March 19th, 2020

Times 27616 - one for you to 10 before it 15 you

Solving time: 8:54. A little faster than my usual, but I think I might have just been on the wavelength here, as there are some unusual phrases and entries where the wordplay came quickly to me. Maybe it is three days of sober confinement, which I do not recommend.

Hope everyone is staying safe and sane! It is funny, several of my friends have asked me how I am not going insane being home alone. Having a steady stream of crossword puzzles helps a lot - now friends are jealous of my hobby.

Away we go...

1 Store's premier card for hot goods (4)
SWAG - the first letter of Store, then WAG(card, funny person)
3 Started job regenerating items for connoisseur (6,4)
10 Deduce why one's been dismissed? (6,3)
REASON OUT - double definition based on a REASON(why) one could be OUT(dismissed)
11 Automatic runs on winter sports event (5)
LUGER - R(runs) with LUGE(winter sports event) for the automatic pistol
12 Quantity of beer from vat a doctor knocked over (7)
TANKARD - TANK(vat), A, then DR(doctor) reversed
13 Verbal contract wrapped up (6)
PACKED - sounds like PACT(contract)
15 Overcomes bugs richer people finally zapped (4,3,6,2)
GETS THE BETTER OF - GETS(bugs) the THE BETTER OFF(richer people) missing the last letter
18 King collared by parsimonious consort with whom words are often exchanged (8,7)
SPARRING PARTNER - R(rex, king) inside SPARING(parsimonious), PARTNER(consort)
21 Signals you might pick up for lots of people waiting (6)
QUEUES - sounds like CUES(signals)
23 Understand snag in operation (5,2)
CATCH ON - CATCH(snag), ON(in operation)
26 Heath, one Conservative hampered by time (5)
ERICA - I(one), C(conservative) inside ERA(time)
27 Trace of narcotic in Oriental brew, mouthful that's probably toxic (9)
SNAKEBITE - first letter of Narcotic inside SAKE(Oriental brew), then BITE(mouthful)
28 I'll represent head of faculty on stage to provide clarity (10)
LEGIBILITY - I replacing the first letter of ABILITY(faculty) with LEG(stage of a journey)
29 Rest going back in custody at station (4)
STAY - hidden reversed in custodY AT Station
1 Republican brought in to enumerate main points for planner (10)
STRATEGIST - R(republican) inside STATE(enumerate) then GIST(main points)
2 Old commander elected for the second time? (5)
AGAIN - AGA(old commander) IN(elected)
4 Pulse from East covered by general embargo (5,4)
BROAD BEAN - E(east) inside BROAD(general) BAN(embargo)
5 Prevent scriptures turning up, in a strange sense (5)
ESTOP - OT(scriptures) reversed inside ESP(a strange sense)
6 Sailor put up valid proposition (7)
SOLICIT - OS(Ordinary Seaman, sailor) reversed, then LICIT(valid). I was a little surprised to see SOLICIT as a noun, but is listed as a Shakespearean noun in Chambers
7 Engineer learning to retain old structural support (5,4)
ANGLE IRON - anagram of LEARNING containing O(old)
8 Against main force becoming split (4)
TORN - TO(against), RN(Royal Navy, main force)
9 Prolific scorer from Down Under in auction? (6)
MOZART - OZ(down under) inside MART(auction)
14 English reformer throttling leading European's neck (10)
EFFRONTERY - E(english), and the reformer Elizabeth FRY containing FRONT(leading), E(european)
16 Disparaging copper caught up in traffic (9)
TRADUCING - CU(copper) reversed in TRADING(traffic)
17 Muscle in remaining eager (9)
EXPECTANT - PEC(muscle) inside EXTANT(remaining)
19 Unscripted talk in theatre stems from the garden (7)
RHUBARB - double definition.
20 A little sooner (6)
RATHER - another double definition
22 Fibrous plant is invading South American lake (5)
SISAL - IS inside SA (South American), L(lake)
24 Godfearing type losing time in hold-up (5)
HEIST - THEIST(godfearing type) missing a T(time)
25 Meat trade using one percent of its capital (4)
VEAL - DEAL(trade) with the D(500) changing to V(5)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1573 by Pedro

This was comfortably inside my upper (generous?) time limit at 14 minutes, but again, held some traps.  Hopefully, you will have managed to complete in a reasonable time yourselves.  I see neither theme nor NINA, but did enjoy this puzzle from Pedro, particularly when reviewing the clues again to write the blog.

