Times Quick Cryptic No 2033 by Teazel

Just inside target at near to 15 minutes, with a couple of pieces of esoteric general knowledge, and some parsing issues to get to grips with.  This was a fine QC from Teazel, with some good misdirection.  COD to 18d which I didn’t really understand fully until writing the blog.  Other questions were raised in parsing 1d and 14a.

Thanks Teazel, and good luck to all of you – see you the other side of Christmas, which I hope you will all enjoy.  I certainly will enjoy it more as a result of yesterday’s good news from the doctors.


7  Hurry to eat seafood delicacy once (8)
FORMERLY – FLY (hurry) containing (to eat) ORMER (seafood delicacy – at least according to some!)  An ORMER is the name given to the abalone mollusc in the Channel Islands, and may not be widely known.  I was vaguely familiar with the term, but would have struggled to define it.
8  Run over Bill in highway (4)
ROAD – R{un} O{ver} and AD (bill, as in a poster or ad).  Bill Stickers will be prosecuted!  Yes, but what what did he do wrong?
9  Spare back numbers?  More likely than not (4-2)
ODDS-ON – ODD (spare) and NOS (numbers) reversed (back).  I think we have seen this answer recently, clued slightly differently.
10  Lost vital fluid, swallowing new mix (5)
BLEND – BLED (lost vital fluid) containing N{ew}.
11 Expression of surprise chef hasn’t finished (3)
COO – COOk (chef hasn’t finished, lose the last letter).
12  Place is in complete shade (4,2)
PURPLE – PL (place) inside PURE (complete).  Pl is a legitimate abbreviation for Place, seen most often on street maps and signs.
14  Confined to bed in store? (4,2)
LAID UP – Double definition.  MER at first at the tense of the second definition, thinking store (v) is to lay up, but if something is ‘in store’, it can be described as being ‘laid up’.
16  Formality of reworked charts  (6)
STARCH – Anagram (reworked) of [CHARTS].
18  Temple a deity enters each year (6)
PAGODA – A GOD (a deity) inside PA (per annum – each year).
19  Couple failing to start broadcast (3)
AIR – pAIR (failing to start, drop first letter.
20 Die in water, having fallen crossing river (5)
DROWN – DOWN (having fallen) containing (crossing) R{iver}.
21  Emphatically endorse a fine business (6)
AFFIRM – A F{ine} and FIRM (business).
23  Briefly arrive at a state of unconsciousness (4)
COMA – COM{e} (briefly arrive – drop last letter) and A (a).
24  Chief competitor, not right to be concerned with records (8)
ARCHIVAL – ARCH{r}IVAL (chief competitor, dropping the second R – not right.


Powder that is rarely expensive? (4,4)
GOLD DUST – I wondered if this was a triple definition, but in the end decided it was a cryptic clue.  Something that is described as like GOLD DUST is extremely rare and / or expensive.
Prophet needing a couple of seconds(4)
AMOS – A (a) with MO (the first second, brief period of time) and S{econd} (the second second of the pair).
3  Canter around in hypnotic state (6)
TRANCE – Anagram (around) of [CANTER].
Character something that clashes when outspoken (6)
SYMBOL – Today’s homophone clue (when outspoken) – sounds like cymbal.  Lots of those played last week at school nativity plays, or maybe not!
5 Information exchange that shouldn’t take long (8)
BRIEFING – Cryptic clue.
6 An odd number of feet in the enclosure (4)
YARD – Double definition, the first cryptic, there being three feet in a YARD.
13  Private’s unusual solar pen (8)
PERSONAL – Anagram (unusual) of [SOLAR PEN].
15  Subterranean passage in progress (5,3)
UNDER WAY – Double definition
17  Girl, Chinese?  Commonly, no (6)
HANNAH – Random girl’s name, but generously clued.  HAN (Chinese) and NAH (common version of No).
18  Caper around quietly, country having banned foxtrot (6)
PRANCE – I’m going to bet that some will still think this is an anagram of CAPER, but actually, ‘caper around’ is the definition.  The wordplay is P (quietly) and {f}RANCE (country having banned foxtrot, F in the phonetic alphabet).
20  Cease to use doctor before operation (4)
DROP – DR (doctor) before OP{eration}.  Doctor has been used so much as an Anagrind recently that I started on the wrong path.
22  Frustrate using sword (4)
FOIL – Double definition.

