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Mephisto 2912 - Paul McKenna

All reasonably straighforward with one definition at 31A not understood

1BIGGER - BI(G-G)ER; German=G; what you find in a stein=BEIR;
5MISSED - M-(sides)*; my=M' as in m'lud; ;
10EVERSION - EVER-(is no)*; "out going turn" is definition;
12SURE - sounds like "shore"=prop;
14GUERRE,A,MORT - (get armourer)*; fight to the death in Dijon;
15DONNOT - (TON-NOD) all reversed; a loafer in Leeds;
17NIXIE - kettle=dixie then change "d" to "n";
18ENDMOST - END-MO(i)ST; i=island;
23AENEOUS - (euboeans - b)*; barrels=b; of bronze is definition;
26MEDUSA - ME(DU)SA; depleted uranium=DU; MESA=flat topped, steep sided hill in SW USA;
28SIPUNCULOID - (odious sculpin - so)*; a worm;
30CERRIAL - LAIC reversed surrounds ERR; of the oak;
31VLOG - V-LOG; insensitive person=LOG; a video log website; don't understand the definition;
32SITTELLA - SIT-TELLA(r); sapling=tellar; a bird;
33TEASES - 'T-EASES; it='T;
34AERIER - A-ERIE-R; about=A; R from (cole)-R-(idge);
2GERUNDS - GER-UND-S; Germany=GER; "and" in Austria=UND; Sweden=S;
4ESTRO - hidden (beatric)ES-TRO(pology);
5MOFETTE - MO(FE)TTE; iron=FE; clump of trees=MOTTE;
6INFANT - present=instant then change "st" to "f"; attention seeker=st; fine=f;
7SECO - hidden (fal)SE-CO(nception); dry Spanish wine;
8EMERITUS - E(M)ER-(suit)*; possibly=E'ER; master=M; definition is "retiring academic"; "inter alios" is posh padding;
9DARTER - READ reversed surrounds RT; dragonfly;
11LIMITED,OVER - (i'm to deliver)*; fast=secure so not fast=insecure=anagrind; crash-bang cricket;
16ONEPIECE - (once i pee)*;
19SANCAIS - (asians)* surrounds "c"=coloured; glazes;
20BOUILLI - (bill)* surrounds OUI;
22AGNISE - AG(o)NISE; old word for acknowledge;
24SAGGAR - SAG-(RAG reversed); flag=SAG; someone ready to drop=RAG; box used by potters is definition;
29PROA - P-sounds like "rower"; positive=P; a boat;
For me this was far and away the most enjoyable from 'Harry' so far. Super puzzle, I thought, with plenty of wit (loved 16dn and 15a), some crackerjack anagrams (1ac and 28ac standouts), a highly ingenious device at 2dn, and the one obscurity (13a) being pretty generously clued for those of us without a working knowledge of creole headgear.

During the week I was blogging the Quick Cryptic and was taken to task by one contributor for using the word "anagrind". I have unrepentantly continued to use it today and hope it only irritates one of our number.

Grateful thanks to our setter for a most enjoyable puzzle.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(--): omitted letters indicated by {-}

1 Many thousands of shakes? (1,5,2,7)
A MONTH OF SUNDAYS - *(MANY THOUSANDS OF) with "shakes" as the anagrind. Excellent anagram to kick off
9 Battle of local against royal household (9)
AGINCOURT - AGIN ('local' - dialect form of - 'against') + COURT (royal household)
10 In training, a way to get stick (5)
PASTE - A ST (a way - street) 'in' PE (training)
11 Hit flipping agreement breaking Cameron? (6)
LAMPED - DEAL (agreement) with PM (Cameron) inside, all reversed (flipping). Slight twitch of the eyebrows for me here as it seems to be PM 'breaking' (i.e. cutting into) the DEAL rather than the DEAL breaking PM, but I may be missing something and / or being overly picky
12 Walking slowly with son to go fishing (8)
TROLLING - S leaves (Son to go) {S}TROLLING (walking slowly), giving us the fishing technique of pulling a lure (or other bait) through the water to attract fish - as opposed to the more static bait presentation associated with ledgering or float fishing (and far more fun in my opinion as a keen but spectacularly unsuccessful angler)
13 Not all bargain on gits returning headdress (6)
TIGNON - Reverse (returning) hidden (not all) in bargaiN ON GITs, giving us - as I subsequently learned - a kind of turban worn by creole women. Unknown to me (and sufficiently obscure for it not to appear in my Chambers) but fortunately the clueing was generous and as soon as the T went in from 1dn I was able to write it in with a fair level of confidence.
15 It's obvious one must enter Mr Universe contest? (8)
MANIFEST - I (one) put inside (must enter) MAN FEST (Mr Universe contest - lovely cryptic clueing)
18 Swimmer Spooner's said to believe lovely (8)
DEALFISH - Sounds like (said) the pesky Reverend's rendition of FEEL (believe) and DISH (lovely - as in 'she's quite a dish'). Another one where I had to trust in the wordplay as I never came across trachipterus arcticus when trolling in Somerset...
19 Outlaw thanks male, an aggressive little sort (6)
BANTAM - BAN (outlaw) + TA (thanks) + M (male)
21 Some hard exercise maybe why one's hungry on hike (2,6)
NO PICNIC - Nice cryptic DD
23 Husband with sex appeal lad chats up (4,2)
HITS ON - H (husband) + IT (sex appeal) + SON (lad)
26 City gent bringing in one pound (5)
MILAN - I L (one pound) brought into MAN (gent)
27 Irregular old lady new union saloon lets in (9)
ANOMALOUS - MA (old lady) + *(U SALOON) with "new" as the anagrind
28 Thief drops these off a dusty Land Cruiser (4,2,3,6)
SHIP OF THE DESERT - *(THIEF DROPS THESE) with "off" as the anagrind. Super clue, I thought - very nice anagram and delightful cryptic definition

1 Not one to trust a dodgy man with a salty wife? (1,3,3)
A BAD LOT - Whilst the answer was clear enough (Lot's wife having been turned into a pillar of salt for some kind of infraction - can't recall what exactly...), I struggled with the exact parsing here. I've tentatively marked it down as a DD.
2 Number with hatred for decimalisation? (5)
OPIUM - Loved the two penny-drop moments associated with this highly ingenious clue. The first was to see the definition as 'something that makes you numb' (and that took a while for your humble blogger). The second is to recall (if, like me, you are old enough) what happened on "decimal day" in the UK in 1971 - when the D (old penny) became the P (new penny). Thus the answer is derived from ODIUM (hatred) being 'decimalised' with the D becoming a P. Devious or what?!
3 Scolded Tory leader started to snub summit (6,3)
TICKED OFF - T (Tory leader) + {K}ICKED OFF (started minus its first letter - 'summit snubbed'). Tricky.
4 Love drink? Must turn up for work (4)
OPUS - O (love) + SUP reversed (drink must turn up). The surface brought to mind one of my favourite old saws "Work, the scourge of the drinking classes"...
5 A Democrat with dull routine written up in Express 24hrs ago? (8)
SATURDAY - A D RUT all reversed (A Democrat with 'dull routine' written up) 'in' SAY (express) - and this being the Sunday Times, it's a safe bet 24 hours ago it was, um, Saturday...
6 Country friend from the Sunderland area? (5)
NEPAL - NE (from the Sunderland area) + PAL (friend)
7 Saint bent out of shape and not having it? (9)
ABSTINENT - *(SAINT BENT) with "out of shape" as the anagrind, and the definition appealing to fans of Up Pompeii
8 Strategem that's rather trivial in hearing (7)
SLEIGHT - Homophone - indicated by 'in hearing' - of SLIGHT (rather trivial)
14 Pale girl upset about quiet chap on the fiddle? (9)
GRAPPELLI - *(PALE GIRL) - with "upset" as the anagrind - going around P (quiet), giving us Stefan the great jazz violinist
16 Still upset in parts where one might find rum? (9)
INANIMATE - NI (upset IN) separates (parts) IN A MATE (where one might find rum - after the mainbrace has been spliced, no doubt...) Clever, witty clue
17 Hopeful when old Rover briefly bears north (8)
ASPIRANT - AS (when) + N (North) inside PIRAT{E} (old Rover briefly). Hopeful here being used as a noun - e.g. one putting themselves forward for selection.
18 Energy suppliers' loads go up during parties (7)
DYNAMOS - MANY reversed (loads go up) inside (during) DOS (parties)
20 Mail regularly tends to be sorted in Outlook (7)
MINDSET - MI (MaIl regularly) + *(TENDS). Neat clue for Microsoft users.
22 Texan dwelling on Democrat dividing county (5)
CONDO - ON D (on Democrat) 'dividing' CO (abbrev. county)
24 Cure and cause of a cough? (5)
25 Expression of surprise about yours truly's birthplace? (4)
HOME - OH reversed (expression of surprise about) + ME (yours truly)
Sorry folks, I'll have to put this up either this evening or tomorrow - forgot I had to go out today and was forcibly reminded just as I settled down to start blogging!
Probably should have blogged this one at the time of solving two weeks ago, because to tell the truth I don't remember very much about it.  Seems so long ago now, back when it was nil-nil in the rugby, and there were 28 countries in the EU.  Ah, those were the days.

I do recall that it took me about an hour and I had LAMPRAY instead of LAMPREY.

Once again I note the small number of anagrams.  That seems to be a feature of the Jumbo, and as anagrams are my long suit (relatively speaking) it might explain why I never finish these things in much of a hurry.  That'll do for an excuse anyway.

So here we go, thank you setter.  Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined.  Anagrinds are bolded and italicised..

