April 2nd, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1583 by Izetti

The Don (Izetti) again takes me over my target to just inside 20 minutes with a nicely challenging QC.  I enjoyed seeing novel devices used to indicate the requirement to drop a letter in the answers to 14 and 16 across.  There were several clever attempts at misdirection, and 13d had me looking for an anagram that wasn’t there.  Clue of the day to the beautifully concise and witty 24a.

How did you all do?


Across

Violent farm animal encountering quiet little creature (7)
RAMPANT – RAM (farm animal) ‘encountering’ P (quiet) and ANT (little creature).  I wasn’t 100% convinced of the equivalence of violent with rampant, but it is close enough not to quibble.
Destined to make a leap (5)
BOUND – Double definition.
10 State chief given a hearing (5)
MAINE – Sounds like (given a hearing) MAIN (chief).
11  Head of Police negligent?  That’s the assumption (7)
PREMISS – Head of P{olice} and REMISS (negligent).
12  Listener puzzles – one gets stuck in, never giving up? (9)
RESILIENT – Anagram (puzzles) of [LISTENER] with an I (one) ‘getting stuck’ in it.
14 Boy for whom big book is too much (3)
TOM – A big book is a TOM{e}.  ‘Too much’ is an indicator to drop the last letter.
16  Sleep with back of neck not completely visible (3)
NAP – The back of the neck is the NAP{e}.  ‘Not completely visible’ is another indicator to drop the last letter.
18  Reduces legal documents (9)
CONTRACTS – Double definition.
21  Country sound of composer Benjamin (7)
BRITAIN – Homophone, meant to sound like Edward Benjamin Britten (Baron Britten), English composer.
22  Amazing affection masks this mistake (5)
GAFFE – Hidden in {amazing}G AFFE{ction}.  I tried to play with Amazing Grace initially, until I saw the hidden.
23  Greek character was first on return to get word of gratitude (5)
DELTA – LED (was first) reversed (on return) and TA (word of gratitude – as in ‘ta very much guv’nor’.
24  Domestic row? (7)
TERRACE – Cryptic definition to a row of TERRACEd houses, where hopefully harmony exists in these troubled times, rather than the domestic disquiet that we are misdirected to by the clue.

Down

1  What is neat on a river – a new boat (8)
TRIMARAN – TRIM (neat) A R{iver} A N{ew} to give the three hulled boat that the definition is referring to.
Messages revealing English maiden is unwell (6)
EMAILS – I hope it isn’t Coronavirus for her sake!  E{nglish} M{aiden} AILS (is unwell).
Food so-so, from what’s said (4)
FARE – Another homophone (from what’s said), sounds like FAIR (so-so).
Something used to fix broken plates (6)
STAPLE – Anagram (broken) of [PLATES].
One challenging thing weighing on other ranks, initially (8)
OBJECTOR – OBJECT (thing) above (weighing on) O{ther} R{anks} (initially).
6  Youngster is taking time to become a Picasso (6)
CUBIST – CUB (youngster) IS (is) with (taking) T{ime}.  Pablo Picasso famously went through several styles of art, from his BLUE and ROSE periods early in life, followed by PRIMITIVISM before defining ANALYTIC and SYNTHETIC CUBISM.  His later years saw other styles emerge.  It’s all way above my head.
7  Love some French poems  (4)
ODES – O (love) and DES (French for some or from).
13  Not be able to arrange a date, alas? (8)
LACKADAY – Cryptic kind of double definition type clue?  The definition of LACKADAY is to be listless, languid and ineffectual, and if one was to LACK A{n} appropriate DAY, one would be unable to arrange a date.
15 Controlled transport of red meats (8)
MASTERED – Anagram (transport) of [RED MEATS]
17  Work round edge in proper manner (6)
PRIMLY – PLY (work) around (round) RIM (edge).  We’ve seen PLY for WORK recently – think of PLYing or WORKing a trade.
19  No catches in these musical pieces (6)
NONETS – NO (no) and NETS (catches).
20  Garment a foot short kept in vessel (6)
CAFTAN – A FT (short for foot) inside CAN (vessel).
21  Group of five hundred enthralled by young male (4)
BODY – the young male is a BOY, and he captures (enthrals) D (Roman for 500)
22  Female US soldier joining both sides (4)
GIRL – GI (US soldier) joining R{ight} and L{eft} (both sides).

Times 27628 - in which I do not advance

Well I am well and truly beaten! After about 20 minutes, I gave up and bunged in answers for the two that I could not make head or tail of, and hit submit. One of my guesses turned out to be correct, one of my guesses did not, though I had one letter correct.

