Times Quick Cryptic No 2417 by Pedro

Solving time: 11:43

My third blog in succession where I’m blogging a setter for the first time – this time it’s Pedro. Curiously, my solving time is exactly the same as for Jalna two weeks ago (QC2407).

I didn’t find today’s offering that straightforward and initially wondered whether I might be having an off day. However, looking back over Pedro’s last seven grids, I’ve grasped a soupçon of comfort to find that of those seven, I had broken ten minutes only once (QC2344).

Could Pedro be one of our consistently more-challenging opponents? Let me know what you think….

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

1 Snapshot capturing final manmade material (7)
PLASTIC – PIC (Snapshot) ‘capturing’ LAST (final)

Capturing is used as a photography-relevant ‘containing’ word here.

5 Show weariness, encountering a long tale (4)
SAGA – SAG (Show weariness) encountering A
7 Search female? Anger about that (5)
RIFLE – RILE (Anger) about F (female)
8 Determined soldier standing behind a barrier (7)
ADAMANT – ANT (soldier) behind A DAM (barrier)
10 Sailor cheers end of tour (3)
TAR – TA (cheers i.e. thanks) {tou}R [end of TOUR]
11 New trams made for this city? (9)
13 Number wait, losing heart, for legal official (6)
NOTARY – NO (Number) TA{r}RY (wait – with middle letter removed [losing heart])

This was my LOI – bunged in from definition and three checkers and parsed post-completion.

14 Spirited meeting in the main, delightful after one departs (6)
SEANCE – SEA (main) N{i}CE (delightful) with I removed [after one departs]
17 Irish city’s sailors providing bottle opener (9)
CORKSCREW – CORK’S (Irish city’s) CREW (sailors)
19 Understand time, for example, after reflection (3)
GET – T (time) EG (for example) all reversed [after reflection]
20 Contact with rugby player about excellent start to season (7)
LIAISON – LION (rugby player) about AI (excellent i.e. A1) S [start to S{eason} i.e. first letter of]
22 Opening paint-roller, removing wrapping (5)
INTRO – Hidden [removing wrapping] in paintroller

Bunged in from definition and checkers – saw the hidden only after completion.

23 Avoid rear-end collision, for the most part (4)
SHUN – SHUN{t} (rear-end collision) with the final letter removed [for the most part]
24 Are French invading armies a provider of entertainment? (7)
HOSTESS – ES (‘are’ in French i.e. ‘Tu es’ = ‘You are’) inserted into [invading] HOSTS (armies)
1 Being moral is remarkably un-piratical (11)
PURITANICAL – Anagram [remarkably] of UN-PIRATICAL
2 Batty at heart to protect trees initially (2,5)
AT FIRST – ATT i.e. central letters [at heart] of {b}ATT{y} wrapped around [to protect] FIRS (trees)
3 Lexicon in this way accommodating a user that’s confused (9)
THESAURUS – THUS (in this way) containing [accommodating] anagram [that’s confused] of A USER
4 Crude oil initially featuring in vehicle’s energy (6)
COARSE – O i.e. first letter [initially] of O{il} inserted into [featuring in] CAR’S (vehicle’s) E (energy)
5 Marine creature ditching lake — for this? (3)
SEA – SEAL (Marine creature) ditching i.e. get rid of L (lake)
6 Pull up after intervention of University security officer (5)
GUARD – DRAG (Pull) reversed (up – apposite as it’s a down clue) with U (University) inserted [after intervention of]
9 Seems put out, agitated, wild (11)
TEMPESTUOUS – Anagram [agitated] of SEEMS PUT OUT
12 Flower I planted in weedless ground (9)
EDELWEISS – I in [planted in] anagram [ground] of WEEDLESS
15 Close to fastening negligee (7)
NIGHTIE – NIGH (close to) TIE (fastening)
16 Curate’s beginning to manage church — a critical moment (6)
CRUNCH – C i.e. first letter [beginning to] of C{urate} then RUN (manage) CH (church)
18 Get to give a sermon, being initially denied (5)
REACH – {p}REACH (give a sermon) with the first letter removed [being initially denied]
21 Not far off, having shaken off an old boy (3)
SON – SOON (Not far off) with one O (old) removed [having shaken off an old]

Didn’t parse this until post-completion – had been thinking ‘Not far off’ might equate to NEAR or SO NEAR – took several minutes to think of SOON!


