April 30th, 2020

Times 27652 - don't 6, 7, take it 20 at a time

Solving time: 15:32. It has been rather an odd week, since I breezed through yesterdays while many found it difficult, and I found this one tricky, but there were already three much better times than mine at the time I finished, about 45 minutes after the puzzle became available.

I know we are primarily crossword people around here, but I must say I have been enjoying the extra pages of puzzles that have been published Monday-Thursday, in particular the samurai soduko. My mother does not like crossword puzzles, but she does like sudoku and we have been solving them together from Melbourne and Asheville as we are both sheltering in place alone.

Hope everyone is staying safe and sane!

Away we go...

Across
1 Intricate feline parts fell in (11)
COMPLICATED - CAT(feline) inside COMPLIED(fell in)
7 Back to be dealt with by churl (3)
OAF - FAO(for the attention of, to be dealt with) reversed
9 Triumph, confining prisoners on island state (9)
WISCONSIN -  WIN(triumph) containing CONS(prisoners) on  IS(Island) Sorry for missing the S in the wordplay initially.
10 Fine rank (5)
SHEER - double definition
11 Delay, hoping to gain from peak hours when son's away (3,4)
BUY TIME - peak hours are BUSY TIME, remove S(son)
12 Resilient European to remain in charge (7)
ELASTIC - E(European) next to LAST(remain), IC(in charge)
13 Influenced by articles in Le Monde and Die Welt (5)
UNDER - UN and DER, articles in French and German
15 Ructions as king intercepts saboteur unexpectedly (9)
OUTBREAKS - K(king) inside an anagram of SABOTEUR
17 Beefy type turned up in underwear that often snapped (3,6)
BOX CAMERA - fun clue! OX(beefy type) CAME(turned up) inside BRA(underwear)
19 Peak in Ionian Islands seen from east (5)
SINAI - hidden reversed in ionIAN ISlands
20 Dance record by Rolling Stone (3-4)
ONE-STEP - EP(record) next to an anagram of STONE
22 Log-keeper dismissed, log not started (7)
FIREDOG - FIRED(dismissed), then LOG missing the first letter. Needed the wordplay for this one, another term for an andiron.
24 Doctor damaging practice (5)
DRILL - DR(doctor), ILL(damaging)
25 Take vital supply yielding plenty of gas (9)
TALKATIVE -  anagram of TAKE,VITAL
27 Like deserts, several lacking sun (3)
DRY - SUNDRY(several), missing SUN
28 Liberal MP enters, yet her children have all gone (5-6)
EMPTY-NESTER - anagram of MP,ENTERS,YET
Down
1 Cry of bird — motherless one? (3)
CAW - the bird is a MACAW, remove MA(mother)
2 Sentimental character from Olympus retiring (5)
MUSHY - MU(Greek character), SHY(retiring)
3 Less sensible place to go: area in Wigan booked (7)
LOOPIER - LOO(place to go), and then a reference to the Orwell work The Road to Wigan PIER
4 Hot refreshment in mug during church function (9)
CASSEROLE - ASS(mug) inside CE(church), ROLE - this was my last in
5 Shade, metallic grey, oddly (5)
TINGE - TIN(metallic) then alternating letters in GrEy
6 Anguish of the Gascon duo (7)
DESPAIR - DES("of the" in French), PAIR(duo)
7 Exercise too much in public, then shower? (9)
OVERTRAIN - OVERT(in public), RAIN(shower)
8 Prediction of upcoming changes in theatre assignments? (11)
FORECASTING - reverse OF, then RE-CASTING(changes in theatre assignments)
11 Noble player in Varsity match initiated (4-7)
BLUE-BLOODED - BLUE(player in Varsity match), BLOODED(initiated)
14 Tried yet failed to acquire by skill (9)
DEXTERITY - anagram of TRIED,YET containing X(by)
16 Don’t hold back with the rent, maybe, sobbing (9)
TEARFULLY - if you don't hold back with the rent you would TEAR FULLY
18 A way into field blocked by black spiky plant (7)
ASTILBE -  A, STILE(way into field) containing B(black)
19 Handle of identical large pot’s broken (7)
SURNAME - SAME(identical) containing URN(large pot)
21 Erected, taken down and mounted (3,2)
PUT UP - reference to it being a palindrome
23 Stray dog's lead split (5)
DRIFT - first letter in Dog, then RIFT(split)
26 Sport losing wife's attention (3)
EAR - WEAR(sport) minus W(wife)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1603 by Breadman

Happy last day of April everyone - I thought it would never end!

I think that this is the first QC from Breadman that I have blogged, and I enjoyed doing it despite the solve taking me 19 minutes, 4 over my target range.  There was one unknown for me, (but fairly clued) answer at 20a.  The grid is also one-letter short of being a pangram (B for Breadman (?) is missing!)

