Quick Cryptic No 339 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A steady ten minute solve for this well balanced puzzle at the harder end of the Quickie spectrum in my opinion. Only a couple of words which may be obscure to overseas solvers, unless you know your warm beer and your chapels.

1 EMBITTER – EM = temp in centre, BITTER = beer, def. sour, as a verb.
5 PASS – Double definition; you pass an exam, and you say pass in a quiz show if you don’t know the answer.
8 SLIDE TROMBONE – (MINSTREL BOOED)*. anagrind ‘playing’, def. instrument.
10 LOCUS – LOS(E) = miss mostly, around CU = copper; def. place.
11 PODCAST – POD = case, CAST – actors, def. digital recording.
12 SHERRY – ERR = slip up, inside SHY = attempt; def. fortified wine.
13 BAZAAR – Insert AZ (street guide) and A (centre of Doncaster) into BAR = pub; def. marketplace.
16 ADDRESS – A D(aughter) DRESS = clothes; def. lecture.
18 PIN-UP – P = page, IN = trendy, UP = well-informed; def. page three girl? For overseas readers, certain UK tabloid papers carry, or used to carry, a partly unclad attractive female on page three.
20 DEMONSTRATION – Double definition.
21 MERE – M = minutes, ERE = before; def. only, as in he was a mere boy, he was only a boy.
22 BETHESDA – (DEBATES H)*, the H from ‘head of his’, anagrind ‘stormy’; def. chapel. A sect of Nonconformist Protestant chapels, still found in parts of England and Wales, and for all I know, elsewhere.

1 EASEL – EASE = rest (as in ‘at ease’), L = left; def. rest for artist.
2 BRIOCHE – Insert O C H (nothing, cold, hot) into BRIE = cheese; def. roll.
3 TREE SURGEON – Cryptic definition, easy once you realise we’re talking about box trees.
4 ENRAPT – (PET RAN)*, anagrind ‘wild’, def. thrown into ecstasy.
6 AROMA – A MO (second) RA (artist), all reversed (lifted); def. bouquet.
7 SWEATER – S (start of September) WEATER sounds like WETTER = rainier; def. Jersey.
9 MADE A SPLASH – Double definition.
12 STARDOM – (SMART DO)*, anagrind ‘organised’, def. celebrity.
14 AUNTIES – UNTIE = free, inside AS = for instance, def. relatives.
15 TSETSE – Hidden in JE(T SET’S E)NTOURAGE, def. fly.
17 DEMUR – DEMUR(E) = modest, slighty reduced; def. object.
19 PANDA – AND = also, inside PA = father; def. mountain-dweller.

13 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 339 by Tracy”

  1. I thought this one was tough too, though luckily checkers helped me get eg 15A, 22A and 2D (I only know the word Bethesda from US hospital names – it might have cropped up in the west wing, perhaps? Or some similar US show). LOI was 3D, I only managed to get this, even with all the checkers, after I started running through the alphabet in my head to see what possible options there were for the second letter – once I got to R all became clear! Bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut though (like doing a maths thing through trial and error rather than just seeing it).
  2. I found this really quite hard and took ages to find an answer that jumped out at me. When I cracked it eventually I was surprised to see 16 minutes on the clock because it had seemed much longer whilst solving.
  3. Medium difficulty for me. Main problem was spelling 22a incorrectly and so spent time on my last in AUNTIES which then gave the correct spelling of 22a.

    Some good clues with my favourite the impressive anagram for SLIDE TROMBONE.

  4. This went more smoothly than it felt at the time. BETHESDA struck me as rather above the Quickie level of difficulty (we had it in a 15×15 not too long ago, and I seem to recall its provoking a bit of discussion). ‘Chapel’ triggered a solve here, but I know Bethesda mainly because of the huge US Navy hospital at Bethesda, MD, where I believe Presidents are seen. Liked AUNTIES among others. 5′ exactly.
  5. Also found this hard. Only got 3d from the checkers and had no idea how to parse it. LOI Mere. Also I hadn’t realised that a street guide was AZ rather than A to Z so took a while to have the confidence to put in Bazaar.
  6. Getting better at these. 14 down held me up as I had written casbar in 13 across Centre of Doncaster and bar for pub. Stupid of me really as I think it starts with a k. As a matter of interest there is no trombone called a slide trombone, even if the answer is obvious. I am not a musician but I believe slides are what you play on a trombone. Could be wrong though. Good puzzle and good blog.

    1. Your comment prompted me to investigate. It would appear the term is to distinguish it from a “valve trombone”… ‘Despite the continuing popularity of the slide trombone, valve trombones have remained popular in, for example, Austria, Italy, Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal, South America and India, almost to the exclusion of the slide trombone.’, says Wikipedia. The things we learn from doing crosswords! I foundthis quite tricky today, taking just over 9 minutes. LOI was 13a. The nice hidden word at 15d was my COD.
  7. I thought this one from Tracy was the hardest one this week. Is it just me, or are our more friendly setters upping their game of late ? Joker and now Tracy have produced some shockers. Invariant
  8. I would appreciate comment from those more in the know than I am. I was surprised after eventually cracking 3d. Tree surgeon, that there is only a cryptic definition here. It’s the first time I have run across this in these puzzles. Is it normally allowed to have only one definition and no word play etc thus preventing cross confirmation of the answer?
    1. Tim Moorey, in his book “How to Master the Times Crossword”, classifies this type of clue as “cryptic definition” and describes it as follows: There are no component parts at all to this clue which consists simply of a misleading, usually one-dimensional, way to describe the solution. Depending on how much information is imparted by the clue, it can be very easy or very tough. The best of these clues have an amusing or whimsical air.

      In today’s clue I’d say the key words are “box” as an example of a tree and “shape”. If that doesn’t help when solving the clue ‘cold’, the solver’s best option would be to get as many checkers in place as possible and work from there.

  9. I found this one quite simple but took all day to work out aroma ! Never done cryptic until these crosswords in the times so getting there. I think this clue would not be out of place in the main cryptic !

    Barry Berlyn

  10. I finally had to give up on 3d (isn’t a box a hedge rather than a tree?) and 6d. The rest of he puzzle also felt much harder than we’ve had for a while, although I thought there were some excellent clues in particular 12 and 13a.
    1. According to SOED ‘box’ is a shortened form of ‘box tree’ which it then goes on to define as ‘a small tree or shrub’. As I understand it there is no category of plant called ‘hedge’, but that it’s a boundary constructed from plants such as trees and shrubs.

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