Times Quick Cryptic No 2298 by Juno

Fun and quirky puzzle, pitched a bit on the trickier side, with a nice Nina to boot.

A couple of obscurities for me (at 9ac and 3d), but they were generously enough clued. I clocked in at 8:46, a couple of minutes slower than yesterday, and then spent longer than I should have looking for the Nina that Juno can generally be relied on to hide in the grid (see below).

Most enjoyable without the Nina, but enhanced with it – many thanks to Juno!

1 Rank figure, American (6)
STATUS – STAT (figure) US (American)
5 Bizarrely, lets us fight (6)
TUSSLE – anagram (bizarrely) of LETS US
8 Misses alarm, perhaps, as crackpot pens lies (6,2)
SLEEPS IN – anagram (crackpot) of PENS LIES
9 Wickedness by day in old Indian province (4)
SIND – SIN (wickedness) by D(ay). Had to trust the wordplay for this one.
10 Lack of success oddly feasible (4)
FAIL – “oddly” F e A s I b L e
11 American at home with English princess by noon (8)
INDIANAN – IN (at home) with DIANA (English princess) by N(oon)
13 Stake placed between poles in French port (6)
NANTES – ANTE (stake) between N and S (poles)
16 SI units recalled in some universal settings (6)
TESLAS – “recalled in some” univerSAL SETtings
18 Smith, for example, to endure celebrity (4,4)
LAST NAME – LAST (endure) NAME (celebrity)
21 A film’s ending in French: Let It Be? (4)
AMEN – A, M (filM‘s “ending”) EN (in, French)
23 Fix guys drinks at the start (4)
MEND – MEN (guys) D (Drinks “at the start”)
24 Person assigned ne’er does badly (8)
ENDORSEE – anagram (badly) of NEER DOES
25 Notice socialist fume (3,3)
SEE RED – SEE (notice) RED (socialist)
26 Overnight flight the fault of photographer? (3-3)
RED-EYE – double definition
2 Time left in America — in Oklahoma City (5)
TULSA – T(ime) L(eft) in USA (America)
3 Felt hat must be arranged for horse racing (3,4)
THE FLAT – anagram (must be arranged) of FELT HAT. News to me.
4 Some oasis siesta for weaklings! (7)
SISSIES – “some” of oaSIS SIESta
5 Edward possesses leg with firm muscles perhaps (5)
TONED – TED (Edward) possesses ON (on side = leg side in cricket)
6 Name for Russian band: ace! (5)
SASHA – SASH (band) A(ce)
7 An earl I troubled for old script (6,1)
LINEAR A – anagram (troubled) of AN EARL I
12 In charge of energy reserve (3)
ICE – IC = In Charge, E(nergy)
14 In place of learning, rotter’s in A&E with me! (7)
ACADEME – CAD (rotter) is in A and E, with ME. Looks like my fellow Thursday blogger has been cosying up to Juno (aka the crossword editor) in A&E for some scoundrelly reason.
15 A long time: no point reflecting (3)
EON – NO E (East = point) “reflecting”
16 Someone with book perhaps following close to street walker (7)
TREADER – READER (someone with book perhaps) following T (“close” to streeT)
17 Small auto, crimson, permanently marked (7)
SCARRED – S(mall) CAR (auto) RED (crimson)
19 Maybe Henry VIII’s part you tried to discover last of all (5)
TUDOR – parT yoU trieD tO discoveR “last of all”
20 Leading article by teacher (5)
AHEAD – A (article) by HEAD (teacher)
22 Each day before run, start to yawn (5)
EVERY – EVE (day before) R(un) Y (“start” to Yawn)

Nina: the last three letters of every across clue (bar 10ac) form the first three letters of the next across clue. A lovely idea, impressively delivered. My only query is that we jump from sIND to INDianan: is there any significance to the skipped-over word being FAIL?!

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2298 by Juno”

  1. 13:04. Very good fun. As usual took a while to get going in the NW after which the answers came steadily but at no great speed. A couple of eyebrow raises at SISSIES – is that allowed these days – and RED-EYE as the ‘fault of photographer?’, even with the question mark. I wonder how often INDIANAN is used as opposed to the (for me) more folksy sounding “Hoosier”.