62 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2417 by Pedro”

  1. 16:30. This was very difficult-“weedless ground” and “batty at heart” took a while to figure out and “rear-end collision” for SHUNt and search for RIFLE weren’t definitions that came to me easily. I couldn’t parse SON as I overlooked that “not far off”could be referring to time not space. Luckily I checked the anagram “trams made”more closely and saw my first thought Darmstadt was mistaken!

  2. I found this difficult, all right. DNK SHUNT, but finally assumed it means ‘rear-end collision’; I see from ODE that it’s a UK term. Like curryowen I couldn’t see how SON worked, but it seemed inevitable. 8:08.
    I’d say the definition of PURITANICAL is ‘moral’, not ‘being moral’, as both are adjectives and ‘being moral’ is not. (So we have a definition that is not at either end of the clue.) Perhaps “Moral, remarkably un-piratical” would have been better. (Whether ‘moral’ is a good definition for ‘Puritanical’ is another question.)

  3. At 9.21 this took me exactly 2mins longer than yesterday, and I’m not sure why. I did have trouble getting going with the early acrosses but all the long anagrams – AMSTERDAM, PURITANICAL, THESAURUS, TEMPESTUOUS, EDELWEISS – went straight in and after that it was mainly a case of filling in the gaps. Held up by SON, AT FIRST and LIAISON, should have got PLASTIC and SAGA sooner. In the 15×15 they tend to complicate the French are = ES device by old-schooling ‘are’ into ‘art.’ Trying to figure out what French art had to do with anything was a trap I fell into a few times before I wised up.

  4. 9 minutes with no problems although I think this is the first time I have seen (French) ‘es/are’ rather than ‘es/art’ which is a bit of a chestnut, so I looked at it twice.

    I also wondered about ‘tarry/stay’ as I’ve always thought of tarry as delay or dawdle, but SOED gives it a separate entry meaning stay or sojourn.

    I wonder if anyone remembers Gerald Harper as Adam Adamant the Edwardian gentleman adventurer who somehow became frozen in a block of ice but three decades later defrosted and resumed his gallant exploits in London’s ‘Swinging Sixties’? Great fun!

    1. Bit too young for Adam Adamant myself, but my Dad’s half-sisters had it in mind that we were related in some way to Gerald Harper – long genealogical goose chase ensued, no evidence in the slightest of any connection!

  5. DNF beaten by AT FIRST, RIFLE, LIASON and SON, all of which now make perfect sense thanks to Mike’s fine blog, but I just wasn’t on the wavelength and was going to be staring at them all for a long time without success.

    Thanks Pedro – CORKSCREW and SEANCE both top drawer.

  6. A full English breakfast of a QC today with each mouthful being savoured fully and plenty of coffee to wash it down. All green in a decadent 36 minutes, but very satisfying nonetheless.
    EDELWEISS is always a tricky one to spell but fell into place once I’d parsed CORKSCREW and SEANCE – two of today’s favourites. I also especially liked TEMPESTUOUS. I was held up longest by LIAISON, (which seemed obvious from the letters but was a tricky parse even for a rugby fan), and 1d PURITANICAL which was not helped by my lazily putting in ELASTIC for 1a. Doh!
    Another sunny day in store here in Dorset, so it’s off the allotment with the watering cans for me. Again.

  7. Strolled into the Club slightly dischevelled after a tussle with LIAISON that involved an alphabet trawl and a biff because getting from rugby player to LION was too much for me. Some of the trouble was of my own making- I had the final N and my brain rather oddly reckoned that was the N was from ‘start of season’. Lifting and separating ‘old’ from ‘boy’ was tough too – liked that a lot when SON became last one in. All green in 21, so a long deceleration after a good start.

