QC 2607 by Pedro

I find Pedro an interesting setter who offers puzzles which vary between the relatively straightforward and the devilishly chewy.  This one seemed to me to be at the gentler end of his spectrum and I completed it in 8:56, though parsing the last two clues for the blog took a bit more time after the grid was completed.

I cannot spot a theme, though I never do, except that in the Statherby household I am the 8A, the 23A and even the 1A, but I hope not too 2D.

Thank you Pedro for a fine start to the weekend.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Kitchen device, attractive item, thing familiar to plumbers (10)
DISHWASHERDISH (attractive item) + WASHER (used by plumbers).  Slight surprise at Dish being referred to as an item; the term is more often used colloquially for an attractive woman, and is these days (according to my children) bordering on unacceptable.
8 Partner’s assistance in securing computer peripheral (7)
HUSBANDHAND (assistance) containing (“securing”) USB (computer peripheral).  For a while when I had just the last two checkers I thought this might end in AID for assistance, but the H guided me home.
9 A piano expert, playing allegro? (5)
APACEA + P (piano) + ACE (expert) gives us APACE, a very good description of what the composer wants when he or she writes allegro, and overall a very nice musical surface.
10 Mature, heading off complaint (4)
RIPE – A complaint is a GRIPE, from which one deletes the first letter (“heading off”).
11 Targeted area roughly recalled in intellectual sphere (8)
ACADEMIA – A complex clue, with AIMED (targeted) + A (common abbreviation for area) + CA (for circa, ie roughly), and then all reversed (“recalled”).  My LOI, biffed from the checkers and only subsequently parsed.
13 A number of signs to identify old Ford car (6)
ZODIAC – A double definition, with either the Western or Chinese Zodiac for one meaning (both by coincidence containing 12 signs), and a model of Ford car for the other.  The Zodiac was built between 1956 and 1972 and was at the luxury end of Ford’s range; many of the early versions had a two-tone colour trim, at the time considered quite the dernier cri.
14 Mystery source of growth in a pit in recession (6)
ENIGMAA MINE (a pit) containing G (“source of”, ie first letter of, growth), and then all reversed (“in recession”).
17 Mathematical skill in new University getting me animated (8)
NUMERACY – An IKEA clue made up from N (new) + U (university) + ME + RACY (animated).
19 Indian garment is folded back around half of rear (4)
SARISI (is “folded back”, ie reversed) around AR (half of reAR).
21 Mountain range some can describe (5)
ANDES – Hidden in cAN DEScribe.  There are many ways setters indicate hiddens; “some” (or “some of”) is one of the more straightforward.
22 Meeting again in French territory (7)
REUNION – A double definition, the second referring to the French island of Réunion.  Despite being in the Indian Ocean and well south of the Equator, it is a full “overseas Département” of France and thus considered to be part of European France – and so also part of the European Union.
23 Profitable scheme developed my Mark One device, ultimately (10)
MONEYMAKER – An anagram of MY MARK ONE + E (the last letter of device, indicated by “ultimately”), with the anagram indicator being “developed”.

Moneymaker is also a type of tomato, much loved by amateur gardeners as it is a heavy cropper (hence no doubt the name).  Mrs S considers them slightly short on flavour though and won’t have them in our greenhouse; in fact she might even use the answer to our very next clue for them!

2 Tasteless, if popular drink I had (7)
INSIPID – Another “build it from components” clue, made up from IN (popular) + SIP (drink) + ID (I’d, ie I had).
3 Home Office careless, missing first scam (4)
HOAX – This time the components are HO (Home Office) + AX (lax, ie careless, with the first letter removed).
4 Snatch sailor on Tube (6)
ABDUCTAB (sailor, AB being short for Able Seaman) + DUCT (tube).
5 Storing  advertising spot? (8)
HOARDING – A straightforward double definition.
6 50 in 500 sheets identifying sphere of action (5)
REALM – 500 sheets of paper is termed a REAM, into which L (for 50) is inserted.  Although Realm is often assumed to mean a Kingdom (as in the phrase “Defence of the Realm”), the wider meaning of “a field of activity or interest” is also well attested.
7 Bank reduced levies, avoiding initial easing (10)
RELAXATION – We have to ignore the comma here in the parsing, as the clue is constructed from REL, from Rely without the last letter (ie bank “reduced”) + AXATION, from Taxation without the first letter (ie levies “avoiding initial”). My other one parsed only after entering the answer, as Rely for Bank did not come to me immediately, but the connection is rely on = bank on.
8 Nothing like this answer, and that’s flat! (10)
HORIZONTAL – I was not sure whether to call this a double definition or an &lit clue, but I have gone for the latter:  something that is flat can be horizontal, and the clue’s answer is certainly nothing like horizontal as being a down clue it is vertical.
12 Soldiers on guard roar and sing horribly (8)
GARRISON – (roar sing)*, and a straightforward enough anagram indicated by the “horribly”.  Except that if any soldiers on duty were roaring and singing something would have gone horribly wrong: that sort of behaviour is fine when they’re off duty in the mess, but not when they are on guard!
15 Rock inverted in filling fireplace (7)
GRANITENI (inverted in) included in (“filling”) GRATE (fireplace).
16 Rush small Indian meal? (6)
SCURRY – S (small) + CURRY (Indian meal).  Cryptic clues do not get much simpler than this.
18 Computer device offering verse in minutes? (5)
MODEMODE (verse) in MM (minutes).  I suspect many of us are familiar with what a modem is, and almost all of us use them, but how many know that the name comes from “modulator-demodulator”, or that its purpose is to convert (ie modulate) information between analogue and digital formats so that your computer can talk to the internet.

