Quick Cryptic 860 by Tracy


Another test blog, just practising ready for my big day when I do it for real on TftT. Solving time 8 mintes. A little chewy in places I thought. Lots of different anagrams. LOI 6d for no good reason. CoD 7d

1 Strengthen control on behalf of Church of England (9)
REINFORCE - REIN + FOR + CE (church of England)
6 Looking embarrassed about diamonds (3)
RED - RE (about) D (Diamonds, in playing card notation)
8 Male brought in injured party for treatment (7)
THERAPY - HE (male) inside anagram of ('injured') PARTY
9 Male, when working, is one who dresses stone (5)
MASON - M (male) AS (when) ON (working)
10 Flower festival failing to open (5)
ASTER - EASTER without the first letter ('failing to open')
12 Polish in Ulster, working (6)
LUSTRE - Anagram of ('working') ULSTER
14 Sausage dish: one hotel had it prepared (4-2-3-4)
TOAD-IN-THE-HOLE - Anagram of ('prepared') ONE HOTEL HAD IT. Three anagrinds already and we're only on 14d
16 Black box caught out research scientist (6)
BOFFIN - B (black, as in chess) 'box' is COFFIN, with the removal of C ('caught' as seen in a cricket scorebook)
17 Swear nothing's missing from racetrack (5)
CURSE - COURSE with the O taken out ('nothing missing')
19 Frequently fall in value? Not shares, initially (5)
OFTEN - SOFTEN, which means fall in value in the context of stock markets etc, without S ('shares initially')
20 Typical woman admitting age? Just the opposite! (7)
AVERAGE - AGE with VERA in it. Not 'woman admitting age' but 'age admitting woman' i.e. the opposite. I biffed ANTONYM at first. What an idiot.
22 Conceit, for example, shown by Oscar (3)
EGO - EG (for example) + O (oscar, as per NATO)
23 Trees attracting much interest in Hampshire town (9)
ALDERSHOT - ALDERS (trees) + HOT (attracting much interest). Home of the British Army. Used to have a brilliant lido there when I was a kid

1 Withdraws religious education pamphlets (8)
RETRACTS - RE (Religious Education) + TRACTS (pamphlets)
2 Fair enough concealing intense anger (3)
IRE - hidden word 'faIR Enough'
3 Learner in market displaying natural talent (5)
FLAIR - FAIR with L in
4 Banner, excellent example (5,8)
ROYAL STANDARD - Double definitions. The royal flag with the lions on it. Apparrently there's a different one for Scotland with more lions rampant and fewer lions passant guardant.
5 As one man sees changes (2,5)
EN MASSE - Anagram of MAN SEES
6 Ice, mostly, round Irish lake (9)
RESERVOIR - RESERVE 'mostly' - always means one letter missing, + O (round) + IR (Irish)
7 Accomplished poet, we're told (4)
DONE - Sounds like DONNE, John. "And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.." etc
11 Song from old musical, tap-danced originally with special footwear (3,3,3)
TEA FOR TWO - Anagram of ('special')FOOTWEAR with T (tap-danced 'originally'). Song, musical and film. Song sung in the film by Doris Day
13 Small mountain most difficult to endure (8)
15 Current admirer cheers the king of Spain's eldest daughter? (7)
INFANTA - IN (current) + FAN (admirer) + TA (cheers)
17 Comfort food and drink (5)
CHEER -Double definition
18 Unknown individual in band (4)
ZONE - Z (unknowns are X Y or Z) + ONE
21 Has broken wood (3)
ASH - Anagram of ('broken') HAS

Quick Cryptic 859 by Hurley

Gosh, my first (test) blog for TftT. Big moment - I don't want to let anyone down, just want to put the ball on a good length etc. Nice and straightforward offering today, solving time just under 7 minutes. Lots of standard cryptic tropes for the less experience solver to inwardly digest.

3 Old magistrate imprisons Duke for trick (5)
DODGE - Old (venetian) magistrate is DOGE, which 'imprisons' D (Duke)
7 Boot that is fine at first (6)
WELLIE - IE (that is) with WELL (fine) at front
8 Singer — a lieutenant, old (4)
ALTO - String of abbreviations - A, LT (lieutenant), O (old)
9 A drink British always mature (8)
BEVERAGE - B (British) EVER (always) AGE (mature). A word used in speech by precisely no-one.
10 Leaves and makes excuses initially unconvincing (4)
LAME - String of initials Leaves And Makes Excuses
11 Tip — try setting. It could make you well-off?! (7,6)
15 Facility leaving armchair viewer unmoved? (6,7)
REMOTE CONTROL - Cryptic definition. Not that cryptic. I biffed this one.
16 Reportedly run away from bloodsucker (4)
FLEA - Sounds like ('reportedly') FLEE (run away)
18 Countryman has hot stuffing for bird (8)
PHEASANT - PEASANT 'stuffed' with H
20 Eels bred in odd places in river (4)
ELBE - Every other letter ('odd places') of EeLs BrEd
21 Drink search organized (6)
CHASER - anagram of SEARCH
22 Poet’s appointment about noon (5)
DANTE - DATE (appointment) around N (noon). In crosswordland, 'Poet' always seems to mean the Divine Comedy bloke.

1 Some sweetener I fetched in holiday island (8)
TENERIFE - follow-on-er: sweeTENER I FEtched. 'Some' means hidden word until proven otherwise.
2 Prompt to include large hint (4)
CLUE - CUE (prompt) with L (large) in it
3 Being forbidden to leave, in canteen I ate dinner, upset (8)
DETAINEE - another hidden word, this time backwards:  cantEEN I ATE Dinner. Quite a subtle definition this. Without checking I bunged in DETAINED, because the definition suggests an adjective, but of course 'being' is also a noun. Nice. The most important deceptive device in crosswordland is making you think of the wrong part of speech.
4 Feature of Church maybe — new beginning for Italian capital (4)
DOME - ROME with a new beginning
5 Nobleman, originally Irish, is in Paris — first to arrive? (8)
EARLIEST - EARL + I + EST (French for 'is').
6 First half of alphabet or very small amount? (4)
ATOM -  A to M is the first 13 letters.
12 Deceitful act few do after reform (3-5)
TWO-FACED - Anagram of ACT FEW DO. 'Reform' being the anagrind.
13 Demonstrated as true Church here in France (8)
PROVENCE - PROVEN + CE (church) (of England). 'Here in France' had me trying to crowbar the word 'ici' in somehow.
14 Heavily beaten in end court somehow (8)
TROUNCED - Another standard anagrind: 'Somehow'. Anagram of END COURT
17 Girl, lively, not very English (4)
LILY - LIVELY without V (very) and E (English)
18 Clear I abandoned scheme (4)
PLAN - Clear is 'PLAIN', take out the 'I'
19 Haul of southwest silver? (4)
SWAG - SW (South West) + Ag (as per periodic table)