Times Quick Cryptic No 2297 by Breadman

Solving time: 10:51

Compliments of the season to you all. Nestled in the lull between Christmas and New Year, I found that a couple of clues in today’s offering from Breadman required a little extra brainpower to parse, only fully understanding them post-submission. How did you get on?

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

1 Add to trade union quietly (3,2)
TOT UP – TO TU (Trade Union) P (shorthand for piano – musical notation for ‘softly’ i.e. quietly)
4 Beer found around South Africa game generally (2,1,4)
AS A RULE – ALE (beer) around both SA (South Africa) and RU (game i.e. Rugby Union)
8 Illustrations involving one system of exercise (7)
PILATES – PLATES (Illustrations found in a book) containing [involving] I (one)
9 Army chaplain dwelling with Royal Engineers (5)
PADRE – PAD (dwelling) RE (Royal Engineers)
10 Former president’s welcome concerning East Midlands area (12)
LINCOLNSHIRE – LINCOLN’S (former president’s i.e. Abraham Lincoln’s) HI (welcome) RE (concerning)

Makes a change for this president not to be parsed as ABE

12 Again arrange holiday location (6)
RESORT – RE-SORT (again arrange)
13 Cut out bodily exertion without hesitation (6)
EXCISE – EXERCISE – remove [without] ER (hesitation) from EXERCISE (bodily exertion)
16 Big punch around lido mixed for tourist (12)
HOLIDAYMAKER – HAYMAKER (big punch) around anagram [mixed] of LIDO
18 Uncle Sam’s heart lacking constant record (5)
ENTERCENTER – how CENTRE (heart) would be written in the land of Uncle Sam – remove [lacking] C (constant)

In mathematics, a constant is a quantity or parameter that does not change its value. In crosswordland, constant often equates to C.

20 Carrier of mine, from rubbish place, about twenty-five pounds (3,4)
PIT PONY – PIT (rubbish place i.e. where rubbish might be dumped) PONY (twenty-five pounds (sterling))

Slightly cryptic definition. I wasn’t sure what ‘about’ was doing exactly in this clue. Why is £25 called a PONY? There are many theories…

21 At edges, synthetic jumper, for example, recalled famous miser (7)
SCROOGE – S{yntheti}C [edges] ROO (jumper i.e. kangaroo) then E.G. (for example) reversed [recalled]

Ebenezer SCROOGE is the fictional protagonist of the Dickens novella A Christmas Carol. At the beginning of the story, he is a cold-hearted miser.

22 He sculpted bar at home (5)
RODIN – ROD (bar) IN (at home)

Auguste RODIN (1840-1917)

1 Habitual drinker, extremely plump, interrupting roof worker? (7)
TIPPLER – P{lum}P [extremely = the extreme letters of] inserted into [interrupting] TILER (roof worker)
2 Scout sat back taking in fast snooker player (6,7)
TALENT SPOTTER – TAS (sat back i.e. the word SAT backwards) taking in LENT (fast) gives you TA(LENT)S, then POTTER (snooker player)

I’ve never been entirely sure why LENT = fast. LENT is a time of fasting but can you replace LENT with fast in a sentence?

3 Kitty to stream revolutionary Irish medley (9)
POTPOURRI – POT (Kitty i.e. a pool of money) POUR (stream) RI i.e. IR (Irish) turned around [revolutionary]

POTPOURRI is a musical form akin to a medley i.e. individual sections of different pieces or tunes joined together.

4 Worker catching infectious disease not present (6)
ABSENT – ANT (worker) containing [catching] BSE (infectious disease)
5 In the morning, power electronic device (3)
AMP – AM (the morning) P (power)

Here, AMP is short for amplifier, not ampere.

6 Subordinate to exploit timber work by Thomas (5,4,4)
UNDER MILK WOOD – UNDER (subordinate) MILK (to exploit) WOOD (timber)

UNDER MILK WOOD is a play by Dylan Thomas.

