Quick Cryptic 792 by Flamande

I thought this was a reasonably gentle offering from Flamande with a good variety of clue types. Nothing obscure, but a couple of the clues (18ac and 19d) might present newcomers with a good challenge in terms of the detailed parsing.

A nice anagram in a particularly elegant clue at 5dn gets my nod for COD, and the surface reading at 16ac provoked an intriguing mental image that gave me a chuckle. Thanks to Flamande for an enjoyable puzzle. I will be on the road Wednesday morning so might not be able to field any queries until later in the day, so apologies for that but I’m sure the usual crew will weigh in to sort out any issues.

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

7 Vegetable dish and a half-portion of tofu (6)
POTATO – POT A (dish and a) + TO (half portion of TO{fu})
8 Person installing carpet maybe is better qualified (6)
9 Daily charge reduced by a third (4)
CHAR – CHAR{GE} loses two of its six letters (charge reduced by a third)
10 Male wearing a dated, knotted tie (4,4)
DEAD HEAT – HE (male) wrapped around by (wearing) *(A DATED) – with “knotted” as the anagram indicator. Nicely constructed clue that sent me down the wrong (sartorial) path for a while.
11 Book a certain school principal provided for dunce (8)
BONEHEAD – B (abbrev. book) + ONE (a certain) HEAD (school principal)
13 Animals kept by Bram Stoker (4)
RAMS – Hidden in (kept by) bRAM Stoker
15 Very tired? Try a small drink(4)
SHOT – Triple definition, as I read it
16 Still, grandma is admitted to men only entertainment in
the end (8)
STAGNANT – NAN (grandma) introduced into (admitted to) STAG (men only) + T (entertainmenT in the end). And I hope the old girl enjoyed it!
18 Teacher with very bad back getting hot and bad-tempered
LIVERISH – SIR (teacher) + EVIL (very bad) reversed (back) with H added (getting hot)
20 Squad initially merry after drink (4)
TEAM – M (initially Merry) comes ‘after’ TEA (drink)
21 Free meal regularly offered by the French woman? (6)
FEMALE – Every other letter (regularly) of FrEe MeAl + LE (the French)
22 Remember to drop round again (6)
RECALL – In addition to the main definition, we also get ‘re-call’ from the cryptic wordplay ‘drop round again’
1 Scorn A A Milne character more than once (4-4)
POOH-POOH – A double helping of the bear. If one “pooh-poohs an idea” then one dismisses it in a high handed way – this expression used to figure commonly in everyday speech, but I’m not sure if it is so widely used these days.
2 Took responsibility: went in search of petrol after running
CARRIED THE CAN – DD, the second one being mildly cryptic and depicting one of life’s more embarrassing moments
3 Dog daughter found in Dorset town (6)
POODLE – D (daughter) inside POOLE (seaside town in Dorset)
4 Worried leader’s gone missing in RAF attack (6)
AFRAID – ‘Leader’ (i.e. first letter) missing in {R}AF RAID
5 Redeployed the cartoonist with very little warning (2,5,6)
AT SHORT NOTICE – *(THE CARTOONIST) with “redeployed” pointing to the anagram. Rather neat.
6 Name of woman a cleric raised (4)
VERA – A REV reversed (a cleric raised)
12 Leads for amazingly competent thespians in play (3)
ACT – First letters (leads) of Amazingly Competent Thespians
14 People add up without using pencil and paper? (8)
MENTALLY – MEN (people) + TALLY (add up) are the wordplay components of a cryptic definition. Fond(ish) memories of quick fire bouts of mental arithmetic at 9 in the morning that started off every schoolday when I were a lad – quite an effective way of getting the mind going (but not as much fun as an early morning cryptic crossword…)
16 Ladies unexpectedly went by boat (6)
SAILED – *(LADIES) with “unexpectedly” pointing to the anagram
17 Stick bill on top of present (6)
ADHERE – AD (bill – as in advertisement) sits ‘on top of’ HERE (present)
19 Couple that is getting married – about time (4)
ITEM – IE (that is) + M (abbrev. married) goes around T (about time)

28 comments on “Quick Cryptic 792 by Flamande”

  1. A nice puzzle, average difficulty. I was held up by 11ac and 2dn. The latter I was convinced must be … THE GAS even though I could think of no such phrase.


  2. 34 minutes but at least 20 spent on:

    18a liverish – trying to think of a teacher _I_
    2d carried the can – I was gassing as well.
    19d item – it had to be wed with t in there!!

    COD 21a female.

  3. 11 minutes. POOH-POOH was solved before the puzzle was out of the printer because my eye was drawn to “A A Milne character” and the enumeration, but then, apart from CHAR, nothing on the left of the grid leapt out at me so I concentrated on the right side and rattled through it in no time. The left side then gradually came together but with 2dn and 18ac as my last ones in and requiring most of their checkers before I could work them out.

    I was unfamiliar with SHOT meaning tired and SOED has it only as the fifth adjectival meaning and described as “chiefly N Amer”. Luckily the other two meanings were very familiar.

