Quick Crossword 509 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Back in tricky territory again this week, I felt. Made up a word at 1a to begin with (cellural, anyone?) and stared long and hard at 18a before realisation dawned. I knew the word play was correct but didn’t see the definition; a brilliant piece of misdirection by the setter and hence COD. To the chemical symbols, Greek letters and cricket positions a solver needs to know, might I add a smattering of Cockney rhyming slang!
Thank you Tracy.

1 Artistic sect by river in Russia: CULTURAL
Sect = CULT, river in Russia = URAL. I think we’ve had this river fairly recently.
5 Flick through second novel by Kipling: SKIM
Second = S, Kipling novel = KIM. The Jungle Book just wasn’t going to fit!
8 Bearlike creature from Japan, daunting: PANDA
Hidden word
9 Lieutenant, perhaps female I wanted in reformed force: OFFICER
Female = F, I = I, inside anagram (reformed) of FORCE
11 Aloof rugby player is hard: STANDOFFISH
Rugby player = STANDOFF, apparently short for ‘stand-off half’, well it makes a change from cricket, is = IS, hard = H
13 Got to know English humorist associated with the National Trust: LEARNT
English humourist = LEAR, National Trust = NT
14 Bleach – the WI changed name: WHITEN
Anagram (changed) of THE WI, name = N
16 To lose an opportunity, has to be straying in fog: MISS THE BOAT
Anagram (straying) of HAS TO BE, inside fog = MIST
18 Tower Hill by rail, shortened?: TRACTOR
Rail shortened = TRAC(k), hill = TOR; something that tows rather than something that towers
19 A practice generating a great deal of interest?: USURY
Cryptic definition
20 Got rid of, the woman departs: SHED
The woman = SHE, departs = D
21 Toast friend, briefly home after church: CHIN CHIN
Friend briefly = CHIN(a) (Cockney rhyming slang), church = CH, home = IN

1 Manage to catch leader of event: COPE
Catch = COP, leader of Event = E
2 Left one celebrity’s gallery in Texas: LONE STAR STATE
Left = L, one = ONE, celebrity’s = STAR, gallery = TATE
3 In serious difficulty contending with Italian: UP AGAINST IT
Contending with = UP AGAINST, Italian = IT
4 In disagreement when going round to daughter and duke: AT ODDS
When = AS, going round to = TO, daughter = D, duke = D
6 Put out of play to evade an issue: KICK INTO TOUCH
Double definition
7 Trader from Maine with tirade about check: MERCHANT
Maine = ME, tirade = RANT, about check = CH
10 Subversive group – one in five row: FIFTH COLUMN
One in five = FIFTH, row = COLUMN, though I always thought rows horizontal and columns vertical
12 Climate affected small climbing plant: CLEMATIS
Anagram (affected) of CLIMATE, small = S
15 Want expensive article, not English: DEARTH
Expensive = DEAR, article, not English = TH(e)
17 Song of praise that man heard: HYMN
Homophone (heard ) of that man = HIM

36 comments on “Quick Crossword 509 by Tracy”

  1. I thought 18a was TRAITOR – as in traitor’s gate at Tower Hill with train cut short?
  2. I had Traitor too- thought I was being very clever but obviously not!!!- Quick- is not the description of these puzzles at the minute for me !!Suddenly seem more difficult though I’ve been attempting them from the start !! Fiona
    ps blogs are invaluable wouldn’t have improved without them- thanks
  3. Similar experience as emu66 with some of this. Penultimate was CULTURAL where I initially thought of the completely unparsed cellular. Last in and COD 18a when at last I got the required meaning of tower.

    Excellent puzzle, not too difficult but still a challenge.

  4. Ttraitor” was my initial reaction, because of Traitor’s Gate at Tower Hill, but decided it didn’t really fit the definition?
    So arrived at “tractor” instead.
  5. A bit tricky but easier than a couple of late and I was only 1 minute beyond my 10 minute target. Time wasted here also considering CELLURAL and TRAITOR before seeing the light.

