June 4th, 2020

Linus van Pelt

27682 Thursday, 4 June 2020 Io, Io, it's off to work we go.

A mildly classical feel to this one, with the sort of vocab that turns up in Shakespeare but not much elsewhere, some Chaucer, some Greek mythology and Genesis to play with, though for the most part you don’t need to know that stuff to conquer the clues. Throw in some astronomy, and add a legal term which is a bit whiskery, and a probably unfamiliar species of grass and you have a crossword where trusting the wordplay is just something you have to do.
I fairly whizzed through in 14 minutes or so, but I think my speed was enhanced by being able to enter 1ac without delay
I’ve done my best to annotate the obscurer references with more or less accurate background, and my reasoning, with the clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS, can be found
[Here (click to open)]

Across
1 Scottish island to have a go at crime (8)
BARRATRY “Fraudulent practices on the part of the master or mariners of a ship to the prejudice of the owners; the stirring up of suits and quarrels, forbidden under penalties to lawyers; the purchase or sale of offices of church or state”. So now you know. I am fortunate that I knew both the word (though not with any certainty its meaning) and the Scottish island, BARRA, and could therefore have a go, TRY, to complete the word. And that both occurred at first reading. Others might have struggled, there being a lot of Scottish islands that might do.
5 Time to encounter sorceress in the grass (6)
TWITCH T for time and WITCH for sorceress, and hope that the combined result isn’t just a tic. Be assured, it is also a kind of grass.
10 Possess top-class modern technology to gain advantage (4,3,4,2,2)
HAVE THE BEST OF IT Two shots at the same phrase, the jocular first of which requires you to read IT as I.T.
11 Cross gentleman nabbing a commissioned officer (7)
SALTIRE The Scottish one, white X on blue. Or SIRE, gentleman “nabbing” A LT (lieutenant)
12 Passage of time managed by model (7)
TRANSIT T(ime) (again, already!) plus managed: RAN, plus model (as a verb) SIT
13 Water flowing badly, river choked by spicy stuff (8)
MILLRACE Carefully lift and separate. Badly: ILL plus R(iver) stuffed into MACE answering for “spicy stuff”. Choked more as “strangled by” than “clogged with”, which would be the other way round
15 Coffee encountered, getting knocked over (5)
DECAF Which is FACED, encountered, reversed
18 Retro record by the French star (5)
ALGOL If you know it not (it’s a variable in Perseus), trust the cryptic. LOG for record, LA for the (in) French shackled together and “retro” reversed.
20 A yacht was wrecked — no hint of hope for me? (8)
CASTAWAY One of those approaching &lit, the “me” being the subject of the little story being old and the wordplay. It’s an anagram (wrecked) of A YACHT WAS with the H (a hint of Hope) removed
23 A sweetheart's getting caught in hiding places perhaps (7)
ALCOVES Recesses that could serve as hiding places even if that’s not their primary purpose. Sweetheart’s (the S is necessary) gives LOVES, which gets
C(aught) in(side). The A you need is in plain sight.
25 I may be found out by this lab equipment! (7)
AMMETER A cryptic hint, where I is not me, but the symbol of electric current, which can be measured by our answer
26 A son's nurture say may be disturbed by these big beasts (15)
TYRANNOSAURUSES A big anagram (may be disturbed) of A SON’S NURTURE SAY
27 Within country's borders it's somehow vulgar and gloomy (6)
CLOUDY The borders of country give the C and Y, LOUD for vulgar is within
28 Pupils maybe hinder class - terrible fool must go! (8)
CHILDREN Maybe belongs to the definition, terrible indicates the anagram, of HINDER CLASS without the fool, ASS.

