Quick Cryptic 807 by Pedro

I was very quick out of the blocks with this one, but soon found the more difficult clues and ended up with an average time. Nothing too convoluted, although I’m curious to see how many people know about the prison (I guessed), and the single-celled eukaryote (my kind of thing).

Very good practice for lifting and separating – river animal, roan horse, La Scala, etc.

Definitions underlined.

1 Members chasing large mammal carry weapons (4,4)
BEAR ARMS – ARMS (members) following (chasing) BEAR (large mammal).
5 Aida’s first song recalled as this? (4)
ARIA – first letter of Aida, and AIR (song) backwards (recalled). Maybe Aida’s first song.
9 Wrong to accept thanks for blemish (5)
STAIN – SIN (wrong) surrounding (to accept) TA (thanks).
10 Mistake to capture one river animal (7)
GIRAFFE – GAFFE (mistake) surrounding (to capture) I (one) and R (river).
11 Both confused about ungroomed roan horse (12)
THOROUGHBRED – anagram of (confused) BOTH around ROUGH (ungroomed) then RED (roan).
13 Scoundrel runs half of La Scala? Not entirely (6)
RASCAL – R (runs), one letter from (half of) lA, and all but the last of (not entirely) SCALa.
15 A religious group will constrain person’s initial view (6)
ASPECT – A and SECT (religious group) containing (will constrain) first letter (initial) of Person.
17 Millions investing in one cartel go wild for group of companies (12)
CONGLOMERATE – M (millions) inside (investing in) and anagram of (wild) ONE CARTEL GO.
20 Plundering is bad in a servant (7)
PILLAGE – ILL (bad) inside PAGE (a servant).
21 Soft food: clear opening for entrepreneur (5)
PUREE – PURE (clear) and first letter of (opening for) Entrepreneur.
22 Some into testing betting (4)
TOTE – hidden in (some) inTO TEsting.
23 One abandoned actors with a Method (8)
CASTAWAY – CAST (actors) with A WAY (a method).
1 Stud manager (4)
BOSS – double definition.
2 Leader of America and West remains inundated (5)
AWASH – First letter (leader) of America, W (west) and ASH (remains).
3 Moan, a bollard being crushed — large vehicle carrying this? (8,4)
ABNORMAL LOAD – anagram of (being crushed) MOAN A BOLLARD.
4 Mother saving silver and note inside large bottle (6)
MAGNUM – MUM (mother) surrounding (saving) AG (silver) and N (note).
6 Official about to block charge led by soldiers (7)
REFEREE – RE (about) inside (to block) FEE (charge), all at the end of (led by) RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers).
7 A comment about City Director’s first story (8)
ANECDOTE – A and NOTE (comment) surrounding (about) EC (city (of London postcode)) and first letter of Director.
8 Hipster actor redesigned part of theatre (9,3)
ORCHESTRA PIT – anagram of (redesigned) HIPSTER ACTOR.
12 Expert taking snooker shot considered unfeasible (8)
CRACKPOT – CRACK (expert) with POT (snooker shot).
14 Half of prison allowed to have item of underwear (7)
SINGLET – half of SING sing (a prison in New York) and LET (allowed).
16 Little energy in a lot of people encountering a protozoan (6)
AMOEBA – E (little energy) in A MOB (a lot of people) next to (encountering) A.
18 Deliberately lose most of the argument (5)
THROW – all but the last letter from (most of) THe and ROW (argument).
19 Front of engine stuck in railway bank (4)
RELY – first letter (front) of Engine, inside (stuck in) RLY (railway).

31 comments on “Quick Cryptic 807 by Pedro”

  1. I knew Sing Sing, of course, but got to it here from ‘allow’=LET, to SINGLET, then reverse-engineering to justify it. 12d caused me the most trouble, as I couldn’t get away from ‘expert’=PRO, which of course led me nowhere. Again came to the office to find that had me as starting with a clean slate, so I tried to see how fast I could type in the answers from memory. A couple of memory lapses, but done in 2:12. My real time was 6:36.
  2. 39 mins.

    I was fairly fast until 20a pillage, 21a puree and 19d rely slowed me down.

    Parsing fine except I’m not sure why red = roan, doesn’t it mean a colour with white?

