February 1st, 2020

Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1421 - The Vacillations of Reedy Corkscrew

These things seem to come around very quickly when you've had a couple of holiday specials but I'm not complaining.  I thought this was a fantastic puzzle, with some absolute gems among the clues.  Thanks setter.  I was all done and dusted in 40 minutes, starting with FOCAL and finishing with SPOONFED.

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

Notation:

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]


Across

1

Feel wobbly and empty, sick inside (9)


VACILLATE - VACATE around ILL

6

New charger perhaps needs constant plugging in to central point (5)


FOCAL - C[onstant] in FOAL

9

It's no use if it's flat as a pancake? (7)


BATTERY - DDCDH with the cryptic bit straight out of the Uxbridge English Dictionary.

13

Minister taking on Brussels after U-turn — it's a bit of theatre (5)


REVUE - REV[erend], E.U. reversed

14

Shady relative joining leader of anarchist resistance (7)


UNCLEAR - UNCLE, A{narchist} R[esistance]

15

Opener of Irish county's team (9)


CORKSCREW - CORK'S CREW.  Word of the month? I can recall seeing it three times now in recent Times puzzles.

16

Back after divorce in a flash (5,6)


SPLIT SECOND - SECOND after SPLIT

17

Exactly where to press? (2,3,6)


ON THE BUTTON - DDCDH

18

Court maintaining right of possession for customer (6)


CLIENT - C[our]T around LIEN

19

Quickly take off Mel's bra after fiddling with catch at first (8)


SCRAMBLE - (Mel's bra c{atch}).  Brilliant surface reading. I'm still chuckling two weeks later.  Which Spice Girl did you think of?

21

Angel dust haul abandoned by a copper (2,4)


PC PLOD - PCP, LOaD.  I didn't know the drug by either of its names (or its full name phencyclidine) but it was easy enough to infer.

25

Took off gripping comedian in the end, receiving undemanding pap? (8)


SPOONFED - SPOOFED around {comedia}N

26

Ruthless traders like places with tourists (5,9)


ASSET STRIPPERS - AS, SETS, TRIPPERS

28

Gourmand leaving starter to get thin (5)


REEDY - gREEDY.  I don't think I've ever heard gourmand as an adjective before.

29

I'll be seized by hallucinatory experiences after knocking back mescal? (6)


SPIRIT - I in TRIPS reversed

30

Gets into difficulty at dance that stays open late? (6,4)


CORNER SHOP - CORNERS, HOP

33

Bronze pater with child bust (5,5)


THIRD PLACE - (pater child)*

35

Go along with scam by scoundrel (6)


CONCUR - CON, CUR

36

Party to identify with opposition? (5)


BEANO - BE A NO.  A dandy clue.

38

On the other hand, I may be captivated by startled hooting call of birds (14)


ORNITHOLOGICAL - OR, I in (hooting call)*

40

Raise a miserable, tailless entrant for Crufts? (8)


COCKAPOO - COCK A POOr.  If I knew how to add pictures I'd add one of our cockapoo, Maddie.

42

Ruins girl entering high society with gentleman after rejection (6)


DEBRIS - DEB[utante], SIR reversed.

43

Macho types going topless by day? Correct (8)


EMENDATE - hE-MEN, DATE

44

I would love to interrupt hostile folly (6)


IDIOCY - I'D, O in ICY

47

State legislator and detective ringing space station repeatedly, before one (11)


MISSISSIPPI - M.P. P.I. around ISS x 2 & I.  Good stuff, this must be a really difficult word to clue.  The ISS (International Space Station) is the third brightest object in the sky.  If you've never seen it flying over it's worth a look for the novelty.

50

Unorthodox religions embraced by established church adviser (11)


CONSIGLIERE - (religions)* in C[hurch of] E[ngland].  I'm not sure why established is needed.  Robert Duval in The Godfather.

52

Put slant on appeal: one’s encapsulated by Lewis’s girl (9)


ITALICISE -  IT, I'S in ALICE.  Clever def.

53

Literary festival town collecting listeners’ gossip (7)


HEARSAY - HAY (on Wye) around EARS

54

Places for audio visual experience (5)


SITES - sounds like SIGHTS (should it be "experiences"?)

