Times Quick Cryptic No 1243 by Tracy

A lot of quite long answers in this grid by Tracy means that there are only 22 clues in total (it is more often 24 or more in a QC frame), but this is more than made up for by the elegance and the beauty of the clueing.  There is much to admire here, and this puzzle was a pleasure to solve and to blog.

My time was 11 minutes and 10 seconds, so comfortably within my target, but there was still plenty to get one’s teeth into and, with a number of attempts at misdirection, plenty of opportunities for the unwary to go wrong.

Thanks Tracy, and for our readers, please let me know if you fell into any of the traps.

Fool in island stream, short in distance (8)
IMBECILE – I{sland} followed by BEC{k} (stream, short (missing last letter)) inside MILE (distance).  Convoluted parsing to get us warmed up and going, although I suspect some will return to this after crossers are there to help.
5  Circulate plans for junk mail (4)
SPAM – MAPS (plans) reversed (circulated)
8 Instrument in small room close to piano (5)
CELLO – CELL (small room) and {pian}O (close to piano gives last letter)
9 Changed, or stumbled, heading off (7)
ALTERED – {f}ALTERED (stumbled, with heading off instructing us to drop the first letter)
11  Cloth in one, a woven fabric (7,4)
HONITON LACE – I suspect that this may delay a few of our solvers!  Anagram (woven) of [CLOTH IN ONE, A].  Bobbin lace made in Honiton, Devon and famous for depicting scrolls and natural objects such as flowers and leaves.  I spotted the possibility of the anagram quickly, but needed most of the checkers before the answer came to me.  Cloth as a part of the anagrist could also confuse with the definition (fabric) at the other end of the clue.
13 Queer fish in dam do (6)
WEIRDO – WEIR (dam) and DO (do)
14 Big screen forming part of rhetoric in emails (6)
CINEMA – Hidden (forming part of) in {rhetoric}C IN EMA{ils}
16  One arranging breaks in great Levant resort (6,5)
TRAVEL AGENT – Anagram (resort) of [GREAT LEVANT].  Don’t be misled by the other potential anagrind (arranging) which is a part of the definition in this nicely surfaced clue.
18  Aid distributed during religious festival (7)
HOLIDAY – Anagram (distributed) of [AID] inside HOLY (religious).  Again, there is potential to biff and err, as a HOLIDAY was originally a religious festival (HOLY DAY), but here, religious actually clues HOLY, and is not part of the definition, which is just ‘festival’.
19  Embargo absorbing English leader of overseas party (5)
BEANO – BAN (embargo) absorbing E{nglish} and followed by O{verseas} (leader indicating first letter) to give BEANO, which is quaintly defined in my on-line Chambers as ‘a beanfeast, a rowdy jollification’.
20  Location in view?  Sounds like it (4)
SITE – Homophone (sounds like it) of SIGHT (view)
21  We pass on processed vegetables (4,4)
SNOW PEAS – Anagram (processed) of [WE PASS ON].  SNOW PEAS are another name for mangetout or sugar peas.

1 Part of foot kept by Darwin (Charles) (4)
INCH – Hidden in {darw}IN CH{arles}.  As usual, it is best to ignore punctuation in cryptic crossword clues, as it is more often used to obfuscate and mislead.  Here there is also misdirection by leading us to consider parts of the foot, such as heel or sole, rather than the natural sub-division of a foot (unit of length).
2  Lolita hobbles badly in company of dancers (7,6)
BOLSHOI BALLET – Anagram (badly) of [LOLITA HOBBLES] to give the name of the internationally famous corps de ballet based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
3  Hit on the bonce with teacher’s ruler (7,4)
CROWNED HEAD – Nice surface again with misdirection leading one away from the answer.  To be hit on the head is to be CROWNED, and the teacher is, in this case, a HEAD.  A teacher’s ruler can also be described as the HEAD, so is ‘ruler’ here doing double duty.  IMHO it isn’t, as the wordplay works without requiring that.
4  Slowly stocking a type of shed (4-2)
LEAN-TO – LENTO (slowly, or a slow passage in musical notation) stocks (contains) A (a)
6 Hairstyle fixed with roller (9,4)
PERMANENT WAVE – PERMANENT (fixed) and WAVE (roller) – elegantly surfaced!
Very old mead – vile, unfortunately (8)
MEDIEVAL – Anagram (unfortunately) of [MEAD VILE].  MEDIEVAL actually means ‘of or relating to the middle ages’, so I’d argue that the definition should be ‘quite old’ rather than ‘very old’, but I guess it is all relative.
10  Reason for not making it to court, perhaps (6,5)
TENNIS ELBOW – Cryptic &Lit, where the whole clue acts as the definition, with court providing the misdirection.
12 Changes on-off devices (8)
SWITCHES – A nice double definition because we haven’t had one yet.
15  Study involving some ravine (6)
CANYON – CON (study) in which is inserted (involving) ANY (some).  I scored my only ever hole-in-one on a par three which straddled a canyon or ravine in Arizona.
17 Stud manager (4)
BOSS – Having waited until 12d for a double definition, here comes another one only two clues later.  This one conforms to Rotter’s Law.

