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QC 1435 by Teazel

Most of these were straight write-ins for me. I was seeing it like a beach ball. Oops sorry, that hurts doesn't it. I suppose one more unlikely escape was too much to hope for. Recall Geoffrey Boycott, that's what I say. I'm sure he could still stand there all day without scoring anything just like he used to. Although don't tell him I said so or his head will swell up like a beach ball (oh no - look - that's only about half as big as it is already) and Steve Smith will take deadly aim and hit it to the boundary.

Anyway, as usually seems to be the case these days I am squeezing this blog into a business and personal commitment sandwich so I don't have much to say except thank you Teazel, my oldest adversary at this game, for another entertaining puzzle to get the neurons firing again after the weekend anaesthesia.

FOI was 7A as appropriate. LOI was 21A because although I could easily see the answer the logic escaped me until the end (and I hope I've got the explanation right at that - no doubt I will be swiftly corrected if not). COD was 8A for me. As usual in the QC marks are awarded for elegance rather than difficulty and I thought this double definition was quite neat. Particularly as there are two potential anagrinds to divert the attention at first glance and make it seem less straightforward than it is.

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

7 Essential part of company: engineers (4)
CORE - CO (company) + RE (Royal Engineers).
8 Novel, not the translation (8)
ORIGINAL - double definition.
9 Take ages to fit in (6)
BELONG - 'be long' = 'to take ages'. As in 'don't be long'.
10 The old warning for farmers (6)
YEOMEN - YE (old word for 'the') + OMEN (warning).
11 Drop all the actors (4)
CAST - double definition.
12 Bird’s colours sharp (8)
REDSTART - REDS (colours) + TART (sharp).
15 Punctilious type left in gummed label (8)
STICKLER - L (left) 'in' STICKER (gummed label).
17 One in a suit in the Athenaeum, say (4)
CLUB - double definition.
18 Offering beautiful views, since moving clutter at the front (6)
SCENIC - anagram of SINCE ('moving') + C (Clutter 'at the front').
21 Sounds unwanted? (6)
NOISES - cryptic definition, 'noise' being an unwanted disturbance accompanying a signal in electronics, as in 'background noise' or 'white noise'.
22 It is painful in unfurnished carriage (8)
BAROUCHE - OUCH (it is painful) 'in' BARE (unfurnished).
23 Musical animals? Yes and no (4)
CATS - CATS is a musical in which the characters are cats, and CATS are also animals. So the CATS in the musical are musical animals by definition, but cats per se are not particularly musical. Hence 'yes and no'. (And of course if we didn't have 'yes and no' it would be a straight double definition.)
1 Witches and possible soldier make agreement (8)
COVENANT - COVEN (a group of witches) + ANT (as in soldier ant).
2 Porter prepared an account (6)
REPORT - straight anagram of PORTER ('prepared').
3 Bank on the Spanish for poor verse (8)
DOGGEREL - DOGGER (the 'Dogger Bank' is between England and Denmark in the North Sea) + EL ('the' in Spanish).
4 Coventry, for example — it replaces its centre (4)
CITY - replace the centre of C(OVENTR)Y with IT = CITY.
5 Apparently good to get over painful condition: have a binge (3,3)
PIG OUT - PI (schoolboy slang for PIOUS and thus 'apparently good') + GOUT (painful condition).
6 Big pothole in chic avenue (4)
CAVE - hidden word: chiC AVEnue.
13 Mad to have gardened in a storm (8)
DERANGED - straight anagram of GARDENED ('in a storm').
14 It may be fatal to play this when Russian (8)
ROULETTE - well, obviously. As in the Deer Hunter. Except that was Vietnam.
16 Am not able to get girl into bed (6)
CANNOT - ANN (girl) 'getting into' COT (bed).
17 Embrace easy task, accepting pounds (6)
CLINCH - CINCH (easy task) 'acepting' L (pounds, as in lsd (pounds, shillings and pence)).
19 Seafood, and a sort of apple (4)
CRAB - double definition.
20 Raise male bird (4)
COCK - double definition.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2019 03:27 am (UTC)
I was really pleased to come in under 5 minutes...
....for the first time ever - I think my previous best was just under 8. Was it that easy a puzzle? I was certainly on the wavelength. Even at such an elevated speed, I still understood how most of the clues worked, although I did biff 'deranged'. I am not usually able to think instantly of a coach that contains 'ow' or 'ouch', but in this case it popped into my head as I read the clue.