55

Taser perhaps hurt one (4,3)


STUN GUN - STUNG 'UN

56

Sample of titbit as temptation? (5)


TASTE - hidden

57

Star to write signature and stuff (9)


PENTAGRAM - PEN, TAG, RAM


Down

1

Corrupting influence of Lenin initially on Russia (5)


VIRUS - Vladimir Ilyich, RUS[sia]

2

King endorsed this polite refusal (5,12)


CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE - DDCDH with a nod to Martin Luther King

3

Place property to get commission (11)


LIEUTENANCY - LIEU, TENANCY

4

Perception of area combined with space (6)


ACUMEN - A[rea], CUM, EN (printer's space)

5

Invade enclosure with fish (8)


ENCROACH - ENC, ROACH

6

Shrink underwear? Could be a revealing error (8,4)


FREUDIAN SLIP - DDCDH

7

Cook could be on top of ratings — such a one? (6,4)


CORDON BLEU - (could be on r{atings})*

8

Sparked up around Jersey etc — it's legal (5)


LICIT - LIT around C{hannel] I[slands]

9

Glance up captivated by stripper, one working in pub? (9)


BARKEEPER - PEEK reversed in BARER.  Hands up if you biffed bartender.

10

It may be useful for coverage of present time to publish Times, say (6,5)


TISSUE PAPER - T[ime], ISSUE, (news)PAPER

11

Water bird lifted out of detergent (5)


EGRET - reverse hidden

12

Unknown number in flight going off course (6)


YAWING - Y, A-WING

18

Players getting restricted food allocation having nuts taken away (10)


CASTRATION - CAST, RATION.  Ouch.  Belting definition though.

20

Settle North and South Carolina, held by English formerly (8)


ENSCONCE - N[orth], S[outh] C[arolina] in E[nglish] ONCE

22

Display tool that'll forecast costs? (8,9)


OVERHEAD PROJECTOR - very clever DDCDH

23

Sly type overhearing cunning plan will (6)


WEASEL - sounds like wheeze'll

24

Hopes dashed by record held by party lacking skill in political science (10)


PSEPHOLOGY - (hopes)* & LOG in PartY

27

Reveal record miss (8)


DISCLOSE - DISC, LOSE

31

What might indicate direction to Arctic strait (6)


NARROW - a N[orth] ARROW might point towards the Arctic, geddit?  Nice one.

32

To show deference, say, play second fiddle with diminishing level of skill (3,3,6)


BOW AND SCRAPE -DDCDH

34

Deciding to put off fossil fuel production? (11)


DETERMINING - DETER MINING.  Neat.

36

Drastic potential result of global warming's course (5,6)


BAKED ALASKA - A rather brilliant DDCDH which made me checkle

37

Party defeats Greens? (4,6)


SIDE DISHES - SIDE, DISHES.  Not a terribly common meaning of dish.

39

Sob, racked with noises showing infatuation (9)


OBSESSION - (sob noises)*

41

Fails to meet to pay for drink (6,2)


STANDS UP - STAND, SUP

45

Filth put up with always initially in communications (6)


EMAILS - SLIME reversed around A

46

African party member lifting vote against (6)


LIBYAN - LIB[eral], NAY reversed

48

United supporters turning up for typical shambles (5)


SNAFU - U[nited] FANS

49

Fuel contains lead in Laos, one's gathered (5)


PLEAT - L{aos} in PEAT.  I can't hear the word pleat without thinking of David Pleat prancing around the Maine Road pitch in his beige suit in 1983 (if you don't know what I'm talking about type "man city v luton town 1982/83" into a Youtube search and go to 1:15).

51

Course of salts? (5)


EPSOM - DD constructed around the bedfellows of horse racing and bubble bath.
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27570 - Saturday, 25 January 2020. O, I’ll take the low road …

A meaty puzzle, this one. Many nice surfaces, and lots to mull over. The only answers that were beyond my general knowledge was helpfully clued.

My clue of the day was 25ac – lucky lass, that Melody. She can take the high road. Honourable mentions go to 19ac, 27ac, and 13dn. 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].

