Times Quick Cryptic No 1979 by Mara

A great Quick Cryptic from Mara today to end the week if you are a fan of anagrams. Blimey! No less than 10 of them (if I can count that far correctly)! Nothing obscure or too difficult, I think, but I found I didn’t know how to spell the country at 5D and there are a couple of tricky clues that might give some a bit of head-scratching. Thumbs up or thumbs down to the homophone? (I won’t spoil it by naming the clue). Thumbs up from me for eliciting a groan when I saw it. A little over average time of me of about 5 1/2 minutes. Nice one. Thank-you Mara! How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the crossword, entitled “Berried” (based on the horrible pun that is my username and a related homonym) here. Enjoy! And if anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to them here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and “” other indicators.

1 Some finish — with two languages? (6,6)
FRENCH POLISHFRENCH (a language) POLISH (and a second).
8 One going wrong about newspaper, regularly (5)
OFTEN – (One)* “going wrong”, “about” FT (Financial Times; newspaper). Sneaky attempted deception here. Did anyone look for alternate letters in ‘newspaper’ (regularly)?
9 Roughly at three, drama staged here (7)
THEATRE – (at three)* “roughly”.
10 Coordinate race (3)
RUN – Double definition.
11 As the role is complicated, despair (4,5)
LOSE HEART – (as the role)* “complicated”. Our 3rd anagram already.
13 Smart operation involving deception (5)
STING – Double definition. The first like what my legs did from walking through nettles this week.
14 Person feeding furnace possibly losing head (5)
EATERhEATER (furnace, possibly) “losing head”. A bit of a tricky definition and one of those where you have to find a word that fits the defintion in the wordplay and then lose the first letter. I often find those hard to think of, but not today.
16 Fashion range used casual garment (9)
DUNGAREES – “Fashion” (range used)*.
17 Maybe, crude, offensive idiots laughing, initially (3)
OIL – First letters, “initially” of Offensive Idiots Laughing. The “maybe” helpfully signifies this is a definition by example.
19 Beef for the champions? (7)
TOPSIDETOP SIDE (champions). The “?” flags that the wordplay is a cryptic hint.
21 Author seen looking to the left in photo, I learned (5)
ELIOT – Reverse hidden, “seen looking to the left” “in” phoTO I LEarned, reversed -> ELIOT. That’ll be George the author.
22 One ruminates about those on the way up, perhaps? (12)
MOUNTAINEERS – (One ruminates)* “about”. “Perhaps” and another “?” to hint there is something cryptic about the definition.
1 Reportedly, imperfection in lower surface (5)
FLOOR – Sounds like, “reportedly” FLAW (imperfection). Scores highly on the homophone groanworthy index for me.
2 Sixteen working on annex (9)
EXTENSION – (sixteen)* “working” ON.
3 Fire Tory: identify allowance (13)
CONFLAGRATION – An ikean assembly… CON (Tory) FLAG (identfy) RATION (allowance).
4 Salt container has broken (6)
POTASHPOT (container) (has)* “broken”. What salt is that? “Potash refers to potassium compounds and potassium-bearing materials, most commonly potassium carbonate.” So now you (and I) know.
5 Country’s silence, then it’s erupting (13)
LIECHTENSTEIN – (silence then it’s)^ “erupting”. I found I didn’t know how to spell it when I came up one letter short, missing the first T initially.
6 Group ready (3)
SET – Double definition.
7 Well, someone having a flutter? (6)
BETTER – Double definition, the first being well after recovering from an illness, I think. Hmm. Tiny twitch of the eyebrows at that one. Shouldn’t there be some indication that the person in question wasn’t well before?
12 Fudge I share out, OK (9)
AUTHORISE – “Fudge” (I share out)*.
13 Seated after assembly, calm (6)
SEDATE – (seated)* “after assembly”.
15 Up in heaven, egalitarian city with large lake (6)
GENEVA – Reverse hidden, “up” (this is a down clue) “in”, heAVEN EGalitarian, reversed -> GENEVA.
18 Item auctioned with American flower (5)
LOTUSLOT (item auctioned) US (American).
20 In favour of person getting paid (3)
PRO – Double definition

48 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1979 by Mara”

  1. 7 minutes. The spelling of LIECHTENSTEIN held no fears for me as I have been there several times, but in English it’s commonly spelt without the first E so those familiar with that spelling may have trouble unravelling the anagrist.

    In my version of English ‘floor’ and ‘flaw’ sound the exactly same. Allowing for the usual rhotic thing don’t they to most people?