1 Scripture, dull, getting cut (7)
MATTHEW - MATT (dull) + HEW (cut)
5 Revealing dancer’s murderer is on the way (8)
STRIPPER - RIPPER (murderer) on ST (the way)
9 To be allowed to be executed would be terrible (6)
LAWFUL - without the first letter (executed) it would be AWFUL (terrible)
13 Feature of ancient sewer visible on the Embankment? (10,6)
The second definition refers to a London landmark, which most of you probably know.  I didn't, but I do now.
14 You got me almost a little mad (6)
TOUCHE - almost TOUCHED (a little mad)
16 Magazine military man uncovered (5)
OLDIE - SOLDIER (military man) with the ends removed (uncovered)
17 Play set in brothel, loveless (7)
OTHELLO - hidden in brOTHEL LOveless
18 Part of joke made through swazzle? (9)
PUNCHLINE - Double def.
The second one is a reference to the device used to produce the rasping voice of Punch in a Punch and Judy show.
Better than my explanation at the time, which was a stick that could perhaps make a line in a glass of punch.  Pretty lame, especally when that's a swizzle.
19 Strongly built cathedral city, European, placed to face west (4,3-2)
WELL SET-UP - WELLS (cathedral city) + E (European) + TUP [PUT (placed) going the other way (west)]
21 Double quantities of drink universal in country house (7)
CHATEAU - CHA + TEA (double quantities of drink) + U (universal)
22 Extent of Dutch house with no frontage (5)
RANGE - ORANGE (Dutch house) without the first letter (with no frontage)
23 Evidence of failure, to doctors? (5)
TOMBS - TO + MBS (doctors)
25 In the wrong battle, nothing I have succeeded (3,6)
HEY PRESTO - YPRES (battle) in HET (the)* + O (nothing)
27 Flyer left out on grassland (7)
LEAFLET - FLET (left)* on LEA (grassland)
29 Possibly description of our crossword book (4,5)
HARD TIMES - Is this one a hard Times?  You be the judge.
31 Aloft, aircrews breaking military regulations (8,2,3)
ARTICLES OF WAR - (Aloft aircrews)*
34 Outside own county, temperature dropping, such as one wouldn’t know (6,4,3)
BEYOND ONE'S KEN - BEYOND ONE'S KENT (outside own county), dropping T (temperature)
35 Lying about contents of hold being fashionable (9)
RECLINING - RE (about) + IN (fashionable) in CLING (hold)
37 American general gathers large group together (7)
CLUSTER - CUSTER (American general) gathers L (large)
39 Roll one part back, which marshal captures (5,4)
PETIT PAIN - I (one) + TP [PT (part), back] captured by PETAIN (marshal)
Marshal Petain was a French general, Marshal of France and later Chief of State of Vichy France
42 List includes grand philosopher (5)
HEGEL - HEEL (list) includes G (grand)
43 Cheap booze knocked back, not good for instructor (5)
TUTOR - ROTGUT (cheap booze) reversed (knocked back), without the G (not good)
45 A tax return is messy at first, reverting to type (7)
ATAVISM - A + TAV [VAT (tax) return] + IS + M (messy at first)
47 Piece of clothing I misplaced in this eating place (9)
BRASSERIE - BRASSIERE (piece of clothing) with the I misplaced
49 One walked all over loses energy and character (9)
FLAGSTONE - FLAGS (loses energy) + TONE (character)
50 Piece of work judge overlooked — do pay attention (7)
OBSERVE - OB [JOB (piece of work) with J (judge) "overlooked"] + SERVE (do)
52 Fantastic grout repairs walls (5)
OUTRE - hidden in grOUT REpairs
54 Remarkable circle often disrupted (2,4)
OF NOTE - O (circle) + FNOTE (often)*
55 Be so expensive: suggesting a maximum of two purchases each? (4,2,3,3,1,3)
COST AN ARM AND A LEG - Double def, the second one cryptically whimsical.
56 Manacled, I had to be arrested and put away (6)
TIDIED - ID (I had) "arrested" by TIED (manacled)
57 Star man has not completed study (8)
HESPERUS - HES (man has) + PERUS [PERUSE (study) not completed]
58 Raise team, two short: worried? (7)
ELEVATE - ELEV [ELEVEN (team), two short] + ATE (worried)
1 I’m turning crabby almost with irritation — it takes very little to make me flip (11)
MICROSWITCH - MI [I'm reversed (switching)] + CROS [CROSS (crabby) almost] + W (with) + ITCH (irritation)
2 Border flower, sweetly pretty, died (5)
TWEED - TWEE (sweetly pretty) + D (died)
The Tweed River forms part of the border between New South Wales and Queensland.  Although I suppose it's possible the setter was thinking of the one that separates England from Scotland.  Is it possible that one day it may separate England from Europe?
3 Unfortunate fellow, beheaded, gets smaller (7)
HAPLESS - HAP [CHAP (fellow) beheaded] + LESS (smaller)
4 Like illogical prose? There’s no explanation for that (7,5,2,6)
WITHOUT RHYME OR REASON - Sort of a double def, the first one slightly cryptic.
5 Boisterously free with the greasepaint? (4-5)
SLAP-HAPPY - Slap is the term in the "industry" for theatrical make-up, or greasepaint.
6 Referring to organ being right way up (5)
RENAL - R (right) + ENAL [LANE (way), up]
7 Those doing grind of publicity, upcoming opera getting run through (9)
PREMOLARS - PR (publicity) + R (run) inside (through) EMOLAS [SALOME (opera), "upcoming"]
8 One that may curl in otherwise regular shape (7)
ELLIPSE - LIP (one that may curl) in ELSE (otherwise)
10 Different answer given by him, presumably (7)
ANOTHER - A (answer) + NOT HER (him, presumably)
Had the same device in my first Jumbo blog and failed to parse it.  That was months ago, I'm much older and wiser now.
11 Last to keep fighting endlessly? Not true (9)
FICTIONAL - FINAL (last) "keeping" CTIO [ACTION (fighting) endlessly)
12 Unreliable editor-elect tested on this? (3,8)
LIE DETECTOR - (editor-elect)*
15 Book commission — criticise cost of loan (6,10,4)
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE - ANNUAL (book) + PERCENTAGE (commission) + RATE (criticise)
20 Soldiers hungry at the end after light seafood (7)
LAMPREY - RE (soldiers) + Y (hungry at the end) after LAMP (light)
21 Complain over boat being in place with many bays (3,4)
CAR PARK - CARP (complain) + ARK (boat)
Could have been a stable, could have been Rottnest Island, but no, we're talking about parking bays.
24 Demonstrated extremely elegant material (7)
SATINET - SAT IN (demonstrated) + ET (extremely EleganT)
26 Award over evidence of injury (5)
OSCAR - O (over) + SCAR (evidence of injury)
28 Drop one throw, knocked up into tree (7)
ABOLISH - BOLI [I (one) + LOB (throw), "knocked up"] in ASH (tree)
30 Skin of fruit’s twisted to drop off (5)
SLEEP - PEEL'S (skin of fruit's) reversed (twisted)
32 Carol’s little boy having hand up to hold in yours for a start (4,3)
TINY TIM - TTIM [MITT (hand), "up"] holding IN + Y (yours for a start)
Had no idea this was a Dickens character until I looked it up for the blog.  Good old Charlie.
33 Footballer goes round hospital — he has irritating complaint (7)
WHINGER - WINGER (footballer) round H (hospital)
34 Given wrong order to rejoin colleagues in the trenches? (4,2,5)
BACK TO FRONT - Double def, the second one cryptic.
36 Magnificent creature on ledge with gale blowing about (6,5)
GOLDEN EAGLE - (on ledge + gale)*
I'm more familiar with the wedge-tailed eagle.  If these guys are closely related (and it appears they are), then "magnificent creature" is possibly an understatement.
38 Thrown out of carriage, perhaps, as not qualified? (9)
UNTRAINED - Double def, the first one slightly cryptic.
40 Almost imagine winning: not so hairy now (4,2,3)
THIN ON TOP - THIN [THINK (imagine), almost] + ON TOP (winning)
41 Grim sabre hacked part of whale (9)
AMBERGRIS - (grim sabre)*
Only produced by sperm whales apparently.  Not the young humpbacks I saw frolicking just metres off the Sydney coast last weekend.
44 Old dog lifts tail right up, the sign of a champion? (7)
ROSETTE - [O (old) + SETTER (dog)] with R (tail of setter) moved to the top (lifted right up)
46 Bloomer made by a submariner on new dive finally (7)
ANEMONE - A + NEMO (submariner) + N (new) + E (dive, finally)
48 Across pool, notice foot (7)
SPONDEE - SEE (notice) "across" POND (pool)
51 OAP losing one address on the Costa del Sol (5)
SENOR - SENIOR (OAP), losing I (one)
53 A slovenly type raised in US city (5)
TULSA - [A + SLUT (slovenly type)] raised
Usage tip:  There are probably better terms available if you want to accuse someone of being slovenly.

Club Monthly 20189 - June 2016

Solving Time: About 45 minutes this month, quick for me and I think this must be a fairly straightforward one. Frighteningly, Magoo took only 16mins 31secs. Perhaps the setter is still recovering after his/her remarkable triple pangram last month...

I'm a little bit late posting this but in my defence, it has been a rather unusual day. This is not really the place to comment, I will just say that despite everything, I expect the sun to come up tomorrow as usual. And I feel sure that foreign words (eg 9ac, 1dn) will continue to feature here in future. Actually I'm more worried about losing Scotland (see 20dn) than membership of the EU.

cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev = reversed, anagrams are *(--), homophones indicated in ""

Dictionaries: The Club Monthly uses several dictionaries as sources, and why not? The main ones are the Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD), Collins, and Chambers. I however can't afford all those so I use Chambers, the online Collins dictionary and the ODO (Oxford Dictionaries Online). I use the online Oxford English Dictionary too (OED) but accept that it sometimes goes beyond what we may reasonably be expected to know

