Times Quick Cryptic No 2427 by Orpheus

Solving time: 4:34

A gentle romp through today’s grid with Orpheus as our guide…

Shouldn’t be too much to scare the horses here – perhaps only a couple of less-frequently-used words to grapple with, at 15a and 20a – and a couple of eyebrow twitches for 6a and 17a where I wondered whether I must be missing something.

I’m expecting some decent times….

(I had hoped to make it to Borough on Saturday 24th – unfortunately the stars did not align for me – hope to meet some of you next time)

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

1 Girl consuming second starchy pudding (8)
SEMOLINA – SELINA (Girl) ‘consuming’ MO (second)
6 Team showing arrogance (4)
SIDE – Double definition?

I filled this in from the Team definition and from checkers. Apparently SIDE is British slang for arrogance (not sure I’ve ever heard of this)

8 Fury on motorway? It’s an illusion (6)
MIRAGE – Add RAGE (Fury) onto M1 (motorway)
9 An opening filled by daughter in period before Christmas (6)
ADVENT – A VENT (An opening) filled by D (daughter)
10 A woman’s old heart-throb, perhaps (4)
HERO – HER (A woman) O (old)
11 Lustreless lock of hair in part of bedding (8)
MATTRESS – MAT (Lustreless) TRESS (lock of hair)
12 Meeting of lovers in Coventry Street (5)
TRYST – Hidden in Coventry Street
13 Lament unknown by the Spanish, for example (5)
ELEGY – Y (unknown in mathematics) by EL (Spanish for ‘the’) EG (for example)
15 Community high-up travelling route with car (8)
EUROCRAT – Anagram [travelling] of ROUTE with CAR

The word Community here suggests the European Community (EC) which morphed into what we know today as the European Union (EU).

17 Play a wind instrument — or sing? (4)
PIPE – Is this a double-definition?

While ‘to speak in a shrill voice’ might be equivalent to ‘to pipe’, I’m not sure that extends to singing – maybe that is why there is a question mark?

Please feel free to enlighten if you think otherwise.

19 Military pageant — rubbish as well! (6)
TATTOO – TAT (rubbish) TOO (as well)
20 Some champagne is suitable for hard rock (6)
GNEISS – Our second hidden [Some] in champagne is suitable
21 Seaside attraction noble mentioned in speech (4)
PIER – Homophone [mentioned in speech] of PEER (noble)
22 North African tabard, say, shortened by Welsh girl (8)
TUNISIAN – TUNI{c} (tabard, say) with the final letter removed [shortened] by SIAN (Welsh girl)
2 Choice cuisine ultimately containing few calories (5)
ELITE – Last letter of [ultimately] {cuisin}E followed by LITE (containing few calories)
3 Gold given to a right-wing church (7)
ORATORY – OR (Gold) followed by [given to] A TORY (right-wing)

I would have thought the definition might have been closer to ‘chapel’ rather than ‘church’.

4 Anger initially infecting army corps (3)
IRE – First letter of [initially] I{nfecting} RE (army corps i.e. Royal Engineers)
5 Trap meant to be sprung in flat (9)
APARTMENT – Anagram [to be sprung] of TRAP MEANT
6 One with accumulated funds in southern state (5)
SAVER – S (southern) AVER (state)
7 Extremely dodgy, unpleasant line of hereditary rulers (7)
DYNASTY – First and last letters of [extremely] D{odg}Y followed by NASTY (unpleasant)
11 Vessel robot manoeuvred in defensive, water-filled ditch (9)
MOTORBOAT – Anagram [manoeuvred] of ROBOT inside MOAT (defensive, water-filled ditch)
12 Destructive wave knocked over chap in new suit (7)
TSUNAMI – MAN (chap) reversed [knocked over] in anagram [new] of SUIT
14 Half of them importune the ruler’s wife (7)
EMPRESS – EM [Half of {th}EM] then PRESS (importune)

…though an EMPRESS could of course, be a ruler herself e.g. Queen Victoria

16 One that eats fish of higher temperature in Bow (5)
OTTER – {h}OTTER (of higher temperature) to a resident of Bow i.e. remove the first letter.

