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G'day I have been following the blogs from the solvers of the Times and Sunday Times cryptic crosswords with great interest but they seem to have ceased in this forum. Where can I find them these days. Thanks in advance.

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Times Cryptic Jumbo 1553 - 30 April 2022

Hello again. This Jumbo I thought was rather more straightforward than average, with no unknowns and only one spelling issue (at 34dn). Certainly a great deal easier than the beast that was 1548, the last one I blogged. There seemed to be a lot of girls (Ena,  Esther, Lucy, Susie) and quite a lot of extremely long single words clued with anagrams. What did you think?

By the time you read this, I shall be far away on the shores of the Mediterranean. Difficult timing in some ways, with so much exciting work going on at TfTT to get our wonderful new website rolling. Prepare to be amazed, if you haven't been already...

I use the standard TfTT conventions like underlining the definition, CD for cryptic definition, DD for a double one, *(anargam) and so forth. Nho = "not heard of" and in case of need the Glossary is always handy

1 Provider of social introductions to a smart set possibly (11)
TOASTMASTER - *(to a smart set)
7 Turning Mossad’s core agents – note about four likely to join up (11)
ASSOCIATIVE - (m)OSSA(d) rev., + CIA (agents) + IV inside TE, a note.
13 Cut up over doctrine being changed — it’s not helpful (17)
COUNTERPRODUCTIVE - *(CUT UP OVER DOCTRINE). The first one of a number of humungous anagrams. Mostly I biffed them and cannot swear to the accuracy of the anagrist in every case ..
14 Put in type of small English ram (3,2)
SET UP - S(mall) E(nglish) + TUP, your ram. "Our Yorkshire Farm," Channel 5's most popular series ever, is my go-to source for tups, tegs, yows and all related farming vocabulary. If you haven't watched it you have a real treat in store.
15 Volunteers chess piece for capturing (6)
TAKING - TA (the Territorial Army, now called the Army Reserve) + KING, a chess piece.
16 Large car going back into advanced plant for restorative action? (8)
CAMOMILE - LIMO (large car) rev., in CAME, advanced. Its restorative powers are unproven. It is being investigated for possibly helping to relieve anxiety. In which case it is probably best not to read the Wiki article
17 Club perhaps losing several seconds costs series (7)
COTERIE - COSTS SERIES, with all of its Ss removed. Clever.
19 Set up the brim of sombrero initially to tease dandy (9)
COCKSCOMB - COCK (set up the brim of) + S(ombrero) + COMB (to tease)
21 Allowing girl showy jewellery (8)
23 House in Home Counties close to motorway (4)
SEMI - SE (South East, your home counties) + M1
25 What can raise lumps needing at first to be covered by clothing (5)
TONGS - N(eeding) in TOGS, ie clothing. Tricksy definition..
27 Compelled civil engineer to split crossing (6)
FORCED - CE (civil engineer) in FORD, a crossing
28 Bigoted and enthusiastic about right in unrewarding time (10)
INTOLERANT - INTO (enthusiastic) + R(ight) in LEAN (unrewarding) + T(ime)
30 Deplore pay scale for top management? (8)
EXECRATE - a cd, EXEC RATE being top management's pay scale
31 Property cleaner cries with attic having to be reorganised (14)
34 Sobriety at business? Some getting drunk (14)
35 Lover of the beautiful with a short girl, note (8)
AESTHETE - A ESTHE(r), the short girl, + TE, a note. TE, a drink with jam and bread ...
38 Ceasing to be home for artist in removal (10)
EXTINCTION - EXTRACTION, with the RA (artist, Royal Academician) being replaced by IN (home).
40 Species at this point forms social class (6)
SPHERE - SP(ecies) + HERE. Not an abbreviation I was familiar with.
41 Gauleiter, losing province after return, secure again (5)
RETIE - (Gaul)EITER, rev. Gaul has not been a province for quite a while, but it was big in its day
43 Second person once seen wearing socks in hothouse? (4)
THOU - hoTHOUse, ie wearing hose, or socks
44 Means to choose short film (4,4)
FREE WILL - a reference to a 1993 film, Free Willy, about an orca in an amusement park. Not seen it,but I vaguely remembered the title. Pleasingly, the orca that played Willy was in fact rehabilitated and returned to the wild, as a direct result of the film.
45 George displaying gold helmet piece for auction (9)
AUTOPILOT - AU (gold) + TOPI (helmet) + LOT, a piece for auction. George as a name for an autopilot dates from the 1930s, origin unclear...
48 Hedging put back: sound cut by a small volume (7)
EVASION - A V(olume) inside NOISE (sound), all reversed.
49 Certain South Pacific needs a change of key (8)
SPECIFIC - S PACIFIC, with the A changed to the (key of) E.
50 Military show inking on skin (6)
TATTOO - a DD. There can't be many words with two such different meanings..
53 Returning to identify one’s dope (5)
IDIOT - TO ID I, rev.
54 Actually, “nymphet” is misused and not in a kind way (17)
55 Endlessly prolong situation not having to settle in mitigation (11)
EXTENUATION - EXTEN(d) (endlessly, prolong) +  (sit)UATION.
56 Middle of Kent county, nice and never one inconvenience (11)
ENCUMBRANCE - (k)EN(t) (middle of Kent, where I live) + CUMBRIA NICE, with all the Is removed. Quite a neat clue!