These days AI bots can offer countless reams of verse not in minutes but in milliseconds if you ask them to …

20 Hard fruit served up with a fish (4)
TUNATUN (nut, ie hard fruit, “served up”, ie reversed) + A.  Calling a nut a fruit is an old setter’s trick, as in fact all nuts are fruits.  But not all fruits are nuts, and even some “nuts”, such as the cashew, the pistachio and the almond, are not technically speaking nuts either.

46 comments on “QC 2607 by Pedro”

  1. I found a lot of the parsings difficult.

    Also as a barometer for general gender based stuff – these days I find that men are also described as dishy for what it’s worth. I wonder if it’s just a reclaiming of the word

    1. Thank you Tina. The challenge of keeping up to date with how words are used in this field and which are acceptable is considerable. And as soon as one thinks one knows, social custom and acceptability changes again!

      1. Well, whether both men and women would like being called ‘items’ is another matter. I’ve personally never heard a good looking *object* called a dish which is what your reservation was about in the first place

    2. The UK’s very own PM was once referred to in the tabloids as Dishy Rishi. So I think it’s gender-neutral. Whether it’s appropriate to use is a matter for debate.

    3. The first time I heard ‘dish’ used for a man was in the movie ‘4 Weddings and a Funeral’, where a young woman asks a man, indicating a good-looking young man, “Who’s the dish?”

  2. 15:23. I needed a lot of help parsing RELAXATION-very tricky-thanks, Cedric. Also needed the blog to parse HUSBAND and ACADEMIA. I guess I liked HORIZONTAL most.

  3. 9 minutes, no problems. The arrival of X,Y and Z had me expecting a pangram but I think we are missing 4 letters.

  4. A probable PB for me this morning at 11 minutes thus rounding off a satisfying week of 5/6 successes. (No Parkrun for me today as Mrs ITTT and I will be wending our way to Bath soon for lunch with our offspring, otherwise a QCPR total of under 40 minutes would’ve been on the cards I’m so fired up. Heady stuff!)
    I liked HUSBAND, ENIGMA and INSIPID the most. HORIZONTAL slowed me down the most, annoyingly so as it was obvious in retrospect.
    Thanks to Pedro and to Mr S for their work.
    Enjoy your weekend all.

  5. For some reason, unlike others, I found this a real slog today, crawling across the line after 36 mins. I ended up needing loads of checkers to get answers, as the clueing didn’t get me there. I think even the SCC will review my membership status after today’s lamentable performance.

    Happy weekend all. Pi ❤️

    1. Tough today I thought, so you did well if you completed it in 36mins. Checkers are important to us lesser mortals

  6. I enjoyed this puzzle, pitched pretty much right at the ideal level for me. I had to think about more than a few clues, but quite a few went in quickly too, I biffed a few, and relied on the wordplay for most of the rest.
    COD to APACE for sure.

  7. A sluggish solve to finish off a sluggish week. Nothing overly difficult and all fairly clued I just think I’m going through a bit of a slump in form at the moment.
    Real hold up at the end with ZODIAC with the unknown car and HORIZONTAL, which is one of those clues that I either get really quickly or have a serious battle with.
    Finished in 11.28.
    Thanks to Cedric

  8. Held up for an age by HORIZONTAL whereupon I instantly realised I knew more old Fords that Anglias and HUSBAND came into view too. All green in 17,

  9. 22:18 … that felt like pulling teeth. Gentle I guess if you were on the wavelength and could bif DISHWASHER for a bunch of starter letters. I had to work up from the bottom which made things a lot tougher.

    I was held up for last 4+mins on RELAXATION, REUNION, TUNA mainly because I’d stuck an -ING ending as a placeholder for the first two and then because I’d put in an unparsed ACADEMIc.