  8. After yesterday’s comfort I was back at the pitface with a 40 minute slog, marred in the end by a couple of careless fat fingers. Plenty of misdirection, AT FIRST, LIAISON, SON but in my protracted solve was enough to parse successfully. COD ADAMANT.
    Stand and Deliver has arisen from the depths to haunt me today.
    Thanks Pedro and Mike for the blog.

  9. All done in an enjoyable 14:29 today. Didn’t fully parse SON or AT FIRST.

    LOI AT FIRST (spent ages thinking that ‘batty’ was an anagram indicator, but not being able to find 7 letters to mix)

    Thanks to Pedro & Mike.

  10. Steady going today – somewhere in between Monday’s toughie and yesterday’s more straightforward offering.
    Not seeing PURITANICAL early meant that the west side of the grid was the last to fall after I’d resorted to pen and paper to unravel the anagram. Like earlier commenters, lion for rugby player was tricky even for a huge fan of the game but it did provide a satisfying PDM. Finished with NOTARY and an unparsed SON in 9.20
    Thanks to MH
    P.S. In answer to Mike’s question, I have generally found Pedro to be one of the tougher setters, along with Wurm

  11. I wasn’t particularly fast or particularly slow but I did seem to be all over the grid again. I got PURITANICAL quite quickly but not PLASTIC which was my penultimate solve. SEANCE was biffed and I hang my head in shame as my LOI was THESAURUS. In my head I confused a lexicon with the Rubicon. 9:34

    1. “Crossing the Lexicon” would be an excellent motto for a crossword club

      1. Templar, you are on a roll.
        Yesterday we had a limerick and today a play on words.

  12. I, too, was all over the grid but enjoyed the exercise. I finished under my target time despite a phone call near the end (so no precise time).
    A good puzzle with some interesting, chewy bits and one or two answers that came easily given a few crossers. My last one was SON: a hopeful biff which I parsed later.
    Thanks for the blog, Mike. I have to confess that it made me realise that I had done a superficial job of parsing in some cases (e.g. LIAISON, NOTARY) despite being quite pleased to have parsed others (e.g. HOSTESS).
    Thanks to Pedro for a fair but quite testing challenge. John M.

  13. Relaxing in my usual chair in the club lounge after this one, but it felt fair enough from a GK point of view. The only leap was LION – I got LIAISON by elimination, but needed the blog to parse it. Though slow, I felt moderately competent in the solve this morning. Thanks Mike & Pedro.

  14. Spent a long time trying to work out why it was SON. Never did, so in the end hit “enter”, saw with relief that I had avoided the DPS, and came here for enlightenment. Thanks Mike! I had assumed it was going to involve removing “an” as well as “o” from something.

    Lots of enjoyment here, with PURITANICAL being worth the price of admission alone. All green in 09:58 for 1.25K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Mike and Pedro.


  15. Tricky puzzle but enjoyable and speedy-ish today.
    Solved 1a and 1d quite quickly which is always encouraging. Liked CORKSCREW, SEANCE, LIAISON.
    Could not parse latter fully (did not think of LION).
    However, there is a technical error, chaps. A negligee is a diaphanous and frilly dressing gown (robe in US?), whereas a NIGHTIE is a nightdress.
    Thanks vm for blog, Mike.

  16. I seem to have bucked the trend a bit – I found this straightforward, but looking at the spreadsheet – this is the first time I have gone under target with Pedro – the other 4 so far this year have all been well over.

    LOI COARSE, after realising that I’d biffed CRASS, which went in as CRASSS – good job I spotted it. Favourites were EDELWEISS and PURITANICAL.


  17. On the wavelength so lots of answers went in on autopilot. 9.5 mins with a few whatsapps answered.
    LOI son.
    COD Amsterdam

  18. For the record, I found this slightly trickier than Monday’s Izetti. I totally agree with Countrywoman with regard to nightie – although she has put things into my mind that shouldn’t be there !

    I biffed SON strictly on the word “boy” and am indebted to Mike for his excellent blog which cleared it up for me.

