April 16th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1593 by Joker

This was an absolute delight from Joker, all done and dusted in 13 minutes, so a perfectly targeted quick cryptic as far as I was concerned.  From the very first clue there was much to admire (see my comments below), and it continued to delight as it was regurgitated in writing this blog.

COD has to be the multi-dimensional DASH, although an honourable mention needs to go to 5d, with WOD going to GUTTER as used in the sense intended here.

Thanks Joker, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.


Destroy; animation; strike; hurry, primarily (4)
DASH – This is a much cleverer clue than it appears at first sight.  First letters (primarily) of the first four words in the clue – each of which also provides a definition, and together make a very rare quadruple definition (there could have been more, but it is a four-letter answer!).  In turn, and illustrated by example usage, they are – to dash the hopes of; she showed dash and determination; the waves dashed against the rocks; I have to dash to the shops.  A thing of beauty!
Where a control tower might be in broadcast range (8)
AIRFIELD – AIR (broadcast) and FIELD (range).
8 Captain needing to miss Peru, having no uniform (7)
SKIPPER – SKIP (miss) and PER{u} (having no U{niform} (phonetic alphabet)).
10 Expertness of second murder (5)
SKILL – S{econd} and KILL (murder).
11  Street urchin to start to go out with bird (11)
GUTTERSNIPE – GUTTER (to start to go out, as a candle gutters) and SNIPE (bird).
13 Use polymer endlessly for remoulding (6)
EMPLOY – Anagram (for remoulding) of POLYME{r} (endlessly).
15  Former old king’s minister (6)
PASTOR – PAST (former) with O{ld} and R{ex} (king).
17  I’m a nice cad, a perverted RA member, perhaps (11)
ACADEMICIAN – Anagram (perverted) of [I’M A NICE CAD, A].  The ‘perhaps’ is because other ACADEMICIANs are available, other than those belonging to the Royal Academy of Arts (RA).
20  Be biased against women perhaps not having sons (5)
EXIST – {s}EXIST – not having S{ons}.  ‘Perhaps’ here does a similar job – other types of sexism are also available.
21  Phone to hire out small band (7)
RINGLET – RING (phone) and LET (to hire out).
22  Gratuitous point, empty semantics (8)
NEEDLESS – NEEDLE (point) and S{emantic}S (empty).
23  Sort found in sleepy towns all over (4)
TYPE – Reverse hidden (all over) inside {sle}EPY T{owns}.


Clothing stylist perhaps bucks including symbol (8)
DESIGNER – DEER (bucks) around (including) SIGN (symbol).  In this clue, ‘perhaps’ does double duty, indicating that DESIGNERs can style other things as well as clothing, and that the DEER world includes more than just bucks – it wouldn’t be much fun without the does as well.
2  Comedy sketch about queen’s dress (5)
SKIRT – SKIT (comedy sketch) around (about) R{egina} (queen).  Some might quibble about the equivalence of SKIRT and dress, but a SKIRT is a mode of dress, so fine in my book!
Sudden move to the centre in close-pressed crowd losing its head (6)
INRUSH – IN (in) and {c}RUSH (close-pressed crowd, losing its head (first letter)).
Allure of Italy maybe under Mussolini, no saint? (11)
FASCINATION – NATION (Italy, maybe – other nations are available, hence the ‘maybe’) under FASCI{st} (Benito ‘Il Duce’ Mussolini was famously head of the Italian National Fascist Party).  No saint indicates to drop the ST from the end of FASCI{st}.
Clear identification needed to enter race (7)
EVIDENT – EVENT (race) containing ID (identification).
7  Beginning to distil drink in northern valley (4)
DALE – D{istil} (beginning) and ALE (drink).  ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud…’.
9  Protect lady suffering old reptile  (11)
PTERODACTYL – Anagram (suffering) of [PROTECT LADY].
12  Dark-haired animal getting outside trap (8)
BRUNETTE – BRUTE (animal) containing (getting outside) NET (trap).
14  Unfortunately plainer chocolate filling (7)
PRALINE – Anagram (unfortunately) of [PLAINER].  PRALINE was invented by the cook of French soldier Marshal Duplessis-Praslin, after whom it was named.
16  Partly hide Bristol’s scattered rubbish (6)
DEBRIS – Hidden (partly) in {hi}DE BRIS{tol’s}.
18  One new place for decorative work (5)
INLAY – I (one) N{ew} and LAY (place).
19  Marshy area includes river plant (4)
FERN – At last, a plant that I can name – FEN (marshy area) containing R{iver}.

