Times Quick Cryptic No 2701 by Felix

The recent sad news about Richard Rogan gave this typically lovely puzzle from Felix – one of his many pseudonyms – a degree of poignancy while solving.

I made my through it with no major hold-ups in a roughly par time of 6:31. Several minutes thereafter looking in vain for a theme: it doesn’t seem like a very promising assembly of words for one, so I’ll be interested to see if sharper eyes can tease something out.

Many thanks to Felix for all the wonderful puzzles over the years.

1 Happens to include pastry dish for those inside (9)
OCCUPIERS – OCCURS (happens) to include PIE (pastry dish)
6 Face   attack in street? (3)
MUG – double definition
8 I’m covered in paint playing drums (7)
TIMPANI – IM covered by an anagram (playing) of PAINT
9 Early part of day for poet to hear lament (5)
MOURN – sounds like MORN, a poetic way to describe the early part of the day
10 Young wizard’s wife with list showing craftsperson’s tool (7,5)
POTTERS WHEEL – [Harry] POTTER’S (wizard’s) W(ife) HEEL (list)
12 Bill the magistrate (4)
BEAK – double definition, the second a slang term of unknown origin going back to the mid 16th century.
13 Irish Gaelic featuring in teachers’ seminar (4)
ERSE – “featuring in” teachER SEminar. Slight error in the clue here, with the double-S, that would probably have been picked up under normal circumstances.
17 Group into match-fixing can’t deny a gig that’s corrupt (6,6)
DATING AGENCY – anagram (corrupt) of CANT DENY A GIG
20 Charlie, along with Oscar, promoting a positive attitude (3-2)
CAN-DO – C(harlie) AND (along with) O(scar)
21 Black sheep runs into railway factory for drink (7)
BREWERY – B(lack) EWE (sheep) R(uns) into RY (railway)
23 Bag in the boot, we hear! (3)
SAC – sounds (“we hear”) like SACK (boot). As in to give someone the boot/sack.
24 Being plump, bachelor wears Ben’s suit badly (9)
TUBBINESS – B(achelor) wears an anagram (badly) of BENS SUIT
1 Grass pop artist used regularly (4)
OATS – p OA r T i S t “used regularly”
2 In advance, post offices put together (7)
COMPOSE – into COME (advance) put POS (Post Offices)
3 Gym needed by a climber (3)
PEA – PE (gym) needed by A
4 Political exile maybe once before commandeering fighter plane (6)
EMIGRE – ERE (before) commandeering MIG (fighter plane)
5 Homes we rebuilt, note, in a particular location (9)
SOMEWHERE – anagram (rebuilt) of HOMES WE, RE (note, do re me etc.)
6 Army medic to employ a shrinking violet? (5)
MOUSE – MO (medical officer = army medic) to USE (employ)
7 Moderate felt neglected, somewhat upset (6)
GENTLE – fELT NEGlected, somewhat = partially, upset = reversed
11 Removing solicitor grabbing a monarch (6,3)
TAKING OUT – TOUT (solicitor) grabbing A, KING (monarch)
14 Hide in empty storehouse on Greek island (7)
SECRETE – SE (“empty” StorehousE) on CRETE (Greek island)
15 Orders from new CD site (6)
EDICTS – anagram (new) of CD SITE
16 Tree by an old barn appearing black initially (6)
BAOBABBy An Old Barn Appearing Black “initially”
18 Tango on ice mostly is something refreshing! (5)
TONIC – T(ango) ON ICe “mostly”
19 Bishop and I agree to provide extras (4)
BYES – B(ishop) and YES (I agree). Extras in cricket.
22 High priest found in some religions (3)
ELI – “found in some” rELIgions

95 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2701 by Felix”

  1. 12:54. CAN DO, BREWERY, BYES, and TONIC were my favourites. I will certainly miss Mr Rogan’s offerings but am very grateful for all the pleasure he’s provided.

  2. 9 minutes. Yes, a very approachable and enjoyable puzzle from Felix – RIP Richard Rogan. Lots to like, with my favourite being the amusing surface for BREWERY.

    There is something going on, as expected from Felix. I’ll be deliberately vague, but the def for 1a gives some hint.

