A relatively benign brew which resulted in a time of 19.17. As I write, the seasonal thunder is rolling around the North Weald, ominously presaging the upheavals of the day ahead, and clearly our setter has taken the Referendum into account with a puzzle that is redolent with direct and (sometimes very) indirect glances at the poll, its campaigns and its aftermath, as I have attempted to clarify. Our setter very nearly discloses a preference: from the bottom up the middle column reads CAN BIM EU.Is the misprint towards the middle for AIM or BIN? We may never know. In the same spirit, I believe I have failed to disclose my own preference. AS for the puzzle itself, there were two answers I didn’t think I knew, the hotel and the plant (natch) but the wordplay is kind.
Here’s what I done:
Clues Definition SOLUTION
Clues Definition SOLUTION
1 Taken for a ride and abandoned, miles away (5)
DUPED The fate of many British voters, abandoned, DU(M)PED, M(iles) away from where they thought they’d be. Duped indeed.
4 Snake tot found stuck in engine (4,5)
PUFF ADDER One of those snakes that has daily been increasing political hot air, perhaps. ADD/tot inserted in PUFFER/engine. Those were the days, proper steam.
9 Old-fashioned rickshaw initially boarded by English traveller (9)
PASSENGER Old fashioned gives you PASSE, R comes from the initial of Rickshaw, and put ENGlish on board. Which handcart you board and which hell it is bound for is your privileged choice.
10 Group of democrats easily confused (2,3)
AT SEA A small group of letters from democrATS EAsily characterises the majority of voters. Does this setter have an agenda, do you think?
11 Supported United player, perhaps, after attempt to score has fallen short (6)
SHORED One of the teams that plays in RED is Manchester UNITED, and an attempt to score is a SHOT. Dismiss the T as the shot falls short, as one side or the other will.
12 Have fewer objections? That's insane (8)
MINDLESS I hope we will MIND LESS about the objections to remain and leave as it all calms down, but I freely admit the whole thing is driving me crazy. A simple double definition, with or without a space.
14 In operatic cycle, a French diva starts off very loud? (10)
THUNDERING Spookily ratling the windows even as I write, and which no doubt our beloved Times will be doing once it’s worked out which side it’s on. THE RING is an interminable German set of four operas. UN is French for A, D is how Diva starts off. Assemble.
16 Watering hole appears empty, animal found (4)
BOAR A BAR with nothing (0) in it appears empty, probably after we’ve all drowned our sorrows/celebrated our win.
19 Runs with champion in athletics event (4)
RACE “Runs” is helpfully capitalised for you to hint at the R, and a champion is probably an ACE. An athletic race between, say, Dave and Boris might be a better way of deciding the outcome.
20 With great joy, William mentioned worker will stop several weeks (10)
JUBILANTLY An Ikea flat pack of a clue. “Mention” little William, and that’s BIL. A worker is often an ANT in these acres. JULY contains four and a bit weeks. Insert parts A and B into part C. I hope to be celebrating in this style tomorrow.
22 Fellow accompanying queen, working for attendant (8)
CHAPERON Something you’re not supposed to have when you go to vote. Fellow: CHAP, queen ER, working, ON.
23 Blooming learner interrupts start of French test (6)
FLORAL Start of F(rench), ORAL test, L(earner) carefully inserted in the right square.
26 Clean the floor — order rejected by arrogant youngster (3,2)
MOP UP Order is the O(rder of) M(erit), reversed and attached to PUP, as in “you arrogant pup, pretending you know how to vote.”
27 End part of story still to be heard (9)
TAIL PIECE A two-word homophone (to be heard) of TALE/story PEACE/still. I don’t think we’ll have heard the end of it even after all the votes have been counted.
28 Military men taking steps to introduce one new regulation (9)
ORDINANCE Another Ikea clue, fine if you follow the instructions. I seem to have to explain almost every time that military men are O(ther) R(anks). Steps is (are?) DANCE. One is I, and new is N. Attach part one to part two, insert parts three and four where they make most sense. Whichever side you’re on, be grateful at least it’s not the military making the new regulations.
