Times Quick Cryptic No 2273 by Beck

Well welcome to a brand-new setter, Beck, who has given us a very gentle opening QC which took me less than 10 minutes to crack, including plenty of time looking for the correct parsing for 24a.  I expect to see some fast times from our experienced solvers, and smiles of joy from our newbies, and possibly some PBs.

I think my favourite must be 13a, although the three nautical references at 3d, 5d and 6d were right up my street.

I did wonder when solving 9d whether Beck is a pseudonym for our regular porcine Setter.  Whatever the case, welcome to the pack Beck, and we look forward to more of your offerings.


1  Chap recalled skill: something frequently repeated (6)

MANTRA – MAN (chap) and ART (skill) reversed (recalled).

4  Effect of legislation introduced by one politician (6)

IMPACT – ACT (legislation) after I (one) and MP (politician).  ‘Introduced by’ is an indicator to put the I MP at the front.

I’m unable to comply with prisoner being sent back with nothing (2,3,2)

NO CAN DO – CON (prisoner) reversed (being sent back) AND (with) O (nothing).

10  Japanese food coming with S American greeting (5)

SUSHI – S (S) and US (American) and HI (greeting).

11  Spirit of good army (5)

GHOST – G{ood} and HOST {army}.

12  Annoyed born Democrat was ahead of things (7)

NEEDLED – NEE (born) D{emocrat} and LED (was ahead of things).

13  Get off sled, as it were, in heavy rainfall? (6)

DELUGE – To DE LUGE might be described as to get off sled.

15  Hasten to change capital (6)

ATHENS – Anagram (to change) of [HASTEN]

18  Football player with reward for waiting?  Fancy shoe (7)

WINGTIP – WING (football player) and TIP (reward for waiting – at table).  My Chambers gives Wingtip – a brogue shoe in which the toecap extends back and to the sides…

19  Mischievous and somewhat self-involved (5)

ELFIN – Hidden word in {s}ELF-IN{volved}.

21  Embarrass a party (5)

ABASH – A and BASH (party).

22  Toreros carved up bird (7)

ROOSTER – Anagram (carved up) of [TOREROS].

23  Busybodies getting silverware returned (6)

SNOOPS – SPOONS (silverware) reversed (returned).

24  Maybe Laurel’s recited a piece of poetry  (6)

STANZA – This took me an age to see the parsing, despite getting the answer quickly.  It is Stan Laurel of course, and Stan’s A (as recited or spoken) sounds like STANZA (piece of poetry).  In a spirit of full disclosure and transparency, I took so long to connect Stan and Laurel that I invented an alternative parsing, which never quite satisfied me.  STANZA sounds a little like ‘stands a’, and a stand can be a young tree left standing, which could be (maybe) a laurel. It was Mrs R that made the right connection for me in the end.


1  Fellow got older and coped (7)

MANAGED – MAN (fellow) and AGED (got older).

Chip in spinach omelette (5)

NACHO – Hidden word in {spi}NACH O{melette}.

Be an efficient controller of this unit:  graph organised (3, 1, 5, 4))

RUN A TIGHT SHIP – Anagram (organised) of [THIS UNIT: GRAPH].

5  Rampaging mobs hesitated and lost an opportunity (6, 3, 4)

MISSED THE BOAT – Anagram (rampaging) of [MOBS HESITATED].

Pardon sailor to work things out (7)

ABSOLVE – AB (Able Bodied sailor) and SOLVE (work things out).

7  Proved trustworthy (5)

TRIED – Double definition, the second as in TRIED and trusty.

9  Squeal, having zero stuff to write with (4)

OINK – O (zero) and INK (stuff to write with).

14  New joke penned in the toilet back in the day (4,3)

LONG AGO – N{ew} and GAG (joke) inside (penned in the) LOO (toilet).

16  Belted out revolutionary song making wine drink (7)

SANGRIA – SANG (belted out) and AIR (song) reversed (revolutionary).

