Quick Cryptic 932 by Hawthorn

If, like me, you learnt something new (20ac), had to scratch your head a bit (15ac), and marvelled at the craft (12ac and 3dn, my COD) you’ll have enjoyed this well enough. Or perhaps the many anagrams, along with one or two marmite-y cryptic definitions, aren’t your thing? Here’s how I made sense of it…

Definitions underlined.

1 Some heavy rain for us after low pressure (8)
DOWNPOUR – OUR (for us) after DOWN (low) and P (pressure).
5 Spoils of war personified (4)
MARS – double definition.
8 Drink large rum (5)
LAGER – anagram of (rum) LARGE.
9 M Escher, perplexing creator of intricate designs? (7)
SCHEMER – anagram of (perplexing) M ESCHER.
11 Vehicle parked in Pennsylvania (3)
VAN – hidden in (parked in) pennsylVANia.
12 Rotten season for the Cubs? (9)
OFFSPRING – OFF (rotten) and SPRING (season).
13 Word for scoundrel to be announced in newspaper (6)
RATBAG – TBA (to be announced) in RAG (newspaper).
15 Adhesive binding agent: revolutionary building material (6)
GYPSUM – GUM (adhesive) containing (binding) SPY (agent).
18 Destroyed nicotine, protecting hearts at risk (2,4,3)
ON THIN ICE – anagram of (destroyed) NICOTINE, containing (protecting) H (hearts).
19 Stick man (3)
ROD – double definition.
20 Grandma getting into Dickens, a rewarding discovery (7)
BONANZA – NAN (grandma) inside BOZ (Dickens), then A. Boz was an early pen-name of Charles Dickens.
21 Nation state rejecting North America (5)
INDIA – INDIAna (state) missing (rejecting) N.A. (North America).
22 Thanks company for Mexican snack (4)
TACO – TA (thanks) and CO (company).
23 Plant fake diamond? (8)
SHAMROCK – SHAM (fake) and ROCK (diamond).
1 Take back hated present (7)
DELIVER – reversal of (take back) REVILED (hated).
2 Cart succeeded at transporting silver (5)
WAGON – WON (succeeded at) containing (transporting) AG (Ag, silver).
3 Prepared point for ear piercing (11)
PERFORATION – anagram of (prepared) POINT FOR EAR.
4 Use fan on the blink? That’s risky (6)
UNSAFE – anagram of (on the blink) USE FAN.
6 Tramp is moving around smelly places? (7)
ARMPITS – anagram of (moving around) TRAMP IS.
7 Shoulder manoeuvre seen in Welsh rugby (5)
SHRUG – hidden in (seen in) welSH RUGby.
10 Satisfactory compromise: one likely to lift spirits? (5,6)
HAPPY MEDIUM – whimsical double definition. Someone must lift your spirits (improve your mood) and communicate with the dead (“lift spirits”) to be classified thus?
14 Hugely powerful wrench in attic (7)
TITANIC – anagram of (wrench) IN ATTIC.
16 Cosmetic treatment getting daughter and dad covered in dirt (7)
MUDPACK – D (daughter) and PA (dad) contained within (covered in) MUCK (dirt).
17 Hard day Inland Revenue turned up for capital (6)
RIYADH – H (hard), DAY, and I.R. (inland revenue) all reversed (turned up).
18 Annual circulation in relation to The Sun? (5)
ORBIT – cryptic definition.
19 Travelled over for traditional US event (5)
RODEO – RODE (travelled) and O (over, cricket).

14 comments on “Quick Cryptic 932 by Hawthorn”

  1. 27 mins and thought this was very enjoyable.

    LOI were India, happy medium and ratbag, clever use of tba.
    Couldn’t parse lager. L + rum (ager?). Should have guessed it was an anagram.

    Loads of good clues, my favs were schemer, armpits, offspring and COD happy medium.

  2. Yes, this was a bit chewier than usual and this was reflected in my completion time of 13 minutes – 3 over my target 10. There was nothing unknown to me but BOZ is something I knew only from previous crosswords and may not be familiar to newbies.

    Hawthorn is one of the less frequent of the regular setters having set only 21 puzzles so far, 13 in 2016 and 8 to date this year. He’s the Times Puzzles Editor.

