QC 1225 by Teazel

I am still not following the quickie on a daily basis, so I don’t know the current state of the debate on how difficult people are finding the puzzles at present. All I can say is that having gone through this without any problems I think we are back to a level at which the most inexperienced of solvers can dive in without any fear of sharks. Or jellyfish. Or even man-eating mackerel and manatees.

Many thanks to Teazel for some very entertaining clues. As I say, I didn’t find anything very difficult about them so my COD is chosen more on pleasing narrative surface than tricksiness. There were two or three contenders for the crown but in the end I went for the clever cryptic definition at 3D. FOI was 1A as expected in a puzzle of this level of difficulty, and LOI was, also appropriately, 17D simply because it was the last clue that I read, having completed all the others before getting to it.

Last time the blog fell to me two weeks ago I failed to spot (well, in fact didn’t even look for, such is my level of blogging experience) Felix’s clever theme based on the execution of the Magna Carta in 1215 (the number of the puzzle). This was ultimately pointed out by an anonymous contributor and I think jackkt [no – it was vinyl1 – see comments] said that it was a pity he had commented relatively late in the day as it meant that most people would not notice the extra twist to the puzzle. So I thought the least I could do would be to give it a mention here so that anybody who is interested can go back and take a look. (This time I did step back from the grid after solving number 1225 and had a quick look for any extra subtleties in the form of Ninas, themes or numerical significance, and could see none.)

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I have at my command.

1 Jerkiest sort of water sportsman? (3,5)
JET SKIER – anagram (‘sort of’) of JERKIEST.
5 Musical work starting off piano, ultimately strident (4)
OPUS – initial letters (‘starting’) of Off Piano Ultimately Strident.
8 Accepting pound, deliver ointment (5)
SALVE – SAVE (deliver, as in “deliver us from evil”) ‘accepting’ L (pound).
9 Spend a long time in corridor (7)
PASSAGE – PASS (spend) + AGE (a long time).
11 Minor go-cart crashing in speedy competition (5-6)
MOTOR-RACING – anagram (‘crashing’) of MINOR GO CART.
13 Kingdoms concerned with charity (6)
REALMS – RE (concerned with) + ALMS (charity).
14 Grail oddly found on mountain in area of Asia (6)
BENGAL – BEN (mountain, as in Ben Nevis) + the odd letters of GrAiL
16 Pulverised stump: is it level with the garden? (6,5)
GROUND FLOOR – what I call a one and two halves definition. GROUND (pulverised) + STUMP (floor, as in ‘I was stumped/floored by that clue’) gives the floor of a building that is level with the garden.
18 Deed you say was worrying? Get going (7)
ACTUATE – ACT (deed) + U (sounds like you, therefore ‘you say’) + ATE (was worrying, as in ‘my inability to finish the crossword really ATE at me’).
19 A devil or two (5)
DEUCE – double definition. DEUCE as in the two of a suit of cards, or the lowest possible score when rollling a pair of dice, and also as in the mild oath used when superstitiously afraid of calling the Devil by name, as in “where the DEUCE/DEVIL did he go to?”. It is suggested that the usage came from the fact that two was the lowest score in both gaming instances above, and therefore represented bad luck which in turn could be seen as the work of the Devil. When researching the background for this comment I also found a suggestion that there was a connection between ‘deuce’ and ‘deus’ (Latin for ‘god’). I found this very interesting but I must admit that the theological implications are beyond me.
20 Thanks, thanks, and goodbye (2-2)
TA-TA – do you really need an explanation? (But I suppose I am here to explain so I should be conscientious. ‘Ta’ is a colloquial contraction for ‘thank you’, particularly in Scotland where my family hails from originally.)
21 Moving to fridge or bin (3,3,2)
GET RID OF – anagram (‘moving’) of TO FRIDGE.
1 It’s only fair (4)
JUST – double definition.
2 Please confide: I’ve had that problem too (4,2,5,2)
TELL ME ABOUT IT – double definition again.
3 Inability to stop taking offence (11)
KLEPTOMANIA – cryptic definition. A ‘taking offence’ could be stealing. And an inability to stop stealing is KLEPTOMANIA.
4 Send abroad from old harbour (6)
EXPORT – EX (old) + PORT (harbour).
6 Enjoying golf, cheating on partner (7,6)
PLAYING AROUND – if you are enjoying golf, you might be PLAYING A ROUND, although as a player myself I might object that just PLAYING A ROUND is not necessarily synonymous with enjoyment! What was Mark Twain said? A good walk spoiled? (Well apparently he didn’t actually say that and it’s just one of those amazingly common misattributions. That’s one of the things I love about crosswords. You’re always picking up incidental snippets like that. Oh, and by the way, I would never make the objection above in reality, because I always do enjoy my round of golf, however badly I may play!).
7 Evil hypnotist’s son leaving to reform (8)
SVENGALI – S (son) + anagram of LEAVING (‘to reform’). The original SVENGALI is an evil hypnotist character in the novel Trilby by George du Maurier.
10 One carrying section of plough is part-owner of company (11)
SHAREHOLDER – a lovely mental image. Part of a plough is a SHARE (as in the book of Isaiah: “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks”), so if you ‘carry a section of a plough’ you might be a SHAREHOLDER.
12 Expecting initially positive ruling (8)
PREGNANT – P (initial letter of Positive) + REGNANT (ruling).
15 Exhausted, using energy on fine charity event (6)
EFFETE – E (energy) + F (fine) + FETE (charity event).
17 Charge raised to support British meat (4)
BEEF – FEE written backwards (i.e. ‘raised’ in this down clue) ‘supporting’ B (British).

