Quick cryptic No 853 by Hawthorn

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A rushed blog today, I’m afraid, due to lack of time and pressure of work, and other circumstances outwith my control.  This inevitably means that there will be a mistake somewhere in what follows, for which I apologise in advance.

The puzzle was completed in 14 minutes, inside my target time, so was not particularly ‘thorny’.  However, parsing 19 took a while (I started thinking that the upper-class was ‘notable’ and tried to make that work, before stumbling on what I hope is the correct reason when typing up the blog).

Thanks to Hawthorn for a nice challenge.

Squarish half of byre contains bovine (4)
BOXY – First half of BY{re} containing OX (bovine)
3  One embraced by former Countdown host, short and a little porky (5,3)
WHITE LIE – The Countdown host was Richard WHITELE{y}, with the ‘y’ dropped (short) and an I inserted (One embraced).  A WHITE LIE is a small lie, or a little porky (from PORKY PIE – cockney rhyming slang for LIE
9  Go on law breaking in self-defeating act (3,4)
OWN GOAL – Anagram of [GO ON LAW]
10  Economise ruthlessly embodying Scrooge-like character (5)
MISER – Hidden answer in {econo}MISE R{uthlessly}
11  Symbol that’s represented in sum (5)
MINUS – Anagram of [IN SUM]
12  Holding area for mail train refurbished today at last (2,4)
IN TRAY – Anagram of [TRAIN] followed by last letter of {toda}Y (at last)
14  Turning red (13)
REVOLUTIONARY – Two word clues are invariably double definitions, as is the case here
17  Alarm about cold rarely encountered (6)
SCARCE – Alarm is SCARE which has C{old} in it (about)
19  Not one Tory abandoning upper-class peer (5)
NOBLE – Struggled a little parsing this, but I think it is as follows:  A Tory would be a BLUE, upper-class is ‘U’ (a favourite device in crosswordland), so ‘not one Tory’ would be NO BLUE, which after abandoning upper-class gives NO BL{u}E
22  Dislike constituent of salt, avoiding starter (5)
ODIUM – {s}ODIUM is one constituent of salt (sodium chloride), which, avoiding the starter gives ODIUM, my word of the day
23  Prompt car to wait in line, audibly (7)
AUTOCUE – Car gives AUTO, and to wait in line means to queue, which sounds like (CUE)
24  Bug environmentalist with travel by plane (8)
GREENFLY – An environmentalist is a GREEN (we know at least one of them exists) and to travel by plane is to FLY
25  Edges of iron poles and bars (4)
INNS – Edges of I{ro}N and the N and S poles

1 Aid for reading part of Bible (one of the Gospels) (8)
BOOKMARK – A BOOK is an identifiable part of the Bible, and MARK is one of the Gospels
Gas in canon exploded backwards (5)
XENON – Reverse hidden (in and backwards) in {ca}NON EX{plodded}
Serving hatch, perhaps, where bread may be obtained (4,2,3,4)
HOLE IN THE WALL – Bread here refers to ‘money’ to allow the double definition to work.  HOLE IN THE WALL is commonly used to refer to an ‘automatic telling machine’ or ATM, most often used to dispense cash
Entice short-term worker with contract finally (5)
TEMPT – Short term worker is a TEMP{orary}, followed by last letter (finally) of {contrac}T
6  Reinterpretation of Callas by a famous opera house (2,5)
LA SCALA – Anagram (reinterpretation) of [CALLAS] by A (by a) to give the name of the famous Milan opera house
7  Going up old street in France for currency(4)
EURO – Going up indicates ‘reversed’ in down clues, so reverse O{ld} RUE (street in France) to get EURO
8  Endeavour:  learner displays a bit (6)
MORSEL – This may cause non-Brits a moment of reflection.  Endeavour was famously the first name of Inspector Morse (famous in the UK at least) TV detective.  MORSE and L{earner} combine to give MORSEL, a bit of something
13  Extremely pretty and serene, moving around mountains (8)
PYRENEES – Extremely P{rett}Y (means first and last letters), followed by an anagram of [SERENE] to give the mountain range that separates the Iberian peninsula from the rest of Europe
15  A measure of fluid injected into vein, possibly (7)
VACCINE – The clue is an &Lit (the whole clue gives the definition part) and the answer is further clued by A (a) CC (measure of liquid) inserted in an anagram (possibly) of [VEIN]
16  Speak grandly about new fancy (6)
ORNATE – To speak grandly is to ORATE around N{ew}
18  Run out fellow centurion, maybe (5)
ROMAN – R{un} O{ut} MAN (fellow).  Other types of ROMANs are also available, hence the ‘maybe’
20  Meat that may be brought home and saved (5)
BACON – To ‘bring home the BACON’ and to ‘save someone’s BACON’ are two expressioins which mean ‘to achieve success’ and to ‘rescue someone from danger’ respectively – a kind of cryptic ‘clue be examples’
21  Improved on G&S ditty (4)
SONG – anagram (improved) of [ON] and [GS]

17 comments on “Quick cryptic No 853 by Hawthorn”

  1. With 18 minutes gone I had 14a, 8d and 15d remaining. Vaccine and “revelutionary” went in quickly.
    LOI Morsel seemed to fit the definition but the dreaded unlucky sign appeared. 5 further minutes to realise the typo.

