QC 2556 by Kenny

The paper is crammed with bigger, harder and more lucrative crosswords today,  I see a Bank Holiday Jumbo crossword plus Jumbo Sudoku in addition to Christmas Eve’s Jumbo General Knowledge Crossword and prize Jumbo Cryptic (wooden jigsaws to be won)

In this small, prizeless Quick Cryptic our setter, Kenny, has put a few gold coins in the Christmas Pudding. A couple of clues were unexpected and bright but easy to break your teeth on.

Merry Christmas to all our setters, solvers, bloggers and administrators.

Definitions underlined in bold , synonyms in (parentheses) (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, other wordplay in [square brackets] and deletions in {curly} brackets.

1 Ignore past appearance (8)
OVERLOOK – OVER (past) + LOOK (appearance)
5 Brought up some loaves maybe, as announced (4)
BRED – Homophone for BREAD (some loaves)
9 Place to stay following golf (5)
HOTEL – H for Hotel follows G for Golf in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

There are 50 potential clues of this type, I am sure setters have been tempted before but I can’t recall any.

10 By day, small boy gives shudder (7)
FRISSON – FRI (day) + S{mall} + SON (boy)

OED has “emotional thrill”, not sure a physiological shudder always accompanies a FRISSON.

11 So tactless in recording film in bank (12)
INDISCREETLY – IN + DISC (recording) + RELY (bank) containing ET (film)

“so” at the start is able to turn the adjective “tactless” into the needed adverb. I typed this in a post Christmas haze, I’ll post it in question form. How can “so tactless” become the adverb “indiscreetly”?

13 About to beat famous racehorse (3,3)
RED RUM – RE (about) + DRUM (to beat)

Red Rum won the Grand National three times, and came second twice. I saw him at Aintree in 1978. Eleven years after his death (in 1995), a survey found he remained the best-known horse in the UK (Black Beauty was number 2)

15 Entirely skint otologist? Not entirely (2,4)
IN TOTO – Hidden [not entirely] in skint otologist

A Latinism (still takes italics), which just means “in fullness”.

17 Ibis slithers all over the place in these lands (7,5)
BRITISH ISLES – (IBIS SLITHERS)* [all over the place]
20 Proceeds to place labels around family (7)
TAKINGS – TAGS (labels) contains KIN(family)
21 Old Greek colony with aliens on it, periodically returning (5)
IONIA – Reversed alternate letters of a{l}i{e}n{s} o{n} i{t}

Ionia was a region on the western coast of Turkey. Ephesus was the most famous city. I had a holiday there last year. Not to be confused with the Ionian sea (between Greece and Southern Italy)

22 Winter weather in south at present (4)
SNOW – S{outh} + NOW (at present)

Winter weather in the South so far this Christmas has been rain, as always. Why do Christmas cards never have puddles, umbrellas and kids in wellies?

23 Star, losing heart, takes terrible chance (8)
ASTERISK –  (TA{K}ES)* + RISK (chance)

A bit awkward, the instruction to lose heart, precedes “takes”, then the anagram indicator (terrible) follows it.

I first read it, “takes” and “terrible” lose their hearts, leaving their outside letters, leaving TS + TE. Close, but not right.

1 Pacific island with nothing, then a hospital and university (4)
OAHU – O(nothing) + A + H{opsital} + U{niversity}

The most populous Hawaiian island.

2 Avoid restaurants perhaps with unlimited seating? (3,2)
EAT IN – {s}EAT IN {g} [unlimited]
3 Small folk for whom plain suit ill tailored (12)

The little guys in Gulliver’s Travels.

4 As champagne no longer being kept perhaps in the workplace (6)
OFFICE – Cryptic def, champagne “Off ice” is not kept “on ice”.

The “perhaps” is doing a lot of work here.

6 Rice dish, so dry, covered in port! (7)
RISOTTO – SO + TT (= teetotaller, dry) surrounded by RIO (prt)

The OED has the first usage of TT for Teetotal as in Joyce’s Ulysses, which contains many strange and novel usages.

