Times Quick Cryptic No 1493 by Des

I think I have blogged a Des puzzle only once before, in the New Year of 2017, when I found his style entertaining and accommodating.  I have no time for you today, as several serious interruptions meant that I was unable to calculate it, even inaccurately, so please let me know how easy / difficult you found this one.

There are very concise clues here, and lovely surfaces (I’ve commented appropriately below), and despite the interruptions, I thoroughly enjoyed this from Des.


1  Fantastic sort of light: legendary (6)
FABLED – FAB (FABulous = fantastic) and LED (Light Emitting Diode – sort of light).
Important meeting with German on the whole (6)
SUMMIT – SUM (the whole) with MIT (German for with) ‘on it’.
8 Wildly boo a preacher, vicar initially blameless (5,8)
ABOVE REPROACH – Anagram (wildly) of [BOO A PREACHER] and V{icar} (initially).  Just as our current Prime Minister described the Monarchy in last week’s election debate!
10  Prestige without end, so duke reflected (5)
KUDOS – Reverse (reflected) hidden, in SO DUK{e} (without end).  Kudos comes from the Greek word for ‘glory’, and means credit, fame, renown or prestige.
11 Fail to broadcast (4,3)
GIVE OUT – Double definition.
12 Note girl, bourgeois (6,5)
MIDDLE CLASS – MIDDLE C (note) and LASS (girl).  Perfectly concise clue!
16  Adult FM broadcast for land near estuary (7)
MUDFLAT – Anagram (broadcast) of [ADULT FM].  Nice surface!
17  Strikes on the wrists? (5)
CUFFS – Double definition.
18  Inadequately organised foreign articles, pruned in advance (13)
UNDERPREPARED – Slightly tricky parsing here. I read it as UN and DER (foreign articles, French and German respectively) and something pruned in advance might be PRE-PARED.  The coincidence of pruned also being an anagram of the first 6 letters of the answer made me think for a moment or two.
19  Rather dull line in food (6)
DRYISH – RY (short for RailwaY) is the line, which appears in DISH (food).
20  Fashions in time followed by tears (6)
TRENDS – T{ime} followed by RENDS (tears – the verb to rend, rip or lacerate, rather than the noun referring to the products of weeping).

Cuts of meat, tart, starters of kedgeree, salad (6)
FLANKS – FLAN (tart) and K{edgeree} and S{alad} (starters).
In the tolerant fashion of one planning Norfolk holiday? (5-8)
BROAD-MINDEDLY – The Norfolk Broads are a popular holiday destination in the East of England.  If one were planning such a holiday, one might be described as being BROAD-MINDED.
3  Game of rugby to start late, as likely as not? (5)
EVENS – Seven-a-side rugby is a popular stripped down version of the more famous 15-man game.  If the first letter is moved to the end (starts late), seven becomes EVENS.  If a future event is as likely as not to occur, its odds of happening are said to be EVENS.
Solve value n, somehow about right (7)
UNRAVEL – Anagram (somehow) of [VALUE N] and R{ight}.
6  Warden Amos off touring plant (6,7)
MEADOW SAFFRON – Anagram (touring) of [WARDEN AMOS OFF].  If you are like me, your heart sinks when you see a clue defined as one of the millions of available plant species. In this case, though, the anagrist gives little alternative.  MEADOW SAFFRON (also known as naked lady) refers to the autumn crocus.
7  Note about a popular song in S Pacific island (6)
TAHITI – The note is TI (from doh, ray, me, fa, so, la, TI, doh).  This surrounds A HIT (popular song).
9  Eg, Great Britain consumer acquiring kitchen implement (3-6)
EGG-BEATER – EG (e.g.) and GB (Great Britain) followed by EATER (consumer).
13  Girl displaying knowledge in parties (7)
DOLORES – LORE (knowledge) inside DOS (parties).  DOLORES is a delightfully old-fashioned girl’s given name that is hardly seen these days in my experience.
14 Inspired film about Edda appearing regularly (6)
IMBUED – Alternate letters (appearing regularly) in {f}I{l}M {a}B{o}U{t} E{d}D{a}.  Lovely surface again.
15  Words from actors: like when Caesar about to die? (6)
ASIDES – AS (when) and IDES (when Caesar was about to die – the IDES of March).
17  Carbon copier for skip (5)
CAPER – C{arbon} and APER (copier).  To CAPER is to leap or skip like a goat.

