Times Quick Cryptic No 2228 by Mara

Lovely puzzle from Mara full of imagination.

With nine anagrams and five double definitions taking up more than half the twenty-six clues, this could easily have been a rather perfunctory affair, but I particularly liked a number of the anagrams’ use of innocent-looking little linkwords (such as 8ac, 22ac, 23ac, 9d, 13d), and the neatness of at least three of the double definitions.

Plenty to like elsewhere as well, making this great fun to solve – I clocked in at 6.18, almost exactly the same time as yesterday’s done just before. Many thanks to Mara!

1 Money we returned for a little food (6)
CASHEW -CASH (money) EW (we, “returned”)
4 Short of money, tough at the top perhaps? (4,2)
HARD UP – cryptic hint: HARD (tough) UP (at the top perhaps)
8 Unidentified object sat with rubbish (7)
WHATSIT – anagram (rubbish) of SAT WITH
10 Item for breakfast ending in hot oven (5)
TOAST – T (“ending in” hoT) OAST (oven)
11 Character played, part of Prospero legendary (4)
ROLE – “part of” prospeRO LEgendary. I briefly wondered who OLEG and EROL might be before trying the third possibility.
12 Contract, as written in order (8)
DECREASE – AS written in DECREE (order)
14 Salt and wine I spilt in middle (9)
WAISTLINE – anagram (spilt) of SALT and WINE I
18 Recent ad broadcast for bottle (8)
DECANTER – anagram (broadcast) of RECENT AD
20 Shop I ran turned around (4)
DELI – I LED ( I ran) turned around
22 Begin new life (5)
BEING – anagram (new) of BEGIN
23 Impulsive type, he had to elaborate (7)
HOTHEAD – anagram (elaborate) of HE HAD TO
24 Head removed from serious figure (6)
EIGHTY – remove the head from wEIGHTY (serious)
25 Quite nice (6)
PRETTY – double definition
1 Farm animal on a road, chicken (6)
COWARD – COW (farm animal) on A, RD. (road). Simple but good!
2 Eat bird (7)
SWALLOW – double definition. There almost seems like a nice bit of crossover here, what with eating crow and swallowing one’s pride.
3 A breeze from East, say, windy (4)
EASY – anagram (windy) of E[ast] SAY
5 Radio set after retuning reaching minor planet (8)
ASTEROID – anagram (after retuning) of RADIO SET
6 Measure of whisky needed before a theatrical production (5)
DRAMA – DRAM (measure of whisky) needed before A
7 Student of wizardry, snooker player? (6)
POTTER – double definition, the first as in Harry.
9 Shockingly, it went with the last century (9)
TWENTIETH – anagram (shockingly) of IT WENT with THE
13 Stupid upset over silly thing when day begins (8)
MIDNIGHT – DIM (stupid) “upset”, over an anagram (silly) of THING
15 Gold, say, in electrical component (7)
ELEMENT – double definition
16 Some seed I blessed, good to eat (6)
EDIBLE – “some” seED I BLEssed
17 A little drunk? Very little (6)
TIDDLY – double definition. A tiddlywink was originally an unlicensed Victorian pub (or pawnshop), a tiddly being a drink.
19 Stick nothing cold up on top of grill (5)
CLING – NIL (nothing) C(old)  “up”, on G (“top” of Grill)
21 Mix some turmeric into rice, initially (4)
STIRSome Turmeric Into Rice “initially”


42 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2228 by Mara”

  1. I didn’t know OAST or TIDDLY but they were biffable

    I also didn’t see ‘broadcast’ being an anagram indicator. Actually I still don’t see it!

    Otherwise I managed the rest of this fine.. I struggled with whatsit but didn’t see the anagram which would have helped greatly!

    1. One meaning of ‘broadcast’ is to sow or scatter seed (as opposed to drilling and planting in neat rows), and it’s this sense of ‘scattering’ that’s intended as the anagram indicator.

      1. Oh! I didn’t know that meaning. That makes much more sense. Just another way to confuse me because I’m always going to be looking for a homophone when I see broadcast

  2. 10 minutes, so target achieved but only just. Actually I had all but one answer after 8 minutes but I needed the extra 2 to come up with DECREASE. The answer didn’t leap out at me from the definition, and having three vowels as checkers didn’t help narrow the field.

  3. Really enjoyed this one lots of wit and deception. Like Jack there were only eight minutes on the clock with one to go but DECREASE had me in real trouble for over a minute – spotted the word would fit before the parsing slowly dawned on me – ace clue. All green in 10.

