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January 13th, 2019

Sunday Times 4832 by Jeff Pearce

7:34. No problems this week: nothing too obscure in either definitions or wordplay, the odd minor query here and there but a fun puzzle with some nice touches.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.




Across
1 Is one at Billingsgate to get such after 27?
CHEAPSKATE - CD. Because if you were a CHEAPSKATE you might buy CHEAP SKATE that’s past its SELL-BY DATE at Billingsgate fish market.
6 Some fantastic wine
ASTI - contained in ‘fantastic’.
9 Peruvians once home get lots of money
INCAS - IN, CASh. I thought at first that this needed to be 'gets' for the wordplay to work, but if you think of 'get' as an instruction to the solver with no connection to the Peruvians it works OK.
10 Belittle lad with one good grade
DENIGRATE - DEN, I, G, RATE. For me DEN is less lad and more evil east-end landlord, but…
12 Ride posh car to Ascot — travelling with royalty
ROLLER COASTER - ROLLER (posh car), (ASCOT)*, ER.
14 Once more found wagon capsized in long grass
RETRACED - reversal of CART in REED.
15 University chief backing brilliant work in Latin
UTOPIA - U, TOP, reversal of AI.
17 Old chief died leading kingdom
DOMAIN - O, MAIN preceded by D.
19 Good shot behind farm building bags large kind of goose
BARNACLE - BARN, AC(L)E.
21 Rehoboam carries good book
SONG OF SOLOMON - before he was a large bottle of wine, Reheboam was the SON OF SOLOMON. Insert G.
24 Finally ruins ragout with an awfully bitter substance
ANGOSTURA - (ruinS, RAGOUT, AN)*. The aromatic bitter bark from trees of the family Rutaceae, of course. Also a cocktail ingredient.
25 Scoop on a boat contains small plant
BASIL - BA(S)IL.
26 Unlit rescue vessel behind dam
DARK - D, ARK. I don’t remember seeing D for ‘dam’ before. It’s in Collins, and it’s used in pedigrees: D for dam, S for sire.
27 When beastly Del might be rotten
SELL-BY DATE - (BEASTLY DEL)*. Not sure how this is supposed to work as a definition, other than very loosely. Del isn’t a food, and SELL-BY DATEs don’t really apply to Peckham wide-boys. Oh well, it's clear what is intended and the surface works.

Down
1 Shorten intro to Catch 22
CLIP - Catch, LIP. Because 22 is SAUCE.
2 1D only contains rear view of actor
EXCERPT - EXCE(actoR)PT. I’m sure I’m not alone in failing to realise for some time that it was 1D and not ID. A rather naughty trick!
3 After surgery lips are initially luminous — becoming yellow
PUSILLANIMOUS - (LIPS Are LUMINOUS)*.
4 Almost swim under anchor to get fishy meal
KEDGEREE - KEDGE, REEl. I think this is swim and reel in the sense of being dizzy.
5 Clobber group of workers going to French city endlessly
TUNIC - TU, NICe.
7 Place with vermin about is a new business
START-UP - reversal of PUT, RATS.
8 What one on bender at one could be later?
INEBRIATED - I, (BENDER AT I)*. Very nearly &Lit, or &Lit if you think ‘later’ can form part of the anagrind.
11 A gunboat may be travelling around an American naval base
GUANTANAMO BAY - (A GUNBOAT MAY BE)*. As pointed out by anon below, this is rubbish. There is clearly no E in GUANTANAMO BAY. Actually it's (A GUNBOAT MAY)* containing AN. This makes the word 'be' a bit awkward: to make the clue work I have to read it in a pirate voice. All those of you who failed to spot this - ahem - deliberate error see me after class.
13 Cheeses cut by daughter — and nuts cracked by one for wedding guest
BRIDESMAID - BRI(D)ES, MA(I)D
16 Game some shops kept under cover
PALL-MALL - PALL (cover), MALL. A game I had only vaguely heard of, but PALL seemed the obvious thing to put before MALL.
18 Mark’s fury about a boss
MANAGER -M, AN(A)GER.
20 On top of chimney Santa broke a game
CANASTA - Chimney, (SANTA)*, A.
22 Condiment well spoken of
SAUCE - sounds like ‘source’.
23 Left snooker club without tip
CLUE - C(L)UE.

Mephisto 3045 - Paul McKenna

I found this puzzle to be on the easier side of the Mephisto spectrum. There's not that many obscure words, and a few science references that fell right into my wheelhouse. The grid is generous too with the four twelvel-letter answers in a hash pattern leaving few unchecked letters in the other entries.

The pun in the top row this time was a little disappointing, as it has essentially been used in a Smashing Pumpkins album title. Did you know the lead singer from the Smashing Pumpkins (who I have seen three times, not my favorite act but I ended up getting free tickets to two of the shows) now runs a professional wrestling company?