As indicated below, my WOD is YIKES and FOI was SPAIN.  Thanks to Breadman.  Let me know how you got on.

Across

1  Plain store oddly containing unknown egg-based drink (7,6)
PRAIRIE OYSTER – PRAIRIE (plain) and an anagram (oddly) of [STORE] containing Y (unknown).  There is nice misdirection in the definition part, which had me looking for an eggnog or advocaat type drink.  The anagrind (oddly) also had me looking to use alternate letters, so this took a while to unscramble, if you’ll forgive the pun.  For anyone not aware, a PRAIRIE OYSTER is a raw egg with condiments, often used as a hangover cure.
8  Belgian town in European country (5)
SPAIN – SPA (Belgian town, home of the Belgian Grand Prix when we have them) and IN (in).
9 Anonymous hunk now noticed partly (7)
UNKNOWN – Hidden answer in {h}UNK NOW N{oticed}.
10  James in Iowa recreated World War II battle (3,4)
IWO JIMA – JIM (James) inside an anagram (recreated) of [IOWA].  IWO JIMA was made even more famous by the Pulitzer prize-winning photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of Associated Press, showing US Marines raising the flag of the USA after the battle.  This photograph was the basis for the Marine Corps Memorial, and can be seen here.
11  Flesh going off in storage space (5)
SHELF – An anagram (going off) of [FLESH] – about as easy as it gets!
13  Popular coach, when heart deficient, so essential (9)
INTRINSIC – IN (popular) and TR{a}IN (coach, when heart deficient, i.e. remove the middle letter) and SIC (Latin for so).
17  Perform better than old-fashioned party (5)
OUTDO – OUT (old-fashioned) and DO (party).
19  Alluring beauty finally deserting old Hollywood actress (7)
GLAMOUR – {desertin}G (finally) and Dorothy LAMOUR (old Hollywood actress).
20  Winged symbols appearing in diagram or in illustration (7)
AMORINI – This was new to me, but it is a clearly signalled hidden (appearing in) {diagr}AM OR IN I{llustration}.  An AMORINO is a cupid, and when there is more than one, they are AMORINI.
22  Supply key joke (5)
EQUIP – E (key) and QUIP (joke).  Let’s hope the PPE supply is sorted soon!
23  The vet yearned to reform equestrian contest (5-3,5)
THREE-DAY EVENT – Anagram (to reform) of [THE VET YEARNED]

Down

In short, delivery person that is after work up street (6)
POSTIE – Short for POSTMAN or POSTWOMAN.  It works like this – IE (that is) after OP (work) reversed (up) and with ST{reet} coming next.
2  Worker consuming tiny amount is expert on bodies (9)
ANATOMIST – ANT (worker) containing (consuming) ATOM (tiny amount) and IS (is).
Behave wildly, iron into track (3,4)
RUN RIOT – Wildly here is doing double duty, acting as a part of the definition, and as an anagrind.  An anagram (wildly) of [IRON] inside RUT (track)
1980s film teaching gunmen about technology (9,4)
EDUCATING RITA – EDUCATING (teaching) and RA (Royal Artillery, gunmen) containing IT (Information Technology).  I was an OU student at the time, as was the main protagonist in this amusing film, so it came readily to mind.
5  OK to pinch one thousand pounds?  Blimey (5)
YIKES – YES (OK) containing (to pinch) I (one) K (thousand pounds).  I guess the ‘pounds’ is a bit of redundancy, as the clue would work perfectly well without it.  This word always reminds me of Billy Bunter, so word of the day for me.
6  Anything northern rejected for couple (3)
TWO – ‘OWT (‘anything’ in a northern dialect apparently, as in 'you don't get owt for nowt') reversed (rejected).
Printed name of female below artist  (3,3)
RAN OFF – N{ame} OF (of) F{emale} below RA (artist), as in ‘Mrs Rotter RAN OFF / printed a copy of the QC for me this morning’.
12  Constant look inside to make certain space fenced off (9)
ENCLOSURE – C{onstant} and LO (look) inside ENSURE (make certain).
14 Sort of cat is returned in the morning and leashed regularly (7)
SIAMESE – SI (is, returned, reversed) AM (in the morning) and alternate letters (regularly) of {l}E{a}S{h}E{d}.
15  Mother tours Australia with extremely reticent musical composer (6)
MOZART – MA (mother) around (tours) OZ (Australia) with R{eticen}T (extremely means outside letters).
16  Section on rubbish dump, raised place for deodorant? (6)
ARMPIT – ARM (section) and TIP (rubbish dump) reversed (raised).  The question mark is because one may apply deodorant to other parts of the body!  I wish they would open the council tips again.
18  Farm animal I’d put on drug, a chemical compound (5)
OXIDE – OX (farm animal) with I’D (I’d) and E{cstacy} (drug).
21  It’s used for paddling round a river (3)
OAR – O (round) A (a) and R{iver}.
verlaine