  4. I can’t remember anything about this, but for some reason it took me much too long. We’ve had doubly-defined PRETTY rather too often. Roly, at 22ac you’ve got BEING where you want ‘begin’. 9:07.

  5. 20 minutes.
    After a fast start with the top half falling quickly, I got a little bogged down in the bottom half.
    I bunged LOVELY in at 25ac then removed it seeing STIR at 21dn.
    Favourites: DECREASE once I had the required meaning of ‘contract’ also, CLING.

  6. A rare day when I had my anagram hat securely in place, so I made relatively short work of this. A slight hold up at the end over the parsing of CLING and LOI DECREASE where I needed a mercifully short alphabet trawl before the penny dropped.
    Lots to enjoy but my favourite was WHATSIT. Finished in 6.30
    Thanks to Roly and Mara

  7. A fun puzzle and a true QC, eminently completable but still enough to get me thinking. 9 minutes in all, and the SW corner the last to fall, with Cling (very neat) and Eighty my LOIs. Wondered for a moment about eighty, and whether “figure” had to be one of the digits 0…9, but convinced myself it was OK.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

  8. An actual QC again. Thanks to Mara. It wasn’t all plain sailing for me, though – I was a minute over target. I whipped through most but came to grief in the SW corner – CLING, BEING (I bifd birth!), and EIGHTY only emerged when I finally saw MIDNIGHT (DIM or what?).
    Some very good clues so thanks, again, to Mara and to Roly for the blog. John M.

  9. The latest in a run of over target times – a definite stodgy patch for me.

    I couldn’t see the anagram of begin, even with a starting B, for much too long. I had to write out the anagrist for WAISTLINE, DECREASE required a trawl.

    DECREASE was my LOI, I was too downcast to have a favourite.


  10. A gentle enough puzzle by Mara’s standards, but I butcherd the chance of a sub-20 by taking several minutes to get loi Decrease. As Jackkt mentions, the vowel crossers didn’t help, and (Oxford, ☺) the legal/size options added another layer of complexity etc. CoD to 17d, Tiddly, as it gave our esteemed blogger, Roly, the opportunity to explain where Tiddlywinks comes from – fascinating. Invariant

    1. So, was “tiddlywinks” just a game played in the unlicensed pub and ended up being given that name through association over time?

      I like to think of people “winking” for their illegal drink – but I’m sure it probably has nothing to do with that 😀

  11. Started quickly and then lost momentum a little, but finished inside target at 9.20. LOI was ASTEROID where I was mislead into searching for a homophone for a while. It also took me a while to parse CLING although it shouldn’t have been that difficult.
    A nice puzzle by Mara and thanks to both he (?) and Roly.

  12. Started well and thought I was on for a really quick time only to grind to a halt with CLING and DECREASE. Finally over the line in 21 mins. Didn’t parse CLING and didn’t know origin of ‘tiddlywinks’ – very interesting – thanks rolytoly. Liked EASY. Many thanks Mara.

  13. I thought I was on for another superfast solve until I got to my last two. I solved WAISTLINE before DECREASE which required an alphabet trawl. Target missed. 9:27

  14. 20 mins…

    A nice puzzle from Mara and I also thought I was on for a good time, but I got held up by 8ac “Whatsit” and failing miserably to see the anagram. I think I was convinced the ending was “rot” until 3dn clicked into place.

    I’ve been caught out by 12ac “Decrease” before and for once managed to spot it early.

    FOI – 1dn “Coward”
    LOI – 8ac “Whatsit”
    COD – 3dn “Easy”

    Thanks as usual!

  15. Solved this in 10:11, finishing at 11:10! Neat or what. In fact, I didn’t find solving it particularly neat – two went in unparsed (DECREASE and MIDNIGHT) and I dotted around the grid somewhat. Lots of foodie references today! Time for some TOAST now, perhaps I should get some CASHEW butter from a DELI – sounds quite EDIBLE. A bit early to get TIDDLY though 😅
    FOI Coward LOI Decrease COD Cashew
    Thanks Mara and Roly – so interesting about tiddlywinks. I can feel myself going down a Google wormhole, trying to find out more!

    1. Yes I never knew that about tiddlywinks either – I’ve added a link to a good little article above, in reply to Invariant and James, in case you missed it down your google wormhole!

      1. Yep – there are plenty of recipes online, and you can even get it in supermarkets these days. I’ve never tried it, but as a peanut butter fan, I should probably give it a go.

  16. I was slow to start with only COWARD and ROLE going in on a first pass of the NW. Picked up for a while in the NE and then made plodding progress towards LOI, WAISTLINE, which took me long enough to push me over my target. 10:36. Thanks Mara and Roly.

