Times Quick Cryptic No 2112 by Orpheus


13:46. I got garden-pathed on 1 Down and barely recovered. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much as of late. Last fall I enrolled (or ‘enroled’, as you might have it) in a master’s program in mathematics here in New York City. Trying to get my brain working again after six years as a stay-at-home dad. It’s quite enjoyable but sadly I haven’t had time for my beloved puzzles. Looking forward to getting back to them, and to all of you!



1   Inspired by others, teach self-control (9)

6   Little Christopher’s gear (3)
KIT = double definition

8   Small jazz group touring most of old Asian capital (7)
COLOMBO = COMBO around OL{d}
The capital of Sri Lanka.

9   Possibly mug popular singer (5)
I couldn’t see ROB for the life of me.

10   Impregnable base in USA, all newly set out (12)

12   Part of speech from bishop backing retired vicar, perhaps (4)
VERB = B + REV reversed

13   Greek character involved in radio talks (4)
IOTA = hidden

17   Uncompromising senior officer being conveyed outside (12)
Biffed this one.

20   Omnivorous mammal in Channel Islands eating grass (5)
COATI = CI around OAT

21   English friend entertaining Irish in Muslim state (7)
EMIRATE = E + MATE around IR

23   Cat briefly comes back to eat or drink (3)
SUP = PUS{s} reversed

24   Cockney primarily employed as nurse? (4,5)
EAST ENDER = first letter of EMPLOYED + AS + TENDER
Biffed this one, too, but the wordplay is lovely.


1   Blue vehicle overturning at end of motorway (4)
RACY = CAR reversed + last letter of MOTORWAY
Here is where I got into trouble and lost a good five minutes. I put NAVY = VAN reversed + Y. Bravo to Orpheus if they intended this to be misleading.

2   Absence of sound, as involving the French (7)
SILENCE = SINCE around LE (‘the’ in French)

3   Strange game, mah-jong, to begin with (3)
RUM = R.U. + first letter of MAH-JONG
I suspected this was RUM but took a long time to convince myself of the wordplay.

4   Line on map, one originally standing on counter (6)
ISOBAR = I + first lettetrs of STANDING ON + BAR
Couldn’t work out the wordplay, so I biffed it.

5   Exciting fact about small stream (9)
I wouldn’t normally equate ‘fact’ with ‘thing’ but I can see it. Like, “Tell me three things/facts about you.”.

6   Grilled dish from kitchen initially upset tiny child (5)
KEBAB = K + BABE reversed

7   Note from singer picked up by audience (6)
TENNER = homophone of TENOR

11   Reconstructed in Burma, extremely secure warship (9)
SUBMARINE = anagram of IN BURMA S{ecur}E

14   Doctor drank a pint, finally — from this? (7)
TANKARD = anagram of DRANK A {pin}T

15   Afterthought about one’s church sign (6)
PISCES = P.S. around I’S + C.E.

16   Evaluate a couple of vessels rounding end of cape (6)
ASSESS = A + SS SS around {cap}E

18   Vagrant’s cunning raised by political representative (5)
TRAMP = ART reversed + MP

19   Endure / Paddington, for example (4)
BEAR = double definition

22   Reportedly looked at small fish (3)
IDE = homophone of EYED

61 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2112 by Orpheus”

  1. I was wondering where you were, Jeremy; glad it wasn’t for any unpleasant reason (well, a master’s course in math would be unpleasant for me, but).
    I seem to have done more biffing than usual: INTRANSIGENT, EAST ENDER, ISOBAR. I’m glad NAVY didn’t occur to me; it’s just as good a solution as RACY. No bravo to Orpheus from me: this shouldn’t happen. 6:26.
    1. It seems we solved this puzzle similarly. Is there really a rule where there can’t be ambiguity with a clue? Sure, if there’s no way to tell the answers apart with crossing clues. This has indeed happened and I find that annoying. In this case I didn’t mind being fooled.
      1. There was a conversation about this here within the past few days where a few strong views were expressed. It’s no earlier than last Saturday if you want to scroll back and find it. I didn’t take part, but my view is that checkers are an integral part of crossword solving otherwise we wouldn’t need a grid, we could just have a list of clues to be solved in isolation.

