Times Quick Cryptic No 1313 by Pedro

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Thanks Pedro for a nicely balanced puzzle, which took me one minute over my target time of 15 minutes.  Some of the clues and answers reminded me of humorous anecdotes, some of which I have shared below.

There is nothing too obscure here, other than my usual difficulty in spelling LABYRINTHINE, so hopefully, this will prove accessible to most of the newbies as well as the regulars.


Like the cerebrum, initially large in the brainy, amazingly (12)
LABYRINTHINE – Anagram (amazingly) of L{arge} (initially) and [IN THE BRAINY].  Reminds me of the old Monty Python sketch ‘I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy’.
Prepare dominant position in tennis (3,2)
SET UP – Double definition, the second relating to the scoring system in tennis – if one is a SET UP, then one is in a dominant position.
9 New union members accepting good connections (7)
BRIDGES – BRIDES (new union members) accepting G{ood}.  This one reminds me of the tongue-tied bridegroom in his speech at the reception who thanked his new mother-in-law for the gift of ‘a lovely perky copulator’ rather than the ‘coffee percolator’ – the old ones are best!
10  Look pained, turning round after a spray (7)
AEROSOL – LO (look) and SORE (pained) all reversed (turning round) after A.
11  Power in second eleven, perhaps (5)
STEAM –  S{econd} and TEAM (eleven, perhaps).  Soccer and cricket teams each field eleven players per side, so TEAM and eleven can be synonymous.
12 Mother’s left to adopt English girl (6)
DAMSEL – DAM’S (mother’s) and L{eft} with E{nglish} inserted (adopted).  DAMSEL is a slightly old-fashioned term for a young girl or unmarried woman.
14 Minor untruth about odd items in total (6)
LITTLE – LIE (untruth)around (about) the odd letters (odd items) in T{o}T{a}L
17  Tree not recorded after start of operation (5)
OLIVE – LIVE (not recorded, as in a LIVE vs recorded performance), after first letter (start) of O{peration}
19  Voter part reversed about spinning etc. (7)
ELECTOR – ROLE reversed about an anagram (spinning) of [ETC].
21  Vehicle in rain misrepresented as a blissful state (7)
NIRVANA – VAN (vehicle) inside an anagram (misrepresented) of [RAIN].
22  Some remarkably rich words for a song (5)
LYRIC – Hidden word (some) in {remarkab}LY RIC{h}.
23  Evidence of worth, as most subtly altered (6,6)
STATUS SYMBOL – Anagram (altered) of [AS MOST SUBTLY].


1         Heads of local office to set up and initiate office at station? (4,3,5)
LOST AND FOUND – Initial letters (heads of) L{ocal} O{ffice}, followed by STAND (to set up) and FOUND (initiate).  The question mark indicates that LOST AND FOUND offices can exist at other locations than at stations.
2  Beer half-heartedly produced for nipper (5)
BITER – The beer in this case is BIT{t}ER, with one of the central letters removed (half-heartedly).  I wasn’t totally sure of the equivalence of BITER and nipper, although my last dog as a young puppy definitely thought he was biting when he was nipping. 
Reply regarding limiting one comment on forum (7)
RIPOSTE – RE (regarding) surrounding (limiting) I (one) POST (comment on forum)
4  Aristocrat getting a couple of pounds extra (2-4)
NO-BALL – NOB (aristocrat) and A (a) and LL (couple of pounds).  A NO-BALL in cricket is a bowled ball that falls foul of the rules, and counts as a run to the batting side (an extra).
5 They’ve come into money? Girl’s embracing one (5)
HEIRS – HER’S (girl’s) with I inside (embracing one).  The question mark at the end of the definition part is because HEIRS don’t always inherit money.
Overlook large general being upset:  shocking treatment! (7)
NEGLECT – L{arge} GEN{eral} reversed (being upset), followed by ECT (Electroconvulsive Treatment) (shocking treatment).
7  Claim mastery, after working:  that’s irregular (12)
ASYMMETRICAL – Anagram (after working) of [CLAIM MASTERY]
13  French detective, one appearing in magazine about origin of thefts (7)
MAIGRET – I (one) appearing in MAG{azine} RE (about) and origin (first letter) of T{hefts}.  Jules MAIGRET is the name of a fictional French police detective created by author Georges Simenon.
15  Fish is given to friend in a perfect world (7)
IDEALLY –  IDE (chub-like fish – remember this, it crops up a lot in Crosswordland) and ALLY (friend).
16  French race venue tends to receive millions (2,4)
LE MANS – LEANS (tends) with M{illions} inserted (to receive)
18  Nice description of repealed legislation? (5)
EXACT – Cryptic double definition.  An EX ACT could describe repealed legislation, and EXACT is also precise and accurate, as is ‘nice’.
20  Thrill – not half – over start of bass beat (5)
THROB – THR{ill} (not half) O{ver} and start of (first letter) of B{ass}.

