March 16th, 2019


Times Cryptic Jumbo 1369: I Bless The Rains Down In Africa

A gentle giant, this one, that I tore through in not much more than the time it would take to do a toughish 15x15. Lots to enjoy though, with some very chucklesome surfaces (5ac, 4dn) and a light touch to the cluing throughout. My Clue of the Day goes to 41ac as I really liked untangling the "Polish-American author". Nice work, setter!

1 Entirely at home with Dorothy's best friend (2,4)
IN TOTO - IN [at home] with TOTO [Dorothy (Gale)'s best friend]

5 Fancy trousers, back to front and extremely ticklish (7)
STREWTH - take TREWS [trousers], put the back letter to the front, and add T{icklis}H to get a word for "fancy!" or "fancy that!'

9 Literary marquis (not duke) embracing top adventure (8)
ESCAPADE - {d}E SADE [literary Marquis, minus D for duke] "embracing" CAP [top]

13 Mathematical statements confusing fifteen old antiquaries (12,9)

14 Shout about rough Australian pots (8)
CROCKERY - CRY [shout] "about" OCKER [rough Australian]

15 Face of incredibly quiet chap, reportedly Abraham's son (7)
ISHMAEL - I{ncredibly} + SH [quiet] + homophone of MALE [chap]

16 Dull second mate with primitive instincts (6)
STUPID - S [second] + TUP [mate] + ID [primitive instincts]

17 Fellow Estonian perhaps exhaled audibly in shade (6,4)
COBALT BLUE - CO-BALT [fellow Estonian, perhaps] + homophone of BLEW [exhaled]

20 Port in India surrounded by jade, iron ore, bananas (3,2,7)
RIO DE JANEIRO - I [India] "surrounded" by (JADE, IRON ORE*) ["bananas"]

23 Man perhaps lives vacuous life (4)
ISLE - IS [lives] + L{if}E

24 Use blades, decapitating delightful fish (3,5)
ICE SKATE - {n}ICE ["decapitated" delightful] + SKATE [fish]

26 Draw on book jacket of "Candide" for entertainment (3,5)
TAP DANCE - TAP [draw on] + DAN. [book (of the Bible, abbrev.)] + C{andid}E

29 Pension off screwed up Teresa, a nun (12)

30 Cut tax allowance after European liberality (10)
TOLERATION - TOL{l} ["cut" tax] + RATION [allowance] after E [European]

32 Lover ditches the setter behind the main sewer (10)
SEAMSTRESS - M{i}STRESS [lover "ditches" I = the setter], behind SEA [the main]

34 Describe carer ethic as amazing (12)

36 Toddler wrapped in flag by ace Bulgarian copper (8)
STOTINKA - TOT [toddler] "wrapped" in SINK [flag] by A [ace]. Classic crossword word, 1/100 of a lev.

38 Pub regulars in Lucerne make insinuation (8)
INNUENDO - INN [pub] + {l}U{c}E{r}N{e} + DO [make]

39 Ghastly Hanoverian king, first of many (4)
GRIM - G.R. I [George the First] + M{any}. Possibly semi-&lit, depending on your opinion of Hanoverian monarchs.

41 Polish-Irish writer accepting brother as impartial mediator (6,6)
HONEST BROKER - HONE STOKER [polish | Irish writer (Bram)] "accepting" BR [broker]

43 Awful acts in urban areas after matron sheds clothing (10)
ATROCITIES - CITIES [urban areas] after {m}ATRO{n}

44 Oppressive temperature in cupboard (6)
CLOSET - CLOSE T [oppressive | temperature]

46 Spoke highly of lift in Palladium (7)
PRAISED - RAISE [lift] in PD [Palladium (the element)]

48 Middle part </u>that fits into socket</u> (8)
EYEPIECE - EYE [middle, as in "of the storm"] + PIECE [part]. Eye socket, not plug socket here!

50 Last words seen by proofreader? (4,4,13)
QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM - cryptic definition, these being the final words read by the reader of a mathematical proof.

51 Kind look for Baskerville, perhaps (8)
TYPEFACE - TYPE [kind] + FACE [look]

52 Beset by strain, Mary's mum hides here (7)
TANNERY - "Beset" by TRY [strain], ANNE [Mary's mum (Jesus's grandmother)]. Tannery as in a place where hides are tanned.