FOI was JACK.  I needed to write the anagrist for the two long anagrams before they revealed themselves to me, but nothing else was too obscure or difficult to see.  There was the need to lift and separate a couple of times.  Any other difficulties I have referred to in the commentary below.  My WOD is ANGUISH.

Keep 22 and 21 your facemasks to stem the 17 in these worrying times.


1  Doctor takes no time in saying a little (7)
MODICUM – MO (doctor) and DIC{t}UM (saying, no T{ime}).
Sailor playing card (4)
JACK – Double definition, the first referring to JACK Tar, the second to one of the knaves in a deck of cards.
7 Problem with wrestling, nothing less (3)
SUM – SUM{o} wrestling, with the last letter removed – nothing less.
8  Organise a fight in a car (8)
RUNABOUT – Equivalent of RUN A BOUT (organise a fight).  A RUNABOUT is a small, light car.
10  Eagle’s attribute seen around river and island nest (5)
EYRIE – Eagles have several attributes, but one of them is famously an ‘eagle’s EYE’, which here surrounds R{iver} and I{sland} to give EYRIE, the nest of a bird of prey, such as an eagle.
11  Droop after shaking off head pain (7)
ANGUISH – {l}ANGUISH, having shaken off head, dropped first letter.  I wondered about the equivalence of anguish and pain, but it is perfectly acceptable according to Chambers.
13  Urge is visible, we hear (6)
INCITE – Sounds like (we hear) IN SIGHT.
15  Better to lose first slow walker (6)
AMBLER – {g}AMBLER (better, as in gambler) losing first letter.
17  Increase in students initially restricted by University clear-out (7)
UPSURGE – U{niversity} and PURGE (clear-out) containing S{tudents} (initially).
18  American to leave cuddling one Hispanic friend (5)
AMIGO – AM{erican) and GO (leave) surrounding (cuddling) I (one).  I don’t think I have seen AM as an abbreviation of American in the QC before, and it isn’t listed in Chambers, but I think it is fair enough if you think about the old air carrier Pan Am.
20  Tirade provided by one of several siblings in the quarter (8)
QUADRANT – RANT (tirade) after QUAD (one of a set of QUADruplets (one of several siblings)).
22  Able to run, following target of chase? (3)
FIT – F{ollowing} (an acceptable abbreviation according to my Chambers) and IT (as in you are IT, in games like tag).  One definition of IT in Chambers is - in children’s games, the player chosen to oppose all others.
23  Near average (4)
MEAN – Double definition.  I was unsure about the first, but being ‘near’ here relates to being stingy, parsimonious or MEAN, whilst I think the second is more obvious.
24  Selected comments maybe from drinker finally accepted by bar (7)
EXCERPT – EXCEPT (bar) containing {drinke}R (finally).


Peculiar way to represent tourism? Yes (10)
MYSTERIOUS – Anagram (way to represent) of [TOURISM? YES]
2  Odd newsman raised objection (5)
DEMUR – RUM (odd) and ED{itor} (newsman) all reversed (raised).  DEMUR has always been a verb to me, and objection a noun, causing a slight pause in my progress.  However, I see that DEMUR as a noun is allowed by Chambers as an act of demurring or objection.
3  Come in in pursuit of fish and chips (9)
CARPENTER – ENTER (come in) after CARP (fish) to give the slang term for a CARPENTER.  Is it just me that struggles with the order of things when ‘in pursuit of’ or ‘chasing’ signifies to come before or after in a down clue?  I struggle with it nearly every time.
4  Fellows curtailed discussion of the mind (6)
MENTAL – MEN (fellows) and TAL{k} (curtailed discussion).
5  Sailor supporting Judge in critical comment (3)
JAB – AB (sailor – able-bodied) supporting J{udge}.
Key cricket club adopting different sport starts to inspire all league (7)
CRUCIAL – CC (cricket club) containing (adopting) RU (Rugby Union – different sport) and followed by first letters of (starts to) I{nspire} A[ll} L{eague}.
Heating control more than half nibbled by the rodent  (10)
THERMOSTAT – MOST (more than half) inside (nibbled by) THE (the) and RAT (rodent)
12  My acting’s odd, but vigorous (9)
GYMNASTIC – Anagram (odd) of [MY ACTING’S].
14  Bird turned up, bill on head – fancy dress? (7)
COSTUME – EMU (bird) reversed (turned up) with COST above (on head).
16  Picked up teaching degree and took in discussion (6)
DEBATE - Thanks to Anon below who pointed out that I had missed this clue in the blog, and to Kevin who provided an answer.  B.ED (teaching degree) reversed (picked up) and ATE (took in).
19  Conclude there’s no escaping from fire (5)
INFER – NO escaping from INFER{NO} (fire)
21  Finished with dismissal of English academic (3)
DON – DON(e) (with dismissal of E{nglish})

