July 4th, 2020


Times Cryptic Jumbo 1446 - kicking against the what?

This was mostly fairly gentle I thought, with the odd funny word to keep us on our toes, and only took about 35 minutes.  First in was MOIST and last was DIGESTERS.  Can you remember how you found it?.  It struck me there were a few examples of gratuitous words knocking about like "being required" and "to appear in".

If any of my explanations don't make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.


DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit:  "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like N[orth]



Huge Parisian friends entertaining street criminals with partners? (9)

BIGAMISTS - BIG, AMIS around ST[reet]


Courtesy of French firm finishing with drink (7)

DECORUM - DE (of (in) French), CO[mpany], RUM


Dresses as backward-looking father, retro style (5)

SARIS - As reversed, SIR reversed.  A quick scan didn't turn up any dictionary support for sir = father, and there's no indication to drop the E of sire, but I guess in Victorian / Edwardian times a boy might address his father as "sir".  Any other suggestions?


Bird in the morning by heather then wanted, not half, to cross silver lake (8,5)

AMERICAN EAGLE - A.M., ERICA, NEEded around AG & L. Phew.  Probably best to just biff this one, eh?


Idiot, one enthralling African politicians, producing sort of vocal repetition (9)

ASSONANCE - ASS, ONE around A[frican] N[ational] C[ongress]


One good old-style rocker around Belfast etc. getting lit up (7)

IGNITED - I, G[ood], N[orthern] I[reland], TED.  Hoorah, Jimbo's campaign to stop the Times calling TEDs delinquents has finally paid off.  He'll probably go out and smash up a phone box to celebrate.


Daughter is meeting short beast returning — trouble! (7)

DISTURB - D[aughter], IS, reversal of BRUT{e}


A very old city engages chum as unpaid volunteer? (7)

AMATEUR - A, UR around MATE.  I missed the email telling us that UR had been upgraded from old city to very old city.  Such exciting news.


Difficult to put up with lane in which vehicles may be stopped (4,8)



Bored officer, one with expression of dismay when boss comes round (10)

STULTIFIED - L[ieutenan]T, I, FIE all in STUD


Store with sign of approval for the most part (5)



Naughty sister, I have to be kicking against the pricks (9)

RESISTIVE - (sister)*, I'VE.  I'd never heard the expression (I'm not 100% I've encountered the word for it either) but managed to put 2 & 2 together and make 4. Is this familiar to anyone else?


Former queen getting on and turning crazy (7)

QUONDAM - One of the puzzle's funny words that I had to piece together from wordplay.


Hurry around and sound cheerful maybe in one type of institution (7,4)

NURSING HOME - RUN reversed, SING, HOME (in)


Writer with another novel about foremost of detectives, a multifaceted figure (11)

PENTAHEDRON - PEN, (another)* around D{etectives}


Provoked and greatly worried by social worker (11)



Stirring words provided by former husband starting speech — about time! (11)

EXHORTATION -EX, H{usband}, ORATION around T[ime]


Twelve daughters, indeed, following hardly anybody? (7)

NOONDAY - D[aughters], AY, after NO ON{e}


Music-maker having short drink given word of approval in newspaper (9)

FLAGEOLET -LAGE{r}, OLE in F[inancial] T[imes]


Like Rex when forming dire pop group? (5)

INDIE - To make diRe you put R{ex} IN DIE.  I don't see how INDIE = pop group.  Pop genre, record label, yes.  I see INDIE as an adjective rather than a noun.  What am I missing?


Record being played, something sure to upset (10)



A fine handout arranged for spring (12)

FOUNTAINHEAD - (a fine handout)*


Funny drawing box containing extra egg? (7)

CARTOON - CARTON with an extra O oviposited.


Little sleep and some food — what babies need? (7)



Attempt to capture India with diary that consists of three books (7)

TRILOGY - TRY around I[ndia] & LOG


Edit a clue somehow, and explain (9)

ELUCIDATE - (editaclue)*


Troubled inner-city geek shows work capacity in motion (7,6)

KINETIC ENERGY - (inner-city geek)*


Monsieur? The Parisian stalking a bird (5)

TITLE - LE after TIT


A Cockney idol, bringer of brightness in the mist (7)



Correspondent in prison, day before death (3-6)

PEN-FRIEND - PEN[itentiary], FRI[day], END



Clumsy mistake has listener interrupting (7)

BEARISH - BISH interrupted by EAR


Trader in public space coarser in speech (11)



Damp cat can get upset — is to be kept inside (5)

MOIST - TOM reversed around IS


Obnoxious person penning article, thus one held in contempt? (2-3-2)

SO-AND-SO - SOD around AN, SO


Woman certainly not right to take legal action (3)

SUE - SUrE and two defs for the price of one.


