June 29th, 2020

New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27703 - The Making of the English Solving Class

Time: 34 minutes
Music: Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um

I found this more difficult than expected, although the two long entries were simple enough.   I finished the whole right-hand side without much difficulty, but the left side gave considerable trouble.   Part of the problem was a wrong answer, where I found a hidden word that was not the right hidden word, that seemed like it must be the answer.   Eventually, having become a little suspicious, I erased it and found I could now solve the other clues. 

There is some clever stuff here, but it should have been a pretty easy puzzle if you have knowledge expected of an skilled Times solver. 

Across
1 Altercation had by society girl (6)
DEBATE - What the DEB ATE.
4 Write to head of MI6 about betrayer (3-5)
TWO-TIMER - Anagram of WRITE TO + M[16].
10 One always fuming Brit looms nastily (9)
STROMBOLI - anagram of BRIT LOOMS.   I had no idea what stromboli is, except a pizza place in NYC, but that must be it.
11 Revolutionary source of light, son cries (5)
BLUBS - BULB backwards + S.
12 A guard holding case of ammunition up (2,2,3)
AT AN END - A + T(A[mmunitio]N)END. 
13 Attempt to seduce? One might with item from Ann Summers? (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON - Double definition, one semi-jocular.
14 Letter has half of them worried in recession (5)
THETA - TH[em] + ATE backwards.
15 Acts as guide abroad, they say (8)
OVERSEES - Sounds like OVERSEAS.
18 Brainy brother drinking rye? The opposite (8)
CEREBRAL - CERE(BR)AL.
20 Leader of armed mob almost seizing city in battle (5)
ALAMO - A[rmed] +LA + MO[b].
23 Ducks outside range freely, finding something smelling nice (7)
OREGANO - O + anagram of RANGE + O.   Well, it smells OK.
25 What dog may do to welcome garden visitor? (7)
WAGTAIL - WAG TAIL.  The garden visitor is a bird, if you didn't know.
26 Jack’s approval, quietly overlooked (5)
RAISE - [p]RAISE, not a sailor or a card this time.
27 Complaint of students backing coup (9)
SUNSTROKE - NUS backwards + STROKE.
28 Study agreements society put forward (8)
TREATISE -  TREATIES with the last letter moved forward one position
29 Model prisoner first of those getting out of nick (6)
TRUSTY - T[hose] + RUSTY.
Down
1 The horror of one’s experience under duke (8)
DISTASTE - D + I'S + TASTE, where the literal seemed a bit overwrought to me.
2 Anger in local leading to assault (7)
BARRAGE - BAR + RAGE.
3 Leaving old city, fever becomes mild (9)
TEMPERATE - TEMPERAT[ur]E.
5 Exposing evil action of a referee? (7-7)
WHISTLE-BLOWING - Double definition, with meanings to similar to be very cryptic.
6 Fat man I married needs new top (5)
TUBBY - -h,+TUBBY, a random letter-substitution clue, a style disliked by many solvers.
7 Cop, second one in Paris Match (7)
MOUNTIE - MO + UN + TIE.
8 Rebellion? Reluctantly at first I reveal all (6)
RISING - R[eluctantly} I SING.
9 Wait, as groom may have to do? (4,4,6)
HOLD YOUR HORSES - Double definition.
16 Killing earl’s thug arranged (9)
SLAUGHTER - Anagram of EARL'S THUG - great clue.
17 Dog on the tracks? It’s mine (8)
COLLIERY - COLLIE + RY, a bit of a chestnut.
19 Solitary Europeans possessing authority (7)
EREMITE - E(REMIT)E.
21 Atlas so useless, leaving one perplexed (2,1,4)
AT A LOSS - Anagram of ATLAS SO.
22 Swap tips on highly charged little Dickensian? (6)
DORRIT - TORRID with the first and last letters switched.  Little Dorrit was the Dickens novel I liked the best, in the grad school seminar where we had to read all of them.
24 Reread EP Thompson? Some of it’s brilliant (5)
ADEPT - Hidden in [rere]AD EP T[hompson], and not DEPTH as some (including me!) might suppose.
Astarte1

QC 1645 by Breadman

This was another straightforward crossword which, unusually for a quickie, employed no full anagrams as far as I can see. In fact by my counting there were only two clues that involved an anagram at all which is pretty unusual by any standards. All the rest were mostly varieties of charades and insertions with a couple of very obvious double definitions and a hidden word. But of course, here we are on a Monday, and this is just the sort of fare we need to get us warmed up for the rest of the week. Many thanks to Breadman for doing that job admirably.

