Sunday Times 4972 by David McLean

13:07. I have left it very late to blog this, so I'd better just get on with it. I thought this was a lovely puzzle. Not hard, but I struggled for perhaps five minutes over 25ac before realising it was an &Lit.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.




Across
1 He daren’t put out a party girl
ADHERENT - (HE DARENT)*. A political party, of course. Good use of unconscious sexual stereotypes in the service of misdirection!
5 Cut close to nose’s hard to endure
SEVERE - SEVER, nosE.
9 Resort opening following strikes
RAMSGATE - RAMS, GATE.
10 Touch of worry with second son
CARESS - CARE, S, S.
12 Are papers with Rolling Stone?
WATER SAPPHIRE - (ARE PAPERS WITH)*.
14 Bloody excellent in an unusual way
RARE - DD.
15 Trend suave criminal exploits
ADVENTURES - (TREND SUAVE)*.
17 The divestment game?
STRIP POKER - CD.
19 I’m told one might long for a port
ACRE - sounds like ‘acher’.
22 Deepest affections for A&R?
HEART OF HEARTS - because the middle letters (hearts) of ‘hearts’ are…
24 Twin reviews news chief praised
LAUDED - reversal of DUAL, ED.
25 Singer in company, soprano ultimately?
CASTRATO - CAST(RAT), sopranO. Brilliant.
26 Rather attractive
PRETTY - DD.
27 Choppers seen out in middle of night?
DENTURES - CD, and a rather obvious one.
Down
1 One indicating informer is a plant
ARROWGRASS - ARROW (one indicating), GRASS. We had a rat singing just a couple of clues ago, now we have a GRASS doing the same thing.
2 Troll drawing in young lady’s a beast
HAMSTER - HA(MS)TER. ‘Troll’ here being the variety that is unpleasant on social media rather than the kind that hides under bridges waiting to be fooled by billy-goats. I’m not sure about MS: I thought the whole idea of the term was to avoid disclosing information about age and/or marital status.
3 Way in which Fury raised concern
REGARD - R(EGAR)D*.
4 Basic facts? Fresh buns don’t last!
NUTS-AND-BOLTS - (BUNS DON’T LAST)*.
6 Thin spies probing European pal
EMACIATE - E, MA(CIA)TE.
7 Say I use blindfolds?
EYEWEAR - homophone of ‘I’, WEAR.
8 Don't start contract for lack of labour
EASE - lEASE.
11 Perhaps some Brownie in child’s play (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE - this is almost a double definition, but the first part is ambiguous so I’m calling it wordplay.
13 Slurs like folk drinking drop of IPA
ASPERSIONS - AS, PERS(Ipa)ONS. I love an IPA. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Cornwall recently and Proper Job is one of my favourite beers.
16 Dad upset mum? That’s obvious!
APPARENT - reversal of PA, PARENT. Statement of fact much of the time…
18 Move as rivers overwhelm English hotel
REHOUSE - R (E, H), OUSE. The rivers here are one abbreviation and one actual river, which appears very frequently in crosswords for obvious reasons.
20 My voice enthrals southern pirate
CORSAIR - COR (my), S, AIR. Give voice to = give public expression to = give air to. A bit oblique but kosher I think.
21 Get lost in rhythm with no boundaries
BEAT IT - BEAT (rhythm), wITh.
23 Make-up friends brought around
SLAP - reversal of PALS.
Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1516 - anyone fancy having lunch for lunch?

All being well, as this write-up magically appears on LJ, I'll be in the land of nod in a lovely spa hotel on a Mallorcan clifftop.  So I'll field any comments as and when I damn well feel like it.  I'm on holiday.

I found bits of this puzzle very tough, largely I think due to instances of tricky wordplay and /or not-so-obvious definitions.  I also think there's an error in the definition at 49a.  It was good though.  Some inventive stuff and no preponderance of any particular clue type made this a proper challenge.

First in was ACROSS THE BOARD and last was BLISS

If any of my explanations don't make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.

Notation:

DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit: "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like S[mall]


Across

1

As some guns may be for concealment, small wonder shed is needed (5-3)


SAWED-OFF - S[mall], AWE, DOFF.  How Cleatus or Billy-Bob would say sawn-off.  I didn't know it was done for concealment (howver much that makes sense).  I thought it was to maximise the effect.  Too much watching The Sweeney as a teen I guess.

5

Gas piping with vent (3,3)


HOT AIR - HOT, AIR

9

One called on jockey to hold place (7)


VISITEE - VIE around SITE.  One of those words that probably has no life outside dictionaries.

14

As may be, possibly, a perfect health report? (3,4,4)


ALL VERY WELL - DDCDH

15

One involved with rector in case (11)


RECONNOITRE - (one rector in)*

16

Thus case made for cable transport (5)


BLISS - It took me ages to fathom the wordplay for this.  It probably didn't help that I wasn't entirely confident that BLISS was the answer as transport can mean other things.  The cryptic grammar is a bit funny too.  Anyway, it's one of those sort of reverse substitution clues.  If you turn CABLE into CASE then BL is S.

