Times Quick Cryptic No 2048 by Felix

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Another Quite Challenging QC, made a bit easier if you were prepared to trust the wordplay and consider some unlikely-looking letter combinations, such as 8ac. Also made a bit easier if you’re the observant sort who got 4ac and 8ac and 9ac and noticed a bit of a trend. Unlike me. Nor can I see what the theme might mean, let alone if there is an even more devious Nina lurking in the grid. The best I can manage is that there are 11 answers with two C’s, and 2 to the power of 11 is 2048. Which I think we can put into the unlikely column. Let’s hope there are some better ideas! Anyway, with or without the theme/Nina this was great fun that took me 9.35, about a minute longer than yesterday’s done just before – many thanks to Felix!

1 Obscures one source of malpractice in English county (6)
BEDIMS – I (one) M (“source” of Malpractice) in BEDS (English county)
4 Cuts back firm plasterwork (6)
STUCCO – STUC (cuts “back”) CO (firm)
8 Regularly ice-cold English female, one seen on the staff (1,4)
C CLEF – “regularly” i C e C o L d, and then E(nglish) F(emale)
9 In charge of trophies, after initially having minor problems (7)
HICCUPS IC (in charge) CUPS (trophies) after H (“initially” Having)
10 Get faster account, and celebrate, having lost heart (10)
ACCELERATE – AC(count) and CELEbRATE in plain sight, “having lost heart”
13 One had, in manner of speaking and lying, to be clumsy? (8-5)
ACCIDENT-PRONE – I’D (one had) in ACCENT (manner of speaking) and PRONE (lying)
15 Handouts arranged by Thursday — but way down the list! (10)
THOUSANDTH anagram (arranged) of HANDOUTS by/following TH(ursday)
19 Core RUC reforms take place again (7)
REOCCUR anagram (reforms) of CORE RUC
20 Returning in lilac Cadillac, see old Asian capital (5)
DACCA – “returning in” lilAC CADillac. The former spelling of Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh.
21 A cent — price for buttonhole? (6)
ACCOST – A C(ent) and COST (price). The OED has a 1862 quote from All the Year Round, the literary magazine founded by Dickens: “The man who is button-holed, or held, poor wretch! and must listen to half an hour’s HARANGUE [see 9d] about nothing interesting.” Hey, we’ve all been there (and if you haven’t, then it’s quite possible you are the buttonholer).
22 Old secret police force’s lack of action (6)
STASIS STASI (old secret police force) ‘S

1 A cricket club in pub, at card game (8)
BACCARAT A CC (A Cricket Club) in BAR (pub) AT
2 Caviar, for example, Cecil Day devoured (8)
DELICACY anagram (devoured) of CECIL DAY
3 Greek character s-scarpered, wrapped in scarf? (7)
MUFFLEDMU (Greek character) F-FLED (s-scarpered)
5 Note kitty’s been raised: it’s understood (5)
TACIT – TI (note: do re me, etc) CAT (kitty) is raised/reversed
6 Hint that’s left in something needed by Potter (4)
CLUE – L(eft) in CUE (something needed by Potter, as in snooker/pool)
7 Put out books about America (4)
OUST – OT (Old Testament = books) about US (America)
9 Loud preacher has nearly half of Harvard university consumed by rage (9)
HARANGUER – HAR (“nearly half” of HARvard) U(niversity) consumed by ANGER (rage).
11 Manages CD counts differently (8)
CONDUCTS – anagram (differently) of CD COUNTS
12 Ginger nuts for ducks (8)
REDHEADS – RED (ginger) HEADS (nuts). News to me, but not hard to see where they get their name from.
14 Revolutionary advice for holding dual gets approval (7)
PLAUDITTIP (advice) holds DUAL is “revolutionary”/reversed
16 Kicks poor journalists (5)
HACKS double definition
17 Live to the north of a region (4)
AREA – ARE (live) to the north of A
18 Necklace found in motor club (4)
TORC “found in” moTOR Club. My LOI, and entered with no great confidence.

