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QC 1235 by Breadman

Still not fully back to doing quickies on a daily basis although I have done a few since my last blog. Perhaps this contributed to my completing this in about 9 minutes, as it 'felt' a bit more difficult than that. There were quite a few clues that I thought were tricky but luckily I seemed to be on the right wavelength for them. The result was that several clues that I think I would have normally been consciously piecing together became straight write-ins. Many thanks to Breadman as this gave me a very welcome Monday-morning sense of achievement (no doubt soon to evaporate when the comments start and I realise that everybody else found it easier than I did).

I think I have blogged a Breadman once before and in my ignorance on that occasion I speculated that it might have been his first contribution. Those who know all about these things corrected me though and I now know that he has been contributing for some years although very infrequently.

I think my FOI could have been 1A, but for some reason I started reading the clues at random today rather than starting at the beginning which is most unlike me. In the event I think it was 10A. LOI was, I believe, 15D. There were many clues to like so it is difficult to pick a COD, but I'm going to go for 12A simply because it gave me the greatest 'kick' when I solved it. I'm just such an adrenalin junkie, me.

Deploying my recently fitted NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter) on the finished grid yielded... absolutely nothing. But at least I remembered to give it a go. Having said that, perhaps there is somebody out there with a more powerful model who will be able to turn something up. After all, they say that if you look hard enough you can find patterns in anything.

Definitions are underlined, and my thought processes in arriving at the answers are explained just as they occurred to me in the simplest language that I have at my command.

Across
1 Hide criminal Alec deviously (7)
CONCEAL - CON (criminal, as in CONvict) + anagram ('deviously') of ALEC = CEAL.
5 Unknown eight in German vessel on water (5)
YACHT - OK here we go back to school. First lesson: algebra. Unknown quantities in algebraic equations are generally x, y and z. Here we have Y. Second lesson: basic German (counting): eins, zwei, drei, vier, funf, sechs, sieben, ACHT!
8 Basic pool area — blokes converse endlessly (11)
FUNDAMENTAL - FUND (pool) + A (area) + MEN (blokes) + TAL (TALk = converse 'endlessly')
10 Whale heads for ocean reef, cruising around (4)
ORCA - first letters of (heads for) Ocean Reef Cruising Around.
11 Divided pears messily consumed (8)
SEPARATE - anagram of PEARS = SEPAR ('messily') + ATE (consumed).
12 Holiday entertainment reps, at first, comparatively pure (6)
WHITER - possibly a difficult one for the inexperienced. WHIT is short for WHITSUN or WHITSUNDAY, being the Anglican church holiday commemorating Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ's disciples and they started speaking in tongues (glossolalia) and casting out demons and doing all sorts of other crazy things. Probably now mostly remembered in the public consciousness for Philip Larkin's poem (and collection of poems) The Whitsun Weddings. At the time Whitsun was seen as a particularly propitious time for weddings, and Larkin describes a train journey that he makes at Whitsun which coincides with some wedding parties. Apparently the actual train journey that Larkin visualises in his poem never took place, but his description is so vivid that for me this only magnifies my admiration for the man's art. If you haven't read it it is worth it: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/whitsun-weddings.


Oops, sorry, I was forgetting the rest of the clue: initial letters of Entertainment Reps ('at first') added on to WHIT gives WHITER.
14 Prize relating to hospital section (6)
REWARD - RE (relating to) + WARD (hospital section).
16 Perhaps rocker broadcast after March, strangely (8)
ARMCHAIR - anagram of MARCH = ARMCH ('strangely') + AIR (broadcast).
18 Edge inside church (4)
INCH - IN (inside) + CH (church).
20 I'm clearly circling island in a fretful manner (11)
IMPATIENTLY - IM (I'm) + PATENTLY (clearly) 'circling' I (island).
22 Problems in Bundestag growing (5)
AGGRO - hidden word: BundestAG GROwing.
23 Male spy, a reddish colour (7)
MAGENTA - M (male) + AGENT (spy) + A.
Down
2 Present topless chest (5)
OFFER - take the top off a COFFER (chest) in this down clue and there you have it.
3 Meeting politician with diplomacy (7)
CONTACT - CON (politician (CONservative)) + TACT (diplomacy).
4 It's a cooker, whichever way you look (3)
AGA - I don't need to explain that an AGA is a type of cooker do I? As in AGA SAGA? And that it is a very short palindrome?
6 Rising schedule restricts club player (5)
ACTOR - another clue that uses the up and down geometry of the down clue. ROTA (schedule) 'rising', and 'restricting' C (club, as in the card suit, particularly in Bridge).
7 Belt for tools, stupidly lost, grabbed by that lady (7)
HOLSTER - anagaram of LOST = OLST ('stupidly') 'grabbed by' HER (that lady).
9 Ruler backing representative in Italian city (7)
EMPEROR - REP (representative) in ROME (Italian city) all written backwards (backing).
11 Taverns manipulated menial person (7)
SERVANT - striaght anagram of TAVERNS ('manipulated').
13 Husband supplying weapons causing damage (7)
HARMING - H (husband) + ARMING (supplying weapons).
15 Pipe Len's half-finished after game of cards (7)
WHISTLE - WHIST (game of cards) + LE (LEN half finished, i.e. the end of LEN is EN, and only half of that is included).
17 Playfully dance and run below headland (5)
CAPER - again the geography of the down clue comes into play: R (run) 'below' CAPE (headland).
19 Loud call by priest emptied underground chapel (5)
CRYPT - CRY (loud call) by PT (PriesT 'emptied', i.e. without the middle letters).
21 Cheese knocking out female Greek character (3)
ETA - FETA (cheese) 'knocking out' F (female) gives the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
mendesest
Dec. 3rd, 2018 07:00 am (UTC)
UBOAT. Caused all of today's problems. Unknown, eight. Makes a German vessel. Makes sense if you don't the rest of the clue properly "on the water". Made getting 6d and 7d very hard indeed. Once I finally revisited 2a, which had been my first in, they seemed rather easier. Oh dear.
jackkt
Dec. 3rd, 2018 07:03 am (UTC)
7 minutes is my best time for a while and I'd have finished sooner if I hadn't paused to deduce the parsing of FUNDAMENTAL which didn't exactly leap out at me.

