January 1st, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1517 by Howzat

Happy New Year to all - I hope that 2020 brings you many PDMs and fast times.

I found this tougher than average, and it took me a long while to get going. We seem to be required to know more French lately with 'winter' recently and a couple more today, which suits me, but I did not know the SA province and fell short with the lateral thinking as per usual.

Definitions underlined.

1 Sound of hooter about one (5)
NOISE - NOSE (hooter) containing (about) I (one).
4 Awkward for the Left in Paris (6)
GAUCHE - French for (in Paris) 'left'.
9 Gas and water in French country house (7)
CHATEAU - CHAT (gas) and EAU ('water' in French).
10 Strike in troubled times (5)
SMITE - anagram of (troubled) TIMES.
11 Driver's aid is what this begins with (3)
TEE - 'this' begins with the leter TEE. An aid to the driver of golf course variety.
12 Respected hospital given permission (8)
HALLOWED - H (hospital) and ALLOWED (given permission).
15 Misdirect a soldier and there could be this? (3,2,4,4)
EGG ON ONES FACE - cryptic definition. These soldiers are the dippy kind.
17 School PTA loses supporters (8)
APOSTLES - anagram of (school) PTA LOSES.
18 Sailor's muscles? (3)
ABS - double definition.
20 Refuse to entertain day in English city (5)
LEEDS - LEES (refuse, from the sediment in wine) containing (entertaining) D (day).
22 A little tin with fly in it (7)
SMIDGEN - SN (chemical symbol for tin) with MIDGE (fly) inside it.
23 Definitely not a motorway overseas (6)
ABROAD - A B-ROAD (definitely not a motorway).
24 Former S African province of birth (5)
NATAL - double definition.

1 Degrees of precision and what smart men wear? (8)
NICETIES - NICE TIES (what smart men wear?).
2 How pantomime ends is silly (5)
INANE - the word 'pantomime' ends IN AN E.
3 The planes flying could be jumbos (9)
ELEPHANTS - anagram of (flying) THE PLANES.
5 Idiot in Massachusetts (3)
ASS - hidden in mASSachusetts.
6 Fabulous creature to agree with artist (7)
CHIMERA - CHIME (to agree) and RA (Royal Academician, artist).
7 With force away, not so many in jug (4)
EWER - fEWER (not so many) without the 'f' (with force away).
8 After bad flu, shelling out for cooked breakfast (4,7)
FULL ENGLISH - anagram of (bad) FLU, then an anagram of (out) SHELLING.
13 Complex old boy overlooking meeting (9)
OBSESSION - OB (old boy) on top of (overlooking) SESSION (meeting).
14 Private parking near New Orleans (8)
PERSONAL - P (parking) and an anagram of (new) ORLEANS.
16 Break from education to go into space? (3,4)
GAP YEAR - cryptic defintiion, suggesting that during the year one might go into a gap/space.
18 What starts off anxious new guy sensing trouble? (5)
ANGST - first letters from (starts of) Anxious New Guy Sensing Trouble.
19 Sort of market for jumper (4)
FLEA - double definition.
21 Endless dispute in resort (3)
SPA - remove the last letter from (endless) SPAt (dispute).

Times 27549 - 2020 vision.

Well, if you're awake and sober enough to read this, on New Year's morning, I wish you every continuation in 2020. Or maybe you're in places a few hours west and not yet abed, or down under where it's nearly bedtime again. Best Wishes to all. Anyway, this little number will tease your little grey cells, for the parsing here and there if not for the right answers. I worked through it slowly, parsing as I went, so no exact time, but I'd expect it to be a bit harder than average, with or without a hangover.

Some smooth surfaces and devious wordplay in here, but I think my LOI 11d gets my CoD in spite of being a rather awkward word. Oh no, I've decided it's 2d, for annoying me until I lifted and separated those battles.

If anyone has all or some of the TCC competition puzzles from 7 December, unfilled, could they please message me or comment here; I'd like scans or PDFs before they get published on Wednesdays.

