Times Quick Cryptic No 2641 by Jalna

A good quality puzzle, with a couple of clues holding me up at the end.

Namely 15ac and 2d, where I was slow with the homophone and slower to unravel the anagram, which kept me to a bit over 8 minutes.

Lots of lovely stuff along the way, with wordplay and definitions nicely masked in such everyday things as “complained loudly” and “hush money”, and other highlights were the very neat 18ac and 14d.

Very enjoyable – many thanks to Jalna!

6 At times oddly lacking colour, like a wedding cake? (6)
TIERED – a T  t I m E s “oddly lacking” RED (colour)
7 Fellow performer requiring money to be paid and all royalties up front (2-4)
CO-STAR – COST (money to be paid) and A R (All Royalties “up front”)
9 Small, ultimately unwanted plant (4)
WEED – WEE (small) D (“ultimately” unwanteD). “Unwanted plant” would be a perfect definition for weed, but here that would mean “unwanted” would be doing “double duty”, as it’s also needed for the wordplay, which you will never see in a Times puzzle. Still, it’s a generous nudge in the right direction.
10 Youngster ate green bananas (8)
TEENAGER – anagram (bananas/nuts) of ATE GREEN
11 One observing a Serb spy in disguise (6-2)
PASSER-BY – anagram (in disguise) of A SERB SPY
13 Individual touring clubs in days gone by (4)
ONCE – ONE (individual) touring C(lubs)
15 Players complained loudly (4)
SIDE – sounds the same as SIGHED (complained). “Loudly” in the sense of audibly, etc.
16 Beginning of con trick involving cunning (8)
STARTING – STING (con trick) involving ART (cunning)
18 Nonsense about drink (gin) (8)
CLAPTRAP – C. (Circa = about) LAP (drink) TRAP (gin). The drink gin derives from GENEVA; the trap or snare gin derives from ENGINE.
20 Accountant given hush money (4)
CASH – CA (Chartered Accountant) given SH! (hush!)
21 A book in the post is missing (6)
ABSENT -A B(ook) SENT (in the post)
22 Bothered dispensing with pounds, as required (6)
NEEDED – NEEDLED (bothered), dispensing with the L (libra = pounds)
1 Somewhat polite, rational, well-read types (8)
LITERATI – “somewhat” poLITE RATIonal
2 Rep pleased to upset shopkeepers (12)
TRADESPEOPLE – anagram (upset) of REP PLEASED TO.
3 Lead journalist travelled northbound carrying computers, etc. (6)
EDITOR – RODE (travelled) “northbound” = reversed, carrying IT (computers, etc.)
4 Odd company in the outskirts of Sydney (6)
SCREWY – CREW (company) in SY (“outskirts” of SydneY)
5 Artist, extremely reclusive and seldom seen (4)
RARE -RA (artist) RE (“extremely” ReclusivE)
8 Sis keen to act excited, getting access to lots of games? (6,6)
SEASON TICKET – anagram ( excited) of SIS KEEN TO ACT
12 Computer programme starts to break out tasks (3)
BOT – “starts” to Break Out Tasks
14 Little wheel keeps turning up in box (8)
CANISTER – CASTER (little wheel) keeps a “turning up” IN
16 A flan’s turned over, revealing layers (6)
STRATA – A, TART’S (FLAN’S) “turned over” = reversed
17 Tag on a couple of pages to finish (6)
APPEND – A, PP (couple of Pages) END (finish)
19 Research centres set up in Govans, Baltimore (4)
LABS – “set up” (reversed) “in” govanS BALtimore


79 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2641 by Jalna”

  1. Hi everyone. So I went out bush on Good Friday and landed in hospital on Saturday/emergency surgery etc etc and now I’m home and I’m back! I’m going to blame my festering insides as to why I had a bad week last week.

    I was going to try previous puzzles but I’m not sure my recovery involves an Izetti tbh

    This one was fairly straight forward for me except SIDE, where I was looking for a word that meant ‘complained loudly’. I gave up before long and complained loudly (at myself) when I saw the answer.

    Nice to see you all!

      1. Well I got the good drugs and a pair of overbearing Asian parents who are always in my business but it’s at times like this that I reap the benefits because I am. Fussed. Over. To. An. Inch. Of. My. Life.

