Times Quick Cryptic 2275 by Pedro

Hi everyone.  There’s a bit of a sciencey feel to this offering from Pedro, which always goes down well with me.  A two-part charade wouldn’t normally make my favourites list, but I did like 24a.  I also liked 4d, which tells a convincing story.  I finished closer to my outer than my inner target time, but not too close for comfort.  Thanks Pedro!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, explicit [deletions] are in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a Displays reason for playing area (6,6)
SPORTS GROUND SPORTS (displays) + GROUND (reason)
8a Biblical figure starts to pray at undue length (4)
PAUL — Initial letters of (starts to) Pray At Undue Length
9a Innocence of Scot’s refusal to accommodate one old soldier (7)
NAIVETÉ NAE (Scot’s refusal) going around (to accommodate) I (one) and VET (old soldier)
11a Go wild with anger about current unit (7)
RAMPAGE RAGE (anger) around (about) AMP (current unit)
12a Limits to some curious immunising agent (5)
SERUM — The outer letters of (limits to) SomE + RUM (curious)
14a Small animal breaking leg in excavation (6)
PIGLET — An anagram of (breaking) LEG in PIT (excavation)
15a Hitchcock film: hard copy’s edited (6)
PSYCHO H (hard) and COPYS anagrammed (edited)
18a Clever person dismissing one classification (5)
GENUS GEN[i]US (clever person) taking out (dismissing) I (one)
20a Spies blocking a single performance mostly unfriendly (7)
ASOCIAL CIA (spies) inside (blocking) A and SOLo (single performance) without the last letter (mostly)
21a Ignore info returned by the French court (7)
NEGLECT GEN (info) reversed (returned) + LE (the French) + CT (court)
23a Provide temptation for one coming in to play cricket (4)
BAIT I (one) inserted into (coming in to) BAT (play cricket)
24a Unconditional love? There’s no warmth here (8,4)
ABSOLUTE ZERO ABSOLUTE (unconditional) + ZERO (love).  The lowest temperature theoretically possible, so there would indeed be no heat at all
2d New version of map, I grant, reveals bird (9)
PTARMIGAN — An anagram of (new version of) MAP I GRANT reveals the answer
3d Recording showing relative simplicity (7)
RELEASE REL (relative, abbreviation) + EASE (simplicity)
4d Tennyson, losing heart, junked poem (6)
SONNET TENnySON without the middle letters (losing heart) anagrammed (junked)
5d Control quantity of furniture in store (5)
REINS — The answer is found in part of (quantity of) furnituRE IN Store
6d European chasing American employment (3)
USE E (European) following (chasing) US (American)
7d Start to drain river — modified dam lower? A fantastic vision (5-5)
DREAM-WORLD — The initial letter of (start to) Drain + R (river) + an anagram of (modified) DAM LOWER
10d Reminder to include heathen article for indoctrination? (10)
PROPAGANDA PROD (reminder) containing (to include) PAGAN (heathen) + A (article)
13d Electrical device runs: fierce with it, possibly (9)
RECTIFIER R (runs) + an anagram of (possibly) FIERCE with IT.  A rectifier converts alternating current to direct current
16d Reduced volume covering question over British entertainment industry (7)
SHOWBIZ — Without the last letter (reduced), SIZe (volume) around (covering) HOW (question) preceding (over, in a down entry) B (British)
17d Outmoded dictionary location of “item” (4,2)
PAST IT — In a dictionary, “item” would be located after/PASTIT
19d Perfume deception taking in millions (5)
SMELL SELL (deception) enclosing (taking in) M (millions)
22d Slit releasing hydrogen or helium? (3)
GAS GASh (slit) emitting (releasing) H (hydrogen)

63 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2275 by Pedro”

  1. 18:51. Quite a few gave me difficulties-DREAM WORLD, SHOWBIZ and ASOCIAL among them. Liked PAST IT the most. Thanks, Kitty, for explaining NAE and REL.

    1. Wow!
      Whilst I am on a different (much lower) plane, I managed to complete the 15×15 in slightly over half an hour. One of my best times and not much longer than my time for this QC.
      This has restored a little confidence for me after a poor QC. Thanks for the pointer. John

  2. 10 minutes, so within target but only just.

    I raced through the top half but several clues in the lower half gave pause for thought either for their answer or wordplay (which I include in my QC timings). The first of these was RECTIFIER which I’ve never heard of – the term in general use when I studied science about 60 years ago was ‘transformer’. SELL = ‘deception’ delayed me for a moment, also SHOWBIZ and PAST IT, my least favourite clue by a long way.

    1. A transformer is not the same thing as a rectifier. A simple DC power supply may comprise a transformer, one or more rectifiers (usually diodes), and one or more capacitors.

