Times Quick Cryptic No 2509 by Juno

Greetings from the Northumberland Coast where I have been on holiday for the last week. Apologies in advance but as I will be travelling home today I wont be able to reply to comments until later this afternoon. BTW I will be at the Crossword Championship tomorrow. I hope to see some of you there.

There are more than one or two tricky bits in this Quick Cryptic from Juno, with a couple of definitions that seem a bit abstruse, including my LOI, 22A. In all it took me just over 7 minutes, well over my target, but I’m not complaining. COD to the cute 21A. With it being Juno as our setter, who has often given us a theme or a Nina, I’ve looked for one, but can’t find anything. Can the hive mind discover it? Thank-you for the teasing puzzle, Juno. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword, entitled “Don’t Let It Bug You” here. If you are interested in trying our previous offerings you can find an index to all 88 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and [] other indicators.

1 Socialist student body returns, causing split (6)
SUNDER – RED (Socialist), NUS (National Union of Students) all reversed -> SUNDER.
4 Wife into strong flavours making nasal sounds! (6)
TWANGSW (wife) in TANGS (strong flavours).
8 Problem Yankee finds easy to remember (6)
CATCHYCATCH (problem) Y (Yankee in NATO phonetic alphabet).
9 Route we can find in clinic ourselves (6)
COURSE – Hidden in cliniC OURSElves
10 Hard-hearted, throwing bread out (8)
OBDURATE – (bread out)* [throwing].
12 Dropped subject, as not known initially (4)
SANK – Initial letters of  Subject As Not Known.
14 Truce organised as fierce battle’s ending (9)
CEASEFIRE – (as fierce)* [organised], last letter of battlE.
17 Burrow, secure, hollow and dry (4)
SETT –  Outer letters  [hollow] of S{ecur}E, TT (Teetotaller; dry).
18 Feathered singer finding warmth in clothing (8)
WHEATEARHEAT (warmth) in WEAR (clothing).
21 One hug oddly is sufficient! (6)
ENOUGH – (one hug)* [oddly]. Nice one
22 Doctor is after true comfort (6)
SOLACESO (true) LACE (doctor a drink, for example). My last one in. Try as I might, I can’t see how so = true, but the answer is clear from the checkers and definition.
23 Fashionable star seen idly removing odd bits (6)
TRENDY – Alternate letters of sTaR sEeN iDlY.
24 Fuel comes to an end — eight litres originally (6)
DIESELDIES (comes to an end), first letters of Eight Litres.
1 Moment on rocky peak to see area (6)
SECTORSEC (second; moment, as in “hang on a sec”) TOR (rocky peak).
2 Observed someone other than Times boss? (5)
NOTEDNOT ED, (someone other than Times boss). I liked this one.
3 English article, genuine, and spiritual (8)
ETHEREALE (English) THE (article) REAL (genuine).
5 Deal perhaps without needing overdose (4)
WOODW/O (without) OD (overdose).
6 Managed to turn up to class to do stories? (7)
NARRATE – RAN (managed) reversed -> NAR, RATE (class).
7 Milky drink you might pick up for Arab leader (6)
SHEIKH – Sounds like SHAKE (milky drink).
11 Force Peg to appear on Thursday (5)
TEETHTEE (peg) on TH (Thursday). Not the most helpful definition, but the dictionary says… “force, sufficient power to be effective
13 Pasta coming from Baltic port to NI (8)
RIGATONIRIGA (Baltic port) TO NI. My favourite pasta shape.
14 Conductor’s coat he’d ordered (7)
CATHODE – (coat he’d)* [ordered].
15 Approval since dispatched (6)
ASSENTAS (since) SENT (dispatched).
16 English author’s gold mine (6)
ORWELLOR (gold) WELL (mine). Hmm. “mine” for “well” seems a bit of a stretch.
19 Tests in multiculturalism — a xenophobe upset! (5)
EXAMS – Reverse hidden in multiculuraliSM A XEnophobe.
20 Old Ed, silver on top (4)
AGEDAG (chemical symbol for silver) ED.


95 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2509 by Juno”

      1. John, I have spotted the Nina. See post below.

        Good luck tomorrow (and all our friends that are competing).

  1. 19:01. WHEATEAR was slow for me because I thought clothing was gear and I kept trying to find a word starting SW for TWANG. Also TEETH took a long time for me to understand the definition. I learned SETT doing these puzzles. I guess a mine and a well are both holes dug in the ground- one for water, one for minerals. “Is that so?” could be the same as “Is that true?” Well, it seems the easy QC’s have come to an end and we’re back to the grind!

