Times Quick Cryptic No 1153 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I seem to be blogging a plethora of Mara puzzles lately, with this my third in four weeks.  No complaints though, his puzzles are always enjoyable even if at the easier end of the spectrum.  This one took me 11 minutes to complete, despite several distractions.  I liked 10 and 24 across, but CoD to 11 down for its lovely concise surface.

Thanks again Mara – interesting to see how you all found it.  I’m predicting some fast times from our regulars.

Incidentally, 1153 is a prime number, as will be my next blog in two week’s time, No 1163.

1  All the best beer good to take on holiday (5,1,3)
BREAK A LEG – Holiday here is a BREAK followed by ALE (beer) and G{ood}.  BREAK A LEG is a phrase used to wish someone good luck (or ‘all the best’) and is closely associated with thesps and the theatre, where traditional superstition says that it is bad luck to wish someone good luck, hence the ironic ‘break a leg’ as an alternative, although the origins are obscure.
6  That thing follows start of football match (3)
FIT – That thing (IT) after start of F{ootball} (first letter).  To FIT is to match, although one seldom sees a photofit that matches the suspect!
8  Rep entertained by mother a shade (7)
MAGENTA – AGENT (REP{resentative}) inside (entertained by) MA (mother).  Nobody had really heard of magenta until early windows pcs and laser printers became popular, but it is mid-way between red and blue, and one of the four toner colours used in laser-printing to make all other colours (along with yellow, cyan and black).
9 Communist returns via English city (5)
DERBY – RED (communist) reversed (returns) BY (via)
10  Thought freedom found by outsiders in diocese (12)
DELIBERATION – LIBERATION (freedom) next to D{ioces}E (outsiders, or outside letters of diocese)
12 Change in speed, I think (4)
EDIT – Hidden inside {spe}ED I T{hink}
13 TV award bowls me over – good Lord! (4)
EMMY – ME reversed (bowled over)and MY! (good Lord!) – synonymous exclamations often found in Crosswordland
17  T-shirt on to do exercises, one producing a lovely smile (12)
ORTHODONTIST – Cryptically defined anagram (exercises) of [T_SHIRT ON TO DO]
20  Devout Indian, uniform on back (5)
HINDU – HIND (back) and U{niform} (from the phonetic alphabet)
21  Formerly common excuse (7)
EXPLAIN – EX (formerly) and PLAIN (common – as in the common or plain or everyday sparrow)
23  Drink a drop, shortly (3)
TEA – TEA{r} (drop, shortly indicating to drop the last letter)
24  Clear body of text I assess(9)
EXONERATE – EX (body, or inside letters of {t}EX{t}) ONE (I) and RATE (assess)

1 Hit head on mirror entering tavern the wrong way (4)
BUMP – M{irror} (head on – i.e. first letter of) entering (inside) PUB (tavern) reversed (the wrong way)
Genius, Humpty Dumpty? (7)
EGGHEAD – Double definition
3  In hock, I need family (3)
KIN – Hidden (in) inside {hoc}K I N{eed}
4  Songs heard – Queen, possibly? (6)
LEADER – Sounds like (heard) ‘lieder’, German for songs
Sponsor daren’t go splashing out, penny saved(9)
GODPARENT – Anagram (splashing out) of [DAREN’T GO] and P{enny} (saved).  A Godparent being someone who witnesses a child’s baptism and ‘sponsors’ their religious education.
6  Distant limits of Swahili language (5)
FARSI – FAR (distant) and SI, being the ‘limits’ (i.e. opening and closing letters) of S[wahil}I
7 Difficult responsibility of judge and jury? (6)
TRYING – Cryptic double definition
11 Extraordinary reduction present (9)
INTRODUCE – Anagram (extraordinary) of [REDUCTION].  PRESENT = INTRODUCE as in presenting someone to someone else.
14 Cosmetic – half made to cover a blemish (7)
MASCARA – Half MA{de} surrounding A SCAR (a blemish)
15  Who sat fidgeting?  Who cares? (2,4)
SO WHAT – Anagram (fidgeting) of [WHO SAT]
16  Very damp old township in South Africa (6)
SOWETO – SO (very, as in ‘you are SO / very old!’, WET (Damp) and O{ld}
18  Country cousin ultimately dressed in Roman garb (5)
TONGA – {cousi}N (finally) in (dressed in) TOGA (Roman garb)
19  Bet volcano is elevated (4)
ANTE – ETNA (volcano) reversed (elevated).  The ANTE is the bet that forms the price of admission to games such as poker, brag, etc., before a player is dealt cards.
22  Starter of pastry that is – for this?
PIE – An &Lit clue where the whole clue is the definition, with P{astry} (starter) and IE (that is, or id est in Latin, usually abbreviated to I.E.)