      1. I don’t doubt it, but some of their basic functions are the same and they are both electrical devices.

  3. Trouble all over the grid for me. Only three on the first pass of across and not much better on the downs. SE was first to fall and then hard graft to end up all green in 23. NHO PTARMIGAN not a RECTIFIER. Thanks Kitty for unravelling SONNET – I think I’d tried all those things but not all at once! PIGLEG was last to fall, I thought excavation must be ‘dig’ which led me to ‘pig’ and the solution -pretty much sums up my solve.

  4. Slow slog to the end in 35 minutes.
    Took an age to get Ptarmigan.
    Coffee and croissant in usual corner chair in the club
    Thanks Pedro and Kitty.

  5. Beaten up so threw in the towel for a humbling DNF.

    RECTIFIER PROPAGANDA RELEASE ASOCIAL all beat me and biffing ‘zone’ where ZERO should have been didn’t help but certainly wasn’t the fatal cut.

    Thanks for the kicking Pedro and Kitty for the blog.

  6. A slow start to the week for me. Not sure why, nothing was falling into place.

    Bottom half caused me problems. PROPAGANDA, ABSOLUTE ZERO, SHOWBIZ, and then LOI ASOCIAL.

    Unlike Jack, I quite liked PAST IT.


  7. 25 minutes although some time was spent on parsing SHOWBIZ and thinking is RELEASE synonymous with recording?
    Favourites: SHOWBIZ also, NEGLECT.

    1. That’s a good point. Certainly the process of recording a song in the studio and subsequently releasing it to the public seem to be quite distinct. I guess for our crossword purposes though the equivalence of “The Beatles’ recording of Paperback Writer is set to be in stores Dec 1” and “The Beatles’ release of Paperback Writer is set to be in stores Dec 1” is sufficient.

  8. I just did the 15×15. Like Kevin, I did that quicker than the QC today, unlike Kevin, I was quicker by 1m and 34 seconds.

  9. I couldn’t parse NAIVETE because I assumed ‘NAI’ was a Scot (IAN) refused (backwards)
    So thanks for the clarification there!

    I don’t love ‘possibly’ as an anagram indicator, does it come up often? I’ve never heard of a rectifier. Only inverters and transformers.

    PAST IT made me groan a lot

    1. ‘Possible’ is in the Chambers list of anagram indicators so by extension ‘possibly’ is also valid. I’d say it comes up quite a lot but remember that setters can also use it to mislead as it’s often in clues to indicate definitions by example.

  10. Found this a bit tougher than norm finishing in 10.47. Was tempted to biff ALFRED for the Tennyson clue but held back, and have never come across a RECTIFIER, but it had to be that. A good test so thanks to Pedro.

  11. I found this a bit tricky, but there’s nothing I can put my finger on that delayed me, apart from SONNET where I was trying to make an anagram out of TN (Tennyson losing heart) and POEM and only saw what was going on when I came back after getting all the checkers. I hesitated over SMELL, thinking “deception” a bit of a stretch as a definition of SELL. [Update: I see the definition is flagged in the online dictionary as “archaic”]. I liked ABSOLUTE ZERO and PAST IT. Like Kevin and Hopkinb I was quicker on the 15×15 than I was on this. Perhaps some QCers would like to give today’s 15×15 a go. Thank-you Pedro and Kitty. 7:00.

  12. In modern parlance rectifier is a diode. One of their main uses is to turn an alternating current into a direct current hence “rectifying” it.

  13. Another who NHO RECTIFIER (unlike Kitty, anything remotely sciency causes me difficulty). I never quite got into my rhythm, and narrowly missed my target.

    TIME 5:10

    On edit : I may have missed my target on this, but I more than made up for it on the 15×15, which I completed in a PB of 4:29 !

  14. It took me a while to get going on this one and at one point thought I might not complete it.
    I tried very hard to get ‘dig’ into 14a before a PDM and toyed with RAILS at 5d.
    A timely interruption by the phone seemed to clear the brain fog and the stubborn hold outs (SHOWBIZ, ASOCIAL, ABSOLUTE ZERO, RECTIFIER (NHO) and REINS) all fell into place.
    Finished in 14.14.
    Thanks to Kitty for the blog and Pedro for the workout.

  15. Lots to like eg propaganda and genius but did not like asocial, which I guessed but had to look up to see if it really was a word. Missed showbiz and 2 others in SE corner, being short of time. Not surprised some found biggie easier and will try it this evening.

  16. I was absolutely trounced by Pedro today. A real battle. I hope that tomorrow might provide an actual QC for me!
    Thanks for putting me in my place, Pedro. I’ll now read Kitty’s blog and try to recover some composure. John M.

