Quick Cryptic 515 by Pedro

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A happy birthday to all you leaplings. A generally straightforward puzzle from Pedro today with just a couple of clues (e.g. 1A, 8A) requiring a bit of head-scratching/eye-narrowing/lip-pursing.

The crossword can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160229/13697/

Definitions are underlined.

1 Peer half-heartedly supporting church out of necessity (8)
PERFORCEPER (Peer half-heartedly, i.e. the word “peer” with only one of its middle e’s) + FOR (supporting) + CE (church). Not the commonest word, and probably not the easiest entry point for the puzzle.
5 Nothing from first bit of zinc aggregate returned (4)
ZERO Z (first bit of zinc, i.e. the first letter of the word “zinc”) + reversal (returned) of ORE (aggregate)
8 Common person that is to be back in scheme (8)
PLEBEIAN – reversal (back) of IE (that is) + BE, in PLAN (scheme). Quite a complex construction as the “to” in the clue needs to be interpreted as “beside”. The kind of horrendous combo of vowels that makes you glad of the wordplay. To my great surprise, it doesn’t look as though this word has appeared in a Times puzzle in the last decade (though the common shortening to pleb has cropped up several times).
9 Judge with a Parisienne for thirty days (4)
JUNE – J (Judge) + UNE (a Parisienne, i.e. the word “a” for a resident of Paris –  the female Parisienne gives us an extra hint to look for the female form of “a”)
11 Specific rail-car put out (10)
PARTICULAR – anagram (out) of RAIL-CAR PUT
14 Notes my accepting unemployment benefit returned (6)
MELODY MY around (accepting) reversal (returned) of DOLE (unemployment benefit)
15 Point about sparkling wine: not much good now? (4,2)
PAST IT PT (Point) about ASTI (sparkling wine)
17 Arrangement of music – key of A, not C, in my opinion (2,3,3,2)
IF YOU ASK ME – anagram (Arrangement) of MUSI{c} KEY OF A, where the “not C” tells us to omit the letter c from the anagram fodder
20 Article caught like a fish? That’s ingenious (4)
NEAT A (Article) in NET – if something is in a net then it’s caught like a fish.
21 TV programme possibly caps tucking into food (4,4)
CHAT SHOW HATS (possibly caps) inside (tucking into) CHOW (food)
22 Regret backing old currency (4)
EURO – reversal (backing) of RUE (Regret), + O (old)
23 Silver reflected faint source of illumination (8)
GASLIGHT – reversal (reflected) of AG (Silver, i.e. the chemical symbol for silver), + SLIGHT (faint)
1 Wind instrument, one joining piano in exercises (4)
PIPE I (one) + P (piano), in PE (exercises)
2 Scottish dance about to be supported by the Spanish (4)
REEL RE (about) + EL (the Spanish, i.e. a Spanish word for “the”). The “to be supported by” simply says that the RE is to go on top of the EL, since it’s a down clue.
3 Obvious, with OU intervening, transmission ended! (4,3,4)
OVER AND OUT AND (with) + OU, inside (intervening) OVERT (Obvious). Chambers tells me that OU can be Open University or Oxford University but either way the surface is somewhat oblique.
4 Decent participants in match as televised (6)
CHASTE – hidden (participants) in matCH AS TElevised
6 Impartiality of energy standard (8)
EQUALITY E (energy) + QUALITY (standard)
7 Think too much of a concern for cricket umpires? (8)
OVERRATE – the over rate refers to the speed at which bowlers get through their overs in a game of cricket. Teams can be fined if they are too slow – it is up to the umpires to determine the over rate achieved, taking into account various factors such as injuries, whether the batting side has been time-wasting, etc.
10 Waste material spoiled smart place (5-5)
SCRAP-METAL – anagram (spoiled) of SMART PLACE
12 Mood displayed by a doctor having treated niece (8)
AMBIENCE A + MB (doctor) + anagram (treated) of NIECE
13 Follow the rules: quiet song followed by loud tune (4,4)
PLAY FAIR P (quiet) + LAY (song) + F (loud) + AIR (tune). An interesting way to break down the answer.
16 Article on complex maths leads to complaint (6)
ASTHMA A (Article) + anagram (complex) of MATHS
18 Yank throttling husband is ruffian (4)
THUG TUG (Yank) around (throttling) H (husband)
19 Didn’t stand around waiting initially for strike (4)
SWAT SAT (Didn’t stand) around W (waiting initially, i.e. the first letter of the word “waiting”)

25 comments on “Quick Cryptic 515 by Pedro”

  1. I was too clever at 1ac, thinking ‘erl? eal? due?’ and missing the more obvious ‘per’ until I returned to the acrosses. Biffed a couple, including 7d–once I saw ‘cricket’, I knew biffing was called for. Some nice surfaces, e.g. 19d, 22ac, 15ac. 5:15.
  2. 45 min which is avg for me. 1 Across was Last One In, didn’t see PER for peer (in fact still don’t see it) I liked ASTI across the word boundary in 15a. I see that my pet peeve of LAY for song made another appearance, although inside an elegant clue (13d). I think I have been spelling PLEBEIAN wrong my whole life, so I’ve learnt something today. Thanks for the parsing of 3D, didn’t see OVERT in there.
    1. Two clue elements to keep in mind: ‘heartless(ly)’ =
      eliminate all but the first and last letters (‘heartless peer’=PR); ‘half-hearted(ly)’= eliminate half of the internal letters. This usually happens (I think) with a 4-letter word, like ‘peer’ (‘half-hearted peer’=PER).

