Quick Cryptic 631 by Tracy

14 minutes for me for what seemed a good QC level. Plenty to work out (a few put-this-inside-that clues) plus a couple of good old fashioned terms but nothing too devious. Thanks, Tracy.


8. Algebra – one may be taught this at school. A, anagram (broken) of LEG, support (BRA).
9. Noose – snare. Anagram (wild) of ONE SO.
10. Lance – weapon. (C)rew inside LANE.
11. Gallery – balcony. Anagram (in need of repair) of LARGELY.
12. Heartless – unfeeling. HE, lacking finesse (ARTLESS).
14. Aft – behind (nautically). A, short distance (foot – FT).
16. Odd – peculiar in appearance. Old (O), Doctor of divinity (DD).
18. Ursa Major – stars. King (Rex – R) inside USA, important (MAJOR).
21. Brother – comrade. Run (R) inside trouble (BOTHER).
22. Fives – ball game – a ball game similar to squash but played with bats or the hands. Loudly (fortissimo forte – F), I’VE, (S)houted.
23. Tie in – relation. Secure (TIE), home (IN).
24. Acclaim – enthusiastic approval. A, key (C), declaration (CLAIM).


1. Ballyhoo – uproar. LOI and COD on the basis that it’s a great word in itself and for the deceptive ‘taken in by’. Everyone (ALL) taken inside BY, most of band (HOO)p.
2. Agenda – programme. Old (AGED) and article (A) around (N)ature.
3. Able – talented. Porter (ALE) around book (B).
4. Wangle – manipulate. Women’s (W), point of view (ANGLE).
5. Uncle Sam – ‘the US government’. Anagram (altered) of MANS CLUE.
6. Bodega – wine shop in Madrid. Fellow (BOD), for example (EG), A.
7. Deny – refuse. Private room (DEN), sculler(Y).
13. Touching – double definition. Moving – emotionally. About – on the subject of.
15. Tiresome – trying. Anagram (out) of MORE TIES.
17. Drover – cattle dealer. (D)ou(R), in the past (OVER).
19. Serial – TV soap perhaps. Anagram (oddly) of ISRAEL. I was trying to pick out the odd letters of iSrAeL for a while.
20. Jovial – jolly. Jack (J), over (O), bottle (VIAL).
21. Both – the pair. In Ca(BOT H)ouse.
22. Dial – face. Female (F), expert (ACE).

15 comments on “Quick Cryptic 631 by Tracy”

  1. A few clues short of a solve. Could not get past Hullabaloo for 1d, but did not see its twin, BALLYHOO. Fives is a bit Old Etonian for me, not widely played in the Northern Comprehensives. COD 18a, nice surface and well put together.
  2. Biffed BALLYHOO with the aid of a checker or two but the parsing eluded me until the grid was complete. 7 minutes for this puzzle.

    One tiny detail, Chris, F (loudly) stands for “forte”, “fortissimo” would be FF.

  3. Had never seen DROVER as the cattle dealer, more like one who drives the steers, but it’s in the Concise Oxford, though not in Chambers. Parsing of 1d eluded me too. Liked WANGLE. 7’26”, thanks chris and Tracy.
  4. A DNF in 30 minutes, with 4D, 12A, and 13D unsolved. I think that if I’d got one I’d have finished. I biffed ASS for14A and was quite disappointed when it didn”t work!
  5. As with quite a few of Tracy’s puzzles, just finishing is reward in itself. 45 mins puts it towards the harder end for me, though solving and parsing 1d took ages along the way. I thought 6d and 22ac were a bit specialised for a QC, but the cluing was reasonable. Invariant
  6. Nearly put Fangle at 4d and needed to give this my full attention. All done in 20 minutes today. Favourite clues 8a and 18a. Thanks Blogger and Setter. David
  7. As normal things are tricky with Tracy. Really struggled to finish 1, 2, 3 downs. Could guess the words but my parsing was not quite right. How many times do I forget that porter = ale? Anyway thanks Tracy for the challenge and Chris for the enlightenment.
  8. This ‘one seemed to suit with a steady solve in about 30 minutes. Knew drover at 17d due to our welsh connection , where the term is well known. Thanks to Tracy and blog. Elin and Ian
  9. DNF for me today. I was defeated by 6d – I’ve always wondered what a bodega was when I heard the expression in US films. With hindsight (the blog) I can see that it was fairly clued so I should have got it. Like others I failed to parse 1d but it’s a great word and therefore gets my COD.
  10. I too struggled with 6d as it was not a word I knew. I tried Donega as fellow is often don. The whole thing took over an hour but I don’t know why as there weren’t other unfamiliar words.
  11. I too have never heard of bodega. So i assumed wrongly that a fellow was a don, and entered donega.
    Otherwise enjoyable.
  12. yes, agree it was tricky but got there in the end – except for 23a tie in – where I opted for tie on (in desperation). Twin CODs today – 18a ursa major and 6d bodega, both very satisfying to get right without much struggle.
  13. My £10 investment in the Wine Society 30 odd years ago continues to pay dividends. . . 😊 Invariant
  14. I too have never heard of bodega. So i assumed wrongly that a fellow was a don, and entered donega.
    Otherwise enjoyable.

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