Times Quick Cryptic No 1229 by Corelli – Double the fun

My first Corelli QC to blog, I think, and what a fun one! I was about two-thirds of the way through it before I spotted what was going on with the across clues. I’ve seen this device in the Times Concise before, but never in a cryptic. A couple of unknowns for me, but I found the wordplay helpful. The rest seemed fairly straighforward and the theme helped me finish in about an average time. COD to DOUBLE, as it wittily has a double definition….and is half of a double answer.  A QC of just the right level of difficulty, I thought, and cleverly constructed to give us extra entertainment. Thanks Corelli! How did you all like it? [Edit: I should perhaps explain to those who haven’t come across it, as it is referred to in the comments, that what we have here is known as a Nina“a special feature of the crossword grid: a word, words or phrase hidden within a pattern of cells in the completed grid. The word comes from Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003), American caricaturist, who was famous for hiding his daughter’s name “Nina” in his drawings“.]

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

1 Behold, good person’s gone astray! (4)
LOST – LO (Behold) ST (saint – good person).
4 What we have is correct, technically, at each end (8)
PROPERTY – PROPER (correct) T{echnically}Y – each end of the word.
8 Planner getting revised seeding right (8)
DESIGNER – (seeding)* [revised] R (right).
9 Graduate alongside infant (4)
BABY – BA (Graduate) BY (alongside).
10 A mere particle of snow, not the first (4)
LAKE – Lose the first letter of the particle of snow – {f}LAKE.
11 Livers swelled badly after consuming last of beer (8)
DWELLERS – Anagram [badly] of SWELLED + {bee}R.
12 Large drink, and what you’ll see after finishing it? (6)
DOUBLE – Double definition, second cryptic… a double double definition!
14 Seeing girl, is turned on (6)
VISION – VI (girl’s name) SI (is reversed) ON.
16 Old hero, cold after falling in sea, returning (8)
ACHILLES – CHILL (cold) inside [falling in] AES (sea [returning]).
18 Auditor’s to make better list (4)
HEEL – Sounds like HEAL (make better).
19 Mercury maybe has got left inside precious metal (4)
GOLD – Mercury is a GOD. Put L (left) inside.
20 Banner to put up with a red dragon, initially (8)
STANDARD – STAND (put up with) A R{ed} D{ragon} [initially].
22 Codes, eg, I cracked for type of survey (8)
GEODESIC – (Codes, eg, I)* [cracked]. I knew of the word in relation to the domes at the wonderful Eden Project, but had not come across this type of survey.
23 Business just one an actor must learn (4)
LINE – Double definition…. my line (at the moment) is crossword blogging, what’s yours?

2 Sadly a goner, old Herb (7)
OREGANO – (a goner)* [sadly] O (old) .
3 After time, ceremony becomes dull (5)
TRITE – RITE (ceremony) [after] T (time).
4 Slate cooking vessel (3)
PAN – Double definition – Slate as in ‘criticise severely’, in case you are wondering.
5 EU solvers switching to US (9)
OURSELVES – (EU solvers)* [switching]. That’s a bit of a sneaky use of capitals in the definition!
6 Preserves English charity, bringing in doctor (7)
EMBALMS – E (English) ALMS (charity) with MB (doctor) inserted.
7 Root: one travelling underground? (5)
TUBER – Another double definition – second cryptic.
11 Expected large tables for pair facing each other? (9)
DUELLISTS – DUE (expected) L (large) LISTS (tables). With pistols, I expect.
13 Unable to see Venetian journalist (7)
BLINDED – BLIND (Venetian is a type of this, although, according to this, they didn’t originate in Venice) ED (journalist). I think we are owed a “?” at the end to indicate the use of definition by example in the wordplay.
15 Finished? Manage not to finish on time (7)
OVERRUN – OVER (finished) RUN (Manage)
17 Split a piece of garlic (5)
CLOVE – A final double definition. I reckon we’ve had at least double our usual allotment. Is that because we have double answers all the way through the acrosses?
18 Very deep pouch a dalesman possesses (5)
HADAL – Hidden in poucH A DALesman. A new word on me. It refers to ocean that is deeper than 500m and is named after the realm of Hades.
21 Bow of flood rescue vessel in sound (3)
ARC – Sound’s like Noah’s ARK.

