Times Quick Cryptic 2566 by Orpheus

Hi everybody.  I hope 2024 is treating you well.  This puzzle certainly treated me well as I came home comfortably inside my inner target time and enjoyed the ride as usual.  Thanks Orpheus!

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 Traverse river, taking in old Ugandan dictator to question (5-7)
CROSS-EXAMINE CROSS (traverse) + EXE (river) containing (taking in) AMIN (old Ugandan dictator)
9a Young fish always found around lake (5)
ELVER EVER (always) found around L (lake)
10a Arriviste promotes baked food (7)
UPSTART UPS (promotes) + TART (baked food)
11a No more than moggy, do we hear? It’s a type of mongoose (7)
MEERKAT — Sounds like (… do we hear?) MERE CAT (no more than moggy)
12a Polish nurse once entertaining ambassador (5)
SHEEN SEN (State Enrolled Nurse: nurse once) containing (entertaining) HE (His/Her Excellency: ambassador)
13a Quiet church reportedly in dilapidated state (6)
SHABBY SH (quiet) + ABBY, which sounds like (… reportedly) ABBEY (church)
14a Long to take Oxford course in French port (6)
DIEPPE DIE (long) + PPE (Philosophy Politics and Economics: Oxford course)
17a Deviating from norm? Not in the Royal Engineers (5)
OUTRE OUT (not in) + RE (the Royal Engineers)
19a Loving American politician touring area (7)
AMATORY AM (American) and TORY (politician) around (touring) A (area)
21a Lorry driver and friar crossing river with hesitation (7)
TRUCKER TUCK (friar – Friar Tuck) going over (crossing) R (river) + ER (hesitation)
22a Bungling fashionable European taking exercise (5)
INEPT IN (fashionable) + E (European) + PT (exercise)
23a Is main credit somehow showing bias? (12)
DISCRIMINATE — Anagram of (… somehow) IS MAIN CREDIT
2d Holiday area, one adopted by Rhode Island girl (7)
RIVIERA I (one) inside (adopted by) RI (Rhode Island) and VERA (girl)
3d Hit big wave, getting scab (13)
4d Some people quit Yorkshire, showing fair-mindedness (6)
EQUITY Some peoplE QUIT Yorkshire
5d Similar beasts of burden initially in race? That’s killing! (13)
ASSASSINATION ASS and ASS (similar beasts of burden) + the first letter of (initially) In + NATION (race)
6d Profile that is restricting publication (5)
IMAGE IE (that is) around (restricting) MAG (publication)
7d Friendly understanding in recent enterprise (7)
ENTENTE — The answer is hidden in recENT ENTErprise
8d Steering apparatus made of hard wood (4)
HELM H (hard) + ELM (wood)
13d Caught sight of, like leopards and cheetahs (7)
SPOTTED — Double definition
15d Demonstration in favour of trial (7)
PROTEST PRO (in favour of) + TEST (trial)
16d Grass originally maintaining all rare male sheep (6)
MARRAM — Initials of (originally) Maintaining All Rare + RAM (male sheep)
18d Excursions in town on River Loire (5)
TOURS — Two definitions
20d Legendary Himalayan, still impressive to begin with (4)
YETI YET (still) + the first letter of (… to begin with) Impressive

91 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2566 by Orpheus”

  1. 11 minutes for this one with time lost over 1ac which should have been a write-in but I spent far too long trying to squeeze IDI into the answer and neglecting to consider his more likely surname. The long answer that gave most trouble was ASSASSINATION and I needed most of its checkers to bring it to mind. There will probably be misgivings expressed regarding ‘race / NATION’ , but it has come up so many times before I just bung it in and move now.

  2. Gah, spent a while at the end getting AMATORY only to type ‘amatroy’ and muck up protest too. Pleased to finish in 10.10 though. I was worried by TOURS and what ‘arriviste’ might mean on the way through.

  3. I managed to check all my answers and still correctly submit in under 4 minutes. Currently 2nd= on the leaderboard, but only 56 have submitted so far, and the “big beasts” such as Mohn and Verlaine are yet to join them…..

    TIME 3:46

  4. Felt a qualm or two about DISCRIMINATE, which is a verb, so ‘bias’ must be; but does to bias mean to discriminate? DNK that a MEERKAT is a type of mongoose; but then I didn’t know mongooses had types. DNK MARRAM, which made it my LOI and took me some time. 6:09.

    1. Discriminate is also an adjective so I could see it as the setter using to mean ‘showing bias’. But I was also a little unsure about the equivalence because I tend to think of being as being about making distinctions rather than being biased.

