May 2nd, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic No 1343 by Pedro

I really enjoyed this puzzle by Pedro, taking just over 13 minutes, so no walk in the park, but with quite a few smiley moments and some clever clue construction.  When I saw Qs and Xs appear in the grid, I wondered if we were in for a rare pangram, but we ended up four letters short.  I think I have to give CoD to 16d for the smiles it generated, but my WoD is LISSOME.

Thanks Pedro.  To everyone else, please let me know how you got on.

Take in selected news items? (6)
DIGEST – Double definition, the first to take in gradually, the second a periodical abstract of news.  My first thought was INGEST, but parsing it properly wasn’t possible, so a rethink was required.
5  Favouring appropriate trading success (6)
PROFIT – PRO (favouring) and FIT (appropriate).  PROFIT is the only real measure of trading success ultimately, although there is a growing body of humanity that think it should be otherwise!
8 Score at snooker with difficulty – uneven surface? (7)
POTHOLE – POT (score at snooker) and HOLE (difficulty).
10  Limits to comedian embracing depressed funny man (5)
CLOWN – C{omedia}N (limits to, i.e. first and last letters) containing (embracing) LOW (depressed).  CLOWNs are not always funny, particularly to a Coulrophobic.
11  System of morals? This runs short in the City (5)
ETHIC – THI{s} (runs short, i.e. drops the last letter) inside EC (the City (of London) from the post codes there).  EC for City is often used in Crosswordland, so file it away for use later.
12 Certain to return, enthralled by friend reading (7)
PERUSAL – SURE (certain) reversed (to return) inside (enthralled by) PAL (friend).  I was at first unsure about the legitimacy of PERUSAL for READING, but as a noun in both cases it works fine.
13  Model stumbling – damage after twisting – a scene that’s overwrought (9)
MELODRAMA – Anagram (stumbling) of [MODEL] followed by MAR (damage) reversed (tumbling) and A (a).
17  Liberal is a little flexible (7)
LISSOME – L{iberal} and IS (is) and SOME (a little).  To be LISSOME (I am not!) one is lithe, nimble and / or flexible.
19  An American writer or two (5)
TWAIN – Double definition, but actually the same thing!  Mark Twain invented his pen name from a riverboat term meaning two fathoms (12 feet).  Mark = measure, and TWAIN = two.  His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
20  Support a couple (5)
BRACE – Another double definition, the first here being a support (for teeth?) and the second as in a brace of grouse.  Brace meaning a pair is most often heard when referring to shot game, although I have been known to order a couple of shots of whisky by asking for a brace.  Two clues alongside each other giving three definitions for ‘two’ and one for support – interesting!
21  Alcoholic drink quite abused by the French (7)
TEQUILA – Anagram (abused) of [QUITE] followed by LA (the in French)
22  Set about reversing small scope for manoeuvre (6)
LEEWAY – LAY (set) surrounding (about) WEE (small) reversed (reversing).  As well as meaning drift to leeward, LEEWAY also means room to manoeuvre.
23  This writer is enthralled by revolutionary year? Correct (6)
REMEDY – ME (this writer) is enthralled by (is inside) RED (revolutionary) and followed by Y{ear}.  To correct a fault is to REMEDY it.

1         Smart to sample book, including pages lifted (6)
DAPPER – READ (to sample book) containing PP (pages) and then reversed (lifted in a down clue).
See fellow ignoring new topics - wise (3,3,7)
GET THE MESSAGE – GE{n}T (fellow ignoring N{ew}) THEMES (topics) and SAGE (wise).  Although quite convoluted parsing, this is a nice simple clue – to GET THE MESSAGE is to SEE the point.
3  Society of current importance, stripped of power, but not complaining (7)
STOICAL – S{ociety} and TO{p}ICAL (of current importance, stripped of P{ower}).
Fast driver, expert in Rolls Royce initially (5)
RACER – ACE (expert) in R{olls} R{oyce} (initially).
6  Melange of April’s seafood?  It’s in your dreams (5,8)
FOOL’S PARADISE – Anagram (melange) of [APRIL’S SEAFOOD].  A FOOL’S PARADISE is a state of happiness based on ficticious hopes or expectations, according to my Chambers.
Complication no good in story (6)
TANGLE – N{o} G{ood} inside TALE.
9  Index Pete devised as means to an end (9)
EXPEDIENT – Anagram (devised) of [INDEX PETE].
14  Historic item? Not in favour and quite dismissing it (7)
ANTIQUE – ANTI (not in favour) and QU{it}E (QUITE dismissing it).
15  Poorly written blog almost all of international relevance (6)
GLOBAL –  Anagram (poorly written) of [BLOG] and AL{l} (almost all).  I trust that Pedro isn’t referring to this entry when talking about a poorly written blog!
16  Very favoured by clan not wanting the Italian notoriety (6)
INFAMY – IN (very favoured) and (by) FAM{il}Y (clan, not wanting IL (the in Italian)).  Reminds me of Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in Carry On Cleo – “Infamy, Infamy – they’ve all got it infamy!”
18  Old piano – time for some work by Mozart? (5)
OPERA – O{ld} P{iano} and ERA (time).  The question mark is because not all OPERAs are by Mozart.

