Times Quick Cryptic No 2308 by Teazel

On the gentler side of things today.

I was rather close to a clean sweep, in fact, getting all the acrosses on the first pass except 22ac, where I couldn’t quite see what was going on. But then ditto with the anagram at 1d, despite all the checkers. So I’ll have to content myself with a sub-5 minutes, which happens rarely enough.

Pleasant, breezy fun – many thanks to Teazel!

1 Good luck for the elite (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST – cryptic nod to the elite = the best
8 I’m British in New York — I oppose local development (5)
NIMBY – I’M B(ritish) in NY. A perfect acronym, really.
9 Not to meet for date is sort of comic (5,2)
STAND UP – double definition
10 Jog memory: what you may have to do to gain admission (4,1,4)
RING A BELL – double definition
12 Shoot, not initially in anger (3)
IRE – fIRE (shoot, not initially)
13 Copying a metallic sound (5)
APING – A, PING (a, metallic sound)
15 Obtain what’s needed, do you understand? (3,2)
GET IT – double definition
17 Was leader by editor on the left? (3)
LED – ED(itor) on L(eft)
18 Being very thin, decline to expose oneself in the water (6-3)
SKINNY-DIP – SKINNY (very thin) DIP (decline)
20 Strange unease about very wide roads (7)
AVENUES – anagram (strange) about V(ery)
21 On forehead, new colour (5)
BROWN – On BROW (forehead) goes N(ew)
22 Maltreated? Difficult, and beyond being repaired (4,4,2)
HARD DONE BY – HARD (difficult), and an anagram (being repaired) of BEYOND
1 Remarkable balloon drama: it’s exceptionally heavy to move (8,4)
ABNORMAL LOAD – anagram (remarkable) of BALLOON DRAMA
2 Fruit, millions in Spanish city (5)
LEMON – M(illions) in LEON (Spanish city)
3 Horse always gets fodder (3)
HAY – H(orse) AY (always)
4 More crowded transport that is run (6)
BUSIER – BUS (transport) IE (that is) R(un)
5 Piece of office equipment tangles up, if misused (6,3)
STAPLE GUN – anagram (if misused) of TANGLES UP
6 Commercial break no longer fixed in position (6)
ADRIFT – AD (commercial) RIFT (break)
7 An attractive coin makes a lot of money (1,6,5)
A PRETTY PENNY – A, PRETTY, PENNY (an, attractive, coin)
11 Bitter flavouring upset Argonauts (9)
ANGOSTURA – anagram (upset) of ARGONAUTS
14 Popular action, no doubt (6)
INDEED – IN (popular) DEED (action)
16 Not found in poor visibility, we’re told (6)
MISSED – sounds like (“we’re told”) MIST (poor visibility)
19 Flying machine managed to cross river (5)
DRONE –  DONE (managed) to cross R(iver)
21 Book, one written with love? (3)
BIO – &lit: B(ook) I (one) written with O (love). The whole clue is both wordplay, and a definition for a BIO[graphy]. Nice.


111 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2308 by Teazel”

  1. DNK ABNORMAL LOAD, i.e. as a lexical item; is it? I don’t find it in ODE or Collins. Looks green-painty to me. In 221d, the whole clue is not the definition for BIO; there are plenty of biographies that weren’t written with love. 5:28.

    1. Abnormal load: I didn’t think to look it up – it isn’t even in the full OED, but it is in Chambers and Wikipedia (under Oversize Load, as specific to the UK), and a quick google shows it to be a recognised term in the UK, which I think covers the setter from green-paintiness, although I’m unsure of the “rules” for reference works for QCs.

      Bio: I can only parse this as an &lit, unless you’d care to offer an alternative. There are plenty of biographies that could have been written with love, hence the question mark.

      1. Could you or Kevin enlighten re the green paint reference? I’ve been racking my brains but can’t see an analogy that fits!?

