Times Quick Cryptic No 2432 by Jalna


Nothing to scare the horses here, in this beautifully-clued puzzle from Jalna. Some absolute jaffas of clues in here, to borrow a word from Test Match Special.

I finished this one within my target in 11:27. My FOI was ALPS, LOI TESTAMENT, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. I liked all of PARASITE, ANIMATED, VENICE, ALLEGORY and WEED OUT very much.

I’m writing this on the afternoon of July 4th in California. Happy Independence Day to all our American readers.

Definitions underlined in italics, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in squiggly brackets.

1 Exalted university, highly commended (8)
UPRAISEDU for university, + PRAISED (highly commended).
6 Loud noise made by horse and bird (4)
HOWLH for horse + OWL.
8 A large, extremely perilous mountain range (4)
ALPSA + L + first and last letters [extremely] of P{erilou}S.
9 Standard place in which you’ll find a freeloader (8)
PARASITEPAR (standard) + SITE (place) containing [in which you’ll find] A.

Nice one: I missed where the A came from while solving.

10 Enthusiastic and embracing one friend (8)
ANIMATEDAND containing [embracing] I (one) MATE.

Sometimes “and” is just a filler word. But not in this clue.

12 Repeat some terrible choices (4)
ECHO – hidden in [some] “terriblE CHOices”.
13 The King has jewelled items (6)
CROWNSCR (Charles Rex – the King) + OWNS (has).

I think this is the first time I’ve blogged a puzzle using CR for the King.

15 Very pleasant housing close to one Italian city (6)
VENICEV for very + NICE (pleasant) containing [housing] the last letter of on[close to one].
17 Fit a piece of furniture, having removed the front section (4)
ABLE – {t}ABLE, without the “front section”.
19 It symbolises everything horrific about ecstasy (8)
ALLEGORYALL (everything) + GORY (horrific) containing [about] E (ecstasy).
21 New son bears aristocratic title (8)
BARONESS – Anagram [new] of SON BEARS.
23 Couple you might overhear from Bangkok? (4)
THAI – Homophone [you might overhear] of “tie” (couple, as a verb).
24 Satire necessitates elements of risk, I think (4)
SKIT – hidden in [necessitates elements of] “riSK I Think”.
25 Strange altering shape (8)
TRIANGLE – Anagram [strange] of ALTERING.
2 Funny lines in publicity for beer (7)
PILSNER – Anagram [funny] of LINES inside PR (public relations: publicity).
3 Tea in a quantity to be served up (5)
ASSAMA + MASS (quantity), reversed [served up, as this is a Down clue].
4 Drain odd parts of swamp (3)
SAP – first, third and fifth letters [odd parts] of SwAmP.

Drain as a verb, as in to sap someone’s strength.

5 Reckless deed rival botched (9)
DAREDEVIL – anagram [botched] of DEED RIVAL.
6 Washed-up person in hotel area spotted drinking brandy, primarily (3-4)
HAS-BEENH for hotel (NATO phonetic alphabet) + A for area + SEEN (spotted) containing [drinking] B{randy} [brandy, primarily].
7 What possibly inspires Conservative to pay attention (5)
WATCH – Anagram [possibly] of WHAT containing [inspires] C for Conservative.

“Inspires” here means “to take in”, as in a breath. A meaning that I’ve only ever seen in Crosswordland.

11 Will outer edges of the plant’s reproductive organ rot in the end? (9)
TESTAMENT – TE [outer edges of ThE] + STAMEN (plant’s reproductive organ) + the last letter of roT [rot in the end].
14 Eliminate tiny suspicion in conversation (4,3)
WEED OUT – Homophone [in conversation] of “wee doubt” (tiny suspicion).

This one got a little smiley face on my copy.

16 Cut off part of hanging cloth — mostly length (7)
CURTAILCURTAI{n} (hanging cloth mostly) + L for length.

I think the parsing works better with “part” being in the definition, rather than being the wordplay indicator for shortening “curtain”, because “mostly” would then be redundant.

18 Empty space left in repository (5)
BLANKL (left) in BANK (repository).
20 Prosper in good school (3,2)
GET ONG (good) + ETON (school).

