Times Quick Cryptic No 2413 by Mara – time for cocktails!

A rare sub-10 minutes for me for this Mara puzzle, taking only 9 minutes to solve and fully parse, even allowing for the misread at 22a, and my second sub-10 of the week. I had to write out the anagrist for 12d, but everything else was straight-forward. I counted a total of 8 anagrams or partial anagrams with 6 double definitions, so hopefully you all also found it gentle.


Lily, arum’s third in a bunch (5)

LOTUS – U (arum’s third – third letter in arUm) inside LOTS (a bunch). Luckily, I didn’t need to know that Arum could be a lily – my horticultural knowledge doesn’t extend that far.

4 Mammoth, frightening creature (7)

MONSTER – Double definition.

8 A native not entirely excited about leader of Church in papal residence (7)

VATICAN – Anagram (excited) of [A NATIV{e}] (not entirely means drop the last letter of native) and C{hurch} (leader of Church).

9 Circumference right after adjustment (5)

GIRTH – Anagram (after adjustment) of [RIGHT].

10 At home with a colonel, in flat, say, with a cocktail (4,6)

PINA COLADA – IN (at home) with A COL (a colonel) inside PAD (in flat, say) with A to give PINA COLADA for the second time in a week.

14 Large amounts of water in damaged canoes (6)

OCEANS – Anagram (damaged) of [CANOES].  Hopefully, it is OCEANS of PINA COLADA!

15 Singers: one more than nine, otherwise singular (6)

TENORS – TEN (one more than nine) OR (otherwise) S{ingular}.

17 A close game (5,5)

LOCAL DERBY – Cryptic definition, and a term used to describe a (football) match between two geographically close teams.

20 Suspended, skater performing here (2,3)

ON ICE – Double definition.  OCEANS of PINA COLADA ON ICE!

22 Rock: one pocketed in fake garnet (7)

GRANITE – Anagram (fake) of [GARNET] containing I (one pocketed). When solving, I repeatedly read this as ‘fake gamet’ due to the vagaries of the font used.

23 A tub got misplaced, small vessel (7)

TUGBOAT – Anagram (misplaced) of [A TUB GOT].

24 Protest ending in prison for villain (5)

DEMON – DEMO (protest) and {priso}N (ending in prison).



O, what a beautiful feeling! (4)

LOVE – Double definition, the first O, love = zero in tennis, the second a straight definition.

2 So long, in fact, a tailback (2-2)

TA-TA – Hidden answer (in) {fac}T, A TA{ilback}.

3 A list once mistakenly divided up (9)

SECTIONAL – Anagram (mistakenly) of [A LIST ONCE].

4 Twenty-four-hour period in month around October, November, December, initially (6)

MONDAY – MAY (month) around (containing) O{ctober} N{ovember} and D{ecember} (initially – first letters).

5 Keep criticising horse (3)

NAG – Double definition.

6 Herb, shockingly arrogant (8)

TARRAGON – Anagram (shockingly) of [ARROGANT].

7 Train in connection with black vehicle? (8)

REHEARSE – RE (in connection with) and HEARSE (black vehicle).

11 Ended with directors no longer on ship? (9)

OVERBOARD – OVER (ended) and BOARD (directors)

12 Upright pal got so tipsy (8)

GOALPOST – Anagram (tipsy) of [PAL GOT SO].

13 Lovely skill of obedient dog (8)

FETCHING – Double definition.  How some girls appear after OCEANS of PINA COLADA ON ICE.

16 Influence figure supporting wife (6)

WEIGHT – EIGHT (random figure) below (supporting) W{ife}.

18 Well-established business (4)

FIRM – Double definition.

19 A little conifer, new plant (4)

FERN – Hidden (a little) inside {coni}FER, N{ew}.

21 I eat green olives, primarily (3)

EGO – initial letters (primarily) E{at} G{reen} O{lives}.