67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2048 by Felix”

  1. Ten minutes for me. And no, I didn’t even notice all the CCs and I have no idea what they might mean, if anything.
  2. Fortunately (for me), ‘potter’ came up recently in a 15×15; I know nothing of snooker, and if it hadn’t I would probably have wasted a lot of time here thinking of Harry. Which I don’t want to do. Biffed ACCIDENT-PRONE. 5:40.

    Edited at 2022-01-13 06:56 am (UTC)

  3. Not the easiest of QC’s but at least at 11 minutes I missed my target by only 1 minute unlike the past two days when I needed 20 and 25 minutes respectively.

    NHO TORC with that spelling and meaning a necklace. NHO REDHEADS as ducks. Wasn’t sure of ‘kicks = HACKS’ but I now understand they are kicks on the shin in football.

    I’ve no idea what’s going on with the double-C’s but perhaps Richard will pop in later and enlighten us or confirm Roly’s suggestion.

    1. Not just a kick on the shin and not just football – in rugby “hacking” the ball (or sometimes “fly hacking”) is booting it forwards when it is lying on the ground.

      Edited at 2022-01-13 09:42 am (UTC)

  4. Bumbled through in 18mins. BEDIMS C-CLEF & TORC all words I’ve never used. DELICACY held me up while I w(?)racked my brains for a Latin term for fish roe. Didn’t spot the CCs but looking back they’re hard to miss. Hope someone can expand to a full NINA
  5. It would take much effort to construct a puzzle such as this – so (as postulated above) it has something to do with the noticeably stray 15ac THOUSANDTH. A Gang of Five!? All a bit 13ac.

    FOI 4ac STUCCO

    LOI 18dn TORC



    My time: I was on the 13:00 flight to DACCA – plus a few more minutes on the Nina.

  6. I thought this was much more straightforward than recent days and was all done in 13. Did pause for thought on bedims but no problems other than that. Interested to discover the Nina which I didn’t spot.
    As well as Dhaka in Bangladesh, there’s also Dakar the capital of Senegal. Ripe for a homophone clue perhaps?
    FOI Accost
    LOI Redheads
    COD Muffled
  7. A good, quirky puzzle. I enjoyed it and, apart from BEDIMS, it was almost a top to bottom solve (across and down clues together to maximise crossers!). Some clues to savour later (including a few that would not come up in normal speech) but I managed this in 2+ mins under target at 12.44. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-13 09:27 am (UTC)

  8. Slow going again today. Spent time convincing myself that BEDIMS and C CLEF were actually words/expressions (need to trust the wordplay more). THOUSANDTH proved tough to unravel and, whilst I think we’ve had it before, I wanted to all the checkers before entering LOI REDHEADS.
    Enjoyed MUFFLED, STASIS and BACCARAT and crossed the line in 12.25. I shall wait for enlightenment with regard to the mysterious Cs.
    Thanks to Roly
  9. Carbon copy? Closed captions? (One for all you TikTok users.) Canadian Club? I missed it, whatever it was.

    Pretty middle of the road difficulty-wise, some neat clues.

    FOI STUCCO, LOI the NHO REDHEADS, COD dead heat between HICCUPS and MUFFLED, time 09:47 for 1.8K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Felix and roly.


  10. Nineteen minutes, didn’t fully parse six of these, NHO redheads as ducks. Saw the CC’s but couldn’t make anything more of them. I bet Horryd is right. Chewy, I thought – and most enjoyable. A workout. FOI C-Clef – not the usual, unless you play brass/sing alto/tenor. Fifteen on first pass. LOI bedims, a bit obscure itself IMO. COD muffled. Thanks for the blog, Roly, and for the interesting grid, Felix.
  11. Never heard 1ac used in conversation or prose.
    Top half seemed fairly easy. Got stuck in the SE corner. I am a birder, and I was trying to think of a duck. NHO this one. Is it a domestic variety?
    Thankfully all correct, but I had to put the puzzle aside to have a coffee and a think, before I got THOUSANDTH, PLAUDIT and STASIS, and of course the duck, which I will now Google.
  12. We struggled all the way with this one and ended up taking an eye-watering 34 minutes. Not at all on Felix’s wavelength (and not helped by misspelling HARANGUER) but we persevered. Thought we might have a DNF – very happy to have completed it.


