Quick Cryptic 831 by Mara

Excellent fare here from Mara – in my opinion a good balance of ‘quick’ clues with enough clever ones to be interesting. The NE corner 4dn, 5dn, 9ac, 11ac changed my time from 8-9 minutes to just under 11 as I sat and stared for a while. 9ac caused a laugh when it went in so I award it COD although 19ac gets an honourably mentioned.
Advance request to other bloggers – I will be away in 4 weeks time and need cover for 13th and 20th June please.


1. Birthday suit – nothing to wear. Special day=birthday.
8. Rumba – dance. Graduate (BA) after drink (RUM).
9. Rootlet – part of the underground system – of a plant rather than the Tube which the wordplay would have one believe. Anagram (plundered) of LOOTER, sta(T)ion.
10. Nun – holy woman read backwards and forwards.
11. Off season – when restaurants are relatively empty. Rotten (OFF), flavour (SEASON).
13. Crave – fancy. Conservative (C), party (RAVE).
14. Eerie – ghostly. English (E), lake (ERIE).
16. Posthaste – quickly. Send (POST), has (HAS), note (TE).
17. Pot – cooking vessel. Lid (TOP) flipped over.
19. Nowhere – obscurity. Currently (NOW), present (HERE). I liked how now and here, when joined, form the opposite.
21. Tally – total. Idio(T), partner (ALLY).
22. Considerable – large. Anagram (blurred) of BAR CODE LINES.


1. Baron – noble. (O)x inside farm building (BARN).
2. Romanians – Europeans. Anagram (set free) of SAN MARINO.
3. Head over heels – double definition. In love and upside down.
4. Adrift – moving aimlessly (at sea). Advert (AD), break (RIFT). So easy to join advert and break to=ad and then get stumped.
5. Smoke detector – safety device. Anagram (to malfunction) of ROCKET MODE SET.
6. Ill – suffering from cold perhaps. So easy to biff icy. Part of ch(ILL)y.
7. Stance – attitude. Anagram (different) of SCENT A.
12. Strip club – cryptic definition.
13. Capone – hood/gangster. Hat (CAP) one (ONE).
15. Ascend – come up. Anagram (VARIOUS) of DANCES.
18. Thyme – herb. Homophone (so to speak) of time.
20. Woo – court. (W)itnesses (O)ffending (O)thers.

32 comments on “Quick Cryptic 831 by Mara”

  1. It took me a while to figure out 5d, which was my LOI. Liked 22ac and 4d especially. 5:15. Chris, I think you mean ‘wordplay’ at 9ac?
  2. Off wavelength again. NW corner flew in and then I got stuck. Reading 12dn as (4,5) didn’t help – I tried to shoehorn SORE THUMB in…

    + Thanks to Mara for commemorating our daughter’s 13th birthday!

    1. Ditto for my daughter’s 25th!
      A stiffer test than yesterday’s write in but nothing to frighten the horses. COD to 9a for its clever misdirection. Hoping for a good arm-wrestle with the 15×15 later.
  3. Some nice long anagrams today. Usually I would say that suits me, but I was a bit slow in spotting CONSIDERABLE, SMOKE DETECTOR and STANCE. Eventually getting ROOTLET sorted a couple of those out.

    Liked the STRIP CLUB clue. Thanks Mara and Chris.

  4. 8 minutes. A much-needed boost of confidence on a day when the main puzzle tested me to the limits.
  5. Lots of interruptions at work but got totally stuck on rootlet, off season, head over heels, adrift, stance and strip club. So over an hour.

    Just pleased to finish.

    Plundered is a strange anagram indicator, although I eventually guessed it was.

    COD strip club.

  6. Done and dusted in 25 minutes, so back on track for me. Nothing too difficult, although ROOTLET took some thinking. Even CAPONE took me an age, and was my LOI, failing to spot the gangster link with “hood”. The anagrams took a good bit of thought, too. Anyway, happy to finish after yesterday. Thanks, Mara. Gribb.
  7. Yes, like Gribb I took a while to spot the Chicago hood, being convinced it was Mara being down with the youth and a synonym for neighbourhood!

    Fun puzzle. ROOTLET took some time. I really liked BIRTHDAY SUIT, such a neat clue.

    From Petts Wood to Waterloo East. Thanks Mara and blogger.