    It was good news to read in Mick Hodgkin’s most recent newsletter that there are still a number of completed RR puzzles which will appear in the coming months. Thanks to Roly for the blog.

  3. Pink square. Since I NHO ERSE, I put in ERSS as instructed. No complaints.
    Poignant to work on a puzzle left behind by someone no longer with us.


  4. I was held up on ERSE since it is more than a “slight error” on a hidden clue to get the hidden letters wrong. In the end I put it in since it fitted the definition and the checkers and almost the hidden letters, fully expecting to kick myself when it turned out I missed something obvious. Also, not convinced that “being plump” and TUBBINESS are the same, although I wasn’t held up and just put it in with a MER. 7:05 for me.

  5. 10 minutes. No problems. Setters are currently being given a hard time over ‘plump’. Yesterday someone complained (re the 15×15) about it being clued as ’round’. Both that and ‘tubby’ are listed as synonymous in Collins thesaurus.

    Nice puzzle apart from the understandable slip-up re ERSE. I didn’t spot a theme. I hope someone will drop a heavy hint and perhaps we can talk about it openly once the discussion thread has lengthened a bit more.

  6. Seven minutes plus, for this typically elegant offering from RR.

    My wife recently watched a TV series called The Tourist, which makes a virtue out of being tubby. The plump Aussie copper snags the hero (my wife said it was left unclear whether she had actually snagged him, which she thought was a bit prudish) – he being the hunky protagonist of 50 Shades of Grey, no less.

      1. I must have very delicate autocorrect software. Definitely wrote ‘shagged.’

        Incidentally, she thought the show was hilarious. I thought she must be watching a comedy from her reactions, but she assures me it wasn’t intended as such.

        The wife has decided against the second season…

  7. I found this tougher than others seem to have done but given the setter I was determined to finish it – only 4 clues on first pass and then 13 minutes in all after an untidy solve jumping all over the grid.

    Looking back it is a fine puzzle and I’m not sure what took me so long, but I was slow to see Heel = list in POTTER’S WHEEL, thinking of every other meaning of list first, and equally slow to see Come = advance in COMPOSE, assuming we were looking for a loan. I also guessed TAKING OFF for 11D (I thought solicitor = toff potentially somewhat insulting to anyone in that profession, but it seemed just about plausible at the time) until TUBBINESS put me straight.

    Didn’t spot the ERSS error, or any theme – no surprise there as I seldom do.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

  8. Yes, very poignant to see Felix as the setter. Also NHO erse so put in erss, but as said above, no complaints in the circumstances.

    Can’t see the Nina but enjoyed a steady solve with time spent savouring some lovely clues like brewery, occupier and dating agency (remember them? Once a staple of comedy TV!). Another sub 20 solve of 19.33, and the sun is out for a change.

    Thanks Felix for the many puzzles we have enjoyed in our brief time here.

    Thanks to Roly.

    1. Every across clue contains a ‘container’: CUP, MUG, PAN, URN, POT, EWER, BEAKER, TIN, CAN, SAC and TUB

  9. Slow going today and a pink square to rub salt into the wound as I stuck a careless ‘y’ into the magician’s wheel.
    Found the bottom particularly sticky until the penny dropped with DATING AGENCY.
    Thanks to Rolytoly and RIP to RR.

      1. And me! Would have been more annoyed if I hadn’t also biffed MAUVE instead of MOUSE, reading the word ‘violet’ in the clue and just moving on.

  10. 4:55. Nice to see a Felix puzzle from those left for us by our former editor. I needed the hint by BR to see the theme. I enjoyed the image of someone throwing paint over the drummer. Thank-you Felix and Rolytoly.

  11. DNF.
    Could not even start this one.
    Not on the same wavelength.
    Write it off to experience.

  12. 30 minute DNF for this relative newbie. Often don’t lift and separate sufficiently (21a looking for a drink and wondering what the term for a ‘railway factory’ might be). Also confused by the ‘I’ in 19a – trying to get started with BI then a two-letter word for agrees. Ah well, I’m learning. I don’t count my ‘ERSS’ as an error though!
    Satisfying mix of clues – some only really appreciated thanks to the blog. Thanks Felix, Rolytoly and everyone who comments.

