Times 27952 - all this and some biochemistry

Time taken: 14:47.  That is a little bit longer than my usual, and looking at some of the early scores, I think this is going to fall into the more difficult camp.

I am hoping that I can piece together a few of the entries that went in largely from definition, so this may be a puzzle that favors some specialized knowledge.  I'm curious what people make of 13 across, a term that I run across pretty regularly, but may be obscure and has some tricky wordplay.

I'll come back for a postscript early in the afternoon, UK time - since I work early on Thursday I am not usually available when most of the comments come in, so check them to see if a question has been answered.

Away we go...

1 Conjecture Glen’s worked with a view to please? Unlikely (8,6)
9 Initially pleased that group holds unknown amount of capital (9)
PYONGYANG - first letter of Pleased, then YON(that), GANG(group) containing Y(unknown amount)
10 I’ll do that which is largely counted on at the outset (5)
WILCO - first letters of Which Is Largely Counted On
11 God-fearing husband’s left without theology degree, strangely (5)
ODDLY - HOLY(god-fearing) missing H(husband), surrounding DD(doctor of divinity, theology degree)
12 Sister loves visiting city in Oregon — lots to see there? (9)
SALESROOM - SR(sister) and O,O(loves) inside SALEM, the capital of the state of Oregon
13 Energy source that’s unappealing, first off, then endlessly powerful (8)
GLYCOGEN - UGLY(unappealing) missing the first letter, then COGENT(powerful) missing the last letter
15 American going around in saunas naked (6)
KANSAN - hidden reversed in sauNAS NAKed
17 Could mostly act deviously, unable to keep a secret (6)
OCCULT - anagram of COUL(d) and ACT missing A
19 Dance in the buff? Dare, perhaps, to proceed (8)
FANDANGO - FAN(buff), then DAN Dare, and GO(proceed)
22 Music maker’s nickname called out, with cheer echoing (9)
HARMONICA - sounds like MONICKER(nickname) after RAH(cheer) reversed
23 Arab sailor with a measure of intelligence (5)
TARIQ - TAR(sailor) and IQ(measure of intelligence)
24 Key player in commercial having change of heart (5)
PRIMO - PROMO(commercial) with a change of the middle letter
25 For this artwork, one needed to concentrate a long time? (5,4)
STILL LIFE - STILL(one needed to distil or concentrate), LIFE(a long time)
26 Film that’s certainly no light work (1,4,4,5)
A HARD DAYS NIGHT - double definition
1 African head’s cloak looking rather on the bright side? (4,2,4,4)
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE - CAPE(cloak) then OF GOOD HOPE(looking rather on the bright side)
2 Twelve years on, and zero changes (7)
NOONDAY - anagram of Y(years),ON, AND,O(zero)
3 Game of golf needing fortieth round (5)
RUGBY - G(golf) inside RUBY(fortieth anniversary)
4 In Whistler’s paintings note revolutionary shift (8)
TRANSFER - REF'S(whistler's), ART(paintings) all reversed, containing N(note)
5 To try to keep up with vessel, galley periodically used (6)
JUGGLE -  JUG(vessel) and then alternating letters in GaLlEy
6 Novel way into Polish I might be sold on (9)
NEWSSTAND - NEW(novel) then ST(street, way) inside SAND(polish).  "I" is referring to the i newspaper
7 Circles having lengths within bounds (7)
LOLLOPS - LOOPS(circles) containing L, and L(lengths)
8 Sandhurst NCO involved in what’s not a search for military success (6,8)
NORMAN CONQUEST - RMA (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) and NCO inside NON QUEST (what is not a search).  This went in from checking letters and I had to scramble to find wordplay for the blog
14 Behold inspiration returned for us — what artist needs? (3,6)
OIL COLOUR - LO(behold) and CLIO(inspiration) all reversed, then OUR(for us)
16 One passed on from rich landed gentry, finally (8)
FATALITY - FAT(rich), ALIT(landed) and the last letter in gentrY
18 My name I keep quiet: it’s no longer spoken (7)
CORNISH - COR(my), N(name), I, SH(keep quiet)
20 Career, on reflection, Carol’s after? (7)
NURSING - RUN(career) reversed, followed by SING(carol). An all-in-one
21 Brushed and organised one’s desk (6)
KISSED - anagram of I'S,DESK
23 A large weight’s secured pile of cards (5)
TALON - A, L(large) inside TON(weight)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1853 by Pedro

This was a relatively easy solve (12 minutes for me) but with a couple of pieces of chewy parsing along the way.  Not too much esoteric general knowledge required, although 11a, 1d, 4d may cause a short hold-up for some.  The tricky parsing was mostly at 8a and 5d in my personal experience.

