Times Quick Cryptic 2614 by Jalna – Cheers!

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Hello everyone.  I very much liked today’s puzzle, and not just because I finished in under my inner target time.  I don’t anticipate many protests about the difficulty and expect to see a wide selection of favourites.  Spoilt for choice, I nearly couldn’t pick one, but I will nominate 22a as my COD.  Could use a strong drink of that sort myself.  Cheers Jalna!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, most 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 Charge one type of vehicle (4)
TAXI TAX (charge) + I (one)
4a Struggling onward, we gradually overcome resistance (4,4)
WEAR DOWN — An anagram of (struggling) ONWARD, WE
8a Extravagantly fashionable suit (2,6)
IN SPADES IN (fashionable) + SPADES (suit)
9a Stage favourites making a comeback (4)
STEP PETS (favourites) reversed (making a comeback)
10a Those heading up promotions should sell things over here! (4)
PSST — Initial letters of (those heading up) Promotions Should Sell Things
11a In shrewd fashion, clubs and bar finally pool money (8)
CLEVERLY C (clubs) and LEVER (bar) + the last letters of (finally) pooL moneY
12a Strategy mostly pursued by a country in Africa (6)
GAMBIA GAMBIt (strategy) mostly followed by (pursued by) A
14a Hate engendered by extremely divisive experiment (6)
DETEST — Outer letters of (extremely) DivisivE + TEST (experiment)
16a Nothing found in ghastly premium shop (8)
EMPORIUM O (nothing) found in an anagram of (ghastly) PREMIUM
18a King boarding large sailing vessel (4)
BRIG R (king) going into (boarding) BIG (large)
19a Senior journalist from America given employment (4)
USED US ED (senior journalist – ED – from America – US)
20a Dignitary occasionally interrupted by discourteous gatecrasher (8)
INTRUDER — Regular letters of (… occasionally) dIgNiTaRy with insertion of (interrupted by) RUDE (discourteous)
22a Strong drink reporters love after the ends of some shifts (8)
ESPRESSO PRESS (reporters) and O (love) after the last letters of (ends of) somE shiftS
23a People in funks do bounce back (4)
BODS — The answer is hidden in funkS DO Bounce in reverse (back)
2d Memory loss means I somehow start to ad-lib (7)
AMNESIA — Anagram of (… somehow) MEANS I + the first letter of (start to) Ad-lib
3d Popular place for data loaded to a computer (5)
INPUT IN (popular) + PUT (place)
4d You and I decided — in the end — to get married (3)
WED WE (you and I) + the last letter of (… in the end) decideD
5d Drama set around middle of Flemish city (9)
AMSTERDAM DRAMA SET anagrammed (around) + the middle of FleMish
6d Sons featuring in proper family tree (7)
DESCENT S (sons) found inside (featuring in) DECENT (proper)
7d Make circular motions with part of foot (5)
WHEEL W (with) + HEEL (part of foot)
11d After cloudiness at first, Fair Isle otherwise clears up (9)
CLARIFIES After Cloudiness at first, an anagram of (… otherwise) FAIR ISLE
13d Minor route, I hesitate to say, is more expansive (7)
BROADER BROAD (minor route) + ER (I hesitate to say)
15d Payment of small gratuity on completion (7)
STIPEND S (small) + TIP (gratuity) on END (completion)
17d Mass requests for protective equipment (5)
MASKS M (mass) + ASKS (requests)
18d Publisher’s description of obscure book (5)
BLURB BLUR (obscure) + B (book)
21d Couple also outspoken (3)
TWO — Sounds like (… outspoken) TOO (also)

63 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2614 by Jalna – Cheers!”

  1. 10 minutes. The vocabulary is pretty straightforward with perhaps one exception (16ac) and the clueing is not particularly devious so, like Kitty, I wouldn’t expect many protests today. There’s a bear-trap for biffers at 12ac but anyone paying attention to wordplay will not fall into it.

