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Solving time : 10:17 and I was surprised to see that time putting me at the top of the Crossword Club leaderboard with the puzzle being live for five hours now. There's a few obscure words, and one well-hidden "The Wind In The Willows" reference that might trip a few people up.

I got quite a few from wordplay alone - which is not so bad when it's my day to write up the blog - I'd rather know the wordplay and look up the definition than have no clue on the wordplay.

I hope I've got all of this sorted out, but it's after midnight here, so I won't be able to make any changes until the early afternoon UK time, so check the comments if something looks awry.

Away we go...

1CLAWBACK: got this from wordplay - CLAW(nipper), BACK(bet on),
but now I've looked up the definiton I think it's a clever clue - ready referring to money,
and CLAWBACK meaning to recover money
5BURSAR: BURR(throaty sound) containing SA(sex appeal)
8DOR: ROD reversed for the beetle
9ROCK BOTTOM: ROCK(discombobulate), BOTTOM(the weaver in A Midsummer Night's Dream)
10TOADFLAX: the demon driver is TOAD from The Wind in the Willows, then FAX(message) containing L(orry)
12HOER: E(English), R(king) with HO(house) first
14TORRIDNESS: I in RD between TOR(peak) and NESS(cape)
17POWDER PUFF: D in POWER(govenrment), then PUFF(advertisement)
20EDDA: E(eastern), DD(doctor of divinity), A
23STAYED: sounds like STAID
24ARMATURE: another one from wordplay - A, R(eforming),
25PRUDENTIAL: P(lan), RUDE(simple), then an anagram of LATIN
26LUM: L(left), U(university), M(married)
27BEAKER: BEAK(magistrate) and R(right) containing E(European)
28SHERATON: HER with SAT ON surrounding
1CADETSHIP: (employe)D in an anagram of PASTICHE
2ACREAGE: A CAGE contiaining RE(indeer)
3BEREFT: BE REF(act as judge) then T(hough)
4COCK-A-HOOP: COCK(raise) A HOOP(band)
5BRONCHI: RON inside BCH(Bachelor of Surgery)
6RETICENCE: ICE inside an anagram of CENTRE
13RUDDY DUCK: RUDDY(bloomin'), DUCK(zero runs in cricket)
16STATESMAN: STATES(avers), MAN(crew)
18OCTUPLE: anagram of P(roblematic),TO,CLUE
19RED DEER: RE(army corps) then DR surrounding DEE
21DOUBLET: since SUTTON has a double T, but LUTON does not
22JAILER: JAR(shock) surrounding ELI(priest) reversed

Times 190460 - a world apart

This came as a bit of a shock as I hadn't realised the qualifiers for the next championship were starting already. I feared the worst when I saw this was an alternative puzzle dating from 1960. A year remembered by me (aged 12) for the release of Apache by the Shadows and the £12 purchase of my first bass guitar (to emulate Jet Harris). Among other less notable milestones, The Times changed its "Imperial and Foreign" news section to "Overseas News", Corrie began, and Denis Law signed for Man City for a record £55,000. How times change, as does The Times.
My fears were soon realised. I confess I had to resort to aids quite early on; once doing that, I was able to complete the puzzle (I hope correctly) in twenty minutes or so, but with little of the satisfaction you get from a modern-day test. Parsing all the answers is another matter, as some definitions are 'loose' &lits (an understatement!) and some clues are fit only for today's TLS. If today's crosswords were all like this, I'd find a better way to spend my £100 a year.
I've only underlined the definitions in the clues, where one or two words apply.

If anyone would like to blog next Wednesday's (26th) for me, it would be appreciated, as I'm going on a 3 day golfing jolly and won't have time or access to the necessary. Swap for a Monday (not 24th) or any Friday if you like.

1 In the shape of a novel island (11)
CORALLIFORM - Apart from meaning 'shaped like a piece of coral' and being used to describe a common kind of cataract disease, I don't get the cryptic part of this clue if there is one. I suppose a 'new' island could be formed from a coral reef. There is a pasta shape called 'coralli' but as far as I can see, no island of that name. Ho hum.
9 They leave a tail of broken china cups (9)
CAPUCHINS - Anagram of (CHINA CUPS)*, capuchins are pretty little monkeys and they use their prehensile tails a lot and don't want to lose them, so exactly why 'leave a tail' I don't see.
10 "Imitate his action" cried Henry V before Harfleur (5)
TIGER - In the 6th line of the "once more unto the breach" speech Henry says "Then imitate the action of the tiger". You either knew it or you didn't.
I was a literature-hater at school, and didn't.
11 This side for bargains in the City? (5)
CHEAP - Cheapside is a street in the City of London. So you'd get bargains there perhaps.
12 Striking example of manly spirit? (9)
IMPINGENT - An IMP IN GENT could be a spirit in a man.
13 Apparently it could be cold in the inn (7)
AUBERGE - An auberge is of course a French inn. An (ice)berg is cold? So if you were 'au berg' you'd be shivering? Je ne sais rien.
15 Self-importance that comes from tidying (7)
DIGNITY - (TIDYING)*; Not quite a synonym in my view, but at least a simple clue.
17 Mixed drinks for Boxing Day? (7)
PUNCHES - &lit., I suppose.
17 (T)horny predicament? (7)
DILEMMA - 'On the horns of a dilemma' is a common phrase, somewhat tautological: δίλημμα means two horns, or two propositions, in Greek. Presumably thorny, because it's a difficult choice, neither being attractive.
21 Written (or spoken) by successful candidates in an
examination? (9)
PASSWORDS - Well, passwords, in 1960, were spoken; and PASS WORDS would be written to pass an exam.
23 “Woo’t drink up ____? Eat a crocodile?" (Hamlet) (5)
EISEL - another straight TLS clue. Apparently eisel is an obsolete word for vinegar. I'd never heard of it.
25 Health food? (5)
TOAST - A hint of humour? You toast someone's health, and you eat toast.
26 They provided entertainment for a kind of floating
population (9)
SHOWBOATS - Cryptic &lit, I suppose.
27 Was Cupid the first successful one? (5,6)
DARTS PLAYER - Another weak cryptic definition.

1 Ideal place for a police trap? (5)
COPSE - Well it's a place that sounds like 'COPS' and it fits the crossers. The rest of 'why' is not obvious to me.
2 With which the fisherman might get the measure of some
modern dancing? (4,5)
ROCK PERCH - Modern dancing, in 1960, could have been 'rock (and roll') to Bill Hayley; a perch is a measure as in rod, pole or perch; a fisherman might catch a rock perch.
3 Don’t leave it to the experts! (7)
LAICISE - Leave (it) to the lay people not the experts.
4 In a trifling drink I’d find no taste (7)
- IN, SIP (trifling drink), I'D.
5 Frequently possessed by tiger? (5)
OFTEN - All I can see here is a story written by William Blankenship called TIGER TEN, perhaps that's the connection.
6 Used in light metal industry? (9)
MAGNESIUM - Well, magnesium is a 'light' metal (only 1.74 relative density) and it burns with a bright light, so I suppose it's used in the 'light industry'.
7 Plant doubly if little account comes up very well (6)
ACACIA - All reversed: A1 (very well), CA, CA (doubly little account).
8 This penny means a lot (6)
PRETTY - If something costs a 'pretty penny' it is expensive.
14 But in it the majority of players don’t really! (9)
BANDSTAND - Most of the band sit down.
16 Outstanding issue touched upon by the king of Phrygia?
GOLDEN BOY - Midas was the King of Phrygia, or one of them; he touched his daughter (issue) who turned into a gold statue. So why 'boy' not girl?
17 It’s after the seed we find the birds (6)
PIPITS - PIP for seed, IT'S.
18 Fruitful association of American women (7)
SOROSIS - An obscure double definition. A fruit like a pineapple or mulberry, or the first association of American women (from soror, L sister)
19 Rob of old pies (7)
DESPOIL - (OLD PIES)*, no anagram indicator I'm afraid, unless you count 'of'.
20 Where to find a snob eventually? (2,4)
AT LAST - Double definition, one crpytic one not. A snob was originally a shoemaker or his apprentice, as all solvers know.
22 “…makes it indistinct, as ____ is in ____” (Antony and
Cleopatra) (5) (2,4)
WATER - Another TLS job. As water is in water? The Bard was no chemist.
24 Prelude to a landing (5)
STAIR - Not very subtle cryptic clue.

Quick Cryptic 812 by Hurley

A pleasant, relatively straightforward puzzle from Hurley today. Nothing particularly tricky and not much general knowledge required, although a basic familiarity with rugby positions will help with 13d.

Took me a while to spot what was going on in 19ac as the clue was nicely constructed to lead the unwary (such as me) up various garden paths.

Thanks very much to our setter.

