Quick Cryptic 902 by Mara

A fairly straightforward offering which I managed to knock over easily enough notwithstanding being somewhat under the weather with a touch of summer flu.

17dn held me up for a while as I managed to convince myself there must be some kind of mustard called GALEO, but once I saw 20ac things righted themselves. And 13dn might confuse bungalow dwellers. Other than that, plain sailing I thought – how did the rest of you go?

Thanks to Mara for a pleasant puzzle.

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


1 Something added behind second muscle (7)
TRICEPS – PS (something added) goes after (behind) TRICE (second)
5 Utter mess! (5)
8 Compose a poem to Siam, old Asian region (11)
MESOPOTAMIA – *(A POEM TO SIAM) with “compose” signalling the anagram
10 Fish with a tail in music? (4)
CODA – COD (fish) ‘with A’, giving us what is usually the final section (tail) of a piece of music
11 Make green tea that’s going to pot (8)
GENERATE – *(GREEN TEA) with “going to pot” signalling the anagram
12 Joiner, groom initially embraced by his partner? (6)
BRIDGE – G (Groom initially) wrapped round by (embraced by) BRIDE (his – i.e. the groom’s – partner)
14 Good wedding attendant: well? (6)
GUSHER – G (good) + USHER (wedding attendant)
16 Deer relative heading for tundra, still (8)
STAGNANT – STAG (deer) + NAN (relative) + T (heading for Tundra)
18 Desire that’s in our genes (4)
URGE – Hidden in (that’s in) oUR GEnes
20 Adequate and honest (11)
22 First of all, I’m dismayed: I’m ostensibly the fool (5)
IDIOT – Initial letters of each of (First of all) I‘m Dismayed: I‘m Ostensibly The
23 Soldier must take queen back, one feels (7)
ANTENNA – ANT (soldier) + (must take) ANNE reversed (queen back)
2 Capital city with love for great lover (5)
ROMEO – ROME (capital city) + O (love)
3 Something chewed filled with outstanding sauce (7)
CUSTARD – CUD (something chewed) ‘filled with’ STAR (outstanding)
4 Seed that may come up unchanged (3)
PIP – Palindrome (may come up unchanged)
6 More docile sailor kidnaps me (5)
TAMER – TAR (sailor) with ME inside (kidnaps me)
7 One on foot claiming wine is a snack! (7)
TOASTIE – TOE (one on foot) filled with (claiming) ASTI (wine)
9 Very soon on, outwardly tense (7)
TONIGHT – ON with TIGHT around it (outwardly tense)
11 Weapon launched, grandee distraught (7)
GRENADE – *(GRANDEE) with “distraught” pointing to the anagram
13 No longer working, went upstairs (7)
15 Trip south before fall (7)
STUMBLE – S (south) ‘before’ TUMBLE (fall)
17 Relish wind over peak in Oman (5)
GUSTO – GUST (wind) on top of (over) O peak in – i.e. first letter of – Oman
19 Obtain different angle (5)
GLEAN – *(ANGLE) with “different” suggesting the anagram
21 Upside-down egg container (3)
TIN – NIT (egg) reversed (upside down)

26 comments on “Quick Cryptic 902 by Mara”

  1. I was quite slow on this one, at 22.29. At least a minute spent on 23ac, which eluded me entirely. Thanks setter and blogger.
  2. No nit-picking trouble today I’m pleased to say. Didn’t do these until they recently moved to the club. Now I do and it seems to me there’s not much difference between the difficulty level of these and the main cryptic. I thought the idea of the Quickie originally was to provide a gentle introduction to cryptic crosswords for beginners but maybe that idea changed somewhere down the line?
    1. My best recollection (but Jack is better at recalling this sort of stuff than I am) was that the QC was positioned from the outset as being of variable degrees of difficulty (some days a “soft” one, some days a more demanding offering) so as to provide something for everyone.

      Personally I still find the QC (in 99% of cases) significantly easier than the 15×15. Whilst I have never been someone who records time taken (not interested as I like to savour the thing and look up odd bits of info as I go), I do know that I generally knock over the QC in a few minutes whereas the 15×15 usually takes me over an hour in total solving time.

      1. This is what Richard Rogan (Crossword Editor) had to say on the subject on launch day:

        “What we are introducing today…is effectively the opposite of the Jumbo: the Times Quick Cryptic will be a downsized version of our famous daily cryptic (which remains unchanged).

        “Appearing Monday to Friday on the puzzles pages of Times2, it will be reduced in size and hopefully in difficulty too, the intention being to introduce new people to cryptic crosswords, and to encourage those solvers who’d like to have a go at the main puzzle but feel daunted by it, or who can perhaps only solve a handful of clues.”

