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Times Quick Cryptic 770 by Tracy

I just came in under the wire with a few seconds to spare to meet my 10 minute target. The final 2 minutes had been spent on 16dn - more on that later - and I shall be interested to know how others fared with it. Apart from that clue I thought this was a fairly straightforward puzzle especially with regard  to wordplay.



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Times 26653 - Braying Blumenthals

I thought this was a very pleasant little number, which I completed in 24 minutes with the unseen but immanent assistance of Hilarius of Poitiers, as I semi-biffed my last one, the plant at 9 across. While some clues had smuggled themselves into the grid after making a mad dash for it from the Quickie, one or two others (most notably 12 across) were chucked in without full understanding of the wordplay, so hopefully by the time I finish writing this up I will have got everything sorted.

If not, I am confident that both those in the expensive seats in the City and the Rhinebeck Estate and those in the cheap seats Down Under - not to mention those who pulled a few erhu strings to pull off a guanxi gatecrash in Shanghai - will put me straight. It's always kind of refreshing - even pleasant in a slightly masochistic way, and I believe we all have our slightly masochistic side - when the role of putting me straight is performed by someone other than the person to whom I was spliced 25 years ago this July.

ACROSS

1. FARM - 'till'; initial letters of Feel Angry Raiding Merchant.
4. REDECORATE - 'again do up property'; RE (note) + DECO RATE (cost of certain type of art?).
9. CORNFLOWER - 'blooming thing'; FLOW (WOLF reversed) in CORNER. If you don't think a corner is a shot, just ask David Seaman.
10. HOUR - O in HUR (Ben, as immortalised by Chuck Heston).
11. STRIKE - a clue embued with a certain whimsy where the literal is 'impress'. Strikes always put me in mind of the 1970s, when the wonderfully named Sid "Wheel" Weighell was tasked with leading the National Union of Railwaymen. One has to wonder how many stoppages might have been averted if only negotiations with t'management had involved Rowan Atkinson, Jim Broadbent and co.
12. TWOPENCE - 'limited cash'; PEN in TWOC + E. Twocking is apparently the extremely obnoxious act of *Taking Without Owner's Consent* his or her motor. There is of course only one remedy for those who indulge in this activity.
14. FERN - FER (REF returned) followed by [grow]N.
15. OUTPATIENT - anagram* of UP TO ENT AT ('travelling' is here performing the anagrindational role) around I.
17. CHARIOTEER - Mr Hur from No. 10a is the 'driver' - you wouldn't want to twock his wheels, I reckon; CHA + RIOTER around E (European capital).
20. TREK - [repor]T + RE (about) + K (king).
21. SPEEDIER - you have to channel Yoda to see how this works, as you need to look forward rather than back to secure the P (parking) in the 'more squalid', aka SEEDIER. To enter not difficult; to see not quite so easy.
23. BALZAC - C + AZ + LAB all reversed. I hang my head when I admit that my first thought was Bovary.
24. NOUS - NO US (absence of American). There are still some Guardian readers out there trying to shoehorn TRUMP in.
25. TRUCULENCE - 'pugnacity'; U + LEN (Murray, perhaps, to help organise the strikes) + C in TRUCE.
26. SUPERSEDED - 'replaced'; SUPER (superintendent) + SEDED (sounds like CEDED). Don't you love it when the wordplay hands the spelling of an easily misspelled word to you on a plate. Other setters please note, especially when clueing AIREDALE.
27. TERM - Hilary (named after the 4th century Hilarius of Poitiers, evidently a Frenchman with a sense of humour) is what the term running from Jan to March is called at God's Own University; I am given to understand that over at the Fenland Poly they use the prosaic Lent.

DOWN

2. APOSTLESHIP - Paul (né Saul) - apostle to the Gentiles (and indeed to the Jews as well); A POST on LE SHIP.
3. MONSIGNOR - 'Catholic priest'; MOOR (fell) around N + SIGN.
4. RELIEVO - ELI in REVO (reversed OVER: 'upset about') gives another word for relief in its sense of projection of figures from a flat ground.
5. DOWN TO THE GROUND - 'absolutely'; an expression mainly found in collocation with 'suit'.
6. CORDOBA - DOB in CORA (similar vintage as LEN).
7. ACORN - A + CO + R[etaining] + N[ourishing].
8. EERIE - [b]EER (pint perhaps) + IE (that is).
13. CONVEYANCER - CONVEYANCE above R.
16. INTELLECT - LET + CLIENT* ('stew' doing the grinding).
18. OPIATES - O + PI[r]ATES; I don't think I've come across ROVER as pirate (it can also refer to his/her conveyance).
19. REBOUND - or RE-BOUND.
21. SONGS - G in SONS; I'm surprised this got into a Quickie, let alone escaped from one.
22. EQUIP - E + QUIP; 21 down's cousin - they made their break for freedom together.

Mephisto 2946 - Paul McKenna

My only problem with this came from writing "toke" in at 12A which made the NW corner harder than it should have been! Annoying because the correct answer is well known to me. Other than that a pleasant enough middle of the road puzzle.

Across
1COSHED - CO-SHED;
6SHAVER - S-HAVER; two meanings 1=boy 2=barber then is=S and hum and haw=HAVER;
11GREMOLATA - (arm eg a lot)*;
12ATOK - hidden (tom)ATO-K(etchup); a skunk; note "toke" also hidden by same sequence;
13CUPOLAD - CUP-O-LAD; over=O; vaulted;
14DOUBT - sounds like "dout";
17AFRAID - AFR-AID;
18A,LEVEL - A-LEVEL; adult=A;
19SCELERATE - S(CELER(y))ATE;
21BREHON,LAW - (brown ale)* surrounds h=hard; old Irish laws;
25RUBRIC - RUB-RIC(h);
27INK-SAC - (p)INK-SAC(k); sepia fills this;
29SMOLT - S-MOLT;
30TO,POINT - TOP-OINT; keen on = in to then move "o" to the front;
31URDU - (c)URD-U; see=C; but=without;
32OPEN,SKIES - (pinko sees)*;
33NICETY - NICE-T(r)Y;
34CRENEL - C(RENE)L; LC=loco citato; indent;
Down
1CHADAR - C(HAD)AR;
2OUT,OF,TRUE - OUT-OFT-RUE;
3SCOURGE - S-COUR(a)GE;
4EROTIC - (I-TORE reversed)-(Bello)C;
5DECADENCY - DEC(AD)ENCY;
7HOPPLE - HOP-PLE(dge); plates (of meat)=feet;
8ALONE - AL(ON)E;
9VALI - V-ALI; reference boxer Mohammed Ali;
10RADDLE - (showjumpe)R-ADDLE; hurdle is definition;
15BALLISTIC - BAL(LIS)TIC; bitter=cold=BALTIC;
16GET,LALDIE - (leg it lead)*; six of the best in Stirling;
20ALSO,RAN - A-(losr)*-AN;
21BRETON - BR-(NOTE reversed);
22OIKIST - OIK-IS-(settlemen)T;
23ANSWER - A-NSW-ER; Australian=A;
24ACTUAL - routine=usual then replace "us" by ACT;
26RHONE - two meanings 1=river 2=gutter in Glasgow;
28OPEC - (h)OPE-C; about=circa=C;

Sunday Times 4733 by Jeff Pearce

An enjoyable puzzle characterised by very economical cluing from Jeff - elegant, pithy surfaces abound.

Nothing too taxing, although 1ac was unknown to me and went in from wordplay on a wing and a prayer, and I needed to chip away at several of the others for lengthy periods before they finally yielded. 14d was probably my pick of a good crop of clues.

Thanks, as ever, to Jeff.