27 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1229 by Corelli – Double the fun”

  1. A brilliant Nina, which of course I never noticed; I needed Jon88, who seldom visits this blog, to point it out in the club forum. DNK HADAL, which caused me to ponder the clue for longer than I wanted. Also liked OURSELVES, which also took some time. 6:31.
  2. 8 minutes. I missed the Nina too. I check the unches every day, or at least if I remember, but not the answers themselves on the assumption that if there’s a theme going on I will spot it in the solve.

    As so often it was the technical answers that threw me momentarily, GEODESIC and HADAL; the first I knew vaguely but the second not at all. A quick google reveals that it has come up twice before in a Mephisto puzzle but never in a 15×15. I can’t imagine there are many other words that have gone straight from Mephisto to QC and I would guess that this was forced upon the setter by the Nina in the Across answers as there’s no other word that fits H?D?L.

    Edited at 2018-11-23 03:24 am (UTC)

  3. Less than 20 mins, didnt spot the theme either.
    Held up by 4a and wanting proventy to be a word.

    COD vision.

  4. A smooth 9:23 for me today finishing with DOUBLE.
    I saw the hidden and unknown HADAL early and came back to it as the only likely answer.
    Completely missed the Nina -very clever.
    COD to TUBER. David
  5. Plain sailing for the first half of the acrosses but then the trouble started an morale sagged when the anagrams turned out to be tricky, rather than providing checkers I needed them to solve GEODESIC and OURSELVES. Quite a tricky week after a gentle beginning. Telegraph tomorrow to give my brain a rest. See you on Monday.
  6. Solid SCC 16.27. Thanks for pointing out the clever Nina. Struggling with the anagram in 5dn, I tried using US as part of it, then bunged in OURSELVES through checkers, still thinking the definition was EU and how wittily topical that was!
  7. …a Friday puzzle for the first time. I loved the Nina (wish I’d spotted it).
    Thank you, Corelli and all the bloggers, you make it all so much more interesting.
  8. I’m still fairly new to the cryptic game, and happy to announce this is only the second one i’ve 100% completed without having to resort to any help 🙂

    45ish minutes, but was held up by a) eating cereal, b) getting distracted by the cricket, and c) pretending to do my actual day job, all terrible excuses and I shall endeavour to do better in future.

    Edited at 2018-11-23 10:36 am (UTC)

  9. Spotted the Nina from the beginning with Lost Property as the first two in although had forgotten it was called a Nina. Totally delighted as I filled the across clues in quickly then pondered the anagrams a bit. Never heard of Hadal but know it now. A good end to the week. Maybe getting more of a hang of these QC’s perhaps. Definitely an exception rather than the norm to finish under an hour so still plenty of room for improvement. Thank you Corelli and all for their insightful comments as always.
  10. A gentle but entertaining end of the week for me and I actually spotted the Nina for once, although not until doing a spell check before submitting. Had I spotted it earlier it would have helped me with my one hold up at 4a where I needed an alphabet trawl, which just nudged me over the 10 minute mark (10.02). Thankfully the unknown HADAL was kindly clued.
    Thanks for the blog
  11. I missed the Nina, and also missed my typo at 4a giving me PPOPERTY and nullifying my 6:37. Drat! Having a bad day, having bu**ered up the Concise by sticking a W in a type of US music where it didn’t belong. Let’s see if I can screw up the 15×15 now. I did enjoy this puzzle apart from my faux pas. Thanks Corelli and John.
    On edit: I’d never come across HADAL either. I’ll try to remember it for next time.

    Edited at 2018-11-23 01:07 pm (UTC)

  12. What a clever puzzle! It took me nearly 50 minutes to finish it but I was intrigued for the whole journey. It would have been a whole lot faster if I’d spotted the Nina! I’ve never heard of GEODESIC or HADAL but knew they had to be right. I’ll try and remember them in case they come up again! Some chuckle-makers here: particularly liked 12 across . Thanks so much, blogger and setter for a super end to the week.
    1. Sorry, Louisa, more jargon! ‘Unches’ are unchecked letters in the rows and columns that start with a blank. Very often Ninas have words hidden there.
  13. ….are my ACHILLES HEEL, probably because of the speed I go at. Hence, I spent just under my regulation 5 minutes solving the puzzle, and probably longer admiring Corelli’s craftsmanship after reading the blog.

