Times Quick Cryptic No 2259 by Trelawney

An enjoyable Friday QC from Trelawney today. No time recorded but I think it was about average for me. Some great clues and entertaining surfaces. I liked 8A, 9D and 18D, but COD to the clever 2D. Thank-you Trelawney! How did you all get on? [Update: As Sawbill points out in his comment we have a bit of a theme here. Can you spot it? I missed it].

P.S. See the announcement on the main blog page about the vacancies for two Quick Crossword bloggers. I started as a QC solver and became a blogger. Maybe you would like to too?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is Phil’s turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 63 here.

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

1 Idiot returns to sample tart (6)
PASTRY -SAP (idiot) [returns] -> PAS, TRY (sample).
4 Cope with it being muddled, like much of Shakespeare! (6)
POETIC – (Cope it)* [muddled].
8 Treatment you’re in store for? (6,7)
RETAIL THERAPY – Cryptic definition. A bit marmitey, I suspect. Did you like it? I did.
10 Chilling out initially near French city (2,3)
ON ICEO{ut} [initially], NICE (French city).
11 Man probing English prime minister’s nickname (7)
EPITHETHE (man) inside, [probing], E (English) PITT (prime minister).
13 Instruction from germophobe host? Confess everything! (4,5)
COME CLEAN – Double definition, the first a cryptic hint. A germophobe is “a person with an extreme fear of germs and an obsession with cleanliness“. If, like me, you didn’t know that then, like me, you probably guessed that’s what the word meant.
17 A thousand, I wager, is an error (7)
MISTAKEM (A thousand in Roman numerals) I STAKE (bet).
18 View through Downing Street? (5)
VISTAVIA (through) including, [downing; think a drink], ST (street). Nice one.
19 PC momentarily fixed for free (13)
COMPLIMENTARY – (PC momentarily)* [fixed].
21 Island nation imports south Indian snack (6)
SAMOSASAMOA (Island nation) including, [imports], S (south).
22 Admiral, primarily unsmiling, is back on a ship? (6)
ASTERNA{dmiral} [primarily], STERN (unsmiling). I only knew the “behind a ship” meaning of ASTERN, but it also means towards the stern.
1 Vicar’s average child (6)
PARSONPAR (average, if you’re a scratch golfer) SON (child). “What exactly is a parson?”, I wondered. “A beneficed member of the clergy; a rector or a vicar“, is what the dictionary explains.
2 Perhaps put down rooks in corners, for example? (3,6)
SET PIECES -A semi-&lit double definition is the best I can do for explaining this, my Clue Of the Day. You can read the whole clue as a cryptic hint based on the game of chess for the real definition “corners, for example” from the game of football. Top cluing!
3 Speak highly of not beginning pay increase (5)
RAISE – {p}RAISE (speak highly of) [not beginning].
5 Former marine ultimately boards punctually (3-4)
ONE-TIME – {marin}E [ultimately] inside, [boards], ON TIME (punctually).
6 Unfinished greenish-blue drink (3)
TEATEA{l} (greenish-blue) [unfinished].
7 Animal is shy, old, and extremely tame (6)
COYOTECOY (shy) O (old) and outside letters of, [extremely], T{am}E.
9 What a cat may get when eating small painting? (3,6)
THE SCREAMTHE CREAM (what a cat may get) outside, {eating}, S (small). I liked this one too.
12 Holland’s leader and Arab leader read out cordial greeting (9)
HANDSHAKEH{olland} [‘s leader], AND SHAKE, sounds like SHEIK (Arab leader) [read out].
14 See alms distributed for illness (7)
MEASLES – (See alms)* [distributed].
15 Seamstress at first makes fun of garments (6)
SMOCKSS{eamstress} [at first], MOCKS (makes fun of).
16 Criminal going around an unknown gorge (6)
CANYONCON (criminal) [going round] AN Y (unknown in equations).
18 Goddess has proven useful, in part (5)
VENUS – Hidden [in part] in proVEN USeful .
20 Silent parent (3)
MUM – Double definition.

54 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2259 by Trelawney”

  1. 7 minutes. This all fell neatly into place for me, but I checked the anagrist carefully at 19ac before writing in the unchecked 6th letter as I often mix up the E and I spellings of this word.

    1. I once pointed out to a (graduate) member of my team what I took to be a simple typo – ‘i’ rather than the required ‘e’. He looked puzzled and 5 minutes later produced a ‘with compliments’ slip to prove that he was right. . .

