Quick Cryptic 874 by Pedro

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Gor blimey. Having consistently finished the quickie in under 5 min all week, it comes to my blog day and I make a right meal of it. 14 minutes, minus the 45s it takes to set up Mohn2’s Javascript thing. Bloggers nerves probably, but I rather think this one was quite advanced compared to the usual. Some nice clues and fun to do, but might stump a beginner.

1 Aquatic creature — supply at sea: about a ton (8)
PLATYPUS – anagram of (‘at sea’) SUPPLY around A T. Bit of a decoy here, as I zoomed in on the word ‘supply’ as the anagram indicator.
6 Advantage in seed germination (4)
EDGE – hidden word: seED GErmination
8 Cat associations reported on the radio (4)
LYNX – sounds like (‘reported on the radio’) ‘links’
9 Go, with speed, running round front of herd? One might (8)
SHEEPDOG – this is a cracker and my LOI. It’s an &lit, which means the whole clue reads both cryptically and as surface, and it’s another compound anagram, one made up from elements spread through the clue, i.e. GO, SPEED, H (front of ‘herd’) The anagrind (anagram indicator) is ‘running’. Whether this is fair in the quickie I will leave to commenters to decide.
10 Someone eating ice-cream right to swallow everything (8)
CONSUMER – CONE (ice cream) with R ‘swallowing’ SUM. This is also a bit chewy for the quickster, I reckon.
11 Printing error: treaty gutted and work set back (4)
TYPO – Treaty without its innards is TY and work is OP, set back.
13 See key in PE: one somehow to remain proficient (4,4,3,2)
KEEP ONES EYE IN – anagram of (‘somehow’) SEE KEY IN PE ONE.
16 Thirteen letters identifying a small thing (4)
ATOM – I’ve seen this clue before, and quite recently, but it’s rather nice: A to M is 13 letters.
17 Leading institution marks joint suitable for replacement? (8)
FLAGSHIP – FLAGS (marks) HIP (Joint suitable for replacement)
19 Give money to support two aerobatic manoeuvres (8)
BANKROLL – BANK and ROLL are two things you can do in an aeroplane
21 Statement in court sure to be overlooked in happiness (4)
22 Book featured healthy component of diet (4)
BRAN – B (book) RAN (featured, as in a newspaper)
23 Port not vintage? Have last of Semillon (8)
NEWHAVEN – NEW (not vintage) HAVE N (last of semillon)

2 Put down song as perceived by others? (3,2,4)
LAY TO REST – as we all know in crosswordland, LAY is a song. Also NEAT is a cow, LAST is a cobbler’s tool and SUPPLY is an adverb.
3 State: ‘Times to invest in brewing products’ (5)
TEXAS – Biffed (Bunged In From Definition) as the only 5-letter US state beginning with T. ‘Times’ here is X, brewing products are TEAS’
4 One getting the sack maybe after us (7)
POSTMAN – bit stumped by this one. Is it really just a fairly lame cryptic definition? I suppose ‘after us’ means he’s looking for us? EDIT: thanks to all who pointed this out – POST (after) MAN (us). I should have spotted that. I still think it’s a bit lame.
5 Fight involving energy weapon (5)
SPEAR – SPAR (fight) with E (energy) in.
6 Fellow feeling making them pay, possibly (7)
EMPATHY – anagram (possibly) of THEM PAY
7 Sentimentality is mostly beneficial (3)
GOO – Most of GOOD
12 Puritan, English, accepting detestable social advantage (9)
PRIVILEGE – Puritan is PRIG, English is E, detestable is VILE. Spent what seemed like an hour trying to make it work with PRIM for puritan
14 Grill family vegetable (7)
PUMPKIN – PUMP (grill) + KIN (family)
15 Everyone in performance is superficial (7)
SHALLOW – SHOW containing ALL
17 Father to admit a show of displeasure (5)
FROWN – FR (father, as in priest) + OWN (admit). I went through all the other things that ‘father’ can mean first: PA, POP, PERE, SIRE, DAD etc
18 Brownish shade I included in copies, on reflection (5)
SEPIA – This was a biff, with the parsing coming afterwards. ‘Copies’ is APES, reflected, with I inserted
20 Song from duo without piano (3)
AIR – PAIR without P

