Times Quick Cryptic No 2278 by Teazel

Top notch puzzle, on the trickier side.

With a number of oblique and whimsical clues, some of this might be a bit of a stretch if you’re newish to these things, but it made for a witty and original puzzle. I clocked in at 9 minutes on the button, versus 5 for yesterday’s done just before.

Great stuff – many thanks to Teazel!

1 Meeting takes shape around university (5)
FORUM – FORM (shape) around U(niversity). “Takes” is a linkword – read the structure of the clue as: the answer (a synonym for MEETING) “takes/requires” the following wordplay.
4 Researcher’s appointment with medic (7)
POSTDOC -POST (appointment) with DOC (medic)
8 One’s turn to bowl delayed? (7)
OVERDUE – cryptic hint: one’s turn to bowl (in cricket) = one’s over is due.
9 One very prejudiced book I obtained (5)
BIGOT – B(ook) I GOT (obtained)
10 Success in everything: has he had a wash and brush up? (5,5)
CLEAN SWEEP – cryptic hint referring to a (chimney) sweep: a CLEAN SWEEP (as opposed to a DIRTY SWEEP), will have had a wash, and will stick a brush up a chimney in his daily activities. Collins actually specifies the phrase “a wash and brush up” under BRUSH UP, as in giving oneself a good tidy. News to me!
14 Ragamuffin church invited inside (6)
URCHIN – “inside” chURCH INvited
15 A source of water includes sulphur too (2,4)
AS WELL – A WELL (a source of water) includes S(ulphur)
17 Person of colour accepting English ideal of moderation (6,4)
GOLDEN MEAN – whimsically, a person of colour = a GOLDEN MAN, accepts E(nglish). I was only aware of the GOLDEN RATIO sense, not the “nothing to excess” idea intended here.
20 They may go up the steps and under the train (5)
RAILS – double-ish definition: handrails/train tracks
22 Course isn’t commonly free, not the first (7)
AINTREE – AIN’T (isn’t, commonly), fREE “not the first”
23 Gin that is drunk very late (2,5)
AT NIGHT – anagram (is drunk) of GIN THAT
24 A number appreciate information technology (5)
DIGIT – DIG (appreciate) IT (information technology)
1 Fruity dessert: trifle? (4)
FOOL – double definition, the second as a verb.
2 Genuine-sounding part of film (4)
REEL – sounds the same as REAL (genuine)
3 Need email translated for girl (9)
MADELEINE – anagram (translated) of NEED EMAIL
4 Temporary housing not yet marvellous? (6)
PREFAB – if it’s not yet marvellous/FAB, it’s PRE-FAB
5 Loan for boat (3)
SUB – double definition
6 Bank on the Spanish for bad verse (8)
DOGGEREL – DOGGER (Bank) on EL (the, Spanish). As in Dogger Bank in the North Sea. In Our Time did a very good episode on Doggerland a couple of years back.
7 A listening device inside faction’s missile launcher (8)
CATAPULT -A TAP (a listening device) inside CULT (faction)
11 Kept going and took action about blemish (9)
SUSTAINED – SUED (took action) about STAIN (blemish)
12 Almost swell out with song in the country (8)
BULGARIA – BULGe (swell out “almost”) with ARIA (song)
13 So call in to cook leek (8)
SCALLION – anagram (to cook) of SO CALL IN. I’d equate a scallion to a spring onion more than a leek, but Collins says it can be used variously for pretty much anything onionlike. From the old port Ascalon, now Ashkelon in Israel.
16 Make known I am a constituent (6)
IMPART – best taken as a whole: I am a constituent (of) = I’m part (of)
18 Boast, stuffing rupees into sack (4)
BRAG – stuff R(upees) into BAG (sack)
19 Partner no longer going through dry set book (4)
TEXT – EX (partner no longer) going through TT (teetotal = dry)
21 Droop as long story appears endless (3)
SAG – SAGa (long story) appears “endless”


48 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2278 by Teazel”

  1. 13 minutes, taken over target again by two remaining intersecting clues, 4ac and 4dn.

    NHO POSTDOC specifically as ‘researcher’ but I see the word is mentioned as one option in a number of definitions. I imagine all those who studied at that level will be very familiar with it.

    The other straggler was PREFAB which took ages to see but I got to it eventually. Intended originally as only temporary housing prefabs offered a pretty high standard of accommodation when compared with much of the dilapidated and run-down traditional housing stock post war, and many people continued to live quite happily in them for decades. A recent survey reported that there are still around 8000 inhabited prefabs in the UK some 70 years after they were constructed.