  8. I started well and was thinking a PB might be on the cards, but then the NE corner slowed me down as it did many others. Still, 17:11 is very respectable for me.
    Thanks for the warnings about the 15×15. Having finally got there yesteday in about two hours I shall regardless still have a go, just to see if I can get make any headway whatsoever!
  9. Those who struggle with NE corners have my sympathy, but for a change my problems were in the SW. The 13d/19ac pairing took a long time to work out, but a quick start, thanks to 1ac, allowed me to finish just under 30 mins – good for Mara. I thought 9ac was CoD, just ahead of 13d. Invariant
  10. I enjoyed this puzzle which took 12:45, although 2 or 3 of those were accounted for by a quick dash to answer a call of nature. The long anagrams held me up too and I had to resort to my scribble sheet. FOI was BIRTHDAY SUIT and LOI was ASCEND. Liked ROOTLET and STRIP CLUB. Thanks Mara and Chris.
  11. I enjoyed this and didn’t have too many problems in the NE, my hold up came with the hood/gangster link in 13d (LOI), made more annoying as it’s a definition I’ve seen a few times now. I also spent a while thinking of tube stations for 9a.
    COD 19a, completed in 17 minutes
  12. 20 minutes flat for me, which is close to a PB. How anyone can get less than ten minutes is beyond me. I was okay in the NE corner, it was the SW that slowed me down. FOI “BIRTHDAY SUIT” LOI “CAPONE”.
  13. A straight forward one for me – and maybe a personal best – although there was enough misdirection on a few clues to keep me thinking.

    The sort of puzzle where I seemed to be on the right wave length and the longer answers went in quite easily, however on any other day could have been a DNF.

    Was never convinced about Rootlet until I read the explanation above, although I knew it probably wasn’t about the tube once I’d exhausted my knowledge of stations.

    FOI 8ac, LOI 9ac, COD 1ac

    Thanks as usual.


  14. Don’t know how long it took me but I got there in the end! 15A held me up – not seen “various” as an anagram indicator before, so I took that as the straight clue and was trying to think of types of dance spelt backwards (ie coming up)…grrr. Will have to remember TE for note, too (could only think of NB). I liked 5D!
    Btw, am I not alone in the beginners’ class (if there are any other novices reading the blog) at finding the back page ridiculously hard? Not just today – every day! Can usually get a couple but that’s it. More practice needed, I think…
    1. It takes practice to pull the words of the clues apart rather than reading the ‘surface’. After that it’s synonyms, initials, general knowledge – I’m always learning which is part of the pleasure.
      1. I’m getting there…have invested in a couple of books. The Tim Moorey one is really helpful and a good read to boot. I have the bug for life now, I think!
    2. Don’t worry – I can’t do the back page either. And don’t get me started on the weekend Jumbo cryptic…

      I’ve downloaded an app (funnily enough from Teazel I think) which gives a number of free puzzles to complete. I’ve found that since doing these, the QC is getting easier.


      1. Glad it’s not just me 🙂 I just about manage the Sunday one but, yes, the Saturday jumbo is a torture to far at my current stage!
    3. It takes practice to pull the words of the clues apart rather than reading the ‘surface’. After that it’s synonyms, initials, general knowledge – I’m always learning which is part of the pleasure.
    4. I’m also very much a novice. I can usually get a handful but really struggle with the rest and have to resort to various aids to see what words would fit. Anagrams are a bugbear. Easy if there are word or words with the right no of letters but sometimes is word A from the clue and part of word B that you have to deduce. At least things like 1ac go in easily… but I struggled with quite a few today.
      As or TE for note – baffling!
        1. Ah haaaa…YES. Of course. Filbert, we will never forget that one now 🙂
          1. If you say so! I wouldn’t have spellrd it ‘TE’ but, of course, note can have all sorts of meanings. I tend to be too literal – not helpful in cryptic land!
  15. Just back from a most enjoyable gathering of setters, bloggers and solvers at The George. It was a very friendly and welcoming group.
    I thought Mara was kind to us in today’s puzzle. I got 1a and 1d straightaway but was held up at the end by Capone and finally Rootlet ( I was looking for the name of a tube station at first). Enjoyable puzzle. 14 Minutes. David
  16. i. . . if anyone else tried Bonnet for 13d

    Made me smile, but Held me up


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