Times Quick Cryptic No 2163 by Teazel

Another great puzzle from Teazel which took me 11 minutes to crack, a reasonably good time for me.  I thought 14a was very cleverly disguised and award that COD, with CUSHY my WOD.  I can’t give anything to the Eagles (4d).  They currently sit 7th in next season’s premier league table (alphabetic sorting) and I don’t see them getting higher than that in the 22/23 season – but I hope they do – I wish them well, as I do all the smaller teams.

Thanks, Teazel, and I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did.


 1  Bike on call for several nights at the opera (4,5)

RING CYCLE – RING (call) and CYCLE (bike).  Referring, of course, to Richard Wagner’s epic work ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ which comprises four very big operas, hence ‘several nights at the opera’.

6  Charlie Bishop fed with old loaf (3)

COB – C{harlie) and B{ishop} containing (fed with) O{ld}.  In my experience, COB for loaf is more often heard in the north of England than in the south.

Humility in dirty place, after a fashion (7)

MODESTY – MODE (fashion) and STY (dirty place).

9  Little pets stealing half of my footwear (5)

PUMPS – PUPS (little pets) containing M{y} (half of MY).

10  Cornered by the sea (2,3)

AT BAY – Double definition.

12  A particular church’s unusual roofing? (6)

THATCH – THAT CH{urch} (If I am indicating that church, I am pointing out a particular church).

14  Ignore foul: undeniable try (4,1,5,3)

TURN A BLIND EYE – Anagram (foul) of [UNDENIABLE TRY].  COD for the clever surface.

16  A small month in a yacht basin (6)

MARINA – MAR{ch} (a small month) IN A (in a).

17  Fly around circle in dance (5)

TANGO – GNAT (fly) reversed (around) and O (circle).

19  Entire? With gap (5)

WHOLE – W (with) and HOLE (gap).

20  Craftsman’s painting is given a name (7)

ARTISAN – ART (painting) IS (is) A (a) N{ame}.  We seem to have seen ARTISAN quite frequently recently.

22  Something cooked, right off the jetty (3)

PIE – PIE{r} (R{ight} off the jetty – remove last letter from PIEr.

23  Paradise where, having died, alderman transported (9)

DREAMLAND – Anagram (transported) of [ALDERMAN] and D{ied}.


1  Batter sections in defensive earthworks (8)

RAMPARTS – RAM (batter) and PARTS (sections).

2  Spaniard rises for cursory greeting (3)

NOD – DON (Spanish gentleman) reversed (rises).

3  Copper diffident, not demanding (5)

CUSHY – CU (copper) and SHY (diffident).  That’s cushty!

This team shouldn’t chuck stones about? (7,6)

CRYSTAL PALACE – Cryptic hint based on the old adage that ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

5  Give reasons for maybe one dumped on prairie (7)

EXPLAIN – EX (maybe one dumped) and PLAIN (prairie).

6  Be honest, what do you do in the shower (4,5)

COME CLEAN – Double definition, the second cryptic.

7  British plead to sunbathe (4)

BASK – B{ritish} and ASK (plead).

11  Seasonal song in plain setting, one from The Gondoliers? (9)

BARCAROLE – CAROL (seasonal song) inside BARE (plain).  A BARCAROLE is a gondolier’s song, which may be new to some, but is very generously clued.

13  Famous divorce centre – wife coming to bad end (8)

RENOWNED – RENO (divorce centre) W{ife} and ending in an anagram (bad) of [END].

15  Strong flavour eased in cooking (7)

ANISEED – Anagram (cooking) of [EASED IN].

17  Carry minute family emblem (5)

TOTEM – TOTE (carry – TOTE that barge) and M{inute}.

18  Change hands over (4)

SWAP – PAWS (hands) reversed (over).

21  At which one is confused, in the main? (3)

SEA – To be at sea is to be confused, and if at sea, one is in the main – double definition.