17  Starts to shred packaging after receiving box (4)

SPAR – Initial letters (starts) to Shred Packaging After Receiving..

18  Covers hip-hop songs on the radio (5)

WRAPS – Homophone (on the radio) – sounds like RAPS (hip-hop songs).

20  Fount damaged mattress (5)

FUTON – Anagram (damaged) of [FOUNT].

79 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2273 by Beck”

  1. 9:19. Yes a PB for me. Enjoyed DELUGE the most. I don’t really see TRIED as trustworthy. I thought of the phrase “tried and true” but don’t think the two parts of the saying are synonymous.

  2. Very gentle, indeed; I think this may be a pb for me. But I saved a lot of time by biffing: NO CAN DO, SUSHI, RUN A TIGHT SHIP, MISSED THE BOAT, SANGRIA. I liked LONG AGO. Rotter, Laurels needs an apostrophe (I would have found the clue a lot more difficult if it hadn’t been there). 3:23.

  3. After yesterday’s travails, it felt extra-good to have a rare sub-10 minute time, finishing in 9:34. Would have been a little faster, but I had WEARS instead of WRAPS, and it was bugging me that I couldn’t see how the hip-hop fitted in. A pause for thought let the right answer make itself known.

    FOI MANTRA, LOI WRAPS. I agree with Rotter that DELUGE is the COD, I’m a sucker for a god-awful pun.

    Rotter: you have a typo in the explanation of 17d.

    Thanks to both Beck and Rotter.

  4. 19:40, not a great time for me.

    I thought MAN starting both 1a and 1d was a beat weak. A nervous opening for our new setter.

    OINK/NEEDLED to the longest, with OPEN being tempting, and I was misdirected by B=born.


  5. All but the 18s in 6 minutes and a further 2 minutes gave me WINGTIPS from wordplay, although I didn’t know WINGTIP as a type of shoe. But sadly that put an end to my progress as, like Doofers, I put WEARS at 18dn on the basis of ‘covers’ being the definition but without regard to the rest of the clue. I have heard of ‘hip-hop’ with reference to music but had no idea what it was so it was no help to me.

    The other answer I took a chance on was TRIED at 7dn which proved to be correct, but with some reservations about ‘trustworthy’. I don’t know the expression ‘tried and trusty’ as quoted as an example of usage by Rotter.

      1. That’s the expression I had in mind but it seemed to be defining ‘proved’ again rather than ‘trustworthy’. I’m now beginning to wonder if the definitions are different enough to be counted as two.

      2. Thanks, and to Jackkt. I had meant to quote tried and tested, but think I must have hit the spell checker suggestion instead of the last letter or something, and not picked up on my quality control read through.

  6. I did see Beck on twitter saying he had set today’s puzzle. I believe he sets a lot of NY Times crosswords which aren’t cryptic but are a bit I guess esp on Fridays. I wonder if that means he’s American and how that reflects in his puzzle setting.

    After I did today’s though I also did wonder if my app had an Oink puzzle instead of the Beck one lol

    I found this quite an ok puzzle, I did struggle with TRIED as I couldn’t see how tried = trustworthy but I can now thanks Rotter!

    1. I have only ever seen wingtip shoes in American novels, which may add weight to him being from the US.

  7. I had no trouble with 7d since only yesterday a cab driver told me that the somewhat circuitous route he was taking was ‘tried and trusted’ and would avoid heavy traffic.

    1. I always told my customers before using a short cut that wasn’t all that short. “It’s half a mile longer, but it’ll be five minutes quicker – and cheaper allowing for waiting time”. Did wonders for my tips !

  8. Another at 17 minutes helped by not needing to write out the anagram fodder for the two long downs.
    NHO the fancy shoe but the WP helped.
    FOI: MANAGED followed by MANTRA.
    LOI: STANZA. For a top to bottom solve.
    Favourite: LONG AGO.