1. Anterior part of cochlea on bats aids sonar (5)
asdic - C(OCHLEA) + *(AIDS) nice easy one to start us off
4. Joint almost connected with ear containing unknown number of fused bones (9)
ankylotic - Y (unknown) in ANKL(E) (joint, almost)
9. Be secular after trashing holy cow at Lourdes (5,4)
sacre bleu - *(BE SECULAR) another easy clue, which takes me back to my childhood reading of various comics where if it wasn't "Sacre bleu!" it was "Der Teufel" or "Donner und blitzen" ..
10. Return of holy cow mostly worried aged pack of spiritualists (5)
taroc - COR (holy cow) + AT(E), both rev.
11. Swimmer down under recalled some magnanimity (6)
inanga - hidden, rev., in mAGNANImity
12. Note stuff happens at university, for which damp sponge is needed (8)
tiramisu - TI (note: "Ti, a drink with jam and bread" :-) + RAM (stuff) + IS (happens) + U(niversity)
14. King of Babylonia, father of Egypt and Greek character connected to disheartened Jewish leader (9)
Hammurabi - HAM (father of Egypt) + MU (Greek character) + RA(B)BI. Ham was son of Noah, and in the bible Egypt is called "The land of Ham"
16. Korean city rejected enormous capital cover without any hospital (5)
Taegu - (H)UGE (H)AT, at least so I think, unless you have a better idea? Does capital = hat? One of my last in, partly because I (and Wikipedia, and Korea itself apparently) know this city (to the extent I know it at all) as Daegu. Translating words into English that don't use the Roman alphabet is always a tricky business.
17. Sibling crossing street legally stays in Scotland (5)
sists - ST(reet) in SIS (sibling)
19. Blind arachnids having poison united with wreathed flowers (9)
ricinulei - RICIN (poison) + U(nited) + LEI (those Hawaiian flower garland thingies)
21. Campus eleven at Sorbonne keeping one band together at work (8)
unionize - UNI (campus) + I in ONZE (eleven in France)
22. Posh sod, to you and me (6)
usward - U (posh) + SWARD (sod, ie grass)
25. Weapon used by Gurkhas to provoke our country in retreat (5)
kukri - IRK (provoke) + UK (our country, or at least it was), both rev.
26. Alcoholic encountered emotionally unstable person dismissing queen (9)
methystic - MET (encountered) + HYST(ER)IC
27. Greuze’s core red resin with eg Holbein’s marine oil sources (9)
eulachans - (GR)EU(ZE) + LAC (red resin) + HANS (eg Hans Holbein)
28. Befuddle American after failing to finish Rhine wine (5)
hocus - HOC(K) + US.

1. Check spirit imbibed by non-drinker plugging possibly Victorian and German outlooks (15)
aussichtspunkte - hm, this is CH (check) + SPUNK (spirit) in TT (nondrinker), all in AUSSIE (a Victorian, possibly). A german viewing spot or panorama.
2. Country cottage of father in provinces with Earl Grey? (5)
dacha - well I suppose the CHA is the Earl Grey but why is DA father "in provinces?" Presumably it is meant to indicate a regional accent .. Geordie?
3. English duke resident in central section of Sichuan, its capital (7)
Chengdu - ENG (English) + D(uke) in (SI)CHU(AN). A clever clue.
4. Miles enters after providing East Indian tree (4)
amla - M(iles) in A LA (after, ie after the manner of)
5. Purple fruit acceptable to cover odd bits of brill cut over fish pie (10)
koulibiaca - BrIlL cUt (odd bits of brill cut) in ACAI (a purple fruit, apparently) + OK (acceptable), all rev.
6. Barking mad tirade about back muscles? (7)
latrant - LAT RANT. I'm guessing lats are one of the many muscle groups of which I remain steadfastly ignorant
7. Wisdom that originally arises about conifer, whence this perfume base comes (9)
terpineol - PINE (conifer) in LORE (wisdom) + T(HAT) rev.
8. Male sect doing drugs chop and take drugs, none of them finishing narcotic dried fruit (8,7)
cocculus indicus - COC( K ) + CUL( T ) + USIN ( G ) + DI C(E) + US(E). Very clever! the OED entry for cocculus indicus says "the berry is a violent poison, and has been used to stupefy fish, and in England to increase the intoxicating power of beer and porter." Who knew that fish stupefying was so popular?
13. Computer memory accessed quickly round Australia and Iowa: it’s seeded in the former (10)
macrozamia - MAC (computer) + OZ (Australia) in RAM + IA (Iowa).
15. Loose lime’s broken by tool for digging mineral (9)
mispickel - PICK (tool for digging) in *(LIMES). Better known (slightly) as Arsenopyrite
18. Sulphur not found, semi-invisible, in representation of Ra or Re? (3,4)
sun disc - S(ulphur) + UNDISC(OVERED)
20. Scottish engineer and Newton like a made-up story (7)
Nasmyth - N(ewton, the SI unit of force) + AS MYTH. James Nasmyth was a remarkable man, an engineer, who invented the steam hammer. He settled in Kent not far from where I live. One of many Scots who have enhanced British capabilities and our economy, just saying...
23. Large vehicle that Glasgow district keeps in park (5)
artic - (P)ARTIC(K), as in Partick Thistle... with PK = park, as in Hyde Pk.
24. Lost eight days of a festival, with half a day up (4)
utas - SATU(RDAY) rev. The OED says "Christian Church. The seventh day after a festival (this being the eighth day when counted inclusively, following ancient Roman practice); (hence) the period of eight days beginning with the day of a festival." Nice to have that clear..

Times 26,447: Exit Strategies

I made heavy weather of this puzzle, almost 20 minutes worth of it, after a terrible day in which I wrote my entire TLS blog only to lose the whole thing on hitting the submit button, requiring me to spend an hour or two remembering and rewriting every single terrible joke (that only half a dozen people are ever going to read anyway), a man totally trapped in a hell of his own making. But I see from the leaderboard this morning that lightning fast times are yet to be posted across the board. Perhaps we all had other things on our minds?Anyway, if you're 6dn'ing this morning then this crossword does offer a few solutions: you could head north of the border as proposed in column 13 (7dn 15dn), or possibly go the whole hog as per row 11 (20ac 21ac).

Anyway, many thanks to the setter for this fine Friday fare, which managed to be a tough challenge without resorting to any real obscurity of reference or vocabulary (though I expect there will soon come a day when we'll have to accept that no young person on the planet is still reading Jerome K Jerome). I would also like to draw everyone's attention to the really, really impressive artistry of this setter's surfaces - a common complaint in this little world of ours is that clues end up being in Crosswordese rather than English, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anything in this puzzle that doesn't pass muster as a sensible English sentence, and I know from bitter experience that that's way harder than it looks. FOI 11ac, last 23ac; in fact the whole SW gave me a lot of trouble, partly because I'd put in KEEP A CLEAN HOUSE for 3dn, my notorious illiteracy as regards sporting matters biting me in the bum yet again. Not sure anything massively stood out from the pack today, but I'll give me COD to 24ac just for being such an HP Lovecraft word. Now there was a writer whose first language often appeared to be Crosswordese...


1 Bar offers beer, about a litre (5)
BLOCK – BOCK about L

4 Causing dissension about point that’s not serious (9)

9 Patsy succeeded with attack on head (9)

10 Otto getting endless stick for turning back (5)
ATTAR – reverse of RATTA{n}

11 Ointment makes mark on light wood (6)

12 Discard light cover, unfashionable (5,3)
THROW OUT – THROW [light cover] + OUT [unfashionable]

14 Noble treetop twisted into a corkscrew? (6-6)

17 Give up television? That could surprise the children (4-2-3-3)
JACK-IN-THE-BOX – JACK IN [give up] THE BOX [television]

20 Forcibly take too much that’s picked up abroad (8)
OVERSEAS – homophone of OVER-SEIZE

21 One member of boating party returned to old address (6)
SIRRAH - reverse of HARRIS (one of the Three Men In A Boat)

23 Temperature rising in a heatwave at last, finding shade (5)
TAUPE – T + UP in A {heatwav}E

24 Conceal wings of priory, roughly made with huge slabs (9)

25 Made fast, but eating egg under supervision (9)

26 Glutton necessarily consuming a large mass (5)
TONNE – {glut}TON NE{cessarily}


1 Primate hard at work overcoming phobia regularly meeting bishop (8)
BUSHBABY – BUSY overcoming {p}H{o}B{i}A + B

2 A polenta may be so served? (2,1,5)

3 Do not concede order to reserve some fresh laundry? (4,1,5,5)
KEEP A CLEAN SHEET – footballing parlance for "not get scored against", plus a more literalistic interpretation of the words

4 The game’s up: sell! (4)
FLOG – reverse of GOLF

5 Land girl is superficially attractive (10)

6 Be frustrated by what bad barber may do? (4,4,4,3)
TEAR OUT ONE'S HAIR – again, a metaphorical phrase followed by a more literal interpretation

7 Choice brew — head spinning (6)

8 Fairy ring abandoned in vernal ceremony (6)

13 Lend a frock to rock performer cutting a traditional figure (4,6)

15 In the city want bear to be beaten up (8)
ABERDEEN – reverse of NEED + (BEAR*)

16 Replace half-crown and shilling, for example (8)
EXCHANGE – modern change would be 1ps and 2ps; old coins are EX-CHANGE

18 Saw bachelor turning over in bed (6)
BOTTOM – reverse of MOTTO B

19 Try again to operate this key? (6)
RETURN To operate a key you TURN it, to try again you RE-TURN it; RETURN is also another type of key on a computer keyboard

22 Competed on track, losing the lead, and beaten at tennis (4)

Quick Cryptic 599 by Izetti

Another DNF for me after last week. Clever anagram at 1a, but I didn't know the phrase and also stumped by 5d, although nothing unfair about it. I think I blogged a dope/gen clue recently.
A good challenge - thank you Izetti.

1 Marched, boots falling apart - unable to carry on: HORS DE COMBAT
Anagram (falling apart) of MARCHED BOOTS
8 Shining silver base: AGLOW
Silver = AG, base = LOW, as in ignoble
9 Descent of eagle flying outside home: LINEAGE
Anagram (flying) of EAGLE, including home = IN
10 Dance in the grass when it’s dry: HAY
Double definition – not a country dance with which I’m familiar; not that that means anything!
11 This person’s left, worker of great significance: IMPORTANT
This person’s = IM, left = PORT, worker = ANT
13 Ape of a particular colour, apart from tail: ORANG
Particular colour without tail= ORANG(e)
14 Response from agent – lazy, heartless: REPLY
Agent = REP, heartless lazy = L(az)Y
16 A pest who’s working in terrible factory : SWEAT SHOP
Anagram (working) of A PEST WHOS
17 In course of education I learnt nothing: NIL
Hidden word
19 Awful poseur male being brought in as top dog: SUPREMO
Anagram (awful) of POSEUR M(ale)
21 Wild animal, last to be seen in the country: ELAND
Last to bE, country = LAND
22 Philosopher isn’t ‘wet’ gent, I fancy : WITTGENSTEIN
Anagram (fancy) of ISNT WET GENT I

1 Barren territory for former PM: HEATH
Double definition
2 New career takes in amateur athletics event : RELAY RACE
Anagram (new) of CAREER, including amateur = LAY
3 Not resting, we’d wander around London thoroughfare: DOWNING STREET
Anagram (wander around) of NOT RESTING WED
4 Islamic ruler chap I will finally upset: CALIPH
Anagram (upset) of CHAP I (wil)L
5 Biblical folk making small returns on investments, we hear: MINOR PROPHETS
Small = MINOR, homophone (we hear) of investments = PROFITS
6 Afghan regularly seen as military commander: AGA
Alternate letters (regularly) of AfGhAn
7 Dope with bid to be in the privileged classes: GENTRY
Dope = GEN, bid = TRY
12 A couple of pages to finish – get old bit stuck on: APPENDAGE
A = A, couple of pages = PP, finish = END
13 Bosses unusually worry constantly: OBSESS
Anagram (unusually) of BOSSES
15 Little man sitting in the seat: THRONE
Little man = RON, inside THE
18 The French hideout piled up with goods: LADEN
The French = LA, hideout = DEN
20 One Greek character and another outside hospital: PHI
Another Greek character = PI, outside hospital = H

There have been some pretty gruelling TLS workouts in recent memory, so I was pleased to discover that this was "just" a straightforward cryptic crossword requiring a moderate breadth of literary GK to tackle. Thanks Talos (whose pseudonym derives I assume from being the setter with the shapeliest ankles in the business), most enjoyable!

