Times Quick Cryptic No 1213 by Pedro

For some unaccountable reason, this gentle puzzle by Pedro took me 17 minutes, 2 minutes over my target, although I can’t understand why looking back.  I think it took me a couple of minutes to get my brain in order and make a reasonable start, after which things moved more easily.

Some very nice clues, and an occasional clumsy surface, but all-in-all enjoyable.  Apologies for the slightly abbreviated blog – other things on my mind at the moment.  Welcome to November!


1  Regulation applied to new part of garden (4)
LAWN – LAW (regulation) and N(ew)
4  Support for sail in good time, without needing a professional (8)
MASTERLY – MAST (support for sail) and E{a}RLY (in good time, without needing ‘a’, i.e. drop the A from EARLY)
8  Picture of listener? Come close (4,4)
DRAW NEAR – DRAWN (picture) of EAR (listener)
9 Encourage heading away from sudden rise in water (4)
URGE – {s}URGE (heading away from, i.e drop first letter of SURGE) sudden rise of water.
10  Not very close regarding small item (6)
REMOTE – RE (regarding) and MOTE (small item)
11 Accompaniment to sushi: was sailor given one? (6)
WASABI – WAS (was) AB (sailor, as in Able Bodied) and I (one).  WASABI is the pungent gree paste made from the mountain hollyhock, used extensively in Japanese cookery, and often accompanying sushi.
12 Commemorative envelope from factory drives production (5-3,5)
FIRST-DAY COVER – Anagram of (from – production) [FACTORY DRIVES].  A FIRST-DAY COVER can be much prized by philatelists, and consists of an envelope with stamps postmarked on their first day of issue.
16  Forecaster getting editor to show anger (3,3)
SEE RED – SEER (forecaster) and ED{itor}
17  Deliver drink before work  (6)
SUPPLY – SUP (drink) and PLY (work, as in to PLY a trade – usually means to work at steadily)
19  Boss curtailed educational activity (4)
STUD – STUD{y}  – study is educational activity, curtailed indicates drop the last letter.  A STUD is a projecting boss, knob or pin
20  Kitchen device, say – good range, on reflection (3,5)
EGG TIMER – EG (say) G{ood} and REMIT (range) reversed.
21  Vegetarian food: obscure line taken by aficionado (8)
HAZELNUT – HAZE (obscure) L{ine} and NUT (aficionado)
22  Trio ignoring hot part of forest
TREE – THREE (trio) ignoring H{ot}, dropping the H to give T{h}REE


2 Time to come round about match (5)
AGREE – AGE (time) coming round (surrounding) RE (about).
Executive toy used by scientist from birth? (7,6)
NEWTON’S CRADLE – Cryptic definition
It helps me perceive an exclamation of surprise (2,3)
MY EYE – Double definition
5  Second loud comment about beard without much substance (7)
SCRAWNY – S{econd} and CRY (loud comment) about (surrounding) AWN (beard – an AWN is the beard of wheat).  Reminds me of an art teacher at my grammar school whose unusual surname was SCRWAWLY or something similar.
Stuff for DIY-er – amount in piles scattered around (8,5)
EMULSION PAINT – Anagram (scattered around) of [AMOUNT IN PILES]
Easy-to-read French articles about British territory (7)
LEGIBLE – LE and LE (French articles) surrounding GIB{ralta} (British territory)
10 Sure – football will involve one (3)
REF – $Lit clue including a hidden answer, hidden in {su}RE – F{ootball}
13  Reluctance to move, i.e. train broken down (7)
INERTIA – Anagram (broken down) of [I.E. TRAIN]
14  Failure has gone wrong, leading to pique (7)
DUDGEON – DUD (failure) with anagram (wrong) of [GONE].  DUDGEON means offended indignation or pique, and is my WoD
15  Sun god linked to unknown quantity of sunlight (3)
RAY – RA is the sun god of the ancient Egyptians and Y is a symbol for an unknown quantity in a formula or equation
17  Picked up this when taking in good view (5)
SIGHT – THIS (reversed, or picked up in a down clue) including (taking in) G{ood}
18  Vassal that is restricted by broken leg (6)
LIEGE – IE (that is) restricted by (contained within) an anagram (broken) of [LEG]

55 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1213 by Pedro”

  1. Looking at the early returns on the Club website, this puzzle is indeed above average difficulty, with only one speed-solver currently under 4 minutes, and that only by a fraction. It took me 12 minutes, which I was pretty happy with, given the intricacy of come of the clueing (MASTERLY – my LOI – HAZELNUT) and the obscurity of some of the literals (notably NEWTONS CRADLE).

