June 1st, 2020

New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27679 - Can you name all eight?

Time: 21 minutes
Music: McCoy Tyner, Focal Point

This is another easy Monday, in which there are only a few obscsure words, but those are very generously clued.  Since I have become so addicted to Mephisto, making up likely answers from cryptics no longer bothers me.   If it fits the clue and the crossing letters, in it goes.   This does lead to the occasional momble, but usually the likely answer turns out to be correct.  So it proved in this puzzle.

A few weeks back, I posted a link a cryptic puzzle created by one of our commenters, David Crooks.   For those of you who missed it hte first time around, here is the URL: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DDe_ZikINu-5po9riGrHyy027YA3wJq7/view?usp=sharing    I don't know how many of our audience downloaded the puzzle and solved it, or whether we should go ahead and blog it, so let's see a show of hands in the comments.   For the sake of those who have not yet tried this puzzle, please don't give away any of the answers.

Across
1 Animal, mostly solitary, primarily inhabiting a region of Spain (9)
CATALONIA - CAT + ALON[e] + I[nhabiting] + A.   Phew!
6 Clear-headed Law Lord covering a group of islands (5)
LUCID - LU(CI)D, the Channel Islands, that is.
9 Court divided about Durer’s first artistic creation (7)
WOODCUT - WOO D[urer] CUT.   Since Durer is famous for woodcuts, misdirection is a bit lacking here.
10 Overnight accommodation with neat container for hats (7)
BANDBOX -  B AND B  + OX, very clever use of a common phrase that fits very few words.
11 Republican launching a club in African capital (5)
RABAT - R + A BAT, capital of Morocco.  
12 Sauce only served in pub by church (9)
INSOLENCE - IN(SOLE)N + C.E., stock cryptic elements.
13 Putting off creating space for books, perhaps (8)
SHELVING - Double definition.
14 Film for all to see, introducing current case (4)
ETUI - ET + U + I, a word commonly found in US crosswords because of all the luscious vowels.   It's a needle case.
17 Long article about explosive (4)
ACHE - A + C + H.E., more stock cryptic elements.
18 Shambolic leaders bizarrely keeping one in trashy way (8)
SHODDILY - SH(ambolic) ODD(I)LY, where 'leaders' can evidently now be used for the first two letters.
21 Eroticism somehow of equal measure? (9)
ISOMETRIC - Anagram of EROTICISM.
22 Narcotic: retired army doctor secures more in Milan (5)
OPIUM - M.O. backwards around PIU. 
24 Eternal suffering! (7)
ABIDING - Double definition, my LOI, where I had to think a bit.
25 Small trading centre teens regularly tidy up (7)
SMARTEN - S MART + [t]E[e}N[s].
26 Figure of girl finally exuding sex appeal (5)
DIGIT - DI + [exudin]G + IT, love 'it' or leave 'it'!
27 Turned out badly, lacking education (9)
UNTUTORED - Anagram of TURNED OUT.   "Lo, the poor Indian...."
Down
1 Someone who intimidates us, making us shrink back? (5)
COWER - double definition, one jocular.  
2 Problem-solving husband with foreign coins in London area (15)
TROUBLESHOOTING -T(ROUBLES, H)OOTING.  
3 Relish keeping twin-hulled vessel insured at first, in case (8)
LOCATIVE - LO(CAT, I[nsured])VE.  
4 It nourishes teachers ultimately content with nothing in Paris (8)
NUTRIENT - N.U.T. + RIEN + [conten]T.   You would have thought they'd pick a better acronym....
5 Waylay a doctor attached to American hospital (6)
AMBUSH - A M.B. + US + H, another compendium of stock cryptic elements.
6 See a girl disheartened and isolated (6)
LONELY - LO NE[l]LY.
7 Top politician press initially interviewed in church (7,8)
CABINET MINISTER - CABINET + MIN(I[nterviewed])STER, which most solvers will just biff.
8 Unusually tired, yet transfixed by unnamed person’s deftness (9)
DEXTERITY - Anagram of TIRED YET + X.   Mr X, presumably.
13 Extreme characters in Westminster touch down in African state, once (9)
SWAZILAND - SW(A,Z)I + LAND, easily biffable by those who collected stamps fifty years ago.
15 Heavily built group of little intelligence (8)
THICKSET - THICK SET, hardly cryptic.
16 Endlessly recommend imbibing a liqueur (8)
ADVOCAAT - ADVOCA(A)T[e], easily guessed even if you don't know it.
19 Oppose son entering repeat exam (6)
RESIST -  RESI(S)T.
20 Tropical palm developed and developed, we hear (6)
GRUGRU - Sounds like GREW GREW.  Also the grub of a weevil.  
23 Vocally object to coal being obtained thus? (5)
MINED - Sounds like MIND.  
Astarte1

