June 13th, 2019

Times 27376 - your bolter for 10

Solving time: 11:58, and a sigh of relief that the one I put in from wordplay turned out to be correct. I could have done better, I rather confidently put in BOLTER for 5 across thinking that it meant someone who ate fast an a horse that refused to jump, or ran away, or something, and that held up the whole top half of the grid for a while.

I enjoyed this one a lot, there's some fun wordplay in these clues, my particular favorite being the Spoonerism at 14 which made me smile.

Away we go...

1 Game European astride horse making unplanned escape (8)
LOOPHOLE -  the game is LOO, then POLE(European) surrounding H(horse)
5 One refuses to eat more quickly (6)
FASTER - double definition
8 Rabbit trap put back (3)
GAB - BAG(trap) reversed
9 Like yew, of course, in wild (10)
10 Owing to Shakespeare, Romeo makes an exit (2,3,3)
TO THE BAD - TO, then Shakespeare is THE BARD, remove R(Romeo)
11 Women's leading pair leaving game playing area (6)
WICKET - W(Women) then take the first two letters away from CRICKET(game)
12 Stop bowler straddling line (4)
HALT - bowler HAT surrounding L(line)
14 Sweets from Spooner's corporation, an inheritance from parents (5,5)
JELLY BEANS - spoonerism of BELLY(corporation), GENES(inheritance from parents)
17 Assertive father to French politician, right-winger (10)
PEREMPTORY - PERE(father in French), MP(politician), TORY(right-winger)
20 G-garbage (4)
GROT - G and ROT. Don't see this style of clue in the Times often, but it was a staple for Araucaria in the Guardian
23 Attempts to solve succeeded (6)
CRACKS -  CRACK(solve), S(succeeded)
24 Fire old men and be damned! (8)
EMBOLDEN -  anagram of OLD,MEN and BE
25 Harry Potter's eye cast (10)
STEREOTYPE - anagram of POTTER'S,EYE (apologies - I had underlined the wrong part of the clue originally)
26 Those completing all one grid had the edge (3)
LED - last letters in alL, onE, griD
27 Tree some outlaw guards (6)
BANYAN - ANY(some) inside BAN(outlaw)
28 Instrument that has diamond cut in half? (8)
TRIANGLE -  bisect a diamond and you can get a TRIANGLE

1 Pilot's guide sets fire to joint (9)
LIGHTSHIP - LIGHTS(sets fire to), HIP(joint)
2 Speaking about section of M25, say (7)
ORBITAL - ORAL(speaking) surrounding BIT - the M25 is a ring road surrounding London
3 One imposing cuts potentially a threat to security (6)
HACKER - double definition
4 Scots factor at England's ground? (4,5)
5 Scrap fences in small rising road in US (7)
FREEWAY - FRAY(scrap, fight) surrounding WEE(small) reversed
6 Butterless sweet, say, grand teatime fare? (6,3)
SCOTCH EGG -  remove BUTTER from BUTTERSCOTCH(sweet), then EG(say), G(grand)
7 Note appended to records by popular artist (7)
EPSTEIN - TE(note) after EPS(records) then IN(popular) for the sculptor Jacob EPSTEIN
13 Two-timing Republican aboard coach meeting Yankee (9)
TREACHERY -  R(republican) inside TEACHER(coach), then Y(Yankee, NATO alphabet)
15 City dignitary's doctor runs over to stop sovereign mounting (4,5)
LORD MAYOR - MD(doctor), R(runs) and O(over) inside ROYAL(sovereign), all reversed
16 Air amid reeds stirred (3,2,4)
SET ON EDGE - TONE(air) inside SEDGE(reeds)
18 Court barred to actuaries working in large part of world (7)
EURASIA - remove CT(court) from ACTUARIES, then make an anagram
19 Pressure behind part of Arab's leg (7)
PASTERN - P(pressure), ASTERN(behind) - this was my entry from wordplay alone
21 Instruction to halt touching case of deaf prisoner (3,4)
RED FLAG - RE(touching), then the outside letters in DeaF, LAG(prisoner)
22 Chap has taken up period winestore (6)
BODEGA - BOD(chap) then AGE(period) reversed

Times Quick Cryptic No 1373 by Joker

A nice puzzle as always by Joker, which I was happy to complete in a sub-target 9 minutes, helped by seeing the two long anagrams very quickly.  SERENDIPITOUS is one of those favourite words that is never quite at the tip of my tongue when I need it, so I’m going to make it my WoD and try to overuse it today to make it stick.