    Not sure what the IF in the INSIPID clue was doing other than making an already blank grid even harder to fill.

    Anyway 1hr47 for the six puzzles of the week albeit 3 successes, 1 missed cutoff and 2 corrected DNFs.

    Will update my QCpr time once breakfast has settled.
    Update – 49:27 with heart-rate resting at 44, avg 131, maxing at 138

  10. May I point out that a USB is not a computer peripheral. It is a bus for communicating with computer peripherals, as my Chambers correctly states. Someone will probably justify this by saying that people refer to USB sticks as USBs these days, but it’s like when people say ’email’ when they mean ’email address’, it drives me crackers.

    Apologies for the grumpiness, it’s just that USB made me slow to get HUSBAND, I also didn’t know the Ford ZODIAC so was slow to get that, and didn’t twig with HORIZONTAL until all the checkers were in place, which turned it all into a bit of a slow finish. Aside from that, a very nice QC, not too hard, not too easy.

    1. I think the shortening of certain word combinations around technical stuff is fine. I often say “have you got a USB” or “what’s your email?”. Whether that’s technically in Chambers or not, I’m unsure. However, I do take your point around peripherals, as I was trying to recall things like printers, keyboards, mice etc.

      However, I remember the days of connecting things via serial pin connectors with those little screw things either side to keep them in place.

      1. Ah, the joys of the RS232 interface, when you had to know whether you needed a straight through cable, or one wired as a null modem with lots of crossovers. I wasted many hours of my life with cables plugged into breakout boxes, trying to work out what a particular device needed.

      2. “Those days of serial pin connectors” … I’m staring at one of those lying on my computer desk as I type! I guess if we can have the Ford Zodiac* we should expect daisy chaining or golfball printers as some stage

        * I’d been thinking we needed a ‘T’ for Model T

  11. Found this tough, but that was after a heavy night.

    LOI horizontal which is not an &Lit. &Lit has to supply the wordplay and the definition together, e.g Cop in male form (9) POLICEMAN.

    COD modem.

  12. 16 mins…

    In the end, I enjoyed this – but I had a somewhat hesitant start and didn’t make much headway on my first pass. More annoying was that I accidentally did this through the direct QC link rather than the Crossword Club which meant I didn’t register my time. Anyway, some good clues overall, and I would have to agree probably on the more gentler side for Pedro.

    FOI – 21ac “Andes”
    LOI – 7dn “Relaxation”
    COD – 6dn “Realm”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Opportunity to go back into the Crossword Club and submit a 2minute time to head the leaderboard – depending on your typing speed!

  13. I found this one tough, and no excuses from me. I just was not able to answer many of the clues.

    My verdict: Ouch!

    Pumpa’s Verdict: zzzzzzzz

  14. 5:32

    Gentle Saturday after a moderate start beating my previous best for a Pedro grid (7:00). Bunged in BULLSEYE (Targeted area?) initially at 11a but quickly removed again once 4d went in – then bunged in ACADEMIA from checkers without fully understanding it. ZODIAC brought to mind my brother’s secondhand Ford Zephyr from the same range – big car!

    Thanks to Pedro and to Cedric for the entertaining and informative blog

  15. 8:53 (Burgred of Mercia joins forces with Æthelwulf of Wessex to attack the Welsh)

    I found this OK today. After MODEM and USB I was looking for a theme involving ways of connecting computer hardware, but could not see any more.

    Thanks Cedric and Pedro

  16. Only three of the Acrosses solved during my first pass, but the Down clues were more kind and enabled me to get a proper foothold. I then progressed randomly, but steadily around the grid until I shuddered to a halt with five clues remaining. Some minutes elapsed before HUSBAND came to mind, which led me fairly quickly to ABDUCT, ACADEMIA, RELAXATION (albeit imparted at the time) and ENIGMA (my LOI).

    Mrs Random is approaching the end of her her turn and has just expressed her astonishment that a clue containing the word ‘assistance’ could have HUSBAND as its solution.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Cedric.

  17. A dnf after 30 minutes (my cut off time for a Saturday) with HUSBAND, ZODIAC and HORIZONTAL unsolved. All perfectly fair clues though and HORIZONTAL is my COD.
    If only I’d seen Zodiac the others would have followed.
    Thanks for the Saturday entertainment.

    1. Yes, I was beaten by the ZODIAC / HORIZONTAL combo too and gave up after 36 minutes. The really annoying thing is that I’ve seen the “sign” thing more than once before, and spent a few moments trawling through the zodiac to see if any of them would help, but the actual word “zodiac” itself never occurred to me.

      Found this very hard, generally. The blog was very helpful, not least in parsing RELAXATION, so many thanks to Cedric!

