Times Quick Cryptic No 2447 by Felix

Hi, Doofenschmirtz here, filling in for Mike, who is – I’m sure – in some exotic location getting bronzed and fit.

I found this an approachable puzzle from Felix. There were a bunch of clues that were obviously anagrams that I left until I had some crossing letters: anagrams are not my strength. My FOI was NIGHT OWLS, LOI was MUSIC BOX. All done in 13:58, inside my personal target of 15 minutes, so I’m happy with that.

This being a Felix puzzle, I expect that there is a theme or a Nina lurking somewhere. But I can’t see it despite a good while spent staring at the filled-in grid. So if there is one it’s drawn from the part of Felix’s knowledge that doesn’t overlap with mine: I look forward to being educated by the hive mind.

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

8 Not the same on earth, strangely (7)
ANOTHER – Anagram [strangely] of ON EARTH.
9 One used to hang back in game so one-sided (5)
NOOSE – Reversed hidden [back in] “gamE SO ONe-sided”.
10 One wearing medal on the way out? (5)
GOINGI (one) surrounded by [wearing] GONG (medal).
11 Depression: it is a medical condition (7)
COLITISCOL (depression) + IT IS.

A col is a pass between two peaks. So while often quite high, from the point of view of the peaks, the col is a depression.

12 People staying up late, close to Wales, oddly (5,4)
NIGHT OWLSNIGH (close) + TO + WaLeS [Wales, oddly].
14 Tree from the Spanish arboretum, at the far end (3)
ELMEL (the, in Spanish) + M [“far end” of “arboretuM“]
16 Dog  used for experiments? (3)
LAB – double definition
18 Companions tampering with the sample (9)
HELPMATES – Anagram of [tampering with] THE SAMPLE.

Not a word I’m familiar with – I thought it was “helpmeets”, but the anagram indicator was pretty strong.

21 Sort of bread to consume, when outside (7)
WHEATENEAT (to consume), with WHEN outside.

Sometimes a clue just makes you go “d’oh” when the penny finally drops.

22 Football club has rushed in European currency (5)
FRANCFC (as in Aston Villa FC) with RAN inside (rushed in).

I almost included a reference to Villa last week when I had to explain ASTONISHED, but refrained.

23 Early seventies hit some play last (5)
LAYLA – Hidden in [some] “pLAY LAst”.

I knew the song, of course, but couldn’t have told you whether it was from the sixties or the seventies. Famously inspired by Eric Clapton’s love for George Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. In a factoid that I’ve only just discovered, apparently Harrison attended the wedding of Clapton and Boyd, 2 years after he and Boyd were divorced. Which puts a whole different slant on the entire story, I feel.

24 Goal net being moved: that leaves a sour taste (7)
TANGELO – Anagram [being moved] of GOAL NET.

A tangelo is (apparently) a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine. The name comes from “tangerine” and “pomelo”. I think I’ve seen them at my local farmers’ market: will make a point to try one and report back.

1 Alarming manoeuvres along the borders (8)
MARGINAL – Anagrams [manoeuvres] of ALARMING.
2 Drills are so  dull (6)
BORING – Double definition
3 Time to embrace ruffian (4)
THUGT for time + HUG (embrace).
4 Black bird crossing a cape to find Polish city (6)
CRACOWCROW (black bird) containing [crossing] A C.

C for Cape as seen on maps, as in “C. Horn”.

5 Clue man’s worked out for “America” (5,3)
UNCLE SAM – Anagram [worked out] of CLUE MAN’S.
6 Greedy person at cup match producing hamper (6)
HOGTIEHOG (greedy person) + TIE (cup match).

“Hamper” seems like a bit of an understatement for “hogtie”, but if you were hogtied, you’d definitely be hampered.

