Quick Cryptic 400 by Bart

This being Quick Cryptic number 400 and with a new setter on duty I thought we might be in for a theme or a Nina to mark the occasion, but it appears to be just a normal offering. Having just written the blog I was about to comment that the clues seem to be at the easier end of the spectrum but then I looked at my copy again which reminded me that I took 16 minutes to solve it, which is way beyond my 10 minute target. I’m not sure what the problems were so I shall be interested to find out how others fared. There are several slang or colloquial definitions and usages that may not have travelled beyond these shores.

As usual the definitions are underlined, deletions are in {curly brackets} and indicators, where noted, are in [square ones]


1 Light colour in room without central heating initially (5)
AMBER – {ch}AMBER (room) without CH (central heating). “Light” in this context refers a traffic light, not to the tone of the colour.
4 Tramps getting something to eat in pubs (7)
BEGGARS – EGG (something to eat) in BARS (pubs). I’m not sure the definition and solution are necessarily synonymous, but I’ll let that pass.
8 Dangerous place, where stolen drug is cut by dealers finally (3,4)
HOT SPOT – HOT (stolen), {dealer}S, POT (drug). [Cut by] indicates the insertion
9 Fair match, perhaps (5)
LIGHT – Two definitions, one of which does refer to tone of colour this time
10 People sleeping outside and flipping criminals (10)
KIDNAPPERS – KIPPERS (people sleeping) outside AND reversed [flipping]
14 A change for shopkeepers on board (6)
AFLOAT – A, FLOAT (change for shopkeepers). I learned this meaning of “float” when, as a student in my first part-time job, I worked in retail. It’s an amount of money set aside whilst cashing up the takings at the end of a day for re-use in the till the next day.
15 Really popular act (6)
INDEED – IN (popular), DEED (act)
17 Glad to rant wildly, seeing final amount (5.5)
GRAND TOTAL – Anagram [wildly] of GLAD TO RANT
20 Duck keen to eat duck! (5)
AVOID – AVID (keen) contains [to eat] 0 (duck – a score of zero in  cricket)
22 Officer having better army home (7)
CAPTAIN – CAP (better), TA (army), IN (home)
23 No longer used in part of nationwide functions (7)
DEFUNCT – Hidden in {nationwi}DE FUNCT{ions}
24 Funeral poem, say, written in cathedral city (5)
ELEGY – EG (say) in ELY (cathedral city)


1 Be sore, husband being trapped by expert (4)
ACHE – H (husband) inside [trapped by] ACE (expert)
2 City in which one will get wet (4)
BATH – A straight definition plus a cryptic hint
3 Salesman going over border with carpet (9)
REPRIMAND – REP (salesman), RIM (border), AND (with)
4 Bishop with books on some plants in this study (6)
BOTANY – B (bishop), OT (books – Old Testament), ANY (some)
5 Young girl‘s love missed in jail (3)
GAL – GA{0)L (jail) [love missed]. Another score of zero in sport, this time tennis.
6 Fish. of course, coming from south island (8)
ANGLESEY – ANGLE (fish), YES (of course) reversed [coming from south]
7 Save time when in grip of terrible disease (3,5)
SET ASIDE – T (time) inside [in grip of] anagram [terrible] of DISEASE
11 Fruit in pie pen pal’s written about (9)
PINEAPPLE – Anagram [written about] of PIE PEN PAL
12 Front of vehicle seen on screen (8)
VANGUARD – VAN (vehicle), GUARD (screen)
13 Force Alf when drunk to go way (5,3)
CLEAR OFF – Anagram [drunk] of FORCE ALF. I’m not familiar with “go way” as a valid expression and suspect it’s a typo for “go away”.
16 Queen‘s partner maybe caught tucking into most of the red fruit? (6)
TOMCAT – C (caught) inside [tucking into] TOMAT{o} (red fruit) [most of]. A queen is a female cat to the male tom.
18 Joke involving judge and parrot (4)
JAPE – J (judge), APE (parrot)
19 Just about? Extremely likely! (4)
ONLY – ON (about), L{ikel}Y [extremely]
21 Fellow‘s almost finished (3)
DON – DON{e} (finished) [almost]. In this instance DON might be a fellow of a university, for example, or simply the man’s name.

15 comments on “Quick Cryptic 400 by Bart”

  1. Definitely did not whizz through this one, with 14ac being my LOI; with the checkers finally in, I decided it had to be AFLOAT even though I didn’t have any idea as to why. I’ve since looked FLOAT up; new to me. 10ac was biffed in, with enlightenment coming once I had the word before my eyes. I liked that clue, as well as 6d, 3d,12d, inter alia. Like Jack, I thought the definition in 4ac was suspect, and like him, I expect ‘go way’ was simply a typo; I didn’t even notice it at the time. 7′, I think.
  2. A slow start to this one with only 6 across clues managed on first pass. I too decided 13d had a typo. Fortunately I knew about floats and remembered Queen as referring to a cat from a previous crossword. I liked 16d, but also 10a and 20a. 8:11.
  3. Either I can’t get my act together on a Monday morning, or this is a tad trickier than QC ‘standard’. Or, perhaps a new man at the helm steering a different course. In any event I did finish it as a newbie, but having reduced my time from hours to 15 mins over 399 crosswords, this one took me nearly an hour!
  4. As a real novice, and trying to learn how to do the ‘easy’ cryptic, I really struggled with this crossword. Had to resort to the blog to get help.
    My other half and I can usually finish these crosswords but couldn’t get on the right wavelength.
  5. I have been whizzing though these lately, but this was too difficult. Gave up after an hour with 8 clues remaining.
    1. But looking at the completed grid, it shouldn’t have been beyond me.

      Just need to concentrate on my parsing (and general concentration)

  6. Too tough for me today. Gave up on 14a and annoyingly 16d where the word Tomcat kept springing to mind but I couldn’t see how it could possibly be the answer – thanks for the explanation and I shall try to remember queens being cats in the future. 3d and 10a were unparsed.
    I think there were only a small handful of clues that I didn’t have to really battle with today so overall I’m quite chuffed with my end result.
  7. Another ignorant of queen cats here even though next doors spends all day in our conservatory. Guessed the answer from work play…it wasn’t so much difficult as odd I thought. Seemed a bit of a weird wavelength to latch onto.
  8. The t,his was difficult for a novice like me and I gave up dispirited but the blog was as usual very helpful.
  9. Started at a good pace in the NW corner, but then slowed to a crawl with 10ac defeating me at the death. Too good a clue for a QC ?
  10. Definitely much tougher than usual. I have been finishing them recently but I was stumped on plenty of clues today.
  11. Relieved to see it’s not just me who struggled today. I’ve been doing really well recently but just couldn’t get into this one. Thanks for the blog for helping out
  12. Tried this online for the first time as on holiday. We also struggled with this, having done most of the preceding 399 QCs. Whether we were on the wrong wavelength, or doing it electronically fazed us, I don’t know. Put us with those who didn’t know the Queen/cats link, but AFLOAT went in with no problem – helping at events where we need to set up floats must have helped. LOI 15A. COD 10A once we parsed it. Bandjo.
  13. This was hard and I was beaten by the sixes. I considered Tomcat 6d but did not know the Queen and so I was beaten by the tomato. I considered islands like Anguilla but missed Anglesey.16d

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