Times Quick Cryptic No 2288 by Mara

Middle of the road today.

No obscurities or unduly tricky cluing made for an even solve, and I worked fairly steadily through the grid to finish in 7:37, a very similar time to yesterday.

Many thanks to Mara!

1 Phobia about the quill (7)
FEATHER – FEAR (phobia) about THE
5 Little boat’s heading into cove (4)
BABY – B (Boat’s “heading”) into BAY (cove)
7 Fear mistake after beginning of trial (6)
TERROR – ERROR (mistake) after T (“beginning” of Trial)
8 Immediately behind leader in little time? (6)
SECOND – double definition
9 Into drugs, nine played sport (5,6)
TABLE TENNIS – into TABLETS (drugs) goes an anagram (played) of NINE
10 Spread complete by start of banquet (6)
BUTTER – UTTER (complete) by B (“start” of Banquet)
12 Walk across hotel to find yarn (6)
THREAD – TREAD (walk) across H(otel)
14 Film character, Jack perhaps? (7,4)
PICTURE CARD – PICTURE (film) CARD (a character = an eccentric)
17 Desert 12 across (6)
STRAND – double definition
18 Tiny dab, almost ridiculously small and neat (6)
DAINTY – anagram (ridiculously) of TINY and DAb “almost”
20 Inactive, impassive dog lacking exercise, originally (4)
IDLEImpassive Dog Lacking Exercise “originally”
21 Model of excellence where father managed to maintain progress (7)
PARAGON – PA (father) RAN (managed) to maintain/keep GO (progress)
1 Enemy froze, oddly (3)
FOE – odd letters of F r O z E
2 Lively performer smashing up boat and car (7)
ACROBAT – anagram (smashing up) BOAT and CAR
3 A little fish, or sea animal (5)
HORSE – “a little” of fisH OR SEa
4 Admire muscle in others (7)
RESPECT – PEC (muscle) in REST (others)
5 Meaty artist? (5)
BACON – cryptic hint for Francis Bacon
6 Position under hoop, where players may be (9)
BANDSTAND – STAND (position) under BAND (hoop)
9 Promoted enthusiasticallyas was Louis Armstrong’s music? (9)
TRUMPETED – double definition
11 Sports summary: just ahead in boxing match? (5-2)
ROUND-UP – cryptic hint, as in a round of boxing
13 English university looking at literature (7)
READING – double definition
15 Lifting mechanism with rod carrying girder, ultimately (5)
CRANE – CANE (rod) carrying R (girdeR “ultimately”)
16 Duck: one protected by wild deer (5)
EIDER – I (one) protected by an anagram (wild) of DEER
19 Metal in fact inert, partly (3)
TIN – facT INert “partly”

55 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2288 by Mara”

      1. The UK ones, yes, but I’m an early poster most days and it’s very rare for there not to be three or four postings from other continents by the time I arrive.

    1. I usually work on the puzzle soon after it comes out , as it’s 7 PM here in Canada when midnight in London . Then I usually post when the blog comes up. If the blog is later or I’m extra tired I will go to bed and post in AM. And it’s getting dark very early these days!

  1. First time I’ve been less than 20 mins so probably a bit more straightforward than normal. Struggled for several minutes with 14a forgetting that Jack was a picture card in a deck of playing cards (I got fixated on nautical Jack). Thank you Mara

  2. 8:18. Not too many difficult ones today. Still, a few I just entered from the def and moved on such as TABLE TENNIS. TRUMPETED might have held me up more were it not for TRUMPETER for ‘one playing with brass’ having appeared only a couple of days ago.

    Favourites were the misdirection of ‘hoop’ in the wordplay for BANDSTAND – not those sort of players – which did fool me at the start and the ‘Jack perhaps?’ def for PICTURE CARD.

    Thanks to Mara and rolytoly

  3. Only three on the first pass of acrosses and from that slow start I then struggled throughout. Ended up staring at PICTURE -A-D for a fair while at the end, so perhaps it’s just that a hard night in the village hall for a brass band and carols from the school’s year 6 had addled my brain. Also managed to enter RESoECT to ruin a hard won solve – not all green in 13. Disappointing as I’d been getting better at checking what I’m typing. Wrong players held me up – I was trying to think of another word for stage – as did the HORSE where I fell into the trap of looking for something aquatic.

  4. 12:28 with FOI FEATHER and LOI SECOND

    Setters like this definition of CARD, which sounds pretty old-fashioned now.
    For me, Kevin BACON came to mind more easily as “artist” than Francis.


  5. 7’30 for a pretty straightforward solve with some nice’n’easy FOE HORSE ACROBAT and a couple that needed checkers TABLE TENNIS and PICTURE CARD.