7 Place to eat  hash? (4)
MESS – Double definition.
13 Pacific islander volunteers to strike Scotsman perhaps (8)
TAHITIANTA (Territorial Army – the British volunteer reserve, so ‘volunteers’) + HIT (to strike) + IAN (standard Scot).
15 Producer of notes and letters from abroad in charge of fight (5,3)
MUSIC BOXMUS (slightly dodgy plural of MU, the Greek letter, so ‘letters from abroad’) + IC (in charge) + BOX (fight).
17 Extra repeats becoming so long (3-3)
BYE-BYE – A bye is an extra in cricket. Repeated, gives us “bye-bye” (so long).
19 Starts to look elsewhere, not getting the hoped-for distance (6)
LENGTH – First letters of [starts to] Look Elsewhere Not Getting The Hoped.

Sounds like my golf game.

20 Taunted, after time, relaxed (6)
TEASEDT for time + EASED (relaxed).
21 Uncultivated — but you might pick up Oscar? (4)
WILD – Homophone [might pick up] of ‘Wilde’ (Oscar).
22 Excellent  punishment (4)
FINE – Double definition

92 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2447 by Felix”

  1. 12:03. I didn’t think of COL as depression or understand how the definition for BORING worked so grateful to the blog for explanation. NIGHT OWLS was my favourite clue today and I wonder if it is possibly another indirect reference to Aston Villa F.C. as I imagine Villa has played many matches over the years against Sheffield Wednesday. The “cup match” giving TIE for 6 down of course also leads to Aston Villa!

    1. I still don’t understand how Boring means Drills. I cannot think of a sentence where they would be equivalent. Can you help me?

      1. The clue parses into “drills are so” and “dull”. So how are drills? Boring. In the sense that they make holes.

  2. Not too many problems but the SE made sure this was not going to be a quick dash to the finish, in the end I clocked 9.49. TANGELO had me on my knees for a while, and MUSIC BOX turned my whole world upside down. Not sure what a music box is, but anyway. All up an enjoyable and fair puzzle from Felix with nothing too obscure. Well done to the Doof for filling the breach.

    1. I think of a music box as one of those boxes that plays a tune and has a pop-up spinning ballerina when the lid is opened. Much loved by makers of unimaginative horror movies.

      1. Ah, right. I think my mother had one when she was a little girl – so about 1915. I wonder if there’s a music box that plays the Layla riff…

  3. Another factoid about 23ac: she inspired THREE love songs. To me, “Something” by George Harrison was way better than “Layla” or “Wonderful Tonight”, both by Clapton.

    1. Couldn’t agree more! Wonderful Tonight is particularly twee. But she must have had ‘something’ that’s for sure.

  4. Pretty straightforward; at least I don’t remember what slowed me down. 6:42.

  5. 10 minutes. I’m very familiar with TANGELO which is a citrus fruit, but ‘leaves a sour taste’ suggests unpleasantness to me so I looked twice at the definition and wasn’t entirely happy with it.

    NHO LAYLA and in fact when I wrote the answer in I was thinking of The Kinks, but that was Lola which of course was something altogether different.

    I can’t see any theme or Nina, but I’m sure there’s something beyond my ken. Perhaps Felix would care to enlighten us or give us a hint later if no-one has spotted anything?

  6. Just under 11 minutes. As noted, nothing too obscure, but sorry, can’t help with a theme or Nina. A few less than common words in HOGTIE and HELPMATES held me up. Same comment as Jack about LAYLA v. Lola. Favourite was the surface for COLITIS, with COL also being clued by ‘Depression’ rather than the more usual “pass”.

    Thanks to Doofers for filling in and to Felix

  7. HOGTIE? TANGELO? Where do they find these words? Defeated yet again by struggling over never-heard-ofs. No time given but firmly ensconced in the SCC yet again.

  8. Reasonably brisk business except in the SE, where I thought I was looking for a football club not a currency (shouldn’t it be “former” currency?) and couldn’t get LOI FINE without the first letter.

    Can’t see the theme and thought it was going to be an Oink from HOGTIE! COD to COLITIS. All done in 07:26 for 1.2K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Felix and Doofers.


