June 17th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1637 by Orpheus

Another well-pitched puzzle from Orpheus, with enough to chew on but not totally indigestible. I certainly started to get worried when 1ac, 5ac, and 1dn failed to appear, but as has been said many times on here, moving straight on rather than getting bogged down is the key. There are lots and lots of first/last letters to pick out, so good practice for this device, and plenty of standard crossword abbreviations/synonyms without feeling too clichéd.

Definitions underlined - now actually underlined!

1 Way to capture foreign part of fortification (7)
SALIENT - ST (street, way) containing (to capture) ALIEN (foreign). An outward-pointing angle of a fortification - every day's a school day.
5 Pith helmet — most superior one (4)
TOPI - TOP (most superior) and I (one). I get the feeling I've seen this before in Crosswordland, but couldn't have defined it without the wordplay. (I now see it has appeared frequently - so the question becomes why haven't I remebered it yet!).
7 Quiet member of the family? (3)
MUM - double definition.
8 Park-keeper visiting old Yankee where fruit-trees grow (8)
ORANGERY - RANGER (park keeper) inside (visiting) O (old) and Y (yankee).
10 Spice children initially think the world of (5)
CLOVE - first letter of (initially) Children, then LOVE (think the world of).
11 Substance burnt in church? Not something evangelicals initiated! (7)
INCENSE - IN, CE (church), then the first letters of (initiated) Not Something Evangelicals. I'm glad the final part of the word was spelled out for me, as I would probably have gone for -nce.
13 Cost of old-fashioned ballad (6)
OUTLAY - OUT (old-fashioned) and LAY (ballad).
15 Sound process identifying Russian plain (6)
STEPPE - sounds like (sound) "step" (process). A bit iffy in my opinion; I guess 'sound' as in 'sound out' is adequate as a homophone indicator, but 'step' is part of a process (a series of steps) rather than the whole thing, no?
17 A great many put me out — active men, ultimately (7)
UMPTEEN - anagram of (out) PUT ME, then the last letters from (ultimatley) activE meN.
18 Big house in local police area (5)
MANOR - double definition, the second unkown to me. It's a slang term for a police district or area of operation.
20 Dreadful resistance restricting the indecisive type (8)
DITHERER - DIRE (dreadful) and R (resistance) containing (restricting) THE.
22 Ultimate feature of tennis court? (3)
NET - double defintion. As in 'net earnings' or 'net cost', ultimate i.e. after tax.
23 Very old French painter returning without son (4)
AGED - reversal of (returning) DEGAs (French painter) without the 's' (son).
24 Wealthy duke associated with circle in Yemen somehow (7)
MONEYED - D (duke) next to (associated with) an anagram of (somehow) O (circle) in YEMEN.

1 Her music so confused a section of the choir (10)
SEMICHORUS - anagram of (confused) HER MUSIC SO. Only vaguely known to me but generously clued.
2 State of oblivion of bishop in posh car (5)
LIMBO - B (bishop) in LIMO (posh car).
3 Acquit former partner on single charge (9)
EXONERATE - EX (former partner), ONE (single), and RATE (charge).
4 Calamitous stunt mostly taking in a guide leader (6)
TRAGIC - all-but-the-last letter from (mostly) TRICk (stunt) containing (taking in) A and the first letter (leader) of Guide.
5 Tie-on label cheers granny at first (3)
TAG - TA (cheers) and the first letter of (at first) Granny.
6 Dad’s pin-up eating top of raw vegetable (7)
PARSNIP - PA'S (dad's) and PIN reversed (up) containing (eating) first letter (top) of Raw.
9 Lived it up, being famous (10)
CELEBRATED - double definition. My LOI, despite its simplicity.
12 Boat made by Russian woman in prison (9)
CATAMARAN - TAMARA (Russian woman, apparently) in CAN (prison).
14 First-class food garnish (7)
TOPPING - double definition. I must admit that the adjectival first definition did not come to mind, but Chambers has 'surpassing, pre-eminent'. I biffed it from TOP and looked it up at the end.
16 Worker on edge in Ulster county (6)
ANTRIM - ANT (worker) on RIM (edge).
19 Simpleton’s lodging-place in US city (5)
NINNY - INN (lodgings) in NY (US city).
21 Brick carrier finally buried under house (3)
HOD - last letter of (finally) burieD under HO (house).