      But I gave Orpheus a mulligan and moved on quickly.

  5. I DNF this one.
    I nho ELVER and didn’t bother guessing from the wordplay what it could be, or DIEPPE and had no hope with PPE (is this one common, should I commit this random piece of info into memory – why is this acronym known at all?) and would never have thought of DIE for long

    Other things I didn’t know but didn’t matter – the Ugandan dictator, the grass, AM for American, or why ASS and ASS are similar… They’re completely the same?!

    HOWEVER in positive news, because of last week’s crosswords, SHEEN was a write-in because I learned about HE being an ambassador and SEN being a nurse.

    I should have convinced my parents to cough up the money to do the school trip to France when I was 15. Three French geography clues today!

    1. There is often handwringing in some circles that a large number of prominent people in UK public life read PPE at Oxford, giving the impression that the country is governed by a chumocracy. I would file it away with all the others as a useful three letter grouping.

      1. Tina, PPE is “Philosophy, Politics and Economics”, a course at Oxford (and, I believe, nowhere else) which is meant to combine the best of all three disciplines and so enable someone to have a holistic and enlightened view on how to improve society. In practice it rather too often gives the student a smattering of all three without really understanding any of them, and a supersized ability to bluff in any of the three. It is beloved of would be politicians for whom a passing acquaintance with the three disciplines is helpful and an ability to bluff essential. See, for example, David Cameron, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak of recent British PMs, also Tony Abbot.

        1. Haha – well said about Tony. I’m sure Tina will agree. Good to see that he is becoming less relevant and his surname is not always spelled correctly! 👍

        2. A great summary of much that is wrong with UK politics. The Oxford Union gives these people their first experience of electioneering.

    2. Agree re PPE, I got it due to knowing the port (I had -I-P-E to play with) rather than the Oxford “connection”. Finsihed this one but tough.

    3. DEFINITELY commit PPE to memory. Not knowing it (over 40 years ago now) led me to an incorrect answer in the Times Championship Final, which cost me a clean finish, and possibly a prize. It will appear time and again.

  6. All went in quickly by my standards, at five minutes plus change. Like Kevin, I can’t see how ‘bias’ can mean ‘discriminate.’

    A case of two nations connected by a common language?

  7. Kindly Orpheus today.
    A top to bottom solve starting with CROSS-EXAMINE and finishing with AMATORY in 4.25 – unlike Phil my proofreading took me over the 4 minute mark!
    Thanks to Kitty

        1. Cracking time, well done. I sometimes reflect on the fact that, many years ago, there was at least a month when we actually vied for who had the fastest time. . .

          1. I agree Invariant – I reckon we all joined TfTT around the same time, and shared similar experiences. Look at us now – Plett is getting sub-4 minutes, Templar’s a blogger, you always finish, and I veer between the OK and the disastrous 😅
            Congrats Plett – a spiffing time 🔥🔥

  8. This one was right on my wavelength and came in at 8:49, 3 under par. Not sure I had come across AM for American before although, like most things these days, I have probably just forgotten. Didn’t see the bias problem: if you are showing bias aren’t you discriminating, or am I missing the point?
    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

    1. It’s just hard to think of a sentence in which the words SHOWING BIAS could be replaced with DISCRIMINATE. SHOW BIAS would be fine, IMHO.

  9. 4.59, only seeing which woman was in RIVIERA after the fact – thought it was VI at first glance.

    I parsed the def of ‘discriminate’ as ‘showing bias’ (the opposite of the more common ‘indiscriminate’, I suppose).

    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  10. 4:25. LOI UPSTART, which I rather liked. I had no problem with bias as a verb….. I see Amoeba has just said what I was going to say! Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  11. Not too shabby at all and an occasional sub 20 min finish. Somewhat hesitant when facing ‘ariviste’ but the latter tart put it nicely into context.
    Easier than Saturday’s puzzle. Nice start to the week.
    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  12. 11:41
    For a non-native speaker like me, this was an excellent example of a puzzle where a lot of the words were NHO or at least not in the active vocabulary (NHO: ELVER, DIEPPE, OUTRE, AMATORY, MARRAM and I knew UPSTART but NHO ‘arriviste’ in the clue) but it did not prevent from getting them from the wordplay.

  13. 7:28 for me, so nicely under 8 minutes, meaning a quick solve by my standards. I don’t know how fast solvers like Verlaine can do it so fast — if I cleared the grid and solved it again immediately, I’d still be slower. Also, I didn’t know MEERKATs were a type of mongoose, but most of what I know about mongooses is that they attack snakes, and that knowledge all comes from Rikki Tikki Tavi.

