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[sticky post] Sloggers and Betters 13

There will be a meeting for crossword setters and solvers at The George, Borough High Street, Southwark, London, SE1 1NH, coinciding with the annual Times Setters’ Lunch. The meeting will begin at 02:00 pm on Tuesday 24th May and continue until late into the evening.

It is hoped that a number of the Times setters will put in an appearance after their lunch. There should also be a cross-section of setters from other nationals, bloggers and readers from Times for the Times, Big Dave’s Crossword Blog and Fifteensquared.

If you’ve never been before, this is a very friendly function and provides the opportunity to meet other like-minded people.

Quick Cryptic 576 by Mara

This is a very clever, good fun crossword - thank you Mara for clever clueing - lovely surfaces and cunning anagram indicators. I should have spent more time enjoying it but quick, quick very, very slow was the order of my solve today. So many clues flew in - which ended up being the problem - 12dn flew in rather too quickly leaving me staring at 13ac for ages. Memo to self - don't get overexcited with a quick time - take time to fully parse the answers.


1. Fahrenheit - scale of temperature. Hot (H) in an anagram (unusual) of A FIRE THEN.
8. Unarmed - lacking weapons. Not injured (unharmed) in a Cockney accent.
9. Poole - port. Some water (POOL) with E.
10. Fate - lot. (F)or (A)uction (T)erribly (E)xpensive.
11. Uncouple - release. UNCLE holding (O)ffences and UP. Clever clue - suggesting the first letters of 'offences' and 'up' - but 'up' was just 'up'.
13. Snail - slow creature. (S)nake, catch (NAIL). Much easier when you don't think the final letter is an 'N'.
14. Easel - support for an artist. Comfort (EASE), (L)ove.
16. Damocles - toady of myth. Anagram (corrupt) of SAME COLD.
17. Opus - work. Drink (SUP) backwards after O.
20. Congo - African river. Argument against (CON), GO.
21. Ukraine - country. British (UK - anyone care to debate the differences between UK and Britain?), RAIN, wo(E).
22. Straighten - put right. Anagram (mould) of SHATTERING. Excellent anagrist.


1. Fluff - double definition.
2. Heartwarming - cheering. Anagram (resolved) of NIGHTMARE WAR.
3. Emmy - TV award. Este(EM MY)thical.
4. Hiding - double definition.
5. Improved - picked up (often a Homophone indicator). Devil (IMP), wandered off (ROVED).
6. Compass point - north perhaps. Anagram (off) of I POP SCOTSMAN.
7. Reveal - show. Make merry (REVEL) taking in A. Great surface reading.
12. Blackout - loss of power. Loss (LACK) in a fight (BOUT). 'Knockout' was my far too quick biff.
13. Seduce - corrupt. Anagram (convert) of USED with church (CE). Mara keeping up the entertainment with two potential anagram indicators.
15. Nebula - cloud of gas and dust. Anagram (to disperse) of UNABLE. Lovely surface.
18. Stern - double definition.
19. Frog - amphibian. (R)ed in FOG.

Times Cryptic 26420

It's not often I have two consecutive solves under 30 minutes, so 19 minutes yesterday and 29 today make a promising start to the week to compensate for Sunday's ordeal. I've nothing to say about this one that isn't covered in the blog, other than it's a pangram.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [indicators in square ones]

1 Sublime joke I used in club endlessly (8)
MAJESTIC - JEST (joke) + I inside [used in] MAC{e} (club) [endlessly]
9 Islander hostile to area featuring in offensive piece (8)
ANTIGUAN - ANTI (hostile to), A (area) inside [featuring in] GUN (offensive piece).
10 State of a university (4)
PERU - PER (a), U (university)
11 Lack of clarity I exposed about demand one time (12)
INEXACTITUDE - I, NUDE (exposed) containing [about] EXACT (demand - as in "exact/demand money") + I (one) + T (time)
13 Toy boy left between ducks behind boat (6)
GIGOLO - GIG (boat), then L (left) inside [between] 00 (ducks)
14 What caused restricted breathing? A nose did when broken (8)
ADENOIDS - Anagram [when broken] of A NOSE DID.
15 Casual shoe’s telltale wear oddly ignored (7)
SNEAKER - SNEAK (telltale), {w}E{a}R [oddly ignored]
16 Good article describing scope mainly of part of West Africa (7)
GAMBIAN - G (good) + AN (article) containing [describing], AMBI{t} (scope) [mainly]. I assume "describe" is used in the sense of "delineate" here, but I'm not sure it quite works as a containment indicator.
20 Private soldiers getting exhausted (8)
RETIRING - RE (soldiers) + TIRING (getting exhausted)
22 Remarkable person regularly sounded poorly (3-3)
ONE-OFF -{s}O{u}N{d}E{d} [regularly], OFF (poorly)
23 Who’d chat — then becoming excited making toast? (4,3,5)
DOWN THE HATCH - Anagram [becoming excited] of WHO'D CHAT THEN
25 Forbidden to carry small sack? (4)
OUST - OUT (forbidden) containing [to carry] S (small)
26 Upset Reagan twice over subject never to be discussed (2-2,4)
NO-GO AREA -Anagram [upset] of REAGAN O O (over, twice)
27 Present state, and the same before that (8)
DONATION -  DO (the same - ditto), NATION (state)
2 Hate short answer given by model (8)
AVERSION - A (short answer), VERSION (model)
3 Shifting Parisian who is stuck in English job? (12)
EQUIVOCATION - QUI (Parisian "who") contained by [is stuck in] E (English) + VOCATION (job)
4 Boring father, first to last immersed in work (8)
TIRESOME - IRES ("sire"- father [first to last]) contained by [immersed in] TOME (work)
5 Far to the south of a motor plant (7)
CARAWAY - CAR (motor), AWAY (far). "To the south of" simply indicates "underneath".
6 Flap surrounding posh sculpture (6)
STATUE - STATE (flap) contains [surrounding] U (posh)
7 Somebody outstanding initially replaced by unknown in this famous film (4)
ZULU - LULU (somebody outstanding) with its first L (initially) replaced by Z (unknown)
8 A nurse on shifts showing a lack of sanity (8)
UNREASON - Anagram [shifts] of A NURSE ON
12 Solve problems investing foreign money in sources of this shale gas (12)
TROUBLESHOOT -   T{his} S{hale}[sources of] containing [investing] ROUBLE (foreign money) , HOOT (gas - a laugh)
15 Harsh when scandal’s brought up during broadcast (8)
STRIDENT - DIRT (scandal) [reversed [brought up] inside [during] SENT (broadcast)
17 Taking on a commercial possibility (8)
ADOPTION - AD (commercial), OPTION (possibility)
18 Bananas for sale getting cold in open air (8)
ALFRESCO - Anagram [bananas] of FOR SALE C (cold)
19 As leader of government had written about English intellectual (7)
EGGHEAD - EG (as), G{overnment} [leader], HAD contains [written about] E (English)
21 Reside at home at this stage (6)
INHERE - IN (at home), HERE (at this stage)
24 Pursue wife over a number of years (4)
WAGE - W (wife), AGE (number of years)

Times 26419 - What the Pry Mincer waves?

Solving time: 12 minutes

Music: Beethoven, Symphony #3, Jochum/LSO

Now here's a Monday offering. My time was a personal best, as I madly biffed without hesitation, resulting in a completed grid before the end of the first movement. I admit, I had been feeling dull after having a go at Anax's little Sunday offering, but this one got me back into a little more positive view of my solving abilities.

It would be interesting to see how the Quickie graduates do with this one. Part of my solving speed came from experience, as I plugged in the known equivalents of known cluing elements, and rapidly got enough crossers to start biffing away. But it really wasn't that hard, so the Quickie crew is encouraged to make the attempt.

1TRIMESTER, TRIM + EST[h]ER, or maybe [h]ESTER, either one will work.
6SUPER, double definition, where 'wicked' has its slang sense of 'excellent'.
10ANAGRAM, definition by example, with EAST GRINSTEAD and ITS GREAT DANES as the sample anagram.
13TRICKSTER, T[-e,+RICK)STER, a rather complicated substitution clue with an eminently biffable answer.
14IMPECCANT, I MP (E.C) CAN'T. One of the few where you might need the cryptic, particularly if the answer is not on the tip of your brain.
16ENVY, ENV[o]Y, one we've seen before.
18DIRK, KI(R)D backwards, ditto.
24OFLAG, O + FLAG, not a very specific definition. Something like 'old stone where there are no men' would have made it harder.
25BEGONIA, BEG ON + backwards A1.
26TANGELO, T(A N GEL)O, where the container is our old friend OT backwards.
28LATTE, hidden in [mea]L AT TE[aroom]. This made me think "we haven't had 'lathi' for a while, I wonder when that's going to show up."
2IDA, sounds like EIDER if you happen not to be rhotic.
3EVANESCE, EVAN(E)S + C.E. At first I though the Welshman was Evan alone, which made the cryptic impossible to parse.
6SPARKS, [fixe]S (PARK) [light]S.
8REMARRY, R.E. + MAR RY, a compendium of cryptic cliches.
17INSOMNIA, anagram of A MINION'S.
18DECIBEL, L (BE) ICED upside-down.
20LEG ROOM, LE GROOM. The English word 'groom', meaning a bridesman, is an assimilation of O.E. 'guma', a cognate of Latin 'homo', into another, unrelated word.
21QUINCE, [e]QUIN(C[ultivated])E. My LOI, I had to think quickly to finish.
23DETER, RE(T[own's])ED upside-down.
27ELI, [r]ELI[c], where R.C. is what is removed.

Quick Cryptic 575 by Marty

Only Marty's eighth Quicky offering by my reckoning, and I found this one quite tricky - though part of that was because I managed to put in a wrong answer for 10A that made my LOI 2D impossible. Enjoyed this, with some interesting vocab, good surfaces, and a grand total of five Zs.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160523/15814/

Definitions are underlined.