    An excellent puzzle – tougher than some recent main cryptics – it will be interesting to see how it rates on the Kevinometer.

    Edited at 2018-11-01 04:15 am (UTC)

    1. It rates a DNF is how it rates; never heard of Newton’s Cradle, still don’t know what it is–the thing with the metal balls bouncing against each other?–and saw no way to guess it, so threw in the towel. The definition of 16ac is, I think ‘show anger’; to anger would be to make someone else see red. Actually, I’m not sure that seeing red need involve any external evidence of anger, but.
  2. Word for word wot Kevin said up until his final sentence.

    Having completed the grid in 20 minutes (exactly double my target time) I googled NEWTON’S BRIDGE and found that it doesn’t exist, and I was offered the alternative NEWTON’S CRADLE which at least accounts for the presence of ‘birth’ in the clue.

    Ulaca comments on the obscurity of some of the literals, and I think it’s the basis of my problem today that there was an abundance of answers not suited to being biffed so that I needed wordplay and a few checkers to come up with them – quite rare to have so many in a QC. I’ve no complaints, btw, but it comes to something when I have to double-check that I am doing the QC and not the main puzzle!

    ‘LIEGE/vassal’ appeared in Joker’s puzzle on Tuesday, so that was a gift.

    Edited at 2018-11-01 07:04 am (UTC)

  3. … but I was very stuck when the interruption came, so it may even have helped. Ended up with 34 minutes for one of my slowest times ever. DIY clue took a long time to spot – until the E of masterly (which) also took a long time – partly because I wanted it to finish with plant. EGG TIMER also threw me, again becoming fixated on the wrong word – MIXER this time but luckily couldn’t convince myself it could be BIG MIXER. Finally fell when DUDGEON went it. LOIs were AGREE (fairly clued but A_E_E didn’t yield an answer until I really studied it). Only three of the acrosses in first pass, better on the downs but it was mostly the remaining downs that caused the head-scratching.

    Relieved others have found it hard even if not our excellent blogger!

  4. Newtons cradle is only obscure if you had all traces of anything scientific beaten out of you at an early age
    1. We actually had one at home in the 70s. I think we just called it the thing with the balls.
      1. I longed for one as a boy … strictly forbidden by my mother as pointless and noisy!
    2. “Newton’s cradle” is quite obscure if you’ve never come across the term in your life, and the relevance of “cradle” to the object is less than self-evident.
  5. Found this a slog, especially agree, remote, hazelnut and dudgeon.

    Lots of interruptions so no exact time but one of the longest.

  6. This QC felt different, maybe it was something to do with the preponderance of two word answers, one of which I biffed incorrectly at first i.e. 16a SEE RED which I initially had as red rag. But once I corrected it I was able to solve my last two 14d DUDGEON (put in tentatively) and LOI 21a HAZLENUT. Quite happy with my time of 13:27 although I see I am a long way down the online leader-board.
  7. This is all making me feel better about my own 17 mins. It was a tricky one and I’m glad I was not alone in finding it so. Never heard of NEWTON’S CRADLE but fortunately I only know one scientist beginning N_W and “birth” was pretty generous for “cradle” so … write it in and hope for the best.

    I though DUDGEON was excellent and that gets my COD. LOI was HAZELNUT – I was convinced there was an anagram of “line” in there (“obscure line”), which was only encouraged by the checkers. Carnivores can eat hazelnuts too …

    Was I the only person who thought for a while that 4ac must contain “boom” somewhere? (a good time is a boom … something to do with sailing … no? Oh well.).


