Times Quick Cryptic No 2232 by Teazel

5:39. A decent time for a tough puzzle, with the last several seconds dithering over whether I might have 21 across wrong. In any case, it’s a great word I hadn’t heard of and I intend to use it more often in everyday speech.

My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in italics. I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.

1 Wizard banner returned / and brought in (7)
GANDALF – FLAG reversed with AND inside

Tricky wordplay here!

5 Mark one [in] staff that represents authority (4)

I hadn’t known about the association with authority. Normally I associate maces with centaurs.

7 Way / too old maybe to be presented in theatre (6)

Very fooling. This was one of my last in and didn’t make sense of it til writing the blog.

8 Check / more unusual protective coating (6)
CHROME – CH + anagram of MORE
9 Provide food and support — grub (11)

This feels like it should be a chestnut, but I’ve never seen it before.

10 Happened to fit iron in ring (6)
12 Not one criticism of thin wine? (6)
14 African country that may produce erotic video (4,7)

Côte d’Ivoire, that is.

17 Riddle / that had many variations (6)
ENIGMA – double definition, the second a reference to Elgar’s Enigma Variations
18 Voracious eater[’s] place at head of table (6)
LOCUST – LOCUS + first letter of TABLE

Once again, easier definition than wordplay.

20 Boundary [is] square (4)
FOUR – double definition, one relating to cricket, the other to math(s)

Forgive my ignorance of cricket, but near as I can make this out, ‘boundary’ here refers to a type of stroke (where the ball goes out of said boundary), and ‘four’ is another name for this stroke, so named because one scores four runs for such a shot.

Makes sense, sorta like if we called a home run in baseball (with bases loaded) a ‘field’ or a ‘four’.

21 Female, busy type, finally down [in] drinking den (7)
SHEBEEN – SHE + BEE + last letter of DOWN

For the record, Chambers defines ‘den’ as “a haunt of vice or misery”, which made me laugh out loud.

1 Become somewhat fidgety (3)
GET – hidden in FIDGETY
2 Close match that’s not put on till late? (7)

The wordplay here eluded me but it must be a chestnut.

3 Tree [is] more bare, having top removed (5)
ALDER – BALDER without the first letter
4 Dissenting group force lawsuit (7)
5 Painting artist stuffed into Scottish chimney turned up (5)
MURAL – RA in LUM reversed

LUM being one of those words you should know.

6 [In] university, arrived to speak / on card game (9)
CAMBRIDGE – homophone of CAME + BRIDGE
9 [In] street unending / party getting louder and louder (9)
CRESCENDO – CRESCENT without the last letter + DO

I tried following the wordplay but then just biffed it from the music definition (I’m a musician). Hopefully you did, too, because CRESCENT is not likely to come to mind.

11 Spooner’s crazy convicts [have] mildly pornographic publications? (3,4)
LAD MAGS – switching the first letters of MAD LAGS
13 Gusto shown over half of cheese roll (7)
BRIOCHE – BRIO + first half of CHEESE
15 Fierce type good in row (5)
16 Worth siting university in dale (5)

I was thrown a bit by ‘siting’ but it was easily ignored.

19 Star has gone down? Not quite (3)
SUN – SUNK without the last letter

81 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2232 by Teazel”

  1. Jeremy, for future reference: at cricket, it’s a six if the ball goes over the boundary on the full; it’s a four if it goes over or into the boundary on the hop. Think home run v. ground rule double!

  2. Maces and centaurs? My main problem was 20ac. ‘Square’ had to be FOUR, or so I thought, but ‘boundary’? So I dithered, and did an alphabet-trawl, which of course turned up nothing and took a lot of time. 6:48.

  3. 16:08. Enjoyed a lot of these- SHEBEEN,BRIOCHE, NOBODY and FOUR especially. A home run in baseball is usually called a grand slam- and sometimes light-heartedly referred to as a grand salami. Ah, on editing this morning I see I neglected to say a grand slam is a home run with three men on base, not just any home run. In future maybe I shouldn’t post late at night.

