Times Quick Cryptic No 2078 by Mara

Another gentle enough QC: all done and dusted in 6:41, about a minute quicker than yesterday, and about as quick as I get. A welcome change of pace after a couple of DNFs in the 15×15, for which many thanks to Mara!

1 Agonising treatment in unsympathetic country (4,6)
COLD TURKEY COLD (unsympathetic) TURKEY (country)
7 A nut winning (5)
AHEAD – head = nut
8 Reportedly, team sounded exasperated (6)
SIGHED – sounds like SIDE (team)
10 Tease child (3)
KID double definition
12 One very upset about commercial describing food prepared beforehand (4-5)
OVEN-READY anagram (upset) of ONE VERY about AD (commercial)
13 In truth, one’s totally trustworthy (6)
HONEST“In” trutH ONES Totally
14 Blokes, great nuisance (6)
MENACE MEN (blokes) ACE (great)
17 Scent country has shackled newspaper (9)
FRAGRANCE FRANCE (country) has shackled RAG (newspaper)
19 Night before always short (3)
EVE EVEr (always) “short”. I can’t say I’ve ever thought of EVE being specifically the night before, but of course that’s literally what it is, with EVE = EVENING, which by extension came to include the entire preceding day.
20 Soak in spirit and ignite meat in empty furnace (6)
FLAMBE – LAMB (meat) in “empty” FurnacE
21 Newspaper crime (5)
THEFT The FT = newspaper
23 Cheerful message received: it’s a flag (5,5)
JOLLY ROGER – JOLLY (cheerful) ROGER (message received)

1 Nut on beam in engine part (10)
CRANKSHAFT – CRANK (nut) on SHAFT (beam)
2 Falsehood largely inaccurate, erroneous, first of all (3)
LIE Largely Inaccurate Erroneous “first of all”
3 Dull outside broadcast (7)
TEDIOUS – anagram (broadcast) of OUTSIDE
4 Fried food more reckless? (6)
RASHER double definition
5 Remarkably regal composer (5)
ELGAR – anagram (remarkably) of REGAL
6 A leader upset about western state (8)
DELAWARE anagram (upset) of A LEADER about W(estern)
9 Under contract finally, see pretty amazing old print worker (10)
TYPESETTER – under T (conracT “finally”) goes an anagram (amazing) of SEE PRETTY
11 Awfully bad line, message ultimately unsubstantiated (8)
DENIABLE anagram (awfully) of BAD LINE, and E (messagE “ultimately”)
15 Voter, English speaker (7)
ELECTOR – E(nglish) LECTOR (speaker)
16 Extraordinary numeral changed after subtraction of thousand (6)
UNREAL anagram (changed) of NUmERAL, after subtraction of M (thousand)
18 A little superhero me, original Casanova (5)
ROMEO – “a little” of superheRO ME Original
22 Food, say, ending in dressing (3)
EGG – EG (say), G (“ending” in dressinG)

49 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2078 by Mara”

  1. Biffed OVEN-READY. LOI MENACE, for which ‘nuisance’ seems a bit infelicitous a definition. 6:05.
    1. My mother would refer to a naughty child (usually me) as a menace, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t find me threatening. And I see that’s supported by Collins, which has “a person who is a nuisance” as an informal definition. As in Dennis the Menace I guess.
      1. And ‘terror’, of course. So the setter’s proverbial is covered. I still think it’s a bit infelicitous, although it would be more so to clue NUISANCE with ‘menace’.
        1. I suppose it’s all comparative. Boris Johnson is a nuisance, but Vladimir Putin is a menace.
      2. I still have (and frequently use) a Dennis the Menace cereal bowl. It’s inspiring to see him and Gnasher burst out from under the cornflakes in the morning.
  2. Six minutes for me, which is about as fast as I get although I think I broke 5 minutes once. I don’t remember any holdups, most answers went in the first time I looked at the clue.
  3. 21 minutes with the only hold up being the parsing of FRAGRANCE seeing FRANCE and GRA before adjusting FRANCE.
    COD: Has to be THEFT. A two-word clue that isn’t a DD.
  4. I’m enjoying being away but could have done with the usual setting of kitchen table, coffee and pen and paper today. ‘Rashet’ for RASHER surely my phone’s fault for being too small. Solving without a pen also means the anagrams often have to come later — DENIABLE needed checkers to crack. 12m with a typo, ending with a pleasing groan for THEFT. Good one!
  5. Bounced all over the grid for 11mins held up by THEFT (wonderful clue – a satisfactory “aha!” moment) and AHEAD (a less satisfactory “of course, you numpty” one)
  6. Started with 1d, which provided lot of useful starting letters but had a brainfreeze with 1a where I needed all the checkers. Had to exert a lot of willpower not to bif RAMBO at 16d and LOI DELAWARE took a bit of unravelling. Particularly enjoyed the PDM for THEFT.
    Finished in 8.11.
    Thanks to Roly and Mara
  7. Lots of us enjoy a spot of THEFT, it seems. Horses all calm and placid today.

