Times Quick Cryptic 2246 by Hawthorn


My last blog for a few weeks – duties of ‘younger relative’ (thank you 22ac) sitting in USA are outranking my blogging ones. The well-oiled machine that is TfTT has purred smoothly into gear so that you will be well cared for on upcoming  Tuesdays (to those who have volunteered – thank you).
I’ll be back towards the end of November which makes this my longest non-blog period since the QC started.

Now to today’s puzzle which took me 12 minutes – so, not obviously easy. My last two 4dn and 10ac had me thinking in exactly the wrong directions – so were satisfying when they clicked.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 PIN providing on-line security? (7,3)
CLOTHES PEG – excellent cryptic definition to start us off.
8 Arena’s redeveloped by large football club (7)
ARSENAL – anagram (redeveloped) of ARENAS, large (L).
9 A student following doctor in emotive situation (5)
DRAMA – a (A) and student (MA) after doctor (DR).
10 Initially head off a sign of voting fraud (4)
HOAX – (H)ead (O)ff (A), sign off voting (X).
11 Swimmer’s temperature taken internally by medic (8)
STURGEON – temperature (T) inside medic (SURGEON),
13 Girl swimming Loch Fyne’s far end (5)
CHLOE – anagram (swimming) of LOCH, Fyn(E). I know the Argyll area well so it was hard to separate’Loch’ and ‘Fyne’.
14 Bad day switching round sink (5)
DROOP – bad day (POOR D) backwards.
16 Sweat resulting from piper’s bungled note (8)
PERSPIRE – anagram (bungled) of PIPERS, note (RE).
17 Cheese kept in Notre Dame (4)
EDAM – inside Notr(E DAM)e.
20 Previously stuffed by United exactly when expected (2,3)
ON CUE – previously (ONCE) stuffed with United (U).
21 Angry words from group of three dividing six pounds (7)
VITRIOL – group of three (TRIO) separating six pounds (VI L).
22 Younger relative and I tan remarkably in Mediterranean country (5-5)
GREAT-NIECE – anagram (remarkably) of I TAN inside Mediterranean country (GREECE). Actually I’m grandson sitting but ‘younger relative’ cried out for a reference in the preamble.
1 Collision of new cars preceding hospital (5)
CRASH – anagram (new) of CARS, hospital (H).
2 Rebecca lost a silly sports day contest? (8,4)
OBSTACLE RACE – anagram (silly) of REBECCA LOST A.
3 Some rubbish in this clue (4)
HINT – some of rubbis(H IN T)his.
4 Toast is lightly brown across length (6)
SALUTE – lightly brown (SAUTÉ) around length (L). COD.
5 Put-up job pinching diamonds: trouble for place of riches (2,6)
EL DORADO – take job (ROLE) and turn upside down, then insert diamonds (D) into it to get (EL DOR), garnish with trouble (ADO).
6 Arrive early to avoid disappointment for guests? (4,4,4)
MAKE GOOD TIME – take your pick – a double definition or humorous cryptic.
7 Cold bottle of milk, on reflection, is what kitty loves? (6)
CATNIP – cold (C), bottle of milk (PINTA) upwards. Pinta is in Collins as (informal) a pint of milk (phonetic rendering of ‘pint of’). It’s also from the slogans started in 1959 – ‘drinka pinta milka day’.
12 A rep twice arranged to come back (8)
REAPPEAR – anagram (arranged) of a rep twice (A REP A REP).
13 One apprehending eclipse over rocky hill (6)
CAPTOR – eclipse (CAP) ove rocky hill (TOR).
15 Short test covering four inconsequential facts (6)
TRIVIA – short test (TRIA)l around four (IV).
18 The setter and martial arts star brawl (5)
MELEE – the setter (ME), martial arts star Bruce (LEE)
19 Shock as attacked by insect? Not good! (4)
STUN – attacked by an insect (STUN)g without good – g.