7 Initially not anybody could compose this Irish song (5,3)

A song set to the traditional Irish melody of “Londonderry Air” (words written by, gasp, an Englishman)

The anagram is indicated by “could compose”, not such an obvious anagram indicator, but chosen by the setter for a neat surface.

8 Early morning exhortation to Polish? (4,3,5)
RISE AND SHINE – Cryptic Definition, and a good one

Military usage meaning to get up, probably after Isaiah 60:1 ‘Arise, shine, for thy light is come’

12 Word of objection in attempts to make compliments (8)
TRIBUTES – TRIES (attempts) contains BUT (word of objection)
14 Kid, torn, resolved to make toast (5,2)
16 Good innkeepers producing spirits (6)
GHOSTS – G{ood} + HOSTS {innkeepers}
18 Some rotten nuisance: the result of “all work and no play”? (5)
ENNUI – Hidden in [some] rotten nuisance
19 Raise  flag (4)
JACK – Double def, and a tough one

JACK is the machine to raise heavy equipment, such as a car. The Flag on the back of a ship is called a JACK, hence Union Jack, the British flag.

We could start a long thread about the name of this flag. The name is what people actually call it. Which is the Union Jack.

41 comments on “QC 2556 by Kenny”

  1. 9:40. Yes , ASTERISK was hard to parse. He behaved so INDISCREETLY. He behaved so tactless? Surely he behaved so tactlessly. In other words I don’t follow how adding so makes tactless adverbial.

  2. It’s the first time I’ve spotted a puzzle’s theme! JACK, DANNY, GHOSTS, HOTEL, SNOW, and the giveaway: REDRUM. They almost had the title too, in rise and SHINE(ing).

    After a day of “all work and no play”, it’s great to be able to relax with a quick cryptic. Thanks Kenny and Merlin!

    1. Well spotted, I’ll add or flesh out a few things …

      “Overlook Hotel”

      The clue for Ennui references the “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” which Nicholson’s character types repeatedly while seeming to be engaged in writing the book he’s meant to be writing while working there as caretaker for the winter.

      Plus Jack is teetotal (TT from risotto) but then starts drinking again, I can’t remember precisely whether he “DRINKS TO” it with the barman.

      Re: the title – I seem to recall Scatman Crothers character (Halloran?) refers to Danny as having “the shine”

      Tangentially there’s scenes in the film where he’s interviewed in the OFFICE and a zoom into the model of the hedge maze where small people are walking around (LILLIPUTIANS).

      14:55 for me – enjoyed that today.

  3. I took ages on this one (got far and away the worst NITCH so far), and I don’t know why. What curryowen said about INDISCREETLY. 9:50.

  4. With rain stopping play in the MCG test match I turned my attention to the backlog of puzzles that accrued over Christmas. I knocked over yesterday’s in under seven minutes but this took me twice as long, and like Kevin I’m not sure why. Crossword overkill maybe, I also did yesterday’s 15×15 in under 20 before starting this. Same same re INDISCREETLY, otherwise an enjoyable puzzle from Kenny. I hope we all had a fine Christmas, best wishes to all.

  5. 19 minutes with a lot of time lost on parsing ASTERISK and then having to do an alphabet trawl to arrive at JACK which really should have been a write-in.

    I was on the lookout for a theme as Kenny is one of the names used by Richard Rogan who most frequently sets for us as Felix and almost without exception has something special up his sleeve. Sadly I didn’t spot it, despite The Shining being a favourite film. Thanks to Mishmash for revealing that one.

    I had to squint a bit to make INDISCREETLY work but eventually convinced myself along the lines explained by Merlin in his blog.

    The nit I might pick is ENNUI clued as ‘the result of all work and no play’. In the old saying that ‘makes Jack a dull boy’ but ‘ennui’ and being dull don’t equate directly in my mind.

  6. 11:02. Missed the theme but still enjoyed this. I didn’t notice the apparent part of speech mismatch for the def and INDISCREETLY but I’ve decided to let it pass. JACK didn’t come immediately to me either, even with the crossing K from the tricky ASTERISK in place.

