Quick Cryptic 947 by Orpheus

Of course, part of me hopes that you all sailed through this without a second thought, but the other part hopes I’m not faced with the humiliation of across-the-board sub-10 minute solves this morning, because it took me much longer than usual.

Having written it up, I can see no excuses; more homophones and double definitions than usual, but no vocabulary to send me to the dictionary nor overly deceitful wordplay. I had to pick off the shortest solutions, run through the alphabet countless times, and guess at words from checkers then work backwards. I ended up (at my second sitting) in the SW with 14ac, 17ac and 12dn, my LOI.

I hope the setter takes this as a compliment, as struggling with everyday words (but eventually getting there and parsing the clues easily once I had the solutions) is surely the mark of victory for him or her. Either I had a bad day, or the hive mind will tell me what made this tricky…

Definitions underlined.

1 A precocious little horror, whichever way you look at her! (5)
MADAM – a palindromic (whichever way you look at her) synonym.
4 Joy mostly associated with tea and wine (7)
CHABLIS – all but the last letter of (mostly) BLISs (joy) next to (associated with) CHA (tea).
8 A number do military exercises, we’re told, or shoot (7)
TENDRIL – TEN (a number), plus a homophone of (we’re told) “drill” (military exercises).
9 Indian delivering part of speech in Dutch (5)
HINDU – hidden in (delivering part of) speecH IN DUtch.
10 Choosing to entertain man briefly, eating outside (10)
PICNICKING – PICKING (choosing) surrounding (entertaining) a shortened version of (briefly) NICholas (man).
14 Damp and unhealthy, but spacious, we hear (6)
RHEUMY – homophone of (we hear) “roomy” (spacious).
15 Bracelet originally buried by early settler (6)
BANGLE – first letter of (originally) Buried, then ANGLE (early settler).
17 Dull person in precinct, perhaps (10)
PEDESTRIAN – double definition.
20 Cockney friend’s first outstanding feature? (5)
CHINA – CHIN (outstanding feature of a face) -A. Chin-B would be the second outstanding feature of this imaginary competition.
22 Crazy type going round Brazil? (7)
NUTCASE – double definition; the second, cryptic, definition referring to that surrounding a nut.
23 Lawfully represented by member and friend (7)
LEGALLY – LEG (member) and ALLY (friend).
24 Possible equestrian’s addition to contract (5)
RIDER – double definition.
1 Tiny child’s modest contribution (4)
MITE – double defintiion.
2 Depression beginning to dog hospital department (4)
DENT – first letter of (beginning to) Dog, and ENT (ear, nose and throat; hospital department).
3 Main star unexpectedly supporting Mike’s autumn feast (9)
MARTINMAS – anagram of (unexpectedly) MAIN STAR, underneath (supporting) M (mike, in the phonetic alphabet).
4 Punctuation mark unknown in settlement (6)
COLONY – COLON (punctuation mark) and Y (unknown).
5 Cry of pleasure about small tree (3)
ASH – AH (cry of pleasure) surrounding (about) S (small).
6 Keen desires protracted in Gilbert and Sullivan (8)
LONGINGS – LONG (protracted), IN, and GS (Gilbert and Sulilvan).
7 Runner is more self-satisfied, having crossed lake (8)
SMUGGLER – SMUGGER (more self-satisfied) surrounding (having crossed) L (lake).
11 Disposition revealed in letter (9)
CHARACTER – double definition.
12 Hot and humid weather at last, in current setting (8)
TROPICAL – last letter of (at last) weatheR in TOPICAL (current setting).
13 Notice heather choking daughter’s young plant (8)
SEEDLING – SEE (notice) and LING (heather), surrounding (choking) D (daughter).
16 Drink provided by bachelor of lustful nature (6)
BRANDY – B (bachelor) and RANDY (of lustful nature).
18 Win real estate (4)
LAND – double definition.
19 Fruit or vegetable taken by rook? (4)
PEAR – PEA (vegetable) next to (taken by) R (rook).
21 Worry, hearing mention of alcoholic drink (3)
AIL – homophone of (hearing mention of) “ale” (alcoholic drink). Don’t mind if I do, after all that!

