Times Quick Cryptic No 2159 by Rongo

This was my first Rongo Quick Cryptic  to blog since December 2019. Nothing too difficult, I think, although one definition is a bit tricky, and I finished in a below average time of just under 5 minutes. I liked the underground prison best. Thank-you Rongo! How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword, which is, in celebration of the 30th East Anglian Beer Festival this week, entitled “More beer, please” here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 53 here.

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

7 Commercial liable to change (5)
ADAPTAD (commercial) APT (liable), as in having a tendency to do something.
8 Randomly do a hunt for benefit payment? (4-3)
HAND-OUT – (do a hunt)* [randomly].
10 Letter from Greece with unambiguous description of reactor (7)
NUCLEARNU (letter from Greece) CLEAR (unambiguous).
11 Lightly touch igloo’s exterior area next to house (5)
PATIOPAT (lightly touch) IgloO [‘s exterior].
12 Mad hysteria about large mullet, say (9)
HAIRSTYLE –  (hysteria)* [mad] [about] L (large).
14 Very black expression of grief (3)
SOBSO (very) B (black).
15 One or several mainly avoiding odd characters (3)
ANY –  Every other letter of mAiNl[avoiding odd characters].
16 Bag containing second part for stew (9)
CASSEROLECASE (bag) [containing] S (second), ROLE (part).
18 Dryer, going as far as unfinished water hole (5)
TOWELTO (going as far as) WEL{l} (water hole) [unfinished].
20 Cheese in bed eaten by educated woman? (7)
RICOTTACOT (bed) inside, [eaten by], RITA (educated woman)… remember the film Educating Rita?
22 Waste very long time in underground prison (7)
DUNGEONDUNG (waste) EON (very long time).
23 Pinch gesture of smartphone user (5)
SWIPE – Double definition, the first = steal.
1 Yellow part of sofa in the art edifies (5-7)
FAINT-HEARTED – Hidden in, [part of], soFA IN THE ART EDifies.
2 Bless its fancy flourishes (8)
SANCTIFY – (its fancy)* [flourishes].
3 Street leading to the old eyesore? (4)
STYEST (street) YE (the, old).
4 Hot under the collar, like a buttoned-up garment? (6)
SHIRTY – Double definition, the second a cryptic hint. This didn’t come to mind without all the checkers.
5 Reportedly achieved end of war, not like Bikini (3-5)
ONE-PIECE – Sounds like, [reportedly], WON PEACE (achieved end of war). That scores fairly high in my groanworthy scale… so thumbs up to it!
6 Defensive position in favour of Tories’ leader (4)
FORTFOR (in favour of) Tories’ [leader].
9 Agitator’s Russian money, millions received by person accepting offer (12)
TROUBLEMAKERROUBLE (Russian money) M (millions), inside, [received by], TAKER (person accepting offer). We had this answer in Monday’s 15×15.
13 Fancy old lace’s fake, by implication? (2-6)
SO-CALLED – (old lace’s)* [fancy]. Oo. That’s a bit of a tricky definition, but fair enough.
14 Blended drink: mix it somehow without whiskey (8)
SMOOTHIE -Anagram, [mix],  of (it someho{w})* [without] the W (whiskey in the NATO phonetic alphabet). Easier to biff than to solve from the wordplay.
17 Draped garment to hang loosely around Master Weasley? (6)
SARONGSAG (hang loosely) [around] RON (Master Weasley), from those Harry Potter books/films.
19 Briefest bit of shuteye! (4)
WINK – Cryptic definition. One of forty so it must be pretty brief. I liked this one too.
21 Copper put on special point (4)
CUSPCU (chemical symbol for copper) SP (special).

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2159 by Rongo”

  1. 19:48. Liked a lot of words starting with S- SHIRTY, SMOOTHIE and SARONG. Also some that didn’t – CUSP and TOWEL . COD to ONE -PIECE.

  2. I finished in 29.27!
    It took til over half the puzzle for me to spot the hidden for faint-hearted. It was a lesson for me to really pick which end the definition is on and ensure I use the rest in word play. I was looking for a word that means edifies and ignoring the ‘yellow’ altogether.

    Also shout out to Rongo for using a Harry Potter reference, I love a reference that’s from within the past 20 years! (no hate on the Wagner reference from yesterday)

    I did not know Rita was an educated woman. Sorry to Rita.