  18. 13.32 This was mostly OK but ACADEMIA was biffed and I couldn’t think of a word for “easing” so I spent several minutes at the end figuring out RELAXATION from the wordplay. Thanks Cedric and Pedro.

  19. Well, that didn’t go very well. Couldn’t see 1ac, nor 8d to start with, so on the back foot from the off. Relaxation was my eventual loi by a long way, with the 30min post by then in clear sight. Even that crumb of satisfaction was short lived, as a careless Numerics at 17ac capped off a poor performance. Invariant

  20. Parkrun had to be rerouted to avoid flooding. Combined time was 44.40, a personal best for me.

  21. Lots of nice surfaces today and it’s not Pedro’s fault that my brain froze up with all of the crossers there for DISHWASHER. Although I share the slight distaste for “item” in that clue.

    That one and some hesitation over the right ending for NUMERACY probably took me somewhat over par at 28:32. Never heard of ZODIAC as a car so thanks for the generous cryptic! I liked GARRISON best, just for the little scene it conjured.

    Thanks to Pedro and Cedric!

  22. 19:24. Nice one. Very chewy. Lots of answers (eg HUSBAND, ACADEMIA, HOAX, HOARDING, RELAXATION) just soaked up the time

  23. I started with HOAX and the other top row danglers to get some crossing letters for 1a which then dropped into place. HORIZONTAL made ZODIAC a write in. The later version of that model had a bonnet the size of a billiard table. When I was at college I had a reputation as a fixer, and one of the porters asked me to fit a radio in his Zodiac(it was the later model). All went swimmingly until I drilled a hole in the wing to fit the aerial and found I’d chosen a spot that was 80% fibre glass! Still managed to make it work. Suppressing the ignition interference was always a challenge. RELAXATION was LOI. 7:48. Thanks Pedro and Cedric.

  24. A slightly better end to what has been a roller-coaster of a week – 10:14 today, so a few minutes above my weekly average.
    Like Cedric, I felt there were a few clues that were relevant – my HUSBAND assists with all things IT, not just the PERIPHERALs and he is also the DISHWASHER-in-chief We had a very smart 1964 ZODIAC when I was a child. Four of us sat across the back seat, and there were always arguments about who sat by the windows!
    I didn’t much like the clue for RELAXATION- bank for rely doesn’t really work without the ‘on’ in my view, and ACADEMIA took some working out, but I was glad I struggled through to parse it.
    FOI Apace LOI Relaxation COD Horizontal
    Thanks Pedro and Cedric

  25. 16:42 (Saturday parkrun double 46 mins)

    Had to biff RELAXATION as couldn’t parse it and took a while on NW corner with INSIPID, HUSBAND and LOI ABDUCT taking a while as I looked for synonyms for the TV for tube.

  26. I join the ranks of those who found this tricky. Eventually cheated and revealed ZODIAC (doh) which then enabled me to see LOI HORIZONTAL. Found the parsing difficult in places and needed the blog to sort out both RELAXATION and ACADEMIA. Many thanks Cedric and Pedro. Back to the rugby…

  27. I found this chewy but managed it in one sitting.

    For those of you who marvel at the amazing times of some people, take comfort in the fact that this took me about an hour.

    But that’s nothing compared with Thursday’s Killer Sudoku Deadly which took me about 4 hours over many cups of tea and three days.

    I guess I could always read a book instead.


    Thanks Pedro and Cedric

  28. 32:09 here, more than double my target. I found this very tough indeed. COD and LOI HORIZONTAL, which absolutely needed the Z before the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Cedric & Pedro.

  29. When I read the dishwasher clue I read it as “Kitchen device, thing familiar to plumbers” a double definition. Dishwashers require a plumber for the initial install and a plumber to connect a replacement. The problem with washer is that modern plumbing has largely removed the use of washers. When I was a boy my father sealed pipe thread with paint and horse hair. Later there was tape wrapped around the thread. Now the thread is not sealed at all; the fitting have a seal built in to seal a ring around the thread. Copper piping and plastic drain pipes are largely washer free. The toilet bowl still has washers to seal the fittings. Washers are common only in fixing legacy items.

  30. A very late comment from me, having only done this crossword on Sunday evening. It must have been quite easy because it only took me twenty minutes: a very good time for me.

    I was delighted to see 22ac as my better half comes from the island of La Réunion, so named in 1793 to commemorate the joining of troops from Marseille with the Parisian national guard to take the Tuileries palace during the Revolution.

    It is quite some way south of the equator, almost on the Tropic of Capricorn. Its main attraction for tourists is its spectacular mountainous interior, for there is little sand on its beaches. The neighbouring volcanic island of Mauritius has excellent sandy beaches but no mountains, because it appeared a few million years earlier giving time for erosion to do its work.

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