Times Quick Cryptic No 1302 by Felix

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

A rare DNF (“did not finish”) for me: I had LESLIE for 7 Down and SPECTRE for 21 Across. Rather silly mistakes, but I was demoralized/demoralised by what felt like rather heavy UK-centric content. Whenever I feel like a puzzle is too British, I start to doubt I’m capable of finishing it — never a wise approach to puzzle solving!

As for the puzzle itself, I thought there were a lot of nice, challenging clues to spice up what was mostly very gettable stuff.


1 It’s bound to be instructive to pupils (10)
SCHOOLBOOK – cryptic definition
The pun is on ‘bound’, which can mean ‘certain’ or ‘tied together’.
8 Delight [in] account, missing the start (7)
ELATION – RELATION (“account”) without the first letter (“missing the start”)
Collins suggests that ‘relation = account’ might be more of a British thing, but it surely makes sense: one relates a tale, so the tale itself could be a ‘relation’. Incidentally, this type of clue definitely has the flavor of a 15×15 puzzle, where in addition to the wordplay you have to come up with either a seven- or eight-letter word using only a one-word definition.
9 Female is cutting, firstly, man[‘s] sheet of film (5)
FICHE – F (“female”) + IS CUTTING (“is cutting”) reduced to first letters (“firstly”) + HE (“man”)
Another 15×15-esque clue, since ‘cutting’ would typically denote putting one word inside another, and ‘is’ would often be a linking word between straightforward and cryptic definitions.
10 Intestate after deductions in odd places [and] after tax etc (4)
NETT – INTESTATE (“intestate”) with odd-numbered letters removed (“after deductions in odd places”)
Straightforward quickie clue.
11 Part loan arranged for the proprietor? (8)
PATRONAL – PART LOAN (“part loan”) anagrammed (“arranged”)
Didn’t know the definition of ‘patron’ as owner, which Collins has listed as British. In any case this was a challenging anagram for me to sort out.
13 Good fellow, bitter perhaps, [and] tired (5)
STALE – ST. (“good fellow”, i.e. saint) + ALE (“bitter perhaps”)
This clue combines two bits of wordplay I always forget to remember.
14 “A” team in reserve (5)
ASIDE – A (“A”) + SIDE (“team”)
16 Singular thank you for overcoming head of Machiavellian plotters (8)
SCHEMERS – S (“singular”) + CHEERS (“thank you”) outside (“for overcoming”) first letter of (“head of”) MACHIAVELLIAN (“Machiavellian”)
For once it isn’t ‘ta’!
17 Cold, boy [gets] dressed (4)
CLAD – C (“cold”) + LAD (“boy”)
20 Spanish poet[’s] part in madrigal — or cantata (5)
LORCA – letters in (“part in”) MADRIGAL OR CANTATA (“madrigal or cantata”)
21 Extraordinary respect [for] monarch’s staff (7)
SCEPTRE – anagram of (“extraordinary”) RESPECT (“respect”)
As I mentioned in the introduction, I put in SPECTRE and knew something was wrong.
22 Aid to growth [of] fir trees replanted around one lake (10)
FERTILISER – FIR TREES (“fir trees”) anagrammed (“replanted”) outside (“around”) I (“one”) + L (“lake”)


1 Gleam noticed around top of hill (5)
SHEEN – SEEN (“noticed”) outside (“around”) first letter of (“top of”) HILL (“hill”)
2 Principals cheered as hat tossed around (4,8)
HEAD TEACHERS – CHEERED AS HAT (“cheered as hat”) anagrammed (“tossed around”)
3 Some solids, foul-smelling (4)
OLID – letters in (“some”) SOLIDS (“solids”)
4 Highland mountain lass spotted cat (6)
BENGAL – BEN (“highland mountain”) + GAL (“lass”)
5 Delivery? Not on holiday (3,5)
OFF BREAK – OFF (“not on”) + BREAK (“holiday”)
My last in. Not knowing anything about cricket, I direct you here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off_break.
6 Scientist, all agitated, sparkles (12)
SCINTILLATES – SCIENTIST ALL (“scientist all”) anagrammed (“agitated”)
7 Elephant fleeing circus finally in the Spanish fairy story (6)
NELLIE – last letter of (“finally”) IN (“in”) + THE (“the”) in Spanish (“Spanish” = EL) + LIE (“fairy story”)
I’m sure we have Nellie here in the US, but once again I direct you to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellie_the_Elephant. In any case, I convinced myself that LE could be ‘the’ in Spanish, and put LE(S)LIE.
12 Multi-player sport: note, yours truly’s keen! (4,4)
TEAM GAME – TE (“note”) + AM (“yours truly’s”) + GAME (“keen”)
I understand the middle piece of wordplay as  ” first person ‘is’ ” ,  which I only arrived at after solving. More tricky stuff that, especially in combination with ‘note’ (which can stand for almost twenty different letter combinations alone), would be at home in a 15×15.
13 Sibling also pruned fibre-producing plants (6)
SISALS – SIS (“sibling”) + ALSO (“also”) with its last letter removed (“pruned”)
15 Quietly, RE class [is] primed in advance (6)
PRESET – P (“quietly”, piano in music) + RE (“RE”) + SET (“class”)
18 First of documents to bring up [is] dull (5)
DREAR – first letter of (“first of”) DOCUMENTS (“documents”) + REAR (“to bring up”)
19 Vessel[‘s] blue deck recalled regularly (4)
KEEL – BLUE DECK (“blue deck”) reversed (“recalled”), taken every other letter (“regularly”)

