August 28th, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic 1427 by Hurley

Slowed down by the SE corner and a couple of words less familiar to me, but otherwise a normal day at the office.

Definitions underlined.

1 Bother after company curtailed lord in US State (8)
COLORADO - A DO (bother) after CO (company) and all but the last letter of (curtailed) LORd.
5 Good first point (4)
GIST - G (good) and 1ST, in which the digit looks like the letter 'i'.
8 Music radio station will allow, strangely, past Lily (8)
PLAYLIST - anagram of (strangely) PAST LILY.
9 Encourage sudden effort to knock out finalist? (4)
SPUR - SPURt (sudden effort) missing its last leter (to knock out finalist).
11 Hospital with pharmacy ultimately within easy reach (5)
HANDY - H (hospital), AND (with), then the last letter of (ultimately) pharmacY.
12 A game, extremely grubby, leads to expression of regret (7)
APOLOGY - A, POLO (game), and outermost letters from (extremely) GrubbY.
13 Military detachment’s unconvincing role terminated early (6)
PATROL - PAT (unconvincing) and ROLe without its last letter (terminated early). I didn't know 'pat', but online dictionaries have it variously as simple/glib/unconvincing.
15 Result extremely fortunate for English cricket team, just starting. (6)
EFFECT - first letters from (just starting) Extremely Fortunate For English Cricket Team.
18 Just this time willing to get involved in force (3,4)
FOR ONCE - ON (willing to get involved) inside (in) FORCE. Or at least I think so. I can imagine saying "Are you on for this weekend?". However, 'willing' could just mean 'on', with the rest of the clue indicating the inclusion, but I can't find support for either.
19 Examine carefully capacity for action (5)
SCOPE - double definition.
21 Reportedly most important feature of lion (4)
MANE - sounds like (reportedly) "main".
22 Law-breaker’s gambit is misplaced (8)
BIGAMIST - anagram of (replaced ) GAMBIT IS.
23 Dazzling display in Brazilian port, ahead of time (4)
RIOT - RIO (Brazilian port) then T (time).
24 Prepare for performance — again listen by wings of stage (8)
REHEARSE - RE-HEAR (again listen) and outermost letters (wings) of StagE.

1 Note work — quiet work, in police station (3,4)
COP SHOP - C (note), OP (opus, work), SH (quiet) and another OP (work).
2 Commit to memory name of king, northern (5)
LEARN - LEAR (name of king) and N (northern).
3 Provide support in motoring competition with drinks for all (5,5)
RALLY ROUND - RALLY (motoring competition) and ROUND (drinks for all).
4 Part of screed is malicious, dreary (6)
DISMAL - hidden in (part of) screeD IS MALicious.
6 Plead with troublemaker, backed by traditional knowledge (7)
IMPLORE - IMP (troublemaker) followed (backed) by LORE (traditional knowledge).
7 Belated thanks, dry, out of order (5)
TARDY - TA (thanks) with an anagram of (out of order) DRY.
10 Seize cat if cones knocked over (10)
CONFISCATE - anagram of (knocked over) CAT IF CONES.
14 Doctor on tour including city in Canada (7)
TORONTO - hidden in (... including) docTOR ON TOur.
16 Tale including rest for a horse? (7)
TRESTLE - TaLE with REST replacing (for) 'a'.
17 Something frosty about for example system of government (6)
REGIME - RIME (something frosty) surrounding (about) EG (for example). Another new word for me; rime is frozen dew or ice deposited by freezing of supercooled fog.
18 Bone from female bird, rook (5)
FEMUR - F (female), EMU (bird) and R (rook, in chess notation).
20 Tree, more promising, topped (5)
OSIER - rOSIER (more promising). Vaguely remembered from crosswords past, but still my LOI.

Times 27441 - An egghead test today; am I reading the right paper?

I wonder if this is one of our esteemed regular setters deciding to give us a different treat, or a new chap or lady? Anyway, it's decidedly different, requiring (ideally) some TLS type knowledge, and a bit about Antipodean trees and annoying insects, 13th century English history, French, some art, some geography, some poetry.... It took me quite a while once I'd finished it (in about 40 minutes) to decipher all the parsing, and even now I may be off beam with exactly what's going on at 25a. Anyway it was fun and I for one have no problem breaking away from the Ximenean wordplay treadmill now and again.