Times 27,617: Fridays, How We've Missed You

You know it's a Friday, or it bally well should be, when Latinate terms like 11, 20 and 22ac are liberally interspersed with YEAH and SOZ and ALLEY-OOP; and Baruch, Boris and César happily rub shoulders Henry the Green Engine. COD to 1dn but there were a number of other contenders including the phenomenal reverse hidden at 4ac and the impeccable surface of 21dn. Not much bad to say about this one except that it took me an absurd amount of staring at 23ac before its penny finally consented to drop. Bravo setter, great puzzle!

1 Threat to aircraft that’s coming across in style of greeting (6)
SALAAM - SAM [surface-to-air missile] that's coming "across" A LA [in style of]

4 Location for shooting singular rock opera needs backing (2,6)
OK CORRAL - hidden reversed in {singu}LAR ROCK O{pera}

9 Description of awfully nice gal? (7)
ANGELIC - (NICE GAL*) ["awfully"], semi-&lit. FOI.

11 When nothing legally can be done about one’s dissembling, row! (4,3)
DIES NON - DIN [row] about (ONE'S*) ["dissembling"]

12 One laying track for a green engine (5)
HENRY - HEN RY [one laying | track]. Henry was one of Thomas' pals in the much-loved works of the Reverend W.V. Awdry.

13 Male bears after time seen in remote areas (3,6)
THE STICKS - HE STICKS [male | bears] after T

14 Penny condemned stout Glaswegian in disgrace (3,2,5)
PUT TO SHAME - P + (STOUT*) ["condemned"] + HAME [Glaswegian (word for) "in"]

16 My parking space rather confined (4)
COOP - COO P [my | parking]

19 Non-standard agreement by UEFA, tho’ consistently overlooked (4)
YEAH - {b}Y {u}E{f}A {t}H{o}

20 One dictated to a football team measures one’s put together (10)
AMANUENSIS - A MAN_U ENS I'S [a | football team | measures | one's]

22 Legal action once, when reservoir location not finalised (9)
ASSUMPSIT - AS SUMP SIT{e} [when | reservoir | location]

23 Face that a woman usually has on a certain day in May? (5)
BRAVE - BRA [that a woman usually has on] + V-E [a certain day in May]. LOI and by quite a margin of time!

25 Philosopher’s informal apology including staple answer (7)
SPINOZA - SOZ [informal apology] "including" PIN [staple], + A [answer]

25 Award-winning picture of Spooner’s head published (4,3)
RAIN MAN - Spoonerized MAIN RAN [head | published]

27 Visor, indeed, kept between feet, centrally (8)
EYESHADE - YES HAD [indeed | kept] "between" {f}EE{t}

28 Composer’s brother, one released from prison (6)

1 Irresponsible and secretive about a software substitute for litmus? (4-5)
SLAP-HAPPY - SLY [secretive] about A pH APP! Obvious COD material.

2 Sign name to gain access to system (3,2)
LOG ON - LOGO N [sign | name]

3 Before work, walk over high pass (5-3)
ALLEY-OOP - before OP [work], ALLEY O [walk | over]

5 Person fooling with spray set about new carpet (13)

6 Girl’s mini-poem? (6)

7 Article put out after race meet (3,6)
RUN ACROSS - A CROSS [article | put out] after RUN [race]

8 Pair in cage suspended, the first to be sent down (5)
LUNGS - SLUNG, with the first letter moved to the end. The cage being a ribcage!

10 Do — but with less relish? (3,3,7)
CUT THE MUSTARD - very nice cryptic def

15 Our lot’s thus working late shift (5,4)
THAT'S LIFE - (LATE SHIFT*) ["working"]

17 Famous Russian from history, butchered near Omsk, finally (9)
PASTERNAK - PAST [history] + (NEAR*) ["butchered"] + {oms}K

18 Quietly go out on beach with recliner? Because beach is this? (8)
PEBBLIER - P EBB LIER [quietly | go out on beach | recliner]

21 Low cape — button it around neck (6)
SMOOCH - MOO C [low | cape] with SH [button it!] around

22 Passage one’s going to read out (5)
AISLE - homophone of I'LL [one's going to]

24 Running time required by commercial (5)
ADMIN - MIN [time] by AD [commercial]