Times Quick Cryptic 1096 by Mara

A lot of multiple word play clues, many anagrams, made this on the hard side for me today – 16 minutes to complete. Thinking of a comparison to the main 15 X 15 puzzle, I could only dream of completing this number clues in that time in the easiest of 15 x 15 puzzles – so I’d say this is a good QC work out.
I found the NE NW hardest and, in order, 1ac,1dn,11ac were my LOIs.

I wonder if MARA is a 1ac Liverpool FC (15ac) fan who is very excited about the (unlikely to be 23ac) 13ac this 11ac?
The only 14dns I’ve seen are the extraordinary number of goals in previous exciting games and I hope the game on Saturday doesn’t go down to a 16dn shoot out. I hope it’s 21 and has Mara 18dn-ing at the final whistle.


1. PARTISAN – guerilla. An anagram (misbehaving) of In SPARTA.
5. ACID – something corrosive. A (A), police department (CID).
8. LYING – untrustworthy. Heather (LING) holding (claiming) stor(Y).
9. PARABLE – story. Page (P), for farming (ARABLE).
11. MAY – tree (hawthorn). Root (YAM) backwards (twisted over).
12. ANCESTRAL – in the blood. Anagram (questionably) of LANCASTER.
13. CUP TIE – game (rather an important one on Saturday – the focus of my support is elsewhere – but good luck Liverpool). Beauty (CUTIE) taking in (inspiring) power (P).
15. RED TOP – tabloid (a reference to the game in 13?). Anagram (unfortunately) of DE TROP.
18. CORPULENT – fat. Anagram (for cooking) of ONCE PUT with (L)a(R)d.
19. TIN – metal. (T)ruth, popular (IN).
20. PRESENT – double definition. A present is wrapped up, here=present.
21. BRILL – double definition. Brill/brilliant/super and a flatfish.
22. RITE – ceremony. Homophone (by the sound of it) of correct=right.
23. FRIENDLY – amiable. Anagram (soup) of FLY IN RED.


1. POLEMIC – argument (a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something). European (POLE), (M)ake (I)t (C)lear.
2. RAINY – wet. At home (IN) outside which is a bit of sunshine (RAY).
3. INGRATITUDE – showing lack of appreciation. Anagram (jerks) of one (I) DATING TRUE.
4. ASPECT – face. A (A), (P)roblem entering cult (SECT).
6. CABARET – entertainment. Jazz fan (CAT) accepting basic (BARE).
7. DWELL – live. (D)anish, nicely (WELL).
10. RESPECTABLE – decent. Anagram (turned) of CREPES on top of surface for eating (TABLE).
14. PORTENT – sign. Number (TEN) inside harbour (PORT).
16. PENALTY – fine. Anagram (crumbling) of PLANET, deca(Y).
17. LETTER – double definition. Character and communication penned/written.
18. CAPER – skip. Hat (CAP) on queen (ER).
19. TRIAD – group of three. One (I) inside classic (TRAD).

24 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1096 by Mara”

  1. I’d agree with Chris that this was on the hard side (Chris, you mean NW, no?). Some tricky clues, like 6d (which I biffed and never got around to parsing) and CUP TIE (which I’ve seen before but have forgotten the meaning of). I liked RED TOP for its definition, since the tabloids are definitely de trop (non-UK solvers may not be familiar with the term, which I only learned from a 15×15). 5:54.
  2. My solving times for QCs always include parsing unless otherwise stated and it was this that held me up a little today when the answers themselves had come to mind fairly readily. I scraped in under the 10-minute line by only a couple of seconds, and it was a very close thing.

    Today is Mara’s 100th QC, so congratulations and many thanks to him. His first to appear was QC19 on 3rd April 2014 and his total for that part-year was 18. In each of 2015, 2016 and 2017 he set 24 puzzles and this year to date there have been 10. Thanks again, and please keep ’em coming!

    Also a word of mention is long overdue for our most prolific QC blogger (by a huge margin), Chrisw91, whose 216th QC blog this is. He reached his 200th on 30th January but at the time I didn’t have the stats available to be able to mark the occasion. Congrats and many thanks, Chris!

    Edited at 2018-05-22 07:08 am (UTC)

    1. Aw, thanks jackkt. I would like to thank my iPad without which none of this would have been possible.
  3. 31 minutes but one wrong with third for 19 down.

