Quick Cryptic 508 by Oran

No obscurities and no special GK needed. Unlike yesterday’s, this seemed to me to be very straightforward.  I was interrupted by a phone call which was distracting and I failed to time it. A couple of quibbles on the definition side, so I’d like to hear what you think.  Nothing to deter the newer solver.

So, userpic number 4:  Our first-prize-winning collection of herbs from the Dutchess County Fair.  In the depth of a NYC winter it’s nice to think of these things.  Kevin-in-New York, who is a regular on the other blog and who I met at the TFTT 10th anniversary celebration in December (NYC satellite party), also attends the Fair which is a fairly big deal locally.

Breaking news.  For those who may not have seen it, here is an item from David Parfitt, Puzzles Editor, from the Wednesday Crossword Club Forum General thread, regarding enhancements to the crossword interface (horrible lingo but it’s IT stuff). https://www.crosswordclub.co.uk/forum/forum_thread.php?forum_id=5&thread_id=232018&pnum=1#232018  I’m especially pleased that there will be a print option for the QC because I’m quite sure that this will in its turn enhance the experience of newer solvers.  Just the physical act of writing the letters on a piece of paper can mysteriously trigger the appropriate brain synapses – at least it does with me, and I believe others.

Definitions in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.  Here we go.

1.  Bishop with not so much worship (5)
BLESS.  B=bishop, LESS=not so much.  I think of this more as to consecrate rather than adore, but the meaning is certainly clear.
8.  Carol King (9)
WENCESLAS.  Very neat and amusing.  One of my favourite Christmas carols and she was the background music to my teens and early 20s.
9.  English eleven the French send away (5)
EXILE.  E[nglish], XI=eleven, LE=The in French.
10.  Celestial phenomenon is large in broken pieces (7)
ECLIPSE.  Anagram (broken) of L[arge] and PIECES.  I did pause briefly to figure out exactly which words formed the anagram (was it “large in”?) but no real hang-ups.
11.  Father’s pitch for famous singer (3,4)
POP STAR.  POP’S=father’s, TAR=pitch.  Apostrophes are routinely ignored in cryptics (in any case they don’t work in the grid format) but it can be extremely confusing when you meet a phrase like “coup d’etat”, which is clued as 4,5 with no further indication.  Luckily there’s no real problem here.
12.  A laugh altering European transportation charge (7)
HAULAGE.  Anagram (altering) of A LAUGH with E[uropean].
16.  Wild young winger of Liverpool Football Club under ban initially (4,3)
WOLF CUB.  Take the first letters (initially) of each word starting with WINGER.  At first glance, a non- follower of football emits an inward groan, but it’s really quite friendly.
17.  Be very happy about small girl with diamonds (7)
REJOICE.  RE=about, JO=small girl, ICE=diamonds.  In crosswordland diamonds are usually either this or just D, as in bridge.
20.  Diva in front of choir upset Leonardo (2,5)
DA VINCI.  Anagram (upset) of DIVA, IN and first letter (front of) C[hoir].
22.  Miss, perhaps, cockatiel partly (5)
KATIE.  The name is contained in (partly) coc[KATIE]l.  These “girll’s name” or “plant” clues can be tricky and sometimes annoying, but this one yields quite easily.
23.  Notice French cheeses we hear, and cocktail (3,6)
SEA BREEZE.  A homophone (we hear) of “see”=notice and “Bries”=French cheeses.  This sound-alike works for everyone thank goodness.  It’s a mix of vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice, served with ice and garnished with a lime wedge.  Just the thing for June or August, but it was 03F outside in NYC the other day so it will have to wait.
24.  Last in Henley, German eight’s boat (5)
YACHT.  Last letter in [Henle]Y with ACHT=eight in German.

