Times Quick Cryptic 1136 by Mara

No time to report today but my guess is that this is a medium difficulty puzzle from Mara. Plenty of anagrams around – roughly a quarter of the clues.
I got on fairly well throughout until the SW caused some pause with 11dn, 19ac and LOI 15dn. Plenty of worthy clues but COD to 14ac.


1. STEVENSON – author. (S)co(T) – Scot without the middle letters, odds on=a good bet=evens (on). I’m not entirely sure about the ‘on’ but passed on confident in the answer.
6. DAD – father. Daughter (D), promotion (AD)vert.
8. INFERNO – fire. Imply (INFER), no (NO).
9. PIN-UP – star. Fix (PIN), in the sky (UP).
10. LIGHT – double definition. Fair hair/light hair, easy workload/light workload.
12. TOUCAN – bird of the old Guinness adverts. Anagram (at sea) of OUT, has ability (CAN).
14. PRONOUNCEMENT – declaration. For (PRO), name perhaps (NOUN), to stick (CEMENT).
16. SEWERS – those carrying waste. Small (S), vessels (EWERS).
17. POSER – knotty problem. Anagram (knotting) of ROPES.
19. FUTON – something to sleep on. Joy (FUN) about to (TO).
20. EMIRATE – Muslim state. English (E), friend (MATE) entertaining (holding/around) Irish (IR).
22. YAP – shrill sound. Pay backwards (YAP).
23. CATAMARAN – boat. Anagram (manoeuvres) of A CART MAN around a (A).


1. SKI SLOPE – a location in (the ? gives us ‘for example’) Chamonix. Anagram (sloppy) of KISS, bound (LOPE).
2. ELF – fairy. Used wings is ‘flew’, briefly gives us (FLE)w, to rise (upwards) gives (ELF).
3. EGRET – bird. For example (EG), anothe(R) nic(E) nes(T).
4. SHORT AND SWEET – pleasingly brief. Anagram (broadcast) of NEWS HARDEST TO.
5. NEPTUNE – sea god. Anagram (off) of PUT entering (inside) river (NENE).
6. DUNGAREES – loose trousers. Anagram (badly made) of ANGERED US.
7. DOPE – idiot. Having to exercise? (DO PE).
11. GOOSESTEP – march. Bird (GOOSE) on stage (STEP).
13. STURGEON – fish. Cutter (SURGEON) catching (T)wenty.
15. OCEANIC – in the deep. Anagram (desperate) of ONCE to catch (holding) a (A), in charge (IC) one (I), caught (C).
17. PRISM – solid shape. Proper (PRIM) around (S)phere.
18. IFFY – dodgy. Moment without the leading letter j(IFFY).
20. AIR – atmosphere. In fiest(A I R)elished.

42 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1136 by Mara”

  1. PRO (for) NOUN (name, perhaps) CEMENT (to stick); ‘name’ is a noun not a pronoun.
  2. Took a while to get DUNGAREES, a word I haven’t come across in ages. S(T)URGEON has come up a number of times in the 15x15s. I confess to being annoyed at seeing ‘imply’ equated to ‘infer’. 7:25.
    1. I wasn’t aware of any particular difficulties whilst solving but on completion I found I was 2 minutes over my target 10 so I must have been held up somewhere along the way.

      The River Nene is a bit obscure for a QC but solvers of the 15×15 may remember it appearing twice there in recent months. In any case the answer (NEPTUNE) was biffable, especially with a checker or two in place.

      One of my earliest memories regarding the meaning of words is of my father refusing to accept the Concise Oxford as a valid book of reference because it defined ‘imply’ as ‘infer’ and vice versa. My views on the subject are therefore somewhat entrenched and engrained so that even today I make no allowance for usage and would simply state that any dictionary that confirms these definitions without qualification, is just plain WRONG!

      As a footnote, I’m pleased to note that the COED has now mended its ways and includes this statement: “Imply and infer do not mean the same thing and should not be used interchangeably”. Collins has something similar ascribing the error to “modern usage”, but Chambers rather loftily insists that infer/imply “is often condemned as a misuse but generally accepted for over four centuries”.

