Times Quick Cryptic No 1139 by Tracy – Oh what a beautiful morning?

Hello All. Today we have an admirably neat, concise and well crafted puzzle from Tracy with elegant surfaces and wordplay that requires plenty of thought. Or so, I found, anyway. It took me a while to get going, with only a smattering of answers from working the through the across clues, but then it was reasonably steady with plenty of delights along the way, notably 11a, 12a, 11d and, my clue of the day, 5d. Top drawer puzzle. Thanks Tracy! How did you all find it?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Piece of information I came across after revolution (4)
ITEM – I + MET (came across) backwards [after revolution].
4 Written work about border plant (8)
PRIMROSE – The border is not EDGE (I was thinking sedges), bit RIM. Put it in PROSE (Written work) to get the bright pale yellow spring flower.
8 Resort town possesses elements husband overlooked (8)
HASTINGS – HAS (possesses) + T{h}INGS (elements) with the H (husband) removed [overlooked].
9 Conceal very ugly lie (4)
VEIL – V (VERY) + (lie)* [UGLY]. My FOI after thinking, “No, It surely can’t be VILE?”.
10 Fine spring (4)
WELL – Double Definition.
11 Mark engaging in a bit of playful repartee (8)
BADINAGE – This took a bit of working out. The Mark is a BADGE. Insert [engaging] IN A to get a humorous or witty conversation.
12 Reputation our sailors have across the East (6)
RENOWN – Also on the tricky side. RN (our sailors) + OWN (have). Insert E (the East) [have across]. It makes a great surface reading, though.
14 Unique type of switch saving energy? (3-3)
ONE-OFF – The type of switch is ON OFF. Insert [saving] E (energy). A clue nonpareil?
16 Swindle to attract scorn (8)
CONTEMPT – CON (swindle) + TEMPT (attract).
18 Gold used by artist creates atmosphere (4)
AURA – AU (Gold atomic symbol) + RA (Royal Academician – artist). As in a painting to accompany the song “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow”, perhaps? The countryside around here is looking pretty golden at the moment.
19 Party in power lacking leader (4)
TEAM – Not “Party in power”. but {s}TEAM (power) [lacking leader].
20 Object of loathing and hate a man smashed (8)
ANATHEMA – (hate a man)* [smashed].
22 Head of menagerie, maestro trained monkey (8)
MARMOSET – M [head of] menagerie + (maestro)* [trained]. As explained here, there are 22 species of these little monkeys, mostly about 8″ long.
23 Walking stick, article found in church (4)
CANE – AN (article) inside CE (church of England).

2 Bar used by swingers (7)
TRAPEZE – Elegant cryptic definition. Learn all about how to use it here.
3 From limo, telephone place where drivers stay? (5)
MOTEL – Hidden word in liMO TELephone.
4 Fix leg (3)
PIN – Double definition. I knew the expression “a lovely pair of pins”, but I didn’t know it was derived from the cockney rhyming slang “pin pegs”.
5 Batting team dismissed comprehensively (6,3)
INSIDE OUT – IN (batting) + SIDE (team) + OUT (dismissed). No not BOWLED OUT, which would make the clue barely (if at all) cryptic. This is much more clever… If you know something inside out, you know it comprehensively. Lovely job. My COD.
6 Income level in Parisian’s street (7)
REVENUE – EVEN (level) [in] RUE (Parisian’s street).
7 Heather after second alcoholic drink (5)
SLING – LING (Heather) [after] S (second). Hmm. not had a gin sling for ages. A bit late at night/early in the morning to have one now, though.
11 Definitely not taking funny money in bars (2,2,5)
BY NO MEANS – …when a customer pays for a sling, perhaps? This is [funny] (money)* [in] BANS (bars). Another great surface.
13 Plump single mother, ideal (7)
OPTIMUM – OPT (Plump – as in choose) + I (single) + MUM (mother).
15 Male supervisor in favour of elevated title (7)
FOREMAN – FOR (in favour) + NAME upwards [elevated].
17 A diamond ring turned up in the end? (5)
OMEGA – A + GEM (diamond) + O (ring) all [turned up] to get the last letter of the Greek alphabet, used to signify the end of a series.
18 A medic going round hospital when necessary (2,3)
AD HOC – A + DOC (medic) [going round] H (hospital).
21 Function of a court (3)
ACT – A + CT (court).

27 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1139 by Tracy – Oh what a beautiful morning?”

  1. PRIMROSE always calls to mind Wordsworth’s “A primrose by a river’s brim/ A yellow primrose was to him/ And it was nothing more”, which I remember for the critic’s (forget who: Bagehot?) comment, “Well, what else could it be?” I was surprised this didn’t take me longer, as I had problems with a number of definitions: party=TEAM, plump=OPT, mark=BADGE. I seem to recall that BADINAGE provoked some discussion here when it appeared in a 15×15 a while back. A lovely word, which I always associate with ‘persiflage’. 5:33.
  2. Held up badly in the SW. Stared at empty squares for ages having made a good start in all other places. 16a, 19a and 17d (!) the last in. Good puzzle, fairly clued.
  3. I struggled with some of these clues and needed 17 minutes to complete the grid.