  4. a languid ten minutes with little to write home about.

    COD 3dn POODLE WOD POTATO or visa-versa if one prefers.

    Edited at 2017-03-22 07:41 am (UTC)

  5. Getting towards 45 minutes on this, but about 15 was spent looking at 18dn. Was left with _I_E_I_H and was convinced teacher came first and the “very bad back” was “sin” reversed, so _I_ENISH! 19dn was a tricky one as well. All in all, glad I persevered with 18ac. Good crossword, Flamande! Gribb.
  6. More than 5.0, less than 6.0 (did the 15×15 first so the ipad timer gave me my total time for the two). Light and fluffy I thought.; LIVERISH might have caused a problem but I had I-H at the end already and it leapt out at me.
  7. DNF: LIVERISH unknown, and was trying various combinations of sir and don, forwards and backwards.

    Also BONEHEAD, as plenty of other —-head, insults are out there. B=book? Example please, someone?

    COD 2d (I’m a sucker for a good DD)

  8. POTATO and POOH POOH went straight in but then I found myself thinking carefully before teasing the rest of the answers out. I worked around the grid in a clockwise direction finishing on POODLE in 11:19. Not a disaster but certainly not a doddle. Thanks Flamande and Nick.
  9. I really don’t know what’s going on anymore – even Flamande is beginning to bite. The 18ac/19d combination took ages, and helped push me north of 35 mins, which is really slow for this setter. I am however making much better progress with the 15x15s, which is distinctly odd. 2d was definitely my favourite clue today. Invariant
  10. Was really pleased with myself until I got to 18ac and just couldn’t get it, therefore DNF.

    Other highlights/thoughts:

    – 9ac, worked out CHAR, but never heard it as a description for Daily

    – 10ac, biffed it, but thought dated referred to DEAD and therefore didn’t spot the anagram

    – 11ac, thought this could easily have been CONEHEAD as in a Dunce’s cap

    – 13ac, initial thought was BATS but knew better!

    – 2d, for once spotted this straight away

    – 4d, struggled on the word play, thought attack was an anagrind for RAF, but biffed it in the end

    COD 16ac



    1. When I was a kid in the 1960’s my grandparents used to talk about their “char lady” (usually in the context of her having allegedly helped herself to my grandfather’s sherry!), and it was quite a widespread term at that time for a cleaner (or “daily” – even if they only came once a week).

      Can’t say I’ve heard it used much recently, but it quite often crops up in crosswords either (as here) as an answer in its own right or sometimes to provide the letters CHAR as part of a longer answer (e.g. CHARACTER))

      1. Nick,

        Thanks for that. Heard it in the context of “tea lady” but not as a cleaner or “daily”


        1. I’ve never heard of char as tea-lady, only as cleaner/daily help, or as tea with or without the R.
  11. I started very quickly and was even thinking sub 10 minutes. However there were some knotty corners.
    Bonehead required some thought as did Liverish but I got both fairly easily. I was left with 19d and 21a, where I wanted to put Madame without thinking of the proper parsing; when I did, I managed to work out Female. LOI was Item in 19 minutes.
    COD? A dead-heat between Dead Heat and Poodle. David
  12. I found this quite a hard one. Just over 32 minutes, which isn’t too bad a time, but I struggled with ITEM and LIVERISH. BONEHEAD was pretty much biffed, as I didn’t get the “book” = “B”, either. Is there some context? Things like “caught” = “C”, I get, as it occurs in cricket scores, but I don’t know the origin of this.
      1. Yeah. Thanks. I saw that. However, that’s more of a “it just is” rather than an explanation. Surely, it must have some justification (even if obscure), rather than just because it starts with a “B”.
        1. I have attempted a reply above but it doesn’t take us much further forward I’m afraid.
        2. Fair comment, grubster. Must admit I didn’t give it much thought as I have seen it used many times in crosswords (and, on checking, it is given in Chambers). But, like Jack, I’m struggling to think of a context where I have actually seen it used.

          Edited at 2017-03-22 07:13 pm (UTC)

  13. Quite tricky for me. The worst ones were 18ac and 19d – also 11ac. I didn’t spot the anagram in 10ac at all.
    I knew there must be a ‘T’ in there for 19d but wanted to use ‘wed’ and couldn’t get the couple reference at all, even though I knew ‘item’ in that context.
    FOI: rams (we keep sheep, and I’m beginning to learn that, if something looks totally out of context, there is probably something hidden in it). Then I got 14d but it gradually got harder as I moved to the left hand side.
  14. Not a typical Flammande puzzle for me, as I usually get close to 10 minute solves with this setter. The right hand side went in easily enough but there were a number of clues on the left that I found very tricky. I was finally left with just 2d and 11a which must have taken me 10 minutes to figure out. Finally completed in 26 minutes.
  15. I heartily disliked thus puzzle.Too many clues that I thought either contentious or overly contrived. dish=pot;bill=ad;very tired=shot. And so on. Yes, you can justify any one of them, but if someone’s clueing is persistently alien to you,you start finding the puzzle irritating.

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