Quick Cryptic 665 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Orpheus has been a member of the Quicky stable of setters since the beginning, giving us a puzzle about once every 3 weeks, and (in my experience at least) has produced offerings all over the difficulty spectrum. I would peg this one as being perhaps marginally easier than average, with only 9D causing a minor pinging on my obscurity radar, so a gentle limbering up for the week ahead – thanks Orpheus.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160926/18988/

Definitions are underlined.

1 Prevent free movement of covered basket (6)
HAMPER – double definition
4 Admission of something that isn’t consonant, so to speak? (6)
AVOWAL – homophone (so to speak) of A VOWEL (something that isn’t consonant)
8 Two things an attractive model should be, in advantageous position (7,6)
SITTING PRETTY – an attractive model would be both SITTING (for a photographer or artist) and PRETTY (attractive)
10 Former partner, man or woman, one living abroad (5)
EXPATEX (Former partner) + PAT (man or woman – PAT can be short for Patrick or Patricia)
11 Nonsense writer without the polish? (7)
LEATHERLEAR (Nonsense writer, i.e. Edward Lear, of The Owl and the Pussycat fame among others) around (without) THE. I didn’t quite get the definition for this at first, as the only connections I could think of were that leather is either something that you polish or something that you polish with (e.g. chamois leather), neither of which gave equivalent parts of speech, but Chambers has leather as a verb meaning “To apply leather to” which I suppose, in the chamois context, gives us an equivalence. Or am I missing something more obvious?
12 Sort doing my job, working as compositor (11)
TYPESETTINGTYPE (Sort) + SETTING (doing my job, i.e. doing Orpheus’ job as a compiler)
16 One flies aircraft at first by way of rocky peak (7)
AVIATORA (aircraft at first, i.e. the first letter of the word “aircraft”) + VIA (by way of) + TOR (rocky peak)
17 Gentle progress of doctor overcome by beer (5)
AMBLEMB (doctor, i.e. Medicinae Baccalaureus in Latin, or Bachelor of Medicine) inside (overcome by) ALE (beer)
18 Spanish pilot worried about daughter’s punctilious neatness (4,3,6)
SPIT AND POLISH – anagram of (worried) SPANISH PILOT, around D (daughter). A Spanish pilot in Crosswordland is highly unlikely to be anything other than part of an anagram, much like Stalin’s hippo. Must admit the only meaning I knew of this phrase was with respect to giving something a good clean, but Chambers has “1. Cleaning up of uniform and equipment, esp to excess, 2. Ceremony and formality”, so it’s the second definition we need here. Edit: actually I should just have looked in Collins, which has: “punctilious attention to neatness, discipline, etc, esp in the armed forces”.
19 Legislative body partly chosen at election (6)
SENATE – hidden in (partly) choSEN AT Election
20 Young cow unhappy here, if kept inside (6)
HEIFER – anagram of (unhappy) HERE, with IF inside
1 Move swiftly, initially holding a gun (6)
HASTENH (initially holding, i.e. the first letter of the word “holding”) + A + STEN (gun). A Sten was a small submachine-gun, in service from the early ’40s to the ’60s, that was notable for its side-mounted magazine and simple design. It was named after the initials of the surnames of its creators, Major R. Shepherd and H. Turpin, and the first two letters of Enfield, location of the Royal Small Arms Factory where it was manufactured.
2 Philosopher bumped into a medical practitioner (13)
METAPHYSICIANMET (bumped into) + A + PHYSICIAN (medical practitioner). Nice surface. Famous metaphysicians include Aristotle and Kant.
3 What press chief may do about Conservative decree (5)
EDICTEDIT (What press chief may do) about C (Conservative)
5 Green priest upset attorney over National Trust (7)
VERDANT – reversal of (upset, since this is a down clue) REV (priest), + DA (attorney) + NT (National Trust)
6 General surveillance TV addicts may be urged to keep? (8,5)
WATCHING BRIEF – quirky literal definition, where someone watching too much TV would be urged to keep their WATCHING BRIEF
7 Songs about a monarch’s hens? (6)
LAYERSLAYS (Songs) about ER (a monarch – take your pick from the various Kings Edward and Queens Elizabeth), and a reference to the fact that hens lay eggs and are thus LAYERS
9 Plant originally lacking in parts of Dordogne? (9)
GOLDENRODL (originally lacking, i.e. the first letter of the word “lacking”) in an anagram (parts) of DORDOGNE. If you’ve not heard of the common name for the Solidago genus then you may raise an eyebrow at an anagram for a plant mainly native to the Americas, but once you have all the checkers then the vowel positions are pretty self-evident and the only alternative at that point is the unlikely looking “golnedrod”.
13 Take out old religious pamphlet (7)
EXTRACTEX (old) + TRACT (religious pamphlet)
14 Accountant’s sibling’s blackcurrant cordial (6)
CASSISCAS (Accountant’s, i.e. Chartered Accountant’s) + SIS (sibling). You will be extremely unlucky if an encounter with a blackcurrant-related drink in Crosswordland doesn’t lead you to either CASSIS or kir.
15 Article secured by odd bits of their rope (6)
TETHERTHE (Article, i.e. definite article) inside (secured by) ThEiR (odd bits of their, i.e. the 1st, 3rd, and 5th letters of the word “their”)
17 Bloke in a European residence (5)
ABODEBOD (Bloke) in A + E (European). Simple but pleasing clue to finish off with.

