Times Quick Cryptic No 738 by Mara

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I think this was towards the harder end of things, so I was happy to come in at the 13 minute mark. Some tricky clues, some generous checker-providers, some cracking clues, and lots of lovely surface readings combined to make it a very enjoyable solve. I really liked 10ac – it’s always great to have a clue that makes you suddenly read an old word in a new light. I also liked 16ac – not the hardest, but an unusual &lit clue that grew on me. The definition is maybe a touch cryptic for a quirky, Chambers-esque dictionary entry, but it’s very close. So yes, many thanks to Mara for this.

1 Weather that’s turbulent in gale
WITHSTAND: anagram (turbulent) of THATS going inside WIND (gale).
6 Read out letter that’s prompt
CUE: or read out the letter “Q”
8 Shirt — an awful stain
TARNISH: anagram (awful) of SHIRT AN
9 Bung for member’s supporter
SLING: Double definition – to bung = to throw.
10 Sad record playing at an ungodly hour?
DISCONSOLATE: a “record playing at an ungodly hour” could be a “disc on so late”.
12 Drilling holes is dull
BORING: double definition of the appositely lacklustre variety.
13 Socialist keeps fighting for compensation
REWARD: RED (socialist) keeps WAR (fighting) inside.
16 Simultaneous stressed syllables similarly starting so, say?
ALLITERATION: an “&lit”, or all-in-one clue, where the whole clue is a (lovely) definition for the answer, alongside the wordplay element required to make it a cryptic clue – in this case a sevenfold example of alliteration. (Or perhaps a sixfold example – I’m probably wrong but I’d call three words beginning with the same letter triple alliteration.) “&lit”, by the way, is short for “and literally so” – in that the clue is literally the definition, as well as the wordplay.
19 Plant: unusual bush about right?
SHRUB: Anagram (unusual) of BUSH about/going around R(ight).
20 Compound of iron: it assimilates vanadium under laboratory conditions
IN VITRO: anagram (compound) of IRON IT assimilates/absorbs V (vanadium). Literally means “in glass”. Another lovely clue.
22 River Clyde emptied partly
DEE: hidden, “partly” in the letters of ClyDE Emptied. I gave serious thought to the existence of a river Cle  (“Clyde” partly emptied). Go to the back of the class.
23 He and I get it wrong heading to Honolulu for senior’s birthday
EIGHTIETH: anagram (wrong) of HE and I GET IT ; H (heading for Honolulu)

1 Scottish engineer has question for the audience
WATT: which to an audience sounds the same as WHAT (question).
2 Piece of wedding cake, maybe, catching stray dog
TERRIER: TIER: (Piece of wedding cake, maybe), catching/holding ERR (stray). Wins the prize for today’s most surreal surface reading.
3 Runner’s short fleece
SKI: SKIN (fleece), “short” means dock the last letter.
4 Capital in Bulgaria, then: Sofia
ATHENS: hidden “in” BulgariA THEN Sofia.
5 Lying plate on stone, roughly
DISHONEST: DISH (plate) on an anagram (roughly) of STONE. LOI.
6 Tea to drink in teacups, perhaps?
CHINA: double definition – being a smoke-cured tea from south China, and the porcelain that might contain it. Plausible-ish, but wrong:  as Mohn2 and others point out below, the correct parsing is CHA (tea) to drink IN to give teacups.
7 Boffin for example, good man, a mastermind ultimately
EGGHEAD: E.G. (for example) G(ood), HE (man) A, D (mastermind, ultimately)
11 One who painted copper
CONSTABLE: double definition.
12 Banquet’s starter brought up, cooked
BRAISED: B (Banquet’s starter), RAISED (brought up)
14 A saint in European missionary
APOSTLE: A ; St. (saint) going inside POLE (European).
15 Stressful day’s ending in Hertfordshire town
TRYING: Y (day‘s ending) going inside TRING (Hertfordshire town)
17 Huge composition of Elgar
LARGE: anagram (composition) of ELGAR.
18 Upper-class person of superior heredity, the tops!
POSH: first letters (“the tops”) of person of superior heredity.
21 Inverted, the box containing a tank
VAT: TV (the box), invert it and shove in the letter A. And a nice little one to finish.

26 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 738 by Mara”

  1. I agree entirely with Mr. Roly Poly – this was a wee bit tough at 10.57 and that 10ac DISCONSOLATE was COD.

    16 ac ALLITERATION was also admired.


    Whatever happened to Mr. Flashman? Did he get a dictionary for Christmas?

