October 3rd, 2019

  • glheard

Times 27472 - selling sea shells by the seashore

Solving time: 10:50, with a fair chunk of that on my last two. Although this is a little faster than my average time, the usual early quick solvers have taken a bit longer than usual. There's some nice wordplay here, and a few tricky definitions, so overall a fine puzzle.

I think I have everything sorted out, but if you find a mistake or have a question, check the comments, since I will not be able to modify this until the early afternoon UK time.

Away we go...

1 Unrested, somehow, set to come out at night (8)
DENTURES - anagram of UNRESTED, set of teeth you might take out at night
6 One managing to contain phosphorus in large vessel (6)
COPPER - COPER(one managing) containing P(phosphorus)
9 Search on northern river keeps one in form (13)
QUESTIONNAIRE - QUEST(search) ON, N(northern), AIRE(river) containing I(one)
10 Fish food with crust son Charlie tucks into (6)
PISCES - PIES(food with crust) containing S(son), C(Charlie, NATO alpahabet)
11 Traveller cutting steak produces an instrument (8)
TROMBONE - ROM(gypsy, traveller) inside a T-BONE steak
13 African seen buffeted by winds close to village (10)
SENEGALESE - anagram of SEEN then GALES(winds) and the last letter of villagE
15 Smaller runner runs poorly (4)
RILL - R(runs), ILL(poorly)
16 Grain used in pudding: try it first (4)
SAGO - GO(try) with SA(it) first
18 Dictatorial nurses see proof (10)
IMPERVIOUS - IMPERIOUS(dictatorial) containing V(see)
21 Remains here when rogue returns, having caught on (4,4)
GODS ACRE - AS DOG(rogue) reversed, then C(caught), RE(on)
22 Sandy, also going to hold back in quarrel (6)
SHINDY - remove AND(also) fron SANDY, then insert HIND(back)
23 Stuttering woe corrected in diction exercise (6-7)
25 Get morsel to chew as filling (4,2)
BEAT IT - BIT(morsel) containing EAT(to chew)
26 Night fell over development area (8)
DARKROOM - DARK(night) then MOOR(fell) reversed. An area for developing photographs

2 Title state expunged from essay and paper (7)
ESQUIRE - remove SAY(state) from ESSAY, then QUIRE(paper)
3 Dangerous influence monarch introduced to all French (11)
TREACHEROUS - REACH(influence), ER(monarch) inside TOUS(all, in French)
4 Considers vermin circling base of tree (5)
RATES - RATS(vermin) containing the last letter of treE
5 Small bed and leash for dog (7)
SCOTTIE - S(small), COT(bed) and TIE(leash)
6 Old soldier, one with punishing schedule, maybe, nobody welcomed (9)
CANNONEER - CANER(one whose schedule involves giving out punishment), containing NONE(nobody)
7 Postie occasionally delivers foreign letter (3)
PSI - alternating letters in PoStIe
8 Endless ale drunk before and after reported act (7)
ETERNAL - anagram of ALE containing what sounds like TURN(act)
12 Sign of illegitimacy as wickedness is evident in deal (3,8)
BAR SINISTER - SIN(wickedness), IS inside BARTER(deal)
14 Anti-Royalist battle? (9)
AGINCOURT - if you are anti-Royalist then you are AGIN COURT
17 Christian missionary throwing stone into a bar (7)
APOSTLE - ST(stone) inside A, POLE(bar)
19 Organic fuel around lake man gathered (7)
PLEATED - PEAT(organic fuel) containing L(ake) all reversed then ED(man)
20 Open about amount of work experience (7)
UNDERGO - UNDO(open) surrounding ERG(amount of work)
22 Sporty sort to steal tuppence from captain? (5)
SKIER - remove P,P(tuppence) from SKIPPER(captain)
24 Fortune trader keeps after taxes (3)
NET - hidden inside fortuNE Trader

Times Quick Cryptic No 1453 by Trelawney

I found this fairly easy with a rare sub-10m solve, so I expect to see some very quick times recorded. After seeing the letters X, Z and K in the first few answers, I suspected a pangram, but that failed to materialise. Despite some very concise clueing, I found nothing to single out as CoD, but this is a very adequate QC that should appeal to, and cater for newbies.

Thanks Trelawney, who I haven’t previously blogged.


