Quick Cryptic 885 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I found this one a little on the easier side, though it probably helped that I’ve been recently catching up on a backlog of FT and Guardian cryptics and hence my short-term memory has been primed more than usual with random words and wordplay devices.It was noticeable just how many clues had the definition at the beginning (22 out of 26, including double definitions) – I’m not sure how unusual this is but it’s certainly helpful for inveterate biffers, who won’t even need to read the entire clue before their brains start whirring with possibilities. Perhaps the only vocab that isn’t commonplace is our snuffly friend at 6D and maybe the first definition in 20A.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170731/25145/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

1 Claimant to throne pleased at first about offer (9)
PRETENDERP (pleased at first, i.e. the first letter of the word “pleased”) + RE (about) + TENDER (offer)
6 Fish medic informally rejected (3)
COD – reversal of (rejected) DOC (medic informally, i.e. an informal expression for a doctor (medic))
8 Dynamic leader of Indian state (2-5)
GO-AHEAD – the leader of an Indian state might be the GOA HEAD. Goa is India’s smallest state and has a strong Portuguese influence from colonial times.
9 Fruit couples mentioned in conversation (5)
PEARS – homophone of (mentioned in conversation) PAIRS (couples)
10 Funny wee bride with Ivy’s commanding vision? (5-3,4)
BIRDS-EYE VIEW – anagram of (Funny) WEE BRIDE IVY’S
12 Ray’s broad smile (4)
BEAM – double definition
13 Advantage duke found in, say, opening of estate (4)
EDGED (duke) in EG (say) + E (opening of estate, i.e. the first letter of the word “estate”)
17 Loco enthusiast gives instruction to ceramic worker (5-7)
TRAIN-SPOTTERTRAINS (gives instruction to) + POTTER (ceramic worker). This seems to be either one word or two in all the usual sources, but not hyphenated.
20 Greek for ‘Room at the Top’? (5)
ATTIC – double definition, the former referring to Attica (the region around Athens)
21 Unrestrained harangue involving a politician (7)
RAMPANTRANT (harangue), around A + MP (politician)
23 Seaman army commander finally identifies (3)
TARTA (army, i.e. the Territorial Army, now known as the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve) + R (commander finally, i.e. the last letter of the word “commander”). The “identifies” is merely a link word to create a better surface, much the same as, say, the “for” in 20A or the “of” in 24A, even though in this case it appears at the end of the clue.
24 Bad reputation of Rio not yet dispelled (9)
NOTORIETY – anagram of (dispelled) RIO NOT YET. Nice surface.
1 Electronically summon errand boy (4)
PAGE – double definition
2 Cagey girl the writer’s taken round Scotland’s capital (7)
EVASIVEEVA (girl) + I’VE (the writer’s) around S (Scotland’s capital, i.e. the first letter of the word “Scotland”)
3 Former partner on English river (3)
EXEEX (Former partner) + E (English)
4 Move unsteadily, initially disturbing stranger (6)
DODDERD (initially disturbing, i.e. the first letter of the word “disturbing”) + ODDER (stranger)
5 Act on behalf of stern peer for a change (9)
REPRESENT – anagram of (for a change) STERN PEER
6 South American omnivore — one with fur, perhaps? (5)
COATICOAT (fur, perhaps) + I (one), to give a member of the raccoon family. Many moons ago, I think I half-glimpsed one of these plodding through the jungle near Iguazu Falls but, on the premise that clawed furry things don’t necessarily appreciate closer inspection, I didn’t try to get a better look. The couple of blurry photos from that encounter are inconclusive.
7 Refuse to acknowledge row about farm animal (6)
DISOWNDIN (row, i.e. noise) about SOW (farm animal)
11 Monk using the same small container? (9)
DOMINICANDO (the same, i.e. the common abbreviation of “ditto”) + MINI (small) + CAN (container). Strictly speaking a friar rather than a monk, but I think the two are interchangeable in non-ecclesiastical circles.
14 Fantastic range of French missile (7)
GRENADE – anagram of (Fantastic) RANGE, + DE (of French, i.e. a French word for “of”). Another nice surface.
15 It supports the setting up of arts channel (6)
STRAIT – reversal (setting up) of ARTS, above (being supported by) IT
16 Possibly rum type like Ariel? (6)
SPIRIT – double definition, the second referring to the character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest
18 Change table, by the sound of it (5)
ALTER – homophone of (by the sound of it) ALTAR (table)
19 Support visit (4)
STAY – double definition, the first referring to a prop
22 Spoil month, missing church (3)
MARMAR{ch} (month, missing church, i.e. the word “March” (month) without the ch (church))

26 comments on “Quick Cryptic 885 by Orpheus”

