Times Quick Cryptic No 2109 by Alfie

Oo! I’ve got an Alfie crossword to blog. As we all know by now (I hope) that should mean we have something alphabetical in the solution… and indeed we do. Click on the link below to see what I spotted. As for the crossword, well, as always with Alfie, it is not too easy and there are few clues that might cause some head scratching for a lot of us, I think. It certainly did for me, taking me over 1 1/2 times my average time at over 9 minutes. It is, incidentally a lipogram, containing every letter of the alphabet in the answers except a V. But that is not the alphabetical trick…

[This is what I found (click to open)]

Each of the Across answers and each of the Down answers is in alphabetical order. Quite a feat of grid filling – try it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Great stuff. Thank-you Alfie! How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find his latest crossword, and a date for the diary here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 48 here.

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

1 Agree expert is concealing three consecutive letters (6)
ACCEDEACE (expert) [concealing] CED (three consecutive letters). Hmm. The letters aren’t in the right order, though.
4 At this point and earlier commercial’s getting stick (6)
ADHEREHERE (at this point) with AD (commercial) in front of it [earlier].
8 Depositing anti-monarchist slogan? (7)
BANKINGBAN KING (anti-monarchist slogan). Ho ho.
10 Hut not exactly the place for junk (5)
CABINCA (circa; about; not exactly) BIN (the place for junk).
11 Leave around eleven, Eastern Time (4)
EXITET (Eastern Time) [around] XI (eleven in roman numerals).
12 Pineapples: sad, green, withered (8)
GRENADES – (sad green)* [withered]. Does everyone know this slang term?
14 Quiet around gold, solitary tomb (9)
MAUSOLEUMMUM (quiet; stay mum) [around] AU (chemical symbol for gold) SOLE (solitary).
18 Quirky duo I left in part of sports arena? (8)
OUTFIELD – (duo I left)* [quirky].
20 Quit after making the last quiet, cutting remark (4)
QUIPQUIt, replacing the last letter, [making the last], P (quiet). “Cutting remark” was the orginal definition of QUIP (see jackkt’s comment below).
22 Rare, bishop going to a dance (5)
RUMBARUM (odd; rare) B (bishop) A. Rum for rare is more of a stretch than we’re used to for a QC, I think. [Update: It is in the dictionary as a slang definition which I’d forgotten, so, on reflection, I think that’s fine].
23 Small coin journalist sniffed out (7)
SCENTEDS (small) CENT (coin) ED (editor; journalist).
24 Swarm that’s somewhat reduced in heat (6)
WARMTH – Hidden in, [somewhat reduced] sWARM THat.
25 That Rodney, fooling about! (6)
YONDER – (Rodney)* [fooling about]. A bit of sneaky definition. Nice surface, though. This raised an extra giggle from me as I think , as seen most recently here, Rodney is another of our setter today’s pseudonyms.
1 Better to go topless for one on casual walk (6)
AMBLERgAMBLER (better) without the first letter [topless; this is a down clue].
2 Declare, formally, there’s cheat with company (7)
CONFIRMCON (cheat) FIRM (company).
3 Dublin parliament featuring in newspaper mostly (4)
DAIL – DAILy (newspaper) [mostly].
5 Glass container in crate Ned shifted (8)
DECANTER – (crate Ned)* [shifted].
6 Implant taken from stem? Be delicate! (5)
EMBED – Hidden in [taken from] stEM BE Delicate.
7 Man’s cosy home descended on by queen (6)
ERNESTNEST (cosy home) under [descended on by] ER (queen).
9 Real soggy after replacing waterspouts! (9)
GARGOYLES – (real soggy)* [after replacing].
13 Rejoicing until jab is thrown (8)
JUBILANT – (until jab)* [thrown].
15 Second one to leave United got on his horse? (7)
MOUNTEDMO (moment; second) UNiTED without the I [one to leave].
16 Short bitter argument brings sadness (6)
SORROWSORe (bitter) without the last letter [short], ROW (argument).
17 Spinner initially playing in team meeting resistance (6)
SPIDER – First letter of, [initially], Playing [in] SIDE (team), R (resistance).
19 Watch for one’s authority to be overturned (5)
TIMER – REMIT (authority) [overturned] -> TIMER.
21 Zulu idol losing his first love (4)
ZEROZ (Zulu in the NATO phonetic alphabet) hERO (idol) without the first letter [losing his first]