  14. 9:49 (Olaf Sihtricson regains Kingdom of Northumbria)

    Enjoyable crossword with no major hold ups. LOI was DIEPPE.

    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  15. Approximately a par time for the difficulty level.

    The hidden EQUITY was my LOI (rolls eyes). I was relatively slow starting, but as crossers came into view, so the clues were solved more easily. The DIE/LONG synonym made me think, but I bunged in the port from def and PPE. I suppose if I’m dying to go to Barbados and drink rum punch on a hammock under a palm tree, I am longing to do that.


  16. A gentle puzzle for a Monday and a pleasant 8 minute solve. Unusually, most of the long clues were all-but write-ins and that gave me a very good start. Only momentary glitch was the spelling of Meerkat, where I originally had a C for the K, but Strikebreaker put that right.

    Similar thoughts to others on Discriminate = bias but my dictionary has
    1. recognise a distinction; differentiate between
    2. make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different groups of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, sex, age, or disability
    I suspect our queries with the clue are all focusing on the first meaning but the second one gives Orpheus a green pass.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  17. Second sub 20 this year although misspelling MEREKAT resulted in a dnf.
    Lovely puzzle and blog thanks.

  18. I found this really tough and DNF after 30 mins.

    NHO MARRAM. I knew all the other words but the clueing was hard for me. Once again, I’m very much at odds with the majority regarding the difficulty level here.

    As a child, I was nipped on the finger by an ELVER that I caught in a jar in a Scottish river, so I remembered that one. I still let it go, despite the antipathy I felt towards it.

  19. Finished 3/4 of the way to the Club, so not too challenging. Getting the long ones in early certainly helped to fill the rest.
    PPE is quite specific GK, but DIEPPE isn’t, so maybe balances out. Generally all fair and fun. Reminder of a Spike Milligan ditty about the cheetah: “It’s heavily dotted, so easily spotted…”

    1. Sudden flashback to my Milliganimals book I had in primary school (green cover just came to mind when I read that).

  20. 14 mins…

    A nice start to the week I thought. Some good clues, although I wasn’t keen on 3dn “Strikebreaker” and the associated “scab”.

    FOI – 2dn “Riviera”
    LOI – 6dn “Image”
    COD – 11ac “Meerkat”

    Thanks as usual!

  21. Orpheus in a benign frame of mind today. Finished in just over 8 minutes, with DISCRIMINATE delaying me at the end and only solved with the help of crossers. I was glad for the wordplay for MARRAM, for which I would have had the second A as a U. I didn’t think too much about DISCRIMINATE when solving but found the above discussion helpful in making more sense of it.

    Thanks to Kitty for the blog and to Orpheus

  22. An under target start to the week at 9.09 slowed only by biffing ISSUE for 6dn. I was also trying to fit my first thought IDI into 1ac before the light dawned. Hesitated over my LOI MARRAM which I’ve never come across before.
    Scoured the paper on Saturday looking for the extra QC only to be disappointed. I suppose people will say well if you’re that keen it’s available online, but it is my preference to solve from the paper the old fashioned way. Am I the only one who would like to see it in hard copy? If there are others who feel the same way, perhaps those who make decisions in this regard may include it in the printed version.

    1. I think the paper solvers were able to print it off, though not necessarily easily from phone/ipad.

      1. Perhaps so, but it would be so much more convenient to see it printed in the paper itself!

        1. I believe the problem is lack of space in the printed version of the paper, hence the Saturday QC is only available online.

    2. I know we’re dinosaurs but I’ll add my voice to yours with pleasure. I would only even think of looking at it if it were printed in the paper itself. That would be nice! By the way NHO ELVER, MARRAM or AMATORY (indeed, this computer adds a wiggly line under MARRAM so it has NHO it either!) but all had to be, and today I finished. Thank you, Orpheus.
      Oh the only MER (of those above) I would agree with is Tina’s – which I think no one has commented on – that ASS and ASS are indeed not “similar”.

    3. Treeware every time!😃
      I’m not interested in subscribing to The Times online.

      1. But if you subscribe to the Times and receive tokens for the daily paper paper (which saves loadsa money) then you can automatically get the on-line version too.

        1. I do receive tokens and have access to the online version! I don’t care for reading the online version, and have only done so on a couple of occasions when I didn’t have access to a copy of the paper itself. There is no substitute for me for the original paper version, and I would simply prefer to see the crossword in it!

