January 23rd, 2020

  • glheard

Times 27568 - time to get on the case

Solving time: 16:20, but with one incorrect. Not a typo, not a brain fart, one that I am still pretty stumped on but it is rather late in the puzzle so maybe something will come to me as I type up the rest of the clues.

I struggled with this one! There's some tricky wordplay, one that I got I am still a little unsure on, and more hyphenated entries than I am used to seeing, some of them phrases not in common usage.

Time to unravel all of this... away we go.

1 Top item California put inside bread roll (7,3)
BATHING CAP - First clue and my last in - THING(item) and CA(California), inside BAP(breakfast roll). Top seems a little obscure for the definition so the intention may be for this to be an all-in-one.
7 Is unable to swing round (4)
CANT - double definition, the first one would have an apostrophe
9 Tailor is fool to hurry back of blazer (8)
CLOTHIER - CLOT(fool), HIE(hurry) then the last letter of blazeR
10 Move to avoid waltz’s beginning during ball at court (6)
SWERVE - frist letter of Waltz inside SERVE(ball at tennis court)
11 Create difficulty for philosopher endlessly cut by left (6)
HOBBLE - The philosopher is HOBBES, remove his last letter and insert L(left)
13 Like Jersey sailors to kiss amorously? (4-4)
CREW-NECK - CREW(sailors), NECK(kiss amorously)
14 Tilapia is freshest spit cooked (2,6,4)
ST PETER'S FISH -  anagram of FRESHEST,SPIT - did not know this one, had to piece it together from the anagram
17 Lawbreaking shot, perhaps before teeing off (5-7)
DRINK-DRIVING - a shot can be a DRINK, then DRIVING(teeing off)
20 Withdrawn train cut for engineering work? (8)
21 The sack around tavern is stored like wine (6)
BINNED - BED(the sack) surrounding INN(tavern)
22 Intended one for Resistance in country round Paris (6)
FIANCE - I(one) instead of R(resistance) in FRANCE(country around Paris)
23 Some yeti seen roaming mountain valley (8)
25 Taunt rich setter, not well (4)
JEER - the rich setter is a JEWELLER, remove WELL. This was the one that I wasn't sure of the wordplay until I started writing up the puzzle
26 Want the French to cultivate tapestries? (10)
NEEDLEWORK -  NEED(want), LE(the in French), WORK(cultivate)

2 Sweets and drops the head confiscated outside class (3-5)
ALL-SORTS - FALLS(drops) missing the first letter outside of SORT(class)
3 Search for missing note in cabin (3)
HUT - HUNT(search for) without the N(note)
4 One is unusually sound (5)
NOISE - anagram of ONE,IS
5 Remains mostly outside a capital city (7)
CARACAS - Take your pick of CARCASS or CARCASE(remains) remove the last letter, and insert A - the capital of Venuzuela
6 Bill holds port back (9)
POSTERIOR - POSTER(bill) containing RIO(port)
7 Scours harbour — with nothing like a walrus to be seen? (5-6)
CLEAN-SHAVEN - CLEANS(scours), HAVEN(harbour)
8 Young monk’s drama over wrong habit (6)
NOVICE - NO(Japanese drama) over VICE(wrong habit)
12 Wife’s got in mostly fish supper for working partner (11)
BREADWINNER - W(wife) inside BREAM(fish) missing the last letter, DINNER(supper)
15 Vast human waste with any number devoted to luxury (9)
EPICUREAN - EPIC(vast), UREA(waste), N(any number)
16 One originating at Isle of Wight resort lacking second name (8)
INVENTOR - IN(at), then VENTNOR(IOW resort) missing the second N(name)
18 Peninsula and related port in the Med (7)
KINTYRE - KIN(related), TYRE(port in the Med). I hope I'm not the only one who got this from the Paul McCartney song
19 Case of veal is lost (6)
VALISE - OK George, wear that dunce cap proudly. I stared at this and came up with nothing, and put in DATIVE with a shrug. And of course it is a simple anagram of VEAL,IS!
21 City centre line (5)
BASEL - BASE(centre), L(line)
24 Perhaps cut down rye whiskey after second (3)
MOW - W(whiskey) after MO(second)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1533 by Felix

Well, there is plenty of meat on the bones of this fine offering from Felix, where he has made good use of an unusual grid to tax us this morning.  My time was close on 20 minutes to complete this puzzle, although, unusually for me, some of the parsing and craft of the setter needed the time spent in writing the blog to be fully appreciated.

It seemed to take an age to get a meaningful foothold, with odd isolated answers being entered all over the grid before they started to link up and reveal further secrets as I solved.  I also noted a plethora of letters I and V around the grid (21% and 6% of squares to be filled respectively, versus 7% and 1% expected in random written English).

FOI was IDIOT, LOI was VISION, COD for me is 16a for the unwanted image of small boys being punished (#METOO), and WOD is REFLEXIVE.  Thanks Felix, and good luck to the rest of you!


