Times Quick Cryptic No 2287 by Orpheus

Solving time: 07:25

Today’s gentle offering from Orpheus contains perhaps only one vocabularic obscurity, making this a decent entry-level puzzle. How did you get on?

With no answer longer than eight letters, the anagram count (two) is matched by the number of hiddens. Expecting some fast times from the speed merchants…

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

7 Window of small size seen around Kentucky (8)
SKYLIGHT – SLIGHT (of small size) around KY (state abbreviation for Kentucky)
8 Leave out books about Military Intelligence (4)
OMIT – OT (books – Old Testament) around MI (Military Intelligence)
9 Lookalike finally suffering unwelcome stabbing pain (6)
TWINGE – TWIN (lookalike) + {sufferin}G {unwelcom}E [finally = final letters of both words in this instance]
10 Check origin of updraught in mine entrance (5)
AUDIT – ADIT (mine entrance) containing U{pdraught} [origin of = first letter of]
11 Runner’s second kilometre, impressive at first (3)
SKI – S (second) K (kilometre) I{mpressive} [at first = first letter of]

Both S{econd} and K{ilometre} could also be covered by the ‘at first’ indication.

12 Scottish dish soldier introduced to old crones (6)
HAGGIS – GI (soldier) inserted into [introduced to] HAGS (old crones)
14 Holding trap over by Yorkshire river (6)
TENURE – As in the holding of an office. NET (trap) reversed [over] by URE (Yorkshire river)
16 Confused Welshman keeping two daughters (6)
ADDLED – ALED (Welshman) containing [keeping] DD (two daughters)
18 Line framed by Wessex writer? Scarcely! (6)
HARDLY – L (line) within [framed by] HARDY (Wessex writer)
19 Language used in Djibouti? Yes and no (3)
IBO – Hidden [used] in Djibouti (Yes) but not spoken there (no – it is a Nigeria-based language more than 2000 miles away in the west of Africa)
20 Classy types away in borders of Texas (5)
TOFFS – OFF (away) in first and last letters [borders] of T{exa}S
21 Usual girl getting left behind (6)
NORMAL – NORMA (girl) followed by L (left)
23 Sounds made by domestic pets in stabling area once? (4)
MEWS – Today’s double definition
24 Awfully sly men, extremely unchaste and improper (8)
UNSEEMLY – Anagram [awfully] of SLY MEN + first and last letters [extremely] of U{nchast}E
1 Horse in southern gardens, lacking hair (8)
SKEWBALD – S (southern) KEW (gardens) BALD (lacking hair)

A SKEWBALD horse has a coat of white patches on any non-black base colour.

2 Family initially languishing in jail (4)
CLAN – L{anguishing} [initially] in CAN (jail)
3 Outlet, for example, on ship (6)
EGRESS – EG (for example) RE (on) SS (ship)
4 Channel artist misrepresented (6)
STRAIT – Anagram [misrepresented] of ARTIST
5 Solitary type accommodating lecturer, a capital person (8)
LONDONER – LONER (solitary type) containing [accommodating] DON (lecturer)
6 Clothing, possibly, including large skirtlike garment (4)
KILT – KIT (clothing, possibly) including L (large)
13 Female visiting good, fairly elderly swimmer (8)
GOLDFISH – G (good) OLDISH (fairly elderly) – insert F (female [visiting])
15 Engineers disposed to be trustworthy (8)
RELIABLE – RE (Engineers – Royal in this instance) LIABLE (disposed)
17 Endlessly talk about track event (6)
DISCUS – DISCUS{s} (talk about) with the last letter removed [endlessly]

Minor Eyebrow Raise at this one – the DISCUS is regarded as a ‘track and field event’, but most certainly takes place on the field rather than on the track (unless the thrower is a bit wayward)

18 Straight with one’s team? Not entirely (6)
HONEST – Hidden [not entirely] in with ones team – ignore the apostrophe
20 Youngster’s support on course, needed at the start (4)
TEEN – TEE (support on course i.e. a golf course) N{eeded} [at the start i.e. first letter]
22 Flightless bird, male, captured by painter (4)
RHEA – HE (male) within [captured by] RA (painter i.e. Royal Academician)


85 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2287 by Orpheus”

  1. Yeah, didn’t notice it at the time, but DISCUS is just plain wrong isn’t it?

    On edit: Ah, that’s why I didn’t notice it. It’s “field event” in the on-line Club version.

