January 18th, 2020

Jumbo 1418

Happy New Year, if a little belated.

This one was a fair test for New Year's Day, although as much effort went into parsing some of the clues as actually determining the solutions. 49A and 35D in particular caused some head scratching.

If I had to pick a favourite clue it would probably be 28A for the cluing of the second part. 43A was well clued and also 42D in my opinion.

1 INTIMATE - IN TIME = eventually, around (l)AT(e)
5 USEFUL - U = uniform, SEUL = only (in French = for Nancy), around F = feminine
9 CELEBES - CELEBS = famous people, around E = eastern
14 PREPARATORY - PREP = pupils' work, A, (o)RATORY = chapel
15 RIGHT AS RAIN - RIGHT = entitlement, A, S = small, RAIN = shower
16 STAID - ST = street = way, AID = help
17 ANTHILL - A, NTH = ultimate (as in "to the nth degree"), ILL = misfortune
28 THE STICKS - sounds like THE STYX = underground river
19 OPENING - O = old, PEN(n)ING = writing
20 ROOM TEMPERATURE - ROOM = space, TEMPERATURE = symptom of illness
22 OBSTETRICS - cryptic definition using different definitions of "expecting"
23 BELT UP - double definition
25 DOTH - hidden in understanD OTHers
28 POP THE QUESTION - POP = Dad, THE QUESTION = "to be or not to be"
30 PROCURER - PRO = for, CURER = doctor, we hope
32 SOFT-SOAP - SOFT = non-rigid, SOAP = bar
37 MAGI - MAG = glossy, I = one
38 EIDOLA - OLDIE*, A = article. I needed to look this one up to confirm the result of the anagram
39 REVELATION - REV = priest, ELATION = feeling of euphoria
43 NO MAN IS AN ISLAND - double definition, the first cryptic and relying on the fact that Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man
45 TOUPEES - OUP = publishing house, in TEES = river
47 PENTECOST - PEST = nuisance, around NT = books and ECO = green
49 SWANSEA - SANS = without, around W = whiskey, then the alternate letters in wAtEr, reversed. I think this is how it works
51 TWINE - TWIN = double, E(xercise)
54 SKY BLUE - SKY = send up, BLUE = down
55 KILTER - double definition
56 STURGEON - SURGEON = bones, around (throa)T

1 IMPASTO - I'M PAST = me, too old, O = love
2 THE GAME IS UP - double definition, the first mildly cryptic referencing the game of quidditch from the Harry Potter series of books and films which is played while flying on broomsticks
3 ME AND MINE - MEAN = excellent, D = daughter, MINE = source of wealth
4 TRAFALGAR SQUARE - TRAFALGAR = area of sea (in the Shipping Forecasts), SQUARE = level
6 SKY PILOT - double definition, the first referencing Sky as a TV channel
7 FOR ALL THE WORLD - FOR ALL = unrestricted, THE WORLD = our planet
8 LEGITIMATE - LEG = on (cricket), IT = appeal, I'M = I am, ATE = worried
9 CATS EYE - cryptic definition
10 LISZT - double definition, the second cryptically referring to "Brahms and Liszt" as rhyming slang for drunk
11 BEAN COUNTER - BEAN = some coffee, COUNTER = table
12 SINISTER - SISTER = relative, around IN = at home
13 POST - double definition
20 ROCKER - double definition
21 ADDUCED - A = answer, D(e)DUCED = worked out
22 OPPOSE - OP = work, (a)ESOP = ancient author, reversed
24 PERMANENT MAGNET - PERM = make arrangements, ANENT = concerning, MAG = publication, NET = after tax
27 CRAYON - C = carbon, RAYON = fibre
29 HESSIAN - HE'S = man's, SIN = wicked deed, around A
31 FAG END - F = fine, AGEND(a) = work list
35 ABIDE WITH ME - A, BID = try, E, WITH M.E. = suffering debilitating condition. I think this is how it works
36 I DONT THINK - double definition
40 ADULTERER - ADULTER = more grown up?, E(age)R
41 IN SPADES - IN = popular, SPA = health centre, alternate letters in DiEtS
42 BAD APPLE - BIG APPLE = New York, with IG (=reversed GI = soldier) removed and replaced with A and D = day
44 SLOVENE - (E(nglish), NOVELS)*
46 SLEEP IN - SPIN = take a turn, around LEE = shelter
48 EXTOL - EX = without, TOL = LOT = fortune, reversed
50 SARK - SARK(y) = cutting
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27558 - Saturday January 11th, 2020. Another pleasant midsummer Saturday.

