Times Quick Cryptic 2553 by Teazel

This puzzle struck me as quite difficult, but as I write the blog it doesn’t seem that tough.   The QUITCH is over 100, but not particularly high.   However, I often have difficulties with Teazel’s puzzles.

There were a few awkward clues.   I didn’t care for the definition of flue, the literal for metric, and the two instances of up in the clue for strap.   These anomalies slowed me up just a bit, but I wasn’t very sharp at the start and wasted a lot of time on answers I should have seen quickly, putting me over 10 minutes.


1 Actually redeem joky promise, breaking Senate oath (3,4,3)
8 Conventional pair embracing guy (6)
9 Prepares to take off one among deductions from pay (6)
10 Escape illness with drug (4)
FLUE – FLU + E.   Not the first meaning I would think of for flue – but it’s probably in the dictionary.
11 One ironing negligently? It’s a hot day! (8)
SCORCHER – Double definition, the first one jocular.
12 Modest, but sounding much in demand? (6)
CHASTE – Sounds like chased.
14 Staggering, installing new sunshade (6)
16 Almost drop argument for register of singers (8)
18 Partners at table accepting one’s sensible (4)
WISE – W(IS)E, the bridge partners West and East.
20 Satisfied, endlessly wealthy in such a system (6)
METRIC – MET + RIC[h].   The literal is poor, since such does not refer to anything in the previous part of the clue.
21 Keep drawing attention to large jug (6)
FLAGON – FLAG ON.   Large is not L, a bit of misdirection.
22 Choice testimonial on page (10)
2 Part of Capri lovely in springtime (5)
APRIL – Hidden in [c]ARPI L[ovely].
3 Heavy-handedly control work on newspapers (7)
4 Pay attention to, commonly — with this? (3)
EAR – ‘EAR, that is to say, the Cockney version of HEAR.   This does refer correctly back to the first part of the clue.
5 Item baked perhaps an awkward responsibility (3,6)
HOT POTATO –  A double definition, or a cryptic hint, or whatever you want to call it.
6 What’s sickening to numbers of Romans (5)
TOXIC – TO  + X,I, C – all Roman numerals.
7 Flower is cut: name? (6)
SEVERN – SEVER + N, that kind of flow-er.
11 Select cap to be prepared for public display (9)
13 Deceived and given the chop after half an hour (6)
15 Old prison — needs this after violent breakout? (7)
17 Fasten up sections that have turned up (5)
STRAP – PARTS upside-down.
19 Dreadful cost I accepted uncomplaining (5)
STOIC – Anagram of COST I.
21 Service charge offered regularly (3)
FEE – [o]F[f]E[r]E[d].

76 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2553 by Teazel”

  1. I got it all, but I did need the blog for some parsings.
    AWNING and SEVERN were my LOI, I nho Severn, but I don’t know pretty much any rivers and the word play plus crossers for that one was clear

  2. I mistakenly and unthinkingly put west instead of WISE and forgot to go back there, so that’s a bust in about 12 minutes. Like vinyl1 I thought this was on the hard side but now I’m not sure why. The two ups in the STRAP clue grated, especially as they seemed to be doing the same job. Would ‘fasten up sections’ have achieved the same thing?

  3. This took me a while, partly because I was in a hurry to catch a train and my fingers were ice-cold, making my typing error-ridden. Too hurried to notice the two ‘up’s Lindsay points to, but I think he’s right. 8:53.

  4. 11 minutes, with an excessive amount of time wasted on FALSETTO; I really can’t account for my difficulty with it.

    A FLUE can be a chimney or duct that allows waste gases and smoke to escape and I think the clue should have contained some sort of an indication of this function – especially a Quick Cryptic clue which is supposed be a little more solver-friendly. Not that it delayed me as an experienced solver.

    Similarly ‘system’ is a term covering a multitude possibilities and there’s nothing in the clue to METRIC to suggest the sort of system being referred to.

    But then at 17 the clue to STRAP is perhaps being too helpful by including the second ‘up’ and is spoilt as a result. ‘Fasten up sections that have turned’ would have sufficed.

    1. Might 17 not have worked better either keeping only the second ‘up’ or even with zero ‘ups’? Or does crossword setting etiquette demand the vertical vs horizontal differentiation for a ‘down’ clue?

