Times Quick Cryptic 774 by Teazel

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Following Rob’s departure from his alternate Friday slot I am covering for one week until Galspray takes on all Friday QCs on his return from Japan. We have a rather unusual grid today in which the left side is symmetrical with the right only along the diagonal. Much of this is straightforward I think, but there’s a cryptic that may be unfamiliar to many, and a musical technicality that I suspect will be unknown to most.  11 minutes for this one making it my slowest solve of the week and the first to miss my target 10.

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

1 Very successful but cheesy play? (3,9)
THE MOUSETRAP – Cryptic definition with reference to the play by Agatha Christie which has been running continuously in London’s West End since October 1952. I don’t know if it still happens, but at one time it was common practice to bait mousetraps with cheese and as a result “mousetrap” came into the language as a colloquial name for cheddar cheese or a similar everyday variety. The title of the play comes from a line in Hamlet in which the murder of the king is referred to as “The Mousetrap”.
8 Pull girl over who is dawdling (7)
LAGGARD – DRAG (pull) + GAL (girl) reversed [over]
9 Almost grieve after a love affair (5)
AMOUR – A, MOUR{n} (grieve) [almost]
10 Land in hospital — yuk! (5)
ITALY – Hidden in {hosp}ITAL Y{uk}
11 Awful vanity punctured by English simplicity (7)
NAIVETY – Anagram [awful] of VANITY containing [punctured by]  E (English)
12 Shine, putting energy into a sort of rock (5)
GLEAM –  E (energy) in GLAM (a sort of rock – music)
14 Less powerful, the river surrounds pub (7)
THINNER – THE + R (river) contains [surrounds] INN (pub)
15 Once strain, creating annexe? (9)
EXTENSION – EX (once), TENSION (strain)
17 Small bill is miserable (3)
SAD – S (small), AD (bill = advertisement). “Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted”.
19 Flier old man’s given to fielders (5-4-4)
DADDY-LONG-LEGS – DADDY (old man), LONG LEGS (fielders – cricket)
21 Game Irish saint can’t finish (6)
BRIDGE – BRIDGE(t) Irish saint [can’t finish]
22 Prosecutor breaks plaything now (5)
TODAY – DA (prosecutor  –  District Attorney in the USA) is inside [breaks] TOY (plaything)
1 Schoolmasters’ discussion? Not action-packed programmes? (7,5)
TALKING HEADS – TALKING (discussion), HEADS (schoolmasters). Alan Bennett had great success with two series of one-handed plays under this title on both radio and TV.
2 Deeply impress rampaging avenger (7)
ENGRAVE – Anagram [rampaging] of AVENGER
3 No change in gland (5)
OVARY – 0 (no – zero), VARY (change)
4 Extremely sore martial artist finds chair (5)
SEDAN – S{or}E [extremely], DAN (martial artist). It’s a system of grades of proficiency in various martial arts and is also used for a person who has achieved such a grade.
5 I’d train to change long-established belief (9)
TRADITION – Anagram [change] of I’D TRAIN TO
6 Cap may be / impossible to understand (5,4,4)
ABOVE ONES HEAD – Two definitions of sorts
7 Humble request: the hopeless don’t have one (6)
PRAYER – Two more definitions, one straight and one cryptic with reference to the phrase “not having a prayer” which means something is hopeless.
13 One day, looked at becoming rich (7)
MONEYED – MON (one day), EYED (looked at)
14 Musical interval: tenor struggles with it (7)
TRITONE – Anagram [struggles] of TENOR IT. A hard one I suspect for those not familiar with the rudiments of musical notation and terminology. It’s an interval or distance of three whole tones. On the white notes of a keyboard it would be F (through G and A) to B.  It can also be called an augmented fourth or a diminished fifth depending on its context, although for the latter in the example I’ve given it would be notated as F to C flat. There’s an other difficulty here in that the answer is fairly obviously an anagram of TENOR IT, but even with all the checkers in place and only one candidate amongst the remaining letters (R, T and N) to fill the first gap at T?I, the solver still  has to choose between TONE and NOTE as the second part of the answer, and with “musical” as part of the definition, if one doesn’t happen to know the word it could quite reasonably be either.
16 In France, you stick up for royal house (5)
TUDOR – TU (you, in France), then ROD (stick) reversed [up]. The crowned Tudors were Henrys VII and VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I.
18 Girl, nervous but attractive (5)
DISHY – DI (girl), SHY (nervous)
20 Obtained travel ticket at last (3)
GOT – GO (travel), {ticke}T [at last]

24 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 774 by Teazel”

  1. I remember reading that Christie assigned the royalties to “The Mousetrap” to a nephew as a birthday present, never dreaming that it would go on for long, let alone forever. DNK TRITONE, but somehow ‘trinote’ never occurred to me; and it sounds wrong, too. My problem was with 19ac, since in the US a DADDY-LONG-LEGS is a harvestman, not in any sense a flier; so I needed some checkers. 6:41.
    1. A film producer called Woolf bought the film rights in the mid-1950s with an agreement that the film would not be released until 6 months after the play closed in London. Presumably his heirs are still waiting.

