Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27625 - David Duckham Remembered

A gentle start to the week, which took me 15 minutes plus change. Nothing too difficult vocabulary, definition or parsing wise, and the easily misspelt word had the dodgy vowel handed to you on a plate.

For those of you who have been kind enough to check on the progress of my CS Lewis book, it has finally been published (along with a comic novel that I wrote a year or two back). Interested parties can check it out here.


1 Engagement risks him becoming distraught (8)
SKIRMISH - anagram* of RISKS HIM
5 Hang on! Programme’s approaching finale (6)
10 Dukes pinching diamonds took a risk (5)
DICED - ICE (diamonds) in D D (dukes)
11 Half-starved spies held by English couple died (9)
12 Individual flogging stolen gin (9)
13 Sailor rejecting seafood, being sole (5)
14 Ugly sight I witnessed in the auditorium (7)
EYESORE - sounds like I SAW; reminds me of the old joke 'Who was that woman I seen you with last night?' 'You mean "I saw"' 'Okay, who was that eyesore I seen you with last night?'
16 Occasionally driver steals fuel (6)
DIESEL - alternate letters in D[r]I[v]E[r] S[t]E[a]L[s]
18 Lout finally collared by virtuous man (6)
20 Conservative speaker losing head, grabbing university steward (7)
CURATOR - C [o]RATOR - U for o
22 Catch an Edith Piaf number? (5)
SEIZE - 16 for a French personage such as zee leetul sparrow
23 Control Spooner’s sweaty fool (9)
CLAMPDOWN - DAMP CLOWN with the initial bits swapped
25 Spiny creature aunt ogles in unseemly fashion (9)
LANGOUSTE - AUNT OGLES*; one of several decapod crustacean thingies
26 Servicemen without place to study causing fight (3-2)
RUN-IN - UNI in RN (Royal Navy)
27 Complaint of a scholarly woman? (6)
MALADY - MA LADY; yeeees, as Pitman might say
28 Perk for those departing, relieved of responsibility (4-4)


1 Avoid date in Rome blocking advance? (8)
SIDESTEP - IDES in STEP; it was said of David Duckham that he could sidestep three men in a telephone box. It has to be said some Welsh guy copied him quite successfully. Of course, in the modern game, "that try" wouldn't have counted: two guys would have been sent off for high tackles and the try disallowed for a forward pass. Who needs technology?
2 Where you might find prisoner from Peru, once? (5)
3 Dull place that drivers should steer clear of? (6-2-3-4)
MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD - not quite a double definition because of the hyphen, methinks; me, I like middle-of-the-road music that many heavies sneer at. Here's thinking of you, Randy VanWarmer. WHAT. A. NAME.
4 He hates arranging cover (7)
6 Effects of soldier becoming extremely teary? (7,8)
PRIVATE PROPERTY - PRIVATE (soldier) PROPER (becoming) T[ear]Y; the clue where I earn my corn
7 Sociable old commie holding vicar up (9)
8 Are unsteady daughters being given more rum? (6)
DODDER - D (daughters) ODDER (more rum)
9 Lost men dad manipulated (6)
15 Moving almost everything after fiancée’s latest proposal (9)
EMOTIONAL - [fiance]E MOTION (proposal) AL[l]
17 Arms injunction I ignored (8)
19 Copper’s in luck, finding stripper (6)
LOCUST - CUS in LOT; more fortune or destiny, perhaps, but luck is close enough
20 Some of public hate Audi estate (7)
CHATEAU - hidden in in last four words; I recently bought my wife a cover for her beloved Audi A5 Sportback, earning several house points
21 Refuge from years in a favela (6)
ASYLUM - Y in A SLUM; catch City of Joy, if you haven't already seen it
24 Mistress admitted having bottom scratched by king (5)
OWNER - OWNE[d] d replaced by R (rex - king)
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3108 - One up on the court?

I solved this Mephisto in my usual fashion, without book, only to get stuck on one at the end.   I saw what it might be, but I was incredulous that such a word could possibly exist - so I looked it up, and there is was.   Naturally, in order to do the blog, I had to thoroughly vet my proposed solution, and as usual two or three of my carefully constructed answers turned out to be wrong, as my incorrect understanding of the wordplay led me to invent a few mombles.   I also biffed a few that turned out to quite correct, but I still can't quite follow the cryptic.

Overall, this was a relatively straightforward puzzle if you have the vocabulary, with only a few outrageously unfamiliar words, only one of which caught me out.   Once you have a few checking letters, it is possible to biff your way through a lot of the puzzle, leaving a few more difficult clues to be tackled at the end.

