Times Quick Cryptic No 1102 by Tracy

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Greetings from your newest blogger, Jeremy, in New York City.  I’m a stay-at-home dad of one boy (soon to be two), and occasionally a math teacher, pianist, conductor, and one-fourth of a barbershop quartet.

My puzzle backstory:  I first came across cryptics in Dell crossword books (a US thing, I think), which I would work on assiduously during long train rides as a teenager, in an attempt to get as good as my grandfather.  I was so taken by cryptics that I immediately became uninterested in US-style puzzles.  I wrote some cryptics of my own, one even in Hungarian.  Somewhere along the way I heard about the legendary Times puzzle, and when I moved to NYC was delighted to find that it was syndicated in one of our  —how shall I put this?—  more easily purchased newspapers.  I can still remember sitting down to try my first Times puzzle, and standing up again a half hour later without having solved a single clue!  Clearly this was a new class of puzzle, and as before there was no turning back.

Soon after, I found this blog, and with your help, I was finally able to start completing cryptics somewhat consistently.  I owe it all to you folks, and I’m pleased to finally be giving back to the blog that has given so much to me!

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I thought this puzzle was very solid as a Quickie: straightforward but not too much, and a few nice beard (or whatever part of your body you tend to scratch) scratchers.  I missed eight clues on first pass and two (22a and 12d) on the second.  A few more scratches and I finished the final cross just under 12 minutes.

1 Meissen bombed [in] retribution (7)
NEMESIS – MEISSEN (“Meissen”) anagrammed (“bombed”)
Easy enough to get from the crosses, but I did not know this definition, nor the goddess by the same name!  I suppose “She’s my nemesis.” would once have been written “She’s my Nemesis.”.  Neat.
5 Briefly obstruct alliance (4)
BLOC – almost all the letters of (“briefly”) BLOCK (“obstruct”)
7 Young child attending a large comprehensive (5)
TOTAL – TOT (“young child”) + (“attending”) A (“a”) + L (“large”, on a clothing tag)
8 Funny drawing [of] ring in box (7)
CARTOON – O (“ring”) in (“in”) CARTON (“box”)
10 Standard box, not small (3)
PAR – SPAR (“box”) removing the letter (“not”) S (“small”)
11 County’s oarsmen [in] opener (9)
CORKSCREW – CORK’S (“county’s”) + CREW (“oarsmen”)
13 Alternatively, row about a decree (6)
ORDAIN – OR (“alternatively”) + DIN (“row”) around (“about”) A (“a”)
14 First of sips, enough to taste (6)
SAMPLE – first letter of (“first of”) SIPS (“sips”) + AMPLE (“enough”)
17 Not up to guarding ten? [That’s] indefensible (9)
UNTENABLE – UNABLE (“not up to”) around (“guarding”) TEN (“ten”)
19 Beginning to love one English fairy tale (3)
LIE – first letter of (“beginning to”) LOVE (“love”) + I (“one”, in Roman numerals) + E (“English”)
Perhaps someone can remind my why English = E.  It’s an abbreviation as old as time, but I couldn’t find it in my dictionary.
20 Almost put to death lone Star Wars character? (3,4)
HAN SOLO – almost all the letters of (“almost”) HANG (“put to death”) + SOLO (“lone”)
22 Be at one match (5)
AGREE – double definition
Wasn’t totally on board with the first definition.  Last one in.
23 Annoying child runs into club (4)
BRAT – R (“runs”, in cricket) in (“into”) BAT (“club”)
24  One putting clothes on chest of drawers (7)
DRESSER – double definition