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

Across
1 There’s one doctor left in the doctor’s game (10)
THIMBLERIG - I (one) MB (doctor) L (left) 'in' THE + RIG (doctor), giving the "game" (or more usually con trick) involving picking which cup the pea (or whatever) is under after they have been moved around at high speed. A bit tortuous but I managed to get there in the end trusting to the wordplay.
6 It’s hard in prison for a detective (4)
CHAN - H (hard) 'in' CAN (prison) giving us Charlie the sleuth. Apparently no less than 48 films have been made featuring this character: I'm no film buff, but I'd be intrigued to know if any other character has spawned so many movies.
9 Type of chemical rich and idle do when tripping? (10)
DICHLORIDE - *(RICH IDLE DO) with "tripping" pointing to the anagram
10 Boast about a lot of stuff (4)
CROW - Most of (a lot of) CROW{D} (stuff).
12 Leant over and put something on ebay? (6)
LISTED - DD
13 Criminal may bless court (8)
ASSEMBLY - *(MAY BLESS) with "criminal" as the anagram indicator
15 Stop to make a speech about international decline (11)
DETERIORATE - DETER (stop) and ORATE (to make a speech) go around (about) I (abbrev. International)
18 Order a contract (11)
ARRANGEMENT - DD
21 Burlesque? Go without an item of underwear (8)
TRAVESTY - TRY (go) goes around (without) A VEST (an item of underwear)
22 American discovered in plot with the foreign official (6)
BEADLE - A (American) inside BED (plot - as in flower bed) + LE ('the' foreign - i.e. French)
24 Den left with strain (4)
LAIR - L (left) 'with' AIR (strain - i.e. tune)
25 Perhaps shot put incomplete cricketer against opening
(5,5)
FIELD EVENT - FIELDE{R} (incomplete cricketer) next to (against) VENT (opening)
26 Almost blacken pipe (4)
SING - SING{E} (almost blacken)
27 Tasty Celt with 22 changes (10)
DELECTABLE - *(CELT + BEADLE (22 ac)) with "changes" indicating the anagram


Down
1 Walk unsteadily with rum in bottle? Not half! (6)
TODDLE - ODD (rum) 'in' {bot}TLE (not half)
2 Sculpture is visible in trendy church (6)
INCISE - IS can be seen within IN CE (trendy church). Whilst the wordplay seemed clear enough, the definition threw me somewhat as I'd always thought of "sculpture" as a noun whereas the clue seemed to be pointing us to a verb. However, in addition to the more obvious "sculpt" online resources indicate "sculpture" can also be used as a verb.
3 Expect everyone assumed reindeer comes after Nijinsky?
(6-6)
BALLET DANCER - BET (expect) takes in (assumes) ALL (everyone) + DANCER (one of Santa's reindeer) coming 'after'
4 Part of corn primarily needed to make bread (4)
EARN - EAR (part of corn) + N (primarily Needed)
5 Being drunk Republican is enticed to be thus? (10)
INDISCREET - *(IS ENTICED) - with R (Republican) also thrown into the mix - and "being drunk" pointing to the anagram
7 Wanting opening? Cut a bit of light white wood (8)
HORNBEAM - {S}HORN (cut) is without its opening + BEAM (a bit of light)
8 Honeymooner’s want is to go around with extremely lovely
wife (8)
NEWLYWED - NEED (want) 'goes around' W (with) + LY(extremes of LovelY) On edit + another W (wife) - thanks for pointing that out Ulaca
11 Trouser pockets are dirty (5,3,4)
BELOW THE BELT - DD
14 Wily American actress has time for gentle old comedian (10)
STREETWISE - Meryl STREEP (American actress) has her P (gentle - as in music) replaced by T (time) + WISE ("little Ern" - old comedian). Very nice surface and neat clue all round, I thought.
16 Nasty insult about gold vessel (8)
NAUTILUS - *(INSULT) - with "nasty" indicating the anagram - and AU (gold) also included
17 European requires raincoat to go out (8)
CROATIAN - *(RAINCOAT) with "to go out" pointing to the anagram
19 Maintain bishop must imprison Duchess immediately, say
(6)
ADVERB - AVER (maintain) + B (bishop) 'imprisoning' D (duchess), with a definition by example
20 A sort of bench or perch (6)
SETTLE - DD
23 Flower spotted in Heidelberg (4)
ELBE - Hidden inside (spotted in) heidELBErg

Times Jumbo 1249

I can't think of a lot to say about this one, which I found straightforward. Favourite clue: 23dn - I always enjoy the misdirection of clues like this.

As always, * indicates an anagram.

Across
1 MOTHPROOFS - (photos from)*
6 MARKSMANSHIP - MARKS SHIP, around MAN
14 ROLE MODEL - ROLL, around E + MODE
15 HOTEL - hidden in comparabLE TO Home
16 LOW TIDE - (w toiled)*
17 ACADEMIE FRANCAISE - (faces American idea)*
18 OBOES - hOBOES
19 BAGGINS - BAG + GINS. Refers to the hobbit family (Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins etc.) in 'Lord of the Rings'
21 RASCAL - LASCAR, with the L and R swapped round
22 WRESTLER - WHISTLER, with RE replacing HI
24 AMONGST - ANGST around MO (modus operandi)
26 PLAYBILL - PLAY BALL, with I replacing the second A
27 PREFAB - B, after PRE-FA (= before the existence of the Football Association)
30 DISQUIETUDE - Debussy + IS + QUIt + ETUDE
32 RAISON D'ETRE - (restrained)*, around O
33 MIND-BLOWING - MIND + BLOWING
35 FISHEYE LENS - cryptic indication ('snapper' here indicates a type of fish)
37 LIEDER - sounds roughly like 'leader'
38 ENFORCES - FOR in fENCES
39 NUPTIAL - U in (plan it)*
42 NAPOLEON - NON around A POLE
44 RELIEF - BELIEF, with R replacing B
46 ST LEGER - STERn around LEG
48 HINTS - HITS around N
49 AN AMERICAN IN PARIS - double indication
51 LANYARD - ANY in LARD
52 ADIEU - A + D + IE + U
53 COMPOSITE - POSIT in COME
54 CHEDDAR GORGE - CR + GORGE, around HEDDA (Gabler)
55 DEPLOYMENT - D + EmPLOYMENT

Down
1 MORTAR-BOARD - MORTAR + BOARD
2 TULSA - L, in T + USA
3 PAMPERING - PAM + PE + RING
4 ORDAINS - (iron sad)*
5 FALL FOR - F + A LL, + FOR (indicated by 'behind'; in favour of)
7 ANTECHAMBER - A + AMBER, around N + TECH
8 KELVIN - cryptic indication - the KELVIN scale is often used when referring to very low temperatures
9 MULBERRY - MERRY, around blue reversed
10 NEWTON'S CRADLE - (entranced slow)*
11 HAIR-OIL - I + RO, in HAIL
12 PLEASURABLE - PLEAS + dURABLE
13 CHEAPSKATE - HE in CAP (to CAP = to 'best'), + SKATE
20 GOOD SENSE - (ends)* in GOOSE
23 ELLIPSIS - (I spill), reversed, in mESs. The definition here is the ... at the end of the clue
25 TREMOR - TREe + MORe
26 PRURIENT - P + RUT around RIEN
28 FATTENING - FlATTENING
29 COME-ON - CON around 'OME
31 UMBRELLA-STAND - cryptic indication
33 MELANCHOLIC - M + ELAN, + CHOICe around L
34 GOOD EVENING - GOVErNING around ODE
35 FACTITIOUS - IT in FACTIOn, + US
36 SELF-RESPECT - (less perfect)*
40 POLYPHONY - POLY + PHONY
41 COLANDER - CO + LANDER
43 PENANCE - PENzANCE
45 FIANCEE - if (reversed) + A + N + CE + Elopement
46 SEISMAL - SEAL around ISM
47 LAVABO - LAVA + Blister + Odd
50 RAISE - pRAISE
Another good workout. The top half of the grid went in reasonably smoothly but then it was a slow struggle through the bottom half. I got several answers from the definition and helpers and then wrestled to decode the wordplay. I think my clue of the day was 7dn, for the elegance of the cluing. The hardest to crack was 18dn, with the nice misdirection of its definition.

Looking at the leaderboard, I see that at the time of writing, the 100th best time was just under 16 minutes so it does look like it was about average difficulty.

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

Across
1. Limp I had after cold gets into back muscle (7)
FLACCID: CALF [muscle, backwards] getting C [cold] followed by I’D [I had].

5. Composer available from PC World? (7)
COPLAND: COP [PC] LAND [world].

9. Sailor surrounded by minor celestial illumination (9)
STARLIGHT: TAR [sailor] in SLIGHT [minor].

10. Party-goer’s setting aside time to have a shot (5)
GUESS: GUES{t}’S [partygoer’s, without the T = time]

11. What might ornithologist see in Africa? “Redbreast”, I cry incorrectly (9,4)
SECRETARY BIRD: (REDBREAST I CRY)*. This was my FOI, only because - obscure reference warning - the Secretary Bird is a supporting character in Bridge in the Menagerie, alongside the lead characters Hideous Hog and Rueful Rabbit. Funniest bridge book ever.