  2. 13 minutes. Only TENURE was difficult to get as I couldn’t see holding for the definition. Most of the rest were plain sailing. KILT, HAGGIS, and CLAN had me looking for a theme but I don’t think three clues are enough to qualify!

  3. It’s ‘field event’ on the club site, as galspray notes; I doubt if ‘track’ would have caused any eyebrow movement, though. The Nigerian language is Igbo, although I see Collins has it under IBO with a cross-reference; ODE has IGBO, noting ‘(also Ibo)’. We pronounce it ‘eebo’, but actually the [g] and [b] are articulated at the same time; [gb] and [kp] consonants are common in West African languages. Nice to get under my target time for once. 5:12.

  4. 8:22. I wonder if a few people put in “Ido” for the ‘language’ at 19a. Might have worked for the ‘no’ bit but not the ‘yes’. I agree that DISCUS is a ‘field’, rather than ‘track’ event. My favourite was the ‘Confused Welshman’ and his two daughters.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike

  5. 8 minutes. I was going to say I NHO SKEWBALD but it has come up a couple of times before, including a puzzle I blogged 5 years ago. Fortunately my lack of sporting knowledge prevented me worrying about DISCUS, although I did just wonder for a moment.

  6. I agree with the comments about discus, but by the time I reached it, the D, I, S and U were already in place so the answer was blindingly obvious even without reading the clue.

  7. 17 mins was slow but happy to complete. SKEWBALD and TENURE the LOIs. The former is a near NHO but it rings a distant bell and I’m heading to “Christmas Lights” at the very same gardens of the latter next week.

    NHO IBO but felt it could only be. Hadn’t spotted the DISCUS error. Enjoyed ADDLED and TWINGE.

    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

  8. DISCUS was clued correctly on the club site so no problems there but athletics still managed to cause me trouble. Three letter Yorkshire river that can make a word when added to ‘ten’ – obviously the Don, known from running at the Don Valley Stadium. Tendon sort of means ‘holding’ so move on. That left O_L_L_A L_ for my final answer – and that was tough. HARDLY, NORMAL and UNSEEMLY all undeniable so eventually went back to see TENURE. Over the line just under 15 – comments so far suggest I’ve missed out on a fast one. With the K in place I was briefly tempted by ‘skinhead’ for ‘lacking hair’.

  9. 7.44

    Good standard fare.

    Lost a bit of time as didn’t quite get the “yes and no” thing and had fat fingered TOFFA which made the easy chestnutty DISCUS a problem. Nor did I know the horse though that didn’t unduly delay things.

    I’ll give COD to TWINge as I am in that lucky minority

    Thanks Mike and Orpheus

  10. Fairly gentle going today, but with a brief pause at the end over the Wessex writer, where I was trying to get ‘ry’ in the middle of it, and HONEST. I find spotting hiddens a fairly hit and miss process at the best of times but I seem to have been mainly missing them this week.
    Finished in 6.50 with AUDIT remaining unparsed and my favourite going to UNSEEMLY for the surface.
    Thanks to Mike and Orpheus for an enjoyable solve.

  11. A nice puzzle, all done in 10 minutes. The controversy over Discus passed me by as by the time I got to it, there were enough checkers that it couldn’t be anything else, but interesting to hear the clue was differently phrased elsewhere.

    My back is playing up this morning so I know all about Twinges. “Unwelcome” is certainly the word …

    Many thanks Mike for the blog

  12. No issues here, all finished in a stately 18:38, outside my “target” time but still well inside my “I can feel good about that” time. My heart sank when I saw the (portcullis?) grid with no words in the first row or column, but the words with three consecutive checked letters made this easier than I feared.

    LOI: TWINGE, which I couldn’t parse at all, and had a face-palm moment when I read the explanation here.
    COD: GOLDFISH, for being both obvious and elusive at the same time.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike.