    COD: castaway

    1. I agree about roan. In Pedro’s defence, it might be argued that usually the word refers to horses whose base colour is chestnut (reddish), especially if unqualified (cf blue roan).
  3. I found this one hard. Below ten minutes on Monday, 28 mins today. I was also thrown by apparent pro- root to 12d.
    Thanks blogger for explaining my ‘biffs’ (if I may noun a verb).
  4. Much tougher than yesterday. Some tough ones, especially 12dn, 20ac and 16dn. Never heard of abnormal load, so 3dn was a bit of a punt. I, too, couldn’t get “pro” out of my head for 12dn, and thought “official” in 6dn gave only “ref” for 6dn and therefore was looking for a word for “led by soldiers”. I put in singlet without knowing the prison, because it couldn’t be anything else. A quite slow 45 minutes on this. Gribb.
  5. Completed in about 30 mins, two in a row!! Thought this was easier than yesterday’s though.
    LOI 7d – didn’t know ec for city. It’s great when you get a “lightbulb” moment-eg. 21ac!!
    Once again, thanks to blogger. Going for three in a row tomorrow !! Fingers crossed!
  6. Six and a bit and should have been quicker but ORCHESTRA PIT was for some reason slow to emerge from the fodder and PUREE didn’t immediately leap out. Otherwise no problems. The 15×15 on the other hand…
  7. Struggled with EC=City, RLY= railway but most of all with pure=clear rather than clean. Post solve I can only think of pure=clear in terms of conscience. Still, a good challenge and all good fun.
  8. Blimey, maybe it’s just me but I found this tough after the last couple of days. Some of the clues (yes, 11a, I’m looking at you) seemed to be nigh on back page material.
    I used my thesaurus and checkers a lot – I don’t class this as cheating as I’m still a novice 🙂 – and there were several I got but couldn’t quite see why. EC for City, for example, and RLY for railway.
    ORCHESTRA PIT pleased me, though, as did AMOEBA. All a learning curve…
      1. HC (Home Counties) for south east is another London-centric one as well. Invariant
        1. HC? I don’t recall that, but SE for ‘home counties’ or ‘Kent’ etc., yes.
          1. Yes, I got that back to front, but don’t get me started on the equally annoying ‘well-known’ south-east towns. . . Invariant
  9. Twenty minutes for me this morning, including one break when work intervened. I couldn’t download the paper onto my ipad this morning for some reason, so couldn’t do this on the rattler as usual, and had to do it over a coffee at my desk.

    LOIs were RELY and PUREE. I’m familiar with the RY abbreviation of railway, but don’t think I have come across RLY before, so couldn’t see where the L came from. Similarly, for PUREE, I started thinking that the P was soft and was looking for a food to follow which indicated an opportunity for an entrepreneur – I was nicely misdirected.

  10. I started off at a gallop and then slowed considerably, with CRACKPOT, ORCHESTRA PIT AND ANECDOTE holding me up most. I also had PRO starting 12d for a while. I’ve also not seen RLY for railway. I biffed 11a and didn’t manage to parse it at all, apart from wondering where the rest of the anagrist was after BOTH. FOI was BEAR ARMS and LOI was ANECDOTE. 9:45. Thanks Pedro and William.
  11. Straightforward again I thought, but with enough challenges to keep up the interest throughout. Particularly enjoyed SING for half of prison, not come across that before. Haven’t heard of SingSing since the gangster movies of the 50s.
  12. I was another slowed down by it not being pro for expert on 12d or p for soft on 21a.
    33mins in the end though so not too bad.
  13. It’s always nice to start with write-ins for 1ac and 1d, but progress soon slowed and eventually I needed a second sitting for the 12/20 and 21/19 combinations. Same issues as others, with Rly for railway and Pro for expert causing problems. 7d, anecdote, was my favourite today, but there were quite a few good clues. Invariant
  14. A very enjoyable 45 minutes – a steady solve parsing on-the-go. Oddly, given some of the above comments, I didn’t find any of this obscure, and would have been quicker if I had entered amoeba instead of amobea… a silly error that cost me a few minutes on 20a. FOI 1a LOI 20a COD either 11a or 10a. Quick for me but I enjoyed dallying over my Costa ad walked away with a smile. Surely, that’s what it is all about.
  15. I couldn’t find any ‘flow’ to this one and was hopping round the grid looking for answers until 8d opened up the right hand side. I had similar struggles for 12d (LOI) as others in that I assumed it would start with Pro and I also wasn’t familiar with 3d but it couldn’t have been much else.
    Finally completed in 20 minutes. COD 14d due to the light bulb moment.
  16. Late on parade today as I thought I had commented earlier. I made my 10-minute target but only just. PUREE as my LOI nearly did for me. RLY for railway made me look twice but I think it has come up before.
  17. Always good to find others with similar hold-ups. For me it was not pro but ace I was determined to fit into 12d. I had to look up what a protozoan is and then found my way to the amoeba, stirring memories of how this led on to the reproductive systems of the frog, the rabbit and the human being in the only biology lessons I ever had to attend. Once a week for one term – how poor education once was if you were programmed to receive the Greek alphabet, which is much more valuable for crosswords.DM
    1. Unspammed. DM, you need a space after every full-stop to avoid being placed in the sin bin.
  18. I started very quickly before hitting some problems. LOI was Puree (Had the unconvincing Purse for a while). Liked Crackpot. Not sure about time as was looking at puzzle intermittently in a car- Not quick though in the end. A good challenge. David
  19. Struggled with this one but got there in the end but not too happy with Roan=red and EC=City as not come across these before. Now I have hopefully I’ll remember next time! Enjoyed the long anagrams.
  20. Started this one late today and found the NW and SW corners relatively straightforward. It helped that some of the bigger clues were biffed fairly quickly eg. thoroughbred, orchestra pit etc. In fact I got throughbread off the back of a clue earlier in the week which had ‘thoroughfare’. This must have stuck in my mind, as did ‘members’ for arms.

    Struggled with 19d initially and didn’t know EC for city. Also didn’t know the prison but biffed it, even though I thought a singlet was more of an Australian word.


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