Times Quick Cryptic No 2238 by Breadman

A bit on the trickier side today.

I came in at 7:44, a good minute slower than yesterday’s done just before, with a rather sparse-looking grid after a first pass of the acrosses.

Otherwise a fairly middle-of-the-road affair (a middle-of-the-road QC being very good, of course), with some quality misdirection and a range of enjoyable surfaces (I especially liked 5d and 7d).

Many thanks to Breadman!

1 Reformed individual to move into a lower gear (6,4)
CHANGE DOWN – CHANGED (reformed) OWN (individual). As in: “her own/individual/particular preference was for salt in her coffee.” Or something like that. Can’t say CHANGE DOWN meant much to me.
8 Religious building always full of books, European (5)
ABBEY – AY (always, poetically) full of B(ook) B(ook) E(uropean)
9 Style of design poorly rated by company (3,4)
ART DECO – anagram (poorly) of RATED by CO(mpany)
10 Bill interrupted by Greek character, one who writes abject verses (9)
POETASTER – POSTER (bill) interrupted by ETA (Greek character)
12 Heroin used regularly for a long time (3)
EON – h E r O i N “used regularly”
13 Unrefined rot mostly: that’s disgusting! (5)
ROUGH – ROt “mostly” UGH (that’s disgusting!)
15 Some author describes crowd (5)
HORDE – “some” of autHOR DEscribes
17 Oscar, a loud idiot (3)
OAF – O(scar) A F (forte = loud)
18 Amount owed concerning doctor at the back (9)
OVERDRAFT – OVER (concerning) DR (doctor) AFT (back)
20 Finally, Manchester United recovered (7)
RALLIED – R (“finally” manchesteR) ALLIED (united)
21 Expand Caribbean retreat (5)
WIDEN – WI (Caribbean) DEN (retreat)
22 Cheese and wine given to royal family (3,7)
RED WINDSOR – RED (wine) given to WINDSOR (Royal family). News to me.
1 One who applauds directors finding filmmaking equipment (12)
CLAPPERBOARD – CLAPPER (one who applauds) BOARD (directors)
2 Stroll accomplished covering miles (5)
AMBLE – ABLE (accomplished) covering M(iles)
3 Make fun of crude effigy (3)
GUY -double definition
4 Want expensive trough cleaned out (6)
DEARTH – DEAR (expensive) TrougH “cleaned out”
5 Rain on outbuilding — dirty film seen after this? (9)
WATERSHED – WATER (rain) on SHED (outbuilding)
6 Streak of light encountered upset small deer (6)
METEOR – MET (encountered) ROE (small deer) “upset”. Always nice to see METEOR correctly used.
7 Bar, with five couples, disheartened older male singer (12)
COUNTERTENOR – COUNTER (bar), TEN = five couples, OR (“disheartened” OldeR)
11 Classical goddess quiet during the radio broadcast (9)
APHRODITE – P (piano = quiet) during an anagram (broadcast) of THE RADIO
14 A French congregation spread out (6)
UNFOLD – UN (a, in French) FOLD (congregation). Couldn’t get FURL out of my head.
16 Esme dead slow, each time cutting half grassland tract (6)
MEADOWesME deAD slOW “each time cutting half”
19 People from Denmark, moving first to middle range of mountains (5)
ANDES – DANES (people from Denmark), moving D to the middle
21 Present mounted and secured (3)
WON – NOW (present) “mounted”


64 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2238 by Breadman”

  1. A challenge I thought. POETASTER seemed a bit heavy for a Quick Crossword! I didn’t know RED WINDSOR, but the wordplay sufficed.

  2. DNK the cheese, DNK CHANGE DOWN (I’d say downshift). I didn’t understand WATERSHED; just now looked it up to find the (Brit.) TV meaning. 6:10.