Behind a cut as I"ve gone on a bit as usualCollapse )

Times Quick Cryptic No 598 by Teazel

A really nice puzzle, towards the harder end of the spectrum. I did yesterday's just before this, and took just over twice as long today at 16 mins, so on a made-up scale of difficulty out of 10, I'd say yesterday's was 3.5 and today's was 7.5. Half of it went in quite easily, leaving about 10 rather more stubborn ones. It was fun to see a topical referendum clue at 6d, and a mischievous little one at that (let's hope not a prescient one). My joint COD goes to 1ac and 9ac: I liked the cunningly masked simplicity of the former, and the latter elicited a good old groan-chuckle when the answer dawned on me. Many thanks to Teazel for this - much enjoyed.

1 I got into bed, able to see only one side?
BIGOTED: Quite simply, I GOT [goes] into BED. Very nice.
5 Postpone using force to spear ruminants
DEFER: F[orce] goes inside (to spear) DEER.
8 Easily outclass, circling?
RUN RINGS ROUND: double definition, second one semi-cryptic.
9 Outward appearance of champion Internet browser?
SURFACE: If you were a champion at browsing the internet - i.e., an ace at surfing - you would be a Surf Ace. The Red Baron of Clickbait, for example. If you think about it, watching the very best in the world at surfing the net (however the scoring system might work) does have the potential to be a very good spectator 'sport'. Well, more promising sounding than the pitch for Gogglebox must have been.
10 Tree appears more bare, first off
ALDER: Balder is more bare, remove the first letter.
11 Accidentally wet a prominent display
SPLASH: Double definition. A splash can be a "striking or ostentatious display" (OED).
13 Maiden interrupts tale involving violent emotion
STORMY: M is a maiden in cricket, goes inside (interrupts) STORY.
15 Parent’s thanks for Italian food
PASTA: Pa's ta = parent's thanks.
16 Live in comfortable home, extremely close
NEAREST: ARE (live) in NEST (comfortable home). I don't recall seeing 'are' for 'live' before, but 'to be = to live = to exist' is used quite a lot, so it follows that if 'you live' then 'you are'. I do recall seeing 'exists = is' before.
19 Blameless, lacking strength to eat one medium fruit
UNIMPEACHABLE: UNABLE is lacking strength; inside (to eat) goes I, M, and PEACH.
20 Small, deficient track
SPOOR: S[mall], Poor = deficient. I didn't know this word. A spoor is a track left by an animal or person, apparently, and to spoor is also to track.
21 Merit death upfront? Horribly severe
DESERVE: D = Death upfront, followed by an anagram (horribly) of SEVERE

1 Poet is on fire
BURNS: double definition.
2 Sailor seeming to upset this supreme commander
GENERALISSIMO: anagram (to upset) of sailor seeming.
3 Forest region in Alberta, I gather
TAIGA: hidden in AlberTA, I GAther. I am informed that the taiga is the coniferous forest region spanning the northern latitudes, and is "the world's largest terrestrial biome", no less. Therefore, as one might gather, a forest region in Alberta would be a part of it. Lovely clue this, and much more imaginative than some tired tiger pun such as 'predator heard in forested area' or 'large cat reported in Siberian forest'. COD, in hindsight.
4 Aussie’s excavating equipment
DIGGER: double definition. I hadn't heard of DIgger for Aussie - originally WWI soldier slang, in a similar vein to 'sapper' (see 12d).
5 Inactive lecturer takes time to tour Sandhurst
DORMANT: DON, T (lecturer, time) goes around (to tour) RMA (Royal Military Academy = Sandhurst). I didn't like the use of 'takes' as a link-word, and the Three Letter Abbreviation needed looking up.
6 Referendum mob riots: I am in it from the start
FOUNDER MEMBER: anagram (riots) of referendum mob.
7 To arrest duke, back my revolutionary troops
RED ARMY: D[uke] is arrested by REAR (back); my is my.
11 Cathedral put lass off
ST PAULS: Anagram (off) of put lass.
12 Royal Engineer eats new fish
SNAPPER: Sapper = Royal Engineer, eats N. A sap was a covered trench used in warfare; a sapper constructed one. The 'Royal Sappers and Miners' became the 'Royal Engineers' in 1859. Yes, there was a bit of a military theme to this crossword - perhaps an observation on the increasingly strident tone taken by both sides of the referendum debate? Perhaps not.
14 I come down around noon away from the sea
INLAND: i come down = I LAND, goes around N[oon].
17 A second man succeeded in sporting contest
LOI. With A?H?S, I simply couldn't see it. I forlornly resorted to writing out what I thought the letters had to be, just to see: A is A; S is second; 'man', starting with an H, can only be 'he'; and it was only with "ashe" scrawled out (and presumably a knowledge of the last letter helped as well) that I finally saw the answer. Go to the back of the class.
18 You must accept mark for subject
THEME: You = THEE, in goes (must accept) M[ark]. With ??E?E, I couldn't get 'liege' out of my head.
A relatively benign brew which resulted in a time of 19.17.  As I write, the seasonal thunder is rolling around the North Weald, ominously presaging the upheavals  of the day ahead, and clearly our setter has taken the Referendum into account with a puzzle that is redolent with direct and (sometimes very) indirect glances at the poll, its campaigns and its aftermath, as I have attempted to clarify. Our setter very nearly discloses a preference: from the bottom up the middle column reads CAN BIM EU.Is the misprint towards the middle for AIM or BIN? We may never know. In the same spirit, I believe I have failed to disclose my own preference. AS for the puzzle itself, there were two answers I didn’t think I knew, the hotel and the plant (natch) but the wordplay is kind.
Here’s what I done:
Clues Definition SOLUTION


1 Taken for a ride and abandoned, miles away  (5)
DUPED  The fate of many British voters, abandoned, DU(M)PED, M(iles) away from where they thought they’d be. Duped indeed.
4 Snake tot found stuck in engine  (4,5)
PUFF ADDER  One of those snakes that has daily been increasing political hot air, perhaps. ADD/tot inserted in PUFFER/engine. Those were the days, proper steam.
9 Old-fashioned rickshaw initially boarded by English traveller  (9)
PASSENGER  Old fashioned gives you PASSE, R comes from the initial of Rickshaw, and put ENGlish on board. Which handcart you board and which hell it is bound for is your privileged choice.
10 Group of democrats easily confused  (2,3)
AT SEA  A small group of letters from democrATS EAsily characterises the majority of voters. Does this setter have an agenda, do you think?
11 Supported United player, perhaps, after attempt to score has fallen short  (6)
SHORED  One of the teams that plays in RED is Manchester UNITED, and an attempt to score is a SHOT. Dismiss the T as the shot falls short, as one side or the other will.
12 Have fewer objections? That's insane  (8)
MINDLESS  I hope we will MIND LESS about the objections to remain and leave as it all calms down, but I freely admit the whole thing is driving me crazy. A simple double definition, with or without a space.
14 In operatic cycle, a French diva starts off very loud?  (10)
THUNDERING Spookily ratling the windows even as I write, and which no doubt our beloved Times will be doing once it’s worked out which side it’s on. THE RING is an interminable German set of four operas. UN is French for A, D is how Diva starts off. Assemble.
16 Watering hole appears empty, animal found  (4)
BOAR  A BAR with nothing (0) in it appears empty, probably after we’ve all drowned our sorrows/celebrated our win.
19 Runs with champion in athletics event  (4)
RACE  “Runs” is helpfully capitalised for you to hint at the R, and a champion is probably an ACE. An athletic race between, say, Dave and Boris might be a better way of deciding the outcome.
20 With great joy, William mentioned worker will stop several weeks  (10)
JUBILANTLY  An Ikea flat pack of a clue. “Mention” little William, and that’s BIL. A worker is often an ANT in these acres. JULY contains four and a bit weeks. Insert parts A and B into part C. I hope to be celebrating in this style tomorrow.
22 Fellow accompanying queen, working for attendant  (8)
CHAPERON Something you’re not supposed to have when you go to vote. Fellow: CHAP, queen ER, working, ON.
23 Blooming learner interrupts start of French test  (6)
FLORAL  Start of F(rench), ORAL test, L(earner) carefully inserted in the right square.
26 Clean the floor — order rejected by arrogant youngster  (3,2)
MOP UP  Order is the O(rder of) M(erit), reversed and attached to PUP, as in “you arrogant pup, pretending you know how to vote.”
27 End part of story still to be heard  (9)
TAIL PIECE  A two-word homophone (to be heard) of TALE/story PEACE/still. I don’t think we’ll have heard the end of it even after all the votes have been counted.
28 Military men taking steps to introduce one new regulation  (9)
ORDINANCE  Another Ikea clue, fine if you follow the instructions. I seem to have to explain almost every time that military men are O(ther) R(anks). Steps is (are?) DANCE. One is I, and new is N. Attach part one to part two, insert parts three and four where they make most sense. Whichever side you’re on, be grateful at least it’s not the military making the new regulations.
29 Line on fabric  (5)
RAYON  Line: RAY, on – um - ON. A clue which even I can’t push into political commentary.


