Times Quick Cryptic No 2453 by Corelli – Who nose?

As usual with Corelli there is a theme, in this case a rather obvious one, which I hope you will all have spotted. I have described it at the end of the blog if you happened not to see it.

This took me 13 minutes, with longest delays working out the device in 16 down and spelling the anagram in 17 across. Many thanks to Corelli for another clever puzzle.


An eccentric leading investigator may (8)

HEADCASE – I think this is a double definition with the second definition being a kind of semi &Lit. An eccentric may be described as a HEADCASE, and the leading investigator will certainly HEAD (a) CASE.

5 Feature of Asian country left incomplete (4)

CHIN – CHIN{a} (Asian country, left incomplete – drop last letter).

8 Drink before matches in formal men’s attire (8)

NECKTIES – NECK (drink) and TIES (matches).

9 Weapons, as intercepted by Royal Marines (4)

ARMS – RM (His Majesties Jollies) inside AS (as).

11 Hotel that’s altered the records (10)

DORCHESTER – Anagram (altered) of [THE RECORDS]. I was a little surprised by the answer, as the name of the hotel is a sort of trademark, which I thought were discouraged in the Times, but maybe that is the 15 x 15 rather than the QC.

14 Faculty US monk regularly visited in season (6)

AUTUMN – Alternate letters (regularly visited) of fAcUlTy Us MoNk.

15 Package Norm left outside church (6)

PARCEL – PAR (norm) and L{eft} outside CE (church – Church of England)

17 “Labials”: aka unusual things for musicians (10)

BALALAIKAS – Anagram (unusual) of [“LABIALS”: AKA].

20 Bender one proposes to go on? (4)

KNEE – To ‘bend one’s knee’ is to propose marriage.

21 Painful condition: one’s going round hospital (8)

SHINGLES – SINGLES (ones) outside H{ospital}.

22 A, B, C, D, F or G? (4)

NOTE – Cryptic question.

23 Travels around the ramshackle end of district – to see these? (8)

GHETTOES – GOES (travels) around an anagram (ramshackle) of [THE] and (end of) {distric}T.



1 Give out some cards (4)

HAND – Double definition, although I tried to make deal work initially.

2 Vault leaving sprinter’s bottom in endless pain (4)

ARCH – {sprinte}R (bottom, last letter) inside ACH{e} (endless pain).

3 Old Lancashire factory’s motto: nil carborundum legitimi – initially mistaken! (6,4)

COTTON MILL – Anagram (mistaken) of [MOTTO: NIL] and C{arborundum} L{egitimi} (initially).

4 Drawing of small boat (6)

SKETCH – S{mall} and KETCH (boat).

6 Present non-voluntary movements for nonconformists (8)

HERETICS – HERE (present) and TICS (non-voluntary movements).

7 Snort is likely at first to come out of them? (8)

NOSTRILS – &Lit. clue containing an (unsignalled?) anagram of [SNORT IS L{ikely}] (at first applies to the first letter of L{ikely}.

10 Compare group once more on street (3,7)

SET AGAINST – SET (group) AGAIN (once more) and ST{reet}.

12 Hide from animal left with a doctor’s family (8)

LAMBSKIN – L{eft} with A MB’S (a doctor’s) KIN (family).

13 Most calm and yet is French! (8)

STILLEST – STILL (and yet) and EST (is in French).

16 Henry dropping in altitude, with seven in front? (6)

EIGHTH – HEIGHT (altitude) where the first H (Henry) drops down to become the last letter.

18 Singer turning up in Scotland (4)

ALTO – Reverse (turning up) hidden inside {sc}OTLA{nd}.

19 One’s twice becoming a goddess (4)

ISIS – I’S (one’s) repeated (twice).


Spoiler alert

The obvious theme is body parts, where I spotted head, chin, neck, arms, chest, tum, knee, shin and toes in the across answers, and hand, arch, nostrils, skin in the down answers.

74 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2453 by Corelli – Who nose?”

  1. 16:09. I thought of deal and keel first for HAND and KNEE. HEADCASE and GHETTOES were favourites. I wondered if the clue for EIGHTH should have seventh instead of seven? I crashed a reception with some film school friends in the Dorchester in 1969. Free drinks! Shrimp cocktails! Celebrities! My life has been pretty ho-hum since.