    1. Ah yes how silly of me. Not all home runs of course but a “four” would indeed be like a grand slam.

      1. Not too familiar with baseball, but I lack the willful ignorance that all Americans seem to have in regards to cricket, so please correct me if I have this wrong:
        – A home run is a hit that allows the batter to do a circuit of all four bases, thus scoring at least one point, and a grand slam is a home run with loaded bases, so scores exactly 4 points
        – A home run usually requires the ball to clear the boundary
        – The baseball boundary is typically a fence of some sort, so a ball that bounces before it reaches the boundary is unlikely to clear it

        So a four in cricket is like a grand slam in baseball, because they’re both worth four points. However, a hit that scores four in cricket would be unlikely to score four in baseball, because it would bounce before it reached the boundary.

        1. Just to be explicit, as your ‘usually’ implies it’s possible to hit an ‘inside the park’ home run, where the ball never clears the boundary. This is rare–requires a speedy batter and probably a ball bouncing such as to make it difficult for the fielder to get it quickly–but it happens.

          1. The ball still has to cross or touch the ‘boundary rope’ to be given by the umpires to be a four.
            A four can also be scored when the ball doesn’t get to the said rope, and the batsmen safely cross four times. Fours such as this are usually scored due to overthrows, and even five runs have been noted.
            I would suggest that our American friends turn on to YouTube and watch fifteen minutes of highlight Cricket in order to see the basic differences between our National Sports. l often tune in to a baseball game and American ‘Football’ where the foot is used far, far less than the arm. In the English game it is visa-versa. In Rugby Union it is roughly 50-50.

            Australian Rules is a whole other ball game!

            1. I was talking about baseball, in reply to Lou; I wouldn’t dream of saying anything about cricket.

            2. When I first started doing the Times, I got very interested and read a lot about cricket — which I promptly forgot. I am interested in learning and even watching again, but I barely even have time for my beloved snooker.

              1. As someone born in a colony (Rhodesia) I grew up playing cricket, and hating it. Then I came to Canada, played and watched baseball and realised that cricket is much better. One does enjoy a game that has laws rather than rules!

              2. Snooker can be quite hypnotic at times, with O’Sullivan on a roll. But cricket ain’t quite as bad, as it’s a team game.
                My eldest son, now in his forty-fifth year, has been an associate member of the MCC for over a decade. It will almost certainly be another five years before he gets full membership and fees to match. He takes it rather seriously and has the ‘Scrambled-egg’ tie (yellow and scarlet) with English-style stripes.

              3. Sir John Paul Getty was introduced to cricket by Mick Jagger and became hooked. He is quoted as saying “I always tell my American friends that baseball is to cricket what checkers is to chess.”

              4. You’ll soon get the hang of cricket nomenclature. The 5 bits of wood at each end are called the wicket. And the bit of grass between the two wickets is called the er.. wicket. The batsman has his wicket and when he’s out the bowler has a wicket. So the bowler can get 10 wickets in any one innings. He doesn’t need to hit the wicket once to do this. All the batsmen could be caught out for example. Simples. J

      2. Jeremy – not *very* like a grand slam, surely? Fours are quite common in cricket – indeed in the shorter versions of the game they occur almost with indecent frequency, perhaps 1 or 2 an over. But a grand slam – the ultimate batter’s dream and fan’s delight – well I have been to about 8 baseball games in my life (and much enjoyed them), but I have never seen a grand slam live.

          1. Another in the ‘desperately tough’ pigsty. Nobody else seems to have fallen in the bear trap of 10ac which I read as an anagram and gleefully entered FINGER. That really messed me up as I went to RED TOPS for 11d and that was bolstered by COTE DIVOIRE working which encouraged me down mad paths. Ah well!

