Times Quick Cryptic No 2517 by Pedro

Solving time: 9:51

I find Pedro the trickiest of all of the regular QC setters, averaging more than ten minutes before this grid. I tried not to put any time pressure on myself and I think it helped. While not breaking any records this time out, I did manage to finish in less than ten minutes – I’ll take that!

I don’t think there is anything too tricky in this grid. Something that did jump out at me on completion was the middle row – does it mean something? Is there a nina splattered around the grid that I just can’t see? If there is, I haven’t spotted it….. yet!

What did you make of it?

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

1 Concert work bringing in tango in timely fashion (8)
PROMPTLYPROM (Concert) then PLY (work) bringing in T (tango i.e. from NATO phonetic alphabet)
6 Mike joining excellent club (4)
MACEM (Mike i.e. from NATO phonetic alphabet) joining ACE (excellent)
8 Hurry to protect one manuscript likely to fall apart (6)
FLIMSYFLY (Hurry) protecting I (one) MS (manuscript – abbreviation is from the Latin manuscriptum)
9 Very good spies start to like being gregarious (6)
SOCIALSO (Very) CIA (good? spies) then start to [i.e. first letter of] L{ike}

Mildly puzzled by where ‘good’ fits in. Does SO = ‘Very good’? Or are the CIA ‘good spies’? Whatever, I thought the CIA didn’t have any spies, only ‘officers’…

10 Religious image I study (4)
ICONI CON (study)

CON, meaning “to study, get to know, peruse carefully” comes from c.1200 Old English cunnian meaning “to know”

11 Change in climate’s doing for flower (8)
CLEMATIS – Anagram [Change in] of CLIMATE’S.

Not sure what ‘doing’ is necessary other than for surface and perhaps an increased level of convolution. Clue could have read ‘Climate’s changing for flower

12 Commotion months after newspaper report curtailed (5)
STORMM (months) after STOR{y} (newspaper report) curtailed
13 Sewer noise requiring intervention of soldiers (5)
DRAINDIN (noise) requiring insertion [intervention] of RA (soldiers i.e. Royal Artillery)
15 Moving quickly to contain injury, getting source of medical advice (8)
PHARMACYPACY (Moving quickly) containing HARM (injury)
17 Little point accommodating learner — an idiot (4)
DOLTDOT (Little point) accommodating L (learner)
19 A city, not on for harbouring source of medicinal nut (6)
ALMONDA LONDON (city, not on i.e. in this case, the second ON is removed) harbouring source [i.e. insert first letter] of M{edicinal}
20 Sleepy disputes occurring during beginning and end of day (6)
DROWSYROWS (disputes) between D{a}Y [beginning and end of]
21 Determination? Old King has it (4)
GRITGR (Old King i.e. Georgius Rex) IT
22 Collection of data, say, is dumped in River Test (8)
REGISTRYE.G. (say) IS inserted into [dumped in] R (River) TRY (Test)

e.g. is short for exempli gratia which is Latin for ‘for example’

2 Priest brought in Roman Catholic memento (5)
RELICELI (default crossword priest) in R.C. (Roman Catholic)
3 Satisfied about blokes and love? It’s a thing of the past (7)
MEMENTOMET (Satisfied) about MEN (blokes) then O (love)
4 British soldier dismissing Military Medal as trifle (3)
TOYTOMMY i.e. dismiss MM (Military Medal) from TOMMY (British soldier)
5 Certainly ready to change after time in the recent past (9)
YESTERDAYYES (Certainly) then anagram [to change] of READY after T (time)
6 Doctor taking tea and coffee (5)
MOCHAM.O. (Doctor i.e. Medical Officer) CHA (tea)
7 Trumpet family’s taken around carnival city (7)
CLARIONCLAN (family) around RIO (carnival city)

A CLARION was a high-pitched trumpet used in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

11 Military figure, computer expert, embracing married bloke (9)
COMMANDERCODER (computer expert) surrounding [embracing] M (married) MAN (bloke)
12 One studying sun’s capturing carbon and hydrogen (7)
SCHOLARSOLAR (sun’s) capturing C (carbon – chemical symbol) and H (hydrogen – chemical symbol)
14 Difficult Republican couple trapped in Australia (7)
ARDUOUSR (Republican) DUO (couple) trapped in AUS (Australia)
16 Nonsense about very large perch (5)
ROOSTROT (Nonsense) about OS (very large i.e. over sized)
18 US city series to make you beam (5)
LASERLA (US city) SER (series)

Not sure I’d seen SER as an abbreviation for series, but I have found it in several places online.