QC 1625 by Joker

Back with you later than expected, with 'my' puzzle having been accidentally blogged by Peter a couple of weeks ago during the Times mix-up. Since last time, when I was grateful for a relatively easy puzzle because my Mac was playing up with a horribly flickering screen, I am glad to say that the defect has been remedied entirely under warranty. So many thanks to Apple for sticking by their Ts & Cs and 'doing the right thing'.

So here I am back with another gentle offering to start the week. A couple of the clues were hardly clues at all (viz. 13A and 3D where we are more or less told what to do in plain English), and there were some straightforward anagrams and charades and one very obvious hidden word. Nevertheless although not all that challenging I really enjoyed a lot of the clues for their humorous construction and surfaces (as you would expect from a 'Joker'). I particularly liked the playful 1A (my COD), 21A for the misdirection referred to in the blog and 7D for its Shylockian imagery. FOI was 8A and LOI 20D.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the plainest language I can manage.

Across
1 Thought Lab team blue? Exactly the opposite (10)
CONSIDERED - if you convert TEAM to SIDE, then the opposite of LAB(our) SIDE BLUE is CON(servative) SIDE RED.
8 Plant is favourite — any number I planted in middle of quad (7)
PETUNIA - PET (favourite) + N (any number) + I 'in' UA (middle of qUAd).
9 Supporters rush finally forward (5)
BRASH - BRAS (supporters) + H (rusH 'finally').
10 Burial place of Thomas Black (4)
TOMB - TOM (Thomas) + B (Black).
11 Omelette’s wrong — one sent back everything (8)
TORTILLA - TORT (legal word for wrong) + I (one) + LLA (all (everything) 'sent back').
13 Get rid of me over anagramming (6)
REMOVE - ME OVER 'anagramming'. Must be the most direct anagrind I have ever seen.
14 Plain girl father initially supported (6)
PAMPAS - PAM (girl) + PA (father) + S (initially Supported)
17 Bad robes altered and taken up (8)
ABSORBED - straight anagram ('altered') of BAD ROBES.
19 Roman garment of past time on the way back (4)
TOGA - AGO (past) + T (time) all reversed (on the way back).
21 American transporter hit in Los Angeles (5)
LLAMA - LAM (hit) 'in' LA (Los Angeles). Possible misdirection playing on inherent cultural imperialism here, as 'American' does not necessarily mean 'North American'.
22 Element some uncovered in salty water (7)
BROMINE - sOMe 'uncovered' is OM. Place this in  BRINE (salty water) and you have element number 35 of the Periodic Table.
23 Drunk left together with Queen is northern Scot (10)
HIGHLANDER - HIGH (drunk) + L (left) + AND (with) + ER (Elizabeth Regina).
Down
2 Best to make a choice, one mother’s supporting (7)
OPTIMUM - OPT (make a choice) + I (one) + MUM (mother). 'Supporting' here indicates that this is a down clue and that MUM is 'supporting' the other elements.
3 Sandown doesn’t have its own beach? (4)
SAND - take OWN away from SANDOWN.
4 Head of chapter restricts company for church officer (6)
DEACON - DEAN (head of chapter) 'restricting' CO (company).
5 Contradiction’s genuine about object of ridicule (8)
REBUTTAL - REAL (genuine) 'about' BUTT (object of ridicule).
6 Speak slowly, line getting to drag on (5)
DRAWL - DRAW (drag) 'on' L (line) in this down clue.
7 Miser keeping pile in curious casket (10)
CHEAPSKATE - HEAP (pile) 'in' CSKATE (anagram ('curious') of CASKET).
8 Aptly learn swimming, as father treats child? (10)
PATERNALLY - straight anagram ('swimming') of APTLY LEARN.
12 Project finished, needing change in the middle (8)
OVERHANG - OVER (finished) + HANG (cHANGe 'in the middle').
15 Potential seafront walk is ending in Hove (7)
PROMISE - PROM (seafront walk) + IS + E (is + ending in hovE).
16 Like a word, however Balzac uses it (6)
VERBAL - hidden word: howeVER BALzac 'uses it'.
18 Small whip cut (5)
SLASH - S (small) + LASH (whip).
20 Swindle involving current 50p, say (4)
COIN - CON (swindle) 'involving' I (symbol for electric current in physics).
verlaine

