January 9th, 2020

  • glheard

Times 27556 - double you fun

Solving time: 12:32, but with one stupid typo, I somehow had an extra U in 1 down. I had been pretty careful lately and this was my first typo in over a month so I'm kicking myself. It is late and I am pretty tired so although I got off to a flying start, this puzzle came in a little bit above my average time.

In case I have made an error, please check the comments first - I will be unable to make any amendments to this blog until much later in the day tomorrow.

Away we go...

1 Blaise, perhaps, having way with pen (7)
MODESTY - MODE(way) and STY(pen) - reference the old comic strip and movie character
5 Occupant of bed regrets you're taking it back (6)
OYSTER - hidden reversed inside regRETS YOur
8 Rash, one caused by such a fire? (9)
UNGUARDED - double definition, the second one slightly cryptic
9 Man maybe taking risks, losing races (5)
BEING - BETTING(taking risks), missing TT(races)
11 It's about the tax (5)
TITHE - reversal of IT, then THE
12 Left one timid person squeezing in vehicle (9)
LIMOUSINE - L(left), I(one), MOUSE(timid person) containing IN
13 One large officer, half upset, is unsuitable (3-5)
ILL-TIMED - I(one), L(large), LT(lieutenant, officer), then DEMI(half) reversed
15 Flyer with current data about something resembling egg? (6)
WIGEON - W(with), I(current), GEN(data) surrounding an O(something resembling egg)
17 Junior minister to organise exhibitions (6)
CURATE - double definition
19 Train skater in West Indies to take up another sport (5-3)
WATER-SKI - anagram of SKATER inside WI(West Indies)
22 A tick for one old king skipping posh old school (9)
ARTHROPOD - king ARTHUR missing U(posh), O(old), POD(school)
23 Stuck my job, having abandoned India (5)
CLUNG - the author's job is CLUING, remove I(India)
24 Pointless showing wit and energy (2,3)
NO USE - NOUS(wit) and E(energy)
25 Capital raging at New Labour (4,5)
ULAN BATOR - anagram of AT, N(new), LABOUR
26 Appropriate article that is very penetrating (6)
THIEVE - THE(article) containing IE(that is), V(very)
27 Five score for former county division (7)
HUNDRED - a double definiton, though I did not know that it meant a county division, got it from the first definition

1 Get on a short distance in a clapped-out Sierra (8,5)
MOUNTAIN CHAIN - MOUNT(get on), A, INCH(short distance) than an anagram of IN,A
2 Fancy one short speech is using computer technology? (7)
DIGITAL - DIG(fancy) I(one), then TALK(speech) missing the last letter
3 Row close to huge wave (5)
SPATE - SPAT(row) then the last letter of hugE
4 Person shouting to muffle regularly good singer (8)
YODELLER - YELLER(person shouting) containing alternating letters in gOoD
5 Old, old Asian brought up a problem with fluid (6)
OEDEMA - O(old) then MEDE(old Persian) reversed, A
6 Boat departs, given access to fuel? It's undecided (3,6)
SUB JUDICE - SUB(boat) then D(departed) inside JUICE(fuel)
7 Building journalist provided rocks (7)
EDIFICE - ED(Journalist) IF(provided), ICE(rocks)
10 Like good gardener's area for putting on felt (5-8)
GREEN-FINGERED - GREEN(area for putting) then FINGERED(felt)
14 Moderate papers holding centre ground finally close (9)
INTERCEDE - ID(papers), containing an anagram of CENTRE, then the last letter of closE
16 Ready way around cutting grass (4,4)
HARD CASH - RD(way), CA(around) inside HASH(grass)
18 Improve drench that's painful (7)
RETOUCH - RET(drench), OUCH(that's painful)
20 Keep mum, say, closer (7)
SHUTTER - SH(keep mum), UTTER(say)
21 Smart police force once occupying small gym (6)
SPRUCE - RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) inside S(small), PE(gym)
23 Bishop visiting killer's shack (5)
CABIN - B(bishop) inside CAIN(killer)

Times Boxing Day Cryptic Jumbo 1416 - every time it rains

This festive offering kept me occupied for a tad over the hour on boxing day.  A lot of the definitions were very well-disguised (in truth I'm still not sure exactly where some of them are) which made it enjoyably tricky.

First in was REMAP (I often peep at 1d if 1a doesn't go straight in), last in was BUTTERFLY VALVE.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.


DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit:  "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like N[orth]



Driving away fast, after return of outcast (9)

REPELLENT - LENT after LEPER reversed


Anarchist finally does away with aristos (5)

TOFFS - {anarchis}T, OFFS (as in kills)


Gets round about fifty cracking GIs (7)

CAJOLES - C[irc]A, L in JOES


Capital from stock drained after short time (5)

MINSK - StocK after MIN[ute]. Capital of Belarus


Ray and Mark well impressed by girl in the morning (7)

SUNBEAM - N[ota] B[ene] in SUE A.M.


Thinking no case for park in Irish town (9)

MULLINGAR - MULLING, pARk. Not a place I've heard of so apologies to any Mullingarnians reading this.


Agony one might hope to go through? (4,7)



Mess around dreadfully with end of well-known aria (6,5)

NESSUN DORMA - (mess around)* after {well-know}N


Gave out after infusion of sulphur: something to do with seawater? (6)

DESALT - DEALT around S[ulphur] which I think we're now supposed to spell Sulfur. PHPHS.


What murderer who has run for nothing has become? (8)

PRISONER - Semi &Lit, POISONER with the O becoming R[un].


In Fulham after vacation, one has quiet time (4,2)

FIVE PM - FulhaM around I'VE P[iano]


Mister Angry’s up for a scrap (5,3)

SPRAY GUN - (angry's up)*


Regulator in carburettor: small copper one? (9,5)

BUTTERFLY VALVE - Straight definition with a cryptic nudge. I knew neither the valve (what I know about carburettors you could put in a gnat's p*ss pot and still have room for the p*ss) nor the COPPER butterfly (unusually for me, as I filled in most of the I Spy book of butterflies and moths as a young'un).


Go round and round at speed (5)



One full of idle chatter that’s put on Flower of Scotland? (6)

DEEJAY - Well a DJ is certainly full of idle chatter, and The Dee is a river (flower) in Scotland, and you can put on a dinner jacket (probably irrelevant), and a Deejay can put on a record, and Flower of Scotland is a song, but does that all add up to a Timesy clue?  Either I'm missing something or this clue has escaped from the Guardian.


Correct having navy lead? (4-6)



No-one’s charged after this brawl? (4-3-3)



Is one’s pouch for a naval NCO’s money? (6)

POSSUM - I wasn't really sure what to underline here.  The wordplay is P[etty] O[fficer]'S SUM and a POSSUM has a pouch.


Tips off secretary before backing academic council (5)

SYNOD - S{ecretar}Y, DON reversed


Vin rosé, perhaps, and a good book! (7,7)

REVISED VERSION - One of those reverse cryptics where the clue is in the answer - Vin Rosé is an anagram (revised) of VERSION.


Drug pusher’s outside, on holy ground (8)



Employ variables, including indefinite number, missing out on 28? (6)

UNSEXY - USE X Y around N.  I can just about see that summat with no oomph could be described as unsexy.


Peg, note, taking wine, was unsteady (8)



Short drink in unspecified French town (6)

ANNECY - NECk in ANY.  Somewhere I had heard of, sort of, as I thought it was ANNENCY (a quick scan of Tripadvisor suggests I'm not alone).


Break from tension caused by cracks? (5,6)



Sharp fragments with eg acid in the form of smoke (5-6)

CIGAR-SHAPED - (sharp eg acid)*


Greens best to embrace the ballot box (6,3)

TURNIP TOP -TIP-TOP around URN.  I didn't know URN as a ballot box so, taking best as just top, was trying to decipher URNIPT somehow


Brief plea to wake someone with a bouquet? (7)



Revolutionary way to shift article, not easily swallowed? (5)



Receiver of French visits informed (7)



Exercises help us to get ready for the Andes (5)

PESOS - P.E., S.O.S.


Command ultimately is passed on and observed — or not (9)

DISOBEYED - {comman}D, IS, OB[iit], EYED.  Another where I wasn't entirely sure what to underline as being the definition.



US band, with revolutionary sound system, will make chart again (5)

REMAP - R.E.M., P[ublic} A[ddress] reversed


Change out of blue number (7,4,6)



Hard to dig: can only hoe at first (4,5-2)



Guarantee Peru’s neutrality will hold up (6)

ENSURE - reverse hidden


African city rarely gets rain (8)

TANGIERS - (gets rain)*


Pope’s observation hurts: Rome in a flap (2,3,2,5)

TO ERR IS HUMAN - (hurts Rome in a)*.  A line from Alexander Pope's poem An Essay on Criticism.  Nice use of Pope and Rome to mislead.


