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Times 26761 - No reel problem

It's good to be back after my three-week sojourn in England and Germany, a trip that went pretty well all things considered, even if I did book the family into a pension in Leipzig for a tennis tournament that was taking place 300km away. Well, imagine the confusion if there were two places in England called Liverpool!

This puzzle was very much in the median range of Monday efforts, I thought, finishing with 13a - a dance I both know and have actually trod. Most memorably at the Oxford Country Dancing Society many moons ago, when it was a distinct pleasure to indulge in the Terpsichorean arts with the lasses from the secretarial colleges and the John Ratcliffe Hospital. But enough of all that and on with the job at hand...

31 minutes.

Post-blog note: there are several recommendations for best TV commercial in the discussion below, including a belter from the land of the long white cloud. Here's one for the animal lovers from Iberia: https://youtu.be/qEQhLDEmJXM

And I couldn't take time to edit without mentioning K's incredible sub 5-minute solve, out-Magooing the great man himself. Would anyone believe me if I had a premonition that he would find this one to his liking?

ACROSS

1. PROWLING - PROW + LING.
5. CURSED - S in CURED.
10. CATECHISM - IS + M after E in CATCH.
11. CHILD - L in CHID.
12. REIMS - E in RIMS.
13. EIGHTSOME - sounds like ATE + SUM.
14. OVERINDULGED - anagram* of DEVOUR GIN LED.
19. PHILOSOPHERS - OP + H in P + HI + LOSERS. Realism is a particularly mind-boggling approach to the art/science of describing/determining the essence of things.
22. IDENTICAL - a nice hidden. I was trying to work IKE in.
25. STONE - a brilliant is a type of diamond, I believe. If you move from south to north-east, you could code it as S-TO-NE.
26. HARRY - I liked this a lot: Harry of course brings up the rear in the idiom 'every Tom, Dick and Harry'.
27. TIMPANIST - TIM[e] + P[i]ANIST.
28. POTTER - besides making cups and bowls and stuff, a very good snooker player will reach 147 by potting 36 balls, ending with the black. I think my best break remains 22.
29. WARTHOGS - I liked this too, but mainly because it reminded me of my Dad, who would refer to male swimwear as 'togs', when he wasn't calling it a 'bathing suit'. Oh, and 'trunks' also got mentioned in dispatches, or is my memory running away with me? Anyway, it's WAR followed by H in TOGS.

DOWN

1. PICAROON - sounds like PICK A RUNE.
2. OFTTIMES - I like this word a lot. It's certainly more euphonious and rhythmical than 'frequently'. O + FT + TIMES.
3. LOCKSMITH - I also like this clue, so the holiday has definitely done its job of making me less curmudgeonly. It plays of course on the double meaning of 'pick'.
4. NOISE - I in NOSE.
6. UNCUT - a reference to the erstwhile practice of producing books with pages with untrimmed edges binding them together.
7. SUITOR - SUIT + OR.
8. DODDER - [han]D + ODDER.
9. SMUGGLES - 'run' for 'smuggle' is a crossword fallback. SMUG + LEGS*.
15. DELICATE - CA (about) in D + ELITE (flower, AKA cream or elite).
16. EN PASSANT - AN APTNESS*, with 'as an anagram' featuring as the anagram indicator.
17. GERONIMO - IM in OREGON*. I never knew this chap was from Mexico, and I always imagined he was a chief, when in fact he wasn't.
18. ASBESTOS - BEST in A SOS.
20. BISHOP - B + O in SHIP* for the chess piece ('man on board).
21. SECRET - RE in SECT.
23. THYME - time is the great healer.
24. LEMMA - L + EMMA for the handy little word used in linguistics as well as maths.

Times Quick Cryptic 860 by Tracy

Commenting on the level of difficulty in Quickies seems to be a bit controversial these days so I shall limit myself to saying that this one took me 8 minutes leaving 2 minutes of  my target time to spare. Who knows what people may know or not, but there's an old song title and a Spanish princess that I would not be surprised to find had caused some difficulties.
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Mephisto 2964 - Paul McKenna

After a week out of commission I thought I might struggle with this but in the event it was a steady solve void of pyrotechnics of an artisan puzzle.






Across

1 Quite young kid to join forces (7)

TOTALLY: TOT-ALLY

6   Overflow in Civil Service reduces (5)

CLIPS: C(LIP)S;

10 Lucan, eg, is rattled leaving city area used for banking (9)

EVANGELIC: E(leaving)*C;

11 Endless optimistic spirit v Yankee — this is no real defeat (12, two words)

MORAL,VICTORY: MORAL(e)-VICTOR-Y; think phonetic alphabet;

14 Trainees in Toronto lacking interest? They fly across the sea (5)

ERNES: (int)ERNES; interest=int;

15 Followers knew Scots due to getting into defunct elite corps (9)

SHADOWERS: S(HAD-OWER)S; Scots due to=OWER;

16 Previously pure / pool (4)

MERE: two meanings;

17 What gets one going? A cunning plan of entering, right (7)

AROUSER: A-R(O)USE-R; of=O;

19 Correct, rather upsetting course of discharge (7)

URETHRA: U-(rather)*;

20 With Labour’s loss slip into recess (4)

APSE: (L)APSE;

21 Inuit load up a denizen of the deep? (9)

NAUTILOID: (Inuit load)*;

24 Cuckoos stick wings in buildings (5)

KOELS: KO-ELS; stick=KO; ELS=wings;

26 Check that clue dropping an aitch, elsewise get to the point! (12, three words)

CUT,THE,CACKLE: (check that clue – h)*;

27 Marsh plants found by those who try putting salt water in first place (9, two words)

SEA,ASTERS: those who try=tasters then replace first “s” by SEA;

28 These filled pancakes could make Ascot (5)

TACOS: (ascot)*;

29 Recently found in old records, ____ should encourage cautious respect (7)

L-PLATES: LP(LATE)S

Down

1   We come and go without issue having joined up (5)

TEMPS: SP-MET reversed; without issue=SP;

2   Medic’s compound dressing foreign resident (12, two words)

TARTAR,EMETIC: TARTARE-METIC;

3   A grandma’s way to say “dunno” (4)

ANAN: A-NAN;

4   Wage conflict overturning green tax initially (7, two words)

LEVY,WAR: LEVY-(RAW reversed);

5 Fragment of idyl I kept resembling Spenser’s (5)

YLIKE: hidden id(yl I ke)pt;

6   Cold hitman whimsically topped one who invigorates in orator’s style (9)

CICERONIC: C-ICER-(t)ONIC;

7 Very close to / where I have hanky / kept sweet? (12, three words)

IN,ONES.POCKET: three meanings;

8 Replace pairs seen in address urging action (9)

PARENESIS; (pairs seen)*;

9   Shakespeare’s sudden fit? Sitting up rather stable (7)

SEYSURE: (YES reversed)-SURE;

12 Marinade is dear in Marseilles, must cut it for some (9)

CHERMOULA: CHER-MOUL(d)-A; dialect for it=A;

13 Indian interpreters prosecute hard during strikes (9)

DOBHASHES; DO-B(H)ASHES;

16 Courtesan comes from city having taken knight in (7)

MUSKCAT: MUS(K)CAT;

18 Limit carpet bombing before going in (7)

RATECAP: (carpet)* surrounds A=before;

22 Inside you’ve a lot of irises and similar (5)

UVEAL: hidden yo(u’ve a l)ot;

23 Refuse to have term of reference for old clobber (5)

DRESS: refuse=dross then change “o” = old to (referenc)E;

25 Pilot’s unit possibly cheers after return of combined operations (4)

OCTA; CO reversed – TA; one eighth of the sky

Sunday Times 4751 by Jeff Pearce

Greetings from Sydney where your 'umble blogger is currently spending a couple of weeks doing a bit of work and catching up with old pals.