Across
1 Used clever remark when turning in defendant (10)
ACCUSTOMED – a MOT is a clever remark. Turn it backwards and put it in ACCUSED. ‘We were used/accustomed to …’.
6 Put on short, retrospective poetry collection (4)
EDDA – ADDE[d], backwards (retrospective). Old, Icelandic poetry.
8 Artist shouting from the crow’s-nest? (8)
LANDSEER – ‘land ahoy’. Ho ho!
9 Sweet love having answer for Henry! (6)
NOUGAT - that’s NOUGHT with H for Henry replaced by A for answer. A lovely clue.
10 In future stretcher bearer maybe ought initially to provide cover (4)

HOOD – O for ought in HOD (stretcher bearer, where to quote Chambers, ‘stretcher’ here means ‘a brick, stone, sod, sandbag, etc laid horizontally with others in the forming of a wall’). It took me a while to parse this. On edit: thanks to the collective commenters for fully parsing the clue. What is "future" doing in the clue? At one level, it makes the surface of the clue read smoothly. Perhaps, technically the bricks wouldn't be stretchers until they are laid in the wall? Anyway, don't forget to separate 'in' from 'future'. 'In' is the containment indicator that puts O in HOD.

11 Bar or pub containing welcome touch: satellite! (10)
INHIBITION – INN containing HI, BIT, and IO (welcome, touch, and satellite of Jupiter, respectively). And a while to parse this, too.
12 Matched husband with poet, a religious type (9)
METHODIST – MET, H for husband, and ODIST. I checked the dictionary to see ‘odist’ was there.
14 Coin, old, something you should get from cracker? (5)
OBANG – O for old, BANG. A firecracker might go bang. It’s a Japanese coin, which I didn’t know of.
17 Char’s function to keep cleaning, ultimately (5)
SINGE – G from the end of ‘cleaning’, in SINE. A nice surface!
19 Film, very sad, about English revolutionary, that’s dragged on (9)
CIGARETTE – ET, TRAGIC around E for English, all ‘revolutionary’ or written backwards. Once I thought of an …ETTE that fitted the helpers, the parsing was easy enough, but I’d never have got there via the wordplay. A clever surface.
22 Winter Olympians somehow impress UK judge (3,7)
SKI JUMPERS – (IMPRESS UK J*), ‘somehow’.
23 The case football administrators brought to court (4)
FACT – F.A. for Football Association, CT for court. Postscript: I meant to expand on the definition. I think it's as in, "that's the case/fact".
24 Girl standing for something upright or grand? (6)
JOANNA – Cockney Rhyming Slang for piano.
25 Melody to finish with her Scottish boyfriend? (8)
ALASTAIR – a melody the band finishes with might be A LAST AIR, and Alastair might conceivably be Melody’s Scottish boyfriend.
26 One almighty petition letter after all the others sent back (4)
ZEUS – take SUE (petition) and Z (the letter after all the others), and send it all back.
27 Confidential if not entirely sober sign one’s flipped! (10)
TIDDLYWINK – a WINK might be a sign that one is conveying a confidence. If not quite sober, it might be a TIDDLY WINK.

Down
1 Doctor in lobby from E London — so awkward (3,6)
ALL THUMBS – a hall in East London becomes an ’ALL. SO gives THUS. Insert an MB.
2 Cook up and about mostly once a month (7)
CONCOCT – C, ONC[e], OCT[ober], all from about, once (mostly), month.
3 Film that’s European and British in equal parts? (3,5)
THE BIRDS – the equal parts are THIRDS. Insert E for European and B for British.
4 Island’s dairyman worked with harvest (7,8)
MARTHA’S VINEYARD – (DAIRYMAN HARVEST*), ‘worked’.
5 Flower buried in cobweb unadvisedly picked up (6)
DANUBE – backwards hidden answer. (Buried in, picked up.)
6 Just leave a barrel between tablets (9)
EQUITABLE – QUIT A B[arre]L between two E tablets.
7 Drive past, over railroad (7)
DRAGOON – DR, AGO, ON, from drive, past, over.
13 “School”, Jack means to write, is “tremendous fun” (4,5)
HIGH JINKS – HIGH [school], J[ack], INKS.
15 Farmers’ movement historically target reforms: about a thousand (5,4)
GREAT TREK – (TARGET*) ‘reforms’, RE for about, K for thousand. As the expression suggests, it happened in South Africa.
16 Ruin is going to a man with a plan (8)
MARSHALL – MAR for ruin, SHALL for is going to. The plan to rebuild Europe after WWII.
18 Trying Kansas, visiting one city (7)
IRKSOME – KS visiting I ROME.
20 Asian holding strike gets more than a piece of one’s mind (7)
THALAMI – THAI holding LAM. Since ‘thalamus’ is the singular, ‘thalami’ would be two pieces of the brain.
21 Mutual dealt exceptionally in the German mark (6)
UMLAUT – (MANUAL*), ‘exceptionally’. Two dots above a German vowel to change its pronunciation.