  2. Totally foxed by GOLDEN MEAN. I had GOLDEN M_A_. Pen and paper came out – E & O were the only letters that looked likely for after the M with E favourite – so that left L, D, N and T for the final letter. Not sure why I went for D not N but GOLDEN MEAD seemed worth a punt at the time and none of the possibilities rang even the faintest bell. So a pink square in 21. Good going after a slow start before that.

  3. This pushed me to near the 30-minute mark with several clues relying on WP like the NHO GOLDEN MEAN and POSTDOC also, DOGGEREL and CATAPULT the latter of which I marked as a favourite.
    Favourite: AS WELL too.

  4. Excellent puzzle which (unlike our esteemed blogger) I found slightly easier than yesterday’s. In fact I would have been pretty brisk had it not been for the POSTDOC (you what?) and PREFAB (brilliant, my COD from a strong field) pair. Those held me up.

    All done in 06:56 for 1.3K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Roly.


  5. Unlike Templar I found this very tricky. Yesterday’s QC I finished in 5:49 and today’s took me 18:11. I have NHO of GOLDEN MEAN or my LOI DOGGEREL. Most of the elapsed time was spent solving my last three POSTDOC, PREFAB and DOGGEREL.

  6. I used to find Teazel one of the easier setters but recently he seems to have become a lot tougher, but plenty of PDMs to enjoy amongst all the head scratching. NHO of GOLDEN MEAN so needed all the checkers and very nearly chucked an extra ‘a’ into MADELEINE.
    The NE was where I really struggled with CLEAN SWEEP, CATAPULT, POSTDOC and PREFAB being particularly stubborn.
    Finished over target (again) in 11.44.
    Thanks to Roly

  7. Found this one to be very tricky, resulting in heavy use of aids.

    I’m glad the Sub was referred to as a boat. I used to get annoyed when I was in the RN and people would call a warship a boat. I’d tell them that ships sail on top of the water. Boats sail beneath the waves!

    Have to say I did not enjoy this QC at all.

  8. I found this on the trickier side and hit my target time by skipping proof reading. Fortunately, there were no typos. FOI was REEL and LOI was GOLDEN MEAN. 10:00. Thaks Teazel and Roly.

  9. I join those who like our blogger found this tougher than usual. 16 minutes for me, with a number of hold-ups: the aforementioned Postdoc (not heard it used in this meaning) and then the excellent Prefab being the last two to fall.

    Slight MER at Forum = meeting, as it is more a meeting place (“child playing with new toy”, after learning about html codes yesterday!), but the wordplay was clear.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  10. Gave up with PREFAB and POSTDOC uncompleted, as I had to attend an early meeting.

    Not sure I would have got them, as I had been looking at ??S?DOC for some time, and was already >10 mins.

    I was slightly distracted by the awareness that time was running out, but it’s rare I get so stumped on the QC.

    I liked CATAPULT.


  11. Ran out of time and came here to see what I missed, which turned out to be several clever clues. Given time, I would probably have got and enjoyed 4, 10, 22a and 4, 7, 11d, but NHO GOLDEN MEAN, and would never have got it even though GOLDEN looked possible from crossers. Thanks Rolytoly for the enlightenment, and Teazel, whose last QC I enjoyed (and finished) as I did some of this, but there were far too many CODs here IMO for a QC.

  12. Not in a rush today, and just as well as this took me 24 minutes, with several of those on my last two: POSTDOC and PREFAB. This looks like a common theme.
    I remember prefab houses very well but I could not easily see the definition in 4d.
    I was trying to keep a clean sheet (no doubt something to do with all the football on TV) so that held up my CATAPULT.
    I found a lot of this tricky so congratulations to the under 10 minute crowd.

  13. That was a struggle! Didn’t get to grips with the bottom half for ages – twice my typical time.

  14. Very, very slow. LOI AINTREE after PDM. Also slow in NW as I had initially put Real instead of REEL. I knew FOOL was right but stuck on witty OVERDUE. POSTDOC also tricky despite early solve of COD PREFAB. Luckily CLEAN SWEEP and GOLDEN MEAN came to mind too. Also liked DIGIT, TEXT, SAG, DOGGEREL, among others.
    However, I must protest – a SCALLION is not a leek in my book. It is a spring onion. I only know the word Scallion because we had them mixed into mashed potato (yuk) for lunch when I was a child at school in NI at one stage. (Sorry, I see blogger has dealt with scallion. Thanks, Roly.)