  13. A DNF at about 23 minutes with interruptions. In the end, I just stared at I_O and nothing came to mind so unusually for me I called a halt. The rest of the puzzle went without problems although the horse was helped by WP.
    FOI: CLAN.
    LOI: DNF.
    DISCUS ‘field event’ on my printout.

  14. No problems for me, remembering SKEWBALD from one of Phil’s Weekend Quick Cryptics. A lovely smooth and gentle QC from Orpheus – just how a QC should be, I think. Thanks Orpheus and Mike. 3:34.

  15. Didn’t know Adit was a mine entrance but no problem with Audit.
    Good variety of cryptic.
    Sunk to the bottom quite quickly but managed to claw my way up to the top to get my head above the water in 23.20 in a couple of breaths.
    Thanks all

  16. Yes, as John says, those of you who tackle the Weekend Specials should have been serenely untroubled by SKEWBALD.

    A very straightforward puzzle, solved in two straight passes.

    TIME 3:44

  17. I seem to be alone in finding that a lot harder than yesterday, but then portcullis grids are Kryptonite to me. Started with the acrosses and when I got to the last one I had more blanks than answers, but then all the downs fell first go so could mop up at reasonable speed. ADDLED was my COD, after being confounded by the Welshman not being DAI or ALAN!

    All done in a less than sprightly 09:44 for 1.8K and an OK Day.

    Many thanks Orpheus and Mike.


  18. A very enjoyable 12 minute solve for me. I thought that possibly my fast (for me) time might be due to sitting down to the puzzle much earlier than I usually do, but it appears from comments so far that it was also quite straightforward. No problems with the vocabulary, remembering adit from previous crosswords and being aware of skewbald. Parsed everything except 18dn where I completely missed the hidden. Thanks to Orpheus for a fine QC and to Mike for the blog.

    FOI – 8ac OMIT
    LOI – 23ac MEWS
    COD – 24ac UNSEEMLY

  19. 14 minutes and back within target, although given the comments above, I’m not overly proud of that performance. I was going great guns until the last three or four in the south. I had rashly put in RARELY for HARDLY, which made HONEST difficult until I saw the error of my ways, which in turn made UNSEEMLY harder than it should have been. LOI MEWS for no accountable reason. Thanks both.

  20. I’m pleased to finish under target at 8.42 after a few indifferent solves recently. DISCUS was clued as field event in my morning paper, but I would certainly have felt it was misclued if referred to as ‘track’. Nothing held me up especially although I initially misread 23ac as ‘stabbing area’. My mind immediately went to The Forum in Rome, but at the third reading I realised it was ‘stabling’. It’s no good telling me I should have gone to Specsavers, they’re the ones that sorted me out!

  21. Quick for me today. Done in 9 minutes with LOI TENURE.
    SKEWBALD occurred to me quickly from the parsing but maybe Phil’s puzzle was in the back of my mind. That clue might cause some problems.
    I have the newspaper and the DISCUS clue was correct.
    I agree with Sawbill; COD to HONEST.

  22. FOI and COD SKYLIGHT, LOI HONEST. NHO SKEWBALD, but guessed SKEW and knew PIEBALD, and later thought first of another horsey event rather than athletic when I saw “field event” in my newspaper. Held up a little by last two in IBO and HONEST, last more because I reached them last than because I struggled (as I too often do!) with hidden answers. This took me rather a long time, although I enjoyed it, considering it is not really a difficult puzzle.Thanks Orpheus and MIke.

  23. Not quite a red flag in front of the charabanc job, but Orpheus certainly took me all the way up to the SCC thanks mainly to a head slapping alphabet trawl for loi Mews. Ibo also needed both crossers before I spotted the hidden, so I don’t think I was at my best this morning. A nice puzzle though, with CoD, appropriately, to 16ac, Addled. Invariant

  24. All done in 20:45 but with a profound sense of stress and not enjoying it throughout. I look forward to these each day and then seem to be met by a torrent of words that don’t elicit any answers which is heartsinking. The top half only produced CLAN and then HAGGIS, ADDLED, GOLDFISH, TOFFS, DISCUS and HARDLY (a local writer for a Dorset lad like me).

