June 10th, 2019


Times Cryptic Jumbo 1384: Federated States of Mea Culpa

Apologies for this arriving later than Kitty's excellent blog for 1385 - this was a Bank Holiday Monday puzzle of course, and so through my timings all out of whack. It was also a deeply straightforward crossword, requiring nothing much beyond an understanding of containment and anagram indicators, plus a few common crosswordland abbreviations and the most basic tier of general knowledge to make swift progress.

Despite the presence of clues like 30ac and 45dn, I'm afraid little of this made a lasting impression on me. I *did* like the sea-led monks at 15, and the &littery at 5dn, oh yes, and the appearance of the Lunar Excursion Module in 20dn. And many of the services were commendably succinct. But it was all enjoyable enough while it lasted. Thanks setter!

1 Engineer endlessly longing to be cloaked in obscurity (9)
MACHINIST - ACHIN{g} to be "cloaked in" MIST

6 Is drink placed in old hat wasted? (10)

12 Startle artilleryman, heading off before end-of-war celebrations? (7)
UNNERVE - {g}UNNER before V-E

13 Nice way of describing a hedonist? (3,6)
BON VIVANT - Nice way, as in "in the manner of a French place"

14 I brought in copies done over in shade of brown (5)
SEPIA - I "brought in" reversed APES

16 Secret plans for monasteries under maritime directions? (6,6)
SEALED ORDERS - whereas SEA-LED ORDERS would be maritime-directed monasteries!

17 Non-participant, beginning to watch everyone, beginning to feel less prominent (10)
WALLFLOWER - W{atch} + ALL + F{eel} + LOWER

19 As adept with pen as with sword? (5,2,3,4)
QUICK ON THE DRAW - a definition that can imply speed of unsheathing a weapon, or possibly of creating a picture

22 Appropriate to involve Times, sure to revise regular items (8)
FIXTURES - FIT to "involve" X, + (SURE*)

24 Suppose administrator seizing power will want end to unrest (6)
EXPECT - EXEC "seizing" P, + {unres}T

25 Dairy product down? Something said to produce a smile (4,6)
BLUE CHEESE - BLUE [down, as in sad] + CHEESE!

26 Much enthusiasm about brother finding wild horse (5)
ZEBRA - ZEA{l} "about" BR

29 Perhaps, the Opposition article backed by Frenchman (4)
THEM - THE [(definite) article] backed by M. "Us v them."

30 Puritan accepting new money, making an impression (8)
PRINTING - PRIG [puritan] "accepting" N TIN

32 Function hosting a performance offering little amusement (9)

34 The same may be represented in dialect (9)

35 Atmospheric phenomenon? Study source of turbulence and fume (8)
CONTRAIL - CON [study] + T{urbulence} + RAIL [fume]

36 Tree? China has millions (4)
PALM - PAL has M

39 Sign of error in new rate for special edition of paper (5)
EXTRA - X [sign of error] in (RATE*)

40 Article in verse including record in sorry state (10)
APOLOGETIC - A [(indefinite) article] + POETIC [in verse] "including" LOG

42 Remarkable note penned by prisoner is handed over (6)
SIGNAL - N "penned by" reversed LAG IS

44 Sporting contest: plan to finish early or late in the day (8)

46 Action subsequently engaging lawyers to succeed in arbitration? (6,1,7)

48 Very annoyed: silver reduced into small pieces retaining only 40% of value (10)
AGGRAVATED - AG [silver] + GRATED "retaining" VA{lue}

49 Erotica? Men with it possibly showing some speed in response (8,4)

53 Blame hard to be accepted by group of thinkers? (5)
THANK - H to be "accepted" by TANK. Who do we have to thank for this?