Other schools are also available.

22 Runner bound to lose power (3)
SKISKI{p} (bound) without the P for power.


64 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2432 by Jalna”

  1. 17:45. WEED OUT, HAS-BEEN and UPRAISED were my favourites. Also enjoyed seeing little-used STAMEN and GORY in the answers. I was puzzled by place meaning A SITE but after reading the blog I realized I didn’t parse it properly. Thanks for that plus the explanation of the role of part in CURTAIL.

  2. Those complaining about a lack of ‘proper’ QCs should be happy with this one: no specialised knowledge, no obscurities, no foreign words, nothing from antiquity and everything classically clued. I did it in 7, HOWL in first and CROWNS last. Didn’t fully get the latter until the Doof explained it, what a clever clue it is. I think we had better get used to Charles appearing in this manner, which I don’t recall seeing before. Many good clues, standing out for me were TESTAMENT and the clever misdirection giving us TRIANGLE.

  3. Good to be back under 10 minutes, with a run of outs lately. Very enjoyable without anything too difficult although the parsing was tricky in places. I liked the male BARONESS at 21a and only the ‘odd parts’ of the Trump slogan at 4d.

    Thanks to Jalna and Doofenschmirtz

  4. I ambled through this very nice puzzle in 20 minutes so a very good start to the day. I must admit to never having heard of UPRAISED but it seemed an obvious parse and probably says more about me than the puzzle, which I enjoyed.
    I thought TESTAMENT very clever, and PARASITE , CURTAIL and WATCH were my favourite clues.
    Thanks Jalna for a very decent QC, and to Doof for the blog.

    1. A very enjoyable puzzle. Also briefly considered Verona for little justification other than pleasant memories and it begins with V. Ambled to success in a well timed 20 minutes to pass by my usual corner chair to take a seat in the sun on the terrace this morning. I expect light trade in the club today.
      Thanks to Jalna, Doofers and all for their comments with which I concur.

  5. I’m not complaining for one moment, but I didn’t find this quite as easy as most so far and required a minute over my target 10 to complete it.

    As happens so often it was two intersecting answers that delayed me at the very end, HOWL and WATCH.

    Like vinyl1 I thought Verona before VENICE at 15ac but didn’t get as far as writing it in.

  6. 4:57

    Found this easier than many grids of late, writing in most of the acrosses on the first pass (excepting PARASITE, VENICE and ALLEGORY) – the downs gave enough checkers to mop up most of the rest – only HAS-BEEN and PARASITE holding out momentarily at the end.

    Thanks Jalna and Doofenschmirtz

  7. Fairly straightforward, but with some nice surfaces. LOI was the only Down clue not to fall on the first pass, as I was initially convinced it would begin with C, not having immediately seen HOWL.

    TIME 4:00

  8. Steady going with a pause at the end for UPRAISED, a clunky sounding word I’m not sure I’ve seen before. Lots to enjoy as others have already mentioned but the pick of the bunch for me was ALLEGORY.
    Finished in 7.42.
    Thanks to Doofers

  9. I liked this. It didn’t quite get me out of the SCC, but close, and gave me encouragement to continue the cryptic crossword journey, on which I’ve only recently embarked. The main cryptic is too much for a novice like me, for now. I aspire to take on that challenge in time. However, I do sense some huffiness that today‘s QCC was too easy. I looked up the original QCC launch article (thetimes.co.uk/article/times-crosswords-introducing-the-new-quick-cryptic-gj6fk59cfkh) which states:
    „Appearing Monday to Friday on the puzzles pages of Times2, it will be reduced in size and hopefully in difficulty too, the intention being to introduce new people to cryptic crosswords, and to encourage those solvers who’d like to have a go at the main puzzle but feel daunted by it, or who can perhaps only solve a handful of clues.“

    The QCC is for people like me, and today‘s offering from Jalna fitted the bill perfectly. Horses for courses, right? I love this blog, as it also helps me understand and improve. It’s an invaluable tool, and the commentary is always very engaging.

    Thank you Doofenschmirtz and Jalna. Keep them coming!

