March 31st, 2020


Times Quick Cryptic 1581 by Breadman

An excellent QC IMHO. Not just a pangram but a well judged level of clueing which kept me on my toes but still allowed me to come within my tangent 10 minutes (by 6 seconds!). 18ac went in not fully parsed and LOI 7ac 'just had to be'. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Checking the blog in preview, some of the clues seem to be highlighted in yellow. Another display issue which I don't think I have any control over. If this is how it appears to you then I hope you'll be able to read it OK.

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  • jackkt

Times Cryptic 27626

This one took me ages, especially finding an answer to start me off. We're living through very difficult times when it's hard to keep one's head clear and focussed on anything for long so I'm not going to waste time speculating on other explanations, but I enjoyed the puzzle, which after is all the main thing.

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Monthly Club Special 20,234: A Daimen-Icker In A Thrave

What, April already? I'd totally forgotten to do this until just now but it was worth the wait, with some LOLsome words from the very darkest corners of the dictionary, and some truly splendiferous cluing, especial in some of the downs. COD to 10 down, with honourable mention to the "80% reduction" device at 22dn. Lots of Scots in this one, just the way I like it. Thanks setter - and now I can crack straight on with 20,235 as soon as I care to... what a great start to a month!

1 Drive to the end of old dock finally, after heading away from uncertain places (6)
IMBOSK - {doc}K, after {l}IMBOS. "Imbosk" means, as it looks like it should, to go into a wood; but ALSO "to drive to extremity", "to make foam at the mouth". What a great word! In any case, the definition part is actually "drive to the end", but only in former times, hence, "of old".

4 United again finished with Gunners in place aforementioned (3,5)
UBI SUPRA - U BIS UP [united | again | finished] with R.A. [Royal Artillery = gunners]. Who doesn't like a bit of Latin in their crosswords? Especially this one which I seem to remember came up somewhere else not so long ago. Though it could always have been in a Magpie puzzle.

9 Purple adopted by Nancy’s a strip of something flashy (7)
UNPLUME - PLUM "adopted" by UNE [a, to the people of Nancy, the 20th largest urban area in France]

11 So-called star reader liked tips on Zola’s novel (7)
ZADKIEL - (LIKED Z{ol}A*) ["novel"]. Well I thought this was just the name of some angel, but post-solve the dictionary was able to enlighten me: "The name assumed by Richard James Morrison (1794-1874), compiler of a popular astrological almanac." The things we learn from crosswords!

12 Solvent or sedative everyone’s taken in party (5)
ALDOL - ALL has taken in DO. "A colourless or yellowish oily liquid, miscible with water, used in the manufacture of rubber accelerators, as an organic solvent, in perfume, and as a hypnotic and sedative. Formula: CH3CHOHCH2CHO. Systematic name: 3-hydroxybutanal". So now we know.

13 Scottish court’s only keeping a track on Irish comedian (9)
ALLENARLY - A RLY on (Dave) ALLEN. "A technical word (for "only") used in Scotch conveyancing" says the internet.

14 Help mending torn gardening glove — not dear (7,3)

16 What rook might go past small headland? (4)
SCAW - CAW [what rook might go] past S

19 What’s revealed in briefs — and in revolutionary flameproof nightie? (4)
INFO - hidden reversed in {flamepro}OF NI{ghtie}

20 Changing hands, judged unfavourably: in other words, “pronounced” (10)
CLITICISED - CRITICISED is "judged unfavourably", change the R hand to L. "Examples of clitics are the pronoun 'em in I see 'em and the definite article in French l'arme, "the arm."

22 Without retreating, ice spar affected water conservation method (9)
XERISCAPE - reversed EX + (ICE SPAR*)

23 Hint of air and sky all see tho’ never outside (5)
INKLE - {a}I{r} {a}N{d} {s}K{y} {a}L{l} {s}E{e}

25 Old lady put out when one surrounds clan leaders (7)
AMAKOSI - MA K.O. [old lady | put out] "surrounded" by AS I [when | one]. Zulu clan leaders, to be exact.

26 Translator, one who dispenses with alternative end to chapter (7)
RHEMIST - take CHEMIST, one who dispenses, and swap one end of C{hapte}R for the other. There is a "Rhemish translation" of the New Testament, we discover.

27 Patron of poetry’s retired to cut a piece of verse (8)
APOLLINE - LOP reversed in A LINE

28 Goddess’s sort of dark coat (6)
ISHTAR - ISH TAR [sort of | dark coa]

1 Junk associated with raid at sea, current danger to swimmers (9)
IRUKANDJI - (JUNK + RAID*) ["at sea"] + I [current]. A tiny but potentially deadly Australian jellyfish!

2 Credit outspoken school making a stand (5)
BIPOD - homophone of BUY [credit, as in "I don't buy that"] + POD [school]. Got to say that bipods sound pretty rubbish compared to the far superior tripods.

3 Mean to swallow duck, like a shark (8)
SQUALOID - SQUALID [mean] to "swallow" O [duck]

5 In England, uniform Zulus wear, but not with animated character (4,9)

6 Inactive time after 6 PM, not 9 (6)
SEDENT - T [time] after S{ix} EDEN [former British PM, 55-57]

7 Professional mostly dodges some Highland game (9)
PAITRICKS - PAI{d} TRICKS. A delightful Scottish rendition of "partridges".

8 Gang this crooked? Indeed, pinching large Rolls (5)
AGLEY - AY, pinching GLE [some kind of big car, I think] YEA "pinches" LG, and is reversed. As in what "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men" aft gang.

10 Leading artist, one on church body, picked up book for Mass (13)
EVANGELIARION - reverse all of NO1 R.A. I LEG NAVE [leading | artist | one | on | church body]. Wow!

15 Note fuss about criminal record gets soldier dismissed (9)

17 Scot who’s lent a lot of notes to me? (9)
WADSETTER - WAD to SETTER. Another gey bonny Scots word for a mortgagee.

18 Every so often in cases framing neat sentiment (8)
ICKINESS - I{n} C{a}S{e}S "frames" KINE [neat, as in cows]

21 One to rope in for cycling no longer free (6)
ASSOIL - I LASSO [one | to rope in], cycled. An old word ["no longer"] meaning much the same as "absolve".

22 80-per-cent initial reduction in mortgage, perhaps, key figures having supposedly fallen (5)
XOANA - take a LOAN, and make an 80% reduction its initial L (=50) to X (=10). Add an A [key] and you have a simple wooden carved image, which were supposed to have fallen from heaven. If you are me, which fortunately you are probably not, you will know this word from Xoanon having been the sinister antagonist of the excellent 1977 Doctor Who serial "The Face of Evil".

24 Painter’s materials interspersed with hint of light medium (5)
KLIMT - KIT [materials], interspersed with L{ight} and M