Quick Cryptic 2114 by Rongo

Well, well. After a long run of easy ones to blog, I think a lot pf people are going to find this a bit of a challenge. I could not parse 23ac and I was on the verge of giving up and appealing to the wisdom of the forum when I saw it at the last moment. I went all round the houses with 2dn (Sleigh? Sledge?) Still, lots to enjoy, my favourites probably 1dn or 13 dn. 9 minutes for me, 3 min over target.


7 Fleshy part of judge, one said to be wise (4)
JOWL – J for judge + OWL
8 Around one hour after midnight, put off Circle Line (8)
DIAMETER – DETER round IAM (i.e. 1am)
9 Restraining headgear left in grip of new wife (6)
BRIDLE – BRIDE with L inside
10 Dose doing away with outsize lady, unexpectedly fatal (6)
DEADLY – DOSE minus OS for outsize = DE, plus anagram (‘unexpectedly’) of LADY
11 Five cheer in Mexico for little rodent (4)
VOLE – V (5) + OLÉ!
12 Enlargement of fashionable pleat? (8)
15 Having no answer, somehow shell peas unaided (8)
HELPLESS –  anagram (‘somehow’) of SHELL PES (‘SHELL PEAS’ without the A for answer)
17 British newspaper to make self-aggrandising claims (4)
18 Book coming out? (6)
EXODUS – double definition
21 Old vote supporting daughter’s university place (6)
OXFORD – O + X + FOR + D
22 Backup plan if a flea’s flying around (4-4)
FAIL-SAFE – anagram (‘flying around’) of IF A FLEA’S
23 Lurching gets centre-half sent off for a breather (4)
LUNG – LURCHING minus its middle half i.e LURCHING. Not sure I’ve seen this device before.
1 Enough for bridge? More of us playing (8)
FOURSOME – anagram (‘playing’) of MORE OF US
2 Small racing toboggan stopped by drift’s first soft snow (6)
SLUDGE – S + LUGE with D for drift wedged in. I would have said that soft snow was slush, myself.
3 Males in a club that’s seedy and sticky (8)
4 Wife along with powerful Rod? (4)
5 Waste of time following stitch (6)
6 Conceal land between hills in poetry read aloud (4)
VEIL – Sounds like VALE, (not-very) poetic word for valley.
13 Part of focus to merchant? (8)
CUSTOMER – hidden word: foCUS TO MERchant. Also an ‘&lit’ meaning the whole clue is also the definition. Nice.
14 Promenade area not safer after redevelopment (8)
SEAFRONT – anagram (‘after redevelopment’) of NOT SAFER
16 Dessert heads for diner least expecting pool of liquid (6)
PUDDLE – PUD + D[iner] + L[east] + E[xpecting]
17 Confuse double folio in bundle (6)
BAFFLE – F for folio x 2 with BALE outside. Not aware of this abbreviation.
19 Ten months since present time (4)
XMAS – X (ten) + M + AS
20 Fake news’s ending poor actor (4)
SHAM – S (end of NEWS) + HAM

28 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2114 by Rongo”

  1. All done, parsed and enjoyed in 23 minutes. A sound QC with some nice definitions
    LOI: EXODUS after XMAS fell.
    For COD I had several to choose from but went for LUNG for its surface, wordplay and definition.
  2. I was surprised by SLUDGE; like Curarist, I would have said ‘slush’. ODE and Collins mention sea ice, but that’s not snow; no doubt Chambers has something. In American libraries, at least, f=folio goes before the call number of an oversize book, and ff=double folio for a really oversize one; not that I thought of that at the time. Slowed down by XMAS, ADHESIVE. LUNG’s ‘centre-half’ was new to me; I liked it. 7:34.
  3. I thought.

    Way over target, thought I would give up a couple of times, but persevered.

    LOI was XMAS. Present time indeed! LUNG was a good one. Favourite was the v neat CUSTOMER.

    Despite the difficulty, maybe because of it, I enjoyed the puzzle a great deal. Thanks to Rongo and curarist.


