January 11th, 2021

Astarte1

QC 1785 by Hurley

I have noticed a minority of comments recently suggesting that I (and presumably other bloggers as well) should not describe a puzzle as easy because new people who come along and who might find it difficult can get a bit disheartened, which is exactly the opposite of what we all want to happen. As it is I normally don't post my times anyway as I tend to think they don't mean a lot on the QC. Instead I restrict myself to saying whether I personally found a puzzle more or less difficult than the average, and then generally I find that my perception differs anyway from many of the seasoned contributors either one way or the other. So with that pattern I am quite happy to give a more objective assessment a try and see how it goes. As it is I couldn't give you a time this week anyway even if I wanted to as when I finished it it turned out that the timer was in the 'off' position.

So what I am going to try to do is to give the usual FOI, LOI and COD furniture and then a quick run down of the clue stats concentrating on the types of clue that are generally considered to be the 'easiest', namely anagrams, hidden words and double definitions. I may start to include other types of clue as time goes on but that is how I propose to start anyway. So here we go - just after I have said thank you to Hurley for providing our first fix of the week.

FOI was 1A. LOI was I think 16D. I'm having difficulty deciding on a COD as no particular surface or cryptic construction stood out for me above the others but I will go for 17A.

I counted three anagrams, three double definitions and two hidden words, which should have given most people a good scaffolding of checkers upon which to build the rest of the solution. It also helped that the anagrams were relatively long and the anagrinds ('wrecked', 'revised arrangement' and 'new') could hardly have been clearer.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 With noted talent for “Oklahoma!” say? (7)
MUSICAL - if you are musical then you could cryptically be said to have a 'noted' talent. 'Oklahoma!' is the famous first musical by the Rodgers & Hammerstein duo.
5 Overtake father and sons (4)
PASS - PA (father) + S + S (sons).
7 Fruit woman got, partly missing (5)
MANGO - hidden word: woMAN GOt 'partly missing', i.e. with the other letters removed.
8 Is able to vote as several standing initially seek support (7)
CANVASS - CAN (is able to) + V (vote) + AS + S (Standing 'initially'). EDIT: see anonymous comment below and my reply. This should be CAN (is able to) + Vote As Several Standing 'initially', i.e. the initial letters of those words. I parsed it correctly while doing the puzzle but when writing it up I had an unfortunate slip of the mind.
10 Discourteous when daughter leaves leading to regret (3)
RUE - RUdE (discourteous) with D (daughter) 'leaving'.
11 Not half mocked in jockey’s equipment? Leave fast! (9)
SKEDADDLE - delete half of mocKED to get 'not half mocked' and then put it in SADDLE (jockey's equipment) to give this Americanism, probably related to Scots and northern dialect. Much the same meaning as ABSQUATULATE which also turns up in crosswords occasionally.
13 British school language (6)
BRETON - it's that contentious educational establishment again! BR (British) + ETON (school). Breton being the language spoken in the region of Brittany in France which is in the Celtic family of languages including Cornish 'whereto 'tis kin' as Hamlet might say. Having spent several holidays in the region I have found it interesting to note 'Cornish' characteristics in a lot of the place name spellings and so on.
14 Choice tips from expert getting post (6)
PICKET - PICK (choice) + ET ('tips', i.e. the end bits, from ExperT).
17 Resort everyone rejected — Northern failure? No (9)
LLANDUDNO - ALL (everyone) reversed, i.e. rejected, = LLA + N DUD (northern failure) + NO all strung together lead inexorably to this resort in Wales.
19 Dry a very short time (3)
SEC - double definition. SEC = dry as in wine, and also an abbreviation for second. That is either a straight definition for a 'very short time' (it's all relative after all), or the idea may be that a second is a short time, and if you abbreviate it to SEC it becomes a VERY short time. Either way, we do indeed get there in quite a short time I hope.
20 Fuss about vocal, never ending, Green? (7)
AVOCADO - ADO (fuss) 'about' VOCAl 'never ending', i.e. without the last letter, leading to this shade of green much beloved of 80s bathroom designers.
22 Song of Republican over in California (5)
CAROL - OK. We have all heard of Republicans have we? I know I saw something about them on the news the other day. Well as a political party in the US they get abbreviated to R (they are also sometimes known as the GOP - 'Grand Old Party', and I have seen this acronym turn up in crosswords as well, although I don't think I have ever seen it in a QC). An over is a series of six deliveries in Cricket (or more accurately six 'balls', as the delivery of a 'no ball' will add to the number of deliveries in an over). I think the Australian tradition also used to use eight-ball overs at some point in history. An over is usually abbreviated to O. So put R + O into CAL (California) and there you have the answer.
23 Continue after all others (4)
LAST - double definition, hopefully requiring no further explanaton.
24 After time more unusual accepted learner’s young child (7)
TODDLER - T (time) + ODDER (more unusual) 'accepting' L (learner).
Down
1 They may help to recall mobile Maria wrecked (11)
MEMORABILIA - straight anagram. MOBILE MARIA 'wrecked'.
2 Open all the time after resistance ended at front (7)
SINCERE - SINCE (all the time after) + R (symbol for the electrical quantity of resistance) + E (Ended 'at front').
3 Ill-tempered promise — this?! (9)
CROSSWORD - CROSS (ill-tempered) + WORD (promise, as in 'I give you my word'). The definition is of course what you have presumably just completed.
4 Jewellery item — severe reprimand when directions are reversed (6)
LOCKET - ROCKET (severe reprimand) with R (right) 'reversing direction' to L (left).
5 Pole needed to use ATM (3)
PIN - Personal Identification Number. If you need some Cadbury's Smash you'd better go to the hole in the wall and put in your Huckleberry Finn. (Sorry, I was just reading an article about east end ATMs the other day that have an option to display instructions in Cockney rhyming slang).
6 Pay for exhibition area at fair (5)
STAND - double definition. Pay for as in 'I'll stand you all a drink'. And if you all meet me at my local (if it's still there) once all this virus business is over I certainly will. Maybe we could even do it on a night when verlaine is chairing the quiz (as I believe he has done in the past).
9 Impressive revised arrangement of act? Clap? Sure! (11)
SPECTACULAR - straight anagram. 'Revised arrangement' of ACT CLAP SURE.
12 New aid in coma — it’s found in proteins (5,4)
AMINO ACID - and another one. 'New' AID IN COMA. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of which proteins are made. The clue is in the name: they have a basic (AMINO) chemical functional group at one end and an acidic (ACID) one at the other. Elimination of water enables them to join together to make the long-chain biological polymers known as proteins.
15 Flier, quickest, relative displays (7)
KESTREL - hidden word: quicKEST RELative 'displays'.
16 Publicity, limitless, from computers etc that’s skilful (6)
ADROIT - AD (publicity) + RO (fROm 'limitless', that is to say without its end letters, or 'limits') + IT (computers etc).
18 Fragrance of a capital (in local parlance) (5)
AROMA - A + ROMA (capital 'in local parlance', i.e. ROME in Italian).
21 Suitable carpet oddly overlooked (3)
APT - 'overlook' the odd letters of cArPeT and you are left with the answer.