Times Quick Cryptic No 2628 by Trelawney

Solving time: 5:02

First time I’ve blogged a Trelawney, who in my view, is one of the friendliest setters. This is a very enjoyable grid with a decent mix of clues and plenty of interesting answers. I was really only held up towards the end, thinking of the book at 5d for which I didn’t have the first letter – my LOI 5a was consequently a write-in.

How did you all get on?

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

1 Talks excessively about large spectacles (7)
GLASSESGASSES (Talks excessively) about L (large)
5 Delight to embrace European animal that hops (4)
JOEYJOY (delight) wrapped around [to embrace] E (European)

A JOEY is the young of a marsupial e.g. kangaroo, wallaby, wallaroo, wombat, opossum or koala, not all of which are known for their hopping…

7 Body part beginning to pain singer known for shaking it? (6)
PELVISP (beginning to P{ain}) ELVIS (singer)

Semi &lit – ‘singer’ is doing double duty here both as the name you are looking for (ELVIS) as well as part of the cryptic i.e. ‘singer known for shaking it?’ where the ‘it’ refers to the answer.

Amongst a considerable number of nicknames, in the early years of his career, ELVIS Presley was known as ‘Elvis-the-PELVIS’. Despite his claims that he was so lost in the rock ‘n roll music that he didn’t realise that his hips were shaking and sending everyone wild, ELVIS purposely used sensual movement on stage to entice an emotional response from his audience.

8 Censor communist law (6)
REDACTRED (communist) ACT (law)
9 Fairground attraction where rifles exploded (6,5)
FERRIS WHEEL – Anagram [exploded] of WHERE RIFLES

Named after George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. who designed and constructed an observation wheel as a landmark for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The tallest-ever Ferris wheel was the 250 metre (820 ft) high Ain Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which opened in October 2021 but closed just five months later.

10 Create fashionable outlet (6)
INVENTIN (fashionable) VENT (outlet)
12 Expert not befuddled right away (6)
PRONTOPRO (Expert) then anagram [befuddled] of NOT
14 Stab extremely lazy couple, reportedly, for fruit (7,4)
PRICKLY PEARPRICK (Stab) L{az}Y [extremely i.e. the end letters] PEAR which is a homophone of PAIR (couple, reportedly)

The PRICKLY PEAR cactus, or Opuntia (ficus-indica), is a major food source for wild tortoises, iguanas and many other reptiles.

17 Brit so confused in French restaurant (6)
BISTRO – Anagram [confused] of BRIT SO

A BISTRO or bistrot, in its original Parisian form, is a small restaurant serving moderately priced, simple meals in a modest setting. The term has also become used by more pretentious restaurants.

Is it just the British that can take something modest and make it out to appear far more impressive than it is?

18 King not strict enough on loud horn (6)
KLAXONK (King) LAX ON (not strict enough)

LAX (from the Latin laxus, meaning ‘wide, spacious, roomy’) has been around since C14th Middle English. The word has been used to describe loose bowels (hence ‘laxative’ meaning ‘loosening’), indulgent rule, low prices and poor discipline.

KLAXON on the other hand, is a trademark of the Lovell-McConnell Manufacturing Co., and taken from the Ancient Greek κλάζω (klázōmake a sharp sound; scream”)

20 On reflection, curses celebrity (4)
STARRATS (curses) reversed [On reflection]

RATS and ‘curses’ are both exclamations.

21 Footballers given rock? That’s a sneaky trick! (4,3)
FAST ONEFA (Footballers i.e. Football Association] given STONE (rock)

“That’s a sneaky trick!” as in “They’ve pulled a FAST ONE!”

1 Nerd’s short expression of surprise (3)
GEEGEE{k} (Nerd’s short i.e. remove last letter)
2 Commercial poetry is unfavourable (7)
ADVERSEAD (Commercial) VERSE (poetry)
3 Initially serve up some highly inferior Japanese food (5)
SUSHI – Initial letters of serve up some highly inferior

Not at all inferior in my book, the name SUSHI comes from two ancient Japanese words: ‘su’ meaning “vinegar” and ‘shi’ meaning “sour”makes complete sense as the earliest version of SUSHI was a method of preserving raw fish in a sour, vinegared mixture.