  5. 14 minutes. I found this on the hard side and was glad to finish. I was happy enough to get the answers that did eventually come and didn’t notice the criticisms raised above. The FLUE clue was one of my favourites though; the surface invited a verb for ‘Escape’ and with the crossing L and likely E for ‘drug’ at the end what else could it be but FLEE? No such ‘illness’ of course and we had another F and a double E later on in the puzzle.

    Thanks to Teazel and Vinyl

  6. Too hard for me. I gave up after my 30 minute cut off point with about ⅔ completed. Life’s too short.
    Thanks for the blog Vinyl.

  7. 13’20” with very few complete on the first pass but FLUE was one of them and no issues with the clueing for it. I agree, though, with the extraneous ‘up’ in 17d and the wobbly METRIC.

    FALSETTO my LOI just as I was about to throw in the towel.

    Thanks Izetti and Vinyl1

  8. Excellent puzzle but decidedly tricky in places.
    I didn’t get my FOI until WISE by which point I was starting to get concerned, but I gradually tuned in and used the anagrams for EAT ONES HAT and SPECTACLE to get some footholds. Thereafter things became easier finsihing well over target in 12.10, which I’m happy enough with considering the slow start.
    Thanks to Vinyl

  9. 6:11. I wasted time wandering in the garden up the wrong paths in trying to solve the apparent anagrams of “one ironing” at 11A and “item baked” at 5D. As other have also said, I too didn’t much care for “Escape” as a definition of FLUE and the excessive upping for STRAP. I did like EAT ONES HAT, though. Thank-you Teazel and vinyl.

  10. Saw Teazel’s name and settled in for a struggle, but managed fine. Didn’t notice any of the mers. Downs went in quicker than acrosses, as they often seem to for me.



  11. I thought “escape” was a jolly neat definition for FLUE because it cunningly invited the dozy solver (reader, it was I) to bung in “flee”. Fortunately I couldn’t parse “fle” as an illness so I got there.

    Cluster solve today, started NW and moved steadily clockwise until getting stuck in the SW, where I failed to spot that LOI SPECTACLE was an anagram, got fixated on “alto” for the register, and couldn’t get the chestnutty homophone for CHASTE. So I’m the anti-Plett this morning – a sluggish end rescued by a fast start!

    All there in 08:21 (which is the train I missed this morning thus giving myself time to get an espresso) for a sub-K two days running!!!!! First time for everything.

    Many thanks Teazel and vinyl.


    1. If this form continues, we may suggest to Kevin that he measures his solves in Ts (Templars)! 😀

      1. Ha ha. There’s a reason that Kevin’s average is 6 point something and mine is 8 point something … he’s in a different league.

  12. 14:04
    1404 Owain Glyndŵr, Prince of Wales, allies with the French against the English

    Very slow start, had to start with the downs after 6 fails with the acrosses. I really liked 1A EAT ONES HAT with very neat definition (not easy in just 4 words), great anagram, (Senate Oath is a real thing) and good surface. Needed many of those crossers to see it, though.

    Also liked NEWGATE, simple but clever.

    LOI FLAGON, thought the L would be large with the NHO public school expression FAG ON. I assume there is a whole argot of Public School, Oxbridge, Sandhurst words that just pass me by.

  13. I found this very chewy and did not reach the finish line until 16 minutes had elapsed (or, as the Android app cheerfully told me “Congratulations, time 00.00”). As I was doing it I felt some of the surfaces were weak – I did not like the clue for Ear and the use of commonly to imply a dropped H (wot, no reference to Cockneys/East Londoners?), and I shared the temptation to have Flee for Flue. In fact quite a few clues used lesser-used meanings (Guy = Rope, not Man/Man’s name, for example) and in general where there was a garden path to go up I duly went up it.

    All part of the setter’s art of course, and I give Teazel best for a stretching day.

    Many thanks to Vinyl1 for the blog.

  14. 17 mins…

    I didn’t find this too bad overall. There were a few definitions that made me think, such as 10ac “Flue” (nearly put Flee), 20ac “Metric” and the classic ‘flower’ of 7dn “Severn”.

    FOI – 2dn “April”
    LOI – 7dn “Severn”
    COD – 15dn “Newgate” – a bit of a chestnut, but always makes me chuckle.