  15. 15:16 but…

    Pushed through the intricacies of GOLDEN MEAN, PREFAB and POSTDOC only to find I’d sausage-fingered CATAPULY. Tchoh!

    Thanks Teazel and Roly

  16. 14 minutes this morning for a very good puzzle from Teazel. IMPART was LOI for me. No problem with POSTDOC (I worked my last 15 productive years at a university) or PREFAB (there are some still occupied near to my home). GOLDEN MEAN was a bit of a punt, but gettable from the wordplay and checkers.

    Roly, you have the definition and anagrind mixed up in your answer to 13d, and I’m almost certain that I have heard stair rail used as an alternative to stair rod, if anyone can remember what they were?

    Thanks both.

    1. Hi Rotter. I think a stair rail is simply a handrail. I stair rod was a piece of iron on every stair/step that held down the carpet which didn’t stretch completely across. My grandma had them but like her they’re long gone. Gripper boards used now. J

      1. Yep – stair rods were a staple in my Grandma’s old Victorian three-story end terrace. She had a staircase that wound round a central hallway that felt like it went to the heavens. The top of the house had two creepy attic rooms that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an M R James short story.

        Looking down to the hallway from the top was enough to give you vertigo and would give health and safety palpitations today. The fact that my brother and I use to slide down the banisters at great height didn’t help, however running down the stairs meant we always knew where the carpet had come away from the stair rods to ensure we didn’t trip and come tumbling down like Jack and Jill.

  17. Needed aids to finish this toughie. POSTDOC, GOLDEN MEAN (guessed) , CATAPULT all difficult. COD must be CLEAN SWEEP.

  18. A very good puzzle from Teazel with plenty to chew on. I finished in 16 mins but it seemed quicker because I was so immersed. Amongst many clues, I liked CLEAN SWEEP, AINTREE, PREFAB and crossed my fingers for GOLDEN MEAN. No trouble with POSTDOC – I was one in the distant past and employed quite a few Postdoctoral Research Fellows in my group over the years.
    Thanks to Teazel and Roly. John M.

  19. For the third crossword in a row I finished with one letter wrong, and yes Vinyl, as you predicted (not personally of course), I did spell MADELEINE with two As. My DNF took me to a time of 11.48, where I took ‘a person of colour’ too literally and I was looking for something other than GOLDEN. The major hold up however was with 4ac and 4dn, before PREFAB finally came to mind, and POSTDOC followed on.
    A tough test from Teazel I thought, although some solvers with solving times that are usually similar to mine seem to disagree.

  20. I took about a third of my total time over the same pair of crossers in the NE corner which delayed Jack and others. NHO GOLDEN MEAN but the surface cracked that one for me once some letters were in place. I was told “8 of 95” by the computer, which I found quite surprising since I laboured so long at the end.

    TIME 4:29

  21. 8.55

    POSTDOC and PREFAB also delayed me, preceded by some fiddling around with EIGHT for DIGIT (I know).

    Agree on the chewy side

    Thanks Teazel and Rolytoly

  22. Unlike Templar I found this one much harder than yesterday’s (19 minutes today, 7 minutes yesterday).

    I had never heard of GOLDEN MEAN but the clueing was fair. AINTREE took an age as I was looking for a food-related word. BULGARIA also inexplicably took an age but once the penny dropped it helped with GOLDEN MEAN.

    I also looked at CLEAN SHEET for a while but the penny finally dropped when I got CATAPULT.

    An excellent puzzle but perhaps a little difficult for a QC.

  23. Very tricky, could not see FOOL, where I had FLAN, so was looking for something like “amended” or “abended”, for OVERDUE, it seems I was miles off the scent.

    Several empties when I threw in the towel.

  24. Quite tricky but I was going reasonably well until my last one – 17ac. I had seen MEAN as the second word and knew there had to be a colour in there somewhere but couldn’t equate g-l-e- with GOLDEN. Nho the expression and had to use an aid to get to it. 21 minutes up to that point.

