), T{ook} [initially]. Some may dispute the definition!
22 Sporting group fails to finish meal (3)
TEA{m} (sporting group) [fails to finish]
23 Plundered and beat it, getting fired (9)
RAN (beat it), SACKED (fired)
1 Beginning of month — occasion for seafaring? (8)
MAR 1 (beginning of month), TIME (occasion)
2 Vessel originally used by navy (3)
U{sed} [originally], RN (Royal Navy)
3 Jog round university to find fish (5)
TROT (jog) containing [round] U (university)
4 Woman involved in scam, running into stars (13)
STELLA (woman) contained by [involved in] CON (scam) + anagram [running] of INTO
5 Oriental seabird overwhelmed by raging sea (7)
Anagram [raging] of SEA, then TERN (seabird). ‘Overwhelmed’ might suggest containment but here it just means on top of.
6 Lower your, and my, carriage (9)
DEMEAN (lower), OUR (your and my)
7 Vigorously attack bearded mammal (4)
GO AT (vigorously attack)
11 Yearning for past? In Angola it’s unusual (9)
Anagram [unusual] of ANGOLA IT’S
13 One lambasted for keeping old cut off (8)
I (one), SLATED (lambasted) containing [keeping] O (old)
15 Former player, one making extortionate demands (7)
EX-ACTOR (former player)
17 In Pennsylvania, a way to serve lasagne, say (5)
A + ST (way) contained by [in] PA (Pennsylvania)
18 Considered   a suitable material for hats (4)
Two meanings
21 Seek information in capacity of king (3)
AS (in capacity), K (king)

103 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2540 by Orpheus”

  1. I too have been clocking faster times in the last few days and today was the quickest so far, 6.12. It would have been under 6 if I hadn’t dopily typed AAK for ask and had to find the error. Some of these in the lower half were entry-level clues, such as EIGHT and TEA. Not fully convinced about ‘Mar 1’ to start MARITIME, but generally a fun solve, thanks to Orpheus and Jack.

    PS: For those considering a crack at the 15×15, I found MOST of today’s to be quite friendly though I did hit some turbulence in the SW…

  2. 7:43. I couldn’t see the I in MARITIME as “the first”so wondered how to explain it. I thought RANGOON was now Yangon but I see the 1989 change hasn’t been accepted by everybody.

      1. Yes, I didn’t think of that. Looking again at Yangon and thinking of yang as embodying male energy I wonder if a future setter could clue yangon as “mojo working”?

  3. A friendly Monday offering from Orpheus that played by the rules. As above, I wondered where to find the I in MARITIME, thanks Jackkt.
    15.20 so no badinage for me in the SCC today.

  4. For a couple of seconds I wondered about the I, but quickly got it. Biffed MOUSTACHE (with that def, hard not to biff) and MISCELLANEOUS. I haven’t drunk coffee for decades, but I used to get my coffee at the original Peet’s (where the founders of Starbucks started), and wouldn’t have touched INSTANT with a bargepole. 5:33. (I see my autoannoy has underlined Peet’s but not Starbucks.)

  5. 5:18, with over a minute spent at the end on ISOLATED! SLATED was not a word I knew in this meaning.

  6. Just under 12 minutes. This didn’t seem too hard, but the GO AT for ‘bearded mammal’ and the MAR I bit of MARITIME caught me out. I misparsed ISOLATED, wondering how SOD could be the correct tense for ‘lambasted’ but of course I was on the wrong track completely.

    Off for a late lunch/afternoon tea; I will be happily partaking of an easily prepared beverage, a cup of which contains 43 beans.

    Thanks to Jack and Orpheus

  7. A good start to the week for me with a 16 minute finish. I was helped a good deal by MOUSTACHE, CONSTELLATION and MISCELLANEOUS going straight in before I’d even taken my first sip of (instant) coffee. THEBAN I’d nho but it had to be, and EXACTOR took a while. Otherwise a great puzzle in my opinion and one well worthy of the QC title.
    Thanks to Orpheus and Jack.

