Times Quick Cryptic No 2725 by Beck

Very good puzzle, pitched around average difficulty.

Quite a fresh feel to the solve, thanks to some originality and lots of lovely surfaces that only occasionally wandered into the surreal (looking at you 5d!). I clocked in with a par-ish time of 6:05, with my LOI 22d entered with a bit of a shrug.

Good stuff – many thanks to Beck!

7 Aye, squid swimming for wharf’s landing place (8)
QUAYSIDE -anagram (swimming) of AYE SQUID
8 Injure hot member in a cast? (4)
HARM – H(ot) ARM (member in a cast?). Other members are available (some more painful-sounding in a cast than others), hence the question mark.
9 Heartless medical examiner in awkward position (6)
CORNER – CORoNER (medical examiner) “heartless” = without the centre
10 Cyril butchered words of a song (5)
LYRIC – anagram (butchered) of CYRIL
11 Feel horrible about   the French way (3)
RUE – double definition, the second as in a French street
12 Lunch slice outside a square in Italy (6)
PIAZZA – PIZZA (lunch slice) outside A
14 Look longingly in front of box office pavilion (6)
GAZEBO – GAZE (look longingly) goes in front of B.O. (Box Office). The etymology is probably a humorous play on lavabo (a washstand in English), Latin for “I shall wash”, and videbo, Latin for “I shall see”. Instead we have “I shall gaze” becoming gazebo. Ho ho! But the OED cautions that, as the earliest citation describes a “Chinese tower or gazebo”, it might simply be a corruption of “some eastern word.”
16 Old man chopped up nut (6)
ALMOND – anagram (chopped up) of OLD MAN
18 Woman in the middle of fighting laundry appliance (6)
WASHER – SHE (woman) in the middle of WAR (fighting)
19 Sort of bread regularly seen in rhyme (3)
RYE – “regularly seen” letters in R h Y m E
20 Beating a bean, say (5)
PULSE – double definition, the first as in, say: “the rapid beating/pulse of his heart”
21 Discover sad Shakespearean shrew on the radio? (6)
LOCATE – is heard the same (“on the radio”) as LOW (sad) KATE (that shrew wot needed taming)
23 Swallow    fluffy feathers (4)
DOWN – double definition
24 Glen and Iris spilled white wine (8)
RIESLING – anagram (spilled) of GLEN and IRIS
1 What a shame test interrupted by one training program (8)
TUTORIAL -TUT (what a shame) ORAL (test) interrupted by I (one)
2 Policy analyst exhibits kind of blue (4)
CYAN – “exhibited” in poliCY ANalyst
3 Romeo’s follower in mountain range (6)
SIERRA – double definition, the first referring to the NATO phonetic alphabet
4 Secure stage pirate’s prop? (3,3)
PEG LEG – PEG (secure) LEG (stage)
5 One hundred — as far as the eye can see, mostly southern — sausages (8)
CHORIZOS – C (one hundred) HORIZOn (as far as the eye can see) “mostly”, and then S(outhern)
6 Swamp critter native to volcanic rock (4)
CROC – “native to” volcniC ROCk
13 Camera accessory left in zoo toilet (4,4)
ZOOM LENS – L(eft) in ZOO and MENS (toilet)
15 Doing one better than while taking ecstasy, it might make you swell up (3,5)
BEE STING – BESTING (doing one better than) while taking E(cstasy)
17 Depressing day when area is behind (6)
DREARY – take DAY and change the A for “area” into REAR for “behind”
18 Construction worker with church official (6)
WELDER –  W(ith) ELDER (church official)
20 Reportedly a tiny hole is unacceptable (4)
POOR – sounds “reportedly” (in certain dialects) like PORE (tiny hole)
22 Line in a track from the album Faction (4)
CULT – L(ine) goes in a CUT (track from the album). Faction /sect/cult. To “cut” is to make a recording, which I think is roughly what is going on here. I would have guessed there would have been several albums called Faction, but the only one Wikipedia is aware of is by the US mathcore band Botch (mathcore being, if it needs to be said, a subgenre of hardcore punk and metalcore influenced by post-hardcore, extreme metal and math rock. Math rock, if it needs to be said, being…).


70 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2725 by Beck”

  1. 12:35. Thanks for parsing DREARY for me. For HARM I didn’t think “in a cast” was necessary but I suppose it’s just hinting to us that the”member” is a body part here. BEE STING and LOCATE were my picks. Gee, the write-up for CULT about rock genres was just getting really absorbing when it ended abruptly!

  2. I biffed TUTORIAL, briefly pausing to wonder about ‘what a shame’; TUT doesn’t seem very close. ‘Zoo’ as part of the anagrist for ZOOM LENS was not too ept. 6:02.

