Times Quick Cryptic No 1149 by Orpheus

Hello all. Well here is, I think, a quite testing Friday QC from Orpheus, with a smattering of quite chewy clues among the more easily digestible standard fare. We have a reverse cryptic, a couple of tricky double definitions and an apparent hidden answer that wasn’t! Sorting out my last two took me well over my target time, but maybe I was just being a bit slow today. Some nice clues along the way. I liked LUMBAGO and COWED, for example, but FELLER was my favourite. Thanks, Orpheus, for the entertaining and thought-provoking puzzle. How did everyone else find it?

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

1 Lacking cash, dealer finally becomes agent (6)
BROKER – BROKE (Lacking cash) + {deale}R, “finally”.
4 College boy’s agreement (6)
UNISON – UNI (College) + SON (boy). I spent some time thinking we were needing the name of a college. It’s a bit ironic I was slow in seeing this as I’m away for a few days at a choir reunion.
8 Resolve to put off race across motorway (13)
DETERMINATION – DETER (put off) + NATION (race) “across” MI ( M1 motorway) – i.e. put it between the other 2 parts.
10 European introducing lousy sort of resin (5)
EPOXY – E (European) + POXY (lousy).
11 Apprentice gunners at home entertained by Peg (7)
TRAINEE – R.A. ( Royal Artillery, aka gunners) + IN (at home) all “entertained by” (i.e. put inside) TEE (golfing peg).
12 Make-up from EU country reportedly reaching father in time (11)
GREASEPAINT – This was (I thought) my last one in and took me ages to see. Was it make-up as in imagine or stuff you put on your face? And the EU country – was it France? No. It was GREASE “reportedly” (sounds like) Greece + PA (father) + IN + T (time). Not the sort of make-up that sprang immediately to my mind!
16 Posh doctor engaged by prisoner over back pain (7)
LUMBAGO – Another insertion clue. U (Posh) + MB (Bachelor of Medicine – i.e. doctor) “engaged by” (i.e. inside) LAG (prisoner) + O (old). Now what sort of prisoner can afford to engage a posh doctor? Must be a drugs baron or racketeer, I guess.
17 Browbeaten commander tied the knot (5)
COWED – CO (commanding officer – i.e. commander) + WED (tied the knot). A shotgun wedding, perhaps?
18 Exceptionally rosy prediction — but it makes us tense (6,7)
FUTURE PERFECT – Double definition, first cryptic. If things will be Exceptionally rosy then the FUTURE will be PERFECT
19 Tiny kid getting quiet parent initially on edge (6)
SHRIMP – SH (quiet) + RIM (edge) + P{arent} “initially” “on” (i.e. after) .
20 Popular chap who cuts down trees? (6)
FELLER – Double definition. An alternative and less formal (i.e. Popular) version of fellow is FELLER… which is also someone who cuts down trees.

1 Pester Republican with emblem of office (6)
BADGER – R (Republican) “with”, i.e. after, BADGE (emblem of office).
2 Extremely tired, moor our boat badly, having portable engine (8,5)
OUTBOARD MOTOR – Our first anagram – of  “Extermely” T{ire}D + MOOR OUR BOAT “badly”.
3 Ahead of time, almost not having started (5)
EARLY –  {n}EARLY (almost) “not having started”, i.e. drop the first letter.
5 Win over artist capturing a N American river (7)
NIAGARA – GAIN (Win) “over”, gives is NIAG + RA (artist) “capturing” (i.e. putting between the parts)  + A.
6 Random winnings help, securing English seamstress’s device (8-5)
SPINNING-WHEEL – “Random” (WINNINGS HELP)* “securing” (i.e. putting in it) E (English).
7 French city where granny put up? (6)
NANTES – NAN (granny) + SET (put) written upwards in the grid (“up”).
9 Like noodles, possibly, heading for trouble! (2,3,4)
IN THE SOUP – Double definition, first cryptic.
13 Eg East Grinstead in relation to its Great Danes? (7)
ANAGRAM – This is an instructional “reverse cryptic” clue, where the answer explains the wordplay… East Grinstead is an anagram of its Great Danes.
14 Bluff son identifying coastal features? (6)
CLIFFS – “Unlucky” was what I got when I submitted. Huh? What had I got wrong? Eventually I tracked it down. I originally had BLUFFS as the answer, thinking it was a pretty dodgy barely hidden answer. And it fits the checkers too! But a bluff is “a high steep bank, esp. of a river“… i.e. a CLIFF. Add S for son to get a better answer. I felt a bit aggrieved. There is a coastal area called The Bluffs south of Durban, South Africa, near where I lived as a boy.
15 Press chief possibly cycled up carrying it (6)
EDITOR – Take RODE (cycled), turn it around (“up”) and insert (“carrying”) IT.
17 Cut up rough at first in underground hollow (5)
CARVE –  Put R{ough} (“at first”) “in” CAVE (underground hollow). Neat misdirection to make you think Cut up rough might be the definition.