1 Starts to boycott another North Korean financial institution (4)
BANK – First letters (starts to) B{oycott} A{nother} N{orth} K{orean} .
3 Little animal swallows first of pills for infectious disease (8)
SMALLPOX – SMALL (little) and OX (animal) surrounding (swallows) P (first of P{ills}). The World Health Organisation certified the eradication of this killer disease in 1980.
9 Boy conceals scheme – to visit Santa here? (7)
LAPLAND – LAD (boy) containing (conceals) PLAN (scheme).
10 Drink Belgian ale at first dance (5)
RUMBA – RUM (drink) and first letters of B{elgian} A{le}.
11 Heard about up-market food shop: it’s in India (5)
DELHI – Sounds like (heard about) DELI{catessen} (up-market food shop)
12 One who samples new treats? (6)
TASTER – Anagram (new) of [TREATS].
14 Pedestrians have priority here – it’s black and white! (5,8)
ZEBRA CROSSING – Two facts about the answer linked together in an &Lit clue, where the whole clue provides the definition.
17 Phrase that’s chanted in Roman tragedy (6)
MANTRA – Hidden answer in {ro}MAN TRA{gedy}. In Hinduism and Buddhism a mantra is a word or phrase chanted or repeated inwardly in meditation (Chambers). In my limited experience, it isn’t always done inwardly!
19 Group of stars initially observed networking around Brazilian city (5)
ORION – First letters (initially) of O{bserved} N{etworking} containing (around) RIO (Brazilian city).
22 Stadium recalled a period of time (5)
ARENA – AN ERA (a period of time) reversed (recalled).
23 Takes off edges of enormous cloaks (7)
ESCAPES – First and last letters of (edges of) E{normou}S and CAPES (cloaks).
24 Lady and a monarch travelling by water (8)
KAYAKING – KAY (lady) and A KING (a monarch). A KAYAK is an Inuit seal-skin canoe.
25 Looked at some grey edifices (4)
EYED – another hidden (some) in {gr}EY ED{ifices}.


1 Knock down animal and take a nap (8)
BULLDOZE – BULL (animal) and DOZE (take a nap).
2 Plane flies around mountainous country (5)
NEPAL – Anagram (flies around) of [PLANE]. It doesn’t get much simpler than this!
4 Body of water airman entered carelessly (13)
MEDITERRANEAN – Anagram (carelessly) of [AIRMAN ENTERED].
5 Noblemen watch cricket here (5)
LORDS – Double definition.
6 I’m Pope, I rebuilt an old Roman city (7)
POMPEII – Anagram (rebuilt) of [I’M POPE, I].
7 Scan dead fish, say? (1-3)
X-RAY – Sounds like (say) an ex-fish (i.e. a dead one).
8 Paint applied with a glossy coat (6)
PATINA – Anagram (applied) of [PAINT] with A. One definition of PATINA is ‘A sheen acquired from constant handling…’.
13 Worried San Diego is changing (8)
AGONISED – Anagram (changing) of [SAN DIEGO].
15 Underwear, extremely daring (7)
BRAVERY – BRA (underwear) and VERY (extremely).
16 Put an end to strong drink (6)
SCOTCH – Double definition, the first referring to SCOTCHing a rumour for instance.
18 Follow carriage heading north with king (5)
TRACK – CART (carriage) reversed (heading north) and K{ing}.
20 Absolutely doesn’t open hint (5)
IMPLY – {s}IMPLY (absolutely, not opening, i.e. dropping first letter)
21 Head of Mafia to request disguise (4)
MASK – M{afia} (head of, i.e. first letter) and ASK (to request).

Times 27,473: Dah It All

Despite some in my opinion overly simple clues for the day of the week, I was going to give this puzzle a Friday passing grade based on quite a few fun clues - one man's simplicity is another's pure minimalist elegance, after all. That was until I submitted at 6.23 to be met by the dreaded pink square. At time of writing only 1 of 13 submissions is correct, probably because the clue has an equally valid but better answer, and if that proportion increases over time I can only imagine it's because later solvers will say "eh up, everyone so far has got 1 wrong, what's going on here then". C'mon ed, I know for a fact that these puzzles used to be test solved... but I can't imagine this could possibly have got past such a process. What gives?

So COD is stripped from 9ac and given to 3dn. Anyway, I'm sitting in an airport lounge in SFO and we should probably head for our gate, as our Heathrow-bound flight is taking off in an hour... got to get some "coping with jetlag" practice in before December. See you anon!

