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February 5th, 2018

Times Quick Cryptic 1020 by Flamande

I needed 12 minutes for this but am at a loss to explain why I failed to hit my 10-minute target as it all seems perfectly straightforward in retrospect. There are a few UK-centric references which may give some of our overseas contributors pause for thought but I can't claim that as an excuse.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

Here's my blog...Collapse )
Being a bear of average brain, I rather like puzzles that are on the easier end of the scale. They make me feel a little brighter, and they reduce my SNITCH, while also reducing the difference between my time and that of the speedsters. They are, in a sense, the cruciverbal equivalent of false discriminators in language testing, i.e. items that are often solved correctly by people who do not think and incorrectly by those who do. This appeals to the contrarian in me, not to mention the nasty side of me, which enjoys taking a ringside seat and listening to the bleating of The Hopelessly Unstretched Genius (or THUG).

I jest, of course. But what an opportunity today's admirable setter missed! With the full resources of various Jewish and Christian Holy Books and Apocrypha to choose from, how disappointing that he (or she, of course) picked the minor prophet of doom, the marvellously named son of Beeri, when s/he had the likes of Eldad and Modad hanging around in the wings, waiting for their day in the sun.

It was nice, though, to see my favourite healthy pre-prandial snack at 17 across. I say "healthy", because (truth be known) my real favourite are those TERRA chips made from taro, yam etc. which con you into believing they are healthy. Well, they con me, anyway, and sometimes, contrary to Esdras - quoted above - Truth is not so great, and a bit of self-deception is the order of the day.

24 minutes.

PS congratulations to the Eagles for a great victory in the Super Bowl. I managed to catch the second half streaming, and was delighted not only by the plays but by the fact that the commentators seemed as clueless about the rules as I am.

ACROSS

1 Primate’s ring inspiring major portion of old German troops (10)
CHIMPANZEE - PANZE[r] in CHIME
6 Powder originally applied in sympathetic support (4)
TALC - A[pplied] in TLC
10 Old Frenchman’s article, say, about his wine (7)
ANGEVIN - AN + EG reversed + VIN
11 Pound for one publication: one’s opening it (7)
IMAGIST - MAG + IS (one's) in IT
12 Warwick, maybe, famous for manufacturing rulers? (9)
KINGMAKER - a reference to the 15th century's Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick - a right
busybody, if ever there was one
13 Recognised monastic office picked up by listeners (5)
KNOWN - sounds like NONE - an alternative for the more common NONES, which is the fifth of the
seven canonical hours of the divine office
14 Upland area with river in flood (5)
DROWN - R in DOWN
15 Small cup doctor set aside, containing mocha primarily (9)
DEMITASSE - M[ocha] in SET ASIDE* (anagram)
17 Nut’s facial hair changing character at the start (9)
PISTACHIO - PI for MU in MUSTACHIO
20 A second set of books about head of Cheltenham racecourse (5)
ASCOT -C[heltenham] in A + S + OT
21 That which chokes English grain (5)
WHEAT - E in WHAT (that which)
23 Bachelor digested very little, being on this? (9)
BREADLINE - ah, you see, if a university student was lazy and digested only a little of his (or
her) set text, he (or she) might have only read one line; so B + READ +LINE!! And if they ate only a
little food (because they spent all their grant on grog), then they might be on the breadline - even if
it was their own fault. Possibly. Is anyone still at fault these days?
25 Points introduced in characteristic passage (7)
TRANSIT - NS in TRAIT
26 Scandinavian lodging-place adopted by swimmers (7)
FINNISH - INN in FISH; well, for my money, a Finn (unless s/he is an ethnic Swede, I suppose) is
Nordic rather than Scandinavian, but no doubt some dictionary, somewhere out there, refers to the
"incorrect" usage that has now attained acceptability.
27 It may convey water for cleaning stockings (4)
HOSE - DD
28 Offer head fond affection (10)
TENDERNESS - TENDER + NESS

DOWN

1 Eccentric Conservative with official position (5)
CRANK - C + RANK
2 Naïve, ditching university for one? Brilliant! (9)
INGENIOUS - replace the U in INGENUOUS with an I
3 One who creates images on flags? (8,6)
PAVEMENT ARTIST - flags here being paving stones
4 Presumably rough adult embracing Poles (3-4)
NON-SKID - NO KID around our friends N and S
5 European lightweight absorbing sanctimonious maxim (7)
EPIGRAM - PI in E + GRAM
7 Travel with Parisian friend to find one in Madrid (5)
AMIGO - AMI + GO
8 One commanding regiment at last, concerned with holding grand function (9)
COTANGENT - a leetul beet tricky to parse, as David Brent might say: CO (one commanding) +
[regimen]T and then G (grand) in ANENT (ancient word for about or 'concerned with')
9 Greek trader, man in turmoil, grower of fruit and veg (6,8)
MARKET GARDENER - GREEK TRADER MAN*
14 Finally spend time in Suffolk port obtaining lighting accessory (9)
DIPSWITCH - [spen]D + T in IPSWICH; you know, it's embarrassing, but I never knew Ipswich was a
port. I thought the main ports in Suffolk were Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Harwich. Oops! Embarrassing
again...
16 Give up bag, if carrying rupees and diamonds (9)
SACRIFICE - SAC + IF in R [rupees] and ICE (diamonds)
18 Frequent visitor slightly in the shade? (7)
HABITUE - A BIT in HUE
19 Position of G-man’s boss taking too many courses? (7)
OVERFED - if you were a G-man's boss, you would have a Fed under you. Figuratively, one hopes,
otherwise we have a whole new MeToo thing on our hands
22 Welshman’s commercial vehicles, needing key to start (5)
EVANS - E + VANS
24 Characteristic spirit displayed in film and book (5)
ETHOS - ET + HOS (Hosea)