17

What hunter does is behind the times (7)


FORAGES - FOR, AGES.  Surely you forage if you don't want to hunt? Unless hunt is being used in a non-shooting slash trapping animals sense.  Maybe Cleatus and Billy-Bob go out shooting mushrooms and loganberries with their sawed-off shotguns.

18

Pointing out plates might be false type in need of replacing (5,4)


SPLAY FEET - (false type)*.  I prevaricated here wondering if PALSY FEET was a thing.

19

Letter from Greek quartermaster, with Britain’s backing, bearing fruit (7)


KUMQUAT - reversal of TAU, Q[uarter]M[aster] U[nited] K[ingdom]

20

Send out bowler to get ready? (4,3,3,5)


PASS THE HAT ROUND - CD

22

What we basically learn from article: agricultural machinery cuts belt up (3,5,2)


THE THREE RS - THR, THREshERS (belt up as in keep quiet)

23

Mock old nurse in front of Irish politicians (4,2)


SEND UP - S[tate] E[nrolled] N[urse], D[emocratic] U[nionist] P[arty]

25

Something on stave almost split (4)


CLEF - CLEF{t}

28

Kid to remove quickly on being constrained by age (4,1,4,3,2)


PULL A FAST ONE ON - PULL, then FAST ON in AEON

30

Weapon I fear I left close to minor carelessly (3,5)


AIR RIFLE - (I fear I L[eft] {mino}R)*

32

A record-breaking fizzy drink with energy gets award (8)


ACCOLADE - A, COLA in C[ompact] D[isc], E[nergy]

34

Detective woman with right advice for combating break-ins, we understand? (8,6)


SHERLOCK HOLMES - SHE, R[ight], homophone of LOCK HOMES.

37

Some power I apply to wheel brace (4)


PAIR - revserse hidden

38

Old Dutch XI few English fancy (2-4)


EX-WIFE - (XI few E[nglish])*

39

Stole a piece of bread, and intended to tuck in? (10)


WRAPAROUND - WRAP (stole as in neckwear), A, ROUND

43

Associate with endless video game to a negligible degree (15)


INFINITESIMALLY - ALLY with INFINITE SIM

45

Close relation around one in retirement? (7)


NIGHTIE - NIGH, TIE.  One of those definitions where the part of speech doesn't quite appear to be right or is missing something like a "that's".

47

When thousands beheaded — and character abroad the opposite, by mistake (3,6)


THE TERROR - THETa (the character with its tail rather than head removed), ERROR

49

Cafeteria finally leaving rolls out for lunch (7)


LUNCHES - LAUNCHES with {cafeteri}A removed.  The definition looks like an error and should probably have been MEALS or similar.

51

Observe plot in segments? (5)


LOBED - LO!, BED

52

Ruins suffer when entered by heavy metal plant (5,6)


MARSH MALLOW - MARS, ALLOW with H[eavy] M[etal] in between.  Not an abbreviation I knew.

53

A seal with teeth eats fern after chewing on a duck (3,8)


ZIP FASTENER - (eats fern)* after ZIP (nothing)

54

Investigating officers confronting evasive traveller (7)


DIDICOY - D[etective] I[nspector] x2, COY

55

Solution’s framed in way that’s most cunning (6)


SLYEST - LYE'S in ST[reet]

56

Supported allowing bishop out of bed, but keeping her indoors? (8)


ESPOUSED - B[ishop] removed from BED with SPOUSE put in.


Down

1

Whip initially should be fine for containing crowd (7)


SJAMBOK - S{hould} B{e} OK around JAM.  Not a word I knew which made picking the right "crowd" very difficult.

2

Is one to reveal all about a married man endangering son? (7,4)


WILLIAM TELL - WILL I TELL? around A M[arried]

3

Controversially up the dose for certain states (4,5)


DEEP SOUTH - (up the dose)*

4

Smart of newspaper chap to deal with rage (3,3,3,6)


FLY OFF THE HANDLE - FLY, OF, F[inancial] T[imes], HE, HANDLE

6

“I am the egg man” John reflected has zero meaning (8)


OOLOGIST - LOO reversed, O, GIST.  A clever play on the Beatles song I am the Walrus, just in case you didn't know.  I wonder what his reflections on semolina pilchard were?

7

A vote by directors affecting everyone (6-3-5)


ACROSS-THE-BOARD - A CROSS, THE BOARD

8

Music that’s slow to produce yet sad? (10)


ROCKSTEADY - reverse anagram: if you rock STEADY you get YET SAD

9

Reduced rainfall in a valley — rising in plain (7)


VANILLA - reverse hidden

10

Broke pen after sticking leg in (5)


STONY - STY around ON (cricket)

11

Throwing the FT out, one finds phrase linked with financial sums (2,3,4,2)


TO THE TUNE OF - (the FT out one)*.  Here's Jeremy Hardie singing Kung Fu Fighting to the tune of Scarborough Fair.

12

A couple of “drawings”, one only spoken of late in the day (8)


EVENTIDE - EVEN, homophone of TIED.  Draws as in sports results.