1 Criminal came up with lawyer initially entering a confession (3,5)
MEA CULPA - (CAME UP*) ["criminal"], with L{awyer} "entering"

5 Commentator's spotted a spinner (6)
SPIDER - homophone of SPIED A [spotted | a], or is it? I asked my Scottish travelling companion and was told "God no!", so you decide.

9 How Morse represented his end? (3)
DIT - I thought this was a very good clue, . being the representation for {mors}E in Morse Code, until I discovered that we were somehow meant to intuit that the correct answer was DIT (the spoken representation of a Morse .) and not DOT (its written representation). ..-. --- .-. / -.-. .-. -.-- .. -. --. / --- ..- - / .-.. --- ..- -.. -.-.--

10 Did tramp and vagrant let go of dogs? (11)

12 Slight resistance in cabal backing city (10)
FRACTIONAL - R [resistance] in FACTION [cabal] + reversed LA [city]

13 Look after horse's mane? (4)
HAIR - AIR [look] after H [horse]

15 Greatest medics featured in Universal Times (6)
UTMOST - MOS [medics] featured in U T T [universal | (two) times]

16 Radical doctor caught swigging wine (7)
DRASTIC - DR C [doctor | caught] "swigging" ASTI [wine]

18 A reservation briefly claimed by very old rancher (7)
VAQUERO - A QUER{y} [a | reservation, "briefly"] "claimed" by V O [very | old]

20 Knight of long ago approaching (6)
NEARLY - N EARLY [night | of long ago (as in "early man")]

23 What is necessary to train bird (4)
RAIL - double def. A train can't run without rails.

24 Ancient scar one overlooked distorted hospital monitor (3,7)
CAT SCANNER - (ANC{i}ENT SCAR*) ["distorted"]

26 Where pickup is most effective, officially (2,3,6)
ON THE RECORD - double def. Two different types of records.

27 Fruit soften, tons chucked out (3)
HAW - {t}HAW [soften, minus T for "tons"]

28 Bare American guy grabs gent, pinching coat (6)
DENUDE - DUDE [American guy] "grabs" {g}EN{t}

29 What botched repairs by learner may lead to — from client? (8)
REPRISAL - (REPAIRS*) ["botched"] by L [learner], semi-&lit

1 Adapt “instant” home improvements with female in residence (6)
MODIFY - MO DIY [instant | home improvements] with F [female] "in residence"

2 Draw cheers when looking up pamphlet (7)
ATTRACT - reversed TA [cheers] + TRACT [pamphlet]

3 The slim apparently housed, not having got to bed? (10)
UNFATHOMED - UNFAT [the slim, apparently] + HOMED [housed]. Bed as in seabed.

4 Relative worried, with expert helping up front (13)
PROPORTIONATE - ATE [worried], with PRO PORTION [expert | helping] beforehand

6 Outcome of intriguing storyline? (4)
PLOT - double def

7 Carrier taking moggy across river tail first (7)
DOGCART - CAT [moggy] "across" R [river], DOG [tail] before that. Were dogcarts ever actually pulled by dogs? I've never been sure.

8 Heartless rogue Frank set on a different course (8)
REDIRECT - R{ogu}E + DIRECT [frank]

11 Monolith's reputation not changed in home counties (8,5)
STANDING STONE - STANDING [reputation] + (NOT*) ["changed", though more reversed, really] in SE [home counties]

14 Elevated Commie sadly admitting worker's a coldblooded type (10)
SALAMANDER - reversed RED ALAS [Commie | sadly], admitting MAN [worker]

17 Reckless cricketer's task completed, we hear (8)
OVERBOLD - homophone of OVER BOWLED, bowling an over being our cricketer's task.

19 Placate ruler, introducing technology bit by bit (7)
QUIETEN - QUEEN [ruler], introducing IT [technology] piecemeal: QU{I}E{T}EN

21 Eats third of plaice taken from boats (7)
LUNCHES - L{a}UNCHES [boats, minus the third letter of {pl}A{ice}]

22 Absorbent cloth wrapping builder's last tool (6)
TROWEL - TOWEL [absorbent cloth] "wrapping" {builde}R

25 Borders of hostile land occupied (4)
HELD - H{ostil}E L{an}D