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Saturday Times 25843 (19th July)

Solving time 24:15 for this one, but that doesn't represent the degree of difficulty. I had a bad week last week, rarely getting in under 20 minutes for some reason. Plenty to like about this puzzle - good surface readings, some imaginative definitions, and well-crafted wordplay. My favourite was 14D and last one in was 22D, which must have held me up for about 5 minutes at the end.

1 Old people settling proposal, concise but detailed (8)
PLANTERS - PLAN (proposal) + TERS(e) (concise, minus the last letter). Refers to early settlers in America.
6 Just manage to arrive at party (4-2)
MAKE DO - MAKE (arrive at) + DO (party).
9 What gardener does in drought likely to cause a lather? (5,8)
WATER SOFTENER - A gardener WATERS OFTENER in a drought.
10 Malicious heartless boy, long imprisoned (6)
BITCHY - B(o)Y around ITCH (long).
11 Shrink from deposing last dynasty in another realm? (8)
DREAMING - DREA(d) (shrink from, minus the last letter) + MING (dynasty).
13 Where journalism's substandard but regret's improbable (4,6)
GRUB STREET - (but regret's)*. From Chambers, "a former name of Milton Street, Moorfields, London, once inhabited by booksellers' hacks and shabby writers generally".
15 Knot, turnstone etc may feed here (4)
REEF - double definition (although as the knot is also a type of shorebird, it could be read as a straight definition!)
16 Waste product from bureau (4)
UREA - not very well-hidden in bureau.
18 Spirit-filled host blessed the Blues (10)
MELANCHOLY - ELAN (spirit) inside MC (host), + HOLY (blessed).
21 Disco dancing is linked to a blood disorder (8)
ACIDOSIS - (disco)* + IS, next to A.
22 Our personal inheritance for which financier holds key (6)
GENOME - GNOME (financier) around E (a key).
23 People on trail of wild cat once joining together (13)
CONCATENATION - NATION (people) following (cat once)*.
25 Reason for greeting little bird? (6)
WEEPIE - WEE (little) + PIE (bird). Greeting is a Scottish word for weeping.
26 Support for driver rising in ranks, not one proved unsteady (8)
TEETERED - TEE (support for driver) + T(i)ERED (rising in ranks, minus the I).

2 Rook joins bird in fiction further down the pecking order (7)
LOWLIER - R(ook) following [OWL (bird) inside LIE (fiction)].
3 Council supporting spot where bills may be presented (6,5)
NOTICE BOARD - BOARD (council) underneath NOTICE (spot).
4 Prematurely old (5)
EARLY - double definition.
5 Speed crazily, going round on foot (7)
SPONDEE - (speed)* around ON. A poetical foot of two long syllables. I had to learn all about them and others such as trochees, iambs, dactyls and anapaests for Latin O-Level, but these days they're only good for crosswords.
6 Scruffy chaps turning up to get warm inside (4-5)
MOTH-EATEN - MEN (chaps) around TO reversed + HEAT (get warm).
7 Members of family sort daughter out (3)
KIN - KIND (sort), minus the D for daughter.
8 Poet describing game sent up US comedian (7)
DURANTE - DANTE (poet) around RU (game) reversed. I briefly entertained the idea of some unknown comedian called DURONNE, but thankfully remembered Jimmy Durante eventually.
12 Worker involved in E-crimes shifting goods (11)
MERCHANDISE - HAND (worker) inside (E-crimes)*.
14 Holiday home to which access is restricted by race (9)
TIMESHARE - TIMES (by) + HARE (race).
17 Creatively adapt touching series of songs? (7)
RECYCLE - RE (touching) + CYCLE (series of songs).
19 Most extravagant desire that man's admitted to (7)
LUSHEST - LUST (desire) around HE'S (man's).
20 Creature from south, foremost of egg layers (7)
LAMINAE - ANIMAL reversed + E(gg).
22 Polish crop changing hands (5)
GLAZE - GRAZE (crop), with the R changed to an L.
24 Dash, creating small draught (3)
NIP - double definition, the second meaning a shot of spirits.

Times Jumbo 1100 (12 Jul 2014)

Solving time: 1:43:07

Nothing too taxing in this one. Quite a pleasant stroll through. Nothing much to say about it.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (--)*, and removals like this

5SYCAMORE = (SO + RE) about (Yangtze + CAM)
9KNOCKS = "Knox" - Ronald Knox was an English priest who translated the St Jerome Latin Vulgate Bible into English.
13GRANDFATHER CLOCK - cd - overweight woman being GRAND FAT HER
17KEEN - dd
20PITFALLS = FALL (autumn abroad) in (PIT + faceS)
24RANDOMISE = AND (with) + OM (high honour) all in RISE (advance)
25OPEN-EYED = PEN (writer) + EntrY all in OED
26ETNA = ANTE rev
29SCHOOLHOUSE = (yoU + CHOOSE HOLS)* - semi-&lit
31S(TORY + T)ELLER - 'pork pies' being CRS for lies
33COPPERPLATE = COPPER (busy, as in policeman) + schoolgirL in PATE
36WHEELBARROW = W + ROW (bank) after HEEL BAR (cobbler's place)
38TIDY - dd
44STICK (flak) + IN SECT
48PIGGY BANK - cd - Tamworth being a breed of pig - anyone remember the Tamworth Two?
49IAGO = Inspector + GO about A - the antagonist in Othello.
50INTERIOR = IN (not out) + (RIOTER)*
54RUBBER - dd
55NEOLITHS = (THIS ONE)* about L
56ELDER + LaudablY
1JUGGLE = JUG + EG rev about L
2CLAMMY - dd
3ANDANTINO = A + N + DAN + TIN + Operate - I wasn't sure about Dan = Tribe, but Wikipedia has an entry for the Gio or Dan people of North Africa. I also thought andantino as a musical direction was a little faster then leisurely.
6CORNERSTONE = CORNER (hole, as in predicament) + (ON SET)*
8RECHERCHE = RE (soldiers) + R in CHE/CHE - A word that translates from the french as 'sought after', as in the title of Proust's classic, although it also means elegant and refined, which is where 'choice' comes in, I suppose.
19ALLELUIA = U in ALL ELIA - Elia being the pseudonym of essayist Charles Lamb
23IN THE PUDDING CLUB - dd - 'Expecting' is the straight def, the rest is more cryptic
27AARDWOLF = AA (drivers) + FLOW rev about RD - I remember trying to read an encyclopedia when I was quite young. I didn't get very far, but the aardwolf has always stuck in my head ever since.
28MEGA - hidden
30ODER = "ODOUR" - a slightly archaic usage of the word odour, I would have said, but a perfectly legitimate one
35ELECTRIC EEL - cd - the answer was fairly obvious, although I wouldn't have known it was native to South America.
37LEGIONNAIRE = LEGION + Navigate + AIRE (Irish river)
40CHEEKBONE = CHEEK + ONE about B (key)
43OKEY-DOKE = O + K + E all about (KEY + DO)
51ISIS - hidden - The River Thames at Oxford

Quick Cryptic No 100 by Joker

So here we are 20 weeks on and a century of quickies. They're still some way short of the usual difficulty of the main cryptic, of course, there are no obscure words for the solutions and less GK is needed, but it seems to me the level is gradually rising and some clues would not be out of place in the Cryptic. Today's took me 11 minutes including a Ctrl-Alt-PrtScn, paste into and printing off the resulting page.

8 IMPLORE - IMP = mischievous child, LORE = traditional knowledge; def. 'beg'.
9 OUNCE - U = uranium inside ONCE = at one time; def. 'old unit'.
10 EVERY - EVE = the day before, RY = abbr. for railway; def. 'each taken separately'.
11 EYESORE - EYES = looks at, ORE = material dug out of mine; def. 'not a pretty sight'.
12 MINIMUM - MINI = very short dress, MUM = mother; def. 'bottom'.
14 EXTRA - Hidden word, IND(EX TRA)CKING; def. 'bonus'.
15 LOCUS - LOCUST = destructive insect, has its final letter eradicated; def. 'place', LOCUS being the Latin word but used in English.
17 NOTABLE - NO TABLE = not one item of furniture; def. 'worthy of attention', as in 'a notable exception'.
19 MINARET - (RAIMENT)*, an anagram at last; def. 'part of a mosque's fabric'. The pointy tower bit I believe.
20 DENIM - DEN = study, followed by IM = I am; def. 'material'. the stuff jeans are made of, originally made by the André family as 'serge de Nimes' in France.
22 IGLOO - I = one, GLOO(MY) = dimly lit, not MY, ; def. 'ice house'. Worth a smile, I thought.
23 ORDINAL - ORAL = spoken exam, insert (during) DIN = loud noise; def. 'what may be first'. First, second etc. are ordinal numbers as opposed to one, two which are cardinals. You knew that.

