Times Quick Cryptic No 2189 by Alconiere

Today we have an entertaining Quick Cryptic from Alconiere. As I always do with his puzzles, I found it slightly on the tricky side, taking 6:15 which is a bit longer than average for me. Some lovely clues – I particularly liked 9A, 13A, 6D and, my COD, 15D. Furthermore, we have a timely Nina. See if you can find it yourself before clicking the link…

Thank-you Alconiere! So 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 entitled “My Holiday Destination” here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 56 here.

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

1 Details of account raving at Kent batsmen (4,9)
BANK STATEMENT – [raving] (at Kent batsmen)*. After subsiding from 115-5 to 127 all out to lose by 184 runs against Lancashire yesterday I dare say someone might have been ranting and raving against the Kent batsmen.
8 TV detective going inside meanwhile, wisely (5)
LEWIS – hidden in [going inside] meanwhiLE WISely.
9 Search for someone’s mother and sister, keeping husband close to heart (7)
MANHUNTMA (mother), NUN (sister) outside, [keeping] H (husband), [close to] hearT. Nicely constructed.
10 Adversaries from SE1, people hostile, ultimately, to the west (7)
ENEMIESSEI (SE1), MEN (people) hostilE [ultimately], all reversed [to the west] -> ENEMIES.
11 I’m training learner to drive (5)
IMPELI’M PE (physical education; training) L (learner).
13 Originally shot and wounded outside southern military college (9)
SANDHURSTShot [originally], AND HURT (wounded) [outside] S (southern). Neat surface.
17 Attempt, by the way, to find meeting place (5)
TRYSTTRY (attempt) ST (street; way).
19 Possible name of Italian club maybe in S American port (7)
RICARDOCARD (club, maybe) [in] RIO (S American port).
20 Saying little, Nicola’s mad about Charlie (7)
LACONIC – (Nicola)* [mad] [about] C (Charlie).  I liked this one too.
22 Singers having sheets of paper for broadcast? (5)
CHOIR – Sounds like [for broadcast] QUIRE (sheets of paper). “25 (formerly 24) sheets of paper; one twentieth of a ream“.
23 Small helper of Santa’s picked up, remaining calm? (4-9)
SELF-COLLECTEDS (small) ELF (helper of Santa) COLLECTED (picked up). Did “picked up” get you searching for a homophone too?
1 Risk that involves everyone dancing (6)
BALLETBET (risk) outside [involves] ALL (everyone).
2 Fresh, if woolly state? (3,6)
NEW JERSEYNEW (fresh) JERSEY (woolly).
3 Meeting back in Illinois’s essential (7)
SESSION – Reverse hidden, [back in] IlliNOIS’S ESsential.
4 Having distinctive feel of top camel’s hair, somehow (13)
ATMOSPHERICAL – (top camel’s hair)* [somehow].
5 Genning up: it regularly leads to boredom (5)
ENNUI – Alternate letters [regularly] of gEnNiNg Up It.
6 An agreement among European nations that won’t take off in Australia (3)
EMU – Double definition the second a cryptic hint – European Monetary Union and the flightless Australian bird. Nice.
7 Writes off sums (6)
TOTALS – Double definition.
12 EU protest, after disturbance, dies away (6,3)
PETERS OUT – (EU protest)* [after disturbance].
14 Mostly red bike to be green? (7)
RECYCLE – [Mostly] REd, CYCLE (bike).
15 Scrabble has four of these things rambler may need to negotiate (6)
STILES – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint, being S TILES. Lovely.
16 Tied up in RE, in a gloomy state (6)
MOOREDRE [in] MOOD (a gloomy state)
18 Cut in tattered garment (5)
TUNIC – (Cut in)* [tattered].
21 Low point in Charlton or Lewisham at first (3)
COL – Initial letters of Charlton Or Lewisham.

87 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2189 by Alconiere”

  1. I finished this in 27 minutes almost fully parsed except for Choir I nho Quire, and I nho Col

    I thought all the surfaces were neat. Having bank statement at the top and self collected at the bottom really helped.

    loi: NEW JERSEY – after I biffed it I mer that Jersey was a cow (maybe the cows are woolly in the UK who knows) but then I realised it’s also a material

    1. “Jersey” is also British for a sweater, which can be woolly. “Jumper” can also mean sweater, for future reference.