My 4:53 was still more than twice as long as Verlaine took, however.

If anyone is looking for a difficult 15 x 15, today's the day.
Sep. 9th, 2019 03:29 am (UTC)
Who says cats aren't musical? Charles Trenet might beg to differ: "Sur la toit de l'hôtel où je vis avec toi, quand j'attends ta venue, mon amie, / Que la nuit fait chanter plus fort et mieux comme moi, tous les chats, tous les chats, tous les chats…"
I liked BAROUCHE, which made me forget that this was a QC.
Sep. 9th, 2019 05:43 am (UTC)
20 minutes but didn't know dogger nor doggerel so went with the mispelt mongerel.

I blame decaffeinated coffee and lack of Leffe.

Cod belong.

Sep. 9th, 2019 05:54 am (UTC)
I thought the grid was difficult with so many first letters missing. But the clues were mainly straightforward. I was looking at a very fast time but I was held up by a few.
Needed to parse BAROUCHE (barely known) carefully as I had CARTOUCHE in my head. Could not parse NOISES and wasn't sure about COCK. LOI was CATS, again after a pause for thought;I'll make that COD.
Time was 11:25 so quick for me. David
Sep. 9th, 2019 06:11 am (UTC)
7 minutes slowed a little by parsing NOISES and also wondering for half a moment what 'Yes and no' was doing at 23, concluding that it may add a little to the surface of the clue but does nothing to make it easier for QC newbies to solve, if that was the intention.

Helped by STICKLER appearing in another puzzle within the past week or two when it gave me some problems.

I had no difficulty with BAROUCHE as I've met it many times before, but I imagine it's a word not in the average QC solver's vocabulary.
Sep. 9th, 2019 06:31 am (UTC)
Nothing particularly problematic, as I recall. Mrs. Elton in 'Emma' is constantly referring to her friends' barouche-landau, so 22ac came quickly to mind. NOISES was simple enough: unwanted sounds. Mazel tov, Vinyl! 5:15.
Sep. 9th, 2019 07:18 am (UTC)
11.07 here so harder harder than average for me. I was convinced 3D ended REEL from ‘on’ and ‘the spanish’ so took a while to correct my thinking. COD to 8ac which held me up too.

Sep. 9th, 2019 07:39 am (UTC)
NHO BAROUCHE but constructed from the wordplay. I liked PIG OUT, BELONG and CANNOT. 4:38.
Sep. 9th, 2019 08:01 am (UTC)
I didn't find this easy. In fact I had to look up my LOI, BAROUCHE, which I'd never heard of. I got the OUCH bit, but not BARE, mainly because I misread unfurnished as unfinished. Doh! I didn't speed through the rest of it either. 12:00. Thanks Teazel and Don.
Sep. 9th, 2019 08:19 am (UTC)
With slightly less erudition than Guy, 23ac brought to mind the old ditty “cats on the roof tops, cats on the tiles, cats with the clap and cats with piles ...”. I’d better stop there. That felt like a gentle Monday offering at 1.6 Kevins for a Very Good Day. Apart from Don pouring salt on wounds in the blog, of course!

FOI CORE, LOI CLINCH, COD PIG OUT. I still don’t really get NOISES. Thanks Don and Teazel.

