Times Quick Cryptic No 788 by Rongo: is 3ac a 1d of 9ac?

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Well well, Rongo got the better of me with this one: all wrapped up nicely by the 10 minute mark, thank you very much, bar a blank stare at 11ac and 25ac… for five minutes, no less, at which point I threw in the towel and looked up the answers. Apart from that sorry little spectacle I really enjoyed this – lots of imaginative clueing and good bits of misdirection, leaning slightly towards the harder end of things. The two I failed to get were definitely among the nicer of the clues – I have seen the “bender” device before, but completely missed it here, and my favourite clue would have to go to the cunning 11ac. A lovely puzzle, many thanks to Rongo.

3 Ceremonial march around island, a heavenly place (8)
PARADISE: PARADE (ceremonial march) around Is. (island)
7 Eccentric person needing low dam to perform (6)
WEIRDO: WEIR (low dam, I’m guessing), DO (perform)
8 Son dozes before exciting photo (8)
SNAPSHOT: S (son) NAPS (dozes) HOT (exciting)
9 Brain’s minimum diameter (4)
MIND: MIN (Minimum) D (diameter)
10 Personal assistant with right standard (3)
PAR: PA (Personal assistant) with R(ight)
11 Flat accommodation for one letter? (8)
ENVELOPE: An excellent cryptic definition, of the riddley type that I especially like. The surface describes the tenancy of an apartment; the cryptic describes the form and function of an envelope.
13 Regular slices of steak, chop or Mexican food (4)
TACO: regular slices of sTeAk ChOp.
15 Vigorously promote optimism, with young primarily replacing old (4)
HYPE: Hope = optimism, with Y (young primarily) replacing O (old)
17 Gear to go very fast after 60 per cent reduction of speed (8)
SPROCKET: ROCKET (go very fast) goes after SP (40% of speed)
19 Possible snack for a vegan fanatic (3)
NUT: cryptic double definition.
22 Wife lives with hot desire (4)
WISH: W (wife) IS (lives/exists/etc.) H (hot)
23 Church with barium compound used in glass (8)
BASILICA: Ba (barium) SILICA (compound used in glass)
24 Husband, an idiot, turning over scrubber in bath (6)
LOOFAH: H(usband) A FOOL (an idiot) turning over/reversing.
25 Annoying person on a bender, reacting without thinking (4-4)
KNEE-JERK: JERK (annoying person) KNEE (a bender/a thing that bends). Very nice.

1 Strange vice and unknown perversion (8)
DEVIANCY: anagram (strange) of VICE AND, Y (unknown in maths)
2 It sounds like woman getting married will show indignation (6)
BRIDLE: sounds like bride’ll (woman getting married will)
3 Top-class brewed hops (4)
POSH: anagram of HOPS
4 Harvest orchard fruit that’s to be seen again (8)
REAPPEAR: REAP (harvest) PEAR (orchard fruit)
5 Abandon desolate area (6)
DESERT: double definition.
6 Small cat producing air pollution (4)
SMOG: S(mall) MOG (cat)
12 Son tossing tricycle out in protest (2,6)
ON STRIKE: anagram (tossing) of SON, TRIKE (tricycle)
14 Ham’s scent almost spoiled piece of game (8)
CHESSMAN: anagram (spoiled) of HAMS SCENt (scent almost = scen)
16 Motor spirit in European North-east (6)
ENGINE: GIN (spirit) in E NE (European North-east)
18 Western character to overawe and wow! (6)
COWBOY: COW (overawe) BOY (wow). I like it.
20 Some find amnesia a mild curse (4)
DAMN: some letters of finD AMNesia.
21 Endless story beginning to kill conversation (4)
TALK: TAL (endless story/tale) K (beginning of Kill)

28 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 788 by Rongo: is 3ac a 1d of 9ac?”

  1. You have my sympathy, Roly; 11ac added 2 minutes to my time, as I stared at the clue, then at the checkers, then back at the clue. I find that I often overlook the ?, which would have told me that this was a cryptic definition, so that I could stop looking for something meaning ‘flat’. A lovely clue, wasted on me. Also a memory lapse at 23ac. A weir is indeed a low dam; I think water usually flows over it, but it raises the water level. 8:52.
      1. Yes, agree as well – it must have been a lingering giddiness from 11ac! A bit late in the day but will change it now.
  2. A similar story to Roly’s from me, except the clues that nearly did for me were 11 and 22 instead of his 11 and 25. Wrapped up in just under 10 minutes apart from those two I stared blankly for another 10 before they gave up their secrets and I avoided resorting to aids.

    Be prepared for “mind and brain are not the same thing” comments.

    Edited at 2017-03-16 05:15 am (UTC)

    1. Well this is odd. Same experience but with one clue different. Roly (11, 25). Jackkt (11, 22) me (11, 23). Just goes to show one can never tell what is a ‘hard’ clue/crossword – as it’s all down to the individual. Thanks to Roly for the blog – and to Rongo for an interesting challenge.
  3. Struggled and 18d was LOI.

    I liked the spousal and marriage references… had to giggle at 22a.

    And 11a took me ages too.

    Very good puzzle I thought.