  2. 8ac was a cute clue, but I only got it because RETAIL THERAPY appeared once in a 15×15, when I had never heard of the expression (haven’t seen it since, for that matter). 12d HANDSHAKE took me a moment until I remembered the other pronunciation of ‘sheik’ (for me it’s ‘sheek’).
    I had no idea what was going on in 2d, since I didn’t know that definition of SET PIECE; but I did know the term (Collins, def.1: a work of literature, music, etc, often having a conventional or prescribed theme, intended to create an impressive effect), so I just took the clue non-cryptically. 6:07.

  3. Blimey, there must have been something in the coffee this morning. All done and parsed in 16 minutes helped by getting both the long across clues without much thought.
    LOI: ASTERN for a top to bottom solve.
    Favourites: COME CLEAN and VISTA.

  4. 10’27” and a grid that raised a couple of smiles for me as I completed it in my hotel room in Nice having spent the weekend before last in Oslo where I visited the Munch Museum. I don’t often travel with work and yet the two recent business trips have turned up in the same crossword. Spooky.

    2AC my COD. In football (soccer) corners and free kicks are referred to as set pieces and some teams are noted for their inability to score from ‘open play’ and their reliance on a member of their team being a ‘set piece specialists’ (I think David Beckham was considered such for England for a long time)

    Thanks Trelawny and John

  5. Just four on the first pass of acrosses and all in the top half but RETAIL THERAPY was among them. The downs went better, so much so that COMPLIMENTARY that had seemed too tough to crack on first reading was only missing one checker when I came back to it. Enjoyed ASTERN for the ‘back on ship’ definition but my favourite and LOI was PARSON which I couldn’t crack until SLOI PASTRY showed the way. All green in 10.

  6. Thanks to Trelawney and John. I liked Pastry, Samosa, Taco, Tart, Tea, Shake, Ice, Cream and probably many others.

    1. Hmm. Yes. It looks like a bit of a theme, but TACO is a bit of a stretch. I wonder if that one was intentional?

  7. Fairly gentle going today, my only major issue was misreading LOI 2d as ‘perhaps put down roCks…’ so filled it in from the checkers and parsed post submission.
    Other than that, pretty much a top to bottom solve having started with POETIC. Lots to enjoy with particular highlights being RETAIL THERAPY and THE SCREAM.
    Crossed the line in 7.16
    Thanks to John

  8. Another 20min solve, but this one feels much more satisfying than yesterday’s self-inflicted disaster. I will be interested to see the times posted by some of my peers. Quite a few CoD candidates, but my vote goes to 18ac, Vista, which although easily biffable with Venus in place, was a joy to parse. Invariant

  9. 13 minutes and happy with that – there was some unusual stuff going on here. Good luck to the new Wednesday bloggers here, and to the new 15 x 15 Friday bloggers. We will miss Verlaine over there, and I wish him well. Thanks both.

  10. A good puzzle. I was still recovering from a few convivial days away and a long journey home but enjoyed this (despite finishing a little over target).
    My favourite clues have all been listed above.
    Thanks to both, John M.
    I just caught up with yesterday’s Oink QC (a true QC for a change) and did rather better, finishing more than 3 mins under target. That makes me feel slightly brighter on this sunny morning.

  11. I had to work hard to get going on this one but once started it rolled along reasonably well. I wouldn’t have called an EPITHET a nickname but I suppose it’s not too much of a stretch and it was nice to see Pitt for a change. Lots of good clues, COD to LOI SET PIECES.

    All done in 08:38 for 1.4K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks to the Squire and John.


  12. RAISE went in first. SET PIECES took a while to get and I didn’t really understand it fully until coming here. RETAIL arrived long after THERAPY. Like Jack, I checked the anagrist carefully for COMPLIMENTARY. SE corner was last to fall with CANYON last of all. 8:55. Thanks Trelawney and John.

  13. Straightforward ish. Lower end of target.

    A few to think about though, including my favourite and LOI SET PIECES. Also liked EPITHET and RETAIL THERAPY.


  14. Nice puzzle, some good surfaces. Have seen retail therapy before. No idea how shopping could be a positive addition to well being.
    Epithet took a while to parse.

    COD vista.

  15. I must have been on the setter’s wavelength with this one – 6:15. Quite a relief after a shaky week with a misspelt answer on Monday and a couple of shocking times midweek.

    Lots of good clues, but I especially liked the misdirection by capitalisation in 18a.