    I thought row/column might be another of those definitions that relies on what one of our contributors has termed ‘a three-point turn’ to get from one to the other, the middle step in this case being perhaps ‘line’ or ‘queue’, but on checking I found that Collins kindly obliges with a word-for-word definition: column = row.

    Edited at 2016-02-19 09:56 am (UTC)

  6. Got about half done and found it difficult. I would love real newbies to comment, not those who complete in 10 minutes but those spending a couple of hours. I started with 10 newbies about 9 months ago and am the last one remaining. I think many are giving up as the level is definitely not for learners. I appreciate the blog, but the setters need to decide is this really about encouraging many many people to start doing crosswords or not. At the moment is is heavily balanced on the hard side.
    1. Maybe it’s a question of technique?

      Have you done what others recommend, which is compiling a booklet of crossword tropes: abbreviations, anagrinds, rivers (Dee, Ural seem common), synonyms (e.g. “Bishop = B, DD, RR)?

      I’ve got a lot better simply by concentrating on the beginning or end of the clue; makes it so much easier when you know what is the likely definition.

      1. I am not giving up, just making a point. The only comments that seem to appear now are those that are doing the puzzle in around 10 minutes. It seems to me that those that are real newbies have become disheartened or given up. It could also be that they don’t bother to write comments, who knows . For myself I feel that in recent weeks the puzzles not quick cryptic level. By the way I do make notes etc but it certainly has not helped in the last couple of weeks, other than Monday and Tuesday which were of a reasonable level.
        1. As a new boy I flew through it only to hit a wall with 1a, 18a and 15d. Blog was a big help to educate me. Thanks are in order.

          I really agree with your points about the needless bragging about doing it in 7 mins etc. Surely a sign of deep down personal inadequacy having to crow like this.

          1. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. I get much more satisfaction finishing one that I’ve struggled with all day than one that I write in from beginning to end (that’s probably happened about 3 times in 9 months!).
          2. To (Anonymous) posting Feb. 19th, 2016 01:51 pm (UTC)

            I’m glad you find the blog helpful, but it’s a shame you felt the need to make an anonymous and disparaging remark about some of the people who voluntarily provide the service and other contributors to the discussions. As for solving times, the clue is in the name of the forum.

            Edited at 2016-02-19 09:16 pm (UTC)

    2. I am a relative newbie to cryptic crosswords and have been trying these quickies since their arrival. Mostly I do not finish any crossword and have to rely on this blog to enlighten me, for which thank you all! Sometimes however I sail through a crossword and finish it (but certainly nowhere near 10 minutes) and am amazed to read on the blog how “difficult that one was”. I agree that just lately the clues do seem a bit harder but, for instance today I could not solve four of the clues, I keep persevering. I know how disheartening it gets to not finish but I’m so used to it that it doesn’t worry me any more and I know that I am learning. So; don’t despair, keep trying, keep learning and above all enjoy the challenge!
    3. I still count myself as a newbie after 18 months and am still getting there and not bothered about sometimes having to do some research to get an answer or waiting to see in the blog whether my inspired guess is right (or not!) I may have broken 60 minutes but I generally time myself by how long I’ve sat in Costa…sometimes it takes sessions spread over a couple of days (yesterday’s still sitting on my desk half done). Today (as yesterday) stared in blank dismay until I found a way in, here with 5a and 9a and then just sat and puzzled it through until falling in despair with 18a traitor v tractor – but that’s the frustrating fun of trying cryptics. Now tractor seems obvious… Get nowhere with the 15×15, seldom look unless bored and hope to get one of two – so what!?
  7. Can anyone explain why “hill” is capitalised?
    EMU66 writes “a brilliant piece of misdirection” but hasn’t “Tower Hill” gone beyond that?
    “Tower Hill” is a place in London but that place has nothing to do with any part of the clue or the answer.
    1. By convention Times setters are permitted to capitalise words that don’t require capitals for the purpose of the surface reading and/or misdirection, but they are not allowed to leave them out when actually required. So if the location ‘Tower Hill’ was relevant to the answer it would not be permitted to write ‘Tower hill’.