  9. 8’1” and would have been close to a PB but c.3mins on an alphabet trawl to get WRAPS.

    Threw in TRIED from “tried and trusted” but was nervous of a pink square.

    While a quick one I was very pleased with getting many of the answers because they didn’t strike me as particularly easy.

    Thanks (and welcome, if it’s not an alternative pen name) to Beck and Rotter

  10. A steady solve – slowed down at the start by misunderstanding both 1a (where I thought it was going to start NAM) and 4ac (where I wanted the word to end with IMP). However, once I tuned in the rest of the puzzle didn’t put up a lot of resistance.
    Finished in 8.29 with LOL ATHENS with my favourite being DELUGE and fingers crossed for TRIED
    Thanks t0 Rotter and welcome to Beck

  11. My iPad told me I finished in just under 13 mins which is probably a PB for me. WINGTIP and WRAP required a little thought but otherwise all but 3 of the acrosses went in first time and then the downs generally were simpler. How anyone can read, solve and fill in two or three times faster seems mind boggling, but then I have no competitive streak for this. Liked LONG AGO. Nice to have the chance to feel what it might feel like to be a competent solver.

  12. Couldn’t quite believe that both 1a and 1d were going to start MAN, one clued as “fellow” and the other as “chap”, so I glared at 1a suspiciously for a while. Definitely lose a style point there! Otherwise good fun and a few excellent clues (ATHENS and DELUGE).

    All done in a regulation 08:17, which today turns out to be 2.1K (!) and thus has to be a Poor Day.

    Many thanks Beck and Rotter.


  13. A gentle first offering from our new setter. MANAGE was FOI and TRIED was LOI. 6:23. Thanks Beck and Rotter.

  14. An enjoyable quick romp through this puzzle. For some reason I found the bottom half a bit more difficult than the top, but still came in at 8:36, which must be near a personal best.

    Like others, I particularly enjoyed DELUGE.

    Thanks to Beck and Rotter.

  15. Welcome to Beck, and thank you for an enjoyable and accessible puzzle. Unusually, given that I am writing well before 10.00 am UK time, all my comments have already been made by others- the smile at the reference to Oink (and wondering if Beck is an alter ego), the slight MER at Tried, the NHO Wingtip got from wordplay and checkers, and then the LOI Wraps which held me up at the end and pushed me out to 9 minutes.

    I thought Long Ago was the best of a fine set of clues but others – Deluge, Stanza – ran it close.

    Many thanks Rotter for the blog

  16. I found some of the clueing a little loose, but otherwise no problems.

    TIME 3:53

  17. Welcome Beck. Yes, it was a gentle offering but some times the simplest of clues can catch you out. I made relatively light work of this with the exception of my last two. My penultimate solve required some head scratching before I settled on TRIED and my LOI was the simple homophone WRAPS. 7:11 with COD to DELUGE.

  18. Welcome to Beck. I thought the name looked unfamiliar.

    A pretty straightforward debut, as others have said. COD was DELUGE, LOI was TRIED, which I looked at for 20 seconds or so before bunging it in anyway.


  19. A straightforward 10:00 for me, which must be a PB. Wasn’t at all sure about TRIED and didn’t know a WINGTIP was a shoe.

  20. Loved the DE-LUGE, COD. Was so worried about NHO WINGTIP that I looked it up before entering. Could not parse LOI STANZA.

  21. A very gentle solve in 6:14 I don’t keep records, but it feels like that may be a PB.
    I had never heard of WINGTIP either. On first pass I was trying to think of shoes beginning with BACK, but on second pass I had all the checkers so WINGTIP had to be a shoe.

    Many thanks Beck and Rotter.

  22. A pleasant QC from a new setter (I presume not a new pseudonym for an established setter).
    It took me 8 minutes; no hold-ups. LOI ATHENS.

