Times Quick Cryptic 640 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
9 minutes for this pleasant puzzle that seems fairly mainstream to me but there may be hidden difficulties that haven’t occurred to me and I look forward to reading others’ comment. Here’s my blog…

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

7 A series of confusing paths perplex (5)
AMAZE – A, MAZE (series of confusing paths). I wasn’t quite sure that “perplex” and “amaze” are synonymous but the dictionaries confirm they can both mean “bewilder”.
8 Sour food, rubbish (7)
RHUBARB – Two definitions. “Rhubarb” is often used in theatrical circles for background burbling of a crowd, for instance, but it can also be an interjection meaning “rubbish”.
10 English actor I savaged for saucy stuff (7)
EROTICA – E (English), anagram [savaged] of ACTOR I
11 Magic / giant (5)
GREAT – Two definitions
12 Male asleep, perhaps, in powerful tractor (9)
BULLDOZER – A BULL is a male and if it’s asleep we’d have a BULL DOZER
14 Switch over circuit for a friend (3)
PAL – LAP (circuit) reversed [switch over]
15 TV / group (3)
SET – Two definitions
16 A mansion built around river in the country (3,6)
SAN MARINO – Anagram [built] of A MANSION contains [around] R (river). The enclave on the Italian peninsula.
18 Extremist involved in awful tragedy (5)
ULTRA – Hidden [involved in] {awf}UL TRA{gedy}
20 Butcher came with the big knife! (7)
MACHETE – Anagram [butcher] of CAME THE
22 Glass, one falling? (7)
TUMBLER – Two definitions
23 One of fifty in America, say (5)
STATE – Two definitions
1 Dry food produced in cities raw, but extraordinary (5,7)
WATER BISCUIT – Anagram [extraordinary] of CITIES RAW BUT. Inedible without loads of butter or cheese (or both!)
2 Terribly long wait for a sleeping car (5-3)
WAGON-LIT – Anagram [terribly] of LONG WAIT. Not so well-known in these days of universal air travel but familiar enough from tales of the Orient Express and other continental adventures in less hurried times.
3 Shop in Indian city, by the sound of it? (4)
DELI – [by the sound of it] “Delhi” (Indian city)
4 Substitute possessed by Rangers at Zagreb (6)
ERSATZ – Hidden in [possessed by] {Rang}ERS AT Z{agreb}
5 European country swell, but not entirely on song (8)
BULGARIA – BULG{e} (swell) [but not entirely], ARIA (song)
6 Spice may appear curious, especially for starters (4)
MACE – First letters [for starters] of M{ay} A{ppear} C{urious} E{specially}
9 Cricketer after courage getting access to beer, possibly? (6-6)
BOTTLE-OPENER – BOTTLE (courage), OPENER (cricketer)
13 Old PM first to depart from Tel Aviv, for example? (8)
DISRAELI – D{epart} [first], ISRAELI (from Tel Aviv, for example). PM for under a year in 1868 and then again 1874-1880.
14 Cost per act I fixed, good (5,3)
PRICE TAG – Anagram [fixed] of PER ACT I, G (good)
17 New moon about to be late (2,4)
NO MORE – Anagram [new] of MOON, RE (about). “Late” in the sense of “deceased” here.
19 Period when discharge comes up (4)
TIME – EMIT (discharge) reversed [comes up]
21 Rewrite acts for actors (4)
CAST – Anagram [rewrites] of ACTS

15 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 640 by Mara”

  1. I was slow on this one, WAGON-LIT and WATER BISCUIT both taking a good deal of time, and checkers. ‘magic’ = ‘great’ was new to me, too. I should know RHUBARB in its UK sense, as it’s appeared a couple of times, but on my side of the pond it’s an argument, especially in baseball. I believe in the old days of radio in the US, the muttered word of choice was ‘avocado’. 7:30 or so.
  2. 4:46 after a slow start. Ersatz is a great word, but COD to MACHETE.

    Thanks setter and Jack.

  3. Unlike Kevin I was fast on this one – at 7.41 – but had a slower time!

    Cow Corner was a bit sticky with 10ac EROTICA LOI.

    COD 2dn WAGON LIT (nice anagram) WOD ERSATZ


    horryd Shanghai

  4. I thought this seemed tricky as I started off with few going in at the top, but the bottom RH corner went in quite easily and I ended up with a time of less than 20 mins which is in my top five times. I had never heard of Wagon Lit, but the clueing made it the only possible answer. I like it when the week starts with a gentle outing.
  5. I didn’t get anything in the top half (not even Pal !) on the first pass, so this turned into a bottom up solve, with the NE corner holding out to the end. Long anagrams are a great help for a quick time, but only if you can see the answer without too many checkers: a rarity in my case. Hence 35 mins today. Invariant
  6. This was a very slow solve for me. Hardly anything on the first pass, but eventually got going. At the risk of being pedantic is a bulldozer a tractor? Tractors pull things, bulldozers push things.
    1. I wondered about that too, but SOED has this under Bulldozer:
      2 A powerful tractor with a broad upright blade at the front, used for clearing or levelling ground. M20.
  7. Yes, I too knew about wagons lit long before I learned French, via Murder on the Orient Express, Stamboul Train etc. I liked the allusion, ‘dry food’ for ‘water biscuit’, there must be a technical term for this. I like water biscuits too – unaccompanied, they can suppress the appetite. COD 13d for its complexity, Disraeli being originally Jewish (family converted to Christianity) but not from Israel (which didn’t then exist). Sub 5′ today, thanks jack and Mara.
    1. It’s vaguely oxymoronic, isn’t it? I’ve just come across a similar sort of thing in a clue I blogged that’s under wraps at the moment. I’ll point it out when the time comes
  8. About average for me today with an 18 minutes solve. I was unfamiliar with 2d and the second definition of 8a, but they couldn’t be anything else with the checkers in place. I’m sure 9d’s come up before in the recent past, but it still took me a while to figure out. LOI 11a.
  9. Nice easy start to the week. Did not know WAGON LIT or ERSATZ but that did not hold me back as they were well signposted. Thanks Mara and Jack
  10. 7.09 for me today. I thought this it was fairly straight forward today. Machete was the only one that gave me pause. It was the last one in that I was able to get by using the other letters.
  11. Started with Ersatz and the Z made Bulldozer a write-in. After that enjoyable and quick solving for me to finish in 13 minutes. Favourite Wagon Lit which I remember from French trains.
    And I too like dry Water Biscuits (Carrs preferred). David
  12. Am I being a bit squeamish in finding 19d a slightly indelicate juxtaposition of words?

Comments are closed.