44 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1493 by Des”

  1. I aim, perhaps unrealistically, to get in under 6′, but this one put paid to that idea. I had no idea where the Broads are, but at least I’d heard of them. DNK MEADOW SAFFRON, and the anagrist wasn’t that forthcoming, since I do QC anagrams in my head. 15d led me to look at first for ETTU, but fortunately I gave that up fairly quickly. Rotter, you’ve got a typo at 14d. 7:24.
    1. Sorry Kev, I just can’t see the typo in 14d on my iPad. I’ll check later on a PC – it’s probably my old eyes!
        1. Thanks, I see it now. Crazy how word blindness hits. I must have read and re-read the entry 20 times and missed it every time. Now amended.
  2. This one took me a bit longer than the previous 2 days, but I still came in under my target 10 minutes. An enjoyable offering from Des. My FOI was FABLED. I wasted time trying to work out wordplay for IMBUED, and then belatedly spotted the hidden. MEADOW SAFFRON and SUMMIT were my last 2 in. Unusually, I managed the anagram without writing it out. 8:04. Thanks Des and Rotter.
  3. 13 minutes, quite tricky in places with delays thinking of the second words at 2dn and 6dn and a momentary mind-freeze over my last two in, the interlocking IMBUED and DRYISH. At 2dn I thought of BROAD-MINDEDNESS immediately but after realising it wouldn’t fit I took a while coming up with an alternative that would. Also lost time at 1dn where at first I had thought of SHANKS for ‘cuts of meat’.

    Des has contributed only 18 puzzles to date including QC#1 which I had the pleasure of blogging on 10th March 2014. He has been pretty regular at 3 puzzles per year since then but this is his 4th appearance in 2019.

    Edited at 2019-11-28 05:36 am (UTC)

  4. Good puzzle. 25 mins with a few interruptions.

    Struggled with flanks (not steaks), fabled, evens, mudflat, and LOI imbued, which needed an alpha trawl, only seeing the correct parsing once I got it.

    COD middle class.

  5. I particularly enjoyed this one with a good mix of straightforward and tricky clues. My ignorance of German caused me problems with 5a as I thought with translated to WIT. Like Rotter my heart sank at 5d so left it until I had most of the checkers but even then the second word proved tricky. Finished slightly over target in 15.58 with with the plant, CUFFS and TRENDS.
    Thanks for the blog
  6. Very slow today at 19.52, took ages to start. I guessed IMBUED without seeing it. COD to 1ac FABLED. Need to wake up properly now!


  7. With hindsight, there were some nice clues here but I didn’t enjoy it as a QC. I just felt inadequate when I made almost no progress in the first few minutes. My time and experience were spookily close to flashman’s. John M.
  8. Despite multiple struggles with 2dn I finished in 1.6 Kevins for a Very Good Day. I started confidently writing in BROAD MINDED and then discovered that it was two letters short. Panicking, i tried to think of an alternative and came up with BROAD THINKING, which I wrote in with much heavy inking over. I soon discovered that that was wrong because of MIDDLE CLASS and proceeded to get the other checkers, eventually seeing the adverb and re-amending by inking back in the letters I’d started out with! My paper now looks as though my pen burst on it.

    I don’t think that 3dn really works. The reduced team format of rugger is universally known as “sevens”, not “seven”. (I speak as the father of a schoolboy national Sevens champion!) Otherwise most enjoyable, thanks Des and Rotter. COD MIDDLE CLASS.


