Quick Cryptic 782 by Howzat

I found this quite a tricky puzzle from Howzat – I believe only the second time he or she has set a QC – and a good work out. Nothing obscure (although 23ac is probably not a word that most people have front of mind) but tightly clued with plenty of cunning devices to send us down various garden paths.

I found the hidden at 10a to be particularly well disguised, and a couple of the anagram indicators (at 9d and 16a) were refreshingly different and took me a while to spot. Interested to see what the rest of you thought.

Thanks to our setter.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–): omitted letters indicated by {-}

OK, something has gone wrong with the formatting here. I have now spent the best part of two hours trying to sort it out but to no avail. Sorry and all that, but I cannot fathom it out. I am not a computer programmer and I just rely on the template working. If it doesn’t for some reason, I’m stuffed. Hopefully someone else can intervene and fix it.

1 Insect-catcher in two horse-drawn vehicles (7)
FLYTRAP – The fly and the trap are both horse-drawn vehicles
5 Present box unopened (5)
OFFER – {C}OFFER – box unopened (i.e. without its first letter)
8 Secret group bound to be reduced (11)
CLANDESTINE – CLAN (group) + DESTINE{D) (bound to be minus its last letter – i.e. ‘reduced’)
10 Like enthusiast to some extent (4)
KEEN – Hidden in (‘to some extent’) liKE ENthusiast
11 What careless cook may do is eccentric (8)
12 Good people left in two seconds (6)
SPORTS – PORT (left – in the nautical world) ‘in’ S and S (two seconds). “He / she’s a good sport” – i.e. a decent cove / lass probably has a slightly old fashioned ring to it now, but was very much the term of approval used by my grandparents’ generation.
14 Audience’s disconcerted by stages (6)
PHASED – Sounds like (audience’s) Fazed – disconcerted. My LOI, probably just because I don’t tend to use the word “Fazed” so it needed a bit of dredging up from the murky depths of my mind.
16 Comparatively cool model retired around noon (8)
TRENDIER – *(RETIRED) – with “model” as the anagram indicator – and N (abbrev. noon) also in the mix.
18 Gown or doublet regularly chosen (4)
ROBE – Every other letter (regularly chosen) of oR dOuBlEt
20 Identical twins no longer in the belfry? (4,7)
DEAD RINGERS – Somewhat droll (and macabre!) cryptic definition
22 Former postman, an exile (5)
EXPAT – EX (former) PAT (as in Postman Pat, the cheerful chappie with the black and white cat…)
23 One’s rebuffed in a slam and that’s humiliating (7)
ABASING – I’S reversed (one’s rebuffed) inside A BANG (a slam), giving us a word that I vaguely knew but I needed the wordplay before I could nail it with confidence


2 Cruel jerks making money (5)
LUCRE – *(CRUEL) with “jerks” indicating the anagram
3 Instruct the Queen: you may put your foot in it! (7)
TRAINER – TRAIN (instruct) + ER (the Queen), with a mildly cryptic definition
4 Help one to be inserted in publicity (3)
AID – I (one) is ‘inserted’ in AD (publicity)
6 Fine taste shown in film (5)
FLICK – F (fine) + LICK (taste)
7 Viewer hurt: it doesn’t look good (7)
EYESORE – EYE (viewer) + SORE (hurt)
9 Fabulous master embracing piano: one’s sure to make an
STAMPER – *(MASTER) – with “fabulous” pointing us to the anagram – and P (piano) also in the mix
11 Sack finance department employee (7)
CASHIER – DD. I believe the usage in the sense of dismissing someone from their role is generally just used in the forces these days.
13 A party vote below average is an apparent absurdity (7)
PARADOX – A DO X (a party vote) comes underneath (below) PAR (average)
15 Still, Cockney’s bald? (7)
AIRLESS – {H}AIRLESS – the Cockney’s rendition of ‘bald’
17 African antelope snared by many, alas (5)
NYALA – Hidden in (snared by) maNY ALAs
19 No brother or sister mounting this buffalo (5)
BISON – NO SIB (short for of sibling, I assume) reversed – ‘no brother or sister mounting’
21 Roll up for the most important part (3)
NUB – BUN reversed (roll up)

31 comments on “Quick Cryptic 782 by Howzat”

  1. Still can’t for the life of me figure out what ‘phased’ has to do with an audience.
    1. an audience is people who hear things (same root as audio) and so is a homophone indicator. I wasn’t all that impressed either
  2. is there to point out the homophone!

    10.06 so off the pace. COD DEAD RINGERS WOD NYALA

    Edited at 2017-03-08 02:39 am (UTC)

  3. This could be my PW. Went along fairly smoothly, then came to a halt on 5ac and 6d. Then I typed in ‘abusing’, so when I finally solved 5 and 6 I got the ‘unlucky’ sign, and wasted more time looking for what was wrong. Do you spell it ‘phazed’, Nick? For me, it’s ‘fazed’; is this a UK/US difference? Anyway, it was a rather nice clue. 10:38, for God’s sake.
  4. I don’t think ‘phazed’ is a word! It is ‘phased’.

    If fazed, why not farmacy, filatelic, Filadelfia etc!?

    10.38 mortality regained!

    1. I assumed that ‘phaze’ doesn’t exist, hence my question. But ‘faze’ does; it means ‘disconcert’, which is how we get the clue in the first place. Coincidentally enough, we just had a discussion on the 15×15 blog about sulphur vs. sulfur. (My spellcheck has underline the ph version!)
      1. Sorry for the “phazed” error – simple cock up on my part. Blog now fixed.