40 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1313 by Pedro”

  1. It’s RIPOSTE; and that’s RE surrounding I POST (one comment on forum–presumably the setter had the club forum in mind).
    1. Thanks Kevin, now corrected. Stupid error – I had entered RIPOSTE in the grid, and then had a transcription error when writing the blog. Well, it was late!
      1. Well, my stupid error of reposte was made in the grid. 15 mins another dnf – not a good run.
  2. Off to a slow start, getting almost nothing on my first pass through the acrosses. No idea, of course, what a NO-BALL is, but I think I’ve come across it in 15x15s, and anyway assumed it was something crickety. 6:55.
  3. Like vinyl1 I struggled a bit with this and needed 12 minutes to complete the grid. The main problem was that none of the long answers at the perimeter jumped out at me so I had to wait for checkers to provide inspiration.

    I think railway stations that offer such facilities (rather than sending mislaid items to a central location) would be more likely call them ‘Lost Property’ than LOST AND FOUND, but as pointed out in the blog the question mark gives some leeway for interpretation of the clue.

    Edited at 2019-03-21 05:22 am (UTC)

  4. I picked the right day to play golf at Piltdown yesterday, handy for avoiding the trap set by Orpheus. Piltdown is where a member might have shouted: You’re the man!
    Anyway today’s puzzle caused me several difficulties. After getting all the long answers easily, I was slow to get EXACT (very good clue). I then had to stare at
    4d, 9a and 10a to work out what was needed. I got BRIDGES first, thought that NO BALE might do for 4d and finally worked out AEROSOL (COD).
    The computer told me I had an error and then I got NO BALL. So about 23 minutes for a DNF.
    Good puzzle. David
  5. I just didn’t get the hang of a Pedro puzzle, once again. I was all over the place and didn’t get the usual buzz when the answers to hard clues (for me) finally emerged. I persevered and kept returning to the grid but took almost 40 mins to finish it so double my usual SCC limit. Perhaps this honest post will encourage other strugglers to post their thoughts. Of course it may just be me having a bad start to the day. Thanks to Rotter. Perhaps I will thank Pedro when I’ve had time to reflect but I thought many clues were more appropriate for the 15×15. John M.

    Edited at 2019-03-21 09:10 am (UTC)

    1. A major biff-fest for me. Lots that I had no idea how to parse and, when I saw the blog, many parsings seem pretty obscure.

      I don’t often post because I don’t usually get around to the QC until evening, when it’s all done and dusted and everything’s been covered already.

    2. Yes, I struggled too. 37 minutes as opposed to my usual 15-20 after resorting to using a crossword solver.
    3. I had exactly the same experience so can’t be just an off day. My time was 27.08, slowest for a while. Found much of it rather hard going, but began to appreciate some good clues as checkers helped. NO BALL (I wouldn’t hyphenate) was clever, as were AEROSOL and BRIDGES (though they took some parsing). Never worked out how to get to BITER, misled by losing half the middle of EE in BEER giving BER so thanks, Rotter.
    4. I also found it very tough. I normally finish these days but it might take me 30 minutes or more. I struggled with the parsing of quite a few even with the answers in front of me. I read ‘nice description’ for exact which seemed reasonable, but also means I misread the clue! Thanks.
  6. Enjoyed this very much- thanks. Only reservation is the idea that nice might mean exact. It probably is on Planet Dictionary but not where the rest of us live.
  7. I’m with oldblighter on this one, I gave up after 35 minutes without really enjoying it. I might have done better on paper as 12 letter anagrams are always difficult on my phone but I don’t think I would have ever got 1A even with all the checkers – as with some of the other clues the connection was outside my understanding, although probably valid.


    Edited at 2019-03-21 10:00 am (UTC)

  8. Is the setter trying to tell us something about a clue last week (QC1308) with the answers to 21 and 22 across?

    “Polly wants a cracker”

    Martin Hill

  9. 25 minutes for me so over my target by five minutes but not too bad. Looking back, I can’t see anything which was particularly difficult – more a question of very few obvious write-ins to help get a foothold.
  10. Slow going today with particular difficulties with the long answers at 1a and 7d and then a real struggle to finish off with 4d, 6d and LOI BRIDGES – where I was focused on arms, legs and the TUC etc – a real doh moment when I finally got it. Despite that I enjoyed the challenge and finished in 18.28, with COD to NO BALL.
    Thanks for the blog
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  12. 30 minutes but dnf because of labyrinthine spelling. Even with all the checkers it took 2 attempts until the congrats message appeared, by that stage I didnt really care any more.
    Dictionary has archaic for nice/exact.

    Biffed lost and found from the lo and didnt go back to parse.

    The 15×15 is accessible again today.

    Cod bridges.

