June 20th, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27690 - Saturday, 13 June 2020. In the meantime …

In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun? This crossword took us from sunup with the swelling sound of birdsong (kookaburras, for example) to sundown (time for supper), but it was a quick journey. Lots of clues will be easy pickings for the experienced solvers, but a nice workout too. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions are in {curly brackets}.
1 Draw on such training for early performance? (4,6)
DAWN CHORUS – anagram (‘training’) of DRAW ON SUCH.
7 Hell: make sure not opening (4)
HECK – {c}HECK, not opening. The bowdlerised form of the exclamation.
9 One is in classroom erasing all content — embarrassing mistake (8)
SOLECISM – SOLE (one, as in ‘sole survivor’), then IS in C{lassroo}M, ‘erasing content’.
10 Twist, say, regularly in speech as picked up by some? (6)
ORPHAN – sounds like ‘often’, as pronounced by those who say ORF’N. Not me, for one!
11 Elite test beyond dope (6)
GENTRY – TRY (test) ‘beyond’ i.e. after GEN (dope).
13 Ringtone destroyed much of the atmosphere (8)
NITROGEN – anagram (‘destroyed’) of RINGTONE. 78% of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen.
14 Unusual sighting possible result of bull in china shop? (6,6)
FLYING SAUCER – double definition, the second fanciful.
17 Snake in river rank, a source of irritation (12)
EXASPERATING – ASP in the EXE, then RATING On edit: the comments highlight that some solvers expected the answer to be EXASPERATION, until of course it didn't fit the crossing letters. Actually, the clue supports either answer depending on whether the definition is "a source of irritation", or just "irritation" (with "source of" as filler).
20 Cattle fed with silage ultimately supporting source of beef (8)
HEREFORD – HERD (cattle) fed with {silage}E and FOR (supporting).
21 Lower school period for dictation? (6)
LESSEN – sounds like ‘lesson’.
22 Noise coming from trampolinist about unknown sport (6)
BOXING – BOING about X (unknown).
23 Acolyte to cheer after change announced (5,3)
ALTAR BOY – sounds like BUOY (cheer) after ALTER (change).
25 Contact criminal group (4)
RING – double definition.
26 Toad putting salt on rabbit (10)
NATTERJACK – NATTER (rabbit), JACK (salt). NHO this beast.

2 Primarily muscle around meat, nothing left (5,3)
ABOVE ALL – AB (muscle), then O (nothing) + (left) ‘around’ VEAL (meat). I puzzled for a while before I saw how the assembly instructions work. A bit like reading the instructions for flat-pack furniture?
3 Born leaders in New England, evidently (3)
NEE – first letters of each word.
4 Scaryas a lycanthrope? (5)
HAIRY – another double definition. A lycanthrope is a werewolf, apparently – hence the hairiness.
5 Country very soon captured by a king after uprising (7)
ROMANIA – IN A MO (very soon) ‘captured by’ the letter A and R (king), and all reversed (‘uprising’).
6 Show mark for fast runner (9)
7 Doctor prophetic — as his father? (11)
HIPPOCRATES – anagram (‘doctor’) of PROPHETIC AS. I found the definition a little hard to pin down, but Hippocrates is known as “the Father of Medicine”.
8 County town's first blood (6)
12 Night I suspect closing in around supper time? Latish today (4,7)
THIS EVENING – anagram (‘suspect’) of NIGHT I, ‘around’ SEVEN. Not when I eat supper, but that’s why the question mark’s there, of course.
15 Stylish magazine for cricketing county (9)
GLAMORGAN – GLAM, ORGAN. I’m sure they do play cricket there, and no doubt someone can tell us why it’s specifically defined as a ‘cricketing county’. On edit: thanks to mrkgrnao for the enlightenment. Apparently Glamorgan is no longer a county for local government purposes, but still plays county cricket!
16 Yellow hue with corn, I gathered (8)
UNHEROIC – anagram (‘gathered’) of HUE CORN I.
18 School players downloaded audio file (7)
19 A little thinner, olive oil (6)
NEROLI – hidden answer. It’s an oil distilled from oranges, not olives.
21 Hard to block slow spinner (5)
24 Rule long gone, drink up (3)
RAJ – JAR ‘up’.