1 Retired don feeling round top of machine of poor quality (3,2,2,4)
NOT UP TO MUCH – reversed (“retired”) PUT ON (“don”) + TOUCH (“feeling”, as in the sense) around (“round”) first letter of (“top of”) MACHINE (“machine”)
I put this one in quickly without understanding the wordplay, assuming the definition was ‘retired’!  Only later did I learn the British expression.
2 Drove in limo to Redcar (7)
MOTORED – letters inside (“in”) LIMO TO REDCAR
3 Pick leader in secret ballot (9)
SELECTION – first letter of (“leader in”) SECRET (“secret”) + ELECTION (“ballot”)
4 Notice about vicious dog [in] stable (6)
SECURE – SEE (“notice”) around (“about”) CUR (“vicious dog”)
5 Rail [in] pub (3)
BAR – double definition
6 Smell nothing grim (5)
ODOUR – O (“nothing”, as in zero) + DOUR (“grim”)
9 Warn one working outside this place miles away (7,4)
NOWHERE NEAR – WARN ONE (“warn one”) anagrammed (“working”) around (“outside”) HERE (“this place”)
12 Draw old china (9)
STALEMATE – STALE (“old”) + MATE (“china”, in rhyming slang)
15 Missile[‘s] power staggered sailor (7)
POLARIS – P (“power”, in physics) + anagrammed (“staggered”) SAILOR (“sailor”)
16 A general out of the country (6)
ABROAD – A (“a”) + BROAD (“general”)
18 Spanish gentleman has little time for second singer (5)
TENOR – SEÑOR (“Spanish gentleman”) has (“has”) T (“little time”, in physics) replacing (“for”) S (“second”)
21  Not allowed in the shops (3)
OUT – double definition
Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out.”

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A note on my blog style:  I write my answers so that you can read the words in parenthetical quotes (“…”) from left to right and see every word of the clue; or, you can read what’s outside the parentheses from left to right and see the wordplay recipe given precisely.  The two are intertwined so that each piece of the clue and its corresponding wordplay are adjacent.

One could object that it is redundant to write something like TEN (“ten”) .   But as a mathematician, I feel it is important to have a symbolic representation of nothing, like we have with the numeral 0, for example.  Sometimes  ‘ten’  signifies  ‘X’ ,  sometimes it signifies  ‘TEN’ ,  and I think it’s important to point out both equally.

46 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1102 by Tracy”

  1. Welcome, Jeremy, and thanks for joining the blogging team.
    You got a decent puzzle for your first one. 1d gave me pause–I wanted ‘not up to scratch’ but of course wasn’t going to get it, and spent–wasted–a lot of time trying to get 17ac and settle the matter before I finally realized that I’d put in ‘senor’ instead of ‘tenor’ (pays to read the clues). I’ve always just taken E=English for granted, but I see it isn’t in ODE (it is in my Japanese-English dictionary, for what that’s worth). ESL/EFL? 7:12.
    1. In the US, I know it as “not up to snuff”. Of course I apologize for thinking that “not up to much” would be a synonym for ‘retired’, as most retired people I know get up to much more than I do…
      1. I just realized that I had parsed it as ‘retired’=NOT UP + (TO(M)UCH), overlooking that I’d made ‘don’ otiose. (Well, quite a few of them probably are.)
  2. Welcome to you, Jeremy, and kudos to the New York Post. No need for such coyness!
    1. The dumbest paper in town no longer carries this very smart puzzle. I never bought the Post back in the days when it was my source for the puzzle, but found it on the subway, in trash cans and in the office of a colleague at the magazine who was hooked on the sports pages. But the Post certainly has a distinctive style. Do you know any other paper that uses “SLAY” as a noun, so it will fit in a headline in its narrow columns?
      1. My experience exactly with The Sun. Except I never retrieved it from trains for the crossword…
        1. We studied the style of the Sun in one course at university. Call it what you will (there are some rude words I would apply) it ain’t dumb.
  3. Don’t pop in to QC commentdom often, but greetings to plusjeremy, welcome to the squad. Puzzle wasn’t too bad (as opposted to the regular cryptic, which I struggled mightily with). NOT UP TO MUCH seems to have a different meaning in these parts, came in around 4 minutes.
  4. I like the way you introduced yourself in your first blog, in rather more detail than I did in mine (I guess there’s still time). Are you fluent in Hungarian?
    1. Not anymore, sadly.

      In my test blog I wrote a very short introduction and hello and was told I could write more for my actual first post. I dutifully followed orders is all.