      1. Ah yes. I have Jersey dresses but I might not call them woolly. We use jumper for sweater here too in Australia

        1. You got me wondering about the etymology. The dictionary gives the following definitions:
          “A knitted garment with long sleeves, worn over the upper body” and
          “A distinctive shirt worn by a player or competitor in certain sports” (which I’ve heard in Australia).
          Also, like your dresses, Tina “A soft, fine knitted fabric.’A jersey skirt'”
          The derivation is from…
          “Late 16th century (denoting woollen worsted fabric made in Jersey)”.
          So now we know.

          1. I once had this conversation with someone in the US. Over there, a “jumper” is often used to denote what we would probably call a pinafore dress – especially for uniforms etc.

          2. Thanks John. Vaguely aware of that etymology.
            But why is New Jersey so called? Did one of the pilgrim fathers think he was on an island? Can’t even blame the demon drink. Ditto Rhode Island.
            Didn’t spot the Nina. Ray Wilson joined the in-laws undertaker business and Roger Hunt road haulage. Unlikely the present crop will follow suit. J

            1. “In 1664 the Dutch lost New Netherlands when the British took control of the land and added it to their colonies. They divided the land in half and gave control to two proprietors: Sir George Carteret (who was in charge of the east side) and Lord John Berkley (who was in charge of the west side). The land was officially named New Jersey after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. Carteret had been governor of the Isle of Jersey. ” from the Official History of New Jersey site.
              And as for Rhode Island…
              “The Name. This state was named by Dutch explorer Adrian Block. He named it “Roodt Eylandt” meaning “red island” in reference to the red clay that lined the shore. The name was later anglicized when the region came under British rule.”

  2. This might be a pw, at 10:04. It took me a while to arrange the anagrist for ATMOSPHERICAL, and another while to recall SANDHURST; I could only think of Aldershot. MOORED was also troublesome. Does Scrabble only have 4 s-tiles?

  3. 20:08. Went along steadily with no real setbacks. Needed blog to fully parse STILES, ENEMIES, EMU and RICARDO. COD to MANHUNT.

  4. 4:30
    ATMOSPHERICAL – really? I feel like I need a bath after typing this abomination of a word out not once, but twice today. Yuck.

  5. 15:40 here, held up by the long anagram. Needed all the crossers, and still don’t believe the word needs to exist. COD to STILES, which made me smile when I spotted the wordplay.

    Btw, John, think you have the brackets misplaced in your definition of LACONIC, the S shouldn’t be included.

  6. 11 minutes but I gave up on trying to parse everything whilst solving as I normally do.

    I had forgotten about the monetary union and parsed 6dn as M (yes – an affirmative response) contained by [among] EU (European nations), thinking it was a bit dodgy, as according to Collins the affirmative response is spelt ‘mm’.

    I was looking for a theme and possibly something to do with football when I saw the setter was Alconiere, one of the many pseudonyms used by Richard Rogan The Times Crossword Editor. It’s an anagram of Coleraine, the team he supports. I noticed BANKS and BALL intersecting at 1ac/1dn but switched off to the idea after that as I am football averse and assumed the rest of the theme would be beyond me. As things turned out I should have persevered as even I know the majority of the names hidden here.

    1. M is also the middle term in a syllogism, and is in agreement with both the subject and the predicate. Eg, some animals are dogs and some dogs are black, therefore some animals are black.

      Whether that has anything to do with 6D I wouldn’t like to say.

  7. Great fun so thanks to Alconiere. Didn’t pay much attention to the clues as I was looking for the rest of the Nina.
    I also saw TROPES across the middle and NICO, KIMI, ELF and TOTAL (with HUNT doing double duty to the two ‘TROPES).
    Oh … and PELE.

    1. Interesting. I’d missed TROPES, which suggests there’s more than one, and Formula 1 may be the second… of course we also have LEWIS (Hamilton), but Daniel’s second name is spelt RICCIARDO. Blog updated accordingly. Thanks.