69 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2246 by Hawthorn”

  1. This took me 12 minutes too, finishing with MAKE GOOD TIME (not sure if 12 minutes qualifies as a good time).

  2. I biffed GREAT-NIECE. An MER at 9ac: An MA is not a student–unless he’s working on a doctorate–but an ex-student. 5:41.

    1. A student is someone following a course of study. An M.A. is a degree course (I agree postgrad usually), so the clue works I think.

      1. A student is someone following a course; an MA is a course; therefore a student is an MA? I’m afraid I don’t follow.

        1. MA student… perhaps the clue isn’t precise enough, but I didn’t follow your ex-student point.

          1. It’s not a matter of imprecision. In the clue, ‘a’ clues A, ‘doctor’ clues DR, and ‘student’ clues MA, as Chris indicates. But as an Iranian student of mine was fond of saying, that’s exactly wrong: an MA is a degree, or the holder of a degree. But if Max has an MA, that means he’s finished the MA course, and hence is no longer a student.

            1. I agree with Kevin. An MA is the degree AND a graduate holding that qualification, who is no longer an MA student, having qualified. Unless, as Kevin states originally, he/she has moved on to study, usually for a Doctorate. I similarly raised my eyebrows at the use of MA for student.

            2. I also had a MER at MA for student. I tried in vain to make it work as a student after (studying for) a doctorate, but the clue says “following” anyway, which doesn’t work and I you don’t need a masters to study for a PhD, in this country at least.

          2. This one cost me time to think about and I agree with those who give this a MER. If you hold an MA you are no longer studying for it and therefore not a student. The clue would more properly have read ‘A graduate following doctor in emotive situation’.

  3. Yet another 12 minute solver. Like blogger really enjoyed CLOTHES PEG and SALUTE . Enjoy your grandson time!

    1. Everyone seems to be taking 12 minutes. May I join the throng? I took 12 minutes over my penultimate pair of clues, and a further 12 minutes over my last two.

      1. Welcome to the prestigious 12 minute club -even though you certainly took a very creative way of getting there!

  4. Another 14 minute solve, so that’s every QC target missed since Monday of last week. Once again I was unable to find early easy pickings so it was a while before any sort of flow was achieved.

    Major ER at ‘student = MA’, as already picked up by Kevin.

    I have a GREAT-NIECE, so no problem with that, but I was surprised when checking dictionaries re the discussion above to find that according to Collins I am not only a ‘great-uncle’ but a ‘granduncle’ with no hyphen even optional. It looks mighty odd to me!

  5. Not the first to find it hard but the first in the club. Ran into trouble with HOAX, where I got hung up on ‘heat’ which is cheat without the first letter and could mean fraud but didn’t parse, and CLOTHES PEG where ‘crochet’ fitted the first word checkers. MAKE GOOD TIME took a long time too – finally wrote the letters out and seeing it horizontally was all it took! Liked CATNIP. Tough, all green, enjoyed in retrospect.

    1. I had the same problem with Heat and once that was in my head could not move on. A very clever mis-direction.

  6. I wonder if EL DORADO was gettable from thr wordplay. Looks so tricky.

    Salute was hard for me too. I loved Clothes Peg.

    1. Tina’s back in town!

      I liked CLOTHES-PEG too – such a good misdirection.

      21mins to have SALUTE and STURGEON left – took another 10mins or so from there. The NE was slow to fall.

      Was trying to put GRand-NIECE after thinking it was Mediterranean for too long even though I knew there was no country, eventually got there from thinking about Gran(d) Canaria.

      None of it felt easy other than REAPPEAR which went straight in after a clue in the book yesterday about “come back again to harvest fruit” 😀

  7. Took me 25 minutes to work my way through this all parsed.
    LOI: GREAT-NIECE where I was looking for a young relative and an anagram of ‘I tan’ for a Mediterranean Island until the checking letters put me in the right direction.
    Favourites: CLOTHES PEG, I do like a full CD also CATNIP and ON CUE.