      2. I’d like to join the clamour! Absolutely not interested in doing puzzles online; I have to do far too many other things online and need a break from it.

  23. 07:57
    Held up by last 2 entente, I guessed the answer but it took a while to parse and spot the hidden.
    Marram I was worried it would be a breed of sheep, but luckily after a while I spotted the definition was grass.

  24. All finished in about 23 minutes (I can’t be more precise as I’ve now turned off the timer to increase enjoyability.) I was comfortably in the SCC though, which will hopefully allow me out of the corridor and back in with the main class, albeit towards the back.
    No real problems, although I took too long trying to outclever Orpheus by attempting to fit ‘ISIS’ in for the ‘Oxford course’. (Not bad eh, even though it was wrong.)
    An enjoyable start to the week and my first full completion of 2024.
    Thanks to Orpheus and Kitty.

    1. Hello ITTT,
      Did you manage to start and finish your Christmas shopping whilst taking in the rugby at Gloucester on 23/12? Have you considered starting and finishing your 2024 Christmas shopping this coming Saturday?

      1. Happy New Year to you too Mr R.
        It was a terrific rugby match with Gloucester, just two points behind, being awarded a very gettable penalty on the 80 minutes mark, which luckily they missed. It was buttock-gripping stuff!
        Re the shopping. That’s a good tip and one I will file away under ‘must remember before 24/12/24’. To be fair, I only have a couple of gifts to buy as the uber efficient Mrs ITTT is i/c Christmas present shopping.
        Conveniently, the Gloucester park ‘n ride dropped me off by a large retail park so after the match I was able to nip in and buy her a selection of gifts comprising a half price puffer gilet, a stainless steel flask and a perfume sampler all completed in under my QC target time of 30 minutes. 👍
        I trust all is well with you and yours.

  25. 5:39

    Lots of biffing today backed up with quick check on the wordplay. Only hold-up was DIEPPE where a) I’d forgotten again about PPE – was trying to shoehorn ISIS into the answer b) I couldn’t be sure that DIEPPE was in France, wondering if it was in Belgium…

    Thanks Kitty and Orpheus

  26. Heartened by 1a being a write-in (since that’s what I do for a living), I attacked this with confidence and thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through. I only paused over a few bits of parsing and LOI EQUITY, where I had seen what the answer must be on first pass but not written it in because I couldn’t parse it at all – real headslap when I returned and the light dawned!

    A highly satisfactory 06:00 was the result, which is a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Kitty.


  27. When I first went though the clues I thought I’d have no chance of solving this one. However, with perseverance I did.

    Didn’t know PPE. I bet there’s a few here that studied that. 🤣

    Needed the cat’s help with one clue. So I’m pleased with my efforts today.

    Now onto the Daily Telegraph cryptic.

  28. A relatively gentle offering from Orpheus, IMO, as evidenced by my 19-minute finish time. An unusual escape from the club.

    I was greatly helped by getting CROSS-EXAMINE almost immediately, and I jumped around the grid utilising new checkers as they arose. I DNK OUTRE or AMATORY, but they had to be.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Kitty.

  29. Zipped through this one. FOI ELVER, LOI CROSS-EXAMINE. My COD was UPSTART which made me laugh out loud. NHO MARRAM but solved from wordplay. Appreciated discussion about DISCRIMINATE (especially Cedric’s comment) although I didn’t worry about it too much at the time. Thanks Orpheus and kitty.

  30. 8:50. Lots of French today-Tours, Riviera, Dieppe, Outre, Entente, Arriviste, and I suppose even Image. I didn’t like die=long but Hopkinb’s example helped me see it. I didn’t know PPE but, like Tina, at least remembered SEN from last week. When I was at university in Toronto “Soc and Phil”(Social and Philosophical Studies) was, I guess, the equivalent of PPE. At York University in Toronto it was “Modes”(of Reasoning). I think the idea was you wanted a 4-year(Honours) B.A. and not just a 3-year(General)one, but didn’t feel like doing more than a minimum of thinking.

  31. A bit slow on LHS but got there in the end and enjoyed it. Not to mention a bit slow because our shop had run out of copies of the Times so I had to drive to the next village.
    Thanks all, esp Kitty.

  32. 4.50

    Quick one here after a bit of Covid last week. No hold ups though also hesitated over DISCRIMINATE

    Thanks Kitty and Orpheus

  33. Considering that I had no idea what an Arriviste was, and was dubious about Amatory and Marram, I feel really pleased with a 14min finish. Perhaps it’s because I ignored my usual approach to long answers – get some crossers first – and found all four quickly, or maybe it was just a wavelength thing. Either way, thank you Orpheus for a rare sub-15 and including CoD Trucker, for the 60s TV memories. . . less so for the Robin Hood earworm. Invariant

  34. Managed this quite steadily, knowing about PPE and having vaguely heard of MARRAM grass. Not the easiest of puzzles, so pleased to have solved it in reasonable time.

