Times Quick Cryptic No 718 by Hawthorn

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I was a bit under the 11 minute mark today, making it one of the quicker ones I’ve tried in a while – helped out by a few easy clues, a few familiar clues, and a rudimentary knowledge of plants that happily includes 14d (although my mental image of it was something quite different). While we’re on the subject, this knowledge didn’t extend to 4d in the main crossword (and I had it ending in an “a”), but as z8b8d8k intimates below, today’s is definitely worth a shot – if you’re anything past halfway through this, give it a try. Anyway, half the across clues fell into place after the first scan through, with the sticklers being 10,11,12,14, 20 and 22. Not much else 14ac could have been, in fairness, but I was stubborn to see why for some reason and just moved on. 22ac is a nice example of a clue that immediately reveals itself as an anagram once you’ve seen an anagram-indicator or two, but can be very hard to answer without a checker or two. Well, for me at least. (And “number” makes me immediately fearful it’ll be some popular song that was doing the rounds in the 1920s.) All in all, towards the easier end, with some lovely surface readings and more than enough going on to make it very good fun, so many thanks to Hawthorn.

7 Cook with right hop kiln
ROAST: R (right) OAST (hop kiln)
8 Tossing and turning, I dream about married female of fantasy
MERMAID: anagram (tossing and turning) or I DREAM, going around M (married). Very nice.
10 What can be seen in voyages to Niagara’s state
ESTONIA: which can be seen in the letters of voyagES TO NIAgara.
11 Prophetess is reflected by lake
SIBYL: SI (is, reflected), BY, L (lake). Lovely surface reading and efficiency of clueing. I had a negative connotation of sibyl in my head, but I think I might be getting confused with Fawlty Towers.
12 One stirring up discontent if going back to market again
FIREBRAND: FI (if, going back) REBRAND (market again).
14 Taxi reversing in backwards
CAB: reversing and “hidden” in the letters of BACkwards. Sufficiently hidden for me, anyway.
15 Tailless African river duck
NIL: NILE (African river loses its tail)
16 Perhaps don’t put on enough lingerie
UNDERWEAR: cryptic definition: if you don’t put on enough, you would perhaps under-wear.
18 One who’s emigrated with retired TV postman
EXPAT: EX (retired) PAT (TV postman). An ex-Pat is of course simply a Pat who’s changed their name, but the ex-postman in question hasn’t done so, I believe. His/her for their is cumbersome, in my view, but I take your point if you disagree, let’s move on to…
20 Call for battle cry?
WARRANT: WAR (battle) RANT (cry)
22 Teasingly reveals a number
SEVERAL: anagram (teasingly) of REVEALS. Teasing indeed.
23 A Russian fighter meets old Spanish friend
AMIGO: A MIG (a Russian fighter) meets O (old)

1 Lawn and elaborate fringes showing gardening ability
GREEN FINGERS: GREEN (lawn) FINGERS (anagram “elaborate” of FRINGES). Another lovely clue.
2 Rustic friend embraces pioneering stateswoman
PASTORAL: PAL (friend) embraces ASTOR (pioneering stateswoman).
3 Shock as almost attacked by bee
STUN: is almost STUNG (attacked by bee)
4 Parking in exotic Mali next to a leaping antelope
IMPALA: P(arking) goes in an anagram (exotic) of MALI, next to A. There were lots kicking around in the capital of Uganda, or so I’ve just recently learnt.
5 Medieval soldier is more coarse when receiving singular answer
CRUSADER: CRUDER (more coarse) receives S, A (singular, answer).
6 Cutting remark made by hairdresser without hesitation
BARB: BARBER (hairdresser) is without “er” (hesitation)
9 Old inebriate’s muddled thinking
DELIBERATION: anagram (is muddled) of OLD INEBRIATE. Very nice.
13 Subtle manoeuvring on railway that’s windy
BLUSTERY: anagram (manoeuvring) of SUBTLE on RY (railway)
14 Cat is eating fruit, not on plant
CLEMATIS: CAT IS eats LEMON (fruit – but not the ON).
17 Walk slowly from valley, taking in edges of wood
DAWDLE: DALE (valley) taking in edges of WooD.
19 Cover with flags: first couple from Panama and Venezuela
PAVE: first couple from Panama and Venezuela
21 Wander about Italian capital, speaking
ROAM: is the same as ROME when spoken.

23 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 718 by Hawthorn”

  1. As Rolytoly says, some lovely surfaces. 1d gave me a bit of pause, since in the US it’s a green thumb. I didn’t get the wordplay in 18ac–is there a Pat the Postman I don’t know about?–but there was little room for dithering. Liked 8ac and especially 15ac. 4:58.

    Edited at 2016-12-08 05:56 am (UTC)

  2. Postman Pat and his black and white cat!

    Very nice today. All done in 31 mins.

    Last two were 8a and 14d.
    I couldn’t parse 2d and 5d.

  3. 9 minutes for Hawthorn’s 13th offering. He’s our Puzzles Editor, btw, not to be confused with the Crossword Editor who sets as Felix.