  8. 7:29 – PB – 🙌🙌🙌🙌

    It was a biff fest though – I didn’t parse the long words to check if the anagrams worked and just assumed MARITIME worked somehow

    I’m happy to remember the various acronyms and short words for sailors and the navy etc otherwise there wasn’t too much crosswordese I thought

  9. Gentle going today, my only slight pause was over PERIL where I did a double take having always assumed that lire was spelt with an ‘a’ – maybe a result of having been to Turkey a few times (that’s my excuse anyway!).
    Started with DIG and finished with RANSACKED in 6.06 with my favourite being NOSTALGIA, for the surface.
    Thanks to Jack

  10. Reasonably straightforward 11′. Enjoyed seeing INSTANT as a type of coffee given the ever growing possibilities available… Similar view to LindsayO re today’s 15×15. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

    1. I agree today’s 15×15 is worth a try for those with ambitions in that direction but it contains several words or meanings that I didn’t know so they shouldn’t expect it to be that easy. All the answers were fair and deducible one way or another though.

  11. A nice steady 28m today.
    I thought the I in MARITIME came from an occasion meaning ‘1 time’
    Very nice puzzle and thanks for the blog.

  12. PB I think, and 4th on the leaderboard at time of submission. I did check to see I hadn’t completed the concise in error.

    As such, quite a bit of biffing, but I enjoyed DEMEANOUR and MISCELLANEOUS. MOUSTACHE COD, despite only parsing post submission.



  13. 9:18
    (918 Battle of Corbridge: The Vikings defeat the Scots in Northumbria )

    Finally a decent time, and would should have been better without struggling with LOI GOAT. Nervous about EXACTOR, with high pink square probability over EXACTER, NHO either word.

    Did not see MAR 1 for “month”. Could have been clued better, isn’t it St David’s Day? In the scouts we had to learn those, not names of capital cities of colonies (I’m looking at you, Rangoon).

    Knocked off the 15×15 first as a warm up (49 mins).

    1. You should have learned Noel Coward.

      Mad dogs and Englishmen
      Go out in the midday sun.
      The toughest Burmese bandit
      Can never understand it.
      In Rangoon the heat of noon
      Is just what the natives shun.
      They put their Scotch or Rye down
      And lie down.

    2. From Wiki: The country’s capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city is Yangon (formerly Rangoon).
      Which was news to me.

      1. But apparently hardly anyone lives in the grand new capital. And the British Embassy is still in Yangon, I see.

  14. My login woes continue – still being logged out after every visit and this time the system also forgot my stored password. On the other hand it might have been better to remain anonymous today as I post the first DNF of the day – thus sparing anyone else the honour. A Breezeblock special as all done bar one clue in 7 minutes and then not even a detailed wordsearch revealed Goat. No excuses, just Monday morning fog, though in my defence I’m on a packed commuter train for the first time for ages.

    Not sure I understand the fuss about the I in Maritime. As Jack says in the blog, Mar 1 is the beginning of a month. Of course this side of the pond we (slightly) more often say 1 Mar, but even so that was one part of the puzzle that I didn’t expect to excite comment.

    Many thanks Jack for the blog

  15. I wonder if I’m on the same train as Cedric? I’d have WFH’d if I’d remembered this was a strike day …

    Monday morning loosener, blitzed without any form of coffee, INSTANT or otherwise (it’s a sign of the times that I ran through the Pret coffee menu in my head before giving up and waiting for checkers). COD to THEBAN.

    Saved from disaster by (for once) actually reading the message that told me the puzzle was only 98% complete. I’d skipped SAMBA on first pass through the acrosses. Phew!

    All done in 05:51 for <1.1K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Jack.


    1. An option in the crossword app to prohibit incomplete submissions would be nice. Or a hot-key to submit that only worked if the puzzle was complete. Though I could imagine myself repeatedly hitting the key wondering why my incomplete puzzle wasn’t being submitted.

  16. A leisurely run through, trying to solve all the acrosses before downs, which was partly responsible for my (clever, eh?) INFUSED for the coffee: IN + F ellow (initially) + USED (took). A better answer, I thought once I’d checked it was really a thing afterwards (it is) because it avoided using a random bloke. Grudgingly corrected before submission. Just under 10.

  17. Yay! A doable one after a bit of a drought for me.
    16:29, so managed to finish, but will miss all my buddies in the SCC, unless they too are partying on the lawn with me! 🍾🥂🎉🎊🎈❤️

    1. I’ll join you outside on the terrace – 16 mins and some seconds. Ideal Monday puzzle, I may even go and see how far I can go with the 15×15, given comments above.

