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Times Quick Cryptic No 1393 by Orpheus

Gentle enough puzzle, perhaps, but that didn't stop me incorrectly guessing the girl at 24ac and giving 6d less than a minute's consideration before giving up and sticking in the only remotely plausible answer that came to mind. In my defence, I'm rusty and still musty from a holiday, so I'm calling this 8-minute mess-up a success. Which it was, in comparison to yesterday's QC DNF, done just before this in around twice the time - so for that I give Orpheus my thanks, and of course also to the Rotter for kindly filling in for me last week.

Across
7 Singer’s unhappy attempt to cross river (8)
BLUEBIRD - BLUE (unhappy) BID (attempt) to cross R (river)
8 A strange perennial plant (4)
ARUM - A RUM (a strange). Reminded me of the titan arum, which is indeed a strange plant, but whose proper name provides a vastly better description.
9 Collided with back of enormous goods vehicle (6)
STRUCK - S ("back" of enormouS) TRUCK (goods vehicle)
10 Member overcome by English youth leader’s lament (5)
ELEGY - LEG (member) overcome by E(nglish) and Y (Youth "leader")
11 Knight accommodated in fashionable lodging-place (3)
INN - N (knight in chess) accommodated in IN (fashionable)
12 Source of bananas, a blessing for a monkey (6)
BABOON - B ("source" of Bananas) A BOON (a blessing)
14 He painted first of infants captured by giant (6)
TITIAN - I ("first" of Infants) captured by TITAN (giant)
16 County with appeal for basic accommodation (6)
BEDSIT - BEDS. (Bedfordshire/county) with IT (appeal)
18 Fanatic read dictionary? Not all of it! (6)
ADDICT - not all of the letters of reAD DICTionary
19 Ineptly act a son of Noah (3)
HAM - double definition
20 Wee drink before a stage production, perhaps (5)
DRAMA - DRAM (wee drink) before A
21 Dismiss party protecting Northern Ireland (6)
BANISH - BASH (party) protecting NI (Northern Ireland)
23 Edible part of grain for breakfast, say? (4)
MEAL - double definition. The first derives from the same sense as mill(ing); the second originally meant a particular time or occasion.
24 Charge girl for herbaceous plant (8)
COSTMARY - COST (charge) MARY (girl). I looked at the checkers and could only see "cashmere", and then couldn't get "costmira" out of my head. It seems to be a well-known, aromatic herb that was widely used medicinally and to flavour ale (so also called alecost).

Down
1 Corpulent ship’s officer embracing large fellow lodger (8)
FLATMATE - FAT (corpulent) MATE (ship's officer) embracing L(arge)
2 Boyfriend’s part of East London, we hear (4)
BEAU - "we hear" the same as BOW (part of East London)
3 Bird in grass is kingfisher (6)
SISKIN - "in" the letters of grasS IS KINgfisher. A finch type creature that I'd also never heard of but the clue was helpful.
4 Arrival of notice archdeacon originally typed (6)
ADVENT - AD (advert/notice) VEN (venerable/archdeacon) T ("originally" Typed)
5 Capable 1950s youth keeping a fast (8)
TALENTED - TED (1950s youth) keeps A LENT (a fast)
6 Crucial-sounding place for handling ship’s cargo (4)
QUAY - sounds like KEY (crucial). So, _U_Y? Well, if a port can have a "duty-free", then surely it has a lesser-known but much more important-sounding place called a "duty" hidden away somewhere. Yeah whatever.
13 Barrier damaged best coal (8)
OBSTACLE - anagram (damaged) of BEST COAL
15 Man finally delving into poor Tracey’s lineage (8)
ANCESTRY - N (maN, "finally") delving into an anagram (poor) of TRACEY'S
17 Roofing material in yonder church (6)
THATCH - THAT (yonder) CH(urch)
18 Waylay a doctor with American husband (6)
AMBUSH - A MB (a doctor) with US (american) H(usband)
20 Grass sent up for ruminants (4)
DEER - REED (grass) sent up/reversed
22 Celebrity giving eastern servant a rise (4)
NAME - E(astern) MAN (servant) given a rise/reversed

Comments

( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
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kevingregg
Jul. 11th, 2019 02:59 am (UTC)
This took me ages, and now I don't see why. Nothing in particular stands out as difficult, although I'd never heard of LOI COSTMARY (I, too, could only see CASHMERE). 9:21.
vinyl1
Jul. 11th, 2019 04:00 am (UTC)
I took just over 10 minutes....
....and I think the reason why is that there are no really simple clues. I had a hard time getting a foothold, and struggled a bit with the whole left side. Not really hard, of course, for that you have to go to today's 15 x 15.
jackkt
Jul. 11th, 2019 05:35 am (UTC)
I completed this in 8 minutes apart from the totally unknown COSTMARY which is making its first appearance in any Times puzzle in the TftT era, although it has been mentioned in dispatches on two occasions (by johnintterred in a Jumbo and by dorsetjimbo in a Mephisto) when the answer in question was its alternative name 'alecost'. I'm not sure that a QC is the most suitable place for an obscure word such as this to be making its debut!

