Quick Cryptic 804 by Hawthorn – What went wrong?

Pretty sure the only talking point today will be the error at 7dn on the Times website.  Like me, you probably got the “unlucky” message, raised an eyebrow and furiously revisited each of your parsings.  They all looked pretty good, so there was no choice but to hit the “reveal” button, only to discover that the solution to “Tenant with lower entrance on the outside” is PERSUE.  What the?

Anyway, not Hawthorn’s fault I’m sure, so thanks to him (and yes, he is a him, David, apparently) for the puzzle.  And to be fair to the Times apparatchiks, these sort of errors are quite rare, so we’ll let them off with a warning this time.  Or you can vent your spleen in the comments below, for all the difference it will make.

Aside from that little hiccup, it was all good fun.  Here’s how I parsed it….

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 Prepared batter, a dip and something for kebab? (5,5)
Anyone ever had a kebab before 2am?  Nah, me neither.
8 Scottish chap mostly seen in top lacking zip (7)
LANGUID – ANGU{S} (Scottish chap, mostly) seen in LID (top)
9 South coast resort where swimmers go, we hear (5)
POOLE – Homophone (we hear) for POOL (where swimmers go)
10 Online message that’s short and sweet (4)
TWEE – TWEE{T} (online message)
Sweet as in sickly sweet.
11 Military building’s block with stretchers (8)
BARRACKS – BAR (block) + RACKS (stretchers)
Things that stretch.  Ouch.
13 Bird feeding intravenously (5)
RAVEN – Hidden in (feeding) (intRAVENously)
14 Last of Piesporter in smooth, round bottle (5)
NERVE – R (last of Piesporter) in NEVE [EVEN (smooth), reversed (round)]
16 Presented finest ring then got married (8)
BESTOWED – BEST (finest) + O (ring) + WED (got married)
17 Getting on with a good editor (4)
AGED – A + G (good) + ED (editor)
20 Old Japanese capital Tokyo replaced (5)
Anagrams don’t come much easier than this.
21 King tucked into exotic canape and more mundane food (7)
PANCAKE – K (King) in (CANAPE)*
22 Official in football final beset by hesitations making big decision? (10)
REFERENDUM – REF (official in football) + END (final) “beset by” ER and UM (hesitations)
1 Aviator sent back to the edge (5)
PILOT – [TO + LIP (the edge)] reversed (sent back)
2 Ability to focus until venison is cooked (6,6)
More commonly an inability to re-focus.
3 A boat going over border (4)
ABUT – A + BUT [TUB (boat) reversed (going over)]
Think of border as a verb here.
4 Call again in Yorkshire dialect (6)
REDIAL – Hidden in (yorkshiRE DIALect)
Ecky thump!
5 Clear a mum or dad to adopt Penny (8)
APPARENT – A + PARENT (mum or dad) “to adopt” P (penny)
6 Arrange some money for large piano (7,5)
CONCERT GRAND – CONCERT (arrange) + GRAND (some money)
A fairly formal usage of the verb “concert” is required here.
7 Tenant with lower entrance on the outside (6)
LESSEE – LESS (lower) + EE (outside letters of entrance)
A prize to anyone who can parse this in a way that results in PERSUE.
12 Oxygen and neon, oxygen and neon — just the two of them (3-2-3)
ONE-ON-ONE – O (oxygen) + NEON + O (oxygen) + NE (neon)
Nice.  Chemical symbol + full name + chemical symbol + chemical symbol.
You may have parsed the last NE as the first two letters of neon (just the two of them), but that would require “just the two of them” to be doing double duty.  Of course if you did parse it this way, and got the right answer, then what difference does it make!
13 Censure reprocessed UK beer (6)
15 Folk and pop feel contrived without force (6)
PEOPLE – (POP {F}EEL)* without F (force)
18 Imagine some whisky around start of evening (5)
DREAM – DRAM (some whisky) around E (start of evening)
19 Perhaps Queen Elizabeth’s initial stake (4)
ANTE – ANT (perhaps queen) + E (Elizabeth’s initial)
A great example of a “lift and separate”, where two words that fit smoothly together in the surface (Queen Elizabeth) are to be treated separately for the parsing of the wordplay.  The setter’s art in a nutshell.

