Quick cryptic No 883 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Inside 10 minutes for this entertaining little offering from Tracy, so after some slow solves earlier this week, I feel that I am back on track, or on the wavelength.

Some less common words here (THANE, OLFACTORY, PARTISAN, ACROSTIC, KEYSTONE) which may cause pause for thought, but overall, I thought this was well targeted for the QC, providing a real enough challenge for newbies, and yet satisfying enough for the more experienced solver.  Nicely judged Tracy.

I seem to have fixed the line spacing issue now – apologies for the confusion (on edit)

8.            Mean to maintain maturity (7)
AVERAGE – To maintain is to AVER, and maturity is AGE
9.            Deeply distressed, snubbed at university (3,2)
CUT UP – CUT is snubbed, and as is often the case in Crosswordland, UP is ‘at university’.  Conversely, not being at university is often ‘down’, as in sent down
10.          One article about another clan chief (5)
THANE – THE (the definite article) around (about) AN (an indefinite one).  THANE could be a king’s companion, or in Scotland, a clan chief
11.          Saw first in series, condensed (7)
SPOTTED – First in S{eries} and POTTED, as in ‘potted history’ where it is a synonym for condensed
12.          Let ponies loose? Make a decision tomorrow (5,2,2)
SLEEP ON IT – anagram, indicated by ‘loose’, of [LET PONIES].  To sleep on a decision is to postpone it, to consider overnight or generally to delay making the decision for a period of time
14.          Creature in novel, ‘Kidnapped’ (3)
ELK – hidden answer in {nov}EL K{idnapped}
16.          Arrest northern sailor (3)
NAB – N{orthern} and AB for sailor, from A{ble} B{odied} seaman.  An Able Bodied Seaman was traditionally a deckhand with more than two-years’ experience at sea, and therefore well acquainted with his duties.
18.          Concerned with smell round large mill (9)
OLFACTORY – O (round) plus L{arge} plus FACTORY (mill)
21.          Drama training knight in enclosure (7)
PLAYPEN – Drama is PLAY, training is PE (from physical education) and N is knight, from chess notation
22.          Talk about king’s plan (5)
CHART – CHAT (talk) around (about) R for king
23.          At home, confined to bed, rejected pick-me-up (5)
TONIC – At home is IN which is inserted into COT (bed) and then the whole thing reversed (rejected)
24.          Information for base (3-4)
LOW-DOWN – double definition

1.            Pressure put on skilled worker, resistance fighter (8)
PARTISAN – P{ressure} and ARTISAN.  An artisan is a skilled manual worker, whilst a PARTISAN in WWII was a resistance fighter within enemy occupied territory
2.            Expert pursuing soldiers in danger (6)
MENACE – soldiers gives MEN and expert provides ACE
3.            Male took food for friend (4)
MATE – M{ale} and ATE for ‘took food’.  There is quite a choice of meanings for MATE, including the one used here where it equates to ‘friend’
4.            Think logically with reference to a male child (6)
REASON – with reference to gives RE and a male child would be A SON
5.            A cold potato dish initially caused a puzzle (8)
ACROSTIC – A (a) C{old} ROSTI (potato dish) and C{aused} (initially).  An ACROSTIC is a poem or puzzle in which the first (or last) letters of each line spell a word or sentence.  It can also mean an acronym
6.            Cast figure, standing, not right (6)
STATUE – From STATU{r}E (standing, not R{ight})
7.            Small sweet potato (4)
SPUD – S(mall) PUD{ding} (sweet)
13.          View for half of spectators (8)
PROSPECT – PRO (for) SPECT{ators} (half of them)
15.          Openers, sound, creating foundation (8)
KEYSTONE – KEYS (openers) and TONE (sound).  KEYSTONE here is something on which all else depends, in other words a foundation
17.          Clever, supporter wearing latest in grey (6)
BRAINY – the supporter here is a BRA{ssiere} with IN (wearing) and {gre}Y (last in)
19.          A line in very good last act (6)
FINALE – Very good is FINE which contains A (a) and L{ine}
20.          Speaker from Dartmoor, a Tory (6)
ORATOR – Hidden in (from) {dartmo}OR, A TOR{y}
21.          Feel sorry for mine, and yours at first (4)
PITY – PIT is from ‘mine’ followed by Y{ours} (at first)
22.          Caught, bird of prey in hood (4)
COWL – C{aught} and OWL (bird of prey).