1 A case of straight shot the Danish miss? (6)
ASTRID - A, ST (outer letters of STRAIGHT), RID = shot (as in get rid of, get shot of). ASTRID is a Nordic female first name, it could be Danish, Swedish, Norwegian... Why is she Danish here? A random pick for a random name?
5 Port that’s superior consumed by King John — not the first (8)
AUCKLAND - King John (1199 - 1216) was known as John LACKLAND or (Jean sans terre) because he owned less land - and lost more in wars - than was usual for a monarch. If you knew that, you could then remove the initial L, and then insert a U for superior, upper, thereby obtaining the answer, a port in NZ. If your history didn't stretch back that far, you could biff the answer from checkers and wonder why it was correct.
9 Did some housework and, finished inside, did some gardening (8)
HOOVERED - OVER = finished, inside HOED = did some gardening.
10 Failed to appreciate or mark one’s wise words (6)
MISSAW - M(ark), I'S, SAW = wise words, a proverb.
11 Some hope FA can teach training (1,3,6)
13 Where Bible readers may turn for warning sign? (4)
TOOT - They turn TO the OT.
14 How many of us following leads? (4)
FOUR - F - following, OUR = of us.
15 After cutbacks, employ alto as tenor to the Queen, say (5,5)
LOYAL TOAST - Devilishly hidden in EMP(LOY ALTO AS T)ENOR.
18 Twice crossing desert and bog area to see city (10)
BRATISLAVA - For some reason because of the "Desert Rat" nickname of WWII veterans, it seems RAT has now become a synonym for desert? So the parsing of Slovakia's fine capital city goes: BIS (twice) with RAT inserted, then LAV for bog (!) and A for area. Do you like this clue? I'm not fond. EDIT see comment below for another thought on RAT = DESERT.
20 Love’s about romantic bliss primarily in a poet’s eyes (4)
ORBS - O'S = love's; insert R B bening "romantic bliss primarily".
21 Pipe set alight here? (4)
STOP -  I'm not an expert on pipe organs, I can't even find a term for such an chap (tibiorganologist?) but I think this is a double definition; the first to do with organ stops, and the second 'alight here' being where you get off the bus.
23 ie not a lot’s moving? (4,2,4)
NOSE TO TAIL - (I E NOT A LOTS)*. &lit anagram.
25 Chips Peter had with spoon at wedding (6)
QUINCE - Well, our setter might know exactly what's going on here, but I'm a little vague. We have PETER QUINCE the fictional playwright in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I don't quite get the "Chips" reference, as Snug was the joiner or carpenter ? and I believe "potato chips" were yet to be invented. Then we have a reference, I think, to the Lear poem about the Owl and the Pussycat; in which at their wedding they dined on "mince, and slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon" Before you ask, "runcible" is a nonsense word invented by Lear, but a runcible spoon now refers to one of those thre-pronged efforts you can use to eat cake (or quince, perhaps).
I asked my Wise Owl what was going on, but he was none the wiser.
26 Mysterious cat: I may start to vanish (8)
MACAVITY - Another TLS type clue? Macavity is the "Mystery Cat" in T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a book of poems I do like listening to in the car even though I dislike poetry. (I also listen repeatedly to the 1963 BBC version of Under Milk Wood in the car). He arrives by way of: (CAT I MAY V)*, the V from the 'start to vanish' and mysterious as the anagrind.
28 In general, very small drink is a hopeful sign (6,2)
THUMBS UP - THUMB sized can mean very small, although more usually THUMBNAIL I'd think. SUP = drink. EDIT it seems from comments below that this refers to General Tom Thumb, of whom I was blissfully unaware.
29 Thus Vincent’s night visit, entertaining bishop (6)
STARRY - A reference to the Van Gogh painting so-called (Starry Night) ; STAY here = visit, and insert RR = Right Reverend = Bishop.

2 Inform on strike down in production area (4,5)
SHOP FLOOR - SHOP = inform on, to FLOOR someone is to knock them down.
3 One using pin to fix note inside flower (7)
RIVETER - RIVER, a flower, has TE a note inserted.
4 Back out of sleeping place, finding insect (3)
DOR - DORM is the sleeping place, loses its M. A DOR is a large flying beetle type insect which makes a silly buzzling noise, like a June bug. If you didn't know the bug, you had to choose between DAR, DER, DIR, DOR or DUR or DYR. DOH! DOR looks the best bet.
5 Extra approval lawman needs overturning (3-2)
ADD-ON - All reversed, NOD (approval), DA (lawman).
6 Correct French version of film came out (5,2,4)
COMME IL FAUT -  (FILM CAME OUT)*. Literal meaning "as it is necessary" or "as it must be".
7 Land to the north I wish I could auction, mostly (7)
LESOTHO - "I wish I could auction" could be replaced by OH! TO SELL! and then lose its final L, being only mostly. Then to the north = reversed.
8 Antipodean timber supplier’s refusal to bear reduced profit (5)
NGAIO - NO (refusal) has GAI(N) (reduced profit) inserted, to give us the name of this New Zealand tree. I knew the Maori word as the name of a famous writer from NZ but didn't know she was named after a tree. There again, ASH BARTY is currently (not for long?) the world's #1 lady tennis player and she's from down under in Oz, so why not? (I know, she's Ashleigh in full).
12 Unruly gang of scoundrels outside empty local celebrated (5,6)
HELLS ANGELS - HEELS being scoundrels, have inserted LL (empty local) and then SANG (celebrated, e.g. sang Mass). I thought Hells Angels were a bit scary but not unruly, they have a rigid code of behaviour even if it's not to everyone's taste?
16 Vote for period to be reduced (3)
YEA - YEAR = the period, to be reduced by R. Vote for, as in Yea or Nay I presume.
17 Her soppy stories about bachelor and son? (3,6)
SOB SISTER - (STORIES)* has B and S then inserted.
19 That’s surprising: no prize for recalling place name (7)
TOPONYM - All reversed: MY! NO POT !
20 Antony’s wife round court: Cleopatra’s close by (7)
OCTAVIA - O (round) CT (court) A (close of Cleopatra), VIA (by).
22 What’s so smart about saving time? (5)
TRUTH - HURT = smart, reversed = TRUH, insert T for time.
24 Review of yours truly’s Latin at college (3,2)
SUM UP - SUM is Latin for I am, i.e. yours truly is. UP = at college.
27 Leaves casually, for function (3)
COS - Double definition, COS lettuce for leaves, and COS being an abreviation (casually) for cosine, a function.