1. High pitched sound likely at first in buzzer and piano (5)
BLEEP.  BEE=buzzer contains first letter in L[ikely] (at first) followed by P[iano].  In the US the word is mostly associated with audio-editing of inappropriate language in broadcasts – none too effective.
2.  Method of finding where crosses have gone that’s on the way out (4,4)
EXIT POLL.  Cryptic.  We’ve got election season here which is going to go on for the next 9 months so the less said the better.
3.  We would have rested about, as you do in sauna (5)
SWEAT.  WE contained in (about) SAT.
4.  Birds here:  nine fantastic Scottish islands (5,8)
INNER HEBRIDES.  Anagram (fantastic) of BIRDS HERE NINE.  Ignore the colon – in this clue at least the punctuation is just there to mislead.  Good one.
5.  Use Zola novel displaying great passion (7)
ZEALOUS.  Anagram (novel) of USE ZOLA.
6.  Quickly go across lake, but don’t make a splash (4)
PLOP.  POP=quickly go, as in “pop down to the pub”, containing (across) L[ake].  This is the other definition that seemed a little astray.  If you plop into a swimming pool you certainly make a splash.  It’s of no consequence.
7.  Escorted American to this place with daughter (7)
USHERED.  US=American, HERE=this place, D[aughter].
13.  Decorative part of chart is ticked (8)
ARTISTIC.  Containment clue.  Part of [ch]ARTIS TIC[ked].
14.  Scandinavian journalist in smart souroundings (7)
SWEDISH.  And another containment clue.  ED=journalist in SWISH=smart surroundings.
15.  Prospect that’s disturbed CERN?  Yes (7)
SCENERY.  Anagram (disturbed) of CERN YES.  Again ignore the punctuation.
18.  Light-hearted judge nothing very important (5)
JOKEY.  J[udge], O=nothing, KEY=very important.
19.  Use upside-down cross carved into oak, say (5)
EXERT.  Turn the oak tree upside-down and put X=cross in it.
21.  Leave mostly rotten meat (4)
VEAL.  Anagram (rotten) of LEAV[e] omitting the last letter (mostly).

21 comments on “Quick Cryptic 508 by Oran”

  1. Very happy with the new format, although startled for one second when the grid disappeared (just enough time to think, “Lord, not again!”) and CONGRATULATIONS! appeared. Nice that the cursor no longer automatically advances, and nice to see the time. Although not this time, which was a longish 9:09. I put in BLESS because it had to be, but the definition is off by a mile; when praying for God’s blessing, one doesn’t expect him to get down on HIS knees. PLOP bothered me a bit, too; but if you drop a stone into the water, it plops sans splash. I wondered at first about 8ac, but (I just double-checked) the singer is CarolE, so the setter hasn’t violated the ban on living persons’ names.
  2. A very enjoyable puzzle that seemed a lot easier than yesterday’s so I was surprised to find it had taken me 13 minutes which was only 4 minutes quicker than that one.

    I really liked the BLEEP and WENCESLAS clues.

    I looked twice at SEA BREEZE because I’m not sure I knew of the cocktail but it didn’t seem unlikely. I also wondered about PLOP but of the usual sources COED and Collins are very specific that it’s not accompanied by a splash. Chambers doesn’t mention it.

    I thought we were in for a pangram but Q is missing, and rather surprisingly, M.

    I welcome the new option to print without messing about copying and pasting.

    Edited at 2016-02-18 05:40 am (UTC)

  3. For the first time I was able to complete a QC in 25 mins. As a newby who gave up when faced with yesterday’s offering, it was very encouraging. Thank you Oran……hope you’ll be back again.

