February 13th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27586 Thursday, 13 February 2020 Round and round and round we go

I have to admit to this being a rather dozy solve over 24 minutes with a single typo which I should have spotted and (probably) a rather dozy exposition. An impressive five “rounds” appear in the clues all encouraging the same action. Through heavy lidded, dormouse eyes I will endeavour to squint out any typos in the following, while marking clues thus, definitions so, and solutions in THIS FASHION

1 Children keeping dog brought to safety (7)
SECURED In a slightly old fashioned way, children are SEED, familiar enough for people who sing the Magnificat either in Latin “Abraham et semini ejus in saecula” or English “Abraham and his seed for ever.” Be that as it may, keep a CUR dog
5 Zealot to rock around (5)
BIGOT A reversal (around) of TO (in plain sight) and GIB, the big disputed rock on the Southern Spanish coast.
9 Flood having subsided with river contained (5)
DROWN Subsided is DOWN, insert the R(iver)
10 Outdoor job travelling round forest, missing nothing (9)
GARDENING The forest is ARDEN, in Warwickshire and As You Like It.  Travelling is just GOING. Remove the O as instructed and put the remnant round  the forest
11 Add to workers in holiday month with our lot off (7)
AUGMENT The holiday month is AUGust/ Remove the US (our lot) and add in MEN for workers
12 Fellow holding church party in kingdom once (7)
MACEDON More often seen with the IA on the end. Fellow is MAN, who holds a CE (church) DO (Party)
13 Survey revealing deception: sect’s up for reform (10)
CONSPECTUS Not a word for survey I’m familiar with, but a combination of CON for deception and an anagram (reform) of SECT’S UP
15 Top style in Russian city (4)
PERM Top style as in hairdo. PERM is a city on the banks of the Kama River in the European bit of Russia. I had to look it up
18 Chemist placing vanadium in period (4)
DAVY He of the safely lamp and also an accomplished chemist who isolated potassium and sodium in 1807 and calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium and boron. V vanadium in DAY for period of time
20 School with top athlete (4,6)
HIGH JUMPER Rydell High was the school in Grease, but is also the epithet for any number of schools. JUMPER is a top when top means an item of clothing
23 Game men with desire, heading off into dances (7)
BISHOPS You’re looking for chess MEN, so it’s desire: WISH with its heading banished inserted into dances: BOPS
24 Membrane's wrecked by a puller (7)
PLEURAL The apostrophe in membrane’s suggests you are looking for an adjectival version, an anagram (wrecked) of A PULLER
25 What's provided by painter, pretty gloss (9)
INTERPRET Today’s hidden, on paINTER, PRETty
26 Guy in cricket side leaving Somerset's ground (5)
TAUNT So a verbal meaning of guy, constructed from TAUNTON (indeed where Somerset cricketers play) without ON the cricket side
27 City match expecting many away supporters? (5)
DERBY Well, I suppose larger numbers of away supporters because in a Derby match they’re local (unless Manchester United)
28 Give description of fish coming to harbour (7)
PORTRAY RAY coming to PORT. Teehee


1 Military commander admitting oversight finally — one's fired (7)
SHOTGUN A Japanese military man with the last of oversighT inserting
2 Mockery of politician in debate that hasn't succeeded (8)
CONTEMPT Debate is  CONTEST, from which the S(ucceeded) is removed and MP, your politician, replacing it
3 Reference compiler exposing nonsense about good English (5)
ROGET Of  Thesaurus fame. ROT (nonsense) around and about G(ood) E(nglish)
4 Rush to get mug in seaside location (9)
DARTMOUTH a charade of DART: rush and MOUTH: mug. The Devon Home to the Britannia Royal Naval College
5 Quail, being left stuck in seat (6)
BLENCH L(eft) in BENCH: seat. Easy as they some, unless you  sre unfamiliar with the word blench
6 Cook requires good little sieve (7)
GRIDDLE Good provides the G again Chambers says a RIDDLE is a large sieve so perhaps the little suggests the diminutive form of good
7 Element hanging round game making one cross (5)
TIGON The Tiger shall lie down with the Lion and produce an random element TIN round GO, a game with pebbles
8 Five in a social event meeting duke, getting on (8)
ADVANCED A social event is A DANCE and five is V. The whole construction meets D(uke)
14 A new shirt PC ordered — I’d retain his helmet? (9)
CHINSTRAP The self aware helmet retainer is an ordered form of A N(ew) SHIRT PC, his referring to the PC doing a bit of double duty
16 Goodness gracious, having to get round exam on modern technology! (8)
MORALITY  Split the mild oath. Gracious (!) becomes MY (!) around an ORAL exam and IT for terribly modern technology
17 Roman official’s search round area to get gold (8)
QUAESTOR  Rely on the wordplay if you lack encyclopaedic knowledge of Roman officials. Search: QUEST surrounds A(rea) and gold provides the OR
19 Six sandwiches bought up for guest (7)
VISITOR More Latin: Six is VI. The sandwiches are ROTI (I think not really a plural) which are (is) brought up, or reversed
21 Criminal offence of a group in court (7)
PERJURY One of those clues where the innocuous A gives PER and the court group is a JURY
22 Cheer coming from old men in dance (6)
HOORAY O(ld) OR: men both in HAY for dance. I reckon the best known use of HAY for dance is Percy Grainger’s ctchy Shepherds’ one
23 Uncritical learner in tricky situation (5)
BLIND Your L(earner) in a BIND
24 Old man, head on verge of retirement (5)
PATER  Even more Latin Head is PATE, and the evrge of Retirement is just the R