21 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1153 by Mara”

  1. I was told ages ago that BREAK A LEG was passé, and that the standard expression now was a common 4-letter word; I have no idea what they in fact say in the theater, myself. I’m not sure that all Hindus are devout. I’m not sure if we’ve had ‘my’ cluing COR in a QC, but it’s worth keeping in mind; happens often in the 15x15s. 5:19. On edit: I meant to say that 16d should have been a gimme: how many SA townships can you name? But the ‘ship’ didn’t register with me.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 03:48 am (UTC)

    1. A “devout Indian” must belong to some religion, and it’s therefore likely, though not a foregone conclusion, that she or he is a Hindu. (About 20 percent of Indians are not.)
        1. Well, Protestants are only about 47 percent of the American population. But I wasn’t defending the clue, only analyzing it.
  2. Overran my target 10 minutes by 2 today, not because the puzzle was particularly difficult but as a result of my own stupidity hesitating over the obvious. Couldn’t think of an English city to fit DER?? until I had the final checker in place. A 3-letter drink to fit T?? was obviously TEA but I needed to do an alphabet trawl for a 4th letter to explain the wordplay and move on to another clue. Thought GRANDPARENT for ‘sponsor’ for some unknown reason and then realised it fitted neither the grid nor the definition. And so on… Thankfully my brain had woken up by the end and I went on to make a reasonable fist of the 15×15.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 04:59 am (UTC)

  3. 15 minutes, stuck only on deliberation and LOI leader.

    Had desideration for a while which didn’t help.

    COD Soweto or so what.

    Got within 2 of the 15×15 so worth a go today.

    1. Hmm, took the best part of 3 hours, with Mrs Invariant chipping in along the way, so not that easy.
  4. ORTHODONTIST was my hold up today, until I spotted that the anagram bits included TOOTH. Sometimes inspiration comes through the back door.
  5. A bit more straightforward for me than some recent puzzles, completing it in 11.46. 4d was one of those clues that shows the benefit of experience – it would have had me stumped for ages when I started doing the QC as Lieder was a word I’d never heard, today it was practically a write in.
    I particularly enjoyed LOI 24a and 15d.
    Thanks for the blog
  6. Well, slightly less than 2 Kevins ar 10.33. Straightforward for me with many words presenting themselves as the checkers appeared. I didn’t parse all of them until the end. COD Break a leg. LOI Etna. Thanks to Mara & rotter. John M
  7. On the easier side. Are there any other townships in SA? I’m sure there must be. We seem to be getting a lot of the phonetic alphabet recently. A useful way of cluing an odd letter I suppose. LOI DELIBERATION. COD ORTHODONTIST (enjoyed that). FOI MAGENTA
    1. I was given an excellent introduction to South Africa last autumn, and can confirm that there are townships all over the place, to be distinguished in diminishing order of livability/legality from settlements and squats. Our guide, a rather well-heeled white South African with a somewhat cynical view of SA society and politics, saw no irony in dropping his black assistant off in the crime-ridden, virtual slum of his township. There is progress (and some incredibly wealthy black SA citizens) but it seemed to us there’s still a long way tom go.
  8. Oh, dear… after such a lovely run yesterday, I was stumped today by not being able to recall when I needed it that “lieder” was German for song. That meant that I was completely adrift in trying to think of a word which fitted the pattern “m_g_n_ _” in 8 across. I finally got it by trawling through the alphabet until I had “magent _”. Thank you so much to all the setters and bloggers. I am learning such a lot from your explanations and experience .
  9. About usual time 8 minutes or so – after having attempts at entering at top speed spoilt by typos, I now look to see I’ve hit the right one at each keypress.
    The name of MAGENTA is interesting, as when the dye was made it was named to commemorate a battle in 1859 – another dye was called SOLFERINO for another a couple of weeks later, but it evidently didn’t catch on, though it has survived long enough to get into the dictionary.

    Edited at 2018-08-09 11:19 am (UTC)

  10. Taken over my target to 11:06 by my deliberations at 10a and 7d. Also held up by biffing GUARANTOR at 5d until DERBY put me right. My daughter is in the amateur thespian business, and Break a Leg is in common use among her set. Nice puzzle. Thanks Mara and Rotter.
  11. Solved in 12:52 which is nearly three minutes over my target. LOI was 4d LEADER which I biffed from the Queen definition. My penultimate solve was 17a ORTHODONTIST which I should have got a lot quicker given my sister is one. BREAK A LEG was also a late entry. Thanks Rotter and Mara.
  12. Not all plain sailing today. Having spotted tooth in the letters for 17ac, I spent far too long trying to make the remaining ones fit around it. Likewise I thought 4d would involve a homophone of Lays and lost time there as well. Eventually crossed the line just north of 30 mins. Invariant
  13. 4dn only clue to escape me. And I spoke good German 20 years ago. Refreshment course needed? Never expected the QC to include more than der die das. Nicely tricked into Bohemian Rhapsody. Etc. What language to they speak in Bohemia? Do I need to learn it for the 15×15? John
  14. Solved this on a train to Loughborough. No particular hold-ups on the train or the puzzle but did not time myself. FOI was 12a and LOI 10a.
    COD to 17a followed by 11d. Nice puzzle. David

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