Quick Cryptic 82 by Mara

I’ve been away from crosswords for a couple of weeks so maybe that is why I found this really tough or maybe it’s just really tough. Please check the time/comments of the regulars to get a real idea. I’m not sure tough = bad though. There’s a great pleasure to be had in wrestling with cryptic clues – finishing is, though, a wonderful feeling.
Thankyou to those who stood in for me whilst I was out of wifi range.
Definitions are underlined.
The link seems to be working! Credit where due…

1 Scary wood in a piece of old Austria (5-8)
Spine Chilling – Wood (PINE) in inside piece of old Austria (SCHILLING). Tough starter – piece equalling coin – fair enough I suppose but not everyday usage.
8 River plant (6)
Flower – Double definition.
9 Offer has lecturer worried (6)
Donate – Lecturer (DON) worried (ATE) – as in ‘it ate away at him’
10 Old partner with photo – not hot but fair (4)
Expo – Old partner (EX) plus PhotO – with the letters hot taken out.
11 Material in bag let out (8)
Tangible – anagram (out) of INBAGLET. If, like me, you were thinking of a type of material this may have held you up. Tangible/material evidence is what we should have been thinking.
12 Painter combining earthling and creature from outer space (5)
Manet – Earthing (MAN) creature from outer space (ET – setters’ favourite 2 letter film).
13 Neat sting (5)
Smart – Double definition
15 Excess god in prayer! (8)
Plethora – God (Thor) inside prayer (PLEA). I didn’t find it easy to get plethora from excess – always thought it was to do with lots of rather than too much of but apparently excess can be the definition.
17 Country I escaped (4)
Iran – I (I) escaped (RAN – as in prison escape).
19 Pig that flies! (6)
Gannet – Cryptic definition. I’ve been watching gannets dive into the sea after mackerel all the last fortnight but still struggled to get this. A Gannet can be described as a hearty eater and the bird does fly. Maybe toughie of the day or am I losing it? Porpoises and seals were also getting their fill!
20 Very cold drink (6)
Bitter – Double definition. This must be an off day – I have a keen appreciation of best bitter – especially from the small micro breweries – yet it still took time to match this with bitter cold.
21 Argued Titanic should be different film (9,4)
Educating Rita – Anagram (should be different) of ARGUED TITANIC. A fine film.

2 Plant multitudes, did you say? (5)
Phlox – Homophone (did you say?) of Flocks.
3 Women off and on a heavenly sight? (3,4)
New Moon – anagram of WOMEN plus ON.
4 Wheels checked, and race starts (3)
Car – First letters of Checked And Race.
5 Individuals in one country – or another? (9)
Indonesia – Individuals (ONES) inside one country (INDIA) the definition being another country.
6 Something in one’s chest, one Asian garment (5)
Lungi – Something inside one’s chest (LUNG) plus one (I). A lungi is a sarong. The editor says that we should realise that the Quick Cryptic IS a cryptic crossword – so coming across new words by working them out by wordplay is fair enough. I suspect though that some may prefer this easier.
7 Card ends in the post after Christmas – that’s about time! (7)
Notelet – Ends – final letters of thE and posT after Christmas (NOEL) which has time (T) inside it. Anyone thinking this is getting a trifle tricky?
11 Resorting to rift, refuse retaliation (3,3,3)
Tit For Tat – Anagram (resorting) of TO RIFT then refuse (TAT). Having the checking letters may help.
12 Duck – drake that’s short and fat (7)
Mallard – Drake (MALe – without the last letter) fat (LARD).
14 Pilot who’s entering Canada via Toronto (7)
Aviator – In the clue (entering) canadA VIA TORonto.
16 Held up by maniac in Ottawa, shot in the arm (5)
Tonic – In the clue (held by) this times backwards (up) maniaC IN OTtowa.
18 A fellow representative (5)
Agent – A (A) fellow (GENT).
20 Discard writer’s part written up (3)
Bin – Writer’s part (NIB) backwards (written up).

28 comments on “Quick Cryptic 82 by Mara”

  1. Yes, I found it hard too. In fact, at 24 minutes, my solving time was only 4 minutes short of time taken on yesterday’s 15 x 15. Looking back I note that Mara has now set 6 puzzles and I failed to break the 15 minute barrier on any of them. I fully expect some complaints about the level difficulty today.

    Well blogged, Chris.

    PS You have a typo at 10ac,’hit’ for ‘hot’

  2. Too tough for me today. Did not get GANNET, cheated to get PHLOX and guessed NOTELET. Did not know LUNGI but was confident of the answer from the wordplay and checkers. Did like EXPO.

    Hardest QC I can recall.

  3. 7 mins for this one, a time I was happy with because quite a few of the clues wouldn’t have been out of place in the main cryptic. The 1ac/2dn crossers definitely fall into that category, and LUNGI isn’t exactly a commonplace word even though the wordplay was clear enough. PLETHORA was my LOI after INDONESIA. It was funny to see FLOWER defined as a river rather than the other way around.
  4. I’m sure I must have completed a Mara puzzle before but I’m not aware of it. Yes, I found it difficult, too, but still managed it in 15mins. I thought 1ac and 19ac were particularly tricky and worthy of the main cryptic. At the same time, there were some common cryptic devices such as ATE =worried and ET = Creature from outer space. Like Andy B. it was nice to see FLOWER = river. My point about DBEs is, is there a DBE (Definition By Example) in 6d with LUNG as “something inside one’s chest”? I’m never sure about what constitutes a DBE; one reason why I don’t volunteer for blogging duties!
    Good blog, Chris!
  5. Now that my CC subscription has expired I’ve had to take a subscription to the Web Pack so I can now “do” the QC daily. Thing is I can only find a “play” version. Where do I find a printable version?
      1. Thanks Jack, at least I wasn’t being thick and missing something obvious. I just need to find my snippers now.