Solved this one sitting in the gorgeous beer garden of The Oaks, a venue which most people who have visited Sydney will have enjoyed at some time. It was a good job this puzzle was at the straightforward end of the spectrum as there were many distractions on hand...

Not much to report really - several generous double definitions and anagrams gave a rapid foothold into the puzzle and then it all flowed rather nicely. Some very enjoyable surfaces and neat clue constructions, with 6ac being my favourite. 10ac was, somewhat curiously, an exact rerun of a clue from an earlier Jeff puzzle: its precise classification caused a bit of discussion when it first appeared, and (as is the nature of these things) nothing will have changed since!

Thanks as ever to Jeff, and apologies for any typos / lay out issues as I have not been able to do my usual "QA" process due to lack of access to a printer whilst on the road (I always like to review a print out of the entry rather than checking it on screen).

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

Across
1 Box with drawers in? (6,4)
PENCIL CASE - Rather nice cryptic definition requiring us to think about drawing implements rather than underwear
6 It blocks snorkel, perhaps (4)
KELP - Hidden inside (it blocks) cryptic definition - snorKEL Perhaps. Nice clue.
9 Bow to extremely defensive prisoner gripping a clergyman
(10)
ARCHDEACON - ARCH (bow) + DE (extremes of DefensivE) and CON (prisoner) 'gripping A'
10 Extravagant oil, primarily (4)
OTTO - OTT (extravagant) + O (Oil primarily), giving the perfume essence from the Damask rose (which is apparently quite pricey and therefore 'extravagant'). This exact same clue was also served up by Jeff in Sunday Times 4715, and provoked a bit of debate then as to its precise "classification" (& Lit? Semi & Lit?). The consensus then seemed to be that either way it worked fine (i.e. was eminently solvable) but was a tad unorthodox - and none the worse for that.
12 Replace some coins (6)
CHANGE - DD
13 I’m visiting area of housing for a quotation (8)
ESTIMATE - IM (I'm) inside (visiting) ESTATE (area of housing)
15 Victorian castle I dart around (6-5)
STRAIT-LACED - *(CASTLE ID DART) with "around" signposting the anagram
18 Spot one MP drunk with decanter (11)
PREDICAMENT - *(DECANTER + I MP) with "drunk" pointing to the anagram
21 Ankle was broken in ballet (4,4)
SWAN LAKE - *(ANKLE WAS) with "broken" signalling the anagram - straightforward but rather neat
22 Really enjoy savoury stuff (6)
RELISH - Generous DD
24 Sailor framing artist’s horse (4)
ARAB - AB (sailor) going around (framing) RA (artist)
25 One leading chess player’s heard to be big-headed and
beaky sort (10)
KINGFISHER - KING (one leading) + FISHER (sounds like Bobby FISCHER - 'chess player's heard'). Which begs the question "what is the 'big-headed' doing in the clue?", to which the answer is "I've no idea..."
26 Maker of beer drops brother’s pitcher (4)
EWER - {BR}EWER - the beer-maker loses BR (brother)
27 Autocratic politician — conservative — follows dad over
the Channel (10)
PEREMPTORY - PERE (French for 'dad' - over the channel) + MP TORY (politician conservative)


Down
1 Swimmer standing around rear part of Jacuzzi (6)
PLAICE - PLACE (standing - as in status) around last letter (rear part of) JacuzzI
2 Local court blocks this juicy material (6)
NECTAR - CT (court) is inside (blocks) NEAR (local)
3 Trendy grub with pickled eel bits is hard to take in (12)
INDIGESTIBLE - IN (trendy) + DIG (grub - as in to grub around) + *(EEL BITS) with "pickled" signalling the anagram
4 Moggy grabs one wing of helpless bird (4)
CHAT - CAT (moggy) 'grabs' H (one 'wing' of Helpless). Whinchat, Stonechat etc. - there's a lot of these about, including (as I have now learned) the rather cosy sounding Familiar Chat.
5 Does polish alter the look of such merchandise? (4-6)
SHOP-SOILED - *(DOES POLISH) with "alter the look of" indicating the anagram - and (I think - but I'm always wary of such matters) this may be a Semi & Lit
7 Maybe drive transport (8)
ENTRANCE - DD. The entrance to a building could be the drive(way), and to entrance (emphasis on the second syllable) is to enthral / transport (as in transport of delight - cue the wonderful Flanders and Swann song)
8 Advances money made in a transaction (8)
PROCEEDS - Another generous DD
11 Mysterious light damaged white pillows (4-1-3-4)
WILL-O-THE-WISP - *(WHITE PILLOWS) with "damaged" indicating the anagram. The ghostly light (often looking like a lantern) that lures travellers off the safe path as they cross swamps etc. - fortunately I recalled this from references in the 'Poor Tom' scenes in King Lear.
14 Lab finally gets to study dark liquid around iron blade (5,5)
BREAD KNIFE - B (laB finally) + READ (to study) + INK reversed (dark liquid around) + FE (iron). Phew...
16 Rat initially attracted by rubbish put outside (8)
APOSTATE - A (initially Attracted) + TAT (rubbish) with POSE (put - as in pose/put a question) going around it (outside)
17 New leader touring a western state (8)
DELAWARE - *(LEADER) - with "new" signposting the anagram - going around (touring) A W (a western)
19 Removing shell from Sussex beach is OK (6)
RIGHTO - First and last letters (shell) removed from {B}RIGHTO{N} (Sussex beach)
20 Strong wine makes you offend during fling (6)
SHERRY - ERR (offend) inside (during) SHY (fling)
23 Wicked person’s so upset (4)
OGRE - ERGO reversed (so upset)

Jumbo 1270

A very nicely constructed puzzle with some good surfaces and non-obvious definitions. I found this one harder - and more enjoyable - than average.

Definitions are underlined, * = anagram, {} = omission




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For me this was my easiest puzzle ever on a blogging day. I barely stopped working through the grid. It seemed that either the wordplay or the definition took me straight to the answer.

The exceptions, and so the last ones in, were 4dn, 2dn and 14ac. 4dn in particular would have been hard from the wordplay if I hadn’t eventually dredged the answer out of my memory looking at the helpers. With 14ac I knew what the definition would be but had to crack the wordplay to find it. 2dn I think was just a nicely constructed clue.