31 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1243 by Tracy”

  1. I had trouble with 2d and (NHO) 11ac, but otherwise things went pretty smoothly. I was sure it was BALLET from the def, but juggling the remaining letters in my head took a bit of time. Ditto for HONITON LACE, although once I had the checkers things sorted themselves out. Biffed IMBECILE, forgot to go back and parse it. 6:08.
  2. 7 minutes, so well within my target 10. My only hold-up was a careful checking of anagrist at 21ac to come up with the unknown SNOW PEAS, although once I had spotted PEAS there was only one possibility for the first word.

    HONITON means only two things to me, one being lace, fortunately. The other is as the scene of horrendous traffic jams when travelling to and from the West Country in the 1950s and early 1960s as it sat on the junction of three main roads, principally the A30 trunk route, until a by-pass was opened in 1966.

    Edited at 2018-12-13 05:34 am (UTC)

  3. Long delay for CROWNED HEAD to emerge even with HEAD and all the other checkers too. My LOI after more than one alphabet trawl. Finally submitted and all green in 18.08, so a little behind yesterday’s pb. Good puzzle and another excellent rotter blog.
  4. I’m in full agreement with the blogger. It was a great puzzle, straightforward but chewy in places!
    I couldn’t parse 4d, but it had to be lean-to. I suffered the mid-direction on 16a and 10d until a number of checkers clarified. I don’t like CON for study, but I’d remembered it from previous DNFs.
    13a was a little tricky too.
    it didn’t feel slow nor fast and I suspect c. 25 mins which is the norm for me!
    LOI: 3d (mis-direction again).
    COD: 19a (new for me!).
    thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute
  5. A curate’s egg as far as solving went for me. 12.35. Had to biff 1ac (thanks Rotter), only slowly got 4dn, not sure I’d heard of Honiton lace or snow peas, and despite experience of the profession, couldn’t see the teacher clue till checkers were in.
  6. Just two left after 13 minutes -5a and 6d. My usual problems when first letters are missing. It took me way too long to think of SPAM. Then I needed an alphabet trawl to finally get PERMANENT WAVE. So all done in 16:42.
    Had never heard of Honiton Lace so that was a guess; I had heard of Honiton.
    PS congratulations to the hole-in-one scorers. You could play golf all your life and never get one.
  7. I wouldn’t know Honiton lace from any other kind of lace, but dredged it up somehow. Crowned head was LOI. Pleased to finish in under 10 at 9.40. Enjoyed tennis elbow – felt sure we were talking law courts until I got the W.
  8. Full agreement from the 07:59 to Cannon Street on the quality of the puzzle, terrific stuff. Thank you Tracy!

    I progressed steadily through in about 2.5 Kevins, a Decent Day. My real hold ups were (a) the unknown SNOW PEAS (Jack, you can also make SOWN PEAS, which seemed just as possible to me!); (b) the unknown HONITON LACE; and (c) my LOI IMBECILE, which absorbed some fruitless time at the start (I always look at 1ac first) and needed all checkers before finally falling – what a convoluted clue!

    COD from me to TENNIS ELBOW, which had me thinking first law courts then courting couples before finally getting there. What a neat clue. Thanks for the blog, Rotter.


  9. An average time for me (39:28) but far more circled clues than usual (I always circle the ones I want to check out on the blog because I can’t parse them or I’d like some extra clarification). Didn’t know Honiton lace, though I think it has come up once before, and I could say the same about the weirdo fish. Never heard of a beano being a party (nor has spell check on here apparently) or of snow peas. I must make sure I learn all those musical terms too, after legato came up recently and today’s lento, which I’d never heard of. Can’t see why con means study either, although I did vaguely remember it from previous QCs. And finally, I’m not sure why stud should mean boss, unless it’s just a slang term.
    So a most enjoyable puzzle, as it’s always nice to learn a few things. With this in mind, perhaps Sonofjim, or someone else, could explain what a “curate’s egg”is.
    Thanks to all,
    1. ‘Curate’s egg’ is a synonym for something that is good in parts. It derives from a Punch cartoon of the 1850s where a timid curate is unwilling to complain that the bishop has served him a bad egg, obfuscating with “well, it’s good in parts.”

