October 7th, 2019


QC 1455 by Joker

I found this very easy. In fact I think it would have been a PB if I had sat down and done it under exam conditions. As it was though I got started, realised I hadn't got my reading glasses on, and then struggled on regardless peering uselessly at the screen for a bit before eventually reaching for the glasses and getting them entangled with my normal glasses, which then fell under the bed. By the time I had recovered all my eyewear and put it all back where it should be and got the reading glasses on my nose, about 2 minutes had gone by. I then finished in about 7 minutes even though my wife was interrupting me and giving me instructions about all the stuff that we had just unloaded from the car having just returned from our holiday. So what with all that I think it is fairly likely that I might have got in under the 5 minute mark. But hey, so what, who's counting. The fact is that practically every clue I looked at more or less wrote itself into the grid.

FOI was 1A as you would expect, and LOI I think was similarly 19D. It really was that linear. I think maybe one or two clues were written in out of order but it was more or less sequential. No particular COD jumps out and hits me in the face but I will go for 20A. Many thanks to Joker for an enjoyable experience. It is not often that things happen that smoothly for me.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

1 Message sent from holiday job by Joker, perhaps (8)
POSTCARD - POST (job) + CARD (Joker).
5 Hurtful remark from pub bore, initially (4)
BARB - BAR (pub) + B (Bore initially).
9 Knock back beer fit for a monarch (5)
REGAL - LAGER (beer) backwards.
10 A time in location that’s calm (7)
PLACATE - A + T (time) 'in' PLACE (location).
11 Openly gay youth stripped (3)
OUT - yOUTh 'stripped' (i.e. with outer letters removed).
12 Idiot sues bizarrely, promoting disorder (9)
SEDITIOUS - straight anagram ('bizarrely') of IDIOT SUES.
13 Shortly getting in a large car (6)
SALOON - SOON (shortly) 'getting in' A + L (large).
15 Left, for instance, to finish traditional tale (6)
LEGEND - L (left) + EG (for instance) + END (to finish).
17 What can control large tour going round? (9)
REGULATOR - straight anagram ('going round') of LARGE TOUR.
19 Setter, perhaps, is good after party (3)
DOG - DO (party) + G (good).
20 Gasp about restraint for one being treated (7)
PATIENT - PANT (gasp) 'about' TIE (restraint).
21 Join university with term half gone (5)
UNITE - UNI (university) + TE (TErm 'half gone').
22 Beam about new story (4)
YARN - RAY (beam) 'about' = YAR + N (new).
23 Credit us with cooking raw fruit & veg (8)
CRUDITES - straight anagram ('with cooking') of CREDIT US.
1 Soul-rap rocks? Dire (7)
PARLOUS - straight anagram ('rocks') of SOUL RAP.
2 Express sadness over onset of tunnel vision (5)
SIGHT - SIGH (express sadness) 'over' (in this down clue) T (onset of Tunnel).
3 Show indifference to lamb joint from yesterday? (4-8)
COLD-SHOULDER - cryptic definition. Where my family comes from originally the traditional Monday evening meal was 'Stovies', consisting of the heated up stewed remains of the previous day's roast (I understand that alternative regional variants are available).
4 Very fast unexpected attack grabbing power (5)
RAPID - RAID (unexpected attack) 'grabbing' P (power).
6 Edible shellfish in middle of seabed singly (7)
ABALONE - AB (middle of seABed) + ALONE (singly).
7 Bishop with fewer to consecrate (5)
BLESS - B (bishop) + LESS (fewer).
8 Scene of conflict sees site of historic abbey reduced to dust (12)
BATTLEGROUND - BATTLE (site of the historic Battle Abbey) + GROUND (reduced to dust).
14 Large open boat is not so dark (7)
LIGHTER - double definition.
16 Get sidetracked — I note during shift? (7)
DIGRESS - I + G (note) 'during' DRESS (shift).
17 Give money back to travelling salesman, certainly (5)
REPAY - REP (travelling salesman) + AY (certainly).
18 Express disapproval over Romeo teacher (5)
TUTOR - TUT (express disapproval) + O (over) + R (Romeo).
19 Daughter on break to travel aimlessly (5)
DRIFT - D (daughter) 'on' (in this down clue) RIFT (break).
  • vinyl1

Times 27475 - A bit on the cool side?

