Quick cryptic No 613 by Flamande

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Well, it has been a bit of a struggle this morning.  Not the crossword itself, which was easy enough, but accessing it.  My iPad app refused to download a new edition of the newspaper despite several reboots and other attempts to persuade it to do so, so I had to look for an alternative source for the grid and clues.  I eventually accessed them using the on-line copy of the paper through a browser, and was half way through writing the blog when the iPad eventually capitulated and recognised that the clock had moved on, and yesterday’s news was no longer current.

Despite these trials and tribulations, the QC today was an enjoyable 12 minutes with nothing particularly difficult or obscure.  Thanks to Flamande.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated by [square brackets] and deletions with {curly ones}

1  Curtsey before dance with English actor (3,4)
BOB HOPE – Curtsey equals BOB, dance equals HOP and E{nglish}
Responsibility of old student group (4)
ONUS – O{ld} and NUS, being the National Union of Students
Stuck advertisement in this place, close to road (7)
ADHERED – AD is the advertisement, HERE is in this place, with {roa}D indicated by close to
Homeless dog revealed by street light (5)
STRAY – ST{reet} and RAY (light)
11  All round store, people grabbing green jumpers (12)
GRASSHOPPERS – People grabbing are GRASPERS which surrounds SHOP (store).  I can’t see this word without remembering David Carradine in King Fu
12  Maybe native of Ljubljana, mostly a scruffy type (6)
SLOVEN – A Slovene is a citizen of Slovenia, capital Ljubljiana.  Drop the e (mostly) and you have SLOVEN, a person who is habitually carelessly or dirtily dressed
14  Unfashionable lot had reformed (3,3)
OLD HAT – anagram (reformed) of [LOT HAD]
15  Tory vote caves in unexpectedly: Labour at last gets in (12)
CONSERVATIVE – Anagram (unexpectedly) of [VOTE CAVES IN] with {Labou}R (at last) thrown in to the mix
17  Young Tom’s fund of money?5)
KITTY – Double definition, where Tom is a cat, not a person
18  The Spanish car reversing on motorway?  Something unexpected probably (7)
MIRACLE – EL (the in Spanish) with CAR all reversed after our first motorway (the M1)
20  Female into equal rights during revolution (4)
GIRL – reverse hidden (into and revolution) in {equa}L RIG{hts}
21  After leader is eliminated, surrender town in Hampshire (7)
ANDOVER – {h}ANDOVER (surrender) after its leading letter has been eliminated

2  Overdose on drink, principally rum (3)
ODD – O{ver}D{ose} on D{rink} (principally, i.e. first letter).  When I was growing up in Leicester in the late fifties there was a rum / odd old character that one would see often in the marketplace who went around saying “rum weather” repeatedly, and acquired that name as a result.  I wonder what happened to him?
3  Husband with urge to acquire a wild animal (5)
HYENA – H{usband} with YEN (urge) and acquiring A as instructed.
4  Storing various ales in larder is some kind of joke (10)
PLEASANTRY – Anagram (various) of [ALES] inside (storing) PANTRY.  A PLEASANTRY can be a facetious utterance or trick or a jocularity
6  Doctor adept on small computer (7)
NOTEPAD – Anagram (doctor) of [ADEPT ON]
7  Famous performer carrying one item of luggage for flight (9)
STAIRCASE – The famous performer is a STAR, carrying 1 or I, with a single case.  A flight is often a STAIRCASE in crosswordland
10  Choirboy oddly selected to lead country for royal event (10)
CORONATION – C{h}O{i}R{b}O{y} (odd letters of choirboy) leading NATION (country).  Younger readers may not remember what a coronation is, as we haven’t seen one for some considerable time – thankfully
11  Go send electronic message about everyone making fast progress (9)
GALLOPING – GO and PING (send an electronic message) around ALL.  Ping could be the test of that name used by techies to test the accessibility of network nodes on the interweb thingy, or the more general use as in pinging an e-mail to someone.
13  One calls round after six to relax, right? (7)
VISITOR – Six is VI (Roman numerals) followed by (after) SIT (relax) O (round) and R{ight}
16  Part of Florida, homely US state (5)
IDAHO – hidden in {flor}IDA HO{mely}
19  Shelter for Gypsy Rose? (3)
LEE – Double definition, one of them referring to the famous (or infamous) burlesque entertainer.

