Times Quick Cryptic 1161 by Orpheus

Having got no joy in several clues in the top half, I ducked down to the SW and built the grid up from there. Last two standing when everything else was complete were 17ac and loi 10ac. 8:31 which is faster than I expected from a slow start.


1. CAEN – French city. Grande(E) thrown into jail (CAN).
3. ASSENTED – agreed. Anagram (new) of DATE to secure (containing) the return (backwards) of head (ness – SSEN).
9. CORSAIR – pirate. Homophone (in speech) of earthy manner – coarse air.
10. ACUTE – sort of accent. A (A), charming (CUTE).
11. AITCH – letter H. A (A) and church (CH) covering (containing) appeal – sex appeal (IT).
12. KIDNAP – snatch. Young farm animal (KID) then have forty winks (NAP).
14. OVERSUBSCRIBE – apply in excess of availability. Left (OVER), assistant (SUB), copyist (SCRIBE).
17. DOCILE – amenable. Conservative (C) and one (I) dipping into (inside) government handout (DOLE).
19. ENNUI – boredom. Greek character (NU) inside eastern (E) part of U.K. – Northern Ireland (NI).
22. HEIST – robbery. Believer loses head – t(HEIST).
23. KITCHEN – cooking area. Long (ITCH) to enter man (KEN).
24. DEMERARA – sweetener. US politician – democrat (DEM), a (A) and seldom found – (RARE) both returned (backwards) (ERARA).
25. TWEE – excessively sentimental. Wife (W) protected by (inside) golfer’s support (TEE).


1. COCKATOO – noisy bird. Homophone (some say) of sort of spaniel as well (cocker too).
2. EGRET – wading bird. For example (EG), to soak (RET). Dnk ret – it is to moisten or soak (flax, hemp, jute, etc) to promote bacterial action in order to facilitate separation of the fibres from the woody tissue by beating. So now we know.
4. STRIKEBREAKER – scab (according to a picket line). Hit (STRIKE), big wave (BREAKER).
5. ELAND – large antelope. Death (END) outside US city (LA).
6. TSUNAMI – destructive wave. Anagram (swirling) of N UIST around before noon (AM).
7. DUET – piece of music. Proper (DUE), time (T).
8. PATHOS – quality arousing pity. Ways (PATHS) to conceal (contain) old (O).
13. DEFIANCE – resistance. Of Parisian/in French (DE), husband-to-be (FIANCÉ).
15. EGOTISM – extreme self-love. Anagram (developing) of I GET SO (M)ad.
16. CREATE – make. Box (CRATE) to accommodate (around) drug (E).
18. INTER – bury. Wife (W) missing from start of season – w(INTER).
20. NOHOW – absolutely not. A common enough word which I can’t remember ever using and I was rather surprised at the spelling but it is correct. Currently (NOW) going round house (HO).
21. SHED – double definition.

46 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1161 by Orpheus”

  1. Felt like slow going at the time, although I think the only time-consuming one was DOCILE; DOLE took a long time to rise to consciousness. And CAEN, not a French city that springs to mind. 6:34.
  2. 8 minutes. Had a momentary lapse at 1dn where I biffed ‘cockerel’ for ‘noisy bird’ (cock-a-doodle-doo!) but then considered wordplay and corrected it. None of the usual sources mentions the COCKATOO as being noisy but the article in Wiki refers to it so perhaps it’s justified, though it strikes me that most birds kept as pets in cages and aviaries display this characteristic.

    Having seen ‘big wave’ at 4dn, thought of TSUNAMI and immediately discounted it because the answer was a 13-letter word, I had no problem when ‘destructive wave (7)’ cropped up at 6dn!