53 Suppress a retired magistrate in Rome (6)
AEDILE - reversed ELIDE A [suppress | a]

2 Lowest point of rebellious playwright after female disappears (5)
NADIR - {she}RIDAN [playwright, minus SHE = female] "rebelling" = up/reversed. Hardest parse of the puzzle.

3 Formal language changing if I lose face (11)
OFFICIALESE - (IF I LOSE FACE*) ["changing"]

4 Smashed eggs over non-drinker in brawl (8)
OMELETTE - O [over] + TT [non-drinker] in MELEE [brawl]

5 Disreputable bishop's office, disturbingly empty (5)
SEEDY - SEE [bishop's office] + D{isturbingl}Y

6 Row after sailor climbs part of rigging (7)
RATLINE - LINE [row] after reversed TAR [sailor]

7 Brave tenor on radio, one unsettled by wind (7,4)
WEATHER VANE - WEATHER [brave] + homophone of VEIN [tenor]

8 Why we leave wife with an upset animal (5)
HYENA - {w}HY {w}E losing all its W's, + reversed AN

9 Exuberant cows briefly entering hospital department (9)
EBULLIENT - BULLIE{s} [cows (the verb) "briefly"] "entering" ENT [hospital department]

10 Smart girls shunning drug for skin (5)
CUTIS - CUTI{e}S [smart girls, "shunning" E = drug]

11 Proud, angry words in favour of public transport (11)
PROTUBERANT - PRO-TUBE RANT [angry words in favour of public transport!]

12 Tramp clutching paper documents (7)
DOSSIER - DOSSER [tramp] "clutching" I [(the news)paper]

18 Extremely dim old boy sat on the outside eating kippers, say (9)
OBSCUREST - OB [old bay] + S{a}T "eating" CURES [kippers, say]

19 Allow parasites to bite rear of passionate non-smoker (7)
LICENSE - LICE [parasites] to "bite" {passionat}E + NS [non-smoker]. Luckily for those of us who get mixed up between LICENSE and LICENCE it's pretty unambiguous how to abbreviate "non-smoker".

21 Make business error, partially backing failed art revolution (9)
OVERTRADE - hidden reversed in {fail}ED ART REVO{lution}

22 Asks half-cut buccaneer to inhale (8)
ASPIRATE - AS{ks} + PIRATE [buccaneer]

25 Mates turned up with glue for knockabout comedy (9)
SLAPSTICK - reversed PALS [mates] + STICK [glue]

27 Mix force and fury in fierce exchange (9)
CROSSFIRE - CROSS [mix] + F [force] + IRE [fury]

28 Appallingly trite man, strict disciplinarian (8)
MARTINET - (TRITE MAN*) ["appallingly"]

31 Hero's mate is slim, revolutionary communist (7)
LEANDER - LEAN [slim] + reversed RED [communist]. The mythological, female Hero.

33 Club members awaiting deliveries (7-2-2)
MOTHERS-TO-BE - cryptic definition. As in "in the club", and obstetric deliveries.

34 Carmen snogs vile US politician (11)

35 Just cared, having moral sense (5-6)
RIGHT-MINDED - RIGHT [just] + MINDED [cared]

37 Originally advising extensive repair work on road in Lancaster? (9)
AEROPLANE - A{dvising} E{xtensive} R{epair} + OP [work] on LANE [road]. Lancaster as in the aircraft here.

40 Plans novel e-cash ATM (8)
SCHEMATA - (E-CASH ATM*) ["novel"]

42 Censure unruly yob grabbing two thirds of fruit (7)
OBLOQUY - (YOB*) ["unruly"] "grabbing" LOQU{at} ["two third of" fruit]

43 Bald men, scratching heads, finally taught me how to cook pasta (2,5)
AL DENTE - {b}ALD {m}EN + {taugh}T {m}E

45 Cheers supporting article and letter (5)
THETA - TA [cheers] "supporting" THE [article]

47 Initially act upon Morse's sound assessment (5)
AUDIT - A{ct} U{pon} + DIT [Morse's sound (that isn't DAH)]

48 Guard neglecting southern gate? (5)
ENTRY - {s}ENTRY [guard, "neglecting" S = southern]

49 Arrived on back of doleful quadruped (5)
CAMEL - CAME [arrived] on {dolefu}L
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27294 – Saturday, 09 March 2019. Show me the money.

