June 18th, 2020

Linus van Pelt

27694 Thursday, 18 June 2020 You simply have nothing to fear

I took nearly 30 minutes over this, which is odd because that suggests I found it hard, and I’m not convinced it is. I was not helped by failing with the top left corner, and then solving in piecemeal fashion for the rest. There’s more sciencey stuff floating around for once, even if it’s the stuff you might be expected to know, and less arty stuff than is often the case.

The island clued is famous for both wine and cake: in my youth, I wondered why Flanders and Swann’s roué plied the young lady with the latter and why it was so seductive a technique.

I was happy to sort everything out on the way through, and present my findings concealed beneath the press here button with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS

[Press here]Across
1 Gunmen grabbed guards in charge of arms (8)
HERALDIC Gunmen are, often as not, R(oyal) A(rtillery), of which I am a Cadet Bombardier. I(n) C(harge) gives you the IC, and if you read the first bit as gunmen “grabbed” guards, then HELD surrounds the RA.
5 Two coppers join game (3,3)
CUP TIE One copper is CU (Cu if you prefer), the other is P for penny, which used to be almost all copper but is now a smear of copper on steel. Join provides the tie. We used to have cup-tie matches, dear ones, before The Plague.
9 Made notes, more than needed for study (3)
DEN So, maDE Notes is indeed more than needed
10 Tiered display of piping at the match? (7,4)
WEDDING CAKE A bunch of cryptic references, piping referring to the icing, and of course match nothing to do with the previous but one clue.
12 Running down info about militancy, ignored by clubs (10)
NEGATIVISM Info is GEN, turn it about. Add ACTIVISM for militancy, but don’t include the C(lubs)
13 A bunch of flyers withdrawing some way off (4)
AFAR A in plain sight, and the RAF fliers “withdraw”
15 Shooting star, such as Brezhnev (6)
LEONID The Leonids are a meteor shower peaking in November and appearing to emanate for the constellation Leo. Leonid Brezhnev succeeded Khrushchev as leader of the Soviet Union in 1964
16 Ship's company reduced clipper's work (4,3)
CREW CUT Ship’s company CREW, reduced CUT. Makes short work of hair.
18 Island produced one member of academy (7)
MADEIRA Produced MADE, one I, member of academy R(oyal) A(cademician), not to be confused with the gunners above
20 One put out, claiming rights to break in (6)
IRRUPT One is again I, PUT “out” produces UPT, and two R(ights) complete the word
23 Left work early, primarily to run (4)
LOPE L(eft) OP(us) and Early primarily
24 Rowdy underworld boss gets hospital attendant (10)
DISORDERLY The underworld boss is DIS, add the ORDERLY hospital attendant. I’d have got there much quicker if I didn’t have an E instead of the O crossing
26 Prior brings in shelter for five affected (11)
PRETENTIOUS Prior is PREVIOUS, substitute the V (masquerading as five) with TENT for shelter.
27 Arm revolutionary centre in seizure (3)
UZI The iconic Israeli machine gun, reverse hidden in the centre of seIZUre
28 Looked into wrong sign always blocking road (1-5)
X-RAYED A rather oblique definition. The wrong sign is X, ever is AYE, the conventional RD for road surrounds.
29 Gather hash in island heading back (8)
ASSEMBLE The island in question is ELBA, and hash is MESS. Um – assemble and reverse

1 Flogging papers in Mercury houses (6)
HIDING Papers ID, in –er- IN, and HG (Hg if you prefer, see copper above) houses both
2 Pull out of plant storing some DNA from the south (7)
RENEGUE “Some DNA” is GENE (good enough for crosswords) inserted reversed (from the south) into RUE, a plant “we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays” (Ophelia)
3 Lenin wasn't prepared for activity in court (4,6)
LAWN TENNIS Our first full anagram (prepared), of LENIN WASN’T
4 Independent "at home" almost split posh top celebs (13)
INDIVIDUALIST At home: IN, almost split: DIVID(e), posh: U, top celebs: A-LIST
6 Push prow of gondola into river (4)
URGE My last in: too many possibilities for 3 letter rivers to surround the G of gondola. It’s the URE, as it turns out
7 One very loudly boarding transport upset cars? (7)
TRAFFIC One is (again!) I, very loud FF (music), both are placed on board a CART as transport and the whole lot reversed, “upset”
8 Director and judge can't stand (8)
EXECRATE I tried several film directors before lighting on the generic EXEC, and adding RATE for judge
11 On cue, visitors spread out, scoffing 19 (13)
INSECTIVOROUS On first reading, I didn’t notice the 19 (see below) but it’s an anagram (spread out) of ON CUE VISITORS
14 Play area secured ground to start again (10)
RECRUDESCE Play area is REC (as in recreation ground) “ground” is your signal to redistribute the letters of SECURED
17 Little river, the tenth causing disease (8)
SMALLPOX Little is SMALL the river the convenient PO, and tenth (as in Louis 10th) is X
19 Flies lower, right into drink (7)
DIPTERA Lower is DIP, drink is TEA, insert R(ight). Any two-winged insect
21 Spin dry theatre ruffle (7)
PERTURB We have BRUT for dry, and REP for theatre, which you spin around
22 British see about masking trendy name on article (2-4)
BY-LINE B(ritish), then the see is the ecclesiastical one of ELY reversed (about) and including IN for trendy
25 What egotist refers to repeatedly in behavioural trait (4)
MEME Much more commonly one of those ubiquitous pic and text thingies that crop up all over the internet. An egotist only talks about ME, ME