  13. ….after yesterday’s slump. Apart from a 20 second delay with my LOI (trying to use the odd letters of items rather than of total) this presented no real difficulty.

    TIME 4:19

  14. I solved this within a few seconds of my 10 min target but only achievable as a result of biffing. I biffed DAMSEL, ELECTOR, LOST AND FOUND and BITER.
    I have misspelt RIPOSTE on more than one occasion, getting it right this time, but will probably err again in the future.
    Thanks Rotter for the blog which I needed today. 9:56
  15. 1a and 1d both stubbornly resisted my early approaches so this turned into bit of a grind. I was therefore very surprised to see just 6’ on the clock when I finished. It’s only on reflection that I can see there is much to admire in this offering (ASYMMETRICAL, STATUS SYMBOL, NO-BALL, etc.)
    My thanks to setter and blogger.
  16. I found this really hard today and had the same sentiment as oldblighter in that I didn’t really feel satisfied when the answers did (eventually drop). This took 45 minutes which to be honest on most days would’ve been a dnf as I’d have lost heart trying to solve the last couple. The difference today was that after 25 minutes I was faced with around half the grid unfilled so I decided to plough on.

    In fairness to Pedro I’ve got nothing to moan about in the puzzle – it was fine, but I struggled for whatever reason.

    1. Agree completely, just found this a slog. I didn’t like the surfaces, which didn’t help – if the clues are hard to read I suppose in theory it ought to be easier as there is less to mislead, but in practice with these clues I was rereading multiple times to try to get some sense out of them. Completed but without any pleasure.
      1. Fully agree – tough, dissatisfying, and very obscure parsing in some areas. Still don’t get some even after reading this. The last week or so have been super – this one missed the mark.
  17. I had a difficult start to this puzzle as my laptop decided to have a Go Slow and it was taking up to 30 seconds to get a response to a keystroke. I eventually managed to pause the puzzle and switched to my desktop where I opened the main paper, went to the puzzle pages and found that the link to the Crossword Club had disappeared. Cue lots of bad tempered muttering. I set about clearing cached data on both machines and waited. Eventually I managed to get the laptop to start responding again and restarted the puzzle. There were 2 clues filled in, SET UP and RIPOSTE, and 2:30 on the clock. I turned my attention to the SW where I managed to get moving, the top half being a bit unyielding to my frazzled brain(it was after 1am by this time). Wasn’t too impressed with EXACT for NICE. I biffed MAIGRET as he’s appeared in puzzles before despite being somewhat fictional. I eventually submitted at 11:16, so if it hadn’t been for my travails at the start I might have just made my 10 minute target. Not an easy puzzle, but not a monster either. Thanks Pedro and Rotter.
    PS a revisit to the Main Paper revealed that the Crossword Club has been moved to a tiny link at the bottom of the page instead of having its own big square. Grrhh!!!!

    Edited at 2019-03-21 12:21 pm (UTC)

  18. Thanks – I a host of uses for ‘nice’ including ‘hard to please’ and ‘wanton’ but Chambers didn’t go into the history that you provide A point I’ve made before is that for a quickie, in my view, obscure or outmoded usages are inappropriate.
  19. For what it’s worth, I parsed Heads of (L)ocal (O)ffice + (T)o (S)et up (reversed) = LOST + AND + FOUND (initiate).


  20. This was another slow one for me. I was most of the way down my first pass before I got the first answer, and then very slowly worked my way back up from the bottom. Finished in a SCC-worthy 42 mins…but at least I finished. A few biffs, and some part-parsed clues. I didn’t spot beer = bitter, but had half heared beer as B??ER, and biffed in BITER from “nipper”, and didn’t get ECT for shocking treatment, but got the answer in context. In the end, glad I finished, but was a trudge.
  21. Also found this slow going and needed 23a and 7d to get going. Loi 4d, as usual slow in seeing the cricketing connection. Well over our 30m target, yet again this week.
  22. Slow for me too, got interrupted so no exact time but certainly 20 mins. Like others I found it curiously unsatisfying and rather 15ish. LOST AND FOUND is pure US and I only knew it from the oeuvre of Meat Loaf! Thanks rotter.


  23. I’ve always liked the definition of “nice” in Chambers. After giving the “exact” definition it the gives the modern definition as”often used in vague commendation by those who are not nice”.

    I found today’s puzzle vey hard. It took more than twice my usual time, not helped by being unable to spell labyrinthine.

  24. Finished in about an hour and a half – except for bridges and neglect- ludicrously hard clues! New union members?! ECT?!
    Tried for another hour but tna
  25. Very impressed with those doing this in 15 minutes. My target is 48 hours for Quick Cryptic. Managed most after 4 days, harder than usual. I learned from the solution that clues can flow between words, such as NOB being an aristocrat being split between two words of the answer No-Ball. This happened again in LOST AND, being LO STAND. Had not seen that sort of deviousness before.

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