February 2nd, 2019

Jumbo 1363

Very straightforward this one, with nothing to complain about from my point of view.

I would probably pick 17A as my favourite clue.

1 AWFUL - (l)AWFUL = sanctioned
4 EXCITEMENT - EXIT = withdrawal, around C = caught, then E = English, MEN = soldiers, T = time
9 FENNEL - FEEL = think, around N(ew) and N(ame)
14 GYRFALCON - (ONLY CRAG)* around F = fine
16 SQUEEZE - double definition
17 IMBROGLIO - (l)IMB(s) (f)ROG(s) (s)LI(p) (n)O(w) with the first and last letters (skins) removed
18 ENTER - (carp)ENTER = woodworker with carp = criticise removed
19 PERSUASIVENESS - PERSUASI(on) = Austen novel, V = see, SENSE*
22 MOTTLED - M(illions), OTT = too much, LED = under control
25 RE-EVALUATE - RE = concerning, EVA = girl, LATE = dead, around U = uranium
27 COMMUNICABLE - COMMUNI(st) = red, CABLE = guy
30 VALUE - VALE(t) = manservant, around U = upper-class
31 SORCERER - SORER = more angry, around CE = church and R = resistance
32 TUG-OF-WAR - double definition, the first mildly cryptic where TUG = appeal
35 LARGESSE - LARGS = Ayrshire town, around E = English, then SE = home counties
36 HACIENDA - HAND around CIE = French company (abbreviation), A
37 SCORN - S(ociety), CORN = banal sentimentality
39 GREAT-HEARTED - AT HEART = in one's real nature, in GREED = selfish desire
41 SEVERENESS - SEVERN = river, around E = energy, then (l)ESS
43 EXHAUST - EX = former, HAUST = FAUST = role in Goethe with the first letter changed to H = hard
45 PREFABRICATION - PR = public relations, E = ecstasy, FABRICATION = lie
48 NICHE - NICE = French resort, around H = husband
49 NIGHTLONG - NIGHT sounds like KNIGHT = horseman, LONG = pine
51 RE-ELECT - hidden in wiRE ELECTrician
53 BELLES-LETTRES - (BEST SELLER)* around LET = allowed
55 BOYISH - B(achelor), (c)OYISH = rather bashful
56 DRAWBRIDGE - DRAW = sketch, BRIDGE = English composer
57 RISER - RIVER = Amazon, say, with V = velocity changed to S = small
1 AUGUST - SU = gold, GUST = rush in the air
2 FORTUNE-TELLER - FORTUNE = mint, TELLER = bank employee
3 LEAVE - LEAVE(s) = pages
4 EXCRETA - EXC = excellent, RATE*
6 TROUBLED - TROU(t) = fish, BLED = escaped into surrounding area
7 MATZO - MATLO = sailor, around Z = unknown. I was unaware of that spelling of the sailor but knew the biscuit
10 EXIGENT - EXIT = flight, around GEN = information
11 NIGHTCLUB - NIGH = almost, TUB = boat, around CL = one hundred and fifty
12 LAYER - (s)LAYER = killer
20 STATEMENT - SENT = broadcast, around TATE = gallery and M(illions)
21 ESOTERIC - E = note, SOT = habitual drunkard, ERIC = chap
23 DREARINESS - DINES = eats, around REAR = back, (meal)S
24 TRAVELOGUE - TUE = Tuesday, around RAVEL = composer and OG = GO = work, reversed (mounted)
26 UNSUSPECTINGLY - UNSU(re), S = small, PEC = muscle, TINGLY = smarting
28 CROWS-FEET - double definition
29 LEGALESE - LEGS = pins, around ALE = beer, E(veryone)
33 WHOLESOMENESS - WHOLENESS = unity, around SOME = a number
38 PROPAGATOR - PROP = hold up, A, GATOR = reptile
40 ETHICALLY - E(uropean), TALLY = count, around HIC = this in Rome (Latin)
42 CAROUSER - CAR USER = driver, around O = old
44 USELESS - (ho)USELESS = having no home
46 CORTEGE - CORE = main, around TEG = GET = obtain, reversed
47 ETCHER - ET CHER = and expensive, in Paris (French)
48 NABOB - NAB = nick, OB = he died
50 THROW - T(enc)H, ROW = line
52 ESTER - (ch)ESTER = county town
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27258 - Saturday, 26 January 2019. A sunburnt country.

