May 21st, 2020

Linus van Pelt

27670 Thursday, 21 May 2020 Kill'd i' the Capitol

I’m not sure whether I found this tricky because it is, or because I was tackling it after a long and unusually busy day. You will see that there were several clues which I only really worked out after submission: perfectly fair but not very yielding. There’s no “hidden” clue today, reversed, alternate letters or otherwise, to provide light relief. It didn’t help that 1ac, so often the key to getting started, has at least one perfectly plausible alternative, or that the innocuous four letters at 20ac look as if they could be almost anything.
I will, as I often do, rashly suggest that the vocab lacks obscurity, which only really means that I know the words and the allusions. Unless you count one element’s abbreviation, there’s no Science, no Sports, and lots of Arts.
I have to give my CoD to the pre-flood operation.
The rest of my comments, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS, are…


1 Put out pole with end disappearing in river (6)
DEPOSE So not EXPOSE, then, which was my first (reasonable) try, but the same wordplay, a POST without its end in the river DEE
4 Stout knocked back with cheese? That's the stuff! (7)
TAFFETA Stout is FAT and the cheese is FETA. The first is “knocked back”
9 Inclined to be mendacious (5)
LYING Two definitions, with “to be” merely filling the hole between them. For lie as incline, Chamber has “lean”. Leaning: inclined is close enough
10 Royal house near castle mostly dilapidated (9)
LANCASTER The red rose faction in the Wars of the Roses, providing three kings: Henry IV (both parts), Henry V and Henry VI. Most of NEAR CASTLe is in anagram form, “dilapidated”
11 One with negative response wins against a second person, right? (9)
GAINSAYER A confection of wins: GAINS plus A plus second person: YE plus R(ight)
12 One of Caesar's last words, the beast! (5)
BRUTE According to the bard, Caesar’s last words were “Et tu Brute? Then fall Caesar!” Pick out the one that means beast. Shakespeare was displaying a knowledge of Latin and punning, but not history, which records Caesar either dying wordlessly or speaking Greek, καὶ σύ, τέκνον, “and you, son?”. Brute is the vocative case of Brutus, foremost amongst the assassins.
13 Country became backward, finishing with nothing (4)
TOGO Useful that Togo appeared just yesterday as a contributor to Bogota. Here, in its own right, it’s represented by became: GOT backwards plus O, nothing
14 Special gear enthusiast brought to plant, having crossed yard (5,5)
FANCY DRESS The enthusiast is FAN, the plant is the unassuming CRESS, and Y(ar)D provides the filling that it “crosses”
18 Using a tool to shift support across hole (10)
SHOVELLING I think this is support: SLING “across” (same idea as above) HOVEL for hole, as in a miserable place to dwell.
20 Inadequate side dish (4)
FLAN Inadequate is simply saying the word doesn’t reach its end, the word being FLANK. I’m guessing this is a good place to find today’s pink squares
23 Ending in jail, I am afraid of getting no answer — am I there for ever? (5)
LIFER An &litish sort of clue. Ending in jail is, of course, L, I am afraid of is I FEAR from which you take the A(nswer)
24 A rescue organised outside very quiet capital (5-4)
UPPER CASE Hands up all those who wasted time going though the Big Boys Book of Capital Cities, or the Even Bigger Boys Book of Currencies, before accepting the shift key version. An anagram (organised) of A RESCUE surrounding PP for music’s very quiet
25 Cold girl getting degree, the heartless student you study with (9)
CLASSMATE Perhaps I’d best not say who this reminds me of, in case she does crosswords. C(old) girl: LASS gets an MA degree and ThE heartless. Great surface
26 Material in bathroom in short supply? (5)
TOILE Much simpler than I thought. The euphemistic bathroom gives TOILET, which is supplied short
27 Cuts of meat go bad aboard ship (7)
SADDLES ADDLE is go bad, and is placed “aboard” SS for ship
28 A ceremony rendered by speaker correctly (6)
ARIGHT  Today’s first homophone, (“rendered by speaker”) of A RITE for a ceremony

