Quick Cryptic 716 by Mara

16 minutes for this one which included a few chewy clues – rather more complex in structure than most QCs. As I don’t get much time for the 15×15 these days I enjoyed the cleverness of their make up – but I’m interested to hear how our newer recruits got on. No matter how long it takes to solve there’s plenty to enjoy here.


1. Seasoning – possibly salt with a pun on ‘a salt’ = a sailor. At home (IN) breaking into shanty (SEA SONG).
6. Fir – wood. In flames shortly – shortened version of FIRe – or aFIRe.
8. Stand-up – comic. Bear (STAND) on a horse (UP).
9. Revel – make merry. Taking girl (EVE) in both directions (inside right and left R L).
10. Bar billiards – game. Suffering (ILL) after hook (BARB), anagram (getting sloppy) of RAIDS.
12. Stew – double definition.
13. Abut – neighbour. Instrument (TUBA) backwards.
17. Straightened – aligned. Anagram (wrongly) of THE GRADIENTS.
20. Tried – tested. Bound (TIED) to be about right (R).
21. Subject – theme. Two forms of transport (SUB and JET) and (C)ars.
23. Ego – I. Travel (GO) after (E)gyptian.
24. Wisconsin – state. Is (IS), against (CON), transgression (SIN) by wife (W).


1. Sash – band. Somewhat cacophonou(S A SH)ocking.
2. Adamant – sure. Mother (MA) inspired by (inside) a (A) poet (DANTe) not quite.
3. Odd – double definition – one is such a number and eccentric means odd.
4. Impale – spike. The demon (IMP), drink (ALE).
5. Germinate – begin. Anagram (to form) of A REGIMENT.
6. Fever – temperature. Fine (F), always (EVER).
7. Relish – double definition.
11. Bow Window – architectural feature. This held me up for a while. Didn’t expect dog to be bow wow! In (IN) and (D)oghouse inside said BOW WOW.
14. Useless – not worth saving. If you save more you use less.
15. Tsetse – fly. Anagram (off) of SET – twice.
16. Ghosts – spirits. Good (G) with armies (HOSTS).
18. Rhino – horned animal. One (I) breaking through anagram (cracked) of HORN.
19. Eton – school. Homophone (did you say) of eaten – as dinners should be.
20. Bro – sibling. Something round (ORB) turned up.

25 comments on “Quick Cryptic 716 by Mara”

  1. Yes, a nice puzzle. I was pushing to try and get under 10 minutes but it wasn’t easy enough for that! 2, 10, 11 and 14 held me up a bit.
  2. 9 minutes. I agree there were some great clues here. I especially enjoyed the SEA SONG at 1ac, the BOW WOW at 11dn and EVE in both directions at 9ac.

    Edited at 2016-12-06 01:13 am (UTC)

  3. DNK 10ac, so it took me all the longer to work out the wordplay. But 1ac was the LOI; I had ‘sea dog’ and ‘sea song’ both in mind, but for some reason couldn’t make anything of it for a long time. COD maybe to REVEL. 8:37.
  4. With the proviso that I always think of Eton as a college.

    COD 1ac SEASONING – once that was in, life was a lot easier.

    10ac BAR BILLIARDS – surely there are few pubs which still provide a table and the mushrooms!

  5. 32:20 duration, but completed by 02:49 am which is a record, since the Times IPad version doesn’t usually arrive til about 03:00.
    Like many I had BAY window for some time, as have not heard of a BOW window. Some nice clues such as 10a. A rogue comma threw me in 2d where I had ‘not quite’ attached to ‘sure’ not ‘poet’, and was looking at a-ma-bard or a-ba-ma-rd for some time.