My next blog is on the 6th January 2022.  If I get time, it is my intention to award the inaugural ‘The Rotters’, annual prizes (with no monetary or other value) for a selection of the best clues / themes from the ‘puzzles what I blogged’ during 2021.  Do feel free to send me nominations, but only from puzzles numbered nnn3, i.e puzzles what I blogged.  Merry Xmas x.

49 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2033 by Teazel”

  1. 10 minutes. I knew the oyster from 15×15 puzzles but I didn’t know that the ORMER was geographically specific.

  2. Failure today. In lots of places. Revealed the answers and still needed Rotter to put me straight. Eight on the first pass of acrosses and very, very fast to the last few but I just couldn’t crack the top half.

    GOLD DUST, FORMERLY, AMOS, PURPLE, ROAD, YARD all un solved when I quit. I thought it must be ROAD but couldn’t parse and would have enjoyed the PDMs had I got YARD or AMOS but I don’t think I’d ever have got FORMERLY or GOLD DUST.

    1. Almost identical solving/struggling to me, although I managed ROAD.

      This was a tough DNF but it’s good to get a kick in the shins occasionally from the quickie.

      Would never have got FORMERLY – nho Ormer and would never have biffed it. The immutable laws of the universe mean that I am now bound to hear it referenced randomly a couple of times across Christmas

  3. I found this one very difficult. I gave up in the end as I was referring to Chambers far too much.
    1. I also found this very difficult, with only half filled in. Then, DW came to my rescue, and between us we got all but Formerly.
    2. Also gave up on this. Nho ORMER and still dont understand GOLD DUST (though biffed that one). AMOS seemed a bit of a stretch from the clue.
  4. Glad I threw the towel in at 20 mins, with many blanks in the top half.

    FORMERLY was pretty tough, as I had never heard of ORMER. I pencilled in GOLD DUST, but was never sure about it, I still don’t really get it. Yes, it’s rare, yes it’s expensive, but “rarely expensive” doesn’t work for me.

    Missed out on PURPLE even though I could see how it worked.


    1. To my thinking ‘rarely expensive’ works due to the question mark i.e. gold dust means rare and gold dust would be expensive so is it rarely expensive?
  5. Like others, this was a crossword of 2 halves. Some complete write -ins like 18, 19 and 20 Ac but others I just could not understand. I did eventually get formerly, purple, gold dust and yard but wasn’t sure of the parsing of any of them. NHO ormer and am a little young for yards.

    Thanks Rotter for all your blogs this year, have a lovely Christmas. We’ve spent the last few days playing lateral flow Russian roulette but are all negative so Christmas is on 🎄🎅

    Thanks to Tezael too

    FOI Road
    LOI Formerly
    CoD Archival

  6. DNF as could not see FORMERLY — was thinking of seafood and wondering whether crab, even caviar, worked (so on the right track but…) and totally missed FLY

    Also didn’t get 8A ROAD : was surprised that RO can be abbreviation for Run Over.

    I usually struggle with Teazel’s puzzles, so actually pretty happy I got as far as I did.

    Thank you, Rotter, for the explanations today and all this year.

  7. Well done rotter for making sense of this. As stowic says, this was a game of two halves. I got nowhere in the NW corner but found the rest fair and fun (apart from BRIEFING which I biffed as my LOI).
    I agree with earlier comments on the tough clues in the NW. I was very slow to fill in AMOS, then GOLD DUST and PURPLE. FORMERLY was merely a guess when I had all the crossers. Definitely NHO ‘ormer’.
    I should have thrown in the towel but battled on just to try to maintain my 100% record on the QC, despite biffs and simple guesses for this one. I don’t feel any sense of achievement today.
    This was more than tough. Teazel can enjoy some smug satisfaction at trouncing some of us. There are some interesting absentees on the blog today…….
    Thanks rotter for explaining so much, now and throughout the year (and very good health for 2022). John M.

    Edited at 2021-12-23 10:15 am (UTC)

  8. Found this an steady solve today – in Teasel’s wavelength I suppose, and would have come in under target of 20 mins except I could not get FORMERLY so ended with a DNF. Nho Ormer so happy to learn something today.

