February 6th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1543 by Tracy

First of all, my apologies - I may have messed up the posting of today's blog.  If you see this twice, it is entirely my fault.

I found this to be on the easier side for a Tracy puzzle and completed it comfortably inside my 10 minute target.  Some unusual devices gave it interest though, along with a number of cleverly constructed clues.

I particularly liked the four letter answers at the start and end of the across clues.  I don’t think that today’s puzzle is hiding any theme or NINA, but I have been wrong in the past.


1  Team bragged (4)
CREW – Double definition, obeying Rotter’s Law (two-word clues are DDs).  The second definition in this case is the past tense version of crow, as in to brag.
3  Tedious talk about border plant (8)
PRIMROSE – PROSE (tedious talk) around (about) RIM (border).  For once, I am not stumped by a floral clue!
8 Read duties involved nursing duke (7)
STUDIED – Anagram (involved) of [DUTIES] and containing (nursing) D{uke}
10 One may have used rifle criminally? (5)
LIFER – &Lit clue (the whole clue constitutes the definition), containing an anagram (criminally) of [RIFLE] as the embedded wordplay.  I always get into difficulty identifying &Lit clues – I hope I have it right this time – if not, I am sure someone will tell me, and I shall learn from it (hopefully).
11  Slanderous comment in manly speech (11)
MALEDICTION – MALE (manly) and DICTION (speech).  MALEDICTION is defined in my Chambers as ‘cursing, a calling down of evil’, with no reference to slander.  I must admit that I questioned their equivalence when completing the grid.
13 Salad ingredient artist portrayed by plate (6)
RADISH – RA (Royal Academician or artist) and DISH (plate).
15  Batting order for cricket, say (6)
INSECT – IN (batting – in the sport of cricket, the side ‘batting’ are said to be ‘IN’) and SECT (order, as in religious order).  A cricket is an example of an INSECT, as well as being the name of one of the world’s greatest sports.
17  Have a share in it per capita in resort (11)
PARTICIPATE – Anagram (in resort) of [IT PER CAPITA].
20  Left donkey attached to old rope (5)
LASSO – L{eft} followed by ASS (donkey) and O{ld}.
21  A short time in that place’s playhouse (7)
THEATRE – A (a) and T{ime} (short time) inside THERE (that place’s).
22  Repaired sitar crack with such great skill (8)
ARTISTRY – Anagram (repaired) of [SITAR] and TRY (crack – as in ‘have a crack at’).
23  Said of country life, past not present (4)
ORAL – Pastoral means ‘of country life’, and if PAST is not present, we are left with ORAL.


1  Money just for wool (8)
CASHMERE – CASH (money) and MERE (just).  Haven't we seen this a few times recently?
Peer in uniform (5)
EQUAL – Double definition – this time not quite conforming to Rotter’s Law.
Censor text of radical decree (6)
REDACT – RED (radical) and ACT (decree).
5  One being broadcast in factory, English fat cat? (11)
MILLIONAIRE – ON AIR (being broadcast) preceded by I (one) and contained inside (in) MILL (factory) and E{nglish}.
Crime of receiver (7)
OFFENCE – OF (of) FENCE (receiver – fence is a slang term for a receiver of stolen goods).
Gain attention towards end of discussion (4)
EARN – EAR (attention) and last letter (end of) {discussion}N.
Busy Asian river – tours I suspect (11)
INDUSTRIOUS – INDUS (Asian river) followed by an anagram (suspect) of [TOURS I].
12  Heavenly in Somerset – here also (8)
ETHEREAL – Hidden answer (in) {somers}ET – HERE AL{so}.
14 Down payment is raised inside store (7)
DEPOSIT – IS (reversed, or raised) inside DEPOT (store).
16  Easy catch for model (6)
SITTER – Double definition.  In cricket, an easy catch is referred to as being a sitter, as it sits up waiting to be caught.  The second definition refers to an artist’s model.
18  Player’s agent blowing top (5)
ACTOR – The agent is a {f}ACTOR (blowing top means to remove the first letter).
19  Perhaps Russian girl’s goal abroad (4)
OLGA – Anagram (abroad) of [GOAL].  OLGA is a common girl’s name in Russia, but isn’t exclusive to that country, hence the ‘perhaps’.
  • glheard

Times 27580 - I'm not loving it

Solving time: 15:29, but with one silly typo. I've been a bit under the weather lately and I have been making more of these typo errors - according to the Times Club leaderboard, 13 of them in the last month!

