Quick cryptic Number 507 by Izetti

I found this very tricky, with some grown-up clueing leading me to unusual or unknown vocabulary. Amongst my list of (at best half-) guesses, were the ghost, plant, actress/material, and location in Sri Lanka. Bit of a workout; hope you fared better!

Definitions underlined.

1 Horrible act putting off a guide (6)
DIRECT – DIRE (horrible) with aCT (act, missing (putting off) a).
4 More than one ghost finally escapes the underworld (6)
SHADES – last letter of (finally) escapeS and HADES (the underworld).
8 Very small infant — I smile, I rolled around (13)
INFINITESIMAL – anagram of (rolled around) INFANT I SMILE I.
10 Material for actress Ellen (5)
TERRY – double definition. A material and an actress called Ellen Terry.
11 Show friend around home by end of lane (7)
MATINEE – MATE (friend) around IN (home) and end of lanE.
12 I regret not a silly question (11)
INTERROGATE – anagram of (silly) I REGRET NOT A.
16 It’s gross, looking down on everyone? (7)
OVERALL – double/cryptic definition. Like a gross profit, or being higher than everybody else.
17 Be embracing boy in a bit of grass (5)
BLADE – BE surrounding (embracing) LAD (boy).
18 At a convenient speed, outside working hours? (2,4,3,4)
IN ONE’S OWN TIME – double definition.
19 Jaunty one bitten by shark at sea (6)
RAKISH – I (one) surrounded by (bitten by) anagram of (at sea) SHARK.
20 Attentive when entertaining Bishop and Prince (6)
ALBERT – ALERT (attentive) surrounding (entertaining) B (bishop).
1 Fine period in which tin is shaken (6)
DAINTY – DAY (period) inside of which is an anagram of (shaken) TIN.
2 Work alongside crossword enthusiast? (9,4)
REFERENCE BOOK – double/cryptic definition. A work of non-fiction and one that may be beside a solver of crosswords.
3 Sweet Sri Lankan location, from what we hear (5)
CANDY – homophone of (from what we hear) “Kandy” (Sri Lankan location).
5 Muddle with volunteers needing good online identification (7)
HASHTAG – HASH (muddle) with TA (Territorial Army, volunteers) and G (good).
6 A voter, mind-set mind terribly expressive (13)
DEMONSTRATIVE – anagram of (terribly) A VOTER MIND-SET. Slight error in the online version with the double inclusion of ‘mind’.
7 Trader, one looking ahead to amass fifty pounds (6)
SELLER – SEER (one looking ahead) surrounding (to amass) L (fifty) L (pounds).
9 At bottom of river there’s sick old plant (9)
TAMARILLO – at the and (bottom) of TAMAR (river) is ILL (sick) and O (old).
13 Men seal runny paints (7)
ENAMELS – anagram of (runny) MEN SEAL.
14 Firm landing place for someone who is unoriginal (6)
COPIER – CO (company, firm) and PIER (landing place).
15 Respectable church beset by depression (6)
DECENT – CE (Church (of England)) surrounded by (beset by) DENT (depression).
17 Stop a learner getting stock (5)
BANAL – BAN (stop), A, and L (learner). Stock, as in commonplace or unoriginal.

29 comments on “Quick cryptic Number 507 by Izetti”

  1. Found this extremely difficult and did not finish. This seems to be the way these crosswords are going at the moment. Thought I was improving but becoming very disheartened.
  2. The level improved over the first two days, so I guess we have to expect the difficult one. I very much doubt if any of the newbies ( me) will have found this a quick cryptic. I have been at this for 9 months and this was one of the hardest I encountered.
  3. Goodness, this was hard work (17 minutes), and I see we’ve already had our first comments today from contributors who feel disheartened and I somehow doubt they will be the last.

    I think most of the puzzle is fine, allowing that we need something challenging from time to time, but I do think the intersection of CANDY and TERRY is a little unfortunate. The actress died in 1928 and is probably only remembered now, if at all, as a relative of Sir John Gielgud. The Sri Lankan location may be well-known, but not to this solver so probably not to many others too.

