April 4th, 2020

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1430 – 21st March. Double, double

Hello everyone.  I hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and sane.

This puzzle kept me entertained for longer than I expected after the first 80% or so.  A few stubborn patches of grid almost doubled the total time I took, and I had to leave the puzzle aside a few times to let it bubble away in my subconscious.  I didn’t realise how many double definitions there were until I came to do the blog – nine, by my count.  Thanks to the setter for his or her trouble.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics, [deletions] in square brackets, and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27624 - Saturday, 28 March 2020. Heteronyms ’R US.

I found this another relatively easy number for a Saturday. My FOI was 4ac, and LOI was 1ac, which I think was also my favourite among a number of contenders.

Several delightful clues, like 14ac and 18ac, had me thinking, ‘surely that must be the answer, but how does it fit the definition?’ … followed eventually by a series of aha moments, when I realised I was reading the definition with the wrong pronunciation, and therefore a different meaning!! Apparently, we can call these heteronyms, as opposed to homonyms which have the same spelling and pronunciation. There were also some answers that had a distinct whiff of nostalgia about them, like 28ac and 5dn. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords, so this blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic. Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. (ABC*) means ‘anagram of ABC’. Deletions are in [square brackets].
1 Spotted piece showing the same note and number (6)
DOMINO – DO (ditto=the same), MI (note), NO (number).
4 Romantic English celebs pursue papers (8)
IDEALIST – ID, E[nglish], A-LIST.
10 Cobalt miners maintain one rotating sequence (9)
CONTINUUM – CO (Co is the symbol for cobalt), NUM (Nation Union of Miners) ‘maintaining’ TINU (unit=one, ‘rotating’).
11 Problem with current tree (5)
SUMAC – SUM (problem), AC (current).
12 Duty that could be tinier possibly? (14)
14 Point about women's tier? (5)
TWINE – TINE (point of a fork), around W. A ‘ti-er’, pronounced with a long I, can be something used for tying up a parcel for example.
16 Foreign article in metal case that may go up at any time (9)
TINDERBOX – DER is the German article, in TIN BOX. How long ago the bushfire crisis seems in this time of pandemic.
18 Relay touching silicon in store (9)
REDEPOSIT – RE (touching), SI (chemical symbol for silicon) in DEPOT. ‘Relay’, pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, is to lay again.
20 Dim British king (5)
BLEAR – B (British), LEAR (king).
21 Old Peruvian quote about father’s disability (14)
25 Measure of area surrounding east German plant (5)
HOSTA – HA (hectare) surrounding OST (German for east).
26 Greek character in patio's sickly, sort of green (9)
PISTACHIO – CHI (Greek character) in (PATIOS*), ‘sickly’.
27 Locate dull table item (5,3)
PLACE MAT – an escapee from the quick crossword, probably needing no explanation.
28 Minor perhaps beginning to madden Iris (6)
MORRIS – M[adden], ORRIS (a variety of iris. Orris root is used in perfumery).

I remember the strange feeling when I first went to New Zealand in the 1980s, to see the streets full of cars transplanted from the 1960s, like Morris Minors and old Holdens. It’s a different country now!

1 Strippers who hand out awards? (10)
DECORATORS – double definition, the first perhaps a bit elliptical; decorating may or may not begin with stripping.
2 Take away copper and half of lead from rear of toy? (5)
MINUS – take CU and LE[ad] off the end of MINUS[cule]. Does that really mean ‘toy’? I suppose it could.
3 Terrible sound drowns old mike (7)
NOISOME – NOISE ‘drowns’ O[ld] M[ike].
5 Drove fast northwards, expelling black discharge (5)
DEMOB – BOM[b]ED, ‘northward’. Another rather dated expression, perhaps – is it still used?
6 Mariner loves crackers free from 12 (7)
ABSOLVE – AB (mariner), (LOVES*) ‘crackers’.
7 The writer's free to keep amounts regularly, like gold? (9)
IMMUTABLE – I’M (the writer is), ABLE (free), ‘keeping’ MUT (from aMoUnTs, regularly).
8 Pin down heading (4)
TACK – double definition: tack down carpet, or tack a boat.
9 Breach is limiting newspaper complaint (8)
BURSITIS – BURST IS ‘limiting’ I (a newspaper with which I’m not familiar). Not so hard a clue, since a complaint was very likely to end -ITIS.
13 More intelligence keeps European outside (10)
EXTRANEOUS – EXTRA (more), NOUS (intelligence) keeping E.
15 Units occupying subcontinent and country further east (9)
17 Nothing's smarter than this new manifest I installed (8)
NATTIEST – N[ew], ATTEST with I installed.
19 Calm spot to hold a tango (7)
PLACATE – A T[ango] inside PLACE.
20 Showing off poster during what follows 22 (7)
BRAVADO – AD in BRAVO. I thought for a long time that the thing to follow ALPHA would be BETA, but here we’re using the phonetic alphabet.
22 Top star to risk leaving all the letters we need (5)
ALPHA – take BET off the end of ALPHABET.
23 What's in divine vessel? Rich, ornate contents (5)
ICHOR – hidden answer.
24 Flog whiskey with fruit (4)
WHIP – W[hiskey], HIP.