Times Quick Cryptic No 654 by Grumpy Friday 9th September 2016

A very fine and possibly straightforward offering today, by Grumpy, whose pseudonym belies the subtle humour in the puzzle. 8ac and 4d stand out for me in a very good learning puzzle for cryptic solvers. It may, just, be easier than the Friday standard of late, or maybe I’m getting better at online completion. More importantly, as we’ve said many times, whether you complete in six minutes or sixty, it’s an achievement.
8. Gander appears with eagle’s wings (4-3)
LOOK-SEE – A gander is a quick look at something, as in ‘have a gander’, ‘appears’ = LOOKS (seems), ‘eagle’s wings’ is EE, the first and last letters (wings) of the phrase, then put the two together. A beautiful clue (the ‘surface’ makes sense as it refers to birds, a gander also being a male goose), only made slightly easier by the enumeration (4-3)
9. Change ‘orse’s ‘eadgear? (5)
ALTER – halter (horse’s headgear) without the h. An apostrophe at the beginning of a clue replacing the h often indicates we should be thinking and speaking in Cockney. Alter = change. I spent some time on this wanting to start with ‘AT for headgear.
10. Small-minded sort of officer? (5)
PETTY – Petty officer is a rank in the navy, from the French ‘petit’, the word by itself means trivial, hence a petty person is small-minded.
11. Sword ignored by girl (7)
CUTLASS – Ignored (CUT) followed by girl (LASS). A heavy sword used by sailors, pirates etc. as in stories read by young and not-so-young boys and possibly girls.
12. Capital containing a hospital for outcasts (7)
PARIAHS – The capital is PARIS, containing A H (for hospital as in the road signs) = outcasts, as in ‘pariah state’ in a modern usage, but historically indicating an indigenous people of southern India who functioned as ceremonial drummers but who later were in a low caste.
14. Dancing queens not the first to follow (5)
ENSUE – ‘Dancing’ is an anagram indicator, UEENS = ‘queens not the first’. Personally I always would follow a dancing queen – the Abba record being a certain floor-filler.
15. Weird eastern lake (5)
EERIE – E for eastern, followed by Lake ERIE, E + ERIE = weird.
17. Pub location, we hear, is visible (2,5)
IN SIGHT – A homophone of INN SITE = pub location. ‘We hear’ / ‘on the radio’/ ‘broadcast’/ ‘for audience’ are all indicators of homophones.
19. Keep aunt and sis in order (7)
SUSTAIN – Sustain = keep, ‘in order’ means an anagram of AUNT and SIS.
20. Punishment in school rules (5)
LINES – As in the verb = to draw a straight line = rules. I am not sure this works completely. Lines, of course, are better than old punishments, but a sure way to put kids off writing.
22. Like a ball in a round of golf? (5)
ROUND – ‘like a ball’ = round and a session of golf involving 9 or 18 holes is known as a round.
23. Furniture placed next to river (7)
SETTEES – ‘placed’ = SET, next to ‘river’ = TEES (whereon Stockton and Middlesbrough). It is worth knowing the major rivers of the UK, and indeed the world. We had a succession of settees at home as a child, always part of a three-piece suite on HP.

1. Failure of fine crop (4)

FLOP – ‘fine’= F + ‘crop’ = LOP. Not a reference to potato blight, carrot root fly or other challenges for farmers and gardeners.

2. Piece of artillery that’s used by builders (6)
MORTAR – the weapon that fires mortar bombs and the mixture of sand, lime, cement and water used to bind bricks and repair gaps.
3. Catch sight of opening for estate agent (4)
ESPY – = ‘catch sight of’, opening of estate (E) + agent (SPY)
4. Musician inspires scout to be prepared (13)

PERCUSSIONIST – an anagram of ‘inspires scout’, a percussionist plays instruments such as drums. ‘To be prepared’ indicates the anagram, and the surface of the clue alludes to the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”. If you suspect an anagram, count the letters in the words (8 + 5 = 13, so worth pursuing).

