Quick Cryptic 747 by Mara

I would certainly have found this much harder were it not for the plentitude of double definitions, multi-word answers and anagrams (look out for the unusual indicator at 8dn) that helped me get a start in all quadrants. Not because of any ambiguity or obscurity, but as a result of well hidden definitions and smooth surfaces. As it is, I completed without the need or desire to pause.

My COD has to be 3dn for reasons of well-spotted anagram fodder and occupational allegiance. A thoroughly enjoyable crossword.

Definitions underlined.

1 Food store, where the setter has a feast to prepare (4,4)
MEAT SAFE – ME (the setter) and an anagram of (to prepare) A FEAST.
5 Switch hands back (4)
SWAP – reversal of (back) PAWS (hands).
9 Make out contract (5)
CATCH – double definition. Make out in the sense of ‘glimpse’, and contract in that of contagion.
10 Charity rejected in tavern, a state (7)
INDIANA – AID (charity) backwards (rejected) inside INN (tavern) A.
11 Local restriction (3)
BAR – double definition.
12 False reading, so put right (9)
ORGANISED – anagram of (false) READING SO.
13 New game in for puzzle (6)
ENIGMA – anagram of (new) GAME IN.
15 Very cold beer (6)
BITTER – double definition.
17 Forty lies ruined autobiography (4,5)
LIFE STORY – anagram of (ruined) FORTY LIES.
19 Problem part being discussed (3)
SUM – homophone of (being discussed) “some” (part).
20 Get loan for cultivating fruit (7)
TANGELO – anagram of (for cultivating) GET LOAN.
21 Ring, region around end of Saturn (5)
ARENA – AREA (region) around last letter (end) of saturN.
22 Stone on two axes (4)
ONYX – ON with Y and X (two axes).
23 Drop off in allowance for slope (8)
GRADIENT – DIE (drop off) inside GRANT (allowance).
1 Dark coat on wild bear (7)
MACABRE – MAC (coat) and an anagram of (wild) BEAR.
2 Change key with little hesitation (5)
ALTER – ALT (key, on a computer) and ER (little hesitation).
3 One bringing order to the classroom? (12)
SCHOOLMASTER – anagram of (bringing order to) THE CLASSROOM.
4 Casual affair, as steps taken in Scotland? (5)
FLING – double definition.
6 Something unknown twit has arranged (7)
WHATSIT – anagram of (arranged) TWIT HAS.
7 Penny put down for patterned fabric (5)
PLAID – P (penny) and LAID (put down).
8 Shimmying dart — nice tidy pass, perhaps? (8,4)
IDENTITY CARD – anagram of (shimmying) DART NICE TIDY.
14 Fashionable and complicated, being a child (7)
INFANCY – IN (fashionable) and FANCY (complicated).
16 Defence requiring inclination and skill (7)
RAMPART – RAMP (inclination) and ART (skill).
17 Little room to bury the treasure, for starters, in game of chance (5)
LOTTO – LOO (little room) surrounding (to bury) first letters of (for starters) The Treasure.
18 Stink is offensive at first, and grim (5)
ODOUR – first letter of (at first) Offensive and DOUR (grim).
19 European root (5)
SWEDE – double definition.

22 comments on “Quick Cryptic 747 by Mara”

  1. Cheers.

    Easier than yesterday, mostly quite quick, though I got stuck on RAMPART and in the NW corner: the clues for MACABRE and CATCH are especially vague at first (and subsequent!) sight.


    p.s. Today’s slow cryptic isn’t too hard for the most part.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 05:53 am (UTC)

  2. I second Adrian’s opinion of MACABRE, although CATCH seems (difficult but) fine to me. 10ac was another tricky one, with a fairly infelicitous surface. 6:56.
  3. Agree that this was significantly easier than yesterday. Also agree re the quality of SCHOOLMASTER. Just a perfect clue.

    Thanks Mara and William.

