Times Quick Cryptic No 2209 by Mara

A bit of a tricky Quick Crossword from Mara today, if my time is anything to go by, but maybe I was just  a bit tired. It’s one for anagram lovers, with no less than 9 of them. My LOI and COD was 12A, which shouldn’t have held me up as much as it did. I also liked the vegetable and I thought 15D the trickiest. I finished in 7:22, nearly 2 minutes over average. Nice one Mara – Thank-you. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic.  This time it is Sawbill’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find his crossword here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 58 here.

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

1 Diamonds, for example, in small case (5,4)
MINOR SUITMINOR (small) SUIT (case). One for bridge players to start with.
6 Face attack (3)
MUG -Double definition
8 Wrong bit used, correct on paper (3-4)
SUB-EDIT – (bit used)* [wrong]. I liked this one.
9 Wash off a little toddler in sea (5)
RINSE – Hidden [a little] in toddleR IN SEa. Nice surface.
10 Turning device that spins both ways? (5)
ROTOR – A palindrome [that spins both ways]
12 River the same, not entirely different (6)
THAMES – (the sam{e})* [not entirely] [different]. My LOI and favourite clue. Very clever.
14 Barry, for example, sees red as riot breaks out (7,6)
SEASIDE RESORT – (sees red as riot)* [breaks out].
16 From Western Asia, you chaps and I (6)
YEMENIYE (you) MEN (chaps) I.
17 Leaders in uniform trounced in competition, very upset (3,2)
CUT UP – First letters of [leaders in] Uniform Trounced [in] CUP (competition).
19 Country I left, claimed by revolutionary (5)
CHILEI L (left) inside, [claimed by], CHE (Guevara; crossword land’s favourite revolutionary).
20 Different nail hammered into small instrument (7)
UNALIKE – (nail)* [hammered] inside, [into], UKE (ukulele; small instrument).
22 Manage race (3)
RUN – Double definition.
23 Sergeants built for glory (9)
GREATNESS – (Sergeants)* [ built].
1 Female teacher with anxiety on motorway? (8)
MISTRESS -I originally parsed this as STRESS (anxiety) [on] M1 (motorway), but as Kevin pointed out in the comments, our setter probably intended, signified by the “?”,  the cryptic M1 STRESS [anxiety on motorway].
2 Catch neighbour attempting burglary, initially (3)
NABNeighbour Attempting Burglary [initially].
3 Backflipping in dare, dirt bike user (5)
RIDER – Reversed [backflipping] [in] daRE DIRt.
4 Latest finished item out, then reordered (2-2-3-6)
UP-TO-THE-MINUTEUP (finished), (item out then)* [reordered].
5 Row with caterer in a frenzy (7)
TERRACE – (caterer)* [in a frenzy].
6 Vegetable lover, scram! (9)
MANGETOUTMAN (lover) GET OUT! (scram!).
7 Joy in middle of night having hauled up fish (4)
GLEE – [middle of] niGht, EEL (fish) [hauled up] -> LEE.
11 Actor with little time reading a novel (9)
TRAGEDIANT (little time) (reading a)* [novel].
13 Press top after twisting plugs (8)
STOPPERS – (press top)* [after twisting].
15 Something that floats, leaves (7)
ICEBERG – Double definition, the second being the type of lettuce (leaves). That was a bit sneaky – it took me a while to spot, anyway.
17 Price covering a cruise (5)
COASTCOST (price) [covering] A.
18 Mark wants knitted garment shortened (4)
SCARSCAR{f} (knitted garment) [shortened].
21 Primarily, indignation about fury (3)
IRE – First letter, [primarily], of Indignation, RE (about).

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2209 by Mara”

  1. DNF after twenty minutes as I couldn’t figure out MANGETOUT. I was hoping for marrowfat but,sigh, it just wasn’t to be. Like our blogger I stared at leaves for obvious ICEBERG for a long time before it clicked. Also spent too long on UNALIKE before seeing which end of clue had the definition. SEASIDE RESORT and TRAGEDIAN were hard for me too but enjoyable. Thanks for informative blog!

  2. I don’t play bridge so MINOR SUIT means nothing to me but it still went in ahead of MUG and GLEE which, when finally cracked, gave me 15’ 5” for a slowish but ultimately satisfying solve. I could see TRAGEDIAN was an anagram and yet it took an age to complete even with all the crossers.