18 comments on “Quick Cryptic 947 by Orpheus”

  1. I started off slow, getting almost none of the acrosses on my first pass, and never felt speedy, but I don’t remember any specific problems other than MADAM, which I couldn’t make sense of, although evidently we had it in a 15×15. 7:06.
    1. It’s just an expression when speaking of a difficult child, e.g “She’s a right little madam” and of course “madam” reads the same forwards or backwards but I am sure you would have seen thus.
  2. Well, William, I did manage to scrape home in 9 minutes but I counted myself lucky as there were a few meanings or shades of meaning here that I can imagine might cause others some difficulty but I knew them because they have come up before, possibly only in the main puzzle. Starting with 1ac, clued as ‘precocious little horror’, which I’m sure gave rise to some discussion when it was clued as something simlar on a previous occasion. RHEUMY may not be known to all, nor ‘runner’ with its SMUGGLER connotations, nor RIDER as an addition to a contract. Or they may all be things that one sort of knows but they don’t necessarily leap into the mind. Anyway we shall see what others made of it.

    Edited at 2017-10-25 04:57 am (UTC)

  3. Found this very difficult. Had lots of interruptions but likely took over an hour.

    IMO for a QC it was obscure in too many places:
    Rheumy clued as a homophone so no help with the spelling;
    Smuggler for runner;
    Precinct cluing pedestrian;
    Mite for contribution;
    Chin A for 20a;
    Ah for cry of pleasure?

    COD Bangle

    1. PEDESTRIAN is clued as “dull” and “person in precint, perhaps”, the second with reference to “pedestrian precinct” which I’d have thought was commonplace. Will is right about it being a double definition but the underlinings are a little askew.
  4. Sorry William but maybe this was just one of my good days. I chased the answers down the grid then back up filling in the gaps to finish with loi 1dn in 8.14. Dnk Martinmas but it was a ‘has to be’. ‘A proper little madam’ was a reasonably common term a long, long time ago in my youth (which, possibly, is where it should stay).
  5. I’m a pretty average 20 minute sort of plodder, and managed this in 14 minutes. LOI was Martinmas, which needed all the checkers. But I greatly enjoyed the mix of clues and perhaps a life of crime and the law helped with rider, and smuggler and legally.

    Briefless Barrister

  6. I’m with you William, taking 19 minutes (including a 2 minute break when I boarded the train), so outside of my target. Last two in were 20 and 21 strangely, although the extra time was spent on PEDESTRIAN and MITE. I got RHEUMY fairly quickly.
  7. In a bit of a rush today as going out to play golf.
    This puzzle was tough. I nearly completed the 15 x 15 puzzles on Monday and Tuesday and this did not seem much easier.
    I knew Rheumy could be right from the French. That was a big help. Struggled with Tropical and LOI was 17a. Could not parse Pear -thought it might be wrong; nor China. So thanks for illuminating blog. 30 minutes in total; about 10 more than my usual. David
  8. No trouble for me today. MADAM went in at first sight, with the quote from a childrens’ book of yore springing to mind, “When I grow up I’m going to be a proper little madam!” The rest of the top half flew in, but then I slowed down as the SW, especially, made me think a bit harder. However I was all done and submitted in 7:34, which is fast for me. Thanks Orpheus and William.
  9. Had to work hard on this taking about 15 mins, so I would think at the tougher end. I wasnt helped by biffing Industrial at 17a having all but one checker. Tropical put that right, talking of which I’ve just cut the grass again! Thanks blooger and thanks setter for a gradeA puzzle
  10. … to find people gently chuntering about what an easy puzzle it had been! There you go, sometimes you’re on the wavelength and sometimes you aren’t. I don’t time myself but this went in very quickly, with PEAR as LOI.

    Thanks for the blog, I didn’t quite get CHIN A and CHIN B but that’s a very clear explanation!


  11. This felt quite tough and I had to jump around the grid a bit to find clues that I was confident about. I eventually completed in 19 minutes (around average). I struggled with 4a, where I thought joy was the definition, and therefore 6d as well. But I thought my LOI 14a was particularly difficult. I got the spacious/roomy link quite quickly but finding an answer which fit the checkers involved some head scratching. COD 22a.
  12. I thought my time of 40mins would classify me as a ‘dull person’, but having seen some of the other comments, I don’t feel too pedestrian. I thought today’s QC was a good mix of write-ins and penny-droppers, with my CoD, 7d, in the latter group. Invariant
    1. I can still remember taking hours to finish, so stick with it – it does eventually get easier. Invariant
      PS best give #948 a miss.
  13. it was an enjoyable puzzle, but I didn’t get another chance after 90 mins …
    for some reason, 4a, 6d, 5d and 10a perplexed me! Until I read the blog, I couldn’t see the wordplay in 4a, 6d – I was adamant that it was WANTINGS (but, I knew it was wrong) and could only see SNACK (briefly eating) in 10a that threw me. 5d, I thought was ASH, but couldn’t derive from the clue (stupidly!).
    there you go, a glimpse into the mind of a newbie!
    a very enjoyable challenge though. always a pleasure.

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