Times Quick Cryptic No 798 by Orpheus

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
Well well, Orpheus got the better of me this week. It was Rongo last time round, where I gave up at the 15 minute mark after a blank stare at two unyielding clues. This time it was 20 minutes and three blanks. At this rate you can expect to see my next attempt at a blog sometime after galspray’s on the Friday…

Ok, so having looked them up I see two of my guesses were actually correct: I’d written 4d and 11d off to the side with question marks, sufficiently unparsed to be denied (or granted?) entry. Both were rather good clues. My third non-entry was 6d, which wasn’t as good, if that doesn’t strike too much of sour grapes. Anyway, if my time’s anything to go by I’d say this was relatively tricky today. Very good fun, despite the non-finish, with my clear favourite of a good number of lovely clues going to the excellent 2d (when it clicked). Many thanks to Orpheus!

1 Drive initially identifying my favourite American? (7)
IMPETUS: I, M (initially Identifying My) PET (favourite) US (American).
5 County briefly giving name to male rabbits, perhaps? (5)
BUCKS: double definition: short for Buckinghamshire; a term for male rabbits, among other animals.
8 Standard disagreement where securities are traded (5,8)
STOCK EXCHANGE:STOCK (standard) EXCHANGE (disagreement).
9 Beat counter madly (7)
TROUNCE: anagram (madly) of COUNTER.
10 Get on unusually nicely at first in test (5)
MOUNT: U, N (Unusually Nicely at first) in M.O.T. (test)
11 Fruit originally bought by a granny (6)
BANANA: B (originally Bought) by A NANA (a granny)
13 Books carried by fellow in sleeveless cloak (6)
MANTLE: NT (books – New Test.) carried/held by MALE (fellow). Really like the misdirection here: no, “carape” is not an obscure collective noun for carried books.
15 Occurrence archdeacon observed in sci-fi film (5)
EVENT: Ven. (Venerable = archdeacon) seen in ET (stock sci-fi film)
16 Part of Nabucco Verdi definitely exaggerated (7)
OVERDID: “part” of the letters of NabuccO VERDI Definitely.
19 Test son composed about Essex town: an aid to progress (8-5)
STEPPING-STONE: Anagram (composed) of TEST SON going about EPPING (Essex town)
20 Was senile chap after party? (5)
DOTED: TED (chap) after DO (party)
21 Worker interrupting start of this odd outburst (7)
TANTRUM: ANT (worker) interrupting T RUM (start of This ; odd)
1 Small picture of bee, say, about to be cut out (5)
INSET: INSECT (bee, say), with C (c = circa = about) cut out. Another nice one.
2 Possibly he gets stick for this declaration? (13)
PRONOUNCEMENT: PRONOUN (“he”, for example) gets CEMENT (stick).
3 Symbol given to three-quarters of county (5)
TOKEN: TO (to) KEN =  3/4 of Kent.
4 Composition? Former partner let it stand outside (6)
SEXTET: EX (former partner) with STET (let it stand) going outside. Completely new to me, and improbable-looking for someone without Latin: a term in printing meaning that a correction or alteration on a MS, etc. should be ignored. What it lacks in everyday usefulness, it… well, makes up a little bit in interest.
5 Bishop with a home I rebuilt in old country (7)
BOHEMIA: B(ishop) with anagram (rebuilt) or A HOME I.
6 Eg the LSO’s sightseeing trip? (9,4)
CONDUCTED TOUR = sightseeing trip, with a cryptic hint that this would be especially applicable to the LSO, what with their general state of being conducted. I think that’s it, unless I’m missing something more subtle.
7 Pony or sheepdog a woman’ll mostly draw (7)
SHELTIE: SHE’LL (a woman will), mostly means drop the last letter; TIE (draw)
11 Tucked up in bed, not so favoured (7)
BLESSED: LESS (not so) tucked up in/nestled inside BED. A lovely clue, and a great bit of misdirection, showing how an extra word or two can throw you right off the scent. Me anyway.
12 Small computer college set up above bedsit? (7)
NOTEPAD: ETON (college) set up = reversed, above PAD (bedsit)
14 Poem produced by boy on web (6)
SONNET: SON (boy) NET (web).
17 English nurse once touring south German city (5)
ESSEN: E(nglish) SEN (State Enrolled Nurse) touring S.
18 Vision of engineers penetrating barrier (5)
DREAM: RE (engineers) penetrating DAM (barrier).

