Times Quick Cryptic No 898 by Teazel

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I found this very tough today. Or at least, I made very heavy weather of it – I threw in the towel at the 25 minute mark with 1d and 9ac unanswered, which is my worst performance in… well, as long as I can remember (which perhaps isn’t all that long). The top half was the main sticking point, where I didn’t get any of the acrosses on the first run through. A fair bit of time was spent, via an inability to count, trying the wrong anagram fodder for 1ac, and I only realised my mistake when the G in 2d finally presented itself. A fair bit of time was also spent on 10ac, and 4d, and even 6d, not to mention the unanswered ones. Those “-gh” words always get me, dammit! Oh well, after what’s been a pretty good solving week so far, I will say thanks to Teazel for a (somewhat) enjoyable confidence check, although one that I intend to quickly forget.

1 Unfulfilled person’s theme: behaving badly (5-4-4)
MIGHT-HAVE-BEEN – anagram (badly) of THEME BEHAVING. Not “Person’s theme”, which contains a mess of rent hopes and other vaguely forlorn sounding things that might be hyphenated.
8 Wife perhaps a Tory type (7)
9 In part of body, temperature raised (5)
THIGHT(emperature) HIGH (raised).
10 Join small military unit and study deeply (2,4,6)
GO INTO DETAIL – GO INTO (join) DETAIL (small military unit)
12 Indifference in a way unknown (6)
APATHYA PATH (a way) Y (unknown)
14 Become aware of us, say, in survey (6)
CENSUS say/speak SENSE US (become aware of us)
17 Girl with one sign for scientist (7)
GALILEO – GAL (girl) with I LEO (one, sign)
19 Bread is mine? Cheers! (5)
PITTA – PIT (mine) TA (cheers)
20 This, initially very infectious, renders us sick? (5)
VIRUS initial letters of very infectious, renders us sick
21 Pirate’s rough appearance remarked on (7)
CORSAIR – remarked on/spoken COARSE AIR (rough appearance)
22 Come back to harvest fruit (8)
REAPPEAR – REAP (harvest) PEAR (fruit)
23 Small child makes slide (4)
SKID – S(mall) KID (child)

1 Where to find brass, they say, in Scottish island (4)
MUCKDouble definition: the saying “where there’s muck there’s brass” (i.e., there’s money in unwholesome/undesirable activities) was beyond my radar today, as was the Scottish island. Population “around” 27, according to Wikipedia, which does indeed sound open to fluctuation.
2 Day in lagoon, floating around in this? (7)
GONDOLA – anagram (floating) of LAGOON, insert D(ay)
3 Tree thriving initially on S American cape (5)
THORN – T (thriving, initially) on HORN (S American cape)
4 Battle? Start shooting! (6)
ACTION – A nice double definition: the first military, the second cinematic.
5 More pretexts devised for dangerous pastime (7,5)
6 Girl in the morning leaving the US (5)
ERICA – AMERICA (US) losing AM (morning). I had a blank at this for some reason.
7 Not locking any cargo area leads to such wrestling? (2-5-6)
NO-HOLDS-BARRED – If no cargo areas were locked, no holds would be barred.
11 Project for the morning after? (8)
HANGOVER – to project = to overhang = to hang over  – not quite a double definition as “hang over” would have to be two words.
13 Goes to ground, so far ahead in golf match? (5,2)
HOLES UP – another double definition.
15 Place somewhat behind in disappointment (7)
SETBACK another nearly-but-not-quite double definition, for the same reason as 11d.
16 Helped yourself to tea? Caught you! (6)
GOTCHA – Got cha = got tea.
18 Caterpillar, for example, in popular variety (5)
LARVA – “In” the letters of popuLAR VAriety.

11 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 898 by Teazel”

  1. I completed this in 9 minutes, so within my target 10, but in the process I realised there were some really tricky clues that may present trouble if one didn’t happen to think of the right connection. 1dn was foremost in this regard. 2dn is a superb example of a whole clue defining an answer perfectly.

    Edited at 2017-08-17 06:27 am (UTC)

  2. Yeah, a tough one today, with the top half proving tricky, especially 10ac. I initially put ATTACK for 4dn, which didn’t help things at all. Didn’t understand why 10ac worked. Not heard of detail for military unit. CORSAIR is also an unknown for me. God knows what my time was here, but definitely past the 30 min mark. Gribb.
  3. A strange puzzle in that I found most of it of average difficulty but the NW was very tricky. Not seeing the anagram in 1a for ages didn’t give me much to work with, 1d, LOI, was a bit of a guess / dredged from the depths of my memory and 10a just plain tough.
    I guess after a relatively gentle week we were due a toughie. Eventually completed in around 35 minutes over a couple of sittings, COD 21a.
    Thanks to Teazel for the mental workout and roly for the very thorough blog.
  4. Definitely tricky, though why, like the blogger, I struggled with ‘Erica’ I don’t know! 28 minutes; long for me these days but thankful to get through it under 30.
  5. I needed two sittings today, but when I came back the second time the remaining clues just slipped in. 1d was actually my FOI after checking with my wife that there was indeed an Island called Muck. 48mins but that included a trip to the local shop in the middle.
  6. Doing this on the club site and carelessly entering EXTREME SPORTS for 5d means that my entry became EXTREME SPORS and gave me one error in my 13:35. I found this very tricky and my last two in were MUCK, then MIGHT HAVE BEEN, where I missed the correct anagrist. A cursory glance at the grid before submitting missed the error at 5d. Doh! Not getting 1a slowed me down considerably. A good workout. Thanks Teazel and Roly.
  7. Found this taxing and was surprised to solve in 16:33 – I felt it had taken much longer. Like others thought the 1a/1d was tough, but LOI was 14a, held up by having Outback in for 15d.

    Edited at 2017-08-17 11:48 am (UTC)

  8. This was a good challenge with some tricky clues; but at least I managed to finish it all correctly.
    Time not noted as morning disrupted by news of A level results.
    I was quick to see Extreme Sports and No Holds Barred and that gave me a good foothold. Muck and Brass came to mind immediately. I finished with 4d which took me a long time to see. COD to 11d but lots of good clues.
    Via the 15×15 blog I found some YouTube guides to Cracking the Cryptic by Simon Anthony and Mark Goodliffe. Well worth a look for solving tips. David
  9. Like England’s batsmen, the top half proved tricky. Fortunately I saw the correct anagram at 1a which helped greatly. About 15 minutes and thoroughly enjoyed this. Thanks all
  10. This took me a good twenty minutes, and I managed to get it wrong anyway, by not being careful enough about 1d and assuming the “they say” was a homophone indicator and the unknown Scottish island must be “much”. Ah well.

    It’s a well-known fact that before crosswords were invented, there were no Scottish islands at all. When a setter has a space to fill that has a plausibly-pronouncable collection of letters that’s not currently in a dictionary, they just clue it as “Scottish island”, and overnight a new inch* rises from the waters and magically appears in the atlases and Wikipedia.

    *Inch = small island. Remember that one, beginners; it’ll crop up eventually.

    1. I hesitated between MUCK and MUCH too:-) “Ait” or “eyot” is another one to watch for. According to Wikki: An ait or eyot is a small island. It is especially used to refer to river islands found on the River Thames and its tributaries in England.

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