In my ignorance, I always thought of 25a as two words (2,6), but I’m glad to be shown better by Pedro, who has, IMHO, produced a workmanlike QC for us all to test ourselves against.  Please let me know how you found it.


3  I’m coming back into quiet home (8)
DOMICILE – IM (reversed, coming back) to give MI, inside DOCILE (quiet).
7  Source of flavour in beer – the culminating touch (6)
FINALE – F (source, or first letter of F{lavour}) IN (in) and ALE (beer).
8  With a passing fancy, each approach is to disappear with time (4,4)
FADE AWAY – FAD (a passing fancy) with EA (abbreviation for each) and WAY (approach).
Man from Edinburgh, say, to rush, avoiding a round (4)
SCOT – SCO{o}T. Scoot (to rush) avoiding one of the Os (a round).
10  Pleasant disposing of new cold dessert (3)
ICE – {n}ICE – pleasant dropping N{ew}.
11  Studying front of car before driving (8)
CRAMMING – C{ar} (front of / first letter of Car) and RAMMING (driving).  To CRAM for an exam is to study hard to pass it.
13  Uproar with rubbish around capital of Italy (4)
RIOT – Not ROME but Italy’s other capital, the letter I inside ROT (rubbish).
15  Fielder in error (4)
SLIP – Double definition, the first referring to one of the unfathomable (to the uninitiated) fielding positions in the game of cricket.
17  Starry celebration given by commander-in-chief?  About time (8)
GALACTIC – GALA (celebration) with CIC (Commander-In-Chief) containing (about) T(ime).
19  Boat’s propeller observed initially beside a river (3)
OAR – O{bserved} (initially) beside A (a) and R{iver}.  In a rowing boat, the only mechanism to propel the boat forwards is an OAR.
22  Deafening, behold, and extremely unbalanced (4)
LOUD – LO (behold) followed by U{nbalance}D (extremely – outside letters only).
23  European celebrity finding direction indicator? (4,4)
POLE STAR – POLE (European) and STAR (celebrity).  The Pole Star (Polaris) is a star that appears to remain close to the North Pole and has been used as a guide or direction indicator for millennia.
24  Fail to appreciate development of region (6)
IGNORE – Anagram (development) of [REGION].
25  I will avoid various coal-fires out of doors (8)
ALFRESCO – Anagram (various) of [COAL-F{i}RES] after I is deleted (I will avoid).


Intuitive version initially is clear, but misinterpreted  (8)
VISCERAL – V{ersion} (initially) followed by an anagram (is misinterpreted) of [IS CLEAR].
2  Refuse to allow tailless domesticated fowl (6)
BANTAM – BAN (refuse to allow) and TAM{e} (domesticated, tailless – drop last letter).  Domesticated could be doing double duty here as a BANTAM is a type of domesticated fowl, but it isn’t really needed for the definition – fowl will suffice.
Skilful line not seen in Dutch crockery (4)
DEFT – DE{l}FT (take L (Line) out of delft (Dutch crockery).  This was my FOI.
4  Crazy: equipment almost entirely for a song (8)
MADRIGAL – MAD (crazy) with RIG (equipment) and AL{l} (entirely, almost, drop the last letter).  I knew this term for an unaccompanied song, but I’m not sure why – I’m not very musical!
5 Lunar feature cold?  Very much not hot (6)
CRATER – C{old} followed by RAT{h}ER (very much – rather, after dropping the H (not H{ot})).  If you are confused by equating 'rather' with 'very much', imagine asking my avatar if he'd like a gin and tonic?  I imagine him answering "RA-THER!", rather like me!
6 Story-teller in bar getting upset (4)
LIAR – RAIL (bar) reversed (getting upset).
12  They don’t appreciate popular Government’s initial taxes (8)
INGRATES – IN (popular) with G{overnment’s} (initial) and RATES (taxes).
14  Commemorative  article I brought in about failing railway (8)
OBITUARY – Anagram (failing) of [ABOUT] containing I (I brought in) and followed by RY (abbreviation for railway).
16  Post Office sure upset pretentious type (6)
POSEUR – PO (post office) and an anagram (upset) of [SURE].
18  Shy about learner working in group (6)
COLONY – COY (shy) around (about) L{eraner} and ON (working).
20  Ring up, getting venue for swimming (4)
POOL – LOOP (ring) reversed (up) to give POOL.  We've had a couple of LOOPs recently reporting quasi-discoveries which might make us all rethink the Standard Model in physics - CERN and Fermilab.  How exciting!
21  Three players heading for tour, going to South American city (4)
TRIO – T{our} (heading for Tour) and RIO (South American city).