  1. I found this less difficult than some, taking 6:58 to complete with FOI PAGE and LOI RAMPANT. Not a lot else to say as there were no words I found obscure. Thanks Orpheus and Mohn.
  2. 9 minutes for this one, so I was within my target 10 for the first time since last Tuesday. The 15×15 took me only 3 minutes longer so I felt a bit short-changed with both puzles over and done with in 22. I needed all the checkers to bring the furry critter to mind at 6dn.
  3. No real problems here, although I did start 17ac thinking ‘loco’ was an anagram indicator. The latest Jumbo was far and away the easiest I’ve seen–I thought it was a crashing bore, frankly, but if you want to try a large-scale cryptic, … 4:17.
  4. … today’s main cryptic and Saturday’s Jumbo cryptic are both relatively easier than some Quickies, with the usual caveat that there are a few bits of vocab that will be write-ins for experienced solvers but might take a bit more working out for those who are not yet grizzled veterans. Both are worth trying, the Jumbo with the added incentive that you might* win £110 worth of Times reference books.

    * But probably won’t, given the odds.

  5. 8.30 with everything but coati – 2 minutes extra to eventually get coat=fur. Cod not 6ac but 8ac.
  6. My only hold up was the unknown 6d on which I spent a few minutes trawling through the alphabet before coming up with something that seemed plausible. Completed in 19 minutes.

    Repeating other comments from above I’m hoping to complete the 15×15 today for the first time ever (just stuck on the NW at the moment) so definitely worth a look.

  7. I agree with all the above, definitely one of the more straightforward offerings, although 6dn took a while to get my head around.
  8. Unfortunately opted for Rampage for 21ac, and so spent 10mins at the end cursing Orpheus when loi 19d wouldn’t come to mind. Invariant
  9. Half way through this puzzle I realised that my first thought for an answer had proved correct. So I had fun with the remaining clues trying to ensure that my first thought was correct. I then realised that I had gone “Jan, Feb, Mar” for 22d so failed in my objective. Hey ho. I urge all fellow QCers to try the main puzzle today as it is very gettable. Thanks blogger for very instructive, erm, blog.
  10. It seems as though the Crossword Club will be getting an update, with one of the changes being that Quickies will now be available from there (rather than, as currently, just on the Times site or in the paper version). To see an article on the impending changes, go to Club News on the Crossword Club and click on the first link “Crossword Club Upgrade FAQs”.
  11. That is excellent news so I can go back to print-outs for the QC – my times will accordingly improve. This took me 8.28 with only a slight pause (paws) for 6dn COATI.

    Thus today’s QC was middling – unlike the 15×15 which was a giant slalom for most – several breaking the five-minute barrier.

    COD 17ac TRAIN-SPOTTER hyphen be damned!


    13ac EDGE is what a Duke(s) finds if you know anything about ‘crickit’ – a ‘Dukes’ is a brand of cricket ball as used in today’s England v South Africa Test at the Oval. South Africa use a KOOKABURRA back home.
    The Australians used to use a Kookaburra but Sheffield Shield now use a ‘Dukes’ or ‘Duke’ as it is commonly referred to.
    I biffed EDGE using this!

    1. Apologies if I’m forgetting an issue you’ve mentioned in the past, but is something (the Great Firewall?) preventing you from currently printing off the QC from the Times website?

      Not a massive cricket fan so I’m afraid that the first thing the word DUKES brings to mind is Daisy Dukes …

  12. This is the first one I’ve tried in years and I solved in an hour. I was so pleased until I read that it’s the easiest one ever.
    1. Congrats on the completion – regardless of whether it was easy, if you hadn’t tried one for quite some time then you have the right to be pleased!
  13. 3:53. Sometimes skipping the long ones if the answer doesn’t leap out immediately so as to get some checking letters helps, but I didn’t need that today. Clean sweep of the downs got me to one of my fastest times. 8a my favourite.
  14. The Quickie took me about 17 minutes which is pretty good for me. Thanks for directing me to the main cryptic. I did it in about 45 minutes, having only attempted one or two biggies before, where I hardly put in any words! I don’t care if it was the easiest ever…. I am allowing myself to feel pretty chuffed!! What would I do without this blog? Thanks once again for the help and support you all provide. MM
    1. And so you should be! Easy is a relative term for experienced solvers as far as the Times Crossword is concerned 🙂
  15. I biffed 2d but how does I’ve relate to writer’s in crossword land?
    1. Consider the phrase “The writer’s(writer has) written”, If I’m the writer, I’ve written. In our particular case the writer is the setter.

      Edited at 2017-08-01 10:38 am (UTC)

    2. I’ve = I Have = Mine (ie belonging to the writer)
      A bit weak I know, but that’s crosswordland for you. Invariant
          1. It just so happens that in this case you need to read “the writer’s” as “I’ve” – in other circumstances, it may well translate to “mine” (or “me” or “I”, if the ‘s is expanded as “is” rather than “has” or the possessive).

            Edited at 2017-08-02 11:53 am (UTC)

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