Times Quick Cryptic 2220 by Breadman

Solving time: 9 minutes

There was one tricky answer here and some wordplay that needed careful thought. How did you do?

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Name second thief? (8)
MO (second – minute), NICKER (thief). It’s slang for a name or nickname. It can also be  spelt without the C.
5 Small, shy, lazy person (4)
S (small), LOB (shy – throw,  as at a ‘coconut shy’)
8 Crime in parsonage (5)
Hidden [in] {p}ARSON{age}
9 No official line given by America (7)
REF (official – referee), USA (America), L (line)
11 Hard-working threesome with us on Asian river (11)
INDUS (Asian river), TRIO (threesome), US
13 Favouring mature fodder (6)
FOR (favouring), AGE (mature)
14 Court punished Yankee’s public protest (6)
Anagram [punished] of COURT, then Y (Yankee – NATO alphabet)
17 Right   pocket (11)
Two meanings, the second as in ‘take possession of’ or ‘nick’ (see 1ac)
20 Rear half of studio, once, base for bishop’s office (7)
{stu}DIO + {on}CE + {ba}SE [rear half of…]. It really needs to be ‘halves of’ but then the surface wouldn’t make much sense.
21 Surrealist artist terribly stern (5)
Anagram [terribly] of STERN. He appeared in The Sunday Times puzzle blogged yesterday.
22 In job, Ella regularly observed Christmas (4)
{i}N {j}O{b} E{l}L{a} [regularly observed]. ‘Noel’ for ‘Christmas’ appeared in The Times prize puzzle blogged on Saturday.
23 Ancient language of unwell younger Scotsman (8)
ILL (unwell), YR (younger), IAN (Scotsman). A bit tricky if you didn’t know it. It was roughly equivalent to the modern day Albania.
1 Doctor of medicine bottles each fermented drink (4)
MD  (doctor of medicine) contains [bottles] EA (each). Fermented honey and water.
2 More unpleasant retsina circulated (7)
Anagram [circulated] of RETSINA. Certainly an unpleasant drink so hard to beat for nastiness. What might be worse? I’d vote for Advocaat as appeared in Orpheus’s QC last Tuesday.
3 Notice in the past, amid various canoes, aquatic bird (6,5)
AD (notice) + AGO (in the past) contained by [amid] anagram [various] of CANOES
4 Departure, for example, concerning sons (6)
EG (for example), RE (concerning), S+S (sons)
6 See about donkey’s rope (5)
LO (see) containing [about] ASS (donkey)
7 Rot’s primarily engulfing the old part of dartboard (5,3)
BULL (rot – slang for ‘rubbish’), S, E{ngulfing} [primarily], YE (the, old)
10 Luckily for aunt breaking television: there’s one left (11)
FOR, then anagram [breaking] of AUNT, then TEL{l}Y (television) [one left]
12 Unsatisfactory article by lecturer occasionally (3,3,2)
OFF (unsatisfactory – a bit off), AN (indefinite article), DON (lecturer)
15 Canine barking around hot Indian city (7)
Anagram [barking – mad] of CANINE containing [around] H (hot). It used to be called Madras and I shall have forgotten this again by tomorrow.
16 Stressful experience getting low grades in exam (6)
D + E (low grades) contained by [in] ORAL (exam)
18 Initially, pen picked up for some writing (5)
P{en} [initially], ROSE (picked up)
19 Famous school speaker’s had meal (4)
Sounds like [speaker’s] “eaten” (had meal). Yes, we know it’s called Eton College.

70 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2220 by Breadman”

  1. Much more familiar with MONIKER, sans the C, and took several seconds to think of the Indian city and realize OUTCRY was an anagram, crossing it, but I always have a nervous slowdown on the last two, after filling in the rest about as fast as I can write. Seems like a real Monday—just waiting to see the 15×15 blogged. (Was a bit lonely here Sunday. What was everybody doing?)

  2. I finished this in 14:26 with at least three of those minutes on MONICKER my LOI. I was sure I was looking for a word for Thief. But I was also struggling with what to do with ‘second’. When in doubt, Tina, maybe think whether there are other meanings of words besides the surface?

    I nho ERNST nor ILLRYIAN but the wordplay/checkers were clear for both. I faffed around with an appropriate shortening of ‘younger’ but I got it right.

    I knew the geography stuff (always easier for me when it’s Asian instead of European) and got the religious clue right so great day for me.

    All in all a great Monday. Thanks all!

  3. 15:12. REFUSAL, OUTCRY and MONICKER took the most time. Needed blog to fully parse OFF AND ON , NOEL, DIOCESE and BULL’S EYE-thanks. I thought first of Barabbas as name of second thief but circumstances forced me to abandon that bit of inspiration! P.S. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night takes place in Illyria.

