November 30th, 2019

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1410 - 16th November. Loadsatime

Hello everyone.  This was a tricky one, I thought – and I hope you did too, because I had to use solving aids in places.  Moreover, the whole thing took me a time which I could not record because, as I have now discovered, the clock on my preferred solving app stops at 99m59s …

I may make it to the champs in a week’s time for the social, but clearly would never make it to the main event!  I hope all those of you lovely folk who will be attending have a great day, whether in competition or in pub – or both!

Thanks to the setter, and onwards to the parsing.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, [deletions] in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER. Collapse )

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27516 - Saturday, 23 November 2019. Goldilocks!

This was in the Goldilocks zone for me – not too hard, not too easy, and with much to enjoy. I smiled at the cunning definitions of 16 and 26ac, and admired the unusual wordplay of 2dn, 12ac and particularly 20ac. I looked up the answer to 27ac to find out what it is (learn something every day!), raised an eyebrow at the answer to 8d. My LOI was 21dn, where it took a while to get past the attractive idea that “pick up” signalled a sounds-like clue. Plenty of candidates for COD – I don’t have a choice; over to you, folks. 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 my gentle 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 Might millions crack clues? (6)
MUSCLE – M for millions, then ‘crack’ (CLUES*).
4 Seeing the light from tail of test rocket (8)
TWIGGING – T from [tes]t, WIGGING (a very British expression, I suspect, meaning 'scolding').
10 Female copper, slim and incredibly powerful (9)
HERCULEAN – HER (the cat’s mother, or some other female), CU (copper), LEAN (slim).
11 Remove weapons from section of lunar module (5)
UNARM – hidden answer. 'Unarmed' is familiar, so this answer wasn't a big leap.
12 Ninety ducks do better than fish (3)
EEL – EXCEL (do better) with the XC (ninety) ducking out.
13 Servility ultimately brings luxury (11)
14 Crust covering wings of angular beetle (6)
SCARAB – SCAB covering AR from a[ngula]r.
16 Can occupant eat on stairs regularly? (7)
SARDINE – DINE (eat), on/after SAR from s[t]a[i]r[s].
19 Something that defines single mate, over-attached to his mum? (7)
OEDIPAL – OED (Oxford English Dictionary, “something that defines”), I (single), PAL (mate).
20 Vein ought to be removed from shoulder joint (6)
REEFER – REEF (vein), ER from [should]er, removing ‘should’ = ‘ought’. I wrote this in from the definition long before I saw the wordplay.
22 Durham gent's untidy drawers (11)
25 Briefly pelt runner (3)
SKI – after an alphabet trawl, I think pelt must be SKI[n].
26 Spear carrier on right shedding outer things (5)
EXTRA – ‘on right’ would be d[EXTRA]l. Shed the outside letters.
27 Navigation system, first of many now imaging in colour (9)
OMNIRANGE – NHO this device. It’s MNI from the first letters of the relevant words, in ORANGE.
28 Censor opponents holding a demonstration back (8)
SANITISE – S[outh] and E[ast] are opponents at bridge. Here they hold A, and a SIT-IN backwards.
29 Just one bank (6)
MERELY – ME (one), RELY (bank). The clue doesn’t exactly flow, I know.

1 Composer upsetting relative amateur (6)
MAHLER – REL[ative], HAM all ‘upset’. I needed all the helpers to see this one.
2 Always loveless, sour police died in service dress (9)
SURPLICED – take all the Os out of S[o]UR P[o]LICE, leaving them ‘loveless’, then add D for died.
3 Boxer Rebellion's central character succeeded after French agreement (5)
LOUIS – L from [rebe]L[lion], then S (succeeded) after OUI  (French ‘agreement’). Joe Louis, not King Louis.
5 Nun's midwinter revels involving tango and saxophone? (4,10)
WIND INSTRUMENT – (NUNS MIDWINTER*) ‘revels’, with T for tango in there somewhere.
6 Bungling cowboy docked on lake (9)
GAUCHERIE – GAUCH[o] ‘docked’, then ERIE.
7 Silly sign painter forgetting odd letters (5)
INANE – every second letter of ‘sign painter’.
8 Sick mare gets better (8)
GAMESTER – (MARE GETS*) is ‘sick’. Do gamesters necessarily bet? They sound to me like people playing computer games.
9 Wanderings of manic menopausal Brit (14)
PERAMBULATIONS – (MENOPAUSAL BRIT*) is ‘manic’, allegedly. The setter may say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment!
15 Disgusting dog adopted by extremely reclusive granny over time (9)
REPUGNANT – PUG inside R[eclusiv]E NAN, then T.
17 Fundamentally fashionable German city church (2,7)
IN ESSENCE – IN (fashionable), ESSEN, CE.
18 Hungry masses invading empty farms (8)
21 Pick up your foul uniform! (6)
LIVERY – YR. EVIL, all written upwards (‘picked up’).
23 Aircraftman with weight and influence (3,2)
24 Foster son with energy to pursue rising career (5)
NURSE – S (son) and E (energy) all after RUN ‘rising’.