August 5th, 2019

Ulaca de Milo
  • ulaca

Times 27421 - God knows, they need all the publicity they can geth

This was, I think, a rather unMondayish offering, with some interesting vocabulary (if tending to the cruciveralesque, perhaps), a minor prophet from the Good Book, a relatively famous Roman playwright (they are all pretty non-famous compared to their Attic predecessors) and a nod to those benighted souls who were forced to attend Fenland Polytechnic. (Surely no one would choose to go there?) My spirits, which had plummeted to the abyss on encountering that clue, were raised by the homophone for those attending God's Own University at 8 across. Thank you, setter! No Prozac for me today! 21 minutes.


1 Game only the one behind can win? (7,6)
MUSICAL CHAIRS - I don't get the thinking here, as it is, in my experience and understanding, the person(s) in front of - not behind - the chair(s) who has the best chance of winning. Maybe, as so often, though, I am missing something. And I was - only one person can win this parlour game, and that is by...wait for it, p-placing their bottom, tush, behind on the last remaining chair!!
8 Skinned foxes, and cattle (4)
OXEN - take the outside letters off ('skin') [f]OXE[s] and [a]N[d]
9 Identifies those responsible as men doubly crooked (5,5)
NAMES NAMES - double anagram* of AS MEN
10 Plans get lost crossing border area (8)
SCHEMATA - HEM in SCAT A; apparently; 'scat' is an Americanism, meaning 'go away!' Don't remember hearing that in Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul or The Americans
11 Polluted motorway in wet surroundings (6)
13 Show houses occasionally feel vulgar (10)
16 Bookmaker heading out from Greek island (4)
AMOS - [s]AMOS; keep them coming, setters, and don't forget the Apocrypha
17 Hindu music's contribution to culture reversed (4)
RAGA - reversal of AGAR, which is a very useful word for cruciverbalists to know: 'a gelatinous product made from seaweed and used as a base for bacterial cultures, as a laxative, in jellied and preserved foods, in electrophoresis, etc.'
18 An interest in action delights (10)
20 Boot that is put on properly (6)
WELLIE - WELL IE ('that is')
22 Go through on vehicle for last trip? (8)
REHEARSE - RE ('on') HEARSE (the vehicle for one's final trip)
24 Thus connect painter with craft and establish union? (3,3,4)
TIE THE KNOT - I suppose you could call this a double definition(DD) but for me the non-congrousness of the first part (its crypticity, if you like) disqualifies it; a painter is 'a line attached to the bow of a boat for tying it up'. If you want to be a sailor and make the mistake of calling any of the ropes a 'rope', your aspirations will be dashed forever.
26 That was close relative leaving north-east (4)
PHEW - [ne]PHEW; needs a bit of Yoda-speak to get to this, do reckon I
27 Deceptively real Mata Hari ensnares English flyer (6,7)
AMELIA EARHART - E in REAL MATA HARI; another for our transatlantic friends


1 By stopping maniac we've crippled progressive movement (7,4)
2 Playwright to inform in audition (5)
SYNGE - sounds like 'sing'; the author of The Playboy of the Western World, if memory serves. Not memory of reading it, but memory of knowing such things useful for quizzes
3 Melodious rendition from Cambridge priest doing turn (9)
CANTABILE - CANTAB (if someone is brave enough to put this after their name on their card, then it is an admission that ze (sic) went to the other place) ELI reversed
4 Letter from Athens about a dance (7)
5 Suggestions to go topless entertaining people (5)
HOSTS - [g]HOSTS; as in, 'there's no ghost of a chance he'll make any runs'
6 Sailor from Muscat maybe stood up a lover (9)
INAMORATA - reversal of TAR OMANI then A; interestingly, this Italian word can mean either a woman with whom one is in love or a female lover
7 Saint Eustace cleared out church property (3)
SEE - S E[ustac]E
12 Welcome dogs with lowered head within tarpaulin (11)
GROUNDSHEET - HOUNDS with the H dropped to the end in GREET
14 Flashing of the shoulder from Oriental female? (9)
15 Fungus found by rodents up at badger's place (9)
EARTHSTAR - RATS reversed after EARTH; never heard of this, but 'earth' sort of confirms one is on the right lines
19 Dramatist in ecstasy after recent plays (7)
TERENCE - E ('ecstasy') after RECENT* for the 2nd century BC Roman playwright; the chap with whom he is often bracketed, PLAUTUS , may pop up occasionally
21 Sweetheart in wood, one obtaining fragrant resin (5)
ELEMI - the middle letter of [sw]E[et] in ELM then I; both the tree and the resin obtained from it are thus called
23 As sometimes clarified on radio, a brilliant star (5)
ALPHA - DD; an alpha is typically the brightest star in a constellation; like I knew that without looking it up
25 Operatic role thought to lack energy (3)
IDA - ID[e]A; as in G&S's Princess Ida, tiddly-dom-pom-pom...