Quick Cryptic 632 by Hawthorn

I don’t recall having the pleasure of blogging a Hawthorn puzzle before – but based on this offering, I certainly hope to have the opportunity of doing so again in the future.

Very enjoyable with some nice splashes of wit (particularly enjoyed 6d), no obscure GK (provided you were paying attention during history lessons covering the Tudor era), neat and economical clue constructions and a nice array of clue types.

Top notch QC, I reckon, so many thanks to our setter.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–): letters omitted indicated by {-}

1 Contact Queen following introduction to prime minister (8)
PREACHER – REACH (contact) + ER (queen) come after (following) P (introduction to Prime)
5 Flower discovered in Fair Isle (4)
IRIS – Hidden (indicated by ‘discovered in’) faIR ISle
8 Film award for Mr Hammerstein? (5)
OSCAR – DD, with a reference to the great Oscar Hammerstein who was responsible (amongst many terrific lyrics) for ‘The Lonely Goatherd’, a personal fave due to it’s fantastic rhyming (searching for rhymes with ‘goatherd’, he came up with several crackers including ‘men in the midst of a table d’hote heard’). Pure genius…
9 Alleged grass gets put inside (7)
REPUTED – REED (grass) with PUT inside, just like our setter says…
11 Towering form of ominous aunt (11)
MOUNTAINOUS – *(OMINOUS AUNT) with “form of” as the anagrind. Sounds like a Wodehouse character…
13 Some jocularity concerning sightseers, perhaps (6)
OCULAR – Hidden inside (indicated by ‘some’) jOCULARity
14 Meet eccentric around place or house of worship (6)
TEMPLE – *(MEET) – with “eccentric” as the anagrind – ‘around’ PL (abbrev. place)
16 Keep mum in supportive braces for lower-leg complaint (4,7)
SHIN SPLINTS – SH (keep mum) + IN + SPLINTS (supportive braces). My last one in, probably because I’ve never had the misfortune to suffer from this ailment and it is just not on my radar, and I was convinced “keep mum” was the definition. Only finally worked it out with all the checkers in place.
18 Leader means to make progress (7)
HEADWAY – HEAD (leader) + WAY (means – as in ‘is there a way / means to achieving this?’)
19 Girl’s legwear (5)
JEANS – Straightforward DD…
20 Release without charge (4)
FREE – …and another generous DD
21 Cape on Lady Jane displaying dull quality (8)
GREYNESS – NESS (cape) goes after (on) Lady Jane GREY, the “queen for nine days” who I’ve always thought had a pretty rough deal
1 Kitty in a puddle (4)
POOL – And another DD
2 Get in touch after divorced spouse cast out of Church (13)
EXCOMMUNICATE – COMMUNICATE (get in touch) comes ‘after’ EX (divorced spouse)
3 Tool for slicing item of junk mail was put into reverse (8,3)
CIRCULAR SAW – CIRCULAR (item of junk mail) + WAS ‘put in reverse’
4 Mistakes unusually rare: thanks! (6)
ERRATA – *(RARE) – with “unusually” as the anagrind – plus TA (thanks)
6 Milestone to one side of alleyway read out (4,2,7)
RITE OF PASSAGE – Very droll cryptic homophone – “right of passage” being “one side of alleyway”.
7 Miss start of show despite being organised (8)
SIDESTEP – S (start – first letter – of Show) + *(DESPITE) with “being organised” as the anagrind
10 Group of lions added to Ms Adamson’s personal delight (5,3,3)
PRIDE AND JOY – PRIDE (group of lions) + AND (added to) + JOY (Joy Adamson, she of ‘Born Free’ – the ’60’s book and movie about Elsa the lion cub so the whole clue ties together very neatly). For anyone of my vintage this was a lovely clue – those lucky enough to be somewhat younger might be struggling with the reference…
12 Cook focuses hard for his assistant? (4-4)
SOUS CHEF – *(FOCUSES) – with “cook” as the anagrind – and H (abbrev. hard) also thrown into the mix
15 Actor quietly put on coat (6)
PLAYER – P(quietly) + LAYER (coat)
17 Like the present given by a little sibling (2,2)
AS IS – A + SIS (a little sister). Nice neat clue to finish.

28 comments on “Quick Cryptic 632 by Hawthorn”

  1. A very enjoyable offering set by the Puzzles Editor with two standout clues for me, at 6dn and 10dn. Put me down as another who’d never heard specifically of SHIN SPLINTS, but the wordplay was helpful. 11 minutes.
    1. Fast bowlers all seem to suffer from shin splints. No idea why, but that’s why the expression was known to me.
  2. Yes, a very good puzzle indeed, with 1a first to be looked at and nearly last to be entered (1d took that honour).

