February 16th, 2019

  • mohn2

Jumbo 1365

An even briefer blog than usual, I'm afraid, as my computer is on the blink and I'm hoping to get this published before it completely packs in. This one was of average difficulty, with a bit of luck required for 24A and 33D if you didn't know the words.

FOI 1A, LOI 24A.

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27270 - Saturday, 09 February 2019. Good for the digestion.

This seemed fairly straightforward for a Saturday. I finished comfortably over lunch. There was a good helping of clever wordplay, and lots of gravy. I liked 12, 17 and 27ac, and 16, 19 and 24 dn. Does anyone want to nominate their clue of the day?

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 Tot's initial reprimand for crying (7)

5 Blimps regularly track aircraft (7)
BIPLANE: Odd letters of “blimps” are B-I-P-, then LANE.

9 Brief all guards in Washington, first line of defence (7,4)
CURTAIN WALL: CURT (brief), then ALL “guarding” IN WA. Chambers gives “curtain wall” as a non-loadbearing one. Not sure why that’s the first line of defence. Perhaps the Wikipedia version is clearer: A curtain wall system is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural, utilized to keep the weather out and the occupants in.

10 Stop someone telling joke (3)
GAG: double definition.

11 Ran out of drink and cursed, half-cut (6)
LAPSED: LAP (drink), [cur]SED.

12 Officer pulling wings off lady beetle and termite (8)
ADJUTANT: AD (lady, minus “wings”), JUT (beetle, as in “beetle-browed”), ANT.

14 Volatile vet is fearless and forceful (4-9)
SELF-ASSERTIVE: anagram (“volatile”) of (VET IS FEARLESS*).

17 Anxiety about millions leaving huge country (13)
CONSTERNATION: C (about), [m]ONSTER (huge, minus M for millions), NATION.

21 Oddly neglected fiances kiss saucy amateur (8)
INEXPERT: even letters of “fiancés” are -I-N-E, then X (kiss), PERT.

23 Quiet old man hiding in an under-fire vessel (3-3)
ASH-PAN: SH (quiet please, this is a library) and PA, all “hiding in” AN. Clever definition.

25 Badly want to lose weight (3)
ILL: [w]ILL (want), losing W (weight). The definition is “badly”, as in “ill/badly treated”.

26 Father got us bananas, much in demand (6-5)
SOUGHT-AFTER: anagram (“bananas”) of (FATHER GOT US*).

27 Man perhaps stops crazy fool (7)
MISLEAD: ISLE (… of Man, perhaps), inside MAD.

28 Sanctimonious, before experiencing pain (7)

1 Grab food and beer, heading off (6)

2 Poor sap treated suitably (7)
APROPOS: anagram (“treated”) of (POOR SAP*).

3 Order gal to feel pulse (9)
FLAGEOLET: anagram (“order”) of (GAL TO FEEL*). Not a pulse I knew, I confess.

4 Feline couplings can be heard (4)
LYNX: sounds like LINKS.

5 Make revolting violet-coloured biscuit (6,4)
BRANDY SNAP: BRAND (make, of car for example), reversal (“revolting”) of PANSY (violet-coloured).

6 Maud sheds clothes after endless lager and spicy rice (5)
PILAU: PIL[s] (“endless” lager), then [m]AU[d] (“without her clothes”).

7 Answer four consecutive letters about a new currency (7)
AFGHANI: A (answer), then FGHI (consecutive letters) around the letter A and N (new).

8 Without leaders we might see an age of maturity (8)
EIGHTEEN: drop the first letter of each word, giving [w]E, [m]IGHT, [s]EE, [a]N.

13 Pretty good routine that holds attractions (10)
FAIRGROUND: FAIR (pretty), G (good), ROUND (routine).

15 Restore control over country (9)

16 Mostly working with university, in one's element (8)
ACTINIUM: ACTIN[g] (working, “mostly”), then U (university) in I’M (one is).

18 Winds up unnecessary contracts (7)

19 Advancing relatives turn up gaping and twitching (7)
NEPOTIC: NEPO (OPEN=gaping, “turned up”), then TIC (twitching).

20 Greener gym conserves power (6)
ENERGY: hidden answer.

22 Dads ultimately get some stick (5)
PASTE: PAS (dads), [ge]T, [som]E.

24 Tea party excluding Bohemian fellow
CHAP: CHA (tea), then P[arty].

Sunday Times Cryptic 4837, 10 February 2019, by David McLean — No sweat!

