Quick Cryptic 895 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I took a bit longer than usual for this, which I’d like to say was due to savouring one of the more geography-heavy puzzles we’ve had in recent times but was probably more just due to being a bit dull-witted. There’s nothing obscure vocab-wise and most of the clues are either double definitions or uncomplicated charades. Maybe about average for Mara in terms of difficulty and cunning.

Wikipedia reminds me that on this day in 2003 there was a widespread power outage in the northeast of the US. I was living in New York at the time and it was the strangest thing to wander around Manhattan after nightfall with no street lights. I was lucky in that I only lived about an hour’s walk away from the office, though it was still a downer to reach my apartment block, trudge sweatily up 14 flights of stairs in the dark, and then discover that there was no water either. A broken night’s sleep was followed by a walk to work at the crack of dawn, where I made use of the cold showers that the office building had in its basement gym. It’s so very easy to take things like electricity for granted even though (a bit of Googling tells me) roughly a billion fellow human beings have no access to electricity at any time. First world problems, I suppose.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170814/25205/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

1 Before dawn, bound to revive (4-5)
JUMP-STARTJUMP (bound) before START (dawn)
6 Strong suit (3)
FIT – double definition, the first an adjective and the second a verb
8 Nation America backed, and abandoned (5)
SUDAN – reversal of (backed) US (America), + anagram of (abandoned) AND. Some years ago, I did a round-the-world trip and my impressions of Sudan were: i. populated by friendly and helpful people, despite a brutal government, and ii. awash with La Vache Qui Rit cheese segments. Coincidence?
9 Wash legs and arms initially, then beneath (7)
LAUNDERLA (legs and arms initially, i.e. the first letters of the words “legs” and “arms”) + UNDER (beneath)
10 Detesting endless freight, object (8)
LOATHINGLOA{d} (endless freight, i.e. the word “load” (freight) without its last letter) + THING (object)
11 A shade down (4)
BLUE – double definition, referring to the colour and being sad respectively
13 Verbatim alternative to ‘Promise’ in thesaurus? (4,3,4)
WORD FOR WORD – literal interpretation, in that if you looked in a thesaurus then you would find several words that mean word (promise, as in “I give you my word”). Of course, “promise” is itself a word for word so arguably the “alternative to” isn’t needed (though the surface would suffer).
17 Food — pork and ham etc, but no starter (4)
EATS – {m}EATS (pork and ham etc, but no starter, i.e. the word “meats” (pork and ham etc) without its first letter)
18 Antipodean city set down in a river (8)
ADELAIDELAID (set down), in A + DEE (river). Capital of South Australia situated on the river Torrens.
21 Language — almost all I wish to be translated (7)
SWAHILI – anagram of (to be translated) (AL I WISH), where the AL comes from “almost all” (i.e. the word “all” without its last letter)
22 Dizzy and frivolous (5)
GIDDY – double definition
23 Whopper somewhat colossal, I expect (3)
LIE – hidden in (somewhat) colossaL I Expect
24 Difficulty seeing coach behind back of vehicle, certainly (9)
EYESTRAINTRAIN (coach), behind E (back of vehicle, i.e. the last letter of the word “vehicle”) + YES (certainly)
1 Fairly scorching at first, temperature in summer month (6)
JUSTLYS (scorching at first, i.e. the first letter of the word “scorching”) + T (temperature), in JULY (summer month)
2 Radio etc aimed to broadcast (5)
MEDIA – anagram of (to broadcast) AIMED
3 Use hands to shift parasol (8)
SUNSHADE – anagram of (to shift) USE HANDS
4 In due course, no-one late? (3,2,4,4)
ALL IN GOOD TIME – literal interpretation, in that if no-one (is) late then ALL (are) IN GOOD TIME
5 Yank arresting first of hoodlums, ruffian (4)
THUGTUG (Yank) around (arresting) H (first of hoodlums, i.e. the first letter of the word “hoodlums”)
6 Musician, a cheat (7)
FIDDLER – double definition, the first referring to a violinist
7 Land bird (6)
TURKEY – double definition, referring to the country and the gobbling bird respectively
12 Wit surprisingly easy at the end of the day (8)
TWILIGHT – anagram of (surprisingly) WIT, + LIGHT (easy)
14 Unstylish fashion shock (7)
OUTRAGEOUT (Unstylish) + RAGE (fashion)
15 Shipschooner, perhaps? (6)
VESSEL – double definition, the second referring to a large glass
16 Important to welcome leader in Nigeria, an African (6)
KENYANKEY (Important) around (to welcome) N (leader in Nigeria, i.e. the first letter of the word “Nigeria”), + AN
19 Country — popular destination in Asia, primarily (5)
INDIAIN (popular) + DIA (destination in Asia, primarily, i.e. the first letters of the words “destination in Asia”)
20 Acceptable penalty (4)
FINE – double definition