  4. Lots of fun and it says that I took more than three hours. Would “a letter” be better than “one letter” in 11 across? I was tryiing to insert an I.
  5. DNF after 30 mins. Spelling WIERDO wrong didn’t help, I also missed ENVELOPE. Frustrated to have missed HYpe and SPROCKET after guessing the clue construction.

    COD definitely BASILICA.

  6. Very nice puzzle, lots of good surfaces (22a, 24a, 1d, 6d) to name a few.

    Finished in 20mins, a quarter of that taken up with
    11a, envelope – I guess is an &lit.
    22a, lives = is threw me for a while.
    1d, deviancy – good anagram.
    18d cowboy – the parsing overawe = cow, wow = boy is clever but tricky.

    1. An &lit is a clue where the whole thing is both the definition AND the wordplay. A cryptic definition contains no wordplay but the surface reading is intended to deceive solvers into thinking of something completely different. Thus 11A is a cryptic definition.
  7. Either I’m getting stupider or these are getting harder, but this was another tricky one today. I finally finished at the 30 min mark, spending an age on 17ac and 18dn. Not familiar with “cow” for “overawe” so that caused some issues. I can’t be the only only one who slogged away looking for an anagram of “low dam” at 7ac, especially after getting the “o” from 3dn’s “posh”. Gribb.
    1. I looked for an anagram of low dam as well, but then biffed weirdo, and reverse parsed, if that is a word!
  8. Rongo lulled me into a false sense of confidence with this one as the NE went in straight off and I thought it was going to be straightforward solve. Things got a bit chewier after that and eventually completed it in 20 minutes. 11a went in from the checkers but pretty much unparsed. 17a held me up as I was sure that the middle 4 letters were going to be ‘race’. LOI 14d. Once again there were lots of good clues including 19a and 22a.
  9. Not sure of the time, as this was completed in two bursts, but it felt reasonable and didn’t cause me too many problems. I saw ENVELOPE nearly straight away, but then spent a minute convincing myself that it was right. PARADISE and WEIRDO were the first two in, which gave me a good start in the North. ENGINE and HYPE were the last two in, as I kind of progressed in a clockwise direction.

    Nice puzzle, good blog, thanks.

    Edited at 2017-03-16 11:25 am (UTC)

  10. I also struggled again with this one taking 20:32, with 11a and 23a holding me up most. There were lots of clues that took some careful decoding, and I had to skip around the grid to find a way in to a lot of them. FOI was POSH and LOI ENVELOPE which I am still struggling to get my head round! Liked SPROCKET and BASILICA. Good puzzle though. Thanks Rongo and Roly.
  11. 20 minutes today.

    Lots of fun surfaces, especially 24a.

    Envelope went straight in for me, helped I think by being reminded of the childhood riddle – Which word begins with E, ends with E and has one letter in it…

  12. 26 minutes, which is a reasonable time for me. They all went in fairly smoothly. I biffed ENVELOPE, and not sure I get it.
  13. Managed ten minutes on a train before I had to get off having made good progress; needed another 15-20 to finish it. My LOI was 23a and until I had all the checkers I was not sure what I was looking for. Got Envelope easily enough but still do not understand the parsing fully. COD 25a. David
  14. Well, I really liked it! I finished it mostly in one sitting in spite of the migraine which I’m in the process of recovering from and it was good to have something to distract what’s left of my brain this afternoon. 1d and 11a were my last two in and I didn’t really parse ENVELOPE or COWBOY. Thanks Rongo and thanks blogger for enlightening me about 11a & 18d.
  15. I’m having a very bad crossword week and so a 40 minute finish was a bit of a result as I actually finished today!
  16. 11a was my loi and I got it mainly from the checkers but like a couple of folk here I am not happy with the parsing. Is the clue just cryptic? I thought a clue had to have two parts – a definition of the answer however hidden and a cryptic element allowing you to construct the answer. Is this clue somehow both at once? I keep staring at it and just can’t see how it works.
    1. I would guess that most clues consist of a definition and wordplay, but significant minority clue types include double (or triple or quadruple …) definitions, which contain no wordplay, cryptic definitions (like 11a), which contain no wordplay but have a deceptive surface (like a riddle, as our blogger says), and &lits, where the whole clue is both the definition and the wordplay (i.e. there is no separation between the two). The set of “allowable” clue types I suppose has evolved over the years, the guiding philosophy being that some level of fairness to the solver must be present.
  17. Unlike so many of you I thought this was a brilliant cryptic definition. It took me a while to see it, but when I did I was very impressed and it remains my clue of the day despite all the negative comments. My biggest problem was HYPE because I failed to parse deviancy correctly and put deviance instead. This left me struggling with -e-e for 15a. At least I got there in the end!

    (I love this forum – thank you all – it has really taught me so much about solving cryptic puzzles, though I think it will be a LONG time before I advance to the 15×15!) MM

  18. Didn’t attempt this until Friday morning – as feeling under the weather – which is fine!

    11.43 a tough 19ac indeed!


  19. Small request for rolytoly – could you perhaps stick the puzzle number in the title please so that anyone searching for the blog in the future will be able to find it easily? Thanks!

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