    Highlight was the little present in the grid. I suspect it was deliberate that 10a let the side down and was indeed a FAIL.

    Thanks to Juno and rolytoly

  2. I biffed TUDOR, not noticing the initial letters until after submitting. Otherwise no problem. In 1847 I think it was General Charles Napier crushed a revolt in Sindh and took over the whole district. Supposedly, he dashed off a one-word message to HQ: Peccavi (Latin for ‘I have sinned’). Unfortunately, he didn’t; it was composed by a teenage English girl, whose teacher submitted to Punch, which published it and credited it to Napier. 5:13.

    1. Don’t know whether to thank you for enlightening me about this “false fact” or grumble that you’ve stripped me of another entertaining illusion.

      1. I entertained the same illusion until I went to Wikipedia to get the general’s name. Damn.

        1. That’s a lovely story, and very nice to be able to give the correct attribution – I see Napier himself was rather impressed by the pun.

  3. 12 minutes. Juno has enjoyed something of a revival this year having set us 4 puzzles. ‘Her’ first was QC65 in June 2014 and yet today’s is only ‘her’ 17th so there have been some barren years in the meantime.

  4. Very enjoyable, finished in 16:17. I didn’t spot the Nina, but went back after reading the blog intro and half-spotted it: I got the repeated letters in the middle of most rows, missed the repeats from the end of one row to the start of the next.

    LOI: EON

    Thanks to Juno & rolytoly.

  5. Was on for a good time of 8 mins, but submitted ENDORSED, for a pink square.

    Not heard of LINEAR A, but guessed it must have preceded LINEAR B. It apparently is yet to be deciphered, cryptic crossword skills would probably be transferable, if anyone wants to give it a shot.


  6. 13mins delayed by SIND and the NHO LINEAR A. Off to look it up.

    Didn’t spot the Nina but think it’s brilliant and even better with failing with FAIL.

    Thanks Juno and Roly

  7. Very clever NINA. For some reason I managed to get most of the clues quickly for me (less than 15 mins) then spent just as long on the last 6. TREADER, ENDORSEE and INDIANIAN felt rather forced to me as I can’t think of any reasonable context where they’d be used naturally. The NINA which is a big extra constraint for the setter explains that I guess. Great puzzle and blog – thank you.

  8. NHO of LINEAR A or SIND but all the information was there so no excuses. TONED gave me the most trouble, I took too long to get beyond ‘Ed’ for Edward and got a bit fixated on ‘honed’. Solved in nanoseconds once I finally unravelled TUSSLE. LAST NAME put up a big challenge too, even with all the checkers. Juno had me on the ropes today. All green in 19.

  9. A fairly gentle offering today with ENDORSEE putting up the most resistance – even with all the checkers it looks like a bit odd (to me). Always nice to learn something new so SIND will be carefully filed away in the vain hope that I’ll be able to remember it if it comes up again.
    Started with STATUS and finished with the TUSSLE/SASHA pair in 7.08 with COD to ACADEME as it made me chuckle.
    Thanks to Roly

  10. I’m still on a high, and even now find it hard to believe, but I managed to answer all the across clues, followed by all the downs in order. Better still, it only took me 10 mins, which is a PB – if only I’d spotted the Nina I’m sure it could have been a sub-10. What a day, after all these years of effort. Invariant

    1. Fantastic! And your clean sweep was achieved on a day when we had to solve 28 clues, which is a rarity.

    2. Great work Invariant! Massive respect- don’t think I’ve EVER done all across and all down in order…if I ever tried it would take 30mins+

    3. That is a truly significant achievement. It must deserve a bottle of something special and a framed print!

    4. A Champagne Day 🥂 🔥 Hope you’re feeling much better too. It’s not me Plett has to be worried about 😅

      1. Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I still have no idea how it happened, but at least my heart has stopped thumping like a don’t know what. Those last few downs were agony 😱

    5. Many congratulations! I got the first seven across clues in order (and parsed), but there our paths diverged somewhat!