  6. 5:42 with flower (failure to spot the obvious) and phlox last to fall. Some of this was tricky but in other parts, like the SE corner, a number of answers went in on sight.

    I thought lungi was a great example for beginners of how a precise cryptic indication can give you the confidence to fill in a completely new word “knowing” it to be correct.

  7. It’s spotting &lits that’s my weak spot so I avoid mentioning them when I blog. For the record 6dn is not a DBE but simply a rather vague definition inviting solvers to think of parts of the chest until they find one that fits the bill.

    Edited at 2014-07-01 12:52 pm (UTC)

  8. To think last Friday, I had got these crosswords under control !! This was TOUGH and I had to cheat
    1. I agree, anonymous person, this was a hard one. I also managed to finish with just a little bit of cheating. What constitutes cheating for you? For me, if I’ve worked on the puzzle for more than 30 minutes and decided it’s too hard for me, I move to the online puzzle so I can check my answers with the “solution” button and keep myself on track. It really helps. PLETHORA & INDONESIA were my last ones in.
  9. I’m probably being a bit grumpy because I struggled with this. However one thing I’ve noticed as a beginner on cryptics is that the definitions are sometimes quite dodgy. Today we had card = notelet … err no, it’s made of paper, and offer = donate … what??
    1. The setter would be able to justify ‘notelet’ using these dictionary entries:

      SOED: A folded card or sheet of paper on which a note or short letter may be written, having a picture or design on the face of the first leaf.

      Collins: A folded card with a printed design on the front

      And all the usual sources mention ‘paper’ as an alternative in their definition of ‘card’.

      But I certainly raised an eyebrow at “donate/offer” which I think stretches things a bit, especially in a Quickie, though an offering can be a contribution or donation particularly with reference to church and religious matters. Again according to dictionaries, though I can’t find one that specifically nails it word for word.

      Edited at 2014-07-01 05:33 pm (UTC)

      1. Jack – thanks for your comments, much appreciated. As I say, I was probably just frustrated – still can’t find a dictionary giving donate as a meaning of offer though!
    2. Tony, reinforcing Jack’s general point above, in the crossworld if there’s dictionary support for a definition/synonym/usage then it’s fair game for a setter.

      This is something it took me a long time to get comfortable with and I take your point that it might be a little unfair in the quick cryptic but it’s worth steeling yourself for future “dodgy” definitions where a dictionary gives a definition that isn’t in gerneral use.

      1. I , too , found this difficult for a so called quick crossword and didn’t like some of the clues.

        Edited at 2014-07-01 07:35 pm (UTC)

  10. Agreed tony I thought the same, a pity the setter has to resort to tortuous and rather ephemeral connections. Even when you have the answer to such clues you remain unconvinced. I think there are more elegant clues than these.
  11. Bryan, I don’t consider using card/notelet is tortuous or ephemeral at all. If words only had one meaning crosswords wouldn’t be a fraction of the fun.
    1. The vagaries of the English language are why I found EXPO so good. For a long time I thought fair in the clue meant so so until the penny dropped.
  12. I actually quite liked this one. 16 minutes and the only clue I had to put in without knowing it was LUNGI, but it was fair from the clue….
  13. WAy too difficult for a quick puzzle. Typical mara puzzle and she should not be writing for the quick cryptic. I realise that those who seem to always do the puzzles in under 10 minutes will disagree, but the quick puzzles are clearly not aimed at them and not sure why they bother since they clearly find them too simple. Come on give those of us trying to learn a chance, we had none with this one
    1. You have my sympathies to an extent though I’m afraid I don’t understand how Quick Cryptic puzzles can be clearly not aimed at those who can do them quickly! As with all puzzles the level of difficulty is going to vary from day to day so I’d suggest you stick with it and not be disheartened by the occasional setback.

      Why not give yourself a name when contributing to TftT? It helps us to get to know regulars so we can offer support and encouragement.

  14. As a ‘newbie’ to cryptics I enjoy the challenge and learning the tricks of reading the clues. This website is a godsend for the likes of me. Your encouragement to us rookies is most heartening as is finding out which puzzles are judged more tricky as this makes me feel better when not doing so well! Thanks, and keep on talking them through.
    1. I’m glad you are enjoying the new puzzle and finding TftT useful. Please see my comment to other anon above about giving yourself a name. Or better still sign up for a free Live Journal account and have a userpic too!
    1. Well done for having a go. Finishing unaided isn’t always guaranteed – but then it isn’t for the concise crossword either if you don’t know a particular word. I don’t often complete the 16×16 unaided. There’s often a corner where I get stuck. Sometimes I look up in Wikipedia but other times I take a peek at the Times for the Times site and focus in on just the clue I need to get going again – ignoring the rest, then try to finish from there. It still counts as a DNF – did not finish – but you get the satisfaction of completing. In this game practice does make better (never perfect – unless you’re Tony Sever!).
      if you register for free with Livejournal we’d have a better conversation.

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