    I’m probably doing it a disservice having only ever been driven through it on a couple of occasions about 40 years ago, but I find it hard to think of Hastings as a ‘resort’. In any case I was slow to bring it to mind in that context.

    I also took longer than I should have over CONTEMPT. With the O-checker in place and ‘swindle’ in the clue I persuaded myself the answer started with DO-.

    The final hurdle was {s}TEAM where, like Kevin, I was not entirely convinced by ‘side’ as the definition and took some time looking for an alternative.

    Edited at 2018-07-20 05:47 am (UTC)

        1. “•a group of people taking part in a particular activity or trip.”. Such as a team
      1. Yes ‘side’ for ‘team’ would have been fine if it had been in the clue! I’ve no idea why I wrote ‘side’ in my comment.

        Like Kevin, I’m still not totally convinced by ‘party’ as the definition, but it’s in my thesaurus.

        Edited at 2018-07-20 09:59 am (UTC)

    1. I know what you mean about Hastings i don’t think anyone would fight over it now.
  4. In some ways felt more challenging than today’s Bigger Brother, and certainly not a straight through solve. My first obstacle indeed was in 4a, where I also assumed border was edge and therefore the plant (shudder, I’m no horticulturalist) was some sort of sedge.
    I wondered if 19, Party in power lacking leader, was a none too subtle piece of political commentary, which poor, beleaguered Mrs May could do without. But then the answer, TEAM, dashed that: whatever else the Tory party is, it’s no team.
    Good crossword, classy clues, well reviewed.
  5. Quite a tricky puzzle which took me over my target to 10:54. HASTINGS was my LOI, only partially parsed. PRIMROSE needed all the checkers. As our esteemed blogger mentions, 11a, 11d 12a and 5d stand out among a good set of clues. Thanks Tracy and John.
  6. An entertaining way to spend 12.13 minutes this morning. I spent the last couple of those trying to see if there was an alternative to TEAM for 19a, as it felt a bit tenuous to me. When I couldn’t come up with anything I submitted it with fingers crossed.
    Thanks for the blog
  7. I know I’m a bear of very little brain but I still don’t get why ‘team’ = ‘party’. Could some kind soul put me out of my misery!

    1. Take a look at the other comments, and you’ll see that you’re not alone. I suppose ‘rescue party/team’ would be a case of interchangeability; I suppose.
    2. Sorry. My explanation was incomplete. Party – “•a group of people taking part in a particular activity or trip.”. Such as a team. I admit it is a bit tenuous, though.

      Edited at 2018-07-20 03:18 pm (UTC)

  8. I enjoyed this but I did find 19a a double whammy (a tenuous clue for a tenuous answer) but heh!
  9. I found this a strange mixture of the very straightforward and some real stinkers. So just over 30 mins in the end. Enjoyed INSIDE OUT, reminded me of the famous tea towel explanation of cricket (it is a simple game – honestly, although the ECB seem determined to change that)). Also enjoyed HASTINGS – very neat clue. LOI RENOWN. Really took some figuring out. A famous name in naval history so a neat allusion to “our sailors” there.
    So thanks setter and blogger for an enjoyable end to the week.
    1. Good point about RENOWN. It makes it an even better clue!

      Edited at 2018-07-20 06:35 pm (UTC)

  10. Needed 20 minutes for this one…but it is Friday. DNK 11a BADINAGE and the difficult wordplay resulted in this being my LOI. Also hesitated over 19a TEAM and was surprised it was correct. Thanks for the parsing of 13d OPTIMUM as I couldn’t see it.
  11. Having a good day today after a very fast time for me on the big ‘un. No real hold ups and a smooth 4:55 finish.
  12. I am watching round-the-clock golf so this was solved in very bitty fashion.
    FOI was 22a after a couple of minutes looking. My LOI was Hastings. I wondered about S Team. Liked 11a and 13a. Not a quick solve.
    Now will Justin Rose make the cut?
  13. I was so convinced by my answer – gel – that it never occurred to me it was wrong. Inevitably led to problems. Not good with flowers so I assumed that was the problem there…
    1. Bad luck. It’s a bummer when getting one wrong causes gridlock. It has taken me a long time to learn that when something doesn’t fit I’ve maybe got something wrong. But learning these things is what the QC is for!
  14. 23 minutes, one of Tracy’s best, lots of great clues.

    Badinage seemed vaguely familiar and went in with fingers crossed.

    COD optimum.

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