October 16th, 2019


Times Quick Cryptic No 1462 by Mara


Hats off to any puzzle that makes me take 23 minutes to finish. I was well-stymied in the upper-right while trying to take care of kiddos... my head wasn't really in the game! Most of the puzzle was straightforward, but there was some lovely, deceptive wordplay in my last six or so clues.

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Times 27483 - crosswordy swimming practice

I thought this was an elegant puzzle, the best on Wednesday for a while, not difficult but with some clever, smooth surfaces and no MERs for me. I went astray at first with 15a and took a while to sort out 21a, no issues with the rest in a total time of around 24 leisurely minutes. For a clue of the day I'd pick either 10a or 21a.

1 Bank charge discount partially returned (4)
SIDE - bank = side e.g. of a river. Reversed hidden in CHARG(E DIS)COUNT.
3 American embraces endlessly resilient old scientist (10)
ASTRONOMER - There was discussion recently when we had AMER for American, and here it is again. Into AMER you insert STRON(G) (endlessly resilient) and O for old.
10 Describing open-air activities that could be yours to do (9)
11 Tycoon is second victim of hoax, though losing just one pound (5)
MOGUL - MO (second) GUL(L) victim of hoax loses an L.
12 Make fun of a politician in guise of a fool? (7)
LAMPOON - A MP inside LOON = fool.
13 Guy at St Andrews? Liberal guy at St Andrews, not Conservative (6)
LADDIE - A Scottish chap. The guy at St Andrews (R & A Golf Club of) is a CADDIE, carrying my bag, not C, add L.
15 Preparation the public can’t see for exclusion of NHS work? (7,8)
PRIVATE PRACTICE - Cryptic double definition, where 'practice in private' wouldn't be seen in public. I went wrong for a while with PRIVATE MEDICINE, thinking the 'preparation' was a drug not an activity, but 6d ending in I woudln't work.
18 Landlord blocking theatre presented by cultivated political group (10,5)
REPUBLICAN PARTY - PUBLICAN is our landlord, he goes into REP our theatre, then ARTY = cultivated.
21 Necklace queen’s wearing removed by force (6)
TORQUE - I put in the correct answer to this quite a while before seeing how it worked; was the definition force or necklace? I think it is necklace, as TORE = removed by force, leaving you with QU for queen to insert. A torque (or torc) is a rigid metal necklace, as well as a force causing rotation.
23 Rewarding golf? Agonising missing first of putts (7)
GAINFUL - G for golf, PAINFUL = agonising, loses its P.
26 Supple, seeing reduction of ailment in time (5)
AGILE - AGE (time) has IL(L) inserted.
27 Area a lot choppy? Channel swimmer weak (2,1,3,3)
AT A LOW EBB - (A A LOT)* then WEBB = Captain Matthew Webb, first to swim the channel in 1875. What a nice, topical surface, given the recent amazing feat by Sarah Thomas. A pity she didn't get sponsored to raise money for breast cancer research.
28 Lack of skill recording songbird? One gets exposed about that (10)
INEPTITUDE - I NUDE = one gets exposed; into that insert EP (recording) TIT (songbird).
29 Times item in centre: several bits (4)
BYTE - BY = times, multiplied by, TE = central letters of iTEm, a byte has 8 bits in it.
1 Plunder harbour town, getting damper (10)
SPOILSPORT - SPOILS = plunder, as a noun; PORT.
2 Information corporation supplied to American lawyer (5)
DATUM - DA (American lawyer) TUM (corporation). Singular of DATA, which latter is all too often treated as singular not plural. A moment of pedantry.
4 Determined to include wild green island in African ecosystem (9)
SERENGETI - My FOI. SET = determined, insert (GREEN)* and add I for island.
5 Though no son, optimistic over a line of monarchs (5)
ROYAL - ROSY could be optimistic, delete the S for son, add A L(ine).
6 Mostly I refuse to accept degree of person who’s travelled (7)
NOMADIC - I refuse could be "NO DICE", mostly = NODIC, insert MA degree.
7 Source of detailed view that is needed in review of farming (9)
MAGNIFIER - Insert I.E. into (FARMING)*.
8 No opening for comic turn (4)
ROLL - DROLL loses its opening letter.
9 Study leading to answer about golden solar gases (6)
CORONA - CON (study) has OR (golden) inserted, then A for answer.
14 Playground: yard left cordoned off by rope, fit for repeated use (10)
RECYCLABLE - REC = playground, Y = yard, CABLE = rope, insert L for left.
16 Pull together one million, supporting Society in contest (9)
IMPROVISE - I, M(illion), PRO (supporting), then S for society inside VIE = contest.
17 Defending month being taken up in Bishop engaging in study (9)
REARGUARD - READ = study; insert AUG reversed into RR (bishop) then insert that RGUAR into READ.
19 Happen to search for a legacy (7)
BEQUEST - BE = happen, QUEST = search.
20 River being shown? It’s not what you’d want to drink (6)
POISON - The River PO (in Italy) IS ON = being shown.
22 Praise X-ray as investment in unlimited health (5)
EXALT - HEALTH "unlimited" = EALT, insert X for x-ray.
24 Passionate on-line exclamation of disapproval (5)
FIERY - FIE! = exclamation of disapproval, is '"on line" i.e. on RY railway line.
25 Artist I’d upset about almost everything (4)
DALI - AL(L) inside I'D reversed.