  4. 9 minutes with a delay caused by 14ac that added around an extra minute to my time at the very end of my solve. I knew the country immediately, not that it would have been the first African country to come to mind, but fortunately I had been reminded of it by another clue elsewhere within the past week that required me to know what its citizens are called. But my error today was thinking of its English name (Ivory Coast) and translating this to French as COTE D’IVORIE. The knock-on effect of that was to make 13dn impossible to solve until I’d realised my error and corrected it.

    MACE as a symbol of authority was no problem. They feature heavily in UK ceremonial both national and civic, and perhaps the most famous one is to be seen between the despatch boxes on the table in the House of Commons between the Government and Opposition benches. It is placed there in full view before the start of business each day.

    ‘Crescent’ is a common alternative to ‘street’ or ‘road’ etc in the names of UK thoroughfares. Followers of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue both here and overseas will be familiar with ‘Mornington Crescent’.

        1. The one rule I remembered was that the game was ended by the first person to shout ‘Mornington Crescent’.

          1. It was a cleverly designed “game” to use up however much time was left before the programme ended. As “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue” was not scripted, the running time was unpredictable, and the contestants played it at the end, shouting out random London tube stations, until the clock ticked to the right moment to draw proceedings to a close.

            Many people were totally taken in and wrote in to ask what the rules were for the game. As Mikest says, there never were any …

            1. Dear Cedric, Please check-out The Londonist (Harry Rosehill) on the Internet, just one rule as I stated. Meldrew

              1. Meldrew – you are of course right in the literal sense, though that was not so much a rule as the main/only purpose of the game. But when people plaintively wrote in to say “what are the rules please?” the answer was always “there are no fixed rules”. I know because many years ago I was one of those who asked …

                1. Cedric, I was prepared to reply to your further reply with the single exhortation, ‘Harrumph’ but I’ll abbreviate it to ‘Humph!’

            1. You are indeed correct. Inspired by the ‘New Vaudeville Band’s’ hit single ‘Finchley Station’ in 1969, it soon disappeared without trace until some ten years later it was revived on SlHAC as‘Mornington Crescent’. It was devised by the shows producer old Harrowvian Geoffrey Perkins. Meldrew.

              Mornington Crescent! Victor

              1. There is a claim that the game was devised by Perkins, but not so according to Barry Cryer and Humph who each had their own recollection of how it came into being.

                Also Geoffrey Perkins was not an Old Harrovian if by that you mean he attended Harrow School. He went to Harrow County School for Boys, a grammar school at the foot of Harrow Hill where his contemporaries included Michael Portillo and Clive Anderson. It was non-boarding so I assume he lived within easy reach, I don’t know where exactly, but he was born in Bushey, just across the Hertfordshire border.

  5. Again a 22-minute finish but a bit of a struggle and careful attention to WP.
    From FOI: MACE to the last pair of BRIOCHE and NOBODY.
    Favourites: NIGHTIE and CRESCENDO.

  6. All green in 16 but a bit of a slog having got precisely none of the acrosses on the first pass. Not being able to spell COTE DIVOIRE slowed BRIOCHE and MACE held out to the end. FOUR was a brilliant clue.

  7. I know cricket. Tolkien. African countries. I know romantic era composers, types of streets and music terminology

    But alcohol! Alcohol will forever be my nemesis! So is a shebeen like a speakeasy? Except modern? Is the word in common use or is it a crossword word?

    1. ODE: (especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa) an unlicensed establishment or private house selling alcohol and typically regarded as slightly direputable
      I’ve only seen the word in Irish contexts..

        1. On a short rugbywatching trip to South Africa we were offered a diversion by the coach driver to a shebeen. We had no idea when we said yes whether we’d end up in a restaurant, a shearing shed, a prison or what…turned out to be a rough and ready roadside bar. Will never forget it but yes I’ve heard it said – but never in Scotland or Ireland and I’ve spent much more time in both of those than a quick trip to Jo’burg!

  8. 6.05

    Lots of CRESCENTS here in Bath, but take your point Jeremy.