    1. Thanks. Yes I knew Illyria as the setting for Twelfth Night as that was where I first heard of it, assuming at the time that it was fictional. I had every intention of mentioning this in the blog but somehow it slipped my mind at the critical moment of writing about the clue.

  4. I biffed BULLS EYE & FORTUNATELY, parsed post-submission; they both required some time to parse. For what it’s worth, “Twelfth Night” is set in Illyria. CHENNAI was my LOI; I was trying to think of a specific breed of dog before realizing that it was (CANINE)*. 4:55.

  5. Amazingly managed to finish this one despite a river AND a foreign city!

    MONICKER was my LOI as I have never, ever seen it spelled with the C. Learn something new every day! Also had never heard of LOB=SHY or a coconut shy. Confess I thought ILLYRIAN was what Tolkien’s elves spoke … *embarrassment*

    However, the clue that really got my brain hopelessly tangled was 16d. I’d put ASSYRIAN for 23a so I had _R_E_S and became absolutely certain that the low grades were EF and the exam was BRIEFS — maybe England’s version of the bar exam, I mused – and then realized that made the “stressful experience” BRIS … ! Forced myself to walk away from the puzzle for a bit at that point, hahahaha

    1. Hi five for the finish!

      I think ‘exam’ has almost always been either ‘oral’ or ‘test’ in these qcs so far so I always start with that first.

      I’m pretty sure Tolkien elves speak Quenya but I s2g if I see that in a crossword I will pitch a fit 😂

  6. Missed my train so did this leisurely in the cafe. NHO ILLYRIA – having read Twelfth Night seems like it might have helped – but clued fairlyish. Also NHO ERNST. Otherwise good progress after a slow start.

  7. Started with MONICKER and finished with FORTUNATELY. No dramas. 7:29. Thanks Breadman and Jack.

  8. 19 minutes with a chunk of the time in the SE.
    FOI: MEAD followed by MONICKER and all its hangers.
    I spent several minutes on 23ac initially writing ASSYRIAN to one side then seeing no donkeys are involved and the young Scot was unwell. The parsing got me to ILLYRIAN.

  9. 7’21” had BULLSEYE in then took it out as too obvious and thought ‘Rot’s primarily’ would mean ‘R’ had to be in there somewhere – put it back in with the ‘Y’ of OUTCRY in and needed the blog to explain the parsing.

    Held up at the last by ORDEAL – but shouldn’t have been.

    Thanks Breadman and Jackkt

  10. 21 minutes for me.
    FOI Arson
    LOI Ordeal
    COD Appropriate
    Biffed BullsEye and Slob but having seen the explanations, both are clearer now.
    Good start to the week for me!

  11. A good QC with enough food for thought on a Monday morning. I went through it smoothly leaving a hole for my LOI 1a. Under target by half a minute (within a second of Tina’s time) so I was content with that.
    Some good clues but a MER for YR (younger). I was helped by seeing the long answers very quickly opening up the rest of the puzzle. Thanks to both. John M.

  12. A quick solve was derailed by missing the anagram for OUTCRY and then not being able to get past ASSYRIAN, even though it wouldn’t parse (unsurprisingly). The penny finally dropped which allowed me to see what was going on with LOI ORDEAL, where I had been trying to fit test around something.
    Crossed the line in 8.16 with WOD to MONICKER and COD to APPROPRIATE.
    Thanks to Jack

  13. I did remember “What country, friends, is this?” “This is Illyria, lady” for some highbrow points.

    On the other hand, I Ninja Turtled my way to CHENNAI, only knowing it through a Barmy Army song about Graeme Swann set to the tune of Champagne Supernova (“A Swanny super over in Chennai”, since you ask). Took a long time to see how LOI OUTCRY worked.

    COD FORTUNATELY, time 08:04 for 1.7K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and Jack.


  14. I found this quite a hard start to the week, so wasn’t surprised to drift into the SCC via the nho Illyrian – it looked slightly more plausible than Illyoian, but still a guess. Monicker was another that took time to see. Overall, I thought Breadman was trying too hard to squeeze in some unusual cluing styles, but my CoD vote still goes to one of them: 20ac, Diocese. Invariant

  15. Enjoyable puzzle. Fast to start with then stuck temporarily on LOsI ORDEAL and ILLYRIAN.
    Must admit there was a lot of biffing before parsing. FOI INDUSTRIOUS.
    Thanks vm, Jack. Actually you can get used to Retsina and eventually enjoy it, if you drink enough.