There is an (accidental I am sure) cockney football striker’s NINA in the sixth rank if you search for it, but I can detect no other theme in today’s puzzle.

Thanks Joker, and you lot in anticipation of your comments.

1         West Side Story heroine, fine for Romeo in criminal group (5)
MAFIA – The West Side Story heroine is MARIA (younger sister of the Sharks gang leader).  As instructed, take out the R{omeo} and replace with F{ine} to get the criminal group.  I have to admit to reversing this clue when first entering the answer, but 2d quickly showed me the error of my ways.
4  Headless corpse’s certainly set back long journey (7)
ODYSSEY – {b}ODY’S (corpse’s, headless, i.e. drop the opening letter) and YES (certainly) reversed (set back) to give ODYSSEY (Chambers defines it rather poetically as a long wandering!)
8 Relevant European language together with English (7)
GERMANE – GERMAN is the European language, followed by E{nglish}.
Dart gets cry of pain on arrival (5)
ARROW – OW (cry of pain) placed after ARR{ival}.
10 Domestic party finding a target outside to exploit conflict  (5-7)
HOUSE-WARMING – HOMING (finding a target, as in a homing beacon guiding a missile), containing USE (exploit) and WAR (conflict).
12 Restrained around queen, arranged in ranks (6)
TIERED – TIED (restrained) ‘around’ ER (Queen).
13  Street band in sequence (6)
STRING – ST (street) and RING (band).
16  Worry about printer going wrong (12)
PERTURBATION – Anagram (going wrong) of [ABOUT PRINTER].
18  Map book a veteran sailor’s returned (5)
ATLAS – A (a) and SALT (term for a veteran sailor, as in ‘old salt’) reversed (returned).
20  Advocate with professional attitude (7)
PROPOSE – PRO (professional) and POSE (attitude).
21  Picture harbour with fish (7)
PORTRAY – PORT (harbour) and RAY (fish)
22  Ceaselessly shows support for artist (5)
EASEL – Hidden in (shows) {c}EASEL{essly}.

1         What could identify criminal idiot that has used a gun (3,4)
MUG SHOT – MUG (idiot) and SHOT (used a gun).
Oracle, note, left ruler distraught (7,6)
FORTUNE TELLER – Anagram (distraught) of [NOTE, LEFT RULER].
3  A labyrinth intended, we hear, for surprise (9)
AMAZEMENT – A (a) MAZE (labyrinth) MENT (sounds like MEANT – intended we hear).
4  Working East and WEST agreement not reciprocated (3-3)
ONE-WAY – ON (working) followed by E{ast} and W{est} and AY (agreement).  Neat clue!
5 Vote for shortened annual period (3)
YEA – The annual period is a YEA{r}, shortened by dropping the last letter.
6  See disruption unfortunately discovered by accident (13)
SERENDIPITOUS – Anagram (unfortunately) of [SEE DISRUPTION].
7  New method to get over a boring person (4)
YAWN – N{ew} and WAY (method) all reversed (to get over).
11  Addictive drug encountered head-on when smashed (9)
METHADONE – MET (encountered) followed by an anagram (smashed) of [HEAD-ON].
14 Affectedly polite chap – a slippery character (7)
GENTEEL –  GENT (chap) followed by EEL (slippery character)
15  Falls down with unknown ailment (6)
DROPSY – DROPS (falls down) and Y (unknown character – often used to represent the unknown element in a formula).  For those interested, DROPSY is an old fashioned term for ailments or conditions that result in the accumulation of watery fluid in any part of the body, now usually referred to as Oedema.
17  Wall holding back water pressure is moist (4)
DAMP – A DAM is the wall holding back water, followed by P{ressure}.
19  Title rising is supported by queen (3)
SIR – IS (is) reversed (rising) and supported by R{egina} (queen).

Times 27,377: If Java Man Is An Early Human, Is Gin Man A Late One?

