Quick Cryptic 2054 by Rongo

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Straigtforward enough, but one in which experience may count. There are a few wordplay devices that are fine if you’ve seen them before, but beginners may find harder. Most clues eminently biffable, though which helps, and there are several that I only parsed when writing the blog. 6 minutes for me, dead on target.


1 An automated machine, British in origin (5)
ROBOT – B for British inside ROOT
4 Untrustworthy knight promises to repay debts (7)
DUBIOUS – DUB + IOUS. Dub means to name, but is used when conferring a knighthood as in “I dub thee Sir Tony Blair”
8 Do better than soft fool, almost certain to be in front (7)
SURPASS – SUR (almost certain) + P (soft) + ASS (fool)
9 Some shingle amid reflected light (5)
GLEAM – hidden word: shinGLE AMid
10 Playing harp, George is someone into charts (10)
GEOGRAPHER – anagram (‘playing’) of HARP GEORGE
14 Seldom coming from bank, crossing a river (6)
RARELY – RELY (bank) with AR inside
15 Tainted sports official gets first and fourth misplaced (6)
IMPURE – UMPIRE with the letters switched
17 Mutual concession from company marks guarantee (10)
COMPROMISE – CO (company) + M (Deutschmarks) + PROMISE (guarantee)
20 State outright (5)
UTTER – double definition
22 Dour airman’s displeased expression (7)
23 Someone at large promontory in opposite direction to WNW (7)
ESCAPEE – CAPE with ESE outside
24 Not at all wild wanderer (5)
1 What might jumping into nettles beand cause? (4)
RASH – Double definition
2 Time in prison, which may fly by (4)
BIRD – Double definition. Slang for a prison sentence
3 Bank worker holds rupees, average 24? (9)
TRAVELLER – TELLER with R + AV inside. Definition is 24ac i.e. NOMAD
4 As a drug, take herb in the prescribed amount? (6)
DOSAGE – Some people ‘do’ drugs, in this case sage.
5 Start missing in request (3)
BEG – BEGIN minus IN
6 Completely revamp and halve our working (8)
OVERHAUL – anagram (‘working’) of HALVE OUR
7 Note most of river Thames’s source in county (8)
SOMERSET – SO (note, do-re-me etc) + MERSE[Y] + T for Thames
11 Price to enter publicity campaign? (9)
ADMISSION – AD (publicity) MISSION (campaign)
12 Dude certainly read aloud leaflet (8)
BROCHURE – sound like BRO SURE
13 Measure of spirit before an involuntary spasm’s striking (8)
DRAMATIC – DRAM (as in whisky) + A TIC
16 One may want political asylum before capturing Russian fighter (6)
EMIGRE – ERE with MIG inside
18 Place of cultivation distant by miles (4)
19 Scrawny person’s very small daughter (4)
21 Music genre that’s endlessly entranced (3)
RAP – Short for RAPT

44 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2054 by Rongo”

  1. 20 minutes. FOI: ROBOT followed by its downs, building TRAVELLER from wordplay before solving 24ac. Then a steady solve to LOI and COD: IMPURE.
    SOMERSET got from the checking letters, then reverse-engineered.
  2. I thought this was an excellent puzzle which caused me to keep changing my mind about what my COD may be – ROBOT and GRIMACE were both in the running until the dodgy umpire pipped them at the post. I initially biffed devious at 4a but had to rethink as it made LOI BEG a bit of a challenge.
    Finished in 8.32
    Thanks to curarist and Rongo

    Edited at 2022-01-21 08:39 am (UTC)

  3. Slightly over target time, but felt that the last few were within grasp. LOI SOMERSET because I misread county as country. Tried also to get Sumatra to work, which is neither.

    COD BROCHURE. Let’s have more of this slang, that’s actually in current use.

  4. 8 minutes.

    I’ve used the milestone avatar to welcome back Rongo, who was one of the original band of QC setters but has been missing since November 2020. This is his 50th contribution. I hope it won’t be so long before we hear from him again.

    Edited at 2022-01-21 08:36 am (UTC)

  5. What an excellent puzzle! We really enjoyed this — clever and amusing. We were all done on 13 minutes.

    COD: so many to choose from but we really liked IMPURE and GRIMACE.