Times 27640 - let 'er 24

Time taken: 11:14

Not sure what to say about this one - there's a lot of phrases in the grid that I wouldn't use, and most of them have wordplay that helps you to get them. I'm less taken with the cryptic definitions, though they are pretty easy to see.

My time is pretty close to my average, but of the times available so far, this is a bimodal distribution, several faster than their average time some much much slower.

Hope everyone is safe and as sane as they can be under the circumstances.

Away we go...

1 Call girl to play idly with dog, say (8)
STRUMPET - STRUM(play idly) and the dog could be a PET
5 Military ruler’s command to soldiers about bad error in field (6)
SHOGUN - atten.... SHUN surrounding OG(own goal, error in the field)
9 The plebs are so great, they say (not in Bath?) (8)
UNWASHED - tricky double definition based on the phrase "the great unwashed" and that you could be unwashed if you were not in the bath
10 Artist’s percentage twice has inflated (6)
CUBIST - the percenrage is a CUT, insert BIS(twice)
12 Counting the corpses perhaps can tell you where you stand (4-9)
DEAD-RECKONING - if you were counting the corpses you could be RECKONING the DEAD
15 Irritable, getting dry in a little sun (5)
RATTY -  TT(dry) inside RAY(a little sun)
16 What’s wrongly said is not pretended (3-6)
17 Fit of temper in vehicle — seize travelling case (9)
CARPETBAG - PET(fit of temper) inside CAR(vehicle), BAG(seize)
19 A long way round a state for itinerant (5)
FRIAR - FAR(a long way) around RI(Rhode Island, state)
20 For team, colleague entering play horribly roughly (13)
APPROXIMATELY - PRO(for), XI(team), MATE(colleague) inside an anagram of PLAY
22 Flexible creeper pruned in part (6)
PLIANT - LIANA(creeper) missing the last letter inside PT(part)
23 Enthusiastic about new beginning of partnership, after this? (3,5)
HEN PARTY - HEARTY(enthusiastic) containing N(new) and the first letter of Party
25 Heavy vehicle an expensive failure? (6)
TANKER - double definition based on a failure tanking
26 Bold print splashed across English papers (8)
INTREPID - anagram of PRINT surrounding E(English) then ID(papers)
1 Wholesome to follow the progress of accompanying music (10)
SOUNDTRACK - SOUND(wholesome) and TRACK(follow the progress of)
2 Crude sketch, not the first (3)
RAW - DRAW(sketch) missing the first letter
3 In Micawber’s overspent state a pound is ungenerous (7)
MISERLY - MISERY(reference to the character in Pickwick Papers David Copperfield... I knew it was a Dickens I had read just couldn't remember which one) containing L(pound)
4 Where to jot down manoeuvres by military reserve (8,4)
EXERCISE BOOK - EXERCISE(manoeuvres by military), BOOK(reserve). Don't think I've heard a jotter called this since the 80s
6 Once he started his act there was no holding him (7)
HOUDINI - cryptic definition
7 Leaving local, forgetting what it’s like at home? (5,6)
GOING NATIVE - GOING(leaving), NATIVE(local). New phrase for me.
8 Crazy teachers’ society (4)
NUTS - NUT(National Union of Teachers), S(society)
11 Message carrier with a lofty target (6,6)
HOMING PIGEON - cryptic definition
13 Row over Atlantic, losing very badly (11)
ALTERCATION - anagram of OVER,ATLANTIC minus V(very)
14 After vermin passed up on crop, you would become radiantly happy (6-4)
STARRY-EYED - RATS(vermin) reversed, then RYE(crop) and YE'D(you would)
18 Centre for cost moved to a large region (7)
EXPANSE - EXPENE(cost) with the middle letter replaced by A
19 One flustering young woman once (7)
FLAPPER - double definition
21 Provide sample of body fluid in hospital (4)
SPIT - hidden inside hoSPITal
24 Late message? Almost ready (3)
RIP - RIPE (ready) missing the last letter

