Quick Cryptic Number 85 by Tracey

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A good, balanced crossword containing several clues with which to find a way in. There are a few testers in the mix too, though, including one bit of general knowledge that I had to cheat to find (if it’s not plants, it’s operas!).

I managed to get started in the NE corner and worked my way round anti-clockwise, particularly enjoying 3dn and 19ac on the way. 30 minutes on the button.

1 HOLIDAY-MAKERone on a tour from (jazz singer Billie) HOLIDAY with somebody who produces. Despite seeing how the clue worked on first reading, and quickly spotting that the answer would be something-MAKER, I had to wait for all the checkers before the right name popped up.
9 TOPIC – TOP (leading) and C (chapter) including I (island) for matter.
10 CORDIAL – double definition.
11 REPENTSregrets from an anagram of PRESENT (indicated by undone).
12 INEPT – IT holds PEN backwards (writer back) for cack-handed.
13 STRAINpull (e.g. a muscle) in S (small) + TRAIN (coach).
14 SEE REDto be furious is SEE (understand) + RE (regarding, about) + D (daughter). If I hadn’t already entered 7dn, I probably would have spent more time trying to put something around (about) D.
17 RAISE – homophone of “rays” (fish, reportedly) gives us breed.
19 LEG-PULL – LEG (stage) + PULL (attraction) is good-humoured hoax. I have learnt to read “apostrophe s” as “is” rather than possessive, but was too busy patting myself on the back about that to realise that I needed to lift-and-separate “stage attraction”, which is all too easy to read as a single unit.
21 TIFFANY – TIFF (petty quarrel) with A and NY for this famous jeweller.
22 AMISSout of order from A + MISS (young lady).
23 HORSE TRADING – cryptic definition. I wasn’t confident enough about the shrewd negotiation/hard bargaining meaning of this phrase to write it in until I had the checkers. There’s an good Wikipedia page about it, if you’re interested.

2 ON PAPER – working = ON, and a newsPAPER could be a daily. In theory is the definition.
3 INCONSIDERATE – there are three parts to this charade for uncaring: INSIDE (behind bars), holding CON (prisoner) on top of RATE (charge).
4 ACCUSEpoint the finger at, and CU (copper) inside an anagram of CASE (indicated by corrupt).
5 MERRIE ENGLAND – anagram of GERMAN ELDER IN (indicated by new). This is an opera by the English composer, Sir Edward German, making it a German opera! In my ignorance, I’ve never heard of him or it, and so even with all the checkers I had to look it up.
6 KNIFE – INK set up (fluid upset) over FE (iron) for blade.
7 RELATED – double definition. Told and of the same family.
8 STARcelebrity is STARt (beginning, without its tail).
13 SCRATCH – double definition. Withdraw, in the pulling out of a competition sense, and a slight injury.
15 REUNION – RE (Royal Engineers, sappers) before UNION (wedding) for a meeting of old pals.
16 PLAYER – this actor (as in, agent) is P (power) + LAYER (film).
18 INFER – IN (popular, fashionable) + REF (judge) turned over, is a synonym for gather.
20 LAST – remove the B (not Bishop) from bLAST (violent verbal outpouring) gives survive.

15 comments on “Quick Cryptic Number 85 by Tracey”

  1. A straightforward solve I completed in 9 minutes. We’ve had 8 puzzles from Tracy now and I’ve found her consistently at the easier end of the range, but none the worse for that, of course.

    If I have one quibble today it’s at 1ac where I’d point out that a holiday-maker isn’t necessarily on tour and somebody on tour isn’t necessarily on holiday, and I feel that one or other of the assumptions made in a clue really ought to apply for sure.

    Edited at 2014-07-04 05:18 am (UTC)

  2. Enjoyed this puzzle which took about 20 minutes to complete. On first read only got the last across clue. The opera was unknown but with some checkers was able to work out the anagram and thanks William for the info on the opera.

    Like Jack I thought 1 ac was imprecise. Appropriately last one in was LAST and my favourite was LEG PULL.

  3. 4 mins but my first incorrect QC. I didn’t bother to unravel the anagram fodder for 5dn and invented an opera called Martin England. Eejit.
  4. 11mins so a puzzle on the easy side of medium for me. I had heard of the opera but didn’t know who had wrote it.
  5. Most enjoyable puzzle. Around 45 minutes. Would have been far quicker if I hadn’t had Horse Dealing for 23ac. Obviously made 5 & 16dn impossible util I realised my error. Agree with Jack re. 1a.


  6. Couldn’t see cordial , see red , last or amiss, Knew the anagram fodder for 5d but couldn’t solve it and had never heard of it anyway. Another failed attempt.
    1. You haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying! I didn’t find this as easy as other commenters, and would suggest that it’s just a wavelength thing.
  7. That’s two successes in my last three attempts and by some way my fastest completion (about 25 minutes). FOI was horse trading and when I got 1ac it seemed to flow quite well from there. Relieved to see that the experts haven’t branded the puzzle as ridiculously easy – although Andy’s 4 minutes (10 seconds per clue!) can’t be much longer than it would take to fill the answers in with someone calling them out.
  8. …. Managed the majority of clues but got completely lost on the german opera clue…
    Like the previous Anon I opted for horse dealing instead of trading. And 16 down was impossible. At least I’m finishing the week a bit happier!!!!
    1. You are certainly not alone with the opera! And I would say that the LAYER as FILM combo is worth committing to the memory bank. Well done!
  9. Did not finish is the technical term, I believe, for getting one wrong – I put GET RED at 14ac. Like many, I didn’t know the opera but had all the checkers for ENGLAND and the other letters just had to make MERRIE. Thanks to William for the explanation – which makes it a nice clue. Contemplated STRETCH for 13dn but saw sense on this one.
  10. Found this a nice gentle work out. Was worried about a DNF on a couple of occasions, but the checkers helped provide the tricky answers. Didn’t know the opera, but Merrie England (last one in) seemed to be the clear answer, so was pleasantly surprised to see it was correct.

    Still very much enjoying these puzzles, which seem to be well balanced with a mixture of difficulties. I don’t think the newer solvers should be too worried about DNFs, but just try to enjoy solving what you can do. If you haven’t seen some of the old chestnuts before (i.e. as in PLAYER) it can be frustrating. But the more you do these crosswords the more you’ll pick them up for future use.

    Nigel from Surrey

  11. *sulks petulantly*…
    But on the positive side, it was a hard one on a Friday so I get to spend longer trying to finish it before the next one :-/

    Edited at 2014-07-05 01:45 pm (UTC)

  12. No problem with 1 across and my FOI, followed by 23 across. Real problems with 16d, 20d and 19a. Still, worth the struggle!
  13. Should have got cordial……….but did ‘see red’. For us learners a few more of this standard this would help.

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