Times Quick Cryptic No 2468 by Mara

Some generous openers and trickier finishers put this around average difficulty for me.

As seems to happen quite a lot, several clues had elements that felt fresh from recent puzzles, which, along with some anagrams, kept things brisk enough until I was held up around the edges, namely 1d, 16d and 4ac. I thought I was going to be in for a depressing bout of last-clue-itis at 4ac but it popped into my head from somewhere despite unhelpful checkers and not seeing why half of it worked.

Finished up a touch over 7 minutes, and much enjoyed (with a couple of bonus chuckles), so many thanks to Mara!

Anagram indicators in italics.

1 Ape, for example: evolved man is embodying one (6)
SIMIANevolved MAN IS “embodying” I (one)
4 Inscription, a foot? (6)
LEGEND – An inscription is a LEGEND, but I was busy rootling through the various dictionaries to see why a foot was as well: a margin at the bottom of the page? Hmn, I guess… Quite the PDM when I saw that a leg-end is an excellent definition of a foot. Love it!
8 Sharp-tasting stalks, rubbish (7)
RHUBARB – double definition, rhubarb meaning nonsense.
10 Reported location for something worth a look (5)
SIGHT – is reported/spoken as SITE (location)
11 Arsenic and chicken pasty (5)
ASHEN – As (symbol for Arsenic) and HEN (chicken)
12 Bad feeling with me, alas, I suspect (7)
13 Most of page author used for signature (9)
AUTOGRAPH – “Most of” PAGe AUTHOR used
17 Balancing act hard: little story written about that (7)
WHEELIE – H(ard), with WEE (little) LIE (story) written about it
19 Worm hot, cold fish sent back (5)
LEECH – H(ot) C(old) EEL (fish) “sent back”
20 See fit European in conversation? (5)
DEIGN – or DANE (European) “in conversation”
21 Player on tour emptied vehicle (7)
TRACTOR – ACTOR (player) on TouR “emptied”
22 Weapon returned, obtain something precious (6)
NUGGET – GUN (weapon) “returned” GET (obtain)
23 Like shallow container, out of the way (6)
ASTRAY – AS (like) TRAY (shallow container)
1 Shriek or hoot? (6)
SCREAM – double definition, the second as in a good time.
2 Throw tea in mug, surprisingly tasty (5-8)
3 Cooker in street, on (7)
AGAINST – AGA (cooker), IN, ST(reet). As in leaning on/against the wall.
5 Somewhat articulate, as eloquent supporter of the arts (5)
EASEL – “somewhat” articulatE AS ELoquent
6 Dog rests leg in the potty (7,6)
ENGLISH SETTER – RESTS LEG IN THE potty. Great surface! Will we have “Legend of a dog? (3)” as a clue sometime, I wonder?
7 Tasks suited jerks (6)
9 Come round for dinner? Please do (2,2,5)
BE MY GUEST – (barely) cryptic hint
14 Keen to know every part of cereal plant? (3,4)
ALL EARS – ALL (every), and then, quite separately, EARS (part of cereal plant).
15 Country garden under coating of snow (6)
SWEDEN – EDEN is our garden under a “coating” of SnoW
16 Like upper garment?    Hot under the collar? (6)
SHIRTY – double-ish definition: the OED actually has “resembling a shirt” for the first; and for the second, hot under the collar = rude = shirty. Chambers says SHIRTY derives from the dated slang “have one’s shirt out”, via the dishevelment arising from an uncontrolled rage.
18 Push forward easily, initially, after breather (5)
LUNGE – E (Easily “initially”) after LUNG (breather)

57 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2468 by Mara”

  1. 12:15. I was progressing smoothly until the LEGEND/DUTIES pair caused a minor delay, then LOI’s SWEDEN and WHEELIE were a major roadblock. All happy in the end with AGAINST my COD.

  2. I biffed the two long downs. Sloppy typing slowed me down, but I just made my target time of 6:00.

  3. 8.40. No major hold-ups on the way round but for some reason it took me more than two minutes longer than yesterday when I thought it would be about the same. Never mind, nice puzzle from Mara and a helpful blog, thanks roly, though I’m surprised you haven’t encountered the venerable LEGEND = foot construct before. I am also surprised to learn that the OED has SHIRTY as ‘resembling a shirt.’ That is standard crosswordese but god knows how it might be used in the real world. COD to ENGLISH SETTER, great surface.