13

Attention given to women's sport (4)


WEAR - EAR after W[omen]

20

Not being spotted in Ruth, city appearing in Genesis (6)


PURITY - PITY around UR

21

Bible teaching by eccentric old Italian, perhaps (7)


RICARDO - R[eligious] I[nstruction], CARD, O[ld]

22

Bang on about pub’s formal dress requirement? (3,3)


TOP HAT - TO A T around P[ublic] H[ouse]

24

Attend to harvest one’s corn, perhaps, crossing river (5,2,4,4)


PRICK UP ONES EARS - PICK UP ONES EARS around R[iver]

26

Expecting relations to stop being obstructive (2,3,6,3)


IN THE FAMILY WAY - FAMILY in IN THE WAY

27

Ate together with doctor, being invited in (6)


MESSED - M[edicinae] D[octor] around ESSE

29

Maybe one having trouble performing, in a flap (7)


AILERON - AILER, ON

31

Top that’s short and light? It can go with hips (6)


HOORAY - HOO{d}, RAY

33

Drove kid around university, and cardinal across much of Europe (11)


CHAUFFEURED - CHAFF around U[niversity] with RED all around E[uropean] U[nion]

35

Swindlers establish facilities for online saving? (11)


MOUNTEBANKS - MOUNT, E-BANKS

36

After race, car’s cylinders to be put away (5,5)


SWISS ROLLS - SWISS, ROLLS

40

Got it wrong with role for opera (9)


RIGOLETTO - (got it role)*

41

Unseasonable fog descending on island at sea (8)


MISTIMED - MIST, I[sland], MED[iterranean]

42

Pancakes with black dressing and chopped orange peel (8)


BLINTZES - B[lack], LINT, ZESt

44

Husky which is outside runs round front of yurt (7)


THROATY - THAT around R[uns] O, Y{urt}

46

Goal by United Liverpool player let happen? (7)


ENDURED - END, U[nited], RED

48

Ideal Burgundy and something drinker goes after? (5)


ETHIC - ET (French for and), HIC

50

Jabber, endless overpromotion coming to nothing (4)


HYPO - HYPe, O.  Hypo as in dermic.  I vaguely recall an outtakes show on TV featuring someone saying "hypodeemic nerdle"
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 28080 - Saturday, 11 September 2021. The fun of the familiar!

What a change from the previous week! The consensus on that puzzle was, too many obscurities, too little fun.

I was very in tune with Phil J’s view of what makes a good puzzle: Why do people do the Times Crossword? My personal expectation is to find cleverness, trickery, misdirection, and humour — all of these factors being produced in a manner that provides enjoyment. Exactly.

This week was fun. It had nothing beyond our ken, although the diamond facet at 11ac was a new thing to me. FOI was 1ac, leading quickly to 1dn, 2dn and 3dn – a gentle start! The pad at 15ac eluded me for a while. My clue of the day was the delightful 16dn.

Thanks, setter – a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

[Read more ...]Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions and commentary are in (brackets).
Across
1 Lowest point of dinar suffering a run (5)
NADIR – anagram of DINAR (suffering a run).
4 Increasingly grey wolves will get some protection (9)
PACKAGING – PACK=wolves, AGING=increasingly grey.
9 Place for rest of hams uncured by chance (9)
GREENROOM – GREEN = uncured. I dithered over ROOM=chance, as in chance of/room for error. Not a perfect match perhaps. Certainly actors, however talented, may rest in the greenroom.
10 Assume for argument one is needed in support (5)
POSIT – I=one, in POST.
11 A facet of diamond surplus which is looming in South Africa? (5,8)
TABLE MOUNTAIN – learn something new every day: the large, flat facet on top of a well cut diamond is the TABLE facet. The surplus is a MOUNTAIN.
14 Government backed shutting up Liberal video journal (4)
VLOG – L in GOV, backed.
15 Pad appropriate to house us at home without Oscar (10)
PINCUSHION – PINCH housing US, IN outside/without O=Oscar.
18 Asks in gent with moving and charming quality (10)
TAKINGNESS – anagram of ASKS IN GENT (moving). An awkward word, I thought.
19 Formerly working with chief engineer (4)
ONCE – ON=working, C.E.=chief engineer.
21 Go nicely and dance without me, my mischievous child (6,7)
EXCUSE ONESELF – EXCUSE (ME) is the dance, ONE’S=my, ELF=mischievous child.
24 Foreign Office abandoning overseas rule (5)
REIGN – FOREIGN=overseas. Take out F.O.=Foreign Office. Odd to see ‘overseas’ turn into ‘foreign’, when that target word already appears elsewhere in the clue!
25 One who might have fought with pride? (9)
GLADIATOR – cryptic definition. I thought they fought one lion at a time, not the entire pride at once, but I am no expert.
27 What’s splendid to ripen in a kitchen cupboard (9)
PAGEANTRY – AGE in PANTRY.
28 Create bridge to carry weight (5)
SPAWN – W in SPAN.