1  Fool on street is landing (9)
STAIRHEAD – ST (street) and AIRHEAD (fool).  Nice to see that the chestnut of using ‘flight’ to clue STAIR has been avoided.
Simpleton’s one point taking one in (5)
IDIOT – I (one) DOT (point) containing (taking in) I (one, again).
8 A Conservative I defied verbally’s become sour (9)
ACIDIFIED – A (a) C{onservative) and I (I), finishing with DIFIED (sounds like defied, verbally).  To acidify is to become acidic or sour.
9 What’s hard and highly valued about the jumbo? (5)
IVORY – Cryptic definition with misdirection, pointing the solver towards the aeroplane.
10  Brave Pole’s broadcast that can be shown (9)
PROVEABLE – Anagram (broadcast) of [BRAVE POLE].  Often spelled without the first E in my experience.
12  National Insurance in tax year is something worthless (6)
VANITY – N{ational} I{nsurance} inside VAT (tax – Value Added Tax) and followed by Y{ear}.  I was initially unsure why VANITY is considered worthless - my vanity licence plate certainly has a value associated with it.  The nearest I can find is oblique references to an alternative definition of vanity as meaning worthless, but this isn’t in my Chambers under vanity (it does appear as an alternative definition for vain), although I did find it in an old Penguin Dictionary on my shelf.
13  Image of German holding most of 6 down (6)
VISION – The answer to 6 down is ISIS, and most of this is ISI.  Put this inside VON (holding) and one gets VISION.  VON is a common term in German language surnames, meaning ‘from’ or ‘of’, or less commonly, indicating a noble patrilineality.
16  Unfairly punish small boys: one’s contrite, finally (9)
VICTIMISE – VIC and TIM are shortened names for (small) boys, followed by IS (one’s) and {contrite}E (finally = last letter).
19  Once in the middle of kiss, hugged by imbecile (5)
TWIXT – TWIT (imbecile) containing (hugging) X (kiss).  ‘TWIXT is an abbreviation for BETWIXT, an archaic preposition and adverb meaning ‘between’, therefore the ‘once’ in the definition – it used to mean in the middle of.
20  Referring back to subject of Felix, ever cryptic! (9)
REFLEXIVE – Cleverly signalled anagram (cryptic) of [FELIX EVER].  REFLEXIVE is a grammatical term indicating that the action turns back upon the subject, as in ‘he shot himself!’.  OK – I’m expecting someone to quibble with this example!
22  Cancelling hair removal treatment after losing weight (5)
AXING – {w}AXING (losing W{eight}).
23  An unknown obligation’s around that is causing concerns (9)
ANXIETIES – AN (an) X (unknown, as in algebra) with TIE’S (obligation’s) and IE (that is) between them (around).


Don’t split up tasty fragments! (4,3)
STAY PUT – Anagram (fragments) of [UP TASTY] after one has lifted and separated split and up.
2  Stasi moved to hold famous author (6)
ASIMOV – Hidden (to hold) inside {st}ASI MOV{ed}.
Lift light beams that can be picked up (5)
RAISE – Homophone clue (that can be picked up, or heard).  Sounds like rays.
Old priest the Spanish idolised originally (3)
ELI – EL (the in Spanish) and I{dolised} (originally).  It has been said many times before – ELI is worth remembering as the most common priest in Crosswordland.
Resentment once of failure, gone bad (7)
DUDGEON – DUD (failure) and an anagram (bad) of [GONE].  I wondered if the ‘once’ was an indicator that the word DUDGEON was considered archaic, but that isn’t supported by Chambers, so I assume it is just considered a bit old-fashioned.
Goddess: I’m Swiss, oddly (4)
ISIS – Alternate letters (oddly) of I{‘m} S{w}I{s}S.
Like sports drink, one drunk on ice, briefly (8)
ISOTONIC – I (one) SOT (drunk) ON (on) and IC{e} (briefly – drop the last letter).  To be ISOTONIC as a drink is to contain the same concentration of salts and minerals as the human body.
11  Bird is flying around in Italian port (8)
BRINDISI – Anagram (flying) of [BIRD IS] containing (around) IN (in).
12  Oral examination initially routine in all animal enclosures (7)
VIVARIA – VIVA (oral examination) and first letters of (initially) R{outine} I{n} A{ll}.  A VIVARIUM (singular) is an artificial enclosure for keeping living animals.
14  Refreshing drinks cat, I see, has upset (3,4)
ICE TEAS – Anagram (has upset) of [CAT, I SEE].  One of today’s easier clues for a concoction that I personally consider to be an abomination, but that is just my opinion.
15  Black ones containing family’s swimwear (6)
BIKINI – B{lack} and II (ones) containing KIN (family).  Another easier one if you aren’t distracted by a bikini being labelled as swimwear (most are anything but), although I have absolutely no objection to any of them.
17  Passion displayed by north eastern girl (5)
IRENE – IRE (passion) and N{orth} E{astern}.  Three easy ones in a row – was Felix running out of steam?
18  Lass finally catching game, unaccompanied male (4)
STAG – {las}S (finally) and TAG (catching game)
21  Message that’s loud a mark of error (3)
FAX – F (loud, musical notation) A (a) and X (mark of error, as in a cross).