66 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1302 by Felix”

  1. 12 minutes. Probably being a bit dim, but how does ‘yours truly’ or ‘yours truly’s’ equate to AM? I or ME or MY, yes, but AM?

    Edited at 2019-03-06 12:52 am (UTC)

    1. I mean, I did offer my explanation in the blog.

      yours truly’s = first person ‘is’ = am

      1. I don’t see what else to do with this, but I don’t see it really working: would “that fellow’s” be IS?
        1. I’m glad I’m not alone, Kevin. I understood Jeremy’s explanation but still have severe doubts that the clue works if that’s the way it’s supposed to.
            1. I guess I understand ‘yours truly’ as an adjective. Sure, one can say “Give me Jeremy’s take on the situation.”, but one can also say, “Give me the Jeremy take on the situation.”

              By that logic, a “yours truly” ‘is’ could be ‘am’.

              1. As an adjective? So ‘Jeremy’ in “Give me Jeremy’s take” is an adjective? As is ‘Jeremy’ in “Give me the Jeremy take…”? In the words of the poet, no way, Jose. Applying what philosophers call Inference to the Best Explanation, I’d say rather that the setter just goofed.
                1. Huh? I mean, my example may have been poorly chosen, but we use proper nouns as adjectives all the time: “the London special“, “a US venue“, “a Horowitz interpretation“…

                  I mean, what is the grammatical logic behind “the Spanish“ being EL?

                    1. In the Black Country, and I speak with first hand knowledge, the verb form I am, you am, he am etc is very common. . .
                    2. Takes me back to Walter Gabriel in the Archers of my childhood – ‘am you?’
  2. I swept through the LHS in short order but was brought to heel by the RHS. NHO PATRONAL, NELLIE took some thinking time as did PRESET. TEAM GAME went in mainly from crossers and a vague idea that it was an odd sort of clue. OFF BREAK is a bit UK Centric and when it couldn’t be OFF SPIN, I waited for crossers to help me. Got there in 8:39, but I think we may have some who find this puzzle quite tricky. Thanks Felix and Jeremy.
  3. After a while, I got tired of staring at 7d; never heard of Nellie the Elephant, and I’m not going to bother looking her up. A bit surprised to see OLID; or is it used in the UK?
  4. Struggled over the line in a bit over 25m. Slow even by recent standards. A few unparsed, so thanks to Jeremy. Never heard of OLID, PATRONAL or LORCA but I was getting a bit desperate on the first read through so LORCA went in pretty early. Downs more forgiving and that opened up SCHOOLBOOK and I was off, albeit pretty slowly. LOIs were NELLIE (very familiar, “oooooooooooooh”) but I couldn’t get a grip on the clue – I knew EL was in there somewhere but since I didn’t know what the definition I didn’t know where to put it or what the rest of it meant. SLOI was PATRONAL, I had PATRON pretty quickly but held off on filling in until all the checkers were in place and it couldn’t be anything else -and SCINTILLATES held me up too denying me a checker. Challenging but not much fun. Ace blog as always, Jeremy – I was glad of OFF BREAK, one of a very few write-ins today.
  5. 27 mins but found it tough with quite a few unknowns: Patronal, Olid, Lorca.

    Loi Off break, also not known but it sounded crickety.

    Cod head teachers.

    Edited at 2019-03-06 07:48 am (UTC)

  6. 17:45 today but I also had SPECTRE -careless of me. LOI was NELLIE. I remember the song very well but I can see it’s difficult otherwise. LESLIE parses well. OLID unknown but gettable. A curious mixture of clues in this. COD to OFF BREAK which also held me up.
  7. 43 minutes, over twice my target, with what seemed to me to be some wooly definitions and questionable wordplay.
    BENGAL for tiger is, I belive, purely American usage and not in Chambers, along with the required meaning of PATRONAL, which Chambers has as an adjective relating to patronage.
    I don’t mind unknown words like OLID which is in Chambers or LORCA who can be googled as they add to my knowlege, but I can see a few GRs on the horizon.


