Quick cryptic No 743 by Des

I don’t think I have blogged a puzzle by Des before, and I had no difficulty adapting to him on this occasion, my total time being well inside my 15 minute target.

Some nice clues here, with little need for any extensive General Knowledge (except perhaps ECRU), and everything going in without a struggle.  Thanks Setter, and Happy New Year to everyone.

Prisoner perhaps popular with friend (6)
INMATE – Popular is ‘IN’ and friend is ‘MATE’
Tip up plain vase (8)
OVERTURN – Plain is ‘OVERT’ and vase is ‘URN’
Delicate insect crossing one manuscript (6)
FLIMSY – The insect is a ‘FLY’ which crosses, or has inserted in it I (one) M{anu}S{cript}
9  In Waterloo, pal lustily recalled Scottish resort (8)
ULLAPOOL – Reverse hidden in {water}LOO PAL LU{stilly}.  Ullapool is a major tourist destination in Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands, despite having only 1500 or so inhabitants, by virtue of the fact that, even at that size, it is the largest settlement for many miles around.
10  Skin condition not considered(4)
RASH –Double definition referring to a (usually) itchy RASH and a RASH action respectively
12  Hunter discovered holding bullock, close to ranch (8)
FOXHOUND – Discovered gives ‘FOUND’, which has inserted (holding) OX and {ranc}H (i.e. close to, or last letter of rancH)
15  One taking car from girl – a legal stipulation (8)
JOYRIDER – JOY is the girl, and RIDER the legal stipulation, being a ‘condition or proviso added to something already agreed’.
18  Weaselly creature losing head?  Exactly! (2,1,1)
TO A T – The weaselly creature is a {s}TOAT, otherwise known as the short-tailed weasel.  When something is ‘done to a T’, it is done perfectly, or exactly!
20  More flexible about one’s dealer (8)
SUPPLIER – To be more flexible is to be SUPPLER, into which is inserted I (about one’s)
22  English planes carrying first of captives and exiles (6)
EJECTS – E{nglish} followed by JETS ‘carrying’ first of C{aptives}
23  Yet competition ultimately free, strangely, with this? (5,3)
ENTRY FEE – The whole clue works as a kind of reverse &Lit, with the answer further clued as an anagram (indicated by ‘strangely’) of [YET] with {competition}N (ultimately indicating last letter) and [FREE]
24  Answer certain to be readily available (6)
ABOUND – A{nswer} BOUND (certain, as in BOUND to happen).  To ABOUND is to be readily available.

1 Nothing very large about article shaped like Easter gift? (4)
OVAL – Nothing gives O, V{ery} L{arge} around A (article)
2  Her caper disturbed a clergyman (8)
PREACHER – Straightforward anagram indicated by ‘disturbed’ of [HER CAPER]
German’s recycled old fur (6)
RUDOLF – Another straightforward anagram, indicated this time by ‘recycled’ of [OLD FUR].  RUDOLF and its variants and diminutives (Rolf, Rodolf, Rudolph, Rudy) are all common masculine given names in German, and several Kings and Rulers have been so-named.
Arrival at home with illness by ten (6)
INFLUX – At home gives IN, the illness is FLU and ten is indicated by the Roman numeral X
5  Old woman one left in post (4)
MAIL – MA is the usual ‘old woman’, I (one) and L{eft}
6 State expressions of gratitude: an obsession (8)
TASMANIA – TAS are expressions of gratitude (informal thank you), followed by MANIA which is the obsession
11  What to expect from competent handyman, thankfully (1,4,3)
A GOOD JOB – A double definition, one of them cryptic
13  Poet’s work was outstanding when recited (3)
ODE – Sounds like ‘owed’ when spoken – today’s homophone clue
14  Performs better than us at poly, unexpectedly (8)
OUTPLAYS – Another simple anagram, clued by ‘unexpectedly’, of [US AT POLY]
16  Small boy after party’s slept (6)
DOSSED – The small boy is S{mall} ED{ward} which follows DO’S or ‘party’s’.  DOSSED is one of those evocative words that always reminds me of the late 60’s when sleeping rough was a common experience (at least for me).
17  Place in short grass for standing (6)
REPUTE – The short grass is REE{d} with last letter dropped.  Insert PUT (place) as instructed
19  Grey colour cell shows up (4)
ECRU – A second reversed hidden in today’s QC, this time in {colo}UR CE{ll}.  ECRU is unbleached linen, or its greyish brown colour
21  Business manager and former partner, each appearing on and off (4)
EXEC – A former partner is oft referred to as an EX, and E{a}C{h} appearing ‘on and off’ refers to alternate letters of the word ‘each’.

