September 4th, 2019


Times Quick Cryptic No 1432 by Mara


I hesitate to say this, but I found this puzzle so easy that I didn't even have time to appreciate it. I'm not a speed solver, so it still took me 8:24 to finish it, although I believe I had all but the last three answers in about 5 minutes. I imagine the real pros will finish it even faster.

Sorry if anyone who struggled with this puzzle finds this introduction dismissive. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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Times 27447 - Oh the Times, oh the goings on; Cicero had it all right.

I found this a curate's egg of a puzzle; about half the clues seemed easy and flew in all across the grid, then it took another twenty minutes to polish it off with several not fully understood until I came to write this blog. There was nothing unacceptable in the end, just a few MERs, and a few bits of Latin which I knew, and a Russian writer I'd heard of. I think 4a gets my CoD award, if my explanation is correct!

Now to tackle last Sunday's 'replacement', which at first sight looks a toughie.

1 Revealing blouse might be tough for ladies to get into (3-3)
LOW-CUT -  a LOUT is our tough, into which we put WC for the Ladies loo.
4 All pieces for playing with at five o’clock must go in box (5,3)
CHESS SET - I think SSE here is the direction of the clock hour hand at 5 o'clock; so SSE goes into CHEST = box.
10 Celebrate noisily with band: I arranged backing (5,2,2)
WHOOP IT UP - W (with) HOOP (band) then I then PUT (arranged) reversed.
11 Long forgotten, maybe, or needing no introduction (5)
OLDEN - OR = GOLDEN, as in heraldry; drop the G = no introduction.
12 Quite a posh residence in the East End? (3)
ALL - Another H-less cockneyism I suppose, an 'ALL being a posh house, and ALL = quite as in "are you quite finished?'
13 See a Greek MP rallying workers on estate (11)
14 As end of chapter, closed book (6)
QUARTO - QUA = Latin for as, R = end of chapter, TO = closed, as in 'put the door to'.
16 Solid girl placed in sink to the left (7)
PYRAMID - MARY a random girl is put into DIP = sink, then all reversed.
19 Enough to swap tips with lover of old illustrations (7)
EXEMPLA - EX = lover of old, then the ends of AMPLE (enough) reversed.
20 English town’s fresh flood defence (6)
NEWARK - NEW = fresh, ARK = flood defence, well, flood escape mechanism.
22 In school on Thursday: a dance and whatnot (11)
THINGAMAJIG - TH (Thursday), IN, GAM (word for a school of whales), A JIG = a dance.
25 Who’s reading this letter out loud? (3)
YOU - I see this as a DD, you're reading it, and you sounds like U.
26 What one can see through stone blocks (5)
VISTA - VIA = through, insert ST.
27 Art master’s responsibility, taking class for one (9)
REMBRANDT - I put him in from checkers and definition, and eventually, at the end of the blog, saw why. REMIT = responsibility, substitute BRAND (= class?) for the I (one).
28 Soldiers needing medic, subject to stress: most faint (8)
REMOTEST - RE = soldiers, MO = medic, TEST = subject (verb) to stress,
29 What you find at bottom of the author’s bunk! (2,4)
MY FOOT - Whimsically cryptic, if you like.
1 Sheriff’s grass keeping mum (6)
LAWMAN - LAWN has MA inserted.
2 Simple creature to pursue revolutionary ancient custom (9)
WOODLOUSE - WOO = pursue, DLO = old reversed = revolutionary ancient, USE = custom. Are woodlouses or woodlice simple? They look quite complicated to me.
3 Out of bed around noon, for one’s release (5)
UNPEG - UP = out of bed, insert N for noon, EG = for one, for example.
5 Athletic event’s hard work: miss start also having entered (3,4,3,4)
HOP SKIP AND JUMP - H (hard), OP (work), SKIP (miss), AND (also) JUMP (start). If I wasn't obliged herein, I'd just have biffed it.
6 Guards collecting old clubs, lifting one each? (5,4)
SCORE DRAW - Guards = WARDERS, insert OC to get WARDEROCS then reverse it all.
7 Edge of wheel discovered to have shrivelled up (5)
SIDLE - Hidden reversed in WHE(EL DIS)COVERED. Edge as a verb.
8 Deny site could become an urban sprawl (8)
TYNESIDE - (DENY SITE)*. Well, Tyneside is a conurbation, but I doubt the local Councillors would think of it as a sprawl any more than, say, Greater Manchester.
9 Some poem confused with orator Cicero’s observation (1,7,1,5)
O TEMPORA O MORES - (SOME POEM ORATOR)*. Cicero might well have applied it to today's policital scenario, I think. Nil desperandum. As Cicero also said, salus populi suprema lex esto, Boris.
15 Right to feed English dog bread that’s disgusting (9)
REPUGNANT - RT = right, insert in order, E, PUG, NAN = bread.
17 Join by tying knot (5,4)
MARRY INTO - I can't see any more in this other than, the surface meaning, marry someone and you become integrated into their family.
18 Scrap involving Labour politicians in the past (8)
LEFTOVER - LEFT = Labour politicians, OVER = in the past.
21 Short skirts getting shorter? Too bad! (3-3)
TUT-TUT - Two TUTUS get shorter.
23 To recap, not always out to be understood? (2,3)
IN SUM - A homophone, I think, IN SOME meaning sometimes in, not always out.
24 Writer going into horrific detail about monk’s end (5)
GORKY - end of monk = K goes into GORY detail. Is gory really a synonym for horrific? I mean, gory can be horrific, but horrific isn't necessarily gory, is it? I've never read Gorky's stuff but I know they named a Moscow park after him because I've read Martin Cruz Smith's fine novel of that name.