Like organic compounds in vessels for extraction (9)

DIGESTERS - DIG, ESTERS.  Gizmos used to make extracts of veg etc.


What sounds like European method of payment (6)

CHEQUE - sounds like CZECH


Mostly prepared in place where there may be no soldiers to understand hidden message (4,7,3,5)



Host going round is meeting everyone, giving address inappropriately? (7)



Religious army overcoming terrible iron man in country (3,6)

SAN MARINO - S[alvation] A[rmy] on top of (iron man)*.


Discoverer of mountains gets instrument to assess distance (11)



Guide is wise person covering start of tour (5)

STEER - SEER around T{our}


Psychological problem damaging us: no-one disregardful (9,2,8)

DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR - (us no-one disregardful)*


Trying to find location of bishop and monarch (7)

SEEKING - SEE (as in diocese), KING


Old male favoured in social event to be in control (9)

DOMINANCE - O[ld] M[ale] IN in DANCE.  I underlined just control as that would provide an appropriate nounal definition but that makes "to be in" padding.  For "to be in control" to be the definition then the answer would have to be DOMINATE.


Drink very quietly, wearing a hat (6)



Detain criminal, prisoner at the outset to be restricted (9)

CONTAINED - (detain)* after CON[vict]


English in pressing situation without leader — the answer? (7)

REGENCY - E[nglish] in uRGENCY.  Bordering on a semi &Lit.


Yard above desert in area of environmental significance (7)

QUADRAT - QUAD on RAT.  It's a small marked-off area of ground involved in ecological study.


Make beloved stop with attentiveness being required (6)



Telling a story, not beginning to give sense of joy (7)



Silly tourist sure to appear in two-piece outfit (7,4)

TROUSER SUIT - (tourist sure)*


Provide series of lectures at the appropriate time (2,3,6)



Remove smell from house finally through swinging side door (9)

DEODORISE - {hous}E in (side door)*


Each lover originally receiving proposal may be this (9)

EMOTIONAL - EA[ch] L{over} around MOTION


Rubbish in wedding venue presented as “musical item” (7)

CANTATA - TAT in CANA (where the water / wine thingy happened)


Unknown investigator probing teetotal movement with any number of old people (7)

AZTECAN - Z, TEC in A[lcoholics] A[nonymous] + N


Unemotional and boring, I had to be listened to (3-4)

DRY-EYED -DRY + homophone of I'D


Laces in sports shoes (6)



Talk around start of exam and get someone else's answers? (5)

CHEAT - CHAT around E{xam}


Intimate transgressor losing head (5)



What waiter would like, giving hint (3)

TIP - DD.  This won't make any sense at all to our lovely US solvers (to whom happy 4th of July!).  For them, it should say "What waiter expects regardless of the quality of service provided and if it is so much as a cent under 18% you'd better have a darned good reason for coming up short, giving hint".
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27702 - Saturday, 27 June 2020. The Good Place.

For me, this puzzle was in the Good Place. No clue I couldn’t (eventually) solve, few answers if any that could be written in and justified at first glance. There were answers beyond my vocabulary like 12 ac, and others beyond my knowledge like 5ac and 22dn, but all were crackable one way or the other. 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 Difficult screening start of horror film (3,5)
THE STING – TESTING ‘screening’ H. No, just a film, not of the horror genre.
5 Occult specialist withdrawing here in Rome (6)
ORPHIC – PRO backwards (‘withdrawing’), HIC (Latin for ‘here’). I realised Orpheus must have had links to the Underworld, by reference to the Offenbach opera; but I couldn’t have said he had occult leanings.
9 Link breaking on birthday (8)
FORTIETH – TIE ‘breaking’ FORTH. ‘Go forth’ might be just a grand way of saying ‘go on’, I suppose, but it doesn’t seem like a perfect match.
10 Drive back from Mumbai in journeys westward (6)
SPIRIT – I from {Mumba}I in TRIPS ‘westward’.
12 Winter time basically represented in iambic pentameter? (12)
DECASYLLABIC – DEC (December, or winter time), then an anagram (‘represented’) of BASICALLY. I puzzled over what the first three letters of the answer should be, until I read the clue again!
15 Cooler part of UK for Briton once (5)
ICENI – ICE, N.I. (Northern Ireland).
16 Choose casual look for carpet (5,4)
DRESS DOWN – double definition. Easiest clue of the day, I thought.
18 Grave details conveyed by this teacher's voice (9)
HEADSTONE – HEAD’S (teacher’s), TONE. My first thought, TOMBSTONE, went nowhere of course.
19 Pull in net (5)
CLEAR – double definition again. Not as obvious as 16ac; I had to think about whether ‘clear’ means ‘pull in’, but it works in the sense of ‘take-home pay’..
20 Wife associated with Avon hair dye rejected a new hat fashion (4,8)
ANNE HATHAWAY – HENNA backwards (‘rejected’), A (literal in the clue), anagram (‘new’) of HAT, WAY (fashion).
24 I live by inlet in peninsula (6)
IBERIA – I, BE, RIA. Yes, I looked it up for the blog: a ria is indeed an inlet.
25 One is found in church, perhaps (8)
MINISTER – I (one) in MINSTER. Very cute.
26 Nearly go out in Germany's capital, say (6)
GUTTER – G{ermany}, UTTER. What candles do.
27 Registered where the needle goes (2,6)
ON RECORD – clever double definition.