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

1 Groups of pupils on top floor? They’re highly ranked (5,7)
UPPER CLASSES - DD, the first being pleasantly cryptic
9 Section of kangaroo’s trusted sleeping place (5)
ROOST - Hidden in (section of) kangaROOS Trusted
10 Move faster than exhausted dad near church (7)
OUTPACE - OUT (exhausted) + PA (dad) + CE (church - of England)
11 Release showing prescribed charge to cross river (3,4)
SET FREE - SET FEE (prescribed charge) goes around (to cross) R (river)
12 External route revised (5)
OUTER - *(ROUTE) with "revised" signalling the anagram
13 This guy could become almost radiant (6)
ADRIAN - *(RADIAN{t}) - missing it's T (almost) - with "could become" indicating the anagram
14 Easy catch for model (6)
SITTER - Straightforward DD
17 Italian capitalist? (5)
ROMAN - Cryptic definition based on a 'capitalist' being someone from the capital
19 In German a grammar feature involving rearrangement (7)
ANAGRAM - Hidden (indicated by 'IN') germAN A GRAMmar
21 Journalists covering Officer Commanding’s method (7)
PROCESS - PRESS (journalists) going around (covering) OC (abbrev. Officer Commanding)
22 One far from wise in Djibouti oddly (5)
IDIOT - Every other letter (oddly) of In DjIbOuTi
23 Without jackets or coats, eldest shiver unfortunately (12)
SHIRTSLEEVED - *(ELDEST SHIVER) with "unfortunately" signalling the anagram

2 University official, expert, on cold hill (7)
PROCTOR - PRO (expert) 'on' C (cold) + TOR (hill)
3 Teen entrant I’m playing for fun (13)
ENTERTAINMENT - *(TEEN ENTRANT IM) with "playing" indicating the anagram
4 Lose in court room, small (6)
CLOSET - Put LOSE in CT (abbrev. 'court')
5 For cooking, I have a trout: it’s reliable! (13)
AUTHORITATIVE - *(I HAVE A TROUT IT) with "for cooking" pointing to the anagram
6 Well-kept small trading centre (5)
SMART - S (small) + MART (trading centre)
7 Southern judge maybe — a wool-cutter (7)
SHEARER - S (abbrev. Southern) + HEARER (judge, maybe)
8 Flower one gentleman brought up (4)
IRIS - I (one) + SIR reversed (gentleman brought up)
13 Referring to a forward, odious in the extreme (7)
APROPOS - A PROP (a forward - as in the rugby position) + OS (the extremes of OdiouS)
15 Tribune’s unusual machine (7)
TURBINE - *(TRIBUNE) with "unusual" suggesting the anagram
16 Subordinate from Virginia upset girl (6)
VASSAL - VA (abbrev. state of Virginia) + LASS reversed (upset girl)
18 Roam over island for the language? (5)
MAORI - ROAM reversed (over) + I (island)
20 Gosh! Half of that is fiction! (4)
MYTH - MY (gosh!) + half of THat

Adrian Bailey's Easter Puzzle Blogged

Solving time: 45 minutes

Music: Ted Shumate/Ira Sullivan – Gulfstream

I found our Easter treat a little tough in various ways. With multiple setters, you never know exactly what you're going to get, and no one can really say they are on the wavelength when the waves are flying in all directions. I did think most of the clues were pretty good, but maybe a little rough around the edges compared to the top professional setters. But if we managed to sneak this puzzle onto the Times web site, I don't imagine anyone would find much amiss.

If any of the setters want to discuss their clues, feel free. I will own up to the reverse hidden in 21, which was a bit of a last-minute rush job. For that matter, so is this blog, as the originally scheduled blogger turned out to have a conflict and asked me to take it instead.

1NIGHTSTICK, anagram of SKIN-TIGHT + C from Charlie, the Nato phonetic alphabet character.
6TSAR, where Nicholas is said to be knickerless, if you happen to be non-rhotic in your speech. Or maybe he's just roamin' off....
10DREYFUS, anagram of FRY USED.
12AKELA, AK(EL)A, i.e. Also Known As. The cryptic should give you the answer if you don't know the literal.
13TELESALES, anagram of STALE EELS - what a great product to hawk over the phone!
14GIVE THE GAME AWAY, double definition.
20ECLIPSING, CLIP + SINGE with the E moved to the front.
21GROSS, backwards hidden in [haple]SS ORG[inization].
23ANAGRAM, definition by example, where THE NICK becomes KITCHEN. A device we may have seen before, but which will catch many solvers out.
24TSUNAMI, T(SUN)A + MI. Presumably, a 'monotone' means a single note from the scale, but the setter is welcome to elaborate.
25THEW, hidden in [wha]T HE W[ants].
26INTERTWINE, sounds like INTO TWINE???
1NOSTALGIA,NOS + T'ALGIA, I believe. In any case, the only English word that fits the checkers. The setter is free to elaborate if I've missed something obvious. Aha! It's far from something obvious, but it's a substitution clue phrased as a reverse cryptic. If you took the answer 'nostalgia', and replaced the French 'our' (nos) with 'love' (O), you'd have an earache, 'otalgia'. Very clever, but the checkers make this a write-in.
2GUNGE, last letters of [cookin]G [yo]U [begi]N [makin]G [souffl]E.
3THE LAST SUPPER, anagram of HELPS PUT [on e]ASTER. The literal, however, is a somewhat lacking, unless we take this as a semi-&lit.
4THEATRE, T + RE HEAT reversed.
5CEDILLA, anagram of I CALLED.
7SAFFLOWER, SAF(FLOW, i.e. WOLF upside-down)ER.
8ROSES, SE SOR[e] upside-down.
11EASTER EGG HUNT, EAST + ERE + sounds like GEEGEE HUNT. Most solvers will not appreciate the wordplay.
15VACILLATE, VAC(I'LL)ATE, with 'empty' as a verb.
18THIAMIN, THI[s] + AMIN. Although deposed in the late 70s, he'll be around as long as Beerbohm Tree with a useful name like that.
19NIGHTIE, anagram of GI IN THE, a great clue using inconspicuous connecting words.
20EXALT, EX + ALT in entirely different senses; your old girlfriend and the key on your computer.
22OKAPI, [l]O[c]K[e] + A PI. Not a very good surface, unfortunately.

Quick Cryptic 811 by Mara

Just crept under 10 minutes - which was something of a surprise as it seemed more challenging than that. Take some time to appreciate the art of some of the cluing. There's some excellent stuff in here which needed working through. Several contenders for COD - 12dn was my pick until I realised how good 2dn is! Thanks Mara.


1. Non-fiction - you couldn't make it up. Cryptic definition.
8. Lawless - without principles. Perfect f(LAWLESS) ousting leader.
9. Drawl - lazy speech. Sketch (DRAW) with the minimum of - first letter only - (L)aughs. Unusual way to get hold of the first letter but as the 'L' was cross checked it couldn't have been anything else.
10. Need - want. Homophone (did you say) of work dough - knead.
11. Bullring - arena. Avoiding charges from bulls is to be advised here.
13. Pater - father. Artist (PAinTER) dropping 'in'.
14. Meant - deliberate. Insert a compass point (North - N) into flesh (MEAT).
16. Womanish - feminine. Desire (WISH) to embrace sultanate (OMAN).
17. Bust. Amusing double definition.
20. Ennui - boredom. The answer is lying in the clue but backwards (around) - bikin(I UNNE)cessary.
21. Harrier - double definition. I've heard of Marsh Harriers - so that's the 'bird' bit. I was thinking that to harry is to bother someone - so possibly 'dog one's steps' - but it turns out there's a harrier which is a smallish breed of hound used originally for hare-hunting.
22. Charleston - dance. Anagram (moves) of SCHOLAR TEN.


1. Nylon - material. (N)atural, anagram (modified) of ONLY.
2. New Testament - good book. I thought at first that the cluing was a bit weak - 'that may produce statement' - as I just thought statement = Testament and it could have been Old or New. Then I realised that this is one of those brilliant clues as 'testament' is an anagram of STATEMENT. The clue is the other way around. An anagram (NEW) of Testament is something 'that may produce' statement. The anagram indicator (NEW) is therefore not in the clue but in the answer. I think this makes it an &lit.
3. Idea - notion. (I)nspiring (D)elegates (E)xecutives (A)nd.
4. Tissue - flimsy paper. Little time (T), to publish (ISSUE).
5. Old flame - ex (lover). Extinguished is a very neat way to describe a fire/flame which once was.
6. Caricaturist - one who's work is to exaggerate their subjects. This anagram (might emerge?) was a bit of a struggle - A CIRCUS ART IT.
7. Slight - double definition.
12. Brandish - wield (as in an axe). A plate of roughage could be a dish of bran!
13. Powder - that's fine. Daughter (D) in control (POWER). This works as the unaccountable noun - one has control/power over something.
15. Esther - Bible book. Anagram (changes) of THESE, right (R).
18. Turin - Italian city. Take a spin (TURN) around one (I).
19. Plane - tree. The answer is in fligh(T REE)xamined.

Times 26702

Quite a hard one that occupied me for 50 minutes

Here's my blog...Collapse )

Times 26701 - Right up Fry's Alley?

I nodded off and took a phone call during this one, but the fact remains that it was harder than your average Monday and will, I can confidently predict, have nudged Keriothe's Monday graph a nanopoint north. Since I did it a little while ago, I have forgotten almost everything about it, but I am glad at least that I was able to parse everything, which is more than can be said for Saturday's - which I have just finished - where 1d still eludes me. 48 minutes, with the excuses already noted.