      Edited at 2016-02-29 05:41 am (UTC)

      1. I don’t think it has to be a 4-letter word Kevin but I would expect the device to apply only to words with a double letter in the middle (e.g. loop or rabbit) so that there’s no ambiguity about which of two letters to drop.
  3. There were quite a few write-ins today but this was just as well as there were other clues that were obviously more complicated and were best passed over until they had a some checkers in place to aid the thought process. For that reason this was not a tidy, flowing solve for me and I needed to hop around the grid to keep up momentum. In the end I came home within just a second or two of my 10-minute target.
  4. I thought it was a good mix of clues today. Managed to complete it in one sitting! Very enjoyable.
  5. Oh cricket – so of course I couldn’t parse it. Thanks Mohn, I’ll try to remember that one!

    If you’ve got the time and feel venturesome, today’s other cryptic is quite accessible despite a handful of specific references that not all will know offhand. I certainly didn’t know one of them and another took time to dredge up, but they’re not really needed to complete the puzzle. Also Rufus in today’s Guardian has a good one with several friendly anagrams. I know this will be spammed but thanks in advance to Jack for doing the honours.

    1. Sorry, Olivia – only just saw this in the spam bin. If I had to put money on it, I would guess that many of the Monday Times puzzles (including today’s) were also the work of Mr Squires.
  6. Pleasant start to the week with 13a an unusual construction I thought. I think the blogger has overcomplicated 3d. Not sure that OU has to stand for anything here.

    Not sure about the definition of plebeian as “common person”. i agree that is the common usage today, but in fact the plebeians held a powerful role in the Roman constitutional structure. There were plebeian tribunes for example, and emperors and consuls upset the plebeians at their peril.


    1. It’s true that OU doesn’t have to stand for anything as far as the basic wordplay is concerned, but for the overall clue construction one can’t just throw in random combinations of letters, and there needs to some sort of reasoning to give some credence to the surface reading. OU can stand for a number of things and the examples quoted by our blogger are excellent examples an they serve nicely to distract.

      Edited at 2016-02-29 02:23 pm (UTC)

  7. For once I solved this in order as each clue seemed clear. I just needed to think properly. As a result I was left with four in the SE corner which held me up a little.Last in was Chat Show.
    Some excellent clues and an enjoyable puzzle.Good to know that smart place can become scrap metal. David
    PS some time left to have a go at the main crossword.
    1. I should have mentioned earlier that today’s main cryptic is worth a go, though a couple of the parsings went completely over my head (general knowledge that I didn’t have) and I spent about a quarter of the solving time on my last two answers.
  8. Couldn’t get Perforce – but the cluing was legitimate.

    Damn nearly a pangram today – all but X


  9. A personal record for me today in 24 minutes. I never thought I would ever finish one of these, let alone in less that half an hour without recourse to anagram solving apps and other such aids. Once again thanks to all who contribute to this forum for the help they have provided from afar in getting me to this point. I will indeed try the 15 X 15 tonight as I am on a roll.
      1. I managed about half, which is extremely good for me. My target is still to complete one eventually but that is probably some way off. However, getting half the answers is better than many days when I can’t get going at all.
        1. Good stuff. The main cryptic is (almost always) harder than the Quick, but the gap will be bridged with practice. The important thing is not to get disheartened if you try a couple that thoroughly defeat you – just make sure to read the blogs to see the parsings. That way, the incremental learning process will continue and at some point solving the main cryptic will become a regular occurrence.
          1. Based on the QC bloggers encouragement I took a crack at the Big One today, made good progress. The QC is a great way to build your skills, and also indebted to the solutions posted here.
            1. Well done! Just keep at it. It’s the combination of i) practice, and ii) seeing the parsings of clues you don’t get, that will enable you to improve at solving.
  10. 31 mins here – so kind of average to tricky.

    The parsing of 13d had eluded me hence I’d biffed “PLAY BALL”, which led to EURO and the corrected version being my LOsI. I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to write the word “plebeian”, though if I have, I’m pretty sure I spelt it “plebian”, which caused some difficulty with 8a; I parsed it correctly, though “to” did cause confusion as noted in the blog. IF YOU ASK ME was also unparsed, and PERFORCE is a new one for me but gettable from wordplay.

  11. I am most grateful or the blogs and comments. I got most of it today but for a yachtsman “over and out” is a radio faux pas. You either want a reply in which case your transmission finishes “over” or you have your answer and are signing off in which case the transmission finishes “out”. Chris RS
  12. I got most of today’s big crossword including Benedict and Mastodon which others found difficult apparently.
    However I failed to deduce 5a, 10a, 13a, 8d, 6d, 16d and 26a so I still have some way to go. David
  13. Flew through most of this earlier on today with just 1a and 4d left. Finally got 1a this evening and chucked in 4d unparsed (and I thought I’d got over my issues with hidden words).

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