  4. Much better than of late. More like they used to be for novices like me. Gave up yesterday but completed today apart from 6down. I, too, thought you made a splash with a plop!
  5. After yesterday’s confidence knocking shocker, a welcome return of something achievable! Sea Breeze made me smile, altogether an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Oran.
  6. Good puzzle with some excellent clues. I hope I am getting better at spotting hidden answers but today ARTISTIC was my penultimate entry and COD. Last in was PLOP where the splash confused me.
  7. Thanks for the blog, Olivia, and well done on your herbs! Had the same thought about plop regarding a splash, (I thought it might be slip, but that didn’t fit the rest of the clue) but bow to Jack’s research.
  8. Totally agree with all these sentiments. For the first time ever I felt cheated because it was too easy! I began to understand these smart folk who boast of completion in under ten minutes. I also agree about the splash. DM
  9. … A QC that had FOI at 1a and LOI at 21d with almost seamless write-ins all the way in under 4 mins, unquestionably a PB. I share misgivings around the definition at 1d with COD going to 4d for its great surface.
    Thank you Oran for boosting my solving self-esteem, Olivia for her blog and for encouraging me to ditch my former cloak of anonymity.
  10. My fastest solve yet at just over 12 minutes with no help. An easy puzzle or am I improving? Here’s hoping…..
  11. Nothing too complex today. I briefly toyed with ‘slip’ for 6d as I was confused by the lack of splashing, but decided that plop fitted the rest of the clue better. Had my usual effort at self-sabotage by mispelling 24a as Yaght – it’s one of those words for me that I never spell correctly. As a result 13d was my LOI and COD was 2d.
    I also agree that bless is a bit of a stretch for worship.
  12. I missed the comments about this earlier.

    Collins has BLESS – 4: to worship or adore (God); call or hold holy.

    SOED along similar lines has BLESS – 2: Call holy, adore, praise, (God) and gives the example from Shakespeare: Then, God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun.

    Okay, the second one doesn’t actually list the word ‘worship’ but I think the meaning is implicit.

    Edited at 2016-02-18 02:37 pm (UTC)

  13. Done over coffee in Waitrose so felt a bit cheated with nothing to puzzle over during the day. We’re never satisfied, too hard yesterday, too easy today. Thank goodness for the variety of setters. It makes life interesting and thanks as always for the blog.
  14. I’m sure this must be the wrong place so forgive me. About to go to the tropics for a month and even if you can get the Times there it doesn’t usually have section 2, so I’m going to miss the QCC. We only have the paper subscription not the digital and although I can see the main crossword on my iPad I can’t see the Quickie. Is there any way of seeing it digitally with the full subscription please.
  15. This seemed very easy after recent offerings and I breezed through it in about 15 minutes held up only by 6d. I had Slip at first and couldn’t think of anything better until Plop occurred to me -which then seemed obvious -but I have read the doubts above. An enjoyable puzzle. I liked 7d and 14d. David
  16. Thanks to all for the comments. I’m sure the distress rockets from yesterday’s QC registered in the right quarters. A real challenge is a “sea breeze” on occasions, but the right balance is essential.

    Yes, Jack, I hauled out my SOED (I do try to leave the ref books on the shelf) and you are quite right about BLESS=worship.

    I’m very sorry Bryan but I can’t answer you on the QC access while you’re away. If you can’t get it, maybe there’ll be some friendly soul who can and wouldn’t mind letting you borrow. Hello and welcome to Geoff.

    Thank you Emu on the herbs. They weren’t really any better than anyone else’s but perhaps the judges liked the rather “splashy” display of borage and nasturtiums.

    I look forward to giving the new system a proper run tomorrow. Back next week d.v.

    1. I try to leave the ref books on the shelf too during the solve, but find them invaluable after the event (particularly when blogging) to assess the fairness of clues and the validity of criticisms.
  17. I am sorry some were thrown by a PLOP being so defined, but in my world a SPLASH is definitely something different and so also in the worlds of Collins and COED it would seem 🙂

    Carol King was just a made-up name and not the lady of Tapestry fame, who is Carole of course (and happily still living)


  18. 17:03 by the new xword web timer. So I gain great satisfaction in completing in less than double kevingregg’s time. I think this is my second fastest time ever.

    I liked the Sea Breeze pun.

Comments are closed.