    Thanks Rolytoly and Felix.

  13. 13 minutes when I returned to LOI 12d. Then a long search to find something that worked. Became less sure about the definition as I went. After 16:39 I submitted with REDHEADS and will now check if they are ducks.
    Prior to that BEDIMS, letters I had worked out from parsing and rejected earlier.
    So, some odd words but still worthwhile. I failed to notice all the Cs while solving.
    PS post solve I thought of 10cc, the rock band. But I only counted 9 in the puzzle-may have to check that. They were formed in 1972 -50 years ago. Mandy, where are the rubber bullets?

    Edited at 2022-01-13 10:29 am (UTC)

  14. 14:16, didn’t “See the C’s” either. LOI HARRANGUER.

    I’m a Cellist so have heard of the C-Clef. Was very unsure of BEDIMS.

    I guess no-one uses “Hiccough”, Americans win again. I’m still speechless over “FAVOR” in Tuesday’s Wordle.


      1. … which at least my spellchecker puts a red line under, is the subject of the third leader in today’s paper, so obviously you are far from alone in having fulminated about it!
    1. It’s 60+ years since I had cello lessons but I’m pretty sure cello music sometimes has the C clef for playing in a higher register. It’s also called the tenor clef in that situation or the alto clef for violas. It’s a movable clef (unlike the treble / G clef or bass / F clef) and is used to indicate the position of Middle C on the stave.
    2. As a neutral party in this Trans-Atlantic dispute, I can see both sides’ point of view.

      Can also see that the American spelling makes a lot more sense!

      (Will now lay low for a few days)

      1. I would claim to be as British as they come, but I will concede (readily) that Hiccup makes more sense, not least because I can see no reason at all for Hiccough unless it is connected with cough, in which case it should be pronounced hick-coff. And -er for -re makes more sense too (we this side write, eg, centRE but of course say centER).

        But when the revered Webster decided to drop a letter from favour, colour etc, why did he not drop the second O? Both sides of the Atlantic tend to say Favur not favor, and as for colour, it should of course have the spelling culur!

        But then logic and English spelling are seldom seen together, as we all know …

        Edited at 2022-01-13 05:13 pm (UTC)

  15. 15 minutes and 2 seconds, which I am going to count as inside target because it includes a short interruption from Mrs R. As someone said above — C-clever! I did spot the ‘Nina’ as I completed the puzzle, but I’m going to have a longer look at it now to see if I can read anything else into it. I liked s-scarpered best, I haven’t seen that before. Thanks both.
    1. Nope! Can’t see anything better than Roly’s spot that 2^11 equals 2048. It must have been quite hard to put this together though, and even harder to target exactly 11 answers each containing 2 x Cs, so I think I agree with him that that is an unlikely reason. I’d very much like to know if there is something deeper hidden.
  16. I’m enjoying this little run of harder puzzles I must say. BEDIMS, CCLEF and REDHEADS were certainly headscratchers.


  17. Well at least we have moved on from Dickens, but this was still a stiff challenge from Felix. 1ac Bedims set the tone, and a slow tease out with a crowbar solve followed, crossing the line at the 28min mark for a seat right at the back of the coach. Harangue and loi Plaudit took a good few minutes, but the unknown Redhead went in easily enough with a full set of crossers in place. Never noticed all the double CCs, even though one of them, Accost, is my CoD. Invariant
  18. I vaguely noticed the surfeit of Cs as I progressed around the grid, but have no idea what it means. C CLEF was FOI and BEDIMS followed it. Took a while to spot DELICACY. PLAUDIT and CONDUCTS were last 2 in. 7:42. Thanks Felix and Roly.
  19. Some obscure answers today: HARANGUER, BEDIMS, C CLEF, REDHEADS but gettable from the clues after a bit of thought! No idea about the surfeit of CCs.
  20. Did a few clues in NE, and a few others like HARANGUER and C CLEF then stuck half way through. Eventually I peeked at the answer to 1a then managed the rest. I even thought of Beds but rejected.
    Not enjoyable today. TORC I got but NHO it meaning necklace.
    Thanks for blog, Roly.
  21. … as I thought this not very enjoyable, with too many obscure or unusual words. Which convinces me that Felix did intend a NINA — it is a fairly reliable rule of thumb that setters wishing to include a NINA have to compromise heavily on their word choice to make it work, and one ends up with words like 1A Bedims, to which I can only say be-count me unimpressed.