Monthly Club Special 20,236: Oh Stewardess? I Speak 24D

I found this quite hard work overall, despite a fair proportion of straightforward clues in the mix: there were a few real stinkers to balance them out, of which LOI 12dn was the ringleader. COD to 20ac I think. I was sad to receive a random pink square after avoiding biff traps at 2dn and 15ac. How did the rest of you fare?

Thanks setter! What, is it June already? Remember when time worked completely differently to how it seems to in 2020? What a year...

ACROSS
1 Some grit needed to get round a large person on couch? (9)
ANALYSAND - ANY SAND needed to get round A L. A rather simple clue, at least if you're familiar with the concept of gerundives: an analysand is just someone who needs to be analysed.

6 Presented freshly turned sweater? Not the first (5)
REDUX - reversed {e}XUDER, one that sweats

9 Aussie empties dealer’s British depot regularly: too much left therein (6-1)
BOTTLE-O - B + {d}E{p}O{t}, with OTT L inside. A colorful term which clearly fits the general concept you're looking for, even if you're not familiar with Oz-speak.

10 Bloomer as family cheered, receiving medal (7)
KINGCUP - KIN UP [family | cheered], receiving GC [George Cross]. I pink-squared on this one, having somewhat mystifyingly typed KINGCAP in the event, I can think of no possible reason why.

11 Plane in the sky flying OAPs to Peru (10)
TROPOPAUSE - (OAPS TO PERU*)

12 Fare from India’s war-torn province allowing bishop to leave (4)
IDLI - IDLI{b}. Now this one was too tough for those committed to solving without use of aids, I thought. Idlib is a province in Syria; subtract a B to find an Indian breakfast rice cake.

14 Is obliged to take floor in whirling Caribbean music (5)
SOKAH - HAS [is obliged to] "takes in" K.O. [floor], the whole reversed. Is this the same thing as soca? Probably but I can't say I'm sure.

15 Evil Yankee in play written about Jonquil? (9)
AMARYLLID - ILL Y in DRAMA, the whole reversed.

16 Book commentaries on reflection obscure, not considered the writer’s (9)
MIDRASHIM - reversed DIM + RASH [not considered] + I'M. Simple enough wordplay leads to a word that looks convincing as some kind of Hebrew texts.

18 Poet’s version of Yahoo newsgroup heralds shows (5)
OUPHE - hidden in {newsgr}OUP HE{raids}. Easy if you've read enough Shakespeare or played enough Magic: The Gathering.

20 Tonga’s wingers and centre in play, ready for Samoa (4)
TALA - T{ong}A + {p}LA{y}. As a quizzer I learned all the world currencies at some point, which made this a write-in. Not to be confused with *Tonga's* ready, which is of course the pa'anga.