    Thanks as usual!

  15. Very pleased that I finished but then saw I had changed FLUE to Flee. Should have gone back and thought harder, oh dear.
    Thanks vm, Vinyl.

  16. 30ish minutes, albeit not focused, but not much came easily. 1A held out until late on, FALSETTO likewise.LOI SEVERN which, as I assumed it was a river, seems odd in retrospect but I was picking off clues all over to try to piece it all together. A few bits, as mentioned, seemed less than smooth, but all the clues worked well enough.

  17. This put me in a bad mood I’m sorry to say – ridiculous for a quickie. Thanks blogger though!

  18. 17:47 (Lord Lovat becomes the last person to be beheaded for High Treason, for his part in the Jacobite rising )

    Pride comes before a fall, and after yesterday’s speedy solve I found this one very tough. I only got two of the across clues on first pass, although with hindsight none of them are especially tough clues. Much time wasted looking for anagrams of “1 ironing”. AWNING and HOAXED were my L2I.

    Thanks Teazel and Vinyl

  19. 6:36

    Nice grid with some interesting words (HOAXED, AWNING, TAXIES, SCORCHER) – all quite getable. No real issues with the clueing – my view on the QC is that the clueing is sometimes a little more relaxed than the 15×15 where every word counts. This puzzle on the other hand was pretty tightly clued, the only MER I’d agree with is the clue for METRIC where ‘such a system’ has no reference to any other word in the clue. Only FLUE foxed me where I was tempted by FLEE but could not justify it, fortunately thinking of FLU quickly.

    Thanks Teazel and Vinyl

  20. Like some others I found this on the tough side of average. I was half way down the puzzle before I was able to put in AWNING, and then had to revisit most clues. I did speed up towards the end and finished in 10.05, just a few seconds outside target. LOI was SEVERN where I took far too long considering only the sort of flowers you may grow in your garden.

  21. I found this difficult and needed to put on my 15×15 hat. 20 minutes.
    LOI was EAT ONES HAT where I was rushing to find a solution without thinking what the clue really said; was obsessed with PAY as the first word. A mature consideration of the clue found the anagram and I limped home.
    A good puzzle. COD to HOAXED.

  22. I like Teazel puzzles and this was no exception. Slight MER at METRIC as others have mentioned but happy enough. LOI CHASTE/HOAXED. Favourites were CHASTE (brought a smile when the penny dropped), EAR and TAXIES. Took a little while for everything to fall into place today but enjoyed the process. Many thanks all.

  23. I found this quite approachable for Teazel, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Took 25 minutes, so not much more than average, but I never felt fully stuck and just had to spend the time looking at the clues, which makes for a satisfying solve.

  24. 09:19

    Got stuck on eat ones hat, until I saw the anagram. Definition is a bit odd, not sure what “actually redeem” add, could have just had “joky promise”.

    Liked scorcher and chaste, but COD to Newgate.

    1. I feel the clue was very carefully precise . The joky promise has to be “I’ll eat my hat”. Only if you redeem it do you “eat your hat”.

  25. I was slow to get going with FOI TAXIES and solved clockwise from there. With NEWGATE and FALSETTO the definition came first and the wordplay followed but METRIC and FLUE were constructed purely from wordplay. I thought the clue for FLUE was very succinct and clever and gets my COD. My LOI was EAT ONES HAT in an over target but still enjoyable 10:41.

  26. Mr SR and I both enjoyed this, thanks Teasel.
    Didn’t need the blog for once, but always enjoy reading it and the comments, so thanks, Vinyl1.

  27. 15:23. FLAGON was my COD after I figured out the parsing. Re the fact that “such” in the clue for METRIC didn’t refer back to the first part of the clue completely escaped me. I just thought “such” must refer to the answer. Still lots for me to learn about cryptic logic/grammar/conventions!

  28. Stupidly put WEST for 18a and never checked it. Doh!! Struggled to get PROPER and CHASTE, but can’t see why! Not a smooth solve with some fairly dodgy clues.

  29. 30.04, about 10 minutes over my target time as I found this one quite tricky. FOI WISE (being a bridge player came in useful here) LOI NEWGATE which I should have got quicker COD EAT ONES HAT (nice to see my surname – Eaton – in the top left of the grid)

  30. Another DNF. Feel pleased to have got half the answers in half an hour but ABSOLUTELY no interest in continuing. Nothing quick about this crossword for me.