7 Idyllic garden some enjoyed enormously (4)
EDEN – Hidden [some] in ‘enjoyed enormously’
11 Line of verse confused three receiving test (9)
HEXAMETER – Anagram [confused] of THREE around EXAM (test) gives H(EXAM)ETER
14 At an initial stage, organ only played (5,2)
EARLY ON – EAR (organ) followed by anagram [played] of ONLY
15 Fruit, at end of day, marked with blotches (6)
DAPPLE – D{ay} [end of] followed by APPLE (fruit)

‘End of’ usually means the last letter of a word, but can alternatively apply to the first letter which is also one end of the word.

Wasn’t sure about the answer initially as the definition might imply that the answer should be DAPPLED (adjective), however a DAPPLE (noun) is a horse which is marked with blotches.

17 Dining room repeatedly gutted more seabass (4)
MESS – M{or}E S{eabas}S – both words [repeatedly] gutted i.e. remove all letters except the first and last
19 Greek character‘s rank discussed (3)
RHO – Homophone [discussed] of ROW (rank)

68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2297 by Breadman”

  1. 13:43. Quite a few clever clues that were fun to crack. Tried to think how yapple could work before I saw day was just d- forget about the y at the end of day. Admired the device used to get to MESS. I see your point re fast and lent. I sort of justify it to myself by thinking Lent is a time of fasting and a time of fasting is a fast. However I’m not sure that line of reasoning -A equals B and B equals C ,therefore A can equal C -is really allowed here. I will let wiser heads guide me .

  2. DNF
    DNK PIT PONY, and didn’t know (well, strictly speaking, didn’t remember–I came across it here once) the relevant PONY. I biffed ENTER; totally clueless as to the wordplay. The setter seems fond of initial/final letter pairs: 21ac, 1d, 17d (as well as initial D in 15d). A DAPPLE is a horse; can one say ‘a dapple horse’? If so, then the clue works; otherwise, ‘marked with blotches’ isn’t the same as DAPPLE.
    I’ve always just assumed that ‘c’ is an abbreviation for ‘constant’, but having looked in ODE and Collins, I can only find one (US) dictionary that gives (with the qualifying “Ancient Mathematics”) ‘constant’, as one of some 20+ meanings. But c is the speed of light in a vacuum, and I assume that that’s a constant.

    1. ‘A dapple horse’ is indeed in Collins on-line albeit as an example in the American section, but the same meaning without that specific example is in the British section and in other dictionaries.

    2. . . . it had better be a constant, otherwise quite a lot of physics from the last 100 years is up the spout.

  3. 17 mins with a few clues here worthy of a 15×15 I thought eg PIT PONY, HOLIDAYMAKER and POTPOURRI.

    With regards to 20A does ‘about’ not work as the reverser of TIP ? That being the rubbish place, not ‘pit’. We always refer to the local recycling centre as ‘the tip’ or ‘the dump.’

    I have no problem with Lent being described as (an extended) fast.

    DAPPLE didn’t feel right (‘dappled’?) but I suspected it actually was and I like the semi-misdirection of ‘the end of day’ not, for once, being a ‘Y’, with ‘D’ being at the other end.

    Couldn’t parse and so didn’t enter ENTER until the very end when I finally saw how it worked.

    Thanks for a tough set Breadman and for the blog MikeH.

      1. yup – good call! I read it as pit as in ‘pits of the world’ a la J McEnroe i.e. rubbish place

  4. 9 minutes for this one and I was pleased to remember HAYMAKER as a punch, something learned in a previous puzzle.

    One minor correction, Mike, is that in music ‘p’ is short for ‘piano’ (softly, quietly etc), whereas ‘pianissimo’ is indicated by ‘pp’ and means very softly.

    Further to the ‘lent / fast’ discussion it’s rather fun that in Italian ‘lent’ means ‘slow’ and often appears as a musical direction as does ‘lento’.

    I agree with MangoMan that PIT comes from ‘tip’ reversed [about].

  5. Many thanks to setter and blogger.
    For dapple, could “at end of” suggest that the fruit is after D for day?

  6. 12:15. I was fooled by both ‘end of day’ and ‘marked with blotches’ at 15d. I agree with Adrian Cobb above that ‘at end of’ is a positional indicator for APPLE to follow D (‘day’) but I couldn’t work out why it wasn’t “DAPPLED” until enlightened by our blogger. Good to see HAYMAKER appearing again.

