Quick Cryptic 749 by Teazel

Morning all.  This offering from Teazel took me nine and a half minutes to complete.  That means either it was quite tough or I was being a bit thick, so I’ll be interested to hear how others fared.

Not much time to comment this morning, and may not be available to reply to solvers’ comments.  But don’t let that stop you, there are always plenty of others to help out.

So let’s just thank our setter, and see how it all parses….

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there’s the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’.

1 Good luck for an elite? (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST – Double definition
The enumeration is always helpful for these multi-word answers.
7 Wage deduction is for transport (5)
TAXIS – TAX (wage deduction) + IS
Pretty straightforward so far.
8 Spit in empty snack jar (6)
SKEWER – SK (empty SnacK) + EWER (jar)
Held up here by looking for the wrong type of spit and the wrong type of jar.  Good clue.
10 The Flying Squad? (3)
RAF – Cryptic definition
Funny little cryptic.  Rather obvious if you see it.
12 Armstrong the Elephant? (9)
TRUMPETER – Double definition
This may have held some solvers up.  It did me.  Elephants “trumpet” and so did the legendary Satchmo.  So nothing to do with moonwalkers then.
13 In part, actor angers royal house (6)
ORANGE – Hidden in (actOR ANGErs)
As in the Dutch royal house.
14 Herb’s cold leading to itchy skin (6)
CHIVES – C (cold) + HIVES (itchy skin)
17 Great pine crashes — it’s happening again (9)
One of only two anagrams for the day.
19 Fabulous great bird biting head off reptile (3)
ROC – {c}ROC (reptile)
Three-letter word for a fabulous great bird?  Probably a write-in for most.
20 Look into smash in ski race (6)
SLALOM – LO (look) “into” SLAM (smash)
21 A quiet request not to finish fruit (5)
APPLE – A + P (quiet, in musical notation) + PLE [PLEA (request) “not to finish”]
23 Change to reverse in very hilly road (10)
SWITCHBACK – SWITCH (change) + BACK (reverse)
1 Having endured long wait when shop is closed? (5,5)
AFTER HOURS – Double definition
When Government departments answer your phone call.
2 Negligent, does not have to be heard (3)
LAX – Homophone of LACKS (does not have)
3 Husband aghast having to change label for topic (7)
HASHTAG – H (husband) + (AGHAST)*
Anagram number two.
4 European having some job as question-master (6)
BASQUE – Hidden in (joB AS QUEstion-master)
And well hidden I thought.  Took me a while to see it anyway.
5 Curving drive is clean (5)
SWEEP – Double definition
Was about to launch into a tirade about a sweep not being a drive until I realised we’re not talking about cricket here.  This sweep is “a curved part of a drive in front of a building”.
6 Felt bad about being spare (4,4)
LEFT OVER – (FELT)* + OVER (about)
Whoops, a third (partial) anagram.  Overlooked this one at first.
9 Independently verify religious symbol, meeting rebuff (5-5)
CROSS-CHECK – CROSS (religious symbol) + CHECK (rebuff)
11 Staff upholding the standard (8)
FLAGPOLE – Cryptic definition
Nice cryptic, with a plausible but misleading surface.
15 Used to be protected by pig and horse? Nonsense (7)
HOGWASH – WAS (used to be) “protected by” HOG (pig) + H (horse)
16 Sign of love shortly encountered: that’s fate (6)
KISMET – KIS [KISS (sign of love) shortly] + MET (ecountered)
18 Let everyone down, ignoring outsiders (5)
ALLOW – ALL (everyone) + OW [dOWn, ignoring “outsiders” (first and last letters)]
22 After exercise, take a pulse (3)
PEA – PE (exercise) + A
See “pulse” in a crossword, think peas or beans.  Less commonly lentils.

17 comments on “Quick Cryptic 749 by Teazel”

  1. This was my second best ever time for the QC at 6.03 so I have to go for dead easy.Surprised Galspray took longer than average. Mind you the 15×15 wasn’t hard either IMO.


    WOD HOGWASH – all ready for the next episoide of TRUMPTON?


    A bit slow to start in the NW (and 12ac tripped me up too) but steady progress. A good puzzle I think.

  3. 7 minutes including about a minute considering the explanation of 5dn having biffed the answer from “clean” plus checkers. I think the blogger’s interpretation works but I’m sure there’s another one which I can’t quite nail at this moment. G, you have a tiny typo at 3dn.

    Edited at 2017-01-20 02:04 am (UTC)

      1. You’re welcome. And I withdraw my slight misgivings about 5dn having found SWEEP = “curving driveway” in Collins. Actually on re-reading the blog this morning I note your use of inverted commas which suggests you were quoting a dictionary source in the first place!

        Edited at 2017-01-20 07:26 am (UTC)

  4. Like galspray, I was looking for the wrong spit and the wrong jar at 8ac, even though I had the SK. That and 5d slowed me up a bunch. 6:44.
  5. Yeah, got everything bar skewer. I was never going to get it. Never heard of ewer, I’m afraid. A bit of a tricky one overall, I felt. Gribb.
  6. Man walks into a bar and says ‘EWERS, please’. Bartender says ‘what’s ewers?’. ‘Thanks, I’ll have a beer’. Just under 6′ today, so below average. Liked KISMET, a famous musical from the fifties as well as what Nelson really said. Thanks gal and Teazel.
  7. A few minutes longer than usual – those few minutes being entirely taken up with ‘skewer’ – why, I don’t know! Anyone else tempted to think that ‘Armstrong’ was a type of elephant on first sight of 12ac?
  8. 9:30 for me. Had to go to 19d before an answer hit me in the face. Must be being obtuse today! Anyway it all came together after that and I finished in my usual 9 or 10 minutes. Took a while (and some crossers) before the TRUMPETER connection clicked even though I’d thought of Louis. Might just be my brain, but I thought a lot of the clues were well disguised. Thanks setter and Galspray. BTW Galspray I expect you’ve already seen it, but I just got my first viewing of the Toyota Hilux (bugger) ad from NZ on Facebook today. Tickled me alright 🙂
    1. Yes, I remember those ads John. Very funny. But geez, it must be 10 or 15 years since they went to air. Nice to see Facebook catching up!
  9. 20 mins, and liked seeing HASHTAG in there, very up-to-date. Starting to make good progress on the 15×15 these days, got about 65% done in a hour. So the QC is deffo good training.
  10. I found this tough to complete and certainly not many gimmes.
    I got the bottom half fairly quickly but then was slow to get 1a and 1d. Trumpeter held me up a bit and my last two were 4d and 8a. I eventually saw the hidden Basque and then I managed to work out what was needed in 8a. I knew Ewer but did not know Roc and guessed it. Over 25 minutes today. A good puzzle. Favourite 6d. David
  11. A bit slower today than usual at 21 minutes. Like David the bottom half went in quite quickly but the top was a bit of a slog. LOI 8a which accounted for the last few minutes of my time. COD 12a
  12. About 50 mins.

    Didn’t know roc, switchback or kismet.

    A few biffs as I couldn’t parse slalom, left over, or skewer.

    15d was a good clue, h=horse I don’t remember seeing before.

    LOI 8a skewer.

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