    I’m not bothered for myself as I have the experience and confidence to persevere but I’m always concerned when I read that newbies are finding things too hard too often and are considering giving up the game.

    Edited at 2016-02-17 10:21 am (UTC)

  4. Despite last week’s pleas we have the most difficult for a long time – and it seems that’s not only my view. Indeed it took me only 5 minutes less than the 15×15 today.
    Well done William for the blog.
    Incidentally, the misprint in 6d is also in the paperware version, which for me wasn’t minor as it caused me some confusion as to what the substance of the anagram was.
  5. As a “seasoned” cruciverbalist I found that quite hard . Don’t be disheartened by it !
  6. Quick for who? I would never have got 10a and 3d in a month of Sundays. I think that the reference to Ellen Terry is out of order. If I had got one of 1a or 1d, I might have got the other. Shases =many escaped me.
    As others have said, this was off putting.
  7. Tough but completed in the end with all parsed. I didn’t make things easy for myself though. I remembered Kandy as it’s one of Sri Lanka’s test cricket venues – but I was so chuffed to have got it that I forgot to change the k to a c, which made 1a a bit tricky and it ended up being my LOI when I finally spotted my mistake. Also started trying to solve the anagram in 8a using rolled instead of infant. The actress was a bit of a guess tbf, but I was familiar with the material. COD was 9d mainly because I was chuffed to solve an unfamiliar plant from the wordplay alone.
  8. I never quite got into this but solved steadily for about 30 minutes to leave 1a and 1d. I solve from the paper and I thought there must be a misprint in 6d but I have learnt the art of biffing and so was confident about my answer. I did know Ellen Terry and Candy but wasn’t sure about today’s spelling of Candy as so many places seem to change (I’m still a Peking fan).
    Anyway back to my troubles with 1a and 1d. I just couldn’t see either for a while and wasn’t sure whether it was C or K in 1a. But I finally saw Direct and then 1d was easy (I couldn’t get away from Era or Age).
    Difficult yes, but certainly not too difficult.
    And I very much liked 18a and 19a amongst others. David
  9. Yes, this was tough! 6 months ago I would have given up in despair but with a little help from google maps for 3d I stuck at it and got there in the end after an hour of struggling. So those newbies who feel disheartened should use this blog to learn and keep going – it does get easier with experience! Having said that I still don’t understand 4a – how does SHADES mean ‘more than one ghost’?
  10. A shade is a ghost. The ‘more than one’ bit is indicating the plural, shades or ghosts.

    Well done for persevering!

  11. After a slow but steady solve, I found myself unfortunately left with 1ac/d, 10ac and 3d. A viscous circle if ever there was one.
    Of those I managed, 17ac was my favourite, just ahead of 2d. Invariant
  12. I’m also a newbie. This was hard, but I’ve decided the trick is to try for about 20 minutes, then score myself on how many clues I’ve done by then (rather than how long it takes to do the whole thing). So this site is really helpful, I don’t have to burden my brain all day.

    Today, my score was about five :(. Yesterday, all but three:). Without this site, I’d never know if the score is an indicator of difficulty or my brain condition that day – so again, the site is really helpful.

  13. It was not my intention to make this tough, nor was I in two minds about one of the clues! I was mildly surprised at the reaction to the inclusion of Ellen Terry, thinking virtually every Times solver wouldhave heard of her. Anyway, life woud be dull if all challenges were eually easy or hard, wouldn’t it?
    1. The problem with vintage stage actors (m/f) is that their work doesn’t live on after them as it might for one who worked in films, so Ellen Terry (d.1928) is little more than a name even to someone of my vintage (70 next year). There’s no real reason why anyone apart from theatre historians would have heard of her. Of course in Crosswordland we still get (H Beerbhom) Tree turn up occasionally but that’s more a well-worn tradition than anything else these days and he never appears without solvers suggesting it’s about time he didn’t.
  14. I quite agree that this was very hard – it took me only a minute less than the 15×15 today. It was probably in the pipeline already when Jack raised the subject of difficulty (and the possible discouragement of newer solvers) with Richard Rogan last week. In other words I hope everyone hangs in there until we see how this shakes out. Very good blog under trying conditions. PS. The setter popped in while I was typing but I’ve nothing to add except that it’s nice to get the feedback from the other side of the grid. Thanks Izetti.

