Times Quick Cryptic No 2343 by Breadman

Another 18 minute solve for me for this challenging puzzle from Breadman, which I found a real treat.

Some GK was required to solve it, and some unusual (for the QC) devices were employed, but I think it was all a fair and satisfyingly challenge.


1  Approach current church with sons (6)

ACCESS – AC (alternating current, current) with CE (Church of England, church) and SS (Sons).

4 Sort of exercise Greek character gets in nick (4-2)

CHIN-UP – The Greek letter isn’t CHI (twenty-second letter), but NU (thirteenth letter) which is inside CHIP (nick).

8 Naturalist and companion somewhere in south-east France moving inward (7,6)

CHARLES DARWIN – Well, they don’t come any more famous! CH (companion – of honour) with ARLES (somewhere in south-east France) and an anagram (moving) of [INWARD].

10 Half-hearted private investigator obstructs old rocker (5)

TEPID – PI (Private Investigator) inside (obstructs) TED (teddy boy – old rocker).

11 Holy type in choir reformed one refusing to face reality (7)

OSTRICH – ST (SainT – Holy type) inside an anagram (reformed) of [CHOIR].

13 Sandy seen with fruitcake and biscuit (6,3)

GINGER NUT – GINGER (Sandy) (slight MER here) and NUT (fruitcake).

17 Carry out former partner with wound in middle of heel (7)

EXECUTE – EX (former partner) followed by CUT (wound) inside EE (middle (letters)) of hEEl.

18 Dad’s emptied the sandwich spread? (5)

PASTE – PA’S (dad’s) and an empty ThE.

19 Drug worker, one and his affected inmate (13)

ANTIHISTAMINE – ANT (worker) with I (one) and HIS (his) with an anagram (affected) of [INMATE]. ANTIHISTAMINE and I are old friends due to hay-fever.

21 Extra part of journey so long (3,3)

LEG BYE – LEG (part of journey, as in the first LEG) and BYE (so long). For those that don’t know their cricket, a LEG BYE is a run made after the ball has touched any part of the batter’s person except for his hands or bat. The run counts for the batter’s side, but not his individual score. (Chambers).

22 Photographic gear arrived with artist (6)

CAMERA – CAME (arrived) and RA (artist, Royal Academician).



1 Authoress found in local cottage (6)

ALCOTT – Hidden word (found in) {loc}AL COTT{age}. Refers to Louisa May ALCOTT of “Little Women” fame.

2 Winner over season consuming new celebratory drink? (9)

CHAMPAGNE – CHAMP (winner) and AGE (season) containing N{ew}. CHAMPAGNE and I are also old friends.

3 Mixture of foods daughter sadly brought up (5)

SALAD – D{aughter} and ALAS (sadly) all reversed (brought up). As much as the fizz and I are friends, I confess to being a bit of a SALAD-dodger.

5 Encourage man perhaps painting Euston externally (7)

HEARTEN – HE (man) and ART (perhaps painting) with E{usto}N (externally). I wasn’t initially sure whether the ‘perhaps’ belonged with painting or with man, given these modern gender-sensitive times.

6 Modern Geordie wife (3)

NEW – NE (Geordie) and W{ife}.

7 Cloak once briefly husband put in Italian river (6)

PONCHO – PO (Italian river) containing ONC{e} (briefly) and H{usband}.

9 The French put in poor crosses – with no goals (9)

SCORELESS – LE (French for the) inside an anagram (poor) of [CROSSES].

12 Part of digestive system in trial Dionne regularly observed (12)

INTESTINE – IN (in) TEST (trial) and alternate letters (regularly observed) from dIoNnE.

14 Badly-behaved thug, a suspect in New York (7)

NAUGHTY – Anagram (suspect) of [THUG, A] inside N{ew} Y{ork}.

15 Small bit of French story heard (6)

DETAIL – DE (French for of) and TAIL (sounds like tale – story).

16 Roman statesman sees nets cast, all half-hidden (6)

SENECA – First two letters (all half-hidden) of SE{es} NE{ts} CA{st}. There are two possibilities, SENECA the Elder and SENECA the Younger. I think this refers to the second alternative.  Unusual cryptic device for a QC.