    FOI SEASIDE RESORT – Does Barry Island still boast (?!) a rickety old wooden rollercoaster?

    Thanks Mara and John.

    1. Barry Island Pleasure Park – You can find the website here. It looks like there may be a newer rollercoaster now. See here.

    2. I remember riding it as a child. Rickety is a good description, lucky to still be here. Must be gone by now surely!

  3. This is the tiniest of whines but I don’t like that man = lover. Like, I get it, but I just feel like both words have so many other definitions before they get to that one.

    I also found this very hard and I DNF.

    Anecdote time: my fam was watching Indiana Jones last night and I remarked that I wish I had an epic theme song that played every time I did something cool.

    My 9yo son: like what… Finish a crossword?

    Oh the burn! It stings. (imagine the Indy theme song did play after I finished one tho lmao)

    1. I also nho mangetout before, we call them snow peas. I do like the word mangetout, clearly represents what you should do with them, unlike say, edamame.

  4. 13 minutes, missing my target 10 for the 5th consecutive puzzle. I’ve achieved only once in the past 8. The intersecting answers THAMES and MANGETOUT delayed me today.

    BARRY featured prominently in the TV sitcom Gavin & Stacey which started in 2008 and is repeated endlessly on various comedy channels.

  5. DNF after my self-imposed cutoff time of 30 minutes, with a dispiritingly large number of clues still unsolved. Anagrams are not my strong suit. NHO of “up” to mean “finished”, can someone explain? No COD today, none of the clues I managed elicited the “oh, that’s good/clever” response. Ah well, there’s always next week.

      1. Have you ben watching Colin Murray hosting Coundown? He’s the only host ever to treat the contestants like schoolchildren liable to cheat.

    1. I can hear Poirot/Marple/Columbo/Velma from ScoobyDoo: “The game is up, your deceit is exposed”

        1. As my brother was short sighted from an early age, when I was young I always used to tease him when Velma got on her hands and knees to look for her glasses.

          Not something I’ll proud of, but it occasionally brings a chuckle when I see it.

      1. I drive a Scooby-Doo, although probably a bit more like you would imagine Shaggy would, rather than like Colin McCrae and Richard Burns used to.
        P.S. Along with breakfast, a Scooby-Snack is one of my favourite six meals of the day.

        1. I’ve had to look past quite a few google pics of the mystery machine to find that Scooby Doo is a nickname for a Subaru Impreza! Worth the research tho’ – thanks for setting the task😃

          1. For the record, mine’s a WRX STI (66 reg.). Relatively poor environmental credentials, but more than balanced out by my much-lower-than average annual mileage, thesedays.

  6. I can’t remember much of this, but NHO Barry, so that one took time. Like Vinyl, I took time to find the right parsing for UNALIKE. A slow 9:04.

  7. I don’t normally count the number of downs on first pass but having only managed two acrosses I thought I may as well. It was four, so that left lots to go at. Made it not all green in 25 with the inexplicable MeNGETOUT, with LOI UNALIKE which I hadn’t previously thought of as being a word although I guess I’ve said it. Tried to force ukelele in as the small instrument, occurred to me very late that ‘uke’ would be helpful. Any annoying typo to end the week with a hard but very satisfying puzzle.

  8. 20 minutes.
    FOI: MISTRESS followed by NAB and RIDER which sorted MINOR SUIT. As a new Bridge player no problem. Then lots of jumping around the grid to get checking letters elsewhere.
    LOI: THAMES after MANGETOUT which I had already written to one side until I spotted the parsing.
    The NE causing most of my problems.
    Favourites: ICEBERG and THAMES.

  9. It was UNALIKE and MANGETOUT that slowed me down. Otherwise everything was fine.

    Saw YEMEN, CHILE and then USSR and UK but I cannot see anything else.

    Let me know how you get on with my Weekend QC (see John’s link above).

  10. Not a good day for anagram blindness with several of them seeming to be well disguised or hard to unravel. NHO of Barry which made the central anagram particularly chewy and spent time looking for an instrument at 20a.
    Started with SUB-EDIT and finished with THAMES in 12.44. COD to MANGETOUT.
    Thanks to John

      1. Great minds…
        Not sure we’ll still be in the top hundred by the end of the day though.

  11. 1453 Fall of Constantinople

    14:53 is a time that marks the end of my Byzantine/Crusader dates and start of renaissance. On train and finished by Surbiton.

