Quick Cryptic 662 by Mara

As usual, Mara leads us a merry dance with this puzzle. Plenty of straightforward stuff, but some quirky and tricky ones as well.

I was undone by 10ac (see comment below) and also struggled to see the anagram at 4d. (Nothing dodgy about either clue I should stress – just me failing to work it through). Thanks to Mara for a good challenge.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–)

1 Philosopher sad, secret out (9)
DESCARTES – *(SAD SECRET) with “out” as the anagrind
6 Plant seeds for a pig (3)
SOW – Gentle DD, albeit different pronunciations of the act of planting and the lady pig
8 Mature writer after Irish backing (5)
RIPEN – PEN (writer) ‘after’ IR reversed (Irish backing)
9 Extremist caught puncturing tyre (7)
RADICAL – C (cricket abbrev. caught) gets inside (punctures) RADIAL (tyre)
10 Headgear featured in food programme (4,4)
CHAT SHOW – HATS (headgear) inside (features in) CHOW (food). On my first quick read through, I put in PORK PIES here with about as much certainty as a man can muster in crosswordland. It was only when I came to look at the Down intersecting clues that I realised that my conviction was misplaced. I then laboured for an age trying to find the right answer, convinced we were looking for some kind of dish that shared its name with a type of hat. To no avail. Must confess (for the first time with a QC) I then raised the white flag and checked the answer. Ah well.
11 Lovely city in France (4)
NICE – Straightforward DD
13 Moment taken to depart, then back (5,6)
SPLIT SECOND – SPLIT (to depart – ’60’s / ’70’s jargon) + SECOND (back – as in “I’ll second that motion…”)
17 Roman poet embraced by Nabokov, I daresay (4)
OVID – Hidden (indicated by ’embraced by’) in nabokOV I Daresay
18 I defame someone from Crete, perhaps? (8)
ISLANDER – I + SLANDER (I defame), with Crete as an example of an island
21 Change the name for a gas (7)
22 For starters, “Beowulf” is being lauded, extremely good
BIBLE – First letters (starters) of Beowulf Is Being Lauded, Extremely
23 Rushed, we hear, to see hill (3)
TOR – Sounds like (we hear) ‘tore’ (rushed)
24 Crush repulsive revolutionary (9)
PULVERISE – *(REPULSIVE) with “revolutionary” as the anagrind
1 Possible description of debit, poor credit (6)
DIRECT – *(CREDIT) with “poor” as the anagrind
2 Brown pigment, one in copies drawn up (5)
SEPIA – I (one) ‘in’ APES reversed (copies drawn up)
3 One doubts a costing is wrong (8)
AGNOSTIC – *(A COSTING) with “is wrong” as the anagrind
4 Ghastly shirt let loose, yellowish-brown (13)
TORTOISESHELL – *(SHIRT LET LOOSE) with “ghastly” as the anagrind. Another one I struggled with, as I’d always come across tortoiseshell in the context of cats where there was generally some white, brown, black etc. involved…
5 Team in United, I see, going up (4)
SIDE – Reverse hidden ‘in’ unitED I See
6 Edit notices a bit (7)
SECTION – *(NOTICES) with “edit” as the anagrind
7 Football team, those in a pack? (6)
WOLVES – DD – and a straightforward one provided you have a modicum of knowledge of the English football scene. For the benefit of our friends across the pond / anywhere else, Wolves is the nickname for Wolverhampton Wanderers, historically one of the great clubs but now somewhat in decline. They may well rise again…
12 Race to cook eggs, perhaps? (8)
SCRAMBLE – Straightforward DD
14 Playwright Harold kennels old dog (7)
POINTER – PINTER takes in (kennels) O (old)
15 Plan for carpet (6)
FORMAT – FOR + MAT (carpet)
16 Minor blow an easy thing (6)
BREEZE – Another fairly gentle DD
19 Name Arabian capital, one — such as this? (5)
DUBAI – DUB (name) + A (Arabian capital – first letter) + I (one). I think this might be what is sometimes referred to as a “Semi & Lit” but I’ll leave it to the senior pros here to comment further on that one – have never quite got my head around that clue type…
20 Insect is no longer on top of pudding (4)
WASP – WAS (is no longer) + P top – first letter – of pudding)

21 comments on “Quick Cryptic 662 by Mara”

  1. Nick, at 4dn you’ve written “ghastly” as definition instead of anagrind.

    Similar problems here to our blogger having immediately thought of PORK PIES at 10ac and taking for ever to work out the anagram at 4dn. I also think of “tortoiseshell” more as a mottled effect rather than “yellowish-brown”. Not that I’m disputing it as the dictionaries mention both descriptions.