    Edited at 2021-10-08 05:12 am (UTC)

  2. Absolutely loved this one, full of wit and sparkle and (appreciative) groans, best QC in weeks I reckon. A slow start with just three on the first pass of acrosses and lots of confusion. I might have struggled with DUNGAREES had it not come up recently and that was the clue that opened the rest up. FRENCH POLISH fell at the second time of asking (having realised double dutch neither fitted nor parsed) but its danglers FLOOR and POTASH held out to the end. Spelled LIECHTENSTEIN from the bottom up to be safe having arrived at H before LOSE HEART said I should. All green in 14 to end a good, if clumsy, week with the QC on a high.
  3. I’m kicking myself this morning after spending a good 5 minutes on my last two, 12 d and 22a before realising they were both anagrams. With that and 2 typos, I’m firmly in the SCC at over 20 minutes.

    Potash went in quite easily — it is one of Belarus’ main exports which the UK has recently sanctioned. It is used in fertiliser I believe.

    COD 1 AC thanks Mara & John

  4. Thousands of them.

    Or so it seemed.

    Worked through it all steadily enough. MOUNTAINEERS being LOI as it didn’t have a first letter…


  5. Wasn’t particularly focusing on this, so very pleased to finish in about 16 mins. No major delays, the abundance of fairly obvious anagrams helped. Nice end to the week.
  6. This was not a good day to rediscover my old anagram blindness. After the first couple of realisations you’d have thought I’d have caught on and started actively looking for them, but no such luck.
    The homophone at 1d held no dangers for me as I pronounce the two in exactly the same way, but the two hiddens (GENEVA and ELIOT) were slow to reveal themselves.
    An excellent puzzle from Mara that had me chasing my tail right up to my LOI, MOUNTAINEERS, where, you guessed it, I hadn’t spotted the anagram 😂. Finished in 12.09
    Thanks to John
  7. ….to attempt this puzzle at 0001 before going to bed. I thought I knew how to spell LIECHTENSTEIN, but entering it into the grid proved messy. “I before E except after C” applies, but if you omit the first T it’s not at all helpful. That probably cost me half a minute, and I lost the same amount juggling the anagrist of my LOI before completing just one second inside my target.

    Position 1 on the leaderboard, but I was the only person on it !

    FOI FRENCH POLISH (a genuine chestnut)
    LOI AUTHORISED (a genuine case of brain fade)
    COD FLOOR (a genuine homophone for me)
    TIME 4:59 (a genuine last ditch goal)

    Edited at 2021-10-08 08:09 am (UTC)

  8. A relatively quick 15 mins. I like anagrams – a good way to get started and open up some of the more obscure clues. Enjoyed picking apart the clever disguises used to hide or confuse the anagrists and anagrinds in places here.

    Without crossers, tried to force ‘enumerations’ in for 22a until I got to the Downs – so anagrams don’t always help! And Liechtenstein without the first E for me too (Roy spells his without, and I never realised the country was not the same…)

    Fell into the ‘regularly’ trap of 8a – not least because ‘regularly’ is not a synonym of ‘often’ so didn’t see the definition. And ‘better’ = ‘well’? After major surgery last month I can attest to the fact that they are not the same thing at all!

    FOI French Polish
    LOI Geneva. Just didn’t see the hidden…
    COD Conflagration for the satisfaction of remembering ‘allowance’ = ‘ration’. I’m learning (slowly!)

    A good end to the week. Thanks to Mara and John.

    1. I agree with your dislike of ‘regularly’ to mean ‘often’. – the synonym is frequently isn’t it?
  9. After a quick read through I decided to start at the bottom and work my way up and round, so, FOI, 19A. No problem for me with a meaty clue!
    A lot to enjoy and commend Mara for disguising so many anagrinds.
    Pondered for a while why Coordinate was RUN as it wasn’t as in x,y, nor belt,shoes, nor manager,assistant, but nevertheless RUN it is.
    On par 30 minute solve allowing time for toast to burn.
    Thanks Mara and John.
  10. FOI THEATRE which helped with the spelling of LIECHTENSTEIN. We have had FRENCH POLISH before so I should have been quicker on that one. LOI AUTHORISE.
    I failed to spot various anagrams e.g. DUNGAREES and MOUNTAINEERS so had to biff from the checkers.
    Thanks for helpful blog, John. Look forward to w/e QC.
    (The homophone works for me!)

    Edited at 2021-10-08 08:49 am (UTC)

  11. Off and running with FRENCH POLISH and concluded with STING, enjoying the use of ‘fudge’ along the way.

    Thank you to johninterred and Mara.

