Quick Cryptic 815 by Teazel

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A puzzle of mid-range difficulty from Teazel to ease us into the new week, with some nice surfaces and little in the way of strange vocab or devilish constructions. I make this Teazel’s 75th Quicky offering, a milestone which deserves a hat tip though I would imagine that it represents rather less than 10% of his total lifetime puzzle output. That’s a lot of crosswords. Thanks, Teazel.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual sources are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170424/23407/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

1 What’s in beer and whisky? That’s child’s play (9)
HOPSCOTCHHOP (What’s in beer) + SCOTCH (whisky). This reminded me of the SUBTITLE clue from 805 – though one would normally say that beer contains hops plural, that by definition means it must contain at least one hop singular. (For anyone wondering why the game is so called, a scotch is (Chambers): “A line marked on the ground”.)
6 Used to be cut back (3)
WAS – reversal of (back) SAW (cut)
8 Formerly referred to as agitated (7)
EXCITEDEX (Formerly) + CITED (referred to)
9 Stick fork into small fruit (5)
SPEARS (small) + PEAR (fruit)
10 Where for Shakespeare all the world was a stage? (5,7)
GLOBE THEATRE – kind of an extended definition referring to the London theatre associated with Shakespeare, and making use of the famous quotation from As You Like It (“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” etc) as well as the world=GLOBE equivalence
12 Hand damaged: that hurts, exceedingly (3,3)
AND HOW – anagram of (damaged) HAND, + OW (that hurts)
13 Success by Mark, an assassin (6)
HITMANHIT (Success) + M (Mark – i.e. the old German currency) + AN
16 Very angry, apart from me (6,6)
BESIDE MYSELFBESIDE (apart from) + MYSELF (me). One doesn’t often see such answers in crosswords in the Times – the (reflexive) pronoun of choice in such expressions tends to be variants of one (one, one’s, oneself, etc) rather than of me or you or they.
19 Put finger on front of thigh: that hurt! (5)
TOUCHT (front of thigh, i.e. the first letter of the word “thigh”) + OUCH (that hurt!). I like the “that hurt(s)” device in moderation, but two uses of it in one puzzle means the surprise factor is absent for whichever of the two clues you get to second.
20 Paper is edited to inform (7)
APPRISE – anagram of (edited) PAPER IS. Probably the least common word in this puzzle.
22 One leaving sinking ship? Sailor’s returning (3)
RAT – reversal of (returning) TAR (Sailor)
23 The opposite of costing the earth? (4,5)
DIRT CHEAP – kind of a cryptic definition, contrasting two expressions via the earth=DIRT equivalence
1 Man had said “Pay attention” (4)
HEED – homophone of (said) HE’D (Man had)
2 Choose to be guided, being drunk (7)
PICKLEDPICK (Choose) + LED (to be guided). Maybe I’m missing something here but I can’t really justify the “to be” as mere link words.
3 Boat taken from coast regularly (3)
CAT – alternate letters of (taken from … regularly) C{o}A{s}T. Take your pick from either (Chambers): “An old name for a coal and timber vessel on the NE coast of England” or a shortening of catamaran.
4 Prosecutor going into betting system, up till now (2,4)
TO DATEDA (Prosecutor, i.e. District Attorney) going into TOTE (betting system – short for totalizator). DA is an American expression but familiar enough from crosswords/TV as to perhaps not need to be indicated as such.
5 Fits of laughter as I try chess very badly (9)
HYSTERICS – anagram of (very badly) I TRY CHESS. Nice combo of anagram and surface.
6 Pull away with the others (5)
WRESTW (with) + REST (the others)
7 Cutter to press forward (7)
SURGEONSURGE ON (to press forward)
11 Keeping quiet, initiated into slaughter (9)
BLOODSHEDBLOODED (initiated into) around (Keeping) SH (quiet). Ow, ouch, surgeon, bloodshed – hope all’s well, Teazel.
12 Judge rarebit cooked (7)
ARBITER – anagram of (cooked) RAREBIT. Not into musicals at all, but as a big fan of anything ABBA-related I can’t see this word without thinking “Yes I’m the arbiter and I know best”.
14 Depressed feeling SE Asians talked of (7)
MALAISE – homophone of (talked of) MALAYS (SE Asians)
15 One married couple weaken (6)
IMPAIRI (One) + M (married) + PAIR (couple)
17 Crouch down in illegally-occupied building (5)
SQUAT – double definition
18 Look slyly up and down (4)
PEEP – no wordplay other than an indication that the answer is a palindrome (up and down), but once you have the checkers (?E?P) then the other letters fill themselves in
21 One appearing in policeman’s film (3)
PICI (One) appearing in PC (policeman)

26 comments on “Quick Cryptic 815 by Teazel”

  1. A sleepy 8:14. Nothing to frighten the horses, here but a bit of thought required. Took me longer than it should have to see GLOBE THEATRE and HYSTERICS. Nice puzzle. Thanks Teazel and Mohn2. Off to bed now. I’ll tackle the 15×15 later in the day when caffeine is to hand.
  2. A bit sluggish at first but then okay till I got stuck on SURGEON at the end. Funny how 12ac and 19ac used the same device.