    1. 16dn seems fine to me. If you finish e.g. a race with seven in front you finish eighth.

      1. I think I just thought while eight follows seven surely it’s eighth that follows seventh. Thanks for explaining this for me!

  2. Some tough ones here in an enjoyable offering from Corelli, and thanks Rotter for explaining COTTON MILL and NOSTRILS which I bunged in and gave no further thought to en route to 11.37. Today it’s the DORCHESTER, yesterday’s 15×15 had the RITZ and similar comments about trademark names were made. With NOSTRILS, is it the case that an anagram in an &Lit. clue ending in a question mark does not need to be signalled? I’m sure someone who knows about these things can tell us but certainly I was a bit confused by that. At times in the past I’ve noticed people complaining about the use of terms like headcase, bananas, nutjob etc because they are seen as belittling those with mental illness and I wonder how much longer their use will continue.

    1. There certainly seems to have been a convention at one time that trade names were not allowed (in 2008 Peter B wrote in his guide for TfTT users: Brand names –
      As far as I know these are not allowed), but judging by my own experience I would say this was abandoned long ago. It may have been a conscious decision, perhaps when a new editor came in, or something that just happened because nobody thought to enforce it. Perhaps if RR or Mick H is around they could let us know if there is a current policy? Meanwhile, we’ve had Ritz (hotel and crackers) yesterday and Dorchester today, and another brand name I won’t specify in today’s 15×15.

      As for the puzzle, I needed 13 minutes to complete the grid, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps I was distracted by looking for a possible theme or Nina. I thought I had spotted it as body parts early on but I gradually went off that idea as the ones hidden in longer answers didn’t occur to me until afterwards.

      I took ‘come out of’ as the anagrind for NOSTRILS.

      I wondered about ‘Lancashire’ in 3dn as other towns and cities (e.g. Nottingham) famously had cotton mills but perhaps the mills of Lancashire (nicknamed Cottonopolis) were the most famous.

    2. With nostrils, I thought “to come out of” was the anagram indicator (albeit a reverse indicator, where the anagrist comes out of the solution).

  3. I felt I was on for a record time until I came up against GHETTOES, which completely defeated me. No time given, therefore. That said, it was a nice puzzle. NOTE made me smile and I especially liked BALALAIKAS and LAMBSKIN.
    Thank you to Corelli and Rotter.
    I’m off to Cornwall today to join the redoubtable Mrs ITTT who, as I write, is probably down on Widemouth beach swinging her Indian Clubs in a stiff breeze. Her chosen accommodation is Spartan to say the least, so hopefully I’ll find a coffee shop in Bude with WiFi where I can continue my ongoing struggle with QCs.

    1. Ahh…..Widemouth beach. Many happy years spent living in Madeira Drive and surfing in that location. Enjoy!

      1. What a coincidence. We stay in Madeira Drive too. Mrs ITTT has been a regular visitor for 57 years. Me, just the 32. We stay in St Francis every year.

        1. My Mum had a bungalow built down there, – Tek Chy it was called (“sweet home” in Cornish?) – in about 1964/5, I think. Looking at Street View on Google Maps I’m pretty sure it’s no.28, now extended on the front and side. The lady who lived opposite was in her 90s and still went down to the beach every day with her body board! Have a great holiday!

  4. Good fun. The nina unusually was obvious to me from early on. 11a is a great anagram but isn’t it THE DORCHESTER? Perhaps, County town altered the records would have been better? COD to COTTON MILL for getting the motto ‘nil carborundum illegitimi’ into the clue. Don’t let the b******s wear you down.

    1. Except the clue has legitimi. As a child, I learned it as’ Illegitimati non carborundum’; as an innocent (well, ignorant) child I had no idea whether that was correct Latin or not, and still don’t.

      1. You are right … but the surface reads ‘ initially mistaken!’ which I thought was clever.

      2. I recall learning it with “illegitimis” (by the bastards) making more sense with “carborundum”. Of course, researching the phrase turns up many variants with varying degrees of Latin grammatical accuracy!

    2. Yes but it said legitimi, not illegitimi, which bothered me, still does. I got the answer without being able to parse the clue. Always unsatisfying I find.

