Times Quick Cryptic No 2018 by Pedro

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A stiff enough challenge today from Pedro. The grid was looking rather bare after a first pass of the acrosses, not helped by a total lack of anagrams, which often provide a foothold: I only managed 9, 10, 14, 17 and 20 ac, and one of those was wrong. Nothing that could reasonably be called obscure (with the possible exception of 16ac), so the difficulty all came from an array of effective misdirection which made for a very satisfactory solve. I was 13 minutes compared to 8 for yesterday’s done just before. Lovely stuff – many thanks to Pedro!

1 Demo going round obscure London landmark (6,4)
MARBLE ARCH – MARCH (demo) going round BLEAR (obscure)
8 Noisy bang involved in opening light source (3-4)
GAS-LAMP – SLAM (noisy bang) involved in GAP (opening)
9 Secretary getting employment and a rest (5)
PAUSE PA (secretary) getting USE (employment)
10 Some film speed (4)
CLIP double definition, the second as in to clip along or a fair clip. I originally had REEL, which doesn’t quite work.
11 Fairground ride to be exciting in California (8)
CAROUSEL ROUSE (be exciting) in CAL(ifornia)
13 Brass instrument to annoy the French (5)
BUGLE – BUG (annoy) LE (the, French)
14 Head of Government in control for period in office (5)
REIGN G (“head” of Government) in REIN (control)
16 I brought in wall-painting, unusually large, back in well-lit room (8)
SOLARIUMI brought in MURAL (wall-painting) OS (outsize = unusually large), back = reversed. LOI
17 Comfortable seeing weapons returned (4)
SNUG – seeing GUNS (weapons) returned
20 Temptation to snatch Charlie’s sordid gains (5)
LUCRE LURE (temptation) to snatch C (C = Charlie in the phonetic alphabet ; or, if you prefer, C = cocaine = charlie)
21 Hard to find English active around us (7)
ELUSIVE E(nglish) LIVE (active) around US
22 Build pressure, with outfits given to crew (3,2,5)
GET UP STEAM – GET-UPS (outfits) given to TEAM (crew)

1 Very special microphone inlaid with silver (5)
MAGIC – MIC(rophone) inlaid with Ag (silver)
2 Green plastic ruined grave (7,5)
3 Large dull fellow to stand around idly (4)
LOAF – L(arge) OAF (dull fellow). Originally spelt AUFE, that the OED describes as “An elf’s child, a goblin child, a changeling left by the fairies; (hence) a misbegotten, deformed, or ‘idiot’ child; a half-wit, a simpleton.”
4 Shock about European legal process (6)
APPEAL APPAL (shock) about E(uropean).
5 Directors supporting trophy cabinet (8)
CUPBOARD – BOARD (directors) supporting CUP (trophy). Very neat.
6 Parliamentary procedure is not quite me, somehow (8,4)
QUESTION TIMEanagram (somehow) of IS NOT QUITE ME. This and the other two anagrams were all very neat as well.
7 Live on both sides in German city (6)
BERLIN – BE (live) on RL (right/left/both sides) IN. Nice nod to East/West Berlin.
12 Disjointed reverie about prisoner’s initial pardon (8)
REPRIEVE anagram (disjointed) of REVERIE about P (Prisoner’s “initial”). Lovely surface!
13 Broken line that’s overlooked in commotion (6)
BUSTLE – BUST (broken) LE (LinE that’s overlooked IN). I was looking for an anagram (broken) of LinE THAT, and “hattle” almost looks like it could be a word for a commotion.
15 Lover seen outside old city office (6)
BUREAU – BEAU (lover) outside crossword’s favourite old city of UR
18 Jungle, Amazonian, absorbing this flash of light (5)
GLEAM junGLE AMazonian is “absorbing” the answer.
19 Loud American ship creating bother (4)
FUSS – F (forte = loud) USS (American ship)

45 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2018 by Pedro”

  1. I have never actually been to 7dn Berlin. I am booked to go there as soon as is possible.
    I have been to at least ten other German cities. Dresden is so lovely in the summer.