    FOI – 1ac FORUM
    LOI – 17ac GOLDEN MEAN after using aids
    COD – lots to enjoy. My favourites were OVERDUE, PREFAB and CLEAN SWEEP

    Thanks to Teazel for a great QC and to Rolytoly for the blog

  25. A very hard but enjoyable QC. Several brilliant clues that pushed me to my limit. Delighted to get home in around 25 mins.

    FOI – 1ac
    LOI – 22 ac
    COD – 4dn

    NHO 17ac or 13dn, so an element of guesswork needed.

    Thank you for the excellent blog.

  26. 11 minutes, more or less on the dot. I didn’t really appreciate the surfaces as I was solving, but on looking through them again, I realise just how many lovely clues there are! The 4s (POSTDOC and PREFAB) took a little while (a similar theme here) but they were among my favourites once I got them. I struggled with GOLDEN MEAN , but otherwise it was a steady solve. One did really jump out as COD though 😅
    No problem with SCALLION, although I too think of them as spring onions, and no problem with champ either (mash with spring onions and butter). Sorry CW! Did anyone else see that Welsh leeks have been given protected status? I wonder if they will have to do the same now for Geordie leeks 😅
    FOI Fool LOI Prefab COD Clean sweep WOD Doggerel
    Thanks Teazel and Roly

  27. I found this really tricky and gave up with PREFAB, POSTDOC and FOOL unsolved. Just not on Teazel’s wavelength today but appreciated the clueing, especially CLEAN SWEEP. Biffed GOLDEN MEAN (NHO). Scallion = onion in my book but could only be. Very clever puzzle but a bit too clever for me today! Many thanks all.

  28. 11.23. No problem with POSTDOC – but I have collaborated with University departments enough to have worked with quite a few postdocs. 4d slowed me down a bit, as temporary housing in crossword land nearly always is a tent.
    LOI was AINTREE.

    I grow leeks and spring onions, and had always thought Scallions were a synonym for the latter, but they are similar enough, so no problem with the clue. In Cardiff in my youth we called them gibbons (with a j sound at the start), but I have not heard that used outside South Wales.

    Many thanks

    1. In my youth in Scotland we called spring onions syboes. Don’t hear that used much nowadays.
      An enjoyable puzzle finished in under 90 minutes which is good for me.

  29. Dnf – Pretty much got everything in 15 mins but just couldn’t get 17ac “Golden Mean”. Literally never heard of it. I had combinations that included “Galley Meat”, “Gilley Moat” and various other non-sensical answers, but “Golden Mean”?

    Anyway, I enjoyed 10ac “Clean Sweep”, 4ac “Postdoc” and 13dn “Scallion” – but had terrible trouble trying to spell “Madeleine” correctly for 3dn.

    FOI – 1ac “Forum”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 6dn “Doggerel”

    Thanks as usual!

  30. Took a while and it didn’t help putting real (like Countrywoman1) until it was finally corrected by LOI overdue. Had trouble parsing urchin as I didn’t see the hidden. Happy to have completed it but it took several sessions to tease the solution out and probably about 10 Kevins!.

  31. 16:37

    Not too bad though hadn’t heard of GOLDEN MEAN. Held up a little on the top right with LOI PREFAB.

  32. 21 minutes approx. Amazed I was able to get through this as I had so many wrong original ideas and guesses. Flan for FOOL, overdid for OVERDUE , real instead of REEL, Hungaria for BULGARIA ( and before that surge instead of bulge for swell). AINTREE was very hard because I persisted in only seeing course as meal or school subject. POSTDOCs I knew were mainly lecturers and I couldn’t get the answer till I realized DOC was the medic. P.S. Our chimney sweep in rural Ontario always worked from the top down to avoid being coated(or buried ) in soot!

  33. All done over snatches this afternoon and evening. Not easy! Held up by 24a where I could see Eight but no chance of parsing that so tried ed for the end of 11d and so Digit was then obvious. Led well astray by 17a but got there in the end.
    LOI 2d Reel
    LOI 22a Aintree – only because it got to it last.
    COD 8a Overdue – but plenty of competitors!
    After yesterday’s walk in the park, this was def on the upper slopes!

  34. No accurate time since this took three sessions and was at least 50 minutes total. But completed it. Very tricky although the first few just flew in.
    NHO Doggerel, Postdoc or Golden Mean, but the Man with e gave the Mean away.
    I didn’t like the clue beginning with ‘Person of colour’ which I feel is the same as a ‘Coloured person’ and therefore neither should be used imo.
    Just saying.
    Tough but kept my attention, so thanks all,

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