  2. DNF as defeated by 22A. But no problem with parsing now as in slightly old fashioned English “Is that really TRUE” = “Is that really SO”. Got stuck on looking for MD/MO/GP/DR et etc . 16D Agree slight MER with “well” = “mine”. 11D clever but could only pars after the blog and never heard of the songbird in 18A. Obscure birds and plants can be tricky and not much fun for me at least. But overall a very satisfying puzzle if a bit challenging for me. Thanks to Juno and Johninterred.

  3. I was also defeated by SOLACE so DNF. I don’t remember being held up badly anywhere else. I think I was at about 12 minutes when I got to what would have been my LOI if I could actually think of a word to fit.

  4. I remember when years ago SHEIKH came up and I discovered that many Brits also pronounced it ‘sheek’, one of them being the late Dorset Jimbo, who objected to the clue. Like curryowen, I learned SETT here. A minor MER at mine/well. Held up at the last by SOLACE. 6:26.

  5. I think we have to go figurative for well / mine as both are listed in dictionaries as an abundant source or supply of something. Mine of information / the well of knowledge – that sort of territory.

    13 minutes was my slowest QC solve of the week.

    I looked twice at 4ac where TANGS for strong flavours looked wrong to me and it turns out that the ODE agrees, insisting that TANG in this sense can only be used in the singular. Elsewhere Collins Cobuild has it under ‘Singular Noun’ and although the main entries don’t specify this, where examples are given showing TANG in context it is always in the singular and preceded by ‘the’ or ‘a’.

    If there is a theme or Nina I too have failed to spot it.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the figurative sense for mine / well – you’ve convinced me.

  6. Hard work from Juno today, it took me a touch over 14 and some of these (eg SOLACE, WHEATEAR, RIGATONI) challenge the Q part of QC. There was some clever and entertaining clueing here but I’m not at all convinced by TEETH = force. OK I get it, but sometimes these definitions based on ‘there’s a distant obscure usage somewhere’ become tiresome for some of us. Well, for me. Thank you John for the blog, I just want to state that I stand with Duane Eddy and say that nothing he ever did sounded remotely nasal.

    1. “The new legislation giving the courts extra powers has real teeth / force” – I might be showing my age but this would have been a common useage back in the day”

  7. GK pushed close to the limit today with WHEATEAR, CATHODE and Riga as a Baltic Port all needing to spotted before coming to mind. Then I stuffed it up by putting two Ls at the end of DIESEL. Glad others weren’t sure about well and mine in ORWELL. Ended up not all green a shade under 19.

  8. I thought I was really going to struggle when I only solved one of the first five across clues, but I knocked off all the down clues in one go. After my second pass I was only left with my LOI, and made my target far more comfortably than I’d expected to.

    TIME 4:29

  9. Solace definitely the “blocker”. Pushed me from typically 10 to over 15 minutes. Still not convinced!

  10. I was flying along very happily thinking that this was a gentle Friday offering until hitting the SE which felt on another level from a difficulty point of view.
    Had a nice PDM for ORWELL which I really liked and gets my COD, TEETH went in with a shrug but now makes more sense having read some of the comments above, needed all the checkers for the unknown bird and LOI SOLACE went in semi-parsed.
    Overall happy to finish under target in 8.29.
    Thanks to John

  11. Thought it was tougher than the average Quickie. A few clues (TEETH, SOLACE) wouldn’t be out of place in the 15×15.

  12. As per all of the above. Longest time of the week at 32 minutes so will order a petit pain to bring some solace (biffed) to my corner of the club.
    Overall, a good week. Thanks John and Juno.

  13. Firstly I’d like to wish JohnI, our esteemed blogger, the best of luck at the Championships. He does a fine job with the blogging and collating the Weekend Crosswords. I’m always impressed by his excellent performances on the QC which average in at just over 5mins.

    I usually try to avoid wishing people “good luck” when their skill is the underlying underlying part of their success. But I believe there is an element of luck in who sets the clues and their choice of clueing and answers so 🤞

    I’m sure everybody here is pulling for John to do well 💪

    1. … barring those against whom he is competing, perhaps?
      N.B. I will not be among them.

    2. Thank-you all for the kind wishes. My objective is to finish in the first 60 (out of 120) in the heat and thus qualify for the semi-final.