    Foi: handout
    Loi: ricotta
    Cod: One piece. 🏴‍☠️

    1. I stayed in until 15:00 as there was no place to go today!

      The ‘portcullis’ grid and well hidden 1dn delayed my start considerably.

      FOI 6dn FORT
      LOI 23ac SWIPE
      COD 14dn SMOOTHIE
      WOD 20ac RICOTTA

      1. I was thinking of you while watching the lunchtime news. The owner of Skegness Raceway has invested £30,000 in a mock-up of the famous Las Vegas sign. It reads :

        NOT IN NEVADA”.

        Apparently it’s gone viral on social media.

        1. That is a bit weird, as this week our postal service is drifting back, and
          I received a long ordered book (early March!), a pictorial history of ‘Skegness’, all the way from Italy, via Amazon!
          I know the stadium well and I will find that signage.
          New ‘Elvis’ film out next week, starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Parker, interviewed on ‘Colbert’ just now! Viva Skeg Vegas!

    2. Educating Rita. Play by Willy Russell. Film starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters (Rita).

  3. 9 minutes, target achieved with a minute to spare and a welcome return to form for me after yesterday’s disaster and far too many missed targets in recent weeks. I wasn’t entirely sure of SWIPE until the checkers confirmed it had to be right.

    1. Millennial me was mildy eyebrow raising internally screaming ‘the swipe gesture and the pinch gesture are two different things! Swiping is not pinching! Swiping is not pinching! Swiping is not….. Oh.’

      Swiping is definitely pinching

      1. Ha ha. I thought someone might fall for that one, hence the pointer in the blog.

  4. Held up in the SW where TOWEL took ages. I suspected WINK might be one of the 40 but didn’t really fancy it so it was LOI, only going in once TOWEL confirmed the W. Special mention to FAINT HEARTED for a 12 letter hidden that remained undetected until well into the second half. Enjoyed DUNGEON too. Another reminder that I need to get properly on top of the Greek alphabet. All green in 14 for a good end to the crosswording week – fewest typos for ages.

  5. 21 minutes again.
    FOI: FAINT-HEARTED which opened up lots of crossers.
    LOI: SHIRTY with a shrug. As with the blogger needing all the checkers.
    Favourite: TROUBLEMAKER.

    I marked WINK as a DD but having read it again it’s probably a CD.

  6. First finish for a while at 12’40” with SHIRTY, SWIPE & CUSP last ones in when I was beginning to worry I’d never finish a quickie again. Nice Puzzle – thanks Rongo & John.

  7. Moved nicely clockwise until I slowed down coming up the left hand side. A bit of mental gymnastics to finish without getting out of breath in 23 minutes to take to my usual corner chair in the club. Have caught up on the missed puzzles for the week with no passes. Look forward to the weekend special with sun and a glass of cold ale in the garden.
    Thanks Rongo and John

  8. 1338 Black Death plague strain originates in modern Kyrgyzstan (article in The Times on Wed)

    13:38 with a full three minutes on LOI FORT.

    PATIO solved on my patio this morning.

    Never saw the hidden for FAINT-HEARTED.


      1. It was so good that I totally missed it until I came here – I’d confidently biffed it with all the checkers in place after a successful pass through the across clues.

  9. Very slow start but then a steady solve. Enjoyed this crossword with three excellent clues in DUNGEON, FAINT HEARTED and ONE PIECE.

    First in was HAND OUT and last CUSP.
    Thanks Rongo and John.

  10. FAINT HEARTED took an indecent amount of time to reveal itself – what a good hidden!

    I liked DUNGEON.

    Taken over target by 35 seconds or so.


  11. 19 mins

    I enjoyed this and thought there were some good clues. Nearly came unstuck on 14dn biffing “Cocktail” when I had the “t” and “i” at the end, but it didn’t parse and based on yesterdays issue with “Deception” I relooked at it.

    All the rest went in fairly steadily, although 1dn was cleverly hidden and 4dn needed all the checkers.

    FOI – 7ac “Adapt”
    LOI – 1dn “Faint Hearted”
    COD – 20ac “Ricotta”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. Saw FAINTHEARTED almost before I’d finished reading the clue – I’ve developed a Pavlovian reaction to the words “part of”. I wonder if the setters are having a competition to see who can produce the longest hidden word?