    COD to HANNAH which made me chuckle (even though I normally frown at names in the answers) and ARCHRIVAL which I thought was very cleverly clued indeed.

    Thanks Rotter for all the wonderful blogs, hope you have a good break. Thanks Teazel for the puzzle. Prof

  9. After a very promising start we came to a juddering halt in the NE corner and sadly recorded a DNF after 33 minutes. We failed to spot the answer to the clever clue at 5D and, even after looking it up, we couldn’t see ROAD and YARD (which were both perfectly good clues too).

    LOI: DNF

    Thanks Rotter and Teazel.

  10. Struggled with this but I shouldn’t have done – it was all fair enough. Since I made the observation a few days ago there seem to have been a proliferation of ‘girl’ names. A lot of women I know don’t like it.
  11. Most of this went in quite easily but the NW was very tricky. NHO ORMER and I’d forgotten about AMOS, so thought 2d was going to end in SS. SYMBOL was also hard but I don’t know many words ending in BOL so I got it through the side door. I eventually needed a break before coming back and getting all the above plus LOI YARD.
    Having read the above comments I’ve revised my disappointment at missing my target, having finished in 10.40 excluding my break.
    I wondered if there might be a theme having seen the top row but never having read the book I didn’t really know what to look for!!
    Thanks to Rotter and I look forward to the results of your best clue contest.
  12. Bottom half OK, top half mainly impenetrable. NHO ORMER, so no chance with 7a. Guessed AMOS & ROAD -could not parse, but now I see cricket link. Failed with BLEND and BRIEFING too. Gloom.
  13. … but reading the comments already posted, I revise my thoughts and feel pleased to have finished at all! 14 minutes, longer than what I used to think of as my par time (but a mark which is rapidly becoming the new normal alas), and the longest hold-ups on the NW corner.

    Having finally dredged the ormer out of the deep memory banks — I think I may even have eaten some once, but clearly it wasn’t special enough to want to repeat or remember — I was faced with 1D Gold dust and 12A Purple. With —P-E as the checkers, I tried very hard to make Dapple fit in 12A, but it just wouldn’t, and then the connection Complete = Pure forced itself on me (not entirely convinced they are synonyms TBH). That left 1D Gold dust as my LOI, and I was royally misled by Teazel’s “rarely expensive” into looking for a powder that was dirt cheap not “always expensive”! I thought it was only teenagers that used a word to mean the exact opposite (eg “wicked”) …

    Much fun from a class QC. Thank you Rotter for this and all your other blogs during the year.

    We have the entire family descending today, some 8 extra in the house with us for 5 days — everyone making up for last year’s aborted festivities — so as pater familias I will probably not find time (ie be allowed any peace and quiet) for the crossword for a bit. If I don’t post again this side of the 28th, may I wish all a Happy Christmas and a successful New Year.


  14. Glad other people found this tough. After nearly half an hour I didn’t think I was going to finish, having ground to a halt in three unconnected places. I kept on though, and first got ARCHIVAL, before seeing PURPLE. The extra ‘U’ enabled me to see GOLD DUST. I had thought ‘hurry’ might equate with ‘fly’ already, and by writing out FO_M_RLY separately at the bottom, 7a became obvious. Never heard of “ormer” (nor has spellcheck apparently) but I assumed it had something to do with fruits de mer and so didn’t even cause a MER (sorry). With that in the bag, I finally worked out BRIEFING and stopped my watch on 37:52. COD to HANNAH, though unlike some others, I liked GOLD DUST too. Thanks Teazel and Rotter.
  15. I really struggled with this, ending with a DNF – though it’s my lack of experience (both life and Cryptic) that’s to blame rather than the setter being unfair.