    Edited at 2018-08-21 04:34 am (UTC)

      1. Yes, I think just about every supermarket in the UK has Demerara sugar on the shelf.
    1. You drive along the Demerara river from the airport to Georgetown in Guyana through the quaint village of The Garden of Eden. Unfortunately the old power station is located there and I have a picture of the sign outside – “The Garden of Eden Power Station”.
  3. 27 minutes today and I thought it was quite tough in places. I eventually put in ASSENTED without understanding the cryptic (thanks for the explanation) and put in NOHOW from the cryptic not believing it to be a real word.
  4. I struggled to get going today, so much so I had to check I wasn’t attempting the 15×15. I had to think for some time about most of the clues with only four write ins. I made several attempts at 3a ASSENTED before the PDM (I keep forgetting ness = head) and my LOI was 9a homophone CORSAIR. A Tricky QC for me, completed in 18 mins. Thank you Orpheus and Chris.
  5. Struggled with the top corner too. Lots of good clues but I do think that the quick crossword should avoid words which are too obscure or never used (ret and nohow for example). How long will it be before aitch becomes a misspelling – one of my pet hates is when people say haitch 🙂
  6. 1ac didn’t provide the most encouraging start: there are almost as many terms for prison as there are French cities. But the rest went in smoothly enough.
    I’ve had some DEMERARA sugar at the back of my kitchen cupboard for years. It’s probably a solid block by now.
  7. Took me a little over 2.5 Kevins, so within target but still tricky. LOI was CAEN; I could see the structure but it took me an age to think of “can” for “prison”. ASSENTED and OVERSUBSCRIBE both took more than one visit as well.

    Thanks to Orpheus and Chris.


  8. I finished this in 25 minutes so was feeling very smug until I saw that 17 was “docile ” rather than my hastily written in “polite “. I couldn’t parse my own answer so it was obvious it was wrong. “cockatoo” was an answer a couple of months ago so was an instant one for me. I remembered it because it’s so clever and is funny, too. DNK “ret” for soak nor “ness” for head but they had to be the answers . I’m a beginner, too, but, somehow, I seem to always get the Orpheus clues. Thanks, setter and blogger.
  9. Surprisingly long for me at a little over 20 minutes. DNK RET, but EGRET made sense so it had to be. Like Chris, after a slow start at the top, I solved bottom-up, and my last two in were the two 1s.

    I put my tardiness down to lingering anger and frustration at taking over 4 hours yesterday to get from Junction 16 of the M25 to Junction 17. After eventually escaping at J17, I aborted my trip and returned home to pikelets, jam and green tea for a very late breakfast.

  10. About 10 mins no problems dne ret, but no alternative. Not sure where I have met nohow, but no problem. Both nohow and no way (surely 2 words) seem like Americanisms to me but perhaps I am imagining that
  11. This puzzle was more difficult than yesterday’s so that makes 2 in a row not designed for beginners. I would go as far as to add that even reading the bloggers explanation left me bewildered. I accept we need some tough ones but let’s hope the rest of the week are on a easier scale. Nakrian kickiat
  12. Found this hard going, but on reflection not really sure why. DNK RET. Not sure I have ever used NOHOW. Noway would be more common I would have thought. Enjoyed 14ac (COD) and 4d. LOI ASSENTED. Always forget NESS = HEAD. Now to watch the cricket, which is likely to be even harder going!
  13. OVERSUBSCRIBE and COCKATOO were my last 2 in. EGRET went in first with RET vaguely remembered for a 15×15, but CAEN took a while to bring to mind. No problem with the rest and submitted at 8:42. Thanks Orpheus and Chris.
  14. 30mins, but definitely on the tricky side – clues such as 11 and 17ac would have been beyond me not so long ago. That’s not to say they didn’t take quite a bit of working out today as well. As others have noted, Ret is ridiculously obscure for a QC, but I guess most people just biffed the answer from eg*** and hoped for the best. I was also surprised that Nohow is a word. Even though the cryptic was clear enough, I didn’t enter it until confirmed by all three crossers. All in all, a very mixed bag, with 17ac my favourite. Invariant
    1. NOHOW is a word, all right, but not in any standard dialect of English. (I have a vague recollection of it being used in the movie of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.) Just like I don’t know anyone/no one etc., one has It won’t work anyhow/nohow, etc.
      1. ‘Know-how’ (knowledge) is familiar to me but not ‘nohow’ (absolutley not). If I wanted to get down with the kids and embarrass myself in the process I’d probably say ‘no way’ if I meant ‘absolutley not’.
        1. Sure enough, it’s in the W of O:

          Dorothy: If you please, sir. We want to see the Wizard right away. All four of us.
          Guard: Orders are: nobody may see the Great Oz! Not nobody, not nohow!
          Dorothy: Oh, but please. It’s very important!
          Cowardly Lion: And I got a permanent just for the occasion!
          Guard: NOT NOBODY, NOT NOHOW!!!