The clue of the day is probably 6ac, which I biffed confidently, intending to leave the wordplay to the blog, but when I submitted I discovered that even our colleague Verlaine hadn’t understood it at first pass! Thanks to the setter.

Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. Then there's the answer IN BOLD CAPS, followed by the parsing of the wordplay. (ABC)* means 'anagram of ABC', {deletions are in curly brackets}.

Across
1. Signal to setter, to follow when crossing road (3,7)
DOG WHISTLE: DOG=follow, then WHILE=when, around ST=street=road.
6. Crazy Ottoman leaving large island for cliff (4)
SCAR: Your crazy Ottoman might be a MAD AGA, so your large island is clearly MADAGASCAR! Take one from the other and there’s your cliff. I expect many biffed it, like me. I would normally then go to the blog to find out the wordplay, but this time that’s my job! Got there in the end, long after submitting.
9. Germaine regularly intimidates relatives (5-5)
GRAND AUNTS: GRAN=Germaine oddly, DAUNTS=intimidates.
10. What’s found in school in West Coast states (4)
ORCA: OR{egon} + CA{lifornia}.
12. Pianist sees red when playing and bans traffic from street (14)
PEDESTRIANISES: (PIANIST SEES RED*).
14. Constant publicity about Dior’s last perfume (6)
CHYPRE: C=constant, HYPE=publicity around R=Dior’s last. The word comes from the French name for Cyprus. I looked in Wikipedia, but it was altogether too precious for me to include! If you want to see for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chypre
15. Perceptive of you to have lamented housing (4-4)
KEEN EYED: KEENED=lamented, around YE=you.
17. Millions type, millions help; this female works in dairy (8)
MILKMAID: M=millions, ILK, M, AID.
19. They happen to make smooth talkers “discontented” (6)
EVENTS: EVEN=smooth, TS=talkers “discontented”!
22. Splendid manure ruined? Don’t despair! (3,11)
NIL DESPERANDUM: (SPLENDID MANURE*).
24. Blackguard besieging hot country (4)
CHAD: CAD around H.
25. Undernourished chap, very embarrassed at first, tucked into bird (10)
STARVELING: STARLING around V{ery} E{mbarrassed}.
26. Swimming pool image back to front (4)
LIDO: IDOL with the L moved to the front.
27. Talk with woman, mistress of big house (10)
CHATELAINE: CHAT + ELAINE.

Down
1. Heartlessly trick old Venetian (4)
DOGE: DO{D}GE.
2. Seriously rough sheds start to lean (7)
GRAVELY: GRAVEL{L}Y.
3. Exceptionally, Mr G E Meredith means to cut the privet? (5,7)
HEDGE TRIMMER: (MR G E MEREDITH*).
4. Butcher’s fine cuts secure introduction to Ike (6)
SHUFTI: F=fine inside SAFE=secure, then I{ke}.
5. Endless coffee, chilled, with decorative pattern (8)
LATTICED: LATT{E} + ICED.
7. Bob is brusque and revolting, I agree (7)
CURTSEY: CURT + YES “revolting”.
8. Perhaps ODIs totally enthralling Gershwin? (10)
RHAPSODIST: very elegantly hidden word. Wikipedia: Rhapsody in Blue is a 1924 musical composition by American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.
11. Equable pair mentioned in Genesis kneel awkwardly (2,2,4,4)
ON AN EVEN KEEL: ONAN + EVE + (KNEEL*). Onan is not someone I knew.
13. Cook dropping round coeliac menu to further Christian unity (10)
ECUMENICAL: (C{O}ELIAC MENU*).
16. Gully containing source of water for expedition (8)
DISPATCH: DITCH containing SPA.
18. Laughing out loud over fat idler (7)
LOLLARD: LOL=the modern text abbreviation for “laughing out loud” + LARD.
20. Duck heard on lake intercepting two army swimmers (7)
NAUTILI: NAUT=sounds like “nought”=duck, II = Roman numeral for two, containing L=lake. I’m no expert on nautili, but it seems that some of them at least have tentacles, or in other words are arm-y (groan). To be fair, we’ve seen this device before, on Feb 21, 2017 for example, when an octopus was defined as an army type.
21. Conservative way to reverse decay (3,3)
DRY ROT: or TORY RD reversed.
23. Leer at yogi and flee, unclothed (4)
OGLE: Drop the four outside letters of “yOGi fLEe”.

Times 26759 - Very Verlainable

I've flown in today as Verlaine is off in Glastonbury doing something with henges and probably covering himself in woad, or worse. This was a puzzle he'd have enjoyed blogging, so I'll try to do him justice, after he kindly stood in for me on Wednesday.
It took me about 25 minutes to finish and understand, with the pennies dropping on 19d and 23d at last having biffed them initially.
Some witty clueing here; I especially liked the bit of chemistry at 7d, the classical bit I actually knew at 27a, and my CoD 28a. I'm trying to find a way to link 12a, 17a and 20a as one thought bubble.

Definitions are underlined.

Across
1 Stew of rice and basil getting heated quickly (9)
IRASCIBLE - (RICE BASIL)*. Nice easy starter.
6 Restrain European dressed in thong (5)
LEASH - Insert E (European) into LASH (thong). So, leash can be a verb, it seems. The bizarre fashion for ladies wearing thongs with the fishtail bit sticking up at the rear above the hip-level jeans or shorts seems to have passed, or am I just not looking as closely these days?
9 Cut out third of fatty food and port for your health (7)
CHEERIO - Take CHEESE, cut out the last third to get CHEE, add RIO as in de Janeiro.
10 It's best the writer's lodged by plump old lady (7)
OPTIMUM - OPT = plump (for), MUM = old lady, insert I = the writer.
11 Observes egg in cuckoo nest (5)
NOTES - O for egg, goes into an anagram ('cuckoo') of NEST.
12 Track names put in ship’s outside accommodation (3,6)
DOG KENNEL - DOG = track, KEEL = ship's outside (well, underneath). Insert NN being names. I thought this was going to be DOG HOUSES at first, until it ended in L.
14 Twelve months in northern port (3)
AYR - A YR = twelve months. AYR is a rather sad Scottish west coast town near the golfing wonders of Troon and Prestwick.
15 One's filling a carrycot, moving top layer (11)
ARISTOCRACY - I'S = one's, inside anagram of (A CARRYCOT)*. Nice definition!
I was initially thinking, a strata-thing, or best egg producer.
17 Policeman, getting stoned, is the worse for wear (11)
DILAPIDATED - DI = policeman, if you lapidate someone you throw stones at them. As a Friday bonus, here's a link to the best lapidating scenes in movies; for me Life of Brian is way ahead. https://www.reddit.com/r/movies/comments/3so2a0/monty_pythons_life_of_brian_features_the_best/
19 Maybe castle's staff (3)
MAN - Double definition, man = piece in chess, man = verb to staff.
20 Where punters are withdrawing computer game (9
CAMBRIDGE - Well, some punters, those who stand on the wrong end of the punt and drive it backwards. And the Cam is hardly as much fun as the Cherwell or the Isis, but that's enough one-upmanship.
MAC is your computer, withdrawing = CAM, BRIDGE is the game.
22 What officer has shortened in kit (5)
STRIP - Officers have STRIPES, shortened to (football) kit.
24 Person satirising press one way (7)
IRONIST - IRON = press, I ST = one way.
26 Simulated affection is a risk to doctor (3,4)
AIR KISS - (A RISK TO)*, anagrind 'doctor'.
27 Returning home, one honoured proud Greek mother (5)
NIOBE - IN = home, returning - NI; OBE = one honoured. Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus. She boasted about having 14 children, all worthy of marriage to high end suitors; because of her excessive pride, a chap slaughtered seven or so, or maybe all, of her kids and left them unburied. As she was turned into a stone afterwards, she didn't have a lot more to say. You couldn't make this stuff up. I only remember who she was because I once spent some time studying the chemistry of Tantalum and Niobium which are metals together in Group V of the periodic table.
28 Back room for scientist with a space traveller's instrument(9)
BALALAIKA - A LAB is a room for scientist; 'back' = BAL A; LAIKA was the stray dog from the streets of Moscow who was sent into orbit in 1957. The idea was that a stray was more used to surviving extreme conditions. Yeah, like zero G and overheating? The American press, I learn, dubbed the dog "Muttnik" at the time. Brilliant clue, IMO.

