Times Quick Cryptic 1156 by Pedro

LOI 8ac took a while to drop and took me to a fraction over 8 minutes. If one were to feel particularly strongly about it, one could formulate a reference to US politics in 1ac, 10dn, 8ac and hidden in 18ac – elsewhere we have some longish definitions and some mental gymnastics with the word play. I liked 15ac but COD to 19dn. All in all a satisfying QC – thank you Pedro.
Anyone not yet having attempted a prize crossword may like to have a look at last Saturday’s.


1. ABOLISH – stop. Anagram (burst) of BOIL HAS.
5. OPUS – work. Over (from cricket O), drink – sup – knocked backwards (PUS).
8. PREMIER – senior politician. About (RE) to get millions (M) both inside support (PIER).
9. LYONS – French city. In the clue (that’s occupied) on(LY ON S)aturdays.
11. RUNNING COSTS – operating expenses. Moving fast (RUNNING), company’s (CO’S) containing blessed fellow (saint – ST).
12. CHAPEL – church. Man (CHAP), the in Spanish (EL).
14. CELLAR – a lot of wine. Homophone (we hear) of vendor – seller.
15. MAKE IT SNAPPY – be quick. I was worried that this might be a UK only pun on ginger snaps but Collins tells me that a gingersnap in American is ‘a crisp, spicy cookie flavored with ginger and molasses.’
17. USAGE – tradition. American (US), mature (AGE).
18. TRIUMPH – win. One (I) brought in to top suit (TRUMP), hearts (H).
20. LADY – female. Set (the table – LAY) to include daughter (D).
21. ICEBERG – Arctic sight. I (I), caught (C), diving bird – grebe – wheeling round (backwards – EBERG).


2. BAR – double definition.
3. LEMON – fruit. Upset (all backwards) of no (NO) and repast (MEaL) without the ‘a’.
4. SPECIALITY – dish, the restaurant’s best. Anagram (cooked) of EAT SPICILY.
6. PAY ROLL – list of those to be remunerated. Election (POLL) around Scottish town (AYR).
7. SANCTUARY – somewhere to take refuge. Anagram (treated harshly) of AS TRUANCY.
10. EGOCENTRIC – self-absorbed. Say (EG) with and anagram (wild) of CONCEIT about (R)eputation.
11. REHEARSAL – preparation for performance. Tries (HEARS) to interrupt genuine (REAL).
13. PLEDGED – vowed. Power (P), line (L), moved carefully (EDGED).
16. PLUMB – exactly (plumb/exactly in the centre). Exclusive (PLUM), book (B). I’ve always considered plum to equal choice or good (eg a job) rather than exclusive but I suppose it works with plum/exclusive offers.
19. PAR – humour of a golfing nature. Golf holes are categorised by difficulty/length as par 3, 4 or 5. Two is pair – without one (I) = (PAiR).

23 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1156 by Pedro”

  1. I biffed PAR; not much choice, given the checkers. LOI PREMIER. I had my doubts about PLUM, but again there was no choice. 5:05.
  2. LYONS is what the British call the French city of Lyon, as they call Marseille “Marseilles.” For reason(s) unknown to me, but about which I am not incurious.

    Edited at 2018-08-14 04:59 am (UTC)

      1. I was reminded of the Urban Dictionary, except that these ‘theoreticians’ are at least modest in their proposals.
  3. I also had problems getting started (my FOI was 20ac!) but once I had a couple of answers in it flowed quite smoothly. I lost further time by pausing to work out wordplay having biffed some of the answers, and completed the grid just a few seconds within my 10-minute target.
  4. I was also slow to start with FOI 12a CHAPEL. Biffed PAR and PLUMB and LOI 8a PREMIER completing in 11:52. The Times online QC clock is still ticking however.
    1. Yes – I had the same issue and thought another Times vs iPad bug may have surfaced.
  5. Exactly the same time as yesterday – a minute below average, so I didn’t find anything too tricky. I liked PAR, but enjoyed SPECIALITY the most. Thanks Pedro and Chris.
  6. 9 minutes, mired by putting SNAP in at the front of 15 and confusing its surroundings.
    There may be a coded antipotus message in the grid, but I think it unlikely that he’ll ever see it. One gets the impression that the lack of pictures would make the QC rather too tricky for him. Bigly.
  7. … and below 2 on the Kevometer so looks like being a good first day back! Like John, SPECIALITY gets COD from me, very slick. Thanks Chris and Pedro.


  8. I enjoyed today’s puzzle – especially 15 across – but was trumped, as it were, by the south east corner. I don’t play golf so couldn’t see 19 down and “plum” as “exclusive “…? Really? To make matters worse, “grebe” was never in play for me in 21 across so I couldn’t wheel it round. Oh, dear… I find it so depressing when I just can’t finish the QC. Thanks, though, setter and blogger – especially the latter. Without this blog, the confusion and frustration would bug me all day!
      1. Oh, thank you so much for replying! That’s so kind of you. I’ll keep trying!
  9. It looks like I was one of the few that failed to find Pedro’s wavelength. I struggled for 20 minutes with this, finding obstacles and delays all over the place, but now that it is completed, I can’t really find a reason why I was so slow. Maybe it is just one of those days!

    I liked PAY ROLL and the blog – thanks.

  10. Couldn’t make head nor tail of 19d until I had the outer letters, then the penny dropped with a satisfying kerplunk. ABOLISH was FOI, but PREMIER held me up to the very end and took me over my 10 minute target to 10:39. SPECIALITY needed paper and pen to decode. Nice puzzle. Thanks Pedro and Chris.
  11. I should probably train myself not to attempt anagrams without any crossers, but 1ac was so clearly flagged as one that I started there and made steady progress around the grid. My last two were 16d, Plumb, and 8ac, Premier, and they pushed me just north of 20 mins, but that’s still quick by my standards. I liked the humour in 15ac, but 3d was my favourite today. Invariant
  12. A lot of write-ins from definition alone balanced by a couple that needed to be assembled from the wordplay and just creeping under the 5 minute barrier for the second day running.
  13. This felt harder in places than my time of 11.58 would indicate. CoD to 19d as it looked like one of those clues that was completely unintelligible at first glance but brought a smile to my face when I saw what was going on. LOI was 8a which held me up at the end as I triple checked the parsing.
    Thanks for the blog
  14. Ah well…. slow today (19.03) but I enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks to Pedro who always manages to wrong-foot me and to Chris for his concise blog. Too many nice clues to list them all but I liked Par, Lemon, Pay roll, Iceberg and LOI Premier. John M

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