Times Quick Cryptic No 1952 by Breadman


7:42. A good, strenuous test. I worried for a bit I might not finish but persistence, as always, is key. (Edit on writing the blog: I see that my problem may have been that a lot of the “charades”-style clues don’t put the bits together in a straightforward order. Tricky!)

Follow along with my efforts here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1135582892 .


A brief summary of cryptic crosswords —feel free to skip— :

  • Each clue has at least one “definition”: an unbroken string of words which more-or-less straightforwardly indicates the answer. A definition can be as simple as a one-word synonym; but it can also be a descriptive phrase like ‘I’m used to wind’ for REEL or SPOOL. A definition by example must be indicated by a phrase like ‘for example’, or, more commonly, a question mark (?). Thus ‘color’ is a definition of RED, while ‘red, for example’ or ‘red?’ are definitions of COLOR. Punctuation is otherwise irrelevant. Proper nouns will appear capitalized, but otherwise capitalization is irrelevant as well.
  • Each clue may also have an unbroken string of words which indicates the answer through wordplay, such as: using abbreviations; reversing the order of letters; indicating particular letters (first, last, outer, middle, every other, etc); placing words inside other words; rearranging letters (anagrams); replacing words by words that sound alike (homophones); and combinations of the above. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the general theme is to reinterpret ordinary words as referring to letters, so that for example ‘lion’s head’ indicates the first letter of LION: namely, L.
  • Definitions and wordplay cannot overlap. The only other words allowed in clues are linking words or phrases that combine these. Thus we may see, for example: “(definition) gives (wordplay)” or “(definition) and (definition)” or “(wordplay) is (definition)”.
  • The most common clues have either two definitions, or one definition plus wordplay, in either order. But a single, very misleading definition is not uncommon, and very occasionally a definition can also be interpreted as wordplay leading to the same answer. Triple definitions (and more) are also possible.

My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in boldface. I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.

Here is a Glossary of all the wordplay indicators and abbreviations in this puzzle.


Wordplay indicators

‘s = linking word
after = next to
and = linking word, next to
appeared in = containment
around = containment
bearing = containment
broadcast = anagram
by = next to
central sections = middle letters
emptied = first and last letters
found in = containment
gets = linking word
in = hidden word
initially = first letter
knocked back = reversal
on = next to
outside = first and last letters
overlooking = next to (in a Down clue)
reflection = reversal
regularly = every other letter
retreating = reversal
sculpted = anagram
south of = after (in a Down clue)
suspect = anagram
ultimately = last letter(s)
unsettled = anagram
upset = reversal
vacant = first and last letters
we hear = homophone
with = next to

Abbreviations and little bits

article = THE
artist = RA
book = B
constant = C
corporation = TUM
daughter = D
drink = SUP
each = EA
energy = E
European = E
football team = XI
individual = I
inspector = DI
Jack = AB
key = F
large = L
member = ARM
new = N
newsman = ED
noon = N
one = I
popular = IN
quietly = P
safety test = MOT
unknown = Z


1   Lame inspector’s / guided by Jack (8)
DISABLED = DI’S + LED next to AB

5   Cry of bird bearing large talon (4)
CLAW = CAW around L

8   Make-up / remains on daughter, hastily and carelessly done (8)

9   Scrap a / safety test, on reflection (4)
ATOM = A + MOT reversed

11   Article / Rosie emptied in that place (5)
THERE = THE + first and last letters of ROSIE

12   Like to broadcast / new author (7)
TOLKIEN = anagram of LIKE TO + N

13   Bit of a word quietly by referee, and football team retreating (6)
PREFIX = P + REF + XI reversed

15   One of five kids with constant / energy [gets] fruit (6)

18   Rubbish book found in outbuilding (7)

19   Bury — popular / market, quite popular ultimately (5)

21   Central sections of park tidy [and] dry (4)
ARID = middle letters of PARK TIDY

22   Is the suspect, / after drink knocked back, most aggressive? (8)
PUSHIEST = IS THE anagrammed, after reversal of SUP

23   Irritable newsman / Gary‘s outside (4)
EDGY = ED + first and last of GARY

24   Boss meets key / member where horses are bred (4,4)
Here ‘boss’ refers to a raised bump or stud, sometimes called an ‘umbo’ in these parts. Vinyl points out that this is definition 2 in Berstan.