24 comments on “Quick cryptic No 883 by Tracy”

  1. KEYSTONE was my LOI, which meant it disappeared before I could think about it; it’s sort of ironic that the definition is ‘foundation’, given that a keystone is at the top of an arch. But such is language. 4:41.
    1. Yes, there seems to be a general linguistic blurring between ‘keystone’ and ‘cornerstone’.
  2. About 30 mins.

    Didn’t know acrostic and toyed with acryptic!

    17d is a bit clunky, I would have used:
    Clever supporter: takes in last of whisky(6)

    Also held up by the last few tricky ones: low-down, cowl and LOI spotted.

    COD 20d orator.

    Edited at 2017-07-27 07:04 am (UTC)

  3. Finished in 30 mins with my LOI being the unknown ACROSTIC. In 17dn, doesn’t “the latest in grey” give you the Y? In that case, where does the “IN” part come from? Thanks. Gribb.
        1. With respect, I’d have thought LATEST meant IN, so Bra and Y wore In.

          First time I’ve ever challenged our experts, so shoot me down if needed!


  4. 11 minutes here too. Last ones in were the crossing playpen/prospect – the half of spectacles took some time and only possible after the ‘p’ of playpen.
  5. A 10 minute solve for me, which is about as fast as I can go. Managed to dredge up 5d from the depths of my memory and the parsing of 17d (LOI) felt a bit convoluted. Enjoyed 18a.
  6. 19:08 for me – a steady solve with nothing particularly holding me up today, but not many instant write-ins either.
  7. No particular hold ups in this one, which took me 9:38, starting with AVERAGE and finishing with STATUE. The less familiar words all known from experience with the 15 x 15 puzzles. Thanks Tracy and Rotter.
  8. I was feeling quite pleased with 23 mins for Tracy, but judging by the comments from others this was one of Tracy’s easier offerings. I thought it was quite tricky in places, but there you go. Lots of nice clues, with the neat surface of 23ac making it my CoD. Invariant
  9. I thought there was some challenging stuff in this one. For example 5d (my COD) and 18a were 15×15 standard. Also liked 7d.
    I had no major hold-ups and finished in 18 minutes with Keystone -which seems to have troubled a number of us. David
    1. 18ac wasn’t a difficult clue. “Concerned with smell” is a helpful and precise definition. The word is relatively obscure, but one that an educated and/or well-read person would have encountered. Although QC setters do try to keep the vocabulary straightforward, it’s unreasonable to expect them to spend too long excising all difficult words from their grids. Nor would I want them to: it’s a Quick Cryptic, not a Kiddies’ Cryptic.
  10. Had scanned for 11ac – first in series and canned for condensed. This messed everything else up. DNF
  11. The first half was relatively straightforward but then I struggled. FOI was average – I won’t go into the fact that there’s no such thing mathematically, only mean, median and mode.

    Thanks for the explanations.

  12. Visiting England and loving the cryptic crossword in the Times as we go from place to place on the train, but what does LOI mean in your posts?

    Also dredging up things I heard my parents say years ago about clues (e.g. Tar and AB for sailors) so I am much appreciating the explanations. Am definitely getting faster but have yet to solve an entire puzzle without asking my daughter to peek at your answers to get me going again!

  13. Above average time, that is. Not that anyone’s going to see this, but am I the only person never to have come across the word aver? Never knew partisan was a resistance fighter either. Still, eventually finished, so not complaining.


    1. I did see it Crispian – a couple of days late though. I agree, use of ‘aver’ is uncommon, but the founding fathers could have saved a few words by stating “We aver the following,…” instead of “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

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