      1. If we’re going back to the days of ELF, TOTAL, HUNT …. wasn’t RICARDO Patrese a driver in the dim and distant?

        1. Yes, he was, but alas he was a RICCARDO. Mind you, it could have been who our setter was thinking of.

  8. 24 minutes from FOI BANK STATEMENT BIFD then seeing the anagrist after.
    LEWIS I’d heard of but never seen the TV detective series. Also guessed or assumed Scrabble has 4 ‘S’ tiles.
    I slowed down in the bottom half. Finishing on SELF-COLLECTED and MOORED.
    I had SELF from an early stage but took a while to see COLLECTED.
    Didn’t spot the NINA.

    After looking again with care, the pennies just dropped on the NINA.

  9. Total fail. Realised it was tricky and just got more and more bemused. Zero on the first pass of acrosses which is a first. I’ll take Bertie for a walk and mull over what has become of my solving skills.

  10. 38:06 technical DNF putting STyLES instead of STILES. The I- never occurred to me even though I couldn’t quite parse the clue. But there were a few “couldn’t quite parses” today so you have to go with what you think.

    Struggled in the early going, not helped by staring at 1A thinking it was some kind of SE-OPENERS (for Kent batsmen) with the ENNUI and EMU checkers I had. Even put “settle” in for TOTALS until I spotted the anagram which opened things up. ATMOSPHERICAL was the other problem.

    SANDHURST was a little smile as my grandma lived there (not at the military academy) as does my aunt still; and I spent a few summers up there as a 10-11 year old. I remember watching Botham’s Ashes on the portable in the conservatory.

    Overall I rather enjoyed Alconiere’s wordplay and surfaces although had to BIF some and one or two “hmmms” like SELF-COLLECTED. But also smiles at NEW-JERSEY, EMU, MANHUNT, RECYCLE among others. LOI RICARDO.

    Thanks to JohnI and Alconiere 🙂

    (Difficult end to July with a run of 7 DNFs but 9 solves in 21 QCs plus another 5 with minor corrections. Two escapes from the SCC plus another 2 of my correcteds would have been. Going in the right direction)

    1. I’m going to assume Harry Styles is living in everyone’s mind rent free 😂

      I think over a 50% solve rate is really good! Like you go into a puzzle knowing you’re gonna give it a real good crack.

      1. Who doesn’t love Harry?!? Truth be told, I can’t even name one song by him!

        Happy birthday Tina and enjoy your party (if it’s not gone by already!) 😀

        1. Oh L plates

          You know that I’m the kinda person that has a birthweek not just a birthday.

          Yes I am now officially middle aged and I have milked sympathy from as many people as possible.

  11. I found this fairly straightforward but, to round off a week of missed targets/mistakes, a careless STYLES at 15d resulted in a pink square. Hopefully the weekend will give the brain cell a chance to reset for next week.
    Thanks to John

  12. 8.26

    Just couldn’t see MOORED – must have taken best part of two minutes

    Nice puzzle. Liked SELF-COLLECTED

    Thanks Alconiere and John

  13. Managed to complete this one with no aids, which surprised me as I found this one tricky.

    I got choir first, as “quire” was a word I learned as a 13-year-old paperboy.

    Ricardo was my penultimate answer. I just knew Rio had to be part of the answer. The rest of it I biffed when I realised that possible name was the definition.

    Candy store, here I come!

  14. Second glance and spotted the NINA. I don’t think there’s any prescience, it occurred on 30th July back in the day, so the QC was probably written to be published now

  15. Another DNF as could not see MOORED, had the clue backwards : words like MOROSE, MORBID looked very close early on. Often when I find a “close one” I don’t go back to rethink the clue.

    Also held up with ROMARIO. ROMA is a good shout for an Italian club, would have worked if it had been “by” port rather than “in”. And Romario is a footballer for the Nina.


  16. 9:52 but feel I should have been quicker. I was held up by COLLECTED and MOORED (my LOI). EMU and ENEMIES were both biffed. No chance of me spotting the NINA.

  17. Mendesest mirrors some of my feelings today. I have begun to question my solving skills recently. This QC was a weird mix of very good and some over-quirky clues. I worked steady around the grid and got the long anagram without writing out the anagrist once I had crossers but what a word! Who would ever use ATMOSPHERICAL??
    Then the penny dropped – a b****y NINA! You can usually tell when a QC has been distorted and made unfriendly just for the sake of some setter self-gratification.
    I managed to complete the puzzle with the exception of MOORED (glad that I was not the only one who just couldn’t see it) but I wish I hadn’t started this one. John M.