MER at 'holiday' = WHIT as the day itself is a Sunday and the holiday Monday that followed it was abolished in 1971. As some may have noted I'm not generally in favour of setters qualifying dated terminology by adding 'former' or 'once' etc, but perhaps some Quickie solvers might have needed a bit of help with this one.

On Breadman as a setter, he has contributed only 9 to date, starting in September 2015, but 5 of them have been this year so he appears to be becoming more of a regular.

Edited at 2018-12-03 07:05 am (UTC)
theflorentine
Dec. 3rd, 2018 09:52 am (UTC)
I think that Whit Sunday
can reasonably be described as a 'holiday', both in the original sense of the term 'Holy Day', and as a day on which one does not work. There is no need to worry about the sad demise of Whit Monday as a holiday - now less elegantly replaced by the 'Spring Bank Holiday'. (I don't know if anybody else remembers the Goodies episode in which they discovered an island and called it 'August Bank Holiday Island' because it was 'half way between Easter Island and Christmas Island'.)

Edited at 2018-12-03 11:15 am (UTC)
kevingregg
Dec. 3rd, 2018 07:19 am (UTC)
I didn't understand WHIT, but assumed that it had something to do with Whitsun. 15d: I don't follow your parsing, Don; I saw it as simply LENS lacking (the latter) half. 5:44, with Vinyl breathing down my neck.

Edited at 2018-12-03 07:19 am (UTC)
templec
Dec. 3rd, 2018 07:48 am (UTC)
under 20 mins ...
i think my FOI was 14a and I was worried that the usual gentle offering on a Mon would “disappoint”! However, once 14a was solved, the resultant checkers seemed to help one by one towards the remaining clues. Something that I thought would be challenging turned out to be a little harder than gentle, but nothing too difficult.
LOI: 5a
COD: 9d
thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute.
Carl
johninterred
Dec. 3rd, 2018 08:13 am (UTC)
I enjoyed WHIT for Holiday at 12a (my COD). Like Kevin I also saw the LE in 18d as half of LEN'S. Luckily I remembered my schoolboy German so got YACHT straightaway. I confess to biffing FUNDAMENTAL when I had most of the checkers, only parsing post-solve. 4:12.
albrecht1959
Dec. 3rd, 2018 08:35 am (UTC)
Took me almost 17 minutes and I felt quite pleased it didn’t take even longer. Also went for uboat which held me up in the top right until I realised 7 down had to be holster. LOI whiter which was the result of an alphabet trawl for the first letter - astartedon was right to think that would hold up the less experienced.
davidivad1
Dec. 3rd, 2018 08:36 am (UTC)
Monday
I was slow getting into this, with FOI 22a Aggro. After that I solved steadily although I had several looks at 23a Magenta which became my LOI. Time was 12:15. I thought it was going to be over 20 minutes when I started. David
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2018 08:44 am (UTC)
Larkin
Thank you so much Astartedon for pointing me at Larkin’s poem. To my shame I had never read it. I have now and most definitely will again. I thought it was a stunning piece of verse prose.
johnhh
Dec. 3rd, 2018 08:48 am (UTC)
PB after two years!
After two years of QCs and the brilliant blogs, I've smashed the 15 minute barrier. Thanks to all the bloggers and fellow QC enthusiasts.
templarredux
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:27 am (UTC)
Re: PB after two years!
Congratulations!
johnhh
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:36 am (UTC)
Re: PB after two years!
Thanks. Just realised this is three "Kevins" so the first time I'm in the foothills of the master!

