May 23rd, 2019

Linus van Pelt

27358 Thursday, 23 May 2019 Drag night?

Certainly not as tough as yesterday’s, and I stopped the clock at 17 minutes dead. You do need a tiny bit of history awareness for the battleground and there are a couple of archaisms that are not flagged as such, but overall the wordplay is reasonably generous and there’s little to cause panic.
I might suggest that the juxtaposition of two I words at 14 across is a little bit insensitive on the day of the Euro elections and the high flying Brexit tendency, for (I’d better say many of) whom the two words are a bête noir to get indignant about. But hey ho!
You’ll find definitions in BOLD CAPITALS, clues in italics, and definitions further underlined.

1 Farm animal to lumber behind (10)
SADDLEBACK If it’s a farm animal as indicated, it’s a breed of pig, but can be one of several other creatures: the great black-backed gull, the hooded crow, the male harp seal,  a breed of goose, a rare New Zealand wattlebird, or any saddle-shaped animal (provide your own examples). The wordplay is a straight charade of lumber: saddle and behind: back.
6 Some football and a little drink (4)
HALF Two definitions, the latter usually half a pint
10 American impressed, having obtained meat (5)
GIGOT Leg of lamb. An impressed (enlisted) American is a GI, add GOT for obtained
11 It leaves from the city, not Darwin, going west (4,5)
DOWN TRAIN An anagram (going west) of NOT DARWIN. From the days when up trains went to London, down ones went away
12 No matter what, remove roof only if rotten (3,4,2,5)
FOR LOVE OR MONEY An anagram (“if rotten”) of REMOVE ROOF ONLY. Usually (exclusively?) found as part of a negative: I wouldn’t blog this crossword for love (n)or money. But it does mean “under any circumstances”, so “no matter what” is fine.
14 Such an immigrant I will say a high-flier (7)
ILLEGAL I take it this is I’LL (minus the apostrophe) for I will, then say eagle for high flier and write EGAL. If such immigrants are high fliers, that dam’ wall’ll make no dam’ difference!
15 Small frog in basket (7)
SHOPPER We used to have one of these on wheels, though no much use when you’re also pushing a pram. S(mall) frog HOPPER
17 Bounty, a big ship (7)
LARGESS A minor hesitation as I’d spell it with an extra E at the end. But a big ship is a LARGE SS
19 Demanding couple in a hurry should stop short (7)
ARDUOUS The couple is  DUO, and a hurry cut short is A RUS(H)
20 Moving fast, only lock part of church? (6,8)
FLYING BUTTRESS Moving fast: FLYING, only BUT, lock (of hair) TRESS.
23 Gravity is an attractive quality (9)
ACUTENESS An attractive quality gives you A CUTENESS. I wonder if you realise the seriousness/acuteness/gravity of the situation. That works ok.
24 Cockney’s claim to be tough turned into emotional scene (5)
DRAMA More often than not, the word Cockney in a clue triggers the loss of aitches, or sometimes the rhyming slang. Here the cheerful Cockney chappie makes the claim (I) AM ‘ARD. Which you then reverse
25 It follows tentative demand to leave? (4)
ERGO Er….go.
26 Planted in tub, one ace bloom (10)
POINSETTIA Planted in this sense is INSET, the tub you’re looking tom put it in is POT, followed by one 1 and A(ce)

