Times Quick Cryptic No 2713 by Pipsqueak

Back onto more normal terrain after a couple of trickier days with new setter Pipsqueak’s second puzzle.

I made my way through in a fairly straight solve, unlike the last couple of days, clocking in at 5:32. Plenty to admire along the way, for which many thanks to Pipsqueak!

1 Answer given by politician originally intended as defence (5)
ALIBI – A (Answer – as in Q&A) given by LIB[eral] (politician) and I  (“originally” Intended)
4 Crazy children’s game needs new beginning (7)
BONKERS – CONKERS (children’s game) needs new beginning. Bonkers seems to originally be WWII navy slang for light in the head, or tipsy, a new word for which was possibly slightly superfluous to requirements (but is never unwelcome).
8 Destroy revival of the arts (7)
SHATTER – anagram (revival) of THE ARTS. A few seconds wasted trying to make an anagram out of REVIVAL, about as unpromising anagram fodder as you could get. I moved hastily along.
9 Hallucinate when taking ecstasy? That’s nonsense (5)
TRIPE – TRIP (hallucinate when taking) E(cstasy).
10 Rebel cadet somehow becoming famous (10)
CELEBRATED – anagram (somehow) of REBEL CADET
14 Go to ground, unhappy after deception (3,3)
LIE LOW – LOW (unhappy) after LIE (deception)
15 Snub Italian gentleman lacking introduction (6)
IGNORE – sIGNORE (italian gentleman) lacking “introduction”
17 Amorous glances from Dolly perhaps? (6,4)
SHEEPS EYES – cryptic hint, referring to Dolly the Sheep. Dolly will soon be celebrating her 28th birthday, having had her original brain transplanted into what I believe now is her fourth clone.

Sheep’s eyes is a very old phrase (some 500 years). Here’s a 1631 quote from Ben Jonson about Hero and Leander, who crop up as lovers from time to time in the 15×15:

Hero seeing Leanders naked legge, and goodly calfe,

Cast at him, from the boat, a Sheepes eye, and a halfe

20 Man from Pisa accepted to an extent (5)
ISAAC – from pISA ACcepted “to an extent”
22 Sophisticated socialist receiving financial penalty (7)
REFINED – RED (socialist) receiving FINE (financial penalty)
23 Enemy agents sheltering city group (7)
SPECIES – SPIES (enemy agents) sheltering EC (city). I wouldn’t classify a spy as specifically an enemy agent.
24 At last minute grabbing time for coffee (5)
LATTE – LATE (at last minute) grabbing T(ime): as in something like “the chance to score came late/at last minute.”
1 Further article on London Symphony Orchestra (4)
ALSO – A (article) on LSO
2 Artist visiting home country (4)
IRAN – RA (artist) visiting IN (home)
3 Where you might find turtle   up a gum tree? (2,3,4)
IN THE SOUP – double-ish definition, the first not very PETA. Up a gum tree, in the soup, and indeed being up a certain creek without a paddle are all good phrases for a similar thing originating in 19th century America, although one has perhaps retained more currency than the other two.
4 Banned a poet, reportedly (6)
BARRED – is “reported” the same as BARD (poet)
5 A number turning up in trap (3)
NET – TEN (a number) turning up
6 Into vice, strangely, leads to expulsion (8)
EVICTION -anagram (strangely) of INTO VICE
7 Guide restraining a girl becoming calmer (8)
STEADIER -STEER (guide) restraining A and DI (girl)
11 Sad, unlike Edith Piaf? (9)
REGRETFUL – cryptic hint, referring to that Non, Je Ne Regret Rien song
12 Conservative girl in charge of son’s great works (8)
CLASSICS – C(onservative) LASS (girl) IC (in charge) S(on)
13 Traitor angered English terribly (8)
RENEGADE – anagram (terribly) of ANGERED E[nglish]
16 Society girl meeting retired teacher? Rubbish! (6)
DEBRIS – DEB[utante] (society girl) meeting SIR (teacher) “retired” = reversed
18 King and fool join together (4)
KNIT – K(ing) and NIT (fool)
19 Lazy celebrity one might say (4)
IDLE – one might say the same as IDOL (celebrity)
21 Mostly elegant character from Greece (3)
CHI – CHIc (elegant) “mostly”

68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2713 by Pipsqueak”

  1. As you say, I don’t think you will find a turtle in soup today. Even in Lewis Carroll’s day, hence his invention of the “mock turtle” since “mock turtle soup” was a thing. Not too difficult. SHEEPS EYES was my LOI since I’d never heard the phrase so I needed the checkers, even though I was onto the Dolly the sheep thing when I first read the clue.