  18. A number stumbled on 16 down . I thought the first ‘in’ was not only redundant and consequently misleading.

    1. It’s being used as a connector between the definition and the wordplay, as it is in 21D.

  19. MOORED was RIAH (thanks templar for the acronym) after 2 minutes.

    Easy enough when it’s revealed!

    Missed the NINA as per usual.

    I liked the anagram for BANK STATEMENT.

    It’s not been the best of weeks, with a couple of huffy (not really huffy) reveals for the first time in a long time. Maybe I am just less patient.


    1. I’ve also used the Revealed in a Huff (RIAH) button more this week. I am tempted to press it when I hit my cut-off time of 20:22. Can be a forehead-slapping moment, but several this week have been more MER-ish.

      1. Thanks for explaining the acronym, I wondered why people were suddenly using Polari here! Still it brings back happy memories of Round the Horne

  20. Also failed on MOORED. Good puzzle though.
    Liked STILES, LACONIC, CHOIR, RICARDO, EMU, among others. 4d took ages.
    Thanks vm, John.

  21. Knew there’d be a theme, didn’t see it (though I spotted TROPES across the middle). Squeezed inside my target, but it left me largely unmoved.

    TIME 4:52

  22. 13 min with moored LOI took a few min on its own
    Still not sure why 15d has four????

    1. The reason we Scrabble players know there are four ‘s’ tiles is because ‘s’ is a crucial help in the game.

  23. A wing and a prayer on STILES, because I had complete brain-fog on the parsing.

    Otherwise reasonably steady going but had a long trawl for MOORED. I’m sure I would have RIAHed it but I was on the Club site so the option wasn’t there! Missed the Nina – I was under 2 when it happened.

    FOI BALLET, LOI MOORED, COD STILES (now John has explained it to me), time 09:21 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day, what larks Pip!

    Many thanks John and Alconiere.


  24. Pleased to finish this one under target at 9.25, with only EMU unparsed. It couldn’t realistically be anything else however, but thank you John for the enlightenment.
    I note that both Kevin and Vinyl were both posting slower times than their norm, and wondered if this was tougher for the American solvers for some reason.
    Greatly enjoyed this contribution from Alconiere who we don’t hear from very often.
    I felt I needed to find out where the compiler got his pseudonym from, and I find that Alconiere was a 19th century Austro-Hungarian painter.

    1. Jackkt actually explained this in his comment earlier… Alconiere as well as being a painter is also an anagram of Coleraine. Our setter today is our editor Richard Rogan and this is just one of his pseudonyms. He is a fan of Coleraine FC and this is not the first of his crosswords under this name with a theme related to football or Coleraine FC.

  25. Just inside target at a couple of seconds inside 15 minutes – still struggling to get used to the new app (new for me that is, as I hung on to the Classic as long as I could). Looked for the Nina, but didn’t see all of it, and didn’t connect with the date. Thanks both.

  26. I remembered that Alconiere was RR and, what with it being a Friday, expected a tough challenge. However, forewarned is forearmed and I didn’t find this too difficult, finishing in 23mins, in good time for a window seat. Parsing loi Moored took a minute or two, but Emu was beyond me, and only went in on the same basis as Jackkt. Somewhat surprised that ‘atmospherical’ is viewed with suspicion, in fact, almost a disturbance. . . CoD to 16d, Moored, for the pdm. Invariant

  27. DNF: 18 mins until foiled by MOORED…
    Didn’t spot the NINA but enjoyed nonetheless. ATMOSPHERICAL took a while as I wasn’t convinced it was a real word. Didn’t parse STILES (thanks to John and others for explaining). Thought EMU was very clever. Enjoyable coffee time as usual. Happy weekend all.

  28. Hurrah! Finished in 17 mins and so avoided my clean sweep of Dnf’s for the week.

    I really enjoyed this and thought there were some lovely surfaces. I also struggled with 16dn “Moored”, thinking that mood doesn’t necessarily mean gloomy state, but then if you’re “in a mood” then it kind of works.