    Edited at 2016-12-08 07:04 am (UTC)

  4. As per Kevin, Postman Pat obviously hasn’t hit Trumptonville yet, even though he has a new film out voiced by (Stephen Mangan – of Episodes fame.)

    re – 2dn Lady Nancy ASTOR (nee Langhorne)became Britain’s first female MP to take her seat in Parliament, way back in 1919 (for Plymouth Sutton). She was born in Danville – Virginia. Her first husband Robert Shaw II was beastly to her, so she became Anglophile and married Waldorf Astor who had becmme an Englishman – they lived at Cliveden.

    She would have gotten on with Postman Pat rather well.

    9.09 for this moderate QC COD 19dn PAVE WOD CLEMATIS

  5. Missed the parsing of PASTORAL, so thanks for that. Wanted to spell SIBYL differently. 6’28” thanks roly and Hawthorn.
  6. Disappointing DNF having givien up too early on 5d. Parsed the clue and had all checkers, but sometimes you just can’t see ’em.
    Across clues flew in, and pleased to see 12a straight away.
    So, nearly had it done by Surbiton, but not quite.
  7. I did manage to complete by Surbiton, despite wanting to make 5d Cavalier for a while, as it fitted the single checker I had at the time. Luckily, I quickly saw SIBYL (another I or Y conundrum to follow yesterday’s SISYPHEAN in the 15 x 15), so was disabused of that potential error.

    I liked the attempt at misdirection in PAVE and the humour in UNDERWEAR.

    Thanks Setter and Roly.

    Edited at 2016-12-08 10:02 am (UTC)

  8. 18 mins for me today and held up for a couple of minutes by Clematis so definitely at the easier end of the spectrum from my standpoint. I enjoyed Amigo – very neat.
  9. This was a bit of a relief after the struggles of the last two days. Completed in 21 minutes (whilst being distracted by an English batting collapse) so about average difficulty for me. I struggled for a while to figure out the parsing of 10a, had my usual horror with plants and had an internal debate about the spelling of 11a. LOI 14d, COD 2d.
  10. I found this one of the easier ones of late, with only 2d (who is this Stora woman 😊?) and loi 14d holding me up. I eventually moved the ‘a’ in pal to the right end, and started thinking about plants rather than felines. About 30 mins all told, with 14d my favourite. Invariant
  11. Would have been a fast time for me had it not been for CLEMATIS, despite it being quite common in crosswordland. Lovely clue I thought so my COD.

    Another enjoyable and mildish puzzle – I wonder whether Friday will have a sting in the tail? I was slowed up towards the end by CLEMATIS, FIREBRAND, UNDERWEAR and (LOI) CRUSADER.

  13. I enjoyed this one mainly because I could do it all but still had to think. I like it that none of the answers is obscure but not necessarily obvious either. Plants give the shivers but clematis I have known since I was a little boy and it was the only plant we had in our back yard.
  14. First time under 20 minutes for me, with a PM of 18:36. Very pleased. Clematis came to mind very early because of the Fast Show sketch where the gardener says “the secret to bringing a woman to climax is to stimulate her clematis”. LoI Crusader, which was easy once all of the crossers where in.
  15. Getting 1d straight away gave me a good start and nothing too tricky here other than, for me, 14a clematis – but I am not 1d. Shame I threw out the 15×15 as it might have filled my evening. COD 22a LOI 14d FOI 7a. A nice challenge so thx to setter and blogger.
  16. I finished Izetti last Friday – normally my bete noir. Couldn’t parse Retiring but now think it’s a great clue – is that what you guys mean by ‘a good surface’?
    Anyway I’m posting this because having done most of the quickies over the years and got better – I happened to pick up a Telegraph on flight to Antigua and couldn’t do it (without help from ‘Dave’! )Why is it do different ?
    Btw I’m 20 years off a times 15 x 15
    Thoughts please
    Based in London
    1. Bit of a late response but yes, that’s exactly what a good surface reading is – how it reads simply as a normal sentence, rather than a cryptic clue. Very difficult to do if you’ve ever tried devising your own clue.

      I wouldn’t say the surface has to relate to the answer in any way for it to be a good surface (completely misleading is always good, for example!) but it can add a lovely, extra dimension to the clue, such as in the example you gave from last week.

      The differing styles of different papers’ cryptics is interesting, and I try them very occasionally, but I’m too wedded to the Times’s (superior, in my opinion) style of crossword to offer much insight in this regard, I’m afraid.

  17. Solved in about 11/12 minutes on a busy train going to the Varsity match.
    Cambridge won an exciting game after six defeats in a row.
    Enjoyed the game and the crossword which had a plant and an antelope. David
  18. just filled in all the clues without any biffing or, to be honest, any intellectual effort. Easiest by miles in the last two months. Not like Mara’s earlier in the week that took me about four hours and two bottles of Villa Maria. I cannot believe how people have not made a big thing about the extraordinarily difficult issues of that one as the so called quick cryptic!
  19. I am aware that my comments re extraordinarily difficult would not apply to Dorset Jimbo, Verlaine, Mr Heard, and the rest of that utterly gifted gang.

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