  4. All my woes were self-inflicted, caused by a hasty ‘bridal’ for BRIDLE and I took an age to see that, rather than dimness, was where the trouble lay. I’d thought of ‘arc’ and DIAMETER previously but couldn’t parse and IAM for an hour after midnight wouldn’t come. Also slow on WAND, needed the W from wife and both checkers to get there. None of that matters because I couldn’t get SLUDGE so bunged in SLEDGE in the knowledge that while it wasn’t right, at least it wasn’t a gap and I need to get out to take my place in the M5 traffic jam and before that Bertie needs his walk.
    1. Having worked with geometry for many years Diameter for ‘Circle Line’ came easy and I thought maybe Tangent for ‘Off Circle Line’ may make an appearance one day.
  5. I was comforted, curarist, when you began by saying you found this hard, as I did too, but your intro had a sting in its tail when you revealed your solving time as 12 minutes as I needed 21!

    Some of it went in easily enough, but the ones I particularly struggled with were EXODUS, DIAMETER, SEWAGE and XMAS, where I wasted time working out that October was 10 months after Christmas and also forgot that M can stand for ‘months’ as well as ‘month’.

    And I was distracted by thinking that Rongo was one of Felix’s other pseudonyms so I was half expecting a Nina or theme. I should have consulted my records beforehand and reminded myself that whilst Rongo’s real name is known to me it’s not Richard Rogan.

    Edited at 2022-04-15 07:20 am (UTC)

    1. Rongo’s real name is known to Google as well; and given some of the other crosswords he sets, not surprising that this one was hard!
      1. And he may be a little out of practice setting QCs as this is only his second since November 2020.
  6. Spent first ten minutes reading clue after clue and seeing nothing. Only the FAIL-SAFE anagram with its 4-4 construction and few consonants saved me.

    I was back in beginner land. All the self-doubt and recrimination began. Questioning whether I’ll ever get any good at these etc, etc.

    Second one in was a tentative XMAS – couldn’t parse the AS and it’s one of those abbreviations some people abhor. Would have felt better in a Feb or Oct edition.

    Then the NW corner unveiled itself. DIAMETER, ADHESIVE (initially adherent) and on from there. Had the left side done after 30-mins and then the SE corner appeared. The NE corner held out until I finally completed at 49-mins. The elation kicked in.

    Only to find offerd isn’t some kind of “old vote”. My daughter’s university place was definitely an offer!

    And then reading the blog, I find I came unstuck on SLUDGE (sledge) as well. Had tried it early on and discounted because it’s not my idea of soft snow, more the stuff you find in my car’s engine oil or muddy fields.

    COD CUSTOMER (but there were a bunch of crackers in there today)

    All in all, really very pleased to DNF-complete that in 49-mins after spending the first 10-mins staring hopelessly. My big point of learning today was how the middle-game becomes easy once there are multiple answers/checkers available.

  7. JOWL was FOI and EXODUS brought up the rear. Surprised by SLUDGE. DIAMETER took a while! 9:41. Thanks Rongo and Curarist

    Edited at 2022-04-15 08:47 am (UTC)

  8. Isn’t the clue for 15a ‘having no answer’ with the the word ‘unaided’ referencing the removal of the letter ‘a’ from shell peas to form the anagram?
    1. Good on you for noticing the A problem; but ‘unaided’ is the definition, with the A of ‘answer’ being removed. Or is that what you meant? I’m having difficulty parsing your comment.
  9. Decidedly tricky with the EXODUS, XMAS and LOI VEIL proving particularly stubborn and I never parsed DIAMETER. A high quality puzzle though so no complaints with COD going to LUNG. Finished well over target in 16.11.
    Thanks to curarist.
  10. Into the SCC today with this challenge from Rongo, but pleased to eventually finish, all parsed, in 24 minutes. My LOI was VEIL which should have come to me much sooner. Isn’t the poetic a reference to Wordsworth’s ‘Lonely as a cloud’ where vale is so famously used? EXODUS and XMAS were also very late in. Thanks both — well done Rongo — I was well beaten.

    Edited at 2022-04-15 09:19 am (UTC)

  11. ….by SLUDGE, which simply doesn’t meet the definition, but what took me over my target was the 40 seconds or so that I unaccountably spent scratching my head over SEWAGE. Not quite an alpha-trawl.

