Quick Cryptic 679 by Mara

An enjoyable offering from Mara.  Took me about five and a half minutes, so I’m thinking it was on the easier side of average difficulty.  What did you think?

There was nothing too devious in the constructions, and no real obscurities as fas as I can see, although MINARET, SAUTERNE and the required meanings of BLOOMER are probably only known to me from crosswords.

Had some fun with the anagrams today, with no less than seven of them appearing in this puzzle.  If you list all of the anagram indicators (or anagrinds, as Horryd insists on calling them), it reads like a haiku describing my university days:


Makes you wonder just how many possibilties there are, doesn’t it?  And how hard it must be to find one that hasn’t been used before.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m being paid for, so let’s get on with the parsing of the clues (which is also not what I’m being paid for)…..

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’.

1 Mistake at the bakery? (7)
BLOOMER – “at the bakery” refers to another definition of bloomer, ie a large loaf with diagonal slashes on a rounded top.
Actually neither of these definitions is used where I come from, but both are presumably common enough in the UK.  They certainly are in Crosswordland.
5 Surprise result, winning a few tennis games (5)
UPSET – UP (winning) + SET (a few tennis games)
8 Lighter carpet in fact, yes terribly, and hard (6,5)
SAFETY MATCH – MAT (carpet) in (FACT YES)* + H (hard)
10 Shock, with things that are hard recalled (4)
STUN – NUTS, reversed.
Well nuts are hard to crack, and a ‘hard nut’ is a tough person.  Arfur Daley’s minder Terry was well ‘ard.
11 Simplest, but strangely written wrongly (8)
A word that is commonly misspelt, funnily enough.
12 Situated towards the back, like a bird (6)
ASTERN – AS (like) + TERN (a bird)
14 Unwell, not succeeding without leader (6)
AILING – {f}AILING (not succeeding)
16 Wine drunk neat, sure! (8)
A French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux.  So Wiki says anyway.
On edit:  Actually that would be a Sauternes.  A Sauterne is a Californian wine.  Many thanks to Ulaca, who knows these things.
18 Shocker with Kafka’s first novel (4)
BOOK – BOO (shocker) + K (Kafka’s first)
20 Practical and realistic — so grounded? (4-2-5)
DOWN-TO-EARTH – Double def
I think the second definition is meant to be cryptic, but we refer to a practical and realistic person as being ‘grounded’, so it could be seen as the same definition re-stated.
22 Fish gave off an odour (5)
SMELT – Double def
23 Duck fat on drake, perhaps, endless (7)
MALLARD – LARD (fat) on MAL{e} [male (drake, perhaps), endless]
2 Composer’s record overheard (5)
LISZT – Homophone (overheard) of LIST (record)
Never quite sure where to put the Z in these names, despite being a big fan of Ziggy Niszczot, who played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the early ’80’s.
3 Crime of a criminal (7)
OFFENCE – OF + FENCE (criminal)
A fence is a person who deals in stolen goods.  Usually named Freddy.
4 In essence, a tree swallow (3)
EAT – Hidden in essencE A Tree
6 Erect — from above or below (3,2)
PUTUP – ‘From above or below’ indicating a palindrome in a Down clue
7 Rank slipping on leech! (7)
9 Written note in officers’ dining room on time (7)
MESSAGE – MESS (officers’ dining room) + AGE (time)
11 London police carrying rajah’s wife up tower (7)
MINARET – MET (London police) ‘carrying’ INAR [RANI (rajah’s wife) ‘up’]
MET is the commonly used abbreviaton for London’s Metropolitan Police Service.
RANI is Indian royalty.  Both commonly found in crosswords.
13 Mad sort desperate for fame (7)
15 Generous, serving brie all wrong (7)
17 Duck going in awfully wet, head of linnet drier (5)
TOWEL – O (duck) in (WET)* + L (head of linnet)
19 Different article in gold (5)
OTHER – THE (article) in OR (gold)
As you’ve probably learnt by now, gold is nearly always AU (chemical symbol) or OR (from heraldry).
21 Time in moderation (3)
ERA – Hiddden in modERAtion

44 comments on “Quick Cryptic 679 by Mara”

  1. You reminded me of US newscasters announcing the scores, trying to think up new synonyms for ‘beat’. I put in BLOOMER hesitantly, with only a vague trace of a memory that there was some bakery-related meaning. 3:50.
  2. “These names?” Liszt is Hungarian and Niszczot is Polish. In Polish, sz makes a sh-sound, cz makes a ch-sound, and szcz makes, well, you do the math 🙂 In Hungarian sz makes a s-sound, zs makes a zh-sound (like the sound in the middle of leisure) and s makes a sh-sound.

