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Times Quick Cryptic No 1339 by Teazel

Our Friday entertainment today comes from Teazel. And a very neat puzzle it is too. Lots of very straightforward clues to give the less-experienced a good foothold, I think, and a good variety of clue types. Lessons today include how to spot a definition by example, the use of the NATO phonetic alphabet, insertions, deletions, anagrams, charades, a double definition and a lovely semi-&lit. But my COD goes to 18d for the little joke in the wordplay. Only 1a and 2d gave me any significant pause for thought as I completed this in 4:50. Thanks Teazel! How did everyone else get on?

Definitions underlined in italics, Abc indicating anagram of Abc, deletions struckthrough and [] other indicators.

1 Check through rental agreement after expensive race (12)
STEEPLECHASE - A bit of a tricky one to start, not least in spotting the definition! I left it till I got most of the checkers. Take CH (check) and put it inside [through] LEASE (rental agreement) and add it all to [after] STEEP (expensive). It could be a horse race, the most famous being the Grand National, or an obstacle race in athletics.
8 Trim dog, say, a little bit (7)
SNIPPET - SNIP (trim) PET (dog, say) - the [say] indicating a definition by example.
9 Meat embargo broken by firm (5)
BACON - BAN (embargo) outside [broken by] CO (abbreviation of company, firm).
10 I rent, poor and lazy (5)
INERT - Anagram [poor] of I rent. As in lazy as a motionless couch potato.
11 Most elegant to dine in comfortable home (7)
NEATEST - The comfortable home is a NEST. Put EAT (dine) inside [in].
12 A piece of joint work so divided? (2,3)
IN TWO - Hidden [a piece of] in joINT WOrk. A lovely semi&lit clue where the whole clue can be read as the definition, but only part of it is the wordplay. Very neat.
14 Arrives to drink, after some bread (5,2)
ROLLS UP - SUP (drink) [after] ROLL (some bread).
15 Not spoiled, I kept single (9)
UNMARRIED - I is inserted into [kept] UNMARRED (not spoiled).
17 Attack and steal from boy (3)
ROB - Double definition.
19 Woman at home serving meals is a courtier (4-2-7)
LADY-IN-WAITING - A simple charade of 3 parts. LADY (woman) IN (at home) WAITING (serving meals).
21 Siamese perhaps taking grass in China once (6)
CATHAY - CAT (Siamese, perhaps) HAY. [perhaps] here is another indicator of a definition by example.
22 Born and died, unknown, poor (5)
NEEDY - Another simple 3-parter. NEE (born) D (died) and Y (unknown, as in a mathematical variable).

1 Luscious spy I treated with caution (12)
SUSPICIOUSLY - Anagram of Luscious spy I [treated]. A spy like Mata Hari, perhaps?
2 Demanding old fellow takes one in (7)
EXIGENT - EX (old) GENT (fellow) [takes in] I (one). "Demanding immediate aid or action". A less common word but it has cropped up quite a few times in the 15x15 and even in the QC - Izetti's 100th last year.
3 Little bird: spot it? (5)
PIPIT - PIP (spot, as in the spots on playing cards, dice or dominoes) IT. The Pipit is an inconspicuous little bird found nearly all over the world. Here is a Nilgir Pipit...

