Quick Crytpic 471 by Tracy

This seemed rather tricky but I may simply not have been thinking in the right way. Definitions seemed fine – some of the word play needed teasing apart.


7. Back down – concede defeat. Support (BACK), reduced (DOWN).
8. Omit – fail. Note (MI) inside OT.
9. Garden – plot. Anagram (could come from) of DANGER.
10. Ghost – spirit. Good (G), HOST.
11. Gym – exercises. In bag(GY M)oleskins.
12. Bodice – waistcoat. Person (BOD), diamonds (ICE).
14. Assign – delegate (the verb). A, S, SIGN.
16. Step up – accelerate. PET’S backwards, in the lead (UP – as in up in a game).
18. Mellow – soft. Companion (FELLOW) with the F replaced by M.
19. Era – age. E, RA.
20. Vicar – minister. The word play is ‘one in front of Vatican vehicle’. Technically this should, I think, give one (I), front of (V)atican, vehicle (CAR) = IVCAR. Given this it’s very do-able to get the answer from the simple definition – I think a setter is allowed to fool us as long as the answer can be obtained. One (I) in (inside) (V)atican and vehicle (CAR).
21. In hand – under control. Popular (IN), agency (HAND – as in agency or influence e.g. Hand of God – and we all remember Maradona).
23. Fine – double definition.
24. Overcast – dull. Accomplished (OVER), CAST.


1. Layabout – loafer. Set (LAY as in set down-lay down), on (ABOUT).
2. Skid – slide. S, KID.
3. Lounge – sprawl. LUNGE around O.
4. Enigma – puzzle. Anagram (confused) of MEAnING without the middle letter.
5. Colossal – huge. LOSS inside COAL.
6. Mint – double definition.
13. In pocket – up – as in ahead of the game. Anagram (breaking) of IRON KEPT.
15. Goodness – my word. GOOD before (loch) NESS.
17. Period – term. Anger (IRE) upwards inside school (POD).
18. Maiden – young unmarried girl. MEN around AID.
20. Veil – conceal. Very (V), anagram (horrid) of LIE.
22. Hock – double definition. German wine (obviously) and pop. Hock is to pawn or pledge. Here’s a short explanation of an old verse:
Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop! goes the weasel.
Dissecting this verse, “The Eagle” means London’s historic Eagle Pub and subsequently blowing through all of one’s money there. The “weasel” has been assumed to be Cockney slang for a coat, thus the song refers to having to pawn one’s coat after spending too much on alcohol.

16 comments on “Quick Crytpic 471 by Tracy”

  1. I agree there were some very tricky clues here especially compared with the one I blogged yesterday. I still ran out in 10 minutes but I feared for some of our newbies in several places. I’m not 100% convinced that HAND and “agency” can pass the substitution test. It’s in my Collins Thesaurus but we know that’s not the best validation.

    Edited at 2015-12-29 11:04 am (UTC)

    1. I thought this was a reference to the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” being a metaphor for a “higher agency”; but I may be wrong. Great blog as usual, thanks.
  2. I agree with Bigtone about 20a – that’s how I parsed it.
    This puzzle was actually easier than it looked on first pass through – though it was a case of inspiration rather than perspiration.
  3. This took me about 6 and 1/2 minutes – a bit longer than yesterday’s because like Jack I hesitated over “hand”=”agency”. Also I didn’t know the phrase “in pocket” as meaning “up”. Perhaps it didn’t cross the Atlantic.

    When I download the puzzle the 3 little triangles seem to spend an awful long time twirling around – but that may just be my system.

  4. Either this was the hardest quickie ever, or my brain’s turned to pittle. Very much a DNF. Many the definitions were obscure and unknown.
  5. Yes, decidedly tricky and took me much longer than usual to finally knock over. Quite a lot of the clues would by no means have been out of place in the 15×15.

    Agree others’ comments re. Agency / hand, and IN POCKET was a bit of a guess (although it could not really have been anything else once you twigged it was an anagram – a twigging process that took me quite some time as the letters looked too unlikely for one!)

    Thanks for the blog Chris – BTW, was great meeting you at the TfT do – my turn to buy the red next time! Happy New Year mate.

  6. Harder than the usual quick, I’d say. DNK in pocket, though got the anagram. Hope Friday’s will be easier!
    1. ..or a weavers thread measurer? Who knows?
      I would go with the Whistle and Flute explanation as I cannot imagine a tradesman pawning the tools of his trade. How would he ever get them back?
      The Eagle is still there off the City Road but probably not the original one, given that this song predates 1850.

      Edited at 2015-12-29 04:42 pm (UTC)

  7. This felt like an Izetti puzzle at first with its precise clueing. I got the right half but then had many gaps on the left. Finally I needed 1d and 12a. I was looking for a term for a loafer (a person) but could only fit Fatalist into the squares.And I struggled with synonyms for waistcoat -gilet came to mind. I invented Himice just in case. So defeated by Tracy. I thought this was pretty hard.And I haven’t mentioned Hock =Pop ( I still need to check that despite the excellent explanation above). David
  8. I thought this was the toughest QC for a while and it took me several sittings to finish it, however there were a few unparsed – 13d, 21a and 22d. I’m still going to have to do some more research on the hock/pop thing though.

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