    MER too at Live = are in 17D Area; NHO 12D Redheads (though that one was not too difficult to guess); and I took time to accept 9A Haranguer as a word (it looks odd, ending in -UER, but it could not be anything else). But I did v-very m-much l-like 3D Muffled, with a wordplay method that may be an old trick but was new to me.

    All done in 13 minutes, and it won’t for me linger long in the memory. But then no setter can please all of us all the time!

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  22. But what sort of word is “bedims” ??? And I had the components but dismissed “bimeds”! NHO redheads. 55 mins -2
  23. … after two successive (and lengthy) DNFs. This took me 27 minutes, and all but two clues were fully parsed. Those two were MUFFLED (where I didn’t see F-FLED for s-scarpered) and CLUE (where I didn’t get the snooker/billiards/pool reference).

    I didn’t see the proliferation of double-C’s until I came here, but their inclusion didn’t spoil my enjoyment at all. I enjoyed seeing HICCUPS come up, but was not very confident about BEDIMS, AREA, TORC, REDHEADS and DACCA. I found several other clues quite awkward, so Felix must have clued them well – or I would still be fretting away.

    I can’t report Mrs Random’s precise time today, but she finished all correct and looked not to be experiencing any particular difficulties.

    Many thanks to Felix and rolytoly.

  24. Back within target at 18 mins today but didn’t manage to parse accident prone (saw the prone bit) or area. Never heard of a c clef but understood what it means. Never heard of bedims as a word but once again could understand the meaning. Redhead a bit of an obscure duck as it’s birders’ slang for a female smew (an uncommon winter visitor to the UK). All in all it seems that I was quite lucky to beat my times for the last 2 days.

    FOI – 9ac HICCUPS
    LOI – 17dn AREA
    COD – 22ac STASIS

    Thanks to Felix and to Rolytoly

  25. All green in 11 but I had to work hard having only got 4 acrosses on the first pass. All progressed quite quickly from there. Like others I didn’t know Redhead was a duck or that a TORC was a necklace. I also realised I didn’t know what country the Paris-Dakar rally finished in — this new route really would be a test of endurance.
  26. …improved my concentration and I was very pleased to complete in 22 minutes.
    I did notice a proliferation of the letter c and then thought no more about it. Clever. Or C-clever as I think someone previously wrote.
    FOI Oust
    LOI Bedims NHO
    COD Hiccups
    Thanks all
    John George
  27. I did finish the QC today but I struggled. FOI STUCCO, guessed REDHEADS, slow to solve the anagram of CONDUCTS and the wordplays of BEDIMS and C CLEF. My LOI was THOUSANDTH, I knew it included an anagram of handouts but I needed all the checkers and a couple of minutes more to get to the answer…..I wasn’t keen on the definition. A palindromic 14:41 for another poor day.

    Edited at 2022-01-13 12:53 pm (UTC)

  28. No idea how I actually finished this correctly, but I did in 24 mins. Overall, I enjoyed this — tricky, but fair, if you followed the clueing logically.

    NHO of 1ac “Bedims” and whilst Treble (G) and Bass Clef’s (F) may be familiar to piano players, the C-Clef is more attributable to orchestra instruments (just to make it even harder) for 8ac.

    We’re certainly being made to work this week.

