Times Quick Cryptic No 2423 by Trelawney – Only Connect

This took me 12 minutes, 50% more than yesterday’s Teazel. I had to write out the anagrist for 14a before the answer revealed itself and I thought, whilst solving, that a lot of the words seemed to connect with each other. My thanks to Trelawney, and I hope you all found it as enjoyable as I did.

For words fitting together, try reading the following in order: A 5d-3a 12d 1d steak with a little spicy 22a and 23a salad would hit the 12a right now. Sorry, it is the best I can do at 01:00 in the morning.


Story to follow on the radio (4)

TALE – Homophone clue (on the radio) – sounds like TAIL (follow).

3 Fantastic to croon about TV show (8)

SMASHING – SING (to croon) containing (about) MASH (TV show, maybe unfamiliar to anyone under the age of 40 – the M*A*S*H series ended in 1983).

9 Wet weather beginning to move on shortly (7)

MONSOON – Beginning to M{ove} and ON (on) with SOON (shortly).

10 Stimulate a furtive look, we gather (5)

PIQUE – Another homophone (we gather) – sounds like PEEK (furtive look). PIQUE here as in piquing / stimulating an interest.

11 One scavenging some filthy enamel (5)

HYENA – Hidden answer (some) in {filt}HY ENA{mel}.

12 Pick out road material to acquire (6)

TARGET – TAR(macadam) (road material) and GET (acquire).

14 Reconstruct Iceland’s worst fortress (7,6)

WINDSOR CASTLE – Anagram (reconstruct) of [ICELAND’S WORST].

17 Alpine dancing from a mountainous country(6)

NEPALI – Anagram (dancing) of [ALPINE].

19 Island with a fee (5)

ATOLL – A (a) and TOLL (fee).

22 Lass arranged a dance (5)

SALSA – Anagram (arranged) of [LASS] and A (a).

23 Briefly outspoken during fuss to get fruit (7)

AVOCADO – VOCA{l} (briefly outspoken) inside (during) ADO (fuss).

24 Aides set out for part of Manhattan (4,4)

EAST SIDE – Anagram (out) of [AIDES SET].

25 Arabian spirit losing one part of inheritance?

GENE – GEN{i}E (Arabian spirit – one of several alternative spellings for GENIE, DJINNY, JINNI, etc.) after the I has been removed (losing one).


1  Mother going inside to sell axe (8)

TOMAHAWK – MA (mother) going inside TO HAWK (to sell).

2 Delicate material covering top of nuclear weapon (5)

LANCE – LACE (delicate material) containing (covering) (top of) N{uclear}.

4 Reptile to closely watch woman on a road (7,6)

MONITOR LIZARD – MONITOR (to closely watch) with LIZ (random woman) on A RD (a road).

5 Half-hearted meal? It’s wonderful (5)

SUPER – SUP{p}ER (meal, half-hearted – one of the middle letters removed).

6 Probe fashionable expedition (7)

INQUEST – IN (fashionable) and QUEST (expedition).

7 Nerd from southern Europe runs away (4)

GEEK – G{r}EEK (from southern Europe, after removing R{uns}).

8 Plant covering bottom of flower on a swamp (6)

MORASS – MOSS (plant) containing (covering) (bottom of) {flowe}R on A.

13 Good job it’s thoroughly cooked (4,4)

WELL DONE – Double definition.

15 Sharp objects – require a smaller amount mostly (7)

NEEDLES – NEED LES{s} – require smaller amount mostly.

16 A labyrinth briefly seen on river (6)

AMAZON – A MAZ{e} (a labyrinth briefly) on ON.

18 Collect a male donkey (5)

AMASS – A (a) M{ale} and ASS (donkey).

20 Give a speech in class after two, finally (5)

ORATE – {tw}O (finally) and RATE (class).

21 Man, say, is extremely large (4)

ISLE – IS (is) and L{arg}E (extremely). The Isle of Man is an example of an ISLE.

59 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2423 by Trelawney – Only Connect”

  1. The PIQUE/INQUEST crossing held me up for ages; I had INsomething, never thought of Q. 8:38.

  2. 10:48. For 3 across it looked like emission would fit for TV show but the g at the end from GEEK(my COD) made me rethink and arrive at SMASHING. I guess I always thought of WINDSOR CASTLE as just a residence/tourist attraction so didn’t think of it as a fortress. Reading about it I see during the Civil War at least it did serve a more military function.

  3. 8:50 King Kenneth I of Scotland invades Northern Northumbria burning Dunbar and Melrose.

