Quick Cryptic 917 by Pedro

I had most of this done very quickly and on first pass, but couldn’t see the wood for the trees at 15dn and a handful of other clues. Eventually reflecting on an average time, I see no real reason for the hold ups, except perhaps some lovely neat clueing.

Note the &lit (and literally), in which every word of the clue is required for both definition and wordplay. COD to the aforementioned 15dn – great when the penny dropped.

Definitions underlined.

1 A sham critic could possibly be appealing (11)
CHARISMATIC – anagram of (could possibly be) A SHAM CRITIC.
9 Cordiality and warmth – that’s about right (5)
HEART – HEAT (warmth) surrounding (about) R (right).
10 Large insect found behind mother (7)
MAMMOTH – MOTH (insect) after (found behind) MAM (mother).
11 Superfluous, and under changes with time (9)
REDUNDANT – anagram of (changes) AND UNDER with T (time).
13 Spoil horse, having tail docked (3)
MAR – MARe (horse) missing last letter (having tail docked).
14 Such as vinegar, excellent applied to nervous condition (6)
ACETIC – ACE (excellent) and TIC (nervous condition).
16 In charge after curtailment of prison medical centre (6)
CLINIC – I.C. (abbreviation of in charge) after CLINk (prison) missing last letter (curtailment).
17 Individual working with energy (3)
ONE – ON (working) and E (energy).
18 Lost again at sea, looking back over one’s course? (9)
NOSTALGIA – anagram of (at sea) LOST AGAIN.
21 Attempt to accommodate ancient play like Hamlet (7)
TRAGEDY – TRY (attempt) surrounding (to accommodate) AGED (ancient).
23 What’s topping individual cakes, including nice gateaux? (5)
ICING – first letters of (what’s topping) Individual Cakes Including Nice Gateaux. A clear example of an &lit clue.
24 The writer put in revised other term for measuring device (11)
THERMOMETER – ME (the write) put inside an anagram of (revised) OTHER TERM.
2 Difficult keeping old collection stored away? (5)
HOARD – HARD (difficult) surrounding (keeping) O (old).
3 Keeping school punishment with new head taking over (9)
RETENTION – dETENTION (school punishment) with R replacing first letter (different head taking over). No indication of what the new letter should be, but clear from the definition.
4 Dance when lifting business degree (5)
SAMBA – reversal of (lifting) AS (when) and MBA (business degree).
5 Point a major road uphill (3)
AIM – A and reversal of (uphill) MI (M1, a major road).
6 Tough sports event to flatten many, but not all (4,3)
IRON MAN – IRON (to flatten) and all but the last letter of (not all) MANy.
7 Swear he misled when covering fight location (11)
WHEREABOUTS – anagram of (misled) SWEAR HE, surrounding (covering) BOUT (fight).
8 Fail to give full details to brusque coppers? (5-6)
SHORT-CHANGE – SHORT (brusque) and CHANGE (coppers).
12 Take vital moves, providing a running commentary? (9)
TALKATIVE – anagram of (moves) TAKE VITAL.
15 English trees? Nonsense (7)
EYEWASH – E (english) with YEW and ASH (trees).
19 Directive for one young man has overlooked name (3-2)
SAY-SO – SAY (for example, for one) and SOn (young man) ignoring (overlooked) N (name).
20 Men overheard in this pretence (5)
GUISE – homophone of (overheard) “guys” (men).
22 Attention seized by the artist (3)
EAR – hidden in (seized by) thE ARtist.

20 comments on “Quick Cryptic 917 by Pedro”

  1. I was withihn a second or two of exceeding my 10 minute target on this one, held up towards the end by 19dn and 6dn. I was completely reliant on wordplay for IRON MAN as I’ve never heard of it as a sporting event. 7dn had delayed me earlier because I needed every checker to think of a word that fitted, and reverse engineered to discover what was going on in the clue.

    No problem here with EYEWASH as it came up in the main puzzle I blogged only last week where it was also defined as ‘nonsense’.

  2. Ironman came up in the quick cryptic (832) 17 May 2017, clued as:

    Somehow I ran on, covering miles in demanding sports
    event (4,3).

    Took 20 minutes and then ground to a halt with nostalgia, thermometer, retention, say so, guise and LOI Eyewash which always seems to cause me problems.

    So best part of an hour including breakfast!


    Edited at 2017-09-13 05:40 am (UTC)

  3. ICING has to be my COD too, as it virtually depicts the meaning, “coating” the last five words.
  4. Just less than my average 20 minutes at 19:37 but held up by failing to get either of the two long down clues until the very end. I too very much appreciated 23a.
  5. Made clean sweep, entering all acrosses before getting to downs – but even skipping filled cells still took nearly 6 minutes. I’m amazed by Verlaine’s keyboard facility in being three times as fast !
  6. Excellent puzzle by Pedro, with some lovely clues (23a already recognised above). COD to 18a which scans nicely. Completed in just over 10mins with a bit of head scratching over 7d. Now, where did I put that pen…? Very accessible 15×15 today. Thanks all
  7. Hamstrung by biffing ‘retaining’ at 3D, rendering 11a and 18a impossible. When I eventually owned up to the possibility, however remote, that I may have made a mistake somewhere, the remainder fell quickly into place. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  8. Completely screwed this one up by submitting without realising I hadn’t completed 20d and missing the parsing of 19d, entering SAY GO instead of SAY SO. Ah well, on to the 15×15. Better have a cup of tea first. Thanks Pedro and William. Oh, 10:34 for what it’s worth.
  9. Felt like my solving was a bit scrappy on this one, but I got there in 8:42, which is about what it took me to fill in half of today’s 15×15. I shall have to take my Times performances today as solace against being beaten yet again by Boatman in the Guardian…
    1. It’s taken me about 5 years to get anywhere close to Boatman’s wavelength and even then his puzzles regularly take me much longer than the majority of Times puzzles. Today’s I actually found easier than usual to complete, though I couldn’t parse everything and most of the theme passed me by. He is one of the more libertarian setters at the Guardian and I find his style quite unique. I think he published a book last year of his first 50 Guardian puzzles.
      1. Yes, the theme wasn’t helpful for me, either. I think I’ll enjoy his style once I get somewhere near finishing them! Perhaps I’ll put the book on my Christmas list, but it might be next Christmas before I get used to him…
  10. 20.03 for me, so well within my 30 min target. All went in nicely, with only SAY-SO taking a bit of parsing. EYEWASH is a word I only know from crosswords, but as I listed all the three-letter trees with middle letter E (having already guessed ASH, I know straight away EYEWASH was the answer.
  11. Never felt comfortable with this one, so I’m not surprised it took a full 40 mins. If you could get the 4 long answers quickly, it was probably a breeze – I didn’t, so it wasn’t. I thought 7d was just ahead of others as CoD. Invariant
  12. 16:28. Also flew through across clues but bogged down by the two long down clues. Avoided ‘Acidic’, which looked like a clever mislead.

  13. 12 minutes today -quick for me -but with one wrong. I hastily put Say No for 19d. Was in a bit of a hurry so did not stop to parse.
    LOI was Eyewash but unparsed -could not see the trees for the wood. Thanks for the explanation.
    Nice puzzle. David
  14. A couple of tricky clues took me up to 20 minutes today – in particular my LOI and COD 20d (damned homophones!), the parsing of 19d – which I eventually gave up on and 7d also took some figuring out. The rest went in without many hold ups.
    Thanks for the blog.
  15. … which is not bad for me. It made me happy as I have struggled so far this week and it included icing (an excellent clue) which also makes me happy especially if it is lemon or chocolate!! I also very much liked the concise clue for 15D. MM

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