29 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 798 by Orpheus”

  1. I biffed 19ac, and just as well, as I’d never heard of Epping; the ‘test son’ plus the hyphenation were enough. Also biffed 2d, which was too bad, as it’s a great clue, wasted on me. STET no problem for any of us who have done proofreading. Note, by the way, the ? in 12; ‘bedsit’ is an example of a PAD, and the ? saves the setter from being berated for using a definition by example (DBE). (I’m not sure why the setter added a ? to 2d.) 6:44.
  2. Great crossword, took an hour but very enjoyable.
    Spent the most time in the NE, especially 10a, 13a, 6d and LOI 7d.

    Had to revisit the parsing of 3d and 11d at the end.
    6d was a bit of a leap of faith at the time.

    dnk mantle or sheltie but the word play was clear, once the penny dropped.

    I vaguely remembered sen for nurse.

    Lots of good clues (10a, 2d, 4d) and COD 19a stepping stone.

  3. This was tough – my time 12.44 I simply lacked what it takes today – no excuses!


  4. Just in under the wire in 9 minutes today. Nice puzzle.

    If anyone has had problems with a message from LJ as pasted below would they please see my longer post on the subject in the 15×15 blog. Thanks.

    “Your email address has been marked as unvalidated because we have been receiving errors messages from your mail server for at least one week. This indicates the address may no longer be functional. You can re-validate this email address or switch to a new email address to begin receiving notifications again.”

  5. I read 6d slightly differently. “e.g. the LSO” = CONDUCTED, “sightseeing”=TOUR and “Trip” being the straight clue.
    I was surprised at the comments about the difficulty: just under 8 minutes for me (I’ve had a lot worse). I suppose it helped that I’ve known STET for donkey’s years and although I’d never seen DOTED as senile, “dotage” is a pretty common phrase. I was held up a bit by wanting to put CONEY in 5a and I’d not heard of SHELTIE, though the cluing was straightforward enough.
    1. I don’t think you should ever be surprised by comments about difficulty. People have different levels of knowledge and experience after all. Saying you are surprised is demeaning to those who have struggled, as if we should all be as clever as you undoubtedly are.
      1. I disagree – I for one am routinely surprised by relative perceptions of difficulty, and the large, fluctuating role played by “wavelength”, whatever that strange beast may be! Is this not one of the main reasons for a crossword discussion forum?
      2. Bit harsh I would have thought. Deezzaa was just reporting on his/her solving experience, which is what this blog is supposed to be about.

        As one who struggled greatly with this one (and yesterday’s), I didn’t find Deezzaa’s comments demeaning at all.

      3. In no way, shape or form did I intend to be demeaning, so if I came across as such I apologise. I was only expressing what I found about this particular puzzle. Like you I am constantly surprised by the differences in perceived difficulty: heaven knows there are enough examples of other people apparently sailing through a puzzle with ease and there am I really struggling to make any headway at all.
        1. You didn’t in the slightest – in fact that’s specifically what I meant to say before I got sidetracked by a more oblique defence of your comment!
    2. I did consider that at the time, but thought “trip” too vague a definition for the answer, given the word preceding it, and the idea of “sightseeing” doing double duty tipped me the other way. Having read you put it like that though, I do agree that’s much the better approach. Sour grapes retracted, if that’s ever possible. I won’t bother changing it – enlightenment shall have to be sought in the comments!
  6. I ve been doing this crossword from the start in the hope I would improve- which I have ( well under 25 mins is good for me) but lately I’m not so quick – I’m either losing a few more brain cells or the setters are challenging us a bit more.Still enjoying the challenge but wouldn’t get anywhere if not for this blog! Thanks Fi
  7. Well, well, well, and I thought yesterday’s was tough. This was on another level. Was left with 10ac blank because I had put down CONCERTED TOUR for 6dn. Knew it wasn’t a well known phrase but couldn’t think what else it would be. SHELTIE, MANTLE and DOTED for “senile” were all new to me. And I also struggled with 3dn and 8ac. Gribb.
  8. I agree that these crosswords seem to be getting harder. I, too, have done them since the beginning and thought I was definitely improving but lately there are some very obscure ones. Even having seen the parsing I would never have got the correct answer.

