Quick Cryptic 545 by Teazel

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
It took me a while to get going on this one, with several of the across clues in particular bringing nothing to mind on first reading. Looking back, I’m not sure why that was but it made it that bit more satisfying when everything finally clicked into place. No obscure vocab in this one apart from possibly 19D, but the wordplay doesn’t admit any obvious alternatives. I liked the misleading axes in 8A and the usage of “put out feeler” in 12D.

Not being accustomed to seeing such things in a Quicky, I was somewhat taken aback on completion to find a Nina lurking in the grid – the first row spells out ARRANGED and the last NEUROSIS. The phrase ARRANGED NEUROSIS doesn’t seem to mean anything but, like any right-minded crossworder, I can’t see ARRANGED without thinking it’s some kind of anagram indicator, however the only anagram of NEUROSIS that Chambers comes up with is RESINOUS. Perhaps the Nina was simply a device employed by Teazel to help with the initial filling of the grid.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/timescrossword/20160411/14884/

Definitions are underlined.

3 Wander in the mountains (5)
RANGE – double definition, the first a verb the second a noun
7 Record-holder rolled up in warm weather? (6)
SLEEVE – double definition, referring to vinyl and shirts respectively
8 Picture gunmen surrounded by axes (1-3)
X-RAYRA (gunmen, i.e. the Royal Artillery) inside XY (axes, i.e. the axes on a two-dimensional graph)
9 A police check that gives crucial result (4,4)
ACID TESTA + CID (police) + TEST (check)
10 Nothing by writer is publicly accessible (4)
OPENO (Nothing) + PEN (writer)
11 Entertainer in revolt quits dancing (13)
VENTRILOQUIST – anagram (dancing) of IN REVOLT QUITS. Nice anagram.
15 On the border, welfare is a perk (6,7)
16 In cell, a malign priest (4)
LAMA – hidden (In) in celL A MAlign
18 Look determined: I’m expected at first to fall behind (4,4)
LOSE TIMELO (Look, as an interjection) + SET (determined) + I’M + E (expected at first, i.e. the first letter of “expected”)
20 Moorland is deadly (4)
FELL – double definition, the second perhaps most often seen in the phrase “one fell swoop”
21 Power in a simple electrical unit (6)
AMPEREP (Power) inside A + MERE (simple), for the SI unit of electric current
22 United in love, we make money on the continent (5)
EUROSU (United) in EROS (love). According to Chambers, love can mean the god of love, i.e. Eros/Cupid.
1 Thoroughly understood there is no danger (3,5)
ALL CLEARALL (Thoroughly) + CLEAR (understood)
2 Cause distress to Republican, on purpose (4)
RENDR (Republican) + END (purpose)
3 Give new meaning to stop sign, with ultimately severe penalty (8)
REDEFINERED (stop sign) + E (ultimately severe, i.e. the last letter of “severe”) + FINE (penalty)
4 Following, cross, into trap (4)
NEXTX (cross) into NET (trap)
5 Trade fair certain to get publicity (8)
EXPOSUREEXPO (Trade fair) + SURE (certain)
6 Made out pantomime figure (4)
DAME – anagram (out) of MADE
12 Having a number to deal with, king put out feeler (8)
TENTACLETEN (a number) + TAC{k}LE (to deal with, king put out, i.e. “tackle” (to deal with) without the K (king)). The most complex clue in the puzzle.
13 Abroad as ever so horrible (8)
OVERSEAS – anagram (horrible) of AS EVER SO. Another good surface.
14 Shines faintly, being hot, and cooks gently all round (8)
SHIMMERSH (hot) with SIMMERS (cooks gently) around it
17 Answer people, having the last word (4)
AMENA (Answer) + MEN (people)
18 Den left impression (4)
LAIRL (left) + AIR (impression)
19 Pith helmet, best one (4)
TOPITOP (best) + I (one). As worn by, say, Lofty in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Perhaps not that common a word, but those in possession of an elephantine memory may recall that it came up in Quicky 220 at the beginning of last year.

18 comments on “Quick Cryptic 545 by Teazel”

  1. 35 minutes – a bit longer than average. Nothing especially tricky, but challenging enough to engage the grey matter. LOI was FELL, which had me going through the alphabet, as the second meaning isn’t very obvious.

    Incidentally, what’s the origin of the term “Nina” for hidden words?

