Times Quick Cryptic No 2011 by Tracy

As your regular Tuesday blogger Chris is away for a while, I’ve come off the substitutes’ bench to fill his slot today. When I printed out this crossword from Tracy, I was struck by the concision of the clues – all of the down clues and all but two of the across clues fitted on a single line each – totalling 14 lines of text. Furthermore there are 13 clues with 5 words or less. It has impeccable surfaces too; my favourite being 1D. A super example of a Quick Cryptic, to my mind.  It was maybe the short clues that helped me to a very speedy time of 3:34. Thank-you Tracy! How did you all get on?

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and “” other indicators.

8 Row upset caterer (7)
TERRACE – “Upset” (caterer)*.
9 In abeyance in old Mediterranean resort (2,3)
ON ICEO (old) NICE (Mediterranean resort).
10 Private meal missed by daughter (5)
INNERdINNER (meal) without the, “missed by”, D (daughter). We had a very similar clue in last Tuesday’s 15×15.
11 Sailing ship: grand one at sea impressing everyone (7)
GALLEONG (grand), (one)* “at sea”, outside, “impressing”, ALL (everyone).
12 Common, half of ales in bar (9)
PREVALENT –  “half of” ALes “in” PREVENT (bar).
14 Hint of mine recalled (3)
TIP – PIT (mine) reversed, “recalled” -> TIP.
16 Manage to flee (3)
RUN – Double definition.
18 Woodworker in vehicle heading for paddock with log (9)
CARPENTERCAR (vehicle), first letter of, “heading for”, Paddock, ENTER (log).
21 Rejected job in remote settlement (7)
OUTPOSTOUT (rejected) POST (job).
22 Hairy ape is a brownish colour (5)
SEPIA – “Hairy” (ape is)*. Nice anagrind to give a smooth surdface reading.
23 Annoyed about temperature in large shop (5)
STORESORE (annoyed) “about” T (temperature).
24 Toy to wind with silver key inserted (3,4)
RAG DOLLROLL (wind), with AG (chemical symbol for silver) D (key) “inserted”.
1 Nightclub entertainer beginning to shock tourist (8)
STRIPPER – “Beginning to” Shock, TRIPPER (tourist). Another great surface. It made me smile, anyway.
2 Orchard’s initial scope for fruit (6)
ORANGEOrchard’s “initial”, RANGE (scope).
3 Quite good food, reportedly (4)
FAIR – Sounds like, “reportedly”, FARE (food).
4 Black bird dog (6)
BEAGLEB (black, as in B&W for black and white) EAGLE (bird).
5 Allowed to enter course for a game (8)
ROULETTELET (allowed) inside, “to enter”, ROUTE (course). There are some who would complain about the superfluous “a”, but it does read better with it.
6 Take in compendium (6)
DIGEST – Double definition.
7 Soldiers circling a base (4)
MEANMEN (soldiers) “circling”  A.
13 Moored and set about task (8)
ANCHOREDAND “set about” CHORE (task).
15 Piano or desk perhaps, easily moved about (8)
PORTABLEP (piano, the musical dynamic marking) OR, TABLE (desk, perhaps). My kitchen table is my desk as I type this.
17 Idea unacceptable around island (6)
NOTIONNOT ON (unacceptable) “around” I (island).
19 Royal Engineers go, then come back (6)
RETURNR.E. (Royal Engineers) TURN (go). Very generously clued.
20 Best to follow leader of group (3,3)
TOP DOGTOP (best) DOG (follow).
21 Evict some from various tenements (4)
OUST – Hidden in, “from”, variOUS Tenements.
22 Herb in sink close to spice (4)
SAGESAG (sink) and last letter, “close to”, spicE.

58 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2011 by Tracy”

  1. Thought there’d be a few speedsters tripped up by having RAN instead of RUN at 16ac, as I initially did, but there’s no evidence of that on the leaderboard so far.

    Like Kevin, I was a bit slow with TOP DOG, in my case because I wanted it to be TOP CAT.

    Fun puzzle as usual, but I ruined a fast time in the end with a fat-fingered RIULETTE.

    Thanks John and Tracy.

  2. Fast start slowed up by 13dn ANCHORED — mis-spelt 12ac PREVALENT


    LOI 9ac ON ICE

    COD 22ac SEPIA -hairy!?

    WOD 24ac RAG DOLL Quattro-Stagioni

    Edited at 2021-11-23 04:52 am (UTC)

  3. Started very slowly passing over six clues before RUN got me started. That was only joined by CARPENTER on the first pass of acrosses to give me a personal worst of two! Downs went better to let me see the excellence of this puzzle. Thoroughly thrown by ON ICE, took a long time to arrive at DIGEST and was desperate to bung ‘tip top’ in where TOP DOG ended up. All done in a pleasing 13.30 but with a correctly parsed but weirdly entered ‘saga’ for SAGE — not even close on the keyboard! Brilliant puzzle. Might roll straight on the 15×15!
  4. Quite an easy completion for me today. Held up by ON ICE and DIGEST, but other than that no real problems.
  5. Nice to get an all understood and all correct after a run of DNFs. DIGEST las one in. Lovely succinct clues, with pleasing surface readings.
    Thank you setter and blogger.
  6. Concision is more concise than conciseness.