Note for bloggers: I've written a bit of dodgy JavaScript that enables you, after solving a puzzle on the Times website, to create a skeleton blog for it from within your browser. It requires little in the way of technical knowledge and works for quick cryptics, normal cryptics, Jumbos, and Mephistos. You can find the process on my LiveJournal blog here: http://mohn2.livejournal.com/2201.html

8 High level leap, at different university (7)
PLATEAU - anagram (different) of LEAP AT, + U (university)
9 Extremist cult rarely demonstrates (5)
ULTRA - hidden in (demonstrates) cULT RArely
10 Foolish using unknown quantities in do-it-yourself (5)
DIZZY - ZZ (unknown quantities, where Z is a common variable in equations) in DIY (do-it-yourself). I carelessly whacked in DITZY here, even though it didn't fit the wordplay, which caused some head scratching later over 2D.
11 Chap making ref wild (7)
WILFRED - anagram (making) of REF WILD
12 Top person in sauna? (7)
SWEATER - double definition
14 Twelve people at the very end? An awful lot fewer! (2-3)
NO-ONE - NOON (Twelve) + {peopl}E (people at the very end, i.e. the last letter of the word "people")
15 Frank the musician using sound from remote control (5)
ZAPPA - homophone (using sound from) of ZAPPER (remote control). The definition is something of a giveaway in this one - when it comes to famous Franks in music, I think the well is fairly dry once you get past Sinatra and Zappa (is Frank Black famous? Discuss).
17 Hamlet’s friend’s house share not finalised (7)
HORATIO - HO (house) + RATIO{n} (share not finalised, i.e. RATION (share) without its last letter). As mentioned in one of Shakespeare's most famous lines: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; ..."
19 Cheerful after injury is concluded (5,2)
WOUND UP - UP (Cheerful) after WOUND (injury)
20 Last character following Disney to dance (5)
WALTZ - WALT (Disney) + Z (Last character, i.e. of the alphabet)
22 Backward about everything, it’s plain (5)
LLANO - reversal (Backward) of ON (about) + ALL (everything), for the South American steppe that has appeared in the Quicky once before (241 in February of last year) but is usually the preserve of the main cryptic
23 Dodging troubles so naive (7)
EVASION - anagram (troubles) of SO NAIVE

1 Copied flier found outside gym class (4)
APED - AD (flier, i.e. advertisement) outside PE (gym class)
2 Two sharp double bends in valley, blind (6)
DAZZLE - ZZ (Two sharp double bends) in DALE (valley)
3 Fed up by the end of Monday’s challenge (4)
DEFY - reversal (up) of FED, + {Monda}Y (end of Monday, i.e. the last letter of the word "Monday")
4 Perrin shows up after disturbing person on beach a lot? (3,10)
SUN WORSHIPPER - anagram (after disturbing) of PERRIN SHOWS UP. Possibly a surface reference to Reginald Perrin?
5 Name large ship The Irishman (8)
DUBLINER - DUB (Name) + LINER (large ship). Would have been nice to see the last two words italicised to complete the surface.
6 Austere office contains record player (6)
STEREO - hidden in (contains) AuSTERE Office
7 Girl to depart for city in US (3,5)
SAN DIEGO - SANDIE (Girl) + GO (to depart). Where Zappa joined his first band.
12 Measure water source in place of nuclear power station (8)
SIZEWELL - SIZE (Measure) + WELL (water source). Sizewell is a village in Suffolk that is home to two nuclear power stations (one currently being decommissioned) with plans for a third - I'd be surprised if its fame has spread much beyond these shores.
13 Corner, note, or entrance to roof space? (8)
TRAPDOOR - TRAP (Corner, as a verb) + DO (note, as in do-re-mi) + OR
16 Place on Russian mountain range in which sheep remains the same (6)
PLURAL - PL (Place) + URAL (Russian mountain range), with the definition a reference to sheep being the same word whether singular or plural
18 Army of volunteers like unusual sort of film (6)
TALKIE - TA (Army of volunteers, i.e. the Territorial Army (now the Army Reserve)) + anagram (unusual) of LIKE
20 Hit Western with bad actor (4)
WHAM - W (Western) + HAM (bad actor)
21 Area of Eastern and Northern Australia looking up (4)
ZONE - reversal (looking up) of E (Eastern) + N (Northern) + OZ (Australia)

JUMBO 1206

I didn’t find this one particularly difficult but there did seem to be a lot of unusual words and several examples of the dreaded long single word answer.  When we played hangman at school if anyone put 14 dashes up on the blackboard there was a pretty good chance that the answer was going to be Constantinople, as that was the only 14-letter word that any of us knew, but my vocabulary has moved on a bit since then.

Usual rules apply, viz, to wit and ergo, I’ve only explained those clues that I think need explaining or wish to comment on, but if the one that had you in a tizzy remains unexplained than feel free to ask for the scales to be lifted from thine eyes.

First in was ASSEGAI but I forgot to note which was last and now I can’t remember. 



SHOULDER PAD  - Carry (shoulder) + home (pad) with the rest the def.  I don’t know if the setter was thinking of William “The Refrigerator” Perry from the Chicago Bears or Alexis Carrington from Dynasty.  Probably both.


ABSORB - Def is “draw in” made by adding ABS to ORB.  Clever misdirection.  I’ll hazard I wasn’t the only one who started out looking for a star, planet or other celestial thingy by putting a word for draw inside a word for muscles.


SPIT - Reversal of what waitresses get for pretending not to hate you. 


ASSEGAI  - (m)ASSES(s) (a)GAI(n).  I enjoyed the “jumping out of their skins” device.


RECITAL - reversal of TIC in REAL.


GALLEON - GALL (brass as in cheek) + (binnacle)E + ON.


COLUMBINE - COLUM(n) (short upright shaft) + BINE (not a word I knew but it’s “the flexible stem of a climbing plant”).  Columbine, meanwhile, is one of the common names (the other being granny's bonnet) for aquilegia, is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers.


MISLEADING - MI (Military Intelligence as in James Bond) + ‘S + LEADING.




CLANSMAN - CLAMAN(t) around N&S.  Didn’t know clamant.


SANDWICH BOARDS - BOARD S (go on ship south) after the Cinque Port famous for its golf courses and Gogglebox’s Steph & Dom.


MATSURI - (ritualism)* minus LI.  Another unfamiliar word.




RACER - R for runs plus the genus of trees commonly known as maple to give any of several genera of colubrid snakes, such as Coluber; Drymobius, the neotropical racers; Masticophis, the whip snakes or coachwhips; and Alsophis.


AVERT - R(ook) inside A VET.


ACRONYMIC - A CRONY M(onths) + IC for in charge.  Not a word I use every day.


INVOICE - DD with one leading to IN VOICE.


STAPHYLOCOCCUS - (slouchcopycats)*. A nasty little bugger.


PRIEST - PRIES + (contrac)T


HAVE IT MADE - DD wherein one has the it as I.T. 


SPRAT - reversal of TARPS as in short for tarpaulins.


CHARIVARI  - V in CH ARIA R(eligious) I(nstruction).  According to Wiki this is the term for a French folk custom in which the community gives a noisy, discordant mock serenade, also pounding on pots and pans, at the home of newlyweds.


TWILIGHT SLEEP  - (pigwhistlelet)* not a term I was familiar with but it’s an amnesic condition characterized by insensitivity to pain without loss of consciousness, induced by an injection of morphine and scopolamine, especially to relieve the pain of childbirth.


ANIMATE - ANI + MATE where the former is a large black tropical bird of the cuckoo family.


DAY CARE - CA in (ready)*.


ETNA - A nice semi &Lit reverse hidden.


GROYNE - an initial letters construction for something I remembered from O-Level geog.


READY-TO-WEAR - (r today we are)*



SHALWAR - we kick off the downs with another unknown, South Asian pantaloons-style trousers here made thus: SHAL{l} W{e}AR.


OYSTER PLANT - basic charade for the common name of a number of plants including a herb.




EPIGRAMATICALLY - (magicalplaymerit)*.  Any thoughts on DONE as an anagram indicator?




DECOLLETAGE - Odd letters of DrEw then TA in COLLEGE.  As every gentleman knows décolletage is a low neckline on a woman’s dress or top.


ACTOR - Factor minus the F.  A factor is a mercantile fiduciary who receives and sells goods on commission (called factorage), transacting business in his own name and not disclosing his principal.






PREHISTORIC - RE (note) HIS TOR (eminence as in mound) all in PIC.




DISGUST - DUST around the initial letters of iron stair guards. 


DODGE - DOGE around D(aughter).


COMPASS - CO M PASS among the definitions for compass in Chambers are “limit” and “range of pitch of a voice or instrument”.  I’m not sure which of these relates to “scale” in the clue. 


SURGERY - SURGE + RY  for railway.  “Go in for a hike” seems an odd way of defining surge.


RAVAGES - RAGES around A(uthorised) V(ersion).






INTERRELATE - basic charade.


HACIENDA- H A/C I END A.  I once fell asleep next to the dance floor in Manchester’s famous Hacienda nightclub.


PICKAXE - PICK A + reversal of EX.  Not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of weapons but in medieval warfare footmen would wield these effective weapons and deal devastating blows to their enemies, conquering the battlefields. The pickaxes were just as deadly as swords, with their long spikes able to cause large amounts of bodily harm.


TOP GEAR - T(ake) O(ff) + PG + EAR.




Sunday Times 4694 by Jeff Pearce

13:06. A reasonably gentle puzzle from Jeff this week. There were a couple of unknowns for me (GYRFALCON, WINGDING), an unusual abbreviation for a rather obscure unit of length, and one slightly questionable definition, but none of that caused me undue problems. It did take me a while to see 17dn the right way: I was thinking of Jackie O and the grassy knoll, which didn’t really get me very far as you can imagine.