    1. Quite agree.
      In our usual time of mid 20s and enjoyed always benefiting from the blog.
      NE corner our last area to complete.

    2. In contrast to your name you are doing well to be just outside the SCC as a new starter. I’ve been doing these for 6 months now and feel fortunate to finish in under and hour.
      Today was a rather pleasing 36 minutes but I don’t rush and always try to parse every clue.

  10. Smooth passage in general, with enough turbulence to make it fun. Lots of excellent clues but my stand out was CROWNS, very neat indeed.

    All done and parsed in 06:50 for a Very Good Day. Many thanks Jalna and Doofers.


  11. I don’t think it was as easy as Vinyl asserts, a lot of newbies don’t have that level of experience.
    Anyway quite enjoyable and although I worked late again, still finished just outside of target.
    Liked howl and watch.

  12. I started really well but was slowed by parts of the middle/upper left. All my fault because, having recognised STAMEN at once, I biffed STATEMENT instead of TESTAMENT (and did not realise that I had over-written the first letter of ALLEGORY with an ‘E’). Very careless indeed and I deserve what I got (a time on the edge of the SCC) for ignoring my own advice to parse carefully. Having corrected this, ANIMATED, CROWNS, and PILSNER dropped out and all was well.
    I am not in the mood to pick out best clues but offer thanks to Jalna for an excellent QC and to Doofers for his blog which I will now read properly. John M.

  13. Neat crossword, as others have said. I was a bit slow getting started, but there was nothing too difficult. Having the H and W from the downs I did try HAWK at first for for 6A wondering how it could mean a loud noise. COD to the nicely hidden ECHO. Thanks Jalna and Doofers. Completed and all parsed in 5:03.

    1. Good job I didn’t think of HAWK because I think it works!


      In British English
      1. (intransitive)
      to clear the throat noisily
      4. a noisy clearing of the throat”

      1. I didn’t think it would be loud enough. And, alas, the bird is spelt AUK and AWK is not an alternative (as I thought at the time). Mind you I did use AWK quite a bit for text processing on a UNIX workstation back in the 1980s.

      2. I did exactly this, and got two pink squares. Also a Unix programmer, and forgot that Auk is not spelt Awk.

        Awks as my daughter would say.

  14. Indeed, mostly straightforward, but I was pretty stuck on CROWNS for minute or so until I realised that king was CR, which then gave me my LOI WEED OUT. Both of which were very good clues. In fact the whole puzzle was beautifully clued and accessible. Hat to Jalna, and of course a hearty thanks to Doofers.


  15. 10:37 (Harold Harefoot proclaimed King of England)

    Very good to have a crossword that I could finish, after two successive DNFs. Slow getting started, but it all fell into place.


  16. Like a couple of others above, I didn’t find this that easy, and also ended up a minute over target at 16 minutes in my case. LOI was BARONESS where I failed to spot the anagram immediately, but I was slower on several others, including PILSNER, which I thought was a trademark. Very nice puzzle though – thanks Doofers and Jalna.

  17. This didn’t fly in and ended up as a DNF because I biffed HAWK not HOWL and am kicking myself hard for it. I liked the puzzle very much with WEED OUT, ALLEGORY & PARASITE my favourites.

    Thanks Jalna and Doof.

  18. I could not see past HAWK which is very annoying. Really enjoyed today’s QC and pleased I was able to parse all the other clues without a problem. Thanks to Doof and Jalna.

  19. I’m with those who have mentioned it wasn’t the gimme that a lot of solvers have stated it was. I did make it inside target at 9.05 but found it sticky in places. I didn’t help myself by putting PARVENUE in for 9ac thinking the extra E might be an alternative spelling. It was only corrected once HAS BEEN fell into place.

  20. 4.42. Excellent crossword I thought, accessible to beginners but still satisfying for the more experienced.

    COD to either ANNOYS or WATCH

  21. A very nice puzzle. I was a little slow to get going but the bottom half was less of a struggle and that gave inroads to the top half. All done and all parsed in 9 minutes for a Good Day. And like others, I think the first time I’ve seen “The King” give CR.