1 Moment to change direction to start to exploit game (4-4-3)
TICK-TACK-TOE - TICK (a moment) + TACK (to change direction. Watch out for the boom coming across) + TO + E(xploit). US version of noughts and crosses.
2 Millions in NZ city lacking land in a violent rage (5)
AMUCK - M(illions) in AUCK(land), a NZ city I have never visited.
3 Prolonged muscle contraction set tuna swimming (7)
4 Cautious when getting head down and twisted to one side (4)
AWRY - WARY (cautious) with the W moved down..
5 A number holding promotion by pub is shabby (10)
THREADBARE - AD (promotion) + BAR (pub, though I would not say they were the same thing) inside THREE, your number,
6 He led operation to scramble communication device (14)
7 Knife found in dried up sea is kept for the record (8)
ARCHIVAL - The ARAL sea is, sadly, no more. Once the fourth largest lake in the world, it is now, in one of our largest environmental tragedies, the Aralkum desert. For the purposes of this clue it contains CHIV, which is slang for a knife. Nho, but did know chivvy, which has the same root.
8 Succeeded with fish spear (5)
SPIKE - S + PIKE, a fish, and not a very friendly one, by all accounts
9 High point of belief about church held by Poles (9)
CRESCENDO - SCEN (church "held by poles") in CREDO (belief)
10 For instance, radios and televisions can be valuable items (6)
ASSETS - AS (for instance) + SETS (radios & TVs)
11 I’m talented partner working between government ministries (17)
INTERDEPARTMENTAL - *(I'M TALENTED PARTNER). A DBE as lots of organisations have departments
12 Dickens is so naff, too (11)
EUPHEMISTIC - a CD. Dickens being a euphemism for the devil, and naff for, well, as in "Naff off." The OED says that the adjective, as in "That's a bit naff" is unrelated to the verb and gives both uses as being of unknown origin.
18 Paper coming down on newly-formed union (8)
CONFETTI - Another CD, A eference to the littering that often takes place as the happy couple emerge from the church, or registry office.
20 One whose speciality is dialogue in awkward voice translations (17)
22 Great folly girl’s built in northern area (6)
LUNACY - N(orthern) A(rea) in another girl, this time LUCY
24 Arbitrator set up duty list the same (8)
MEDIATOR - ROTA + IDEM, all reversed. Idem is Latin for "the same," often used in book references.
26 Policeman dispatched without right equipment endlessly (8)
SERGEANT - R(ight) + GEA(r) inside SENT (dispatched)
29 What insects can do to mongrel and parrot at home upset (5-9)
CROSS-POLLINATE - CROSS (mongrel) + POLL (parrot) + IN (at home) + ATE (upset, as in "his failure ate away at his confidence" or similar)
32 The Spanish race has horse coming after ten others (8)
ELEVENTH - EL (the, in Spanish) + EVENT (race) + H(orse)
33 Excitement on account of European seen around old city (6)
FURORE - UR (old city) inside FOR (on account of) + E(uropean). Ur was an ancient Sumerian city on the banks of the Euphrates, in what is now Southern Iraq.
34 American put out in a cosy home — eastern spot European husband set up (11)
ANESTHETIZE - A NEST (a cosy home), with, all reversed:  E(astern) + ZIT (spot) + E(uropean) + H(usband). Golly! And, hands up if like me, you put anesthetise, spotting SITE for spot but not the missing E that would entail..
36 Choose yttrium component finally in part for battery fluid (11)
ELECTROLYTE - ELECT (choose), + Y(ttrium) and (componen)T inside ROLE, a part.
37 A prized stone set up, literally this, classically? (10)
MEGALITHIC - An &lit, constructed as follows: A GEM (prized stone set up, ie MEG A) + LIT(erally) + HIC, Latin for "This."
39 Big spider scuttled into rubbish, oddly ugly, note (9)
TARANTULA - Yet another tricky construction: RAN (scuttled) inside TAT (rubbish), + U(g)L(y) + A, a musical note.
42 Cable installers converted Nine Elms (8)
LINESMEN - *(NINE ELMS), a blessedly simple anagram
46 Managed cold inside for every reindeer active in winter (7)
PRANCER - RAN + C(old) inside PER (for each, every). Prancer supposedly being one of Santa's reindeer.
47 Cat family includes the tigers, though two in three are gone (6)
KITTEN - T(he)T(ig)E(rs), inside KIN (family). These "take certain letters but not necessarily alternately" clues seem to be on the increase.
49 Girl’s not finished eating hot Japanese food (5)
SUSHI - H(ot) in SUSI(e), unfinished girl.
51 Stock a line in fashionable style (5)
TALON - A L(ine) in TON, fashionable style as any Heyerite will know. The talon is, I vaguely knew, the stock of cards remaining, after a deal
52 Staunch supporter (4)
STEM - DD. Staunching a wound, supporting a flower..
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 28284 - Saturday, 7 May 2022. Solved to the sounds of Haydn?