        1. Kevin could it explain it better than me, but loosely it refers to what’s an acceptable answer for a crossword: GREEN ROOM, for example, is a well-defined thing, as in a backstage room; GREEN PAINT is assuredly a thing, but would not be found in a dictionary any more than, I dunno, BILLOWING DRESS.

        2. Wot rolytoly said. I learned the term ‘green paint’ from Jon Delfin in the club forum a while back; evidently in the US cruciverbalists use the term. German measles, fine; German shepherd, fine; German industry, no good. Eat crow, fine; eat lasagne, no good. Etc. Note that, given its use by US cruciverbalists, ‘green paint’ is not green paint.

          1. Great, thanks. That all makes perfect sense – but I would never have arrived at the explanation myself. I can now understand why the perception of ABNORMAL LOAD may be green-paintish, if the phrase has not been recognised at all. But as I did recognise it, personally I’d disagree.

            Interesting that in your examples you use “Eat crow”. For me that would be ‘noisy paintish’ i.e. never heard of it and it makes no sense whatsoever!! UK and US divided by a common language and all that.

            Thanks Kevin and Roly.

      2. Traffic reports on the radio often mention “an abnormal load is slowly moving down the M4” or you see it on the electronic warning signs

    2. In the UK, Abnormal Load is a recognised sign on lorries (trucks) that are carrying something either very heavy or (more often) wider than normal, and thus requiring extra care from other road users. Very British-centric clue!

  2. 14:03. Enjoyed ADRIFT most. I had trouble with LED as I couldn’t get past red (from left) or wed (from w as leader of was) for quite a while. Once I discovered where the definition was the solution jumped out. Like Kevin I couldn’t see ABNORMAL LOAD as a suitable answer in a cryptic.

  3. Fun puzzle tonight.

    ‘Abnormal Load’ in 1D struck me as being ok for a QC. I solved the anagram quick enough, but didn’t know the term: just assumed it was another ‘Britishism’ I was unfamiliar with. (I’m in the US.)

    I may be wrong, but isn’t this the second time in the last few mos that ‘Angostura’ was a QC answer? It’s rare and unusual enough for me to remember it as such.

  4. 10:12. ABNORMAL LOAD held me up too; I had to use a pen and paper to write out the anagram fodder, which took me out over ten minutes. I agree the question mark is needed for BIO to work. I liked the apt surfaces for SKINNY-DIP and STAPLE GUN.

    Thanks to Teazel and rolytoly

  5. 7 minutes, helped by having multi-word answers all around the edges of the grid which meant that the enumeration played its part in the solving and the answers provided a lot of checkers.

    I suspect ABNORMAL LOAD is an official term recommended or stipulated by government or some Quango or other for display on certain types of road traffic. Its use is certainly widespread and it can apply to both size and weight of load .

    1. Jack, my apologies. I had not seen your explanation when I replied to Kevin’s query. I suspect it will be shared by many of our US solvers – it is a very UK-centric clue.

    1. Thanks for confirming. It had to be something thought up by officialdom!

      I’ve just been reminded of another one: Heavy Plant Crossing.

  6. Having struggled with Chateaubriand recently, today I managed to use the R twice in what should have been ANGOSTURA. That was particular careless since I only had to put four letters in the remaining spaces. I’m obviously dining in the wrong places. My horrendous run of typos and errors continues – the leaderboard gives me a staggering 14 wrong in the last month.

    1. Angostura bitters are a cornerstone in a ‘Pink gin’. I have an opened bottle in our spices drawer that must have been used in a recipe for something else.

      1. A curiosity about Angostura Bitters. Although it contains alcohol (my bottle says 44.7%) there is a specific legislative exception that means alcohol duty is not charged on it.

        1. Because it is not considered to be a beverage! I agree. Undrinkable on its own, but then I think neat gin is in the same category!