    One to remember next time I think the QCs are universally getting tougher.

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog

  22. The blogger claims this was easy. “so easy that …”

    Way to go to make other less abled people feel down about struggling. Seems to me some here need to have a bit of consideration for others struggles.

    I did find this rather difficult, but despite that I did enjoy it. I don’t mind difficult QCs so long as they are fair, with no obscure words.

    TESTAMENT had me perplexed for a long time, with the clue seemingly nonsense to me. But once the answer came I could see how it worked. Stamen kept popping into my mind, only for me to dismiss it.

    WEED OUT also caused me some headaches.

    So, a difficult but fair QC. Other setters take note. This is how it’s done!

  23. More than the usual number of across clues fell into place on the first pass but strangely almost all on the left hand side. However that gave me enough to complete most of the downs on first pass and then it was just a case of mopping up the rest. 14 mins all parsed, although the parsing of WATCH wasn’t immediately clear. Nice puzzle.

    FOI – 8ac ALPS
    LOI – 2dn PILSNER
    COD – 13ac CROWNS

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  24. Yes this was a relatively easy one. All done in 14:38. But – horror of horrors- pink squares. The trouble with straightforward QCs is that you see H_W_ and bird in the clue and HAWK almost writes itself in. I promised myself I would go back and check but of course I didn’t. And HOWL was really so obvious. Oh well. Much enjoyed this well-clued offering by Jalna. FOI PILSNER, LOI ABLE, COD – an honourable 3-way tie between CROWNS, WEED OUT and TRIANGLE. Thanks Jalna and doofers.

  25. Decent solvers probably don’t appreciate how “easy” these are with the checkers.

    I was stumped around the 16-min mark. But had the DAREDEVIL anagram to unravel with just two Ds in place to work with.

    As soon as I sorted it, I was able to add ALLEGORY, HAS-BEEN, VENICE, PARASITE as quickly as I could navigate and type. The grid went from looking a bit sparse to over half full.

    COD to CROWNS btw. Actually a whole bunch of great clues even if some of them did hold me up.

  26. Not too bad: FOI THAI, COD TESTAMENT (enjoyed HOWL and BARONESS, too), stumped only by PILSNER (not familiar with this, not being a beer drinker). RHS easier than the LHS. One or two I couldn’t fully parse, so thank you, Doofenschmirtz, for the helpful blog.

  27. A rare sub-10 this morning. It didn’t feel especially easy and lots needed careful parsing. Enjoyed seeing TRIANGLE hiding in ‘altering’and saying WEED OUT to myself a fee times to check. All green too. Good one.

  28. 14 mins…

    A good QC in my opinion with some lovely styled clues.

    Nearly biffed “Money” for 7dn, but realised it didn’t fit, and then had a strange “blank” for 18dn (I nearly put Black). Only issue was parsing 6dn, where I assumed the “Has” element was formed by some combination of the “primarily”.

    FOI – 4dn “Sap”
    LOI – 18dn “Blank”
    COD – 11dn “Testament”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I originally put “slack” instead of blank … thinking if there’s some “slack in the schedule, it’s got some empty space”. sack for repository.

      Then I moved up to look again at the unfilled (t)ABLE and saw the error of my ways. For some reason had considered (c)HAIR 🤣 but fortunately unparseable.

  29. Another HAWKer.

    Found it quite hard going, but it was a fair challenge with some good clues. I liked TESTAMENT because Stamen was the first thing I thought of for “plants reproductive organ”.

    I found ABLE harder than necessary as a thought the “a” was already accounted for. So was looking for only three letters, and thought “fit” would be as in “seizure”.

  30. I didn’t find this as easy as most others, struggling with HOWL, WATCH & HAS-BEEN in NE corner, and CROWNS too. Ah well.

  31. I didn’t find this easy either, but that may have been because I was awoken at 6am with a nagging pain in my ankle, at which point I headed downstairs for some laudanum substitute(co-codamol and ibulieve gel) and brought a cup of tea back to bed where I tackled the puzzle, so I may have been distracted, as you all probably are now by this labyrinthine sentence. Anyway I went over my target going from SAP to CURTAIL in 11:51. Thanks Jalna and Doofers.