  23. A slow 32 mins for me today, fully parsed but at least I finished after a few DNFs. I have been employing a 30 mins cut off time recently but let the clock continue to get my LOI, WRAPS. Nothing particularly difficult and all enoyable, just going a bit ploddy. Absolutely loved STANZA as my COD.

  24. Well you were quite right in your analysis Rotter there do seem to be a lot of PBs. Whilst I didn’t find it to be overtaxing I finished in a relatively pedestrian (for me) 9.58, just creeping under target.
    My heart sank when I found that knowledge of fancy footwear and hip-hop songs was required, and sure enough they were my LOIs. Certainly wouldn’t know a hip-hop song sounds like, but at least I’ve heard of it!

  25. My experience really highlighted how important the focus of the mindset is. The first 6-7 answers flew in and my mind began to wander as to whether the new setter was too green, whether this was actually what a QC should be like and a host of other minor distractions while still working my way through but not getting much.

    Unable to unravel ROOSTER, figure out the latter half of IMPACT and failing to remember the abbreviation for sailor among others. As soon as I got AB- everything kicked back into gear, SANGRIA went in, I spotted the ATHENS anagram and ‘picked up’ the WRAPS homophone.

    Ended up with 28min05 DNF having put the literal STANsA. Even looked at it later and thought “I’m sure that should be a Z” but missed the recital homophone. Likewise took until the end to see that for WRAPS.

    Nice one from Beck and thanks to The Rotter for the breakdown 🙂

  26. Yes, a quick 14 mins for me so knew this must be on the gentler side! Would have been even faster but hesitated over TRIED as didn’t seem exactly a DD, and initially had ‘import’ instead of IMPACT until I solved ABSOLVE. My favourite had to be STANZA with DELUGE a close second. Had another look at setter’s name when I solved OINK. Many thanks to Rotter and to Beck for a lovely gentle QC.

  27. 6:00

    Six minutes on the nose, though I failed to see the cryptic def of DELUGE.

    As for others, a mild questioning of TRIED but am pretty sure I have heard of both Tried and Tested, and Tried and Trusted so bunged it in with more than 50% confidence.

    Welcome Beck and thanks to Rotter for the deciphering

  28. Welcome Beck, and do let us know if your first name is Martin 😉 I thought this was a great first QC, especially while the answers were flowing, a tad less so when I got to the SW corner (nho Wingtip shoes). I marked up four potential CoDs, but like others thought 13ac, Deluge, has to be the winner for the smile it produced. 18 pleasant minutes in total, with a chunk of those on Wingtip/Wraps and parsing Tried. Invariant

  29. My first go around the grid revealed nothing to me. On my second try one or two answers came in and that led me to gradually completing the puzzle.

  30. Like so many comments above I entered ‘TRIED’ with fingers firmly crossed and I had never heard of wingtip shoes so, once again, I entered it in hope. Unfortunately I went for ‘WEARS’ at 18D as I am not an expert on hip-hop music (rap music never occurred to me as I thought it was a different genre to hip-hop).

    So a failure today but I did come in at just over 7 minutes which, apart from the error, would have equalled my PB.

    I also wondered if Beck is actually Oink in disguise.

  31. Saw TRIED, as in TRIED AND TESTED. Found most clues very straightforward, apart from WINGTIP (NHO as shoe – had to look it up) and WRAPS: guessed in the end when 3 crossers in. Liked DELUGE! Thought BECK might be OINK in disguise when that nswer went in!

  32. Thank you, Beck and Rotter.
    Nice and easy I thought but then stuck on last two: WRAP as DNK rap was hip-hop.😕. I should have guessed WING tho NHO fancy shoe.
    DELUGE made me smile. Got STANZA early on but cd not parse ZA.
    Also liked SANGRIA, NEEDLED, NO CAN DO and the 2 long down clues.
    Gosh, some above a bit critical of new setter. We SCC members like an easier puzzle! ( Although, yes, maybe setter is 9d after all.)