    I had PAN as a perfectly good 6a (MUG). Since pan is slang for face (learnt via crosswords), and pan=attack as in a negative review. Could not parse RINSE either so that NE corner held me up. Also tried HET UP for CUT UP.

    I don’t like 1d which uses “on” meaning “below”. In a down clue, surely “on” means “above”, so it should be “motorway on anxiety”. Doesn’t seem fair to mix this around to get a better surface.

    TRAGEDIAN was a tough old clue, an obscure word, complex anagram instructions, and common letters as checkers. Pleased to get it.


    1. ON – A on B, meaning B then A is a standard wordplay construct. It just happens to be in a down clue today, where A on B can mean A on top of B, which adds an extra degree of potential misdirection for the setter to exploit.

    2. ‘On’ doesn’t mean ‘below’ here; ‘anxiety on motorway?’ (note the ?) is M1 stress.

    3. I was confident with PAN at 6ac too. Ho hum. Pull up a chair in the SCC, have a drink and believe things will improve.

  12. A fascinating puzzle of extremes – a mix of very easy and very tough, I thought. It brought me back from a satisfying time yesterday to the ‘teetering on the edge of the SCC’ position I have been adopting too often this week.
    I was held up by many of the clues mentioned above but especially by the SUIT in 1a (Bridge is a closed book to me), MANGETOUT (MAN = lover??), UNALIKE, and my LOI ICEBERG (which only emerged when SEASIDE RESORT clicked – a biff, though, I know nothing of Barry). Some very clever misdirection in many clues today (and some biffing on my part, followed by a doh moment in most cases).
    Thanks to Mara and John. John M.

  13. “RUN for home, RUN as fast as you can…” (Lindisfarne). I didn’t RUN through this, but at least I made my target.

    FOI MUG (I’m glad ‘pan’ didn’t occur !)
    LOI SEASIDE RESORT (not quite COD)
    COD UNALIKE (brilliant !)
    TIME 4:52

    1. Busman, if a sub 5 min time is not ‘running’ in this context, I don’t know what is.

      1. Sub 5 for a QC is like sub-4 minutes for the mile: it can be done, but only by a few specially gifted people.

  14. 17 minutes finishing with the MUG GLEE pairing. Some clever stuff here, liked MANGETOUT and MISTRESS. Many thanks.

  15. Surprisingly (for me), I found this reasonably straightforward. FOI – STOPPER, liked MANGE TOUT (which raised a smile), UNALIKE and YEMENI. LOI – TRAGEDIAN (which took some time as trying to make an anagram out of wrong part of the clue – again). I had heard of Barry, thought that it was in Wales but no idea where; guessed MINOR SUIT was a bridge term (I don’t play) so put it in. Good way to start the end of the week.
    Thanks, Mara and Johninterred

  16. Couldn’t finish this one. Too difficult for me. Usually Mara puzzles are fun to solve, but not this one, for me at least.

  17. DNF, oh dear. Well, actually, I did finish after looking up Barry and remembering it was a resort. (Did not watch Gavin and Stacey!) Also ashamed of needing a hint for SUIT, and failing on TRAGEDIAN.
    But A bad day. Could not solve many of the anagrams.
    Thanks, John, as ever.

  18. A slow and steady solve in 13:31
    I’m originally from South Wales, so Barry was well known, albeit that we always preferred Porthcawl.
    Tragedian put me in mind of the great William McGonagall, “poet and tragedian“

  19. 23 minutes, with TRAGEDIAN the LOI. I liked the hidden clue- nicely disguised.
    I am struggling with 15×15 though, despite getting 1ac and 1d very quickly.
    Thanks for the blog, and thank you Mara

  20. Failed at 11 mins on UNALIKE. It never crossed my mind that different was the definition. I was convinced it was the anagrind for nail and I was looking for an instrument as the definition. Pretty tricky today.

  21. A slow steady solve that was always going to put me outside target, finally crossing the line in 12.35. A sitcom feel about this with the town of Barry the location for Gavin & Stacey, and the vegetable at 6dn where I can hear Del Boy of Only Fools & Horses saying ‘Mangetout Mangetout’, in an effort to kid everyone he could speak French.
    A really enjoyable puzzle, and thanks to Mara and John.