      Edited at 2016-02-19 11:52 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply.
        I’ve been doing QCs for about 6 months and can’t recall seeing this type of “misdirection” before – could you point a previous occurrence?
          1. Thanks for responding with illustrations so I now don’t have to research previous examples!
    2. Tower Hill is a station on the District Line, part of the London Underground system. The clue then makes reference to ‘by rail’, possibly implying a railway theme, thus completing the misdirect. An excellent (and classic) piece of clueing but definitely one to test those beginning their cryptic journey.
  8. I’m rather ashamed to say it took me 3 to 4 minutes to find the print option. Could this be made a bit more obvious to us bears of little IT brain. I usually do this online so it doesn’t really affect me but I thought I’d try it just this once. Now I’ll try the puzzle!
  9. I skimmed through this in under 15 minutes with a brief pause to correct Traitor at 18a and then to my LOI, 1a, I had to find something better than Cellular.
    So I seem to be getting on with the QC quite well.
    With time on my hands I tried today’s main crossword. I got 5 clues and then gave up. It is a major step up to take on the 15×15 but the QC and these blogs in particular make it possible. I may get 6 clues tomorrow! David

  10. I’m another relative newbie who usually takes an hour plus for the Quickie and also got a bit stuck on 18a. Having got all the checkers there were only 4 possible words in my Xword app and none seemed to fit. Then I remembered to ignore the capitalisation and then remembered ‘flower’ meaning a river (that flows) rather than a plant and saw tower as something that tows!
  11. Can’t tell you how long it took as I fell asleep on the sofa with three clues left to do. I checked on here for 1ac and the the others fell into place though I couldn’t parse tractor.
    It usually takes me around 30 minutes.

    Where in the clue does it tell us to double Chin?

    1. ‘Chin Chin’ is the toast you might use with friends – in much the same way as ‘down the hatch’ or ‘cheers’ China comes from cockney rhyming slang: mate > plate> china. Hope that helps
  12. Tracy is always tricky, so I wasn’t at all surprised by today’s offering. A slow solve for me, before coming to a halt with loi 18ac. Fell into the intended trap and plumped, half-heartedly, for traitor.
    A couple of points: There is nothing wrong with people posting fast times – 45 minutes is about par for me these days and I just accept that the 5-10 minute guys are better than me. Secondly, the jump from QC to 15×15 is enormous, so the odd ‘difficult’ one is actually helpful. I think it’s the obscure fact/word that causes most anguish with newbies (and I still include myself in that group). Invariant
  13. Newbie here, first post. Thanks for blog – always an informative read. Wife and I usually finish in under an hour.
    Agree that recent offerings have been tougher, but I think difficulty levels are tricky to gauge.
    No problem that some finish in under 10 minutes, gives us something to aim for, however unrealistic it may seem!
  14. Most of this I found quite straightforward but I really struggled to get 1a and 18a and eventually chucked in the unparsed wrong answers.

    I might be posting this a bit late for anyone to read but with regard to the times people solve the puzzles in I use them as a way of telling how easy/difficult others found the puzzle – I really don’t see it as bragging. As a relative newby (I started at QC no. 1) this blog has been an invaluable learning tool and the comments of the experienced solvers have been a key part of that.

  15. I also began at qc number 1 and buy the paper maybe three times a week. I’ve finished 5, got damn close other times and sometimes struggled. Coming to the blog for the answer and how to get there is great, i’ve improved so much so thanks guys!!! Btw only 18ac missed today – just didn’t see it at all
  16. Found this easy and all done in 18 mins EXCEPT 18a and 19a which together took another 10 mins and I had TRAITOR in for 19a.

    The online thingy told me I had something wrong, so I checked and it told me that the I should be a C, but to me TRACTOR mad no sense at all so I assumed it was a mistake in the puzzle. Thanks to this blog for setting me straight.

  17. I’ve been following this blog for about 8 months and can now finish the QC most days and get a fair way into the big one. I have even managed to finish the main puzzle a couple of times…altho it took me ages. I could never have worked out how to do the clues on my own. .so big thanks to all the bloggers.
  18. This is no.43 in The Times Quick Cryptic Crossword Book 3. As just mentioned in previous comment, got stuck on 18a (I was not alone!) and 15d.

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