Times Quick Cryptic No 598 by Teazel

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
A really nice puzzle, towards the harder end of the spectrum. I did yesterday’s just before this, and took just over twice as long today at 16 mins, so on a made-up scale of difficulty out of 10, I’d say yesterday’s was 3.5 and today’s was 7.5. Half of it went in quite easily, leaving about 10 rather more stubborn ones. It was fun to see a topical referendum clue at 6d, and a mischievous little one at that (let’s hope not a prescient one). My joint COD goes to 1ac and 9ac: I liked the cunningly masked simplicity of the former, and the latter elicited a good old groan-chuckle when the answer dawned on me. Many thanks to Teazel for this – much enjoyed.

1 I got into bed, able to see only one side?
BIGOTED: Quite simply, I GOT [goes] into BED. Very nice.
5 Postpone using force to spear ruminants
DEFER: F[orce] goes inside (to spear) DEER.
8 Easily outclass, circling?
RUN RINGS ROUND: double definition, second one semi-cryptic.
9 Outward appearance of champion Internet browser?
SURFACE: If you were a champion at browsing the internet – i.e., an ace at surfing – you would be a Surf Ace. The Red Baron of Clickbait, for example. If you think about it, watching the very best in the world at surfing the net (however the scoring system might work) does have the potential to be a very good spectator ‘sport’. Well, more promising sounding than the pitch for Gogglebox must have been.
10 Tree appears more bare, first off
ALDER: Balder is more bare, remove the first letter.
11 Accidentally wet a prominent display
SPLASH: Double definition. A splash can be a “striking or ostentatious display” (OED).
13 Maiden interrupts tale involving violent emotion
STORMY: M is a maiden in cricket, goes inside (interrupts) STORY.
15 Parent’s thanks for Italian food
PASTA: Pa’s ta = parent’s thanks.
16 Live in comfortable home, extremely close
NEAREST: ARE (live) in NEST (comfortable home). I don’t recall seeing ‘are’ for ‘live’ before, but ‘to be = to live = to exist’ is used quite a lot, so it follows that if ‘you live’ then ‘you are’. I do recall seeing ‘exists = is’ before.
19 Blameless, lacking strength to eat one medium fruit
UNIMPEACHABLE: UNABLE is lacking strength; inside (to eat) goes I, M, and PEACH.
20 Small, deficient track
SPOOR: S[mall], Poor = deficient. I didn’t know this word. A spoor is a track left by an animal or person, apparently, and to spoor is also to track.
21 Merit death upfront? Horribly severe
DESERVE: D = Death upfront, followed by an anagram (horribly) of SEVERE

1 Poet is on fire
BURNS: double definition.
2 Sailor seeming to upset this supreme commander
GENERALISSIMO: anagram (to upset) of sailor seeming.
3 Forest region in Alberta, I gather
TAIGA: hidden in AlberTA, I GAther. I am informed that the taiga is the coniferous forest region spanning the northern latitudes, and is “the world’s largest terrestrial biome”, no less. Therefore, as one might gather, a forest region in Alberta would be a part of it. Lovely clue this, and much more imaginative than some tired tiger pun such as ‘predator heard in forested area’ or ‘large cat reported in Siberian forest’. COD, in hindsight.
4 Aussie’s excavating equipment
DIGGER: double definition. I hadn’t heard of DIgger for Aussie – originally WWI soldier slang, in a similar vein to ‘sapper’ (see 12d).
5 Inactive lecturer takes time to tour Sandhurst
DORMANT: DON, T (lecturer, time) goes around (to tour) RMA (Royal Military Academy = Sandhurst). I didn’t like the use of ‘takes’ as a link-word, and the Three Letter Abbreviation needed looking up.
6 Referendum mob riots: I am in it from the start
FOUNDER MEMBER: anagram (riots) of referendum mob.
7 To arrest duke, back my revolutionary troops
RED ARMY: D[uke] is arrested by REAR (back); my is my.
11 Cathedral put lass off
ST PAULS: Anagram (off) of put lass.
12 Royal Engineer eats new fish
SNAPPER: Sapper = Royal Engineer, eats N. A sap was a covered trench used in warfare; a sapper constructed one. The ‘Royal Sappers and Miners’ became the ‘Royal Engineers’ in 1859. Yes, there was a bit of a military theme to this crossword – perhaps an observation on the increasingly strident tone taken by both sides of the referendum debate? Perhaps not.
14 I come down around noon away from the sea
INLAND: i come down = I LAND, goes around N[oon].
17 A second man succeeded in sporting contest
LOI. With A?H?S, I simply couldn’t see it. I forlornly resorted to writing out what I thought the letters had to be, just to see: A is A; S is second; ‘man’, starting with an H, can only be ‘he’; and it was only with “ashe” scrawled out (and presumably a knowledge of the last letter helped as well) that I finally saw the answer. Go to the back of the class.
18 You must accept mark for subject
THEME: You = THEE, in goes (must accept) M[ark]. With ??E?E, I couldn’t get ‘liege’ out of my head.