30 comments on “Quick Cryptic 804 by Hawthorn – What went wrong?”

  1. Well, I finished, all right, but got sick of being told how unlucky I was. A very strange error indeed.
  2. As Jack points out, that’s 2 errors in a couple of days. I wasted 15 minutes trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong before deciding I hadn’t and hitting reveal. Actual time 10 minutes. Spoiled a decent puzzle. Thanks Galspray.
  3. I found some of this a little on the hard side and needed 4 minutes over my target of 10 to complete the grid. I surely can’t have lived as long as I have and done so many crosswords without meeting “queen ant” before, but I honestly don’t recognise it. “Queen” is more usually a cat or a monarch or a bee.

    I’m not feeling as generous about the error at 7dn as our blogger because it’s only two days since we had the last one (the clue for CREAM TEA that didn’t parse) and despite posting about it in the forum, management hasn’t seen fit to comment. I’ve now posted about today’s so we’ll see if that meets with more success. Incidentally Hawthorn is David Parfitt, the Times Puzzles Editor.

    Edited at 2017-04-07 12:51 am (UTC)

    1. Hi Jackkt,

      Many apologies for the error in the answer to today’s Quick Cryptic at 7 Down, and thank you for letting us know. LESSEE is indeed the correct answer. This has now been changed on the main site (anyone who has already accessed the puzzle may have to press Ctrl+F5 to refresh the cache and see the updated version).

      Best wishes,

      David Parfitt
      Puzzles Editor

      Edited at 2017-04-07 07:48 am (UTC)

  4. I was tipped off by the intro from Galspray and thus popped in 7dn LESSEE unabashed and missed the kerfuffle!

    8.03 for what I found quite troublesome esp. 2dn TUNNEL VISION.

    COD 21ac PANCAKE although I never find them or galettes mundane. WOD KYOTO however simple the anagram.

  5. It’s not just me as a relative newbie the couldn’t see 7d.

    Other than that I had most within 30 mins. Banged my head on the concert grand for some reason though.

    Sad to round the week off with a mistake. I’d been doing okay this week until today.

  6. I am the only person who does the QC by the Stone Age method of buying the paper and writing answers in with a pen?! 7dn caused me no problems at all as a result.

    Enjoyed that one, thanks to Hawthorn and thanks too to the blogger. I biffed in “ante” as my LOU but couldn’t parse it for the life of me, so explanation much appreciated. Also struggled to get “languid” because Scottish chap always means Ian to me …

    COD “one-on-one”, what an absolute beauty.


    1. You are not alone. I wait with eager anticipation for the daily 6:30 thump on the mat of the paper delivery (7:30 on Sunday). So likewise I was not concerned about LESSEE: it fitted and parsed precisely, so no problem.
    2. I’m one of those sad gits who happen to live near a Waitrose (my shed was recently valued at £125K as a result) so get a freebie paper most days. So I also didn’t have the pleasure of being right in retrospect with 7d. A decent puzzle which I did in just over 10m which is a good time for me. I’ve been waiting for a Nina in the puzzles for a while but no joy recently (unless I’ve missed one). Thanks blogger.