Times Quick Cryptic No 1548 by Felix

Lots to like today in a good quality puzzle from Felix. I was held up a bit at the end by not expecting a second "hidden" clue - it's an unoffical rule to only appear once in a 15x15 but I forget if there are any such rules in the QC (apart from the non-living persons one). I'll blame that for just missing out on my target, although it did generally feel a bit harder than average when solving. Much enjoyed - many thanks to Felix!

1 In Peru, let hero, ostensibly, reign (4,3,5)
RULE THE ROOST - is "in" the letters of peRU LET HERO OSTensibly. Well hidden - I'd assumed it was going to be an anagram clued by "ostensibly" until a letter count eventually proved otherwise.
8 Periodical by graduate is hot stuff! (5)
MAGMA - MAG (periodical) by MA (graduate)
9 Reluctance to move one near it, somehow (7)
INERTIA - I (one) and an anagram (somehow) of NEAR IT
10 Row initially about cuts as an alternative (3)
OAR - A ("initially" About) cuts/enters OR (as an alternative)
11 Female relative invading pitch is showing off (9)
FLAUNTING - AUNT (female relative) invades FLING (pitch)
13 Through which spirit is poured out of sight (5)
OPTIC - double definition
14 Character waited for leave period (5)
GODOT - As in Waiting for Godot: GO (leave) DOT (period - I think as in American English for full stop).
16 Call concerning result? (4,5)
COME ABOUT - COME (call - as in call/come round) ABOUT (concerning)
17 Triumphant expression every second from rash lad (3)
AHA - "every second" letter from r A s H l A d
19 Find lie’s upset non-believer (7)
INFIDEL - anagram (upset) of FIND LIE
21 Knowing a king is held in great respect (5)
AWARE - A ; R (Rex = king) is held in AWE (great respect)
22 Different strangers Des offended (12)
TRANSGRESSED - anagram (different) of STRANGERS DES.

1 Artist and doctor: old, aggressive male (5)
RAMBO - RA (artist) and MB (doctor) O(ld). After John Rambo in the 1972 book First Blood, I see, before which it known only as a type of apple.
2 Exponent of record with a beat you can hear (9)
LOGARITHM - LOG (record) with what "you can hear" the same as A RHYTHM (a beat).
3 Female getting wind after car abandoned outside? (7,6)
TRAFFIC WARDEN - an &lit clue (see glossary): F(emale) gets an anagram (abandoned) of WIND AFTER CAR outside it. The whole clue is a broad definition of an enthusiastic traffic warden. I think the "wind" here is equatable to "energy" (as in "second wind") - it's more plausible than the sense of "getting wind of", or that she developed an unfortunate bout of enraged flatulence at the transgression.
4 Robust defending judge, one revolutionary prophet (6)
ELIJAH - HALE (robust) defends/covers J(udge) I (one), revolutionary = reverse.
5 Not a day patient’s bag? (9,4)
OVERNIGHT CASE - double definition, the first whimsical.
6 Ready for some tennis (3)
SET - double definition. The setter had plenty of options, with "set" having the longest entry in the second edition of the OED, running to some 430 definitions and 60,000 words. (It's neck and neck with "run", with 396, but we'll apparently have to wait until the third edition in 2037 to see if there's a new winner.) Anyway, they should definitely sell The Oxford English Dictionary's Complete Set as a book and market it as a great prize to disappoint the winner of a competition.
7 Instructed in pronunciation of tense (6)
TAUGHT - pronounced the same as TAUT (tense)
12 Locals embracing girl are natives of state (9)
INDIANANS - INNS (pubs/locals) embracing DIANA (girl). Odd looking word!
13 Killer at sea concealed bloomer (6)
ORCHID - ORC (killer at sea - apparently a variant of the better-known ORCA) HID (concealed)
15 Bend in centre of field: ogle girls (6)
DOGLEG - hidden slap bang in the centre of fielD OGLE Girls. Interestingly sinister surface.
18 Each leading (5)
AHEAD - each = A HEAD.
20 Pro might, abandoning civil engineer (3)
FOR - FORCE (might) losing CE (civil engineer) - as in to be pro/for something.