Down
1 Popular preserve of old people (5)
INCAN - IN = popular, CAN = preserve, verb; INCAN = of the Inca people.
2 A more desirable accessory (7)
ABETTER - A, BETTER = more desirable. Someone who aids and abets.
3 Villain around deck had scrap at sea, overwhelming resistance (9)
CARDSHARP - I was misled into looking for pirates or mutineers initially, like Christian; it's an anagram of (HAD SCRAP)* with R inside.
4 Liberal protested, following less travelled path? (5-6)
BROAD-MINDED - MINDED = protested, after B ROAD a less travelled path than an A ROAD.
5 For one - nil, this is excessive pride (3)
EGO - E.G. = for one, O = nil.
6 Having good physique, unconcerned to go topless (5)
LITHE - BLITHE would be unconcerned, topless = remove the B. You can wear a thong if you are lithe. I'm not. Nice surface.
7 After what's in magazine, great new twists? It's a gas (7)
AMMONIA - AMMO is in the magazine, then A1 N (great new) reversed.
8 Greeting Asian from Peak District? (9)
HIMALAYAN - "Hi Malayan" would be greeting an Asian chap. Have we seen this before? Seems likely.
13 Fail to do some sightseeing in Northern China? (2,2,3,4)
GO TO THE WALL - Easy write-in double definition.
14 Job for summer, holding Head of Convent's habit (9)
ADDICTION - Insert C being head of Convent, into ADDITION being what a 'summer' does, he sums.
16 Immoral type of stars revealing value of land (9)
CADASTRAL - CAD is the immoral type; ASTRAL = of stars; I am looking at the cadastral plan of our village on my desk, lots of little numbered box shapes showing who owns what, but thankfully it doesn't mention their value as such.
18 African runner's beverage stored in vehicle (7)
LIMPOPO - POP inside LIMO. See 'runner' think river. Say after me, "the grey-green greasy Limpopo river, all set about with fever trees". Even though I hate poetry, I remember that one. Do kids read Kipling these days?
19 Right in sea, island’s in the drink (7)
MARTINI - RT = right, inside MAIN = sea, then I = island.
21 Extra is earned, receiving this (5)
RAISE - Today's hidden word clue; EXT(RA IS E)ARNED.
23 Yearly gathering remains official in Turkey (5)
PASHA - P A = per annum, yearly, insert ASH = remains.
25 VAT only goes up (3)
TUB - BUT reversed.

Times Quick Cryptic 859 by Hurley

Galspray is having a well-earned Friday off so I am standing in. This took me 13 minutes but I can't now account for why I missed my 10-minute target.

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Ridiculously good crossword from Myrtilus, with the trademark pun across the top and a couple of tour de force &lit clues. A really enjoyable mix of references, too, from Lorenz Hart's lyric for Manhattan to Conversations with Goethe.

I found this solveable but challenging throughout. The parsing for MAN FRIDAY and the full explanation for the ALL BLACKS clue took a long while for me to twig. Very well worth it in the end, though.

I don't think they get much better than this.


Across


Down

Notes
Across

1 TW,ICE - a short 'two'+ bits of frost (ice). Def. is "Times 2"

4 KNIGHTLEY - sounds like 'knightly' i.e.. 'valiant'. This is George Knightley, of Jane Austin's Emma

9 MAN FR(ID)AY - &lit., Isle of MAN + I'D (I would) inside FRAY (conflict) - not sure if Robinson Crusoe ever called his buddy Man Friday. Usually, I think, it was just Friday

10 GOUDA - second letters of egg noodles, but add Parmesan"

12 ALL BLACKS - a team, and the novels Black Dogs (McEwan), Black Beauty (Sewell) and Black Mischief (Waugh)

15 C(A,PULE)ET

18 RAM,E(a)SES

20 P(LA)UT,US - the note is 'la'

21 (b)ECKER,MANN - Johann Peter Eckermann, author of Conversations With Goethe. (Thomas) Mann after a timely reference to Boris Becker, who has just managed to be declared bankrupt, something he mostly blames on "5 seconds in a broom cupboard" with a Russian model

23 GILD,A - Rigoletto's daughter

25 CELIA - Alice*, an As You Like It reference

26 PROSELYTE - writing (prose) + a beheaded Flyte (Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited). Def. (an) initiate

27 DESDEMONA - another &lit., with 0 (love) amid an anagrammatised "man's deed"


Down

1 TO(M,SAW)YER - WAS + M(mark) reversed inside TOYER (one playing)

3 E,RR,OR,LESS - the LESS is given by 'without'

5 IDYLLIC - anagram of "periodically" minus the letters of "opera"

6 HE,GEL - LEG ('on' in cricket) + EH (what?) reversed

7 LA(UN)CELOT - UN ('a' to the Parisians) inside an anagram of "to a cell"

14 NUM,SKULLS - sounds like 'sculls' after abbr. for the book of Numbers

16 PLAY,GOERS - play as in tolerance, leeway

19 S(HAM)POO - ''oops" reversed around HAM

21 EL CID - the Elevated railway (EL) + the police department

22 READE - hidden word. Charles Reade, author of The Cloister and the Hearth.

Times Quick Cryptic No 858 by Rongo

Towards the gentler end of things from Rongo today, with the long anagrams at 1ac/1d opening things up nicely. I came in a bit under the 9 minute mark, almost to the second the same time as Tuesday's, which I did immediately beforehand. I really liked 20d, but clue of the day to 14ac - a fine example of the Six-Word Story: a tragicomic epic writ small, but unfortunately the sequel (6d) all got a bit self-referential. So yes, a nice, breezy, very enjoyable puzzle - many thanks to Rongo!

