Times Quick Cryptic 1111 by Grumpy

Given this is the 1,111th QC, I looked hard for hidden messages but apart from a vaguely costume drama feel (1dn 4dn 7dn 11ac leaving 12ac 14ac to 15dns 24ac) could not find anything conclusive. I also could not find answers to the NE without great difficulty and finally crossed the line with 6dn in a long 17 minutes. I’ll be interested if it was just me.


8. HOSTAGE – captive. (A)udience and say (EG) backwards (turning) after (on) entertainer (HOST).
9. FLUKE – bit of luck. Following (F), gospel (LUKE).
10. NO END – a lot. Anagram (composed) of DONNE.
11. PEERESS – lady. Without equal (PEERlESS) having dropped (shed) large (L).
12. FANTASTIC – great. Anagram (trouble) of FAT CATS IN.
14. BOB – hairstyle. Bob’s your uncle!
16. LAD – youth. (L)uton (A)nd (D)unstable.
18. HANDS DOWN – very easily. Crew (HANDS), lowered (DOWN).
21. RIVULET – small flower – stream. Joiner (RIVET) outside university (U) and left (L).
22. UNDER – less than. Half of allro(UNDER).
23. ISSUE – double definition. Outgoing (in the sense of emerge, come from)/children.
24. ODDBALL – eccentric. Occasional (ODD – occasional, incidental, or random), dance (BALL).


1. THANKFUL – pleased. Husband (H) put in a lot of petrol (TANKFUL).
2. ASTERN – behind a boat. A (A), small (S), bird (TERN).
3. BAND – musicians. Homophone (to be heard) of not allowed (banned).
4. DESPOT – tyrant. Onset – beginning of (S)ickness in store (DEPOT).
5. OFFENCES – crimes. Pertaining to criminals (OF FENCES).
6. SUPERB – splendid. Splendid (SUPER), book (B).
7. BEDS – planting locations (flower beds). Shortened form of (reduced) county (Bedfordshire).
13. ACHILLES – old Greek warrior. Contains (catching) cold (CHILL) in an anagram (choppy) of SEA.
15. BANKROLL – finance. Rely (BANK) on revolution (ROLL).
17. DIVEST – strip. Joints (DIVES) (T)own.
19. NATION – country. Alliance (NATO) containing (including) one (I), new (N).
20. ORDEAL – sever test. Of in French (DE) inside exam (ORAL).
21. RAIL – double definition. Use abusive language/iron bar.
22. URDU – tongue. Central letters of (heart of) do(UR DU)ke.

34 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1111 by Grumpy”

  1. I needed the checkers to get 21d and 22d (I don’t think I ever noticed the hidden). Some very nice, smooth surfaces e.g. 10ac, 12ac, 3d, 13d. 4:34.
  2. I was conscious throughout the solve that this was not progressing very quickly, although it was steady and I ended up completing the grid in 14 minutes with DESPOT as my LOI.

    I also looked in vain for something to mark 1111, however I noticed two references to my county of residence at 16ac and 7dn.

    Considering Grumpy has been setting for us since QC3 back in 2014 he has produced remarkably few puzzles (29 in all), with only 1 in 2017, however there has been an increase this year with 3 to date, and I hope that indicates we shall be hearing a bit more from him in future.

    Edited at 2018-06-12 04:08 am (UTC)

  3. Not on grumpy’s wavelength at all and found this tough. Too many interruptions at work and 47 minutes on the clock.

    Dnk rivulet. Didn’t really like the definition of outgoing for issue.

    Liked thankful and Achilles but COD peeress.

    Edited at 2018-06-12 08:02 am (UTC)

  4. Like Kevin, I thought this was very neat. COD to FANTASTIC for the nice surface. No problems with NE corner for me as I saw FLUKE straight away. About a minute under average.
  5. I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that there are many more real tough puzzles than Qc. I realise that the normal solvers do all the puzzles in 10 minutes but us beginners do not. It would be good to have the balance the other way around. I accept we need some hard puzzles but if you do not want to turn the starters off change the balance. One hour today and could not solve. For example 8 across impossible for s beginner and barely making sense when I read the answer.
    1. 8a wouldn’t be out of place in the main puzzle.

      Definition = captive = hostage

      host (entertainer) a (audience at first) ge (say turning = for example backwards = e.g reversed)

