Times Quick Cryptic 2662 by Alex – Boo!

Hi everyone.  This took me very slightly above my median Quickie time.  Perhaps Alex has used up a tiny bit of her super-gentleness on the Graun’s new originally titled “Quick Cryptic” (highly recommended by the way).

My last in was 17d where I became distracted by different kinds of milk producers, and my inner monologue piped up with the old one, “what kind of bees produce milk?” (answer in the blog heading) … which then led to me trying to remember the joke to which the punchline is “teat owl”.  I’d like to think that this kind of thing is the barrier to my doing these in Verlainesque speeds – but in reality that’s a combination of slowness in pattern matching, anagram descrambling, thinking of synonyms … I could go on!

Anyway, I much enjoyed this as expected, with Clue of The Day 14a.  How was it for you?

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

8a Warm up poultry for infidel (7)
HEATHEN HEAT (warm up) HEN (poultry)
9a Farm managed by Switzerland (5)
RANCH RAN (managed) by CH (Switzerland)
10a Subject head in charge (5)
TOPIC TOP (head) + IC (in charge)
11a Futile as miles off (7)
AIMLESS AS MILES anagrammed (off)
12a Unfortunately I peter out going into a spin (9)
PIROUETTE — An anagram of (unfortunately) I PETER OUT
14a Pat is evil when knocked back (3)
DAB BAD (evil) when reversed (knocked back)
16a Bad actor has me missing final bits (3)
HAM HAs Me without the last letters (missing final bits)
18a More certain about right conclusion being capitulation (9)
SURRENDER SURER (more certain) around (about) R (right) and END (conclusion)
21a Screen short, first class adaptation at last (7)
CURTAIN CURT (short) + AI (A1: first class) + the final letter of (… at last) adaptatioN
22a Factory design taking time (5)
PLANT PLAN (design) + T (time)
23a Head of acquisitions donated tequila ingredient (5)
AGAVE — The first letter (head) of Acquisitions + GAVE (donated)
24a Light aquatic bird following short path (7)
LANTERN TERN (aquatic bird) following LANe (path) without its last letter (short …)
1d Cabin unknown secretary placed in church showing gall (8)
CHUTZPAH HUT (cabin), Z (unknown) and PA (secretary) all placed in CH (church)
2d Juliet pares ragged stone (6)
JASPER J (Juliet, NATO codeword, technically Juliett) + an anagram of (… ragged) PARES
3d Fashionable bird losing kilo (4)
CHIC CHIC[k] (bird) losing K (kilo)
4d One part of play involving books is untouched (6)
INTACT I (one) and ACT (part of play) containing (involving) NT (books, biblical ones)
5d First screening about to follow Empire broadcast (8)
PREMIERE RE (about) to follow an anagram of (… broadcast) EMPIRE
6d Straighten out a French divan around noon (6)
UNBEND UN (a French) + BED (divan) around N (noon)
7d In this way sleuth uses envelopes (4)
THUS — SleuTH USes envelopes the answer
13d Opened beer in shifting dunes (8)
UNSEALED ALE (beer) in an anagram of (shifting) DUNES
15d Singer is exposed while keeping it on (8)
BARITONE BARE (exposed) when containing (while keeping) IT ON
17d Numberless mass milk producer upset (6)
MYRIAD M (mass) + DAIRY (milk producer) reversed (upset)
19d Annoy heads of research and nearly kindle limitless enmity (6)
RANKLE — Initial letters (heads) of Research And Nearly Kindle Limitless Enmity
20d Initially drop less refined piece of furniture (6)
DRAWER Initially Drop + RAWER (less refined)
21d Cliff caught worn scrap of cloth (4)
CRAG C (caught) + RAG (worn scrap of cloth)
22d Slab of glass is tiresome thing we hear (4)
PANE — Sounds like (… we hear) PAIN (tiresome thing)

84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2662 by Alex – Boo!”

  1. LOI and worth the entry fee on its own was MYRIAD. Throroughly enjoyed the process of moving from stumped to seeing it would fit to seeing dairy reversed. Masterful. Enjoyed PIROUTTE a lot too and ws surprised to find I had no idea what tequila is made from. All green in 13. Great start to the crosswording week.