    Also held up with the PIQUE/INQUEST combo, I saw peek/peak straightaway, but did not think of another homonym.

    The two central anagrams were clearly indicated and had helpful enumeration, they went in quickly opening the whole thing up.

    GEEK is a word originally used pejoratively, but now has almost entirely positive associations, unlike “nerd”.


  4. 11 minutes, delayed at the end by PIQUE/INQUEST and GEEK, the only answers that I hadn’t mange to solve at the first attempt. By the time I returned to them ‘last-few-words-itis’ had set in because I had only 2 minutes left in which to meet my 10-minute deadline.

  5. Another PIQUE/INQUEST victim here. MORASS took a while too, I think because as soon as I saw the word ‘plant’ my heart sank because there are so many of them. In the end it went in from checkers and was parsed after completion. Got all the long ones quite easily which usually means a quick time, but had a fit of the keyboard fumbles over those two Q words – there’s nothing more annoying than that UNLUCKY! message repeatedly popping up as you’re trying to finish – and finally came in at 9.48.

  6. PIQUE and INQUEST like everyone else but then also the rest of the NE. Only five on the first pass of acrosses but the downs went well and I was on for a fast one before each of SUPER, GEEK and SMASHING needed careful extraction before LOI TARGET , where I couldn’t shift ‘tarmac’ from my mind even if that did put the definition in the middle. Ended up all just under 12 but with a bewildering pink square for TOMoHAWK where I parsed before entry and I’m sure it’s a word I can spell! Good one.

  7. 14 minutes. 😮 I always like Trelawney and was well pleased with this. I got held up by INQUEST (trying too long to parse it as INSPECT) and MORASS took much longer than it should have. Luckily I got WINDSOR CASTLE and MONITOR LIZARD quickly which helped no end. (Funnily enough I’d been explaining to Mrs ITTT all about monitor lizards just yesterday on a sunny walk in the Dales, but I’m not sure she took it all in.) That was my favourite clue. I also very much liked SUPER and NEEDLES.
    It’s over the dales to Leeds today, for a brief sojourn in that fair city, before returning darn sarf.
    Thanks Trelawney and Rotter.

    1. I work in Leeds. After the beauty of the Dales, it may have been a bit of a letdown (unless, of course, you were visiting Headingley or Roundhay Park).

      1. It was a lovely drive. We had lunch in Skipton and arrived in Adel mid afternoon. Supper in the garden, it being so clement 😊

  8. 9’01” with PIQUE and INQUEST LOIs.

    Enjoyed the WINDSOR CASTLE anagram and lots of other clues.

    I wondered if there was something going in with the number of superlatives in clues and answers but I wouldn’t have been able to get them all together as Rotter did at 01:00! Good work.

    Thanks Trelawney and Rotter.

  9. A gentle offering but like others PIQUE and INQUEST brought up the rear – not helped by a lazy tarmac at 12a – but not delayed too long by them.
    Finished in 6.29
    Thanks to Rotter

  10. Just like others here I was held up by the INQUEST and PIQUE crossing. I resorted to an alphabet trawl which pushed my solving time out to 11:o2.

  11. 7.33

    Put MORASS in; took it out. Bunged it back in – parsing seems obvious now, thanks TR

    The CASTLE was a nice anagram in a very solid quickie

  12. I struggled a little with this, and narrowly missed my target. I still tend to think of MASH as a film rather than a TV show.

    TIME 5:02

  13. I feel there might be a Nina lurking here, with two Zs next to each other, but I’m useless at spotting them. The DMZ in the unches + MASH + HAWK/ISLE made me wonder briefly if there was a M*A*S*H thing going on but I can’t crack it if so.

    Held up in the NE like others during this thoroughly enjoyable solve. Paused over the parsing of MORASS too. All green in 07:25 for a Sub-K and thus a Red Letter Day, callooh callay!

    Many thanks to the Squire and the Rotter.


  14. PIQUE and INQUEST went straight in. My problem was SMASHING – took me a full minute to get it as my LOI. Even so – still well under target.

    Surface for WINDSOR CASTLE very neat, as was MONSOON.


  15. 3a puzzle, but completed even quicker than yesterday, so i must have been on form. Tricky in parts, and, pushed for time, nearly submitted a DNF but the GENIE emerged from the bottle just in time.. FOI TALE, LOI GENE, COD INQUEST, whereupon the cunning PIQUE was in sight. At 22a was working on OUTSPOKEN = ADVOCATE: and biffed AVOCADO, otherwise all parsed as blog. Many thanks, Trelawney and Rotter.