    1. I wasn’t so sure about “loudly” either. Get well (well, get back into grade-A solving shape) quickly. thx r-t

    2. OMG, Tina – that sounds dramatic – there must be quite a story attached. Glad you’re back home where you won’t be bored – and the Izetti was quite mild – you’ll be fine with it.
      Agree with you about SIDE – it had to be SIDE but I just couldn’t equate even sighed with complained. And I couldn’t see the odd screwy company from Oz! Speedy recovery.

    3. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad time Tina. Having fussy parents does come with benefits! 🤣

  2. Nice puzzle from Jalna but not that easy, I got round in 11.12 having no idea how CANISTER or STARTING worked so thanks roly. I thought both of them plus STRATA and CLAPTRAP were tough for a QC. Had WEED starting with an S for the longest time. Good to see the old EDITOR getting a proper guernsey instead of being abbreviated and slotted into wordplay, usually as a suffix. Is a PASSER-BY by definition an observer? Sometimes they don’t see anything and have to be hailed by someone in trouble.

    1. I did that with CANISTER too but eventually I saw the parsing and I wrote it back in, by which time I had 14 minutes on the clock. I wasn’t sure about it being defined as ‘box’ as I think of CANISTER as a small metal container, usually airtight, for storing ingredients such as sugar, tea, cocoa, flour etc. Also for storing gas for camping stoves and the like. The dictionaries seem happy with it so I guess it has to be okay, but it’s odd that my Collins thesaurus doesn’t list it under ‘box’, nor does Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

        1. That was my understanding too, but after I had the crossers I put it in and eventually saw how it worked.

  3. Threw in the towel after 30 minutes without solving SCREWY and SIDE, so a poor start to the day even by my standards. I liked WEED.
    Thanks to Jalna and Roly.

  4. Casters! Got it, good one. CANISTERS held me up for ages, even longer than STARTING where I’d been more misdirected than I ever remember with ‘beginning’ cluing ‘start’ leaving me with total befuddlement for the rest of the words. I’d previously had big trouble with SEASON TICKET despite having held one for years at Yeovil Town – now just six points from a promotion to set against the four relagations, which would leave them back where I found them (again). All green in 18.

  5. Started with TIERED and made swift progress until my last two in – STARTING and CANISTER, where the definition feels like bit of a stretch.
    An entertaining solve finished in 7.07 with COD to LITERATI.
    Thanks to rolytoly

  6. 4:32. Held up at the end by CANISTER and I see I’m not the only one who took a while to work it out. I liked WEED and TEENAGER. Thanks Jalna and Rolytoly.

  7. I’m another who did the hokey-cokey with LOI CANISTER – in out, in out it went. I almost submitted off leaderboard because I just couldn’t parse it. Took a punt, all green, came here for elucidation. Very glad I wasn’t blogging that because I just couldn’t see it!

    Really sparkling puzzle, loved WEED, TEENAGER, SIDE, CLAPTRAP and others. Not so keen on SCREWY. All done in reggo 08:25 for a Decent Day despite the agonies of CANISTER.

    Many thanks Jalna and roly, whose expertise was much needed today.


  8. I thought this was going to be a doddle when I only failed to solve my LOI and one other across clue (CLAPTRAP) but I unusually had more trouble with the downs, and threw in CANISTER as SLOI, only parsing it afterwards.

    I tend to think of TRADESPEOPLE more as decorators or plumbers, and consequently felt that 2D should have had a question mark.

    TIME 4:37

  9. 4:13 which has me higher up the leaderboard than usual. Like a few others, was held up by CANISTERS. Saw the probable answer fairly quickly (despite the odd definition) but the parsing took a while.

    Found the rest of it fairly straightforward.

    Thanks Roly and Jalna.

  10. 13:04 (Scottish nobles, including Robert Bruce, submit to King Edward. William Wallace fights on.)

    Nothing much to add to previous comments. Needed pen and paper to work out TRADESPEOPLE. Entered CANISTER, deleted it, then re-entered it as my LOI, pleasantly surprised on submitting to find that it was correct.

    Thanks Jalna and Roly.

  11. Got there in the end – SIDE was my last and wasn’t 100% confident when I entered it but was pleased I got it with no errors today.

  12. Breezeblocked by STARTING and CANISTERS. I thought of castOr for small wheel straight away, which did not bring me any joy, and it was only when I got the STING for STARTING that I realised castEr must be a variant spelling.

