March 2nd, 2019

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1367 - 16th Febuary

Although one of the advantages is that I have 2 weeks to complete the blog, one of the difficulties in blogging the Jumbo is the 2 weeks delay between publication of the crossword and publication of the answers... and the blog. So, as I write this summary just before publication, I'm struggling to remember what the solving experience was like. Hmm. I think there's an obvious answer to this that I should take on board. Do the intro for the blog shortly after solving! I must remember that for No 1372. But reacquainting myself with this rather satisfying puzzle as I write this I remember I found most of it quite straightforward, but I had a number of stumbling blocks such 16A, 47A, 7D and 24D that held me up. Favourite was the clever 15A, but I also liked the semi&lits at 23A and 6D. In all this took me about 54 minutes, so a litle harder than usual, but by no means a stinker. Thanks Setter! How did everyone get on?
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  • brnchn

Saturday, 23 February 2019 - Times Cryptic No 27282. Quick, it’s Saturday!

This seemed like the easiest Saturday puzzle it’s ever been my task to google. All clues are well constructed, but few if any would be out of place in a Quick Cryptic. Perhaps using the latin rather than the anglicised plural at 26ac would cross that line. How did you all find it?

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 After Bill, my French is hard to criticise (8)
ADMONISH: AD=bill, MON=my (in French), IS, H=hard.

9 Covers remaining fabrications (8)
OVERLIES: OVER=remaining, LIES=fabrications.

10 Quakers banishing leader of religious fanatics (6)
FIENDS: Quakers are the Society of FRIENDS. Remove R=leader of “religious”. I did have to pause to remember what the Quakers are called.

11 Reckless current married couple ford river (10)
IMMODERATE: ODER=the river. Cover it with I=(electrical) current, M=married, MATE=couple.

12 Pretty short message: “Time flies” (4)
TWEE: TWEE[t]=short message, but the final T=time flies away.

13 Henry and I ship sewer's output perhaps (10)

16 Mark wise, so to speak, to embrace brief hard puzzle? (7)
MYSTIFY: M=mark, YY=two y’s, sounding like “wise”. All of that “embraces” STIF[f]=hard, briefly.

17 Remarkably frosty when accepting new briefs (1-6)
Y-FRONTS: anagram (“remarkably”) of (FROSTY*), “accepting” N=new. Easy now if you remember it from 5 weeks earlier, on that occasion clued as a homophone.

20 Present brand new napkins etc. (5,5)
TABLE LINEN: TABLE=present, LINE=brand, N=new.

22 Departing, having forfeited one award (4)
GONG: GO[i]NG=departing, “forfeiting” I=one.

23 Posted again across the Atlantic, he defends suit (10)
RESPONDENT: RESENT=posted again, “across” POND=the Atlantic.

25 Bring on cool drink for the audience (6)
INDUCE: IN=cool, then DUCE sounds more or less like “juice”. I don’t think I personally pronounce D’s like J’s, but near enough I suppose. Certainly it features in some varieties of Australian accent.

26 Word founts possibly a hit with user (8)
THESAURI: anagram (“possibly”) of (A HIT USER*).

27 Purgative lists boring this Parisian Republican (8)
CLEANSER: LEANS=lists, placed inside (i.e. “boring”) CE=this in French, R=Republican.

2 Repulse without first of all making approach (8)
DRIVEWAY: DRIVE [a]WAY=repulse, losing A=first of A[ll].

3 Fancy somebody with books entering exam! (10)
ORNAMENTAL: NAME=somebody (important), NT=a collection of books. All inside (“entering”) ORAL=exam.

4 Sunlight, if split up, can be penetrating (10)
INSIGHTFUL: anagram (“split up”) of (SUNLIGHT IF*).

5 It stimulates hard men with endless cash (7)
HORMONE: H=hard, OR=men, MONE[y]=”endless” cash.

6 Some people adore the first name in lights? (4)
LEAD: hidden answer.

7 Flier spies treacherous guy breaking in (6)
CICADA: CIA=spies, with CAD=treacherous guy “breaking in”.

8 I might end up lagging, like worst cartographers (8)
ASBESTOS: AS=like, BEST=worst (as in, I BESTED/WORSTED him), OS=Ordnance Survey=cartographers.

14 Four crammed in unlimited term in grammar (10)

15 Garner food supply that's grown at highest level (4,6)
ROOF GARDEN: an anagram of (GARNER FOOD*) “supplies” the answer. I think if you take “garden” as a verb, the whole clue is an &lit type of definition.

16 Full development of article in molten yttrium (8)
MATURITY: AN=article, in anagram (“molten”) of (YTTRIUM*).

18 Old Spanish wine buff acquires large organ (8)
TENTACLE: TENT=old Spanish wine, ACE=buff, “acquiring” L.

19 Weak academic not available for computer-aided design (7)
ANAEMIC: A[cad]ADEMIC, losing CAD=computer aided design, and replacing it by NA=not available.

21 Book addict hugs King's Head player in street (6)
BUSKER: B=book, USER=addict “hugging” K=king.

24 Part of speech from woman in order to secure Oscar (4)
NOUN: NUN=woman in order, “securing” O=Oscar in phonetic alphabet.
  • jackkt

Times subscriptions

I'm starting this thread in case others have received a letter as I did this morning (Saturday 2 March) effectively doubling the cost of my subscription to The Times from next month.

Update Monday 4th March. I have also posted the following message in the discussion thread below so as to continue the discussion in time order.

Posted by David Parfitt (Times Puzzles  Editor) in the Crossword Club forum.

