Quick Cryptic 496 by Flamande

I found this on the easier side – completing in 10 minutes – plus one extra minute for 7dn where I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Very enjoyable though with lots of very apt and amusing word play. If any terms were unknown (10/19 ac perhaps) then they were generously clued.


1. No great shakes – ordinary. Anagram (surprisingly) of GOSH KENT AREAS.
8. Tipped – double definition.
9. Outset – start. OUT, SET.
10. Peri – fairy-like creature. (PERI)l.
11. Well read – knowledgable. Wow (WELL), homophone of red.
12. Adept – proficient. (A)rt, DEPT.
13. Girth – waist measurement. Anagram (wrong) of RIGHT.
15. Thickset – sturdy. S inside THICKET.
17. Toga – Roman habit. TO, (G)reeks, A.
19. Medina – part of old town. According to my friend Wikipedia there’s a sacred core which not everyone is allowed to enter – which may explain the ‘part of ‘ – but this is where you come in and give us the benefit of your wisdom. IN, A east (left) of MED.
20. Period – lesson. PE, ROD covering (around) I.
21. Second reading – further parliamentary scrutiny. SE, CON, DREADING.


2. Olive – yellow-green. Duck (O – zero), LIVE.
3. Reprise – encore. Theatre company (REP), RISE.
4. Aid – help. m(AID).
5. Spotlight – draw attention to. SLIGHT around POT.
6. Altar – communion table. A, L, RAT (upwards).
7. Eyewash – nonsense. E, YEW, ASH.
11. Withstand – resist. Anagram (awful) of WIND THATS.
12. Athlete – runner perhaps. Allowed (LET) inside an anagram (after training) of HEAT.
14. Retired – went to bed. RE, TIRED.
16. Chino – cotton material. In SassenaCH IN Oban.
18. Groan – cry of agony. Homophone (audibly) of grown.
20. Poe – American write. PrOvEd.

14 comments on “Quick Cryptic 496 by Flamande”

  1. At 8 minutes this was the first puzzle within my target 10 since last Tuesday, which came as a relief. I didn’t see the need to be quite so specific at 19ac with “part of” old town as most solvers are unlikely to be familiar with the finer points of the local geography. Thought PERI might be a sticking point for some.
  2. It took me a little time to see 1a but plain sailing from there onwards for a sub-8′ time. Some witty surfaces (5d, 21a) but is ‘cry of agony’ really the best definition available for GROAN (18d)? ‘Sound of discomfort’ or ‘pained expression’ would better describe the answer without compromising the wordplay. Just me being pedantic (as I suppose we all are).
  3. Stumped by TIPPED, EYEWASH, MEDINA, and PERIOD. Eyewash is a new one for me in the sense of “rot”. Likewise there’s no way in a million years I could take the clue “part of old town” and come up with “medina”.
  4. Couldn’t get on Flamande’s wavelength today, not helped by an early punt at ‘highlight’ for 5d playing havoc with the anagram at 1ac. First DNF for a while. Invariant
  5. I got 1a and 21a quickly and so this felt like a puzzle I could handle. There were some tricky areas. I remembered Peri from a previous crossword and had to work out Medina -but, as our blogger said, there were good indications.
    I ended up needing 8a and 3d; couldn’t see past Miffed for upset until finding another angle. A bit over 30 minutes; favourite 7d. David
  6. I made much heavier weather of this than I should have done because of some iffy thinking around 1a. I saw gosh and assumed the first part of the answer would be my and then tried making an anagram of kent areas for the rest of it – not spotting the lack of necessary letters. So the bottom half went in quite quickly whilst the top was proving something of a mystery.
    Eventually saw my mistake and after that the top kind of solved itself with only 7d (COD) proving stubborn. Relieved to have finished this one.
  7. A DNF – stumped by 13a, 3d 5d 7d… Can someone give some guidance on homophones? I got the 18d groan=grown. But which to have as the answer? This time neither affected the crossing clues, but sometimes it does. Is there a general rule about which to choose? Thx
    1. It can be tricky, but the general rule that the answer is either at the start or end of the clue (never the middle), means that it had to be the cry (groan) and not developed (grown). Invariant
        1. The “rule” about definitions at the beginning or end is a tricky one and doesn’t apply in the case of &lit clues (where the definition is the whole clue) nor occasionally in other circumstances. With 18dn in this puzzle I’d say the deciding factor between ‘groan’ and ‘grown’ is the placing of the homophone indicator ‘audibly’. It’s separated from ‘cry of agony’ so I think it clearly applies to ‘developed’ and the answer that sounds like ‘grown'(developed) has to be be GROAN. If the clue had been ‘Cry of agony audibly developed’ then I think you could have tossed a coin for it.
  8. Your 100th Quicky blog, I think – belated congratulations! As of today (21st August 2017) you’re on about 176.

    Edited at 2017-08-21 06:42 pm (UTC)

    1. Well, thank you! Unusual to see comments from a year and a half ago but much appreciated all the same. I’ve learnt a lot in the interim – including how to set it all up in advance. Tomorrow’s is on the slate for about 1 in the morning.
      1. I was trying to figure out how many blogs I’d done and I figured I may as well calculate everyone else’s while I was at it. You and jackkt are the only people who’ve done over 100 Quickies – he’s on about 120 at the moment.

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