Times Quick Cryptic 770 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I just came in under the wire with a few seconds to spare to meet my 10 minute target. The final 2 minutes had been spent on 16dn – more on that later – and I shall be interested to know how others fared with it. Apart from that clue I thought this was a fairly straightforward puzzle especially with regard  to wordplay.

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

1 Of great value around company, being advanced for one’s age (10)
PRECOCIOUS – PRECIOUS (of great value) containing [around] CO (company)
8 Big wave from bloke returning in new suit (7)
TSUNAMI – MAN (bloke) reversed [returning] in anagram [new] of SUIT
9 Number consuming large meal (5)
FLOUR – FOUR (number) containing [consuming] L (large)
10 Join outfit guarding nation’s leader (4)
KNIT – KIT (outfit) containing [guarding] N{ation’s} [leader]
11 Poet’s new sonnet about New York (8)
TENNYSON – Anagram [new] of SONNET containing [about] NY (New York)
13 Fuel’s left out for fire (6)
IGNITE – {l}IGNITE (fuel) [left out]. This is a low-grade fuel consisting of compressed peat, often referred to as “brown coal”.
14 General test for upper classes (6)
GENTRY – GEN (general – military abbreviation), TRY (test). Actually if one is a member of the nobility then the gentry are of a lower class but modern sensibilities probably don’t permit that sort of thinking. I know my place!
17 Everything normal entering outskirts of bleak stadium (8)
BALLPARK – ALL (everything) + PAR (normal) contained by [entering] B{lea}K [outskirts]
19 Working, attached to Irish golf club (4)
IRON – IR (Irish), ON (working)
21 Instrument in place of confinement, centre for prisoners (5)
CELLO – CELL (place of confinement) {pris}O{ners} [centre]
22 Get beaten in competition and refuse to talk (5,2)
CLOSE UP – LOSE (get beaten)  in CUP (competition). I’m not sure I’d ever use this expression for this meaning; I’d be more likely to say “clam up”.
23 Change story following swindle (10)
CONVERSION – CON (swindle), VERSION (story)
2 Meeting of old mates concerning alliance (7)
REUNION – RE (concerning), UNION (alliance)
3 Talk about bowler, for example (4)
CHAT – C (about), HAT (bowler, for example), or “Derby” as they say across the pond.
4 Carpentry tool from church lies abandoned (6)
CHISEL – CH (church), anagram [abandoned] of LIES
5 Bid to imprison complete delinquent (8)
OFFENDER – OFFER (bid) contains [to imprison] END (complete)
6 Notices / rash (5)
SPOTS – Two definitions
7 Drink on break, and a crisp biscuit (6,4)
BRANDY SNAP – BRANDY (drink), SNAP (break). I have a sweet tooth but I find these absolutely vile. Also they lose their snap and go soggy very quickly.
8 Return with purchase, perhaps to apologise (4,2,4)
TAKE IT BACK – Two definitions, one cryptic and one straight
12 Retire from stage, depressed (4,4)
STEP DOWN – STEP (stage), DOWN (depressed)
15 Fuss involving rep breaking weapon (7)
TORPEDO – TO-DO (fuss) containing [involving] anagram [breaking] of REP
16 Old people, about fifty, in shrine (6)
ORACLE – O (old), RACE (people) containing [about] L (fifty). My LOI. I was unaware of this definition, but Collins has one meaning of ORACLE as “a shrine at which oracular gods are consulted”. This  seems a little obscure to me for a QC, but others more steeped in such matters may regard it as common knowledge.
18 Ring up about island flower (5)
LILAC – CALL (ring) reversed [up] containing [about] I (island)
20 Cost of polish, not good (4)
LOSS – {g}LOSS (polish) [not good]

20 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 770 by Tracy”

  1. 16dn biffed by me – but Chambers gives it as a setting of the ORACLE.

    9.31 with one or two difficulties such as 15dn TORPEDO and 23ac CONVERSION my LOI.


    Jack please send me any overdated BRANDY SNAPS!


