March 25th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1577 by Teazel

Very slow for me - partly because I'm a little out of practice lately, but also due to quite a lot of those crypticky sideways definitions that I've always been slow to twig. I probably wouldn't have thought much about if were I not blogging today, but 8ac/10ac/11ac/20dn got me trying to define the difference (if any) between a cryptic defintion and a definition with cryptic hint. Anyway, there's lots of them, which makes the explanations tricky - do ask if I've not given you enough to go on.

Definitions underlined.

Across
3 Criticise a conurbation for greed (8)
RAPACITY - RAP (criticise), A, CITY (conurbation). Great clue, which I re-engineered from the made up 'panatown'.
7 Conditional release of father to attend function (6)
PAROLE - PA (father) next to (to attend) ROLE (function).
8 Sort of group that gets under your skin? (8)
SPLINTER - cryptic definition; a break-away group.
9 Pale daughter’s magic accessory (4)
WAND - WAN (pale) and D (daughter).
10 Burning paper? (3)
SUN - crytic definition referring to the tabloid newspaper.
11 Time-saving tip that’s not so hairy? (5,3)
SHORT CUT - cryptic definition.
13 Love this statue? Turning angry (4)
EROS - reversal of (turning) SORE (angry). Aside from the Yoda-esque definition, I think the question mark takes care of any Eros/Anteros ambiguity.
15 Fly back out of Katanga (4)
GNAT - reverse hidden in (back out of) kaTANGa.
17 From part of hospital, bore off set of clothes (8)
WARDROBE - WARD (part of hospital) and an anagram of (off) BORE.
19 Cry, going with this colour (3)
HUE - 'cry' goes with this in the phrase 'hue and cry', meaning to raise the alarm after witnessing a crime.
22 Swelling, be very angry (4)
BOIL - double definition.
23 A secondary job working in diesel (8)
SIDELINE - anagram of (working) IN DIESEL.
24 Concerned with omen, stand down (6)
RESIGN - RE (regarding, concerned with) and SIGN (omen).
25 The shape of American defence? (8)
PENTAGON - cryptic definition; both a shape and the name (and shape) of the US Dept. of Defense (sic) headquarters.

Down
1 It’s something to run a temperature: no harm moving around outside (8)
MARATHON - anagram of (moving) NO HARM, surrounding (outside) A and T (temperature).
2 Below NY apartment, see rook or vulture (6)
CONDOR - below CONDO (condominium, US (potentially New York) apartment) is R (rook).
3 Don’t use snooker aid (4)
REST - double definition.
4 Pulsing laser, top guide at night (4,4)
POLE STAR - a.k.a. the North Star - anagram of (pulsing) LASER TOP.
5 Dog carrying stick around at home (6)
CANINE - CANE (stick) containing (around) IN (at home). 'Carrying' is an odd equivalence indicator, or should I be thinking of a yoke (or carrying stick) made of bamboo/cane?
6 Rain heavily as hunting party turning up (4)
TEEM - often followed by 'down' in this context - MEET (hunting party) reversed (turning up).
12 Cringe frightfully, suppressing cry of pain, doing this? (8)
COWERING - anagram of (frightfully) CRINGE containing (suppressing) OW (cry of pain).
14 Elite institutions that beast can cross? (8)
OXBRIDGE - an OX BRIDGE might be something a beast can cross.
16 Running around, the rat is a danger (6)
THREAT - anagram of (running around) THE RAT.
18 Strong, but run over and broken (6)
ROBUST - R (run), O (over) and BUST (broken).
20 Bird that’s flown as an experiment (4)
KITE - cryptic definition, the hint referring to the famous experiment performed by Benjamin Franklin.
21 Part of winter nasty for bird (4)
TERN - hidden in (part of) winTER Nasty.

Times 27621 - I needed a wee dram from the closed shop after this

I don't mind hard puzzles, they can be more satisfying even if you don't quite finish. But I found this one hard to enjoy, even if I did learn a couple of new words. It had an old fashioned feel to it, and some very convoluted wordplay; e.g. at 19d derive some anagram fodder from Roman numerals and an abbreviation, rearrange and wrap around the code letters for a country. Such stuff encourages one to BIFD. Maybe I was just in a bad mood because our thrice weekly golf has been knocked on the head for the foreseeable just when the weather is great. There's a limit to how much gardening a man can do and stay sane. Or how many jigsaws and crosswords.