  31. 17.29. A very satisfying solve.

    What is a QUITCH? Please can it be added to the very helpful glossary?

  32. FOI was APRIL. Needed the crossers to see EAT ONES HAT. Nice clue. Steady progress then ensued with no particular hold ups. LOI was PREFERENCE. 7:42. Thanks Teazel and Vinyl.

  33. Agree about at least one too many ‘ups’ in 17D. Also had to check there is a word AWING meaning staggering- only come across AWE as a noun or a verb used passively. Always something new to learn! Thanks Teazel and Vinyl.

  34. After a remarkably straightforward puzzle from Izetti yesterday this was a tricky offering. Finished with aids for METRIC and NEWGATE so a strict dnf after 1h 15m and three visits.
    COD SEVERN – flower fools me every time
    LOI METRIC – pretty hard clue if you ask me
    Thanks Teazel and Vinyl

    1. Just seen your time for yesterday. That’s excellent, as there were plenty of tricky bits. 👍

  35. Never heard anyone say ‘that was really awing’ even if it is in the dictionary. It is always ‘are inspiring’.

  36. Had another bad day on the Quintagram after thinking of every word for prison other than cage. This wasn’t a good start to the solving day, made worse when I couldn’t see wiseguy for mafioso.

    As a result, I approached the QC with little confidence, this dropping even further when I saw who the setter was.

    First pass of across clues was horrendous and I feared a nightmare day. Things improved a bit with the down clues. Then, surprisingly, it all fell into place and I finished in 16 mins.

    That means I am at 1 hour, 21 mins for the week. If I can finish tomorrow in 38 mins or less, I will have achieved my goal for the second time this year.

    Many thanks for the blog.

      1. Thanks Ian (and well done yesterday – just been going through yesterday’s posts). 👏👏

  37. 31:43
    I knew I was in trouble when the first pass of the crosses revealed nothing and my FOI was 1dn.
    It seemed to take an age to see some of the answers, anagrams requiring pen and paper, but most clues seemed fair.
    I thought AWING was a bit of a stretch, never heard it used – ‘awe inspiring’ being something I am more familiar with. FLUE also seemed a stretch for a QC but my struggle with SEVERN was self induced, looking for flora rather than something that flows!
    FOI: 2dn APRIL
    LOI: 20ac METRIC
    Thanks to Vinyl and Teasel

  38. Well, we found that difficult today. All done in about 19 minutes – until it wasn’t because we couldn’t see past FLEE, even though we never knew that FLE was a known acronym for frontal lobe epilepsy! All fair though so thank you Teazel and Vinyl1.

  39. After a slow start, 14a was my foi, I then sped through. Seeing many of the answers straight away. Had to check blog to finish. Would quibble that Oppress = heavy handed control

  40. 16.44 I found this tough. I’d solved only a few by the ten minute mark but EAT ONES HAT finally opened the puzzle up. I did like FLUE for the same reasons as BR. An enjoyable solve. Thanks vinyl1 and Teazel.

  41. 13:42 here, which I’m happy with after only having four after my first pass through the acrosses. Fortunately I found the downs more tractable. LOI SCORCHER: after deciding that it was an anagram of “I ironing”, I didn’t spot that the E from SEVERN killed that theory.

    Thanks to Teazel and vinyl1.

  42. Just couldn’t get to terms with this. I’ve got Covid so I will put it down to the fog that descends

  43. I rarely escape the SCC and my stats show that I find Teazel to be the most awkward setter. So, to cross the line in just 19 minutes makes it an auspicious day indeed.

    My FOI was proper, but I didn’t really get going until I reached the Down clues. 13 clues solved and 10-11 minutes gone after my first full pass was a good sign, although I expected at that stage to be slowed up considerably towards the end. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and I was able to smile at NEWGATE and EAT ONES HAT as they appeared. My last three in were STRAP, METRIC and FALSETTO, which I never parsed.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Vinyl1.

  44. Snap with FALSETTO. It was my LOI and I spent a little time trying and failing to parse it before deciding that it had to be right.

    Congratulations on a great time. 👏👏

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