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February 20th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic No 1292 by Joker


Either this was very difficult or my head wasn't in the game (we're currently moving apartments, so that's a very real possibility), but in any case this puzzle took me an unspeakable amount of time to finish. That being said, I really enjoyed the wordplay and the word choices!

Nobody took me up on my offer to go in depth on any clues last time, so I didn't. I'm going back to the more elaborate clue parsings, but I confess I'm more interested in writing about the solving process. If anyone wants to suggest clues they got stuck on, I'll be happy to amend this blog with some "deep dives".

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I much enjoyed this. It wasn't easy IMO, but perhaps not as hard as last week's Wednesday at 160, I'll be interested to see the SNITCH. Several clues had me going off in the wrong direction for quite a while, before seeing which bit was definition or anagram fodder; but if you were on the right wavelength all the way through, it might be easier than I found it. I had trouble trying to 21d 12a at the end, and was unconvinced by the definition at 27a, but there were some fine clues of which my COD vote goes to 15d for combining two words to make one with a totally unrelated meaning and a well hidden definition.

EDIT 11:06 CET I see the SNITCH is hovering aorund 100 today, with 40 qualified solvers, so obviously others found it easier than i did!
1 Photographer I hesitate to say cut some wire (5,4)
PAPER CLIP - PAP(ARAZZI), ER (I hesitate), CLIP (cut).
6 Bashes in gent's face, regrettably (5)
GALAS - G(ent's), ALAS = regrettably. I was messing around with DO'S until I had the G from the easier 6d.
9 Report on woman's affair (7)
SHEBANG - SHE plus BANG. Ever curious, I looked up the curious word SHEBANG thinking it must be Gaelic or Indian in origin. It seems not, it's American, although the etymology is a subject of speculation; https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-whole-shebang.html
It's also something in Unix syntax involving #! which I once tried and failed to learn having more or less mastered BASIC.
10 Working girl, one showing restraint (3-4)
11 American and British close relationship (5)
AMOUR - AM(erican), OUR to mean British, which may make a few hackles rise I expect in our global audience.
12 Swell clothing naughty wife's cast off, having dressed down (6,3)
TICKED OFF - Aha. I had this in long before I saw how it works. A TOFF is your swell; put him around (W)ICKED, i.e. naughty with the W for wife dropped. I kept thinking the OFF in the clue went straight to the answer, which it doesn't. Now I see it, I can't understand why it was slow to see.
13 Put on coat for investigating in marsh (5)
FEIGN - I G = coat, outer letters, of investigating; insert into FEN = marsh.
14 Honouring good maid, holding nothing back (9)
ENNOBLING - G BONNE insert NIL, then reverse all. I knew a BONNE was a maid in French but didn't realise it was in usage in English.
17 Boss drinking port who carries out some services (3,6)
LAY READER - LEADER = boss, has AYR inserted; Ayr is a small, obscure Scottish port near several excellent golf courses and a racecourse.
18 Spirits, or one that's picked up (5)
DJINN - Well, if you did Monday's puzzle, this was a write-in. And it sounds like GIN.
19 Side ripe for transformation welcoming United's playmaker (9)
EURIPIDES - (SIDE RIPE U)*. Ancient Greek bloke who wrote plays like Medea and Electra.
22 Two places to save a designated victim (5)
ISAAC - I am not familiar with UK tax efficient savings accounts, but vaguely remember there is one called an ISA, so it's ISA and an ordinary AC(count). Apparently Isaac died aged 180 after Abraham was asked to sacrifice him.
24 Heads round front of battle lines (7)
OBVERSE - O (round), B(attle), VERSE = lines.
25 Senses cool temperature in pants suit (7)
INTUITS - IN = cool, (well it did once), then (SUIT)* has T inserted. This word annoys me when I see it in a novel, but I can't say why. It just doesn't sound like a nice verb.
26 Lament online network going the wrong way (5)
DIRGE - An E GRID could be an online network, it's reversed.
27 Fat guards not quite clothed providing foodstuff (5,4)
SUGAR BEET - SUET is fat, around GARBE(D) = not quite clothed. If you can eat sugar beet, and you're not a four legged friend, fair play to you, I wouldn't call it a foodstuff. But i'm not a vegan, pehaps they do?
1 Dignitary and I see fool making comeback (5)
PASHA - AH ! = I see, SAP is a fool, reverse all.
2 Pressure on business and finance area to show rapid development (9)
PRECOCITY - P (pressure), RE (on) CO (business) CITY (finance area). A bit of a clumsy clue for a clumsy word. I'd prefer precociousness if I had to use one or the other.
3 Give another order to bring up compass (9)
REARRANGE - REAR = bring up, RANGE = compass. A chestnut clue methinks.
4 Drunk feeling of Parisian twirling in sparkly pair of capes (5-10)
LIGHT-HEADEDNESS - Not as complicated as I first thought, trying to anagram CAPES CAPES DE and whatever. LIGHT = sparkly, then HEAD and NESS are capes, with DE = of, in French, reversed in between.
5 Rocky pass, with one circling safe place to walk (7,8)
6 Dance music performance on unicycle's frame (5)
GIGUE - GIG = music performance, U E = frame of unicycle.
7 Overweight, mostly love taking it steady (5)
LARGO - LARG(E), O = love.
8 Rogue American star inhales oxygen and no smoke (3,2,1,3)
SON OF A GUN - SUN (star) inhales O, NO, FAG.
13 Lie in a university hospital, digging into nosh (9)
FALSEHOOD - FOOD = nosh, has inside it, A, LSE (university, London School of Economics), H(ospital). Makes a change from MIT.
15 Digs patch of earth, given great chance (9)
BEDSITTER - BED in the garden, SITTER being an easy chance. Nice misdirection, made me smile for a second or two, a rare event.
16 Echoing musical notes ascending (9)
IMITATIVE - All reversed; EVITA the musical, TI and MI are notes.
20 Itinerant person moving stock loses head (5)
ROVER - A DROVER is a person moving stock, he / she loses the D.
21 Analyse almost astronomical distance (5)
PARSE - A PARSEC is an astronomical distance, quite a long way*; it loses its C ("almost") to give us the relevant word. *Equal to about 3.26 light years (3.086 × 1013 kilometres). One parsec corresponds to the distance at which the mean radius of the earth's orbit subtends an angle of one second of arc.
23 Half-heartedly pamper mathematicians' group (5)
COSET - COSSET = pamper, loses half of its heart i.e. an S. I'd expected it to be CO-SET but mathematicians don't much like hyphens. It is, of course, a set composed of all the products obtained by multiplying each element of a subgroup in turn by one particular element of the group containing the subgroup. Whatever that means. Does the "setter" know?