    I’m not sure if it counts as BIFing but I tend to come up with an answer then be able to breakdown and parse the clue for confirmation. Checkers often needed. SKEWBALD was actually the opposite as I’ve NHO it and than allowed me to place the KY for SKYLIGHT and get going from there.

    NHO ADIT and IBO perhaps only vaguely so that was LOI as felt sure it was a hidden word.

    Fastest time in December and seven in a row so those should be things to feel good about. I think the SAD may be coming back as we approach the shortest day 😕

    1. Thanks both – no complaints about the time. Was quite surprised by how quickly I got it all done given how I felt about it 🤷‍♀️

    2. Almost missed the SCC so not bad going.

      I struggle a bit with SAD as well, but managed a nice, long walk in the beautiful winter sunshine today which helped.

      1. Thanks GaryA. I get out and run every day but it just seems to have been poor weather for a while.
        Anyway we had some sunshine today and it seemed to make a difference. I’ve got the lightbox on the table but with the price of electricity I’m not entirely sure it’s a good idea! 😀

  25. Ambled through this one in 6:10, starting with SKYLIGHT and finishing in the MEWS where, presumably, the SKEWBALD was lurking. Failed to spot the hidden at 18d and just biffed it. Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  26. An on target solve but I had to skip over the NW corner starting with OMIT. I DNK ADIT was a mine entrance but it sounded possible and struggled to remember the river URE. My LOI was SKEWBALD. I’ve been a little slack on doing the fortnightly puzzles but look forward to catching up on them over the upcoming holidays so expect SKEWBALD will be a write in when I get to Phil’s offering. 8:22

  27. 7 straight innings groping uncertainly outside off stump, nicking off to outswingers and being comprehensively castled by ones that nipped back off the seam. Today I strolled out to bat under sunlit skies, immediately spanked a half volley through the covers, then continued in much the same vein, nonchalantly dispatching the bowlers to all parts.

    Or in English, back under target, by some distance, after not inconsiderable toiling and gnashing of teeth.

    I liked SKEWBALD best, and HONEST brought up the winning runs, albeit a bit of a streaky inside edge past the stretching keeper for 4, as I have to admit that I missed yet another hidden.


  28. A quick solve for me in around 9 minutes. I had vaguely heard of IBO but I didn’t understand the ‘yes and no’ part of the clue so thanks to Mike for the explanation. I had also NHO ADIT as a mine entrance but I was fairly confident about AUDIT. The only clue which held me up briefly was UNSEEMLY. It was my LOI and I needed to write out the anagrist on a scrap of paper before it fell into place.

  29. A late start today and distracted by granddaughter (no complaints!).
    I had the same issues as others including the ‘orrible grid and NHO SKEWBALD or ADIT although they were easy enough to solve.
    I finished just within target and took not much longer than therotter (I often seem to manage a similar time to him +/- a minute or two) with similar fluctuations from day to day.
    I had more trouble with some of the shorter answers than I should have done, including HONEST, TEEN, MEWS, and LOI IBO.
    Thanks to both, John M.

  30. 11:58 (completed at 11:58am, a pleasing coincidence).

    Same as many, knew Piebald and vaguely SKEWBELD. NHO ADIT, and was trying to make SHAFT(=mine entrance) work. Also KILN for “Family initially languishing in jail” — I thought “Kiln” would make good slang for a jail, strong box, big heavy metal door and when you come out you’re hardened.


    1. No point in coming out hardened if you’ve been burnt to a crisp at a 1,000 degrees though 😀

  31. 11 mins…

    I liked this, and whilst I didn’t know “Adit” was a mine entrance,nor the “Ibo” language, I think they were all obtainable (which for me is always a good indicator of a QC).

    It’s field event in the print edition for 17dn, so I didn’t have any issues with that either.

    FOI – 6dn “Kilt”
    LOI – 3dn “Egress”
    COD – 1dn “Skewbald”

    Right…now for the GCHQ puzzle!

    Thanks as usual!

    1. The GCHQ puzzle seems to be aimed at schoolkids so didn’t have too much trouble unravelling the individual puzzles. But something must have gone wrong because two of my three locations don’t seem to have a word towards the Christmas message 🙄 (Albeit I’m assuming the location on Christmas Island is “Christmas”)

      Edit: turns out I hadn’t zoomed out far enough on the maps to get the names of the villages. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I say Christmas Greetings !

