March 11th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1567 by Orpheus

This had a familiar feel about it mostly, perhaps because I'm finally tuning in to Orpheus's wavelength, or perhaps because the clues are all composed of pretty standard QC fare. Apart from an unkown region (20ac) for which I had to wait for all the checkers, no major hold-ups.


Definiitons underlined.


Across
1 A couple of girls of fussy disposition (7)
FINICKY - FI and NICKY (both names for girls, couple of girls).
7 Synthetic textile in a church gallery (7)
ACETATE - A, CE (Church of England, church), and TATE (gallery).
9 Captivate in French song (7)
ENCHANT - EN ('in' in French) and CHANT (song).
10 Subjects about right for the Torrid Zone (7)
TROPICS - TOPICS (subjects) surrounding (about) R (right). The torrid zone is the area between the tropics of cancer and capricorn, unknown to me, but easy enough to guess from the name.
11 Solid figure of Conservative regularly taking Ecstasy (4)
CONE - CON (conservative, regularly) and E (ecstasy). Is 'regularly' meant to signify that the political party is regularly abbreviated thus? Thanks to Jackkt for parsing this one: C (conservative), ON (regularly taking), and E (ecstasy).
12 Secluded dwelling Mike included in legacy (9)
HERMITAGE - M (mike, phonetic alphabet) inside (included in) HERITAGE (legacy).
14 Mistake in supervision (9)
OVERSIGHT - double definition.
16 Flag initially identified by retired teacher? (4)
IRIS - first letter of (initially) Identified, then a reversal of (retired) SIR (teacher).
17 Remark made by journalist to create an impact? (7)
IMPRESS - "I'M PRESS" (remark made by journalist?).
20 European region, one Lassie abandoned (7)
SILESIA - anagram of (abandoned) I (one) with LASSIE. There are a couple of reasonable-sounding ways to enter the vowels if, like me. you don't know the historical region. Thankfully, I guessed correctly.
21 Spoken greeting to woman providing sanitation? (7)
HYGIENE - sounds like (spoken) "Hi Jean" (greeting to woman).
22 Unexpectedly bid a lot for a popular newspaper (7)
TABLOID - anagram of (unexpectedly) BID A LOT.

Down
1 Like two Europeans providing gloss? (6,6)
FRENCH POLISH - like those from France and those from Poland.
2 Wormwood Scrubs, perhaps — or what it’s familiarly known by? (8)
NICKNAME - Wormwood Scrubs is the actual NAME of a London NICK (or prison).
3 Possible pet guarding old outdoor garment (4)
COAT - CAT (possible pet, possible owner) containing (guarding) O (old).
4 Talk incessantly in bay at terminus (6)
YATTER - hidden in (in) baY AT TERminus.
5 Teacher interrupting robbery, a bon vivant (8)
HEDONIST - DON (teacher) inside (interrupting) HEIST (robbery).
6 British woman abandoning son in Indonesian island (4)
BALI - B (British) with ALIson (woman) excluding (abondoning) 'son'.
8 Large antelope eating plant is in volcanic territory (6,6)
EASTER ISLAND - ELAND (large antelope) containing (eating) ASTER (plant) and IS.
12 Repaired sheet — and hurried! (8)
HASTENED - anagram of (repaired) SHEET AND.
13 A Liberal painting in the open air (8)
ALFRESCO - A, L (liberal), and FRESCO (painting).
15 Good American group making strengthener for garment (6)
GUSSET - G (good), US (American), and SET (group).
18 Summon boy attendant (4)
PAGE - double definition.
19 Youngster carrying large stick (4)
CLUB - CUB (youngster) containing (carrying) L (large).

Times 275609 - the Final final one, finally.

Here we are in mid March (almost) and, three months on, I'm blogging the last of last year's TCC puzzles, the one which finally decided that Mark Goodliffe a.k.a. magoo once again held the big prize ahead of John McCabe and Helen Ougham. Surprisingly, I didn't find it particularly difficult, although had I travelled to London at the crack of dawn and already spent two hours finishing six other puzzles under pressure on the same day, I dare say I'd have been close to brain dead and unable to decipher much of it. My hat is permanently off to those happy masochists with this kind of stamina.

16d was a word I'd never seen before, although clearly of obvious derivation. Explaining 3d caused me some trouble, as did getting 20d and the long 28a, which I assumed was more complicated than it really was. Half an hour had it done.