  32. In my defence, I was never really happy with loi Hawk, but I was still basking in the glow from parsing Watch, and for some reason Owl never made an appearance, so Hawk it was. A pity because I thought this was a good QC, though not quite the walk in the park mentioned by others. CoD to 7d, Watch, a nose ahead of Crowns. Invariant

  33. 20:00 I didn’t find this as easy as others. I fell into the HAWK trap but the correct answer was obvious as soon as I saw the pink squares. I’m not too upset because I also fat-fingered ASSAM so it was a DNF anyway. I couldn’t parse WEED OUT and now I feel like a fool! Thanks to Doofers and Jalna.

  34. Quite a challenge but all went well. No time as I’ve just taken possession of a new knee – so I suppose the interruptions are to be welcomed rather than otherwise.

  35. 12:52 today. I too didn’t think it was quite as easy as some have said, but I seem to be on a bit of go-slow at the moment anyway.
    I thought this was a surreptitious puzzle, in that it seemed pleasant enough as I went along, but when I looked back at the clues, I realised that there were some crackers hiding in plain sight! In particular, I liked BARONESS, PILSNER, WEED OUT and GET ON – I answered that one with a sense of irony and wondering what Merlin would have to say! I am drinking a cup of ASSAM as I type. Funny how one word can trigger an earworm – today it’s Killer Queen (in conversation she spoke just like a baroness)
    FOI Sap (I just happened to spot it) LOI Animated COD Crowns
    Thanks to Jalna and Doofers

  36. I ECHO the above and was also with the HAWKs today. I have been doing these for 4 years now and did not find it easy but I did get it done in a reasonable time for me. It was a steady solve but sadly today nothing that brought a chuckle. Some words seem to have cropped up a bit recently – THAI, SKI, tABLE. I guess there’s only so many that fit with common crossers.

    Thanks Doofers and Jalna.

  37. Possibly the best QC of the year in my opinion. All v good clues and some real stand outs.
    Nearly failed with WIPE OUT for 14d (inadvertently overwriting the e in TABLE) but even with WIT for conversation I could not make PEOU short for suspicion. Finally noticed the error and had a PDM with WEED OUT.

  38. No hold-ups today although slightly unsure about UPRAISED on submission. My favourite WEED OUT made me smile. Found this QC fairly straightforward compared to recent puzzles but did need blog to parse CROWNS correctly – I must remember CR for king! Many thanks for the blog Doofers. Thanks too to Jalna.

    Thoughts on what constitutes a ‘good QC’ seem highly varied based on comments over the last few weeks. Some like to be able to finish, and maybe in a fast time. For me a good QC is one where there is a bit of head-scratching, some new vocabulary or maybe a new piece of GK. On this basis the ones I struggle with or even fail to finish are often my favourites. That’s when the blog comes into its own.

  39. 13a. I was wondering when we were going to see CR. I did think of a clue a while back- The King has several of these. Better? It appears he’s in Edinburgh today collecting another. J

  40. Well, you can all have a good laugh at my complete and utter ineptitude. 42 mins for a DNF after putting HAWK. It was made much worse having to read about how many of you find it easy. You’ve no idea how demoralising such comments are.

    I am at my wits end with these wretched QCs. Am I the only person who found WATCH, WEED OUT, CROWNS and PARASITE very hard?

    How is it possible to go backwards rather than improve? I give up.

    1. I’m hoping you won’t give up Gary, but persevere and get better and more confident. As others have acknowledged, there were some tough clues here. Unfortunately, and as I have said before, as a blogger one has to describe it as one finds it. Worse than declaring it ‘easy’ and finding that others found it chewy is to declare it a stinker and have everyone else breeze through it. Keep going – it will be worth it in the end.