21 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 598 by Teazel”

  1. Thanks blogger for parsing 5d but I feel I should have worked it out. All in all a fair test about middling difficulty for me, I knew spoor I think from King Pellinore and The Questing Beast in The Once and Future King but it may have been from somewhere else.
    Nice blog and puzzle, thanks Teazel
      1. You’re right it, now I’ll spend all day worrying about where I first came across spoor
  2. Definitely on the harder side, although now I can’t remember what slowed me down. One thing, an annoying one as it happens time and again: at 8ac I quickly enough came up with ‘run rings around’, which of course didn’t fit, so I thought to change it to ‘about’, and only later remembered that on your side of the pond it’s ROUND. I knew this, just as I know how to spell ‘labour’ etc.; but they don’t spring to mind. Some time back, TAIGA made its appearance in a 15×15, and produced rather a lot of complaining about obscurity, etc.; so I was a bit surprised to see it here. I don’t see a problem with ‘takes’ in 5d, although ‘on time’ would have worked. 9:05.
  3. 16:44, which I think might be a PB, certainly felt like a fast one. Also had ASHES, as LOI, being tempted by ‘aches’. Is ‘n’ really an abbreviation for ‘noon’? Any context for that, such as ‘I’ll see you at n?’. Commendable to have usage such as ‘surf’ for browse, although that usage is pretty retro already. I had ‘Runs rings ABOUT’ first, which meant that the NE corner was last, and blew the chance of a sub 15 min solve. Actually knew the word ‘Taiga’, but thanks blogger for spotting the Alberta reference in there.
    1. I think you’re right to find ‘n’ for ‘noon’ a bit on the iffy side. Of the usual sources only Chambers has it but Chambers has single letter abbreviations for just about everything and solving would be a poorer experience if they were all used. Having said that, I think we’ve had it many times before and it was only your query that prompted me to look it up and find it’s not as widely documented as I had assumed.
  4. 9 minutes for the third consecutive day after Monday’s really tricky one. Helped by knowing TAIGA and SPOOR. Like our blogger, ASHES was my last one in.
  5. Only as far as 1ac. ASHES was a write-in, and the four 13-letter answers really helped towards 5’33”. Thanks blogger and setter.
  6. Nothing too tricky here, certainly compared to Teazels’s last offering. Completed in 18 minutes. I was held up by my LOI 16a as I was looking for a word which ended in ce for a while – for the extremes of ‘close’ – with live in as the definition. I hadn’t heard of 3d before but it was generously clued. COD 2d, just because I like the word.
  7. Great to have referendum in the puzzle.

    Was wondering why there was a question mark in 21a.

    Like others my LOIs were ASHES and SPOOR

  8. Quite a few answers which had political overtones -including Bigoted- as we wait to see who will be our generalissimo.
    As to the puzzle, I finished it in 12 minutes, so very quick for me, and my LOI was 5d; took a while to parse it. A good puzzle which to me seemed much easier than yesterday. David
  9. 16:31 … easiest of the week so far. Couldn’t parse SURFACE but watevs.
  10. The main puzzle today is worth a look for the more confident of us, I’d say.
  11. I found this quite a challenge, but a very enjoyable one. Can’t believe anybody had a problem with ASHES. Is there any other sporting contest? Thoroughly enjoyed 9ac. Very neat little clue I thought.
  12. LOI 20ac SPOOR which gave me a slow time of 11.11

    COD GENERALISSIMO I always like long one word anagrams especially

    when they end in the letter O!

    I thought 4dn DIGGER was a universal expression but I suppose it

    has faded with time.

    horryd Shanghai

  13. Needed to check 3d taiga as that was a deduction of a new word for me. 20a spoor must be a write in for any fan of John Buchan’s stories. 15a pasta my COD as it’s just so amusing. didn’t understand 5d dormant until it was explained here, but what else could it have been! Nice puzzle and helpful blog – thanks to all parties.
  14. Splash is journalese for the main front page story of a newspaper. Katie Rose
  15. I have a general query please. Being away from home a lot during the summer I have not been purchasing the paper version of The Times and am missing my daily tussle with the Quick Cryptic crossword. Is it available to download online? Thanks, Chris
      1. Ah ok! Thanks, but presumably you have to pay a subscription to get a Times login?
        1. Unfortunately yes – I think the cheapest package is about £6 per week though there may be special offers available.

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