Anyway, having ruled out 'cashmere' and 'cashmary' (although I was happy with the MARY bit) I then did an alphabet trawl on C?S? and eventually settled on COST as the most likely fit. This all took an additional 5 minutes so my solving time goes down as 13 minutes with target missed.
davidivad1
Jul. 11th, 2019 06:54 am (UTC)
Thursday
I would describe this as brutal rather than gentle. An unknown plant but guessable if you're lucky, plus another plant and birds and monkeys and a county ( Ireland or England?) all added up to a long solve for me.18:42 in the end but I did think I might not finish at one point.
I thought QUAY was difficult and LOI was BEDSIT where I was trying to fit SA into KENT at first. Now for some breakfast.
David
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2019 07:15 am (UTC)
7.27 so not too bad. I saw COSTMARY early and while I considered but dismissed cash, did wonder whether there might be a different girl’s name besides Mary. 5d took time too, I forget TED so biffed on basis it contained LENT. LOI Bluebird, was looking for an old famous person....

NeilC
templarredux
Jul. 11th, 2019 07:46 am (UTC)
Hang out the flags and put another chocolate fondant on the table, mother, for at 9:06 today is that rarest of all days, a Sub-Kevin!! Even if I got there with a blatant first time guess at COSTMARY (seriously, Orpheus? In a QC? With checkers that would have allowed you to put cashmere?)

FOI ARUM, LOI BLUEBIRD, COD FLATMATE which made me chuckle.

By the way, who knew that a baboon is a monkey and not an ape? I didn’t.

Thanks Orpheus and Roly.

Templar
crispb
Jul. 11th, 2019 09:32 am (UTC)
The general rule of thumb for apes vs monkeys is the presence of a tail. Apes don't have them and monkeys do, with the exception of the barbary macaque, which is sometimes known as the barbary ape, presumably for this reason. The other way is just to remember that the only living apes are gibbons, orang utans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonabos. And us of course.
john_dun
Jul. 11th, 2019 07:50 am (UTC)
Mostly straightforward apart from my LOI, COSTMARY, where I dithered over COST or CASH having settled on MARY fairly quickly. 9:25. Thanks Orpheus and Roly.

Edited at 2019-07-11 07:51 am (UTC)
desdeeloeste
Jul. 11th, 2019 08:17 am (UTC)
I’m with David on this one. The unknown COSTMARY was my LOI but my problems all stemmed from the NW corner. The dearth of checkers cost me many minutes. I needed the K of the well hidden SISKIN to get me going. 20 minutes plus change!

Edited at 2019-07-11 08:26 am (UTC)
oldblighter
Jul. 11th, 2019 08:18 am (UTC)
An interesting mix of easy and quite challenging clues for me. I beat my 2K target by a couple of minutes but thought I was quicker than that. MY LOI was COSTMARY - I had cost early on but had never heard of this plant. I liked BEDSIT and BANISH but my COD is TALENTED. Thanks to both. John M.
gcook52
Jul. 11th, 2019 08:27 am (UTC)
I got a bit lucky today. I am originally a Bedfordshire man so 16 was in quickly but otherwise the top left corner was a struggle. Never heard of Costmary. I guessed Beau even though its more 19th century than 2019. I wouldn't have got Siskin if I hadn't got the k. Generally good stuff though - thanks!
philjordan
Jul. 11th, 2019 08:52 am (UTC)
I may be the only person here....
....who knew COSTMARY (thus I didn't try to biff rosemary). I'd agree, though, that it's a bit of a stiffy for a QC.

Had to come back to my LOI, but no problems otherwise.

FOI ARUM
LOI QUAY
COD BABOON (liked the neatly hidden SISKIN too !)
TIME 3:47
plett11
Jul. 11th, 2019 09:00 am (UTC)
I thought this was quite tricky in places, particularly the NW and the unknown plant, but I was also being a bit dozy e.g. forgetting that Knight was N not K or that Lent was a fast. Considering all of that I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 13.41, finishing with 7a with my favourite being BABOON for it's surface reading. And all wrapped up in time for the start of the cricket.
Thanks to roly.
crispb
Jul. 11th, 2019 09:55 am (UTC)
I had the sense this was quite hard, even as I was going along quite nicely and I was proud of myself for getting most of it done in about 15 minutes. I had never heard of costmary, but did not have any problem with considering cashmere as I didn't think cash was synonymous with charge and still can't think of a sentence where they could be used interchangeably. I did think the girl's name might be Meri, but given Mary is more common and is used in rosemary, thankfully I plumped for that. I then took a while to see addict and bluebird and come up with rum for odd, but what really cost me - and I'm talking about half an hour here as I finished in 68:34 - was 5d. At first I couldn't think of the word for a 1950s youth though I thought I would know it if I saw it, and then when I got addict, it came to me. Except with ted at the end I thought I was looking for a four letter word meaning capable with an extra a in it plus ted, to make a definition for fast. I just hope there are some other people out there who still sometimes take over an hour to do these, even after three years doing them.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2019 10:35 pm (UTC)
Yes!

Philip
(no subject) - filbert42 - Jul. 12th, 2019 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rolytoly - Jul. 12th, 2019 04:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2019 10:06 am (UTC)
Costmary
My electronic Oxford Crossword Solver (or cheat device) gives both cashmere and Costmary when I entered c?s?m?r?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2019 05:40 pm (UTC)
RE: Costmary
Although cashmere comes from a goat.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2019 12:58 pm (UTC)
I agree.....
Brutal!
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