November 21st, 2019

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27514 Thursday, 21 November 2019 Consuming passions

An amiable puzzle with not too much to send you diving to the reference books, which I resolved in a tad under 17 minutes, the top right resisting most. There is, for me, an impression of a lot of inclusion clues, perhaps prompted by two adjacent clues that use “consuming” as the indicator. I did like the long and rather apposite anagram at 10, even if the numeration made it a bit of a write-in
My commentary includes clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS

1 Your band playing as a four, sometimes two more (8)
BOUNDARY A rare sight from England’s opening pair in Mount Maunganui (so far, at least) A ball smitten by the batsman that crosses the boundary is a four, and if it does so without bouncing it’s a six. You need to be “playing” with YOUR BAND to score. It’s an anagram
5 Classic of the Chinese to install bible for church in Washington (6)
IRVING Author of Rip Van Winkle (1819) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820). This is a substitution clue, starting with the I CHING of ancient Chinese philosophy and divination, and replacing the CH of Church with the RV, the now little used Revised Version of the Bible
10 Remarkably unfailing growth that is easy to secure (3-7,5)
LOW-HANGING FRUIT An anagram (remarkably) of UNFAILING GROWTH, an &lit in which the whole clue is the definition
11 Intolerance in art-house, head finding a new position (7)
ALLERGY I see I ignored the wordplay for this one, but it’s GALLERY for art-house, with the head, G, being moved to a new spot.
12 One in the sea grabbed by crazy fool (7)
MISLEAD One in the sea being ISLE “grabbed” by MAD for crazy
13 Perhaps foundation of the universe cracked by alien (8)
COSMETIC Of the universe is COSMIC, ET our alien who cracks his way in
15 The retreat from Moscow? (5)
DACHA A Russian’s country house, this being a cryptic definition playing on “retreat”
18 Tricky part of climb, perhaps, needing some spare tents (5)
ARÊTE “a sharp ridge of rock that is formed between glacially created valleys”, such as on Everest. Today’s hidden, some of spARE TEnts
20 A rule I instilled in fellow African (8)
MALAWIAN A, rule: LAW, I inserted into fellow: MAN
23 Facade awkwardly flat, no rustication initially in it (7)
FRONTAL An anagram (awkwardly) of FLAT NO R(ustication). The words “in it” are only there to enhance the surface, otherwise the NO R would have to go in in that order.
25 Agree artist makes a fabulous creation (7)
CHIMERA Agree is CHIME, and the artist our generic RA, Royal Academician
26 The undoubted leader? (8,7)
DEFINITE ARTICLE A simple charade, leader here being such as found in a newspaper
27 Very funny appeal by a young girl booked (6)
LOLITA “Booked” by Nabukov. LOL for very funny in textspeak plus IT for appeal and A
28 Finally appear with one dropping round security equipment (8)
SHREDDER The last letter of appeaR with SHEDDER for one dropping, surrounding it.

1 A couple of lines in dreadful poem (6)
BALLAD A, plus two L(ine)s in BAD for dreadful
2 Almost indisposed to show up, coldly received (9)
UNWELCOME Indisposed gives UNWELL, which you only almost write in, add COME for show up
3 Plan to plunge Indian city into dark (7)
DIAGRAM AGRA is our Indian city, plunged into DIM for dark
4 Finally arriving in Stone, a Midlands town (5)
RUGBY The last letter of arrivinG within RUBY for stone. For what it's worth, Stone is indeed a Midlands town on the River Trent in Staffs.
6 Wouldn’t agree to be given another meal without our people (7)
REFUSED Given another meal could be REFED, without here means outside as US is “our people”
7 Engaged by English paper, I turned up (2,3)
IN USE E(nglish) plus our beloved sister paper, the SUN, plus I all “turned up” or reversed
8 Be overambitious, sacking Romeo from production of tragedies (3,5)
GET IDEAS Remove NATO Romeo from TRAGEDIES, then make a new production of the remaining letters. I was very slow to spot how to do that.
9 Consuming mineral, I love being hostile (8)
INIMICAL I love gives you I NIL, and the mineral is MICA to be “consumed”
14 Model of Parthenon, say, consuming a ton (8)
TEMPLATE More consuming to the same end: A T(on) inside TEMPLE, of which the Parthenon is an example
16 Integrated student drinking beers at clubs (9)
COALESCED The student is a CO-ED drinking (more consuming) ALES for beers and C for clubs
17 In parliament, stand up to remove one waving a trumpet (8)
DAFFODIL The brand of Parliament you need is the Irish DAIL, then within it “stand up” DOFF for remove
19 Not burning to be incorporated into new text (7)
EXTINCT Incorporated provide the abbreviation INC, (placed) into and anagram (new) of TEXT
21 Vainly seek suit for Londoner (7)
WHISTLE Vainly seek gives WHISTLE as in the phrase “you can whistle for it”. WHISTLE (and flute) is also CRS, Lahndonese for suit
22 Full of energy, social worker makes progress at work (6)
CAREER For once, the social worker is not an ant, but a CARER. Fill with E(nergy)
24 Refuse to kill American, a Liberal (5)
OFFAL Chambers indeed lists OFF for kill as US slang, though I wild goose chased it around Shakespeare believing it might be there too. The AL comes from A Liberal
25 Argument from Conservative whip (5)
CLASH And to preserve political balance, the Conservative donates his C to LASH

