Quick Cryptic 675 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
An enjoyable puzzle from Orpheus to start the week. No hiddens or reverse hiddens, only one partial and one full anagram, and only one long answer, so a paucity of what would probably be described as the easier clue types, but on the other hand there’s little in the way of obscure vocab, so overall I think a well-balanced offering. Thanks, Orpheus.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/timescrossword/20161010/19302/

Definitions are underlined, omissions indicated via {}.

1 Underlying principle, one accepted by male singer (5)
BASISI (one) in (accepted by) BASS (male singer). Presumably BASS is a reference to the vocal range normally only sung by men, rather than Lance Bass, formerly of NSYNC.
8 Dressed like monk, fellow lived in (9)
INHABITEDIN HABIT (Dressed like monk) + ED (fellow)
9 Go round in woman’s garment (5)
SKIRT – double definition. I carelessly whacked in SHIFT, even though that left the “round” unused, and only realised my error when the orange Unlucky appeared on the screen.
10 Article cracking up musical performance (7)
RECITAL – anagram of (cracking up) ARTICLE
11 Traveller in capital backing sovereign (7)
EMPERORREP (Traveller) in ROME (capital), all reversed (backing)
12 Richard III, say — king one encountered in strange story (7)
YORKISTK (king) + I (one), in anagram of (strange) STORY. Richard is known for his reburial last year, the Shakespearian tragedy that bears his name, and a mnemonic for the colours of the visible spectrum.
16 Italian gentlemen so ignore it endlessly (7)
SIGNORIS{o} IGNOR{e} I{t} (so ignore it endlessly, i.e. the words “so”, “ignore”, and “it”, all without their last letters). I’ve seen this device a few times in the Guardian but, if memory serves, it rarely occurs in the Times.
17 Crimson vehicle belonging to the present compiler (7)
CARMINECAR (vehicle) + MINE (belonging to the present compiler). Orpheus clued this similarly as “Brightly coloured vehicle belonging to the compiler” in Quicky 70.
20 Change direction on can — it provides security (3-4)
TIN-TACKTIN (can) + TACK (Change direction). Here security means being secure in the sense of fixed rather than safe. Not hyphenated in any of the usual sources. (Edit: though see jackkt’s comment below.)
22 Sea creature’s plaintive cry you can hear (5)
WHALE – homophone of (you can hear) WAIL (plaintive cry)
23 Resigned from music group, one featuring in commercial (9)
ABANDONEDBAND (music group) + ONE, in AD (commercial, i.e. advertisement)
24 Give up and give in (5)
YIELD – double definition
1 Lieutenant initially entering HQ in Swiss city (5)
BASLEL (Lieutenant initially, i.e. the first letter of the word “Lieutenant”) in (entering) BASE (HQ). Famous amongst watch aficionados for its annual Baselworld fair. Also birthplace of one R.Federer.
2 Cutting energetic exercise (8)
SKIPPING – double definition, the first in the sense of ignoring or omitting
3 Indian instrument, one held by celebrity (5)
SITARI (one) in (held by) STAR (celebrity)
4 Choosing the best job in fruit farm? (6-7)
CHERRY-PICKING – double definition, the first idiomatic, the second literal
5 Abstruse remedy introduced by old surgeon (7)
OBSCURECURE (remedy), after (introduced by) O (old) + BS (surgeon, i.e. Bachelor of Surgery). I think this is the first occurrence of this meaning of BS in the Quicky – it has previously been the preserve of the main cryptic and Mephisto.
6 Way English teacher originally let it remain (4)
STETST (Way, i.e. street) + E (English) + T (teacher originally, i.e. the first letter of the word “teacher”), for the instruction on (say) proofs, where a word or words have been erroneously marked for deletion
7 Obsequiously flatter a mostly dreary goddess (7)
ADULATEA + DUL{l} (mostly dreary, i.e. all but the last letter of the word “dull”) + ATE (goddess). ATE is (Chambers): “The Greek goddess of mischief and of all rash actions and their results”, and is fairly frequently encountered in Crosswordland.
13 Show tabby, possibly, kept by private record company (8)
INDICATECAT (tabby, possibly) in (kept by) INDIE (private record company). I initially thought that “private” was an odd word to choose as part of the definition, but Chambers has “private” and “independent” as a direct equivalence.
14 Smokers’ requisite lost outside entrance to hotel (3-4)
ASH-TRAYASTRAY (lost) around (outside) H (entrance to hospital, i.e. the first letter of the word “hospital”)
15 Fellow protégés, lily-livered types (7)
COWARDS – fellow protégés could be described as COWARDS. I didn’t know that protégé and ward could mean the same thing (Chambers has a direct equivalence) but it didn’t seem like a stretch while I was solving, plus the definition seemed unambiguous.
18 Argument over extremely disorderly hooligan (5)
ROWDYROW (Argument) + D{isorderl}Y (extremely disorderly, i.e. the extremes of the word “disorderly”), with the answer a noun
19 Press chief engages male staff to edit (5)
EMENDED (Press chief, i.e. editor) around (engages) MEN (male staff)
21 Well-turned-out ox, for example (4)
NEAT – double definition, the second a meaning that’s described as archaic and/or dialect in all the usual sources but is bursting with rude health in Crosswordland in the 21st century

