November 22nd, 2019

Times Quick Cryptic No 1489 by Mara - Shedding a tear for the deer

"Well, this is a lovely entertaining QC", I thought as I worked through this puzzle from Mara. I am reminded that my son has his driving test next week by the amount of reversing involved. A bit of knowledge of African geography may help and there are a couple of less common words (18A and 15D) that may not be in everyone's vocabulary. But deriving unknown words from the wordplay is one of the joys of crossword solving, I think. Some taut and concise clueing, which I always enjoy, and a good number of entertaining surfaces too. I particularly liked those of 22A and 23A, among others. I finished this in a significantly sub-average time of 4:32, but maybe I was more in tune with our setter's thinking than usual and luckily avoided getting fazed by the trickier bits. So thanks Mara. Lovely Job! How did everyone else get on?

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Times Cryptic Jumbo 1409: Shout Out To The 19 Downs

Super super Jumbo with every clue on the spectrum of thoroughly likeable to actively brilliant - my hat is off to the setter. FOI 5ac, LOI, taking a good few minutes, 3dn, as ingenious and original as it was bloody difficult.

Many COD candidates (including some unusually excellent cryptic definitions) but I'll make specific mention of 48ac, where I loved the "explanation of a Roman numeral". Which clue floated your own boat the most this time round?

1 Absurd, flaky stuff occurring during depression (7)
COMICAL - MICA [flaky stuff] occurring during COL [depression]

5 Almost fanatic, I’d arranged Palestinian uprising (8)
INTIFADA - (FANATI{c} I'D*) ["arranged"]

9 Maybe friend sharing a ride connected with a joint (6)
CARPAL - or a friend sharing a ride could be your CAR PAL

13 Flustered, Mum heartlessly bent my ear, with alarm splitting eardrum (8,8)
TYMPANIC MEMBRANE - (M{u}M BENT MY EAR*) ["flustered"], with PANIC [alarm] "splitting"

14 Strongly urge taking year off, like at home (6)
ENJOIN - ENJO{y} [like, minus Y = year] + IN [at home]

16 Large? Hardly one place you could fit in! (8)
LILLIPUT - L ILL I PUT [large | hardly | one | place], semi-&lit

17 Hamlet’s location half-forgotten over piece of land (4)
ISLE - reversed ELSI{nore}

18 Exceeded budget, restricted on sets of bowls? (9)
OVERSPENT - PENT [restricted] on OVERS [sets of bowls, in the cricketing sense]

20 Transitory things in the sound of FM age? (8)
EPHEMERA - EPH EM is FM sounded out, plus ERA [ag]e

21 Stone me, once having settled in illegal state (11)
CRIMINALITY - CRIMINY! [stone me, once], having ALIT [settled] in

24 Sailors and soldiers in a spot getting decoration (9)

25 Most of the time you’ll see batter going runny (8)
THINNING - TH{e} + INNING [time you'll see batter]

26 Attack every other occupant of Emmanuel’s (4)
MAUL = {e}M{m}A{n}U{e}L'{s}

29 Sore point? Get over it and be less hurtful! (4,7)
PAIN BARRIER - cryptic def

31 Character that has a hand in controlling? (5,6)
GLOVE PUPPET - cryptic def

33 High hill-dweller reserved copy (11)
ANTICYCLONE - ANT ICY CLONE [hill-dweller | reserved | copy].

36 Overseas version of Brexit could be going unannounced (6,5)

38 Food to fold (4)
TUCK - double def

39 Restaurant with nothing sent back, nothing cut, one initially assumes (8)
PIZZERIA - reversed ZIP [nothing] + ZER{o} [nothing "cut"] + I [one] + A{ssumes}

41 Fine example of wicket in grass that is extremely close (9)
SHOWPIECE - W [wicket] in SHOP [grass] + I.E. [that is] + C{los}E

44 Respected, sanctimonious, keeping out of acting work when name is forgotten (11)
PRESTIGIOUS - PIOUS [sanctimonious], "keeping" RESTI{n}G [out of acting work, minus N = name]

46 Suggestion so popular avoiding universal changes (8)
PROPOSAL - (SO POP{u}LAR*) ["changes"]

48 Being English, Anglicans must accept explanation of a Roman numeral (9)
EXISTENCE - E CE [English | Anglicans] must "accept" X IS TEN [explanation of a Roman numeral!]