      Edited at 2018-07-17 05:00 am (UTC)

      1. Jack, there is a good discussion in Oxford Fowler’s modern English usage, which supports your view.

        It’s quite long but this sums it up:

        Fowler made no comment on the meaning of infer, and it was left to Gowers (1965) to add a short note to the effect that ‘the use infer for imply is sadly common-so common that some dictionaries give imply as one of the definitions of infer without comment’.

        1. Yes. I seem to remember that inference is a form of logic that can be coded into an algorithm (as I did back in the 1980s). Implication is rather more subjective…. not that this gave me any problem with 8a!

          Edited at 2018-07-17 07:04 am (UTC)

          1. The distinction is–or would be, if I were king–that the speaker/writer implies, while the listener/reader infers. Punkt.
      2. The point is that dictionaries are not arbiters of grammar or, as in this case, orthography but just define how words are actually used. Infer and imply are used almost interchangeably in speech and literature and so any dictionary worth its salt would merely reflect this common usage. So the COED is just plain wrong. Anyway, the actual distinction between the two words is a recent phenomenon (only since the 1950s) and I for one will continue to ignore the pedants.
        1. No argument about the role of dictionaries; but I’m curious as to what your continued ignoring of the pedants consists in. Ignoring their moaning about correctness? Right on. Arbitrarily using the words as synonyms? Why?
          1. In my experience so-called “grammatical errors” have no real basis but are the opinions, often arbitrary, of self-appointed dictators of what they consider to be Proper English with little consideration of what the actual usage is. Less/fewer, split infinitives, ending with prepositions, infer/imply are all such spurious edicts. And for each “rule” there are numerous examples of where the best writers have ignored them: Dickens, Austen, Scott, Milton etc. Personally I’d rather follow their example than that of pedants. Rant over.
            1. We’re in total agreement, so far as I can see. (Dickens was attacked for (I forget what novel) ‘highly geological home-made cake’ (‘geological’ doesn’t admit of degrees), and ‘Our Mutual Friend’ (a term he helped popularize).) But what I was asking was, How does ‘ignoring the pedants’ re imply/infer help? It is pedantic, and pointless, to insist that the two words are not synonymous; but what good is done by treating them as synonymous? (I might add that I’ve never–never–come across any example, among anyone literate, of a confounding of the two words, and I cannot imagine any editor I’ve ever dealt with tolerating such a confounding.)
  3. 1a is St evens on [disheartened scot | odds | on ].

    45 mins including break which is to be expected after a few weeks off.

    Stuck in the SW, iffy, yap, futon, goosestep and LOI sewers.

    MER at pay = having got money or just money. Doesn’t feel right.


    Edited at 2018-07-17 05:38 am (UTC)

  4. Just over average time for me, needing FUTON to unlock the SW corner with GOOSESTEP and SEWERS my last two in. IFFY my COD.
  5. I’m late to the discussion on infer/imply, but have a strong memory of my then girlfriend, a teacher of English, using them wrongly. My correct/pedantic correction did not go down well.

    Are elves and fairies the same??

  6. 6.58: can’t go any faster with a keyboard. I infer from what others are implying that 8ac should be regarded as a solecism, to which I can only add that indeed, it usually is, every time the word INFERNO crops up. “He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases”.

    Edited at 2018-07-17 08:35 am (UTC)

  7. My instinct is that fairies are female and elves male, but I suspect Oberon and Titania might disagree.
    1. Skating on thin ice Z8! Take a look at the article in today’s paper about an altercation between LRA and Stonewall.

