By my reckoning, the fourth crossword in a row on the easy side, though my relatively speedy 12.29 was nullified by a key-next-door Blurbird. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-D’oh. At least by the time most of you get on the leaderboard, my embarrassment will have almost disappeared from view. It will be interesting to see what bits emerge as obscurities today: nothing that I registered, but while I have quibble-queries on 25 and 26, they’re not rendered difficult.
Here’s my working, with some unnecessary but I hope entertaining notes.
The usual clue definition SOLUTION
The usual clue definition SOLUTION
1. One that flies down river, covered by British papers (8)
BLUEBIRD Meant to signify happiness, of course, unless you’re Donald Campbell or me. Here, down gives you BLUE, and your R(iver) is covered by B(ritish) I.D. papers
5. Security device has got placed around old instrument (6)
SPINET. The security device is the ubiquitously tautological PIN number, surrounded by got placed, SET
10. Weapon Missouri crowd originally obtained via Manhattan, say? (7,8)
MOLOTOV COCKTAIL Missouri is MO, crowd: LOT, then the first letters of Obtained and Via, and Manhattan is an example (say) of a COCKTAIL
11. Unacceptable view reported away from scene of activity (3-4)
OFF-SITE OFF for unacceptable (I say, chaps, that’s a bit off) and a homophone (reported) of sight (view).
12. Society leader, symbolically, that’s employed in matchmaking? (7)
SULPHUR represented symbolically by S, which by no coincidence is the leading letter of Society
13. One attending to radio set at sea in passenger vessel (8)
LISTENER Passenger vessel is LINER, place SET “at sea” therein
15. Hawk swallowing head of rare fish (5)
TROUT Hawk as in attempt to sell probably illicit tickets outside White Hart Lane, so TOUT, with an ingested head of Rare
18. The torment of endless rap music! (5)
ANGST Mrs Z attempted to block out the noise of supporting act Duke at her beloved Brother Strut’s concert on Sunday as they beatboxed their way though some rap stuff, some of which, for all I know might have been GANGSTA. You just need to knock off the first and last letters
20. Make attractive type fit somehow, introducing runs (8)
PRETTIFY An anagram (somehow) of TYPE FIT and R(uns)
23. Very little creature abandoning area by motorway (7)
MINIMAL Creature being ANIMAL, drop the (first) A(rea) and set beside the quintessential motorway, the M1
25. Wager involving a churchgoer and a small mammal (7)
BEARCAT Small? The Binturong (for such it is) is “the largest living species of the Viverridae”. Wager is BET, a church goer is A RC, and a is unsurprisingly A. Assemble. Other notable Bearcats are a fine Stutz 1914 Roadster (which also gave its name to a rather fine 1980s close harmony group), and a too-late-for-WW2 Grumman fighter still much in demand for racing and such.
26. Suffer avoidable fate — settle on own-brand? (4,2,4,5)
FALL ON ONE’S SWORD Not sure about that primary definition. I mean, yes, it’s avoidable if you choose not to accept responsibility for some disaster or to commit suicide rather than fall into enemy hands: Romans like Brutus were pretty good at that. However the second crack at definition is an ok, if more whimsical one, where brand is taken as a (slightly antique?) synonym for sword.
27. Block outside Kentucky used once for space research? (6)
SKYLAB Essentially, NASA hollowed out a Saturn 5 stage three, fitted it with solar panels and an improvised sunshade, and created their first long stay space station. Block is SLAB, Kentucky KY. Assemble.
28. Soldier’s first turn guarding gateway, detailed for this? (6-2)
SENTRY GO Might be a bit obscure for some. The clue is &lit, with S(oldier’s) turn: GO “guarding” gateway: ENTRY. A duty he might be detailed to do.
1. Express disapproval about a medic supplying grass! (6)
BAMBOO Just BOO around A MB one of the many, many substitutes for “medic”. Nice surface
2. Morale-boosting tip in Gulf manoeuvres (9)
UPLIFTING A simple anagram (manoeuvres) of TIP IN GULF
3. Act the fool, keeping Times in intermediate space (7)
BETWIXT Act the fool: BE TWIT with X (times) intervening.
4. Show priest over University College at last (5)
REVUE the REVerend priest plus U(niversity) and the last of collegE
6. Quiet president allowed to make crumpet (7)
PIKELET Our president is IKE Eisenhower (happy days). P is quiet and LET from allowed. Definitely a North of Watford term for the holey yeast cake.
7. Irishwoman’s chief upset husband (5)
NIAMH Chief gives you MAIN which is dutifully reversed and added to H(usband). NIAMH Cusack springs to my mind.
8. Put up with real jockeying in betting system (8)
TOLERATE An anagram (jockeying) of REAL in TOTE, the originally British Government owned betting programme. The fun stopped for HMG when they sold out to Betfred in 2011.
9. Study English and French ways to interpret (8)
CONSTRUE Study: CON plus the ST(reet) and RUE as indicated.
14. Emperor not French, consuming a perch? (8)
NAPOLEON A perch converts to A POLE, and NON for the French negative settles, mildly misleadingly, around it.
16. Look up works relating to sense of smell (9)
OLFACTORY LO for look “up” plus works: FACTORY
17. Organ very loud in 60% of music? These may be of use (8)
EARMUFFS As needed by Mrs Z even for Brother Strut; organ is EAR, 3 fifths of music is MUS, FF for loud (double forte) intervenes.
19. Lottery grave old man set up (7)
TOMBOLA Grave is TOMB, old and man need not to be Pa, Dad and so forth, but O and then AL “set up”
21. Poles appearing in characteristic carriage (7)
TRANSIT Poles here are N and S set into TRAIT, characteristic.
22. Where one may paint boss on current round (6)
STUDIO Boss: STUD, current: I, round: O
24. Girl old marshal’s taken round Lakes (5)
NELLY NEY’s been here before, one of Napoleon’s (qv) mostly faithful Marshals. You need two L(akes)
25. Long note from bishop about vicar’s first point (5)
BREVE Worth eight of anyone’s crotchets any day. B(ishop) RE (about) V(icar’s) (first) E(ast) point.