1 Bank customer tied up, stabbed by unusually big Italian  (9)
DEPOSITOR  Tied is ROPED, which travels upward in the grid. The unpleasant Johnny Foreigner in this clue is an O(ut) S(ized) IT(alian), who knifes his way into the rest of the entry.
2 Bother to put on duck sauce  (5)
PESTO   Pest is bother in the sense of “a person causing bother” or someone continually trying to change your mind on in or out. Give him 0, a cricketing duck.
3 Rests, conserving energy for challenging areas to swim?  (4-4)
DEEP ENDS  Where we will be according to both sides if we get it wrong.  Rests gives DEPENDS, insert E(nergy)
4 Young servant, bookish type?  (4)
PAGE  Something we are about to turn. I think the “bookish type” is simply a whimsical way of saying “page”
5 What's supporting e.g. India in turmoil?  (7,3)
FOREIGN AID  A neat &lit. What’s supporting is FOR, EG INDIA in turmoil gives the remaining EIGN AID. If it all goes pear shaped, the direction of aid may need to be reversed.
6 Name of female lawyer in America, with a husband to support  (6)
AMANDA  A lawyer in America is (and thanks to reruns of Perry Mason always will be) a D(istrict) A(ttorney), a husband is A MAN (though other permutations are available). To be loved or not? That is the question.
7 Served hideous tripe in diet that is deficient (6,3)
DISHED OUT The clue a decent description of our recent political experience, but also offering the rather clever anagram (tripe the unusual indicator) of HIDEOUS contained within DIET from which you’ve poked out the IE/that is.
8 Chinese societies, heading off for Moroccan hotels  (5)
RIADS  Chinese (secret) societies are either tongs or triads, and since ONGS doesn’t fit, RIADS must be the hotels we’re looking for. Trust the wordplay, unless of course you’ve stayed in one. Heading off for Moroccan hotels might be a good idea for a while until the dust settles.
13 Several nations meeting up to forge new coalition, ultimately  (5,2,3)
GROUP OF TEN  According to Google, “The Group of Ten is made up of eleven industrial countries”. Do you think we can get the same mathematician to count the votes, in case it goes the wrong way? The letters of UP TO FORGE and the N at the end of coalition are newly cast in a second elegant &lit.
15 Released killer apprehended by relative (daughter)  (9)
UNCLASPED  The killer is an ASP, a relative UNCLE apprehends it and the afterthought D(aughter) completes our entry. To clasp or unclasp, that is (also) the question
17 Leafy plant rogue left on a ferry  (5,4)
ROYAL FERN Our first almost pure anagram, of L(eft) ON A FERRY. I trusted  the wordplay, in exactly the  same way that I don’t trust any in/out advocates.
18 Striker fighting to preserve European election coming up  (8)
WALLOPER The most blatant topical clue. So I will just say it’s WAR/fighting set about a reversal of E(uropean) POLL/election. Apparently a walloper is also an Aussie policeman. Is this true?
21 Maybe gun points down at gangster, avoiding head and foot  (6)
WEAPON  How many crossword gangsters do you know. Yup, it’s CAPONE, whose innards provide the rest of the entry after you’ve determined that W and E are the randomly selected (compass) points you’re going to use. Randomly selecting might be a good way of deciding.
22 Old crooner engages British group  (5)
COMBO  Perry COMO is your crooner, old in the sense of dead, who embraces B(ritish). Choose which British you wish; I will still try to go on singing “And I Love You So
24 Tall, gangly male avoids medicine perhaps  (5)
REEDY  As in of the nature of a reed, tall and thin. M(ale) goes missing from REMEDY. Apparently REMEDY goes missing from our future whichever way the vote goes.
25 Regularly train chef to provide food  (4)
RICE  The even letters from tRaIn ChEf. Hopefully the result will not go against the grain.

Times 220677 - 1977, a year best forgotten?

I can't say I jumped for joy when I saw I was blogging another 'oldie' this morning (I'll also blog the 3rd TC Qualifier and post it when the closing date has passed). 35 minutes later, I was just as unenthusiastic; I'd finished the puzzle and submitted a correct solution, but derived little pleasure from it and suffered some frustrations in finding succinct explanations for some of the answers. Maybe the usual suspects can hone it in places.
In 1977 I was living and working in idyllic Co. Tipperary and relying on an occasional copy of the Irish Times, with its fine Crosaire puzzles, to keep the little grey cells ticking along. Much of the doom and gloom in Britain passed me by. I see it was the first year in which the UK held the Presidency of the EC and also when Roy Jenkins left the post of Home Secretary to become President of the Commission. Manchester United were suspended from the European Cup-winners Cup after English fans rioted in Saint Etienne. So, not much has changed.

P.S. the last Down clue in the qualifier today wins the Snowy Owl award for topicality!

1 FRAME-HOUSE - A cryptic definition, of a sort. Perhaps frame houses were a new idea in 1977, more top of mind?
9 NON-EGO - Well, if all stay, NONE GO, and NON-EGO is a metaphysical term for everything which isn't the EGO. Sounds reasonable to me.
10 TWINKLES - Nathaniel Winkle, chap in Pickwick Papers, inside ST reversed; D star performance. A clue which would pass muster today.
11 OLD HARRY - Well, I'd heard of OLD HARRY as a term for the devil, so biffed it, but I don't clock the My Hawk senior part.
12 PEER - Double definition.
13 TENDERLOIN - I biffed this defined as 'joint'; afterwards I looked it up and found it's a slang term for the red light district of an American city, no doubt some of our Transatlantic regulars are au fait.
15 JOHN DOE - JOHN DONNE loses N N being two points; D man in an old suit. Not a usage I'd heard of.
17 HARLECH - H for hard, each side of (CLEAR)*; a well known castle in Wales.
20 RATTLETRAP - A rattle trap would catch a rattlesnake; D old crock.
21 NETS - Cricket references were of course rife in 1977. A double definition, where you practice, and 'brings an automatic return' as in financial gain. Also perhaps, STEN automatic gun reversed?
23 TELLURIC - (RITE CULL)*, D of the earth. From the Latin, Tellus, earth.
25 CLASHING - C = many, LASHING = whips active, D for the Opposition?
26 VIENNA - Not much seen these days, I remember a Vienna steak as a sort of burger coated in a gooey onion or mushroom sauce. And Vienna is a capital city.
27 RHINESTONE - A false diamond, originally made from rock crystal, now coloured glass; were fortune teller's crystal balls made of rhinestone? Ah, one of our Anon contributors has pointed out way below, it's an anagram of SEER NOTHIN(G).

2 REWIRE - In 1977 you could wire (telegram? Telex?) someone with a message; and rewiring could improve the flow of current.
3 MANDARIN - My FOI, double definition.
4 HELIOTROPE - Thomas E Stearns was ELIOT; insert into H OPE to get the name of this flower.
5 UNSOUND - UN for A French, SOUND for strait, D unreliable. I think a sound and a strait are not always the same thing, a strait has to be open at both ends while a sound need not be, but it can be.
6 ENID - Dine, reversed, D girl.
7 FEARSOME - (MORE SAFE)*; D frightful.
8 POLYANTHUS - Another plant clue. Sounds like POLLY, ANN and then THUS = this way; D flower.
12 PEJORATIVE - (PRIVATE JOE)*; D a disparaging word.
14 EXASPERATE - SAXE is a pale blue-grey colour; reverse it and join on (PETER A)*, anagrind 'new'; D to vex us.
16 HOTELIER - D innkeeper. If you make an anagram of HOTELIER and OP (work) you can make heliotrope, as in 4d, I think this is what is going on.
18 LONG SHOT - D outside chance, cryptic definition, why Tom?
19 GRACCHI - The brothers Gracchus, plural Gracchi, Gaius and Tiberius, were tribunes in Rome in 2nd century BC; GR for Greek, AC for account, CH I for chapter one. It was another gap in my classical knowledge, but wordplay alone did it.
22 TANNIN - ANN = girl inside TIN = money; D in-maker. Apparently you can make a primitive ink from tannic acid and iron sulphate, known as iron gall ink.
24 REAR - Double definition; last thing, and bring up, as in a child being reared.

Quick Cryptic 597 by Flamande

I found this one at the easier end of the spectrum, though by no means a walk in the park.

Thought 3d was a particularly nice clue - good anagram and amusing surface with a cryptic kind of definition to boot. And 9ac was rather elegant. A bit puzzled by the second part of 12d, so hopefully someone can tell me what obvious thing I've overlooked!

Thanks to Flamande for an enjoyable puzzle.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(--): {-} indicates letter removed.

1 Endlessly bad-tempered note (8)
CROTCHET - CROTCHET{Y} (bad-tempered loses its last letter - 'endlessly'), leaving the musical note
5 Worthless types, a hundred in total (4)
SCUM - C (a hundred) 'in' SUM (total)
8 Resolve to discourage people crossing motorway (13)
DETERMINATION - DETER (discourage) + NATION (people) 'crossing' MI (motorway)
10 Ban makeshift boat heading for ocean (5)
TABOO - *(BOAT) - with "makeshift" as the anagrind - + O (heading for Ocean)
11 Company scheme to enlist one high flyer (7)
COPILOT - CO (company) + PLOT (scheme) taking in (enlisting) I (one)
12 Perhaps father cut several books in the Bible (6)
PARENT - PARE (cut) + NT (abbrev. New Testament - 'several books in the Bible')
13 Worry family member has forfeited first of rights (6)
BOTHER - B{R}OTHER (family member) loses his first R (forfeits first of Rights)
16 Large birds near centre of Balearic port (7)
SWANSEA - SWANS (large birds) alongside (near) centre of BalEAric
18 After heavy defeat English leader shows the way (5)
ROUTE - E (English leader) comes 'after' ROUT (heavy defeat)
20 Listen: a crowd's running riot in royal residence (7,6)
WINDSOR CASTLE - *(LISTEN A CROWDS) with "running riot" as the anagrind
21 Rambler maybe spotted at first surrounded by deer (4)
ROSE - S (Spotted at first) 'surrounds' ROE (deer)
22 At home, cared for loved one (8)
INTENDED - IN (at home) + TENDED (cared for)