  5. Just shy of 12 minutes to pick my way around the grid. I was looking for some theme which eventually became apparent. I thought the cluing was very ‘tight’ if that’s the correct term – not easy but everything went in as instructed. Thanks all. COD to NOT E.

  6. I found this hard and more enjoyable in retrospect, so a good training day. Just one on the first pass of acrosses (ARMS – and even then I tried ‘rasm’ first) but SKETCH, HERETICS and NOSTRILS went in quickly and I have the checkers to beging the hard graft. Ended up in the NW all green in 18 which I was more pleased with until I came here – well played all!

  7. Same time as our blogger. HEADCASE wasn’t an easy one to start with and I was flummoxed by the surface for COTTON MILL until a few crossers helped out. I agree with Jack about the ‘come out of’ anagram indicator for NOSTRILS

    Favourites were KNEE and NOT E.

    Thanks to TheRotter and Corelli

  8. Made a mess of the NE corner by choosing RAMS instead of ARMS for the weapons. This led to a DNF.

    I’ll be having a crossword break until Tuesday, as my daughter gets married on Saturday.

    1. Many congratulations, though some folk in here may think your priorities are misplaced! 😉

  9. DNF; no idea what was going on in Lancashire. Didn’t care for DORCHESTER. I liked KNEE, with its misleading allusion to going on a bender. ‘To bend one’s knee’, though, means to submit, not to propose; although of course the stereotypical proposal has the suitor on one knee offering a ring. (Has anyone ever done that?)

  10. I found this tough going with a particularly frustrating couple of minutes at the end trying to find a sensible order for the letters in the NHO BALALAIKAS.
    The NW was also tricky with the correct meaning of vault (not a safe or a jump) finally being the key to unlocking it.
    Finished in 13.03 for a forgettable day.
    Thanks to Rotter

  11. Completed it all in about 27 mins – but then found I had 17ac wrong. Still don’t know what a “Balalaikas” is (I interchanged the “k” and the “s”).

    Some good other clues though.

    FOI – 5ac “Chin”
    LOI – 2dn “Arch”
    COD – 22ac “Note”

    Thanks as usual!

  12. 14.48

    Very tough for me. Twigged the proposing idea but KNEE still took ages. Main problems were a hastily biffed MOLESKIN and GROTTOES which caused all sorts of problems with the crossing clues. Eventually sorted it all out.

    Thanks Corelli and TR

  13. Another one that pushed me into a bottom up approach. I found this very tricky and took so long that my coffee in the club had gone cold and the croissant was starting to turn up at the ends.
    I suppose NOT E was best clue as it did not require any involvement of my brain.
    Thanks all.

  14. 7 1/2 minutes for me, so way past my target of five minutes. Very enjoyable though.

    I particularly liked eighth and note.

    As a very minor quibble, the use of “ intercepted“ as an insertion indicator in nine across seems somehow inadequate.

    But nobody else has mentioned it, so I shall eat humble pie.

    Thanks Corelli for an enjoyable workout.

  15. I thought this was quite tough in parts. Corelli had me off balance more than once until I saw the light. I thought HEADCASE was a bit loose for a first clue but was impressed that he managed to get BALALAIKAS into a crossword.
    I initially biffed MOLESKIN for 12d (MO’s kin +L) until I realised that the E was missing….. I quite enjoyed PARCEL and COTTON MILL. LOI was GHETTOES.
    No time -interrupted by two phone calls – but it was not a quick solve.
    Thanks to Corelli and Rotter. John M.

    1. I did briefly play with the idea of including ARCE from parcel in the list of body parts contained in my spoiler!

  16. 41:50 … well constructed clues but I clearly don’t frequent the same circles as Corelli. Maybe if I did the 15×15 more often it would have been quicker.

  17. 19:30

    A narrow escape from the SCC. GHETTOES, HEADCASE and HAND my last three in.

    NOTE was my COD.

    Thanks Corelli and Rotter.

  18. 10:34

    Ventured into double figures today probably not helped by entering DEAL at 1d early on and not correcting it until I could make no headway with 1a and 8a. GHETTOES also foxed me for a while. LOI was the relatively easier (?) ALTO – was looking for some sort of hidden but just didn’t see it.