As I wrote this a week ago on Australia Day, the sunburnt country continued to set high temperature records. Lucky today’s puzzle wasn’t a scorcher too. I finished all but 25ac in regular time, but then had to go an extra ten minutes each way to sort that one out.

There were several nice clues, but I think my favourite was 7dn where the answer was barely hinted at by the surface of the clue. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means 'anagram of ABC'. Deletions are in [square brackets].

1 Fine spinach dish? Unfortunately — not! (4,3,5)
FISH AND CHIPS: Anagram (“unfortunately”) of (F SPINACH DISH*).

9 They may surround the head doctor introduced to new team (5)
NIMBI: N (new) / 11 (team - not written XI this time), around MB (doctor).

10 Best time is past to crack joke: start of evening (6,3)
GOLDEN AGE: OLDEN (past), cracking GAG (joke), then E[vening].

11 Free entertainment is announced in formal document (8)
TREATISE: sounds like TREAT IS (free entertainment is).

12 Happens to find shot youngster (4,2)
HITS ON: HIT (shot) / SON (youngster).

13 Better run away from hedgehog, monkey! (8)
CAPUCHIN: CAP (better) / U[r]CHIN. “Urchin” is an old word for hedgehog, apparently. Who knew? Take out R for run.

15 All one can hold in one hand, but not second: that’s irregular (6)

17 Prolific source of money around City (6)
FECUND: EC (the City with a capital C) in FUND.

18 Point about phony exercises: the “low jump”? (5,3)
BUNNY HOP: NUB (point) backwards, then an anagram (“exercises”) of (PHONY*).

20 Loudly regret security arresting tricky partners (6)
BEWAIL: E[ast] and W[est] are traditional partners in the “tricky” (trick-taking) game of bridge. Put them inside BAIL.

21 Interrupting fuss pots, judge rises (8)
ADJOURNS: put J in ADO, then add URNS. Nice clue – nothing as it seems!

24 Instinctive to maintain vehicle In ultimate condition (9)

25 Tack in prison, badly defective (5)
BASTE: having run through all the possible meanings of “tack” that I could think of, I did pause to wonder whether there was another word for that type of sewing. Well, it turns out, there is! But of course, not one I knew. Still, it was hard to think of anything else that fitted the helpers. Eventually the wordplay got me there: BAST[ill]E = prison, deficient in ILL = badly.

26 Trader’s reminder to fiddle with cash (12)
MERCHANDISER: anagram (“fiddle”) of (REMINDER CASH*).

1 Cooler? Greek sounding enthusiastic (7)
FANATIC: FAN (cooler) / ATIC sounds like ATTIC (Greek).

2 Two books: choose the slow burner for the title character (6,8)
SAMUEL PICKWICK: there are two books in the old Testament called Samuel 1 and Samuel 2. Then, PICK a WICK. Mr P's the lead character in The Pickwick Papers.

3 Landed, welcoming Society of the best sort (1-4)
A-LIST: S (Society) in ALIT.

4 Liqueur summary provided (8)
DIGESTIF: DIGEST (summary) / IF (provided).

5 Hard wood, protection for nut once (4)
HELM: H (hard) / ELM. Old form of HELMET, presumably.

6 Exactitude of pair having executed verdict (9)
PRECISION: PR (pair) / [d]ECISION decapitated.

7 Back untrained gentle, brave men to have succeeded in conflict (4,2,3,5)
WARS OF THE ROSES: WAR (RAW=untrained, backwards) / SOFT (gentle) / HEROES (brave men) holding S (succeeded).

8 Spring roll initially put in for sale (6)
VERNAL: R[oll] in VENAL.

14 Porter’s egocentric rambling wasting time (9)
CONCIERGE: drop the T (time) then make an anagram (“rambling”) of (EGOCEN-RIC*).

16 Flowering shrub providing garland for religious leader’s hotel (8)
BUDDLEIA: replace the H (hotel) of BUDDHA by LEI (garland).

17 Wicked and wealthy, not husband material (6)
FABRIC: FAB (wicked) / RIC[h] (wealthy, not husband).

19 Chemist has sticker across uniform (7)
PASTEUR: U (uniform) in PASTER.

22 Made circular gold sleeper (5)
ORBED: OR (gold) / BED (sleeper).

23 Refuse to shorten brisk walk (4)
MARC: MARC[h}. Residue after crushing grapes or whatever.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4835, 13 January 2019, by Jeff Pearce — Huckleberry friend

Fun one, not as hard as I feared, once I finally got started. I’m sure 15 was extremely easy if you happened to know what “Honister” refers to; I didn’t, but got it (eventually) anyway. It took a while to figure out the excellent 8 too, though the answer was right at my fingertips.