  8. 7’27” with CAPTOR and CHLOE the last to tumble. This felt like a tough puzzle so I was delighted to get through it relatively swiftly (for me).

    I was very pleased to see CLOTHES PEG (my COD) straight away and after that I bounced around the grid.

    I’ve never really thought about the exact definitions but BA and MA work for me as ‘student’ clues although Kevin is right that to have achieved either qualification the person will have finished their relevant studies…so perhaps technically the reference needs to be ‘ex-student’. Neither will generate MERs for me going forward, however.

    Thanks Hawthorn and Chris

  9. Steady going with no significant hold ups. Started with CRASH and CLOTHES PEG and finished with SALUTE, with an almost top to bottom solve in between.
    CHLOE proved tricky to put together despite the wordplay being clear and my favourite was CATNIP.
    Crossed the line in 8.04, with an unparsed EL DORADO as I forgot to go back to it.
    Thanks to Chris and enjoy your time with your grandson.

  10. Took a wrong turn doing the school run for our Ukrainian guests. Route to the station was then closed. Didn’t realise the 08:31 had been switched to platform 1. The kiosk had sold out of newspapers. The next two trains were cancelled; the third delayed by 11 minutes. Failed to type the G in CLOTHES PEG. Hit “submit” just as my brain was registering the message “your puzzle is 99% complete”.

    I am not having a good day.

    Many thanks Hawthorn and Chris.


  11. I think I just escaped the SCC but can’t be sure after a lengthy interruption. Whatever my real time was, I was well over target, so well beaten by Hawthorn. I really liked some of the clues, and enjoyed the puzzle and the ‘so long’ blog from Chris. Enjoy your time with your Grandsprog, and we’ll look forward to your return later next month.

  12. I always find Hawthorn a bit hard to handle (too prickly perhaps), but maybe I was just being a bit slow this morning. Like Kevin, I had a MER at MA for student. LOI CLOTHES PEG which I should have got sooner as I think I’ve seen it before. COD to STUN. Thanks Hawthorn and Chris. 6:07.

  13. Add me to the MERs for student = MA. I also struggled to see where the A in CATNIP came from and thought there was a mistake in the clue. I don’t recall pinta as a word. Having said that, I really liked the clue device for REAPPEAR although my COD goes to my penultimate solve CLOTHES PEG. My LOI was the OBSTACLE part of the race. 9:22

  14. I agree that MA is wrong. IMO if you make good time you might be early or punctual but not necessarily early. Don’t like girl for a forename but otherwise some good stuff thanks all

  15. After the excellence of 1A, I felt this went increasingly downhill. I concur with Kevin and others as regards ‘MA = student’, I biffed GREAT-NIECE, and almost entered ‘have good time’ before stopping to think further. To my mind, you MAKE GOOD TIME during a journey, not when you arrive.

    TIME 4:17

  16. A steady 24mins solve, with just the last two or three, staring at H*a* before Hoax finally came to mind, taking the edge off an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I think Hawthorn is another nom de plume used by our editor, so this just goes to show what he can produce when not encumbered with a nina. Several CoD candidates, with 4d, Salute, getting the nod. Invariant

    1. Hey Invariant – I think Hawthorn is David Parfitt, the previous puzzles editor. That may be why we’re seeing a bit more of him these days 😊

  17. I thought this a very pleasing QC which I managed to finish in 11 minutes . Some excellent clues, although I agree with the comments about MA; I was going too quickly to worry about it at the time.
    I might have been under 10 minutes but I had to go back to LOI DROOP to confirm parsing; and
    CATNIP before that, an excellent clue, required some time from me.

  18. Cap for eclipse? As in “he capped a win eclipsing Whoever”? A bit of a stretch. If I’d worked out Chloe I would have biffed it immediately.