1 Trainee acted wildly (5)
CADET - *(ACTED) with "wildly" as the anagrind
2 Love to be in credit for a few weeks (7)
OCTOBER - O (love) + TO BE 'in' CR (abbrev. credit)
3 Actor isn't so outlandish in funny drawers (11)
CARTOONISTS - *(ACTOR ISNT SO) with "outlandish" as the anagrind
4 Prove uncle Vincent is not all there (6)
EVINCE - Hidden (indicated by 'not all there') inside unclE VINCEnt
6 Sick after church: a winter ailment (5)
CHILL - ILL (sick) 'after' CH (abbrev. church)
7 Keep an eye on lizard (7)
MONITOR - DD. Was not familiar with the lizard, but with the cross checkers and the first of the two definitions it couldn't be much else!
9 It's OK to steal (11)
APPROPRIATE - DD - neat and elegant clue
12 Job was almost right, from 1946 onwards? (4-3)
POST WAR - Answer clear enough from the definition, but a bit baffled by the parsing here - POST (job) + WAR. All I can see is that WAR are the first letters of Was Almost Right - but nothing I could see to indicate usage of these first letters (with the exception of R for Right, they are not standard abbreviations / initials). I fear I may have missed something...
14 NUT head distressed, troubled by ghosts (7)
HAUNTED - *(NUT HEAD) with "distressed" as the anagrind
15 Nurse fellow, having to suppress terror regularly (6)
MATRON - MAN (fellow) wrapping around ('suppressing') every other letter (regularly) of TeRrOr
17 Portion of lasagne satisfied woman (5)
AGNES - Hidden in (indicated by 'portion of') lasAGNE Satisfied
19 Newspaper chief engages people - to do his job? (5)
EMEND - ED (newspaper chief) takes in (engages) MEN (people)

Quick Cryptic 596 by Felix

Well, you live and learn. 1dn is such a learning point for me and took a lot of my 16 minute solve. Should you get 16ac in advance then 1dn shouldn't cause too many problems.
Otherwise a steady solve to this entertaining puzzle - a good level of clue, I thought, not write-ins but challenging without going too far.
So thank you Felix - that was fun.


8. Utopian - ideal. Anagram (sorting) of OUT PAIN.
9. Upper - superior. S(UPPER).
10. Latch - that could open gate. Pul(L AT CH)ain.
11. Tax free - relieved of (excise) duty. Anagram (being upset) of EX AFTER.
12. Overshoot - go beyond. Filming is completed when the SHOOT is OVER.
14. Sip - drink. Is backwards (SI), quietly (P).
16. Nap - drop off. Raised fibres on a snooker table (NAP).
18. Half crown - old coin. CROWN is found in cap after a swift HALF (which, to date, I've never seen consumed at the bloggers and setters do's - the full pint being the measure of choice).
21. Starlet - future celeb. Anagram (abuse) of RATTLES.
22. Shell - attack explosively. The woman is going to - SHE'LL.
23. Wilde - Irish writer. Homophone (when speaking) of wild.
24. Left off - renounced. The Labour Party (LEFT), not on (OFF).


1. Full moon - cryptic definition. I'd always know that the moon was 'made of cheese' but not that it was green. So 'moon' didn't occur and I tried to imagine a cheese that I wasn't familiar with - there are Port (left) Salut and various green coloured cheeses. I made up 'full port' for a while which seemed sort of reasonable as an answer but made 16ac impossible.
So, now I know the moon is 'made of green cheese' (the green being originally young/cream cheese) then this all makes a good and not too hard clue. If none of the moon has been 'eaten away' it's a full moon.
2. Bottle - double definition. The second being a 20 bottle sized bottle.
3. Pith - substance - found under the skin of an orange. Mine (PIT), hard (H).
4. One two - combination of punches. Homophone (we hear) of landed - won (ONE), as well - too (TWO).
5. Quixotic - starry eyed. Anagram (developing) of COX I QUIT.
6. Operas - (musical) works. Penel(OPE RAS)hly.
7. Urge - drive. O(U)t(R)i(G)g(E)r.
13. St. Helier - in Channel is resort. E(STHER) holding rest (LIE).
15. Pond life - creatures in water. Anagram (for disturbing) of FIND POLE.
17. Pearly - London trader - I knew the term but not the detail: The tradition of Pearly Kings and Queens can be traced to London's street traders. These traders used to elect representatives, known as "kings" in order to defend themselves against competitors and the police.
The tradition of bedecking themselves in pearls can be traced to a 19th century roadsweeper called Henry Croft. Nothing to do with the street trader "kings", Croft decided to create a charity to help the poor. And in order to attract attention to himself whilst fundraising, he came up with the idea of sewing pearl buttons onto his clothes.
The traders latched onto the idea and followed suit. And it is the street trader "kings" who have since become associated with elaborate suits bedecked with pearls. An average Pearly King suit will have an amazing 35,000-odd buttons sewn on to it.
Made up from (P)ub, in good time (EARLY).
18. Let fly - attack. Permit (LET), cunning (FLY).
20. Oregon - US State. Source of metal (ORE), vanished mostly (GON)e.
21. Sawn - deal (the wood) is cut. Understood (SAW), point (N).
22. Sift - riddle. (S)phinx (I)s (F)or (T)heban.

Times Cryptic 26444

I needed 36 minutes for this fairly straightforward offering that will probably produce some record times on the leader board. Here we go...

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

1 See island store with 80% baked clay as exterior (9)
BISHOPRIC - I (island) + SHOP (store) is contained by [with...as exterior] BRIC{k} (baked clay) [80%]
6 Small county that may be big in finance? (5)
BUCKS - Two definitions. The abbreviated [small] County of Buckinghamshire, and a reference to "big bucks" in financial circles.
9 Maintain independence : advance oneself autodidactically! (2,4,3,6)
BE ONES OWN MASTER - Also two definitions, to be one's own boss, for example, and to teach oneself.
10 Quiet girl taking in a film (6)
PATINA - P (quiet), A, TINA (girl)
11 Hold back son going in to take further instruction (8)
RESTRAIN - S (son) going in RETRAIN (take further instructions)
13 Through which we may view new cubs with no lair? (10)
BINOCULARS - Anagram [new] of CUBS NO LAIR. &lit
14 Eg Rosemary’s part of Wetherby (4)
HERB - Hidden in [part of] {Wet}HERB{y}
16 Mother’s ruin brought about by husband close at hand (4)
NIGH - GIN (mother's ruin) reversed [brought about], H (husband). Gin for mother's ruin has come up before.
17 Blow about plot initially concerning recently killed fowl, once (10)
SPATCHCOCK - SOCK (blow) contains [about] PATCH (plot) + C{oncerning] [initially]. I didn't know this definition but Chambers has it originally as a fowl dressed and cooked immediately after being killed. These days it's more commonly a culinary term for a bird that's split open and grilled.
19 Hawking scam on river and railway (8)
FALCONRY - FAL (river - in Cornwall), CON (scam), RY (railway)
20 Rifleman given piece of cake by Queen? (6)
SNIPER - SNIP (piece of cake, in the sense of something that's easy), ER (Queen)
23 What better hopes for reforming those in authority? (3,6,4,2)
24 French marshal backed by party’s senior member (5)
DOYEN - DO (party), NEY (French marshal) reversed [backed]
25 Frivolously time a single woman in motoring event (9)
TRIVIALLY - T (time), then I (a single) + VI (woman) in RALLY (motoring event)
1 Live broadcast’s opening work, an example of jazz (5)
BEBOP - BE (live), B{roadcast's} [opening], OP (work)
2 Where some aim to film in grand building like the Prado? (8-7)
SHOOTING-GALLERY - SHOOT (film), IN, G (grand), GALLERY (building like the Prado - art gallery in Madrid)
3 Excessively particular old king visiting Antonio’s place (4-4)
OVER-NICE - O (old), R (king) inside [visiting]  VENICE (Antonio's place - title character in The Merchant of Venice)
4 Swindle money out of / man on board? (4)
ROOK - Two definitions
5 Give blessing to studies connected with City tariff (10)
CONSECRATE - CONS (studies), EC (city - postcode East Central, the financial district of London), RATE (tariff)
6 Attend end of party university held for glamour girl (6)
BEAUTY - BE AT (attend) contains [held] U (university), {part}Y [end]
7 Injured at coast, I got help — here, possibly? (7,8)
COTTAGE HOSPITAL - Anagram [injured] of AT COAST I GOT HELP. &lit.
8 Bound volume omitting origin of oldest type of gazelle (9)
SPRINGBOK - SPRING (bound),  BO{o}K (volume) [omitting origin of Oldest]
12 Tense female in form after place at university (10)
PLUPERFECT - PL (place), UP (at university), then F (female) in ERECT (form)
13 Boy, English, adapted, we hear, and did well out of it (9)
BENEFITED - BEN (boy), E (English), sounds like [we hear] "fitted" (adapted)
15 Hover in quiet road in Oriental city (8)
SHANGHAI - HANG (hover)  in SH (quiet), A1 (road)
18 Politician without Bill’s companion’s protective covering (6)
COCOON - CON (politician) contains [without] COO (bill's companion, as in bill and coo). Coming so soon after 3dn I had Ben on my mind as Bill's possible companion. Flobbalob!
21 Like Bunter losing head, becoming weak and thin? (5)
REEDY - {g}REEDY (like Bunter) [losing head]. More childhood thoughts for this one with happy memories of Billy Bunter, the  Fat Owl of the Remove. Beasts!
22 Appeal over upset wine, a white one (4)
ASTI - SA (appeal) reversed [over], IT (wine - Italian vermouth) reversed [upset]. The definition "a white one" refers back to "wine". I hope I have parsed this one correctly as it's a bit confusing. I tried to make one indicator cover both reversals but couldn't make sense of it that way.

Times 26443 - Fore!

Solving time: No time, watching the US Open on TV

Blogging Music: Schubert, Symphony #9, Boult/LPO

My elapsed time was about 54 minutes, but only about half of that was spent looking at the puzzle. Some of my answers are associated with specific events on the course, as Johnson started to shine on the final holes as Lowery faded.

Since I had managed to solve both Saturday and Sunday, and have made a fair start on Mephisto, I felt reasonably confident going in. The puzzle may have been a little harder than usual for a Monday, but it is hard to say under the circumstances. I suspect some of the wordplay was just a little tricky in places, with few chestnuts or write-ins. Fortunately, I am about an 8 handicap as a cryptic puzzle solver, which is 25 strokes better than my golf game!