49 Every area Chicago encloses (4)
EACH - hidden in {ar}EA CH{icago}

50 After bed, look and notice Santa’s presents, say? (8)
SACKLOAD - after SACK [bed], LO AD [look | notice]

52 Co-ordinated defence system to follow incomplete letter (3,3)
TAI CHI - TAI{l} [to follow, "incomplete"] + CHI [letter]

53 Range of face-to-face animosity? (8,8)

54 Is brave enough to admit having no answers? Smart! (6)
DRESSY - D{a}RES S{a}Y, minus both As = answers

55 French EU cost involved a sweetener (8)
FRUCTOSE - FR + (EU COST*) ["involved"]

56 Consumable product of melting numismatist’s prize? (7)
RAREBIT - or a numismatist would highly value a RARE BIT

1 Follower of W Churchill’s not completely taken stock (6)
CATTLE - C ATTLE{e}, as in Clement, Churchill's successor

2 Unclear pronouncement shortened headland near Swansea (6)
MUMBLE - MUMBLE{s} is the excellently named South Welsh place you'll need to shorten

3 Russian singer retaining trio and three duos from silent English performer (9)

4 Learner that is about certain we’re not getting finished things to don in spare time (11)
LEISUREWEAR - L [learner] + reversed I.E. [that is] + SURE [certain] + WE AR{e}

5 Doctrines from current texts (4)
ISMS - I SMS [current |} texts]

6 Marinates hot stews after removing one Scotch bonnet (3-1-7)
TAM-O-SHANTER - (MAR{i}NATES HOT*) ["stews"]

7 Manage to cover run with persistent pain taking effect over distance (3-8)
FAR-REACHING - FARE [manage] to "cover" R [run] + ACHING [with persistent pain]

8 Pester fellow Scotsman from Tayside city (9)
DUNDONIAN - DUN DON IAN [pester | fellow | Scotsman]

10 One forgets source of electricity in mains supply: alternating current (8)
AMNESIAC - E{lectricity} in (MAINS*) ["supply"] + AC [alternating current]

11 Words for letters that keep Romeo and Juliet apart (8,8)

12 Line on limits of election got helpfully extended (7)
LENGTHY - L [line] on E{lectio}N G{o}T H{elpfull}Y

15 Challenging behaviour to get rid of husband-to-be, apparently (8)
DEFIANCE - or, iffily, one could DE-FIANCÉ onself

19 Report of addition to forest: be aware it’s difficult to detect (8)
NEUTRINO - homophone of NEW TREE [addition to forest] KNOW [be aware]

22 Singular design stops heater burning bush (3,5)
GAS PLANT - S PLAN [singular | plan] "stops" GAT [heater, as in slang term for a gun]

23 Overall treatment has limited choices in being operated on (8,8)

27 Inflamed at fringes, the communist possibly had kittens (8)
LITTERED - LIT [inflamed] + T{h}E + RED [communist]

28 Roll off us, roll out of odd parts (4)
FURL - {o}F{f} U{s} R{o}L{l}

30 Prolific scorer from Hearts supporting defender mostly (4)
BACH - H supporting BAC{k}

32 Starts dance where engagement doesn’t require entering union (4,4)
OPEN SHOP - or OPENS HOP [starts | dance]

34 Slavish campanologist primarily doing his job? (8)
CRINGING - C{ampanologist} RINGING

35 Lacking community spirit, warped or cut pieces (11)
EUROSCEPTIC - (OR CUT PIECES*) ["warped"]. A rather specific "community" here...

36 Chilled coffee or cold tea run up into sherry? (11)
FRAPPUCCINO - reversed C CUPPA R [cold | tea | run] "into" FINO [sherry]

37 Confectioner not the first to copy fizz on part of wedding cake? (11)
CHOCOLATIER - {e}CHO [copy, "not the first"] + COLA TIER [fizz | part of wedding cake]

40 Who displays captives without humanity? (9)
ZOOKEEPER - cryptic def, it being the captives not the captor who are "without humanity" here

42 Mischievous person is important for apostle’s higher ecstasy (9)
PRANKSTER - take PETER [apostle] and replace his first ["higher"] E with RANKS [is important]

43 Uncontrollable laughter produced by sewers? (8)
STITCHES - or something made by those who sew

44 Excuse to spread out like a kilt (7)
PLEATED - PLEA TED [excuse | to spread out]

46 Socialise with the exalted King out of Aga’s control? (6)
HOBNOB - an Aga's control might be a HOB {k}NOB, remove the K = king.

47 Commercial outlet in run-up to Christmas (6)
ADVENT - AD VENT [commercial | outlet]

51 Turn over French article to look for eroticism? (4)
OGLE - reversed GO [turn] + LE [French article]