Times Quick Cryptic 2674 by Pipsqueak – old school

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Hello hello … another new setter!  Welcome Pipsqueak.

Although the name is new, this did not have a rookie feel to it and I wouldn’t be surprised to find we are in the hands of an experienced setter.  I found it very well pitched for a Quick Cryptic; it took me comfortably less than my median time and I enjoyed it.  The answers to the double definitions have inspired the blog title.  Thanks Pipsqueak, and hope to see you again soon.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, most quoted indicators are 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.

1a Bath perhaps welcoming female climber (6)
SHERPA SPA (Bath perhaps) taking in (welcoming) HER (female)
4a Some sponsor a clerical authority (6)
ORACLE Some sponsOR A CLErical
8a Dish fit for a queen? (7)
CATFOOD — Cryptic definition, queen being an adult female cat
10a Report of behaviour in country house (5)
MANOR — Homophone of (report of) MANNER (behaviour)
11a Distinguished prize-giver moving east (5)
NOBLE NOBEL (prize-giver) moving E (east)
12a Post for Paddington? (7)
STATION — Two definitions, the second by example
13a Set up an academy (9)
INSTITUTE — Another double definition
17a Two articles about grant for long jumper? (7)
ATHLETE A and THE (two articles, of the grammatical kind) around (about) LET (grant)
19a American Indian leaving hospital very quickly (5)
APACE APAC[h]E (American Indian) omitting (leaving) H (hospital)
20a Letter Goethe tantalisingly conceals (5)
THETA — GoeTHE TAntalisingly conceals the answer
21a Terrible strain, meeting a Russian ruler (7)
TSARINA — An anagram of (terrible) STRAIN by (meeting) A
22a Old man in Rome with extra time for sales pitch (6)
PATTER PATER (old man in Rome – Latin for father) with an extra T (time)
23a Singer said to be getting this in payment? (6)
TENNER — Sounds like (… said) TENOR (singer)
1d Support commanding officer in post (6)
SECOND CO (commanding officer) in SEND (post)
2d Formation of the ruling class (13)
ESTABLISHMENT — Double definition
3d Operation sees old Conservative obstructing newspapers (7)
PROCESS O (old) and C (Conservative) inside (obstructing) PRESS (newspapers)
5d Dance and drink with returning sailor (5)
RUMBA RUM (drink) + AB (sailor) going backwards (returning …)
6d Are conditions at sea a factor? (13)
7d Job Elizabeth I managed diligently at first (6)
ERRAND ER (Elizabeth I) + RAN (managed) + Diligently at first
9d Rebellious Democrat insisted on reform (9)
DISSIDENT D (Democrat) + INSISTED when anagrammed (on reform)
14d Ignorant of tune lacking intro about a conflict (7)
UNAWARE — Without the first letter (… lacking intro), tUNE around (about) A WAR (conflict)
15d Friend turning up with excellent computer (6)
LAPTOP PAL (friend) reversed (turning up, in a down entry) + TOP (excellent)
16d Patch up two Royal Engineers? (6)
REPAIR — If a RE is one Royal Engineer, a RE PAIR is two of them
18d First Lady inspiring Bill’s escape (5)
EVADE EVE (first Lady) taking in (inspiring) AD (bill)

84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2674 by Pipsqueak – old school”

  1. Yes, there was some quite tricky stuff in here. I finished on 10 minutes, my former target, but only just, as I needed a final 2 minutes on my LOI, SHERPA at 1ac. Annoyed about that as I’ve been to Bath many a time, and often by train arriving at the main station formally known as Bath Spa.

        1. Yes, thanks. My point was that despite its long history as a city with healing waters, Bath is generally known simply as Bath, unlike other resorts such Cheltenham Spa and Leamington Spa. But if you travel there by train you will book to, and arrive at Bath Spa station.

  2. Despite staring at CATFOOD for about 4 minutes before the penny dropped I managed to evade the SCC by coming home in 16 minutes, so a good start to the week for me.
    I thought this puzzle had a very nice balance of definitions and especially liked SHERPA and ATHLETE. REPAIR brought a twitch of a smile to these grizzled lips.
    Thanks to Kitty, and thanks and welcome to Pipsqueak.

