November 23rd, 2019

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27510 - Saturday, 16 November 2019. Done like a dinner (or lunch).

I went through this at a brisk clip over lunch and had the blog finished over coffee, but there was lots to enjoy. My last two in were 19dn and 25ac, both of which made me smile. I was glad to see Charles working on protecting the Crown (as always). 18dn stands out as a wonderfully weird word! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets]. The blog is in Times New Roman font, as part of a gentle ongoing campaign to urge the club site to use a font in which it is easier to tell one’s stem from one’s stern.

1 Eccentric journalist who vacated houses (6)
WHACKO – HACK in W[h]O. Thinking of WO around ED, I was ready to biff WEIRDO, but of course I couldn’t parse it.
5 Most acute threat to crops on allotment reduced (8)
SHARPEST – PEST (threat to crops) on SHAR[e].
9 Military force, male, the last word in cunning (8)
ARMAMENT – M (male), AMEN (the last word), both in ART.
10 Christian writer sees no point returning (6)
BUNYAN – NAY (no), NUB (point), all ‘returning’.
11 Game abandoned, being pressed for time (6)
RUSHED – R.U. (Rugby Union, the game in question), SHED.
12 Old bag's name withdrawn, breaking law (8)
RETICULE – CITE ‘withdrawn’, ‘breaking’ RULE.
14 Captain Nemo manoeuvring to secure island's freedom (12)
EMANCIPATION – ‘manoeuvring’ of (CAPTAIN NEMO I*), where the I is for island.
17 Republic's green capital (12)
COMMONWEALTH – COMMON (village green), WEALTH (capital). Australia’s Commonwealth is still a monarchy so far, but of course Cromwell’s was a Republic.
20 Naval detachment crossing loch, all of it dispersing (8)
FLOTILLA – (L ALL OF IT*) ‘dispersing’. L is for loch, and ‘crossing’ just says the L is inside the anagram.
22 Improper question used primarily during mutiny (6)
RISQUE – Q U (‘primarily’) inside (‘during’) RISE (mutiny).
23 Accumulated rent covered by son and daughter (6)
STORED – TORE (rent), covered by S and D.
25 Bigot, heading to the back after commander gets on (8)
COEXISTS – SEXIST, with the first S moved to the back, all ‘after’ C.O.
26 Smugness rife at first in Tamworth farm? (8)
PRIGGERY – R[ife] ‘in’ PIGGERY. (See Tamworth, think pigs!)
27 Proposal from right-wing to co-opt ambassador (6)
THEORY – H.E. (His/Her Excellency) in TORY.

2 Poor start for rebel dons summoned to court (4,2)
HARD UP – R[ebel] ‘dons’ (that is, goes inside) HAD UP.
3 Charles worked with them to provide protection for crown (5,6)
4 Unknown number supporting past attraction exaggerated (9)
OVERDRAWN – OVER (past), DRAW (attraction), ‘supported by’ N (unknown number).
5 Lascivious youth's debut in racist novel (7)
SATYRIC – (Y RACIST*), ‘novel’. The Y is ‘youth’s debut’.
6 Range partly divided by motorway (5)
7 Sweep pile up (3)
PAN – NAP (pile), ‘up’.
8 Equine, unlikely one to have child astride (8)
STALLION – TALL (unlikely, as in a tall story), I (one), with SON ‘astride’.
13 After pet disturbed chefs, anger flares (7,4)
CATCHES FIRE – CAT (pet), (CHEFS*) ‘disturbed’, IRE (anger).
15 Smallest chum takes a shot at fattest's bottom (9)
PALTRIEST – PAL (chum). TRIES (takes a shot), [fattes]T.
16 Surveyor's bill slashed by two pounds (8)
POLLSTER – POSTER ‘slashed’ by L L (two pounds).
18 Mean church in Ely disheartened diocese (7)
EPARCHY – PAR (mean or average), CH (church), all in E[l]Y. I constructed this from the wordplay and looked at it very sceptically, but yes, it is a word.
19 Fit men one hopes to unionise? (6)
SUITOR – SUIT (fit), OR (men, or Other Ranks). Droll, as signalled by the question mark.
21 Assurance given with no initial projection (5)
24 Scrap that fiery opponents may well lose (3)
RAG –fiery opponents might ‘lose their rags’ and start a scrap!