    TIME 4:06

  19. Drew a blank with 1ac/d, so expected a hard slog and was therefore pleasantly surprised at a 24min finish. At least a couple of those were spent on my last pair, Liaison/Son, which both went in unparsed. Missing Lion for this rugby enthusiast is at least the equivalent of, say, Victoria for queen 😉, so I’m still a bit dumbfounded by the experience. CoD to the wonderful 14ac, Seance. Invariant

  20. I was very slow getting started; and then my FOI was TAR followed by SEA.
    After that normal service until LOI SON where I spent time working out the parsing.
    All of which amounted to 14 minutes.
    My favourites were NIGHTIE (did not know the exact definitions described above) and CRUNCH.
    An enjoyable puzzle.

  21. I had a very similar experience to Doofers, only partially parsing AT FIRST and seeing BATTY as an anagrind. I did parse SON though, and just made target of 15 minutes, with that being my LOI. I agree with Countrywoman about the difference between NIGHTIE / NIGHTY and NEGLIGEE, but it didn’t occur to me at the time of solving. Seeing SHUNT reminded me of meeting the charismatic James ‘the shunt’ Hunt once, a very memorable experience. Thanks Pedro and Mike.

  22. I sailed along quite speedily with this one finishing in 7.10, and would have been under seven minutes but for my final two ADAMANT followed by COARSE which held me up a little.

  23. Good puzzle, pretty hard, but I agree with Countrywoman on the nightie, and also feel that Being moral is nowhere near a def for PURITANICAL. From Wiktionary:
    1 Of or pertaining to the Puritans, or to their doctrines and practice.
    2 Precise in observance of legal or religious requirements; strict; overscrupulous; rigid (often used by way of reproach or contempt).
    Of which 1 is not relevant and 2 is not clearly “moral”. If the def had been “moralistic” then that would have been too easy!

  24. I too seemed to have bucked the trend, finding this on the easy side and finishing in just over 8 minutes. Might have been even quicker if I hadn’t totally misspelt EIDELWEISS but SEANCE and CORKSCREW soon put me right.

    My only doubt was SON which I couldn’t parse so thanks to Mike for clearing that up.

  25. I didn’t find this too hard. I find that I’m just more on some setters wavelength than others. No difficult general knowledge here either.

  26. 14 minutes for me, so I agree with those that found it chewy – in answer to Mike, I usually struggle with Pedro’s offerings, so my time wasn’t a surprise to me.

    Like Andyf I baulked a bit at Puritanical = moral; a more self-righteous bunch of killjoys and prigs would be hard to find, but that isn’t quite “being moral”. And like quite a few others I never parsed Son – it went in only because it fitted with boy, and was more plausible than san, sen, sin, sun or (Doctor) Syn. But in general a good and enjoyable workout.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog

  27. 5.34

    Like Hopkinb I bucked the trend on this a bit.

    I was trying to get it done before my 11.30 meeting which might have added a certain oomph to the solving process. It certainly meant SON went in unparsed


    Thanks Pedro and Mike

  28. Didn’t find this particularly difficult, but I did have to think carefully on several clues. LOI, SON, took a while to parse. PLASTIC was FOI. LIAISON was reverse engineered. 9:12. Thanks Pedro and Mike.

  29. Later: I see on line that nowadays a negligee can be a nightdress of the satin sort. Hm.

  30. 25 minutes, which is quite fast for me. The LIASON/SON pairing held me up a bit at the end and, whilst I parsed LIAISON, I couldn’t do the same with SON. Actually, reading through MH’s blog made me realise that neither had I fully parsed NOTARY, SEANCE and NIGHTIE. I now count myself quite fortunate to avoid a DNF.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Mike H.

    P.S. My stats show that, in terms of difficulty, Pedro is on a par with the likes of Felix, Jalna and Hurley, but not as challenging as Joker, Izetti, Orpheus, Wurm and Teazel (my most afeared setter).

  31. Very difficult, but solved with a couple of biffs and 2 long pauses for thought. Could not parse COARSE, LIAISON or NOTARY. Must have disheartened a few today.