4 Blunder and drink without team (5,2)
SCREW UPSUP (drink) wrapped around [without i.e. the opposite of within] CREW (team)
5 Evaluate end of song in NT book (5)
JUDGESONG [end of i.e. last letter of] in JUDE (NT book)

JUDE is the penultimate book of the New Testament and my penultimate answer in the grid – should probably memorise a list of the books…

6 Flight late, so car must be arranged (9)
ESCALATOR – Anagram [must be arranged] of LATE SO CAR
9 Excellent beer when digesting last of her contract details (4,5)
FINE PRINTFINE PINT (Excellent beer) digesting last of HER
11 Imitate departure from Heathrow? (4-3)
TAKE-OFF – Double definition, ‘from Heathrow?’ indicating that the departure is of the flying variety.
13 Perhaps liver and onions primarily contains English herb (7)
OREGANOORGAN (Perhaps liver) and ONIONS [primarily i.e. first letter of] contains E (English)
15 Bury one side of Milan? (5)
INTER – Double definition, the second being mildly cryptic.

‘side’ here is synonymous with football team, as in ‘Which side do you support?’

Football Club Internazionale Milano is commonly shortened to just Internazionale or just INTER, and colloquially known as Inter Milan in English-speaking countries. Their name comes from the founding members’ (who until then had all been AC Milan players) wish to include more foreign players in their team.

16 I agree to pocket one thousand? Blimey! (5)
YIKESYES (I agree) pocketing IK (one thousand)
19 Part of modern poem (3)
ODE – Hidden [Part of] in modern

107 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2628 by Trelawney”

  1. 6:20!

    Things are easier when you get the cryptic clues upon reading!

    I was a bit worried about the shaking singer, I didn’t know if I would know the answer. My initial thought was Shakira. I have two main fears in life, helicopters (they never bode well) and Elvis (I saw a doco when I was young that said he was still alive and wandering around and I swore he was hiding outside my house)

    My husband wanted to get an Elvis impersonator to marry us for the lols. I would have walked straight back down the aisle.

    1. Jerry Glanville, a US pro football coach in the 1980s and 1990s, is famous for leaving two tickets for Elvis at the will-call window, under the name of “The King”, at every game. Glanville says he didn’t do that, but that it’s a good story. Elvis never showed.

  2. 8:40 for me. LOI was JOEY too, after I got JUDGE. I know there is a book “Judges” so I couldn’t see how the wordplay worked. I don’t think I knew there was a “Jude” book, so I was starting with the wrong raw material.

    1. I agree with Paul. I started with Judges, then I reasoned ‘end of song’ might mean remove the ‘S’.

    1. 9:27 is a new record. Felt it was on and was breathless by the bottom! LOI stars, but only because it was the last clue I came to.

      Thanks to all the contributors here over the last couple of years that made today possible. Hugely satisfying!

      1. Er …. I think some of us may have contributed rather less to your learning than others. Congratulations, anyway!

  3. Biffed FERRIS WHEEL, PRICKLY PEAR, SUSHI, JUDGE (like Paul, I thought of Judges (OT, not NT), didn’t bother to pursue the problem), SCREW UP (LOI–surprised to see it). 4:51.

  4. 6:35. My only holdup was RATS for curses as I thought the clue would then mean a RAT was a curse. Thanks to the blog I see it works if they are both exclamations.

  5. 8 minutes. No real problems though I didn’t know about JUDE as an ‘NT book’. Favourites were the surface for REDACT and especially ELVIS-the-PELVIS.

    Thanks to Mike and Trelawney

  6. 3:20 which left me plenty of time to make a mess of the 15×15. And now about to duck out of the office for some SUSHI.

    Thanks Mike for the blog and Trelawney for the user-friendly puzzle.

