Quick Cryptic 935 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I don’t know whether setters get to choose their own grids or if they’re allocated them in rotation, but this is a helpful grid for solvers as almost all of the answers’ initial letters are checked. Orpheus has used it to give us what I thought was a puzzle of about average difficulty, with a pair each of long homophones and long anagrams helping to open the grid up. My only stumbling block was 5D, where I spent some time at the end pondering if the wordplay offered any other alternatives as I’d never heard of the answer. Otherwise, a straightforward start to the week – thanks, Orpheus.

Wikipedia always throws up some interesting “On this day …” facts, and there are two of note for today. Firstly, fifty years ago, Crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary Che Guevara was executed. And secondly, during the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, the 9th of October (and a number of days around it) did not exist in 1582.

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

1 Piratical Scottish writer with aural pendant, reportedly (12)
BUCCANEERING – homophone of (reportedly) BUCHAN (Scottish writer, i.e. John Buchan of The Thirty-Nine Steps fame) + EARRING (aural pendant). This isn’t a particularly unusual word, and the homophone would no doubt have proved hard to resist to any compiler, however this hasn’t appeared as an answer in any of the daily cryptics since blogs began.
8 Popular record, but ultimately unskilful (5)
INEPTIN (Popular) + EP (record) + {bu}T (but ultimately, i.e. the last letter of the word “but”)
9 Cakes made by females in part of UK (7)
WAFFLESFF (females) in WALES (part of UK). At the risk of confusing the issue, but wishing to be precise, F is a standard abbreviation for female, so in Crosswordland females could be FF (or FFF or FFFF etc), but FF is not itself a standard abbreviation for females.
10 Asian ox tossing a girl over? (3)
YAK – reversal of (tossing … over) KAY (a girl)
11 Game bird pig trader shot (9)
PARTRIDGE – anagram of (shot) PIG TRADER
13 Position of professor, one tucking into tea (5)
CHAIRI (one) in (tucking into) CHAR (tea)
14 Assault at filming location (5)
ONSETON SET (at filming location)
16 Prehistoric lizard gets knocked back by a sour concoction (9)
STEGOSAUR – reversal of (knocked back) GETS, + anagram of (concoction) A SOUR
17 Where we may eat out? Not by the sound of it (3)
INN – a reference to the fact that a homophone (by the sound of it) of INN is IN, which is the opposite of out. I suppose you could also consider the definition as “Where we may eat out?”, making the clue more of an extended definition.
19 Erudite English composer in the outskirts of Leatherhead (7)
LEARNEDE (English) + ARNE (composer, i.e. Thomas Arne of Rule Britannia and A-Hunting We Will Go fame) in L{eatherhea}D (the outskirts of Leatherhead, i.e. the first and last letters of the word “Leatherhead”). One of those clues where it’s easy to think that Arne is the English composer and wonder where the extra E is coming from.
21 Rubbish used to be tipped extensively, to begin with (5)
WASTEWAS (used to be) + T{ipped} E{xtensively} (tipped extensively, to begin with, i.e. the initial letters of the words “tipped” and “extensively”)
22 Oxford, say, delayed mass meeting on own initiative (12)
UNILATERALLYUNI (Oxford, say) + LATE (delayed) + RALLY (mass meeting). Cluewise, if Oxford isn’t a university then it’s a shoe.
1 Skating facility shortly opening by sea (5)
BRINYRIN{k} (Skating facility shortly, i.e. the word “rink” (Skating facility) without its last letter) in (opening) BY. I initially assumed that this was a reference to “the briny”, an informal expression for the sea, however I can’t find any support for briny on its own having that meaning, so perhaps this is intended to be the adjectival meaning of sea.
2 Winning position of pal from Prague, do we hear? (9)
CHECKMATE – homophone of (do we hear) CZECH MATE (pal from Prague)
3 Like some mines? Not near Pilsen, oddly (4-9)
ANTI-PERSONNEL – anagram of (oddly) NOT NEAR PILSEN, and another Czech reference in the surface
4 Chap involved in noted war drama (6)
EDWARD – hidden (involved) in notED WAR Drama
5 Mention where socks are kept — and instruction from bank? (5,2,6)
REFER TO DRAWERREFER TO (Mention) + DRAWER (where socks are kept), and a reference to (Collins): “a request by a bank that the payee consult the drawer concerning a cheque payable by that bank (usually because the drawer has insufficient funds in his account), payment being suspended in the meantime”. I’d not heard of this expression but the wordplay seems unambiguous, unless you have a sock warehouse in Brewer, Maine.
6 Disappointing score on field, regularly! (3)
NIL – alternate letters (regularly) of oN fIeLd, with a surface reading fleshing out the definition
7 Advantage, securing Nanny’s initial approval (6)
ASSENTASSET (Advantage) around (securing) N (Nanny’s initial, i.e. the first letter of the word “Nanny”)
12 Gloomy about one’s son’s sacking (9)
DISMISSALDISMAL (Gloomy) about IS (one’s) + S (son). Though the ‘s after son is a possessive in the surface reading, for the cryptic reading we need to translate it as an abbreviated “is” that is merely acting as a link word to the definition.
13 Commander’s telly, oddly expensive (6)
COSTLYCO’S (Commander’s) + alternate letters (oddly) of TeLlY
15 Person robbing bar, primarily desiring wine (6)
BANDITBAN (bar) + D{esiring} (primarily desiring, i.e. the first letter of the word “desiring”) + IT (wine, i.e. the shortened form of Italian vermouth found in, say, gin and it)
18 Deprived journalist housed by Napoleonic marshal (5)
NEEDYED (journalist) in (housed by) NEY (Napoleonic marshal, i.e. Michel Ney, one of Napoleon’s commanders). Consider yourself unlucky if you ever encounter a marshal in Crosswordland who isn’t Ney, but keep Pétain and Tito in the back of your mind just in case.
20 A couple of points making us bristle! (3)
AWNA + WN (couple of points, i.e. W (West) and N (North), which are points of the compass), to give (Chambers): “The beard of barley, or similar bristly growth or structure from a glume, etc”. Awn appears frequently in the main cryptic and Mephisto but this is only its second appearance in the Quicky – it’s worth remembering.