I don’t remember feeling this one was particularly hard, but I was unstressed and unpressed for time, so no momentary difficulty felt frustrating. There were plenty of chewy bits to savor, including one word that was totally new to me, and finding such by decryption is one of the great pleasures of these exercises.

I do (garnasam)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Wildly belt more radical party member (7,8)
LIBERAL DEMOCRATHey, de Blasio, it’s not nice to hit a woman! (belt more radical)* (Sorry, that was a little local humour.)
 9 Sexy and glitzy, not ugly essentially (7)
10 Praise honourable answer hospital enters (7)
HOSANNA — HO (SAN) N A (“Hon” being “honourable” and A “answer”) This will not take a prize for the most plausible surface.
11 Place key on seat (4)
SITE — SIT is “seat” (believe it or not; English dialect, and we’ve been thru this before), the “key” being E (four sharps!)
12 Vehicle close to crash with lorry (5-5)
ROLLS-ROYCE — (close + lorry)*
13 Sleeping male is surrounded by insects (7)
DORMANT — DOR(M)ANT. That’s the dor beetles. (The Dors?)
15 Can of cocktail? (7)
17 Holy man graduates without mortar board? (7)
MAHATMA — Two Masters of Arts flanking (“without” in cryptic-crosswordese) HAT (the quirk meaning “mortar board” is a DBE)
19 She might have helped with fertility problems found in A&E (7)
ASTARTE — A START (“found”) E
20 Too much of this and she’ll have to stitch up your trousers! (10)
SEAMSTRESS — CD, with a straight definition included—some may call it a semi-&lit, go right ahead
22 Aquatic bird seen briefly over mass of ice (4)
BERG — GREB[-e] <—
25 Swag stuffed aboard transports close to Kiev (7)
BRAVADO — (aboard)* carrying [-Kie]V
26 Smelly old dons hit yours truly after beginning of seminar (7)
NOISOME — NO I is “hit” (“number one”) and “yours truly” is ME, donned by O(ld) after S[-eminar]. This does get the prize for the most convoluted clue today.
27 I turn and circle Crete at sea (8,7)
ELECTRIC CURRENT — (turn + circle Crete)*. Wow, and we have “As” as a definition below.

 1 Young guys protecting European stars (5)
 2 Brow rubbed with cloth, being by this? (9)
BLOWTORCH — (Brow + cloth)* and an &lit, for real! In a way, I just this evening—Blogday Eve—finished solving this one. I got the wordplay easily enough, so I had the answer. But I couldn’t see how the definition was supposed to work. Well, one might rub (the more usual word would be “wipe”) one’s brow with (a) cloth (a handkerchief, say) when exposed to heat and perspiring. And a blowtorch is darned hot. Whew!
 3 Fleece or jumper with a bit of khaki? (4)
 4 A way to punch hooligan and survive (4,3)
LAST OUTRun faster than him? L(A ST[reet])OUT
 5 Old beer in case from Harrods expires (7)
 6 Attentive person in the employ of Eton alumnus? (9)
 7 Hot under collar after giving a lift to queen with long legs (5)
RANGY — “Angry” with R moved forward
 8 Somewhat geared to changes, ultimately adaptive (2,1,6)
TO A DEGREE — (geared to)* + [adaptiv]E
13 Half of France’s gloomy, but fit to be leased (9)
DEMISABLE — DEMI + SABLE (in the sense of “black”). DNK this word. Now I do. Hurray!
14 Witness where cricket side might play six-footer (9)
ATTESTANT — A TEST + ANT (a “test” being a kind of cricket match… but you knew that)
16 Communication system that’s a bit dotty? (5,4)
MORSE CODE — CD. Har har.
18 First-class cases old magistrate deduced (1,6)
19 As Racine’s plays (7)
ARSENIC — (Racine’s)* Excellent clue.
21 A thing seen behind ship tossing and turning? (5)
AWAKE — DD, cleverer than most!
23 Caller made a speculation on radio (5)
GUEST — “Guessed”
24 He might do sailor’s knots and I might draw (4)
TIER — DD. My LOI, although, as four-letter DDs go (the worst kind of clue, am I right?), this is an easy one. I was at first distracted by the different pronouns (why?) for the two parts, and there is no significance to it’s being a particular kind of knot that is specified.