All definitions can be confirmed in Chambers, and the first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...
Across
1 Killing amongst some Londoners? (5)
MELON - hidden in soME LONdoners. Killing in the sense of a great profit
5 Geordie Jack, commonly, reckoned by Dog Star at last (7)
COLLIER - COLLIE(dog), then (sta)R
10 Kinship behind daughter’s flirting (9)
DALLIANCE - ALLIANCE(kinship) after D(daughter)
12 Quebec caught by helluva do covering for hotel visitors there (7)
MARQUEE - QUE(Quebec) inside MARE(helluva do - wild hairstyle)
13 Refit at sea is never on the table in some quarters (5)
TREIF - anagram of REFIT
14 Is round German on brown jugs? (5)
BRIGS - IS containing G(German) after BR(brown) - JUGS meaning prisons here
16 Wanting a treat I selected rare cheese (12, two words)
RED LEICESTER - remove A from I,SELECTED,RARE and make an anagram
17 PC controller’s title which doesn’t distinguish functions (5)
MS-DOS - MS(a title which does not distinguished single from married), DOS (functions). A computer operating system
19 Your therapy heading away from right units (6)
YRNEHS - YR(your) then SHEN(Specific Human Emotion Nexus therapy) reversed. Unit of inverse inductance since the HENRY is the unit of inductance. Resistance does the same thing, with OHM being unit of resistance, and MHO being the unit of conductance
21 Amongst les légionnaires the fit ran together for 5km or so (6)
LEAGUE - LE(the for the French Legion), AGUE(fit)
23 Antique used before flood (5)
ABORE - A(before), BORE(flood)
24 Rowdy inn in Treasure Island ultimately abandoned (12)
UNRESTRAINED - this is an odd clue. The wordplay appears to be an anagram of INN,TREASURE, then (islan)D but the letters of INN are not together. Definition could be the first word or the last word of the clue.
27 Accumulated debris in South Africa reveals stone slab (5)
STELA - TEL(a hill of debris) inside SA(South Africa)
28 Press release released prior to cheer (5)
ELATE - remove PR(press release) from PRELATE(prior)
29 Zero in on Nestor, one in cap (7, two words)
TAKE AIM - KEA(Nestor) I(one) in TAM(cap)
30 Het up son in claims for mere trivialities (9)
NON-ISSUES -  anagram of SON,IN then SUES(claims)
31 Non-smoker as part of characteristic passage (7)
TRANSIT - N/S(non-smoker) inside TRAIT(characteristic)
32 Old Crown tenant again downing gallons (5)
THEGN - THEN(again) containing G(gallons)

Down
1 Married brother getting into feed of drumsticks or similar (7)
MEMBRAL - M(married), BR(brother) inside MEAL(feed)
2 Macron’s muddle, say, are les hommes on it? (9)
EGAREMENT - EG(say), ARE, MEN(hommes) 'T
3 Gloomily threatening fish is, on reflection, removed (5)
LURID - the fish is SILURID, remove a reversal of IS
4 Dreadful unease on US steamship causes ____? (12)
NAUSEOUSNESS - anagram of UNEASE,ON,US then SS(steamship). I am trying to underline the underline.
5 Coloured jeans into which tackle is pushed (6)
CLEVIS - C(coloured), LEVIS(jeans)
6 Brood over opinion covering demand for disposal unit? (12, two words)
LITTER BASKET - LITTER(brood) then BET(opinion) containing ASK(demand for)
7 We sing for old guys (5)
LARKS - double definition, GUY meaning a trick or prank here
8 Old grave contains record which is comparatively clumsy (7)
INEPTER - INTER(grave) containing EP(record)
9 Bring up cold cargo ship whilst offloading first of three (5)
REFER - the cold cargo ship is a REEFER, remove the first of the three E's
11 You’ll get a bill for this cycle, unfortunately (5)
LECCY - anagram of CYCLE. Pretty common term for electricity in Australia in the 80s and 90s
15 What cobblers do wrt tipping? (9)
REHEELING - RE(wrt, with respect to), HEELING(tipping)
18 Dare chap to have a prince whirling around in Catalan dance (7)
SARDANA - DAN Dare inside A,RAS(prince) reversed
20 Star checking broad is a blister (7)
SUDAMEN - SUN(star) containing DAME(broad)
22 Earl flogs ranks to the French (5)
ETATS - E(earl), TATS(flog, 5th definition in Chambers)
23 Early sailor deprived of success as a foreign fighter (6)
ARNAUT - ARGONAUT(sailor) missing GO(success)
24 University fee: stinging (5)
URENT - U(university), RENT(fee)
25 Takeaway’s delivered, ergo each can ____ (5, two words)
EAT IN - EA(each), TIN(can)
26 English buff holds tablet up making a fist of the Bard (5)
NEAFE - E(English), FAN(buff) containing E(tablet) all reversed

Jumbo 1360 (New Year's Day)

Hope everyone made it through the holiday season and safely arrived, bursting with rude health, into 2019. I was given an interesting present - a poster containing the entirety of Hamlet. Granted, the font size needed to cram it all onto one 70cm x 50cm sheet would test a hawk but I'm hoping that having this up on the wall of my loo or kitchen will help to improve my knowledge of the Bard more than the dusty copy of his complete works that I somehow always find an excuse to not open.

This puzzle was on the easy side, I thought, with only a couple of unknowns, both with seemingly unambiguous wordplay. I know even less about the poets referenced in 53A and 42D than I do about Shakespeare, and I recognised none of the works or quotations in their Wiki pages, though they have both appeared in the Times crossword enough that their names were familiar. Otherwise, a fairly gentle Jumbo with which to kick off 2019.

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