20 comments on “Quick Cryptic 895 by Mara”

  1. Butch-up gents! The geography was little beyond grade 1! 8ac SUDAN, 19dn INDIA, 16dn KENYA(N) 7dn TURKEY 18ac ADELAIDE and the African language 21ac SWAHILI- are hardly obscurities!

    I found little cunning hereabouts and wearily completed in 9:22.


    For novices today’s 15×15 is pretty easy IMO. A good chance of completion for most.

    1. Agree about the 15×15, apart from the two long ones across the middle. Invariant
    2. I’m not really into the Dead White European Male fixation of the main cryptic so a decent wodge of geography, however basic, will always meet with my approval!
  2. 10 minutes, so within target but only just. I always go for easy ones to get started, so if the answer doesn’t leap out at me I move on until I’ve established a foothold. Today I had to read about 10 clues before writing in my first answer. Thankfully things speeded up somewhat after that.

    Edited at 2017-08-14 06:40 am (UTC)

  3. I found this to be a very gentle start to the week with no hold ups along the way. Completed in 11 minutes. LOI 18a where the parsing needed a bit of figuring out.
  4. I found this a nice gentle start to the week. although having sailed through the majority of the clues, I was held up for a minute by my LOI EYESTRAIN. 8:09. FOI was MEDIA. Jambo Bwanas. Asante Mara and Mohn2.
  5. I was also a bit slow, but mainly due to interruptions breaking my train of though. A lot of the SE was very biffable but other clues, like 24a needed a fair degree of thought.
  6. Would have been about par for me had I not misspelt SWAHILI. I should learn to check my anagrams more carefully. TURKEY held me up as “land” had me playing with “terra” for a while.
  7. A bit slow today (35 mins) as I didn’t trust my biffing skills (from experience). For some bizarre reason, 7d was my loi and took a long time to see. Invariant
  8. Interesting, as I found this much harder than normal but did the main puzzle quite easily. Maybe I should trust my intuitions more. About 15 mins for this trip around the World.
  9. When I clicked on ‘play now’ I only got the ‘waiting for http://www.thetimes.co.uk‘ message repeatedly, occasionally interspersed with other similar ones, but it never gets as far as loading the actual puzzle. Going back to the home page give the same non-response, so I’ve had to print the puzzles, and of course can’t submit to the leaderboard, but my time was about 9 minutes.
    1. Have you tried signing out of the site, shutting the browser completely and restarting? When the site was giving really slow responses on the Jumbo puzzles, weekend before last, I found it worked better in Chrome than MS Edge.
      1. I tried restart, but that didn’t help – perhaps closing everything, switching off and on again might do it.
        That didn’t work, nor did restarting wi-fi,

        Edited at 2017-08-14 04:56 pm (UTC)

    2. I would suggest that you raise a thread (or add to an existing one) on the Crossword Club forum giving your machine, operating system, and browser, and a description of the problem.

      Until that issue is resolved though, are you perhaps able to access the puzzles from the Times site (as opposed to the Crossword Club) instead, i.e. go to https://www.thetimes.co.uk/ and then scroll down to the Puzzles section?

  10. Like Jackkt I was looking for an easy way in for a couple of minutes. FOI was 23a -not ideal. But after that it went quickly and I finished in a total of 14 minutes. LOI was Kenyan -unparsed. Also could not parse Adelaide but was confident about both. Enjoyed the puzzle. COD to 14d. David
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