66 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2413 by Mara – time for cocktails!”

  1. 9:43. Many straightforward clues. I didn’t see LOVE until I had checkers and missed for a while that GIRTH was an anagram. My biggest holdup was “becoming” for FETCHING. I reasoned the obedient dog would always be coming promptly to his master on being called..

    1. Universe reasserting itself – 1.42CO / 0.71LP. Can you slow down please 🤣

  2. Like vinyl, I biffed SECTIONED, and it took me a while to notice the problem, and correct it. Like curryowen, I put in BECOMING at first, following the same reasoning. This of course made 17ac impossible, and coming up with FETCHING took lots of time. That left 17ac, which I didn’t know, and getting DERBY from _E_B_ took more time. All in all an unsatisfactory performance. 8:04.

  3. 8 minutes delayed several times along the way by what turned out to be my last one in, LOCAL DERBY

  4. I got totally bogged down in the SW corner and needed aids in the end to finish in 39 minutes. A poor start to my day.

  5. I found this mostly straightforward, came in at 7.24. Didn’t see the GIRTH/right anagram (just biffed it) and like others resorted to pen and paper to unravel GOALPOST. ‘Upright’ was a canny bit of misdirection, especially for those of us in places where soccer is not the dominant football code. I reckon calling a DEMON a villain is letting the demon off lightly.

  6. Just over 9 minutes. I couldn’t make head or tail of 17a and needed all the crossing letters to eventually work out the LOCAL DERBY answer. Otherwise not too bad and PINA COLADA having appeared so recently was also a help.

    Thanks to Mara and TheRotter

  7. Another slow start in the top left. This is becoming a habit and I think I’ll start from the bottom and work up in future. Most clues were straightforward but I, too, was thrown at first by GIRTH and GOALPOST. I sorted LOTUS and LOVE and wondered why I had not seem them earlier.
    The SW was my real holdup area until GOALPOST clicked. LOCAL DERBY was then a write-in and my LOI FETCHING fell. It took me a minute over target, though, and it was little comfort today to find this was under 2K.
    Thanks to Mara for a fair challenge and Rotter for a good blog. John M.

  8. Speedy progress until hitting the buffers with LOCAL DERBY, where I spent a lot of time wondering what could go after ‘level’. The PDM then allowed me to see LOI FETCHING whilst wistfully thinking about how nice it would be to have an obedient dog (or being a better at training the little MONSTER).
    Finished in 7.59. Particularly enjoyed untangling what was going on with MONDAY.
    Thanks to Rotter

  9. 9’55” held up by assuming LxxxL must be ‘level’ in a close game.

    GOALPOST was tricky too as I was looking for an -AL ending like ‘vertical’

    I thinks it’s a bit of a chestnut but I enjoyed the smooth surface for OCEANS.

    Thanks Mara and TheRotter

  10. A good challenge finished more quickly than average. FOI VATICAN, LOI FETCHING*, COD GOALPOST. Thanks Mara and The Rotter.
    *or was it LOCAL DERBY? They both took a long time but both fell as soon as the C was in.

  11. Thought this was mega hard until I realised I’d been battling with the 15×15. Found this to be more my level but still testing. Needed all the checkers for MONSTER and was tempted by an obviously unparsable ‘minator’ which only had that it fitted in its favour. All green in 14. Might go back to the quarter finished big one in a bit.

  12. 13:44 … only notable issue was struggling to unravel SECTIONAL even when I had only four letters to put in. As soon as I wrote out what I had, it popped in there. Down answers are a real problem for me in that respect. FETCHING was LOI.

    Although I stared in terror at the first few clues and struggled to get going with only NAG, GIRTH and PINA-COLADA in the top half; there was a nice mix of hiddens, initialism and anagrams to give hope that it wouldn’t be a grind. And so it wasn’t.