    All in all, typical of how my QC solves are going at the moment! I liked CLAPTRAP


  13. [Question – why are so many people referring to 14d as CANISTERS (plural)? In my grid it’s CANISTER (singular), but now Mendesest, Johninterred, galspray and hopkinb have all said CANISTERS.]

    1. It’s exactly this sort of inattention that makes me king of the pink square.

      Plus no one ever talks about a single caster.

  14. A third toughie in a row I thought, and I needed 18 minutes for this. Most of my stumbling blocks have been mentioned by others – the elusive (and oddly defined) Canister, the excellent misdirection in the clue for Starting (thought “beginning” gave the Start- and then really struggled with the last 3 letters), the slightly iffy definition for Tradespeople (I’m with Busman here – they’re more plumbers than shopkeepers). Screwy, Claptrap and Strata also seemed on the tough side for a QC.

    But eventually all green. It is proving a challenging week though.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

    1. I disagree that shopkeepers aren’t tradespeople, but agree that a qualifying DBE question mark should have been added.

    2. I think it’s the slightly dated version of “trade”, which encompassed anyone who sold things, however successfully. Brings to mind this bit of “Summoned by Bells”, where Betjeman recalls a terrific rant from his father:

      “Just down for breakfast, sir? You’re good enough
      To honour us by coming down at ten!
      Don’t fidget, boy. Attention when I speak!
      As I was saying – now I look at you –
      Bone-lazy, like my eldest brother Jack,
      A rotten, low, deceitful little snob,
      Yes, I’m in trade and proud of it, I am!”

      1. That’s a great rant!

        Yes agree that it is a slightly dated sense of tradesperson, and perfectly acceptable: both Collins and Chambers have as their principal definition of tradesman or tradeswoman as someone “who sells goods or services, especially one who owns and runs a shop.”

  15. I was expecting a fairly tough one from Jalna, and wasn’t disappointed. Took around 27 minutes, though with chat, coffee and cats included – I’m not in a race. CANISTER took the crossers to see, but though I failed to parse it, I was confident it was correct. LOI was SIDE, initially obscure, but with the crossers in and a homonym, the third letter had to be D, so no problem.

  16. I, too, was slowed by CANISTER (amongst others) because the English word for the little wheel is castor; caster is US spelling.
    ‘Caster’ brings to my mind caster sugar.

  17. Another tough grid and I felt queasy about some of the clues/ definitions- SIDE, SCREWY, TRADESPEOPLE, CANISTER.
    But I finished all correct in 12 minutes so nothing major held me up.
    COD to STARTING with its clever misdirection and liked WEED.

  18. Dnf…

    Second day in a row I’ve been stumped by the last few clues. In this case, it was 4dn “Screwy”, which I probably should have got, and 14dn “Canister” which I would never have associated with a “box” even though it seemed to be the only thing that would fit.

    FOI – 6ac “Tiered”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 18ac “Claptrap”

    Thanks as usual!

  19. There were just 3 clues that stopped me from going any faster. They were CLAPTRAP (COD), SCREWY and LOI SEASON TICKET…..never been a holder of one! 5:49

  20. 8:16

    Same as many others with STARTING POI and LOI CANISTER. Good to see ED getting a run out as an answer and BEGINNING as a def. for a change.

    Very enjoyable, thanks Jalna

  21. I seemed to be on Jalna’s wavelength today as I got round in a circa 18 minutes. Took a while over canister before I had all the crossers as I was trying to see the small wheel as “cog”. Many thanks to Roly for an enlightening blog and to all other who commented – the comments always make my day.

  22. I thought I was on for a super quick time to begin with as I raced through about three quarters of the answers, but I did get bogged down a little towards the end. The main problems were SCREWY which required a lot of attention, and the two long anagrams at 2dn and 8dn which took a lot of unraveling.
    The main problem as highlighted by others was CANISTER (in the singular Templar!), which I couldn’t persuade myself was the right answer until I parsed it. Thankfully I managed to, and I stopped the clock at 8.22 for a time nicely under target.

  23. I was really quite surprised to find that Roly’s troublesome pair didn’t match my own, and so take some comfort from the difficulties others have had with (the overlapping !) Starting and Canister. A sub-20, apart from that pair adding another five minutes, including parsing. I will, far from begrudingly, give them joint CoD status for that extra challenge. Invariant

  24. Like many others I struggled to get CANISTER because (a) it’s not a box and (b) English spelling is CASTOR, but couldn’t think of anything else to fit. Other hold ups with STARTING, SIDE and WEED – looking for something beginning with S (SEED? – but didn’t match definition). Is a PASSER BY an observer???