Across
1 Unruly, awkward spouse Robert (12)
OBSTREPEROUS: Anagram (awkward) of SPOUSE ROBERT.
8 After church, former queen left a means of communication (7)
CHANNEL: CH(urch) ANNE (former queen), L(eft)
9 America backed desperate character in African republic (5)
SUDAN: SU (US/America backing) DAN (as in Desperate Dan)
10 Secrete 24th letter you had read out (5)
EXUDE: read out X, YOU'D.
11 About to start tennis book (7)
RESERVE: RE (about) SERVE (start in tennis)
12 Silly person taking article away from Belgian port (5)
TWERP: take AN (article) from ANTWERP (Belgian port)
14 Mother’s in an outhouse, drunk (7)
SMASHED: MA'S (mother's) in SHED (outhouse)
15 Cockney’s “titfer” to give now (2,7)
AT PRESENT: Cockney's hat =  'AT ; PRESENT (give)
17 Digit pointing in the direction of East (3)
TOE: To (in the direction of) E(ast)
19 Reckless stirring of prisoners’ bile (13)
IRRESPONSIBLE: anagram (stirring) of PRISONERS BILE
21 Outspoken sample of Anglican didacticism (6)
CANDID: a sample of the letters of AngliCAN DIDacticism
22 Sympathy about the end of Rome’s Holiness (5)
PIETY: PITY (sympathy) about E (end of Rome)

Down
1 Where players sit before stage — unusual to arch-priest (9,3)
ORCHESTRA PIT: anagram (unusual) of TO ARCH PRIEST
2 Any of USA’s territories accepting Utah law (7)
STATUTES: STATES (any of USA’s territories) accepting UT(ah).
3 Wash out bottom of basin during getting-up process (5)
RINSE: N (bottom of basin) during RISE (getting-up process)
4 Italian river and lake are almost like the Arctic, say (5)
POLAR: PO (italian river) and L(ake), AR (ARe, almost)
5 Uncooperative Laurel, maybe, interrupts second attempt at exam (9)
RESISTANT: STAN (Laurel, for example) interrupts RESIT (second attempt at exam)
6 14 across, not above board (5,3,5)
UNDER THE TABLE: double definition, I suppose, although I've never heard anyone say "I was royally under the table last night."
7 Mean home nurse (6)
INTEND: IN (home) TEND (nurse)
13 Earnest requests before editor is happy (7)
PLEASED:PLEAS (earnest requests) before ED(itor)
14 Desperate, so tried bodybuilder’s short cut? (7)
STEROID: anagram (desperate) of SO TRIED
16 Coat for cold weather in grounds for public recreation area (5)
PARKA: PARK (grounds for public recreation) A(rea)
18 Soldiers captured by you no longer turned up as opposition (5)
ENEMY: MEN (soldiers) captured by YE (you no longer), reversed/turned up
20 Weaken gullible person’s vigour (3)
SAP: the lesser-seen triple definition - always welcome in my books: a verb, a noun, an abstract noun. Very nice.
I have not returned to the sunlit uplands of speedy solving yet, so will be content with the 34 minutes it took. I did think actually parsing some of the longer ones took more time that strictly necessary for completing the grid, but then I’m on duty. Those who merrily biffed their way through can find the proper solutions here.
Since keeping a window open is necessary to cool the heat oppresséd brain my writing has been accompanied by suicidal moths dive bombing the more exposed bits of me, engendering frequent rather rude outbursts. If this has affected spelling and/or coherence  I can only apologise. Otherwise I have attempted to preserve the general clue definition SOLUTION outine

Across

1 Artist performing without one is communicating via waves  (8)
RADIOING  Artist  RA, who is DOING, possibly the simplest form of performing. Together without (outside) I for one
5 Aware of having to follow voting system forthwith  (6)
PRONTO  ONTO aware (M Maigret was onto the villain immediately) and P(roportional) R(epresentation) the voting system.
10 Quartet depart endless hosts to finally play for one (5,10)
SPLIT INFINITIVE  Quartet is IV, or four, which SPLIT (depart) and INFINITE (endless) “host” for the no-longer-solecism.
11 Tatty article you left on sink  (4-2-4)
DOWN-AT-HEEL  You equates to the antique THEE, Left contributes its L. Both are tacked on to DOWN for sink, as in drink. As also is A for article: Thanks McT
13 Burning bible with papers  (4)
AVID the Bible here is the Authoristed Version, AV for short and the papers ID
15 Rather like petrol alternative? One could give it a whirl!  (7)
DERVISH  DERV, for the acronym for diesel engine road vehicle,  is another version of plain diesel, an alternative to petrol, now dropping out of favour (again). Whimsically, a bit like puts the ISH on the end. Dervishes are noted for whirling (see “The Jewel of the Nile”)
17 Re offer, fabulous?  (3,4)
FOR FREE I take it that the conceit of this clue is that an offer “for free” would indeed be fabulous. Double tracking, fabulous is the anagram indicator for RE OFFER
18 Film director to take stock of soundtrack?  (7)
RUSSELL  To my knowledge, Bertrand failed to release the History of Western Philosophy as a movie, but Ken made lots of films of varying decadence and wonder, in one of which, for example, the former MP for Hampstead and Highgate rolls around on the floor a railway carriage in a state of  undress. Oh, his name also sounds like rustle, to take cattle.
19 Happier having smallest coins in a line  (7)
TIPSIER  In which you must assume that tipsier means more drunk and drunk is represented by happy. You need some of the smallest coins which are 1PS, after the period in which there were ha’pennies  to challenge for the smallest (in value) crown. Place them inside TIER for line.
21 Joshua’s father’s sisters  (4)
NUNS Joshua, who fit the battle of Jericho had a dad called NUN. Add the apostrophe S without the apostrophe.
22 Match in Kew moved here?  (10)
TWICKENHAM  It being unwise to play Rugby in the venerable gardens, move the letters of MATCH IN KEW for the more suitable Cabbage Patch venue about 4 miles down the A316
25 Have bags of authority? (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS  Especially Oxford style trousers are known as bags. A cryptic definition of the assessment of domestic arrangements, harking back to the days when the lady of the house didn’t but did.
27 Disc behind something attached to vehicle  (1-5)
L-PLATE  Disc is LP, and behind LATE, and not the apprentice crossword solve who would L-PARSE (that nearly works too).
28 Smoother variety of PE shorts (3-5)
HOT-PRESS  has to be an anagram, and is of PE SHORTS In Chambers, the device has no hyphen, but the action does.