    1. a BENGAL is also a breed of domestic cat with spots
      as seen here:
      wikipedia “dot” org “slash” wiki “slash” Bengal_cat
  8. As well as the common OLID and LORCA, I was also unfamiliar with FICHE and I cannot say that SISAL is a word I use regularly. Being a Brit I was, however, familiar with Off Breaks and Nellie the Elephant. Having attended many church Patronal Festivals in my youth that was a word which was known to me but not specificially in the sense in which it is used here. Despite all that, the answers seemed to go in quite quickly and so I ended up on 14 minutes, the same as yesterday.
  9. 15m this morning, with the usual suspects providing the challenges. I like John’s suggestion for ‘am game’ above, which does it for me. OLID and PATRONAL new to me, but gettable. NELLIE came to me as soon as I saw ‘elephant’ in the clue, but then took some time to justify. Thanks Jeremy for a good blog after a hard shift, and Felix for a good work out.
  10. Almost double yesterday’s time at 19.47 so back in the SCC. Another QC that required me to jump around the grid until things began to take shape. Some nice clues but I must admit that quite a few went in on a reflex basis at first with a bit of cool logic applied later (I guess I mean they were biffed….). The longer anagrams emerged easily for me. Had to look up OLID and felt PATRONAL was inevitable but not really strong. NELLIE made me chuckle and I liked NETT, KEEL, SCEPTRE and SCHEMERS. Thanks to Felix and Jeremy. John M.
  11. Gave up on this one. Now I see the answers I don’t feel so bad. Too much here that takes it beyond a quick crossword. Obscure words and obscure uses by the bucketload
  12. Pleased with 10.55 as this seemed quite tricky. DNK PATRONAL, so that took a while. BENGAL here is a spotty cat, not the tiger of similar name and I only sort of knew it despite being a bit of an animal buff. COD to NELLIE which took a bit of parsing. OLID went in late. Once I saw it, I remembered it from a Times article 10 years or so ago (I think, but memory plays tricks) about redundant or rare words that were being excised from the OED. So it’s that common!
  13. Never heard of OLID but worked it out. Did not get PATRONAL (even with help!) or NELLIE: is Nellie the Elephant a fairy story? I only know it as a song.
    1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! Some puzzles are bound to be more UK-centric than others, and the more they are, the more I start to doubt myself when I solve.
  14. Well, this was a struggle. Not a puzzle I really enjoyed, finished in 8:41. Some obscure words too, namely Fiche, Patronal and Olid. Anyway, thanks to Felix and Jeremy for his excellent blog.


  15. Fortunately I had knowledge of Mandy Miller (not in a biblical sense I should stress) and after a slow start I whipped through this quickly.

    TIME 3:58

  16. 5 mins over target at 25 but enjoyed the puzzle despite (in my view) it being hard for a QC. On a different day I suspect I may have DNF’d and would feel aggrieved with some of the obscure words & wordplay.
  17. I found this a strange offering, although I finished in under 30mins which is OK for me. Never heard of OLID, but it sounded as though it might have something to do with smell. DNK PATRONAL, but ‘proprietor’ gave away ‘patron’ which only left ‘al’. My dictionary has it relating to saints and nothing to do with ‘proprietor’. Don’t understand KEEL = vessel. Part of one, or even the sideways movement of one, but hardly a vessel. LORCA was vaguely familiar, and NELLIE the elephant takes me back 60 years. Good clue though.
    Also didn’t understand how ‘am’ = ‘yours truly’.
    JEREMY. A hardback book is known as a ‘bound’ book from the time when such books had their pages ‘bound’ (ie stitched) together, using SISAL I believe.
    COD SCHOOLBOOK. Very neat I thought.
    1. it’s an example of a synecdoche (part of something used to refer to the whole – like “wheels” for “car”)
      sort of thing that crops up more often in the 15×15
      1. No synecdoche here 🙂

        A keel is also a type of flat-bottomed vessel or barge

        1. Tough after yesterday, taking over twice as long and failing to remember Nellie. Stuck thinking of Celeste. As already mentioned a number of words were unknown and took time to unravel from the word play. Nice to be stretched, though, after yesterdays rather easy puzzle.
        2. Tough after yesterday, taking over twice as long and failing to remember Nellie. Stuck thinking of Celeste. As already mentioned a number of words were unknown and took time to unravel from the word play. Nice to be stretched, though, after yesterdays rather easy puzzle.
  18. 18 mins but with one incorrect. The NE quadrant took me a while particularly 7d NELLIE but I had no idea what 5d could be. The idea that it was a cricket term crossed my mind but I could only come up with a lame OFF BRoAd. Oh well. Thanks Jeremy for the blog.