    Thanks for explaining the TO in TOWEL, John – I couldn’t see how it fitted in but now I do!

    FOI FAINTHEARTED, LOI SHIRTY, COD ONE-PIECE (chuckle), time 07:39 for an estimated 1.5K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Rongo and John.


  13. A happy end to the week. I seemed to be on wavelength for a change and finished in 10.38 with SHIRTY.
    I won’t list favourite clues apart from the well-hidden FAINTHEARTED and will simply offer thanks to Rongo for a good QC (which fits the ‘Q’ description for a change) and to John for his blog. Now to enjoy a sunny day. John M.

  14. Steady going today. Saw FAINT-HEARTED early so had plenty of useful checkers to work with. Took a while to understand SWIPE and slowed down at the end by CASSEROLE (no idea why), SO-CALLED and LOI SMOOTHIE.
    Particularly enjoyed the long hidden but COD goes to SHIRTY for the PDM.
    Finished in 9.33
    Thanks to John

  15. I don’t think I’ve attempted a Rongo crossword before, but I really liked this one. I thought that 1d was perhaps the best hidden clue I’ve seen to date. Very clever.

    27 minutes with minimal help.

  16. 13 minutes, seeing FAINT HEARTED early helping a lot. HAND OUT FOI, ONE PIECE COD and WOD to CUSP. A nice QC. Thanks. Off now to the golf course.

    1. Too hot for anything as strenuous as golf here. Off to the cathedral for some more beer shortly.

      1. I was given a real ale themed T-shirt as a birthday present a few years ago. below the picture of a foaming pint are the following words: Beer! More than just a breakfast drink!

        1. I have that shirt too – and another with a picture of a pint of stout, captioned “HELLO DARKNESS MY OLD FRIEND”.

          1. … and what is to be heard whilst a long swig of the ale in question is being taken? Well, “The Sound Of Silence”, of course!

  17. An excellent end to a scarcely believable week for me. 22 minutes today, with only Tuesday’s Izetti stretching me beyond the half hour mark. I daresay next week will bring me back down to earth, so I will enjoy the moment.

    All clues fully parsed today, except CASSEROLE, where I saw the S, but neither CASE nor ROLE. I guessed FAINT HEARTED was a hidden almost as soon as I read the clue, but I had to wait until I had most of its checkers for the solution to come. Unlike our blogger, I couldn’t biff SMOOTHIE and had to solve it from the wordplay. SO-CALLED was very nice, IMO.

    Many thanks to Rongo and John.

      1. Quite possibly. Although, even though I moved away many years ago, I still live only 5 miles from the sea. Just somewhat further East from BCP.

  18. Not at my sharpest this morning. Held up by SHIRTY, SO CALLED, TOWEL, WINK and LOI SMOOTHIE. Eventually checked out in 13:17. Thanks Rongo and John.

  19. Oh dear, failed on POI SHIRTY (biffed Churly , very dim). LOI SMOOTHIE. Took me a long time to get going. Slow to see hidden FAINT HEARTED too. Liked RICOTTA, PATIO, DUNGEON, SARONG, TOWEL and ONE-PIECE – made me smile.
    Not that easy, imo, but finally satisfying.
    Thanks, John. Look forward to w/e QC.

  20. Nothing too difficult and a nice end to a week in which I have struggled a bit. 15 minutes for completion with all parsed. I was obviously on Rongo’s wavelength!

    FOI – 8ac HAND OUT
    LOI – 14dn SMOOTHIE
    COD – 20ac RICOTTA with the large mullet at 12ac a close second!

    Thanks to Rongo and John

  21. Didn’t see the hidden for 1d, but a decent enough start with quite a few of the across answers on the first pass. Towel and Wink held me up, as did a wrong end of the clue Patio, but my longest delay was 23ac, Swipe – just couldn’t think of the right word. Crossed the line in what now looks like a slow 22mins. CoD to the missed Faint-Hearted. Invariant

  22. Meh … first attempt 26-mins and only had 5 or 6 answers.

    Came back and almost immediately spotted FAINT-HEARTED as I wrote the letters down to unscramble for anagram! After that mostly BIFD my way round. Stuck for last 5+ mins because I’d put two-PIECE for bikini which was blocking HAND-OUT.