    Some hard ones and I’d almost given up on POTPOURRI (didn’t know the specific music sense) until I had all the crossers. As alluded to already, one answer looked very familiar…

    Thanks to our setter and blogger

  7. Having been dead last on the leaderboard for the last two days nice to get an all green finish – although I note franklangan set a high bar for last place with 24 errors today – something to aim for. All green today in 14. Six on the first pass of acrosses but lots of hard bits. I thought I’d be looking for a 12 letter president before LINCOLNSHIRE came along and never parsed ENTER and had NHO of POTPOURRI as a medley. Enjoyed the battle with TALENT SPOTTER and finally seeing ‘add’ not ‘add to’ was the definition at 1a, taking me from trying to justify ‘top up’ to TOT UP.

  8. 24 minutes with one BIFD. I just could not see the WP for ENTER but in it went.

  9. As above, biffed ENTER without parsing and not convinced it is a great clue, but thanks Mike for explanation. Biffed a couple of others too with reasonable expectation of unraveling. All done in 24 minutes, ready for a coffee and a croissant in my usual corner chair. Can’t face another mince pie but sadly there is more turkey still to re-purpose. All suggestions considered.
    Thanks Breadman.

  10. Made steady progress after starting with PADRE but struggled at the end with POTPOURRI (trying to get puss in there) and LOI HOLIDAY MAKER where I tried making an anagram out of ‘big punch lido’.
    Finished in 9.16
    Thanks to Mike

  11. A bit of a biff-fest for me with several clues (eg Potpourri, Enter, Talent Spotter) entered and then only subsequently parsed, and my LOI Dapple not parsed at all for the reasons others have mentioned – I was well misled by “end of day” being the front end of the word, and I also expected a -D on the end of the word. But it seemed the only possible answer so it went in with fingers crossed for an 11 minute finish.

    Many thanks Mike for the blog

    PS 2 days running now where I have been logged out overnight and have had to log back in to post. Has anything changed?

  12. I finished this but struggled with a few and felt quite pleased to get some of the tougher ones (including 16a where HAYMAKER emerged from the rarely-entered recesses of my mind). UNDER MILK WOOD was solved on the basis of the crossers and then parsed; I actually parsed ENTER as I was biffing it. I agree with Kevin’s comments.
    I also agree with those who felt that quite a few of the clues would grace the 15×15 – just a bit too clever for a ‘Q’C. I have to say that some were rather neat, though, and Breadman had certainly spent some time and imagination on this one.
    Not a good start to my crossword year. I caught up on the first two QCs last night and slid outside my target for both. This one had me even further adrift and it was more struggle than pleasure.
    Thanks to Mike for a good blog and for some help with parsing the more fiddly ones. John M.

      1. OK. You’ve got me there.
        The post-Christmas period is a lull for most things and is my (mental) watershed between the years. I won’t correct my post or your reply will not make sense. John.

  13. Some tricky stuff in here but I managed to finish in 12 minutes. LOI was TALENT SPOTTER having resisted the unparseable Trains Spotter from early on. Prior to that PILATES.
    I too wanted Dappled -thought it was an error.
    I did parse ENTER after the difficult MESS.

  14. Nice puzzle. Had to think carefully about several of the clues. TOP UP was my first thought at 1a, but the Trade Union came to my rescue. LEICESTERSHIRE didn’t fit, so LINCOLNSHIRE came in a close second. ENTER was LOI. 8:41. Thanks Breadman and Mike.

  15. Like so many others I didn’t parse ENTER and RHO was simply the only possibility. . POTPOURRI took a while, too. Overall, I’m pleased to have recovered slightly from yesterday’s very slow time. Thanks Breadman and Mike.

  16. Banged in about half the answers on first pass then ground my way through. Quite enjoyed it because having got that many and seeing that the definitions for those were obvious, I was encouraged to feel it would all be achievable.