  18. My quickest for some time at just under 7 minutes.
    Did not take time to parse everything but, as others have found, the biffs were straightforward.
    Some nice surfaces and a good QC overall.

  19. Thank you, Orpheus, for a friendly one at last. I too couldn’t see how I in MARITIME worked, but Mar 1 is perfectly fair. LOI THEBAN – Mrs M asked where it was, so thank you, jackkt, for giving chapter and verse.

  20. I DIGged this crossword. One or two went in INSTANTly.

    Also managed to see the MISCELLANEOUS anagrams straight off which was a relief.

    Failed to parse GOAT but so what.

    Generally good surfaces.

    Thanks Orpheus and Jack

    1. I smiled at your comment, TLbtWwtwbtsc, but I wonder what is the maximum name length the TfTT administration will allow posters to have!

  21. Gentle start to the week, no problems, nor anything to add to what others have said

    TIME 3:55

    * I still smile at the memory of my late father’s amazement on watching me on “Countdown” back in 1992. The conundrum came up as SUMOCHEAT and I got it in 3 seconds. I assured him that it was my crossword solver’s brain at work, and that he deserved credit for introducing me to the concept when I was only 11 years old.

        1. That’s incredible. I mean i don’t know why I’m surprised people on Countdown would also do crosswords but I’m not the brightest bulb

        2. Now that is what tea breaks were made for – loved it. And impressed by it too. Unlucky to be drawn against Wayne in the first round in 1993!

    1. I’ve checked out the stats on Countdown, courtesy of Templar’s link, and see you were narrowly defeated by Gareth Williams in the grand final. If it is the same Gareth Williams that I suspect it is, he was living in South Wales, Pontypridd possibly, when he attended a south east Wales Mensa meeting. I was told by someone that he was the world scrabble champion at the time. On being introduced to me, he immediately said “oh yes, your name is an anagram of harvest”. I was gobsmacked at the time that anyone could work that out in an instant.

      1. Andy is not an anagram of Harvest.

        I’m curious though I’m terrible at anagrams. Is it Ravesht?

        1. My surname is Thraves. He literally made the anagram in one second flat.
          My surname is so unusual I decided to research it to see where it would take me as a family history study. After ten years of diligent research trawling the archives and the public record office at Kew, I managed to get back on a direct line to a Thomas Thraves born in circa 1460.
          I am a member of the Guild Of One Name Studies (yes I’m a goon!) and answer queries from anyone seeking information on someone with my surname who might appear on their family tree.

          1. That’s so cool and I’m mildly envious.

            My maiden name is the 5th most popular in Vietnam (and given Vietnamese populations, there are a lot of us). There is no use tracing any of my history back more than 100 years really.

  22. 5:51 as per Templar. I am very happy with a sub six mins finish. I am not sure I could have gone much quicker. I did biff NOSTALGIc at first but that was easily corrected and I read stairs instead of stars so CONSTELLATION required more than one look. LOsI were DEMEANOUR, DIG and GOAT in the NE corner.

  23. Under 10 for me today but it was enjoyable. Much more sensible for me than Friday’s which was just plain wrongo 🙂 Thanks all!

  24. 5:28

    Nothing too troubling here – lots of biffing without too much thought as to the exact parsing. The only answer I thought about at any length was which of the many five-letter dances ending in -A it might be.

    Thanks Orpheus and Jack

  25. 10:16 so easy end of the Rotterometer with some nice moments. ISOLATED went in last, and DIG was a PDM when the first def eventually clicked. Many thanks Jackkt and Orpheus. I’m going to save the 15 x 15 for over breakfast at the golf club.

  26. 4.03

    Think this was a pb for me as well. Not sure I could tap them in on my phone any quicker. ISOLATED also my LOI like Jeremy.

    Thanks Orpheus and Jackkt

  27. Congratulations to all who had a pb today. If I went to each entry to congratulate them I’d get typists cramp! Not a pb for me but a very respectable 6.32, which I was slightly disappointed with as I felt it seemed quicker in solving it. The only comment I would make is to echo what one or two others say in that Mar 1 is a perfectly reasonable as a description of ‘beginning of month’. I seem to recall this device has been used on quite a few occasions.