  2. Hello thank you for everyone’s well wishes! I’m high on endone but everything went well.

    I didn’t finish this – sheep’s eyes and in the soup were completely beyond me as phrases I’ve never heard of.

    Lots of girls in this one!

    1. Glad you’re on the mend. Endone seems ripe for a cryptic clue: Finish with ecstasy after this?

  3. 13:48. Almost gave up as I was misled by thinking the turtle was a turtledove. When I finally got to SOUP the P helped me get SHEEP. Very lucky to finish since I was only vaguely aware of Dolly the sheep or SHEEPS EYES as amorous glances. Also while I knew the phrase up a tree I’d never specifically heard a gum tree. Enjoyed BONKERS and REGRETFUL the most.

  4. Started off nicely but came to a stop at 7D so headed to the bottom right corner and then worked my way back to finish on LOI STEADIER.
    Remember Dolly the sheep but biffed Eyes.
    More than 20 but less than 30 so I guess I will be first into the club for a sleepy cup of coffee and a left over croissant.
    Thanks Roly and Pip

  5. 9 minutes. No real problems, but 4ac BONKERS required several return visits and held out until almost the very end. Once it had provided the S-checker I was able to come up with STEADIER at 7dn as my LOI.

  6. I’ve also never heard of SHEEPS EYES, first used in 1529, the internet doesn’t say when a real person last said it. CONKERS was surprising hard, enjoyed DEBRIS. Tempted by a more scatalogical answer when faced with IN THE _O_P at the end but showed maturity to alphabet trawl to an answer that fitted both ends of the clue. Eight on the first pass of acrosses on the way to being all green in 12.10.

  7. I enjoyed this puzzle – some rather different GK, some guessing needed (I’m another who remembers Dolly the Sheep but NHO the phrase sheep’s eyes), and a difficult DD in IN THE SOUP which was my LOI. Slight query over SPECIES as a group, but otherwise all done and parsed in 11½ minutes. BONKERS for conkers my COD.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

  8. A nice steady solve in 19.27, Mrs RH on fire this morning barely giving me a look in 😀
    Saw the soup straight away, nice clue, and particularly liked the surface of alibi. In a close finish would give COD to bonkers, we wondered if conkers is known outside the UK?

    Thanks pipsqueak, we were right on your wavelength today, and thanks Roly for the blog and extra info

  9. A 10 minute fail. Put in SLEEPY EYES in desperation at 17a, knowing it probably wasn’t a real term but I couldn’t think of anything else. In retrospect (of course) SHEEPS EYES was possible to get from wordplay but I’d barely heard of it so wouldn’t have been much more confident anyway.

    Same MER at SPECIES for ‘group’ as Cedric, but (surprise, surprise) Collins and Chambers both include ‘group’ in the definition.

    Thanks to Roly for the usual helpful background info and to Pipsqueak

  10. This kept me on my toes. I was five clues in before starting, and barely solved half the puzzle on the first pass. However, my LOI was the only one missing after pass two. I don’t think I’ve heard SHEEP’S EYES since I was a boy in the 1950’s, and I suppose there must have been turtle soup at some stage before the mock version took over. I don’t think Baxter’s do it.

    TIME 4:06

  11. Most of this was fairly gentle but struggled with BONKERS, STEADIER and LOI IN THE SOUP which went in with a shrug after an alpha trawl. Like others SHEEPS EYES was unknown but the clueing was kind.
    Finished in 8.20.
    Thanks to rolytoly

  12. 7:26 (King Ine of Wessex abdicates, and goes on pilgrimage to Rome)

    A straightforward solve with no issues. LOI was STEADIER, as I had originally thought of SHERPA as the guide, rather than STEER, and thought ADI was a rather obscure name, failing to split it into A DI.

    Thanks Roly and Pipsqueak

  13. On the contrary: this was harder, stumped by no fewer than eight. NHO SHEEP’s EYES; well done, finding it in 1631 – has it been used since then?
    REGRETFUL was a step too far; biffed REGRETTED, hence failed 22 and 24.

  14. Tried to smash through that 10-minute barrier but failed again, 10.05 for me. An enjoyable puzzle from Pipsqueak. Do you make sheep’s eyes at someone by making your irises become rectangular? Sounds like a horror film. Thanks Roly for the blog. I’m a big fan of Piaf but I suspect if someone had absolutely no regrets about anything they would be a psychopath.