13. Flushed wine and coffee in opposite directions (3-5)
RED-FACED: RED [wine] + DECAF [coffee, backwards].

15. More light from flames either side of a river (6)
FAIRER: FIRE [flames] around A[a] plus R [river]. More light, as of fairer hair.

17. One’s fleeced by grasping copper, the head of narcotics (6)
VICUNA: VIA [by] grasping CU [copper] plus N [the head of narcotics]

19. Moulded askew, container displays flaw (4,4)
WEAK SPOT: (ASKEW)* POT [container].

22. Bloomers to be worn for certain around new sports facility (7,6)
LEISURE CENTRE: LEI [bloomers to be worn – cute!] with RECENT [new] inside SURE [certain]. I struggled to see “RECENT” in the wordplay: I had LEI SURE early, and couldn’t see any link whatever between the remaining letters “CENTRE” and “new” or “around”. I think hidden words are a blindspot for me!

25. On reflection, some of these Egyptian birds from Canada? (5)
GEESE: Hidden in “thESE EGyptian” reversed.

26. Cutting 500 smash hit records for singer (9)
CHORISTER: (HIT RECOR{d}S)*. Cut D [500] before doing the anagram.

27. Scholar’s problems are returning (7)
ERASMUS: SUMS [problems] ARE, all reversed.

28. Flatter woman in fine lines (7)
FLANNEL: ANNE [woman] inside F [fine] LL [lines]

Down
1. Unable to move foot, when entering (4)
FAST: FT [foot], with AS [when] inside.

2. A trick shot on area of snooker table gets built up (7)
AMASSED: A [the letter] MASSÉ [trick shot, involving spin to make the cue ball swerve] D [area of snooker table, named for the semi-circular markings].

3. Complaint: it’s endlessly chilly and frosty (5)
COLIC: COL{d} & IC{y}.

4. What may suffer from mangled feet and badly gored leg? (8)
DOGGEREL: (GORED LEG)*

5. Vessel with zigzagging course almost capsized rest (6)
CATNAP: PAN [vessel] TAC{k} [zigzagging course, almost]. All reversed.

6. Might it save one’s bacon? (5,4)
PIGGY BANK: jocular definition.

7. Elite RA works here? (7)
ATELIER: (Elite RA)*. Not my area of expertise, but I’m betting the elite artists are precisely those who don’t work in ateliers!

8. Wants statistics about European team second in group (10)
DESIDERATA: DATA [statistics] around E [European] SIDE [team} R [second in gRoup]

12. Welcome record of voyage perhaps in authentic tourist’s memoir (10)
TRAVELOGUE: AVE [welcome, as in Ave Maria] LOG [record of voyage perhaps] in TRUE [authentic]

14. Commercial exploitation’s closing gold mining resource with wearying regularity (2,7)
AD NAUSEAM: AD [commercial] N [exploitatioN’s closing] AU [gold] SEAM [mining resource].

16. Reduced watts before reversing current in transformer (8)
WEREWOLF: W [watts] ERE [before] FLOW [current, reversed].

18. Note major road turning between church and a castle in Spain (7)
CHIMERA: RE [note] M1 [major road] all backwards inside CH [church] A. Very deceptive definition – especially with the helpers as C _ _ _ E _ A, I was convinced the answer would be a Spanish word, not a Greek one!

20. City, supremely faultless, knocking out United — no upset (7)
PRESTON: P{U}REST [supremely faultless, without U{nited}], ON [no, upset].

21. Civil engineer in Slough’s making barriers (6)
FENCES: CE [civil engineer] in FENS [slough’s]. I was side tracked by thinking of “slough” as “shed” rather than “marsh”.

23. Sound of fierce creature in northern habitat (5)
TAIGA: sounds like tiger. According to Chambers, marshy sub-arctic pine forest with tundra to the north and steppes to the south.

24. Address covering a river of Eurasia (4)
URAL: URL [Universal Resource Locator], containing A. Rises in the eponymous mountains, and flows to the Caspian Sea. According to Wikipedia, conventionally considered part of the boundary between Europe and Asia.
An enjoyably eclectic mix of ancient and modern, domestic and foreign.

Bit of a crime thing gong on, with not one but two New York crime series and an archvillain trying to get rid of trace evidence at 13D. I often wonder if very-much-alive authors such as 6d's Sarah Waters get excited about making it into the TLS and Google it like crazy. In case they do ... Hello, Sarah!

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Times 26,651: Dive Bombers and Empire Down

I'm at the third day of PHP UK Conference 2017 tomorrow morning, hanging with my fellow nerds, so I won't have time to wax lyrical about the puzzle tomorrow morning, boo! But as luck would have it it's one of the more straightforward puzzles we've had in a while, and I don't think I'd have had an awful lot to say anyway, so hurrah! Not a bad puzzle I hasten to add, just pretty direct and to the point.

In and out in a little under 7 minutes here, Clue of the Day to 21ac for services to smut. I qualmed momentarily over 3dn as I hit the submit button but what other character could it be? And the penny didn't take long to drop thereafter. Many thanks to the setter, and if I'm not free for too much chatter tomorrow, see the rest of you for a more typically verbose blog next week!

Across

1 Father cheeky before bar providing documentary evidence (5,5)
PAPER TRAIL - PA PERT [father | cheeky] before RAIL [bar]
7 Polish expert and enthusiast (4)
BUFF - Double def
9 Convened everyone in charge of copper, perhaps (8)
METALLIC - MET ALL IC [convened | everyone | in charge]
10 Farm animal ails after chewing wood-sorrel (6)
OXALIS - OX [farm animal] + (AILS*) ["after chewing"]
11 Gets prosecuted and released (6)
ISSUED - or IS SUED [gets prosecuted]
13 Sailor’s in the drink (8)
ABSINTHE - AB'S IN THE [sailor's in the]
14 Flatter front to boat can spread badly (3,3,6)
BOW AND SCRAPE - BOW [front to boat] + (CAN SPREAD*) ["badly"]
17 Club certainly involving old politician’s agitation (12)
DISCOMPOSURE - DISCO SURE [club | certainly] involving O MP [old | politician]
20 Cart crashing behind car, one with lots of power (8)
AUTOCRAT - (CART*) ["crashing"] behind AUTO [car]
21 Just like some pyjamas to tear in a very dirty place (6)
STRIPY - RIP [to tear] in STY [a very dirty place]
22 A lot of sudden anxiety about home baker’s product (6)
PANINI - PANI{c} ["A lot of" sudden anxiety] about IN [home]
23 Tree one’s put in beside a motorway to the west (8)
MAGNOLIA - I [one] is put in ALONG A M [beside | a | motorway], the whole reversed ["to the west"]
25 Instrument running without current (4)
GONG - GO{i}NG [running] without its I [current]
26 Comfortable about having to hang around for fighter (10)
GUNSLINGER - SNUG reversed [comfortable "about"] + LINGER [to hang around]

Down

2 Dislike a particular form (8)
AVERSION - or A VERSION [a particular form]
3 Character that merits a place on railway board? (3)
ETA - or an E.T.A. on a railway display
4 Bound to grab fifty as the word game board ends up? (5)
TILED - TIED [bound] to grab L [fifty], and referring to the play of Scrabble
5 Old-fashioned tea served in a racing club (7)
ARCHAIC - CHA [tea] served in A RIC [the Racing Investors Club - I think]
6 Speed up appearances to play an instrument (4,5)
LOOK SHARP - LOOKS HARP [appearances | to play an instrument]
7 Puzzle sane arbiter’s sorted out (5-6)
BRAIN-TEASER - (SANE ARBITER'S*) ["sorted out"]
8 Queen in combat scare (6)
FRIGHT - R [queen] in FIGHT [combat]
12 Likely to be successful at university with arrival (2-3-6)
UP-AND-COMING - UP AND COMING [at university | with | arrival]
15 Meritorious second pair of cadets in the forces (9)
DESERVING - ["second pair of" (letters in the word)] ca{DE}ts + SERVING [in the forces]
16 Lead shot included in ammunition that scatters (8)
GRAPHITE - HIT [shot] included in GRAPE [ammunition that scatters]
18 Seat of empire? (7)
OTTOMAN - double def
19 Difficulty, a Tardis initially with zero time variation (6)
RUBATO - RUB A T{ardis} + 0
21 Sign is put up half covered in gold (5)
SIGIL - reverse of IS [is "put up"] + GIL{ded}
24 What’s now horribly personal (3)
OWN - (NOW*) ["horribly"]

Quick Cryptic 769 by Marty

Morning all.  A brief and possibly mistake-ridden blog today.  I'm travelling with my family in Japan (wonderful place, by the way), and it's hard to find some quiet time to put the blog together.  Was expecting to write it in Japanese, but the only words I've learned so far are Asahi and Shinkansen.  Which is why, when I finish writing this, I'll have no choice but to enjoy a beer on the bullet train.  Arigatou gozaimasu.