20 Follow party heading for government (3)
DOGDO (party) G{overnment} [heading for i.e. first letter of]


72 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2517 by Pedro”

  1. It was a biff fest for me in about 22 min, I had to learn the parsing of many of the words from today’s blog. Thank you for the thorough explanations! I now have to add Tommy to my ever growing list of words for ‘soldier’.

    With regards to King – is Old King always GR? It’s my first encounter with it. So many words for King!

    LOI: REGISTRY (the parsing of this was beyond me – sometimes the little joining words are important in the wordplay sometimes they’re just there to aid the surface reading)
    COD: ARDUOUS only because I liked the idea of a couple being trapped in the outback

    Thanks for the blog!

    1. The old king could be ER (Edward) or CR (Charles), etc. Or of course LEAR, COLE, …

  2. I saw ‘very’ and thought ‘SO’, and somehow overlooked the ‘good’; but ‘so’ must be ‘very good’ here, as CIA is not ‘good spies’ . 6:30.

  3. 14:30. Yes, I’m curious about the STORM DRAIN in the middle of the puzzle. I was also curious about MEMENTO in the clue for 2 down and then solution to 3 down. I guess SO has to mean “very good”but I’m dubious. REGISTRY was my COD.

  4. 6.59. Agree with many above regarding so/very good etc, I can’t see a way in which this works. Also puzzled by what ‘doing’ is doing in the clue for CLEMATIS, but other than that this was an enjoyable Pedro puzzle. Hardest part for me was the SW, where my LOsI were PHARMACY, ALMOND and GRIT. Thanks to Mike for explaining a few I biffed straight past, including the construction of ALMOND and YESTERDAY and the use of words like pacy, ply and coder which I missed completely.

    1. I saw it as SO in the context of the interjections JUST SO and VERY GOOD. It was certainly good enough for me.

  5. 16 minutes with ages spent at the end on PHARMACY which required an alphabet trawl.

    I didn’t think about ‘very good / SO’ when solving, just accepted it. On further reflection ‘just so’ can mean ‘very good’ in which case perhaps ‘so’ on its own can too. ‘So-so’ means ‘not very good’ which may also have some bearing.

  6. For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! ”
    But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;

  7. Another very nicely pitched QC I thought, even though at around 21 minutes I think I might be moved towards the back of the class after assembly.
    For me this presented the perfect mix of cryptic challenge and GK. So two out of three this week puts me in a good position to maybe being awarded a coveted ‘Good Effort’ sticker from teacher on Friday. No real stand-out clues for me today as I enjoyed chewing over them all.
    Thanks to Pedro and Mike.

  8. Found this tricky. 18/26 after 20 mins. Completed in 28:41, but only by filling in blanks. Parsing many of the answers was impossible, so thanks Mike.

  9. I enjoyed this puzzle, all done in 11 minutes, and I was surprised to find on coming here that it was by Pedro, who I usually find very challenging. The SW corner held out longest (“newspaper report” as story didn’t come to me for a long time, and I was trying to fit 2 Ms in there for months), but all fair and done in the end.

    Many thanks Mike for the blog, and the etymology of Con. One of those “only in crosswordland” words for me, not sure I’ve ever used it in real life – but presumably connected to the Conning tower of a submarine? And perhaps the dialect word Ken (as in John Peel)?


    1. I think to “conn” a ship is to helm it, to control its movements, and I’m pretty sure that that’s the origin of “conning tower”.

  10. Not as chewy as some of Pedro’s offerings which was a relief.
    Started well with both PROMPTLY and MACE going straight in and made good progress down the grid. PHARMACY proved tricky until I realised that ‘harm’ would fit in the middle of it and GRIT and LOI ALMOND also put up a fight.
    Finished in 7.54 with COMMANDER parsed post submission.
    Thanks to Mike

  11. I’d have enjoyed parsing ALMOND but I’ll have to make do with the low wattage lightbulb flickering on reading Mike’s great blog. Should have thought of London when going through cities. Should have been quicker to realise the River Test was too local to be taken literally taking too long trying to parse ‘register’ but liked REGISTRY when is arrived. Finished with LASER once that last R was in place. I must have know series=ser but it still felt a disappointing end to a great puzzle. All green in 16 on the nose.

  12. Tricky as always from Pedro. Biffed ALMOND (thanks for explaining, Mike), tried hard to fit “hurt” into what was PHARMACY, and was sure that “River Test” would = R + ORAL.

    So held myself up quite a bit, eventually landing in 09:07 for 1.4K and an OK Day. COD to YESTERDAY.

    Many thanks Mike and Pedro.