I'd never heard of the political arrangement at 12D, so no music played for me ... tho' I'm sure it was different for some. Anyhow, the answer was clear from the helpers. Nor was my geography up to naming the answer to 2D - that one I had to look up. Everything else was within my ken. Thanks to the setter for 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 this week's Saturday Cryptic.

[Read more ...]

Clues are blue. Definitions are underlined in bold italics. (ABC)* indicates anagram of ABC, with the anagram indicator italicised.

1 Better gets on convenient-sounding race (8)
HANDICAP - HANDI sounds like 'handy'. CAP=to better.
9 A very important fact about unusual native animals: just tips for birds (8)
AVIFAUNA - first letters (tips).
10 Make a picture, forswearing a beer (4)
11 To try going viral is tragic (5-7)
HEART-RENDING - HEAR=to try (a court case). TRENDING=going viral.
13 I don’t care if this protects pig from sunburn? (2,4)
SO WHAT - the SOW wears a HAT.
14 Perhaps tiger at first makes no time for aardvark (8)
MANEATER - M(akes) + AN(t)EATER.
15 To put on head, secure large cushion (7)
BEANBAG - BEAN=head + BAG=to secure.
16 Inclined to take too much, admitting scarcity not ended (2,1,4)
OF A MIND - OD=overdose=take too much, 'admitting' FAMIN(e)=scarcity.
20 Holder transferred from can to cup (8)
22 Renounce somewhat degenerate backing (6)
RENEGE - backwards hidden.
23 Independent voter annoyed by crazy Bren toting revolutionary (5-7)
25 Choose either end of coiled string (4)
CORD - if you choose either the start or end of coiled, you end up with (ta da): C ... OR ... D.
26 Immoral relative has time for a bit of lunch (8)
UNCHASTE - UNC(l)E replaces L='a bit' of Lunch, by HAS + T. I don't like the use of 'a bit' to mean 'the first letter'. I don't see where that comes from.
27 Food here may be taken back to the lab (5,3)
DOGGY BAG - a cryptic definition, I suppose. The 'lab' is a Labrador retriever.
2 Here skiing challenge has an extra round (8)
AVIEMORE - A MORE=an extra, around VIE=challenge. I couldn't see it and didn't know the place, so had to look it up.
3 Work on New Year list and act as host (2,3,7)
DO THE HONOURS - DO=work + THE HONOURS=a list at New Year (and other times).
4 Mike comes in to devise a tasty indulgence (5,3)
CREAM TEA - M=mike, in CREATE=devise, + A.
5 How long Dad took to complete crosswords, for example (7)
6 Potentially Iron Age bird? (6)
PIGEON - PIG iron, also known as crude iron, is an intermediate product of the iron industry. EON=age.
7 No end of bother over one mystic (4)
SUFI - FUS(s) 'over', then I=one.
8 Emblem carried by revolutionary was continually annoying (8)