  32. DNF, being undone by the south-west corner. Would never have thought “lions” for “rugby player” or indeed “A1” for “excellent”, so LIAISONS was always going to be a problem.

    Thank you for the blog!

  33. More challenging than yesterday but made slow, steady progress around the grid. Much to savour along the way including HOSTESS and LIAISON. Agree with others than puritanical is not quite the same as being ethical. Couldn’t parse SON or NOTARY. Enjoyable. Many thanks Pedro and Mike.

  34. 19.38 Just slow today and I couldn’t parse LOI SON. I blame the heat. Thanks to Pedro and Mike.

  35. 14 mins…

    Yesterday’s paper tantrum well and truly forgotten, as I managed a satisfying completion in a better than average time.

    As Alan Partridge would say: “Back of the net!” (He’d probably say a few other things, but they wouldn’t be printable)

    FOI – 5dn “Sea”
    LOI – 2dn “At First”
    COD – 11ac “Amsterdam” – nice surface

    Thanks as usual!

  36. Started off quite fast but then slowed down towards the end. Eventually finished in 22 minutes which I was reasonably happy with as I find Pedro one of the more difficult setters. Didn’t parse SON and disn’t fully parse AT FIRST or THESAURUS, so thanks for the explanations Mike.

    FOI – 5ac SAGA
    LOI – 2dn AT FIRST
    COD – 17ac CORKSCREW

  37. 14:30 (Joan of Arc captured by Burgundians)

    My first time here after a fortnight recovering from an operation on one of my eyes that necessitated a week spent looking vertically down, which rather got in the way of doing crosswords.

    I enjoyed this crossword. My last two in were PLASTIC and COARSE. It took a long time to stop reading 1a as “final manmade” and trying to fit E into PHOTO to make a material.

    Thanks Mike and Pedro

  38. I enjoyed this but could not solve the RIFLE and AT FIRST combination.
    I was so pleased with myself for remembering that Flower is usually a river that it took ages to see the cleverly disguised anagrind in 12d.
    Thanks Pedro and Mike.

  39. Slow and steady today, finished in 40m, over target of 30m. Loi son, missing the wordplay. Enjoyable puzzle.

  40. Agree this was difficult, but enjoyed the challenge. Nothing stood out but couldn’t get SON, an off-day preventing me from separating old from boy. FOI PLASTIC, LOI LIAISON, COD CORKSCREW. Thanks Pedro and Mike.

  41. I was doing well and properly working out the clues (rather than biffing) until I was held up towards the bottom of the grid by LIAISON, SON, HOSTESS and REACH. Some tricky clues but I made some daft mistakes. Disappointed with 23 mins as I was hopeful of avoiding the SCC.

    On Monday there was a spirited discussion about using a bad day as a learning experience. Whilst this wasn’t a bad day as such, I felt that I did a lot of learning.

    LOI – SON (not parsed)

    Another excellent blog from Mike. Many thanks as always. 😊

  42. Apologies for being thick, but can someone explain the es/are, es/art discussion between some of the earlier contributors? I dutifully worked out ‘es’ today but I didn’t follow the ‘art’ point.


    1. In modern English we say “you are” for both singular and plural, but previously we said “thou art” when talking to an individual. It still persists in the traditional form of the Lord’s Prayer. In French “you are” (plural) is “vous êtes” and “thou art” is “tu es”.

      I couldn’t see this at the time. For me, “are” in French would be either “sommes”, “êtes” or “sont”.

      And the French still address God as “tu”.

      1. Mike

        You made the comment before I did. Es far too obscure. In German ‘the’ could be 3 genders and 4 cases. Surely the QC isn’t going there.

        Saw in the Times today that the French are having a nightmare with being gender neutral due to ils and elles etc. maybe the Germans have it right with the neuter- das. J

  43. DNF

    Spelt LIAISON with double S, but that’s no excuse for failing to get the rest of the SW corner, with SHUN and SON unsolved after 30 minutes.

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