Quick Cryptic 844 by Tracy

Typical Friday offering I think, gently pushing the Quicky solver towards a higher level of solving difficulty.  Or not, as the case may be.  Plenty of room in the comments to let us know how you found it.

Possibly the most remarkable aspect of this puzzle was the scarcity of anagrams.  Only one in the whole puzzle, which must be something of a record.  No shortage of interesting clues though, so thanks Tracy for our end-of-week challenge.

Took me 9:08, and 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 Girl in form is sixteen (4)
MISS – Hidden in forM IS Sixteen
4 See about a second better work of art (8)
SEASCAPE – SEE “about” A + S (second) + CAP (better)
8 Be pondering: that’s confusing (8)
BEMUSING – BE + MUSING (pondering)
9 Brief letter school sent back (4)
NOTE – ETON (school) reversed (sent back)
A school that’s often found in the Times crossword.
10 Everyone determined and fully prepared (3,3)
ALL SET – ALL (everyone) + SET (determined)
11 Gamble: I will within, in quarters (6)
BILLET – BET (gamble) with I’LL (I will) within
A soldier’s living quarters, though the word is also used for civilians I think.  We used to be billeted out when we went on inter-school sporting trips to Dorrigo and Kyogle, two schools that are rarely found in the Times crossword.
12 Cheating brief, putting fresh clothes on (5-8)
SHORT-CHANGING – SHORT (brief) + CHANGING (putting fresh clothes on)
16 Bird, loud, a large rook (6)
FALCON – F (loud) + A + L (large) + CON (rook)
Con and rook both being synonyms for “cheat” or “deceive”.
17 Allure of Scottish isle, reportedly, at journey’s end (6)
BEAUTY – BEAUT [homophone of BUTE (Scottish isle)] + Y (journeY’s end)
An island in the Firth of Clyde.  More a Firth of Forth man, me.
19 Nothing more than a pond (4)
MERE – Double definition
20 Move on horseback, approaching hurdles (2,6)
UP STICKS – UP (on horseback) + STICKS (hurdles)
Yep, “up” means “on horseback”.  Another one you see quite often around here.
21 Greedy person (female), notice, produces a large cask (8)
HOGSHEAD – HOG (greedy person) + SHE (female) + AD (notice)
22 Woman in ‘Fun in Acapulco’ (4)
NINA – Hidden in fuN IN Acapulco
A Nina!  Well, sort of.
2 I deliver cards for model (5)
IDEAL – I + DEAL (deliver cards)
3 Stamp on illegal activities in sport (6,7)
SQUASH RACKETS – SQUASH (stamp on) + RACKETS (illegal activities)
Yes, that’s the correct name for the game we all know as squash.  Another one of those “tomato is a fruit” type of things to know.
4 Riddle involving western satirist (5)
SWIFT – SIFT (riddle) “involving” W (western)
A similar bit of knowledge required here, ie that a riddle is another name for a sieve, or the act of using a sieve.  Which leads to the “make many holes in” definition, as in to riddle someone with bullets.
5 Lab gear wrong for this school subject (7)
Hands together please for our only anagram of the day!
6 Convict, female prisoner, helping to cause a raging fire (13)
CONFLAGRATION – CON (convict) + F (female) + LAG (prisoner) + RATION (helping)
7 Spiel over new design (7)
PATTERN – PATTER (spiel) + N (new)
10 When son can be a fool (3)
ASS – AS (when) + S (son)
When can son not be a fool is what I’m wondering.
13 Taking ecstasy inside must stop (5,2)
HEAVE TO – E (ecstasy) inside HAVE TO (must)
One of those good old nautical terms.  Whatever happened to Captain Pugwash?
14 After start of construction, guarantee criticism (7)
CENSURE – C (start of Construction) + ENSURE (guarantee)
15 Make fun of crude effigy (3)
GUY – Double definition
The “tease” or “make fun of” meaning of guy pops up quite a bit in Crosswordland.
17 Stationed in vile digs, initially (5)
BASED – BASE (vile) + D (Digs, initially)
Yeah, that other meaning of “base”.  A tomato is a fruit.
18 Understand indefinite number seized (5)
TAKEN – TAKE (understand) + N (indefinite number)
Take = understand, as in “Tough puzzle today, which I take to be quite normal for a Friday.”

