Quick Cryptic 726 by Orpheus

Rather like Christmas this was all going along very happily but then I got rather weighed down in the middle. 3dn, 12dn, 13dn but, probably most of all, 15ac causing the discomfort. The latter was self inflicted – having solved the grid I then went back to try work out why the definition was ‘complaint’ – only to realise that it wasn’t.
Hope you fared better and digested this sometimes clever and witty offering more easily than I did.


3. Umber – pigment – any of various natural brown earths containing ferric oxide together with lime and oxides of aluminium, manganese, and silicon. Husband (H) removed from hUMBER.
7. Design – plan. Condescend (DEIGN) to accept (S)tudent.
8. Elba – Italian island. The Spanish (EL), sailor returned (BA – ab backwards).
9. Albanian – a likely nationality for someone from Tirana. Man (ALAN) keeping bar (BAN) and one (I).
10. Rays – beams as of light. Homophone (reportedly) of increase height (raise).
11. In the doghouse – out of favour. The setter (in this case the dog rather than the crossword compiler) may be resident therein.
15. Accommodating – compliant (not complaint!). Landladies provide accommodation.
16. Thai – e.g. Bangkok resident. Note the apostrophe before the S of resident’s indicating that the Bangkok resident is a Homophone (do we hear) of tie. I first tried to spell Thais with only four letters.
18. Debarred – banned. Notes (DE), poet (BARD) carries about (RE).
20. Lama – Buddhist monk. America (AM) visiting part of California (LA).
21. Unpack – what to do with case perhaps. United Nations (UN), crowd (PACK).
22. Nonet – musical work (for nine players). One (ONE) featuring in Londo(N) concer(T).


1. Hellenic – Greek. Hard (H), woman (ELLEN), in charge of (IC).
2. Visa – pass. Six of the Romans (VI) over South Africa (SA).
3. Unwisdom – foolishness. A French (UN), male – Norman possibly (WISDOM).
4. Barn – grain store. Restriction (BAN) covering farme(R).
5. Rearmost – right at the back. Bring up (REAR), greatest number (MOST).
6. Obey – do the bidding of. Old (O), Turkish governor (BEY).
12. Hooligan – lout. (H)ate, (O)fficers, anagram (suffering) of IN GAOL.
13. Gadabout – idle wanderer. A (A), bad rise (DAB) inside joint pain (GOUT).
14. Sentence – judge’s pronouncement. Transmitted (SENT), in French (EN), church (CE).
17. Heat – preliminary round of a contest. Ambassador (HE) attending (AT).
18. University official – dean. (A)bsorbed in study (DEN).
19. Rapt – transported. (R)evolt, liable to (APT).

30 comments on “Quick Cryptic 726 by Orpheus”

  1. The first thing I do with these Quickies is click on the 3 horizontal lines in the upper right and enlarge the size of the clues; makes a difference. This went quite quickly, but I had to biff 3d (LOI) after trying in vain to treat ‘Norman’ as anagrist; I gather there’s someone named Norman Wisdom? I suppose I could look it up. 3:38.

      Not straightforward; in fact I was surprised to be under 12 minutes.

      Norman Wisdom made a string of hit comedies in the 1950s/60s, and they remained very popular in Eastern Europe especially. If you like silent comedy (which he often incorporated into his films), I recently watched “The Early Bird” on YouTube and the first 11 minutes are very well done.

      Edited at 2016-12-20 02:41 am (UTC)

  2. 8 minutes for this one. Although of course I’m familiar with “unwise” I don’t recall coming across UNWISDOM before. I wish I could say the same for the ghastly Norman.
  3. 22:13, a good time for me. Unlike yesterday, many across clues flew in. Down clues had a few obscure words such as UNWISDOM, GADABOUT and HELLENIC. I am sure that the word NONET, exists in crosswords rather than in actual musical pieces for 9 players – surely called an ensemble. LOI the simple 18d which did not contain DON. I just read a book on the ottomans, so BEY was in my mind. COD 11a.
    1. NONET is in common enough in musical circles as are its predecessors: solo, duet, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet and octet, but after nine it seems to stop and I can’t find a word for ten musicians. Perhaps that’s where your “ensemble” kicks in?
  4. This was either very hard, or my brain just isn’t working today. A few unfamiliar terms for me, GADABOUT and UNWISDOM, and 15ac and 5dn proved stumbling blocks. I also had to cheat to see where Tirana is as my geography is poor. It’s interesting to see most people found this straightforward. Gribb.
  5. Two free tickets to The Empire to see Norman Wisdom in Panto – as Buttons! Jack, I take it you are not interested!?