  7. Fun puzzle from Trelawney, 6.04. It seems a lot of us are in a cluster either side of six minutes. I too thought 1ac would feature OO but then GLASSES went straight in and JOEY followed instantly, so a good start. Liked (P)ELVIS, OREGANO and KLAXON. Thanks for the blog Mike, for some reason I always thought Ferris Wheel was a corrupted reference to it being made of iron, never knew of George…

  8. 8 minutes over two sessions with the clock paused when I had to answer the front door. I blame the interruption for my failing to parse JUDGE correctly (that’s my excuse anyway!).

    Ditto curryowen’s comment about STAR / RATS.

  9. 8:29 here. Did not know there was a book called Jude in the NT. Biffed FINE PRINT & didn’t go back to parse it: wish I had, that’s my COD.

    Thanks to Mike & Trelawney.

  10. OMG! OMG! OMG! 9:02, my fastest ever time, and by a margin of over 6 minutes!

    Admittedly, I morphed into Biffy the Crossword Slayer again, and biffed my way through this, without precise parsing, so it’s not a fair comparison to my usual times, but still…🤭🤗

    Thank you Trelawney, you have made my day. And thank you Mike for the blog, to help parse the bleeding, unparsed wreckage I left in my wake.

    A very happy Wednesday, all. Pi ❤️

  11. Something of a biff-fest here too, which proved my undoing in the end by going for NERVES rather than PELVIS in my excitement. (I know, I know – it doesn’t even nearly parse!) Otherwise I’d have been on a PB at around 7 minutes which is quite remarkable for me. So I’m still on 0/3 for the week and am kicking myself for not getting PELVIS but am encouraged.
    Thanks to Trelawney and Mike.

  12. I usually find Trelawney’s puzzle at the most friendly end of the spectrum and today was no exception, all done in 6½ minutes. It helped that I had heard of Jude, and saw the two long across clues Ferris Wheel and Prickly Pear quite quickly, and this set up a fast completion.

    Klaxon is not a common word but it features relatively regularly in the Codeword puzzles, where every grid is a pangram so words with an X are regulars (ditto for example Bazooka).

    Many thanks Mike for the blog

  13. Nice mix of clues, we liked escalator on our way to 19.16, probably one our best 5 times. And we parsed them all after a lot of biffing too 😀

    The bottom went in particularly quickly.

    Thanks Trelawney and Mike for all the fun facts

  14. Seems I was positively pedestrian at 6.58. Lost a little time trying to get ‘Stevens’ to parse for the shaking singer – I’ve never associated Elvis with such gyrations but then I was shocked to find out Fine Young Cannibals hadn’t written Suspicious Minds. Enjoyed PRONTO appearing, noticed that something was amiss with Judges but pressed on and had STAR backwards at first. Only knew PRICKLY PEAR from Baloo singing the Bear Necessities in the Jungle Book – roughly Elvis vintage I guess but my Gran had the soundtrack.

    1. Bear Necessities came well after Elvis the Pelvis, who definitely shook us all up in his youth. Jungle Book film 1967, and eg Jailhouse Rock 1957.

  15. All fairly straightforward, apart from a carelessly biffed ‘firing range’ which needed some unpicking when the NE made no sense.
    Started with GLASSES and finished with the JOEY/JUDGE combo in 6.33.
    Thanks to Mike

  16. That was about as fast as I can read, parse and write, and an 11 mins solve is certainly in my top five, but I’m left feeling another shot at a sub-10 has gone begging. Feels a bit like winning the silver medal- good result, but not quite there. Ah well, we live to fight another day. CoD to 15d, Inter, for the smile. Invariant

  17. 13:50 … held up at the end by JOEY and PRONTO, and to a lesser extent by JUDGE and ESCALATOR which got written out. Just got mentally misdirected by the “European animal” even though I knew the E was in the answer.

    Had a slow start with first few clues producing nothing. So I tackled it differently and went down the left side looking for starters and eventually found PRICKLY-PEAR. Then the lower half flew in and when I glanced at the clock it was at 2:36 and that was twelve clues done.

