February 12th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1547 by Orpheus

These are quite devious clues in which several parts have been handpicked for their ambiguity. This made for a tricky but ultimately satisfying solve. There are also some minor obscurities, but these are balanced by eminantly gettable wordplay.

A pleasant stroll up and back down the garden path.

Definitions underlined.

Across
1 Instrument of torture little Tom’s gang used (10)
THUMBSCREW - THUMB'S (little Tom's) and CREW (gang).
8 Mean woman in bad temper, blowing top? (7)
AVERAGE - VERA (woman) surrounded by (in) rAGE (bad temper) missing its first letter (blowing top).
9 Cap soldiers had at Kitchener’s offensive, initially? (5)
SHAKO - first letter from (initially) Soldiers Had... etc. Thank goodness this was clued transparently; had this been a straight definitional crossword I would have had no chance.
10 Take a dekko — and see all right (4)
LOOK - LO (see) and OK (all right). Likewise; NHO.
11 Asian joke involving a retired nurse once (8)
JAPANESE - JAPE (joke) containing (involving) A and a reversal of (retired) SEN (State Enrolled Nurse, nurse once). If it's your first time seeing this acronym, you have my sympathies. Nurse may also clue just EN or SRN/RN ((State) Registered Nurse).
13 Labrador, say, starts to gobble grub outside peacekeepers’ party? (6)
GUNDOG - first letters from (starts to) Gobble and Grub containing (outside) 'UN DO' (peacekeeper's party).
14 Drunk beginning to braise game (6)
BLOTTO - first letter of (beginning to) Braise, then LOTTO (game).
17 A teacher receiving US vocalist in Oxon town (8)
ABINGDON - A and DON (teacher) containing (receiving) BING (Crosby, US vocalist).
19 Some of them market a 19th-century novel (4)
EMMA - hidden in (some of) thEM MArket.
21 Company absorbing revolutionary statement of belief (5)
CREDO - CO (company) containing (absorbing) RED (revolutionary).
22 Skill of old wife employed in section of media (7)
PROWESS - O (old) and W (wife) inside (employed in) PRESS (section of media).
23 Unusually hot steam starts to ruin this temperature regulator (10)
THERMOSTAT - anagram of (unusually) HOT STEAM with the first letters of (starts to) Ruin and This.


Down
2 Worked in garden before private dance (7)
HOEDOWN - HOED (worked in garden) with OWN (private). This didn't quite click at the time, but 'my own...X'  / 'my private...X' works fine.
3 Man turned up, crossing a defensive ditch (4)
MOAT - TOM (man) reversed (turned up) and surrounding (crossing) A.
4 Playground amenity was set up by diocese (6)
SEESAW - WAS reversed (set up) then SEE (diocese).
5 Mischievous like Charlie, disrupting mass meeting (8)
RASCALLY - AS (like) and C (charlie) contained by (disrupting) RALLY (mass meeting).
6 Texture of fabric you and I have spoken of (5)
WEAVE - sounds like (spoken of) "we've" (you and I have).
7 Happen to arrive at route through mountains (4,2,4)
COME TO PASS - COME TO (to arrive at) and PASS (route through mountains).
8 Loyalty for example accepted by coalition (10)
ALLEGIANCE - EG (for example) inside (accepted by) ALLIANCE (coalition).
12 Predatory mammal some go on about? (8)
MONGOOSE - anagram of (about) SOME GO ON.
15 Tone down a painting technique (7)
TEMPERA - TEMPER (tone down) and A.
16 Ornamental bobble a couple of dogs required (6)
POMPOM - repetition of (a couple of... required) POM (pomeranian, breed of dog).
18 Clumsy writer held up by computer technology (5)
INEPT - PEN (writer) reversed and inside (held up by) I.T. (computer technology).
20 Disadvantage the Spanish suffered originally (4)
LOSS - LOS ('the' in Spanish) plus the first letter of (originally) Suffered.

Times 27585 - Second TCC heat, third puzzle I assume.

Penfold_61 in last Wednesday's blog comments told us that puzzle 27579 was the third in the booklet, so presumably this was the second, but the last in the heats to be blogged. I wish the editors would tell us in the headers, as was previously the case, so we know if this was a TCC puzzle or a regular 'new' offering.
I found it much easier than last week's, more on a par with the heat 1 puzzles, if not easier. I completed it with no complaints in well under 20 minutes. The longer clues went in early on, making the shorter ones easier to get.