27 comments on “Quick cryptic No 613 by Flamande”

  1. It would have helped if I had more quickly remembered where Ljubljana is, having started off with Serbia. I actually spotted a hidden at 16d right off, only it was going to be Dahomey, which fortunately was too long. LOI 15ac. 5:43.
      1. That consideration also entered into my ultimate rejection of the word, giving me two strong reasons for trying again. (Children with Williams’ Syndrome have IQs comparable to Down Syndrome children. But when asked to name as many animals as they can in one minute, they come up with ibex, yak, dromedary, etc., while the Down child grinds out dog, cat, … But I digress.)
  2. 18:53. Some tech words making a debut include NOTEPAD and PING. Ping is originally a Unix command to test response time, which recalls sonar, and now has a broader meaning of ‘contact’ (itself a word frowned on 50 years ago). Just drove up the A303 last night for the first time in years, so Andover was in my mind, nice clue as well.
    1. Now you’ve said that, Merlin, I think I have met it before when testing broadband speeds.
  3. 10 minutes with PING unknown as “electronic message”.

    It’s nice that Bob Hope is still remembered. I think of him more as a comedian than an actor, but he made nearly 70 films so one can’t argue with the definition. “English” cluing the E rather than being part of the definition is a nice piece of misdirection as despite being born in Eltham, London, in 1903, Bob emigrated to the USA at the age of 4 and was an American citizen. He died in California in 2003, aged 100.

    Edited at 2016-07-14 05:45 am (UTC)

  4. A slow but steady solve, less than half in on the first pass. COD and LOI 15a I thought very clever, with all the checkers in and the O as the second letter I thought “that’s the Tory bit of the clue out of the way as it starts with CON”, how wrong can you be. Nice surfaces, too many to mention, thanks Flamande and blogger.
  5. The last blogger sums it up very well for me. Slow but steady and about par for the course with one or two very clever surfaces I thought.
  6. Around 30 minutes today so getting back into my comfort zone after my struggles over the previous 3 days. I couldn’t fully parse 11a and I was a bit dubious about the connection between 4d and a joke, but the blog cleared that up. LOI 7d, COD 15d.
    With regard to solving times I tend to use the regular poster’s times as a comparative guide for me to see how difficult/easy others found it.
  7. All this week these puzzles have been difficult, and today’s is no different. It would be nice to hear from others not the 10 minute solvers, so the setters could really guauge how hard they are. I don’t believe I am alone in finding these tough, and the same contributors who are obviously good at them does not give us newbies an indication of how bad we are, or how hard the puzzles are for us ordinary mortals.

    For the bloggers it is fairly depressing to constantly hear the puzzle is easy, when I have no doubt it is for you, which us why you blog, but definitely not for many of us. Maybe you could start to scale them which would help us to understand if we are getting better or worse.

    I am trying to be constructive here, and definitely value the blogs. Thanks

    1. Thanks for your very constructive input, anon. Levels of difficulty are hard to assess as they are very subjective, but if somebody can come up with a way of doing it that would be meaningful and helpful I’m sure we’d be pleased to adopt it.

      At the moment my only suggestion is that if more contributors posted their solving times, not just the bloggers, this would give a broader sample for others to compare with. Then it would be possible for a solver such as yourself to identify a regular or two who most frequently come near your own solving time, follow them each day and see how your time compares with theirs. Then if you have a hard solve and they did too you’ll know it was more likely the puzzle not you that caused it. This is what some TftT solvers of the Main Cryptic do, but there seems to be more reluctance to post solving times for the Quickie.