  13. 10:55 (Gruffydd ap Llywelyn becomes King of all Wales – the first and last Welsh ruler to achieve this)

    I was thrown by the “very good” at the start of 9a into looking for words starting with PI, and needed the checkers before finally spotting SOCIAL. LOI was PHARMACY. COD to ALMOND.

    Thanks Mike and Pedro

  14. A neat one from Pedro. I failed to fully parse COMMANDER until after solving, otherwise all good. Thanks Pedro and Mike. 4:44. P.S. Good to be able to put a face to the name now after meeting at the Championship.

  15. Miles off the pace today. Apparently the longest I have taken on a Pedro puzzle, and I have ugly red marks highlighting my personal nitch and witch today!

    Nothing wrong with the puzzle, just not seeing it. LOI PHARMACY.


  16. Didn’t quite make it to the SCC by less than a minute. Very little from my run through the across clues so solved from the SE corner back up, fairly steadily once I had a toehold.
    Surprised to see MEMENTO in the clue to 2D and then as the answer to 3D, but as I was working backwards there it didn’t help me. Did get a flash of deja vu though!
    Enjoyed this a lot, plenty of assembling and taking apart, finding the little words to make up the answers.

  17. Whizzed through this until I biffed REGISTer and then like our blogger I hadn’t seen SER for series before. After unravelling the error at 22, LASER was my LOI. 6:33 for an excellent day.

  18. I biffed my LOI but parsed it without any problems. Enjoyable puzzle, and nicely pitched.

    TIME 4:07

  19. 15:23 (1523 Spanish complete conquest of Nicaragua

    When I see “nonsense” in a clue I always try ROT, even though it sounds very dated and there are many other slang words for nonsense which never appear. See also HUM=smell, CON=study etc. I know these three letter words are handy for setters, but they are now past their sell by date.

    In CLEMATIS, the apostrophe-s is needed for the anagram. There doesn’t seem to be a clear rule when it is in, or out. Fortunately, an easy anagram either way.

    COD COMMANDER (Extra points for newish word, Coder)

    1. Agree its good to see newer references creeping in, not everyone studied the classics!!

    2. On CLEMATIS I’d say the s is needed for the anagram but the apostrophe ‘s (rather than the plural) is there for the grammar of the surface allowing it to be read as Change of climate is doing for flower. This interpretation also explains the presence of ‘doing’ as queried in the blog, because ‘doing for’ someone or something means doing them harm or even killing them off, which of course a change of climate may well do to a plant.

  20. The clues 2d and 3D use of memento feels very odd to me. I got the answer quickly to 3D but felt unconvinced that a setter would do this. He did!

  21. DNF. Was dim this morning. I might have finished if I had taken more time, perhaps.
    Thanks vm, Mike.

  22. Well, I plodded my way through this one finding it rather challenging in places. I did finish and managed to parse everything but it took some perseverance. Didn’t know ‘ser’ for series but sort of made sense. Worked on southeast initially as couldn’t get a foothold elsewhere but gradually the grid filled up. LOI PHARMACY – wanted there to be an extra ‘m’ as thought definition was just ‘advice’ and ‘source of’ related to Medical… An enjoyable challenge after two easier QCs. Many thanks all.

  23. Looked hard, but worked through it fairly steadily, albeit with a few guesses for the unparsables (COMMANDER, LASER, MEMENTO, SOCIAL.) Thanks for explanations – but, like others, I don’t get the “very good” in SOCIAL.

  24. 7.20 fail

    Unaccountably inserted MOCCA. Like others had to work hard at this one but some nice clues.

    Thanks Mike and Pedro

  25. Slap on the forehead moment: despite memento appearing in 2d I managed to spell it MOMENTO in 3D and even parsed it with MOT for ‘satisfied’ as in a car satisfying the MOT.
    Apart from that quite tricky with a fair amount of biffing but pleased to finish a Pedro in under and hour with one error.
    Thanks for the puzzle and the blog. Good fun on a wet day.

  26. A good run out from Pedro, and I found it difficult to build up any speed as the parsing seemed more complicated than usual. In the end, I stopped the clock at 9.02 which surprised me as it felt as if I had gone over my ten minute target. PHARMACY was my LOI, and I had to return to it quite a few times before the penny dropped.

  27. The top half flew in, apart from a pause over the swift return of Memento (at least spelling it was no problem. . .) but the bottom half was a little trickier, expecially in the SW corner. Even so, a comfortable sub-20 for a setter I usually find quite tricky makes for a very satisfactory solve. CoD to 19ac, Almond, for the parsing challenge. Invariant

  28. Quite tricky as is normal with Pedro. I made steady but slow progress through the grid with no one clue or area holding me up more than any other. Didn’t get too many of the across clues on first pass but fared better with the downs. All done and parsed in 24 minutes.