    Didn’t even notice the nina before coming here…

    Thanks Corelli and Rotter

  19. I was over half done in about 9 mins, then all but 4 in NW corner in 19. The rest took a further ten minutes to finish in 29:20. Very frustrating, but some enjoyable clues along the way. I liked NOTE for its simplicity. Thanks Corelli and Rotter.

  20. Corelli usually stretches me, and today was no exception: I was already finding this quite chewy when I ran into “last two-itis” and stared and the Eighth/Ghettoes crossing for a very long time before first Henry VIII and then finally the ghettoes came to me. All made for a 15 minute finish.

    I too wondered about the missing anagrind in Nostrils, and will now add “come out of” to the ever-burgeoning list of words and phrases that can serve. I do think it has a pretty tenuous place in the list – it seems to me that the words are doing duty literally here as “what comes out of nostrils” – but it is no more tenuous than many others in the list, which is now on to volume three: pretty soon it will be easier to list words which cannot be used as anagrinds.

    Did anyone else try to make an anagram out of “Hotel that’s”? Checkers soon put that right and led to the Dorchester though.

    It’s been an odd week with two very quick solves and two very slow. I wonder what Friday will bring. Many thanks to Rotter for the blog.

  21. I was interested in LindsayO’s observation regarding perjorative words for people with mental illness IMHO they have no place in society and particularly not in a national newspaper.

    Not an easy crossword but some clever misdirection, including for me BALALAIKAS which are great to hear live. I enjoyed the cluing of KNEE and another small boat to look out for here at the seaside.

    Thanks Rotter and Corelli.

  22. Quite a challenge today; took me 17 minutes with LOI ALTO -well hidden.
    POI GHETTOES was tough for a QC I thought.
    But lots to enjoy.
    Back in the USSR by The Beatles always comes to mind when the balalaikas are out; but I was not confident about spelling it.
    Agree with Sawbill that it probably should be The Dorchester, but it didn’t occur to me whilst solving.
    COD to KNEE.

  23. I was sailing along quite happily with about eight minutes elapsed with just three in the nw corner to complete. I had misinterpreted the clue at 2dn and written in ACHE instead of ARCH. I was then trying to solve 8ac with the letter H as the third letter for far too long before backtracking and finding my mistake. As a result I crossed the line a little over target at 10.38.

  24. I found this difficult. In my opinion far too difficult for a QC. Totally unenjoyable. Awful!

  25. I thought this was going to be a nightmare (a tip of the hat, by the way, to anyone who managed to start with 1ac), but gradually adjusted to Corelli’s style and in the end only just missed out on a sub-20. Lots of pdms, with CoD 16d Eighth one of them, just ahead of Note and Knee. Invariant

  26. Challenging! Not much time today so had to sneak a look at the blog with SHINGLES unsolved (thanks rotter). A wry smile when I saw the answer 😬 Not many on the first pass so worked up from the bottom. No problem with BALALAIKAS. As someone who works in mental health I wholeheartedly agree with comments about HEADCASE. Unacceptable. Really liked KNEE, NOTE (COD) and NOSTRILS. A great workout and very enjoyable (HEADCASE aside) – thanks Corelli.

  27. A fine challenge, and the first slip into double figures since late June.

    EIGHTH, GHETTOES, NECKTIES all held me up, as did the semi-hidden AUTUMN. I liked KNEE and NOSTRILS.


  28. I found this one fairly tricky. I started with ARCH and finished with HEADCASE. Took me over my target to 12:43. Thanks Corelli and Rotter.

  29. 21.43 plus a few seconds more and lots of pink having submitted before I finished. First visit to the SCC for a couple of weeks. Henry is slang for an EIGHTH of an ounce so I immediately got the answer and then struggled to make sense of it. BALALAIKAS make me think of Dr Zhivago. GHETTOES took me ages, I hit submit, ignored the warning, and found there were still two clues left.

    The crossword was tough but fair. Thanks to Rotter and Corelli.

  30. DNF EIGHTH/GHETTOES. I was on the right track for GHETTOES but failed to join up Goes, anagram of The, and T. Doh! I even wrote the correct letters down in a circle.
    Slow on NECKTIES (US usage?). Was trying to think of more formal wear. HEADCASE was a PDM. So slow in NW and SE.
    No problem with DORCHESTER once I chose right anagram.
    Hard work today. Thanks vm, Rotter.
    I see Headcase as more of a teasing word referring to an eccentric rather a mentally ill person. But I wouldn’t use it nowadays. Might say ‘Idiot’ but only to a friend (or to myself).
    Missed the theme, of course. How dim – head to toes!