1 WINE - IN = home, carried by WE; W(IN)E, def. 'drink'.
2 SPLEEN - SEEN = witnessed, insert P = parking, L = learner; def. 'bad temper'.
3 COPY - CO = company, PY = P(ROPERT)Y left empty; def. 'duplicate.'
4 DETERMINATION - DETER = put off, MI = M1 motorway, NATION = state; def. 'drive'. Not obvious at first where the definition lies, tempting to think of US states, but easy once you have some checkers.
5 MOVEMENT - MOVE MEN = deploy troops, T = little time, ; def. 'division of work'. As in 'The Labour Movement' I suppose, not the movement in a watch. Edit: as Andy has pointed out, it's more simply a musical movement, e.g. part of a symphony.
6 INMOST - (NO MIST)*; def. 'closest to the centre'.
7 LEVERAGE - LAGE(R) = most of lager, holds EVER = always,; def. 'the power to influence'.
12 MILKMAID - MILK = gradually defraud, M = millions, AID = help,; def. 'dairy worker'.
13 MUSHROOM - MUSH = pulpy mass, ROOM = space; def. 'fungus'.
16 CANDLE - AND L (left) inside CE (abbr. for Church of England); def. is the whole clue, an &lit. def. Very smooth clue.
18 BANANA - BAN = outlaw, A NA (North American); def. 'fruit'.
20 DODO - Proverbially 'dead as a ....' ; there have been many hoaxes involving Dodos, not least the phishing one from Australian service provider of that name, and a movie called 'flock of Dodos'. Dodo can now mean any sort of hoax.
21 MOLE - The initial letters ('primarily') of 'M(aster) O(f) L(urking) E(spionage), &lit. def.

Times 25848

This one started out as a slow but steady solve and I seemed to be heading for about 40 minutes, but time slipped away and I became bogged down with 27ac outstanding and the whole of the SW quarter other than 18dn and the easy hidden answer at 28ac. In the end I ran well over the hour and only finally sorted out the literal at 27ac just now, having written and revised the rest of the blog. Off for a lie down.

1 SARCASTIC - CAST (asked to act) inside SARI (dress), Chap
6 FOCUS - OF reversed, Camp, US (America). The order of the first two elements appears wrong but I believe it's a convention that 'with' is not intended to indicate any particular order.
9 RUB IT IN- Two definitions of sorts
10 TRUSTEE - Anagram of SET inside TRUE (honest)
11 DOC - DOCk (cut). One of the two dwarfs who doesn't end with Y
14 MUNICH - I inside MUNCH (make a noise eating). The capital city of Bavaria.
15 BLUDGEON - L (large) inside BUDGE (reluctantly move), ON (forward)
17 SORBONNE - BONN (former capital, of West Germany) inside SORE (very old-fashioned, i.e. an old-fashioned word for 'very')
19 QUIVER - Double definition, the second being where archers carried their arrows.
22 COMME IL FAUT - Anagram of ATOMIC FUEL + M (motorway)
23 GYM - G (good), MY reversed
25 IMAGIST - I'M, AGIST (no use for old people)
27 HEBREWS - The first part leads us cryptically to HE BREWS. The literal clue is 'letter' giving us the book of the Bible which in the King James version is fully entitled "The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews" You can see why it usually gets abbreviated!
28 TATTY - Hidden
29 DATA ENTRY - A+TAD (little) all reversed, ENTRY (door)

1 SHRED - Rubbish inside SHED (building)
2 RUBICON - Sounds like 'Rubik' (creator of puzzle), ON (working). The definition refers to the river crossed by Caesar's army during his seizure of power. It's used as a metaphor for the point of no return.
3 ANTICYCLONE - ON (going) inside ANTICYCLE (not helpful to riders)
4 TINKER - TINiER (much smaller) with its I changed to K (King)
5 CATCHALL - H (heroin) inside CATCALL (sound disapproving)
6 FLU - FeeL, Unwell
7 CUTICLE - CUbICLE (changing-room) with its B (black) changed to T (time)
8 SWEETENER - WEE (small) inside anagram of ERNEST
13 REDOUBTABLE - Two definitions, one cryptic
14 MASOCHIST - SOCHI (Russian resort) inside MAST (pole)
16 INFLATED - LATE (dead) inside anagram of FIND
18 RAMPANT - A+MP (member of the House) inside RANT (passionate speech)
20 VAGUEST - VA GUEST (visitor). Cryptic definition with VA standing for the Commonwealth of Virginia of which Richmond is the capital.
21 CACHET - Sounds like "cash, eh?"
24 MUSTY - MUST (has to), staY
26 IVY - LIVY (Roman writer)
Solving Time: Well, this took me quite a long time.. dunno really, but might have been as much as two hours by the time it was all parsed and put to bed. However I followed my usual course of having a quick look, solving a few then putting it to one side to come back to later so it didn't seem all that long. Clearly it was more difficult than last month's. The top half went in OK, but the bottom half took a while to crack. Some of the words were so implausible (viewly? plused?) that I didn't consider them and some, especially the longer acrosses, were just hard. In case that might begin to sound like a complaint I should say that for me this remains the highlight of my cruciverbal month and the only thing I would really miss, if deprived of access to the crossword club. It is a challenge, but such a fair, inventive, well-crafted one. Whoever sets it (does anyone know who?) knows their business very well.

cd = cryptic definition, dd = double definition, rev = reversed, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as *(--)

ODO = Oxford Dictionaries Online, OED = Oxford Dictionary, etc.


1. Caliph in time repelled by superior might (7)
Umayyad - U (superior) + MAY (might) + DAY (time), rev.,
5. Spiritual leader from time unknown put on a measure of intelligence (7)
Tzaddiq - T(ime) + Z (unknown) + ADD (put on) + IQ
9. Cape or long cloth garment cut back (3)
ras - that is SAR(I), rev. I had trouble finding ras = ness or cape, since it is not in Collins Online or in the OED. It is, however, in Chambers
10. Cake regularly available in grill -- ultimately bizarre way to keep food (5-6)
quick-freeze - C(A)K(E) + FREE (available) in QUIZ (grill) + (bizarr)E
11. Young attendant excited by a coin -- tip from Arab (5,3)
cabin boy - *(BY A COIN + (Ara)B )
12. Judge one visiting land a foreigner (6)
gaijin - J(udge) + I in GAIN (land, in the sense of winning etc)
15. Old poet’s outlaw to be transported briefly (4)
exul - EXUL(T) (to be transported) the "old poet" is presumably Spenser, though for once he was not the only culprit
16. Shrewd, going round gang with new, powerful digger (5,5)
steam navvy - TEAM (gang) + N(ew) in SAVVY (shrewd). More commonly called a steam shovel. Here is a nice one
18. Canopy no one put back on fake arch’s exterior (10)
shamiyanah - SHAM (fake) + NAY I rev., + A(RC)H. One of my last in, a hard clue to solve until fake = sham occurred to me
19. Bones returning in the role of Spock’s first love (4)
ossa - AS (in the role of) + S(POCK) + O (love), all rev.
22. Jockey cunning, abandoning one in local fair (6)
viewly - VIE (jockey, eg for position) + W(I)LY (cunning). Local = dialect in this clue
23. Couple flanking VW following ace short story-teller’s old tales (8)
fablieaux = FAB (ace) + LIA(R) (short storyteller) + UX, the letters flaniking VW.
25. Witches , close to evening, ask Lucifer for a new spell (11)
craigflukes - *(ASK LUCIFER + (evenin)G ) another tricky one, given that it is a rather unlikely looking name for a fish "also called witch" (Collins)
27. Notes land specially set aside (3)
res - dd, res as in dohs or mes, and res(erve), where you imprison Native Americans
28. March happening sometime which Latin number opens (7)
equinox - well, it's a March (and September) happening; QUI (latin for "which") + NO, in EX (sometime). A parsing I did not fathom out while solving
29. Perform again: did live dances (7)
redowas - REDO + WAS (did live)