Welcome, travellers. This puzzle will take us through Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and a Pacific island, on our way to South America. We’ll need lots of foreign money!

The puzzle wasn’t particularly hard, but featured lots of diversity. I thought it had many clever clues. So much so that it’s hard to name an exception. Many clues required thought, but the clue of the day has to be 13dn with its punning literary reference. I wrote it in but couldn’t parse it until I eventually appealed to my wife. 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 Want party to exchange leaders? That’ll bring hostile reaction! (8)
BACKLASH: swap leading letters of LACK BASH. Nice to be spared mention of Dr Spooner.

5 Volume four including books English offered as promised (6)
VOTIVE: V=volume, OT=a set of books commonly mentioned in crosswords, IV=four, E=English. I knew “votive” had religious significance, but not that it meant this.

8 One swoops near ground, moving left to right (3)
OWL: start with LOW=near ground, and follow the instructions!

9 Consent for each assignment (10)

10 No longer confined, holding on for advocate? (8)

11 Girl brought to mark that locates treasure chest (6)
THORAX: THORA is “Miss Saturday” this week. X marks the location. Make sure you separate “treasure” from “chest”.

12 Australia finally getting spinner on (4)
ATOP: add TOP to [Australi]A. The definition is almost invisible! And no, not a cricketing clue.

14 Came down after snooze, subdued (10)

17 What one has to go on is fresh and amusing (5,5)
GREEN LIGHT: GREEN=fresh, LIGHT=amusing. Definition relates to traffic signals.

20 Authentic quartet to be seen in Liechtenstein (4)
ECHT: hidden answer.

23 Animal, better left in two areas, sent west (6)
ALPACA: LCAP=CAP / L[eft] “sent west”. Top and tail it with 2 x A=area.

24 Decline to accept drink, having answer ready for Bulgarian (8)
STOTINKA: SINK=decline, “accepting” TOT=drink, then A=answer. As it happened, I’d just seen the same answer in the previous week’s Jumbo with an almost identical type of clue, so this was a “gimme”. Definition is Bulgarian currency.

25 Motorway route cut short as data misread (10)
AUTOSTRADA: (ROUT- AS DATA*), “cut short” and “misread”.

26 Works informer shifting Republican to the centre (3)
ART: RAT with R=Republican moved as instructed.

27 Impulsive thing in north going after new money (6)
NEURON: N=new, EURO=money, N=north. Neutrons transmit nerve impulses.

28 Sit and adore rippling body (8)
ASTEROID: (SIT ADORE*) “rippling”.

1 Recoil from report about distraught Romeo (9)
BOOMERANG: BANG=report, around “distraught” (ROMEO*). Some boomerangs, not all, do return  but I would dispute that they recoil. Alas, it’s in the dictionary!

2 Music from revolutionary agent welcomed to state ball (7)
CALYPSO: YPS=“revolutionary” SPY, in CAL O (State, ball).

3 Raised in family like some wild animal (6)

4 Tiger seen abroad where lion holds sway? (9)

5 Six men accommodating model tourist (7)
VISITOR: SIT “accommodated” by VI=six, OR=other ranks.

6 Fossil — see black one with dull exterior (9)
TRILOBITE: LO=see, B=black, all inside TRITE=dull.

7 Excellent plonk given at raves (7)
VINTAGE: (GIVEN AT*) “raves”.

13 Rhymester's introduction to The Pit and the Pendulum say (9)
POETASTER: The Pit and the Pendulum is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, so an introduction to it might be a Poe “taster”.

15 Islanders and old volunteers whacked Scotsmen (9)
TAHITIANS: TA=old volunteers, HIT, IANS=(certain) Scotsmen.

16 Action needed about land taken away (9)

18 Rare vacant tenancy agreement — it's free! (7)
RELEASE: R[ar]E is “vacant”, followed by LEASE.

19 Appears following trouble over affair (7)
LIAISON: LIA=AIL “over”, IS ON=appears (at the Alhambra, say).

21 Tax in one country initially raised money abroad (7)
CENTAVO: VAT in ONE, followed by C[ountry] … all “raised”, since this is a down clue. It’s a currency unit, mainly in South American countries.

22 Gunners captured by amphibious creatures mounting low attack (6)
STRAFE: RA in EFTS “mounting”.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4841, 10 March 2019, by David McLean — A barking good puzzle!

