Times Quick Cryptic 1260 by Mara

Solving time: 9 minutes. When blogging there seemed to be an excess of anagrams or partials but on counting them there were only 9, which out of 24 clues is surely not above average. I lost a moment along the way over the parsing of 16dn and hesitated to write in the correct answer in although it had occured to me as soon as I saw the word ‘boxes’ in the clue.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 Actor, hipster, made space for musicians (9,3)
ORCHESTRA PIT – Anagram [made] of ACTOR HIPSTER. Not relevant today, but newbies may care to note that ‘orchestra’ is an anagram of CARTHORSE and as such  it has turned up many a time in cryptic puzzles.
9 Cask of beer is for African capital (5)
TUNIS –  TUN (cask of beer), IS
10 Article rewritten for performance (7)
RECITAL -Anagram [rewritten] of ARTICLE
11 Language produced as I wash off cut lip (7)
SWAHILI – Anagram [off] of  I WASH, LI{p} [cut]
12 Order feathers on splitting quill, perhaps? (5)
PREEN – RE (on), contained by [splitting] PEN (quill, perhaps)
14 Someone from this planet: large and thin, weirdly! (9)
EARTHLING – Anagram [wierdly] of LARGE THIN
18 Parts loser messed up (5)
ROLES – Anagram [messed up] of LOSER
20 Lay it on thick, smoother (7)
FLATTER – Two meanings, the first being a coloquial expression for flattery, fawning or generally over-stating things.
21 Somewhat lamentable, austere scene (7)
TABLEAU – Hidden [somewhat] in {lamen}TABLE AU{stere}
23 Solid cooks, those revered (5)
IDOLS – Anagram [cooks] of SOLID
24 Record delivered solo (6-6)
SINGLE-HANDED – SINGLE (record – as opposed to LP, EP etc), HANDED (delivered)
2 Make a tinkling noise to serve as a reminder? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL – Two meanings
3 More reckless, eats layer of cake! (7)
HASTIER – HAS (eats), TIER (layer of cake – e.g. a wedding cake may have tiers)
4 Hand not bent, level (8,5)
STRAIGHT FLUSH – STRAIGHT (not bent), FLUSH (level). A very strong hand of cards in poker.
5 Summarise extraordinary race on page (5)
RECAP – Anagram [extraordinary] of RACE, P (page)
6 Pan lid turned over (3)
POT – TOP (lid) reversed [turned over]
7 Ability to write story on New Testament (6)
TALENT – TALE (story), NT (New Testament)
8 Admitting hot finally, scarf put away (5)
STASH – SASH (scarf), containing [admitting] {ho}T [finally]
13 Group gets home drunk around one (9)
EIGHTSOME – Anagram [drunk] of GETS HOME containing [around] I (one)
15 From Sicily, say, I ain’t worried about Mr Capone! (7)
ITALIAN – Anagram [worried] of I AIN’T containing [about] AL (Mr Capone)
16 Ready: line up boxes (6)
CRATES – SET (ready) + ARC (line] reversed [up]
17 Ruthlessly overcome infatuation (5)
CRUSH – Two meanings
19 Super increase (5)
SWELL – Two meanings
22 Cake in bed, unfinished (3)
BUN – BUN{k} (bed) [unfinished]

34 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1260 by Mara”

  1. 17 mins!

    fairly straightforward, however I wasn’t sure of the praying of PREEN and CRATES.

    thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute.


  2. Raced through the anagrams – except EIGHTSOME – and thought I must be on for a record time but then came to a shuddering halt. STASH, CRATES, SWELL, HASTIER (satisfying groan on parsing) and the FLUSH part of STRAIGHT FLUSH all taking this beyond 20m. Caused myself trouble by reading smoother as smother and then topped it all off by having PRENN at 12a, so not only slow but not all right either. Good puzzle.
  3. 30 minutes on my phone, didnt write down the anagrams so found eightsome hard. Last two were preen and crates which I didnt parse so submitted with fingers crossed.

    Cod hastier or crush.

  4. Enjoyable puzzle this morning. I liked all the anagrams. COD Eightsome

    Edited at 2019-01-07 08:22 am (UTC)

  5. A fast start and a slow finish for me. Mara normally presents a stiff challenge for me and I was wondering when I would slow down.
    Several clues held me up in the end.
    I thought 8d might be STORE and 11a might be Spanish or Italian (could a crossword have two Italians, I thought).
    4d was a big problem until I got 1a.
    Anyway finished in 23:47; LOI was Stash. David
  6. I never noticed the preponderance of anagrams and partials at the time, but I think I, too, would have commented on it I had been blogging. Of them, only EIGHTSOME held me up, which then gave me PREEN. STASH and CRATES (my LOI)took a while to come. COD to EARTHLING. 6:00
  7. I enjoyed this and finished in 21 minutes, well under target, although I didn’t parse ‘Crates’. It would have been faster but I spent 4 minutes on my LOI ‘Eightsome’ ( on my phone). Very enjoyable, helped by seeing 1A straight away.


  8. I was pleased (as an SCC member) to finish in under 2 Kevins (just!) at 14.41. Mainly straightforward but I hesitated over EIGHTSOME and HASTIER. My LTI were SWAHILI and STASH. COD EARTHLING. Thanks to Mara for a fair start to the week. John M.