  6. Easy start then severe deceleration. Under 5 Kevins so pretty reasonable for a normal brain. Some very nice clues. Thanks, Grumpy.
  7. A trickier than average offering which took me just over my target 10 minutes at 10:34. Started with NO END and finished with RAIL. RIVULET led me up the garden path as I didn’t consider anything other than a bloom for ages, due to the “little” in front of “flower”. Nice one Grumpy. Thanks to Chris for the blog.
  8. Top half almost straight in with the single exception of DESPOT for no accountable reason. The bottom half proved trickier for me at least, and I completed in 17 minutes, 2 over target.
  9. Felt like I wasn’t really on the wavelength for this. Plodded my way through and certainly thought I may not finish the SW corner, so pleased to get there with 18 mins 10 secs on the clock.
  10. Another one at the tougher end of the scale. In fact my first pass only left me with a few words scattered around the grid. Never did parse HOSTAGE, although with the checkers it was clear enough. LOI ISSUE. COD PEERESS.
  11. Maybe feeling a bit grumpy this morning was not such a bad thing after all. I thought this was a textbook crossword, with all the main solving devices on display and a minimum of obscure GK. I particularly liked ‘fantastic’ and the well disguised ‘rivulet’.
    Thanks as always to setter and blogger.
  12. Well, I thought that was a cracking puzzle. By the time I finished (37 mins) I had marked up 7 different clues as CoD, and looking back I can’t separate them. One of the most enjoyable QCs for ages, so I certainly hope Grumpy becomes a regular setter. Not an easy puzzle, but some great clues. Invariant
  13. Overall an enjoyable puzzle but I’m not happy with 19d! The answer was obvious enough but is it common that ‘including’ can mean interspersed or mixed up with? Spent a little while trying to fit ‘in’ into ‘NATO’ until realising what was meant!
    1. As Chris explains, NATO (‘alliance’) ‘including’ (including) I (one)=NATIO, ‘new’ (N)=NATION. There’s no interspersed or mixed up with.
  14. Given the mixed bag of results, I feel quite pleased with my time of 13:42 which is about average for me. I have been attempting to regularly solve the QC for about 20 months now. There were many DNFs in the first six months and even after a year it was rare for me to complete a QC in less than half and hour. I have only solved two so far in under 10 minutes.

    As for this QC I spent far too much time trying to come up with the name of a blooming plant for 21ac RIVULET despite having encountered this type of clue before. LOI 8ac HOSTAGE which I had to parse after completing the grid.

    Thanks to Grumpy and Chris.

  15. Solved this on the train going to London (about the only one this morning after disruption through London Bridge).
    I started with 22d followed by 2a -both hiddens. Progress was pretty smooth with all done bar 7d in 18 minutes. I needed a couple more minutes to find Beds having been stuck in Kent.
    I thought this was a very good example of the QC with a variety of clues. Thought 11a the hardest. David
  16. I’m feeling decidedly grumpy after having a typo in 15d. I thought this was fairly tough and I came to complete halt in the SW where I stared blankly at 17, 21, 21 an 23 for far too long.
    Eventually completed the grid in 20.38
  17. Hellish, this. In fact, I did MUCH better at the 15 x 15 (about 75% solved, hurrah!) today. Spent 10 minutes trying to get an anagram (eccentric) of “dance is” for occasional, before giving up on that one. ASTERN baffled me too, although I knew it began with A. Really not on Grumpy’s wavelength today — thanks Chris for showing me where I’d gone wrong!
    Btw, I nearly commented on the 15×15 blog (OVERSPILL for displaced persons didn’t sit well with me), but if Anon above thinks the solvers here are hardcore…well, let’s just say I’m not ready to throw myself into the big boys’ playground just yet 🙂
    1. Do, please, comment on the 15×15. I remember the trepidation I felt something like, well I’ve no idea 8, 10, 15 (?) years ago (before the QC was a twinkle in the crossword editor’s eye) when I did. They are all extremely welcoming and (enormously) knowledgeable..
      1. Thanks, Chris, that’s nice to know! At least I’m having a go; I feel quite proud that, in less than eighteen months, I’ve gone from being utterly baffled by cryptic crosswords to almost finishing the daddy of them all 🙂 Huge thanks must go to all you bloggers; I wouldn’t have come so far without you *X Factor-style grateful tears*
    2. I have had numerous instances over the years where my reaction to a definition was something along the lines of “Well I’d never use it like that” but I have come to accept that the only way for setters to avoid mass verbal fisticuffs over their definitions is to use a central arbiter, i.e. a dictionary (usually Collins for the Times but also sometimes Oxford or Chambers). For overspill, Chambers has: “A proportion of the population that leaves a district, displaced by changes in housing, etc”. I can see you wrinkling your nose at this, but accepting Collins (or Oxford or Chambers) as your cruciverbal Bible/Koran/Vedas/Avesta/etc is a large step towards Crosswordland serenity 🙂 Also, do comment on the 15×15 – there is no friendlier site than this one.
      1. Ha, serenity sounds good (distinct lack of it this evening)! I must invest in said dictionary instead of relying on my own “bah humbug” tendencies 🙂
        1. They’re all available for free online – there are links in the right-hand sidebar (though the online Chambers version is different to the standard paper one). However a paper dictionary is great for random browsing (Chambers especially) and you can usually pick up old editions for just a few quid from Am*zon or a charity shop.
          1. Dictionaries aplenty in this house, I just don’t have them to hand while crosswording (is that a thing?). Got an Oxford so hopefully that would do? And Eric Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang is fantastic for hours of down-the-rabbit-hole browsing, and an excellent doorstop to boot. Highly recommended.
  18. As I too found this tough in the train home and was wondering if it was just the effect of a long day! Four Kevins, which is one over target but I’m in good company. Never did parse HOSTAGE, thanks for explaining it Chris. And spent an AGE in the SW, having done the rest in under 10. Hey ho.


  19. Although perhaps I gave up too easily. But was extremely difficult. Looking at the blog I can see how it was a clever crossword but I don’t like ‘say’ as e.g. or F for following. I must start these earlier rather than at end of day. dnf…
    John George
  20. It seems the QC is becoming a forum for regular solvers to show off rather than a place for novices to learn. This was way too difficult for a newcomer to cryptic crosswords…….
  21. Hard but fun, and good to be reminded to watch out for the implication of flow-er and shed.
  22. The guys over at CrackingTheCryptic on YouTube demonstrate a speed solve of this puzzle. It is worth looking up – I found it pretty impressive.

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