Times Quick Cryptic No 2473 by Orpheus – time to take a lozenge

Some slightly unusual vocab in this QC from Orpheus, but nothing that is out of reach for most of us, and a good mix of clues. It took me just over 11 minutes to enter the last answer and complete the grid, with everything parsed along the way. This is much better than my average time this week where I have struggled with a couple of the puzzles, including yesterday’s challenging Izetti. Hopefully, you found this easier – let me know how you got on.


VIP’s old woman standing by river (7)

GRANDEEGRAN (old woman) and DEE (river, one of several in the UK with that name).

5 Insect with a sting, perhaps, initially (4)

WASP – First letters (initially) of With A Sting, Perhaps.

7 Keen to be involved in middle-age roles (5)

EAGER – Hidden word (to be involved in) inside {middl}E-AGE R{oles}.

8 Part of America suffering dew and mist (7)

MIDWEST – Anagram (suffering) of [DEW and MIST].

10 Endless row about disappointing score (3)

NILLIN{e} (endless row – drop the last letter) and reverse (about).

11 Step in and bury archdeacon at centre of cathedral (9)

INTERVENEINTER (bury) and VEN{erable} (title for Archdeacon) and E (centre of cathEdral). At first, I was working on intercede as a possibly appropriate answer (getting my cede’s mixed up with my venerable bede’s maybe!).

13 Give up work on indicator board (6)

RESIGN RE (on, as in ‘I spoke to Ken re/on the party’) and SIGN (indicator board).

14 Approach first-class ship crossing entrance to canal (6)

ACCESSACE (first class) and SS (ship) containing C(anal) (entrance to, first letter).

17 Bird? Fish? Kitchen pest! (9)

COCKROACHCOCK (bird) and ROACH (fish).

19 Dash back for security number (3)

PINNIP (dash) reversed (back).

20 Managed to proceed, reaching old Burmese city (7)

RANGOONRAN (managed) and GO ON (proceed). RANGOON (old capital of Burma) is now known as YANGOON, but is no longer capital, and Burma itself is now known as Myanmar, whose modern capital is now Naypyidaw. All very confusing!

22 Lozenge produced by doctor meeting character in Greece (5)

RHOMB RHO (character in Greece, 7th letter of the Greek alphabet) and MB (doctor). A RHOMB is a lozenge shaped object if you did not know.

23 Container for fire? (4)

SACK – Double definition.

24 Thanks returned in article about dramatic art (7)

THEATRETA (thanks) reversed (returned) in THE (article) and RE (about).


1 Naïve, more obese-sounding tradesman (11)

GREENGROCERGREEN (naïve) and GROCER (sounds like grosser, more obese-sounding).

2 Scotsman absorbing extremely emotional catholic devotion (7)

ANGELUSANGUS (Scotsman) containing (absorbing) E{motiona}L (extremely). I wasn’t familiar with this RC devotion, but it was generously clued.

3 The German campanologist’s large-bore pistol (9)

DERRINGERDER (the in German) and RINGER (campanologist).

4 Hostility found in key US college in New York (6)

ENMITYMIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology – US College) inside E (key) and NY (New York).

5 You and I finally succumbed and tied the knot (3)

WED WE (you and I) and {succumbe}D (finally).

6 Blockade initially introduced, say, in south-east (5)

SIEGEI{ntroduced} (initially) and EG (say) inside SE (south-east).

9 At first, too fair to be subversive? (11)

TREASONABLET{oo} (at first) and REASONABLE (fair).

12 Her care so transformed a runner at Epsom, perhaps (9)

RACEHORSE – Anagram (transformed) of [HER CARE SO].

15 Use former vegetable patch to accommodate irises principally (7)

EXPLOITEX (former) and PLOT (vegetable patch) containing (accommodating) I{rises} (originally).

16 Titled person leaving old place in Greater London (6)

BARNETBAR{o}NET (titled person, leaving O{ld})

18 Study gigue to begin with, a lively dance (5)

CONGACON (study) with G{igue} (to begin) with A (a).

21 Satisfactory setting for a deciduous tree (3)

OAKOK (satisfactory) holding A (a).

70 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2473 by Orpheus – time to take a lozenge”

  1. 15:13. It took me a while to see first-class was ACE not just A or A1. I also had intercede first for INTERVENE and thought TREASONABLE consisted of some form of traitor not treason. My biggest mystery, though, was seeing N_L from crossers after confidently thinking tier was the row and it became tie(disappointing score) after being shortened. I finally realized I’d missed the “about” in the clue.