  3. 10 minutes. Only the cheese gave me pause for thought. I’m pretty good on English cheeses but I’ve never heard of it. It has a ‘stub’ page on Wiki consisting of one sentence. I found two places on-line that offer it for sale, one of them calling it ‘Windsor Red’ presumably to distinguish it from the apple variety Red Windsor.

    1. My late aunt, who lived with us 50 years ago, was chief cheese taster for Cow & Gate. She called it Windsor Red and told me it was crap wine in crap cheese sold at five times the price.

      1. Also it doesn’t look at all appetising.

        “Cow & Gate, Farmers Wife, Double Devon Cream”. That takes me back!

        1. The other one she hated was Sage Derby. Her favourites were Dorset Blue and, rather unpatriotically, Canadian Black Diamond.

          1. Yes Sage Derby is another one that looks unappetising. Blue-veined cheeses are amongst my favourites and any really strong Cheddar.

      2. My primary school backed onto the Cow & Gate factory in Wincanton. The smell of curdled milk would often waft over the playground – very vile.

  4. Getting to ‘poster’ from ‘bill’ slows me every time I come across it and that combined with having NHO POETASTER made that my LOI. Also slowed by thinking of muntjac for the small deer and then being fixated on the defintion being a deer made up of ‘met’ and ‘ray’ even thought the checking letters clearly wouldn’t allow it. Thought ‘present mounted and secured’ was good. All green in 11.

  5. 20 minutes parsing as I went other than ART DECO which I BIFD and moved on.
    FOI: CHANGE DOWN followed by CLAPPERBOARD and most of the clues leading from them.
    LOI: RED WINDSOR. Last one I looked at and cheese I’m not so familiar with.
    Favourite: DEARTH amongst several others I had marked along the way.

  6. Once again, I didn’t find the NW easy at first and moved up from the bottom. An odd QC from Breadman, I thought. The long outer clues did not drop out at first and I had to wait for some crossers. Like others, I did not know RED WINDSOR but Windsor red finally seemed reasonable. NHO my LOI POETASTER but it simply had to be from the clue. Not a word that will enrich my life in any way now that I have come across it.
    Some nice clues but no great favourites. 3 mins over target so I was clearly knocked off balance by this one. Thanks to both. John M.

  7. Started with CLAPPERBOARD having drawn a blank with 1a and made brisk progress until my final three. I tried very hard to find a way to justify unfurl, wanted 20a to include an anagram of united to find a word meaning finally and I stared blankly at the first part of the unknown cheese thinking I was going to have a hell of an alphabet trawl for a three-letter word. Fortunately, the penny dropped before I had to resort to that.
    Enjoyed working out, the NHO, POETASTER, although it’s a horrid looking word. Finished in 9.20.
    Thanks to Rolytoly

  8. At 18mins, my first sub-20 this week. Change Down was a write-in, but I had to think about own/individual to be certain of the parsing. After that, a reasonably smooth top to bottom solve apart from the nho Poetaster and the equally obscure Red Windsor – I’ll stick with the Dorset Blue Vinny thanks. CoD to 7d, Countertenor, for the five couples. Invariant

  9. Hmm, my avatar has gone awol again, must fix that.
    Anyway, so nearly gave up on this but crawled through. So far into the SCC I can barely see the bar.
    Rare for me to have two NHOs in one QC but POETASTER and the dodgy cheese were such today. NW corner was very bare after the first run through so I hopped about gradually picking up what I could, then grinding through the rest. My goddess memory wasn’t good today although I could see the clueing, so that delayed me further.
    Liked ROUGH, a rare smile as I ploughed through.

  10. Back to normal today with a 12 minute solve of this interesting puzzle – some very good clues and some really quite obscure words. Rallied I thought a splendid clue with a very smooth surface, and my COD when the penny dropped, and I liked Watershed (definitely a British-centric clue that one), but like several others I NHO Red Windsor (and from the discussion above I don’t think I’ll be buying it) or Poetaster, which sounds a made-up word combining Poet and Disaster!