  15. Pleased everything went well Tina.

    Enjoyed today’s QC, but took a while to get the easy 2D as misread it as home county. Nice reminder of the great Edith Piaf. Thanks Roly and Pipsqueak

  16. Flew through that one then had a very frustrating end

    NHO “IN THE SOUP” “up a gum tree” or “SHEEPS EYES” and in the confusion I managed to convince my self that “LIE SAD” was probably another phrase I hadn’t heard of

  17. Got through this relatively quickly. NHO SHEEPS EYES like others, but luckily I remember Dolly the sheep. STEADIER went in last, and I liked IN THE SOUP because it reminded me of a trip to Barbados when I went on a turtle spotting trip. The guy running the trip told everyone that turtle meat was the absolute best meat in the world, but turtle was no longer allowed to be caught.


  18. Fairly straightforward I thought without being a gimme. A pretty steady solve saw me finish in 7.12, so keeping up my run of good form. Mention of Dolly at 17ac immediately brought to mind Dolly Parton, and it was a little while before I twigged that it was the ovine alternative.

  19. I thought Pipsqueak was a new setter and I was conscious of this throughout.
    Nevertheless I made good progress until LOI 18d where I wanted to put CNUT, but it felt wrong. So did UNIT and a proper think got me to KNIT.
    I knew SHEEPS EYES somehow and Piaf no problem. MER over SPECIES.
    Done in 12 minutes.

  20. No problems with SHEEPS EYES (especially when wordplay included Dolly) or up a gum tree/IN THE SOUP. Can’t say that I use the former but I definitely hear the admittedly more mature members of my family use ‘up a gum tree’. I was held up for ages by SPECIES, (that sort of group not on my radar at all) BONKERS and LOI ISAAC (of course, a hidden, always so slow to spot). Needed the S from BONKERS to solve STEADIER. Didn’t find this as easy as others. A decidedly two-coffee day. Many thanks roly.

  21. Bonkers time for me today – 8 minutes, a new PB! Is it a wavelength thing – I just read each clue and the answer came, with a minute for my LOI steadier (I saw speedier at first and it wouldn’t go away!) We had Isaac the other day again as a hidden. Sheeps eyes well known to lovers of P G Wodehouse and no problem with species/group. Btw Roly, the French text is Non, je ne regrette rien and ‘regrette’ sung by Piaf is 3 sforzando syllables. Unforgettable if you ever heard her live!

  22. I don’t recall doing the first Pipsqueak offering and I struggled to get onto his/her wavelength. Not sure why in retrospect. Finished in 22 minutes with everything parsed. No problems with up a gum tree, in the soup or sheeps eyes – all known to me, although I did have to resist the temptation to put sleepy eyes in at 17ac. I wondered if it might be the title of a Dolly Parton song.

    FOI – 9ac TRIPE
    LOI – 17ac SHEEPS EYES
    COD – 15 ac IGNORE

    Thanks to Pipsqueak and Rolytoly

  23. Snuck inside SCC time in a mixture of write-ins and longer ponders. Turtles and gum trees had me thinking a while, likewise STEADIER, but oh so obvious at the PDM. No problem with the amorous Dolly however, and a fun fill throughout, so thanks to Pipsqueak.

  24. Hmmm SHEEP’S EYES and IN THE SOUP…

    … there’s cryptic and there’s obscure. For me at least cryptic is fun and obscure isn’t.

    Otherwise enjoyable and some clues to make you smile like BONKERS

    1. Knut – me too to start with, but it didn’t quite parse. Nearly didn’t check, mind you…

      1. I believe it did parse if you allow “king” to perform a double duty. So king (k) and fool (nut) “join together” to provide KNUT (a king obviously). But I wouldn’t expect to see “double duty” clueing in the QC. I thinks it’s even frowned upon in the 15×15.

  25. My LOI was an incorrect guess of Sheepy Eyed otherwise I would have finished in just over 9 minutes.

  26. Did so well then stuck and had to look up Hallucinate. All because I had put Nip (does parse) instead of NET. Moral: if no word beginning with P works, think again.
    Smiled at SHEEPS EYES and IN THE SOUP (joint COD). Also liked, among others, DEBRIS, CLASSICS, BONKERS, REGRETFUL (but wd youngsters have heard of Piaf?)
    Thanks vm, Roly.
    Glad all well, Tina.

  27. I enjoyed this one although I was unable to complete.

    I did feel that 11d was a bit meh! Never heard of in the soup.

    Unfortunately Pumpa was not around to lend a helping hand. Too sunny and warm for him to want to stay indoors.

  28. 6:39

    Held up in the NE, having not got BONKERS or TRIPE at first pass, and uncertain whether to go with NET or TEN.


    Thanks all.

  29. From ALIBI to SOUP in 7:48. I felt I should have been quicker but I did have to revisit a few clues i.e. STEADIER, CLASSICS and SHEEPS EYES.