    1. My strategy with Retsina was to imagine I was going to be swallowing a mouthful of turpentine and then when the actual wine hit my tastebuds it wasn’t half bad.

    2. It was drinking too much of it once many years ago that put me off it for life. Up till then I’d had the occasional glass and thought it okay if not exactly to my taste. Even the thought of it now makes me feel ill.

  16. 17 mins…

    Overall, I enjoyed this and a good start to week after last Friday’s disaster.

    Hesitated over 23ac, as I didn’t know it, but the checkers were kind and I couldn’t see what else it could be. Liked 12dn “Off And On”, 10dn “Fortunately” and 11ac “Industrious” – some good ikea-like clues with amusing surfaces.

    FOI – 8ac “Arson” – a classic
    LOI -1ac “Monicker”
    COD – 9ac “Refusal”

    Thanks as usual!

    PS. Couldn’t access the blog for the weekend cryptic from John, not sure if it’s a technical hitch or just me.

      1. I have just checked and see what you mean. I have contacted John and I am sure that he will sort it out.

      2. Apologies for that. I neglected to check the link in the extract that is shown in the blog list. Now corrected.

  17. I thought this quite gentle. No problem with ILLYRIAN, remembered from crosswords past. I did pause for a bit over BULL’S EYE until I eventually equated ROT with BULL. After completing my first pass of clues, having all of the checkers in place, APPROPRIATE and REFUSAL went in without reading the clues again. Thanks Breadman and Jackkt. 3:44.

  18. 11 minutes and a half for me, having seen MONICKER on reading the first clue, and then getting all the descenders for a very quick start. ORDEAL was LOI, ILLYRIAN from the very clear wordplay, and just a small pause over the spelling of CHENNAI. Many thanks both, and thankfully my brain is still functioning after a weekend Navy reunion (55 years) which made some excessive demands on me.

  19. It wasn’t so much ASSYRIAN that tripped me up but trying to fit BABYLONIAN in that stumped me! I’m definitely getting *clever* at separating the two words at the start of the clue, eg canine barking I immediately thought what if barking is the anagrind? This blog is really helping my skills so, as well as hearty thanks to jackkt and Breadman, thanks to all contributors on here.

    1. You’re getting the hang of it – great news! It’s fun once everything starts to fall into place, isn’t it 😊

      1. Trouble is, as soon as “everything starts to fall into place”, it all falls out again.

  20. “FORTUNATELY, baby, I’d already joined the force” (Jack Bruce :’Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out Of Tune’)

    And FORTUNATELY I was happy to shrug off the C in MONICKER, while ILLYRIAN jumped off the screen at me on the second pass through the clues.

    Crazy artists here once (7). I’ll get use to these PC names eventually.

    TIME 3:39

  21. 5:21

    For a while I thought I was going to be slower on this than the 15×15 as nothing came to me on the first five acrosses other than ARSON but it all fell into place in the end, albeit a little over target time.

    I did want to thank the setter for some really good clues, notably for MONICKER, REFUSAL INDUSTRIOUS, FORTUNATELY and ORDEAL. It must be trickier to come up with clever clue ideas for the QC than the 15×15.

  22. With all but one done in under 10 minutes, I nearly put PUNCHY at LOI 14a. But of course it does not parse. A minute or so of reflection got me to OUTCRY, the only clue I really struggled with today.
    So 11 minutes in the end. And I have time today for the 15×15.
    COD to OUTCRY. Good puzzle.

  23. Very happy with my time of 16:23, a good few minutes of which were spent on ILLYRIAN. I initially invented ILLYSIAN and so wished Sian was a Scotsman’s name… Needed the blog for BULLSEYE, and all the checkers for MONICKER, my COD. Very enjoyable. Thanks Jack and Breadman.

  24. Upper end of target for me. No problem with ILLYRIAN, it was APPROPRIATE that took me a while, and was my LOI, even with all those checker.

    Favourite was probably FORTUNATELY.


  25. I was sailing along quite nicely after about eight minutes when I got to my last two 1ac and 14ac. OUTCRY took me far longer than it should as I failed to form a simple anagram for a while, and MONICKER seemed to take me an eternity to solve. Made it in the end in 13.09, but not really with it today. Hoping for better on the 15×15.

  26. 5.26

    Raced round though my twin (a dvynys in case anyone’s interested about the derivation of my MONICKER) beat me by 20 seconds so a very bad day (I jest of course).

    Neat and tidy puzzle. Was in Montenegro earlier in the summer which is just about Illyria as well I believe. Hot.

