Times Quick Cryptic 800 by Hurley

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Today the Quick Cryptic has reached #800 having started life on Monday 10 March 2014. These milestones always occur on my watch so I come to them half expecting a NINA in the grid or something in the clues to mark the occasion, but I can’t find anything of that sort today. It’s likely anyway that setters don’t normally have notice of when their puzzles will be published in the greater scheme of things. Incidentally if anyone has spotted it and is wondering why the milestone puzzles occur on Mondays rather on Fridays, the answer is that the editor slipped in an extra unnumbered puzzle on Christmas Day 2014.

This puzzle took me 6 minutes past my 10 minute target, but having now written the blog and thought about the clues again, I don’t know what delayed me. I look forward to reading how others got on with it.

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

8 Force admitting first error (7)
MISTAKE – MAKE (force) containing [admitting] 1ST (first)
9 Ordered to include large part of oar (5)
BLADE – BADE (ordered) containing [to include] L (large)
10 Initially struggling, win out of nowhere, become ecstatic (5)
SWOON – First letters [initially] of S{truggling}, W{in}, O{ut}, O{f}, N{owhere}
11 Wrestle poorly — feel hot (7)
SWELTER – Anagram [poorly] of WRESTLE
12 Cunningly, I plot out a device for aircraft (9)
AUTOPILOT – Anagram [cunningly] of I PLOT OUT A
14 Soccer official gets parking for female salesperson (3)
REP – RE{f} (soccer official) + P [parking for female]
16 Jabber as wages withdrawn? (3)
YAP – PAY (wages) reversed [withdrawn]
18 Absurd farce, sure to occur again? (9)
RESURFACE – Anagram [absurd] of FARCE SURE
21 Recall regular payment and criticize companion (7)
PARTNER –  RENT (regular payment) + RAP (criticize) reversed [recall]
22 Resentful about name — disturb peace at night? (5)
SNORE – SORE (resentful) containing [about] N (name)
23 Royal Highness associated with a certain river (5)
RHONE – RH (Royal Highness), ONE (a certain)
24 Joyful state of Northern Ireland artist having secured vehicle? (7)
NIRVANA – NI (Northern Ireland) then RA (artist) containing [having secured] VAN (vehicle)
1 English girl fairly regularly visited diplomat (8)
EMISSARY – E (English), MISS (girl), {f}A{i}R{l}Y [regularly visited]
2 Go with exotic corset (6)
ESCORT – Anagram [exotic] of CORSET
3 Understood new cut (4)
SAWN – SAW (understood), N (new)
4 Quite a selection including prickly plant (6)
TEASEL – Hidden [including] in {qui}TE A SEL{election}
5 One arguing against aim, bore at heart (8)
OBJECTOR – OBJECT (aim), {b}OR{e} [at heart]
6 Business agent following player (6)
FACTOR – F (following), ACTOR (player). I wasn’t quite sure of the definition here but later confirmed that a factor can be a person buying or selling on commission for another.
7 Endure / ill-mannered guy (4)
BEAR – Two meanings, SOED has: a rough, unmannerly, or uncouth person.
13 Combustible heap seen up in mountains (8)
PYRENEES – PYRE (combustible heap), SEEN reversed [up]
15 Commoner, English, in biplane flying (8)
PLEBEIAN – E (English) in anagram [flying] of BIPLANE
17 Expected scores by old northern clergyman (6)
PARSON – PARS (expected scores), O (old), N (northern)
19 Garment from Salvation Army? Not correct reportedly (6)
SARONG – SA (Salvation Army), RONG sounds like [reportedly] “wrong” (not correct)
20 Lacking principles, upset mother before exam (6)
AMORAL – MA (mother) reversed [upset], ORAL (exam)
21 Country type, rustic — a bit (4)
PERU – Hidden in [a bit] {ty}PE RU{stic}
22 Kind tips from studio recruit (4)
SORT – S{tudi}O R{ecrui}T [tips from…]

20 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 800 by Hurley”

  1. Started off fairly slowly, only getting a couple of the acrosses on the first pass, and mistyped ‘rhina’ without noticing it (it was supposed to be ‘rhine’, rh plus something I’d think about next time around). LOI was SAWN; not only do I not use this form, but I had taken ‘new cut’ to indicate deletion of an N. No problem with FACTOR; I knew the meaning (an early meaning, I think) from John Barth’s ‘The Sotweed Factor’ (tobacco salesman). The original European outposts on the African coast, say, were called ‘factories’ 6:26.