    2. I’m fairly certain the RACY/NAVY thing has happened before but with the checked letters being the A and the Y – it was some time ago so I couldn’t name the puzzle, but I remember it causing a bit of a to do at the time.
  2. Hi newbie here, I failed this one miserably, and even looking at the answers I’m still a bit lost, so any help would be much appreciated!

    1a — does ‘inspired by’ mean to wrap around? I can’t see how inspired by others = rest around

    9a — who is Robin that is the popular singer? I can only think of pop superstar Robyn

    2d — I also got NAVY as my first word of the crossword :(. How does RACY mean ‘blue’?

    3d — does RUM mean strange in slang? Is RU a type of game? Like.. Rugby?

    22d — is IDE a type of fish? I looked it up in the dictionary and couldn’t find it

    Thanks everyone!

    My favourite clue was EASTENDER
    And new crosswordy words I learned today were RILL for small stream and CE for the church (of England)

    1. Inspire = to breathe in, to inhale
      Robyn’s a Swedish disco bunny, a robin is a bird
      racy = blue = naughty
      rum is strange, RU = Rugby Union
      ide, also spelled id, is a fish. There’s so many fish. Just wait

      EDIT: ninja’d by the ginger ninja

      Edited at 2022-04-13 03:40 am (UTC)

        1. You’ll find that ID/IDE crop up fairly frequently in the wordplay. However these fish swim almost exclusively in Crosswordland, and many of the online word games don’t recognize IDE.
    2. inspired: REST ‘inspires’, i.e. takes in, TRAIN.
      RACY: ‘blue’ as in ‘blue movie’, =racy, pornographic
      RUM: indeed, ‘rum’ (in the UK) means ‘odd, strange’
      RU=rugby union, one form of rugby; keep this one in mind, as ‘game’ etc. often clues RU
      IDE is indeed a type of fish; sometimes spelled ID. A popular fish in crosswords, and another one to keep in mind
      1. Does ‘game’ ever clue RL as in Rugby League? 😂

        I’m so glad for this blog, some answers are impenetrable without explanation

          1. It is! My mistake. It gave the meaning as another word for ‘silver orfe’ which I clicked on, not knowing that silver and orfe were two different links. So I was on the page for silver and not on the page for orfe.

            Thanks for your help!

            1. Tina, the free online version of Chambers is very unreliable for our purposes and I’ve never confirmed to my satisfaction what exactly it consists of despite its presenting itself as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary. It won’t find a very large number of words or give meanings that are in the printed version whilst at the same time it contains occasional words or meanings that aren’t. I understand the paid-for version (referred to by Jeremy above) is the full printed dictionary with possibly more recent updates, though I’ve never subscribed or had access to it myself.

              You’d be far better off using Collins as it is free online and it is also one of the two dictionaries said to be the sources relied upon by The Times cryptic setters, the other being the Oxford Dictionary of English, also available free online as ‘Lexico’ https://www.lexico.com/.

              One tip, when you are looking up a word to find a particular meaning and you have the relevant entry open you can use your browser ‘Find’ facility to search for a key word within that page. It can save a lot of scrolling down and unnecessary reading.

              Edited at 2022-04-13 06:47 am (UTC)

    3. X inspired by Y means X is breathed in by Y.

      Robin is a bird as you say.

      Blue means risqué; a comedian working blue might mean they use profanity in their set.

      RU is Rugby Union, and rum indeed means strange! Chambers lists the origin as “Cant”. What does that mean, Cantonese?

      IDE is a fish, closely related to the chub. Collins has a good free dictionary online; I use Chambers’ app which I paid for but which is well worth it.


