Quick Cryptic 661 by Tracy

Too busy, really, to blog today so a) I was late and b) I ended up rushing. I therefore found this pretty hard in places leading to 13 minutes. I rather messed up 1ac on first pass which didn’t help and 8ac took a while too. There seemed to be a lot of anagrams but they went in OK.


1. Nightmarish – extremely alarming. Anagram (horrible) of THING, swamp (MARSH) with ‘I’ inside. I toyed with ‘frightening’ for a while – anagram of thing inside fen but it didn’t work.
8. Arapaho – Native American. Soldier recalled (PARA backwards), A, small house (HO).
9. European capital – Sofia. Very (SO), fine (F), one (I), A.
10. Nissen Hut – shelter. Anagram (flickers) of THEN SUN across island (IS).
12. Rot – double definition.
13. Barney – noisy argument. Anagram (raging) of NEARBY.
15. Oriole – bird. Duck (O), (I)ndigo inside part (ROLE).
17. Run – race. Rugby Union (RU), name (N).
18. Diagnosed – identified. Anagram (needing treatment) of ADENOIDS with good (G) inside.
20. U-Boat – submarine. Anagram (to be destroyed) of ABOUT.
22. Maudlin – foolishly tearful. Gir l(MAUD), left (L), home (IN).
23. Hard and fast – strict. Firm (HARD) with (AND), fleet (FAST).


1. Nears – approaches. Miserly (NEAR), (S)ort.
2. Gravesend – Kentish town. Important (GRAVE), post (SEND).
3. Trophy – prize. Work (OP) and hard (H) inside attempt (TRY).
4. Ass – fool. Girl (lASS – without the first letter).
5. Inferno – a blaze out of control. Anagram (building) of ON FIRE around noon (N).
6. Heartrending – causing great sadness. Direction (TREND) inside trial (HEARING).
7. Gainsborough – artist. Captures (GAINS), gold (OR) in part of tree (BOUGH).
11. Tarantula – spider. Anagram (going giddy) of ALTAR AUNT.
14. Rancour – bitterness. Homophone (heard) of private – ranker.
16. Harmed – damaged. (H)arriers, carrying weapons (ARMED).
19. Split – double definition.
21. Tea – drink. In esta(TE A)gent.

17 comments on “Quick Cryptic 661 by Tracy”

  1. Thanks, Finished in an hour. I had to google Arapaho, Nissen Hut, and Oriole.

    For 1d, Why does near = miserly?

  2. Definitely at the harder end of QCs. Some gimmes, but some very good surfaces e.g. DIAGNOSED, HEARTRENDING, BARNEY. Some solvers may have difficulty with NISSEN HUT, both hearing of them and also the spelling. We had them in the school grounds, one of them labelled DECONTAM, this being 1965 it was intended as a washroom to get rid of the radioactive fallout. Those were the days.
  3. Also in a dash. I found this hard too and needed 13 minutes to complete the grid. More later when I’ve had time to read the blog and comments
  4. Took me 3 attempts to finish this, but got there in the end. Some quite complicated constructions I thought, but made it all the more satisfying to work them out.
    I don’t understand the connection between near and miserly either, other than perhaps that to keep things near is to be miserly with them. And why are native americans always arapaho or navajo?
    1. If someone is described as “near” then they are stingy or miserly. It’s a bit old fashioned, but it probably crops up in the works of Dickens and his contemporaries.
      I presume the question about Native Americans was rhetorical? If not, it’s probably because they neatly fit some awkward letters (what else fits A-A-A-O or -A-A-O?) Actually 8a was my LOI for a puzzle that took me twice as long as usual.

      Edited at 2016-09-20 11:25 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks for the reply. Never heard “near” used in that context. My assumption about arapaho is the same as yours. Seems to me to come up quite often.
  5. This one took me an hour and I needed a break before I finally got 1d, 2d, 6d then 1a. I thought I remembered having NEAR befote (Chambets has it as THRIFTILY) but I didnt write it in and I had NISSAN which didn’t help with Gravesend.
    I was still pleased to get it finished even if it did take twice my target time.
  6. I found this easier than yesterday by exactly three minutes coming in at 7.59 – with LOI ORIOLE

    FOI 1ac NIGHTMARISH helped a lot.

    10ac NISSEN HUTs were all too common in my youth. Invented in WWI by Major Peter Nissen of the Royal Engineers.

    20ac U-BOAT invented by Ulrich Boat – no – Wilhelm Bauer 1850.

    I believe that 1dn NEAR is Yorkshire or at least Northern – my mother used it.

    Enjoyable artsy QC

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Rather sorry to see you have reverted to “horryd” in this posting. “Horry, Shanghai” as you signed off elsewhere earlier today sounded much more friendly and cuddly!

      Edited at 2016-09-20 12:51 pm (UTC)

  7. DNF today, beaten by 15a. I was vaguely aware of the word but had no idea it was a bird and I couldn’t figure out the word play. The puzzle seemed to be at the tougher end of the spectrum with the rest of it taking me 28 minutes but was enjoyable nonetheless.
  8. Near for miserly? Never heard of that one. Should have seen ORIOLE with all the checkers, a few blind spots today. My new strategy is to stop at 30 mins, no matter how I’m doing.
  9. Finding this difficult, after 15 minutes I glanced at the main cryptic which looked comparatively easy. I still have 5 clues of that left but it’s worth a look for the aspirant QCer.
    I did manage to finish today’s QC correctly but after about another 30 minutes of hard work. Struggled with 1a. Did not know Near meant miserly. I tried to fit in Mean, with Means as Approaches. Some excellent clues. Favourite 13a, LOI 6d. David
  10. 18 mins, so only a few minutes quicker than the big one today. I’d say the right balance (for me) would be 10 mins and 40 mins, so “there’s summat up there”.

    Had MEANS for 1d for while, till I sussed 1ac.

  11. Came to this very late in the day, and quite frankly wish I hadn’t bothered. Nears, Maudlin and Oriole (DNF because of the last one) are well beyond the normal QC level, and to have all three in the same puzzle is a poor show. Invariant

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