Quick Cryptic 781 by Orpheus

This one is not to be undertaken lightly and any tendency to biff should be fully restrained. At first sight it looks like the 4×13 letter clues may cause problems (and certainly 5dn did) but it’s the fiendish 9 letter clue at 16ac which may eventually make or break your day. Unsurprisingly this was my LOI and, being neither an Italian speaker nor an expert in the making of books, I had to use every ounce of ingenuity to overcome it. Having done so I have a pleasant feeling of satisfaction (which I hope you all end up sharing).

Any frustration at the rigorousness of the work out is completely forgiven by an absolute pearl of a clue at 19ac. Thanks to Orpheus for making my day.


1. Ambush – waylay. A (A), doctor (MB), American (US), hospital (H).
4. Oporto – Iberian city. Old (O) and ring (O) inside which is the nautical left (PORT).
9. Country cousin – unsophisticated type. In a state (COUNTRY), relatively speaking (COUSIN).
10. Mad – angry. Mother (DAM) retreats (backwards). The ‘us’ is used to make the clue scan.
11. Landowner – squire. Real (REAL) goes backwards around northern (N) and hill (DOWN).
12. Larkin – English poet. Playing about (LARKIN)g endlessly.
13. Starch – stiffener. Sailor (TAR) accepted into school (SCH).
16. Duodecimo – book. Apparently if you take a sheet of paper and fold it into twelve leaves, then write a story in it – you end up with a book called a duodecimo.
I (I) found after month (DEC) inside the Italian for Cathedral (DUOMO). I had ‘domo’ in mind which got me most of the way there – there wasn’t much else the second letter could be so I binged in the ‘u’ and was happy that it worked. An excellent clue (for the 15×15).
18. Amp – device for magnifying sound. A (A), politician (MP).
19. Schoolteacher – this is a VERY fine clue and wins COD hands down. I unusually copy this out in its honour:
One’s often in form, developing the coach’s role (13).
As an &lit – a schoolteacher may be often in a form (class) or in (good) form developing the coach’s role (their teaching skills).
As a double definition – a schoolteacher is often in a form (class) developing (the knowledge of their pupils) and the coach’s role is a schoolteacher.
Finally, and quite brilliantly, as an anagram (developing) of THE COACHS ROLE – with the definition of ‘one’s often in form’.
21. Sarong – garment. Vocal piece (SONG) about a (A), queen (R).
22. Weight – bulk. Western (W), rowing crew (EIGHT).


1. Arc – part of circle. A (A) joined to Catholic (RC).
2. Bounder – rogue. Tied (BOUND), soldiers (RE) upwards.
3. Satellite town – urban area. Heavenly body (SATELLITE), to (TO) west (W) and north (N).
5. Proportionate – comparable. Anagram (represented) of TORONTO PAPER I.
6. Resin – compound. In Zai(RES IN)terior.
7. Ownership – possession. Anagram (new) of WINE SHOP (R)ussian.
8. Lying – double definition.
10. Melodists – writers of airs (songs). Anagram (varied) of ITS SELDOM.
14. Road hog – selfish driver. Homophone (reportedly) of ‘rode’ on pig (HOG). The ‘back of’ is, I suppose, the only place one would ride on a pig and makes the clue read better.
15. Piety – devoutness. Shame (PITY) about (E)vangelist.
17. Other – alternative. Article (THE) in gold (OR).
20. Rat – deserter. Right (RT) to arrest a (A).

30 comments on “Quick Cryptic 781 by Orpheus”

  1. Easier than yesterday 🙂 but not dead easy – at a couple of points I forgot I was “only” doing the Quickie. FOI ARC LOI OPORTO COD PIETY
  2. 16ac was my clue of the day and not 19ac SCHOOLTEACHER as:-

    a) we’ve had this recently and b) it’s so blindingly obvious….one’s often in form…bang in it goes! 6 lines of Orphean laudation unecessary.

    2dn is BOUNDER not BOUNCER!

    7:50 for a MOR puzzle.

    WOD LARKIN the librarian

    Edited at 2017-03-07 02:09 am (UTC)

    1. I would say ‘anagram indicator’ or ‘signpost’ as recommended by Davis Astle. Not the alt. date-rape drug that appears so popular in these parts. Our Cricklewood correspondent has dropped its unfortunate usage.

      Edited at 2017-03-07 05:31 am (UTC)

      1. I was actually aware of your position on the offending term, H (well, I would be, wouldn’t I?; I look at these two blogs almost daily); just wanted to see if I could get a rise out of you. I don’t get the drug part, though.
    2. It’s clearly just a typo as in the explanation that follows our blogger has BOUND (tied).
    3. First time I’ve come across 19ac. I don’t think the quality of a clue lies in how difficult it is to get but rather in its construction. I found the interleaving of the 3 potential ways of parsing the clue to be very… er, sorry… quite good.
      Thanks for the typo in 2dn.
  3. “They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

    They may not mean to, but they do.