    1. 13dn isn’t an anagram, it’s an Ikea construction job. At QC level I don’t have a problem with such clues being straightforward sometimes to demonstrate to beginners how things work.

  3. Some pretty tough stuff at the end, I thought, to prevent me finishing what was otherwise a pretty simple puzzle.

    I know everyone here can recite all of Shakespeare, but requiring the knowledge of CATE is fairly ridiculous IMO. Likewise CUT is a pretty obscure, especially when the definition is pretty far from CULT too. This pair of crossers eluded me completely.

    1. If everyone here is familiar with Shakespeare, then ‘Shakespearean shrew’ would be a gimme. (If this were a 15×15 clue, I would expect just ‘shrew’.) I’ll be curious to see how many solvers found the clue difficult.

      1. I’m not familiar with OG Shakespeare beyond what comes up in crosswords.. Lear, Hamlet, Iago and R+J

        But, I have seen 10 Things I Hate About You, 90s teen rom com at least… 8 times and that is based on Taming of the Shrew and the shrew is named Kat.

        Lots of teen movies are based on shakespeare 😀

        1. For many the connection would be easy to make via the title of the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate based on The Taming of the Shrew. Great show, great songs.

      2. You can also get caught by knowing a bit too much! Having done Romeo and Juliet at school I went hunting for a mountain range called Tybalt!

  4. I thought I was on track for a fairly quick time until I broached the SE segment and was beaten back by Beck to finish in 12.10. WELDER, CULT and LOCATE formed a little squad of LOsI, though further up the grid CORNER was also a long time coming. I agree with Kevin about zoo in the ZOOM LENS anagrist – did anybody not biff this and try to work it out? All up an enjoyable puzzle, thanks to Roly for DREARY and TUTORIAL. Oh, and ZOOM LENS also. Mens, who knew?

  5. 12:18 this is a stellar week for me

    I didn’t parse DREARY or TUTORIAL properly (I thought it has something to do with a Trial)

    I parsed ZOOM LENS though. Zoo isn’t an anagrist. It’s just the whole word, plus MENS that you put an L into. I don’t know what they’re talking about above.

    CROC was my last one in. It is always the hiddens!

    I liked the surface for CULT a lot

    1. Apologies, Tina, I posted a response to Kevin above before noticing you had this covered. I’ll let it stand though as I made another point about it.

    2. You’re right, it’s not. I spent so little time there I didn’t notice. I guess the point is that when you see ‘camera accessory’ and ‘zoo’ you’re only ever going to go one way…

      1. Well unfortunately for me I had to work it out because I did not lift and separate and thought there was an actual word for a toilet in a zoo

  6. 12 minutes with time lost at the end doing an alphabet trawl on C?L? at 22dn. The first possibility was CELL which might have fitted the definition ‘faction’ so I lost more time trying to spot wordplay before discounting it.

    1. I also was fixated on CELL, but after yesterday’s DNF due to bunging in something closeish that fits the checkers, I spent a little time making sure.

  7. Enjoyed this. Started strongly with nine on the first pass of acrosses but with some left causing me concern. Downs helped and with a bit of head scatching – DREARY and CROC especally – and an unscheduled trip to the washing line to get school trousers I was done in just under 12. Unfortunately I also had invented the ZOOn LENS. Seeing CYAN took me back to the 5 key on my ZX Spectrum – hope to see MAGENTA next week.

  8. Good fun this morning, finishing in around 24 mins

    Took too long to come up with zoom even with the z and o. LOI corner only came after tutorial, which we also found using trial then reparsed with oral once in

    Thanks Beck and Roly, like others we needed your help parsing dreary.

    Enjoying the comments today, as much fun as the puzzle 😀

  9. Had an almost identical experience to LindsayO in that I made swift progress until hitting the buffers with WELDER (transposing the ‘e’ and ‘i’ in RIESLING didn’t help), LOCATE and CULT. I knew that ‘the shrew’ was a reference to The Taming of but needed the ‘l’ starter before being able to biff the answer.
    Crossed the line in 9.23.
    Thanks to Rolytoly

  10. Agree this had a different feel to it; several of the clues had me wondering where on earth to start. The LOCATE/CULT crossing held me up for some time and I only parsed CULT after biffing it (track = cut was far from obvious). That’s one better than DREARY which I never parsed at all: replacing a single letter with a whole word is a new idea to me. But my LOI was PULSE, the link beating = pulse not being one I would have made as while they are clearly connected, I couldn’t see how they could be substitutes until Roly’s blog.

    16 minutes in all, and quite a workout. Many thanks Roly for the blog.

  11. As a native Lancastrian I wonder which dialects would pronounce poor as pore? It certainly wouldn’t work in Lancashire.

    I knew just enough Shakespeare to get the shrew.

