Times Quick Cryptic No 778 by Flamande

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I’ve come in under 7 mins a couple of times, but at 6.27 this is my quickest blog time by quite some way. My times for the rest of the week have all been at least double that, in a week with a rather blurred distinction between the QC and the main crossword – my respective times were within about 5 minutes of each other on both Monday and yesterday, and within 10 minutes on Tuesday. Must be one of those rare alignment things, like the miraculous “supermoon” of 2016 (which I’ve presumably gone and scuppered with a sub-7 today). So yes, this was definitely at the easier end of the spectrum, and no worse for it, with my favourite of a very nice bunch of clues going to 17ac – many thanks to Flamande.

1 Domestic employee’s mother conceals one attractive quality
CHARISMA: CHAR’S (domestic employee’s) MA (mother) conceals I (one).
5 A politician joining Conservative faction
CAMP: A MP (a politician) joining C(onservative)
9 Something worth having, like television?
ASSET: AS (like) SET (television)
10 Ornamental framework the French placed round upper room
LATTICE: LE (the, French) placed round ATTIC (upper room)
11 Best plaything for a child?
TOP: double definition
12 They test tool rejected by underground workers
EXAMINERS: EXA (axe, reversed = tool rejected) by MINERS (underground workers)
13 Jewish teacher has time to talk
RABBIT: Rabbi (Jewish teacher) has T (time)
15 Dog hidden by swirling cigarette smoke
SETTER: hidden and reversed (swirling) in letters of cigaRETTE Smoke.
17 Deficit, the consequence of a lengthy summer?
SHORTFALL: a lovely cryptic definition, with an overextending Summer making a short Fall. I’m tempted to call this a bit of an &lit, as a shortfall in one’s finances is also quite literally the potential consequence of a lengthy holiday.
19 Medic does operations carefully for starters
DOC: Does Operations Carefully for starters.
20 Amazingly large island to west of a Mediterranean country
ALGERIA: anagram (amazingly) of LARGE and I (for island) to the west of A. Nicely masked clue.
21 Feel half-grotty before gym lesson
GROPE: GRO (half of GROtty) before PE (gym lesson). There’s a hint of an &lit here as well, if you happen to be The Donald’s nubile young gym trainer.
22 Bird: it’s spotted within Kildare’s borders
KITE: IT is seen within KE (KildarE‘s borders)
23 Like birds, they fare badly
FEATHERY: anagram (badly) of THEY FARE.

1 Councillor drinks milky coffee, making loud noise
CLATTER: Cr. (councillor) drinks LATTE (milky coffee)
2 Writer of stories regularly wavers before work
AESOP: even or regular letters of wAvErS before OP.
3 Aware of what’s going on, as artist’s models will be?
IN THE PICTURE: double definition, the second semi-cryptic.
4 Whisky available on a European island
MALTA: malt (whisky) on A.
6 Worker consumes citrus fruit for nourishment
ALIMENT: ANT (worker) consumes LIME (citrus).
7 Reporters gripped by depression
PRESS: held inside dePRESSion.
8 Gosh, here’s a way to start a fire
STRIKE A LIGHT: double definition, I suppose.
14 Carried hot grub out
BROUGHT: anagram (out) of HOT GRUB.
16 Biker with yen for a garden
ROCKERY: rocker (biker) with Y (yen)
17 Sea creature‘s quiet, approaching vessel
SHARK: Sh (quiet) approaching ARK (vessel)
18 Knowing fighting takes place in A & E
AWARE: WAR (fighting) takes place in A & E.
19 Herd of livestock wander beyond far end of field
DROVE: ROVE (wander) beyond/after D (far end of fielD).

23 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 778 by Flamande”

  1. I think this is the third CHARISMA we’ve had recently, each time with a definition I’ve found on the wimpy side–charisma is more than charm or attractiveness–but good enough to avoid a yellow card. I think I’ve only encountered the phrase STRIKE A LIGHT once–in a cryptic, of course–but luckily once was enough. 3:22.
  2. Yes, the run of easier ones continues after yesterday’s blip. 6 minutes is rare for me (only 13 since 2014). Very few clues needed reading more than once, though I did have to return and think about the wordplay at 20ac having biffed ALGERIA.
  3. Pottered around with it over lunch and conversation. Then completed it in around 10 minutes when I returned.

    And yes, I liked the 17. COD.

    LOI 20a

  4. at 20ac was my COD and I was home in 6.58 thus on the easier side. WOD again – GROPE.

    ‘Cor blimey! STRIKE A LIGHT’ is CRS usually followed by the word ‘GUV’NOR!’ And ‘It’s a fair cop!’. Dixon of Dock Green country.

    ‘Evenin’ all!’

    Edited at 2017-03-02 06:28 am (UTC)

  5. I think this was a pb at 16 mins (12 seconds!)

    The parsing for 20a ALGERIA was tricky. Also for 7d I was held up by gripped by for PRESS.

    Pleased to remember aliment from previous crosswords.

    Lots of nice surfaces today (17a SHORTFALL, 1d CLATTER etc.) but my COD to 21a grope.

      1. If you look carefully it is Victor M behind the shades. I like a bit of choice for whatever suits my mood!

  6. Left in Kevin’s wake today, despite an uninterrupted top-to-bottom solve.

    A good confidence-booster, thanks Flamande and Roly.

  7. Yes, a very straightforward one today. However, I only got ailment because it was in a QC a few months ago. Was not aware of it before. Gribb.
  8. Maybe the moon/stars were aligned as this was easily a PB. I do not usually bother with seconds but due to the unusual speed – 6.19. I’m unsure how many of those seconds were due to the slow/repeat typing required on the iPad but it’s given quite a boost to the day. Top half flew in. The rest took more thought – especially the parsing of 20ac. Having tried to fit ‘drought’ somewhere in 17ac I give it COD for the pun.
  9. I’ll join the pb club with this gentle offering from Flammande with 8.38. LOI 20a, COD 17a
  10. Yes, that one was quite easy, but still enjoyable. 17ac and 16d were my favourites today. Invariant
  11. I wasted about a minute trying to fit the clue for 22a into the grid at 23a, as I didn’t notice the across clues strayed into the second column, but still finished in 6:41. FOI was AESOP and LOI AWARE. A nice top to bottom solve. Thanks Flamande and Roly.
  12. Love me a quick quick cryptic. FOI CLATTER LOI EXAMINERS COD SHORTFALL
  13. Looks like I was slow with a 27.19. However, always happy to keep it under 30 mins. I don’t think I even write fast enough to get a sub-10 minute time.
  14. Happy Friday Eve everyone. I rarely time myself (other than approximate) and prefer to judge a puzzle on how well it helps improvers. This puzzle has just about every convention going, all in a way that are quite easy to parse. Theres no doubt that such repetition eventually leads to good improvement for the 15×15 puzzles. Todays main puzzle is well within reach if you can solve this quickly. So congrats to setter for an enjoyable 10 minutes (give or take a few!).
    Thanks blogger as always
  15. Untimed but well under the hour (!). FOI 5a LOI 22a COD 16d. Nice and gentle, thank you!
  16. Also halved my time from the previous days this week: although from a higher base, 16:31.

    COD CLATTER, and was held up by ‘Charming’ at 1ac.

  17. I think this is the first QC I’ve truly managed to finish correctly without looking up at least one clue. Had to biff LOI Aesop (but now understand the “regularly” convention). 40-50 mins while half-watching Aussie soaps. Thanks Flamande for an achievable goal.

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