QC 1985 by Tracy

A highly enjoyable puzzle from Tracy. I think I got as far down as 9A before my FOI went in.

As to my LOI and COD, in one of his restaurant review columns a couple of years back Giles Coren praised a particular restaurant (which has since become a firm favourite of my wife and me) for its chips. As I remember it, and don’t quote me, he said something like “Oh. My. Days. The chips. The chips, my friend, were the dish of the year. Dish of the decade. Dish of the effing century.” Well yes. Poetic hyperbole perhaps, but he was right. The chips were and are very good indeed.

And that is sort of how I feel about 3D. Not so much of the hyperbole perhaps. It’s not the clue of the century. Nor even the decade. Nor even the week when you take into account 15×15 clues. But I will go so far as to say that it was my LOI and my COD and also my COMHIB (Clue Of My History In Blogging). That is to say I don’t think I have blogged a better clue since I started this gig. Topical, witty and misdirecting and yet the device is a very simple cryptic definition. I loved it.

So many thanks to Tracy for that. But I think I did comment the other week that today’s brilliant clue is often tomorrow’s chestnut, as there is no way anybody will be able to spring that device on me a second time. And of course it may already be a chestnut. It may well have been done before and I have just never seen it before. Maybe it was a write-in for many of you because you have seen it before. I don’t know but no doubt I will find out from the comments.

Anyway, be that as it may. Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

1 Singer‘s money runs out (4)
BASS – BrASS (money) with R (runs) ‘out’.
4 Manage ably for so long (8)
FAREWELL – FARE (manage) + WELL (ably).
8 Reorganisation of NATO unlikely, so don’t mention it (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – NOT A (anagram of NATO (‘reorganisation’)) + T ALL (TALL = unlikely, as in a TALL story)
9 Measure some chinchillas (4)
INCH – hidden word: ‘some’ chINCHillas.
10 Incredibly remote shooting star (6)
METEOR – straight anagram (‘incredibly’) of REMOTE.
11 Within easy reach of a labourer saving time (2,4)
AT HAND – A HAND (a labourer) ‘saving’ T (time).
12 Game dart players may play constantly? (5,3,5)
ROUND THE CLOCK – double definition. Round The Clock is a game where players aim to get darts into the numbered sections of the dartboard sequentially, as in 1, 2, 3… 20. Getting a double or a treble on a particular number enables you to jump that many spaces to the next number. So a treble on 10 for example would allow you to shoot for 13 on the next throw.
16 Call for English translation of Latin (6)
ENTAIL – E (English) + NTAIL (anagram (‘translation’) of LATIN).
17 Really popular female performance (2,4)
IN FACT – IN (popular) + F (female) + ACT (performance).
19 Bond actor picked up extra (4)
MORE – Sounds like MOORE. Well it does if you don’t pronounce it MORE. Roger Moore was the third actor to play Bond after Sean Connery and George Lazenby (who only lasted the one film, OHMSS.).
20 Pithy joke about European passenger ship (3-5)
ONE-LINER – ON (about) + E (European) + LINER (passenger ship). The following example completely cracked my niece up recently. She just couldn’t stop laughing when I told her that I once told my wife that she painted her eyebrows too high, and she just looked surprised.
21 Completely happy English composer? Almost completely (8)
BLISSFUL – BLISS (English composer) + FULl (‘almost’ FULL (completely)).
22 Hollywood star disposing of old clothes (4)
GARB – GARBo (Hollywood star, Greta Garbo, ‘disposing of’ O (old)).
2 A sub, reportedly unescorted (5)
ALONE – sounds like (‘reportedly’) A LOAN (a sub).
3 People not social distancing in game? (5,8)
SPACE INVADERS – cryptic definition.
4 Natural ability shown by learner in market (5)
FLAIR – L (learner) ‘in’ FAIR (market).
5 Issue on subject of tenancy (7)
RELEASE – RE (on) + LEASE (subject of tenancy).
6 Women’s rowing crew taking up sport (13)
WEIGHTLIFTING – W (women’s) + EIGHT (rowing crew) + LIFTING (taking up).
7 Saying few words, the French Commander-in-Chief holding on (7)
LACONIC – LA (feminine French definite article) + CIC (Commander-in-Chief) ‘holding’ ON.
10 Spoil mother rotten, initially (3)
MAR – MA (mother) + Rotten ‘initially’.
13 Personal objective in move that backfired? (3,4)
OWN GOAL – double cryptic definition.
14 Some attending banquet old official scolded (4,3)
TOLD OFF – Hidden words: ‘some attending’ banqueT OLD OFFicial’.
15 Tackle satirical sketch taking off Society (3)
KITsKIT (satirical sketch ‘taking off’ S for society0.
17 Model and I hand out cards (5)
IDEAL – I + DEAL (hand out cards).
18 Fine the Parisian parked in vehicle (5)
CLEAR – LE (Parisian, i.e. French, masculine definite article) ‘parked in’ CAR (vehicle).

