Times Quick Cryptic No 2128 by Parkin

So we have a new setter today (or a new name at least): the word ‘Parkin’ has cropped up a few times in crosswords past, clued as a gingerbread or teatime snack (and completely forgotten by me). It looked like we were in for an easy one, with the first five clues going straight in, but things got trickier and I ended up a good couple of minutes over target – hard to be precise, because at the time of solving the clues/answers to 10ac/19ac were transposed, giving the ‘Unlucky!’ sign. 12, 18 and 20ac all held me up at the end with good misdirection, and overall this was a top-notch QC – many thanks to Standard family fare at teatime!

1 Word of gratitude repeated for so long (2-2)
TA-TA TA (word of gratitude) repeated
4 Corpses rotten fellow declares (8)
CADAVERS – CAD (rotten fellow) AVERS (declares)
8 Transforming hospital, minor GP reforms (8)
MORPHING – anagram (reforms) of H(ospital) MINOR GP
9 Fascinated by Badminton shows (4)
INTObadmINTOn “shows”
10 Go down the pub, perhaps — not a nice one? (4)
DIVEdouble definition
11 Note article by small auction house (8)
SOTHEBYS – SO (note, do, re mi, etc.) THE (article) BY S(mall)
12 Base, initially perhaps long, is not that heavy (6)
PLINTH – “initially” Perhaps Long Is Not That Heavy.
14 Not much left in rubbish mostly (6)
LITTLE – L(eft) in LITTEr (rubbish “mostly”)
16 May want nothing, HRH, surprisingly (8)
HAWTHORN – anagram (surprisingly) of WANT O [nothing] HRH
18 Gamble: cut it fine? (4)
DICE – double definition. I was initially toying “do ok” giving DOOK.
19 After month, reserve computer accessories (4)
MICE – after M(onth) ICE (reserve)
20 Girl training in gym originally getting fit (8)
ADAPTING – ADA (girl) PT ([Physical] Training) IN G (Gym “originally”)
22 Joint I hesitate to say in street’s for trendies (8)
HIPSTERS – HIP (joint) ER (I hesitate to say) in ST.’S (street is)
23 I’m returning cake, evenly cut, for boy (4)
MICK -MI (I’m “returning”) C a K e “evenly cut/removed”. I originally had MIKE, which sort of, er, half works.


2 Avoiding contact when old spies call, finally (7)
ASOCIAL AS (when) O(ld) CIA (spies) L (calL “finally”)
3 Very quietly tucking into beer and fruit (5)
APPLE – PP (very quietly) tucking into ALE (beer)
4 Check on one foreign character (3)
CHI – CH(eck) on I (one)
5 Fancy Italian offloading a drug (9)
DIGITALIN – DIG (fancy) ITALIaN “offloading A”
6 Restless natives, most proud! (7)
VAINEST anagram (restless) of NATIVES
7 Bad-tempered friend of Mole (5)
RATTY double definition
11 Choose gal misbehaving, old enough to be taught a lesson? (6-3)
SCHOOL-AGE anagram (misbehaving) of CHOOSE GAL
13 Speaks idly of Nato, terse, never coming to a conclusion (7)
NATTERS – NATo TERSe never coming to a conclusion”
15 Short coil can, when twisted (7)
LACONIC – anagram (when twisted) of COIL CAN
17 Bishop, one supporting boxer’s defence (5)
ALIBI – B(ishop) I (one) supporting ALI (boxer)
18 Mother with trade union in fact (5)
DATUM – DAM (mother) with TU (Trade Union) in
21 Unhappy to have head dropping commercials (3)
ADS – SAD (unhappy) to have its head (S) dropping


38 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2128 by Parkin”

  1. Another foulup: It would appear that MICE and DIVE were matched to the wrong clues, so everyone currently on the club leaderboard has 2 errors. Fortunately for me, I couldn’t finish–never got HAWTHORN, never would have.
    1. N’ere cast a clout til May is out… Thought that was Hawthorn blossom rather than the month…?

  2. Mr T, I am trying to contact you. I have sent several emails, but I suspect you have not gotten them. I also sent you a LJ message.

    Please email me, vinyl1, at earthlink.net, from the email address you are currently using. Thanks in advance.

  3. Since ‘parkin’ is a type of bread or cake I wondered if our new setter might be Breadman under another guise, but I now think it more likely he is Mick Hodgkin, the Times new Puzzles Editor who has just replaced David Parfitt in that position. David used to set for us as Hawthorn who incidentally gets a name-check at 16ac. MICK appears at 23ac and we have MORPHING INTO and ADAPTING to add to the feeling of change in the air. Just noticed TA-TA at 1ac to go with HAWTHORN too!

