Times Quick Cryptic No 2402 by Felix

Nothing too outlandish in this offering from Felix. It was a quick solve for me today, all done in 9:15, for a rare sub-10 minute outing.

My FOI was 1dn, then 1ac followed, and I got most of the first five down clues very quickly (for me), which set me up nicely. COD definitely goes to MOTORCYCLE, which got a smiley face on my paper copy.

This being a puzzle from Felix, I’ve looked for a theme, and I’ve spotted a connection between four clues so far. Perhaps the hive mind will be more perceptive. (Edit: the connected clues I’ve spotted are in two pairs: 1ac and 23ac, and 9dn and 10ac.)

Definitions underlined in italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and [] other indicators.

1 People of a similar age in one great movement (10)
GENERATION – (in one great)* [movement]
7 Celebrities: one missing from flight (5)
STARS – STA{i}RS (flight)

Nothing to do with air travel.

8 In winter I meditate for the time being (7)
INTERIM – hidden in wINTER I Meditate.
10 Entice to remove head — one head — resulting in vacancy (9)
EMPTINESS – {T}EMPT (entice without its head) + I (one) + NESS  (head)

NESS is a rare-ish synonym for “cape” or “head(land)”. Except in crosswordland, where it isn’t rare at all.

12 Striking  unconscious (3)
OUT – double definition

The first definition as in “out on strike”.

13 Neckwear brightly coloured like a wedding cake? (6)
TIEREDTIE (neckwear) + RED (brightly coloured).

The question mark indicates that this is a definition by example clue – a wedding cake is an example of something that is tiered.

15 Small donkey runs: one’s puffing? (6)
SMOKERS (small) + MOKE (donkey) + R (runs).

I biffed this one, then looked again and realized that somewhere down deep I did know the word “moke”. I would not have been able to define it. Collins has:
noun.  British a slang name for donkey

16 Trouble one is going to (3)
ILL – Read as I’ll, the contraction of I will, (one is going to).

Dropping punctuation like this is fair game.

17 Somewhere to hide from awfully scary aunt (9)
SANCTUARY – (scary aunt)* [awfully].
20 Bands having bunk on board steamship (7)
STRIPESTRIPE (bunk, nonsense) inside [on board] SS (steamship).
22 Oxford college as alternative that is left (5)
ORIELOR (alternative) + IE (that is) + L (left).
23 In note, mistake saints for violent criminals (10)
TERRORISTSERROR (mistake) [in] TI (note, from the do-re-mi scale) + STS (saints).

TI has also been spelled TE in other QCs. MER at STS for “saints”, but ST for “saint” is common enough, and the wordplay made it obvious that a plural answer was needed.

1 Understand gangster’s outside with poisonous snake (5)
GRASPG{angste}R [gangster’s outside letters] + ASP (poisonous snake).
2 Assents in reforming offensive nature (9)
NASTINESS – (assents in)* [reforming]
3 Lift beams when speaking (5)
RAISE – A homonym clue – sounds like [when speaking] rays (beams).
4 Small child not drinking, eating nothing (3)
TOTTT (abbreviation for teetotal – not drinking), including [eating] O (nothing).
5 Ark refitted with cool rowing accessory (7)
OARLOCK – (ark cool)* [refitted].

I would probably have gone with “necessity” instead of “accessory”, since the oarlock is definitely not optional.

6 Discovers fool is going around without a doubt (10)
ASCERTAINSASS (fool) around CERTAIN (without a doubt).
9 I’m possibly 50cc, two wheels — try me! (10)
MOTORCYCLE – (L [Roman 50] + CC + O + O [two wheels] + TRY ME)*

An example of an &lit clue, where the whole clue is both the definition and the cryptic buildup. My COD.

11 Add up pennies spent finally: you love us to be extravagant (9)
SUMPTUOUSSUM (add up) + P (pennies) + {spen}T [finally] + U (you) + O (love (from tennis)) + US.
14 Make bigger penny loaf: regret missing odd bits (7)
ENLARGE – the even-numbered letters [missing odd bits] of pEnNy LoAf ReGrEt.
18 Upset about boy: one that smells? (5)
NOSERRE (about) + SON (boy), all reversed [upset].

I associate “nose” as a verb with wine tasting, so one who “noses the bouquet” (dah-ling) is presumably a “noser”. I guess if they said “we sniff it to find out what it smells like”, wine might lose some of its mystique.