          1. The very best martinis are not far from being neat gin. A few drops of vermouth and an olive perhaps, but that’s it.

            1. I distil my own gin (in very small batches) and like to compare batches with any commercial gins I have in the house neat on ice to get the full flavours. My batch #14 is suitably wintery with a hint of cinnamon and allspice, but my latest, batch#16 is possibly my best.

              1. Unlike home brewed beer, at least the quantities can be swiftly consumed, good or not so. Good luck with batches 17 and beyond.
                Perhaps you can practice for a Coronation special. What flavours would you consider appropriate I wonder?

  7. 6’1” for one of the quickest in a while for me. I didn’t see ABNORMAL LOAD on first pass and needed a few checkers but had no quibbles with its fairness once spotted.

    Every other clue made me stop and think for at least a split second before going in and some needed other checkers but it’s nice to get a flier once in a while so thanks Teazel an Roly.

  8. 5.42

    On the gentle side – though ADRIFT held me up for a bit at the end as I failed to lift and separate commercial and break. Good clue.

    Thanks Teazel and Rolytoly

  9. 7:12 which is a personal best for me, by a few seconds.

    I found myself the grid helpful, with plenty of short words, and multi word clues.

    I’m surprised ABNORMAL LOAD isn’t in the OED.


  10. Only real hold up was working out the anagram for ABNORMAL LOAD, despite being familiar with the expression, which required pen, paper and some head scratching, even with most of the checkers in place.
    Started with NIMBY and finished with APING in 6.32 with COD to A PRETTY PENNY
    Thanks to Roly

  11. Enjoyed this puzzle which I also found on the gentler side – just under 7 minutes for me. Some very well constructed anagrams among the clues.

    Having read a number of biographies which were basically hatchet jobs (if you want to see real vitriol and condemnation, try Anthony Seldon’s book on Theresa May “May at 10”), I think “written with love” is not entirely synonymous with Biographies. The question mark here is doing some very heavy lifting!

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  12. DNK this was Teazel. PB for me 6:35 and a very rare sub 10. COD Nimby for fun surface bringing a pop song by Sting to mind. Thanks Riley and thank you Teazel for being so gentle on us!

  13. Definitely a gentler workout today. COD A PRETTY PENNY. Seems a long time since I have heard that used. The only coin I possess is a £1 for the supermarket trolley.
    Rare sub 20 min 18min. Must keep enthusiasm in check.
    Thanks Teazel and Roly

  14. A much more gentle QC and my first unaided solve of 2023. Also my fastest solve of the year at 27:17.

    I got ABNORMAL LOAD quickly as I saw one on the motorway a few days ago. A huge lorry being escorted by several blue light police motorcycles.

    Never heard of ANGOSTURA. I had all the checking letters and knew it to be an anagram, and so I wrote down several versions of what it could be. ANGOSTURA appeared to me to be the most likely, and so in it went.


    1. I hate those clues…I didn’t know it either, but there were four possible combinations based on the letters.

  15. Could someone very kindly answer the query from MangoMan about green paint? As a bear of very little brain I don’t understand the reference at all?

    1. This has been covered above now so I hope you have seen it. My replying here should ensure you are notified by email.

  16. Perhaps I can be the first to find this anything but an easy ride. I was just not on wavelength and made heavy weather of it. I hicupped over BIO (poor IMO), LED (like curryowen), APING, SKINNY DIP. ANGOSTURA BITTERS only fell (finally) when I wrote out the anagrist.
    Like Steakcity, I recently found some Angostura bitters secreted at the back of a drinks cupboard (actually two opened bottles). Must have been for cooking; pink gin is not my tipple…. I am prompted to explore properly and see what else is slowly decomposing back there. A few seconds into the SCC again. John M.

