Quick Cryptic 485 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I enjoyed quite a few of the surfaces in this one, in particular 24A and 6D, which always makes me feel well-disposed to a puzzle. No difficult vocabulary but the wordplay for 11A and 6D involves deletions that are a bit more complex than the more common removals of merely a single letter.

The puzzle seems to be up on the Times site as of now, but it can be found here if anyone’s having problems with access: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160118/12975/

Definitions are underlined.

8 Are settled on power, to be in authority (7)
PRESIDEP (power) + RESIDE (Are settled)
9 Buzz, as first of insects enters hooter (5)
NOISE I (first of insects, i.e. the first letter of “insects”) inside (enters) NOSE (hooter)
10 Thorn, nasty point! (5)
NORTH – anagram (nasty) of THORN
11 Within a day, ghost leaving house (7)
AMONGST A + MON (day, i.e. the abbreviation for Monday) + G{ho}ST (ghost leaving house, i.e. “ghost” without the “ho” (house)). Note that “leaving” possesses some ambiguity – you might think you were looking for a word for “house” from which you would remove a word for “ghost”, rather than (in this case) completely the opposite.
12 Refurbish a red room close to staircase, landing here? (9)
AERODROME – anagram of (Refurbish) A RED ROOM + E (close to staircase, i.e. the last letter of “staircase”)
14 Really and truly, all leaders vermin! (3)
RAT – initial letters (all leaders) of Really And Truly
16 A failure going back and forth (3)
DUD – the only wordplay we have here is that the answer is a palindrome (going back and forth). Not very helpful as a stand-alone clue, perhaps, but once you had either of the available checkers in the grid then you could infer that the word was D?D, which only admits one likely option fitting the definition (well – two, if your father was unsuccessful).
18 Came south after breaking handlebar? (9)
MOUSTACHE – anagram (after breaking) of CAME SOUTH. The question mark indicates the usage of a DBE (definition by example).
21 Crazy bunch? (7)
BANANAS – double definition
22 Model, leg in traction? (3-2)
PIN-UP PIN UP (leg in traction?)
23 Mother trapping black snake (5)
MAMBA MAMA (Mother) around (trapping) B (black)
24 Land turning into sea (7)
ESTONIA – anagram (turning) of INTO SEA. The first president of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, died 60 years ago today.
1 European resort, sewer coming up beneath it (8)
SPANIARD SPA (resort) + reversal (coming up beneath it) of DRAIN (sewer)
2 Dread the ultimate in government failure (6)
TERROR T (the ultimate in government, i.e. the last letter in “government”) + ERROR (failure)
3 Desire is coming between extremes of wrath (4)
WISH IS between WH (extremes of wrath, i.e. the first and last letters of “wrath”)
4 Try to keep story up – it’s ice-cream! (6)
GELATO GO (Try) around (to keep) reversal (up) of TALE (story)
5 Fresh, in water off the Isle of Wight (8)
INSOLENT IN + SOLENT (water off the Isle of Wight). A similar idea was used in the main cryptic about a year ago with the clue: “Where some Channel water is fresh”
6 Footballer seeking victory over Germany, but losing many! (6)
WINGERWIN (victory) + GER{many} (Germany, but losing many, i.e. “Germany” without the “many”)
7 Opening found in Coventry (4)
VENT – hidden in CoVENTry. Cove and oven are also hidden in there, but neither fits the definition.
13 Funny comedian, seemingly possessed (8)
DEMONIAC – anagram (Funny) of COMEDIAN. You could possibly argue that daemonic also fits the clue, though it would obviously clash with the checkers in the grid plus it’s not really a Quicky word.
15 The turn inspiring a performer on stage (8)
THESPIAN THE + SPIN (turn) around (inspiring) A
17 Energetic type getting Monday off (6)
DYNAMO – anagram (off) of MONDAY. We had a similar clue in Quicky 425: “Energetic person’s awful Monday!”
19 Irish region taking part of Istanbul’s territory (6)
ULSTER – hidden in (taking part of) IstanbUL’S TERritory
20 Tooth circular initially, then a square (6)
CANINE C (circular initially, i.e. the first letter of “circular”) + A + NINE (square, i.e. a square number)
21 A lot of money for a weapon (4)
BOMB – double definition. Pile also fits the clue but it would clash with the checkers, plus the second definition (a Roman javelin) would be out of place here.
22 Light touch over hard course (4)
PATH PAT (Light touch) + H (hard)

