Log in

No account? Create an account

April 12th, 2018

My Polish mother-in-law was considering the relative merits of dogs and, so the possibly apocryphal story goes, couldn’t decide between a Coolie and a Damnation. I’d like to think that the memory of that tale mitigates my otherwise pathetic first mistake, an inability to spell the dog needed in the grid, but of course it doesn’t. I have no excuse whatever for my second pink square, a simple typo that evaded my close check of my completed grid. Otherwise 17 and a half minutes, another average time, for a rather entertaining puzzle, which threatened but eschewed obscurity with such as Persian governors, old criminals and biblical vessels. Maybe the French month is new to some, but is a familiar enough word with crustacean connections.
Here I knit up the ravelled sleeve of care with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS highlighted.


1 Seek Democrat’s favour? Back workers’ representatives in print (7)
WOODCUT You might WOO a D(emocrat) to secure his vote, with the backing of the TUC (which of course gives CUT)
5 Ship giving tough guy new start (7)
CRUISER One of those Change the First Letter to Another Unspecified Letter clues: fortunately, you start with tough guy BRUISER
9 Lively animal at dogshow’s opening? (9)
DALMATIAN Lively signals the anagram, ANIMAL AT Dogshow is the grist. As it happens, most Spotty Dogs I have known, including the one belonging to the Woodentops (6 minutes in) have been pretty lively, so the &lit works just fine
10 Noise from cellar nags intermittently (5)
CLANG Could be any old noise, but it’s derived from CeLlAr NaGs.
11 After workout, equine star one on form perhaps (13)
13 Torn about old information unit (8)
ROENTGEN Torn: RENT circles O(ld) and adds information GEN. Full marks if you remembered that a Roentgen is a measure of exposure to X-rays or gamma rays. Bonus points if you know it’s been superseded by the Sievert or the Rem.
15 Group needing 4 for a score (6)
SEPTET Subtract the answer to 4 (spoiler alert) from 20, then remember what the term for seven players is.
17 Irritated, bring back study about biblical vessel (6)
NARKED  Biblical vessel? Could it be the ARK? DEN is a useful synonym for (a) study, which you “bring back” about the floating zoo.
19 Good! Relative permitted trial (8)
GAUNTLET Easy stuff. G(ood) AUNT LET. A trial if you run it.
22 Out of touch in collective (not English) in charge of a Party (13)
INCOMMUNICADO Collective: COMMUNE (knock off the English) I(n) C(harge) A party: DO. Just work doggedly through and assemble the bits.
25 Fourth bird making a group? (5)
CROWD I like this one. I) crow A, 2) crow B 3) crow C, so 4)?
26 Wrong colours disheartened Persian governor (9)
PROCONSUL Stop trying to remember satraps, khans and such. You only need the PersiaN for its shell. Add COLOURS and present them “wrong” for the right answer. And no, there never was an Anticonsul.
27 Not suitable for evening out? (3-4)
NON-IRON Doesn’t need decreasing.
28 Glasses I picked up at outset wanting attention (7)
EYEWEAR Sounds like (picked up) I – no arguments there, then – plus “at the outset” Wanting and EAR for attention