20ac elicited a bit of grumbling on the club forum, but it seems fine to me.

I’m not much of an old movie buff so I’m often caught out by my ignorance of past actors and actresses, but for this puzzle Jeff chose a couple of extremely well-known ones, for which I was grateful.

1 Arrange most of great Mongolian assemblage
10 Warning there’s a lot of suffering about Rod’s heavy drinking
HARBINGER - HARm (a lot of suffering) containing R, BINGE. A rod is a unit of length, abbreviated to R. This struck me as a bit Mephistoish at the time but the abbreviation is in Collins so it isn’t just one of the funny ones in Chambers so beloved of barred grid setters.
11 Last in the opening race
12 Succeed in getting to open water
13 After strong drink Queen gets seized by wind — weaker one required!
14 What a dance
EXCUSE ME - DD. An EXCUSE ME is a dance in which you can take another person's partner. Presumably the music would be swing.
16 Big box? Not in this Japanese practice
BONSAI - because the tree in BONSAI is small, and might be a box.
19 Money prize is worthless
TINPOT - TIN (money), POT (prize).
20 Turn round German party in Chicago, perhaps
WINGDING - WIN(G)DING. WINDING here is a gerund. The answer is an American (hence ‘in Chicago’) word for a party, which was news to me. I only knew it as the font with all the funny symbols.
22 Country club bordering Iowa entertaining academic
MACEDONIA - MACE (club), IA (Iowa) containing DON (academic). If you were Greek you might object to the definition here, since the country’s use of the name (which is also the name of a region in Greece) is disputed.
24 Mug on hot rag
CLOTH - CLOT (mug), H.
25 Endlessly using toy store?
LAY IN - pLAYINg. ‘Endlessly’ often indicates the removal of just one end of the word, but here and in 3dn it’s both.
26 Steps taken to avoid drought?
RAIN DANCE - cryptic definition.
27 Censor the hot stuff to pass inspection
CUT THE MUSTARD - because to censor is to CUT. The answer is a curious expression of obscure origin.

2 Large bird making most of flock angry when flying
GYRFALCON - (FLOCk ANGRY)*. I didn’t remember having come across this bird before, and then one appeared the very next day in Game of Thrones, as I’m sure you all noticed.
3 Actress shows endless skill
LEIGH - sLEIGHt. Vivien, an old-timey actress so famous that even I have heard of her.
4 Rob’s up for Trivial Pursuit?
MUG’S GAME - MUG (rob), S, GAME (up for). A MUG’S GAME is an activity that is thankless or bound to fail, not a trivial one, so this definition seems a bit dodgy to me.
5 Impatient artist gets on phone
RARING - RA (artist), RING. The phrase ‘raring to go’ will for me always be associated with Tutter, the mouse character in Bear in the Big Blue House. My kids have a lot to answer for.
6 Signature tune — one’s own?
7 Leaders of Oval mourn England’s ghastly Ashes — the last in a series
OMEGA - first letters of Oval mourn England’s ghastly Ashes.
8 Novel about Irish lake and church captivates unknown actress
SHIRLEY TEMPLE - tricky wordplay here: SHE (novel) surrounding IR, L, then TEMPLE (church), all containing Y (unknown). Another old-timey actress so famous that I have heard of her. In this case a child star who later became the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia.
9 Means to turn and flee when tigers head off crazily
15 Horrible person squeezes Pledge on King’s ornamental tassel
SWORD KNOT - S(WORD, K)NOT. Not the most familiar term in the world but I did remember it from somewhere. Lovely surface.
17 Sniper who shot Onassis?
SHIPOWNER - (SNIPER WHO)*. Aristotle, not Jackie. Neat clue.
18 Oddly this butter is used primarily for a dessert
TIRAMISU - odd letters in ‘this’, RAM, IS, Used.
21 One escapes from whole sheep’s heart as a dish
ENTREE - ENTiRE, shEep. In Europe, a starter. In North America, a main course.
23 Company well-informed about fur
COYPU - COY (company), reversal of UP (well-informed). COY is a military abbreviation for ‘company’ which is less common in crosswords than CO.
24 Greek characters leave wine for novice

Mephisto 2907 - Don Manley

Fun breezy offering this week, I thought. Contains one of my favorite words to misspell at 1 down (always forget the second A), and every barred-grid solver's favorite rock at 10 across.

My only real hold up was confidently writing in DOTANIST at 12 across, presumably a cult that worships "Dot and the Kangaroo". That made the top right hand corner difficult to pull together until I checked the Big Red Book (big red electronic version at least).

Away we go...

9ANOUGH: A then NOUGH(t)
10AGOUTA: the disease GOUT inside AA(volcanic rock)
12DONATIST: DOT containing (SAINT)* - followers of the setter, perhaps?
14SORBONNE: O(old),N,N(knights - chess) in an anagram of ROBES
15A,V,ALE: since it means to lower it is the opposite of get up
18ADAR: RADA reversed
19PEWEES: P,E,WEE(water), S(ome)
20HANAPS: HAS containing NAP(cloth lining) - drinking vessels
21ARRACK: remove the exterior of BARRACKS
26RAGU: RAG week at the U
27SEWEL: LEWES reversed
29UNNERVED: anagram of NUD(e),NEVER
31LENTANDO: AND,0 after LENT - clear wordplay, but I can't ever recall seeing this on a score
32LA TENE: LATE(deceased), (o)NE
33OBTUSE: remove A and IN from OBTAIN(get), then USE
34KERATOMETER: anagram of ME,RETREAT,OK. The little machine at the optometrists where you rest your chin against a bar and look into a lens
1SARSAPARILLA: SARS(remember the world went crazy over this about 8 years ago), then A PAR, RILL, A
2COIR: COHEIR without HE
3HUMBLE: double definition
4RHONES: the RHONE river, then (flood)S
5TANNAH: sounds like TANNER(sixpence)
6ROTTAN: ROT with TAN underneath
7TUIS: TUNIS missing the N
11COVERAGE: a maiden OVER from cricket in a CAGE
13SWAP MEET: anagram of WE,MATES containing P
16EECH: hidden in fEE CHaps
17PAHS: double definition, one being a Maori settlement
22AUSTER: (yo)U in ASTER
23KENNET: a small hunting dog - KENNEL with the L gone and a T underneath
24WAND,0,0: an Australian tree
25AERATE: the goddess ATE surrounding ERA
28ANTE: A NOTE(fiver, perhaps) missing the O
30VAUT: VAT outside of U

Saturday Times 26412 (14th May)

Much tougher than the previous week - solved on paper in about 20 mins. Looked like it was going to be a pangram as I was solving it, but there was no Y or Z. Very good puzzle, apart from the slight faux pas with 2dn.

1 Unconnected notes placed on record (8)
DISCRETE - RE, TE (notes) next to DISC (record).
5 Grant for recruit (6)
ASSIGN - AS (for) + SIGN (recruit).
8 Not all returned from Irish border (3)
RIM - hidden reversed in "from Irish"
9 Fool endlessly pleading not to be taken (2,1-7)
GO A-BEGGING - GOA(t) (fool endlessly) + BEGGING (pleading).
10 Hospital's nurses moving around country (8)
HONDURAS - H(ospital')S around (around)*.
11 Hands get better fast (6)
SECURE - S,E (hands, e.g. in bridge) + CURE (get better).
12 Seeing red, not silver, item of jewellery (4)
RING - RAGING (seeing red) minus AG (silver).
14 Falsification of tax is no sin for US confederacy (3,7)
SIX NATIONS - (taxis no sin)*. Nothing to do with rugby - this is another name for the Iroquois Confederacy of Native American peoples.
17 Son's squealing after jumping across parallel bars (6,4)
EQUALS SIGN - S(on) inside (squealing)*.
20 Benefit payment an attempt to take in the taxman, once (4)
GIRO - GO (attempt) around IR (Inland Revenue, taxman once).
23 Regret bribe taken the wrong way affected one (6)
POSEUR - RUE SOP (regret bribe), reversed.
24 Busy with oxygen in supply tap (8)
STOPCOCK - PC (busy) + O(xygen), inside STOCK (supply).
25 Story of Napoleon's rise, using brute force and power (6,4)
ANIMAL FARM - ANIMAL (brute) + F(orce) + ARM (power). George Orwell's 1945 allegorical novel about the Soviet revolution, in which the pig Napoleon is based on Stalin.
26 Tongue is bright orange, first of all (3)
IBO - first letters of Is Bright Orange.
27 Headgear concerned with stopping hazards (6)
BERETS - RE (concerned with) inside BETS (hazards).
28 Check report of end of dry spell on radio? (4,4)
REIN BACK - sounds like "Rain back" (end of dry spell).

