Times Quick Cryptic 745 by Tracy Friday, 27 January 2017

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Are Anitas neater? And are you a lover of the lieder?

A good offering for Friday from Tracy, which sparked off many random thoughts, only a few fit to mention. About average for me, am getting better doing the online version.


1.I deem cavalry terribly reckless (5-3-4)

DEVIL-MAY-CARE – an anagram (terribly) of ‘I deem cavalry’.

8. Regular returned holding right cheek (5)

NERVE – as in ‘you’ve got a nerve’ – EVEN (regular) returned (backwards) holding R (right)

9. Godfather playing spoons with rhythm, initially (7)

SPONSOR – Proper use of ‘godfather’, possibly confusing for those who immediately thought of Marlon Brando – anagram (playing) of ‘spoons’ plus R (rhythm initially). I only know of one spoon player, Sylvester McCoy, who used to be Doctor Who.

10. Like what nurse wears? (7)

UNIFORM – the surface here may be too contrived for the answer, but it does work – like = uniform, e.g. like-minded, struggling for more examples, help please.

11. Bird with the French name (5)

TITLE – TIT (bird) + LE (the French) = TITLE, name

12. Compassionate about a group (6)

CARING – definition is ‘compassionate’, C (about) + A RING (as in spies, for example)

14. Fire escape (3-3)

LET-OFF – This is a noun, meaning an escape from consequences. Remove the hyphen and it’s LET OFF, as in firework. So the question is, can the hyphen be removed in the enumeration?

17. Nearly all across island getting a bit wet (5)

MOIST – ‘Definition is ‘a bit wet’, MOST (nearly all) across I (island).

19. Clarify former patent (7)

EXPLAIN – EX (former) + PLAIN (patent, obvious)

21. Lion man trained for virtually nothing (7)

NOMINAL – as in a nominal amount, an anagram (trained) of ‘Lion man’.

22. Erect tower round area (5)

RAISE – Definition is ‘Erect’, RISE (tower, a bit loose this) round A (area).

23. Rude Romany is on the move? You wish! (2,4,6)

IN YOUR DREAMS – Anagram (on the move) of ‘Rude Romany is’. The surface of this is dubious, at least.


1. Condemnation of final outcome involving North Carolina (12)

DENOUNCEMENT – This caused me problems, because the more common word is DENUNCIATION, which I couldn’t parse. North Carolina is NC, and the final outcome is DENOUEMENT, although I tend to think of that to be short term rather than final, like the end of a novel or play, life goes on afterwards. This gives me an opportunity to air a favourite saying: “It’ll be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”

2. Composer contributing to silver disc (5)

VERDI – in sil{VER DI}sc, Giuseppe Verdi, that is, distant cousin of our own Joe Green.

3.Song, then have rest (3,4)

LIE DOWN – This took a while too. Definition is ‘rest’. ‘have’ is OWN. ‘Song’ is LIED, less common than its plural LIEDER.

4. Take for granted, when small, bird must soar (6)

ASSUME – AS (when) + S (small) + UME (emu backwards, ‘must soar’ in a down clue).

5. Blow caught aggressive youth (5)

CLOUT – the noun, meaning a blow. C (caught) + LOUT (aggressive youth). Question, is a LOUT necessarily young?

6. Stir too vigorously making rice dish (7)

RISOTTO – rice dish, anagram (vigorously) of ‘stir too’.

7. Environmentalist points to growing knack (5,7)

GREEN FINGERS – GREEN (Environmentalist) + FINGERS (points to) = the art of growing plants etc. Different in the US, where the phrase is ‘green thumb’.

13. Film of artist at home on island (4,3)

RAIN MAN – has to be a famous film, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffmann, RA (artist) + IN (at home) + MAN (the Isle of Man). Lovely surface, maybe lost, think Gauguin.

15. Salesman in capital picked up a ruler (7)

EMPEROR – Salesman in crossword land is usually REP, in the Italian capital = ROREPME, picked up (down clue) = EMPEROR.

16. One who may give you a hand? (6)

DEALER – a hand of cards, that is, a straight cryptic clue.

18. Tabloid’s leader: article on good old dance (5)

TANGO – T (Tabloid’s leader, first letter) + AN (indefinite article) + G (good) + O (old), equals a dance which it takes two to do.

20. A reportedly tidier woman (5)

ANITA – homophone (reportedly) of A NEATER, woman’s name. Could have been NEETA, but doesn’t fit. Are Anitas neater? Any research been done?

Please comment on the puzzle and on the blog.

20 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 745 by Tracy Friday, 27 January 2017”

  1. It is the eve of Chinese New Year and Shanghai is emptied.
    This year it is the Year of The Cockerel and he is personified by Mr. Trump – strutting, proud and ready to pick a fight with just about anyone. So a good 2017 for him is forecast by the geomancers but a terrible 2018 for Trumpton when The Dog comes to the fore.