    1ac – NHO ORMER so was all at sea here
    12ac – not used pl for Place before in Crosswordland, must remember
    24ac – too clever for me in the end; heard of ARCHIVAL but not a word I’ve ever used
    1dn – very clever misdirection flummoxed me. Should have though “of rare expense” rather than “not often expensive”
    6dn – I’m afraid I’m too young to remember there are 3 feet in a yard

    A great workout, with a lot to try and remember for future puzzles. Thanks Teazel and Rotter

  16. Long time, DNF. I did finish, but my husband supplied the gold part of gold dust, and I had to resort to putting guesses in the electronic version of the QC, checking them, working out why they were wrong and finally correcting them to get there. I have been told there is no cheating here, but I thought that amounted to cheating, pretty much. My only saving grace was that I did not have to use reveal. So I was well-beaten by Teazel today, congratulations to Teazel, much as detailed above. Starch was my FOI, and I did solve eighteen clues on my own. Thanks for the blog, Rotter, and grudging thanks to Teazel for the education.
    1. I do that too when I’m struggling. It’s no more cheating thsn using other types of aids, IMHO. If it helps to get the answers, then it helps in learning how to do the crosswords. Much more likely to do this than just looking up the answer.
  17. I entered ‘greeting’, instead of briefing, as introductions are, usually, the shortest part of conversations. So, no finish for me, today.
  18. Held up by foil, yard and especially formerly.

    Saw Gatsby on top row but nothing else jumped out, maybe fops.

    Cod road.

    Edited at 2021-12-23 11:21 am (UTC)

  19. I was held up by GOLD DUST, YARD, BRIEFING and FORMERLY. AMOS was FOI and BRIEFING LOI. I hadn’t lifted and separated “delicacy once”, so was looking at the wrong definition for ages. Pushed over my target to 11:22. Thanks Teazel and Rotter.
  20. But that’s what’s needed from time to time!

    Excellent clues though. I enjoyed PRANCE particularly!

    PURPLE was my LOI. One of those puzzles where I parsed it all while going along, because it was a bit tricky.

    Thanks & congrats to Rotter both for the medical good news, and for the under target time on this puzzle, and thanks to Teazel for a teaser.


  21. I must agree with our blogger that it was a fine puzzle, though I also thought the setter was a bit of a rotter so am pleased to come here and find I was not the only one to struggle. Took ages to start, FOI PERSONAL (the only anagram?) After that “Tough but obvious when you see it”applied to EVERY clue, including 6d and 8a which I only saw on reading thr blog. COD and LOI BLEND. Taking tongue out of cheek, it was a clever challenge which I enjoyed in spite of having a lot of more important stuff to do.
  22. Having read everyone else’s comments, I’m quite happy with my 13 minutes! I did think ormer was a bit tough for a QC — I may have seen it in the biggie but have certainly never eaten one.
    In fact, I did wonder whether there was a theme of sorts referencing Christmas indulgence — TRANCE, LAID UP, COMA all following a lot of STARCH, some curious BLENDs and of course PRANCEs😅 I wonder how Teazel celebrates Christmas!
    FOI Road
    LOI Formerly
    COD Gold dust, although I tbought Amos was great too

    Many thanks Teazel for the work-out, and Rotter for the super blog (as ever). So pleased to hear your good news 😊

    I hope to have time to be here tomorrow, but to all of you who won’t be Merry Christmas 🎄🎁✨ Hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends. I’m off to Sainsbury’s now — wish me luck 😅

  23. Failed on AMOS, ROAD (seemed too easy) YARD and FOIL, all of which I shd have got,
    But I did solve, slowly, FORMERLY, BLEND, PURPLE and GOLD DUST.
    The bottom half I managed but even after pauses and PDMs the top was very sticky, apart from FOsI COO and TRANCE.
    Thanks all, esp Rotter. When gardening, I chopped Xmas lights, oh dear! 🎄

    Edited at 2021-12-23 01:09 pm (UTC)

  24. I was going quite well at the 25-minute mark – just seven clues to get (not bad for me with Teazel). But, that was the end of the fun. 40 minutes later, and with only LAID UP (never parsed), SYMBOL and BLEND added to the grid, I threw in the towel. So, this ended up as my worst DNF since the middle of August.

    I failed to get FORMERLY (NHO ‘ormer’), AMOS (NHO), ARCHIVAL (NHO the word) and YARD (although I really should have seen this, at least). And, whilst I did get them, I couldn’t parse GOLD DUST and LAID UP. In summary: I was utterly trounced by Teazel.

    Mrs R is out walking with a friend, so I will post her time and experiences later if she tackles it this afternoon.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Rotter.