12 Clamour to play with Haydn, in this state? (4,8)
DUAL MONARCHY - (CLAMOUR HAYDN)*. The Austro-Hungarian Empire apparently was a dual monarchy, and Haydn of course was Austrian..
15 Reserve weapon: it can reduce work for members? (4,4)
BOOK CLUB - BOOK=reserve + CLUB.
17 Copper abandoned remote obsession (8)
FARTHING - FAR=remote + THING=obsession, as in "I've got a thing about ... "
18 Stretch of land without a green? Keep out of it (2-2,4)
NO-GO AREA - NO GO=without a green (traffic light). AREA=stretch of land.
19 Kept short socks, initially coloured (7)
21 In surprise attack start to beat into a pulp (6)
AMBUSH - B(eat) in A MUSH.
24 Make contact with skin, scraping the top: the reaction? (4)

Quick Cryptic 2134 by Teazel

This took a while to get going, and I stared for ages at 15dn until it twigged, so an above-par time of 9 minutes for me. Nice surfaces generally. My COD has to be 16ac.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Impose hand threateningly? Nothing in it (5)
FOIST – O (nothing) inside FIST
4 Battles to send back uncooked food (7)
WARFARE – RAW backwards + FARE
8 Cutlet cooked with last of the salad (7)
LETTUCE – anagram (‘cooked’) of CUTLET plus E
9 Plan to return by motorway to find seaside resort (5)
MIAMI – AIM backwards + MI
10 So loud it breaks the organ? (3-9)
EAR-SPLITTING – cryptic-ish definition, the organ being ear
12 Son, crazy, with a rash look? (6)
13 Made a gesture, and added name (6)
SIGNED – double definition
16 Law: handrails must be fitted for this ancient structure (8,4)
HADRIANS WALL – anagram (‘fitted’) of LAW HANDRAILS
18 A gorilla is dangerous (5)
HAIRY – double definition
20 One inheriting man’s sound sort of post (7)
AIRMAIL – sounds like HEIR MALE
21 Fine country, not good as marsh (7)
FENLAND – F + ENGLAND minus G for good
22 Check on success, lifting machine (5)
1 Adjusts after force is checked (7)
FALTERS – ALTERS after F for force
2 Point relation out for introduction (13)
INTERPOLATION – anagram (‘out’) of POINT RELATION. The definition is a bit of a stretch but just about works
3 Swan, perhaps, or elephant (9)
TRUMPETER – a trumpeter is a kind of swan
4 Small snack put together for romantic film (6)
5 Hit hard, run a mile (3)
RAM – R + A + M
6 A couple of improvements to make repeatedly (5,3,5)
7 Impressive film to be seen online? (4)
11 Brothers perhaps man such a ship (4-5)
14 Treacherous woman: all hide, trembling (7)
DELILAH – anagram (‘trembling’) of ALL HIDE
15 A name in a piece of ID is a hoax (6)
CANARD – A+N inside CARD. My LOI
17 Cook some quiche — fabulous (4)
CHEF – hidden word: quiCHE Fabulous
19 Nine months suggested, indeed (3)
YEA – three quarters of YEAR, so nine months