  31. Tough. Struggled with GHETTOES (not GHETTOS?), EIGHTH, SET AGAINST and working out BALALAIKAS. Took ages.

  32. A slow and painful slog, but got there in the end. Not a QC.

    Quintagram was even worse.

    Izetti tomorrow?

    Thanks for the blog Rotter. I very much needed it today!

    PS I agree with those who didn’t like the use of the word HEADCASE

    1. CQ was indeed tough, though I eventually got there through brute force. I still can’t quite parse out 2 and 3.

      1. I’m with you on 2.

        For 3, another way of saying you will certainly not do something is to say ‘no fear’, very cleverly hidden in evaluation of earnings.

        ‘Do you want to accompany me on a 15-mile walk in pouring rain and a howling gale?’

        ‘No fear! I’m staying in where it’s dry and warm’.


        1. I spent 35mins without checking and still had 2,3,4 to do. Or rather discovered #2 wasn’t “If ancy”. Finally finished at over 40mins. I completely missed the hidden word.

          [Edit: removed all my previous ponderings for #2]

          #2 is “I wish that could be” = “if only”

          1. Well done for working that one out. It had me completely stumped.

            Good luck tomorrow. I fear a Friday special from our friend Izetti. I’m driving back from Stranraer (5 hours or thereabouts), so may be rather mentally fatigued by the time I get to it.

            1. If you see it’s Izetti, you’ll probably take the longer route home so you arrive too late to attempt it 🤣

  33. Exactly double yesterday’s time, so really struggled with this. Hit 20 minutes with 1ac, 1dn and most of the SE outstanding, so I left it for an hour. Managed to polish off the remainder in a further 8 minutes once I came back to it. Never parsed NOSTRILS or COTTON MILL (thanks Rotter). I was very slow to see HAND at 1dn and ALTO at 18dn. Also a bit slow on DORCHESTER after chosing the wrong words to anagram but was soon set right once SKETCH had appeared at 4dn.

    FOI – 9ac ARMS
    LOI – 21ac SHINGLES
    COD – 22ac NOTE. Also liked the wonderful image conjured up by the surface to 2dn ARCH

    Thanks to Corelli

  34. No time but enjoyable puzzle. Liked eighth, knee, and note.
    I remember being shocked by the drink prices in the Dorchester in about 1998 after leaving Uni in a Cotton Mill City and visiting a friend in the Capital.

  35. I found this tough, taking 20:56. My favorite clue, by a long way, was NOTE, which reminded me of the famous clue: “HIJKLMNO (5)”
    Thanks to Corelli and TheRotter.

  36. A late solve for me and a tough one at that. I was slow to get started, but then progressed well until shortly after the 20-minutes SCC threshold. At that point I had 1a and five interconnected clues in the SE corner still to do. None of them came easily, even when I finally started to get some checkers in the SE. HEADCASE, ISIS, EIGHTH, SHINGLES, GHETTOES and ALTO were the culprits and, together, they added more than 25 minutes to my time.

    I got there in the end, but only after a proper battle. Total time = 48 minutes.

    Many thanks to Corelli and Rotter.

  37. Far too difficult and obscure for me. Also, knee is what you go down on to propose, not propose to go down on! I don’t understand how, in crosswordland, you are allowed to switch round meaning in a sentence this way. If so, how do you make sense of any clue? Sorry to complain.

  38. Just couldn’t see HEADCASE despite the checking letters, so that’s another DNF for me. Thank you for the blog!

  39. That one absolutely barbecued me. Couldn’t figure out HEADCASE and you know that when 1a is the LOI you’re in deep trouble. Slow on EIGHTH, SHINGLES, HERETICS, CHIN and COTTON MILL. It all added up to a disastrous 17:03 for a Terrible Day.


    Many thanks Rotter and Corelli.


    1. “Disastrous” and a “Terrible Day” it may be, but never fear, Templar. Should you experience an even disastrouser and terribler day at some point, us SCC regulars are invariably very friendly. Good luck tomorrow! I hope you smash it.

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