Quick Cryptic 1237 by Mara

All quite straightforward, and non less enjoyable for it. My only biff was 21dn, which seemed a reasonable word, and was clued generously. I had made a note to revisit the (on first thought, questionable) synonymity at 16ac, only to have the penny drop. COD to 9dn – great misdirection, and having spotted how the clue worked early, only wished I’d got it sooner!

Definitions underlined.

7 African mammal found in book, a pig (5)
OKAPI – hidden in boOK A PIg.
8 Mother has difficult dog (7)
MASTIFF – MA (mother) and STIFF (difficult).
10 Different era isn’t more unpleasant (7)
NASTIER – anagram of (different) ERA ISN’T.
11 Wash first of nightclothes in advance (5)
RINSE – first letter of Nightclothes inside RISE (advance).
12 Find out it’s arcane, mysteriously (9)
ASCERTAIN – anagram of (mysteriously) IT’S ARCANE.
14 Head erased from colossal image (3)
PIC – ePIC (colossal) missing its first letter (head erased).
15 Oddly, niece is born (3)
NEE – odd letters from (oddly) NiEcE.
16 Flower spread, a hundred having risen (9)
BUTTERCUP – BUTTER (spread, in its verb sense), C (a hundred) and UP (risen).
18 Former leaders in Chelsea evidently like to do well (5)
EXCEL – EX (former) and first letters from (leaders in) Chelsea, Evident and Like.
20 Quite a few cut, almost everyone (7)
SEVERAL – SEVER (cut) and all but the last letter of (almost) ALl (everyone).
22 Presume needs fixing, above all (7)
SUPREME – anagram of (needs fixing) PRESUME.
23 Negative male in America (5)
MINUS – M (male), IN, and US (America).
1 Climbers — our team’s nine, roughly (12)
MOUNTAINEERS – anagram of (roughly) OUR TEAM’S NINE.
2 Service area, carnage (8)
MASSACRE – MASS (service) and ACRE (area).
3 Little car entering Jerusalem in Israel (4)
MINI – hidden in (entering) jerusaleM IN Israel.
4 Leader leaves English county for Italian region (6)
UMBRIA – cUMBRIA (English county) missing its first letter (leader leaves).
5 Alienate new sergeant (8)
ESTRANGE – anagram of (new) SERGEANT.
6 Loud pub, European (4)
FINN – F (forte, loud) and INN (pub).
9 Beaten pro flinches, heavyweight’s heading for a shiner? (6,6)
FRENCH POLISH – anagram of (beaten) PRO FLINCHES with first letter of (heading) Heavyweight.
13 Beauty in red rose (8)
REBELLED – BELLE (beauty) inside RED.
14 Surprisingly porcine, old sheep’s cheese (8)
PECORINO – anagram of (surprisingly) PORCINE then O (old).
17 Person checking street out (6)
TESTER – anagram of (out) STREET.
19 Manage work in church (4)
COPE – OP (opus, work) in CE (Church of England, church).
21 Very basic electrical unit for siren (4)
VAMP – V (very) and AMP (basic electrical unit). Chambers: “A women who attratcts men sexually, then seduces and exploits them”.

32 comments on “Quick Cryptic 1237 by Mara”

  1. 7 minutes with only the slightest hold-up at the end over the cheese at 14dn. It was clearly an anagram and I had all the checkers so it was then down to selecting the most likely-looking combination with -INO seeming odds on for the ending and no contest between PECOR- and POCER- for the beginning. At least now I’ve learned that the Italian for ‘sheep’ is PECORA!

    Edited at 2018-12-05 05:26 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks – one of the annoyances of solving on one’s phone is that the setter’s name is not visible. I forgot to go back and look it up.
  2. No problems, although I always think PECORINO has 2 C’s. ‘spread’ could be a noun as well, not that it matters. 4:16.
    1. In what sense? If we’re talking about the pale stuff that goes on your toast, I would not equate the two, preferring butter to margarine. The latter is what I would assume I was being offered if offered spread. Is this just my own colloquialism?
      1. I suspect it is; for moi–and rather more to the point, for e.g. ODE–butter is a spread, as is margarine, or marmite, … (ODE sv spread n. 4 ‘a soft paste that can be applied in a layer to bread or other food’.) Not, to quote me, that it matters.

        Edited at 2018-12-05 12:39 pm (UTC)

  3. Lots of anagrams but missed that presume was anagrist not definition so had a biffed SUPPOSE at 22a. That made 13d harder and my LOI. Unusual for RED to be literal so I has REBEL from red leaving me in a mess with the rest of the clue until I reviewed 22a, then a groan. All green in 16.32 but would have been in pb territory had it not been for that SUPPOSE.

    Edited at 2018-12-05 06:18 am (UTC)

  4. a very straightforward puzzle and I suspect a few will post very quick times. I never time per se (paper only), but I must be c. 10 mins or less!
    2d, 4d, 9d and 21d gave pause for thought, however the rest fell quite easily.
    for me, it’s a really good puzzle for beginners ticking off quite a few basic techniques.
    COD: 9d for the mis-direction.
    LOI: 2d
    thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute.
  5. Mara is often a difficult setter I find and, with a grid that involved several unchecked first letters, I thought this was doubly difficult.
    I limped over the line in 21:33 with LOI 1d where I was looking for a plant as a climber, not Mountaineers.If you avoided this trap the puzzle would be much easier with so many first letters available.
    I had to construct Pecorino but have come across it before I think.
    I also biffed Suppose which slowed me down.
    I think many of the newer solvers will find this hard e.g 16a a flower or a flower?
    1. I’m with you, including on 1 dn. Very much back in SCC with 19.30. LOI ascertain and Umbria which would not unscramble for ages.
  6. Very annoying. Heading for a sub 10 minute time and just couldn’t think of vamp. Funny how some words – in this case both vamp and amp – sometimes completely elude you, or at least me. For some reason I got fixated on ohm and couldn’t think of any other short electrical terms. Ah well. Enjoyable puzzle all the same.
    1. You’ve reminded me that I had a problem with VAMP because once I had the V-ckecker in place it took a while to get past VOLT as the ‘electrical unit’.
  7. With no fewer than eight (EIGHT!) anagrams and my unscrambler running smoothly today, this went quite quickly; all done in 2 Kevins which is a Good Day. I’m sure David is right about speed being a function of whether you get 1dn soon or not. I did, and then just worked across and down to finish with MINUS. BUTTERCUP caused a minor hiatus and required two visits (I saw “spread” as a noun at the time but think William’s verb is more elegant).