  2. Oh looks like we’re up early today!

    Very much enjoyed this as a steady solve where we worked out most answers albeit slowly as we went along. Kept coming back to LOI psst assuming we must be looking for 2 vowels and thinking it must be a NHO until we biffed it then saw the device!! 22.20, nicely inside our 25 target.

    Liked Amsterdam

    Thanks Jalna and Kitty

  3. Slow to start and slow to finish as I desperately sought GAMBIA at the end. All green in 13.

  4. No problems that I can remember; but then I can’t remember anything about the puzzle. 5:31.

  5. A friendly start to the week with nothing to overstrain the grey matter, always a bonus on a Monday morning.
    Started with WEAR DOWN and finished with COD PSST in 6.17.
    Thanks to Kitty

  6. 31 minutes today with 1 pinkie for lazily biffing ZAMBIA. Not a bad puzzle – I just wasn’t in the zone this morning.
    Thank you Jalna and Kitty.

  7. Very much enjoyed this one, lots of clues that on first reading had me worried but unraveled quite quickly. 10a was probably my favourite clue though, I liked the answer and definition.
    I was racing through this and on track for an extremely fast time (by my standards) until my LOI TAXI held me up by a few minutes. Still a very quick 10 minutes to get the week off to a speedy start.

  8. A 9 minute solve suggests that like our blogger I found this a friendly enough start to the week, but it was not without hold-ups and quirks. I was both misled briefly and then amused by the presence of Flemish in the clue for Amsterdam, and I also paused over Step = Stage in 9A until I realised it was stage as in part of a process not stage as in a theatre.

    Biggest hold-up though was over Psst – like Roundabout Here I was so certain it needed a vowel that I ran through the alphabet search twice in my head before the penny dropped. My COD simply for the surprise factor when I finally saw it.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  9. Took forever to see LOI CLEVERLY. Obviously wasn’t. Otherwise OK after skating a few times on the edge of the bear trap 22a. Have taken my usual chair in the club for a quick espresso and a piece of toast with marmite.
    Thanks Jalna and Kitty

  10. 7:41. No major hold-ups. LOI and COD ESPRESSO. Slight delay on 2d, whilst I briefly forgot the word for memory loss.

    Thanks Jalna and Kitty

  11. That was quite good fun. All green in 19 mins, yay!

    Actually, I was all done bar PSST and STEP in 14mins, but those two delayed me quite a bit. Maybe it’s just me, but I find longish clues with short answers quite challenging, and almost always need an alphabet trawl.

    Happy Monday, all. And the sun is shining here. 😊

    1. I had exactly the same experience except I was nearly undone by 3 shot words, those two and TAXI as well. Longer words can usually be biffed from the checkers, not so much the 4 letter words.

  12. Memories of my late brother’s red Maxi (the 1st gear syncro was utterly useless) nearly led me astray at the start, but Tax sounded a much more likely fee. Thereafter a steady solve, with just the odd pause here and there (Psst, Descent and Blurb), before loi Gambia threatened the dash for a sub-20. Gambit for strategy didn’t come readily to mind, prompting a last minute panic and alpha-trawl. CoD to 15d, Stipend for the smooth surface. Invariant

  13. I was slow to engage with this, which was entirely down to me rather than any difficulty in the actual puzzle. I was particularly cross with myself for failing to spot TAXI much more quickly after driving one for 45 years!

    Lots of errors on the leaderboard (including George Heard) and it would seem GAMBIA spelt with an opening Z was the likely cause.

    TIME 4:35

  14. Mostly done quite quickly, then my LOI PSST held me up – I had scanned opening letters to see if I could make a word, but couldn’t on my initial pass, then when coming back to it, I had alpha-trawled for vowels before finally going back to initial letters and the penny dropping.


  15. A fairly gentle start to the week as confirmed by my time of 7.10. I particularly liked PSST although I vaguely remember having seen it before

  16. I was slow on this one, not in the zone at all, and was eventually defeated by 1ac where I was looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition. Spent some time at 12ac persuading myself that Zambia couldn’t be right before eventually seeing the light.