  2. 12.16
    A bunch of that time spent on the first clue where I was trying to anagram (warm up) ‘poultry’ to get the word for infidel. Poultry doesn’t anagram very well.

    The rest I went through very smoothly, not much hopping around – I remembered ‘CH’ for Switzerland and the ‘unknown’ in the clue made CHUTZPAH much easier.

    I did try and spell it PIRROUETE, hurrah for anagrams.

    A lot of putting in the word from the definition and justifying with the wordplay.

  3. A tricky start to the week, but I eventually came in All Green at around 25 minutes. I spent far too long over my LOI, MYRIAD (which I couldn’t for the life of me parse), and was also held up by one of its crossers, CURTAIN. My COD was CHUTZPAH, which I only recently realised is pronounced ‘hutzpah’ with a slightly throaty sounding ‘h’.
    Nonetheless a nice start to the week, albeit a tad slow, so thanks to Alex and Kitty.

  4. Enjoyable puzzle that we finished in 21.23, well ahead of our 25 target.
    Liked the naked baritone.
    The joke kitty is trying to remember is “ what’s the most common owl in the British Isles?”

  5. I found this hard. I needed 16 minutes for all but two answers and eventually reduced this to needing one, but as 30 minutes approached on the clock I gave up and resorted to aids.

    The problematic clues were 20dn where I was fooled into expecting a piece of furniture rather than a piece of a piece of furniture, and 17dn, MYRIAD, where I worked along the same lines as Kitty but without eventual success. I’ve a vague recollection this answer has caught me out on a previous occasion.

    I trusted wordplay for AGAVE which if I’ve met before I had forgotten. I’ve been known to drink Desperados, a tequila flavoured beer, occasionally, but I don’t think AGAVE would be mentioned on the label as it mostly consists of chemicals.

    Edit: I found my bad experience with MYRIAD now in a puzzle I blogged 4 years ago, but for once it wasn’t clued with reference to dairy products:

    Large number in the Moroccan property I own (6)

    MYRIAD : MY (…I own), RIAD (Moroccan property). SOED has: riad – in Morocco, a large traditional house built around a central courtyard, often converted into a hotel.

    Further edit: A little research on AGAVE and Desperados has revealed that the spiky agave plant features prominently on the beer label.

  6. A nice puzzle which I mostly completed at a gallop before CHUTZPAH and then LOI MYRIAD slowed me down considerably, leading to an 11 minute completion. Both of the last two were a case of “the word fits, can I work out the parsing?” rather that constructed from the wordplay.

    Like Jack I did wonder at DRAWER being clued as a piece of furniture in its own right, but otherwise all seemed spot on. A good start to the week.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

    1. I had no doubts about the clue to DRAWER once I had the answer but I was fooled by the cunning misdirection.

      1. Ah yes, a piece of (a piece of) furniture. What a clue – too clever for me when I was doing it and when I was reading the blog!

  7. Top quality puzzle by Alex.
    Got off to a good start in the NW but some teasers further down the grid needed some head scratching before seeing the light – in particular COD MYRIAD.
    Started with HEATHEN and finished with UNBEND in 8.12 with WOD to CHUTZPAH.
    Thanks to Kitty.

  8. Quite surprised to find this was a real QC for me – completed before finishing my coffee! LOI MYRIAD. Liked DRAWER as a piece of furniture – good misdirection. Thanks Kitty.

  9. I liked CHUTZPAH (the standard example of which is the man on trial for murdering his parents, asking the judge for mercy on a poor orphan). LOI UNSEALED took me much too long to arrange the anagrist in my head. 7:38.

  10. There were some tricky ones in this enjoyable puzzle from Alex but for once I seemed to spot them in good time, getting home in 9.19. Liked CHUTZPAH, MYRIAD and especially HEATHEN because it was such a neat little construction and its two individual parts were so far removed from the overall meaning you get when you join those two pieces up. Thanks Kitty.