31 comments on “Quick Cryptic 874 by Pedro”

  1. Thank goodness for that – there was I thinking it was just me being bleary eyed and bleary minded so early in the day, scraping in just under 15 minutes. I too fell for the BACK bit of 19a (BACKSPIN anyone?) and PRIM in 12d, my LOI.
    I agree with Jackkt about the parsing of 4d..
  2. This was far and away the hardest Quickie I can remember. I think SHEEPDOG was my LOI, too, but at least I got it; I biffed CONSUMER and only figured it out post-submission. DNK KEEP ONE’S EYE IN, but was sure it was KEEP ONE’S, so that worked out all right. Would have got PLATYPUS sooner, but I was thinking ‘marine’ instead of ‘aquatic’. 12:03.
  3. Probably my slowest time ever for the QC – and on a Friday! But no Fridayitis, as I mistakenly thought it was Thursday! Meanwhile today’s 15×15 was quite mild – probably making up for Monday’s more difficult puzzle.

    Looking back over it there was no tough vocab.

    COD SHEEPDOG – nice.

    WOD there wasn’t one!

    POSTMAN as per Jack!

    Edited at 2017-07-14 07:42 am (UTC)

  4. I think 4dn is Post (after), MAN (us – mankind).

    I agree this wasn’t all straightforward and it took me a minute over my target 10 to complete it. Shame about A TO M having turned up so recently, but possibly it hadn’t when Pedro devised this puzzle.

    Edited at 2017-07-14 07:07 am (UTC)

  5. Yep, some chewy stuff in here, and I was held up for quite a while by FLAGSHIP and FROWN.

    Thanks Pedro and great blog Curarist.

    Agree that SHEEPDOG was a great clue, but if I was being pedantic I’d point out that it’s not a pure &LIT, as “One might” plays no part in the wordplay. Maybe a semi-&LIT?

  6. 16 minutes here – after which I went back and fully parsed each clue – there was a lot to enjoy. I agree with ‘rather advanced compared to the usual’ – mid-level (MC?) rather than QC?
  7. Rather chewy, but not as hard as yesterday’s for me. Not sure how long I took, as did it in two sessions, but edging towards 25 minutes. A few were biffed, namely 3dn, 21ac and 10ac. Didn’t understand 10ac until I went back after finishing. Yeah, it’s post (after) man (us). LOI was FLAGSHIP. Was convinced 19ac was going to be BACK something. Gribb.
  8. I’m glad it wasn’t just me who found this tough! I found myself passing over clues en masse as I failed to decode them and eventually finished in 15:09. FOI was PLATYPUS and LOI FLAGSHIP. A well crafted puzzle which, er, puzzled. I spent ages trying to think of a father that ended with N until the frown lifted from my forehead. I also tried to shoehorn PRIM into 12d. Thanks Pedro and Curarist.
  9. The main crossword is definitely worth having a go at today. I’ve got about three quarters so far, which is almost unheard of. Gribb.
  10. Before anyone gets too excited about today’s 15×15 being easy, whilst I’d agree that 9/10ths of it is reasonably so, the remaining 10th (amounting to 3 clues) stumped me completely and I was unable to complete the grid without resorting to aids. I don’t think of myself in the top league of solvers as I am not a speedster, but I have been blogging 15x15s here for 10 years and for me to need assitance with 3 clues in the same puzzle is a rare occurrence.

    Edited at 2017-07-14 09:03 am (UTC)

    1. I completed it but Pareto’s law came into play as the last 20% took 80% of my time. Still worth a go for improvers though. This one took me about 8 minutes with one eye on the cricket at Nottingham.
      1. I had never heard of Pareto’s Law – so aposite – simply excellent!