  3. Welcome new setter. A nice puzzle, 6.29 for me. Apart from my FOsI SHERPA and ORACLE I made little headway in the earlier acrosses but got going with the downs, helped by ESTABLISHMENT and CONSIDERATION going in early. Thank you Kitty and Pipsqueak, though I would suggest that these days ‘American Indian’ is more likely to be Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from The Simpsons.

  4. An enjoyable debut from Pipsqueak, which I mainly found fairly gentle, apart from getting bogged down in the NW.
    Took far too long to see ESTABLISHMENT but it proved the key to unlocking my last couple – CATFOOD and SHERPA (where I assumed and feared that I’d be looking for a plant).
    Finished in 7.29
    Thanks to Kitty

  5. Straightforward, although I’d spell CATFOOD (and dog food) as two words. Nice to see an American Indian described as an American Indian for once. 5:48.

  6. I managed to turn what should have been a leisurely jog into a bit of a marathon by NOBEL instead of NOBLE which denied PROCESS and delayed SHERPA and CATFOOD to take me into the wilderness of 35 mins and a belated breakfast in the club.
    Thanks Kitty and Pipsqueak.

  7. 3:36. Welcome to Pipsqueak. A gentle start to the weak. LOI TENNER only because I missed that I hadn’t gone back to it. COD to ATHLETE. Thanks Pipsqueak and Kitty.

  8. 4 seconds to spare for me in a rare foray into sub 10 minute territory. I agree with Kitty that there’s a whiff of chestnuts about this puzzle…tsarina, queen cat rather than bee, some choice homophones in manner and tenor which are familiar to me only through the past few years of ‘crosswording’. Many thanks to Kit and Pip

    1. I didn’t mean to imply chestnuttiness any more than the average QC, just that this felt accomplished rather than rough round the edges.

  9. Just over 9mins including the correction of a couple of fat-fingered pink squares.

    If old school means long words with double definitions for clues then I’m happy to enter a brave new world as those clues ALWAYS cause me trouble and without crossers or checkers I’m stuffed.


    Welcome PIPSQUEAK (I note Kitty’s observation and I’m curious, why would an experienced setter create multiple identities?) and thank you for a fine puzzle. Thanks Kitty for the clear blog.

    1. Certainly our esteemed editor has several identities! Felix, Corelli, Noel, Alfie, Des, Oran, Alconiere would appear to be a few. We’re led to believe there are more – I remember that Jack compiled a list a while ago. I’m not so sure if any of the other regulars have more than one identity though!

      1. I too doubt that the other QC setters use more than one name, although I know of occasions elsewhere when setters have used a different alias for special or themed puzzles.

        You are of course right about the editor, so it’s possible, but I wasn’t thinking of this being the work of an existing QC setter. But setters often set for more than one publication and use different pseudonyms in different places.

        1. Oh yes, I realised what you meant. I guess I didn’t explain clearly enough to MM that setters have different names in different publications, but (as far as we know) only RR has a lot of aliases here!

          1. … and I realised you realised what I meant! Yes, that last bit was in response to MangoMan’s original question. As you also realised. 🙂

    2. All I really meant by old school was words with similar or related meanings: establishment, institute, perhaps also station. Plus the fact that the puzzle felt, well, normal – and for the avoidance of doubt I don’t mean that in a bad or backhanded way! I usually struggle to come up with any ideas for blog titles, so clutch at any straws I can find!

      1. Be assured I hadn’t interpreted it as as a negative review by you, I thought it reflected the puzzle well. It’s simply that I often struggle with those style of clues.

        1. 🙂

          Me too with double definitions of long words. (But it’s long anagrams – or even not so long ones – which are my bêtes noires …)

  10. Couldn’t see CATFOOD and NHO that use of queen.

    Went with TENNOR rather than TENNER which I think is an ambiguous clue

    1. TENNOR isn’t a word in any dictionary I have (SOED, OED, Chambers, Collins) so not sure where the ambiguity is?

  11. I add my welcome to Pipsqueak and appreciation of an enjoyable puzzle, a genuine QC pitched towards the less challenging end of the spectrum. Thank you! All done in just under 9 minutes with the NW the last corner to fall – I needed Establishment to make inroads into the hold-outs. LOI Catfood which I needed the opening C to see.