    Edited at 2016-12-06 02:56 am (UTC)

  6. I found this quite hard and because I put BAY WINDOW in, was unable to solve 12ac. 13ac and 24ac took me an age, and was convinced I was looking for something to do with school dinners at 19dn. Remember coming across tsetse a few crosswords ago, but had never previously come across the word. Gribb.
  7. “Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow-wow,
    Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow-wow.
    I’ve got a pussy-cat,
    And I’m very fond of that,
    But I’d rather have a bow-wow-wow.”

    A family legend says that my great-grandfather devised this famous music-hall song, but was not credited.

    Chewy today indeed, with 20ac FOI, and ages over SEASONING. Does anyone now play BAR BILLIARDS?

    8’12” thanks chris and Mara.

    Edited at 2016-12-06 10:20 am (UTC)

    1. Strangely, I was in a pub in deepest Somerset last week where there was indeed a bar billiards table. What a sweet game it is, too.
  8. A DNF for me today as I couldn’t get Bar Billiards from the wordplay despite having all the crossers. I had also just biffed Adamant and Revel so as always was very grateful to the blog for the explanation as to why they were the answers. R and L in Revel was very clever – I don’t remember seeing that devise before.
  9. I thought this had some lovely, unusual, clues so was pleased and somewhat surprised to finish more or less on par (around 30 mins for me). Particularly enjoyed BAR BILLIARDS which brought back memories of a mis-spent youth, and BOW-WOW – I never expected that as somebody once said in a film I don’t remember.
    Great fun.
  10. Quite a shock to the system after yesterday’s gentle offering from Orpheus. Struggled with quite a few clues across the grid, but there are times when being married to an architect is distinctly helpful, and this was one of them. Still took more than an hour despite the assist with 11d. Invariant
  11. My experience seems to have been the same as most other commentators. I immediately thought of Bay Window but in the back of my mind remembered that Bow Window was possible ( I think from a Saturday Times Crossword). Still couldn’t get 12a for a while;but at least I considered words ending in W.
    My last two were 1a and 1d. I thought Muse was a good answer for 1d (but maybe not in this type of crossword).In the end, Sash was my LOI. 30 minutes of hard work, but a good test. David
  12. A shockingly slow 22 minutes, nearly 50% above my target time, but extremely enjoyable puzzle from Mara. I loved SEASONING, REVEL and BOW WINDOW – all clever clues.

    The last time I saw a bar billiards table was in the 60’s in a hotel where we had a family holiday. I think I have seen a virtual bar billiards game somewhere since then though.

    Thanks Setter and Blogger.

    1. As coincidence has it, I found a local pub only last Sunday that has a bar billiards table…
  13. Having completed my first 15×15 yesterday, I am a little disappointed that this one took me over an hour. I had “RIO” for 23A for a while, having double checked that “RO” was an Egyptian pharaoh. I should have checked my geography, as well, and I guess the clue would have been “I have travelled INTO Egyptian capital”, anyway. I got 8A from the “comic” definition, but still can’t properly parse it. Bear = stand? Horse = up? Still learning…
    1. Bear as in ‘I can bear it’ or ‘I can stand it’, and UP as in ‘Up in the saddle’ were my interpretations.
      1. Aah. Thanks. I should have got bear. I think I still find up troublesome. Luckily, once I’d got the p as second letter, there weren’t much options.
  14. I really need to get onto Mara’s wavelength one day – there’s something about her clues that leave me baffled (a reflection on me not the setter). Perseverance was the key today, as my solving time of between 45 and 50 minutes over 3 sittings will attest.
    The NE in particular was a struggle with 1a sending me round the houses via the periodic table before finally seeing the light. Some great clues though and I thought 9a was inspired.
      1. You have shattered an illusion. I thought this name came from Ruth chapter 1 verse 20 ‘Don’t call me Naomi call me Mara’.
  15. Totally defeated by this one. Seems to be in a different league to other offerings bearing the “quick” qualifier. Marginally depressed now ;-/
  16. why can’t you quote the clue and then give the parsing as gentlemen do with the definition underlined?
    Then we would learn more easily.

Comments are closed.