Times Quick Cryptic 1181 by Des

As you can see, I am your blogger tonight, substituting for ChrisW91, who is off on a cruise of the Baltic.   This is certainly a well-deserved vacation, as the job of a once-a-week blogger is pretty demanding – although at least you don’t have to worry about whether it’s your week or not.

I seem to be all over the map on Quickies, sometimes solving them in 5 minutes, sometimes taking 15.   This puzzle, unfortunately, was one of the latter sort.  I could just not get a handle on several important clues, and jumped to the conclusion that 11 across must end in -wick.   ‘Wolf whistle’ and ‘standing stone’ also gave a lot of trouble, even though I had correctly analyzed how each clue worked.

But I did finish in the end, and am now able to look up anything I didn’t know.

1 Tree climbed next to golf club (8)
ROSEWOOD – ROSE + WOOD, the club used by the new top-ranked golfer in the world.
5 Left fool to find lounge (4)
LOAF – L + OAF.   I would have to say that an ‘oaf’ is not exactly a fool, but he’s close enough.
8 Gem, ruby initially, set in ring (5)
9 But it occurs in February, and not spring? (4,3)
LEAP DAY – Jocular cryptic definition.
11 CID won’t park carelessly in N Irish town (11)
DOWNPATRICK – Anagram of CID WON’T PARK…..I suppose the IRA must be keeping them on their toes.
13 Here players can be sent some notes in binders (3,3)
SIN BIN – Hidden in [note]S IN BIN[ders]
14 Temporary ruler, for example, in charge of landlord? (6)
16 Lose opportunity, as badly aimed torpedo may? (4,3,4)
MISS THE BOAT – Double definition, one jocular (or maybe not, if you are manning the anti-aircraft guns).
18 Birds peculiar to caves (7)
AVOCETS – Anagram of TO CAVES, another bird I don’t know.
19 Light timber that’s a piece of cake to turn over? (5)
BALSA – A SLAB backwards, biffed by me.
20 One changing colour, and sounding dreadful (4)
DYER – Sounds like DIRE.
21 Des rests, when upset and very anxious (8)
STRESSED – Anagram of DES RESTS, a Guardian-like reference to our setter.   Tonight, the solvers are more likely to be stressed.
1 Spellbound? That’s right and appropriate (4)
RAPT – R + APT, my FOI.
2 Part of ancient site bearing weight (8,5)
STANDING STONE – STANDING + STONE in different senses, a UK weight that it took me a while to think of.
3 What may be blown from building site, with fellows excited (4,7)
WOLF WHISTLE – Anagram of WITH FELLOWS, a surprise to me until I put in the last two remaining letters.
4 Small operations involving forty-one plants (6)
OXLIPS – O(XLI)PS, another one I biffed, as this pattern of letters is either ‘tulips’ or ‘oxlips’.
6 Ancient Dutch legends? (3,5,5)
OLD WIVES TALES –  Cryptic definition, where ”Dutch’ has its CRS meaning of ‘wife’, derived from Duchess of Fife, if that is indeed the derivation.
7 Flat key I played to test people’s reaction? (3,1,4)
FLY A KITE – Anagram of FLAT KEY I, more often termed a ‘trial balloon’ in the US.
10 Very quickly occupying oneself with that large drink? (2,3,6)
AT THE DOUBLE – Double definition, one jocular, more often seen as ‘on the double’.
12 I dance on road in Kingdom (8)
ISAMBARD –  I + SAMBA + RD.   I didn’t understand the answer, but it seemed right.   It was.  You can look it up if puzzled.
15 County: it provides basic accommodation (6)
BEDSIT – BEDS + IT, a chestnut that eluded me.
17 Young girl forced to speak out (4)
MAID – Sounds like MADE/

39 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1181 by Des”

  1. This was a toughie: DNK 2d, although I had the STONE early on; NHO DOWNPATRICK, and needed most of the checkers before I could figure it out; DNK SIN BIN, and of course it was a hidden, so it was my LOI. As V says, we tend to fly test balloons not kites; and “Go fly a kite!” (=Get lost!) means something rather different. I think it was the capital K in Kingdom that triggered ISAMBARD, although it wasn’t a hair trigger; it took me a moment before I could remember the name. 8:29.
  2. DOWNPATRICK, eh? I was guessing the town must end in WICK, before the W found its proper place.

    I think WOLF WHISTLE could be legitimately regarded as an &lit. Fine clue, but—not to get political or anything—in the bigger picture, it is acquiescent in the normalization of such behaviour—not to mention the stereotyping of construction workers. (Yeah, that’s right, I do work for The Nation. What of it? Ha.)