    Slightly puzzled at the definition of Meteor, and alas not much enlightened by Roly’s comment. I thought a meteor was the small object in the heavens not the streak of light it makes; the OED for example has “Meteor: a piece of rock from outer space that makes a bright line across the night sky as it burns up”. But the answer was clear enough from the wordplay.

    A postscript to yesterday: my plea to ERNIE for the same largesse as Jack enjoyed was (half) answered, with a prize arriving this morning! Only half answered, as he was not quite as generous to the Statherby household as he was to Jack, but as a certain supermarket jingle has it, “every little counts”.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

    1. I supposed that as the streak of light is actually the meteor buring up in the atmosphere, then the light is created by the meteor. We say ‘look, a meteor’ rather than ‘look, a streak of slight caused by a meteor’. Perhaps a parallel is when we see and refer to torch light and street light.

      1. It is only if it reaches the ground without burning up that it becomes a meteorite, although it is still a piece of rock until it does burn up.

        1. A meteoroid that enters the atmosphere is called a meteor (and produces a streak of light as it passes – the reference in the clue). If it survives the journey and hits the ground it is, indeed, a meteorite. Consequently the clue seems fair enough to me.

  11. A few clues here to make it slightly tougher than average I thought with POETASTER being a prime example. A clumsy looking word that I’ve never come across before, and not surprisingly my LOI.
    Like others never heard of RED WINDSOR, but have sampled the delights of a Red Leicester many a time.

  12. NHO RED WINDSOR, but the wordplay was generous with a couple of checkers in place. I had 2 left after 8 minutes, 14d and 20a, but developed Solver’s Block at that point, with UNFURL refusing to give way to UNFOLD, and ALLIED refusing to batter its way to the front of my mind for another 12a. 17:06. Thanks Breadman and Roly.

  13. Over target at 18 minutes, with NHO POETASTER and RED WINDSOR causing delays, as for many others. Some great surfaces though. I also liked DEARTH and RALLIED, although after this week, the clue could have been more fittingly ‘Finally, Leicester and United recovered’. Thanks Roly and Breadman.

  14. On the tough side. Few done at first, but getting the long words made life easier. Dredged up POETASTER from depths of memory. LOI RALLIED.

  15. I was quick on most of this but, like John above, UNFURL had to be unravelled. LOI UNFOLD after 11 minutes.
    Add me to the long list of NHO RED WINDSOR.
    I knew all the words today although some are a bit obscure.
    I liked CHANGE DOWN; a good clue and a common enough phrase when learning to drive manual cars.

  16. Well, I really did surprise myself by completing this, with aids used just once (never heard of countertenor).

    I have never heard of poetaster (come on, that’s got to be a made up word by the setter to fit the grid 🤣), but POSTER (bill) with ETA inside it just had to be it.

    Tough, but enjoyable.

  17. 4th one this week over target I think.

    Constructed the NHO POETASTER, which gave me my LOI APHRODITE, mainly because I was trying to fit in SH for quiet, which just didn’t work, but I couldn’t see why until that A turned up. Also NHO the cheese, but what else could it be?


  18. 27 mins fully parsed, so an average solve for me today. I particularly enjoyed RALLIED and CHANGE DOWN, the latter reminding me of my driving instructor shouting it at me on approach to traffic junctions many years ago.
    The unknown cheese sounds nice to me (Leicestershire cheddar marbled with red wine, normally a Bordeaux, or port/brandy mix). I shall try some, despite the advice of sawbill’s late aunt.
    I had thought POETASTER a modern word, like ‘rhymester’, but on checking I find it to have been coined (in Latin) in the late 16th C and used in English first by Jonson in 1600. I am always grateful to the amount one can learn from doing the QC!
    Thanks to Breadman and rolytoly.