38 comments on “QC 1225 by Teazel”

  1. 6 minutes for this one, so nearly as fast as things ever get for me as I have achieved 5 minutes – my fastest solve – only twice since QCs began 4.5 years ago. We had TA-RA for ‘goodbye’ less than a week ago in the main puzzle but as the 3rd letter is checked today there was no possibility of mistaking the answer required.

    It was vinyl1, not me, who remarked on the lateness of comment about the Magna Carta puzzle.

    Edited at 2018-11-19 08:11 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks. Good point about the checker, but even without this I think it is unambiguous given that the cryptic gives us a double ‘thanks’.

      Thanks also for correcting the comment attribution!

  2. I think the only thing that slowed me down was 10d, where I dithered between SHAREHOLDER & STAKEHOLDER, since I didn’t know the parts of a plough (ODE simply says ‘share’ is short for ‘ploughshare’); Isaiah to the rescue. 4:48.
  3. I took a little while to get going with only a handful of across answers on a first pass, but no hold ups after that. I liked MOTOR RACING but my COD is DEUCE. 5:38
  4. Let me be the first of the slowcoaches at 16.35. Nice puzzle. I biffed a couple and convinced myself later that my parsing was OK but I was grateful for Astartedon’s confirmation. Actuate and Deuce didn’t exactly drop out for me and I had not realised that effete could mean exhausted until I looked it up. LOI Ground floor and COD Kleptomania – I liked that. John M.

    Edited at 2018-11-19 09:45 am (UTC)

    1. I like the idea of a ‘slowcoach’ group. I’d like to join. Considering myself reasonably competent, I feel somewhat overawed by the Formula 1 brigade, having never broken the 10 minute mark and averaging around 15 to 20 mpc. Slow off the blocks today with 25.44 but that involved a pit stop and getting held up by actuate as a backmarker.
      1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the ‘whiz kids’ can be more than dispiriting sometimes… I have broken 10 mins occasionally in my time doing the QC. I have done them all but I don’t seem to break the 15 min barrier very often these days. I think I have a pretty logical mind but I know that I don’t have the ability to recall previous usage and clues that the speedy solvers clearly possess. I could never manage Bridge – I have a ‘wipe-clean’ memory of cards played and was always awed by those who could remember hands after a game had finished.
        I no longer feel any embarrassment about my times and wish that everyone would post theirs to restore a sense of normality for ‘slowcoaches’ like me. John M.
        P.s. Yes, Actuate was a b****r wasn’t it?
        1. My reply came up as ‘anonymous’ for some reason – perhaps the system doesn’t like words that need asterisks and logged me off. John M.
          1. … regularly, 20 mins for me, but quite content with that too.
            similar today, not sure I can write as quick as others or recall …
            ACTUATE did for me too.
  5. A good puzzle again for which thanks! Kleptomania has to be my clue of the month so far. However I don’t buy actuate at all – well I accept the answer and understand the explanation but, honestly, when did anyone ever hear anyone say ” it ate at me” – ???
  6. I am still so in awe at the amazingly fast times the regular solvers achieve but I am modestly proud (is it possible to be both? ) that I finished today’s puzzle in 15 minutes. Great clues all round but, like other commentators here, I, too, think that 3 down “kleptomania ” is brilliant! My LOI was 18 across but I read it – said it? – as “act you (h)ate”. I can see that “ate” to mean “worrying ” is better but that didn’t occur to me until I read the blog – for which, many thanks as always. Many thanks, too, to Teazel for putting a smile on my face on this winter Monday.
  7. ….is a “Baader Meinhoff” moment for me (see recent posts in the 15 x 15 blog). Just a few minutes before tackling this, my partner and I had discussed what we were going to bin from our fridge/freezer stock before we have the new one delivered tomorrow.