  2. I also thought of TIE for 10ac, which led me to waste a bunch of time with 2d, until I finally thought of GREENGROCER. As has been pointed out here often enough–well, perhaps not often enough–MIT is a university not a college. 5:48.

    1. I totally agree that MIT is one of the world’s great universities, and I don’t want to restart an old debate, but things aren’t helped when some colleges are really universities. King’s College London for example, my old employer, is a fully-fledged university with degree-awarding powers of its own (another of the world’s greats), along with University College London, Imperial College, Dartmouth College and others. I’m sure there are also some so-called universities that are really colleges, but none spring to mind at the moment. The point is that on both sides of the Atlantic, college and university are sometimes used interchangeably, and Chambers defines both as ‘an institution for higher learning or education’.

      1. I started working for The College of Law, which is now The University of Law. Not really one of the world’s greats, but it’s kept me gainfully employed for 20 years.

  3. Initially made a mess of the NW with several over-hasty assumptions (another TIE here), so unpicking that lot took me out to 10.10. My imperfect knowledge of Greater London (it’s a big place) also held me up on BARNET, even with all the crossers. A lively and fun offering from Orpheus, all fair and reasonable though fingers were crossed on RHOMB. Thank you Rotter. And again, a quick shout-out to Jean Francois Millet for his ANGELUS in the Musee d’Orsay, simply magnificent.

  4. 9 minutes, and only just within my target 10 because my first one in was TIE{r} at 10ac which later needed to be corrected to allow further progress in that quarter. Of course if I’d been paying closer attention to wordplay that wouldn’t have happened because TIE would have left ‘about’ unaccounted for whereas it usually indicates reversal or enclosure.

    I was helped by the setter using ‘Greater London’ at 16dn as it nudged me into thinking of London Boroughs, many of which came into being after I had lived enough years with the old boundaries to have them still lodged in my brain. As a native of nearby Middlesex, I still think of Barnet as being in Hertfordshire.

  5. Much better today but finally undone by today’s breeze block, SIEGE, and my misspelling of DIRRINGER. So two pinkies in about 15 minutes and no time given. I too bunged in TIE instead of NIL which made me scratch my head for a while over the obvious GREENGROCER. Still, it was a vast improvement on the previous three puzzles this week.
    Thanks to Orpheus and Rotter.

    1. I also froze on SIEGE for some time although once I saw it I couldn’t see why I couldn’t see it; my brain may need a service, I think. Otherwise, fine and fun for me.

  6. No problems here, and two passes saw me through fairly comfortably. What Kevin said about MIT (yet again)!

    TIME 3:53

  7. No problems today.
    I shall be clueing Naypyidaw as an anagram in the next Weekend QC.

    Thanks to Rotter for his excellent blog.

    1. Missed that part of Rotter’s typically excellent blog and so tried to solve that. Since it’s the last day of August ‘payday win’ seemed most likely.

      1. It’s not a million miles away from our fellow commentator on this blog – AndyPandy!

  8. If you follow Yeovil Town a tie has been an excellent result over the last seven years or so, so that never occurred to me but it took a while to work out why my first thought of NIL was correct. Lots going on to get the five letters of SIEGE and I also enjoyed ANGELUS and DERRINGER, would never have known I knew them without the cryptic. The Crossword Club wasn’t working for me so I was greeted by ‘congratulations’ on typing TREASONABLE rather than submitting before waiting to be shown the latest typos. So not technically all green but all correct in 11.

  9. All done in 13 minutes and very enjoyable. Not familiar with either Rhomb or Angelus (I see my spellchecker isn’t either as it helpfully corrected the latter to Angela’s) but they were generously clued. Derringer my LOI and put in with fingers crossed (“is this a real word?”), but by that stage and with all the checkers it couldn’t be anything else.