Presumably we'll need our '28 acrosses' next week, when we get into the semi-finals puzzles, where just 33 of the qualifying 82 contestants managed to complete all three error-free.

Across
1 Animal bound to go after some chips (8)
ANTELOPE - Well, after six years of banging on about whether or not a puzzle contains an obscure even-toed ungulate, here we are with the actual animal family as the answer. ANTE is your pre-play bet using the chips, and to LOPE is to bound.
5 This person talks a long time: flipping endlessly (6)
GASBAG - GABS = talks AG(E) = a long time endlessly, reverse all (flipping).
9 Beam that’s almost three feet round (3)
RAY - YAR(D) reversed.
10 Grounded because of dodgy heart (4-2-5)
DOWN-TO-EARTH - because of = DOWN TO, (HEART)*.
12 Appropriate opening of zoo with Mr Durrell, a writer (10)
FITZGERALD - FIT = appropriate, Z = opening of zoo, Gerald Durrell (author of My Family and Other Animals), answer e.g. F Scott Fitzgerald another writer.
13 You will quaintly call out (4)
YELL - YE being old fashioned for YOU, YE'LL = you will.
15 Comparatively mean returns in restructured insurance (6)
SNIDER - Well, if snide means mean (as in a snide remark), i suppose SNIDER means meaner. It's hidden reversed in RESTRUCTU(RED INS)URANCE.
16 Coppers accepting an act of contrition (7)
PENANCE - AN inside PENCE. Chestnut time.
18 Partial duplication of travel document is concerning (3-1-3)
VIS-A-VIS - VISA VIS(A). Another chestnut.
20 Unusual urge to put iron back inside safe place (6)
REFUGE - Insert FE (Fe, iron) reversed into (URGE)*.
23 Informal jumper: knitter’s first piece (4)
ROOK - ROO (informal kangaroo) + K(nitter).
24 Charlie and I get a rest arrangedwe’re puffed! (10)
CIGARETTES - C I (GET A REST)*.
26 High flyer? (11)
HUMMINGBIRD - Cryptic defintion, a humming, or high, as in smelly, bird.
27 Board amidships with this? (3)
OAR - Seems to be as simple as the middle of B(OAR)D.
28 Dye covering half of hair in helmet (3,3)
TIN HAT - HA(IR) inside TINT.
29 Noble, like the News at Ten broadcast? (8)
KNIGHTLY - homophone of NIGHTLY as the News is.
Down
1 Purposeless commercial break (6)
ADRIFT - AD (commercial), RIFT (break).
2 Fishy character suppressing yen to attempt scam (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON - TRITON a fishy character has Y for yen inserted. A triton was a Greek sea god.
3 Female rider that jockeys avidly goad (4,6)
LADY GODIVA - (AVIDLY GOAD)*.
4 Current fashion? (5,8)
POWER DRESSING - Cryptic definition.
6 Answer recognised when heard again (4)
ANEW - A for answer, NEW sounds like KNEW = recognised.
7 Caterpillar turning an age to undergo rapid development (7)
BURGEON - GRUB (caterpillar) turns > BURG, EON = an age.
8 Poorly made glove has split down the middle (2,6)
GO HALVES - (GLOVE HAS)*.
11 Pseudoscientific movement to interpolate blunders (13)
TELEPORTATION - (TO INTERPOLATE)*.
14 Police assistant has possible cold case to pursue (7,3)
SNIFFER DOG - A sniffer might be someone with a cold, to DOG = to pursue.
17 At least a dozen deliveries, stolen or missed (8)
OVERSHOT - Two overs = 12 balls in cricket, so OVERS, HOT = stolen.
19 Winter figure, small currently, lots having been cut (7)
SNOWMAN - S (small) NOW (currently) MAN(Y) = lots cut.
21 Have problems navigating on your bike! (3,4)
GET LOST - double definition.
22 Bird like this turned up by quarry (6)
OSPREY - SO (like this) reversed, PREY = quarry.
25 European city is area under pressure (4)
PISA - P (pressure), IS, A (area).