A few weeks ago we got a message from Olivia in the "member-puzzles" channel of our Discord site...
"Just asking if any of you clever cluesmen would be willing/interested in doing a bespoke Quick Cryptic puzzle. One of my sisters has a milestone birthday on Sept. 25th and I've been racking my brains what to get her. My sister only does the QC - she thinks, wrongly, that she's not up to the 15x15. I would be delighted to spring for a consignment of the beverage of your choice in return... or anything else within reason. Absolutely no pressure!"
How could I resist? I replied...
"Sounds fun. Happy to contribute and coordinate production. Some theme words to try and include would be good. "With a bit of grid mangling I managed to get quite a few of the theme words in, and enlisted some help to collaborate on coming up with some clues. You can find the result here and the answers below. Before looking at the answers, if you would like some additional help, click the label below.
Some hints and tips:
- Victoria is known in the family as Vee
- The thematic answers include the names of Victoria's husband, children and grandchildren, the schools she went to and a favourite holiday desitnation.
- There is one perhaps unfamiliar river, but hopefully the wordplay is clear
- There is one French word, but again the wordplay should help.
And click on this label to get the solution and blog of the answers.
1 Doc’s co-worker is in good spirits (5)
HAPPY. HAPPY (in good spirits). Their co-workers being the remaining 10 dwarves, of course.
4 Howl over abandoned third anniversary (8)
BIRTHDAY. BAY (howl) "over" "abandoned" (third)*. Our dedicatee, though, is a bit more more than 3 years old.
9 Victor’s flying formation (3)
VEE. Double definition. Victor is V in the NATO Alphabet and we see geese flying in a VEE formation around this time of year.
10 Steal from popular granddaughter (5)
ROBIN. ROB (steal) IN (popular). Our dedicatee's granddaughter, I'm told.
11 Hound starts to race round in mown grass (5)
HARRY. "Starts to", i.e. initial letters of, Race Round "in" HAY (mown grass).
12 Cathedral put lass off (2,5)
ST. PAULS. (put lass)* "off". And a school.
14 Boy in school (6)
CHAPIN. CHAP (boy) IN. Another school.
16 Stable horse unsteadily poodling about (9)
GODOLPHIN. H (horse) with (poodling)* "unsteady "about". And yet another school. [That's enough schools for now - Ed].
18 Musical instrument storyteller mentioned (4)
LYRE. Sounds like LIAR (storyteller), "mentioned".
21 Soldiers take a dip here? (4)
YOLK. Cryptic definition referring toast soldiers at breakfast.
23 Matilda will come dancing with me here? (9)
AUSTRALIA. Cryptic definition based on the local anthem "Waltzing Matilda". A great holiday destination.
26 Novel … a lined book (6)
DANIEL. (a lined)* "novel". Book of the bible.
27 New bistro opening in large city (7)
BRISTOL. "new" (bistro)*, "opening of" Large. All the best people live there.
30 Wild bear regularly visits Cornish river (5)
FERAL. Alternate letters of bEaR, "regularly", inside, "visits" FAL (Cornish river).
31 About to be Governor of India (5)
CLIVE. C (about) LIVE (to be).
33 Poem is outstanding, we hear (3)
ODE. Sounds like, "we hear" OWED (outstanding).
34 What a chess board might have at school? (8)
KNIGHTON. Cryptic hint... A chessboard may have a KNIGHT ON. [Oh. Alright then. One last school. Ed].
35 Set off without a meal (5)
1 Rash I have in High School (5)
HIVES. I'VE (I have) "in" H.S. (High School).
2 Got ready before Johnny's return (7)
PREPPED. PRE (before) Johnny DEPP returned -> PPED.
3 Origins of yet another rushing Isle of Wight river (3)
YAR. First letters, "origins", of Yet Another Rushing. Maybe not that familiar, but the crossing letters and wordplay should see you home.
4 Girls are ABBA best bits (5)
BABES. Hidden in, "bits", of ABBA BESt. But Björn and Benny sre pretty cool too.
5 Call round (4)
RING. Double definition.
6 Three houses have a laugh at Christmas (2,2,2)
HO HO HO. HO (house) x3. Santa will be coming again before you know it.
7 Decline an award (7)
ATROPHY. A TROPHY (award).
8 Some fancy a nice blue-green colour (4)
CYAN. Hidden in, "some", fanCY A Nice. Does your printer have ink cartridges in this colour? Mine does.
13 Fruit found in Puglia (4)
UGLI. Another hidden, "found in" PUGLIa. I'm sorry to say I've never tasted one.
15 It's no use endlessly shifting responsibility (4)
ONUS. (no us
16 Plotter might put gunpowder under you at first (3)
GUY. Initial letters of Gunpowder Under You "at first". That will be Guy of the Fawkes variety.
17 Chief source (4)
HEAD. Double definition. The second of the river Yar, perhaps.
19 Some earlier aeon (3)
ERA. An &lit, where the whole clue is both the definition and the wordplay. Geologically, an Era is apart of an Aeon, as I'm sure you know...if you are a geologist.
20 True French source of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence (4)
VRAI. A bit sneaky of one of your setters to include a French word! First letters, "source", of Virtual Reality Artiticial Intelligence.Hmm. What is the French equivalent of Silicon Valley, I wonder?
22 Yearn to organise marathon (4,3)
LONG RUN. LONG (yearn) RUN (organise).
24 Lengthen lease, depressed (3,4)
LET DOWN. As one might do to some trousers that are too short. LET (lease) DOWN (depressed).
25 Sickness starting just entering the last airport gate? (3,3)
JET LAG. Initial letters, "starting" of Just Entering The Last Airport Gate.
26 Remove very loudly after party (4)
DOFF. FF (fortissimo; very loudly) "after" DO (party).
27 Kid I discovered in shed (5)
BAIRN. I inside, "discovered in" BARN (shed).
28 Bloodsucking parasite finds shelter on top of church (5)
LEECH. LEE (shelter) "on top of", (this is a Down clue), CH (church).
29 Old tax from north of the border (4)
SCOT. Double definition with the second a cryptic hint.
32 For starters, East Enders love this fish (3)
EEL. First letters, "for starters", of East Enders Love. They like them jellied, I believe.