Times 28,289: Friday the Sans Teeth

Well, if you can't count on an absolute stinker of a tough Friday puzzle on Friday 13th, when can you count on one, I ask you? This was all pretty gentle stuff, add or insert a letter into something and match to a not-remotely-deceitful synonym of the desired answer at the clue's beginning or end. More Man Friday than Freddy Krueger, really.

I did very much like 13ac for its dextrous use of "cracking up" in the service of a pretty convincing surface.  Thank you setter!

Live solve video available on YouTube.

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Ferret to graze on food underground (4,4)
ROOT CROP - ROOT [ferret] + CROP [to graze on]
5 Gastropods which exhausted deer (6)
WHELKS - W{hic}H + ELKS [deer]
10 Fabulous land sharing supply almost everyone rejected (7-2)
SHANGRI-LA - (SHARING*) + reversed AL{l}. "supply" has got to be one of the best ever anagrinds, "in a supple way" rather than the noun it masquerades as
11 Hot stuff from graduates, with good intervention (5)
MAGMA - M.A. + M.A., G(ood) "intervening"
12 Report of singular advance (4)
LOAN - homophone of LONE [singular]
13 Stretched leaders of one Nazi group cracking up (9)
ELONGATED - ELATED [up], "cracked" by O{ne} N{azi} G{roup}
15 Discharge former prince deposing country’s leader (10)
17 Her majesty's personal units? (4)
ONES - when ER speaks of things personal to her she calls them "one's"
19 Bird initially leaving boat in flood (4)
LARK - L{eaving} ARK [boat in flood]
20 Prove unfaithful, as golfers typically do (4,6)
22 Government's current input to local pit conversion (9)
POLITICAL - I [electric current] "input" to (LOCAL PIT*). The def is specifically "government's", as in "of government"
24 Record contribution to score (4)
NOTE - double def. To note something (down) is to record it; notes contribute to a musical score
26 Warped tail of sick raven (5)
KINKY - {sic}K + INKY [raven, as in black]
27 Railway employees endorse line in final agreement (9)
SIGNALMEN - SIGN [endorse] + L(ine) in AMEN!
28 Lawman from New York seizing books artist brought back (6)
NOTARY - NY "seizing" O(ld) T(estament) + reversed R(oyal) A(cademician)
29 Awfully strained buyer does it to upgrade (6,2)
1 Headstrong, like horse at end of run (4)
RASH - AS H(orse), at end of R(un)
2 Where bee maybe lands later, conserving energy, and distracted (2,7,6)
3 Convincingly firm without using force (8)
COGENTLY - CO(mpany) + GENTLY [without using force]
4 Bad boy out of bounds climbing tree (5)
OLIVE - EVIL {b}O{y}, reversed
6 Tribute paid in silver blocks (6)
HOMAGE - HOME [in], "blocked" by AG [chemical symbol for silver]
7 Legal restrictions on motor ignition when machines are running? (8-2,5)
LIGHTING-UP TIMES - LIGHTING [ignition] + UPTIME [when machines are running]
8 Stage drama at last before players collectively resign (5,5)
STAND ASIDE - STAND [stage] + {dram}A + SIDE [players collectively]
9 Classification charge possible? I'm dismayed (8)
14 Articulate visionary author raised work awareness (4-6)
WELL-SPOKEN - (H.G.) WELLS + reversed OP + KEN
16 Transmission expert left to reflect during trial (8)
TELECAST - ACE L(eft), reversed during TEST
18 Wino died after trip in dark, delirious (8)
DRUNKARD - D(ied) after RUN [trip] in (DARK*)
21 Following check, I'm not sure it'll keep running (6)
STAYER - following STAY [check], ER [um?]
23 Drink gallons, returning actual bottles (5)
LAGER - G(allons), "bottled" by reversed REAL
25 Cathedral clergy dispensing with clothing shortly (4)
ANON - {c}ANON{s}