I do (nasamgar)* like this (six this time!), and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


 1 Want to hold fool back when keeping dry (10)
ABSTINENCE — ABS(NIT<—)ENCE. Some may not consider “when” to be part of the definition, which is certainly a valid point of view.
 6 Some twitcher hears ostrich-like bird (4)
RHEA — It’s hidden in the foliage, get out your binocs!
 9 Mineral found in veins? (10)
10 Flipping time machine is missing—blast! (4)
DRATNow I’ll never get home! TARD[-is] <— The ever-popular Doctor Who reference.
12 Son on horse crushing head of Colorado beetle (6)
13 Red jag, say, outside pub with a blonde in the front (8)
CINNABAR — The “jag” is a Jaguar… C(INN + A + B[-londe])AR
15 Many consider Honister to be such a difficult place to be (1,6,4)
A PRETTY PASS — DD  My LOI, if memory serves. Then I looked up “Honister.”
18 Informed experts caught in dreadful congestion (11)
COGNOSCENTI — (congestion + C)*
21 Most passionate lutists played with energy (8)
LUSTIESTThe lead lute solos used to have the damosels swooning. (lutists + E)*
22 Crack cocaine set out (6)
24 Layer toiletry oddly (4)
TIER — (Obvious)
25 Practise with an awkward animal (7,3)
PERSIAN CAT — (practice + an)*
26 Turn over a bun (4)
27 Valuation of corrupt men’s assets (10)
ASSESSMENT — (men’s assets)*

 1 Attack from male hiding in a thicket (6)
 2 Catchphrase is a big hit primarily before end of election (6)
SLOGAN — The process would seem rather convoluted, but I think you’re supposed to take the “a” in the clue, put “big hit,” SLOG (“Not ‘slug’?” I thought…), in “primarily” (that is, before A) and the whole thing “before end of election,” N. "Primarily" and "before" must have two different functions, or the second would be redundant. Of course, “a big hit” could also define SLOG, but that would leave the A in the answer unaccounted for.
 3 Southern Asian class briefly tours a north American city (12)
INDIANAPOLIS — “Southern Asian” is INDIAN, and “class” is POLIS[-h] (in the sense of savoir faire, style, refinement of manners), going round A. Seems I forgot to parse this one, and earlier today, gripped with blogger’s brainfreeze, i couldn’t see how the clue worked. As it happened, I had to ask a Brit (Keriothe). You know, we Americans never think about “class” (except for leftists like me. Oh, well). I thought “class” might be AP, and the lower-case “north” misled me into thinking other words might be “tour[ing]” A and N; after all, the definition would be fine without “[N]orth,” aside from the chauvinistic aspect of taking “American” to refer to the United States, as INDIANAPOLIS is both a north(ern) US city and a North American city. In any case, when you see “Southern Asian” and “American city,” and especially if you already have crossers suggesting -APOLIS, the answer is rather obvious. So I have to give Jeff credit for making the parsing as difficult as possible.
 4 Forgetting starter warms a meal (4)
 5 Happy sister carried uniform (10)
 7 Warning device has to emit light in tree (8)
 8 … is what it will be if the typist doesn’t get a shift on (8)
ASTERISK — CD. My COD! And pretty self-explanatory, no?
11 In broadcast Dylan wails I’m an old singer (4,8)
ANDY WILLIAMSWe know, Bob, but it’s cool! (Dylan wails I’m)*  According to Bob’s official website, he has performed Andy’s signature song “Moon River” exactly two times, in 1990 and 2018. (You can find the latter rendition on YouTube, and you might be surprised.) When Dylan started out in NYC folk clubs, he was often described as perpetually wearing a “Huck Finn cap.” I wonder if the surface wouldn’t be improved by adding quotemarks around “I’m an old singer.”
14 More than one joker restricts King being played (10)
TRICKSTERS — (restricts + K)*
16 Artist portraying small vessel going around lake on hill (8)
SCULPTOR — S is “small,” with CU(L)P + TOR
17 There’s some white in this paint (8)
19 It’s awkward being left in Paris (6)
20 Odd number of players performing for 30 days on film (6)
SEPTET — SEPT (the ninth month) + ET (or E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Spielberg movie, a cryptics chestnut). “Performing” isn’t necessary for the definition, but it’s not part of the wordplay (it would make a good anagrind).
23 American woman who once won Wimbledon (4)
ASHE — A(merican) + SHE. Arthur.