      1. Yes, indeed – welcome. Always good to meet newbies 😊
        And Ravilious – my current favourite artist. I’m looking at a lovely picture of two women sitting in a garden on my calendar right now!

      2. Thank you. If it’s the painting I’m thinking of it is rather special – I believe the woman shelling peas is Eric’s wife. A wonderful peaceful scene before he was sucked into a darker world…

        1. That’s the one! The other woman is reading under a tree – as you say, so peaceful. I try not to cheat so I’m not sure what next month’s picture is – I’ll just have to wait!

    1. Welcome! I’m a little ahead of you on this entertaining hike into crosswordland. I vouch for the great views and charming company.

  13. The theme is obvious once you know it’s there, but I (as usual) failed to spot it, needing to come here to unlock the secret.

    This is a fine example of Richard’s skills as a setter, and BREWERY, while not quite my COD, is very much enhanced by the fact that Black Sheep is just such an establishment. Based in Masham in North Yorkshire, their ales are excellent.

    LOI PEA *
    TIME 4:45

    * It was LOI only because I pressed submit to be told that my puzzle was 99% complete, so had to go back to it! The real LOI was SECRETE.

    1. The Teesdale Hotel, where I am today, sells Black Sheep, a fine beer and notably more popular than those of the Theakston family, that he was the black sheep of..

  14. Lovely puzzle. One of the many disadvantages of being a “phone on the train” solver is that you can’t see the setter’s name, so I didn’t know it was a Felix until coming here. I then went back to try to spot the theme – noticed BEAKER and wondered if it was The Muppets! That’s how good I am at Ninas.

    COD to DATING AGENCY, which made me chuckle. My main delay was very early with COMPOSE – I really paused over whether “come” equated properly with “advance”.

    All done in 06:19 for a Very Satisfactory Day. Many thanks roly and RR.


  15. Another one down to ERSS. I had heard of ERSE, but the wordplay was pretty clear, and there are many Irish/Gaelic words I don’t know so I was happy to write ERSS in assuming it was a word I didn’t know.
    I found this pretty tricky overall, some of the definitions didn’t really make sense but I had to trust them.

  16. Slightly over average time for me. Was looking for a drink, not a drinks factory, and have no paper and pen with me to write out for DATING AGENCY, which was LOI and COD. Didn’t spot the theme, never do, but all the better for it!


  17. 8:26

    Fortunately wrote ERSE without spotting the error.

    Didn’t spot the nina (why’s it called that?) but absolutely love it.


    Thanks all

    1. If you go to the menu at the top of the page and About this site, you will find the Glossary of terms under Help section, which explains all the terms and abbreviations generally used. It tells you the provenance of Nina.

  18. After only getting three of the across clues on first pass, I thought this would be a long solve. Then I got all the downs first time, then the rest fell in place, finishing in 7:45. COD was DATING AGENCY.
    ERSE went in without spotting the extra S. I failed to spot the theme.

    Thanks Roly. RIP RR

  19. 10 Across: Young wizard’s wife with list showing craftsperson’s tool (7,5)
    POTTERS WHEEL – [Harry] POTTER’S (wizard’s) W(ife) HEEL (list)

    Probably being a bit dim here but how does HEEL = list ?

    1. To heel, particularly with regard to a boat, means to lean over, or to list, which also means to lean…

  20. Unusually, solved on the phone, as didn’t have the printout with me. No problems – I saw ERSE straight away, but failed to notice the double S, so didn’t have any second thoughts. Missed the Nina, naturally… Lovely gentle puzzle. RIP RR.

  21. I thought this was a delightful puzzle, full of clever clues and smiling moments so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Felix was in fact Richard Rogan.
    Sub 40m and too many CODs to choose just one.

  22. 5.50

    Yes, excellent offering. Liked BAOBAB as I always struggle to spell it correctly and here it was on a platter (once one saw the w/p)

  23. Still under target but not without incident. Was I the only one to try APE for climber? Having recently seen a macaque climb on my sister in Bali, ape rather than PEA came to mind. That certainly made it difficult to solve 1a and 8a. I also had a bit of a panic with DATING AGENCY and convinced myself the answer was something to do with sport. From OATS to SECRETE in 7:23. Thanks to Roly and RR (RIP).