    38-mins on second attempt for grand total of 1hr04.

  23. Another slightly slower solve today, at 12 minutes, but I liked it a lot. Hard to choose a COD – HAIRSTYLE, TOWEL and SO-CALLED all got ticks.
    I absolutely fail to understand why I couldn’t see the hidden at 1d – as Templar says, ‘part of’ shouts it out, and such an unusual collection of words is also a bit of a giveaway 😅
    FOI Adapt LOI Faint-hearted COD Shirty
    Thanks Rongo and John

    1. I agree that 1d fairly shouts ‘Hidden’ and starts us off but I was put off my stride by the number of letters needed. Got there in the end!

  24. Solved in two sittings with brain in gear for the second one. FOI 8a Handout. LOI 14d Smoothie. COD 20a the amusing Ricotta. Nice end to the week thanks to Rongo. Helpful blog from John.

  25. FOI ADAPT and LOI SMOOTHIE which I parsed post solve. I was very slow to see the hidden 1d and also struggled with SWIPE (it’s an age thing) and CUSP. COD to SHIRTY because it is a great word that I haven’t used for a while and seemingly very appropriate today. 9:09 for an OK day.

  26. I only missed one across clue (my LOI), which enabled me to biff FAINT-HEARTED. I’ve got a Private Eye style clue I want to use for that in some future Weekend QC ! I was delayed briefly by the swimsuit homophone, which wasn’t to my taste.

    COD FAINT-HEARTED (now that I see it)
    TIME 4:07

  27. Hi Mr L,
    Are you commenting on the W/e QC? If so, best to comment on John’s blog rather than here.
    best wishes 🙂

  28. Many thanks for giving it a go. Glad you enjoyed it. To avoid spoilers I will reproduce your comment on the solution bog and reply there.

  29. 11.34 PB for me, much much better than anything else I have achieved with the QC this week. For me it was one of those puzzles where I put in the answer and then tried to parse. Never did parse TOWEL so thanks for sorting that out.

  30. Some nice clues, was about to give up with 14d o/s but the Leffe kicked in and smoothie went in.
    COD faint hearted.

  31. A day of travel so came to this very late and with little to add to the comments above. 22 minutes in all, and COD to Faint hearted, which is one of the best hiddens I’ve seen.

    Swipe as a gesture though? Thought it was something one did, rather than a facial expression.

    Many thanks to John for the blog and I look forward to trying the Saturday Special.

    1. Now why has that come out with my name (so I’m not logged out) but without my avatar??

        1. Hmm. How odd. I’ll have a look….
          Your first 2 comments have no userid against them, which suggests you were logged out.. or maybe used the “remember me” of your email address without being logged in. Did you log in before your 3rd comment?

          1. Yes that’s it I did log in between 2nd and 3rd comment. Many thanks.

            But this is odd on two counts. Firstly, the system seems to be logging me out every close of day (despite me clicking “remember me”) and when I add my name at the end it is just a name not logging in to my account.

            Secondly, I wonder if this means I can use any old name?

              1. Yes you can. But you also have to add an email address so any abuse can be spotted by administrators and dealt with. It is a simple matter to require commenters to be logged in registered users, but we’ve always allowed anonymous users in the past and don’t want to force casual users to register unless we start to get a problem.
                As for getting logged out every day… I don’t know what’s happening there. The default was 48 hours or 2 weeks if you checked “remember me”, but since last weekend’s update the cookie should last 3 months now. Can you try clearing your cookies for the site and log in again… and let me know if you still have a problem? Thanks.

  32. Even later than usual tonight for various (quite boring) reasons. After a quick read through of the clues it looked rather difficult, but I gradually chipped away at it and completed it. I had no idea who the Weasley character was, which made it harder to crack SARONG. I agree with Cedric S above that FAINT HEARTED is one of the best hidden answers I have seen.

  33. Been on a round trip today of 340 miles for a much loved cousins funeral. Back home now and thought I’d ‘relax’ with the QC.
    Would have just about made my target but for the SMOOTHIE which held me up for 2 minutes. Finally over the line in 10.50.

  34. DNF – struggled with quite a few and just did not see FAINT, although guessed HEARTED, nor SMOOTHIE, even though I knew it was an anagram. Not my best day – I blame the heat!

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