Down
1 Order fellows into risky venture (6)
BEHEST Fellows are HES, and the risky venture an BET. Assemble
2 Rod turns up with Heather, whooping it up (9)
REVELLING With the definition hinting at an ING ending, LING is an easy guess for the heather. The rod is a LEVER, which you need turned up
3 Mound is a new work: last of earth going in (7)
ANTHILL My last but one in, worrying that it might be a word for a mound that I was unfamiliar with. It’s not. You have A N(ew) TILL for work with the H, the last of eartH, thrown in.
4 One telling tale about naughty woman (5)
REEVE A Canterbury pilgrim, about: RE and naughty woman: EVE, guilty of primeval scrumping
6 Ground wanted around lake? Don't build on it, surely? (7)
WETLAND Another &litish sort of clue. Ground is an adjective to indicate an anagram. In this case of WANTED, around L(ake)
7 Quarrels difficult to deal with, leader being put down (5)
TIFFS Takes STIFF for difficult to deal with, and put the leading S to the end
8 Get on well, having success with one swell guy (3,2,3)
HIT IT OFF Repoint success: HIT plus one: I plus swell guy TOFF
9 Cattle going to water in Scotland, being smart (8)
NEATNESS NEAT is an old-fashioned term for cattle. From a cobbler at the beginning of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“As proper men as ever trod upon neat's leather have gone upon my handiwork.”
Add the best known water in Scotland
14 African party on estate with men, one from a previous generation (8)
ANCESTOR The African party is the ANC, African National Congress, EST is short for estate, and OR is or familiar men who are Other Ranks. Parsed after submission
16 Sir dealt with cheats, fearsome disciplinarian? (9)
CHASTISER Dealt is the anagram indicator, and you have SIR with CHEATS tp play with. It's possible to accept that"fearsome" is the anagram indicator
17 Like rock when submerged by sea (8)
BASALTIC I refer McColleagues to my entry a month ago, when this last came up. This time it’s a bit simpler, just AS for when, submerged in the BALTIC sea
19 Animated demon about to capture loveless one (7)
LIVENED Your demon is the DEVIL “about”, so reversed, capturing ONE without the O, indicated by loveless.
21 Officer looked up to by a learner but not journalist (7)
ADMIRAL Looked up to ADMIRED, add A L(earner) but take away the ED journalist
22 Petition stars outside entrance to show (6)
ORISON More Shakespeare, an it please you, from Hamlet: “nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered”. The stars this time are ORION, with the S from the entrance to Show
24 Dog having white heifer as companion? That's an unusual thing (5)
CURIO You can work out the dog being a CUR, which leaves IO. She’s a mortal woman turned into a white heifer either by Zeus who was infatuated with her or by the jealous Hera. It all worked out well enough, resulting several generations later in Perseus
25 Embarrass a bishop with a demand to keep quiet (5)
ABASH A in plain sight, B(ishop) A again and SH for demand to keep quiet
RolyToly

Times Quick Cryptic No 1628 by Breadman

Pitched on the gentle side of average difficulty today from Breadman: I stopped the clock at 7.30, hindered at the end by the last bit of 17ac, but helped along earlier in the puzzle by several clues that seemed fresh in the mind from puzzles recent (1ac appeared in very similar form in Monday's 15x15, for example). Some nice things going on elsewhere, my favourite being the neatly constructed 14d. Breadman's last puzzle was one letter shy of a pangram (no B), and today is just shy a W; the two previous puzzles both being pangrams. Anyway, many thanks to Breadman!

Across
1 Champion endlessly consuming a liqueur (8)
ADVOCAAT - ADVOCATe (champion. "endlessly") consuming A. (On Monday it was: Endlessly recommend imbibing a liqueur.)
5 Finally exit drinking venue that gives skiers a lift (1-3)
T-BAR - T ("Finally" exiT) BAR (drinking venue).
9 Large blood vessel found in zebra or tapir (5)
AORTA - "found in" zebrA OR TApir
10 Swine seizes two keys and two notes, money used abroad once (7)
PFENNIG - PIG (swine) seizes FE (two musical keys) and NN (two notes)
11 Poet joins economist somewhere in Buckinghamshire (6,6)
MILTON KEYNES - [John] MILTON (poet) joins [John Maynard] Keynes (economist). Originally a village called Middleton, the Keynes bit was gradually added after being held by a Norman family called de Cahaines (and from which the economist happens to be descended).
13 Person who's pursued landing-place around banks of river (6)
QUARRY - QUAY (landing-place) around RR ("banks" of RiveR).
15 A seductress free from worry (2,4)
AT EASE - A TEASE (a seductress)
17 Popular drink of spirits to arrange promptly in USA (2,5,5)
IN SHORT ORDER - IN (popular) SHORT (drink of spirits) ORDER (arrange)
20 Republican, having paused curiously, gets info from books? (5,2)
READS UP - R(epublican) having an anagram (curiously) of PAUSED
21 Barren open country hot after high temperature (5)
HEATH - H(ot) after HEAT (high temperature)
22 Cat regularly playing — a sign of affection (4)
LYNX - "regularly" p L a Y i N g, and X (sign of affection)
23 Audibly agreed with doctor before operations which may improve one's sight (3-5)
EYE-DROPS - EYE = AYE (agreed) "audibly", with DR (doctor) before OPS (operations)
Down
1 A container partly open (4)
AJAR -A JAR (a container). A corruption of "on char" meaning "in the act of shutting", with char being an obsolete word for return/backward movement.
2 Musical composer renovated drive (5)
VERDI - anagram (renovated) of DRIVE
3 Map with royal residence and public school (12)
CHARTERHOUSE - CHART (map) with ER (royal) HOUSE (residence)
4 Uncovered tall conifer and plant from mountainous region (6)
ALPINE - AL ("uncovered" T AL L) PINE (conifer)
6 A source of wealth, bigwig backed Antipodean soldier largely (7)
BONANZA - NOB (bigwig/person of distinction) backed/reversed ANZAc (Antipodean soldier "largely")
7 Indicate movement of tigers with hesitation (8)
REGISTER - anagram (movement) of TIGERS with ER (hesitation)
8 Maybe maroon and gold cape concealed top racehorse (6,6)
DESERT ORCHID - DESERT (maroon, maybe) and OR (gold) C(ape) HID (concealed)
12 Landed gentleman bears right, then left, finding arboreal animal (8)
SQUIRREL - SQUIRE (landed gentleman) bears/holds R(ight), then L(eft)
14 Seamen reflecting at home drink no alcohol (7)
ABSTAIN - ABS (Able Bodies = seamen) TA ("reflecting" AT) IN (home)
16 Visit work building firstly in very filthy place (4,2)
STOP BY - OP (opus/work) B (Building "firstly") in STY (very filthy place)
18 Religious books are about Greek goddess (5)
ERATO - OT (religious books) ARE about/reversed.
19 Hut's organised in this way (4)
THUS - anagram (organised) of HUTS
verlaine