Times Quick Cryptic No 2133 by Mara

A plethora of anagrams and double definitions from Mara today, my second consecutive blog of a Mara puzzle.  I like the dd at 1d, and the device used to drop letters from 16d, and give clues of the day jointly to them.  1a was FOI.  Hopefully you will all find this one satisfyingly doable.  I don't have an accurate time as busy doing other things, but I feel this was certainly within my target.


Sunny city on the French Riviera (4)

NICE – Double definition - nice!.

Shape on the page not entirely irregular (8)

HEPTAGON – Anagram (irregular) of [ON THE PAG[e}] (not entirely = drop the last letter of {pag}E from the anagrist).

9  A hybrid sort of clue (6)

ACROSS – A (a) and CROSS (hybrid).

10  Parade trinkets also (6)

TATTOO – TAT (trinkets) TOO (also).

11 Uninteresting place to live (4)

FLAT – Double definition - and Norfolk doesn't fit.

12  Mention a funny name (8)

NOMINATE – Anagram (funny) of [MENTION A].

15  Alarm when the cut finger sprained (8)

FRIGHTEN – Anagram (sprained) of [TH{e} (cut = drop the last letter) FINGER]

17  Cricketer with beer to knock back (4)

SLIP – PILS (beer) reversed (to knock back).  There are some excellent schematic maps of cricket fielding positions that may help our non-cricket-familiar friends, just google 'map of cricket fielding positions'.

18  Nude is strangely finding knickers, say (6)

UNDIES – Anagram (strangely) of [NUDE IS].

21 Racket that has strings attached (6)

FIDDLE – Cryptic hint.

22  Complete reinvention of triangle (8)

INTEGRAL – Anagram (reinvention) of [TRIANGLE].

23 Song in concert, unexceptional (4)

TUNE – Hidden answer (in) {concer}T, UNE{xceptional}.


Something sent round (8)

CIRCULAR – Double definition.

Again organise seaside town (6)

RESORT – Double definition.

3  Box fastener in wood (8)

CHESTNUT – CHEST (box) and NUT (fastener).

Notice spinners turning (4)

SPOT – TOPS (spinners) reversed (turning).

5 Box where sculpture perhaps hidden in deception (6)

CARTON – ART (sculpture perhaps) hidden inside CON (deception).

6 Nuts eaten by buffalo, countless (4)

LOCO – Hidden answer inside (eaten by) {buffa}LO, CO{untless}.

13  Chap, if elderly, having various functions (8)

MANIFOLD – MAN (chap) IF (if) OLD (elderly).

14  Fit girl running round bottom of garden, minor (8)

TRIFLING – Anagram (running round) of [FIT GIRL] and {garde}N (bottom of = last letter).

16  Plane top in Germany, though many lost (6)

GLIDER – LID (top) inside GER{many} (many lost means drop the last 4 letters).

17  Dope fixing a steed (6)

SEDATE – Anagram (fixing) of [A STEED].

19  Not any of it, sister said? (4)

NONE – Homophone, sounds like NUN (sister).

20  European sensing English rather bitter, first of all (4)

SERB – First letters (first of all) of Sensing English Rather Bitter.

Times 28288 - all welly, no wanging

Time taken: 8:59.  Parts of this were tricky, and there were two that I had my fingers crossed for when I hit submit, but they both turned out to be OK.

I usually solve online, but this time I had to grab some paper to scribble out the long anagrams and try to decipher them.

Since I've been following the elections in the US, Australia and the recent ones in France and the UK, 21 across is one of my favorite clues in a long time, well put setter!