1 Term for driver in police tactical unit (5)
CORPS - CO(R)PS.   I admit, I can't explain the 'R', as I don't suppose it refers to a regular-flex shaft indication on a golf driver, although it just might.   The correct explanation is probably that it is a reference to an 'R driver' in Ireland and IOM.
5 Yank holding power secure in the Act of Union? (7)
TUPPING - TU(P, PIN)G, a word familiar from Othello.
11 ____ played away from home, European taken in by randy raver (9)
AVOUTERER - AV(OUT, E)RER, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of RAVER.   An adulterer, a bit of an &lit clue, more or less.
12 Who arranges westbound rockets (6)
RETROS - SORTER backwards, a particular sort of rockets in this case.
13 Scots jag an item of footwear (6)
BROGAN - BROG + AN, another one I biffed.   The Scots word is defined in most dictionaries as 'prod' or 'goad'. 
16 Insides of transistor radios left over in Lossiemouth (4)
ORRA - hidden in [transist]OR RA[dios], finally a Scots word I know!
17 Cold, then one’ll stuff comprehensive antibiotic (7)
ALLICIN - ALL (I, C)  IN.   The antioxidant found in garlic, not primarily an antibiotic.
18 Such as keeps lobster fresh in Sri Lanka (5)
CRAWL -  C(RAW)L.   Apparently, when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, its vehicle registration code was CL.
19 Certain swimmer inaptly, we hear, grasps nut for the biggest part (9, two words)
SEA SALMON - sounds like SEIZE SEES + ALMON[d]. 
23 Class of plant: first-rate, umpteen carried out from the east (9)
DIDYNAMIA - A1 MANY DID backwards, a classic Mephisto clue: hard word, easy wordplay.
25 This stunner taken aback posed again (5)
TASER -  RESAT backwards, one of the few chestnuts you'll ever find in a Mephisto.
26 What’s in motor? Scotsman’s joint! It helps to stay steady (7)
OTOLITH - [m]OTO[r] + LITH.   Fortunately, I knew the word, as LITH is not among the most well-known parts of the Scots vocaulary. 
28 A tiny bit a hustler (4)
ATOM - A TOM, presumably one who tomcats around.
30 Weight of one’s jugs (6)
PITHOI - PITH O' I, or so I would suppose.   A stock Bronze Age shipping container, they're found in wrecks all over the Mediterranean. 
31 Muck in bin, tie tightly (6, three words)
BE IN IT - Anagram of BIN, TIE - part of what the New York State Lottery Commission puts in all its ads. 
32 Blessed Virgin is foremost in maternal doctrine (9)
IRVINGISM - Anagram of VIRGIN IS + M[aternal], with a rather novel anagram indicator.   Some sort of religious movement in the 19th-century, long forgotten.
33 Spoil mitts being back in strong breeze (7)
SNIFTER - RET FINS backwards, not the easiest cryptic, as both bits rely on rather secondary meanings.   The answer has its 18th-century sense.
34 Month for Jews taking time off in old Yemen (5)
SHEBA - SHEBA[t], a simple one for once.
1 Possibly saloon lawsuit remains (7)
CARCASE - CAR + CASE, another easy starter clue.
2 Take out cracking bit of lamb with a bone (6)
ROTULA - R +anagram of OUT + L[amb] + A.   The patella, more or less, which was famous for the two girls sitting on it.
3 Utter excitedly about joining Royal Engineers (4)
PURE - UP backwards + R.E.
4 A stiff-upper-lip sort giving endless criticism about nowt (5)
STOIC - ST(O)IC[k]. 
6 Unlikely tale lifting the lid on headdress — wow! This is pulled off (9, two words)
URBAN MYTH - [t]URBAN + MY + TH[is].     Mostly known as an 'urban legend' in the US.
7 Malevolent Persian being against dance (7)
PERICON - PERI + CON, a Uruguayan dance.    It's also a plant, but nearly everything is a plant.
8 At home with good butter? Thick, as it was (6)
INGRAM - IN + G + RAM.   Thick as in ignorant, a word that was apparently used a couple of times in the 17th century, and then dropped.
9 Fancy the new air? It’s virtually colourless (9)
10 German on preposterous way of cheek (5)
GENAL - G + LANE upside-down, not all that preposterous in these puzzles.
14 Height of delight about English verse (9)
15 A long-standing producer of oil will video flaring (9, two words)
20 Charles de Gaulle, eg, left pressed by publicity (7)
21 Balmoral or other stuck into mature woman’s guru (7)
22 Young thug is to stand up and will make a break for it (6)
TSOTSI - IS TO ST[and] upside-down.   Yes, this was the word I saw but didn't believe.
24 Cartoon girlfriend that delivers eggs (6)
MINNIE - Well, the answer is obvious enough, but I don't follow the cryptic.  Minnie Pearl, perhaps?   Guesses welcome.  It's a reference the the 'moaning minnie', formally known as a Nebelwerfer.
25 Get money from a small snack (5)
TAPAS - TAP + A + S, where 'tap' is a slang word from the early 20th century.
27 Open University being for chaps from Jo’burg (5)
OUENS - O.U + ENS, a slang word for ordinary blokes in South Africa.
29 Dear mortal (4)
HIGH -  Double definition.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4895, by Dean Mayer — Golden archness

I hope everyone here and their loved ones are well and safe. Having a distraction like a good crossword puzzle in a time like this can be a godsend. To tackle a problem for which there is known to be a solution is a great relief from the more intractable ones facing us, and finishing brings a feeling of being in control that is too often elusive in our day to day lives in the midst of a pandemic. As long as you can concentrate, that is… I found thoughts intruding of aspects of our current mess while working and blogging this excellent offering from Dean.