91 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2163 by Teazel”

  1. ‘song’ + ‘Gondoliers’ gave me BARCAROLE, which I then parsed. There’s a famous barcarole in ‘The Tales of Hoffman’; come to think of it, it’s the only barcarole I know. 5:35.

    1. That’s the one I know, but I know it as the Barcarolle, which confused me.

      1. I was surprised, when I went to find a YouTube link, to see that it’s also spelled with two L’s.

      2. I’m guessing that barcarolle is the French spelling. The composer, Offenbach was French though he sounds as Germanic as Hoffmann.

  2. 19:17. Lots of fun- a good mixture of pups,paws, gnat, and Reno in the wordplay and a touch of Wagner too. DREAMLAND and RENOWNED took me the longest to get. Only knew COB as horse so thanks for blog for the bread sense plus other illuminations!

  3. 10:58, but with an error when I failed to spot that I had an A not an E as the middle crosser, but was otherwise willing to convince myself that a gondolier might carry a BARGEPOLE. NHO BARCAROLE, now I have learned something today.

    My puzzle didn’t have a 16d, so that looks like an error in the blog.

      1. Yes, if I had taken the time to really think it through, I would have remembered that gondoliers use oars, not poles. More haste, less correct answers, as they don’t say. Thanks for the link, that’s a beautiful little piece of music.

    1. I’ll come clean, let me explain. Please turn a blind eye to 16d if you saw it (now edited out). It was left over from my last blog, which I edited to produce this one. My usual quality control checks must have let me down – maybe I was all at sea at the time. Anyway, now fixed – thanks for pointing it out.

  4. This took me all of twenty minutes, from Crystal Palace to Ingoldmells, due to the rail strike and me being well off the wavelength for most of that time.

    FOI 27ac PIE as I started at the bottom.
    LOI 3dn CUSHY Butterfield – and I wish she was here!
    WOD 29ac DREAMLAND – between Chapel-St-Leonard’s and Butlin’s Skegness lies Ingoldmells,home to ‘Dreamland’ A massive, noisy and gaudy amusement arcade which seemed like Paradise when we were kids. Now it appears to be Purgatory!

    At 11dn I too entered BARGEPOLE (accidentally), until the RYC put me right – l sincerely hoped I was alone! But l note that Mr. Doofenschmirtz has already been ticked-off by Kevin -and given extra music homework!

    I would imagine that 4dn Crystal Palace FC, once under the management of ‘Woy of the Wovers’, would give our American Cousins pause for thought?

  5. 7 minutes. Biffed CRYSTAL PALACE from ‘team’, enumeration and a couple of checkers but missed the rather good cryptic element until after the event.

  6. 8.19

    Wanted that long one to be TEAR A STRIP OFF even though it had no connection to the clue. I’ll blame the lack of coffee. Clever anagram though. Liked RENOWNED too

    Thanks Rotter and Teazel

    1. Solving without stimulants? Me too! Blue Mountain as soon as I have completed!

      1. My apologies, I scanned through the earlier posts without noting Doof’s note.

  7. And indeed with ‘anideed’ a good run of not having any typos comes to an end. Pity as at 12m I was pleased with today’s effort. Had ‘wedge’ for WHOLE for a bit until I saw where the ‘carol’ of BARCAROLE needed to go even though an edge isn’t a gap. Didn’t know RENO was a divorce centre, unexpectedly knew RING CYCLE and PUMPS as a type of shoe but totally NHO BARCAROLE and didn’t submit withouth checking such a thing existed. Testing fun.

  8. 27 minutes.
    Made this tough for myself by misspelling PALACE, ICE instead of ACE. I blame it on being a down clue. This made my LOI: ARTISAN impossible until I spotted my error.
    The NHO RING CYCLE got from wordplay then checking on WIKI post solve. The same with BARCAROLE. Sometimes you just trust the cryptics and get the correct answer even if it’s an unknown.

  9. 35 minutes but a lot of it was spent on the Barcarole (nho) and Marina for some reason.

    Ring Cycle I knew because I had to look up Wagner for a recent puzzle. Crystal Palace I think I got from watching Ted Lasso recently.