    Home in 10.41 – tough-ish but the Gribb brain is probably off for the hols.

      1. Mr Grimsdale. Grimsdyke was my telephone exchange when names existed. The name survives in Grims Dyke Hotel (now part of Best Western). It’s the former home of W S Gilbert who met his maker there when trying to rescue a house guest who had got herself into difficulty whilst swimming.

        I cannot stand Norman Wisdom. His films were inflicted on me as a child and I have never got over it.

        Edited at 2016-12-20 09:41 am (UTC)

        1. Grimsdale of course. You have obviously been badly scarred by Norman Wisdom, which probably proves beyond doubt that you have no Albanian in your boodline.

          I had similar petaversion for King Zog.

  6. Notwithstanding the agreed awfulness of Norman Wisdom I, clearly like others, have never encountered UNWISDOM before. I’m sure it must be in the dictionary but it’s such a clumsy word (unlike unwise) that it ought to be taken out.
    Another day with a lack of anagrams to get me started (only one I think) but 33 mins on the Times website instead of iPad version is not a bad time for me,
  7. Norman Wisdom was genuinely popular in Albania as he poked fun at the ruling class, and was therefore allowed. Thanks for parsing 11ac. 6′ thanks chris and Orpheus.
  8. Like the blogger I set off at a cracking pace and gradually ground to a complete halt.at 7ac which for some reason caused a total block (LOI). Just could not think of a synonym for condescend. So in the end it was about my 30 minute average.
    Enjoyed the misdirection of SETTER in 13ac so my COD.
    1. Unspammed (it was the lack of a space after the “halt full stop” and before the “at”)
  9. Like the blogger I set off at a cracking pace and gradually slowed down until I reached a complete block at 7ac. Just could not think of a synonym for condescend (LOI). so in the end finished at around my 30 minute average,
    UNWISDOM? (ugh)
    Enjoyed the misdirection in the use of setter in 11ac so my COD.
  10. Comfortably solved by Surbiton – about 12 minutes for me. I also unlike unwisdom, and Norman (also Charlie Drake for that matter).

    I toyed with Alsatian for a while, instead of ALBANIAN but, not surprisingly, couldn’t make it work with the clue. There was no reasonable way I could equate SAT with BAR, but like a brain meme, the idea persisted. For a while, I considered SAT as in Scholastic Aptitude Test as a kind of bar to academic progress, but I thought that was a bit obtuse for a QC. If only I had known where Tirana is things would have been a lot easier and quicker.

    1. Does that explain why Terry Thomas and Charlie Drake never appeared in the same movie?

      I have just realised that King Zog was Tirana -saurus Rex.

      1. Oh God, what have I done to deserve this? Charlie Drake was even worse than Norman Wisdom! At least I can recognise that Norman had some talent, even if it didn’t appeal to me.
    2. . . .but I assume you are All Right with Peter Sellers, or am I confusing you with Jack(kt) ? 😊 Invariant
      1. I am perfectly OK with PS who is a whole different category of comic actor. “Ees thees your minkey?”
  11. Having successfully negotiated the tricky end of today’s grid (unwisdom, gadabout) in a decent enough time, I came to a dead stop with 19d. Ah, the joy of the 4 letter loi. Ripe just didn’t seem to fit, but I couldn’t think of anything else. Decided to go away and have another coffee and then came back and thought of Rapt, via the cryptic, but transported ? Google confirmed the rather obscure meaning, allowing me to limp home. Invariant
  12. This seemed hard at first but once I got going the answers appeared quickly. As our blogger said a clever puzzle. I had it all done in 15 minutes but with a doubt about 20a. I could not see past Baha/ Baja for the part of California and so assumed there must be a monk called that. I should have waited and parsed it properly. Well done setter. Favourite 11a. David
  13. I got through this in 15 minutes with no major hold ups, although 13d took a bit of figuring out. Like others I did not like 3d as it doesn’t sound like it should be a word, but the cluing made the answer fairly clear. LOI 18a, COD 11a, for it’s misdirection.
  14. Thanks, but I don’t think that’s the same as the transported to heaven (obscure) second meaning of rapt ? Or am I taking ‘transport’ too literally? Invariant

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