Quick Cryptic 912 by Orpheus

I found this one at the trickier end of the spectrum, though these things are very subjective. Nothing overly dastardly from our setter, but I can imagine some of the wordplay causing head scratching for newer converts to crosswordland (e.g. 7ac, 6dn and 14dn).

5dn is far from being an everyday kind of word, but if you follow the supporting wordplay (and with the affirmation from cross checkers) you can probably solve the clue with a fairly high level of confidence.

Plenty to enjoy, with 3dn being my COD. Thanks to Orpheus.

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

4 Dishonest action that has strings attached? (6)
FIDDLE – Cryptic definition based on the double meaning – the scam and the instrument
7 Wake-up call — not one initially rousing partygoer (8)
REVELLER – REVE{I}LLE (wake-up call without the I – ‘not one’) + R (initially Rousing)
8 Salad ingredient in Parisian drinking-den (6)
ENDIVE – EN (French – ‘Parisian’ – for ‘in’) + DIVE (drinking-den)
9 Irrationality of peacekeepers regarding a family member
UNREASON – UN (peacekeepers) + RE A SON (regarding a family member)
10 Wine served in Boudicca’s time (4)
ASTI – Hidden in (served in) boudiccAS TIme. A wine much loved by crossword setters, but by few others.
12 European citizen, a chap around at that time (8)
ATHENIAN – A IAN (a chap) goes ‘around’ THEN (at that time)
15 Damage ceramic vessel? Crazy (8)
CRACKPOT – CRACK (damage) + POT (ceramic vessel)
18 Grass some ungulates rejected (4)
REED – DEER (some ungulates) reversed (rejected)
20 Refinement of English member swinging cane (8)
ELEGANCE – E LEG (English member) + *(CANE) with “swinging” signposting the anagram. A reminder for newcomers to cryptics that “member” can refer to a limb as well as an MP (or an EMP).
22 Move fast, beginning to study engraving, perhaps (6)
SPRINT – S (beginning to Study) + PRINT (engraving perhaps)
23 Theatre act finished? Here’s something to eat (8)
TURNOVER – TURN (theatre act) + OVER (finished)
24 Girl carrying Republican papers for 24 hours (6)
FRIDAY – FAY (girl) goes around (carrying) R (Republican) + ID (papers)
1 Film director of slender build (4)
LEAN – DD, the first referring to David Lean, director of Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia etc.
2 Vegetable a girl cooked at first without hesitation (8)
CELERIAC – CELIA (a girl) + C (Cooked at first) go round (without) ER (hesitation). I strongly recommend celeriac remoulade to anyone who has not tried it – gorgeous.
3 Blood constituent originally lacking in paternal grandmother?
PLASMA – L (originally Lacking) ‘in’ PA’S MA (paternal grandmother). Rather neat, I thought.
4 Continental commander of British Expeditionary Force? (6)
FRENCH – Cryptic definition – Field Marshal John French, a colourful character who led the BEF for the first 18 months or so of World War 1
5 Inferior wall decoration father obtained to begin with (4)
DADO – DAD (father) + O (Obtained to begin with). Fortunately I knew this word as it cropped up in the Sunday Times cryptic a couple of weeks ago: for those not familiar with it, dado refers to a decorated lower part of a wall.
6 Purchase made by the 4 dn, always with silver inside (8)
LEVERAGE – EVER + AG (always with silver) goes ‘inside’ LE (French – i.e. 4dn – for ‘the’)
11 Substance used by painter, one performing in club (8)
13 Company traditionally starts to trade with Orient (3)
TWO – “Two’s company…”, as the old saw goes. Wordplay is first letters of (starts to) Trade With Orient
14 Storyteller from Scottish island going north to river (8)
NARRATOR – ARRAN (Scottish island) reversed (in the context of a down clue, ‘going north’) + TO R (to river). I needed the cross checkers before I finally worked out what was going on here: maybe that means it’s tricky, or maybe I was just being a bit dense!
16 Fairly easy on the eye (6)
17 Those people pinch gold? That’s the hypothesis (6)
THEORY – THEY (those people) ‘pinch’ OR (gold)
19 Turkey, for example, that’s served in can (4)
BIRD – DD, the second being a slightly cryptic reference to ‘bird’ being slang for a prison sentence – or time in the ‘can’
21 Team removing last of luggage from railway junction (4)
CREW – CREW{E} (railway junction) loses it’s ‘E’ (removing last of luggagE)

26 comments on “Quick Cryptic 912 by Orpheus”

  1. Having just stumbled into the house after drinks and dinner with a friend, I thought that maybe I should wait until morning to do these; and indeed, I’ve decided to postpone the 15×15 cryptic until after breakfast. I should have postponed this one, too; although I got them all right, it was a slower solve than it need have been. And I got FRIDAY by mere dumb luck, thinking FI was the girl. CREW struck me as rather hard for a non-Brit at least. 7:55.
  2. 10 minutes, and once again it was a near thing whether I’d hit my target because of my rule of including all parsings when solving the QC. The ones that delayed me in that respect were CELERIAC and FRIDAY. I also wondered if DADO would be familar to newer solvers, and ENDIVE and CELERIAC are not among the first vegatables likely to come to most minds.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 04:51 am (UTC)