Away we go...

1 Act as vicar maybe, providing church with a set of holy books (5)
CHANT - CH(church) with A, NT(set of holy books)
4 One's got on in an endeavour to go with the flow (9)
BANDWAGON - cryptic definition
9 One ''spiky'' type to go off the deep end, rambling (9)
ITINERANT - I(one), TINE("spiky" type), RANT(to go off the deep end)
10 Buggy feasible for bringing fruit (5)
LEMON - LEM(Lunar Excursion Model, moon buggy), ON(feasible).  Thanks to jackkt for pointing out the wordplay - I had it as a double defintion originally
11 Formula for making little Sarah's shoe (6)
SANDAL - little Sarah would be SAL, which can be made S AND AL
12 Trying hard, not having succeeded in the gym? (8)
TRAINING - STRAINING(trying hard) minus S(succeeded)
14 Exceptional man with great hope campaigning very vigorously? (2,3,7)
17 Notice lout is on the loose — I will speak out in a clear manner (12)
20 Most idiotic fools, right to the fore, in court (8)
CRASSEST - ASSES(fools) with R(right) in front, inside CT(court)
21 Miserable aim to get new leader (6)
ABJECT - OBJECT(aim) with the first letter changed.
23 Maybe one-to-one operation is somewhat lacking (5)
RATIO - hidden inside opeRATIOn
24 Soon despicable fellow gets a woman to have close relationship (9)
INAMORATA - IN A MO(soon), then RAT(despicable fellow), A
25 Description of Winnie as a mammal? (5,4)
HONEY BEAR - Winnie the Pooh is a BEAR after HONEY
26 Scruffy children — last thing academy needs (5)
SEEDY - SEED(children) and the last letter in academY
1 Club hit — accompaniment to fish just cooked? (4,4)
CHIP SHOT - CHIPS(accompaniment to fish), HOT(just cooked) and a hit with a golf club
2 A story, nipper's prime requirement, had to be off-putting (8)
ALIENATE - A, LIE(story), the first letter of Nipper, ATE(had)
3 Host's moderately tipsy — we've heard that so many times before! (3,4,3,5)
4 Dress up and talk big (4)
BRAG - GARB(dress) reversed
5 International organisation to protect old city: way one can make people feel better? (10)
NATUROPATH - NATO(international organisation) containing UR(old city) then PATH(way)
6 Upcoming fashion — chain of shops to provide special footwear (10,5)
WELLINGTON BOOTS - WELLING(upcoming), TON(fashion), then BOOTS is the chain of shops
7 Periodical served up piece as a good opener? (6)
GAMBIT - MAG(periodical) reversed, then BIT(piece)
8 No worry with energy at a minimum in early period (6)
NONAGE - NO, NAG(worry) and E(energy)
13 County and country inadequately supplied with money — anger ensues (10)
LANCASHIRE - LAND(country) missing the last letter, then CASH(money), IRE(anger)
15 Dog left out in the open given drink at the pub (8)
AIREDALE - AIRED(left out in the open), then ALE(drink at the pub)
16 Pieces of sculpture mostly standing on a pair of parallel lines (8)
STATUARY - remove the last letter from STATUS(standing) then  A, RY(railway, pair of parallel lines)
18 Char and whisky, when time is right (6)
SCORCH - SCOTCH whisky with T(time) replaced with R(right)
19 Worker in study somewhere in Switzerland? (6)
CANTON - a worker ANT in DEN(study). Glad DANTEN isn't a place.
22 An item or two? (4)
PAIR - double definition

Times Quick Cryptic 2132 by Izetti

5:56, for what felt like a decent workout.  There were a handful of words here I didn't quite know, so writing this blog will be an education!  Speaking of which, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been enrol(l)ed in a Master's program here in New York City.  I've just finished my last assignment of the semester, so I hope to return to daily puzzling after I finish my finals!Collapse )
snowy 2

Times 28287 - two kinds of firsts.