    Finished off at 27:12. A fair few bits of GK that weren’t springing to mind like haymaker, pony=£25, plates (not enough L 😉). NHO of HEXAMETER but generously clued and checked; likewise nho potpourri as a medley. Couldn’t parse RHO – I am homophonophobic 😀

  17. Just could not see POTPOURRI, shame. Plodded through this to the end otherwise. UNDER MILK WOOD didn’t help as much as I hoped. Did dimly remember HEXAMETER which gave me LINCOLNSHIRE. Had more success on the RHS than on the left. Liked SCROOGE, RODIN, PIT PONY.
    Could not parse TALENT SPOTTER as I stupidly put Scouter so DNF x 2.
    Many thanks, Mike.

  18. 35 mins…

    Thought this was tough, but it was generally fair in being able to have a good go at the answers. Some clever clues from Breadman I thought.

    The subtlety of the parsing for 20ac “Pit Pony” was lost on me, as was 18ac “Enter” (I initially toyed with “Entry”).

    Can’t deny Lincolnshire is east of the midlands, but I wouldn’t call it an East Midlands area per se, although happy to be corrected by those who live there.

    FOI – 1dn “Tippler”
    LOI – 19dn “Rho”
    COD – 2dn “Talent Spotter” (not Ronnie O’Sullivan or Jimmy White then 😀)

    Thanks as usual!

  19. Solved fairly steadily,, although, loke others. I thought DAPPLE should be DAPPLED from the clue. LOI ENTER – a guess: could not parse at all.

  20. Pretty crusty offering from Breadman, and I certainly found it tougher than average finishing in 12.13. Took me a while to see the parsing of RHO, and never did work out ENTER, in fact if I took all morning I don’t think I would have worked it out.

      1. Not quite sure what you’re hoping to achieve by pointing this out. Well done? Clearly I didn’t clock your comment.

        That was my first comment ventured on this blog; this kind of response certainly discourages any more attempts to help.

        1. In that case, please accept apologies and I hope you will not feel driven away. It is the nature of things however that drawing attention to a mistake that has already been pointed out may elicit a comment.

          1. That’s kind. Seems like a decent place here. I can see how it could be frustrating to see someone point out something you’ve already mentioned yourself.

  21. Total disaster for me. I felt that some of these clues were too difficult for a QC, and would have felt more at home in the 15×15.

    Really did not enjoy this one at all.

  22. After yesterday’s disaster today’s answers just flew in. It must be to do with being on the setter’s wavelength. But then POTPOURRI stopped me short and I just could not see it despite having POT and all the crossovers. So a dnf but overall a very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Breadman.
    Guessed but could not parse ENTER. Thought it might be to do with Purple Hearts but the answer was even more devious so thanks Mike for the explanation.

  23. A very sluggish 30 mins, but a chunk of that was spent trying to think of an Irish melody for 3d – I really must start using my new glasses. Building on that disaster, I also spent too long trying to get MoT into the line of verse at 11d, and contemplating why I had never come across Yapple. . . However, everything came good in the end, and there was plenty to enjoy along the way. CoD to 2d, Talent Spotter, in a strong field. Invariant

  24. 11:10, which I’m not too unhappy about as there were a few tricky ones here. Not only that, I did it with two red lines 😷😢 That has really messed up the week’s plans – everything cancelled, more time for puzzles though, if I can get my brain into gear!
    I thought this was ok, but maybe I just wasn’t feeling enthusiastic enough – nothing really stood out as a COD, although I did also notice we had a clash with the biggie again. I still don’t understand how that happens – surely it would be easy enough to swap a few puzzles around?
    As soon as I saw an East Midlands area beginning with L, I started to write in Leicestershire (obvs) but soon ran out of letters – fair enough to give LINCOLNSHIRE a go I suppose 😅
    FOI Tot up LOI Enter
    Thanks Breadman and Mike

    Re Cedric’s query: I seem not to be getting email notifications again when people comment – it has happened before. A bit of a mystery …

    1. I don’t want to belittle anyone who has suffered, but I was quite surprised at how (relatively) mild my run in with Covid was, so I really hope you have the same experience. Good luck.

      1. So far I’d agree with you! Definitely milder (at the moment) than when I had it at Easter. I do pick the wrong times to have it though 😅 Glad to hear you’re doing well 😊

  25. A tricky offering from Breadman. I got home just under the 30 min mark, which I will take given the comments by other bloggers.