1ROUND THE BEND, double definition, spotted as Johnson was chipping on 17.
9OTHER, OT HER, the opposite of NT HIM.
10CINERARIA, anagram of ARNICA, I around ER. I saw at once how this worked, but didn't know the plant, and thought it might start with 'nica-'.
11BARGEMAN, NAME GRAB backwards.
12TEASER, double definition, and a very simple one for this level of puzzle.
13SPECIMEN, S + P(MICE backwards)EN. 'Case' is a nicely deceptive literal.
15RENNET, TENNER backwards.
17MODISH, MO + DISH. The obvious answer, but I'm a little uncertain about the 'mo' element - maybe this? With an assist from the anonymous comment from India, I now realize that 'flash' = 'instant' = 'mo'.
20ROAMER, ROA(ME)R - simple and elegant.
21CUTPURSE, CUT PURSE. Not completely accurate, as a 'dip' slipped a hand into pockets, while his 17th-century predecessor used a knife to detach externally carried purses.
25UTERI, backwards hidden in [requ]IRE TU[bes].
1RHOMBUS, R[ing] H[unted] O[n] M[otorway} + BUS. 'All kicking off' indicates the first letters, but I just biffed it.
2UTHER PENDRAGON, anagram of ARTHUR OPENED + G[awai]N. Since this legendary king was Arthur's father, you shouldn't have any difficulty thinking of him.
4HECTARES, HE C[T[aken])ARES, my LOI, solved from the cryptic after Johnson birdied the final hole.
5BANK, double definition spotted as Lowery was making a hash of the 17th.
6NERVELESS, anagram of SEVEN REELS - E[ight].
7PRESENT PERFECT, PRESENT + PERFECT in different senses, rather given away by the 'for example'.
8PARROT, double definition.
16BAGUETTE, B(AGUE, TT)E, where the outer letters come from B[riefcas]E.
17MOROSE, [chas]M + O ROSE.
22PLUTO, P(L[ady])UT + O.
23LIEN, LIE + N(ewspaper).

Quick Cryptic 595 by Pedro

I found this one quite tricky, though in hindsight there's nothing particularly complicated in it and the grid is friendly enough, with long answers on the top and left sides giving a bunch of helpful initial letters.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20160620/16539/

Definitions are underlined.

A couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned that it might be useful to have an archive of the Quick Cryptics. No doubt at some point the Times will implement one but, for now, you can try this rough-and-ready offering: http://mohn2.livejournal.com/3077.html You will of course need a Times login to access these puzzles.

1 Workman going to source of water makes somersault (10)
HANDSPRING - HAND (Workman) + SPRING (source of water). I had always thought that a somersault didn't involve the use of the hands but the dictionaries don't back me up. Fortunately that lifelong misunderstanding isn't the only thing that stood between me and a career in gymnastics. I don't know how common a word handspring is in other people's lives, but I think I knew it mainly because it was the name of a company that made PDAs in the late '90s/early '00s.
8 Cry: EEC’s corrupt! Or telling no-one? (7)
SECRECY - anagram of (corrupt) CRY EEC'S. We need to read the definition as a noun. The EEC was a forerunner of the European Union.
9 Plantlife I'd eradicated from US state (5)
FLORA - FLOR{id}A (I'd eradicated from US state, i.e. Florida (US state) without the "i'd")
10 Male cut, receiving second in rugby scrimmage (4)
MAUL - MAL{e} (Male cut, i.e. the word "Male" without its last letter) around (receiving) U (second in rugby, i.e. the second letter of the word "rugby")
11 Resemblance completely captured in clip before closure of channel (8)
PARALLEL - ALL (completely) in (captured in) PARE (clip) + L (closure of channel, i.e. the last letter of the word "channel")
13 Companion endlessly turning around in snare (6)
ENTRAP - reversal (turning around) of PARTNE{r} (Companion endlessly, i.e. the word "partner" (Companion) without its last letter)
14 Very active compound of hydrogen, carbon, iodine etc. (6)
HECTIC - anagram (compound) of H (Hydrogen) C (carbon) I (iodine) ETC. This is arguably an indirect anagram, which might not please everyone, but I think these chemical symbols are sufficiently mainstream (and guessable) that the extra step required doesn't significantly increase the difficulty of the clue.
17 Yet to return, holding separate social function (3-5)
TEA-PARTY - reversal (to return) of YET, around (holding) APART (separate)
19 In Italian river, behold game (4)
POLO - PO (Italian river) + LO (behold). The Po is Italy's longest river and runs through (among other places) Turin.
21 Masculine waist measurement, not the first to cause amusement (5)
MIRTH - M (Masculine) + {g}IRTH (waist measurement, not the first, i.e. the word "girth" (waist measurement) without its first letter)
22 Weak soccer team, one short, all but eliminated in America (7)
TENUOUS - TEN (soccer team, one short, i.e. one less than eleven), + OU{t} (all but eliminated, i.e. the word "out" without its last letter) in US (America)
23 Rifle getting short measure in cowboy film, mostly (10)
WINCHESTER - INCH (short measure) in WESTER{n} (cowboy film, mostly, i.e. the word "Western" (cowboy film) without its last letter). The heyday of Winchester rifles was in the second half of the 19th Century, making the surface that little bit more apposite.

2 A Conservative peer featuring in story (7)
ACCOUNT - A + C (Conservative) + COUNT (peer). I think that "peer" is being used here in the general sense of a noble, as a count is not a peer in certain stricter senses of the word (e.g. members of the House of Lords).
3 Owing pound produces conflict (4)
DUEL - DUE (Owing) + L (pound, i.e. the abbreviation for the Latin word for pound, libra)
4 Rewarding time to give one the slip? (6)
PAYDAY - cryptic definition, referring to a payslip but hoping to make us think of eluding someone
5 One airless tyre, in end wrongly filled with air (8)
INFLATED - I (One), + FLAT (airless tyre) in anagram of (wrongly) END
6 Increase length, prompting angry sound (5)
GROWL - GROW (Increase) + L (length)
7 Misleading account, with reminder of debt, included amongst collapses (10)
FALLACIOUS - AC (account) + IOU (reminder of debt), in FALLS (collapses)
8 One adding sentence in Gershwin song (10)
SUMMERTIME - SUMMER (One adding) + TIME (sentence, as in a prison term). "Summertime and the livin' is easy", etc, from Porgy and Bess.
12 Honourable to follow French revolutionary in the long run (8)
MARATHON - HON (Honourable) + MARAT (French revolutionary). Marat is perhaps best known for being murdered in his bath.
15 Pair upset by most woe (7)
TWOSOME - anagram of (upset by) MOST WOE
16 Stone an irritation? An annoyance when running (6)
STITCH - ST (Stone) + ITCH (an irritation)
18 It indicates a line occupied by river (5)
ARROW - A + ROW (line) around (occupied by) R (river)
20 Burden on you and me (4)
ONUS - ON + US (you and me)
The club timer says I took 18:27 to solve this. I think I was interrupted a couple of times by the kids but still, having gone through all the clues to write this blog, I struggle to see what held me up. It’s all pretty straightforward by Dean Mayer standards, but very much up to the usual standard. A puzzle doesn’t have to be hard to be elegant and rewarding to solve.

Not much more to say, you’ll be glad to hear, so thanks to Dean and here’s how I think it all works.

1 Depression of jet-setter?
BLACK DOG - BLACK (jet), DOG (setter?). Definition by example indicated by the question mark. An expression often associated with Winston Churchill.
6 I’m fussy, angry and in a bad mood
PEDANT - PET (bad mood) containing (AND)*, with ‘angry’ the anagrind (angrynd?). You will never encounter a PEDANT round here, of course.
9 Way to open excellent wine
ASTI - A(ST)I. A gimme.
10 Sick turned into simple menu
11 Flaky men made her hurt a lot?
UNDER THE HAMMER - (MEN MADE HER HURT)*. Because if something is a lot in an auction, it is…
13 His cryptic wordplay recalled as “climb
SHIN UP - (HIS)*, reversal of PUN (wordplay).
15 Ashamed about new executioner
HEADSMAN - (ASHAMED)*, N. Not a term I remembered, although I’d be surprised if I haven’t come across it at some point.
16 Cold back needs deeply injected drug
WARFARIN - reversal of RAW, FAR IN (deeply injected). An anticoagulant.
18 Bury in storage unit after note forged
20 Some get it, but still don't get it
TRAVEL SICKNESS - CD, and a neat one at that. This was my last in I think: I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on here, until the checkers revealed the answer and a ‘doh!’ moment ensued.
22 Think about jail?
24 Queer fellow, crude
FOIL - F, OIL. ‘Crude’ is a definition by example, so a strict Ximenean would insist on a question mark, but not me. To ‘queer’ in this sense is something most often done to someone’s pitch.
25 Keep one plugging away? No
ADHERE - AD (one plugging), HERE (away? no). On their own I'm not sure that these two are synonymous but if you ADHERE to a commitment, for instance, you keep to it.
26 Some Internet activity turns me sick
E-MAILING - reversal of ME, AILING. It's unusual to see 'internet' capitalised like this these days.

2 In despair, Indian listener divides fortune
LOSING HEART - LO(SINGH, EAR)T. A 6ac might point out that if you’re in despair you have already lost heart, but as I’ve already mentioned there aren’t any of those around here.
3 Atrocity, a name for a war
4 Double 2 — that’s only the beginning
DEBUT - DoublE (because 2 is LOSING HEART), BUT (only).
5 A perk … or is it?
GOLDEN HANDSHAKE - it’s a perk, because it’s a large sum of money, but you have to get fired to receive it, which might be less of a boon. Although in some cases that is the best part of the package. And of course ‘or’ is gold, so the second part of the clue is also a cryptic indication. Neat!
6 Spread genuine scandal, reportedly
PROPAGATE - homophone of ‘proper’, GATE (scandal, as in Watergate, Irangate, Plebgate).
7 Fed up while admitting writer’s slanders
DEFAMES - reversal (up) of FED, A(ME)S.
8 Neither turning ahead right
NOR - ON reversed, then R.
12 Take a job to make an entrance again
READMISSION - READ (take, as in English at university), MISSION (job).
14 Remain in a grave
PERSEVERE - PER (a, as in ‘penny a pitch’), SEVERE (grave). The use of the word ‘remain’ here provides me with a perfect opportunity not to mention the referendum.
17 Weak box full of paper
FRAGILE - FILE (box) containing RAG (paper, as in the Daily Mail). A ‘box’ is a type of file so this is perhaps another opportunity to be thankful we don’t have any 6acs round here.
19 Glad to get rid of hot load of fuel
21 Guru’s pupil starts to choke, having thrown up beer
CHELA - CHoke, reversal of ALE. This word has come up before, and it seemed very vaguely familiar. I was grateful for the the very clear wordplay though.
23 Close partially open door
END - contained in open door.