36 comments on “QC 1985 by Tracy”

  1. SPACE INVADERS my LOI too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before, so I don’t think it is a chestnut. I’m not sure “full” works for “completely”…wouldn’t that be “fully”. 11 minutes for me, which is not much less than my time for today’s 15×15 (which I would recommend for anyone here who wants to try the 15×15 on a day when it is not hard).
  2. 6 minutes. No delays. I agree with Paul that the 15×15 is certainly worth a try for those looking to graduate but it has some things that may not be familiar to all. If you are a relative beginner don’t go expecting a picnic in the park but if you are prepared to trust in fair wordplay you may well get through it.

    Edited at 2021-10-18 06:31 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for the tip. I managed the 15×15 in 30 mins today (a very good time for me) and enjoyed it. It had some nice twists but, as you say, confidence in the wordplay sorted out some chewy clues. John M.
  3. Thought I was going to have a relatively easy day as the top half largely went in with few problems, although 3D, excellent, held out for a while.
    The bottom section however slowed me down considerably. IDEAL and ONE LINER took far too long, as did MORE and BLISSFUL. About 30 mins after all that. Off to see how I fare with the 15×15 — I may be some time…
  4. Bang on wavelength today – with the exception of LOI SPACE INVADERS, which added a probably a minute and a half to my time of 6.07 – I got stuck on the first part being SNAKE.
    ROUND THE CLOCK brought back memories of blearily trying to focus on pub dartboards after a shandy or two too many. Never heard of the composer so BLISSFUL went in with fingers crossed.
    Too many good clues to pick a favourite but thanks to Tracy for an enjoyable start to the week and to astartedon for the blog.
  5. Could not see 19A More, could not work out how the clue worked at all and checkers of -O-E rule out an alphabet trawl (there are, I later discovered, over 100 possible words even excluding the dubious ones which would not make the Scrabble list). Will now remember that “picked up” is another way of indicating “sounds like”.

    That apart, a very nice puzzle which was going steadily. Right hand side went in first, and LHS took much longer; second LOI — well LOI for me — was 3D Space Invaders. A clever and topical clue, even if it took time to think of it as a game. Which in retrospect I concede it clearly is/was. (Did you know you can still find it online? Those after a real nostalgia hit can find it at freeinvaders.org).

    Many thanks to Don for the blog, and the week can only improve from here

  6. DNF

    Too difficult for me. I managed to answer 17 clues, two with aids, but the rest would not come to me.

    I did like the space invaders clue.

  7. I found this one of the “easiest” for some time and breezed through under 20 minutes. SPACE INVADERS went straight in to my satisfaction. Couldn’t parse NOT AT ALL but never mind (thks Astartedon). My COD and LOI WEIGHTLIFTING. For once I seemed to be on the right wavelength.
    All done waiting for early clinic appt. Now off to start my week’s work and usual stress.
    Have a good week everyone. Thanks Tracy
  8. BASS and SPACE INVADERS, which took 6 mins or so out by 3 mins and change.

    For some reason, I couldn’t think of a 4 letter singer (except ALTO) or an appropriate synonym for money from which to drop an R, but once I did, SPACE INVADERS went in fairly quickly and was my COD when the penny finally dropped.