Times Quick Cryptic No 1488 by Izetti

On more of an even keel today after a bit of a struggle with yesterday's: I was four minutes over my target with that one and came in two minutes under today, so it wasn't quite the toughie I was expecting after seeing Izetti's name. This was partly helped by the same, unusual grid that we had on Monday, with four black squares kicking off row 1 - if the two long vertical clues are generous, as they were here, it gives a lot of entry points into the puzzle. Usual high standard, though, with some lovely surfaces, my favourite being the seamless 22ac. Much enjoyed - many thanks to Izetti!

1 Refuse to deal with sailor showing pirate's flag (9)
BLACKJACK - BLACK (to refuse to deal with) JACK (sailor). Oxford Dictionary has "to black" defined as: "Refuse to have dealings with as a way of taking industrial action".
6 Consent expresses nothing (3-2)
SAY-SO - SAYS (expresses) O (nothing)
8 Like micro-organisms I detected in messy lab crate (9)
BACTERIAL - I seen/detected in an anagram (messy) of LAB CRATE
9 Digit given hit changing at the tip (5)
THUMB - THUMP (hit), with the letter changing at the tip/end. Only parsed post-solve, and even then took a bit of thought as I was looking at the wrong tip and debating things like "chumb", "phumb" and "rhumb" (only one of which is an actual word).
10 Ultimate difficulty for camel? (4,5)
LAST STRAW - cryptic definition, referring to the straw what did for the camel's back.
12 Chums? Not right — cruel folk (6)
FIENDS - FRIENDS (chums) but not the R(ight)
13 Leaving group will get compensation (6)
OFFSET - I'm OFF = I'm leaving, SET (group). I took the definition as a verb, but the noun works fine as well.
16 A cat and a lion wandering round Spanish territory (9)
CATALONIA - anagram (wandering round) of A CAT and A LION
18 Bit of food? Offer some men a choice (5)
NACHO - offered in some of the letters of meN A CHOice
19 Like Noah's animals, about 500, unaware of what is happening (2,3,4)
IN THE DARK - IN THE ARK (like Noah's animals) going about D (500 in Roman numerals)
21 Not so far off, Conservative departing as unsuccessful candidate? (5)
LOSER - CLOSER (not so far off), C(onservative) departing.
22 Change of scenery, as needed (9)
NECESSARY - anagram (change of) of SCENERY AS.
1 Robert lost blood and moved unsteadily (7)
BOBBLED - BOB (Robert) BLED (lost blood)
2 Charge about with us — excellent touring round (6)
ACCUSE - C. (circa = about) with US has ACE (excellent) touring around it.
3 Parts of ships, smooth and glossy when done up (5)
KEELS - SLEEK (smooth and glossy), when done up = when reversed.
4 Old boxer, a large one (3)
ALI - A L(arge) I (one)
5 I halt workout — dissipated this amount of energy? (8-4)
KILOWATT-HOUR - anagram (dissipated) of I HALT WORKOUT. I see that's 860 calories, and jogging burns about 100 calories a mile, so rather a good workout by any measure.
6 Party at end of short day is giving pleasure (12)
SATISFACTION - FACTION (party) at the end of SAT(urday - short day) IS
7 Gutsy one turned out to be most junior (8)
YOUNGEST - anagram (turned out) of GUTSY ONE
11 Esteems good person turning up preceded by awful creeps (8)
RESPECTS - ST. (saint = good person) turning up = reversed, preceded by an anagram (awful) of CREEPS
14 Insect's disgusting inside, to be honest (7)
FRANKLY - FLY (insect) has ('s) RANK (disgusting) inside. The quirk of the grid meant that by the time I came to it, F_ANKLY was already filled in. So not too much of a head-scratcher.
15 Some drank a raki in foreign city (6)
ANKARA - "some" of the letters of drANK A RAki. I hadn't heard of raki, but it's an ouzo-esque drink from Turkey so the clue works nicely.
17 Diesel I avoided travelling round city (5)
LEEDS -anagram (travelling round) of DIESEL, with the "I" avoided.
20 Investigator, note, heading for court (3)
TEC - TE (note - do, re, me, etc., also spelt TI) C (heading for Court). Tec = abbrev. of detective.

Times 27,515: Never Tell Me The 4d!

Can you see yourself getting three puzzles like this done inside an hour? If you can then there is no reason you shouldn't be competing in Champs on December 7th, and even if you can't then this year for the first time ever you might still be in with a chance of some prize money.