[Photographed by Nishad H. Kaippally]
4 Taken in and defeated, but not bowled (5)
EATEN - Defeated is bEATEN. Remove the [but not]  b (bowled). Our cricket clue of the day. You might be taken in by the bowler's doosra and defeated by a stumping. As we learnt from Oink's QC last week.
5 Some boots are holed — a bin will recycle (9)
HOBNAILED - Anagram of holed a bin [will recycle]. A lovely surface. I just recently had to put some holed boots in my recycling bin. Maybe they would have lasted longer with hobnails.
6 Confidence over years employed in spying outfit (6,7)
SECRET SERVICE - SECRET (confidence, as in confiding with someone) [over] (this is a down clue) SERVICE (years employed).
7 In a way, exercise lifting part of foot (6)
INSTEP - IN ST (street, a way) with PE (exercise) reversed [lifting], i.e. going up in a down clue.
13 Monstrous drunken orgies at hotel (7)
OGREISH - Take an anagram of [drunken] orgies and add [at] H (hotel is H in the NATO phonetic alphabet).
14 Transport company complain bitterly over route (7)
RAILWAY - RAIL (complain bitterly) [over] WAY. To rail is to "complain or protest strongly and persistently about".
16 Assistant brought up to support mass TV etc (5)
MEDIA - The asssistant is an AIDE. Reverse this (i.e. write it from the bottom up) and put it under [support] M (mass, as in E = mc2)
18 To hold goods, purchase light vehicle (5)
BUGGY - Take BUY (purchase) and get it to include [to hold] G G (good good = goods - very droll).
20 North European misses fine pub (3)
INN - The Northern European is a FINN. Miss out the F (fine). I do enjoy a fine pub. If you are coming my way, why not join me for a beer at one of my favourite pubs?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 26th, 2019 12:31 am (UTC)
I had trouble with the bird, as only 'pewit' came to mind at first, which didn't help matters; better if nothing had come to mind. Liked IN TWO. 6:36.
Apr. 26th, 2019 05:22 am (UTC)
20 minutes. I usually finish Teazel puzzles quickly and get stuck on one clue, and today it was the bird.

With the it, I had P_pit and pip was the likeliest word for spot.

Cod snippet.

Thanks John/Teazel.
Apr. 26th, 2019 05:29 am (UTC)
13 minutes. Yet again I was stretched beyond my target 10 minutes by a few stragglers, in this case all in the NW corner: STEEPLECHASE, EXIGENT, PIPIT and SNIPPET. I have failed on four of the five QCs this week.
Apr. 26th, 2019 06:21 am (UTC)
Two in a row over 20m and now this taking over 30 - a week to forget. I found this tremendously difficult, very patchy grid after 20 minutes. Things might have been different if STEEPLECHASE hadn't held out for quite so long - annoying as I have run a few. And ROLLS UP, and UNMARRIED, and EXIGENT, and PIPIT (unknown and I fell into the trap of wanting to put TIT in there). Surprisingly high on the leaderboard, so others seem to have suffered too). Usual Saturday diversion to the Telegraph tomorrow to give my brain a rest.
Apr. 26th, 2019 06:24 am (UTC)
Trim dogs?
Well, as 8ac was going to be my FOI I thought CURTAIL was a perfect fit with the clue. Shame it then didn't work with any of the crossers.
Apr. 26th, 2019 11:00 am (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Good thought, but it would have to be Dog trim to get the charade in the right order.

Edited at 2019-04-26 11:01 am (UTC)
Apr. 26th, 2019 11:52 am (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Would it? TRIM for the definition, CUR for 'dog say', TAIL for 'a little bit' (of said dog).
Apr. 26th, 2019 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Trim dogs?
Ah yes. I get you now. Nice one. Shame it doesn't fit the checkers.
Apr. 26th, 2019 08:28 am (UTC)
I crept in a few seconds under my 10 minute target. 1d was my FOI in followed by all the across clues with checkers in 1d. I took a while to remember CATHAY as China once. At the top of the grid PIP for spot didn't feel right until I solved my LOI 1a STEEPLECHASE which I parsed after submitting. 9:54
Apr. 26th, 2019 09:10 am (UTC)
I ended up working backwards completing the right hand side then the bottom left corner before the top left. Being picky Steeplechase would be normally far too hard for a quickie but the word was obvious from the given letters. Similarly poor is not an obvious pointer to an anagram and inert is not obviously lazy but it kind of had to be. Very enjoyable - thank!
Apr. 26th, 2019 09:37 am (UTC)
This was a confidence builder after yesterday's struggle. I started with IN TWO after drawing a blank further up and worked my way through the bottom half before returning to the upper reaches. I immediately thought STEEPLECHASE when I saw 1a but I couldn't parse it until I wrote it in after getting a couple of crossers. I think HOBNAILED was my LOI. It felt slower than it was, as I was surprised to see I'd completed in 6:52. Thanks Teazel and John.
Apr. 26th, 2019 09:38 am (UTC)
One of my favourite albums....
....is LADY IN WAITING by the grievously underrated Outlaws. Fans of duelling guitarists should check out the track "Lover Boy".