  11. 4:59. I made a mess of the SW corner by putting in SCAR for 21D (well C in SAR{i} sort-of fits). It took MYRIAD, leading to CURTAIN to see that was wrong. Nice puzzle. Thanks Alex and Kitty.

  12. DNF beaten after 10 mins for the daftness of simply not being able to see DRAWER. Nice puzzle with a fair few twists and turns. I too like DAB.

    I’ve consoled myself with finishing the biggie in under 30 mins.

    Thanks Alex and Kitty

  13. 6.12

    Seen the reversed dairy thing before (but always like it) so that was okay but a la MangoMan, really struggled to see DRAWER probably because I was sounder the -er at the end in my head

    Thanks Kitty and Alex

  14. Enjoyable, clever, if tricky in parts. I solved the more difficult clues quickly and stuck on the easy ones. FOI CHUTZPAH which helped. (Only learned how to pronounce it when I was about 45 and worked with Americans – they laughed at my first attempt 🙂) LOsI CURTAIN, UNSEALED, INTACT.
    Liked many inc CRAG, RANCH, RANKLE, AGAVE, naked BARITONE.
    Thanks vm, Kitty.

  15. 8:57
    Slowed down at end by SW corner, with CURTAIN and RANKLE my last two in. COD to MYRIAD, which brought to mind the last verse of “I cannot tell” , which ends with:
    But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
    And myriad, myriad human voices sing,
    And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer:
    At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King.

    Thanks Kitty and Alex

  16. Took a while to see FOI HEATHEN, then fairly plain sailing. Only hold-ups were DRAWER and LOI MYRIAD. Liked DAB and CHUTZPAH (now that I know how to pronounce it!). Thanks all.

  17. A nice QC for a Monday all done in under 30m.
    Pencilled in AGAVE which sounded vaguely familiar and the crossers confirmed it.
    Liked 15d BARITONE and 17d MYRIAD
    Thanks Kitty and Alex

  18. FOI HEATHEN and then CHUTZPAH, a word that I can’t spell, where I had to follow the word play. I was also slowed down by the spelling of PIROUETTE and the first letter cluing of RANKLE. AGAVE wasn’t an issue as I have quite a few of these giant sized plants in my Mallorcan garden. As others, my LOI was MYRIAD. 8.18 for an OK day which is more than I can say for the current Mallorcan weather of rain and more rain.

  19. Big fat DNF. DRAWER and MYRIAD were too good for me and after 5 blank minutes I gave up, used aids and kicked myself. Well played Alex.

    I think lack of persistence is one of the many reasons I can’t graduate to the 15. I like solving quickly, and so if a clue takes more than a couple of minutes I have a hissy fit and give up. I’m quite good at the Jumbo, curiously – I think because I expect it to take a long time and so don’t get cross when it does take a long time. More stickability needed!


  20. Mainly galloped through, until held up by DRAWER and LOI MYRIAD to being me back to an average kind of time.

    Good stuff, and enjoyable.


  21. 25 mins…

    After 15 mins, I only had the 21ac and 17dn axis to complete – but they just wouldn’t come. I was about to throw in the towel, when the word “Curtain” just appeared to me as I looked at the grid. Not often that happens, and it probably sounds more profound than it actually was, but it then led to “Myriad” revealing itself as well.

    A good puzzle from Alex, with a varied mix of clues.

    FOI – 3dn “Chic”
    LOI – 17dn “Myriad”
    COD – 8ac “Heathen” – those devilish chickens!

    Thanks as usual!

    (PS. For anyone interested, my League 2 football team failed in its quest for play off glory…oh well – another season to look forward to)

    1. Sympathies – spare a thought for those fearing the final game of the season dice with relegation. Plymouth like to keep their support engaged to the end… 😳

      1. To be fair – we have diced with the other end on numerous occasions, although I can’t remember the last time it came down to the final game of the season.

        1. Alas. But do tell, are they based at Holker Street? Which I visited for the first time a couple of months ago.

          1. Alas, it is the mighty Barrow (or not as the case may be). They somehow managed to have one of their worst runs right at the end of the season to prevent, what seemed a few months back, a guaranteed play off spot. However, lower league football is incredibly fickle and inconsistent (which is why it’s lower league of course) – unless you somehow manage to spring up a wealthy owner(s).