    It was interesting to read about the origins of DANNY BOY and “Londonderry Air”. I thought Percy Grainger had been the one to put the words to the tune, but he apparently adapted the melody for wind ensemble several years after the song was first recorded.

    Thanks to Kenny and Jack

    1. Pretty much as above, one way or another, to take me into the club for a black coffee on the 29 minute mark. Thanks Merlin for decrypting ASTERISK and Kenny for the clever puzzle. Having foregone a turkey we face endless rounds of leftover prime rib beef sandwiches.

  7. Held up at the end by JACK and INDISCREETLY but other than that I found this a fairly gentle offering, starting with OVERLOOK and finishing in 7.02.
    Well done to Mishmash for spotting the theme which passed way over my head.
    Thanks to Merlin

  8. DNF INDISCREETLY. Couldn’t understand this one at all – same issue as others. A little slow to make sense of ASTERISK and JACK. Enjoyable. Thanks all.

  9. I had ASTERISK marked as a favourite along with EAT IN and TRIBUTES.
    INDISCREETLY from WP and like jackkt, I just convinced myself it worked also, slightly puzzled by ENNUI.

  10. A 7 minute romp, and almost therefore a rare sub 1K, but I cannot really claim it as I could not parse Indiscreetly at all. Only other slight hold-up was Asterisk; the -risk was clear but the Aste- needed a bit more thought through the somewhat convoluted surface. “Losing heart, takes terrible” the word order most natural is not. A missed opportunity to clue “heartless Astarte”, the Canaanite goddess of fertility and war?

    Many thanks Merlin for the blog

  11. DNF after 30 mins due to INDISCREETLY, even though I had all the checkers, but I try not to use aids.

    As for RED RUM, I got the the answer a different way, being MURDER (to beat) reversed (about). There was me thinking I was so clever, but completely missing the real parsing. Hey ho. 🤷‍♀️

    Happy Boxing Day! 🎄🤶❄️☃️

    1. Your parsing is very good. Not often a clue can have two cryptic parsings completely different. I think the RE+DRUM parsing just shades it, as likely Kenny would have clued something like “about to kill…”

        1. Given the “Shining” theme, I am 100% sure that your parsing is correct, Pi. In the film, Danny writes “REDRUM” on a door using his mother’s lipstick – she then sees it in a mirror as “murder”.

          And “murder” for “beat” is pretty standard sports parlance (eg David Lloyd’s notorious “We flippin murdered ‘em” comment after the Zimbabwe test in 1996).

  12. 13 minutes LOI INDISCREETLY and nothing to add to comments above which I agree with.
    Some excellent clues I thought including TRIBUTES.
    Missed the theme; enjoyed the puzzle.

  13. Thanks Merlin. I needed some clues explaining. Incidentally, the Jack is on the front of a ship; the ensign is at the stern.

  14. I forgot to look at who the setter was before doing the puzzle, but would’ve missed the theme anyway. FOI was OAHU. Didn’t parse INDISCREETLY or ASTERISK. JACK was LOI. 8:05. Thanks Kenny and Merlin.

  15. 29 mins…

    But far, far too long spent on 23ac “Asterisk” which punched my time out way beyond the 20 mins or so that I thought I was about to get.

    Clever “Shining” references which, for once, I did spot – especially after seeing “Red Rum”. Pity there wasn’t a reference to the creepy corridor twins or Nicholson’s classic line as he smashes the door with an axe.

    FOI – 1dn “Oahu”
    LOI – 19dn “Jack”
    COD – 23ac “Asterisk” – annoying, but clever.

    Thanks as usual!

  16. 13:27 (death of Elizabeth de Burgh, wife of Robert the Bruce)

    I did not worry too much over the parsing of ASTERISK – it was a star and it ended in a word meaning chance, so in it went. JACK required an alphabet trawl.

    Thanks Kenny and Merlin

  17. Sailed pretty easily through this until INDISCREETLY brought me to a full stop – and eventually a time of 20 seconds over 10 minutes. Had to pause at the end of Asterisk with asteroid in mind. Good fun. Thanks all.