    2. Hi Gary,
      Don’t give up! Some days will be better than others, and one person’s “dead easy” puzzle is another person’s nightmare. Of the clues you mention, WATCH depended on knowing the in-crosswords-only meaning of “inspiring” – that’s worth remembering. WEED OUT was signalled as a homophone by “in conversation” (similar phrases are “on the radio”, “for an auditor”), but I needed the O and the T before the penny dropped. For CROWNS, I’ve been waiting for CR to make an appearance, as ER for “Queen” was a staple for decades. And PARASITE was tricky – that middle A was very well hidden in the clue.

      I’m reminded of something I read ages ago about expert chess players. Ordinary chess players never consider illegal moves when trying to decide what to do: it never occurs to anyone who knows the rules that a knight could be moved diagonally, for example. You simply don’t see the illegal moves. Expert chess players simply don’t see poor moves. I feel that there may be an analogy there with getting better at crosswords: I’ve found that I’ve got a lot better at quickly identifying the type of the clue, which is at least half the battle.

    3. I would also bear in mind that probably only a very few people who attempt the Times QCs actually comment on this blog and of those some have doubtless been doing cryptics for many years. It’s not a level playing field so maybe it’s best to think only of your own progress. I’m sure you must be far better than when you first started. I’ve been attempting these puzzles for quite a few years now and still don’t always finish. I still enjoy them though 😃 Keep going!

    4. I usually try to say “It’s simple but not easy”. I’m not sure either was true today though. Until the aforementioned DAREDEVIL unravelled, I was in danger of sitting staring for a long time. And wasn’t helped by putting TIES instead of THAI as it blocked CURTAIL.

      I had very little on the first pass beyond HOWL/WATCH, ASSAM, ALPS, ECHO. A bunch of clues in there I just couldn’t understand and then when light dawned, I thought they were fantastic.

      Unfortunately the nature of site doesn’t encourage slow solvers to reveal their times so when you have a relatively bad day, you can feel bottom of the class. I’m sure I’ve been slower than you the past couple of days. I’m resigned to my brain just not having the flexibility to come up with less obvious synonyms. The times will be what they are.

      Chin up GA 👍

      1. Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement and advice. I very much appreciate the trouble you have taken. I will, of course, persist and persevere. Like most solvers, I’m addicted to the QC, even if it does drive me up the wall on occasions. 😊

        PS Thanks also for the blog. I forgot to say this in my initial posting today.

  41. A nice QUICK crossword, just the thing after a long walk and a pint. All parsed with the possible exception of CROWNS which I took as a DD, but I think it works, though the blog’s is better. FOI UPRAISED, LOI CURTAI, COD PARASITE. Thanks jalnea and Doof.

  42. After reading Doofenschmirtz’s verdict, I was pleased to scroll down and see that there were plenty of other people who didn’t think it was as easy as all that! I found it slightly harder than average. I liked Testament. LOI Able. Thanks Jalna and Doofenschmirtz.

  43. I did this earlier today, but have only just got the opportunity to post my comments which, in summary, are that I made steady progress throughout and experienced no significant hold-ups. My FOI was ALPS and my last few were in the NE (PARASITE, HOWL and WATCH) and SW (WEED OUT and CROWNS) corners. Total time = 29 minutes. Enjoyable and pitched just right for a QC, IMHO.

    Mrs Random dashed it off in 16 minutes, so she earns the family point yet again. Mrs R has a collection of traditional-style teddy bears and she entrusts them with looking after her stash of family points. Whilst her gang of bears are always very friendly with her they can be quite fierce towards me, so I can’t even pinch the odd point when she’s not looking.

    Many thanks to Jalna and Doofers.

  44. Easy or not – I took my usual comparatively long time, and enjoyed every minute of it! Especially WEED OUT.
    (Alternative clue (?) – “Get rid of urine … all passed (4,3)”
    Thanks to Jalna and Doofers

  45. I’m glad to say I am in the “found this relatively easy” camp today apart from my LOI CURTAIL. Crossed the finish line in 13:09 for my 26th best time ever. I still kind of agree with some of the points Poison Wyvern makes though about people being too quick to say how easy things are. The phrase “Nothing to scare the horses” brings back memories of hour long solves after which I’d come on here to mop up the last few and be incredulous at the things other people considered straight forward. All part of the learning process though. Thanks Jalna and Doofers.

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