  19. Enjoyable. Lots of biffing but got there. Agree about MA. Liked CLOTHES PEG, DROOP, VITRIOL, SALUTE, among others. FOI CRASH, LOI CHLOE (despite a close family one).
    Thanks for much needed blog, Chris.

  20. The MA debate didn’t occur to me at the time but I think I fall into the MER camp.

    That said I found this an enjoyable puzzle but I had to biff CHLOE (obvious when I read the blog) and DROOP, which I would never have parsed anyway.

    I really liked CLOTHES PEG. A very witty clue, I thought.

    Around 14 minutes (I always solve on a printed copy over breakfast and use the kitchen clock as my timer!).

  21. Only managed to answer perhaps two-thirds of the puzzle.

    I feel that “MA” for student was a poor effort on the part of the setter.

    My cat was actually playing with his catnip mouse when I read 7d. Perhaps he was trying to give me a hint?

    1. I’d go further than ‘poor effort’ re MA for student and say it was an error that the editor should have picked up.

      Edit: Oh dear, I just realised the setter used to be the Puzzles Editor!

  22. 19 mins so crept under target today. very enjoyable. Lots to like, COD to REAPPEAR but MER to the use of MA in 9a which should have used ‘graduate’ instead of ‘student’.
    Can someone explain the purpose of ‘for guests’ in the clue for 6d?

    1. I made several attempts but abandoned them all as the imagined scenarios became too complicated! Not the best of clues.

    2. I think it’s
      suggesting that giving your guests a good time would mean they weren’t disappointed. So “good time” refers to both going fast and also enjoyment.

  23. 18 mins…but a dnf as I put “Have Good Time” for 6dn, which felt clunky as I wrote it (so I probably should have known). If I’d pursued it a bit more I may have got to “Make”.

    I enjoyed this though – thought there were some good clues. I even didn’t mind 13ac “Chloe”.

    FOI – 1dn “Crash”
    LOI – 6dn (but wrong)
    COD – 1ac “Clothes Peg”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Hard, hard, hard!
    I finished in 53 minutes, which is rather slow for me these days, but I had real trouble with my last half-dozen clues – CLOTHES PEG, OBSTACLE RACE, SALUTE, HOAX, STURGEON and MAKE GOOD TIME. I was resigned to not finishing, but perseverance paid off in the end.

    No time today from Mrs Random, as she has gone down with a lurgy. Not Covid, but still quite debilitating. I must get back to my caring duties.

    Many thanks to Hawthorn and Chris.

    1. At least you got there in the end Mr RC. I don’t think it was too straightforward at all today but some nice clues.

      I’m pleased to see the Cherries have solidified their form after the August/Sept uncertainty.

      1. All the predictions I read before the season started had AFCB in 22nd place at the end of the season. That may yet happen, but they’re proving hard to beat at the moment. I see tomorrow’s match at home to Southampton as a 6-pointer, even at this early stage of the season.

    2. Well done for persevering Mr R. I was like that last week, when everything seemed hard.

      I hope Mrs R is soon back on form.

  25. I found this a rather odd QC. I was slow to start and only came back to 1a near the end when I smiled at the neat misdirection. Good misdirection too in 22a which had me desperately looking for a Med country. D’oh! I share the serious doubts about MA as ‘a student’. I thought HOAX was tricky and there were a few other trip wires for me to avoid.
    Perhaps I was distracted too much by our Granddaughter who demanded a lot of attention. Perhaps I can blame her for entering HAVE instead of MAKE in my desperation to complete 6d? So, a slow solve (towards 20 mins but no accurate time) and a dnf.
    Thanks both.

  26. An enjoyable puzzle, which took me 11 minutes, though without parsing El Dorado at all, put in from checkers. That apart, mostly very addressable though LOI Captor needed all the checkers and then some thought – not entirely sure I see why once the penny dropped though.