As for the puzzle, a bit of a challenge from Marty I thought.  There were a number of cryptic and whimsical double definition type clues, as opposed to those where the answer can be assembled piece by piece from the wordplay.  And not many of the clues had single-word definitions, so the puzzle had a slightly different feel to it today.  None of which is meant as a criticism, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it, and as usual our thanks go out to the setter.  My time was 6:35.

Here's how I parsed it.  Clues are reproduced in blue, with the definition underlined.  Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised.  Then there's the answer IN BOLD, followed by the parsing of the wordplay.  (ABC)* means 'anagram of ABC'.
Across
1 Could she be unsettled in among Welsh? (12)
ENGLISHWOMAN - (IN AMONG WELSH)*
A semi-&LIT clue, where the definition depends in part upon the wordplay.  I have no idea why an Englishwoman would be unsettled by the Welsh, unless she was in the crowd at Principality Stadium on Saturday.
8 Approach race in a cheerful mood (3-2)
RUN-UP - RUN (race) + UP (in a cheerful mood)
9 Healthy food — or chips an alternative (7)
SPINACH - (CHIPS AN)*
Was healthy for Popeye at least. Or was it?
10 Prisoner who’s been released, having a function in gym (7)
PAROLEE - A + ROLE (function) in PE (gym)
11 Nonsense that’s over the setter’s head! (2,3)
MY HAT - Double def, the second one whimsical
Not sure how many people still use this expression.
12 One new loaf, you might say is natural (6)
INBRED - I (one) + N (new) + BRED [homophone (you might say) of BREAD (loaf)]
14 Source of light twist that hurt! (6)
WINDOW - WIND (twist) + OW (that hurt!)
That's wind rhyming with bind, not wind rhyming with binned.  And let's not get bogged down on whether a window is actually a source of light.
17 Flower lit up rocks (5)
TULIP - (LIT UP)*
Nice economical clue.
19 Observe father with daughter’s small computer (7)
NOTEPAD - NOTE (observe) + PA (father) + D (daughter)
21 Welsh composer’s new look (7)
NOVELLO - NOVEL (new) + LO (look)
The composer is Ivor Novello, who appears to have had a theatre named after him.
22 Places for development in computer imagery (5)
UTERI - Hidden in compUTER Imagery
Love the definition.  Nice one setter.
23 Hangover cure deposited on kennel floor? (4,2,3,3)
HAIR OF THE DOG - Double def, the second one more a suggestion than a definition
Not so much a hangover a cure as an attempt to defer the inevitable.
Down
1 What the corn mill is doing perhaps is very loud (3-9)
EAR-SPLITTING - Double def, the first one referencing ears of corn
2 Move close, dislodging a person beyond help (5)
GONER - GO NE{A}R (move close), "dislodging" A
A word you don't hear as much these days, which is a shame.
3 Drive miles up to resort (7)
IMPULSE - (MILES UP)*
The anagrind is to resort, as in re-sort.
4 The Spanish crowd heads for somewhere to stay (6)
HOSTEL - HOST (crowd) + EL ("the" in Spanish)
5 Drug is used mainly at first after surgery (5)
OPIUM - IUM [first letters (at first) of Is Used Mainly] after OP (surgery)
6 Ace hit hard makes you embarrassed (7)
ABASHED - A (ace) + BASHED (hit hard)
7 No colour match? (5,7)
WHITE WEDDING - Cryptic definition
White being an absence of colour, a wedding being a match.  As opposed to a marriage, which can be a shouting match.
13 I pitch up to the north, by way of S American country (7)
BOLIVIA - BOLI [I + LOB (pitch up)] reversed (to the north) + VIA (by way of)
15 Communicating off the field of play (2,5)
IN TOUCH - Double def
Straight double definition this time.  A number of sports including rugby refer to the area beyond the field of play as "in touch".  Having known that all my life, it's just occurred to me to wonder why.  Anyone know?
16 Unique event I discounted? (3-3)
ONE-OFF - ONE (I) + OFF (discounted)
As in bananas 50% off (I'll have the other 50% then thanks!)
18 Directly opposed: in general, opening up (5)
POLAR - reverse hidden in geneRAL OPening
The "up" at the end indicates the reversal, this being a down clue.
20 Beg quietly to be given a major part (5)
PLEAD - P (piano, or quietly) + LEAD (major part)
P for softly or quietly is the most commonly-occurring musical notation in Crosswordland, but it pays to know a few of the others as well.
With a little tinkering, this could turn up in a couple of weeks as a TLS. Lots of Lit and Arts references, and decent, economical clues including an original-looking idea at 15 which works perfectly well. I managed to cruise through in a respectable tad-under-15 minutes, almost erasing the horrors of my bottom-of-the-table performance yesterday from the memory. The explanations below satisfy me, but rather unusually there may be several where an alternative construction may well be feasible
My usual conventions clue, definition, SOLUTION


Across
1. State capital not quite enough for Cathedral? (2,4)
ST PAUL  The London Wren memorial (or possibly Melbourne’s cathedral) loses its S for the Minnesota State capital
4. Making fist of PE, avoiding usual runs? (3-5)
OFF PISTE  An anagram (“making”, I think) of FIST OF PE for the boldly going version of skiing
10. The establishment no one has a pop at (9)
ORPHANAGE  “So this Jewish kid kills both parents and pleads for clemency  on the grounds he’s an orphan”, the classic definition of chutzpah. Because he has no father, or Pop, he’s given sympathetic accommodation in our answer.
11. Agitated old marshal clutching Bible (5)
NERVY  The Marshal is Napoleon’s faithful Ney (except when it suited him), and the Bible is the R(evised) V(ersion), the 1881/5 authorised revision of the King James, still the only officially recognised revision. Put the one inside the other.
12. Children’s book: due to order one in the morning (4,7)
JUST WILLIAM  Richmal Crompton’s opening salvo in an almost endless run of naughty boy stories. I’d always assumed Richmal was a he. Slightly embarrassing to discover the truth. The wordplay is, I think, due which gives JUST (think due reward), order which supplies WILL, and one in the morning which gives 1AM
14. Swimmer scaled gumtree, ascending rapidly at first (3)
GAR  A relative of the pike (TLS 1159, blogged by me less than a week ago) and therefore a scaled swimmer, drawn from the first letters of Gumtree Ascending Rapidly
15. Red Cross first to attend to damage (7)
MARXIST  X, cross, 1ST, first, MAR, damage. Rearrange.
17. No queen ultimately like a goddess (6)
HECATE  An all purpose Goddess Macbeth had heard of. A queen is a lady cat, so not a queen is a HE CAT. Add the E from the end of like.
19. It falls at start of January, end of July and middle of September (6)
STRESS  Just say the three months out loud. Nice.
21. Care with which the solver obtains qualification (4,3)
MIND YOU Care is MIND, and YOU is the solver. Mind you, that grammar looks wrong.
23. The works visit boycotted by clubs (3)
ALL  Drawn from such as the great British breakfast, where “the works” means everything on the menu fried to within an inch of its edibility. Yum. And therefore ALL. Visit is CALL. Remove the C(lubs)
24. Abuse reputation and profession (4-7)
NAME CALLING  In these sensitive days, mostly illegal. Reputation: NAME and profession: CALLING
26. Made contact on parking — this the result? (5)
PRANG Made contact RANG (as in telephoned) and P(arking) for the RAF slang, usually qualified as “wizard” for a crash.
27. Balkan who achieved greatness by stopping a lover drowning (9)
ALEXANDER  And a merry chase this led me on. I had a background memory of Alexander saving someone from drowning, and though I could not see that as the mainspring of his fame, I had to look it up. Google, I can authoritatively report, knows no such tale. So yes, it’s X for by (maths and timber) inside (stopping) A LEANDER, Hero’s lover who died on one of his frequent swims across the Hellespont.
29. Prevent ideological displays this late in the day (8)
EVENTIDE Today’s hidden.
30. Returning every so often, rushes onto the island (6)
HONSHU  Today’s every other letter, backwards in “rushes onto the”