Down
1 Pessimism, for example, during Christmas scene (10)
NEGATIVITY – E.G. in NATIVITY.
2 Some fondues can be outstanding (3)
DUE – hidden.
3 Shoot the organiser? (6)
RUNNER – double definition.
4 Support for proposal to meeting (9)
PROMOTION – PRO=for, MOTION=proposal to meeting. Support of the marketing kind, perhaps.
5 Spice put in after cold rum? Not right (5)
CUMIN – C=cold, (r)UM, IN.
6 Judge a piano flatter? (8)
APPRAISE – A, P=piano, PRAISE.
7 Inability to feel popular, with one imprisoned by court decision (11)
INSENTIENCE – IN=popular. I=one, imprisoned by SENTENCE=court decision.
8 Rock music hit number two in chart (4)
GOTH – GOT=hit, as in hit the target. H=number two (letter) in cHart.
12 Delay in appointment for accountant’s job (11)
BOOKKEEPING – KEEP in BOOKING.
13 Bury referee brought up using protein (10)
INTERFERON – INTER=bury, REF backward, ON.
16 Conventional occurs regularly to Shelley, perhaps (9)
CUSTOMARY – CUS from oCcUrS (regularly), TO MARY.
17 Reptile growing large in area with nothing around opposing? (8)
ANACONDA – A=area + NADA=nothing, around CON=opposing.
20 Careless about failure (6)
REMISS – RE=about, MISS=failure.
22 Little, not large spot (5)
SIGHT – S(L=large)IGHT.
23 Lean forward (4)
PROP – double definition. Prop against the wall; prop forward in rugby.
26 Time over Western Australia? It’s two in Perth (3)
TWA – T=time, W.A. No, no – that Perth is in Scotland, not Australia, since that's the dialect for the answer.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 28085 - I'm a substitute!

My boss at the first job I ever worked at told me this: if you are the boss, and no workers are available, it is your responsibility to do the work yourself.   So here I am!

This was a difficult puzzle, and it took me over an hour to finish.   I tried to solve it solo, then worked with Jeremy online.   Even after we finished, some of the parsing had to be worked out, so thanks to my fellow blogger for the help.

Across
1 Action to start set pieces is needed, they maintain (10)
SERVICEMEN - SERVICE + MEN, service as in tennis, pieces as in chess, for the kind of service men who repair your appliances.
6 Give licence to overtake (4)
PASS -  Double definition.
8 Ruler from past stopping in error, returning without wife (8)
GOVERNOR - G(OVER)NOR[w], where wrong is backwards and over isn't
9 Appalling smoke beginning to thicken all around (6)
TRAGIC - CIGAR + T[hicken] backwards.
10 Stake blanched by the sun, perhaps (4)
PALE - Double defintion.
11 I'm obliged to admit blunder, tailing old men (5,5)
OTHER RANKS - O + TH(ERR)ANKS.
12 China's in marginally overlapping dioceses, it appears (9)
SEEMINGLY - SEE(MING)LY, i.e. SEE + ELY overlapping.
14 Within seconds, fool gets out of control (5)
SKIDS - S(KID)S.
17 Fried stuff with uniform filling (5)
SAUTE - SA(U)TE.
19 Reference book's chapter on critical politician (9)
DIRECTORY - DIRE (C) TORY, where critical clues dire.
22 One group has difficulty concealing evidence of operation (5,5)
PILOT LIGHT - P(I LOT)LIGHT.
23 Take part of judge in The Archers (4)
HEAR - Hidden in [T]HE AR[chers]
24 Show that's unselected, might one say out loud? (6)
DEPICT - Sounds like DE-PICKED.
25 See you put biblical books on stand, removing key (1,7)
A BIENTOT - ABI[d]E + NT + OT, of course.
26 A question of gender and class (4)
FORM - F OR  M, thanks to Mcchoc.....I thought the parliamentary meaning of "for" was a bit weak in the proposed parsing.
27 1 across prepared complex work schedule for members (5,5)
ORDER PAPER - OR + anagram of PREPARED, where servicemen now mean something different than they did in 1 across.
Down
1 Assistance to motorists so GPS isn't misused? (9)
SIGNPOSTS - Anagram of SO GPS ISN'T.
2 Enthusiast's put up with empty vehicle for spin (7)
REVOLVE -  V[ehicl]E + LOVER, upside-down.
3 Associated musical with nightclub (8)
CONJOINT - CON + JOINT, where con = "musical with".
4 Good distance south of Slough, comprehensive training area? (11,4)
MARSHALLING YARD - MARSH + ALL IN + G YARD.
5 Lawman's refusal to wait put queen off once (6)
NOTARY - NO TAR[r]Y.
6 Oddly, prevalent clothing for sailor? (3,6)
PEA JACKET - P[r]E[v]A [l](JACK)E[n]T, a brilliant &lit.
7 Dodged nettle going into hut (7)
SHIRKED - SH(IRK)ED.
13 Belief of immodest Hapsburg leader in Reformation (9)
METHODISM - Anagram of IMMODEST + H[apsburg].
15 One whose promotion is up in the air (9)
SKYWRITER - Cryptic definition.
16 Battle-hardened horse and rider set off (8)
DESTRIER - Anagram of RIDER SET, tough vocabulary here.
18 Rule out supporting a learner one's interested in (5,2)
ALIVE TO -  A + L + I + VETO.
20 Dealing with everything when angry, one can blow it (3-4)
ONE-STOP - ONE'S TOP.
21 Senseless British game (6)
BLOTTO - B + LOTTO.

