June 25th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1643 by Teazel

I took 17 minutes including a distraction, so I think that this is just at the tougher end of the Rotterometer.  There are a couple of new or unfamiliar devices to grapple with from Teazel that might stretch some of our newer solvers, although I think all of the clues are fair, and the answers are all fairly common and require little General Knowledge.  The exception for me was ‘bish’ which was new to me in the sense used.  I’ve only come across it in the British idiomatic expression of ‘bish, bash, bosh’ which I’ve always taken to mean ‘completed efficiently’.

Thanks Teazel, for a slightly different flavour of puzzle.  Please let me know how the rest of you found this.

Across

Unreasonable custom husband omitted a lot (1,3,4)
A BIT MUCH – {h}ABIT (custom, husband omitted) and MUCH (a lot).  When something is said to be A BIT MUCH, it is excessive, unreasonable.
City is in Pennsylvania?  Yes and no (4)
PISA –PISA (Italy) is nowhere near Pennsylvania (USA), hence No in answer to the question in the clue.  However, IS (is) is inside PA (Pennsylvania) in the name PISA, hence the Yes!
8 Prime minister’s dismal horse (4)
GREY – Is this a triple definition?  Charles GREY (2nd Lord Grey) was PM from 1830 to 1834.  GREY can mean dismal when applied to the weather for instance, and a GREY can be a type of horse.
9  Not develop much scorn (8)
BELITTLE – Unlike my overgrown wisteria, which needs a haircut almost as much as I do!  If one doesn’t develop much, one may be considered to BE LITTLE.
10  Make a request and invite trouble (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT – Double definition.
12 Welshman working we must interrupt (4)
OWEN – ON (working) interrupted by WE.  OWEN is recognised as a Welsh name, but isn’t exclusively so I don’t believe, either as a first or family name.
13  Grab tin at church (6)
SNATCH – SN (chemical symbol for tin, from stannum) with AT (at) and CH{urch}.
16  I tarry in resort: that’s not seen often (6)
RARITY – Anagram (resort (as in shuffle rather than spa)) of [I TARRY].
17  Bow made of wood, initially pound off (4)
ARCH – The wood is {l}ARCH after dropping the initial letter (L = pound off).
18  Worthless blunder set in stone (8)
RUBBISHY – This one nearly caught me out as I was unfamiliar with BISH to mean blunder.  It is BISH inside (set in) RUBY (stone).
21  Job for tradesman desperately keen to secure one (8)
PAINTING – This came easily to mind as I have just had the painters in myself.  PANTING (desperately keen) securing I (one).
22  Native American bird (4)
CROW – Double definition, the first referring to the federally recognised CROW Tribe of Montana, a Plains tribe who speak their own CROW language.
23  Used to be a sort of wolf? (4)
WERE – double definition.
24  Illumination breaking down halts gig (8)
GASLIGHT – Anagram (breaking down) of [HALTS GIG]

Down

Stores right to break embargoes (5)
BARNS – BANS (embargoes) containing (broken by) R{ight}.
It flows, steady at intervals (3)
TAY – Alternate letters (at intervals) of {s}T{e}A{d}Y.  The cryptic definition probably refers to the river at Perth, Scotland, although there are plenty of other candidates, including in Canada.
4  Estuary, except the mouth, is brown (5)
UMBER – Referring to the {h}UMBER estuary, but dropping the first letter (except the mouth).  I don’t remember seeing this device to drop a letter before, so it may catch out some.
5  Army extremely eager to secure large place for gun (7)
HOLSTER – HOST (army) and E{age}R (extremely – first and last letters) containing (to secure) L{arge}.
Scented mixture is up to prior to arrange (9)
POTPOURRI – Anagram (to arrange) of [UP TO PRIOR].
Able to pay as novel is damaged in street (7)
SOLVENT – Anagram (is damaged) of [NOVEL] inside ST{reet}.
11  Precious little possibility of putting on weight  (3,6)
FAT CHANCE – Cryptic definition.  A FAT CHANCE is an ironic slang term for precious little or no chance!
14  Regularly, west Scottish island turning up in recount (7)
NARRATE – {w}E{s}T (regularly) and ARRAN (Scottish island) all reversed (turning up).
15 Fish finger holds this for woman? (7)
HERRING – On a woman’s finger one might find HER RING.
19  In public vehicle, go to return fake (5)
BOGUS – OG (go, reversed, to return) in BUS (public vehicle)
20  CH2O2 processed into alcohol (5)
HOOCH – Anagram (processed) of C plus 2 x H and 2 x O (CH2O2) to give HOOCH – nice!
22  Cold greeting in foreign letter (3)
CHI – C{old} and HI (greeting) to give the letter CHI from the Greek alphabet.