      1. there was one a few weeks ago….perhaps the ‘experts will know which on…
  7. Between 5 and 6 to get to the error message, 10 more trying to work out what went wrong. Ho hum.
  8. I’m also in the pen & paper brigade with added benefit of being able literally ‘to penci in’ answers until confirmed by checkers. Surely the proper way to do the crossword.
  9. I thought this was very hard today, with 7dn, 8ac, 6dn and 14ac being particular stumbling blocks. I’ve never heard of lesee before and actually put in leasee,as in someone who rents from a leaser. In actual fact, it means the opposite of a lesee, so I was sort of in the right path! I think the overall difficulty of this week has been harder than usual. Gribb.
    1. Maybe it’s because I’m an accountant, but lessee and lessor are terms you get to understand fairly quickly when you first start training. The former being a tenant and paying rent to a landlord (the lessor)
  10. I have dabbled with doing the QC online but much prefer being able to scribble anagram circles and partial answers on the back of the Times 2 paper. 25 minutes (good for me) today but couldn’t parse Ante even though it was the obvious answer. Enjoyable puzzle (without the frustration of being told you’ve got it wrong when you haven’t of course!). Pexiter
  11. DNF today for me. Slight frustration over 10a. Am I the only one who finds myself handicapped by using a younger language that the setter? I think there’s a substantial difference between a ‘post’ (in this case a tweet) and a ‘message’. Even if I had got this one there were another three that defeated me. Thanks, as ever, to the bloggers who keep me on an upward trend.
    1. If you @ someone on twitter, your tweet is a message to them. There are also DMs…
  12. 49 minutes, struggled for about 40 of those with 8a,14a, 3d and 19d.
    LOI languid, gave up trying to get it from the wordplay and eventually biffed it.

    Not sure why pancake is described as mundane.
    Also couldn’t parse 14a and 22a.
    Keep forgetting that tub boat.

    thanks for the blog for enlightening!

    COD 12d

  13. 25 Minutes for me, about the norm. I missed LESSEE-gate, as it had been corrected by the time I came to it. I don’t think I’ve bought an actual paper for over a decade! ABUT and ANTE were biffed in for me, as I didn’t get QUEEN = ANT and was trying to think of a boat known as a BUT.
  14. 20 minutes today so a bit over my usual. No real reason as it was all pretty straightforward. I’m pen and paper too but have to got to Tesco’s to collect as no-one will deliver to our little hamlet. For years our milkman Albert brought it with the milk but no milkman either now. For this reason I am often quite late so don’t post.Enjoyed bestowed and languid as they are such lovely words. Last one in was apparent as I was bogged down with trying to use ma and pa along with the p.
  15. This started off fairly straightforward with the SW corner going in quickly so I had good hopes of completing it swiftly like yesterday.

    But then a few problems arose and I struggled on a few clues.

    8ac – like a few others I was looking for Ian or Glen, so got stuck on this for quite a while.

    6d was a little deceptive as a large piano is also a Grand, so I wasn’t sure what was the definition was. I was convinced there was an anagram around money and then wondered whether it had anything to do with the national tomorrow.

    10ac I was sure was besotten or besotted for a while, but I just couldn’t get it to fit. As usual, it’s obvious when you see the answer.

    FOI 9ac, LOI 19d, COD was 22ac.


    Technically DNF as

  16. Count me as another who pencils in the answers on the back of the Times 2 section. I’ve tried doing the puzzles online but, for some reason, I find them a lot more difficult that way.
    A slowish solve today with no major hold ups but a number of parsings that required some thinking e.g. 8a (LOI), 11a and 13d (COD) although I missed the correct parsing at the time. Completed in 21 minutes
  17. Was doing well until I had to return to the NE to struggle with 8a and 3d. 19d I crudely parsed as AN Tudor Elizabeth (I’ m sure she was the last Tudor?). Feel free to enjoy LOLs at my expense….FOI 9a, LOI 3d, COD 22a. Several sessions totalling about 45mins. Thank goodness for the blog to put me right. A satisfying end to the week so thx to Hawthorn. BTW I’m another paper and pencil merchant – and I agree it’s the proper way to tackle a crossword!
  18. A slow but steady paper based solve in 31 minutes today. A nice mix of clues from the editor, with 8ac my favourite – probably because I saw the answer quite quickly. Invariant
  19. Bought the paper and solved the puzzle before going out to play golf. Now watching The Masters.
    As for the puzzle, my LOI was 19d. I had to correct my first answer at 7d -Renter. This held me up for a few minutes. No real problems. The four letter answers held me up. David (not the setter)
  20. Didn’t manage to get 3, 8 (too hard maybe for QC) or 10 (twee=sweet took me by surprise) before I fell asleep.

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