Quick Cryptic 852 by Orpheus

Last time I was on blogging duty for a QC I opined that it was fairly straightforward, only to find that most of you put it at the trickier end of the spectrum. And the time before that, vice versa. So, I have no idea what others might think. All I know is that I found it fairly straightforward and enjoyable with some elegant cluing, nice bits of wit and no obscurities (unless you are light on your ornithology).

A good puzzle for newcomers to the game, I thought, due to the variety of clue types and the deployment by the setter of a few crosswordland staples such as the antelope at 8ac and the priest at 19ac. Thanks very much to Orpheus for an elegant puzzle.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–): omitted letters indicated by {-}

1 Crumbling ruins get a form of identification (9)
SIGNATURE – *(RUINS GET A) with “crumbling” signalling the anagram
6 Three-fifths of 17 dn is mine (3)
PIT – {PI}PIT (at risk of stating the obvious, three of the five letters in the answer to 17dn!)
8 Island republic, one beginning to conserve antelope? (7)
ICELAND – I (one) + C (beginning to Conserve) + ELAND (antelope – a beast much beloved by setters). Hands up all those who bunged in IRELAND to start with… guilty m’lud
9 Lizard originally given every care keepers offer (5)
GECKO – First letters (originally) of Given Every Care Keepers Offer
10 Fresh information about military engineers (5)
GREEN – GEN (information) goes around (about) RE (our old military friends the Royal Engineers)
12 Endlessly cultivating dried fruit (6)
RAISIN – RAISIN{G} (cultivating) minus its last letter (endlessly)
14 Not much of an attack of ague? (2,5,6)
NO GREAT SHAKES – Rather nice jokey cryptic (sufferers of the ague being prone to severe shivering)
16 Cultivated area thriving at last to west of forest (6)
GARDEN – {THRIVIN}G (thriving at last) is added at the west end (looking at it as an across clue) of ARDEN (forest – perhaps best known as the setting for As You Like It)
17 Shilling carried in simple bag (5)
PURSE – S (abbrev. shilling) included in (carried in) PURE (simple)
19 Aristocratic priest starts to take Evensong (5)
ELITE – ELI (priest – biblical figure again much beloved of setters) + T E (first letters of – ‘starts to’ – Take Evensong)
20 Remark made by journalist, perhaps, to produce an effect
IMPRESS – I’M PRESS (remark made by journalist, perhaps – nice cryptic wordplay)
22 Constantly scold riding-horse (3)
23 Somehow his trees initially gladdened a tourist (9)
SIGHTSEER – *(HIS TREES) – with G (initially Gladdened) also in the mix – and “somehow” signalling the anagram
1 Son given reprimand for drinking from bottle? (8)
SWIGGING – S (son) with (given) WIGGING (reprimand – possibly a slightly antique turn of phrase, much favoured by my grandfather) (
2 Uncle Sam’s surprised cry finally waking little niece (3)
GEE – How an American might indicate surprise (Uncle Sam’s surprised cry) with the wordplay coming from the last letters (finally) of wakinG littlE niecE
3 Article found in a trap on a further occasion (5)
AGAIN – A (article) inside (found in) A GIN (a trap)
4 Mutual agreement subject to status? (13)
UNDERSTANDING – UNDER (subject to) STANDING (status). Elegant clue.
5 Like a Sassenach, possibly, touring his glen (7)
ENGLISH – *(HIS GLEN) with “touring” indicating the anagram
6 Alfresco eater, one stealing 7, do we hear? (9)
PICNICKER – Sounds like (do we hear) ‘pick nicker’ (one stealing a TOOL – 7dn)
7 Excessively large spade, for example (4)
TOOL – TOO (excessively) + L (large)
11 European enthusing about new, grand woodcut? (9)
ENGRAVING – E (European) + RAVING (enthusing) go around (about) N (new) and G (grand)
13 One who evaluates beasts of burden? So right! (8)
ASSESSOR – ASSES (beasts of burden) SO R{ight}
15 It’s interminable, lacking a goal (7)
ENDLESS – If you don’t have a goal, you could be said to be without an end
17 It holds up seed for a songbird (5)
PIPIT – IT has PIP (seed) put on top (holds up). Fortunately I know my British birds (but haven’t a clue about plants and trees) but the pipit might be less well known to some solvers. Looks vaguely like a wagtail, and comes in several varieties (rock pipit, meadow pipit, tree pipit)
18 Petty bloke hiding key (4)
MEAN – MAN (bloke) with (key of) E inside (hiding key)
21 First lady entering the velodrome? (3)
EVE – Adam’s partner is found inside (entering) thE VElodrome. Very neat.