27700 - hidden in plain course

Time taken: 25:55, with at least six minutes on the two entries in the bottom right hand corner ending with a truly head-slap moment from what is a rather clever clue.

I found this pretty difficult, there's some unusual definitions of common words used throughout. Very few were write-ins, and even the anagrams were challenging.

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane - an increase in hospitalizations in my state has seen us extend restrictions and enforce mask-wearing so I'll be bunkered down a while longer.

Away we go...

Across
1 Briefly stop seeing grotesque creature (6)
GOBLIN - GO BLIND(stop seeing) missing the last letter
4 Immediately report on friend’s backsliding (4-4)
SLAP-BANG - BANG(report) on PAL'S (friend's) reversed
10 Amount of money, including flyer, that’s found in chest (7)
STERNUM - SUM(amount of money) containing TERN(flyer)
11 Aseptic fluid outstripping all others? (7)
PACIEST - anagram of ASEPTIC
12 Endless things for tiller to do in London area (4)
SOHO - shorten the two things a tiller may do, SOW and HOE
13 Bags of empty tweets (10)
DRAINPIPES - DRAIN(empty) and PIPES(tweets) for the trousers
15 Be having seemingly penurious existence, as broadcaster is now? (4,2,3)
LIVE ON AIR - double definition
16 Drop a little lower, keeping length in mind (5)
CALVE - L(length) in CAVE(mind, beware of) for birthing a cow
18 No good going in without answer ready (5)
WONGA - NG(no good) inside W/O(without), A(answer) for money
19 Seeing much delight in always blocking editor (5-4)
EAGLE-EYED - GLEE(delight) inside AYE(always) inside ED(editor)
21 Old military commander’s memory not good, sadly (10)
MONTGOMERY - anagram of MEMORY,NOT,G(good)
23 Filmgoer sees this game between Mike and Oscar (4)
GOLF - this was my last in and it is rare to see the definition in the middle of a clue. The wordplay leads to the letter G, which is GOLF in the NATO alphabet, and is in between M(mike) and O(oscar) in the word filmGoer
26 Shellfish, stemlike, regularly appearing back on land (7)
WINKLES - alternating letters in StEmLiKe reversed after WIN(land)
27 Something additional after the blink of an eye muscle (7)
TRICEPS - PS(postscript, something additional) after TRICE(the blink of an eye)
28 What a woman in R&D completely altered (8)
REHASHED - EH(what), A, SHE(woman) inside R and D
29 Played some groovy tunes? (6)
FLUTED - tricky clue playing on two defintions of FLUTE being a musical instrument and a groove on a pillar
Down
1 Pants Penny’s wearing droop when pulled up (5)
GASPS - P'S(penny's) inside SAG(droop) all reversed
2 Great German workers’ party nevertheless to be sold short (9)
BEETHOVEN - BEE(worker's party), 'THO(neverless) then VEND(to be sold) missing the last letter
3 Locals popular with Poles (4)
INNS - IN with the N and S poles
5 Descending onto platform, edge forward, increasingly (7)
LIPPIER - PIER(platform) with LIP(edge) first
6 Dip in the cream pot (10)
PICKPOCKET - PICK(the cream), POCKET(pot)
7 Piled up in the van, parking for days (5)
AHEAP - AHEAD(in the van) with P(parking) replacing D(days)
8 Port has aged with time, extremely rarely (9)
GATESHEAD - anagram of HAS,AGED, and the outside letters of TimE
9 Tradition that mum’s kept in the family? (6)
OMERTA - cryptic definition based on the mob(family) code
14 Marx died here, Engels also, strangely (3,7)
LOS ANGELES - anagram of ENGELS,ALSO - the better known Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo and Chico) all died in LOS ANGELES. Gummo and Zeppo both died in Palm Springs
15 Cutter of large bristle — and second used to be cut (9)
LAWNMOWER - L(large), AWN(bristle), MO(second), then WERE(used to be) missing the last letter
17 Inexpert way to collect rent in Bury (3,2,4)
LAY TO REST - LAY(inexpert) and ST(street, way) containing TORE(rent)
19 Endless, awful sameness, as a whole (2,5)
EN MASSE - anagram of SAMENES(s)
20 Spectators admitted crossing line, taking turn and turn about (6)
GYRATE - GATE(spectators admitted) containing RY(line) reversed
22 Place lightning struck partly sent skyward (5)
NINTH - hidden reversed inside ligHTNINg
24 Suffered electrical failure, with potential to blow up? (5)
FUSED - double definition, though neither are obvious - FUSED can mean failing by melting of a fuse, and a bomb could be FUSED
25 Irrational fifties remedy (4)
PILL - PI(irrational number) and two L's(fifties)
verlaine

