Quick Cryptic 2130 by Corelli

Solving time: 8 minutes. This is only Corelli’s 27th Quick Cryptic although he was amongst the original setters when the puzzle was introduced in 2014.

In recent times there has always been an extra hidden dimension to his contributions, so I was on the look-out today and solving from the top down I noticed a theme emerging quite early on. But as I carried on this was lost, which seemed odd, until I realised there was a different theme in the lower half. All of this was very clever in itself, but it was as nothing to when I realised the true significance of the combined themes. A stroke of genius!

SPOILER ALERT: I have hidden the full details of the surprise at the foot of my blog and you can choose to read this section by clicking the button you will find there. But please note that our contributors are free to discuss every aspect of the puzzle, so DO NOT read their  comments until you are ready for all to be revealed.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

7 Jewel I perhaps must change (8)
Anagram [must change] of I PERHAPS
8 Conservative yarn, not the first (4)
{s}TORY (yarn) [not the first]
9 Award — ridicule also (6)
RIB (ridicule), AND (also). It’s a ribbon awarded as an honour.
10 A crime to send back racehorse (6)
RED RUM (racehorse) reversed [to send back]. You can read all about the horse here if you wish.
11 Twelve? I had nine initially in force (8)
I’D + N{ine} [initially] contained by [in] MIGHT (force)
13 Some fancy a new colour (4)
Hidden in [some] {fan}CY A N{ew}
15 Eccentric person,   one bearing greetings? (4)
Two meanings
16 Unpoetic stuff about border plant (8)
PROSE (unpoetic stuff) containing [about] RIM (border)
17 Longed, desperately, to be prosperous (6)
Anagram [desperately] of LONGED. SOED: golden – of a time or epoch: characterized by great prosperity and happiness; flourishing.
20 Preserve a track for singer in cage? (6)
CAN (preserve), A, RY (railway track)
21 Part of egg may go all black, finally (4)
{ma}Y + {g}O + {al}L + {blac}K [finally]
22 Craven cold war moves by Yankee (8)
Anagram [moves] of COLD WAR, then Y (Yankee – NATO alphabet)
1 Herb, in charge of a building in Rome (8)
BASIL (herb), IC (in charge of), A
2 Spy almost fell from the sky, getting injured (8)
SP{y} [almost], RAINED (fell from the sky)
3 Generous family with daughter (4)
KIN (family), D (daughter)
4 Tolerate hairstyle — one time! (6)
PERM (hairstyle), I (one), T (time)
5 Look hard for missing English celebrity (4)
STAR{e} (look hard for) [missing English – e]. ‘Stare meaning ‘look hard’ is fine but I’m having a problem equating it with ‘look hard for‘. Perhaps there’s a context I haven’t thought of?
6 Faithful servant’s last regret (4)
{servan}T [‘s last], RUE (regret)
12 That woman turned up in picture house (3)
Reversed [turned up] and hidden [in] {pictu}RE H{ouse}
13 Public officials love getting into awkward situations (8)
O (love) contained by [getting into] CORNERS (awkward situations)
14 Rubs lady in need of massage, ridiculously (8)
Anagram [in need of massage] of RUBS LADY
16 Flaps from article appearing in illustrations (6)
AN (article) contained by [appearing in] PICS (illustrations)
18 Instrument for blokes, oddly unused (4)
{f}O{r} B{l}O{k}E{s} [oddly unused]
19 Aristocrat from this country cutting half of debt (4)
UK (this country) contained by [cutting] DE{bt} [half of…]
20 Jersey, possibly, with large hood (4)
COW (Jersey, possibly), L (large)

35 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2130 by Corelli”

  1. MURDER & PERMIT took me a long time. Ironically, when I read 10ac the only horse I could think of was Red Rum, couldn’t see how it would fit, and moved on. Naturally, I didn’t see–didn’t have the slightest inkling of–the Nina. 7:26.
    1. If you’ve ever seen the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining there is a creepy moment when it’s revealed to one of the characters that the innocent phrase ‘Red Rum’ spells MURDER backwards. It’s revealed when she catches sight of it in a mirror, although actually it doesn’t quite work as a mirror image. None of this had anything to do with the horse though other than perhaps being a reason by people remember the connection with the word ‘murder’.