A rather middle-weight crossword today, I felt, with rather straightforward wordplay throughout and some clues that bordered on the chestnutty - 10ac, 16ac, 25ac, 4dn all having an air of familiarity about them, or maybe I've just been doing this gig too long. On the other side of the coin, there were a few things that did feel more surprising; I liked "arm" for GLOCK and "inheritance" for DNA, for instance. COD to 15dn for obvious surface-related reasons, and also for having another original-seeming definition (very popular, but not resulting in V IN or anything like that) and also requiring a bit of mental twisting and turning to fit the pieces together. Nice clue, thank you setter. FOI 11ac after a quick mental enumeration of various early hominids, LOI 17dn as for some reason I hadn't considered anything other than the ocular sense until it became absolutely necessary.

1 Youth shy to admit blunder (9)
STRIPLING - SLING [shy, as in fling or toss] to "admit" TRIP [blunder]

6 Copy record covers wrapped in cloth (5)
CAPED - APE [copy] that CD [record] "covers"

9 Provoke Scottish footballers coming out of their shell (5)

10 Plan to get great pies brought round (9)

11 Ancestor of mine: the fellow isn't able to get personnel work (15)
PITHECANTHROPUS - PIT HE CAN'T + HR OPUS [mine | the fellow | isn't able to + personnel | work]

13 Arm wrapped around free jam (8)
GRIDLOCK - GLOCK [arm, as in a weapon] "wrapped around" RID [free]

14 Continent's cold precipitation (6)
CHASTE - C HASTE [cold | precipitation, as in hurry]

16 Swallow picked up playfully (6)
INGEST - homophone of IN JEST [playfully]

18 Garment fastener comes with a warning (8)
PINAFORE - PIN + A FORE [fastener + a warning]

21 Its entrants are bound to stagger, cheered in old country (5-6,4)
THREE-LEGGED RACE - REEL EGGED [to stagger | cheered] in THRACE [old country]

23 Subjective report on hip turning around (9)
INVERSION - VERSION [subjective report] on IN [hip]

25 Green sort of water sent back (5)
NAIVE - reversed EVIAN

26 Unaccompanied chap's sides split by joke? (5)
LONER - L R [(left and right) sides] "split" by ONE [joke, as in "the one about...", according to my dictionary]

27 Peels bananas with fast, misjudged motion (5,4)
FALSE STEP - (PEELS + FAST*) ["bananas"]

1 Astute playwright shortened kind of speech (5)
SHARP - SHA{w} [playwright "shortened"] + R.P. [Received Pronunciation = kind of speech]

2 Blue team member (5-6)
RIGHT-WINGER - the RIGHT are blue, in the UK at least, and a WINGER is a team member, and the whole vaguely &lit?

3 Drag worn by right church organist (7)
PURCELL - PULL [drag] "worn by" R CE [right | church]

4 Not abroad bearing case (8)
INSTANCE - IN STANCE [not abroad | bearing]

5 Line up in entrance to give twirl (6)
GYRATE - reversed RY [line] in GATE [entrance]

6 Problem with cold vehicle needing to keep Jack hot (7)
CATARRH - CAR [vehicle] "needing to keep" TAR [Jack], + H [hot]

7 Member or Leader of Parliament, say (3)
PEG - P{arliament} + E.G. [say]. At first I had an optimistic OWL in here, then LEG, but a PEG is just a LEG.

8 Middle Easterner vexed about a disturbance (9)
DAMASCENE - reversed MAD [vexed] + A SCENE [a disturbance]

12 Writer finished with gold stars (11)
PASTORALIST - PAST + OR A-LIST [finished + gold | starts]

13 Mist dispersing in eatery where corn is found (9)
GRISTMILL - (MIST*) ["dispersing"] in GRILL [eatery]. Odd looking word without its hyphen, derived from thankfully easy wordplay.

15 Pure alcohol, very popular to imbibe it (8)
VIRGINAL - GIN [alcohol], VIRAL [very popular] to imbibe that

17 Small person perceiving one who removes coat (7)
SHEARER - S HEARER [small | person perceiving]

19 Turning up an inheritance, bet deliberately (7)
ANDANTE - reversed DNA [an inheritance, of the genetic kind] + ANTE [bet]

20 Rest of ridge covering about 500 metres in China (6)
RELIEF - REEF [ridge] "covering" LI [about 500m, in China; much beloved of Scrabble players]

22 Appraise report of the writer, not lying (3,2)
EYE UP - homophone of I [the writer] + UP [not lying, as in abed]

24 Topless Russian camper (3)
VAN - {i}VAN ["topless" Russian]