January 16th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27562 Thursday, 16 January 2020 Through each perplexing path of life

Whether it’s because my solving is not currently as regular as I’d like, or because this is a bit demanding will doubtless bee revealed by you, dear readers, but I took 35 minutes to reduce this to its component entries, and even then had two entries I’d not properly worked out. I found, much to my relief, the right side proving more yielding than the left, but our setter threw in plenty of false trails for me to wander down, with some stretchy definitions.
My take on the clues (and some cheerfully offered side commentary) is offered with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
Across
1 Sauce label revealed, barely (4,5)
JUST ABOUT Three words respaced into two: JUS for sauce, TAB for label, and OUT for revealed
6 Christmas fling? Blonde’s left drink (5)
DECAF I always thought the whole point of coffee was the caffeine hit, in much the same way as skimmed milk is pointless white water. Be that as it may, a Christmas fling would be a DEC(ember) AFFAIR, remove the FAIR blonde (which also seems to render the thing pointless) and you have coffee with its raison d’être extracted
9 Entertainment sees love embraced by a seducer after kiss, originally (7)
KARAOKE Love is the (tennis) 0, the embracing seducer is A RAKE (the A in plain sight) and the whole follows K from the beginning of Kiss
10 Smack boundary, borrowing a little room? (7)
FLAVOUR The first of my post-solve workouts. It is, of course, FOUR as in a cricket stroke to the boundary, with the LAV, little both as in “the smallest room” and perhaps  also as indicating an abbreviation. One “borrows” the other, your inclusion indicator
11 Wash a little toddler in seawater (5)
RINSE neatly hidden in toddleR IN SEawater
12 Impossible to pick up lionesses in camouflage (9)
NOISELESS an anagram (“in camouflage”, nice one) of LIONESSES
13 Old story in something close to sepia? (8)
CHESTNUT Once again (see my last blog) I find it difficult to reconcile the shade of my sepia photos with the deep lustrous brown of a decent  Castanea fruit, but here we have the supposed colour match presaging the figurative use as an old story, joke or crossword clue. It’ll have to do.
14 Head examiner putting last of children in jail (4)
JUNG Karl jocularly defined, here putting the N at the back end of children into JUG, one of many expressions for jail.
17 Moved up a shade (4)
ROSE I think this is just a double definition, the second being rather loosely given
18 Authoritarian figure I transport to the left (8)
MARTINET The (random) figure is TEN, I is I, transport is TRAM. Read ‘en (right) to the left
21 Slow delivery in breeze picking up catch, opener for Middlesex (5,4)
SNAIL MAIL Chambers give one definition of “SAIL” as “to go through or get through effortlessly” which I suppose would be a (to) breeze. Catch provides the NAIL (as in catch a criminal)  and the M comes from the opener for Middlesex. Our setter successfully bamboozled me into thinking cricket for a very long time
22 More generous thief, perhaps, shelling out grand (5)