Time: 42 minutes
Music: Don Giovanni Highlights, Klemperer EMI

This one should have been easy, and I definitely made a mess of it.   Besides not being very good with wines, I penciled in several dividing lines in the wrong places, making clues that should have been write-in biffs quite impossible.   It took quite a while to find and correct these errors, too, and the clock was ticking.  There were some nice original clues, as well as some that don't quite work as well as they should.   Since I'm quite tired tonight, let's have at it!

1 Yank grabbing Conservative fellow’s mistress? (7)
TEACHER - TEA(C HE)R - is 'tear' really a good equivalent for 'yank'?
5 Group of shadowy figures holding church back (7)
SPECIES - SP(C.E. backwards)IES. 
9 A snowdrop? (9)
AVALANCHE - Cryptic definition, but one I didn't care for.
10 Geese flying east into cover (5)
SKEIN - SK(E)IN, one of those ornithological collective nouns.   My LOI, as the cryptic offers several possibilities, such as 'flying' indicating an anagram.
11 Peasant’s husband seized by large force one heading west (5)
CHURL - C(H)UR + L, where the RUC is our old friend the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
12 Loot needs shifting: all eyes are on it (9)
LODESTONE - Anagram of LOOT NEEDS, where the definition is metaphorical, since a lodestone actually attracts iron filings.
14 Feeble toff somehow led Cornish news (8,6)
17 How one might face grandmaster or general? (6,3,5)
ACROSS THE BOARD - Double definition, one referring to a hypothetical contest with a high-ranking chess player.
21 One crying out from back of court (4,5)
LINE JUDGE - Cryptic definition, and a good one, since a line judge in tennis does cry 'Out!'
23 Senior man joining up after wife departs (5)
24 Put down a cow? (5)
LOWER - Double definition, a chestnut this time.
25 Striking, moving fast after change of leader (9)
WALLOPING - (-g, +W)ALLOPING, a vague letter-substitution clue that won't give much difficulty.
26 House on square? Let’s get it! (5-2)
TALLY-HO - TALLY, in the sense of 'match' or 'line up', + HO[use]. 
27 Saw nurses at work — so gifted! (7)
DONATED - D(ON)ATED - we've had a lot of 'see' = 'date' lately.
1 Prime minister cutting Her Majesty’s hair (6)
2 Martha occasionally accompanying American in pub, if necessary (2,1,4)
AT A PUSH - [m]A[r]T[h]A + P(US)H, the old P.H. = public house.
3 Boss tells a whopper about son’s latest pieces of news (9)
HEADLINES - HEAD LIE([so]N)S.    Rather elaborate, but most solvers will biff it.
4 Reminisced about Bolshevik holding English rally (11)
5 Brussels upset after Brexiters’ final charge (3)
SUE - [brexiter]S + EU upside-down.   I don't think 'charge' has any sense that works for 'sue'. 
6 Stops head resigning and relaxes (5)
7 In speech I nag, unfeeling (3-4)
ICE-COLD - sounds like I SCOLD in many, but not all, dialects.
8 Career crazily with son, guzzling new wine (8)
SANCERRE - anagram of CAREER + S + N.
13 Tousled beauty had fun going topless (11)
15 Independently working on European broadcast (2,4,3)
ON ONES OWN - ON + ON + E + SOWN, where one ON is indicated by 'working', and the other by 'on'.
16 Founder lacking sparkle after trip (4,4)
FALL FLAT - FALL + FLAT in different senses, which are not very remote from how they are used in the answer.
18 Continuation of American’s truly gripping novel (7)
19 Some reactionary tweets I’m deranged, anger clouding judgement (3,4)
RED MIST - backwards hidden in [twee]TS I'M DER[anged].
20 Unaffectionate father I like to send up (6)
FRIGID - FR + I + DIG upside-down.
22 Do wrong in Jersey on vacation, procuring pot (5)
JERRY - J(ERR)Y, as in a jerrycan.
25 Try to win women’s love on more than one occasion (3)
WOO - W + O + O, where 'on more than one occasion' just indicates two of them.