  17. You don’t want to be behind an abnormal load on a motorway. Perfectly fair for a crossword in the UK!

  18. Yes, easier than usual, I found. Some clues sprang to mind in a flash like A PRETTY PENNY, ANGOSTURA (also have a dusty bottle lurking), HARD DONE BY. ABNORMAL LOAD was OK too. Slightly held up by last three, SKINNY DIP, MISSED, DRONE.
    Apart from first mentioned above, I liked ALL THE BEST, APING, BUSIER, RING A BELL.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  19. Enjoyed this, which was less difficult than expected for Teazel. I agree that ABNORMAL LOAD is fine for reasons given by Cedric S and others, but whether Rupert would approve is moot. We have, after all, occasionally been subjected to unsigned Americanisms. FOI HAY, LOI and COD A PRETTY PENNY; I knew it was a something penny, but had to wait for all the crossers before the penny actually dropped. Thanks to my appalling handwriting, I misread an A in ABNORMAL for a D at 13a, and although DOING seemed a long stretch for copying, when apprcopriately pronounced provides a great metallic sound, so a DNF! Thanks Teazel and Rolytoly.

  20. Brisk enough, with almost all of the acrosses falling first pass so that there were lots of checkers available when I turned to the downs. ABNORMAL LOAD therefore caused no problems (but I did hesitate momentarily since some abnormal loads are just exceptionally sized, not exceptionally heavy).

    Clever puzzle with nice surfaces, COD to the excellent NIMBY. All done in 06:29 for a rare foray above 800, 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Teazel and Roly.


  21. Worked out staple gun easily enough but horrified to think of one being used in an office. DIY or upholstery a better and safer environment.

    1. A staple gun could be used in offices to attach barbed wire to departmental fences.

  22. Finished in 11 minutes. Quick to start but held up particularly by LOI ADRIFT which required an alphabet trawl after several looks. ABNORMAL LOAD required the checkers but is perfectly familiar.
    Some good, pleasing surfaces in this. Hard to pick a COD -maybe SKINNY DIP.

  23. 11.42. Personal best by some 4 minutes, so it must have been more than gentle! I still can’t conceive how people can solve in less than 5 mins!!!

  24. Echo much of the above.

    I needed all the checkers for my LOI ABNORMAL LOAD, but it was easy enough once I returned to it.

    I liked SKINNY DIP and NIMBY.


  25. It must indeed have been gentle as all finished in under an hour for second completion of 2023
    Resisted the temptation to put ADVERT for Commercial Break in 6d as it fitted but didn’t parse. Finally saw COD ADRIFT
    12a took ages looking for a word meaning Shoot ending in E.
    Many thanks Teazel and Rory.

  26. 18 mins…

    But could quite easily have been a dnf, as I’m probably in a minority of never having heard of 11dn “Angostura”. Like PW above though, based on the letter combos it seemed the most likely and luckily I was right.

    The rest went in fairly steadily and, apart from having a brain fart on 21ac, were actually more reasonable than first seemed.

    FOI – 8ac “Nimby”
    LOI – 11dn “Angostura”
    COD – 7dn “A Pretty Penny”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. Always disheartening to arrive at the blog, after struggling just over 31-mins, to find only seven words on the front page saying “On the gentler side of things today.” Would be appreciated if bloggers could wrap that single line in some fluffiness before delivering the hammer blow.

      1. Which is ironic because they never let me manage anyone given my bluntness and lack of self-awareness 😀

    1. I think most bloggers are commenting on their own experience so “On the gentler side of things today.” is likely to mean they found it so, rather than everybody else will or should be expected to. We all know we cater for a wide range of experience and solving abilities here so I don’t think it’s possible to make a judgement on the level of difficulty that will apply to all across the board.

    2. I don’t agree. I gave up (as ever), saw that remark and it encouraged me to try again, and I solved two more clues. Then I gave up and read the blog.

    3. I know exactly what you mean.

      I’ve just read your comment from yesterday following my post. I agree that it’s been a tough start to the year.

      I had high hopes today (see my post below), but last clue syndrome struck with a vengeance.