  4. 3dn SCHOOLMASTER was rather too obvious to be my COD thus 1dn MACABRE WOD TANGELO
    Time 8.08
    I bet 1ac MEAT SAFE holds up a few novices. You don’t see alot of them around the days – were there ever such items as meat safe magnets?

    Edited at 2017-01-18 02:08 am (UTC)

  5. 32:48. CATCH slowed me down, as I had it in mind but didn’t see either definition (thinking ‘snog’ might be in there for ‘make out’. LOI was SCHOOLMASTER and didn’t see the anagram at all, COD when I saw the blog. Never heard of TANGELO, so pleasing to look it up and see it there in the dictionary. Needed all checkers for 8d, thinking ‘shimmying’ was the definition not the anagrind.
  6. 27 minutes and a great crossword.

    Lots of anagrams so easy to get going.

    LOI was 19d, pole etc etc.

    COD 8d Identity card.

    For the parsing: 9a I didn’t see the contract=catch link, couldn’t parse 23a gradient. For 4d, I thought the Highland fling was throwing something!

  7. Squeezed in under the 10-minute wire but only just as I had a last minute panic when trying to come up with my final entry, GRADIENT. Otherwise it was quite straightforward for this solver. My COD was undoubtedly ONYX.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 05:33 am (UTC)

  8. Better than average today. Nice to see use of ‘key’ which has caught me out a few times. SCHOOLMASTER a chestnut but briliant, and loved WHATSIT. Thanks william and Mara.
  9. Some brilliant clues but catch was the hardest one for me. Nearly all of the definitions of “make out” now mean snog. However isn’t this one is “I didn’t hear” rather than “I didn’t see” as in glimpse.
  10. Held up by the NE corner, otherwise not too bad once 8d was sorted. 40 mins, so on the slow side of average, with 16d my favourite. Invariant
  11. Unlike others, I found this much harder than the rest of the week. Only just under an hour, with 53 mins (twice as long as yesterday). Didn’t get anything for the first five minutes, but broke into NE corner first, and then went clockwise. Never heard of a TONGELO, but guessed it from the clue and crossers. I parsed 2d differently to the blogger, never thought of the “alt” key. I don’t do music, but I’m sure there is a key of “A”, and I thought little can be shortened to “LT”, with just “ER” being the hesitation. I think that works, too.

    Edited at 2017-01-18 01:36 pm (UTC)

  12. Some brilliant clues but catch was the hardest one for me. Nearly all of the definitions of “make out” now mean snog. However isn’t this one is “I didn’t hear” rather than “I didn’t see” as in glimpse.
  13. A trouble free 6.36 today. Setters seem to suffer from group think when novelties come along, so whenever I see ‘key’ these days I immediately look for ALT or ESC. Similarly with COR for ‘my’, a device that has been done to death in recent times.
  14. Another one that took me longer than usual at 14 minutes. Held up by trying to fit ALMS into 10a, and not spotting the CATCH definition quickly. 3d fooled me until I came here as I didn’t spot the anagram at all until it was pointed out here. I just biffed it from checkers, but now see that it’s an excellent clue. MACABRE and MEAT SAFE went in quickly. FOI was BAR. LOI was SCHOOLMASTER. Thanks William and Mara.
  15. A very enjoyable puzzle that felt harder than my time of 17 minutes would indicate. I’d not heard of 1a before but the cluing was friendly enough not to hold me up. Particularly enjoyed 1d and 22a. LOI 19a
  16. I enjoyed this. Quite a challenge and not helped by me putting Diagnosed for 12a when rather rushing. When I checked later the R in the anagram had gone missing! I was also held up in NW by 1a and 9a. Once I got Schoolmaster (having missed the anagram) it all fell into place. 20 minutes or more for this. COD to 1d just. David
  17. Caught out today by the ending of 14d which spoilt my chances with 22a, and by 19a. I reckoned 5a as swop rather than swap (Chambers says either!). COD 1d. FOI 17a. LOI a failed 19a. Took ages!

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