Quick Cryptic 495 by Izetti

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A tricky one from Izetti today. I generally attempt to solve the Quickies in clue order – this puzzle required several passes before 7D and (less explicably) 14A yielded. Though my track record of predictions in this regard is poor, I will venture to suggest that this is a hard Quicky (cue an avalanche of personal best completion times from other solvers). The usual smooth surfaces and interesting vocab from this setter.

The crossword can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160201/13166/

Definitions are underlined.

1 Student event needs a piece of Indian music (4)
RAGA RAG (Student event) + A. This word has appeared in the main cryptic and Mephisto several times but it’s the first time it’s appeared in a Quicky and it may well not be familiar to newer solvers. Chambers: “1. A traditional Hindu musical form or mode, a rhythmic or melodic pattern used as the basis for improvisation; 2. A piece composed in such a mode”. Not to be confused with ragga, reggae, or ragu.
3 Determined detectives engaged in exploit (7)
DECIDED CID (detectives) inside (engaged in) DEED (exploit)
8 Detest insider falsely posing as impartial (13)
DISINTERESTED – anagram (falsely posing as) of DETEST INSIDER
9 A divine tot (3)
ADD A + DD (divine, where DD stands for Doctor of Divinity and divine is to be read as a noun (Chambers: “3. A theologian”))
10 Fab fish (5)
BRILL – double definition, the second being a flatfish related to the turbot (and also making its debut in the Quicky). The slangy fab helpfully gives us a hint that we should look for an informal equivalent.
12 Standing outside front of front of restaurant, see a cloud (7)
STRATUS STATUS (Standing) around (outside) R (front of restaurant, i.e. the first letter of “restaurant”). I’m assuming that the extra “front of” is an error on the part of the Times.
14 Injured mammals brought back, given resting place (7)
STABBED – reversal (brought back) of BATS (mammals), + BED (resting place)
16 One disadvantaged among close relations (5)
LOSER – hidden in (among) cLOSE Relations
17 Poem in secret language about to be released (3)
ODE – {c}ODE (secret language about to be released, i.e. “code” (secret language) without the letter “c” (an abbreviation for “about”))
20 Halt any fellow out to be a potential spy (1,3,2,3,4)
A FLY ON THE WALL – anagram (out) of HALT ANY FELLOW
21 Ruder person hunting animals will be heard (7)
COARSER – homophone (will be heard) of COURSER (person hunting animals, perhaps most commonly encountered in hare-coursing)
22 Number in favour of storing radioactive element (4)
FOUR FOR (in favour of) around (storing) U (radioactive element, i.e. the chemical symbol for uranium)
1 Once again distrusts defences (8)
REDOUBTS REDOUBTS (Once again distrusts – this doesn’t appear in any of the usual dictionaries as a distinct word, but putting re- in front of a verb indicates that the action is being done again so re-doubts (with or without the hyphen) passes muster). For the defence meaning, Chambers has “A fieldwork enclosed on all sides”.
2 Visitor losing energy and puff (4)
GUST GU{e}ST (Visitor losing energy, i.e. the word “guest” (Visitor) without the letter “e” (an abbreviation for “energy”))
3 Fears engendered by adders possibly (6)
DREADS – anagram (possibly) of ADDERS
4 Ostentatiously smart Conservative seen by bar, twice (6-6)
CLEVER-CLEVER C (Conservative) + LEVER (bar), repeated (twice)
5 Badly rusted, it becomes rubbish (8)
DETRITUS – anagram (Badly) of RUSTED IT
6 Father of unconventional art form (4)
DADA – double definition, the first how a baby might refer to its father, the second (Chambers) “A short-lived (from 1916 to c.1920) movement in art and literature which sought to abandon all form and throw off all tradition”. Famous Dadaists in Crosswordland are Jean Arp and Max Ernst, though in real life I would guess that Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain is the best known Dadaist work.
7 Unhealthy as usual, Robin is suffering (12)
INSALUBRIOUS – anagram (suffering) of USUAL ROBIN IS. I had thought for many years that unsalubrious was the word hence that is what I put into the grid (who bothers checking the anagram fodder when you already “know” the answer?). So thanks to Izetti for ensuring that, in the future, my usage of the English language will contain one less solecism (drop in the ocean though that may be).
11 Girl showing alarm in Asia when in trouble (8)
ISABELLA BELL (alarm) in anagram (in trouble) of ASIA
13 Writer creating characters hard to make out? (8)
SCRAWLER – cryptic definition, encouraging us to think of “characters hard to make out” as inscrutable protagonists rather than messy writing
15 Tamper with fish served up to king (6)
DOCTOR – reversal (served up) of COD (fish), + TO + R (king)
18 Mineral kept by that alchemist (4)
TALC – hidden in (kept by) thaT ALChemist. Hydrated magnesium silicate.
19 Leader of Italy in the past seen as a villain (4)
IAGO I (Leader of Italy, i.e. the first letter of “Italy”) + AGO (in the past). The character in Othello.

22 comments on “Quick Cryptic 495 by Izetti”

  1. Today’s main cryptic seems like one of those puzzles that will be fairly easy for experienced solvers but may be rather harder for newcomers to the fold, primarily because of the vocab. Definitely worth a try, though.
  2. Oddly enough, I was bothered earlier this morning by an earworm of one of George Harrison’s sitar song; not that they would qualify as ragas, but still. Anyway, this took some time; some of that time devoted to counting the I’s and U’s in 7d to avoid the very error that Mohn seems to have fallen into. Two questions: Wouldn’t a question mark have helped at 1d? I find ‘re-doubt’ to be next to impossible; there are restraints on the use of ‘re-‘: re-believe? re-aspire? re-exclaim? And wouldn’t 4d have been improved by using ‘at’ instead of ‘by’? he wondered. 7:50.
    1. I suppose it depends on whether the Tory in question is more the bibulous or the juridical type.