    Thanks Curarist and Rongo.

  6. A very good QC that wrong-footed me a few times when I tried to biff answers on the basis of crossers. A steady solve and 4 mins over target (but I avoided the SCC by a minute). I thought BROCHURE and DUBIOUS were good and I liked the construction of EMIGRE but IMPURE is my COD.
    Thanks for the blog, curarist; it is worth reading to enjoy many of the clues again (and thanks for parsing SOMERSET for me). Many thanks to Rongo for a rare appearance and a super puzzle. John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-21 11:57 am (UTC)

  7. Really fun, clever puzzle. Doing it on my phone meant I couldn’t see the setter — I guessed this would be a Wurm. Welcome back Rongo!

    FOI ROBOT (thank you yesterday’s Wordle …), LOI NOMAD (bit iffy I thought), COD UMPIRE (really good), time what seems to have been a sluggish 12:13 (held up by biffing “devious” at 4a and “tamed” at 24a) for an estimated 2.1K [on edit: 2.16K!] and a Slow Day.

    Many thanks Rongo and curarist.


    Edited at 2022-01-21 10:25 am (UTC)

    1. Re: Wordle — at least it wasn’t “Favor” (apologies to our US friends)

      Edited at 2022-01-21 05:51 pm (UTC)

  8. I’m not sure if I ever got THAMES right; I do remember wondering if it rose in the Mersey. Anyway, 5:39.
  9. Slow at twenty-five minutes, FOI robot but only nine on first pas. LO’sI impure and admission together. COD brochure. Did not parse Somerset, rarely or see the start in beg(in). Thanks, Curarist, and Rongo.
  10. … and all green in 11 minutes. Never parsed 7D Somerset though, put in from checkers and then wondered whether a tributary of the Thames strayed into the county. Take = Do in 4D Dosage also not fully appreciated at the time, but the idea of addicts desperately mainlining sage in a drug den is highly amusing. But that was far from the only chuckle, and in general much to smile at, a good end to the week.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all

  11. Had to put the puzzle aside half done , then came back and solved the rest. Slow on DUBIOUS (great clue), ESCAPEE (LOI), not helped by biffing Rag at first instead of RAP. COD BROCHURE which made me smile. Also liked FOI RASH and then GRIMACE.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.
  12. I was slow getting started. The style of the puzzle seemed different. FOI GLEAM. Once I got going I had few problems and an enjoyable solve. Some little known devices as noted.
    Finished in 11 minutes on paper. LOI was BROCHURE, one of many clever clues. COD to ADMISSION but other candidates abounded.
    1. I agree that the style seemed different, but I suspect it was largely due to Rongo not having challenged us for some time. I missed my target by some way, firstly by having to back out a carelessly biffed ‘yearly’ at 14A, which had fouled up my SW corner, and then (ironically) struggling with the SW county at 7D, where I took way too long trying to do something with Surrey.

      TIME 6:49

  13. Not a quick one today, but I enjoyed the explanations of the ones I couldn’t do.

    Oh I do wish it wasn’t allowed to reference another clue- which I usually can’t solve anyway. That’s the first time for ages I think — but the second one this week!

    Thank you, Rongo and Curarist.


  14. Failed miserably. Couldn’t get BROCHURE. Bunged in a desperate FRACTURE after 14 minutes. Thanks Rongo and Curarist.
  15. an over target time, but a very good puzzle.

    DUBIOUS and then BEG were my last two — I just could not get the first three letters of D??IOUS to mean “knight” until the verbification finally occurred to me.

    DUBIOUS and IMPURE were my favourites, which sounds a bit sinful!