    6. A maiden clean sweep PB!! Wow, indeed.. there’s a decent chance that’s a uniquely good performance, especially for a decidedly non-gimme puzzle – hearty congratulations!

  11. I enjoyed the FAIL at the start of the line that didn’t complete the Nina. Fun puzzle. Thank-you Juno and Roly. 4:54.

  12. 20 minutes with EVERY and AMEN the finishing crossers.
    LOI: AMEN.
    NHO of SIND but the answer was clear also LINEAR A.
    Favourite: LAST NAME.
    I didn’t spot the NINA so was unaware until I read the blog.

  13. Well done, Invariant. I started in similar fashion – filling in answers quickly one by one, across and down. The difference is that I began to leave the odd gap (SASHA, SIND) and found things slowing down in the S and SE.
    I finished them all off, one by one, but NHO of LINEAR A and I hesitated for too long over EVERY and AMEN, my LOI. I ended up marginally over target (again) and put it down to the interruptions to the flow introduced by forcing things to achieve a NINA (after it was pointed out). Some nice clues but, as usual, the NINA was, at best, a distraction.
    Thanks to roly. John M.

    1. Thanks OB, – you’ve picked out the ones that I paused over, except I had come across Linear A before and remembered it because it was such an unusual name.
      On edit: On reflection, it’s more likely it was the ‘better known’Linear B, but the anagrist helped ☺

  14. Finished and enjoyed. Only hesitated at the end with TREADER, TESLAS and ENDORSEES. Didn’t know Tesla was an SI unit, only know it as a car! Also held up slightly by LAST NAME.
    Like others, I’d heard of Linear B, so I guessed there must be an A. (Just looked up and see it was Minoan. Haven’t been to Crete for 40 years, but maybe shd have remembered)
    Missed Nina but also just noticed Tesla goes with TULSA (‘only 24 hours from’).
    Liked SEE RED, RED EYE, SASHA, AMEN, among others. FOI THE FLAT.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

    1. It’s a unit of Magnetic Field I believe, although I only knew the car and the inventor (from which the car was probably named)

  15. 21:14 … lot of vocab I probably would never use in there. On reflection clueing was mostly generous and got me through although at least four couldn’t fully parse at the time. The NE was last to fall as NHO SIND, LINEAR-A and took a while to see INDIANAN, TONED, TUSSLE.

    Remembered Juno as one of those setters who usually has NINAs but only fleetingly connected SEE-RED and RED-EYE as I put it in and otherwise it went over my head and I was left wondering whether with INDIANAN, TULSA, SASHA we were look at some old 50s TV western series until I looked again knowing there was something and saw the 3-letter pairings.

  16. What a clever device. I bet he enjoyed doing that. And I enjoyed the puzzle both while solving and afterwards. Bravo.

    Despite being mugged by a bottle of tawny port last night I managed this in 08:15 while watching the sun very reluctantly get out of bed in the Highlands. So 1.6K and a Respectable Day.

    Many thanks Juno and Roly.


  17. Double QC this morning, as I missed yesterday’s.

    Similar difficulty. Missed today’s NINA, even went back and still couldn’t see it.

    LOI AMEN. I see Kevin got in there with the peccavi tale, but I was unaware it was bunkum!


  18. I always admire a setter who can construct a crossword with a hidden device, and this Nina was exceptional, well done Juno! As usual I failed to spot it even on completion, too busy looking at each clue on its merit instead of looking for themes I suppose.
    I finished just inside target at 9.42, held up only by 23ac where I was looking for an answer to fit -A-D, because I had carelessly misspelled ACADEME with a third A.

  19. This seemed very easy at first so I pushed for a fast time. But I slowed down in the bottom half and bunged in ENDORSER without checking the anagrist. My bad.
    An excellent puzzle. I particularly liked TULSA which is quite close to Oklahoma City -and I have been to both. And AHEAD.
    Missed the nina.
    8 minutes.

  20. Found this chewy in places, and came in in 20:44 with LOI SASHA, which I wasn’t sure of as I think of bands as smaller than sashes and I didn’t realise that Sasha was particularly Russian. COD to TULSA. Thanks Juno and Roly.