  5. 30 minutes. Hitting the brick wall after 15 mins with agree and LOI stalemate, where I was looking for some sort of dinner ware (china).

    Didn’t come back to parse the not up bit of 1d. Couldn’t see how Puton = teacher/don…

    Thanks and welcome Jeremy.

    COD stalemate.

    Edited at 2018-05-30 06:10 am (UTC)

    1. My comments almost completely mirror these from Flashman – including the welcome and thanks to Jeremy.
  6. E = English is in Collins and Chambers (of course, because it has more single-letter abbreviatioins than any other dictionary, or so it seems). It appears it’s only the Oxford dictionaries, of the usual sources, that don’t recognise it.

    13 minutes, and with a rare error from me as I carelessly wrote in POLAIIS as my answer at 15dn and failed to notice I then had an incorrect checker for 22ac. I then bunged in ALIKE without giving it due consideration. Anyway, like our new blogger 22ac was my LOI.

    I’ve never seen STAR WARS so I’d not even heard of HAN SOLO and had to rely on wordplay and hope for the best.

    Welcome to the crew, Jeremy!

    Edited at 2018-05-30 05:49 am (UTC)

  7. Good to see you again Jeremy! Hopefully we won’t end up in any kind of religious war over round versus square brackets, Gulliver’s Travels style… I think we can all agree that the curly-bracketers are the true enemy, at any rate.
      1. I must confess to using curly brackets as a remove-this-letter indicator, but perhaps only because come my glorious and humane revolution, all curly bracketeers too will be “disappeared”.
        1. That’s exactly (and all) that I use it for. When I started blogging here 10+ years ago, it was recommended by Peter B as the way of doing things.
          1. I think for more spare mathematical explanations like: {s}PAR, other conventions are fine.

            My taste is to not have my explanations be in a sort of code, given that the clue is already cryptic enough. Especially since beginners are more likely to try their hand at the QC.

            Also, I appreciate how each word has its meaning in a cryptic clue, and my explanation style is designed to do justice to this fact.

            But give me some time and I may come around.

  8. As far as I am aware the name of the starwars character was Hans solo not Han.
    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Maybe next time you could check before saying a wrong thing?
  9. Welcome Jeremy, in New York City. Good first blog, and spotting a bit of parsing in 1d that a few of us older hands might have struggled with. Well done!

    15 minutes exactly for me, so at the upper end of normal, and it cleared up one long standing misnomer of mine – I always thought it was HANS SOLO, never having knowingly seen it in print. Nice puzzle from Tracy and a nice blog.

  10. Thanks Jeremy and Tracy. I too have found this blog invaluable. My average solve time is about 13 mins but not today sadly. Really struggled with 1dn, my penultimate solve, and had to trawl the alphabet with the LOI 12dn STALEMATE to complete in 21:41.
  11. Hi Jeremy! Thanks for your blog — solves the mystery of 22A for me. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who had it as their LOI. I, too, was looking for -WARE in 12D. And I didn’t help matters by misspelling SELECTION. Wot a dunce. Otherwise, a pretty good 25 minutes here in rainy Hedon.
    (And ta Jackkt for the heartening words re the 15×15 yesterday. Onwards!)
  12. Quite tough I thought. Top half came easily, bottom half was a struggle. CORKSCREW and (LOI) STALEMATE took a lot of pondering.
  13. Needed two sittings to finish this, having first spent ages trying to parse 1d, and then biffing Band(y) for 5ac – not a good start. Some really nice clues from Tracy, 11 and 17ac, 9d etc, which only serve to draw attention to the far less satisfying 22ac and 21d. I might pop out to do some shopping (not often, it has to be said), but out = in the shops ? Not in these parts it doesn’t.
    A warm welcome to Jeremy, especially after your detailed explanation of how 1d works. Invariant
    1. “Out now!” has been in common UK parlance for many years meaning available in the shops.
      1. Thanks, jackkt. I’d meant to add an example clarifying that second meaning, like, “her new book is out”.
  14. Welcome Jeremy and thanks for the blog. I spent more time trying to work out the second meaning of my LOI, OUT, than on any of the other clues, but saw it in the end. Like Kevin I wanted 1d to be NOT UP TO SCRATCH, so left the last word until I had the checkers. An enjoyable puzzle which took me 9:08. Thanks to Tracy too.
  15. Question for the experts on 22d. “Not allowed in” means out, and I am happy with out being “in the shops”, but for the double def the “in” has to be used twice. Is this normal practice? I was stuck because I have always been able to cleanly separate the two clues in the past, so had to do an alphabet trawl to decide there was no alternative. I also thought that “China’s for “mate” was a bit tough for a QC with no cockney indicator.
    1. Out means not allowed (without the ‘in’):