1 Swell reaching great volume? (4)
TOFF – TO (reaching), FF (very loud).
2 Noble and tragic figure with head lowered (4)
EARL – LEAR, with the L ‘lowered’ to the end of this down answer.
3 Where Parisians stroll in leisure time, half drunk (9)
TUILERIES – anagram (‘drunk’) of LEISURE TI{me}. Another of my knowledge gaps – I didn’t know it was a public park.
4 Brass tacks and polish quickly put away in raised floor (4,3,5)
NUTS AND BOLTS – SAND (polish) and BOLT (quickly put away), in STUN backwards (‘raised’).
6 Snub pariah the wrong way (5)
REPEL – LEPER backwards.
7 E.g. Louis Armstrong, a hero in the main (10)
HORNBLOWERMr. Midshipman Hornblower was a novel by C.S.Forester.
8 Urban area cryptically suggesting it? (4,6)
CITY CENTRE – the idea is that if you look at the middle of cITy, you can see that ‘city centre’ might be a clue for IT.
11 A single amount of DNA that I'm allotted? (2,10)
MY GENERATION – my gene ration would be the 23 chromosome pairs I inherit from my parents. My Generation was a signature song by rock band The Who. In my case, too late to hope I die before I get old!
13 Wrongly catching the setter's back, removing coat (10)
MISHEARING – I’M backwards, then SHEARING (removing the coat of a sheep, say).
14 Tinned meat, diced, being kept in the can (10)
DETAINMENT – anagram (‘diced’) of TINNED MEAT.
17 Lefty hasn't succeeded, English party stalwart (9)
SOCIALITE – SOCIALI{s}T without S (succeeded), then E (English). Nice misdirection in the definition.
21 Poet using some cliché in expression (5)
HEINE – hidden answer. Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) was a German poet.
22 Uncovered base ingredient in perfume (4)
OTTO – {b}OTTO{m}. Perfume ingredients is never going to be my specialty subject!
23 Jog or run through school (4)
PROD – R in POD.

Sunday Times 4909, by David McLean — We are amused

This was an enjoyable way to pass a little time, though certainly not one of this setter’s most challenging.

My biggest difficulty when I worked it last Saturday night was occasioned by an Internet outage that lasted well into the next morning, which meant that I was unable to look for the British definition that explained the last part of 17D (which nevertheless seemed obvious), verify the existence of a fatty ester seemingly hidden (in plain sight, once I recognized that the exclamation point wasn’t an “i”) in 11, nail down the sense of the noun in the clue to 14D (my wrong guess about which had not prevented a correct answer), and even ascertain that the two parts of 12 can be joined as one word with full dictionary status (and I still find that clue odd, though the answer is—again—obvious).