  13. Held up only by GOALPOST, FETCHING and LOCAL DERBY, otherwise going in as fast as I could type on my phone (and then correct my typos). All done in 06:51 for a sub-K and thus a Red Letter Day. COD to LOVE.

    (I managed to finish the Big Boy yesterday, which is incredibly rare for me, so it might be worth having a look at it.)

    Many thanks Mara and the Rotter.


  14. A return to a par/on target time for the first time since 23 May, and before that, 3 May. It’s been a lot of over, and a little bit of under in between, as the averages have taken a bit of a beating.

    LOI was FETCHING, and I see I wrote out the anagrist 3 times, which is rare for a QC.

    LOVE and LOCAL DERBY vying for COD.


  15. 7.10

    Liked FETCHING and the DERBY. Was bamboozled by the anagrist for GOALPOST for a bit as was looking for an adjectival synonym of virtuous.

    Thanks all

  16. First time I have managed to finish the puzzle with zero help in a long time! Everything just seemed to come together nicely, which is rare for me. Esepcially after waking up with a sore head after celebrating West Ham last night. All green in 16 mins, a good start to the day!

    Cheers all

  17. A quick solve that would have been quicker if I hadn’t had to revisit LOVE and GOALPOST (lots of missed first letter checkers). I biffed PINA COLADA and parsed post submission. I also solved DERBY before LOCAL. My LOI was FETCHING in 7:16 with CsOD to LOVE and GOALPOST.

  18. 9 minutes for this nice puzzle, with the SW corner the last to be completed – as others also seem to have found, the Local Derby / Fetching / Goalpost combination proved the stumbling block.

    I was initially in two minds about Local Derby. Very clever, with the misleading “close game” implying a tight score and the temptation to then start it with Level compounding the misdirection. But is a match between close (ie nearby) rivals a close game? For anyone living by a stadium all games are close, regardless of the opponents. But on reflection I think the cleverness of the clue overcomes my minor quibbles and my eyebrows are firmly lowered again – so it gets my COD.

    Many thanks Rotter for the blog

    1. I’d say look at a close game from the perspective of the teams. For Plymouth Argyle players it’s a close game travelling to Exeter City. Whereas going to Carlisle United or Middlesborough …

      1. Beep boop. The correct spelling is Middlesbrough, not Middlesborough. Beep boop.

        1. Gah … my apologies.

          You should have seen my first attempt to spell Argyle … 🤐

      2. How anyone could not have Argyle on the tip of their pen is a mystery… 😯. And no more Exeter league derby next season after The Greens’ epic title winning year 🤗

        1. It must have been running out of ink … 😉

          So nearest game in Championship looks like Bristol City – but that must be a 1-2hr drive up the M5. Although Cardiff is probably nearer as the crow flies but along with Swansea and Southampton they’re all roughly equidistant. And Sunderland even further away than Middlesbrough.

  19. Looked harder than it turned out to be. LOI FETCHING. A good week for Pina Coladas!

  20. I was disappointed to finish outside target at 11.23, like some others slowing down in the sw corner. I didn’t help myself by confidently putting in BECOMING for 13dn, and the solving of the anagram at 12dn took me longer than it should. After finally seeing that it was LOCAL DERBY I could then see the correct solution as FETCHING.

  21. 6:13 but…

    …managed to enter TUGBOTT for a pink square. Otherwise, no real issues, though I would quibble that a DERBY being a game between two sides LOCAL to each other, suggests that LOCAL is unnecessary?

    I also needed to write out the letters which became GOALPOST, even with all four checkers in place!

    Thanks Mara and Rotter

    1. I pondered this as I wandered to the local Lidl (as opposed to the far away one!)

      Wikipedia says “Games between two rivals that are based in areas of close geographical proximity are often known as a local derby, or simply just a derby; a sporting event between two teams from the same town, city or region. The term is usually connected with association football and the media and supporters will often refer to this fixture as “Derby Day”.”