Times 27951 - I'm not going to hold back the waves...

A pleasant straightforward offering today, which I found almost as fast to complete as Monday's this week. A handful of anagrams or compound anagrams (none of foreign words) will get you writing in circles perhaps. My CoD is 1d, of course.
We've escaped from home, for the first time for over a year, for a few days self-catering (well, on takeaways) in sunny Broadstairs by the sea, but it's unseasonably chilly, so I shan't be paddling.

1 Get ready to show part of body (7)
FOREARM - double definition.
5 Head, looking embarrassed, jumped around (7)
CAPERED - CAPE = head, RED = looking embarrassed.
9 State of wife — is at home full of tricks (9)
WISCONSIN - W(ife) IS IN insert CONS.
10 Frenchman needing whiskey to get going again (5)
RENEW - RENE could be a Frenchman, W for whiskey; why Irish?
11 Ruined pasties: pantry faced with a tricky situation (2,1,6,4)
13 Could they produce the ultimate in tailored items, so specially? (8)
MODISTES - (D ITEMS SO)*, the D from end of tailored.
15 Yellowish-brown paintings maybe recalled religious writings (6)
TANTRA - TAN, ART reversed.
17 Sport in dispute (6)
ROWING - double definition, different pronunciations.
19 One fast-moving girl, one with long strides (8)
GALLOPER - GAL = girl, LOPER = one with long strides.
22 See villager on ground getting fruit (7,6)
25 Game was first subjected to laws (5)
RULED - RU (rugby union) LED (was first).
26 Awkward pretence with what isn't actually a diamond? (9)
SHAMBLING - Not real jewels could be SHAM BLING.
27 Most suitable gem for tiny fellow to wear (7)
OPTIMAL - OPAL a gem has TIM inserted; Tim as in Tiny Tim in the Dickens story.
28 Problem with novel after cover's bent back (7)
DILEMMA - LID reversed, EMMA Jane Austen novel.
1 Fine bird, and one that provides us with eggs (4)
FOWL - F(fine) OWL (the best bird around).
2 Set aside key with hard outer casing? (7)
RESCIND - RIND (hard outer casing) around ESC key.
3 Market space in circular form in 24 (5)
AGORA - O inserted into answer to 24d.
4 Sad people row — yours truly's upset initially (8)
MISERIES - I'M (yours truly's) reversed = MI; SERIES = row.
5 Vessel and vehicle needed by old king (6)
CANUTE - CAN (vessel) UTE (Australian pickup truck).
6 Sort of division in political group over idiot mostly (5,4)
PARTY WALL - PARTY (political group), WALL(Y).
7 Looking for approval, show sequence of old (3,4)
RUN PAST - RUN = sequence, PAST = of old.
8 Detective about to have good look, reportedly, closer to cellar? (10)
DOWNSTAIRS - DS (detective sergeant) into which put OWN (have) and STAIR which sounds like STARE (have a good look). Closer meaning nearer, not like a door which closes.
12 I promise somehow to engage upcoming artist? (10)
IMPRESARIO - &lit; RA (artist) reversed inside (I PROMISE)*.
14 One's not wanting partner to be in such a state? (9)
SINGLEDOM - cryptic definition; not a common word, but in all the dictionaries.
16 Spooner's exposed worker — one may get over the shock (8)
HAIRBAND - Dr. Spooner would have it as BARE HAND = exposed worker.
18 Ripple moving in wet vale (7)
20 One enthralled by cat maybe is maiden showing excessive devotion (7)
PIETISM - PET (cat maybe) insert I (one), IS M (maiden).
21 Sly person with little support (6)
WEASEL - W (with) EASEL (little support).
23 Inventor — no American one from what we hear (5)
NOBEL - Alfred sounds like NO Alexander Graham BELL, I presume. Bell was Scottish-born but went to America to invent things.
24 Located in India, grand site of famous building (4)
AGRA - hidden as above, Indian city with the site of the Taj Mahal.