    Edited at 2017-04-03 06:19 am (UTC)

  2. I fared similarly to Jack, taking 16:02, with my LOI, SAWN holding me up for a couple of minutes, and very few of the answers being immediately obvious. Mind you it’s past my bedtime and I’ve been out on the sauce, so hardly surprising! An excellent night out at Saltburn Community Hall watching Steve Dagleish and Ranagri performing. Superb entertainment if you’re folkily inclined. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVvXovKwBwI and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIUPar30bbo
  3. Dnf due to 6d Factor. Dnk F = following or the word for business agent. Really didn’t like this clue!
      1. I can see the F forte and FF Fortissimo in music, but not the connection with following.
        1. It’s used in textual references: “Schwartz discusses this problem in Ch. 5 (pp. 50ff.).” I actually can’t come up with a one-f example, but I have faith in our setters.
  4. Finished in around 45 mins, but nearly gave up with just 6dn remaining. Popped in FACTOR, thinking it wouldn’t be right but, lo and behind, it was! Never heard of this definition before. Not familiar with TEASEL either, so that took a while to spot the hidden. Isn’t one of our setters Teasel? Gribb.
  5. Some tricky clues in the mix today – particularly my last two in 2d and 6d, which accounted for the last 10 minutes of my 24 minute solve. For 3d I had to resort to running through the alphabet a couple of times before enlightenment struck. Particularly enjoyed 13d.
  6. is of Scottish derivation – there are few agents north of Carlisle. There are no hospitals in Glasgow they are all infirmaries – Chambers is dictionary for Scottishnesses -my COD.

    A 10.32 crawl not good for a Monday.


  7. My LOI was 6d and I had Matter (=business) at first and tried to find an improvement. Eventually I got Factor and that last clue must have taken me about 10 minutes. I finished in 24 minutes and my COD was 13d.
    Perhaps in future I should just write ,see plett11 above. David
  8. Took a while but I really enjoyed this puzzle, even though I DNF with 6d. I had BARTER which is a kind of business, but obviously couldn’t fathom the parsing.

    FOI was 14ac REP, COD was 13d PYRENEES which made me chuckle once it finally clicked.

    Other notables included 23ac RHONE which I originally had as RHEIN (mistaking “ein” as the German “a” and then misspelling the river in the process!). Also had 12ac as ALTIMETER for a while. Missed the anagram on 15d, parsing it completely differently but getting the same result and had to guess 4d TEASEL based on the hidden word.

    My only issue was 22d and SORT. Am I being stupid but how does this relate to “kind”?


  9. A DNF for me today being defeated by 3d and 6d. Having read the blog no complaints, just trying to construct the answer from the wrong bits of the clue and couldn’t even see likely answers even with all the checkers. Must be Monday brain.
  10. SAWN needed several passes through the alphabet. Very difficult to see.

    Surprised at the number of solvers struggling with Factor. I though the word was fairly well known. Perhaps showing my age (I’m not Scottish). But I really didn’t like f=following. Some setters seems to think it legit to abbreviate absolutely anything to its initial letter.

    1. I can’t argue with the your not liking f=following because we all have our opinions, but I would take issue with the suggestion that setters abbreviate words to their first letter on some sort of whim, as they are not permitted to do that and solvers would have a legitimate complaint if they did.

      Abbreviations have to be corroborated by one or more of the source dictionaries, which for the Times cryptic are believed to be the Concise Oxford, Collins and Chambers, and f=following is in two of these (the exception being the COED, although it is in the larger Oxfords). There is, or was at one time, a policy of avoiding some of the more obscure single-letter abbreviations that can be found in the recesses of Chambers but if an abbreviation is in one of the others as well it’s probably fair game.

      Quite apart from anything else f=following is not uncommon in crosswords so it’s worth remembering so as not to be caught out on future occasions.

  11. In fact, I wasn’t caught out. I did solve the whole puzzle, though I disliked some of the clues.

    Which brings me to a wider point. I’m a newcomer to the Times Quick Cryptic, which I can usually complete in about the time it takes me to eat a cooked breakfast. (I’m a slow eater!)

    Gradually though, I am losing enthusiasm for the QC. The clueing seems to be consistently very ‘mechanical’ or ‘deconstructionist’. All those ‘first of’ and ‘heart of’ and ‘extremities of’ etc. Soon gets quite boring and one longs for a bit of wit. Not much of that around in the QCs. Perhaps it’s The Times’s style, or maybe even the modern style. I cut my teeth many, many years ago on the Telegraph cryptic, which is, or was, more fun. The Times 15×15 has nearly always been too hard for me, as have the Graun and the Indie. More crucially, though, I find some of them so little fun. Too dry.

    In a minority, I’m sure. Thanks for listening (if you did).

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