    I’m going through a bad patch with the QCs at the moment having missed my 10-minute target for four of the five latest puzzles. And this is my second 18-minuter since last Friday!

    Edited at 2016-09-21 01:06 am (UTC)

  2. agree – ghastly is the ‘anagram indicator’ not the definition.



    horryd Shanghai

  3. I started off in great form, thinking I might even get a PB; should never think that when Nemesis is hanging around. Hit a wall with 3 or 4 left, 4d being the main problem; like Nick and Jack, my idea of TORTOISESHELL didn’t include ‘yellowish-brown’. I also spent much too much time on 24ac, thinking that ‘revolutionary’ was CHE or RED rather than the anagrind. DNK WOLVES, but that wasn’t a problem with the checkers in. 7:35.
  4. 45 minutes with no cheating…

    Did the first half quickly and then spent ages on the rest: 4d, 24a, and 16d.

    I got Dubai but couldn’t parse it as it is not the capital of the UAE.

    Edited at 2016-09-21 05:24 am (UTC)

      1. I suppose so

        It just seems a strange clue. If you can’t crack the word play: “Name Arabian capital, one”

        then usually the definition helps, but here it is just “such as this”

        1. I think that that kind of definition is a clear indication that the definition is in the wordplay.

          Excellent puzzle, FOI sepia LOI chat show, 11 mins

  5. My fastest ever finish of 15 minutes. Nothing too tricky here, I thought. LOI was actually tortoiseshell as just couldn’t see it for the life of me. Very enjoyable puzzle.
  6. I made tough work of this, mainly in the bottom SW which now it’s in, looks clear. I was scrolling through my mental list of famous Greeks for a long time, and like someone else didn’t spot the anagrind for crush.

  7. Me too! 662 crosswords and I was within a whisker of 10 mins. Never beaten 18 before. So those new to the game have hope. My first 150 were DNFs and the next 150 an hour or so.
  8. A welcome return to 30 min normality after yesterday’s shocker from Tracy. Some very nice clues, with 18ac my favourite – deceptively simple. Never even thought about pork pies for 10ac, but was on my guard for an early rerun of tile (hat) from last week. Just shows how easy it is to overcomplicate these things. Thank you Mara and Nick. Invariant
  9. Flying start, and I’ve always pronounced the female pig like the thing with needle and thread, wrongly, which helped. Tortoiseshell on a real tortoise is in fact yellowish brown, so childhood memory to the fore, even so LOI. Thought 14d too much of a gimme, try to name another playwright with first name Harold. Dubious about cluing FOR as ‘for’. Always thought Dubai was the capital of the UAE, so right for the wrong reason. Could I just mention a ‘well done’ to all those who persevere, that’s the way to learn and get more enjoyment. I started on the Mail at fourteen, then the Telegraph, then the Guardian before reaching the pinnacle of the Times about eight years later. They say it takes 10 000 hours practice to be good at something…

    Edited at 2016-09-21 10:54 am (UTC)

    1. Another tricky one which took me 45 minutes, although I was held up by thinking “crush” was the indicator in 24A and spending the time looking for a revolutionary or something new.
      A nice puzzle with perhaps too many anagrams.
  10. Goodness me – I whizzed through this in 15 minutes, my best time! BUT stuck on my loi 10a, so took another 10 minutes to churn through possible words that would fit until arriving at the answer – a great clue with wicked misdirection! Still, 25 minutes is a good time for me as i don’t often get under 30 minutes so a happy koala today.
  11. I always remember starting the Times quick cryptic when the paper introduced it about two years ago. Couldn’t do a single one until I got the answer MAINE for a clue I can’t remember now. I would get about 6 or 7 for ages before progressing steadily. I’m so glad I did.
  12. This was a relief after yesterday’s struggles. My only real hold up was resisting the almost overwhelming urge to chuck Socrates into 1a, even though I knew it would be wrong. Completed in 16 minutes. Like someone above mentioned I assumed that 24a would end in che on first reading. Thanks for the blog Nick
  13. After disaster yesterday, this was a much easier puzzle. I was probably not in at all the right frame of mind yesterday, but looking at the blog late on, I decided it was too much for me anyway. But today the top half sailed in and it only got tricky I progressed south. Like some others, I too had 24a the wrong way round but persevered down the anagram route until I twigged the error, and that immediately gave me 20d to finish. I also took time to resolve 10a chat show. A good, split, time for me at about an hour (est) but would have been much quicker but for 24a. Haven’t we had ‘split second’ fairly recently? Good to get back to a complete solution in a reasonable time (for me).
  14. 29:56, the first completion for some time. LOI TORTOISESHELL, still took ages even with anagram and all checkers. Did not parse TOR, as was looking at ‘tour’. COD 18a.

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