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February 16th, 2018

Times Quick Crossword No 1029 by Hawthorn

I think this is my first opportunity to do the blog for a Hawthorn crossword. And it is a very nicely crafted puzzle too. It took me just about an average time, so, by my book, is just about right in terms of difficulty. Of course others may have differing views - please feel free to share! As a quick crossword I thought it was spot on as training for the 15x15, 10a and 12a being prime examples. What is more, we have an abundance of lovely smooth surfaces. I'm hard pressed to pick a clue of the day. 14d was close, as was 15d but I'm going to say 21d for the most amusing surface. Thanks to our setter for a great quickie - I look forward to the next! [Edit: It would appear not everyone found this as straightforward as I did - I must have been on top form when solving it! Nevertheless, I think most agree it was a great crossword, even if some found it a bit too tough].

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.
Click this link for the answers...Collapse )

Times 26,963: Instant Classic(s)

With hindsight this crossword looks tailor-made for quiz-going Oxbridge classicists and other such insufferably smart-alecky types, and so it more or less proved in the event, taking me 7 and a half minutes on paper.

FOI 1ac (the first word that springs to mind when I look in the mirror every morning), LOI I think 27ac as big band was unknown circa the first century and thus harder for my memory banks to access. Lots of clues here I very much admired but I'll give special mention to the &lit at 12dn, the TLS-tastic "Lawrences", and also to 21dn, where I loved the use of "co-ordinates" and the classical surface adding extra grace to this most classical puzzle in ages.

So to cut a long story short, friends, Romans and countrymen, I thought this was a splendid crossword, but what about the rest of you? Too classical for some, perhaps?

1 Foppish type’s invitation to bird to call? (8)
POPINJAY - or "Pop in, jay!", an invitation to a bird to call (round).

9 Military preparation of Frenchman the last word in craft (8)
ARMAMENT - M AMEN [Frenchman | the last word] in ART [craft]

10 Cancel changes in South Vietnamese festival (4)
STET - S TET [South | Vietnamese festival], stet being Latin for "let it stand", the printer's instruction to leave things as they were.

11 Humiliate MP with a spiced-up union song (12)
EPITHALAMIUM - (HUMILIATE MP + A*) ["spiced-up"]. Another unfair advantage to classicists, perhaps: an epithalamium is a wedding song about what awaits the new bride in the bedchamber, of which Catullus wrote a very famous example. Hymen o Hymenaee!

13 Anecdotes assuming Scottish smoker an old-school sort (6)
ALUMNA - ANA [anecdotes] "assuming" LUM [Scottish chimney = "smoker"]

14 An officer before journey finds close friend (5,3)
ALTER EGO - A LT ERE GO [an officer | before | journey]. That's four or five Latin answers in a row; well, *I* approve...

15 An outhouse on street is hidden (7)
STASHED - A SHED [an outhouse] on ST [street]

16 Secretary brought in recognised writer's block (7)
NOTEPAD - PA [secretary] brought in NOTED [recognised]. The *good* sort of writer's block.

20 Tragic scene of crime sitting in European tradition (8)
ELSINORE - SIN [crime] sitting in E LORE [European | tradition]. Elsinore is of course the setting for Shakespeare's most famous and longwinded play, Hamlet.

22 Indian city accommodates parking for historic location (6)
DELPHI - DELHI [Indian city] accommodates P [parking]. We're back to the classics as Delphi is very famous in that arena, for oracles and such.

23 Navy in Naples restored State (12)
PENNSYLVANIA - (NAVY IN NAPLES*) ["restored"]. The fifth most populous of the United States, capital Harrisburg.

25 Wader again seen on island (4)
IBIS - BIS [again] seen on I [island], a crossword staple bird and clue.

26 Supervised one at sea securing lines (8)
OVERSEEN - (ONE*) ["at sea"] securing VERSE [lines].

27 Old bandleader having Lawrences put away horse (3,5)
TED HEATH - TE DH [both famous literary Lawrences; clever!] + EAT H [put away | horse]. I guess Ted Heath PM was leader of a band in a way, but this is probably Ted Heath the trombonist who was a household name in the 50s, winning the NME poll for Best Band/Orchestra each year between 1952 and 1961: roll over, "Godlike Genius" Liam Gallagher.

2 Note group taking month over rental agreement (8)
OCTUPLET - OCT UP LET [month | over | rental agreement]

3 Break during school time is heaven (12)
INTERMISSION - IN TERM IS SION [during | school time | is | heaven]. Sion/Zion is the Promised Land and Heaven on Earth to Jews and Rastafarians alike, I haven't been to Jerusalem personally but I'm sure it's very nice.

4 Old German crossing Bali, free to express great happiness (8)
JUBILATE - JUTE [old German] crossing (BALI*) ["free"]. While the clue is by no means definitionally wrong, I hope no Danes are offended by their Jutlandic ancestors being assigned as German!

5 Cover for face when headmaster breaks jaw (7)
YASHMAK - AS HM [when | headmaster] breaks YAK [jaw]

6 Engaged in protecting cross, one combats evil (6)
AMULET - AT [engaged in] protecting MULE [cross]

7 Patriarch against wearing Hawaiian garland (4)
LEVI - V [against] wearing LEI [Hawaiian garland]. The third son of Jacob and Leah, as keriothe will tell you at the least opportunity, and the progenitor of the tribe of Levites.

8 Rugs taken up for daughter in midlands town (8)
STAMFORD - MATS reversed [rugs "taken up"] FOR D [daughter]. Stamford, Lincs, built by the amazing Romans and then quite big in the middle ages. Insultingly to its good name, I initially pencilled in STAFFORD, oops.

12 Air, extremely assertive, M Lisle’s composed (12)
MARSEILLAISE - (AIR + A{ssertiv}E + M LISLE'S*) ["composed"], &lit, as the aggressive anthem La Marseillaise was indeed penned by M Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

15 Followers pursue triallist perhaps (8)
SHEEPDOG - SHEEP DOG [followers | pursue]. Triallist as in sheepdog trials of course.

17 Future minister in rising party hurried to suppress row (8)
ORDINAND - in reversed DO ["rising" party], RAN [hurried] "to suppress" DIN [row]

18 Pithy speaker tense going round pub (8)
APHORIST - AORIST [tense, notably in Greek, another easy one to recall if you're a classicist] going round PH [pub]

19 Man being prepared runs vehicle inside (7)
SERVANT - SET [prepared], R VAN [runs vehicle] "inside"

21 Plato finally co-ordinates knowledge — it's inspired (6)
OXYGEN - {Plat}O + X Y [co-ordinates, on a graph] + GEN [knowledge]. Inspired as in "breathed in".

24 Xmas season to bode ill, ultimately? (4)
NOEL - {seaso}N {t}O {bod}E {il}L