    1. horryd’s comment below gives the background to the term Nina. Apart from hidden words, it’s also sometimes used more broadly to describe puzzles with a hidden theme, e.g. no occurrences of the letter E in the grid, or every across answer contains repeated vowels, or several answers are names of literary pigs, etc. The Times2 Concise puzzle contains a Nina/theme every day but we don’t often see them in the main cryptic or Quicky. They’re more common in the Indy/Guardian/FT cryptics and I think the Telegraph Concise has one at least once a week.

      Edited at 2016-04-11 08:43 am (UTC)

  2. 10:48 – not great.

    Albert “Al” Hirschfeld (June 21, 1903 – January 20, 2003) was an American caricaturist best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.
    He had a daughter called NINA – from c.1945 he would hide her name within his drawings – often more than once. A series of his philatelic charicatures of famous Americans stamps all have NINAS.

    NINA appears to have been adopted recently as the name for the same phenomenon in Crosswords. The first known example was back in July 1967 Biddlecombe) but when the word was adopted is far more recent.

    I rarely spot’em! Just last week some eagle-eyed blogger noticed that the alternative latters of two desecenders spelt out TABLE TENNIS TABLE! This must add huge difficulty to the setter’s task and a FRANKLIN would have to be used for the construction.

    Will somebody please invent the FREDERIK so that NINA has a companion!?

    horryd Shanghai

  3. A slow start for me, too, followed by a slow finish trying to get the last couple. VENTRILOQUIST took me too much time to get, and then I typed an O for the first I, making 3d difficult until I finally noticed. I was reluctant to type in REND, because the definition seemed off; the only ‘distress’ usage I can think of is with the heart. And ‘It rends my heart’ means (metaphorically) it tears my heart, i.e. it distresses ME. I liked X-RAY and especially TENTACLE. 6:48.
  4. Like our blogger I took a while to get going on this one so I was surprised to find that I had completed the grid in a few seconds under 10 minutes. Missed the Nina.
  5. Today’s main cryptic is at the easy end of the scale so Quicky solvers should definitely give it a go.
  6. this was a nice crossword, quite neat; not hard but it still took me about the same time as today’s cryptic, which was very easy indeed, so anyone interested in trying out the main crossword should have a go at it..

  7. Seldom do I finish a Teazel in a single session, so either this was one of his easier offerings or I am slowly getting on to his (or her?) wavelength. Thought 8ac was a lovely clue with both axes and gunmen to mislead the unwary.
  8. Finished in 15 mins but put in X-ray without seeing why. Will take the advice and try the main crossword
  9. Done over breakfast my quickest teazel effort I must be getting on his wavelength…..axes delightfully wicked
  10. A good start to the week, completed in around 30 minutes, but with a couple unparsed – 18a and I wasn’t sure about the deadly part of fell either.
    I think it will be a long time before I’ll be spotting Ninas and other hidden things as I’m usually just chuffed to have finished the puzzle.
  11. I knew Fell for moorland so wrote it in;I will look up the deadly part.Topi was obscure but gettable. A good challenge this. The two long clues across (11 and 15) I got quickly but I ended up needing four: 8a, 20a, 21a and 5d . LOI was 8a, an excellent clue. I liked 13d amongst others. 26 minutes. David
    1. Clearly not read the Lord of the Rings! Black riders, amongst other things, were fell ..
  12. I’ve been doing the concise crossword for years and never knew anything about Ninas! Thanks for the info.
    Finished the quickie in about 15 mins so will now take solvers’ advice and try the main crossword.


    1. I don’t know if you are a member of the online Times Crossword Club but every day, just after midnight UK time when the crosswords become available, there seems to be an unofficial competition to see who can identify the concise crossword Nina first. Today’s, for example, is in the first, middle, and last columns. Though generally you can complete the puzzle in blissful ignorance of the Nina, sometimes if you see it before you’ve finished solving then it can help with the remaining answers.
  13. I completed quite quickly today -25 mins – which is a good start to the week. X-ray and Tentacle went in without proper parsing and I had to check that Lama and Topi were is fact real words which the clues were leading me to. Now I know why X-ray is the answer I think it’s my COD! I’ll take the recommendation and have a go at the 15×15 later.
  14. Having a maths degree I immediately read axes in the geometric sense. But was it to be the x- y- or z- axis? Great clue with fabulous surface reading
  15. 40 mins while on a flight to China. Top half was fast, the two 13 letter clues slowed me down, and had to guess TOPI, was severely tempted to put KEPI in there. 12d COD, and LOI was 20a. I had XMEN for X-RAY for a bit, as didn’t read ‘axes’ correctly. Another nice clue.

Comments are closed.