    Edited at 2017-04-23 11:58 pm (UTC)

  3. Quite liked the DIRT CHEAP / costing the earth paradox. GLOBE THEATRE was good as well, though difficult to define as a clue type.

    Not too alarming otherwise, despite the BLOODSHED and HYSTERICS.

    Thanks Teazel and Mohn.

    1. Hate when this type of clue comes up in my blogging slot – though the answer instinctively “feels right” for solvers with some experience, it must seem rather airy-fairy to beginners.
  4. I didn’t notice the PICKLE problem, but now that Mohn mentions it, it does seem a bit problematic. I wasted some time at 10ac thinking the answer would be a play title, and more time at 14d because I pronounce the name differently; but most time was taken up by 9ac for some reason and LOI SURGEON. 6:02

    Edited at 2017-04-24 05:29 am (UTC)

  5. … has a few odd words but the wordplay for them is helpful, making the whole an easy puzzle. Apart from one horrendous double definition (maybe not for gardeners) that had to go in on a wing and a prayer.
  6. What’s the problem in 2ac, I don’t see it? Choose = PICK, to be guided = LED. A sleepy 30 min for me, taking my time over 11dn and 16ac. Not familiar with WREST or APPRISE, so had to check these. I think 23ac is a great clue. Gribb.
    1. In general, I like equivalences to pass the substitution test but in this case I couldn’t think of a sentence in which “led” could be replaced by “to be guided” or even just “be guided” and have the same meaning.
      1. I think the ‘to be’ have no other function than to help create the surface. The wordplay is sufficiently generous to militate any possible confusion.
        A good brain stretch for a Monday – 6’45”
  7. 54 minutes but about half of that on 7d cutter:

    clipper, mower, scissors, secateurs, knife, dagger etc etc until finally I thought of someone who cuts, first director then finally our surgeon.

    Couldn’t parse 13a apart from assuming man = mark.
    Clear now.

    COD 2d pickled.

    1. Annoying though it might be to go all round the houses on a clue like that, it’s still better to have too many avenues to explore than not enough – that kind of lateral thinking will stand you in good stead.
  8. Relatively straight forward with some smiles on the way. COD to surgeon – I needed the final ‘n’ to get LOI hitman.
  9. I’m with flashman, must have run through the entire mental list of cutting implements between Sevenoaks and London Bridge! Got there in the end for surgeon as my LOI and also COD. A nice puzzle and a very well written blog, thanks to both Teazel and mohn2.


  10. Having just returned from Malaysia I really should have seen this straight away. But I had the final i.e and thought it was going to be tise. How stupid!
  11. I found this quite gentle with no major hold ups. Enjoyed 7d and 14d. LOI 6d and completed in 12 minutes.
    I hadn’t even considered there to be an issue with the wordplay in 2d but have found the discussion above to be very informative. Thanks.
  12. I solved this fairly quickly bottom up. Delayed a bit in the NW but then needed two to finish -7d and 11d. Once I focussed on 7d I got Surgeon quickly. I was held up by LOI Bloodshed. Although I had all the checkers it held me up until 19 minutes had passed in total.
    A good test I thought. David
    PS when I picked up the paper I looked at the 15×15 first -with the odd exception it’s relatively easy and QCish and worth a try.
  13. Got there in the end but was held up by Surgeon, Malaise and Hitman.

    Apprise I didn’t know and guessed it from the wordplay. Struggled with Touch, mainly because I also didn’t consider the same type of clue would be used twice. Once I got it, then 11dn was a little more straightforward.

    FOI was 23ac, but my COD was 1ac.


  14. 5 and small change for this with no real issues. I skipped the theatre at first look and then wrote it in from the checkers and took a little while at the end over SURGEON.
    I can second the recommendation to aspiring QCers to try the 15×15.
  15. After doing the quick cryptic for about 6 months this is the first one I’ve finish without help. Yay!!
  16. After years of doing the New York Times crosswords, I started tackling these a few months back. This one clicked for me from the start. Thanks to Teazel for the puzzle and Mohn for the explanations of the answers.

    I have learned so much from these in-depth dives into the clues. Sometimes I get the answer without really understanding why till I read these analyses.

    One question: does the cryptic get harder through the week as the NYT puzzle does?

    1. For the Quick Cryptic, I don’t think that there’s any pattern at all. For the main cryptic, anecdotal evidence does suggest that Monday’s puzzle is generally easier, however I don’t know if the editor has ever confirmed/denied that. I think the previous editor once said that he found it hard to judge the difficulty of puzzles so he didn’t bother trying, however he did like to publish the wittiest puzzles on Saturday as people would have more time to appreciate them.

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