  14. 15:57 – bunged in SOLACE as my LOI with a bit of a shrug as there had been a few answers which left me a little uncertain that I’d be successful – WHEATEAR (NHO), TEETH, TWANGS, DEAL, SHEIKH (spelling). Never a good sign when the QC elicits that feeling of “I don’t really care whether it’s right or not”. There were some nice clues (TRENDY, SETT, NOTED, EXAMS) and anagrams in there to help get going but overall I wouldn’t have felt confident of completing that in the past. Not one for the beginners.

    Yet it is a joyous day as I completed my fastest ever week. It was 4.99 solves out of 5 with the slight humdinger being on Tuesday when I knowingly bunged in a couple of wrong answers at around 9:57 in a vain hope they would be correct for a sub-10. I then immediately gave them the further thought they deserved. I have counted it as a successful solve but at the back of my mind it will nag as an imperfect week. Let the record show Mon 8:45PB, Tues 10:46,Weds 15:25, Thurs 16:49, Fri 15:57 for a 1hr07min42 total – 13:32 avg. Previous best week 1hr22.

    Have a good weekend everyone 👍

        1. Thanking you both.

          Martinů – I thought of you when I reached the Conductor anagram. Knowing your love of music, I was sure I was going to be left with someone I’d never heard of and needing to decide between equally possible variants of -hode or -dohe. Then my brain kicked in!

    1. You’re doing something right! I was 11:05, 12:03, 11:31, 7:53, and 19:01 for the week which totalled I hr, 1 min, 33 seconds. So my overall time was better but I think you actually took 3 of the five days.

      1. Matchplay always favours the less abled. That’s one reason why the Majors moved to strokeplay – to ensure the favourites make the cut!

    2. 👍👍👍

      You are so far beyond me now that I can be no more than a speck in your rear view mirror.

  15. I enjoyed this, and managed to avoid any fat fingers today.

    Biffed SOLACE and moved on. Clever in retrospect. LOI TEETH after I moved the H from position 2 to position 5 and saw what peg was doing. Very much liked the surface for CEASEFIRE.

    Bon courage to our esteemed blogger, I have a way to go before I would consider entering, if I were ever to get to the stage where I could be confident of completing a 15×15 inside 20 mins 95% of the time. I can do an easy one in 10-15, but as soon as the difficulty ramps up, I’m well over 30, or a dejected DNF.


  16. DNF. Mainly just could not convince myself that TEETH could mean “force”, though I now accept Lindsay’s example. Hence did not put the H in so WHEATEAR, NHO, was going to be hard. And doctor can be an anagrind as well as MO, DR, MB etc, so missed SOLACE. Finally the “English writer” was a distraction, since I thought it meant E plus a writer.


  17. In SCC with 23:34, the last 6 minutes of which spent trawling through the dictionary for words meaning comfort. Entered SOLACE without any understanding of how it worked. Thanks John and Kevin for making sense of it.

  18. I think this was poorly pitched because there were too many tenuous definitions for a quickie. DNF because of solace . Others have shown that its just about fair enough as a clue, but I think its more apt for the main puzzle along with many others. Thanks though!

  19. A left to right solve finishing in the SE corner with my penultimate the unknown WHEATEAR which was more likely than Gheatear. As others, my LOI was SOLACE. I thought of the word first and then parsed it belatedly. 9:34 to finish off what has been an easier week overall. Wishing you the best of luck John in the championship tomorrow.

  20. So, step changes in difficulty aren’t just limited to the QC. Having honed my skills suffiently to be able to solve Wordle in one go (yesterday), I was back to needing five turns today. Should I complain to the Wordle editor?

    This went well until my final clue – definitely a ‘breezeblock’ QC. I had just been welcomed into the SCC as I wrote in my penultimate solution (ORWELL), but a further seven minutes were to elapse before I was able to stop the clock. SOLACE took five minutes to find (via an alphabet trawl) plus a further two minutes to parse. Still, as my total time was only 28 minutes, I count it as another good day.

    P.S. An interesting stat or two:
    Last 9 QCs: Max. = 33, Ave. = 26 mins
    Prev. 9 QCs: Min. = 46, Ave. = 54 (incl. 2 DNFs)

    Many thanks to Juno and John (Enjoy tomorrow!).

