Quick cryptic No 793 by Hawthorn

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Through this in 12 minutes at 05:30 this morning, which kept my mind off the events of yesterday at least for a while.  With about another million people, I was within half a mile of Westminster when I was alerted to the incident by the sirens and helicopters.  I avoided the temptation to make a reference when looking at 5d, but taste prevailed, although I have now done it here.  My thoughts and sympathy to anyone who has been affected.

Returning to this blog, I was lucky to get both the long down answers very early, which helped with a time comfortably within my target.  Thanks Hawthorn, it wasn’t too thorny!

Saucy letters delivered by the ladleful? (8,4)
ALPHABET SOUP – Not something with which I have personal experience, but a nice easy cryptic &lit clue to start
Tea in tsarina’s samovar (5)
ASSAM – Hidden answer in {tsarin}AS SAM{ovar}
Saw run completed, breaking personal best (7)
PROVERB – R{un} with OVER (completed) inside (breaking) P{ersonal} B{est}
10  Toboggan going around field was glittering (8)
SPARKLED – The toboggan is a SLED which surrounds (goes around) PARK (field)
10  Hot year grips area, creating dried grass (3)
HAY – Select first letters, or abbreviations of H{ot} and Y{ear} and put A{rea} between them
11  Left in Santiago, desperately yearning for the past (9)
NOSTALGIA – Anagram, indicated by ‘desperately’, of [SANTIAGO] and [L] for L{eft}
13  Rubbish doctor initially seems so retrogressive (5)
DROSS – DR for doctor followed by first letter (initially) of S{eems} and SO reversed (regressive) in the middle
14  Pleasant hosting European relative (5)
NIECE – Pleasant is NICE holding (hosting) E{uropean}
16  Disincentive to make mistake in almost complete detente (9)
DETERRENT – To ERR is to make a mistake, inside DETENT{e} (almost complete meaning missing last letter)
17  After word of refusal, daughter gets gesture of assent (3)
NOD – NO is the word of refusal, followed by D{aughter}, and a NOD’s as good as a wink to a blind bat in a thunderstorm – see the Monty Python blind bat sketch!
19  Discipline Conservative – and hurry up about it! (7)
CHASTEN – C{onservative} and HASTEN
21  Fashionable pet hopelessly clumsy (5)
INEPT – IN (fashionable) followed by an anagram (hopelessly) of [PET]
22  Injudicious legwear with eight artificial diamonds  (5,7)
SHORT SIGHTED – Legwear is SHORTS with and anagram of [EIGHT] (indicated by artificial), and D{iamonds} for the final flourish

1 A party gives cause to feel embarrassed (5)
ABASH – A (a) and BASH (party)
What moves a cat to sit on the fence? (9)
PUSSYFOOT – A double definition, the first cryptic.  To sit on the fence is to avoid making a decision, usually between two alternative choices, whilst to PUSSYFOOT is to act in a cautious or non-committal way, to move warily or stealthily.  They are roughly synonymous, but I can’t really make my mind up about it.
3  Transmit radio plays for organiser (13)
ADMINISTRATOR – Anagram, where the anagrind is ‘plays’ and the anagrist is [TRANSMIT RADIO].  It was nice to see this virtually instantly, giving a good start to the solve – I usually look at the long ones first.
Reveal employees’s tips for grasping XP operating system (6)
EXPOSE – The tips are the first and last letters of E{mploye}E, which grasp (contain) XP and O{perating} S{ystem}.  XP (also known as Whistler) was all the fashion in 2001 when released by Microsoft
Act unscrupulously and go through red lights, zebra crossings, etc? (4,2,7)
STOP AT NOTHING – Another double definition, this time with the second definition being the slightly cryptic one.
Employ some housemaids (3)
USE – Hidden answer in {ho}USE{maids}
7  A bishop with zeal for reform is extremely fiery (6)
ABLAZE – A (a) B{ishop} followed by an anagram of [ZEAL] where the anagrind is ‘for reform’
12  Judo grade that can’t be improved upon? (5,4)
GREEN BELT – Double definition, the second one referring to the current ban on developing GREEN BELT land in the UK
13  To work out, I’d bend muscles at regular intervals (6)
DEDUCE – Alternate letters (at regular intervals) of {i}D {b}E{n}D {m}U{s}C{l}E{s}.
15  Commit fault by net after returning – in this sport? (6)
TENNIS – To commit a fault is to SIN with NET and the whole thing reversed (returning)
18  Went out with old hat (5)
DATED – Straightforward double definition
20  Tree has nuts (3)
ASH – Anagram with anagrind ‘nuts’ and anagrist [HAS]

27 comments on “Quick cryptic No 793 by Hawthorn”

  1. Dreadful news from London – so sorry for the victims and families.

    9.14 was the length of my trundle.

    COD 12dn GREEN BELT and WOD STOP AT NOTHING – it would appear.

    Thanks Mr. Rotter

  2. 9 minutes. Loved 1ac. 12dn too, as “can’t be improved on” can be taken in different ways depending on one’s views on restrictions on using green belt land in the light of the current housing crisis.

    I didn’t know that PB was an official abbreviation for “Personal Best”as I’ve only ever met it here with reference to solving times and assumed someone had made it up (like BIFD), so I checked SOED and found it there, but also that it can stand for “poor bloody”. I wonder if that will turn up one day.

    Edited at 2017-03-23 07:25 am (UTC)

  3. 33 mins and a good portion of those on LOI 19a chasten.
    Lots of good clues (2d, 5d, 12d) but COD to 20d ash.