    TIME 5:23

  12. Good puzzle, held up for ages by veil. Did an alpha search with no joy.
    Then got it when I twigged it was a synonym for valley. Looking at my notes, the alpha search doesn’t have the v in the first column or the i in the third!

    CODs exodus, xmas.

    Main puzzle is not as hard as normal Friday ones I found, although the snitch is 92.

    Edited at 2022-04-15 11:15 am (UTC)

  13. I had spent 18 minutes on this when I was interrupted. I needed quite a few more to finish and also bunged in SLEDGE putting a question mark on my paper. A reminder that if you can’t parse it, it’s probably wrong.
    Nevertheless I thought there were some great clues in this puzzle: XMAS and SEWAGE were my favourites, but plenty of other good stuff.
    A difficult grid too, but overall I enjoyed this. I agree SLUDGE is a bit off; surely SLUSH is soft snow?
  14. Very pleased to finish, although well outside the SCC at around 30 mins. Spent an age on VEIL, WAND and OXFORD. Liked JOWL, VOLE and EXODUS. Needed blog to parse ADHESIVE — many thanks Curarist. Thanks too to Rongo for a challenging puzzle.
  15. Got there in the end after puzzling over 2 down like blogger and others,not being able to see beyond sleigh, sled,sledge etc.
    Luckily “luge” snuck into my brain from Winter Olympics TV coverage and the answer came. I was also quite surprised by SLUDGE when slush is the term that jumps to.mind. My only thought was a quick thaw in late winter could result in mud or dirt being mixed into the slush to produce something definable as sludgy. Thanks for explanations ,Mr.Curarist,especially PUDDLE!
  16. Definitely not on Rongo’s wavelength at first, leading to very few on first pass. However then things seemed to click into place and the majority fell into place quite rapidly leaving just the SW, which took a while longer. Never made up for the slow start however, finishing in 24 mins without managing to parse everything.

    FOI – 12ac INCREASE
    LOI – 18ac EXODUS
    COD – 13dn CUSTOMER, closely followed by 1dn FOURSOME

    Thanks to Rongo and to Curarist for the missing parsings

  17. A good half-hour’s entertainment. FOI brag. Only six on first pass, but then as usual these helped others. I’ve been away for a few days for a break in South Derbyshire. I did the QC yesterday but didn’t post. COD in that one was Alice Springs, fond memories of the Olive Pink Memorial Garden, and eating water melon on the (dry) bed of the Todd River. COD today diameter. Thanks, Curarist, and Rongo.
  18. As with Breadman yesterday, I struggled to get started, slowed up even more, and ground to a 10-15 minute halt when not even halfway through. Really tough, IMHO.

    My FOI was BRAG (the eighth clue I’d tried) and precious few others succumbed on my first or second pass. My LOI was SEWAGE, but then I had to review my many question-marked clues (those I hadn’t managed to parse. That was a useful exercise, because I found SLUDGE, as a correction for ‘sledge’.

    Finish time = 52 minutes. Slow, but not a DNF.

    Many thanks to Rongo and curarist.

  19. Definitely tough today, struggling with about 4 clues before chucking in the towel.

    Have to give a round of applause to 19dn “Xmas” which bamboozled me, along with 8ac “Diameter”. I put in Sledge (not very confidently I may add) and now I can see why it wouldn’t parse.

    FOI — 4dn “Wand”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 19dn “Xmas”

    Thanks as usual!

  20. I have already posted that this was not a quickie in my opinion. Apart from kevingregg and one or two others it seems to have been a grind all round – I hope Rongo may recalibrate if he or she sets another.
  21. Well I’m a definite newbie and I DNF, but I found most of this fairly easy going eg, LUNG was easy because it doesn’t matter if centre-half is novel, everything is novel to me

    Also being a newbie I just assume there’s lots of meanings to words that I never knew, so I put in SLUDGE quite early too, trusting the wordplay, just figuring that maybe British people call wet ice that, we don’t get snow where I am!

    I didn’t get adhesive, diameter, Oxford (x for vote! Omg), sewage or veil. I prob should have gotten sewage if I stared at it longer

    FOI: jowl
    LOI: deadly
    COD: lung

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