1. DEBRIEFED - BRIEF in DEED. In my experience, 'brief' well describes the average grasp of facts possessed by the gun-for-hire we glorify with the title of barrister. I am pleased to see that Oxford is in agreement with me: 'a summary of the facts and legal points in a case given to a barrister to argue in court'.
6. SCOTS - initial letters of Separate Clubs On The Scene; I have a strong aversion to the word 'race', preferring group, nation, people or anything else in the semantic vicinity. I AM grumpy today...
9. APHASIA - HAS (experiences) in APIA[n].
10. NOMINEE - NO + MINE + [futur]E.
11. TONIC - initial letter of Indian + C after TON.
12. RAM RAIDER - two forms of low-life, one urban, one rural.
13. SUTURING - US reversed + TURING.
14. BRAE - alternate letters of BaRrAgE.
17. EVEN - double definition.
18. UNDERCUT - UNDER (subject to) + CUT.
22. CLINK - two slang terms for jail (clink and bird); K (rooK's last letter) on CLIN (cling minus the G)
24. HANDS UP - HANDS (as people working on a boat) + UP.
25. EXTINCT - INC in TEXT* (anagram).
26. PISTE - ST in PIE.
27. LATERALLY - if you turn up to a tennis match late, you might see no early rallies, just a late rally, or two.


1. DEALT - DEAL + T.
2. BEHIND THE SCENES - if you cause someone to lose their temper on a regular basis, you may be said to be behind their scenes. (I'm not sure these clues improve by being explained...)
3. INSECURE - take DUO out of IN [du]E C[o]URSE and make an anagram (signalled by eccentric) of the residue.
4. FLAGRANT - GRAN in FLAT. Sorry, no explanation this time.
5. DYNAMO - a reversal of MANY in DO; if a shrink said 'dynamo' to me, I'd respond 'Kiev'. Probably do the same with 'chicken' too, come to think of it.
6. SAMPAN - a reversal of MAS + PAN.
8. SMEARIEST - ARMIES SET*; I can imagine Stephen Fry talking for 20 minutes about this word. Moving right along...
13. STEAMSHIP - HIP preceded by TEAM in SS, where 'crew coming aboard' is Crosswordese for 'stick a word meaning something like crew in the letters SS, because then they are in the ship, or, "on board"'. By an extraordinary coincidence, SS actually stands for 'steamship'. Go fig, as some people like to say, usually with a !.
15. INHERENT - HE + RENT after IN (as in 'Trump is in').
16. MERCATOR - there's no doubt that some of those medieval dudes had cool names, Gerardus's being amongst them; we track the cartographer down here by placing a MERC on top of a reversed ROTA.
19. MOUSSE - yes, um, a mousse is a dessert and also the stuff that some people put in their hair (or locks).
20. CARPEL - reversed hidden in 'poLE PRACtically'.
23. KITTY - a whimsical number to finish with, playing upon the fact that a female cat is called a kitty, at least until it is done, it is.

Times Jumbo 1256

What ho!

Sorry this is another late one.  I was away and then busy and whenever I have some free time to go on the computer my 16-year old always seems to be doing GCSE revision / watching rubbish music videos.

Any road up, I reckon this was the easiest Jumbo I've blogged to date, taking 25 minutes inclusing sussing out all the parsings and deciding which clues to mention in the blog (just a reminder that I don't generally include explanations for all clues, just those that I think need explaining or are otherwise noteworthy.  First in was CREEPERS, last CANYON.





POVERTY - OVERT (conspicuous) inside (clothed by) P{rett}Y


WACKO - WA (Washington) + CO(mpany) around (K)ola with NUTS being the def








PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR - "pretending to be devout" is PI and a P.I. (PI initially) is a Private Investigator.




ELECTROLYTE - ELECT then Y(oung) T(oscanini) in ROLE




SALESMAN - (males)* in SAN(itarium)


BEDSORES - BEDS + OR + {l}E{g}S.  Surprised to see this as one word.






BACK PASSAGE - BACK for support + PASSAGE for EXTRACT with "that ends with colon" being the quirky def.  Do overseas solvers know of this usage?


NE'ER-DO-WELL - (onedweller)*


TAXIDERMY - stuffing is the def, constructed thus: TAXI + DER (the in German) + MY for "Goodness me"


ARDENT - (Forest of) ARDEN + (mos)T


CANYON - C(onservative) + ANYON{e} with defile as a noun which I've only ever heard in this context in crosswords 


MULTIPLICATION TABLE - M(ake) + (alittlepublication) with "product list" being the rather pleasing definition


DRUMMER - D(eparts) + RUMMER (a large drinking-glasses studded with prunts (me neither) to ensure a safe grip, popular in the Rhineland and the Netherlands from the 15th through the 17th century) and the definition cross references with 18a (rhythm). Q. What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine? A. You only have to punch the information into the drum machine once. 




PERUSAL - SURE reversed in PAL (China plate = mate in CRS)







LICHI - hidden


STAY-AT-HOMES - (tothamessay)*


ENTREE - another hidden






VEGETABLE GARDEN - (get real vegan bed)*


ROSE GARDEN - NED RAGES O.R. reversed.  Clever.  I have to say I didn't know NED was a contraction of Edward.  Cripes knows what I did think it was a contraction of.  Nedwin? Nedric? Nedbuchanezar?


YUCATAN - CAT in YUAN for the Mexican state we only know courtesy of Ian Dury




OVERLAP - DD , one quirky


YTTRIUM - {tast}Y + TT (dry as in teetotal) + I in RUM.  Another cute definition (table item).




MASSAGE PARLOURS - AS (when) in (paramourslegs)* &Lit




ENSURE - R(iver) in ENSUE






LOW SALT DIET - (itallowsted)*


BABY MINDER - B.A. BINDER arouns MY reversed






HOT DOG - O + TD in HOG.  Lots of dogs all of a sudden.  TD = Teachta Dála, a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of Irish Parliament


BLINI - Cool = IN, 16oz = 1LB, reverse it and what do you get?


Mephisto 2954 - Tim Moorey

Nice steady solve of a middle of the road puzzle with memories of Buddy Holly hidden away in the clues

1ARAROBA - region=AREA then change E=European to A-ROB; Goa powder;
7SOOP - POOS reversed; sweep in Sauchiehall Street;
11OSSI - IS-SO reversed;
13LIEBIG - LIE-BIG; beef extract named after von Leibig;
16OBIA - O(BI(t))A; on account=O/A; young woman = BI(t); old witchcraft;
18TANNOY - T(ired)-ANNOY;
25WETA - sounds like "wetter"; fearsome grasshopper;
27NEFAST - N(SAFE reversed)T;
29HABOOB - BOO-BAH reversed (recurring); sand storm;
30ESNE - (seen)*;
31TROUTLING - T(roon)-ROUT(L)ING; loch=L;
32SKAT - TAK(E)S reversed and remove E=shred of E(vidence);
1APOLOGY - three meanings 1=regrets 2=poor (specimen) 3=defence;
2RUSA - R-USA; Jonathan=American; large deer;
5ABLUTOMANE - (a m alone tub)*; what do David Beckham and Donald Trump allegedly have in common?
7STEN - NETS reversed;
8OVIPOSIT - (too is)* surrounds VIP;
9PEGGY - three meanings 1=washerwoman's dolly 2=bird (warbler) 3=PEGGY Sue (song);
20ACATERS - AC(rate)*S;
23AGEING - (s)AGE-(k)ING;
24BAHTS - sounds like "Barts" famous teaching hospital in Smithfields close to some superb pubs;
26LOUT - defeat=rout then change "r" to "l";
28SNUG - GUNS reversed;

Times-for-the-Times Easter crossword

On behalf of Adrian Bailey:

Here’s the crossword to print off. Good luck!

If you’re a Times subscriber and want to do it online, the crossword uses the same grid as crossword 26,597 so you can use the grid for that crossword. Just remember that when you finish it’ll tell you that you got it wrong, so ignore that!

Thanks to all the contributors. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to be your editor. I’ve used/abused my position to change a few of the clues for various reasons.

The answers will be blogged on Tuesday; please no spoilers before then. Answers and hints will be removed! General comments, times taken, technical questions are welcome though.

The Easter puzzle has now been blogged - don't scroll down if you haven't had a chance to try it!

Sunday Times 4741 by David McLean

I found this one to be at the easier end of the ST spectrum, and a quick glance at the Leaderboard reveals some extraordinarily fast times amongst the senior pros. That said, for me this was by no means a cakewalk, and I'm still a bit puzzled by the detailed parsing of 7ac.

Some very nice clues, with 3dn and 12ac my personal favourites. Thanks to Harry for an enjoyable puzzle.

