Times Quick Cryptic No 2407 by Jalna

Solving time: 11:43

My first go at blogging Jalna – this is a nicely-balanced grid with an even mixture of clue-types.

I completed the grid within ten minutes but something was not right – I had wondered initially whether it was 21a which I’d bunged in without parsing, but it turned out to be 17a where I had carelessly ignored a part of the clue and entered a very similar but incorrect answer.

How did you all find it?

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

1 Means of storing data that oddly features in new genetic map (8,4)
MAGNETIC TAPE – T{h}A{t} [oddly i.e. odd letters of THAT] in anagram [new] of GENETIC MAP

My first thought was that it would be something DISK/DISC, but found I needed all of the checkers – even then the answer didn’t jump out at me – so had to work through the cryptic.

9 Material found in many longboats (5)
NYLON – Hidden [found in] many longboats
10 Old boy turning raucous in town (7)
BOROUGH – Turning OB (Old Boy) becomes BO then ROUGH (raucous)

We may think of a BOROUGH more as an administrative division these days, however the term also means a self-governing walled town.

11 Entire novel about a student (7)
TRAINEE – Anagram [novel] of ENTIRE about A
12 Insurers ultimately await judgement to pay out (5)
SPEND – {Insurer}S [ultimately i.e. last letter of] then PEND (await judgement)
13 Better’s first, complete spread? (6)
BUTTER – First letter of B{etter} then UTTER (complete)
14 Almost spear a type of antelope (6)
IMPALA – IMPAL{e} (spear – verb) [almost = remove the last letter] + A
17 Area of coastal land is rented out (5)
ISLET – IS LET (rented out)

Carelessly bunged in INLET which took nearly two minutes at the end to spot and fix – wonder if this will catch anyone else out…

19 Football club magazine (7)
ARSENAL – Double definition chestnut
21 Amounts of liquid are finally extracted from big vessels (7)
GALLONS – {ar}E [finally – last letter of ARE] extracted from GALL{e}ONS (big vessels)

Biffed from definition checkers initially – parsed after completion

22 Revolutionary piece of seminal Japanese art (5)
ANIME – Reverse [revolutionary] hidden [piece of] seminal
23 Official statement in pack concerning housing contract (5,7)
PRESS RELEASE – PRESS (pack) RE (concerning) LEASE (housing contract)
2 Finally eating last bit of cheese, if nothing else (2,5)
AT LEAST – AT LAST (Finally) containing E – last letter (bit) of {chees}E
3 Info continues to be modified, being unable to be passed on (3-10)
NON-INFECTIOUS – Anagram [to be modified] of INFO CONTINUES
4 Aspirin possibly that’s finally found under furniture item (6)
TABLET – Last letter [finally] of {tha}T found under TABLE (furniture item)

Being a down clue, ‘found under’ is apposite

5 Thick cream’s splashed around a small, festive treat (9,4)
CHRISTMAS CAKE – Anagram [splashed] of THICK CREAM’S around A S (small)
6 Be entertaining and make up several epigrams for starters (5)
AMUSE – First letters [for starters] of and make up several epigrams
7 Creature dwelling primarily in eastern China (7)
ECHIDNA – First letter [primarily] of D{welling} in E (eastern) CHINA
8 Outfit including new woolly scarf, perhaps (4)
KNIT – KIT (outfit) including N (new)

KNIT is a noun here i.e. a knitted item

13 Mention book on call (5,2)
BRING UP – B (book) RING UP (call)
15 A tune is played for family members (7)
AUNTIES – Anagram [played] of A TUNE IS
16 Harry lashes out (6)
HASSLE – Anagram [out] of LASHES
18 French city badly protected by the French! (5)
LILLE – ILL (badly) inserted into [protected by] LE (French for ‘the’)
20 German song told a story (4)
LIED – Double definition


83 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2407 by Jalna”

  1. I didn’t notice at the time, but there are a lot of first/last letter clues. Biffed the four long ones, trusting that the anagrist was all there in the three of them, parsing PRESS RELEASE post-submission. 6:11.

  2. 20:23. The long anagrams were all very slow for me to work out but on the other hand the rest of the shorter clues went in pretty quickly. I had trouble with the definition of ISLET but eventually just decided a small island would have to be basically all “coast” by definition. I was aware of the word ECHIDNA but no idea what the animal looked like.