    Foi: Cob
    Loi: Marina
    Cod: Come clean. I love a pun, so cryptic definition clues delight me.
    Thanks Rotter and Teazel!

  10. On great form today as this took me 6½ minutes, even without having the first idea why divorce centre gives Reno. Perhaps in the US “they talk of little else”, but not one I know.

    14A Turn a blind eye is both a great anagram and an extremely impressive surface. It would have been my COD, but that has to go to Rotter’s 16D, henceforth known as the Russian clue: “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. Certainly a mystery …

    Many thanks for the blog – I do really appreciate the slightly fuller explanations.

      1. Thank you. On fire in more ways than one as I am driving north (courtesy of no trains) in the hot sun with the aircon off (courtesy of £2 a litre fuel and the need to drive more economically).

        A little smile at 22A Pie as I have just passed Wigan, home to the eponymous Pier, and of course to numerous Pies.


  11. A very good puzzle – thanks to Teazel. I picked off many of the shorter answers and then went carefully through the rest. Not quite carefully enough, though. My LOI was SWPP….. Nevertheless, I was pleased to be within my 15 min target even with my typo correction. Thanks to Rotter – back to his full and helpful blog now to enjoy some of the neat clues at leisure. John M.

  12. Had to check spelling of BARCAROLE and spent a while getting DREAMLAND and RENOWNED but managed to get there in the end.

  13. Not quite on the wavelength this morning, as is quite often the case with Teazel

    As above, the single L in BARCAROLE threw me slightly (in fact it’s that Garanca/Netrebko recording that I know), and that was my LOI, but RENOWNED and DREAMLAND also held me up.

    TURN A BLIND EYE was a vg clue, and my favourite today.


  14. “Origin. Late 18th century French, from Venetian Italian barcarola ‘boatman’s song’, from barca ‘boat’.” Every day’s a school day.

    FOI RING CYCLE, LOI BARCAROLE, COD TURN A BLIND EYE (what a lovely surface), time 06:37 for 1.3K and a Very Good Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Rotter.


  15. Another quick one for me, although, like others, I was surprised to find BARCAROLE spelt with only 1 L and hesitated over that. Apart from the Offenbach already mentioned, the only others I could think of are by Chopin (listen to it here) and the 3 Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn. COD for me was PUMPS for the image conjured by the surface. Thanks Teazel and Rotter. 3:47.

  16. 13 mins and pleased with it because halfway through this felt like a real toughie.

    COD RENOWNED although only parsed RENO post biff and it rings a bell but I wouldn’t have known it if independently asked for the divorce centre of the US.

    Thanks Teazel and Rotter

    Was looking late last night at yesterdays comments. Some of the times mentioned are off-the-scale amazing – I couldn’t hit them just by copying the answers in or filling up the grid with random letters😳

  17. Finished fairly quickly and much enjoyed wit. Liked TURN A BLIND EYE, CRYSTAL PALACE, BARCAROLE, RING CYCLE. Finished RHS first, jumping around the grid a bit.
    Thanks all, esp ROTTER

  18. Bit of a slog and firmly back in the SCC today. Always find Teazel puzzles get my grey cells firing… FOI RING CYCLE, then patchy success over the next 10 mins or so. Finally began to fall with CRYSTAL PALACE, DREAMLAND and LOI PUMPS (did not think of pups for some reason!). All parsed bar RENOWNED (did not think of RENO, thought ‘o’ was centre of ‘divorce’, then was left with ‘ren’ – many thanks Rotter). Very enjoyable workout. Thanks Teazel.

  19. A strange solving experience: a very fast start; then becalmed; then reasonably quick to finish after getting the difficult RENOWNED and some others. I live quite near Crystal Palace but I needed all the checkers.
    LOI should have been BARCAROLE, a word I knew. But that revealed my error at 22a where I had POT; a port lacking R.
    14:43 in the end. An excellent QC with lots of good surfaces and some tricky but gettable words.