25 comments on “Quick Cryptic 844 by Tracy”

  1. I agree this was on the less easy end of the spectrum. In fact I struggled to get a foothold in the top half, and moved below where things started moving. I then came back to the top with a few more crossers, once CONFLAGRATION and SQUASH RACKETS were in, and found myself congratulated at 11:29. Thanks Tracy and Galspray.
  2. I hadn’t noticed the dearth of anagrams, but then I don’t notice much. My heart sank when I saw ‘Scottish isle’, and in fact only remembered Bute once I typed in BEAUTY. Luckily I’ve seen ‘riddle’ in a couple of 15x15s, as well as UP STICKS; neither of them in my dialect. 6:00.
    1. I agree it’s one of those things you tend not to notice. Jumps out a bit when you’re writing up the blog though.
  3. matching some of today’s slower times. So a little on the chewy side.

    LOI 1ac MISS! Just didn’t clock it!

    COD 17ac BEAUTY

    WOD Dorrigo and Kyogle!? I thought they were Tasmanian sit-down comics!

    We haven’t had too many NINAs recently methink?

  4. I was in the doldrums taking 19 minutes on this one, 9 of which were spent staring at 17ac and trying to think of a word that fitted the checkers. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to to make the connection “allure” = BEAUTY, or to think of a Scottish island beginning with B but my only feeble excuse is that I was distracted by not being 100% sure that 18dn was TAKEN and the T-checker was therefore correct.
  5. Typing “very enjoyable” always reminds me of Jonah Jarvis in Under Milk Wood. Anyway.

    Tough but fair, finished well before London Bridge.

    Absolutely loved SQUASH RACKETS, that was COD for me Brian.

    Lots of wit and sparkle in this one, thanks (magis)Tracy. And thanks to blogger too.


  6. Three in the SE held me up at the end. The key was getting the shortest one – 17dn. When I had the ‘Y’ beauty fell into place (I’ve been to
    Bute quite a bit so have little excuse for toying with the Hebridean isles for so long). When I had the ‘B’ 17dn was so easy I couldn’t believe I didn’t get it before. 13 minutes seemed long but seems quite reasonable given the other comments. COD 6dn for how it all pieces together.
  7. 5:00, so I somehow didn’t find it as hard as others did. Some nice clues – e.g. SEASCAPE and SHORT CHANGING and the surface for 5d. Thanks to Tracy and blogger.
  8. A full hour struggling with this before staggering across the line. 8ac and the SE corner were the main hold-ups, but I also agonized over 16ac, not knowing rook/con. Invariant
    1. To cap is a synonym for ‘to better’: “they tried to cap each other’s stories”.
  9. DNF. Some of the Crosswordland jargon stumped me… ‘Con’ for rook and ‘Up’ for On horseback were new to me. Also I forgot about Bute.
    Bit of a disaster really.
    1. I agree with you Geoff I found this as hard as any other one I’v tried.
  10. Just back from a trip to the coast.
    This took me nearly 30 minutes on the train down.
    A good test and not easy.
    Last two were 21a and 13d. Much to like including 4d. David
  11. Tough today (or yesterday, but finished this morning) – the SE being particularly tricky, in particular 17a, 20a and 18d (LOI). No time registered as there were several sittings and a night’s sleep to contend with.
    Thanks for the blog.
  12. 57 minutes, and hardly any cheating, (had heave ho and squash racquet initially) which for Tracy is good.

    As usual lots of tough cluing:
    squash rackets = sport.
    rook = con.
    riddle = sift.
    sticks = hurdles.
    understanding = take.

    COD algebra.

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