      1. To be fair, I only did the first couple and haven’t had chance to do the rest.

        May have a look again later.

  32. Seems I’m in the minority again after finding this one difficult in places, resulting in a “can’t be bothered anymore” DNF.

    No lame excuses from me though, I just found it to be tough.

    Better luck tomorrow.

  33. Usual pattern for me: Slow to get going, fast (for me) through the middle, tortuous at the end. I have learned not to panic (or even to mind too much) if I have difficulty getting the first few clues into the grid, as I know things will ease if I am patient. Naturally, I enjoy the relatively speedy mid-section, but I absolutely hate these interminable struggles to finish the job. And, I don’t know how to overcome these mental blocks.

    I had forgotten that I knew the word ‘adit’ until after I had entered AUDIT, and similarly with ‘aled’ and ADDLED. I DNK that ‘disposed’ = LIABLE, and I had NHO IBO. However, it was my last three that caused most problems. Fully 27 minutes to solve (in this order) MEWS, GOLDFISH and TOFFS. One problem was that I initially had ToutS (‘out’ for ‘away’) and either ‘GAL’ or ‘GILL’ for ‘female’. Total time in the end was 46 minutes.

    Mrs Random smoothed her way to the finishing line in 26 minutes, her only hold-up being IBO.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Mike.

    1. Fancy the setter sticking in Aled so close to Christmas though. How many couldn’t help but think of The Snowman and had it going through their heads for a while?

      (Yes, I know he didn’t sing it on the animation).

      1. The song was called ‘Walking In The Air’ and, as luck would have it, I listened to it only yesterday evening. My version, however, was by Nightwish (a Finnish symphonic metal band) with their original lead singer, Tarja Turunen. She is an operatic soprano and it’s by far the best version I have ever heard. I listened to it on Tidal, but I assume it’s also available on Spotify. I found it on Nightwish’s 2005 Highest Hopes album.

        1. “My version, however, was by Nightwish (a Finnish symphonic metal band) with their original lead singer, Tarja Turunen”

          Please don’t take this the wrong way, but that’s the funniest line I’ve read in quite a while 😀

          However, I did have a listen, and she does have a very good voice.

          1. The funny thing is I read it with a completely straight face, as it sounds like the sort of thing some members of my family like! Just goes to show what you can get used to 😂 Random – do you know a band called Turasis? They’re a Finnish folk / power / symphonic metal band, and possibly a bit scary!

            1. Many thanks for the Turasis lead, Penny. No, I hadn’t heard of them, but I will sample some of their stuff and will report back in a few days.
              Nightwish were formed in the mid-90’s and have become a global mega-band in their genre. They combine metal, orchestral, celtic, classical vocals and prog, all with good melody. They now have 25+ years of material under their belt and easily manage to sell-out Wembley Arena when they come to the UK. Definitely worth a listen, in my (unbiased) opinion.

              1. I believe the vocals can be quite raucous – I don’t know how heavy you like your metal 😅 Too scary for me! There’s a fair chance that the metal fans (father and daughter) have seen Nightwish at Download.

          2. Well done for giving it a listen, Mr Ed46. Clearly, I have no idea about your taste in music, but if you enjoyed Nightwish doing Walking In The Air, may I suggest you also try the following three songs of theirs – ‘Sleeping Sun’ and ‘Dead Boy’s Poem’ (both to be found on the Highest Hopes album), and their version of ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ (off their 2002 Ocean Born album)?
            I’ll be interested to hear what you think, even if they’re not really your cup of tea.

            1. I have quite an eclectic taste, ranging from my youthful days of early 90’s dance music, indie and classical film scores (my specialist “mastermind” subject being the works of Jerry Goldsmith).

              However, I will give your suggestions a go and report back later 😀

  34. I’m with th minority today finding it hard. Guessed SKEWBALD from cluing, guessed AUDIT (couldn’t parse), needed help to get TENURE (not aware of river Ure, sadly) and didn’t see TEEN as youngster or MEWS as stabling area – sad lack of general knowledge for this one! A bad day.