    Interesting discussion about baseball which I’ve seen once live in the States. Really enjoyed it. Main observation was that the crowd didn’t seem to be too bothered who was winning but they were certainly v friendly and willing to explain some of the more unusual rules.

    Cracking anagram for Côte d’Ivoire.

    Thanks Teazel and Jeremy

    1. Just to be clear, I am very familiar with ‘crescent’ as a type of street. But I would never come up with it as a synonym spontaneously.

  9. A just about on target solve. I know very little about cricket or baseball but I did get FOUR straight away. I wasn’t happy about the missing apostrophe in COTE D’IVOIRE so I waited for most of the checkers. I liked the Spoonerism, NOBODY and the cluing for MURAL probably because I remembered lum as a chimney in Scotland. I also biffed tartan instead of the correct CHROME which just happened to use the crossing checker of MURAL. My LOI was the unknown drinking hole SHEBEEN. 9:06

    1. I’m never happy with the way that an elided ‘e’ in the French word ‘de’ is conventionally treated in crossword clues; I will argue until I am blue in the face that Côte d’Ivoire is three words (4,1,6) not two words (4,7); there is no such word as “d’Ivoire”, the ‘d’ is a separate lexicographical unit; put another way, it is a word. I won’t budge an inch on this, because I’m right 🙂

      Maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t have a French degree.

      (Edit: having read some of the other comments, it would seem I am not alone on this one.)

      1. You make a very strong point but I have to disagree. I think D’Artagnan and D’Arcy both have the e of de elided and would surely be considered as single words. In English similarly”they’re” and “I’ll” are one word not two. To me the lack of a gap in “d’Ivoire” indicates one word. I doubt my argument is strong enough to persuade you- just throwing in my two cents worth!

        1. I don’t know if it matters how many words it is. The enumeration (X,X) indicates there’s two, uh…strings of characters — which may include apostrophes — separated by a space. And (X-X) indicates a hyphen instead of a space.

          I’ve never seen “they’re” or “I’ll”, or any other contraction appear a crossword answer. I wonder if there’s a reason for that

  10. V enjoyable puzzle, with just sufficient resistance to push me outside my target.

    Amusing spoonerism and anagram.

    LOI BRIOCHE, couldn’t think of BRIO, SHEBEEN my favourite, probably because I like the word.


  11. Found this quite tricky but very entertaining. Spent too long trying to think of synonyms of wizard at 1a and tried to invent a new word, PEFEEL, at LOI 10a. Fortunately, I persisted until the much more likely BEFELL came to mind. The highlight was solving the dreaded spoonerism relatively quickly as they usually bring me out in a cold sweat.
    Crossed the line over target in 11.25.
    Thanks to Jeremy

      1. I think we all mentally filled it with Potter to start with until we realised the letters didn’t fit.

  12. Technically a DNF today as I needed Mrs Prof to help me with SHEBEEN which I have NHO and for which I could only cone up with SHEHENN (hen instead of bee). Something learned is always a good day and like Plusjeremy I shall make good use of the word!

    Much to enjoy all round – COD to LAD MAGS for a good chuckle.

    Should COTE D’IVOIRE have been clued as (4,1,6) rather than (4,7) as it is technically three words?

    Can someone explain why CH is short for check? Is it from chess?

    Thanks, Prof

    1. Yes, chess, when recording moves made during play. Apostrophised abbreviations are never indicated in the enumeration of Times puzzles. I don’t know about other publications.

  13. Enjoyed this in a slow sort of way. Glad to finish with LOI BEFELL. Struggled a bit with SHEBEEN, NOBODY (PDM), LOCUST (ditto).
    FOsI GET, STAGED. Top half faster than bottom. NHO Lum.
    Liked LAD MAGS, once I’d worked it out.
    Many thanks, Jeremy.

  14. Delayed by the cluing of COTE D’IVOIRE as two words. Also delayed by LOI, CHROME. A fairly tricky offering I thought. 8:52. Thanks Teazel and Jeremy.

