Quick Cryptic Number 95 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I found this pretty meaty and I didn’t manage to finish it on my commute (my daily aim) despite the continuing signalling faults. I need help for 3dn from anyone who understands the wordplay! 13ac was unknown to me both as definition and answer, and was my LOI. I am now definitely of the opinion that Fridays are designed for beginners to tackle over the weekend; I certainly would have done so had I not been blogging today.

Definitions underlined.

1 MICRONESIAPacific region from an anagram of NICE MAORIS (indicated by scattered).
8 SHIATSU – anagram of THAIS (indicated by pummelled) + SU (us the wrong way) for this Japanese treatment.
9 RULER – double definition.
10 OVID – this poet is found in nabokOV I Daresay.
11 CHOW CHOW – food is CHOW, written twice for dog.
13 JALOPY – JAY (bird) covers (hides) LOP (prune) for crate, a derelict car (sometimes used for stock racing?).
14 WOOFER – double definition. A bass speaker is a woofer, and a treble(?) speaker is a tweeter.
17 MACAROON – the definition is biscuit. A + C (cookie originally) in MAROON (purplish red).
19 ARID – AID crossing R (river) for dry.
21 EXIST – ET (alien) containing XIS (a number, six, going backwards) for live.
22 CONSUME – SUM (the lot) in CONE (shape of an ice cream) is eat.
23 BEDRAGGLED – BED (mattress) + L surrounded by RAGGED (left, clothed by threadbare) for dishevelled.

2 INITIAL – anagram of (translate) LATIN + I + I (i repeatedly) for very early.
3 RUTH – I think the definition is pity, but I cannot parse!
4 NOUGHT – last letter of caverN, then OUGHT (should) for duck (a score of zero in cricket).
5 SCREW-TOP – type of bottle from CREW (team) going into STOP (block).
6 ALLAH – A + HALL (lobby) rising for God.
7 DRAWBRIDGEcastle’s opening is to DRAW (tie) BRIDGE (a card game).
8 SHOWJUMER – SHOW (indicate) + JUMPER (top) for horse.
12 SPIRITEDlively is an anagram (indicated by the classic “at sea”) of RIPTIDES.
15 FORTUNE – FOR (supporting) + TUNE (harmony) for a great deal.
16 WOTCHA – another anagram, this time indicated by reform, of ACT HOW for welcome.
18 CLIMBshin up is first letter of Calf on LIMB (leg, say).
20 SNUGcomfortable is GUNS (arms) raised.

20 comments on “Quick Cryptic Number 95 by Mara”

  1. Re 3d. In the Old Testament the book of Judges comes before the book of Ruth.

    Mara does seem to produce harder than average puzzles. I enjoyed this one which took about 30 minutes. Last one in FORTUNE. Favourite SNUG.

  2. 15 minutes for this one which I can see would be more difficult for solvers not familiar with the tricks it uses. I’m not happy with “lowest in cavern” indicating ‘N’ as the last letter. From where I’m sitting it’s on the same level as all the other letters.

    Edited at 2014-07-18 08:36 am (UTC)

      1. I had already considered that point,B. If the answer contained an ‘N’ that needed to be moved downwards, then fair enough and I’m familiar that convention, but I can’t see how in any way it applies here.

        Edited at 2014-07-18 03:50 pm (UTC)

  3. 4 mins, although I can see why a less experienced solver might find it tricky. Re: Jack’s point about “lowest in cavern” meaning “n”, I didn’t blink at it, but that’s possibly because I do the Guardian puzzle amongst others and that type of convention is used occasionally there. With this puzzle I saw MICRONESIA immediately and worked round the rest of the puzzle anticlockwise, with ALLAH my LOI.
  4. As a beginner who has hated some of the others I got about 75% of this. Still don’t understand wotcha. Slang greeting for hello not welcome.
  5. Ruth is the Old Testament book after Judges (ie Judges before her). Add the to the fact that Ruth means pity and there you ‘ave it. We had to learn the books of the Old Testament aged eleven at school and I always wondered when it would come in useful.

    1. Abbreviations of names of books of the Bible, and the OT in particular, come up occasionally but quite regularly in the 15×15 puzzle so are useful to know though a b***** to remember.
  6. Ruth is the book before Judges in the OT. And ruth means pity,as in ruthless being pitiless.
  7. This caused me all sorts of grief and I finally finished at 4.45. I had SCREW CAP instead of TOP and BARKER instead of WOOFER (calls out to passers by at auctions etc, so speaker). But this left 15d starting with a K and no words would fit. Once I realised the error, the rest panned out. JC
  8. Another enjoyable crossword, done in a couple of sittings watching the golf, and wondering if McIlroy can hold it together. Couldn’t work out parsing of Ruth and nought, so last in on a hope. Knew the biblical context of Ruth and initially thought about pity like william_j_s, but also had it in my mind that she was judged on something. So nice to find out the real (and so simple) reason.

    Nigel from Surrey

  9. I decided to solve the puzzle on real paper today after yesterdays débâcle. I got answers to all the clues and most of them were right. I made a mess of SCREW TOP and NOUGHT confounded me — even though I was watching the cricket at the time, I didn’t spot the “duck” reference! I spent a long time stuck with WADI before realising it didn’t parse and should be ARID. I got RUTH in the sense of the opposite of RUTHLESS as I can’t be faffed with learning the books of the OT. I found it hard to believe that WOTCHA would be the answer to a real Times crossword clue but have no problem with its use as a welcome. My favourite was BEDRAGGLED. So as many of you thought this one was quite hard I shall award myself a pat on the back 🙂

    Edited at 2014-07-18 07:03 pm (UTC)

  10. One day I’ll find out how to post without being anonymous (never having posted here before)(so not one of the other anonymous contributors). I can usually manage (after much thought and help from wife) to complete maybe 75% of each puzzle, sometimes all, sometimes much less, but find some answers very frustrating. Classic example here is 16d where ‘wotcha’ in no customary usage means anything other than ‘hello’, certainly not ‘welcome’. The answer is obvious because nothing else fits but the rationale is inaccurate. Does this not bother anyone else..?


    1. Wotcha IannF!
      You managed to identify yourself at least, even though your post is labelled “Anonymous”.
      To avoid anonymity, you need to sign up for a Live Journal account and id (there should be a link at the top of the page). It’s quite free but then when you sign in it will then associate each of your posts with the id and picture you have chosen.

      I’m a new solver too and manage about 75% on average — some days I’m distinctly more successful than others.

      I don’t have a problem with WOTCHA as I’ve heard it used to welcome people rather than to specifically mean “hello”.

  11. NOUGHT was the only one I struggled with, not having followed ‘lowest in cavern’. I like the Ruth clue and also linked ruthless to pitiless, although that is not what the name Ruth means. Interestingly, the setter, Mara, also appears in the book of Ruth in the Bible. It is the name Ruth’s mother-in-law chooses and means ‘bitter’. Probably a coincidence.
    1. Welcome and I hope you’ll comment more in future. You’d be even more welcome if you’d add a name of sorts to your comments or better still give yourself a Live Journal identity by signing up for a free account.

  12. A good one. What one could call creative cryptosity, especially 13 and 14 across. Favourite 9 across.

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