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Times Quick Cryptic No 1338 by Mara

I found this on the trickier side of things, being pushed over the 15 minute mark thanks to some faffing about in the NE. I mis-parsed 7d, and spent some time trying to square the answer with only half the definition. I also came a cropper at 9ac having entered a plausible enough alternative answer (well, plausible except for that pesky little detail about it having to intersect with other clues). Further time was spent at 10ac trying to remember that word for "delicate" that was on the tip of my tongue ("diaphanous" - right length, as it happens). I don't think I was particularly quick round the rest of it either , but there were some nice clues - I remember particularly liking 4ac,16d and the two double definitions at 8ac and 24ac. Very good puzzle - many thanks to Mara!

1 Some discontent on gallant island nation (5)
TONGA - Hidden in "some" of the letters of discontenT ON GAllant
4 Surrender vilified after retreat (7)
DELIVER -  REVILED = vilified, reversed = after retreat. Surrender/deliver/hand over/etc.
8 Heavy trampolinist? (7)
BOUNCER - double definition, a heavy = a guard, etc. Nice!
9 Average is capital! (5)
PARIS - PAR (average) IS. I had MEANS (mean's = average's) entered, and forgot on returning to the NE that I wasn't quite 100% happy with it.
10 Expensive clasps are, almost entirely, delicate (10)
PRECARIOUS - PRECIOUS (expensive) clasps/holds AR ("ARe" almost entirely)
14 An American girl far from home? (6)
ABROAD - A broad = an American girl
15 Nebuchadnezzar, for example, daring (6)
BOTTLE - double definition. I thought a Nebuchadnezzar was the largest bottle size, coming in at 20 normal bottles of champagne/claret, but I see the largest is 40 bottles and called either Melchizedek or Midas. Good luck giving that thing a shake. Normally a stupid custom, but I'd have it as the opening round of a decadent strong man competition: a minute to shake it, points for highest fountain, and whatever's left in the bottle must be consumed before continuing.
17 US president plying heroes with wine (10)
EISENHOWER - anagram (plying) of HEROES with WINE
20 Artist mid-morning, maybe, returning (5)
MANET - TEN AM is plausibly mid-morning, reverse/return
22 Hearing of our nation, this English composer (7)
BRITTEN - is heard the same as BRITAIN (our nation)
23 Give account of art near complex (7)
NARRATE - anagram (complex) of ART NEAR
24 Arctic fleet (5)
NIPPY - double definition. Fleet/quick/nippy. In my book, the lovely surface more than makes up for any temperature differential there might be between "arctic" and "nippy".
1 Instrument neighbour put up (4)
TUBA - to ABUT = to neighbour, put up/reversed
2 Absence of American intelligence (4)
NOUS - NO (absence of) US (American)
3 Discover fluff in car seat (9)
ASCERTAIN - anagram (fluff) of IN CAR SEAT
4 Frank having credit renewed (6)
DIRECT - anagram (renewed) of CREDIT
5 Drink: a complete round (3)
LAP - double definition
6 So bottomless, opening for drink (8)
VERMOUTH - VERY = So, bottomless = remove the bottom letter ; MOUTH (opening)
7 Incredible dessert I held back (8)
RESISTED - anagram (incredible) of DESSERT I. I was just blindly convinced that the parsing was an anagram of "dessert" within which the "I" was held, giving "back" for "resisted". I know, doesn't make any sense.
11 Old African horse and I, struggling (9)
RHODESIAN - anagram (struggling) of HORSE AND I
12 Out of order, nameless traders (8)
SALESMEN - anagram (out of order) of NAMELESS
13 Voting system about right, is one captive? (8)
PRISONER - PR (Proportional Representation = voting system) going about/around R(ight) IS ONE.
16 Fix strange blue drink (6)
DOUBLE - DO (fix) ; anagram (strange) of BLUE. Do = fix as in "the person came to do the boiler. Also works as a noun: in a do / a fix / a tight spot.
18 Cease work below street (4)
STOP - OP (work) below ST(reet)
19 Sole aplenty, reel in two, all tails up (4)
ONLY -  all tails up = all last letters, reversed of aplentY, reeL iN twO
21 Food and drink (3)
TEA - double definition.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 25th, 2019 10:03 am (UTC)
I got to 8 minutes with 7 entries in the grid and ground to a halt. The NE proved intractable right up to the end, which was a dispiriting 23:26! BRITTEN and EISENHOWER eventually
opened up the lower half for me, but the NE really had me struggling. Some tough stuff here. Thanks Mara and Roly.
Apr. 25th, 2019 10:43 am (UTC)
Lots to chew on this morning. I particularly liked DELIVER, MANET and PRECARIOUS (LOI).