  15. A good but tough and stretching QC for me. Lots of good clues but the quirky ones slowed me just into the SCC. I had lots of PDMs, though, plus a few smiles when the pennies actually dropped.
    The puzzle certainly sparked lots of discussion. I felt quite pleased to have finished it at all and I’m surprised at some of the quicker times above.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  16. On wavelength today for a 8½ minute solve. LOI was Brioche, needed the B checker at the start to see it. Otherwise, all went in smoothly with much to enjoy, especially the crazy convicts.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

  17. Started slowly with 12ac being my FOI, and didn’t speed up till past half way. Eventually crossed the line in 9.02 with 10ac my LOI taking over a minute for me to solve. The dreaded Spooner reared his ugly head again I see, although for once he didn’t delay me much. Had I been a student of his at Oxford I would definitely hissed his mystery lessons!

  18. Lang may your lum reek. On the other hand I’ve never encountered a SHEBEEN in a Scottish context, only Irish and South African.

    Very entertaining puzzle and I loved my COD LAD MAGS. I do enjoy the challenge of a Spooner clue.

    All done in 07:16. I had hoped that FOUR would slow Kevin up, but alas not for quite long enough, so this was 1.1K and an Excellent day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Jeremy.


  19. No time today as completed with constant interruptions from Mrs R and our new cleaner – who looks very good! I really enjoyed this otherwise. Thanks both.

  20. 3:48 this morning. Probably a little better than my personal average for Teazel’s puzzles, which I always find well crafted.
    Everything went smoothly after FOI 1d “get”, except for a hesitation first time round for 14 ac “Cote d’Ivoire” where my first thought was Cape Verde. It required a second visit with crossers in place for the correct answer to become apparent.
    COD 12 ac “nobody” – I always enjoy vinous clues. Also liked the spoonerism at 11 d, which often can be frustrating to crack.
    Thanks to Jeremy and Teazel.

  21. Greatly distracted by weather forecasts having been evacuated from Florida holiday home last night to safety of higher ground off island. So much for a relaxing week away in the sun. Will probably be a week before fallen trees moved etc and safe to return to survey damage from wind and storm surge. Latter likely more problematic with direct gulf front and Ian heading full on target.
    So, a 30 minute solve is not bad under the circumstances. LOI FOUR. But definitely feeling under the weather at the moment.

  22. I think it was around 20 mins, but not sure as I was interrupted with a phone call.

    Anyway, really enjoyed this and thought there were some great clues. NHO of 21ac “Shebeen”, but it fell into place once I sorted out my spelling of Côte d’Ivoire (not Cote d’Ivorie). Liked 9dn “Crescendo”, 9ac “Caterpillar”, 12ac “Nobody” and 17ac “Enigma”.

    FOI – 1ac “Gandalf”
    LOI – 21ac “Shebeen”
    COD – 1ac “Gandalf” – for not being Potter.

    Thanks as usual!

  23. Maybe ‘Crescent’ is a rare name for a street in the US where most streets are straight, but in the UK many streets are curved and curved streets are very often named ‘… Crescent’. Both the street I grew up in and the one I live in now are ‘Crescents’, so I could have got this from the wordplay, but, like you, I just wrote it straight in because I had enough of the letters, combined with some musical knowledge, to see it immediately.

    Quick rant here, not being particularly a crossword afficionado, I dislike clues that fall back on various “standard” abbreviations (not standard to me), like ‘Mark’ in 5A giving us ‘M’ and ‘Check’ in 8A giving us ‘CH’. Where are these abbreviations actually used? I’m guessing that ‘M’ = ‘Mark’ when identifying the location of biblical quotations and ‘Ch’ = “check” in the old system of chess notation that nobody has used for years? Anyone able to confirm/correct my assumptions?