    Nice use of Romeo to get me sidetracked in 3 down. Easy once I had the checking letters, but I enjoy the skill of the setter in sending me astray.

    1. A bit of a guess but I think most non-rhotic UK English varieties would have pore and poor being phonetically indistinguishable.

    2. Being Cumbrian, we would say “poo-er” and make it into two syllables. However, having lived down south for a number of years, the pronouncement of poor’ and ‘pore’ are fairly indistinguishable.

  12. 8:56 (Æthelbald usurps the throne of Wessex from his father Æthelwulf)

    20d was my LOI, but no problem with the homophone . My accent (RP with a hint of Welsh) has pore and poor both pronounced the same as paw.

    Thanks Roly and Beck

  13. LOI POOR was held up by memories of a very U vicar, who used to ask rich members of the congregation “Do you love the poo-er? Do you love the poo-er £500-worth?” He was a very effective fundraiser.

    Cracking puzzle, lots of really good clues. I missed the train I was aiming for, therefore had time for a double espresso, and whizzed through on a caffeine high until hitting PULSE/POOR. Still managed 06:34 for 1.2K so an Excellent Day.

    Thanks Beck and Roly.

  14. A bit slow in parts as I misread some clues then DNF CULT – biffed Cell.
    Remembered the NATO alphabet clue from the other day, so no problem with SIERRA..
    Liked BEE STING, GAZEBO, PEG LEG, RUE. Biffed DREARY without parsing, ditto CYAN, missing the hidden.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  15. DNF 5:41

    Biffed “cell” instead of CULT. I sentence myself to listen to the Cult album “Sonic Temple” on a loop for the rest of the day.

  16. And still I haven’t made it to the SCC this week: they’ll be worrying about me, no doubt. Much the same pauses and delays as previous comments so I won’t repeat, but overall a fun puzzle which gave my brain cells sufficient exercise to make me feel satisfied. A few parsings passed me by to some extent, I would never have worked out how DREARY was meant to work, so thank you for the helpful and entertaining blog. I’m off to Spotify to get into some Mathcore; never too old for new experiences…

  17. Know I’m well below “average” but I failed eight. Nor can I berate myself over those; wouldn’t have got any in a million years. Thanks for solutions.

  18. 12 minutes for me finishing with CULT. I spent time looking for something better than CELL, having initially biffed CLAN before a glass of Riesling put me right.
    POI was POOR which I think works fine.
    I too failed to parse DREARY.
    COD to ALMOND -I love discovering unexpected anagrams.

  19. 11:40

    As I couldn’t see the coroner, my checkers permitted DRILL for a training programme, which I couldn’t get out of my head. I was looking at under 7’ with those two to go. Eventually had to walk away and wash a pan. Strange how different clues hold up differing people. Everyone above seems to have had no trouble in the NW, whilst I had no trouble anywhere else.

    Anyway, a fine puzzle, thanks Beck and blogs.

  20. Found this hard to complete – mulling over poor and cult for a chunk of the 15 minutes this took. I’ll leave mathcore to others – the band name seems to say everything. Thanks all.

  21. Similar in difficulty to yesterdays I thought, that is to say slightly harder than average. I finished, like yesterday, just outside target at 10.39. I didn’t get to parse TUTORIAL assuming the test was TRIAL, and wondering what the hell UTO had to do with anything.

  22. Not too difficult though I did need help from Pumpa for 1d – when I can tear him away from his PS5! Teenagers!

    Though I have heard The Taming of the Shrew I have never read (nor wish to!). But I’m guessing if the shrew in the play is a shrew then its name is Kate.


    My verdict: 👍
    Pumpa’s verdict: Don’t disturb me now! I’m on boss level.

  23. Had to persevere with this one. Enjoyable but tricky in places for me. No problems in N but slowed considerably solving PULSE/POOR and LOI CULT which I parsed after the event. Biffed WASHER and DREARY. Many thanks for explanations roly (doh). COD LOCATE which made me smile. This QC had a different feel to it which made me work harder than usual. More from Beck please!

  24. I’m glad I had my careless DNF yesterday, because it made me examine my LOI CELL very carefully – I wasn’t convinced and was right to not be! 15 secs additional thought got me to CULT.

    I seem to have done well – I’m in the top 10 on the leaderboard, and I’m never usually that high, especially as I did this a bit later than usual.

    I liked RIESLING.


  25. Once QUAYSIDE rolled easily in, and several more easyish acrosses were in place, things got trickier. Several passes later there were still stubborn blanks. Never did see how DREARY worked, so thanks to Roly for that. Took and age to see that ALMOND was an anagram, but at least I was then able to come up with LOI, TUTORIAL, the TUT being the last bit to surface. CULT took a bit of musing too. 8:13. Thanks Beck and Roly.