24 comments on “Quick Cryptic 675 by Orpheus”

  1. Made heavy weather of this, by e.g. typing ‘signore’ and biffing ‘scarlet’ (why?), which kept me from seeing that CHERRY-PICKING was in fact right. NEAT was a long time coming (my LOI, in fact)–by the way, we do still have neat’s-foot jelly, no?–which I remembered only after settling on TIN-TACK, which I didn’t know. 8:22.
  2. 36.14
    Enjoyed this one.

    Needed the blog to help check the parsing of:
    20a tin tack, 5d bs = surgeon, 7d ate = goddess, 15d co wards.

    Neat being something bovine was in my head from previous crosswords.


  3. My 10-minute solve seemed longer so I was a little surprised to be finished on target.

    20ac has not made it in any form to the Concise Oxford*, nor is it in the larger Oxford Dictionary of English, but at the very end of its entry for “tack” in this context, the two-volume Shorter Oxford has “carpet-tack, thumb-tack, tin-tack, etc.”

    Close attention to wordplay and/or the last checker was required at 1dn as the Swiss city is more commonly spelt Basel.

    *reputed to be one of the two official sources for Times crosswords, the other being Collins, however this was a while ago under different crossword editorship and I don’t recall a more recent statement on the subject.

    Edited at 2016-10-10 06:46 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for the Shorter Oxford comment – the Chambers app, online Collins, and online Oxford are the only references I have easy access to, and they usually suffice. Though the presence of the hyphen somehow looks “wrong” to my eyes, the spelling in both Chambers and Collins (one word, i.e. with neither space nor hyphen) looks even worse.
    2. Interesting discussion on Basle/Basel. There are, according to the BBC pronunciation guide, 4 different ways of spelling and pronouncing it ( because Switzerland has 4 different languages). It is a mainly German-speaking city, so the inhabitants pronounce it Baa – Zuhl. However, according to the BBC, the normal anglicization is Basle, pronounced Baal, after the French. It is looking up little things like this that make crosswords such fun for me.


  4. You’re right about neat’s-foot jelly (and oil) but I hadn’t encountered either before.
  5. Quite tricky today, I thought. Gave up with only 20ac not filled in. However, looking at the answer, I’m not familiar with tin-tack, so was never going to get it. I made the same mistake as the person above by putting signore in initially. Not familiar with neat for ox, or the word stet, but both gettable with the clues. Gribb.
  6. … quite hard. Definitely worth a go – even if you can’t complete it, make sure you read the corresponding blog so that you can see some of the tricks to be found at the tougher end of the spectrum.
  7. Odd that TIN TACK doesn’t feature more largely in dictionaries, ‘ getting the tin tack’ being Cockney slang for being fired (getting the sack), thanks jack for the info, and also the Basel question. I grew up spelling it Basle, but when studying mathematics switched to Basel (the ‘Basel problem’ is a famous result by Euler in which he shows that the infinite sum of the reciprocals of the squares is pisquared/6). An average time for me today. Thanks mohn, Orpheus and all who contribute. I agree that today’s 15×15 would be a great learning experience.
    1. “Tintack” is in Chambers and Collins but I was responding to the query over “tin-tack”.