  20. Started with CUSHY, finished with MODESTY. No dramas. 7:44. Thanks Teazel and Rotter.

  21. 24 mins…

    One of my issues with the big crossword is that I can never seem to get a foothold to get going. Worryingly, this seems to be starting with the QC as well. Needed the NE corner before I got any entries which slowed me right down.

    Overall though some good clues, and whilst I’d NHO 11dn “Barcarole” it was generously clued.

    FOI – 6ac “Cob”
    LOI – 3dn “Cushy”
    COD – 6dn “Come Clean”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. Took me longer than usual… just under 40 mins. Got off to a flying start but held up by BARCAROLE which I parsed but have NHO.
    I suppose it depends where you live but I wouldn’t consider THATCH a particularly unusual roof covering in many parts of England.
    13D was my LOI. Took ‘divorce centre’ to indicate a O and struggled to see where REN came from.
    Thanks Rotter and Teazel

  23. Made good progress (for me), slowed slightly at the end and then came to a juddering halt at BARCAROLE – NHO. DNK that Reno was a centre for divorce, mainly biffed. Fun all the same. Thanks, Teazel.

  24. MODESTY forbids that I should TURN A BLIND EYE at my stupidly biffed ‘song cycle’, but once I climbed the RAMPARTS I was on my bike with Herr Wagner’s masterwork.

    I started very poorly, and on the first pass TANGO was only my second one in. Eventually I scraped inside my target, but I didn’t think it was that difficult – it was just my brain suffering the mental equivalent of a slow broadband speed.

    I’ve only ever seen BARCAROLE with a single L. And I’ve only ever been ALL AT SEA.

    TIME 4:49

    * The Morris MARINA, not British Leyland’s greatest creation, was the standard company car at Federated Insurance when I joined in 1978. I remember my boss taking his in to the dealership because the carpet in nearside footwell was soaking wet – this wasn’t an uncommon problem with that model – but he had to chuckle when the Service Manager remarked with a wink that “you’ve got to expect water in a MARINA !”

  25. Finished in 8.34 and found this a pleasant middle of the road puzzle.
    There seems to be a lot of discussion about the spelling of 11dn. I went wrong by putting in BACCAROLE before changing the c to an r to suit 14ac. Am I imagining it, or is this an alternative spelling not so far mentioned? I’ve many a time listened to Offenbach’s musical piece that I thought was spelt this way.

  26. Very slow to get started but the mental fog started to clear and ended up at a reasonable clip. NHO BARCAROLE and had no idea that RENO was associated with divorces but fortunately Wagner’s RING CYCLE is gradually getting embedded in my crossword vocabulary.
    Crossed the line in an over target 10.35 with LOI CRYSTAL PALACE.
    Thanks to Rotter and Teazel

  27. Both 1a (RING CYCLE) and 1d (RAMPARTS) eluded me until I had all of their checkers, so I had to work up from the bottom of the grid. I made steady progress in this endeavour, but rather struggled to populate the NW corner. However, 1a and 1d did finally fall and I was left just trying to parse TANGO and TOTEM. This took me 5 minutes, or so, and I crossed the line in 36 minutes. Perfectly acceptable in my book, given the setter.

    I have NHO the Gondolier’s song, so I had to rely only on my parsing of BARCAROLE, and I still have no idea why ‘divorce centre’ = RENO. Sounds like a load of guff to me. Can anyone explain?

    Unusually, Mrs Random struggled a bit today – particularly at the end with MARINA, for wich a lengthy alphabet trawl was required. As with me, she had NHO BARCAROLE and DNK that RENO is or was a divorce centre. She finally finished in 50 minutes with the comment “I’m not impressed”.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Rotter.

  28. Reno, Nevada has been known for over a hundred years as ‘The Divorce Capital of the World’.Just get your lawyer to contact a lawyer in Reno and tip up at a hotel in town, as and when required for an uncontested marital severance.
    However, I think that you and Mrs. Random get on pretty well, so no need to go to Reno.
    I have been divorced twice and it is not to be recommended! My third marriage is about to enter it’s twenty-fifth year.
    Being a twin in reality means I’ve been partnered most of my life! Meldrew.