Down


1. Turn up before start to compete at Hickstead? (8)
SHOW JUMP  Hickstead is equestrianism’s premier site (at least in England). SHOW: turn up, JUMP: start (as in Major Jump).
2. Diarist’s life's covering years (5)
PEPYS  Diarist beginning with P, 5 letters. Hmmm. PEP is, I suppose, life, and YS an acceptable abbreviation for years.
3. On parts of the continent, a single girl (3)
UNA  Several ways of parsing this, I’ll stick with a Spanish feminine single being UNA (paloma blanca?)
5. Style attributed to Rubens himself, originally (7)
FLEMISH  Rubens was from Antwerp, the capital of Flanders, and therefore an anagram of HIMSELF, quite apart from being the leading figure in the Flemish Baroque style of painting. A rather decent self-referential clue.
6. Short cut parents put a stop to: a large crossing not available (6,5)
PANAMA CANAL  Parsed properly only after submission. PA and MA are the parents, CAN is “put a stop to), A L(arge) tags on the back, and N(ot) A(vailable) goes where it’s most needed.
7. Moving a lot of dope — with good reason (9)
SPRIGHTLY  With good reason is, of course RIGHTLY. The SP comes from the expression “what’s the SP?" (sc “starting price”) which morphed through slang into a request for  information, gen, DOPE. Best I can do.
8. Extremes of endurance long ago for a friend to bear (6)
EEYORE  Who was a friend to Pooh Bear. First and last of Endurance, and YORE (as in days of) for long ago.
9. Scoundrel ordered sailor uprising (3,3)
BAD LOT Ordered is TOLD, sailor A(ble) S(eaman), all reversed.
13. Chess champion? (5,6)
WHITE KNIGHT Essentially a CD. “A person who rescues a company from an unwanted takeover bid” (Chambers), so a champion who rides to the rescue.
16. Get back when expected: I subsequently returned (9)
RETALIATE  When expected: ETA, I: I, subsequently LATER, all reversed.
18. High point of month: girlfriend meeting artist, posh (8)
JUNGFRAU  Month JUN(e), girlfriend GF, artist RA, posh: U. The whole a mountain in the Alps, 4,158 metres, so definitely a high point.
20. Racism upset daughter in mobile phone store (3,4)
SIM CARD  one storage device on a mobile phone. Anagram of RACISM and D(aughter)>
21. What stand-up comedian holds vital — and which satirist takes? (6)
MICKEY Your stand-up holds on to the MIC for dear life, and it’s KEY, vitally important.
22. Maybe weekly case containing food and flyer (6)
MAGPIE  I liked “case holding food” for PIE, and your MAG may indeed be weekly.
25. Asian banker’s great effort to avoid tax (5)
INDUS  See “banker” in a crossword, think river. INDUStry is great effort, and loses try for tax.
28. Song and dance act led by foremost of artistes (3)
ADO  Act is do, tag onto the first letter of Athletes.

Times Quick Cryptic No 768 by Izetti

Very enjoyable, as always, from Izetti. There was a bit of an animal theme. The grid presented a couple of other nice ideas as well - for those adorned with excessive levels of outsize jewellery, for example, it might be time to consider a 3d-14d. We also have what "sounds" like a mounted uprising (1d, 17d) leading to a rural revolution (7d, 20d). Yes, that's quite enough of that. Anyway, I zipped through this quite nicely, coming in decently under the 10 minute mark for a change. Lots of quality surface readings that only became apparent after the event, but overall there was a light-hearted feel to the clueing that made this particularly good fun - many thanks to Izetti.

Across
1 Material from directors backing club maybe
CARDBOARD: BOARD (directors) backing CARD (club, maybe)
6 Big beast in Italian river
HIPPO: HIP (in/fashionable) PO (Italian river). The hippo is the deadliest large animal in Africa, I learnt in a pub quiz the other day.
8 Feeling ecstatic, I am joining hospital department
SENTIMENT: SENT (ecstatic (cropping up yet again)), I'm (I am), joining ENT (hospital department - Ear Nose Throat)
9 Supports provisions for tired workers?
RESTS: Double definition.
10 Reptile troubling a girl a lot
ALLIGATOR: anagram (troubling) of A GIRL A LOT.
12 Son with three-wheeled vehicle gets hit
STRIKE: S (son) with TRIKE (three-wheeled vehicle).
13 Food is brought back around holiday site
SCAMPI: SI (is, reversed/brought back) around CAMP (holiday site)
16 Drunk meets lion — it sits by the road
MILESTONE: Anagram (drunk) of MEETS LION.
18 Notice about military engagement getting a grant
AWARD: AD (notice) about WAR (military engagement).
19 In turn ace goes wrong, lacking confidence
UNCERTAIN: anagram (goes wrong) of IN TURN ACE.
21 Outside work agent becomes mawkish
SOPPY: outside OP (work) goes SPY (agent).
22 Former partner — one to scold or let off?
EXONERATE: EX (former partner), ONE, RATE (scold off).

Down
1 Commanding Officer's to get rid of member of cavalry
COSSACK: CO's (Commanding Officer's) SACK (get rid of).
2 Sound of row will continue to be irritating
RANKLE: row will = rank will = rank'll, which sounds like rankle.
3 Heather goes after second-rate glitzy stuff
BLING: B (second rate) goes before LING (heather). Ling is slowly entering my crossword lexicon.
4 Animal featured in newspaper
APE: hidden/featured in newspAPEr.
5 Indeed, Myrtle worked with great resolve
DETERMINEDLY: anagram (worked) of INDEED MYRTLE
6 Housemaster agitated about very small rodent
HARVEST MOUSE: anagram (agitated) of HOUSEMASTER going about V(ery).
7 History test suitable for a church minister?
PASTORAL: PAST (history) ORAL (test).
11 Feature of sci-fi novel we impart
TIME WARP: anagram (novel) of WE IMPART
14 Is inclined to enter church to get purified
CLEANSE: LEANS (is inclined) to enter C.E. (church)
15 Boy volunteers to pen a piece of music
SONATA: SON (boy) TA (volunteers) to pen A.
17 Stuff hidden by miser generally
SERGE: hidden in miSER GEnerally.
20 Sound of a dove? I'm surprised!
COO: double definition.
25 minutes of pleasure; the answers seemed to include a plethora of assorted things I particularly liked or with which had some personal connection; not that that makes it any easier or means much to anyone else, so apologies for rambling on. GK wise, you didn't need to know which novel 29a belonged to (there are at least two options) and the rest wasn't obscure. I'll try and get the parsing all correct today instead of deliberately (?) leaving one or two half-right for the keen-eyed to point out.



Across
1 JACOBITE - J for judge, ACE for one, insert OBIT for (death) notice; D Royal supporter. The Jacobites cunningly tried to restore the Catholic Stuart monarchy to the thrones of England and Scotland whilst most of the regular army at one point was abroad fighting in the War of the Austrian succession. But sadly they failed, finally losing at Culloden in 1746.
5 GRAVES - G for good, RAVES for parties; D French wine, red or white, from just down the A62 motorway from me.
10 FINANCIER - A FANCIER is one who likes something, insert I N for international notes being collected; D &lit.
11 AIRER - the RIVER AIRE in Yorkshire has R added; D stand, for drying (or airing) clothes.
12 DEFY - final letters of recogniseD comperE oF UniversitY; D challenge. One of my favourite things, having survived it in black & white days and gone to the pub afterwards with Bamber and the bossy lady producer.
13 REFLEXION - REF for match official, LE French for 'the', XI eleven, team, ON; D it's thought. An unusual spelling, more French or Spanish than English I think, but it seems to be allowed.
15 LABORATORY - LAB(our) ORATORY would be speeches by Ramsay Mac: D place of research. Not one of my favourite places, the smelly old Dyson Perrins; I spent insufficient time there and too much time on the river, which ruined my chances of a First, but it was worth it.
17 KNOB - D boss, sounds like a NOB, which among other things means a person in a high position.
19 YURT - Delete the central parts of Y(o)U R(en)T; D type of accommodation. A big round tent of central Asian origin now seen in trendy glamping circles. Not for me.
20 RAGAMUFFIN - R(ead), AGAIN (afresh) insert MUFF for mistake; D scruffy kid. Our first Standard Poodle was aptly so-named and was for ten years one of my favourite things.
22 ROBIN HOOD - take ROOD for cross, insert BIN and HO for rubbish container and house; D forest dweller, of legend.
24 VIVA - 'vivace' would be in a lively manner, in music; delete the CE being French for 'this'; D oral exam.
26 ALLEE - A L(arge) LEE for shelter; D pathway. A path or street bordered by trees.
27 SEVERANCE - SEVERE for critical, insert ANC being a South African political party; D split.
28 TISANE - TIE for obligation, insert SAN for hospital; D health drink. One of my favourite "people", Poirot, is keen on his tisanes.
29 CLARISSA - Insert IS into (RASCAL)*; D heroine, of eponymous novels by Virginia Woolf and by Samuel Richardson. I've never read either, and never will.