    1. We were taught the rivers running east off the Pennines in school – probably over 60 years ago – with the mnemonic SUNWACD. Swale Ure Nidd Wharfe Aire Calder Don. It’s amazing how often one or other comes up in crosswords! I wish a few other things stuck in my brain!

  35. 8:34 today, with a similar experience to many of the above. I knew adit and Ibo from the biggie, so they didn’t cause any concern; at 17d the clue in my version said field event, but tbh, if it had said track, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser. I should really, as my daughter’s partner has competed in such events for many years, so I’d better not admit it to him 😅
    Of course, HONEST was nearly biffed, as it was another well-disguised hidden, but I parsed it at the last moment.
    FOI Omit LOI Homest COD Unseemly
    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

  36. I wonder if the storied racehorse, Stewball, could possibly have been a SKEWBALD? I looked up the lyrics of the song but no physical description- only of bridle,saddle etc.

    1. Some versions of the song (for example the one sung by Steeleye Span) call the horse “Skewball”, which makes your suggestion even more likely.

  37. 9 and a half mins with typo Loddoner which is annoying as I was on the laptop, not phone.
    LOI twinge.
    COD honest.

  38. 13.27. NHO IBO. Until I had the O from HONEST I spent a while wondering whether there was a language called IYE. Eventually put in IBO, but needed the blog to understand the Yes and No aspect.
    Many thanks.

  39. A dnf thanks to TENURE which I just couldn’t see and was too weary to keep on trying.
    Overall though a most enjoyable crossword despite the grid layout.
    Like others I often have to biff an answer from the cross overs and then check the parsing. HONEST and TEEN being examples.
    Thanks Mike for the blog and Orpheus for the puzzle.

    1. I was a bit eyerolly when soft Southern me was presented with a Yorkshire river. Fortunately TENURE biffed in there and I could see the NET part for trap so that was enough for me.

  40. The rhea inhabits only two places on earth – South America (rare) and Crosswordland (where it’s so common that culling may soon be needed). It is also known as the Nandu so possibly delicious with peri peri. Any restaurateurs out there? ( a word I can now spell correctly courtesy of this blog) 🤪 J

  41. Did most on line, slowly, before Christmas shopping, then on return finished the NW remainder quick as a flash.
    No problem with SKEWBALD (COD) as I used to be horsey. Missed hidden in HONEST. Also biffed TENURE, not fully parsed. NHO Adit but biffed that one too. Had vaguely heard of IBO.
    Liked MEWS, TOFFS, HARDLY, TWINGE, among others.
    Thanks vm, Mike.

  42. I had to speak Ibo/ Igbo in a Nigerian film set in London. It’s on YouTube if anyone is interested and is called Onye Ozi.

    1. I had a quick watch of the trailer – all looks well made. I may give it a go later although I’m not convinced given it says it’s a comedy and I didn’t laugh beyond the “Do you see dead people?” line 😀

  43. one of us is away, but finished in reasonable time. last ones in skewbald and addled. A pleasant solve.

  44. 20:27

    Just outside my 20 minute target, held up by the SE corner. Failed to spot the hidden word for HONEST for far too long and had to enter LOI IBO with fingers firmly crossed.

  45. I enjoyed this and was around 25 mins, so a relatively decent time.

    NHO Adit or Skewbald, and Ibo was a bit of a guess.

    Some straightforward clues but some tricky ones as well.

    LOI – 9ac
    COD – 18ac/14ac

    Thanks for the great blog.

    The football awaits…

  46. I had a quick query for the boffins.

    When a clue uses ‘initially’ or ‘finally’ (as with 9ac and 2dn today), is it a rule that this direction as to the wordplay concerns the word that comes after the direction or can it also potentially concern the word that comes before it?

    Thanks in anticipation.

    1. In my experience it can be either, so if my first option doesn’t seem to be working I try the other. But also note the initially/finally can also refer to more than one word as today in the “ge” referring to sufferinG and unwelcomE. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Pitcaithlie, much appreciated. It foxed me for a while today with the reference to two words.


    2. Ha! If only it was that simple. The short answer is it can be whatever the setter wants. Worse still, initially/finally can sometimes mean something along the lines of start/end.

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