Sunday Times 4907, by Dean Mayer — Going Up ’T Country

Take a deep breath… it’s really a BREEZE! For some reason, this puzzle seemed a lot harder at first (I didn’t even see the hidden word—what else could it have been?!) than it turned out to be after I picked it up again the next morning.

But later, having started the blog, I realized that my parsing of one clue was insufficient. With regard to one letter, I had vaguely guessed what might be up but let it slide, and now no dictionary was substantiating that very dim glimmer. There was only one thing to do, and that was to call Keriothe to come to my rescue. James informed me, which I did not even suspect, that the usage in question was not uncommon in Northern England, and could be heard in at least one Monty Python sketch. This is so well-known over there, he expressed surprise to be at somewhat of a loss to find ample dictionary support, though he was able to send a screenshot of a Chambers definition; when I Googled the exact same words, the three results were all pages about crosswords.

I fully expect y’all to tell me that the T in CROATIA gave you no pause at all.

I indicate (asmanarg)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Name of specific item (4)
CITE — Hidden
 3 About to explode after removal of pin? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD — CD HOPPING because you’ve lost a leg (“pin”), ouch. The evocation of a grenade can only recall the flash-bangs thrown at too many protesters worldwide.
10 Old mariner making a delivery (7)
ORATING — O(ld) + RATING, “mariner”… a non-com in the British navy, to be precise
11 Source of fruit or veg (7)
ORCHARD — OR, “or”(!) + CHARD, “veg”
12 Take charge on extremely simple mission (11)
SEQUESTRATE — S[-impl]E + QUEST, “mission” + RATE, “charge”
15 Sort of early religious sect (5)
AMISH — AM- ish, ante meridiem, kinda
16 A deep breath? (3,6)
17 Columns needing punctuation and edited English (9)
COLONNADE — COLON, “punctuation” + (and)* + E(nglish)
18 Muse over container’s weight on return journey (5)
ERATO — O(ver) + TARE <=“on return journey” I wonder if the other muses are jealous over this one’s overwhelming popularity in crosswordland. For his (fantastic) new album, released on Juneteenth, Bob Dylan was inspired to write “Mother of Muses.”
19 It can secure cables and it’s flexible (7,4)
ELASTIC BAND — (cables and it)*
23 Pirate in Merseyside port heading for Glasgow (7)
BOOTLEG — BOOTLE, “Merseyside port” +G[-lasgow]
24 Spies crossing road, not quite the country (7)
CROATIA — C(ROA[-d])(T)IA The CIA is, alas, omnipresent… ’T (with the apostrophe) is (to quote the screenshot) “N Eng dialect for the.” (Live and learn. I was thinking, well, it means “the” in WTF…)
25 To show initiative, draw on log (10)
ENTERPRISE — ENTER, “log” + PRISE, “draw,” in the sense of “pull” I underlined “To show” as well, which means ENTERPRISE can be a verb. I like that better than thinking that those words are just tagged on as instructions, neither wordplay nor definition. That might have been the intent; I certainly had a hard time finding the word as a verb in an online dictionary. But having just returned from CROATIA, I was somewhat convinced by the Wiktionnary entry, which concludes by citing a 1913 Webster’s Dictionary: “enterprise (third-person singular simple present enterprises, present participle enterprising, simple past and past participle enterprised) | (intransitive) To undertake an enterprise, or something hazardous or difficult. | (Can we find and add a quotation of Alexander Pope to this entry?) | (transitive) To undertake; to begin and attempt to perform; to venture upon.”
26 Son given child support for moving things (4)