    FOI – 10ac “Enemies”
    LOI – 16dn “Moored”
    COD – 14dn “Recycle”

    Thanks as usual!

  29. Really enjoyed it. Bit of a contradiction but I found it pretty chewy, with very few on first pass (not spotting the anagram in 1ac didn’t help) yet finished bang on 10 mins.

    Can’t put my finger on the reason but I really enjoy the clueing throughout, with a constant sense of misdirection without any of it being obvious.

    Think I liked NEW JERSEY best. Did it need ‘if’?

    Thanks Alconiere and John

    1. Difficulty and enjoyment are not I find the same. I can certainly enjoy chewy puzzles, and even sometimes find easier ones no fun. I’d agree with you that this was both a challenge and a joy.

      1. Oh I agree 100% I should have been clearer, the contradiction for me wasn’t between chewiness and enjoyment but chewiness and, for me, relatively decent, speed of solve!

  30. I thoroughly enjoyed this, although I missed the Nina. 8:23 which is an improvement on some of my recent efforts.

  31. Had to biff several answers here as there were a number I couldn’t parse. Luckily I biffed correctly to finish on 18 minutes. Thanks to John for unravelling those that baffled me. I didn’t get too many of the across clues on first pass (indeed for a while my FOI was the only one in the top half). Picked up speed with the down clues which mostly seemed easier somehow. I was helped by seeing the long anagram at 4dn almost immediately. Missed the nina – but I always do, so no change there.

    FOI – 8ac LEWIS
    LOI – 16dn MOORED
    CODs – 13ac SANDHURST and 11ac IMPEL

    Thanks to Alconiere for a fine puzzle

  32. In case you missed it there was a nice post from Hurley late yesterday:

    “The setter regrets that this puzzle turned out to be too difficult for many. Was conscious that FAREWELL might be tricky so included “?” at end of clue to maybe hint to solvers that something more might be going on. Thought also that, with a fairly easy clue at 1D and both 3D and 4D having four of their six letters crossed by other answers, it might make it easier to get it, but clearly it did not work out that way on the day. BTW setter believes the only purpose of puzzles is to provide entertainment for solvers.”

  33. Smiley face 🙂 back on after yesterday, and an enjoyable puzzle which took me 13 minutes, completed but not quite all parsed. I biffed Manhunt but needed the blog to understand the parsing (I had M for mother and Aunt for her sister, but couldn’t quite see where the NH in Aunt came from).

    Also biffed EMU, and having seen the parsing had a wry laugh: Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union is more a case of disagreement between European nations than agreement, as Germany has been in a pretty constant sulk about it for over 10 years, and Greece didn’t much agree with its rules for much of the 2010s either.

    Moored LOI as like others I took time to connect the neutral mood with gloom, but I see Jack has already explained that.

    If people are coining new acronyms I might put forward FWA – finished with aids. This particular puzzle I didn’t need aids, but sometimes I do and FWA is definitely different in my opinion from DNF.

    Thank you John for the blog and I look forward to the Saturday Special.

    1. Hmm, I would happily allow that, say, FWT (finished with typo) should count as a finish, but using aids, I’m afraid, is definitely in the DNF camp.

      1. Does checking that a word – that one has never heard of or seen written but that one has managed to construct from the clue – actually exists, count as using aids?

        1. Depends when you check it.

          If you submit and take a punt and it’s correct and then you check (which I realise is kind of pointless) then its fine. But doing so beforehand in my book is using aids.

        2. I would positively encourage people to use aids when they are new to this game, even to the point of writing in some of the answers from the blog to get a start. I also have absolutely no objection to experienced solvers using aids when completely stuck, just recognise the fact that it then becomes a DNF.

      2. I’m with you Invariant! As far as I’m concerned, if I have to look up the answer, then I haven’t got it and a DNF it is. I’ve never quite wrapped my mind round what a technical DNF is either – in my book, it’s the same thing 😕 It’s a different matter if you’ve got some strange vocab and work out the answer before later checking to see what it means, but that doesn’t happen too often in the quickie. I understand that’s what you do in the Mephisto but I’ve never ventured down that path.
        I like FWT 😊

        1. I always thought a technical DNF was if you put in an answer and it’s wrong, whereas a DNF was if you just didn’t know and it was blank.

