August 3rd, 2019

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1392 - 20th July

As I write this summary somewhat belatedly, I seem to remember that I didn't find it overly hard, but there were a few unknowns I had to trust the wordplay for. No time recorded but  I think it was not long after the 1/2 hour mark that I got stuck with one clue left - 22D. Having no idea about needlecraft, I'm afraid I looked up what stitches there were to get the answer. Otherwise mostly quite straightforward but a couple raised questionmarks on my paper copy before I managed to parse them. Lots of witty clues - I enjoyed 21A, 26A and 44D in particular. Thanks setter! How did you all like get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27414 - Saturday, 27 July 2019. Blue moon - you saw me standing alone.

In the main, this was a fairly straightforward solve. Happily, there was no obscure technical items, although there were a couple of answers (27ac and 7dn) where I made a mental note to look in the dictionary to check the meanings of the answers before doing the blog.

The top half of the grid yielded before the bottom, and it took me a blue moon to parse my LOI, 24dn. My favourite was 17ac, with its clever substitution. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Answers are in BOLD CAPS, then wordplay. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].

1 However singer’s capturing hearts, I don’t like it (8)
ALTHOUGH – ALTO captures H for hearts. UGH, I don’t like it!

9 Concerned with argument about good choke maybe (8)
OVERGROW – OVER (concerned with), ROW (argument), all about G.

10 Cut dessert, otherwise called a meat dish (8)

11 Engineers passionate about new treatment plant (8)

12 Spokesperson makes a bit (10)
MOUTHPIECE – double definition, the second referring to a horse’s bridle.

14 Virginia takes in the fourth test (4)
VIVA – VA is Virginia, which takes in IV.

15 Work miracle to get back (7)
RECLAIM – anagram (work) (MIRACLE*).

17 Number nine comes in for United in tense match (7)
FIXTURE – the FUTURE tense has U replaced by IX.

21 Hide runner approaching end of marathon (4)
SKIN – the runner is a SKI, approaching [marathon]N.

22 Sign on staff — 300 nearly departed (6,4)
TREBLE CLEF – if C is 100, then TREBLE-C should be 300. “Departed” gives LEF[t]. We’re talking about a sign on a musical staff, of course.

23 Any number of burns, it’s plain (2-6)
NO-FRILLS – N for number, OF, RILLS might be Scottish burns.

25 Peacekeepers are desperate to keep rocket cool? (8)
UNLOVING – the UN peace keepers LONG for home, no doubt. Insert a VI rocket.

26 In Paris come upon small coin as memento (8)
SOUVENIR – VENIR is French for come. Put that on a SOU, a small coin, also French.

27 European in old bus can't stand (8)
EXECRATE – EX is old, E is European, an old bus might be a CRATE. I knew the adjectival form, but this form can be a transitive verb, to fit the definition.

2 John and Rod retain hot lawyer, to find this? (8)
LOOPHOLE – a LOO is a john or toilet, a POLE is a rod, all retaining H for hot.

3 Where to go when Henry ingests very big stone? (8)
HOSPITAL – HAL (or Henry) ingests OS (outsize) PIT. The definition is an &lit. type – see glossary.

4 State university — something one would tip to rise? (4)
UTAH – U for university, HAT (something one would tip) rising. Do people still tip hats?

5 For person with piles it's more arduous eating egg (7)
HOARDER – an O (egg) eaten by HARDER.

6 Asceticism? It's definitely not me (4-6)
SELF-DENIAL – double definition, the second one whimsical.

7 Pray here, with pride dented? That is universal (4-4)
PRIE-DIEU – anagram (dented) of (PRIDE*), followed by I.E. for “that is”, and U. It’s a praying-desk or chair for praying on.

8 Dread ringing a Yankee school for distant 17? (4,4)
AWAY GAME – AWE (dread) “ringing” A Y[ankee] GAM. A gam is a school of whales.

13 Unlikely to miss period left to fill shelf (5-5)
POINT-BLANK – a period or full stop is a POINT. Then, L fills BANK.

15 Spots some Scottish Water precipitation (8)
RASHNESS – the spots are a RASH. The Scottish water is a NESS.

16 Trained officer to employ uniform stylist (8)
COIFFEUR – anagram (trained) of (OFFICER*), employing U (uniform).

18 Idle account closed (4,4)
TICK OVER – put it on TICK is on account, and OVER is closed, getting us to a car engine idling.