    1. … and I wish you and Mme Meldrew all the very best for your next 25 years.

  29. Having just returned from a morning bike ride I was thrown by 1a. I know we have had a Wagner reference to RING recently but the clue was lost on me. I was also undone by my LOI with the reference to yet another opera i.e. BARCAROLE (NHO) which I hesitantly constructed from the checkers and wordplay. 14 minutes and a poor day. Oh well, I enjoyed my cycle with the local skivers group.

  30. I think this may be Teazel’s 200th QC and thus the second of our regular ‘Big 7’ setters to get there – but I think jackkt has a better handle on the tally than I.

    1. You got me curious, so I did a search for Teazel. No 1003 was initially mistakenly attributed in the blog to Hurley, but was a Teazel, which is maybe why your total is one less than I counted. I did a check to see if there was anything in No 2149, Teazel’s previous, and found at 8D an unobtrusive “TON-UP”. I think we should ask jackkt!

      1. Quite so, I’d logged 1003 as a Hurley but 1002 as a Teazel and I’m not sure we’ve ever had same setter on two consecutive days so wonder if the names were transposed? If not then you’re correct and we all missed Teazel’s 200th with 2149.

        1. My records have this as Teazel’s 200th, so congrats are due to him. 1003 was indeed by Hurley.

          1. Ah. On checking I see 1003 was by Teazel, but 1002 was misattributed by Nick to Teazel instead of Hurley, so that now adds up for me too. Congratulations to Teazel then!

  31. Possibly our best ever time albeit with 13d unparsed – I had “O” as the centre of “divorce”, and couldn’t see where the “ren” came from but given the clue, it couldn’t be anything else. I thought the clueing was unusually generous throughout, barcarole was purely from the wordplay on my part, although my musical consultant recognised it immediately.

  32. Gave up after 1hr25 over two sittings – worst I’ve done in months barely half solved.

    Took me 10mins to read through all the clues on first pass – moving onto the next after 10-15secs when nothing is obvious. Managed six during that. Then added TURN-A-BLIND-EYE before giving up at 25-mins.

    Came back for an hour this afternoon and took 30-mins to spot ANISEED was an anagram. Added RAMPARTS at 37-mins. Then and another 15-mins to unravel DREAMLAND. Immediately able to add TOTEM and TANGO.

    Couldn’t even get SEA with the S and A present. About sums it up.

      1. I don’t understand how your advice to simply read the blog and fill in the crossword for a week is going to help me learn lots?

        I can parse 95+ % of the clues after I get the answers. On my good days, I read clues, and a word springs to mind that parses almost immediately. That’s probably what you do all the time.

        Most days that doesn’t happen for me and some clues I can’t even see what the def’n is. Like today “yacht’s basin” … I thought “yacht” was part of the construction and they wanted something for “basin” like a sink. I tried “short months” like May, Feb, April (30 days), August (only one with 6 letters but not short) – I tried putting A as the first letter because there was an erroneous A in the clue but I just couldn’t construct the answer for love or money. I thought about boats, ships etc for yachts. But MARINA wasn’t coming however often I looked at it, but I could parse it for myself once I see the answer.

        I’ve read the blog every day for the past six months. I just don’t understand why reading for another week and not even attempting the QC will help me?

        1. As someone who is still a relative newcomer, can I suggest something?

          When I read the blog after completing (or not completing) the QC, I make a note of what puzzled me in the clues that weren’t write ins (most of them). This may be a new abbreviation, a piece of word play or something else. Writing something down is a proven way of learning.

          For a long time I thought I was wasting my time doing this, but it is now beginning to pay off.

          Give it a try.

          1. Hi GaryA – thanks for the practical advice. I agree writing down is hugely beneficial – and part of why I do the tediously long recaps on here. When I was learning golf a decade ago I used to write up the key points from a lesson and then every practice session I did in the following days. It helps it go in as you say.