      1. Ah thank you!

        I looked up IDE in the chambers online version and the Collins and I still can’t see it

        I feel like all of that info will come in handy in the future and I never would have worked it out otherwise

      2. Cant is “language specific to a particular group or profession and regarded with disparagement” (ODE). Often specifically “thieves’ cant”. (It’s also hypocritical talk. Dr. Johnson famously told Boswell, “Clear your mind of cant.”
        1. Ah yes well I know of that meaning of the word, but did assume that Chambers meant a language of origin!
    4. Don’t worry — I didn’t understand the parsing of 1ac either and I’ve been doing this for years.
    5. I represent the slow end of the board. Possibly the slowest. Regular DNFs and times over an hour. Although I have managed some sub-30 times.

      I post to give hope to others who aren’t racing through these.

      1. Oh i admit I’m still using an anagram solver sometimes too, or I would also be here for hours. I just can’t anagram very well.

        I’m also still using the check word feature sometimes! But I’m just really pleased that these puzzles are opening up to me now, they used to be truly incomprehensible

        Thank you for your welcome, I am impressed that you power on through and don’t just give up after half an hour!

        1. We’ve been there too. This blog has kept us going, being rather long in the tooth to start attempting cryptic puzzles!
        2. Sounds very much like how I started back in December* Perseverance to get as far as I can. Then when well and truly stuck, reveal a key word to open up more of the grid. I was encouraged by having a 30-min solve in my first fortnight or so but then was back out to over 2hrs total per day!

          Having done QC every weekday since and read the blog, I’ve slowly come to know many of the abbreviations and standard clues/answers. That just isn’t going to happen without regularly attempts – it’s like learning any skills, you’ve got to practice and fail (or perhaps even succeed!)

          There was also a point where I began to stop reading the clues as they exist and just see them as a set of words.

          Taking a break and coming back is also useful. I got stuck after 35-mins today with about half done. Really didn’t expect to get much further. Came back and banged in all but two in another 15-min stint. (That said, my third stint of 20-mins didn’t get me any further!)

          Learning the Greek alphabet is definitely useful, as there’s usually at least one clue per week involving.

          * If we discount my mate who went to Cambridge and solves them in 6-7 mins showing me how over thirty years ago! His tip for anagrams is to write the letters in a circle.

          1. “There was also a point where I began to stop reading the clues as they exist and just see them as a set of words.”
            Probably the best piece of advice, for any new solver.
        3. Before resorting to a solver you might like to try writing the letters down in the shape of a circle or square. I find they often come easier that way.
          1. My favorite method is to write the letters down in reverse order, in a straight line. I used to use the circle method, but reversing the order is more effective for me and doesn’t require any geometry. Often I will find the answer before I even finish writing down all the letters.

            The more I think about it, I think I know why this might work (for me). Writing the letters down in reverse order forces your mind to consider the letters separately from the words they are a part of. If you write the letters down in a shape, if you’re writing them in order, you can still be thinking of them grouped at the word level, which is a barrier to anagramming.

            Of course, once you have the letters down in the circle configuration, I admit this is a nice way to look at them and start to see other patterns.

            When I’m really stuck, sometimes it helps me to organize them alphabetically, perhaps grouped into vowels and consonants.

  3. 23 minutes also had NAVY as my FOI until I took the time to revisit.
    Lots of enjoyable tricky stuff.
  4. Columbo for COLOMBO. Doesn’t parse, unforgivable and I must have read it a million times in test match reports. Wish I’d done this on paper so I’d never have known. PISCES held out to the end, PS for afterthought came late! I’d been quite pleased with 13m before the pink square flashed up.
  5. Never thought of NAVY fortunately

    Otherwise enjoyable fare but I had some sort of moment and typed in SUBRAMINE. Whoops.

    Liked TANKARD. And as a former frequent presence on the Bath/Paddington line (but now committed to WFH) BEAR raised a faint grimace at the memory of staring at the “Cancelled” signs on the Departures Board on a Friday evening surrounded by a large throng and wondering when and if we’d get home. Happy days!