    They fill you with the faults they had

    And add some extra, just for you.” PL

  4. 7 minutes. I vaguely knew DUODECIMO, though not exactly what it meant, and fortunately DUOMO too, otherwise I might have been stuck on that one. Even in the 15×15 I sometimes think it’s unfair to have obscure words in both wordplay and as the answer to a clue, so I’d venture that 16ac is a little beyond what one might expect to find in a QC. It’s only my opinion of course and I concede that it’s useful if solvers’ skills are tested a bit on occasion.
  5. Over an hour.
    Quite a lot of difficult clues, especially:

    9a, Didn’t really know the phrase country cousin.
    11a, was ok once I remembered down for hill.
    16a, I had Duodeci_o and still had to go through about 7 letters until the computer said yes…
    3d, took ages to see satellite for heavenly body.

    COD 7 down.

  6. My quickest time for some months at just over 15 mins. Just glad that I guessed Duodecimo instead of Duofebimo or else it would have been a DNF!
  7. Another harder than average today. I agree with H that 19a was a write after the a recent very similar clue. However, I think our blogger is right to point out the depth of the clue. It entirely passed me by at the time. Notwithstanding, COD and WOD go to 16a, a true test and a good example of how an unknown word can be derived from wordplay. 5’15”
  8. Well not having seen it before I agree with our blogger and say I was bowled over by the cleverness of 19d. In fact I let out a howl of delight which might have startled other hotel guests
  9. Actually a Personal Best for me today, at 13 mins (completed by Hinchley Wood). DUODECIMO seemed reasonable, as cognate with quarto and octavo.

    Missed the anagram at Schoolteacher, but an excellent clue. LOI 9a.

    1. Odd – you should have been a bit quicker second time round 😊 Invariant
      PS Congratulations!
  10. I biffed away merrily at this one, pausing to parse occasionally, but came to a grinding halt at 16a where I had to summon all the brain cells together to enter the fray. I spotted where the DECI went, which left me with D_ODECI_O at which point my schoolboy Latin shouted DUO and DECIMAL at me and my instincts were rewarded when I popped in a U and stuck an M in the penultimate slot and the Congratulations screen appeared at 9:55. DUOMO then rang a faint bell. An interesting puzzle. Thanks Orpheus and Chris.
  11. DNF today as I was completely flummoxed by 16a – having heard of neither the answer or ‘duomo’ before. Other than that I thought that this was another tricky offering with 3d and 11a also proving tough to crack.
    COD 19a, having seen it initially as a simple an anagram.
  12. Came to this late in the day after a long journey. A few write-ins helped to counter the fatigue, but it was still hard going. 16ac was always going to be my LOI, once I discovered it ended in an ‘o’ and involved Italian. Deci seemed more probable than Febi for the middle bit, and from there it was just a small leap of faith to duodecimo. . . ie a guess. Invariant
  13. A good ‘in… plenty of pencil work until parsing complete. Still took about an hour over two sessions. FOI 9a LOI15d COD 19a for clever triple construction where I missed the anagram.
  14. 8 minutes to do all but two clues. I was left with 16a and 15d. I tried and eventually succeeded in deconstructing 16a. I remembered Duomo from a visit to Florence. The month was probably Dec and finally I had a word which I did not know but which fitted. I was then able to get 15d. All that took another ten minutes. A strange test I thought with so many easy clues and a few hard ones. Sarong also a hold up. David
  15. I’ve been lurking here for a couple of weeks. Very new to cryptics of any variety. I seem to be making progress as this one didn’t seem too bad to me – but I do a lot of ‘research’.
    Normally, I get a few words in and then have to work out what words might fit from the checkers and try to see if the clue matches. Often, I can’t see how it does – that’s one reason to come here! 13ac, for example. Didn’t think of taking half of ‘school’ – why would I????

    As for 19ac, I’m not bothered how clever a clue it is, just happy to have spotted the anagram and got the answer! 11ac was very tricky until I realised that 3dn is one T and two Ls and not the other way round…

    Another problem is that I have blind spot for anagrams and often have to seek help (Mrs F, if she’s around, for example)..

    I’d heard of quarto and octavo so, when I ‘researched’ the italian for cathedral, I finally got there for 16ac

    DAM for mother flummoxed me. I could see the answer was right but not how it fitted the clue. SHouldn’t have done, as I’m familiar with the term from sire & dam in breeding sheep – ho hum…

    1. Welcome, filbert, and I’m glad you are making progress. It will get easier with practice!
  16. 16 ac had me stumped.
    14ac. Managed to get this without having to to think about anywhere else one might ride a pig!

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