Quick Cryptic 659 by Pedro

Nice medium difficulty puzzle I think, though other opinions are, as always, very welcome.  Took me just over seven minutes.

A quick word today on definitions.  The key to finding the solution to a cryptic clue is identifying the definition, but that’s not always easy for the inexperienced solver.  The secret is to not be seduced by the smoothly deceptive surface, and to just follow the basics.

Take today’s puzzle for example.  Of the 24 clues on offer, 23 of them have a one or two word definition.  And in all 23 cases, that definition is either at the very start or very end of the clue.  Everything else is wordplay.  So there’s the key, hidden in plain view!  Simple, right?  Yeah, nah.

Another interesting feature today was the scarcity of anagrams.  Just one, and even that was only partial, accounting for less than half the answer to 17ac.

Anyway, enough waffling, let’s just thank the setter and get on with it.  Thanks Pedro.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’.

1 Manage the fifth policeman? (4)
COPE – Well, the fifth policeman could be referred to as COP “E”.  I guess.
Would the 25th policeman be a fake?  Discuss.
3 Inadequate way name gets recalled (8)
PATHETIC – PATH (way) + ETIC [cite (name) “recalled”]
8 Kitchen item? Love tucking into sample (7)
TOASTER – O (love) in TASTER (sample)
10 Superhero sidekick runs over by trash can (5)
ROBIN – R (runs) + O (over) + BIN (trash can)
11 Think to study model (11)
CONTEMPLATE – CON (study) + TEMPLATE (model)
‘Con’ meaning ‘study’ is an archaic definition, but in Crosswordland it has been preserved in amber.
13 Second pouch containing one artwork (6)
MOSAIC – MO (second) + SAC (pouch) “containing” I (one)
I think MO was on my list of crossword standards that appeared in the last Quicky I blogged.
15 I seek advice, ditching company for rude behaviour (6)
INSULT – I + NSULT [CONSULT (seek advice), “ditching” CO (company)]
17 Ill-advised union is blocking shops — a nice upset (11)
MISALLIANCE – IS “blocking” MALL (shops) + (A NICE)*
20 Weapon cops initially found in road (5)
LANCE – C (cops initially) found in LANE (road)
21 Stage? Run out and play guitar (7)
ROSTRUM – RO (run out, in cricket) + STRUM (play guitar)
22 Gives notice of speed in flight area (8)
AIRSPACE – AIRS (gives notice of) + PACE (speed)
23 Try to show endless concern (4)
HEAR – HEART (concern)
Wasn’t sure about ‘heart’ for ‘concern’.  I guess it’s in the sense of “have some heart for whoever’s playing the All Blacks this weekend”.
1 Pet getting a groom in caves (8)
CATACOMB – CAT (pet) + A + COMB (groom)
I once confessed in one of these blogs to hating cats.  Won’t make that mistake again.
2 Man on board catching river shellfish (5)
PRAWN – PAWN (man on board) “catching” R (river)
The board in question being a chess board, obviously.
4 Sudden pressure in routine, following sailor (6)
ABRUPT – P (pressure) in RUT (routine), following AB (sailor)
AB is an abbreviation for Able Seaman, and definitely one for the list of standards.  ‘Sailor’ can also commonly clue tar, jack and salt.
5 How tough could a manicure be? (4,2,5)
HARD AS NAILS – Cryptic def
6 Picture Bill going over the water to France (7)
TABLEAU – TAB (bill) + L’EAU (French for “the water”)
Not sure what “going over” is doing here.  It’s either an error or I’ve mis-parsed the clue.  No doubt there will be enlightenment (or outrage) in the comments. On edit:  Of course, this is a down clue, so “going over” just means “on top of”.  Thanks Horryd, Adrian and Kevin for pointing out the obvious.  Well, obvious to everyone except me apparently.  I was looking for some sort of reversal.  D’oh.
7 Individual in pursuit of cold ice-cream (4)
CONE – C (cold) + ONE (individual)
9 Detective fiction providing extended relaxation? (3,3,5)
THE BIG SLEEP – slightly cryptic secondary definition
A novel by Raymond Chandler.
12 Ship carrying right pennant (8)
STREAMER – STEAMER (ship) “carrying” R (right)
14 Discussion group in Iran I messed up, partially (7)
SEMINAR – Reverse hidden (“up, partially”) in (iRAN I MESsed)
16 Minister, say, curtailed action by computer user without hesitation (6)
CLERIC – CLIC [CLICK (action by computer user), “curtailed”] “without” ER (hesitation)
18 Courage still kept up to protect Queen (5)
NERVE – NEVE [EVEN (still) “kept up”] “protecting” R (Queen)
19 Request power, having cut electrical conductor (4)
PLEA – P (power) + LEA [LEAD (electrical conductor), “cut”]