  19. Found this tough and was pleased to finish (although into the SCC yet again). I always try 1a and 1d first so was happy that these were write-ins for me. Slow steady progress generally but didn’t parse ROUGH or COUNTERTENOR (both lovely clues now I understand them – thanks roly). As many others my last two in were the unknown cheese and the inferior poet. My favourite was WATERSHED. Many thanks Breadman. Maybe I will be out of the SCC tomorrow…

  20. As per Templar’s definition I scored a red letter day. FOI CLAPPERBOARD and LOI COUNTERTENOR which I didn’t fully parse. I thought POETASTER was generously clued and I must have seen it before unlike the NHO RED WINDSOR which added a few extra seconds! 6:01

  21. 5:18 this morning. Rather stop-start performance today with several clues requiring a re-visit once crossers had been established.
    Ah, 10 ac “poetaster”. Most Scots will be familiar with the self-styled “poet and tragedian” and eccentric William McGonagall, who could certainly be described as a “poetaster”. His poems , often on worthy subjects such as the Tay Rail Bridge disaster are still read today but for all the wrong reasons. Here is a link to give you a flavour of this poetaster’s craft
    22ac – was aware of “Red Windsor” but haven’t seen it much of late. My favourite cheeses ? Brie, Reblochon and Conte since you asked
    COD 5d “watershed”.
    Thanks to Roly and Breadman

    1. When I saw the clue, I thought straight away of McGonagall and, until I did a letter count of his name, thought that he might be the answer.

  22. In common with most I’ve never heard of either Red Windsor or poetaster. Managed to get the former from the wp but failed on the latter, despite having settled on eta as the Greek letter. For some reason that particular meaning of bill never occurred to me, so I had to resort to aids. Other than that my time was an average 17 minutes, although not everything was parsed.

    FOI – 9ac ART DECO
    LOI – 10ac POETASTER
    COD – 20ac RALLIED (also liked 21ac WIDEN)

    Thanks to Breadman and to Rolytoly

  23. 22 mins…

    Somewhat tricky with quite a few unknowns (10ac “Poetaster”, 22ac “Red Windsor”), but the word play was fair. Luckily 1dn “Clapperboard” is a bit of a chestnut, so that helped with quite a lot of the across clues. Liked 1ac “Change Down”, 12ac “Eon” and 20ac “Rallied” (if only it was true!).

    Wasn’t sure about 3dn “Guy” – thought it might be “Gay” at first, but couldn’t see the effigy reference. Saying that, I can’t see the “make fun of” reference either.

    FOI – 2dn “Amble”
    LOI – 7dn “Countertenor”
    COD – 7dn “Countertenor”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I’d say to guy meaning to poke fun at / ridicule is quite dated now, but this is Crosswordland! The guy on a bonfire is a crude effigy – my brother Guy used to dislike fireworks night when he was a child. Too much guying 😅
      Now I’ve started to think about it, I wonder if the verb comes from ridiculing Guy Fawkes?

      1. Literally never heard of that – sounds like something from Enid Blyton. Guessing your brother got a bit of Guy Fawkes ribbing (to use another outdated word) around the 5th November then?

    2. “Traditionally children would make a “Guy” or life-size ,scarecrow-like effigy of Guy Fawkes which would be thrown onto the communal bonfire during the celebrations- but not before he was paraded around by the kids, who would ask for ‘a penny for the guy'”.

      1. To be fair I meant I’ve never heard of “guy” for making fun of – I’ve obviously heard of “penny for the guy” (just in case you thought I was a complete simpleton 😀) – although I appreciate some folks from outside the UK may not.