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

 1 Have relations gone over a round hill? (4)
KNOB — BONK<=“gone over” Spruce Knob, elev. 4,863 feet (1,482 m), on Spruce Mountain, is the highest point in my home state of West Virginia.
 4 Western idol with accent needing improvement (10)
OCCIDENTAL — (idol + accent)*
 9 A way in which ads are created abroad? (7,6)
MADISON AVENUE — CD The ad agencies, of course, are famously located on this street, not in it. (But maybe there’s a “Mad Ave. style”? I’m making excuses for the setter; just had my second drink.) Anyway, that’s how we speak over here, but Kevin has informed me that it’s different over there.
10 Always covering key soldier makes you more anxious (6)
EDGIER — E(D)(GI)ER, with “Always” as the archaic, poetic “e’er,” D as the “key” and the “soldier” a(n American!) GI
11 Glyceride discovered in Nepal! MIT investigates! (8)
PALMITIN — Hidden. As y’all know, I very much like finding out new words through wordplay, but this one is rather unexciting.
12 They are all I am, being great intellects (8)
BIGHEADS — BIG, “great” + HEADS, “intellects,” duh… The word means “conceited people,” people who are full of themselves, so I mentally insert quotemarks in the definition: “They are all ‘I am,’” like, it’s always about “me” to them; they think they are all that (and a bag of chips). If there’s a better way to read that, I’m sure someone will let me know. (If the second part were the definition, the answer could be EGGHEADS, but that didn’t fit!)
14 Ring road by Ealing half closed off? Nightmare! (6)
ORDEAL — O, “Ring” + RD, “road” + EAL[-ing]
15 Lady with pen that’s been dropped in ones bitter (6)
NESBIT — Hidden. (Another!) That must be Edith, who has surely been seen here before, though I had to look her up.
17 Where one might go on lake in Battle (8)
WATERLOO — “Where one might ‘go’” is the LOO, and “lake” is a DBE for WATER
19 Dishes stuffed with bits of allspice chef makes less hot (8)
PLACATES — PL(A)(C)ATES, “bits of” meaning the first letters of…
21 Great meal, but no starter at Queen’s commemorative event (6)
23 Criminal coward rues lot, being yellow as old grass (5-8)
STRAW-COLOURED — (coward rues lot)*
24 Was undecided, so I called up to gain input ultimately (10)
OSCILLATED — (so I called)* with [-inpu]T inserted 
25 Make ready, as con leaving back of jail (4)
EARN — [-l]EARN… Collins has, for “con,” “archaic | to study attentively or learn (esp in the phrase con by rote)”

 2 Fellow reversing around old lady in Rover (5)
NOMAD — MA is the “old lady” in DON<=“reversing”
 3 Fish served up on platter is a bit off (7)
BADDISH — DAB<=“served up” + DISH, “platter”; not a word I expect to ever use
 4 Dutiful man giving support to old bishop (9)
OBSERVANT — SERVANT is “man,” holding up O(ld) B(ishop)
 5 Is it possible that son welcomes primate’s nibbles? (7)
CANAPES — CAN S(on) with APE, “primate,” inside
 6 Dickens supported himself after retirement (5)
DEVIL — LIVED<=-“after retirement” As in, “What the dickens was that about?” For this sense of “live,” Collins has to “maintain life; support oneself.”
 7 Pampered clergyman tours boozer pointing heavenward (7)
NANNIED — NA(NNI)ED<=“pointing heavenward”
 8 Drink in a romance novel set around island (9)
AMERICANO — (a romance)* taking in I(sland)
13 Ladies sit up for romantic types (9)
IDEALISTS — (Ladies sit)* Some setters and editors like to avoid repetitions like the use of the same anagrind more than once in the same puzzle. I must say, though, “up” works very well in both surfaces where it appears here.
14 Where one sees cat’s eyes wandering about? (2,3,4)
ON THE ROAD — CD Wikipedia: “A cat’s eye or road stud is a retroreflective safety device used in road marking.” I was thinking the term was maybe slang for headlights. These road studs, though, wouldn’t be wandering around, though you might see them when you are roving.
16 Tipple linesman downs about lunchtime? (7)
BACARDI — BA(CA)RD(I), with the “linesman,” BARD, swallowing CA, circa, “about,” and then I, or 1, for the hour of the midday meal; I hesitated because this is a brand name, though we know such do appear here on Sundays.
17 Total failure with a job the police go out on (7)
WASHOUT — W(ith) + A, “a” + SHOUT, “job the police go out on”… this last part remained a mystery until I had recourse to Collins, where I found “informal | an occasion on which the members of an emergency service are called out on duty”—I feel compelled to add that in many cases it might be better to call some other agency to intervene besides the police.
18 Ice bank (7)
20 The Queen’s one to load load in spin dryer (5)
TOWEL — Touching to see her doing her own laundry. “The Queen’s one,” her “I,” actually (first person, not third), is (the royal) WE, with which “load” or LOT<=“in spin” is laden. My COD.
22 Senior metalworker must lose weight (5)