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June 24th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1380 by Mara



At 6 minutes I found this one very easy and it takes my run of consecutive solves within my target 10 minutes to 8 so far. There are a few answers that may not be familiar to less practised solvers so there's no need to be disheartened if you took a lot longer or struggled to finish.


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Times 27385 - ‘Armless Fun

Welcome from sunny Milos - product of 100 volcanic eruptions, supplier of a quarter of the world’s cat litter and home to the extraordinary Eleonora’s falcon.

This was, on the whole, I would say, a pretty Mondayesque offering, which would not have been out of place on Verlaine’s watch of late. I managed it in bang on 18 minutes, showing rather less of the 13d that has characterised my recent attempts. Since I don’t have access to the magic widget on my iPad, this offering will be ‘imperial’ rather than ‘metric’, i.e. all answers and no clues. A bit like poor old Aphrodite without her appendages...

ACROSS

1 PLAYGROUND - PLAY G[ranted] ROUND
8 SPAR - DD (double definition)
9 INSOBRIETY - IN BRIE in SOT Y
10 BIRD - DD; girl=bird in many British people’s lexicons; a falcon is sometimes mistaken for a hobby
12 WATER BUFFALO - BUFF A[ctive] in WATERLO[o]
15 BILITERAL - B[ritish] I[ndustry] LITERAL; ME is a two-letter word, which is what the solution means
17 IRENE - I RENE (with acute disorder)
18 UPPER - [s] UPPER
19 PEACETIME - E in PACE (with deference to) TIM E
20 ESTRANGEMENT - STRANGE MEN in ET
24 EYED - sounds like IDE
25 TANTAMOUNT - ANT in TA MOUNT
26 SEMI - reverse hidden
27 STAFF NURSE - NUR (former rail union, run for eternity by the gloriously named Sid Weighell) in STAFFS (Staffordshire) [engin]E

DOWN

1 PRIM - P RIM
2 ALSO - A LSO (London Symphony Orchestra; geddit?)
3 GIBRALTARIAN - BIG reversed ALTAR in anagram* of RAIN
4 OLIVE - O [c]LIVE; Sir Robert Clive gained fame in India, but died, as I recall, in Quebec. His former residence in Kent is well worth a visit, along with Ightham Mote. On edit: I am getting my 18th century adventurers hopelessly mixed up. Clive was very much an India man, while it was Wolfe who found fame, as well as his end, at Quebec, and had a pile in Westerham, Kent, which is now run by the NT.
5 NOTABILIA - BATON reversed I AIL reversed
7 PHILATELIC - LATE in PHIL IC
8 RADIOMETER - TRIED A MORE*
11 OF MICE AND MEN - COMMEND A FINE*; when Hitchcock told Truffaut that it was easier to make a film from a short story or a novella than a long novel, he could have been thinking about Lewis Milestone’s faithful adaptation of the Steinbeck story.
13 OBTUSENESS - extended definition, as some angles are obtuse, i.e. more than 90 but less than 180 degrees. (Yes, I had to look that up.)
14 SLIPSTREAM - PILS reversed MASTER*
16 REPUGNANT - PUG NAN in RET (to soak)
21 MOTIF - MOT (test for used cars in the UK) IF (the poetical ide of the cruciverse)
22 BURR - RUB reversed R (king). Apparently, some older Northumbrians produce their R in this way (along the lines of the French R in ‘restez ici’). Daniel Defoe picked this up in his travels through the land: ‘I must not quit Northumberland without taking notice, that the Natives of this Country, of the antient original Race or Families, are distinguished by a Shibboleth upon their Tongues in pronouncing the letter R, which they cannot utter without a hollow Jarring in the Throat, by which they are as plainly known, as a Foreigner is in pronouncing the Th: this they call the Northumberland R, or Wharle; and the Natives value themselves upon that Imperfection, because, forsooth, it shews the Antiquity of their Blood.’
23 STYE - T[ack]Y in SE