    Thanks all

    1. And there was I thinking that your MONICKER was an unpronounceable Welsh word for solver! (It’s still unpronounceable, I’m afraid, even though I now know it’s Lithuanian for twin.)

  27. An enjoyable puzzle but one I don’t have a time for. I started it while on hold to HMRC, expecting the usual 45 minute wait, and was astounded to be answered before I had finished Breadman’s puzzle. Dealt with HMRC query, returned to crossword, and still stopped the clock at 12 minutes, so the puzzle itself was probably around 8 or so. A fast start to the week!

    No real issues, but surprised to see that the surface “official line given by America” for 9A implied that the USA was to go inside the REF-L. “Given by” as an inclusion indicator??

    Right pocket one of the neatest DDs I’ve seen for a long time and my COD.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

    1. Cedric, as far as I’m aware there’s no convention re ‘by’ as a placement indicator and it simply indicates ‘next to’, so no containment is involved here . ‘On’ in Across clues is another matter, but only in The Times.

  28. 11 mins held up by outcry and monicker.

    Cedric its official, then Line L next to (right of USA).

    Didn’t like punished as anagram indicator.
    COD monicker.

    1. I looked twice at ‘punished’ as anagrind, was going to mention it in my blog but then forgot. I later found that it’s in the Chambers approved list.

    2. Thank you Jack and Flashman. I’m still being dim I’m afraid: I’d understand “next to” to give USA + L, that would make perfect sense, but it’s not what the clue says. The clue says “Official line given by America”, and we are asked to work out that “given by” indicates that America (ie USA) goes between Official (ie REF) and line (ie L). So I accept that it does, and luckily the clue was easy enough to biff, but I am still not sure I fully understand. One to just store away in my ever expanding list of notes I think …

        1. Ah now I think I see. The need to separate official and line, as in Official / line given by … Thanks for your patience in explaining!

  29. Since no one else has mentioned it, I must be a bit thick not to get how ‘rose’ means ‘picked up’. ‘Got up’ yes, but ‘picked up’??

    1. My solving speed picked up after a few months of reading the blog.

      My heart rate picked up when I saw it was an Izetti.

      Inflation picked up when the new price cap came into force.

      Dictionaries also have it to improve gradually or to gain.

  30. Very slow to get going, but not bad (for me) in the end. My FOI was ARSON, but I was still looking at a largely empty grid when I started my second pass 10 minutes later. FORTUNATELY, I then started to make some headway and wrote in the NHO ILLYRIAN (my LOI) after 33 minutes.

    Mrs Random was similarly confused by ILLYRIAN, and it caused her to slip into the SCC with her time of 21 minutes.

    1d reminded me that we still have a bottle of homemade MEAD in our drinks cupboard, left over from when we used to keep honey bees. Unfortunately, after 5-6years I became allergic to their venom and had to stop bee-keeping. 18 months later, Mrs R also suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting and we realised we had to get rid of the hives. We have both since gone through a 3-year de-sensitisation programme (40+ injections each, in total), but in my case it hasn’t really worked.

    Many thanks to Breadman and jackkt

    1. I had a bad allergic reaction to a wasp sting about 35 years ago and have carried an epipen ever since. However, I was stung by a wasp 2 years ago and had no reaction at all. I have had no anti-allergy treatment so it would seem I have grown out of the allergy. Still keep the epipens up to date, though.

  31. I managed six clues in total today. Found it very hard. I tried The Sun Two Speed crossword book at the weekend – couldn’t do that one either!

    Thank you for the blog.

    Edit: I realise that I need a teacher. Does anyone know of any courses or seminars available for learners? I have found the Marlborough summer school thing, (next year) but that’s all. Thank you.

  32. I was off to a good start with MONICKER and with some fortuitous biffing (BULLS EYE and FORTUNATELY) I speeded up before grinding to a halt just short of the finish line. My LOI with fingers metaphorically crossed was the tricky ILLYRIAN. 8:23 for an OK day.

  33. Enjoyed this puzzle, some of the long clues were kind on definition, 17a and 10d. The word play for Illyrian was clear. Thanks Bradman.

  34. DNF

    All done in 16 minute but never heard of ILLYRIAN and tried ILLYSIAN, thinking Sian might be a variant spelling of Sean. Obviously not.

  35. After struggling last week, I managed this one without any real traumas, although 16dn took some thinking about.
    Some very clever wordplay here which I enjoyed. Somewhere around the 30 min mark, which I will take after a slowish start.

    Thank you for the excellent blog.

  36. A couple of tricky ones, but all thoroughly ‘sound’ and the dictionaries stayed on the shelf! COD ‘right pocket’. Many thanks to setter and blogger.

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