    The downward juxtaposition of OREGANO and CLOVE was a bonus for the culinary experts on here.

    Great blog and puzzle – just what I needed after bombing on today’s 15×15.

  14. I agree with all of the above. Lovely puzzle to end the week. Didn’t spot the Nina, but never do. Very clever. DNK HADAL and only put it in reluctantly, even with the obvious cluing and all the checkers. Enjoyed DOUBLE (COD). Neat little clue. FOI DWELLERS. LOI PROPERTY. Needed all the checkers for that one.
    Thanks setter, much enjoyed.
  15. 8 minutes, but after admiring the across Nina, seen when checking for typos before submitting, overlooked a careless RAN in 15dn. I agree with jackkt about HADAL.
  16. Really enjoyable, even though I also missed the nina – thanks John for pointing it out.

    I knew HADAL from one of my many recent aquarium visits (possibly the newly extended Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer).

    COD 11d

  17. You can put me down as another who completely missed the nina – I have a 100% record in that respect. A pity, because it would have helped enormously with my last few answers Achilles/Property and Ourselves. Still, a pleasant 35mins solve with 14ac, Vision, just pipping 11d Duellists for my CoD vote. I tip my hat to you, Corelli. Invariant
  18. I thought I was struggling with this one but was surprised to finish under my target at 23 minutes. I had heard of a geodesic dome so I knew the word, but I had to resort to Chambers to confirm Hadal.
    My excuse for missing the Nina was that I solved it on my phone in list mode, but I know I wouldn’t have spotted it anyway!
    It was i nice addition to an excrllent puzzle


    Edited at 2018-11-23 01:15 pm (UTC)

  19. 10 mins with yet another unforced error….I really should check before I hit submit! I did not spot the Nina which might have helped with the unravelling of my LOI 22a GEODESIC. HADAL is also new to me but the wordplay was more than generous. COD to OURSELVES. Thanks Corelli and John for the blog.
  20. I didn’t have time for this one today, but Nina, as I understand it, usually refers to a series of words hidden in the unches, rather than something like the related entries (e.g. LOST and PROPERTY) seen in the grid proper.

    Therefore I thought I’d check in to discover if there was indeed a Nina in addition to the doubled entries.

    1. I think I agree with you that typically a Nina is found in the Unches. I didn’t originally refer to it as a Nina in the blog, but added the explanation as it was used in the comments. In the case of today’s QC, though, it is still “something hidden within the pattern of cells within the completed grid” so maybe that’s OK. If not, I don’t know what else to call it!

      Edited at 2018-11-23 04:03 pm (UTC)

  21. Really nice QC. Completed in less than 10 kevins, I should think but it was spread out over the day, so I can’t be sure.

    Like others, DNK hadal but we hadn’t had a hidden so I thought it had to be that. Took me a while to decode auditor.

    Thanks to Corelli for boosting my confidence and to John for the excellent blog.

  22. A very clever puzzle – thanks to Corelli. A pity that I missed thr Nina – I might have been quicker if I had twigged. Thanks to John for the insights. I came to this a day late and only managed 4.5 Kevins. Ah well, the weekend CCs beckon. I won a pen for the Sunday CC once but lightning is unlikely to strike twice! John M.
  23. Finished in one sitting, not often I manage that, even if I am a day behind in picking up the newspaper. What a beautiful puzzle! I enjoyed so many of the clues as they fell into place. I knew Hadal once I thought of it with the right pronunciation, was someone else who flirted with proventy as an obscure form of provisions, and took quite some time to crack 5 down. Having recently completed a sailing course, also enjoyed deciphering heel/list fairly quickly. And the Nina! How is it possible to miss something so blindingly obvious? Many thanks for the enjoyment, Corelli.

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