19 As good as a mile out? (5)
AMISS – A reference to the saying “a miss is as good as a mile”.
21 Accepted standard of most of section (3)
PAR – most of PAR{t} (section)

71 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2402 by Felix”

  1. 10:10 I enjoyed bunk for TRIPE, also
    AMISS and NOSER. I agree an OARLOCK is more than an accessory. MOTORCYCLE was also my COD. (I edited this comment as at first I misunderstood your explanation and notation for this clue!)

  2. I biffed GENERATION, MOTORCYCLE, & SUMPTUOUS. MOKE has shown up a number of times, though maybe not in a QC. The definition of TIERED is ‘like a wedding cake’, which is not a DBE. I think ‘brightly’ was unnecessary, since there are many shades of red one wouldn’t call bright. 4:40.

  3. 4m but for some reason I decided to spell it SUMPTIOUS. I really do know how to spell it, I promise – just having a bad day or something

  4. 9 minutes with a MER at NOSER meaning ‘one that smells’, but I found eventually in Collins: nose (also called: noser ) a person employed by a distillery or other alcohol-producing industry to test the quality of the product by smell.

    I know of at least one headland called The Ness (in Devon at the mouth of the River Teign), but -ness as a suffix is very common in place names around the UK coast.

    I’m puzzled by the linked clues mentioned in the intro as they mean nothing to me, but two I spotted are 7ac & 20ac. Not much of a theme on their own though!

  5. I was expecting a theme, but can’t identify one and I’m not spending time looking !

    Quite easy for a Felix, and it didn’t resist for long.

    TIME 3:55

  6. Very slow on AMISS at the end even with two only two letters to get – nice bit PDM to finish. I also had trouble with NOSER which went in on the cryptic with doubts that nose could be a verb when not referring to cautiously leaving a parking space. Otherwise pretty quick with the downs being harder than the acrosses for once. All green in 12.31.

  7. What’s a NOSER when it’s at home? I spent way too long staring at that and double checking the contributing clues around it, not helped by my not knowing that ‘tripe’ can also be ‘bunk’ but I bunged it in anyway. I also spent far too long trying to convince myself that I could get ‘roalock’ from ark+cool. Doh!
    Anyway, this pushed me into the slowcoach club at just over 22 minutes, so not bad for me. I liked SANCTUARY and TERRORISTS especially.
    ORIEL was lurking there somewhere in the back of my mind, but why oh why do setters assume a general knowledge of Oxbridge colleges, (or classics, rowing, cricket and rugger for that matter)? Do they assume we all went to public school and then onto Oxbridge? As one who left his dreadful secondary modern school with lowly 2 ‘O’ levels I find this tiresome and would welcome clues in the future regarding, for example, well known further education colleges, netball, metalwork and shoplifting.
    Anyway, don’t get me started!

    1. Love your idea about alternative further education, cheered my up no end after a grumpy start to the day.

    2. My comment above gives a dictionary definition of NOSER that fits with today’s clue. Aside from that, NOSER exists as a noun with at least 5 or 6 other meanings including a blow or fall on the nose, and a strong headwind.

    3. Netball? I know less about netball than I do about cricket. All I know is that netball is basketball for girls. 🤣

      1. My younger son (6′ 5″, 29 y.o.) plays basketball competitively and his team plays netball against a womens’ team … games which they often lose.

  8. Thought this was a bit clunky in places and, to my mind, NOSER shouldn’t be a word – it just looks and sounds all wrong. Struggled with 3 of the 4 long perimeter clues, the exception being TERRORISTS, which didn’t help.
    A steady solve finishing in 8.16 with LOI an unparsed AMISS.
    Thanks to Doofers

  9. I saw the Manic Street Preachers theme but like our blogger couldn’t find many references beyond Generation terrorists , Motorcycle emptiness and Stars and Stripes. They did cover The Cult’s She sells sanctuary.

    1. All I initially spotted was “Motorcycle Emptiness”, a song I knew. Embarrassingly, I then Googled and found an article whose first sentence included a reference to their first album, “Generation Terrorists”, which I missed entirely.

      I wonder if this will turn out to be as pervasive a theme as the Half Man Half Biscuit effort from a few months back.

      1. The clue for 4d is a reference to the track Little Baby Nothing

        The clue for 11d contains the words ‘You Love Us’

        Both of these tracks are on the album Generation Terrorists

  10. DNF

    6 minutes for all but AMISS but even though I thought of it as an answer I had no idea how the parsing worked so came here. Never heard of the expression. No complaints though

    Pleasant fare apart from getting stuck at the end

    Thanks Doofers and Felix

  11. A rush to get this in before a hotel breakfast and a busy day. Should have waited.
    3 mins over target with most going in very quickly but I was held up by ILL, EMPTINESS, and LOI ASCERTAIN. Don’t know why.
    Good puzzle. Thanks to both. John M.