    Held up by On Ice and Mean, but overall a little faster than usual. Or, more precisely, a little less slow.

    1. Well spotted. I thought it a more appropriate apt description.

      Edited at 2021-11-23 08:47 am (UTC)

  7. Reasonably quick here too, a few chestnuts – run, beagle & stripper – to help us along. I spent at least 3 minutes on my last 3 – anchored where I was trying to shoehorn deed in, prevalent and digest.
    Thanks to John for stepping in & Tracy.

    FOI inner
    LOI digest
    COD sepia

  8. I found this to be a fairly gentle offering from Tracy, but no less entertaining for that. Started in the NW and made my way around anti-clockwise around the grid, finishing with PREVALENT and DIGEST. Finished in 6.37.
    Thanks to John for filling in.
  9. TIP TOP fitted pretty well, with “best” and “leader” accounted for, and maybe pit=group somehow. So surprised by pinks again.

    OUTPOST was late in, as I was looking carefully at “outcast”, before ANCHORED appeared.

    COD TERRACE — nice clean anagram to start us off

    15×15 news, much easier than yesterday.

  10. FOsI NW corner. LOsI ROULETTE , ON ICE.
    Liked STRIPPER, SEPIA, BEAGLE, TOP DOG among others.
    Thanks vm, John.
  11. A good puzzle with a nice mix of clever and straightforward clues. I moved steadily round the (friendly) grid and was 2 mins under target. Thanks to both. John M.
  12. Twelve minutes seems to be the norm for me these days, so it seems we are in a run of easier QC’s. FOI inner. Only eight on first pass, so a moment to sweat a little. The solves all helped others, though. LOI mean. Thanks for the parsing of carpenter, rag doll, portable and sage, John, I biffed all those. Thanks for the puzzle, Tracy.
  13. Exactly 10 minutes, so about as fast as I can go — sub-10s are rare these days for me. Very enjoyable puzzle, short and sweet. LOI DIGEST, ANCHORED jumped straight out at me so no problems there. Thanks both.
  14. Excellent QC, but quite difficult I thought. The grid had so many unchecked first letters and unless you had got a good idea of the answer first it was tricky. And words like ROW, SOLDIERS, COURSE and GAME have so many equivalents (which I’m sure was the setter’s plan).
    Anyway this took me 10:55 and could have been much longer. LOI was a very carefully checked TOP DOG where I had TIP TOP waiting to give me pink squares. I paused to parse.
    And I wondered whether TOILETTE might be a card game I’d never heard of. I had to find ROUTE for course after quite a long analysis.
    So full marks to the setter. Hard to pick a COD as quality all round.
    1. Me too. The only one I got wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this today. And the bonus of a galleon too …

      Thanks all,


  15. Full of cold at the moment, so I wasn’t surprised to find this a real struggle. Pulled stumps at the 25min mark, with Digest and CoD Anchored (!) extant. Should have got both, but just not up to it today. Invariant
  16. I hardly paused as I went from TERRACE to ANCHORED, with CARPENTER POI, although ON ICE and DIGEST needed a moment of thought. 5:10. Thanks Tracy and John.
  17. I thought this an excellent puzzle, I do like a concise clue — the long ones tend to throw me off the scent.

    I was in PB territory until it took me 30-40 seconds to get ANCHORED.

    A few chestnuts, as others have pointed out, but why not, especially in a quick cryptic?


    Edited at 2021-11-23 10:45 am (UTC)

  18. As per above for exactly qualifying for SCC to the second. Enviable precision!
    Digest/Ingest, MEAN and ON ICE took about 3-4 minutes of ho humming to reach the club on time.
    Happy days. Sunshine now but down to 0C last night for an icy drive home from late night at work. Definitely a scarf day for all of you rushing to visit Peppa the pig.
    Thanks John and Tracy

    Edited at 2021-11-23 10:50 am (UTC)

  19. I felt I was plodding through this a bit so was surprised to see that I’d finished in 8 minutes. I have a tendency to move on very quickly if I don’t see the answer more or less straightaway during my first scan of the clues. If I’d given it just a little more thought, perhaps 1a would have been my FOI! I could see it was an anagram but was it a line or an argument? Dunno, move on!
    Interesting to consider concision v verbosity in clues, after the chat about Pedro’s style recently. I find very terse clues can be just as hard as very wordy ones, DDs in particular.
    FOI Inner
    LOI Digest
    COD Prevalent, although I did like SEPIA too. It made me think of wonderful orang utans, although I’d say they’re more red than brown!
    Thanks Tracy and John – hope Chris is having a good time with his family 😊
  20. A rare sub 10 mins for me — coming in at 8 mins for pretty much a PB I think.

    Main hold ups were and 6dn “Digest” and 7dn “Mean” — but the rest just seem to go in one by one. For once the NW corner was straightforward so I was expecting a sting in the tail somewhere and it never really came.