18 Publicity people notice a fashion label (5)

PRADA – PR (public relations or publicity people)with AD (notice) and A (a). I thought there was a bit of a ban on trademarks and similar in these puzzles?

20 Identify children’s game (3)

TAG – Double definition.

67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2343 by Breadman”

  1. 17:44. I got everything eventually even though I made things difficult for myself by running with the likes of Calcot, tired, marge and byebye for various silly reasons. Thanks for pointing out NU, I saw CHI and obviously didn’t look any closer for the correct parsing. GINGER NUT was remembered from a previous puzzle as I’d only ever eaten ginger snaps. I wonder if the success of the film The Devil Wears Prada gives the setter some licence to use the term-it’s no longer just a brand but part of a popular movie title?

  2. 23 mins. This was a steady solve for me probably helped by the GK. Would have even avoided the SCC if LOI Chin Up and Hearten hadn’t taken a few minutes each. Slight MER at Arles being SE rather than just S and I spent some time trying NICE. (In fairness to Breadman I now see Arles is nearer the Italian border than the Atlantic). Thank you The Rotter and Breadman

  3. Pretty straightforward 7’30” finish for me or rather DNF as a stray ‘y’ in LOI ‘antihystamine’ produced the dreaded pink square.

    No clue caused any significant pause for thought – must have been on Breadman’s wavelength for once.


    Thanks Breadman and TheRotter

  4. Two days ago I was in my red zone, yesterday in green (hooray!) but today I completed the range of traffic-light codes by taking 13 minutes for this one and landing in the amber area. Even then CHARLES DARWIN and CHIN-UP were not parsed when I stopped the clock – a small fiddle I allow myself when pressed for time, but will always admit to here.

    Actually I wasn’t 100% sure that CHIN-UP was correct, formalised exercise being something I have avoided ever since the horrors of PT at a school where all things sporty were treated like a religion. Having guessed the answer merely because it fitted and I was only too aware of press-ups as exercise, I spotted CHI as a Greek character and was unable to take things further.

    I’m bad on French provinces too, but eventually I remembered ARLES which has come up before.

    I needed checkers to arrive at LEG-BYE, also remembered from sport at school where I managed to wangle my way out of actually playing cricket by learning the basic rules and umpiring the third team (the most useless players) on compulsory games afternoons.

  5. All done in a pretty sprightly 13:57, pleasingly inside my 15 minute target. COD CHAMPAGNE: I only had the crossing P, so I was trying to make PUNCH fit, but then the penny dropped about “season” meaning “age”.

    Thanks to Breadman and TheRotter: loved the comment choosing between the Senecas! 😀

  6. Especially as it fitted the checkers the mention of France in the clue made me think the first word of what became CHARLES DARWIN would be ‘Chablis” – makes no sense now but I clung to it for a while. Since I haven’t heard of Arles actually solving the clue was always going to be a challenge. Enjoyed NAUGHTY springing from NYATHUG and getting SENECA and ALCOTT despite never having heard of either her or either of them (thanks Rotter). I have heard of Little Women! Just three on the first pass of acrosses – starting with EXECUTE – before picking up pace to finish all green in 12.

    Nice to see the optional extra LEG BYE pop up.

  7. 14.59 … back-to-back SCC escapes 😮 And would be a 3rd of the week if I hadn’t DNFed Monday’s with a careless unravelling of an anagram.

    First pass netted ALCOTT, SALAD, NEW, EXECUTE, SALAD, SENECA, TAG, CAMERA plus a few potential letters like river PO / H and EustoN. Not sure where it came from after that other than some decent biffing.

    Liked the DARWIN / inward anagram but CHARLES was a bif which I needed Rotter’s blog to understand.

    Darwin is well known for natural selection but, it is lesser known that the theory was also conceived independently at the same time by Alfred Wallace, who I only mention because he is buried in my local graveyard in Broadstone. There is a petrified tree marking his grave. Somehow I have never managed to go see it but keep meaning to.