Iron mining, mostly filthy, not oddly something all men want (10)

FEMININITY - FE, MININ{g}, {f}I{l}T{h}Y.  Want as in lack.


Reservoirs in time avoided by foxes (5)



Cull of our bats is slightly obscene (9)

COLOURFUL - (cull of our)*


Cross-channel transport missed if you’re late? (4,2,5)



One who totes, half-heartedly, a gun (5)



Comic that is requiring much paper (6)

SCREAM -SC[ilicet], REAM


Dance music rather loud: men tango in irritation (10)

DISCOMFORT - DISCO, M[ezzo] F[orte], O[rdinary] R[anks], T[ango]


Countryman in brown coat crossing river with boxer (8)

RURALIST - RUST around R[iver] ALI


Heraldic feature sort of crossing improperly herein: pity! (7,2,3,5)

PELICAN IN HER PIETY - PELICAN, (herein pity)*.  Huh? A what in a who?  It's a heraldic image featuring a pelican feeding her young with her own blood.  I'd have something a bit cooler on my coat of arms, like an Osprey ripping the head off a vole.


Juliet, one dispensing milk shake (6)

JUDDER - J[uliet], UDDER


Chap left money about to perform musical (5,5)

HELLO DOLLY - HE, L[eft], LOLLY around DO.  The writer of Hello Dolly!, Jerry Herman, died the day this puzzle was published.  Spooky.


A feature in camp(anology)? (4,4)



Old doctor regaled at first with a load of old pony! (6)

EXMOOR - EX, M[edical] O[fficer], R{egaled} around O[ld]


Father and I stop moving, with ship about to depart (3,4,5)

POP ONES CLOGS - POP, ONE (I), CLOG in S[team] S[hip] (or screw steamer if you prefer).  I went out with a Dutch girl who had inflatable shoes...


Youngster cared for orchids left to wither (6,5)



Recorder for something that’s often articulated informally (3,2,3,3)

SPY IN THE CAB - CD based around the slang term for a tachograph.


Cynophilist’s claim overheard in the London area (4,2,4)

ISLE OF DOGS - (possibly) sounds like I love dogs. CYNO is probably Greek or Latin for dogs or something.


Lawman taking Young Conservatives on short course in welfare building (3,6)

DAY CENTRE - D[istrict] A[ttorney], Y[oung] C[onservatives], ENTRE{e}


Day just about beginning for wizard Potter (8)

WEDGWOOD - WED{nesday], GOOD around W{izard}. Nicely done.


I was regularly seen with sea monster in the drink (3,3)

ICE TEA - I{w}A{s} around CETE.  I didn't know CETE as a (whale or) sea monster.  More bleedin' ancient Greek.


They do breakdown of light image consultancy jargon? (6)

PRISMS - P[ublic] R[elations] "ISMS".


Maybe miss show in the morning, on getting up (5)

MARIA - reversal of AIR, A.M.


Expectant, perhaps, as Afghan model lowers top (2,3)

IN PUP - PIN UP with the first P lowered a bit.  Clever def.


Wood spirit not on alcohol promotion (5)

DRYAD - DRY, AD[vertisement].  If you want to get anywhere with crosswords you need to know your nymphs, fates and muses.

Times Quick Cryptic No 1523 by Izetti

As expected, this is another lovely puzzle from the Don (Izetti) which pushed me to the upper end of my target range at about 14 minutes fully solved and parsed.  My previous blog of an Izetti puzzle was some 12 weeks ago, and on that occasion I was pushed over 20 minutes, so perhaps I am improving?

Neither of the long across clues delayed me for very long, although I needed most of the crossers to see 19a.  6a appeared to me as soon as I saw the clue.  My one disappointment was the slightly clunky surface of 9d, which I think could have been phrased more eloquently.  How about ‘Faulty construction – I’d fence it’ if I can slightly amend Izetti’s wording?

COD for me is 7d (MODERN) and WOD 15d (JASPER).  Thanks to Izetti.  Please let me know how you got on with it.