1 One surprisingly successful / alternative clue to 15? (4,5)
DARK HORSE - double definition.
2 French writer not one to put up with computer game (7)
SIMENON - NONE (not one) reversed, next to SIM (computer game). As a few pointed out on the Forum, Georges Simenon was Belgian, but the setter is reprieved if you take it to mean he wrote in French. My guess is that nobody bothered to check.
3 Rib available for stew (6)
RAGOUT - RAG (rib) + OUT (available).
4 Bluish article goes out in Brewers (3,6)
TEA LADIES - TEAL (bluish) + A (article) + DIES (goes out).
5 State capital — something valuable to blow on centre for trade (7)
AUGUSTA - AU (gold, something valuable) + GUST (to blow) + (tr)A(de). State capital of Maine (not Georgia).
6 Rock covers are irritating, then diverting (9)
SWITCHING - SWING (rock) around ITCH (are irritating). I spent a long time on this clue, thinking ITCHING=irritating and SW somehow denotes "rock covers".
7 One memorably sent up doting father, finally, at home (7)
GAGARIN - GAGA (doting) + (fathe)R + IN (at home). Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
13 What's given pear, extraordinarily? (9)
GRAPEVINE - (given pear)*.
15 A thing to disturb, with REM? (9)
NIGHTMARE - (A thing, REM)*, &lit. Could also be described as a DARK HORSE (see 1dn).
16 Show offender using smack consuming wine with judge (5,4)
SHOCK JOCK - SOCK (smack) around HOCK (wine), J(udge). Howard Stern springs to mind as an example.
18 Mention about academy being not short of members (7)
QUORATE - QUOTE (mention) around RA (Royal Academy).
19 Cap is right on old man, filling figure out (7)
SURPASS - R(ight) + PA (old man), inside SUSS (figure out).
21 Island one female short for holding dance: not good! (3,4)
IWO JIMA - I(one) + WOMA(n) (female short) around JI(g) (dance not good). Tricky wordplay, but the island should be familiar enough to biff and work out later!
22 Rising pop celebrity upset old primate (6)
APEMAN - PA (pop) reversed + NAME (celebrity) reversed.
Smarting from ulaca's quip that, based on my performances earlier this week, I am the John Aldridge of crosswords (with my limited knowledge of sports I'm not sure who that is, to be honest - perhaps only the fifth man to play golf on the moon?), I'd determined to do better on "my" Friday puzzle. But things did not get off to an auspicious start when I nodded off reading tales of lovely Ludwig Van, G.F. Handel and aversion therapy in A Clockwork Orange and woke with a startled thought of "crossword blog!" at 1am and tottered blearily downstairs. Throughout my solve a far-distant electronic device was making a pained buzzing sound which was very distracting, and let me tell you, my clue-droogies, I did not think this would be a week in which I would cover myself in any glory.

Fortunately it does seem as though my 13 minute time was at least reasonable - it's still top of the leaderboard 8 hours later, anyway. I thought this was a lovely crossword, full of some very cleverly concealed stuff and just as importantly some very funny stuff. I don't know if Dean Mayer had anything to do with it but I felt a lot of the same admiration/fear as when I set to work on a Sunday puzzle with his name on it: so let's just say it felt a little bit Anaxesque. I mean just glancing at the finished grid you can see it's a fun one: FAT CONTROLLER, WHEELIE-BIN and so on. The inevitable sporting references, well, as usual I don't know what on earth they mean, but they have the great virtue today of sounding completely filthy: TOUCH JUDGES and WRIST-SHOT? I could talk about unusually lateral devices and brilliant definition parts ("members meeting at centre", ha) for quite a while I'm sure, but let's save that for the comments as there's little girls to be dressed.

I'll nominate 7dn as my COD though, for the lovely "jogging things" - fun also that it crosses with the equally crafty "running things clue". My LOIs were in the SE corner, where the D of KNOCK-KNEED allowed me to get 28ac at which point I could finally be sure that 26dn was not (somehow) IRK. Really good puzzle, tumultuous applause to the setter!


1 Cross after heading for beach to find litter (5)
BROOD – ROOD [cross] after B{each} ["heading for"]
4 Apt to rise fast, perhaps, when crossing motorway (4-5)
WELL-TIMED – WELL TIED [to rise | fast, perhaps] when crossing M [motorway]
9 Rock fan maybe after excitement googles it (9)
GEOLOGIST – (GOOGLES IT*) ["after excitement"]
10 Athlete doing marathon initially wearing running things (5)
ADMIN – A{thlete} D{oing} M{arathon} ["inititally"] + IN [wearing]
11 Station master in fact not moving posh car (3,10)
FAT CONTROLLER (FACT NOT*) ["moving"] + ROLLER [posh car]
14 Work, as non-drinkers do, after retirement (4)
OPUS – reverse ["after retirement"] of SUP O == "sup nothing", as non-drinkers do
15 Joyful exclamation: morning in bed devouring book that’s trashy? (7,3)
WHEELIE BIN – WHEE [joyful exclamation] + LIE IN [morning in bed] devouring B [book]
18 CO perhaps to run out of things to say? (7,3)
EXHAUST GAS – (CO as in carbon monoxide) double def with EXHAUST GAS [to run out of | things to say]
19 Group to stop broadcasting (4)
BLOC – homophone of BLOCK [to stop "broadcasting"]
21 Active early Liberal plugging slogan in support of wildlife sanctuary? (2,4,3,4)
UP WITH THE LARK - L [Liberal] plugging UP WITH THE ARK! [slogan in support of wildlife sanctuary]
24 Winter Olympian’s weapon? (5)
LUGER – double def with LUGER [one who luges]
25 Poor condition of rhino and crocodile (9)
BREADLINE – BREAD [rhino] + LINE [crocodile]
27 Offensive street drawings that could get you going! (4-5)
PUSH-START – PUSH ST ART [offensive | street | drawings]
28 One left evidently indebted and annoyed (5)
RILED – I L [one | left] "evidently indebted", i.e. in the RED


1 Malnourished patient possibly doctor’s particular interest? (3,2,5)
BAG OF BONES – a BONES is a doctor, and a BAG someone's particular interest...
2 Horse wearing pair of spectacles? That’s a surprise! (3)
OHO – H [horse] wearing OO [pair of spectacles]
3 Court case involves uplifting music (3-3)
DOO-WOP – reverse ["uplifting"] of WOO [court] (that) POD [case] involves
4 Stroke women’s T-shirt so wantonly (5-4)
WRIST-SHOT – (W T-SHIRT SO*) ["wantonly"]
5 Still life’s half mounted on print (5)
LITHO THO [still], (with) LI{fe} mounted on
6 Wake, taking hobnob for energy snack (5,3)
TRAIL MIX – TRAIL [wake] + MIX [hobnob]
7 I love 1AM ramble, after changing into jogging things? (11)
MEMORABILIA – (jogging things as in things that jog the memory) (I O IAM RAMBLE*) ["after changing"]
8 As cellar, maybe, was sinking, last of beer removed (4)
DANK – D{r}ANK [was sinking, "with {bee}R removed"]
12 Sports officials are concerned with book (5,6)
TOUCH JUDGES - double def with TOUCH JUDGES [are concerned with | book]
13 Members meeting at centre criticise poverty vocally (5-5)
KNOCK-KNEED – KNOCK [criticise] + homophone of NEED [poverty "vocally"]
16 Stick up marquee perhaps to accommodate mass staging (9)
ENACTMENT – reverse of CANE [stick "up"] + TENT [marquee perhaps] to accommodate M [mass]
17 Contents of cask — raw lubricant — tipped over ramparts (8)
BULWARKS – "contents of" {ca}SK RAW LUB{ricant} "tipped over"
20 Person selling part of cooker with two rings missing (6)
VENDOR – {o}VEN D{o}OR [part of cooker "with two rings missing"]
22 Bill and Al on reflection the pair to beat! (5)
TABLA – (as in a pair of drums to beat) TAB [bill] + reverse of AL ["...on reflection"]
23 Small round cuff (4)
SLAP – S LAP [small | round]
26 One’s going to some trouble (3)
ILL – double def with I'LL [one's going to...]

Quick Crossword 574 by Orpheus

An enjoyable crossword and clear clues. Nougettes sounded like a possibility for 11a - misled into thinking nutty was an anagram indicator, and yes, I know, that still doesn’t work! – but everything else went in smoothly. 21a was a clever hidden clue, and 10d my COD because it wasn’t the sort of plant I thought at first. And I wonder if Orpheus takes his/her dog for a caper on the beach as in 19a!
Thank you to Orpheus.

1 Significance adult males observed in witty saying: MOMENT
Adult males = MEN, inside witty saying = MOT[Definition as in of great significance/moment]
4 Evaluate last of loads carried by beasts of burden: ASSESS
Last of loadS = S, inside beasts of burden = ASSES
9 Trick a girl into reforming a group of stars: CONSTELLATION
Trick = CON, a girl = STELLA, anagram (reforming) of INTO
10 Sound made by farm animal over in Missouri: MOO
Over = O, Missouri = MO
11 Memos about one group’s nutty chocolates: NOISETTES
Memos = NOTES, about one = I, group = SET
12 Habit shopkeepers get from shoppers?: CUSTOM
Double definition, one cryptic
13 Popular team serving a sentence: INSIDE
Popular = IN, team = SIDE
16 Scottish city in French writer’s works at last: INVERNESS
In = IN, French writer’s = VERNES, workS at last =S
18 Rejected gratuity is mine: PIT
Gratuity = TIP, then reversed (rejected)
19 Shingle disturbed by crossword compiler’s dog: ENGLISH SETTER
Anagram (disturbed) of SHINGLE, crossword compiler = SETTER
21 Part of dinghy on Derwent over there: YONDER
Hidden clue
22 Strange lad’s starting-price perhaps: ODDS-ON
Strange = ODD, lad = SON

1 Scotsman originally married at Crianlarich: MAC
First letters (originally) of the three following words
2 Chap departs to get fruit: MANGOES
Chap = MAN, departs = GOES
3 Like another writer’s autobiography? No way!: NOT ON YOUR LIFE
Double definition, one cryptic
5 So keen, she had a broadcast to signal disapproval: SHAKE ONE’S HEAD
Anagram (broadcast) of SO KEEN SHE HAD A
6 One of two writers sending material up: ELIOT
TS or George, reversal (sending up) of material = TOILE
7 Ageing former nurse the last to use perfume: SENESCENT
Former nurse = SEN, last to usE = E, perfume = SCENT
8 Unattractive region without trees: PLAIN
Double definition
10 Plant a girl found around Dorset ravine: MACHINERY
A girl = MARY, around Dorset ravine = CHINE
14 Drive MEP about in new suit: IMPETUS
Anagram (about) of MEP, within anagram (new) of SUIT
15 Fuel for lamps satisfied husband and son: METHS
Satisfied = MET, husband = H, son =S
17 Shunner of animal products, say, in light goods vehicle: VEGAN
Say = EG, in light goods vehicle = VAN
20 Manage to upset old rail union: RUN
Rail union = NUR, reversed (upset)

Back to plain vanilla here after Verlaine's lavishly illustrated tales from Shakespeare last week.  It was a relief to learn from the Club Forum that others found this tough. It was a whiplash-inducing mix of write-ins and ones that had to be hacked from the coal-face.  After 45 minutes I had all but 12a when I had to down tools and leave for the weekend. And  I wasn't the only one who had a wrestle with it.  After all that I had a moment's distraction which produced an invisible typo when keying in 7d.