19 comments on “Quick cryptic No 743 by Des”

  1. Rotter, you appear to have had a copy/paste moment. You’ve included an extra 22a from a previous blog.
    Pretty standard fare today. Liked the long reverse inclusion and a state that isn’t transpondic for a change. 4’45”
    1. Thanks for pointing that out – now edited and resolved. I was in a bit of a rush this morning, and was constantly interrupted whilst writing the Blog – apologies.
  2. 7′, so above average. Have been to ULLAPOOL, did not understand why it is a tourist destination, apart from being there. TO A T is now too familiar. Thanks rotter and Des.
  3. 41 mins today for a tough and enjoyable puzzle. However it always seems easy when you review the answers.

    My last 2 in were 23a (entry fee) and 24a (abound).

    6d (Tasmania) was made trickier because of the 2 letters without checkers.

    For the parsing: 20a, it seemed obvious but is suppler a word?
    For 3d I will remember Rudolf for Germans. Maybe reindeer would be better!
    And 21 down, I wasn’t sure what “on and off” did, so thanks.

    My favourite clues were 12a (foxhound) and 18a (to a t).

    1. “Suppler/supplest” are listed in ODE but as “suppler” is part of the wordplay here it doesn’t actually have to exist. The classic example you’ll meet over and again is “flower” in the sense of something that flows, clueing the name of a river. It may exist but it’s not in the dictionaries I have to hand.

      Edited at 2017-01-12 11:31 am (UTC)

        1. You’re welcome. I was going to add that the Red-nosed Reindeer being of American origin is spelt Rudolph.
  4. Ah, darn, I had MAID down for 5dn! I was also convinced for ages that the setter had made a mistake at 16dn and it was DOSED, but of course the spelling is “dozed”. A nice crossword. Like others, I wasn’t quite sure how I came to get the “ec” part of 21dn. Gribb.
  5. Well, I made heavy going of this, spotting but not being able to do the anagrams on the first pass. Eventually my brain woke up, and I finished in 40 mins – slightly longer than average for me. Also, can I claim an alternative for 3d ? Ludorf seems to fit the clue, albeit not quite as common a name. Another excellent blog, so a very HNY to you, Rotter. Invariant
  6. I found this quite tough, with only a handful of answers going in on my first pass. It then became a slow but steady progression from the NW until finishing in the SE. My last two in were 19d, which was unknown to me, and 20d which I couldn’t parse (thanks for the explanation rotter).
    Eventually completed in 23 minutes
  7. From the comments above it seems the QCers found this quite tough. I agree.
    It took me 20 minutes and I had put in two at the end ECRU AND EXEO (21d) which I was doubtful about. Ecru is a new word to me but I saw the hidden. For 21a I thought that EO could be executive officer and the word I created might be a Latin stage instruction or similar -I go on and off stage. The lengths we go to justify a wrong answer. I liked To a T and had not seen it before. David
  8. Just under the 30mins mark. Never heardo of ECRU, but shoved it in from the crossers and wordplay. I couldn’t parse 22A. Having thought more, wouldn’t it be better as:

    “Yet competition ultimately free, strangely, WITHOUT this?”

    1. If the clue were to read as you propose, then free would have to be doing double duty, as it’s already part of the anagram fodder. To make it work you’d need the clue to read
      “Yet competition ultimately free, strangely, free WITHOUT this?”
  9. Today’s 15×15 is quite friendly, with several multi-word answers that give you a good start. Invariant
  10. Found this reasonably straight forward although I was slowed down a bit in the SW taking 10 minutes altogether. Liked 23a and 15a which was my LOI. To a T was fresh in my memory from a recent 15×15 so no problems there. Thanks Rotter and Des.

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