Times Cryptic No 27558 - Saturday January 11th, 2020. Another pleasant midsummer Saturday.

The setters continue to be gentle in the holiday season. I rolled through this one at a steady pace. Strangely my LOI was 11dn, which seems so obvious in retrospect. FOI was 6ac. My clue of the day was 5dn, which had me thinking tragicomic thoughts of Sir Humphrey back in the USSR! 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].

1 Store work editor rejected, one involved in plot (10)
DEPOSITORY – DEPO is OP (work) + ED ‘rejected’, then I in STORY.
6 Fringes of severed nets caught a fish (4)
SCAD – SD (fringes of ‘severed’) ‘nets’ C (caught), and A.
9 Pay to enter island held by mutinous characters from Bounty (3,4)
BUY INTO – I for island in ‘mutinous characters of’ (BOUNTY*).
10 Mother declines possible award when the action's over? (7)
DAMAGES – DAM, AGES. The action would be the legal type.
12 Mammal repeatedly hit heads for its refuge (5)
TAPIR – TAP (hit), then ‘heads for’ I[ts] R[efuge]. I raised an eyebrow at ‘repeatedly’, although tap-dancing certainly features repetition.
13 Haughty pair, one given wrong mark in top event (5,4)
GRAND PRIX – GRAND (haughty), PR (pair), I (one), X (wrong mark).
14 Through gritted teeth, accepting one’s been fired? (6,3,6)
BITING THE BULLET – just a cryptic definition, I think. If so, a rather unattractive example of the genre IMO.
17 Having drunk limitless wine, ailing emperor's given herbal remedy (7,8)
EVENING PRIMROSE – (-IN- EMPERORS GIVEN*), ‘drunk’. The -IN- is ‘limitless’ WINE.
20 Kitty, heading for Altamira, scours series of caves (9)
21 Goes up to deliver a couple of points (5)
RIDES – RID (deliver), E[ast], S[outh]. “Up” is riding a horse, I suppose.
23 More troubled about location of ashes? One might be (7)
MOURNER – (MORE*) ‘troubled’, around URN.
24 Key worker at home right out of time (7)
INDEXER – IN (at home), DEX[t]ER (right, out of time). Someone who creates keys for books, libraries, or whatever.
25 European family repelled deity (4)
NIKE – E[uropean], KIN, all ‘repelled’. The sporting goods company is much better known than the namesake Greek goddess, I suspect.
26 Artful teacher claims English exercises set back someone not attending fully? (10)
SLEEPYHEAD – SLY (artful), HEAD (teacher), ‘claiming’ E[nglish], and PE ‘set back’.

1 Dubious girl coming out with a roster (9)
DEBATABLE – DEB (girl coming out), A TABLE.
2 Informal assent by dad to meet cost (3,2)
3 City type to check an overseas currency one's invested (3,10)
SAN FRANCISCAN – AN, FRANC, I’S all ‘invested’ in SCAN.
4 But atheist finally believed (7)
THOUGHT – THOUGH, [atheis]T.
5 Record of Soviet bureaucracy? (3,4)
RED TAPE – RED (Soviet), TAPE (record).
7 Cooking oil with garlic creates a little smoke (9)
CIGARILLO – (OIL GARLIC*), ‘cooking’.
8 Case of disease seen regularly by doctor (5)
DESEX – D[iseas]E, S[e]E[n], X (by). ‘Doctor’ is used as a euphemism.
11 Twelve holding calculators when periodic payments due? (10,3)
MIDSUMMERS DAY – MIDDAY (twelve) holding SUMMERS. ‘Quarter days’ have appeared in previous crosswords, but I didn’t remember when they fell. Still, the three letter word looked likely to be DAY, and once I’d run through 12 apostles, 12 is a dozen and (topically) the 12 days of Christmas, the thought of 12 noon helped the answer jump out.
15 Timber producer has post for driver crossing right class of road (4,5)
TREE TRUNK – TEE (post for driver) crossing R, then TRUNK [road].
16 Revered priest ultimately comforted, having lost heart (9)
18 Roof would be better were the two sides reversed (7)
GAMBREL – swap the R and L of GAMBLER to get a word I didn’t know but put in on trust.
19 Unusual perception shown during service break (7)
20 Culinary plant with Latin name I recalled (5)
CUMIN – CUM (‘with’, in Latin), then IN is N[ame] and I ‘recalled’.
22 Southern US team has to buy it at the borders (5)
DIXIE – XI (side, for cricket or football) ‘bordered by’ DIE (buy it).