54 Public official: origins linked to male in Arab state (9)
OMBUDSMAN - BUDS linked to M, in OMAN

55 I name support from near the coast (7)

56 I agree: positive response seen in territory in the past (10)
YESTERYEAR - YES [I agree] + YEA [positive response] seen in TERR

57 Prepared with a line about study describing many office jobs? (9)
SEDENTARY - SET with A RY, about DEN

1 Fellow, one with a passion (5)
MANIA - MAN, I with A

2 Take control of stimulus — something footballer takes (6,4)
CORNER KICK - CORNER [take control of, e.g. a market] + KICK [stimulus]

3 Reserve to move briskly, feeling the cold (3-5)
ICE-BOUND - ICE [reserve, as in frosty demeanour] + BOUND [move briskly]

4 Plant grew tall, avoiding cold lake (5)

5 Town in Kent has fashionable people cross (9)
TONBRIDGE - TON [fashionable people] + BRIDGE [cross]

6 Daughter, not fully mature, weak character (4)
DRIP - D + RIP{e}

7 Pretending to have support of a new religious figure (6)
SHAMAN - SHAM [pretending], to have support of A N

8 “Elitist leaning” may represent us (14)
INTELLIGENTSIA - (ELITIST LEANING*), semi-&lit. Unless of course "us" is just a definition for crossword enthusiasts!

9 More than one sailor loves to carry an instrument in the coldest temperature (8,4)
ABSOLUTE ZERO - ABS [more than one sailor] + O ZERO [(two) loves] to "carry" LUTE [an instrument]

10 Enable soldiers to turn up, bearing military captive (7)
EMPOWER - reversed REME [soldiers, as in Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers], "bearing" POW [prisoner of war]

11 Later question beginning to engage some number in smaller group (10)
SUBSEQUENT - QU + E{ngage} + N, in SUBSET

15 Love coming in fast — the stuff of jets and rockets (9)
AEROSPACE - EROS [love] "coming in" APACE

18 Source of disease: head about to keep note (8)
PATHOGEN - PATE about HOG [to keep], + N

20 Instrument in Apollo lander: I’m restrained about that (9)
IMPLEMENT - LEM [Apollo lander] - I'M PENT about that

21 Hold hard — young chap has fallen badly in between (4,6)
HALF NELSON - H SON [hard | young chap] has (FALLEN*) in between

23 China’s problem with crime (3,7)

27 National symbol? Scots own up after it’s found in refuse (9)
BRITANNIA - reversed AIN [Scots "own"] after IT is found in BRAN

28 Opener to meal with taste, left out as expression of sovereign’s thanks (5-3-6)
GRACE-AND-FAVOUR - GRACE [(spoken) opener to meal] + AND + F{l}AVOUR

31 Isle of Grain not entirely undeveloped (8)
INCHOATE - INCH [isle] + OATE{n}

33 Sailor following Channel, and French providing restriction (12)
STRAITJACKET - JACK [sailor] following STRAIT, + ET [and, French]

34 One cricket side taking article into practice area? That’s awkward (9)
INELEGANT - I + LEG AN [cricket side | article] into NET [practice area]

37 Paper upset about delay identifying shirker (10)

38 End up accepting witches I found in Pacific lands (10)
MICRONESIA - reversed AIM "accepting" CRONES I. Gets everywhere in crosswords recently, does this clue.

41 Outermost layer is primed to disintegrate after input of energy (9)
EPIDERMIS - (IS PRIMED*), with insertion of E

43 Help is turning up after former schoolmate gets stuck on Northern rock (8)
OBSIDIAN - AID IS reversed, after O.B., gets stuck on N

45 Go wild after English impress deeply (7)

47 Weak grouse sent skyward ends in trivial chase (6)
FEEBLE - reversed BEEF [grouse, as in complaint] + {trivia}L {chas}E

50 Punished, or preserved half-heartedly (5)

51 Club comedy, ultimately satire (5)
IRONY - IRON [(golf) club] + {comed}Y

52 IT expert losing top in German river (4)
  • jackkt

Times Quick Cryptic 1370 by Breadman

My solving time was 11 minutes. Regulars may know that I always include parsing in my stated times and it was that that took me over my target 10 minutes today; the answer at 21dn was obvious on first reading but I had a blind spot lasting more than a moment or two before I realised how it worked. It seems so obvious now!

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  • ulaca

Times 27373 - I fear the Geeks, even when they bring Gifs

Kαλως ηρθατε from sunny Naxos, where me and the missus are having a well-deserved rest away from the stresses of Hong Kong, reminding ourselves in the land where democracy was hatched just how far the land we call home has to come.