Times 27,653: Cabbages And Kings

Another puzzle a little too close to "moderate" rather than "eye-watering" difficulty for my Fridayfied tastes, though I'll be the first to admit there was some clever and elegant stuff in here. The two definition parts in the top row are very good, plus there are some impressive anagrams and a satisfying amount of literary (litterateurish?) nods, to the likes of Shakespeare, Sheridan, O Henry, Livy and James Clavell. COD to 1ac for being a crossword clue about crossword setting, but I also liked 26ac: I wonder if the queen is too old to go for jaunts in the Hebrides these days, sad to think so. We must hope that she lasts for many decades yet just so that we don't have to contend with "former monarch" and other such clumsiness in our crosswords!

Thanks to the setter for the entertainment. Can it really be May already? How time flies when you're forbidden to leave the house and have fun...

ACROSS
1 Give some relief to setter rejected by editor? (6)
EMBOSS - ME [the setter] reversed by BOSS [the setter's editor, by any other name!]

4 Put pins around seat covers tailor's edging (8)
STRADDLE - SADDLE [seat] "covers" T{ailo}R. That's "pins" as in your legs, here.

10 Rubbish a true novel writer (11)
LITTERATEUR - LITTER [rubbish] + (A TRUE*) ["novel"]

11 Dry period quickly over (3)
SEC - double def, where the second definition is the shortened form of "second"

12 Stuff in vacuous policy papers is a wonder (7)
PYRAMID - RAM [stuff] in P{olic}Y ID

14 Drive into Split, fencing off some land (4-3)
REAR-END - REND [split] "fencing off" ARE [some land]

15 Who and what, say, could produce tergiversation (14)
INTERROGATIVES - (TERGIVERSATION*)

17 People following old lady in bleak, poor state (6,8)
BANANA REPUBLIC - PUBLIC [people], following NANA [old lady] in BARE [bleak]

21 Big bird, head hidden in fear (7)
TITANIC - TIT + {p}ANIC

22 Dressed down in the past, Conservative kept out of sight (7)
CHIDDEN - C + HIDDEN

23 Outline of waist, flipping round figure (3)
TWO - reversed W{ais}T + O [round]

24 The French forward is wearing old lady's slip (11)
MALAPROPISM - LA PROP IS, "wearing" MAM

26 Monarch visiting Skye, perhaps, back in castle (8)
ELSINORE - reverse all of E.R. ON ISLE, which scenario *could* take place on Skye.

27 Agreeing place for plug on the radio (2,4)
IN SYNC - homophone of IN SINK, which is where you might expect to find a plug

DOWN
1 Summon up gripping excerpt of heavenly event (8)
ECLIPTIC - reversed CITE [summon] "gripping" CLIP

2 Bee wings in August flutter (3)
BAT - B [bee] + A{ugus}T. Woe BETide the biffer who didn't go to BAT on this one!

3 Ship's cook? (7)
STEAMER - double def, if "cook" can be "one who steams".

5 Risk screening for one key film (3,5,6)
THE GREAT ESCAPE - THREAT [risk] "screening" E.G., plus ESCAPE [(keyboard) key]

6 Display burden on one vehicle (3,4)
AIR TAXI - AIR TAX on I

7 Untidy woman in low bar was first to drink litres (11)
DISHEVELLED - SHE in DIVE, plus LED "drinking" L

8 Make cryptic once out of French (6)
ENCODE - (ONCE*) ["out"] + DE [of, in French]

9 Roughly treated a cold — a virus right in a bodily system (14)
CARDIOVASCULAR - CA [roughly] + (A COLD A VIRUS*) ["treated..."] + R

13 Disavowals from radical or a centrist (11)
RETRACTIONS - (OR A CENTRIST*) ["radical..."]

16 Online magazine keeps running commercial (8)
ECONOMIC - E-COMIC "keeps" ON

18 An entertaining banker's nickname (7)
AGNOMEN - AN "entertaining" GNOME [banker, as in "of Zurich"]

19 Place to learn mawkishness, a thing of legend (7)
UNICORN - UNI [place to learn] + CORN [mawkishness]

20 Figure's appeal, eating junk (6)
STATUE - SUE [appeal (legally)] "eating" TAT

25 Historian, no end of social climber (3)
IVY - LIVY [Roman historian (of the first century BC)] minus {socia}L