28 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2109 by Alfie”

  1. I was having trouble concentrating, and should have been faster, but it was slow going in any case. I thought of ACCEDE fairly early on, but it took me a while to see that ‘consecutive’ letters could be out of order. RUM for rare is quite a stretch, and not just for a QC. Nor is a QUIP necessarily–or even often–bitter. John, you’ve got too much anagrist at 5d. 10:31.
    1. Oops. Thanks. 5D now corrected. I agree that a QUIP is not necessarily a “cutting remark”, so I guess that too is a bit of a stretch for a QC. It makes a better surface than “witty remark” though, I think.

      Edited at 2022-04-08 02:25 am (UTC)

  2. I found this slow going and needed over 12 minutes. I’m not sure why. I didn’t notice the alphabetical order thing, which would probably have helped on a few clues.
  3. Slightly on the slower side today. Held up a little by entering BOOKING (not much of a slogan to be fair), but on review I can’t see what the other hold-ups were. Think it was just a case of needing a few checkers in place.

    Thanks John for pointing out the alphabetic device, clever stuff indeed. Will look out for something equally neat next time Alfie’s in town.

  4. Not in total agreement Kevin. I think there’s enough overlap between rum and rare, as in the expression “he’s a rare bird”.

    Agree that QUIP could have done with a question mark though.

  5. 20 minutes from FOI: AMBLER to LOI: MOUNTED which I parsed post solve.
    COD: EXIT. Also QUIP.
    Thought we were on for a pangram during the solve but missing a V.
  6. I forgot to start the clock on this one so I don’t have a solving time, but I’m pretty sure it was 15+ minutes.

    SOED confirms the required meaning of QUIP as having been the original meaning of the word:

    1 Orig., a sharp or sarcastic remark. Now usu., a clever or witty saying; an epigram. M16. ▸ b A verbal equivocation; a quibble. L16.

    It had seemed fine to me anyway, and I only looked it up following the comments above.

    And I agree with galspray about ‘rum/rare’ as they can both mean odd or strange.

    1. Thanks. I only checked in Chambers, which doesn’t have that original definition.
      1. Having now checked other sources I see that Collins mentions ‘cutting’ in two definitions and ‘sarcastic’ three times.

        Lexico mentions neither.

        The free Chambers on-line dictionary mentions ‘sarcastic’ but it’s not in their printed dictionary, which is odd. I’ve never managed to find out what that free-online thing is. I’d assumed it was a cut-down version of the main dictionary but that doesn’t square with having things that aren’t in the full version.

  7. All green in 17. Just happy to finish after yesterday’s calamity. Enjoyed ERNEST, only knew GRENADES were pineapples from recent crossword, enjoyed the tussle with OUTFIELD. Overall, good one!
  8. 20 minutes with a lot of help. Wasn’t happy with 1a. I got ACE = expert, but then struggled with the “consecutive letters”. I guessed it was ACCEDE, but CDE = consecutive? Even my cat disagreed with that one.
  9. I hesitated over 3rd one in, ACCEDE, but let it go as the letters are consecutive in the alphabet, if not the answer, and the A from AMBLER and D from DAIL, clinched it. The SW corner held me up with RUMBA, SORROW and WARMTH LOsI. 10:21. Thanks Alfie and John.
  10. 10.20 bouncing around the grid with lots of clues giving pause for thought but few requiring more than a single revisit

    RUM has only ever really appeared on my radar in crosswords and then as ‘strange’ or ‘odd’ so ‘rare’ fits as a synonym for me.

    Similarly QUIP fits the clue for me but a ‘?’ would not have been out of place.