    So then to wade through the remainder brings a resigned shrug. You can only do what you can do. I thought my complaint to the gods about getting breezeblocked had been answered. Still only two solves under 12mins this year and this was certainly a grid to notch up a “fast one” on.

    Always enjoy a Trelawney and this was no exception 👍

  18. Some lovely clues, all parsed. I once heard a sermon based on the idea of being greeted in the afterlife by the authors of the shortest books in the New Testament and having to explain why you hadn’t read them – Jude was the most disappointed, so JUDGE was no problem. COD & LOI was PRONTO.

    My fingers were cold, my phone screen recalcitrant and typos abounded, but even so I managed 05:44 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day, so that was a pretty generous puzzle.

    Many thanks Mike for a really educational blog and the Squire.


  19. 5.33

    I solve on phone so thought this would be an Izetti with the NT reference but no. FERRIS WHEEL was a nice anagram and also liked JOEY though tough without the initial checker.

    Great blog. Thanks Mike and and Trelawney

  20. 8:59 (Viking raids in southern Spain)

    A very accessible crossword. L2I were YIKES and FAST ONE

    Thanks Trelawney and Mike

  21. Very enjoyable. PELVIS made me smile, as did Elvis at the time. He certainly did inspire an emotional response in young girls who hardly knew what they were responding to🙂
    Lots of biffs, pretty quick.
    The French use klaxoner as a verb – to hoot the horn.
    Thanks vm, Mike.

  22. No problems with any of these until the last, PRONTO, which held me up for ages while I tried to think of an expert that fitted P-O-T-, or a word for ‘not befuddled’ with R in! Knew the NT book and got JOEY anyway straight away. I used to be able to list all the Bible books in order, but probably couldn’t now, as I would only need it for crosswords.

    1. Snap on PRONTO!

      I can still do the NT in order, because in their youth group my boys had an excellent song (“Matthew, Mark and Luke and John, Acts and Romans follow on, Corinthians One Corinthians Two, remember these eight it’s easy to do, tra la la la la” etc etc. It’s better with the music … I’m now going to be humming it all day!)

  23. So sure 12 had to be AT ONCE (TON inside ACE) … oh well … and fail to equate flight with ESCALATOR (a kind of flight of stairs, is that it?). Otherwise, a friendly one.

  24. Just under ten minutes, as fast as I think I could ever go without actually trying to be fast. Very friendly clues, although JOEY took a little thought. Elvis’s pelvis shaking era was somewhat before my time, but went straight in, and I enjoyed YIKES for some reason I haven’t analysed. Cartoonish, maybe.
    Well done all you real speed merchants out there. I may peek at the Quitch later just to be fully amazed.

  25. Well I finished under target at 9.19, but I somehow feel I should have been quicker. Some of the fast times already posted suggest I underperformed. My first thought on seeing ‘singer known for shaking it’ was old shaky himself, Shakin’ Stevens, but the required answer was fairly obvious. The only one I really hesitated on was STAR, which again seemed obvious, but I wasn’t sure of rats being a definition of curses, even if it is a curse in a singular sense.

  26. Overthinking issues part 2 (or whatever I’ve go to)
    Singer known for his shakin'(g) – Stevens, obvs. And EVS was already in.
    16d YOIKS, despite the fact that it doesn’t mean “blimey”, and YOS doesn’t mean “I agree” and it’s spelled YOICKS anyway. Anyone know a horn spelled I?A?O?
    Despite these SCREW UPs (SCREWS UP?) – surely a bit downmarket for the Times? – I completed but in a significantly expanded time.

  27. All completed and parsed in 12 minutes, so definitely on the friendlier side. I had to write out the anagrist at 6dn to get ESCALATOR and I spent a little time trying to compress Stevens into 7ac. Otherwise all good. JOEY and KLAXON had me looking for a pangram.

    FOI – 1ac GLASSES
    LOI – 12ac PRONTO
    COD – 15dn INTER

    Thanks to Trelawney and to Mike for the blog full of fun facts.

  28. A very enjoyable offering from Trelawney. Nothing to add the comments above.

    TIME 3:49

  29. 5:45. Smoked it, beat my PB by at least a minute. GEE and YIKES.