This year's puzzles have all been of very high quality and this is no exception.  Some first-rate neatly constructed clues.  In mythology, Broteas is the son of Tantalus (whose most recent puzzle was 1112 on February 12th) - who is rumoured to be the long-time "onlie begetter of these insuing".

Definitions (where appropriate) in italics underlined.  Answers in bold caps.

1.  Moriarty's trail leads us to this sweetheart (4)
BABY.  With Sherlock unlikely and B*B* yielding a limited but not obvious choice, in the absence of knowing I looked it up.  The Baby Trail by Sinead Moriarty.
3. Russian stories of one unknown, one in match (8)
IZVESTIA.  This made me laugh when I saw it.  I=one.  Z=unknown.  And I=one in VESTA=match.  Russian stories indeed.
10.  Poet's rewrite of carol (5)
LORCA.  Anagram (rewrite) of CAROL.  Federico Garcia Lorca, influential early 20thC Spanish poet who died young.  Thank you, Broteas, this gave me the first toehold.  I first knew of him (and the Roy Campbell translation) from a pre-teen attendance at the Flanders and Swann revue, At The Drop of Another Hat.  Flanders gives a splendidly pseud Hemingwayesque (Death in the Afternoon) account of olive-stuffing in the corrida d'olivas, featuring a mention of Lorca and Campbell.   http://www.nyanko.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/fas/anotherhat_oliv.html
11.  4 in 1 - outsize Pulitzer winner spanning two continents (3,2,4)
ONE OF OURS.  By Willa Cather, 1923 prize-winner.  Numbers make my eyes glaze over so I didn't unpack this until writing the blog.  FOUR=4 contained in ONE=1 and OS=outsize.  The story goes from Nebraska to the WWI front in Fance, thus the two continents.
12.  In perverted lust, I grope Kate Nickelby's young lover? (10)
PELTIROGUS.  Horatio, in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby. Anagram (perverted) of LUST I GROPE.  I've read it more than once and seen the RSC adaptation but this rang no bell at all.  It clearly wasn't Frank Cheeryble, Sir Mulberry Hawke, Lord Frederick Verisopht or poor Smike, so who on earth could it be?  The Google algorithms seemed to be as addled as me - and others.  When I finally laid hands on my treeware I found he turned up in the last 100 pages, courtesy of the gaga and tedious Mrs. Nickleby (no wonder I didn't remember).  He was a four-year-old who had been a supposed suitor of Kate, dreamed up by Mrs. N. in response to Frank Cheeryble's courtship.  I'd call this obscure but no complaints.
14,  The drink of bacchants?  (3)
CHA.  Unlikely drink contained in [bac]CHA[nts].  A welcome gimme from the setter.
16.  Either Edward Capern or Mario Ruoppolo, when not writing poetry (7)
POSTMAN.  Capern was the 19thC poet known as the rural postman of Bideford.  Ruoppolo was the postman in the 90s movie Il Postino.  He was befriended by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and "borrows" some of Neruda's verse in order to woo his desired Beatrice.
17.  Girl robbed by baron with scissors - shock horror! (7)
BELINDA.  From The Rape of the Lock, satiric narrative poem by Alexander Pope.  The baron cuts off and steals a lock of her hair (shock).
18.  This writer's mature lines showing literary technique (7)
IMAGERY.  IM=this writer's.  AGE=mature.  RY=lines.  Thank you setter.
19.  Serious Jane, mostly studying scripture (7)
AUSTERE.  Jane, as in AUSTE[n] (mostly). RE=studying scripture (religious education).  And thank you again.
20.  Name in a quotation (3)
TAG.  Double definition.  And again.
21.  Excursion with military officers for Dickens's legal worker (5,5)
SALLY BRASS.  SALLY=excursion.  BRASS=military officers.  Unpleasant character from The Old Curiosity Shop. 
24.  Any critic's affected sophistication (9)
INTRICACY.  Anagram (affected) of ANY CRITIC.  This wouldn't be my first idea of a definition but it works all right.
22.  What Gutenberg's created many times? (1-4)
E-BOOK.  Project Gutenberg is a free digital library of literature in the public domain.  Presumably named for the 15thC printer Johannes.  Most TLS solvers have probably used it now and then.
27.  Great place to have a jolly, in Conrad's narrative. (8)
YARMOUTH.  It couldn't be anything else but I haven't quite nailed this.  Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim) was a merchant mariner, not a Royal Marine (a "jolly").  He uses "jolly" as a sarcastic epithet in some of his writing and I believe this may be from "Youth, A Narrative" but I haven't placed it.  Any ideas?  See Dereklam infra.
28.  Current secret agent series enjoyed by children (1-3)
I-SPY.  I=current.  SPY=secret agent.  Childrens' game.  I'm not quite sure about "series" and I briefly wondered if it was a reference to the endlessly re-run late 60s tv show of that name starring Bill Cosby (oh dear) but concluded it wasn't.  See Z and Jerry infra.


1.  A thrilling racer and racing thriller (4)
BOLT.  Double definition.  The aptly named Jamaican Olympic sprinter and a tale of the turf by Dick Francis.
2. Nadine's Rosa or Patty's relative (7,8)
BURGER'S DAUGHTER.  Title character in the novel by Nadine Gordimer.  A beef patty being the raw material for a hamburger.
4.  Angst came from ... zone 1, in the German way (5)
ZWEIG.  "Angst" is the title of a short novel by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.  Z=zone. WEG=way in German, containing I-1.  I didn't know this and have next to no German, and I had still not completed 12a.  So I kept pulling the lever with Z*E** and the remaining letters in 12a until the correct 3 fruits in a row popped up.  Not a pretty way to solve.
5.  A shoemaker's "while you sleep" assistant (3)
ELF.  In the Grimm Brothers' collection of folk tales the elves come in the night to help the poor generous cobbler.
6.  Factual revelations about corruption in Amsterdam and Los Angeles (4,11)
TRUE CONFESSIONS.  If I hadn't been blogging I probably wouldn't have paused to look this up.  It's the title of a crime movie set in LA in the early 80s.  Jack Amsterdam is the corrupt property developer.
7.  Joyce's first novel excellent, second Shaw oddly salvaged (5,5)
AISSA SAVED.  No, not James Joyce, Joyce Cary.  AI=excellent.  S=second. S[h]A[w] oddly.  SAVED=salvaged.  I must have been thinking of she-who-must-be-obeyed because I let in an H instead of the second S.
8.  I bet a rum's a blended spirit of only moderate strength (10)
BARTIMAEUS.  Anagram (blended) of I BET A RUMS A.  According to St. Mark in the NT he's a blind man healed by Jesus.  Here he's a 5000 year-old djinni of mid-level power in a trilogy of childrens' fantasy novels by Jonathan Stroud.  They've never come my way.
9.  Woo, with rising desire, the author of Jane Eyre (8)
COURTNEY.  COURT=woo.  NEY (YEN backwards/rising) =desire.  Not another alias for Charlotte Bronte but John, who wrote a stage adaptation in the 19thC also called The Secrets of Thornfield Manor.
13.  Lawyer's defence for a printer's process (10)
SILKSCREEN.  SILK=LAWYER (QC).  SCREEN=defence.  Think Andy Warhol and T shirts, and thanks from me to Broteas.
15. Manning once created over-privileged bankers and brokers (6,4)
SPOILT CITY.  SPOILT=over-privileged.  CITY=bankers and brokers.  Another trilogy.  This is part of Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy.  She also wrote the sequel Levant Trilogy.  Together they are known as Fortunes of War.  In the 80s there was an excellent TV adaptation with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson and a stellar cast.
17. I watch one in bed with you, twice over (5,3)
BEADY EYE.  A=one in BED.  YE=you, twice.
22.  "in this universe, / Where the -- things control the greatest"  (Wordsworth) (5)
LEAST.  From the verse play The Borderers.
23.  Uncap the wine of kings? Fine with me (4)
OKAY. [T]OKAY - removing the first letter.  Famous Hungarian wine I've never tasted and am never sure how to pronounce.
25.  Language marrying agreeable words? (3)
IDO.  Double definition.  The marriage vow and the artificial language derived from Esperanto.

Quick cryptic No 573 by Teazel

This took me 13 minutes, three more than my target, for no easily accountable reason. There are a couple of pieces of Brit-centric general knowledge (10 and 23 across, 20 down) and more than the usual share of Double Definitions, but everything is fairly clued, with the odd smile along the way.