This was a brilliant crossword whose extra-imaginative wordplay reminded me of the Club Monthly Special, though of course the words here are a little less obscure (but only a little, in a couple of cases!). My FOI was 11ac, followed by 14ac; but that was it on the first pass of the across clues. My big problem came when I put in WING for 21ac - thinking that "to take" could be WIN, "home" IN, "trap" GIN, and (here's the weak link) "picked up from" a subtraction indicator, the whole being some kind of synecdoche for a bird. And that slowed me down a lot at the end, but it is a mark of the type of crossword this was that I genuinely thought such a tortuous route was plausible.

So many great clues, the pick of which for me were 17ac (I saw Merry Wives of Windsor at the Globe only last month!) and 18dn (matron!), but there were many others that seemed completely impenetrable until their secrets suddenly swim into focus, and that's just the way I like it of course. LOI 23ac which is the kind of clue that is really hard to get unless you just biff it from the enumeration and the A, and for some reason I didn't for a very long time. I'm off the boil! Can I get back on it within about a fortnight? Watch this space!

1 Refusing to give in the end natural (8)
STUBBORN - STUB BORN [the end | natural]

9 Items plucked from French article repeatedly probing transatlantic allies (8)
UKULELES - LE LE [French article, repeatedly] "probing" UK US [translatlantic allies]

10 Person looking round briefly to annul or lower offer (8)
GAZUNDER - GAZER [person looking] "round" UND{o} ["briefly", to annul]

11 Taxi sent with gear as a favour (2,6)
EX GRATIA - (TAXI + GEAR*) ["sent"]

12 A bit of late drama as pacifist is speaking out? (10)
AFTERPIECE - homophone of AFTER PEACE [as pacifist is].
An afterpiece is a short dramatic entertainment performed after the principal play.

14 Ditch cheeky Dadaist exhibits, upon reflection (4)
DYKE - hidden reversed in {che}EKY D{adaist}

15 Projecting course with appreciative exclamation (7)
CORNICE - double def with COR, NICE! [appreciative exclamation]

17 Quickly, for one round, the three of spades is played (7)
HOSTESS - (O THE S S S) ["played"]. Mistress Quickly from the same Shakespeare plays in which you'll find Falstaff.

21 Bird to take home picked up from trap? (4)
ERNE - homophone of EARN [to take home]. Trap being a mouth here.

22 Despot employing muscle, hence someone pulling the strings? (10)
ABSOLUTIST - AB SO LUTIST [muscle | hence | someone pulling/plucking the strings]

23 Checking short cuts using vision aid (7,1)
VITAMIN A - TAMIN{g} [checking, "short"] "cuts" VIA [using]

25 Pulled — hard — leg of the setter about taxonomic term (8)
TAUTONYM - TAUT [pulled - hard] + ON [leg] + reversed MY [of the setter]. A tautonym is eg Gorilla gorilla, where genus and species name are the same.

26 Old pantomime actor threatening odd couples in Aladdin (8)
GRIMALDI - GRIM [threatening] + AL{ad}DI{n}. Joseph Grimaldi of Victorian times.

27 Depression and fuss, with men getting in a state (8)
COLORADO - COL [depression] and ADO [fuss], with OR [men] "getting in"

2 Ferries go so far and do not interfere with each other (2-3-3)
TO-AND-FRO - (FAR + DO NOT*) ["interfere with each other"]

3 Shift working interrupted by large strike (8)
BLUDGEON - BUDGE ON [shift | working], "interrupted by" L [large]

4 Detective goes after taking too many chances (4)
ODDS - D.S. [detective] goes after O.D. [taking too many]

5 Dancer’s very visual awareness directed upwards (7)
NUREYEV - reverse all of V EYE RUN [very | visual awareness | directed]

6 Psychologist fellow mistreated bird (6,4)
JUNGLE FOWL - JUNG [psychologist] + (FELLOW*) ["mistreated"]

7 Some empty praise offered up for one that’s been let down? (4,4)
FLAT TYRE - take FLATTERY [empty praise] and reverse some of it, the last three letters to be precise.

8 Fugitives better stopping close to trouble spots (8)
ESCAPEES - CAP [better], "stopping" {troubl}E + SEES [spots]

13 Relish film about boxer, badly brought up (10)
PICCALILLI - PIC C ALI [film | about | boxer] + reversed ILL [badly]

15 Visible split in chest, or short split in coop (8)
CLEAVAGE - LEAV{e} ["short" split] in CAGE [coop]

16 Lemur’s call when encountering shadow (8)
RINGTAIL - RING [call], when encountering TAIL [shadow]

18 Needleworker cheers dry reaction to double entendre? (8)
TATTOOER - TA TT OO-ER! [cheers | dry | reaction to double entendre?]

19 Paraded with a Yankee, in a band, all round (8)
SASHAYED - A Y, with SASHED [in a band] all round

20 It is a cat mostly mistaken for a type of lion (7)
ASIATIC - (IT IS A CA{t}*) ["mistaken"]

24 Case for English port (4)
HULL - double def