    Much the same as Rob – 8:14 so slightly tougher than usual but it shouldn’t be too bad for the QCLs


  2. I was also slowed up by biffing “denunciation”…


  3. Like Vinyl, I biffed ‘lay down’ (while thinking ‘Surely the setter knows better!’). I also dithered over LET OFF, since I was thinking of ‘fire’ in the ‘dismiss’ sense. As a result, I wasted a lot of time getting the ‘not quite right’ sign and having to return to the grid, until I finally got 3d right. Came close to biffing ‘denunciation’ (never seen ‘denouncement’), but caught myself in time. 6:23, although it felt much longer.
  4. 10 minutes with two answers I wasn’t completely happy with which surely ought to have set alarms bells ringing so that I spent more time thinking about them, but no, I settled for what I had and then checked the grid on-line only to find that one of them was wrong.

    That was 14ac where I went for SET OFF which doesn’t quite fit either of the possible definitions in the clue. It certainly doesn’t fit the enumeration (3-3) where I’m ashamed to say I didn’t register the hyphen until Rob queried it in his blog. Having seen the correct answer I wonder if the hyphen was used in case anyone put SET OFF and tried to argue for it as an alternative solution.

    BTW, in my opinion it doesn’t matter that LET OFF doesn’t take a hyphen when meaning “fire” as one can take “escape” = LET-OFF as the principal definition and “fire” as additional information like wordplay.

    The other answer with a slight question mark was UNIFORM. Although I was sure it had to be correct I couldn’t quite reconcile “like”, but on reflection I see it more clearly now.

    Edited at 2017-01-27 05:55 am (UTC)

  5. 15 mins for me, consistently within 30 mins lately, so I think I’ll reduce my target time to 20.

    I think I was fortunate to see 1d immediately, which together with the straightforward anagram at 1a meant loads of first letters!

    I had a long argument planned about SET OFF being equally valid, set off a firework, set off through the cell door, but I think jackkt is probably right about the hyphen.

    Isn’t there an old joke where Anita Harris is the punchline, using the same device as here?

  6. …of DENUNCIATION, thankfully spotted quickly when the clearly correct NOMINAL wouldn’t fit. Otherwise no issues – 5.56,
  7. I thought this was a ‘bark worse than bite’ type of QC, with Tracy’s misdirection hiding what was a fairly straightforward puzzle. Fortunately I never even considered set off for 14ac, but I did nearly write in minimal without thinking for 21ac ! Just north of 30 mins today, not too bad for Tracy. Invariant
  8. After my FOI -19a- this went quite smoothly but I had parsing doubts about Uniform, Lie Down, Let Off and my LOI -Assume. I had considered Lay Down for 3d and Set Off for 14a.
    After 13 minutes all the squares were filled and I needed to check my work. I managed to work out 4d -nice clue- but failed with 3d and 10a -so thanks to our blogger. However I am still struggling with Uniform. David
    1. Re “uniform = like” I tried the substitution test came up with “the members of the jury who convicted the defendant were of uniform/like opinion”. I think it works but it’s a bit contrived.

  9. 31 minutes flat for me, so just outside my 30 minute target. Biffed 4d, as didn’t consider EMU backwards. I’ve only known the world LIED = song from Crosswordland until last week, when I started to learn German. Didn’t parse 12a, as I don’t see why “C” means about. Clarification would be most welcome.
    1. It’s from the Latin word for about or near: circa. It can be abbreviated to c or ca. Invariant
  10. We also had set off for 14a. The hyphen is a problem and causes queries for both possible answers as mentioned above. We found the puzzle of medium difficulty, with speed of solving very dependent on the long clues. 1d held us up for some time. Thanks for comments and setter. Elin and Ian.
  11. I found this straightforward today and was helped that all 4 of the long clues went in very quickly. I thought I was going to break 10 minutes but but my LOI, 14a, had me going through a similar dilemma to other solvers – let or set off? Eventually I plumped for the correct answer but without a whole lot of conviction. Good to see our favourite composer again! Completed in 12 minutes.

    Edited at 2017-01-27 04:47 pm (UTC)

  12. Also tied up choosing between set/let-off but should have realised the hyphen was significant. About 50 minutes to parse everything properly. FOI 19a LOI 16d COD 15d. Thx for the blog for giving further and better nuances to my parsing!
  13. I was another who went for SET OFF for 14a, not really noticing the hyphen, so 9:10 with 1 wrong, although I still think the clue is a bit iffy. I would certainly set off to escape from the office, and set off a firework. Liked the long clues which went straight in and helped with the rest. Thanks Rob and Tracy.
  14. I had get off first before coming to my senses and changing it to let-off.

    I also had helper for 16d until it was obvious 21a was nominal.

    41 minutes so average for me.

    Last 2 in were nerve and caring which were easy once denouncement was in.

  15. Small typo – the puzzle number is 754 rather than 745. Just in case in the future someone’s searching for this blog.

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