  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1850 by Oink

I completed all but 15ac within 7 minutes but then needed another 2 minutes, eventually resorting to an alphabet trawl, to come up with the answer.

FOOTNOTE: I recommend that anyone who has their sights on graduating to the 15x15 or just stretching their solving skills should tackle today's example.

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Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27949 - Chestnut Season

Maybe that's being a bit unfair, but the eponymous protagonist of one of Dickens' least read books and a certain part of a church do seem to be popping up with great regularity. Not that I'm complaining (much), as this proved to be a very palatable start to the week - the kind of thing we get used to and, largely, I think, welcome, before the stiffer challenges later in the week and indeed at weekends. 21 minutes.


1 Work unit given backing by illustrious French city (8)
5 Endlessly awkward old South American cowboy (6)
10 Vehicle protector is light, used around posh part of Canada (9,6)
11 Showing amusement about wren’s initial chirping (10)
13 Possibly Hamish’s second country dwelling (4)
SCOT - S COT (cottage)
15 Greek character’s crumbling pen outside farm store (7)
EPSILON - SILO in anagram* of PEN
17 A famous surgeon, one of the top people (1-6)
A-LISTER - A LISTER; Mr Lister is the go-to crossword surgeon
18 Daughter meeting Dickensian character’s skivvies (7)
DRUDGES - D RUDGES (Barnaby); skivvies can be menial workers as well as men's undies
19 English Queen entertaining politician, or another monarch (7)
21 Copy card game, briefly (4)
CRIB - CRIB[bage]
22 Current cricketer’s runs welcomed by side (10)
SLIPSTREAM - SLIPS (slip is a fielding position in the great game) R in TEAM
25 Unaware travellers in Aden born in Ascot, surprisingly (9,6)
27 Team assembled by the Spanish, no less (6)
ELEVEN - EL (the in Spanish) EVEN (even and no less can be used - though hardly interchangeably - to indicate surprise or admiration, as in 'We got a letter from Spielberg no less', 'You might hear from Spielberg even')
28 Large plant seabird observed crossing sandbank (4,4)


1 Handed over to host too much in dance (7)
2 European broadcasting for a very long time (3)
3 Ring lecturer to register unknown branch of dentistry (10)
4 Reportedly one departing for bar (5)
LEVER - sounds like 'leaver'
6 Part of church Liberal abandoned by mistake (4)
7 Cooked meats home help carved on lake (11)
CHARCUTERIE - CHAR CUT ERIE (the setter's favourite great lake)
8 Senior citizen’s long-standing form of rest (7)
9 Father acting, not son? It’s a façade (8)
FRONTAGE - FR (father) ON [s]TAGE
12 Carefree attitude a nice cousin cultivated (11)
14 Gifted girl’s place at top? That’s open to question (10)
16 Young bird stuck at first in trap on heather (8)
NESTLING - S in NET LING (either heather or a fish in Crosswordland)
18 Refuse to go downhill (7)
DECLINE - double definition (DD)
20 Artist on island framing publicity notice fast (7)
RAMADAN - RA AD (publicity notice) in MAN
23 Model question (5)
24 Spots in part of East London, as locals may pronounce it? (4)
ACNE - sounds like 'ackney (AKA Hackney), me old chinas!
26 Mineral aggregate originally rife in outskirts of Odense (3)
ORE - R[ife] in O[dens]E
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3162 - Paul's right, it's wrong!

This puzzle turned into a lengthy struggle that spanned the week, as I slowly reduced the stubborn areas.    While I did come up with a correct and complete solution, I still cannot parse some of the cryptics.    You probably can't either, but maybe somebody can figure out one or two of them.   Since I relied on biffing, it was not surprising that I had a couple of wrong answers messing up my solve, but eventually they were detected and corrected - thanks, Paul. 

I will offer my congratulations to those who breezed through this puzzle - I don't expect there will be many correct solutions, even among experienced Mephisto solvers. 