1 Representatives providing instruction to get rid of barriers (9)
DELEGATES A version of delete used in proofreading and conventionally represented by δ, DELE precedes GATES for barriers. I only worked this out post solve.
2 Mostly professional gang in pre-flood operation? (7)
PAIRING References Noah’s preparation for the deluge by organising animals (except the ones he was going to eat) in twos. A professional gang would be a PAID RING, but you only need most of the PAID bit. A long time dawning for me
3 Most wise and godly person having a long time inside (6)
SAGEST Our godly person (Noah again?) is a S(ain)T, enclosing AGES for a long time
4 A number of men giving voice in concert (5)
TENOR Of which select group I are one. We have a random number, TEN, plus the O(ther) R(anks) men. Time lost here
wondering why I wasn’t looking for a plural
5 Lorries in boring county (8)
FLATBEDS Possibly rude, and certainly inaccurate, with respect to Bedfordshire: happy days watching the gliders for Dunstable Downs, or on the White Lion slopes of Whipsnade.
6 Go mad in hospital department building in need of oxygen (7)
ENTHUSE The hospital department is almost always ENT (ear, nose and throat if you never knew) and the building is a HOUSE for which the O(xygen) is removed
7 A weird roofless home for bird in US (5)
AERIE The UK spelling being normally EYRIE. EERIE for weird loses its “roof” and is appended to the A
8 Mess about before social event or cooperate? (4,4)
PLAY BALL I got the PLAY for mess about a long time before deciding that the social event was a BALL, not helped much by reading cooperate as corporate
15 Covers food in tin with ordinary salt (8)
CANOPIES Another unparsed before submission, but I think the tin CAN is with OS for ordinary Seaman/salt covering PIE as a representative food
16 Most genuine from the time of leading others (9)
SINCEREST from the time: SINCE, others: REST
17 Gentleman with power rising in authentic act of revenge (8)
REPRISAL Gentleman: SIR with P(ower) rises inside authentic: REAL
19 Discourteous old worker squashing females (7)
OFFHAND O(ld) worker: HAND “squashing” two F(emale)s. Probably risks prosecution
21 Top man in his field, perhaps, spouting? (7)
LEAKING The field is a LEA, and the top man in it is the LEA KING
22 To roar out? That could suit me (6)
ORATOR An anagram (out) that doesn’t look as if is could be, of TO ROAR
23 Needs to be casual in speech (5)
LACKS Our second homophone (in speech) of LAX
24 Mountains in pictures, miles away (5)
URALS The mountains in this case are pictures: MURALS without the M(iles)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1618 by Hurley

I had most of this polished off by the 6 minute mark, but it took almost as long again to unravel the remaining three (14ac, 22ac and 15d). A large part of that was due to a howler of a spelling error at 9d where I had the central E and L the wrong way round. Dear dear. I might try to claim that had the word had been written horizontally, I would have seen that it looked wrong, but I was quite deliberate when I typed LE, so you can call SB to that. Perhaps a couple of clunky clues stood out when solving - 1d seems unnecessarily generous - but as ever there was on closer inspection much to admire. Many thanks to Hurley!

1 Dessert maybe, something to chew on top performer’s tucked into (7)
CUSTARD - CUD (something to chew on) STAR (top performer)’s tucked into
5 Fearless British getting on (4)
BOLD - B(ritish) OLD (getting on)
7 Some wrap articles separately (5)
APART - "some" of wrAP ARTicles
8 Payment for insurance before parent’s going around India (7)
PREMIUM - PRE (before) MUM (parent) is going around I(ndia)
10 After return call American friend (3)
BUD - DUB (call) after return = reverse
11 Church Republican, first fellow believer (9)
CHRISTIAN - CH(urch) R(epublican) IST (first) IAN (fellow - random name)
13 Money demanded from Romans — outrageous (6)
RANSOM - anagram (outrageous) of ROMANS
14 Plan in relation to Channel Islands gym (6)
RECIPE - RE (in relation to) CI (Channel Islands) PE (gym). So "mantlepiece" left me with _E_ _ _ L, with a CI and a PE to factor in. Pencil = Plan was tantalisingly close and left me with an equally unparsable/not quite equal Compote = Dip for 15d.
17 A source of inspiration intended, say, to provide delight (9)
AMUSEMENT - A MUSE (a source of inspiration) MENT (sounds like MEANT: intended, "say")
19 Chart married secretary brought back (3)
MAP - M(arried) AP (PA = secretary, brought back)
20 City adventure, ignoring odds — love it! (7)
DETROIT - aDvEnTuRe "ignoring odds" O (love) IT. A much better clue than my biffing merited.
22 Crowd in store by the sound of it (5)
HORDE - HOARD (store) "by the sound of it". My eventual route in after getting past HOST(E?).
23 Abandoned political grouping (4)
LEFT - double definition
24 Theatre the French note is full (7)
REPLETE - REP (theatre, short for repertory company) LE (the, French) TE (note, as in do re mi, etc.)