  16. 12 minutes again for me.
    I had thought 2d might be END PIECES so I needed to get RETAIL THERAPY and PASTRY before SET came to mind. 2d was LOI and parsing not understood fully until coming here.
    I also failed to parse VISTA which I now see and was probably COD.
    I had to work hard at this and did not see any theme.

  17. Unusually I started very slowly, thinking I was going to get stuck, then suddenly rocketed. The opposite to my usual flying through until a DNF! 8.50. Always proud of <10 mins. Liked the retail therapy and The Scream.

  18. Managed to complete this one without aids, though I struggled a bit in the NW corner.

    I wasn’t a fan of 11a. As far as I am aware an epithet is more of a label, such as labelling all children naughty, rather than a nickname.

    8a and 2d took me forever to do. Initially I thought of wash hands for 13a, but that didn’t sit comfortably with me for “confess everything”.

    Enjoyable puzzle and a nice finish to the week. Thank you Professor Trelawney. 😄

  19. Like yesterday sped through this with no particular holdups finishing in 7.20. RETAIL THERAPY was what my wife enjoyed yesterday, me?, I was just in attendance!
    SET PIECES is an expression well known to any football fan including me, but in the case of my team it refers to the ability to concede goals on a regular basis, and the inability when presented with the opportunity to score them at the other end!

  20. 12 clues solved today, in about 40 minutes. I found these much easier than yesterday’s disaster. I shan’t apply for the blogger’s vacancy.

  21. Not too bad today, though had to nip out to the Surgery for a flu jab, then untherapeutic grocery shopping. Finished the NW corner on return, LOI SET PIECES. Liked that one and also THE SCREAM, ON ICE, COYOTE, COME CLEAN. COMPLIMENTARY sprang to mind early on without checking the anagram involved, so that helped. And HAND SHAKE I just biffed, but now see it too was a good one.
    Thanks vm, John. I missed the intermittent edible theme Sawbill spotted!

  22. Struggled a bit with this one, eventually crossing the line in 22 minutes, all parsed. I got very few of the across clues on first read-through but found the downs more forgiving, especially at the bottom. The result was a slow and steady bottom-up solve with 2 minutes spent on my LOI. As enjoyable as yesterday’s QC but a good deal trickier.

    FOI – 13ac COME CLEAN
    LOI – 2dn SET PIECES
    COD – I had originally marked 12dn HANDSHAKE as my COD but that was before reading John’s excellent blog and realising that I had not understood the footballing reference in 2dn. I would have to say therefore that SET PIECES trumps HANDSHAKE (in my book at least) for inventiveness.

  23. Both the 1s went in straight away which is always pleasing. My COD is VISTA as I am partial to a succinct clue. Only SET PIECES (no idea about the footballing reference) required all the checkers and was my LOI in 7:37 for a very good day.

  24. 20 mins for me…

    Thought this was more on the tough side with a lot of cryptic type clues. Main hold ups were 5dn “One Time” and 8ac “Retail Therapy”.

    Liked 2dn “Set Pieces” and 9dn “The Scream” (which I was lucky enough to see one of the original prints in London a few years back).

    FOI – 1dn “Parson”
    LOI – 8ac “Retail Therapy”
    COD – 18ac “Vista”

    Thanks as usual!

  25. 11:24. Really liked EPITHET and THE SCREAM , while SET PIECES also was very impressive. I entered it quickly because of the chess reference and didn’t even register the football corner connection until reading the blog. Kevin G.’s take referring to the art/music meaning was probably more of what I thought as I raced on to next clue. Must work on slowing down and thoroughly parsing!

  26. Slower today, at 12:15, a fair part of which was spent on 2d. A clever clue, I finally realised, after I worked out what was going on! I also liked COME CLEAN and VISTA.
    Teal is my favourite colour, and tea my preferred hot drink, but 6d was enough to put me off both of them. I didn’t notice the theme, even after John mentioned it, so had to wait until I got to Sawbill’s post. MrB has just made cheese scones for lunch -mmmm😋
    FOI Poetic LOI Set piece COD Retail therapy
    Thanks Trelawney and John

  27. Each day this week I have been foiled by one clue! Today it was Epithet which I didn’t associate with Nickname. On the previous days it was Edge, Ouija, Standing and Ezra Pound, all for different reasons. Looking forward to joining the SCC rather than the DNF!

  28. Back to earth after yesterday’s rare, but very welcome excursion out of the SCC. I managed only two of the acrosses on first pass (POETIC and ON ICE), but found the down clues more forgiving. My second and subsequent passes through the clues proved much more sticky and, still with ten clues to go, I ground to a complete halt. There followed a 10-12 minute period of increasing frustration before ONE TIME came to mind. Just one additional checker was all that I needed to build on and I eventually crossed the line in precisely 40 minutes. I really thought at one stage that I was in for what would have been my second worst DNF ever.

