Quick Cryptic 721 by Felix

The answers didn’t fall into place but neither was I stumped on any clues – so a steady and enjoyable solve in 9 minutes. LOI and COD 14dn for the alternative meaning of lowers. Thanks Felix.

I was asked last week why I didn’t include the whole clue in the blog. The first – and most practical – reason is that all this is done on an iPad and it’s almost impossible to copy and paste the clues and I don’t have time (or patience) to laboriously write them all out. Secondly – some reference back to the puzzle having had some assistance from the blog seems a good approach to me.


1. Calais – port. Caught (C), sad to say (ALAS) consuming one (I).
4. Starer – one gawping. Celeb (STAR) meets royal (ER).
8. High and mighty – superior. Anagram (ruin) of MYTH HIDING HAG(S).
10. Retry – have another go at. Anagram (poor) of TERRY.
11. Camp bed – temporary sleeping facility. Affected (CAMP), teaching graduated (BEd – Bachelor of Education).
12. In a nutshell – briefly. Where you’d find a hazelnut.
16. Coastal – seen on beaches. Anagram (wild) of CAT ALSO.
17. Ditto – the same thing. Foun(D IT TO)ugh showing.
18. Watch ones step – take care. Although I have little experience of the Strictly come dancing craze, I imagine that judges ramp up the drama by finding perceived flaws in the steps taken by contestants.
19. Shyest – most timid. Quiet (SH), indeed (YES), no(T).
20. Condor – large flyer. Tory (CON), staff (ROD – sent backwards).


1. Cohort – some old soldiers. Commanding officer (CO), house (HO), right (RT).
2. Light infantry – foot – as in foot soldiers. They are armed with light weapons such as rifles so are not held down by the weight of too many arms.
3. Italy – nation. I (I), agree (TALlY) – fifty short = take one L out.
5. Triumph – coup. Anagram (off) of PUT HIM embracing (R)egime.
6. Rehabilitated – restored reputation. Anagram (reformed) of A BAD HITLERITE.
7. Riyadh – foreign city (if you’re solving this in Saudi Arabia you need to allow for the fact that this is a U.K. newspaper). Some birt(HDAY I R)ode – around = backwards.
9. Decathlon – event. Of French (DE), girl (CATH), LONdon.
13. Notches – cuts. Lifting heaving weight (TON – upwards), box (CHES)t – endlessly.
14. Scowls – lowers. Small (S), hoods (Capes COWLS).
15. Topper – hat. Quietly (P) grabbed by heavy drinker (TOPER).
17. Disco – dance music. Is (IS) and constant (C) in party (DO).

21 comments on “Quick Cryptic 721 by Felix”

  1. I stupidly and unthinkingly flung in ‘watch your step’ at 18ac; it’s never (or virtually never) ‘you(r)’, it’s (virtually) always one(‘s). And that slowed me down on 9ac. Other than that, pretty steady going. Like Chris, I’d give 14d the COD. 4:49.
  2. I don’t think this was dead easy, but it was a steady solve and nothing held me up for too long. FOI CALAIS LOI TRIUMPH (I was scratching my head trying to think of a word ending in M*H but it should’ve been obvious.) COD RETRY
  3. 8 minutes for this offering from our Crossword Editor, and I probably lost a minute trying to find wordplay in 2dn that simply isn’t there (unless we are all missing it).
  4. Gave up with just 1ac missing. Looking at it now, it’s very straightforward, but I had C_L_IT, thinking caught = CT, which threw me off. Not as straightforward as yesterday. 2dn was quite tricky, and I don’t know if anyone else failed to spot the hidden clue in 17ac for ages? Gribb.
  5. I had it as “light” meaning “not held down” and “infantry” as “too many arms?”.

    So, basically, I biffed it.

    Edited at 2016-12-13 10:35 am (UTC)

      1. Bunged in from definition, ie couldn’t/didn’t work out the cryptic but just wrote the answer in. Invariant
  6. An enjoyable and steady solve with nothing too challenging, completed in 15 minutes. I seem to have finally managed to lodge the camp/affected link firmly in my memory bank which helped.
    LOI 5d, COD 14d but with an honourable mention to 12a for putting a smile on my face.
  7. Wish I could have done this in ten minutes. Half an hour was good for me even when I was helped with “in a nutshell”
    I don’t see what capes has to do with 14 down. I think that you mean cowls.
    1. Hmm – I’m not sure what was going on there – looks like a spell check thing as I always put the answer parts in capitals. Anyway – correction made – thank you!
  8. I think the definition is ‘foot’ as above, ‘not held down by too many arms?’ is the cryptic. It’s always ‘one’s’. COD 17d, memories. Nearly a sub5 again. Thanks chris and Felix.
  9. Found this quite tough but a steady solve around an hour.

    Didn’t spot the anagram in 16a for ages.

    I don’t get why scowls = lowers.

    Last 2 were 17a and 15d, haven’t heard of topper or toper.

    Edited at 2016-12-13 10:38 am (UTC)

  10. In answer to Flashman above, my Chambers has LOWER as an alternative spelling for LOUR, and definition “to look sullen or threatening, to scowl”. Incidentally, GLOWER has a very similar definition. Regarding TOPPER, it is an informal expression for TOP HAT, which you must surely have heard of.

    Chris, in 8a, the S in HAGS is not part of the anagram, but otherwise a nice blog. I like the variety that we bloggers bring to the QC, and whilst I do laboriously re-type the definitions, I think there is a lot to be said for your more succinct approach.

    This was a good QC, pitched, IMHO at the right level. Took me close to 20′ whilst otherwise distracted on the rattler this morning, but comfortably solved and parsed (despite the distractions) before Surbiton.

    Edited at 2016-12-13 11:52 am (UTC)

    1. Thank you. Correction made.

      On blog styles – I completely agree – without variety life would be less spicy!

    2. Thanks Rotter

      I have heard of top hat, just not topper (easy nick name to deduce I know) or roper for drinker.

  11. I took two goes with this little teaser from Felix, and even then had to biff 14d and 2d. The latter, to my mind, just doesn’t sit right in a QC. A pity, because I thought 12ac was a real cracker: two extremes in the same puzzle. Invariant
    PS Those looking for a gentle 15×15 should have a go at yesterday’s Rufus (27065) in the Guardian.
  12. We got there in the end abt 40mins but solved in fits and starts, depending on when the four long clues fell into place. Found difficulty in parsing some, despite having the correct answers. Overall not as easy as some, thanks to Felix and bloggers. Elin and Ian.
  13. 2 short again, so DNF again. Thought 12a Hazel was in ref to Watership Down (don’t laugh, iconic book of my childhood) so was looking at rabbit holes.
  14. Solved all this bar 1a and then put it to one side for a later look.
    Just could not think of the port. Perfectly good fair puzzle. David

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