Times Quick Cryptic No 1638 by Hurley

I found this of very similar difficulty to yesterday's QC, which I did just beforehand, taking a bit over 7 minutes for each - this was perhaps helped along by doing them after yesterday's 15x15, which was a bit tougher than we've had of recent. I had to give 1ac, 1d and 4d a bit of thought, deservedly as they were all nice clues; ditto to 13ac, post-solve. I particularly liked 7d: easy but very neatly done. Many thanks to Hurley!

1 Small piece about love seat that’s poisonous (9)
TOADSTOOL - TAD (small piece) about O (zero/love) STOOL (seat)
6 Concession press opposed in part (3)
SOP - presS OPposed "in part". I've wheeled this out before, but here we go again: as in the phrase "A sop to Cerberus". A sop is a piece of soaked bread, and a drugged one was given to Cerberus to allow safe passage to the underworld, hence it's meaning as a bribe/placation/concession.
8 Those remaining, cunning, begin again (7)
RESTART - REST (those remaining) ART (cunning)
9 Part of church one enters lacking sophistication (5)
NAIVE - NAVE (part of church) I (one) enters
10 British university caricature represented as involving red tape? (12)
BUREAUCRATIC - B(ritish) U(niversity) and an anagram (represented) of CARICATURE
12 Counterfoil in small container (4)
STUB - S(mall) TUB (container). I was squinting at SCAN for a bit.
13 Remark on distinctive vocal sound (4)
NOTE - double definition. The second definition could be "a distinctive sound made by a bird" (OED), or perhaps a distinctive quality or tone in speech, as in: there was no note of remorse in his voice. I suppose it could just be musical... in which case, and if I didn't care, then I would have come teasingly close to acting out the next clue.
17 Got “piano” clue wrong — showing no regrets? (12)
UNAPOLOGETIC - anagram (wrong) of GOT PIANO CLUE
20 Uninteresting musicians, learner admitted (5)
BLAND - BAND (musicians) L(earner) admitted/entered
21 With gin, rest, we hear, in bar at circus? (7)
TRAPEZE - TRAP (gin, as in for catching animals) EZE "we hear" the same as EASE (rest)
23 Viewer, part of the year (3)
EYE - "part of" thE YEar
24 Left-wing group cut term for animal (3,6)
RED SETTER -RED (left-wing) SET (group) TER ("cut" TERm)

1 Change routine (4)
TURN - double definition, the second as in a short act on stage, etc.
2 Attack a sailor, by the sound of it (7)
ASSAULT - A SALT (a sailor) "by the sound of it"
3 Openings for staff, promising, at health centre (3)
SPA - opening letters of Staff Promising At
4 Annoyed when halves are switched in this production (6)
OUTPUT - PUT OUT (annoyed) with halves switched
5 Left on farm describing some forecasts (4-5)
LONG-RANGE - L(eft) ON (on) GRANGE (farm)
6 Quick writer, Jonathan (5)
SWIFT - double definition
7 After pressure get to give sermon (6)
PREACH - after P(ressure), REACH (get to)
11 Add fanciful details to glowing piece about French King and daughter (9)
EMBROIDER - EMBER (glowing piece) about ROI (French king) and D(aughter)
14 Missile I had briefly seen in river (7)
TRIDENT - I'D (I HAD, "briefly") seen in TRENT (river)
15 Type of crossword unfinished by the French in confusion (6)
JUMBLE - JUMBo (type of crossword, "unfinished") by LE (the, French)
16 Kind newspaperman’s fixed up (6)
SORTED - SORT (kind) ED[itor] (newspaperman)
18 A means of access for jeweller’s stone (5)
AGATE - A GATE (a means of access)
19 Behind Republican listener (4)
REAR - R(epublican) EAR (listener)
22 Drink said to be healthy in Bow? (3)
ALE - HALE (healthy) pronounced à la cockney (in Bow)

Times 27,695: Drowning By Numbers

Well this was a belter - a proper Friday challenge in every way, but ALSO a pangram and ALSO containing every cardinal number from ZERO to TEN hidden in the answers. Perhaps the setter was too modest to assert that their puzzle "goes to eleven", but this one definitely did.