          I was surprised at the non-recognition of the word by several people, including you; maybe it’s a (non-standard) Americanism. But it fits the pattern of (licit) double negation in those dialects.

          Edited at 2018-08-21 01:23 pm (UTC)

          1. I’ve never seen the film. Does that make me unique amongst my generation and many before and since?
      2. Thank you for taking the trouble to reply, and I can see your point, but ‘two countries separated by a common language’ comes to mind ☺ Invariant
      3. I seem to remember “not never, nohow” being a phrase from my childhood – a very emphatic way of saying “no”. No idea where it comes from, though.

        Must say I have lurked (and learned – thanks, all) here for a while, but this is the first time I have braved a comment!


  15. Raced through nearly all of this, held up only by OVERSUBSCRIBE (which needed the checkers) and then CAEN, which took a bit of head-scratching. I have demerara sugar in a kitchen cupboard so no problems with that one. 5:35
  16. Great puzzle, just the right level for me. LOI ASSENTED (was looking for an anagram of date and head), dnk RET but I do now! NOHOW I knew from Lost in Music by Sister Sledge: not me, not now, no way, nohow (woah-oh) 🙂
    Thanks Orpheus, and Chris for parsing 3A.
  17. Bit too tough for me today esp NW corner. Got fixated on Nice. Nicked and e. Doesn’t work I know. To add to the debate on levels of ease, unless there’s 2 write ins in each corner then I’m struggling to beat 30 mins
    Sorry the Rotter had a bad journey. I joined the M25 at J17 at 3pm and there was nothing on it. Must have been a terrible shunt. I once did the QC KenKen and easy xword between J 8&9 of M1. Smacked bottom I know. John
  18. Pottered through to the finish today, oh joy. Crashed out yesterday. As a relative newbie, why does head=ness?
    1. It’s a piece of land sticking out into water. Dictionary definition “a headland or promontory, eg Orford Ness.”
  19. I nearly made a complete hash of this as I biffed DEMOCRAT for 24a thinking that I’d go back and parse it later. Was doing a typo check having finally figured out 1a when I saw INTEC for 18d. A couple of minutes later I’d managed to figure out the correct answer.
    Like others I’d never heard of RET and NU wasn’t on my, admittedly short, list of known Greek letters.
    Completed in 14.43 – COD to 1a
    1. Having learned the Greek alphabet as a teenager (can’t remember exactly why!) has proved surprisingly useful in later life.. Especially with crosswords.
  20. I solved this on the train on the way home from a day in Canterbury. I got 1a and 1d almost immediately. I slowed down a bit but found this easier than yesterday. Oversubscribe was quite difficult. LOI was 7d which I only read towards the end.
    No time noted. We always had Demerara sugar at home when I was young. David
  21. I love the qc and try it daily. This was too hard for me and I had to look up far more than usual. Nevertheless, thanks!
    Jon P
  22. We like lurkers but we love posters even more. Do be brave again! We’re always happy to give further explanations if you’re unsure of anything.
  23. Clue 19: As a relative newcomer to QCs, and a regular traveller to NI, I’m puzzled by the ref to NI and east of UK. I think of NI as west. Would be grateful for an explanation!
    1. Standard setter’s trickery: the clue reads as if ‘eastern’ modifies ‘part of UK’, to mislead you into thinking of, well, the eastern part of the UK. In fact it’s simply E followed by NI (part of UK), into which NU has been inserted (‘in’): E(eastern)N NU I.
  24. Tweedledee and Tweedledum use the word ‘nohow’ several times in ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’
  25. 4 days to complete. Been to Spain and back in that time and just finished last clue on train home – NOHOW!!!
    Found it really difficult but delighted to have finished. Didn’t know RET was soak.

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