    FOI — 10ac “Inner”
    LOI — 6dn “Digest”
    COD — 24ac “Rag Doll”

    Thanks as usual!

  21. 3:30 this morning. A puzzle similar in difficulty to yesterday’s I felt, nothing too obscure and all very neatly constructed and fair. Some really (genuinely) fast times on the Times Leaderboard. 3:30 doesn’t get you in the Top 20 today!
    FOI 8 ac “terrace” then a steady solve finishing at 6 d “digest”
    COD 1 d “stripper” but several other contenders.
    Thanks to John for a very “inter”esting analysis and blog and to Tracy for a fine QC.
  22. ….as my fastest time for a while was achieved despite Sheila interrupting me !

    TIME 3:17

  23. As usual I took ages longer than everyone else who comments, especially with the top NW corner where I took an eternity to spot DIGEST, ON ICE and ROULETTE. Pleased to get there in the end!
    1. Not quite “everyone else …”. You can rely on me to spoil the run of astonishing times.
  24. Having drawn a complete blank – and I mean a complete blank – on my first (rapid) pass, I managed to solve this from the bottom up today. I had tried to follow the “move-on-quickly” advice of many of our more experienced solvers, but it just meant that I was still faced with an empty grid after 3-4 minutes had passed. So, I returned to my more measured approach – and it worked just fine until I reached the inevitable sticky point with half a dozen clues to go. A 10-minute hiatus then followed before I finally saw GALLEON (I’d had no checkers to work with), which in turn led me quite quickly to BEAGLE, ROULETTE, DIGEST and MEAN. My LOI was TOP DOG, but it required a long-ish alphabet trawl, as the required phrase just would not come to mind.

    My completion time in the end was 34 minutes – around ten times as slow as some of the speedsters above, but still quite good for me.

    Many thanks to Tracy and johninterred.

    Edited at 2021-11-23 01:23 pm (UTC)

    1. Likewise, at least on time to finish, you have just (nearly) defined my own time indicator, ie how much longer do I take than the others. Explain more later.
    2. Beagle is a chestnut, though that didn’t stop me (in my weakened state…) contemplating whether the slightly less well known Adger bird was about to make an appearance 🙄
  25. We weren’t on our game today and needed 15 minutes to complete the puzzle.

    FOI: TIP

    Thanks John (especially for explaining RAG DOLL) and Tracy.

  26. That’s more like it. I found this a super quick anti-clockwise solve from FOI STRIPPER to LOI BEAGLE. I only part read the clues for CARPENTER and GALLEON in my haste. I did slow to parse RAG DOLL my COD. 5:59 Thank you John for stepping in for Chris and Tracy for an excellent QC.
  27. Thanks to Tracy for a great puzzle and thanks to John for helping with the parsing of CARPENTER and SAGE, which I had biffed. Slightly quicker than yesterday for me at 17 mins with no great hold-ups anywhere.

    FOI & COD – 9ac ON ICE
    LOI – 7dn MEAN

  28. I’ve just remembered that The Beagle was a ship too …

    Edited at 2021-11-23 02:56 pm (UTC)

  29. … as I was another with Tip top for 20D Top dog. I concede that Top Dog is a better solution (it parses better) and I realise I am in the minority (though it is not I see a minority of one) but I think this could be seen as an alternative solution not an outright error — “Best to follow” gives Top at the end, and “Leader of group” gives Tip. I have certainly seen far more dubious synonyms than “leader of group” = tip! So not entirely happy with the pink squares and for me it was slightly loose cluing and knocks what was otherwise a really good crossword just one notch below 100%.

    Many thanks to John for the blog

  30. … Mrs Random took a relaxed approach to today’s QC. She finished in 27 minutes, which is about par for her at the moment, despite getting “horribly” held up on DIGEST.

    Mrs R has asked me to time the cake, but my hearing’s not what it used to be and I’m not sure if she said it needs to bake for 4-5 hours or 45 hours. I’ll be in for the high jump if I get it wrong.

    1. If it makes you feel better, I timed myself for the first time today and felt rather pleased to finish in 45 minutes, with at least five trawling through the alphabet before settling on DIGEST. Luckily it starts with a D and not a Z, or I’d be competing with your Christmas Cake for timing!
      1. Well done Mr/Mme Bintangdua. The cake’s still in the oven at the moment — I haven’t forgotten it yet.
  31. Well we do take longer. This was a good one for me, complete bafflement and then the mists slowly cleared. With all thanks to all. GN10 is high on my time index, all correct though.
  32. Was held up by not knowing what “In abeyance” meant and also by putting TIP TOP in faintly, meaning to come back and parse it, but then forgetting. Thankfully I saw it very soon after I’d stopped my watch, so I was able to re-start the clock. One advantage of completing on paper. Final time was 24:20, so not as easy for me as for some. COD to NOTION. Thanks Tracy and John.
  33. 14:59 but with tip top in place of top dog. Annoying as this was an otherwise fun puzzle and well under 20 minute target.

Comments are closed.