  6. Mainly straightforward but with a sting in the tail. Fortunately NAVY didn’t occur to me so I made good progress until my LOI COATI, where I toyed with CRATI and CHAYI before an alphabet trawl helped dredge the correct answer from the depths.
    Finished in 7.56.
    Thanks to Jeremy, good to have you back
  7. Followed somewhat leisurely in Jeremy’s footsteps with liberal biffing left, right, up and down. NHO IDE/COATI but cod and chayi were clearly incorrect and pot wouldn’t fit!
    COD PISCES particularly as it is said to be my star sign.
    Thanks everyone. Sun has got his hat on so going out to play.
  8. …I mombled the lesser known omnivorous mammal the CHAYI, with hay=grass (albeit dried grass).

    I think I’d have preferred “Omnivorous mammal in the Channel Islands eating cereal”.

    Doesn’t look like anyone else fell over that though! Must remember COATI — once I saw the right answer, I have seen it here before.

    Otherwise I thought it a neat puzzle.


    1. I very nearly fell into the CHAYI trap and, unfortunately, Mrs Random did.
    1. yup – if you NHO COATI (as I haven’t) then chayi is just as good of an option. In fact, more likely in my opinion as I’d never think of OAT as being grass.
  9. Did most of it in 9 – accepting oat for grass reluctantly. Thanks setter and blogger! Didn’t get restraint or Columbo because I had navy. Racy is just plain ridiculous for a quickie in my opinion. I’m glad many enjoyed the misdirection – personally not impressed in this case.
    1. I too thought Oat for Grass a bit of a stretch, luckily thought Racy first after getting Columbo, so dodged the misdirection. Thanks to all.
  10. Biffing meant I had COLUMBO for 8a, but otherwise was a very smooth solve at just under 7 minutes. I mostly enjoyed this so it’s a shame about the ambiguity at 1d, especially given NAVY in retrospect is a more obvious answer. Thankfully CAR is the go-to vehicle.
  11. I started with NAVY, but second one in, ISOBAR, led me to COLOMBO and a quick rethink without wasting much time. INTRANSIGENT was LOI until the proof reading, when I noticed PISCES had gone in as PICESS and messed up EOATI. 8:58. Thanks Orpheus and Jeremy.
  12. It’s a while since I invented a new word, but I thought “Cyaki” might be a type of grass for 20ac. Obviously, got the clue the wrong way round and didn’t see the potential omnivore.

    Other than that, I couldn’t parse 1ac “Restraint” (don’t think I’ve seen “inspired” as a way of enveloping a word before — not in the QC much anyway). Had the usual doubts about whether a submarine is a warship as well. Luckily “Navy” didn’t occur for 1dn or it may have sent me down the completely wrong path.

    FOI — 3dn “Rum”
    LOI — 20ac “Cyaki” — incorrect
    COD — 17ac “Intransigent”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. There’s was a submarine in my Battleships game — enjoyed the nostalgia as it went in.
    2. In my humble opinion, submarines are definitely warships, although their crew members think of surface warships as ‘skimmers’ or ‘targets’.
        1. Correct! Submarines are referred to as ‘boats’, but that doesn’t disqualify them as warships, defined as ‘an armed vessel for use in war’, which submarines most definitely are. Not all ships are warships, and not all submersibles are either, but a submarine is generally recognised as a submersible vessel, esp. for warfare.
          1. Fair enough – my simplistic (non-naval) reading was that a ship sailed on the surface of the water. However, as submarines can do that as well, I’ve kind of disproved my own argument!
  13. 12 minutes with no real problems, and mostly solved in sequence of looking — NAVY never occurring to me, thankfully, despite having been in it! The only clue that needed a second visit was COATI, which, incidentally, is described as a carnivore rather than an omnivore in my fully paid-up Chambers app. If it is indeed omnivorous as described by the Setter, I should be seeking a refund. Thanks Jeremy and good luck with the Math (as you would have it).
    1. Collins has ‘omnivore’ and so does Wiki. Chambers in print has ‘carnivore’ but its free online version and Lexico make no mention of diet. SOED has ‘carnivore’. I googled ‘what do coatis eat?’ and every site I looked at including various zoos and National Geographic says they are omnivorous.