Quick Cryptic 1964 by Felix

Well, well. Looks like we have another Dickens Nina. Barnaby Rudge is not a book I'm particularly familiar with, but a quick consultation with Professor Wikipedia yields GORDON, CHESTER, MAYPOLE, DOLLY VARDEN, GRIP... any more? Some chewy bits, more because of the nina than in spite of it, e.g 1dn. A bit over target for me at 9 minutes. I did like 13dn.

Across
1 Gordon Riots, involving a mounted infantryman (7)
DRAGOON - Anagram ('riots') of GORDON + A
7 Remove lead from centre of rung? Exactly! (7)
UNPLUMB - UN (centre of 'rung') + PLUMB
9 Disappointment, what Rapunzel’s done to her hair! (7)
LETDOWN - double definition
10 Cathedral city where box given to queen (7)
CHESTER - CHEST + ER
11 Some hero yearned to return long ago (4)
YORE - backwards hidden word: hERO Yearned
12 Call into a post office and public house with a set of books (9)
APOCRYPHA - CRY inside A + PO + PH + A
14 Become exhausted in rush to visit daughter (3,2,4)
RUN TO SEED - RUN TO SEE D
16 Prison commotion (4)
STIR - double definition
17 Painter of geologer oddly missed out green (2,5)
EL GRECO - ELGR (alternate letters of 'geologer') + ECO
20 Hen laid, shifted, and drew breath (7)
INHALED - Anagram ('shifted') of HEN LAID
21 Throws, around lord, protective barriers (7)
SHIELDS - SHIES with LD inside
22 Might E European dance around this? (7)
MAYPOLE - MAY + POLE

Down
1 Vern’s old lady’s fancy women’s hats (5,7)
DOLLY VARDENS - Anagram ('fancy') of VERNS OLD LADY. A type of decorated straw hat named after the Dickens character. Never heard of it.
2 Pudding served with a French skin lotion (8)
AFTERSUN - AFTERS + UN
3 Tom boozes regularly, producing a bit of wind (4)
OBOE - alternate letters of tOm BoOzEs
4 Carmelite, maybe around ten, finding Pope’s representative (6)
NUNCIO - NUN + C (around) + IO. A word I only know from doing crosswords
5 Seemed to be copied eating fruit (8)
APPEARED - APED with PEAR inside
6 Give up, indeed, finishing early (4)
QUIT - Short for QUITE
8 Dickensian bad guy, barren, destitute (7,5)
BARNABY RUDGE - Anagram ('destitute') of BAD GUY BARREN. It might have been an &lit, though I'm not sure BR was a bad guy.
12 A lovable eccentric, primarily (5,3)
ABOVE ALL - Anagram ('eccentric') of A LOVABLE
13 Mobile can disturb poor alto (8)
PORTALOO - Anagram ('disturb') of POOR ALTO
15 Concern for oneself, say: nothing is mentioned at first (6)
EGOISM - EG (say) + O + IS + M (first of 'mentioned')
18 Bag is right one for GP to possess (4)
GRIP - R + I inside GP
19 Those people with eyes peeled? (4)
THEY - hidden word: wiTH EYes

Times Quick Cryptic No 1963 by Trelawney

A rather hurried blog today as I have little time.  I completed this puzzle from Trelawney inside 11 minutes, finding it at the easier end of the Rotterometer scale.  1a didn’t come to me straight away, but there were plenty of easy descendant answers to help me find it.  I hope that you found it equally unproblematic.


Across

1  One fighting to grab a pencil’s lead – it can be used for doodling (5,5)
SCRAP PAPER – SCRAPPER (one fighting) containing (grabbing) A (a) and P{encil’s} lead (first letter).
Absolutely tiny child with friend (7)
TOTALLY – TOT (tiny child) and ALLY (friend).
9  Cared about tree (5)
CEDAR – Anagram (about) of [CARED].
10  Fixes unstarted conclusions (4)
ENDS – mENDS (fixes, unstarted).
11  Roughly trample front of edible plant from the tropics (4,4)
PALM TREE – Anagram (roughly) of [TRAMPLE] plus E{dible} (front of).
13  Recall crumbling basement (6)
CELLAR – Anagram (crumbling) of [RECALL].
14  African country’s former coin (6)
GUINEA – Double definition.
17  Food from old king’s rule? (8)
COLESLAW – COLE’S (old king’s, as in old king Cole) and LAW (rule).
19  Small dog eats large piece of fruit (4)
PULP – PUP (small dog) containing (eats) L{arge}.
21  Hostility within stag group (5)
AGGRO – Hidden in {st}AG GRO{up}.
22  A tango Elgar composed for free (2,5)
AT LARGE – A (a) and T (tango) followed by an anagram (composed) of [ELGAR].
23 Socialiat hospital going wrong – that’s a distraction (3,7)
RED HERRING – RED (socialist) with H{ospital} and ERRING (going wrong).