1. Letters from middle of July, one of them placed in Jiffy bag (7)
utricle - ( J )UL(Y) with the L placed in TRICE (jiffy)
2. Will’s cow, when worried, falling across reserve milk container (11)
assubjugate - SUB (reserve) + JUG (milk container) in AS (when) + ATE (worried). Will being Master Shakespeare, of course
3. Raised a question with contrasting responses about Fijian drink (6)
yaqona - A + Q(uery) in NO and AY, all rev. Yaqona is also known as kava or kava-kava. It is a narcotic drink, often toxic, now banned in the EU.
4. National radio host with one engagement in surrounding area (10)
Djiboutian - DJ (radio host) + I + BOUT (engagement) + A(rea) in IN.
5. Punishment the aim of boxer with big punch? (4)
toko - dd, one jocular
6. Girl made trip -- panned after forgetting cases (8)
Adrianne = the inner letters of: m AD e t RI p pANNEd
7. Rabbit, perhaps, ready to be caught by the ears (3)
doe - sounds like "dough" (= money = ready)
8. As monarch heads for exit, nobody looks for resistance in dispute (7)
queenly - Query (dispute), with the R(esistance) replaced by E(xit), N(obody) & L(ooks)
13. Start of March historically ushers in verse on a spring bird (4,7)
Java sparrow - V(erse) + A SPA (spring) in JARROW (start of march historically). An annoying clue in serveral ways. It became obvious early on that we were looking for a sparrow of some sort, but what? It is hard to find or look up a word where you don't have the beginning bit. It only became clear once I realised that it was not really March at all, but a march. It is a recognised convention (originating from the over-didactic Ximenes, no doubt) that setters can play fast and loose with initial capitals, but I don't like it at all - it is just plain wrong. Capitals must go where they must go, and not elsewhere, if one is to be honest with the solver
14. Pants with large parka are an aid to getting about (10)
parawalker - *(W(ith) L(arge) PARKA ARE)
17. Fighter pierced by harmful article? Spike? (8)
Milligan - ILL (harmful) in MIG (fighter) + AN (article), for the famous comedian
18. For seafood platter, six dry gas rings (7)
seviche - VI (six) in SEC (dry) + HE (properly He, helium gas). I know it as ceviche, but this is apparently a valid alternative spelling..
20. Development of relations, mostly uplifting ones (7)
auxesis - SEXUA(L) rev. ("of relations, mostly") + IS (1's, ie ones)
21. Place applied for expanded (6)
plused - PL(aced) + USED (applied). Should have been easy but I found it difficult, mainly because I had trouble believing it could be a real word
24. Animal hair left in jam (4)
flix - L(eft) in FIX (jam)
26. Japanese catch up Guyanese hosts (3)
ayu - hidden, rev., in GUYAnese

Times Quick Cryptic No 99 by Corelli

Hi everyone

Apologies for the late posting. Trip to doctor's just to check things ok for my holiday tomorrow held me up.

Quite a tricky puzzle from Corelli today, certainly at the harder end of the scale. But once I started solving , things tended to fall into place and overall a very satisfying solve.

Could I ask someone to cover for me next Thursday please as I will be away from internet and phone until a week on Saturday? I'll reciprocate when needed.

4 PIAZZA - Square = definition. A (article) inside PIZZA (flat dish)
7 GOLD MINE - Valuable source = definition. G (first letter of Greene) + OLD (used) + MINE (this writer's).
8 TROJAN - A hardworker by reputation = definition. An anagram (strangely) of JANITOR minus I (one, no longer needed).
9 BELOW PAR - This is a double definiton clue, eith the two dfinitions cryptic. Something that a golfer wants to achieve with their score is a description of how they feel if they don't achieve it, i.e. an expression that means sub standard.
10 SCOT - Possibly Glaswegian = definition. CO (firm) inside ST (small (i.e. an abreviation for) thoroughfare)
12 DELICATE - Fine = definition. Quite a complex clue for a quickie. Here you need a word that means pledge, and swap the second D (second daughter) in the word with an L (fifty) to get the word.
15 CORNWALL - English county = definition. COR(K) (Irish one, briefly, with last letter missing) + N and W (two points) + ALL (each).
18 PAYS - Coughs up = definition. Alternate letters of PEAR, YES.
20 JOYSTICK - Used to control = def. JOYS (delights) + TICK (instant)
22 CHEESE - What photographer wanted said = def. CH (church) + EESE (Homophone of EASE - facility as in facile).
23 CUFFLINK - Twisted this to undo man's shirt = def. Here twisted needs to do double duty. An anagram of FF (couple of females) + IN LUCK.
24 ROCKET - Double definition. A type of salad ingredient and the name for a dressing-down or telling-off.

1 POPE - A spiritual leader = definition. POP (Father) = E (heart of TED).
2 EDMONTON - Canadian city = def. An anagram (ornate) of DOME NOT on top of N (Northern)
3 ZIPPED - Double def clue with one half cryptic. A word meaning dashed or sped is the same as a slang way for how you would describe what Trappist monks don't do, i.e they keep it ____!.
4 PETROL - That motorist requires = def. PET (favourite) + ROL(E) (short part).
5 ATOM - Double definition with one part cryptic. The first half of the alphabet is A TO M. Put togetehr, that means a very small part.
6 ZEALOTRY - Fanaticism = def. An anagram of Z (Zachary, initially) + TAYLOR goes around E (EAST).
11 CHOO-CHOO - Train = def. COO (Cook mostly) with HOOCH inside.
13 EEL - Fish = def. A reversal of a way of the direction against the win in sailing.
14 CAPITALS - Letters = def. Hidden in FOOLSCAP IT ALSO.
16 ABJECT - Base = def. AB (abbreviation for a sailor) + JET (aircraft) around C (top of commando)
17 LAY OFF - Temporarily dismiss = def. LAY (unqalified) + OFF (a side in cricket).
19 PERK - Benefit = def. P.E. (exercising) + RK (extremes, i.e. outer letters of RISK)
21 CONK - Hooter = def. CON (racket, swindle) + K (end of work)

25847 Nocturne in slightly flat

Around 14 minutes (you'll just have to take my word for it). My never-lets-you-down BT broadband threw one of its hissy fits just as I pressed submit, lost all the data and had to be restarted. I then neutrinoed my entry (which for me wouldn't result in a particularly quick time) and recorded 25.28, not bad for that whole sequence. The crossword itself left me feeling slightly disappointed: after all those titanic struggles of the past week or so, this was a bit of a pussycat. A little bit of science, a little bit of geography, a little bit of Frenglish, a little nod in the direction of the Commonwealth Games and/or Scottish independence, a hint of Gandhi-Ji, a scattering of rather dated words, a couple of literary references, and one stand-out clue referencing a musical affaire de coeur which might test those who take no interest in such things. Then there's a duck which, for once, has nothing to do with cricket.
Here's my reasoning


1 BOARDER  paying guest
The first of our slightly dated words, Marge needs to be distinguished from Mrs Simpson, and indeed from ersatz butter, and poetically taken to mean BORDER. Insert A as instructed.
5 ARGUE give reason for believing
A scoundrel is A ROGUE, from which you exclude the 0
9 ATLAS  a set of maps
Quick, think of another word that fits the definition. Neither could I. So it's A followed by SALT for sailor reversed.
10 GAUCHERIE  awkward ways
One of the many ways in which language insults sinister or cack-handed people. G(rand) CHERIE (undoubtedly a woman) absorbs AU for gold for one of those words nicked from the French to serve in English dictionaries. And do you hear the Academie Anglaise complaining? I think not.
11 GLOSSOP  town in Derbyshire
Stick SOP for concession onto the end of GLOS, short for the shire that isn't spelt that way.
12 DWARFED  made to look small
Nice one this: Start with DEFRAUD for dupe, reverse it and swap out the U(ranium) for W(olfram) the much more romantic version of tungsten.
HERBS and MEDIC are the pieces of anagram material which when "gathered" may give our answer.
15 PEEP Begin to appear
As in "the Sun peeped over the horizon". Palindrome, which, since the crossers give you both letters, only has one answer.
18 ERST Long ago
Really just means "former", and perhaps more familiar as "erstwhile". Hidden in ChaucER'S Time, which is indeed long ago.
20 SAND PLOVER  bird
Chopin, who wrote some of the finest piano music ever committed to paper, and not just the Minute Waltz, was the sometime paramour (despite raging TB) of Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, better known to history and literature as George Sand. Insert a musical soft P(iano). My CoD, though if you don't know of that particular (demi?) monde, I can concede that it might not be yours.
23 SALTIRE cross
The word "flag" might also be a help here, not just because it means "TIRE" and follows the girl SAL. Best known version is the Scottish white cross on blue background, the diagonal placing making it a saltire. Tip for puzzled solvers: when the Times uses "boy" or "girl" it generally indicates a diminutive version of a name.
24 TACHYON that must travel faster than light
On the grounds that if it doesn't, it's not a tachyon, a "theoretical elementary particle moving faster than light". Structure is in the imperative mood: ON YACHT is what you apply the instruction to.
Tested gives PROVEN, a half hearted DEER is a DER. Ruminants are not limited to cows.
26 EAGRE  bore
Such as the Severn bore, a tidal rise in water level. Take M(iles) away form MEAGRE
27 RISEN up
Another bit of French for you, signified by Norman. A Norman's "nothing" is RIEN. make it hold S(on). I had to keep resisting the urge to enter RESIN, despite it having nothing to do with the clue
28 NEW YEAR  time for celebration
Crackers might nudge you towads Chritmas, but it's just there so you can rough up WERE ANY. Simples.