Mephisto 2911 - Tim Moorey

This was a tale of two halves for me. The right hand side of the grid filled up very quickly indeed, but with little spillover to the left hand side of the grid, where I didn't ever find clues to come in a rush and had to put it together one scrap at a time.

There is a funny story about this one - I started it when I got to rehearsal early (in July I'll be singing the role of a conspirator priest in a revival of "Jesus Christ Superstar"), and the only entries I had written in were WIDDERSHINS and PSST. A few members of the cast at this point decided I just made up words to fit the spaces, and came up with a few other great suggestions for what should go in my unsolved entries - 2 across was BUGGUP or BINKIP or BQZYWP.

I think they are just jealous that I bring a diversion for when our chain-smoking musical director is habitually late.

Away we go...
1UPDRAW: UP(top), DRAW(attraction) definition is pull out as in to pull out of a well
5BACKUP: K(ept) in the town of BACUP. I had never heard of the town of BACUP, and I thought it was interesting that one of the first things that shows up when you google it is this article...
10CANTILENA: CAN(john, lavatory) then an anagram of LATE,IN - a singing exercise
17HARIM: H(Henry the unit), then first letters of Amble Round In Marks
20OLD LIGHT: remove the first letters of (b)OLD (f)LIGHT
21SHARD: double definition
23NAIAS: anagram of ASIAN - found in Chambers under NAIAD
26GOLF LINKS: LINKS(couples) after the Volkswagen GOLF
27ARTICULATES: remove the first letter from (p)ARTICULATES
29YEASTS: anagram of SAY,SET
3ADIEU: anagram (Foreign) of AID, then EU
4WELDABLE: DAB in WELL(satisfactory), E
5BREW: sounds like BROO (in Chambers under BUROO)
7UNKNIGHT: UN(one, again), KNIGHT. I wondered if there was a deeper meaning behind having UPDRAW, BACKUP, UNKNIGHT and UNCROWN in the top half of the grid, I can't see anything
8PSST: hidden in bishoP'S STortford
11PEREGRINES: anagram of PERSEVERING missing the V
14TAGHAIRM: anagram of A,(b)AR,MIGHT
16ALDERFLY: anagram of A,DRY,FELL
18METISSES: MISSES containing ET
22VOLAE: VOLE surrounding A(acreage)
23NYAS: SAY(approximately), N all reversed
24FLUS: FLUSH missing the H

Saturday Times 26436 (11th June)

22:22 for this one, where I struggled to get on the setter's wavelength, although as it was at the end of a 72-hour working week maybe tiredness was also a factor. Or maybe it was just a tough puzzle, and no excuses needed!

1 Attack and mug nightbird (10)
GOATSUCKER - GO AT (attack) + SUCKER (mug).
6 Fly low turning after sharp bends (4)
ZOOM - MOO (low) reversed, after Z (sharp bends).
9 Tell lies about retired copper blocking deal (7)
TRADUCE - CU (copper) reversed, inside TRADE (deal).
10 Leads with leg producing sort of tennis shot? (7)
TOPSPIN - TOPS (leads) + PIN (leg).
12 Turner’s offer to artist? No offer, ultimately (5)
ROTOR - Last letters (ultimately) of offeR tO artisT NO offeR. Took me ages to spot that for some reason.
13 Question from coppers involving couple of lines and drug (9)
CHALLENGE - CHANGE (coppers) around LL (couple of lines), E (drug).
14 Ban United playing with status that could be groundless (15)
UNSUBSTANTIATED - (ban united status)*.
17 Judge, for example, to show cases of Parisian giving inadmissible testimony? (7,8)
HEARSAY EVIDENCE - HEAR (judge) + SAY (for example) + EVINCE (to show) around DE (of Parisian).
20 Film director and I visiting extremely sophisticated set (9)
STATIONED - TATI (film director) + ONE (I), inside S(ophisticate)D.
21 Bones, unusually large and small, in trash (5)
DROSS - DR (Bones) + OS (unusually large) + S(mall).
22 Returned essay written in English with tip for poem (7)
ECLOGUE - GO (essay) reversed inside E(nglish) + CLUE (tip).
24 Newton eager to embrace a new material (7)
NANKEEN - N(ewton) + KEEN (eager), around A + N(ew).
25 Maybe Dorking’s female member of parliament (4)
FOWL - F(emale) + OWL (member of parliament - collective noun). A breed of poultry.
26 Lost test case taking a run in vehicles (6,4)
ESTATE CARS - (test case)* around A R(un).

1 Brave became less calm lassoing horse (2,7)
GO THROUGH - GOT ROUGH (became less calm) around H(orse).
2 Hope for answer with clout, say (5)
AWAIT - A(nswer) + WAIT (sounds like weight, clout).
3 Fierce criticism of the conventional / military exercises (6-7)
SQUARE-BASHING - double definition, the first a bit whimsical.
4 Man with short adorable hairstyle (7)
CREWCUT - CREW (man) + CUT(e) (short adorable). I'm pretty sure that should be (4,3) rather than one word.
5 Originally aren’t elected to board (7)
ENTRAIN - (aren't)* + IN (elected).
7 25 men with beer functioning around midnight (9)
ORPINGTON - OR (men) + PINT (beer) + ON (functioning), around G (mid-niGht). Another breed of poultry (see 25ac).
8 Game in Spain absorbed by common team (5)
MONTE - hidden in common team.
11 Nice place for a good bop did please as an innovation (6,2,5)
PALAIS DE DANSE - (did please as an)*.
15 Naval base providing cover in South America when on run (5,4)
SCAPA FLOW - CAP (cover) inside SA (South America) + FLOW (run).
16 Relishes new singers cutting both sides of discs (9)
DRESSINGS - (singers)* inside D(isc)S.
18 Bets jerk has date set up (7)
YANKEES - YANK (jerk) + SEE (date) reversed. A combination bet with four horses in 6 doubles, 4 trebles and an accumulator. I didn't look that up - I used to be a betting-shop manager!
19 Review covers OT book and a Hindu philosophy (7)
VEDANTA - VET (review) around DAN (OT book) + A.
20 This man appears in almost all conservative papers? (5)
SHEAF - HE (this man) inside SAF(e) (almost all conservative).
22 Love very good ending of series (5)
OMEGA - O (love) + MEGA (very good).
An elegantly straightforward puzzle to conclude the week; perhaps they thought your blogger might be a bit the worse for wear after the England-Wales match yesterday (and in fact there exists photographic evidence on Facebook of him "celebrating" the decisive goal by being asleep in his chair, beer can between legs - oops).

Hangover or no hangover, I took 8 minutes over this, a good fraction of that spent on LOI 20dn, which didn't spring immediately to mind from _E_R_T, though I'm sure it should have. As I say there were some rather elegant clues in here: highlights for me were 26ac, 28ac and 8dn, model surfaces concealing interesting wordplay all.

How funny to see 15dn clued as a "medical specialist" here when only two months ago, in another Friday puzzle, it was a "quack" - presumably to forestall allegations of journalistic bias. 7dn also raised an eyebrow here, being a word more slangy than we're used to seeing in the 14ac old Times puzzle; but David McLean has been paving the way for such things in the Sunday puzzle, and presumably it's the future. You can't fight progress!


1 What clumsy ceramist might do is crazy (8)
6 Spy shelters South American plant (6)
SESAME – SEE shelters S AM
9 Shop close to station in Italian city (4,2)
TURN IN – {statio}N in TURIN
10 Be sorry about pungent gas that covers much of the continent (8)
11 Domestic employee to make black tea (4)
CHAR – triple def
12 Given applause when exiting, exhausted (7,3)
CLAPPED OUT – double def
14 Unshaven king gets stuck into booze (8)
WHISKERY – R gets stuck into WHISKEY
16 Cut large onions in regular slices (4)
LOIN – L + O{n}I{o}N{s}
18 Measure postgraduate's work (4)
EMMA – EM + M.A.
19 Knife attack: sailor beginning to bawl in pain (8)
STABBING - A.B. + B{awl} in STING
21 A certain poet briefly enthralled by that female — Aussie bird (10)
HONEYEATER – ONE YEAT{s} enthralled by HER
22 Bank's response after mislaying coin (4)
RELY – RE{p}LY mislaying its P
24 Irritation and anger, going round a shopping arcade (8)
GALLERIA – GALL + IRE going round + A
26 Backward African country’s not about to show subversive material? (6)
SATIRE – backward ERIT{re}A'S, not RE
27 Potential danger which overwhelms some soldiers (6)
THREAT – THAT overwhelms R.E.
28 Pervert hopes to occupy seat for this? (4,4)
PEEP SHOW – (HOPES*) to occupy PEW, semi-&lit


2 Hooligan showing frog's entrails — that's disgusting (5)
ROUGH – {f}RO{g} + UGH
3 Cold dish outside venison producer placed prominently? (6,5)
4 Old man, placed under arrest, freaked out (8)
5 Song fellow included in play dramatist adapted (3,4,2,1,5)
6 Pickle assortment of capers (6)
7 Animal sanctuary's in a whirl: one duck's flown away, I regret to say (3)
SOZ – reverse (in a whirl) of ZO{o}'S or Z{o}O'S
8 Staff mostly stick around University of Manchester (9)
13 Thinks shop workers should welcome price cut (11)
DELIBERATES – DELI BEES should welcome RAT{e}
15 Medical specialist in operation at hospital (9)
17 Game scores adjusted, City at the top (8)
LACROSSE – (SCORES*), L.A. at the top
20 Do you say coastal road leads to port? (6)
BEIRUT – homophone of BAY ROUTE
23 Left old ship moving slowly (5)
25 Take flight, heading off for shelter (3)
LEE – {f}LEE

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