    1. Yes, clueing MAR 1 as ‘beginning of month’ in a QC ought to be straightforward for solvers with some experience. Clueing it as ‘St David’s Day’ as suggested somewhere above would be at a higher level of difficulty because it relies on specific GK that many will not have.

  28. 11 mins…

    Best time for a while (after a slurry of dnf’s) for what was an enjoyable puzzle. Liked 14ac “Miscellaneous”, 13dn “Isolated” and 11dn “Nostalgia”.

    FOI – 2dn “Urn”
    LOI – 6dn “Demeanour”
    COD – 1ac “Moustache”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. A good start to the week. FOI biffed MOUSTACHE, LOI GOAT (thought about Goad briefly, then pulled myself together).
    Biffed a lot today as am quite busy. Liked RANSACKED, THEBAN, PERIL, among others.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  30. I don’t think I found this quite as easy as others have, with the generally soft going suddenly becoming quite hard in the NE corner. Both Demeanour and Goat put up stiff resistance, to the point where I began to think Dig might be wrong. All sorted in the end, bar the parsing of Constellation, where I was trying to make sense of Con + Ella + Station without much success (thanks, Jackkt, for the correct parsing). That tipped me over into the SCC, but with the consolation of a good choice of window seats. Invariant

  31. 12 mins so potentially a PB for me too, I can’t remember. I parsed MARITIME as MAR (beginning of month) and 1 TIME (occasion) as also mentioned by IanV above.
    I find the dances difficult, especially when I start with a final ‘a’ (salsa, rumba, samba, …). PANAMA was my last one in and I spent far too long wondering how ‘banana’ might be a type of headgear and some people might call their nan by ‘na’ (ban a na). Ridiculous!

  32. Biff central for me today, for 13:31 which is probably a PB. I did need the blog to parse a couple of them, so thank you to jackkt!

    It could potentially have been under ten minutes if I hadn’t stared at 6d for ages wondering what sort of obscure Victorian carriage I didn’t know this time.

  33. Never bothered to fully parse MOUSTACHE or CONSTELLATION as they were obviously correct. Other than that completed and parsed in 12 minutes – not a PB but definitely one of my faster times.

    LOI – 6dn DEMEANOUR (like Wombat I was originally looking for a wheeled sort of carriage)
    COD – 7dn GOAT

    Thanks to Orpheus and Jack

  34. best time for ages – 9mins – LOI and had to guess Theban as never heard of it, but only word that worked. Lovely to have an easier start to the week – last week SO hard!

  35. I am tempted to say that I rattled through this very quickly but I won’t because boasting is for others.

  36. I was quite pleased with a 10m solve until I came here and saw some very fast times – well done all! Enjoyed PANAMA- that’s my sort of clue! An all green start to the week.

  37. 17.02 here. After a few DNFs last week, that felt like a better start to the week. Wrote quite a few in but then had a few that needed pondering and crossers

  38. 33:52 – really not with it today, forgot / didn’t see a lot of the really basic clues but still managed a half-decent time (for me!) with no mistakes so can’t complain. Had to check THEBAN was a word and had biffed SALSA rather than SAMBA for far too long which held up DEMEANOUR.

    I read 20a as “Is INSTANT a type of coffee? sort of” which made perfect sense to my slightly snobbish mind!

  39. 07:45
    Held up at the end by ask, ransacked (struggle to see beat it = ran), maritime.
    LOI panama
    COD maritime/goat

  40. Nothing that caused me any trauma here. Managed to complete, though the cat did answer one clue.

  41. From MOUSTACHE to RANSACKED in 6:36. No dramas. Thanks Orpheus and Jack. Congrats to all the PBs! And Kudos to Countdown Phil!!

  42. 10:10
    I’m not normally allowed a look in with these but the man of the house is away. Only held up by the NE where I thought 6d might start DIM (lower…the lights) and this was going to be some unknown Regency transport. Didn’t see GO-AT either but didn’t stop to query.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  43. Slow going until halfway, but MARITIME followed in quick succession by MOUSTACHE, CONSTELLATION and MISCELLANEOUS kickstarted a sprint for the line. It’s amazing how one word can unlock a puzzle at times.

    ISOLATED, THEBAN and DEMEANOUR slowed me a little at the end, as did SAMBA (I had SAlsA for a long time).

    Time = 27 minutes, which is fast for me. However, Mrs Random showed me a clean pair of heels with her 12-minute finish.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Jack.

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