  9. I found this tough again, taking 13:32. Started off by seeing nothing in the NW so moved to the NE and got BUCKS, then gradually progressed from there to the SE which was easier. Then got a toehold in the NW and finished in the SW with BLESSED. Haven’t heard DOTED used in that sense, as it always meant “was very fond of” to me. I also feel that the puzzles are getting a bit harder in general. Thanks Orpheus and Roly.
  10. I can normally solve the QC in 20 minutes or so and rarely fail to finish. Today makes two DNFs in a row.
    Could not get 10a and could not improve on Concerted Tour which I felt had to be wrong.
    The rest was not easy, in particular if you chose Ilford as your Essex town. The second word of that clue made it easier.
    Good puzzle and very good blog -thanks. David
  11. Either I’m particularly thick today (always possible!) or this one is just way out of line with normal quicky standard. I usually rattle through the quickies at good pace but just couldn’t do this one.

    Having quickly completed NW corner except 2dn I spent some minutes sucking my pen over 2dn before giving up and moving on. After a few easy pickings (16ac, 18dn, 7dn) I was back to the sucking … about 15 minutes later I finally got 2dn and gave up, realising that this was a very different beast from the usual quicky!

    The ninjas (“I found this really tough and struggled to complete it in 4:36”) can call me a wimp all they like but I think this one is way out of line

  12. and I had to read the blog for parsing of 2d and 3d. But still, scrupulously fair and plenty of penny-dropping moments, so an enjoyable if very difficult challenge for the QC.
  13. Read too much into 1ac. Thought favourite American? Meant POTUS as in won the election so he is favourite? (Question mark important!!)

    Seems by trying to make this fit I negated to realise that it is also important to make sure you spell the words correctly!

    Hey ho!

    The rest was tough but fair I thought.


  14. Another tough challenge in what’s been a tricky week so far. Got held up for a long time by my last 3 in 6d, 7d and 10a. I spent an age trying to make concerted tour work for 6d but it just didn’t sound right. Biffing 10a was the key to it for me as once that was in the other two followed. Completed in 28 minutes, COD 3d
  15. Stet…A term I know from long experience of working for a demented publisher. Definitely on the wavelength for this in just under 9 minutes which is my fastest for some time, especially given such a quality puzzle. Did Button Moon have a banana mantle as per 11&13a.
    Thanks blogger and it’s a thumbs up when we admit to a DNF
  16. My sympathies to my fellow blogger Roly for catching a difficult one today, although I still managed to come in under my target of 15 minutes (or before Surbiton).

    I originally tried to make CAPOTE fit for 13, putting OT in CAPE, which at least makes the name of a cloak, but there was no way I could make CAPE equivalent to fellow, so it was clearly wrong. At the time I tried to make it fit though, it did fit the checkers that I had, 6d coming slowly for me as for others.

    Well done Roly, and Orpheus our Setter.

  17. Hard to put my finger on what was so hard about this one, except that the MANTLE / SHELTIE corner took me ages. And MOUNT took longer to parse than it probably should have.

    Two toughies in a row, not sure what that augurs for my blogging day tomorrow.

    Thanks Orpheus, nice blog Roly.

  18. Two sittings, but I was still beaten by the NE corner – 7, 10, 13. From my perspective, this was pretty hard for a QC. Invariant
  19. As one who is proud to complete in under 30 minutes, I did find a novel way of holding myself up today by endeavouring to make 8ac 8,5 rather than 5,8. This left me fancying stalking horse or stocking or shocking… but how and why I couldn’t think. As I was told at school some 70 years ago, do read the question. My word it helps! At least I have learned that I am doted – I had always thought that I was merely in my dotage DM
  20. Back to my normal 5-6 minutes after flirting with 10 yesterday. Clearly I found it much more straightforward than most of you. These days I tend to do the main puzzle first so perhaps I was just up to speed?
  21. A bit too hard, I think. Some decidedly non-QC clues, e.g. 2dn. I think if you can biff it (eventually) without being able to work out the parsing afterwards, that’s too hard.


  22. Definitely not on the right wavelength today and DNF…2nd toughie on the trot.

    One of those grids where I had lots filled in lightly but wasn’t exactly sure about endings…pronouncement/pronounciated, conductor/conducted etc

    Could kick myself for 16ac – knew it was a hidden word but still couldn’t see it! Didn’t know Sheltie not Doted.

    FOI – 11ac Banana – although I nearly wrote Apple.

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