Times Quick Cryptic No. 1163 by Howzat

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I haven’t knowingly blogged or solved Howzat before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  However, this proved to be a gentle romp home in 10 minutes and 51 seconds, so at the easy end of the rotterometer.  I expect Kevin will be well below 5m, and there shouldn’t be any complaints if others find it equally approachable.

My WoD is BESTRIDE and CoD is 16a.

As promised 10 days ago, 1163 is another prime number.

A job with the French supporters (8)
APOSTLES – A (a) POST (job) LES (French for ‘the’).
Dreary poet rejected (4)
DRAB – BARD (Celtic poet), rejected or reversed
Czech city showing “Born Free” (7)
BRNO – Anagram (free) of [BORN].  An example of how the use of punctuation is a legitimate tool for Setters to misdirect.  Advice to newish solvers – ignore punctuation wherever possible!
9 Avoid workers in winter clothing (3,5)
SKI PANTS – SKIP (avoid) and ANTS (workers, as in worker ants), first concatenated and then re-separated into two different words.  Advice to everyone – avoid ski pants!
10  We’re ages organising arrangement of drains (8)
SEWERAGE – Anagram (organising) of [WE’RE AGES].  At first glance, ‘arrangement’ looks like an obvious anagrind (anagram indicator), which may lead one to look for an anagram of [OF DRAINS], but actually, it is a part of the definition.  Nice misdirection!
11 Fail to answer question, but succeed in exam! (4)
PASS – Double definition, which recalls famous ‘Two Ronnies’ sketches parodying Mastermind, and which in turn raised a smile.
13  Greeting an OAP roughly, a youngster may be showing it (10,3)
GENERATION GAP – Anagram (roughly) of [GREETING AN OAP], followed by a cryptic definition
16  Mock professional clown heartlessly (4)
JEER – A JE{st}ER is a professional clown, with ‘heartlessly’ signalling to remove the middle two letters
17  What champion jockey gets to straddle (8)
BESTRIDE – Double definition, the first cryptic (BEST RIDE) and the second straightforward
19  Heard people waiting in A&E?  They may need this? (8)
PATIENCE – Homophone (heard) of PATIENTS.  With what are widely reported as ever-increasing waiting times in A&E, such patients may need PATIENCE.
21  What’s close to bust, English or Scottish bank? (4)
BRAE – A BRA (titter, titter!) may be close to a bust, and E{nglish} to give BRAE, defined as, in Scotland, a sloping bank of a river or seashore.
22  Stop a promotion (4)
PLUG – Double definition, as in to plug / stop a leak, and a plug as an advert or promotion.
23  Lasts longer than unfashionable ladies’ underwear (8)
OUTSTAYS – OUT (unfashionable) and STAYS which I am reliably informed may refer to corsets stiffened with strips of bone or metal.  Luckily, I have no personal experience with such items.

2 Soldier on for each grave (9)
PERSEVERE – PER (for each) and SEVERE (grave)
3  After small prod, talked (5)
SPOKE – S{mall} and POKE (prod)
4  Callas excited a famous opera house (2,5)
LA SCALA – Anagram (excited) of [CALLAS] and A.  LA SCALA is Milan’s famous opera house
5 Set of rooms, charming sounding (5)
SUITE – Sounds like ‘sweet’ (charming)
Keeping a straight face, passed on slam (7)
DEADPAN – DEAD (passed) and PAN (slam)
7  Replace tap fitting (3)
APT – Anagram (replace) of [TAP].  Anagrams don’t get any easier than this example.
12  Lord’s partnership not difficult – relax! (5,4)
STAND EASY – STAND (partnership at Lord’s cricket ground for example) and EASY (not difficult).  STAND EASY is a parade ground command to relax (a little!) from being stood to attention.  I was looking for at least one cricket reference given our Setter’s name, and here it is.
14 Doing wrong to claim article is jewellery (7)
EARRING – ERRING (doing wrong) claiming (containing) A (article)
15 Examine some plain spectacles (7)
INSPECT – Hidden (some) in {pla}IN SPECT{acles}
17  GameI’ve got it! (5)
BINGO – Double definition, the first the popular numbers game, the second a sudden exclamation of success or discovery, although not the one used by Archimedes.
18  Deny criminal brute (5)
REBUT – Anagram (criminal) of [BRUTE]
20  When opener’s lost, shout for pointed tool(3)
AWL – A second possible cricket reference, with ‘opener’ possibly attempting to misdirect to the game, but here we are looking for {b}AWL (shout, with the first letter (opener) dropped)

31 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No. 1163 by Howzat”

  1. Biffed BRAE (started by thinking ‘close to bust’ meant T). DNK ‘Lord’s partnership’, but no problem given checkers. LOI 2d: it took me a while to see ‘soldier ON’. 4:36.
  2. This puzzle presented me with some problems and I needed 16 minutes to unravel it all. I can’t see anything now to excuse this but I took a few vauable minutes to get started and then I had to hop around the grid and return later to fill in the gaps. Speed only comes when each answer flows smoothly from one to another, preferably one that’s adjoining.

