January 23rd, 2019


Times Quick Cryptic No 1272 by Alconiere

Should have been 8'30" but ended up at 9'30" as I spent a full minute trying to figure out the last three letters of 22 Across. A very straightforward puzzle with a lot of answers written in with barely a glance at the definition. Nevertheless, the wordplay is quite nice, and I appreciate the use of plurals not ending in 's' (and vice versa).

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Times 27255 - I'll make a clean breast of this one

For some reason I found the LH side of this one easy while the RH side took me twice as long. In retrospect I can't see why. There's a marine mollusc you can guess from checkers if you don't know it, and a bird deducible from word play too. I should have finished it in twenty minutes but it took me nearly forty, then I had to check that 4d was what I thought it was and not some form of German excrement used in printing. 4d was also the only decent long anagram in a pleasant enough puzzle.

1 Meat and toasted cake, no starters, help in reception (3,7)
EAR TRUMPET - (H)EART = meat no starter, (C)RUMPET = toasted cake no starter.
6 Bark associated with golden retriever? (4)
ARGO - Bark her being an alternative spelling for barque; so cryptic definition, Jason being the retriever.
8 Samoan, maybe large, prepared sardine outside (8)
ISLANDER - (SARDINE)* with L inserted.
9 Bird, first in oven, one having stuffed part (6)
ORIOLE - O(ven), I in (ROLE)*. Role = part. We have some shy golden orioles in the woods nearby, their call is melodious and when you see them occasionally so is their bright yellow plumage.
10 German banker resident in Heidelberg (4)
ELBE - River hidden in HEID(ELBE)RG.
11 Decrepit couple going on strike (10)
RAMSHACKLE - RAM = strike, SHACKLE = couple.
12 Fat soldier catching fish (9)
MARGARINE - MARINE has GAR a fish inserted.
14 Pleasingly plump beast about to be snared by vagrant (5)
BUXOM - OX reversed inside BUM.
17 Follow singular conversation? (5)
STALK - S = singular, TALK = conversation.
19 Scot cleaned out in tightest financial investigation (5,4)
MEANS TEST - ST = Scot cleaned out; insert that into MEANEST = tightest.
22 Wines given opening in naval base (10)
PORTSMOUTH - PORTS for wines, MOUTH for opening.
23 Present suppliers not entirely brilliant (4)
MAGI - MAGIC loses its final C.
24 Substitute monarch posed with Zulu (6)
ERSATZ - ER = monarch, SAT = posed, Z for Zulu.
25 See City peak after job changes one opposes (8)
OBJECTOR - (JOB)*, EC = city, TOR = peak.
26 Graduates find kippers here — tucked in? (4)
BEDS - The graduates are Bachelors of Education or B.Eds
27 Sea slug sends horse back with one limb (10)
NUDIBRANCH - DUN = horse, reversed = NUD; I, BRANCH = limb. An odd word for a rather bizarre creature.
1 Skin layer from duck, breached by pressure spray briefly (9)
EPIDERMIS - Insert P for pressure into EIDER a duck, then MIS(T) = spray briefly.
2 Maybe one resisting turnover finds cake on counter (7)
ROLLBAR - ROLL = cake, BAR = counter. Thing in sports or racing car to make rolling over safer, rather than prevent rolling over, I'd have thought.
3 Potentially unsportsmanlike bowling hypnotised member (8)
UNDERARM - UNDER = hypnotised, ARM = member. I never quite understood why underarm bowling was frowned upon; I'd rather try to hit that, than have Jimmy Anderson hurling a ball at me overarm at 85 mph. Perhaps rolling it along the ground would be unsportsmanlike as it'd be difficicult to hoik for six.
4 Turducken perhaps warmed up — or not — at spread (11,4)
PORTMANTEAU WORD - (WARMED UP OR NOT AT)*. A turducken is probably tastier than it sounds, being a duck stuffed in a chicken stuffed in a turkey and roasted.
5 Tablet provided with article about enormous bird (6)
TROCHE - ROC the fabulous bird ges insode THE. A troche is usually a medicated lozenge.
6 Hostile to royal household in battle (9)
AGINCOURT - AGIN COURT. Self explanatory I hope.
7 Scientist one found in ship after docking (7)
GALILEO - GALLEO(N) has I inserted.
13 Show of charity by saint moved Paul's audience (9)
GALATIANS - GALA supposedly a charity event, then (SAINT)*.
15 Woman dominant in right manner, shown up in game (9)
MATRIARCH - MATCH = game, has R AIR reversed (up) inserted.
16 Busy hospital in Eton cured one patient (2,3,3)
ON THE JOB - H inside (ETON)* then JOB the patient chap from the Bible. Nice use of cured as the anagrind.
18 Alas you're right to use horn on French street! (3,4)
TOO TRUE - TOOT = use horn, RUE = French street.
20 Protein and energy supplied to number eleven? (7)
ELASTIN - E for energy, then LAST IN i.e. the last man to bat, number eleven. It was my last in as well, as Elastin wasn't top of my long list of crossword proteins.
21 Single-breasted styles to suit this warrior? (6)
AMAZON - Cryptic definition I think, as in some sources the Amazon warrior ladies allegedly cut off one breast to improve their archery skills.Other sources suggest they were men mistaken for women as they wore dresses. Today they'd be somewhere along the LGBTI spectrum I guess and impossible to criticise.