35 comments on “Quick Cryptic 935 by Orpheus”

  1. I stupidly flung in ‘ptarmigan’ at 11ac, and more stupidly left it there for a while, which of course wreaked havoc with a bunch of downs. Didn’t notice the BRINY problem, but problem it does seem to be; I don’t see how we can treat ‘sea’ as adjectival here (a briny cruise? a briny change? briny warfare?). I wonder how many of us actually remember EPs. I’ve seen AWN countless times, especially in the NYT; but this is a first for ‘glume’! 7:26.
    1. Chambers has for briny “Relating to brine or to the sea”, and for the adjectival meaning of sea “Marine”, and for marine “Of, in, near, concerned with or belonging to the sea”, so briny and sea do seem to have the same adjectival meaning in Dictionaryland, but yeah – I can’t think of a natural sentence where one could be substituted for the other.

      EPs are still going strong in certain genres of dance music (clubbing, not waltzes), but I don’t know if they’re the same format as the EPs you’re thinking of, even if they share the same name.

  2. Held up by not getting 1ac/dn till the bitter briny end

    I think briny for sea works: “briny” by itself does not mean “the sea”, true—but neither does “sea” by itself; briny is interchangeable with sea in any sentence where sea is preceded by “the”, which is most of the time as far as I can tell, and that’s gudenuf4me

    Edited at 2017-10-09 03:54 am (UTC)

  3. I thought this was very tough today, did it in 29 mins, but needed aids.

    I had 14a as SHOOT, an assault at a filming location. Took some time before I decided it was wrong (and I prefer my answer)

    Also I had Marshall Foy, another Marshal at Waterloo so that didn’t help.

    5d expression is obscure and dated : I mean, who uses cheques these days?

    Wine = IT ??? Is Vermouth really wine, and apart from Gin & IT, is it used anywhere else?

    Never heard of ARNE, and was running through 5 letter composers, as I thought ‘outskirts’ always meant first and last.

    Never heard of AWN either.

    Either I’m grumpy today or its a really tough one.

    1. You are correct that ‘outskirts’ means first and last letters, but the trick here, as mohn2 has already mentioned, is that ‘English’ is clueing ‘E’ to account for the second letter in the answer.

      Edited at 2017-10-09 05:07 am (UTC)

    2. IT for wine is definitely worth remembering – I will tuck Foy away in my growing list of marshals!

      Based on your comment and others below, I seem to have given a poor estimate of the difficulty of this one, for which I can only apologise. I do try to put myself in the shoes of a less experienced solver when I make such comments, but 20-odd years of crosswording have probably created too much “muscle memory” (such as IT=wine) to make my estimates accurate. I’ve had the impression in the past that many solvers do like to get an idea from the blogger as to how hard they found the puzzle, but I will reconsider whether or not to include a difficulty comment if my success rate doesn’t improve!

    3. I can assure you that cheques are not dead in the world of U3A. My husband is treasurer for our local group and gets 75% of the membership fees that way. The 55+ age group will not use online banking around here! He had a cheque returned last week marked with “return to drawer”.
  4. 9 minutes although I noted along the way that there were one or two tricky words or meanings that may present some difficulty for less experienced solvers.

    I think Lou Weed has now nailed the case for ‘sea’ = BRINY, not that I’d considered a problem with it in the first place. .

    Vermouth aka IT is a fortified wine as are sherry and port.

    AWN and NEY crop up regularly in the main puzzle so need to be remembered as they are sure to appear again. Last time AWN was in a Quickie (June 2015) it was clued as ‘bristle’.

    Edited at 2017-10-09 05:09 am (UTC)

  5. And I am definitely not at the front of the grid, so I think merlin just needed a coffee!

    DNK AWN but had to be, and DNK vermouth is a wine; checking that out after reading the blog led me to this enjoyable article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/20/AR2007032000273.html

    Are waffles cakes?? My memories (derived entirely from The Waffle House growing up in Norwich) is that they are rectangular pancakes … oh, that has the word cake in it … still. Is a pancake a cake? Surely not!