    I didn’t remember ISAMBARD, despite the helpful Non-Deceptive Capitalization, so it was my Penultimate One In. Because my LOI was SIN BIN, which I’d (seemingly) never heard of, and so didn’t see for the longest time. (They don’t just call it that at religious schools? Ha. Ha.)

  3. A similar experience to our blogger and at 17 minutes this put me in the red zone for the second time in 3 QCs.

    Usually when that happens it has been one or two clues that have held me up, but today I was slow throughout the solve.

    My last two in were 1ac, where I had actually been considering ROSEIRON as a type of tree, and 2dn where I had been looking for an anagram of ‘site fellows’. Having eventually seen the light I thought it was a rather good clue, as was 6dn, my first one in.

    LEAP DAY took some thinking of. I never heard of DOWNPATRICK but as it consists of two components readily associated with Ireland it didn’t take a lot of working out.

    No problem with FLY A KITE and I much prefer it to one of the alternatives: run (something) up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

    Edited at 2018-09-18 05:01 am (UTC)

  4. A great puzzle which I would have solved under my target 10 minutes if it hadn’t been for my LOI, BEDSITS, which took me almost 3 minutes to see! Loved ISAMBARD. No problem with FLY A KITE. 11:49. Thanks Des and V.
  5. I solved this online and finished in 17 minutes but was told it was “not quite right”. In fact I had corrected DIRE to DIER at 20a, so one wrong.
    My FOI was Downpatrick and after that I solved steadily admiring the clever clues. Isambard was tricky but I followed the signposts;similarly Oxlips. LOI was Maid which I stared at for quite some time. David
  6. I should perhaps have noted above that Des is a long-standing QC setter and in fact he was responsible for the very first one published on 10 March 2014, however he visits us only occasionally and this is only his 14th puzzle.

    He set 2 in 2014 and then 3 per year each year since including 2018 to date, so if that pattern repeats itself we may not hear from him again this year.

    Edited at 2018-09-18 07:17 am (UTC)

  7. Many thanks to Des for an excellent but demanding QC and to vinyl for his blog. I was slow to start in the NW corner and jumped about elsewhere befire beginning to make sense of it all. Downpatrick took longer than it should have (I also spent time on …..wick), as did Old Wives Tales. Finished in the NW – Wolf Whistle (my COD), Rosewood, Standing Stone and LOI Oxlips. Just under 20 mins. John M.
  8. I thought there was some lovely trickery going on here. It took me a little while to get going, but seeing a couple of long answers early helped. WOLF WHISTLE, SIN BIN (my LOI) and the self-referential STRESSED were my favourites, but also liked the neat surface for PEARL. I was glad to be corrected by the wordplay on the spelling our engineer’s name – I thought it was ISIMBARD. It’s marvellous what doing crosswords does to address my general ignorance! Thanks Des and V. 5:59.
  9. I may never do another QC. I am retiring; framing my ballpoint pen and hanging it on the wall. I’m done, because The Impossible Dream has finally come true.

    I went through that like a knife through butter finishing in 7:28. Yes, 7:28 – faster than Kevin! Words I never ever thought I would type. I’m in shock.

    What a strange thing puzzles can be. Yesterday I took a full half an hour (possibly my worst ever time) over a QC that almost everyone on here thought was a doddle. Today it’s the reverse; I honestly thought all you Wise Old Hands would be posting sub-5 minute PBs.

    Anyway – needless to say I thought that was a great QC and really enjoyed it!

    Thanks Des and thanks to vinyl for stepping into the blog hot seat, much appreciated.


      1. No way, I absolutely love it. I was just so stunned that retirement seemed an appropriate reaction! (This is a different debate but I just don’t understand why I can’t do the 15×15. The step up seems to be too much for me.)