My thanks to setter and blogger.
Apr. 25th, 2019 11:33 am (UTC)
Mara bowled us a bit of a....
....BOUNCER here, and I recorded my slowest finish in quite some time. I've actually had a quicker 15x15 recently ! All perfectly fair and enjoyable though - most of my problems were in the NE corner.

TIME 7:54
Apr. 25th, 2019 11:34 am (UTC)
Delivery: resistant, definitely not bouncy!
I struggled today! The NW and SE dropped in quickly and then .... oh dear! Like others, I thought the NE corner was the trickiest but I got there in the end, after a few stops and starts. Not sure of a time but definitely SCC today - maybe 25 minutes over a 45 minute stretch!

FOI - Tonga
LOI - Precarious
COD - Manet

I got on with the big one quite a bit better, only to fall at the very last hurdle (two letters just would not fall into place) so maybe others might like it too. Give it a whirl, anyway - it's (nearly) always fun even if you don't finish :)
Apr. 25th, 2019 12:48 pm (UTC)
If you are a par golfer you are well above average!
Apr. 25th, 2019 01:26 pm (UTC)
A DNF for me because of that pesky NE corner. To have to change ‘vilified’ to ‘reviled’ before reversing it was a step too far. Similarly to change ‘so’ to ‘very’ before removing the last letter. I completely forgot about champagne bottles and was struggling with Babylonians, kings and Matrix before giving up. This was the most difficult Quickie for a while.
Apr. 25th, 2019 03:10 pm (UTC)
All we can do is to echo many of the comments above. Fell into the Manet trap and could not remember the bottle. Clever usage of words eg. Clasp in10a, a real workout!
Apr. 25th, 2019 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: 14 ac
Apart from being highly offensive as previously mentioned, "broad" has always been a slang term for a woman, not a girl.
Apr. 25th, 2019 04:49 pm (UTC)
Finished over a large number of Leffe, but prob close to 45 mins, about the same as the 15x15, i just wasnt on the wavelength.

Cod double.

Edited at 2019-04-25 04:56 pm (UTC)
Apr. 25th, 2019 05:16 pm (UTC)
Tough today. NE being the real problem. No problem with 15a or 17a -These went straight in. Took ages to see how 9a worked and that allowed 6d and the corner fell. Took me 65 minutes with a break to move Costa to Costa! FOI 1a LOI 4a. COD 20a really clever I thought. Very helpful blog and a good work out from Mara.
Apr. 25th, 2019 07:40 pm (UTC)
What a difference a day makes! 12 minutes yesterday and 35 minutes in three sittings today! I got there in the end with everything parsed though and seeing that others struggled I feel much better. I messed myself up for ages in the NE because I had stupidly put POP in 5d. This made 4a impossible of course. Eventually saw what was going on with 4a so my last one in was LAP. How daft is that?
Thanks to Mara for a good challenge and to Rolytoly for the blog. MM
Apr. 26th, 2019 08:13 pm (UTC)
Gave up on this. Having checked the answers I found I did the right thing. Very vague imprecise clues. Having finished an Izetti puzzle earlier in the week I'm not too downhearted.
Apr. 27th, 2019 08:08 pm (UTC)
Just finished! (Sat eve)
Several hours.
Had to leave the NE corner for a few days - then managed to get VERMOUTH and the rest followed...
Tricky but very enjoyable!
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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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