  9. 8:27, about as fast as it goes. No real alarms, liked SPACE INVADERS for a 1970s phrase re-worked for today.

    Old Bliss again, never heard of him outside of his regular crossword appearances.

    Was very please to get LOI MORE which had the look of one of those clues that are very hard. Very common checkers, clue can be read in many ways.

    Now to try the 15×15. Update: 1 short at the 45 min mark. Towel duly thrown.

    Edited at 2021-10-18 12:31 pm (UTC)

  10. I enjoyed this. Most if the top half went in very quickly and I picked through the rest ending, like others above, with BASS, MORE, BLISSFUL and SPACE INVADERS. I had interruptions from deliveries but was within a minute of my target. Some very good clues. Now to go through Don’s excellent blog to re-visit the best ones. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-18 10:06 am (UTC)

  11. But enjoyed it otherwise. Quite quick until then. But wd younger people heard of Space Invaders?
    Thanks all, esp Don.
    By the way, re last week, I was watching a gritty 1900s French drama and incidentally one of the main characters read Alice in Wonderland to her child, so it was well known.
  12. Just about everything in around 20 minutes but 1ac and 3dn just wouldn’t come. Had to admit defeat after I hit my cut off time.

    Not sure why I struggled on 1ac — I think I couldn’t get “Cash” out of my head which didn’t help. Fair play to 3dn — not the kind of game I was thinking of but a great clue which now seems pretty obvious in hindsight.

    Often used to play “Round the Clock” with my brother on the dart board in our spare room. The circular pattern of dots in the plasterwork around it pretty much showed how good we were. Eventually my father invested in a large, rectangular piece of board so we could miss to our hearts content.

    FOI — 8ac “Not at all”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 3dn “Space Invaders”

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2021-10-18 09:16 am (UTC)

    1. My experience exactly. Thought Singer, money easy. Cash. But what about the runs? I had the same problem with 1ac and 3dn and the clock 10 minutes over target.
  13. ….for membership of the SCC if I turn in many performances like this one. I never really got into any sort of rhythm, and as I approached my 5 minute target I inexplicably hit a brick wall with BASS. That made my LOI hang around longer than it should have done — I knew the game, so no excuses. I shall now flex my muscles and try to do better on the 15×15.

    TIME 7:05

    1. Please feel free to join us in the SCC at any time. All welcome! However I suspect you are unlikely to be a regular visitor.
  14. LOI SPACE INVADERS after BASS. My time was 7 minutes and a bit before the last two.
    Finally 14:22 after a very long look for my last one in particular.
    No trouble with the rest and overall this seemed a well balanced puzzle. But there are so many games in Crosswordland, the last clue was very tough.
  15. A few seconds over 10 minutes, but would have been comfortably under that mark had my LTI (SPACE INVADERS and finally BLISSFUL) not held me up for nearly a minute. Otherwise, this was a breeze, and a great start to the week. Now I’ll take a look at the biggie after the recommendations above. Thanks both.
  16. A very satisfying crossword, all fairly clued. FOI not at all, not parsed though, just obvious from the anagram of NATO at the front. LOI bass, unparsed, just a singer that fit the holes in the grid. I dotted about the grid, going back to where I had checkers in place rather than go straight through, reverting to type. Fifteen minutes. Didn’t rate the more clue with the rest. Saw it and left it until late as it just didn’t really work for me. COD space invaders, LOL. This crossword left me with a feeling of a job well done. Thanks, Don, and Tracy.
  17. I saw SPACE INVADERS thanks to letters already in, but a really clever clue. Struggled a bit with BRASS and ENTAIL for some reason, but, after a slow start, the rest went in steadily. An enjoyable puzzle.
  18. A tricky start to the week, with hold ups all over the place, before limping over the line around the 28min mark. My last pair, Blissful and Space Invaders were responsible for a good chunk of that, mainly because I had biffed State (people) and so was looking for some obscure card game. A real pdm when it came, and a worthy CoD. Invariant
  19. Tricky in a few places and ended up defeating me where a biff went awry. LOI was BASS where I thought of it on sight and couldn’t parse. Brass has not come readily to mind before I think. NHO Bliss but if Merlin had met him before then I must have simply failed to get him to stick. But it was a hidden that was my downfall, I bunged in TELL OFF. On revisiting once the pink squares were there it couldn’t have been clearer. Rats. Better try to 15×15 given all the comments above. Not all green in 14, with big hold ups for SPACE INVADERS, BASS and BLISSFUL,
    1. Just to say that Sir Arthur Bliss was an English composer who was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music after the Second World War. He died in 1975. His compositions covered a wide range but the piece that comes to mind for me is actually the Suite ‘Things to Come’ composed for Alexander Korda’s film of the same name (written by Wells and based on his earlier book ‘The Shape of Things to Come’. The music is going round my head as I write this! John.
      Wikipedia has a good summary of his life and works.