Slippery surfaces, cunning wordplay, and a few words that you don’t see everyday… Really everything you could ask for, an instant classic.

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

 1 20 shillings, cents or euros? (5)
SCORE — S(hillings) + C(ents) + OR + E(uros)
 4 Marine guide possibly working for island (6,3)
DORSAL FIN — (for island)* I guess the appendage can fulfill other functions, hence the “possibly.”
 9 Best time to run in defeat (9)
WORTHIEST — WOR(T)(HIE)ST Yes, “worst” can mean “best,” in referring to coming out ahead in a competition.
10 Golden arches—usual rubbish is consumed, primarily (5)
AURIC — Gag me with a spoon! First letters, COD. The irony is that the most (in)famous patron of the fast-food chain so clearly alluded to here doubtlessly does not know the answer word, nor could even guess its sense (even though it is the first name of the James Bond villain Goldfinger). It has nothing to do with the ear—unlike auricular!—but it is the last name of French composer Georges. It has a very precise meaning in chemistry, and a homonym refers to the auras that soi-disant psychics supposedly see.
11 Perhaps those in rubber will excite more of us (8)
FOURSOME — (more of us)* I suppose the reference is to the game of bridge. I have included “will” in the anagrind, because otherwise it isn’t doing anything.
12 Go about as a bird would go! (4,2)
BEAT IT — BE A TIT This phrase has been clued many times here by breaking up the words this way, with sometimes TIT meaning a silly person.
14 Liquid runs so if retaining “A”, “X” being liquid property (7,7)
SURFACE TENSION — (runs so if)* surrounding ACE + TEN
17 Keep going to Latin classes (3,11)
NIL DESPERANDUM — You can probably attend them remotely now… ”Never despair!” in Latin. A watchword for our fraught time. Keep Calm and Carry On!
19 Lounge lizard initially bends over (6)
SPRAWL — L[-izard] + “bends,” WARPS<=“over”
20 Ready for battle (3,5)
WAR CHEST — Got your mask on? CD, “Ready” in the sense of available money
23 Old magistrate taking bible class the day before (5)
REEVE — R(eligious) E(ducation) + EVE
24 Spring lecture given without single drink (9)
25 Sea lion swallows a large piece of meat (9)
MEDALLION — MED(A)(L)LION, “Sea” being the MEDiterranean
26 Dyed fabric clothing sailor returned (5)
BATIK—“Clothing,” KIT + “sailor,” AB<=“returned”

 1 Forced to leave prune? (3,3)
SAW OFF — DD “See off” with this precise meaning was new to me; it’s a strictly British usage.
 2 Work in China for US? (3,6,6)
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND — “China,” of course, being CRS for ”pal,” and “US” an example of the deceptive capitalization we haven’t seen on Sunday lately. We had a reference to this book not so long ago.
 3 Standards maintained by internet hosting (5)
ETHOS — Hidden
 4 Daughter opens robe in fantastic scene (10)
DREAMSCAPE — Paging Dr. Freud… D(aughter) + REAMS, “opens” + CAPE, “robe” The closest definition I’ve found for REAM is “to enlarge (a hole) as with a reamer” (Collins). MER at CAPE clued by “robe”; the words are not synonyms of each other at thesaurus dot com, nor listed as such anywhere else that I’ve found.
 5 No introduction needed for gospel book (4)
 6 Greek hero soon captures willing maiden (9)
 7 Officer left in tears, unit disbanded (5,10)
FIRST LIEUTENANT — (left in tears, unit)*
 8 Good to admit oxygen can poison (8)
NICOTINE — This is actually true! NIC(O)(TIN)E The substance is merely addictive taken via conventional tobacco products, but liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes can be hazardous, as the stuff in a purer form and at higher doses is indeed quite toxic.
13 Result of zero fare? A motorhome to take Channel crossing (10)
STARVATION — No, this isn’t the clue to the next one…! CD, ST(A)(RV)ATION
15 Coast, where waves seem to gather? (9)
FREEWHEEL — (where)* caught up in FEEL, “seem”
16 Physicist’s worry over traveller (8)
ANGSTROM — ANGST, “worry” + ROM, “traveller,” singular for Roma, which is short for Romani (sometimes called Gypsies, which some take as pejorative). The unit of length named after Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström, equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimeter, is mainly useful in expressing wavelengths and distances between atoms.
18 Run out of clothes? (6)
STREAK — Well, the closest laundromat is limiting its hours now, but I’m not going out much or for very long, and most things can be washed in the tub… CD
21 Conservative member’s rise (5)
CLIMB — C + LIMB Bit of a chestnut, easiest clue here.
22 Wet place over one dry place (4)
GOBI — BOG<=“over” + I I guessed GOB was a “wet place” in the sense of “mouth,” either yer own or even perhaps that of a river, until Peter pointed out what should have been obvious!