Times 27693 - what did the Romans do for us?

A somewhat more chewy puzzle this Wednesday, not impossible at all, but it took me half an hour and then a bit longer to work out how and why 25a, 3d and 17a worked having biffed them. Coming to review it for the blog, it's one of those where it all seems perfectly clear afterwards, so perhaps it was not that tricky and I was slow to get tuned in.
I started with 9a and 10a then 1d and 2d and ended with 17a where I'd decided the answer must be one of those fad dances I'd never practised. Well, I've never practised any dances, so that was a blank canvas. Dancing is second only to poetry on my list of 'not for me' items. 15d, on the other hand, was a reminder of happy O Level days, when oddly I found Latin could be a joy if treated more like a science than a language. That's one of the good things the Romans did for us. Not to mention...

1 Flush gets stuck (5)
GORED - to GO RED is to flush; GORED = stuck as in a bull or pig.
4 Clue in lawsuit that barrister brings to trial? (9)
BRIEFCASE - BRIEF = clue in, CASE = lawsuit.
9 Priest maybe is necessary (9)
INCUMBENT - double definition.
10 Local plants I'd taken from coastal state (5)
11 Loss of marbles from net-like bagging one used in Paris (6)
LUNACY - UN (French one) in LACY (net-like).
12 Going back for key-holding worker, left alone (8)
ORPHANED - [EDIT sorry I missed out typing this is before publishing, so KG had added the note below]  PRO reversed = for, going back; key of E inside HAND = worker.
14 Confederate company set back schedule to steal from everyone (12)
COLLABORATOR - CO = company, then reverse all of ROTA, ROB ALL (schedule, steal from everyone).
17 Faceless model annoyed after Juliet danced (12)
JITTERBUGGED - J  for Juliet, (S)ITTER = faceless model, BUGGED = annoyed.
20 Extra pound in benefit for ham (8)
OVERPLAY - OVER (extra) L in PAY (benefit).
21 Ill-advised, as far as global alliance is concerned? (6)
UNWISE - UN-wise would be as far as the United Nations is concerned.
23 Retiring manner adopted by father's brother (5)
FRIAR - Insert AIR reversed ("retiring manner") into FR for father.
24 Hit hard by decaying portal (9)
THRESHOLD - THRESH (hit hard) OLD (decaying).
25 In military terms, prime blunder by revolutionary faction (5-4)
BOOBY-TRAP - if you reverse PARTY (faction) BOOB (blunder) you get BOOBY-TRAP. So I presume a prime is a military expression for that. Or a verb for setting one.
26 Fit father's engaged in kinky sex? (5)
SPASM - PA's (father's) inside SM (Sado Masochism, or the SM in BDSM).
1 Jam finally reaching clear section of waterway (8)
GRIDLOCK - G (finally reachinG), RID (clear), LOCK (section of waterway).
2 Church blocking payment disheartened laity not long ago (8)
RECENTLY - CE (church) in RENT (payment), LY (laity disheartened).
3 Politicians from McCarthy period at resort, leaving hotel (10,5)
DEMOCRATIC PARTY - (MCCARTY PERIOD AT)*, the H being removed from the McCarthy fodder. Took me a while to see this was an anagram.
4 Piped down, so we hear (4)
BLEW - homophone of BLUE = down.
5 What could make mariner try to join up with relative? (10)
6 Animated Scottish film, fun for potential 14s (5,10)
7 A restrained flourish (6)
ABOUND - A, BOUND = restrained.
8 Antelope from the Orient? (6)
ELANDS - E LANDS would be East Lands. Sneaky plural of antelope is antelope.
13 Delivery supervisor behind mother bearing son (10)
POSTMASTER - POST (behind) MATER has S inserted.
15 Ancient general from Indian city taking one for a drink (8)
AGRICOLA - AGRA in India has its A changed to I, then COLA is drink. I remember this chap from my school Latin, he did a lot of conquering in these parts.
16 Extra study adopted by a theologian, with some hesitance (8)
ADDENDUM - A, DD has DEN inserted, UM for hesitance.
18 Discourse from internee getting great support (6)
CONFAB - CON (prisoner, internee) FAB (great).
19 Doctor introducing brief order into practice (6)
MEDICO - EDIC(T) = brief order, goes into MO, modus operandi.
22 Responsibility taken after wife stole (4)
WRAP - W (wife) RAP (blame, responsibility).