  16. A good puzzle but the stings in the tail caught me, too. INQUEST, PIQUE, SMASHING, and (would you believe it?) ISLE (what a prat). My version of ‘took me ages’ for the last few** was a bit longer than some of the above and tipped me over target after a quick early run.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Rotter. John M.
    ** P.s. jackkt’s ‘last-few-words-itis’ struck a chord for me!

  17. Enjoyable in the main so thanks Trelawney and TheRotter. I realised that 3a might be Smashing and the penny dropped that the TV show was Mash, so being in my 70’s I got lucky. I wish the setters would make their puzzles accessible to all generations. That’s my only beef.

  18. 12 minutes today compared with 9 yesterday.
    Quite a few clues required extra thought and a re-visit. My LOI was GENIE -just couldn’t see it at first or second pass.
    Also held up by PIQUE,INQUEST and GEEK.
    A fun puzzle offering challenge but nothing too extreme.

  19. I enjoyed this, even though the first pass yielded relatively few answers. When I knuckled down to try to parse the remaining ones, they mostly revealed themselves one by one, however I somehow convinced myself TARMAC was right until I remembered the definition is always at the beginning or end. 24 mins in all, consistent with my longer term performance regression curve, which (despite its name) shows gradual improvement.

    1. 24 mins is a good time given that you are still quite new to this. Well done. 👏👏👏

  20. Some enjoyable clues (loved “Iceland’s worst” = WINDSOR CASTLE), but the NE corner defeated me completely, failed all seven. SING did occur to me, but NHO MASH (how can you expect to do a crossword if you don’t watch TV…); TAR was obvious but where? Even thought of GEEK, and “runs away” = without R, but was in the wrong part of southern Europe even though we’re off to Crete in a couple of weeks. Dear oh dear. No excuses. Thank you, Rotter, for the instructive blog.

    1. You get days like this. Rotter’s blogs are always very helpful and a great learning tool (to be honest, all the bloggers are excellent educators).

  21. Nine minutes elapsed with two to do, and nineteen minutes gone still with the same two unsolved. I gave up the ghost to find PIQUE and INQUEST were responsible for todays brain freeze. A common occurrence lately, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost the plot altogether!

    1. Dear Mr Pandy,
      You are welcome in the brain-freeze gang today, but I hope for your sake that we don’t have the pleasure of your company very often.

      1. I’m pleased to report that after getting the de-icer out, I managed to complete the 15×15 without too much trouble.

  22. I really enjoyed this one. Got INQUEST on first pass but struggled to think of PIQUE until SMASHING and SUPER went in. Needed the crossers for TOMAHAWK, a word I haven’t heard since childhood and which I associate with old westerns. Lots to like including GEEK, GENE and WINDSOR CASTLE (great surface). Hadn’t realised there are so many different spellings of genie – interesting. Thanks Rotter. Thanks too to Trelawney – very enjoyable.

  23. A nice QC which I found not too difficult, though I did spend a lot of time looking for PIQUE and MORASS. Those two words took me more time than giving my cat his breakfast and his eating it all.

  24. 4:28

    Blasted through this – it really helps when the long answers go in easily, something CASTLE with seven letters and there’s a W in the anagrist is worth pencilling in as WINDSOR. That and SMASHING gave the first and last letters of the first word of 4d making that a write-in.

    No problem with PIQUE and INQUEST – where I got stuck momentarily was on TARGET (had been fixated on TARMAC) and LOI GENE (had been wrestling with the less-Englishified spellings e.g. DJINN)

    Thanks Trelawney and TheRotter

  25. I was mainly held up by LOI, SMASHING, even though I have the full set of series of MASH on DVD! GEEK also held me up. PIQUE arrived fairly soon after SUPER, quickly followed by INQUEST. 9:24. Thanks Trelawney and Rotter

  26. A relatively straightforward but no less enjoyable solve, with a little sting in the tail thanks to the Inquest/Pique pairing. That took a minute or two to sort out, via an Inspect detour, but 18mins is still a comfortable enough sub-20. Windsor Castle was good, but my CoD is 23ac, Avocado – something remarkably common (or garden) in crossword land. Invariant

  27. I’ve been slightly surprised by the number of comments citing PIQUE / INQUEST as a problematic crossing pair – in my case, they each appeared fairly quickly. I wonder if Q-blindness is at fault?