NICER My Primary school teacher hated the use of nice and chewed me out for it. The deep memory made this hard to solve, but Mr Ellis, nicer could mean “more generous”, so there. It comes here from NICKER (which he would have hated for “thief", too) with his grand (thousand) K removed.
24 Payment keeping train in gear, once (7)
RAIMENT From hymn writer Phillip Dodderidge:
O God of Bethel, by whose hand...
…Give us each day our daily bread,
And raiment fit provide.
Payment is RENT, which keeps AIM for train (as in a rifle)
25 Care, however, taken at first (7)
THOUGHT However: THOUGH plus the first of Taken
26 I suppose you initially might (5)
WELLY My last in. “Give it some welly” justifies might. I can make WELL and “ I suppose” brush up against each other, then all you need is the Y initially from You
27 Totally goneas may be ceiling? (9)
PLASTERED Two definitions, the first meaning drunk, so I suppose (well) “totally gone”, the second more literal
Down
1 Comedian is fool somewhat lacking: tolerable cracks (5)
JOKER My second post-solve workout: Fool is JERK, lacking its last letter, and tolerable provides the OK which “cracks” its way in
2 Best friend in back of car, passenger getting lip busted (8,7)
SPRINGER SPANIEL This is an anagram (busted) the bits garnered from IN, back of caR, PASSENGER and LIP. For a long time, I thought the first word was STRANGER as in friend you haven’t met yet – I’m not really a doggy person.
3 Chubby little boy, a tot unfortunately scoffing second helping? (8)
AMORETTO One of those bouncy junior Cupids flying around in renaissance art. Anagram (unfortunately) of A TOT “scoffing” MORE for second helping.
4 An ace out at sea? (8)
OCEANAUT A decent &lit, an anagram (at sea) of AN ACE OUT.
5 Old snack: smell it coming up (6)
TIFFIN Last heard of (I think) in Carry On Up The Khyber, though Cadbury’s have recently resurrected their Tiffin bar from my youth. Smell: NIFF, plus IT, all reversed (coming up)
6 Main charity served up something sparkling (6)
DIADEM  Another up clue, this time MED for main (sea) and AID for charity
7 Not quite reaching Havana? (5,3,2,5)
CLOSE,  BUT NO CIGAR Surprisingly antique phrase simply charaded here
8 Anticipation supporting Oxford rowers perhaps, catching rivals in the end (9)
FORESIGHT If you support Oxford rowers, you might be FOR EIGHT. Insert the end of rivalS where it works
13 Turner, Irish guard? (9)
CORKSCREW Another that resisted my blandishments An Irish (prison) guard might be a CORK SCREW
15 Everyone included in check on outskirts of Tirana, the capital (8)
VALLETTA The capital of Malta. Everyone: ALL in check: VET plus T and A from each end of TiranA
16 Distinctive, with rather large dresses (8)
STANDOUT If I remembered that with sometimes clues AND, it would have been easier to work out what goes into STOUT for rather large. Eventually, I did
19 Cold and wet in general, accommodated like sow? (6)
SLEETY Out general is (as usually in this neighbourhood) LEE. Accommodated like a sow he’s placed in a STY
20 Hack getting to grips with right computer (6)
LAPTOP Hack is LOP, right is APT which is in its grip
23 Art as trendy, every other piece highly valued (5)
RATED Every other letter of aRt As TrEnDy
RolyToly