Everything went in more or less as it should with 1A being the FOI, although I think the LOI was 22A as I was expecting the whole clue to be involved until the last minute when I decided that 'personal' wasn't pulling its weight. COD? Good question. Nothing stands out for difficulty so this is really a pretty arbitrary decision. I'll go with 12A with no great conviction. It is simply the clue whose surface reads most naturally to me.

Last time out we all had a most enjoyable discussion about avatars. The conversation was still going strong at the end of the day but as I said earlier there is not much point in picking up on comments then as everybody has moved on or gone to bed. So I'll just say here thank you very much to steakcity whose final comment on the day's proceedings was that my "avatar will no longer be scary, although it is beyond my imagination to see her as sexy", which I thought was brilliant. Although in her defence as an older woman (variously reckoned at somehwere between 2,200 and 2,600 years old) she shouldn't give up on her potential. Certainly there is one professional footballer (close to retirement but who did score a penalty at the weekend) who is notoriously renowned for his preference for older women and would probably find her very desirable.

Are there any more loose ends here? I would love to know the mysterious origin of oldblighter's hands for instance, and I did have a go at invariant_tft's initials and failed miserably. If it wouldn't try his patience too much I would love an extra clue for that to try and get closer.

    Definitions are underlined as usual and everything else is explained just as I see it in the plainest language I can manage.

    Across
    1 Expenditure revealed by non-professional (6)
    OUTLAY - OUT (revealed) + LAY (non-professional).
    4 Association of actors depart during emergency externally (6)
    EQUITY - QUIT 'during' EmergencY 'externally.
    8 Father's outside toilet, a levelled area (5)
    FLOOR - FR (father) 'outside' LOO (toilet).
    9 Knife European left on part of loaf (7)
    SCALPEL - SCALP (part of loaf, as in head) + EL (European Left).
    10 Pretend leather (3)
    KID - double definition.
    11 Italian sculptor to give to charity fifty pound ring (9)
    DONATELLO - DONATE (give to charity) + L (Roman numeral for fifty) + L (pound) + O (ring).
    12 Grandma set to retire somewhere in NW France (6)
    NANTES - NAN (grandma) + TES (SET 'to retire').
    13 Key informant is free (6)
    GRATIS - G (key) + RAT (informant) + IS.
    16 Companion, a pilot, chewed a sausage (9)
    CHIPOLATA - CH (Companion of Honour) + IPOLATA (anagram ('chewed') of A PILOT) + A. (Amended following anonymous comment below).
    18 Heard local sound of sheep (3)
    BAA - sounds like ('heard') BAR (local).
    19 Insect on soft cheese for a short time (7)
    BRIEFLY - BRIE (soft cheese) + FLY (insect).
    20 Coach tour arranged around Turkey's capital (5)
    TUTOR - anagram of TOUR ('arranged') around T (Turkey's capital).
    22 Personal vessel among smarter yachts (6)
    ARTERY - hidden word: 'among' smARTER Yachts. As far as I can see, PERSONAL doesn't do anything here except fill out the surface a bit. I suppose it diverts the attention for a fraction of a second from the answer but I feel it does that unreasonably as it is not integral to the structure of the clue.
    23 Alcoholic drink's trademark unknown (6)
    BRANDY - BRAND (trademark) + Y (algebraic unknown).
    Down
    1 Old pair of females absent (3)
    OFF - O (old) + FF (pair of females).
    2 Daughter, with rodent moving around, walked on (7)
    TRODDEN - anagram ('moving around') of D (daughter) + RODENT.
    3 Shorten overly remote war film (1,6,3,3)
    A BRIDGE TOO FAR - A BRIDGE put closer together gives ABRIDGE (shorten) + TOO FAR (overly remote).
    5 Fifteen minutes to gain control over military officer (13)
    QUARTERMASTER - QUARTER (fifteen minutes) + MASTER (to gain control over).
    6 Troublemaker the Spanish urge forward (5)
    IMPEL - IMP (troublemaker) + EL (Spanish definite article).
    7 Fearful, Stefan regularly avoided Oriental waters (6,3)
    YELLOW SEA - YELLOW (fearful) + SEA (StEfAn 'regularly avoided).
    9 Star guest primarily vocalised (4)
    SUNG - SUN (star) + G (Guest 'primarily').
    10 Family company in GB meeting artist, a slithery creature (4,5)
    KING COBRA - KIN (family) + CO (company) 'in' GB + RA (Royal Academician, artist).
    14 Asian and Greek character cutting through metal (7)
    TIBETAN - BETA (Greek character) 'cutting through' TIN (metal).
    15 Cautious passage around river (4)
    WARY - WAY (passage) 'around' R (river).
    17 Private documents one returned to Charlie (5)
    IDIOT - ID (private documents) + I (one) + OT (TO 'returned').
    21 Some light, flat-bodied fish (3)
    RAY - double definition.