Crosswordland demands that anyone from Bow, ‘ackney, Dalston, the East End etc. must be a Cockney and drop their aitches.

Repeat after me ‘In ‘ertford, ‘ereford ‘and ‘ampshire, ‘urricanes ‘ardly ‘ever ‘appen‘…

18 In Pennsylvania, a way to serve Italian food (5)
PASTA – In PA (State abbreviation for Pennsylvania), A ST (way i.e. street)
20 Strong drink? It’s a trap (3)
GIN – Double definition

Think the question mark is only to make the surface more readable.

Regarding the trap, it is believed that GIN comes from the word enGINe i.e. a device that does not require human intervention to work


61 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2427 by Orpheus”

  1. Wot, first again? I was doing OK here until I hit the fence on SEMOLINA/ELITE, taking about three extra minutes to 9.14. I don’t recall ever meeting a Selina, nor eating semolina, but I should have spotted lite straight away. Would PIPE = sing be in relation to birds maybe? I suspect none of us would ever have known tabard were it not for Chaucer, In Southwerk at The Tabard as I lay. And coincidentally Mike as you mentioned the Borough pi…sorry, get-together, I believe it’s location was quite adjacent to where Geoffrey’s laying actually occurred.

    1. Tabard, strictly from Vic and Bob. And Semolina from repeated unwelcome exposure at Primary School.

      1. I have since remembered semolina gnocchi, it’s worth the trouble. But Vic and Bob?

  2. 10.44. Yes, the SELINA/SEMOLINA connection was very hard to unravel. I also wanted autocrat to be the higher-up but the letters provided didn’t allow it. Trying to figure out where to place the E finally led me to EUROCRAT. SAVER was my COD. I think an ORATORY is often small but the Brompton Oratory in London and Cardinal Newman’s Birmingham Oratory are quite imposing structures.

  3. I first came across SIDE in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart (does anyone read Bowen today? You should.) and didn’t understand. I’m not sure if I’ve come across it since. For PIPE, I had no MER; Kafka wrote “Josephine the Singer, or The Mouse People”, where the writer calls her singing piping. I flung in AUTOCRAT at 15ac without checking the anagrist, and paid the price. 5:44 WOE.

  4. A very speedy 7:56 for me. FOI was SIDE, dredged up from who-knows-where. LOI HERO, held up by dismissing ELITE as a word, as I was pronouncing it “e-light” in my head. Ho hum.

    Thanks to Orpheus & Mike.

  5. A fast one to begin with but, like others, the SEMOLINA/ELITE crossing slowed me down significantly as I had convinced myself there must be a ‘T’ in the pudding. In the end I biffed them without managing to parse and was very surprised when they turned out green. In the end I was undone by not spotting the anagrist in EUROCRAT, convinced it must contain AUTO for car. So 2 pinkies there resulted in No Time Given, but it was about 20 minutes, so pretty decent for me.
    My favourite clues were DYNASTY and EMPRESS.
    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike.

  6. 7 minutes marks a welcome return to form by which I solved a QC within my target 10 minutes for the first time since last Wednesday.

    No problem with Selina here since I’m aware of two famous ones on TV, the news reader and presenter, Selina Scott, and the actress, Selina Cadell.

    1. I was lucky enough to date the exotically-named Selina Spinozzi in my teens, and remember Selina Scott well.

  7. 11 minutes for me, though with the same two MERs as our blogger, Side (not met it meaning arrogance before) and Pipe. Both seem to stretch the association a bit – but then of late our setters seem increasingly to be occupying the outer edges of synonym-land.