    FOI 1dn MAGIC

    LOI 20ac LUCRE


    WOD 1ac MARBLE ARCH which I failed to parse, as I was a bit BLEARy.

    Also liked 10ac CLIP

    Edited at 2021-12-02 05:39 am (UTC)

      1. Indeed, I have a Worldwide Railway Venture Card; it is valid for a lifetime.
        Rolf Harris had the other one — I never met him.
  2. I liked MARBLE ARCH, but demo=MARCH rather often, so what with the enumeration, it wasn’t that hard to get (although it was not my FOI). 6:27.
  3. I found this tough too, needing 14 minutes to complete the grid, and even then I had two of the longer answers unparsed when I stopped the clock in order to avoid going into my red zone.

    I don’t know that it has appeared before in a Times crossword but I didn’t bat an eyelid at USS for ‘American ship’ as it’s the prefix used in the name of many a ship in the American navy – the equivalent of HMS in the Royal Navy.

    Edited at 2021-12-02 06:22 am (UTC)

  4. 16:34.
    Off to a bad start after seeing an initial G at 8a and biffing ‘gun-shot’ for ‘noisy bang’.

    BLEAR : obscure in more ways than one (never did parse MARBLE ARCH)

    I liked the very neat anagram for QUESTION TIME (“is not quite me”)

    3d had a few possibilities with an initial L: Lout, Laze.

    I see L for large on clothing labels, but next sizes are XL, XXL etc. just where does OS=outsize fit (as in 16a)?. I suspect another abbreviation that is due for retirement. My offering

    I brought in wall-painting and map back in well-lit room (8)


    1. OS / Outsize is almost exclusively UK usage but tends to be losing favour to other euphemisms such as Plus-size, Big, and Tall.

      Are you considering applying to the Times as a crossword setter?

  5. Slow start with only three acrosses on the first pass and a super slow finish where I couldn’t find the oaf of LOAF for a very long time. Also had to write out GAS LAMP to see the ‘slam’ in the middle and only then did I see how APPEAL worked, where appal didn’t come to mind for shock and it’s hard to spell. Very nearly missed PAUSE despite seeing the bits needed due to how its pronounced — enjoyed my dimness revealing itself. FUSS went in quickly thanks to Star Trek and the USS Enterprise. Loved GET UP STEAM and enjoyed BUGLE too because I’d left it off my trawl of brass instrument — gave rise to a groan. Spelled REPRIEVE wrong in the usual way to cause a smaller delay — ‘ennui’ wouldn’t fit at 12a so it had to be IE. A cracker, thanks Pedro. All green in 18.
  6. Struggled to get going with only 9 and 17 across going in on first run through.

    Didn’t see Bustle or Lucre until very late and crossed the line at 14:14 feeling I’d been brought back down to earth after two swift days.

    That’s the fun though and I enjoyed it – clever anagrams of Resting Place and Question Time.

  7. No trouble with most of this but struggled with a few including APPEAL as is always the case with legal themed clues (too close to home; blind spot; sometimes the synonyms aren’t quite right) and SOLARIUM which I wrote in and took out as I couldn’t see the parsing to begin with. Ditto GAS LAMP which was my LOI and only then did I see how it worked.

    Nice puzzle

    Thanks rolytoly and Pedro

  8. Just got home in under 20. Like others, not bleary-eyed so BIFD rather than parsed Marble Arch…thanks Roly for explanation. Fun puzzle from Pedro. Thanks

  9. I’ll admit to finding this one very difficult – you’ll see no excuses from me today. I completed it but did need help with a number of clues.
  10. Sucked in by Pedro by entering 1A and 1D immediately. After that it was a much slower walk around the grid picking off some easy clues (not many!) and then slowly grinding through. Some vg clues along the way. Ended up back in the NW corner — I thought of GAS LAMP early but only entered it when the parsing finally dawned on me. That led to APPEAL. LOI was CLIP. I was in the SCC today and no mistake! I enjoyed SOLARIUM, LUCRE, and REPRIEVE amongst many fine clues.
    I need go go back over the blog now to be reminded of Pedro’s wiles. Thanks to him and to Roly. John M.
    Note. I parsed FUSS as F (loud) US (American) S (ship) without recognising ‘USS’ as a single entity (which is better).

