Times Quick Cryptic No 1492 by Teazel


Would have finished just under 6 minutes, which is exceptionally quick for me. But I took an extra 70 seconds to figure out 20 Across, which I only got by trawling the alphabet for the second letter. If only I’d started with ‘Z’ and worked my way backwards…



1 Delightful person / who works with snakes? (7)
CHARMER – double definition
5 Gesture [from] breaker (4)
WAVE – double definition
7 Teach artist to open some paint? (5)
TRAIN – RA (artist) in (to open) almost all letters of (some) TINT (paint?)
Sneaky wordplay which I only figured out upon writing the blog.
8 Penalties extremely severe [for] bridge manoeuvre (7)
FINESSE – FINES (penalties) + first and last letters of (extremely) SEVERE (severe)
10 One could be Yellow, Red or Black, but conventionally blue (3)
SEA – cryptic definition
Obvious in retrospect, though my first guess was TEA for some reason…
11 Companion ordering sec to Asia (9)
ASSOCIATE – anagram of (ordering) SEC TO ASIA (sec to Asia)
13 Helping to prune opening of formal speech (6)
RATION – remove (to prune) first letter of (opening of) ORATION (formal speech)
14 Old kingdom [of] Crimea devastated (6)
MERCIA – CRIMEA (Crimea) anagrammed (devastated)
17 Where greedy children save? (5,4)
PIGGY BANK – cryptic definition
‘Piggy bank’ could also mean a bank for piggies, ie greedy children.
19 River delta where peas grow (3)
POD – PO (river) + D (delta)
20 European champion who is clearing out his house? (7)
EVICTOR – E (European) + VICTOR (champion)
I had to trawl the alphabet to get the ‘V’. Possibly the problem was I had guessed E _ I _ TER.
22 Get together [in] a service (5)
AMASS – A (a) + MASS (service)
23 Prohibit part of garden? Yes (4)
DENY – letters in (part of) GARDEN YES (garden? Yes)
24 To purify church, is inclined to enter (7)
CLEANSE – CE (church) [with] LEANS (is inclined) inside (to enter)


1 Disaster round hospital, a spectator devastated (11)
CATASTROPHE – around (round) H (hospital) [put] A SPECTATOR (a spectator) anagrammed (devastated)
2 Determined soldier must support a parent (7)
ADAMANT – ANT (soldier) under (must support) A (a) + DAM (parent)
I had parsed this originally as A + DA + MANT and was wondering what sort of soldier a ‘mant’ was.
3 Unavoidable day matron goes mad (9)
MANDATORY – DAY MATRON (day matron) anagrammed (goes mad)
4 Not accept / rubbish (6)
REFUSE – double definition
5 Sickly-looking magician’s prop incomplete (3)
WAN – WAND (magician’s prop) without the last letter (incomplete)
6 Prospect [of] travel document consuming time (5)
VISTA – VISA (travel document) around (consuming) T (time)
9 Part of Europe that’s a jewel? (7,4)
EMERALD ISLE – cryptic definition
12 Final move [is] to examine partner (9)
CHECKMATE – CHECK (to examine) + MATE (partner)
15 Cook for example [is] an officer (7)
CAPTAIN – double definition
The first referring to Captain James Cook.
16 Cloth [is] wonderful: sumptuous, almost (6)
FABRIC – FAB (wonderful) + RICH (sumptuous) without the last letter (almost)
18 Appearance [of] people informally mentioned (5)
GUISE – GUYS (people informally) replaced by homophone (mentioned)
21 Miniature version [of] ancient city, omitting river (3)
TOY – TROY (ancient city) without (omitting) R (river)
The definition is as in the sense of ‘toy car’.

43 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1492 by Teazel”

  1. Now that I read the blog, I realize that I didn’t bother to parse TRAIN. I’m not sure I ever read the clue for 9d, just biffing from checkers. (_S_E doesn’t yield a wide range of possiblities.) 3:16, a pb, and half again as long a time as Verlaine’s!
  2. 4:37 for me, which is about as fast as I can remember. On the other hand, today’s 15×15 is not going so fast!
      1. Me too. I think “a tin of paint”, being “some paint” is a bit easier than Jeremy’s ingenious parsing.
  3. 7 minutes although like others I parsed TRAIN as RA (artist) contained by TIN (some paint) and was preparing to register a MER at it.

    Still smarting from solving the main puzzle but already taking comfort from reading that others struggled too.

    Edited at 2019-11-27 05:59 am (UTC)

  4. Glad to be greeted by easier fare this morning after yesterday’s struggle (and those of quite afew mornings recently). Solved on paper as heading to London so no firm time but completed before the second stop on a slow train. Longest pause for FINESSE. Three stops (plus tube) left – psyching up to face 15×15.
  5. 7A I still think the TIN answer is right, the TINT answer wouldn’t need the question mark
    1. You can tint without using paint (hair, for example) so it’d still be in DBE territory to be offset by the question mark.
  6. I found this quite straightforward, with only GUISE and EVICTOR, my LOI taking a little while to spring to mind. For the record, I also saw TIN as “some paint.” 6:55. Thanks Teazel and Jeremy.
  7. 6.00 on the nose, first crossword in over a week having been ill and frankly not thinking well enough to tackle them, so a nice start back. Not quite a PB but nothing held me up unduly.


  8. 10 mins.
    Dam for parent looked odd, but I have seen before.

    Last 2 held me up guise and evictor.

    Csod captain and train.