1  Talks about river, providing maps (6)
CHARTS – CHATS (talks) about R{iver}.
4  All getting excited in some short race (6)
SLALOM – Anagram (getting excited) of [ALL] in SOM{e} (short = drop last letter)
8 One odd curtain out of place with clashing colours? (13)
UNCOORDINATED – Anagram (out of place) of [ONE ODD CURTAIN].  The question mark is because colours do not always have to clash for something to be UNCOORDINATED - you should see me on a skating rink!
10  Type to keep quiet in game (5)
SPORT – SORT (type) ‘keeping’ P (quiet – musical notation).
11  Poem about senior member who participates in cricket? (7)
FIELDER – IF (poem by Rudyard Kipling), reversed (about) and ELDER (senior member).  Not all FIELDERs play cricket, hence the question mark this time – think baseball for instance.
13 Recommends lawyers (9)
ADVOCATES – Double definition clue obeying Rotter’s Law, which states that two-word clues are invariably double definitions, unless they are the exceptions of course).
17  Something flowery one man replanted to cover middle of bed (7)
ANEMONE – I think this may be the third consecutive puzzle that I have blogged containing this answer – at least, it feels that way!  This time the word play is indicating an anagram (replanted) of [ONE MAN] around {b}E{d} (middle letter).
18  A learner, individual without any classmates? (5)
ALONE – A (a) and L{earner} together with ONE (individual).  Here the question mark is because not all things ALONE are members of a class.  For instance, I am ALONE whilst writing this blog, but I am not considered a learner in a class.
19  Maybe tense people beset by its forebodings (13)
PRESENTIMENTS – PRESENT (maybe tense) and MEN (people) inside (beset by) ITS (its).
21  King to behave theatrically to get control (6)
REMOTE – R (king or R{ex}) and EMOTE (behave theatrically), to get the REMOTE (control device for the TV – in our house we call it a zapper).
22  Harmony when worker’s organisation accepts old Bob (6)
UNISON – UNION (worker’s organisation) containing (accepts) S (old Bob).  A Bob was a nickname for a shilling, from the old UK currency £SD or LSD (pounds, shillings and pence named after the Latin currency units of Libra, Solidi and Denarii).  This may catch out a few of our overseas solvers.


1  What sounds like rough plan of action (6)
COURSE – Homophone – ‘sounds like’ coarse (rough)
2  A number show anger outside church in American port (9)
ANCHORAGE – A (a) and NO (number) and RAGE (show anger) outside (containing) CH{urch}.  ANCHORAGE is, of course, a city and port in Alaska, USA.
3  Sailor losing heart, away getting fish (5)
TROUT – T{a}R (sailor losing heart – i.e. middle letter) and OUT (away).
Not strict?  That is forbidden ultimately in period of austerity (7)
LENIENT – LENT (period of austerity), containing I.E. (‘that is’ from Id Est in Latin) and {forbidde}N (ultimately = last letter).  Here the question mark at the end of the definition part is to indicate that other definitions for LENIENT exist other than ‘not strict’.
Fate of man with wicked wife (3)
LOT – Double definition, the second referring to LOT from Genesis, whose wife famously looked wickedly back (because she had been warned not to) towards Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt as a consequence.  She seems always to be referred to as ‘Lot’s wife’, but I understand her name was Ado (I’m surprised I haven’t seen that used as an alias in Crosswordland before).
New fashion, the latest from our collection (6)
MODERN – MODE (fashion) and the last letters from (the latest from) {ou}R {collectio}N.
Faulty fence – it I’d replaced (9)
DEFICIENT – Anagram (replaced) of [FENCE – IT I’D].  A slightly clumsy surface here IMHO.
12  One missed wandering around American city (3,6)
DES MOINES – Anagram (wandering around) of [ONE MISSED].  DES MOINES is the capital city of the State of Iowa.
14 Fierce girl enthralling any number (7)
VIOLENT – VIOLET (girl) containing (enthralling) N (any number).  N or n is traditionally used in algebra to indicate an unknown number.
15  What’s held by raja’s perfect gemstone (6)
JASPER – Hidden answer in {ra}JA’s PER{fect}.  JASPER is an opaque quartz gemstone.
16  Argue concerning a member of the family (6)
REASON – RE (concerning) A (a) and SON (member of the family).  To REASON a case is to argue it.
18  In the morning fellow is found in capital city (5)
AMMAN – AM (in the morning – ante-meridiem) and MAN (fellow).  AMMAN is the capital city of Jordan.
20  Tree found in Angel Meadow (3)
ELM – Hidden answer inside (found in) {ang}EL M{eadow}.

Times 27,557: Sunshine SPQRman

The disappointment of a pink square for me as I somehow managed to submit PENINENT at 16dn, after 9 minutes. Woe am I!