    Last few were parable, corpulent, cabaret, and LOI aspect.

    Didn’t know may = tree.
    Lots of good clues, COD to friendly.

    1. As Jackkt says, hence the saying “Ne’er cast a clout till may be out” – meaning don’t shed any of your winter clothes until the blossom of the hawthorn appears, (not the month of May).
      Happily the may is now in full bloom so I’ve been merrily casting off my woollen Long Johns and muffler.
      1. Thanks both, yes I meant dnk the may tree.
        I knew that saying from Adrian Mole but I thought it meant don’t put away your warm clothes until the month of May arrives, so thanks for clarifying.
  4. …I hope it’s not 2d and they put on a 10d show. But back to the 20a… I found this on the easy side, taking about 3/4 of my average time. Only the slightly tricky TIN and PENALTY took much thought (I was looking for a sunny synonym for the latter). I didn’t ponder much on the long answers, waiting for the checkers to help. Neat puzzle and congratulations to Mara and (belatedly) Chris on their milestones.
  5. Another very enjoyable puzzle from Mara, thank you. RAINY made me snort and gets my COD. LOI was CUP-TIE, I knew cute was going to be involved but couldn’t work it out till I had the checkers. Completed in two Kevins.

    Thank you for the educational blogging Chris!

    Is CAT for “jazz fan” a standard bit of cluing? I hadn’t come across it before but it feels like the kind of “frozen in time” thing that exists in Crosswordland so I worked it out.


    1. It does turn up from time to time – it’s well down the list of definitions in Collins but it’s there:
      9. US, Slang a jazz musician or enthusiast
  6. Couldn’t parse 6d but otherwise whizzed through. Lots of interruptions so no accurate time, but definite sub 10 mins
  7. 17 minutes for me, so at the hard end of the rotterometer. I throroughly enjoyed it though, and congrats to both Mara and Chris.

    I wondered if LING would trip up some newbies, although it is standard fare in Crosswordland. Also POLEMIC is an unusual word, but very fairly clued.

  8. I was taken over my 10 minute target by 16 seconds, delayed by CUP TIE and PORTENT. Otherwise, a steady and enjoyable workout. Congrats to Mara and Chris on their respective milestones, and thanks for today’s puzzle and blog.
  9. Completed in two sittings. Not too much on the first pass, in fact 22a was second one in. Top half went in more easily than the bottom. Did not know may=hawthorn.
  10. My time of 14:51 seems fairly 10d and would have been considerably less if I’d abandoned thoughts of digestible, comestible etc much sooner.

    I also found the NW a bit tricky and I wasn’t aware that POLEMIC = argument; I thought it was just a rant.

    Thanks for a great blog.

    1. Instead of timing themselves by the clock, some solvers compare their times to some of the quicker solver’s times, which are published here or on the Times Crossword Club site (I never use it, so don’t know much about it).

      If you look above, the first post on this blog is by kevingregg who solved this puzzle in 5m 54s. Kevin is one of our quickest solvers and also one of the most regular commentators on the blogs, so is used as a comparison for some solvers who target being ‘within 3 kevins’ say for their own solve.

  11. About 20 minutes for this but I put in THIRD at 19d-with a question mark.
    FOI was 15a and LOI 19d as I was running out of time.
    Another good Mara puzzle and thanks to him for his century. David
  12. About average difficulty for me, coming in at 14.10 and a welcome relief after the mess I made of yesterday’s puzzle. I’ve not seen soup before as an anagram indicator and I’m not sure I’m a fan of it. But other than that a very enjoyable offering for Mara’s century with LOI going to 14d and COD/WOD to 1d.
    Thanks for the blog chris (and the 215 previous ones)
  13. Pretty chewy puzzle…failed to correctly parse a couple and made life impossible for myself by entering RIGHT in 21a instead of RITE in 22a… despite believing RITE was the right answer… Once that stupidity was eventually sorted I was able to fit in BRILL and the end was nigh. A couple to clues I thought were the most tricky included 13a & 3d. Grateful, as ever, to our blogger for helpful corrections to the parsing, and to Mara for a thoughtful puzzle. FOI 5a LOI 19d COD either 10d or 13a.

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