    There are 2 10a in the blog.

    1. Sorry about the duplicate 10 Ac in the blog – it is leftover from the previous blog that I edited to create this one. For some reason, LiveJournal won’t let me edit it at the moment, so I can’t delete it for now.
  4. I think I got in under 5′, or maybe it was 6′; I did this on my other computer and this one has it untouched. I resisted the temptation to be a neutrino for a day. Anyway, pretty straightforward, although I didn’t get the GREEN BELT allusion to improvement, and I had the same doubts as our Rotter about the definition of PUSSYFOOT, although no doubt Chambers or Collins will allow it.
  5. A dnf because of 1ac. Don’t know how I didn’t get it now. I don’t see a 10ac “sparkled” in my crossword. Raced through this initially, but then slowed down by a few tricky ones. Gribb.
  6. That was one of the most enjoyable QC’s for a long time with so many entertaining clues e.g. 1a, 2d, 18d and 5d. But my COD goes to 12d. Held up for a bit by trying to fit ‘it’ into the middle of 19a (LOI). Completed in 18 minutes. Thanks to Hawthorn and therotter for the blog/
  7. A dnf for me today as i couldn’t get dross. But all the rest flew in (for me) in 17 mins. Cod 12d.
  8. My experience echoes Plett11 above. I had IT in the middle of 19a for a while. It was my LOI and I finished in 16 minutes. Enjoyable puzzle. COD Green Belt. David
  9. I tackled this one in the small hours, after doing the tricky T2 Concise, and despite being tired finished in 6:46, so a pretty straightforward solve. Lots of the answers rolled in at first sight, but a couple needed more careful thought. I liked 1a, 3d and 5d, which gave lots of helpful crossers. Wasted some time looking for something meaning diamonds at 22a until I had enough crossers to biff it. FOI USE, LOI SHORT SIGHTED. Thanks Hawthorne and Rotter.
  10. 5.0 +/- a few seconds so approaching PB territory but not quite. I carried my form over from a very good 15×15 time, so I am on a roll today. No red wine since Sunday- I do hope the two are not connected.
  11. Loved this one! Fairly straightforward – 12 minutes – yet a sense of accomplishment at the end, and a good dose of humour. Thank-you Hawthorne.
  12. DNF – for some reason struggled on 9a and 3d. On the latter I was convinced Transmit was the anagrind, but just couldn’t get the description. Obvious now so I’m kicking myself.

    I also enjoyed 12d, although reading the surface I initially thought BLACK. FOI was 17a, and made good progress on the bottom RH corner after that until I came stuck on the clues notes above.

    Oh well – will keep at it…


    1. Hi guys … first time here as first time I finished one without looking at your help (I’m Italian and some words are outside my vocabulary unfortunately; but getting addicted to this puzzles). Less than 10 minutes also, although I added proverb only as only word that could fit, as I didn’t get it through the clue itself.
      See you soon, unclemarvo.
  13. Managed to finish this in a couple of hours on and off with only a couple that I really struggled with so it must have been an easy one 🙂 I had to cheat with 3d – I knew it was an anagram but couldn’t see it without help.
    Wanted to have ‘con’ or ‘tory’ in 19ac. This habit of just using the first letters of words is irritating….
    At 18ac, looking back I see I had ‘determent’ and not ‘deterrent’ – no wonder I couldn’t see why it should be that! So I suppose I can’t really claim to have finished at all – ho hum…
    FOI: 8ac and 2d. Struggled with 13d, 16ac & 19ac.
  14. 22 minutes for me. I’m happy with that. They mostly went in at a reasonable rate. I liked 12d, as at first I thought it must be black belt, and not really very cryptic. Then realised it had to start with a “G”, and smiled as I realised it referred to green belt land. A friend of mine is trying to build an extension to his house, which is in a green belt area, and it’s quite a struggle. I thought 13d would started with DI as in “I’d bent”, with bent indicating some kind of moving around of I’d. However, DIDUCE just didn’t seem right, and do I biffed in DEDUCE. Didn’t spot that the “regular intervals” spanned the other two words. I think ASH has popped up very recently here, as well.
    1. Glad it wasn’t only me who initially thought black belt…Ash has been used recently (either in answer or a clue) which is why I didn’t think it would come up again…but then I spotted the rather obvious anagram.


      1. I think it was Tuesday. The clue was along the lines of “like hard wood (3)”
  15. Quite fast for me at about 35 minutes. Very enjoyable. Didn’t manage to parse 22a completely but if worked fine… FOI 8a LOI 19a COD 5d (which was so obvious to be a write-in). Thx to all.
    1. Biff is derived from the acronym BIFD – Bunged In From Definition, first mooted by Grestyman on the 15×15 blog. Anagrind(a word reviled by Horryd) means anagram indicator. Anagrist refers to the letters to be rearranged.
  16. How do you get proverb to mean saw ? I get the rest of the clue i.e. r over inside pb – but how does that mean saw?
    1. Main definitions of saw in English: saw1saw2saw3


      A proverb or maxim.
      ‘it is worth bearing in mind another old saw: ‘oppositions do not win elections; governments lose them’’
      More example sentencesSynonyms
      Old English sagu ‘a saying, speech’, of Germanic origin; related to German Sage, also to say and saga.

  17. I finished in 18 minutes with everything correctly parsed,so I am delighted. I rarely get in under 20 minutes.(I can’t ever imagine being able to finish in 5 minutes as some do. I don’t think I could read through the clues that quickly!) My COD is 15d. I like the way the clue reads… and I am a bit of a tennis fan. LOI 19a MM

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