      The Gary Linekers of the world often like to refer to the Manchester, Merseyside or North London derby games and to help the geographically-challenged Southerners like myself by pointing out that say Blackpool vs Burnley is a local derby.

      I am reminded of the blooper clip they used to show on It’s Alright on the Night back in the 1980s where an English TV sports reporter provides the score of the Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Munchengladbach match then adds “… so Dortmund winning the local derby” 🤣

  22. Missed that FERN was a hidden, and thought that the little conifer was a misspelled fir tree, plus N from new. Eyebrow now lowered.
    I agree that LOCAL in the Derby clue is extraneous, but I am sure we have had it before.

  23. 9:54 Some Saxon event involving Æthelred, Æthelstan or some other ligature-loving king

    Made rapid progress after a slow start. If I’d put BECOMING, I’d have been disappointed too, that’s at least a good an answer as FETCHING.


    I’d count getting TARRAGON as the dragon from the old TV show “The Herbs” as a Ninja-turtling. Although he does sound like a character in Lord of the Rings. I got “knapweed” in another puzzle recently in the same way.

    Todays puzzle features two 1-character clues LOVE (0) and EGO (I).


    1. Yes 954 does not seem to offer very much for you. I do note that it was the year that King Eric I died at York and the English re-established control over Northumbria from the Vikings, but this is a rather second rate factoid, rescued only by Eric’s nickname, which was “Bloodaxe”. If I was a medieval king that’s the sort of nickname I would want to have – it’s certainly better than Charles the Bald, Charles the Fat, Charles the Simple or Charles the Mad!

  24. Like Blighter, I found the NW unforgiving to start with. Changing to bottom up, the answers proved more readily available and I was hoping to escape the SCC. However, LOCAL DERBY, amongst others, saw me wading through treacle to eventually finish in 24:18. It didn’t help that I had a senior 5 minutes when I couldn’t think of the name of the pope’s residence. That only resolved itself once I solved LOVE. FOI PINA COLADA, LOI TA-TA (although I’d suspected that right from the start but couldn’t parse it) . Not my best effort, to say the least! Thanks Mara and Rotter.

  25. Like others, I struggled in the SW corner. Being lousy at anagrams doesn’t help. Nor did thinking that 20a was 3,2! –i,-e seemed very unlikely.
    Also not sure that I remembered that lotus is a lily. Must look that up. Biffed 10a but couldn’t parse it, so thanks for the blog explanation. All in all, a tough one, I thought. Not sure of time but comfortably in the SCC.

  26. I did eventually work out LOCAL DERBY but have never heard the phrase and feel quite indignant! All you chaps got it so it must be a football thing. POI was FETCHING despite having a obedient dog.
    Otherwise enjoyed the puzzle. There were some easy girly clues like TARRAGON, I admit. Liked LOVE when penny dropped.
    Feel slightly indignant too that our esteemed blogger only finds some girls FETCHING after OCEANS of Pina Colada. 🍸🙂

    1. Not just football. A match between two teams in close proximity geographically is often called a (local) derby. Man City v Man Utd (footie), Leicestershire v Northamptonshire (cricket), Bristol v Bath (rugger) could each be called a derby.
      “It is widely reported that the phrase originates from the town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England. There, since as early as the 12th century, two teams from opposite ends of the town play a rough and tumble football/rugby type of game called the Royal Shrovetide Football Match. The match is between the ‘uppers’ and the ‘downers’ – townspeople from opposite sides of the river that runs through the town.”

