Quick cryptic No 833 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I didn’t find this one too easy, it taking me 2 more than my target of 15 minutes, but it was an enjoyable solve, with a couple of thorny issues and some very nice clues.  I have to go for 1d as the Clue of the Day (CoD) but it was run close by 3d and 1a.  My Word of the Day (WoD) has to be FECUND, so rarely encountered these days.

Thanks Tracy for a nice challenge.

1  Even better item worn on the head (4,3)
FLAT CAP – Even is FLAT and to better something is to CAP it
Comfort stop, not the first (4)
EASE – {c}EASE.  The first letter is dropped as instructed
Direct football official about backs (5)
REFER – Football official is REF and about is RE which is reversed (backs)
Sightseer, one in French city close to coast (7)
TOURIST – TOURS is a French university city.  Insert a I (one) and finish with the close of {coas}T (i.e. the last letter), et voila!
10  Also accepted king must go (3)
TOO – Accepted is TOO{k} – the K{ing} is dropped
11  Pronounced wickedness, very curious in place of worship (9)
SYNAGOGUE – SYN (pronounced SIN, i.e. wickedness) followed by AGOGUE (pronounced AGOG, i.e. very curious, as in ‘I am all agog’)
13  Complete set of religious books located in Ireland (6)
ENTIRE – Ireland is EIRE, and the set of religious books located inside is the N{ew} T{estament}
14  Fruitful supply across the City (6)
FECUND – The supply is a FUND which crosses (i.e. contains) EC.  EC (E{ast} C{entral}) are the first two letters of the postcode for almost all of the City of London, as well as part of several London Boroughs that border it, and in Crosswordland, City is often used to mean EC and visa versa
17  Very depressed before this new card game (4,5)
SOLO WHIST – Very depressed gives us SO LOW, which is followed by an anagram of [THIS], with new as the anagrind (anagram indicator).  SOLO WHIST isn’t a game of patience as implied (i.e. played alone) but a type of card game based on WHIST where the declarer may choose to play without a partner
19  Scheduled affair of honour?  Not quite (3)
DUE – An affair of honour used to be a DUE{l}.  Not quite indicates that the last letter should be dropped
20  Monica worried about daughter moving from place to place(7)
NOMADIC – Anagram of [MONICA] (indicated by ‘worried’) and D{aughter}
22  Expert in a reduced department (5)
ADEPT – To be expert at something is to be ADEPT at it.  This is constructed by A (a) and DEPT (an abbreviation (reduced) for department)
23  Obstacle found by small horse (4)
SNAG – S{mall} and NAG (horse)
24  Poet, writer on board Queen Elizabeth  (7)
SPENSER – The writer is a PEN which is ‘on board’ the SS ER (the Queen Elizabeth).  The poet is Edmund Spenser, best known for The Faerie Queen

1 Adam and I (5,6)
FIRST PERSON – An elegant and succinct double definition clue.  Adam and I are each the FIRST PERSON
Offend a female head (7)
AFFRONT – Constructed from A (a) F{emale} and FRONT for head (as in to front or head a column)
Opener in county’s team (9)
CORKSCREW – The county is CORK and the team is CREW, so the county’s team becomes CORK’S CREW – a bottle opener
They help mountaineers no end climbing on top of Snowdon (6)
PITONS – No end gives NO TIP, which is reversed (climbing in a down clue), and top of S{nowdon} indicates the first letter, to give the mountaineers tool
Bird Science Museum exhibits (3)
EMU – Hidden in {scienc}E MU{seum}
Toss first of seals fish (5)
SLING – First letter of S{eals} followed by LING.  Ling is a fish of the cod family, most often encountered in Crosswordland
One leading the way in drift with dog (11)
TRENDSETTER – Drift gives TREND and the dog could be any of a number of types of SETTER
12  Read agent shot dog (5,4)
GREAT DANE – A second consecutive canine clue, this time an anagram, anagrind being ‘shot’, of [READ AGENT]
15  Take off something worn in warm weather – not initially (7)
UNDRESS – The something worn in hot weather might be a {s}UNDRESS where the first letter is dropped (not initially)
16  Briefly about, American in big top (6)
CIRCUS – Briefly about gives CIRC{a} and American gives US
18  Fruit found in Jerusalem once (5)
LEMON – Hidden answer, in {Jerusa}LEM ON{ce}
21  Like an archaeological excavation (3)
DIG – Another double definition.  To like something is to DIG it, and a DIG is a common name for the site that archaeologists are working on

22 comments on “Quick cryptic No 833 by Tracy”

  1. Didn’t enjoy this as usual. Although 1d was a good clue.

    Gave up after 40mins with unknown 4d o/s.