26 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1149 by Orpheus”

  1. Like our blogger, I wasted time trying to think of an Oxbridge college name at 4ac; I think I needed the Ns to see the light. I got a number of these from checkers and saw the wordplay once I typed in the letters: GREASEPAINT, for instance, and LUMBAGO. (Wasn’t there a play some years ago, “The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd”?) The minute I saw ‘tense’ in the clue, I knew it would be X PERFECT; 6 letters, so FUTURE or PRESENT. Like John again, I thought first of BLUFFS, but thought No, they wouldn’t dare do that; and they didn’t. 6:55, faster than I expected, and much faster than it felt.
    1. Your mention of different tenses reminds of the wonderfully colourful short stories by Damon Runyon which are almost entirely written in the historical present rather than any form of past tense.

      Edited at 2018-08-03 07:45 am (UTC)

  2. Having looked further into the matter, I find that PRESENT actually has seven letters, if you count both E’s.
  3. I hate this kind of clue where most of it would fit in a noncryptic puzzle (Bluff = Cliff) and the only thing making it (ever so slightly) cryptic is some standard code for the “s” to pluralize it. Gimme a break! Since you asked, John, I found this one pretty easy. But I had just finished (finally!) the 15×15.

    Edited at 2018-08-03 07:14 am (UTC)

    1. Given today’s SNITCH I guess you would find this a walk in the park if you’ve managed the 15×15 already!
  4. Very enjoyable but some of this was quite hard work taking me into dangerous territory, over 15 minutes solving time (18 actually). I knew I was going to be in trouble when I had completed the top half apart from 10ac and was unable to think of a resin to fit E?O?Y. I kept returning to this but without success until the very end when I did an alphabet trawl and somehow recembered EPOXY resin when I got to EPO?Y.

    I’ve just finished reading the autobiography of Leslie Bricusse who wrote a show with Anthony Newley in 1964 called “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd” so the answer at 12ac was not far from my mind.

    Edited at 2018-08-03 06:21 am (UTC)

  5. 23 minutes eventually, held up mainly by the bottom LH corner. I also had the unlucky message having put in Bluffs – I couldn’t think of anything better at the time, but when it emerged that it ended with FFS, then it became obvious.
  6. Phew, what a scorcher! Perhaps I was just not on the setter’s wavelength but I took over half an hour. Many clever clues, many of which seemed fairly straightforward when solved but were anything but simple during the fight. Perhaps it was partly because we had ‘Today’ on the radio in the background instead of music or silence. I must have a bash at the 15×15 tiday to either restore some pride or destroy me completely. John M
  7. Tried to post but got a foreign language error message which I couldn’t understand – so apologies if this is now a duplicate.

    Tough indeed. I struggled with the parsing of 19ac – on=after is correct but doesn’t leap out at me. I see it as quiet (SH), (P)arent) on (after) edge (RIM).
    Finished with Niagara (couldn’t see win=gain for a while). Lots of enjoyable clues to tussle with. 13:51. Thank you setter and blogger.