  12. Finished in 45 minutes. NHO MOKE but it fitted.
    NOSER seems so unlikely that I kept checking TERRORIST until I finally spotted the parsing of both.
    COD to SUMPTUOUS for the fun of building it up from the clue.
    Thanks Felix and Doofers for the explanations e.g. ILL.

    1. If you were around in 60s you might remember the Mini
      Moke, a “jeep” type vehicle that BMC made based on the mini chassis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_Moke. There were numerous jokes at the time about the name eg driven by asses, had a carrot instead of an accelerator.

      1. I remember them but didn’t realise where the name came from. Thanks for the link….and the jokes.

  13. Tough one for me that took 3 visits over the hour – TERRORISTS and ASCERTAINS held me up as did NOSER. Wasn’t on Felix’s wavelength today and am not minded to trawl Google for obscure MSP tracks – I bet there’s more.

    Thanks Doof for the fine blog and congrats to all those who flew through this one.

  14. A fast one today, all done in 8 minutes, and only two minor hold-ups as I had NHO Moke in the sense of donkey or Oarlock, which I see is a US variant of what I call a Rowlock. So I wondered as I came to the TfTT site how many others would have stumbled over those two and find that the answer is … very few! Instead most comment seems to be reserved for Noser, a word which went straight in for me and is very familiar to anyone interested in the professional world of wine or whisky tasting. Another case of what for one person is easy GK may for another be impossible DK.

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog. Once again though, the theme did not so much pass me by as inhabit a different universe …

    1. I am quite heavily involved in the world of wine and have never, ever come across the word “noser”! Whereas MOKE I knew through the old Mini-Moke car.

      1. Have you never nosed a wine? It is I admit an affectation (the verb to smell is perfectly good, and even to sniff will do), but nosing the wine is what I have heard a number of experts in the trade (and certainly all pseuds) call it. And if one noses, one is a noser – the word exists and I’ve heard it used IRL. But I accept not the best clue of the day.

        As for Moke, yes I remember the Mini-Mokes! But I confess I never associated them with donkeys. More of a glorified go-kart really in my view, and certainly faster than your average donkey.

      2. I, too, am heavily involved in the world of wine as an explorer and collector (and as Chairman of a very large Wine Society over decades). I have ‘nosed’ thousands of wines. I didn’t find it much of a stretch to consider myself (as one who noses) to be a ‘noser’. Would one who tastes not be a taster? 🙂

  15. NOSER smacked of a setter desperate to find anything that fitted. A rubbish word. MOTORCYCLE, by contrast, was a brilliant clue, worth the price of admission alone.

    The theme passed me by; not a band I’ve ever listened to. I got breezeblocked by LOI ASCERTAINS – I was trying to work the “is” in, so that it was ASS IS around another word. Took a long time to decide that didn’t work.

    All done in 08:25 for 1.8K and a Reasonable Day.

    Many thanks Felix and Doofers.


  16. Just inside 13 minutes, same doubts as everyone else over NOSER, but I didn’t get hung up by it – not a great clue, but valid. Manic Street Preachers a bit after my time, so no chance spotting the theme – I’ve heard of them and I think a member went missing or something, but that’s as far as it goes. ASCERTAINS LOI, I knew what I was looking for, but it took a couple of visits to come to me. Thanks Felix and Doofers.

  17. Back to being slightly off form for me. Everything came to mind, just relatively slowly.

    Didn’t parse MOTORCYCLE, so thanks to Doofers for that – in retrospect, my COD.

    NOSER was LOI with a shrug.


  18. Just about everyone so far seems to have found this on the easier side, and I was sailing along quite nicely myself having completed all but 9dn in just under eight minutes. I then developed an acute case of brain freeze where for the life of me I couldn’t think of a word that would fit, in spite of having all available checkers. It took me almost another six minutes to see MOTORCYCLE before the penny dropped and I was able to limp over the line in 13.45.