    1. I thought the same about “former” currency, but then remembered the Swiss Franc.

  9. Fairly gentle going today but now desperately trying to avoid getting an earworm from 23a, a song I actively dislike due to it’s propensity for getting stuck in my head!
    Other than that an enjoyable enough solve, although NHO HELPMATES.
    I wondered whether their might be an Oscar Wilde theme based on 21d, but as I’m very vague on his works I wouldn’t be able to spot it even if there was.
    Finished in 6.07.
    Thanks to Doofers

  10. 22:16 for a corrected DNF .. silly error of putting LeYLA. Held up beyond 15mins by HOGTIE and MUSIC-BOX but forced myself to stay patient and sort it out. The latter I’d originally put an unparsed MUSIC-MAN then left the -A- when I filled in NHO ToNGELa (although tang- had seemed likely when I first looked). Spent a good 5mins alphabet trawling for unsuitable RAP and WAR = fight before seeing the error. Disappointed with self to then have DNFed on a hidden 🙄 Off to punish self with some 1,200m intervals round the streets in the sun before press-ups and biceps brachii curls.

      1. ‘Allo ‘LO … now listen very carefully, I shall say this only once 🤣

        Definitely doing both. Now realise the plural is “guns” !

        1. I see what you did there. I trust you are referring to muscles, not the Fallen Madonna….

  11. Found this quite tough. I sometimes find double definitions the hardest, even when I know that it’s exactly what I’m looking for. FINE as ‘excellent’ was a stretch for me – ‘fine’ striking me at first more as ‘acceptable’ but I can see why it works: ‘what a fine looking animal’ ‘a fine shot’ etc but I still needed the F to get it.

    MARGINAL as an anagram of ‘alarming’ threw me but saw it near the end.

    Thanks Felix and Doof

  12. Slow going today, mainly due to those beastly names and plural Greek letters, ffs? I do know my Greek alphabet, but still! Do I need to brush up on my Phoenician?
    Thanks to setter and Doof.

    1. I would say it’s nearer to sour than to sweet, but it’s definitely citrussy. Redolent of grapefruit as I recall. Off my 5 a day list, along with grapefruit (which I miss) due to a tendency to cause reflux.

  13. All said and done in 21. Prefer today’s ear worm to yesterday’s Polka dot bikini. Drat. Now I’m really in trouble.
    Thanks Felix and Doofers.

  14. A steady solve with some interesting clues and PDMs. I don’t know why it took me 2 mins over target.
    Thanks, both. John M.

  15. 17 minutes and over target for the third consecutive day. No particular problems, just generally slow and stupid. I also looked for a theme without spotting anything, except UNCLE SAM and MUSIC BOX seem to ring a bell lyrically. Maybe I’ll look deeper when I have finished my chores. Thanks Doofers and Felix.

  16. A pleasant enough solve – 12 minutes for me – but I felt some of the clues were a bit loose. Col for depression, for example, or Tangelo being sour (they are not really sour – sometimes quite tart, but then so are lemons), or even Another for not the same (how about identical twins – the second is definitely “another” child as far as the parents are concerned). You can make the case for all of these, and none of them even really warrant a mini-MER, but the overall impression I am left with is that the puzzle could have been tauter. A bit like the gearbox of my first car (late 1960s vintage VW campervan) – precise gear slots it did not have, and finding any given gear was a bit like stirring a bowl of marbles with a long wooden spoon.

    Slightly surprised also to see Cracow spelt with two Cs; the question of foreign cities and when we use the spelling of the country concerned or an anglicised version thereof is a minefield, but except for capitals (Lisbon, Rome, Brussels, Moscow etc) and a very few other cities (for some reason dominated by Italian ones, eg Turin, Milan, Naples, Venice, Syracuse), we seem increasingly to be using the native spelling (eg Porto not Oporto, Marseille not Marseilles). And I thought Krakow was by now firmly in that category.

    Many thanks Doofers for the blog. I cannot see a Nina either … but then I very seldom can.