    I thought miser was well hidden in 10a.
    Wasn’t sure about endeavour = morse for 8d and thought the ananagram indicator was ditty for 21d!

    Liked 4d hole in the wall but my COD is 18d Roman.

  2. Your blog is letter-perfect so far as I can tell, The (if I may call you by your first name). After 10 hours or so, I can’t really recall much, but a) I’ve learned Morse’s name after several appearances (his, not mine) in the 15x15s, and b) had no idea that 4d meant ATM. 7:41.
  3. 10:50 here, with the NW taking longest and requiring a revisit after moving round the rest of the grid. FOI was BOXY and LOI MORSEL, which I didn’t see until I had all the crossers. HITW was a write in as I used to fix them in a previous life. One of the most irritating things about this work was the number of people who would come up and ask “Is it working?” while you had it spread all over the floor. Thanks Hawthorn and Rotter.
  4. I may have made an error here in my rush. My first comment was spam, which I deleted, but I may have set the delete action for all comments and don’t quite know how to reverse that, if anyone is watching, please can they provide some help?
  5. 12 minutes for what I thought was slightly tougher than some of late. I also struggled to parse NOBLE but got there in th end.

    Rotter, I have just sent a message to your LJ account if you’d care to check for it. I mention it here because some (including myself) forget to check their mail boxes. I rely on automatic notifications which are not always forthcoming.

    Edited at 2017-06-15 10:07 am (UTC)

  6. I was puzzled by 15d because the one thing one strenuously avoids on the administration of a vaccine is to inject it into a vein …
  7. I thought this was a good test and not ‘easy’ by any stretch of the imagination. I completed it in 21 minutes, the last few of which were spent trying to parse 19 and 25a, which I eventually gave up on. I feel I should have remembered that poles can mean N & S but 19 was beyond me. As usual an entertaining puzzle form Hawthorn but my COD was 4d. LOI 25a.
    thanks for the explanations therotter.
  8. A good day for me with this one, though NOBLE was a guess and it took your parsing to explain it, Mr Rotter. I liked 3 across 🙂 and XENON. Thanks all.
  9. Going through a rough patch at the moment. This was another ‘easy’ one that took the best part of 50 mins. Invariant
  10. Endeavour and Whiteley in the same puzzle! So I expect this will mean some find it harder than others. A tricky SE corner could also trip you. I’ve not seen “Improved” used as an anagram indicator before (although I expect it has). So an excellent puzzle completed in about 15m. Thanks all
  11. 22 minutes for me, well within my 30 minute target. No real problems here. Like others, I couldn’t fully parse NOBLE, but had as far as NOB?E, and reference to a peer left little doubt.
  12. Excellent comprehensive blog from therotter, despite his fears! A leisurely 40 minutes for me which was fine, enjoyable if not fast. Stuck on Morsel as loi but suddenly remembered the fuss over the revealing of his first name, Endeavour. Enjoyed 14a and 4d particularly. Pexiter.
  13. Toughest for a long time, actually – last two answers only came to mind walking through the Savoy Gardens!

    This could be because I don’t watch much telly and was therefore flummoxed by “endeavour” for “morse”. But even so my LOI was MINUS – I simply didn’t spot the anagram!! (And obviously I therefore think it was incredibly well concealed … 😏)

    That was a great puzzle, lots of clever clues and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks Hawthorn, and thanks Rotter for the blog.

    In re 22ac – the original clerihew was
    “Sir Humphry Davy
    Abominated gravy.
    He lived in the odium
    Of having discovered sodium.”


    1. Thank you Sir (?) for introducing me to Edmund Clerihew Bentley. Even if I ever knew the meaning, it had been long forgotten. Invariant
  14. I found this one heavy going but only my own fault.

    19a Just had to be NOBLE so I bunged it in but didn’t see the WP with Tory so thanks Rotter.
    22a I raced off on the NaCl/acid/base trail until I thought to convert the symbols into words. What a surprise that crosswords are, indeed, about words not chemistry.
    (Probably wouldn’t have got it otherwise as I think of odium as several notches above dislike.)
    A good challenge for me today, thanks Hawthorn and Rotter

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