Quick Cryptic 591 by Teazel

As Jackt said yesterday, the QC should cater for varying levels of solver skill but I feel that Teazel has teased us a little too much today. On their own, several unusual vocabulary/pieces of general knowledge (gettable from the clues) would have been enough but to combine that with the excellent (for a 15×15) 8dn was, I feel, a step too far to qualify for the ‘Q’ in QC. Having said that I really enjoyed this but then I’ve been around the block a bit.
15 minutes – the last 4-5 on 8dn because I just couldn’t see it coming.

1. Visage – face. VISA with say (EG) reversed.
2. Mend – fix. MEN, (D)emand.
9. Toothache – the pain one has when one of your pearls (teeth) is damaged. I haven’t heard set of pearls=teeth before and can’t find it in a casual look up but it’s pretty obvious.
10. Gap – space. Most of ‘drop jaw’ (GAP)e.
11. Sponge finger – something to eat. Wash cursorily (SPONGE), part of hand (FINGER). Gettable but the ‘cursorily’ just make this harder without adding anything.
13. Collie – dog. Runs (R) missing from miner (COLLIE)r.
15. Meddle – interfere. Homophone of gong – medal.
17. Butcher’s Hook – look in Cockney rhyming slang. This is what a carcase can hang on.
20. Ayr – Scottish town. A year (A YR).
21. No contest – walkover. Not a Tory (NO CON), trial (TEST).
22. Done – having finished. Teacher (DON), leav(E).
23. Tender – vehicle full of fuel. Anagram (out) of RENTED.

1. Veto – don’t allow. Surgeon (VET) on top of round (O).
2. Stoup – small basin of holy water. Drink (SUP) around TO.
3. Go hand in hand – have strong association. Work (GO), if you’re carrying bananas you may have a HAND of bananas IN your HAND.
5. Engaged – double definition.
6. Departed – double definition.
7. Screw – British slang salary, wages, or earnings. Small (S), team (CREW).
8. Regime Change – coup. Emigre is an anagram (change the letters of) regime – so could stand for (be) regime change.
12. Scabbard – sword is thrust into this. Strike breaker (SCAB), pale (DRAB) upwards (turning over).
14. Lateran – also called: Lateran palace a palace in Rome, formerly the official residence of the popes. Delayed (LATE), manage (RAN).
16. Grace – girl. Good (G), contest (RACE).
18. Oread – Greek mythology a mountain nymph. P(O)o(R) r(E)w(A)r(D).
18. Star – famous actor. Steady gaze (STAR)e with the final letter dropped.

25 comments on “Quick Cryptic 591 by Teazel”

  1. I’ve never heard ‘pearl’ for tooth, but ‘pearly whites’ for teeth, yes (cf. ‘Mack the Knife’: Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear/And he keeps them pearly white). DNK SPONGE FINGER; whether sponging is cursory or not may be subject to debate; I’ll be curious to see if others felt like Chris that ‘cursorily’ didn’t help, or even hurt. I blush to admit that I biffed REGIME CHANGE without appreciating the wordplay. 5:02.
    1. I felt that cursorily was not necessary, but if used, was in the wrong place. It should have been Wash cursorily… Otherwise one is looking for something after the finger, or connected to the answer.
  2. Agree today was at the more challenging end of the scale. REGIME CHANGE LOI also. Banged in STOUP then spent ages worrying about it. A ‘set of pearls’ is a string, so more delay. Will be interesting to see beginners’ ractions. 9’08” today. Thanks setter for a challenge, and thanks blogger.
    1. I’m a beginner (1 year or so, slow learner!). My method is to allow three sweeps of the clues, maybe spread over an hour or so to let my unconscious work on them, enough to get aroound 75% normally, then look up the answers. Saves getting stuck, and tones down competitive juices.

      I get the biggest kick from clues that seem obvious when you see the answer. RegimeChange is brilliant. So are ButchersHook and GoHandInHand.

      Stoup, Tender, Lateran, Screw – too obscure for my taste.


      1. I am also a beginner

        I got regime change, sponge finger and tender quite quickly, but laterun and oread took a while – I have never heard of either, and I had STOIP for 2d (Sip + to) which fits just as well if you have never heard of the answer, and toyed with soup for the drink.

        I too have never heard of pearls for teeth or screw for pay, perhaps they are regional, and/or very dated, I have only ever lived in the south, and a whippersnapper at 60.

        Total 20 mins with one wrong.

        Edited at 2016-06-14 11:38 am (UTC)

  3. I also felt this was maybe a little tricky for a QC in a couple of places especially the unknown 14dn which was gettable from wordplay and checkers. Good puzzle though, and it delayed me only 8 minutes.

    Edited at 2016-06-14 08:44 am (UTC)

  4. The basis of my Mum’s culinary skills was 11ac SPONGE FINGER s which were first item in for a trifle.

    I recall a baby’s tooth being referred to as ‘a pearl’.

    I would imagine that 17ac BUTCHER’S HOOK might cause trouble in some quarters.