21 Washer with a thing that’s mountable, screwed on article (10)
ABLUTOMANE - (MOUNTABLE*) ["screwed", fun anagrind] on A. An obsessive washer.

25 Great actor in endless hurry to embrace round Scene One (7)
ROSCIUS - RUS{h} to embrace O SC I [round | scene | one]. I used to regularly catch the bus past a house in Crystal Palace with a blue plaque to Ira Aldridge, "the African Roscius", which helped.

26 One carrying out his duty to the letter? (7)
BAILIFF - straightforward cryptic def

27 Lock old couple of shillings in pouch prepared for return (5)
SASSE - S S in SAE [stamped addressed envelope = pouch prepared for return]. Nicely misleading, that last bit. A "sasse" is an old work for a sluice or lock.

28 Carry on a normal life, firstly finding special place to stay (9)
APARTOTEL - TOTE on A PAR, plus L{ife}. Having heard of motels, boatels, flotels etc, apartotel wasn't beyond the realm of comprehensibility.

DOWN
1 Turn in diamond which has originally been for hours underneath ace (2-3)
AT-BAT - underneath A [ace], take THAT [which], and replace the H [hours] with the B at the start of B{een}. AT-BAT appears all the time in the New York Times puzzle.

2 With which, briefly, old track is replaced? (3-4)
ALT-ROCK - (OL{d} TRACK*), semi-&lit. Avoided the temptation to biff ART ROCK, to which I am also rather partial.

3 Flycatcher’s missing bottle: what’s turned up on trailer (10)
YELLOWHEAD - YELLOW [missing bottle = cowardly] + reversed EH? + AD.

4 Group who’d kick bottle around steal from carriage (5)
AROBA - AA [Alcoholics Anonymous = group who'd "kick" alcohol] around ROB

5 Vacant dolly bird in film close to finding what’s hidden geological feature (4,5)
DYKE SWARM - D{oll}Y + KES [bird in film] + WARM [close to finding what's hidden, as in warmer... warmer... colder...] Who knew that dykes travelled in packs?

6 Scottish border road crossing local one (4)
RUND - RD "crossing" UN. This a cloth border, not something you'd find on a map. Wouldn't blame anybody for looking this one up to check the answer might not be RAND.

7 Teddy being picked up roughly upset boy of ten (7)
DECADAL - reversed ED, plus CA [roughly], plus reversed LAD

8 Two hours each day images have captured leaping fish (9)
XIPHIIDAE - EA D PIX [each | day | images] have "captured" II H [two | hours], the whole reversed. If you have a bit of Greek "xiphos" will seem familiar as something sword-y, and the answer can be happily derived from the wordplay.

13 There’s mould in his study? Unknown — anyhow, it’s gloomy (10)
ZYMOLOGIST - Z [unknown] + (IT'S GLOOMY*). Nice definition, for a fermentation expert.

14 Japanese grappling with revolting American driver briefly (9)
SUMOTORIS - reversed US + MOTORIS{t}. Clearly something to do with SUMO wrestlers.

15 Area warming, taking week off to sunbathe by a Canadian lake (9)
ATHABASKA - A THA{w} + BASK by A. I probably would have spelt this ATHABASCA given free rein, but the wordplay is clear.

15 Corruption of souls leads to destruction in practice in colony (7)
DULOSIS - (SOULS D{estruction} I{n}*) An unenlightened practice in ant colonies where ants enslave other ant races to do their work for them, it couldn't happen here.

19 One instructing poor honey collector, perhaps, who’s off his head (7)
PIARIST - {a}PIARIST. A member of some 17th century Italian charitable religious organisation.

22 Uninvited guest accompanied Romeo getting down in dance (5)
UMBRA - take RUMBA and move its R further down. Lovely lovely term for an unexpected plus one turning up at one's party.

23 French engineer: one loudly dismissed German region (5)
EIFEL - M. Eiffel, minus one F [loudly]. Hopefully you got this readily even if you'd never heard of the German area.

24 Lie to judge? One has (4)
JIVE - J + I'VE