I think this is a tricky puzzle and the early solving times seem to confirm it. There is one really unusual phrase in the grid, could be making a Times debut, but I have seen it a few times in other puzzles (though I don't believe any by current Times daily setters).

Away we go...

1 Cutting style leading to risk on short fashion (10)
TRENCHANCY - CHANCY(leading to risk) next to TREND(fashion) missing the last letter. And not TRENCHANCT which I managed to have in the grid
6 Covers pimple over (4)
TOPS - the pimple is a SPOT, reverse it
10 About a month to dispose of large island (5)
CAPRI - C(about) then the month of APRIL mising L(large)
11 Dictator’s supporter working to infiltrate crooked parties (9)
PERONISTA - ON(working) inside an anagram of PARTIES - supporter of Juan Peron in Argentina
12 Left discussion meetings actor ruined (4,3,1,6)
GONE FOR A BURTON - GONE(left), FORA(discussion meetings) then Richard BURTON - military term for missing, destroyed or dead
14 Innocence I found in part of church, note (7)
NAIVETE - I inside NAVE(part of church), TE(musical note)
15 Just beginning new climb (7)
NASCENT - N(new), ASCENT(climb)
17 Tree on corner with rot (7)
HOGWASH - ASH(tree) next to HOG(corner), W(with)
19 Youngster absorbing one round number — who benefits? (3,4)
CUI BONO - CUB(youngster) containing I(one) then O(round), NO(number)
20 Accommodate striker, offering quick meal (7,7)
QUARTER POUNDER - QUARTER(accommodate), POUNDER(striker). Something resembling food abailable at a ubiquitous outlet
23 Change of word order in reading (9)
24 Check fire’s about right (5)
BRAKE - BAKE(fire) surrounding R(right)
25 Yarn used in ornamental embroidery (4)
TALE - hidden in ornamenTAL Embroidery - to my swimming eyes the definition word looked like YAM
26 Top after game advanced position (10)
BRIDGEHEAD - HEAD(top) after BRIDGE(game)

1 Son’s shunning fast food (4)
TUCK -remove S(son) from STUCK(fast)
2 Studying prolix rambles in English (9)
EXPLORING - anagram of PROLIX in ENG
3 Variable shade in ravines upset lean seabird (7,7)
CHINESE LANTERN - CHINES(ravines), then an anagram of LEAN, then TERN(seabird)
4 Authorise application to ramble (7)
APPROVE - APP(application), ROVE(ramble)
5 Drape with the end cut short? (7)
CURTAIN - the end is CURTAINS, remove the last letter
7 Start working group (5)
ONSET - ON(working), SET(group)
8 Wanting Momentum to put party type before people (10)
STAGNATION - member of a STAG party before NATION(people)
9 Certain marriage involves search leading to fit (14)
UNQUESTIONABLE - UNION(marriage) containing QUEST(search) then ABLE(fit)
13 Under cover, with leg next to a particular duvet where length is key (2,3,5)
ON THE QUIET - ON(leg side in cricket), then THE QUILT(a particular duvet) with L(length) changed to the key of E
16 Clear near to meanders in river (9)
EXONERATE - anagram of NEAR TO in the river EXE
18 Runner is more able to survive having run for the day (7)
HARRIER - HARDIER(more able to survive) with R(run) instead of D(day)
19 Boasted about knight made king? (7)
CROWNED - CROWED(boasted) surrounding N(knight)
21 Regularly seen in sauna, vainly is one brawny men hit on (5)
ANVIL - alternating letters in sAuNa VaInLy
22 Soldiers don’t initially get better (4)
MEND - MEN(soldiers) then the first letter of Don't