    1. Brain freeze is my default status. Occasionally it thaws sufficiently to solve a clue.

  19. Couldn’t initially see 1ac/d and immediately thought this was going to be a tricky one from Felix, but happily something clicked and it became a steady solve, with some enjoyable parsing practice – CoD 9d, Motorcycle, being a case in point. Moke for Donkey has completely escaped me (likewise anything to do with MSP), and Noser only went in on the basis that a ‘good noser’ sounded like a possible compliment for a bloodhound. All done and dusted just in time for a sub-20. Invariant

  20. Enjoyed this one and did finish thanks to guessing various. NHO OARLOCK (as opposed to rowlock – agree it is hardly an accessory), NHO Moke but SMOKER it had to be. Took me a while to work out TERRORISTS, STRIPES and LOI NOSER. I thought, as Jack says, experts who sniff scent/wine are usually called simply Noses. Cedric says Noser is normal, though.
    Like the word SUMPTUOUS but cd not parse, also biffed MOTORCYCLE (parsing way beyond me!). Ditto ILL.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  21. All green in the end, but took over an hour. FOI STARS, COD MOTORCYCLE, LOI ILL (couldn’t parse it). Thanks, Doofers, for the excellent blog, essential for explaining the many biffs and guesses. For: NHO NESS, MOKE (ok, will learn) – and NHO MSP!

    1. Ness as a place name component meaning headland, point or cape is common in Scotland, especially those parts of north and west Scotland inhabited 1000 years ago by the Norsemen (Nes is the Old Norse and modern Icelandic for Headland). There is a suggestion that Ness is etymologically connected to the word Nose, and certainly some headlands look like a nose jutting out.

      Ironically the best known Ness of them all – Loch Ness, home of Nessie – is wholly unrelated, being named after the river Ness (in Gaelic, Nis) which flows out of it towards Inverness.

      1. Thank you. Curious; my Icelandic dictionary gives höfði for headland, but perhaps that’s a bit out of date? (The Icelandic for “nose” is nef, but I agree that’s TMI here. Heilsan to Cedric, below, also to Mr Random – thank you!)

        1. No, both words do. I suppose there is the very fine distinction that a Höfði is often more of a prominent feature, for example promontory or cape (eg Ingólfshöfði), while Nes does not necessarily imply such size, and can for example also be used for peninsula (as in Snæfellsnes).

          It’s rare to meet anyone else with an interest in Icelandic on TfTT! But I expect we have lost the attention of our colleagues in these minutiae …

          Kveðja, Cedric

            1. Thank you, but could you be so kind as to explain? What’s Unicode? The only one I know is the font “Lucida sans Unicode” which I do use, but not here. (The word with its diacritics I simply copied and pasted from Google.)

              1. I believe Unicode is a way of inserting a character which your computer keyboard does not have. I’m no expert though, as I don’t use it; in my case I have a dual English/Icelandic keyboard on both PC and phone.

                1. Thank you, Cedric (Magnusson, perhaps?) – so you really are an Icelandic expert. How amazing. Whereas I was essentially only an enthusiast / impostor. Jonathan Normansson

  22. 07:04

    Being a Felix grid, I looked for the theme on completion – easy to spot if you’re a Manics fan – though I can’t see any more than those which have been pointed out already – can’t help thinking that there might be a cleverly hidden easter egg in there somewhere.

    As for completing the grid itself, only question mark was over AMISS, the saying for which (‘A miss is as good as a mile’) I have never heard of.

    Thanks Felix and Doofenschmirtz

  23. 9.40. I had no idea about the theme which would have added an extra something, but I still enjoyed this. I’ll join many others in nominating MOTORCYCLE as the stand-out clue and I also liked the reference to the poor ‘puffing ‘ ‘Small donkey’ at 15a.

    Thanks to Doofenschmirtz and Felix

  24. I didn’t parse MOTORCYCLE or AMISS and OARLOCK was unknown. I must have learned MOKE from Crosswordland as the answer came to me quickly. LOI, like some others here, was ASCERTAINS in 10:02.

  25. A fairly gentle offering from Felix, I thought, that I enjoyed and managed to finish in 14:52. FOI GRASP, LOI NOSER that was familiar for a malt whisky fan. NHO OARLOCK – I’m another who would say rowlock – but the anagram meant it had to exist and, yes, you’d struggle to get far without one. MOTORCYCLE not fully parsed but seemed likely even from just the M_T. MSP songs not really on my radar so no idea about the theme. Having read the blog, COD has to be MOTORCYCLE. Thanks Felix and doofers.

  26. 14 mins…

    I thought this was on the easier side for a Felix puzzle – although I did get held up by my LOI 19dn “Amiss”. Whilst 9dn “Motorcycle” was cleverly constructed, the answer was so obvious from the actual cryptic definition that it kind of spoiled it a little for me.