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4887, 26 I 2020, by Robert Price — Quoit the puzzle!

A very enjoyable, solid effort, in which the definitions (except those for CDs and &lits) are consistently epitomes of succinctness. The Arab bazaar may be a new word to someone out there, but the Americans reading this have probably seen the British spelling of NETT before (right here). Most of the clues seemed fairly straightforward. It did take me a minute to see what was going on with UNSELFISH.

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


ACROSS
 1 Big shots fail in competitions (5-3)
CLOSE-UPS — C(LOSE)UPS Cleverly deceptive definition. The French term for this kind of shot is gros plan, quite close.
 5 Update backing state politician (6)
REVAMP — AVER<=“backing” + MP, “politician”
 9 Editor’s study vacated by a cast member (8)
REDACTOR — RE[-a]D + ACTOR
10 Lad taken short behind peer’s summerhouse (6)
GAZEBO — GAZE, “peer” + BO[-y]
11 Insufficient time to finish examination (5)
SCANT — SCAN, “examination” + T(ime)
12 Kind of advice ignoring the company angle (9)
UNSELFISH — [-co]UNSEL + FISH, “angle”
14 Pint pots? (4,7)
BEER BELLIES — CD. One reason I stick to hard liquor.
18 Count and mountaineer scrambled together (11)
ENUMERATION — (mountaineer)* “Together” would not be necessary for the anagrind, but it helps the surface and isn’t doing anything else.
21 Wastes spies infiltrating European partners (9)
EMACIATES — E(uropean) +MA(CIA)TES
23 Help to protect country markets (5)
SOUKS — SO(UK)S
24 Secular figures in formulaic altarpieces (6)
LAICAL — Hidden
25 Papers found by a fellow in Ilium, possibly authentic (4,4)
BONA FIDE — BONE, “Ilium” with A + F(ellow) + ID (“papers”) inside
26 Evil is clear to men in retrospect (6)
ROTTEN — NETT, “clear” + OR, “men” (Ordinary Ranks) <=“in retrospect”
27 Slanders by fools are spread around (8)
ASPERSES — AS(PER, “by”)SES

DOWN
 1 Visiting church raised father’s tone (6)
CERISE — C(SIRE<=“raised’)E
 2 Nightmare of French exam is overwhelming (6)
ORDEAL — OR(DE)AL
 3 Volatile lover of old guy keeps it hidden (9)
EXCITABLE — EX, “lover of old” + C(IT)ABLE, “guy” being CABLE
 4 Sticking up for public transport, issue a tirade (11)
PROTUBERANT — A worthy cause! PRO, “for” + TUBE, “public transport” + RANT, “tirade”
 6 A Green revolutionary’s gripping message (5)
EMAIL — LI(A)ME<=“revolutionary,
 7 Cocktail of pear vermouth provided as this? (8)
APERITIF — (pear)* + IT, “vermouth” + IF, “provided”; &lit That’s specifically Italian (or red) vermouth. Google gives results for “sand pear vermouth,” at least, so that’s really a thing.
 8 Pray, keeping high hopes, ignoring a forecast (8)
PROPHESY — PR[-a]Y holding (hopes)*
13 Contributions from U-boat patrols? (11)
SUBMISSIONS — SUB MISSIONS, typically goofy CD
15 Come down south to head Panorama (9)
LANDSCAPE — LAND, “Come down” + S(outh) + CAPE, “head”
16 Fit mock rings? He might do (8)
JEWELLER — JE(WELL)ER, &lit
17 Painter’s spirit tipped over a table (8)
MURALIST —RUM<=“tipped over” + A + LIST, “table”
19 A game even love comes into (6)
QUOITS — QU(O)ITS
20 How some feathers were used in trees (6)
ASPENS — AS PENS
22 Creature caged in that is furious (5)
IRATE — I(RAT)E