September 30th, 2019

  • ulaca

Times 27469 - Not stuff you'd find Marvin, Borgnine and Bronson countenancing, methinks

With its weird exercise routine ('a household phrase' in the 1920s, as Pinter puts it) and its Irish lake isle, this is by no mean your average Monday offering, taking me in excess of 40 minutes. With its mixture of write-ins and clues needing thinking-out, not to mention its use of the odd non-mainstream definition, I thought this was an interesting puzzle. But what do the rest of you think? I shall read your opinions with interest and come back to award a prize to what I consider to be the outstanding contribution.


1 Took a risk — failed to catch cold (5)
4 Here no minister is found
to support judges (9)
BACKBENCH - BACK BENCH; because the backbenches are filled with newbies, ne'er-do-wells, wannabes, those who threaten the PM through their egregious (archaic sense - just wanted to get the word in) intelligence, and those who refuse to take a three-line whip. I tip my cap to the last named.
9 Island where drink is on the house? (9)
INNISFREE - An isle in County Sligo memorialised by Yeats in a poem from his early period, when he was still relatively sane
10 Strength of over 50 per cent of oscillation (5)
SINEW - I am pretty darn proud to have worked this out, not being a sciency type; five eighths of SINE WAVE is SINEW. I'll let the boffins argue over whether SINE WAVE can be one word and whether it matters at all to the clue whether it can be or not.
11 Broken son may receive sterling aid (6,7)
YEOMAN SERVICE - anagram* of SON MAY RECEIVE; not a phrase you hear every day, as Pinter might put it, but it has certainly worn better than DAILY DOZEN
14 Eggs left in the ground (4)
15 Be endlessly agitated by scratchy sort of blouse (3-7)
SEE-THROUGH - SEETH[e] (agitated) ROUGH (scratchy)
18 The school for chemists? (10)
ELEMENTARY - a whimsical cryptic definition, which boffins may chortle into their beards over
19 Wake up in prison (4)
STIR - double definition (DD)
21 Burn coal: aren’t changing to become this? (6-7)
24 Dye used within borders of Indian city (5)
HENNA - [c]HENNA[i]; frankly, I can't see the point of going to all the trouble of changing the name when the best known and arguably most widespread use of the word has been retained in Chicken Madras. One for the linguistic hygienists and hand-wringers to work on...
25 One cultivating wickedness speaking a tiny bit (9)
SCINTILLA - if you were a farmer who was also a bit of a wag, you might joke over the fence to your neighbouring landowner - as a change from moaning about this and that - that if you decided to grow vices instead of turnips and rape, you might by styled a 'sin tiller'
27 Observes discussions producing capital projections (9)
EYESTALKS - EYES TALKS; the things that stick out of the front part ('capital' - geddit?) of slugs and snails, in pairs, with the bottom ones doing the sniffing and the upper ones doing the looking
28 Politicians on vacation leave such time for music (5)
DUPLE - DUP (from Nor'n Ir'n) L[eav]E; rhythm based on two beats to the bar


1 Regular exercise, newspaper, then nap before noon (5,5)
DAILY DOZEN - DAILY DOZE N; ancient callisthenics
2 Holy figure I left in study (3)
CON - [i]CON
3 Period in which doctrine is cast down (6)
4 Basis for soup that may include eggs (5,4)
BIRDS NEST - another bit of whimsy from the setter
5 Red Queen’s disposition (5)
CHEER - CHE (red, as in Guevara) ER; as in 'Be of good cheer, O fellow callisthenic practitioner!'
6 Finest engagement book, not the first one featuring animals (8)
BESTIARY - BEST [d]IARY; it seems to me that you need to perform a spot of callisthenics to get this to work, to allow 'book' to do a bit of double duty; alternatively, as pointed out below, one just extends the definition back one word to include ‘one’
7 Hurry up fielding strange question, giving illogical answer (3,8)
NON SEQUITUR - RUN reversed around QUESTION*
8 With solemn person, hard to cry (4)
HOWL - H OWL [solemn person]
12 Old knowledge I lost about gentle play of colours (11)
OPALESCENCE - PALE (gentle; 'pale morning light' perhaps?) in O (old) SC[i]ENCE
13 Sailor perhaps on this horse failing to get away (5,5)
16 Drastic rules from receivers inhibiting Yankee (9)
TYRANNIES - Y in TRANNIES (transistors)
17 Abandon belief, holding religious teaching to be cowardly (8)
20 In luxurious hotel room, died in formal clothes (6)
22 No-good lake bird (5)
OUSEL - O USE ('good', as in 'You're no use!') L
23 Socks son pulled up, put into this? (4)
SHOE - S raised in HOSE (footwear worn by callisthenic pratictioners?)
26 Drink: get one round ahead (3)
LAP - DD; if you lap someone, you get one round of the circuit ahead of them; the sort of thing that might be said by a callisthenic practitioner

Monthly Club Special 20,228: Be The Change You Want To See In Your Grid

Another impressive exercise in dictionary-digging, with the spelling required for 21ac enough to make the most hardened solver blanch, and 11ac recalling the headiest days of the much-mourned TLS Crossword blogs. I enjoyed the mad pocketful of foreign currencies - I did know MNAs and METICALs, but I'd never have guessed where you could spend an AVO, not to be confused with an ARVO.