    COD to REBELLED from me, I liked that one. Thanks to Mara and William.


  8. Having failed on the club site the other day as I had ‘ skip over letters’ inadvertently on, I had another bash today. When I ‘review’ the puzzle I can’t find how to see the clues again. I was looking so that I could work out how stupid I’d been – I seem to be on my own having 2dn as the one I just couldn’t see for ages which tipped me just over 10 minutes. I had assumed that people would still have access to the clues which is one reason I don’t go through the very fiddly (on an iPad) cut and paste into my own blogs.
    1. If you click the X to the right of and slightly above the “PUZZLE COMPLETED IN” text then the clues should be revealed.
  9. I romped through this until I was left with 2d, where my brain stopped working. I had to write the checkers down on paper and stare at them until the penny dropped. That wasted a good 2 minutes. I’d seen the cheese in another puzzle not too long ago. 9:26. Thanks Mara and William.
    1. Re the stubborn ‘last man in’ phenomenon. Yesterday it was 2 full minutes on ‘Lynx’, which Vinyl then noted in the comments was an old chestnut, making it all the more annoying. Not an issue in an even solve, but highly aggravating when you’re otherwise on for a quick time.

      Today not so bad, 6’07 which is good for me, though the craftily defined ‘rose’ took some thought. Rupert

      1. Yes it’s amazing how you can be blindsided by a relatively simple clue. Good time btw!
  10. ….the VAMP of Savannah (Ray Charles).

    Started brightly with the crossing “hiddens” in the NW quadrant, but slowed down steadily as I went on. Not helped by carelessly biffing “setter” at 17D, which held up my entry of BUTTERCUP. No problem with PECORINO (I’m a fromageoholic).

    TIME 4:23 – slowest of the week so far.

    Phil Jordan

  11. Straightforward enough. FOI OKAPI. LOI VAMP. COD FRENCH POLISH – needed a few checkers before that one fell.
  12. 1d was my LOI which didn’t exactly help my solving. I saw ‘climbers’ in the clue and immediately went all botanical. My knowledge of plants is probably on a par with the Pope’s understanding of the LBW law in cricket (although I may be doing His Holiness a grave disservice) so I deliberately left it to last. When I did eventually come back to it, it was a very easy and distinctly unfloral anagram.
    Otherwise all pretty straight forward, 4’45”
    Many thanks to setter and blogger and all other contributors. I’ve been solving cryptics since my early teens, we’ll over 40 years, and am still learning almost daily from TftT.

    Edited at 2018-12-05 10:53 am (UTC)

  13. A nice puzzle today, which I completed in about 8 minutes. One of my best times, I think.
    Thanks to blogger and setter


  14. 20 minutes, held up by a few at the end, esp rebelled, and LOI massacre.

    Lots of anagrams which slowed me down as I usually have to write the letters down.

    Cod massacre.

    Edited at 2018-12-05 12:05 pm (UTC)

  15. I’m not a huge fan of anagrams, as I either see them straight away or struggle for ages. Needless to say, with so many on offer, it was often a case of the latter today. I also managed to completely miss the hidden at 7ac, and it was only when I was desperate enough to resort to OT for book that I saw 1d, which perversely then allowed me to see 7ac. Talk about making things difficult! I was left to limp home in 30mins, which I’m increasingly viewing as my new (slower) standard. On the other hand, I do now manage to finish the 15×15 more than once in a blue moon, so there is still some hope. Invariant
  16. Just over 14 mins. Really enjoyed the puzzle, nice range of vocabulary. Was held up mostly by 2dn and MASSACRE and 21dn’s VAMP.

    COD for me was 16 ac BUTTERCUP
    LOI 21dn VAMP.

    Thanks to William and Mara

  17. 14 minutes – held up in the NE corner trying to make an anagram of alienate with sergeant as the definition. I hadn’t solved MASTIFF at that point and I refused to accept the answer to 11a as RINSE. Being of the fairer sex with a full head of hair, I require a wash and then a rinse. LOI 11a RINSE. Thanks Mara and William.

    Edited at 2018-12-05 02:02 pm (UTC)

  18. Hospital visit meant I had a paper today. Finished in 25 as usual held up by 2 or 3. So I then went online later and pasted in my answers in 3:53. Had to correct a couple of typos. So in addition to super fast brains can you people txtlike teenagers? Johnny
  19. I got off to a flier with 1d and most of the across clues coming off it going straight in. I was then slowed down by some of the chewier anagrams – 12a, 14a, 5d and COD 9d before completing in 14.14 with LOI RINSE – so just inside my target time of 15 minutes.
    Thanks for the blog
  20. The clue for this is a variation on the title of one of the better-known (it’s all relative …) books about crosswords – “Pretty girl in crimson rose” by Sandy Balfour, a previous Guardian crossword editor.

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