Times 27,581: Persuasion Equation

A Friday puzzle with a pleasantly old-fashioned feel about it, including the most literary clue we've had in ages at 8dn and a number of places where it was necessary to get on the setter's quirky wavelength to achieve success - lots of "double" definitions where one half is somewhat more whimsical than the other, for instance. I'm ashamed to say I failed at the final hurdle: having been doing this on the sly at work, and finding the time ticking by somewhat too long, especially as I am a non-cyclist and unacquainted it seems with derailleurs, I submitted with TOP DOG at 19ac... for which I can probably blame a Concise puzzle earlier in the week. I really have gone to the dogs etc etc.

Thanks to the woofless setter for a fun puzzle!

1 At war camp, little child that grows up (10)
STALAGMITE - a STALAG MITE would be a little child at war camp. Stalagmites famously grow up, in the same way that stalactites grow down.

6 Small dog’s large slice of cake (4)
SLAB - S LAB [small | dog]

9 British tolerated corrupt game (10)

10 One spouted, always inhibiting wife (4)
EWER - E'ER [always] "inhibiting" W. A ewer is a vessel with a spout.

12 Morning rush hour perhaps not a matter for debate (5,3,6)
EARLY DAY MOTION - parliamentary double def

14 Fine writing, if short; some makes the long list (6)
LITANY - LIT. ANY [fine writing, if short | some]

15 Poor country deserted by last fellow (8)

17 Still sound irritated by attempt (8)
SNAPSHOT - SNAP [sound irritated] by SHOT. A "still" as in a pic.

19 Maybe wolf this popular, a pet (3,3)
HOT DOG - HOT [popular] + DOG [a pet], to make something you might wolf

22 Open to fraud, ruin some textual analysis (14)

24 One visiting woman's eldest son perhaps (4)
HEIR - I "visiting" HER

25 Throw off course, breaking rule that’s applied to cycles (10)

26 A speculative kick? (4)
PUNT - double def, ish

27 Drink fuddled old boy, joining wrong army (6,4)
BLOODY MARY - (OLD BOY*) joining (ARMY*)

1 Tears boldly at first into emergency! (4)
SOBS - B{oldly} "into" S.O.S.

2 Pull a vehicle back in races against time (7)
ATTRACT - A + reversed CAR in TT T [races (against) time]

3 Analysed lung, damaged many years ago (4,4,4)

4 Managed to get into party, but accepted second-best (4,2)
MADE DO - double def

5 Frustrating crossing a river? In no hurry (8)
TARRYING - TRYING "crossing" A R

7 Criminal foe will, when going wild (3-4)

8 A single trite quotation, under plain cover, all Jane’s Sir Walter would read? (10)
BARONETAGE - ONE TAG, "under cover of" BARE. In Jane Austen's (best) novel Persuasion, "Sir Walter [Elliot] obsessively reads books relating only to the baronetage". Impressively literary!

11 As far as one can see, account is on the level (12)
HORIZONTALLY - HORIZON TALLY [as far as one can see | account]

13 Employment system brought an end to trading (6,4)
CLOSED SHOP - double def

16 Gentle persuasion something that’s comfortable for prisoner in hearing? (4,4)
SOFT SELL - homophone of SOFT CELL. Which my fingers kept on itching to type anyway. Altogether now - "Sometimes I feel I've got to, dun dun, run away..."

18 Warning to bring gold forward: there will be lots here (7)
AUCTION - take CAUTION and move AU [gold] upwards, to find a place where lots go under the hammer.

20 Sundew and red rose rat’s eaten away (7)
DROSERA - hidden in {re}D ROSE RA{t}, which needs to be "eaten away" from the outside.

21 Massage a digit, mostly in irregular rhythm (6)

23 Cook welcomes a brawl (4)
FRAY - FRY "welcomes" A