  9. I knew I was in for a long slog when my FOI was the LAC (last across clue). I managed to finish in 32 minutes, well over my 20 minute target, but still enjoyable, with one new checker making all the difference for the next answer. DKN IMBUED and the flower, but once I spotted ‘meadow’ the rest could only be ‘saffron’ which gave me the key to the rest of the puzzle.
    Thanks to Des for an excellent challenge, and to Rotter for the blog.


    Edited at 2019-11-28 09:25 am (UTC)

  10. Oh yes, that’s a possibility that I hadn’t seen, thanks. Like Rotter I had tried to parse it as something to do with the front letter moving to the back, which I don’t think works, but your suggestion does work. Thanks.
  11. Can someone remind me what surfaces are – can’t find it in the glossary maybe I wasn’t looking carefully. I’m glad some have enjoyed this – there were too many obscure usages for me so it was a bit irritating but I’m happy to acknowledge it was just me!
    1. The surface really refers to the way the clue reads or scans. A good surface feels natural, not contrived. For example, in today’s QC, 14d reads perfectly, as if referring to a film about Edda that is appearing regularly at a local cinema. One needs to examine the clue carefully to see that the ‘appearing regularly’ is actually the instruction as to how to solve the clue. That is my inexpert opinion anyway. Perhaps someone who is more eloquent can add to this.
      1. I think you’ve pretty well nailed it Rotter. A good surface produces a sentence that reads logically. A poor one produces something that is clunky.
      2. Thank you very much – I see now and your explanation will help me I see how it works for 14a too but the answer was one of those that irritated me ( together with caper and dryish) As a type this the pc spellchecker doesn’t like the word either 🙂
  12. A contrast to yesterday!

    DNF today after 45 minutes – could not see 19ac DRYISH and therefore had no final checker to guess 13dn DOLORES (also DNK LORES as knowledge).

    Spend a few minutes trying to convince myself 17ac might have been CLOCK – didn’t get CUFFS in the end and therefore couldn’t see 6dn MEADOW SAFFRON despite the anagram.

    Without much thought I slipped in EQUAL for 3dn, but eventually worked out it was S(EVENS) after a conflict with 8ac/10ac.

    COD: MIDDLE CLASS, I saw it immediately from the definition and then took a few moments to appreciate the clue!

    Thanks Des & Rotter.

  13. Over ten minutes today, struggled with IMBUED, and MEADOW SAFFRON took a while.

    Thanks rotter and Des.

  14. Hopeless. Second one this week I didn’t get close to finishing. What’s that theory that for a puzzle or game to be compelling, you have to be able to succeed about 80% of the time? Too easy, it’s not fun, too difficult, you give up.
  15. I tried the all across and all down method to start with and it was an epic fail. My FOI was MUDFLAT. I did put in CLASS for 12a but genuinely thought bourgeois meant upper class which didn’t fit. Never mind. I then decided to think of definitions and see if I could parse them. So 1d became steaks, shanks and finally FLANKS. The first of the long ones to yield was ABOVE REPROACH but by then most of the checkers were in play. My last three were MEADOW SAFFRON, IMBUED and finally DRYISH. 17:19 on the stop clock and I think the QC was difficult but doable. Thanks Rotter and Des.
  16. ….it was against the LORE (apologies to Paul Simon).

    A very slow start at seven clues in, but then immediately spotted BROAD-MINDEDLY and proceeded almost without hiccup (OK, like Flashman, I tried “steaks” at 1D, but spotted the error almost at once).

    Missed my 5 minute target, but not dramatically – I’d probably have made it without the slow start. I’ve no excuse for not getting KUDOS, GIVE OUT, or MIDDLE CLASS at first sight !