  18. Thanks for the explanation for 23a ASTERISK, I could not fathom it out, and found 19d JACK impossible without the K.
    I don’t think I ever saw The Shining, so all that was lost on me.
    7d The director Danny Boyle said his father deliberately embarrassed him as a boy by singing loudly and in public “Danny Boyle….”

  19. A toughish one today I thought, and I was quite pleased to finish only just outside target at 10.34. Like Pi-curious I parsed REDRUM as murder reversed without a second thought. I got very few answers to clues on first reading them but I did pick up a bit of speed in the second half.

  20. 7:39

    Completely missed the theme that I wasn’t looking for. While I have seen the film, it’s not one of my favourites, having always thought that Jack Nicholson was vastly overrated in more or less everything he did… but I did enjoy this crossword even though I made hard work of INDISCREETLY with EAT IN and OVERLOOK being my L2I.

    Thanks Kenny and Merlin

  21. 5.34

    Fast one for me today – and pretty much all parsed though ASTERISK went in at the end from checkers and definition.

    DANNY BOY was good

    Thanks Merlin and Kenny

  22. I hope I wasn’t the only one who thought Wohu might be the unknown Pacific island until Overlook came along. . . After that inauspicious start, I hopped around the grid to build up crossers, thinking that the clues were decidedly odd in places, but still didn’t twig what was going on. I have no idea why the Editor has to use so many different pseudonyms given they all reflect his penchant for Ninas. Anyway, came to an abrupt halt after 20mins or so with Jack/Asterisk unresolved. Either would have given the other, but neither came to mind, so a DNF. Invariant

  23. Agree with Mike: I was disappointed by the film. No problem with ASTERISK or JACK (which we’ve had, with the same clue, fairly recently*), but failed to see INDISCREETLY. Some months ago I suggested a MER because a clue suggested an adjective but the answer was an adverb, and was put firmly in my place on the grounds that parts of speech are (apparently) allowed to be flexible. Ho hum! *29th August, same setter!

    1. I think ‘Means to raise. . .’ made it a bit easier, but the crowbar was needed. Hmm, either way, a dnf then as well.

    2. You know, I wouldn’t agree with this. I have always found it one of the features of The Times that the part of speech for the answer would always match that of the clue. That’s what I was taught by my father when I started this game 50 odd years ago and that is what I have always found.

      If that rule is being waived these days then I would consider it a disappointing decline in standards.

  24. 14.20 Mostly quick with half the time spent on the last few in: OFFICE, INDISCREETLY, ASTERISK, JACK and TRIBUTES. Thanks Merlin and Kenny.

  25. Finished quite quickly and enjoyed. LOI INDISCREETLY, yes, wondered about that one. Did not parse ASTERISK, just bunged it in.
    Have never watched The Shining and am not a fan of Jack Nicholson, but the puzzle seemed fun. Thought of ‘dull boy’ straight away so no problem with ENNUI. Also liked RED RUM, HOTEL, EAT IN.
    I only sing ‘In Derry Vale amid the Foyle’s dark waters’ myself, not Danny Boy.
    Actually I was confused about location of IONIA, though biffed it.
    Yes, we had JACK recently.
    Thanks vm, Merlin.

  26. 15:24 here, just beyond target on a slow Boxing Day morning. Very slow to get started: FOI was RED RUM. Agree with others that “so tactless” doesn’t really work as a definition for INDISCREETLY, but with all the crossers nothing else would fit. Didn’t spot the theme, but then I’ve never seen the movie: that type of film is not my idea of a good time.

    Thanks to Kenny and Merlin.

  27. A quick attempt at 22.15h. Didn’t spot IN TOTO to my shame. Perhaps still somehat inebriated after my team won for once! Guessed INDISCREETLY and ASTERISK -thanks for explanations!

  28. I missed the theme, as usual, but enjoyed the puzzle. LOI INDISCREETLY needed all the checkers. COD to the excellent OFFICE. All done in 06:42 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Kenny and Merlin.


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