        1. It’s not too big a step on many days, so please be guided by helpful hints posted in the QC blog about a good day to have a go at it. Don’t expect to solve it all on the first few occasions, or even for many after that, but what you have learnt from the QC will stand you in good stead.
  10. Initially I couldn’t get started at all, so I cheated and looked at the blog for 1 ac and 5 ac. Just as well as I would never have worked either out …. Agonised through the rest but put dyed not dyer. About an hour. A learning experience! Thanks to Des and V. Frankyanne
  11. 7.30. I didn’t spot the anagram for WOLF WHISTLE, which perhaps makes it an even better clue, but part of my mind was correcting “what may be blown from building site” to “what shouldn’t be blown from building site because it’s now regarded as harassment” (!).
    I also wondered about ROSEWOOD being a specific tree, and Chambers limits itself to “a valuable heavy dark-coloured wood of many trees” but seems to be in the minority.
    How famous do you have to be before you can be clued with reference to either of your (slightly bizarre) forenames only? Franklin Delano?
  12. 11mins for a puzzle with lots of excellent and challenging clues. COD to the marvellous anagram Wolf Whistle. Took an extra minute over Regent. Many thanks Des and blogger
  13. Liked this very much. It made me think really hard but, with the exception of 12 down, the head scratching finally paid off. I’m so used to ignoring capitalisation that I assumed the”K” of “Kingdom” was a red herring! Very clever clue! Thank you, blogger and setter
    1. The setter can capitalize a word that doesn’t require capitalization–or in fact doesn’t have it–, but he can’t use lower case for a word that does. Since Kingdom here was a name, ‘kingdom’ would have to be capitalized.
  14. Another one that took just north of 30mins, with 5 of those spent on the 1d/8ac combination at the end. The RHS went in relatively quickly, but I struggled down the left, until Standing Stones finally allowed me to decipher the unknown Avocet, which in turn allowed me to see where Des was coming from with 12d – a nice clue (for UK solvers). The smooth surface of 14ac, Regent, makes it my favourite today. Invariant
  15. Took me a while to get going, but then found this a smooth solve, with no real holdups. WOLF WHISTLE made me chuckle (my COD) and has the added advantage of being very non PC. Enjoyed OLD WIVES TALES and FLY A KITE. LOI STANDING STONE. Living near Stonehenge I was desperately trying to fit sarsons somewhere!
    Lots to enjoy, so thanks setter.
  16. A marginal improvement timewise from yesterday, completing in 15:10. There were plenty of chewy clues and I seemed to fill the grid with a lot of half solves. My deliberate LOI was DOWNPATRICK (DNK) as I knew I would need all the checkers. WOLF WHISTLE made me smile and is my COD. 18a AVOCETS I had fortunately come across in a 15×15 and REGENT went in unparsed. Thank you Des and Vinyl.
  17. Coming down from Downpatrick
    Stopping off at St. John’s Point
    Out all day birdwatching
    And the craic was good
    Stopped off at Strangford Lough
    Early in the morning
    Drove through Shrigley taking pictures
    And on to Killyleagh
    Stopped off for Sunday papers at the
    Lecale District, just before Coney Island

    Read more: Van Morrison – Coney Island Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  18. To anyone who has suffered even a brief time in the forces the phrase ‘at the double’ will surely resonate. ‘On the double’ means nothing to me. Is this an American phrase? DM
    1. This was the second time I’ve come across ‘at the double’; I wondered, Is this a UK phrase? It’s definitely ‘on’ for American me.
  19. Even as a 3 week newbie I was disappointed to have failed dismally at yesterday’s – only 4 clues in by the end of lunch – but was very happy to have today’s completed in lunchtime plus <10 minutes on the train. That’s two done now without any reference to the blog for help. Must have been on the same wavelength as the setter. Was stumped for ages on 19a until I worked it out and realised that 10d was not “at the bottle”. COD was Isambard, my first clue to have been solved on wordplay alone. Thanks setter and blogger for clarifying about capitalisation, and for reminding me that “for example” could indicate e.g.
  20. I thought this was a fantastic puzzle which kept me amused throughout but was also quite challenging, with a few unknowns and a couple of tricky definitions. Unfortunately it turns out that I can’t spell DYER so I completed it incorrectly in 17.08 with LOI 17d. CoD for me was ISAMBARD.
    Thanks for filling in vinyl
  21. I thought I was being clever with ironwood although did realise it was wrong as there was no reference to climbing.
  22. We cracked it completely. The very first time for a QC so celebration indeed. We don’t do times yet but we’ve never posted a comment on the SAME DAY before. Clearly Des and blogger will live in our memories for ever. COD miss the boat because it made us laugh so much. Will no doubt fall off the mountain top tomorrow.
  23. Woo! Fantastic! Looking forward to meeting you at the Championship Finals day next year.. if I manage to qualify again.
  24. Really enjoyed this – rattled through it for a change after a few hard recent puzzles. Funny how sometimes you can just feel how you’re on the setter’s wavelength. Particularly liked 6d and 12d.
  25. A day late so nobody will see, but I was surprised to find this described as a toughie. Not that I came anywhere near the times of those who described it thus, but 30:50, including a short interruption, is pretty good for me. COD was Isambard, and I enjoyed wolf whistle too, although I didn’t fully appreciate its elegance until I read the blog. Too focused on deconstructing the clue to pay attention to the surface. Or can’t see the (rose)wood for the tree perhaps.
  26. Really enjoyed this – rattled through it for a change after a few hard recent puzzles. Funny how sometimes you can just feel how you’re on the setter’s wavelength. Particularly liked 6d and 12d.

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