My first time blogging for the new site then copied here, as opposed to last week's when that process was reversed. As it happened, I found this puzzle an easy one and set a new PB by completing it in 10 minutes and a few seconds. Afterwards I looked up 17a on Wikipedia, it was a word I'd heard of in a calendar context but didn't know what or when it was. Not much else to add about this one.

This was copied and pasted from the new website which creates larger spaces between some lines, sorry about that but I'm not going to edit every line of HTML to make it tighter.

Definitions underlined in italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.
1 Intimidate son interrupting discussion in plant (3,7)
COW PARSLEY - COW = intimidate, PARLEY = discussion, insert S for son.
7 Person singing in new boat (4)
NARK - N for new, ARK a boat.
9 Furore over books in part of Belfast (8)
STORMONT -STORM = furore, O = over, NT = books.
10 Scandinavian food tucked into by a knight on board (6)
DANISH - A, N [knight in chess] both inside DISH = food.
11 Extremely significant widespread conflict (6)
STRIFE - S T (extremes of significant) RIFE [widespread].
13 Administered church, inspiring priest’s trust (8)
RELIANCE - RAN [administered] insert ELI the usual crosswordly priest, CE = Church of England.
14 Student of life misused Bitcoins site (12)
17 A game is set up, oddly, for a day in church (12)
SEPTUAGESIMA -(A GAME IS SET UP)*. It's the Sunday between seventy and sixty days before Easter, hence the name derived from the Latin for seventy. No doubt a more religiously inclined person can expand (or read Wiki like I did).
20 Tedious book lying around Irish quarters (8)
TIRESOME - TOME [book] has IR and E S inserted.
21 Benefactors having no right to infiltrate parties (6)
DONORS - DOS = parties [plural of DO], insert NO R.
22 Newspaper’s revolutionary work plugged by Times leader (3-3)
RED-TOP - RED [revolutionary] OP [work] insert T for Times.
23 Acclaim register, one used endlessly by Brussels (8)
EULOGISE - EU, LOG (register) I, USED = used endlessly.
25 Cook disturbed by a brawl (4)
FRAY - A inside FRY.
26 Improving technique increases murder rate (10)

2 Surpass old-fashioned tourists finally on excursion (8)
OUTSTRIP - OUT [old-fashioned], S (end of tourists], TRIP [excursion].
3 This standard giving rise to censure (3)
PAR - RAP [censure] reversed.
4 River horse, or cow, by the sound of it (5)
RHONE - sounds like ROAN, which can describe the white and coloured patchy coat of horses, cows, and other animals.
5 More recent article identifies site of Roman basilica (7)
LATERAN - LATER [more recent], AN [article]. The oldest of the four basilicas in the Vatican.
6 Singing and shouting odds regularly inside (9)
YODELLING -YELLING has the alternate letters of OdDs inserted. Debatable whether yodelling is singing - then again, remember Frank Ifield?
7 Accepting new power, not a single craftsman is unbiased (3-8)
8 Cut out part of support covering financial centre (6)
RESECT - not 100% sure, but I think this is REST (support, as in snooker) with EC (City of London, hence financial centre) inserted.
12 Unusually tiny, listens with determination (11)
15 Off-the-cuff claim to be on time at university (9)
IMPROMPTU - I'M PROMPT = claim to be on time, U for university. A bit of a chestnut.
16 Lock up woman concerned with protecting elected member (8)
IMPRISON - IRIS (a woman) ON (concerned with) has MP inserted.
18 Ineffectual American drug? Not so (7)
USELESS -US (American) E (drug) LESS (not so).
19 Like a style of painting some revel in early (6)
LINEAR -hidden as above.
21 Capital Henry invested in high-quality food shop (5)
DELHI - H for Henry inside a DELI. I could take issue with this as the capital is NEW DELHI not just Delhi, which is a larger urban area in which New Delhi is sited.
24 Set cricket side up (3)
GEL - LEG reversed.