  33. Thank you Beck for a most enjoyable QC on your debut.

    Sailed through this until a short delay in SW corner, but inside the SCC cut-off so I’m happy.

    COD 14dn
    LOI 18dn

    Thank you Rotter for the blog, informative and entertaining as always.

  34. Hooray! A genuine QC, even for me! I crossed the line in just 16 minutes, well clear of my usual haunt – the SCC. And a double-hooray for Mrs Random, as she equalled her PB with a time of 11 minutes. She was writing so fast that the tip of her pencil looked to be in danger of catching fire.

    N.B. Mrs R hasn’t featured much in my posts recently, because she has been catching up after falling more than two months behind with her QCs. However she is now only 7 puzzles adrift, all from sometime back in August, so I’m sure she will soon return to her rightful position as head of the Random household – in crosswording, as well as in every other aspect of life here.

    Many thanks to Beck and Rotter.

  35. 15 mins…

    I also couldn’t believe 1ac and 1dn both had “man” at the start – but whilst rattling through the NW corner I got stuck on 9dn “Oink”. I know pigs squeal and I know they oink, but I never really equated the two, so this took far longer than it should (at one point I thought it might be “open”).

    I also nearly put Stansa for 24ac, it was only because I didn’t think it looked right that I saw the homophone.

    FOI – 1ac “Mantra”
    LOI – 9dn “Oink”
    COD – 23ac “Snoops”

    Thanks as usual!

  36. Rattled through this until I came to the SW corner. Having taken 9 minutes to get that far I then stared at the last 4 (18ac, 21ac, 14dn and 18dn) for a further 15 minutes with no result. Gave up on it and took a lunch break after which the last 4 answers magically became obvious. No exact time but probably somewhere just the wrong side of 25 minutes, so a poor time when it had all started so well!

    FOI – 1ac MANTRA
    LOI – 21ac ABASH
    COD – 13ac DELUGE

    Thanks to Beck and to Rotter

  37. Whether or not it was ‘easier’ than most, it was certainly very entertaining with lots of lovely clues – sushi/needled/deluge/snoops/stanza among them. Thoroughly enjoyable throughout. NHO ‘wingtips’ but was quite gettable. Just started at the top and followed the grid to the bottom. So, welcome new Setter! Hope to see you here again soon.
    FOI 4a Impact
    LOI 18d Wraps – had to be
    COD 12a Needled.

  38. I usually save the QC for the evening, so I don’t often come here but with time on my hands today I am earlier than usual and I decided to come here for a moan, unfortunately, since I found Beck’s puzzle delightful in every way but these.
    I did not like TRIED=trustworthy. Yes, there is an expression tried and trusted but things can also be tried and found wanting (this features as a phrase in the Cambridge English Dictionary according to Google). In tried and trusted it is not the word “tried” that means trustworthy.
    I also have a problem – it seems to be just me – with ELFIN=mischievous. Elfin describes appearance: small, delicate, attractive, with a magical quality or charm. There may well be a hint of mischief in the look, but it is quite a stretch to say it means mischievous.
    There. See what happens when you have time on your hands. Thanks to Beck for a splendid QC and thank you Rotter for the blog

    1. I had the same thought about ELFIN whilst solving and had planned to revisit it and perhaps mention it here, but then forgot. Your comment reminded me to check and I found this in Chambers: 2 like an elf; small and mischievous, but charming.

      Other sources mention a mischievous quality which is perhaps a little less definitive..

      1. Thank you. I’ll downgrade it from a problem to a MER. The elfin Audrey Hepburn is the classic example

  39. Welcome to Beck and thanks for a refreshing and enjoyable puzzle. I started late after a busy day and a long drive (I used go enjoy driving but the state of the roads and heavy traffic make it less of a pleasure these days) and I finished under target by 2 mins. All my comments have already been made by others and I also enjoyed DELUGE, STANZA, LONG AGO, NO CAN DO and, of course, OINK.
    Thanks to rotter, as always. John M.