  16. I agree that the style is different today. Struggled to see many answers at first but gradually began to see the light. However, needed checkers to see BROCHURE and DUBIOUS and only saw IMPURE and SOMERSET when most letters were in. A good challenge!
  17. This one definitely felt a bit odd, but still very enjoyable. A steady enough solve, but devious/dubious and loi Traveller (I was trying to fit trader in somehow) held out just long enough to prevent a sub-20. And put me down as another who couldn’t parse Somerset. CoD to the smallest answer on the grid, Beg, for the impressive surface. Invariant
    1. Yes, in retrospect “Beg” was quite a clever clue — it took me a while to fathom the almost too simple parsing.
    2. Definitely not my (somerandomchap) CoD. I put BAG, as in I BAGS the purple one (in the Qulaity Street tin). BAGS = request. S = start. Request with start missing = BAGS without the S = BAG. I’m as sick as a parrot.
  18. FOI RASH and LOI DRAMATIC. Target missed again in 10:31 but at least I solved the cross referenced clue a little quicker than yesterday.
  19. Quite tricky, I think, but all done in 13 minutes. Not all parsed though — I biffed SOMERSET and BEG. I liked ROBOT, and IMPURE and DOSAGE made me smile.
    FOI Robot
    LOI Bird
    COD Rash
    Thanks Rongo and Curarist
  20. Tricky and quite a few unparsed for me so thanks for the blog Curarist.

    I ended up at about 25 minutes I think and quite a bit of gead scratching. Lots to line here though, thanks Rongo.

    FOI surpass
    LOI traveller (with a typo)
    COD brochure

  21. over 15 minutes — NW took a while as although ROBOT was FOI, I’d been thinking 8ac had to start OUT
  22. set by Brendan has a pretty unmissable and consistent theme, and is beautifully put together, and (at least for me) very doable (maybe 25 mins).

    Might be worth a bash if anyone has time on their hands over the weekend, or is of a musical bent.

  23. Late to post today as busy this morning with other things. No accurate time, but certainly within target, for a nice challenge and diverting puzzle. Thanks both.
  24. Not too difficult, so I look forward to another visit from Rongo. A steady solve throughout with quite a bit of biffing saw me finish in 14 mins. Didn’t parse Somerset or beg and only half parsed geographer and compromise. Thanks to Curarist for the enlightenment and thanks to Rongo for an enjoyable puzzle.

    FOI – 8ac SURPASS
    LOI – 11dn ADMISSION
    COD – 12dn BROCHURE

  25. I found Rongo a refreshing change. No gymnastics.

    FOI 1dn RASH

    LOI 21ac RAP

    COD None

    WOD 16dn EMIGRE

    Edited at 2022-01-21 03:23 pm (UTC)

  26. A rather old-fashioned humbug-style prevailed. My COD 7dn SOMERSET with WOD UTTER nonsense! Brochure made me smile. My time 4:15 mins.

  27. and still couldn’t finish. Hats off to experience, in comments above, I believe. Or a corollary, one mistake and you’ve had it. All there when you see it, of course, with many thanks to Curarist (and beware of Rongo!).
  28. Really enjoyed this and completed it in 23 mins — no last clue shenanigans this time!

    Interesting that the style of clue for 3dn has appeared again almost immediately. The thought of “doing” sage made me smile, as did 12dn “Brochure”, 3dn “Traveller” and 7dn “Somerset”.

    Haven’t jumped (or been pushed into) nettles for a long time, but 1dn made me wince.

    FOI — 1ac “Robot”
    LOI — 20ac “Utter”
    COD — 15ac “Impure” — although could have been a fair few.

    Thanks as usual!

  29. Sped through most of this but really struggled with LOI RASH. Went through lots of possibilities before the penny dropped turning a 16 minute solve into nearly 20.
  30. I’m dismayed!

    Very pleased to cross the line (all clues parsed) in 28 minutes, which is proper fast for me. Then, I came here and found that my BAG (BAGS without the S) should have been BEG. Cue, dejection.

    Many thanks to setter and blogger

  31. I feel incredibly thick after seeing some of these times. I was well over the hour but got there in the end. As someone who has been attempting the QCs for about 12 months, this was very, very hard. It was one of those puzzles where it was hard to get going or get into the ‘rhythm’ of the setter.


    1. But your perseverance paid off so congrats are in order 😊 Also, not thick — just newer to this game than many. We all have that wavelength experience, in both positive and negative ways!
  32. Come back soon, Rongo. Really enjoyable, enough thinking to be challenging throughout, but always doable. COD to IMPURE where I wanted it to start with REF….

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