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1429: Creepy Crawly Cluey

On the easier side I thought, but not egregiously so.

My favourites this time were 26ac for the oldie-but-goodie "Harry" as anagrind; 36dn for being ridiculously hard to parse yet satisfying when I finally did; 10dn for being a really fun literary clue in a not very literary puzzle; and of course the marvelous 39ac's preposterous anagrist. I do love it when setters try to pull off such absurd feats of construction, especially when the resultant surface is so smooth. Kudos!

1 Unreliable old man nicks tune we added (4-7)
FAIR-WEATHER - FATHER [old man] "nicks" AIR [tune] + WE

7 Holland House fuel extract (6,5)
ORANGE JUICE - ORANGE [Holland House] + JUICE [fuel]

13 One daughter inspires tango performed on stage (5)
ACTED - ACE D "inspires" T

14 Risk grabbing Romeo's ulcer (7)
CHANCRE - CHANCE "grabbing" R

15 Dodging a very old paper ball (9)
AVOIDANCE - A V O i DANCE [a | very | old | paper | ball]

16 Scary spinner's natural bent among reserves (9)
TARANTULA - (NATURAL*) "among" TA. Fascinating fact: tarantulas do not use webs to catch their prey. But they do spin silk to e.g. make a burrow to hide in, so this clue remains kosher.

17 One large boy struggled to suppress second rash (3-7)
ILL-ADVISED - I L LAD VIED, to "suppress" S

20 Right court for controlling scrap — thanks to this (4,3)
RIOT ACT - R CT "controlling" IOTA, semi-&lit

22 Leaves after wasted meal (4,3)
HIGH TEA - TEA [leaves] after HIGH [wasted]

24 European allowed to conceal crew's hint (7)
ELEMENT - E LET to "conceal" MEN

25 Weakling must have very little money in principle (8)
RUDIMENT - RUNT must have DIME in

26 Harry Potter hurt nine, which drivers sometimes can do (5-5,4)

28 What scouts do in playground before church (5)
RECCE - REC before CE

29 Trained pupil briefly to stop the old city slicker (6)
YUPPIE - (PUPI{l}*) ["trained"] to "stop" YE [the old]. I had YARDIE in here for a while for inexplicable reasons - probably indicative of the type of circles I personally move in.

30 Star Glaswegian recalled fine area around Halifax (4,6)

33 It helps in speech to emphasise saint (6,4)
STRESS MARK - STRESS [emphasise] + MARK [saint]

35 A sample of polar Canada's secrets (6)
ARCANA - hidden in {pol}AR CANA{da}

37 Peace advocate captivates Republican horde (5)
DROVE - DOVE "captivates" R

39 Spreading scandal, excited at telling it three times (6-8)

41 Archipelago short of popular pineapples (8)

44 It’s a pride issue, working with copper in library (4,3)
LION CUB - ON with CU in LIB

45 Intended fund without name ending in failure (7)
FIANCEE - FI{n}ANCE + {failur}E

46 Cutting tree I found in British Columbia (7)
ACERBIC - ACER + I found in BC

47 Like some bread with jam and seeds (10)
WHOLEGRAIN - W HOLE [jma] + GRAIN [seeds]

49 Cleaner not able initially to charge about one pound (9)
NAILBRUSH - N{ot} A{ble} + RUSH "about" I LB

53 Send out light roasted course: fabulous being back to eat it! (9)
FLUORESCE - (COURSE*) ["roasted"], "eaten" by reversed ELF

54 Star gets into bed for a smoke (7)
CHEROOT - HERO gets into COT

55 Swimmer's about to perish, heading west (5)
EIDER - RE DIE [about | to perish], read east to west

56 Enthuses, perhaps evading gym and old dishes Henry left (11)

57 Ditch tongue, heading off for Happy Eater? (11)

1 Note shorter, less singular person using flannel (9)

2 Job for painter inside 8 (8,10)

3 Extra new stretch (5)
WIDEN - WIDE [(cricketing) extra] N

4 Story by some about constant profession (11)

5 Each had awful athlete’s foot and pain at the other end (8)
HEADACHE - (EACH HAD*) ["awful"] + {athlet}E. At the other end of the body from the foot, that is.

6 Relax here, startling boss (7,5)
ROCKING CHAIR - ROCKING [startling] + CHAIR [boss]

7 Expose what's in envelope that's given to the press (4,6)
OPEN LETTER - OPEN [expose] + LETTER [what's in envelope]

8 Place for nursing trophy (5)
AWARD - or A WARD [place for nursing]

9 I love angler somehow catching large marine creature (11)
GLOBIGERINA - (I O ANGLER*) "catching" BIG [large]. Because everyone loves super-obscure words clued by (partial) anagrams!

