Quick Cryptic 676 by Alfie

I’m not if sure Alfie is a new setter but the name doesn’t seem familiar – anyway he (presumably) is most welcome. This was a mixture of easy and challenging clues 4dn/9ac proved enough challenge to push me just over 15 minutes – however, as always, if you know, you just know. I think the number of girl’s names (which can be almost anything) also held me up.
I’m travelling today so responses may be some hours late.


1. Okay – alright. Old (O), girl (Kay).
3. Egg rolls – food. Big car (ROLLS) comes after for example (E.G.) and good (G).
9. Britain – country. The answer kept emerging as checkers went in but I was reluctant to biff. Girl (RITA) inside scrap (BIN). I was fixated on scrap=fight.
10. Pasta – simple food (well, until you add the wonderful sauces). Dad’s (PAS), word of thanks (TA).
11. Ideal – exemplar. One (I) with trade (DEAL).
12. Odds on – favourite. COD as the best of many good surfaces which raised a smile. Eccentric (ODD), child (SON).
14. Grin and bear it – gallantly endure. Anagram (awfully) of BAD RE TRAINING.
17. Bazaar – market. Homophone (heard of) very strange – bizarre.
19. Tithe – part one of ten. It (IT) features in article (THE). A tenth part of agricultural or other produce, personal income, or profits, contributed either voluntarily or as a tax for the support of the church or clergy or for charitable purposes.
22. Haiku – Japanese verse. First letters (primarily) of Has As Its Key Unity.
23. Larissa – (another) girl. King (R) inside an anagram (mad) of ALAS IS.
24. Sanctity – imparts holiness. Anagram (ludicrously) of SCANTY IT.
25. Type – make – as in make of car. In the clue (something of) adversiTY PErhaps.


1. Oxbridge – top colleges. Neat (OX), game (BRIDGE).
2. Aside – in reserve. One half of an old vinyl record was called a side.
4. Gunpowder plot – plan we remember annually. Tea (GUNPOWDER) – unfamiliar to me – a fine variety of green tea, each leaf of which is rolled into a pellet, bed (PLOT) as in garden bed.
5. Rapid – quick. Knock (RAP), I had (ID).
6. Lassoer – roper – not in day to day use – unless you live on a ranch maybe. Girl (LASS) – is this a record of references to girls? Finished in poetry is OER.
7. Slav – one from Eastern Europe. Southern (S), ladies (LAV) – toilet humour.
8. Dahlia – bloomer. Trouble (AIL), had (HAD) – all coming upwards (arisen).
13. Steerage – economy class – on a ship. Anagram (unusually) of EAGER SET.
15. Venetian – Italian. In the clue (involved in) recITAL I ANticipate.
16. Entire – whole. Set of book (NT) in Ireland (EIRE).
18. Adult – X-rated. Commercial (AD), qUaLiTy.
20. Yummy – tasty. Starting letters of Truffles And Some Tangerine Yoghurt.
21. Thus – so. Anagram (zany) of rUTHS losing the head letter so no ‘r’.

26 comments on “Quick Cryptic 676 by Alfie”

  1. Just under an hour. Got most clues quite quickly then spent about 40 mins on 9a Britain, 23a Larissa, 24a sanctity, and 4d gunpowder plot.

    Couldn’t parse 6d for oer and 7d lav!

    Thanks for the blog.

  2. After discovering yesterday that “neat” means cattle, it turns up again today. And it stumped me again! After initially sailing through this, thought I was onto a record time. But got stumped at 1dn, 2dn, 9ac and 4dn. It didn’t help as well that I was determined to put “fig rolls” for 3ac. Gribb.
  3. I took 43 minutes on my phone in the early hours, equivalent to my target of 30 with pen and paper.. You don’t get the setter’s name on the phone but I could tell it was someone different, and I look forward to their next one.
    Everything was parsed except OER and Gunpowder is one pf my favourite teas – just don”t put too many of the little balls in the pot as they turn into Triffids.
  4. Yes this is a first outing for Alfie, and his offering took me over my target time by 2 minutes and a few seconds.

    I can’t say I’m familiar with the name LARISSA (Clarissa, yes) and I’m not convinced by the homophone at 17ac. Spotting V, W, X, Y and Z made me check for a pangram but there are 5 letters missing, which may be some sort of record in itself. Welcome to the fold, Alfie

    1. My wife used to tell a funny joke about the man crawling through the desert who suddenly comes across a market where they sell custard, sponge fingers, fruit, cream and he points out to the last stall holder that it’s all very strange and gets the reply. Yes, it’s a trifle bazaar.
  5. This was the perfect quick cryptic for me, just under 20 minutes.

    Nice to see Ox for the second time after learning it yesterday.

    My second child was nearly called Larissa, quite common in Russia I believe, but we opted for the shorter DR Zhivago version.

    Look forward to more from Alfie.