      Edited at 2018-07-17 09:00 am (UTC)

      1. Right. Now that’s an arena into which I would never venture. Modern obsessions with what is, and is not male, female and everything else in between (and either side, come to that) are quite beyond anything I learned at my mother’s knee. And I would never, ever use “fairy” in any sense other than Tinkerbell and friends.
      1. I believe the researchers for QI (and Only Connect) are known as elfs (sic), but I would’t want to speculate on gender.
  8. I was so engrossed in this puzzle that I didn’t notice the timer until I’d finished. It felt like a bit of a slog, so I was surprised to see I’d come in just under my target at 9:37. STEVENSON went straight in, but the SW corner took some serious brain power. Nice puzzle. Thanks Mara and Chris.
  9. I agree precisely with chrisw about the most difficult clues, the LOI and COD. Once again, I thought I was going well before almost grinding to a halt so it became a challenge for me – Mara always seems to manage some stings in the tail. Four kevins so my confidence is not high this week. I think it is important that some of us post our honest, longer times so that newbies and slowcoaches (like me) are not intimidated by the really quick solvers. John
  10. Similar to jackkt I was nearly three minutes over my target at 12:52 but am unable to reason why. There was some skipping around the grid and a lack of checkers in the SW corner but nothing that resorted to an alphabet trawl. Concur with Chris, 14a PRONOUNCEMENT is my COD although wrote it in first and then parsed.
  11. Over 23 minutes for me this morning, one of my longest times for a while. I put this down to a combination of tiredness and a predominance of partial anagrams which I simply failed to spot, so found myself working on the wrong lines, particularly 12 and 19 across and 1, 5 and 15 down.

    I am far too ignorant to involve myself in the imply / infer controversy, and leave that to others. I can imagine that I would use them almost interchangably in some use-cases, but not others.

    Thanks Mara for the puzzle, and Chris for the blog.

  12. Bang on my average. (30 mins John). STEVENSON and INFERNO took me a while, not helped by the fact that I regard fairies and elves as quite different things but eventually worked out that that is what it must be. So far as I am concerned, if fairies can be elves in crosswordland then IMPLY can be INFER. Or am I away with the fairies?
    Didn’t see any problem with 1 ac = ST + EVENS (odds) + ON.
  13. A largely trouble free 5:25 which looks quite a useful time today judging by the earlier comments. I already had the I and O of INFERNO in place so just wrote it in as soon as I saw ‘fire’, thereby avoiding wasting any energy on the infer/imply issue. I am at best a lazy pedant: half of me wants to be outraged, the other half just can’t be bothered.
  14. I was interrupted soon after I had started so have no accurate time. Was not quick -25 to 30 minutes.
    I made steady progress through the puzzle, noted the third or fourth appearance of the River Nene in my recent crossword life. Ure out of time? (Farlowe)
    I got held up in the SW but not for too long. LOI was 15d where I had the wrong anagram fodder at first.
    Good puzzle. COD to 19a.
  15. I completed the grid in 19.54 but for the second day in a row had a mistake in it – this time putting in DUPE for 7d. I wish I could put it down to a typo but unfortunately I think careless parsing would be closer to the truth.
    On the whole I found this quite tricky – although it also took me a while to see things that should have been relatively straightforward e.g. 1a.
    Not heard of the river Nene before so 5d went in unparsed.
    Thanks for the blog
  16. Can anyone help a newbie understand why ‘one caught in the deep’ = ‘in charge’?
    Is this a convention? It seems a bit of a stretch as a clue, but no-one has mentioned it so maybe I’m missing something? Then again, I’m new to this.

    Thanks to Chris and Mara

    1. ‘In the deep’ is the definition of OCEANIC. ‘One caught’ is clueing IC (I = one, C = caught, as used on cricket scoreboards etc).


      Edited at 2018-07-17 07:07 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks jackkt – this blog was done on a train – apologies Anon.

        Here’s the full version:
        Desperate once to catch Australian opener, one caught in the deep (7)
        Anagram (desperate) of ONCE holding (A)ustralian, one (I), caught (C) – in the deep=OCEANIC.

        Sorry for the confusion.

  17. Many thanks for this explanation Jackkt. As a cricketer I really should have got this!
  18. Many thanks Chris, but really no need to apologise – always grateful to you and the other bloggers for the answers, never mind the parsing!
  19. Just got round to this a few days late. Imply = infer???? What has the world come to?

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