  17. I limped to a finish in 17 minutes, including a minute to check the spelling of LOI PROPAGANDA ( a word I am prone to misspell).
    Prior to that I finally got ABSOLUTE ZERO- COD for me.
    Quite a tough QC. I was going smoothly until I hit several tricky clues. SELL was odd.
    Like others DNK RECTIFIER so that was a slow construction from the anagrist.

  18. 25 mins. Tough. Then saw the comment re. 15×15, so had a go.

    Complete in 31 mins. A first for me! Red Letter day!

  19. I found this hard and needed help to get home: NHO RECTIFIER (like many others) and struggled with RELEASE, PROPAGANDA, SHOWBIZ and NAIVETE. Not my best day!

  20. Oh dear! Completed but I got horribly stuck in the SE corner with RECTIFIER, BAIT, SHOWBIZ and ZERO. Crawled home in 17:57 (twice my target).

  21. No problems for me apart from being held up by LOI, ASOCIAL, by having biffed DREAM LOVER at 7d. In a dream world today! 8:31. Thanks Pedro and Kitty.

  22. I often find Pedro one of the more challenging setters, so I was quite surprised to finish this in just under 12 minutes, and even more surprised to come here and read that some very respected solvers had found it chewy.

    Last two in were Rectifier (NHO but put in from wordplay) and Propaganda (the other way round – word known alright but clue not parsed). That apart, Release held me up as I wasn’t sure it quite meant recording, and ditto Smell over sell=deception (though I see now both work well enough).

    Many thanks to Kitty for the blog

  23. Only three acrosses and five downs on my first pass, which I didn’t hurry, so I settled in for a tough battle. Fortunately, I had more success building on the available checkers and the grid started filling up.

    It was good to see PTARMIGAN and ABSOLUTE ZERO make an appearance. I DNK what a RECTIFIER was, but it sounded plausible, and I could not parse SHOWBIZ and SONNET (my LOI).

    In the end, I crossed the line in 33 minutes, which is not startling, but still quite good for me.

    Many thanks to Pedro and Kitty.

  24. A sticky one today! Nothing seemed to flow and I looked at my last three clues for several minutes before PROPAGANDA fell, which quickly led to PIGLET. It then took an alphabet trawl to get RELEASE, however I needed to come here to get the full parsing for it.
    Looking at the comments above, I might give the 15×15 a try!

  25. DNF – ASOCIAL nor RECTIFIER (NHO the latter) Couldn’t work out the right letters for the anagram and even if I had, I probably wouldn’t have rectified.
    Did get PTARMIGAN quite early on and had a PDM with PROPAGANDA. ABSOLUTE ZERO sunk into place eventually, along with GAS. But found this “Q”C pretty tricky. Many good clues, but I wasn’t on the wavelength. NAE = Scot’s refusal? MER. Did biff that one but cd not parse.
    COD PAST IT. Oh dear.

  26. 19:56, so avoided the SCC by 4 seconds.
    I thought the Scots for no was spelt Nay, so had NAIVETY, which stopped me getting DREAM WORLD for a long while.
    LOI was REINS. I should have remembered that a control in crossword land is often a rein.
    I enjoyed the scientific clues, especially 24ac.

    ps. Just done the 15×15, which took less time than the QC. Thanks to those who pointed out that it was worth a go.

  27. I also thought this was very tricky, indeed heading for 15×15 territory – an anagram of a reduced word, an electrical device I’d nho, deception for sell and three semi-parsed (NAIVETE, PROPAGANDA and SHOWBIZ) made for a poor start to the week. Thinking a bit more, I think 4d was really not fair for a quickie.
    Not my favourite puzzle in recent weeks, I’m sorry to say, but one clue did stand out!
    16:10, FOI Paul LOI Asocial COD Absolute zero
    Thanks Pedro and Kitty
    Based on comments above, I’m hoping for more fun with the 15×15.
    Later: Yes, I completed this one more quickly than the quickie, by 1 minute! And my LOI took a couple of minutes, so I could have been heading for a PB too. Actually, it probably is as near to a PB as I’ll ever get 😅

  28. Dnf…

    Didn’t enjoy this. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood, but I struggled on a few things that I think on another day I may have got (24ac “Absolute Zero”, 13dn “Rectifier”)

    Spelling Naïveté with a “y” at the end also didn’t help.

    FOI – 8ac “Paul”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 24ac “Absolute Zero” – didn’t get it, but a good clue!

    Thanks as usual!

