Quick Cryptic No 416 by Grumpy

I’m on my travels and won’t get back to normal service until the long awaited TfTT bash in December. Comments may therefore be sparse and, in the unlikely event that wifi or time zone problems may prevent me from fulfilling my blogging duties, could I please ask fellow bloggers to fill in should my blog not be up by 11am on a Tuesday.

So to today’s well mannered fun and frivolity (thank you Professor McGonagall – and, of course, Grumpy) with a fungal twist in the tail.


1. PLEASANT – nice. Peasant holding line (L).
5. SPAR – fight. Sparta minus thanks (TA).
9. RABBI – religious leader. Rabbit minus time (T).
10. BREWING – making beer. Anagram (potty) of WE BRING.
11. OAR – paddle. Right (R) behind b(OA)t.
12. LIBERATED – freed. (L)unch, I, BERATED.
13. MODEST – demure. Fashion’s (MODES), (T)rend.
15. AGARIC – fungus. DNK this one and so was LOI. I worked it out from the checkers – it was most likely to end in IC and so the two A’s were obvious. AGARIC turns out to be the group which includes the edible mushroom. Anagram (ruined) of A CIGAR.
17. LOOK AFTER – nurse. Gander (LOOK), following (AFTER).
19. BOA – snake. Swine (BOA)r dropping the back letter.
20. TUMBLER. Double definition.
21. USING – availing oneself of. Anagram (wrong) of GUN IS.
22. NUTS – fanatics. Stagger (STUN) backwards.
23. LONDONER – one at home in capital. LONER around DON.


1. PERFORM – play as in a role. For each (PER) , class (FORM).
2. EMBER – remnant of fire. SeptEMBER, NovEMBER, DecEMBER. Nice.
3. SHILLY-SHALLY – hum and haw. COD – which, if I’d have got sooner should have reduced my solving time greatly). ‘Silly Sally’ when slurred.
4. NABOB – rich man – a term which I’ve come across before – probably in crosswords. AN backwards, old coin (BOB).
6. POINTER – dog. Particular (POINT as in a detail or item), queen (ER).
7. RIGID – unyielding. Soldier (GI) breaking up free (RID). Interesting that the two ‘FREE’ references should join in the grid.
8. MERRY-GO-ROUND – carousel. Robin Hood’s men were merry (apparently), detour (GO ROUND).
14. DOORMAT – put upon person. Short commissionaire (DOORMA)n, time (T).
16. CHARGER – double definition. One who charges expects payment, horse is the knight’s charger.
17. LET ON – admit – to something. Left (L), school (ETON).
18. TORSO – trunk. Stowed in mo(TOR SO)mehow.
19. BAIRN – child. Starts to (B)ehave (A)nd (I)s (R)arely (N)aughty.

11 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 416 by Grumpy”

  1. Quickie indeed; I seldom if ever get the first 5 acrosses right first time around. I did hesitate a bit at 15ac, as I wasn’t sure if ‘fungus’ was the definition or ‘a cigar’, both having 6 letters. Biffed 14d and 12ac, where I saw ‘rated’ and didn’t wait. 4:10.
  2. After Monday’s very tricky offering this one was easy apart from needing all the checkers to be sure of 15ac, confused by the fact that I know AGAR as seaweed-related and it seemed odd that such a similar word would be fungus-related. 6 minutes.
  3. Started very slowly and thought it was going to be a struggle but then got going and it flowed smoothly with all parsed. Last in LONDONER and AGARIC unknown, like others I was not sure at first what was the definition and what was the anagram.

    Favourite SPAR.

  4. Pretty straightforward today. The answer to 3d has definitely been in the QC before, with a fairly similar clue if memory serves. Had a guess at Agaric once all the checkers were in place.
    Didn’t parse 14d as I wasn’t sure what a commissionaire was.
  5. Completed fairly quickly. I knew 15a primarily from the iconic red, with white spots mushroom, Fly Agaric. It is the mushroom that the dwarfs dance around in Disney’s Snow White. What I didn’t know is that it is edible (if you prepare it right). Most modern field-guides say it is poisonous and even potentially deadly.
  6. Quite a nice QC, with a good mix of clues. Didn’t know 4d, and did wonder why Doorman wouldn’t parse properly until I got 22ac. . . Invariant
  7. While I understand abbreviations such as R for river etc but L for lunch is surely an abbreviation too far?
    1. I agree that L would be a dodgy abbreviation for lunch but the clue isn’t asking us to make that leap. ‘Free lunch at first I criticised strongly (9)’. It’s not an abbreviation but rather ‘lunch at first’ – first letter of (L)unch followed by I, criticised strongly (BERATED).
  8. I enjoyed this – a mixture of some easier clues (e.g 1a to get started)and some harder and humorous ones. I particularly liked 2d, 12a and 17a but all good. Like others I did not know the fungus but was chuffed to guess it correctly. David

Comments are closed.