    1. As a student bumming around Europe, I was surprised that the locals seemed to call their cities Goteborg and Kobnhavn instead of the correct Gothenburg and Copenhagen.

  17. I actually looked for a theme, but can’t see one – but then Felix’s themes can be quite obscure.

    The puzzle caused me little difficulty, and fell in two passes.

    TIME 3:53

  18. Struggled somewhat in parts. Finally got COLITIS, but I think of Col as a mountain pass rather than a depression. Managed HELPMATES and MUSIC BOX, and, doubtfully, TANGELO and HOGTIE, but had looked up the easy FINE to save time.
    NHO LAYLA but she was hidden in plain sight. Idiotically I was also slow on LAB.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  19. 6:28

    My thanks to Doofers for covering for me today – not exactly bronzed, just trying to dodge fire south of Dubrovnik!

    Still time to complete the grid in a comfortable time. Intrigued as to what the nina might be. I see LAYLA (Derek And The Dominoes), NIGHT OWL (Gerry Rafferty), MUSIC BOX (Genesis) – all 70s musical offerings but don’t yet see any other links. Given Felix’s propensity for musical ninas, there could be something there?

    1. On a dark desert highway … cool wind in my hair … warm smell of colitis 🤣

  20. 14.10 – Prague Astronomical Clock – the clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still in operation.
    A fairly straightforward top to bottom solve for me although the SE was a bit laboured. Needed BOX before the TANGELO PDM and needed the F from FRANC before FINE (MER) also dropped as LOI. FOI ANOTHER, COD NIGHT OWLS. Thanks Felix and doofers.

  21. I think I have stumbled on the theme. Laurel and Hardy film titles include; The Music Box, Helpmates, Night Owls, Going Bye-Bye, and there may be others. And we have ANOTHER FINE MESS. And HOG WILD – they keep on coming (on edit).

  22. My original LOI was 9a NOOSE and I had got stuck there as I had put FATTIE at 6d. So after a bit of thought and a correction HOGTIE was LOI after 14 minutes.
    I also paused over COL and Tangelo definitions, but they did not delay me for long.

  23. 5.54

    COLITIS and MARGINAL were neat surfaces.

    There was a family myth we were somehow related to Stan Laurel. Nonsense of course …

    Thanks Doofers and Felix

  24. I was sailing along quite nicely a minute or so under target until I got to my LOI 6dn. About three minutes later HOGTIE finally came to me after my brain unfroze. I eventually crossed the line in a frustrating 11.57.
    Like Cedric I was thrown by the spelling of CRACOW, having visited this fine city two years ago. It’s certainly spelt with Ks instead of Cs by the Poles, and I’ve even seen it spelt as CRAKOW. Incidentally, if anyone visits this city as a tourist in the future, take up the option to visit the former salt mines twenty or so miles outside the city. The spectacle that has been created by the miners that worked the mines in the form of underground salt sculptures is absolutely stunning.

  25. Like others LAYLA got me thinking of LOLA which is now on auto replay in that jukebox in my head … makes a welcome change from Have a Cuppa Tea.

    Thought it might be a horror film Nina until I read above – HOGTIES and NOOSES urghhhh.

    LOI MUSIC BOX why was BOX so hard?

    I thought this at the harder end but it was a steady fun solve for me.

    Thanks Felix and Doofers.

  26. Nice puzzle, no dramas, but two minutes more than Busman. I think I am setting my sights too high!

  27. Couldn’t finish this one as there were a few (for me) obscure clues that I felt just didn’t work well.

    I spotted the Laurel & Hardy theme. I’ve been a fan of theirs since I was a squeaker.

    DNF but enjoyable.

  28. A poor start, but I found the bottom half of the grid much more accommodating and was in with a decent shout of a sub-20 before loi Boring nudged me into the SCC. I think the read-across of exact wording in poi Colitis lulled me into thinking that 2d would similarly begin So- 🙄 CoD to 21d Wild(e) for the smile. Invariant

  29. Having just completed today’s 15×15, I moved on to this and it shot in – 7:55 is a pretty good time for me. Last two were the COLITIS/HOGTIE crossers. Thanks for the blog.