  21. Just under 19 minutes for a very entertaining solve. After wondering about seeing RED twice in the bottom line went back and discovered Nina. I thought TREADER was an unusual term but then remembered The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis.

  22. One of my better efforts at 15:33. FOI TUSSLE, LOI REDEYE and much of it done in order, across then down. Saw lots of RED which surprised me but needed the blog to spot the NINA. Well done Juno and rolytoly.

  23. 17 mins…

    Hesitated about 9ac “Sind” (nearly put “Sino”) and 14dn “Academe”. NHO of 7dn “Linear A”.

    Clever Nina, but as usual didn’t spot it.

    FOI – 2dn “Tulsa”
    LOI – 14dn “Academe”
    COD – 22dn “Every”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. By some quirk of a poorly directed finger on my phone I mistakenly selected the “grown up’s” Crossword this morning. After a few relatively speedy solves the penny dropped that the grid was a size larger than usual. I persevered to a successful finish in 43.22 with just 2 answers BIFD.
    A first.
    Flushed with success I have not read the above blog so others may have already commented on its suitability for those more accustomed to the QCC, which I shall address later today, leisure permitting, or keep as “something for the weekend”.

  25. I’m back from river cruising (late last night, so a lateish start for me today) and welcomed back by Juno with a name-check! Delightful puzzle that took me just inside the SCC due to some distractions, but I can have no complaints today. This puzzle had everything I like – a very clever (and tricky to achieve) theme (which I spotted), a couple of NHOs which were generously clued, a bit of science and technology. Great stuff.

    I must congratulate Invariant on his achievement. He is one of us who regularly post times between the speed merchants (sub 10 minutes) and the SCC (over 20 minutes) against whom I compare my times. For him to post a clean sweep in about half my time is excellent.

    Many thanks Roly and Juno.

  26. A very enjoyable and fun puzzle. Amazingly (for me) I spotted that something was going on after entering STATUS, TUSSLE, SLEEPS IN and SIND but I was thrown somewhat when the pattern wasn’t followed with FAIL and INDIANAN. However, once the pattern started again with NANTES and TESLAS I knew what I was looking for, which helped enormously with the remaining across solutions.

    I like the idea that the Nina failed on FAIL!

  27. An entertaining puzzle, although ENDORSEE proved a tricky anagram. INDIANAN a bit convoluted and TESLAS guessed – no idea of SI units! As usual, failed to see the NINA.

  28. I was pleased to cross the line in 29 minutes (quite good for me) and I realised something was going on with the across clues, but I’m afraid I found this a rather awkward/contrived puzzle to solve. Words like INDIANAN, TREADER and ENDORSEE rarely feature in ordinary speech (in my world, at least), so their appearance gives the impression that the setter has had to force-fit them into the grid.

    TUSSLE was my FOI. ACADEME and LINEAR A (where I failed to spot that I was looking for a two-word solution) were my last two.

    Mrs Random polished it off in 20 minutes, despite knowing nothing about ancient Minoan languages, horse racing, old Indian provinces or SI units. Just shows how she can still knock spots off me, even though my GK was superior today.

    Many thanks to Juno and rolytoly.

  29. 7:48

    Didn’t spot the clever nina at all – only SIND was a guess, otherwise seemed straightforward.

  30. As usual, the nina passed me by, but having had it pointed out, agree that it’s a cracker! I started with TULSA and finished on the first part of LAST NAME. Had to trust the wordplay for SIND. 5:52. Thanks Juno and Roly.

  31. FOI STATUS and LOI a tentative SIND in an on target 8:22. I never thought to look for a NINA.

    I have been doing a Bletchley Park Cryptic Crosswords book over the festive season to see if I would qualify to take part in intelligence work at Bletchley Park. I was expecting some of the answers to be archaic so was somewhat surprised to find BRAD (Pitt) clued.

  32. Really clever NINA. I’m sure it pushed some the answers into unfamiliar wordage eg Treader/Sind/Endorsee – which is always a risk. But yet, a real accomplishment! Missed the NINA but it would have helped me a lot. Struggled with several eg Indi.n.a. (until twigged it was the full christian name and not the usual Di), Sind entered on wordplay alone and was wondering about alternate spellings for Puna/Poona.
    FOI 6a Tussle
    LOI 6d Sasha
    COD either 7d Linear-A (dredged from some recess of my memory) or 26a Red Eye.