This was everything a QC should be - accessible, but not TOO obvious.

COD IN TWO (a perfect example of a "hidden")
TIME 4:05
Apr. 26th, 2019 09:43 am (UTC)
A bit under 3 Kevins so a Decent Enough Day but I found a few clues in there to be quite hard going. INERT for lazy seemed iffy enough not to write it in until all checkers were there and STEEPLECHASE needed all checkers too - I was surprised to see that "check" was being used to clue "ch" (in what context would this be used? My Oxford gives ch as being an abbreviation only for church, chapter and, curiously, chestnut!).

COD to SNIPPET, which made me chuckle. Thanks Teazel and John.

Apr. 26th, 2019 10:05 am (UTC)
Re check
writingexplained.org has this!

ck or ch
Of these two abbreviations, ck. is probably more common and the better abbreviation. Ch. lends itself to be confused with the abbreviation for chapter. The plural abbreviation of check is cks. or chs.
Apr. 26th, 2019 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Re check
Unspammed. LJ doesn't like web addresses...
But see my comment below about Chess notation.
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:16 am (UTC)
Hi, I've seen it here a few times but what exactly is a 'Kevin'?
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:31 am (UTC)
RE: Kevin?
I believe a kevin is the time recorded by kevingregg on a particular day (see first post above). He’s normally one of the first to post.
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:37 am (UTC)
Ch for Check...
...as in Chess game notation.
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:52 am (UTC)
Re: Ch for Check...
Oh arr. Thank you. Will try to remember that (but won't).
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:07 am (UTC)
Good puzzle. Would have been under 10 mins but we are staying with friends and I was called to breakfast with 3 to go. Finished with SNIPPET, EXIGENT, PIPIT. Enjoyed this. Thanks both. John M.

Edited at 2019-04-26 10:08 am (UTC)
Apr. 26th, 2019 10:30 am (UTC)
Anyone else not happy with the grammar of 14d? Company is singular.
Apr. 26th, 2019 12:36 pm (UTC)
Re: 14d
Well spotted. I'd missed that. And so, I guess, did the editor..
Apr. 26th, 2019 11:55 am (UTC)
18.16 for an end to a slow old week. COD to PIPIT; coincidentally I saw a small flock of meadow pipits while hunting unsuccessfully for rarer species in the Highlands yesterday. I put the week’s slow solving down to late nights and a surfeit of fine grape and grain.
Apr. 26th, 2019 04:56 pm (UTC)
I found this a bit of a slog throughout and had to leave for work with the race, the bird and the trim dog still unsolved and rather stuck. Clearly my unconscious was hard at work whilst my mind was on other matters as when I got home they went in straight away with LOI 1a. Finished in 16.48 (+ about 10 hours!).
Thanks for the blog
Apr. 26th, 2019 05:53 pm (UTC)
A nice steady solve in just under 17 minutes. (My target is 20 minute, so that's good... for me!) I have to admit that I hadn't noticed that IN TWO was a hidden and forgot to go back and completely parse STEEPLECHASE so thanks, John, for the blog. MM

FOI: 1d
LOI: 2d
COD: 15a Well, it made me laugh!!
Apr. 26th, 2019 06:42 pm (UTC)
This may sound a bit like Plett11; I spent about 9 minutes on this before going out (to play golf in my case).
I just needed four clues in the NW. On my return many hours later, they emerged very slowly. I finally got Steeplechase (the clue had so many potential ways to go) and that led to the rest. LOI was SNIPPET.
Very good QC I thought. David
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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