  21. DNF NHO WHEATEAR. Also I admit I got the old atlas out to look at the Baltic. But liked RIGATONI, OBDURATE, SETT, ORWELL, WOOD, SHEIKH, among others. Biffed SOLACE. LOI TEETH.
    Quite a difficult puzzle, slow starting and slow finishing. Now exhausted my brain.
    Many thanks, John. Good luck tomorrow!

  22. A bit over 13 minutes. This ended up being quite tricky. I was doing well until the SE corner where I was stumped by WHEATEAR, ORWELL, DIESEL and my LOI SOLACE.

    A few golf-related references but, for me, not enough to count as a theme.

    Thanks to Juno and thanks and good luck for tomorrow to John

  23. I thought this a very difficult QC.
    After 30 minutes I stopped, needing 22a. I had spent several minutes on POI TWANGS; it had to be right but not easy. TEETH and WHEATEAR were hard clues.
    After a pause I spent several more minutes on 22a and came up with SOLACE which at least seemed to fit as a definition; needed the parsing from this blog. Thanks.
    All of which confirms that my rightful place is at The George tomorrow and not in the room with the accomplished solvers.

  24. Never parsed SOLACE, but now agree it’s a good one. Wasn’t sure about Orwell, but def could parse it. Had WHEATEAR in a recent quiz of some kind which helped a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Needed all the crossers for SHEIKH.

  25. DNF – Solace. Two difficult-to-find components, and although I was sure Comfort was the definition, I didn’t think of Solace. I was looking for a verb I think, rather than considering nouns. Still, should have solved from definition although parsing it would still have taken a bit.
    Hope the SCC will let me seek solace there.
    Good luck to all the weekend word warriors!

  26. After a long time, got all except SOLACE which is just too difficult for a QC (impossible to see Q-ly!). Couldn’t see how force = TEETH but it had to be and I see now, thank you John. All best for tomorrow!

  27. Started off confidently enough in the NW but then slowed considerably, with SOLACE taking a lot of time before LOI, SETT made its appearance. 12:21. Thanks Juno and John.

    1. Absolutely brilliant! How ever did you spot that! You have made my day, thank you. I shall be chuckling all afternoon

    2. Fiendishly clever from setter firstly, then secondly from you for digging it out – well done!

  28. 8:34

    Pleased with this as I average more than 9 minutes against Juno. Mainly slow in the SE corner where a lack of bird knowledge slowed me down in coming up with WHEATEAR, which gave ORWELL and the final checker for 22a which I took some time in justifying as SOLACE.

    Hope to catch up with you tomorrow John – I’ll be there too hoping this time I can get into the second round…

  29. At 18 minutes I entered TEETH with a shrug at 11dn, leaving just 22ac. Everything else had been ok, although tricky enough to make it a slow time. After 22 minutes I got bored and used an aid to get SOLACE. Another shrug as I still could not parse it.

    FOI – 9ac COURSE
    LOI – DNF but would have been 22ac SOLACE
    COD – nothing really stood out for me today

    Thanks to Juno and especially to John for shedding some light into the darkness.

  30. My first puzzle this week where I was outside my target time of ten minutes. I finished in 11.29 which, bearing in mind the difficulty of the puzzle, I’m quite happy with.
    The two that really held me up were TEETH, where I thought of the answer readily enough but tarried a while trying to parse it. I eventually did so but wasn’t over confident that my interpretation was correct. My LOI was SOLACE, and here again I thought of the word but couldn’t parse it. I’m glad I persevered, even at the expense of approaching a minute in time, to finally see how it worked and to stop the clock.
    My total time for the week was 43.04, giving a daily average of 8.37. So overall a very satisfactory week.

  31. A rapid start in the NW had me looking for a comfortable sub-20, but Twangs and Wheatear (nho, so checked with Google before entering) left me tottering near the SCC threshold. Solace then removed any lasting hope by needing a slow alpha-trawl and another minute to parse. I wasn’t overly surprised to find several window seats were still available. . . CoD to 16d, Orwell, one that didn’t get away. Invariant

  32. An odd puzzle, with a mixture of mainstream QC-standard clues and some which posed considerably more challenge. Teeth went in with a shrug (Teeth = Force not a QC-level clue IMO), and that left just the Orwell/Solace pair. On which others have commented enough, and I don’t disagree. Not Juno’s finest …

    22 minutes, my slowest full finish for a long time, of which fully 12 on the L2I.

    Many thanks to John for the blog and good luck in the Competition. And a good weekend to all.