40 comments on “Quick Cryptic 659 by Pedro”

  1. Thanks. “Going over” just relates the position in the answer, no?

    I can’t believe I did the same as yesterday: got stuck on a final clue (23ac) and when I biffed something the website kept saying that I still had a mistake. And eventually I noticed that I’d written *MOSIAC 🙁 3ac.

    Time for 9dn.

    1. Yes, of course, makes sense in a down clue. Thanks Adrian. I guess I wasn’t looking at the grid when I wrote up the blog.
    2. I trust you haven’t read 9d, Adrian, or you wouldn’t say “Time for 9dn”! Certainly not over a mere typo.
  2. Took me a while to get 11ac, even with the checkers. As horryd and Adrian point out, ‘going over’ means, well, ‘going over’. What I wondered about is ‘to’: l’eau is the water IN France, but to? Perhaps ‘to the French’ or ‘to Jacques’ would have been better? I liked 15ac; I don’t seem to recall seeing a ‘for’=substitution clue in a Quickie. They used to throw me with depressing regularity in the 15x15s. 6:17.
    1. But it’s not a substitution clue is it Kevin? It’s a deletion clue. “For” is just there to link the wordplay to the definition.
      1. You see why they threw me? Now I see them where they aren’t even there. Of course you’re right; when I solved, I thought ‘aha! “for”!” and didn’t bother to read more carefully.
        1. They’re sneaky these setters. Like when they write “going over”, and what they actually mean is “going over”.
  3. is an Egyptian Christian.

    8.30 for a hedium strenth brew.

    Going over = infront of TAB – L’EAU


    horryd Shanghai

  4. For 16 down, I understand click curtailed is clic. But why is it “without” ER rather than “with” because we add it to clic?


    1. “Without” in the sense of “outside”, flashman.

      As in, “your limousine awaits without”.

      1. Thanks, really helpful blog.

        I took over an hour and found it quite hard, but finished eventually. Starting to remember obscure words like con helps a lot.

        Even things like try=hear take a while to click!

        My only cheating today was using the check function on the website!

  5. Well, you did better than me, Gallers – I came here to find out what the L was doing in the clue in the first place!

    First one of these I’ve done for a while, finishing with INSULT, a clue worthy of the main crossword. Not that some of the others aren’t too…

    Talking of which, I finished 30 over par for the week on the main puzzle, so will adjust my par to 35 for the next tournament, with your permission.

    Edited at 2016-09-16 05:51 am (UTC)

    1. Permission granted. I finished 20 over for the week, so I think I’ll drift out to 22.

      And how about we introduce a “Mulligan”? You could drop your worst score of the week, and just use your four best rounds. Would be good to dismiss that howler that occurs (at least) once a week.

      1. Mm, I’d prefer that all five are kept. This will help me in my primary aim with these puzzles, which is to finish them correctly. Speed is always secondary – obviously, at my rate.

        But others may over-rule me and I’ll go with the flow.

  6. I don’t know exactly what happened to me here but at 18 minutes this was my first time over 15 since 24th June (Izetti – 16 minutes) and to find an even worse time than today I had to look back to 14th April when Hawthorn delayed me for 24 minutes.

    I’m slightly relieved to find that I wasn’t the only one looking for a reversal at 5dn or, having solved the clue, wondering what the ‘ell the L was doing there!

    Other delays were wondering about HEAR{t} for “concern” – fine for the reasons given in the blog – and thinking, at 16dn, that “user without hesitation” was giving me US as the last two letters of the answer. As a result of that, 22ac had me baffled for ages.