    1. I’ve just discovered that a second meaning of CASTOR/CASTER is “A vessel with perforated top for sprinkling sugar, etc”, which is, I guess, where the name Castor/Caster Sugar comes from.

  25. 5:38

    Pretty quick for a Jalna who, imho, is generally at the harder end of the QC spectrum. Slowed right at the end with STARTING and finally CANISTER which apart from being unexpectedly synonymous with ‘box’, raised my eyebrow by spelling the little wheel CASTOR with an E – didn’t know it could be spelt that way.

    Thanks Jalna and Roly for the blog

  26. I am afraid I was offSIDE so DNF. Otherwise all OK though pretty slow. PDM with unparsed CLAPTRAP. Stuck a bit on RHS until the SEASON TICKET arrived.
    Thought of TIERED and EDITOR immediately but slow to parse. Liked PASSER BY, ABSENT, SCREWY, APPEND.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Roly.
    Had a relatively mild attack of Shingles over Easter – now almost better. I was v well treated by NHS(!). Older Brits, Do get the new vaccine when entitled.

    1. And as an Older Canadian I’m planning to get shingles vaccination too since so many friends have been suffering recently.

    2. Having witnessed my dad suffer badly from shingles when I was a teenager, you can imagine my frustration these past few years in having to wait for my 70th birthday. A truly bizarre set of rules about when you can get the jab – as you turn 65, or once you are over 70.

      1. I’ve a couple friends who have had it it in the last few months. I wondered why I hadn’t been invited to have the vaccine, but it turns out I was born 6 months too early to get it. So although I’m now 65 (and nearly 66) I have to wait another 4 years before I qualify for it. Quite bonkers, really.

    3. My husband has just had very mild shingles too, we are sure that without the jab it would have been a lot worse. It even prompted him to have his pneumonia jab which he previously had not bothered to have!
      Glad to hear your feeling better.

      1. Thank you all. I had the old vaccine several years ago, because I was born on a Monday when there was a full moon or something. I read that the new vaccine is better.

  27. So pleased to see others had problems parsing CANISTER. Now suspect it was the spelling that threw me off course. COD for me WEED. Thanks Jalna & Roly.

  28. 10:19. Enjoyed CLAPTRAP and SCREWY most. Hesitated over sigh/complain, CANISTER/box, and PASSERBY/observer but was able to ruthlessly brush those qualms aside.

  29. 7.09

    It was SCREWY that needed a pause for thought here at the end. It was a bit wordy to be perfect but I did quite like CO-STAR

  30. Just scraped over 30min target( by 5mins)so officially DNF, didn’t think SIDE was much of a clue,CLAPTRAP held me up until sudden flash of light.

  31. 21.17 Mostly quick then I spent the same time again on APPEND, NEEDED, STARTING and CANISTER. Like ulaca and Jack I put CANISTER in, took it out, and belatedly twigged. We had a CASTER the other day so it shouldn’t have been so hard. Thanks rolytoly and Jalna.

  32. For most of the way through I thought we were in for a fast finish but the final pair of STARTING and CANISTER took a full three minutes. Looking at the clue the wrong way round was what held us up on POI STARTING. Without the N from that I’m not convinced we’d have got to CANISTER as a box. Even then it went in with fingers crossed and it took a further 30 s to parse it. So either 13:30 to go green or 14:00 fully parsed. SIDE I had considered on the first pass but waited until I had the checkers mainly because, to me, sighing and complaining don’t seem to be equivalent. Also hesitated on CLAPTRAP because I couldn’t see PALC as a drink which was to be ‘about’. The penny only dropped once LABS had gone in. Thank you, Jalna and rolytoly!

  33. At around 6:30 I had 4 or 5 clues left on the RHS. These were CO-STAR where I got misled by COD for money up front, SEASON TICKET, for which I eventually had to write out the anagrist, SCREWY, STARTING and CANISTER. I solved them in the order listed, but it took an age. Castor came to mind but didn’t register as I’d never come across that spelling, except in conjunction with camber and angle. Google tells me it’s the American spelling. I also visualise canisters as round, not a box as such. Anyway by the time I parsed it and submitted I was across the road from the SCC! 17:45. Thanks Jalna and Roly.
    On edit: I’ve just looked at the QSNITCH, and it seems to have taken my 6:30 part way through time as my finish time. Whoops!