Down

1 Part evidently owing was settled (7)
RESIDED  I think this is SIDE as a part of something, in the RED, so seen to be owing.
2 Pulse of boy rising (3)
DAL  The simplest way of spelling the pulse, and LAD backwards
3 Excluded boy I transport very upset  (10)
OSTRACISED  everything in DES (boy) I (I) CART (transport) SO (very) is reversed.
4 Streak of lightning over part of golf course  (5)
NINTH Streak means a bit of and over means reversed. In ligHTNINg.
6 Bust of Caesar finally placed on support (4)
RAID  As in a drugs bust. R from the end of Caesar and AID for support.
7 PIN to disappear without right digital application  (4,7)
NAIL VARNISH  ignore the capitals, and PIN is NAIL. Disappear gives vanish, and for the second time without means outside, in this case R(ight)
8 Outstanding bit of cricket shortened contest  (7)
OVERDUE  The bit od cricket is an OVER, and a contest a DUEL which is shortened by removing the L.
9 Uncertain if I voted for this concoction of features  (8)
VIDEOFIT  Identikit for the TV age. Anagram (uncertain) of IF I VOTED.
12 Drawing grains in brickwork, showing every imperfection (5,3,3)
WARTS AND ALL  Famously Oliver Cromwell’s instruction. ART (drawing) SAND (grains) inside WALL (brickwork).
14 Jolly English judge participating in mass event (6,4)
TRIPLE JUMP A jolly is, in this case, a works outing or some such, and therefore a TRIP. LUMP is a mass, into which you insert your E(nglish) J(udge)
16 Utterly unconvincing in speech days before Easter  (4,4)
HOLY WEEK Sounds like wholly weak.
18 Frenchman with directive put up extension (7)
RENEWAL  Apparently all Frenchmen are called RENE by decree of the Académie, directive is LAW which needs to be reversed.
20 Pharaoh, from memory, repeated verse periodically (7)
RAMESES  Fortunately the best known in familiar spelling. RAM memory (take the back off your computer) and add the alternate letters of vErSe. Twice.
23 Blackguard over the moon finding collector’s item  (5)
CURIO  IO is our favourite crossword moon, so the blackguard must be CUR
24 Figure American’s left standing  (4)
STAT  as in istic. STATUS is your standing, from which persuade the US American to leave.
26 Present that’s not been opened before (3)
ERE  Present being HERE (sir) from which the opening isn’t. Um- Present
This puzzle is available to download here: https://nuk-tnl-deck-prod-static.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/d89273fe48ba49779f431c03921e6e8a.pdf

It wasn't available at all overnight. There was a message at the top of the vintage puzzle in the Club  saying it could be accessed via a pdf link on the Club site but helpfully didn't give the link and it wasn't there anyway as far as I could see.

This morning they have added a link to it on the newspaper site in the heading to the vintage puzzle but I couldn't get the link to work by clicking it, and only reached it eventually by entering the url directly into my browser which then displayed the extended url as above.

There's still no access to it via the Club other than in the General forum where I have included it in a posting.

SNAFU!

[Update at 08:15. It has now been pointed out to me by the Puzzles Editor that the official link from the Clubsite was available from 07:00 this morning on the Club News page. It's dependent on a one-word piece of hypertext ("here") tucked away in the second paragraph of a four paragraph article about the competition, so blink and you'll miss it, assuming anyone would have thought to look there in the first place. I normally expect to find my puzzles accessible via the main puzzles page.]

[Update at 10:15. It now seems that the link on the newspaper site does work if you right-click on it and there is a note there to advise this. I didn't see that bit previously so either it was added later or more likely I just didn't notice it as it's in tiny italic font. I'm not sure it's standard only to be able to open pdf links using a right-click as I've been opening them for years and I've never consciously done that before today. Anyway it all seems to be sorted now one way or another.]

NO COMMENTS ON THE CONTENT OF THE PUZZLE HERE PLEASE
I usually approach these puzzles from the mists of time with apprehension and dread, but I was pleased to see that this one hails from 1983, i.e. within a normal person's living memory, and it's not at all impossible that I could have helped my grandfather do this one the first time round, at the age of 8. (Obviously he could have managed most of it himself, but I'd have stepped in for the harder ones.) Anyway I really enjoyed this - a few clues would be far too libertarian to pass muster these days, but by and large we see the modern rules of setting have taken hold here, plus there's some real wit on display in the definitions, and a very commendable literary flavour. I wonder who the setter was - possibly someone long since no longer with us, I suppose. Many thanks if you are still around to receive them, though!

I came home in under 10 minutes, but my hopes of topping the leaderboard were dashed by messing up in the NW with a wrong entry at 2dn, which required a fair bit of agonising and retracing of steps. I see a lot of people on the board were even more unfortunate and went down by one or more, what happened? I warn you, I shall look askance at anyone who misspelled 5dn...