    For me 12.43 so not the easiest DNK 14dn LATERAN.

    horryd Shanghai

  5. I thought that was worthy of an ordinary Times crossword ; very hard for beginners.
  6. I found this the hardest quickie I have ever completed. Having been doing them for a couple of years, my supreme goal is to complete before a cup of black coffee goes cold. Today was definitely over an hour and involved resorting to Crossword Solver for help with two clues – screw, which I should have got and tender, where I never suspected an anagram. DM

  7. Although DNF because couldn’t think why screw = pay. Something learned, I suppose.

    I like crossword clues where you have to drag the knowledge – somehow acquired – out of the deepest recesses of the mind. So it was with “Lateran”.

  8. First one I haven’t been able to finish for a while.
    Stuffed on stoup, screw and toothache.

    No complaints though. Good to be challenged.

    The hardest thing I find is changing the way you look at a clue: having decided it’s an anagram, or a double def or whatever it’s then very hard to see it in any other light.

    1. I agree – the ones that take longest are the ones where I make a false assumption.

      When QC started there was a guide which had 9 possible ways a crossword clue can work, I try to scroll through all of them if a clue is not immediately obvious. I don’t think it had &lit though as per yesterday,

  9. I found this a fair challenge with words unknown to me (stoop, screw, Lateran, oread) quite gettable from the respective clues. I allow myself to check the meanings online when I’m fairly sure I have ‘decrypted’ the word but don’t know it’s meaning (or context eg screw for pay). That way I can both learn and finish the puzzle! In the past I would have labelled this unfair for a QC but I have reached a happy compromise with myself by checking online when necessary and not feeling like I am cheating.
  10. Wow this was a tough battle for me. Did not know LATERAN, OREAD or STOUP but pencilled them in from the rest of the clues. Not sure why it took me soooo long to get SPONGE FINGER though. I never did like them anyway.
  11. Regime change was absolutely fine, but others were hard – lateran, screw, stoup. But it’s good to be challenged a bit more. I have progressed to the stage where I usually find the Quick fairly straightforward while the regular crossword is usually beyond me.
  12. Our first dnf for a long time. Like others found Lateran and Oread bit obscure even though we had parsed them. Put in the first but not the second which led to our problems in that sw corner.
    Should have more faith in our parsing!!
  13. I expect to complete the QCs in reasonable times these days. This was the stiffest test I can remember for ages. I had about half done in 45 minutes then put it away for further consideration. This puzzle reminded me of the Saturday puzzles which I attempt to test progress. There were several unknowns to me and I made a number of errors which did not help; 1d Band, 17a Butchers Shop, 8d Office + something.
    However I persevered and now see I got it right. New to me : Stoup (LOI) and Lateran and Butcher’s Hook for that matter. Time – long.
    A very severe test but rewarding in the end. David
  14. A toughie, but all totally fair, had to go out before blog was posted so a bit late with this. We need a hard one every so often, if they were all easy it would be boring. 8a is worthy of the 15×15 and my COD. DNK LATERAN but with word and checkers play was obvious.
    Sponge fingers are an abomination and their addition to a trifle should result in a day in the stocks.
    Nice blog and thank you Teazel, I enjoyed that one.
  15. I think I must be on a different wavelength to others having struggled yesterday (when others didn’t) I found this one quite straightforward – completed in 15 minutes. The unknown words in 2d, 7d (LOI), 14d and 18d were clued in such a way that the answers kind of jumped out at me and for once i decided to trust myself. COD 8d
  16. DNF with ‘stoup’ and ‘screw’ unknown. A few words that I have learnt (oread, Lateran, tender) but all get table through wordplay. Did make an early error by putting ‘finger buffet’ as my answer – with finger [part of hand], buff [to clean] and et [before Eating This], but noticed the mistake when I couldn’t get any other clues to fit. Enjoyed the challenge today though!

    Edited at 2016-06-14 06:02 pm (UTC)

  17. Did anyone else put finger buffet for 11 across. Finger(part of hand) Buff (wash) before Eating This (ET)
  18. Agree that this was a hard one, and I was way off. SCREW for money? Never heard that one. Also didn’t see TOOTHACHE as was working on ‘string’ as the term for a ‘set of pearls’. STOUP, not known even after trying various ways of using ‘sup’, and finally, ‘hand’ means bananas? Got LATERAN and OREAD, but come on Teazel, this one was really a stretch for QC-ers.

    Edited at 2016-06-14 08:35 pm (UTC)

  19. In Teazel’s defence, there’s no rule that says QCs have to be finishable and non-stretching.

    I got stuck in the NW corner, with TOOTHACHE, SCREW, STOUP, and SPONGE FINGER. Revealing SCREW allowed me to get the latter two. I don’t think I’d ever have got SCREW, since it does not mean “pay” in my universe.

  20. Doesn’t the ‘pay’ of 7d actually mean ‘to make someone pay’ in the spiteful sense? because you then ‘screw them for a few quid’

    I found this too hard. Also the printed edition differs on 2d:

    Drink, going across to basin.

    Arguably harder without the word ‘holy’ in it.

Comments are closed.