  30. Dnf…

    After 20 mins gave up on the axis of despair that was 3dn “In the Soup” and 17ac “Sheep’s Eyes”. I’ve heard of the first expression, although it could have been anything in my opinion, but not the second. I ended up putting “Steely Eyes” thinking it might be some reference to an unknown Dolly Parton song.

    However, the rest of the clues were enjoyable including 9ac “Tripe”, 16dn “Debris” and 11dn “Regretful”.

    FOI – 1ac “Alibi”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – “Bonkers”

    Thanks as usual!

  31. Was making reasonable progress but got breezeblocked with SHEEPS EYES and IN THE SOUP. An alpha trawl eventually unearthed Dolly the sheep and SOUP rapidly followed. 11:55. Thanks Pipsqueak and Roly.

  32. Straight through today considerable improvement on on yesterday toyed with KNUT rather than KNIT, but swiftly corrected error.

  33. 9.12 DNF. Stuck at the end for two minutes I thought of STEADIED and put it in without properly parsing it. That’s the second fluffed word ending this week. Gah! I liked IN THE SOUP and SHEEP’S EYES. Thanks rolytoly and Pipsqueak.

    1. I believe it’s East Central (city of London postcode)

      Edit: sorry Mendesest, we crossed over!

    2. Worth noting, it turns up quite often and unless you recognise it, it’s v difficult to guess!

  34. Interesting puzzle. No issues with either ‘sheeps eyes’ or ‘in the soup’. Started 7d with Sherpa in mind, then Shepherd, and eventually saw the solution.
    FOI 1d Also – to validate the opening letter of 1a
    LOI 11d Regretful – needed the checkers before the PDM
    COD just has to be 16d Debris.
    More please…

  35. I gave up after a very frustrating 60 minutes, due to two intersecting NHO phrases. I had NHO SHEEPS EYES for amorous glances and DNK IN THE SOUP for up a gum tree. Quite what Dolly and turtle were doing in the clues was a complete mystery to me. So, my last half-hour of struggle was entirely wasted and was always going to be so. Very irritating!

    Many thanks to Rolytoly, but Pipsqueak is not my favourite setter at the moment.

  36. 10:57
    Was progressing towards a quick time but slowed right down in the NE: barred, tripe, bonkers, net and LOI steadier.
    COD debris.

  37. Knew in the soup from reading PG Wodehouse, Bertie Wooster being frequently in the aforementioned liquid. Biffed sheeps eyes knowing only the sheep and Parton who is famous for a couple of body parts but not her eyes. About 15 today. J

  38. 19:56 after a fast start with curiously instant anagram recognition crashed into my total ignorance of “up a gum tree”. Then trouble bringing Dolly the sheep to mind; I got hung up on Dolly Parton that amazing woman; also very dim about “conker” — so is my phone which doesn’t want me to type it. SHEEP’S EYES is my COD, lots of other good ones.

    Many thanks to Pipsqueak and rolytoly!

  39. 11:46
    With no less than THREE errors, so quite a bad day out. My vowel trawl at 18d ended very early, and so I toyed with KNOT and KNUT, eventually settling for the first, a mistake hopefully I won’t make again. The others were LIE LOW and IN THE SOUP, for the first of which I could not reach for the requisite three letter synonym and guessed LIE SAD which was really quite pathetic. This threw off the last phrase and so I ended up with IN THE DAMP, having deleted IN THE MAIN as a first guess. It’s at times like these when I feel I need an on demand AI assistant with Gareth Southgate’s voice to tell me to keep my chin up. To better days ahead.

  40. DNF TEN/NET confusion led to impossible NE finish. I put TEN in the grid, you have to read these clues so carefully. Also failed to see SOUP, so went for IN THE LOOP which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    SHEEPS EYES? That’s an obscure one.


  41. DNF – foiled by SHEEPS (Eyes) – not heard of this expression – and (in the) SOUP – didn’t get the references, sadly. Steady solve for the rest.

  42. 23 minutes

    The usual mixture of incompetence, ignorance and idiocy.

    I’m just not very good at this. I look at the good times and feel very discouraged.

    Thanks for the blog.

  43. Interesting that so many of you found this easy, quite the opposite for me. I’m not even sure whether my solve counts – I got IN THE SOUP wrong and a little box popped up to tell me that the solution wasn’t quite right. Anyway, 20:47 for an eventual all-green but what I think might be a technical DNF.

    I think I have to object to “late” meaning “at last minute” on the grounds that, well, it doesn’t.

    Thank you for the blog!

  44. Sheeps eyes…we boys were told off by the head for making sheeps eyes at the French assistante. Must have been 1965. So at least one use since 1651.


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