      Edited at 2022-05-09 06:26 am (UTC)

  2. I did it all quickly.. Except for Basilica. I didn’t get that at all.

    I also didn’t know about Red Rum the horse.

    It’s also happened a few times now where the word ‘oddly’ has meant to take every other letter, but it’s always been the even letters not the odd ones and it gets my goat a bit

    I also didn’t know about the theme! That was great. Thanks everyone!

    1. You have to take ‘oddly unused’ to mean don’t use the odd letters, use the even ones.
  3. I got really bogged down in the NW, all the rest done pretty quickly but BASILICA,SPRAINED and SAPPHIRE all held me up. An exceptionally massive groan for SAPPHIRE where I’d dismissed anagramed having originally thought it must be one — totally thrown by ‘perhaps’ not playing a different role than usual. All green in 15 after six on the first pass of acrosses.

    Edited at 2022-05-09 08:55 am (UTC)

  4. At 24 minutes I still had one missing but after a quick alphabet trawl and a Doh! moment got CARD to finish adding about 30 seconds.

    I did spot the Blue and Yellow theme but not the Ukrainian link.

    LOI: CARD.
    BIFD PRIMROSE never going back to parse.

  5. I don’t normally like Ninas but this one is great. Well done setter.
  6. I actually spotted the theme — and quite early on !

    Tablet is goosed again, and slowed down by solving on my phone.

    TIME 6:31

  7. Anagram blindness held me up today – particularly for SPRAINED and GOLDEN. Saw the colour part of the theme but didn’t make the connection. Not sure if this is deliberate but if you squint (a lot) you can actually find Ukraine in column 4.
    Finished in 11.03 with LOI SPRAINED.
    Thanks to Jack
    1. At a stretch maybe but by the same token there’s also RAINED UK which might usually be topical but not today here, at least so far!
  8. 11 minutes, but didn’t spot the theme fully — the colour connections were seen, but not the extension to the flag. Very clever! SAPPHIRE, TORY and all their descendants went straight in, but I was held up a little by LOI CARD. Thanks Jackkt and Corelli.
  9. Did not spot anything whilst solving other than an unusual grid.
    After 10 minutes I had three left but it took me a while to get CARD,BASILICA and LOI RIBAND. 18 minutes in the end. COD to RED RUM.
    After reading the blog intro I looked for the theme but could not see it. I can now appreciate a brilliant piece of setting.
    Quite a tough QC and SAMPHIRE fitted at 1d which I think is a herb and added to my problems in the NW.
    1. Samphire is normally thought of as a sea plant – salt tolerant succulent. But used to give flavour in cooking so perhaps that is also the definition of a herb!

      1. “There is a cliff whose bending head looks fearfully in the confined deep……
        Halfway down hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade.”
  10. Gosh what a clever puzzle. I have to say I thought there was something going on but did not spot the theme at all. It quite outwitted me as I could not solve BASILICA or CARD. my first DNF for a while.

    The clever clue in 8A (TORY) made me laugh, I thought the clues for HER and DUKE very clever too.

    Also educational – I would never have said that the word sapphire has two Ps in it!

    Thanks to Corelli for an entertaining and all round clever puzzle and to Jackkt for the very helpful blog. Prof

  11. Great theme. As usual I had to have it pointed out. I was held up at the end by PERMIT and MURDER, taking me over my target time. SAPPHIRE was FOI. 10:25. Thanks Corelli and Jack.
  12. Held up in the SE corner by putting PROSEISH which sort of works if “pish” meaning stuff is put round rose asa border plant.
  13. …but at least I finished! So a good start to the week.

    Completion wise it was a bit all over the place, jumping from one part of the grid to another. Main hold ups were 1dn “Basilica”, 11ac “Midnight” and 4dn “Permit”.

    The only reason I got 9ac “Riband” was because I’m sure there used to be a chocolate biscuit called “Blue Riband” which I believe had a rosette or ribbon on the packaging.