  30. As usual Mr SR and I enjoyed both the crossword and the blog, thank you Felix and Doofenschmirtz.
    Mr SR’s enjoyment has slightly palled due to the ear worms generated today. I love to break into song* and he tolerated “Layla” and “Lola” – luckily I only know bits of their lyrics.
    However, bizarrely I know all the words to “Doll on a Music Box” sung by Truly Scrumptious in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. And the actions.
    Mr SR is now having a little lie down.

    *I have to break in because I never have the right key.

  31. Started well but used helpers for HOGTIE and MESS.
    Nice mix of clues and enjoyed the hidden.
    I would never have worked out MUS from ‘letters from abroad’ but the crossers and clue made MUSIC the only answer.
    Thanks both.

    1. Unlucky #5.

      I’d say “letters from abroad” is usually clueing to the Greek alphabet – along with the more obvious “Greek character”. That tends to put me into the intended panic of whether I know enough classics or mythology.

      I’m sure you have realised it comes up regularly so another thing worth learning.

      And remember IOTA can also be a small bit!

  32. Good puzzle, and although I liked Laurel and Hardy as a child, I didn’t, and don’t know any of the film titles.

    I think phone solving adds 30 seconds or so to my times.


  33. Pretty straightforward although I didn’t spot the theme as usual. FOI THUG, LOI, LENGTH. 6:45. Thanks Felix and Doofers.

  34. 8:03. I thought this was OK, and quite liked the surfaces for LAYLA and WILD, but it didn’t really stand out for me. Of course, I didn’t see the nina, although I only gave it a cursory scan. I’m not aware of any of the Laurel and Hardy films, but thoroughly enjoyed Stan and Ollie, which was one of the last films I saw in a cinema before the pandemic!
    Same MER as Doofers at HELPMATE, and I wasn’t entirely sure about HOGTIE, so relieved when it turned out ok. CRACOW threw me a bit, as I too think of it as KRAKOW – that’s how it was spelt on my son’s tickets when he went there last Christmas. And he brought back some very strange chocolate from the salt mines!
    FOI Another LOI Hogtie COD Marginal – although I think ‘appreciate’ might be a better word than ‘like’ for this one.
    Thanks Felix and Doofers

  35. Struggled with this for a slightly interrupted 26 mins. Solved very few across clues on first pass although the downs were more accommodating. SE corner seemed especially tough but with hindsight I’m not sure why. Spent quite a time wondering why ‘music man’ should be correct at 15dn before the penny dropped. Not my day again today, but there’s always tomorrow.

    FOI – 8ac ANOTHER
    LOI – 20dn TEASED
    COD – 12ac NIGHT OWLS

    Thanks to Felix and DF

  36. Well I made rather heavy weather of this but I’m not quite sure why as everything was clued reasonably. Never did parse NOOSE or LOI WILD – thanks Doofers. Often miss a hidden and rarely identify ‘picked up’ as a homophone indicator. Thrown a little by spelling of Cracow (dealt with admirably above) but relied on the wordplay. ‘Box’ took a while but then opened up TANGELO (known but never sampled). Many thanks to D and Felix.

  37. Considering I hesitated over quite a few clues I was surprised I finished so quickly. The CRACOW spelling was unknown to me but the wordplay was clear. I came up with pigTIE for 6d but NOOSE sorted that out. I wasn’t aware that a TANGELO is sour tasting and I would never substitute FINE for excellent. COLITIS was clever and my LOI was MESS. 7:21 for a very good day.

  38. 31 mins…

    I made hard work of this, and couldn’t get a grip on a particular corner. The NE in particular seemed to take longer than it should – not helped by trying to fit “Caldera” into 11ac. I agree that “Hogtied” is slightly on the more extreme side of “hamper”. Didn’t like 18sc “Helpmates” as an answer – never heard of it in normal usage.