    Your reflections, Nick, on the two 60s (sort of) clues (referencing The Sound of Music and Born Free) sent me back 15 years or so, when these were two of the films I bought for my toddler to watch.

    While the former became an enormous hit with her – and perhaps contributed to her passion for musical theatre – Born Free left her cold. As did The Incredible Journey.

    O tempora, O mores!

  3. DNF due to 1a and 1d. SHIN SPLINTS caused trouble, as ‘silent’ could be squeezed into the checkers, I was also trying to get ‘ma’ in there as well. I also liked 6d. Why does Cape = ‘NESS’?
    1. You may have heard of Orford Ness? Dungeness? or the cape crusader – Eliot Ness?

      Excellent crossword, by the way.

  4. 20 minutes here. I was aware of Born Free but didn’t remember It was Joy Adamson until I’d got the answer. My present day children also love The Sound Of Music.

    I wasn’t sure about Cape=Ness either but assume it’s geographical feature as in Loch Ness?

    LOI also 1 ac, struggled to get past the surface of cabinet minister

    1. Please see above. Loch Ness presumably takes its name from the River Ness and it seems there’s no “headland” connection.
  5. This one was a real peach of a QC. And like Ulaca, 1ac was one of my LOI.

    About 12 – 15 mins.

  6. An excellent puzzle today with great humour in places. I particularly like the construction on 12d – very clever. Under 30 mins for me today which is pleasing.
  7. Enjoyable crosswords, and thanks for the blog. Slightly odd one for me today, finished in 10:14, which is a good time for me, but never really felt like it was straightforward so was quite surprised to see the time.
  8. I must have been on the right wavelength today as this was one of my quickest ever efforts. 6dn was my COD – loved it.
    A Ness is an alternative word for a cape in Scotland. I am sure that I remember Cape Ness being one of the areas listed in the shipping forecasts when I was a kid so it came straightaway. I realise now that it is not one area but two, one called cape and one called ness that happen to be next to one another.
  9. Under 5′ today, helped by all the longest answers. As noted, PRIDE AND JOY COD. Not sure if I suffered from SHIN SPLINTS, but certainly had sore shins after attempting the high hurdles at school. Can I put in a shout-out for Shoeburyness and Sheerness as well as the aforementioed Dungeness, all not Scots? Thanks nick and Hawthorn.
  10. I’m still tuning into Hawthorn’s wavelength, so this was a slow start, but then things got a little easier and I finished in about 35 mins. I thought all of the long down clues were really good, with 6d just ahead at the line for my CoD.
    I remember being taken by my parents to watch the SofM when I was 12 and hated it, but they must have re-edited it, because I think it’s one of the best ever musicals now. . . Invariant
  11. 13 minutes here. My sad lacking in the literature department meant that the 10dn and 21ac crossing caused a hold up. This was offset by my involvement in youth football which gave me knowledge of (but no personal suffering from) shin splints and, for no reason other than to further enrich an already resplendent blog, I give you Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) – affecting the knees rather than the shins.
  12. As others have said a very enjoyable puzzle, completed in 18 minutes. LOI 1a and count me as another who enjoyed 6 & 10d.
  13. Painful memories from my fast bowling days. Did I really reel off twenty overs into the wind on a regular basis?
    6.59 today but it felt longer as I jumped around the grid a bit.
  14. I thought this was excellent. Slightly surprised no one has picked out 3d as COD. That was mine at least. Fred
  15. I agree that this was an excellent puzzle. It took me 9 minutes which was pleasing as I had been up to 15 the last few days. Like jackkt I particularly enjoyed 6 and 10 down but I had heard of shin splints having enthusiastic footballers in my son and one of the daughters. Last one in was preacher which I made heavy weather of.
  16. A lot of this went in quickly and I was only held up at the end by 1d and 1a. So just over 10 minutes to get that far. A further 8 or 9 to put in Pool, then reject Preacher ( which I could see fitted) and look for something meaning Contact. I considered a word starting Peel for a time. Anyway I was generally on the right wavelength for this enjoyable puzzle. David
  17. A lot of this went in quickly and I was only held up at the end by 1d and 1a. So just over 10 minutes to get that far. A further 8 or 9 to put in Pool, then reject Preacher ( which I could see fitted) and look for something meaning Contact. I considered a word starting Peel for a time. Anyway I was generally on the right wavelength for this enjoyable puzzle. David
  18. Lovely crossword loi 1a in about 15mins
    Ness appears to be a SE term. Two I know from personal experience are shoeburyness in essex and dungeness in kent, both very much bottom right hand corner of the country
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