    Didn’t spot the Nina.

    FOI — 7ac “Sapphire”
    LOI — 11ac “Midnight”
    COD — 10ac “Murder” — mainly because, as noted above, I instantly thought of The Shining.

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2022-05-09 11:10 am (UTC)

  14. All done in 23 mins — just can’t seem to get out of the SCC these days. No particular problems, just slow… Spotted the colours early on but didn’t link to Ukrainian flag — brilliant. LOI was MURDER. Thought of Red Rum (the only racehorse I could name) but couldn’t see how it would work. FOI SAPPHIRE. Thought TORY was a great clue. Many thanks to Corelli and Jack. Have time to try biggie today. Hoping to get at least some of the answers!
  15. My FOI was TORY, but I didn’t really get going until I reached the lower half of the grid. Clues rarely drop straight in for me, but I managed to reach about seven to go inside a quarter of an hour. Those final few clues took almost the same time again, but none held me up for longer than 3-4 minutes.

    The NW corner proved tricky and BASILICA required all of its checkers, but my last two in were PERMIT and MURDER. I seem to remember having to reverse RED RUM on at least one previous occasion, but it still nearly had me beaten.

    Total time = 29 minutes. Anything under 30 is fast for me, so I am quite happy.

    Many thanks to Corelli and jackkt.

  16. held me up — I could only think of shergar and desert orchid for ages, not being a man of the turf.

    Missed the colours and Ukraine flag theme, really rather splendid, well done Corelli, and well done Jack for spotting it.

    I liked BASILICA best of all, and the blinking nag was my LOI.


    Edited at 2022-05-09 12:15 pm (UTC)

  17. Everything came out for me eventually- thanks Jackt for parsing of STAR and RIBAND, plus pointing out the timely nod to the Ukrainian flag hidden in puzzle.
  18. Quite (pleasantly, as it was after 2m18) surprised that the clock stopped when it did – must confess though that I was completely oblivious to any kind of theme/Nina developing
  19. Very slow today, although suffering quite a few interruptions which I’ll use as an excuse. Found the bottom half relatively easy but the top half tricky, especially the NW. Wasn’t sure about golden = prosperous but it didn’t hold me up.

    FOI – 16ac PRIMROSE
    LOI – 9ac RIBAND
    COD – 10ac MURDER

    Thanks to Corelli & Jack

  20. 10.25, thought I was going to get struck by the LOI curse again but coroners only held me up for a min.

    Didn’t spot the theme even after reading Jackt’s blog.

    COD Absurdly or murder.

  21. The MURDER answer reminds me of one of the very finest clues I have ever seen. It was in the Times Cryptic Crossword over a decade ago and was absolute genius. It was: Backing this race horse would make a killing (3,3)
  22. Welcome back Corelli! This was both entertaining and clever. What a Nina! FOI 1d Basilica. LOI 10a Murder. COD 20a Can-a-ry. Well spotted Nina by Jackkt.
  23. Messed up the top right corner
    Superb nina
    Did like 20 down

    Thanks all round folks

  24. … me. Kicked myself over not getting 10A quicker as The Shining popped into my head when I read the clue.

    Back to DNF land. managed 10 clues in first 10-mins with first parse. Had high hopees but just couldn’t get the mindset easily. Every time I solved something, I thought “well that was obvious”.

    Ended up with BASILICA, RIBand, CARD, ABSURDLY and CANARY missing.


    Had noticed it was a crossword of essentially two halves.

  25. Not much to slow me down on this so I finished in a 9th best ever 12:32. Didn’t see the theme, but a very good one. I don’t think it can be a coincidence that there is RAINE and UK in the middle of the words in the fourth column. It may have been lucky that those words fitted, but Corelli must surely have chosen them. More tenuous are the Russian connections with (St) Basil making an appearance, the anagram of Tsar and of course the ABSURDLY COWARDLY MURDER. COD to MIDNIGHT. Thanks Jack and Corelli.
  26. DNF – just could not get MURDER or PERMIT at all. Didn’t see the theme either!

Comments are closed.