1 Vision reduced, sound miserable (4)
SIGH cut the end off SIGHT for vision.
2 Make arrest, concealing good evidence of professional standing (3,6)
DOG COLLAR To make arrest is DO COLLAR, hide G(ood) therein, though leave it showing, of course. A dog collar is the white all-round neckwear of a priest, sometimes (believe me) cut from a washing up liquid bottle
3 Aliens making cross signs? (6,5,3)
LITTLE GREEN MEN, the cross signs being the ones you see on pedestrian crossing lights.
4 Base wickedness is torment (7)
BEDEVIL Again straight enough: base gives BED, and wickedness EVIL
5 Irresponsible workers intimidate youngsters (7)
COWBOYS Not the Stetson wearing gentlemen of the but artisans of the corrupt and/or incompetent variety. Intimidate: COW and youngsters: BOYS
7 To seize area, have entered with violence (5)
AMAIN Have entered translates to (I) AM IN, which then “seizes” the additional A(rea)
8 Like the idea of women’s clothing? For men, this could be (5,5)
FANCY DRESS The first part of the clue is a straight charade. The second is a suggestion that for men, a fancy dress could be fancy dress, though I think I should add that it may be a personal choice that elicits no adverse comment.
9 March hard, not softly, over two crosses in battleground (8,6)
STAMFORD BRIDGE The Yorkshire battleground where King Harold beat Norwegian invaders three weeks before his ‘arrowing encounter with the Normans at Hastings. Alternatively, for Spurs fans, Chelsea’s infamous ground usually littered with foul play and dirty rotten cheating. March hard is STAMP*, but remove the P indicated by “softly”. The two crosses are then FORD and BRIDGE
*corrected, thanks Jack
13 Carried round sick, not interested in choice of food (4,2,4)
BILL OF FARE Carried is BARE, marked in Chambers as archaic. From the Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten:
There is no rose of such vertu
As is the rose that bare Jesu.
Anyhow, place it round ILL for sick and OFF for not interested
16 What actor carries: handle for part of engine (9)
PROPSHAFT Anything an actor carries is a PROP, and handle gives you the shaft
18 Freezing membership fee with love (7)
SUBZERO the membership fee is a SUB(scription) and love (as in tennis) is ZERO
19 Train as flexible worker (7)
ARTISAN Anagram (flexible) of TRAIN AS
21 Newly-developed browser over years taken up (5)
YOUNG A browser, or browsing animal might be a GNU (spelt G-N-U), add O(ver) and Y(ears) and reverse the whole
22 People of the New World are allowed to answer (4)
MAYA are allowed: MAY, plus A(nswer)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1358 by Pedro

I crept in a few seconds under my target but I was slow to get going today, only getting 6 of the acrosses on a first read through (1,6,8,10,17,19). It was a case of gradually piecing things together, so I didn't find this an easy puzzle. I liked a good number of the clues, and there were a few lesser-seen clueing techniques, such as 2d and especially 9ac, which I always like whenever I see it, however much it trips me up. Good quality puzzle, much enjoyed - many thanks to Pedro!

1 Blooper: it ruined low-quality novel (9)
POTBOILER - anagram (ruined) of BLOOPER IT. Derives from the earlier phrase "to boil the pot" or "to make the pot boil", i.e., to provide a livelihood. So, a potboiler is a work where this (occasionally rather pressing) motive trumps any more rarefied concerns of artistic quality.
6 Small operation that’s offered as a concession (3)
SOP - S(mall) OP(eration). I've copied-and-pasted the following a few times now, and see no reason to stop: "Sop" cropped up in a puzzle I blogged a month or two ago, where I learnt the phrase: "a sop to Cerberus". A sop is a piece of soaked bread, and a drugged one was given to Cerberus to allow safe passage to the underworld, hence its meaning as a bribe/placation/concession.
8 Disturbance leading to cheers after receiving first of cream cheese (7)
RICOTTA - RIOT (disturbance) leading to TA (cheers) receiving C (first of Cream)
9 Proactive pair opening company? (3-2)
CAN-DO - the pair [of letters] opening/starting the word "company" are C AND O. And an excellent surface to boot!
10 Deduce number will escape fire (5)
INFER - NO. (number) to escape from INFERNO (fire)
12 Inform if Tony is out of sorts (6)
NOTIFY - anagram (is out of sorts) of IF TONY
14 Joke company’s merchandise? It’s easily ridiculed (8-5)
LAUGHING-STOCK - cryptic(ish) definition of the stock of a joke company.
16 Still disturbance to radio reception (6)
STATIC - double definition
17 Following ocean currents, it turned and boy turned (5)
TIDAL - reversed (turned) IT and also LAD (boy)
19 Topic most of you and me will deliver (5)
THEME - THE (most of THEE (you)) and ME will deliver the answer.
20 Rage about men at sea being left over (7)
REMNANT - RANT (rage) about an anagram (at sea) of MEN
22 Chap’s curtailed expression of disapproval (3)
HIS - HISS (expression of disapproval), curtailed/dock the last letter.
23 Plant to burgeon around ocean, on reflection (9)
SPEEDWELL - SWELL (burgeon) goes around the DEEP (the ocean) reversed/on reflection.