1 There was nothing in her closet but a modest gown! (6,7)
MOTHER HUBBARD - double def. I knew the nursery rhyme ("...went to the cupboard, to get her poor dog a bone") but the light did not fully dawn until I Googled to discover that a Mother Hubbard is (or was, in 1983?) a name for a gown.
9 Fellow-resident I try to clean out at cards? (9)
NEIGHBOUR - referring to the card game Beggar My Neighbour, which I do remember being popular back in 1983, though my grandfather referred to it by the more colourful name Strip Jack Naked.
10 Music hall — opening for dancing is firm (5)
DISCO - D{ancing} IS CO [firm]. My first one in, as we still have discos, though they're for ridiculously young people instead of ridiculously old ones now.
11 Prime supporter of art (5)
EASEL - cryptic def for a very literal supporter of artworks. My last one in, as I was looking for E_T_L for a long while, and EXTOL wasn't really cutting it.
12 Dan performed the French number (4)
LENO - LE NO [the French | number]. Dan Leno was a Victorian music hall performer that you, like me, might not have heard of if you hadn't read Peter Ackroyd's fine book Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem. As that didn't come out until 1994 though the solvers of this crossword the first time round might have found it harder.
13 Circus celebrity has sore back (4)
EROS - SORE reversed. The wordplay is about as obvious as wordplay gets, but it took a while longer to realise that the "circus celebrity" is immortalised in statue form at Piccadilly Circus.
15 Man appears to be right with sale-room turnover (7)
BERTRAM - BE R [be | right] + MART reversed [sale-room "turnover"]
17 Messenger sent for a newspaper (7)
COURIER - double def.
18 Country mansion let by arrangement in Washington (7)
SEATTLE - SEAT [country mansion] + (LET*) ["by arrangement"]. Took me long enough to get this considering I've lived there twice, but I was too busy looking for (LETBY*) in WA.
20 Northern Ireland group in charge of river line as adjusted (7)
NILOTIC - NI LOT IC [Northern Ireland | group | in charge]. Probably referring to Nilotic peoples? Didn't really have a scooby what the "as adjusted" part was all about, but if the answer is clearly right...
21 Recognizes, say, the smell of tobacco for instance (4)
NOSE - homophone of KNOWS [recognizes, "say"]. Were spellings with a Z in vogue in 1983?
22 One in a race in Borrows’s Lavengro (4)
SLAV - hidden in {borrows'}S LAV{engro}. Noteworthy TLS-iness to the clues in 1983, and the petition to bring this kind of thing back starts here!
23 James I offers Sydney a spot of leisure (5)
BONDI - BOND I. As with the SEATTLE clue above we have a definition that doesn't pass the substitution test that would probably be applied today.
26 Italian city named in sea-trip (5)
SIENA - (IN SEA*) ["trip"]. A bit libertarian by modern standards.
27 Apparatus of Scotch manufacture destined to be abortive (9)
STILLBORN - STILL BORN [apparatus of Scotch (whisky) manufacture | destined]
28 Beautifully got up like a dish at a Borgia feast? (7,2,4)
DRESSED TO KILL - the Borgias having a terrible reputation as poisoners, of course.
Down
1 Brother setting up the old firm in sharp practice (6,8)
MONKEY BUSINESS - MONK [brother] + YE reversed ["setting up" the, old] + BUSINESS [firm]
2 Reverse call (5)
TAILS - a cryptic def for a coin toss, which wasted minutes of my time as I tried to go for a double def in TWIST, and then couldn't get EASEL.
3 Cheer the XI, a real smasher! (10)
EXHILARATE - (THE XI A REAL*) ["smasher"]
4 There’s a gangster covering Jack’s chimney (7)
HOODLUM - the answer is quickly obvious, and LUM is a chimney, but is "Jack" Jack Hood, the boxer? But he was still alive in 1983!
5 Having the lordly manner of a Greek champion (7)
BYRONIC - cryptic def, Byron being both a Lord and, like all right-thinking people, passionate about all things Greek. Very kind of the editors to have included this word in the Concise today, to make it easy for us to think about it.
6 The lad died in any case! (4)
ANDY - D [died] in a "case" of ANY
7 Attachment warranted to shatter traditions, nothing less (9)
DISTRAINT - (TRADITI{o}NS*) ["to shatter"]. A lot packed into the definition part: "attachment" is legal seizure of property, and presumably you do need a warrant for it!
8 Explanation supported by a student of building (14)
CONSTRUCTIONAL - CONSTRUCTION [explanation] supported by A L [a | student]. I thought of this immediately but wasn't sure if CONSTRUCTION meant explanation so didn't put it straight in, but it really was as easy as all that.
14 Uproar in northern town over a fictional bear (10)
HULLABALOO - HULL [northern town] over A BALOO [a | fictional bear]. This clue had another outing in recent years didn't it? And I remember it winning plaudits, everyone loves Baloo.
16 Dora set out with a note of anchorage (9)
ROADSTEAD - (DORA SET*) ["out"] + A D [a | note]. I think we've had this word in a puzzle not too long ago too, or else I might have found it considerably harder.
19 Joins forces in French scene of combat (7)
ENLISTS - EN [in, French] + LISTS [scene of (jousting) combat]. Definition is literally joining the (armed) forces here, not allying or whatever.
20 Churchman rose about five to six, worked with a shovel (7)
NAVVIED - reverse of DEAN [churchman "rose"] about V + VI [five (to) six]
24 Bereaved widow booked wrongly on a motorway (5)
NAOMI - (ON A*) ["wrongly"] + M1. Hopefully we are all more familiar with events of the famous Book of Ruth than some of us are with Nahum and Nehemiah? Naomi was the widow of Elimelech, though he never seems to turn up in crosswords for some reason.
25 A mere reddish pigment (4)
LAKE - double def. I put this in speculatively, intending to go back and ponder if it was definitely correct, but forgot about it. Luckily for me it wasn't wrong...

Quick Cryptic 857 by Wurm

Our good timelord notified me that we have a new setter today, who has offered up this pleasing and gentle puzzle. Perhaps a sign that those who prefer a milder challenge are being heeded? Or perhaps Wurm is lulling us into a false sense of security for the next appearance?

In any case, this fits very nicely with the quicky ouvre – a good balance of clues, just a few definitions on the outskirts of memory, and a smattering of funnies. Thanks and welcome, if you’re reading.

My CoD goes to the elegant 11ac.

Definitions underlined.


Across
1 Romantic thought is introduced to lieutenant (8)
IDEALIST - IDEA (thought), and IS surrounded by (introduced to) LT (lieutenant).
6 Bachelor wanting commission returned makes complaint (4)
BEEF - B (bachelor) and reversal of (returned) FEE (commission)
8 Employer admitted to serious error (4)
USER - hidden in (admitted to) serioUS ERror.
9 Barman in a club dancing on piano (8)
PUBLICAN - anagram of (dancing) IN A CLUB, all next to P (piano).
10 Cheerio to Napoleon? (2,6)
AU REVOIR - French for (to Napoleon) cheerio!
11 Top copy put with Times (4)
APEX - APE (copy) and X (multiply, times).
13 Ensure bandage unravels: a source of beef? (8,5)
ABERDEEN ANGUS - anagram of (unravels) ENSURE BANDAGE.
16 Notice alpha male is first man (4)
ADAM - AD (advert, notice), A (alpha) and M (male).
17 Nineties eccentric or exceptional intellectual? (8)
EINSTEIN - anagram of (eccentric) NINETIES.
19 Equipment: a large amount I needed for pasta (8)
RIGATONI - RIG (equipment), A TON (a large amount), and I.
21 Base aim (4)
MEAN - double definition.
22 Military group you join together, we hear (4)
UNIT - homophone of (we hear) “you knit” (you join together).
23 Odd couple from Eire seen with motor mechanic (8)
ENGINEER - two odd letters (odd couple) from EiRe, after ENGINE (motor).


Down
2 Duets Bird composed getting interrupted (9)
DISTURBED - anagram of (composed) DUETS BIRD.
3 Concede match (5)
AGREE - double definition.
4 I make suggestion about PR to achieve better result (7)
IMPROVE - I MOVE (make suggestion, as in ‘I move to make a motion’) around PR.
5 Wood losing mass in Roman river (5)
TIBER - TImBER (wood) losing the m (mass).
6 Clever person embodies that certain something in this country (7)
BRITAIN - BRAIN (clever person) surrounding (embodies) IT (that certain something).
7 Period covered by Northanger Abbey (3)
ERA - hidden in (covered by) northangER Abbey.
12 Make clear convoluted clue with answer in new edit (9)
ELUCIDATE - anagram of (convoluted) CLUE, and then A (answer) inside an anagram of (new) EDIT.
14 Unrestrained and extravagant speech about a politician (7)
RAMPANT - RANT (extravagant speech) around A MP (a politician).
15 Granny meets monarch in Chinese port (7)
NANKING - NAN (granny) and KING (monarch).
17 Eastern European needing lift to abscond with lover (5)
ELOPE - E (eastern) and POLE (european) all reversed (needing lift).
18 Athenian misanthrope puts doctor in metal box (5)
TIMON - MO (medical officer, doctor) in TIN (metal box).
20 Popular name for pub (3)
INN - IN (popular) and N (name).
Our current Friday Quickie blogger, Galspray, would like to cut back a little on his blogging activities. We are, therefore, looking for a new blogger who would be willing to take the Quickie blog every other Friday, splitting it with Galspray.