Down
1 JIFF - Hidden reversed in O(F FIJ)IAN, D second.
2 CANTERBURY BELLS - CANTER for rush, BURY for cover up, BELLS for clangers; D bloomers.
3 BONEYARD - (BODY NEAR)*, D cemetery.
4 TRIER - City in Germany which used to be called TREVES, pronounced like Tree-er; so a double definition not a homonyn, one who hears or tries cases.
6 ROAMED - A in ROME, last letter of fairgrounD; D meandered.
7 VERSION OF EVENTS - Well, EVENTS is an anagram of Steven, so it's a version or interpretation of it.
8 STRING BAND - STRING for series, e.g. as in a string of racehorses; BAND sounds like BANNED; D musicians.
9 PRO FORMA - PROF for leading academic, OR MA = or postgraduate; D document.
14 PLAY TRUANT - PT for training, insert anagram of NATURAL(L)Y; D be out of form, i.e. not in school. My favourite clue today.
16 TEAHOUSE - HOU would be three quarters of HOUR so 45 minutes; insert into TEASE for kid; D Chinese restaurant. Not my kind of Chinese restaurant, I expect Horryd frequents them though.
18 QUAVERER - A QUAVER is a musical note, add ER for the monarch; D one trembles.
21 ANDEAN - A, N(ew), DEAN for cleric; D from S American region.
23 DEVIL - LIVE(R) for trimmed meat, D for daughter; all reversed; D put spicy coating on. I've often eated devilled bits and bobs but I've never actually said, "I'll just devil those kidneys for you", I suppose it's fine as a verb.
25 FETA - Regular letters of F e E d T e A m, D cheese, properly the Greek stuff (another favourite) but these days copied all over the place.

Quick Cryptic 767 by Mara

Mine was a fairly uninspiring performance in solving what was a light and breezy puzzle. Nothing in particular held me up, just not in the groove, I suspect. I had to wait until blogging to parse 11ac, but all is very fair and well signposted. Combined with the two long anagrams and a lack of obscurities, I hope it is popular with other relative newbies.

I think 6dn is a semi&lit, in that the first part of the clue is required for the definition as well as being the wordplay. Happy to be corrected on this, though, along with any stray errors!

Definitions underlined.


Across
7 People, great nuisance (6)
MENACE - MEN (people) and ACE (great).
8 Endless dust on old, old book of the Bible (6)
EXODUS - DUSt without final letter (endless) on EX (old) and O (old).
9 Capital in Helsinki, evidently (4)
KIEV - hidden in helsinKI EVidently.
10 Something left outside tavern in France, say? (8)
REPUBLIC - RELIC (something left) surrounding (outside) PUB (tavern).
11 Tom gets to grips with problem conversation (4-4)
CHIT-CHAT - CAT (tom) surrounding (gets to grips with) HITCH (problem).
13 Knocked over giant, thus (4)
ERGO - reversal of (knocked over) OGRE (giant).
15 Threesome heading for Tokyo, Olympic city (4)
TRIO - first letter of (heading for) Tokyo with RIO (olympic city).
16 Help us to carry box for Greek philosopher (8)
SOCRATES - SOS (help us) surrounding (to carry) CRATE (box).
18 Rum, is it? A tipsy dessert! (8)
TIRAMISU - anagram of (tipsy) RUM IS IT A.
20 Thoughtful sort (4)
KIND - double definition.
21 Male entering hairdresser’s? That’s fishy! (6)
SALMON - M (male) inside (entering) SALON (hairdresser’s)
22 Sausage black — outrage! (6)
BANGER - B (black) and ANGER (outrage).


Down
1 Month in Portugal starts: that woman's break (8)
DECIPHER - DEC (december, month), first letter (starts) of In Portugal, and HER (that woman).
2 Reformed Navy, a moralist Christian organisation (9,4)
SALVATION ARMY - anagram of (reformed) NAVY A MORALIST.
3 Shortage beginning to destroy planet (6)
DEARTH - first letter of (beginning to) Destroy and EARTH (planet).
4 Tyrant posted abroad (6)
DESPOT - anagram of (abroad) POSTED.
5 Causing obstruction with a car loading up, kerb obscured (6-7)
DOUBLE-PARKING - anagram of (obscured) LOADING UP KERB.
6 Peaks in fact undeniably Japanese icons — one of those? (4)
FUJI - first letters of (peaks in) Fact Undeniably Japanese Icons.
12 A party in trouble (3)
ADO - A and DO (party).
14 Teenager mixed drink (5,3)
GREEN TEA - anagram of (mixed) TEENAGER.
16 Lean out of empty shack in New York (6)
SKINNY - first and last letters of (empty) ShacK, with IN and NY (new york).
17 Fat head of cheating partner (6)
CHUBBY - first letter (head) of Cheating and HUBBY (partner).
19 I was in charge of Asian nation (4)
IRAN - I and RAN (was in charge of)

Quick Cryptic 766 by Orpheus

Some unusual vocabulary/use of terms to be found in some definitions (11ac, 12dn, 13ac and 20ac) but all clued so that they couldn't really be anything else. These gave me the additional pleasure of diving into the reference works to provide the high level of blog we always strive for. Quite why I spent an age staring at 6dn as LOI I can't explain. I rather liked 10ac - COD. 12 minutes.

ACROSS

1. Stench - foul smell. Small (S), fish (TENCH).
4. Bred - brought up. Homophone (for listeners) of staple food (bread).
9. Cartridge - bullet case. Farm vehicle (CART) by narrow hilltop (RIDGE).
10. Bar - save (it's all over bar the shouting). The Dog and Duck is an example of a bar.
11. Aristocratic - stylish - elegant or stylish in appearance and behaviour. Anagram (touring) of COSTA RICA IT (R)emaining.
13. Isopod - crustacean - any crustacean of the order Isopoda, including woodliceand pill bugs, in which the body is flattened dorsoventrally (no less!). Thus (SO) invading one (I), school of whales (POD).
15. Fresco - wall decoration. Almost new (FRES)h and firm - company (CO).
17. Childishness - silly behaviour. Head (NESS) observed after most of cold (CHIL)l, course (DISH).
20. Ibo - the language of the Ibo people of W Africa living chiefly in S Nigeria and belonging to the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congofamily: one of the chief literary and cultural languages of S Nigeria. In Nairob(I BO)ulevards.
21. Lax - negligent. Bloke (GENT) with an anagram (broken) of LEG in Northern Ireland (NI).
22. Fuss - to do. Female (F), American (US) with son (S).
23. Agency - bureau. Mature - the verb (AGE), Conservative (C) in New York (NY).

DOWN

1. Sack - double definition - the commonly know bag and the less commonly known dry white wine formerly imported into Britain from SW Europe.
2. Error - mistake. Troublesome kid t(ERROR) losing head.
3. Co-respondent - alleged adulterer - a person cited in divorce proceedings, who is alleged to have committed adultery with the respondent. Run (R) is taken away from reporter (CORRESPONDENT).
5. Rebates - discounts. Welshman (REES) securing club (BAT).
6. Director - one serving on board. Woman (DI), priest (RECTOR).
7. Idiom - turn of phrase. Papers (ID) on Isle of Man (IOM).
8. Heart-rending - agonising. Tendency (TREND) to interrupt trial (HEARING).
12. Mischief - injury - a violation or infringement of another person's rights that causes harm and is actionable at law. Head of Military Intelligence (MI) is MI'S CHIEF.
14. Ominous - threatening. (O)ld (M)an, I (I), sense (NOUS).
16. Usage - customary practice. Upper class (U), savant (SAGE).
18. Stern - strict. Republican (R) covered by gun (STEN).
19. Stay - double definition.