Times Quick Cryptic No 1528 by Orpheus

Another tricky puzzle today from Orpheus, taking me two minutes over my target and about a minute longer than yesterday. It seemed to require more GK than average for a QC along with a number of unyielding cryptics (such as the joy of a random woman lurking in the crucial bit of an uncommon word at 10d). On a par with a few 15x15s that we've had since the New Year, so worth persevering with, and lots to enjoy along the way. Lovely puzzle - many thanks to Orpheus!

Across
1 Birds show pleasure endlessly, finding flowering plant (8)
LARKSPUR - LARKS (birds) PURR (show pleasure), endlessly = dock the tail. I see larkspur is also a colour, the latest hot trend of the Roaring Twenties: "Newest Season's colours including Grey, Cocoa, Larkspur, Fawn," claimed the Daily Express in 1927, describing it a couple of weeks later as "a pastel blue inclining slightly to the mauve."
5 Clothing to boast about (4)
GARB - BRAG (boast) about = reverse.
8 Soldiers apt to be trustworthy (8)
RELIABLE - RE (Royal Engineers = Soldiers) LIABLE (apt)
9 English theologian introducing a collection of old Norse poems (4)
EDDA - E(nglish) DD (Doctor of Divinity = theologian) introduces A.
11 Hospital worker fastens fur badly (5,5)
STAFF NURSE - anagram (badly) of FASTENS FUR
14 Protest about being trapped in blooming railway! (6)
OUTCRY - C. (circa = about) trapped in OUT (blooming, as in flowers) RY (railway)
15 Go back and surrender again (6)
RECEDE - if CEDE is surrender, RE-CEDE could be to surrender again. It took 6d and 7d to convince me that TURN definitely couldn't mean surrender, in the "turn in" vein, which looks a bit silly in retrospect.
17 Spanish youth rejected by an upper-class Welsh girl (10)
ANDALUSIAN - DAL (LAD/youth "rejected") by AN, U (upper-class) SIAN (Welsh girl). I think this refers to the language, with Andalusian being a variety of Spanish.
20 Flat-bottomed boat made by firm in the Devon area (4)
SCOW - CO. (firm) in SW (Devon area)
21 Dinar Don changed for would-be priest? (8)
ORDINAND - anagram (changed) of DINAR DON. A person about to be ordained.
22 Symbol of rank crack troops held at first (4)
SASH - SAS (crack troops) H (Held "at first")
23 Chum put down floor covering, interrupting exercise (8)
PLAYMATE - LAY (put down) MAT (floor covering) interrupting PE (exercise)
Down
1 Old stringed instrument storyteller talked of (4)
LYRE - spoken the same as LIAR (teller of stories). So there isn't a Loot's Fables I hadn't heard of, then.
2 Bakery product — or part, so it’s said (4)
ROLL - is said the same as ROLE (part, as in actor's)
3 Slovenly former nurse drinking coffee extremely languidly (10)
SLATTERNLY - SRN (State Registered Nurse = former nurse) drinking LATTE (coffee), LY ("extremely" LanguidlY). Good word - from the dialect verb slatter "to spill or splash awkwardly, to slop, to waste, etc."
4 Put out about biography finally lacking spiritual elevation (6)
UPLIFT - anagram (out) of PUT about/around LIF (LIFE = biography, lacking final letter). As in uplifting, to lift the spirits.
6 Cow possibly turned up Japanese coin under tree (8)
ALDERNEY - NEY (YEN/Japanese coin, turned up = reversed) under ALDER (tree). "Possibly" as it's also an island.
7 Couple allowed to make wrist ornament (8)
BRACELET - BRACE (couple) LET (allowed)
10 Untruthfulness of woman in popular financial area (10)
INVERACITY - VERA (woman) in IN (popular) CITY (financial area). No complaints, but a clumsy looking word, and very rarely used today - presumably due to the wealth of better alternatives.
12 Bitter syrup produced by Missouri girls (8)
MOLASSES - MO. (Missouri) LASSES (girls). I shrugged a bit at the "bitter" bit. The OED gives a good verb molass: to get drunk from drinking a molasses liquor. It's Scottish, obsolete, and rare, with a single quote from 1772: "The common people have got so universally into the habit of drinking this base spirit, that when a porter or labourer is seen reeling along the streets, they say, he has got molassed." 
13 Bookish boss with evidence of debts (8)
STUDIOUS - STUD (boss, as in a metal stud) with IOUs (evidence of debts). Can't help being reminded of this!
16 A new star beginning to look like stars generally (6)
ASTRAL - A and an anagram (new) of STAR, L ("beginning" to Look)
18 Festive gathering a local leader established in Georgia (4)
GALA - A and L (Local "leader") established in GA. (Georgia)
19 Advantage admitted by landed gentry (4)
EDGE - is admitted into the letters of landED GEntry
verlaine

Times 27,563: The Coast of Euterpe-a

A very musical crossword, with something for everybody's ear, be it hip-hop, rapidly trilling 1/32-notes, the excitement of high C's (possibly on the high seas) or just a 15dn (more terpsichorean than euterpean, if indeed the muses have anything to with it).

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot, with plenty of entry points but a lot of clues that needed some thought to put down with confidence. I was host by my biffer's petard on more than one occasion, entering first SEMIDEMIQUAVERS and then trying out HEMI in various configurations until ANCHORED finally swam into view. Likewise I *always* but always spell it CACCHINATE on the first try, by false analogy to Gracchus or Bacchus or something I'll be bound.

My compliments to the setter for a not at all 25dn Friday outing!