  4. I was a bit slow on this one for no reason I can recall, but the clock was on 14 minutes when I completed the grid.

  5. I was defeated by the NE corner today. I didn’t get DUTIES and simply could not see LEGEND until I read Roly’s blog and now agree it’s a great, albeit tricky, clue. That’s two defeats in a row for me.

  6. 11:48. Like LindsayO, I’d seen the old LEGEND trick before and I managed to get this reasonably quickly, but I was held up first by WHEELIE (liked the def) and then RHUBARB for ‘rubbish’ as my LOI.

    I also liked the ‘Arsenic and chicken pasty’ (yum) surface for ASHEN.

    Thanks to Mara and rolytoly

  7. An interrupted 10’20” for a fun puzzle. LEGEND, ENGLSH TERRIER (edit – thanks Martinu: I mean SETTER) and TRACTOR my favourites.

    Dozy of me but I didn’t parse DEIGN and WHEELIE – thanks Roly and thanks Mara for the puzzle.

  8. Another quick one for me, helped by having my anagram cap firmly in place which gave me lots of helpful crossers. Started with the 1s and finished in 5.23 with an unparsed LEGEND, which now it’s been explained, is my COD.
    Thanks to Rolytoly and Mara

  9. A slow start with just three on the first pass of acrosses including a careless ‘animal’ where SIMIAN went – leapt to the wrong conclusion from ‘man is’ and didn’t register the S. That stopped me getting MOUTH WATERING when I came to the downs. My big hold up at the end was ALL EARS – even when I had ALL _A_S I couldn’t see it until alphabet trawling more carefully on the second pass. No one has queried ‘ears’ being parts not part of a cereal plant so I think I need to do some quick botany before taking Bertie out before the usual 20 minutes getting the burs out of his ear fur (and armpits and neck).

    All green a few seconds under 20.

  10. 29 mins but enjoyable.
    Took ages to get SHIRTY as I went down a cul-de-sac looking for a collar synonym that I would add H to.
    Conversely, LEGEND came quickly as, when still a car-crazy youngster, I thought it hilarious to refer to a Honda Legend as a Honda Foot. Lame, IKR?

  11. 12.16

    Also a struggle for me – long anagrams and DDs my weakest sort of clue

    Good crossword though

  12. I am suffering an attack of stupiditis this week. Today’s problem was the SW corner where I misread and misconstrued the SWEDEN clue, which didn’t help my struggles to find WHEELIE (nearly too clever for me) and DEIGN. LUNGE also took some time. Until then, not fast but gradual progress. I was just into the SCC when I hit the SW and at least another ten minutes on in finishing.
    I await tomorrow with trepidation.

  13. A good but chewy puzzle for me. Quite a few answers went in easily as I jumped around the grid but they did not provide enough key crossers so I slowed trying to fill gaps on the LHS.
    I don’t know why RHUBARB took so long (one of my pet hates) but at least it allowed me to see BE MY GUEST. I took a while to see SWEDEN (d’oh) but that confirmed DEIGN and my LOI WHEELIE. In the end (and after 2 trips to the front door to accept parcels) I avoided the SCC.
    Thanks to Mara for a good one and to Roly for a good blog. John M.

  14. All green in just under an hour, so thank you, Mara, for an enjoyable puzzle. But thank you too, Roly, because DNK symbol for arsenic, or that pasty = ASHEN, so that was guessed – similarly, DEIGN biffed. FOI RHUBARB (love it), COD MOUTH WATERING (some of these anagrams are just so ingenious), LOI EARS (had ALL much earlier). DNK LEECH is a worm – but it had to be.

  15. 13:14 (Battle of Bannockburn)

    A slow start, with 1a taking a long while (trying in vain to parse mammal). LOI was SHIRTY.
    Getting SWEDEN and DEIGN made me look for a Scandinavian theme, but these seemed to be the only ones.

    Thanks Roly and Mara

  16. Looked hard at first, but managed a few clues and the long anagrams which helped. Struggled with DUTIES (didn’t see that anagram for ages), LEGEND (doh!), WHEELIE and SWEDEN all of which I biffed, as not much else fitted. Thanks for clarifications!

  17. 16 mins…

    But a dnf – as I made up a word for 20ac “Deign”, not really getting to grips with the correct definition (I put “Drien”).

    Some nice clues though overall, including 6dn “English Setter” and 17ac “Wheelie” – the latter bringing back memories of trying to do numerous “wheelies” on my Raleigh Grifter, fairly difficult to do on a bike that felt like it weighed the same as a small car.