Times 26648

I've no proper time to offer for this because after a very good start I lost concentration, became bogged down and nodded off. On resumption it came together easily enough but from start to finish, including the nap, I must have taken nearly 90 minutes. My main problem apart from tiredness was mis-biffing 5dn, and there were two other answers where the enumeration turned out not to be what I would have expected.

Here's my blog...Collapse )
Solving time: 24 minutes

Music: Grieg, Piano Concerto, Rubinstein/Wallenstein






When I first ran through the clues of this puzzle, I thought I was in for a tough time. I could not see a single answer until I came to 27, which was the obvious anagram I had been looking for. But as more crossing letters became available, my solving speeded up. Then, too, I have become more adept at the practice of letting the cryptic guide me, and just writing in parts of likely words until the answer magically appears.

All the answers are well within the normal range of vocabulary, except possibly for 'shillelagh', which might present spelling difficulties but for the very helpful cryptic. Of course, I should have seen the long one down the middle at first glance, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who didn't.

I don't have much to say about my new role as keeper of the TFTT blogging flame. I'm sure it will be interesting, and I have have a few ideas of how to improve the site. For now, things will run on pretty much as before, although we did have to pick up a new blogger to help fill the Saturday slot.

Across
1PASSPORT, PASS + PORT. Simple, but ironically my LOI, just because I was expecting something far more complicated.
6PLANET, PLANE + T. I put this in an erased it, not seeing how a 'plane' can be a 'craft' - isn't it a tree? Ooops, now I see it.
9POMADE, PO(MAD)E.
10KNOTHOLE, sounds like NOT WHOLE to most speakers. They must have pronounced the 'K' at one time, but I don't think it has persisted in any dialect.
11GLAD, GLAD[e].
12SHILLELAGH, S(HILL + GALE backward)H. Other spellings are possible
14SEAFRONT, SE(AFRO)NT, a promenade, that is. I had put in 'serenade', i.e. SEREN(AD)E, which looked good for about thirty seconds and then got erased.
16PITY, PI[e]TY.
18DELI, I LED backwards.
19AROUSING, [c]AROUSING.
21ON THE ROCKS, double definition, and quite an easy one.
22CUTE, CU[ra]TE.
24BLESS YOU, B[ishop] + anagram of YES, SOUL.
26IDIOCY, I[sland] + DI(O)CY.
27OYSTER, anagram of SET + ROY. A dated term, which I associate with the colloquial speech of the 1890-1930 period.
28TAKE NOTE, T(A KEN)OTE, a clever cryptic, but 'range of knowledge' tends to give it away.
 
Down
2ATOLL, A TO L + L. I wanted to biff 'dozen' as another letter-removal answer, but couldn't justify it.
3STANDOFFISH, STANDOFF + IS + [clas]H, the well-known Billingsgate establishment.
4OVERSHOT, OVER(SHO[p])T. I knew this would have 'shop' in it somehow, but I needed the crossers to discover exactly where.
5TAKE INTO ACCOUNT, double definition, one rather factitious.
6POORLY, PO(OR)LY, where OR is given a more explicit definition than usual.
7ASH, [b]ASH, in its slang sense of having a bash at.
8ENLIGHTEN, anagram of IN THE GLEN. Recent arrivals are reminded that misleading capitalization is not considered unfair.
13LIPOSUCTION, anagram of NO POLITICS + U[nusual]. I wanted to make this '-section' for the longest time, but there is obviously no 'e'.
15ETERNALLY, E[x]TERNALLY, another letter-removal clue.
17JOYSTICK, JOY + STICK.
20PRAYER, P(-L,+R)AYER, a letter-substitution clue.
23TACIT, T + AC(I)T, where 'tango' refers to the NATO alphabet.
25SIT, S[u]IT. Yes, we finish with a letter-removal clue.

Quick Cryptic 765 by Teazel

I thought this puzzle was on the easier side, with no show-stoppingly obscure words or convoluted parsings. The grid for this one has good Nina potential with the unchecked letters in the leftmost and rightmost columns, but I can't see anything obvious and - this being the Quicky - it would be quite surprising to find a Nina anyway. Thanks, Teazel, for a gentle start to the week.

I note that today marks the two-year anniversary of the death of one of my namesakes, the (unrelated) composer and pianist John McCabe. When I was selling off some stuff in advance of moving from New York back to the UK in the mid-2000s, I got an email from a student at the Juilliard who had seen my Craigslist post advertising a low-end synthesizer and was wondering if I was THE John McCabe. He was to be disappointed, as was I - he had no interest in what I was selling and had merely wanted to converse with my namesake. At that time, I had just resigned from a company where I also had a namesake, who was significantly higher up the food chain than myself - I had frequently received emails intended for him, many of which contained confidential information, but my favourite was an in-depth analysis of the best electric toothbrushes on the market, that he had outsourced to his wife who was an executive at the same company. Since then, though, opportunities for McCabe-related confusion have been few and far between and life has maybe been a little duller for that. I may need to move to New Zealand.

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13:30. Another fairly straightforward puzzle this week, so another week in which I have avoided silly error. There seem to be quite a few straightforward anagrams in this one, and there is nothing terribly obscure. There were just one or two quite tricky bits of wordplay to slow me down a little and add to the interest in what was generally another enjoyable Sunday morning solve.


Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*.

Across
1 Noble novelist hands around exotic hardcore
LORD ARCHER - L and R (two hands) containing (HARDCORE)*. The definition is technically correct, in both particulars. The surface describes something one might conceivably do at a shepherd's pie and Krug party.
6 Idiot one battered in a chippy outside Lima
CLOD - C(L)OD.
10 A couple of guys and I shot a singer in NY
CHAPMAN - CHAP (guy), MAN (guy). I had forgotten that it was Mark CHAPMAN who shot John Lennon in New York in 1980, but the answer was clear from the wordplay.
11 One cutting a record or disc in Cleveland?
GROOVER - GRO(O)VER, a reference to Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th presidents of the USA. American democracy: it's a shame of course but it had a good innings.
12 Running well, having eaten tons at home
SRINTING - SPRIN(T, IN)G.
13 Some remodel high-rises in an Asian city
DELHI - contained in ‘remodel high-rises’.
14 Short of millions, one retiring star …
MINUS - M,I, reversal of SUN. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in expecting ‘short of millions’ to be an instruction to remove an M from something.
15 … worried over a nude undertaking
ENDEAVOUR - (OVER A NUDE)*.
17 Curse weapon jammed by damage from use
SWEARWORD - S(WEAR)WORD.
20 When gulping half of water ice helps?
ABETS - A(sorBET)S. This was my last in, and I biffed it in the end without figuring out how it worked. I had just failed to consider that ‘half of’ can indicate the second half, as well as the first – doh!!
21 Bar supplier’s inventory including ultimate in fizz
LISZT - LIS(fizZ)T.
23 Attacker giving trouble to soldier on dope
ASSAILANT - ASS (dope), AIL (trouble), ANT (soldier).
25 Dessert tin I left resting atop rolls
CANNOLI - CAN, reversal of I, L, ON.
26 Coffee sailor found in Africa, not France
ARABICA - AfR(AB)ICA. We had the coarse ROBUSTA the other day: this is its more suave and wordly cousin.
27 Fast food one eats on a regular basis
DIET - DIET. Sometimes you might be on a DIET, but you’re always on a DIET.
28 A lean sun so unexpectedly odd in summer?
UNSEASONAL - (A LEAN SUN SO)*.

