Quick Cryptic Number 317 by Tracey

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I hope I’m not alone in finding this one quite tricky. There is plenty to get you started, including several short answers and two hidden words (although one is cleverly obfuscated by brackets), and yet this means bouncing all over the grid without really getting a foothold anywhere. 8ac is especially devious, in that it includes an unusual synonym in its wordplay and a definition that I am still to encounter outside of crossword-land. I am indebted to my friend Francesca Arnold for introducing me to both the vegetable and its alternative name at 22ac; those of you who do not know Fran, or are less familiar with West African cuisine, may have found that one slightly harder. Then there’s a socialite that required looking up post-solve.

I hope the rest makes sense! Definitions underlined.

3 A grim terribly ancient plant (8)
MARIGOLD – anagram of (terribly) A GRIM plus OLD (ancient).
7 This helps one to see in garret (in attic) (6)
RETINA – hidden in garRET (IN Attic).
8 Cautious bringing in youth as cleaner (8)
CHARLADY – CHARY (cautious) surrounding (bringing in) LAD (youth).
9 Did battle, reportedly, in old trading station (4)
FORT – homophone of (reportedly) “fought” (did battle).
10 In favour of concert being shortened (3)
PRO – shortened PROm (concert).
11 Man perhaps after fine knitwear pattern (4,4)
FAIR ISLE – ISLE (of Man, for example) after FAIR (fine, like the weather).
13 Tots turn over (4)
NIPS – SPIN (turn) reversed (over).
15 Helpful hint about river excursion (4)
TRIP – TIP (helpful hint) surrounding R (river).
17 Word puzzle bringing on a vexed moment, by the sound of it (8)
ACROSTIC – homophone of (by the sound of it) “a cross tick” (a vexed moment).
19 A record for a high mountain (3)
ALP – A with LP (long play, record).
22 Fine artist depicting ladies’ fingers (4)
OKRA – OK (fine) plus RA (Royal Academician, artist).
23 I haven’t a clue what suspicious customs officer might do (6,2)
SEARCH ME – double definition.
24 Distant meteor disintegrated (6)
REMOTE – anagram of (disintegrated) METEOR.
25 Fired back in the course of fight — not with this weapon! (8)
STILETTO – LIT (fired) reversed (back) inside (in the course of) SET-TO (fight). One cannot ‘fire back’ with a dagger.
1 Elegant socialite being broadcast (8)
DEBONAIR – DEB (debutante, socialite) ON AIR (being broadcast).
2 Very cold beer (6)
BITTER – double definition.
3 Man’s first card, a club (4)
MACE – first letter of Man, plus ACE (card).
4 Show up again to gather fruit (8)
REAPPEAR – REAP (to gather) and PEAR (fruit).
5 Liquid measure, litre, held by girl, working (6)
GALLON – L (litre) inside GAL (girl) and ON (working).
6 Ballad about duke and lord’s wife (4)
LADY – LAY (ballad) around D (duke).
12 Photograph game attacked with gun (8)
SNAPSHOT – SNAP (game) plus SHOT (attacked with gun).
14 In religious house it is something given special attention (8)
PRIORITY – inside PRIORY (religious house), IT.
16 Police using bad PR a lot (6)
PATROL – anagram of (bad) PR A LOT.
18 Passionate romance captivating millions (6)
STORMY – STORY (romance, for example) surrounding (captivating) M (millions).
20 Told to go with group touring North (4)
SENT – SET (group) around N (north).
21 Emperor in Wagner opera (4)
NERO – hidden in wagNER Opera.

16 comments on “Quick Cryptic Number 317 by Tracey”

  1. I was surprised to see William finding this tricky; it seemed quite straightforward to me. 8ac slowed me down a bit because I could only think of ‘leery’ for ‘cautious’; and I biffed my LOI, 25ac, although I was able to parse it in a few seconds after. (Actually, rather than ‘BIFD’, it was BIFC, bunged in from checkers.) ‘Ladies’ fingers’ for ‘okra’ is an anglicism I knew only from 15×15 cryptics, but I knew it, luckily. (I’d hate to meet the lady who inspired the name.) 3:40.
  2. I also found this easier than Hurley’s Tuesday offering and completed it in 8 minutes. OKRA as the alternative name for ‘lady’ fingers’ only came to me once both checkers were in place. This is the first time we have ever had the same setter twice in the same week, let alone on consecutive days. Given the strange sequence of url numbers at the moment one begins to wonder what’s going on at SNAFU Central.