    FOI CRANKSHAFT (bit of a gimme after CAM yesterday), LOI & COD THEFT, time 07:06 for 1.2K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks roly and Mara.


    Edited at 2022-02-24 09:39 am (UTC)

  8. Quick start and good progress but no time because of a knock on the door with a wine delivery. Well, actually half a wine delivery and I cannot locate the other half until 9am when the Wine Society opens for business.
    Totally thrown — came back to finish with COLD TURKEY and RASHER, neither of which I fancy at the moment. My COD was THEFT; I needed the checkers, I’m afraid. Thanks to both. John M.
    1. Oops! That was me. I had cleared my browsing history so was not logged in.
      Good to see another mechanical reference today with CRANKSHAFT. I hope this doesn’t set off the sort of furore caused by CAM yesterday! John M.
  9. 2nd sub 20 min (19:25) solve in a week. Will have to show restraint if I want to hang on to my favourite corner chair by the window in the SCC. Govt guidelines no longer require masks in the SCC but social distancing recommended.
    LOI DELAWARE. Thanks Mara and Roly
  10. Mara in generous mood today …
    … with an enjoyable but not overtaxing puzzle which took me 8 minutes with no real holdups.

    I’m sure we have seen 21a Theft clued like that or similar quite recently. Perhaps Times setters have a thing against the pink paper?

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  11. Many’s the time we’ve hoisted the JOLLY ROGER with, first, children, then grandchildren. (Rather to the disapproval of our sailing club).

    So that’s my COD, followed closely by THEFT.

    Thank you, Mara and Roly.


  12. 14 minutes for me, which on the basis of the comments above, looks a bit slow — not sure why, it all went in easily enough. LOI RASHER after SIGHED. COLD TURKEY was FOI. I took a little while to remember the state and was also tempted by RAMBO before ROMEO emerged. Thanks both.
  13. I crept in just under 10 minutes having got scared by the reference to another engine part and drawing a blank on the agonizing treatment. My FOsI in were LIE and AHEAD with SIGHED and THEFT bringing up the rear.

    Edited at 2022-02-24 10:06 am (UTC)

  14. 12 minutes for me, 5 of which were spent on my last three where I just got stuck for a while. They were COLD TURKEY, RASHER and LOI TEDIOUS where I failed to see the anagram.
    A good puzzle. COD to TEDIOUS.
  15. LIE and CRANKSHAFT were first 2 in. COLD followed but TURKEY was LOI. Gambolled through the rest of it and would’ve come in under the 5 minutes, except that I stumbled over the button as I saw how close I was to it! 5:00. Thanks Mara and Roly.
  16. Slowcoach today at twenty minutes. I had most of it done in eight minutes but needed the other twelve for Cold Turkey, rasher, theft and sighed. FOI ahead, fifteen on first pass. Enjoyed the mental turmoil for the four I’ve already mentioned. Well done, everyone today, I’m just glad I finished as I really thought I wouldn’t. Did not see the anagrist for typesetter, i.e. biffed it. Thanks for the blog, Roly, and for the puzzle, Mara. I thought it was a cracker.
  17. Did not see many answers at first, but gradually got going, helped by getting the long words, and steadily filled in the grid. Some really neat clues.
  18. We enjoyed today’s puzzle. We took longer than we should have to sort out the last two answers and came in at 12.04.

    FOI: LIE

    Thanks Rolytoly and Mara.

  19. ….again, as my eventual COD didn’t immediately jump out at me. Straightforward but enjoyable puzzle.