    Probably should have spotted the Laurel and Hardy theme, especially as I only walked past their statue about an hour ago.

    FOI – 4dn “Cracow”
    LOI – 7dn “Mess”
    COD – 15dn “Music Box”

    Thanks as usual!

  39. Enjoyed this one in 18 mins. Loved the clues for Nightowls and Tahitian.

    Can anyone help me with how Boring and Drills can be used interchangeably? I got the answer from the clue ok but spent a couple of minutes trying to think of a sentence and failed. For example, ‘He is boring a hole’ and ‘He drills a hole’ doesn’t work because of the need for ‘is’.

    1. Check Doofer’s underlining in blog- BORING =”drills are so”, not just “drills”.

    2. The clue for the first of the two definitions is ‘drills are so’, meaning what characteristic of a drill can be used. Drills, by their nature and intended purpose bore holes, so are boring, which matches the second definition of ‘dull’. There is no need to equate drill with boring, the clue works fine.

      Sorry, just saw CO already made the same point.

    3. My brother-in-law, a civil engineer, was once fond of quoting the cross-reference in Yellow Pages- “Boring: see Civil Engineering “)

  40. 1738 John Wesley launches the Methodist movement

    Slow progress in SW when I could not see WILD for ages.

    New COLITIS from the Mondegreen
    “The girl with COLITIS goes by” (from a lyric in the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”: “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes”


    1. Hello Merlin,
      Your ability to remember the dates of significant events from the past never ceases to amaze me. It’s also clear that you have had a vastly longer, more dramatic and varied life than me.

  41. this was an OK day except for HOGTIE – never heard the word. I also think we’re meant to spell KRAKOW this way now. Otherwise a fun crossword.

  42. 14.38 This was mostly a steady solve but not quick. Spent a few minutes at the end on WILD, WHEATEN and HOGTIE. Thanks to Doofers and Felix.

  43. 11:04 (Crusader army under Baldwin I capture Acre)

    Generally straightforward, apart from my LOI 6d. I spent a minute staring at this, then another minute wondering whether HOGTIE was really a word.

    Thanks Felix and Doofers

  44. NHO HOGTIE, WHEATEN, TANGELO. Not old enough to remember LAYLA and not familiar with HELPMATES as a term.

    In the circumstances, 24 mins seems ok.

    Great blog as always, many thanks.

      1. In case you are wondering what happened to your comment…. As it had more than one hyperlink in it, it was flagged for “moderation” and had to wait for an administrator (me or Vinyl1) to approve it when they happen to pass by… as I have just done.

        1. Thanks JohnI.

          I could still see my comment and it included a message that it was Awaiting Moderation so I didn’t fret!

          Quite why a registered user for over a year with hundreds of regular posts should end up in the moderation bin seems a little strange to me. Useful to know it is due to multiple links though – I will know for next time.

          1. I’ve just checked our admin setting to up the limit and found and it is already set to allow up to 3 links, so I don’t know why it objected to 2 links. I’ve fallen foul of this before myself, but, of course, I can approve my own comments.

            1. Yes, you changed it to 3 links in May last year:

              17 May 2022 at 10:29 AM
              The comment moderation threshold is set to 2 links or more to trigger holding a comment for moderation. I’ve upped the threshold to 3.
              I wonder if the threshold applies universally or perhaps only to Authors and higher?

      2. Thanks L-Plates. Yes, recognised it straight away from the advert. Music is not one of my strong points!

  45. 33 minutes, which is about average thesedays for me, but the last seven minutes were spent just trying to find BOX. I notice that various people above were similarly delayed, but not by so long over such a short word. I can only conclude that my alpabet-trawling is orders of magnitude slower than most others’.

    Nothing really stood out for me today, except that MUSICal BOX by Genesis is one of my all-time favourite songs. And, quite possibly, Steve Hackett’s more recent version (with Nad Sylvan on vocals) is even better than the original. Given that, I can’t believe how it took me so long to find BOX.

    Many thanks to Felix and Doofers.

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