10 Reason obscure hero hoards brilliant books? (9)
JUDGEMENT - JUDE [(eponymously) "obscure" hero] "hoards" GEM [brilliant] + NT [books]

11 Where to find barmen of different types? (4)
INNS - be they of drinking or of Court.

12 River’s banks eroded constantly (4)
EVER - {s}EVER{n}

18 Quirky odd bureaucrat is almost silent proof of falsehood (8,2,8)

19 Very old joke packs theatre (5,3)
STONE AGE - ONE [as in "good one!"] "packs" STAGE

21 Idle, the writer's tucking into drink with sons (7)
AIMLESS - I'M "tucking into" ALE + S S

23 Software run at cricket ground's OK (8)

27 Impressionist, perhaps one able to lift drink (8)
APERITIF - APER + I + reversed FIT

28 Engineers resolve to move (8)
RESETTLE - RE SETTLE [engineers | resolve]

31 Measure port imbibed by conservative Anglicans (7)
CADENCE - ADEN "imbibed" by C CE

32 Sublime climb across middle of liner in river (12)
TRANSCENDENT - ASCEND "across" {li}N{er}, in TRENT

34 Broken down? Police stopped, after spending hours (11)

36 Answer cut from article about avoiding “hippy” type of language (4-7)
AFRO-ASIATIC - A [answer] + FRO{m} + A [article] + S{c}IATIC [C = about "avoiding" a word for "pertaining to hips"]

38 150 eastern experts accepting smuggled licences (10)

40 Do battle to secure instruments (4,5)
LOCK HORNS - LOCK [secure] + HORNS [instruments]

42 Cash in car interpreted as sweetener (9)

43 Head man from Krakow's supporter in plot (8)
BEANPOLE - BEAN [head] + POLE [man from Krakow]. That's a plot as in vegetable patch.

48 Fancy patrons wasting time! (5)

50 Part of speech backed up English note (5)
BREVE - reversed VERB [part of speech] + E

51 Starts to approach from access road a long way off (4)
AFAR - A{pproach} F{rom} A{ccess} R{oad}

52 Each year involves leading intermediate stage (4)
PUPA - P.A. [each year] "involves" UP [leading]
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27618 - Saturday, 21 March 2020. Doubling down on definitions.

I barely finished the horror Friday puzzle by the time Saturdays reached the web site, so it was a relief this one was solvable! My FIO was 14ac, which was so obviously an anagram. My LOI was 8dn, about which I had no idea; even when I saw the wordplay, the answer seemed implausible. Apart from that, my last few were in the top left, where cracking 9ac unlocked the rest.

There seemed to be more double definitions than usual, and several clues where the definition wasn’t at the start or end. My clue of the day was 9ac. I liked both the definition and the wordplay! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Notes for newcomers: since 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. Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
1 Mock? In a second almost comes to like Greek drama (6)
5 In unstable state, I must avoid responsibility (8)
LABILITY – take an I out of LIABILITY, to get this unfamiliar word.
9 Damaging fall in a Jersey ditch? (4,4)
ACID RAIN – A, C.I. (Channel Island), DRAIN. Lovely, well-hidden definition.
10 Look about and pull back (6)
REGARD – RE (about), DRAG (pull) backwards.
11 Girl rejecting dance shows bachelor out (6)
STELLA – [b]ALLETS, backwards.
12 Rail supporter is overwhelmed by jokes (8)
BANISTER – IS ‘overwhelmed’ by BANTER.
14 We barristers’ works bearing fruit (12)
17 With surprising delicacy, open book (12)
ENCYCLOPEDIA – (DELICACY OPEN*), ‘surprisingly’.
20 Weirdly unlucky defendant gets run in (8)
22 Ring cleaner (6)
WASHER – double definition.
23 Human being virtuous? About time (6)
MORTAL – MORAL (being virtuous ) ‘about’ T for time.
25 Claire regularly takes foreign language, not the right subject (8)
LIEGEMAN – every second letter of cLaIrE, then GE[r]MAN.
26 Criminal proposal to compass death (8)
OFFENDER – OFFER to ‘compass’ END.
27 First element of telephone number provides lead (6)
TETHER – T[elephone], ETHER (numbing agent=number).

2 Deliver on location, as told (6)
RECITE – RE (on), CITE sounds like (‘as told’) SITE.
3 Buy good new clothes reduced in response to explosion (3,5,3)
GOD BLESS YOU – (BUY GOOD*) ‘new’, ‘clothing’ LESS (reduced).
4 Man arrives at a lake in dense thickets (9)
CHAPARRAL – CHAP (man), ARR. (arrives), A, L (lake).
5 Extended courtesy for killer at Agincourt (7)
LONGBOW – a double definition, the first a touch fanciful.
6 His poetry attributed to Hubbard? (5)
BYRON – L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology. Was Byron’s poetry BY RON? Puh-lease!
7 Stage set up (3)
LEG – GEL (set), ‘up’.
8 Novelist’s revolutionary opening enthrals press (8)
TURGENEV – URGE (press), inside (‘enthralled by’) TNEV, which is ‘revolutionary’ VENT (opening). I’d never heard of this Russian writer, and felt none the worse for that.
13 One can fill lots of cells — start making a bed? (11)
SPREADSHEET – another double definition, the second a touch fanciful this time.
15 Source of funds to stop a pair of lifts trapping people (9)
ENDOWMENT – END (stop), OWT (TWO, ‘lifting’), ‘trapping’ MEN.
16 Stop work as pirate (5,3)
KNOCK OFF – yet another double definition.
18 Boat’s propeller: one gets feet wet (7)
PADDLER – and yet another.
19 Open taking this seed for a spell (6)
SESAME – a quaint reference to Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and its magic spell, ‘Open Sesame’.
21 Firm one enters changed hands (5)
SOLID – I (one) entering SOLD.
24 Almost level in match (3)
TIE – TIE[r] (level), TIE (match).