1 Port the old lady perhaps picked up (10)
MARSEILLES - Sounds like MA SAY (the old lady perhaps picked up). The cunning use of "perhaps" as part of the homophone fodder (rather than as an exemplar) had me stumped for a while.
7 Work at the centre of constabulary’s case? (4)
COPY - OP (work) inside (at the centre of) CY (ConstabularY's case). Whilst the answer flowed inexorably from the wordplay, the definition puzzled me somewhat. Chambers gives one of the definitions of Copy as "something newsworthy", so maybe that equates to "case" - or maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick altogether...
9 One might set you back at the dentists (1,4,2,3,5)
A KICK IN THE TEETH - Cryptic definition (& Lit, I guess)
10 Empty prison covered in a TV broadcast (6)
VACANT - CAN (prison) 'covered by' *(A TV) with "broadcast" pointing to the anagram
12 Go off one Hawking labelled best in the biz? (5,3)
START OUT - Alternatively STAR TOUT, the appellation that could be awarded to the best hawker. Nicely misleading, with the capital H having the desired effect of sending me off looking for some kind of scientific bod before the penny dropped.
13 Some exercise? It ain’t so bad, son (4-3)
CHIN UPS - CHIN UP (it ain't so bad) + S (son)
15 Encourage understanding on radio (6)
INCITE - Sounds like INSIGHT (understanding on the radio)
17 It sickens one to recall quote about yours truly (6)
EMETIC - CITE (quote) + ME (yours truly) all reversed (to recall)
18 Forms of sacks filled with glue, mostly (7)
FIGURES - FIRES (sacks - as in razing a city to the ground) with GU{M} inside (filled with glue, mostly)
19 Spooner says to plunder HQ, leaving one tied up (8)
BOOTLACE - or LOOT BASE (plunder HQ) as the reverend might have said. As ever with Spoonerism type clues, you either see it immediately or it can take an age. This one fell into the latter category for me, even with the cross checkers in place and was my last one in after a lengthy period of head scratching.
21 Dug-out tunnels reviewed by a prisoner here? (6)
STALAG - TS reversed (dug-out T{unnel}S reviewed) + A LAG (a prisoner)
22 Ordering tactics changed, I assign players roles (7,8)
CASTING DIRECTOR - *(ORDERING TACTICS) with "changed" signalling the anagram
24 Hollande’s refusal to import English gas (4)
NEON - NON (Hollande's - or any other Frenchman's for that matter - refusal) with E (English) 'imported'
25 Yorkist all messed up with old daggers? (5,5)
DIRTY LOOKS - *(YORKIST + OLD) - with "all messed up" indicating the anagram - and a cryptic definition based on 'looking daggers'

2 Question job for which no top’s required (3)
ASK - {T}ASK (job for which no top's required)
3 One in party with those left of centre in state? (9)
SOCIALIST - I (one) inserted between (in) SOCIAL (party) + ST (the letters to the left of the middle letter of ST a te). Cleverly constructed clue (which roughly translates as "took me a while to work out how the hell this thing worked")
4 One spot to smuggle in bit of Indian dope (5)
IDIOT - I (bit of Indian) 'smuggled into' I DOT (one spot)
5 French article describing initially-censored Trump bloomers
LOTUSES - LES (French article) goes around (describing) {P}OTUS (initially censored Trump). Fortunately I knew the POTUS acronym (President Of The United States) as used by the US military and White House staffers from watching TV shows such as West Wing; anyone who did not have this odd bit of knowledge to hand may well have struggled with this one.
6 Swinging inspector might ask to do this at a wood mill (9)
SEESAWING - DD, the second being an amusing homophone
7 Conservative taking port and crack (5)
CLEFT - C (Conservative) + LEFT (port - at sea)
8 Leave port options, principally, up to astute drunk (3,3,2,3)
PUT OUT TO SEA - *(UP TO ASTUTE) - with "drunk" indicating the anagram - and O (Options, principally) also being added into the mix
11 A time to occupy a cold toilet seat, perhaps (11)
ACCOMMODATE - A T (a time) included in (occupy) A C COMMODE (a cold toilet)
14 Name in China due to move out of bonds? (9)
UNCHAINED - *(CHINA DUE) - with "to move" signalling the anagram - and N (name) also in the mix
16 Starter and fish bill about £100 without sides, apparently (9)
CARPACCIO - CARP (fish) + ACC (bill) + C (about) + IO ({£}10{0} without sides)
18 Long stop for one on the Queen’s unfinished WC? (7)
FIELDER - FIELD{S} (unfinished WC) goes 'on' ER (the Queen), giving the fielding position found in kids' cricket games. An opportunity to share my favourite W.C. Fields quote - "Horse sense is the thing a horse has that stops it betting on people".
20 Can rounds start to tire a heavyweight? (5)
TITAN - TIN (can) goes round T A (start to Tire A)
21 It’s my fault wife leaves trouble for soprano (5)
SORRY - W (wife) 'leaves' {W}ORRY (trouble) and is replaced by S (soprano)
23 Fine cut by head of axe — timber (3)
OAK - OK (fine) 'cut' by A (head of Axe)
In the eternal football cliché, this was a game of two halves. More precisely, with a call out to Aussie Rules football, a game of four quarters! The LHS went in smoothly with 2dn the FOI, then the NE corner yielded with a bit of application. Finally 22ac gave me an entrée to the SE corner, until in reasonable time I had finished everything bar 24dn, my LOI.

I’ve sometimes found that when you have only one four letter word left, you are in the land of nightmares! A time measured in minutes can become hours or days. Is this one of those? No – suddenly a light bulb moment. The answer was the obvious one, but the parsing was too hard for me. Compliments to the setter.

Looking at the leaderboard, I see that at the time of writing, the 100th best time was under 14 minutes, a little faster than a typical Saturday – so it does look like it was on the easy side if anything.

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}.

1. Prisoner's place of internment (5)
OFLAG: I struggled with the parsing until I saw that this time the apostrophe indicates possessive case, so “prisoner’s” = “lag’s” = “of lag”.

Wikipedia: An Oflag (from German: Offizierslager) was a prisoner of war camp for officers only, established by the German Army in both World War I and World War II.

4. Pregnant partner no longer has therapy wearing short trousers (9)
EXPECTANT: EX [partner no longer] ECT [therapy] “wearing” PANT{s} [short trousers].

9. Provisional accommodation this setter's found after a time (9)
TENTATIVE: TENT [accommodation] then I’VE [“this setter has”, with this apostrophe meaning contraction] “found after” A T{ime}.

10. Odd sections of 11 road in old city (5)
PETRA: 11ac is “pretty”, so P {r} E {t} T {y}  R {o} A {d}.

Wikipedia: Petra, originally known to the Nabataeans as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. The city is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system.

11. Quite dry inside quarry (6)

12. Divers fish in schools (8)
POCHARDS: CHAR in PODS. I thought of PODS immediately, and vaguely remembered CHAR as fish. DNK pochards were diving ducks, but the word looked plausible!

14. Maybe Nietzsche ultimately rejected English food (5,4)

Wikipedia: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1844-1900 was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history … In his later work, he developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return, and became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural, and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health.

No wonder he rejected English food!

16. The reverse of mountain home here? (5)
PLAIN: PLA [alp, backwards] IN [home]. Literal definition. Neat clue.

17. Honour received by female poet (5)

19. Pan with grouse, feature of Sunday lunch? (5,4)
ROAST BEEF: ROAST [pan] BEEF [grouse].

21. Child of the '60s briefly joins in faction striking (8)

“Strike” and “whip” seemed to have different flavours to me, but Chambers’ first definition for the verb “whip” is “strike with a lash”, so there!

22. Plant, one a pretentious sort brought from the east (6)
BONSAI: I A SNOB all reversed.

I was inclined to put this clue off until I had some helpers, expecting it to be a botanical name I didn’t know. but since I couldn’t get anywhere with the other clues in the SE corner, I eventually gave up and read the clue carefully. Surprise – I did know it!

25. Thick-skinned type sounding witty? Wrong (5)
RHINO: here it is again, the debate that's been running for weeks now about homophones: sounds like “wry”? No!

26. Drama in old hospital, nursing a broken joint (5,4)
SAINT JOAN: SAN [old hospital] “nursing” A (JOINT*). (Looking at _O_N, I toyed with St. John for a while.)

Wikipedia: a play by George Bernard Shaw about 15th Century French military figure Joan of Arc. Premiering in 1923, three years after her canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial. Shaw studied the transcripts and decided that the concerned people acted in good faith according to their beliefs. He wrote in his preface to the play:

There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.

27. Snacked regularly at bar, entertained by pop musicians (5,4)
DANCE BAND: Eminently biffable, but it’s {s} N {a} C {k} E {d} + BAN [bar] “entertained” by DAD [pop].

28. Writer looks for an audience (5)
PEPYS: sounds like “peeps”. Is there a writer called PIERS?

1. One Pole is so ecstatic? (2,3,2,3,5)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: If you consult “McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World”, you’ll immediately see that the South Pole is indeed at the top of the world.

2. Some cruel, ungentlemanly attack (5)
LUNGE: hidden.

3. Awarded sum of money, teachers' leaders accepted (7)
GRANTED: GRAND “accepts” TE [“teachers” leaders].

4. No introduction for brief broadcast (4)
EMIT: {r}EMIT = “brief”.

5. Ambassador having only women admitted into China? That's incredible (10)
PHENOMENAL: HE [ambassador] NO MEN [only women] “admitted” into PAL [China, in crosswordland]

6. Nick minor works penned by hack (3,4)
COP SHOP: OPS “penned by” CHOP.

7. Dispute stated intention of Petruchio? (9)
ALTERCATE: Petruchio is the male protagonist in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (c. 1590–1594). His intent of course is to “alter Kate”.

8. What could make you fitter? Extremely delicious beans on toast (2,6,7)
TO ABSENT FRIENDS: (FITTER D{eliciou}S BEANS ON*). Clever anagram indicator.

13. Mike accompanies one foreign gent around a group of islands (10)
MICRONESIA: MIC [mike] RONES I [I SENOR, “around”] A.

Wikipedia: Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

15. Doctor in Lima is a member of religious sect (9)

Wikipedia: Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam. The Ismaili get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imam) to Ja'far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma'il, as the true Imam.

18. Admonish salesman about promoting first of remnants (7)
REPROVE: REP + OVER with the “R” promoted.

20. Dear Miss Piggy perhaps and Kermit finally up for a dance (3-4)
TWO STEP: PET [dear] SOW [Miss Piggy!] {Kermi}T, all reversed [“up”].