    TIME 3:29

  20. Couldn’t see 1ac, and thought 1d would start Head*, so wasted some time there before pushing on picking off the ‘easier’ clues. Given the poor start, I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 17mins, with the, by then obvious, Crankshaft and Cold Turkey as my last pair. CoD to 21ac, Theft, by a country mile. Invariant
  21. 8 minutes for everything except half of my LOI which took the best part of a minute – for three letters! I realised it was COLD and had all the checkers but I just couldn’t see TURKEY.
    Apart from that, I thought this was a friendly puzzle with quite a few regulars. I think we’ve seen THEFT clued along those lines before, but it’s still a cracker.
    Funny that there are a couple of clues here and in the biggie which are very similar – it seems to happen surprisingly often. I had more luck with the 15×15 today, but am now stuck with two to go.
    FOI Ahead
    LOI Cold turkey
    COD Theft
    Thanks Mara and Roly

    On edit: a minute or two later. I returned to the biggie and got the last two straightaway. It’s so true about giving your brain a break when you get stuck!

    Edited at 2022-02-24 12:36 pm (UTC)

  22. … but just had enough doubt to re-read the clue before moving on.

    I started inauspiciously, with only 7 clues solved after my first pass through the grid. That took me about 7-8 minutes and at that stage I thought I was in for a tough challenge today. Wonders will never cease, however, and I am delighted to say that all of those unfathomable clues from the first pass fell like nine-pins on my second (including ROMEO, in case you’re wondering).

    CRANKSHAFT and COLD TURKEY both succumbed in the second phase, and they provided the necessary starting letters for their remaining dependants. The outcome was an 18-minute completion for a rare excursion outside of the SCC. My heart’s all of a quiver!

    Many thanks to Mara and rolytoly.

  23. After mentioning yesterday not to create new words, I nearly did the very same thing with 7ac “Aseed” — until a last minute realisation meant some frantic crossing out.

    In the end, came in at 16 mins for probably one of the more gentler Mara puzzles.

    Thank goodness the 1dn engine part was something I recognised.

    FOI — 2dn “Lie”
    LOI — 7ac “Ahead”
    COD — 23ac “Jolly Roger”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. 12:08, and also agree that taking a break often unlocks the last couple, RASHER and SIGHED. Also agree that THEFT was in a league of its own for Clue of the Day in a fairly mediocre selection.
  25. It took me a while to get into this, not helped by a phone conference call, and a delivery of a chair. However, once I had 1ac and 1d, it all suddenly came together.
    Lovely clue at 21
    Many thanks for the blog, and the puzzle
  26. Another decent time for me and a rare sub-Kevin but Mr Dunn on fire I see. Chapeau!

    Absolutely not a top to bottom solve but CRANKSHAFT was a good start and I worked clockwise round from there

    Thanks all

  27. Another bread-making day so another chance to make an early solve while waiting to take from the oven. I thought this very gentle from Mara. Was getting worried the puzzle might not last me long enough, but my LOI managed it nicely. Almost a top-to-bottom solve but held up by LOI 6d Delaware until I had all the checkers and played with where to use the W. LOI 1d Crankshaft. COD 17a Flambé. We’ve seen TheFT so many times now – usually clued very similarly. Have to find something else to do this evening!
  28. Adjusting to cold house, but brain dim about COLD TURKEY (LOI).
    Thanks all , esp ROLY

    I seem to be one of those rare people for who the sum of my parts is less than the whole. Aka Jack of all trades, master of none.

    1. You got there in the end. Keep at it. There was a time when I was just the same, but it does get easier. Don’t be hard on yourself!


  30. makes for a bright outlook, and a full solve. We must have Cylinder Head, Tappets, and quite a lot more still to come. A good quality 30 min effort, who would wish for better.
  31. Success after 17 minutes.
    1a was LOI
    We grill our bacon so rasher as fried raised an eyebrow.
    Thanks all
  32. Cant believe failed to spot THEFT. Every else done in 13 minutes but just couldn’t see the LOI despite an alphabet trawl.
  33. Like others, I was doing famously until 21ac and 22dn. So simple and yet so clever.

    I also keep getting tripped up by the word broadcast. I always see it as a homophone indicator and forget that it can indicate an anagram.

    I don’t time myself to the second but I was somewhere inside 20 mins, so a day off from the SCC.

    Thanks for a great blog.


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