    FOI – 1ac “Simian”
    LOI – 20ac “Drien” (incorrect)
    COD – 15dn “Sweden”

    Thanks as usual!

  18. After getting both long down anagrams quickly I thought I might be on for a good time. However I was defeated in the NE/SW by LEGEND/DUTIES and WHEELIE/LUNGE. Gave up after 35 minutes but some nice clues and enjoyable puzzle despite the failure. Thanks Mara and rolytoly.

  19. Missed quite a few on the first pass, but after the second pass I was left with the LEGEND/DUTIES crosser that delayed others here. I’d seen the “foot” device before, but it didn’t jump out and bite me today.

    TIME 4:34

  20. Apologies Roly but being a bit slow here…Legend of a dog? (3) as a clue sometime…unless it’s…sounds impoverished (3)

    1. Yes it is indeed “sounds impoverished”, although that might elicit some grumbles from the anti-homophone brigade!

  21. I was very slow on this one today, although there were a lot of distractions around me when I was trying to solve it. In the end I finished way outside my target at 15.05. The major hold up for me was WHEELIE which eluded me for some time. No complaints though, a good puzzle.

  22. Lovely puzzle, all done in just under 10 minutes, though it would have been faster but for the SW corner where the Sweden/Wheelie crossing held me up longer than it should have. I too learn for the first time that a leech is a worm, and I was not familiar with the breed English setter, but it had to be.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  23. Just inside 12 minutes with an interruption, so at the simpler end for me. Some good clues and some write-ins for a nice mix. Thanks both.

  24. I have learnt that when you are very stuck on a puzzle you have probably made a mistake, and when you are very very stuck you have probably made two mistakes -or more!
    And so it was today. CITED at 10a was replaced by SITED.
    And a dodgy Trailer at 21a caused a big hold-up, as they do.
    Consequently after 30+ minutes I needed 4a and 7d and decided to take a break. I got DUTIES but failed to see LEGEND in the time available.
    No complaints. Defeated today by a good puzzle.
    COD to SWEDEN.

  25. I saw 4ac, Legend, more or less straight away, and even managed the long 6d anagram with barely a ‘paws’. If only the same could be said of the other long anagram at 2d, where I needed quite a few crossers to get what most will surely consider the easier of the two. Struggles with Astray/Shirty and Deign/Lunge left me grateful that a window seat was still available by the time I joined the coach. Joint CoD to 17ac, Wheelie, and 21ac, Tractor, for the parsing. Invariant

  26. DNF due to not seeing/knowing LEGEND/DUTIES. I feel that the “a” in the clue is unaccounted for, which seems a bit unfair. I was sure that it must end in an A, with some technical word for a poetical foot.

    I like AGAINST.

  27. Tricky but enjoyable. Solved without aids or cat.

    13a – I can’t see the anagram indicator. Yes, I understand the “most of”, but that’s not an anagram indicator. Is it? 🧐

  28. Very, very slow today. I was up early and out cycling to beat the Mallorcan heat but felt I was nodding off during the solve. FOI SIGHT and LOI SCREAM. 16:29

  29. Took a little over average for these challenging but gettable clues. Could not get either 1a or 4a so started on the downs. Later I started thinking about the wordplay of 1a, and it crossed my mind that SIMIAN might be a word which might be something to d with monkeys. The dictionary confirmed my hunch, though, if you had asked me before what SIMIAN meant, I would have replied that I didn’t even know if there was such a word! FOI EASEL, LOI WHEELIE, COD DEIGN. Thanks Mara and Roly..Great puzzle.

  30. Mouth-watering opened up the LHS and all was going to a normal sort of time until LOI LEGEND. Just couldn’t see it, went away and came back (a couple of times) until it clicked. Probably added 5 minutes to what was already 10. Ah well, good clue though.

  31. 9:09

    Of my last twenty against Mara, this was my second slowest – didn’t seem to be able to get good footholds. MOUTH-WATERING bunged in quickly which loosened the setter’s grip, but BE MY GUEST took a while to come, even with four checkers.

    Last in were the groan-worthy LEGEND followed by DUTIES (didn’t spot the anagram until all checkers in place).

    Thanks Mara and Roly

  32. Same as Merlin I was held up looking for a word for a foot that went _ E _ E _ A
    Possibly a Latin word for dinosaurs’ pedal digits? Great PDM after my DUTIES fell into place, and the LEGEND dropped out.