  24. Enjoyed this. Liked many inc MUG, BEAK, BAOBAB.
    Knew ERSE, so no problem there.
    Glad there are some RR puzzles in the store. Very clever NINA.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  25. So Farewell Then – how sad, he was rather a special one. I’m especially glad to have managed to finish his last one (LOI EMIGRE), a struggle of course but got there in the end. Yes I did wonder about ERSsE.
    Oh – so it’s not “his last one”, but he left us a legacy – that’s most poignant.

  26. 7:58

    Fairly swift except for the three in the NE corner. Got MUG then took a while to see GENTLE and even longer to see MOUSE – was nearly beartrapped by violet = MAUVE but couldn’t justify the wordplay.

    Epic fail on the nina, but thanks for the enlightenment.

    Thanks Roly

  27. This turned out to be a straightforward solve, helped by write-ins for Potters Wheel and Dating Agency. I also knew of Erse, so didn’t even spot the error (nor the Nina for that matter). A comfortable sub-20, with CoD to Brewery for the Black Sheep reference. Invariant

  28. Just outside target time at 10.32, the extra seconds being taken up by looking for an alternative for ERSE as it didn’t parse. In the end decided it couldn’t be anything else. My time suggests, at least for me, that this puzzle was pitched perfectly for a QC, and I will miss Felix’s contributions once the backlog is exhausted. A round of applause for the brilliant Nina, as usual I was nowhere near finding it.

  29. RIP Felix. MOURN felt rather poignant. Liked DATING AGENCY once the penny dropped. No problems with ERSE – didn’t even notice the extra ‘s’. LOI COMPOSE. Very enjoyable and thanks for the blog.

  30. 14 mins…

    Nice and straightforward this I thought. Nearly put “Occupants” for 1ac, but obviously wouldn’t fit in with the “pie” I was searching for.

    FOI – 8ac “Timpani”
    LOI – 2dn “Compose”
    COD – 10ac “Potter’s Wheel”

    Thanks as usual!

  31. 15:28
    Sluggish but nice puzzle. I think the erse issue is fixed now unless my eyesight is getting werse!
    CsOD dating agency, timpani, byes, and can do.
    Only 62 very sad.

  32. I did not know Felix was Richard Rogan but I found this a cracking puzzle set by a master, so I echo previous tributes. Tubbiness is a roundly satisfying answer. Beak is very P G Wodehouse! I found the clues perfectly pitched and got there in 12 minutes – worrying only about Erss/Erse and whether they were permissible alternative spellings. Failed to spot the Nina but love it! Poignant bravo to Felix and thanks to Rolytoly.

  33. I was almost loth to start this puzzle when I saw Felix’s name – it’s so sad. But I’m glad I did – it was quite GENTLE, I thought, but such fun. Like Fabian, I thought MOURN was particularly poignant. We will lament RR’s passing, that’s for sure.
    To be honest, I didn’t even notice the two S’s in 13a – just saw ERSE and in it went. And I’m ashamed to say that BEAK took nearly a minute, although we’ve seen it plenty of times before. It might have been quicker if I’d started the alpha-trawl at the beginning, instead of the end for variety!
    OATS made me laugh and I’m sure there will be Yorkshire beer fans who will like the surface at 21a (Black Sheep BREWERY)* but the nina passed me by, even with BR and Sawbill’s hint. But it was ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’!
    8:48, FOI Mug LOI Beak COD Dating agency
    Thanks and respects to Felix and thanks to Roly for the clear blog
    * Have just seen Phil’s and Invariant’s references 🍺

  34. A lovely puzzle bequeathed to us by Felix. As usual I didn’t spot the nina, and by the time I tackled the puzzle, 13a had been corrected. Sadly, having finished in 5:52, I inexplicably put POTTERY WHEEL at 10a. FOI OCCUPIERS, LOI, BAOBAB. Thanks Felix and Roly.