  8. Steady going today, starting with ALCOTT and finishing with an unparsed CHIN-UP, which was far too subtle for me, having not looked past CHI for the Greek letter and therefore gets my vote for COD.
    Also enjoyed OSTRICH and SENECA but shared Rotter’s MER at ginger/sand – a minor quibble in a very enjoyable puzzle.
    Finished in 8.20.
    Thanks to Rotter

  9. All done in 47 minutes which is a good time for me. Thanks Breadman.
    Was stuck on Chin Up and Hearten until the penny dropped that ‘Euston outside’ was ‘en’ after which ‘art’ and ‘he’ fell into place. I really like this type of diy clue. 17a Execute being another example.
    Thanks Rotter for parsing Charles Darwin which I just biffed.

      1. Thanks #50 you were right.
        It’s setters 2; me 2 this week. Tomorrow is the playoff

  10. A fine puzzle. I feared the worst as I started slowly and, not unusually, I made more progress working up from the bottom. It all took shape gradually and I finished in 15.17, just a few seconds over target.
    My last entries were PONCHO, SCORELESS, and CHARLES DARWIN ( in that order). Not an easy one but some very good clues -too many for me to pick out just one clue as COD.
    Thanks to Breadman and Rotter (for a good blog and for parsing a couple of my biffs properly). John M.

  11. Right on the wavelength, 7:19 for a personal best. 719 Visigoth kingdom falls to the Moors.

    Banged in CHARLES DARWIN on seeing “naturalist” and the enumeration 7,6. This set up a clockwise progression ending up with CHAMPAGNE which I bunged in without looking at the clue, as the checkers were C-A-P-G-E. Truly a Champagne finish.

    I’m sure at my primary school we played “tick” not “tag”.

    COD GINGER NUT, my biscuit of choice with coffee.

    1. Great time Merlin. If you go on posting such times you are going to need a new range of history books with events from the early medieval period (not allowed to call them the Dark Ages any more)!

      1. Merlin himself is thought to be based on a Romano-Brit druid who was based in Wales around 600 AD. If I ever get a time under 7 minutes, I’ll claim it as his date of death.

    2. Well done Merlin. You’ll have to start researching dates before the start of the 5th century the way things are going!

  12. I took a while to get going. On the across clues, the only one I got on first pass was CAMERA and an incorrect bye-bye. The down clues were easier, and then it all clicked. INTESTINE LOI to finish in 11:57

  13. I found this one tricky and did need a bit of help to complete.

    I did like 19a, which I did manage to answer without aids.


  14. Clearly off wavelength. It wasn’t a good omen when I started with the well known authoress Calcot! I biffed both of the long ones, forgot about LEG BYE, relied on the wordplay for SENECA and had to return to the NE corner to solve CHIN UP and HEARTEN. 11:29

  15. Enjoyed this one, on the easier side for me.

    As for Merlin, the naturalist was entered from definition and enumeration and spotting inward* = DARWIN. SALAD was LOI, ANTIHISTAMINE and LEG BYE were my picks of the day.


  16. I certainly thought this was a tough one and I was halfway down the crossword to get my FOI which was GINGER NUT. Nice to see Harry getting a mention again!
    I initially put BYE BYE in for 21ac but getting TAG put me back on track. I thought of CHIN UP fairly quickly but for once didn’t put it in without parsing it, thinking what the hell is a NUP! Eventually noticed NU and all was well. Crossed the line in 12.40 with all parsed, but though I was well outside target I enjoyed what I thought was an excellent crossword

  17. Officially 32:16 – no idea of my proper time after various conversations with my wife but well into the SCC. I was held up in the NE by HEARTEN and CHINUP and in the SW by DETAIL and LEGBYE. In each case, getting the first of the pair quickly led to the second. No real reason for the difficulties; more like failure to adapt after initial ideas didn’t work out. Nice puzzle, though. FOI ALCOTT, LOI LEGBYE. Thanks Breadman and the Rotter.

  18. I parsed CHIN UP but did not remember it as part of PE -compare Jackkt above. But I did not spend long on that.
    I had BYE BYE at 21a and after a confirming look it still seemed OK. That’s why I ground to a halt in the SW. DETAIL was very slow to emerge; which gave me LAY BYE. I then tried TOY for 20d.
    All unravelled correctly in the end with the clock on 17 minutes.
    I knew all the GK.
    Quite a tough QC today I thought.