    I was also slow to connect Elite with choice. So often these days life seems to offer one a choice between substandard and simply awful that the connection choice/elite took time to emerge. But it did eventually.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog

  8. There should be plenty of chairs available in the SCC lounge today, because, despite the couple of slightly obscure usages already mentioned, this was a genuine QC. I solved all bar two clues on the first reading, and returned my fastest time in months.

    My Dad would use the phrase “he’s got no side to him” when talking of somebody who was a likeable chap, and I suspect that it’s one of those old usages that’s been superseded as our language developed. Nowadays he’d probably be “a diamond geezer”.

    COD GNEISS (it was gneissly hidden)
    TIME 2:52

    1. “Diamond geezer” might also serve for that other old epithet “Salt of the earth”.

  9. A touch under 7 1/2 minutes. Good to have most go in without much trouble until my LOI EUROCRAT for which I couldn’t see the correct sense of ‘Community high-up’. Aren’t there humble pencil-pushing EUROCRAT(s) as well, or maybe they don’t qualify. Managed to get SIDE early on, though I thought it meant “cheek” rather than ‘arrogance’; Collins has “insolence, arrogance or pretentiousness”.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike

  10. Speedy going and I thought I might be on for a rare 5 minute solve but during my proof read realised I hadn’t answered 20d, GIN, so taken just over that rare milestone.
    No problem with SIDE, although it needed to be dredged from the depths, PIPE went in with a shrug from the checkers and managed to avoid the urge to biff the wrong type of ‘crat’ at 15a.
    Finished in 5.07.
    Thanks to Mike

  11. I recall my Uncle Charlie enthusing after being presented with an MBE by the late Queen: “She was wonderful…absolutely no side to her.”

    1. Quite agree, on several occasions I met her (Queen’s Awards) she was delightful. From yesterday’s encounters, I would say it has endured to subsequent generations.

  12. Didn’t bother to check the anagrist, bunged in AUTOCRAT, paid the price. Also slowed myself down by putting “pesto”, sorted out by LOI TUNISIAN.

    08:16 and WOE so this is a Bad Day. It would be improved by England winning the toss and tearing into them!

    Many thanks Mike and Orpheus.


  13. Quickest for about a week, but none the less enjoyed. Surprised at comments on 1a – are there no Tennis fans here? FOI MIRGE, LOI OTTER (unparsed, thanks Mike!}, COD SIDE, which came to mind immediately, but I saited for crossers to confirm. I am familiar with the slang use, usually the negative “there’s no side to him” meaning there’s nothing unpleasant about him such as arrogance or dishonesty.. Thanks Orpheus and Mike..

    1. I think that there are enough tennis fans on here to know that she’s Serena Williams, not Selina Williams 😂

  14. Another AUTOCRAT, which was my LOI and I was trying for a sub ten minute time. That “car” in the anagrist made it just too tempting to forget I was looking for an anagram.

    The word GNEISS looks unlikely if it’s a NHO, fortunately I did know it.

    Female singers, who have, erm, “powerful chests” are often greeted with “look at the pipes on her”

  15. 4.39

    Rare sub-5 for me. “Community high up” was good and that was my LOI, not entirely sure what had been going on with it.

    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

  16. Slow to start but finished well within target. I had a question mark over SIDE but what else could it be? I needed all the checkers for EUROCRAT and my LOI was SEMOLINA in 7:30.

  17. Was on for under 4, but unpicking EUROCRAT took ages – misdirected by community high up – looking for a synonym for “elder”, or “chief”. PDM arrived a minute or so later having written out the anagrist, so I’ll give that COD as well.


  18. Pretty straightforward apart from SEMOLINA and EUROCRAT, where AUTOCRAT seemed the obvious answer at first glance.

  19. A very good, enjoyable QC. It struck a fine balance between easy and testing clues.
    I went through it pretty quickly and was a minute under target but, like others, I slowed for ELITE and SEMOLINA (unfairly derided I think but it always needed a dollop of fruit jam!). Sadly, I joined a couple of others above in jumping for AUTOCRAT for my LOI so shame on me for rushing to finish and falling into the ‘auto’ trap instead of checking the anagrist carefully.
    Many thanks to Orpheus and Mike. John M.
    Note. Before starting this, I penned a belated response to Mendesest’s kind reply to my comment of yesterday. I think Orpheus has shown today what a QC should really be (including the sting in the tail) and I thank him for getting the QC back on track.

