Quick Cryptic 656 by Orpheus

10 minutes to solve the crossword then and a lot more to follow up the various interesting leads into the English language. Highly enjoyable with nothing too difficult – thanks Orpheus.


1. Cathedral – diocesan church. Anagram (distributed) of HAD CLARET.
6. Ferry – used for crossing a river. Cook (FRY) around European (E) and river (R).
8. Allegedly – it’s claimed. Friend (ALLY) around support (LEG) and press chief (ED).
9. Raven – bird. Beginning to nod (N) after wild party (RAVE).
10. Inelegant – ungraceful. Anagram (new) of AGENT IN and (L)aussann(E).
12. Eleven – team. Even (EVEN) with ‘the’ in Spanish (EL) put first.
13. Minion – flunkey. Short garment (MINI), worn (ON). I half wondered if minion could also mean a short garment or a garment with the final letter missing but then I saw the word play.
16. Side-issue – it’s not the main point. Children (ISSUE) after team (SIDE).
18. Rabbi – Jewish scholar. Rhode Island (RI) holding a (A) and couple of bishops (BB).
19. Indo-China – Asian peninsula. My brief researches have only found this word un-hyphenated and defined as a peninsula in SE Asia, between India and China consisting of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Trendy (IN) and mate (CHINA) holding party (DO).
21. Tweak – jerk sharply. (T)oo, feeble (WEAK).
22. Gabardine – twill-woven cloth. I only knew the word as a coat but it is indeed a twill-weave worsted, cotton, or spun-rayon fabric. Notes (G and E) about a (A), poet (BARD), in (IN).


1. Cyanide – poison – seemingly very common in Agatha Christie’s day but you don’t see it around much nowadays. Some fan(CY AN IDE)al.
2. Teller – double definition.
3. Eagle – bird of prey. Endlessly keen (EAGEr) circling lake (L).
4. Rod – staff. Old (O) with way (road – RD) around it.
5. Lay it on thick – grossly exaggerate. Impasto is a paint applied thickly, so that brush and palette knife marks are evident.
6. For the asking – gratis. As (AS) inside ‘on behalf of the monarch’ (FOR THE KING).
7. Reverend – I wondered if rectors become reverends which would make this clue work very nicely. However it’s all a bit complicated – a rector has the right to the tithes of the church land, vicars and rectors are both priests which means they’re ordained. Reverend is a title for a vicar, reverend or priest. So reverend is simply a title which is the definition in this clue. The word play is (R)ectors, always (EVER), aim (END).
11. Amicable – showing friendly spirit. A (A), military intelligence (MI), telegram (CABLE).
14. Iterate – repeat. It (IT), at (AT), Jun(E) around hesitation (ER).
15. Assisi – St. Francis’s birthplace. Beast of burden (ASS), lives (IS) on island (I).
17. Incur – suffer. At home (IN), worthless dog (CUR).
20. Dab – fish. Rotten (BAD) brought upwards.

21 comments on “Quick Cryptic 656 by Orpheus”

  1. No stumbling blocks on this one as I recall; even spotted the hidden at 1d. A couple, like MINION and GABARDINE, I biffed and then solved. I’m sure I’ve seen INDOCHINA hyphenated sometimes, probably in older texts; I find that I’m often in disagreement with the setter on hyphenation, and it can slow one down. 4:20.
  2. I had AIMIABLE for AMICABLE, if fitted the three checkers, the definition and had MI in it, figured it was close enough. So MINION remained beyond me, despicable.
  3. 7 minutes but needed checkers and attention to wordplay to come up with the correct spelling of GABARDINE, a word that was bandied around in my childhood when discussing types of raincoat, but I’ve probably not thought of it again since.
  4. Mind all over the place on this one, TMI. Paused over TWEAK, as mentioned above. Remembered the last track on Bridge Over Troubled Water for 8d. Just noticed the reference to the alleged spy in America at 22ac too. Incidentally Chambers has GABERDINE as the more common spelling, though the wordplay is unambiguous. Making up clues as in title for 9ac, 18ac. Sub 5′ today, with a few seconds over kevin, thanks chris and Orpheus.
  5. This is the first time that I have ever finished a Times Quick Cryptic in ten minutes – fully parsed as well!
      1. Yes I was thinking that too. The definition is OK, but another more modern meaning is a gentle small change, i.e. improvement without massive disruption.
  6. Found this pretty straightforward until I came to my last 2 in, 6d and 22a, so I took a break and when I came back they fell into place. Total solving time was around 17 minutes.
  7. Don’t have a time for this due to numerous interruptions, but I thought it was of average difficulty, with a good mix of clue types. 11d and 22ac were my two favourites today. Put me down as another who thought that Tweak looked a bit odd. Invariant
  8. Had GABERDINE until I paid closer attention to the wordplay. Thanks Rob for at least vindicating my spelling, if not my solving.

    And thanks Orpheus and Chris as well.

  9. Don’t usually time myself on the Quick Cryptic, but with competition looming I thought I would. 2m 32s for this one.
  10. The above blog has end of June (E)around hesitation (ER), but the actual wording is “without hesitation” so just questioning whether this clue properly works? Thanks.
    1. Without is used here in the meaning of outside. In the same way one can be within, one can be without. I’ve seen this used in Cantebury – anything outside the city walls is described as without the walls.
      1. “There is a green hill far away, without a city wall…”

        Edited at 2016-09-13 01:20 pm (UTC)

  11. Stanly Gibbons catalogues referred INDO-CHINA although stamps from the former French Colony were not hyphenated thus INDO CHINE.

    The spelling GABARDINE was a worry but home in 8.30 – only six minutes less then the 2.32 – might you be the setter?

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Less or more? 🙂

      Just a quick /cough/ to lovely Chris that peninsulas, even hyphenated ones, don’t have an r in them.

      1. Wel, thank you. My typos are legendary. Spell checker fields quite a few of them – I’m surprised it didn’t provide a little more help on this one.

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