  3. Since it was remarked I haven’t been seen around these parts, I thought I’d say hello! 4:50.

  4. I encountered a bit of resistance with this one (despite being able to spell echidna, which is a favourite animal of mine). Magnetic tape was my last one in, had to puzzle it out on paper despite having all the crossers. I think I’d forgotten it existed and wonder how much data stored by this means still exists…

    1. Or is still readable. It is one of the ironies of the computer age that it is probably easier to read stuff from thousands of years ago (eg cuneiform tablets, the Dead Sea scrolls) than data stored on an old and now obsolete computer system from just 30 years ago. My father wrote extensively using a word processor package called WordPerfect – all now all but inaccessible.

      1. I have word docs from early this century which I cannot access, and I just bought a new car in which I cannot play CDs because they’re now obsolete too. Mind you I think the Dead Sea scrolls were lucky to make it as far as they did!

      2. WordPerfect is still around (owned by Corel). I’m told it’s favoured by the legal profession but that may be in the US rather than the UK.

        1. That makes sense Jack – my father was a barrister, and always said that everyone he knew used WP. But that was around 20-25 years ago.

          1. It was all WP at the Bar to begin with, but the solicitors all started using Word and so did the younger lot (once I’d stopped being one of the younger lot … ie the first generation to have our own laptops!). Now Word is universal.

      3. I had some old programs saved on tape. I converted the tape to a sound file and was able to convert that into the original data with a piece of freeware. Not as straightforward as reading an old book, admittedly.

  5. 9 minutes. ANIME might have been unknown but I’ve met it very recently in another puzzle, possibly not in The Times. ECHIDNA was one of the multi-choice answers on The Chase earlier this week so it was fresh in my mind. I knew it anyway, but it might otherwise have taken a little longer to bring to the surface.

    I don’t recall seeing KNIT as a noun before, so after constructing it from wordplay I waited for both checkers before writing it in.

    1. Do you remember the old advertising slogan “Wendy is a great knit”?

  6. 8 minutes. Finished off OK after over-complicating a few at the start, eg thinking ‘China’ in the not difficult ECHIDNA referred to either a friend or to porcelain. Like Jack, I didn’t know that KNIT without “wear” could be a noun.

    Favourite was the surface for MAGNETIC TAPE.

    Thanks to Jalna/Gila and Mike

  7. Hadn’t heard of an ENCHIDNA so had to wait for ‘pend’ for ‘await judgement’ to arrive since for some reason I couldn’t easily get from ‘pay out’ to SPEND. Saw MAGNETIC quickly once a few downs went in but then had to work hard for TAPE – I guess that’s what cassettes used to use. The ex-local government officer in me (town planning) bridled a bit at BOROUGH for town but Mike’s good blog has calmed me down. Nice to be all green and in a reasonable just under 11.

  8. A very much on spec QCC without anything unusual apart from the Echidna whose reproductive equipment is anything but conventional. One of nature’s more bizarre evolutionary experiments.
    15.30 for a rare clubless morning.
    Thanks Jalna and Mike

  9. Like my first one in, CHRISTMAS CAKE, this was a bit chewy in places – for example ECHIDNA, which I’d never heard of it – but having carefully unwrapped it and savoured every mouthful fully, I finally came in all green in 25 minutes. Hoorah, my first triumph of the week 😊
    I came across the odd glacé cherry which brought a smile to my lips, such as GALLONS and IMPALA but I left the marzipan and icing till last taking delicious time over MAGNETIC TAPE, NON INFECTIOUS and BOROUGH.
    Thank you Jalna for a nice puzzle. And thank you for the blog Mike.

  10. 9.50

    Not my sharpest effort but got there in the end

    Love CHRISTMAS CAKE (and the clue was good too) especially with a bit of cheese

    Thanks Jalna and MH

    1. Uh…cheese? Like, on it? Do you recommend hard or soft, possibly Stilton? Intriguing…

      1. Christmas/fruit cake goes best with a Vintage Cheddar or Tasty Lancashire. The cheese has to be strong enough to cut through the richness of the cake. Delicious!

        1. Thank you, useful info. And you put the cheese on the cake and eat it like that? My father used to do that with cheese and a slice of apple. In six months I shall dig out my mother’s recipe for Christmas cake (it’s been a while, tbh) and give it a go!