Down

Fortress with unusual dialect (7)
CITADEL – Anagram (unusual) of [DIALECT].
3  Sack covers top of luxury car part (4)
AXLE – AXE (sack, as in ‘got the axe / sack’, containing (covers) L{arge}.
4  Father with celebratory cry, pocketing dosh primarily on this (3,3)
PAY DAY – PA (father) and YAY (celebratory cry) with D{osh} (primarily) included (pocketing).
Toddler’s request, perhapsa stiff drink? (4-2-2)
PICK-ME-UP – Double definition, the first cryptically amusing.
6 Jockey’s amendment (3)
RIDER – Double definition, the second referring to an amendment to a contract.
7  Releases plenty of product for testing (4,5)
FREE SAMPLE – FREES (releases) and AMPLE (plenty).
8  Technocrat’s ragged piece of clothing (6,4)
TRENCH COAT – Anagram (ragged) of [TECHNOCRAT].
12  Personal assistant’s weapon – that will get you access! (8)
PASSWORD – PA’S (personal assistant’s) and SWORD (weapon).
15  Temperature inside nerve cell particle (7)
NEUTRON – NEURON (nerve cell) containing T{emperature}.
16  Superhero’s accessory conceals an appetizer (6)
CANAPE – CAPE (superhero’s accessory) concealing / containing AN (an).
18  Beer of kings served up (5)
LAGER – REGAL (of kings) reversed (served up).
20  Obscure description of book that’s unfinished (4)
BLUR – BLURb (description of book, unfinished = drop the last letter)
  • glheard

Times 28084 - not so steep

Time taken: 9:18.

Got out of rehearsal early, so I'm doing the puzzle a bit earlier than I expected. The first few times are all over the place, so this might be a puzzle for those who twig to some of the more obscure entries. I had fun unravelling the wordplay. though I suspect several of the phrases are biffable.

I'll check in with a postscript tomorrow, but since I will be passed out while most comments come in, please check the comments to see if any quibbles have been answered.

Postscript: I didn't think about it at the time since I have been to Florida, but didn't realise Key Largo was going to be a new one for solvers. I also didn't think about Ankle Bone too much, like others being reminded of dem bones. Glad to find I am not alone in my original gaffe at 20 across.

Away we go...

Across
1 Nick, Matthew or Herbert in Dickens (6)
POCKET - double definition, though one I did have to look up after solving - Matthew Pocket and Herbert Pocket are characters in Great Expectations.
4 Minister, one having arrived at pulpit, initially? (8)
PREACHER - REACHER(one having arrived) next to the first letter of Pulpit
10 Improving where further progress seemingly impossible, minutes saved (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND - there would be no further progress ON THE END, insert M(minutes)
11 Dance: fifty entertained by it, repeatedly (5)
SALSA - L(50) inside SA(sex appeal, it) twice
12 Blank — unlike 21 across? (14)
EXPRESSIONLESS -  I'll admit biffy smartypantsness and thought "fourteen-letter synonym for blank... has to be EXPRESSIONLESS" - the wordplay is based on 21 across being ACTION PAINTI NG which would have expression
14 Blot on the landscape, one visited by tourist? (5)
SIGHT - double definition
16 Kneel on ground clasping back of limb, behind a lower body part (5,4)
ANKLE BONE - anagram of KNEEL,ON containing the last letter of limB after A
18 Picture physician after shaving cat (9)
OCTOPUSSY - DOCTOR missing the exterior letters, then PUSSY(cat). Early James Bond film
20 Rank rising sharply? (5)
SHEER - Double definition - I had STEEP in here until I got 13 down
21 Excited on anticipating a style of art (6,8)
ACTION PAINTING - anagram of ON,ANTICIPATING
25 Fish seller hooking customer, finally (5)
TROUT - TOUT(seller) containing the last letter of customeR
26 First of Franciscans approaching giant screens, when vespers observed? (9)
NIGHTFALL - first letter of Franciscans inside NIGH(approaching) and TALL(giant)
27 One overwhelmed by blow where justice doesn't prevail (8)
MISTRIAL - I(one) inside MISTRAL(wind, blow)
28 Intimate last few hours of working week? (6)
FRIEND - the last few hours of the workin week would be the FRIday END
Down
1 Calling for fines, so furious (10)
PROFESSION - PRO(for) then an anagram of FINES,SO
2 Deeply distressed, share being over? (3,2)
CUT UP - CUT(share), UP(over)
3 For example, copper kettle has one (7)
ELEMENT - double definition
5 Set day between sun and moon (5)
RADIO - D(day) between RA(sun) and IO(moon)
6 Clear salt on crack (7)
ABSOLVE - AB(salt) and SOLVE(crack)
7 My vicar's cigar? (4,5)
HOLY SMOKE - double definition, the second cryptic
8 Course went on, reportedly? (4)
ROAD - sounds like RODE(went on)
9 Experience heavy blow, as would Oscars attendee? (3,5)
SEE STARS - double definition
13 Sodden and dishevelled, get pulled round back of hovel (10)
BEDRAGGLED - BE DRAGGED(get pulled) surrounding the last letter of hoveL
15 Drive home, smashing gate on bridge (3,6)
GET ACROSS - anagram of GATE, then CROSS(bridge). Referring to driving home an idea
17 Dark ultimately — terribly early start — to get to US island (3,5)
KEY LARGO - last letter of darK, then an anagram of EARLY, and GO(start)
19 Needle for example for canine? (7)
POINTER - double definition
20 Constituency or housing association's ultimate politician (7)
SENATOR - SEAT(constituency), OR containing the last letter in associatioN
22 Relative bringing Ghanaian diplomat up (5)
NANNA - the Ghanian diplomat is Kofi ANNAN long time secretary of the UN. Reverse him.
23 Having wiped brow, criminal hot under the collar (5)
IRATE - remove the first letter of PIRATE(criminal)
24 Only half the characters, little matter (4)
ATOM - half the letters would be A TO M
QC
  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1962 by Oink