    Modesty forbids that I post my time for this nicely presented but straightforward puzzle. Enjoyed JET SKIER for the picture it created, and KLEPTOMANIA for its excellent surface.

  8. A pleasant puzzle to start the week. I was off to a fair start with 1d, picked up the pace with my jet skis, and almost ground to a halt when I failed to actuate my LOI for a brief moment, but managed to steal a PB at 4:44. Thanks Teazel and Don.
  9. Momentarily thrown by 15d as I hadn’t come across that definition of EFFETE before. Otherwise something of a write in.

    I seem to spend half my life explaining to American tourists the difference between a Queen Regnant and a Queen Consort (I’m a tour guide, other brands of tourist are also available) so 12d is my COD.

    Thanks as always to setter and blogger.

  10. I agree that the term ‘ate’ meaning ‘worried’ is not one I have ever heard. My interpretation was ‘You wait!’ which implies worry, but the past tense in the clue maybe rules this out.
  11. Early start for me so a rare solve on paper. Completed in a car park eating supermarket sandwiches – didn’t time it but wIth no huge holdups I reckon I’d be safely in the slowcoaches pack.
    Mendesest (neither me nor my phone know my password)
  12. Just my comment on the ATE (or EAT) thing. I agree that it is not the most elegant of crossword conventions, but it is one of those shorthands that you just ‘get to know’ particularly when doing the 15 x 15. Anyone who does the normal cryptic regularly will see a clue with ‘worry’ in it and EAT and its parts will start popping into their heads as possibilities.
  13. Finished in 2.5 Kevins which I think can only rate as a Decent Day on this one. Really enjoyable puzzle, thank you Teazel. Managed to miss the anagram in 1ac in first pass and chortled when I saw it second time round, but COD to the marvellous KLEPTOMANIA from me.

    On “ate” (in response to gcook), one could say “it ate away at him” so I think it’s ok. “It ate away at Templar that he was so much slower than Kevin” (it doesn’t!).

    Thanks for the blog, Don.


  14. I won’t carp because it was a good puzzle but the justifications for ate don’t persuade me – for a quickie it was unnecessary – I’ll shut up now 🙂
  15. Of course, if you want to recycle your ploughshares, you can take the advice from Joel 3:10 and beat them back into swords !
  16. Just under 10 minutes to complete with LOI 18a ACTUATE. My Penultimate solve was 15d EFFETE which I tentatively put in from the wordplay as it is not a word I ordinarily use. I couldn’t parse 10d SHAREHOLDER but fortunately, unlike Kevin, I couldn’t think what else it could be. Thank you Teazel and astartedon.
  17. As a militant beginner, I liked this one. Done in well under 10 Kevins, so very good for me.

    What’s slower than the slow-coach brigade?

  18. Reminded me of a Two Ronnies gag

    I can’t post the link so google The Castaway on YouTube


  19. I started using the calendar for my times and now aim to creep under 10 minutes. Today I was two Kevin’s (at 8:15) and oldblighter was two of me – so I’m not sure which group I’m in. Be not overawed or dispirited by end results – the journey is there to be enjoyed.
    1. That was me – I was logged out – not by some glitch but because I’ve been having problems with pop ups and cleared the history/data.
  20. Thought I was on for a very fast time today but LOI ACTUATE took as long as the rest of the puzzle combined so eventually crossed the line in a frustrated 14.36. With lots of Teazel’s usual wit there was a number to choose from for CoD but mine goes to 11a.
    Thanks for the blog
  21. Never seen the movie, but it’s a great example of eat = worry

    5 minutes, no worries here

    Edited at 2018-11-19 08:50 pm (UTC)

    1. I have seen it and have it on DVD as it was given away free with a newspaper. Not normally my sort of film, but it is great with a superb performance from Leonardo DiCaprio aged only 19 at the time of release.
  22. Must have been just me but I found this difficult.
    Over an hour and didn’t get actuate or effete.
  23. Incredibly late post as I tend to save them up as a backlog so rarely do them on the day they are printed.

    I normally work through these more slowly with my wife, but having the opportunity to do one myself today I thought I’d time it, as I never normally think/care about the time taken.

    Am in awe of some of the times posted here every day. I felt like I barely paused on this one, save for returns to ACTUATE and DEUCE but still clocked 9 minutes. How some of you do these in sub-5 minutes is beyond me. I could barely copy the letters in that quickly!


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