Times Quick Cryptic No 1279 by Breadman

Oh my goodness. February already! Where did January go?  I’m not sure, in retrospect, why I was more than a minute slower than average on this nice quickie from Breadman today. There is nothing too tricky or obscure. Maybe it’s doing it online instead of on paper for the blog. My last two in were 1A and 1D, but just because they were the last ones left. I did get into a tangle, as it were, by putting BINDWEED in for 13D, not noticing I’d trashed 14A, and then had to unravel things to solve 17A, and I seem to remember I was slow in seeing SERGEANT. Some neat clues and nice surfaces. I particularly enjoyed the bell-ringing bishop and the unruly youngster, but my COD goes to GOLDFISH. Thank-you Breadman! How did you all get on?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, deletions like this and  other indicators “like this”.

1 On stretch, hold back (8)
RESTRAIN – RE (on, about) STRAIN (stretch).
5 Secure key section of aircraft (4)
WING – WIN (secure, achieve) G (musical key with one sharp in its signature).
8 During flight, Lois half finished a piece of meat (8)
ESCALOPE – Take ESCAPE (flight) and insert (“during”) LOis “half finished”. That reminds me. I’ve not cooked escalopes for a while. Something for next week’s dinner menu, I think.
9 Reportedly mend part of shoe (4)
HEEL – Sounds like (“reportedly”) HEAL (mend). I’ve just thrown out a pair of shoes where the heels were beyond mending.
11 Pro, for most manoeuvres, protected from bad weather (10)
STORMPROOF – (Pro, for most)* “manoeuvers”. Unlike the aforementioned shoes.
14 European city‘s energy embraced by vegan excitedly (6)
GENEVA – E (energy) inserted into (“embraced by”) (vegan)* “excitedly”. A very pretty place…
15 Doctor renovated sill — uses boring tool (6)
DRILLS – DR (Doctor) (sill)* “renovated”.
17 Local community bench chaps built finally (10)
SETTLEMENT – SETTLE (bench) MEN (chaps) builT “finally”. My local community had the country’s first internet bench back in 2001. Of course everyone can use their smartphones on any bench where there’s a signal these days.
20 Newspaper boss in French place that’s heavenly (4)
EDEN – Combine ED (Newspaper boss) and EN (French for in) to get the original paradise garden.
21 Sloth, for example, tries moving on the left side (8)
SINISTER – SIN (Sloth being one of the deadly ones) (tries)* “moving”. Which reminds me of a favourite Flanders and Swann song. As for the definition… “Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative in many cultures. The Latin word sinistra originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in European derivatives of Latin, and in the English word “sinister”.
22 Swimming pool in Bali dominated (4)
LIDO – Hidden in BaLI DOminated. An outdoor one.
23 Soldier dispatched to keep gear organised (8)
SERGEANT – SENT (dispatched) outside (“to keep”) (gear)* “organised”.

1 Marsh grass ruminant animal pulled up (4)
REED – The ruminant animal is a DEER. The grass is it inverted (“pulled up”). Do deer pull up reeds, I wonder?
2 Item of clothing or clobber (4)
SOCK – Double definition. Pinch, punch for the first of the month, and no returns.
3 Perhaps uncle disheartened lady somewhat (10)
RELATIVELY – RELATIVE (perhaps uncle) LadY “disheartened” – i.e. removing the middle letters.
4 Disclose rogue paintings, sculptures etc (6)
IMPART – IMP (rogue) ART (paintings, sculpture etc).
6 One with church money for cold snack (3,5)
ICE LOLLY – I (one) CE (Church of England) LOLLY (money). As in lots of lovely lolly.
7 Little swimmer’s winning medal, initially for his swimming (8)
GOLDFISH – GOLD (winning medal) For (“initially”) (his)* “swimming”. This made me smile.
10 Teaching high-spirited bishop campanology? (10)
UPBRINGING – UP (high-spirited) B (bishop) RINGING (campanology). A rather whimsical surface.
12 Kind of porcelain: things for poaching by the underworld (8)
EGGSHELL – EGGS (things for poaching) by HELL (the underworld). Flame-poached eggs? Hmm.
13 Tie small daughter, a hazard in the garden (8)
KNOTWEED – KNOT (Tie) WEE (small) D (daughter). Not BINDWEED as I had initially, which fits the clue fine… but not the checkers.
16 Group of countries anger MEP, disturbed initially (6)
EMPIRE – (MEP)* “disturbed” in front of (“initially”) IRE (anger).
18 Greek character goes around northern volcano (4)
ETNA – ETA (Greek character) “around” N (northern). The Sicilian volcano.
19 Unruly youngster runs into club (4)
BRAT – R (runs) inside (“into”) BAT (club). My youngsters are now old enough to know better… I hope!