1   Desmond / initially knowing / best type of computer (7)
DESKTOP = DES + first letter of KNOWING + TOP

2   Bluish-grey / pan (5)
SLATE = double definition
SLATE = ‘pan’ as in “to review unfavourably” (Chambers).

3   Move / equipment — upset artist[‘s] pet perhaps (10)
BUDGERIGAR = BUDGE + RIG + reversal of RA

4   Fake art’s sculpted / by European / unknown (6)
ERSATZ = ARTS anagrammed, next to E + Z

6   Reluctant individual overlooking an area of Scotland (7)
Alternate spelling of LOATHE LOATH, I believe.

7   Ladies [and] Gents south of Waterloo vacant (5)
WOMEN = MEN below first and last of WATERLOO

10   Brandished baking ingredient / one / dropped (10)

14   Each / gang around noon receiving payment for work (7)
EARNING = EA + RING around N

16   Printing mistake, rare, unsettled / corporation (7)
ERRATUM = RARE anagrammed + TUM

17   Religious adherent[‘s] tunic regularly / appeared in joke (6)
JESUIT = even-numbered letters of TUNIC in JEST

18   Fireplace large, we hear (5)
GRATE = homophone of GREAT

20   In contest, he taunted Greek character (5)

47 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1952 by Breadman”

  1. LOTH (adjective=reluctant) is an alternative spelling of LOATH, not of LOATHE, although of course they’re related. 6:07.
      1. Also, LOTH/LOATH ends in a voiceless ‘th’ (theta), while LOATHE ends in a voiced one (eth).
  2. 10 minutes. The setter may have deliberately avoided the pangram as ‘slave’ instead of SLATE at 2dn would have supplied the missing V.

    No problem with STUD FARM as there is one just across the road from my nearest pub.

  3. 4d held me up until I realised which ‘unknown’ was needed.
    Back on the road again after a failure yesterday- pen and paper solving much better for me. I can now use the paper for my list of the day.
    I enjoyed the vocabulary in this puzzle

    Edited at 2021-09-01 07:18 am (UTC)

  4. ….completely passed me by. I’ve stopped looking for pangrams these days, since the “false pangram” has become increasingly prevalent.

    This seemed easy enough, but can’t have been, as I missed my target.

    LOI TOLKIEN (because I mistyped “ersaaz !)
    TIME 5:15

  5. 14:45. First five across clues went in fast, then had to pause looking for an author ending – – AIRN (air=broadcast).

    Atom=scrap? I guess “he doesn’t have an atom of sense in him”, is that it?

    DESKTOP today and I think LAPTOP was yesterday?


  6. I thought this was tricky today. Maybe u was just off the wavelength but was firmly in the SCC. I thought Disabled was correct but had forgotten that Jack is yet another term for sailor so that confused me. Also held up by flourished where I was trying to get an anagram in. And Tolkien where I was looking for a word that sounded like “like to”. The (false) panagram helped me with prefix, ersatz and quince.

    The latter are quite an odd fruit. We have a tree in our garden and they have a slight fuzz on the outside. You can’t eat them raw but are quite interesting cooked with a bit of a floral fragrance. And of course, quince jelly or membrillo is delicious if you can be bothered to make it.

  7. Needed a bit of care …
    … on this far from simple puzzle which took me 14 minutes in all. I think Breadman “has previous” on all-but-1-letter pangrams and I confess I fail to see the point of them, but looking out for the J helped me get 17D Jesuit and it definitely gave me the Z as the unknown in 4D Ersatz. Why incidentally is “by” used here to show that RSAT is inside the E and Z — I would have expected by to mean alongside not inside.

    That apart, only minor query was over Make-up = Slap in 8A Slapdash. Not a meaning I am familiar with — but then most of the world of make-up is a totally closed book to me.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

    1. RSAT is by / alongside E. Then the unknown / Z is treated separately at the end. There’s no enclosure going on here.

      Edited at 2021-09-01 08:45 am (UTC)

    2. For the ERSATZ clue, I parsed it as anagram (sculpted) of [ART’S] by E{uropean} (and then) Z (unknown).

      Slap and make-up are synonymous amongst the laddettes I have noticed — ‘I’ll just bung on a bit of slap’ comes to mind.

    1. In that case the most important thing is to study the explanations in the blog. There may be a few that really were hard but there are enough common words here with straightforward wordplay of the type you have already met many a time. If you can spot those then you’ll have checkers to help you with the trickier ones.