1 BELLOWS  accordion part
Be honest, how many other parts of an accordion can you think of? You need the extra 'S on the end of Saul BELLOW, who wrote Herzog and won lots of literary prizes.
2 ASSASSIN  killer.
Get out your Dickens, and one of my favourite quotes, from the henpecked beadle, Bumble, in Oliver Twist (It survives intact into Oliver!) “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble “the law is a ass - a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience - by experience.”. If the law is a ASS, double it and append I N(ame)
3 DIG UP Find
D(etective) I(nspector) and a flipping PUG
4 ROUNDHEAD Combatant at Naseby
If you know your English Civil War history, this is easy. Cromwell's New Model Army destroyed Charles 1's forces at Naseby. Crudely, ROUNDHEADs on one side, Cavaliers on the other. Part of contest gives you ROUND, top gives you HEAD.
5 ASHRAM  religious community
R(asputin's)leader inserted into A SHAM gives the Indian religious community. Some may have been fraudulent, Gandhi's at Sabarmati wasn't
6 GIRAFFE  animal
A solecism is a GAFFE. Insert IR(ish)
7 EMEND  this
A bit of an &lit. ED(itor) takes in MEN for what an editor does.
8 TANGIBLE  concrete
The final T of Poirot (Christie's Belgian sleuth, anyone not know that?) attached a cracked BELGIAN. Nearly a good clue: needed to be less demolition-ish and more detective-ish.
14 CLARENDON  type
As in font. Derive it from CLARE (college, Cambridge) N(orthern) and lecturer DON. Clarendon looks like this: fonts_used_15
16 PYRENEES  the mountains
A pile of firewood is a PYRE, SEEN is "up" (reversed in a down clue) and attached. Had to be careful with the spelling, for which the wordplay was a great help.
17 BLACK EYE  mouse
Supposedly because it resembles a small rodent, dating from 1842 (we do the research so you don't have to). Empty B(ottl)E, and place LACKEY for servant therein.
19 SALOONS  cars
Yet another bit of French, SANS (without) acts as a frame for LOO(M) for appear, without its last letter. Shakespeare used it in the All the World's a Stage speech in As You Like It.
21 VOYAGER  traveller
VOYEUR is the observer. Non-U tells you to remove the U, the result housing A G(ood) The crossing of Voyager and tachyon set me off on a Star Trek reverie, though not for long
22 WIGEON  duck
I so wanted to spell it with a D in the middle, but the anagram fodder IN WE GO generously disabused me
23 SUPER  fabulous
Short version of SUPERintendent.
24 THROW  cast
Extremely T(oug)H is followed by ROW pronounced to mean line.


Quick Cryptic No. 98 by Rongo

Sorry for delay. I arrived at the polyclinique for my 6 monthly going-slowly-blind check-up, to find the space now occupied by a 'gynaecologiste', which was not of much use to me. Eventually I discoverd the new location of my ophtal. man a mile or so away and had to wait as I'd missed my slot. Meanwhile I'd polished this off in 10 minutes except for 10ac (which took a while to see) and got half way through the Cryptic.
Nothing here of great controversy, a fine medium weight Quickie puzzle.
1 STAY PUT - (UP TASTY)*, def. 'don't move'.
7 HARDISH - HASH (mix-up) around RD I, def. 'quite solid'.
9 TOP-HOLE - Amusing double def. What-ho, Jeeves!
10 BOTTLER - Another clever double def. Took me a while to stop trying to 'package' CO inside something.
11 ROAM - Def. 'travel freely around', sounds like ROME.
12 POST HASTE - POST (pole) HAS T (last of CUT) E (ecstasy). Def. 'with all speed'.
14 EYES RIGHT - YES (sure), R, inside EIGHT (4 x 2), E(YES R) IGHT, def. 'order to turn head in drill'.
16 VEST - VET (check suitability of), holds S (front of sleeve), def. 'garment with none' i.e. no sleeves.
17 FARRIER - FAR (distant) RIER (RIDER without the third letter), def. 'horseshoer'. Is horseshoer a real word?
20 REPTILE - RE (regarding) P (soft) TILE (floor covering. Reptiles have cold blood, even colder than assassins.
21 TO SCALE - TOSCA (operatic heroine) L(OV)E, def. 'in proportion'.
22 THOUGHT - THOUGH (yet) T (time), def. 'meditation'.

1 SATURATED FAT - (TRUE DATA FAST)*, def. 'something bad in diet'. Allegedly.
2 APPLAUSE - APPLE (orchard fruit) with A (area) US inside, def. 'hand showing approval'.
3 PROD - PRO (in support of) D (daughter), def. 'nudge'.
4 THEBES - THE BES(T), ancient city in Egypt so named by the Greeks.
5 CROTCHET - CROCHET (work of looped thread) with T (tension's beginning) inside, def. 'note'.
6 HILL - H (height) ILL (poorly), def. 'raised part of landscape'.
8 HARLEY STREET - Cryptic def, street in London full of posh, expensive medics.
12 PARTISAN - PART (role) IS A N(ew), def. 'supporter'.
13 SCREWING - SING around CREW (sailors), def. 'twisting'. As in with a screwdriver, I suppose.
15 GARRET - Hidden word, BEG(GAR RET)AINS, def. 'dismal attic'. Do garrets have to be dismal?
18 RUSH - Double def.
19 UP TO - (POUT)*, def. 'capable of', as in 'he was up to the task'.

Times Crossword 25,846 - 23 July 2014

Solving Time: 32 minutes. I found this rather hard, partly because of some stretching vocab (eg 8, 13, 14dn) and some rather convoluted wordplay. These aren't criticisms though, I enjoyed it very much

A somewhat briefer than usual blog tonight as I am off walking for three days, early doors. So any errors will probably remain uncorrected I am afraid and you must talk amongst yourselves if something is obscure... but someone always knows the answers

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

ODO means the Oxford Dictionaries Online

1 inflexible - INF(O) + LEGIBLE, with the G changed to an X
6 as is - (O)ASIS
9 marrow bone - ROW (bank) + NOB (dignitary) rev., in MARE, for a main ingredient of (eg) beef stock
10 chou - which becomes "ouch" if halves are swapped. More familiar in the plural, choux
12 goldfish bowl - cd, goldfish proverbially having a worse memory even than me
15 side issue - SIDE (face) + ISSUE (children)
17 rabid - AB (able-bodied seaman) in RID, clear
18 Aruba - B(ritish) in AURA (atmosphere) rev. Aruba is a little part of the Netherlands, less than 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela. I'm slightly ashamed to admit I know of its existence mainly from watching old Miss World competitions...
19 pussyfoot - PUSSY, a cat, eg a tom (or the Tom, as in Jerry?) + F(ine) + TOO(L) rev.
20 acceleration - CEL(L) (small group) + ERA (time) in ACTION (warfare)
24 Ohio - alternate letters of bOtH lImOs
25 bestraddle - DARTS (sprints) rev. in BED (base) + L(ILL)E
26 Yves - hidden in safetY VESt
27 horizontal - (C)HORIZO (sausage) + (LU)N(CH) + TAL(E) (porkie, pork pie, lie..)

1 iamb - BMA (doctors, ie the British Medical Association, a body that aggressively tries to stop us smoking, drinking, eating or doing anything remotely enjoyable) + I(nspect), all rev. I wouldn't recognise an iamb, a spondee, a trochee, dactyl or any similar metrical foot if I tripped over one but I have an extensive list of them in my head, thanks to crosswords..
2 fork - FOR K, ie on his side.. a basic chess manoevre along with pins, skewers etc.
3 economically - E(questrians) + ON in COMICALLY. The def. being "with reins?"
4 in bud - IN (fashionable) + BUD(DY)
5 lankiness - KIN (family) in LANES (passageways) + (allotment)S
7 schoolbook - SCHOOL (of fish) + BOOK (reserve)
8 squalidity - LID (roof) + IT in S(mall) QUAY (landing area)
11 cherry tomato - CHER (dear in French) +*(TO + TO + MARY). A hard anagramt o spot!
13 escalatory - ESC (key) + A LA TORY. Finally I have become attuned to spotting esc, alt and similar keys
14 adjunctive - DJ (radio personality) + 'UN (one locally, ie in dialect) in ACTIVE, ie busy. An uncommon word
16 superhero - a fine &lit clue, ie a clue where the whole clue acts as the definition. The wordplay is HE (male) in ERR (slip), all in OPUS (work) rev.
21 Tutsi - TUT (ie the incestuous Egyptian King Tutankhamun) + IS, rev.
22 edit - D(aughter) in TIE rev.,
23 veal - VALE, ie farewell, all the best, with the E raised to make the controversial meat

Times 25,845 - A Stroll In The Park

We're on the beginner's slopes today with a straightforward vanilla offering about which there is little to say.