  29. I was well into the SCC by the time I got down to my last two: Bait (which I had as an unparsed Bail for ages) and 3d Release. Just couldn’t see the latter, mainly thanks to trying to shoehorn EP/LP in somewhere, so eventually pulled stumps for a disappointing DNF. Re Absolute Zero, I was once told by a lecturer that the three laws of thermodynamics can be written as: 1) You can’t win, only break even; 2) You can only break even at Absolute Zero; 3) You can never reach Absolute Zero. I felt much the same way about his thermodynamics course. . . Invariant

  30. 19:17 here, with an error. I couldn’t spot the heathen in propoganda: turns out I just don’t know how to spell it. Needed help to spot ABSOLUTE ZERO, and NHO RECTIFIER. COD PAST IT. Will take a look at today’s biggie later.

  31. Disappointed with a dnf thanks to 5d REINS to which I guessed RAILS with little hope of being correct. Thank you Kitty for the explanation. I’ll look out for ‘quantity of’ in future.
    However a very enjoyable puzzle with thanks to Pedro.

  32. 29:50

    Well over my target time and just inside the give up mark. The first half was easy enough but the answers dried up towards the end and it took ages to decipher RELEASE and LOI REINS.

  33. 1hr35 to DNF on PTARMIGAN. Maybe heard of it, maybe not. Anyway it wasn’t a PrAtMaGiN.

    Beyond the above, NHO RECTIFIER and was thinking electrical device = fridge freezer or television or whatever. Don’t think anyone refers to a SPORTS-GROUND any more. Add in tough constructions for SHOWBIZ, PROPAGANDA, SONNET, ASOCIAL, PIGLET. Use of NAE for Scot’s refusal. You’re beginning to look at half the grid being inaccessible without checkers.

    Way too hard for a QC in my opinion. Bit disconsolate.

      1. I would have thought the name by which it is known, eg Headingly, Twickenham, Anfield etc. I can’t imagine asking for directions to any of those by asking for the Sports Ground. Having said that, I was quite happy with the wording of 1ac.

        1. Go over the “park” or to “the field”. Go to a “football ground”, “rugby stadium”, “athletics track”, “cricket pitch”. Even the “sports centre” where I worked as a teenager is now a “leisure centre”.

          I guess I don’t have a problem with the cluing for 1A, just that the answer is one that doesn’t sprang to mind in this era of specialisation.

    1. PrAtMaGiN – Just the thought of such a bird reduced Mrs Random to tears of laughter. Well done, Mr Plates!

  34. I didn’t enjoy this at all, but, on reading the earlier comments, I see that I was not alone. Never on the wavelength today and limped to a finish in around 35 mins.

    In fairness to the setter, I missed some obvious ones, but there were some real ‘stinkers’ as well.

    Cheered up by Mr Plates and his Pratmagin. For several minutes, I had that well known small animal a diggle for 14ac! Oh dear….

    Thanks for the blog Kitty. I can’t recall an occasion on which I parsed fewer clues than this, so your blog was most welcome.

    1. Glad I could bring cheer to a couple of people’s days!

      Excavation led me to consider the lesser-spotted diggle too. I think it’s the genericness of “small animal” (like for some other clues/defs) that caused problems – “farmyard animal” would likely have been tough enough for me with that cluing.

  35. Slightly bewildered here – For me so many of the ones that seem to cause difficulty just dropped into place -sports ground/propaganda/absolute zero/dream world/ptarmigan/naivete/sonnet etc. My problems ones were asocial & release.

  36. Naivete. The Scots word ‘nae’ translates as ‘not any’ or ‘not one’.
    It does not mean ‘a denial’ or ‘a refusal’. This difference is quite clearly discussed in Chambers English Dictionary.

    1. I’m not Scottish, so can only go by what Chambers says. In my copy (the app version, which I believe is up to date) it gives:

      adjective a Scots form of no^2; adverb same as no^1, esp with a comparative

      No^2 adjective
      1. Not any
      2. Not one
      3. By no means properly called, certainly not, not at all

      No^1 adverb
      1. Used as a sentence substitute to express a negative answer, refusal, disapproval, disbelief or to acknowledge a negative statement (formerly used esp in response to a question or statement containing a negative, in contradistinction to nay, used to express simple negation until superseded in this function by no in early 17c)
      2. Not so
      3. Not
      4. (with compar) in no degree, not at all

      Thanks for prompting me to look more closely at this. When solving and blogging I just trusted the setter.

  37. Thank you, Kitty, for getting back to me so long after your blog.
    I’m no expert in the Scots language and it’s a really complicated subject.
    In common parlance here in Edinburgh we get the weel-kent joke about the
    young cyclist: “Look Ma, nae hands,” and a little later, “Look Ma, nae teeth!”
    As there are quite a few dialects of Scots, it may be that ‘nae’ is used to mean ‘no’
    in a yes/no reply or in some other form of refusal – but I have never heard it used
    that way here in Edinburgh or elsewhere in the country.
    The usual reply in that case would be ‘na’ or ‘naw’ or some other relevant
    sentence using ‘nae’ such as “A’m nae daein’ it.”

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