23. Small supermarket supplying some ice cream (5)
SCOOP: S{mall} CO-OP [supermarket].

24. Unruly lord of the Caribbean? (4)
WILD: W{est} I{indies} L{or}D.

I made altogether too much of this clue! Was it to do with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Or Captain Kidd, somehow? No, in retrospect, much more straightforward.
Took me just under the hour, so I'd place this one slightly on the harder side of average.  Didn't know the Kipling work at 3dn, which gave me the pleasure of working a 22-letter anagram into the most likely arrangement.  A lot easier with checkers in place, of course.

Elsewhere there was some fiendish parsing which I didn't really unravel until I came to do the blog, including but not limited to LAMB OF GOD, ELEVENSES, CRYSTAL, YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF OF IT and RECESSIVE.  Good fun all round.

Now I need to say a few words to the setter.  First, thanks for the enjoyable challenge.  Great work, very clever.  But here's the awkward bit.  You know what I'm going to say next, don't you?  Yes, we have to talk about 37dn.

Hmmmm, 37dn.  Doesn't quite work, does it?   CICAL is not an anagram of LILAC, no matter which way you twist it.  Please write that out a thousand times, and don't let it happen again!  (Seriously, I didn't even notice at the time of solving.  In fact it's nice to see that the setters are actually human.  The editor, on the other hand....).

Anyway, let's move on from that, and have a look at how I parsed it all.

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'.
1 Fashionable drink I had is devoid of flavour (7)
INSIPID - IN (fashionable) + SIP (drink) + ID (I had)
5 Butterfly leads new return of red admiral’s junior (9)
COMMANDER - COMMA (butterfly) + N (new) + DER (return of RED)
Yes, a comma is a type of butterfly.  Welcome to Crosswordland.
10 Account of great heroism Turkish officers sent back (4)
SAGA - AGAS (Turkish officers) reversed (sent back)
14 Plant — Open University obtain six left in British field (13)
BOUGAINVILLEA - OU (Open University) + GAIN (obtain) + VI (six) + L (left) in B (British) + LEA (field)
Bit of an IKEA clue if you didn't know the plant, but most solvers would have biffed it with a few checkers in place.
15 Men in area go after token girl abroad (9)
SIGNORINA - OR (Other Ranks, men) + IN + A (area) after SIGN (token)
16 Top legal expert drafting university minutes badly (5,5)
GRAND MUFTI - [DRAFTING + U (university) + M (minutes)]*
17 Established how to play forte and prestissimo? (4,3,4)
HARD AND FAST - Double definition
18 Artist attached to favourite old city (5)
PETRA - PET (favourite) + RA (artist)
19 Where laws are made how one may end the game of bingo? (5,5)
STATE HOUSE - Double def, the second one whimsical
21 Beginning to sense joints, reportedly a symptom of flu (6)
SNEEZE - S (beginning of sense) + NEEZE [homophone (reportedly) of KNEES (joints)]
23 Going back after parking earlier (9)
PRECEDING - RECEDING (going back) after P (parking)
25 Most of Pluto’s place in sci-fi books may be seen here (5)
SHELF - HEL [most of HELL (Pluto's place)] in SF (sci-fi)
26 Right to settle outside a city in California (7)
OAKLAND - OK (right) + LAND (settle) outside A
28 What offers equity for a wage slave working (3,2,8)
31 Large pulpit following the Father and the Son (4,2,3)
LAMB OF GOD - L (large) + AMBO (pulpit) + F (following) + GOD (the Father)
33 Thinking earnings should be redistributed around circle (9)
REASONING - (EARNINGS)* around O (circle)
35 Present involving certain travel and a lot of valuable things (8,5)
TREASURE TROVE - TREAT (present) "involving" SURE (certain) + ROVE (travel)
37 Keen to come into contact with old cut glass (7)
CRYSTAL - CRY (keen) + STAL [STALE (old) "cut"]
38 Saint has to tolerate curse (5)
SWEAR - S (saint) + WEAR (tolerate)
40 Break even during different sales initially (9)
ELEVENSES - EVEN "during" ELSE (different) + S (sales initially)
42 Allowed to follow a marine band (6)
ARMLET - A + RM (Royal Marine) + LET (allowed)
44 Early schooling is excellent (5,5)
FIRST CLASS - Double def
46 Present to answer charge (5)
AWARD - A (answer) + WARD (charge)
48 What draws in pop music nut to rock (7,4)
50 Drug risk is reversed — energy and force stopping weakness (4,6)
SIDE EFFECT - SI (IS reversed) + E (energy) + F (force) in DEFECT (weakness)
52 Part of opera clique volunteers to cover Met missing millions (9)
CABALETTA - CABAL (clique) + TA (Territorial Army, volunteers) "to cover" ET [MET missing M (millions)]
A fast concluding section of a two-part operatic aria.  Always wondered what one of them was called.
53 Delay, we hear, removing Olympic event (13)
WEIGHTLIFTING - WEIGHT [homophone for WAIT (delay)] + LIFTING (removing)
54 Unpleasant look of heartless landlord (4)
LEER - LE{TT}ER (landlord), "heartless" (missing middle letters)
55 Belted peers love to ignore call to be roused (9)
56 Regret incorporating English metal company (7)
RETINUE - RUE (regret) incorporating E (English) + TIN (metal)
1 I run across black language in Nigeria (4)
IGBO - I + GO (run) "across" B (black)
2 Minor female role, with little money to improve, bringing up the rear (9)
SOUBRETTE - SOU (little money) + BRETTE [BETTER (improve) moving the last letter forward (bringing up the rear)]
Another opera clue.  Really setter?  What's wrong with cricket?
3 Short elephant film is all shot for Kipling book (5,5,4,3,5)
4 Such a number of daughters picked up energetic people (7)
DYNAMOS - [SO MANY (such a number) + D (daughters)] reversed (picked up)
5 Blunder about a lot of risky hospital programme’s ending (11)
CLIFFHANGER - CLANGER (blunder) about IFF [a lot of IFFY (risky)] + H (hospital)
6 Cloudy nature of sort found in pits with sulphur (9)
MILKINESS - ILK (sort) in MINES (pits) + S (sulphur)
7 Flooded a Pacific state — but not in good fashion (5)
AWASH - A + WASH [WASHINGTON (Pacific state) without IN + G (good) + TON (fashion)]
8 Suspecting wild Futurists gripped by Dali, oddly (11)
DISTRUSTFUL - (FUTURISTS)* "gripped by" DL (odd letters of DaLi)
9 Keen on rising to take in grand music (6)
REGGAE - REGAE [EAGER (keen) reversed (on rising)] to take in G (grand)
11 Living with a partner from Belfast, perhaps (7)
ANIMATE - A + NIMATE (Northern Ireland MATE, or "partner from Belfast")
12 A role Swiss heroine reduced in political system (9)
APARTHEID - A + PART (role) + HEID [HEIDI (Swiss heroine) reduced]
13 I alone? There’s much more! (3,4,4,3,4,2,2)
YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF OF IT - Cryptic def, where "I alone" equates to "half of IT"
18 Non-technical university in part of east London (7)
POPULAR - U (university) in POPLAR (part of East London)
20 Be responsible for some lines in Old English (7)
OVERSEE - VERSE (some lines) in OE (Old English)
22 Arrive with car trapped in traffic (8)
COMMERCE - MERC (car) "trapped in" COME (arrive)
24 Entice couples heading into very ignorant lexicography (8)
INVEIGLE - First two letters of (couples heading) each of INto VEry IGnorant LExicography
27 Violent behaviour displayed by stag groups (5)
AGGRO - Hidden (displayed by) stAG GROups
29 Tired wife inclined to cry when short of time (5)
WEARY - W (wife) + EARY [TEARY (inclined to cry) when short of T (time)]
30 Weak conjecture about tinfoil — news one’s withheld (7)
GUTLESS - GUESS (conjecture) about TL [TINFOIL with INFO (news) + I (one) withheld]
32 Like crab served up with mayonnaise, say (7)
DRESSED - Cryptic def, unless I'm missing something?
34 Established one copper left in entrance is to sign (11)
GESTICULATE - EST (established) + I (one) + CU (copper) + L (left) in GATE (entrance)
36 Care what spider’s weaving (11)
37 Girl wreathed in lilac cultivated from an earlier time (9)
Ah, but it's not, is it?  A generous soul on the forum suggested that "girl" might be "CASS", which would get the setter (and editor) off the hook, but it doesn't quite work.
39 Concerned with Conservative case for being backward moving (9)
RECESSIVE - RE (concerned with) + C (Conservative) + ESSIVE (case for being)
Essive is a grammatical case whose distinctive function is to indicate a state of being. Hence "case for being".
41 Bar contains drunk that’s grabbed Henry (9)
STANCHION - (CONTAINS)* "that's grabbed" H (Henry)
43 Hansom invested in horse that’s black (7)
MACABRE - CAB (hansom) in MARE (horse)
45 Outstanding measure to block climbing rodents (7)
STELLAR - ELL (measure) to "stop" STAR [RATS (rodents) reversed (climbing)]
47 Soccer move went badly in no-score draw? (3-3)
ONE-TWO - (WENT)* in OO (no-score draw, or 0-0)
49 Internees having years in area of Wales (5)
POWYS - Y (years) in POWS (internees)
51 Fairy-tale creature brought back by Mother Goose (4)
OGRE - Reverse hidden (brought back by) mothER GOose

Times 26,699: Alternative Facts

I'd had a solid tip-off about the identity of today's setter, and was delighted as they're one of my very favourites, but I also knew what I was in for: incredibly careful, devious cluing that would keep me on my mental toes throughout and not permit a moment's inattention. And so it proved, for most of a quarter hour this morning.