  12. A fine puzzle to end the week. Some lovely clues made for an enjoyable solve (with stutters over the spelling of 5d and completing my LOI, MOUNTAINEERS. Some brilliant anagrams. I thought I was pretty quick but ended up a couple of minutes over target. Many thanks to Mara and John. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-08 08:47 am (UTC)

  13. Really struggled with spelling of LIECHTENSTEIN, and unlike most I found a way to get a wrong spelling to fit, giving two pinks at the end: LIESCHENSTEIN. It’s been a week of pinks, my third submission of the week with errors.

    I also found that I had been saying CONFLAGRATION wrong all my life an extra ‘a’, as in ‘configuration’, maybe cued by ‘inflammation’

    A few too many anagrams for my taste today.


  14. A welcome improvement after yesterday’s horror show with the QC (and 15×15) to give me a 19min finish. Started with 1d/ac and a fairly steady solve thereafter, apart from the SW corner where Sting/Sedate were slow to come to mind. CoD 15d, Geneva, was also well hidden, and only discovered after I couldn’t shoehorn Erie into the answer. My thanks to Mara, and John, for a satisfying end to the week. Invariant

    Edited at 2021-10-08 09:44 am (UTC)

  15. No problem spelling the country but I had to write out all the letters for this and other anagrams so my time was not quick. Last three were MOUNTAINEERS (COD to that), AUTHORISE and EATER where I had to discard the thought of a welder.
    First time I’d seen French Polish (I think).
    Excellent puzzle. 14:29.
  16. As with yesterday’s QC, when I initially looked at this, I thought I would get nowhere. So many nonsensical clues it seemed. But as I sat down and began to mull over each one, the answers starting coming in a nice steady flow. Some caused me to groan when I saw the answers, such as floor/flaw, and eater.

    45 minutes with two visits to chambers (Conflagration and, embarrassingly, sedate – did not see the anagram).

    So, a nice finish to the week.

  17. FOI theatre, thirteen on first pass, then the rest, fairly clued and with the crossers in, followed nicely in ten minutes. LOI sting, with the Scott Joplin “The Entertainer” rag playing nicely in my head. All parsed except for conflagration, which I got from fire and Con alone. COD. Thanks, John, and Mara.
  18. I spent ages trying to reconcile the spelling of LIECHTENSTEIN with the apparent anagrist, then eventually realised that the second S in IT’S is not part of it. I counted the letters several times before being convinced. RUN was FOI and SEDATE LOI. I challenge Vinyl1 for the wooden spoon! 15:39. Thanks Mara and John 🙂
  19. John – just logging in to say that sadly I won’t be able to blog the Saturday Special or the next ones until some time in December – I am entering a very intense work period and unfortunately crosswords are one of the casualties! Sorry about that.

    I will see you all around every now and then if I ever get time to do a puzzle …


    1. Thanks for letting me know. Good luck with all that work! I, for one, will be sorry to miss your blogs, which are generally better than my crosswords. Unless I get another volunteer to fill in I’ll do a blog myself for this weekend’s – I should have no excuse for not being able to parse the clues.
      1. John, I am happy to provide a blog for your excellent crossword. First time setting two weeks ago and first time blogging … why not/
          1. Thanks for the kind words. I have a new found admiration for setters after my first attempt.
  20. This went relatively smoothly, although as usual, I pondered the final two clues (MOUNTAINEER and GENEVA) for longer than should have been necessary.
    It seems this is my sort of wavelength puzzle. A nice end to the week.
    Thank you blogger and setter
  21. Luckily, I found all four 3-letter clues easy and they supplied just enough checkers from which to build.

    I try not to start the QC at the same time as Mrs R, because I always find it somewhat disconcerting when she puts down her pencil and starts reading the rest of the paper or goes off to do something else when I am still to reach the halfway point. Today was no exception, as she finished without any fuss in 20 minutes – a point when I had more blanks than filled-in cells in my grid. However, as the number of checkers grew, previously impenetrable clues opened up and I eventually finished in 35 minutes.

    My last two in were ELIOT and GENEVA, both hiddens, and the other two that posed the most trouble were STING and SEDATE.

    Many thanks to Mara and johninterred.