Times 27,587: Wide Sagacious Setter

Now this is what I want to see on a Friday - a tough, clever puzzle which keeps many of its secrets past the 10 minute mark and indeed into the parsing. 12ac, 20ac, 22ac, 29ac, 2dn, 8dn, all clues that I saw even more brilliance in after submitting, after I took it upon myself to discover *exactly* how they worked. (And that's not to even mention 16dn, 24ac, 26ac which I wouldn't have felt comfortable submitting without full comprehension of how to get there. Just as well really or I could easily have committed to EXER with a shrug!)

All of the surfaces are perfect and to be honest this a virtuoso piece of setting across the board, with several clues that go above and beyond the normal levels of originality in their devices - this is Monthly Club Special level stuff. Bravo, nameless perpetrator, bravo. Plus as a lifelong Doctor Who fan, even despite recent provocations, 28ac as well as the TARDIS noise at 18dn tickled me pink. Best puzzle of the year for me so far I think and I'll make almost all the clues by joint COD, apart from maybe 17ac which is a bit of an oldie and therefore somewhat self-descriptive.

Over to you lot then, what did you think?

1 Sets out with currency that’s been converted? (8)
EXPOUNDS - or, EX-POUNDS, as (British) currency that has been converted into something else, may be.

5 Pimp linking minister to a parliamentarian (6)
REVAMP - REV [minister] linked to A MP

10 Twice a year kid meets old cameraman (9)
PAPARAZZO - P.A. [a year, x2] + RAZZ [kid] meets O. FOI.

11 Back in Normandy: a Hungarian composer (5)
HAYDN - hidden reversed in {norma}NDY A H{ungarian}

12 First light sees one charmed by swan (4)
LEDA - L.E.D. A could be "first light", in the same way that L.E.D. B would be "second light", yes? One charmed by a swan that was actually Zeus, in Greek myth, that is.

13 Possible place for setter’s cryptic legend on back of book (3-6)

15 Mormon wandering in valley briefly finds place of rest (6,4)

17 Dodgy moment, not the first (4)

19 Colour dry clothing with it (4)
TINT - TT [dry] "clothing" IN [with it]

20 Sudden change for American humorist into small red jumper (10)
SWITCHEROO - WIT [humorist] into S CHE ROO [small | red | jumper]

22 Was glitchy volume increased on a good day? (9)
HICCUPPED - CC [= cubic centimetre = volume] UPPED, on HI! [a good day (to you)]

24 Always apparently packing an extra five in a single square container (4)
EWER - EVER is always. Its second square contains a V or five - if you squished another V into that square it might look like more like EWER than EVER!

26 Logo for channel that is reversing its polarity? (5)
IDENT - ID EST, its S{outh} flipping to N{orth}.

27 Rude Finns could make enemies (9)
UNFRIENDS - (RUDE FINNS*). Though everyone knows that the actual, real-world usage of this word is as in "snubs on Facebook".

28 Feisty female to play Doctor Who, at last, enters (6)
TOMBOY - TOY [to play], entered by MB {who}O. The Jodie Whittaker era is... not yet good, but it's better than last year, so that's something!

29 True stories about river fronts producing algae (8)
SARGASSO - SO [true], "fronted" by SAGAS "about" R

1 Finally, time is up, by clock (4)
ESPY - {tim}E {i}S {u}P {b}Y

2 Sweet Dot given fresh flower (10,5)
PEPPERMINT CREAM - PEPPER [dot], given MINT [fresh] + CREAM [flower (as in, the best of)]

3 Madness, having uranium near each child (8)
UNREASON - U NR EA SON [uranium | near | each | child]

4 Dropped off note and final letter (5)
DOZED - DO [note] and ZED

6 Did second check in English dictionary (6)

7 Summons requesting company to go to court? (6,3,6)
ANYONE FOR TENNIS - cryptic def, simply a tennis court rather than a legal one.

8 Fine strike that’s spotted in football field (7,3)
PENALTY BOX - PENALTY [fine] + BOX [strike]. I assume the penalty box is spotted because it has a penalty spot? But my grasp of the beautiful game is notoriously shaky.

9 See books covering county’s missing years? (4-4)
LONG-LOST - LO N.T. "covering" GLOS. LOI

14 Repeatedly cold, this most unconventionally fine shower! (6,4)
SCOTCH MIST - (C C THIS MOST*) ["unconventionally"]

16 Fixing undiluted drink, suddenly left, upset (8)
RAWLPLUG - RAW [undiluted] + reversed GULP L [drink suddenly | left]. This unusual and deceptively defined word took me AGES to crack.

18 Moan endlessly about tablets for hearing and breathing problem? (8)
WHEEZING - WHING{e} "about" a homophone of E'S [tablets (which're good, according to The Shamen)]

21 Neat, I agree (4,2)
JUST SO - double def

23 Government department do: couple in the end have left (5)
DEFRA - DEFRA{ud} [do], minus its last two letters. What did my American compatriots made of this rather parochial reference to the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs?

25 Capital letters, initially and finally, turning up in ciphers (4)
OSLO - L{etter}S, reversed inside O O [(two) ciphers]