  11. Found this tricky in places but thought I’d managed to finish under target only to find a DPS for the second day in a row, falling into the same careless hole as our blogger (Inlet for Islet).
    NHO, or long forgotten, MAGNETIC TAPE and spent time looking for something ending with ‘chip’ before checkers pushed me in the right direction. I was also slow to unravel NON-INFECTIOUS.
    ‘Finished’ in 9.02 with LOI ECHIDNA, which was known from previous crosswords.
    Thanks to Mike

  12. I thought this quite chewy in parts – the long anagrams did not emerge until I had quite a few checkers – and I was pleased and also somewhat surprised to see the clock stop in just under 10 minutes. Islet raised a minor query as an “area of coastal land” because one immediately thinks of them as off the coast not part of the coast (Question: how large does an island have to be to have a coast rather than, for example, a shore? And would one call Rockall an “area of coastal land”?), but the cluing was at least very clear. LOI was Anime, which I vaguely recalled as a word but could not tell you what it was having done so.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog

    1. ‘Adventurers reach Rockall in bid to live on North Atlantic islet for 60 days’ is indeed in today’s Guardian! ☺

  13. For once in my (still early) QCC career, I felt vaguely competent with this one (thanks, Jalna). I remain in the SCC, but within an arm-span of the SCC exit door. This hubris will land me in trouble tomorrow, for sure.

  14. An interesting puzzle from Jalna. I found it frustratingly difficult to start and worked up rather than down the grid picking off the few ‘sitting ducks’. It gradually got easier as crossers emerged, especially for the longer answers.
    The last few went in quickly but I was 4 mins over target and too close to the SCC for comfort. It was a curate’s egg for me -good in parts.
    No trouble with ECHIDNA – it is surprising that it is currently mis-spelt in a couple of posts above from successful solvers!
    Thanks to Jalna for a chewy offering and to Mike for the blog. John M.

  15. 10’26” with MAGNETIC TAPE my LOI.

    I enjoyed this with some chewy bits including ECHIDNA, which I did know (and what it looks like) and ,strangely, IMPALA too.

    Hit ISLET first time round.

    Thanks Jalna and Mike.

  16. Just escaped the SCC with this one although by the time I’d pressed the appropriate buttons the timer said 20:01. Unfamiliar with KNIT on its own as a noun but otherwise all known. Couldn’t get NON-transferable out of my head so it took all the crossers before NON-INFECTIOUS appeared. Biffed PRESS RELEASE and parsed post-solve. LOI ANIME, which was cleverly hidden, took far longer to emerge than I would have liked. Thanks Jalna and Mike.

  17. Been reading this blog for 3 months now, this is my first post!

    Would like to thank everyone who posts and the authors, it’s really helped me understand the nuance of the QC. Every day I read the solutions to the ones I don’t get (which is normally quite a few) and the comments which explain the parsing.

    Today I was very close to completing, messing up 13d, 20d and like Mike, 17a.

    Unlike a few above, didn’t struggle on Echidna as I knew this animal from playing too much Sonic! Knuckles is one of Sonic’s teammates.

    Cheers all

    1. Good morning, Coco Shawl, and very nice to read your comments. Do continue to post, and good luck with your progression.

    2. Hello Coco – glad to have you aboard 😊 It sounds like you’re getting on very well – keep posting!

    3. Hi Coco, welcome. Only recently joined myself having been a reader for quite a while. It is true that this blog makes a huge difference to your solving capability, these days I almost always finish the cryptic and mostly in a respectable time. As an admirer of the echidna I think some of our comrades have been insufficiently respectful…

    4. Cheers for all the warm welcome! My advice, play more sonic, get better at crosswords!

  18. Couldn’t start, then got going but couldn’t finish. Only got TAPE when I looked up the answer to ECHIDNA which I know is a spiny ant eater and that, along with the platypus, it an Australian mammal that lays eggs. Since I am so well informed about the creature you would have thought I’d be able to solve it.
    Thanks vm, Mike.

    1. But are you familiar with its curious reproductive organs? Not a feature that has been replicated in other mammals to my (limited) knowledge!

  19. 16 minutes, which is a slight improvement on the last couple of days, so thanks Jalna. ANIME LOI, although the concept is familiar to me. No problem with magnetic tape as a data storage mechanism, the Commodore 64 used to use basic audio cassettes for all of its programs, and it was the only storage device available after punch cards and before discs, which are also magnetic. Thanks Mike.

  20. NHO LOI ECHIDNA but it had to be – so, all green today! About an hour, but no dramas. Thank you, Jalna.

  21. 19 minutes today. LOI Spend. FOI Knit
    Longest clues to solve Magnetic Tape and Non Infectious. Echidna seemed to ring a bell, so unsure but it had to be.
    Thanks all

  22. A lot of this went in quickly and then there were the 12/13 letter ones. I had forgotten the word ANIME and I was looking for the name of a town beginning with BO at 10a. Like our blogger, I also had InLET. My penultimate solve was NON-INFECTIOUS and my LOI MAGNETIC TAPE. 10:29 and 3 out of 3 targets missed this week.