I haven’t yet been doing this long enough to recognise the various setter’s styles and quirks, but I enjoyed this from Teazel today, and look forward to blogging another of his puzzles in future.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated by [square brackets] and deletions with {curly ones}


1 Bird looking steadily round lake (8)

STARLING – STARING (looking steadily) around L{ake}

6 Let down a tiny bit(4)

DROP – Straightforward double definition

8 Racket employed in tennis camp (4)

SCAM – Hidden (employed in) {tenni}S CAM{p}

9 Computer security device will fare badly (8)

FIREWALL – anagram (indicated by badly) of [WILL FARE]

10 Unsolicited opinion one wouldn’t give tuppence for? (8)

PENNORTH – or penn’orth, a contraction of pennyworth, meaning a penny’s worth. One wouldn’t give tuppence for it because tuppence is two penn’orth, although one might give a ha’porth (half a penny worth) if one was looking to make a profit on the deal. A penn’orth is also an unsolicited opinion, as in ‘here’s my two penn’orth’

11 Yawn, opening face at last (4)

GAPE – opening is GAP and added to the last letter (at last) of {fac}E gives the answer, as in the chasm yawned / gaped before them

13 Stars one hurts in review getting angry (8,5)

SOUTHERN CROSS – anagram (indicated by ‘in review’) of [ONE HURTS] then getting CROSS (angry). With all of the checkers in place it could equally have been northern cross, but that wouldn’t have used the anagram and would have been wrong

16 In fact, fairly young leaders are risky (4)

IFFY – first letters of (leaders) I{n} F{act} F{airly} Y{oung}, IFFY being defined as dubious, uncertain, risky

17 What’s put into a turkey may be knocked out of one (8)

STUFFING – another straightforward double definition

19 A single revolutionary, look, in pub (8)

BACHELOR – the revolutionary is CHE (as in Guevara), look is nearly always LO in crosswordland, drop these into BAR (pub) and you have the unmarried man (single)

21 Abroad, I may make a miniscule amount (4)

IOTA – unless you know your Greek alphabet, this may be more difficult to parse, but IOTA is the Greek letter I, so this is a slightly less straightforward double definition

22 Error from fielder (4)

SLIP – back to more conventional double definitionism, the second being our cricket reference for today, as in slip fielder, one of the guys that stand behind the batsman (usually) on the off side, hoping to take a catch as the ball slips across the face of the bat

23 Hamlet, for example, set day for protection money (8)

DANEGELD – may be slightly obscure, but at least when I went to school, anyone who had ever had a history lesson knew that the old Brits paid this to buy off the invading Danes. Now more generally used to indicate a payment or concession to avoid trouble. Hamlet is the example DANE, followed by GEL (set) and D{ay} to indicate this spelling rather than the alternative DANEGELT.


2 Marked on list and reprimanded (6,3)

TICKED OFF – yet another double definition

3 This old empire was Italian, not Italic (5)

ROMAN – nice surface and cryptic definition. Italic type is slanted and was invented by Aldo Manuzio in 1501, by which time the Roman Empire was long gone. ROMAN is also a kind of typeface, although upright, therefore not Italic.

4 Currently operating as policeman? (2,5)

IN FORCE – a policeman might be said to be in the force, and he will follow the IN FORCE standard procedures, i.e. those currently operating

5 Dressed husband, such bulk (5)

GIRTH – Dressed or clothed gives GIRT with H{usband}. GIRTH is the circumferential measure of thickness, or bulk

6 Is she a widow? Please place a bet (7)

DOWAGER – dowager is a title given to a widow. DO WAGER might be seen as a slightly rude and abrupt invitation to place a bet

7 Wise bird’s loud cry initially ignored (3)

OWL – {h}OWL (initially ignored, i.e. drop the first letter) of a loud cry

12 Plan toast to be prepared after arrival (9)

POSTNATAL – anagram (to be prepared) of [PLAN TOAST]

14 A model retail outlet (7)

TOYSHOP – a TOY can be a type of model and a SHOP is a retail outlet. Put them together and one gets a retail outlet where one can buy or sell toys. A kind of &lit clue I think.

15 Tiny particle takes strange route between two poles (7)

NEUTRON – anagram (strange) of [ROUTE] stuck between two N{orth} poles. Of course, the quantum physicists amongst us would claim that particles like NEUTRONS take every possible route when travelling between any two points, but let’s not get diverted by that.

17 Daughter, sad to say, tipped up healthy dish (5)

SALAD – D{aughter) and ALAS (sad to say) all reversed (tipped up)

18 Female (Heather)’s brief affair (5)

FLING – F{emale} and LING (the well-known heather) combine

20 A couple of pounds is everything (3)

ALL – A followed by two pounds sterling (LL). The L comes from the Latin abbreviation LSD, meaning Librae, solidi, denarii (pounds, shillings and pence)

Solving time : 8:23, so either this one was on the beginner's slopes, or I was really on the setter's wavelength, or both. It didn't hurt that I'd seen almost the exact same clue that was at 9 across recently.

My only niggle was the battle (that I knew as a city) clued as an anagram at 26 across. I was hoping there wasn't a battle of SLATINGDAR that I wasn't aware of.

I'm on vacation at the moment, so rushing through this to make happy hour. If I've messed something up, check the comments section, it may be a while before I could make any corrections.

Away we go...

1SLIGHT: double definition
5SOLITARY: Definition is "one". SO LIT(intoxicated), A RY(e)
9BUREAUCRAT: C(orrido)R and A(prico)T after BUREAU
10NICK: two definition - steal and a prison
11SHANGHAI: Anagram of GHANA,IS containing H(arbour)
12RINGER: double definition, though few phones now make a sound that could be described as a ring
13COLA: hidden reversed in speciAL OCcasion
15HOTELIER: HOT(just out of the oven) then LIE in ER
18WEREWOLF: LOWER in FEW, all reversed, nice clue
19MORE: double general knowledge definition
21STINGO: STING(smart) then the middle of (b)O(y)
23RECOURSE: definition is "resort" - RECUR containing O(mani) and then SE(aside)
25MARC: a whiskey MAC surrouding R
27UNSOILED: anagram (dystopian) of DELUSION
28PARLEY: take the middle out of PARSLEY
2LOUGH: LO, UGH - got this from wordplay, Irish form of LOCH
3GREENGAGE: Graham GREENE containing a GAG
4TAUGHT: (whodunni)T, then AUGHT
5STRAIGHTFORWARD: the hard is one from poker, a STRAIGHT then a rugby FORWARD. Sportsball!
6LITERATE: anagram of A,LETTER,I
7TENON: all TEN fingers and thumbs, then ON
16LIMBURGER: the cross between a lion and tiger is a LIGER, containing RUB andM reversed
20SCRIMP: S(kirt) on top of CRIMP
22NACHO: final letters of (Dresde)N (chin)A, (fantasti)C, (O)H, (n)O
24SOAVE: may be tricky for some - SAVE(bar) containing 0
After the puzzle from 1963 which appeared while TCC Qualifier No. 1 was published, I wasn't too dismayed to see this one dated 1970 rather than some impenetrable pre-war offering. It's a bit of a TLS crossover. However, all was not straightforward. I have the solution, which took me 22 minutes to complete. Providing you with logical, cast-iron explanations of why several answers are what they are (apart from the numerous anagrams) and how the word play (if any) leads you there, is another day's work. I'll do my best, and others can elaborate in due course.
Then I'll make another coffee and see how long the Q2 (26415) takes me; I'll blog that for posting once it's allowed (Thursday 26 May).

1 RISORGIMENTO - (ROME RISING TO)*, Italian name for the 19c movement which united Italy.
8 TIMOTHY - I'm not Biblically well informed, but I think this is something to do with Timothy who was allowed to 'put his wife away' because they didn't get along. A useful precedent, some might say.
9 FELLAHS - Egyptian subsistence farmers are called FELLAHS, which sounds rather like fellows, hence chaps. Is peasant now a non PC description?
11 ALL HAIL - Cryptic double def, one a greeting, one using another meaning of hail.
12 RIVIERA - (I ARRIVE)*; D &lit. They had chestnuts in 1970.
13 HERDS - HER + D'S = coppers; when pennies were still denarii. D droves.
14 IMMUNISED - Witty-ish cryptic definition.
16 NEWSAGENT - Cryptic definition.
19 SWOON - A pun on 'passing out' I suppose, you're not allowed to faint when you're on parade, passing out from Sandhurst.
21 EAST END - (A DEN SET)*, D part of London.
23 BLOTTER - Cryptic def.
24 SUICIDE - I'd heard of the Suicide Club as a Japanese film and as a book, but then found both dated from later than 1970; also the movement in San Francisco only began in 1977, so this must be referring to the three novel series by Stevenson?
25 LORENZO - I presume this refers to the magnificent Basilica di San Lorenzo which is the big church in Florence? And / or Lorenzo de Medici?
26 THREE-MASTERS - Double definition; three-masters were ships, and a fortiori would imply one priority only.

1 RAMBLER - Double definition.
2 SATRAPS - (SPARTA'S)*; D governors.
3 ROYAL LINE - A sort of &lit., with word play on two meanings of 'line' and 'ruler'.
4 INFER - INFERNO = hell, remove NO, D conclude.
5 ENLIVEN - (LINE)*, then VEN for archdeacon; D make quick.
6 TRACERS - Well I suppose if you trace something with tracing paper you go over existing lines; I had several options for T-A-E-S and this seemed best, but I think it's a bit pathetic. Perhaps I've missed something?
7 STRAP-HANGERS - D commuters. Hardly cryptic. Perhaps this was a new phrase in 1970?
10 STANDING ROOM - Same remarks as 8 above.
15 MOTH-BALLS - A better clue! MOTHS fly by night, BALLS are dances, and moths evade moth-balls, if you're lucky.
17 WASPISH - WAS, PISH; D spiteful. PISH-TUSH is one of the high-up characters in the Mikado, which takes place in Titipu, so half of him is PISH. Personally I think G & S is to be avoided and the Mikado possibly the daftest of the lot, so out of ignorance of the details I had to check out who Pish-someone was, but the clue is easily biffable.
18 ALE-WIFE - Double definition; a lady who runs a bar, and a North Atlantic herring species.
19 SCOURGE - (CURES GO)*, D cause of widespread affliction.
20 OUTINGS - Cricket clues were obligatory in 1970, it seems. If you were fielding, you'd want to get people OUT, calling that an OUTING; D excursions.
22 DREAM - As in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, so 'noted', much better than G & S.