    As for the puzzle, I found this very hard and needed 15 minutes to finish it.

    Edited at 2022-05-05 05:15 am (UTC)

    1. Dave appears in CADAVERS, and Mr Hodgkin sets as Morph in the Independent.
      1. Thanks. I suspected there was more that I had missed. So now we have TA-TA DAVE in the first line!

        I forgot to ask earlier, did I imagine that when the computer mouse first appeared there were some who insisted that its plural should be ‘mouses’?

        Edited at 2022-05-05 09:08 am (UTC)

        1. Wiktionary has:
          (computing, rare, originally prescribed, now sometimes proscribed) plural of mouse (computer peripheral)
        2. I was/am decidedly on my high horse about MICE as “computer accessories”.

          Not because it’s technically wrong but because having worked in IT for the better part of twenty years, I never heard anyone say it.

          Consulted my friend who worked in desktop at the place we worked – well over 1,000 desk – and she says no-one ever used the term.

          I guess that doesn’t invalidate it but it just felt MER to me.

          1. Well, but that’s because no-one ever talks about more than one mouse – I also work in IT, and can’t think of a single occasion I’ve ever needed the plural form. You’d need to ask someone who works in the manufacture, shipment or even sale of mice/mouses to find out what the going term is
            1. Yeah, I thought about that which is why I asked my desktop friend as she would almost certainly have been involved in ordering more in at some such.

              Just took a look at the Currys-PCWorld website and they refer to “mice” and “Mice and keyboard packages”. So there we go.

              It’s correct but it feels like nails on a blackboard for me. I’d always change my sentence to avoid using the plural.

        3. Ha – I just spotted it: DAVE “morphs” into MICK:
          Very good, shame about the error when the puzzle was first posted
  4. Started quickly with FOI: TA-TA then CADAVERS and all the downs running from them mopping up the NW corner too, things slowed down considerably from thereon. Teasing out answers from wordplay bit by bit to LOI: HAWTHORN by which time I had passed 40 minutes. Tough for a QC in my opinion, or was it just me?


  5. PLINTH was a notable high point. NHO HAWTHORN for May, or DIGITALIN. Cut my cake in half to get MIKE and when that was spoilt by LACONIC I went to the other end of cake and inspired by Mr Richards put in MICA instead, not that that us how to spell his name, so that gave me a proper pink square to go with the ones for the DIVE / MICE mix-up. Didn’t really enjoy this one.

    Edited at 2022-05-05 09:33 am (UTC)

  6. This was hard.

    I gave up at 11:54 with ADAPTING and HAWTHORN nowhere near complete. Not helped by biffing DIGITALIS as was no doubt intended (even though in retrospect it was clear enough!)

    Maybe with more time I’d have got there.


  7. Quite a few errors in the crosswords at the moment. Hope it’s just a blip.
    Thanks, r.
  8. Superb crossword. Nice and hard. Surprised myself by finishing after much rumination.
    Thought I would check the blog to see if it was a new setter, as I couldn’t recall a Parkin. Also wondered about a theme. Thanks, Rolytoly, Lady Chatterley’s first lover, and Jackkt.
  9. Chewy in places. I made the mistake of biffing DIGITALIS, not having heard of the correct answer. I then fell into the MIKE trap which, like Mendesest, I then changed to MICA, so I got a dreaded pink square. LOI HAWTHORN looked like it was going to be intractable until inspiration struck.
    Thanks to Roly for the blog.
  10. 18 minutes with the mishap errors at 10a and 19a which are unavoidable — sloppy editing? I also thought that the connection between definition and answer for HAWTHORN was tenuous at best, and a step too far for a QC. MIKE was a perfectly acceptable alternative answer to 23a until LACONIC forced a rethink. DATUM does not necessarily equate to a fact. All-in-all quite a shoddy debut for our new Puzzles Editor, which is a disappointment. Sorry to be negative.
    1. I agree it’s not the best of starts, but I didn’t look twice at ‘May/hawthorn’. We had such a tree in our garden all through my childhood and it was always referred to as ‘the May tree’ although I was also aware of its other name. It refers to its blossom which comes out in May.
  11. After a bruising experience on Wordle this morning, I came to this.
    I started very quickly and noticed a new setter. Too easy was my first thought. That quickly vanished.
    I had time so kept going. Two errors of mine nearly proved fatal (my newspaper has no errors in the puzzle): SAD at 21d and DIGITALIS -like others. I could not see why HIPSTERS was wrong.
    Eventually I corrected my errors and got LOI HAWTHORN.
    All correct and took me close to 30 minutes.
    Clever detective work by other solvers. This looks like a farewell to David Parfitt and hello to Mick Hodgkin.
    COD to PLINTH.
  12. Took me well over my target to get through this one. Fortunately the errors mentioned seem to have been corrected by the time I emerged to do battle. It started off innocuously enough but then got tricky. Took a while to see DIVE, and LOI, HAWTHORN took some sorting! Nice theme. 14:29. Thanks Parkin and Roly.
  13. I found this much too hard for a QC. Didn’t enjoy it at all. I hope the new editor has not stolen my daily pleasure.
  14. I was also lulled into a false sense of security. After the NW corner went in rapidly,
    I wondered whether we had a new setter on the easier side. 30 mins later, and still quite a number of clues to complete, I think I had my answer 😀.