Times 27,569: Hit Me With Your Tickling Stick

I found this a little bitty, with some quite easy numbers intermingled with strange foreign-isms, including 3dn which is one of the most wilfully obscure clues in recent memory. I did very much enjoy the penny-drop moment of the cryptic def at 11dn and the cameo by Mussolini, who I learned in a quiz I was hosting only last night, tried to get Italians to switch from pasta to rice, to stop importation of expensive foreign semolina flour. The monster. Where else but crosswords would Il Duce rub shoulders with Doddy, too?

Just booked my tickets for the 43rd Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford CT at the end of March. If you're on that side of the USA around then, you should definitely drop by?

1 Just when pearl of wisdom can be testing? (8)
ASSAYING - AS SAYING [just when | pearl of wisdom]

6 Seabird leaving home has little hesitation to get fish (6)
PUFFER - PUFF{in} has ER

9 Attack from the rear to capture a Pacific island (4)
GUAM - reversed MUG to "capture" A

10 Shout with pain, with heart maybe leading to caution in game (6,4)
YELLOW CARD - YELL OW [shout with pain], with CARD [heart maybe]

11 Superior one joining up with four others (5,5)
GREAT LAKES - cryptic def, the four others being Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.

13 Mood of small son confronting ’umungous lout? (4)
SULK - S confronting 'ULK. My FOI.

14 Turn of old French actor performing after end of war (8)
ROTATION - O TATI ON [old | French actor (Jacques) | performing], after {wa}R

16 Something very cold about lord close to you, dictator (2,4)
IL DUCE - ICE [something very cold] about LD + {yo}U

18 Once in a blue moon, old master goes wrong, turning out bad art (6)
SELDOM - (OLD MASTER*) ["goes wrong"], evicting (ART*) ["bad"]

20 Light piece of verse that facilitates communication (8)
LANDLINE - LAND LINE [light | piece of verse]

22 Acknowledge hospital is having trouble (4)
HAIL - H + AIL [trouble]

24 One addict, I fancy, could show this (10)
DEDICATION - (ONE ADDICT I*) ["fancy'], semi-&lit

26 Have nothing to do with hermit-style holiday? (5,5)
LEAVE ALONE - or, if you take your LEAVE ALONE, you are doing it hermit-style.

28 Abdomen, soft little protuberance (4)

29 Load of church silver, holy books missing (6)

30 The old man's entertaining celebrity baddies (8)
DASTARDS - DAD's "entertaining" STAR

2 Starting point for endeavour in which maybe four succeeded, reportedly? (6,3)
SQUARE ONE - a square obviously has four sides but beyond that I don't really see how it's "maybe four". ONE though it certainly a homophone for WON.

3 Game leader departing with a word of appreciation in Asian city, once (4-3)
ALMA-ATA - {h}ALMA + A TA. This is the former name for Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. A defunct name for an obscure (apologies Kazakhs) foreign place being clued with reference to an obscure old game? Almost needless to say, my LOI.

4 Group of jolly dimwits set up a happy scene (5)
IDYLL - hidden reversed in {jo}LLY DI{mwits}

5 Superior-sounding female set (3)
GEL - double def, of two homographs that are by no means homophones.

6 Put on airs ridiculously, like a French author (9)
PROUSTIAN - (PUT ON AIRS*) ["ridiculously"]

7 United around military leader and single-minded (7)
FOCUSED - FUSED around OC [Officer Commanding/Officer in Charge]

8 Register of leaderless soldiers with inadequate function (5)
ENROL - {m}EN + ROL{e}

12 Fired-up type, source of illumination (7)

15 This writer's means of communicating with article heartlessly direct (9)
IMMEDIATE - I'M [this writer's] + MEDIA [means of communicating] + T{h}E [article, "heartlessly"]

17 Criminal, in my opinion, had finally obeyed the law? (9)

19 Heading north, attacked to achieve rescue (7)
DELIVER - upside down REVILED [attacked]

21 Girl seeing bird, one in meadow (7)

23 Leading character abroad captured by female photographer (5)
ALEPH - hidden in {fem}ALE PH{otographer}

25 Game with boxes, present finally emerging (5)
CHESS - CHES{t}S, removing the last letter of {presen}T

27 Funny comedian ignoring the first of three daughters (3)
ODD - Ken {d}ODD, minus the first of his 3 D's. Was Doddy funny or odd? Feel free to debate below the line.