13 comments on “Quick Cryptic 665 by Orpheus”

  1. Everything went in fairly smoothly, except that I flung in ‘hustle’ at 1d for no good reason other than the S, then didn’t notice that EXPAT had rendered it gibberish. So I got the ‘try again’ sign and wasted some time searching for the problem. EX, by the way, is worth keeping in mind when ‘old’ shows up in a clue. 4:52.
  2. 10 minutes, but once again it was a skin-of-the-teeth job to finish within my target time.

    The fact that 9dn was my Last One In leads me to agree that perhaps it was the most difficult clue. In addition to the answer being a plant that not everyone will know it’s an anagram that’s missing an indicator unless one counts “originally” which is really
    there to indicate the first letter of “lacking”, so it’d be doing double duty which is not supposed to be allowed.

    I thought CASSIS might also be a possible stumbling block.

    Thanks for the interesting info about the STEN gun, mohn2, which was news to me and prompted me to look up “Bren gun” which is named similarly after Brno, Moravia, the Czechoslovak city where gun was originally designed and Enfield, site of the British Royal Small Arms Factory.

    Edited at 2016-09-26 05:43 am (UTC)

    1. I took the “parts of” bit of 9D to be the anagram indicator, if you consider it meaning the constituent letters – maybe like the components of a bit of flat-pack furniture before it’s assembled, in that they only make sense when put together a certain way.

      I was familiar with Sten guns from childhood reading of comics like Warlord but I’d never thought of where the name came from until writing the blog. I’ve been stung by Brno a couple of times in crosswords because the combination of letters is quite unlikely (the only entry in Chambers containing the “brn” string is BRN itself, the IVR code for Bahrain).

      1. Yes, I can see that makes sense. A little unusual though, and not one the Chamber’s crossword companion has thought of. These Quickies are becoming a bit adventurous!
  3. Either I’m getting dumber or these are getting harder, but after some record times last week, the last two cryptics have been DNFs for me. I found a few unusual words/phrases here for me. Never heard of the plant in 9dn, 2dn was tricky, and I spent forever trying to find an anagram of P (philsopher) bumped (changed) INTO A MEDICAL. 6dn is also an unknown phrase for me, although I eventually got it. So a tricky one for me. It always surprises me how crosswords I find straightforward are often deemed here, and vice versa.
  4. I thought today’s QC had a number of pitfalls, rather like the 15×15. As jack notes, CASSIS could be problematic, although it appeared under a different cluing in the 15×15 recently. SPIT AND POLISH is one of those phrases than came to have a different meaning in time, originally a good thing, latterly not so good. ‘Bod’ for ‘bloke’ may cause trouble for non-UK-native English speakers. 9d LOI, needed all the checkers. Hadn’t parsed 12ac. 8′. Thanks mohn and Orpheus.
  5. I couldn’t finish today, mainly due to having “blather” for 11ac, the only word I could think of for nonsense that fit. Obviously I couldn’t parse it.
    As a result 9dn was impossible. I had been trying to get the anagram with of Dordogne, lacking an o.

    I liked 2 dn, a bit of a Dad joke moment.

  6. I made a slow start, and thought this was going to be difficult, but there is nothing like a few checkers to make a hard clue easy. Completed in 35 mins, with 17d loi via an alphabet trawl because bod didn’t spring to mind. Thanks for they very informative blog, Mohn. Invariant
  7. I thought I was on for my first sub 10 minute solve today, but spending 5 minutes on my last 2 in, 9d and 11a, meant I finally completed it in 13. I thought 9d was difficult due to there not being an obvious anagram indicator, although I have heard of the plant before. 11a was one of those clues where I wasn’t sure if the definition was ‘nonsense’ or ‘polish’. Not knowing the polish/leather link just added another level of difficulty.
    Thanks to mohn for the educational blog.
  8. It’s interesting how varied people’s reactions are to puzzles. Sometimes everyone finds a clue hard; at other times a bit of GK is obvious to some and not to others.
    I found this quite tough but never impossible. I got Cassis early (FOI), struggled with the spelling of Heifer and my last two were 2d and 1a. The plant was unknown but easily gettable once the checking letters were in. So just over 30 minutes for me, about twice my normal time. David
  9. did come to mind one second before CASSIS! But product placement is not allowed!

    9.58 – so tough for a Monay IMO.


    Interesting info re- BREN GUN.

    horryd Shanghai

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