    Edited at 2016-09-16 06:07 am (UTC)

  7. Am I the only one who thinks the manicure clue doesn’t really work? More a sort of thing the presenters on the Great British Bake Off would say (i.e. dreadful play on words) than a CD as such.
  8. I found this harder than usual, actually. LOI was 23ac, and I really struggled with 16dn, 18dn, 17ac and even 22ac. Kept thinking Aeroport was a word. Maybe it is!
  9. 12′ today, with some tricky clues for a QC. COPE good, 9d requires GK (and it’s the one where things are in doubt after you’ve finished reading the book or watching the film).

    On a point raised by jackkt recently: there are two clues in today’s QC the construction and /or words of which might trigger one to be able to more easily answer a clue in today’s very tough 15×15. I did not benefit from this as I do the 15×15 first, but it seems a pity that this cannot be avoided if at all possible.

    1. Interesting, Rob. I solved both but didn’t notice. I shall take another look. I think this may prove that the editors’ jobs are impossible in this respect as they probably don’t even know the date of publication when they review the puzzles. And do both editor’s look at both puzzle formats?

      Edited at 2016-09-16 12:59 pm (UTC)

    2. Nice comment from Howard Hawks, director of the 1946 Bogart film, who said when he got to watching the film he couldn’t follow what was going on!

      Edited at 2016-09-16 03:14 pm (UTC)

  10. Maybe it was just me today, but I found this a lot harder than usual. Took me over 25mins which is much longer than typical and struggled over quite a few of them even using Check answer a few times when I was unsure. LOI was 23a which took forever and having CONCENTRATE for 11a for a while certainly didnt help getting the intersecting ones! Thanks for the blog – I think the lack of anagrams which are usually a go to starter for me didnt help.
  11. Isn’t 7dn the wrong way round. If one is in pursuit of c = onec??
    Or are they running right to left?
    1. The letters that come first are on the left. The letters that come after are on the right.

      So yeah, they’re running right to left.

  12. …so over the 10 minute mark for the first time in a long time. I agree that a few of these would not be out of place in the main puzzle. The intersecting 16/17 clues were the main source of trouble – I was particularly slow to see that the definition of 17 was three words not two.

    Edited at 2016-09-16 02:58 pm (UTC)

  13. Bit grumpy as I found this much tougher than the usual QC fare. Also I thought several of the clues had a somewhat clumsy construction making it even harder. For example ‘hard as nails’ does not describe something that is difficult but someone who is extremely tough, so it doesn’t work that a manicure could be thus described. Also ‘heart’ for ‘concern’ is a stretch and ‘misalliance’ is obscure. Oh well, c’est la vie as they say ‘to France’. No, Pedro, IN France.
    1. The clue translates to “as difficult as a manicure”, i.e. “as hard as [getting your] nails [done]”. Don’t forget that the answer can’t be read as a definition of the clue.
      1. But it is not ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ to get a manicure is it? It’s not something anyone says – ‘oh, that puzzle was as hard as getting a manicure’. Your second sentence doesn’t quite make sense to me I’m afraid, I don’t expect the answer to define the clue but I do expect the clue to contain a definition of the answer!
    2. I think the distinction between “to France” and “to the French” is fine enough to make the clue acceptable.

      It is, after all, a cryptic crossword.

  14. As yesterday got stuck on 4 letter clue at the end-23a today
    Unlike yesterday I found the right answer but only after a long trawl through the alphabet
    Had a slight doubt about Heart but seems OK on reflection
  15. Hardest of the week for me and completed in 30 minutes, although I couldn’t make head or tail of the parsing of 16 and 18 down. For 18 I assumed the queen part of the clue was represented by ‘er’ which clearly didn’t help. Thanks for the blog, it cleared up all my queries.
  16. This took me all day. I was held up as I had Hand to Mouth for my manicure!! Elsewhere it was hard because there were few anagrams
  17. Still on a run of DNFs for the sake of a single letter or two. In this case 23a hear came up in my desperate alphabet exercise in Costa but didn’t seem to work for me. I liked 3a pathetic and 17a misalliance. Agree few anagrams today made it slower than usual. Lance made his usual appearance and so did Con (getting to look out for that one).
  18. Re 23a, could someone enlighten me about how try = hear? Flashman says he took a while, but I haven’t got there yet! Thanks
    1. Hear and try are synonymous in a courtroom setting. A judge hears or tries a case.

      Very common in Crosswordland, so one to store away in the memory banks.

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