 1 Ford repair makes one bad-tempered (10)
CROSSPATCH — CROSS, “Ford” + PATCH, “repair”
 2 Without drama, essay will restrict a new writer (10)
 4 Have zip that won’t open (5)
OUGHT — [-n]OUGHT ”Have to” and “ought to” aren’t always the same thing… unless free will is an illusion.
 5 Reproduce, for piano, a passage (9)
PROPAGATE — PRO, “for” + P, “piano” + A + GATE, “passage”
 6 Modified coal a recurrent source of power (7,7)
NUCLEAR REACTOR — “Clean” coal? Don’t make me laugh… (coal a recurrent)*
 7 Ape downs energy drink (4)
MEAD — M(E)AD, “Ape” as in “going ape,” “going MAD”
 8 Man presumably coming to collect daughter (4)
 9 Bad luck to wind up senior academic (4,10)
VICE CHANCELLOR — VICE, “Bad” + CHANCE, “luck” + ROLL<=“up”
13 Composer able to play with another? Fine (4,6)
BELA BARTOK — (able)* + BART (“another [composer]”) + OK, “FIne”… I had never heard of Lionel Bart, though I’d certainly heard of Oliver!
14 Indirectly, it keeps the clock ticking (6-4)
16 Port containers sent north with incense (9)
STAVANGER — VATS<=“sent north” + ANGER, “incense”
20 They can secure money for the government, it’s said (5)
TACKS — ”tax”
21 Musical instrument, gong, keeping its shape (4)
OBOE — OB(O)E, the gong being the medal of the Order of the British Empire, O the gong shape
22 Defeat right away (4)
ROUT — R(ight) + OUT, “away”

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1444: In Which Moustachios Are Twirled

I found this quite challenging and there were some rather brilliant feats of cluing, in particular the breaking down and reconstructions of words such as 33dn and especially my LOI (by a mile) and COD 22dn. Honourable mention also to the excellent &lit at 48ac - I certainly found myself in times of trouble at various points during the solving of this. Very nice work and thank you, setter!

1 Try to spot invisible character in play (5)
GODOT - GO [try] + DOT [spot]

4 Barrier protecting platform for unconventional art (7)
DADAISM - DAM [barrier] "protecting" DAIS [platform]

8 Lip ring ensemble with no strings attached (5,4)
BRASS BAND - BRASS [lip, as in cheek] + BAND [ring]

13 Passage that spans short story about uninhibited people (9)

14 Publish marks off Rhodes scholars etc (13)
POSTGRADUATES - POST [publish] + GRADUATES [marks off]

15 Be rude to seaside town where each dismisses an English dramatist (7)
CHEKHOV - CH{e}EK HOV{e}, each word dismissing an E

16 Sound contented, getting back into bed unclean (7)
CORRUPT - reversed PURR "getting into" COT

17 Rotary engine’s short piece, spun almost completely around (7)
TURBINE - BI{t}, with TURNE{d} "around" it

18 Answer book dispatched virtually having no pages unexpectedly missing (6,7,5)
ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE - A + B + SENT + WITHOUT LEAVE{s} [answer | book | dispatched | having no pages (virtually)]

21 Rafter on Mississippi hotel attached to back of roof (4)
FINN - INN attached to {roo}F. Mark Twain's Huckleberry.

23 Settled in house, sister produces fumes from trap? (9)

25 Observation of lucre paid back but not in full (6)
APERCU - hidden reversed in {l}UCRE PA{id}

26 Not fancy food? It’s arisen unexpectedly (6)

28 Not an original way of multiplying (12)
REPRODUCTION - double def

30 Persecution hurt agreement, with delay of minutes (10)
HARASSMENT - HARM ASSENT, with the M "delayed" until later in the answer

33 I attack old health resort with knife containing boron (10)

34 Dead and (outwardly) buried, like parts of a conspiracy? (12)

37 Horseman with lance, not the first person unseating someone (6)

39 First person expelled from more forward part of China? (6)
SAUCER - I "expelled from" SAUCIER [more forward]

40 With overdose constricting the heart, depressants are marvellously effective (2,7)
DO WONDERS - DOWNERS, with the middle letter "constricted by" OD: DO W{O}N{D}ERS

42 Blunder and nearly get fired (4)
GOOF - or GO OF{f}

43 Be determined to acquire the company? (4,2,4,8)

46 Mozart’s contemporary position in exotic dress (7)
SALIERI - LIE in SARI - which may or may not be exotic depending on where you come from...