    I can confirm that Rotter has not blogged one of Howzat’s offerings previously, and there have been only 8 since the setter joined us in January last year.

    Edited at 2018-08-23 05:20 am (UTC)

  3. I thought this a pretty classy innings from Howzat. Maria Callas did indeed excite the audience at La Scala many times. I also enjoyed the BEST RIDE, the surfaces at 6d and 7d and, my COD, 21a with a novel definition for BRA… close to bust – ha ha. Nothing too difficult too, so a sub-average time for me. Thanks Howzat and Rotter.
  4. 12:49 to complete with LOI BRAE which I biffed. DNK BRNO but I guessed the letter order from the anagram indicator. Also DNK 12d STAND EASY (I am more familiar with AT EASE command) but followed the wordplay and checkers. BESTRIDE is my COD. Thanks Howzat and Rotter.

    Edited at 2018-08-23 07:47 am (UTC)

  5. DNF for me today – I gave up on 8 and 21a as I approached the 30 minute mark and came here to find the solution. With 8a I missed the anagram – I was trying to go B for born and then a 3 letter word for free. The rest of the puzzle was at the easier end of the spectrum and my favourite was 17a.
    It’s on days like these when I particularly appreciate the blog as I wouldn’t have got those answers if I sat staring at the puzzle for another hour!
  6. 25 mins today which was much longer than it should have been. I don’t know why – there was nothing there which was particularly obscure apart from maybe BRNO. I also enjoyed Bestride.
  7. Well, I’m with jackkt here. 18 minutes of stop/starts all over the grid. I dnk Brno so 8ac and spoke took a time. With all this I was a complete blank at patience and plug – they took the agonising final 5 minutes or so to fall. So a great tussle, thoroughly enjoyed. Bestride and BRAE were excellent. Thanks howzat and, of course, the rotter.
  8. Agree this was pretty much a write-in if you know 8 ac (easy enough when you spot the anagram. I too enjoyed the titter at 21, as well as the 7dn surface, but also loved the simplicity and surface of 7dn itself – very smooth for such a short word!


  9. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. Lots of chuckling, especially “outstays” and the quick but clever ones like “plug” and “pass “. That said, today was a DNK because of Brno. I’ve never heard of it and also, as a beginner, was utterly trapped by the punctuation around Elsa the lioness in her starring role. Also – and I could kick myself for this – however much I stared at 6 down’s ” – – a-p-n” , I just couldn’t get it. This was partly because I did not realise the command of “rejected ” in 6 across to mean reverse so, although “bard ” was an obvious idea, I didn’t know what to do with it. I toyed with “Gray” for a while but that didn’t work either. Duh! Thanks so much, setter and blogger.
  10. Is Howzat like 100 years old? A staggering array of references and clues that are meaningless to anyone born this side of Norman invasion. It’s not ordinarily a problem, the odd thing that’s unknown, but blimey – just not on this setter’s wavelength at all.
    1. Perhaps you’d care to share with us the things that you found generationally obscure? It only seems fair since you’ve been disparaging to the setter and unless you quote examples we can’t tell whether your comment has validity. I can see only one obvious obscurity i.e. BRNO, but I don’t see how knowing or not knowing of it bears any relation to one’s age. It’s the second largest city in the Czech Republic, has been there a long time and it still is.
  11. Hard week this week, but judging from the comments it is me rather than the setters. Lots to enjoy in this one. esp 7ac, 21ac (brought a chuckle- my COD), 12d. LOI PATIENCE which took an inordinate amount of time to spot.
    The Bren gun was invented in BRNO and manufactured under licence in Enfield, hence (BRnoENfield).
  12. An enjoyable puzzle with the unknown BRNO my LOI, after finally spotting the anagram indication. Like others I smiled at 21a and also liked BEST-RIDE. took a minute for the PDM at 19a. 8:45. Thanks Howzat and Rotter.
    1. ‘Stand easy’ is a command used in the British military. ‘Stand’ is a term from cricket. To the best of my knowledge, there still is a British military, and cricket is still played around the world. That leaves a staggering array of one word, ‘stays’, that most of us doing these puzzles know.
  13. But everything has been put firmly in the shade by PlayUpPompey’s superlative bit of Brno trivia. Magnificent!