      Richard Attenborough was in the original cast of the play and because he was already building a career in films the producers couldn’t afford to pay him what he saw as the going-rate for an actor of his calibre so it was agreed that to make up for this he would be paid 10% of the play’s profits. This turned into a fantastic investment for him which he finally disposed of to help finance GHANDI when it was running out of money.

  2. About 7 minutes, but Jack anticipated my error with TRINOTE. Though I do concede, as per Kevin G, that TRITONE sounds more plausible, and I should have considered it.

    The nice thing about the Quicky (which I do on the Times site) as opposed to the 15×15 (on the club site) is that you get to rectify the error immediately and pretend it never happened.

    Count me as another for whom a daddy-long-legs is a spider. Thanks Teazel and Jack.

  3. 1ac held me up for an eternity as I could not get 3dn OVARY – I checked all my glands and now I know why I came unstuck!

    Thus I suffered a PW of 14.14 after yesterday’s PB almost ten minutes faster!

    But then this was a DNF as I bunged in TRINOTE! Aaaagh! I was very impressed by Jack Bloggs eight long lines on the subject!

    COD to 1ac THE MOUSETRAP and WOD 19ac DADDY LONG LEGS which I assure you is not a spider as it only has six legs and is winged – how’s the cricket chirping – G?

    Today’s 15×15 is fine for a Friday with only one tricky word which I forunately knew – thanks to my knowledge of Japanese football (soccer).

    Edited at 2017-02-24 05:41 am (UTC)

  4. As a bridge player I failed again at crosswords. Fixated on St Patrick. Which I could not jam into that clue in any way.

    Sigh, I feel like that little red train some days… “I think I can….”

    And have yet to get over the hill.

  5. I think this was the hardest of the week. Haggard and tritone were unknown to me, so I struggled with these two. 3ac as well was tough, and for some reason I failed to see the hidden answer in 10ac for ages. Not sure “thinner” is necessarily “less powerful”. Michael Fassbender is thinner than Richard Griffiths (was), but I know who’d win in a fight! Gribb.
  6. 22:43 a solid time, ends a week of five good times for me.

    Was struggling for OVARY as 10a was still open, then I remembered that we hadn’t yet had a “hidden” clue, and there it was. Was put off by the common H for hospital and any number of short, yuk words (bah? Uh? Ugh? Etc)

    21a was LOI as I had Patrick and Brendan in mind, along with IR for Irish.

    So, plenty of red herrings today. Completed by New Malden.

  7. Merlin matey – I presume that is the Korean Republic of New Malden? Please do beware of the VX nerve gas thingy especially when changing trains.
  8. I had a few issues with this one. Thought THINNER = less powerful was a bit vague although the cluing was fairly obvious, never heard of ST BRIDGET (and ST GUINNESS didn’t fit), or of TRITONE (although that sounded sensible as an answer).
    Nevertheless, overall an enjoyable challenge which is the point after all.
  9. No trouble for me today, being familiar with the musical term. Slightly slower than yesterday at 6:06. FOI SEDAN, then 1a went straight in confirmed by the S at 4d. LOI BRIDGE. Nice puzzle and blog. Thanks Teazel and Jack.
  10. You must have been too busy blogging (expertly) to notice, but diagonal symmetry (about the NW-SE line here) is quite common in the Quick – never seen it in the main one.
    1. Thanks, anon*, you are right that I don’t usually pay attention to such matters. This one really struck me for some reason so I assumed it must be out of the ordinary.

      *a name or nickname would be nice rather than remaining completely anon.

  11. After a long struggle I have at last broken 20 minutes and so this was a PB. The Mousetrap, Talking Heads, Tudor and St Bridget were all available in my short term memory.
    1. Nice work Silver (or is that “Hi-yo Silver!”). Wasn’t the easiest of puzzles. Next target 15.
  12. Slow and steady today at 20 minutes – not helped by taking an age to see what should have been a straightforward 1a and 1d being my second to last one in, so missed out on all those first letters. Also held up by 15a which I was convinced was going to be an anagram of ‘once strain’. Took a lucky guess at the correct answer for 14d. LOI 21a
  13. I struggled again today. FOI was Sad and second Got so you can tell how well the first pass went- and I was on a train, normally a good place to solve.
    After engaging a higher gear I got into the puzzle finishing after 30 minutes of hard work . A good test I thought. LOI was 3d having failed for a long time to see the hidden Italy. An uncertain Talking Shops for 1d also delayed me. David
  14. About an hour.

    Guessed bridget was a saint, had trinote, and 10a was hidden very well.

    LOI 3d.
    COD 1a, good clue and also an enjoyable play.

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