Times 27,623: With A Shrug

This didn't take an awfully long time, and what it did take was mostly taken up in MERs over just what the last 4 words of 11ac were doing, and whether TERN (when not a bird) or ARP are words anyone has actually used in the past half-century. I did like 18ac a fair bit, I'm a sucker for that kind of word thing, but too many things just "went straight in" for my Fridayfied tastes. FOI 1ac, LOI 12ac, WOD 27ac (pursued by a bear). My thanks to the setter! Our daily crosswords are more important than ever in the New World Order...

1 Where cars wait — a road is normal (8)
STANDARD - STAND A RD [where cars wait | a | road]

5 Location for play people without exception remember (6)
RECALL - REC ALL [location for play | people without exception]

10 Drink that’s good found in New England area? (5)
NEGUS - G found in NE US

11 Lions come running _;_ this is the end (9)
SEMICOLON - (LIONS COME*) ["running"]

12 American substitute porter, perhaps welcoming group of three visiting (9)
ALTERNATE - ALE [porter, perhaps] "welcoming" TERN AT [group of three | visiting]

13 Second time to give recurring phrase (5)
MOTTO - MO T TO [second | time | to]

14 Musician with history including activity during the Blitz (7)
HARPIST - HIST "including" ARP [Air Raid Precautions]

16 Cross at hosts for displaying charm (6)
AMULET - MULE [cross] (that) AT "hosts"

18 Getting on? That’s not about getting on (6)
AGEING - AG{re}EING. Take a word for "getting on" (as in, famously), subtract a word for "about", leaving a word for "getting on" (as in, in years).

20 Writer of plays about a person like Vermeer (7)
PAINTER - (Harold) PINTER about A

22 Trip abroad, oddly to see what Pope wears (5)
TIARA - T{r}I{p} A{b}R{o}A{d}

23 Cutting rotten carcass with it (9)
SARCASTIC - (CARCASS + IT*) ["rotten"]

25 Concert one performs vocally is likely to turn out well (9)

26 Picture latter half of a trip to Santiago? (5)
IMAGE - {pilgr}IMAGE

27 Go off former European Union? Nicest on the outside (6)
EXEUNT - EX E.U. N{ices}T

28 Write numbers in a chain (8)
PENNINES - PEN NINES [write | numbers]

1 Star cricketer, that man Brown? (8)
SUNBATHE - SUN BAT HE [star | cricketer | that man]

2 Worry gangster has got in (5)
ANGST - hidden in {g}ANGST{er}

3 Tied in factories with change leading to a loss of living things (15)

4 Turn on again and relax with creative activity (7)

6 Banning of former contact (15)

7 Where people grow things for sharing (9)
ALLOTMENT - double def

8 See new sign of agreement over City (6)
LONDON - LO N + reversed NOD

9 Animal in a cell — a second has been regularly raised (6)
AMOEBA - A MO + reversed {h}A{s} B{e}E{n}

15 Get angry about blasted Margo’s fuss (9)
RIGMAROLE - RILE [get angry] about (MARGO*) ["blasted"]

17 Biscuits or nuts (8)
CRACKERS - double def

19 Casual chat and drink after work with son (6)
GOSSIP - SIP [drink] after GO [work] with S

20 Clothing caught by épée awfully near point (7)
PERIGEE - RIG "caught" by (EPEE*)

21 Important one goes through papers? (6)
STAPLE - double def

24 Couple, the first on the wagon (5)
TWAIN - T{he} on WAIN

Times Quick Cryptic No 1579 by Hurley

I took quite a bit longer than usual to complete this QC finishing in just under 7 minutes, but we've had quite a few head-scratchers already over the last 2 weeks, haven't we?  I had a few hold-ups with this, such as failing for ages to see the answer to the anagram at 3D, remembering the word for the hairstyle at 14D, and bunging in the wrong answer at first for 20A. But there are plenty of straightforward clues to get you going, making this a fair challenge, I think. I liked the pun at 1A, the 4-part charade at 17A, the misdirection at 4D and, especially,  the topical instructions on how to do our enforced home-schooling at 17A and 17D. Thank-you Hurley. Lovely job, as they say round here. How did everyone else get on?