    1. Well, if jackkt can say it, then I can.

      Word for word wot templarredux said except I took 18 mins and feel much better that I wasn’t just being dim. I also tried to manhandle boom into 4ac but then realised that the sail supports the boom so mast eventually came along. Finished on ‘remote’ having realised I’d put ‘my ear’ for 4dn. Not a finest hour – or 18 minutes.

      Edited at 2018-11-01 11:20 am (UTC)

  8. Struggled with this one and DNF. I’m relieved to see that most contributors today found the puzzle hard. There were some clues I enjoyed e. g. 8 across and 4 down, but mainly this felt like walking through treacle. There were 4 clues I could not get today : some – like 12 across – I should have got but I was fed up by then. Others I wouldn’t have got in a month of Sundays e. g. 3 down which, for me, even with the checkers in, might as well have been clued in Mandarin. I may be alone here but I am awarding two GRs today : 21 across (“nut ” meaning “aficionado”? I remember now that I’ve seen it before in the QC but I still think it’s a stretch) and 5 down (“awn”?? ). Feeling grumpy now! Thanks, anyway, Pedro. I’m defeated but still impressed. And huge thanks, as always, to our marvellous blogger.
  9. Raining hard here so dog walk has to wait whilst I solve this online.
    It took me 24:13 and I rate it as quite difficult.
    I remembered Newton’s Cradle from somewhere so that was a big help.
    However I made a couple of errors en route which I had to correct: I had SCENE at 17d (homophone I thought) and HERE as the second word in 8a. Hence Scrawny delayed me a lot.
    My last two were Hazelnut (the clue is a bit loose I think) and Dudgeon.
    As noted Liege easy for regulars.
    Tough puzzle but I enjoyed the challenge. David
  10. Got almost nowhere with this puzzle. Once again the qc is more like the 15×15. No surprise people are turning off the qc’s. The puzzles are increasingly becoming to difficult to solve for most people which means they are not fun and not a learning exercise.

    This sounds like a gripe and I suppose it is as what I hoped would be a puzzle that would tax the mind for 30 minutes is increasingly not.
    Maybe it is not easy to set puzzles suitable for a QC i don’t know, but without doubt the level over the last few months has shifted to a greater level of difficulty.

      1. No, of course he doesn’t; there is none. I must admit to getting a bit tired of all the anonymous–always anonymous, always–whining about how hard it is for us beginners. Sometimes a puzzle is harder, sometimes it isn’t; get over it. I don’t know about Anon and his brethren, but I do these for fun; and the better I get the more fun it is. But back when I was totally inept at these–before the QCs–I still had fun trying, and I kept on trying, without complaining about how difficult they were for such as I.
        1. As a relative newcomer, I’ve actually found this week’s puzzles pretty gentle (until today — HAZELNUT made it my first DNF in a while). Occasionally we get one that makes me shrug and give up, but that’s more due to time constraints — trying to do it in my dinner hour — than its insolvability (is that a word?!). What I will say is that I can now tackle Saturday/Sunday’s cryptics with some confidence, thanks to the QC and the bloggers. Keep at it, Anon, use aids if you have to (they were a great help to me when first learning the tricks of the trade: working backwards, if you will), and if it’s a bad day…have a glass of wine and another look! Does it for me 🙂
          1. Sorry, for some reason I’ve now shown up as an Anon — it’s Lucy! Not an anon…
              1. Malbec here — it solved MASTERLY but sadly not HAZELNUT…champagne would have 🙂
    1. Well, I absolutely LOVE the QC. It’s a really important part of my day and I miss it hugely on the weekends.In my opinion, (unlike that of “Anonymous”) the crosswords “are fun” and they are also “a learning exercise”. I have nothing but gratitude for those who write the puzzle, those who write the blog and those who contribute their wisdom and encouragement.Thank you.
  11. 12 minutes, held up in SE by having SCENE at 17dn – ‘picked up’ clearly implied a homophone. The device at 3dn was recalled from schooldays as a demonstration of the conservation of momentum, but was then sniggeringly called ‘Newton’s balls’ – it wasn’t till much later (1967) that it was marketed under the polite name now used.
  12. Definitely on the hard side this one. NEWTONS CRADLE was a write in for me but only because I knew it – very difficult if you didn’t. My LOI was DRAW NEAR at 8a. I initially discounted ‘drawn’ as a synonym for ‘picture’ because one is past tense, the other present. Can anyone come up with an example to put my mind at rest?