    A few I probably should have got (14ac “Little”, 21dn “Ads” — put it the wrong way round — and 22ac “Hipsters”), but DNK 5dn “Digitalin” and forgot the other meaning of “Dice”.

    FOI — 1ac “Ta Ta”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 4ac “Cadavers”

    Thanks as usual!

  15. I think the fact that the red squares here contain D, V, M and C is probably a clue to the history of this puzzle. The compiler was possibly planning to include Dave and Mick as straightforward names. But then it got re-jigged and played around with until we ended up with the glaring errors.

    It’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

  16. Got there successfully after ruling out digitalis and Mike and Mica. Favourites were ASOCIAL , ALIBI and HIPSTERS. Thanks for helpful blog. Just googled Mica as a name and the American Bible Society says it is an alternative to Micah. So should that answer be acceptable since the parsing also works?

    Edited at 2022-05-05 01:58 pm (UTC)

  17. Similar experience to others in that I started off with a bang but slowed down as I progressed through the puzzle. Not helped by initially entering SAD at 21dn. Managed to finish in 24 mins with all parsed. I solve on the printed paper so wasn’t affected by the transposition of clues which plagued others.

    FOI – 1ac TA-TA
    LOI – 2dn ASOCIAL
    COD – 13dn NATTERS – don’t think I’ve seen this exact clueing device before.

    Thanks to Parkin and Rolytoly

  18. ….although, had I come to it earlier when the errors were uncorrected, my pleasure would have been more than slightly diminished. Did I spot the theme ? Certainly not, and you all know me better than that ! I carelessly biffed ‘digitalis’ but my LOI corrected it for me — literally ! Missed my target, but no complaints.

    TIME 5:26

  19. Three in a row after 14 straight DNFs

    Admittedly it took me well over two hours. 1hr10 timed and then thinking about it sat in the garden enjoying the sun for 2-3 hours this afternoon.

    I felt this was 90% great, 10% awful. Full of words I’d never use but generously clued. Except the ones I struggled with!

    MICE – may or may not be the correct plural but it’s not a word anyone I know in IT ever used.

    MIKE then MICA then MICK

    ADS – don’t understand where the S comes from? I get that commercials = ads; just not why I should be adding an S.

    NHO DAM for mother.

    1. As the blog says quite clearly, the wordplay is unhappy = sad, with the head dropping, meaning move the first letter down in this down clue, to the end of the word, to give ADS, which fits the definition — commercials.

      Well done for persevering!

      1. It does indeed say it. I had assumed “head dropping” was synonymous with “losing its head” and needed this fuller explanation that it drops to the end.

        Thank-you very much Mr Rotter

  20. Either I’m getting worse or the QC is getting harder because that was the first time I’ve had to throw in the towel with 6 clues unanswered.
    1. Take heart, dearhector, I’ve had a bad few weeks too, including a couple of DNFs. I’ve redeemed myself several times along the way but I have to go back to the second week of March to find the consistent level of success that I expect of myself.
  21. I couldn’t get HAWTHORN at first glance, so I went away and did the 15×15. When I came back I saw it immediately. Then I got the 4 pink squares due to the error in how the solution had been entered (or perhaps the clues).
  22. Too hard and a miserable DNF. Could not get to grips with the bottom half at all apart from a couple. Just not on the wavelength for half a dozen clues. Poorest effort for ages. Hopibg for something more approachable tomorrow.

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