Quick Cryptic No 399 by Mara – a tricky quickie

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Maybe I was not thinking clearly, but this ‘quickie’ took me longer (12 minutes) than last Monday’s proper Times Cryptic; not least because I’d made a screen capture and printed it out such that the first square of 7a appeared black (because the cursor was dark orange on the screen), so I was thinking of a three letter word. Some of the clues, such as 14d, 1d, 11a, 12a, are perhaps of main crossword standard, but there are enough easy clues and anagrams to allow plenty of crossing letters to help us.

D = definition, DD = double definition, ()* = anagram, [A] = anagrist.

7 TUTU – Sounds like ‘two two’, a draw or tie; D skirt.
8 ANNOUNCE – Sounds like AN OUNCE; D declare.
10 SOFTEN – S (end of class) OFTEN (regularly); D temper.
11 PAIR – P (pence), AIR (basic living requirement); D two. A tricky little clue.
12 APPENDIX – (I EXPAND)*, with P(age) inserted; [A] ‘somehow’; D part of book.
15 SEAT BELT – (TESTABLE)*, [A] ‘when crashing’; D strap.
17 BACK – DD. ‘Back’ as in ‘back out of something’, and as in ‘support’.
18 HARROW – Cryptic D, an English school for nobs.
21 STEAMY – (MY TEA’S)*, [A] ‘brewing’; D hot.
22 ASTEROID – A STEROID is (or can be) a drug; D heavenly body!
23 TERN – Hidden word reversed in GOLDE(N RET)RIEVER; D bird. Retriever partially retrieved, a nice surface.

1 SUITCASE – SUIT and CASE are both ‘actions’ as in court; D that’s packed!
3 MACERATE – (TEA CREAM)*, [A] ‘break up’ and ‘crackers’; D soak.
4 ONUS – ON US = upon ourselves; D responsibility.
5 PUFFIN – As in puffin’, puffin(g) on a fag; D bird.
6 ACRE – R (king) inside ACE (great); D area of land.
13 PUT ASIDE – (A DISPUTE)*, [A] ‘in disarray’; D disregard.
14 IN CAMERA – Thankfully the answer is not difficult from the definition, but the parsing is trickier; I see it as the odd letters of NoRwAy = N R A, and I CAME (I arrived) -> I(N) CAME (RA); D without anyone’s knowledge.
16 TURKEY – DD; took me a while to see the ‘lift and separate’ needed to make it ‘Christmas Day feature’ and ‘film that’s awful’.
17 BREATH – (BATHER)*, [A] ‘out’; D some air.
19 APSE – Insert S (last letter of bananas) into APE (monkey); D church recess.
20 WOOF – Prime letters of W(illow) O(ak) O(n) F(ir); D bark, as in dog.

12 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 399 by Mara – a tricky quickie”

  1. I thought I was on course for completing within 10 minutes for the first time this week but it wasn’t to be as I had a mental blank with 1dn outstanding for some unaccountable reason, so I ended up at 15 minutes. Also I needed to go back after the clock stopped to parse 14dn and came up with the same as our esteemed blogger.I’m not over keen on the definition here, btw, as for a court to meet IN CAMERA is not the same as “without anyone’s knowledge”, just that the hearing or that part of it is not open to all to attend.
  2. Tricky but enjoyable puzzle. Not helped by putting in ERNE first for 23a which is another reversed bird in golden retriever. Last in by a very long way SUITCASE, was beginning to think about using aids when the penny dropped.

    Favourite APPENDIX.

    1. Snap! I put ERNE in at first for 23a, but then 17d became impossible. Some great clues. Like Pip I took a while to see the definition in 16d was ‘Christmas Day feature’. Also fun were 7a and 1d, and my COD 15a – am I right in thinking it merits an “&lit”? I was surprised to see I was under my average time – I thought it was harder than that.

      Edited at 2015-09-18 08:40 am (UTC)

  3. Turned to this after completing today’s 15×15 (which was brilliant but a brute of a thing I thought) for the crossword equivalent of a relaxing “warm down”. Boy was that a mistake!

    This was tricky, and many of the clues would not have been in any way out of place in a fairly stretching 15×15, I thought. Some very good stuff – 5dn was pleasingly groanworthy and 11ac very neat. 8ac, 23ac and 7ac also well worthy of mentions in despatches.

    I finally gave up on 1dn, having spent more than 5 minutes looking at all the cross checkers and still not seeing where on earth the clue was heading. I plead exhaustion…

    Thanks to Mara for a fine puzzle and to Pip for the usual great blog.

  4. My ignorance of birds paid off as tern went in! Thought it was challenging and struggled to see 1d and 16d so spent about 40mins in total
  5. I solved this quickly after a walk with my golden retriever, which clearly helped . Once I got going with 8a it all went in quickly until I was left with 1d and 7a. I got 1d once I thought of case,but 7a followed only after running through the alphabet. Both good clues and I liked the crossword. I don’t time myself but this was about 15 minutes -very quick for me. In stark contrast to yesterday. David
  6. Well, no one can ever accuse Mara of being a soft touch. I thought the NW corner was particularly testing, with 1d my LOI and unparsed at that. 15ac my favourite from several contenders. Invariant
  7. I never time myself – but did this one fairly quickly. I never move on to another clue though, until I have pared the one that I am doing!
    This was much easier for me than most of the ones I have done lately.
  8. Well that was a head scratcher but I got there in the end. NW corner had me completely stumped until I got 2d which seemed to unclog the rest of that area. Couldn’t parse 14d, that sort of thinking is still way above my pay grade, so thank you for the clear explanation.
    LOI was 16d and COD 1d.
  9. In 10a does ‘often’ really mean ‘regularly’? Hayley’s Comet arrives regularly but I wouldn’t say it was often.

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