Emergency Blog. No time for full explanations but if anything needs more detail please ask. I found this one particularly hard for some reason. I actually stopped the clock twice and took breaks.

Solving time: 20 minutes over three sessions.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

Across
1 Mooch about, indulged from time to time (4)
IDLE
I{n}D{u}L{g}E{d} [from time to time]
4 Get a grip! (8)
PURCHASE
DD
8 I teach PT badly. Sorry! (8)
PATHETIC
Anagram [badly] of I TEACH PT
9 Get rid of hut in garden (4)
SHED
DD
10 Right by snake, another wild creature (4)
BOAR
BOA (snake), R (right). Our customary porcine reference from this setter.
11 Detective inspectors try to show revulsion (8)
DISTASTE
DI'S (detective inspectors), TASTE (try)
12 Curious child, but likely to succeed? (4,2)
ODDS ON
ODD (curious), SON (child)
14 Latin dictionary limiting charge (6)
INDICT
Hidden in [limiting] {Lat}IN DICT{ionary}
16 Bachelor lounged about in club (8)
BLUDGEON
B (bachelor), anagram [about] of LOUNGED
18 Look, it's the Speaker's dog! (4)
PEEK
Sounds like [the Speaker's] "peke" (dog)
19 Head knocking bishop out on one occasion (4)
ONCE
{b}ONCE (head) [knocking bishop out]
20 Where one might find pate de foie gras without much difficulty? (2,1,5)
ON A PLATE
DD
22 Noblewoman's fiddle, item of value must be returned (8)
CONTESSA
CON (fiddle), then ASSET (item of value) reversed [returned]
23 Endeavour to protect old Conservative (4)
TORY
TRY (endeavour) containing [to protect] O (old)
Down
2 No servant recalled duke, a very special chap (7)
DIAMOND
NO + MAID (servant) returned [recalled], D (duke)
3 Either one can go for anaesthetic (5)
ETHER
E{i}THER [one can go]
4 Kitty in retro blouse? (3)
POT
TOP (blouse) [in retro]
5 Crises one mishandled in slump (9)
RECESSION
Anagram [mishandled] of CRISES ONE
6 Save one's partner? (7)
HUSBAND
DD
7 Reporters accommodation is delightful (5)
SWEET
Sounds like [reporter's] "suite" [accommodation]
11 Hairy doctor argued with son (9)
DANGEROUS
Anagram [doctor] of ARGUED SON
13 Count up Es in street — most distressing! (7)
SADDEST
ADD E'S (count up Es) contained by [in] ST (street)
15 Instigator captured in massacre at orphanage (7)
CREATOR
Hidden [captured] in {massa}CRE AT OR{phanage}
17 Language game needs new beginning (5)
LINGO
Bingo (game) needs new beginning to become LINGO
18 Story about one's guide (5)
PILOT
PLOT (story) contains [about] I (one)
21 Fathead occasionally ignored, I see (3)
AHA
{f}A{t}H{e}A{d} [occasionally ignored]

Times 28083 - 'ard as nails, guv'nor.

I'll be interested to see if the SNITCH goes high today, as I found this really hard, to the point of being obtuse and obscure in places; solving was one problem, but explaining the gory details of some clues took me even longer and with three clues unfinished I needed checking aids to complete it. The physicist as FOI got me started. The O in 27a gave me a good clue to 18d, as 'bounder', but the surface needs you to realise that 'tears' means divides. I didn't know the words at 10a, 11a 17a, or 8d (although guessable) and was surprised 7d was not hyphenated. Mazeltov is probably a write-in though if you're into Jewish culture, but I've never had any exposure to it.
Still, after a few easy Wednesdays, it was good to have a Friday style toughie to work at, so thanks Mr Setter for the test.