1 Our group circulates papers over extensive area (4)
WIDE Our group is WE (I believe especially in bridge) and ID the papers encircled.
2 Evasive, he passed on national symbol in conversation (7)
OBLIQUE OB is an acceptable abbreviation for obit, he died. LIQUE is an acceptable (if not a real word) soundalike for LEEK, the Welsh national vegetable.
3 Girl lover’s initially got in mind (5)
CLARE Lover initially is, um, L. Needs to be placed into CARE for mind
4 Cardinal, fine, welcoming Rome’s capital support of course (8)
THIRTEEN Fine is THIN, the capital of Rome is, um, R, and the support of (golf) course id a TEE
5 Clergyman’s inspiring time in Geneva area? (6)
CANTON Much amusement can be had in ecclesiastical circles with the rank of CANON (though it’s quite hard to fire one). This one ”inspires” T(ime) for the local government unit in Switzerland
6 Lack of interest in vessel used in North Carolina formerly? The reverse (9)
UNCONCERN Right, this is not vessel URN inside N(orth) C(arolina) ONCE, but the other way round.
7 Settle perhaps accepting equipment brought up typical of island (3-4)
SEA-GIRT Settle might suggest SEAT equipment RIG. Invert the latter within the former. Here’s an example of the word used in Milton’s Comus:
.....Neptune besides the sway
Of every salt Flood, and each ebbing Stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high, and neather Jove,
Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Iles
8 Unpredictable country doctors use OTT gear (5,5)
ROGUE STATE “Doctor(s)” USE OTT GEAR, which looks like a fairly desperate anagram.
12 Religious female published Channel Islands study (10)
FRANCISCAN F(emale) (which I thought initially was Fran) published: RAN C(hannel) I(slands) study, this time SCAN
14 Article on amphibious troops: I stick up for time in France (9)
THERMIDOR Confusingly the 11th month of the French Revolutionary Calendar (August-ish), made up of three 10 day weeks. Article: THE,  amphibious troops R(oyal) M(arines), I: I. Stick “up” DOR
16 Singer from Italian port trying out new example first of all (8)
BARITONE BARI the Italian port, site of the only known poison gas attack (unintended) of WWII. Add the initial letters (first of all) of Trying Out New Example.
18 Rising vehicle business supported by American native (7)
RACCOON CAR your vehicle that “rises”, CO(mpany) and supported by: ON.
20 Having secured agreement, miss energy inspection (4-3)
LOOK-SEE Miss: lose) E(nergy) secures agreement: OK
21 Old criminal’s new direction blocked by sleuth (6)
TURPIN New direction is TURN, sleuth is PI (as in Magnum)
23 Buffalo needs housing away from others (5)
ALONE Today’s hidden, in buffALO NEeds
24 Slight noise from eating, no longer quiet (4)
SLUR Stop looking for a small noise, you want a good, healthy, noisy SLURP before removing its P for quiet.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1068 by Izetti

A touch on the harder side today from Izetti, which is to say probably average for Izetti, and there was indeed some typical tricksiness going on. Some nicely unusual wording as well - If I'd seen a couple of the answers cold, I couldn't have told you remotely what 18d was, and I would have given a different definition for 20ac. I was also left staring at 16d for a couple of minutes at the end, which pushed me correspondingly over my target. Eight-or-so anagrams might have helped provide a decent entry if some of the clueing elsewhere was on the harder side (although 10d was my 2nd last one in), so all in all, a well-balanced puzzle - many thanks to Izetti!

1 Former lover having requests cries (8)
EXCLAIMS - EX (former lover) CLAIMS (requests)
5 Stylish little bird with tail hidden (4)
CHIC - CHICK (little bird) with tail letter hidden.
8 Trips made by drunkard rolling over outside old city (5)
TOURS - TOS (SOT/drunkard, rolling over/reversing) outside UR (old city - a cryptic crossword staple).
9 Loner in sports ground, learner needing exercise (7)
RECLUSE - REC (Sports ground - another staple) L(earner) needing USE (exercise)
11 Supports politicians giving accounts of what happened earlier (11)
BACKSTORIES - BACKS (supports) TORIES (politicians)
13 Musical dramas are so fantastic when piano is included (6)
OPERAS - Anagram (fantastic) of ARE SO with P(iano) included
14 A day given opening — now on calendar? (6)
ADVENT - A D(ay) given VENT (opening) - with reference to advent calendar opening.
17 Temporary pavilion so unstable, sheltering Rex (11)
PROVISIONAL - anagram (unstable) of PAVILION SO, sheltering/covering R(ex)
20 Hospital official who could give Ron meal (7)
ALMONER - anagram (could give) of RON MEAL. If pushed, I would have said this was a giver of alms, but it now more commonly refers to a hospital aftercare worker, originally being someone who also organised payment of the medical bill.
21 Candle that a person gets hold of (5)
TAPER - hidden: "thaT A PERson" gets hold of the answer. Interesting etymology - same as paper: a corruption of the Latin "papyrus", a very versatile plant whose pith could make both paper and the wicks for candles, with the root providing a fuel and all manner of tableware.
22 Fiddler supposedly with refusal to entertain the Queen (4)
NERO - NO (refusal) to entertain ER (the Queen)
23 Most exciting preliminary contest involving fantastic side (8)
HEADIEST - HEAT (preliminary contest) involving an anagram (fantastic) of SIDE.
1 Poet denied king food (4)
EATS - KEATS (poet) denied K. The singular "eat" exists but is rarer.
2 Fall apart, having cold and noise in stomach? (7)
CRUMBLE - C(old) and RUmBLE (noise in stomach)
3 Group of coots in Asia flying (11)
ASSOCIATION - anagram (flying) of COOTS IN ASIA
4 Confused situation with nothing right in church service (6)
MORASS - O (nothing) R(ight) in MASS (church service) - same idea as "marsh".
6 Sixty minutes with one beautiful female (5)
HOURI - HOURI (60 min) with I (one). A bird of paradise, so to speak, last appearing in a QC on the 16th March. johninterred, who blogged the puzzle, provided a useful link to here.
7 Oily liquid ruining eco-store (8)
CREOSOTE - anagram (ruining) of ECOSTORE
10 Odd creation modified and harmonised (11)
COORDINATED - Anagram (modified) of ODD CREATION. This held me up for a bit, as I failed to consider O going between C_O.
12 Arrive shortly on flat territory and grumble (8)
COMPLAIN - COME (arrive), shortly = dock the tail; PLAIN (flat territory)
15 Pill, see, could be this shape (7)
ELLIPSE - anagram (could be this) of PILL SEE, with pills often being elliptical.
16 Go through church under mass of stonework? (6)
PIERCE - CE (Church of England) under PIER (mass of stonework).
18 Shell of yellow hue on French sea (5)
ORMER - OR (yellow hue - as in golden) on MER (French sea) - abalone/sea snail, the creature and/or shell.
19 Exclamation of annoyance when daughter meets rodent (4)
DRAT - D(aughter) RAT (rodent).