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

  10. Started with the 1s and flew through this one which was a relief after the last few days.
    My knowledge of guns being almost non-existent I was surprised to see that Derringer’s have a large bore as I always associate them with those little pistol’s ladies carry in their handbags in westerns.
    Thought I would have problems with 2d as Catholicism is another of my areas of general ignorance but the kind clueing helped me dredge ANGELUS from the depths.
    Finished with NIL in 5.24
    Thanks to Rotter

  11. A game of two halves…. I started well and found plenty to enjoy. I was a bit dim with ENMITY but needed it before INTERVENE dawned. I slowed to a crawl in the SE. TREASONABLE was a helpful penny-drop moment but I struggled with RHOMB, ACCESS (d’oh), and BARNET (my mind always stalls when I am faced with the wide range of possible areas of London).
    Rotter raced away from me today – I ended up a couple of minutes over target. Perhaps I was distracted by an excited phone call from our granddaughter on her 6th birthday.
    Thanks to Orpheus and to Rotter for a fine blog. John M.

  12. 8:59 (Viking raids in several Mediterranean countries)

    My fastest time this week, by a large margin. No especially hard clues. LOI was TREASONABLE.

    Thanks Rotter and Orpheus

  13. My FOI was GREENGROCER so I never considered tie at 10a. I do however remember taking a little time to parse NIL. The only unknown was RHOMB as I only think of a lozenge as a sweet but I see from the dictionary that is a shape with four corners. LOsI were BARNET and SIEGE in an on target 8:14

  14. My FOI was GREENGROCER too, so I also didn’t dally with TIE. In fact I didn’t dally at all and shot through in 5:22! Having been brought up in the RC tradition, ANGELUS was a write in. LOI was SACK. Thanks Orpheus and Rotter.

  15. I thought of TIE for 10A at first too, but it didn’t fit the wordplay. GREENGROCER led to the proper answer. I was held up by a 30s alphabet trawl at the end to find the simple SACK. Doh! Thanks Orpheus and Rotter. 5:06.

    1. Actually, I think TIE does fit the wordplay (unless you are a Yeovil Town supporter – see Mendeset’s amusing comment above). As a Leicester City supporter, I will definitely be disappointed by such a result when it inevitably happens this season.

      1. It may fit the definition for a club with ambitions, as you and Mendesest say, but like Jackkt above, I rejected TIE{r} as it left the “about” unaccounted for.

  16. Started slow and finished quick but ended up strolling into the club around the 22 mark. Needed the crossers for NHO RHOMB but assumed it was from rhombus. NHO ANGELUS and didn’t think of Angus. On reflection I would have clued it differently from an anatomical point of view.
    Thanks Rotter and Orpheus

  17. Yes, much more doable than Izetti – but cannot see that fire = SACK (I biffed BANK), and just could not see TREASONABLE. Otherwise all fair, good and green. RHOMB obscure but had to be. COD COCKROACH. Thanks, Rotter.
    (By the way, forgive my cheek in correcting you, but Rangoon is now Yangon, not -oon.)

    1. Thanks for that correction Martinů. I’m not sure where I saw the mythical Yangoon, or whether it was just my error. I see that SydneyC has made the same point below – thanks to him too.

  18. I liked this one.

    An average kind of time. ACCESS LOI after the S from COD TREASONABLE.


  19. 13 minutes -again- today. At the end struggled to get TREASONABLE and that confirmed the guessed RHOMB. I did spend some time looking for other lozenges.
    An enjoyable QC; could not pick a standout clue.

  20. Just under 8 minutes. By chance I’d happened to look up GRANDEE yesterday, so that went straight in and there weren’t too many hold-ups afterwards. I knew ANGELUS as something to do with religion but wouldn’t have solved it without the helpful wordplay.

    GREENGROCER was my favourite today, especially as we have very few around here these days. Good to see it was accompanied by ‘VIP’s’ at 1a and ‘campanologist’s’ at 3d.

    Thanks to Orpheus and TheRotter – including for the information about Naypyidaw as the capital of Myanmar which was news to me

    1. My thanks to Orpheus and Rotter too, and to everyone who contributes to the wonderful TfTT where I have long been lurking.

      A very minor point of pedantry: Rangoon is now usually referred to as Yangon rather than Yangoon.

  21. A scorcher! 6:42 with everything throwing itself into place. Loi Baronet/Barnet caused a slightly anguished hold up – is there extra stress on last clues? I liked Treasonable.

  22. Another DNF, for four in a row, it was TIE that did it for me, knocked out all of its four intersecting clues. But also did not see GRANDEE, even though I got DEE. And missed the hidden EAGER too.

    Feel as though I’m going backwards at the moment.