  23. Not too difficult today, with the only unknowns (Echidna and Anime) gettable with a few crossers in place. Magnetic Tape was almost a write-in, once the disc/tape part was sorted out via parsing, and that helped to establish a good foothold in the top half of the grid. Butter is a bit of a chestnut, but the initial B certainly made CoD, Bring Up, a lot easier that it might otherwise have been. Loi Impala took a few moments to see, resulting in a close shave for the sub-20. Invariant

  24. Thought this was surprisingly easy at first for a Jalna offering, but I gradually slowed and in the end only just missed the SCC with 19:45. I’m blaming the long anagrams. LOI was SPEND, COD to ECHIDNA. Thanks Jalna and Mike

  25. For the third day running I struggled to finish within target, and yet again failed due to my LOI MAGNETIC TAPE. It is not something I’m familiar with so it was a case of trying to make something sensible out of the anagram. I eventually got there, but only after 13.43 had elapsed. At one time I biffed INLET for 17ac but at least managed to correct it before stopping the clock.

  26. Held up slightly by my LOI, but no problems otherwise.

    TIME 4:45

  27. Dnf…

    Continuing my poor week with this one. For some reason, couldn’t get to grips with the LHS, but on reviewing the blog I have to agree there’s nothing too difficult, so no idea what’s going on.

    FOI – 1ac “Magnetic Tape”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 5dn “Christmas Cake” – never too early to think about Christmas 🎄

    Thanks as usual!

  28. Quite tricky, but still a breath of fresh air after the past three QCs. 33 minutes for me, despite not knowing ANIME or ECHIDNA. My last few in were all in the SW corner – PRESS RELEASE, LILLE, GALLONS and BUTTER. I always get concerned if there’s a sea of blank cells in one particular area of the grid at the end. The recalcitrant clues invariably depend on each other and I worry that I may never make the necessary breakthrough.

    BTW, today marks the end of my third year of doing these infernal QCs. I started on 1st June, 2020 and here are some metrics to show how my game has improved since then.
    a) Crosswords fully solved: Year 1 = 60%, Year 2 = 80%, Year 3 = 87%
    b) Mean time (excl. DNFs): Year 1 = 41 mins, Year 2 = 38 mins, Year 3 = 35 mins
    c) No. SCC escapes: Year 1 = 5, Year 2 = 10, Year 3 = 23
    d) No. 5-0 weeks vs the setters: Year 1 = 2, Year 2 = 16, Year 3 = 25

    End of term summary:
    Steady progress justifies promotion from non-league status, but never likely to reach the premiership. But, I have been a lifelong Bournemouth fan and look what’s happened to them in recent years.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Mike H.

    1. Well done Mr Random – good progress over your three years 👍

      Any stats for your slower times ? I ask this because I have likened improvement at the QC as being similar to when I played golf where it’s initially about getting the big scores off your card. Last year on the QC I regularly went over the hour, it’s a rare occurrence this year.

      1. Dear Mr Plates,
        Good idea re: slower times. I will interrogate my spreadsheet tomorrow and will post some more metrics here.
        P.S. I do remember Arne, but it’s a while since I was there.

      2. Hello LP. Here are some metrics about my slower times, as promised.

        50+ mins (incl. successful solves and DNFs):
        Year 1 = 137, Year 2 = 70, Year 3 = 51

        No. weekly defeats by setters (2-3, 1-4, 0-5):
        Year 1 = 15, Year 2 = 3, Year 3 = 0

        Progress indeed!

        1. Nice. Your solving success is impressive at 87%. Will be interesting to see where Year4 goes 👍

  29. Looked hard at first and only solved a few at first pass. Gradually got going then progressed steadily. NHO ANIME or ECHIDNA, but worked them out from clues & crossers.

  30. Another sluggish day for me. AMUSE was FOi and MAGNETIC TAPE was LOI. BOROUGH held me up, but looking back I can’t really see why I missed my target. 10:50. Thanks Jalna and Mike.

  31. 14:17. I’m still coming to terms with Jalna’s style – no unusual vocab or anything, but I found this quite tricky. As Kevin says, there are six clues which featured first or last letters in the wordplay, which I thought was pushing it a bit. Although I could see that MAGNETIC TAPE and NON-INFECTIOUS were anagrams, it still took me some minutes (and writing the anagrist out) to work them out. I liked ANIME and BOROUGH, and HASSLE made me smile – very topical! More AUNTIES 😅
    FOI Nylon LOI Non-infectious COD Christmas cake
    Thanks Jalna and Mike

  32. I thought this was tough but but fair though a dnf thanks to INLET. I don’t think ISLET or INLET is coastal land but I can see that ISLET is the better answer.
    I laughed aloud at BOROUGH after trying to think of a town called BO ROUGH before the penny dropped.
    COD to HASSLE which was one of many misdirections.
    Thanks to Jalna and Mike.