I failed to complete this in 10 minutes mainly due to dithering over 13ac at the end; but there were many other super lift-and-separate PDMs to delight and slow me down. I think 3dn is my Clue of the Day for being one of those clues where every single part of it is doing something different cryptically than it is superficially; but strong honourable mention to the creativity and nursery-rhyme flavour of 17dn.

Great great puzzle. My baseball cap (as befits one living only ~200 miles from 4dn) is doffed!

1 Lift out of order eg in the hospital (8)

6 Plant unknown in modern times — British one (6)
ADZUKI - Z [unknown] in AD UK I [modern times | British | one]. Bit mean to define this as a "plant" rather than a "bean" really...

9 Cardinal: one less impressed by fine English (4)
FIVE - one less than 5 is IV; "impress" that with F E

10 Shows little respect as batsman bowls over (4,3,3)
HITS FOR SIX - a double def I assume with something crickety. Is it disrespectful to whack the ball far then?

11 I myself must go after British medic, unqualified? (10)
BONESETTER - ONE SETTER [I | myself] must go after B

13 Butter mountain? The reverse! (4)
IBEX - I took a minute or two over this because I couldn't bring myself to believe in the existence of Mt Xebi. But eventually I worked out that we're just looking for reversed word order here - not a butter mountain but a mountain butter, one that butts on a mountain, a mountain goat.

14 Leave port out — tea’s quietly brewing (3,2,3)

16 Mammoth is not bound to pachyderm’s middle (6)
MIGHTY - MIGHT [(but) is not bound to] + {pach}Y{derm}

18 Crouching in leaves equally peculiar (6)
ASQUAT - IN leaves AS QUA{in}T

20 Strictly requires this old couple to visit branch (8)
FOOTWORK - O TWO "visiting" FORK. That's Strictly as in the show "Strictly Come Dancing".

22 Green stone drain (4)
JADE - double def

24 Park personnel first measure, then put new handle on (10)

26 Most of this f-fur’s ruined! (4-6)

28 Guide visiting Australia (1,2,1)
A TO Z - or AT OZ

29 Girl Russian agreed to call, pouring heart out (6)
DAPHNE - DA [Russian (for) "agreed"] + PH{o}NE

30 Deals with score? That’s some target, seventy! (4,4)
GETS EVEN - hidden in {tar}GET SEVEN{ty}

2 Speeches that close with pious elegy, mostly moving (9)

3 Gross things that look ultimately at least interesting (7)
GREYEST - GR [gross] + EYES [things that look] + {a}T

5 Lake that is something to see on foot, going round a hotel (5)
TAHOE - TOE [something to see on foot], "going round" A H. Lake Tahoe is not far from me at all, comparatively speaking!

5 Bag that you can take home? (3)
NET - double def. As in "take home pay"

6 A lion crossing grange, circling round car (4,5)
ALFA ROMEO - A LEO "crossing" FARM "circling" O

7 Adjusting to nothing upsetting or close to terrible in life (7)
ZEROING - reverse OR + {terribl}E inside of ZING [life]

8 What cuts skin — hip, feet — evenly (5)
KNIFE - {s}K{i}N {h}I{p} F{e}E{t}

12 To trade in answer not in fact fair, somehow (7)
TRAFFIC - (FACT FAIR*), but minus A for answer

15 Dark sort of envelope hosts deliver (9)
SATURNINE - SAE [sort of envelope] "hosts" TURN IN. Deliver as in "hand over" I guess?

17 eg Goldilocks’s bears, roof of dwelling concealed by forest (9)
THREESOME - the dwelling is HOME; "conceal" its "roof" in some TREES, as so: T{H}REES{OME}

19 Find clubs in the centre close on Thursday (7)
UNEARTH - {cl}U{bs} + NEAR + TH

21 Exhausting process? Finally show a leg (7)

23 Scent a traveller picked up (5)
AROMA - homophone of A ROAMER

25 Put back on TV (5)
RESET - or RE SET [on | TV]

27 Yank raised bottle, parting with tip (3)
TUG - inverted GUT{s}