1 Page with press piece — something from the Large Hadron Collider? (8)
PARTICLE - P(age) with ARTICLE (press piece).
2 Movement perceived in previous answer? (3)
TIC - TIC is seen/perceived in the letters of 1d (the previous answer)
3 Excessive sign of hesitation in river creature (5)
OTTER - OTT (Over The Top = excessive) ER (sign of hesitation)
4 As experienced by those with a bent for education? (8,5)
LEARNING CURVE - cryptic definition, with a slender pun on bent/curve and bent/inclination, but a nice clue, which also works as an &lit.
5 Reads aloud about big towns, forgetting second one (7)
RECITES - RE (about) CITIES (big towns), forget/ditch the second "I" (one)
6 Exotic frog I found in dunes? No great excitement here (9)
SANGFROID - anagram (exotic) of FROG I, found inside SAND (dunes)
7 Power group scheme (4)
PLOT - P(ower) LOT (group)
11 Flusters wildly about newspaper in vain (9)
FRUITLESS - anagram (wildly) of FLUSTERS about/around I (Independent). Edit: see Jack's point below about "i" vs "Independent".
13 Last leek cooked, with no meat on bones (8)
SKELETAL - anagram (cooked) of LAST LEEK
15 Talkers losing head? They’re traditionally mad (7)
HATTERS - CHATTERS (talkers) losing head = ditch the top letter. Very minor quibble with this one: a chatterer is a talker; a chatter for a talker is either too colloquial to be included in any of the usual sources, or archaic (the only entry I could find is marked as obsolete in the OED). Still, it's pretty obvious what's going on here, I reckon we can avoid losing our own head over it!
17 Fearful and dull, it turned up (5)
TIMID - DIM (dull) IT reversed/turned up
18 Pain when running, having to lose stone? That’s an irritation (4)
ITCH - STITCH (pain when running) to lose ST (stone)
21 Had a meal at end of game (3)
ATE - AT (at) E ("end" of gamE)

Times 27359: Land of Hope and Gloriana, Victoriana, 'toriana

Once again far from the hardest puzzle of the week, but the schedulers were on to a winner if they were looking for a blogger likely to pleased by the TLS-y contents of this grid. We have a pair of lovers from Greek myth, one 18th century philosopher and one playwright, and some neck-biting and thigh-slapping Victorian vampire and outlaw fiction. All sorts of good stuff in other words, and some nicely whimsical wordplay too, of which I think the simple but pleasing 25ac tickled my fancy the most. Very nice indeed setter, and thank you!

1 Pass close to Awatere Fault (6)
ELAPSE - {awater}E + LAPSE [fault]. The Awatere Fault is a real thing on New Zealand's South Island.

4 Watch government bringing in muscle (8)
SPECTATE - STATE [government] "bringing in" PEC [muscle]. First one in.

10 Green light in spare room (9)
CLEARANCE - double def. Last one parsed, as I frantically searched for a word or words for "green light" (LEA something?) inside a word for "thin"...