  17. Lovely puzzle from one of my favourite setters, but I took ages to complete it. Nearly joined the SCC. Suffered serious cruciverbalist’s block with Decrease and Element. COD Tiddly. For some reason it made me smile, and the tiddlywinks connection is interesting. Thanks a lot to Roly and Mara.

  18. Not so good for me. Needed CCD for DELI (pretty stupid of me) and for DECREASE.
    Very fast to start with then snail’s pace.
    Thanks, Roly, vm. Needed help to post-parse eg MIDNIGHT.

  19. I struggled with this. Stopped after 17 minutes with seven clues outstanding. A second session got me home but at least 10 more minutes needed.
    LOI was DECREASE. A very clever clue I thought as there are so many meanings of contract, in order, order etc. CLING caused me problems as I had CO… ready.
    And a a biffed WHATNOT meant I did not get the easy EASY until my second session..
    Well done Mara. Nothing unfair or obscure.

  20. DNF beaten only by DECREASE…

    Enjoyed this very much with one reservation: I agree with a comment above and please can we have a variation on clueing PRETTY?!

    Thanks Mara and Roly

  21. Add me to the list of those who had the brakes applied by DECREASE (in my case also by LOI EASY, which I found anything but).

    Cracking puzzle, finally done in 07:54 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Mara and Roly.


  22. I thought I had done well, but on reading the blog, I see that I correctly answered 14 clues in all. Three of those needed me to cheat with the dictionary, so really only 11 clues today. I thought 2d was GANNETS! This meant I couldn’t get 11a even though I saw ROLE as a possible answer! Also couldn’t do 8a but was sure “sat with” was the anagram. Didn’t realise that “new” meant anagram at 22a, so I put BIRTH. Useful learning today. Thank you for the helpful blog.

    1. Snap with you on ‘birth’ as my first input for 22A. It needed a lightbulb moment on MIDNIGHT to correct it.

    2. That’s real progress Ian. Well done for getting 11 without any assistance. Today was a good example of the wide range of anagram indicators. New, windy and broadcast are worth remembering (although the latter can also indicate a homophone).

  23. After whizzing through yesterday’s Jalna and feeling jolly pleased with myself, I came down to earth with a bump today. Not a DNF, but two interminable unproductive pauses (one of which was with nine clues left) contributed to a time of 51 minutes. This is rather slow for me these days, although sadly still not a thing of the past. My first hiatus was ended when I finally saw COWARD and it led to a rush of five further clues (CASHEW, WHATSIT, etc.) in the next two minutes. Why could I not see any of these before? Two more arrived at a more steady pace, but my LOI (DECREASE) took nearly 10 minutes to fall. I found DEgREASE (AS inside DEgREE) quite early in that 10-minute period, but the correct answer stayed out of sight for much longer. So frustrating!

    Mrs Random, on the other hand, polished off yesterday’s and today’s QCs in less time than I took to do just one. Her time today was 20 minutes, and she couldn’t work out why I was having trouble. “What’s wrong with you?” was her encouraging comment as I neared the end. Oh, and “Come on! Please hurry up, as the hens need their corn”. So I’m going out to deliver the girls’ supper right now.

    Many thanks to Mara and rolytoly.

    1. You and I had a similar experience with 12ac. I was (by my standards) flying but ended up with a slow time. I saw the meaning of contract and spotted where as needed to go, but could not see the rest. I think Mrs Random is being a littleharsh on you as there were a few tricky ones today. Some of the anagram indicators were a bit sneaky. I see broadcast and immediately think homophone.

      At least we both finished!

  24. Not many of the across clues to start with but did better with the downs, after which slow but steady progress to finish in 22 mins. All parsed except CLING. As others found, the SW corner proved the most troublesome. Good crossword, so thanks to Mara and to Rolytoly for the blog.

    FOI – 4ac HARD UP
    LOI – 19dn CLING
    COD – 13dn MIDNIGHT

  25. Well that put me firmly in my place. I was bombing along and hoping to avoid the SCC. Then I got to 12ac. Took ages for the answer to come, despite fully understanding the clue.

    So near and yet so far….

  26. Good one. 9d and 13d easier when I’d corrected WASTELINE to WAISTLINE. Doh!!! Couldn’t parse CLING until I noticed the little ‘up’. Must read slower! Thanks as always.

  27. 13:42. Really liked EASY,CLING and WHATSIT. Spent the longest on WAISTLINE- I still have trouble with compound words.As I stare at the letters I have on the grid my mind only seems able to visualize non-compound words!

  28. Struggled a bit with this and couldn’t see EASY at all! Still, an entertaining puzzle with some neat clues.

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