32 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1279 by Breadman”

  1. 28 minutes, on phone but still over my target of 20.

    Held up by empire, ice lolly (almost went with ice rolls!) and LOI sinister (unparsed).

    Cod ice lolly.

  2. Couldn’t come up with the LOLLY. I can’t say I didn’t know the word, although I’m sure it’s been decades since I came across the popsicle meaning; anyway, DNF.
  3. I agree this was a little harder today as I needed 2 minutes over my target 10 – my first target missed this week. Most of the answers went in quickly enough but as 10 minutes approached I was stuck on the clues to SINISTER and my LOI, UPBRINGING, where I’d taken it as read that the first letter would be S to go with the checked P. Is a weed in a garden really a hazard?

    Edited at 2019-02-01 06:59 am (UTC)

    1. See Templar’s comment below about Knotweed. I was going to say the same, but he beat me to it.
  4. Wish I pondered longer over 1a on the first run through, nearly all my problems were in the NW. Once I revisited 1a and filled it in the rest seemed rather easier – definitely need the R for REED and the E for ESCALOPE. RELATIVELY took longer than it should have. Resorted to saying items of clothing out loud until I came to SOCK. Just under 20m and all green!
  5. I was on the wavelength today and would have been under 10 minutes if I had had a better Upbringing, my LOI.
    FOI was REED and after that I managed to find a clue to solve without undue delay. I needed most of the checkers for Settlement.
    A good puzzle. Finished in 10:04. David
  6. Was I alone in chucking in “belt” for 2D thus making the NW an unsolvable disaster area for several minutes?
    But a lovely puzzle for all that.

  7. I have a little granddaughter who still wants an ice lolly, even in the winter and Bargain Hunt still sometimes refers to left-over lolly so I was ok with that :). Not totally convinced about teaching /upbringing. A lot to enjoy!
  8. Well, 20 mins is becoming my new norm – the SCC is clearly an organisation that is difficult to extricate oneself from (sound familiar?). Yes, the NW was too much for me at the beginning, too, so I wandered round the grid for sustenance but found that corner easier when I returned to it. My LOI was KNOTWEED. I liked quite a few of the clues on reflection – e.g. GOLDFISH (which I biffed – thanks to John for the parsing and blog), SERGEANT, SINISTER, and UPBRINGING (which I should have seen much quicker having sussed ‘ringing’. Ah well. Many thanks to Breadman for a solid Friday outing. John M,
  9. A QC solve in fits and starts. I couldn’t get going in the NW corner. FOI 9a HEEL followed by a bit of hopping around the grid. The NW corner finally succumbed once I saw 1d REED which I should have got a lot quicker. Like jackkt my last two were 21a SINISTER and 10d UPBRINGING. I thought of RINGING and I thought of B for bishop but struggled to put the two together. Solving time 11.02.
  10. 15 minutes precisely, and enjoyed every one of them. 1a I saw straight away which helped. Like Kevin, I searched for my LTI (the WING GOLDFISH pair), but they fell eventually. SINISTER CoD and LIDO WoD – I haven’t seen or heard of a Lido for many a year. Thanks all and welcome to February. A friend decided to sign up for the dry January craze yesterday – I wonder if he made it?
  11. A pleasingly symmetrical 14:14 for me, placing me 49th out of 67 at the time. My main delay was an unshakeable belief that “keep gear organised” in 23ac indicated an anagram of “keep gear” … much fruitless pen-sucking ensued until the penny finally dropped.