  22. Mara on a Friday doesn’t herald a quick solve, so 26mins didn’t come as a surprise, especially after a very slow start for this non-bridge player. Not seeing Mug until after Mangetout was in place, and ages spent on loi Iceberg, were just par for the course. I do at least have the satisfaction of a finish, which is more than can be said of Openreach, given that they are only half way through their re-enactment of a WWI battlefield outside my house. Invariant

    1. For what it’s worth they’re always digging outside our house. They spend ages churning up the ground to put in full fibre only to then tell everyone they’re running it from unsightly telegraph poles over massively drooping wires.

      Apologies – a personal bugbear.

  23. 7:08 this morning, at least with 100% parsed. Another tough QC to finish off the week with some fine clues several worthy of a 15 x 15. Newcomers shouldn’t feel disheartened, rather learn from the blog and store any tricks of the trade into the memory banks for the next time!
    I thought several definitions gave away less than they might have done, which contributed to the difficulty levels. For example, for 14 ac “seaside resort” could have replaced Blackpool for Barry, but the misdirection of a Christian name makes the clue so much better designed.
    COD 6 d “mangetout” – a brilliant clue using just 3 words. First time I came across this vegetable was in Chinatown in New York in 1981. Strange how some things get embedded in the memory circuits! Similarly I recall first encountering “tragedian” from school Englidh lessons in the self description of the Scottish poetaster William McGonagall as “poet and tragedian”.
    Thanks to Mara for the challenge and John for his helpful blog.

  24. 9 minutes for me, helped by seeing Minor suit almost immediately (with more than 50 years of playing bridge I would have been embarrassed not to!). Thereafter done but not all parsed on first pass – I also misparsed Mistress the way John initially did, and I never did connect man = lover. Not IMO the strongest association. Otherwise a pleasant puzzle, helped by having visited Barry many times in my youth (my aunt lived there).

    Many thanks to John for the blog. I will try to do the Saturday Special but am heading into areas with no Internet coverage for the weekend.

  25. I found that ‘proper tough’ – very slow to get started, hard work populating the grid, and a struggle at the end. However, I did finish (in 50 minutes) and managed to parse all clues fully.

    A very few clues (CHILE, RUN, IRE and NAB) went in easily, but everything else required a lot of thought and multiple attempts. My LOI was UNALIKE which, even with all its checkers, took 5 minutes, but TRAGEDIAN, ICEBERG, UP TO THE MINUTE, SEASIDE RESORT, STOPPERS, MINOR SUIT, MISTRESS, COAST and several others had me baffled for a long time. Thinking about it now, I’m surprised and quite pleased that I actually finished at all. Who cares about the time today?

    Many thanks to Mara and John.

  26. Very enjoyable puzzle; we always like Mara (in at least one of his other guises
    as well). Some excellent anagrams too.
    Really liked the “get out” = “scram” for MANGETOUT but struggling with “man” = “lover”. Despite Mr SR’s best recital of “But soft! What light etc”, I can’t see them as synonymous. At the moment I feel “man” could have been clued by “gardener” or “writer” or something else that a person might do (although that would have given an inferior surface).
    I’m pretty sure I’m missing something obvious here and would be grateful for an idiot’s guide. No criticism of the blog, John, which is always appreciated; I think I just don’t see this one.

        1. Okay, I do see your point. And I suppose Mr SR is my man.
          That makes me his woman; sounds a bit caveman-ish 😊
          Sooo… Using titles, we could clue “man” = “spy” because of “Our Man in Havana”?
          And all sorts could be made of “I’m Waiting for the (my?) Man” by Lou Reed…

          Anyway, I’m being far too picky about what I actually thought was mainly a very good clue.

      1. Fair point, Pitcaithlie.
        I’ve done a reply to Johninterred which is meant to be a reply to you too.
        Thank you for helping.

  27. 40 mins…normally I’d have given up but as I’m travelling I decided to carry on.

    Overall, I thought this was pretty tricky and nothing would go in on first pass.

