Times Quick Cryptic No 1278 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I did Tuesday’s puzzle just before this and arrived at a similar time: kicking around the 15 minute mark. I confess to being a bit tipsy, but I doubt that held me up too much. On the contrary, I cheated and clicked on the answer for the final clue on both crosswords with much greater speed than I might have otherwise. I thought the puzzle was pitched quite similarly to Tuesday’s, in terms of both difficulty and quality, which is to say tougher and better than average. As the average is very high, that means there should be some relatively good clues, and indeed there were: 10ac, 19ac and 4d were my favourites, but I wouldn’t argue strongly against a different selection. Much enjoyed – many thanks to Mara!

1 Weak peers slow to reform (9)
POWERLESS – anagram (to reform) of PEERS SLOW
6 Carried by shoppers, a carrier bag! (3)
SAC – Carried by [the surroundingl etters of] shopperS A Carrier
8 Poisonous element nicer, as improved (7)
ARSENICanagram (“improved”) of NICER AS
9 Religious leader, a saint and a cult follower (5)
RASTAR (“leader” of Religious), A, ST. (saint), and A. My LOI, for some reason, just couldn’t see it. And so with the alacrity of alcohol I cheated.
10 Very sad trying to maintain fashion (5-7)
HEART-RENDINGHEARING (trying, as in a trial) to maintain/keep/hold TREND (fashion)
12 Housing payment in the future returned, including compensation finally (6)
RENTALin the future = LATER, reverse it and include/insert N (compensatioN, “finally”)
13 Estate agent, possibly, a character! (6)
LETTERdouble definition
16 Instrument is tacky, darn it! (12)
FIDDLESTICKS – FIDDLE (instrument) STICKS (is tacky). I reckon I spent about fourteen minutes trying to work out a “tacky” anagram of “instrument is” to find a dated curse word. So my true solving time must be a little over a minute – that’s a PB.
19 Hurt isn’t terribly good (5)
STINGanagram (terribly) of ISNT, G(ood)
20 Cost, old penny, seen to change (7)
EXPENSEEX (old – as in an ex model) P(enny), and an anagram (to change) of SEEN
22 Place left another year, initially (3)
LAYLeft Another Year “initially”
23 Racecourse calculator Aristotle designed! (9)
TOTALISERanagram (designed) of ARISTOTLE. I really can’t be bothered to look up this word. I’m guessing it’s broadly equivalent to a turf accountant, but that’s possibly wrong. So Aristotle is an anagram of “totaliser”, who knew? A man of immeasurable intellect who couldn’t totalise the number of teeth in his own head, and totalise that against the number of teeth in his wife’s head. Figure that one out if you will.
1 Top dog heard? (4)
PEAK – sounds like (“heard”) PEKE (dog – aka a Pekinese)
2 You and I back film (7)
WESTERN – WE (you and I) STERN (back, of a boat)
3 Manage to flee (3)
RUNdouble definition
4 Come along with fancy corset (6)
ESCORTanagram (fancy) of CORSET
5 Plain green, site for development (9)
SERENGETI – anagram (for development) of GREEN SITE
6 Japanese dish — keep quiet about American one (5)
SUSHI – Sh! (keep quiet!) goes about US (American), I (one)
7 Big Ben, possibly, a mistake (7)
CLANGERdouble definition
11 Nobleman put in correct lamp at the back (4,5)
REAR LIGHT – EARL (nobleman) put in RIGHT (correct)
12 No judge has us over a barrel in the end (7)
REFUSAL – a no = a refusal. REF (judge) has US over/above A, L (barreL, in the “end”)
14 Money coming in cheers monarchs (7)
TAKINGSTa (cheers) KINGS (monarchs)
15 Rise like money (6)
ASCENT – as (like) MONEY (cent). The best substitution for money/cent I can come up with is something like “the smart ____ is on such-and-such a thing happening”. A better example is welcome!
17 Girl is in time (5)
DAISY – IS inside DAY (time).
18 Legendary king real, surprisingly (4)
LEAR(un)surprisingly an anagram of REAL
21 Friend removes one from bucket (3)
PALtake I (one) from PAIL (bucket).

27 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1278 by Mara”

  1. Sluggish today–although not as sluggish as on the 15×15, which I finally gave up on. FIDDLESTICKS & REFUSAL were especially recalcitrant. I liked HEART-RENDING and TAKINGS. 7:22.
  2. A wrong checker counts as two incorrect making REARLIGHR doubly annoying. Started fast then slowly ground out the last five taking more over 20m. LOI was LETTER ahead of REFUSAL (missed no being the definition), EXPENSE (hung up on it being PENCE as well as looking the wrong end of the clue for the definition) and FIDDLESTICKS (wanted it to end STICKY and that letter made all the difference) and ASCENT (just slow!). So an excellent puzzle, all fair and repeatedly misdirected by cunning clues – bravo! (Even if I am dead last on the leader board).
  3. No sign of the Manic Street Preachers today. I did enjoy revisiting some of their songs last night and wondering what happened to Richey Edwards (see Sunday Times on 27/1/19).
    As to today’s puzzle my last two were PEAK and finally HEART RENDING. I thought some of this was quite tricky but I was able to finish in 15:24;quite pleased with that. COD to TAKINGS. David
  4. Just over 20 mins, last few were the unknown totaliser, , rear light, serengeti, and loi western.