First one in was 9ac, followed by 23ac: and that was all for my first pass through the Acrosses I think. I ran into some trouble with a couple of the Downs: 15dn so clearly had to be C + a word for flat + A + NE, and likewise, in what world could 18dn (my LOI) not be (SERIAL*) around C? And of course these were all traps carefully laid by the setter, so well played. The latter is particularly clever as it requires you to separate the "of" off to a place your brain really doesn't want to put it... but perhaps as a lover of fine (*cough*) cinema I'll give my COD to 8dn for the reminder of the late great Sid James. Surely the two Sids in 8dn are the "pair of perverts" mentioned in 5ac?

A top-drawer Friday puzzle then, as expected, though perhaps unfortunate to have some of its thunder stolen by yesterday's dooZy. Have a marvellous and crosswordtacular Easter weekend everybody!

1 In retreat, king studies one British or German statesman (8)
BISMARCK - reverse K CRAMS I B ["in retreat", king | studies | one | British]
5 A pair of dukes but not of perverts (6)
TWISTS - TW{o f}ISTS [a pair of fists, "but not OF"]
9 Some returning Huguenots'll import a heavy burden (9)
MILLSTONE - hidden reversed in {hugu}ENOTS'LL IM{port}
11 Article shaped like egg, not the first for duck (5)
AVOID - A [article] + {o}VOID [shaped like egg, "not the first"]
12 Get a grip with this online nuisance having name for each medium (7)
SPANNER - SPAMMER [online nuisance] having N [name] for each M [medium]
13 Knife cut back across the male's brain (7)
EGGHEAD - DAGGE{r} [knife "cut"], reversed across HE [male]
14 With rings around, is after that integrated circuit training (13)
CALLISTHENICS - with CALLS [ring] around, IS THEN IC [is | after that | integrated circuit]
16 Helper in turn enlisted by aristocratic young doctor (13)
PAEDIATRICIAN - AIDE reversed [helper "in turn"] enlisted by PATRICIAN [aristocratic].
A young doctor as in a doctor for young patients, not a recent graduate.
20 Dock made hard to protect parking building's tower (7)
STEEPLE - STEELE{d} ["dock" made hard] to protect P [parking]
21 "Truth" I attached to internal discord (7)
FACTION - FACT I ON [truth | I | attached to]
23 Someone protected retiring Liberal, in a manner of speaking (5)
DRAWL - reverse of WARD [someone protected "retiring"] + L [Liberal]
24 City ends a loose alliance (9)
SYNDICATE - (CITY ENDS A*) ["loose"]
25 Fake European man's left dotty old one (6)
CODGER - COD GER{man} [fake | European "MAN's left"]
26 Act to keep carbon-bearing coal down (8)
DEJECTED - DEED [act] to keep JE{C}T ["carbon-bearing" coal]


1 Puzzle to inspire poet? (6)
BEMUSE - double def, if the second def is (2, 4)
2 Latin moves a hack to come up short (5)
SALSA - A SLAS{h} reversed [a hack, "to come up" + "short"]
3 Magazine containing toxic stuff has one chapter deleted (7)
ARSENAL - ARSEN{ic}AL [containing toxic stuff "has I C deleted"]
4 Leaving university, music's played with her trios: she'll lead singers (13)
6 Row from wide river bend (7)
WRANGLE - W R ANGLE [wide | river | bend]
7 No smart person, a Scotsman or southern European (9)
SLOVENIAN - SLOVEN IAN [no smart person | a Scotsman]
8 Actor James? What about him lifting extra food? (4,4)
SIDE DISH SID [actor James, of Carry On fame] + EH [what] about SID reversed
10 Border control giving shocking power? (8,5)
ELECTRIC FENCE - cryptic def
14 Cold, flat area added to north-eastern hilly region (9)
CLEVELAND - C LEVEL AND [cold | flat area | added to]
15 Island turf acquired by grand in instalments (8)
EPISODIC - I SOD [island | turf] acquired by EPIC [grand]
17 Urge Left to block terror application (7)
IMPULSE - L [left] to block IMP USE [terror | application]
18 Dispose of serial production, retaining 100 (7)
INCLINE - IN LINE [of serial production] retaining C [100]
19 New note in rectangular space, initially unseen, ignored by addressee? (6)
UNREAD - N RE [new | note] in {q}UAD [rectangular space, "initially unseen"]
22 Sloshed paint is out of place (5)
INAPT - (PAINT*) ["sloshed"]
I found this pretty accessible (for which read I knew some of the information needed) and took around 34 minutes to solve. It contains probably one of the easiest quotation clues ever to grace this space, along the lines of "to be or___" or "__ __ wherefore art thou __". Did anyone need to look up the 3 letter opera clue at the bottom of the grid? Nonetheless, this was the usual GK expanding exercise that we expect of the TLS - what a great story is connected with the Asteroid and the personal habits of the author in16. And some fine red herrings, none better than the Dylan Thomas reference in 6d.

Here's how I loosened the raspberry pip of truth from the hollow tooth of benevolent deception
Clues, definitions, SOLUTIONS


1 A virgin bride, apparently, is novel  (5,2,5)
Popular culture suggests a virgin bride wears white even if popular practice suggest white is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Wilkie Collins wrote the best known similarly titled novel, though he put a THE on the front. Perhaps the lack of an indefinite article on “novel” might suggest dropping the THE.
9 Writer of The Little Foxes or Lord of the Flies?  (7)
HELLMAN  Lillian H wrote the play here named, and Lord of the flies translates to the gloriously onomatopoeic Beelzebub, one of the many Semitic names for His Satanic Majesty, so "Hell man"
10 Sailors at sea in a water-covered world  (7)
SOLARIS  Stanislaw Lem’s SF novel explores the notion of a sentient planet, though I doubt he picked the name just because it’s an anagram of SAILORS
11 Environmental writer with Catholic guilt, I’m told (5)
GREEN  Graham Greene (who fits the clue’s description pretty well) lends the sound of his name to our answer.
12 Asteroid 5099’s one with excellent nitrogen deposits  (4,5)
IAIN BANKS  Not a novel title, but a real asteroid renamed for the late SF author. Wordplay: one: I, excellent: AI. N(itrogen), deposits: BANKS.
14 Financially, East Egg folk boggle my noodle  (3,5)
OLD MONEY  An anagram (boggle) of MY NOODLE. East Egg in The Great Gatsby is the Long Island home of the historically wealthy, as opposed to the upstart  rich of West Egg.
16 Bed-bound writer for Time to cover America  (6)
PROUST  For gives PRO, Time T, and America US supplies the filler. I did not know before now that Proust was bedbound, initially by choice, later under the compulsion of illness.
19 The Poet Lady Charlotte a Westminster Review editor read aloud  (6)
ELLIOT  Lady Charlotte Elliot the poet, George Eliot, one L, (Mary Ann Evans) the perhaps better known writer who at one time was assistant editor on the Westminster Review, founded by Jezza Bentham, which ceased publication in 1914
20 Popular children flatter writer of unposted letters!  (8)
INCHFAWN  Fay Inchfawn (Elizabeth Rebecca Ward) was a prolific writer of popular verse including a collection called Unposted Letters. IN translates popular, Children contribute their CH, and FAWN stands in for flatter. To understand what popular poetry is, try these samples.
22 Curry again? It’s where Mr Bones is headed in Timbuktu  (9)
BALTIMORE  Balti is a curry invented in Brum (allegedly) and again provides MORE. The novella Timbuktu (Paul Auster) features a dog called Mr Bones who is heading with his ailing master for Baltimore. Paul Auster lives in Brooklyn.
23 City set taken aback about Mr Bumble’s ass?  (5)
LEGAL  L.A. GEL (set) backwards. In Oliver Twist, when informed that "the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction", Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, replies:"If the law supposes that, the law is a ass - a idiot".
25 Tricky situation with cunning supplier of a staircase in Surrey!  (7)
STEWART  A STEW (tricky situation), joins ART (cunning) to give us J. I .M. Stewart, author of a collection of 5 novels where Surrey is an Oxford College and the staircase (a set of rooms in Oxspeak) the setting.
27 EU to prosecute a male revolutionary and swineherd  (7)
EUMAEUS  Construct it from EU, then SUE and M(ale) reversed. Odysseus’ pig-keeper.
28 “Cry ‘Havoc’ And let slip ” (Shakespeare) (3,4,2,3)
THE DOGS OF WAR. A quotation any fule kno.