  35. Boris didn’t study PPE. He just used taxpayers money to buy millions of it from a mate 😡. J. Half my target 25 today 😀

  36. After some very slow times and a couple of DNFs last week, I whizzed home in 5:58 today in just two passes – the highs and lows of crossword solving! Less than 1K for the first time in ages and even a smidge under 1 Templar, so A Very Good Day. As I write the answers in on paper, rather than than use a keyboard or touch screen, I doubt I could go much quicker, so am happy with that!
    Even so, some took a few moments – CROSS EXAMINE (even though I knew I needed to put the ghastly Amin in somewhere), MEERKAT (another one who didn’t know it was a type of mongoose) and STRIKEBREAKER were the culprits. I liked UPSTART and SPOTTED.
    FOI Elver LOI Strikebreaker COD Tours
    Thanks Orpheus and Kitty

  37. I fell into all the traps: wanting a C in MEERKAT, looking for IDI in CROSS-EXAMINE. Was put off by the length of some words but I managed them in the end.

    NHO AMATORY but did know MARRAM from trips to the east coast of the UK where I’ve seen it planted to stabilise the dunes and maybe help with coastal erosion.

    LOI I couldn’t manage to think of DIEPPE, but the Gentleman did (so annoying!)

  38. DNF as put in AMAROUS thinking the US was the part of the American clue without parsing the rest. Then made up a word SITO for 20d from the clue! Apart from that quite pleased as fairly new to all of this!

  39. DNF today. NHO outre and my French geography proved insufficient.

    I wasted time wondering if 2 down was a wordplay on Bouvier, and why the checkers were not properly aligned.

  40. A gentle offering from Orpheus today. CROSS EXAMINE went straight in and I carried on with barely a pause, until I reached LOI, DISCRIMINATE, which did give me pause as I tried to see the equivalence between that and showing bias. I eventually shrugged and submitted at 6:08. Thanks Orpheus and Kitty.

  41. A 16 minute solve on this one, solved in 4 sessions due to multiple interruptions. It took me a while to see SPOTTED at 13dn and also to think of the name of the grass at 16dn (I hadn’t understood the wordplay at that point). Couldn’t parse DIEPPE, although the abbreviation PPE does ring a faint bell, presumably from a previous crossword experience.

    LOI – 13ac DIEPPE
    COD – 12ac SHEEN, more for the mental picture it conjured up than for anything else

    Thanks to Orpheus and Kitty

  42. A Breezeblock solve with the culprit being DIEPPE. Apparently there are 34 universities in the UK that offer PPE so I was wrong-footed by the inclusion of Oxford thinking it had something to do with shoes or the River Thames. 8:20

  43. 20:11
    Narrowly missed my target, but happy, as when my FOI was 22ac I was expecting a much more difficult solve.
    Biffed DIEPPE, NHO of PPE and thought long = DIE was unnecessarily obtuse (accepting ‘to long for’ is ‘to die for’).
    FOI: 22ac INEPT
    LOI: 20dn YETI
    COD: 11ac MEERKAT
    Thanks to Kitty and Orpheus.

  44. Solving online today for a change. 09:59 with two minutes needed to get LOI DIEPPE.

  45. Late to this but went through in 9′, NHO MARRAM, will commit to memory, for a day or so. Enjoyed OUTRE. Thanks Kitty and setter.

  46. 13:23 today, LOI DIEPPE, where I was entirely in the dark about the Oxford course, which is a touch embarrassing because I went there… But that was many years ago and in another country.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Kitty.

  47. 7.53 This was mostly straightforward. MARRAM was a punt and I was unsure about DIE for long, but it’s fair enough. Thanks Kitty and Orpheus.

  48. Quick start with the four long clues which was very helpful. Got amatory from the crossers and finished about 20 min, which is good for us.

  49. Pretty happy with my performance today, most at first pass and then with checkers. But Amatory defeated me.

    Thanks all

  50. 8:02
    Sped through this, with slight hiccup at NHO MARRAM, and LOI AMATORY.

    Too much Oxbridge in this puzzle recently. Didn’t we have BLUE last time? Surely for 99% of the population it means Personal Protective Equipment.

    Long to get facemasks and gowns in French Port(6)


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