      One of the dictionary definitions of ‘con’ is to read or study. Some dictionaries list it as archaic (which is defined as ‘only ever appears in crosswords’).

      Held up by Honiton Lace because is missed the enumeration and was looking for a single word answer. Otherwise a good workout.

      Many thanks to setter and blogger.

      1. I first came across the phrase in a comment on my effort at a Latin prose some 40 plus years ago. I took it as a compliment.
    2. When thinking of the STUD and BOSS equivalence, think about the stud or boss at the centre of a shield, rather than a boss in his office or on the factory floor.
      1. I also struggled with boss = stud the first time I saw it, but we must have had it 20 times in QCs now
  10. CROWNED HEAD, HONITON LACE and BOLSHOI BALLET held me up briefly, but on the whole this was a straightforward solve. Started with INCH and finished with HOLIDAY. 8:42. Nice puzzle. Thanks Tracy and Rotter.
  11. I barely paused with this Tracy QC although I am conscious that not all my answers went in fully parsed 1a IMBECILE and 4d LEAN-TO being examples. FOI was 1d INCH and then 12d SWITCHES which set me up nicely to solve the grid. Fortunately I have come across HONITON LACE and BEANO in crossword land quite recently so neither held me up. Paused at my LOI 6d PERMANENT WAVE, the WAVE part requiring an alphabet trawl as I have only ever heard the word perm used and the cleverly clued roller defeated me. 7:32
    Thanks for the blog Rotter.
  12. First time posting after reading the blog for a while – thanks to all the contributors as it has definitely improved my understanding! Finished this in about average (for me) of 19 mins. I’d plumped for ‘sown peas’ which then thew me off trying to get 15d and 10d and cost me time at the end. That’s the 3rd time this week where the last 2 or 3 clues have taken a disproportionate amount of time for me on the QC.
    1. Yes, welcome indeed. The stubborn resistance of the last few clues (Last Man Standing syndrome) regularly afflicts me and is infuriating!


  13. Well I made a right pigs ear of this with 2 typos. I started badly by biffing ARCH for 1d, making it the second day in a row that I’ve made things difficult by not reading a clue properly – there must be a lesson in there somewhere. I got particularly held up by the Lace, the ruler and 1a. In my irritation with myself I didn’t bother doing a spellcheck – another lesson! I finally filled the grid in 22.16. CoD to the excellent 10d.
    I’m going to put today down as learning experience, the lesson being slow down and enjoy the solve rather than rushing to the finish – hopefully that will help me cut out the DNFs I seem to be racking up at the moment.
    Thanks for the blog
  14. …. HOLIDAY ? Placing that answer immediately below
    TRAVEL AGENT is a dead giveaway !

    Nice puzzle, I’d heard of HONITON LACE and SNOW PEAS, but biffed my LOI IMBECILE parsing after completion.

    TIME 4:11

  15. About 30 mins, lots of time spent on weirdo, crowned head and honiton lace.

    Cod tennis elbow, not sure this is &lit, just a cryptic definition?

  16. 24 mins, which is quite quick for me where Tracy is concerned. Managed to get most of the long answers without too much trouble, which was a great help, and if I had ever come across Snow Peas for mangetout, I would have been a bit quicker still, but an enjoyable solve nevertheless. Invariant
  17. Smiles at tennis elbow and crowned head (the latter because I shared our blogger’s concerns on how it worked but then realised that teacher = head and, when separated up it fell in). Loi Honiton lace – painfully pieced together – rather like the real stuff, I guess. I knew how to spell medieval but that didn’t stop me making a mess of it when distracted by the anagram. Fortunately, the checkers set me back on the straight and narrow. 10 minutes.
  18. I put in seen (scene) to start with until I got the t. It does make sense I think.

    This week’s qc’s seem to have been easier than usual.
    Thanks for the blog, I always enjoy the comments.


  19. DNF again. 1a, 3d, 13a and 15d defeated me. Dredged up Honiton Lace from memory depths and guessed Snow Peas. Must do better!

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