  25. Rather tough for a QC. Add me to the other commenters who are not familiar with the seafood delicacy ORMER. I was held up for a good five minutes with my last three YARD, GOLD DUST and FORMERLY. 15:48
  26. Decided to use the printed T2 version for a change which seemed a bit odd but nevertheless found it suited my current horizontal situation. Plodded round with PURPLE LBOI as I couldn’t manage ORMER.
    I wish HANNAH had been clued along the lines of almost a woman’s double handed back stroke which would have sat more easily with me. A pleasant half an hour leaving just one gap in the grid.
    Back to Xmas lunch prep. At least a lot is already in the freezer. Yesterday was gravy prep all day. Decided to syphon off a bit and turned it to vegetable soup for supper. Good decision, very tasty.
    Thanks Teazel & Rotter. Keep well everyone.
  27. Thanks to everyone who has commented above for their kind wishes.

    I was a little surprised to see that this puzzle had caused so many problems for so many of you, my own thoughts being that it was tricky, but fair and doable. Having said that, I missed the reference to Gatsby in the top row, and never looked for a theme as this Setter does not normally use them. I have looked again now after being prompted by Plett above, but can’t see anything obvious.

    1. Very hard with some extremely tricky clues.

      I guessed gold dust but still don’t see how you could get this from the clue.

      Finished in over an hour.

  28. ….and was then held up by trying to use an anagram of ‘caper’ on my LOI. Once I got going, the intervening part wasn’t too problematic.

    TIME 4:36

  29. A solve interrupted by the day’s events but not quick overall.
    LOI YARD which required a long look.
    I too tried DAPPLE for too long and GOLD DUST was slow to appear.
    A high quality puzzle where the NW gave me the most problems.
    COD to PURPLE.
    PS thanks Rotter.
  30. We also found this tough with the same problem clues mentioned above. Needed to consult aids to eventualy finish in a time way over our target.
  31. Slow going and I thought I was being very dense, so I was somewhat consoled to see others found it trying. I did finish but had the same difficulties as most above. Liked ARCHIVAL once the lightbulb went on.
  32. … What’s all the fuss about?

    Mrs R finally returned from her walk and, armed with a cup of tea (and prior warning from me that there’s a high proportion of DNFs among this community today), she proceeded to polish it off in just 29 minutes – only slightly slower than her current average time. As usual, she couldn’t explain why some of the solutions were what they were (e.g. LAID UP, FORMERLY), but her near-perfect guessing ability saw her through untroubled. I have suggested that she might wish to wrap-up some of her guessing ability for me for Christmas.

  33. andrew_turner here…can’t log on using LJ…! ‘Anon’ is the only choice available.

    First, congratulations to Rotter for being able to enjoy some good health news just before Christmas – it must be a relief. And again for a great blog that so many clearly needed. A DNF for me at 7a (NHO ormer) and 2d where I was expecting a double S. I found some others tricky – 12a Purple, fitted but unparsed; 18d Prance where I was starting with an anagram; 8a missing the cricket but the answer was obvious, if not satisfactorily parsed. Like others, I found the bottom half was not difficult.

  34. or gallop, or winkle or twinkle, or oyster much moister, the Ormer’s a stormer, it’s a snail with an ear and no tail! It gave me such trouble my whisky’s a double. On time 38 I’d a tough GN8 with no finish. Honours to Teazel and t.Rotter.
  35. Thanks Rotter,
    Blog very necessary as others have found.
    I only failed to solve three — Formerly and Amos…. And I threw in the towel on Briefing.
    But pleased to have got that far. 30 minutes of effort..

    Interesting comments by many names I don’t think I normally see. The difficulty level seems to have prompted many to comment that maybe don’t that often on the QC.

    I must watch Verlaine’s attempt at these (and probably just laugh at how he will sail through)

    Thanks all
    John George

  36. Thanks Rotter,
    Blog very necessary as others have found.
    I only failed to solve three — Formerly and Amos…. And I threw in the towel on Briefing.
    But pleased to have got that far. 30 minutes of effort..

    Interesting comments by many names I don’t think I normally see. The difficulty level seems to have prompted many to comment that maybe don’t that often on the QC.

    I must watch Verlaine’s attempt at these (and probably just laugh at how he will sail through)

    Thanks all
    John George

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