Times Quick Cryptic 866 by Mara

12 minutes – the final two on 8dn due to the surface – it could be said that I couldn’t change out of clothing as nothing suited me.
Lots of other good clues (18dn and 20dn are clever) but this one earns the bow tie as COD.


1. Flog – double definition.
3. Sweeping – general. (S)taff, appearing sorrowful (WEEPING).
9. Art Deco – old style. Anagram (junk) of TRACED, old (O)
10. Disco – music genre. In deman(D IS CO)untry.
11. Inner – private (thoughts/desires). d(INNER).
12. Larger – bigger. Beer (LAGER) about right (R).
14. Good Samaritan – who crossed the road. Anagram (strange) of AGAIN ROAD MOST.
17. Stream – current. Anagram (hopeless) of MASTER.
19. Pilot – aviator. Good (PI – short for pious), fortune (LOT as in fate).
22. Privy – the ladies (loo/washroom…). Public relations (PR), girl (IVY).
23. Oarsmen – those on the water. Anagram (compose) of A SERMON.
24. Cheetahs – cats. Homophone of cheaters.
25. Anne – old royal. Banner without its edges b(ANNE)r. Anne became Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland on 8 March 1702 – 5 years later (during which she was probably involved in making all that furniture) Great Britain was formed.


1. Flamingo – bird. Fiery (FLAMING), duck (O – zero).
2. Often – regularly. Decimal (OF TEN).
4. Woolly Mammoth – extinct animal. Ill-defined (WOOLLY), huge (MAMMOTH).
5. Elder – double definition.
6. Inspect – examine closely. Ant say (INSECT) around quietly (P).
7. Goon – nitwit (or maybe the Goons were wit-nits). Continue (GO ON).
8. Hearts – suit of cards. The easiest clue in the grid which took me the longest. Scottish outfit is nothing to do with kilts – it’s the football team. Doh.
13. Instance – example. Anagram (suspect ) of CANNIEST. Possible carry on from the previous clue?
15. Outside – extremely unlikely – and outside chance. Unpopular (OUT), team (SIDE). Another possible carry on – or carry oot – from the previous two – not that I’m suggesting that Hearts are unpopular team (extremely unlikely) – oh, hope I haven’t started something here.
16. Report – statement. Royal Engineers (RE), left on ship (PORT).
18. Egypt – country. Say (EG), (Y)ielding (P)haroahs (T)remendous.
20. Lemon – yellow. Odd bits of blue removed (bLuE), day (MON)day.
21. Epic – impressive. Programm(E), short film (PIC).

29 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 866 by Mara”

  1. After maybe 3 minutes staring at 8d, I was ready to throw in the towel when finally the penny dropped and I put off slapping myself, hard, on the forehead just long enough to type in the answer. I had no idea what the Scottish outfit was–never heard of the football team–and that wasted all that time. Irritating. 8:38.
  2. 8dn held me up too – but for no more than a minute so my 7.20 wasn’t so bad.

    Hearts (The Jam Tarts) have few supporters – no worries – he said unconvincingly.


    Re-20dn LEMON odd bits of blue is usually BU – innit!?

    And I thought Queen Anne went to IKEA like the rest of us!

  3. 9 minutes with the final minute on 8dn, happy with HEARTS as ‘suit’ but wondering if ‘outfit’ might refer to anything other the soccer team.

    I’d heard of it from sitting through football results in my childhood. Not that anyone in my family was remotely interested in them (we were stricly a rugby union household) but in those days one had turn TVs on early so they could ‘warm up’ and if my brother and I wanted to see whatever was on children’s TV at 5pm on a Saturday we inevitably caught the last few minutes of the man reading out scores. Hearts of Midlothian, Hamilton Academicals, Alloa Athletic – oh the joys of the Scottish League Divisions whose results seemed to go on forever as we waited impatiently.

