Times Quick Cryptic 1091 by Rongo

A blogger’s lot, whilst arguably somewhat more upbeat than a policeman’s, is not consistently one of joy and song. However, today finds my mood in perfect harmony with the clemency of the weather conditions currently prevailing over most of the U.K. As Sir Pelham Grenville may have put it – the lark’s on the wing and the snail is having a great time messing about on the thorn.

Today’s challenging puzzle from Rongo set all this off by diverting me onto a culinary tangent (for which apologies). Several long clues were hold ups and then there’s the 1ac/1dn pair which were my final hurdle. Chock full of tasty clues, it took 12 minutes to enjoy and rather more to digest how the ingredients all came together. Here are my notes in the margins of the recipe book – don’t miss la pièce de résistance at 15dn.


1. BESTIARY – animal book – a moralizing medieval collection of descriptions (and often illustrations) of real and mythical animals. Our first Michelin starred difficulty clue – take one ‘It’s’ and turn backwards (STI), fold into ursine creature (BEAR) and garnish with an unknown in maths (Y). Master chef here we come. If I’d have known bestiary or ursine this would have been a ‘piece of cake’.
5. AWED – in a state of wonderment, (A)nglicans, marry (WED).
8. SNOUT – muzzle. Tin (SN), not fashionable (OUT).
9. PRECISE – accurately detailed. Anagram (exotic) of RECIPES.
11. TERRESTRIAL – connected to land. The English river in question is the TEES and test is TRIAL which ‘keep’ (contain) both sides of river – (R)ive(R).
13. AGENCY – one that supplies temps? (A)ilin(G) (E)uropea(N) (C)ompan(Y).
14. CARTON – box. Farm vehicle (CART) attached to (ON).
16. DUPLICITOUS – deceitful. Northern Ireland party (DUP), allowed (LICIT), contents of house – h(OUS)e.
18. AIRHEAD – one who’s simple minded. Broadcast (AIR), boss (HEAD).
19. AWAIT – expect. Homophone (to be announced) of an ounce, say – A WEIGHT.
20. LADY – peeress. Boy (LAD) with yen (Y).
21. KNEE-DEEP – flooded above calf height? Require (NEED) to enter (so put inside) hold (KEEP).


1. BASH – triple definition (what a fine dish to set before the king). Excellent clue which did cause a delay. Attempt (have a bash at), to criticise (bash/lambast), party (office bash).
2. SHORT-TEMPERED – irascible. Anagram (strangely) of STEPMOTHER followed by embarrassed (RED).
3. INTERACTIVE – responding to input. Bury (INTER), law (ACT), I have – I’ve (IVE).
4. RAPIER – sword. Anagram (poor) of REPAIR.
6. WHIP INTO SHAPE – vigorously train. Continuing our culinary journey here’s a cryptic word play – to prepare egg whites for meringues.
Tip 4 large egg whites into a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them on medium speed with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted. (Thank you BBC).
7. DWELLING – house. Democrat (D) experiencing an upward surge (WELLING).
10. EXTRAPOLATE – to make projections. Additional (EXTRA), put circular shape (O) inside dish (PLATE).
12. HANDRAIL – support for unsteady walker. Feel unwell (AIL) is put after all the rest – hospital (H), a (A), new (N), doctor (DR).
15. HIDDEN – concealed. Great cooking doesn’t have to be complex but can, like this COD, be simple yet elegant. Depending on your taste – like an oyster nestling in its shell or jam lurking in a doughnut – this HIDDEN clue is carefully concealed in part of orc(HID DEN)ied.
17. STOP – prevent. Anagram (getting broken) of POST.

24 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1091 by Rongo”

  1. 6:04 for me, so I was totally on the wavelength since usually I’m around 10 mins if I don’t get stuck on a clue and have a mental blackout when it can take half as long again just for the last clue.

    I only knew BESTIARY due to the Bestiary of Flanders and Swann, where Hippopotami, Gnus and others appeared.

    Had trouble parsing 11a at first since I assumed the English river was the Test, which makes various other bits not work at all.

    I just realized that my time is less than two Verlaine’s, which I can’t remember happening before.

    Edited at 2018-05-15 03:25 am (UTC)

  2. 30 mins. Hit the wall again after 15 mins with bestiary, bash, rapier, whip into shape and LOI terrestrial the culprits.

    Trying to shoehorn trent in 11a didn’t help. And only parsed post submission.

    Dnk the animal book, and took a while to remember ursine, before then it was a toss up between bestiary and bostiary.

    COD knee deep.

    Edited at 2018-05-15 05:45 am (UTC)

  3. 11 minutes here, delayed somewhat by all the long answers requiring lots of checkers before they gave themselves up.