Times 27,641: Se No Evil

I breezed through this one in 5 and a half minutes - there are some very elegant clues, but there's nothing here I wouldn't class as rather straightforward. 23ac wins a prize for being topical but I liked the &lit at 12ac and my COD 3dn, great surface and not a single word wasted. FO (straight) I 1ac, LOI 16dn with its well-concealed anagrind. Thanks setter!

1 Flat has covered parking — that's essential (6)
STAPLE - STALE has covered P

5 Element detected around large island with uniform mass (8)
SELENIUM - SEEN around L, + I with U M

9 A drink and a piece of meat brought over for Indian chief? (8)
MAHARAJA - A JAR and A HAM "brought over"

10 Result of bombing run by old plane (6)

11 One sitting in car arrested by copper’s careful (8)
CAUTIOUS - I, sitting in AUTO, "arrested by" CU'S

12 In such activity bell sounds — seconds out, round eleven (6)
BOXING - BONG{s}, "round" XI, semi-&lit

13 Lie about insect being in food that's sent back (8)
STAGNATE - GNAT being in reversed EATS

15 Aces high, for example (4)
CASE - (ACES*) ["high"]

17 Top place to go on a ship (4)
HEAD - double def, where "to go" means "to use the facilities"

19 Prevail upon journalist, a US agent, to turn (8)
PERSUADE - reverse all of ED, A US REP

20 Heading for somewhere where it's extremely hot, wearing these? (6)
SHADES - S{omewhere} + HADES, semi-&lit

21 Books that are used only when needed (8)
RESERVES - double def

22 State's serial criminal (6)
ISRAEL - (SERIAL*) ["criminal"]

23 Democrat's gripped by sudden anxiety — it's all over (8)
PANDEMIC - DEM's gripped by PANIC. If only it was all over in the *other* sense too...

24 Making U-turn, body of scientists cite negative results in DNA research (8)
GENETICS - hidden reversed in the body of {scientist}S CITE NEG{ative}

25 Winger's reminder to cover both sides and find width (6)
CURLEW - CUE to "cover" R + L, and find W

2 Timid at first, I'm on song, getting a drink (3,5)
TIA MARIA - T{imid} + I AM on ARIA

3 Jimmy's outside Acton, having dropped off on train (8)
PRACTISE - PRISE [jimmy] is outside ACT{on}

4 Worry about American workers on strike, finally getting involved (9)
ELABORATE - EAT "about" LABOR [American workers], on {strike}

5 Support military bands holding African state's flag (5,3,7)
STARS AND STRIPES - STAND STRIPES [support | military bands] holding RSA (= the Republic of South Africa)

6 Part of body Eastern lady initially covered with a gown (7)
EARLOBE - E, + L{ady} "covered by" A ROBE

7 Given international platform, Europe set up scheme (8)
INTRIGUE - INT. + RIG [(oil) platform] + reversed EU

8 Flower girl goes off with a mod (8)
MARIGOLD - (GIRL + A MOD*) ["goes off"]

14 Tail of aircraft worked very nicely, shortening by 50% around Mach 1 (9)
TRANSONIC - {aircraf}T + RAN [worked] + SO NIC{ely}

15 Arrested by coastguard, composer’s cut short ferry journey (8)
CROSSING - "arrested by" C.G., ROSSIN{i}

16 Square craft around naval unit (8)
SQUADRON - SQ + (AROUND*) ["craft..."]

17 I approve of the girl drinking vodka, ultimately — same again! (4,4)
HEAR HEAR - HER [the girl] "drinking" {vodk}A, bis

18 Dad's upset, having little enthusiasm (8)

19 Front page has concerning message (7)
PRETEXT - P has RE [concerning] TEXT