  19. My experience was similar to Blighter’s – initially not much came to mind, but once I found Breadman’s wavelength the answers started flowing and all done and parsed in 9 minutes. A very enjoyable puzzle with some excellent clues.

    Charles Darwin was a solve-then-parse clue: the train of thought was not so much “SE of France, so must be Arles” as “Ah, I see Arles in the answer, wonder if it is in the SE of France, oh it is”. And Alcott my LOI – left to last as not known and put in from the clue with fingers crossed.

    Many thanks Rotter for the blog. I agree most likely to be Seneca the Younger: his father Seneca the Elder was a philosopher, teacher and writer but not a statesman.

  20. Did this on line rather than from the newspaper today – time 22:51 (I don’t usually time myself). Looked really hard at first, but down clues more accessible than across which got me going. Needed a while to get ANTIHISTAMINE, even with several letters in! CHIN-UP was a guess – thanks for explanation.

  21. Fairly straightforward, albeit with the Chin-up/Hearten pair responsible for a disproportionate part of my 18min total. I had spotted Nu, but still hesitated over chip/nick until I half convinced myself that windscreen damage could cover both – there must be a better example. Also, I’m fairly sure that there is a ‘while playing a stroke’ clause in the leg-bye law, otherwise the game would start to look like baseball. . . CoD to the naughty thug in 14d. Invariant

    1. A little unsure of baseball reference- how do you see the cricket rule being not enforced properly making the sport more baseball- like?

      1. I was told by a reliable American friend that if the ball hits the batter directly, they are allowed to walk to 1st base.
        On edit: Apparently it’s called hit-by-pitch, and crucially the batter is not allowed to swing at the ball.

  22. Very slow to get going but then picked up a bit of speed by starting in the SE. All done in 19:32. Fell into the same trap as others with ‘bye bye’ at first and not spotting ‘nu’ in CHIN UP. CHARLES DARWIN fell immediately after I belatedly spotted the hidden ALCOTT. Pleased to note a few chestnuts along the way in SALAD, GINGER NUT and CAMERA. LEG BYE sounded sort of ‘crickety’ and seemed to parse… Don’t seem to be getting much quicker but still enjoying the process enormously. I did complete yesterday’s 15 x 15 so I must be making progress (although it did take me various sittings throughout the day). Anyway, many thanks to Breadman and to Rotter – I did read your explanation of LEG BYE but sadly it’s already gone 😂

  23. Lost some time having biffed ACCOST to find it didn’t work and get round to ACCESS. I was on a meaning of aimless and eventually got to SCORELESS. Finished up on CHIN UP which goes to show I was all over the grid filling in where I could. All this fun pushed me just over ten minutes – which seems pretty good given other times posted.

  24. Got off to a quick start with the NW falling into place, then slowed a bit, but still came in comfortably under my target. CHARLES DARWIN was biffed and I didn’t hang about to parse him. No problem with CHIN UP, as HEARTEN and NEW were in place and I spotted Nu straight away. LEG BYE took a moment’s thought and DETAIL was LOI. 8:19. Thanks Breadman and Rotter.

  25. Well, despite taking 3 minutes to solve my first clue (GINGER NUT), I crossed the line in a scarcely believable 15 minutes. Whilst not quite a PB, this is extremely fast for me and, naturally, I am delighted.

    Some clues were only partially parsed on the way through, but as their solutions seemed obvious, I didn’t hesitate too much.

    ALCOTT is unknown to me and CHAMPAGNE is a truly ghastly drink (give me a pint of real ale any time), but SENECA rang a faint bell. I wonder if one could buy a PRADA PONCHO, not that I would. However, I might be more tempted to try GINGER NUT PASTE, should it appear on the shelves at some stage. I have tried Biscoff spread in the past.

    Many thanks to Breadman and Rotter.

      1. Mrs R was out getting her car MoT’d when I posted earlier, and I thought I had set her a tough challenge. Upon her return however, she rattled it off in 13 minutes. So, the family point eludes me yet again.