  17. This was a proper tricky one! Lots of head scratching and very little biffing. Any newer solvers managing to complete this one may be ready for a trip to 15×15 land (but NOT yesterday’s – it was a brute!)
    My thanks to Rotter and Des.
  18. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Didn’t manage a single across clue on the first pass, but eventually my mind ground into gear and it started to flow nicely. Never heard of MEADOW SAFFRON, but the checkers led to SAFFRON and what was left gave me MEADOW. Enjoyed BROAD MINDEDLY, even though Norfolk + holiday gave BROAD pretty quickly to me anyway. Had a few good holidays there. I also read EVENS as SEVENS starting with the second letter (ie starting late). Clever formulation I thought.
    Lots to enjoy.
  19. Fortunately I never even thought of Steaks for 1d, going straight in with the cheaper cut and then 1ac Fabled. Broad Mindedly was another early answer, and after that it was a fairly steady 25mins solve. I thought 12ac Middle Class was going to be my CoD for a long time, but 15d Asides nosed ahead in the final straight. A nice puzzle from Des, just a pity we don’t see his/her name a bit more often. Invariant
  20. Got there in the end, but it took me a good 90 mins which won’t be troubling anyone here.

    I found this definitely on the harder side and, at times, it felt like wading through treacle with each clue seeming to take an age. Maybe I just wasn’t on the right wave length.

    NE went in first again, with my main struggles in the SW corner which was blank for a good while.

    Thought 1dn could be “Shanks” (Shan tart anyone?) and 13dn “Deborah” (which left a Pulp earworm for the remainder of the puzzle). Wondered whether “Damluft” was some form of geographical sandbank, until I finally worked out the obvious anagram. I also didn’t know 14dn “Imbued” but managed to work it out.

    FOI = 10ac “Kudos”
    LOI = 19ac “Dryish”

    Enjoyed the language references today, so it was a close call on my COD between the popular 12ac “Middle Class” and 18ac “Underprepared”.

    Thanks to setter and blog.

  21. Dolores will be familiar to any Paul Simon fan from slip slidin’ away. Got held up a bit by having SLAPS for 17a (as in slaps on wrists for minor punishment) but the two fs in 6d could only really go in one place and the rest fell in. Little known about Norfolk Broads is that they are man made from extensive peat digging
    12a – great clue
  22. Like Kevin, I aim to get under 6 minutes, but was way off today. NHO MEADOW SAFFRON and found a few of the clues a bit chewy. I liked PRE-PARED for pruned in advance when I go it. 8:14.
    1. Totally agree. Many more like this one and I shall be binning the QC. Does the compiler not realise the difference between the QC and the 15×15?
  23. 6:38.
    Steady solve and no getting stuck on the last 2 or 3 clues.
    LOI TRENDS just because it was all the way at the bottom.
    I have to parsing UNDERPREPARED post solve though.
  24. Finished again
    and much enjoyed. Thanks to setter and blogger. Staying with my family in Connecticut and having a late breakfast – Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
  25. Lots of brain grinding today, but all very fair once I’d worked it out. I was looking at “mi” as the note, and wondered for ages how to account for the rest of the clue between that and the girl, if the whole answer was middle class…
  26. We also found this tricky, with some easier clues but a good raft of more difficult ones. NE and SW corners delayed us, clever clue at 15d. Satisfied to finish without aids in 35m just over our target 30m. Do not agree with the anomynous comment as too difficult for Quick cryptic, essential to have a range of difficulties, which we are getting.
  27. I must be improving as I finished this one in just over three kevins but that was with the assistance of my other half with ‘saffron’. I was doing it on my phone on the way back from Birmingham after a wonderful performance of ‘The Nutcracker’, so nowhere to write out the anagrist in the way I normally do.
    I couldn’t parse ‘underprepared’, so thanks to rotter for the explanation..
  28. Happy to be inside 10 minutes for a change. The jury does seem to be out on The Rotter’s easy/difficult question with the comments well split. Enjoyable does seem to be the word most used – with which I concur. Thanks to all.
  29. Real tough one today for me. I normally finish close to 20 minutes but didn’t get close here. Nice puzzle though having read the answers! Thanks!
  30. Well over 2 hours.
    Biffed quite a few
    Obscure parts – RY, FAB, LED, TI (not TE?)
    GIVE OUT – is this a definition of fail?
    Hate the plant ones – had to wait until all but 4 letters!

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