  24. Bread, cheese and apples – my favourite lunch! Unfortunately I can’t say this was a great success – due purely to my mind going blank after about 12 minutes. I got stuck on my last two (UNFOLD / RALLIED) as I couldn’t get the second part of either word, so went away for 10 minutes or so and crawled to a finish on my return. About 16-17 minutes today – A Poor Day.
    RED WINDSOR is new to me, but under the circumstances, I’d better try some! Who knows why a Leicestershire cheese is named after a town in Berkshire? The Long Clawson dairy (which makes it) opens to the public for a few days each month – I’ve never been but apparently you can get some absolute bargains. Stock up on Stilton for Christmas!
    I was further confused because I thought they were apples – it turns out they are, also known as early Windsors! Now they are delicious 😊
    FOI Abbey LOI Rallied COD Watershed – it made me giggle
    Thanks Breadman and Roly

  25. Pretty quick till 13a (where I wanted “raw” to be involved) and 20A, where “allied ” took a while to surface. Excellent puzzle, I thought – started with a bang at 1a and just kept going with first rate clues.

    COD to MEADOW, all done in 07:00 for 1.1K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Breaders and Roly.


  26. 17:35. Enjoyed CHANGE DOWN and RALLIED most. Didn’t know RED WINDSOR but it seemed highly probable. Didn’t follow the dirty film definition- oh well, that’s the least important of the many things I don’t understand!

  27. Poetaster! What?! Never heard of it. Ditto Guy meaning … make fun of … really?!
    I love cheese but Red Windsor … what?!
    No wonder I have yet to finish a ‘quick’ cryptic! I’ve only been trying for 2 yrs. Give me strength – or at least – hope!

  28. Very nice puzzle. About 10 mins then couldn’t get poetaster.
    Did some gardening and then got it on my return. Am trying to prune lots of things with very little knowledge. It seemed easy when I used to help my Nana.

    Horryd will like 20a about ManU.
    EON is a clue out of Trainspotting.
    COD Aphrodite.

  29. I am astonished by everyone’s times, as I found Breadman’s offering really tough today – right out at the limits of my capability. I had NHO GUY for ‘make fun of’. I never parsed WIDEN and took an ‘era’ to parse EON. I had heard of (and quite like) RED WINDSOR cheese, but RALLIED and UNFOLD didn’t come to mind for ages and ages. But, POETASTER caps all of those. I had NHO the word, couldn’t think of POSTER for ‘bill’, and didn’t know which bit of the answer would contain the Greek character. All in all, a really tough workout for me, so I was much relieved to stagger across the line in 56 minutes.

    Mrs Random said she found it hard, but finished in just 23 minutes. Clearly, she doesn’t know the meaning of ‘hard’.

    Many thanks to Breadman, whom I usually find relatively easy, and rolytoly.

  30. Poster for bill eluded me as usual.
    Reminds me of the old sign Bill Posters will be prosecuted. To which the graffiti artist responded Bill Posters is Innocent.
    Always thought that rather clever. J

  31. 19:59

    Although actually a DNF as never heard of the cheese and foolishly put NEW WINDSOR.

    1. Hello Ian. How long do you give yourself before calling it a day? When I started a couple of years ago, I set myself a limit of 1 hour. Nowadays, I typically finish (if I finish at all, of course) in 30-45 minutes, but as was the case today I sometimes have to slave away for much longer. Good luck tomorrow!

  32. I think I am the winner of the wooden spoon today. I was over an hour on this one. Held up for ages at the end by poetaster (NHO, although I did manage to work it out) and rallied. Every time I think I’m getting the hang of this, I get brought back down to earth with an almighty bump. This was my poorest time in a while and pretty disheartening. Let’s hope tomorrow is kind. Thank you for the blog..

    1. It’s all down to experience, Gary. Take 3d, Guy – if you have never come across the ‘make fun of’ meaning you would probably hesitate to base an answer on just the effigy part of the clue, but it will now be a write-in for you next time.

      1. Thanks Invariant. You’re absolutely right. I should have been happy simply to solve what was a tricky QC.

  33. NHO POETASTER but it couldn’t be anything else. Garden centre deli does a very nice RED WINDSOR. LOI RALLIED after finally getting UNFOLD (I was also distracted by unfurl)

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