        Edited at 2017-03-08 07:42 am (UTC)

      2. sulphur is UK spelling, sulfer is US. That is not an accident, from 1806 Noah Webster and a number of other prominent Americans pushed to reform their spelling. They were largely unsuccessful, but did manage f for ph, and o for ou in a number of cases (e.g. color/colour). Also they set e.g customise/customize to always be z, your example is a good one, there is fazed in UK English, but not fased, and some weird stuff remains – realise means to come to understand, whereas realize has largely come to mean to turn an investment into cash (both are spelt with a Z in US.)
  5. 12 minutes, so I missed my target 10 but managed to avoid injury time which starts at 15+.

    Yes this is only Howzat’s second official outing (allowing that he could be better known to us under a different pseudonym), and once again I think he has avoided the almost statutory cricket reference that his name might lead us to expect from him of all QC setters. But there are so many and varied possibilities I’d not be surprised if I had missed one.

    I can’t help with your formatting, Nick. I have compared your coding with that of the blog you wrote two weeks ago and can’t see any differences behind the scenes. Up front there’s a stray piece of coding < /td > (I’ve added spaces to prevent it having an effect here) that appears in the “read” view whereas it should be invisible there and doing its job, so I suspect that’s what’s amiss, but it’s written correctly as far as I can tell so why it has gone rogue and is behaving as it is is beyond my limited understanding of html coding I’m afraid. I’m sure someone else will come to your assistance later, though I don’t think any of us has access rights to amend what others have written, only to delete it. The blog’s all perfectly readable anyway, and just needs a bit of extra scrolling down in the middle.

    Edited at 2017-03-08 06:21 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks for taking a look at the formatting Jack – I was getting very frustrated! No idea what happened, as I have been back and laboriously compared (or so I believe) every element of the entire html script for this blog against my usual template that has never let me down in the past – and no anomalies were spotted.

      Anyway, hopefully my next blog will just magically work…

  6. Hopefully a slightly easier one for the next two days. This week has been too tough for me and even though I am learning I find the link between explanation and answer tenuous at times. Phased being an example. One day maybe I will get there
    1. That could be because Nick has made a rare error in his blog, as pointed out by others.

      Fazed = disconcerted

      Phased = by stages

      Phased sounds like fazed (the “sounds like” is indicated by “audience’s”. ie, to an audience, as opposed to a reader, they’re the same word)

      But yes, definitely tricky for the Quicky.

      Edited at 2017-03-08 07:00 am (UTC)

  7. Another hard one, about an hour and technically a DNF as for 14a (phased) I needed assistance/cheated to get the h before the penny dropped.

    11d dnk cashier = sack and finance dept employee is a bit vague.
    17d dnk nyala.
    Couldn’t parse 16a as I missed the indicator model which doesn’t exactly leap out.
    Other hard clues: 5a, 20a, 6d, 11d.

    COD to 6d.

  8. 19d and 23a reminded me of my daughter’s favourite joke. Well it was 24 years ago. “What’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison?” “You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo.” I thought this was a great puzzle and my thanks to setter and blogger. Time? Absolutely ages.

    The Briefless Barrister

  9. I actually put in phases. As in stages = phases, and it sounds like fazes. Is that not right? I spent an absolute age over 5ac and 6dn. Lick for taste is very difficult. Gribb.
    1. Your analysis is nearly right, except its “phased” (adjectival) rather than “phases” (noun)- as the definition reads “by stages” (i.e. a “phased approach”). At least, I think that’s right – but after my cock up with “fazed” in the original blog I’m now querying my own ability to think straight!!
  10. I thought this was really difficult – I got to the end with the help of lots of aids but would have had to give up with the grid half complete otherwise. First time that has happened in ages. Model as an anagram indicator didn’t help me, and neither did not knowing the second meaning of cashier. I biffed both Bison and Phased and needed the blog to parse them (thanks Nick). Hopefully somewhat easier tomorrow!!
  11. Too tricky for me today. First DNF for a number of weeks. Still, I remain unfazed and look forward to tomorrow’s puzzle.
  12. I was not fazed by this but I agree with Nick that it was not easy. My solve was interrupted by the budget so no exact time, but over 20 minutes.
    The ones I found tricky were Cashier, Crackpot, Abasing and Phased. I have now seen the “audience” trick a couple of times but would have been stumped otherwise. A good test I thought. David
  13. Another two sitting job, with some of the clues more like the 15×15 than the QC. I only got 16ac because I thought the setter was devious enough to be referring to a Model T – completely wrong, but I’ll take any luck going when they are this difficult. Invariant
    1. Model T does come up occasionally in the main puzzle so it’s worth being ready for it here.
  14. From the heights of a PB to a sorry DNF with about 6 blanks. Did not see several of the double defs today. Also ‘model’ for an anagram indicator? I swear that the list is unending.

    COD Dead Ringers.

    1. The ingenuity of the setters in coming up with novel anagram indicators is indeed a marvel to behold. I think my all time favourite anagram-oriented clue was from the great Dean Mayer in a Sunday Times cryptic I had the pleasure of blogging last year(ST 4695):

      Employer of barmaid, one with large bust (8,4)

      I won’t give the answer as that would spoil the fun…

  15. I’ve a vague recollection that you or another blogger had a similar problem with additional unwanted spacing a few months ago and someone posted a solution, but I’ve been unable to find the particular blog. It remains a mystery to me because your coding looks absolutely fine.
  16. This was a lot tougher than usual, taking me 16:31, with PHASED taking a good 4 minutes of that. Liked DEAD RINGERS. Thanks Howzat and Nick.
  17. Back to back DNFs which hasn’t happened for a long time, but today’s was even worse than yesterday’s as I failed to get 5a, 6d, 11a and 14a. Thought 20a was a particularly fine clue.
    Here’s hoping I re-find my form tomorrow.

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