    Edited at 2019-11-27 09:13 am (UTC)

    1. DAM isn’t ‘parent’, it’s mother; sire is the father, and both parents are so designated when, say, referring to dogs.
      1. I mean I have seen dam for a (female) parent in the same way as dad, mum etc

        Edited at 2019-11-27 12:22 pm (UTC)

  9. I expected a slow one fromTeazel but was surprised to move quickly around the grid from NE clockwise to NW. Quickly for me, that is; I still took a minute over 3K. I also had RA in TIN for TRAIN. Thanks to both. John M.
  10. I finished in exactly the same time as John M and like others also thought of paint tin first before realizing it was some tint. I have to confess I thought the clues for both EMERALD ISLE and PIGGY BANK were poor. Even having read Jeremy’s blog I am not sure they work. As for the SEA I DNK of the Yellow Sea but I do now. The other sea of ‘colour’ is the White Sea on the coast of NW Russia. My LOI was 18d GUISE. COD for me is 16d FABRIC. Thanks Jeremy and Teazel.

    Edited at 2019-11-27 10:48 am (UTC)

  11. Well inside 10m for me,so a good day. I’m a TINner rather than a TINTer. Thanks Teazel and Jeremy.
  12. As a novice, I have been an avid follower of Times for the Times for a while now.

    I have done the Quick Cryptic most days for the last couple of months with varying levels of success. Most of the time I can complete all but a few clues, some days I struggle my way through half and then come bouncing back to the blog to see how the parsing works…

    However, today I managed to finish the lot for the first time! Feeling pleased with my efforts, although I have no doubt tomorrow will be a different ball game.

    Consequently, I would like to offer my thanks to all the bloggers for their efforts, without which I have no doubt I would have given up hope before now.

    My LOI was 15d CAPTAIN which is even more annoying given that this is my day job (of the flying variety)…! For some reason I was trying to fit COP (officer) into the first two checkers.

    7ac TRAIN fitted in thanks to a clear definition but I struggled to parse RA in TIN.

  13. It wasn’t a catastrophe but I didn’t solve with much finesse either! 10 minutes of dotting around for the first 25 clues, and then I stalled at 20a. It took another 2 1/2 mins with an alphabet trawl to find the elusive evictor. Just couldn’t think of another word for champion – goodness knows why!

    FOI Wave
    LOI Evictor
    COD Nothing really stood out for me today, but I’ll nominate Finesse as I don’t know anything about bridge but worked the answer out from wordplay, which is the point after all!

    I’m worried now – too many trigger warnings about the Biggie! Nevertheless, I’m going to try.

  14. The first few across clues went in in seconds but things returned to normal towards the bottom. c23 mins – interrupted by the phone. Struggled with CAPTAIN, GUISE, EVICTOR and FABRIC.
    Usually a ? at the end of a clue leaves me flummoxed but 4 out of the 5 here were straightforward.
    Great contrast to yesterday where a DNF doesn’t do justice to the squares still empty when I abandoned it.
  15. All done in under 6 mins except for GUISE and EVICTOR, which took me to 8:40, so the upper end of my 8-9 minute par score. Mental block, but i was up and out of the house at 6 a.m., so a bit snoozy.
    1. Exactly my time and problems! (Maybe because Hopkin B sits in front of Horry D in class; the latter must have cribbed!)

      FOI 5ac WAVE

      LOI 20ac EVICTOR (Meldrew)

      COD 15dn CAPTAIN – Captain James Cook is the only England Captain never to have batted or bowled on An England Tour of Australia/New Zealand.

      WOD 17ac PIGGY BANK

      Edited at 2019-11-27 02:49 pm (UTC)

  16. Completed this in about 28 mins which is pretty good for me. The NE corner went in fairly easy and then it was steadily working around the grid completing what I could.

    A lot of answers were biffed (“Emerald Isle”, “Piggy Bank”, “Checkmate”), so much so I didn’t notice some of the clueing may not have been that taut.

    My final three were 13ac “Ration”, 16dn “Fabric” and 18dn “Guise”, which slowed me down somewhat. Just didn’t equate helping with portion, which was annoying, and was thinking about all sorts of material until I got to the generic fabric.

    Completely flummoxed by the parsing on 15dn although it couldn’t be anything other than “Captain”. Gave myself a massive kick when I read the explanation on the blog, especially as I’ve been caught out by this before!

    With regards to 2dn “Adamant” – I read the parent as being “Adam”. Obviously reading too much into it.

    FOI = 5ac “Wave”
    LOI = 13ac “Ration”
    COD = 20ac “Evictor” – mainly because I wouldn’t have got this previously.

    Thanks as usual.

    Edited at 2019-11-27 02:05 pm (UTC)

  17. …. due to a recalcitrant newsboy. This means that I change my technique, and take George Heard’s route of “all the clues in the order laid down”. I was therefore delighted to break the 4 minute barrier (just) and achieve (currently) 20th place on the leaderboard.

    LOI ADAMANT (there’s a “Prince Charming” joke there somewhere !)

    1. Truly amazing time for a smartphone solve.

      I find smartphone solving very slow because I accidentally toggle between pen and pencil, grid and list and either register two of the same letters or none at all. Only seeing part of the grid just makes things worse. My solving times generally improve when I move from smartphone to tablet but are best on the desktop as I can touch type. Perhaps I should try pen and paper instead.

  18. Found this harder, quick on rt hand side but v slow on the left. Loi as others was evictor. 35m which is over our 30m target.
  19. Exactly 2 Kevins, so I’m rating that as a Very Good Day, especially since (a) I was on my phone and (b) it was a Kevin PB!

    Solved all the acrosses in order bar one (TRAIN) and then all the downs in order bar one (GUISE). Each fell on second visit. That’s as close as I’ve ever come to a proper Clean Sweep (ie all clues in order).

    Thanks Teazel and Jeremy.


  20. My fastest solve ever. I didn’t time mysel f, but I just read through the clues and filled in answers with hardly more than a few seconds pause for each one. The longest time to solve was 20A – evictor.

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