5. Insensitive leader of troupe to make fewer stage appearances? (8)
TACTLESS – = insensitive, T (leader of troupe, i.e. first letter) + ACT LESS
6. Small wood – and small pieces of meat (6)
STEAKS – S for small, TEAK for wood, and another S for small = pieces of meat, which vary in cut and size. The dangling temptation, part of the setters’ art, is to look for a word for ‘small wood’.
7. View potential customer (8)
PROSPECT – A ‘prospect’ is a view, a vista, as in some place names, and also a person regarded as likely to succeed or as a potential customer.
12. Entreaty certain to provide gratification (8)
PLEASURE – PLEA (entreaty) + SURE (certain) = PLEASURE, gratification.
13. A key adviser in an Australian city (8)
ADELAIDE – The capital of South Australia, named for the wife of William IV. A + DEL (=delete, the keyboard key) + AIDE (=adviser). It is only in the last few years (well thirty or so) that DEL has become a key, before that we had Tippex paper. ‘Key’ can also indicate A B C D E F or G, which is why I parsed this correctly later (‘parse’ = deconstruct the clue, what I try to do in this blog).
16. Secure ground for delivery (6)
RESCUE – An anagram (‘ground’) of ‘secure’, RESCUE = delivery, a noun.
18. Good girl with time for bird (6)
GANNET – A large bird found on the coast or at sea, G (for ‘good’) + ANNE (girl’s name) + T (for ‘time).
20. Reluctant to be seen in clothes (4)
LOTH – = ‘Reluctant’, contained within (‘to be seen’) the final word ‘cLOTHes’.
21. Start to saw wood for window frame (4)
SASH – S (‘start to saw’) + ASH (a tree, type of wood, from which snooker cues are made), a sash being a window frame, or so I wrote on first draft. Personally I though the ‘sash’ was the rope that always seems to stick on such windows. However, a check reveals that I was wrong, the ‘sash’ is actually the moveable panel, i.e more than the frame. So it would seem that the word ‘frame’ is redundant or even misleading in the clue. But (third draft) the Collins dictionary has ‘window sash’ = “a glazed window frame, especially one that opens”.

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18 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 654 by Grumpy Friday 9th September 2016”

  1. Good, straightforward puzzle, like yesterday’s. Took me 13′. I was held up by 3 and 8, which I ended up putting in without parsing, but I admit it is good to have a smattering of trickier clues (i.e. ones whose surface is deceptive, or require higher vocabulary) as an extra challenge.
  2. My DEL key says ‘delete’ (a Mac; PCs are DEL?). I was slowed down by LINES, which I gather is the punishment Bart Simpson is always receiving? 4:49.
  3. 8ac LOOK SEE was my FOI as it was obvious that it had nothing to do with birds from the off! Gander (CRS) is usually ‘look’ or ‘airport’ in crosswordland.
    21dn SASH is a window panel that is moveable on the vertical plane. Rob you were thinking sash cord perhaps?

    7.59 thus moderato.

    horryd Shanghai

  4. Enjoyed the dancing queens. And I don’t know exactly what a sash is, but in crosswordland it has something to do with windows, so in it goes. A little ignorance can go a long way.

    Cheer up Grumpy, it was a nice puzzle. And thanks for the blog Rob.

  5. A pleasant 10 minute warm up for the beast that is today’s 15×15.

    Edited at 2016-09-09 05:30 am (UTC)

  6. I didn’t know teak was a type of wood. I just presumed it was a double definition, STEAKS and STAKES. You learn something new everyday.
  7. This was the easiest for me for a long time: sub 5-minutes. However this was not the main reason I enjoyed it so much – the surfaces were excellent, especially 6d, with only 9a a bit dodgy.
  8. Enjoyed this QC and sitting down at 0930 with a clear head managed to finish in about 11 minutes -so very quick for me.
    Favourite clue -20d -so simple and clever.
    LOI was 3d.
    Excellent blog -thanks Blogger- and Setter. David
  9. Must have been easy – I finished it. But I felt proud to have done it – must have been hard.

    “If you suspect an anagram, count the letters in the words” eg 4d.

    Except these crafty setters can bamboozle you, eg 14ac.


  10. I’m relatively new to cryptics so really appreciated the very clear parsing from Rob Rolfe today.
    Many thanks.
    David Nixon
  11. Going well until the final two, 15ac and 16d. Not helped by ’emere’ being something that could be weird. Finally saw eerie was a better answer, but even then had an unparsed rescue because I missed the anagram. . . It’s been a hard week in the Invariant household. Roll on the weekend. Invariant
  12. Enjoyed this QC and sitting down at 0930 with a clear head managed to finish in about 11 minutes -so very quick for me.
    Favourite clue -20d -so simple and clever.
    LOI was 3d.
    Excellent blog -thanks Blogger- and Setter. David
  13. LOI 16dn – rescue. I had the definition reasonably quickly but took a while to get the anagram – excellent clue. 10mins.
  14. Not a bad week overall but again made a single error. This time, 13a struggling for a capital city and failing and so ended up with Pireaus! This proves again that re-reading the clue with differing emphasis often reveals the right way to read it! Great fun anyway. Thx all.
  15. Two Double Defs did for me today, no excuses for missing 2d and 7d with all the checkers.

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