Sadly I was overall defeated, having put a careless ZOLOSO in at 16ac - despite occasional appearances, not just anything is a correct spelling, even once it fits the cryptic. And it took me a long long time to work out what could possibly be going on at 6ac; in competition conditions I would almost certainly just have bunged in TIMES, the definition clearly being "this (paper)". Especially if jetlagged. My flights are booked - see you all on the 7th December?

1 Contained lots of elements of abscess up for treatment (9)
SUBSPACES - (ABSCESS UP*) ["for treatment"]

6 This strains at first to be in different forms (5)
TAMIS - T{o} + AM IS [be, in two "different forms"]

9 How aristocrat’s rarely addressed hero, limiting regressive displays (5)
MILOR - hidden reversed in {he}RO LIM{iting}

10 Tip for pen: inclination to keep one grey and one black (9)
NIGRICANT - {pe}N + CANT [inclination] to "keep" I GR I [one | grey | one]

11 Hacks tail off amphibian with heads (7,3,5)
TADPOLE AND TAPER - TAPER [tail off] (that) TADPOLE AND [amphibian | with] heads.
Anyone here actually read Benjamin Disraeli's Coningsby? And I was pleased to be still mostly au fait with Dickens...

13 Grape-grower needing to take five for dole recipient’s first (8)
VIGNERON - a SIGNER-ON is a dole recipient; replace the first letter with V [five]

14 Put right foot briefly in tunnel, defying the odds (6)
UNFOOL - FOO{t} in {t}U{n}N{e}L

16 Unique Down Under perhaps, to reflect with fervour (6)
ZELOSO - SOLE in OZ could be [unique Down Under], then reverse to get the musical direction.
Sadly I failed on this one by managing to enter ZOLOSO :(

18 Old red hammer calls for attention in case for carpentry (8)
CRAMOISY - RAM OIS [hammer | calls for attention] in C{arpentr}Y

21 From experience of poet’s quite quick temper, resolved time to scarper! (8,7)
EMPERICK QUTIQUE - (QUITE QUICK {t}EMPER*) ["resolved", then losing a T for time].
A Shakespearean rendering of "empiricutic" = empiric. Whew!

23 Belligerent cries from a Liberal: Peel’s celebration perhaps put back (9)
ALALAGMOI - A L [a | Liberal] + reversed IOM GALA [Peel's celebration perhaps]. Peel being a Manx town you know.

25 Do, at school, material having no books? Unknown (5)
CHIZZ - CHI{nt}Z [material, minus NT = books] + Z [unknown]

26 Chap that’s apprehended prisoner before turning over murderer’s son (5)
ENOCH - reversed HE [chap] that's "apprehended" CON [prisoner]. Enoch son of Cain, nothing to do with Powell.

27 Lacking clear vision, spoke French, perhaps, when English visiting (5-4)
PEARL-EYED - PARLEYED [spoke French perhaps], "visited" by E [English]

1 Northerners in appeal, being short-handed? (5)
SAMIT - S.A. [appeal] + MIT{t} (having a short MIT{t} = being short handed. I think.)

2 Rubbish setter, possibly on speed? That could make the papers fast! (7,4)
BULLDOG CLIP - BULL DOG CLIP [rubbish | setter, possibly | speed]

3 Poisonous stuff from Yankee in function promoting corporate image? (7)
PYRROLE - Y [Yankee] in P.R. ROLE [function promoting corporate image]

4 Plant with not quite enough hard cash around folded June the fifth (8)
CUNJEVOI - COI{n} ["not quite enough" hard cash] "around" (JUNE*) ["folded"] V [the fifth]

5 Net pouch prepared for returning dope packs (6)
SAGENE - S.A.E. [pouch prepared for returning] "packed" by GEN [dope]

6 Youth half-heartedly following kid, finding way that’s narrow in places (7)
TWITTEN - TE{e}N [youth "half-heartedly"] following TWIT [kid]

7 Sum of money crew’s raised last (3)
MNA - MAN [crew] with its last letter raised a place

8 Ribald scenes as lady’s bottom partly wobbles (5,4)
SATYR PLAY - (AS {lad}Y PARTLY*) ["wobbles"]

12 Support one’s denied being not just what neighbours have (11)
PROPINQUITY - PROP [support] + IN{i}QUITY [being not just, "denied" I = one]

13 Ministerial office that is, in more than one way, on merit (9)
VIZIERATE - VIZ. I.E. [that is, in two different ways] on RATE [merit]

15 Crack regional guards for S American city (8)
AREQUIPA - QUIP [crack] "guarded" by AREA [regional]

17 Agitated GP hears some rustling (7)
SPREAGH - (GP HEARS*) ["agitated"]. That's cattle, not bushes or whatever, being rustled.

19 Dealt with one, not exactly large, bit of Africa (7)
METICAL - MET I CA L [dealt with | one | not exactly | large]. Mozambican currency.

20 Unaware state’s involved in the heart of accepted social plan? (6)
ECOMAP - COMA [unaware state] "involved" in {acc}EP{ted}

22 Father, and later I, must leave wild and remote land (5)
ENZED - {fr}ENZ{i}ED [wild, losing FR = father, and later I]. Do Americans know it as ENZEE?

Aussie PM having no right to bring change around excolony (3)
AVO - A{r}VO [Aussie PM, as in afternoon, having no R = right]. 1/100 of a pataca in Macau!