Across
1 Simple decision that’s up for review (15)
UNSOPHISTICATED - (DECISIONTHATSUP)*. A fine anagram and really tight clueing.
9 British PM once interrupted by a cross martinet (6-3)
BATTLE-AXE - B (British), ATTLEE with A X inserted.
10 Stupid students swapping sides (5)
CRASS - Students = CLASS, swap the L for R.
11 Short Persian jockeys have ambition (6)
ASPIRE - Anagram of PERSIA, i.e. Persian short.
12 Carefully observe indefinite number returning to Lincoln, Nebraska (4,4)
NOTA BENE - N (indefinite number), OT (returning to), ABE (Lincoln), NE (Nebraska). Made much easier as soon as the easy 6d was in, making ?O?A look like it could be a bit of Latin.
13 Revolutionary Communist Party following dictator’s first move uncertainly (6)
DODDER - D (dictator's first), then RED DO (Communist Party) reversed i.e. revolutionary.
15 Falling stock market index pulled back (8)
DOWNWARD - Very suitable clue for this week, if not for December 7th 2019. DOW the US index, then DRAWN (pulled) back (reversed).
18 American went down behind joint (8)
DOVETAIL - In America, it seems, the past tense of the verb DIVE is DOVE, not dived. Then TAIL = behind.
19 Pressing case for unpopular fellow (6)
URGENT - UR being the first and last, or 'case' of unpopular, and GENT being fellow.
21 Spreading solace around after vacation — social worker’s responsibility? (8)
CASELOAD - (SOLACE)* then AD = ArounD after vacation.
23 Vocal pair lay out rug (6)
TOUPEE - Homophone of TWO PAY = pair lay out.
26 Fungus still covering wings of aphids (5)
YEAST - still = YET, around AphidS.
27 Ignoring the odds, Kiwi nurses fool friend at first (9)
INITIALLY - I I = Kiwi ignoring the odd letters; insert NIT (fool) ALLY = friend.
28 Subversive character finally learnt good sense (15)
TREASONABLENESS - In spite of having the initial T and several other checkers, this took me longer than it should have; by 'character' I was thinking of a person rather than a character trait. And had not imagined the answer would be simply T (finally learnt) then REASONABLENESS all one word meaning good sense; I thought it might start with TRANS and end in NOUS for sense, at one early stage. But, too much thinking.
Down
1 In cheerful mood, trimming carpet (7)
UPBRAID - UP (in cheerful mood), BRAID (trimming stuff). Upbraid, carpet, reproach.
2 Lifting couch is exercise (3-2)
SIT-UP - PUT IS 'lifting' i.e. reversed. I think PUT = couch here, in the sense of 'couch in so many words'.
3 Extremely miserable mate goes bust, losing vehicle (9)
PALTRIEST - PAL (mate) TRIES (goes, efforts), BUST loses its vehicle = BUS leaving the T.
4 State, or regularly misread, question (4)
IRAQ - m I s R e A d, Q for question.
5 Three piggies, one lacking energy for confrontation (3-2-3)
TOE-TO-TOE - toe toe toe loses an E for energy.
6 Gas and endless solid fuel for hot drink (5)
COCOA - CO (carbon monoxide), COA(L).
7 Brand new head of abattoir stopping production of red meat (9)
TRADENAME - N(ew), A(battoir), insert NA into (REDMEAT)*. I spent unnecessary time trying to justify TRADEMARK.
8 Nudist endearingly covering belly (7)
DISTEND - Hidden word in NU(DIST END)EARINGLY. Belly as a verb, belly out, distend.
14 Waste and junk kept turning up on side of lane (9)
DEVASTATE - SAVED (kept) reversed, TAT (junk), E (side of lane).
16 Snort ice, a synthetic drug (9)
NARCOTISE - (SNORT ICE A)*. Have we seen synthetic as an anagrind before? Presumably to drug with narcotics as a verb although as I said above, not a word I'd seen used.
17 Single French capitalist losing heart after run on bank (8)
RIPARIAN - R (run) I (single) PARISIAN loses its 'heart' IS. For me the word 'riparian' was made famous by the Hyancinth Bucket character in Keeping Up Appearances, she liked to organise 'riparian feasts' i.e. posh picnics by the river.
18 Make intelligible point after attack (7)
DECRYPT - PT after DECRY = attack, criticise.
20 Makes patterns drawn on my legs periodically (3-4)
TIE-DYES - TIED = drawn, YES = alternate letters of m Y l E g S.
22 Plant contents of husk under patch of ground (5)
LOTUS - LOT = patch of ground, US = centre of husk.
24 Cry about small sign of life (5)
PULSE - PULE (cry plaintively) around S.
25 Member left Bengali film club at last (4)
LIMB - L (left) then end letters of Bengal-I fil-M clu-B.