          Doesn’t really matter either way 😀

          1. I seem to have excited some comment here! But of course for those of us doing the puzzles purely for pleasure it is all down to one’s own satisfaction and nothing much else hangs on it.

            I’m sure all would agree that the gold standard we aim for is ADAP or “all done, all parsed”. Next down is ADNAP or “all done, not all parsed”. I’m quite sure some would consider that a lamentable failure and others a creditable finish, so already we have diverging assessments. Then we have Invariant’s FWT, which again some might give themselves a pass for and others a severe speaking-to.

            Then we do have my FWA, which everyone is keen to tell me is not a finish at all but I might argue is a “finish-of-sorts”: not as good or as pure of course as a full one,but I think better than throwing in the towel with gaps, a true DNF. And if no-one agrees with me, the world won’t actually end …

            And now I wish everyone a FWE – a fine weekend

          2. Oh that makes sense! Perhaps I’ll start claiming the occasional technical DNF then 😅

  34. I was just explaining to my husband that today’s setter usually has a football theme, but I still didn’t see it – well, I don’t really go looking for them tbh! If it doesn’t jump out at me, I don’t bother. I did see TROPES across the middle, but didn’t feel there were that many chestnuts in there, so was even more confused!
    I enjoyed this – there were some really fun clues – but with Kevin not having such a good day, I don’t feel my 1.1K is as good as it looks 😅 I liked TRYST, CHOIR and EMU, but MOORED took a good minute of so of my 11:30.
    FOI Lewis LOI Col COD Peters out
    Many thanks Alconiere and John

    I’m really struggling with the biggie today – it’s been quite a tough week on the other side, I feel.

    I did see Hurley’s comment last night – it was very nice, I thought

  35. Feeling thick but … the Scrabble has four of these things clue….
    how do you get to S TILES … S for Scrabble but how does tiles fit in?!

    1. Simples. The little flat square playing pieces with the letters on that you use in Scrabble are called “tiles” and 4 of the 100 used in the game have “S” on them.

  36. FOI NEW JERSEY; LOI TOTALS, after quite a long think. 19 minutes in total but at least 5 of those on my last three ( add BALLET and BANK STATEMENT).
    Looked for a Nina but couldn’t find one.
    Tried at first to fit Morse into Lewis.
    I enjoyed this.

  37. I found this very difficult, but after coming back to it 3 times I eventually got it finished to my great delight. Some chewy anagrams! Didn’t see the NINA, but a good one.

  38. 4:38 this morning but then out for a walk with Mrs P along the East Lothian coast where among other things saw preparations well in advance for The Ladies Open at Muirfield. What will all the ghosts in the locker room be making of that?
    Out for a cousin’s landmark birthday this evening in downtown Edinburgh, where jackets and ties are very much de rigeur. I’m sure I’ll have forgotten how to do a Windsor Knot.
    So will have to leave the 15×15 until tomorrow.
    Anyway, back to the QC. Back to normal after yesterday (although Hurley has no need at all to apologise for that puzzle). A set of neatly structured clues from RR, I particularly liked 14 d “recycle”.
    15 d “stiles” – can’t stand Scrabble but have been known to ramble occasionally
    (according to Mrs P) so got the solution from 50% of the clue.
    LOI 16 d “moored” once I’d stopped thinking of knots.
    Thanks to setter and John for his interesting blog. As usual I was blissfully unaware of the Ninas and still cant find the tropes in the middle that everyone else is referring to !!

    1. TROPES is in the unchecked letters across the grid starting with the T of BALLET. Enjoy your cousin’s birthday dinner 😀

  39. Good puzzle for a Friday – lots of lovely anagrams. Got a bit stuck on MOORED until it dawned on me that I was looking at the clue the wrong way round. I liked RECYCLE.

  40. From the ridiculous to the sublime. What a difference a day makes. Being a keen hiker meant that I saw stiles straight away. My best performance for ages – badly needed. I’m nowhere near good enough to spot a Nina yet.

    Thanks to both setter and blogger for a v enjoyable end to the week.

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