    Really witty and enjoyable puzzle (and I can’t see anything old-fashioned in it). Thanks, Howzat, please set us some more. I got totally stuck on PLUG and my LOI SPOKE so just over 3 Kevins today but still quite pleased and really enjoyed the process.

    Thanks to his rotterness.


  14. I found this difficult, and in fact needed a second sitting to get three or four on the left, and almost a third to get loi 21ac. It was initially quite hard to see what was going on with several clues, (2d as an example), but I managed to parse everything in the end, once the time became irrelevant. I thought 17ac would be my CoD, but it ‘fell at the last hurdle’ to 21ac, Brae – what a great clue ! Invariant
    1. Thanks for identifying yourself, Kev. It’s much easier and more sociable to engage in discussion with a name to latch onto. Looking forward to your further contributions.

      Edited at 2018-08-23 06:08 pm (UTC)

      1. I think he was addressing me, not identifying himself! (Although I don’t go by Kev.)
  15. Well, I’m with jackkt here. 18 minutes of stop/starts all over the grid. I dnk Brno so 8ac and spoke took a time. With all this I was a complete blank at patience and plug – they took the agonising final 5 minutes or so to fall. So a great tussle, thoroughly enjoyed. Bestride and BRAE were excellent. Thanks howzat and, of course, the rotter.
  16. Seems I’m in good company with my two goes at this. Lots of fun to be had; LOI was BRAE which made me smile when I eventually got it. Kicking myself over 22A, though — I’ve got FLAG as in flag down (a cab) or flag up (a retail offer)…made sense to me 🙂
    With regard to Anon’s comment about the setter’s Dark Age vocab, I’m 43 so no schoolgirl but not exactly decrepit…my only DNK was BRNO but that’s just my poor geographical GK! The other stuff, corset stays etc, I had no bother with. Occasionally I do feel there is a bit of a 13A in the Times’ puzzles (more modern music and film references would be good), but not today.
    So thanks Howzatt for an entertaining QC, and Rotter for “flagging up” the error of my ways in the SW corner (grrrrr).
    1. Speaking as someone who had a lot of trouble with ‘Nohow’ the other day, I still have some sympathy with Anon’s comments regarding crossword vocabulary. It does tend towards a . . . er bygone age – and Howzat is no different to the other setters in that respect. Of course, if it was too up to date, I would be amongst the first to complain. Invariant
      1. Ha, did you see my comment about NOHOW the other day? The only way I got it was from a Sister Sledge track 🙂 I’m not expecting references to Stormzy and The Meg, but I do agree that a few more contemporary cultural clues would be appreciated. Those music hall ones last week were pushing it for me…having said that, I like the testing and expansion of my historical GK, so I suppose there’s a happy medium. I can see how some younger cryptic newcomers might be put off!
        1. Indeed, but perhaps we are now ‘two generations separated by a common language’ – (with apologies to Shaw.) Invariant
  17. I solved most of this whilst waiting for a friend to join me for lunch. Despite a lack of concentration, most of it went in fairly easily. Brno was a fairly confident guess; I did remember a place spelt like this.I had a couple left after 20 minutes. The hold-ups were Earring and LOI Jeer.
    COD to Brae which also took a while to decode. Good puzzle. David
  18. Failed to find anything remotely unfair or antedeluvian about these elegant and sometimes witty clues. I think that the QC rule should be that relatively obscure words should be permitted if either the world-play or the checkers can lead to only one remotely sensible word. I was critical of my hero Izetti in QC 1158 with 23 across (loon) where both definitions were anything but obvious and the checkers by no means clinched the word. Incidentally, BRNO and STAND EASY both feature in recent Mission Impossible films which are much beloved by the young. Conversely, it is very important that the QC keeps its young following and as with so much else the old may have to adapt a bit or shoot themselves n the foot. The most satisfying clues are easy words that require a lot of lateral thinking. Excellent blog as usual by The Rotter.
  19. Enjoyable puzzle! Did half last thing at night when tired, finished the rest today. BRNO was FOI (curious, given that I’m not 100…) and JEER was LOI, to my shame. Had to be JEER, but couldn’t think of a term for professional clown. Yet had been chatting with son about the old Disney Robin Hood cartoon — Peter Ustinov as Prince John: “Hiss, with you around, who needs a court jester?”
    Ah-hah. Ah-hah.
  20. Really enjoyed this QC (running a day behind this week!) and both had a chuckle about some of the clues. SWMBO said it can’t be BRA.. but is was

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