11 Body part up on sort of cross (5)
THIGH - HIGH [up] on T [sort of cross]

12 Second European to travel through Spanish city (7)
SEGOVIA - S E GO VIA [second | European | to travel | through]. Wasted time thinking about MORAVIA (nowhere near Spain)

13 Attention brought to monk on line in Essex? (7)
EARLDOM - EAR [attention] brought to DOM [monk] on L [line]. The Earl of Essex is quite well known to Elizabethan aficionados.

14 Blockhead with additionally busy diary to announce? (5)
MORON - homophone of MORE ON, which is what you have if you have an additionally busy diary.

15 Military equipment manufactured in real time (8)
MATERIEL - (REAL TIME*) ["manufactured"]. A familiar word to participants in the Champs! I still tried MITRAILLE for size first, somehow.

18 Le Fanu? Who scandalised the educational establishment? (8)
SHERIDAN - a highly literary clue, requiring the solver to remember the first name of SHERIDAN Le Fanu (author of pioneering Victorian vampire novella Carmilla) and to recall that Richard Brinsley SHERIDAN wrote "The School for Scandal" (in the 1770s or thereabouts).

20 Firms given answer making drink from beans (5)
COCOA - CO CO [(two) firms] given A [answer]

23 Dream about restraining one drunk fighting civilians (7)
MILITIA - reversed AIM [dream], "restraining" I LIT [one | drunk]

25 Greek hero recognised in Florida and Georgia? (7)
THESEUS - or THE SE US, the southeastern US

26 Does this accurately describe old city bar? (5)
URBAN - UR BAN [old city | bar], semi-&lit

27 One admiring literary family to blow top (2,4,3)
DO ONE'S NUT - or DOONES NUT, one adoring the Doone clan from Richard Doddridge Blackmore's 1869 novel "Lorna Doone".

28 Stews, with son stuck in politically volatile areas (3,5)
HOT SPOTS - HOTPOTS [stews], with S [son] stuck in

29 French cheeses discussed for picnic (6)
BREEZE - homophone of BRIES [French cheeses]; a picnic as in a walk in the park.

1 Steps taken to make an apology? (6-2)
EXCUSE-ME - double def, as an excuse-me is also a dance in which one gets to change one's partner.

2 One settles score as compared with English in rage (7)
AVENGER - V E [as compared with | English] in ANGER [rage]

3 Scribe translating verse in vacated cellar (9)
SCRIVENER - (VERSE IN C{ella}R*). Given the tenor of the rest of this puzzle, I'm surprised the setter didn't use "Bartleby" as the definition!

5 Anointed priest rubbished Calvinist doctrine (14)

6 Provide entertainment and grub without support (5)
CATER - CATER{pillar} [grub, minus PILLAR = support]

7 Song complete that’s elevated one assisting 25 (7)
ARIADNE - ARIA [song] + reversed END [complete]. Ariadne's role in abetting Theseus is much celebrated in song, story and paint.

8 Disinter old philosopher (6)
EXHUME - EX HUME [old | philosopher (David, who could out-consume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel)]

9 Love being by sea with musicians, it’s something with pull (3-5,6)
ONE-ARMED BANDIT - O NEAR MED BAND IT [love | by | sea | musicians | it]

16 Court instrument always finding criminal? (9)
RACKETEER - RACKET [(tennis) court instrument] + E'ER [always]

17 Recorder would accommodate this tortuous test case (8)
CASSETTE - (TEST CASE*) ["tortuous"]. Last one in, due to _A_S_T_E proving surprisingly daunting.

19 Prince with one and only — a tasty swimmer! (7)
HALIBUT - HAL + I BUT [prince | one | only]

21 Absolve Gaunt beginning to suffer in church (7)
CLEANSE - LEAN [gaunt] + S{uffer} in CE [church]

22 Attack in surfacing French submarine? (6)
AMBUSH - very nicely hidden reversed, in {frenc}H SUBMA{rine}

24 Not so fast! (3-2)
TON-UP - reverse cryptic, "ton, up" being a clue for NOT