    On another subject, I think the 15 x 15 is well worth a recommend today, not the easiest, but well worth the effort for the humour and general smuttiness.

    1. Not so much Q blindness, but more to do with starting on the wrong foot with Inspect, which was a pretty good answer for probe – apart from the minor issue of the parsing. . . The trouble then is trying to ignore your first guess. In the end, I jumped from peak/peek to Pique, at which point Inquest was suddenly obvious.

      1. I did something similar – although I put “Posse” for 10ac.

        It’s those damn hard intersection clues again!

    2. Yes another completion n the Big Board, slow and steady. Can’t always devote the time needed, and I will keep away on a Friday

    3. Thanks for the encouragement to have a go at the 15×15, Rotter. I started after dinner and did not find it easy but, at least, I finished it – in just under an hour. Nice to see that one or two posters from this board took over half an hour so I was not too embarrassed.
      I didn’t really take note of any serious smut as I progressed (too busy stretching my brain) but I managed a few smiles afterwards. John.

  28. Enjoyed this with one of our better times of 17 minutes.
    LOI isle
    Needed the blog to explain some of the finer details.

  29. I was on target for one of my best ever times until MORASS wouldn’t emerge from the swamp. I spent a third as long on that one clue as I had on the whole of the rest of the puzzle. Drat! Total time = 22 minutes, which is still very fast for me – but a rare opportunity to escape the SCC was fumbled.

    I enjoyed words like GEEK, TOMAHAWK and MONITOR LIZARD. In fact, I enjoyed the whole puzzle – until I got bogged down in that wretched swamp.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Rotter.

  30. 7:44. Getting INQUEST with the checked Q – always a bonus – helped me in the NE and for no good reason the one that I took a while to see was AMAZON.

    I’m sure it’s an oldie (and definitely not a goldie) but I liked seeing the two Barbara’s taking centre stage at 14a.

    Thanks to Rotter and Trelawney

  31. 18.15 With half of that spent on INQUEST and PIQUE. The rest of the NE had been slow too.

  32. One of my best ever starts with almost all the across clues filled in on the first pass followed by most of the down clues but then got stuck in the NE. Finally saw GEEK but needed aids for INQUEST which led on to PIQUE. So a technical dnf in the end.
    COD: 21d ISLE.
    Thanks Trelawney and Rotter.

  33. We failed like some others with the inquest pique crossers. Otherwise a steady solve but slower than yesterday.

  34. Not convinced that we gather is the same as we hear. Ruled out a homophone for a long time.

  35. Dnf…

    Alas, I completed it in 21 mins, but had the Inquire/Pique intersection wrong. I put Inspect and Posse – which, obviously, I had difficulty parsing, but definition wise they kind of made sense.

    Other than that, an above average crossword I thought.

    FOI – 1ac “Tale”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 3ac “Smashing” – just for getting the TV reference in there.

    Thanks as usual!

  36. Done late in the day after a long drive, and most surprisingly that seemed to sharpen the brain cells rather than blunt them. All done and parsed in 7½ minutes for a sub 1K finish – not quite my first ever but they are Very Rare so definitely a Red Letter Day.

    Windsor Castle was my COD even before BR’s comment about the “two Barbaras” – great comment and I shall now be quite unable to think of the Castle without recalling it!

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

  37. I’m usually suffering from brain fatigue when I solve so late in the day, so I was pleased to finish this in 17 minutes, all parsed. Some time spent on the INQUEST/PIQUE crossing in common with almost everyone else, but got there in the end.

    FOI – 1ac TALE
    LOI – 10ac PIQUE
    COD – 9ac MONSOON

    A fine puzzle – thanks to Trelawney and Rotter

      1. Managed to solve it steadily without last clue-itis. I actually thought it was a bit harder than most of the other posters seem to suggest. I think Trelawney is perhaps the most straightforward setter, but there were a few tricky ones so content overall. I did make a meal of one very simple clue, but, being positive, I’m not dwelling on it.

        PS Just watched the Surrey v Middlesex T20. Very exciting but not a patch on test cricket.

        1. 16mins very decent. I agree tougher than usual for Trelawney. Well done GA 👍

  38. Was fortunate, it seems, that PIQUE came to mind straight away, and thus so did INQUEST when I got to it. Alas, the same cannot be said for SMASHING and LOI MORASS, which took me over 13 minutes (13:06), so it ended up being just a good day (26th fastest ever) rather than a great one. Thanks Trelawney and Rotter.

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