Down
1 Place one in biblical plague finally departed
LOCUS - LOCUSt.
2 Again adjust the bottom line?
REARRANGE - or REAR RANGE.
3 Government work isn’t about to be held in respect
ADMINISTRATION - ADMIRATION containing (ISN’T)*.
4 Conservative performing well? Shut up!
CONFINE - C, ON, FINE. An apposite surface reading at the moment.
5 Good time to split tip with fiancée?
ENGAGED - EN(G, AGE)D.
7 Plane, going up, or going down?
LEVEL - a palindrome, hence the same going up as going down.
8 French bums giving voice to Irish songs?
DERRIERES - sounds like ‘Derry airs’. The most famous of these French bums being the London one, of course.
9 Helpful folk song a radio mast broadcast
GOOD SAMARITANS - (SONG A RADIO MAST)*.
14 Injured pal medics lost for a while?
MISPLACED - (PAL MEDICS)*.
16 Surgery ready for business about ten to one?
OPERATION - OPE(RATIO)N. I biffed this, and have only just worked out the wordplay – with some difficulty!
18 Public speech to air on outrageous …
ORATION - (TO AIR ON)*.
19 … complaint I’d raised on mains energy
DISEASE - reversal of I’D then SEAS, E.
22 Feeling on edge? Take time out for son!
SENSE - replace the T (time) in TENSE (on edge) with S (son).
24 A rough path’s to follow after Republican gets in
TRAIL - T(R)AIL. Another rather apposite surface reading.

Mephisto 2945 - Tim Moorey

I made a cracking start on this one and then slowed down to a crawl at the end having to trawl through Chambers for a few of the shorter words, and fix a few confident mistakes (having EGAD at 7 down really messed up the top right hand side fora while).

In the end I think I have everything worked out - hope you did too!

Away we go...

Across
1PREDIAL: P, RE-DIAL(call again)
7EDDO: reversal of ODD(additional, left over), E
10IMPEACHES: IMPE(l), then ACHES(hurts)
11TIRL: hidden in sTIRLing
13APORIA: PO(listed in Chambers as an abbreviation for pole, for when you just can't squeeze in a four-letter word), inside ARIA (song, strain)
14STONIED: STONED(drink), around I(reland)
16DALT: DART(Australian plan) with the R changed to L
17TRADE: TRAD jazz then E(llington)
18APLUSTRES: an ornament on the stern of a ship - A, (shi)P, then LUSTRES(ornate results)
21FORMATTER: FOR(in place of), MATTER(printed material)
24MONER: MOANER missing A(about)
25CAPO: I think the intention here is C(riminality), A(an), PO(Italian river) to make an all-in-one clue. You might also be able to read it as CA(circa), PO. Read it the wrong way and you could be tied to a cement block at the bottom of the Hudson river, capiche?
28CNEMIAL: I'M and EN(Enrolled Nurse) reversed in CAL
29ROMANO: the middle of erROpe containing OMAN
30SNIG: GINS(traps) reversed
31CONFESTLY: N, FE(iron) in COSTLY
32SPAD: DAPS reversed
33ERINYES: remove the middle from ER(w)IN, then YES
 
Down
1POTSDAM: MAD and STOP(stay) all reversed
2RAITA: RAI(Italian TV station - doesn't seem to be in Chambers), (crumpe)T, A
3ENROLLING: ROLLING after EN(d)(last, bar closing)
4IMPIES: remove L from IMPLIES
5LEAD-ARMING: ARM inside LEADING - not a term I'd seen before
6CAPOTE: P(resident) inside CA and alternating letters in jOsTlEd - referencing Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood
7ECOD: remove all the R's from RECORD
8DEIDRE: anagram of DRIED containing RE(on)
9OSAGE: (d)OSAGE
12VENTRICOSE: anagram of VICTOR,SEEN
15CAPTAINRY: CRY surrounding an anagram of TAIPAN
19PHOTO OP: HOT(most wanted) inside POOP(inside dirt)
20BROLGAS: BR(British Rail), then O(rganise), L(ifting), G(ear), AS
22ORKNEY: OR, then N in KEY
23ANELLI: ILL, ENA all reversed
24MARCS: SCRAM(go) reversed
26PAINE: PINE(long) surrounding A, referring to Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense
27WAFD: WAD(sandwich) containing F

Jumbo 1248

Straightforward, but with some good clues to the longer solutions

Across
1 STAMINA - ANIMAT(e)S = cheers up, reversed
5 TURNSPIT - if you TURN SPIT you get TIPS
9 TORPID - TOR = peak, PID = DIP = depression, reversed
13 COMPOUND INTEREST - CO = business, M(anager), POUND = currency, INTEREST = grab. As an accountant, one of the easier clues to get from the definition
14 STRESS - S.S. = Nazi troops, around TRES = very (French = foreign)
16 NINJA - hidden in assassinatioN IN JApan
17 SPEED UP - SEED = children, around P = papa, UP = at university
18 AVOCATION - NOVA = star, around (chill)I and TACO = tortilla, all reversed. Are tacos and tortillas the same thing?
19 SPARE TYRE - double definition
21 ALIMENT - A = article, LENT = fast, around I'M = writer's
22 TIARA - TA-RA = parting remark, around I = current
23 GAMUT - G(rossglockner), A M(o)U(n)t. The ON to be removes from MOUNT is not two consecutive letters
25 NOSTALGIA - (AGAIN LOST)*
27 NEST EGG - GEN = information, around GETS = gathers, all reversed
29 TURBULENT - TURB = BRUT = champagne, reversed, U(niversity), LENT = provided for a while
31 ACCIDENT-PRONE - ACCENT = way of speaking, around I.D. = papers, PRONE = lying
34 BARGAIN HUNTER - (UNEARTHING BRA, N(ew))*
35 ELABORATE - E(uropean), LAB = party, ORATE = discourse
37 CHARIOT - CHAT = gas (as in talk), around RIO = port
39 HONEYCOMB - HONE = refine, Y = unknown, COMB = search
42 DRIER - DR = doctor, around alternate letters in pRaIsE
43 BABEL - BABE = infant, L(eft)
45 OTTOMAN - OTT = going too far, OMAN = country
47 EYESTRAIN - E(nglish), YES = certainly, TRAIN = tutor
49 NIGHTFALL - NIGH = nearly, FALL = 3 months in US, around T(ime)
50 RAG WEEK - RAG = tabloid, WEEK sounds like WEAK = unconvincing
52 PATIO - hidden reversed in DetrOIT APparently
54 HOODOO - HOOD = outlaw, O,O = ducks
55 AMATEUR DRAMATICS - (MARACAS AMID UTTER)*
56 RESENT - (p)RESENT = offering
57 INTREPID - IN = hot, TEPID = not so hot, around R = romeo
58 TOLSTOY - TOL = LOT = fortune, reversed, STO(r)Y
 
Down
1 SECOND SIGHT - SECOND = back, SIGHT sounds like CITE = quote
2 ADMIN - A DIN = a racket, around M = spymaster
3 ISOLATE - IS LATE = gets delayed, around O = love
4 AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - (MANY ENROL IN ANTI STATE)*
5 TRITENESS - (IN SETTERS)*
6 RATED - RAT = informer, ED = media boss
7 STRIPLING - SLING = shy, around TRIP = blunder
8 INSTATE - IN = home, STATE = say
10 OUTCAST - OUT = frank about sexuality, CAST = fling
11 PREDICATE - P = soft, REDIC = CIDER = drink, reversed, ATE = consumed
12 DISENTANGLE - DIS = underworld, (p)ENTANGLE = magic symbol
15 CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST - CONTINENT = controlled, A, L(arge), BREAK = holiday, FAST = firm
20 ADMIRER - MARRIED*
21 ADAMANT - DATA* around MAN = piece
24 TSUNAMI - TA = cheers, around SUN = star, M(ass), I = one
26 ADDLE - (p)ADDLE = move boat
28 SAPWWOD - SAP = gull, WOO = entice, (orchar)D
30 TOUCH - T(emperature), OUCH = that's uncomfortable
32 CARRY ON - CAR = vehicle, RY = track, ON = running
33 OCARINA - (r)OC(k), ARIA = song, around N(ew)
34 BACKBENCHER - BACKER = sponsor, around BENCH = piece of furniture
36 ERRONEOUSLY - (RELY ON EUROS)*
38 AMBIGUOUS - (IS A GUMBO, (men)U)*
40 NUMERATOR - N.U.M. = miners, ERATO = muse, R(ight)
41 OPEN-ENDED - O.E.D. = dictionary around PEN = write, and END = term
44 LET-DOWN - LET = service, DOWN = drink quickly
46 TOLLMAN - TOLL = ring, MAN = staff
48 TOPSAIL - OP'S = work's, in TAIL = dock
51 GRUMP - G(ood), RUMP = bit of meat
53 TAINT - double definition, the first referring to (I)T AIN'T = it isn't

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