  40. We found this straightforward until getting to the sw corner, the hip hop clue and the fancy shoe. Shows perhaps our age perhaps.

  41. A really enjoyable puzzle. Loved Stanza (that’s another fine mess you got me into) and deluge. Didn’t know the wingtip shoe ( another pesky football reference) or that rap is hip hop. Bit out of date on the popular music front I am afraid. All in all good fun though, thanks.

    1. I don’t see a football connection.
      For me, the wingtip shoe is simply a men’s leather shoe that has a leather overlay on the toe (usually with many perforations) in the shape of a W or ‘wing’ shape.
      I have some and have always thought they were quite smart but a little old-fashioned. I did a web search and, apparently, they are coming back into style. Lots of pictures online.

      1. But, as the Rotter’s blog explains, ‘wing’ is the football player, ‘tip’ is the reward for a waiter… ‘Fancy shoe’ is the clue…

        1. Thanks for that. I came to this late but I parsed the clue fully and correctly as I completed the puzzle myself. To me, Carocal’s comment implied that he found the wingtip shoe to be a ‘direct’ reference to football. If that was not what was meant, I apologise to him/her.

          1. The football reference was just the wing bit. I am not great on football terms but must obviously learn!
            No problem re misunderstanding, Blighter.

  42. I gave up all hope of ever completing a Times QC several weeks ago. Can anyone suggest which paper I should turn to instead? I only managed 5 clues today! Once upon a time I managed 21 out of 28! Alas, that skill has deserted me, and it is clear that I am wasting my time. Thank you.

    1. Ian, half of this game is just down to confidence, which I guess is now in short supply. You first need to get it back. Use the blog to write in the across answers, and to understand how that day’s setter works. Then see how far you get answering the down clues with the crossers in place. When that becomes easy, reduce the number of write-ins. Stick with it, and you will get there.

    2. Aww… Ian, don’t give up! Don’t worry about times – I never do. My wife and I have been tackling these for a couple of years now, but rarely get anywhere near the incredible times some of the experts here achieve! We just enjoy the challenge, and fathoming out just what the setter was thinking… Sometimes we don’t finish the crossword until the following morning, dipping in and out as and when! Just keep bashing away, and, very importantly, reading this blog for all the hints, tips, and explanations, and I am sure the pennies will soon begin to drop, you will see all the ‘old chestnuts’, and start to see real progress. But most of all – enjoy the challenge… Best of luck!

  43. 8:39

    A new record, my first ever sub 9 minute solve and an exceptionally rare sub-10. But what an easy puzzle! A complete biff-fest. The only slight hold up was due to some over-biffing with RESOLVE instead of LOI ABSOLVE, but IMPACT soon put that right.

  44. I didn’t find this as easy as many others seem to. I spotted NACHO, which I thought was a type of food, but when I checked online it looks nothing like a chip in the UK sense – more like a crisp. My poor anagram skills finally found rooster, which my dictionary states is mainly American or Canadian. So perhaps these (and wingtip) add credence to the theory above that Beck is an American setter. Anyway, an interesting puzzle to finish the week.

    1. In the USA, potato chips are our crisps.
      Wingtip shoes are popular in the USA but are a long-time UK design. Check out Church’s shoes – plenty at up to £1000 a pair!
      None of this disagrees with the suggestion that Beck may be a US setter, though.

      1. Wonderful shoes, though slightly outside my price range! They refer to the wingtip design as an Oxford Brogue, though they don’t match my personal style of (very) relaxed casual.

  45. I finished it and as a newby that is a very rare occurrence.
    Felt so chuffed.
    COD 23 ac snoops / spoons

  46. Finished without errors. Thank you Beck.
    I nearly gave up with three to go 1a, 18a and 18d then suddenly they fell into place. Total solving time sub 1 hour with lots of breaks.
    Thanks Rotter, especially for parsing 24a.

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