    Edited at 2017-07-04 05:58 am (UTC)

    1. Heart of Midlothian, not Hearts of … the Jam Tarts or the Jambos.

      Hamilton Academical, not Academicals

      1. You might have gathered that I have no real interest whatsoever in the wretched game, so pedantry on the subject is completely wasted on me.

        Edited at 2017-07-04 01:36 pm (UTC)

        1. An old Hamlet Cigar commercial(c.1976) starring Brian Glover has ‘East Fife 5 Forfar 5’ (a score draw!). He had all eight draws but in celebrating his win he realised he had forgotten to post his coupon. Cue Jacques Lucier’s Air on a G-String.

          Edited at 2017-07-04 03:10 pm (UTC)

  4. A very enjoyable crossword, coming in at around 25 minutes. HEARTS didn’t cause me too much difficulty as I’m quite clued up on Scottish football, and pretty sure we’ve had a similar clue before. Maybe it was Hibs (Hearts’ rivals) that came up. My LOI was actually 13dn. I just failed to spot the anagram indicator. I didn’t understand the parsing of PILOT, so thanks, blogger. COD has to be 1dn. Gribb.
  5. One of the most enjoyable QCs I’ve ever done. Just full of wit and sparkle, Mara must have been on the vintage Bollinger to be fizzing like that. A really brilliant puzzle, thank you!

    HEARTS solved by the simple device of going “spades, clubs, diamonds … oh!”.

    So many contenders for COD but I’m giving it to GOON.

    Lewisham to London Bridge.

    Thanks for the blog.


  6. As I’ve come to expect from Mara, this was full of elegant and cunning cluing. Bravo!

    There are just too many to pick out one COD although the fiery duck raised a smile.

  7. Yes, this was a good one from Mara, with lots of interesting clues. Fortunately I got 3ac quite quickly – it’s the sort of clue I usually take ages over – which helped with the tricky 7d. A 24min solve with my favourite, and loi, 25ac. Invariant
  8. Inside my 15 minute target, but not by much. Enjoyed the humour and I wasn’t held up too much by HEARTS.
  9. An enjoyable puzzle. I too liked FLAMINGO. HEARTS didn’t hold me up for long, although I didn’t get it on the first pass. GOON raised a smile. FLOG was my FOI, and ANNE, which took me longer than it ought to have done, my LOI. 9:42. Thanks Mara and Chris.
  10. Eight minutes of grinning from ear to ear! So much cleverness packed into such a small grid but none of it inaccessible.

    LOI Hearts (Doh!)
    COD Flamingo (cheesy but so well hidden)


  11. This community is good for me!
    There is always a generous acceptance of clues even when they are manifestly poor! Challenges my cantankerous side 🙂
    Why should pi be short for pious?
    Why would an outfit be a football team
    1. An outfit as in any group or association regarded as a cohesive unit, such as a military company, business house, etc – including foootball team. In the case of my team – too often the refrain is ‘this outfit is a shambles’.
      1. Yes know that feeling 🙂 – Hearts was slightly more justifiable than pi short for pious
    2. Usage. It’s in all the usual sources although not necessarily as an abbreviation now; it exists in its own right.

      Edited at 2017-07-04 05:20 pm (UTC)

  12. As others have mentioned this was a real pleasure to solve, apart from that pesky 8d that held me up for a few minutes at the end. Too many good clues to pick one out, completed in 22 minutes.
    Thanks Mara
  13. Also did not see Pi as short for Pious. Is it like Rev? If so which churchmen get to be called pious, and is that higher than reverend?

    3 off today, I have a new cut off at 20 mins, so more DNFs nowadays.

  14. Izetti has now posted an apology on yesterday’s blog about Osiris.

    (I don’t think this has been commented on today’s blog)


  15. Had to go out after 14 minutes with half a dozen outstanding.
    Mara generally demands my full attention. On my return, my last two were Hearts and Sweeping (with hindsight why did it hold me up?). Over 20 minutes in total.
    Another excellent Mara puzzle. COD to 8d. David

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