    FOI – 10ac ICON
    LOI – 19ac ALMOND
    COD – 11dn COMMANDER

    Thanks to Pedro and Mike

  29. Very pleased to get home in 32 minutes, as I found this rather tricky – especially the LHS. In fact, I had completed the RHS after two full passes through the grid, but had only ICON and ‘soul’, which was wrong, at 21a (as in Old King Cole was …) on the left.

    The only clues I didn’t/couldn’t fully parse on the way through were YESTERDAY, where I didn’t see the partial anagram, and ALMOND, where I never saw the city. Does anyone use DOLT? I’ve never heard it in conversation or seen it written down, so I presumed it was an Americanism.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Mike.

  30. Struggled to get started with this one. But as I plodded on more answers came to mind and the grid slowly filled.

    Needed the cat’s help with pharmacy.

  31. 18:54
    I’ve unfortunately missed a good week’s worth of QC’s so very pleased to come under my 20min target time.
    FOI: 10ac ICON
    LOI: 7dn CLARION
    Thanks to Mike and Pedro.

  32. 7:36, but with a carelessly biffed MOCCA. Shudda read the clue properly! Thanks Pedro and Mike.

  33. 13.26 but I chucked in REGISTER. Its wrongness should have been obvious because it broke LASER. Bah! Another enjoyable puzzle though with PHARMACY and ALMOND the last two in. Thanks to Mike and Pedro.

  34. Dnf…

    Not for me this, and thought it was trickier than everyone has made out. In particular, I had a bit of a mare with the NW corner, where I just couldn’t see 1ac “Promptly”, 3dn “Memento” (which I actually excluded on the basis it was mentioned in the previous clue) and 8ac “Flimsy”. Putting “Scrum” for 12ac didn’t’ help.

    FOI – 6ac “Mace”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 22ac “Registry” – visions of secret files flowing down a fast waterway.

    Thanks as usual!

  35. 31:17 (3117 – the immortal cloud-based consciousness of Elon Musk purchases the rings of Saturn as a birthday present to his 147th wife)

    Found this hard, and I needed more of the explanations than I normally do (thank you Mike!). COD: SCHOLAR.

    1. Good maths, Wombat! You must be basing your prediction on Mr Musk succumbing to the 7-year itch.

      1. Decent time today Mr R. It was a tricky one. 👍

        Did you read AndyPandy’s reply to your question about Newport County yesterday? Makes very interesting reading.

        1. Yes, I did. Very interesting … and, in John Aldridge, an all-time great. Who knew?

  36. I wasn’t there and now relieved. Took me 33 minutes. Wouldn’t have been much fun getting my coat after the first puzzle!

    1. Take a look at our Glossary. There are links to it under Help (top of the page) or Useful Links (RH of screen towards the top). The layout may be different according to your device.

  37. There were few ‘gimmes’ here and most clues took a bit of working out. ALMOND was very tough and I hadn’t previously seen the abbreviations for manuscript and series.

    In the circumstances, pleased with 17 mins. I can only beat the SCC cut-off with biffs/non-parsing of some clues, but a little progress is being made.

    Some superb times registered by the quicker solvers today. Chapeau!

    Great blog as always, thanks Mike.

  38. I too find Pedro quite tricky so was glad to finish this in 12:14, although I didn’t really understand the clue for SOCIAL either. It could have been my LOI as I left it blank but when I’d got all the crossers, I realised it couldn’t be anything else. Only ALMOND gave me more trouble – with the L already there, I was trying to get something involving LA!

    FOI Promptly LOI Almond COD Flimsy
    Thanks Pedro and Mike – all the added details were really interesting 😊

  39. Very tricky for me with lots of clues needing hard work If the SCC is over 20 minutes, what’s over an hour??

    1. The SCC is on several levels; there is a basement…. But it’s lovely. You get to spend far more time Savouring Cryptic Clues than the speed fiends who barely read them as they thunder towards their destination. Enjoy.

  40. Well, that was cat melodeon. After several quickies where I got most if not all of the answers and starting to feel that I was getting the hang of this cryptic malarkey, today’s offering yielded 6 answers. Just have to keep trying.

  41. 11 minutes for this satisfying QC. Enjoyed the cluing around the grid especially scholar and registry.

  42. Late to comment on this one but it occurred to me afterwards that this was 26 clues with one anagram and one partial and everything else some variant of A+B=C. No hiddens, no initialisms, no homophones, no double defs, no cryptic defs. Found it hard to find exactly the words Pedro wanted for each component.

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