ACROSS
1 Cockney worker accepting dull job fast (8)
ANCHORED - 'AND accepting CHORE

6 With this music, see the joint jumping? (3-3)
HIP-HOP - in which we see HIP [the joint] HOP

9 For all to see, what FDR did for the world (6)
URANUS - U [for all to see, at the cinema] + RAN US [what FDR did, between 1933 and 45]

10 Game ending in hullabaloo, filming abandoned (4-4)
MINI-GOLF - ({hullabalo)O + FILMING*) ["abandoned"]

11 What’s said to drive away mule? (4)
SHOE - homophone of SHOO!

12 Wrongly believed hotel is obliged to put on film (10)
MISTHOUGHT - H OUGHT [hotel | is obliged to], put on MIST [film]

14 Swindle flourished: moneylenders flee (8)
FLIMFLAM - FL. I.M.F. LAM [flourished | moneylenders | flee]

16 Volume’s dedication to its author? (4)
TOME - or TO ME, a dedication by an author to themself!

18 Turn down short side road (4)
SPUR - SPUR{n} [turn down, "short"]

19 As Di having left, lively party’s ending (8)
QUASHING - QUA SHIN{di}G [as | lively party, with DI "having left"]

21 A commotion’s beginning in church — natural to laugh (10)
CACHINNATE - A C{ommotion} in CH, + INNATE [natural]

22 French writer rejected fancy English (4)
GIDE - reversed DIG [fancy, as in like] + E

24 Gas that is to escape slowly after houseroom evacuated (8)
SCHMOOZE - SC. [that is] + OOZE [escape slowly] after H{ouseroo}M

26 Unconventional lad, tho’ far from fashionable (3,3)
OLD HAT - (LAD THO*) ["unconventional"]

27 Men rebuked for bloomer (6)
ORCHID - O.R. CHID [men | rebuked]

28 Light oriental dish around noon, one without starter (8)
SUNSHINE - SUSHI around N, + {o}NE

DOWN
2 Player given hand, being latest in series to receive gold (5)
NORTH - NTH [latest in series] to "receive" OR [gold]. One of the four players dealt a hand in the game of bridge.

3 Old barbarian — cause of complaint — leading demo (6,5)
HUNGER MARCH - HUN GERM ARCH [old barbarian | cause of complaint | leading]

4 Sort of mirror on small badge cut off (8)
RESEMBLE - RE S EMBLE{m} [on | small | badge, "cut off"]. If you resemble someone, you sort of mirror them, sort of?

5 Tremble when passing notes around, short ones (15)
DEMISEMIQUAVERS - QUAVER [tremble], when DEMISE MIS [passing | notes] "around"

6 Big cheese sandwich on cholesterol-packed wraps (6)
HONCHO - hidden in {sandwic}H ON CHO{lesterol-packed}

7 Drop litter and stuff (3)
PIG - double def. "Pig" means both "to give birth to pigs", and "to eat greedily".

8 American monk with a halo that’s slipping (9)
OKLAHOMAN - (MONK + A HALO*) ["slipping"]

13 The responsibility of school to carry out: head of history fired (2,2,4,3)
UP TO HIGH DOH - UP TO HIGH [the responsibility of school] + DO [to carry out] + H{istory}. I'd never heard of this expression (thankfully the cryptic was straightforward!) but it does indeed mean "in a state of great excitement or agitation". Not to be confused with being "for the high jump", which could be a different kind of fired!

15 Erotic performer’s comeback reportedly overlooked by Hollywood police? (3,6)
LAP DANCER - homophone of ANSWER [comeback], preceded by L.A.P.D. [Hollywood police]

17 What old sailors must follow to go beyond headland (4,4)
CAPE HORN - EH O R.N. [what | old | sailors] must follow CAP [to go beyond]

20 Hanging underneath leg, sway (2,4)
ON HOLD - HOLD [sway], underneath ON [(cricket) leg]

23 Last of liquid? Tip it down sink (5)
DRAIN - {liqui}D + RAIN [tip it down, rather British-idiomatically]

25 One’s not moved border up (3)
MEH - reversed HEM [border]. An expression of indifference or boredom, which surely only a Victorian queen would feel the need to express as "one is not moved" instead.