    Edited at 2021-12-02 05:26 pm (UTC)

        1. I think David knew what I meant. Do you get pleasure from picking at things all the time?
  11. Fifteen minutes, so quite difficult but not overly so. Only 7 on first pass, so had to work on the rest. LOI bustle, as I could not see at first how it worked. Even after entering it, it left me with a bit of doubt. Did not parse Marble Arch. COD solarium. Thanks, Roly, and Pedro.
  12. A good challenge from Pedro, who I find one of our tougher regular setters. The 1s went in straight away, which is always helpful, but then toyed with GUN SHOT for 8a until RESTING PLACE became apparent. Then made steady progress until left with SOLARIUM, BUSTLE and LOAF which all proved stubborn.
    My spellcheck took me just over target, finishing in 10.08 with my COD going to REIGN.
    Thanks to Roly
  13. and was trying to convince myself that ARBLE meant something. DOH!
    Also missed the USS and thought as others that it was US and S for ship, with a MER.
  14. Didn’t get 3d on first pass, and forgot to go back to it, so a DNF with 2 blank pink squares. Doh! Otherwise done in 8:25. Thanks Pedro and Roly.
  15. Got there in the end, when I had initially thought 10 was CINE and 3 was LEAN. ‘Trust the wordplay, Andrew’ is a mantra I need to follow repeatedly. BUSTLE last one in. Will have a go at the 15×15 later, after some Christmas shopping.
  16. Only just avoided the SCC today, being very slow to think of MARCH for demo, and struggling with LOI, REPRIEVE. SOLARIUM was also tough and I got stuck trying to work in SALON somewhere for well lit room. All fair though — good puzzle. Thanks Roly and Pedro.
  17. Just over 14 minutes today on paper. LOI SOLARIUM where I tussled to fit in FRESCO for too long. BUSTLE, not fully parsed when solving, added to my doubts and troubles.
    An excellent QC with a degree of challenge -as noted above by many.
    COD to BERLIN; easy, but satisfying. And it’s well worth a visit when conditions allow.

  18. I agree with many of the preceding comments. It looked awfully hard at first run through, then answers began to come until left with the BUSTLE/LUCRE/SOLARIUM corner, for which I needed help to solve. “Commotion” seems a bit strong for “bustle” IMO.
  19. Firmly in the SCC agai today with around a 25 minute solve. I feel like we’re having a slightly trickier week. I biffed Marble arch and like the anonymous poster above was trying to work out “arbler”. Resting place was slow to come for me and struggled with gas lamp too. Fair test though, thanks Roly & Pedro.
    FOI Bugle
    LOI Appeal
    COD Gas Lamp for the misdirection

  20. Zipped through after not getting first few clues then all fell into place really quickly. Am encouraged to get under 3 mins as rarely can my (cold) fingers type that fast! Possible sub-10 double? Let’s see…
  21. Getting Id and then 1a got me off to good start in the NW corner but things slowed down a bit after that, and I finally put my pen down after 13 minutes. I notice Cal (for California) appeared again today!
    Quite a few smiles today — I liked BUGLE, QUESTION TIME and MARBLE ARCH.
    FOI Magic
    LOI Bustle
    COD Resting place
    Many thanks Pedro and Roly
  22. An enjoyable 17 mins for me, with what I thought was an excellent puzzle from Pedro.

    Liked the use of “both sides” for right and left in 7dn “Berlin” and “uss” for the American ship in 19dn “Fuss”.

    Only thing I wasn’t sure about was the use of “oaf” for a dull fellow. 10ac “Clip” took a bit of an alphabet trawl — thought for a minute it was “Clin” (shortened from Cling).

    FOI — 1dn “Magic”
    LOI — 10ac “Clip”
    COD — 13ac “Bugle” — funny surface, although it could have been quite a few today.

    Thanks as usual!