      Edited at 2022-04-13 10:04 am (UTC)

    2. I think the confusion over the categorisation of the coati might stem from the fact that, taxonomically, they are members of the order Carnivora, so they could be described as carnivores, even though their diet is omnivorous.
  14. ….the NAVY, but I realised on the second pass that 1A had to be RESTRAINT and then all was well. Only just crept inside my target, but it didn’t seem particularly difficult. I biffed INTRANSIGENT.

    LOI RUM (only because I missed it on pass 2 !)
    TIME 4:54

  15. An entertaining puzzle, but one requiring a few guesses as parsing escaped me at first (INTRANSIGENT, EAST ENDER, COATI) – NHO IDE: like EFT from last week. Glad I did not think of NAVY for RACY: seems just as good an answer.
  16. 50+ min DNF – was left with PISCES and COATI (NHO). My chayi still gave me the C but couldn’t figure out what to do with “One’s”. Pleased at least to eventually figure out PS=afterthought.

    And I had IsE instead of IDE. As per last week the tense of “looked” should have flagged the correct answer up. So DNF guaranteed.

    Another struggle day overall … so many clues/answers I couldn’t parse KIT=little christopher?; RUM; ISOBAR, TRAMP, INTRANSIGENT, SINCE=as? and on it goes …

    So many took an age to figure out TENNER, ASSESS, COLOMBO, RACY (for some reason trying to use the M of motorway).

    A day where I needed the checkers to make progress.


    I guess the good thing is that I’m getting this mostly done now. A month ago I doubt I’d have got past 3 or 4 answers.

    Edited at 2022-04-13 12:38 pm (UTC)

    1. I know of Kit as an old-fashioned diminutive of Christopher. My father-in-law (b1902) had a cousin Kit.
  17. Sailed along smoothly , understanding most of wordplay, but thanks to blogger for many points of clarification. I realize I would have been under 20 minutes if I hadn’t been distracted by EAST ENDER and wasted time trying to remember all the Mitchells, Brannings, Moons etc on a certain very addictive TV show.
  18. Completed this morning in 22:49 after racing through about two thirds of it. Can’t remember what held me up now, but I know my LOI was INTRANSIGENT. I forgot to parse EAST ENDER, but it was good to see cockney used for something other than a missing H. COD to ROBIN. Thanks Jeremy and Orpheus.
  19. Totally caught out by having navy instead of RACY — so obvious now of course — this meant I couldn’t get RESTRAINT or COLOMBO… Couldn’t parse INTRANSIGENT as didn’t recognise GEN as senior officer. NHO IDE but biffed with fingers crossed. COATI seems to come up frequently so no problems there. Liked PISCES. Tricky one today I thought. Thanks to Jeremy and Orpheus.
  20. Very pleased to finish all correct today, albeit quite hard work in several places. My FOI was KIT, but one of its dependents (TENNER) was my first LOI. ‘First LOI’? Yes – I put down my pencil and was about to come here, but (fortunately) picked it back up again to re-examine CHAYI. A more thorough alphabet trawl unearthed COATI, so I was faced with a coin-toss decision. Luckily, I guessed correctly, my second LOI became COATI and I crossed the line in exactly 40 minutes. Less fortunately, Mrs R had chucked in CHAYI and, after 21 minutes, had gone off “to do something more productive” with her life.

    My favourite clue was PISCES (my third-last in). Very well constructed, I thought.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Jeremy.

  21. Got through this fairly rapidly with the exception of the NW where of course I had NAVY at 1dn. This corner probably added 4 minutes or so to my time as I stared in vain at 1ac and 8ac. Eventually the penny dropped at 1dn which enabled 8ac and 1ac and 3dn followed in short order (not sure why 3dn had proved problematic). Eventually all sorted out in 18 minutes but with several unparsed, so thanks to Jeremy for the explanations on those.

    FOI – 6ac KIT
    COD – 24ac EAST ENDER

  22. Did navy but changed it.
    Happy with that sort of misdirectiom
    All done and dustef
    Liked isobar
  23. I also fell into the Navy trap.

    I had a relative who served in submarines. He would not like them being described as warships.They were always boats, never ships.

    Edited at 2022-04-13 07:48 pm (UTC)

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