      I hope you will continue to enjoy the puzzles, make good progress and comment here often in the future. A name or nickname at the end of a posting would be nice to distinguish one anon from another. Or you could open a free Live Journal account and give yourself a userpic. Kind regards.

      Edited at 2016-07-14 10:59 am (UTC)

      1. Well, I’ve been doing these for a little over a year, and am disappointed if I don’t finish one.

        I’ve been finding this week’s puzzles on the harder side, with this one probably the hardest so far.

        For me, this was probably around 35 minutes in two visits, so well over my target of 15 minutes.

        Ping! Put that in your pipe and smoke it! 🙂

    2. I do really sympathise. Before the Quickie came about, I was constantly dispirited by the simply incredible times posted by contributors when I used to measure my progress by the number of times the sun crossed the horizon rather than the stopwatch.
      Since then I’ve gotten much, much better so in deference to those who do struggle I no longer post my times on this site for that very reason, restricting myself to comments about the clues themselves and discussion points which are far more interesting anyway than how quickly someone’s completed it (which often seems like boasting anyway).
      I’ve found the level of difficulty for the Quickie very subjective: for example yesterday’s took me over twice as long as today’s, yet there are many comments that today’s is very difficult.
      The best advice I can give is to judge it against your own performance, not other people. After all, it’s not competitive – unless you make it so.
    3. Hi Anon, and thanks for the feedback. As Jackkt and Deezzaa have indicated already, perhaps the best thing to do is to set your own target and measure your performance against that. I try for a 10 minute target for the QC, but frequently burst that, as I did today. I quote my times not to show off, but because it does go some way to ‘rating’ each puzzle. With my 10 minute target and a 12 minute completion today, today’s QC was 20% harder than average using my imperfect rating system. I usually include my target as well as my time so that others can make their own judgement, but today I neglected to do that.

      When I started doing the QC, times of 60 minutes were not uncommon, and for the main cryptic I could struggle for several hours (when I had the time). Now my QC average is more like 10 minutes and my 15 x 15 more like 40 minutes, which are not spectacular times when compared to some others. There is no shame in slower times – one way of looking at it is that those taking longer are also getting more pleasure!

      Thanks to Jackkt and Deezzaa for commenting, and keep going – you will get better.

    4. I can usually solve these crosswords in around 30 minutes but this week has been very hard so you are definitely not alone. I’ve managed the last two days but it has been a struggle.
    5. Totally agree with you.
      This one was ridiculously obscure in places.

      Maximus is back.

      1. Have to agree that this weeks QCs have been very difficult. I don’t think I have ever managed the 10 minute mark and can’t see that I ever will. I have a better than average vocabulary ( I am told!), am reasonably well read, did not have a ‘classic’ education but have a logical mind having worked my whole career in IT related jobs. I don’t usually measure my solving time precisely because I tend to put the puzzle down after 30 minutes or so and come back to it later. I rarely finish a puzzle completely (ie parsing all clues accurately even if I know the answers) without using the Internet to check meanings.
        I found last weeks QCs fairly easy, which means less than an hour overall, and this weeks are all DNFs as I had to come to this (brilliantly useful) blog to get the last couple of answers. So, for me, this week has definitely been too hard, but how can a setter judge whether they are getting the difficulty right when the standard of solver must vary so much? The ones here who consistently do 10-20 minutes can give an opinion and solvers like me can give theirs – good luck coming to a conclusion!
        Overall the QC is good fun and really satisfying to solve – if you can. I am about a year into doing it and still learning the tricks, deceits and confusions inflicted upon us. All I can say to those who struggled this week is – keep going! It IS frustrating when you think a clue is too obscure for a QC and I have moaned about that many times myself, but in the end it’s there for our entertainment and if we find it entertaining, whether we’re a ’10 minuter’ or a grumpy DNFer, then the setters are doing their job.
        1. Two of us do it together and have also found this week very hard. We sometimes don’t refer to the blog if we’ve finished it easily but this week we’ve needed to check every day. Three out of four DNF, including today.
  8. Don’t be disheartened by reported solving times. The reality is likely to lie between three minutes and three hours. However, the motivation to post is clearly more pressing for the experts (and some might possibly be tempted to round down . . .)