1 He loved Bosie in a natural state, they say  (5)
WILDE  How true, how true. Young Queensbury’s somdomite friend sounds an awful lot like WILD
2 Reminder for Lettie Colston: send out memoir to men  (7,4)
MEMENTO MORI  an anagram of memoir to men and the title of a book by Muriel Spark in which our elderly heroine is in receipt of unpleasant letters on the theme.
3 Criminal Genet’s refusal left one church tense  (3,5)
NONLICET  Genet is a French person, so his refusal is NON. Follow with L(eft), I, C(hurch of) E(ngland) and T(ense).
4 It was her beast twice seen in Finch’s home  (6)
NESBIT Tempting to go via Atticus, but this is just Edith Nesbit’s IT from the Five Children and.., and BI twice inside NEST, home. The Finch is just a bird. Or a red herring, if you’d prefer
5 End of file deleted in restore? Bloody computer! (3)
HAL  The accidentally murderous computer from 2001. Remove the end of filE from HEAL, restore.
6 Book by Dylan Thomas, his first: a natural novel  (9)
TARANTULA  Dylan the Nobel prize winner is our writer, Thomas is only there for the T (his first) and the rest is supplied by the letters of A NATURAL.
7 Theatre reworking Goethe with leads from La Bohème  (3,5)
THE GLOBE  take the letters of Goethe, and the L and B from La Boheme, mix thoroughly.
8 Murdoch, who’s no Romeo, enthrals southern goddess  (4)
ISIS  Discard the writer’s R(omeo), add in its place S(outhern) for the Goddess
13 Jones made his money in mines, / And although he has left us his fame still shines” (William Gay)  (11)
BARTHOLOMEW  As spelled in the poem “The Sorrowful Fate of Bartholomew Jones”
15 Poetry-writing cop hides gall after being sacked (9)
DALGLIESH  From the ‘Tec novels by P D James, an anagram of HIDES GALL.
17 Freak about drugs? Not as much as Holmes’s bowing! (8)
TUNELESS  Freak is NUT, which is turned “about”, added to E (drugs) and LESS for “not as much”. Whether "tuneless" is an accurate assessment of Holmes playing is moot: Watson has him 'an enthusiastic musician, being himself not only a very capable performer, but a composer of no ordinary merit’, but there is an early reference to him scraping carelessly upon a fiddle. More recent writers tend to play the "tuneless" idea, but Conan Doyle doesn't appear to.
18 Half of a B. S. Johnson book entertains nurse from LA  (8)
ANGELENO  B S Johnson wrote Albert Angelo. Discard Albert as the unwanted half, insert E(nrolled) N(urse). Isn’t ther something about Angelenos not liking being called Angelenos by outsiders?
21 In America producer volunteers to cut track  (6)
SONTAG  Susan  Sontag created the book In America. The usual volunteers, the TA, insert themselves into SONG for track.
22 Cream cut with soprano who sang “Summertime”?  (4)
BESS  Cream is BEST, knock off the T and add S(oprano). Bess, you is my woman now from Porgy and Bess.
24  “Good always overcomes resistance” - a feminist writer  (5)
GREER  As far as I know, she didn’t write that, but G(ood) E’ER overcomes R(esistance ) is a crossword clue, innit?
26 Unending opera? Help!  (3)
AID  They don’t come easier in the TLS. The opera is Verdi’s AIDA. Guess what to do to find your answer. Well done!

Quick Cryptic 809 by Tracy

Good Friday, good puzzle.  Nothing too obscure in the answers, a nice spattering of anagrams, and most of the definitions were right there at the start of the clue (actually, ALL the across clues had the definition at the start).

Also noticed during the parsing that most of the clue surfaces were plausible sentences or expressions.  The clues for CONVERSE, ALLOWED and IN SEASON, to name just three, were constructed with a simple elegance, although my COD was the slightly subversive-looking RELAYED.

Nice work Tracy, not a bad way to start the long weekend.  Took me just over 5 minutes.

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'.
1 Get by policeman, last in line (4)
COPE - COP (policeman) + E (last in line)
3 Speak in clubs about poetry (8)
CONVERSE - C (clubs) + ON (about) + VERSE (poetry)
8 Granted, everyone had debts (7)
ALLOWED - ALL (everyone) + OWED (had debts)
10 Body part discovered in Pimlico, London (5)
COLON - Hidden (discovered in) in (pimliCO LONdon)
11 Popular music centre of plainly neat construction (3,3,5)
Refers to the New York-based popular music scene of a century ago.
13 Burning land (6)
ALIGHT - Double definition
You don't really "land" when you get off a bus or dismount a horse, but "alight" is also what a bird does when it descends from the air and settles.
15 Such a plot may bring danger (6)
Not convinced by "may bring" as an anagram indicator.
17 Make inquiries about it, seeing a TV broadcast (11)
Much more satisfying anagram.
20 Opposing troops some cavalrymen eventually pushed back (5)
ENEMY - Reverse (pushed back) hidden (some) in (cavalrYMEN Eventually)
21 Several books in one vehicle (7)
OMNIBUS - Double definition
A book containing multiple works, or....a bus.
22 Fly with squadron leader, stop coming in low (8)
MOSQUITO - S (squadron leader) + QUIT (stop) in MOO (low)
Only crossword setters call mosquitos flies, but to be fair, they do have the dictionaries on their side.
23 Shock caused by unusual feat? No end (4)
STUN - STUN{T} (unusual feat), without the last letter (no end)
Stunt always makes me think of Kenny Everett, for some reason.
1 Tripe — cold piece friend served up (8)
CLAPTRAP - C (cold) + [PART (piece) + PAL (friend)] reversed (served up)
2 Steel structure only demolished under pressure (5)
PYLON - (ONLY)* under P (pressure)
4 Severe test of French in examination (6)
ORDEAL - DE ("of" in French) in ORAL (examination)
5 Misfortune during holiday leads to indecision (11)
VACILLATION - ILL (misfortune) in VACATION (holiday)
I used to think I was indecisive.  Not so sure now.
6 Revolutionary American university in revolutionary broadcast (7)
RELAYED - ELAY [YALE (American university) reversed (revolutionary)] in RED (revolutionary)
Slightly mind-bending clue, needing to decide which revolutionaries are revolving and which are revolting!
7 Greek character describing northern volcano (4)
ETNA - ETA (Greek character) "describing" N (northern)
9 How heavy, tau, when broken downand similar things (4,4,3)
12 Popular flavour available (2,6)
IN SEASON - IN (popular) + SEASON (flavour)
14 In charge, one head showing hostility (7)
ICINESS - IC (in charge) + I (one) + NESS (head)
IC most commonly seen in 2IC.
A ness is a promontory or a headland, or in crosswordland a head.
16 Guide English class absorbing chapter (6)
ESCORT - E (English) + SORT (class) "absorbing" C (chapter)
18 Superior, British in flying boat (5)
ABBOT - B (British) in (BOAT)*
A Superior is a religious position, an Abbot being an example of such.
19 Word: also sentence (4)
TERM - Double definition

Times Quick Cryptic No 808 by Teazel

I really enjoyed this - there lots of lovely clues on show today. I particularly liked the intriguing cryptic definition at 1d and the light bit of black humour at 1ac - got a chuckle from me at any rate. The SW corner I found a bit trickier than the rest, holding me up by a couple of minutes and pushing my time up to the 11 minute mark. It all added up to be a very satisfying puzzle of middling difficulty that as a bonus provided me with the somewhat novel experience of having a completed crossword to blog - many thanks to Teazel.

1 To doctor, evidence of his failure? (4)
TOMB: TO (to) MB (doctor - Bachelor of Medicine). Love it!
3 After turning up, one jostling is an easy target (8)
PUSHOVER: After PU ("up" turning), SHOVER (one jostling)
9 Retire? That might be good bet (2,2,3)
GO TO BED: Anagram (that might be) of GOOD BET.
10 Lover put small jumper round me (5)
ROMEO: ROO (small jumper) round ME.
11 All the flowers are for her (5)
FLORA: cryptic definition, what with Flora being the goddess of flowers.
12 Worked with detectives to get rank (6)
RANCID: RAN (worked) with CID (detectives)
14 In most dangerous position, in ship’s bow? (2,3,5,3)
AT THE SHARP END: cryptic definition, with the bow being the sharp end of a ship.
17 Escort struggling to show restraint (6)
CORSET: Anagram (struggling) of ESCORT.
19 Artist expected resistance capturing king (5)
DURER: DUE (expected) R (resistance) capturing R (king)
22 No time for headdress in town (5)
URBAN: tURBAN (Turban without the t)
23 God, support us when we speak (7)
BACCHUS: or BACK US when we speak it.
24 Having power, makes contact in lectures (8)
PREACHES: REACHES (makes contact) has P(ower).
25 Conform to orders, being extra yielding at first (4)
OBEY: first letters of "orders being extra yielding".

1 Event in which the first over the line are the losers (3-2-3)
TUG-OF-WAR: Our third cryptic definition, and a lovely one at that.
2 Saw a little marmot today (5)
MOTTO: hidden in letters of marMOT TOday (saw = proverb/saying)
4 Illegal to be totally drunk (5,3,5)
UNDER THE TABLE: double definition, and a nice one.
5 Bird swimming in Rhone (5)
HERON: Anagram (swimming) of RHONE.
6 Dracula maybe in rage chasing seductive woman (7)
VAMPIRE: IRE (rage) chasing VAMP (seductive woman).
7 Black bird in castle (4)
ROOK: double definition, for non-chess-pedants.
8 A jacket almost on fire (6)
ABLAZE: A BLAZEr (a jacket "almost").
13 Perhaps one may risk speaking (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY: double definition-ish, the first idiomatic, the second fairly literal: "if ... , I find your noise policy in this library to be quite arbitrary," should you want a bad example.
15 Difficulty replacing our belt (7)
TROUBLE: anagram (replacing) of OUR BELT.
16 Edit socialist law (6)
REDACT: RED (socialist) ACT (law)
18 Sort of boom very pleasant, having no end (5)
SONIC: SO NICe (very pleasant, having no end)
20 Where to be rescued from severe habit? (5)
REHAB: "from" the letters of seveRE HABit.
21 Youngster saves pounds for such fiction? (4)
PULP: PUP (youngster) saves L (libra = pound, giving the stylised L for pound sign).
You’d have thought that a setter’s determination to cram as many Zeds as possible into the grid would, once twigged, help with the solving, and it did, to an extent, as the odds on a clue containing a Zed were quite high. 5ac a case in point. But this was no quick solve for me, taking a tad over 26 minutes, and no-one (so far) is a whole lot quicker. To the setter’s additional credit, the arrangements for getting all those Zeds in don’t force odd or unknown words, though the “short letter” might be a rarity and there’s no way to get to 24d if you don’t know it (on edit, yes there is).
* I counted so you don't have to. Felt like more, though.