I probably deserved to come a cropper as I wasn't entirely on the wavelength for this one anyway, needing to post-parse a number of the clues. My favourites were the &lit type clues, the dossier about the horse, and on sheer Lit Hum principle, 26dn. Been a very long time since I last opened a dusty Loeb of Livy...

How'd you all find it? You can answer that in or out of your underwear.

1 Such lies even Hitler couldn’t tell (9)
BAREFACED - I assume that this is because Hitler is well-known for always sporting a toothbrush mustache?

6 Sum up days lost by policeman (5)
RECAP - RE{d}CAP is the policeman who loses his D for days

9 Artless young woman is remarkably genuine (7)

10 Receiving bonus regularly, book one holiday camp (7)
BIVOUAC - B I VAC [book | one | holiday], "receiving" {b}O{n}U{s}

11 Come together on returning (3)
GEL - reversed LEG [on]

12 Idiomatic expression initially spelled out differently, in other words (4,2,2,3)
THAT IS TO SAY - I think this works as follows: take the initially letters of I{diomatic} E{xpression}, and spell them out differently as i.e.: now you have an expression meaning "that is to say". Seems a little bit laborious though; any advances on that?

14 On protective coat receive mark (6)
TARGET - on TAR [protective coat], GET [receive]

15 Needless to say “astray” when a female’s lost (2,6)
OF COURSE - OF{f} COURSE [astray] losing an F for female

17 Find out about unusual sort of radiation (8)

19 Explosion across dry valley (6)
BOTTOM - BOOM "across" TT

22 In early morning, Disney cooked some breakfast so? (5-4,2)
SUNNY-SIDE UP - in SUN-UP, (DISNEY*) ["cooked"]

23 Backing conflict in government (3)
RAJ - reversed JAR [conflict, stressed on the second syllable]

25 Lively music institute recalled in fury (7)
RAGTIME - MIT [(Massachusetts) institute] reversed in RAGE

27 One spring flower missing in eastern country (7)
ICELAND - I CELAND{ine} [one | spring flower, minus IN E]. Hope nobody biffs in Ireland!

28 Having insipid character, like a neglected garden (5)
WEEDY - double def

29 Came across party-goers in tweeds in odd places (9)

1 Ask about fashionable creature (5)
BEING - BEG [ask] "about" IN [fashionable]

2 Soldier in regiment with pistol raised (7)
REGULAR - reverse all of RA LUGER [regiment | pistol]

3 Determine fortnightly magazine is a swindle (4,3,4)
FIND THE LADY - FIND [determine] + THE LADY [fortnightly mag]

4 Old ruler a usurper, it is whispered (6)
CAESAR - homophone of SEIZER [usurper]

5 Extracts information by removing underwear? (8)
DEBRIEFS - cryptic definition by way of humorous misunderstanding

6 One ultimately knowledgeable in scripture? (3)
REV - RV [Revised Version = scripture], containing {knowledgeabl}E, &lit

7 Boxer’s pleasure boat (7)
CRUISER - cruiserweight aka junior heavyweight is a weight class in boxing; this clue made not much sense to me until I looked that up! But I expect it's kosher.

8 One from unknown herd rampaging through wrecked camp? (9)
PACHYDERM - (Y HERD*) ["rampaging"] through (CAMP*) ["wrecked"], semi-&lit.

13 Hopes report when edited is something covering the whole world in some depth (11)
TROPOSPHERE - (HOPES REPORT*) ["edited"]. The troposphere is the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere, average height about 13km up.

14 Close relatives man such a ship (4-5)
TWIN-SCREW - TWINS CREW [(the closest of) close relatives | man]

16 Writer on purpose omitting name — sorry! (8)
PENITENT - PEN [writer] on I{n}TENT [purpose, minus N for name]

18 Illegally obtain dossier about horse (7)

20 Around hospital looks after dangerous people (7)
THREATS - around H, TREATS [looks after (lavishly)]

21 Flight concealed by the giraffes (6)
HEGIRA - hidden in {t}HE GIRA{ffes}. This is assassination-evading flight of Muhammad and Abu Bakr from Mecca to Yathrib in 622 CE. Can be spelt in a number of different ways too.

24 Tired of ornamental stone, given diamonds (5)
JADED - JADE [ornamental stone] + D for diamonds

26 Historian left out possible poisoner (3)
IVY - {l}IVY is the great Roman historian who wrote Ab Urbe Condita. Where I now live the danger is usually poison oak, not poison ivy, but the pain is still the same!