Across
1 Cream drunk with coffee’s filling (3-5)
OFF-WHITE - (WITH OFFE)* where OFFE is COFFEE's filling. I'm not awfully keen on off-white to mean cream, but Mrs K says it's fine with her.
9 Hope one’s somehow done with book — the novel I detest (8)
NEOPHOBE - (HOPE ONE B)*. Someone who hates new things / ideas.
10 From puzzle Learner to Victor: congratulations! (8)
MAZELTOV - MAZE (puzzle) L (learner) TO V (victor). I had no idea what was going on here, until I had the ending V, even then I am not into Jewish expressions and didn't know it; it seems it is more often spelt as two words and literally means good luck, or congratulations.
11 Courts controversy, ultimately displaying guts all round (8)
INNYARDS - Y at the end of controversy goes into INNARDS = guts. An INNYARD is, not surprisingly, the yard of an inn; typically being referred to as places where plays took place in early times before playhouses came along. Hence "courts" as a definition.
12 Engaged in campaigning, as bail is set (2,3,5)
ON THE STUMP - in cricket, two bails are set balancing on the stumps, waiting for the likes of Jasprit Bumrah to knock them off all too often. The political meaning stems from days when impromptu speeches were made using a tree stump as a platform outdoors.
14 Oil rings going around on the water? (4)
OTTO - "on the water" here means abstaining from booze, hence TT: surround it with O O. We've seen the rose oil answer before, but not recently, I feel.
15 Ad hoc term for recent coalition government? Name to censure (7)
CONDEMN - Well I suppose a portmanteau term for Conservatives plus Lib Dems in coalition could be CON-DEM; add N for name.
17 Target to raise before retiring (7)
COCKSHY - another word I didn't know. It's a target in a throwing game, apparently. COCK can mean raise, as in cock one's hat, and SHY meaning retiring.
21 African having quit ought to return at intervals (4)
HUTU - alternate letter in the words backwards, as above.
22 Foreign ref upset one pointing to the spot? (10)
FOREFINGER - (FOREIGN REF)*. I spent an age trying to think of what a foreign referee would be called.
23 Knock the beer back: easily one’s undoing? (8)
SLIPKNOT - all reversed; TONK (knock) PILS (beer). Tonk is not exactly the first word you think of for a synonym for knock, but the pils idea sets you on the way to the answer.
25 Couple quizzically raised one’s casually viewing broadcast (8)
EYEBROWS - sounds perhaps like "I BROWSE", for one's casually viewing.
26 Physicist’s brief fussily interrupting archdeacon (3,5)
VAN ALLEN - I biffed this once I had the first word as V-N. I think ANALL(Y) = brief fussily is inside VEN for archdeacon. I'd heard of the Van Allen belts in the atmosphere, which James Van Allen and others discovered, in 1958, but I knew nothing more about him until reading his Wiki pages today. He died in 2006 aged 91.
27 Disgrace to follow: put up with that (8)
DOGHOUSE - DOG = follow, HOUSE = put up, accommodate. I'm not convinced about this one either, you can't be "in doghouse" like "in disgrace", you need a THE before it.
Down
2 Dance floor — let it be firm! (8)
FLAMENCO - Another biffed then deciphered. FL abbr. for floor, AMEN = let it be, CO = firm.
3 Base, centre for ironworks, was heaving (8)
WRETCHED - W the central letter of ironworks, RETCHED = was heaving.
4 Keen on local couple getting a hearing (4)
INTO - sounds like INN TWO, hence local (pub), couple.
5 Six slices no use, having turned green? (7)
ENVIOUS - (NO USE)* with VI inserted.
6 What a jury looks for out of hearing? (10)
SOUNDPROOF - well, a jury wants SOUND PROOF of guilt or innocence. Fair enough.
7 Authors with another set of neat procedures? (8)
COWRITES - I'd expect this to be hyphenated, but Collins doesn't. COW RITES could be a set of procedures for cows or neats. Groan.
8 Catches heartless politician’s alternative take on past (8)
HERSTORY - HE(A)RS = catches heartless, TORY politician. Herstory is, of course, history told from a feminist or woman's viewpoint. It's a wrongly derived word IMO because HISTORY does not mean from HIS male viewpoint particulary, it comes from the Greek "istoria" and has nothing to do with his or hers.
13 Matches used when building is in flames? (10)
SEMIFINALS - (IS IN FLAMES)*. Easy when you see it, but took me another age.
15 Holding it together after upset is what fellow’s about (8)
COHESIVE - COVE is our fellow here, insert reversed IS EH (eh = what?). Yet another to decipher once answered.
16 Seed — not a bean from France — that’s primary source of sustenance (8)
NUTRIENT - NUT (seed) RIEN (French for nothing, when negative), T (primary letter of that's).
18 Cockney’s shed tears to stun old bounder (8)
KANGAROO - I'm not totally Bobby Moore about this one; I think we have KO (stun) with 'ANGAR inserted (Cockney for hangar = shed), then O for old on the end, for our bounder = kangaroo.
19 Parties of Americans do extensive gardening job in SE England? (8)
HOEDOWNS - the NORTH and SOUTH DOWNS feature in SE England, so hoeing them would be an extensive gardening job.  A hoedown in America is "a lively folk dancing party with hillbilly tunes on the fiddle".
20 Where you’ll find LA: North Dakota? Not true! (7)
PRETEND - I'm not totally Bobby Moore about this one, either; the best I can come up with is LA being the note before TE in the Doh Re Mi scale, so "PRE-TE", then ND for North Dakota.
24 Some work by British composer (4)
BERG - B (British) ERG (some work). I've tried to like Berg's music, but it's hard work, except maybe the violin concerto, his last work, when he was finally melding his diatonic method with dodecaphony.
15x15
  • jackkt

Times Cryptic 28082

Solving time: 34 minutes. Quite easy to solve but some of the parsing took some decipehering e.g. 20dn and 24d.



As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

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