Here’s my take on the solving, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS.


1 Whisky one’s missing? Nearly all love wine and soda  (8)
SPRITZER  Whisky is an example of SPIRIT, knock out a I (one) and ad ZER(o) for most of love, as in tennis.
5 Whistling device  (6)
WHEEZE   Double definition, noise form a congested chest, maybe, and the sort of plot device that Jeeves came up with to extricate Bertie from the mire, often described as jolly good.
10 Sailor also called for port  (5)
OSAKA Tried to fit a Z in, but OZ is not a sailor and OS (ordinary seaman) is. Also Known As...
11 County girl with unknown double cocktail  (5,4)
BUCKS FIZZ Orange juice and fizzy wine made from county BUCKS, girl FI and two “unknown” Zeds
12 Senseless bringing doctor in if I doze off (9)
ZOMBIFIED   Doctor here is MB, and the rest is supplied by the letters of IF I DOZE “off”
13 It might be something polar bear misses at first  (5)
TOTEM  Polar here is “like a pole”, but not in the sense of “the end of an axis”. Maybe debatable, but this is Crosswordland. Bear is TOTE, misses at first is, of course, M.
14 As female maybe avoiding relations that are unpopular, outspoken  (7)
NUNLIKE  (That) are unpopular roughly translates to “none like” which you need to say out loud.
16 Lowers cape, heading off to fight  (6)
CATTLE  C for Cape, ATTLE from fight with the front B missing.
18 We agree with that policeman’s reforms  (6)
AMENDS  AMEN, Hebrew for, um, “we agree with that”, plus a Detective Sergeant.
20 State regularly backed Maoist law on rich  (7)
CROATIA   A rather impressive reverse every other letter hCiR nO wAl TsIoAm
22 Highland track crossed by crowd going the wrong way  (5)
TYROL  Right, no arguments over Y or I today. R(ailwa)Y in LOT (crowd) all reversed.
23 See that wallaby jumps across with appropriate bounds?  (9)
ALLOWABLY  A rather unlikely looking source of anagram fodder nevertheless “jumps” and arranges itself across (around, here) LO for see.
25 Caught in trap, live, outside in fruit tree (9)
NECTARINE  Trap is NET, insert C(aught), live is ARE (Hancock, anyone?) and is placed outside IN
26 Girl’s new top: ace for going about!  (5)
LINDA  Top LID and A go about N(ew)
27 In a jacket that’s too short  (6)
ABLAZE  When a fire is “in” its burning. A short jacket is A BLAZE(r)
28 US film producer does prison flogging — audio version  (8)
SELZNICK  Sounds like (radio version) SELLS NICK.


1 Dropping off pair with hands bleeding  (8)
SNOOZING  I like “pair with hands" for bridge partners South and North. OOZING for bleeding is just a bit yucky.
2 Concrete mass in field  (5)
REALM  As in scientific field. Concrete REAL and M(ass)
3 Music played at Ritz — and Oz jail  (11,4)
4 Very black time I had in middle of Greece’s recession  (3-4)
EBB TIDE  That soft, ruboutable pencil your holding right now is a BB, then T(ime) I (ha)d all within the middle of GrEEce
6 Dance tantalizes with nothing exotic  (10,5)
HESITATION WALTZ  An anagram “exotic” of TANTALIZES WITH plus O, nothing.
7 Short letter recalled gym has been made available for hire  (9)
EPISTOLET  and yes, it’s a real word. Gym, PE is “recalled”, then a straight translation of the rest of the clue: IS TO LET.
8  Frenzy merely shows one used to get a reaction  (6)
ENZYME  The “hidden” du jour. FrENZY MErely
9 One grabbed twice by bisexual tart (6)
ACIDIC  Oooer. I (one) appears in two locations in AC/DC, swings both ways, doubles the chance of a date on a Friday night.
15 Figured men should support miners  (9)
NUMERICAL   I suppose figured = having numbers. The one time mighty National Union of Miners (betrayed by Scargill/smashed by Thatcher) is supported by ERIC and AL, two gentlemen
17 Slothful water carrier who fell lifting tool (4,4)
LAZY JACK Does a system of ropes constitute a tool?  Chambers has "a jack constructed of compound levers pivoted together", but Google has nothing of the sort. Slothful LAZY, JACK the post traumatic stress disorder victim allegedly healed with a combination of acetic acid and one of Julie Andrews’ favourite things minus the string and the packages.
19 Sons each bearing something refreshing  (3,3)
SEA AIR  S(ons) EA(ch)  amd AIR for bearing. “as I walked along the boulevard with an independent air”
20 King’s maybe a merry one, crossing stage  (7)
COLLEGE  A merry king is COLE, insert LEG for stage (think Tour de France)
21 Lines of volunteers land faraway in it  (6)
STANZA  Volunteers, the TA, NZ the "land far away" (unless you live there) both contained within S(ex) A(ppeal) or IT.
24 Spot on head of Indian  (5)
BINDI  Is pretty much what it says in this almost not cryptic clue. But it is also BIND (spot, as in of bother) and head of I(ndian). A smart & lit that fooled me into thinking there was no cryptic.

Quick Cryptic 807 by Pedro

I was very quick out of the blocks with this one, but soon found the more difficult clues and ended up with an average time. Nothing too convoluted, although I’m curious to see how many people know about the prison (I guessed), and the single-celled eukaryote (my kind of thing).

Very good practice for lifting and separating - river animal, roan horse, La Scala, etc.

Definitions underlined.

1 Members chasing large mammal carry weapons (4,4)
BEAR ARMS - ARMS (members) following (chasing) BEAR (large mammal).
5 Aida's first song recalled as this? (4)
ARIA - first letter of Aida, and AIR (song) backwards (recalled). Maybe Aida’s first song.
9 Wrong to accept thanks for blemish (5)
STAIN - SIN (wrong) surrounding (to accept) TA (thanks).
10 Mistake to capture one river animal (7)
GIRAFFE - GAFFE (mistake) surrounding (to capture) I (one) and R (river).
11 Both confused about ungroomed roan horse (12)
THOROUGHBRED - anagram of (confused) BOTH around ROUGH (ungroomed) then RED (roan).
13 Scoundrel runs half of La Scala? Not entirely (6)
RASCAL - R (runs), one letter from (half of) lA, and all but the last of (not entirely) SCALa.
15 A religious group will constrain person's initial view (6)
ASPECT - A and SECT (religious group) containing (will constrain) first letter (initial) of Person.
17 Millions investing in one cartel go wild for group of companies (12)
CONGLOMERATE - M (millions) inside (investing in) and anagram of (wild) ONE CARTEL GO.
20 Plundering is bad in a servant (7)
PILLAGE - ILL (bad) inside PAGE (a servant).
21 Soft food: clear opening for entrepreneur (5)
PUREE - PURE (clear) and first letter of (opening for) Entrepreneur.
22 Some into testing betting (4)
TOTE - hidden in (some) inTO TEsting.
23 One abandoned actors with a Method (8)
CASTAWAY - CAST (actors) with A WAY (a method).

1 Stud manager (4)
BOSS - double definition.
2 Leader of America and West remains inundated (5)
AWASH - First letter (leader) of America, W (west) and ASH (remains).
3 Moan, a bollard being crushed — large vehicle carrying this? (8,4)
ABNORMAL LOAD - anagram of (being crushed) MOAN A BOLLARD.
4 Mother saving silver and note inside large bottle (6)
MAGNUM - MUM (mother) surrounding (saving) AG (silver) and N (note).
6 Official about to block charge led by soldiers (7)
REFEREE - RE (about) inside (to block) FEE (charge), all at the end of (led by) RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers).
7 A comment about City Director's first story (8)
ANECDOTE - A and NOTE (comment) surrounding (about) EC (city (of London postcode)) and first letter of Director.
8 Hipster actor redesigned part of theatre (9,3)
ORCHESTRA PIT - anagram of (redesigned) HIPSTER ACTOR.
12 Expert taking snooker shot considered unfeasible (8)
CRACKPOT - CRACK (expert) with POT (snooker shot).
14 Half of prison allowed to have item of underwear (7)
SINGLET - half of SING sing (a prison in New York) and LET (allowed).
16 Little energy in a lot of people encountering a protozoan (6)
AMOEBA - E (little energy) in A MOB (a lot of people) next to (encountering) A.
18 Deliberately lose most of the argument (5)
THROW - all but the last letter from (most of) THe and ROW (argument).
19 Front of engine stuck in railway bank (4)
RELY - first letter (front) of Engine, inside (stuck in) RLY (railway).

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