February 22nd, 2021

Astarte1

QC 1815 by Orpheus

A crossword that is notable for the near-absence of one of the staple clue types of the Quickie: as far as I can see there is only one anagram (including clue elements as well as whole clues) in the whole puzzle. FOI was 1A and LOI was 9D because although I was sure I had heard of this it was on the periphery of my knowledge and I wanted to give it a final interrogation before inserting it. My COD was probably 8A for the misdirection mentioned in the blog.

Many thanks to Orpheus for a gently teasing start to the week.

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

Across
1 Old provincial governor finally senses an ambush (6)
SATRAP - S ('finally' senseS) + A TRAP (an ambush).
4 Mellow sound made by farm animal in south (6)
SMOOTH - MOO (sound made by farm animal) 'in' STH (south).
8 Disputed claim initially about balls bowled in test (13)
CONTROVERSIAL - C (Claim 'initially') + ON (about) + OVERS (balls bowled) 'in' TRIAL (test). Nice misdirection because the surface could lead you to think about balls being bowled in a test (match) as the definition of OVERS in that clue element but in fact 'test' is part of the overall cryptic.
10 Alter the last word at end of screed (5)
AMEND - AMEN (the last word) + D (the end of screeD).
11 Aussie native’s short word for male fowl (7)
ROOSTER - ROO'S ([kanga]roo's, Aussie native's) + TERm (term = word, so without the last letter it is a 'short' word).
13 Plot involving a legendary archer’s sidekick (9)
SATELLITE - SITE (plot) 'involving' A + TELL (legendary archer, although I would say that technically William Tell was a crossbowman. An archer is defined as 'somebody skilled with bow and arrow' which is not the same thing, but I don't suppose we care.).
17 Levelling out late in the day (7)
EVENING - double definition.
18 Woman identified in ghastly diatribe (5)
LYDIA - hidden word: 'identified in' ghastLY DIAtribe.
19 March exhibition (13)
DEMONSTRATION - double definition.
21 Complete set of books kept in European republic (6)
ENTIRE - NT (New Testament, a 'set of books') 'kept in' EIRE (European republic).
22 Early settler finally relaxed and fished (6)
ANGLED - ANGLE (an early settler) + D ('finally' relaxeD).
Down
1 Thus American spies left an informal gathering (6)
SOCIAL - SO (thus) + CIA (American spies) + L (left).
2 Broadcast game, behold, in US state (9)
TENNESSEE - TENNIS (game) + SEE (behold) when said out loud (broadcast) sounds like TENNESSEE.
3 Gave vent to anger in commercial (5)
AIRED - IRE (anger) 'in' AD (commercial).
5 Italian physicist taking brandy on island (7)
MARCONI - MARC (a type of brandy produced from grape skins left over from wine production) + ON + I (island). Marc varies greatly in quality (as of course does wine) but the good stuff is a particular favourite of mine. Most commonly you get Marc de Bourgogne and Marc de Champagne, and these French products are roughly equivalent to grappa from Italy. For crossword beginners it might be worth mentioning that MARC sometimes comes up in cryptics as cluing for WASTE or REFUSE or similar, reflecting the fact that it is made from the leftovers. I just tried to think of a sample clue using MARC and came up with this one (which would only work as a down clue):
School waste washed up by sea in France (7)
Not the best clue in the world, but I hope it gives an illustration.
6 Sash originally bought in old India (3)
OBI - B (Bought 'originally') 'in' O (old) + I (India, from phonetic alphabet or common abbreviation).
7 Mountaineer forks out pounds for a term at Oxford (6)
HILARY - Sir Edmund HILLARY was a mountaineer (of Everest fame). If you 'fork out' one of the Ls (pounds) you are left with HILARY, the term we would currently be in if we were up at Oxford. The others are Michaelmas and Trinity. The name of Michaelmas Term is the same at Cambridge although the others are called simply Lent and Easter.
9 Signaller’s device weighing practically nothing? (4,5)
VERY LIGHT - double definition. A Very Light is another one of those nautical things (like earings, sheets, cleats and cringles) that deckhandiana will be able to tell you about. I believe they are bright flares that you can use to draw attention to yourself when lost at sea, or if you prefer you can save them up and use them (a bit like footballers and racing drivers use bottles of Champagne) to draw attention to yourself when celebrating after you have won a race.
12 Exercise machine reforming team drill (9)
TREADMILL - straight anagram (the first (and only?) today!), 'reforming' TEAM DRILL.
14 Bar coated with the right solvent (7)
THINNER - INN (bar) 'coated with' THE R (right).
15 Stick one’s nose in, hearing gong? (6)
MEDDLE - sounds like MEDAL (gong).
16 Woman breaks record, being the worse for wear (6)
CANNED - ANNE (woman) 'breaking' CD (record). CANNED is one of the euphemisms for 'drunk' (the worse for wear) that Polly doesn't use in her famous Fawlty Towers speech attempting to alert Basil 'subtly' in front of bemused guests to the fact that their chef is hopelessly drunk in the run-up to evening service: "He's POTTED... the shrimps... He's SOUSED... the herrings... He's PICKLED the onions and he's SMASHED the eggs IN HIS CUPS, UNDER THE TABLE." I suppose she could have added "He's CANNED the sardines.
18 Study Latin at first and make money (5)
LEARN - L (Latin 'at first') + EARN (make money).
20 Encountered leaders in Middle Eastern territory (3)
MET - M + E + T ('leaders' in Middle Eastern Territory).