  20. Held up at then end by ELITE (like Doofers e-light didn’t mean anything and I tried other routes) and HERO where I was wondering if Hago might have been a hot Greek. My first thought on solving SEMOLINA was of Frank Bough – on a related note caught a World of Sport rerun on ITV4 a while ago and happily watched Dickie Davies and ancient water skiing for ages. Relieved GNEISS was a hidden and relieved too to finish all green in 12 for my fastest solves in what seems like a very long time.

  21. I think these days if you say someone ‘has no side to them’ it is more likely to mean ‘what you see is what you get’. I suppose that might mean there is no hidden nastiness.

  22. Top half easy, bottom half much less so, but all green in an hour (hooray). At least I had thought so… but guessed my LOI AUTOCRAT which is of course wrong. NHO GNEISS but it had to be; thank you, Mike H, for your good blog explaining those two. And I agree: as a musician, would never equate PIPE with sing. But SIDE is ok – as in “he’s got side, hasn’t he?”.

  23. Whizzed round clockwise for a 15.20 finish and passed the SCC without popping in for a quick coffee on the way to work.
    Thanks to commenters for continuing education.
    Thanks Orpheus.

  24. 11.11 and happy with that. FOI SIDE (seems strange that FACE and SIDE can mean nearly the same thing in the arrogance sense) but it was familiar to me. LOI OTTER only because it was the last one I looked at. NP with semolina – my departed dad used to always complain that my mum wouldn’t make it for him, until we made some when he visited – that soon shut him up. Thanks both.

  25. I too was beguiled by 15a autoCRAT, but noticed there was an A short and an E extra, so didn’t put it in and came here.
    I accepted PIPE at 17a just thinking of the phrase “pipe up/down”.
    6a SIDE I have defo heard the term “no side to him”, perhaps it is an age thing. I’m 73.

  26. A swift 6.28 for me with most answers going in without too much delay. I almost fell for the AUTOCRAT trap having initially put it in, but thankfully went back to check the anagrist and came up with the right answer.
    I put SIDE in at 6ac happy in the knowledge that I had heard, and even used the phrase myself, that someone I was referring to showed no side. In other words I considered them to likeable and lacking conceit.

  27. After a poor run for a couple of weeks I was very happy to be green in 16:04. No particular delays, rather a steady solve. A slight double take at MATT TRESS but I guessed that MAT must be an acceptable option although I’ve never seen it. Took me ages to think of LITE for few calories (should have been completely obvious) but at least I didn’t compound the problem by thinking E-light. I’m all smiles – at least until tomorrow! Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  28. 9 mins…

    A sub 10 to add to the collection. Main hesitation was 6ac “Side”, although I remember my Grandma using it when talking about someone in a not so flattering manner.

    For once, I didn’t fall into the trap of 15ac.

    FOI – 4dn “Ire”
    LOI – 10ac “Hero”
    COD – 19ac “Tattoo” – makes me wonder if the setter thought they were awful as well. I couldn’t stand watching them on TV as a kid – nearly as boring as the Onedin Line.

    Thanks as usual!

  29. A very swift solve in 6:49 (649, death of St Birinus, missionary to the West Saxons).
    Semolina also known mainly from school dinners – only palatable if jam or grated chocolate stirred in.

  30. Fairly straightforward, but a sluggish solve meant that I drifted into the SCC thanks to the Elite (wrong end – again)/Semolina pairing. I then spent another couple of minutes desperately trying to think of an alternative to loi Side for 6ac, halving absolutely never come across the second meaning. Sheltered life and all that. Invariant

  31. 5:34, but another carelessly biffed AUTOCRAT. Drat! Thanks Orpheus and Mike.