Sep. 9th, 2019 10:34 am (UTC)
A very good day ? You'll be wreathed in smiles I should think....
Sep. 9th, 2019 01:07 pm (UTC)
Ha ha! I am revelling in the joy!
Sep. 9th, 2019 08:47 am (UTC)
A fast start and a slow end, where I struggled with CLINCH, COCK (the 'raise' bit of it) and BAROUCHE which I'd never heard of. I wasn't entirely sure what was going on with NOISES and decided to ignore the 'yes and no' bit of 23a as it made no sense to me. Finished in 13.27 with a joint COD going to 3d and 8a.
Thanks for the much needed blog
Sep. 9th, 2019 08:59 am (UTC)
Mostly fair enough, though I'm not keen on the yes and no for Cats. Also I keep saying it because I believe its true that these days pi is only used in cryptic crosswords. Schoolboys (or girls) would only think of the mathematical association which reminds them of food!
Sep. 9th, 2019 09:40 am (UTC)
NOISES: No, I ses (says)?
Sep. 9th, 2019 09:43 am (UTC)
I finished just on my 20 minute target, but I thought it could have been faster. After 14 minutes I had just three to go with all the checkers, but it took another two to get NOISES, and another two and a trawl to get a letter which fitted between O and G for BELONG. After two more I thought of 'bare' for unfurnished and fitted it round the checkers with 'ouch' to get BAROUCHE whch I'd never heard of, so I was pleased to see 'congratulations' and 20:24. I thought there were some nice clues but a few weak ones.

Sep. 9th, 2019 10:47 am (UTC)
"Sullen and unsociable"....
....is part of the Chambers definition for "farouche" which I fortunately restrained myself from biffing, and avoided becoming so. BAROUCHE was lurking somewhere in the darker recesses of my grey matter, and the wordplay teased it out. Still not quite home and hosed even then as I wondered about a "clam apple".

Pitfalls avoided easily enough. I circled the clue for NOISES, but got the drift easily enough when I looked again.

"CATS" is a musical, CATS are most definitely not musical to anybody who isn't a fan of Schoenberg.

COD CITY (Coventry City have "replaced" to Birmingham this season !)
TIME 3:11
Sep. 9th, 2019 11:59 am (UTC)
Well once again I have a shameful time (82:02). I guess this was mostly because my brain wasn't in gear, and I wasn't helped by biffing contract for 1d when I had the o, a and t in place, which made getting 'belong' impossible for 15 minutes until I finally went back and worked out what was wrong. However, I also think it was a pretty difficult puzzle for newer solvers. A difficult grid with few first letters, only a couple of anagrams and one of them signalled by "in a storm" which isn't a common anagrind, and some unusual words. Never heard of yeomen being farmers, and barouche only rang the vaguest of bells because of a list of old carriages that one blogger (possibly jack?) put on here once.
I wondered if the "Sounds unwanted?" clue had two meanings. As well as noises being unwanted sounds, could noises also spell out "No, I ses" which sounds like "No I says" which would indicate something was unwanted?
Sep. 9th, 2019 03:22 pm (UTC)
Enjoyable solve within our 30m target. Interesting to see a carriage appear again, they used to be fairly common in crosswords, and there are many types. Thought of the term "noises off" was suitable for 21a when parsing?
Sep. 9th, 2019 03:28 pm (UTC)
Non cryptic?
I struggle to see how 21a is not a straightforward uncryptic definition - surely a noise is an unwanted sound (one persons music is another’s ”stop that racket”), and reversing the word order doesn’t make it cryptic. Never heard of redstart, needed all the checkers and an alphabet trawl. This seemed a weird combination of too easy and quite hard/obscure.
Sep. 9th, 2019 07:46 pm (UTC)
3.142 etc
Never seen that route to PI. Has that been used in the school playground since WW2?
Sep. 9th, 2019 07:55 pm (UTC)
This was more of a ‘double definition’ crossword than a cryptic one. Definitely a pattern. Surprised not to have seen BAROUCHE before, thought I knew all the carriages. And no, I had no idea about NOISES either.
Sep. 9th, 2019 09:00 pm (UTC)
First definition of NOISE: a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance.

Nothing necessarily to do with electronics, where that sense is, though, indeed employed.
Sep. 9th, 2019 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure any reference to noise in an electronic signal was intended. I think it's just a barely cryptic clue, with the grammar possibly making you read it differently. "Noise" can mean any unwanted sound, even if it's just being made by a construction crew or a gang of children.
Sep. 10th, 2019 08:06 am (UTC)
Yes I think you're right. I was probably overthinking it. Particularly in a QC.
Sep. 10th, 2019 04:51 am (UTC)
Never heard of PI for pious or BAROUCHE both slowed me down, also not heard of REDSTART which didn't - bunged it in with confidence. LOI was ORIGINAL, misdirected completely to a loud groan when it fell. Odd puzzle with a massive range of solvablility for me.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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