    Edited at 2015-05-27 03:00 am (UTC)

  3. Sorry – I was well inside the 10 minute barrier. Thought it was the easiest one for ages. Found yesterday’s v tough and took half an hour though so I’m not assuming I’ve suddenly got good at this – I think I was just lucky with the clues today.
  4. The old-fashioned paper version has Tracy as well. SNAFU indeed!
    This was my quickest for a while, but I have stopped wondering about how the same puzzle can be a breeze for some and a swine for others.
    1. As the paper and e-paper agree about our setter, and given jackkt’s observation on the frequency of a setter appearing twice in one week, I’ve now plumped for Tracey. This despite the crossword club edition still crediting Hurley!
  5. 10’30”, so count me with those who found it somewhat resistant. I particularly liked STORMY (with romance for story, a usage I should be familiar with given my CS Lewis studies), didn’t know FORT as old trading station, and assumed – in my innocent ignorance (I never drink spirits…because I don’t like them in case anyone imagines I’m a temperance type) – that NIPS was a variant on nippers until I saw William hadn’t explained the arcane usage and saw the light. I also found PATROL quite tricky.

    Edited at 2015-05-27 08:16 am (UTC)

  6. 5:03 for me… sometimes the answers just fly in… I found yesterday’s a lot harder. I never knew a fort was a trading station. Luckily I enjoy cooking my own curries so I’m familiar with OKRA as the sticky vegetable main ingredient of bindi bhajee. It is also, apparently, a home remedy for coughs, colds, diabetes and even impotence.
  7. Yes, I too was among those who found this on the easy side — at 7 mins and 36 secs, my fastest time for some while. Ni ce puzzle. I particularly liked SEARCH ME.
  8. Isn’t this interesting? Yes I join the band of those finding this much easier than yesterday. I wonder how we can vary so much…..sorry blogger, but wonderful help. I had no idea okra was known as lady’s fingers but got there from the wordplay and looked it up.
  9. On the difficulty of this puzzle debate, I’m somewhere in the middle. The majority of it was relatively straightforward but the SE corner eventually defeated me. I’ve never heard of 17a before and gave up on it in the end, it took me an age to see 18d (I’d forgotten about a romance being a story) and 22a only came once i had all the checkers in place
  10. Well, I was really pleased that I completed this one over a single Costa Coffee! After nearly a year, coming in at under an hour/single sitting is still a ‘punch the air’ moment for me….Having had a run of completed puzzles I have had a couple of failures because I made some errors that stymied completion, today was a welcome result. I was surprised that we have ‘LADY’ crossing in the NE and needed all the checkers for 25a (and the blog to understand why it worked). I suppose it clears the way for me to catch up on writing up some overdue committee minutes etc this evening.
  11. I think this was a splendid QC if you like answers that are built up from different parts of the clue. A good mix of easy/moderate/hard, with 18d my last one in, as I don’t normally associate stormy with passionate – not in this house anyway! 17 and 25ac were my favourites. Well done Tracy. Invariant
  12. Found this easier than yesterday and finished it in about 30 minutes (average for me).
    I spent time today trying to justify “tack” meaning cheap stuff from yesterday’s QC. Can’t see any justification and tack has so many other well documented meanings.
    1. I think we could agree that ‘tacky’ was cheap, so I suppose that ‘a bit of tack(=tat)’ could be as well. Stretching it a bit, I know. Invariant
    2. “Tack” for “cheap stuff” is justified by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary which gives it a separate entry and defines it as “cheap, shoddy, or tasteless material”. COED is one of the named sources for Times crossword puzzles. It’s a back-form from “tacky” so Invariant is right to mention that. That there are many other well-documented meanings of a word is not a factor in determining its suitability for inclusion in a crossword.
  13. I tried the 15×15 tonight (stuck in a hotel, nothing else to do) and I finished it! Took me an hour, but I finished it. 🙂

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