This is a difficult puzzle, I made a very slow start, picked up for a while and thought I was going to come in around 13-15 minutes, but the last two held me up for a long time until I couldn't take starting at them any more.

With the puzzle being available for about an hour now, there are two correct solutions (both over 20 minutes), so maybe someone will put me out of my misery.

Stay safe and well people... away we go!

Across
1 Very different energy and skill required by staff (5,5)
POLES APART - SAP(energy) and ART(skill) with POLE(staff)
6 While away, approve advances (4)
PA?S - I guessed PAYS for advances, but that is incorrect. It could be PASS, but that wouldn't be plural. Edit: PASS as a triple definition. Or double, or something.
9 Made up post-paid packages in foil (10)
DISAPPOINT - anagram of POST-PAID containing IN
10 Exaggerated praise a drag (4)
PUFF - double definition, the second being a drag on a cigarette
12 Put up with person battering some fast food (7,7)
QUARTER POUNDER - QUARTER(put up, board), POUNDER(person battering)
14 Some milk bottles close to sofa one’s smashed with stick (6)
PINATA - a PINTA milk (which I can only think of in the context of Hancock's Half Hour) containing the last letter of sofA
15 In front of sink, see red sandal (4-4)
FLIP-FLOP - FLOP(sink) with FLIP(see red, lose it) first
17 Solicitors arriving between late April and mid-March? (8)
NOTARIES - born in that time you are NOT ARIES
19 One who receives end of rapier? (6)
FENCER - best clue in the puzzle by far - an all-in-one where the wordplay is the clue - FENCE(one who receives) then the last letter of rapieR
22 Fine novel learned of, alas, to be ignored (4,2,4,4)
FALL ON DEAF EARS - F(fine), then an anagram of LEARNED,OF,ALAS
24 Anniversary of Polish-Yankee get-together (4)
RUBY - RUB(polish), Y(Yankee)
25 Pick two blokes, when one’s short, as dishwashers? (10)
ELECTRICAL - ELECT(pick), and the two blokes are RICK and AL - shorten RICK
26 Old scribe penning last letter in time (4)
EZRA - Z(last letter of the alphabet) in ERA. Biblical scribe
27 Purchase not considered large I use my pub to exchange (7,3)
IMPULSE BUY - anagram of L(large),I,USE,MY,PUB
Down
1 Cabins where Pat worked on Lewis, perhaps, in earlier years (4)
PODS - this was my other guess. A little googling suggests that there are camping pods that are popular on Lewis, but I can't make this one out. Lucky guess. Edit: this clue contains references to Inspector Morse (where Lewis was a DS) and Postman Pat (who worked at the PO), and I'll admit I have not read or seen either of them
2 One’s smart to have earlier left Irish city (7)
LISBURN - I'S (one's), BURN(smart, sting), after L(left)
3 Major celebrity of late briefly wearing policeman’s medal (12)
SUPERSTARDOM - TARDY(late) missing the last letter, inside SUPER'S(policeman's), OM(medal)
4 False subject of litmus test over twelve month period (6)
PHONEY - litmus tests pH then ONE, Y (twelve month period, one year)
5 Right one invalid? Doctor visiting sort of can (4-4)
RING-PULL - R(right), I(one), NULL(invalid) containing GP(doctor)
7 Castle requiring a single key (7)
ARUNDEL - A, RUN(single), and the DEL key - castle I only know from there being Ashes warm-up matches played there
8 Set off to tour a remote island tourist attraction (6,4)
SAFARI PARK - SPARK(set off) surrounding A, FAR(remote), I(island)
11 Fancy Scottish side to get medals abroad (6,6)
PURPLE HEARTS - PURPLE(fancy), HEARTS(Hearth of Midlothian football club)
13 Special English scripture tailored to Anglicans is something all used (5,5)
SPENT FORCE - SP(special), E(English), NT(New Testament, scripture), FOR(tailored to), CE(Anglicans)
16 Swinger cavorting nude bedded by half 11 (8)
PENDULUM - anagram of NUDE inside PLUM(since half of 11 down is PURPLE)
18 Rail travellers can pass on payment (7)
TOLLBAR - if you pass on payment you could BAR the TOLL (at least I think that is what is going on). Edit: there is a suggestion this is a cryptic definition, which makes sense.
20 My corporal maybe beginning to bawl: in the ear, that is! (7)
CORNCOB - COR(my), then NCO(non-commssioned officer, corporal), and the first letter in Brawl
21 People collectively associated with China, mostly (6)
MANCHU - another all-in-one - MAN(people collectively) and then most of CHUM(China)
23 Boxer, once lethargic, finally is on song (4)
CLAY - last letter of lethargiC, and LAY(song) for the boxer Cassius
verlaine