    FOI – 8ac IN SPADES
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 18dn BLURB. Also liked WED.

    Thanks to Jalna and Kitty

  17. Nice puzzle all done in 40 minutes.
    Needed a reverse alphabet trawl to find PETS in order to solve STEP which I now see is a ‘step in a process’ rather than a performance area.
    COD to ESPRESSSO and hats off to PSST.
    Thanks Kitty and Jalna

  18. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed this QC. Perhaps it is a wavelength thing but I found many of the clues to be wordy and definitions arrived before any parsing in the majority of cases. Having said that there were some clues I really liked with my COD to INTRUDER. 8:07 for an OK day.

  19. 7 minutes for me with hardly a hold-up. Can’t go much faster than this.
    That includes a few extra seconds on LOI GAMBIA as I immediately thought of Zambia and then frowned.- the right decision to parse it carefully.
    A very pleasant puzzle.

  20. VANI? CARI? Yes, CARI sounds like a charge … oh hang on …

    I got gradually better after that very shaky start and ended up with GAMBIA in 07:30 for 1.4K and a Good Day. COD to WED – as John says, a lovely surface.

    Many thanks Jalna and Kitty.


  21. Fairly plain sailing until LOI BRIG. It is a word I know but I had a total block for some reason, forgetting R and wanting to insert K. Liked the surfaces for ESPRESSO and WHEEL. COD to PSST though, mainly because it was another that held me up and then made me smile. Many thanks to Kitty and Jalna.

  22. A shade under 15 mins for a very enjoyable, steady solve top to bottom and ending with LOI, BRIG. I was pleased to spot PSST straight away. I rememeber BLURB from a QC a while ago.
    COD to AMSTERDAM for clever surface using Flemish.

  23. As others have said, a nice start to the week, promising, hopefully, to be better than last week’s offerings.

    I didn’t care much for 10a, and indeed needed the orange one’s help with this (as well as 11a).

    Time: 27:59

    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈

  24. Please excuse shameless showing off: managed to finish it (without any aids)! Still at the back of the class, then (since you all found it easy) – but with hopes of being not entirely unworthy to be in the class at all. LOI WEAR DOWN.
    Surprised to find PSST in the dictionary – but there it is!

    1. Don’t apologise! I couldn’t get 10a without using an aid. Just couldn’t see the device and, as usual, an alphabet trawl didn’t help. I’m not good at spotting words.

      1. So kind, all of you – thanks. Trouble is, as soon as I start to do better, I feel more pressure to do at least reasonably well the next day! So if I don’t, I shall just hunker down very quietly. Sleep well.

  25. 6:16

    Pretty comfortable – fortunately saw the PSST device quickly. Checkers required for 4a which didn’t come to mind quickly and for 11d. Pencilled in ZAMBIA at which point the correct answer leapt off the grid.

    Thanks Kitty and Jalna

  26. 10:34. Another who thought Zambia first and who was also puzzled by Flemish until I saw the need for another M in AMSTERDAM. I enjoyed the short clues most- PSST, BODS, and BLURB.

  27. Found this quite a struggle and dnf due to pssst where an alphabet trawl looking at vowels particularly didn’t work.
    Liked amsterdam.

  28. A slightly slower than average 14:40 today, with a little bit of distraction. Our enjoyment of a fine puzzle wasn’t spoilt by me looking early on at initial letters in 10a and then discounting that approach as there were too many consonants! It took a while for the penny to drop and it was our LOI. Thanks to Jalna and Kitty.

  29. I seem to be the only one labouring under the misapprehension that 7d was WINCH. It was one of my first in, and was then confirmed by the W of WEAR DOWN, so I had no reason to think it was wrong as it parsed perfectly. Had I thought of heel before inch, things might have been different, but as it was, I couldn’t finish the puzzle as 9 and 11a were insolvable. Finally, I bifd CLEVERLY and had to think again about 7D, but that dragged the puzzle out a great deal.