      I think you may have gone into panic mode when nothing seemed to come easily. I’ve done that many a time myself, especially when I’ve had a deadline to solve and produce a blog. If you have no deadline the best tactic is to go and do something else for a while and come back to the puzzle with an open mind.

    2. Hope you are not losing heart, PW. This is proving to be a ‘tough quickie’ week, yesterday and today, anyway.
  8. Some tricky stuff in here. Like Merlin, I missed the anagram for the author and was looking for someone ending AIRN. ERSATZ, SLAPDASH and LOI BUDGERIGAR, where I was looking at the wrong end of the clue, also took some figuring out. Favourites today were WOMEN and FLOURISHED. Finished in 11.47.
    Thanks to Jeremy
  9. Needed a confidence boost after a massive failure on the bank holiday jumbo and this didn’t quite deliver it! All my problems in the NW where I missed what Jack was up to — two synonyms for sailor in the same clue was tough. Also found ERSATZ tough — too fixated on the wrong unknown. Got there in the end though.
  10. FOI DESKTOP which helped. Then dotted about the grid. Could not parse PUSHIEST but had to be. Solved 16d but why is TUM corporation?
    Liked QUINCE, ERSATZ and LOI PREFIX, among others.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Jeremy. Biffed a lot today.
    1. ‘corporation’ is (old) slang for ‘stomach’, hence TUM here. I must admit I was surprised to see it showing up in a QC. It’s fairly ubiquitous in the 15x15s, more’s the pity.
      1. We’ve had it loads in the QC, most recently on 6 July from Mara (“Almighty corporation set up for chief exec, say? (3,3)”), where corporation = POT. I’ve finally learned to remember it!
      2. TUM=corporation is one of the tiresome ones on my list that are overdue for retirement. “Ooh, Anderson’s hit Kohli right in the corporation, there”. I think not.

        Edited at 2021-09-01 10:20 am (UTC)

  11. Although completed in under 30, this one stretched my limited talents (and reliance on ‘rules’ for solving).

    For example: having got used to ‘ultimately’ meaning the last letter of the preceding/following word, 19a needs letters from 3 words. 3d ‘artist’s pet’ was a hold-up: often the ’s’ would be required [RA’S], but not here. In 10d I took ‘one dropped’ to indicate a word with the ‘I’ removed (dropped). Ah, wrong again! And ‘regularly’ always confuses – is the odd or even letters that are required?

    All just experience I realise… and not falling into the trap of believing there are strategies which apply in all contexts!

    Overall an enjoyable solve. Thanks to Breadman for stretching me, and Jeremy for parsing things that I would never have seen without help!

  12. Stretched almost to my target by this offering from Breadman. TOLKIEN made me think, and LOI BUDGERIGAR had to be written out horizontally and have elements of the clue inserted before it made sense. That particular pet always seems to catch me out! 9:26. Thanks Breadman and Jeremy.
  13. I, too, was looking for a bit of a lift after yesterday but failed to get it. There were some easy pickings given a bit of grid hopping but the puzzle didn’t flow for me. I took too long over TOLKIEN and ERSATZ (don’t know why) and my LOI BUDGERIGAR took me ages despite being well clued. It pushed me into the SCC again.
    I am going to walk carefully today to avoid the loose marbles. Thanks to both. John M.
  14. Coo, hard yards after a couple of wavelength days for me. Really limped my way through this, with my last pair (the crossing TOLKIEN and LOTHIAN) requiring several minutes of concentrated effort. Stiff challenge and much enjoyed.

    FOI DESKTOP, LOI LOTHIAN, COD WOMEN, time 14:26 for 2.4K and a Terrible Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and Jeremy.


  15. I was puzzled by some of the explanations.

    quietly = P
    unknown = Z

    Why is that? Surely, X is usually the unknown? Is P quiet, like the pee in pool?

    And, corporation = tum??


    1. P = musical notation “piano”, softly

      The unknowns are X, Y and Z. Try them in turn!

      Lexico definition 3 for “corporation”: “(dated, humorous) A paunch.”