Times 27,701: 18dn Amazeballs

Once again it feels a bit like the Thursday and Friday puzzles may have been swapped around by a CARELESS EDITOR, but this wasn't too bad considering, with a couple of fun traps that I stumbled about in for a while: fruitlessly trying to anagram "boy, tiny, limited" and trying to make something of the obvious standard cryptic elements of 3dn. Fortunately the jig was up when the crossing answer revealed the final D, but well played setter: I do like it when crossword clues use the knowledge that they're crossword clues against us. (See also 15dn.)

I've already mentioned by favourite clues but the selenological 23ac can be the WOD. What about yourselves, any other nominations?

ACROSS
1 Firm is business without any piece of legislation (7)
COMPACT - COMP{any} [business, "without ANY"] + ACT [piece of legislation]

5 Move awkwardly as lass gaining speed outside university (7)
GALUMPH - GAL gaining MPH, outside U. My FOI, as I've often been termed a "great glaikit galumphit galoot" in my time.

9 Yours truly's taking in good female American who needs education (9)
IGNORAMUS - I'M [your's truly's] "taking in" G NORA, + US

10 Devil bumping off king in capital? (5)
MONEY - MON{k}EY [devil, "bumping off" K (for king)]

11 One bird or another crossing river with duck (5)
HERON - HEN [(another) bird] "crossing" R + 0

12 Potter having a stint on Scottish island (4,5)
MUCK ABOUT - A BOUT on MUCK

14 Feature provided by architect is arc strangely positioned (14)
CHARACTERISTIC - (ARCHITECT IS ARC*)

17 Mismanages boy, tiny, limited by teachers (14)
MALADMINISTERS - LAD, MINI, "limited by" MASTER

21 Those people joining cricket side stop improving (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND - THEM joining ON, + END [stop]

23 Lunar feature of note, not well covered (5)
RILLE - ILL [not well] "covered" by RE. One of those long narrow depressions or channels on the lunar surface, presumably for the purpose of astronauts losing their golfballs in.

24 Covering needed by thatcher (5)
HATCH - hidden in {t}HATCH{er}

25 Clever — when full of worry is inclined to give up (9)
DEFEATIST - DEFT, when full of EAT [worry] + IS

26 One Greek character or another abandoning university after end of course (7)
EPSILON - {u}PSILON after {cours}E

27 Fruit became more fashionable (7)
ROSEHIP - ROSE [became more] + HIP [fashionable]

DOWN
1 Mostly get on well with the fellow offering banality (6)
CLICHE - CLIC{k} with HE

2 Number turning up in protest — who don't republicans want? (7)
MONARCH - NO reversed in MARCH

3 Pole leaving Egypt on a journey to safety (6,3)
AARON'S ROD - cryptic def

4 Processed mincemeat I had originally: that takes us back! (4,7)
TIME MACHINE - (MINCEMEAT I H{ad}*)

5 Talk and pant, no end (3)
GAS - GAS{p}

6 Article about friend — all in French — becoming monster (5)
LAMIA - LA about AMI

7 My old suspicion is voiced — pay attention! (4,3)
MIND OUT - homophone of MINE DOUBT

8 Potential grub for horse — eats food round end of day (8)
HAYSTACK - HAS TACK, "round" {da}Y

13 Happiness interrupted by supervisor that's cut short loud game (6,2,3)
CHEMIN DE FER - CHEER "interrupted" by MINDE{r} F

15 Composer's third and fifth maybe (9)
INTERVALS - cryptic def

16 Male in truth that is the type to exude charm (8)
SMOOTHIE - M in SOOTH I.E.

18 Rhetorical device in stories enthralling small child (7)
LITOTES - LIES "enthralling" TOT

19 Hunt maybe led by artist and explorer (7)
RALEIGH - LEIGH [Hunt, maybe: as in the Romantic poet], led by R.A.

20 Warm hospital with encouragement to enjoy food (4,2)
HEAT UP - H with EAT UP!

22 Woman's number, having changed sides (5)
ETHEL - ETHE{r->L}. A number as in "a substance that numbs", changed sides as in "R becomes L". Two chestnutty cluing techniques there, but maybe that's like two wrongs making a right?

25 Person wanting payment cheated, we hear (3)
DUN - homophone of DONE