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  12. 8:29 (Egbert of Wessex temporarily conquers Mercia, and receives submission of Northumbria).

    LOI was CATFOOD. I’ve never heard a cat referred to as a Queen outside crosswordland.

    Thanks Kitty and Pipsqueak

  13. Just over 12 1/2 minutes. Slow to solve the first across and down clues so had to start elsewhere, eventually getting SHERPA (I was looking for a plant too) and SECOND. I had managed to get CATFOOD earlier, as with many cryptic defs relying on inspiration (=luck) more than anything else.

    Thanks to Kitty and thanks and welcome to Pipsqueak

  14. Solved reasonably quickly, although held up a little in top NW corner by SHERPA, CATFOOD and NOBLE until inspiration struck. Quite a neat puzzle from our new setter.

  15. I found it of average difficulty rather than straightforward. Good puzzle though, and welcome to Pipsqueak.

    CATFOOD LOI, ESTABLISHMENT took a while, neat DD though, and gets my COD.


  16. Finished and enjoyed. Fast start with ORACLE and around, then finally returned to stick in NW corner. LOI PDM SHERPA, having been wracking brains for a garden climber, like others.. Also slow to see ESTABLISHMENT, despite solving NOBLE. Liked PROCESS, SECOND, REPAIR, RUMBA, ATHLETE, PADDINGTON, among others.
    Thanks, Kitty, and welcome, Pipsqueak.

  17. It certainly wasn’t a “terrible strain” and I polished it off pretty quickly. Welcome Pipsqueak, and thanks as usual to Kitty.

    TIME : 3:27

    * As Kevin observed, I’d normally expect two words (as does the spell check on this blog) but we all know that language evolves, so I have no issue with this one.

  18. 5:56

    Pretty comfortable – one or two clues needed a little extra thought. The RHS went in more easily. As with Cedric, needed ESTABLISHMENT to open up the NW.

    Thanks Pipsqueak and Kitty

  19. I blanked in the NW corner. Couldn’t see any of SHERPA, SECOND, CATFOOD, NOBLE or ESTABLISHMENT. Froze, panicked, got cross, lost interest, gave up.

    Big fat DNF, well played Pipsqueak . There’s another one tomorrow.

    Thanks Kitty.


    1. Are you me?

      This is almost my exact same result and I’m so surprised that many ppl found it easy.

      I’ve never heard of a queen being a cat and I’m unsure why ‘her’ is ‘female’, they’re two different parts of speech imo.

      1. I’ve been caught by cat/queen before so I’m a mug. Just a piece of Crosswordland Code that one has to remember.

        I was fixated on female = F and initially thought the same about “her” as you, but Collins put me straight:

        in British English
        PRONOUN (objective)
        1. refers to a female person or animal
        he loves her
        they sold her a bag
        something odd about her
        lucky her!”

          1. You know T in crossword land I reckon it can, so many times we see female and insert her or she even though they are absolutely different parts of speech, its just a crossword convention thing IMO

      2. Pedigree cat breeders refer to the ‘Queen’ that is ‘introduced’ (how charming, think dating app) to ‘the Stud’.

  20. Stunned about how long it took me to get 15d LAPTOP, no idea why. 8a CATFOOD ditto.
    POI having EiR as the queen in 7d ERRAND; after 70+ years of using Her late Maj we go back to the Tudors for ER.
    Oh and Wiktionary has both CAT FOOD and CATFOOD so no probs with me, except that 2 words have fewer solutions for a given number of lights, so are easier, and to me, more welcome.

  21. I agree with Kitty and others that this was a nicely clued QC. Welcome to Pipsqueak.
    I was pretty quick mostly but got stuck in the NW. SHERPA and especially LOI CATFOOD took some time. Staring at the letters, I remembered living in Catford and that provided my brain with the breakthrough.
    13 minutes in total.
    COD to LAPTOP with other contenders.