1 Run through check endlessly (5)
INCUR - The evident answer, but that meaning is not given in Chambers, and is listed as obsolete in the OED.   The cryptic might refer to some word meaning check with the end, or both ends, removed.
5 Mortal women cared no longer (7)
WRECKED - W + RECKED.   Here the literal is the problem - Chambers has "destroyed, rendered incapable by drink or drugs (sl)."
10 Roy is excited with fantastic machine — the future’s seen in it (10)
11 In Metamorphoses, yes, chap is acting with this lover of Eros (6)
PSYCHE - Anagram of YES + CHAP, giving A (acting) + PSYCHE.
12 Black discharge mostly backing indications of subs, say (5)
BLIPS -  B + SPIL[l] backwards.
14 Refrain from putting it in odd breadbasket (8)
RUMTITUM - RUM + T(IT)UM.   I had biffed  rumbelow, convincing but wrong.
16 Instrument of torture’s closure, fully hard and feasible (6)
EUPHON - [tortur]E + UP + H + ON. 
17 Special Olympian being where spirits can be picked up? (8)
SHEBEENS -  S + HEBE + ENS, a very classical clue for an Irish word.
19 Afternoon duty from the east — pan of chapattis (4)
TAVA - A + VAT backwards. 
21 Giving away $100 lightens up relief (4)
ALMS - [c]ALMS.....I think.
22 What repomen do in outlet is tense (8)
24 Smoky fuel 50 per cent cut by Scots mugs (6)
28 Haggard suffered punishment that’s at the hand of knight, eg (8)
GAUNTLET - GAUNT + LET, with two definitions for good measure.
29 Dizzy duke married at once (5, two words)
EK DUM - Anagram of DUKE M, for a bit of Hindi that has made its way into Chambers.
30 Refresh again after plugging in universal monitor (6)
IGUANA -  Anagram of AGAIN + U.
31 Local to work hard among learned getting break rarely (10)
SMITHEREEN - S(MITHER)EEN, where mither is a local dialect word, and smithereen as a verb is rarely seen.
32 Right in leaving out book’s selected passage (7)
EXCERPT - EXCE(R)PT, a chestnut I was very late to see - but my key to finishing the puzzle.
33 Levantine spirit is reflected in Greek artefacts (5)
RAKEE - Backwards hidden in [Gr]EEK AR[tefacts]. 
1 Empress with residence and a motto (7)
IMPRESA - IMP + RES + A - a motto in an emblem. 
2 Reimagined onus to cap scoff about Liberal — sadly not (10, three words)
NO SUCH LUCK -  Anagram of ONUS + CH(L)UCK.   It's not clear if chuck-1 or chuck-4 is meant - the sound of a chicken, or the food in a chuckwagon.
3 Pulp a collection of raunchy memoirs (5)
CHYME - Hidden in [raun]CHY ME[moirs].
4 Set back on that woman that’s picked up one blushing (7)
REHIRED -  HER upside-down + 1 RED.
5 Ram tucking its tail in is to twist as before (6)
WRETHE - WETHER with the R moved to the second position.
6 Mischievous actor’s last lines spoken with face out of shot (5)
ROGUE -  [acto]R + [dial]OGUE.
7 Hood’s small calibre rifle party (8)
CALYPTRA - CAL + anagram of PARTY.
8 Little French lawyer retreating from dishonest dough (5)
KNISH - KN(av)ISH, where av is a valid abbreviation for avocat. 
9 Freed from trouble, cleaner is just after vacuum (5)
DYSON - D(ail)Y'S + ON.   I'm not quite sure that on = is just, maybe something else is going on here.
13 God, one finds Latin the same in old region of Marseilles (10)
PROVIDENCE - PROV(ID)ENCE, where id is a valid abbrevation for idem. 
15 Peremptory solicitor probing a nobbler’s drug (8)
ABSOLUTE - A B(SOL)UTE, alluding to foul play on the turf.
18 Something used for spiking cocktail (7)
STINGER - Double definition.
20 To satisfy, PPE must be natural mineral (7)
ANATASE - A(-ppe,+NAT)ASE, a rather tricky substitution clue.
23 Is whip an infernally uppish Johnny? (6)
24 Jargon of technical institutes eg, I suppose, is to unsettle (5)
FEESE - I don't have a clue about the cryptic, but the answer is Spenser's spelling of faze. 
25 Persian maître d’ I put over compliance (5)
MEDIC - ME + D + I + C, a string of lesser-know abbreviatons. 
26 Demand get-go of proprietary drug (5)
SALEP - SALE + P[roprietary].
27 Board is unproductive, you’ll need pressure at the top (5)
March 26, 2021

Sunday Times Cryptic 4949 by Dean Mayer — coir practice

As with the last puzzle I blogged, I spotted an easy long one first, 14. But 17, the answer with which it is 23, eluded me for a while, though it now seems pretty obvious. As is so often the case, I didn’t realize it was a cryptic definition. And, tell you the truth, I’m still not sure it’s all that cryptic…

If I’m missing something about 15, I’m sure y’all will let me know.