29 Line on fabric (5)
RAYON Line: RAY, on – um - ON. A clue which even I can’t push into political commentary.
1 Bank customer tied up, stabbed by unusually big Italian (9)
DEPOSITOR Tied is ROPED, which travels upward in the grid. The unpleasant Johnny Foreigner in this clue is an O(ut) S(ized) IT(alian), who knifes his way into the rest of the entry.
2 Bother to put on duck sauce (5)
PESTO Pest is bother in the sense of “a person causing bother” or someone continually trying to change your mind on in or out. Give him 0, a cricketing duck.
3 Rests, conserving energy for challenging areas to swim? (4-4)
DEEP ENDS Where we will be according to both sides if we get it wrong. Rests gives DEPENDS, insert E(nergy)
4 Young servant, bookish type? (4)
PAGE Something we are about to turn. I think the “bookish type” is simply a whimsical way of saying “page”
5 What's supporting e.g. India in turmoil? (7,3)
FOREIGN AID A neat &lit. What’s supporting is FOR, EG INDIA in turmoil gives the remaining EIGN AID. If it all goes pear shaped, the direction of aid may need to be reversed.
6 Name of female lawyer in America, with a husband to support (6)
AMANDA A lawyer in America is (and thanks to reruns of Perry Mason always will be) a D(istrict) A(ttorney), a husband is A MAN (though other permutations are available). To be loved or not? That is the question.
7 Served hideous tripe in diet that is deficient (6,3)
DISHED OUT The clue a decent description of our recent political experience, but also offering the rather clever anagram (tripe the unusual indicator) of HIDEOUS contained within DIET from which you’ve poked out the IE/that is.
8 Chinese societies, heading off for Moroccan hotels (5)
RIADS Chinese (secret) societies are either tongs or triads, and since ONGS doesn’t fit, RIADS must be the hotels we’re looking for. Trust the wordplay, unless of course you’ve stayed in one. Heading off for Moroccan hotels might be a good idea for a while until the dust settles.
13 Several nations meeting up to forge new coalition, ultimately (5,2,3)
GROUP OF TEN According to Google, “The Group of Ten is made up of eleven industrial countries”. Do you think we can get the same mathematician to count the votes, in case it goes the wrong way? The letters of UP TO FORGE and the N at the end of coalition are newly cast in a second elegant &lit.
15 Released killer apprehended by relative (daughter) (9)
UNCLASPED The killer is an ASP, a relative UNCLE apprehends it and the afterthought D(aughter) completes our entry. To clasp or unclasp, that is (also) the question
17 Leafy plant rogue left on a ferry (5,4)
ROYAL FERN Our first almost pure anagram, of L(eft) ON A FERRY. I trusted the wordplay, in exactly the same way that I don’t trust any in/out advocates.
18 Striker fighting to preserve European election coming up (8)
WALLOPER The most blatant topical clue. So I will just say it’s WAR/fighting set about a reversal of E(uropean) POLL/election. Apparently a walloper is also an Aussie policeman. Is this true?
21 Maybe gun points down at gangster, avoiding head and foot (6)
WEAPON How many crossword gangsters do you know. Yup, it’s CAPONE, whose innards provide the rest of the entry after you’ve determined that W and E are the randomly selected (compass) points you’re going to use. Randomly selecting might be a good way of deciding.
22 Old crooner engages British group (5)
COMBO Perry COMO is your crooner, old in the sense of dead, who embraces B(ritish). Choose which British you wish; I will still try to go on singing “And I Love You So”
24 Tall, gangly male avoids medicine perhaps (5)
REEDY As in of the nature of a reed, tall and thin. M(ale) goes missing from REMEDY. Apparently REMEDY goes missing from our future whichever way the vote goes.
25 Regularly train chef to provide food (4)
RICE The even letters from tRaIn ChEf. Hopefully the result will not go against the grain.