Just as the Quickie is a good way to get started solving, becoming an every-other-week Quickie blogger is a pretty easy way to join the Times for the Times blogging team. While we have some pretty fast solvers, we are not too picky how good you are, just as long as you can get home eventually and are willing to take the time to write and post the blog.

We have developed various tools over the years that makes blogging easier, although not all the bloggers (including me!) have taken advantage of them. All new bloggers are offered any training and instruction they require in how to write and post the blog, although so far it is turned out that many of them are pretty sharp about this sort of thing.

If you are interested, please leave a comment, and I will contact you.

Times Cryptic 26756

Yet again my solving time was off the scale for this one. After yesterday's paltry 20 minutes this was a bit of a let-down in that respect but it's a fine puzzle with some difficult words and some intricate parsing. I'm doing double duty again today with the Quickie, so on we go.

Here's my blog..Collapse )

Times Quick Cryptic 856 by Mara

I'm standing in again for Chris who you will be relieved to know will be back from his hols to resume blogging next week.

I found this one straightforward and completed it in 8 minutes. Rather too many double definitions towards the end, I thought but otherwise an intersteing and amusing puzzle.


Here's my blog...Collapse )

Times 26755 - Hare's Heaven!

Solving time: 22 minutes

Music: Mozart, Piano sonatas, Mitsuko Uchida






Well, with my fourth consecutive week on duty, we're back to easy Monday. I was a little late getting started, as the US Open was on and I had to watch every shot. Congratulations to Brooks Koepka, who played a marvelous final nine holes.

Since I seem to be quite tired, I was pleased to have a nothing puzzle to solve, and I don't think this will give any of the regulars much difficulty. My main problem was having 'linonet', which fits the cryptic well enough, instead of 'linocut', which is much more likely for the literal. 'Morocco' put paid to that, and I carried on until the end, when I had to think for a few minutes until coming up with 'Alderney'. Other than that, I didn't see much challenge, for while some of the clues were quite original, they were not at all hard.

Across
1CLUELESS, double definition, with the second one containing a very broad hint indeed.
5ARCHER, double definition, one of them using the old capital-letter-at-the-beginning trick, which shouldn't fool anyone any more.
9REPENTANT RE-PENT ANT, a clue we just had last week, with the same answer as well.
11WARES, sounds like WEARS.
12MOROCCO, MORO + C[ontrolling] + CO. Those who were around in the 70s will remember Aldo Moro.
13RIOTOUS, RIO TO US, a good clue, but easy.
14ANTICLOCKWISE, ANTI(C)-LOCK + WISE, which is always 'counterclockwise' here in the U.S.
16SQUARE BASHING, double definition, one jocular.
20ASPIRIN, ASPIRIN[g].
21SEA WALL, SEA(LAW backwards)L.
23GRAND, GRAN + D[uke].
24THESAURUS, T(HE)SAR + U.S., where the enclosing letters are an anagram of A RUT.
25T(H.E. IS)T, as apparently a governor as well as an ambassador can be styled His Excellency.
26ALDERNEY, ALDER + NEY. A Channel Island.
 
Down
1CHROME, C(H,R[ange])OME.
2UPPER, double definition, parts of a shoe and a pill.
3LINOCUT, L + I NO CUT, where 'cut' is not exactly synonymous with profit, but close enough.
4SHADOW CABINET, S(HAD)OW + CABINET, just biffed by most solvers.
6ROWLOCK, ROW + LOCK, which is usually an 'oarlock' here in the U.S.
7HARROWING, double definition.
8RESISTER, RES(IS)T + E.R.
10TORTOISESHELL, anagram of HOTELIER'S LOST.
14AQUAPLANE, A (QUA) P LANE.
15ESCARGOT, ES(CARGO)T, a chestnut, sans doute.
17REREDOS, RE(RED)OS, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of SORE. Just a biff for most solvers.
18IMAMATE, I'M A MATE, another chestnut.
19FLASHY, F[o]L[k] + A SHY.
22APRON, double definition.

Quick Cryptic 855 by Teazel

After a disastrous weekend during which some decidedly abnormal temperatures on Teesside gave my Dairy Milk cache a molten consistency that did not enjoy my favour, Teazel has served up a puzzle that has kept away from the brain-frying end of the difficulty spectrum. I don't think any of the answers would qualify as obscure and there is no particularly fiendish wordplay, so you may have some spare time in which to savour the simple elegance of surfaces such as those in 22A and 19D. Hopefully a nice confidence builder - the week is likely to bring tougher challenges.

The puzzle can be found here if the usual channels are unavailable: http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/puzzles/crossword/20170619/24328/

Definitions are underlined, {} = omission

Read more...Collapse )

Mephisto 2963 - Tim Moorey

I got a pretty decent chunk of this out without needing the dictionary, but a few in the bottom of the grid had me scrambling to Chambers. There's two that I'm not 100% sure on the wordplay but I'm sure the hive mind will come through.

I think I may have sorted them out - phew!

Away we go...

Across
1LIGNIPERDOUS: anagram of IS,U,DEPLORING
10EDDA: most of ADDE(r), summer, reversed
11PALESTRA: PALES(limits, think "beyond the pale") then T, A containing (anothe)R
12GLAMORGAN: GLAM(alluring), ORGAN(publication)
15SODA: SO(well) and D(iptheri)A
16EVENTS: T inside EVEN S(o)
17ROLL IN: shorten ROLLING
18NGAIOS: anagram of SAIGON
19SENA: SCENA(dramatic episode) missing the C
21SLAP: double definition
23STATER: double definition
25ELCHEE: alternating letters in nEgLeCtE surrounding HE
26DINGLE: hidden in keyboarD IN GLEncoe
27MIKE: I see one definition as the period of idleness - ahh,
now I see the rest - TAKE THE MIKE can mean to annoy
30HETAIRIST: anagram of IS,A,HITTER
31ERRORIST: (t)ERRORIST
32ALBI: remove ON from ALBION
33DESSERT SPOON: NO(not one), OP(word), STRESSED(worried) all reversed
 
Down
1LEGLESS: double definition
2G'DAY: GAY(rather) containing (Queenslan)D
3NAMING: Idi AMIN in NG
4I,POD
5PARASITES: anagram of PARTIES containing AS(all sections)
6REALOS: anagram of FOR SALE missing F
7O'TOOLE: TOOL inside OE
8UREDINALES: URE(use), then IN(home) inside DALES
9SAPAN: reversal of NAPAS
13LAVALLIERE: LAV reversed in an anagram of RELIABLE missing B
14BROADCAST: Stuart BROAD (who last opened the bowling for England in December) then CAST(pitch)
20AVER,TIN
22ACKERS: remove CR from CRACKERS
23SEVERE: hidden reversed in ellesmERE VESsel
24ENWRAP: anagram of (th)E, PRAWN
25EMBED: M(James Bond's boss) in E,BED
28ZITS: reverse S, and TIZ(z)
29SILO: this was the other one I couldn't see the wordplay for at the time, but it's POLISH(buff) reversed with the outside letters missing

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