February 22nd, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27588 - Saturday, 15 February 2020. Done like a dinner.

Another Saturday puzzle easy to finish over lunch, but full of delightful clues. FOI was 4dn, which jumped off the page, followed by 1ac as soon as I read the clue. As a clear sign that this was a relatively easy Saturday, my last few solutions were clear enough not to bother listing – it just took me a while to see them.

I loved the new take on the Cockney pronunciation meme at 1dn, and liked the misleading wordplay at 14ac and the swamp creature at 15ac, but my favourite was the dinner duck at 14dn. 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].
1 Dabbler in potions maybe St Michael converted (9)
ALCHEMIST – (ST MICHAEL*), ‘converted’.
6 Animal fats regularly consumed in risky venture (5)
BEAST - -A-S (fats, ‘regularly’) in BET.
9 Caught deputy to some extent on the retreat (7)
TRAPPED – DEP[-uty], PART (to some extent), all ‘on the retreat’.
10 Painter harboured by diplomat is secure (7)
MATISSE – hidden answer. And well hidden, too.
11 She flirts outrageously with a relation (4-6)
HALF-SISTER – (SHE FLIRTS A*), ‘outrageously’.
12 Swear changing leader will bring this trouble (4)
FUSS – change the first letter of CUSS.
14 Expression of doubt in Cambridge University? Goodness! (5)
MERIT – MIT is a university, and is of course in Cambridge (Massachusetts). To ‘ER’ is to express doubt.
15 One armed boy and I feeding creature of the swamps (9)
16 Open area where classes can absorb corporal? (9)
CONCOURSE – COURSE (classes) absorbs NCO.
18 Spring, time for Charlie to become thinner? (5)
TAPER – CAPER becomes TAPER when you change the first letter as directed.
20 Bloody good going back for a binge! (4)
ORGY – GORY becomes ORGY when G[-ood] goes back a couple of letters.
21 Airline gossip about what you might need in duty free? (7,3)
CARRIER BAG – CARRIER (airline), GAB (gossip), ‘about’.
25 A nurse holding article up (2,2,3)
AT AN END – A, TEND holding AN. ‘Up’, as in ‘your time is up’.
26 I nab RAF suspect, a foreigner (7)
BIAFRAN – (I NAB RAF*), ‘suspect’.
27 Big joiner losing weight (5)
ELDER – [-w]ELDER. ‘Elder’, as in ‘big brother’.
28 Wild lark in bed going down OK? (9)

1 A desire that’s often unexpressed in Bow (5)
AITCH – A, ITCH. The aspirate that Cockneys stereotypically drop.
2 Sycophant needing queen to support slow progress (7)
CRAWLER – CRAWL supported by ER.
3 Old job description (10)
4 Banker in south of France upset (5)
INDUS – IN, SUD ‘upset’.
5 Clement worried by tendency to blow top (9)
TEMPERATE – TEMPER (tendency to blow top), with ATE (worried) by (in this case, after) it.
6 City in which Archimedes made his discovery? (4)
BATH – no, Archimedes was never in Bath, but he was, reputedly, in his bath.
7 A sailor caught in storm (7)
ASSAULT – sounds (caught) like A SALT.
8 Official more confident after March, for the most part (9)
13 Drink lots of wine and go to bed (3,3,4)
HIT THE SACK – double definition. The first is a crossword whimsy.
14 Small stream from which duck might emerge? (9)
MICROWAVE – MICRO (small), WAVE (stream). The duck comes out of it after cooking, of course. I raised an eyebrow at WAVE for STREAM, but Chambers says it’s OK.
15 Fish brought to bank is crowned as winner (9)
17 Daughter raging about a stingy customer (7)
NIGGARD – (D RAGING*), ‘about’.
19 Bishop at university recalled good Polish food (3,4)
PUB GRUB – B (bishop), UP (at university), all ‘recalled’, then G[-ood], RUB.
22 Teacher’s pet? Not quite (5)
RABBI – the pet is a RABBI[-t]. Even after all these crosswords, I still think of rabbis as priests rather than teachers.
23 Spirit a German, say, knocked back (5)
GENIE – EIN (‘a’, in German), E.G. (say), all ‘knocked back’.
24 Grow stern (4)
REAR – double definition.