    I can understand why some people may have a mer at 18dn “Noser”, but I think I’ve seen it here before. Like the blogger, I DNK “Moke” is a slang term for a donkey either.

    FOI – 1ac “Generation”
    LOI – 19dn “Amiss”
    COD – 6dn “Ascertains”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. Got there eventually, but I was held up by NOSER, AMISS and TERRORISTS. Not a clue on the theme! 12:21. Thanks Felix and Doofers.

  28. NHO (S)MOKE(R), NOSER or OARLOCK, but successfully guessed all three. STRIPES and TERRORISTS took longest. Theme is not of my generation!

      1. I guess MY GENERATION could be clued by “What are you talking about?”

        1. Now got it on the brain! Actually I once met The Who as a friend knew their manager. She and I danced with the crowd on a tv show as part of the audience 🙂

            1. Cool metaphorically, but in reality hot and smelly in the crowded studio under the cameras!

  29. I did not find this one too challenging, which was nice as I got nowhere with yesterday’s one. However, I did feel that some of the clues could have been done better. But I’m not going to complain. A fairly quick solve (not timed) and no aids used.

  30. I know mini mokes from magnetic island in Queensland, great fun.

    Slowish around 13m.
    COD Motorcycle. But does the “I’m” demote it to semi &lit?

  31. 11.23 DNF. I really wasn’t sure about LOI AMISS so I hit submit with some trepidation, only to find I’d typoed 11dn as sumptious. MOTORCYCLE made no sense to me either, so the blog was very helpful. Thanks Felix and Doofenschmirtz.

  32. 16:53, with a break on my LOI, which I then solved in about 3 seconds! I realised it must be AMISS but just couldn’t get the cryptic. A classic example of ‘if you can’t see it, go away for a break’ although I’m not sure if the break should be all morning. I looked for a theme, of course, hoping it would help, but couldn’t see one, so it didn’t. After all the explanations, I’m not much wiser – I know a few of the big MSP hits and that’s it.
    I found this a strange mix, with some writing themselves in, and others putting up quite a fight. As others have said NOSER is a strange word and I never did parse MOTORCYCLE, although it was an easy biff. I nearly biffed ROWLOCK but saw the anagrist in the nick of time.
    FOI Stars LOI Amiss COD Sanctuary
    What with the daft auntie on Monday and today’s scary one, I wonder what other types of aunt we might see over the next few days!
    Thanks Felix and Doofers

    Off to see SRC’s friend in concert later – the Leicestershire / Warwickshire borders are quite a way from the Sussex coast, especially by bike!

    1. He started his tour in N Wales and visited Manchester before working his way across and down towards you.

  33. 10:05 (1005, Sweyn Forkbeard leads a series of Viking raids on South East England.)

    NHO OARLOCK, but it sounded plausible as an alternative name for a rowlock.


  34. Not a big fan of AMISS but the rest of the crossword was good fun. Some nice clues in there!

  35. 15 minutes for a fairly routine solve on this one. NHO OARLOCK or NOSER but both seemed as if they would be valid words. Never parsed MOTORCYCLE or TERRORISTS as both were obvious from the crossers. Also didn’t think to look for a theme (and wouldn’t have found it even if I had!).

    FOI – 7ac STARS
    LOI – 19dn AMISS
    COD – 13ac TIERED

    Thanks to Felix and Doofers.

  36. I tackled this earlier today, but only now have the opportunity to post my comments.

    All done in 30 minutes for me. I set off quite well, but got properly bogged down around the halfway stage. I think I broke the logjam with NASTINESS (the clue, not by being horrid to Mrs Random). ASCERTAINS didn’t arrive until I had all of its checkers in place and I had aiL instead of ILL for quite a while. I enjoyed MOTORCYCLE and OARLOCK was my LOI.

    Many thanks to Felix and Doofers.

  37. NHO MOKE, OARLOCK or NOSER. Despite this deficiency on my part, I made decent progress and, after a reasonable first pass, found myself speeding up for a solve comfortably inside the SCC cut-off.

    9dn was obvious from the surface so I missed the cleverness highlighted by others. My COD was 10ac, largely because I recalled ness from previous QCs!

    I didn’t spot the theme, but is there something significant about the layout of the grid, looking at the black squares in each corner and in the middle? Is there something symmetrical or similar going on?

    Thanks for the enlightenment and entertainment provided by the blog Doofers.

    PS Just remembered that Roger Moore drove a mini moke briefly in Live and Let Die!

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