Bank Holiday Jumbo 1316

Well this was a nice meaty puzzle for Easter Monday, full of clever stuff.  I didn't record an exact time but I certainly took over an hour to wrestle this into submission so it was definitely harder than average.

First in was SETTLE DOWN, last was DANDY.  Definitions are undelined, hopfully the explanations all make sense.

Closing date for entries was Wednesday so I see no harm in scheduling this to appear on Thursday.  Hopefully folk looking for the blog for 1315 won't be confused.



Russian girl turned away from wife: such a flaming cheek! (5)

AGLOW - OLGA reversed next to W[ife], nothing to do wuth impertinence


Still did not pay each other’s bills? (6,4)



Humiliated when implicated in lying (6)

ABASED - AS inside ABED (lying down)


First two elements needed in travelling around, very often (2,3,4)

ON THE HOUR - HE[lium] and H[ydrogen] in ON TOUR.  I may not be much of a scientist but I do know that H and He are at the top of that chemical league table thingy.


Matter for debate involving ie Exodus Ten (qv) (5,8)

VEXED QUESTION - (i.e. exodus ten qv)*


Regret returning musical compositions for something inferior? (7)

EUROPOP - RUE reversed then OP OP.  I don't think anyone is going to try and argue that Europop is superior music.


Pine used to be sort of tree associated with style (5,4)



Wine-maker bottling spirit in miniature (5)

TOKAY - KA in TOY as in small dog.  Ka was the ancient Egyptian concept of vital essence or spirit.  The definition must be referring to the grape as it seems we now spell the wine producing region Tokaji.


Early solution amazingly is popular — or dim (10,4)

PRIMORDIAL SOUP - (is popular or dim)*.  Nice definition.


Body part I displayed on greeting athlete’s achievement (7)

HIPBONE - ONE (I) on (invariably after in an across clue) HI & P[ersonal] B[est]


Ace being in bar with VIP, and fit to drive (10)



Maybe lean in, clutching a barrel that’s bottomless (12)



Spots the writer’s article being withdrawn (5)

NAEVI - I'VE AN reversed.  New word for me.  It's the plural of naevus, a congenital growth or blemish.


Any more messing and finally they will bring on the cavalry! (8)

YEOMANRY - (anymore)* + {the}Y


Row, chasing husband outside entrance to tavern, smashed (6,2)

STAVED IN - DIN after T{avern} in SAVE.  Hands up everyone who was trying to force an H in there somewhere.


Whistle to secure hospital blanket (5-3)

CATCH-ALL - H[ospital] in CAT-CALL


Rather fine judge briefly lives in New Hampshire (8)

THINNISH - THINk + IS in N[ew] H[ampshire]


Best forty Latin sounds (5)

EXCEL - sounds like XL off of Roman numerals


Colony Magnus developed features in magazine (5,7)

AGONY COLUMNS - (colony magnus)*


Primarily liking to fill stomach, to wit ... (10)

GLUTTONOUS - L{iking} in GUT + TO NOUS.  Nice &Lit.


Nuts with plum and date, nice all shelled (7)

LUNATIC - pLUm aNd dATe nICe


Literary award for engaging fellow? (3,6,5)

MAN BOOKER PRIZE - a man booking someone would be a fellow engaging them, innit.  I caused myself problems by putting THE BOOKER PRIZE first.


