February 24th, 2020


QC 1555 by Teazel

A very interesting puzzle today from Teazel. It had very few of those usual staples of a QC, anagrams and hidden words. I could see only two full anagrams (plus one where an anagram was generated and then inserted) and one tiny hidden word. The definitions and surfaces were of a high standard and the double definitions (again, only two of them that I could see) were clever. I found it of medium difficulty, certainly more challenging than those I have blogged in recent weeks. Many thanks to Teazel for a well-written puzzle and an enjoyable start to the week.

My FOI was about the easiest clue on offer at 5A and I think my LOI was the fairly obvious 20A, so I'm not sure quite how that held out till the end but it did. I think my COD was the clever double-D (pianissimo nod there (see 14D) to verlaine's smutty COD on Friday) at 9A.

In my last blog I mentioned that I was just leaving for a visit to Florence. When I got to the hotel there was no dedicated printer there for guest use, so in order to get my daily 15x15 fix I had to email the link to the very helpful hotel receptoninst so that she could print it out for me. One day she started reading it briefly before handing it over to me and burst out laughing. When I asked her what was the matter she said "What on earth does it all mean?" and then read out the first clue of the day: "Children keeping dog brought to safety"? before dissolving into giggles again. I suddenly realised what gobbledegook our little hobby must look like to the uninitiated observer, particularly when filtered through the mind of someone whose first language is not English, and how twisted our own minds must have become (a) to read it all every day as if it makes perefct sense; (b) to try and construct an alternative universe of meaning in which it all makes another sort of sense; and (c) to gain some sort of weird enjoyment from the process.

Anyway, definitions ate underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

1 Wrote music that’s not frantic (8)
COMPOSED - double definition.
5 Modest about page as material for newspaper (4)
COPY - COY (modest) 'about' P (page).
7 Initially confused by poem in secret language (4)
CODE - C (initially Confused) + ODE (poem).
8 Harp playing adopted by one daughter, left by herself? (8)
ORPHANED - RPHA (anagram of HARP ('playing')) 'adopted by' ONE D (one daughter).
9 Carries on making profit (8)
PROCEEDS - double definition.
11 Devotee regularly in cult (3)
NUT - take 'regular' letters from iN cUlT.
13 Spat, receiving a plumber’s latest list of charges (6)
TARIFF - TIFF (spat) 'receiving' A + R (plumbeR's latest).
16 Publication free of tax is a draw (6)
MAGNET - MAG (publication) + NET (free of tax).
18 Word often accompanying name for cage (3)
PEN - I had an MER here because I don't really think I 'often' hear the combination PEN-NAME. But a PEN is obviously a type of cage and it is a clue that solves itself if you get all the checkers, so working backwards that must be the explanation as far as I can see.
19 Park always admitting one radio (8)
RECEIVER - REC (recreation ground, or park) + EVER (always) 'admitting' I (one).
20 County’s crop meeting obstacle (8)
CORNWALL - CORN (crop) + WALL (obstacle).
22 Elder for one right to fetch round support of course (4)
TREE - R (right) 'fetching round' TEE, which is cryptically a 'support of course', being what normally 'supports' your golf ball when you are teeing off on a golf course.
23 Yankee on Wednesday returned, in early morning, damp? (4)
DEWY - DEW (WEDnesday 'returned') + Y (Yankee).
24 Can spare transplanted organ (8)
PANCREAS - one of only two full anagrams in today's puzzle. CAN SPARE 'transplanted'.
1 Raise stone in front of the plane (7)
COCKPIT - COCK (raise) + PIT (stone).
2 Average doctor about to hold round (8)
MEDIOCRE - MEDIC (doctor) + RE (about) 'holding' O (round).
3 Engaged, made speech in favour (6,3)
SPOKEN FOR - SPOKEN (made speech) + FOR (IN FAVOUR).
4 Pickpocket to go down briefly (3)
DIP - double definition.
5 Encouraging firm cutting (7)
COAXING - CO (firm, as in company) + AXING (cutting).
6 Pressure on recount for dignitary (7)
PRELATE - P (pressure) + RELATE (recount).
10 Lion comes skidding to less than a full stop (9)
SEMICOLON - the other full anagram. LION COMES 'skidding'.
12 College poem: it contains everything (8)
UNIVERSE - UNI (college) + VERSE (poem).
14 Sanction a very quiet wander (7)
APPROVE - A + PP (pianissimo, very quiet) + ROVE (wander).
15 I tend to think about northern childhood (7)
INFANCY - I FANCY (I tend to think) 'about' N (northern).
17 The basics of educating a trio of Republicans (5,2)
THREE RS - RRR (a trio of Republicans).
21 Has pity, locking away poisoner (3)
ASP - the only hidden word today: hAS Pity.