    16ac “Yemeni” always catches me out as I never think of it as being in Asia. Similarly, the NE “Mangetout”, “Mug” and “Rinse” corner also took out a fair chunk of time. I thought Barry was an island, but didn’t initially connect it to being a seaside resort and for 11dn thankfully pulled out the right answer rather than “Tradegian” which was my other option.

    FOI – 2dn “Nab”
    LOI – 15dn “Iceberg”
    COD – 7dn “Glee”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. Glad to see others struggled with this one – I thought it was just me that wasn’t at the races today. I did finish it but in a very sluggish 34 minutes, which means that I have only managed one this week (Wednesday’s) within my target range of 15-20 minutes. Biffed ICEBERG from the crossers and only semi-parsed UP TO THE MINUTE. Very tough imo.

    FOI – 10ac ROTOR
    LOI – 5dn TERRACE (didn’t see the anagram until I had stared at it for about 5 minutes)

    Thanks to John for the explanations and to Mara for the work-out

  29. 5.54

    V rare sub-Johninterred and Pitcaithlie

    Helped that Barry went straight in; the vegetable from all the checkers; UNALIKE from trying both ends of the clue for the definition and ICEBERG LOI again from checkers missing the not-unheard-of leaves device.

    Thanks John and Mara

  30. 1hr50 spent on it – unable to get TRAGEDIAN for last 40+ mins. At least, six clues beyond QC level IMHO.

    Thanks to John for the blog

    (Edited to remove expressed discontent)

    1. L-Plates, I usually enjoy your contributions, and perhaps I understand your frustration with this particular puzzle, but the manner in which you express it is really not warranted at any level.

    2. We had a similar experience! I took 2 hours and, whilst I got there, I’m not sure it was worth it. Let’s hope for better next week!

      1. GaryA – well done on persevering through to the end. I was never getting TRAGEDIAN as I’ve NHO and I really intended to bruteforce it when I had everything else solved at 1hr11.

        Think a word this obscure needs to have a simpler clue for a QC. I wasn’t sure if we were looking for the name of an actor or the name of a novel. I would never have thought novel=anagrind. On top of that, there is nothing to differentiate in the clue to the answer above it between ROTOR and RADAR. So did the actor start with T or D? I had come to think that “little time reading a” in MIN(ute) + A = -MIAN ending based on checkers. I was trying to stick in thespian, bohemian, or as previously said construct the name of a novel using the name of a dead actor like Charlie DrAkE or Spencer TrAcEy.

        End of my twopenneth and ranting.

  31. This was a tough one, but I decided to tough it out.
    Last 2 seaside resort and mangetout Rodney!

    Liked rinse and iceberg, COD mistress.

  32. Hard yards! Proper Friday puzzle, that. Fell into all the traps, and was about to flounce off in a huff about an obscure instrument called the UPINALE or such like being in a QC when light finally dawned. Relieved to limp home in a dead heat with my crosswording brother-from-another-mother plett11 at 12:44.

    Thanks John and Mara.


  33. Late to this after golf.
    17 minutes with LOI MANGETOUT-clever, tough clue.
    I also liked UNALIKE.
    Quite a grown-up QC overall.

  34. Very slow to get going on this one. Cleverly disguised anagrams on a number of clues. Failed to get 11d without aids, quite a test for the last one of the week. Thanks Mara.

  35. Well, this was a right crawl – I think the SCC was nearly closed by the time I got there, but I can only make the excuse of having one eye on the cricket and having had a hard morning, so I didn’t get to look at it until late. Started slowly, sped up in the middle then looked at the last 4 clues – 1ac, 4D, 16ac & 20ac – for some considerable time until Yemeni suddenly came to mind, which then helped with the other three. 1ac was LOI, not being a bridge player not helping the situation.
    Thanks to Mara for a tough workout & John for the blog.

  36. Joined the large DNF group. NHO TRAGEDIAN which left me stumped at the end. And before that a slow crawl, as might befit the M1 on a Friday afternoon (??)

  37. 2 hours of torture but I did finish. Many more weeks like this and I’m giving up. My times are getting worse, not better, and I’m struggling with the wordplay. The wordplay to indicate anagrams is particularly troubling.

    Can someone explain why ‘man’ is another word for ‘lover’. What am I missing?

  38. A very clever crossword which I enjoyed immensely and was well worth the long time spent working it all out. Very clever clueing; I await Mara’s next offering with much anticipation!

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