    Thanks as always to setter and blogger

  13. MASTERLY, HAZELNUT and EMULSION PAINT held me up, so I went over my target to 11:47. Seeing others’ comments I don’t feel so bad about that now. Knew NEWTON’S CRADLE. Good puzzle. Thanks Pedro and Rotter.

    Edited at 2018-11-01 12:13 pm (UTC)

  14. This was tricky and I snuck in just under the 30 minute mark. Despite hopping round the grid I struggled to get a toehold and it felt more like my attempts at the 15×15 at times. But it was a good challenge and all the answers made sense once I’d manage to unravel them – even if the 2nd part of 3d was entered with fingers crossed. LOI the elusive 21a.
    Thanks for the blog
  15. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed that, in fact choosing a CoD at the end was quite difficult. 29mins, so just slightly above average difficulty on my scale. Newton’s Cradle was a write-in, as it should be for a physicist, and if Hazelnut and Masterly had yielded a little sooner this would have been a more respectable time. I thought 8ac and 7d were nice clues, but in the end just pipped by loi 4ac for CoD. Thank you Pedro and Rotter.
  16. WoD Dudgeon put me in mind of Bertie saying “is this dudgeon Jeeves?” when Jeeves gets huffy about the suitability of a tie or some such nonsense
  17. Really enjoyed the mixture of “gimmes” and some very challenging clues. NEWTONS CRADLE was designed to demonstrate the truth of his law of momentum, the force created by the movement of a mass. Amazing what he learnt from an apple.FOI LAWN (one of the gimmes). LOI INERTIA – took long time to spot that. Another Newtonian concept. Are you a mathematician Pedro? COD HAZELNUT, cleverly constructed.
  18. This wasn’t a difficult puzzle in the general sense, and I was down to two clues inside my usual five minutes.


    It took a minute or so to crack SCRAWNY, and after 10 minutes I gave up on HAZELNUT, where I never considered “obscure” as a verb, and might have had the same problem with “haze”. I stress that these were problems of my own making.

    Frankly, I didn’t see anything wrong with this as a QC puzzle, even though I’d been on it for almost as long as my successful 15×15 earlier. Just beaten fair and square.

  19. I’m glad some enjoyed it – a bit too much of a mixture of the tenuous and the obscure for me. After some pleasing times recently this was a dnf. I’m holding back on calling it a cnf ( could not finish because you haven’t a hope) but definitely not one for me.
  20. 25 minutes of concentration and moments of eureka and slowly all came good. I am trying the “try all across and then all down” and enjoying the approach. (I broke rank to put in 10d once I had the R start).
    I think it helped that I was on my own, the dog didn’t bark, the phone didn’t do anything, the doorbell didn’t ring etc..
    Pleased to get wasabi, remote and masterly – Newton’s cradle fortunately known and in fairly early. Struggled with plant/paint and ?..red and ?..nut
    LOI dudgeon/egg timer
    Enjoyed this but was worried throughout so ultimately very satisfying.
    Thanks all
    John George
  21. I usually only manage to complete 2 or 3 in a week without help, but since using the online version I’m improving. This was done in 18:41 – slow I know, but still completed unaided. SCRAWNY was LOI, (AWN) unknown to me – one to file away for the future. Great puzzle.
    1. It is a somewhat unusual word, but has often appeared in QCs and other Crosswordland fare, so worth remembering – if you can. In this case, for me, the answer came first, and then I remembered AWN when trying to justify putting it in the grid. That is how it often happens for me with unusual vocab.
  22. Thanks to everyone for their comments and remarks – it seems that I have misjudged this puzzle, with many finding it harder than I had imagined.

    NEWTON’S CRADLE went almost straight in for me once I had a couple of checkers, and I guess that made it easier by providing help with so many other clues. Similarly, the long anagram at 6d revealed itself fairly quickly after I had written down the scambled letters.

    I wasn’t misled by boom, and was able to tell my eye from my ear, so avoided some of the traps. Despite being somewhat controversial in terms of difficulty, I received a rare, but not unheard of, message from LiveJournal that we were in the top 25 of the most popular entries today, which I take as evidence that the popularity of QC’s appears to be far from declining, as asserted by Anon above.