47 Cheese from Monterey urgently recalled (7)
GRUYERE - hidden reversed in {mont}EREY URG{ently}

48 Title composed by Beatles’ leading pair? (3,2,2)
LET IT BE - (TITLE*) by BE{atles}, &lit

50 Too easily hurt at the workplace, introducing metric works, the fourth brought in later (13)
OVERSENSITIVE - ON SITE, "introducing" VERSE and then later IV [the fourth]

51 Way to cure turkey that won’t burst into flames (despite appearances) (5,4)
SMOKE BOMB - SMOKE [way to cure] + BOMB [turkey]

52 Get off course to westernise, apparently (9)
DISORIENT - or a punny reinterpretation of "dis-orient" to mean something like "occidentalise"

53 Greenhouse gas meant he worried (7)

54 Rough outskirts of Derby found on visit (5)
SEEDY - D{erb}Y found on SEE [visit]

1 Horrendous rates charge one received without being asked (4-7)

2 Duke, libertine and noted sailor (5)

3 Difficulty in setting up extremely great Russian funds after support diluted? (8,8)

4 Refuse to acknowledge capsize without vessel identification (7)
DISAVOW - reverse all of W/O VAS ID [without | (medical) vessel | identification]

5 Rebuff hardened tart, keeping the French lingerie etc? (9)
DELICATES - reverse all of SET ACID [hardened | tart] "keeping" LE

6 Pretender’s scion imprisoned by Roman emperor (12)

7 Pests I shut in religious buildings (10)

8 Inlet of considerable width and great height (5)

9 Flexible fitting installed in a low bar (8)
ADAPTIVE - APT [fitting] "installed" in A DIVE

10 Parisian who stops married woman returning to worm (6)
SQUIRM - QUI [Parisian "who"] "stops" reversed MRS

11 Aristocrat losing head’s spoken of natural wastage (9)
ATTRITION - homophone of beheaded {p}ATRICIAN

12 Perception of part of field: is CERN mentioned? (11)
DISCERNMENT - hidden in {fiel}D IS CERN MENT{ioned}

19 Replace a plant’s dried up basin (7)

20 Somewhere to go from ’ere includes one place inside another (7)
ENCLAVE - LAV [somewhere to go], "included" by 'ENCE [from 'ere]

22 Heading away from States I had blue and white flowers, keen to raise saving target (6,2,8)
DAMSEL IN DISTRESS - reverse all of {a}SSERTS + I'D + NILES [blue and white rivers] + MAD

24 It’s covered in Ypres mud, getting a dirty mark (6)
SMUDGE - hidden in {ypre}S MUD GE{tting}

27 Plant’s energy lost in time disturbance (6)

29 Herts town, neither small nor very relevant to youth (7)

31 Record possibly first released by later engineers (7)

32 Breaking into 31, fellows start on theft (12)

33 Doctor half-heartedly neatens up, accepting hooligan’s punishment is self-serving choice? (11)
SMORGASBORD - reversed DR GRO{o}MS, "accepting" ASBO [that's an AntiSocial Behaviour Order, American chums]

35 Tailor badly misses stripping (11)

36 Ethical travel company heading for old city is filling space (10)
ECOTOURISM - CO TO UR IS [company | heading for | old city | is], "filling" EM

38 Son breaks down, has repressed feelings (9)

40 Remedy sipped, say, for this? (9)
DYSPEPSIA - (SIPPED SAY*), semi-&lit

41 Bravery of Scotsman caught in glen (8)

44 In triumph, presumably, nothing is free (7)
UNLOOSE - if you UN-LOSE then presumably you win! Insert O into that. Full marks to the setter for audacity.

45 Landlord with gold taken away? (6)

47 Flash grand, something that collects in pocket (5)

49 Expression in French, too European? (5)
TROPE - TROP [in French, "too"] + E