      Edited at 2021-09-01 09:49 am (UTC)

  16. Not much to add. Kept moving around the grid which helped today.

    Liked TOLKIEN

    Thanks Jeremy and Breadman

  17. I was slow today at 20 minutes, but not disappointed with this very good QC from Breadman. I agree with Cedric that this setter has previous with the pangram minus one MO. I wonder if we took a look whether there is any message in the discarded letters left out over a period of time. Unfortunately, I have to pack for a short trip away to Eastbourne, or I would take a look myself. I’ll be doing my blog for tomorrow from there this evening. Thanks Jeremy and Breadman.
  18. Started well enough and I thought I was on track to beat 20 mins for the first time this week. Alas it was not to be, having spent ages on my last three: BUDGERIGAR, FLOURISHED and TOLKIEN. For budgerigar I was fixated on “kit” for equipment, for flourished I was trying to find an anagram by dropping the letter i and for Tolkien I was, like some others, looking for an author ending in “airn”. Eventually staggered over the line in 24 mins fully parsed. Thanks to Breadman for a tough workout and to Jeremy for confirming my parsing.

    FOI – 8ac SLAPDASH
    LOI – 12ac TOLKIEN
    COD – 7dn WOMEN, although there were a large number of contenders for the award today.

  19. The clock said I did this in five minutes. Maybe I misread the starting time (I solve on paper and the kitchen clock is in front of me). Twelve on first pass meant a lot more fell into place after that. FOI claw, LOI budgerigar, had all the checkers and still had to look at it for a bit and then the significance of the clue, the move and the equipment, dawned on me in a PDM. Lovely. COD. Did not completely parse quince or earning, and I still don’t get erratum. The rare part I get, and the printing mistake, but not the tum. Thanks, Jeremy and Breadman. GW
  20. After 19mins it was a straight race between loi Budgerigar and the SCC — the damned bird won and will no doubt be squawking about it for days. Up to that point, this had been a reasonably straightforward solve, with relatively few hold-ups. A slight pause over Atom for scrap, and thoughts of a cooking pan at 2d were my only delays, apart that is from working out what was going on with 22ac, Pushiest. No, the real struggle came right at the end. I couldn’t make top nor tail of the clue until the pdm of Move/Budge. A good testing puzzle overall, with CoD to the well crafted 8ac, Slapdash. Invariant
  21. A slow start but I gained speed once a few checkers were in play. The not quite a pangram passed me by. I biffed both INTER and ERRATUM which is a pity as the ERRATUM clue is very good. I got stuck on PUSHIEST which I constructed in reverse and my LOI was LOTHIAN as I couldn’t get my head round the spelling of LOTH. COD WOMEN. 8:26
  22. A bit better than yesterday at 15 mins, but I still spent nearly FIVE minutes on my last two – 22a and 8a! Even with all the checkers, PUSHIEST was not obvious, but once I realised where the anagram was going, it fell into place. I have no idea why SLAPDASH took so long – I’m perfectly aware of the word slap for make-up, and have been known to use it – the word that is, as well as the stuff 😉 It was a great clue too.
    On the whole, I found this a fun challenge with a nice mix of clues and vocab.
    FOI Claw
    LOI and COD Slapdash
    Thanks Breadman and Jeremy
  23. Again found this tricky. Held up by 3d budgerigar, and 22, pushiest. Both fell after a G and T, seems to lubricate our brains!
  24. TOLKIEN as TOLKEIN, which made the LOTHIAN question take far longer than it should.

    Otherwise, not too bad, though a bit over target.


  25. It must be Thursday, as I caught the biffing bug at 1dn with DIGITAL rather than the required DESKTOP! This horrydly messed up my exit.


    LOI 15ac PREFIX

    COD 8ac SLAPDASH — me!

    WOD 15ac MEMBRILLO divine!

  26. Took a long while today and only finished well into the afternoon after long breaks. Still, success in the end, which is pleasing! Struggled especially with BUDGERIGAR, ATOM and ERSATZ.
  27. 24 mins for me, split over two sessions again. However, I thought this was an excellent puzzle.

    Like a few people, when I complete a clue that makes me chuckle or is clever in its construction I tend to mark it (in my case with a smiley face 😀). I can’t remember the last time I had so many happy faces looking back at me from the newspaper.

    I particularly liked the fact that 6dn had “Ian” in its make up, even if it was pure coincidence and not obviously part of the clueing.

    FOI — 1dn “Desktop”
    LOI — 2dn “Budgerigar”
    COD — 6dn “Lothian” — although it could have been a handful.

    Thanks as usual!

Comments are closed.