        Edited at 2017-07-14 12:21 pm (UTC)

    2. Yeah, gave up with 4ac, 18ac, 9dn and 8dn remaining. Don’t know if these were ones that caused you difficulty. Gribb.
      1. I had to check the spelling of 9d who I’d never heard of, and 18a took some time to figure out. 8d from wordplay, otherwise ok.
  11. I found this difficult, definitely a grown-up QC test.
    I was not helped by putting Manx at 8a (not confidently) and having a fairly confident Stampede for 9a ( Speed plus front of Tame for Herd …).
    Most of the clues required proper work and I even managed to forget previously seen Atom until late on.
    Eventually done in 49 minutes. I enjoyed it and will award COD to 9a. David
  12. I quite quickly realised that this was going to be a long solve, so settled back and ‘enjoyed’ parsing each answer. Got there eventually, just short of the hour, so definitely at the hard end of the QC spectrum. CoD was 16ac – if I’ve seen this before I didn’t remember it, so it made me smile. Invariant
  13. I have been improving on the 15×15 gradually over the last couple of years. This puzzle contains many conventions that will help improvers; 9a is a wonderful anagram clue with a delicious surface, 10a has a good alternative to ‘all’, 16a used in a recent 15×15. I’m normally around the 10 minute mark but this kept me enjoyably entertained for about 20m. Like others I experienced Pereto’s Law for the main puzzle. A superb Friday offering. Thanks blogger.

  14. Another tough one for me – taken most of the day (off and on).

    Quite a lot of biffing again today and some I just couldn’t parse until I came here to check, esp. 2d. So thanks Curarist for an excellent blog – I had no idea about lay/song and neat/cow??! Or are you joking?

    Thanks to Pedro – this was a very taxing puzzle with many great surfaces. And now back to the fun of Wimbledon!

      1. Thanks Invariant, good of you to share another one too. All carefully noted!

        I think someone might make, if not a fortune, then a good deal of £s if they made a dictionary of all the very obscure ‘synonyms’. Wouldn’t be so bad if I could understand the logic ( which is why I thought I might be having my leg pulled!) Whilst I’m waiting for that to happen I shall just persevere with both QC and 15×15, picking up what I can when I can, and be grateful for people like you and Curarist who are willing to share the obscurities. Study/con, short for concentration perhaps.Dunno. Many thanks.

  15. As a real beginner, by that I mean not the newbies that regularly do these puzzles in 10 minutes, this puzzle was much too difficult for learners. In my opinion unfairly so. I accept that there will always be harder puzzles, but this was not in the quick cryptic league. Even after seeing the blog I had trouble understanding some of the rationales.

    I repeat I don’t mind hard, but let’s keep the 15*15 separate from the quick puzzles or we risk turning new puzzlers off.

    I would add that there are many puzzlers who are happy with the level of the quick puzzles and do not necessarily want to progress to more difficult ones.

    As always thanks to the bloggers

  16. Wholly agree with all who say this one was hard, but the more satisfying to solve eventually – between lunch and tea watching the Test Match on TV. I may not have given full concentration to the task, but I would rate it the hardest ever that I have fully completed. DM
  17. That was tough. It took me the best part of an hour whilst being a bit distracted by the end of the cricket. The SE was particularly obdurate, but finally getting 18d opened it up for me. LOI 21a. Thanks for the blog.
  18. Why is (man) us in 4d?
    Everyone seems to accept thzt but for us beginners it doesn’t make sense
    And why when I try to do the Daily Telegraph xword is it so difficult – I’ve been doing the times quick cryptic for 3 years so I should be able to have a fair crack at DT one – but I don’t
    Malcolm (NW3)
    Done 4 this week – 3 difficult 1 easy (3/4 hr)
    1. Thanks for your comments, Malcolm, and welcome if this is your first posting. It’s ‘man’ as in ‘mankind’ i.e. the human race, which includes ‘us’.

      Edited at 2017-07-14 11:02 pm (UTC)

  19. I agree, too difficult for a quick one. I don’t understand the explanations of 2d, can anybody explain ot more fully for me? Thanks.
  20. ‘song’: LAY (“a short lyric or narrative poem meant to be sung”)
    ‘as perceived by others’: TO (the) REST

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