      Agree with mohn that today’s main puzzle is in many ways not much harder than this one.

  3. Oh dear, 14 minutes with nothing sub-10 since last Tuesday and I still got one answer wrong having fallen into the UN/INSALUBRIOUS trap at 7dn. Actually it’s not really a trap as the fodder is there and just needs working through, and on reflection I’m perfectly aware of the word’s correct negative formation so I’ve no valid excuse.

    After yesterday’s discussion on the main puzzle about words that don’t exist, at least according to most recognised sources, it may surprise that I come to the defence of RE-DOUBTS at 1dn. I simply take the view that the answer is REDOUBTS, the definition is ‘defences’ and ‘once again distrusts’ is what our esteemed and erstwhile blogging colleague Uncle Yap used to call a ‘tichy’ – a ‘tongue-in-cheek type’ definition. It doesn’t have to be in a dictionary because it’s wordplay. As Kevin has suggested, a question mark would have helped, but I don’t think it’s in every setter’s job description that they have to be helpful, only fair.

    Edited at 2016-02-01 05:51 am (UTC)

  4. It took me until I had the checkers to see STABBED. At first glance I thought “injured” was the anagram indicator and the “mammals” were the fodder. With SCRAWLER I went looking for a scribbler (or something), thinking maybe there was a “scribe” in there but only produced a muddle for a while. Something just under 7.

    For a very gentle 15×15 you might like to try Rufus in the Guardian. He’s usually there on a Monday and tends to be solver-friendly. You don’t need a subscription – here’s the link (which may have to be unspammed, sorry) https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/cryptic/26795#23-down

    1. Thanks Jack. P.S. Re the Guardian puzzle, I should have mentioned that there is one tricky clue – 23d. Dodgy homophone and there’s an alternative answer that seems equally plausible.
  5. That was some start to the week for me. Never heard of Raga, or Dada as an art form, and always thought it was unsalubrious not insalubrious. (Although interestingly my spellchecker tells me it is in not un). So all in all I was pleased to finish it at all.

    For the uninitiated a redoubt is a fieldwork protected on all sides (ie a mini-fort) as opposed to a hornwork which is protected on only 3 and is used as a bulwark in advance of the main defence works. Ravelins on the other hand are only protected on 2 sides with the point pointing towards the enemy’s line of approach.


  6. A tough start to the week and a DNF for me. Wasn’t helped by putting Isabelle in 11d, which made 21a (LOI) tough until I spotted my mistake. Then in relief at finally seeing a potential answer I chucked in an unparsed ‘crasser’.
    Oh well at least I learnt two new bits of GK today in 1a and 6d.
  7. This was OK – about my average time – but I still don’t understand the parsing of scrawler! Writer, yes, but characters hard to make out? Sorry to be thick but – inscrutable protagonists? Help please!
    1. If you scrawl something down quickly, the words/letters/characters may well be hard to read/make out. Invariant
      1. Thank-you – I think! I guess I went for ‘characters’ being letters straight away rather than the ‘inscrutable protagonists’ mentioned in the blog. So the clue seemed straight rather than cryptic, whic was confusing.
        1. Yes, cryptic definitions can be a bit confusing if you initially read them in the way that the setter was hoping you wouldn’t read them. My apologies if my explanation of what was going on ended up simply confusing the issue further!
  8. Well, either my week away has dulled the brain cell(s), or that was a particularly difficult QC – even by Izetti standards. Got there in the end, but took ages. Invariant
  9. I’m confused by 21 Across – if it is ‘courser’, does that not clash with the final letter of 11 Down’s ‘Isabella’? Could someone elaborate on which is the correct answer please? Thanks! -AJ
    1. Sorry all, I realised I’d made a typo right after I posted! Keep up the great work, this blog is a fantastic resource -AJ
  10. I was delayed on a train for three hours last night (trespasser on signal gantry at St Denys) and so had lots of time to solve this but no power to post a comment( iphone battery low as usual).
    Anyway I finished it and looking today had two wrong: at 21a I put Crasser and at 13d I put Scribler (the little known incorrect spelling).
    Also confused by the fronts of the restaurant but got Stratus.Clever clever perhaps.
    On reflection happy with everything bar Scrawler. David
    PS tried the big crossword too and got about half of it.
  11. I was delayed on a train for three hours last night (trespasser on signal gantry at St Denys) and so had lots of time to solve this but no power to post a comment( iphone battery low as usual).
    Anyway I finished it and looking today had two wrong: at 21a I put Crasser and at 13d I put Scribler (the little known incorrect spelling).
    Also confused by the fronts of the restaurant but got Stratus.Clever clever perhaps.
    On reflection happy with everything bar Scrawler. David
    PS tried the big crossword too and got about half of it.
  12. Working through backlog of QCs. hence late posting. I also put crasser and scribler ( archaic / Scottish spelling). Clearly crasser is wrong but seems to me scribler is an equally valid answer. Found this tough but enjoyed it. JaneyL
    1. In general, archaic and obsolete definitions don’t crop up that often even in the main cryptic (though they’re very common in, say, the Mephisto on Sunday), and when they do they’re usually indicated as such in the clue. SCRIBLER doesn’t seem to have made it into any of the usual dictionaries so, even though you may have a point that it’s an old Scottish spelling, I would hope that Quicky solvers wouldn’t be expected to know such an obscure word!

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