    FOI — 1dn “Baccarat”
    LOI — 1ac “Bedims”
    COD — 9ac “Hiccups”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. I’m another who completed this in 13 minutes. I was relieved that there appeared to be no Dickens theme, although my knowledge of his works is so poor that there could well be characters called BACCARAT and STUCCO for all I know! I did know TORC as an alternative for TORQUE, but for some extraordinary reason I wrote in TOOR, which completely snookered 21a. When I looked again and saw all the CCs, I realised my mistake.
    Overall I thought this was quite good fun and am looking forward to Felix’s explanation of the theme. If it’s mathematical, I won’t get it anyway 🙄
    10CC though – brilliant. I saw them at the Hammersmith Odeon back in the 70s – not a ‘showy’ band (like Queen for example) but what musicians! Might have to get The Original Soundtrack out later.
    FOI Stucco
    LOI Acccost
    COD Thousandth
    Earworm I’m not in Love
    Thanks Felix and Roly

    Edited at 2022-01-13 01:55 pm (UTC)

  30. It was Felix’s 200th puzzle of this type (not necessarily all as “Felix” 😉 )
    And also his 1000th Times puzzle – tho some sources claim it to be the 1001st …

    1. Thank you Felix for all that effort. I spotted the CCs very early on but the real reasons behind it all were, understandably from your explanation, wasted on me.
    2. Congratulations Felix. I guessed that from the “THOUSANDTH”, but missed the 200s. No dramas for me, not being ACCIDENT-PRONE today. 4:42.
    3. Thank you, Richard and congrats on the milestone.

      If ‘puzzle of this type’ means Quick Cryptics that leaves us with another mystery as to which other pseudonyms ‘Felix’ uses as QC setter? In addition to Felix (61), I know of Oran (2), Marty (19), Kenny (2) and Des (23) but that only takes us to 107. I understand some of these refer to members of a favourite football team.

      1. Would Alfie and Noel be part of the gang? They still wouldn’t take us up to 200 though, would they?
        1. I can add one more, Rodney (3) but that gets us only to 110.

          The names are former managers of Coleraine FC:

          Oran Kearney
          Rodney McAree
          Marty Quinn
          Kenny Shiels
          Felix Healy
          Des Dickson

          Edited at 2022-01-13 10:49 pm (UTC)

    4. Congratulations, and thank you for all the enjoyment along the way. And it’s never bad to reaffirm the nonsense of numerology: 2 to the power of 11, indeed!
  31. ….which I expected, but was unable to spot as I tore through a comparatively simple puzzle.

    TIME 3:42

  32. Very slow, pondering over bedim at 1a and 15a stumped us, not being able to get the definition. 12d also proved slow to get, did not know the duck, but we should have got it quicker from ginger nuts, common phrase for redheads years ago, Not sure whether pc these srrange days.
  33. A relatively good showing today, coming home in 20:02. Didn’t notice the CCs until I came on here. I wonder if Felix will give us some double Ds next time. Hadn’t heard of BEDIMS, TORC or C CLEF, but I’m sure we’ve had REDHEADS in the not too distant past. I remember looking up smew. Anyway, FOI STUCCO, LOI STASIS (I think), COD to ACCIDENT PRONE. Thanks Felix and Roly.
  34. and can feel SADness fading as days get longer. So first success for 2022 today at minutes 26 = 2×13, not much use in a Nina, but very good for me at GN5. We are Happy to live in an Area, in honour of Felix! I looked up Redhead and as I guessed this duck is from North America, and in 1996 was recorded in Britain. It can be a Pochard hybrid. And we once went on a bird trip, when our leader was a PhD in Red-Crested Pochard!
  35. Struggling at 17 minutes with BEDIM and MUFFLED missing in the NW and most of the SE blank. ACCIDENT PRONE finally unlocked everything to leave me a couple of minutes over target.
  36. Befuddled. DNF. First failure of the week. Having followed the advice of those here at the beginning of the week and tackled the main CC on Monday and completed it successfully for a First time ever, and in much the same time as I meander through the QCC from my armchair in the corner of the SCC, my self-confidence was put into low gear with today’s offering here. Missed the NINA as usual. Thanks Roly and Felix.
  37. The worst QC in the last ten years. For the genii who train us so brilliantly week after week it may have been OK but the editor should never have allowed this.
    1. The setter is the editor! Oh, and the QC is still in its 8th year.

      Edited at 2022-01-14 01:19 am (UTC)

  38. Absolutely on my limit and took a couple of days.
    Managed to parse everything in the end – never heard of bedims but had to trust it.
    Favourite clue was C Clef — but it was a shame it was made too easy by including a “regular”. One seen on the staff is a lovely definition.
    Very nice puzzle.

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