Thanks for all your comments on this subject. I'm afraid that I haven't been involved with these changes in any way, but I have made the relevant team aware of this thread. The changes are only affecting around 6-7 per cent of subscribers (those on the the web pack (£2 per week), the Sunday digital pack (£2 per week) or the weekend digital pack (£3 per week)), so many of you will not be affected. If you are affected and have concerns or queries about the changes, I would recommend phoning the Customer Services team on 0800 009 4701.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4839, 24 February 2019, by David McLean — PROTESTERS below the CONDO

Besides the somewhat obscure word at 10 that is partly clued by an equally obscure definition, this was pretty straightforward. I know my headline is stretching the actual facts of the grid, but it’s the only political comment I’m permitting myself. (Or almost…)

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

 1 Periodic table of a sort (10)
OCCASIONAL — DD, but the second def. seems to ask for a noun, and I haven’t found such in an online dictionary; perhaps it should read “sort of a table.” An example of an occasional table is the one that might be unfolded weekly for a poker match. But does anyone say “an occasional” tout court, meaning the noun? Still looking…
 6 Drinks knocked back can make one this (4)
SPIN —  NIPS<— &lit
 9 Tory party’s flat, according to Trump (5)
CONDO — CON is a conservative, a “Tory,” DO a “party.” The term CONDO(minium) is an Americanism (for an apartment owned by its residents or a building consisting of such apartments), hence the disturbing reminder of a certain notorious US real-estate developer.
10 Yellowish teeth may be repaired with this kind of lead (9)
LUTESCENT — LUTE in the sense here was unknown to me. What about you? In dentistry, it’s (Collins) “a thin layer of cement used to fix a crown or inlay in place on a tooth.” I guess connecting “Yellowish” with “teeth” was too tempting to pass up for the more common musical sense. SCENT is a “kind of lead,” in the sense of an indication of where you might find something, a clue. Is “kind of” strictly necessary? I was thinking for too long that “kind of lead” might be the definition. I doubt if anyone will be surprised that this was my LOI. I filled in the blanks between crossers to make what looked like a word, and lo…
12 One taking a slug, but only a little one? (13)
FEATHERWEIGHT —  CD. The boxer would, hopefully, not be only on the receiving end of slugs!
14 Boring book about passion ultimately sucks (8)
15 Possible local port for Spanish district (6)
BARRIO — BAR is “local” and the “port” is RIO. I don’t know if “Possible” was necessary; not every bar is the “local” for any particular person, of course, but I think the two words have often been used as synonyms, with no qualification.
17 Still square and homosocial essentially (4,2)
EVEN SO — EVEN, “square” + [-homo]SO[-cial]
19 Old queen enthralled by country view (8)
21 Really gutted to be suffering bird flu? (4,2,1,6)
SICK AS A PARROT — CD. Not an American expression. Whereas “sick as a dog” means physically ill, your sick parrot is terribly disappointed. Like myself on one early November evening in 2016.
24 Choose baton with European conductor (9)
ELECTRODE — ELECT, “choose” + ROD, “baton” + E(uropean)
25 Nut training around end of autumn (5)
PECAN — PE, “training” + CA, circa, “around,” +[-autum]N
26 Band seen hanging around Miss World? (4)
SASH — CD, if not very. If there’s anything else going on here, I missed it. But the reference to a beauty pageant again made me briefly suspect the presence of a distasteful theme.
27 We might be at a March exam in new radical prose (10)
PROTESTERS — (r[adical] + prose)* enclosing TEST, “exam.” Deceptive capitalization, but within the rules this time.

 1 Individual cops caught in the past (4)
ONCE — ONE “cops” (takes in) C(aught)
 2 I must stop talk about one branching out (7)
CONIFER — CON(I)FER. Nicely cryptic definition.
 3 It’s a job to make posh satanists change (4,9)
SHOP ASSISTANT —  (posh satanists)*
 4 Look, a ham must be ordered, OK (8)
OKLAHOMA —  (Look, a ham)* Neat definition.
 5 I pretend to put in air-con right (5)
ACTOR — AC(TO)R. “Air-conditioning” could have been spelled out, with no damage to the clue, but seeing it spelled this way did throw me for a bit.
 7 One promising book prefaced by head of Penguin (7)
PLEDGER — P[-enguin] + LEDGER
 8 Books written in Chinese, possibly about special symbols (10)
NOTATIONAL — “Books” is that old standby the O(ld) T(estament), inside “Chinese,” a “national” (DBE)
11 Cryptograms confused a posh gangster (13)
STEGANOGRAPHS —  (a posh gangster)* They contain images or messages hidden within images. An example of the former could be stereograms (which I love), in which a 3D image can be discerned by crossing your eyes or making them diverge, but only in cases in which the apparent image does not obviously indicate in any way that something else is hidden within.
13 Socialist leader: bald and without accent? (10)
16 A dissolute guy hugged by favourite flapper (8)
PARAKEET — P(A RAKE)ET. Two birds and a FEATHER here, not quite an ornithological theme, but… It is nice to see a definition besides “flier” or “singer.”
18 Caps former top players picked up (7)
EXCEEDS — EX is “former” and CEEDS sounds like (“picked up”) “seeds,” from the strange world of sports.
20 You might say one is the thing (7)
ARTICLE — DD. One article (definitely) is “the.” It could have read, simply, “One is the thing,” but that might have seemed too oddly curt.
22 Mail perhaps dismissing top Republican’s affair (5)
AMOUR — A[-r]MOUR. I steadfastly refuse to allege a hidden theme in this puzzle.
23 Duty paid for by this paper? (4)
ONUS — If the Times gave you a free subscription, for example, they could say it’s…