Times 27,629: Please Look After This Blog

This one took me much longer than the other puzzles this week, but not because it was exceptionally difficult I don't think, more that I ground to a halt on a couple of corner clues, mainly 8 and 13 down. Of these I think 8 a very excellent clue and 13 just an annoying one: who cares about dull stuff like matchboard, prosaically clued? 19d is also very irritating if it works the way I think it's meant, but again, on the other hand, my COD 12ac is quite brilliant from all angles. So a curate's egg for me, intermittently excellent, for which thanks to the setter. How did you all like it?

ACROSS
1 Supports dictator's party, perhaps a little way (4,6)
BACK STREET - BACKS homophone of TREAT

6 Unlikely score Yankee discounted (4)
TALL - TALLY [score] "discounting" Y

10 Baby initially nursed by two parents, one with fangs (5)
MAMBA - B{aby} "nursed" by MA + MA. FOI

11 Two sent off outside ark for renewed creation (4,2,3)
WORK OF ART - (TWO*) outside (ARK FOR*)

12 Bond hero putting on weight, heading for bar during conference? (10,4)
PADDINGTON BEAR - ADDING TON {b}AR "during" PEAR [conference?]. That's Michael not James Bond.

14 Former student record disheartened their association (7)
ALUMNUS - AL{b}UM + NUS [National Union of Students = student association]

15 Ring for the head, boy needing permit (7)
CHAPLET - CHAP needing LET

17 Outcry about "Love in Paris" (7)
CLAMOUR - C [about] + L'AMOUR

19 Far side of oak tree backing border state (7)
KASHMIR - {oa}K + ASH [tree] + reversed RIM

20 Bishop heeds petition condemned as irrelevant (6,3,5)
BESIDE THE POINT - (B HEEDS PETITION*)

23 Promote retro technology, in hostile environment (9)
ADVERTISE - reversed I.T., in ADVERSE

24 Inventor with unit in institute's lab (5)
TESLA - hidden in {institu}TE'S LA{b}. As a quizzer I naturally did know that a tesla is the SI unit of magnetic flux density. Though not what that actually is.

25 Pop round to see a wall panel (4)
DADO - DAD O [pop | round]

26 Roughly one drop of rain in paltry fountain (6,4)
PRETTY WELL - R{ain} in PETTY WELL

DOWN
1 Impact one expects to have? (4)
BUMP - if you are expecting, you have a bump

2 Fenland river god duly uncovered a flower (9)
CAMPANULA - CAM [Fenland river] + PAN {d}UL{y} A. Good old Fenland Poly!

3 Two ways to rank second bank’s services (8,6)
STANDING ORDERS - STANDING and ORDER are "two ways to rank", + S

4 Recoils from victory secured by Left (7)
REWINDS - WIN "secured" by REDS

5 Capricious sailor turning up in Morecambe, say (7)
ERRATIC - TAR reversed in ERIC

7 Well-briefed army leader fighting English (5)
AWARE - A{rmy} + WAR [fighting] + E

8 Line you are splitting to once again do hand-outs (10)
LITERATURE - L [line] + U R "splitting" ITERATE [to once again do]. Took me ages due to the cunning definition part, well played setter, well played.

9 Juliet has long excited eminent novelist (4,10)
JOHN GALSWORTHY - J + (HAS LONG*) + WORTHY. A fellow you don't hear so much about these days except in crosswords, where he and his Forsytes are still beloved.

13 Panels assembled to provide lodging after game (10)
MATCHBOARD - BOARD [to provide lodging] after MATCH [game]. LOI: I had the BOARD part but for some reason couldn't think of a synonym for game through a long alphabet trawl. Ho hum!

16 The setter's penetrating clues cryptically shed light (9)
LUMINESCE - MINE [the setter's] "penetrating" (CLUES*)

18 Author ditching wife, claiming unknown one's posher (7)
RITZIER - {w}RITER "claiming" Z I [unknown | one]

19 Most ardent laments in Shakespeare's time? (7)
KEENEST - Quite irritated by this one if it's meant to suggest "he keenest", since we all know that keenest is second person, and therefore "thou keenest" = "you LAMENT". As opposed to "keeneth", which would be synonymous with "laments". But perhaps I've just not seen the wood for the trees of pedantry?

21 Bar close to outfield reserved (5)
SAVED - SAVE [bar] + {outfiel}D

22 Complaint, women's trouble (4)
WAIL - W + AIL