Quick Cryptic 370 by Flamande

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Level of Difficulty – moderate.  I would have finished within my 10 minute target but for 1dn which nearly did for me. As it was I crept home in just under 12 minutes.

I don’t think there’s much else to cause problems, but maybe some might think of -ER as a possible ending at 10ac and the London suburb at 17ac may not be familiar to all overseas or in the UK if far away from the capital. On edit: I should have mentioned up front that we have a duff clue at 20ac instead of saving my comment for the clue explanation.   

As usual definitions are underlined, deletions are in curly brackets and indicators in square ones.


1 Very wet day considered fit for the family? (9)
SATURATED – SAT (day) U-RATED (considered fit for family – i.e. the ‘Universal’ category of film classification)
6 Drink friend knocked back (3)
LAP – PAL (friend) reversed [knocked back]
8 Judge prepared rarebit (7)
ARBITER – Anagram [prepared] of RAREBIT
9 Old maidens in novel about females (5)
WOMEN – O (old) + M (maidens – cricket) inside NEW (novel) reversed [about]. I wondered whether M can cover the plural in cricket jargon but the entry in Chambers suggests it does.
10 It’s a vehicle used by car salesmen, one protests (12)
DEMONSTRATOR – Two straight definitions. I wasn’t familiar with the vehicle meaning but I’d heard of ‘demonstration model’ so it wasn’t much of a stretch.
12 Mad for fruit (4)
NUTS – Another double definition. But for the enumeration ‘bananas’ would have been an alternative answer.
13 Floor covering turned over by university teacher (4)
GURU – RUG (floor covering) reversed [turned over], U (university)
17 Mostly posh explorer wants time in North London suburb (5,7)
SWISS COTTAGE – SWIS{h} (posh – mostly), SCOTT (explorer), AGE (time). It has three postcodes, all NW.
20 Somewhat romantic person from the Middle East (5)
OMANI – I think this is supposed to be hidden [somewhat] inside ‘romantic’ but unfortunately the ‘t’ prevents that from working so I suspect a flawed clue. I can’t believe the setter intended us just to select the letters required without further direction.
21 Talk of salesman carrying large serving dish (7)
PLATTER – PATTER (talk of salesman) contains [carrying] L (large)
23 Conservative rejects zero tax (3)
TRY – T{0}RY (Conservative – rejects zero)
24 No Communist will enter boring cathedral (5,4)
NOTRE DAME – NO, then RED (communist) inside [will enter] TAME (boring)


1 Getting thin wood cut up is a piece of cake, perhaps (4)
SLAB – BALS{a} (thin wood – cut) reversed [up]. My last one in that took nearly 2 minutes of working through the alphabet to think of.
2 Scene captured by Constable audaciously (7)
TABLEAU – Hidden [captured] inside {Cons}TABLE AU{daciously}
3 Unpleasant character reacts oddly (3)
RAT – Alternate odd-numbered letters [oddly] of R{e}A{c}T{s}
4 Flog rubbish outside front of Harrods {6}
THRASH – TRASH (rubbish) outside H{arrods}
5 Absolutely depressed? Correct (9)
DOWNRIGHT – DOWN (depressed), RIGHT (correct)
6 End of motorway having illumination all round (5)
LIMIT – LIT (having illumination) encloses [round] M1 (motorway)
7 Ask questions as insect gets inside food store (6)
PANTRY – ANT (insect) inside PRY (ask questions)
11 One working under dodgy bosses reveals hang-up (9)
OBSESSION – Anagram [dodgy] of BOSSES , I (one), ON (working)
14 Regimental leader, say, at army’s sporting event (7)
REGATTA – R{egimental}, EG (say), AT, TA (army – the Territorials)
15 Guard foreign sector (6)
ESCORT – Anagram [foreign] of SECTOR
16 Dear writer of verses has penned two pages (6)
POPPET – POET (writer of verses) encloses [has penned], PP (two pages)
18 European country, I agree, needing to expel one Liberal (5)
ITALY – I,TAL{l}Y (agree) with one of its Ls removed [expel one Liberal]
19 French cheese that is inferior to British (4)
BRIE – IE (that is) under [inferior to] BR (British)
22 Enjoying good ‘ealth drink (3)
ALE – {h}ALE (enjoying good ‘ealth) with the apostrophe indicating the H is to be dropped

17 comments on “Quick Cryptic 370 by Flamande”

  1. I was wondering about OMANI, and hoping there would be an explanation; but it does look as if the setter muffed this one. The U of 1ac may pose a problem for US solvers (it’s G (general) in the US). SLAB took a moment, but ‘thin wood’ led pretty quickly to ‘balsa’. What slowed me down the most was 17ac: I knew there is a place called X Cottage, but I just couldn’t remember the Swiss part, until I got the initial S from 15d. I liked 18d, although the checkers made it eminently solvable, 1ac, and 14d. 5:55.
    1. Yes, I might have mentioned ‘U’ as a possible problem but it came up in my last-but-one Quickie blog (358).
  2. I was puzzled by by 20a too, concluding ‘somewhat’ meant take some of the letters without implying contiguous. It took me a while and a lot of checkers to remember SWISS COTTAGE. 1a was my favourite. 8:05.
    1. I’ve never seen a clue in a standard cryptic puzzle where enclosed letters are not continuous, except where otherwise indicated as in 3dn for example. It has to be an error.
  3. Mostly excellent puzzle, but 1D is a stretch. Balsawood is light, but not intrinsically thin. Supertankers for carrying liquified gas used to use tons of it for insulation – none of it thin!
    1. We quite agree! We rejected ‘balsa’ as it is not inherently thin. We think it’s a really bad clue, and technically incorrect.
  4. For 20 across; somewhat romantic O (as in love) + man. Not sure how you get the ‘I’ though but I’m very new to this 😊
  5. I was wondering if I is the person and Omani is from The Middle East and then 20a just works
  6. Got there in the end but it was hard going, especially the two top corners. 1d was also my LOI, as cake in these parts comes in slices rather than slabs… Invariant
  7. I enjoyed this one and after my recent QC troubles it was nice to solve it quite quickly. Having said that I didn’t parse 17a and had similar problems as others with 20a. For some reason I can’t explain my COD was 6d.
  8. Could this possibly be a misprint? might the clue word be ‘romanic’?
    According to Chambers, romanic can be either an adjective or a noun; the meaning of which is romance.
  9. Hi Jackkt,

    This does appear to be a ‘hidden’ clue that has gone awry. Please accept my apologies for the mistake.

    The Crossword Editor is investigating how the error may have crept in.

    David Parfitt

  10. My last in was 1d, like others. I thought the clue was Ok except a slice is more expected than a slab, but we live in an obese world and we only need 4 letters.
    Not unhappy with 20a as, to me, “somewhat” indicated a choice of letters(I’ve seen this in other crosswords).
    Thought 1a an excellent clue. David
  11. 1dn – the defining characteristic of balsa wood is surely its lightness (hence used for KonTiki raft) not thinness.
  12. Having struggled with a few of the Quickies recently, this was more enjoyable. Like others, I wondered if 20a had an error, and initially rejected slab for 1d as I also thought balsa wasn’t necessarily thin, although we do have slabs of fruit cake round here. My LOI was 6d as I got stuck thinking I needed to put a ‘y’ in lamp or similar. Favourite was 1a once I got it! banjo
  13. From the middle east has a double meaning. So if ‘inamorata’ is the romantic person, then the middle letter is ‘o’, but you’d need to read westwards to spell out ‘omani’. Maybe the setter was facing south as they wrote this one.

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