    Finished before Hither Green.


    1. A cake certainly isn’t the first thing I think of when I think of a waffle, but Chambers has as its first waffle definition: “A kind of cake made from batter, baked in an iron utensil of hinged halves called a waffle iron” so the setter is covered. My main experience of waffles is of potato waffles covered in baked beans, which makes the cake equivalence seem even further away.
  6. I think it’s because I included a link to a great article about vermouth!

    Anyway, I enjoyed that as an easy start to the week so thanks mohn and Orpheus.


  7. I know gauging difficulty is a personal thing, but in no way was this of average difficulty to a newbie. This was very hard and I would be surprised if anyone new to these puzzles got close to solving this. I certainly did not and I have been at this for about 6 months.

    Hopefully the rest of this week will be a little easier.

    1. I gave a longer reply to merlin_55 above but, in short, my apologies for inaccurately gauging the difficulty of this one! Hope it didn’t put you off.
  8. At 18:21 I thought this was quite difficult and almost on a par with today’s cryptic.

    I didn’t have a problem with BRINY for the reason Lou Weed gives above, but IT for wine was a new one on me. Fortunately, with the T already in place, it couldn’t really be anything else.

    I hadn’t heard of a stegosaur without its us either, although I’ve heard of a dinosaur without an eye – ahem, a doyouthinkhesaurus.

    Thanks for an interesting blog.

    Edited at 2017-10-09 09:51 am (UTC)

    1. Unfortunately the only similar dinosaur jokes I can think of are probably a bit blue for this forum …
  9. I thought this was slightly on the tricky side and came in at 10:49. BUCCANEERING held me up at the top and was my LOI after BRINY. I didn’t have an issue with briny for sea, once I’d spotted the construction. YAK was my FOI. No trouble with the Banker’s instruction for a bounced cheque. Took me a minute to see the parsing for WAFFLES. A puzzle to kick start the brain cells for a new week! Thanks Orpheus and Mohn.
  10. I thought this was a bit more difficult than average but nothing held me up for long and I was surprised to end in what is a sub-average time for me. I wasn’t worried by BRINY – I’m with Lou on that. 12d my favourite. 6:17.
  11. I had never come across “opening” to mean “contained in” before and never heard of AWN (so biffed it). I am old enough to remember “Refer to Drawer”, more commonly known as “bounced”. 1ac had me puzzled until I realised what an “aural pendant” was. What a lovely phrase setter. Good fun to start the week.
    1. This usage of opening tends to be seen more in the main cryptic rather than the Quicky – I suppose it’s using open in the sense of “to make an opening in”.
  12. I found this a real struggle and thought I was having an attack of Mondaymorningitis, so glad to see I wasn’t the only one. I battled with all four of the long clues which didn’t help matters.
    It felt like I fell into all the setter’s traps (if they were actually traps), including 1a being a homophone (aural) and trying to use the odd letters in Pilsen in 3d
    Eventually fell over the line after three sittings in an estimated time of 35 – 40 minutes.
  13. Quite a hard start to the week, but for once the long answers helped and I finished in about 35mins. Hesitated over IT for wine, but the answer had to be Bandit. My favourite today was 3d. Invariant
  14. Fairly quick today but guessed ‘awn’, and ‘it’ for wine, so am grateful for the explanation.
  15. I’m a newbie and I got further than usual before looking up the answers. FOI was Buccaneering. Could not parse Inept, and rejected ONSET as not meaning ASSAULT

    1. I should have given a bit more detail about ONSET. The main meaning of it that comes to mind for me (and maybe you also) is a beginning or a start, but that is the fourth meaning given in Chambers, preceded by “1. A violent attack, 2. An assault, 3. A storming”. Glad to hear that you got further than usual and hopefully a completion will be in the not-too-distant future!
    2. If you managed to get Buccaneering as your FOI, with the right parsing, you won’t be a newbie for long. Well done. Invariant
  16. I’m a newbie and I got further than usual before looking up the answers. FOI was Buccaneering. Could not parse Inept, and rejected ONSET as not meaning ASSAULT

  17. Very pleased to finish this having read other comments.
    9ac. I understand (from others) that FF denotes 2 females on certain websites. Hence MMMFF denotes 3 men and 2 ladies enjoying themselves though not necessarily doing crosswords. A clue more for Eros than Orpheus!
    1. After the comments about Italian vermouth above, I think you’re zeroing in on the other major Crosswordland meaning of “it” …
  18. As very much a novice, I thought this a fairly gentle start to the week but I am old enough to remember RFD on bounced cheques.
  19. Found this not too difficult apart from one self-inflicted wound. DNK Awn but guessed it as only possible solution.
    Main problem was inserting Bucanneering at 1a which made 3d my LOI as I was looking for a word starting with N.
    Going through the anagram fodder solved the problem.
    Solve was interrupted frequently so no accurate time.
    COD to 5d. David
  20. Refer to Drawer but not, apparently, for a Gin and It!

    21:58 with no problems except ‘it’ for ‘wine’. Now I know!

    Thank you setter and blogger, much enjoyed.

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