      We’ll keep plugging away…

          1. Bizarrely can’t see it. Tried a Find on your name and it returns 5 posts. Only posts at 8:12pm is by Plymouthian.

            Is it possible you included something like a link that might have pushed to spam or need moderation?

    4. Apologies, the intent is certainly not to be discouraging, but please don’t shoot the messenger! Having read through the comments, the overwhelming consensus is that people found this less-difficult than average. We all have days when we’re dispiritingly off the wavelength, like Blighter above experienced today. And I cannot stress enough that “comparatively easy” does not mean the same thing as “easy”.

      1. Apology much accepted, I could see there was no intent to discourage. The free time and effort you and other bloggers put in IS appreciated.

        That said, my comment was not a complaint about the “gentler” rating. I tend to agree it was.

        My complaint was that when you only see seven words on the home page of the site there is not much to distract oneself from the realisation that it was an underperformance. Once the blog was open there was a nicely written intro which could easily have been slightly reordered to soften the blow “I was rather close to a clean sweep, in fact, getting all but one of the acrosses on the first pass, so it seemed to be on the gentler side of things today.”

        Of course, this opens debate between clarity of point (which I clearly didn’t provide in my comment as you thought it was about the rating and not about how the messenger delivers their message) and softening the blow. However had I only put “Blogger should be shot for that intro” 😉 above, your own reaction might show galling seven words can feel with nothing else to consider.

        Anyway we’re all different, some people like the hammer blow others not so much! Many thanks again for your blogging 👍

        1. Very interesting points. Will give it some thought, but can’t promise anything: I think a broad, if personal, appraisal of difficulty is fair game for an intro.

          On the one hand I’d say: grow a thicker skin, if you underperformed that’s your own issue.

          On the other hand: slow hand clap for clever Mr Blogger who’s been doing these things for over two decades and has seen pretty much all the clues before, in some iteration or other.

          Truth is somewhere in the middle, hard to pinpoint. I will certainly try to be less brusque.

          1. Thank-you for a considered reply.

            I shall endeavour to do my part and be less of a snowflake and get over myself 😂

  28. I was heading towards a sub ten minute solve, but could not work out 1dn without writing it out, so finished in eight seconds over target.

    Angostura was a write in. They say most people get through less than one bottle of it in a lifetime, but my wife and I get through one in about five years. Ginger beer, tonic water and angostura bitters makes a very refreshing drink.

  29. Just over 7 mins but a red square for Abnrrmal load. I’m sure I type these answers correctly and then they are overwritten somehow.
    LOI missed.
    COD Angostura.

  30. Very quick today needing only 5.16 to complete fully parsed. I had to be careful with the spelling of ANGOSTURA, as I wasn’t sure if it was an O or U in the centre, otherwise it was plain sailing. I did wonder whether ABNORMAL LOAD may cause problems for people outside of the UK, and it certainly appears to have been a tricky one for some.

  31. A gentle one today and a rare sub 5 for me. ABNORMAL LOAD a very familiar term here in the UK! FOI HAY, LOI DRONE. 4:47. Thanks Teazel and Roly.

  32. Pushed over 6 minutes by my LOI ADRIFT which required two alphabet trawls for the third and fifth letters. I mistakenly assumed commercial break was AD. 6:53

  33. 11 minutes with no hold-ups, but I did learn something new – GREEN PAINT, which I think an excellent concept. Thanks both.

  34. An enjoyable 11 minute solve for me, with everything parsed. No real hold-ups but I did need nearly all the crossers to solve the anagram at 1dn. No problem with the answer ABNORMAL LOAD as this is a recognised expression. I did have a MER at 5dn STAPLE GUN being described as office equipment however. No office I have ever worked in has had a staple gun, only manually operated staplers. Maybe I just didn’t produce enough paper…..