        The direct comparison with the Jumbo as an upsized version of the 15×15 and the QC as a downsized version, is interesting because in my experience the Jumbo varies considerably in difficulty so one might expect the QC to do so too, but then he goes on to say the QC will hopefully be easier. I think generally the QC is, but that doesn’t mean that every clue will be so.

        As for ‘Quick’, I think that word in its title may be misleading as the QC won’t be solved quickly by all-comers otherwise there’d be little point to it and would certainly limit its appeal.

        Edited at 2017-08-23 09:20 am (UTC)

        1. That’s interesting, thank you. I do start the Quickie straight after waking up and before my first cup of coffee has cooled down to a drinkable temperature so that may help to account for me finding it a bit of a struggle sometimes. I am very pleased to have it available on the Club site, however, and I think this is one of the good things to emerge from the revamp to help balance out some of the bad things.
          I also think ‘Quick’ is misleading in the title and perhaps sells it short somewhat.
    2. This one was an average 6:30 for me. I do it as a warm up for the 15×15 for which my average time is between 3 and 4 times longer. But difficulties do vary, which I enjoy as it adds variety and challenge. So the title Quick Cryptic works fine for me.
  3. 45 minutes, struggled with triceps, antenna, and tonight.

    Couldn’t parse triceps so thanks for the blog.

    CsOD I liked toastie and antenna.

  4. A straightforward 8 minutes for me. On TRICEPS clued as ‘muscle’, are there many nouns where the singular and plural both end in S, I wonder?

    Edited at 2017-08-23 05:30 am (UTC)

    1. Interesting point. Initially thought “ibis”, but (whilst the collective noun is ibis) the plural is, apparently, ibises – and I don’t think the addition of “es” is really what you are referring to?
  5. A few seconds over 10 minutes – 15 and 21 down and 20 and 23 across pushing me over the 10 minute barrier. Anne comes up so regularly as queen that I really should catch on quicker.
  6. I was left tearing my hair out with 1ac left because I’d put MUSTARD for 3dn. Never heard of “cud” and was hoping there was a phrase “to chew mud”. I think this was quite hard overall. Biffed TOASIE, whilst a few others went in with a shrug. Gribb.
  7. 28 minutes, and as with Flashman, I struggled with antenna and triceps. Thanks, Nick for the explanation of the latter.
  8. Bit slow again today, and ANTENNA eluded me. Thanks Nick for explaining it. Re: the thread above, I only started cryptics in February, and (usually) find the “quick” easier than the 15×15 – lucky if I get 10 on the back page, but I normally finish the quick. Having said that, occasionally even this one has me stumped (I’m looking at you, here, Izetti)!
    Btw, I’m having a terrible bout of insomnia and have found that inventing cryptic clues is a good way of taking my mind off things. Strangely, last night I came up with “Three mushrooms will give you muscles” – TRICEPS. Not the first time this has happened…perhaps I should start one of those tipster hotlines to predict tomorrow’s answers? 😉
        1. There is a Christmas & Easter crossword here where you can write a clue.

          I really enjoy doing the odd one, but hats off to the setters who do it every week!

  9. I completed this in 11:02, but with a misspelled MESAPOTAMIA. That’ll teach me to biff anagrams! I sailed through the top half, but was slowed down by 15d, 20a and 23a. Nice puzzle. Thanks Mara and Nick.
  10. Around my half hour average. Never did parse TRICEPS, although it had to be. A good range of clues I thought, so enjoyed it.


  11. Thirteen and a half minutes here, starting with ROMEO and finishing with the crossers of STAGNANT and GUSTO (which I thought might be PESTO for a while, especially as it made 16a, involving a relative, possibly start STEP…) Took me a while to spot the parsing for TRICEPS, though mentally pencilling it in helped me with all the clues that dropped down from it.

    No unknowns. WOD TOASTIE, but that may just be because it’s lunchtime…

  12. I had a bit of time to do this before lunch out and starting with 18a I got every clue I looked at straightaway.
    But then I came the grinding halt and so I looked again after lunch.
    I thought Triceps and Toastie were hard. The SW defeated me for a while. 13d , a great clue which I could not solve for too long.
    My LOI was 3d. Carelessly I rejected Custard (not a sauce in my eyes) and was sure it was C .. OS(for outstanding) … something chewed. I thought of Chard which is very chewy. So Coshard it was for the unknown sauce.
    As ever a good challenge from Mara. David
  13. A few tricky clues today, as others have commented above. I didn’t get close to parsing 1a although the answer was obvious with a couple of checkers in place. Had a deja vu moment from earlier in the week at 21d where I toyed with ‘tun’ for the answer, but I assume nut isn’t a synonym for egg.
    Completed in 15 minutes with COD 7d
    1. Ha ha. I remember it well, and I was one of those who chose TUN over TIN. At least this clue, as you explained, is unequivocal.

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