    Mrs Random arrived back from her U3A German conversation group, rattled it off in just 16 minutes and is now finishing off knitting a hat for a new born baby. Mrs R doesn’t like to hang around.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Johninterred.

  29. After a bit of retail therapy this morning I was delighted to get a PB of 11.58! Started with POETIC and finished with SET PIECES which I needed all the checkers for. Having
    biffed VISTA I’m still not sure I understand the reasoning but it will probably make sense eventually.

    1. Well done on the PB. Sorry if the blog isn’t clear enough. For VISTA you have to ignore the capitals and separate Downing and Street. Downing is an inclusion indicator meaning put one thing inside another (like putting a beer down your neck). You take VIA (through) and include (downing) the ST (street)… et Voila, you get the view.

  30. 10:27 here, for a pleasing end to the week. I also missed the football reference in SET PIECES, but parsed all the rest. COD VISTA, for giving me the great “Surely it can’t be X, can it? Oh, yes it is!” moment. Thanks to setter & blogger.

  31. 16 minutes for an enjoyable romp through.
    8a was a write in for me since I had seen it at least once before…
    On Ice took too long as did Handshake (thanks for the blog for the ‘sounds like’)
    Thanks also for the blog explaining my LOI Set Pieces – as in the football connotation…. It had to be but missed that nuance…
    Thanks all

  32. All done in 9 minutes though Vista not parsed – did not think of Downing as implying inclusion as I was completing the puzzle, though I see it now it can mean swallowing. Set pieces also semi-biffed; felt unsure of the parsing as not familiar with the football terminology, and didn’t think it could be that (comparatively) uncryptic.

    Given those two I shall not trouble the powers that be with an application to become a blogger – way above my pay grade.

    Many thanks John for the blog and on to the Saturday Special, which I look forward to with enthusiasm.


  33. Pleasant puzzle, we were slow to get 8a retail therapy, must get out to the shops again. Good luck with the required bloggers, we are always in admiration of them. We are, alas, far from the required standard.

  34. Managed 7 across and 10 down on first pass with pretty well all the righthand-side complete. Lots of pencil everywhere but all completed as correct (eventually).
    FOI 4a Poetic
    LOI 1a Pastry (kept on with ASS despite it not being at all possible!)
    COD 8a Retail Therapy
    Missed the foodie theme.
    Lots to like about this but harder work after yesterday’s gift from Oink. Will try to save the weekend puzzle for Saturday!

  35. Bit of a slow start on the NW. Sap meant spineless in my school playground but even when I got Pastry I then biffed Pastor. Once unbiffed it all fell into place. I get 4 pars a round on average!

  36. enjoyable today with a couple of biffs later parsed.
    no way good enough to take on blogging

  37. This took myself and my wife about 30 minutes, but we enjoyed the challenge. Thank you Trelawney. Yes, RETAIL THERAPHY is a popular sort of treatment for one of us (!).

  38. I found this hard but also very enjoyable. I finished around the 30 min mark, but only because last clue syndrome semi-struck with 8ac. Took me a while to work it out.

    Some brilliant clues today. Honourable mentions to 18ac and 12dn, but my COD was 2dn.

    I seem to be having issues with Shakespeare at the moment. After almost missing Hamlet yesterday, I initially put iambic for 4ac today, before reading the clue properly.

    Thanks for the excellent blog.

    Have a good weekend everyone.

  39. Thoroughly enjoyed by us both and completed in good (unmeasured) time. Looking forward to the Saturday extra.
    Thanks all.

  40. 16 mins today – fairly quick for me. Wizzed through only to grind to a halt with VISTA and LOI ASTERN. Loved HANDSHAKE and ASTERN (once I’d figured it out). Didn’t parse EPITHET. Many thanks to John and Trelawney. Very enjoyable.

  41. Thought I might be on for a quick one when I saw Trelawney’s name, but I was punished for making such an assumption and it turned out to be a steady but slow solve. LOI MISTAKE and SET PIECES held me up the longest and I only managed 25:51 overall. Plenty to enjoy though, with VISTA being my COD. Thanks Trelawney and John.

  42. 10:16

    No difficulties here. Would have been a rare sub-ten but for being a little slow on LOI THE SCREAM.

  43. There used to be a married couple, along with the wonderful Randoms, who blogged most days – have we lost them?

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