Times 27340 - not my cup of 14

Time taken: 20:46 - and with that, one silly typo, so if you are looking for a chance to get on the leaderboard well ahead of your blogger, today is an exceptional day.

With all apologies to the setter, as this is a good crossword, with some fine clues and all of the wordplay works: it seems for a third time in a row I am going to have a quibble. The last two daily puzzles I blogged both had errors in the wordplay, leading to headache-inducing days (and in one case, corrected clues in the online version of the puzzle). This one uses my least favorite cryptic crossword convention twice - clueing a non-English proper noun as an anagram. This renders a clue as an exercise in hopeful letter-juggling.

I see some of my contemporaries have very quick times indeed today, but I struggled.

The first definition in each clue is underlined.

Away we go...

1 Start to devise style in office (4-4)
OPEN-PLAN - OPEN(start), next to PLAN(devise)
5 A small fishing boat returned every time (6)
ALWAYS - A then S(small), YAWL(fishing boat) reversed
10 To do nothing and go back to risk regret is barely credible (3,4,2,2,4)
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - crafty wordplay here - TO, then DO, O(nothing), and GO all reversed then TO, BET(risk), RUE(regret)
11 Striking style of film, Renoir work of art is fun (10)
RECREATION - remove film NOIR from RENOIR, then CREATION(work of art)
13 When to pen court decrees (4)
ACTS - AS(when) containing CT(court)
15 Hat comes adrift with open carriage (7)
PHAETON - anagram of HAT and OPEN
17 Old sultan’s envy, perhaps, about a young man (7)
SALADIN - Envy is a deadly SIN, containing A, LAD(young man)
18 Might piano add second instrument for gripping effect? (7)
FORCEPS - FORCE(might), P(piano), S(second)
19 Resolved to include mint, say, in Australian beer (7)
SHERBET - SET(resolved) containing HERB(mint, say). Been a long time since I've heard this slang, but it was most commonly used in a band name, best known for Howzat
21 Fell back in space (4)
ROOM -  MOOR(fell) reversed
22 Make public concert attendance around middle of July (10)
PROMULGATE - PROM(concert), GATE(attendance) surrounding the middle of jULy
25 Chinese space shot means quarantine (9,6)
27 Check reversing speed in road (6)
RETARD - RATE(speed) reversed in RD(road)
28 Records judge is for hanging (8)
TAPESTRY - TAPES(records), TRY(judge)

1 Yield more than rock (7)
OUTCROP - if you yield more than, you OUT CROP
2 I make good, to some extent (3)
EGO - hidden inside makE GOod
3 Landed respectable neckwear given by daughter (10)
PROPERTIED - PROPER(respectable), TIE(neckwear), D(daughter)
4 Warm approval is out of place for vetting of books (5)
AUDIT - the warm approval is a PLAUDIT, remove PL(place)
6 Made up a story and was heartless (4)
LIED - LIVED(was) missin the middle letter
7 Charm of rogue flanked by a couple of supporters (11)
ABRACADABRA - CAD(rogue) surrounded by two of A BRA(supporters)
8 Walks over younger member of family (7)
STEPSON - walks over is STEPS ON
9 Giant company supported by America admits defeat (8)
COLOSSUS - CO(company) over US(America) containing LOSS(defeat)
12 Bad actor vainly looking at the future (11)
14 Sign up for the famous indecent film covering canines? (4,6)
BLUE PLAQUE -  cryptic double definition (and my downfall, since it is BLUE PLAQEE in my grid). A sign advertising an indecent filme might be a BLUE PLAQUE... and it is also the result of rubbing a piece of tape on your teeth to see where you haven't cleaned properly. It has been pointed out in comments that this is probably meant to be "Sign up for the famous" = BLUE PLAQUE (usually circular), and the wordplay is BLUE(indecent), PLAQUE(film covering canines).  This seems more plausible, though BLUE PLAQUE is not in Collins or Chambers,
16 Conrad’s novel motors on in chaos (8)
NOSTROMO - anagram of MOTORS,ON - novel by Joseph Conrad
18 Help to include right author (7)
FORSTER - FOSTER(help) containing R(right) for the author E. M. FORSTER known for A Room With A View amongst others
20 Three changed in multiplication with about that amount (7)
THEREBY - anagram of THREE, then BY(in multiplication with)
23 Madness of king over leaving country (5)
MANIA - remove R(rex, King), O(over) from ROMANIA(country)
24 Just stylishness gets left out (4)
FAIR - FLAIR(stylishness) missing L(left)
26 Cunning regularly displayed by parrots (3)
ART -  alternating letters in pArRoTs