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Times Quick Cryptic No 1578 by Izetti

I found this quite tough, and fared very similarly to yesterday's, which is to say a DNF around the 17 minute mark, all following a bruising hour with yesterday's 15x. I was feeling my enthusiasm for puzzles wane a bit towards the end, if you want a shoddy excuse. I was supposed to be going on an exciting holiday tomorrow as well. (Yes, boo hoo for me, like there aren't bigger concerns out there.) So I'm not best equipped to comment on the enjoyability of this puzzle, but everything seemed to be in the top-notch working order that we've come to expect from Izetti - many thanks!

1 Inferior cow girl catches cold (5-5)
LOWER-CLASS - LOWER (cow - as in a low-er, a thing that lows/moos) LASS (girl) catches/holds C(old)
8 Valuable coin found in item of food (7)
RAREBIT - RARE (valuable) BIT (coin). Is there anything on Earth that's rare and isn't valuable? (Anything not unpleasant, that is.)
9 Animal fancied occupying the back of your house (5)
RHINO - IN (fancied/fashionable) occupying R ("back" of youR) HO (abbrev. for house)
10 One going round hospital in pain (4)
ACHE - ACE (one) round H(ospital)
11 Dad has system of paying — such is his family duty (8)
PARENTAL - PA (dad) RENTAL (system of paying)
13 Manage to secure superior type of vehicle (5)
COUPE - COPE (manage) to secure U (superior, vs. non-U/inferior). I gave up on this, unable to see past CAUSE, which was clearly wrong.
14 Fellow ejected from chapel, the German high-up in congregation (5)
ELDER - CHAP (fellow) ejected from CHAPEL leaves EL ; DER (the, German)
16 Declare times in statistical information (8)
AVERAGES - AVER (declare) AGES (times)
17 Crew said something at Chiswick in boat race (4)
EYOT - is pronounced/said as EIGHT (crew, in rowing). Variant spelling of "ait", a small island, especially in a river. The Chiswick Eyot is the halfway mark in the Boat Race. I also gave up on this - got the sounds-like-eight bit, but the spelling could have been a few things, and I'd already given up on 13ac.
20 Taking newspaper (5)
THEFT - The FT (newspaper). "Taking" as a noun.
21 Fantastic eagle in descent (7)
LINEAGE - anagram (fantastic) of EAGLE IN
22 Sour disposition of US men, prigs being awkward (10)
GRUMPINESS - anagram (being awkward) of US MEN PRIGS
1 This girl is hugged by sailor, naturally (5)
LORNA - "hugged" by the letters of saiLOR NAturally
2 Chaps who should know what's in store (12)
WAREHOUSEMEN - cryptic definition, the literal referring to men anticipating, the cryptic to warehouse stock.
3 King with honour producing garment (4)
ROBE - R (Rex/king) with OBE (honour)
4 All the changes of a deadly nature (6)
LETHAL - anagram (changes) of ALL THE
5 Hidden under lots of loose rocks is Edmund (8)
SCREENED - under SCREE (lots of loose rocks - especially on a mountainside) is NED (Edmund)
6 Bakery — I'd chat about one of its products maybe (8,4)
BIRTHDAY CAKE - anagram (about) of BAKERY ID CHAT
7 Model and artist turned up to make a bit of money (6)
DOLLAR - DOLL (model) and AR (RA = artist, "turned up")
12 Margaret, a very good type, a right “superperson” (8)
MEGASTAR - MEG (Margaret) A ST. (a Saint/very good type) A R(ight). In my (dubious) haste when solving, I misparsed the good type as "a star".
13 Sings about Hampshire (6)
CHANTS - C (Circa/about) HANTS (Hampshire)
15 Commotion in place of rest left in the morning (6)
BEDLAM - BED (in place of rest) L(eft) AM (in the morning).
18 Rows with ferocious beasts, not good (5)
TIERS - TIgERS (ferocious beasts, minus the G for good)
19 Some frantic person opposing something (4)
ANTI - "some" of frANTIc
Linus van Pelt

27622, Thursday, 26 March 2020 Having nothing else to do...

Thursday, 26 March 2020
I’ll tell you what, I haven’t done this in a mort of years, but I went straight through the clues in presented order and emerged breathless in 9.24, which included my mandatory check for typos, which others might wish to emulate given the majority in the current rankings who have at least one error. It did mean that some of the down clues went in with scant regard for the clues, so I had do them properly while preparing my elucidations, but they weren’t difficult.
I’m still enjoying the business of having nothing much else to do at the insistence of Her Majesty’s Government. Guilt free b*ggerallery is a fine gift to be savoured, at least until it becomes a dam’ nuisance, and I have a plentiful supply of crosswords to fill any number of the unusually forgiving minutes with sixty seconds worth of simple fun. Most of them will be harder than I found this one.
Stay well everybody.
Clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS are thus presented.