        1. Never mind, she’s bound to start feeling the pressure soon. We’ll done!

  26. Quite a quick visit to Crosswordland today – I finished this in 8:44, and the biggie in about 20 minutes.
    I’m going to have to do some chores now, instead of filling my times with puzzles!
    I didn’t fully parse TEPID (I got EP as an old rocker stuck in my head!) or SENECA (as Rotter says, an unusual device here) but otherwise everything went in pretty smoothly. I was also surprised at PRADA, but we seem to be seeing more brand names more often these days. MrB has recently taken to doing the Guardian quickie, and they seem to have brand names quite often. We’ll convert him yet!
    Hard to choose a COD, as I liked CHARLES DARWIN and ANTIHISTAMINE a lot.
    Yes please to CHAMPAGNE, ANTIHISTAMINES, GINGER NUTS and SALAD, but not necessarily together 😅
    FOI Access LOI Hearten COD Ostrich
    Thanks Breadman and Rotter

    I hesitate to recommend the biggie – perhaps I just had a lucky day.

  27. 7:29. Enjoyable puzzle helped by both long answers going in early, though for some reason PONCHO took a while to get.

    Favourite was CHIN-UP for the CHI NU conundrum- could be the title of a psychological thriller.

    Thanks to Breadman and The Rotter

  28. Failed on CHIN UP and otherwise slow in that corner. Have been solving on line since our village shop is closed for renovations – seems more tricky than paper!
    In rather a grumpy mood as my landline doesn’t work after upgrading to Full Fibre broadband yesterday. New handsets on the way, claim BT. Trouble is, my oldie friends all use the landline.

  29. 19 mins…

    A good QC, with the main hold ups being the 4ac “Chin Up”/5dn “Hearten” axis.

    FOI – 6dn “New”
    LOI – 5dn “Hearten”
    COD – 4ac “Chin Up” – for confusing me with the Chi bit.

    Thanks as usual!

  30. Completed in above average time, though no serious problems. I believe brand names should be banned, especially in QCs, but rhere was one a week or so ago, so I have to accept that I must be wrong. I would make an exception for words such as hoover which in common use, and probably in most dictionaries ( I haven’t checked), but I had difficulty recalling Prada. I think there would be little difficulty in practice in drawing the line at hoover and its ilk, but potentially greater difficulty in deciding whether a brand name is unfair.; who decides whether Jansport or Vibram are acceptable?
    Charles Darwin sat on his evolution theory for decades, knowing the controversy it would cause; Alfred Wallace forced his hand by threatening to publish first.
    FOI ACCESS, COD CHARLES DARWIN, LOI PRADA👎. Thanks Breadman and Rotter.

  31. 16.29 ALCOTT was my FOI so there was no excuse for CHARLES DARWIN lingering until last. That’s two days in a row where I’ve been slow but didn’t get stuck.

  32. CHIN-UP usually means Take Courage. Form of exercise very misleading.

    1. Chin ups are used in royal marine entry tests etc
      def: an exercise involving raising oneself with one’s arms by pulling up against a horizontal bar fixed above one’s head; a pull-up

        1. Glad you got an explanation. We had no idea what a chinup exercise might be. Also sympathise over the land-line being used by older friends.

          1. As am an oldie myself, I use the landline a lot! Still waiting for BT.

  33. 5:17 this afternoon. Too many busy mornings at the moment!
    Around average difficulty for Mr Baker but some trickery in evidence. For example, 4 ac “chin up” where assuming Chi as the Greek character will get you nowhere.
    Liked the surface for 19 ac “antihistamine” and the sequential solving process.
    Thanks to Breadman and Rotter for the blog.

  34. We seemed to take a long time getting going, and needed a little help to finish. Loi 18d prada. Visitors earlier, so blaming them for our poor performance!

  35. 11m Charles Darwin took much longer than it should have. Must be the vegetable oil.

    COD ostrich

  36. Did this after a long day in the Chancery division, expecting to be either very fast (brain firing) or very slow (tired). In fact it was just a regulation 08:55 for an estimated 1.6K and a Decent Enough Day. COD to ANTIHISTAMINE, which I really enjoyed.

    Many thanks Breaders and Rotter.


  37. My topsy turvy run continues. I’m either flying or floundering. Thankfully today it was the former. Like others, a slowish start on the across clues , but solved the downs almost in one go, from bottom to top!

    Delighted with a 15 min finish to join Mr R and L-Plates (and others) in an escape from the SCC.


    Thank you for the blog Rotter, entertaining and informative as ever.

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