  35. I love that although RR has gone from us, he is still making his presence felt.
    Ximenes last crossword was printed a solid year after he died. (See glossary).
    There is Posy cartoon I recall where the family are eating a cassoulet and someone says, “this is lovely, how do you make it? ” “Oh I didn’t make it, Aunt Nelly did.” “But, isn’t she dead!? ” “Yes she is, but we were clearing out her freezer and it seemed a pity to waste it” (cue dicussion about eating dead persons food).

  36. 10.04 DNF again. I bunged in MAUVE for violet in 6d. ERSE had been corrected by the time I looked at it. DATING AGENCY was nice and SECRETE had me looking for a seven letter island. I missed the nina as ever. Thanks rolytoly.

  37. CAN DO! The phrase appears thirteen times in the song from Guys and Dolls where the three “horse fanciers” debate the merits of Paul Revere, Epitaph, and Valentine( Fugue for Tinhorns aka “I’ve got the horse right here…”).

  38. I felt inclined to savour slowly each clue as I worked through, knowing that the Felix supply is drying up, and I enjoyed it all. No particular problems, although I didn’t see the Nina. Clever, and less obscure than some! Thank you, Felix, for this and so many others that have given me so much pleasure.

  39. I found this one quite tough, so much so that by the time of my LOI GENTLE I gave up. Despite having all the crossers I just could not see it!

    Lots to make me smile especially Bill the magistrate and the group into match-fixing – I was well and truly thrown by them.

    Was very sad to read of the untimely passing of RR and as we all are am grateful for the joy his work brought us.

    Thanks Rory.

  40. DNF

    Oh so careless! 15 minutes but saw M_U_E, definition violet and biffed MAUVE.

    Otherwise pretty straightforward and I really should have taken more care over that one.

  41. Completed but very slowly, MOUSE and GENTLE last in should have been sorted earlier, MAUVE in lieu of MOUSE threw me, but couldn’t parse anyway

    1. If you click on ‘click to edit’, you do have the option to delete a post. . . should you ever need it 😉

  42. Didn’t see the SS in ERSE clue, so had no problem there. Found it on the harder side with LOI TAKING OUT as I couldn’t parse it.

  43. 13:38 here. A lovely puzzle. COD to BREWERY for the Black Sheep connection.

    Thanks to rolytoly and thanks & RIP Felix.

  44. I completed this friendly QC in a pleasant 15:13. These polished surfaces are exemplary–COD the poignant 9A MOURN.

    I nominate 10A POTTER’S WHEEL for Teaching Clue of the Day. Not a hard clue since we all know about Harry Potter and there aren’t too many items of potter’s equipment that would fit there (only the one as far as I know). But “list”=”heel” is a delightfully slant synonymy, one that I resolve to remember.

    Thank you, rolytoly, for pointing out that Felix is RR–us newer solvers don’t necessarily know these things.

    And thanks to Felix, and to RR for leaving us these lovely remembrances.

    1. Sadly, not just Felix. I saw a list of his aliases the other day but can’t find it now. I’m sure we’ve lost about six QC setters with his untimely death

      1. I remember that Jack started to compile a list of RR’s aliases a while ago – there were loads! I can think of Corelli, Alconiere, various Northern Irish football managers, Noel and Alfie (I think). RR kindly replied and hinted there were even more. We will be very sadly missing many of our favourites.

        1. This is my confirmed list of 10:
          Alconiere (anagram of Coleraine)

          but I had suspicions about a couple of others.

    2. We don’t ‘all know about Harry Potter Potter’ as I don’t read children’s books. I have heard the name, obviously, but assumed he was a schoolboy, so the wizard part of the clue confused me. Only the crossing letters and the second part of the clue led me to the answer.

  45. A lovely puzzle, I also fell into the ‘mouse trap’. Seeing violet I just put in mauve without parsing. If I didn’t come here to check my answers I would have been oblivious that I had one wrong!
    Thanks Roly, RIP Felix

  46. An excellent QC from one of the master setters. RIP, RR.

    My FOI was MUG and my LOI was OCCUPIERS. Time from start to finish = 24 minutes.
    Didn’t spot the theme, but I rarely do.

    Many thanks to Roly and (posthumously) to Felix.


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