  22. With the exception of the NW corner the rest of the grid filled up very quickly. I had less than 4 minutes on the clock but had to return to the beginning to solve SECOND, NOBLE, SHERPA and then CxTxOxD. Never happened….perhaps because I’m a dog lover…..so a DNF but in good company with Templar and Tina. Welcome to Pipsqueak.

  23. This took two cups of coffee due to the NW corner. NHO QUEEN as female cat, saw that SHERPA fitted 1a but w as confused as I saw SHE as the female element but couldn’t see why RPA linked to Bath! Doh! Well it is Monday….

    1. I very nearly wrote SHE in place of HER in the blog, but luckily spotted before publication that I’d “explained” the wordplay for SSHEPA!

  24. Sailed through then got stuck at the end on SHERPA and then LOI CATFOOD. Same problem as Goldy with the former and was thinking of a type of meal for the latter. Got there eventually. Liked REPAIR. Thanks kitty and setter.

  25. I agree with others that this was a nicely pitched puzzle and add my welcome to Pipsqueak. When I hear that name it reminds me of a phrase my mother used to use, namely ‘a pipsqueak or a wilfred’. Curiosity has meant looking up the origin of this phrase, and google suggests that Pip, Squeak and Wilfred were nicknames given to World War I medals. It was also a comic strip cartoon in the Daily Mirror where Pip was a dog, Squeak a penguin and Wilfred a baby rabbit.
    I was looking like finishing in a fast time before being held up by CATFOOD and finally SHERPA, which extended my time by about two minutes to 8.10.

  26. 12:16. PATTER, SHERPA, and UNAWARE were favourites. For EVADE I didn’t equate AD with bill, thinking first AC maybe was bill in some context.

  27. Drew a complete blank in the NW, so started (thankfully) with the hidden Oracle and then hopped around the grid picking off the ‘easier’ ones. Eventually I had enough crossers in the bottom half of the grid to see Establishment, and that gave me the foothold needed to sort out the NW, with a huge pdm when loi Catfood went in, just in time for a back row seat. Overall, I think that was much more average than easy, but either way quite enjoyable and so a warm welcome to Pipsqueak. Invariant

  28. 13:56 so a good time for me. Thought this was going to be a DNF at first as I drew a blank on the first pass through the NW corner. Things improved in the NE and SE and these provided inspiration for the rest of the grid. LOI was catfood, though I was initially put off by expecting two words. I had come across this use of queen before, and there was a manor-related clue last week which helped with that one. My COD was athlete – I wasn’t expecting one of the articles to be split. All-in-all a good workout and thanks to Pipsqueak and Kitty for the excellent blog.

  29. Couldn’t do NW corner, but if Templar had difficulty there then I don’t feel too bad about it. Rest of puzzle pretty much OK.

  30. 18:36. I enjoyed this one, quite a lot less biffing and more construction from the wordplay than I usually manage. Thank you to Kitty for the blog, and hello and thank you to Pipsqueak!

  31. 9.37 Mostly very quick but SECOND, SHERPA and CATFOOD took a good while at the end. Thanks Kitty and Pipsqueak.

  32. Queen = CAT? Not here, it doesn’t. It’s a new one on me … and on Mrs Random … and on two friends who have just popped in … and on my father (and he’s 94!). It also seems to have been a NHO for quite a few contributors above, so may I request that the crossword editor prohibits its reappearance from now on?

    Otherwise, both I and Mrs R enjoyed this well pitched QC and our times were:

    Me: 30 mins (+10 mins trying in vain to find an alternative to CATFOOD)
    Mrs R: 28 mins (+6 mins ….)

    Thanks to Pipsqueak and Kitty.

    1. ODE (Oxford Dict. of Eng.) sv ‘queen’ 5 an adult female cat that has not been spayed

    2. A ‘queen’ is not just a cat, but specifically a female cat, (usually that has had a litter), just as a ‘tom’ is a male cat.

  33. 8:29 so a relatively fast solve for me today. I think was helped by starting, as I always in the SE quarter. I got to the NW in near record time but slowed down there. SHERPA, CATFOOD and SECOND my LOI.