Times 27,683: The Teeth Of God Grind Slowly, But They Grind Exceeding Small

I found this adequately challenging in the solving - nothing equiterrible, but certainly some twists and turns to negotiate - but a little disappointing to write up the parsings for, with an array of what you'd have to call simple anagrams, and two examples of a clue type I've always had an irrational prejudice against, where one letter must become a random other. (It's actually quite a useful cluing device, I expect, but it just seems... imprecise somehow?)

FOI 10ac, LOI 23ac, favourite probably 7dn for the unexpected lift-and-separate component ("little" and "boy" going together like peas and carrots in crossword clues). I also liked "six feet" as the definition of 15dn and the shout out to Thomas Tallis from whose eponymous school in Kidbrooke I lived just round the corner until 2018. Than you setter for these toothsome things!

ACROSS
1 Publication by students with classy, clean content, fantastic achievement (6,4)
MAGNUM OPUS - MAG by N.U.S. with U, MOP content

6 Youngster swallows large part of tooth (4)
PULP - PUP swallows L

8 Where some are playing football, or riding around (8)
GRIDIRON - (OR RIDING*)

9 Lights finally low, central heating on, kiss and cuddle (6)
SMOOCH - {light}S + MOO + C.H.

10 Corpse is gory: look out (4)
BODY - BLOODY minus LO

11 A reminder of the late quality of wine (10)
GRAVESTONE - or GRAVES' TONE

12 Scrub fork clean for a bit of breakfast (9)
CORNFLAKE - (FORK CLEAN*)

14 Refuse hard slog (5)
MARCH - MARC [refuse] + H

17 Burned remains after emptying secret store (5)
STASH - ASH [burned remains] after S{ecre}T

19 Loss of earnings shocking to Mexican (6,3)
INCOME TAX - (TO MEXICAN*)

22 Two obstacles, very large: it’s for a Russian invasion (10)
BARBAROSSA - BAR + BAR + OS + S.A. [it]

23 Creed not one to criticise harshly (4)
SLAM - ISLAM minus I

24 Dish youngster eats sport being over (6)
TUREEN - TEEN eats reversed RU

25 A chronicler’s first to be replaced — his charges can be stinging (8)
APIARIST - A + DIARIST with its first letter changed

26 Caught, not many would quarrel at length (4)
FEUD - homophone of FEW'D

27 Router sends digger round Bath (10)
DISPATCHER - DITCHER round SPA

DOWN
1 Be getting on motorway over part of England to make fortune (9)
MEGABUCKS - reversed AGE [be getting on] on M, plus BUCKS [part of England]

2 Smile, darling, although missing a tooth (7)
GRINDER - GRIN, DE{a}R

3 To take a rich husband, they say, may be a bloomer (8)
MARIGOLD - homophone of MARRY GOLD

4 Pay attention: after nip, as it were, I burn (3,4,4,4)
PIN BACK ONE'S EARS - PIN BACK [nip, as it were: reverse cryptic] + ONE SEARS

5 Worked out divided county has ended up different (6)
SUSSED - SUSSEX [divided county] with a different ending

6 Lying for the country has caught ambassador finally (9)
PROSTRATE - PRO STATE [for the country] has "caught" {ambassado}R

7 Saying little boy almost in shape for ice cream? (7)
LACONIC - LA{d} + CONIC [in shape for ice cream]

13 See blonde squirming: why is she red in the face? (9)
NOSEBLEED - (SEE BLONDE*)

15 Hotel inside western city a mile and six feet (9)
HEXAMETER - H, plus, inside EXETER, A M. Six *metrical* feet.

16 Portrait of animal so original (4,4)
MONA LISA - (ANIMAL SO*)

18 Speak badly of drug, taken regularly in tiny amount (7)
TRADUCE - D{r}U{g} in TRACE

20 Composer reaching height? Rather unlikely (7)
TALLISH - TALLIS [Thomas, 16th century composer] reaching H

21 Palladium, introducing old character, cut back (6)
PRUNED - Pd "introducing" RUNE