  23. Lots of good surfaces and anagrams.

    Favourite probably BERLIN. LOI GET UP STEAM when I saw GETUPS = outfits.


  24. A within target solve today starting off with M(ARBLE) ARCH. I decided ARBLE was an obscure word for obscure. I enjoyed the cluing and anagrams for both RESTING PLACE (COD) and QUESTION TIME. Biffed both CAROUSEL and SOLARIUM and submitted correctly in 8:05 with LOI APPEAL. Thanks to Pedro and Roly.
  25. A few tricky parsings and yet another loi alphabet trawl for Clip ensured a window seat SCC finish. While a sub-20 would have been nice, I don’t begrudge the extra few minutes given the quality of the clues — the surface of 6d, and the cryptic in 22ac made both of them CoD candidates, but I’ll give today’s prize to 13d, Bustle, for its subtlety. Invariant
  26. for something of a breeze. COD Berlin not quite sure why, it just resonated. I also failed to parse 1ac Marble Arch – Blear? Bleary?
  27. Enjoyed this but a bit blear in places – fortunately the answers for them were obvious enough!
  28. Struggled with MARBLE ARCH but penny dropped in the end. Couldn’t parse that one or various others so blog much needed. Thanks, Roly.
    FOI CAROUSEL. Liked BUGLE, CLIP, GET UP STEAM, among others.

    ELUSIVE reminded me of next door’s builder. He said he was digging up the bamboo because it was so evasive. Not everyone finds this amusing but I thought you lot would. (Tho non-gardeners may not know invasive bamboo can be)

    Edited at 2021-12-02 01:50 pm (UTC)

  29. Started very slowly with the across clues but made steady (but still rather slow) progress once I tackled the downs. Completed with all parsed in 19mins. A fine crossword with some really smooth surfaces.

    FOI – 9ac PAUSE
    LOI – 20ac LUCRE
    COD – 6dn QUESTION TIME for the surface although 2dn, 5dn and 7dn were also contenders.

    Thanks to Pedro and Roly

  30. 3:46 this morning, before Mrs P and I went out for a walk in the countryside in zero degrees but invigorating nonetheless.
    A well constructed and fair QC with no real obscurities as far as I was concerned.
    FOI 1 ac “Marble Arch” and had to return later to 2 d “resting place” where the anagram was not resolved at my first attempt.
    LOI and COD 16 ac “solarium” where no word for “well lit room” sprang to mind immediately (well they are a rarity in Scotland these days) and I had to rely on disentangling the word play on its own.
    Thanks to Roly and Pedro.
  31. … as I find Pedro often is, and took almost 15 minutes before all solved. Never did parse 1A Marble Arch though (answer was clear even if Blear was unknown — I see my dictionary marks it as Archaic), or my LOI 16A Solarium, got from the checkers alone.

    Some excellent anagrams, 2D Resting place and 6D Question time especially.

    Many thanks to Rolytoly for the blog

  32. Over 5 minutes under target, so a good puzzle. Wasn’t sure about LOAF but it fit so in it went. Otherwise no obscure vocab apart from BLEAR but I just ignored that as once I had MARCH 1ac couldn’t be anything else.

    Edited at 2021-12-02 06:21 pm (UTC)

  33. My second QC of the day today, as I did yesterday’s one at lunchtime. That one took a just over target 26 minutes, but this one was nearly half as long again at 38:43. Although BLEAR is certainly obscure to me, I did manage to see what was going on there, but I didn’t manage to parse SOLARIUM. LUCRE is only known to me from doing these, so that didn’t come immediately, and my LOI LOAF required an alphabet trawl. All enjoyable nonetheless, so thanks Roly and Pedro.
  34. has kept me busy since last week, in London town of all places (sorry!). Back to solving today in two sessions and a break between, 43 min in all, my reliable GN9. I used to drive round Marble Arch every day long ago, I didn’t find it obscure though I was often bleary. I would like to carouse on a fairground ride but will wait for Noel! All thanks.
  35. It’s Saturday and we’ve only just got to this one (busy week). Great puzzle which we completed in 9 minutes.


    Thanks Rolytoly and Pedro.

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