1ANALGESIC - A(legs in a)*C; Aircraftman=AC;
11EAVES - reference "eavesdrop" which means to snoop;
12ANCHORMAN - A-N(CH)ORMAN; Norman period was 1066 to say 1350;
13GARRISON - (soaring)* contains "R" from R(aptor);
14BULB - BLUB reversed;
17ECHT - ECH(o)-T;
18BASELINE - BASE-LINE; tennis reference;
21HAPHAZARD - H(APH-AZ)ARD; AZ for "A to Z London Street Maps";
22OPALS - hidden (pawnsh)OP-ALS(o);
24UNARMED - UN(h)ARMED; Albert Square is fictional place in East End of London;
26DWELL - D(o)-WELL; O from O(thello);
27MILL-WHEEL - your cryptic definition for today;
2ALL,OVER,THE,PLACE - PLACE sounds like "plaice";
3GOATSKIN - (skating)* contains "O" from O(ut);
4SHERATON - S(HER)AT-ON; a chair from Thomas Sheraton all the rage circa 1800;
5COPECK - CO-PECK; ready=slang for money; Vladimir=Russian; firm=company;
6JUNIOR - JUN-I(st)-OR; OR=Other Ranks;
13GREYHOUND - GR(YE reversed-H)OUND;
16TENON-SAW - (one wants)*;
19MAMMAL - sounds like "mam will"; Geordie means from NE England where "mum" becomes "mam";
20RANDOM - R-AND-OM; ROM=Read Only Memory;
23STEAL - sounds like "steel"; half-inch=slang for steal; a steel is a rod for sharpening knives;

Quick Cryptic No 97 by Grumpy

A much more gentle offering than last Tuesday's although I got a bit held up in SW. Some nice clues and a couple of answers maybe not familiar to all. Not much more to add - enjoy!
The link seems to be working but just in case:
Definitions are underlined.

1 Money we brought back for nut (6)
CASHEW - Money (CASH) we brought back (EW).
5 Step outside a large royal residence (6)
PALACE - Step (PACE) outside a large (AL).
8 Tour may gather for recreation in seaside resort (5,8)
GREAT YARMOUTH - Anagram (for re-creation) of TOUR MAY GATHER. Nice to see Norfolk getting a mention.
9 Biblical king finally lacking as leading man (4)
HERO - Biblical king (HEROd)lacking the final letter. A minor point but are all leading men heros? Maybe someone could suggest one who isn't. If so then the clue might have needed an (?).
10 Dig near a wild flower (8)
GARDENIA - Anagram (wild) of DIG NEAR A.
11 Stick with a Scottish island (6)
STAFFA - Stick (STAFF - think Lord of the Rings) with a (A). The island of the basalt columns much admired by Mendelssohn.
13 Doctor's first with old herb – the prescribed amount (6)
DOSAGE - Doctor's first (D) with old (O) herb (SAGE).
15 French article about a bad-tempered game (8)
LACROSSE - French article (LE - masculine 'the') about a (A) bad-tempered (CROSS). Clever word play - La is also a French article which could confuse. Also some may think that Lacrosse is a bad-tempered game - but from what I hear, whilst pretty violent, in the same way as rugby, players play by the rules and respect the officials.
17 Don't eat quickly (4)
FAST - Double definition.
19 Only politicians accept call for help in Kipling's work (4,2,7)
JUST SO STORIES - Only (JUST) politicians (TORIES) accept call for help (SOS). If you didn't know this one, with all the checking letters it may have been possible (but tough) to work out. Knowledge of poets, artists, chemical symbols - you name it - does help in solving these crosswords (quickly) but is not essential.
21 Withdrawing from Montenegro, Egypt's patron saint (6)
GEORGE - This one is in the clue (from) but is backwards (withdrawing) montenEGRO EGypt's. I sometimes wish that other countries did patron saint days as well as the Irish. Any excuse is a good one to party.
22 Fancy knight brought in to give a speech (6)
ORNATE - Knight (N) brought in to give a speech (ORATE).

2 See eye to eye in Gretna Green (5)
AGREE - Another answer in the clue (in) gretnA GREEn.
3 Set out to forestall principal on vacation (4,3)
HEAD OFF - Principal (HEAD) on vacation (OFF).
4 Route ends in New Guinea possibly (3)
WAY - Final letters (ends) in neW guineA possiblY.
5 Separate crest for game bird (9)
PARTRIDGE - Separate (PART) crest (RIDGE).
6 Unattached and promiscuous (5)
LOOSE - Double definition.
7 Sarcastic extract from a newspaper? (7)
CUTTING - Double definition.
10 Old prime minister pleased with gem (9)
GLADSTONE - Pleased (GLAD) with gem (STONE).
12 Speak badly of a duke breaking ceasefire (7)
TRADUCE - A (A) duke (D) inside (breaking) ceasefire (TRUCE). If you hadn't heard of traduce then now you have!
14 New fans for spice (7)
SAFFRON - Anagram (new) of FANS FOR. A very expensive spice.
16 Revolving part seen going up or down (5)
ROTOR - Reads the same backwards or forwards - and, as this is a down clue, then upwards or downwards.
18 Adorable saint swallowing very little (5)
SWEET - Saint (ST) containing (swallowing) very little (WEE). A good friend of mine, when being offered a glass of malt whisky invariably enquires as to how long it has been in the barrel then remarks 'it's awfully wee for its age'.
20 Initially there were only a couple (3)
TWO - First letters of (initially) There Were Only.
A 30-minute solve to start the week, with just enough obscure vocab and ancient references to give the grey cells a good workout. Not a scientist in sight, but a golfing reference to welcome our Rory to the pantheon of the true greats.


1 CAUSERIE – the sting in the head? According to ODO, ‘an informal article or talk, typically on a literary subject’, which had passed me by, as had the French word ‘causer’ (to talk) from which it is derived. Those who didn’t know the word are likely to have got it from working around AU (gold); the rest of the parsing is C (‘circa’ – about) and SERIE[s], where ‘son ultimately mislaid’ is an instruction to chop off the last letter of the target word, not the last letter of ‘son’. My last in.
9 CALIGULA – GU[y] inside LILAC reversed + A.
10 MAQUIS – MA[r]QUIS for the fine folks sent up in ’Allo ’Allo.
11 TOILET ROLL – TOILE (‘a translucent linen or cotton fabric’) + TROLL; the literal is simply ‘paper’.
12 CHIN – as well as being a joint of meat or a mountain ridge, CHINE is a verb meaning to cut along the backbone; delete the E to give the facial feature. Notwithstanding the above, what we're really meant to do is take the K off CHINK - thanks, Jack.
13 UNSCRIPTED – for some reason I was playing around DENT rather than STUD; anyway, an anagram* of four sevenths of STUDent + PRINCE gives the answer.
16 SCHOLAR – CHORAL* + S[ymphony].
17 USUALLY – US (America) + U (united) + ALLY (one of the USA’s allies).
20 FIRST THING – the literal is ‘when newspapers are hot off the press’; the wordplay ‘leading’ + ‘article’.
22 THOR – the Thunderer is a nickname for our beloved newspaper; found hidden in ‘auTHORitative’, which describes what it used to be.
23 BRUSH ASIDE – RUSH (career) in BA’S IDE[a].
25 DRIVER – Tees is a river just south of the Tyne, upon which Durham is situated well, no, actually - Middlesbrough is on the Tees - thanks to deezzaa for putting me straight; so that gives us RIVER after [abandone]D, and arguably our Rory’s best club.
26 CAESAREA – ‘vintage port’ (on the Mediterranean coast of Roman Palestine), which crops up in the New Testament a fair bit; it’s ‘bars not stocking fine’ ie CA[f[ES with AREA (neighbourhood). Nice clue.
27 BAYONETS – ‘weapons’; obtained from YON (that) + E[ast] in BATS (clubs).


2 ANARCHIC – A + NARC (US drugs agent) + HIC (Latin for here; there is ille)
3 STUPENDOUS - STUD[i]OUS surrounds PEN (writer).
4 RESTAURANT – a write-in for many; the wordplay is RE (on) followed by (TAU + RAN) in ST
5 ECLIPSE – ‘obscure’; CLIPS in E[dific]E.
6 ALOE – alternate letters in tAlL rOsEs for the stuff they put in perfectly good fruit drinks.
7 JUT OUT – ‘project’; JU[s]T OUT.
8 BALLADRY – the collective word for ‘ballads’; BALL + A + DRY.
15 PLANTATION – PL (abbreviation for place) + T in A + NATION.
16 SOFTBACK – O + FT + B in SACK.
19 MINICAB – ‘taxi’ (though last time this came up, a professional driver popped by to say that a minicab is not a taxi); MI + N + I + C + A + B.
21 ROUTER – R + OUTER; our cricketing clue, or, if you’re English, clueless.
24 AIRY – ‘light’; RY next to the Great North Road (A1), which is itself a motorway for much of its length now.

Quick Cryptic 96 by Orpheus

As we begin the week that will see the 100th Quick Cryptic, it is mind-boggling that simply making the puzzle available to punters is proving such an IT conundrum (in other technology news, today marks the 45th anniversary of the first human walking on the moon). There have been at least 20 occasions (principally Mondays) in the life of the Quick Cryptic so far where the link provided on the Times website has not pointed to the correct puzzle, with today being the latest. As has been mentioned in the forum, these persistent IT glitches are doing their part to undermine the whole point of these puzzles, namely to attract new solvers to the world of cryptic crosswords.

Today's puzzle can be found at:

This is an unusual grid in that it doesn't possess half-turn symmetry and is instead symmetrical about the minor diagonal. I must admit that this isn't something that I normally pay attention to, and hence I can't swear it hasn't happened before, but it did jump out at me.

The puzzle itself doesn't appear to have any pitfalls, other than perhaps 18D, but feel free to ask for any clarification in the comments.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Courteous American train driver, one good at building bridges (5,8)
CIVIL ENGINEER - CIVIL (Courteous) + ENGINEER (American train driver)
8 Granny's first attempt to digest a French report (7)
GUNSHOT - G (Granny's first, i.e. first letter of Granny) + SHOT (attempt), all around (to digest) UN (a French, i.e. the word "a" in French)
9 Fertile spot originally on a small island (5)
OASIS - O (originally on, i.e. first letter of on) + A + S (small) + IS (island)
10 Stubborn general being conveyed around (12)
INTRANSIGENT - GEN (general) with IN TRANSIT (being conveyed) around
12 Eavesdrop, seeing English king carrying a toupee (6)
EARWIG - E (English) plus R (king, i.e. Rex) inside (carrying) A WIG (toupee). Note that "carrying" can be used in wordplay to indicate either putting something inside or outside something else, though "wearing" might have produced a better surface here
14 Content of handbag has thief horrified (6)
AGHAST - hidden inside (Content of) handbAG HAS Thief
17 Trouble engulfing Republican family member (7)
BROTHER - BOTHER (Trouble) around (engulfing) R (Republican)
19 Elderly person regularly appearing in soiled linen? (5)
OLDIE - alternate letters (regularly appearing) of sOiLeD lInEn. Not, perhaps, the most uplifting of surface readings, though arguably topical given the grim stories emerging from certain nursing homes in recent times
20 Received by the ear, or spoken by the mouth, say (5)
AURAL - homophone (say) of oral (spoken by the mouth)
21 Retired vicar with a partly enclosed portico (7)
VERANDA - REV (vicar, i.e. reverend) reversed (Retired) AND (with) A
22 Anguish produced by a girl's lock of hair (8)
DISTRESS - DI'S (a girl's, i.e. belonging to Di) + TRESS (lock of hair)
23 Considered suitable material for a hat (4)
FELT - double definition

1 Barred enclosure requiring four different keys (4)
CAGE - the wordplay is telling you to pick four different letters from the musical keys A, B, C, D, E, F, G, which some might not consider as being particularly helpful. Given that the definition is precise and the surface reading makes pleasing use of a different meaning of key, I don't think anyone will quibble too vehemently about it though
2 Merchant who's very new in Bury? (7)
VINTNER - V (very) plus N (new) inside INTER (Bury). A vintner sells wine, and Chambers tells me that the shop (s)he sells it from is a vintry
3 Composer's husband entertained by tragic king (5)
LEHAR - H (husband) inside (entertained by) LEAR (tragic king). The composer in this case is Franz Lehar, perhaps best known for his operetta The Merry Widow. Lear is a common crossword king in the main cryptic, where his daughters Regan, Goneril, and (less often) Cordelia can also be encountered
4 Observing what a symphony in F is, say? (6)
NOTING - a quirky bit of wordplay, suggesting that a symphony in F is NOT IN G
5 Support for decreasing activity? (7-5)
IRONING-BOARD - cryptic definition, made clear if you read decreasing as de-creasing, i.e. removing creases
6 Woman one's embraced by otherwise (5)
ELSIE - I (one) inside (embraced by) ELSE (otherwise). Maybe not the first woman's name to spring to mind, unless you're a fan of Coronation Street
7 React as intended: some swimmers do (4,2,3,4)
RISE TO THE BAIT - the wordplay alludes to the fact that some fish will come to the surface for bait
11 Important poet carrying round electronic instrument (8)
KEYBOARD - KEY (Important) + BARD (poet), around (carrying) O (round)
13 Fitter holding up fashionable breathing aid (7)
INHALER - HALER (fitter - think hale and hearty) beneath (holding up) IN (fashionable)
15 An Italian poet moving at a gentle pace (7)
ANDANTE - AN + DANTE (Italian poet), for the musical tempo that I also blogged in Quick Cryptic 36
16 Roam in borders of gorgeous spinneys (6)
GROVES - ROVE (Roam) inside GS (borders of gorgeous, i.e. the outside letters of GorgeouS)
18 Plant Rumpole talked of in East London? (5)
ORRIS - homophone (talked of) of 'Orace, or how someone from the East End of London would supposedly pronounce Horace, the first name of Rumpole of the Bailey (from the TV series written by John Mortimer). The root of the orris is used in perfumery and smells of violets
Solving Time: 21:01

I found this one something of a gentle stroll, albeit with a couple of unusual words at 1a & 11d. There seemed quite a few anagrams, most of which were quite easy to spot. 14d was particularly good and gets my COD.

I wasn't keen on 25a which just read like a straight clue to me, unless I'm missing something. Plus 23d seemed particularly lazy.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (--)*, and removals like this

10CA + V & A
15WROUGHT IRON = W (Tungsten) + (OR TIN)* about ROUGH
24BEAR - triple def, although 'stomach' and 'suffer' are essentially the same one
25APPARITION - I would call this a cd, but I see nothing cryptic about it
26LULU = LoUd x2
3THROW A WOBBLY - wordplay in solution - (A WOBBLY)* = BABY OWL, 'THROW' acts as an anagrind
4ALTO - rev hidden
5CURMUDGEON = Criticise + sURGEON about MUD
16ISTANBUL = STAN + Buy Umbrella in IL (the Italian), so the definition is just 'city'
17PRATFALL = TAR rev + F all in PAL (china - CRS) + L
20SÉANCE - cd
23BAR + Barbiturate - Surely a better word beginning with B could be found than one that actually contains the answer! Bourbon? Brandy? Bromide?

Mephisto 2811 - Don Manley

Interesting solve this one - after about half an hour I had a completely full top half, but precious little poking in to the bottom half. Funny thing is I got myself going again by putting in a guess that fitted the definition and wordplay, which ended up working, but I am still a but clueless as to part of the wordplay.

Aha - a rethinking of the clue and I think everything is crystal clear.

Away we go...

1COBALT: as the fellow European would be a CO-BALT
6MAGGS: take OT away from MAGGOTS
11ALLOW: cockney for HALLOW
13SUCCAH: SUCH(so great), containing C(100) and A(one). For those of you who are newer to barred-grid puzzes, one = A is OK here, while it isn't in the daily
20P,ARLES: this was my guess to get me going again, although I think now I've seen it before I was having problems seeing ARLES as preliminary payment
25BATELEURS: BATE is beat the wings impatiently, then L, and (SURE)*
26SEKOS: OKE(all right) reversed inside some S's (saints)
29KALEVALA: K, then LAV reversed containing ALE, A
30MAVIN: V in MAIN - Chambers gives this as the first spelling, but I'm more used to seeing it spelled MAVEN
31ARMILLA: MILL (a plant that mass-produces) in AR(e)A
32STAID: STAND with the N replaced by an 1
33TERAIS: SET reversed with ERA inside
2BARCHART: CRAB(louse) reversed then HART
4TEPHRA: T then IT removed from EPHRAIM
5URACIL: I,C reversed in URAL
6MANITOU: A,NIT (hmmm, nits and louses, hope the setter hasn't been scratching too much) in MOU
8GOLDENER: hidden
16PLACE MAT: LACE,M(maiden in cricket) in PAT(butter)
17TEQUILLA: QUILL in TEA - alternative spelling of TEQUILA
21STELAR: take the L out of STELLAR
22DESERT: take one S out of DESSERT - I think we've had this use of DESERT recentishly
27KAVA: KA(spirit) containing AV(annos vixit, lived so many years)

Saturday Times 25837 (12th July)

I didn't note my time for this one, but I remember getting stuck on a few odd ones - DISINHERIT, AQUILINE and FUNDRAISER were all slow to arrive, but SWAM was my LOI. Certainly harder than the past couple of weekends anyway, with a few stand-out clues. 23ac was my COD though for a new twist on a familiar clue type, and 13dn made me smile as I always have to pronounce it "GuadalaKHKHKHKHara" now (see link below).

Oh, and as mohn2 points out below, it's a pangram too.

1 Baked dish having smooth skin with patches (7)
PIEBALD - PIE (baked dish) + BALD (having smooth skin).
5 Wayward lass put in religious building (2,5)
ST PAUL'S - (lass put)*
9 After this stain, Ken poses a question of Scottish recognition (3)
DYE - As in "D'ye ken John Peel, with his coat so gay?"
10 Company try local area network around Spanish region (5,6)
COSTA BLANCA - CO(mpany) + STAB (try) + LAN (local area network) + CA (around).
11 Stop short among a range of goods, hooked (8)
AQUILINE - QUI(t) (stop short) inside A LINE (a range of goods).
12 Judge with viewpoint leading to clash (6)
JANGLE - J(udge) + ANGLE (viewpoint).
15 Stick hairpiece on back to front (4)
TWIG - WIG (hairpiece) next to (fron)T. Nice idea, "back to front" to indicate a T. Don't think I've seen it before.
16 Frenchman's from hereditary unit with naughty corruption (10)
DEGENERACY - DE (Frenchman's from) + GENE (hereditary unit) + RACY (naughty).
18 Benefit enjoyment is exhausting - where names goes, I'm not sure (10)
FUNDRAISER - FUN (enjoyment) + DRAI(n)S (exhausting, minus the N) + ER (I'm not sure). There's a typo in this clue, should be "name", not "names".
19 Provide fill-in music's volume with sound equipment (4)
VAMP - V(olume) + AMP (sound equipment). Easy wordplay, but I didn't know that meaning, and apparently Chambers doesn't either - the closest they have is "to improvise inartistically (music).
22 Opera with debut for baritone as replacement for and alternative to bass? (6)
TURBOT - TURANDOT (opera) with B(aritone) replacing AND.
23 Switching heads, chap needing a shave maybe said a prayer (4,4)
HAIL MARY - if you switch the initial letters, it sounds like "Male hairy". A reverse Spoonerism? Whatever next!
25 Timber in winch behind colonist who collects pieces (11)
ANTHOLOGIST - LOG (timber) inside HOIST (winch), after ANT (colonist).
27 Grey colour like hard wood (3)
ASH - double definition with some wordplay in the middle: AS (like) + H(ard).
28 Long to receive important viewer's complaint (4-3)
PINK-EYE - PINE (long) around KEY (important). Another name for acute contagious conjunctivitis.
29 Staff unhappy about insurance’s core building cover (7)
MANSARD - MAN (staff) + SAD (unhappy) around (insu)R(ance). A roof having its angle divided to slope more steeply in the lower half than in the upper.

1 Online recording of old Washington in bygone days (7)
PODCAST - O(ld) + DC (Washington) inside PAST (bygone days).
2 Person getting to top in his career (11)
EXECUTIONER - cryptic definition.
3 Bend terms of legacy with mischief in mind? (6)
ARCHLY - ARCH (bend) + L(egac)Y.
4 Daughter has entered hospital with mounting fatigue, cut off (10)
DISINHERIT - D(aughter) + IS IN (has entered) + H(ospital) + TIRE (fatigue) reversed.
5 Did reel cut end of Far from the Madding Crowd? (4)
SWAM - SWARM (Madding Crowd?) with the R (end of Far) removed.
6 Tablet, one not rejuvenating, spoils taker (8)
PILLAGER - PILL (tablet) + AGER (one not rejuvenating).
7 Ornamental vessel erected near university (3)
URN - NR U(niversity) reversed.
8 Pretty pasture, empty, with loose rock around (7)
SHAPELY - P(astur)E inside SHALY (with loose rock).
13 An Indian royal youth with month to raise Mexican city (11)
GUADALAJARA - A RAJA (Indian royal) + LAD (youth) + AUG (month), all reversed. Always reminds me of Tom Lehrer's In Old Mexico.
14 Males fired after wrecking principle of union (10)
FEDERALISM - (males fired)*
17 What island stocks is old, therefore preservative is the answer (8)
CREOSOTE - CRETE (island) around O(ld), SO (therefore).
18 Note law overturned by politician: it seeks reduction in visitors (3,4)
FAT CAMP - FA (note) + ACT (law) reversed + MP (politician).
20 Pressure on lead for Scotland Yard to keep revolutionary excited (7)
PSYCHED - P(ressure) + S(cotland) + YD (yard) around CHE (revolutionary).
21 Storyteller possibly tone-deaf? Not entirely (6)
BLYTON - hidden in "possibly tone-deaf"
24 Practise Buddhism with reduction in sleep (4)
DOZE - DO ZEN (practise Buddhism), minus the last letter.
26 Volunteers on new beat (3)
TAN - TA (Territorial Army, volunteers) + N(ew).

Times Jumbo 1099

I thought this puzzle was medium difficulty, with some clever clueing, and I learnt a new expression (44ac), so it was educational too!

As usual, * indicates an anagram.

1 DIOXIN - DI IN, around OX
4 ROUND-TABLE - (do turn)* + ABLE ('up to it')
10 KICKS - double definition
14 BOTTLE-FED - BOTTLE ('daring') + FED
15 BE AT A LOOSE END - LOO ('ladies') + SEEN, IN BEAT + AD
16 OFFSIDE - OFF ('turned', in the sense of milk etc. going bad), + SIDE (sounds like 'sighed')
17 RIDES UP - RIP, around used (reversed). Definition is 'Lifts with wear'
19 SHOULDER TO SHOULDER - L in (Stroud householder)*
21 ACID - CA ('about'), reversed, + ID
24 YONKS - last letters of 'visibly no train back alas'
26 FOGBOUND - FOUND, around GB + O
27 STRIP OUT - OUT preceded by STRIP. In the online verson of the puzzle, the first word of the clue ('remove') appeared without a capital letter, but I think that was just a typo
30 TAMAGOTCHIS - MA + GOT, in TA + CHIS. I suspect that TAMAGOTCHIS aren't as popular now as when they first appeared in the mid-1990s, but I'm willing to be put right on this!
35 THIS AND THAT - Tea-disH + AND ('with') + THAT ('which'), around IS ('one's')
39 WALRUSES - law (reversed) + RUSES
40 YERBA - hidden in PlaYER BAnned
43 REED - RE + ED
44 A BRICK SHORT OF A LOAD - cryptic indication; here 'stretcher' means a brick that's laid horizontally. I hadn't come acros this particular variant of the 'a sandwich short of a picnic' idea before
47 CATCH ON - double definition
48 CRUDEST - (cuts red)*
50 EMOTIVE - coffeE + MOTIVE
51 SHIFT REGISTER - cryptic indication - 'Is regret' is what you get if you SHIFT the word REGISTER
52 ARACHNIDS - RAN around CH, in AIDS
53 ANTON - ANT + gONe
54 GO FOR BROKE - GO FOR (sounds - possibly - like 'gofer') + BROKE

2 OUT OF BOUNDS - cryptic indication + definition
3 ILL WILL - I'LL WILL, i.e. 'I promise to leave [in my will]'
6 NOBODY'S FOOL - definition + cryptic indication, referring to traditional British dessert, the FOOL
8 BEANPOLE - (one able)* around P
10 KOSOVO - KO (knock out) + SO + V + O
12 SADAT - SAD, + ta (reversed)
13 AFTER-EFFECTS - double definition
20 TUG-OF-WAR - cryptic definition
22 DATA SET - DA, + test (reversed) around A
23 BIRTHDAY - (by a third)*
25 STRING UP - STRING ('train', as in retinue etc.) + UP
28 AMRITSAR - A MAR, around stir, reversed. A clever '&lit' clue where the definition + wordplay together make a further, more exact definition
31 GLADSTONE BAG - GLAD + ST + ONE, + gab (reversed)
33 OLIVER TWIST - OLIVER (Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy) + TWIST
35 TORCH-BEARER - R in (bar to cheer)*
36 HARMONIZING - HARM + ON (defined by 'leg'; a cricketing term) + I + ZING
38 ALBAN BERG - NB in (a large B)*
41 ADDRESSED - double definition
42 MISCHIEF - M ('spymaster') IS CHIEF
45 ANOTHER - A + NOT HER ('him' is NOT HER)
46 PHOTON - HOT in PONd.
47 CASCA - hidden in maniAC SACrificed
49 THANK - THANE, with K replacing the final E

Quick Cryptic Number 95 by Mara

I found this pretty meaty and I didn’t manage to finish it on my commute (my daily aim) despite the continuing signalling faults. I need help for 3dn from anyone who understands the wordplay! 13ac was unknown to me both as definition and answer, and was my LOI. I am now definitely of the opinion that Fridays are designed for beginners to tackle over the weekend; I certainly would have done so had I not been blogging today.

Definitions underlined.

1 MICRONESIA - Pacific region from an anagram of NICE MAORIS (indicated by scattered).
8 SHIATSU - anagram of THAIS (indicated by pummelled) + SU (us the wrong way) for this Japanese treatment.
9 RULER - double definition.
10 OVID - this poet is found in nabokOV I Daresay.
11 CHOW CHOW - food is CHOW, written twice for dog.
13 JALOPY - JAY (bird) covers (hides) LOP (prune) for crate, a derelict car (sometimes used for stock racing?).
14 WOOFER - double definition. A bass speaker is a woofer, and a treble(?) speaker is a tweeter.
17 MACAROON - the definition is biscuit. A + C (cookie originally) in MAROON (purplish red).
19 ARID - AID crossing R (river) for dry.
21 EXIST - ET (alien) containing XIS (a number, six, going backwards) for live.
22 CONSUME - SUM (the lot) in CONE (shape of an ice cream) is eat.
23 BEDRAGGLED - BED (mattress) + L surrounded by RAGGED (left, clothed by threadbare) for dishevelled.

2 INITIAL - anagram of (translate) LATIN + I + I (i repeatedly) for very early.
3 RUTH - I think the definition is pity, but I cannot parse!
4 NOUGHT - last letter of caverN, then OUGHT (should) for duck (a score of zero in cricket).
5 SCREW-TOP - type of bottle from CREW (team) going into STOP (block).
6 ALLAH - A + HALL (lobby) rising for God.
7 DRAWBRIDGE - castle’s opening is to DRAW (tie) BRIDGE (a card game).
8 SHOWJUMER - SHOW (indicate) + JUMPER (top) for horse.
12 SPIRITED - lively is an anagram (indicated by the classic “at sea”) of RIPTIDES.
15 FORTUNE - FOR (supporting) + TUNE (harmony) for a great deal.
16 WOTCHA - another anagram, this time indicated by reform, of ACT HOW for welcome.
18 CLIMB - shin up is first letter of Calf on LIMB (leg, say).
20 SNUG - comfortable is GUNS (arms) raised.
Hello again puzzling friends! I'm afraid to say that I find myself once again UP AGAINST IT, being off to sample the delights of the Latitude Festival in lovely Southwold, Suffolk in the very near future. It feels like I've only been back from New York for five minutes and already I'm gadding off somewhere new. My life does seem rather exciting when viewed in fortnightly snapshots, but I assure you there are vast longueurs in between, which only the finest crosswords known to humanity can defuse.

Please to report I enjoyed this one an awful lot: nothing *too* difficult here but plenty of things that led me up the garden path for a while, with some very enjoyable "aha!" moments. Lots and lots of clues with a real sense of fun and joie de vivre, the way I like it. "A" to indicate "film of old" is the only thing I paused to parse - does it imply the old classification that ended up being replaced by PG, or have I missed something?

Hard to choose a clue of the day as there were many that I really liked, but I think it might have to be 13D as I'm a big fan of FitzGerald's Rubaiyat and "material for baleful" was just a bit irresistible. But I really do have to run at this point or I'll miss my ride. Toodle pip!

1 STUCK-UP - superior: T [shirt, "finally"] "available in" SUCK UP [fawn]
5 A BAD EGG - "one undesirable customer": BADE [ordered] + G + G [goods] "on" A [approval "initially"]
9 MOA - "bird once": MOAt ["taking off close to", i.e. removing last letter of, ditch]
10 NIP IN THE BUD - "Scotch early": NI ["returned" IN = home] + HE BUD [male friend] "consuming" PINT [beer]
11 SEASONED - experienced: "bit of" malaiSE AS ONE Does
12 ESCORT - shepherd: piE iS neverR sofT "at the ends" with CO [firm] "in the middle"
15 NUNS - "order?": eNiUgNaS, i.e. SANGUINE reversed then with odd letters removed
16 PSYCHOPATH - (SHY APT)* "to grab" CHOP [axe] &lit.
18 BATON ROUND - cryptic def. - the sprint relay team hopes to get the "baton round" the track, the rioter to avoid being shot with this synonym for a rubber bullet
19 SKIP - triple def. - "bound", "not to select", "team leader"
22 UPTOWN - American suburbs: UP TO [the responsibility of] + W + N [opponents at Bridge]
23 ASHPLANT - stick: ASLANT [inclined] "defending" HP [payment method]
25 JAMMY DODGER - fattening treat: and, punnily, one jammily dodging something
27 YEP - "informal approval": YE ["solvers of old"] + P [puzzle "at first"]
28 YONKERS - place in New York: (ORKNEYS)*
29 READMIT - let in again: READ [are students of] + MIT [American college]

1 SIMPSON - "Homer, for one": SKIMPS ON [uses very little] with K [Greek "finally"] "shunning it"
2 UP AGAINST IT - struggling: U [university] PA [secretary] GAINS TIT [gets the bird]
3 KIND OF - pretty: F [female] "attending" KIN DO [family party]
4 PUPPET SHOW - "where strings are pulled", and getting PET ["dog perhaps"] into PUP SHOW ["Junior Crufts?"]
5 AUNT - relative: AT [TA = cheers, "up"] "visited by" UN [one]
6 ADHESION - bond: A ["film of old"] + (IS ONE HD)* ["remade"]
7 EBB - go out: BBE [BE = live, "after initial repeat"] reversed ["is over"]
8 GO DUTCH: GO [leave] + DUTCH [wife], and a wife going dutch must "treat herself"
13 OMAR KHAYYAM - old poet: MARK [token] + HAY [material for baleful] in OYAM [MAYO = Irish county, "turned up"]
14 ICING SUGAR - "fine material for coat": I [one] + (GRACING US)* ["with shifts"]
17 SNOW TYRE - cryptic def. playing on double meanings of "purchase" and "inflation"
18 BLUE JAY - "a high flyer": BLUE [adult] + JA [German for 27(A)] + Y [years]
20 PITAPAT - beating: PIT ["return of" TIP = head] + APT [likely] "to receive" A
21 SPARTA - old city: ART [craft] "guarded" by SPA [well]
24 TOSS - cryptic def., around the subject of a coin toss
26 MEN - "the gents": OMEN [sign] - O [over]

Times 25841: When in Canada

Solving time : 23:28 for one that I found pretty tricky (and it appears I'm the first correct solution on the Club timer), though some of it could be a battle with the trickle of internet I'm getting here in the great blue North. I'm in Toronto for a few days and don't have a great connection, so if you don't like my explanations feel free to turn to the hive mind.

Which may have to happen because right now I'm staring at a few that went in from definition alone that may take more explaining than I can come up with right now. There's some chewy stuff in here, that's for sure.

Away we go...

1DROGHEDA: (HEARD,DOG)* - for some this may be a write in as it's obviously an anagram clue, but I needed all the checking letters to get it
5WHIMSY: 1,MS(single girl) in WHY
10REGISTERED POST: I think the idea is that POST(sign) is really after REGISTERED(entered) Edit: in comments, it has been pointed out that REGISTERED could mean "signed" so everything is in the right order
11STAINES: the place that sounds like STAINS
13LADDERY: double definition, one of them cryptic, in that hose full of tears would be LADDERY
18ENCODED: CO(Conscientious Objector) in ENDED(over)
21WILD-GOOSE CHASE: CD based on that there is a "canadian goose"
22WIDE: double definition, one related to cricket
23SESAME SEED: think Ali Baba for open SESAME, then the ranked tennis player is a SEED
24HEPTAD: HEAD(leader) surrounding PT(point) and a long definition
25SLEEPS IN: This went in from the definition (ignores alarm), and I can see S(second) and SIN(offence) so PEEL must be an old copper getting reversed, but I can't see a definition of the sort in Chambers or Collins. Maybe a reference? Oh - just after I posted this I did one more Googly search and I guess it refers to Robert Peel, founder of Scotland Yard
1DESERTS: DESSERTS with the middle S missing
2ORANGEADE: anagram of EGO and ANDREA
3HEELS(spurs),IN(at home)
4DEEPENS: D, then P(ay) in a couple of compass points
5WITHDRAWN: DR in WITH AWN(sporting a beard)
6IN A WORD: I, then DROWN reversed about A
7STARTER: double definition
12EULOGISED: the Brussels reporter is a EU ED and he's got LO(watch) and GIS(US troops) inside
16RAWHIDE: HID in (d)RAWE(r). Anyone else think of the Blues Brothers?
18ENSNARL: N,S(poles) in (LEARN)*
19COCKEYE: (j)OCKEY in CE. At the time it went in from wordplay, but now I look up in Collins that a cast can be a squint
20DRESDEN: double definition

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