    And Liszt, as you may know, means “flour”.

    További jó szórakozást!

      1. More specifically I suppose I meant names containing silent Z’s, in the Anglicised versions at least. Seems like the approach was “we don’t know how to pronounce the Z, so let’s just ignore it”!
  3. I am so looking forward to ‘The Galspray Compendium of Crossword Anagram Indicators’, with Foreword by Nick the Novice. To be published by Nucklehead Books.

    Will it be ready for Christmas?

    Today’s time 7.22 with nothing to add to an excellent blog.

    horryd Shanghai

    1. Unlikely Horryd. I hear the Christmas book market is going to be a bit crowded this year?
    2. FYI: Chambers Crossword Dictionary pp XXIV-XXXIX contain a long list of anagram indicators.
      Here to help!
  4. 6:16 for me, which is quick for me but not by the Gregg standard.

    Gallers, I know that you will still be feeling a little shell-shocked and fragile after Australia’s drubbing by South Africa (to say nothing of England’s heroics in stopping Bangladesh’s long home winning streak), but I feel I need to make a comment on the wine clue. And that comment is the fruit of the type of experience that Oscar Wilde so pithily talks of – extremely painful for me to recall.

    When I was courting my wife-to-be, I took her out to a fancy restaurant here in Hong Kong, and told her somewhat magisterially that as we were having fish a nice French white would go well. I ordered a Sauternes (mistaking it for a Sancerre), a sickly sweet thing that my wife never ceases to remind me about 25+ years later.

    But a Sauterne (singular) is, I believe – I hate to think I shall be making the same kind of error again, but I am relying on the Internet, so who knows? where is Keriothe when you want him? – a Californian wine.

    This from the web:

    ‘Be careful not to confuse a Sauternes with a Sauterne wine. The first is a sweet, golden wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France and the second refers to a wide variety of white wines produced in California.’

    1. Thanks. Funny thing is I think I actually knew that, must have come up before. Amended now.

      Yes, well done England on bringing the mighty Bangladeshis to heel. Unlike our boys, who have now plummeted to number one in the world rankings.

    2. Collins has “sauterne” as the Californian wine, but Chambers has “Sauterne” / “Sauternes” (in that order) as the wine produced at Sauternes in France.
  5. Would be nice to have Horryd as a fully-fledged member of the community. Wonder what his userpic will be?
    1. I will try again to become a fist-class citizen – but I may need your assistance – my user pic will be horrid!

      horryd Shanghai

  6. 8 minutes here, so definitely a little easier than some of late.

    I wondered if ECHELON might be less than familiar to all.

    I thought BOO clued as “shocker” was rather inventive and it took me an moment to see it.

    As he is an avid reader of, and one-time contributor to, The Oldie, may I commend to horryd Matthew Webster’s Digital Life column on page 94 of the November edition on the subject of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in which he writes:

    “I am writing this from China, behind what is known as the Great Firewall of China, which blocks access to many western websites…but a VPN bypasses these controls. Strictly speaking using one is against the Chinese rules,but I can tell you that educated locals and all expats in Shanghai use them all the time, and no one has been clapped in irons yet.”

    Edited at 2016-10-14 04:50 am (UTC)

    1. Go into your profile (click “horryd” where it appears near the top right of the page, then “profile”).

      Then click “userpics” and follow your nose. It’s under something like “upload a new userpic” I think.

  7. In no particular order:-

    6. Get Live Journal’s website simplified – what a kerfu*****fuffle! eg. simple button at top (rather than half way down in the blurb) to create userpic would help.

    5. Check one’s spam for Live Journal’s verification email – mine’s been there since May 2015…..

    8. Ask one’s partner to translate Manadarin newly embedded on this page!

    1. VPN update – make sure this week you avoid Hong Kong 1 & 2 – Hong Kong 3 has disappeared! (LegCo swearing-in naughties) Berkshire UK or Los Angeles 2 seem stable this afternoon. (VPNs have to be updated at least twice a day.)

    2. Avoid being asked to blog on a regular basis.

    7. Go to IKEA for a lie down!

    3. Ask Galspray to change his uaserpic as he is just a distant blur – a tad Louiss van Gaal?

    4. Ask Jack why he uses one image of books for the 15×15 and a black cat cartoon for the QC?

    9. Zei Wei!

    1. The thing is, Horryd, I am a distant blur. But just to keep you happy…

      BTW, you’re not supposed to use photos taken thirty years ago!

    2. 4. Different images for different audiences was the original idea. Since I blog for both QC and 15×15 it was useful in the early stages to help me keep in mind the level of expertise I was writing for. But things have progressed since then and I try to adopt a style that works for both – which makes things easier for me actually – however the different images remain a feature.

      Edited at 2016-10-14 08:28 am (UTC)

  8. I suspected ‘Sauterne’ as the answer but wasn’t sure. My OED (2010) only gives the capitalised and pluralised version of the wine. Only a minor grouse but I prefer answers to be validated by a good dictionary
    1. “Sauterne” is in Chambers which I would rate as a pretty good dictionary. It also has “Sauternes” as mentioned above.
      1. Can’t argue with that! I used to use Chambers regularly as it was /is favoured by the Torygraph
  9. Enjoying all the banter today chaps. Back to the crossword I managed 20mins today which definitely puts it on the easier side of things from my perspective. It helped that the lower long across clue went in so easily.
    I will try to find a suitable userpic too – don’t want to feel left out!
  10. Easiest of the week I thought after what I have found to be a tricky week. Enjoyed 1ac for its elegant simplicity. To a cockney of course “Brahms and Liszt” has no musical connotations whatever.
  11. I thought this was a lovely puzzle with top surfaces. I got stuck in the top corner with 1A, 3D and 12A, for about 10 minutes, but as soon as I got one the others followed straight away, and Bloomers are sold in most London bakeries. As for userpics, mine was quite normal until I started doing cryptics!
  12. Under 30 mins for everything bar 1ac, which only succumbed after an alphabet trawl – I’m getting worse not better. Otherwise a gentle QC to end the week, and a very entertaining blog. Invariant
    PS I hope 14ac was a write-in for you, Diane !
  13. A pleasant just-under-ten minutes for me. Sauterne(s) came up in the 15×15 earlier this year, and luckily stuck in my mind. Might have been faster but for last night’s beers and a Lagavulin chaser also being stuck in my mind. LOI STUN. WOD ECHELON; always reminds me of my favourite espionage writer, Adam Hall, who used the word a lot in his Quiller novels.
  14. About average for me. (Has to be the median, as the mean would not make sense in case of dnf). BLOOMER was LOI, odd considering we always used to have them at home. Will be changing pic. Have missed this week as was walking the Isle of Wight coastal path, quite a lot of which is not on the coast..
  15. All done bar 1a and 2d in 17 minutes. Then long second and third looks and I nearly gave up. But my aim is to complete without aids so I stuck at it.
    Not having the first three letters for 1a, I was convinced it ended OVER e.g. a turnover. Then I struggled with composers ending in T. Holst and Bizet came to mind but not the one I needed. Eventually I got Liszt which I doubt I could have spelt from scratch. And we buy lots of bloomers here so I should have got it earlier. David
  16. Well, as we finished over lunch that’s a very good time for us. Bloomer I put in straight away without hesitation which just shows that minds obviously work differently.
  17. Taken in two sessions but proved to be easier than I first supposed and took under a hour (which is good for me, and long enough to provide some absorbing relaxation over my Costa). Thx to Mara for the challenge and the regulars for an amusing blog – actually got a chuckle over the coffee. COD 8a.
  18. I thought I was on for my first sub 10 minute solve today but spending 1.5 of them at the end sorting out which letters and words made up the anagram in 8a took me just over 10 – maybe one day I’ll achieve that mark, when I’m similarly in tune with the setter’s wavelength. I was helped by remembering 2d and 22a from past puzzles.
    LOI 8a, COD 7d
    Thanks for the blog.
  19. Today’s 15×15 is worth a shot – even those with obscure meanings are biffable. Invariant
  20. Far too easy today – my wife had completed most before we had toast on the table. Our only real problem was with 2 Down, being convinced that ‘recording’ had something to do with the letters ‘LP’ in the answer. Still, it doesn’t help when you’re still half Brahmsed from a tremendous gathering of lawyers the previous evening.
  21. Combined H and W effort meant completed grid here by lights out-hurray. However, being a relative newcomer, I’m wondering about the “a” in 3d. Can someone please explain why it was not superfluous.
    1. It could have been omitted, or not, but makes the ‘surface’ better, i.e. the clue makes more sense as a sentence.
  22. Taken in two sessions but proved to be easier than I first supposed and took under a hour (which is good for me, and long enough to provide some absorbing relaxation over my Costa). Thx to Mara for the challenge and the regulars for an amusing blog – actually got a chuckle over the coffee. COD 8a.
  23. Well, as we finished over lunch that’s a very good time for us. Bloomer I put in straight away without hesitation which just shows that minds obviously work differently.

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