1 Horsewoman returning a bottle containing dodgy mixture (4,6)
LADY GODIVA - A VIAL is a bottle. Reverse it and insert (DODGY)*. I was prompted to go to Wiki to see whether said Lady was legendary and real or just legendary. It seems she was real, but the details of her 'ride' differ in various accounts and may have been fiction. The best bit of the Wiki entry is the Pre-Raphaelite style painting of her on horseback by one John Collier, 1897, he went for the "just the long hair" option.
6 Press person on latest news that’s travelled fast (4)
SPED - ED goes on SP, starting price or latest news.
9 Escape paying extra for unauthorised dispatch (3-7)
FLY-TIPPING - FLY = escape, TIPPING = paying extra.
10 Pair helping one see incomplete requirement (4)
SPEC - SPECS are incomplete.
12 Church occasion created by commercial outlets — and in Germany, indeed! (6,6)
ADVENT SUNDAY - AD (commercial), VENTS (outlets), UND (German for and) AY (indeed!).
15 German host with a bishop following old carriage (6-3)
HANSOM-CAB - HANS (a German) O (old) MC (host) A, B (bishop).
17 Living way east of wine-producing region (5)
CRUST - Earn a crust, make a living. ST after CRU. I had a serious ER at CRU for a wine-producing region as opposed to a single vineyard, but Collins says "(in France) a vineyard, group of vineyards, or wine-producing region". Endless scope for wine buffs heated discussion on "Cru Bourgeois" and so on.
18 Chap’s moral philosophy greatly diminished (5)
RALPH - Ralph finds himself hidden in MO(RAL PH)ILOSOPHY).
19 Consumption of one interfering with Scandinavian girl’s weight (9)
INGESTION - Inge is a Swedish name for girls, so INGE'S TON weight has one = I inserted / interfering.
20 Smashing large bully, by Jove, all over the place! (6,6)
LOVELY JUBBLY - to quote Mr Derek Edward Trotter; (L BULLY BY JOVE)*.
24 Blade going round front and back of knife (4)
VANE - VAN = front, E = back of knife. As in weather vane for example.
25 Outlaw can, if put on spot (6,4)
LITTLE JOHN - One of Robin Hood's merry men. LITTLE = spot, as in "a spot of.." JOHN as in men's toilet or CAN.
26 Tar on road turned grey (4)
DRAB - DR = RD turned, add AB for tar, sailor.
27 Unduly optimistic son to stay and watch daughter (6-4)
STARRY-EYED - S (son) TARRY (stay) EYE (watch) D for daughter.
1 Get a load of paper to send up (4)
LOFT - I'm not sure on this, I suspect the abbr. LO means 'a load of' in textspeak, and FT is the paper.
2 Defeated artillerymen originally evacuated Ypres and Mons? (4)
DAYS - D A = 'defeated artillerymen originally' and Y S = evacuated Y(pre)S. To give you DAYS, which could be MONS or Mondays.
3 After moving, girl at hand to pack up, finally (5,2,1,4)
4 Party recalled our leading female cellist (2,3)
DU PRE - The DUP being the relevant party, and ER (our leading female) reversed. I'm sure all will be as familiar with the great recordings and tragic fate of Jacqueline Du Pré as am I, but if not, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_du_Pré .
5 Fair name? Appropriate in the case of a woman (6,3)
VANITY BAG - VANITY (FAIR, by Thackeray), BAG meaning appropriate.
7 Background notes in the form of tweets? (5,5)
PIPED MUSIC - cryptic definition.
8 Belittle unusual tip: no good for code breaking (10)
DECRYPTING - DECRY = belittle, (TIP)*, NG = no good.
11 Paceman’s length I recalled extremely unpredictable (12)
QUICKSILVERY - A paceman in cricket is often called a quick bowler or just 'a quick'. So we have QUICK'S, then LI (length I) reversed, then VERY = extremely. I thought quicksilver was both the noun and the adjective, and it is, but Collins does add QUICKSILVERY if you dig deep enough. Kind of mercury-y.
13 Passing fifty-one volts through caused electrical malfunction (5-5)
SHORT-LIVED - Caused electrical malfunction = SHORTED; insert LI V for fifty-one volts.
14 Play in dirty yard initially covering very small area (5,5)
UNCLE VANYA - UNCLEAN = dirty. Insert V for very, add Y for yard and A for area. Play by Anton Chekov written in 1898.
16 Bar maybe doing its customers punch for sharing (4,5)
CLIP JOINT - CLIP = punch, JOINT = for sharing.
21 Person nibbling tart half-heartedly (5)
BITER - BITTER = tart, half heartedly so drop a T.
22 Spare top is pinched from wood (4)
BONY - EBONY loses its E.
23 The girl in row five standing up? (4)
ENID - I bunged in ENID as a girl who fits. But why? Well, ENID reversed (standing up) is DIN E. So row E is row 5. And a DIN is a row. Can you explain it better?