    I couldn’t fathom 18ac at all and biffed ENTER. Also struggled with HEXAMETER, as I got the M and immediate thought MOT. Eventually had a PDM.

    FOI – TOT UP

    I had Breadman down as one of the more gentle setters, but he has become a little harder of late. Still thoroughly enjoyable.

    Great blog Mike. Thanks as always.

    PS As our local TV news in Yorkshire (called ‘Look North’) also covers Lincolnshire, I didn’t immediately see this one!

    1. Lincolnshire seems to be split among TV areas – the southern and western parts come under East Midlands Today. The one that’s really weird is North Norfolk which according to the Beeb is not in East Anglia! When we’ve been on holiday there, we’ve got Look North for the local news.

      1. How strange!

        I hope the covid doesn’t prove too bad. I’ve got a party on NY Eve that I would happily avoid as I’m not much of a night owl.

        1. Thank you 😊 Hope the party is more fun than you anticipate – even mild covid is not the best way to avoid it 😅

  26. 13.56 with LOI POTPOURRI taking a while to spot. Biffed ENTER without making any sense of the parsing. Thanks Mike for the explanation in the blog – I don’t think I have seen Uncle Sam used as a flag for US spelling before.
    No problems with LENT=fast. On seeing the word fast in a crossword Lent is one of the first things I think of.

  27. DNF. Stuck on the MESS/ENTER intersection, and just didn’t see the wordplay, no matter how long I looked. Ah well, tomorrow’s another day.

    Lots to like here, though, so thanks to both Breadman and Mike.

  28. A very slow grind, finishing on 30 minutes. Couldn’t parse ENTER or POTPOURRI. Had difficulty with 2 of the long answers, TALENT SPOTTER (spent far too long on this) and HOLIDAYMAKER, which didn’t help. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

    FOI – 9ac PADRE
    LOI – 15dn DAPPLE

    Thanks to Breadman and Mike.

  29. About 20 mins. Was sent on a wild goose chase at 1d in trying to make “habitual drinker”=TOPER.


  30. Did most of this on the App this morning, then had to take my son back to Gloucestershire. Left the timer running, finished it off just now, but 231 minutes since I started it. Didn’t find it that difficult! Honest

  31. Disaster again. 5/24, same as yesterday. Thank you for the blog, sorry that I’m not improving.

  32. What an extraordinary thing memory is. 2 clues were dredged up from my teenage years 40 years ago. One good one bad.
    Pony. £25 quid. Came up in Minder every week.
    Hexameter. What Virgil wrote in. O level Latin.
    Can you guess the good/bad split? J

  33. The way different backgrounds influence how different people see a clue. I’m very familiar with the US spelling of CENTER and so “lacking constant” and hence ENTER was straightforward. But if the US spelling wasn’t familiar . . . An enjoyable puzzle for me, thanks Breadman

  34. I thought the potpourri was referring to mixture of scented dried petals. Did not know the musical kind. Good to know. Thanks

  35. Thanks Mike and Breadman.

    I think a DAPPLE is a thing (in this case, a horse) that is ‘marked with blotches’. I’m not sure it’s uncommon for a noun to be clued in such a descriptive way.

    LINCOLNSHIRE is on the east coast, but it’s not in ‘the North’ and it certainly isn’t in ‘the South’. So it must be in the East Midlands, as clued, surely? I wouldn’t leave it to TV companies to define our regions!

    Re TALENT SPOTTER, I don’t see any problem with Lent being described as a fast. That doesn’t mean that ‘Lent = fast’, as suggested, though, because not all fasts are Lent.

    Re PIT PONY, and derivation of ‘pony’, apparently a century or so ago in British India, 25 rupee notes had a pony printed on them (and 500 notes a monkey) such that returning Cockney soldiers incorporated the terms into their vocabulary, but I’m not sure I buy this, as most British soldiers weren’t Londoners so it doesn’t explain why Weegies and Geordies don’t use the term too.

    FOI (incorrectly) – TOP UP – more haste less speed…. stopped me getting:
    COD – ENTER – loved the novel US spelling indicator!

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