    In the zone, everything seemed to work with the first thing I tried.

  30. 8 mins…

    Thought this was a very friendly grid. Probably would have been quicker if I hadn’t hesitated over 5ac “Joey” and not initially biffed “Lift Off” for 11dn (which in hindsight has nothing to do with Heathrow and probably more relevant to Florida – must have had that Moonwalkers exhibition narrated by Tom Hanks in my head. Worth seeing if anyone is interested).

    FOI – 1ac “Glasses”
    LOI – 5dn “Judge”
    COD – 9dn “Fine Print”

    Thanks as usual!

  31. A personal best for me today at 9:44, so either at the easier end of the spectrum or on my wavelength – I suspect both. Thanks to Trelawney for the crossword and Mike for the blog. Also, everyone else who contributes their comments. I find reading through them a very entertaining part of the day.

  32. That’s more like it! Trelawney is definitely the most friendly setter, to me at least. After two very tough days I romped through this in just 15 minutes and I’m now wondering how to fill the rest of the hour I set aside.

    The steadiness of my start meant that a PB was never on the cards, but the mid-section helped this to fall into my ‘Very Fast’ category and a comfortable outing from the SCC. My last few in were JUDGE, JOEY and PRONTO.

    Many thanks to Trelawney and Mike H.

  33. Yes, on the gentler side. I too thought of Shakin’ Stevens before Elvis who was a little before my time. Green Door anyone? Biffed then parsed quite a few. YIKES is such a nostalgic word and gets my COD, although I also liked surface for STAR. A rather exclamation-heavy grid today – fantastic. Only hold-up was parsing JUDGE – same problem as others with the rather too obscure Jude. Very enjoyable. Interesting blog too, particularly etymology of lax, laxative and klaxon, and info about ferris wheel. Thanks Mike.

  34. First off, I must say thanks to Mike for such an interesting blog – so many fascinating facts and figures. I think I enjoyed it as much as the crossword itself!
    8:00 today, which is one of my better times of late. Lots of nice surfaces – REDACT and OREGANO got ticks and BISTRO made me smile. I’ve seen that confusion more than once, and not only in French restaurants!
    FOI Glasses LOI Pronto (same problem as Alto-Ego and Templar) COD Escalator WOD Yikes
    Thanks Trelawney and congratulations to everyone who got PBs today 👏👏👏

  35. So given I’m currently 103 on the leaderboard with a time of 6:10 I gather others found this easy! FOI JOEY and LOI PELVIS (not Shakira Hips Don’t Lie and thankfully didn’t think of Stevens). I’m giving my COD to PRICKLY PEAR because it reminded me of my Mallorcan garden.

  36. This would have been a pb if I hadn’t been doing the puzzle whilst arranging meetings and responding to queries. Just under 12 mins. Definitely at the easier end of the spectrum which probably means a toughie tomorrow

  37. Great blog Mike!

    Like everyone else I found this smooth going, not quite a personal best but close at 13:09. This is about the perfect amount of time to please me as I sip my morning coffee. A friendly return to the QC after traveling and trying to cope with phone-solving, definitely not such a pleasurable (or successful) endeavor.

    Lots of amusing clues. COD to the sly ESCALATOR, and also had fun parsing OREGANO.

    Thanks to Trelawney!

  38. I failed to concentrate when entering 9d and put FINE POINT instead of FINE PRINT. Idiot! Otherwise 7:37, with SUSHI FOI and OREGANO LOI. Thanks Trelawney and Mike.

  39. Shot through it @25 mins ( 5 under target). V. Pleased with self, although I know very rubbish compared to others.For some reason found this a lot more straightforward than normal, JUDGE and JOEY last in.

    1. You have every right to be pleased – and it’s not a rubbish time either! Don’t compare yourself to people who have been doing this for decades – I think you’re quite new to this game? So to come in under your target is well worth celebrating. Congratulations 😊

  40. 8.15 Pretty quick for me even though I struggled to make an animal out of JOY and E. Thanks Mike and Trelawney.


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