    COD to Clothes Peg, which raised a real smile when I saw it.

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog, and have a good time in the States

  27. Can someone help me see what ‘and’ is doing in 22A? Thanks so much.
    Enjoyed clothes peg but 5D was too complicated for me!

    1. “and” is doing nothing more than smooth the surface as far as I can see.

      Does explain why when I’d biffed grAND nIece, I could almost but not quite parse it and had to rethink.

  28. No particular problems. Glossed over DRAMA. Liked FOI, CLOTHES PEG. Finished with SALUTE. 8:04. Thanks Hawthorne and Chris.

  29. 15 mins, took ages on make good time.
    Didn’t like that clue or pinta, but apart from those 2, it was a good puzzle.

    COD clothes peg.

  30. Started well but gradually became slower and slower, eventually crossing the line in 20 mins. Never managed to parse EL DORADO but saw everything else. Some very enjoyable clues despite the reservations about MA in 9ac (I was going well at that stage so it only registered the merest twitch of an eyebrow).

    FOI – 8ac ARSENAL
    LOI – 11ac STURGEON
    COD – I ticked 4 clues as candidates today but I have to give it to 7dn CATNIP which I really enjoyed. The runners-up were 1ac CLOTHES PEG, 8ac ARSENAL and 16ac PERSPIRE

  31. An enjoyable five days away sampling the delights of Durham and York, and as a result no crosswords during that time. I finished this one in 10.48 thinking I might have been a bit rusty, but looking at some of the completion times I think I was on better form than I thought. A tough one indeed but as usual with Hawthorn very enjoyable. Particularly liked CLOTHES PEG and OBSTACLE RACE.

  32. A very long 29 mins today with lots of time spent unravelling EL DORADO, CLOTHES PEG (had thought it was something to do with an unknown fishing rod safety catch 🤣) and CATNIP. No problem with Pinta if you’re a certain age…. Liked MELEE and VITRIOL. Tough but enjoyable. Many thanks blogger and setter.

  33. 18:32

    Held up by LOI Chloe.

    I agree with all the remarks that MA should have been called “graduate” rather than “student.” In Cambridge, where a BA magically converts into an MA three and a bit years after graduating, the system ensures that most PhD students do not have MA status.

  34. Bit slow, being a dunce I missed the MA kerfuffle by not thinking about it. I agree with everyone else though.

    I liked CLOTHES PEG very much once I’d finally got it.

    I’m in a bit of a bad spell again. I think all caused by a PB on the main puzzle last Monday, though I did OK there again yesterday.


  35. Hey, Chris, you’ve got “Crytpic” in your headline.
    I waited and waited to see if anyone else would mention…

    1. Interesting group-word-blindness -but I completely understand as I missed it too! Thanks for pointing it out.

  36. Really not hung up over the 9a MER issue. FWIW My own M.Phil opportunity back in the 1960’s evaporated when they decided they could get x2 students through a one-year M.Sc by examination than me over 2 years by dissertation – and with some dubious legitimacy achieved by an exam ‘standard’. So I think that undertaking an M.Sc would imply following taught subject matter and that would have legitimised ‘students’, and that M.A and M.Phil is splitting hairs for crossword land… How different my life would have been! Re 6D – I think Made might be as good as answer as Make…?
    FOI 8a Arsenal
    LOI 5D El Dorado – obvious with the opening E
    COD has to be 1a Clothes Peg – really good misdirection.

    1. I think the clue would be “arriveD early …” if they wanted the made version.

      Just my twopenneth 🙂

  37. I didn’t have any issue with MA, but will happily defer to those of you with far greater experience. I was on for a decent time, but took a few minutes at the end over 13dn. Initially thought one apprehending was ‘cop’ and it took a while for the penny to drop.

    Overall somewhere around the 25-30 min mark. I was perfectly happy with this.

    Thanks as always for the excellent blog Chris and best wishes for your forthcoming family duties.

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