  33. Same as Doofers – I saw the pattern in each row quite quickly, but not that they followed on to the next row. If I had, I wouldn’t have got ENDORSEE wrong – I biffed Endorser! It was a DNF anyway, as I went completely blank at 20d and couldn’t get AHEAD – even though we’ve seen similar before 🙄 I’ll blame the virus!
    I did it online and forgot to make notes about FOI LOI etc. The surface for ACADEME made me smile though, and I did like this nina, even if I didn’t fully get it at the time.
    Many thanks Juno and Roly

    I nearly finished the biggie – just one wrong there too. But quite a few went unparsed unfortunately!

  34. A very nice puzzle, solved in 9 minutes though I didn’t spot the NINA. Clever, and quite something to keep it going. And for once it did not lead to too many strange or outlandish words.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  35. I don’t often try the QC and have never timed myself with any crossword before. I finished in 14 minutes. Didn’t know Sasha was Russian. But I knew that Pasha was Russian, having watched Strictly, so it seemed likely that Sasha was too.

  36. DNF having carelessly entered ENDORSER at 24ac. Quite a quick DNF though at 14 mins. Obviously I never spotted the nina otherwise I wouldn’t have come to grief in the SE! Didn’t know the name for SI units so had to wait for checkers to get that, otherwise all ok with the general knowledge.

    FOI – 5ac TUSSLE
    LOI – 24ac ENDORSE(R)E
    COD – liked 26ac RED EYE and 6dn SASHA

    Thanks to Juno and ROLYTOLY

  37. How I would love – just once – to spot a Nina. They simply pass me by as I am so immersed in the individual clues.

    I began like a train, solving the first 7 across clues in order (pleased with myself for working out INDIANAN). I knew SIND as it was a big centre for cricket. Got a bit patchy thereafter.

    The down clues followed a similar pattern, with a number of quick solves followed by some pauses.

    NHO LINEAR A or TESLAS (except in the car sense). Did know RED EYE, but not sure from where.

    LOI – TREADER (clever use of street & walker)
    COD – ACADEME (had to be with the reference to Rotter)

    Time somewhere around the 20 min mark. Might just have avoided the SCC.

    Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Nice work GA. Your 7 in a row was good – I struggled with the 3 right sides (TUSSLE, SIND, INDIANAN) until late.

      I often used to hear “catch the Red Eye” in American films when I was growing up in the 80s. Not sure I really understood it until I went flew from London to San Francisco (8hr flight) and began to realise the distances involved. NY to LA and vice versa is a 5hr flight itself. Add in some time zone changes and you understand why they’d go overnight.

  38. 17:44

    Slowed down in the SE corner, especially ENDORSEE, but nothing too bad. Would have been quicker had I spotted the NINA.

  39. Thanks Juno and Roly.

    A fun one, fairly straightforward, nice Nina though I’d never have noticed it. I do think it’s a bit off referring to the late Princess of Wales as an ‘English princess’ for INDIANAN though! NHO SIND or LINEAR A. Or Linear B for that matter…

  40. One can criticise Elon Musk but at least he didn’t call the car after himself perhaps because there’s already a perfume. Which is more than be said of Tesla Ampere Ohm Faraday Volt Gauss and many many more. But then I suppose they’re easy to remember. J

  41. Unusually slow today, took 18.28 for no obvious reason.
    I did not spot the NINA.
    TESLAS no problem, since a career in Medical Physics meant that I was familiar with the units used to specify how strong the magnet of an MRI scanner is. Not that long ago 1.5 Teslas was something to boast about. Now even 3 Teslas seems run of the mill, and you need 7 Teslas or more if you want to impress.

    Thanks Juno and Roly

  42. I’m a w-i-p with the quick cryptics and rely on the blog for helping me finish and teaching me how to parse. Please tell me what Nina is all about here? I cannot work it out…
    Thanks to all on the blog- I’d not be nearly as good as I am (not v g) without all your help.

Comments are closed.