    1. No, WINCH was my first thought too and I’d say it works as a valid alternative if it were not for this being a crossword so that answers have to fit with others around them.

  30. Enjoyable puzzle. The bottom half revealed itself more quickly than the top, as I didn’t notice WEAR DOWN was an anagram at first. LOI STEP, also a bit slow on PSST. Liked many inc AMSTERDAM, TAXI, BLURB.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  31. A slow start, looking at the leaderboard, some people had finished before I got my first one in. Steady after that but would never have got psst. A fat finger doesn’t help either

  32. 13:10, which must be in the vicinity of a personal best and certainly an improvement on last week’s horror show. It could feasibly have been under ten minutes had I not been delayed in the SE corner by the intruding bods.

    Thank you Kitty!

  33. Unlike most I didn’t find this easy. Didn’t think much of PSST as an answer nor BODS Martini cannot possibly be bottom of leader board after my effort

  34. A good start with TAXI and WEAR DOWN going in quickly, but progress was rather more steady through most of the grid. Then, with just three to go I came to a shuddering halt.

    I couldn’t see what was going on with PSST and had put Winch (inch = part of foot) instead of WHEEL, which made both STEP and CLEVERLY impossible until I spotted the error. This took me 12-14 minutes and I crawled across the line in 35 minutes.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Kitty.

  35. I think this is the first time ever that I was so on the same wavelength as the setter that I solved pretty much from top to bottom with no hold ups. Was surprised that psst is a recognised word but otherwise a lovely puzzle.

  36. Enjoyed this crossword. Normally it is the definition I get before the word play. Today was the opposite.

    LOI ESPRESSO (should have got it earlier)

    Thanks Jalna and Kitty

  37. 19 mins…

    Finally, after a string of failures, success! A good start to the week, with nothing too taxing – apart from 1ac maybe. Liked 11dn “Clarifies” and 20ac “Intruder”.

    FOI – 3dn “Input”
    LOI – 6dn “Descent”
    COD – 10ac “Psst”

    Thanks as usual!

  38. 11.16 A similar time to Saturday, which felt harder. PSST, TAXI and IN SPADES were the last three. I did like PSST. I’m quite surprised that my spell-checker does too. Thanks Kitty and Jalna.

  39. 19:04 here. Evidently struggling with Monday-morning brain: took forever to see the “cards” meaning of “suit” for 8a, and had pencilled in “INBOX” for 3d, which wasn’t helpful. COD to PSST.

    Thanks to Jalna and Kitty.

    1. Today I struggled to get a start anywhere and thought several were really devious (‘tho fair enough once they were resolved). You might find it helpful to print off the puzzle as this gives plenty of room for trying out ‘ideas’ in pencil in the margins and then test them out on-line using the ‘Check’ option. I found this a good way to build up confidence and sometimes, like today, to see if I was on the right track. BTW you can generally reckon Jalna to be trickier than some, so no disgrace to struggle!…just as long as it provides some mental exercise and fun (unlike a couple last week – for me, at least!).

  40. 18:33

    Nothing too tricky here and was on for a decent time before getting stuck on 3 innocuous words at the end; PSST, STEP and LOI TAXI. On the plus side I’m 100% under target so far this week after last week’s horrors.

  41. Enjoyed today’s offering but wasn’t convinced PSST was right until checking in here after finishing.
    Thanks Jalna and Kitty.

  42. 15 mins.

    Yes, I know that’s nothing to complain about. And yet….

    I got halfway down the across clues and hadn’t solved any, so I went to the bottom of the down clues and began from there. Goodness knows how long I took before putting an answer in. Must have been at least 3 mins. Also wasted time at the end on PSST because I didn’t trust the wordplay. Idiot Gary!

    Another day when the opportunity for a really good time slipped through my fingers.

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *