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Times 26107 - Over and over, more or less

Solving time: 23 minutes

Music: Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante, Davis/LSO.

We're back to the easy Monday mode, with many of the clues being chestnuts that I was unfortunately very slow to recognize. My LOI was particularly galling, as it is a stock clue if there ever was one.

I have not been solving or posting much lately, owing to summer activities such as golfing and travelling. On my last junket, I took six unsolved Guardian puzzles with me, and only had time for one, so I am getting further and further behind. At least I am nearly caught up with the Times, although the May 19th puzzle threw me for a loop. Xyster, indeed!

4SARAJEVO, SARA + JE + V[ery] O[ld]..
9ROTUNDA, sounds like WROTE UNDER for you non-rhotic chaps.
11ATTACHE, CAT backwards in A + THE.
12IDYLL, backwards hidden in [rea]LLY DI[slike], an apt clue for those who read Tennyson as 14-year-olds.
14HEADSTRONG, anagram of ORGAN[i]ST + HE'D.
16OPUS, O + PUS[s].
19DALI, DA(L)I. However, if you check with the Office Of National Statistics, you'll find that you are far more likely to encounter a boy named Oliver or Jacob in modern-day Wales.
22DYSPEPSIA, anagram of PEPYS SAID, rather obvious because PEP stays together.
23LIMBO, L(I'M + B[eing])O.
25TSUNAMI, ST backwards + UN AMI.
26NIBLICK, BIN backwards + LICK, biffed in by me.
27DRY STONE, DR(anagram of STY)ONE.
28URGENT, UR GENT, unfortunately my LOI.
2NATTY, N + A(T,T)Y.
3TUNELESS, anagram of LUST SEEN.
6ASTRAY, AS[h]TRAY, a chestnut.
7EUCALYPTI, anagram of CUTE PLAY + I.
8OREAD, cryptic definition, with 'fell' as one of the identically-spelt substantives, in this case an upland plateau.
10AFTER A FASHION, double definition.
15AYLESBURY, sounds like ALES + BURY.
17SKYROCKET, S(KY R)OCKET. How McConnell was re-elected?
18MILLIBAR, sounds like MILLIE + BAR.
21PEDANT, P + DANTE with the last letter moved to the top.
22DATED, double defintion..
24MAINE, MA IN E. Since Maine is an Eastern state, this is not a particularly deceptive clue.

Quick Cryptic 315 by Joker

Today is the Spring bank holiday in the UK, though the rest of the world shouldn't feel left out as there's a preponderance of other observances to occupy one's time, including Africa Day, Geek Pride Day, Towel Day (Douglas Adams fans), and National Tap Dance Day (US only) - take your pick.

I will venture to suggest that this is on the easier side of things for a Quicky, with no complicated constructions or obscure vocabulary - perhaps with the exception of parts of the wordplay to 11A and 2D. My COD is 10A.

Definitions are underlined.

The puzzle can be found here if you're having trouble accessing it through the Times website: For some reason, as of time of writing this link doesn't show the setter's name so I'll add that into the title when I know who it is.

1 Returned pet I had with little enthusiasm (5)
TEPID - reversal (Returned) of PET, + I'D (I had)
8 Stand for sappers here (9)
REPRESENT - RE (sappers, i.e. Royal Engineers) + PRESENT (here)
9 Olympian character of some games (5)
OMEGA - hidden in (of) sOME GAmes. Here, "Olympian character" means a letter that would be used by someone from Olympia in Greece.
10 Los Angeles - less than clean (7)
LAUNDER - LA (Los Angeles) + UNDER (less than). LA doesn't have the greatest air quality, giving some extra meaning to the surface reading.
11 Proper information the telly regularly provides (7)
GENTEEL - GEN (information) + ThE tElLy (regularly, i.e. taking alternate letters)
12 Finding time going very quickly (7)
TRACING - T (time) + RACING (going very quickly)
16 Greatly anger old wandering Tuareg (7)
OUTRAGE - O (old) + anagram (wandering) of TUAREG. Not that it's necessary to know this, but a Tuareg is a North African nomad so the surface comes together well. Volkswagen named their Touareg SUV after the Tuareg people.
17 Ban joint accommodation for soldiers (7)
BARRACK - BAR (Ban) + RACK (joint, as in a rack of lamb)
20 Joint deposit needs arranging (7)
TOPSIDE - anagram (needs arranging) of DEPOSIT. Two joints in a row.
22 Where gladiators fought a long time back (5)
ARENA - reversal (back) of AN ERA (a long time). A nice surface.
23 Took legal action about dye that's continually running (9)
SUSTAINED - SUED (Took legal action) about STAIN (dye)
24 At least twenty-four months is a long time (5)
YEARS - a slightly weak double definition, the first based on the fact that in order to have years (plural) you need to have at least 24 months. I find this perhaps a little too closely related to the second definition.

1 The height of negligible garments, primarily? (5)
THONG - initial letters (primarily) of The Height Of Negligible Garments. A kind of &lit. Maybe not the time or the place to get into the old "Is a g-string the same as a thong?" debate. Possible confusion here for those readers from parts of the world where thongs are flip-flops.
2 Expecting president's first ruling (8)
PREGNANT - P (president's first, i.e. the first letter of president) + REGNANT (ruling)
3 Duck daughter becoming linked to libertine (5)
DRAKE - D (daughter) + RAKE (libertine). Duck is used in the generic case here, rather than to indicate a female.
4 Upset the runners and give the game away (5,3,5)
SPILL THE BEANS - double definition, the first cryptic in that it's referring to runner beans rather than runner athletes
5 Examination of South American country girl (7)
PERUSAL - PERU (South American country) + SAL (girl)
6 Visibly embarrassed about a book? (4)
READ - RED (Visibly embarrassed) about A. In the sense of "That was a good read".
7 Shop holding silver in warehouse space (7)
STORAGE - STORE (Shop) around (holding) AG (silver)
13 American working where judges sometimes sit (2,6)
IN CAMERA - anagram (working) of AMERICAN. A judge is in camera if they are conducting some part of a case in a room in which neither the public nor the press are permitted entry. This anagram was also used in Quicky 255 in March.
14 Dispute argument against trial (7)
CONTEST - CON (argument against - think pros and cons) + TEST (trial)
15 See Value Added Tax put on one tin (7)
VATICAN - VAT (Value Added Tax) + I (one) + CAN (tin). A see is a bishop's jurisdiction. In Crosswordland it's usually Ely, simply because that's a handy set of letters for a compiler, but in this case it's the Vatican, which is often called the Holy See (though I don't think that strictly speaking they're the same thing).
18 Easily obtained cash (5)
READY - double definition
19 Beginning of English task involved poet (5)
KEATS - anagram (involved) of E (Beginning of English, i.e. the first letter of English) + TASK, for the poet who gave us Ode to a Nightingale, To Autumn, On First Looking into Chapman's Homer, and many others.
21 Propose getting rid of one job (4)
POST - POS{I}T (Propose) without the I (getting rid of one)

Times Jumbo 1147 (Bank Holiday) - placeholder

Noting that tomorrow is a bank holiday made me realise I lost track of the Jumbo schedule, i.e. I haven't yet posted the blog for the May day holiday puzzle, so apologies, it will appear asap.

Sunday Times 4642 by Tim Moorey

15:27. I spent over half of this time staring at 19ac. I came up with what turned out to be the answer very quickly, but I couldn't justify it in any way so I spent ages trying to come up with something else. In the end I looked at a list of English racecourses on Wikipedia to get the answer and bunged it in, still baffled by the definition. A very strange clue in an otherwise very easy puzzle and all in all not my most satisfying solve of 2015. I liked 3dn though.

1 After tahini spread, I put out chicken
6 Slight sound of drinking reduced
10 Volume of touching literature given precedence
LITRE - RE (touching) with LIT before it ('given precedence').
11 Aid heaving invalid after losing his head?
GIVE A HAND - (AiD HEAVING)*. The letter to remove is the head of 'invalid'. &Lit.
12 Guard parking in front of special area
PRESERVE - P, RESERVE (special area).
13 Love excellent final letter
OMEGA - O (love), MEGA (wicked, sick, awesome, excellent).
15 About time to leave messy plates in sink again
RELAPSE - RE, (PLAtES)*. This is the third clue in this puzzle that is an anagram of a set of words from which you have to remove one letter.
17 Comedian Laurel maybe seen at Irish party
STAND-UP - STAN (Laurel maybe), DUP.
19 DJ coming from English racecourse, one's heard
TOASTER - according to ODO a TOASTER is 'a DJ who accompanies reggae with improvised rhythmic speech'. And Towcester is a racecourse in England that is pronounced 'toaster'. If like me you don't possess either of these rather esoteric pieces of knowledge, you've got a problem. A clue that appears designed to catch people out.
21 Leaves food in part
22 Writer returning, put a question after answer
AESOP - POSE (put a question) reversed after A (answer).
24 Eastern oil company cutting pay for internet content
27 Specially treated in a hostelry? They may be
THE ROYALS - (A HOSTELRY)*. A semi-&Lit in which the definition needs the rest of the clue to make sense.
28 Brave leaving hospital quickly
29 Gambling resort from which a single rupee may be brought back!
RENO - reversal of ONE, R (rupee). My knowledge of RENO comes from Dr Seuss:
On a mountain, halfway between Reno and Rome,
We have a machine in a plexiglass dome
Which listens and looks into everyone’s home.
And whenever it sees a new sleeper go flop,
It jiggles and lets a new Biggel-Ball drop.
Is it just me or does that sound like the NSA?
30 Struggled again losing millions in a racket
BATTLEDORE - BATTLED mORE. I know this term from the book The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig: at one point the three little wolves are playing battledore and shuttlecock in their garden. You should by now be developing a good idea of the kind of stuff I read.

1 Nice son giving money for Iraqis
FILS - did anyone put this in from the definition?
2 Among others, where Nato’s placed in Anatolia
INTER ALIA - because in Anatolia NATO is placed in the middle of ALIA. Not to be confused with INTER ALIOS.
3 Time to get even with society?
TEENS - T, E'EN, S. A very nice &Lit.
4 Fencing position essential to hidden garden
EN GARDE - contained in hidden garden.
5 Are topless wives out for critical periodicals?
REVIEWS - (aRE WIVES)*. And there's another one.
7 Time off in Split, not cold
8 English racecourse favourites may be what 27 enjoy
RED CARPETS - REDCAR (an English racecourse I have heard of), PETS.
9 Wide-angle view of parents holding girl
14 Muscle shown by expert on farm vehicle
16 Accommodate patient fellow in dishonest work
PUT-UP JOB - JOB is a term for a very patient person, after JOB, noted for doing patient stuff in the Book of JOB, which is in the Bible. The old bit I think.
18 Reckless person’s turn of speed on cobbled road
DESPERADO - (SPEED)*, (ROAD)*. A DESPERADO is of course a person characterised by a tendency to ride fences and a consequent need to come to his or her senses.
20 A little fighting written up in information being analysed?
RAW DATA - reversal of A TAD WAR.
21 Take care of issue raised by neighbour?
23 Hank, one German to support limits in savings bank
SKEIN - EIN underneath (supporting) Savings banK. I'm sure I wasn't along in putting this in from wordplay, which fortunately was clear. A HANK is a 'coil or skein of a specified length', according to Chambers.
25 Saw mature publicity first
ADAGE - AD before AGE.
26 Lady’s close for the present
HERE - HER (lady's), thE.

Mephisto 2855 - Paul McKenna

I have a closing night tonight and won't get this done until early-afternoon Sunday UK time. Feel free to query below, the hive mind of Mephisto solvers I'm sure will assist.

Hope nobody was seriously inconvenienced by my poor scheduling choices.

Paul McKenna has again taken us on a wild ride through the nether and classical regions of Chambers, since I was solving with an eye to blogging later on I made more notes than usual of wordplay elements I was not familiar with.

Away we go...

10STRAW POLLS: SLOP(cassock),W,ARTS containing L all reversed
11EROTEMES: TEME(old word for TEAM) in EROS
13CATENA: CAT(heavy tackle for lifting an anchor) then N in EA(river)
16BANDAR: RAD,NAB all reversed
18SC,A,GLIA: been a while since I saw SC for SCULPSIT
20ALP,AS TO: a little head-scratching but I guess mountains are referred to as male sometimes
22SMELT: double definition
26SETAL: T(usk) in SEAL
27SHIPPO: SHIP then OP reversed
29DOCUDRAMA: DOC and DR containing U, then A(about),MAS(French Farm)
1ICE-CREAM SODA: (AMERICA,DOES)* surrounding C(cloudy)
4URENAS: U, R, then SANE reversed
5LAMAIST: AM and A(afternoon) in LIST
6DWEEB: BD(bound) reversed containing WEE
15HEPATICA: HEP(knowing), then ATTIC(pure) without 'T, A(acre)
19COASTAL: COAL(char) with STA inside
21AS,A,RUM: AS is a Roman unit of weight
22SCHEMA: (CASH)* conatining 'EM
24SCARF: triple definition
25DIVAN: DIN containing VA(t) - the council met on a sofa?

Saturday Times 26100 (16th May)

Solving time 12:15, helped by the two 15-letter answers going straight in. 1ac was tricky to parse and I had to wait until all the crossers were in. Some grammatical oddities in the grid - 28ac and 9dn are two examples of reduplication (something I came across on while looking for the answer to a technical programming problem - they have lists of other questions on the right which range from the esoteric "Is every closed curve in 3D a geodesic on a genus-0 surface?" to the bizarre "How do you fight a Nazghul?" One was "is there a name for words like chitchat, zigzag etc", so I followed the link to find out). Maybe there's also a word for words like 11ac, which look like their meaning! Answers on a postcard...

1 In skipping tutorial, boy gets round girl (8)
ROSEMARY - IN removed from SEMINAR (tutorial), inside ROY (boy).
5 Tyrant executes leading journalist coming from the East (6)
DESPOT - TOPS (executes) ED (leading journalist) reversed (coming from the East).
10 Welsh actor eating fish and game in artists’ place ... (10,5)
BURLINGTON HOUSE - BURTON (Welsh actor) around LING (fish) + HOUSE (game). Home of the Royal Academy.
11 ... will dine out in posh eatery at last, awkwardly (10)
UNWIELDILY - (will dine)* inside U (posh), Y (last letter of eatery).
13 At school it may be called a cylindrical moulding (4)
ROLL - double definition.
15 Occupied area of England once, and most of Wales, oddly (7)
DANELAW - (and, Wale)*
17 Forth — a river surrounded by rolling downs? (7)
ONWARDS - A + R(iver) inside (downs)*.
18 Sound made by simple feline, one living in burrow (7)
MEERKAT - sounds like "mere cat" (simple feline).
19 Capricious European kings, Greek by the sound of it (7)
ERRATIC - E(uropean) + RR (kings) + ATIC (sounds like ATTIC, Greek).
21 Cereal having a certain appeal before work (4)
SAGO - SA (a certain appeal) + GO (work).
22 Adequate set of songs about youngster’s first transport (5,5)
FAIRY CYCLE - FAIR (adequate) + CYCLE (set of songs) around Y(oungster). Apparently a small bike for children, so it's semi-&littish. Never heard the term before myself.
25 Chap with friend, one touring 10, a broadcasting centre once (9,6)
ALEXANDRA PALACE - ALEX (chap) + AND (with) + PAL (friend) + ACE (one), all around RA (see 10ac). AKA the Ally Pally, former home of the BBC.
27 New judge attends function taking place in tower (6)
DONJON - N(ew) + J(udge) inside DO (function), ON (taking place).
28 Husband long constrained by spiteful woman’s gossip (4-4)
CHIT-CHAT - H(usband) + ITCH inside CAT (spiteful woman). I found out only yesterday that this is an example of an ablaut reduplication.

1 Overthrow of monarch sure to have an adverse effect (7)
REBOUND - ER (monarch) reversed + BOUND (sure).
2 Way to address gentleman convict finally released from jail? (3)
SIR - T (last letter of convict) removed from STIR (jail).
3 Effeminate fellows accepting help, as it were (10)
MAIDENLIKE - MEN (fellows) around AID (help) + LIKE (as it were).
4 Falsify papers for firm (5)
RIGID - RIG (falsify) + ID (papers).
6 Genuine German dramatist, not British (4)
ECHT - BRECHT (German dramatist), minus BR(itish). It could be argued that German is doing double duty here, but this German word's in my English dictionary and it means genuine.
7 Like a fat cat or dog roaming Arctic? (11)
PLUTOCRATIC - PLUTO (dog) + (Arctic)*.
8 Archer is about right, training climbers on it (7)
TRELLIS - TELL (archer) + IS around R(ight).
9 Porter, possibly, outside a large house where nuts may be stored (4-4)
COAL-HOLE - COLE (Porter possibly) around A + L(arge) + HO(use). One definition of nut is "a small lump of coal". This is also a rhyming reduplication (see 28ac).
12 Shrub wife planted on grassy area south of Bury? (11)
WINTERGREEN - W(ife) + GREEN (grassy area) underneath INTER (bury).
14 Way to frame remark about airmen’s proficiency in fencing? (10)
SWORDCRAFT - ST (way) around WORD (remark) + C (circa, about) + RAF (airmen).
16 Moderate Tories protecting secure wildlife reserve (8)
WETLANDS - WETS (moderate Tories) around LAND (secure).
18 Hot stuff gathered for inspection, do we hear? (7)
MUSTARD - sounds like "mustered" (gathered for inspection).
20 Male Anglicans on time to welcome Liberal pope (7)
CLEMENT - CE MEN (male Anglicans) + T(ime), around L(iberal). Any one of 14 popes, although the last one died in 1774.
23 Arrive at range (5)
REACH - double definition.
24 Some cherish a longing for a saint’s aura (4)
HALO - hidden in "cherish a longing"
26 Remains found in wood (3)
ASH - double definition.

Jumbo 1148

Nothing too tricky here. A couple of unfamiliar words (15A, 17A) and a few nice clues (37A in particular)

No solving time noted

1 TEPID - TEP = PET = favourite, reversed, I.D. = papers
4 BRIEFED - BRIE FED = on a diet of French food
8 GASTROPUB - GAB = talk, around SPROUT*
13 IRONSTONE - IRON'S = club's, TONE = vocal sound
14 UNPUTDOWNABLE - UNABLE = powerless, around PUT DOWN = insult
15 GEORGIC - the sixth letter in beethOven, in GRIEG*, C = approximately. One I needed to look up to confirm
16 ESTELLA - hidden reversed in wALLETS Evidently
17 REIFIED - IF = poem, I, all surrounded by REED = plant
21 WHOA - WHO = question, A
23 BUTTERNUT - BUT = except, around UTTER = pure, N(ew)
25 THESIS - THE SIS(ter) = the relative
26 DIK-DIK - KID, KID = children, reversed
28 BLOOD-AND-GUTS - DAN = desperate man (see The Dandy comic), in (GOLD BUT SO)*
30 CHICKEN OUT - CHICKEN = meat, OUT = off
33 WASHINGTON - WING = branch, around ASH = tree, TON = heavy weight
34 UNPRODUCTIVE - (C(onservative) UP DRIVEN OUT)*
37 NUMBER - stunTWOman and wEIGHTlifter both contain hidden numbers. A clever clue
39 MEDINA - MED = sea, IN A = enclosed by a
40 INAMORATO - O.T. = old testament, A ROMAN = a latin, I(nscription), all reversed
42 THUG - TUG = boat, around H(orn)
43 NUDGE NUDGE WINK WINK, NUDE = without clothes, around G(ood), twice, then WINK, WINK = flashes
46 SATSUMA - SAT = school test, SUM = problem, A(nswer)
47 DEPOSIT - OP = work, ED(itor), all reversed, SIT = rest
48 ETHANOL - hidden reversed in ceyLON AH TEa
50 INCONVENIENCE - IN, CONVENIENCE = ladies or gentlemen
51 COUP D'ETAT - TATE = art gallery, DUO = pair, C(aught), all reversed around P(ower)
52 GREEN BELT - GREEN = simple, BELT = hit
54 WIDEN - W.I. = women's group, DEN = office
1 THINGUMABOB - THIN = stick-like, BOB = man, around GUMA = A MUG = a face, reversed
2 PHOTO - PO = river, around HOT = on fire
4 BRONCHI - BRO = ORB = eye, reversed, INCH*
5 INELEGANT - GELATINE* around (fla)N
6 FOURTH ESTATE - FURTHEST = most distant, ATE = goddess, around O = zero
7 DAPPLE GREY - DREY = squirrel's nest, around APPLE = fruit, and (ba)G
8 GOTTA - OTT = too much, in GA = Georgia
9 SCOURGED - CO = carbon monoxide = exhaust gas, in SURGED = rushed
10 RENOIR - RE(d) = crimson, NOIR = black
11 PUBLISHED - PUSHED = forced, around B(ook) and LI(e) = story
12 BREADBASKET - BREAD = lolly, BET = chance, around ASK = appeal
19 CITROUS - (CROUT(on), IS)*
20 NEITHER - NETHER = infernal, around I = one
22 FIVE O'CLOCK SHADOW - cryptic definition
24 NONAGE - E.G. = here's an example, ANON = soon, all reversed
27 ACADIA - AC = account, A, DIA = AID = charity, reversed
29 GOOD EGG - double definition
31 ORIGAMI - OI = attention seeker, around RIGA = capital, M(aking)
32 INCANDESCENT - INCAN DESCENT = blood of old people. There was a similar clue in another crossword recently
33 WINE-TASTING - WIN = gather, ET = French "and", ASTI = Italian white, N.G. = no good
36 GIANT PANDA - GIP = PIG = boar, around ANT = insect, AND = also, A
38 MOUSTACHE - H(orse), TAC = CAT = feline, all reversed in MOUSE = rodent
40 IDENTICAL - I = current, DENT = hole, I, CAL. = state
41 GUYANESE - GUY = man, AN, followed by initial letters of E(xtremely) S(uccessful) E(cuadorian)
44 ICE CUBE - I.E. = that is, around C = a hundred, CUBE = eight, perhaps
45 TURN IN - TURIN = European city, around (pensio)N
47 DRIFT - double definition
49 NOTED - double definition

Times 26,105: How Green Was My Wake-Up Call

"So how long did it take you to finish Richard Rogan's puzzle this week?"
"No, I said..."
"Yes, I heard you. Tuesday. All of it."

Quite a memorable week for the Times Cryptic with the aforementioned puzzle reducing at least one grown man to tears, a tricky rematch with 1973, and yesterday's puzzle which was no slouch either, if I recall correctly through the pain. At least I bookended my catastrophes with good performances on Monday and Friday; things could well change as it's only 6.45am, but at time of writing I was abutting the champ in both score tables, trailing in both cases obviously by the three-minute-odd gap that separates logodemigods from the mere mortals.

Thought this was a fine Friday puzzle, just the kind I like, requiring the gamut of knowledge from the classical and literary through various eras of history to computer operating systems and such. Must confess that to achieve a sub-8-minute time a fair amount of biffing was involved on my part. I was amazed to learn the pronunciation of 10A, but this type of thing has been a blind spot before: I remember when I was working as an assistant at Upminster Library confidently addressing a patron as "Mrs Bow-Shomp" only to have her snarl "Beecham!" at me. Likewise 22D, whose answer seemed clear enough from the wordplay, but I would never have been able to explain what kind of shoots it might have been getting at in a million years, without looking it up.

Anyway, another glorious, challenging, entertaining puzzle to cap a whole week of them. We really are being spoiled lately, so mercy bee-cup to the setter. If Mr Rogan wants to have a fallow week next week I feel he's probably earned it, but I bet it'll continue to be onwards and upwards. Those dashed crossworkaholics over at the Times!

1 FEBRUARY - this [month] lasts less time than the others: (BEAR + FURY*) ["reacts with"]
5 WOBBLE - not stay firm: W/O [without] + B{i}BLE [sacred text] minus I ["I will fall"]
8 OWL - bird: {f}OWL [hen or duck] minus F ["no fine"]
9 CATTLE GRID - CAT LEG GRID [animal (wants) limb | freed] with a T in it ["catching end of {foo}T in this"], &lit
10 REVEILLE - call for soldiers: R.E. [some of them (i.e. soldiers)] by homophone of VALLEY ["place of death, as heard in poem" - the poem being Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, I assume]
11 TIFFIN - lunch: TIFF IN [argument | during]
12 HARP - instrument: {s}HARP [not in tune, "leader refused"]
14 FAR-FETCHED - unlikely: "to be imported from the antipodes" would be to be fetched about as far as possible...
17 WHEELIE BIN - WIN [secure] holding HEEL I.E. B [end of loaf | that's | black], and semi-&lit, being a good place to toss your mouldy old crusts
20 DOSS - flop: homophone of DOS [operating system "said"]
23 EMAILS - (A SMILE*) ["can transform"]
24 TITANIUM - an element of grey (i.e. a grey-coloured element): TITIAN [auburn] with the I moving elsewhere ["one changing position"] + UM [hesitation]
25 REAPPRAISE - think again: RE APP RAISE [concerned with | software | to promote]
26 AHA - I'm surprised: A + HA-{ha} [ditch "only goes halfway]
27 UNREAD - ignored: UNREAD{y} ["not quite" like Ethelred]
28 EYESTALKS - a feature of crustaceans: EYES TALK [viewers | discuss]

1 FLOOR SHOW - what's on at the club tonight: FLOORS HOW [confounds (with) question]
2 BOLIVAR - freedom fighter: BOAR [pig] about LIV{e} [to be "chopped"]
3 URCHIN - street arab: UR CHIN [original | feature]
4 RETALIATE - to respond in kind: reverse of LATER [after "rising"] + I ATE [I took meal]
5 WREATHE - wind: WEATHER [storms and rain perhaps] with the R moving to a new position ["displacing river"]
6 BAREFACED - shameless: BAR [piece of music] + E, F, A, C, E, D [random series of (musical) notes]
7 LUDDITE - no progressive: (DILUTED*) ["moves"]
13 PREDICATE - assert: P + RATE [power (and) scold] receiving EDIC{t} ["incomplete" order]
15 FRIGIDITY - unfriendliness: F RIGIDITY [female | firmness]
16 DISEMBARK - to reach the shore: (MADE BRISK*) ["manoeuvres"]
18 HOME RUN - a great hit in America: HOMER UN [bard | one "writing in dialect"]
19 INSIPID - flat: PI [good] getting into INSID{e} [interior "unfinished"]
21 OKINAWA - island: O KIN AWA [old | relative | off "to Scottish"]
22 LAYERS - shoots [Chambers says a layer is "a shoot bent down to earth in order to take root" - blimey]: PLAYER [pianists, perhaps] minus the P ["missing piano"]

Quick Cryptic No 314 by Oran

I don't know why our setter trades as 'Oran' - no doubt there is a story behind it, or perhaps he is Mr Gutan, who knows. Either way, he sets a good entry level puzzle with some clever d.defs and nothing too obscure or controversial. It took me 8 minutes.

1 UNSAFE - Hidden in r(UNS A FE)stival, def. risky. A nice easy starter and makes 1d easier too.
4 TAIPEI - TAPE = recording, around I, then I for one, Chinese / Taiwanese city.
8 ABOVE ONES HEAD - Cryptic def. I'd have thought the phrase was more usually 'over one's head' but that doesn't fit.
10 DITCH - Double definition.
11 WENDING - W = head of wagon, ENDING = close, def. travelling, wending one's way.
12 UNDER A CLOUD - Double def, one a cryptic pun.
16 ROSETTE - RO = OR (gold) returned; SETTE(R) = dog with no tail; def. ribbon. Well, a rosette is usually made of ribbon.
17 CAMEO - CAME = arrived, O = ring, def. piece of jewellery.
18 UNADULTERATED - (RUDE AUNT DEALT)*, anagrind 'roughly', def. with imperfections? No.
19 DASHED - Double definition; 'I'm dashed if...' and hopes are dashed = frustrated.
20 COOLER - Triple definition; one being jug = prison = cooler.

1 UGANDA - U = university, then AND = also, inside GA = Georgia; def. state.
2 SHOOTING STARS - Cryptic double definition.
3 FRESH - Another double definition, saucy, and not salt (water).
5 ARSENAL - A, (LEARNS)*, anagrind 'somehow', def. 'team'. Not just any old team, but The Gunners, Mrs K's heroes.
6 PRECIOUS METAL - (CAESIUM PETROL)*, anagrind 'mixed with', def. platinum, perhaps. Do not try mixing caesium with petrol, or water, at home.
7 INDIGO - (W)IND(Y) = concealing extremities of WINDY, then I, GO = turn; def. blue!
9 NEWSAGENT - NEW'S = novel's, A GENT = a fellow, def. shopkeeper.
13 ENTHUSE - (THESE UN)* anagrind 'moves', def. 'are exciting'.
14 GROUND - Double defintion.
15 POWDER - POW = prisoner of war, Colditz inmate maybe, DER = German for 'the', def. explosive.
17 CARGO - CAR = automobile, GO = depart, def. load.

Times Quick Cryptic No 313 by Teazel

Solving time: middling

Morning and a thanks to everyone who came to the S&B do on Tuesday. A lovely convivial day with lots of good chat and general fun (will reveal more about what a certain setter got up to for a small fee!).

Today we have Teazel with his usual elegant style and more than a smattering of double definition clues, some of which are part cryptic.

Lots of nice surface readings and although I was made to think a little, just about right for today.

Thanks to our setter and I have to dash off to my holiday home at the local hospital for a check-up! See you next Thursday.

1 PUTT - We start with a cryptic definition. If you go on (a) green in sport, you may do this.
3 WAXWORKS - Definition is museum containing figures. Wax = grow (as in the phases of the moon) + Works (plant as in the name of a manufacturing base).
9 OCTOBER - A month is the definition. An anagram (STEWING) of OBJECTOR minus J (judge).
10 TALON - Hidden inside (indicated by partially) CUT A LONG is a word for a type of claw.
11 OPEN AND SHUT - This is a double definition clue, where one of the definitions is cryptic. A phrase that means straightforward also is something that a door cannot be at the same time.
13 MADDER - A plain double definition clue, one half is a plain definition, a type of plant and the second half a word that means more silly, or no sot sensible.
15 POWDER - Like 11 across, one half is a straight definition, a type of make-up. The second half refers to an expression where something you keep dry means that you are being cautious.
17 WITHOUT FAIL - Like No 47 buses, they keep on coming! Another one of the double defs where half is cryptic! A phrase meaning reliably or certainly could apply to exams where everyone passes!
20 CHINA - And another double definition. The name of a far eastern country is also a Cockney's way of describing a mate. Notice the incomplete nature of the clue.
21 FOREIGN - This one runs on from the previous clue. This means that it sort of links in to the previous clue or answer. Here it means that you are looking for a word that describes someone not from this country.
22 REGULATE - Definition is control. An anagram (drunk) of URGE plus what you are if you are behind time.
24 VISA - Addition to passport is the definition. A Latin way of saying by means of (via) has S (son) inside.

1 PRO FORMA - The name for the basic version of a document is your definition. If you were asked to choose between two academics, you'd have to decide betwwen PROF OR MA?
2 TITLE - Name is the definition. A type of bird (TIT) plus LE, the extremities, i.e. first and last letters of LARGE.
4 ABRADE - Something that means scrape is the definition. A + and anagram (straggly) of BEARD.
5 WITCH DOCTOR - Tribal magician is the definition. W (with) + ITCH (uncomfortable feeling) + DOCTOR (meddle).
6 RELATED - A double definition. A word meaning connected, and something that a story is if told.
7 SAND - Feature of beach is the definition. N (new) inside SAD (depressed).
9 BLAZE A TRAIL - A cryptic definition. What a pioneer who is on fire would be said to do as an innovator.
12 SRI LANKA - Island is the definition. AIRS (broadcasts) reversed with LANK (long and thin) inside.
14 DOWNING - Another double definition. A word that means drinking is also the name of a college at Cambridge (phew! I guessed right!)
16 COMFIT - A type of (liquorice) sweet is the definition. COM(E) (appear, shortly i.e. minus its last letter) + FIT (in good health).
18 ALIBI - This is disbelieved? is the slightly cryptic definition. The first letters of As Lag Is Back In....
19 SCAR - Evidence of a duel is the definition. SCAR(E) Frighten briefly, minus its last letter.

Times 26104 - it's pangram week!

Solving time : 12:29, which right now puts me as second on the Club Timer, though there's a lot of the usual early faster times with one mistake (9 and 13 look like prime candidates for misspelling).

After I finished I looked at the grid and thought it must be a pangram, and sure enough it is, not that it would have helped me finish much faster if I had spotted it early. Seven proper nouns in the grid struck me as a little unusual, though the wordplay is crystal clear for most of these.

Away we go...

1FREE(priceless), V,ERSE
6AMBER: reversal of RE, BMA
9SUPERINTENDENTS: anagram of PRESENTS, UNITED and the first letter of Newsmen
11STANDARD: JACK is the definition - the rest is TAR containing(boards) AND then D, with S(hip) at the front
13DEMONIACAL: I,AC after MON(day) stuck in DEAL(traffic)
14ZION: initial letters of Zen Inspired One Native
16NON-U: UNION reversed with the middle I removed
17VILLA-LOBOS: V,ILL then AL(l), OBO(e)S
19TEA DANCE: (afternoo)N in ACE with an anagram of DATE at the front
20SIMIAN: N,AIM,IS all reversed
23BRIGHT AS A BUTTON: TAS(abbreviation for the Australian state) and ABUT in BRIGHTON
24ERNST: alternating letters in hEaR oNe SiTs
1F,OS(unusually big),SA(it): got this from the wordplay, it is a pit or depression
2EXPERIMENTATION: EX,TATI,ON contiaining PERI(fairy),MEN(folk)
3VERLAINE: GENIAL REV all reversed without the G
5EVENTUALLY: TU ALLY with EVEN(quits) first
6AIDING: take the 0 from A1,DINGO
7BENJAMIN BRITTEN: JAM(play jazz) in BENIN, then sounds like BRITAIN
12CABIN CLASS: C IN C(senior officer) L,A,SS with AB inside
15I'LL,1,QUID: got this from wordplay too, though the word makes sense
18SACHET: nifty piece of clueing here - 19 was TEA DANCE and it becomes the definition and part of the definition - holds TEA, and sounds like DANCE (SASHAY)
21NINJA: hidden in captaiN IN JAws
22FARO: O,RAF(people flying) all reversed
After yesterday's stinker, I was hoping for a testing but solvable 'normal' puzzle to demonstrate my blogging skills (or lack of), so my hopes were dashed when I saw I'd landed another vintage jobbie as an online sub while the second Championship qualifier appears. In June 1973, Wizzard, Suzi Quattro and Slade topped the charts and Mrs K and I tied the knot. As she arrives 42 years later with the tea and toast (Wednesdays are her turn) I read 1a out loud and she says 'Wimbledon, of course.' This is a lady who likes Codeword and the Concise. So, I thought, maybe it's not so bad. DYB.
About 45 minutes later, I'd finished. Seemed to me a cross between a TLS and a Club Monthly. I might have eventually finished without aids and much guesswork, but I resorted to Mr Google and Mr Wiki to be sure I was giving you no duff guff, even now there's one or two you might shed more light on.

EDIT It seems this is not on The Times puzzles site, they are still linking to yesterday's puzzle, so here's a PDF link:

1 WIMBLE - WIMBLE(DON), and a wimble is a tool for boring.
5 THOROUGH - Well a THOROUGHFARE is a through road.
9 SELL A PUP - To 'gull' is to fool someone, and 'canis minor' = small dog = pup. No stars involved.
10 EPOPEE - POPE (Alexander the poet) inside E E = Asian, eastern; def. poetry. My LOI, I didn't know the word but derived it from wordplay and looked it up to check.
11 HANDCUFF - HAND = manual worker, CUFF = strike, def. to restrict use of arms. A fine, normal clue at last, my second one in after 1a.
12 SAURIA - I knew 'The Lizard' is a headland in Cornwall, but resisted the temptation to put this in; when I had all the checkers I realised we needed the Latin name for the order of lizards, the derivation of words like 'dinosaur' of course.
13 GADSHILL - G.K. needed here. Dickens lived at Gad's Hill, and Gadshill was the spot for the ambush in Henry IV part II.
15 IDES - Apart from 'The Ides of March' I don't quite understand why. Well, I can see how it relates to Caesar being stabbed, as Jackkt kindly points out below, so hence 'bloody' and 'rent' I suppose.
17 UTAH - Admitted as 45th state in 1896, so not that young, even in 1973. But before then Brigham Young had settled there and established the Mormon sect in what became Salt Lake City. So, the 'Young' state.
19 EDOMITES - (DOE)*, MITES = little ones; a tribe from Edom, south of Judah, in biblical times.
20 STRODE - ST = best man, saint, RODE = got a lift; def. footslogged.
21 ROCK-FALL - When the cradle rocks, the baby falls; stuff found at the cliff bottom.
22 JINGLE - Double definition; chap rescued by Mr Pickwick, and 'clink'. I spent a while playing around with JAIL before realising clink was a noise.
23 IAMBUSES - 1 a.m. buses = past midnight public transport; poetic feet, remember 'iambic pentameters'? Witty, indeed.
24 GREENING - This may be a literary reference, but I know it not. I can't see another relevant word that fits.
25 ROTATE - ROT = nonsense, ATE so was not an empty stomach; def. waltz. Ugh.

2 ITERATED - (TIE TRADE)*, def. repeated. A normal, easy one.
3 BULLDOGS - I well remember avoiding these chaps in bowler hats, but didn't know they existed in the other place (that fenland village) as well; apparently they were abolished in 2003. Double definition, four legged animals but also the private University Police in Oxford and Cambridge for 174 years.
4 EXPOUNDED - EX ED = a former editor, 'without' POUND = note (in those days); def. explained.
5 TOP OF THE MORNING - Cryptic definition?
6 RAPHAEL - Double definition. Raphael was or is an Archangel, and another Raphael was a Renaissance painter, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.
7 UPPER-CUT - If the upper of your shoe were cut, it could leak; def. blow.
8 HIERARCH - HIER = French for yesterday, ARCH = bend over; def. the ruler.
14 LATE-COMER - Well if you come as a ghost, you'd be a 'late' comer I suppose. &lit.
15 IRISH JIG - Definition dance; an Irish jig would be found in a Belfast machine shop.
16 ENTRANCE - 'IN' = sign for an entrance, and synonym for spell; double definition.
17 USUFRUCT or USUFRUIT - In English, usufruct, in French, usufruit; a legal right to use something without destroying it. I don't know which is the required answer here, I like 'fruit' better because it relates more to orchards, but 'fruct' is the Latin root.
18 AFFLUENT - AF = sporting body, turned up; FLUENT = 'speak easy', def. rich.
19 EIDOLON - Hidden in Jun(E I DO LON)don; def. spirit. One of those Greek ones.

Comments, no doubt!

Quick Cryptic No 312 by Rongo

A doff of the cap and deep bow to Rongo for an excellent puzzle. I thought this was a great example of everything a Quick Cryptic should be - no obscure vocabulary, no esoteric general knowledge required, a wide variety of clue types (particularly useful for those using the QC as a training ground for the full 15x15 cryptic), and some elegant clues and tricky wordplay to keep the more seasoned campaigners on their toes. Thank you, Rongo.

Particularly enjoyed the sorting out required for 5dn, but personal favourite was the elegant hidden in 23ac.

Definitions underlined, DD = Double Definition, anagrams indicated by *(--)

1 Tee is cut from thin piece of wood, not well (4)
SICK - STICK. Thin piece of wood (STICK) with the T (TEE) cut.
3 Disability assistance I put an upper limit on (8)
HANDICAP - HAND (assistance) + I + CAP (put an upper limit on)
8 Very cruel crime varied not so much (9)
MERCILESS - *(CRIME) with "varied" as the anagrind, + LESS (not so much)
10 Companion shortened floor covering (3)
MAT - MATE (companion shortened - i.e. last letter of MATE removed)
11 West Yorkshire city is ahead according to reports (5)
LEEDS - Homophone (indicated by "according to reports") - LEEDS sounds like "leads" (is ahead)
12 Sue pops out to think (7)
SUPPOSE - *(SUE POPS) with "out" as the anagrind
13 Fantasist turned scarlet, holding a lot of paper (7)
DREAMER - D[REAM]ER. RED reversed (turned scarlet) "holding" (wrapped around) REAM (lot of paper - 500 sheets to be precise). Research indicates that a ream was previously 480 sheets - now that's inflation for you. Heaven knows what shady deals and politicking were needed to increase the ream thus... Much further research on "ream" is probably ill-advised
18 Collection of products chimed with English (5)
RANGE - RANG (chimed) + E (English). Straightforward but neat clue, I thought
19 Share portion with baker, having removed crust (7)
PARTAKE - PART (portion) + BAKER (crust - i.e. outside letters - removed)
20 Promised to swallow ecstasy et cetera, or a vegetable (9)
SWEETCORN - SW[E_ETC]ORN. SWORN (Promised) "swallows" E (ecstasy) and ETC (et cetera)
22 Line that is something deceptive (3)
LIE - L (Line) + IE (that is)
23 Solemn promise to Athena? Not entirely (4)
OATH - Answer hidden (indicated by "not entirely") in tO ATHena. I do enjoy a nice hidden clue type, and I thought this was very good
24 Intellectual having half of bran in oats, say (8)
CEREBRAL - CERE[BR]AL. Half of BRAN is found in CEREAL, of which oats is an example (indicated by "say")

1 Plenty to follow small specimen (6)
SAMPLE - S (small) is followed by AMPLE (plenty)
2 Vehicle with household animal, maybe 10 (6)
CARPET - CAR (vehicle) + PET (household animal) giving what might be a MAT (answer to 10 ac)
4 What begins as getting elderly? (3)
AGE - First letters of (What begins) As Getting Elderly
5 Evaporation of fluid and ice containing thick juice and fruit (13)
DISAPPEARANCE - DI[SAP_PEAR]ANCE. SAP (thick juice) + PEAR (fruit) inside rearrangement (signalled by "fluid") of AND ICE. Quite tricky wordplay.
6 Public land lacking refinement (6)
COMMON - DD - very neat
7 Female children's author means to spend time in aimless activities (6)
POTTER - Another DD, with the first based on Beatrix Potter
9 Mostly provide financial cover for decent chap and rebel (9)
INSURGENT - INSURE (Financial cover minus the last letter - i.e. "mostly") + GENT (decent chap)
12 Rascal to rip off page (5)
SCAMP - SCAM (to rip off) + P (page). Not a word one hears much these days, other than from those who also have scallywag in their spoken vocabulary
14 Wall covering scattered forces (6)
FRESCO - *(FORCES) with "scattered" as the anagrind
15 Aim under canvas? (6)
INTENT - Definition supported by cryptic IN TENT (under canvas). Very nice
16 Crew member said Lord loses every day (6)
SAILOR - SAId LORd - losing every D (day). Had not seen this trick before - ingenious
17 Show about flesh of calves (6)
REVEAL - RE (about) + VEAL (flesh of calves). A Damien Hirst production, perhaps?
21 Nothing you and I are indebted to (3)
OWE - O (nothing) + WE (you and I)

Times 26,102

I've never complained about it, but my alternate Tuesdays are normally pretty run-of-the-mill, and I can't remember the last time I had a puzzle which really stood out for any reason, good or bad. Not any more...(or at least I hope so - if I find that nobody else had to wrestle with this one for an unexpectedly long time, I'm going to feel a bit foolish). Anyway, for the record, this became the first puzzle for ages to take me past not just the half-hour, but the 40 minute mark; and while I noted and appreciated some cracking individual clues during the solving process, a puzzle of this difficulty always runs the risk of losing its charm as you struggle towards the finish line with a puzzle to solve and a blog to write! The fact that it was a pangram (in fact, a supercharged one, with some extra Js and Zs and Xs and Qs for good measure) didn't seem to help as I finally forced the NW corner into submission.

After a break from the process, I think I've concluded this is one of those puzzles which is so tough that even if/when you manage to complete it, you end up regarding it with admiration rather than love. So, compliments to the setter, possibly through gritted teeth, and congratulations to anyone who finished in any sort of time at all. As always on blogging days, I tried to be in a position to show all my working before submitting, but some of the parsing is going to have to be posthumous. Onward, then, and let's see if I was alone in the struggle.

1BOOK CLUB - BOOK(="engage"), CLUB(="striker"). A gathering to discuss works, possibly recommended by Richard & Judy.
5MYSELF - reverse hidden in wafFLE SYMbolic.
10LOTTO - The second auction item would be LOT TWO, take out the W{ith} to get the game. At first I thought it was a homophone, which would have meant I'd been pronouncing it wrong for several decades, but it isn't.
11CHEQUERED - "up and down" as in a chequered career, and the chequered flag which marks the end of a motor race.
12FACE SAVER - something that saves your face would guard your standing; FACE("brave") then SAVE("but"), R{uns}.
13USHER - US (and not them) with HER.
14ON A ROLL - these days film tends to be digital, of course, rather than arriving on reels of celluloid, whether in your domestic camera or at the cinema (at some point the game of charades is going to have to be updated, though I'm not sure how you mime a film arriving by a fibre-optic cable).
16NUTJOB - N.U.T. (National Union of Teachers), JOB(="work").
18HOLD UP - the rarely-spotted quadruple definition, I think.
20BEER MAT - (T{h}E,AMBER). If that's the first use of a lift-and-separate of "amber fluid" to indicate the anagram, it's nicely done. Obviously pretty good even if it's not the first use, but you know what I mean.
22COYPU - i.e. a COY "POOH".
23ZINC OXIDE - Z("the ultimate character") (EXCON1ID)*.
25BRONZE AGE - [ON in (ZEBRA)*]. G{ool}E.
26IRENA - ARENA with the front changing to 1.
27XYSTER - X,Y (the plural of axis, not axe) + STER{n}. Worked out from wordplay only - it's a surgical instrument for scraping bones, hence "sterilised rubber".
28QUAGMIRE - the A.G.M. is the yearly gathering, inserted into a QUIRE of paper, which are the leaves. Very elegantly clued.
1BULLFROG - I twigged early that the definition was going to be a jumping animal, but, without checkers, couldn't get away from some sort of ROO. Anyway, the last bit is [R{emaining} in FOG], so I guess that means BULL="stuff", which I can (more or less) justify by one of those three-point turns in the thesaurus if you think of both meaning "nonsense".
2OPTIC - double def., the measuring system for dispensing your shot of choice in a pub, and "of sight".
3CROSSWORD PUZZLE - the two variables (Z,Z) go inside (PROCESSWOULDR{un})*, and the craftily simple definition is "this". A modern classic, this clue, I reckon.
4UNCIVIL - double def., "short" as in rude, and military as the opposite of civil.
6YOU MUST BE JOKING - put the girl JO in to "YOU MUST BE (Martin Luther) KING".
7EARTHWORM - an endless TH{e} inside EARWORM gives the traditional fisherman's bait. For those unfamiliar with the modern concept, an earworm (from the German "ohrwurm") is that song that you catch on the radio as you go to work and then can't get out of your head for the rest of the day. The good news is that the way to get rid of one is to engage in moderate mental exercise such as a crossword.
8FEDORA - FED O.R. A{pparently}. I wonder if this was written after Jeremy Clarkson didn't get his steak dinner?
9HEN RUN - H.E.= His Excellency= "ambassador", N{ea}R U.N. I can't claim to have known the Andalusian chicken, but it didn't require too much of a leap of faith to believe in its possible existence.
15ANONYMOUS - (SOMANYONU{niversity})*.
17STEERAGE - S{ingular}; TEE RAGE; it's only a theoretical concept invented for crossword purposes, of course, but anyone who's ever swung a golf club (and plenty who haven't) should be able to relate to the idea. If there can be road rage (in the car), and trolley rage (at the supermarket), why not TEE RAGE for those driving off at the first hole?
19POZNAN - P{iano}, OZ NAN. I knew this from the sporting celebration which has been adopted by Manchester City fans.
20BANDEAU - BAN "DOUGH". A bandeau is a strip of cloth, so can be any simple garment, including a hairband.
21ICEBOX - I.E. with C{old} inside, BOX(="punch") &lit.
24ICENI - E,N are today's bridge players, inside ICI, the former Imperial Chemical Industries, once Britain's largest company, since sold and broken up, hence "of old". The "people once" were famously the tribe of Boudicca in the East of Roman Britain.

Quick Cryptic No 311 by Orpheus

Tougher than yesterday's (15 minutes) but entertaining nevertheless. 19dn caused problems but when the penny dropped it was awarded my COD. Those with a greater depth of experience in the pronunciation of male Scotish names are invited to comment at 21dn.

Definitions underlined, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition, deletions CROSSED OUT

1 Workers’ representative betrays extremely tense protégé (4,7)
   SHOP STEWARD - Betrays (SHOPS), (T)ens(E), WARD.
8 First-class cream on dessert, for example (7)
   TOPPING - dd.
9 Perfect joy, being a composer! (5)
   BLISS - dd - the second being Sir Arthur. 1891–1975, British composer; Master of the Queen's Musick (1953–75). His works include the Colour Symphony (1922), film and ballet music, and a cello concerto (1970).
10 It’s clear I could become practical (9)
   REALISTIC - Anagram (could become) of ITS CLEAR I.
12 Fuss made by duke in a circular letter (3)
   ADO - Duke (D) inside a (A) and circular letter (O).
13 Left beside a large gate (6)
   PORTAL - Left (PORT), a (A), large (L).
15 Songs originally sung among tropical trees? (6)
   PSALMS - (S)ung inside PALMS.
17 Sleep in vessel coming from the East (3)
   NAP - Vessel (PAN) backwards.
18 Former pitmen hold key: students hope to satisfy them (9)
   EXAMINERS - Former (EX) pitmen (MINERS) holding the musical key A. Musical keys are often used to mop up any spare letters in the parsing between A and G.
20 Dissolute son visiting Cornish resort (5)
   LOOSE - Son (S) inside LOOE.
22 Prickly plant bishop found beside walk (7)
   BRAMBLE - Bishop (B), RAMBLE.
23 Open to attack from French, leave more of field unprotected? (11)
   DEFENCELESS - From in French (DE), leave more of field unprotected (FENCE LESS).

1 Brown pigment Greek character dropped in tidal water (5)
   SEPIA - Greek character (PI) in SEA.
2 Begin to hold forth about one alcoholic drink (9)
   ORIGINATE - Hold forth (ORATE) around one (I), GIN.
3 They’re seen where builders may be working, say (6)
   SIGHTS - Homophone of sites.
4 Decline apparent in Web browser (3)
   EBB - In w(EB B)rowser.
5 A great worry for a girl (7)
6 Girl’s mad, being deprived of property (12)
7 Grand pastels oddly like Uncle Sam’s flag (4-8)
   STAR-SPANGLED - Amagram (oddly) of GRAND PASTELS.
11 Chastise actors beginning to irritate spectators (9)
   CASTIGATE - Actors (CAST), (I)rritate, spectators at a stadium (GATE).
14 Censure concerning senior academic receiving oxygen (7)
   REPROOF - Concerning (RE), senior academic (PROF) holding oxygen (O).
16 Burns religious leader initially endured? (6)
   RABBIE - RABBI, (E)ndured.
19 English doctor on American board? (5)
   EMBUS - English (E), doctor (MB), American (US). Rather than being some new form of emery board I hadn't heard of this turned out to be hopping on a bus - (military) to cause (troops) to board or (of troops) to board a transport vehicle.
21 Age of a Scotsman, do we hear? (3)
   EON - Hopefully my Scottish friends can assist here - I've tried all ways to pronounce IAN (the 'usual' crosswordland Scotsman) but can't work it around to how I pronounce eon (maybe there's a second way of pronouncing this?). The name could be EUAN or something similar which sounds like eon.

Times 26101 – All Hands on Deck?

I’m going through a bit of a British propaganda war movie phase at the moment, including a brace of films released a year apart which both feature ‘way’ in the title, one starring John Mills (rather good, actually), the other David Niven (not quite so good, old chaps). Which has nothing very much to do with today’s puzzle, except that it was very British and also rather good. Except where it became a bit too British and clued an unknown word by a little known (outside Blighty) edifice.

Anyway, at this point I am on the first page of the leader board with my 62 minutes – a situation which I cannot see lasting much longer than Gerry’s attempt to knock the stuffing out of chaps like Stanley Holloway, William Hartnell and James Donald. And doesn’t he look like Geoffrey Palmer! A little more in the jowl department would have made him a true doppelganger, umlaut or no umlaut.


1. DUMP – DU (‘from the [in] French’) + MP. A nice one to get off the mark with, if you start at 1a.
3. BRASS TACKS – it wouldn’t be British if it didn’t have some seaside humour: BRAS + STACKS.
9. MANSARD – the literal is ‘roof’; ODO describes this as ‘a roof which has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down’. If this doesn’t mean much to you, here’s a few pictures of one. Not very British at all, I’m afraid, which may be deduced not just from their appearance on so many chateaus but also from the fact it’s also called a French roof. I was looking for an aitchless ‘hand’, as well as an ‘man’ with all his bits, but was snookered until I decided to try a masse, having learnt it here just the other week, spun the cue ball round the black and hit the object ball. It took me nearly as long as Shaun Murphy, mind. Oh yes, it’s MAN + an aitchless (‘short of height’) SHARD (funny shaped building in London).
12. GHOST TOWN – I think it took me all the crossing letters before I gave up on ‘gown’; the literal is ‘place everyone’s left’, which is derived from HOST + T[ime] in GOWN. If a HOST is wearing a ‘gown’ (and, no, settle down, it could be a university gown!), then he could also be said to be in it.
13. SHELF – ‘possible support’; H[ospital] in SELF (‘identity’).
14. DISREPUTABLE – ‘untrustworthy’; DIS + RE (‘re’) + PUT (‘positioned’) + ABLE.
18. POOR RELATION – I reckon this is a double definition, but I could be wrong. A less respected version of something or someone is its POOR RELATION.
21. SP+ILL
22. FOSSILISE – at first I was looking for something ending in ‘-less’. So, I think we would all agree a fairly cunning clue, with a pretty well concealed anagram (‘shepherd’ is sorting out OF ISLES IS) to give the literal ‘to become old and inflexible’. I haven’t consulted my wife yet, but I don’t think that is how she would describe me. I think she would still have me at the middle-aged and inflexible stage. At least, I hope so.
24. EYEBALL – this was one of my three favourites; it’s BE YE (‘if you are’ in Olde Worlde speake) reversed + ALL.
25. VINTAGE – I believe (from an example in ODO) that crushed grapes are placed in a vat for a short time before being put into barrels, so this is quite clever, and I think a semi &lit; the literal is therefore the whole show, while the wordplay is a ‘developed’ IN VAT to give VINTA + GE (cued by ‘possibly [i.e., “e.g.”] turned’).
26. DUSSELDORF – the only German airport I have ever used, but this didn’t help me much when I was being suckered into Leipzig, Dresden and Magdeburg; it’s F[isherman] + RODLESS (boom, boom!) + UD (U[nequippe]D) all reversed. This would probably have been one of my favourites if I’d understood it while solving.
27. CYST – ‘cavity’ from C[runch]Y S[orbe]T.


1. DEMIGODS – if I was Sue, I’d have used a bottle of Tippex on this, but I was solving online, so only the CIA and the Chinese will be able to tell you how many times I shoved the right answer in and then took it out. I was looking for an ‘ague’, when I should have been looking for a DOG, which reverses itself and slots neatly into DEMIS[e].
2. MONGOOSE – according to the 1987 documentary on them I watched on YouTube last week, a meerkat is only the size of a lion’s tail (I think Attenborough meant ‘length’), so ‘small predator’ is pretty difficult to challenge. Anyway [sotto voce], here we see the North American deer (MOOSE) curling itself around a N[ew] GO.
4. RODEO – RODE O[ff].
5. SHRINKAGE – a real seaside-postcard of a clue; Private Eye would have clued it with ‘sexologist’.
6. TRANSYLVANIAN – anagram of NASTY RAINS around L[arge] + VAN. (Edited - thanks to Amon)
8. SET OFF – ‘begin’; S[u]E (‘to prosecute heartless’) + TOFF (‘nob’).
10. AT THE COALFACE – ‘not deskbound’; ‘like worker of mine’, indeed!
15. UNRUFFLED – double definition, one of which might get the titterers going. Another of my three.
16. MILITARY – ‘service’; I + LIT[any] in MARY. The third of my three.
17. INDECENT – ‘crude’; EC (City of London, more or less) in IN + DENT.
19. ASCEND – ‘mount’; C[ook] in A SEND ('dispatch'). Thanks to KG for pointing out the nonsense in my original effort.
20. BICEPS – ‘strong-arm displays’; I think this would have made it to my top three if it hadn’t frustrated me for so long. It’s very elegant, after all: BI[g] + CEPS.
23. SEVER – fame at last for our own Tony! V in SEER.

Times Quick Cryptic 310 by Flamande

I steamed through this one in 5 minutes which I think is my fastest ever solve, and with every clue understood as I went along apart from 23 where the answer was clear but the source of the anagram material (anagrist) was not immediately apparent so it required a return visit. I'd say there are two references that may be unfamilar to some, at 5ac and 18ac, but in both cases answers are gettable by other means.

If you need the link to the puzzle it's here:

Definitions {deletions} [indicators]

1 Captain who hops about? (7)
SKIPPER - A literal definition with a cryptic hint
5 Hit sailing boat (5)
SMACK - Two literal definitions. The boat maybe less known; it's a sailing vessel often used for fishing.
8 Expert gardener is a card (3,2,6)
ACE OF SPADES - Two definitions, one cryptic, one literal
10 Fellow taking part in daring enterprise (4)
GENT - Hidden [taking part in] {darin}G ENT{erprise}
11 About start of morning, make a snack for the afternoon (5,3)
CREAM TEA - CREATE (make) encloses [about] M{orning}, A
12 One who prohibits flag (6)
BANNER - Two definitions
14 Motor part needing to be repaired, middle part having dropped out (6)
ENGINE - Anagram [repaired] of NEE{d}ING. 'Middle part having dropped out' indicates the D is to be removed.
16 Son takes a short time abroad for project (5,3)
STICK OUT - S (son), TICK (short time), OUT (abroad)
18 Sounds like Mr Bevan is near (4)
NIGH - Sounds like "Nye" (Mr Bevan). Solvers may need to be of a certain age to know that Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Labour MP from 1929 to 1960 and particularly prominent during the post-war years, was commonly known as "Nye".
20 Argue, getting stuck initially in puzzles like this one (5,6)
CROSS SWORDS - S{tuck} inside CROSSWORDS (puzzles like this one)
22 Social worker accompanies me as intended (5)
MEANT - ME, ANT (social worker)
23 On isle in a storm, there's shelter for a beastly swimmer (3,4)
SEA LION - Anagram [in a storm] of ON ISLE encloses [there's shelter for] A. Tricky to parse, this one, so I biffed the answer and sorted out the wordplay later.

2 Scoundrel in part of church, we hear (5)
KNAVE - Sounds like [we hear] "nave" (part of church)
3 Quickly getting to northern city (7)
PRESTON - PRESTO (quickly - music), N (northern). I didn’t know, or had forgotten, that this is now a city having been granted its status in 2002, the 50th year of HMQ's reign.
4 Supernatural creature flew upwards, weightless (3)
ELF -  FLE{w} reversed [upwards]. 'Weightless' indicates the 'W' is to be removed.
6 Either way, she's a lady (5)
MADAM - 'Either way' indicates we are looking for a palindrome to help us on our way to the answer.
7 Storage tank, cold one, near back of boat (7)
CISTERN - C (cold), I (one), STERN (back of boat)
9 Twisting serpent here (7)
PRESENT - Anagram [twisting] of SERPENT
11 Loads vehicle and departs (7)
CARGOES - CAR (vehicle), GOES (departs)
13 This could be a   newspaper extract (7)
ARTICLE - Two definitions. The cryptic one uses 'A' in the sense of 'definite article'.
16 No particular    army commander (7)
GENERAL - Two definitions
17 Gloat noisily, getting new sporting award (5)
CROWN - CROW (gloat noisily), N (new)
19 Got excited, eating American relish (5)
GUSTO - Anagram [excited] of GOT encloses [eating] US (American)
21 Small unwanted garden plant daughter cut (3)
WEE - WEE{d} (unwanted garden plant). 'Daughter cut' indicates the D is to be removed

Jumbo 1146

A few unknown ideas slowed this one down - SANS CULOTTE, MILLS BOMB, MAMEE, whilst other parts went in more routinely. There were a few quirky clue types, the riddle of SCALABLE, the linked clues at 6D and 7D, and the great surface in 32A. Not sure about the homophone at 43A though
1 DESIGN - DE=mexican "of", SIGN=wave
5 DISSIPATED - IS=ones, SIP=drink, inside DATED=old hat
10 CUBED - double def, somewhat counterintuitively
14 SINGLETON - SING and LET ON, both mean squeal. Whole is the lone card (club)
15 FLOOR EXERCISE - EXCISE=duty, around ER=queen, after FLOOR=landing
16 VICOMTE - VICE=failing, around (b)O(n)M(o)T(s)
17 COCTEAU - reversed hidden (mant)UA ETC OC(casionally)
18 EARLDOM - EAR=attention, LD=lord, OM=honour
19 WELSH GRAND NATIONAL - (ws holland argentina)*
21 ISLA - ISLA(m)
24 LOTUS - &lit, LOT=set, US=over the pond
26 ENTHUSED - TENTH USED=90% unemployed, remove the head
27 AD LIBBER - A DR, outside (bible)*
29 OPEN AND SHUT - O=old, PEN=enclosure, AND=with, S=small, HUT=shed
30 SATIN STITCH - SAT=rested, INST=this month, ITCH=long
32 BARBARY APES - A P=piano, in BAR,BAR = pubs, YES=indeed. Obscure definition of "Rock locals"
35 FIGHTING FIT - FIGHTING=wrestling, FIT=match
37 ALL CLEAR - (caller L a)*
39 ATTENDER - TA=grateful response, reversed, TENDER=give
40 EAT UP - (b)EAT UP
43 DUEL - apparently DUEL sounds like JEWEL. bit of a push for me.
44 THE BIRDS AND THE BEES - cryptic definition
47 ART FORM - ARM=member, around R, OFT reversed
50 AUDIBLE - AU=gold, DIE=stamp, around BL=british library
51 SAN BERNARDINO - (ron brained)* after SAN=hospital
52 MILLS BOMB - MILL'S=powder's, BOMB(e) for the pineapple shaped grenade
53 POOCH - COOP=home for Orpington (chicken), reversed, H=husband
54 MIDI SYSTEM - MI=note, D(a)ISY, STEM=staunch
55 TRANNY - transistor radio or transvestive (TV)

1 DISAVOWAL - DI'S, then sounds like A VOWEL = I, for one.
2 SANS CULOTTE - (at countless)*. Needed checkers as didnt know the term
3 GALUMPH - U LAG= universal delay, reversed, MPH = speed. Def is "bound"
6 SAFE CONDUCT - SA=it, on top of FE=iron, CONDUCT=lead
7 PROTECTRESS - PRO=expert,TEC=detective, TRESS=lock, definition needs to be taken in conjunction with the previous clue
8 TURN UPON - O(ppositio)N, after TURN-UP
9 DIXIELAND - IX=nonet, inside DIE=end, LAND=light
10 CURATE - CU=copper, RARE=not easy to trace
11 BLIND AS A BAT - (bad in basalt)*
12 DREAM - (ban)D, REAM=leaves
13 ST GEORGES DAY - TS, reversed, GEORGES=Eliot's, D=daughter, AY=indeed
20 NOT A HOPE - (on the o pa)*
22 AIRSHOT - AIRS=shows, HOT=stolen
23 PITTANCE - PITTA=bread, N(i)CE
25 SCALABLE - riddle like cryptic definition
28 STEGODON - NO, DO=function, GETS=becomes, all reversed
29 ON BOARD - double def
31 NATURE TRAILS - (set in a rural)* with (environmen)T added in
33 RALLENTANDO - hidden in gene(RAL LENT AND O)verspent
34 SATURNALIAS - SA=south america, TURN=go, ALIAS=another name
35 FREE SCHOOLS - (he closes for)*
36 FATHER BROWN - FATHER=pop, BROWN=to toast
38 AD HOMINEM - AD=bill, HOM(e)=in, mostly, outside of MINE=rich source
41 POSTER BOY - POST=after, ER=hesitation, BY=close to, around O=love
42 ABHORRED - ABH=crime against the person, OR=men, RED=bloody
45 END USER - ENDURES = goes on, swapping R and S
46 JOSEPH - PE=gym, reversed, inside JOSH=rib
47 AESOP - (h)A(d) (b)ES(t) (c)OP(e)
49 MAMEE - M(y) A(i)M (h)E(r)E
Standard fare this week with no real trouble spots

The electoral demise of Ed Balls is no doubt causing some hand wringing in London Bridge Street!

1ATAPS - A-(past)*; nipa palm leaves;
6ACHAEA - region=AREA then change R=rector into CHA=tea; a region in the west of Greece;
10PHRASEMONGER - (german hopes r)*; r from r(hetoric); "blood, toil, tears and sweat";
11LILANGENI - LI(LANG)EN-I(ndia); ready=money; shekels in Swaziland;
12ANBURY - A-N-BURY; club root;
13RIFLED - RI(FLE)D; bolted=fle(d);
15AGADAH - HAD-A-GA(g) all reversed; text from the Talmud;
20MATHESIS - M-A-THESIS; mathematical mental mortification;
21AMUSETTE - A-MUSETTE; US knapsack=MUSETTE; a field gun;
23ODDMAN - O(DD)MAN; an umpire;
25AYESHA - A-YES-HA; in this year=HA; the youngest of Mohammed's wives;
26TERATA - (tate)* surrounds RA; monsters;
28BASTINADO - BASTI(o)N-ADO; punish or torture by beating the feet;
30SHENDS - SHE(ND)S; ND=undated; old rebukes;
31SKEGG - S-K-EGG; K=Boltzmann constant; keel at the back of a sailboard;
1APIA - A-PIA; Pakistan International Airline=PIA; capital of Samoa;
2THINGUMMY - T(HING)UMMY; gum=HING; what's it;
3AROBA - (abroad - d)*; "clock"=anagrind - not sure about that; a carriage;
4PALUDOSE - PAL-U-DOSE; china=mate=PAL; Oriental Mister=U; definition is "of malaria";
5LELY - (so)LELY;
6AMARETTO - A-M(treat)*O;
7CONIA - CON(sort)IA; hemlock;
8AGELAST - A(gaels)*T; somebody who doesn't laugh (somebody to be avoided, methinks);
9ARIDEST - AR-ID EST; AR=Arkansas;
14EMICATING - (enigmatic)*;
17YELDROCK - (crookedly - o)*; yellowhammer, part of the bunting family of birds;
18WAHABIS - W(AHAB)IS; old word for know=WIS;
19TUMESCE - (costumes etc - cost)*; to swell;
22AHIND - A-HIND; abaft in Ayr;
24MAMEE - MAM-EE(l); fruit;
26TA'EN - NEAT reversed; impress=take;
27ACTG - GT-CA all reversed; abbreviation of "acting"=deputise for;
Another cracker from Dean, awash with wit, some terrific clues, amusing surfaces and a splash of sauce.

Particular standouts for me were the excellent clue at 17dn, the tricky 1ac, the ingenious definition at 26ac and, of course, the highly amusing (and cunningly constructed) 3dn. But the whole thing was hugely enjoyable, so thanks - as ever - to our setter.

Definitions underlined, anagrams indicated by *(--), DD = double definition

1 Both taps drip - see variable pressure (6)
CHIVVY - C+H (both taps - cold & hot) + IV (drip - of the intravenous sort) + V (see - Latin vide) + Y (variable). If you chivvy someone along, you apply pressure to them
4 Dog meat 50% part of take-away food (4,4)
CHOW MEIN - CHOW (dog) with MEAT (meat 50%) + IN (part of)
10 Old man's shop beginning to go forward (4,5)
PASS ALONG - PA'S SALON (Old man's shop) + G (beginning to GO)
11 Fleet's power in attack (5)
RAPID - P (power) inside RAID (attack)
12 Scholars notice earth is round? (13)
THEORETICIANS - *(NOTICE EARTH IS) with "round" as the anagrind
14 Cat left in part of hotel (4)
LASH - L (left) + AS (in) + HOTEL (part of hotel). The lament of the forgetful dominatrix, no doubt...
16 Dressmaker keeps touching fabulous swimmer (3-7)
SEA-MONSTER - SEAM[ON]STER. ON (as in "regarding", hence touching) retained (keeps) by an alternative word for seamstress. Amusing surface
18 Unique, troubled genius rejected father (3,7)
SUI GENERIS - *(GENIUS) with "troubled" as the anagrind, and SIRE reversed (rejected father)
19 Tailless bird caught small reptile (4)
CROC - CROW (tailless bird) + C (caught), giving the short form (small) rendition of Captain Hook's nemesis
21 Fully open, as any lock can be picked (2-5-6)
NO-HOLDS-BARRED - DD, the second somewhat cryptic
24 Destination Kentucky's old capital (5)
TOKYO - TO (destination) + KY (abbrev. of the state) + O (old)
25 More stale works of writers (9)
FROWSTIER - *(OF WRITERS) with "works" as the anagrind. Not a word I knew, but the anagram indicator was clear and the cross checkers gave a sporting chance of plumping for the right answer
26 Makes textbook for a following - weird sect (8)
PERFECTS - PER (for) + F (abbrev. of following, as used in citations in reference works) + *(SECT) with "weird" as the anagrind. Ingenious definition, I thought
27 Ordinary bag of bones (6)
OSTEAL - O (abbrev. of ordinary - as in O Levels) + STEAL (bag) giving a word meaning of or pertaining to bones. Another unknown, but relatively easy to work out from a combination of the wordplay and dim recollections of Latin classes at school

1 Beat it with very famous investor (10)
CAPITALIST - CAP IT (beat it) with A LIST (very famous)
2 Edition is, of course, not right (5)
ISSUE - IS + SURE (of course without the R for right)
3 Promoter of the other version of Sex & The City? (6)
VIAGRA - A classic. Witty, slightly risqué and very elegant clueing - what more could you want? Brilliant definition (a spot of "the other" is a somewhat old fashioned term for that which us modernists tend to refer to as horizontal folk dancing). The "version of sex" is the Roman version, viz. VI (Roman numeral with sex being Latin for six) + AGRA (city in India)
5 Embassy's expensive fee (4,10)
HIGH COMMISSION - A generous DD giving an entry point extending down the spine of the puzzle - and much appreciated!
6 Make-up - defect is not commonly seen (3,5)
WAR PAINT - WARP (defect) + AINT (is not "commonly"). Always liked war paint as a term for make-up: as a very young kid steeped in Cowboys & Indians stuff, I was most intrigued when I used to hear The Mother saying she was "off to put her war paint on" prior to a big night out
7 One explains old model with skimpy clothing (9)
EXPOSITOR - EX + PO[SIT]OR. EX (old) with SIT (model) "clothed by" POOR (skimpy). Yet another great surface suggesting a careworn artist fielding questions regarding his reclining semi-nude septuagenarian
8 To be a jogger's no good without kit (8)
NUDE - NUDGE (jog without G for good) giving us the result of getting one's kit off
9 Not to be justified on earth? How appropriate (3,3,4,2,2)
FOR THE HELL OF IT - One of those clues where the answer went in pretty much straight away based on definition, but the parsing was more challenging. I think the following is correct, but apologies if I have this wrong: FORTH (on - "go forth" = "go on") + E (abbrev. Earth) + HELLO (how - greeting used by North American Indians) + FIT (appropriate). Phew!
13 Education through acquisition, of course (10)
PROCEDURAL - PROC[ED}URAL. Have to say this went in with fingers crossed, as I did not know Procural (although from the wordplay it seemed a likely candidate) and I was not fully confident I'd understood the definition - which I think is based on a process being a course of steps to be followed
15 Tack into wind and run this sail (9)
SPINNAKER - S[PIN]NAKE + R. Small nail (PIN / tack) inside SNAKE (as in wind around) with R (run - cricket abbrev.)
17 Queen needs him to carry the odd crown? No (8)
DETHRONE - Tricky, beautifully crafted clue in my view. DRONE (Queen bee needs him) carrying *(THE) with odd as the anagrind, giving the opposite of crowning (crown? No)
20 Arrangement of bones makes us look bad? (6)
TARSUS - Collection of bones in the ankle also derived from TARS_US (makes us look bad)
22 Put up and knock down, reportedly (5)
RAISE - Homophone (signalled by reportedly) of RAZE (knock down)
23 Extremely short work break (4)
STOP - SHORT (extremes of short) + OP (work)

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