  33. Took a while over this one but completed with no errors. Main hold-up was SPEND of all things – a definite case of overthinking. BOROUGH also took a while and I needed ECHIDNA before it finally fell into place. Narrowly avoided the inlet/ISLET trap. Tried to create a new Japanese artwork by using an anagram of piece, blissfully ignoring its actual spelling (apice/acipe?) before ANIME came to mind and I belatedly spotted the hidden 😂
    COD to LILLE. Many thanks all.

  34. 14.59 After two DNFs this seems pretty good. My struggles were largely in the NE and weren’t helped by putting SHELL for 12ac. I was thinking of SHELL OUT with HELL as a judgement for insurers, but it didn’t really work. Finished up with MAGNETIC TAPE, ECHIDNA and correcting 12ac to SPEND.

  35. One of my fastest solves for some time, in spite of spending long enough on knit to rule out any other answer. FOI NYLON, LOI PRESS RELEASE, COD ARSENAL, though I’m not a fan. A n ice puzzle, thanks Jalna and Mike

  36. Am I alone in disliking the phrase “that’s finally” to indicate ‘t’? I would accept “that finally” or “that’s final” (the final (letter) of that) but “that’s finally” indicates ‘s’ and not ‘t’, it seems to me. Didn’t stop me just squeezing in under my 10-minute target, and an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable 10 minutes it was.

  37. I’m in the West Highlands but it feels more like the West Indies! I retreated inside for a cold drink and this puzzle, both of which I enjoyed.

    It took a while and some checkers to see MAGNETIC TAPE, since I thought it was going to end “disk”. I had also carelessly mistyped “trainer” rather than TRAINEE, so that delayed TABLET. IMPALA got my COD award.

    Came home just outside target at 09:31 for 1.6K and an OK Day.

    Many thanks Jalna and Mike.


    PS I’m ashamed to say that I thought an ECHIDNA was a hedgehog!

  38. I’ve got the QC yips I think. Last few puzzles I’ve reverted to where I was 6 or 7 years ago. Mostly fine, then staring at the last couple for minutes and minutes.

    Today’s specials were GALLONS and BRING UP, but the same happened on Monday and Tuesday, though I forget the offending clues. I’m already at a weekly time total (albeit a very good one), and it’s only Wednesday.

    Back to the drawing board.


  39. I seem to be getting round to the QC much later in the day at the moment. Golf was today’s reason.
    I finished this in 9 minutes. LOI IMPALA. I learnt my antelopes so long ago that I seem to have forgotten them again.
    I did not parse everything whilst solving but it was mainly plain sailing.
    Unlike yesterday when I had GAL and NIB.

  40. I remember having a professional interest in a factory in S Wales which manufactured magnetic tape (and disk packs), and another in Stevenage which made the transports/drives (and printers), all suited to mainframes and bought and re-badged by pretty well every mainframe supplier going. Happy days… now we use 4d’s at home and work too.
    Wondered whether 16d was topical reference to someone who used to be a valuable member of society but now is simply a professional Hassle…
    FOI 9a nylon
    LOI 1a Magnetic tape
    COD 5d Christmas Cake – note to try it with cheese this year!

  41. 15:09

    Much easier after my struggles this week. Held up by LIED, didn’t know it was a German song and LOI ANIME.

  42. Just when I think things are improving, the QC gods decide to have a little more sport with me.

    Well inside SCC time with only 1ac to go. I’m so off it at the moment that I stupidly couldn’t work out what type of clue it was. By the time I realised it was no more than an anagram (with 6 letters already in place!), I had hit 23 mins and the SCC.

    So another unsatisfactory day ☹️. I really should have done better.

    Thanks for the blog Mike.

  43. A late-in-the-day solve for me after a day admiring the Rhododendrons at Sheringham Park, watching the trains on the North Norfolk Railway and a breezy walk along the sea-thrift strewn cliffs of the Norfolk Coast path. Did the fresh air improve my solving abilities? Probably not. No dramas, although I tried a hopeful NON-INHERITABLE for 3D at first without properly considering the anagrist, which didn’t help with GALLONS and PRESS RELEASE. I enjoyed BOROUGH and knew ECHIDNA. Thanks Jalna and Mike. 5:11.

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