  24. Just outside the SCC which is good for a Teazel (for me) but undone by FOUR – I’d biffed ‘door’ even though they’re rarely square… Appreciated the in-depth discussion around the nature of a ‘four’ (previously not a clue)
    NHO SHEBEEN but it was generously clued. Just about remembered ch = check to get CHROME. Liked BRIOCHE and LAD MAGS (love all spoonerism clues). Really enjoyed this one. Many thanks Teazel and Jeremy.

  25. A great improvement on yesterday, coming in at 16 minutes all parsed, despite some disturbance. No real problems although it took me a while to remember the musical instruction for getting louder. Shebeen rang a faint bell but I had already worked it out from the wordplay. NHO lum for chimney and I don’t remember ever seeing it before in a crossword.

    FOI – 1ac GANDALF
    LOI – 8ac CHROME
    COD – 12ac NOBODY. Also liked the crazy convicts at 11dn.

    Thanks to Teazel and Jeremy.

  26. That was hard – and I must be right, because Mrs Random agrees. 43 minutes for me, but I got off to a very slow start. COTE D’IVOIRE was my only success during my first pass of the acrosses, and I was only marginally more successful working through the down clues. Fortunately, I was able to build on the few checkers I had and I gradually worked my way up from the bottom of the grid. The NE corner provided most resistance, with FACTION and CHROME being my last two in.

    Mrs R finished in 37 minutes (quite slow for her, but still comfortably ahead of me). Neither of us had heard of the Scottish chimney (LUM) or drinking den. In fact, I spent a while trying to decide between SHEBEEN and SuEBEEN, which would also have fitted the parsing.

    Many thanks to Teazel and Jeremy.

    1. Completely agree Mr Random. Very hard indeed. I feel slightly better about my time of around 50 mins knowing that Mrs Random took 37.

  27. Very pleased to finish one after a poor run but it wasn’t quick and required 3 visits.

    Knew SHEBEEN but struggled with CAMBRIDGE.

    Love a Spoonerism and the wonderful anagram of COTE DIVOIRE.

    First thought of ‘ring’ for square boundary thinking of the boundary of a square boxing ring but quickly jumped to FOUR.

    Saw my second ever live game of baseball this summer and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience but would stick with cricket as my preference although not as hooked on it as others. John Paul Getty on comparing the two games: “I always tell my American friends that baseball is to cricket what checkers is to chess.”

    Thanks Teazel and Jeremy

  28. Just under 10 minutes this morning, so quite pleased with that, as I often struggle with Teazel. A slightly raunchy crossword today, what with erotic videos and LAD MAGS!
    Quite a few ticks today – I liked MACE, CHROME, ENIGMA and MURAL a lot.
    FOI Gandalf LOI Sun COD Nobody
    Thanks Teazel and Jeremy

  29. After some decent times recently, I thought I was getting to the point where I could realistically aim to avoid the SCC. It seems my confidence was misplaced. I was somewhere around 50 mins for this. I just couldn’t get going. When I eventually did, I had a good run before taking an eternity to get 4dn and 12ac.

    I am truly in awe at some of the times posted above. I’d hoped to come on here and see comments about how desperately tough it was, but most of you seem to have had little trouble.

    Hoping for better tomorrow.

    Thanks for a very helpful and informative blog.

  30. Another designed to kill off the weak / newbies. Why on earth should I know LUM? Or SHEBEEN? And COTE DIVOIRE? And I’m not sure of 12a where one answer is a six letter word and the other answer is 2,4.

    In despair

    1. I didn’t know SHEBEEN either but that’s why we’re doing cryptic crosswords. You should know CÔTE D’IVOIRE because knowing the countries of the world is a reasonable thing. (IVORY COAST might be more familiar to you.)

      As for LUM… well, ya got me there 😉

    2. Keep going Dave. This was a hard one today. I didn’t know lum or shebeen, and not that long ago I would have been feeling like you. It does get better slowly if you can learn the abbreviations (of which we had quite a few today) but above all the wordplay indicators. That is why the folks who do the blog are so brilliant. Seeing how clues work when you found them unfathomable is a huge part of the learning process.

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