            I have a strong memory for facts and figures – I used to be able to recount every shot I’d hit in a round of golf plus what club I used. just like I could (but try not to) detail the order I answered clues in a QC. (I couldn’t get RING-cycle today but I recall ring was used late last week for R-AR-ING hanging down from FEROCIOUS at the top of a grid. The F led to FESTIVE along with INNKEEPER coming off the I going across to SUPERCHARGER which hung off the S of ferocious)

            I actually keep an Excel spreadsheet containing all the QCs. Marvelling at the grid layouts, refilling out all the answers and noting any omissions or corrections.

            There are certainly some abbreviations I need to note down – not least the doctor and army-related ones!

        2. Please keep the faith, Mr Plates. Every day is a new day and you have recorded some fantastic performances in recent weeks. So why not another one tomorrow or next Monday?
          Remember also, that your proximity to the coast, Purbecks and New Forest in the BCP area is great compensation for a bad day with the QC.

          1. Thanks Mr Random – I’m just being grumpy! Think it’s a bit of CNS fatigue from sprints on Monday.

            That and being left with a 50-50 choice that blew my chance of a 17 on Sedecordle!

        3. Don’t give up. We all have bad days when the words just won’t come to mind. At least you’re giving it a go – which is more than a lot of people are doing.

          1. I won’t be giving up … yet. I probably should as being persistent at things I’m not talented has never brought success, just above average ability. Truth is, I get bored when there’s no challenge and the QC certainly is.

    1. Ah the thing with these is I feel like it’s exponential. When you get one word it makes the surrounding words so much easier but if you are stuck then there’s no way in.

      So it’s like an avalanche or nothing in my personal experience. You’ve always been good at getting the tiny pick axe out though and hacking away!

      Sucks to have a bad day. 🙁

      1. Perfectly put Tina. Today (Friday) was exactly like that. First 5mins got 6-7 clues then nothing until 29-mins. Then it was all done in the next 17. Let’s see how next week goes!

  33. Enjoyed this puzzle, did not know barcarole and while knowing reno, could not recall it. Thanks Teasel and for the blog.

  34. Very few on first pass but things speeded up a bit. However completion seemed to take an age so I was surprised to find it was only 18 minutes from start to finish – I had expected to be over 20. Not that there was anything particularly difficult and all was fairly clued, so I’m not sure what held me up. Couldn’t parse RENOWNED or TANGO, so thanks for the explanation on those two Rotter. A fine puzzle imo, even though I struggled a bit.

    FOI – 6ac COB
    COD – 1ac RING CYCLE, but this was run close by the impressive anagram at 14ac TURN A BLIND EYE

    Many thanks to Teazel for the workout.

  35. Impressed myself with 10a and 10d on first pass. This gave plenty of material for the remaining clues, but some of these went slowly. Needed Rotter’s blog to parse 13d properly but with only two letters to find I chose the right ones – and, of course, it is now obvious.

    FOI 6a Cob
    LOI 13d Renowned
    COD has to be the impressive 14a Turn a blind eye.

    Artisans seem to be everywhere recently.

  36. Tough one today I thought, finishing on 28:59 after getting my last two in, the NHO BARCAROLE and RENOWNED (didn’t know Reno was famed for divorces). Never heard of a yacht basin either. Anyway, thanks Teazel and Rotter.

  37. Have got into a pattern of finishing all but a few fairly quickly but then hitting a wall.
    Finished in 11m with LOI renowned.
    COD turn a blind eye.


  38. LOI Barcarole. Had to rely on the word play to work it out but recognised it when I worked out what it was.

    Great puzzle and entertaining blog. Thanks!

  39. Slipped back into the SCC today after a fairly good run of times in the mid-teens. This seemed a good QC to me, challenging but not overwhelming.

  40. Cob is a crusty roll in the East Midlands. Another FOI from a Leicester boy…

Comments are closed.