Quick Cryptic No 422 by Pedro

Enjoyable puzzle which I though somewhat middle of the road in terms of degree of difficulty, but then again these things are highly subjective. Some neat clues (e.g. 10a), a bit of whimsy (11a), and some nice surfaces (e.g. 3d).

Thanks to Pedro. If anyone is struggling to access the puzzle, it can be found at this link http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/timescrossword/20151021/10335/

Definitions underlined, DD = Double Definition, anagrams indicated by *(–)

1 Bound to drink around end of race (4)
LEAP – LAP (to drink) goes ‘around’ E (end of racE)
4 Actors with a method to portray Robinson Crusoe? (8)
CASTAWAY – CAST (actors) + A WAY (a method)
8 Overwhelm religious woman after one appointment (8)
INUNDATE – NUN (religious woman) comes ‘after’ I (one) + DATE (appointment)
9 Religious fellow contributing to sermon knowledgeably (4)
MONK – Hidden in (contributing to) serMON Knowledgeably
10 Debate shortening athletic event (6)
DISCUS – DISCUSS (Debate shortened). Neat clue.
11 Discipline? Something like a joke, it seems (6)
PUNISH – Definition supported by some amusing cryptic wordplay
12 Varies changes in government provoking dispute (13)
CONTROVERSIAL – *(VARIES) – with “changes” as the anagrind – ‘in’ CONTROL (government)
16 Greatly welcoming one following check (6)
VERIFY – VERY (Greatly) takes in (welcoming) I (one) + F (following)
17 Marine creature? Millions found in quiet movement of tide (6)
SHRIMP – M (millions) ‘found in’ SH (quiet) RIP (movement of tide)
19 Prison to take a cut (4)
NICK – Triple definition
20 Something doctor has: charge to cover operation (8)
PRACTICE – PRICE (charge) ‘covers’ ACT (operation)
21 It suggests what you should do while you’re out (8)
HYPNOSIS – Spent some time looking for something else going on here, but I think it’s just a straight cryptic clue
22 Study concerning the current time? (4)
READ – RE (concerning) + AD (the current time – as opposed to BC)
2 Boredom is the heart of genuine upset (5)
ENNUI – *(ENUIN) – “heart” of gENUINe, with “upset” as the anagrind
3 Nit-pickers can, if nasty, make you very anxious (5-8)
PANIC STRICKEN – *(NIT PICKERS CAN) with “if nasty” as the anagrind
4 Stupid, he manages to avoid collisions (5)
CRASS – CRAS[HE]S (collisions) without the HE
5 The French will support expensive church feature (7)
STEEPLE – LE (the French) ‘supporting’ STEEP (expensive)
6 Transmit radio waves for official (13)
ADMINISTRATOR – *(TRANSMIT RADIO) with “waves” as the anagrind
7 One can’t recall being the subject of this complaint (7)
AMNESIA – Cryptic clue – as with 21a, thought something else might also be going on here but if there is, I cannot see it…
10 Picked up fish for medic (3)
DOC – COD (fish) reversed (picked up)
13 Weight problem? Follow rules about position (7)
OBESITY – OBEY (Follow rules) goes ‘about’ SIT (position)
14 Power enters my soul, devastated to see where the gods live (7)
OLYMPUS – *(MY SOUL + P) – the P for “power” being added into the mix – with “devastated” as the anagrind
15 Most of large building erected producing rude comment (3)
LIP – PILE (most of large building) reversed (erected – given this is a Down clue)
17 Doesn’t leave corset (5)
STAYS – DD. Serious seekers after truth may be intrigued (as I was) about the plural form here with the second (passion killer) definition. Seems that the stays are the support struts within the corset itself, and that “stays” came to be synonymous with a (singular) corset. I do recall a lovely story of a (Russian?) visitor to the C18th English court – when the fashionable women wore whalebone corsets – being somewhat mystified at the contours as he held women round the waist in the course of dancing, and writing a letter to a friend back home informing him that English women had an unusual skeletal structure whereby the bones of the middle section of their bodies were on the outside of the skin. Easy mistake to make, I guess…
18 Second tea or coffee (5)
MOCHA – MO (Second – as in “‘alf a mo squire”) + CHA (tea)

12 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 422 by Pedro”

  1. I needed 14 minutes for this one having lost time checking all the wordplay as I solved and then getting stuck at 16ac with ?E?I?Y as checkers. It was one of those LOI moments when the mind goes completely blank and I had to regroup and concentrate on finding a way to the answer through wordplay instead of trying to bif it. For some unaccountable reason I also wasted time considering whether if PUN were really to have -ISH attached, should it take a double ‘N’ – a completely futile exercise!

    Edited at 2015-10-21 05:31 am (UTC)

  2. Completely bamboozled myself by writing the answer to 4a in at 8a, which made the first few down clues very mysterious. Eventually untabgled it, but end up nearly a couple of minutes over my target time. Briefly had DOCK in for 19a, which didn’t help either. I liked 4d too.
  3. I finished this in about 40 minutes, with only verify looked up in the checker app – I still can’t see that ‘f’ is a valid abbreviation for ‘following’, and although I put ‘hypnosis’ in I didn’t really get it until it hit me 10 minutes after I finished – very strange (or hypnotic?).
    I also had trouble with the second word in 3D – when I wrote down my remaining letters in random order it spelt ‘knickers’ which put me right off.


    1. Yes, I shared your reservations when I first came across this in Crosswordland some time ago. However, it is in Chambers as an accepted abbreviation, and seems to have cropped up a few times of late in the 15×15. That said, I agree it is not the most elegant device…
    2. It’s usually considered that any word or meaning listed in one of the usual sources (Collins, COED or Chambers) is fair game for use in Times cryptics, but when I started contributing here in 2007 I was led to believe there is some sort of restriction when it comes to single-letter abbreviations and there may even be a list of guidelines including those that are permitted.

      Despite my best efforts I have never managed to lay hands on this and I’ve had no confirmation whether the policy (if it ever officially existed) is still in force following changes of editor.

      What I can say though is firstly that ‘f’ is given as an official abbreviation for ‘following’ in Collins and in Chambers, and I believe it’s used in connection with pages that follow in textual references. Also it comes up a lot in Times cryptics – possibly even once a week in the main one – so it’s worth getting to know.

      Edited at 2015-10-21 10:58 am (UTC)

  4. I thought this was a good puzzle and most of it went in quite quickly. As others I struggled with my last two which were 16 and 21a. Also failed to parse 12a. Particularly enjoyed 11a.
  5. Started well, but then had to do something else and struggled a bit on my return, especially in the SW corner.
    To be a bit picky, doesn’t millions in 17ac suggest MM or MS ?
  6. Not easy today. I made steady progress but needed two sittings. I was left with 16a and wanted it to be Verily (meaning greatly perhaps) but rightly felt uneasy about it.Also 21a made me struggle; I could see “nosis” as an ending but not the first bit; gymnasts fitted the squares but nothing else.Anyway I got them both in the end.I’m still not sure the 21a clue really works.But a good puzzle overall. David
  7. I thought that “mo” wasn’t working as an abbreviation for “second” (as in the cockney “arf a mo”) but as an abbreviation for “more” (Spike Lee “Mo Better Blues” style). So it was “mo cha”, “more tea”, ie a “second tea”.

    Anyway, wevs, nice puzzle and I enjoyed it (except verified, which I thought was a weak clue). Cheers Nick.

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