  2. Slowed down at a couple of places, for no good reasons: Even with the UP at 22ac, it didn’t register with me that I needed a C, and, like Jack, I would use ‘clam’ not ‘close’; then I didn’t twig to ‘breaking in 15 so I wasn’t sure what to do with ‘rep’; and like Vinyl, I had trouble coming up with VERSION (thought of ‘confession’, which of course was hopeless). ORACLE gave me pause, but only briefly; oracles were, after all, where oracles hung out. 7:48.
  3. Monday morning and an hour to complete.

    Held up by loss and conversion.
    Also spent a while on precocious, close-up, torpedo and oracle.

    Also some of the cluing is on the tough side:
    9a flour = meal.
    5d end = complete.
    16d oracle = shrine.
    20d cost = loss.

    COD to 22a close-up.

  4. Only ORACLE was tough! Come on Flash!- wholemeal = flour; ending = completion and – at a cost = loss – are you fast becoming the Kellyanne Conway of Crosswordland?
    1. Kellyanne Conway has never been in Crosswordland, heard of Crosswordland or been denied a visa to Crosswordland. To say she has is a lie and part of the fake news perpetrated by a villainous media.
  5. 12 minutes here. Clues are only tough when you don’t make the connection – they’re all pretty easy post solve. I shared flashman’s hesitation on cost=loss (LOI) but sailed through oracle.
  6. Agreed about oracle which I biffed…it just had to be so the obscure meaning is ok I think
  7. Most of this was relatively straightforward and I completed it in 15 minutes (a little under average). Like Flashman, I really didn’t see the link between flour and meal, until I came here and saw horryd’s explanation. Hadn’t heard of the fuel in 13a but the answer couldn’t really be anything else. LOI 20d. COD 11a
    Interestingly the flower in 18d defeated me in a recent QC where it was clued as a tree – which is what confused me at the time.
  8. I also biffed Oracle, having always believed it to be something personified. A pleasantly gentle start to the week I felt, coming in at 20:15.
  9. A slightly disappointing 40 minutes, partly due to my reluctance to write in oracle for 16d – shrine isn’t one of the meanings that I (or Google) associate with the word. Since 15 and 20d also held me up, I can’t blame Tracys obscure meanings for a slow time. Invariant
  10. I held myself up by biffing GINGER SNAP for 7d. After all there is a ginger ale and they are crisp biscuits. However, when I could make no sense of 9a, 11a and 14a, I had a rethink and saw brandy. FLOUR and TENNYSON went straight in then. I also took a while to see CONVERSION. No qualms about ORACLE. First correct one in was IRON. LOI OFFENDER. 10:40. Thanks Jack and Tracy.
  11. Persistence (and this blog) over the last 18 months or so helped me break 10 minutes today for only the second time – but had to look up Oracle to check its meaning before putting it in, so not quite a clean finish. But as Jack says if we enjoy it that’s what matters – and I did enjoy today, but do also enjoy the > 1 hour slogs that ultimately end in victory as well. Thanks to all the bloggers and commenters for the assistance and enlightenment.
  12. Just under 5 minutes so quite a bit faster than average for me although I only had a few in after reading all the across clues. Maybe I should start with the down clues and see if they really are easier. Same as Jack I had a slight frown initially about ORACLE as a shrine, but it was clearly the right answer – just my knowledge was lacking.
  13. A steady 18:23 which is an acceptable time for a Monday. I did not sweat ORACLE, as wordplay looked solid.

    LOI CLOSE-UP, as did not see the construction until today’s blog. ALL PAR, seems pretty old-fashioned to me, although I liked that clue, I was pleased to get TORPEDO from spotting todo for ‘fuss’, so that’s my COD.

  14. Got a bit stuck on three clues at the end -16d, 22a and(LOI)20d and so finished in 24 minutes.
    Nothing to complain about. Favourite 11a. David
    PS today’s 15×15 is worth a try if you have time.
  15. I found this one unusually difficult, and it outlasted my cooked breakfast. I don’t like cost=loss, unhappy with oracle, struggled with conversion=change.

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