    Edited at 2016-02-17 06:09 pm (UTC)

  15. Strangely I took confidence from this. Being sure I had the right answer to 6d and concluding there must be a print error of mind left me feeling almost cocky once I checked against the excellent blog here. It seemed difficult but about what we have come to expect from Mr. Donizetti. I suppose I’m not a newbie any more having done these for about a year now. I usually finish them so take heart those a bit lower down the learning curve.
  16. This was way to hard for a “quick cryptic”. I have been trying to learn how to solve these for a while, gave up less than half way through and looked up the answers. Izetti, read back your own comments, as your assumption that we are “times solvers” is totally erroneous and the root of the problem. We want to be – but currently are not. References to obscure film stars from the 1920’s should have no place in this crossword.
  17. DNF for me, because I put Kandy for Candy and then gave up.

    Thing is, though, almost all these clues are “get-able” (Terry I had to cheat on, though).With Izetti, I find that a) (s)he has a higher proportion of tricky clues per puzzle; and b) that the setter uses definitions that are not immediately obvious (e.g. “fine” for dainty).

  18. Yes, this was so slow to start I was saying to myself last week’s dialogue on difficulty was going to continue today, seems so! I’m as newbie as anyone but my main experience so far is just keep going, I keep finding that memory is a good part of it and trying old chestnuts first often works. Ellen Terry has been here before and terry towelling was in the Times2 last week, so I try to recall them when I need them – not saying memory works when you need it, of course!
  19. Very odd when the ‘Quick’ crossword is more diffcult than the main puzzle. Finished the latter quickly but struggled with some of this. Agree hat the more esoteric names and usages have little place in the ‘easier’ crossword. The odd one is fine as a challenge but too many here.
  20. Yes, it was harder than one has come to expect, but the difficulties of others surprise me. Ellen Terry was an actress of massive stature in her day, though I admit that goes back to the time before I joined the planet (1937). I have watched cricket at Kandy and seen Sangakkara make a Test century on what I believe was his school ground, so, as so often, a knowledge of cricket helps. Just got stuck for ages on 1a and 1d, playing about with age and era instead of day. DM
  21. Yes, tough but that makes it fun. Had to research some eg 3D but with checkers it proved possible, even if I did need help. All learning opportunities for me.
  22. I got it all apart from the 1a/1d/3d/10a quartet that seems to have troubled others.

    Failed to parse 1a, and with only the R checker I couldn’t get this.

    I parsed 1d correctly but wouldn’t equate “period” with “day”.

    Never heard of Ellen Terry, and not knowing that, “terry” as a synonym for “material” is not something that springs to mind.

    Never heard of Kandy.

    1. Isn’t a day a period of time? I think it’s fair enough this way round but using ‘day’ to clue PERIOD would be a ‘definition by example’ and that’s frowned upon by many cruciverbalists unless qualified by a question mark or ‘perhaps’ or ‘maybe’ etc.

      ‘Terry’is often used in conjunction with ‘towel’ or ‘towelling’ but I’d agree it’s not the first material that springs to mind.

  23. Strangely I took confidence from this. Being sure I had the right answer to 6d and concluding there must be a print error of mind left me feeling almost cocky once I checked against the excellent blog here. It seemed difficult but about what we have come to expect from Mr. Donizetti. I suppose I’m not a newbie any more having done these for about a year now. I usually finish them so take heart those a bit lower down the learning curve.
  24. It was definitely tough, but that’s ok. I must confess I do use the Times for Smartphone version which allows the checking of clues so that helps when things get sticky.

    One or two of the clues were a bit iffy but still gettable with checkers.

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