15 comments on “Quick Cryptic 485 by Mara”

  1. Maybe I do these better on an empty stomach; just came back from lunch, and this was slow going. Or rather, several clues took me a long while to figure out, like GELATO, AERODROME, and, of course AMONGST. Those last two are not in my idiolect, which probably helped keep me from spotting them sooner. 8:50.
  2. I needed extra time for this and eventually finished in 13 minutes. I knew GELATO but it’s not a word I ever use so I needed to construct it from checkers and wordplay. DEMONIAC is most definitely outside my normal vocabulary though I note I have met it at least once before in a 15×15 blogged in June last year.
  3. Yup, that was the one I had trouble with. I was sure there was an OUGHT in there for longer than I’d care to say. On the dot of 6
  4. I will tentatively suggest that today’s main cryptic is not especially difficult and is hence worth a shot for Quicky solvers itching for a bit of a challenge. There are 2 or 3 words that are not mainstream vocabulary but the wordplay is generally not complicated.
    1. Agree re the main puzzle today. As a quick cryptic solver and relative crossword novice, I was surprised and delighted to be able to solve the main puzzle today in about 30 mins. It must be easier than usual!

      Edited at 2016-01-18 01:13 pm (UTC)

  5. Well, this was a bit easier than the two at the end of last week, but the 4d 11ac combination caused me a lot of difficulty, so my time was no better than average. 24ac was my favourite today. Invariant
  6. Didn’t have any problems with this except needing this blog to parse THESPIAN; time of 38 mins might suggest otherwise, but maybe doing in bed with one finger on a touchscreen at an awkward angle in the middle of the night isn’t conducive to fast solving!
  7. I struggled with this one. 4d and 11a took a while – I was also looking for something ending in ‘ought’ for 11. But my biggest problem was with 1a – even with all the checkers in I couldn’t get it and eventually gave up, so a DNF for me today. It’s happened a few times recently that I’ve had a complete brainfreeze over what should be a fairly straightforward clue – very odd.
    1. I think if you have a couple of brain freezes in a short period of time then it can start to prey on your mind – any subsequent intransigent clues will have you thinking “Here we go again …” and all of a sudden you start feeling additional pressure to finish the puzzle (I speak from experience!) I’m sure that once you get a few completions in a row under your belt again then any such anxiety will disappear. Plus you’re unlikely to forget the type of clue or answer that caused the trouble, so when something similar appears again you’ll nail it.
  8. Every now and again, I fool myself I am getting the hang of the cryptic ( albeit only the Quickie). Today disabused me of that conceit and I struggled. Thank you for the invaluable blog
    1. Sorry for the late response. As mentioned by jackkt below, don’t worry about having an off day – it happens even to seasoned solvers. The key is to keep doing the puzzles and, as you get more experienced, you will find that the off days become less and less frequent.
  9. First blog contribution. Easier for me today, in fact I finished in one go, a record. A thought for learners, who may have started like me a year or more ago. On Friday I gave myself ten minutes, I did 7 clues in that time, today I did 11 so something changed over the weekend! I will try and keep a tally and see if this is any use for checking progress …
    1. Welcome to TftT, noondial, and thanks for your contribution, the first of many, I hope. Your method of measuring progress seems to be a good one and I trust that it will give you confidence and motivation to continue long into the future. But don’t be disheartened if you have an off day. It happens to all of us!

      Edited at 2016-01-18 06:14 pm (UTC)

  10. Tried to make 18a an anagram of handlebar, until I looked at the checkers I had, and, well, it couldn’t be anything else! Liked 1a because I got it from the last letter upwards. Thought the surface readings particularly convincing today.
  11. Two excellent anagrams at 13d and 18a I thought. Not troubled by Amongst and managed to derive Gelato from clue. So I was pleased with progress today. Held up at the end by 21d; I couldn’t see Bomb as money at first but then thought of “cost a bomb” -tricky though. David

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