      Edited at 2016-10-10 12:49 pm (UTC)

  8. I carelessly entered SHIRT, SNIPPING and for some unknown reason TIN BACK. I thought this seemed easy at first, but ended up well short of the line. Shows how first impressions of a puzzle can be wrong.
    Ethel The Frog
  9. I thought this was going to a doddle, finished most of it in 10 minutes, then got stuck on 20ac and 21 dn. I hadn’t heard of Ox for neat and woud never have got tin tack for security. So a DNF in the end.
  10. After wrestling with much harder puzzles over the weekend, this seemed easy; which may prove that practice works.
    12 minutes in all which is about as fast as I can read the clues and write the answers. I did pause over Tin Tack – a new phrase for me; and Adulate was guessed- I did not know Ate was a goddess but it was a confident punt. Favourite 13d . David
  11. I took 40 minutes, most of it on 20A /21D, but also on 1D – I spent ages trying to fit BERNE into the wordplay even though I had B_S_E (really silly). I knew there was a four letter word for cattle somewhere in my brain but I didnt get it until I hit TIN for a 3 letter word beginning with T and the penny dropped.
  12. This turned out to be quite a bit harder than at first sight, so I was happy enough with a 45 mins solution, albeit with 5, 7 and 21d not fully parsed – thanks Mohn for the explanations. Slightly disappointing to note that after 2 years of QCs I’m still coming across ‘common’ crossword usage for first time, eg Ate as a goddess. Invariant
    1. I should perhaps have clarified by comment via “fairly frequently encountered in Crosswordland outside of Quickysville” but, even so, you have a point – in the last 5 years, it has appeared in just 3 main cryptics, 2 Jumbos, a Championship qualifier, a Mephisto, and an Azed, which I will admit is a stretch to describe as “fairly frequently”. I suspect it seems more familiar to me because, once met, it’s the kind of word that tends to stick in one’s brain. Hope that makes you feel slightly less disappointed!
  13. Plenty of food for thought but no elephant traps today. 7 mins with 1a FOI and 15d LOI. COD to 5d for its good surface.
    I hate playing the pedant (I don’t really!) but it wasn’t Richard III, formerly the Duke of Gloucester, who gave battle in vain but his father, the Duke of York.
    1. I had assumed that it referred to Richard of (the house of) York rather than Richard of York (of the house of Plantagenet) but it seems not – thanks for the correction!
  14. Most of this went in fairly quickly but I struggled with 7d, 20a and 21d, which I’d not heard of before. I tried inventing a new word, ‘idolate’ for 7d but fortunately saw reason before committing to it. Finally completed in 18 minutes which is about average for me.
    Thanks to mohn for the blog and clarifications.
  15. 21 minutes today which is a good time for me. A year ago I would not have got more than about half way with this puzzle so it just shows the benefit of sticking with it and reading this blog and the comments every day!
  16. Off to a fast start and then deteriorated. I managed 20a and several others that some found tricky but had to guess at 21d neat. 2d also gave me some difficulty and 11a didn’t really help at all and that was my LOI. Found the cluing very fair today. I tried 1d with LE and EL but was sure it should be LE – luckily as I hadn’t thought of there being 4 options with 4 languages. Still, managed in close to an hour so a nice way to close off the day. Thx Orpheus, blogger and for the discussions.
  17. Ha, I just did this at midnight thinking it was today’s new puzzle. At 8 minutes, I think this ties my record for the quickest QC. It’s left me plenty of time to have a go now at today’s actual puzzle!

Comments are closed.