    Alfie’s alphabetical wizardry deserves respect 👏👏👏👏

    Thanks John

  11. Twenty minutes, did not notice the clever device with the alphabeticals. Just a trivial observation – the CDE in 1 ac are in alpha order if you take the middle e to complete the ace instead of the end one. FOI grenades, we have had this recently. Much of this fell into place in order – but slowly. There was plenty to think about here. LOI quip. Quite a few parsing nuances I didn’t spot you revealed in the blog, John, thank you for sorting it all out. COD gargoyles, in a most enjoyable crossword. Thanks, Alfie.
  12. at ACCEDE, but agree with others that the letters are consecutive in the alphabet, so the eyebrow was retuned to resting position.

    LOI was QUIP after an unnecessary (as it turned out) alphabet trawl, seeing as the first 3 letters were there in plain sight!

    I think I liked SPIDER best.


  13. Mainly straightforward, but got hung up on ZERO which I did not see for ages and QUIP – cutting remark? Also dithered over ACCEDE, trying to get CDE in order.
  14. An excellent puzzle from Alfie I thought. Didn’t spot the alphabetical order thing, but as usual I’m in awe. No problem with a QUIP being cutting, and as for RUM, it seems to have all sorts of odd/bad/dodgy meanings in crossword land, so why not add rare to the list? Lots of contenders for COD, but I’m plumping for ZERO. Time, a few minutes over target in 23:42.
  15. Had a 15-min first attempt where I got EXIT, MAUSOLEUM, OUTFIELD, YONDER on the first pass then added ACCEDE, CONFIRM, AMBLER and BANKING with no real confidence and took a break. When you’re staring at the M—–D of mounted and can’t BIF “to get on a horse”, your brain really isn’t on it.

    Came back and banged it out all except DAIL in 25-mins. Then a couple more mins for that with some alphabet trawling and pen&paper.

    I notice how some kind of low level panic builds up at the bewilderment and stops me from doing these things which the break takes away.


    Couldn’t fully parse AMBLER, ZERO, SORROW, SPIDER, RUMBA, JUBILANT, CONFIRM, MOUNTED but parsed enough to be confident they’re correct.

    Interesting week – 2hr DNF, 22min DNF couldn’t finish on Tues, sub-30 completion, 1hr20 give up half done, 42min completion.

    Thanks to John and Alfie

    Edited at 2022-04-08 10:08 am (UTC)

    1. All correct in 35 minutes, which is about par for me these days. A marked improvement compared to when I started doing these infernal QCs a year and three-quarters ago. Back then, I would successfully solve fewer than one in three puzzles and I would take an hour or more for each.

      Today, I jumped around the grid following the checkers as they appeared.The SW corner remained totally blank until RUMBA sprang to mind, but it was the NW corner that caused me the most trouble. I entered ACCEDE only faintly and with a question mark, but took a full ten minutes to get my last two in – BANKING and CONFIRM. I don’t know why they took so long, but they just did.

      Mrs Random knocked it off in 26 minutes, which is also about par for her at the moment, although she often records a sub-20 time. So, all’s as to be expected here today.

      Many thanks to Alfie and John.

  16. Like many I was also trying to fit consecutive letters into 1ac, and for the second time this week I failed to spot “better” as gambler for 1dn, which meant the NW corner was fairly blank until the end.

    I didn’t have an issue with 20ac “Quip” (whether it is technically correct or not).

    FOI — 4ac “Adhere”
    LOI — 11ac “Exit”
    COD — 1dn “Ambler”

    Thanks as usual!

  17. Bit of a slog for me today, getting very held up in the NW and needed pen and paper for a number of the anagrams.
    Crossed the line in 13.35 with LOI DAIL, which I had a complete brainfreeze on.
    Thanks to John
  18. Slow but enjoyable progress so over our target. Slow to see yonder, as a synonym for that. Thanks Alfie and for the blog.
  19. Solved this during the breaks in coverage at The Masters. It would not have been quick if timed properly.
    A few went in without parsing and with the odd eyebrow raise (ACCEDE) but I enjoyed it and in the end there was nothing I couldn’t get, although four in the SW held out for a long time. LOI was WARMTH after SORROW.
    Favourite was BANKING.

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