1 Bed rich mama newly made — this lady’s job? (11)
CHAMBERMAID - anagram (newly made) of BED RICH MAMA. The definition refers back to the bed-making in the cryptic.
2 Be candidate, popular, as deputy (5-2)
STAND-IN - to STAND for = to be candidate for; IN (popular)
3 Vegetable lorry OK, the man accepts (9)
ARTICHOKE - ARTIC[ulated vehicle] (lorry) OK, that HE (the man) accepts/embraces
4 Throw out rogue initially seen in storehouse (6)
DEPORT - R (Rogue "initially") seen in DEPOT (storehouse)
5 Social gathering’s ale unfinished (3)
BEE - BEER (ale) unfinished. I see the derivation is no more complicated than: bees are social, so let's call a social gathering a bee. I wonder if anyone's ever been excluded from a spelling WASP?
6 First of all, looking up, is greeting Italian — this one? (5)
LUIGI - "first of all" Looking Up Is Greeting Italian. The definition refers back to the Italian used in the cryptic element.
9 Nice meal pet ruined that’s near fireplace (11)
MANTELPIECE - anagram (ruined) of NICE MLAE PET. A quick search on the Times website shows 1502 instances of "mantlepiece" used in articles (and it even has its own entry in Collins). So I feel fully vidnicated. A google search brings up around 600,000 results, however, which is roughly the same total as "mischevious". Ugh! nuff said.
12 Explosive tape shows workplace with poor conditions (9)
SWEATSHOP - anagram (explosive) of TAPE SHOWS. Another clue that improves greatly on closer inspection.
15 Dip huge — right to replace knight (7)
IMMERSE - IMMENSE (huge) R(ight) to replace N (knight in chess). I can't make any sense of the surface, but the "M" checker initially made me think of houmous, with its array of spellings, and I couldn't get past the answer being "a dip".
16 Member of clergy’s partly indirect ordination (6)
RECTOR - "partly" indiRECT ORdination
18 BBC missing a release? (5)
UNTIE - BBC = Auntie, missing the A
21 Revealed to be away (3)
OUT - double definition

Times 27,671: I Slept, And Dreamt That Life Was Beauty...

Friday-acceptable without being the sternest challenge of the week - I've got my eye on you, Mr Rogan, and your Friday-disrespecting ways. Anyway there are two really good lift-and-separates in here, some well-judged definitions, and my COD 4dn (especially in a puzzle which also contains trans-national gender-fluidity). I wonder what percentage of present assemblage would count as "woke", compared to the general population. Anyone want to claim or disclaim their credentials in that regard? Thanks setter!

1 Notice I alter bad swimming pool equipment (8,5)
BILLIARD TABLE - BILL (notice) + (I ALTER BAD*) ["swimming"]. ++good lift & separate

9 Write off note kid returned (5)
TOTAL - reversed LA TOT [note | kid]. FOI

10 Experience became hard in two different ways (2,7)
GO THROUGH - GOT [become] + H, ROUGH [hard, in two different ways]

11 Moorland needs cultivated borders covered (10)
ENSHEATHED - HEATH [moorland] that is "bordered" by (NEEDS*) ["cultivated"]. LOI

12 Call round (4)
RING - double def

14 Movement follows opening of fat camp (7)
FACTION - ACTION follows F{at}

16 Top expert on board? (7)
SURFACE - or alternatively SURF ACE

17 Book's editions (7)
NUMBERS - double def, the book being Biblical

19 It's Parisian imprisoning a soldier most guarded (7)
CAGIEST - C'EST "imprisoning" A GI

20 Dash put in pastureland (4)
ELAN - hidden in {pastur}ELAN{d}

21 Serious work of German, oddly receiving smuggled drug (5,5)
GRAND OPERA - G{e}R{m}A{n}, "receiving" RAN DOPE

24 Point in shock, impressive food course having no end (9)

25 After refreshment, writing sides (5)
TEAMS - MS [writing] after TEA

26 Many suffering shocks, and nothing that amazes me, in theatre work (13)
TONSILLECTOMY - TONS ILL ECT + O MY [many | suffering | shocks + O | MY]

1 Awkward bachelor said to drink some liquor (14)
BUTTERFINGERED - B UTTERED to "drink" FINGER [some liquor]

2 Fantastic fruit, a good deal from Florida, say (5)
LOTUS - LOT US [a good deal | from Florida, say]

3 Misfortune braved, admits leader of nouvelle vague (3-7)
ILL-DEFINED - ILL DEFIED, "admits" N{ouvelle}. Another nice L'n'S

4 Woke in seaside resort, topless (5-2)

5 Test art works, little pieces (7)

6 Wave, one that may be crashing? (4)
BORE - double def with a "crashing" bore

7 Cryptic clue I see and explain (9)

8 Big guns in article, Times story (3,5,6)
THE GREAT GATSBY - GREAT GATS in THE BY [article | times]

13 Sign for esoteric sectarian (10)

15 In recital, poet is a striking performer (9)

18 Passages in street on dry island (7)
STRETTI - ST RE TT I [street | on | dry | island]

19 Person inside ruffled lace mask (7)
CONCEAL - CON [person inside] + (LACE*) ["ruffled"]. Hands up everyone else who tried to work out how an ONC was a "person"

22 Cheers up in bedroom, regularly a source of inspiration (5)
ERATO - reversed TA in {b}E{d}R{o}O{m}

23 Girl who's a boy after Channel crossing? (4)
JEAN - or, in France, (Monsieur) Jean. Is this a nonophone?