  22. An entertaining puzzle which took some working out. Realisation that there were loads of anagrams helped! Really struggled with EATER, however! Just couldn’t see it.
  23. 5:26 this morning.
    Another tricky QC with 22 ac “mountaineers”, 16 ac “dungarees” and LOI 12 d “authorise” all proving a little stubborn.
    Overall an enjoyable puzzle and a satisfying solve, with a good variety of anagrinds if you like that sort of thing.
    Regarding the homophone at 1 d “floor”, I guess we experienced Scottish solvers just briefly shrug and move on!
    COD 5d “Liechtenstein” which I visited once almost 50 years ago, as a student on a rapid car trip across Europe to get to Yugoslavia as it was then. Having studied German at school helped with the spelling today.
    Thanks to John for the blog and to Mara for very good end to the week.
  24. I enjoyed this and fairly well waltzed through it, answering many at the 1st pass. For some reason, maybe because I hadn’t written the “o” in mountaineer carefully enough, I thought 20d was “IOU”. I stared at my LOI 19a for an age trying to think of a cut of beef starting “T?I…”. When I finally checked the checkers and spotted my “IOO” I was able to finish. A nice end to the week. Thanks Mara and John.
  25. Very much enjoyed this, although managed to trip myself up by putting in SUPREME instead of TOPSIDE for 19ac.

    Unfortunately this meant 13d and 3dn was blank after 30 minutes.

    Otherwise a great QC from Mara!

  26. FOI FLOOR and LOI MOUNTAINEERS. I missed a couple of anagram indicators along the way including SEDATE which I needed to solve STING and TOPSIDE. COD to the double definition STING. 8:26 for an upbeat end to a mixed week of solving.
  27. 25 mins with just 22ac to go — but it just wouldn’t come. Even though this was very anagram heavy, I still didn’t spot it — maybe I was misled by the question mark at the end, but even after thinking of as many things that go up as possible, one of the more obvious ones just wouldn’t appear.

    Thankfully I could spell Liechtenstein and eventually got Conflagration after thinking it might be Conflammatory. Trying to work out 16ac “Dungarees” was as much of a struggle as probably putting them on.

    Good crossword though.

    FOI — 6dn “Set”
    LOI — 22ac — dnf
    COD — 16ac “Dungarees”

    Thanks as usual!

  28. A bit slow today at 13 minutes, but fun. At 14a, at first all I could think of for a type of furnace was a boiler, and that didn’t help at all! I believe furnace is the American word for a boiler, which always conjures up an image of some massive industrial unit blasting away in a domestic basement!
    FOI Often
    LOI Sting
    COD Mountaineers, although TOPSIDE got a smile 😊
    Thanks Mara and John
  29. Very slow start until we got our anagram hats on. Tried toker for 14ac, which did not help one bit. Eventually finished at 35m, so quite pleased with that, although over our target.
  30. I seem to have committed all the errors that others have noted. I tried alternate letters of newspaper at 8ac and then both (s)toker and (b)oiler at 14 ac before I realised that both 5dn and 12dn were anagrams. Took me 20mins to finish with everything parsed. Thanks to Mara for an enjoyable puzzle and thanks to John for the blog.

    FOI – 9ac THEATRE
    COD – 4dn POTASH for the surface, closely followed by 1ac FRENCH POLISH.

  31. A solid puzzle, a steady solve …
    … and a 12 minute finish which won’t trouble the league tables much but satisfied me. Apart from the slight surprise at the number of anagrams, and a very minor grumble at well = better in 7D, I thought this was very enjoyable and very fair.

    Many thanks John for the blog and I look forward to the Saturday Special. A good weekend to all.

  32. A steady solve for me, coming in at 18:23 after initially stopping on 17:36 and then seeing I hadn’t filled 15d in. On re-looking at it, I quickly saw it was a hidden and filled in that well known city Venega. Thankfully I then saw the “up” bit and corrected it. Lucky I wasn’t solving on the computer I suppose or I’d have got a DNF. FOI THEATRE, LOI GENEVA, COD TOPSIDE. Thanks John and Mara.
  33. Time 12 minutes dead. I had a real struggle with today’s 15×15 so glad to be in Premier coach after suffering in steerage or lack of it!

    Any road up, FOI 1ac FRENCH & SAUNDERS

    LOI 14ac EATER


    WOD 16ac The onomatopoeic DUNGAREES

    I have never been to LIECHTENSTEIN where the Nazi party held its last conference.

  34. The anagrams were trickier than usual with cleverly hidden indicators. But it was sedate and topside that threw me. With S _ D_ _ _ already in I wanted to put sadled for seated despite the spelling error. Gave up at 30 mins.
  35. We love anagrams and we loved this puzzle. We finished in 15 minutes.

    FOI: RUN

    Thanks John and Mara.

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