    Thanks Mara and Roly

  6. 17 minutes with nothing to frighten the 3 downs.
    FOI: FOE.
    Favourite: PARAGON.

  7. Did this in a rush this morning before running to get to the hospital on time–another exam–and I’ve totally forgotten this puzzle. (I have yet to get to the 15×15.) Something dragged me past my 6′ target, though. 6:26.

  8. 22 mins plus on the clock, but interrupted between lounge and gate.


    Probably somewhere between 7 and 8 mins.

  9. 9:56. The top half flew in so quickly, I thought I was heading for a personal best, but STRAND and CRANE slowed me down for several minutes. (Never really thought of a crane as a “mechanism”.)

    COD – tie between TRUMPETED and PICTURE CARD

    Thanks to Mara and Roly.

  10. I thought this was a gentle offering with just the parsing of BANDSTAND, TABLE TENNIS and LOI HORSE (those damn hiddens again) holding me up.
    Finished in 6.23
    Thanks to Roly

  11. I found this fairly straightforward for a 14:25 finish. FOI FEATHER, LOI HORSE. Crossers (though not the clue) made 6d look a bit like backstage until I realised they were a different sort of players. Always good to get under 15 mins. Thanks Mara and rolytoly.

  12. A very fast start with FEATHER and FOE straight in. Slowed down at the end by BABY and BACON. Last two were PICTURE CARD and CRANE. 9 minutes on the clock.
    Nothing obscure in this. A good QC with some nice surfaces.

  13. Nothing much written on my copy, but I thought “looking at literature” a bit cheeky. LOI BANDSTAND. Thanks Mara and RolyToly. 5:01.

  14. Beaten by #1 son today so I knew I’d be behind the pace on here! Got stuck on PICTURE CARD (thought it was going to be a nautical film person, durr) and STRAND (which with T-A-D checkers I became convinced was an anagram of THREAD!).

    Sorted it out in time for a regulation 08:18/1.3K and a Respectable Day. COD to TABLE TENNIS.

    Many thanks Mara and roly.


  15. I also found this on the less demanding side and all done in 8 minutes, no real hold-ups or queries. What a nice change from some puzzles in which the eyebrows are not so much raised as in a permanent flutter.

    LOI was Strand, with the interesting construction of a DD one half of which was the answer to another clue. Perhaps more experienced solvers will tell me this is an old trick but this was a new technique to me.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  16. Most seem to think this was straightforward and I would agree with that, crossing the line in 6.50. Nothing really held me up apart from the parsing of HORSE, where it took me a while to see it was a hidden. Good misdirection in 6dn where the mention of hoop and players takes you in the direction of sport (maybe basketball) rather than music.

  17. After seeing comments about the 15×15, and the SNITCH, I thought I would do this one instead. Got a flying start with FOE and FEATHER, but held up by PICTURE CARD, and the well disguised HORSE.
    The STRAND and THREAD clues seem to be linked in a very Guardianesque style.
    A nice change doing the quick cryptic.

  18. 6:31

    Steady solve only held up at the end by the BACON/SECOND crossing.

    Did wonder at one point whether it might be possible to squeeze PRIVATE RYAN in as the film character….

    Thanks Mara and Roly

  19. I’ll take 14:04 – pleased with that. Thought I was done at 13:12 but had missed HORSE and never saw the hidden word until I came here.

    Complete opposite feeling to yesterday. While I got a few in the NW I then read clue after clue with crickets until some slotted in down the bottom. Yet I felt I was enjoying it.

    I know referring to another clue (see STRAND) can been frowned upon in the QC but I thought making it “12 across” was a good way of signalling what needed to be done and bridging the gap to the 15×15.

  20. Nice and straightforward. 6:00 starting with FEATHER and finishing with DAINTY. Thanks Mara and Roly.

  21. All done in four minutes 18 seconds which is very good for me.

    But even looking at it afterwards I failed to parse “idle “! What can I say.

  22. I had too many interruptions from a house full of family. I really should have found somewhere quiet to escape and do this QC in peace. Anyway, I messed up the top right by slapping in BEEFY for 5d (Beefy is a rap artist). It gradually dawned that I had it wrong and I recovered to finish a minute over target.
    Some good clues to go with the easy ones. Like mendesest, I had trouble seeing CARD for 14a but, after staring at it for a while, the light dawned. I am glad I was not the only one to be wrong-footed by HORSE.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  23. Looked hard at first look through, with only a few clues readily solved. However, solutions then gradually emerged, THREAD and STRAND LOI.