  34. 13:50, with the last half dedicated to my last three: SEASON TICKET, STARTING and SCREWY. Before that, I had invented and rejected the CANPUSTER (“turning up”).

    Thanks to Jalna and rolytoly.

  35. 30:33, with the final ten minutes (!) spent figuring out CANISTER and pondering, then finally doing an alphabet trawl for SCREWY. Don’t know why CREW wouldn’t come to mind, but it wouldn’t.

    Why is it that FLAN is always a tart in crossword-land? It’s custard. (I know, I know, TART is a very useful string of letters, as is TRAT.)

    Thanks rolytoly for the blog, without with I doubt I would have parsed SIDE, ever. And thanks to Jalna for many amusing clues.

  36. Stuck for ages on SCREWY couldn’t get past wanting to fit ‘co’ for company. So easy when at last the PDM comes!
    Thanks Jalna and Roly.

  37. Really enjoyed the challenges today, my own being SIDE and CO-STAR. Also failed to parse CANISTER. Liked SCREWY and CLAPTRAP, the latter because I actually remembered what a gin was 😆 Thanks for the blog roly.

    Get well Tina and Countrywoman1!

  38. A manually timed 30min finish. LOI was side seemed such a weak answer. Wasted time on canister. The C and some of the checkers got me hung up on Chest. Many were only parsed after entering but got all in the end. Thanks Jalna and Toly

  39. I enjoyed that one a lot, finishing in 23:06. About five minutes of that was spent on my LOI of CLAPTRAP, as I’d not come across “gin” = “trap” before. No doubt I will forget in time for its next showing.

    Could have sworn that we had “caster” featuring in a QC very recently.

    Thank you for the blog!

  40. I seem to have lost any crosswording skills I may once have had. Has anyone seen them? I know I still had them on Monday as I completed Alex’s offering in just 15 minutes, which is super-fast for me. Since then, however, Tuesday’s Izetti consumed 50 minutes of my time, yesterday’s Joker took me 55 minutes and I didn’t finish today’s Jalna until 81 minutes had passed. That probably ranks among my slowest six or seven successful solved ever.

    My final five clues, SEASON TICKET, STARTING, CANISTER, CO-STAR and SCREWY took more than 40 minutes. I’m really not sure why I bothered, to be honest.

    Thanks to Jalna and Roly.

    1. It’s not just you. I had a sub-15 on Monday but have been over target every day since, especially yesterday.

    2. Keep going Mr R. All three QCs since Monday have been tough and easy to get completely stuck on.

      Hope it goes well for you tomorrow 🤞

  41. 23:29

    Sped through the first 2/3 but as the checkers multiplied my brain slowed down. Never did see what CLAPTRAP had to do with gin and ground to a halt in the SE with SEASON TICKET, CASH and LOI CANISTER taking forever.

  42. Sped through to start with then slowed up. Got canister because already had needed in so spelling Ok

  43. 10:38, so took me almost as long as the regular puzzle. LOI was CANISTER, apparently I‘m not alone there!

  44. A very fast start with 8 across clues straight in – but when I reached Winchester I still had six clues outstanding. That makes it harder than average for me. I got the other six (Claptrap, Tradespeople, Sighed, Starting, Canister and Screwy) on the way home but that is not saying much because the train was almost an hour late. Very annoying, as I missed a Delay Repay compensation threshold by two minutes. I managed to parse everything but thought the homophone indicator for 15A wasn’t quite what I expected, and also I thought caster was spelt with an o. Thanks Jalna and Roly.

  45. 22 minutes

    You came very close to getting a positive post from me today, but two daft errors prevented this. First, I saw SIDE immediately but failed to parse it. Second, I must have looked at 19dn about five times before seeing what should have been obvious.

    I’m still making far too many basic errors when it comes to wordplay, although I did well with a few of the harder ones today. Completely missed ‘northbound’ as an indicator and NHO gin in this context. CANNISTER was a guess.

    I’m at 102 minutes for the week, so need a 17 minute solve tomorrow to make my goal. Not impossible, but not very likely either!

    Thanks for the excellent blog.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *