Quick Cryptic 696 by Tracy

A good mixture of easy clues to populate the grid and then some much more interesting constructions to grapple with. Lots of clever cluing – 5ac, particularly, took me some time post-solve before the now-but-not-then obvious word play hit me. Great fun – thanks Tracy.


1. Seascape – a painting which depicts water.
5. Scam – swindle. Rascal (SCAMp) de-tailed. COD for the ‘doh’.
8. Alarm – put the wind up. A (A), member (ARM) crossing lake (L).
9. Regimen – course of treatment. For example (EG) inside an anagram (injured) of MINER.
11. Tin – double definition. Not sure about the ‘old’ – maybe some old money was made from tin but new or old tin is slang for money and also means a metal container.
12. Andromeda – constellation. With (AND), (R)oyal (O)bservatory, anagram (out) of MADE. ‘With’ struck me as clever as it is normally a filler word but here it’s used as a synonym.
13. Estate – housing development. Gw(E)nt, say (STATE). More playing by Tracy – ‘say’ is often a homophone indicator but here is also a synonym.
15. Invert – turn up. Wearing (IN), green (VERT).
18. Tea Leaves – thieves in cockney rhyming slang. Duck (TEAL), part of roof that sticks out (EAVES).
19. End – a simple double definition.
20. Monitor – double definition.
21. Angel – backer – an investor in a venture, especially a backer of a theatrical production. Article (AN), supporter (LEG) backing.
22. Ogre – monster. Part of Garb(O GRE)ta.
23. Seafarer – sailor – a nice link between the first and last across clues. Anagram (misplaced) of FEARS ARE.


1. Startle – surprise. Opening (START), ‘the’ Parisian style (LE).
2. Again – once more. Cooking stove (AGA), fashionable (IN).
3. Compartment – section. Remark (COMMENT) about piece (PART).
4. Parade – procession. Anagram (organised) of A PADRE.
6. Compete – rival. Perfect (COMPlETE) without large (L).
7. Mania – fixation. Soldier (MAN), one (I) with a (A).
10. Ground Staff – sports club employees. (G)rumble, about (ROUND), stick (STAFF).
14. Trainer – coach. (T)oil, anagram (damaged) of IN REAR.
16. Toddler – young child. (T)imid, stranger (ODDER) about fifty (L).
17. Averse – reluctant. A (A), rhyme (VERSE).
18. Tempo – time. Work (OP) and encountered (MET) all over (upwards).
19. Eager – keen. Listener (EAR) describing (around) good (G) and programm(E).

17 comments on “Quick Cryptic 696 by Tracy”

  1. 12 minutes for this one, delayed by 6dn, 15ac and the first word in 10dn. I see the controls on the old TARDIS are out of sync, Chris,as this one appears to have landed a couple of hours before my own blog, whereas its place in the sequence tells a different story. I think a manual override was required! Have written to you separately using another channel of communication.
  2. This went by quickly. Luckily, I’d learned TEA LEAVES from a cryptic or two, or I’d have taken a lot more time on 18ac, thinking duck=O; as it was, I BIFD. AND=’with’ is common enough in the 15x15s, but it’s especially nice here, coming at the beginning. 3:48, a new pb.
  3. About 40 minutes, held up by LOI 1a seascape.

    Did not know regimen but the word play was helpful and thought there might be a cockney indicator for 18a tea leaves.

  4. My time was between Kevin’s 3.48 and Jack’s twelve minutes.
    9.47 I found the whole experience decided lumpy! Kevin creamed those lumps!

    18ac TEA LEAVES = thieves was originally CRS but thanks to the likes of DIXON OF DOCK GREEN, THE BILL, THE SWEENEY, ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES and MINDER it has enjoyed country-wide usage.

    I imagine the ‘old’ in 11ac TIN simply refers to old usage as per RHINO. Today SHRAPNEL might be more likely heard but coins will be disappearing shortly. I note they are still thrown at football matches (West Ham v Chelsea)!

  5. Ah, gave up after 40 minutes with only 1ac left. Just couldn’t see SEASCAPE. Thought it was going to be a name of a particular painting or painter. Never mind. Never heard of MONITOR for a lizard, but it couldn’t be anything else. Gribb.
  6. who found this the trickiest for ages. First pass – two clues. Bit more attention yielded a few more answers, but then serious cogitation and experimentation needed to squeeze the answers out of my head.

    Lots of misdirection, unusually so for a QC I thought (by no means a complaint).

    Couldn’t parse 5ac, LOI 1ac….COD 12ac

    1. Yeah, 5ac was very difficult, but SCAM was the only four-letter word I could think for a con so just put it in regardless.
  7. Me too for just putting in ‘Scam’ and hoping. There seemed to be a lot of very clever misdirection today but I still managed 29mins which is in the better range of timings for me.
  8. Agree on the misdirection today, but fair play. With checkers in place M-N-TРwas very tempted with MANATEE, before recalling the monitor lizard. Rhyming Slang like Tea Leaves is pretty pass̩ these days. Lots of great new slang being used everywhere apart from crosswords. Liked ANGEL for backer, as in Angel Investor from the tech world. 16d, COD for elegant construction and rather creepy surface. 27 mins, same as yesterday.
  9. Well, I managed to finish in about 40 mins, which is good for a Tracy puzzle. A good few minutes of that were spent trying (unsuccessfully) to parse 5ac before I gave up and just left Scam in as nothing else came to mind. A challenging but enjoyable QC. Invariant
  10. Very little GK required today. Delayed by taking the wrong end off CROOK at 5ac. Could 20ac see off a racer snake? 6′, thanks chris and Tracy.
  11. Very good puzzle. I had about eight outstanding, was about to give up, went away, made some coffee, came back, and they all plonked into place.

    It’s as if there’s a delayed dissolution process. The answers sit clunkily, refusing to come out. Then they get broken down gradually and unconsciously. Then out they come with a whoosh – sometimes anyway.

    What messes everything up is if I try to concentrate too hard. That seems to make everything even more clunky.

  12. Took me a long time to get going, and even when I did it remained hard going until the last few fell into place. Some unusual clue constructions. I assumed that ‘old’ in 11ac is simply saying that it is old slang for money. Pleased to have finished quite honestly
  13. Count me as another who struggled to parse 5a, although it yielded eventually. I had finished the crossword (14m) and was tempted to just biff it, but then thought ‘how would you treat this if you were blogging today?’ After looking at it again for a couple of minutes, I saw the SCAM{p} connection and realised that I had been thinking of the wrong de-tailed. Clever
  14. 18 minutes today; steady without major hold-ups. My last two were 5a and 7d. I could not parse 5a (like many others I see) but nothing else seemed right.
    Good crossword.
    The Greta Garbo reference made me think of Pete and Dud and today’s paper mentions some newly discovered lost tapes. David
  15. Excellent puzzle today and these challenges definitely prepare you well for the main puzzle. 1a and 5a must mean the setter has been to Gt Yarmouth. No references to the main event of tomorrow (India vs England of course) although 10d may be an oblique reference.
  16. A good challenge today, held up at the end by 5a, 6d and 15a. Eventually completed in 17 minutes but couldn’t figure out why/how scamp became scam in 5a – having now seen the solution it gets my vote for COD. LOI 15a

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