    1. Thanks, Chris. You are right, of course, about SHRIMP. I’d like to claim it was a deliberate mistake to see if anyone noticed, but it was just incompetence! Blog updated.
    1. Hardly an unknown word for TftT-ers! This was a type of self-referencing clue that pops up occasionally in the biggie so it’s worth having an example in the QC – the first that I can remember. Having said that, even as a seasoned solver it took me a while to spot the answer and a real ‘Doh!’ moment when I did.
  8. A surprisingly swift completion in 10:51. FOI 8a DETERMINATION and LOI 13d ANAGRAM. I had no problem with the tense clue as I am studying Spanish A level. I did not like 14d CLIFFS and although 6a SPINNING-WHEEL was easily getable I would have expected an ‘old’ indicator. COD for me was 13d ANAGRAM.
  9. A long, but enjoyable slog, only to be defeated by ANAGRAM (wicked clue). Lots of clues to enjoy though. GREASEPAINT (unusual), FUTURE PERFECT (took me back to O levels), and some cracking anagrams.
  10. A DNF to round off a week to forget. Defeated in the end by the 13d/19ac combination. Perhaps if I had come back for a second sitting I might have worked out Shrimp, and that might then have allowed me to spot Anagram, but by and large it’s just not been my week. Invariant
  11. I’m surprised by no comment on Spinning Wheel being a “seamstresses device” : a spinning wheel makes yarn (for knitting or weaving) from wool or other fibres. Seamstresses sew.
    1. Good point. But I’m inclined to give our setter the benefit of the doubt as she might use one to make the thread with which she sews.
  12. Brain still mush after its battering from big brother, so I hopped about all over the grid with this one. Some good clues I thought and some a cut above the QC norm. LOI EAST GRINSTEAD simply because it was so unexpected. 6:32
  13. Got back from holidays last night, so this was done at home with the paper acquired after a rather warm dog walk. I got 1a almost immediately,then 2d and was off and running, finishing in under 10 minutes. Momentary pauses for Cliffs and the French city. Had seen the anagram device recently in another puzzle ,so Anagram was no problem. After 9 minutes I just needed 12a. I always struggle without the first letter. But it didn’t take long to get Greasepaint.
    Enjoyed it and rather surprised to read of other’s struggles. Wavelength etc … David
  14. Far too hard for me. I cheated my way to about half of it and gave up. No pleasure in it for me.
  15. What a brilliant clue -I loved it – even if I did take a while to see it. It gets my COD and WOD.

    I started well, surprising myself with some of the clues I picked up on, and then the rot set in. It took me more time than usual but it was a very enjoyable 31 minutes! Even then I have to admit that I didn’t parse 17 correctly. I decided that a hollow just had to be a curve and put it in last! What would I do without this blog to show me the way? So, thank you all again. MM

  16. Just home from a tiring day’s golf at Kirkbymoorside which was interrupted by a thunderstorm; luckily we were on the 9th, which was 400 yards from the clubhouse, when the klaxon blared to tell us to get off the course. When we restarted, the greens were really soggy and all the holes full of water. This one took me 12:09, with NIAGARA and GREASEPAINT holding me up at the end. Spotted the anagram device almost immediately. Had an MER over a seamstress using a spinning wheel. Nice puzzle. Thanks Orpheus and John.
  17. This followed my pattern of the week where I’ve got absolutely stumped on my final clue. Today it was 4a, I’ve no idea why I found it so tough but I stared at it blankly for a very long time. Eventually figured out it had to end in ‘son’ and worked back from there. Completed in 20.28, with a particular mention to 13d.
    Thanks for the blog
  18. If there is a heaven, and I get in (both most unlikely propositions), I should like to solve crosswords with clues like the one whose solution is anagram. Heaven for me would be no birds, fish and especially no obscure flowers, just lots of clues that make you smile when the penny drops. Anagram was actually quite easy but Orpheus has the right idea. Future perfect was likewise admirable. Fine blog too.

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