22 comments on “Quick Cryptic 852 by Orpheus”

  1. Pretty straightforward. GEN is another chestnut; do people use the term? I actually didn’t think of Ireland; saw the ‘beginning to conserve’ in time. 4:01.
    1. Yes, I use “gen”. (Especially in “gen up on”.) I do like the word “swig” – do other languages have such a specialised word?

      First QC I’ve done for a few days, been too busy psephologising! Started slowly but it turned out not to be too hard. FOI GREEN LOI GARDEN COD GECKO

      Edited at 2017-06-14 12:55 am (UTC)

      1. Glad to hear it’s used. I meant to mention that it took over an hour for today’s issue to appear; when I logged on at around 8:15 (=12:15 am) it was still yesterday’s edition, and stayed so until past 9.
  2. 7 minutes. I agree with Adrian about GEN. I’d class the GECKO lizard along with the ELAND antelope as a crossword favourite.
  3. 32 minutes.

    Last few were Signature, gee, and eve.

    A lot of time spent on LOI pipit/impress junction.
    I had pitit (3/5 of which = pit = answer in 6a).
    But once I saw press for journalist, it was easy to sort out.

    gin = trap
    wigging = reprimand
    And for a second I had Neglish for 5d, oh dear!

    COD 13d assessor, but also liked endless.

  4. After solving PIT, I immediately entered PITCH at 17dn. Biffing is one thing, but this was solving without reading the clue and with no checkers in place. And it got what it deserved.

    My hand is up for the IRELAND trap as well. Pretty straightforward otherwise.

    Thanks Orpheus and Nick.

    1. I feel much relieved to have been in such illustrious company on an unscheduled trip to Ireland!
  5. Very easy today, and came in under 20 minutes for the first time in a while. My LOI was 1dn. Never heard of wigging before. Is nagging really to scold someone, as suggested in 22ac? I would debate that. Scold suggests a level of severity not present in nagging. Gribb.
  6. There I am thinking “well that was a pretty poor puzzle, neither wit nor elegance” and then I log on and read Nick saying exactly the opposite! So back in my box.

    I did like RAISIN though, clever and my LOI (and COD). Only hold up was ICELAND, geography never my strong suit.

    Just after Orpington.


    1. I do like the idea of “Orpington” being a measure of difficulty of a crossword puzzle.

      There is an Aussie slang expression ‘getting off at Redfern” (a station in Sydney) but that means something entirely different…

  7. I didn’t know ELAND and ELI, but won’t forget them now. LOI was IMPRESS (I was trying to get an ED in there for journalist). Liked 14A, very clever, and PIPIT was a lovely clue. And wigging’s a great word, if perhaps archaic. Thank Nick and Orpheus.
  8. OK that’s it from me for today – just off to board a plane to Australia. I’m sure Jack or any of the other senior pros will field any queries that crop up in the rest of the comments…
  9. I started with GEN and then looked at 8a with the “republic” initially pointing me in the direction of IRELAND, but careful reading of the clue highlighted the “C” so I confidently entered ICELAND. Took a minute or two to get the first two letters of IMPRESS, but the penny eventually dropped. Finished on AGAIN, after SIGNATURE and UNDERSTANDING. 8:13. Thanks Orpheus and Nick.
  10. Got off to a really dopey start by confusing my anagrists with my anagrinds at 1a.
    Thank heavens for the ‘chestnuts’ at 8a and 9a which finally got me started.

    Found 14a difficult and had to wait for all the checkers to fill in before completing with fingers crossed.
    Likewise, 20a which I again biffed from checkers, had to come to the blog to understand the WP – thanks, Nick.

    COD 1d SWIGGING. I love the expression ‘to get a wigging’, wonder where it comes from?

    Have a good flight Nick and thanks Orpheus.

    1. I would imagine (shooting from the hip!) that a “wigging” comes from the fact that rebukes are delivered by those in authority, who would once have been wearing wigs ( possibly being bigwigs). Might well be legal (since the judge would have had the full bottomed wig back in the day).
  11. I found this quite slow going, not helped by my recently developed anagram blindness – today it took me an age to spot what was going on at 1a. Finally getting that allowed me to finish off the NW corner with my LOI being 2d. Completed in 17 minutes.
  12. The English (well, Liverpool anyway) equivalent is Edge Hill, for the same reason. Invariant

Comments are closed.