Director’s level of interest in extremes of cinema (5)

CAPRA - A[nnual] P[ercentage] R[ate] in C{inem}A.  I think APR is used internationally


British students, on reflection, just brilliant! (9)

SUNBRIGHT - B[ritish] N[ational] U[nion] (of) S[tudents] reveresd then RIGHT for just.  Not a word you hear every day and it doesn't seem to be in all the dictionaries.


Back row’s accommodating second sitting (7)

SESSION - NOISE'S reversed around S[econd]


Whiskers do remain, having withdrawn from shaving (7,6)

SWIZZLE STICKS - SWIZZLE (do as in swindle) then STICK and Shaving


Equine stuffing husky, race being broadcast (9)

HORSEHAIR - soundee-likee for HOARSE HARE


Girl has returned to proper governess (6)

DUENNA - ANN reversed after DUE (as in care and attention).  A word I've only ever seen in crosswords


Peter, minus pants, showing a bit of chest (10)

EPISTERNUM - (Peter minus)* with pants being the anagrind.  The episternum is a bone between the clavicles


President impressed by judge’s long opening (5)

FJORD - (Ex-president Gerald) FORD around J[udge].  Beautiful plumage.



Highpoint of a sailor’s meeting with brother (6)

APOGEE - A P[etty] O[fficer] + GEE as in blimey.  Old hands will have been trying to construct something like ATARFR or AABBRO


A line a chap added to volume for US author’s rep (8,5)

LITERARY AGENT - A R[ailwa]Y A GENT after LITER (US misspelling of litre)


Young Women’s charity (5)

WHELP - W{omen's] + HELP


Small receptacle for grain or grass (7)

SHOPPER - S[mall} HOPPER, grass as in informant


Cast having insufficient resolve (5,5,2)

THROW LIGHT ON - THROW + LIGHT ON (as in this blog is a bit light on humour)


Meekly removing leader, with scant regard for economy? (8)



Go west, crossing eleven southern states (5)

DIXIE - DIE around XI


Sort of hairline fracture was poked underneath with one (6,4)

WIDOWS PEAK - (was poked)* under W[ith] I.  Very elegant lift & separate (hairline fracture)


Wait here, maybe, kitchenware payment being held up (3,4)

BUS STOP - reverals of POTS SUB


Black mass comes together to raise something with foul content (5,4)

STINK BOMB - reversal of B[lack] MOB KNITS


Those at core of rowdyism incurring fine (5)

DANDY - This one nearly had me beaten but all was fine and dandy in the end.    The middle letters of rowdysim are D AND Y


Floundering, but they reach almost the end row (4,3,7)

BURY THE HATCHET - (but they reach the)*


Endless malt whisky drunk with a lot of syrup (9)

MAWKISHLY - (malt whisky)*


Keep wrapper from butter, with or without manufacturer’s label? (3-5)

OWN-BRAND - OWN + B{utte}R + AND


Make last move to the fringes when casting vote (10)



Stroke fawn below head (5,5)



Two blokes and a bird erected compound in China (5,9)



Picture lover with doctor, one struggling to retain self-esteem (9)



Conservative party to set about a quiet exploit (4,2,2)

CASH IN ON - C[onservative] + IN ON (party to) around a SH (as in shhhh!).  More lovely lift & separate and that old setters' trick of changing the sense of a word between surface and cryptic (here "exploit" being a noun in the surface reading but a verbal definition)


Zoo had corgi originally associated with TV film (6,7)

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO - (zoo had corgi tv)*


Where warfare, as it were, is in the making? (5,7)

FIELD KITCHEN - CD based on the premise that war fare is made in a field kitchen.  A cheeky bit of Guardianese there, just about excused with "as it were".


Pullover in need of a wash perhaps, that was given a spin (7,3)

HUMMING TOP - DD, one whimsical.  I'm pretty sure I had a humming top as a small boy buy I didn't know that's what it was called


After one-nil reverse, I help devastated Reds fan, probably (9)

OENOPHILE - ONE O reversed then (i help)*


Bread brought up of use when catching rabbit (8)

FOUGASSE - OF reversed and USE around GAS.  What we have here is a flat, French bread product usually from Provence and often leaf-shaped.


Turkish port with retro Australian bar featured in books (7)

TRABZON - Reversal of OZ BAR in N[ew] T[estament].  I used knowledge of the football team Trabzonspor to lead me to the likely answer


Stand Sunday lunch, perhaps, but not a drink (7)



Used up some older units (6)

INURED - reverse hidden (more neat L&S)


Checked out in days, with luggage (5)

CASED -D[ays} with (no word order implied) CASE


Rattles one’s jewellery? (5)



Bundle, not entirely secure, fellow’s opened (5)