            May I ask whether you visited as an away supporter of another team, or was it just an unlikely random encounter?

            1. Indeed one of the worst ends to the season I’ve seen for some years, and so sad after such a promising campaign.

              I saw the game vs Newport in late March. I would not say I support either club, so I was in that sense a neutral, but I have a soft spot for the Bluebirds, who have survived so much hardship and disappointment over the years and were at that time enjoying a rare moment of success. And I was made most welcome by those around me.

              1. I’m glad you were made welcome. If I rightly remember, we won 1-0 with a Stockton goal, although we probably should have won by more. Stockton has done well in fits and spurts, but as he’s on loan I doubt he will be here next season (along with many others).

                1. Yes, and very well taken it was too. A rare moment of skill in a game blighted by a very strong wind neither side really mastered.

                  1. The wind is always an issue at Holker Street – especially with the exposed gap at the Steelworks End. On some occasions the rain/sleet has been horizontal. The pitch is not great at the moment either, as the work done on the stands meant it couldn’t be relaid properly at the end of last season.

                    Part of the issue is that Barrow don’t train in Barrow, but have a training base in Manchester – mainly because so many players don’t live in the area (we couldn’t persuade them to come otherwise). As a result, I’m never convinced the players ever get used to the conditions playing at home.

  22. A nice start to the week and, like many others it would appear, LIO MYRIAD. COD CHUTZPAH. Having only started trying the TQC over the past month I’m gradually getting faster and consequently not spending as much time drinking coffee in the morning!

  23. 7:16

    Lovely puzzle, thanks Alex and Kitty. Another with LOI MYRIAD after too long thinking of animals.

  24. 7:07

    Same as others, finishing with MYRIAD. Found myself jumping all over the place trying to pick off the odd clue – occasional splurges of three or four off the bat hurried things along. I liked CHUTZPAH though I find from reading the comments that I have had no idea how to pronounce it all these years…

    Thanks Alex and Kitty

  25. I sped through this relatively quickly until I came to my last two, and it then took me over a minute to get CURTAIN. My LOI MYRIAD took me even longer as my narrow mindedness didn’t permit me to think beyond animals that produce milk. I even managed to overlook the possibility that the second letter could be a Y in an abortive alphabet trawl. Eventually the penny dropped, in went the answer, and the clock was stopped at 10.56.

  26. Not too difficult for me although Pumpa did have to bail me out on 1d and 17d (if he can stop fighting cats in the garden for a moment!)


    My verdict: 👍
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈🤺🐈‍⬛

  27. 12 minutes for me of which quite a bit on LOI MYRIAD.
    A nice QC.
    COD to CHUTZPAH for being able to clue it at all.

  28. Started (slowly) with Heathen and Chutzpah, and thought this was going to be a difficult one, but soon got into the flow. In the end, a comfortable enough sub-20 became a frantic dash for the line, with Drawer, Curtain and last, but far from least, Myriad putting up stiff resistance. Mind you, it’s not every day that this poor solver beats Jackkt and Templar – I doubt somehow I will see its like again. CoD to 20d, Drawer, for the parsing. Invariant

  29. 1d gaily biffed CHUTsPAH, then wondered where the s came from fortunately. Its an unch so I would never have known it was wrong as I use yer actual newspaper and a pencil.
    Otherwise top to bottom, left to right, no delay EXCEPT 21d CRAG for which I needed an alpha trawl… why? It’s simple enough. Oh well!
    Oh, and tried for a while to justify 2d JAggER, Stone, thinking Romeo was implied from Juliet and the rAGGEd was pared! To spell it out, J(uliet) (r)AGGE(d)R(omeo), a Rolling Stone.

  30. As appears to have been the case for several others above, this was a classic Breezeblock solve. Just 14 minutes for my first 24 clues (a breathless pace for me), then two minutes on my penultimate clue (CRAG) followed by 10 increasingly exasperating minutes on MYRIAD. Total = 26 minutes.