    1. For the utterly ignorant Rotter. What is LiveJournal and what does being in the top 25 of most popular entries mean?
      1. I hope you were missing the comma there and meant “for the utterly ignorant, Rotter”!!! I too would like to know what he was referring to.

        This took me 41 minutes which is very slow, especially as I had no problem with Newton’s Cradle. The joy is that I actually finished it despite having struggled. In fact, sometimes the feeling of achievement at finishing a difficult qc is greater than the one I feel when getting a personal best on an easy one.
        FOI: 8a also my COD
        LOI: 21a
        WOD 14d because it reminds me of my Dad who is the only person I can ever remember using the word dudgeon (and always with “high” before it!!). MM

        1. LiveJournal is the website that hosts this blog. If you look at the end of Rotter’s blog, before the comments, there is a red heart next to the line giving the number of comments. If you click on this it means you like the blog. I presume today’s blog has had a lot of likes.
          1. I just tried clicking on the heart, but it asked me to log-in or create an account. I thought it would be as simple as liking something on facebook, but it looked much more complicated…. so I’ll just have to tell everyone here how much I appreciate this blog which I visit almost every day. I don’t comment too often as I usually only find time to sit down with the qc quite late on. MM
            1. It is as simple as liking something on Facebook, assuming you have a Facebook account. To like something on LiveJournal you just need to create a LiveJournal account. Lots of of new commentators have done just that quite recently. Just look at the links at the top of the page to find Create Account. You can give yourself an Avatar and nom de plume and will then be able to edit or delete your posts too.
          2. Just to clarify, here’s how the Popular Entries rating works and it seems the number of ‘likes’ is not part of the equation but simply the number of unique users who have visited a page:

            The Popular Entries rating on LiveJournal’s homepage highlights recent entries which are popular with other LiveJournal users. It is updated every hour; the key parameter is number of unique users who have visited the page. The 25 most popular community entries (for the current day) can be seen on the homepage: https://www.livejournal.com/

    2. I’ve noticed lots of new names on this blog in the last few months, so yes — it does seem to make a mockery of the assertion that rookie solvers are leaving in droves!
    3. I’ve gotten that on the Sunday Cryptic a time or three. Either the number of commenters didn’t reflect the number of people who were looking/lurking… or maybe LiveJournal isn’t a very popular source in general these days.

      Edited at 2018-11-01 08:53 pm (UTC)

  23. My slowest of the week – over 25 mins. I biffed scrawny and emulsion paint. LOsI were Dudgeon, Egg timer, and Hazelnut. Good puzzle, though. Thanks to Pedro and Rotter. John M.
  24. Whilst I normally take anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to finish (if at all) I didn’t give up on this and finished in just over an hour. I can’t ever do the 15×15 so do not agree with some that this was impossible. There were 3 answers that were unknown to me (WASABI, LIEGE, DUDGEON) but the clues and checkers pointed the way and others such as NEWTONS CRADLE were dug up from the deep recesses of my brain. A great crossword thanks Pedro and thanks to the blog for explaining a couple that I biffed!!
  25. I found it very hard in places, and in fact didn’t finish 3 clues. Some people seem to find this unsuitable for a QC, but it stretches us newbies, which I think is good. Even though I didn’t finish I learned a few things. Onwards and Upwards !
  26. As a relative newcomer to the QC, this is my first post on the site. I just wanted to say that although there were a few tough clues, I immensely enjoyed today’s puzzle. And thanks everyone for the blogs and comments, which very much helped me access the QC when I first started.
  27. Hard sledding and a DNF thanks to DUDGEON (which I should have got, having identified DUD only to think HAS rather than GONE was the anagram bit) and HAZELNUT which, IMHO, was a bit loose. Was looking at ‘taken in’ to mean one word around another. In my relative newbie state, was that slightly sloppy setting or legitimate misdirection? Or even both?!
    NEWTONS CRADLE was, mercifully, a gimme, having been fascinated by the things in my youth.
    Ah well, another QC to put down to experience!

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