  19. There is a Nina in this puzzle I have just remembered, which probably accounts for a couple of the obscurities.
    I do apologise and hope it didn’t spoil people’s enjoyment too much.


    1. I wouldn’t call this a ridiculously difficult puzzle. It’s very difficult to finish 100%, I agree. But there’s also a very high percentage of clues with very clear, simple word play, and tons of clearly-indicated anagrams.

      If you’re not getting most of the clues in this puzzle, you should definitely be looking over your answers and refreshing the basics. That’s my internal working definition of a quick cryptic: a puzzle where the basic skills will get you most of the way there.

      Feel free to post particular clue numbers if you want more help.

  20. Well I’m glad I’m no the only one that found this difficult. Approaching 40 mins before loi Elation came to mind via an alphabet trawl. Never heard of Olid, and spent ages trying to parse Team Game, but can now see that ‘am game’ works for keen. To cap it all, I can’t see the Nina that Felix has just flagged, so a frustrating morning so far. Invariant
  21. The puzzle gave me no trouble, although I’d never heard of a BENGAL cat. Then. having come here, I find there is a Nina to be found and spent twice as long looking for it than solving. Best I can find is that the puzzle is NON-U. As for “(Dimitry today)”, DIMITRY = John Grimshaw = Joker, so is there a hidden joke? 4:20

    Edited at 2019-03-06 02:11 pm (UTC)

    1. In fairness the Nina is probably impossible to see unless you know what you are looking for.
      Even if you look up March 6 anniversaries and find out what a certain Dimitry (not JG) was up to you still might not spot it.
      Hence my apology for the self indulgence.

      1. Something to do with the periodic table but I still can’t see it! Anyone else have a clue?
        1. Based on Dimitri Mendeleev’s periodic table presented on March 6th 1869 I think.
          1. Every answer in the grid contains one or more chemical symbols for elements in the periodic table.
            1. . . so does every word in your post – very few English words don’t.
                1. I saw the first 22 elements but can’t find 23 Vanadium. I assume when I revisit the blog tomorrow that I will be enlightened.
                2. Got it! The answer is in the crossword clue number! Very clever
                  I can relax now.
                  1. I’ve been looking at this all day and you just beat me to the PDM. Very nice!

                    Right, better catch up on all the work I should have been doing…

                    1. The atomic number of Vanadium is 23. It isn’t in the grid because the crossword clues only go to 22. In each of the 22 clues you will find the chemical symbol corresponding to the atomic number that is clued.
                    2. And when there is both an across and down clues, e.g. 1 and 13, it appears in both. Felix is a champion stinks wallah!
                  2. Well done at working it out! I went down many rabbit holes including looking for each chemical symbol… but running out when we got to Vanadium, spotting the EKA, that he used for missing elements that he predicted, which included Scandium, with multiple SCs in the grid. I can stop worrying about it now!
                    So thanks Felix for the extra fun. Self-indulgent? Not a bit of it!
  22. As a member of the SCC, I actually found this guide easy for some reason. The only one I didn’t know was olid , and that was very fairly clued. Presumably the L is part of the Nina as Ovid would have been a more obvious word otherwise. My take on the YoursTruly/am was the traditional letter closing “I am Sir, Yours Truly…”
  23. Like others I found this tricky particularly the NE with PATRONAL, NELLIE and LOI FICHE proving especially hard to crack. Finally crossed the line in 18.34 with TEAM GAME unparsed. I don’t think I’ve ever spotted a nina and I never will if they are all that obscure!!
    Thanks for the blog
  24. … well that’s my biased opinion, because I finished it in a reasonable time (for me), even though I was sure it was a tough one. The cryptic cluing was so good (Thank you, Felix!) that I was able to create the many words I didn’t know, and that includes the cricket term.
    Should have been 18 minutes, but my LOI STALE took me another 3 minutes. Of all the clues here I have no idea why I struggled with that one!
    COD perhaps 21A but then again I can’t resist 7A Nellie the Elephant.
    I’m not clever enough to find Ninas, but am always very impressed when they are explained.
    Thanks for the blog, Jeremy. MM
  25. Finished it on Saturday- only managed 6 clues originally (on the RHS) then had another go. Total about 3 hours.
    Tough but once I got schoolbook I was away.
    Didn’t know some of words and a few poetic ones – keel a boat? (surely part of a boat), drear?
    Loi OLID

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