    Edited at 2017-01-05 07:13 am (UTC)

  2. Some very nice clues indeed; I think DISCONSOLATE was my COD, but IN VITRO and ALLITERATION were no slouches (I think the setter may have overdone the number of S-words, though). Luckily (for me, anyway), we had TR(Y)ING quite recently (as well as having ‘Hertfordshire town’ in a recent concise Jumbo). I had to wait for the checkers for LOI 9ac, simply because this ‘bung’ isn’t in my idiolect–although I’ve seen it used often enough by commenters here. 4:57.
  3. 26:09, with the NE corner slowing me down. This is a great QC, with some new clue types, such as ALLITERATION, and of course who didn’t smile when they figured out DISCONSOLATE? 23a was my COD, with elegant surface and nicely concealed anagram. BTW I hate the perjorative terms “boffin” and “egghead”, for scientist.
  4. Yes, a little harder than usual but very enjoyable. After a quick scan, none of the usual sources seem to have China on its own as a tea (though they all have “China tea”) so maybe 6D should parse as CHA (tea) around (to drink) IN.
      1. Ah yes, of course! Agreed. I did check it as I thought I’d seen China = tea before: the OED does have it as short for both China-rose and China tea, so I suppose my parsing could be just about acceptable, aside from the fact that the clue is definitely cha drinking in. Thanks, will change now.
  5. Held up for an age on 10c, convinced there was an anagram hidden in the clue somewhere. What a great answer, though. This was one of those ones where the three-letter ones were not immediately apparent, which always caused me to panic. Gribb.
  6. 49 minutes, great crossword.

    Had difficulty parsing a couple, but I’m on my family Christmas holiday (hi horryd) so can’t spend too long on the crosswords!

    1. There you are! I thought we’d lost you! A very happy New Year and advise your family that your New Year Resolution is to speed-up a bit. I agree, 49 minutes is too long to be away from them. At least you missed Monday’s WAXY beast! Cheers!
      1. I’ve done them all, there were a couple of beasts!

        Next week back at work with a laptop and fresh piece of paper for the anagrams so solving times should be quicker!

        Happy New Year to everyone 🍾

  7. 9 minutes for this one. I’d have been quicker but I wasn’t sure of IN VITRO so waited for all the checkers, and at 16ac I wondered if ALLITERATIVE could have been an alternative answer and waited for 14dn to confirm the final checker.
  8. Another quality puzzle from Mara. It took me 16 minutes and 10a – Disconsolate – was my LOI. Many good clues. David
  9. Well I suppose that those of us who were delighted with yesterday’s puzzle, found Mara’s puzzle impossible… thank goodness for this blog to find out how her brain works 💱
  10. DISCONSOLATE brilliant. IN VITRO and ALLITERATION, as already noted, very good. TRING is now number one on my list of Hertfordshire towns, just above WARE. 5’17” thanks roly and Mara.
  11. Very good puzzle, quite a few gaps in my attempt, lots of grins and “aw, darn, of course!” moments on seeing the answers. Thanks.
  12. I found this fairly tough and didn’t help myself by putting ‘tyring’ in for 15d, giving me a very awkward y in the middle of 16a (LOI, unsurprisingly). I eventually saw the error of my ways and completed the puzzle in 26 minutes. Again lots of excellent clues with particular mention to 1a, 4d and 10a.
    I also parsed 6d as mohn did.
  13. A very pleasant 35 mins today. I might have been a bit quicker except for a) general stupidity and b) putting Gee as my initial answer for 6ac. Egghead didn’t help, and so I lost time looking for an obscure tea beginning with G.
    As others have noted, Mara produced some excellent clues today, of which 10ac has to be my favourite. Invariant
  14. 26 minutes today for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with many pleasing clues. Thanks Mara.
  15. First-class workout for me. LOI 1a took ages to make the connection. 6d I was happy to use the wrong line I’d deduction! 10a has to be COD but 7d is another cracker for me. 22a FOI – getting so far down the list is a sure sign of difficulty for me. To hell with the time, just happy to arrive! Thx for the blog for unravelling some of the answers and Mara for the test.
  16. Forgot to time this one but no more than 10 minutes. There were a number of chewy clues. 10a and 16a eliciting smiles. Tring rang a bell from previous puzzles. I might have been a bit quicker if I hadn’t left it until after midnight to start the puzzle having been up early to baby sit my 38 year old daughter who had neck surgery yesterday. They let her out same day after a disc replacement on condition someone was with her for the first 24 hours after discharge. Amazing what they can do now. Good news is that she now has sensation in her fingers for the first time in over a year and is free of the awful neuropathic pains. Anyway, apologies for the surgical detour and thanks to rolytoly and Mara.
  17. Lots of lovely clues. A real delight. Thank you, Mara. In appreciation, I offer you this:

    Member of the flock rounded on a setter (4).

Comments are closed.