Sunday Times Cryptic 4885, 12 I 2020, by David McLean — Needling Boris

Hey, I had a McLean puzzle last go-round! Well, Biddlecombe has explained what happened there… This was great fun, despite the absence of any really unusual vocabulary, nothing previously unknown to work out strictly via wordplay (except, slightly, 17). I have a quibble about 18, but I’m not getting too worked up about it.

Seeing 14 next to SING SING (and ICE), I couldn’t help but think of Carlos Ghosn’s brilliant EXIT STRATEGY, for which he should get some kind of AWARD. Was it in a TROMBONE case that he made his escape? (We have TRUMPETS this week too, and some other people “with brass.”)

I indicate (rangasam)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 We reckon most satire isn’t right (10)
ESTIMATORS — (most satire)*
 7 Socialist cutting line for hotel lift (4)
HEFT — ”Left,” for “socialist,” replaces its L with an H. One of the last I saw.
 9 Conservative no longer worried by Times reports? (8)
COVERAGE — C(onservative) + OVER, “no longer worried by” + AGE, “Times”
10 Fruit left in the sun, growing without end (6)
11 Foreign and domestic articles editor listed (6)
13 Declare one’s guilt repeatedly to get here? (4,4)
SING SING — CD and &lit?, next to which I wrote “Ha!” But the very next one was even funnier.
14 Amazingly sexy tiger tat? Bojo claims he has one (4,8)
EXIT STRATEGY — (sexy tiger tat)* My COD, obviously.
17 Proper idiots playing chicken (4-8)
POOR-SPIRITED — Is this another Brexit reference? (Proper idiots)* The precise expression was new to me.
20 Consumed a British dessert cut by duke (8)
ABSORBED — A + B(ritish) + SORBE[-t] +D(uke)
21 The foot is part of the human body (6)
BOTTOM — Do tell! DD
22 Something one might read in The Post? (6)
COLUMN — &lit, with the wordplay being a CD
23 Music producers bow out of Loose Women (8)
TRUMPETS — [-s]TRUMPETS There is a disputed theory about the origin of the letter S connecting it to a compound bow, as I found when returning to this and not immediately remembering the solution I arrived at last week. But “bow” must simply refer to the “front” of the word, as in the front of a ship. Maybe I should make more notes while solving.
25 Old lady tucked in by a hospital nurse (4)
AMAH — A(MA)H Standard crossword fare, which means the most exotic word here isn’t at all, for most of us.
26 Furniture panel seen in banks (10)
SIDEBOARDS — SIDE(BOARD)S Meh. Could have clued for the muttonchop def.

 2 Small, quality guitar tool (early model) (5,3)
STONE AXE — S(mall) + TONE, “quality” + AXE, “guitar”
 3 Reserve of diamonds (3)
 4 Grant for arts, originally one supported by Guardian (5)
AWARD — A, “arts, originally” + WARD, “one supported by [g]uardian”
 5 Deliveries heading for English area abroad (7)
OVERSEA — OVERS, “deliveries” (cricket) + E(nglish) + A(rea) Over here, we’re more likely to say “overseas.”
 6 Tiger seen roaming around vast tract of land (9)
SERENGETI — (Tiger seen)*
 7 One of the people dealing with cuts or treating shock? (11)
HAIRSTYLIST — CD, rather amusing
 8 Republican admitted to bad spirit in China (6)
12 In bed feel full of phlegm ultimately, but ok (3,2,2,4)
NOT UP TO MUCH — NOT UP, “in bed” + TO([-phleg]M)UCH Just OK.
15 Those with the brass to rob men’s pants (9)
TROMBONES — The nerve! (to rob men’s)*
16 After swimming, red otter came back quickly (8)
RETORTED — (red otter)*
18 She regularly went out and used drugs (7)
SEDATED — S[-h]E + DATED Hmm. If you sedated a patient or a wild animal, you would be using drugs on that person or tiger or whatever. If you drugged yourself, could you say you “sedated,” sans a pronominal object? Not legally, as it’s not an intransitive verb.
19 A Pole that criminal finally breaks out (6)
ABLOOM — A B([-crimina]L)OOM That’s “boom” as in the pole that holds a microphone.
21 Promotional material for obscure book (5)
BLURB — BLUR, “obscure” + B(ook)
24 Plant fruit tree after pruning its base (3)
PEA — PEA[-r]