1 Family member’s containers taken across lake by crew (8)
CLANSMAN Containers are CANS, which you then take “across” L(ake) and add the verbal version of crew, MAN
9 Swedish physicist’s torment, having reduced capital (8)
ÅNGSTRÖM The apostrophe s on physicist means you’re looking for who it is, and fortunately I’m familiar with this one. Torment becomes ANGST, and the capital, ROME, is reduced by one letter. Anders gave his name to a unit of measurement equal to one ten-billionth of a metre. For the time being, please keep at least 20,000,000,000Å away from anyone else.
I was helped in solving this by Anders turning up in a very recent crossword, but I can’t for the life of me say where.
10 German fellow, abstemious type, wearing pair of spectacles (4)
OTTO Not all Ottos are German, and not all Germans are called OTTO, but quite a few are. Von Bismarck for one. Our abstemious Tee Totaller, or TT, wears a representation of spectacles formed by two Os 
11 Arrive with a harvester — and have a terrible fall! (4,1,7)
COME A CROPPER A simple charade, assuming a harvester is represented by someone who crops.
13 Old way to introduce a popular decree (6)
ORDAIN O(ld) R(oa)D introduces A and IN (popular). Introduce here Is not an inclusion indicator
14 Avoidance of champ inspired by eastern girl (8)
ESCHEWAL Our random E(astern) girl is SAL. Insert CHEW for champ
15 Abandon doctor, sheltering horse he lost (7)
FORSAKE Let’s say doctor (the verb) translates to FAKE, then we can insert HORSE but without its H and E
16 Princes, for example, demanding author’s share of profits (7)
ROYALTY Are authors expecting a share of the profits necessarily demanding? Just their right, I would think. Anyway, there it is
20 Female spy taking in new peer (8)
VISCOUNT The only one which took a while to twig, because the female is not she, her, hen or anything of the sort, but the random one named VI. Followed by SCOUT for spy, with N(ew) inserted
22 Old maid of diminutive size swigging whiskey (6)
TWEENY Of a lower degree of domestic service, a between-maid. Of diminutive size TEENY taking in NATO Whiskey
23 Proper setting for further allotment (12)
REALLOCATION REAL for proper, LOCATION for setting
25 High-flyer in Navy plugging point repeatedly (4)
ERNE An eagle whose natural habitat is the crossword. The repeated point is E(ast) and the NAVY intervening (plugging) is RN
26 Demanding old flame once treading the boards (8)
EXACTING Old flame (once, if you like) is EX, trading the boards ACTING
27 Old Italian’s endless faith in English jail (8)
ETRUSCAN Endless faith is TRUS(t) , placed in an E(nglish) CAN, slang for jail

2 Libertine reluctant to go on a Spanish river (8)
LOTHARIO Reluctant is LOTH, add A (in plain sight) and Spanish for river, RIO
3 Like some of Stravinsky’s music — so nice, Callas recollected (12)
NEOCLASSICAL “Recollected” commends you to the anagram form, for which you use the letters of SO NICE CALLAS. Igor’s neoclassical phase began in around 1920, but I can’t find a single instance of Callas singing his music. Someone will prove me wrong, but not I think Maria herself: “I'm not very keen on Stravinsky. I don't really like modern music. ... I don't really even approve of Puccini. Mine is the nineteenth century.”
4 Russian port’s odd, turning fellow sailors back ultimately (8)
MURMANSK You get MUR from turning RUM, or odd, around, MAN from fellow, and the S and K from  the ultimate letters of both sailors and back
5 Representation of an elf initially said to evoke water nymphs (7)
NAIADES A composite anagram (representation) where you have to work out that the letters are AN, E(lf) and SAID before throwing them up in the air and hoping they land in the right order
6 A niece regularly eating fish — and mushroom for example (6)
AGARIC The one I know is the fly agaric, the archetypal red mushroom with white spots, but it is a generic term for (among other things) fungi with gills. Take the odd letters of A nIeCe and insert a fish, in this case a GAR
7 Control farm animal upset about start of rainstorm (4)
GRIP Upset your PIG and stick in the front end of Rainstorm
8 A second gathering assembled unethically (8)
AMORALLY A in plain sight, second MO, and gathering RALLY
12 Inclination of a revolutionary head to support homework (12)
PREPAREDNESS Maybe a slightly loose definition, but it works. Homework, and any fule kno, is PREP, here supported by A in plain sight, revolutionary: RED, and head: NESS
15 Perennial plant not many associated with disease (8)
FEVERFEW A plant I happen to know. Not many: FEW and disease: FEVER
17 Part of target, securing free escort (8)
OUTRIDER In archery, for example, the concentric coloured rings are each divided into inner and outer. We have the OUTER, and shove in RID for free.
18 German dance craze abandoned by head of major African state? (8)
TANZANIA A German dance craze might be TANZ MANIA, drop te head of Major
19 Funny way Guyanese extremists managed to get caught (7)
STRANGE Way is ST(reet) this time, with the first and last letters of GuyanesE, and RAN for managed trapped inside
21 Posh sun-hat adapted principally for an idyllic place (6)
UTOPIA U for posh (Mitford) TOPI for sun-hat, and A from the front of Adapted. From Thomas More book, no a generic ideal but unlikely place
24 The first person a state prosecutor married (4)
ADAM Of course. A in plain sight, DA for your state prosecutor, and M(arried)