    Starting shortly after me, Mrs Random followed a very similar pattern. She also suffered with MYRIAD, but found it just in time to secure today’s family point. 25 minutes for Mrs R.

    Thanks to Alex and Kitty.

  31. A tricky start to the week. HEATHEN started me off, and I had to concentrate to make progress. MYRIAD didn’t hold me up, but LOI, DRAWER, did! I got DAB the wrong way round first off, so that held up UNBEND for a time. 9:05. Thanks Alex and Kitty.

  32. Started off all right with the first two across clues going straight in. After that it became more of a struggle but never completely hopeless! Finished up in 18 slightly interruped minutes with everything parsed, the SW corner holding out the longest.

    FOI – 8ac HEATHEN
    LOI – 21ac CURTAIN
    CODS – 9ac RANCH and 17dn MYRIAD

    Thanks to Alex for a lovely QC and to Kitty for the blog (didn’t know the teat owl joke – nice one).

  33. First ever finish 😃😃 I found this the easiest puzzle I have tried over 5he last year. Or maybe I am starting to get the hang of it.

    1. Congratulations Tim! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Like Vinyl I wouldn’t call this one that easy, so you must definitely be improving. Onwards and upwards!

  34. 9.01 Quite gentle. CURTAIN took a moment to parse and I spent longest on LOI DRAWER. Thanks Alex and Kitty.

  35. 11:06
    LOI was CHUTZPAH, could not see how any word could fit in with those checkers, and also assumed that “unknown” would be “y”.


  36. Thanks for the laughs everyone! And to Alex and Kitty.

    The clues often bring back random memories so today it’s PIROUETTE – I have vague memories of a Pirouette Park – possibly Pontins at Pakefield, or maybe a Butlins somewhere? Can you imagine the campers pirouetting back to their chalets?

  37. I thought this was going to be difficult and didn’t start writing until 22a, but suddenly little sections started almost solving themselves and I managed a sub 20 minutes. Needed crossers for pirouette (or downers) and loved heathen: our chickens are having dust baths in the midday sun as I write. Thought this a lovely, well-judged puzzle: thank you Alex and Kitty.

  38. Not the gentlest of Monday puzzles, but all correctly entered in 31:49.

    NHO of AGAVE but fortunately managed to wangle it from wordplay.

    COD to MYRIAD for the reversed dairy – spent ages trying to work out which words ended “-WOC”!

  39. About 10 mins for everything but Myriad. Didn’t even put a Y in the alpha trawl.
    COD not myriad!

  40. Zoomed through this until meeting a brick wall in the SW corner, so a DNF. Just could not see CURTAIN at all, and then a great big DOH for MYRIAD and RANKLE, which I cannot believe I didn’t see. AAAAAAGH!

  41. 16:42 here with the last 6 minutes spent on CHUTZPAH and MYRIAD, where, like others, I didn’t consider Y for the second letter and was fixed on a reversed animal (“WOC”? “TAOG”? Etc…)

    But a very enjoyable puzzle: MYRIAD gets my COD vote. Thanks to Alex and Kitty.

  42. Took ages to get MYRIAD as I considered dairy early on but couldn’t work it in 🙄, only when I came back later did it dawn on me! Gets my COD. Thanks Alex and Kitty.

  43. 15:32 and enjoyed it very much, getting off to a good start with the entertaining HEATHEN, and finishing with DRAWER, which I saw long before I convinced myself that it fit the clue. Oh, *that* kind of “piece”. I always enjoy those moments of perspective shift.

    Thanks Kitty and Alex!

  44. Sub 25 min finish making it one of my faster efforts. SW corner held me up but once I got Curtain (my COD) the rest fell into place. Thanks all

    Ps I do find the homophone clues difficult to work out wordplay and definition. Hence Bad was my first entry until Unbend and Baritone, both quickly biffed, made me reverse to Dab

  45. 12:24

    A nice easy start to the week. Could have stopped the clock inside 10 minutes by biffing my last answer. Fortunately stopped to think because I was wrong but got there in the end for LOI MYRIAD.


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