  3. This one seemed to require a lot of thought and reliance on the word play rather than biffing the answer and then figuring out the parsing afterwards – as I often do. I completed it in 26 minutes, with the last 4 of those spent staring blankly at 23a. CsOD 3d and 19d.
    1. I meant to add that I’d not heard of 4d but only needing one extra letter from the checkers was generous.
  4. 13 minutes – following jackkt’s lead in puzzling through the wordplays. 3dn was reward enough for this exercise – COD. The exception was 4dn – no matter how I tried I couldn’t work out how the obvious answer worked with the word play – so thanks for the explanation Nick.
  5. Quite difficult and I ended with 27 minutes. I wasn’t sure what ‘inferior’ was doing in the clue for Dado, but I suppose if it is the lower part of a the wall that makes it inferior. I guessed Reed as grass in 18a, so thanks for the explanation of how the clue works. I would have been quicker if I hadn’t spotted that 10a was a hidden but then saw the word Cast and tried to work out what that had to do with wine!
    1. I assumed ‘inferior’ was a misprint/typo for ‘interior’ and then I was happy with ‘Dado’!
  6. After yesterday’s romp, this proved far more difficult and took me 18 minutes to get through. I liked it though. I didn’t know the BEF leader, but biffed FRENCH just from ‘continental’, otherwise all parsed ‘en passant’.

    Blogging tomorrow, let’s hope it is easier.

  7. I must remember to check for typos before submitting – I’d hastily attempted to enter THEOREM at 17dn 🙁
  8. At first I thought this was a 15×15 which had escaped. FOI was 10a and after that it was a patient solve from top to bottom for me. Definitely not easy but in the end all clear apart from “Turkey … in the can”. Thanks for the parsing of that one. And I was another who thought that the girl was Fi in 24a.
    LOI was 21a very neat and COD for me About 25 minutes. David
  9. I, too, found this far more challenging than yesterday’s. Some extremely clever clues here, PLASMA being particularly good, and I really enjoyed ELEGANCE – a very elegant parsing! My downfall is clues with names in, so Celia and Ian and Fay had me stumped for a while. And only one (partial) anagram, which is unusual.
    Maybe the more experienced solvers could also tell me whether the structure of this puzzle made it more difficult? There didn’t seem to be many first letters of words here to use as checkers, if that makes sense. I’m sure there’s a technical term for the layout, if anyone can enlighten me!
    As an aside, I’m not sure I’d like to go to dinner with Orpheus: celeriac and endive turnovers, washed down with Asti? Mmm…
  10. Having bought an old house ages ago I knew it was common to have a wooden moulding half way up the wall called a dado rail, I ripped out tons of it, Didnt know the lower half derivation though. Some interruptions so about 20 mins.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 11:29 am (UTC)

  11. Definitely one of the trickier specimens, taking 13:26 from FOI DADO to LOI STRIPPER. Had to do a lot of thinking in the NE and SW. Not helping that the next door neighbour woke me up by hammering on the party wall, and has been intermittently drilling and banging ever since. Didn’t know the BEF leader but worked him out from 6d. Nothing else unknown, but some well hidden definitions. Thanks Orpheus and Nick.
    On edit: Wonderful; the hammering seems to have stopped, but two doors down workmen have turned up with a throbbing petrol engine power wash and are cleaning a drive. Is there any point starting the 15×15. #losingthewilltolive

    Edited at 2017-09-06 12:41 pm (UTC)

  12. Using Chrome on my desktop, I have just started to have the problem where only the first two comments are shown. Or in this case the first nine, when it is reported that there are more comments logged.
    So please keep up the pressure on the IT team. These “improvements” are rather like Waterloo station at the moment. David
  13. 9:02 here. Glad DADO came up in the ST, as Nick mentions, as although this very room has a DADO rail, I didn’t know it also meant the wall underneath that level until then. As it is, it was my first one in today. It also helped that I was discussing CELERIAC just yesterday in a grocer’s.

    Luck aside, this did feel tricky. I’m not great with unchecked first letters, so I made my way back around to the NW corner instead of starting off there like usual. Finally finished with the unknown film director. WOD ATHENIAN COD 3d PLASMA.

  14. I’ve followed the blog for the last few weeks and I’ve finally managed to complete one!
    Oddly, this was quite difficult in comparison to others (lots of combination clues?), but perseverance and focussing upon the type of clue has paid off.
    Time is, at this juncture, irrelevant to me … completion is everything.
    FOI 10a and COD 6d (it just felt good solving that one, but I appreciate it’s probably not a “true” COD – I can see the appeal of 3d!).
    Similar to other bloggers, clues which indicate a name are challenging …
    and “dado”? quite common up north in the 80s, and quite tacky too, hence where I thought inferior implied.
    1. Congrats on your achievement, Carl! Stick with it and your speed will improve, though I share your pov that speed is not the most important thing. Enjoyment comes before all else.
  15. I agree with you Nick. I got relatively few on a first pass through the clues. And hello to CELIA and FAY, not the commonest of girls names. But all was fair and nothing had me stuck for long. 3d my favourite too. 7:06.

    Edited at 2017-09-06 08:26 pm (UTC)

  16. Another DNF, although got DADO, FRENCH and CELERIAC.

    Did not see ID for papers, hence could not be sure FRIDAY would work. Also never heard of 1dn.

  17. Came to this late in the day, but was then rewarded with a QC and a half. What a puzzle: just enough assistance from Orpheus to keep me interested, with very few write-ins. CoD has to be 6d – it had me baffled for ages before the penny dropped. Invariant

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