    Japanese knotweed is indeed a hazard. It is one of the world’s worst invasive species, out-competing (and thus killing off) all other herbaceous plants and with roots so strong that they can damage concrete. It also spreads rapidly and is very (very) difficult to eradicate.

    A lovely puzzle, thank you Breadman, and thanks for the excellent blog John.


  12. ….GOLDFISH.

    I missed my target this morning, due to the combination of a slow start with a fruitless attempt to justify “ice cream”. If it was fruitless it must have been vanilla….

    Thanks to Breadman for a very enjoyable puzzle.

    TIME 5:26

    Edited at 2019-02-01 10:40 am (UTC)

  13. Good puzzle – took me 24 minutes today and I enjoyed them. COD Knotweed.

    Thanks Breadman – maybe Lolly was a reference to bread in the setter’s name? 🙂

    Also thanks to John for explaining the origin of sinister in the blog.

  14. I thought I was going to exceed my target with this one, as I reached the 8 minute mark with most of the SW still to do, but a sudden burst, with KNOTWEED LOI, saw me complete in 9:43. Not the easiest of puzzles, but fair. I was too tired to try and parse everything, but now that John has explained GOLDFISH, I think that’s my COD. Thanks Breadman and John.
  15. About 7 minutes for me today, so I was definitely on the wavelength. Some lovely surfaces today. Thanks to Breadman and John.


  16. This was not one to take for granted with credible alternatives, as described above, waiting around every corner to trap the unwary. Having RESTRAIN as my LOI helped keep me away from a fast time.
    Many thanks to setter and blogger.
  17. Held up by holding on to HOLD for too long at 5a, considering it a key section of an aircraft. I still do, I think.
  18. Most of this went in without too much difficulty, but then the all too familiar problem of over-thinking some of the clues returned. I mean, why use a ‘B’ for Bishop, when you can have RR ? Likewise, ‘disturbed initially’ was obviously indicating there would be a ‘D’ in the answer. I’m only glad that settle/bench came up quite recently, otherwise the knotweed/settlement intersection would have taken even longer. Overall, a slow 30 mins, with 21ac Sinister my favourite. Invariant
  19. 8 minutes, but with SACK at 2dn – first garment that came to mind to fit checkers, and you would be figuratively clobbered by being given the sack.
  20. took me about an hour spread over several sessions. Held up by IMPART, ICELOLLY AND KNOTWEED (I particularly enjoyed that clue, but made very hard work of it. All in all a very enjoyable and satisfying solve.
  21. We had bindweed,belt, and ice cream to make this more difficult than it should have been. Also tried to make an anagram of bench chaps for 17a. Not a good day!
  22. Solid SCC 17.36 after a day at work so maybe I was a bit weary. But agree with Old Blighter – any improvement always seems to be followed by a backslide. A suitably chewy offering from the Breadman who has caused me head-scratching before, I think. RESTRAIN, SOCK, RELATIVELY and EGGSHELL all took a while. Liked ICE LOLLY and GOLDFISH.
  23. I managed to dodge all the traps today and finished in a spritely 9.33, with SINISTER and the bell ringing bishop bringing up the rear. CoD to UPBRINGING.
    Thanks for the blog
      1. Hi Andrew. I sympathise. mrkgrnao similary had a valid answer to a definition of “key section of aircraft”, (
        HOLD) but, alas, neither his nor yours fits the checkers. Not sure how your parsing is supposed to work, I admit. But close, but no cigar, methinks.

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