  34. 13 mins until LOI apache. Then closer to 19 mins after a solving break.

    Queen = CAT, ER, R, ANNE, HM, DIDO, KITTY on my xwd list and cat/queen comes up often.

    1. I’m with you Flashman, and as Kevin noted above, queen = cat is a crossword staple and I am surprised by the number of objections. There are all sorts of weird definitions like that (which we mainly learn by doing this crossword)!

  35. Dnf…

    15 mins for everything apart from 8ac “Catfood”. I’ve never heard of an adult female cat being referred to as a “queen” in general conversation, but it has appeared in crossword land before and I think I was caught out then as well. I biffed “Cutgold” thinking it may be some obscure porcelain or something. After my initial NW blank (which a few above seem to have experienced), the rest went in fairly easily. Only query is “AD” = Bill – I don’t get it – AC for “account” perhaps, but am I missing something?

    The excitement of a new setter is swiftly negated by the realisation I have to reformat my statistical spreadsheet.

    FOI – 4ac “Oracle”
    LOI -8ac “Cutgold” (incorrect)
    COD – 17ac “Athlete”

    Thanks as usual!

        1. As usual I was reading the blog out to Mr SR. When we got to your query and I read out Roundabout Here’s reply, Mr SR was immediately moved to intone:
          “Bill Stickers will be prosecuted!
          Bill Stickers is innocent!”.
          I’ll get his coat… 😃

  36. No real problems here, and as Kitty says, a finely-judged crossword. Welcome to Pipsqueak. I’ll join with absolutely everyone else in claiming CATFOOD as my LOI, despite immediately thinking of CAT, and then spending ages trying to think of a dish that began with those letters… Even with the O and the D, it took a few seconds for the penny to drop! Otherwise, started with 1a and then worked down and diagonally through.

  37. Was so pleased to read the conversation between Templar and Tina. We found this tough particularly in the NW and finally got there in 42.10. On reading the blogs was putting our difficulty down to solving tired having got home after a 5 hour drive from Devon.

    LOI catfood, thought repair was clever.

    Thanks as usual and welcome pipsqueak.

  38. Into the SCC at 20:15 with LOI CATFOOD so anything but straightforward for us. We offer the feeble excuse that, having just returned from S Korea, we are substantially jet lagged. We hope to do better as the week goes on! Thank you Kitty and Pipsqueak.

  39. As with others it was the NW corner that was problematic. I had SPA and was convinced it mixed with IVY somehow for 1ac and with C…..D for 8ac I couldn’t get CUSTARD out of my mind. The cat food aisle in the supermarket is the one I scan whizz through without even looking.

  40. Took about 40 enjoyable minutes. Would have been 30 but for CATFOOD! Thank you Kitty and Pipsqueak.

  41. DNF – can’t see why everybody else found it so simple, certainly didn’t know QUEEN was a female cat ‘Tomasina’?

  42. Couldn’t finish this one before having to leave for work. Not that I would have answered them all anyway.

    Pumpa immediately answered 8a


    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐈 🍽️

  43. 4:59

    My first sub 5’ since joining the blog. Thought it was very enjoyable and I look forward to more from the new setter.


    Thanks Pipsqueak and Kitty

  44. Welcome Pipsqueak! I found this easy apart from LOI Catfood, which took me ages. After a lot of staring at C_T_O_D, the answer came to me, and I vaguely remembered another encounter with a feline queen in Crosswordland many months ago. Liked Repair. Thanks Pipsqueak and Kitty.

  45. On a train all day so able to stare at it for hours – but the whole W end (1, 2, 8, 13, 22) EVADEd me totally. NHO queen = cat. We’ve had bill = AC; now it’s AD, too! We already have AB (sailor); AE rarely occurs; wonder what AF is?

  46. Welcome Pipsqueak! I enjoyed the level of this puzzle. LOI – CATFOOD. Heard female cat referred to as queen many times. My Dad had a cuddly rabbit called Wilfred, apparently named after the rabbit in the cartoon.
    Thanks Kitty for the blog.


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