    Before I read Paul’s comment above I was already intending to mention the Flanders and Swann ‘Bestiary’ as the source of my knowedge of the word at 1ac, however it may be of interest (and in order to avoid disappointment to note) that it doesn’t include their two most famous creatures, the Hippopotamus and the Gnu as they had already been recorded elsewhere. But here’s what’s in their zoo: Warthog, Sea Horse, Chameleon, Whale, Sloth, Rhinoceros, Jaguar, Kangaroo, Dead Ducks, Elephant, Armadillo, Spider, Duck Billed Platypus, Humming Bird, Portugese Man O’War, Wild Boar, Ostrich, Wompom. Don’t worry about the last one- it’s made-up!

    Edited at 2018-05-15 04:43 am (UTC)

  4. Nothing to scare the warthogs, sea horses, etc. How nice to have HIDDEN hidden, especially as for once I spotted it immediately. 4:43.
  5. Seem to be in good form this week, an above average 7:36 for me. 11a had to be parsed after completion though.
  6. I see everyone else enjoyed the hidden HIDDEN too. 4 x 11 letter words today, which would sometimes cause me difficulty, but not today. Nice one Rongo and thanks Chris. About 3/4 average time.
  7. Yesterday I FINISHED THE BIG BOY CROSSWORD!!! 15 x 15 in 24:13. I was so excited. If it had been permitted to make any sound on an English commuter train, the echoes would have resounded. It must have been a super easy one but still!

    This would have been totally beyond me before I started doing the QC. So in the manner of a tear-stained Oscar winner thanking their hairdresser, I want to thank (actually I really do want to thank) all the bloggers on here for patiently sharing their knowledge with hoi polloi, day after day, teaching us the tricks of the trade and the wiles of the setter. Yesterday was imperical proof that the QC can be a gateway drug for the 15 x 15.

    Oh yes, today’s QC. Loved it, favourite clue AGENCY, LOI AIRHEAD, less than three Kevins. Thanks Rongo and Chris.


    1. Congratulations! I just checked the blog comments and you did it in only two Kevins and matched the august and revered jackkt. Wow! I didn’t get round to it yesterday but you’ve motivated me to have a go.
      I started cryptics on commuter trains too (back in a different life) – ideal training grounds as it helps to avoid all eye contact and, in order to avoid listening to people discussing their latest dental treatments, promotes fierce concentration. Well done.
      1. Oops; just realized it was yesterday’s puzzle not today’s. Anyway, mazel tov Templar!

        Edited at 2018-05-15 07:52 am (UTC)

    2. I still remember the feeling of completing the 15 x 15 for the first time (unfortunately Great Britain was still connected to France by land at the time).
  8. Limped home in 16:03. Too many long words for me! LOI 6dn Whip into shape.
  9. This was hard work but gettable I thought. About 19 minutes for me.
    I too liked the hidden Hidden. My LOI was 11a where I struggled to see what was needed; clever clue which gets my COD. David
    PS I also tried yesterday’s 15×15. I got quite a lot of it but was nowhere near finishing it, so well done to any QCers who managed it.
  10. In my rush to complete in under my target 10 minutes, my cursory glance around the grid failed to spot that I’d entered TERRSETRIAL and screwed up RAPISR in the process. Bah! A reasonably challenging puzzle which had me scratching my head in the NW. 9:47 with 2 errors. Thanks Rongo and Chris.
  11. Average time for today’s, unlike yesterday’s record (that’s what comes of doing it outside in the sunshine yesterday!). Some very nice clues, but I will never like ones such as 11a where the wordplay can only be used to check the answer, not to get it. The number of English rivers you would have to try (not even allowing for the fact that it could be just E for English and any river in the world) mean that realistically it would only be luck if you found Tees. Much better to have constructions such as 1a (my SOI) where even if you didn’t know bestiary it is clear from the clue.
    End of soapbox.
  12. Another good day, 12 minutes. LOI DUPLICITOUS — was looking for an anagram (deceitful) involving NI party…great clue, Rongo. Also loved BESTIARY (my FOI) and EXTRAPOLATE.
    Thanks Chris for helping me check the parsing of 11A. All in all, quite pleased with myself, considering my cracking champagne hangover!
    1. Sounds like you enjoyed your birthday, then. A belated “Many Happy Returns”.
  13. Excellent puzzle that had me scratching my head in places – 1a, 11a and my last two in 10d and 19a. CoD the triple definition at 1d. Completed in 18.06
    Thanks for the blog
  14. Lovely puzzle that gave me lots to puzzle out. FOI 5a LOI 1d COD probably 1a. I thought of 6d whip into peaks but realised shape was a better answer if not from a cooking perspective.
  15. Enjoyed seeing this. Very interesting to see what was thought to be appropriate for US cousins to solve, and their fastest time was impressive!

    Many thanks.

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