      Edited at 2021-10-18 01:09 pm (UTC)

  20. Very nice start to the week. An enjoyable puzzle, with some great clues, which we completed in 12 minutes.

    COD: definitely SPACE INVADERS (we loved it too Don)

    Thanks to Tracy and especially to Don for your witty blog.

  21. I solved all but one of the clues in 6 mins with a biff at BLISSFUL. My LOI required two alphabet trawls before SPACE and then INVADERS came to mind in 8:25.
  22. I was going quite well until my last 3: 1ac, 3dn and 19ac. These took up far too long, extending my time to 19 minutes in all. Great puzzle though, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Tracy and to Astartedon for unravelling the ones which I didn’t stop to parse completely.

    FOI – 9ac INCH
    LOI – 19ac MORE
    COD – 3dn SPACE INVADERS, closely followed by 13dn OWN GOAL.

  23. Completed in 20m except for 1a and 3d. Bass we thought of but could not get the word play, and the space invaders escaped us completely.
  24. Quick one for me. Couldn’t see BASS immediately but rather than immediately moving on thought “Can’t be that many singers with four letters”.

    Liked SPACE INVADERS which sprung to mind once I had all the checkers for the first word

    Nice puzzle

    Thanks all

  25. The Curse of the LOI strikes again! Everything in and parsed in about 9 minutes, then I hit a brick wall with 3d, which took about 4 minutes to work out. It was worth it though – I’m glad I didn’t throw in the towel. Not quite COD for me though – it was too much like hard work 😅
    FOI Bass
    LOI Space invaders
    COD Not at all
    Many thanks Tracy and Don

    I did the 15×15 in about half an hour – there were a couple of unknowns, but as Jack says, the cluing was fair. Quite strange though – it’s 4.30 and there are fewer than 30 comments here, but more than 100 on the 15×15 blog. Where is everyone?

  26. I was on track to escape the SCC (a very rare occurrence for me) after 17 minutes and with only three clues to solve. Then the wheels came off, as MORE, BLISSFUL and SPACE INVADERS took me another half an hour! Yes, 30 minutes for just three clues!

    MORE took about 4 minutes, even though I saw the structure of the clue, and BLISSFUL took ages, partly because I had NHO the composer. However, SPACE INVADERS occupied most of my last half hour. I alphabet-trawled 28 different words to fit S_A_E, but none at all to fit _N_A_E_S. I almost gave up several times. Perhaps I should have — 30 minutes ago.

    Mrs R now only has to beat my 47 minutes — an easy target for her, I’m sure.

    Many thanks to Tracy and astartedon.

  27. If the SCC membership requires a time of 20 minutes, then I qualified by two seconds. No particular hold ups, just a steady solve. Good to see SPACE INVADERS making an appearance, but my COD goes to BASS. LOI BLISSFUL, WOD LACONIC. Thanks Tracy and Astartedon.
  28. Under21s avoid the SCC! Today I suffered from severe word blindness – l was looking for a sport at 3dn and not SPACE INVADERS my LOI & COD. Time: 15 earth minutes! Don’t Panic!

    FOI 10ac METEOR

    WOD 21 BLISSFUL, Sir Arthur!

  29. Held up by 3. Nearly had Elgarful for 21a, finally saw the light and got bass and loi/cod space invaders.

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