Quick Cryptic No 311 by Orpheus

Tougher than yesterday’s (15 minutes) but entertaining nevertheless. 19dn caused problems but when the penny dropped it was awarded my COD. Those with a greater depth of experience in the pronunciation of male Scottish names are invited to comment at 21dn.

Definitions underlined, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition, deletions CROSSED OUT

1 Workers’ representative betrays extremely tense protégé (4,7)
SHOP STEWARD – Betrays (SHOPS), (T)ens(E), WARD.
8 First-class cream on dessert, for example (7)
9 Perfect joy, being a composer! (5)
BLISS – dd – the second being Sir Arthur. 1891–1975, British composer; Master of the Queen’s Musick (1953–75). His works include the Colour Symphony (1922), film and ballet music, and a cello concerto (1970).
10 It’s clear I could become practical (9)
REALISTIC – Anagram (could become) of ITS CLEAR I.
12 Fuss made by duke in a circular letter (3)
ADO – Duke (D) inside a (A) and circular letter (O).
13 Left beside a large gate (6)
PORTAL – Left (PORT), a (A), large (L).
15 Songs originally sung among tropical trees? (6)
PSALMS – (S)ung inside PALMS.
17 Sleep in vessel coming from the East (3)
NAP – Vessel (PAN) backwards.
18 Former pitmen hold key: students hope to satisfy them (9)
EXAMINERS – Former (EX) pitmen (MINERS) holding the musical key A. Musical keys are often used to mop up any spare letters in the parsing between A and G.
20 Dissolute son visiting Cornish resort (5)
LOOSE – Son (S) inside LOOE.
22 Prickly plant bishop found beside walk (7)
23 Open to attack from French, leave more of field unprotected? (11)
DEFENCELESS – From in French (DE), leave more of field unprotected (FENCE LESS).


1 Brown pigment Greek character dropped in tidal water (5)
SEPIA – Greek character (PI) in SEA.
2 Begin to hold forth about one alcoholic drink (9)
ORIGINATE – Hold forth (ORATE) around one (I), GIN.
3 They’re seen where builders may be working, say (6)
SIGHTS – Homophone of sites.
4 Decline apparent in Web browser (3)
EBB – In w(EB B)rowser.
5 A great worry for a girl (7)
6 Girl’s mad, being deprived of property (12)
7 Grand pastels oddly like Uncle Sam’s flag (4-8)
11 Chastise actors beginning to irritate spectators (9)
CASTIGATE – Actors (CAST), (I)rritate, spectators at a stadium (GATE).
14 Censure concerning senior academic receiving oxygen (7)
REPROOF – Concerning (RE), senior academic (PROF) holding oxygen (O).
16 Burns religious leader initially endured? (6)
RABBIE – RABBI, (E)ndured.
19 English doctor on American board? (5)
EMBUS – English (E), doctor (MB), American (US). Rather than being some new form of emery board I hadn’t heard of this turned out to be hopping on a bus – (military) to cause (troops) to board or (of troops) to board a transport vehicle.
21 Age of a Scotsman, do we hear? (3)
EON – Hopefully my Scottish friends can assist here – I’ve tried all ways to pronounce IAN (the ‘usual’ crosswordland Scotsman) but can’t work it around to how I pronounce eon (maybe there’s a second way of pronouncing this?). The name could be EUAN or something similar which sounds like eon.

10 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 311 by Orpheus”

  1. Definitely tougher than yesterday’s, and enjoyable for that reason. For starters, Chris, I pronounce ‘eon’ and ‘Ian’ pretty much the same; and in fact my dictionary gives the same pronunciation, i.e. schwa for the 2d vowel. Anyway, I biffed SHOP STEWARD, but then twigged once I read ‘betrays’ correctly–I forget how I’d misread it. Only vaguely knew BLISS–and not that often knew bliss, come to think of it–but he’s been here before. Like 1ac, the definition of 7d, especially with the enumeration, rather urgently invited the solution. Took me a while to get RABBIE (never seen the spelling, thought it was Robbie) and EMBUS (thought, they’ve got to be kidding). 6:30.
  2. 8 minutes but I biffed a couple of answers and returned to them after the event to explain them fully. At 19dn I trusted to wordplay and checkers but didn’t recognise the answer as a word until I looked it up in Collins and realised from its definition how it should be pronounced. COED doesn’t list it.

    On the homophone a 21dn, in RP (or at least my version of it) it seems fine but I doubt it would work in any local Scottish accent, not that it has to really because of the question mark.

  3. Took me 20 mins but I worked through steadily, some clues needed thought. Tougher than yesterday obviously but – hard but fair, I thought. After all no weird words. We hear embus, debus, detrain etc quite a bit on my regular railway line since we are so often subject to rail replacement busses. Sigh.
  4. My second in as many days done over breakfast…..it may even be that I am getting the hang of it now thanks to all the wonderful bloggers…..btw my pedantry makes me point out a missing s in your 6d
    1. Thank you – now corrected. Just for fun – would you say that spotting a missing letter was pedantry or attention to detail? 😊
      1. Usually the latter but since in this case it really made no difference to our understanding it was probably the former !
  5. Quite a contrast to yesterday’s offering. All was going smoothly until 19d, which I hadn’t heard of, and 16d, which defeated me in the end. Invariant
  6. A DNF unfortunately, defeated by 19d. There seem to be so many abbreviations of doctor that there’s usually one I forget about and today it was MB – what does that stand for by the way?
    1. Collins has Bachelor of Medicine – and I agree abbreviations are tricky.

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