  6. Well, it’s a good job Alfie flags his/her anagrams in a kindly fashion, or this would have been twice as difficult. Took quite some time to tune in, and then my last pair (2d/9ac) took ages as well. Some very nice surfaces along the way made this an enjoyable hours solve. Invariant
  7. Welcome to a new setter. He uses all the setter’s usual techniques and it seemed very easy at first. I had almost everything done after about 12 minutes but needed at least another 10 to sort out mainly 2d and 9a. I could not get past Bahrain for 9a and that made 2d awkward and I could see my answer would not parse. Got it eventually. Needed to look at 4d for a while before seeing Gunpowder Plot.
    I am not a fan of clues which result in girls’ names e.g. Larissa but it was easily gettable. David
  8. Took a while over this one, including an inordinate amount of time on my LOI, ASIDE. Consequently I’ll make that my COD.

    BTW, I parsed it as “A” side as opposed to “B” side, as per the old vinyl. Not that it makes much difference.

    Thanks Alfie and Chris.

  9. Heading for a comfortable sub 5′ until I hit the buffers at 9a. I just couldn’t, and still can’t, convince myself that Britain can accurately be described as a country. An island, yes; a region within a sovereign state, yes; but not a country (despite common misusage). Needless to say, I put it in anyway!
    1. SOED has Britain as: More fully (esp. as a political term) Great Britain. As a geographical and political term: (the main island and smaller offshore islands making up) England, Scotland, and Wales, sometimes with the Isle of Man. Also (as a political term) the United Kingdom, Britain and its dependencies, (formerly) the British Empire.
  10. Struggled getting on to Alfie’s wavelength making me wonders what’s it all about. DNF with six left including Larissa and Lasooer which appear to have been problems for others. Blog is so useful so thanks to all. Without it I never would have known neat/ox!
  11. That was a struggle, with some most unusual (to me anyway) words arising. Never heard of Haiku, Larissa I knew but hardly a common name, never heard of gunpowder tea, lassoer makes sense but is, to put it mildly, unusual, lav for ladies (how long is it since anyone has talked about going to the lav?). In the end a very satisfying challenge. Look forward to the next one.
  12. I had a very similar experience to David, above. The bottom half went in quickly and then the NE but the NW was proving very tricky. Working out that the definition in 1a was alright,not a girl’s name ending in o, opened it up a bit. I then got very bogged down on my last 2 in, 9a and 2d. I forgot about this country and was convinced that the answer had to be Bahrain but that seemed to make 2d unsolvable.
    Got there in the end but it took me 25 minutes today, which is above average for me.
    Thanks to Alfie and the blogger
  13. I can’t get the link between trouble and ail. I’m sure it’ll be obvious once I know the answer!


  14. Like some others, I found the S to be pretty much easier than the N. Eventually conceded that ‘neat’ was making an appearance on consecutive days but then struggled further. I’m sure we’ve had 10a pasta identically clued only some weeks ago. A straightforward DNF today missing 1a, 3a, 12a, 8d, 6d and even 7d! – a poor showing but hopefully will recognise Alfie’s style next time around.
  15. Thought others may also have struggled with this – parsing 6d took me an age before realising that oer is short for over. Enjoyed the crossword, but am I imagining that Alfie has set before?
  16. …HAS set before.
    No one seems to have noticed his particular style here (not irrelevant to his name 🙂 )
    1. Very interesting. Would you care to quote the reference number(s) of Alfie’s previous puzzle(s)?
    2. Right. I note the first letters of the clues run A-Z so presumably Alfie is derived from Alphabet?

      1 Alright, old girl! (4)
      3 Big car comes after for example good food (3,5)
      9 Country girl involved in scrap (7)
      10 Dad’s word of thanks for simple food (5)
      11 Exemplar: one connected with trade (5)
      12 Favourite, perhaps eccentric, child (4-2)
      14 Gallantly endure something awfully bad re training (4,3,4,2)
      17 Heard of very strange market (6)
      19 It features in article: part one of ten? (5)
      22 Japanese verse has as its key unity, primarily (5)
      23 King entering alas is mad for girl (7)
      24 Ludicrously scanty, it imparts holiness (8)
      25 Make something of adversity, perhaps (4)
      1 Neat game for top colleges (8)
      2 One half of old record in reserve (5)
      4 Plan we remember annually involving tea then bed (9,4)
      5 Quick knock I had (5)
      6 Roper’s girl finished being poetic (7)
      7 Southern ladies, maybe one from Eastern Europe (4)
      8 Trouble had arisen, making a bloomer! (6)
      13 Unusually eager set in economy class (8)
      15 Venetian perhaps involved in recital, I anticipate (7)
      16 Whole set of books discovered in Ireland (6)
      18 X-rated commercial, quality oddly absent (5)
      20 Yummy starters of truffles and some tangerine yogurt (5)
      21 Zany Ruth’s losing head so! (4)

      Edited at 2016-10-12 08:31 pm (UTC)

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