I indicate (Aran mags)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Capacity of crew seeing across delta (9)
BANDWIDTH — BAND, “crew” + WI(D)TH… Near as I can figure, “seeing” here must mean WITH in the sense of being involved in an affective liaison with someone. “X is with Y,” “X is seeing Y.”
 6 Mendicant king with fine clothing (5)
 9 Potentially one’s best friend (5)
CHINA — When entertaining special guests, you might get out the most expensive vitrified ceramic tableware. (And that’s practically the only time you ever hear about it.) CRS, short for “China plate” = “mate,” if there’s anyone here who doesn’t know.
10 Can seek to cut down tree (9)
11 Poles returned to gather tiny fruit (8)
SWEETSOP — POSTS<=“returned” holding WEE, “tiny”
12 Dad keeps ignoring Mr Martin Sheen (6)
PATINA — Much easier to ignore Charlie. P([-M]a[-r]tin)A My COD.
14 Pregnant a year after life with many changes (2,3,6,3)
IN THE FAMILY WAY — (after life + many)* + A + Y(ear)… Think I became aware of this expression in the mid-sixties when (not-yet-Sir) Paul McCartney did the soundtrack for the movie The Family Way with Hayley Mills. Not that I’ve ever heard that music (or seen the flick).
17 A white band of cloth (8,6)
CLERICAL COLLAR — CD Apparently, there was a time when virtually anyone who wore a uniform for work was considered “of the cloth,” but eventually the term became exclusive to the clergy. The “uniform“ part of their garb nowadays generally consists of no more than the collar. Which is made of cloth, of course. What else could it be? Leather? Coir?
19 Iron, sulphur, copper, oriental grass (6)
FESCUE — FE, “Iron” + S, “sulphur” + CU, “copper” + E(astern), ”oriental” My LOI. I don’t think I’ve come across the word before.
20 After cooking, crash out (2,6)
ON STRIKE — ON, “cooking” + STRIKE, “crash”
23 Woven in coir, items of equal size (9)
ISOMETRIC — (coir items)* My first encounter with “coir”! Hopefully I won’t forget it before I meet up with it again (if that ever happens). It is, says here, “fiber from the outer husk of the coconut, used for making ropes and matting”—you’ve no doubt seen “Welcome” mats made of the stuff.
24 A fighter over 9 (5)
25 London suburb — hotel area of course (5)
26 Focus on small vessel coming in (9)

 1 Hide family money first (8)
BUCKSKIN — BUCKS, “money” + KIN, “family”
 2 Location of bridge over one sound (5)
 3 Don’t show supporting members what union leader will do (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS — Double CD, if you will, but only the second one provides the idiomatic definition. Seems a somewhat antiquated notion, no matter whose legs are covered.
 4 Poor harmony is leading issue in disco music (10)
 5 Drinking a Tango he can’t stand (4)
 6 Fancy version of team-building (7,8)
 7 Rise to embrace comedian, a wise guy (4-2-3)
 8 Spoke right before a call (6)
13 Fagin’s cronies finally go to court? (4,3,3)
BILL AND COO — BILL AND CO + [-g]O “Fagin” is from Oliver Twist, a fence for a gang of thieves, so he surely had “cronies”…
15 Try to accept everyone’s for romance? (4,5)
TALL STORY — T(ALL’S)(TO)RY… I think there’s something a bit off about this. We have TRY (literally) around both ALL[’]S, “everyone’s,” and TO (literally), rather than TRY TO surrounding “ALLS,” which seems the most logical way to read this clue. I wondered for a bit if the “to” literally in the clue is not the TO in the cryptic, somehow…
16 Pirate, before being at sea, regularly lost (8)
FREEBOOT — (before)* + lOsT… “Pirate” as a verb
18 Distant from strange person (6)
OFFISH — OF FISH “Distant” in the emotional sense; “odd FiSH” has dictionary status as “a very strange person” (Merriam-Webster), but the exact definition needed here for FISH tout court was found only in Lexico: “informal with adjective | A person who is strange in a specified way.” (Collins is not quite there, giving for British English “a person of little emotion or intelligence | a poor fish” and for American virtually the same thing, “a person thought of as like a fish in being easily lured by bait, lacking intelligence or emotion, etc.”)
21 Being a killer contributes to panic in general (5)
ICING — Hidden
22 One teacher turned up in place of pupil (4)
IRIS — I, 1 or “One” + SIR<=“turned up”