    1. I’m sure you will turn things around soon Merlin. I know just how it feels when you have a bad run, but one good day will set you right.

      Good luck tomorrow. 🤞

  23. 5:56

    Born into a Catholic family, but though I’ve heard the word, had no idea what an ANGELUS is/was – clueing was generous though.

    Orpheus is generally one of the friendlier setters imho and most of this grid was straightforward enough. I was held up at the end with TREASONABLE with LOI ACCESS following soon after.

    Thanks Orpheus and TheRotter

  24. DNF, though completed, as I had two incorrect answers.

    11a I had INTERCEDE. I did not know archdeacon abbreviation.

    23a. I had no idea on this one so I put TANK.

    I needed help from the cat with 9d.

    An enjoyable QC, but I wasn’t a fan of 22a.

    1. Definitely not a fan of 22a (RHOMB) either. I was expecting RHOMBUS For something lozenge / diamond shaped – except of course there weren’t enough letters. ANGELUS was also NHO for me and seems a rather obscure choice of word.

  25. I crossed the line in 9.58 thinking I had at last completed a puzzle inside schedule (just) for the first time this week. But no, I had put in INTERCEDE at 9ac and failed to return to check the parsing. So a DNF to go with three poor times so far this week. Like others I confidently put TIE in for 10ac only to realise it was incorrect once I had sorted out the obese sounding tradesman. I can only hope for better things tomorrow.

  26. A very enjoyable puzzle spoiled only by me putting GARNET for 16d as a mental melange of Knight of the Garter and Greater London. It didn’t parse and I should have checked.
    COD from a wide selection was EXPLOIT because it assembled beautifully.
    Appropriately LOI SIEGE held out to the very end but was a very good clue.
    Thanks Orpheus and Rotter.

  27. Another TANK here instead of SACK 🙄 Always easy when you know how – thanks Rotter. Otherwise a steady solve with slight pauses over RHOMB and INTERVENE (initially had ‘intercept’ which neither parsed nor satisfied the definition, then I belatedly remembered ‘VEN’). Had ENMITY as ‘EMNITY’ which frustrated MIDWEST for a while. COD GREENGROCER (always love a homophone). DERRINGER was a word I knew without knowing why. Didn’t parse NIL but had to be. Looked up ‘gigue’ in 18d – another new word learned. Enjoyable. Many thanks Orpheus and Rotter.

  28. At last back to a more normal time today, coming in at 17 minutes all parsed. My only doubt was RHOMB but what else could it be. I was also one of the TIE brigade but GREENGROCER soon triggered a rethink there.

    FOI – 7ac EAGER
    LOI – 22ac RHOMB
    COD – 20ac RANGOON, closely followed by 1ac GRANDEE – loved the surfaces.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Rotter

  29. Quite quick but was at vets so not concentrating. Put Interfere though I know Archdeacons are Venerable. Had to look up RHOMB on return (NHO?).
    FOI GRANDEE which was a help. Biffed NHO DERRINGER.
    Liked RANGOON ( a write-in) , WED, ANGELUS, GREENGROCER, EXPLOIT, among others.
    Thanks vm, Rotter.

  30. 23 mins…

    Nearly came unstuck by initially putting “Tank” for 23ac – which in hindsight is so straightforward I’m not really sure what I was thinking.

    FOI – 5ac “Wasp”
    LOI – 23ac “Sack”
    COD – 1dn “Greengrocer”

    Thanks as usual!

  31. 12.29 After maybe the sixth time, archdeacons’ venerability is starting to sink in. I too was tempted by TIE. The rest was mostly straightforward with a few minutes spent on SIEGE at the end. Thanks to Rotter and Orpheus.

  32. Much easier today. All done & parsed in 10:21, less than half the time of yesterday. Today I learned that a DERRINGER has a large bore, despite being a small pistol.

    Thanks to Orpheus and TheRotter

  33. Glad to finish with a little help for 22a rhomb, faintly remembering rhombus from schooldays. Easier than the last few days.

  34. A little easier than average, but a good puzzle with pleasingly smooth clueing. LOI – SACK. Thanks as ever.

  35. 22 mins. I thought it was tricky so rather deflated to see that many found it quite generous. Still, it’s a solve, although not an SCC escape.

    Slightly surprised at a few people not knowing the ANGELUS. I’m not a Catholic, but I was familiar with it as the blessing delivered each Sunday by the Pope.