    Was worried initially with the long anagrams but they managed to jump out at me like an ENGLISH SETTER when I wrote the contributing words backwards along the page.

    COD 11A Arsenic and Chicken Pasty. Feeling hungry anyone?

    Great puzzle. Thanks Mara and RolyToly

  33. 15.34 I found this moderately hard. I spent a while wondering why a TEASE was a supporter of the arts. NHO English setters and I wouldn’t be sad if I never saw another dog clue. WHEELIE was nice. LOI DEIGN occurred to me early on but I never did parse it. As ever, it’s obvious in hindsight. A good challenge. Thanks to rolytoly and Mara.

  34. After several DNFs and quite a few more DNS in the past couple of weeks I was pleased to get this finished, with WHEELIE as my LOI. Took a bit over in hour in total spread over about two, so I think I still keep my place in the waiting list to join the SCC at some unspecified future date…

    Like the Lady by the Window I really liked ASHEN – a pasty that certainly wasn’t MOUTH-WATERING. I’ve been “humorously” (my wife disagrees) pronouncing legends as “leg-ends” for years, so that didn’t faze me. But am I missing something, or shouldn’t 21 have been “After tour, emptied” rather than “on”?

    Thanks to rolytoly for explaining some I couldn’t fully parse, and to Mara for a great puzzle.

    1. For an across clue, you have to remember the convention that A on B = B + A
      I suspect the SCC waiting list is quite long but, since you managed to finish Mara’s little teaser, I’m sure you will get there ☺

  35. I frequently struggle with Mara’s puzzles and today was no exception. I spent 26 minutes getting to the end of this one, longer than the last two days combined. All parsed except DEIGN (head slapping moment when I read the blog).

    FOI – 8ac RHUBARB
    LOI -4ac LEGEND
    COD – 14dn ALL EARS

    Thanks to Mara and Rolytoly

  36. About 13m. Struggled with simian, scream and LOI legend.

    lots of nice clues: legend, mouth watering, against, shirty, be my guest, but COD to ashen for the arsenic and chicken pasty. mmh. 🥧

  37. DNF: beaten by the ASTRAY / EARS combo in the SE corner. Having just entered SHIRTY, and so having the final Y of ASTRAY, I thought the “like shallow container” was going to be the same trick again, but I couldn’t find a 5-letter container that I could stick a Y on.

    Ah well, first DNF in a while. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

    Thanks to Mara and rolytoly.

  38. Slow start but pleased to finish in under an hour.
    Held up at the end by AGAINST, WHEELIE and DEIGN which took a lot of brain power. Really liked DEIGN I have to say despite initially missing the ‘conversation’ indicator.
    COD 4a LEGEND.
    Thanks Mara and Rolytoly.

  39. I normally find Mara one of the trickier setters but today I sailed through pretty well top to bottom. Missed the 20a Deign/Dane, also 7d was an anagram. Was unaware that a Leech is a worm, but it had to be. Lots to like and some witty clues to raise a smile. Interrupted by callers but would have been one of my fastest solves – not that I keep watch.
    FOI 1a Simian
    LOI 20a Deign
    COD3d Against.

  40. A truly horrible 34 minutes. Another one of my inept performances that makes me wonder if I will ever get the hang of cryptic crosswords. How can I go from a 14 minute solve yesterday (that I was disappointed with) to this abysmal effort?

    Time for week now at 1 hr, 45 mins, so need 14 min finish tomorrow to meet my goal 🤣🤣🤣 – not going to happen!

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. I think the very fact you managed to finish this rather tricky QC means you have ‘got the hang of cryptic crosswords’ Gary. Experienced solvers find some take longer than others.

  41. I really liked this one. Some great surfaces (ENGLISH SETTER 😂) and a fair few challenges. LOI DEIGN. Appreciated LEGEND when I finally understood the foot bit. WHEELIE took a while and even longer to parse. Loved SHIRTY. Many thanks Mara and rt.

  42. Almost 45 minutes for me, which I think must put me in the boot of the slow coach. COD is ASHEN just for the surface, which I enjoyed very much.

    Thank you for the blog!

  43. 25:12

    This wasn’t too bad. All done bar the last 2 in 18 minutes. But then 7 minutes to unravel LEGEND and LOI DUTIES for a distinctly unimpressive time.

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