    If GQ magazine polled its readers about their driving skills on a 1 – 10 scale, what would you expect their answers to reveal?


  9. The Spratleys (The SE corner as they say in China) was a bit problematic but home in under 10.00.

    ANDOVER and MIRACLE being the offenders

    Jack: you would like everyone to contribute times like the bloggers!

    But not all bloggers do either! ‘Nick the Novice’ doesn’t.

    Enjoyable blog as ever from the rotter – the photo of TT alone brings joy aplenty. Absolute shower!

    horryd Shanghai

    1. I’m not actually bothered whether anyone, bloggers or contributors, post their solving times as it’s up to individuals to do whatever they are happiest with; I was only saying that if more people did so it might give others a better idea of the range of speeds around here rather than it sometimes appearing that everybody is quicker than they are. So in that respect it could be helpful.

      But as both deeezzaa and Rotter have said above, speed isn’t the only consideration, or even a consideration at all if one doesn’t choose to make it so. If I was put off by solving times posted by others in TftT for the Main Cryptic when compared to my own I’d probably have given up years ago. And as for the Crossword Club leader boards…say no more!

      Edited at 2016-07-14 01:51 pm (UTC)

  10. We found this puzzle slow and steady, like others, about 45 minutes. We enjoy the blogs which we find helpful and often amusing,thanks to all that contribute. We suspect that we are likemany others who onlycontribute occasionally, perhaps we should do so more often. Weare a husband and wife team who solve over a g and t in the afternoon. Elin & ian.
  11. Well, my times vary from a PB of about 35min up to a couple of hours split up over the day as I get the opportunity. This week has certainly been harder than usual. Frankly I don’t really bother about my times but more on the pleasure of teasing out answers. These days a DNF is uncommon but I have had a couple with a single letter error. Like some others, I didn’t believe 15a could be conservative until I proved it otherwise. Struggled with 4d pleasantly as a joke too. Didn’t see 30a as reversed hidden word either. However, I count this as a bigger success for all of that! This is where the blog is so useful. I’ve been doing these pretty well daily for about a year. So thx all, and to our setter.
  12. I have no intention of timing my solving speed as I do this for fun and it’s about the journey. Today was probably 30-45 mins with distractions. Interestingly the occasions that I fly through at 10-15 mins I enjoy least. This blog has definitely improved my skills and adds interest. So thanks to all.
  13. I post my time, which varies from 20-40 mins. I have a cut off at 40 mins, when I decide I have spent enough time, and post a DNF. Since reading the blog (3 months or so) my average times have gone down from about 45 mins to 25 mins. This week I found Mon & Tue the hardest for weeks, but Wed & Thu have been much easier. The times posted below 10 mins seem awesome: I can’t ever imagine doing those times.
  14. Well, I don’t know whether I was off form or what, but I really struggled with this. After two sittings and an hours worth of thought I still needed the help of electronic aids with half a dozen clues. For me, this wad easily the hardest of the week. . . so far ! Invariant
  15. I didn’t find this one too bad. I thought it was going to be at first mainly because I struggled with the NW corner. But in the end I came in at around 21 minutes, a bit slower than yesterday but about average. I set myself a “Pomodoro” of 25 mins to do the QC. I Like it’s standard. By comparison I had a stab at the “easy” proper cryptic too and only got about 6 answers.

    I have no idea how the sub 10 minuters do it, I think it takes me that long to read the clues. Thanks Blogger & setter.

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