  26. 6.26

    I’m no Shakespearian aficionado but the shrew is a common visitor to crossword land and I rather liked this low Kate iteration.

    Great blog

  27. I must be recovering because I got back in touch with my inner voice and did this 17:53, for me a respectable time.

    What an excellent puzzle. I quibble at CULT but so many fine clues made up for it. Like most people I never parsed DREARY. FOI QUAYSIDE, LOI POOR. COD WASHER but so many good ones, LOCATE, CROC, BEE STING among my favorites. All those Ys and Zs and Ws had me looking for a pangram, or something hidden, but nothing appeared.

    Many thanks and hope to see more from Beck. Loved the music genre tutorial Roly!

  28. 7:19
    Didn’t know Kate from TotS but LOCATE seemed the obvious answer so no quibbles from me. Was well on the way to the submit button before I thought to change CELL to CULT, so a near miss there. In response to David I think the CUT is in the sense of a ‘deep cut’, but I’m a fairly regular music review consumer so maybe this is more specialised than I thought.

  29. I found this a bit of a mixed bag. Apart from not being familiar with the play, I struggled to see 18d Welder and 22d Cult. Welders have a much wider field than construction, and ‘Cut’ was a distinct MER. Not even keen on Washer for laundry appliance but it had to be.
    FOI 7a Quayside
    LOI 22d Cult
    COD 4d Peg Leg

  30. Well, about average for us in the end at 13:43 but held up by POI PULSE and LOI POOR. I’m not sure that we’d have got the latter without the former as, in our northern accents, poor (po-err) and pore (paw) are really quite distinct. Happily distracted as well by simultaneously catching up on the highlights of yesterday’s Tdf stage. Thanks to Rolytoly for a couple of parsings that we missed and to Beck for a puzzle as enjoyable as the stage finish.

  31. 9 mins…

    Seemed to find my groove for this, and ended up with a pleasing sub-10 finish (as rare as sunshine nowadays).

    Only slight hesitation was trying to parse 17dn “Dreary”, which I thought was a little clunky. Weirdly saw “Zoom Lens” in another crossword just the other day. Always surprises me how certain clues seem to crop in different puzzles at the same time.

    FOI – 2dn “Cyan”
    LOI – 20dn “Poor”
    COD – 21ac “Locate”

    Thanks as usual!

  32. 5:59

    Little to slow one down here. As a southerner that lives in Lancashire, no problem with the homophonic PORE/POOR. CHORIZO always reminds me how badly the English-speaking world usually pronounces this Spanish word – it’s CHO-REETH-O and not CHO-RITZ-O.

    If you’re looking for other albums called ‘Faction’, you could try Henrik’s (Danish multi-instrumentalist) 2008 effort, or the 2014 techno effort by Swarm Intelligence on the Ad Noiseam label (details courtesy of Musicbrainz.org)

    Thanks Roly and Beck

    1. Interesting, thanks for the info – I did give both a try. Henrik I found a bit generic indie warbly and stopped before too long. The techno effort sounded like what I imagine EDM mathcore would sound like: lots of industrial noises of things clanking off other things, along to some grimy base, and something occasionally slightly sonorous. Not all bad! The mathcore, now having listened to a minute or two of it, I would simply call the even-angrier-people-screaming subset of heavy metal. But so much for my ignorance.

  33. 13.45 Another one that never really flowed but didn’t create any serious problems either. TUTORIAL and CORNER were the last two. I liked PIAZZA. Thanks rolytoly and Beck.

  34. DNF for me, missing locate and cult: for the latter I had the L in Riesling and for the former the L in welder and the T in sting. The minutes passed…and passed. I smile now at low Kate for sad shrew but I was trawling for proper names. Doh. Would not have got cult. Enjoyed peg leg and gazebo and parsed zoom lens. Absence in France might have made me a bit rusty (my excuse). Fun to be back.

  35. 22:21. I never really settled into this one, and it took me a long time to abandon AHEAD for 20a (it works, honest!), which held me up for a good while in the SW corner. Add in being certain that the medical examiner would give us ME, and the whole effort ends up in the “best forgotten” pile. Hey ho, onto tomorrow.

    Thanks to Beck and rolytoly.

  36. Found this one the most difficult for some time.
    I would never have got 20a or 22d in a month of Sundays. Thank goodness Beck is a rarity! Thanks rolytoly for blog.

  37. TBH I thought this was pretty straightforward and I am most unhappy with 17 mins. There is no reason why I couldn’t have done this in, at worst, 12 minutes. Another dissatisfying day in a week that is a write off after a stupid mistake yesterday. No sense of achievement today, just frustration at another missed opportunity caused by some entirely avoidable errors. ☹️☹️☹️


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