This was a pleasant little number whose Quickie-esque credentials were challenged only by a tricky wordplay/definition combo at 13a. Having stumbled there (and not helping myself by failing to see 7d), I came home in a little over 20 minutes.

Having already put paid to four of the longest books on the ‘world’s longest book list’ (Dance to the Music of Time, Infinite Jest (minus the footnotes), Clarissa and War and Peace), I have decided to bite the bullet and tackle In Search of Lost Time on this trip. I have warmed up by jumping the gun and starting it a bit early, greatly enjoying the first volume (Swann’s Way – surprisingly laugh out loud funny in places) but finding the second volume (Swann in Love) rather too, well – you guessed it – long for my taste. Without further to-do…


1 Where you might find Emma, destined never to meet her beau? (2,3,5)
ON THE SHELF – an extended cryptic definition, requiring knowledge of the Austenian oeuvre

6 Protégé of Fenland warrior, no longer here (4)
WARD – [Here]WARD, the most famous (only famous?) Wake and one of the leaders of the resistance to those pesky Normans

10 One critical about Papa’s barber? (7)

11 Here one may end with bitterness and cries of pain (7)
GALLOWS – GALL OWS; I think we are in semi-&lit country

12 Tight-lipped Home Counties arty type has no answer (9)
SECRETIVE – SE (home counties) CRE[a]TIVE

13 Recharge, repositioning bits in the brain (2,3)
UP TOP – if you muck about with (reposition) TOP UP, you get the answer, no gimme in itself

14 Hardline Tories Sun ignored in unimportant articles (5)
DRIES – [sun]DRIES; back when I was a lad, you had two parallel descriptors of the major parties, one formal, the other informal: Conservatives/Tories and Labour/Socialists. While Tories has gone from strength to strength, Socialists appears to be on the endangered list.

15 Troubled son used Soho lodging place (9)

17 Jingoistic individual having stupid row with German (9)
WARMONGER – ROW GERMAN*; I think the setter can just about get away with this clue so long as s/he doesn’t mention the war.

20 Duck from the east about to snuff it (5)
EIDER – reversal of RE DIE

21 Called back, finding large lump (5)

23 Heroin found on press in train once (4,5)
IRON HORSE – HORSE (slang word for heroin) after IRON

25 Sound of a sneeze heard? That’s in dispute (2,5)

26 Disastrous main event? (7)
TSUNAMI – cryptic definition

27 Bet knocked back? I’m sometimes fuming! (4)
ETNA – ANTE reversed

28 Aggressive Finn rudely snarling (10)
UNFRIENDLY – FINN RUDELY* (snarling is the envelope-pushing anagram indicator)


1 Island supporting penniless old folk’s refuge (5)
OASIS – OA[p]S IS (abbreviation of island)

2 Birdwatcher throttling me, getting increasingly jumpy (9)

3 Struck dumb, maybe, but showing no emotion (14)
EXPRESSIONLESS – extended cryptic definition verging on double-definition territory

4 Put under pressure, rushed to get ‘A’ for university (7)
HARRIED – HURRIED with A for [u]

5 Mermaid is so very merry! (7)
LEGLESS - extended cryptic definition verging on double-definition territory

7 A part of the body that’s stirring (5)
AFOOT – A FOOT; yes, that easy, but I was trying many weird things such a ‘alung’ and even ‘elbow’

8 Insult a nobleman on air and suddenly depart (9)
DISAPPEAR – sounds like DISS A PEER, which one might do if one met Jeffrey Archer

9 Second chamber full of titters? It’s a shambles (14)
SLAUGHTERHOUSE – S LAUGHTER HOUSE; a shambles is an unusual word for an abattoir

14 Denigrate DA wronged in mix-up (9)

16 A foreign worker sheltering communist on way north? That’s devious (9)
UNDERHAND – RED reversed in UN (French for one) HAND

18 Chap from Conakry sanguine answering guards (7)
GUINEAN – hidden in [san]GUINE AN[swering] is the capital of Guinea

19 List including duck and fowl (7)

22 ET, an enthralling tale (5)

24 Woman serving up unknown fruit (5)
EMILY – Y LIME reversed