July 8th, 2020


Times Quick Cryptic No 1652 by Joker


16:46, which was disappointing, given that I've been on a roll lately with a bunch of sub-8 solves. It's always harder when it's your blog!

That being said, this one actually seemed quite difficult, with several tricky anagrams, and lots of juicy vocabulary. I struggled with 17 Across and 13 Down for at least 6 or 7 minutes. I had my suspicions about 17 Across but couldn't see how it worked (and still don't). I pulled 13 Down out of god-knows-what depths of my mind, and then tried 17 Across as a hit-and-hope. Turned out to be correct.

A fine, fine, fine puzzle.

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Times 27711 - Welcome to Nubicuculia, where there's no social distancing.

I raced through this at first, had the top half more or less done in near record time; then found myself slowing to a crawl over the SW corner, struggling with 24a, 25a and 26a for too long. Five minutes became half an hour. In retrospect I can't see why I had such trouble, there's nothing too obscure in here. I pottered around trying to establish exactly what the answer at 17a means, (different nuances to different folks, I think) and refreshing my mind on a Greek play I did once actually see (but not entirely understand) in the outdoor theatre at Epidavros many years ago. Next time I'll take a cushion to sit on.

1 Governor's weakness regarding young woman (4-5)
VICE-REGAL - VICE (weakness), RE (concerning), GAL (young woman).
6 On vacation, Ronnie Barker's to make comeback (5)
RECUR - R E (Ronnie on vacation), CUR (barker, dog).
9 Tripe on toast is source of this (7)
10 Oscar training a single parent to become model? (7)
OPTIMUM - O (Oscar) PT (training), I MUM (single parent).
11 Slope that's good for breaking in horse (5)
RIDGE - G inserted into RIDE = horse.
12 Member of upper house maintaining backing for appeal gets cash in (9)
PROFITEER - PEER has FOR reversed and IT (appeal) inserted.
13 Club to move against being infiltrated by left (8)
BLUDGEON - BUDGE (move) ON (against) insert L.
14 Search for cat, perhaps, when case is raised? (4)
SCAN - My thoughts; a CAT scan is what you get when your case is raised by your doctor? And cat in upper case is CAT. But there maybe some wordplay here I've missed.
17 Turned on the new PC? (4)
WOKE - double definition, one woke as in woke up my sleeping computer; one as in the current on trend word woke meaning (overly) policitally correct and ecologically aware (at least, that's what I think it means, it's all a bit vague to me as I'm not woke nor do I wish to be).
18 Take away inferior piece of land? (8)
SUBTRACT - A tract = an area of land, so a sub tract would be an inferior one.
21 No longer blame former lover I esteem (9)
EXONERATE - EX (former lover) ONE (I) RATE (esteem).
22 Solid copper pen manufacturer (5)
CUBIC - CU = Cu, copper; BIC  French maker of ballpoint pens.
24 Heavy breather coming round to eat spread (7)
GRAMPUS - Reverse all: SUP (eat?) MARG (spread). I thought sup meant to drink not to eat, but I guess we eat or sup supper.  A grampus can be either a species of dolphin found off Taiwan, or another name for the orca or killer whale.
25 Poet's before entry to West Stand (7)
ETAGERE - All reversed ("to West"); ERE (poet's before) GATE (entry). (French for) a bookcase or shelving unit.
26 Regularly goes by Pentagon stratagem (5)
DODGE - DOD (Department of Defence, Pentagon in USA), G E (regularly G o E s).
27 Made useful contacts — indicating trawl was successful? (9)
NETWORKED - If the net worked, the trawl was successful.
1 Bigshot meeting the queen is traitor (5)
VIPER - V.I.P. meets E.R = Her Majesty.
2 Ideal location to film, perhaps, with soft light (5-6-4)
CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND - at a stretch,  I think CLOUD = film, mist, CUCKOO = soft, daft, LAND = light (upon). A place Νεφελοκοκκυγία invented by Aristophanes (a city in the sky created by birds) in the play The Birds, subsequently invoked by many people including Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as Wolkenkuckucksheim, Margaret Thatcher, Ann Widdecombe and others.
3 Appear again, as army corps heading north to meet another southbound (2-6)
RE-EMERGE - E.G. (as) REME (army corps) "heads north" = EMER GE, meets RE the Royal Engineers).
4 Setter welcoming public turning up old source of common heritage? (4,4)
GENE POOL - GEL (setter) insert OPEN (public) reversed and O for old.
5 Watch as diver secures approval (4,2)
LOOK ON - LOON (a diving bird) has OK inserted.
6 Sale to make good Eeyore's loss? (6)
RETAIL - Eeyore the donkey in WTP lost his tail, so he's RE-TAILED here.
7 Money-making run in snooker that won't air on BBC (10,5)
COMMERCIAL BREAK - COMMERCIAL (money-making) BREAK (scoring run in snooker).
8 Artist to overhaul image — time to grasp medium (9)
REMBRANDT - REBRAND (overhaul image) has M inserted and T added at the end.
13 Knees apart, prayed for someone wise to intercede (3-6)
BOW-LEGGED - BEGGED (prayed) has the wise OWL my avatar inserted.
15 Who, in French, takes online exam, perhaps most subdued in conversation? (8)
QUIETEST - QUI (French for who) E-TEST could be an online exam.
16 Pets going head to head inside very well broken up (8)
STACCATO - CAT and CAT reversed inside SO = very well.
19 After extremes of pace, pole positions altered in race (6)
20 Mother and one close to her in family tree (6)
DAMSON - DAM (mother) SON (one close to mother).
23 Key underpinning native American belief system (5)
CREED - Key of D on the end of CREE.