October 2nd, 2019


Times Quick Cryptic No 1452 by Pedro


This one took me 15 minutes, but that doesn't tell the whole story. I was done after only eight minutes, except for three clues in the upper-right corner: 9 Across, 11 Across, and 5 Down.

Last week I was laid low by a stomach bug, and am still feeling the effects of it at times. So, staring at those three clues, all I could feel was a terrible pressure in my forehead and didn't realize that I'd totally misparsed 9 Across. A full seven minutes later, with my head cleared, I realized my error, and finished the puzzle in a matter of seconds.

I confess that most of the answers went in barely having looked at the clues, so I'll be figuring out most of the wordplay as I write the blog.

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Times 27471 - Thick as a parrot.

A jolly puzzle of moderate difficulty, a little risqué at times, good for biffing and with a few clues a bit more tricky to explain. Some nice smooth surfaces, notably 17a, 20a, 28a. FOI was 1a and LOI was 21d. Around 19 or 20 minutes for me then a minute to parse 13a.
If it's not out of order to comment; I wouldn't be surprised to hear someone use the word at 11d in reference to the current PM, the Benn Act and a certain date, any time soon. Stormy weather ahead!

1 Leader of Conservatives blocking change leads to dispute (11)
ALTERCATION - C inserted into ALTERATION = change.
7 Cricket side jeer, opening pair having been dismissed (3)
OFF - SCOFF loses its opening 2 letters. OFF as opposed to ON.
9 Point about much reduced page is so long (6-3)
TOODLE-PIP - TIP (point) goes around OODLE (oodles, much, reduced), and P for page.
10 Affluent heiresses, in reduced circumstances, becoming possessive (5)
11 Scoundrel climbed for wild plant (3,4)
DOG ROSE - DOG = cur, scoundrel, ROSE = climbed.
12 Ready to change a long time ago (4,3)
YEAR DOT - (READY TO)*. A phrase which seems to have originated in the late 19th century.
13 Cats with second cast for addicts (5)
USERS - Took a mo to see how this works. MOUSERS are cats and lose their MO = second. Nice work.
15 Get garage rebuilt for a sum (9)
17 Rent boy hanging around church with speed (9)
LACERATED - LAD (boy) has CE (church) and RATE (speed) inside.
19 Heads for starters (5)
PATES - Double definition, I assume the setter is meaning paté could be served as an entrée or starter,
20 Bums are on view from behind in eg cossies (7)
TOERAGS - A saucy surface, where we find ARE is 'on view' reversed inside TOGS = cossies,
22 Describe former flat (7)
EXPLAIN - EX = former, FLAT = plain as in salt flat.
24 Without outside assistance, Head Office going to be engaged (2,3)
IN USE - IN HOUSE (without outside assistance) loses its HO (head office).
25 Quietly living in Cleveland, perhaps (9)
PRESIDENT - P (quietly) RESIDENT (living in). The only US President so far to serve two non-consecutive terms.
27 One in Sweden's ready for a drink (3)
KIR - KR = kronor, Sweden's currency, insert I (one). Apéritif drink of dry white wine with added cassis or similar flavouring such as violette, peach, raspberry.
28 One may have a nap on the flight (5,6)
STAIR CARPET - cryptic definition.
1 A small flat is fitting (3)
APT - abbreviation of APARTMENT.
2 G-string aria for one with a lisp (5)
THONG - Thing a thong of thickspence, for example. Not the air on a G-string. I have a feeling there's a subtle difference between a thong and a G-string, but I don't want to be seen as an expert in these matters.
3 Deodorants applied during bowls (4-3)
ROLL-ONS - Is this simply ROLLS = bowls, with ON = applied, inserted? Where ON means applied as in a sticker was on my windscreen. Seems a bit weak to me.
4 A little application and skill used to make dessert (5,4)
APPLE TART -An APPLET is a little APP, and ART = skill.
5 Intimate spotted taking a pee (5)
IMPLY -  take a P from PIMPLY.
6 Maybe almond covering for fruitcake (7)
NUTCASE - almond NUT, covvering = CASE.
7 Extra doctor back is what attracts interest (9)
OVERDRAFT - OVER = extra, DR = doctor, AFT = back.
8 I foster spring breaks without golf (5,6)
FIRST PERSON - (FOSTER SPRIN )*, spring without G in the anagrist.
11 Simultaneously accepting opposing beliefs, possibly both unliked (11)
DOUBLETHINK - (BOTH UNLINKED)*. First used by Orwell in his book 1984.
14 Former auditor spoken of in the Treasury (9)
EXCHEQUER - sounds like EX (former) CHECKER (auditor).
16 Who's greeted a gismo's introduction with excitement? (9)
GADGETEER - (GREETED A G)*. Not an everyday word, but it exists.
18 American in residence supplying drilling tools (7)
REAMERS - RES short for residence has AMER(ican) inserted.
19 27 served up in pop is something spicy (7)
PAPRIKA - PAPA = pop has KIR reversed inserted.
21 Arabic work (not old) written up above (5)
SUPRA - AR = Arabic, OPUS = work, drop the old = PUS, reverse (written up) = SUP RA. Latin for 'above' used in referring to a previous bit in a text, e.g. as 'vide supra'.
23 One's heard a sheep consumed (3,2)
ATE UP - sounds like A TUP, a male sheep.
26 Little spirit shown by football club's front three (3)
TOT - First three letters of TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR? What next? ARS? ACC(rington Stanley)? Ninety or so football clubs for setters to pick. Is your MOTHERWELL?