Across
1 Source of flour used to make dough? (4,4)
CASH CROP - A whimsical cryptic definition.
5 Oratory in the case of Churchill hard to copy (6)
CHAPEL - C L (case of Churchill) has H (hard) APE (copy) inserted.
10 Racket payment from mystified non-competitor you returned (10,5)
PROTECTION MONEY - (NON COMPETITOR)* then YE reversed.
11 Like some cakes set before daughter (7)
LAYERED - LAY (set) ERE (before) D (daughter).
12 Island previously to get motorway round it (7)
FORMOSA - FOR (to get, as in go for = go to get), M (motorway) O (round) SA (sex appeal, IT). Taiwan was known as Formosa from about 1650 (when the Portuguese named it) until the 1950s when the Chinese and Japanese name became prevalent.
13 State of old limo confused with cab (8)
COLOMBIA - (O LIMO CAB)*.
15 Long-distance traveller from Maine sleeping like a baby? (5)
COMET - ME for Maine, inside COT where a baby may sleep.
18 Given further term in high school for dances (5)
HAKAS - AKA, short for "also known as", inside H S = high school.
20 Device containing spring cabbage maybe left around for rabbit to eat (4,4)
YALE LOCK - YAK = rabbit, into that insert L (left) and COLE (cabbage) reversed.
23 Still clutching your right hand or foot (7)
PYRRHIC - a PIC or still picture, has YR (your) RH (right hand) inserted, a pyrrhic foot in poetry has 2 short syllables.
25 Engineering graduate having rung to order (7)
BESPOKE - BE = Bachelor of engineering; SPOKE = rung. I thought an engineering degree was a B.Eng.?
26 Work in China shared between us? (3,6,6)
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND - Cryptic clue, similar to one seen a few days ago if i remember rightly.
27 Change, once, from half marathon, adopting 2000m? (6)
MARKKA - MARA (half marathon) has K K (2000 metres) inserted. I used to go to Finland on business way before 2002 (when the markka was replaced by the euro) so knew what it was, but even so it took me a while to sort out KK for 2000 metres as opposed to MM or KM.
28 Fourth rate stuff’s bound to appear in US bar (8)
DRAMSHOP - I thought this was an very obscure clue, maybe our Transatlantic friends found it less so. I'd never heard of a dram shop (which less often can be one word). It's a place in America legalised for the sale of liquor. I can see RAM'S for stuff's is inside D = fourth rate and HOP for bound, but for me it was a case of LOI finding something that fitted the checkers.
Down
1 Round top of trophy, see revolving article (6)
CUPOLA - CUP )trophy), OL = LO (see) reversed, A for article.
2 Unreal level of American reserve (9)
STORYBOOK - Presumably Americans spell storey without an E? and BOOK = reserve as in a table.
3 In Italy, that eastern river is so long! (7)
CHEERIO - So now we have to speak italian too! CHE is Italian for 'that'. Follow it by E and RIO as in RIO Grande for example, (now we're speaking Spanish too), and Roberto is your zio or tio. Che sera, sera.
4 Four pairs of volunteers beset by obsessive behaviour (5)
OCTAD - TA the evergreen Territorial Army goes into OCD = obsessive compulsive disorder.
6 Grand, upright character in Catholic circles (7)
HOMERIC - meaning 'of epic proportions', so grand. IN = HOME, then RC has I an 'upright character' inserted.
7 Mount using clip, closed (5)
PINTO - PIN = clip, as in a badge perhaps; TO = closed, as in a door.
8 Ruin song with a short dance sequence (3,5)
LAY WASTE - LAY = song, W = with, A, STE(P) = short dance sequence.
9 Large party beat up bouncer dispatched by club (4,4)
GOLF BALL - All reversed; L (large) LAB(our), FLOG (beat).
14 This young camper’s pants nothing but cosy (3,5)
BOY SCOUT - (O BUT COSY)*. I thought scouts no longer had a gender attached?
16 Panoramic Rome’s historic housing something very fine (9)
MICROMESH - Hidden word in PANORA(MIC ROME'S H)ISTORIC.
17 Prow’s damaged with him? (8)
SHIPWORM - (PROWS HIM). It looked like an anagram and I saw it was probably a worm of some sort, but I'd never heard of a shipworm. Presumably a woodworm in a wooden ship. Then I read Wiki on the subject so have learnt something today.
19 Idiot diverted us 100km across Switzerland (7)
SCHMUCK - One of the few Yiddish words I know, although I've never heard it used. I think you turn 100km into CKM, then make an anagram of that with US, then wrap SMUCK around CH for Switzerland. A bit of a chore.
21 Powerful drive, with spirit: nineteen more needed for century? (7)
LUSTRUM - LUST = powerful drive; RUM a spirit. A LUSTRUM is a five year period, like a Boris government, so you need another nineteen of them to make 100 years.
22 Take off from party chasing old nurse (4,2)
SEND UP - a SEN was a State enrolled nurse; DUP a political party thankfully no longer holding the Tories to ransom. Did they ever get their billions promised by Mrs May? I hope not.
24 Painter stern after spilling a thinner on the ground (5)
RARER - RA = artist, painter, REAR = stern loses A.
25 One makes a packet in one’s field (5)
BALER - cryptic definition, one thinks.