  33. I loved this QC, so many clever clues. I was going nicely at 14 mins with one to go. Sadly after my 30 minute cut-off time it’s a DNF due to SOLACE. Totally fair clue and solution, just out of my league.
    WHEATEAR gave me pause while I tried to make it a type of clothing (something-wear) but the bird is familiar so it flew in eventually.

    COD for me was SETT which I thought very cleverly constructed and which came after badgering away for a while.

    Thanks to John for the blog – hope the trip has not been too weather-affected and to Juno for a very good QC.

  34. Sadly a dnf to finish the week. Defeated by 4 clues:
    TEETH – NHO of this for Force but I should have linked peg with teeth so not unfair.
    SOLACE – two hard links from Truth and Doctor required to get there
    TWANGS – should have thought of Tangs but nasal sound didn’t help much as I was thinking of Sniffs, Snorts etc.
    WOOD – I should have got this and would have if I’d solved Twangs and vice vesa but missed the link with wood.
    Hopefully with more experience these clues will become solvable.
    Thanks Juno and John. Good luck tomorrow.

    1. Unlucky #5 – but a good week for you nonetheless. I entered this one in slightly resigned mood as the previous Juno outing at end of June, I gave up on with 4 left at 45mins. The four you struggled on today were tough for a QC in my opinion.

      For ref, DEAL=wood comes up occasionally. TH=Thurs likewise. LACE=doctor, not sure I’ve seen specifically but when it’s not one of the abbreviations or an anagrind, it can be “to fix”, “mess with” or now “to lace”.

  35. Dnf…

    I don’t think I’m bucking any trend here to say that after my cut off time of 30 mins I just couldn’t get 22ac “Solace”. I guess “lace” is another word to add to my list of doctor abbreviations and synonyms. Other hold ups were 4ac “Twangs” and 5dn “`Wood” axis.

    FOI – 1dn “Sector”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 13dn “Rigatoni”

    Thanks as usual!

  36. 11:14. less solace and more breezeblocked.
    Liked: enough, twangs, sunder, obdurate, ceasefire, observed
    COD solace. Glad it wasn’t: Notes comfort. SO|LA|C|E
    Not keen on teeth.

    Good luck to everyone tomorrow, I was thinking about attending (drinks not championship!) but it clashes with LFC v EFC.

  37. 10.44 This all went surprisingly smoothly for my fastest ever week at 55 minutes. Though it is also the week with the lowest ever QUITCH. I’ve been tackling the 15x15s with limited success but the experience does make these seem much easier.

  38. Back down to earth after yesterday’s success. Defeated by the entire SE corner. How is a Well a Mine? I see from comments above that Teeth = Force but that is pushing it a bit?
    Sore loser? Was it Bill Shankly who said “Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser”. Many thanks to Juno and John.

  39. 36:00
    Really struggled today and was expecting a DNF.
    Did a letter trawl for the W in WHEATEAR and knew SOLACE was ‘comfort’ but had no idea how to get there from the clue (thanks John). So, very relieved when I got the “Congratulations”.
    FOI: 12ac SANK
    LOI: 18ac WHEATEAR
    COD: not sure there was one for me.
    Thanks to John and Juno (I think)

  40. A difficult one to end the week. Needed a long break to come back to the SE corner and then a while to get WHEATER, DIESEL and, LOI, SOLACE, which I guessed. Pleased to escape a DNF!!

  41. 24 minutes. LOI Solace but without fully understanding why. So thanks for the blog. Rigatoni took too long, but many others flew in…. And then several just didn’t.
    Very enjoyable.
    I like the subtle theme!! Well spotted Sawbill!
    Nearly stuck on Sheikh and Twangs particularly. COD Wood… because it pleased me to get it.
    Thanks all

  42. 14:29 with an asterisk, as I woke up to a text complaining about SOLACE, so knew that answer before I started! Despite knowing that, I never made the “drink” connection for LACE, so that’s definitely 1-0 to Juno. ORWELL and TEETH also not parsed, so needed to come here to figure out how they worked. COD CEASEFIRE.

    Thanks to John and Juno.

  43. Quite tough but it was Orwell and solace which caused the big (3 minutes or so) head scratch at the end. I first got the ‘so’ part but then was off in the medical world for ‘doctor’ for an age. 13 minutes.

  44. Finished quickly apart from last two ORWELL then SOLACE, which took me an agelike everyone else. But then they both seemed obvious. Why?! Has Juno found some synonyms that no-one has thought of before?

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