When I started it took about two months to finish a QC and using a calendar rather than a watch would have a more useful timer. For all the newbies to the QC please keep doing them and you WILL improve to reach the heights of timing yourself in "Kevins".
sonofjim
Dec. 3rd, 2018 09:12 am (UTC)
Not quite on the wavelength today with a slow start leading to abandonment of going through all the clues in order. Checkers then helped. Yacht was clever. Quite pleased in the end with 11.37.
chrisw91
Dec. 3rd, 2018 09:26 am (UTC)
Hmph
I normally do the crossword straight from the paper site but was messing about on the crossword club site and clicked 'play' so was off. I didn’t realise there were different setting so had the 'skip filled in letters' thing on. So I completed in 6:58 only to find I had fundameEtal. 'Whiter' went with a slightly furrowed brow so thanks for the explanation, I agree with Kevin on the parsing of 'whistle'.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2018 09:51 am (UTC)
A PB
At 32 mins. I’m definitely improving albeit very slowly! Whit no problem to a convent girl, acht dredged up last. Thanks to setter and blogger Frankyanne.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:06 am (UTC)
Unknown eight in German
Indeed. My knowledge of the language begins at "ein" and ends at "auf wiedersehen" pausing in between for bock and bratwurst. Managed to work it out though.

My aim for a sub-3 minute solve was thwarted further by trying to parse FUNDAMENTAL, but 3:11 beat last week's quickest ever effort - just !

Phil Jordan
mikeosborne
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:07 am (UTC)
Like others, wavered with UBOAT before the penny dropped and the separation of “German” and “vessel” revealed itself.

FUNDAMENTAL biffed with checkers, and only parsed post-solve (ok, now, about 4 hours post-solve).

Count me in as not fully seeing now 15d was meant to work - it was clearly LE but is that only half of LENS or LEN with only half of the last two letters?

3.53 for an entertaining start to the weeks - thanks to setter and blogger alike
astartedon
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:08 am (UTC)
Parsing of WHISTLE
Thank you for all your comments on this. I did entertain both my eventual published parsing and that favoured by Kevin and others but came down on the side of the one I blogged (obviously). All I can say is that alternative parsings are available.

I have now reread it several times and I still prefer the one I chose although total respect to the other one. I see Len's as 'Len is', and then he is half finished. Whereas if Len's is taken as the whole unit then I don't see that as fitting in with half finished. A straight 'half' of Len's, yes. But not 'half finished' as 'finished' then seems to be redundant. To me at any rate.
plett11
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:20 am (UTC)
I found this relatively straightforward which makes my typo in 11a all the more annoying (I put SeparatT) - my usual pre-submit spell check is clearly not up to standard. I thought it was going to be a toughie as my initial run through the across clues only yielded 5, 22 and 23. The down clues proved more accommodating before 'finishing' in 9.50 with 7d. I had 15d with the 'kevingregg' parsing.
Thanks for the blog
templarredux
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:33 am (UTC)
A jolly Monday puzzle, thank you Breadman. FOI CONCEAL, LOI CONTACT (had to trawl), and COD to WHITER for the same reasons as Don. Because Whit Week is legal vacation and an opportunity go fishing, I had no issue as Whit = holiday. I'm another on the Kevin parsing for LEN'S.

All done and dusted in 2 Kevins, a Good Day. If I force myself to go to Pilates later I will have had an exemplary Monday.

Templar
john_dun
Dec. 3rd, 2018 11:44 am (UTC)
A relatively gentle start to the week, but none the less enjoyable for that. FOI, AGA followed by CONCEAL. LOI, WHITER, where it took me a minute to separate "holiday" and "entertainment." I needed ACTOR and HOLSTER to see where 5a was going. 6:22. Thanks Breadman and Don.
desdeeloeste
Dec. 3rd, 2018 12:20 pm (UTC)
Sub 8 mins
7:51 and I am not sure I can go much faster. LOI 12a WHITER which was patently biffed!
phmfantom
Dec. 3rd, 2018 12:22 pm (UTC)
About 6 minutes, without parsing 8ac, which is about as fast as it gets for me, as now I look carefully while I type to prevent typos.
invariant_tft
Dec. 3rd, 2018 12:34 pm (UTC)
I started quickly enough, but then slowed and came to a halt at the 8ac/9d combination. As is my wont, I then spent some time trying to think of an Italian city beginning **p, before reasoning that I was looking at the wrong end of the clue again. Even with Emperor in place, Fundamental (CoD) didn't exactly jump off the page, but it did provide a nice parsing challenge. Time spent wondering how to shoehorn Redcoats into 12ac stretched this out to a tardy 30min solve. Invariant
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2018 02:11 pm (UTC)
DNF
'Pure' = 'white'? Not a reference I can find anywhere. Otherwise fairly straightforward.
PlayUpPompey
templarredux
Dec. 3rd, 2018 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: DNF
Pure as the driven snow?

Or Hamlet:

"What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow?"
(Anonymous)
Dec. 3rd, 2018 02:42 pm (UTC)
Very pleased to see I was not alone in thinking the holiday entertainment rep was a redcoat so well beaten there. As ever, many thanks to setter and blogger. L&I
vinyl1
Dec. 3rd, 2018 05:28 pm (UTC)
As Kevin mentioned....
....I was right behind him at 6:05, and would have broken 6 minutes if I had not gotten stuck on 'whiter', my LOI.

FYI, there are many very fast regular solvers, but Kevin is the only one who posts here every day. The times from Verlaine, Mohn, Jason, George Heard, and Topical Tim are most impressive. I was going just about as fast as I could, and I'm not even close.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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