    FOI – 8ac NIMBY
    LOI – 19dn DRONE

    Thanks to Teazel and Rolytoly

  35. A fairly easy exercise today, however I do share the couple of previous comments about STAPLE GUN. I too had a MER seeing this described as office equipment – I’ve seen plenty of staplers in my many years working in offices, but never a staple gun, which would be more usually found in an upholstery workshop.

  36. It didn’t hold me up but I, too, was horrified to see a STAPLE GUN described as office equipment. Otherwise it was a steady progress day. FOI NIMBY, LOI SKINNYDIP, COD ADRIFT. 16:03. Thanks Teasel and rolytoly.

  37. As a Brit fine with Abnormal Load. I like Vehiculo Longo which is Portuguese but sounds like something from Channel 9 on the Fast Show.
    The old joke was Heavy Plant Crossing- watch out for Triffids. J

  38. Well a first ever sub 10 minutes for me.
    9 minutes and a bit.
    Slightly concerned about Hay (h=horse NHO) otherwise amazed when I’d finished.
    On form and nothing sticking. LOI Hard Done By…
    Thanks all

  39. I live in Poole and ABNORMAL LOADs are so common they are almost normal!! Certainly very used to seeing the phrase.

  40. After a slow start thing improved with changing 17a to led from red. Once a number of crossers went in the penny dropped for a number of the long clues. Enjoyable puzzle.

  41. Enjoyable puzzle. ADRIFT was the one I couldn’t see for a while- I am very slow when solving online, but I wanted to save paper.
    Looking forward to HEAVY PLANT CROSSING being a clue some time soon.

  42. Unlike on the roads, where one can cause considerable tailbacks, I wasn’t held up by ABNORMAL LOAD… or anything else much for that matter. LOI DRONE with a bit of a frown at managed = done. COD to BIO. Thanks Roly and Teazel. 3:52.

  43. No major hold-ups, done in a breezy 8:54. And like TheRotter, have learned about GREEN PAINT.

    I’ve seen H for horse many times in crosswords, but can’t think where it would be used in real life. Can anyone give an example?

    COD ADRIFT, mostly because for once I remembered to lift and separate, so had a pleasing rush of smugness.

    Thanks to Teazel and rolytoly.

    1. It’s years since we used to go to race meetings, but I gather H is for horse as an abbreviated description on a race card, as opposed to M for mare and G for gelding, C for colt and F for filly. BrM. = brown mare.

    2. I know, it’s one of those things you just accept unthinkingly after a while, isn’t it? I’d vaguely assumed it was along the lines of H = heroin = horse, all interchangeable, so I’m very glad countrywoman has provided a pleasanter alternative.

    1. Try the dictionary? I know it from a hymn “For his mercy ay endures…” Ever, always.

    2. In Scots Aye is always and Ay is yes.
      They are pronounced the same and perhaps the spelling varies.

  44. I warmed up for this by successfully completing yesterday’s Breadman in 31 minutes, which is a good time for me. In fact, it would have been 5+ minutes quicker had I not struggled (even with all the checkers) to find JURASSIC PARK right at the end.

    The Breadman warm-up clearly had the desired effect, as I cast the SCC aside for the second time in a week (astonishing for me) and sprinted across the line in 16 minutes. Whilst not a PB, I felt that my brain and writing hand probably could not work much faster. For me, this was Teazel at his most benevolent. He is my most feared setter, so it’s a real boost to solve one of his puzzles without any of the usual gnashing of teeth.

    Given the scarcity of my SCC escapes, all of today’s clues were my COD. However, for reasons someone here may be able to deduce, my ‘favouritist’ of the lot has to be A PRETTY PENNY.

    Stop Press: Mrs Random has just recorded a PB – 10 minutes! She would love to break that barrier, of course, but I think she may have to switch to online solving to do so. I think her achievement calls for a glass of something refreshing, don’t you?

    Many thanks to Teazel and rolytoly.

    1. Good stuff – congratulations to Mrs Random! (Agree, btw, online solving is definitely a lot quicker.)

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