  3. Enjoyed that very much, finished around Hither Green.

    Loved ORBIT, made me snort when I got it.

    LOI was RATBAG, was thrown by “Word for” as part of the definition – why wasn’t it just “scoundrel to be announced in newspaper”? You could insert “word for” into almost any clue.

    Thanks to Hawthorn and William.


  4. A chewy offering which took me over 10 minutes by 46 seconds. FOI was WAGON closely followed by DOWNPOUR. I remembered BOZ from a previous 15×15, or would have been baffled by 20a. Most of the rest were straightforward without being write ins. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Hawthorn and William.
  5. Excellent puzzle and quite difficult I thought.
    After 20 minutes I had 5 left: 13a 15a 20a 17d and 18d.
    Despite being in the Dickens section of the Guildhall museum in Rochester yesterday, it took me a while to get BONANZA. I saw no mention of Boz there but remembered it eventually. I did learn he was in a serious train crash when accompanied by an actress who was not his wife.
    I knew that 15 would be LOI. That took me a further 5 minutes adding up to 30 in total.
    CsOD to 10d, 12a and 15a.
  6. I agree this was a good chew, with one or two taking a bit of working out, but nothing held me up too long. Interesting to find the same drink appearing in the 15×15 10d my favourite 8:19

    Edited at 2017-10-04 12:35 pm (UTC)

  7. 10dn. Brilliant.
    12 ac. Why capital C? Indicates Cub Scouts. Confused me
    23 ac. Why question mark? Is that really a cryptic clue and not a DD ?
    1. On 12ac, I was thinking Chicago Cubs, the baseball team. This makes the surface meaning sensible, as they may have had a rotten (sporting) season.

      I’m less sure about 23ac. It is an addition clue (fake + diamond), rather than a cryptic definition; maybe the question mark is there to indicate that “rock” and “diamond” are not perfectly synonymous; a bit on the lateral?

    2. 12ac. Exactly – to confuse, a little. Capitals are not reliable in crosswordland…
    3. In general in Times puzzles, setters tend to follow a convention that if a word is always capitalised in “real life” then it shouldn’t appear uncapitalised in a clue, but if a word could be either capitalised or uncapitalised in “real life” (while retaining the same meaning) then it can be shown as either in a clue. As William says, in this case it helps the surface of the clue as the Chicago Cubs are a baseball team named after the offspring of bears.

      I’m not entirely sure why this convention ever appeared – things like apostrophes, accents, etc are regularly ignored in crosswords, so I don’t know why capitalisation was given special treatment. However it’s worth noting that some setters (e.g. Boatman in the Guardian) don’t feel bound by it anyway!

      I think the question mark is there in 23A because it’s a DBE (definition by example) – rock is slang for any precious stone, not just a diamond (though it does usually mean a diamond). Some setters follow a convention that DBEs should be indicated as such (via a question mark or “perhaps” or “maybe”, etc), but that convention is probably less closely followed than the one regarding capitalisation.

  8. Top puzzle today, which felt harder than the 17 minutes I completed it in, although I couldn’t parse the Dickens clue. Particularly enjoyed 5a, 15a and 1d. LOI 13a
  9. My favourite in weeks. Took me 23 minutes which is not bad for me. I have had too many dnfs recently! There were too many excellent clues, so it’s hard to choose a COD but I think mine has to be 12a OFFSPRING. Many thanks Hawthorn and William. MM
  10. I hope you will appreciate a general message of thanks to all the regular contributors from one who came to crosswords via the Quickie two or three years ago. I read your comments every day, but only occasionally post anything (and certainly haven’t the technical ability to add a picture!). I now hope to complete in 20 minutes – today was about 35 – but don’t time myself seriously or particularly wish to rush. I have now moved on to occasionally trying the 15 x 15 and, much to my surprise, have even managed to complete it. Also the Jumbo. I hope these few words may inspire more recent recruits to persist: it does get easier all the time, though you will find there often seems to be almost universal agreement about where the greatest difficulties lie. All the talk about completing before Clapham Junction etc. takes me back to my working days when a lunch hour was seldom that short. DM
  11. always have finished the QC within 20 minutes until today. ACROSS 13, 15, and 20 – you cannot be serious

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