Quick Cryptic 572 by Grumpy

An enjoyable offering from Grumpy which I thought was just about right for a QC - nothing obscure, a few splashes of wit and it kept you on your toes throughout.

As usual, definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(--)

1 Hard wood needed for steering apparatus (4)
HELM - H (abbrev. hard) + ELM (wood)
4 Church one left in no-frills area (8)
BASILICA - I (one) + L (left) 'in' BASIC (no-frills) + A (abbrev. area)
8 Birds fight - and quarrels following (8)
SPARROWS - SPAR (fight) 'followed' by ROWS (quarrels)
9 Initially burglars always like doors without locks (4)
BALD - First letters (initially) of Burglars Always Like Doors, and a jokey cryptic definition
10 Some stock needed for joint (4)
KNEE - Hidden (indicated by 'some') in stocK NEEded
11 "A powerful feller!" Bond observed (8)
CHAINSAW - CHAIN (bond) + SAW (observed). Very droll!
12 Eel was terribly slippery character (6)
WEASEL - *(EEL WAS) with "terribly" as the anagrind
14 Poles with stake in French city (6)
NANTES - ANTE (stake - as in "up the ante") 'in' N + S (poles)
16 After bad scare finish climb again (8)
REASCEND - *(SCARE) - with "bad" as the anagrind - followed by (after) END (finish)
18 Duck leaves lake (4)
TEAL - TEA (leaves) + L (abbrev. lake)
19 Turn back extremely rude monster (4)
OGRE - GO (turn) reversed (back) + RE (first and last letters - 'extremely' - of RudE)
20 Tremendous performance opposed by Conservative (8)
GIGANTIC - GIG (performance) + ANTI (opposed) + C (abbrev. Conservative). Nice word sum type clue.
22 The early shifts tough (8)
LEATHERY - *(THE EARLY) with "shifts" as the anagrind
23 Rational as painter ignoring the odds (4)
SANE - Every other letter (ignoring the odds) of aS pAiNtEr

2 Stretch of river occupied by vessels (7)
EXPANSE - EXE (river) 'occupied' by PANS (vessels - of the cooking variety)
3 Mix gallons in pool (5)
MERGE - MERE (pool) with G (abbrev. gallons) 'in' it
4 Frightening word that's repeated in error (3)
BOO - ...because a BOO BOO is an 'error'
5 Bore throwing nuts aside (9)
SUSTAINED - *(NUTS ASIDE) with "throwing" as the anagrind
6 The French outlaw taking on a country (7)
LEBANON - LE ('the French') + BAN (outlaw) + ('taking') ON
7 Girl from outskirts of Liverpool grabbed by US agency (5)
CILLA - LL (edges - 'outskirts' - of LiverpooL) inside ('grabbed by') CIA (US agency)
11 Fellow worker in company left union (9)
COLLEAGUE - CO (abbrev. company) + L (left) + LEAGUE (union)
13 Dodgy American pastor's leader in religious group (7)
SUSPECT - US (American) + P (Pastor's leader - i.e. first letter) 'in' SECT (religious group)
15 Great joy when family member doesn't start (7)
ELATION - {R}ELATION (family member) without its first letter (doesn't start)
17 High-flier that's below par (5)
EAGLE - Golf terminology - an eagle being two below par (never got one myself... yet!)
18 Day without commencement of night music (5)
TUNES - TUES (abbrev. Tuesday - 'day') goes around the outside of ('without') N (first letter - 'commencement' - of Night)
21 Make fun of man (3)
GUY - Straightforward DD (provided you are familiar with the slightly old school usage of 'to guy' meaning to tease)

Quick Cryptic 571 by Tracy

A mix of easy and less than easy clues here led to an enjoyable 13 minute solve - quite some time of which was spent in the NW. It contains some long definitions which can be confusing but satisfying when you get there. I'm going to have to look up the feathered friend to complete the blog.


3. Careworn - showing signs of stress. CAR, anagram (after crashing) of OWNER.
7. Proper - correct. PRO, PE before runs (R).
8. Insignia - badge. Soldier (GI) - coming back= (IG) inside an anagram (ordered) of INN AS I.
9. Once - no longer. I (ONE) consumes (C)heese.
10. Doe - female animal. Homophone (reportedly) of dough.
11. Kill time - to do something whilst waiting. Take out (KILL), US weekly (TIME).
13. Rate - measure. RAT, porcupin(E).
15. Arid - dried up. AID across river (R).
17. Titmouse - feathered friend? A titmouse is any small, active songbird of the family Paridae. Anagram (fancy) of EMUS OTT I.
19. Owe - be indebted to. (O)ur (W)arwickshire (E)leven.
22. Diet - double definition. What one eats and a legislative assembly in various countries such as Japan.
23. Revolver - gun. Right (R) one developing (EVOLVER). I'm sure I wasn't the only one fooled into thinking that 'developing' was an anagram indicator.
24. Atrium - central hall. Note (A), decorative additions (TRIM) around university (U).
25. Open plan - without dividing walls. Start (OPEN), factory almost (PLAN)t.


1. Frontier - border. Promenade (FRONT) as in sea front promenade - I was trying to find a word meaning walking for a while, that is (IE), ou(R).
2. Appeal - to be attractive. Homophone (said) of a peel.
3. Crib - bed. Constant (C), tease (RIB).
4. Resident - hotel guest. Anagram (disturbed) of TRENDIES.
5. Wagner - composer. WAGER around northern (N).
6. Rein - check. About (RE), home (IN).
12. Interval - a spell. Anagram (refurbished) of TAVERN feeding (inside) the in Italian (IL).
14. Tasteful - pleasing. Anagram (unexpectedly) of SALUTE FT.
16. Do down - humiliate. Act (DO), blue (DOWN).
18. Orders - double definition - instructs and classes or genres.
21. Bran - refuse. Republican (R) inside bar (BAN). Just before I solved this I had bran (or refuse) sticks as part of my breakfast.

Times Cryptic 26414

I needed a minute or two over an hour for this but I'm not sure why as there are no obscure words or references. As mentioned in my Quickie blog yesterday, I am indebted to mohn2 for a new method of producing the blog that saves a lot of time and I think he plans to make it available to other bloggers in due course if they are interested.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [indicators in square ones]

1 Odd parts of theme, sacred, strangely, and profane (9)
DESECRATE - Anagram [strangely] of T{h}E{m}E [odd parts] and SACRED. "Profane" is usually encountered as an adjective but in this case it needs to be a verb for the definition to work.
6 Large portion of church in decline (5)
LAPSE - L (large), APSE (portion of church)
9 Report of West's agent producing a reaction (7)
OXIDANT - Sounds like [report of] "Occident" (West)
10 Harmful liquid from Roman well sort of Buddhist swallowed (7)
BENZENE - BENE (well - Italian) containing [swallowed] ZEN (sort of Buddhist). I'm not entirely sure why this is defined as "harmful" though Collins mentions its use in insecticides which may be what the setter had in mind.
11 Apostle's yard, Spooner says, where freight may be collected? (4,2,4)
PORT OF CALL - "Court" (yard) "of Paul" (apostle's)  as Spooner might say. Yawn.
12 Plane riven by small crack (4)
JEST - JET (plane) contains [riven by] S (small)
14 Marine creature in fine fettle, flipping all but head (5)
HYDRA - HARDY (in fine fettle) with all but its first letter reversed [flipping all but head]. Again I'm not sure that being "in fine fettle" and "hardy" are one and the same though I suppose if one is the former one may also be the latter.
15 Sheep's  cheese (9)
LEICESTER - Two definitions. The "sheep" one was news to me.
16 Lighter sporting event likely to produce yawns? (4,5)
SLOW MATCH - A straight definition and a cryptic. I didn't know the straight one.
18 Carnivore's length added to value (5)
RATEL - RATE (value), L (length). Also known as the honey badger.
20 How to introduce agent's least talented opera singer? (4)
ALTO - First letters of [how to introduce] A{gent's} L{east} T{alented} O{pera}
21 Grass outside grotto no good for foraging (10)
SCAVENGING - SING (grass -inform on) contains [outside] CAVE (grotto)  + NG (no good)
25 Drawing assistance from the East, a very small amount (7)
DIAGRAM - AID (assistance) reversed [from the East], GRAM (very small amount)
26 More vocal fivesome put off by cramming in recess (7)
NOISIER - RE{v}ISION (cramming) [fivesome - v - put off]  reversed [in recess]. I biffed this and took ages after completing the grid to spot the wordplay.
27 Territory that’s visible on borders of this country (5)
YUKON - YON (visible) contains [on borders of] UK (this country). Part of the definition of "yon" is that the object being referred to is "within view". On edit, as suggested by keriothe below, it's probably YON (that) contains [visible on the borders of] UK (this country).
28 Home I'd found amid exotic scenery (9)
RESIDENCY - I'D inside [found amid] anagram [exotic] of SCENERY
1 Feeble Democrat raised flag (5)
DROOP - D (Democrat), POOR (feeble) reversed [raised]
2 Came round   in an agitated state (7)
STIRRED - Two definitions
3 Something social climber might like to adapt for a mascot? (4,2,4)
COAT OF ARMS - Anagram [adapt] of FOR A MASCOT
4 One means of conveying news feature the French banned (5)
ARTIC - ARTIC{le} (news feature) [the French - le - banned]
5 European doctor, awfully bad, heading off to dress up (9)
EMBELLISH - E (European), MB (doctor), {h}ELLISH (awfully bad) [heading off]
6 Series of personnel in office providing protection for board (4)
LINO - Hidden in [series of] {personne}L IN O{ffice}
7 Chance for officials to get through to public   bar? (7)
PREVENT - A cryptic definition of PR EVENT, and a straight one of the answer
8 Voter's mark denied to distraught 15dn, Liberal (9)
ELECTORAL - Anagram [distraught] of LATECO{m}ER (15dn) [mark - m - denied], L (liberal). The apostrophe S indicating the possessive is essential to the definition.
13 Consider    what Milne had, presumably, when writing (4,2,4)
BEAR IN MIND - A straight definition and a cryptic one
14 Farming partner given your backing (9)
HUSBANDRY - HUSBAND (partner), YR (your) reversed [backing]
15 Three notes, the last penned by my entrant after deadline (9)
LATECOMER - LA (note 1), TE (note 2), then ME (note 3) inside [penned by] COR (my!)
17 Stand above's unavailable — smelling foul (7)
OUTRANK - OUT (unavailable), RANK (smelling foul)
19 Sixth sense that's lacking in education (7)
TUITION - {in}TUITION (sixth sense) [lacking in]
22 Goddess of certain vessels, you could say (5)
VENUS - Sounds like [you could say] "veinous" (of certain vessels - blood). On edit: It has come to my attention (thanks, Malc)  that there is another word "venous" which simply means relating to "veins" and that's the required homophone as it's pronounced like VENUS whereas the other word is said as "vane-ous".
23 Effeminate guy has one tough game for United (5)
GIRLY - The U (United) in G{u}Y changes to I (one) + RL (tough game - Rugby League)
24 Serving woman's resistance during latest uprising (4)
WREN - R (resistance) is contained by [during] NEW (latest) reversed [uprising]