    2. I’m afraid that it is a fact of life that some girls are FETCHING and others less so, just as some men are princes, some are frogs, and rarely, one might find a frog that turns into a prince after being kissed. I tend to the frog end of the scale myself, as anyone planning to attend the bloggers / solvers event in London in a couple of weeks will be able to see for themselves…

      1. Ah well, am not sure one is allowed to make ‘lookist’ remarks these days. Ask your younger relations or friends.🙂

  27. After a slow start in the NW, I suddenly clicked into gear and at the 12 minute mark only had two answers to go. Unfortunately they were the intersecting Local Derby and Fetching. Switching to the right sort of ‘close’ prompted the pdm for Local Derby, but Fetching still required an alphabet trawl, and I crossed the line at just over 14mins. CoD to the well hidden Ta-Ta in 2d – going ‘tats’ with a young grandson certainly helped. Invariant

  28. A straightforward offering today. LOTUS was FOI and FETCHING brought up the rear after a moment’s cogitation. 5:39. Thanks Mara and rotter.

  29. Could not finish this one as 17a and 13d just would not come to me. Otherwise it was an enjoyable crossword.

  30. Finished in 2 sittings. Can’t believe LOI was LOTUS, and with all the checkers too! Didn’t spot the hidden FERN so this one wasn’t parsed, otherwise all fairly straightforward for me today. Did need to write out the anagrist for GOALPOST – not the sort of upright I was thinking of at all. Very enjoyable. Thanks Rotter and Mara.

  31. 20.58 with more than half of that spent on FETCHING and LOCAL DERBY. Oh dear!

  32. 15 mins…

    A fairly average offering from Mara I thought. Wondered whether a demon was really a villain, and if a “Local Derby” isn’t just a “derby” – do we need the local bit?

    FOI – 8ac “Vatican”
    LOI – 17ac “Local Derby”
    COD – 1dn “Love”

    Thanks as usual!

  33. Pleasant puzzle which we finished in 23m good for us. No real hold ups.

  34. Mara was kind today. I sailed through this and only spent some time puzzling over 13d Fetching (which our well-behaved and obedient Irish Setter doesn’t understand at all).
    FOI 8a Vatican
    LOI 13d Fetching
    COD 4d Monday which I thought was clever, but not hard.

  35. I first entered 17a as Local Match which messed up both 11d and 16d. Otherwise overall not too difficult. (I’m not competitive enough to time myself – I just like to dip in and out!)

  36. Just what I needed after a 50+ minute DNF yesterday. An SCC escape in just 15 minutes today! And all fully parsed, although I wasn’t 100% sure of FERN, even after having put down my pencil. My unbeaten streak has now increased by an infinite percentage … to 1.

    Many thanks to Mara and Rotter.

    1. Well done SRC, do let us know how Mrs SRC gets on when she comes in from gardening duties. Maybe the family point will be yours this time?

  37. Thanks for all the comments everyone – I have been necessarily absent throughout the day, chasing a little white ball around some beautiful scenery in bright sunshine. Your comments are all appreciated.

  38. After three mornings on the QC I’m back to my usual early evening shift. The week started well with a quick solve that made me think mornings were the best for me – a theory that was proved wrong by a miserable time yesterday. Today my evening brain sailed through the clues with even the anagrams (my weak point) surrendering quickly. All it proves is I get on well with some setters and not others.

  39. Mostly fairly straightforward, but still slower than most on here at 17:00. LOI and COD to FETCHING. Thanks Rotter and Mara.

  40. A welcome inside-target finish of 14:30 after taking nearly double that yesterday. LOI and COD is LOVE.

    Thanks to Mara & Rotter

  41. Finished with one error – Monitor in lieu of Monster.
    Solution interrupted by lunch. No Pina Coladas, but a few glasses of wine.
    Perhaps a pedantic point, but as the knowledgable Mr Google confirms, a Lotus is not a Lily. Though I see that Chambers and Collins both state that it is.

  42. A very disappointing 20 mins for a QC that was as easy as they come. Again missed some simple ones first time round in a pretty pathetic effort. As always, I hit the buffers with 4 or 5 remaining.

    I’m too competitive to be happy with this time when others are beating it with ease.

    That’s 100 mins for the week thus far, so ready for another missed weekly target.

    Thanks for the blog Rotter.

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