Times Quick Cryptic No 728 by Flamande

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had a bit more crossword practice of recent or if today’s was a gentler offering than most, but I was satisfyingly quick today. Would have been 8 minutes had I not wasted a full minute on 23ac… five-lettered disciple beginning with P with an S shoved in, it shouldn’t be that tricky, but what does my brain do in the giddy anticipation of a sub-8 minute finish? Shouts “Paul” at me for the guts of a minute and “pi, something” for the remainder. Oh well, all good fun. As a Christmas bonus, I’ll offer an alternative clue to an answer below: “Leak? Small leak, by the sounds of it (4)”. So yes, many thanks to Flamande for this kindness and have a very merry Christmas!

1 With most of the drink knocked back, it’s time to sleep
NIGHT: TH (most of “the”) GIN (drink) reversing (knocked back).
4 Professional with education degree asked searching questions
PROBED: Pro (professional) BEd (education degree)
9 Become upset to finish school
BREAK UP: double definition, although the first one caused a bit of hesitation.
10 Speaker’s given out a letter from Athens
DELTA: speak DEALT (given out), A.
11 Empty lodge next to a field
LEA: LE (empty LodgE) next to A. I was unaware of this word before crosswords, and can imagine struggling through life without it.
12 Fried potatoes fresh from the pan? A hit at Troon
CHIP SHOT: CHIPS (fried potatoes) HOT (fresh from the pan). A shot in golf.
15 Various novelties I prepared for the box
TELEVISION SET: anagram (various) of NOVELTIES I ; SET (prepared).
17 A fellow going round Morecambe maybe is from the States
AMERICAN: A MAN (a fellow) going round ERIC (Morecambe, maybe).
18 Male failing to finish cuppa
CHA: CHAP (male, failing to finish).
20 Musician‘s regal composition
ELGAR: anagram (composition) of REGAL
22 Old railwaymen celebrate what carer’s doing?
NURSING: NUR (National Union of Railwaymen) SING (celebrate)
23 Saintly disciple traps small bug
PESTER: PETER (saintly disciple) traps S(mall). Uh huh.
24 Prisoner seen backsliding in feature film
LIFER: hidden and reversed (seen backsliding) in featuRE FILm

1 Peers etc showing no skill, lacking capital
NOBILITY: NO,  ABILITY (skill, lacking first letter)
2 Woman showing some regret, always
GRETA: hidden in (showing some) reGRET Always.
3 Buy some insurance and hide
TAKE COVER: Double definition.
5 Friend regularly supplied claret, perhaps
RED: even letters of friend, clued by “regularly supplied”.
6 Labour set up many elections
BALLOTS: BAL (Labour, set up) LOTS (many)
7 Small amount of alcohol doctor takes in the morning
DRAM: DR (doctor) AM (in the morning).
8 Back south of Croatian resort for a very short time
SPLIT SECOND: SECOND (back – as in the verb) going south of/under SPLIT (Croatian port).
13 Uncle Rod’s turned out to be a villain
SCOUNDREL: anagram (turned out) of UNCLE RODS.
14 To begin with, some townspeople really annoy newcomer
STRANGER: S T R (beginning letters of “some townspeople really”) ANGER (annoy)
16 Go miles, wandering in French city
LIMOGES: anagram (wandering) of GO MILES.
18 Head cook brings in sushi at last
CHIEF: CHEF (cook) brings in I (sushi, at last)
19 Very little pressure to turn on the waterworks
WEEP: WEE (very little) P(ressure).
21 Southern English town supplying grain for whiskey
RYE: double definition.

17 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 728 by Flamande”

  1. To answer your question rolytoly I found this the easiest for a long while. Quite enjoyed 12ac (chips hot) (COD). LOI NOBILITY
  2. 6 minutes which I’ve achieved on only 9 occasions previously and surpassed only once – a 5 minute solve, also of a puzzle by Flamande.
  3. I was also much quicker today -about 15 minutes – and my LOI was 23a after 19d. Merry Christmas to all. David
  4. Flamande may well be one of the easier setters, but he/she still comes up with some lovely clues (eg 12ac). 27 mins today, which is quick by my standards, and yes, I don’t know how I struggled through life without knowing lea either! Invariant
  5. 5’34” I have been to Split, which helped, and so much wanted to put in CHIP SHOP, but resisted. Thanks roly and Flamande.
  6. 18.5 mins for me, which like previous contributors is on the quicker side of things. I personally always take 20 mins as my benchmark. Some lovely clues today – very entertaining.
    Do you think the Editors will treat us to a Christmas Quickie on Saturday? I don’t know many Latin Christmas words and all the famous Latin writers were writing before Christmas was celebrated!
  7. Lucky to have played rugby in LIMOGES, and to have fluffed many a CHIP SHOT.

    Thanks Flamande and Roly.

  8. Speeded through this, but you guessed it, I put CHIP SHOP in for some reason. Didn’t known the Troon/golf link so assumed it was some chippy-related reference. Ah, well, would have been a record time as well. Gribb.
  9. I also find Flammande one of the gentler setters and completed this one in 15 minutes with no real problems. LOI 10a as it took me a while to sort out the parsing – my usual issue with homophones
  10. I do not understand the parsing of 10a. How does speak get to dealt and thence to Delta? I am very grateful for the blogs and am slowly improving as a result but still have blank moments of incomprehension!
  11. Second ever sub-20 minute solve at 19:26. I think that should be my new target. Biffed in 10A. Took a while to get it, even after the expanation. I understand now, as in: He was “given out a” crushing blow / He was “dealt a” crushing blow / He was “delta” crushing blow. Clever.
  12. My fiancee and I are having a disagreement about the championship puzzles. It is my opinion that the solvers have one hour to complete three puzzles. She is of the belief that they have one hour to solve each puzzle. Which of us is right? Bernie
    1. Bernie,

      Just seen your query: too late to ask on your behalf, too late to answer on my behalf. That aside, here goes:

      Your fiancee is wrong and you are correct. In her defence, I would say that I agree with her: or, rather, I would have agreed with her before coming to this website a couple of years ago and seeing the speed at which the speediest bunch of people rattle through things. It’s seriously impressive. Or ridiculously impressive, rather. Some people are just bloody clever and good at things. I aim for 30/40 minutes, for an average puzzle, after a decade-or-so and am happy enough!

      Chances of you reading this: 0.001%

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