  32. Also fell into the trap with LOI Autocrat, even tho it made no sense. Failed to check anagram letters.
    Otherwise sped through this at a reasonable pace. On the wavelength, or so I thought. NHO GNEISS, but easy to spot the hidden.
    No problem with SIDE. Liked HERO, ADVENT, MIRAGE, ELITE, among others. ORATORY made me smile.,
    Thanks vm, Mike.

  33. Enjoyable, steady solve today. LOI EUROCRAT (so wanted it to be AUTOCRAT but that just didn’t work) and needed blog to parse OTTER and SAVER (thanks Mike, both obvious with hindsight). Wondered about PIPE = sing. Only know as noun synonymous with vocal tract, rather than vb to sing. No problems with SIDE (my mum used it frequently). Liked ORATORY and DYNASTY. Many thanks Orpheus.

  34. 9:21 With a few minutes at the end spent on ELITE and HERO it could have been quicker. EUROCRAT was nice. Thanks to Mike and Orpheus.

  35. Another unenjoyable DNF for me. Three left unresolved, but by this time this rather limp QC had zapped my interest.

    Pipe for sing? Awful!

    Let’s hope we have a better one tomorrow.

  36. 12 minutes. No major issues but I had to correct a biffed AUTOCRAT to get LOI EUROCRAT.

  37. First one anywhere near target this week at 15 minutes, but alas biffed AUTOCRAT at 15ac. Otherwise much more approachable than the last two puzzles – or do I mean more at my level? The time was not helped by solving 8ac but writing it into 9ac and vice versa. As I solve on paper this prompted much heavy overwriting to the extent that the page now has a tear through the middle!

    FOI – 8ac MIRAGE
    LOI – 15ac, the incorrect AUTOCRAT
    COD – 11ac MATTRESS

    Thanks to Orpheus and Mike

  38. Quickest solve for some time, 2d only clue which we found tricky. Had to be elide or elite, we did not associate lite for few calories. Pleasant puzzle.

  39. 6:35. Although I found this quite easy, I enjoyed it a lot and there are ticks and smiles all around. I particularly liked SAVER and DYNASTY but the romantic pair on the Monopoly board got COD. I nearly fell into the autocrat trap but pulled myself out in the nick of time.
    I made some traditional SEMOLINA recently as MrB was feeling nostalgic about it 🙄 Amazingly he realised he still likes it – and yes, we did top it with a tsp of strawberry jam! I’ll stick to the middle eastern version with cinnamon, raisins and orange zest.
    FOI Semolina LOI MiRAGE COD Tryst
    Thanks Orpheus and Mike

  40. For me a piping voice is likely to be a child’s, and they might as well be singing.

    Not too hard today, although we got a bit stuck for a while in the NW corner.

  41. After my struggles yesterday this stretched the little grey cells just enough to be fun and a pleasure. I found semolina stored in the same mental compartment as tapioca, ground rice and sago. The challenge as a child was to get as much jam, honey or golden syrup as possible into the milk pudding before a parent noticed.
    I do hate the use of Cockney in clues to indicate dropped aitches – just a cheap stereotype.

  42. Can’t say I enjoyed this, probably because I made the mistake of reading the intro to the blog and so put pressure on myself by expecting it to be easy. Stupid error. It was tricky, particularly ELITE and SEMOLINA.

    Finished in 21 mins, having spent last 5 or 6 mins on EUROCRAT (can’t say I liked the clue). I was quite proud of myself for realising AUTOCRAT wouldn’t work and sticking with it until the penny dropped (unlike some of the speedsters). Sometimes being a slowcoach has its virtues.

    Thanks for the blog.

  43. I did this earlier today whilst my parents had dozed off, but didn’t (and still don’t, really) have the time to share any insightful comments.
    Suffice to say that completing an Orpheus in just 23 minutes just blew me away.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Mike.

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