      7. adjective [verb-link ADJECTIVE]
      If you say that a proposal or suggestion is out, you mean that it is unacceptable.
      That’s right out, I’m afraid.

      Welcome to Blogland, Jeremy. 12 minutes here finishing with the same two as our new blogger.

    2. My parsing was OUT = ‘not allowed’.

      Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out.”

      1. I know ‘china = mate’ from the regular puzzles. Unfortunately I’m not familiar enough yet to comment on whether this is a bit out of bounds for the Quickie.
  16. I came late to tftt this morning in a grumpy mood having had my first typo in a couple of months in the 15×15 – and that after a real but then wasted struggle. And there was lovely pic of you and family which cheered me up quite a bit. I don’t usually get around to the QC nowadays but will look out for you. And will see you in person in a couple of weeks – yay.
  17. … and thanks for the very clear blog. I completed in 33 minutes (rather slow and a couple of biffs) having wasted too much time trying to parse 1d and CORKSCREW, my COD. I saw it as an anagram of ROWERS and was trying to find a county abbreviated as CKC!!! Thanks for the explanation.
    I loved the misdirection in 12d… once the penny dropped and, unlike some others, thought 22a quite straightforward. FOI CARTOON, LOI BLOC – no idea why it took me so long! MM

    PS Note to Jeremy: I have a daughter who is about to relinquish her Maths teacher role after 21 years and instead embark on a 4 year PhD in Meteorology and Chaos Theory. I think you’ll find more chaos staying home with a two year old!! Good luck with that.

    1. My only hope is to start my children on cryptics young. Hopefully no one will call Child Protective Services on me…
  18. I thought I was back to my normal 15-20 minute solves today but I had two left after 20 minutes: 22a and 12d. Both required a hard stare and it did not help that I had Merge pencilled in for 22a which was my LOI. About 25 minutes in total.
    Some great surfaces and clues today; I noted 7a, 24a, 4d and 15d as award winners.
    And a warm welcome to our new blogger.
  19. Welcome Jeremy and thanks for the excellent blog. I made hard work of this as I carelessly put Senor in for 18d, making 17a a bit tricky and then spent ages running through various types of porcelain for LOI 12d. Got there in the end, finishing in 30.58.
  20. Welcome to the blogging team, Jeremy. Good blog. I like the precision of your style and enjoyed your self-description. Maybe I should have introduced myself when I started 8 or 9 months ago.
    As for the crossword… Like others, OUT was my LOI when I finally convinced myself it could mean “in the shops”, remembering the phrase “Out now!” exhorting one to go and buy something. No real difficulties otherwise, finishing in a sub-average time.
  21. I don’t usually comment here, but on this special occasion I felt I had to pop in and say welcome , Jeremy! Great blog.
    I also don’t usually do the quick cryptic but I tried it today and found it quite resistant. I have had a few glasses of wine, to be fair.
    I am now happily unemployed, and planning a trip to DC in September. I think I might try and fit a visit to New York into the same trip: I’ll keep you posted. There are some features of my last visit I’d like to replicate, and others I wouldn’t.
  22. As a Siemens employee I’ve mentally rearranged the letters every day for 20 years (although none of my colleagues seems interested). To find another anagram of Nemesis after all this time is a nice surprise!

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