  2. Gradually picking up speed as the week goes on, so undoubtedly will come a cropper tomorrow.

    Agree with blogger re COD(s) and WOD. Thanks Tracy and Rotter.

  3. 9 minutes for this very nice puzzle. Needed all the checkers to remember PITONS and FECUND, both words I know but don’t think of very often. Having a good week so far on the QC front.
  4. Crikey. I found yesterday’s Championship Qualifier easier than this …..
  5. I timed myself accurately for the first time ever on either crossword. I barely stumbled over any clue but it took me that long to read the clues and write in the answers. I have no idea how others do the 15 x 15 in less than 5 minutes.
    Thanks to Tracy and the R.
  6. As there is a wonderful apocryphal story about a judge describing a defendant as a “fecund liar”, with predictable results …

    I enjoyed that, finished before London Bridge. Loved FIRST PERSON and also loved SYNAGOGUE, which gets my COD.

    So nearly biffed TRAILBLAZER at 9dn!! But restrained myself.

    How come I always finish the QC quite easily but can hardly ever get a foothold in the 15×15?


    1. I find the step between the QC and the 15×15 to be very demanding and I rarely get more than a handful of clues and even that takes a fair amount of time.
  7. A lot of high quality clues today, I thought. I picked out three as contenders for COD -1d, 17a and 3d. Maybe 1d edges it.
    It took me 19 minutes. Definitely a challenge and I was not helped by putting a tentative Spikes for 4d which proved hard to unpick. LOI was 22a. David
  8. Not the easiest today, but still managed to finish. My LOI was PITONS as I’ve never heard of them, and the clueing was quite tricky, I thought. 1dn is a fantastic clue. I hesitated to put in AFFRONT for 2dn as I misread the clue as “Offend a female heard,” so was trying to understand how front meant female! I initially put in SHAKE for 6dn, which I suppose could mean “toss”, so that caused some issues with 11ac. A very enjoyable and satisfying crossword. Gribb.
  9. I particularly enjoyed this puzzle from Tracy, with several challenging clues and contenders for COD – including 1d, 11a, 17a and 3d. Completed in 19 minutes with the last couple of those working out the parsing of the unknown 17a.
    Thanks to therotter for an informative blog.
  10. I found this relatively straightforward, improving on yesterday’s time to come in at 6:54. FOI was FLAT CAP and LOI FECUND. Needed all the crossers for CORKSCREW. Thanks Tracy and Rotter.
  11. Another triumph by my admittedly low standards. My only real hold-up was putting WOMAN instead of PERSON for 1D – didn’t cause a problem for NOMADIC but when it came to ENTIRE…gah. COD for me was SYNAGOGUE. And I remembered EC for “City” so thanks to all the bloggers who make us novices’ lives easier!
  12. I found this one very hard. I did manage to finish it, but it took 45 minutes. I got PITONS and FIRST PERSON quite easily. Possibly because my name is Adam and I used to do an awful lot of rock climbing (although I don’t think they use pitons anymore, at least not in the UK). LOI CORKSCREW. I just didn’t see it until every crosser was in.
  13. Another triumph by my admittedly low standards. My only real hold-up was putting WOMAN instead of PERSON for 1D – didn’t cause a problem for NOMADIC but when it came to ENTIRE…gah. COD for me was SYNAGOGUE. And I remembered EC for “City” so thanks to all the bloggers who make us novices’ lives easier!
  14. As Rotter points out, the reversal indicator is “climbing” as it’s a down clue. This reversal indicator wouldn’t work in an across clue. Trend is equivalent to drift in that people may trend or drift towards a certain course of action…
    1. Thanks…I guess it was the end = tip bit that wasn’t obvious. Looking at it now it does make sense, although easily said in hindsight of course


  15. I found this a real struggle today and felt it was definitely on the hard side.

    DNF as I didn’t know “Fecund” for 14ac.

    Took an age on the NE corner, as I initially had Rest for 5ac and Shake for 6dn which obviously didn’t fit. Also, I had Shire in as part of 3dn which also threw me for a while.

    Could someone explain the “no tip” for Pitons clueing. I got the word, but still don’t get the clueing. Similarly “drift” = “trend” ??

    FOI 10ac, COD 1dn

    Thanks as always…


  16. More enjoyable than most, recently. I managed to finish without too much resorting to aids. Had no idea why several were right (Spenser and piton, for example). It was the top right that caused most problems.
    I guess it must have been on the easy side, as I didn’t sit for hours staring at clues with a total blank.
    Thanks for the explanations…

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