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4877, 17 XI 2019, by David McLean — Zing!

A good assortment of varied clues here, from hidden word to &lit, but only one involving reversal, which seems slightly unusual. Probably a pretty easy outing for most of the regulars.

I do (ragnasam)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

1 We help lads working in better form (4-6)
WELL-SHAPED — (We help lads)*
7 Christmas in an English infirmary (4)
GOSH — DD, the first being an exclamation (rarely heard on this side of the pond) and the second the Greater Ormond Street Hospital, an establishment in Bloomsbury that does some amazing work in treating children. Wikipedia informs me that it has made groundbreaking advances in the field. One of the three words here (the others being 17 and 23) that sent me to the dictionary for parsing (Googling “GOSH infirmary”).
9 I’d primarily hold prawn crackers for music producer (4,4)
WIND HARP — Strange jobs in the recording industry… (I’d + H[-old] + prawn)*
10 Chap capturing official’s heart creates ill-will (6)
MALICE — MAL ([-off]IC[-ial]) E
11 Boss is charged by detective for dope (6)
13 Solitary type embracing fellow city dweller (8)
14 This stranger excited deep emotions (12)
HEARTSTRINGS — (This stranger)* I wondered about the definition, as I have always thought of said strings as metaphorically being sensitive parts of one’s innards and not the things they feel—remembering a song we used to play in the high school band:
17 Trot supporting Labour (5-7)
CHILD-BEARING — CHILD, “Trot” + BEARING, “supporting” “Trot” as a CHILD is new to me. So a red-diaper baby could be a Trot trot. “Look at that Trot trot trot!”
20 Trousers for dogs with dash of red lining (8)
BRITCHES — Classy! B(R)ITCHES As it happened, right before working this last Saturday, I had watched La Chienne, by Jean Renoir. (It’s not about a dog.)
21 Cop that gets under Jonathan’s skin (6)
PEELER — DD, the second one a CD, Jonathan being a kind of apple, and the first deriving from Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), who founded London’s Metropolitan Police when he was Home Secretary
22 One’s about to eat side dish of seafood (6)
SCAMPI — I’S<=”about” consuming CAMP, “side”
23 Lag back at 1am, after consuming drink endlessly (8)
INSULATE — IN LATE, swallowing SU[-p] (Maybe it should read “…back at 1am, say…”?) I had the vague feeling of having seen this definition of “Lag” before, and it could only have been here. My LOI.
25 Short beauty displays this kind of curve (4)
26 Western or possibly Arabian music genre (5,5)
HORSE OPERA — HORSE, “possibly Arabian” + OPERA, “music genre” Also known as an “oater” (at least in crosswords).

2 Long communications spies let loose (8)
EPISTLES — (spies let)*
3 Slip out of jacket and cap (3)
LID — [-s]LID[-e]
4 Tried some cabbage with a dash of rosemary in it (5)
5 Hot? Tree will provide shade for you! (7)
POPULAR — Thank you, tree! POP(U)LAR
6 Old minister has ball holding power (9)
DOMINANCE — O(ld) + MIN(inister) inside DANCE
7 Stupidly large towels one might hang on this? (7,4)
GALLOWS TREE — (large towels)*
8 I was taken in as a baby? (6)
SUCKER — DD, the second a DBE
12 Bit of meds gulped by a pale actor shakily? (11)
PARACETAMOL — (M[-eds] + a pale actor)* The definition is doing double duty as part of the wordplay, but that doesn’t make this an &lit. (If you’d like to consider “Bit of meds” to be the definition, be my guest, but the rest of the wordplay has nothing to do with it.) “Meds” is usually plural, of course, but this analgesic is only one medicine.
15 Small and not very heavy, being thus? (9)
SLIGHTISH — S, “small” + LIGHTISH An &lit, for what it’s worth. I was reluctant to put this in, finding such an answer rather… slight.
16 Popular release by old Republican author (8)
INVENTOR — IN, “popular” + VENT, “release” + O(ld) + R(epublican)
18 Report vagrant hanging around island (7)
19 Nursery’s selection of mediocre cherries (6)
CRECHE — Hidden
21 Hit or stick (5)
24 Circuit record foremost of athletes breaks (3)
LAP — L (A[-thletes]) P