19 It secures two terms at sea (4,4)
REEF KNOT – REEFs are to be avoided at sea, but KNOTs are a measure of speed.

20 Tablet is introduced to attract free time (7)
LEISURE – E (tablet) and IS introduced to LURE.

24 Down: source of the unexpected? (4)
BLUE – the unexpected might well come out of the BLUE.

Sunday Times Cryptic 4861, July 28 2019, by Dean Mayer — “an ultimate dim Thule”

I wasn’t at the top of my game—the heat must have been getting to me—as I at first inked in SOUND POLLUTION for the rather obvious 9. Still, this was more of a stroll than a trek. The surfaces are smooth and mostly amusing; the CDs are mostly pretty clever; the trick at 4 is real neat. Though I somewhat regret that there was no marginally Mephisto-ish heretofore unknown term this time around, I did learn a little geography…

My title is from E.A. Poe’s “Dream-Land,” surely the first place I came across the last word, and the allusion is to the faraway northern… er, southern site in my LOI. (There is something dreamlike about cryptic clues, with their often outlandish—downright surreal—manifest content, which dissolves under analysis.)

I do (gasarmna)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Settlement has hospital in remote area (8)
TOWNSHIP — T(OWNS H)IP, a “tip” being some place far outside town where Brits dump their garbage. EDIT: The editor had a different interpretation of that last part (see below). What do you think?
 5 Make mummy and me lamb stew? (6)
EMBALM — (me lamb)*
10 Against getting a new vehicle (3)
VAN — V(ersus, “Against”) + A + N(ew)
11 Talented people, completely game (3-8)
ALL-ROUNDERS — ALL, “completely” + “ROUNDERS,” a game, I take it
12 Troll is lonely one that carries one’s rocks (8,7)
RESEARCH STATION — Damn, I never read Tolkien…! DBE, (that carries one)* Not (to my relief) the first and last name of some character from fantasy literature, but a Norwegian site in Antartica, which (says Wikipedia) “took its name from the surrounding jagged mountains, which resemble trolls of Norse mythology.”
13 Top copy with illiterate’s signature (4)
APEX — APE, “copy” + X
14 Pay to pen column describing nipples? (9)
PAPILLARY — PA(PILLAR)Y. The quirk means, “Well, it might.” Cambridge (online) shies away from mentioning nipples, says a papilla is “a small, round raised structure at the base of hair or teeth or on the tongue”; but in Collins we find “any small nipplelike projection or process of connective tissue,” etc., as well as—tagged as “rare”—“the nipple of the breast.”
17 See building—around the back, stuff (9)
CATHEDRAL — CA, “around” + THE, “the”(!) + LARD<=, “stuff” moving “back”
18 Positions offered by big name at Apple (4)
21 One unpredictable character following VW (7,8)
23 This still gets used by race officials (5,6)
PHOTO FINISH — CD, “still” being a snapshot
24 One needs one tropical bird (3)
ANI — AN, “one” + I, “one”
25 Faith is embraced by enemy of US (6)
THEISM — Islamists? THE(IS)M
26 Fear fencing that is on river most cross (8)

 1 Tank overturned near bombed restaurant (7)
TAVERNA — VAT<= + (near)*
 2 Blown coils let out liquid (9)
WINDSWEPT — WINDS, “coils” + CD for WEPT, “let out liquid,” ha ha
 3 Quiet guy fed by a witch doctor (6)
 4 Where cop can be seen acting as guardian (2,4,8)
IN LOCO PARENTIS — IN LOCOPARENTIS. S/he’s trying to blend in…
 6 Counters count without calculator? (8)
MENTALLY — ”Counters” on a game board being MEN + TALLY, “count.” My POI.
 7 A Transcaucasian stargazer invites hugs (5)
AZERI — Hidden
 8 Madonna with Child in stonework (7)
MASONRY — MA(SON)RY (with “child in”—must be before the blessèd day!)
 9 Row of vehicles, factories etc (5,9)
NOISE POLLUTION — CD, at least slightly, playing on “row”
15 I’m on about creating division in moderate hate (9)
ABOMINATE — (I’m on)* cutting apart ABATE
16 Becoming awfully crude, so hiding nothing (8)
DECOROUS — (crude so + O, “nothing”)*
17 Tea cake politician put in sauce bottle? (7)
CRUMPET — CRU(MP)ET. The quirk must be meant to signal that sauce is only one thing a cruet might contain.
19 One’s job is to make do (7)
20 An unpleasant job not quite enough for newsreader (6)
22 1000 Rand and single European currency (5)
KRONE — K, “1000” + R, “Rand” + ONE, “single”