    Cod fiddlesticks

  5. Just under 20 minutes for me, but held up right at the end for several minutes by Heartrending, as seems to be the case with others!
  6. 16 minutes for me, held up by initially putting in ROYALTY for TAKINGS. Not so much biffed as misparsed. ROYAL = MONARCHs and TY being Thank You. I did wonder about the pluralisation of MONARCHS but it took me a while to spot my mistake. It wasn’t until the obvious answer for the estate agent appeared that I looked for the error.

    Nice puzzle, thanks Mara and Roly for the blog.

  7. Pleased with 10.03 till I saw two pink squares. Ridiculous HEART-RINGING! On analysis: a) biffing b) CLANGER still resounding in the background c) getting mixed up with hand-wringing (despite mind hesitating on spelling). Enjoyable nonetheless. SERENGETI and POWERLESS proved chewy anagrams needing checkers in place. Liked FIDDLESTICKS.
  8. Well under 3 Kevins (20 mins) but I certainly slowed down at the end. Good puzzle with plenty of satisfaction when things clicked. FIDDLESTICKS and HEART-RENDING (my LOI) were my CsOD. Many thanks to Mara and to Roly. I’m still hoping to get back closer to my former (shorter) times tomorrow. John M.
  9. Very enjoyable puzzle, even when sober. A TOTALISER is an alternative to the more usual “totalisator” and is a system by which all bets on a race are added up and the total is divided between the punters who backed the winners, pro rata to their stakes. This is also known as parimutuel betting and yes I have spent too much time on racecourses!

    1.5 on the Kevinometer so a Very Good Day. Only got hung up on LETTER – which to a lawyer is not correctly clued. An estate agent is not the letter of a property, he is merely the letter’s agent. Only the person who has the title to grant a lease is, strictly, speaking, the actual “letter”.

    Thanks to Mara and roly.


  10. A careless DNF today having chucked in EXPENCE without really bothering to read the 2nd half of the clue. I filled the grid in just under 12 minutes so the rest of it went in easily enough. WOD Fiddlesticks.
    Thanks for the blog
  11. ….PEAK of my powers this week, although I’m going to approach the 15 x 15 in a few minutes with a certain amount of trepidation in view of Kevin’s experience.

    Only misdirection was an attempt to use “old penny = d”.

    LOI took a bit of cracking, only falling when the I appeared at the end. I’d tried a few “ing” endings first.

    TIME 3:35

  12. 17 minutes followed by 5 more struggling with heart-rending which I knew was right but saw it as an alternative to Hear-Trending. So thanks for the blog. I thought Rental was a bit of a stretch but was pleased with how many dropped in , including my COD Fiddlesticks.
    Thanks all,
    John George
  13. I seemed to be on the wavelength for this one, and managed to avoid any typos, so submitted successfully at 7:08. FOI, RUN, LOI, EXPENSE. Thanks Mara and Roly.
  14. I seemed to be going at a pretty slow/steady pace and got a shock when the final time was just 8:12. Didn’t get held up and thoroughly enjoyed it. Loi letter.
  15. Steady solve but badly delayed with LOI HEART-RENDING. No real stand-out clues today. TOTALISER is more commonly referred to as ‘The Tote’.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.
  16. I gave up at 20 minutes. I could not solve 10a HEART-RENDING. The rest of the crossword took about 14 minutes so not a write in by any means. Thanks Mara and Roly.
  17. I was heading for a finish well under 30 mins, which is good for me when Mara is the setter, but loi Heart Rending soon put paid to that. It was only when an alphabet trawl gave me Heart (both senses) that the answer became obvious. I thought there were quite a few nice clues today, so it was difficult to choose a CoD, but I think Fiddlesticks just noses it. Invariant
  18. 19:18, so close to a PB for ME. LOI Heart-rending. Just didn’t get “trying” = HEARING, despite seeing it before…
  19. After struggling the last two days, we found this on the easier end of our scale, 20m. Had no trouble with heatrending, and parsed it afterwards. Seemed to be a number of simpler anagrams which helped us along. Thanks to setter, and contributors.
  20. I seemed to be going at a pretty slow/steady pace and got a shock when the final time was just 8:12. Didn’t get held up and thoroughly enjoyed it. Loi letter.
  21. Help! I was a bit intimidated by all you super solvers. More like an hour for us and even then fiddlesticks and heart rending had us ( yes, two brains today) floored.
    How long does it take for plodders to reach ace standard?
    1. Don’t worry. It’s just a matter of practice and getting to know the ropes. At least we have the QC as a stepping stone to the 15×15 these days.If only I had that and this blog when I initially struggled to solve a handful of clues a day in the 1970s! I gave up for many years and only started again about 8 years ago (I think). But now I am experienced and confident enough to be one of the bloggers… my next one’s tomorrow.
    2. It took me a year to finish my first QC. Now after 18 months in most weeks I finish typically 4 out of 5 puzzles. Still slower than most on here. Time is usually between 20 and 60 mins. Use this excellent blog to learn how to solve – and keep going!
      Best wishes Ged
    3. It is now a rarity for me not to finish the QC but I too got stuck and DNF today. I have more than two years experience but still get excited at sub 10 minutes solves. In truth some of the learning comes from remembering when you got floored on a previous occasion. You will remember fiddlesticks and heart-rending (as will I) as possibilities going forward. Keep with it.
  22. I enjoyed this. Particularly 23A. If Aristotle had invented it, it would have been a better contribution to society than his views on women, I guess (thanks for the link rolytoly). I liked WESTERN and I also enjoyed FIDDLESTICKS. I thought my daughter’s was quite expensive, but her violin teacher paid nearly £10,000 for hers! PEAK my LOI. 5:39.

Comments are closed.