  24. 14:16. (pipped by 12 seconds by L-Plates). PICTURE CARD was the main holdup as like others I struggled to get Jack as a sailor out of my head. IDLE and DAINTY were very slow to reveal their parsings. After solving STRAND and seeing 12 Ac had r third letter I thought it must be maroon. Luckily the different meaning of STRAND got me to THREAD.

  25. Not that quick but got there.
    I always forget film=PICTURE, though realised second word was CARD. Cd not parse BANDSTAND, but see it was easy enough, tho not sure BAND=hoop.
    Slow on TABLE TENNIS.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

    1. I was a little uncertain about hoop=band but a rubber band or gastric band are both single continuous loops as is a basketball hoop. Alternatively an Alice band is similar shape to a croquet hoop!

    2. One nickname of Glasgow Celtic is”The Hoops” because of their famous jerseys featuring horizontal green and white bands.

  26. A comfortable sounding 17min finish, but I was lucky to see Picture Card straight away, otherwise I suspect the sub-20 would have been more of a challenge. The NE corner held out to the end, but once Second went in the rest followed quite quickly. CoD to 4d, Respect, which Mara has from me for this well judged puzzle. Invariant

  27. Just inside my 15 minute target after a distracted solve. Some nice clues here from Mara. Thanks both.

  28. A pleasing 9 mins…

    I agree, this was pretty straightforward, but there were some nice clues and I liked 1ac “Feather” and 9ac “Table Tennis”. Not often we get “Reading” as an English University (or if it’s a staple I don’t recall seeing it before).

    FOI – 1dn “Foe”
    LOI – 5ac “Baby”
    COD – 6dn “Bandstand”

    Thanks as usual!

      1. As I’ve said many times before L-Plates, the euphoria of a sub-10 will no doubt be negated by a flurry of dnf’s just to remind me I’m not as good as I think I am.

    1. Can I add my congratulations as well?

      9 minutes wow! I’d take a few DNFs for a sub-10 solve.

  29. Like many, I found this on the easier side, and finished in a very pleasing 6:57, which is my second fastest ever. Held up slightly by entering PLAYING CARD, even though I couldn’t parse it, but CRANE came along quickly and fixed that problem.


  30. Interesting puzzle, we finished around our 30m target. Slowed down by 14a picture card, and 9d trumpeted having forgotten what Louis Armstrong was famous for. Thanks Mara.

  31. Doh! Never saw the imbedded HORSE at 3d so thanks for that rolytoly. Was going to complain, but as so often it was my fault not the setter’s.

  32. Almost nothing went in at first reading of the across clues but I fared better on the downs, especially at the bottom. This led to a slowish bottom to top solve in 19 minutes. Perseverance was the watchword as I really wasn’t on Mara’s wavelength. All perfectly straightforward in hindsight though.

    FOI – 7ac TERROR
    LOI – 3dn HORSE (didn’t see the hidden until afterwards, for the second day running)
    COD – 6dn BANDSTAND – thoroughly bamboozled by this for a long time

    Thanks to Mara and Rolytoly

  33. Very slow to get going, with only 5-6 clues solved after my first pass through the whole grid. Therefore, as I crossed the boundary into the SCC (my usual territory) fears of a DNF were gaining a firm foothold in my mind. Unusually, however, I started to pick up speed – getting TABLE TENNIS proved particularly helpful – and for once I didn’t get stuck on my last few. Biffing BAckSTAge (instead of BANDSTAND) made life a little awkward, but I was able to correct the error and managed to cross the line in 34 minutes. An average time for me and quite satisfying, given the slowness of my start.

    Many thanks to Mara and rolytoly.

  34. 11:58

    Very easy today (my target is 20 minutes). Nearly done in 10 but held up at the end by STRAND and LOI DAINTY.

  35. Finished in I assume under an hour as left the clock running while I went for a walk. Solved one on the walk though and the rest soon followed. The brain must work away in the background
    COD TABLE TENNIS which I biffed then parsed with admiration, but lots of very nice clues.
    LOI PICTURE CARD: half biffed and half parsed.
    Thanks Mara and Roly.

  36. Comfy in the SCC today. It was not tricky but I enjoyed my early evening stroll. Seeing it was set by Mara, I was expecting it to be harder.

    FOI 1a Feather
    LOI 17a Strand (never enjoy these linked references)
    COD Nothing that special today.

  37. Wish I’d timed myself properly today as this seemed to go very smoothly. A rare foray outside the SCC.

    FOI – 1ac (lovely clue)
    LOI – 17ac (clever clue)
    COD – 9ac (blog required for parsing clue)

    Thanks as always for the blog.

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