    Edited at 2019-01-07 09:18 am (UTC)

  9. 24.47 for this SCC member. At least 10 mins spent on last two – PREEN and EIGHTSOME. Not sure I’ve ever come across the latter, though it’s an obvious enough form, and I just couldn’t see that it was an anagram despite DRUNK shouting at me. I got the PEN bit of PREEN straightaway but brain refused to see RE for ON. Sometimes you hit a wall and need to reboot, I think.
    1. My experience exactly. 10 minutes for all but the last 2, then another 10 without getting Preen.
  10. I got STASH and CRATES but only from the definitions. Certainly Stash was a fair cop but I thought Crates was really hard for a QC. It was the only tricky one though, in my view, and as is often remarked we need to be a little stretched 🙂 Thanks all
  11. Found this quite tricky to get into, but it turned into a steady, if slow, solve. Ended up on 46:30, but as evidence of being perhaps a little tired, I think that includes several minutes where I dozed off – a hard weekend’s running catching up with me. Nobody seems to have mentioned the theme of acting that permeates today’s offering, perhaps to coincide with the Golden Globes?
  12. I too was thinking “gosh, lots of anagrams today” as I went through. I like anagrams and thought 1ac and 13dn were both very good ones, but I don’t really see the point of anagrams as short as 5 letters and we had two of those today (18 and 23), so that was a bit meh. Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle, ORCHESTRA PIT getting both FOI and COD from me. All done in about 1.6 Kevins, a Very Good Day.

    Thanks Mara and Jack.


  13. I had a little bit of a battle with this. Inexplicably failed to spot the fairly obvious ORCHESTRA PIT on the first pass, and then wrote “single” into the second half of 24A once I’d got ITALIAN.

    Same parsing problems as others with PREEN and CRATES.

    TIME 6:04

  14. No hold ups today with only CRATES and PREEN (LOI) requiring any real thought. I must have been in the zone as the only anagram where I had to write down the letters was for EIGHTSOME, which is unusual for me. Completed in 8.09
    Thanks for the blog
  15. Remember this is the Quick Cryptic (although our blogger has omitted the word Quick from today’s heading). It still has the partial aim of introducing beginners to the concepts, signposts and tricks that most of us take for granted.

    Enjoyed puzzle and blog, thanks.
    COD 13D

    1. Thanks for pointing out the omission in the heading. Now rectified.

      Edited at 2019-01-07 01:56 pm (UTC)

  16. 1a was a write in and I thought this may have been an old-fashioned Monday doddle. Not quite. Some careful parsing was required but no obscure GK.
    WOD: PREEN – my wife accused me of this recently, most hurtful as I’m practically bald as a coot!
    Many thanks to setter and blogger.
  17. A fairly gentle offering today, although I was held up by my LOI, PREEN, where I also failed to see RE for ON despite seeing PEN straight away. Doh! ORCHESTRA PIT was a write in as my FOI. I originally biffed FLANNEL at 20a but CRUSH put me right. CRATES took a while to parse. EIGHTSOME took time for the penny to drop too. 7:02. Thanks Mara and Jack.
  18. No time from me today, as I was dragged off to Waitrose mid-solve, but it felt fairly quick. Like others, I finished with CRATES, which was the only one that held me up.
  19. I completed this one very quickly, certainly one of my fastest solves in a while in 8:10. It is a nice change for me to be able to write in so many answers without too much thought. I solved 1a early on after my FOI 6d POT. This was a boon. I had no problem with CRATES although I got it from the definition first. The two answers that stopped me from getting a PB were 24a SINGLE-HANDED and LOI 4d STRAIGHT FLUSH with just the intersecting HANDED and FLUSH missing in each case. Thank you Mara and Jack for the blog.
  20. Quite gentle today. 1ac and 4d went straight in, and that was enough to open up the grid. Crates seemed the obvious enough answer at 16d, but it took a minute or two to parse. My last two were 8d and 11ac, and they pushed me just north of 20mins. 12ac, Preen, was well constructed, and so gets my CoD vote. Invariant
  21. I made heavy weather of this. Just over 21 mins. Could not think of preen for ages. Enjoyable all the same.
  22. Zipped through the first half. Put single in as the second word in 24A. Didn’t know tun or eightsome. COD 3d.
    Thanks setter snd blogger
  23. Finished it , a fairly rare event, very satisfying. Thanks to setter and blogger.


  24. I don’t think a sash is at all the same as a scarf but as no one else has mentioned it I must be in a minority I suppose. A sash is worn across the shoulder or round the waist, whereas a scarf is worn round the head or neck, no?
  25. Did all but Stash and Crates in 20. Would have needed another hour for those two. Sash and scarf do appear n the same page of the thesaurus so fair enough. But as an engineering graduate I can confirm that an arc is must definitely not a line. Thx to all. Johnny
  26. I was pretty pleased to finish a cryptic crossword solo for the first time, after having made a few previous attempts to solve crosswords with groups of friends. I was stuck on a plane which helped!!
    I searched out this website as there were a few clues I wanted to understand how they could be derived as I had only half the route…

    BUN – I just stole the B from bed and the UN from unfinished, as a cake hidden IN the phrase, but wasn’t happy
    STASH – stash confused me… I could see hidden away meaning but we used to call our college scarves stash. I was thinking of using a T from hoT or ash (after hot too) so was looking for an S from admitting, but didn’t spot sash.
    PREEN – got feather ordering and spotted to split PEN early… but didn’t get that ON = RE

    Looking forward to having a fresh attempt at another crossword soon. Maybe one day I’ll manage in under 20 min!

  27. Unfortunately had PLASTER for 20ac, which I think fits as both meaning to lay it on thick and as a smoother for walls. Couldn’t then get straight plush to work.
    Like many I initially thought it was going to be an easier day but some needed a fair bit of pondering.

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