There were no “meh” moments, just much merriment. I particularly liked the definitions so well hidden in plain sight for 1A, !0A and 21A. Definitions elsewhere were sneaky in other ways (“School of note”). I was quite taken with 28, which evokes the surreal transformation of part of a river into the bloom of a plant. Slick surfaces throughout.

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

 1 One’s really commercial, making final billion (6)
ADVERB — ADVER[T]B. Here a word meaning “commercial” changes its final letter to B(illion)…
 5 Friendly parent heading off for church (6)
CHUMMY — …and that’s “Mummy” removing her head for CH(urch).
 9 Grown men unknown to welcome a flattering (9)
ADULATORY — ”Grown” is ADULT, “men” the timeworn OR (“other ranks”), taking in (“welcoming”) A.
10 Hold on to power with son as a leader (4)
STOP — TO + P(ower) following S(on). This was my LOI, as I didn’t suspect that “to” was simply handing me half the answer (and was not part of the defintion).
11 Governments panic with last of referendums (6)
STATES — Here “panic” is a noun. “I was in a panic…” or “I was in a STATE over my test results,” with (referendum)S for the plural. Governments panicking, and talk of referendums, have been very much in the news.
12 This is a hazard for swingers, of course (4,4)
SAND TRAP — Get yourself tested regularly! CD. That’s a golf course, of course.
14 Guys curse what they might get themselves into (8)
MENSWEAR — A semi-&lit, you might say, as you need “Guys” from the wordplay to see the definition as well.
16 River one’s come across twice (4)
ISIS — I’s, two times. I must have learmed some time ago (here) that the stretch of the mighty Thames where Oxfordians row is, strangely, known by the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess, but at first I wanted IBIS (alas, there is no such river), a bird you might find on the Nile.
18 Greasy or dirty (less satisfactory) (4)
OILY — [-s]OILY 
19 Seize Yorkshire town for pearl-adorned queen (8)
ARROGATE — Sounds like Harrogate, with the Pearly Queen signaling Cockney pronunciation
21 Yo, this is the start of something! (4,4)
YEAR ZERO — The brief greeting at the beginning is an abbreviation for the answer. Brill!
22 One barking? That’s what you call me? (6)
24 Red fish you dropped (4)
26 A bad girl swiped one’s biscuit (9)
GARIBALDI — (A bad girl + I)*
27 White’s fourth blunder creates consternation (6)
TERROR — [-Whi]T[-e] + ERROR
28 White-tipped parts of a flower? (6)
RAPIDS — CD. You will find “flower”, flow-er, meaning “river” exclusively in cryptic puzzles, of course, but I like this clue a lot.

 2 Set a limit for what an angler might do? (4,3,4)
 3 Might broker do this with market finally 100 per cent up? (5)
ERUPT — &lit, with (marke)T + PURE ( “100 per cent”) <— . I originally had EXULT, until corrected by MartinP, and, although LUXE wasn’t the most obvious equivalent of “100 per cent,” I still find my answer more appropriate for what a broker might do when the market is way up. Major eyebrow raise, actually, at this.
 4 More blaring from support ship that’s close to Dover (8)
BRASSIER — BRA (“support”) + “that’s” (that is, id est, IE) + R (“close to Dover”)
 5 Clubs attempting to ban bit of tasteless shouting (6)
CRYING — C(lubs) + [-t]RYING
 6 Tipping over pint, guest must be smashed (9)
UPSETTING — (pint guest)*
 7 First of martins circles low (3)
MOO — M(artins) + O O (“circles”)
 8 School of note to rear novices in a new way (13)
CONSERVATOIRE — (to rear novices in)* …and a cryptic definition.
13 Robin could be described as one’s secret informer (1,6,4)
15 Violently strike wry author of heavenly words (9)
SKYWRITER — (strike wry)* I rather like the cryptic definition. The pilot writing, however, is often not the author of the words briefly seen in the empyrean.
17 Bit of sports equipment in Ford saloon? (8)
CROSSBAR — ”Ford” as in CROSS, “saloon” as in BAR. What makes this surface plausible is thinking that the drinking establishment might be found in a movie directed by John Ford.
20 Book creep held in hands (6)
LEDGER — L(EDGE)R, with “hands” being L(eft) and R(ight)
23 Sheep swallowing half of lily flower (5)
TULIP — TU(LI[-ly])P
25 Regret being naughty, but not bad ultimately (3)
RUE — RU[-d]E