    Thanks for the entertaining blog Rotter.

  36. Being a very infrequent contributor to this blog (second time) thought I would opine on the question of whether the QC is getting harder and/or fit for purpose.
    By way of background I have recently started attempting the QC now having more time on my hands having recently given up full time work and also see it as a way of keeping my brain active.
    Over the last 18 months I have gone from staring at an unintelligible jumble of clues to being able to decipher them to the point where on average I can complete about 1 a week and on most get close enough to be able to biff the last few and see where the red squares appear.
    This blog has been really useful in helping me understand how to decipher the clues and also gauge my progress as a lot of my errors are repeated here so really appreciate those that take the time to put up the results and all the other comments.
    Completing a crossword is really satisfying but the flip side of finding a QC that is almost indecipherable is really dispiriting.
    Todays I managed to complete in around 20 mins.
    Izetti yesterday I had only completed 1 clue after 20 mins and really struggling to see where to go next. This was following the previous 2 days which I fell well short of completing. The biggest challenge is having enough checkers to be able to have any idea what the word may be and crack open the clue. Once I see the answer it’s obvious but not when you have an almost empty grid!
    Whilst completing a QC is very satisfying being way off is almost as dispiriting (3 times this week).
    I do feel that recently (this week in particular) the balance has shifted away from these being accesible to an inexperienced newbie and may well put people off.
    Apologies for the long blog/rant

    1. Great to hear from you Jonners. I must say, I can’t remember your previous comment (I’ll search for it in a minute), but hope to hear more from you in future. I agree, this week has been tough – some weeks are, but it sounds like you are making good progress. Keep at it.

      1. Well done today Jonners. There were some tricky ones to contend with.

        It is rare to have three very tough QCs in a row and don’t get too despondent about struggling with Izetti. I finished yesterday, but this was the first Izetti I have completed in ages. He is, I think, by far the hardest of the setters.

        I agree completely with your point about having sufficient checkers. I usually need quite a few in order to get several clues.

        You will find that improvement on the QC can be a bit stop and start, but look at Mr Random’s comment for what can be achieved through sticking with it.

  37. After a very tough start to the week I feel as though I have hit top form by following up my 27 minutes for yesterday’s Izetti with another 27 minutes for today’s Orpheus. A year or two back these would both have been DNFs of an hour or more.

    WASP was my FOI and I progressed steadily from then until I was left with relatively unpopulated NW and SE corners. In the SE, my mathematics background helped with RHOMB, TREASONABLE required all of its checkers and THEATRE required very careful parsing. In the NW, I was held up by having earlier biffed tIe for NIL and then had to crack the GRANDEE/GREENGROCER pairing before finishing off with ANGELUS.

    Along the way, I also invented a new dance – the geNGA – before realising my error.

    Many thanks to Orpheus and Rotter.

  38. I read that a derringer is easily concealed by women in a purse or a stocking!

  39. Thank you Orpheus for your generous clueing that was needed for a couple of answers. I felt this well pitched for a QC and it made for a very enjoyable lazy lunchtime at the excellent Just So deli in Market Harboro. Some words dragged from the far recesses of memory – Rhomb and Angelus.
    FOI 1d Greengrocer
    LOI 13a Resign
    COD 17a Cockroach.

  40. DNF

    A ridiculous mistake, biffed TANK for the container instead of SACK. Otherwise would have been a slow 23 minutes with LOI SIEGE. This week is turning into a hotter show.

  41. Tricky but just about ok.
    Chucked in ‘Tank’ for 23a and didn’t review it.
    I think that due to the question mark, ‘tank’ should be an acceptable alternative.
    The bells of the Angelus knowledge saved me (I thought that it was a kind of screen saver when it first came up in Ireland for me (TV) in 1982.)
    Thanks all

  42. A good day for me, coming home with LOI TREASONABLE in 14:10. Always good to see some insects making an appearance. COD to INTERVENE. Thanks Rotter and Orpheus

  43. Thanks for the clear use of colour in the blog, makes it much easier to see things like initial letters.
    16 minutes for me, but fully parsed for once.

  44. I had the same issue as SomeRandomChap in that I got TIE for 10a thinking it was TIEr which fitted the clue almost perfectly which made the NW corner very difficult. NIAVE = GREEN was obvious but eluded me on the night.

    Thank you to Orpheus and Rotter for puzzle and explanations

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