Times 26413 – A Nice Mosaic

What an enjoyable puzzle with which to start the working week! Not particularly difficult, but a satisfying challenge, in the main, with a pleasing mix of clue types and subject matter.

It will be interesting to see what causes the hold-ups/mistakes. For me, it was the pesky three-letter words – with 25 down being last in, and 7 down requiring a rethink – that were responsible for the former, while 5 down had just enough trickiness in it to derail me; in other words, not an awful lot. 33 minutes.


1. TURING MACHINE – an anagram* of CHIMING and NATURE. I am told by a reliable source that a TM is actually a mathematical model that defines an abstract machine which manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a set of rules. Wevs, as my niece in Weston would say.
8. CRAB - a crab cannot be a bad mood, it seems – only a possessor of such – so what we have here is not a double definition but a cryptic one (as suggested by the question mark). And a jolly good one too!
10. DISTRAIN – IS + T in DRAIN. One of those ugly Latinate legal words, this one meaning to seize property to get yer money.
13. TO CAP IT ALL – TO CAPITAL + L. I loved this. Who didn’t try to shove an UP in one of the 2-letter spaces?
16. SUNK – SUN K[ing]: four sevenths of old Louis. Very nice too.
17. FIRM – FIR + M[ature]. I was looking for trees beginning M, so the setter had me at least where he wanted me.
18. EXPOSITION – I had ‘exlocation’, which I thought was pretty clever of me, until I realised it was wrong.
20. FLITCH – FL + ITCH (‘what you’d associate with some scratchings’ – brilliant). This came up in a puzzle by Dean Mayer (the artist formerly known as Anax) four years ago. The tradition of awarding a flitch (side) of bacon to a married couple at Dunmow in Essex who had not quarreled or regretted their marriage for a year and a day is mentioned in Langland’s Piers Plowman and Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale. What is not mentioned is whether they were still talking to each other or whether the husband was a North Sea oil-rig worker…
22. REST MASS – a charade (A + B) of no great difficulty.
24. NEGOTIATOR – an excellent semi &lit: NE (oNcE regularly) followed by GOT (secured) I + A TOR (rise).
26. WAND – N (note) in WAD (many sticks) to give a single stick.
27. FIGHTING WORDS – a nice charade to polish off the acrosses.


1. TERRITORIAL – it’s a pity that Crosswordland’s favourite fighting force is the TA (recently renamed the more prosaic “Army Reserve”, which setters and editors are quite rightly ignoring), as this would actually be a very good clue were it not a write-in.
2. REBUT – reversal of TUBE ([London] underground) + R.
3. NORMATIVE – NORMA (opera by Vicenzo Bellini, a contemporary of Donizetti) + I in TV + E. Casta Diva is perhaps the best known piece from the work.
4. MAGENTA – AGENT in MA[n].
5. CHEEP – the Romans always made a deliberate mistake in their mosaics so the gods wouldn’t be offended. This was my Mosiac Moment. Sounds like ‘cheap’, so actually CHEEP.
7. EFT – [l]EFT, not ‘ent’ – they were what Tollers invented and are not yet in the dictionary, even if a phrase most Singaporeans have never heard of is.
12. SONG OF SONGS - double definition. It may not be Fanny Hill, but the two lovers exchanging lines like ‘Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies’ (that’s the bloke speaking, by the way) would have been a shoo-in for the Dunmow Flitch. So long as they were married, of course – preferably to each other.
14. ARMSTRONG – double definition, referencing old Satchmo and Neil, and a nod to HG Wells’ First Men in the Moon?
15. LAST STRAW – our third charade – arguably even simpler than the first one.
19. PURITAN – RITA in PUN. Of course, the 16th century Puritans were anything but was is meant by the term these days. As CS Lewis points out, to the Elizabethan Puritan ‘purity’ meant not chastity but ‘pure’ theology and ‘pure’ church discipline – a Presbyterian Church established by force, if necessary, along the lines of Calvin’s church at Geneva. ‘We must picture these Puritans,’ writes Lewis in ‘On Edmund Spenser’, ‘as the very opposite of those who bear that name today: as young, fierce, progressive intellectuals, very fashionable and up-to-date. They were not teetotallers; bishops, not beer, were their special aversion.’
And since this entry has become something of a thesis, here's Henry Fowler on puns from his Modern English Usage: 'The assumption that puns are per se contemptible, betrayed by the habit of describing every pun not as "a pun" but as "a bad pun" or "a feeble pun", is a sign at once of sheepish docility and a desire to seem superior. Puns are good, bad, and indifferent, and only those who lack the wit to make them are unaware of the fact.'
21. HEIST – IS + THE* for another semi &lit.
23. MOWER – M + OWER
25. ELF – FLE[d] reversed; Chambers has ‘tiny’, while Collins and Oxford (ODO) have [typically] ‘small’. You pays yer money…

Times Quick Cryptic 570

This one took me exactly 10 minutes. Looking back at my solving times it seems I had a problem with Flamande's puzzles in the early days of the Quickie in 2014 when they took me regularly over the 15 minute mark, but since May 2015 he/she has set 25 puzzles of which I solved 21 in 10 minutes or under, and the remaining 4 were under 15.  I can't see that there's anything particularly hard in this one, though there are a couple of things that some may not be familiar with, the priest and the ancient city, for example, but these are both old crossword favourites so they need to be learnt at some point. I am indebted to mohn2 for a new method of producing the blog that saves a lot of time and I think he plans to make it available to other bloggers in due course if they are interested. It works for both the Quickie and the main puzzle.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [indicators in square ones]

1 Top people having some bread with evening meal, but no starter (5,5)
UPPER CRUST - {s}UPPER (evening meal) [no starter], CRUST (some bread)
8 Swimmer going off course near entrance to harbour (7)
HERRING - [entrance to] H{arbour}, ERRING (going off course)
9 American Indian disposes of horse quickly (5)
APACE -APAC{h}E (American Indian) [disposes of H for horse]
10 Journey I had taken through Renfrewshire's borders (4)
RIDE - I'D (I had|) contained by [taken through] R{enfrewshir}E ['s borders]
11 Keep secret wine container, say, at university (6,2)
BOTTLE UP -BOTTLE (wine container, say), UP (at university)
13 For him principally money is so essential, right? (5)
MISER - First letters [principally] of M{oney} I{s} S{o} E{ssential} R{ight}. The definition is &lit
14 Corpulent   porter (5)
STOUT - Double definition, the second with reference to beer
16 Maybe Christian always is behind bishop and priest (8)
BELIEVER - B (bishop), ELI (priest), EVER (always)
17 Man, for example, first to vacate gangway (4)
ISLE - {a}ISLE (gangway) [first to vacate]
20 Rope — look — restraining donkey (5)
LASSO - LO (look) contains [restraining] ASS (donkey)
21 Cinema advertisement for caravan (7)
TRAILER - Double definition
22 Pre-wedding fight? (10)
ENGAGEMENT - Cryptic definition
1 Escort female into city of old (5)
USHER -SHE (female) inside UR (city of old)
2 Poem father introduces is read lots in translation (8,4)
PARADISE LOST -PA (father), anagram [translation] of IS READ LOTS. The epic poem by John Milton.
3 Complain loudly in bar (4)
RAIL - Double definition
4 Ignore newly-developed area (6)
REGION - Anagram [newly-developed] of IGNORE
5 Most clever son taking early spring exam? (8)
SMARTEST -S (son), MAR (early spring - March), TEST (exam)
6 Produced German wine when entertaining one young lady from Strasbourg? (12)
MADEMOISELLE - MADE (produced), MOSELLE (German wine) containing [entertaining] I (one). German wine with a French spelling in this case!
7 Democratic leaders identify tyrant (6)
DESPOT -DE{mocratic}[leaders], SPOT (identify)
12 New fort constructed to protect eastern port in Sierra Leone (8)
FREETOWN - Anagram [constructed] of NEW FORT contains [to protect] E (eastern)
13 Phone spy about British head of intelligence (6)
MOBILE -MOLE (spy) contains [about] B (British) + I{ntelligence} [head]
15 Some remember that woman's name (6)
BERTHA -Hidden in [some] {remem}BER THA{t}
18 Bird, say, about to perch on top of tree (5)
EGRET -EG (say - for example), RE (about), T{ree} [top]
19 Run ahead of expert in athletics event (4)
RACE - R (run), ACE (expert)

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