July 11th, 2020

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1447 - 27th June

I really should write my introduction to my Jumbo blogs while the crossword is fresh in my memory. I see that it took me 44 minutes, which is about average for me, I think. Plenty of normal difficulty clues to help populate the grid, but then some absolute peaches that had me putting double ticks on my copy... The clever cross-reference at 47A, the Greek scrabble piece at 22D  the magnificent neologisms at 32D, and the clever reverse cryptic at 49A were the highlights for me, but there were plenty more. I enjoyed this a lot.. apart from 1A where I initially guessed the letter sequence from the anagram of an unknown word wrong... no that's just sour grapes. Thank-you clever setter! How did everyone else get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27708 - Saturday, 4 July 2020 ... when the crossword doing's dandy!

Typical Saturday fare. Unusually rich in homophones, I thought, and in quaint double definitions (dd). No references as far as I could see to the birthday party across the Atlantic. 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}.


Across
1 What a PC has to urge on unruly kids (4,5)
DISK DRIVE – anagram (‘unruly’) (KIDS*), with DRIVE = urge ‘on’ it.
6 Gents unavailable in evacuated terminals (5)
TOFFS – OFF in T{erminal}S
9 Ferret's origins (5)
ROOTS – dd: root around = ferret, or ROOTS = origins.
10 Vessel, one crossing a river boundary (9)
CATAMARAN – CAN (one vessel), crossing A TAMAR (a river, that divides Cornwall from Devon).
11 Eclipse almost certain to end (7)
SURPASS – SUR{e} (certain, 'almost'), PASS (end).
12 Rate going up? Pie in the sky, possibly (7)
AIRFARE – dd: the AIRFARE is the ‘rate’ you pay to ‘go up’ in the plane. A pie might be the FARE you eat in the AIR ... while on that plane?
13 Auntie and rival sick, one continually ailing (14)
VALETUDINARIAN – anagram (‘sick): (AUNTIE AND RIVAL*). It’s amazing that this word, clearly derived from a Latin root meaning ‘health/strength’, means pretty much the opposite.
17 Subject to strikes, perhaps, as lots are (5,3,6)
UNDER THE HAMMER – another cutesy dd. Beating swords into ploughshares, perhaps, or being auctioned at Sotheby’s.
21 A French king snared by girl without fortune (7)
UNLUCKY – UN (‘a’, in French), K (king) snared by LUCY, our girl of the moment.
23 Superman's pronounced cramp (7)
TIGHTEN – sounds like TITAN (a superman), near enough.
25 Metal god (not Hindu's first) with frame of bushy hair (9)
MANGANESE – MANE (bushy hair) ‘framing’ GANES{h}, the Hindu god.
26 Lost yachtsman found here? (2,3)
AT SEA – and another dd.
27 Marine using switch primarily for volume coming from hooter (5)
NASAL – NAVAL using S instead of V.
28 Runners go on getting the bird (9)
FIELDFARE – FIELD (runners, in a horse race perhaps), FARE (go on, as in ‘how did you fare?’). Turns out I’ve blogged this answer before. Last time I didn’t know this bird, this time I can only admit I didn’t remember it!

Down
1 Contemptuous troublesome goddess in sudden downfall (8)
DERISIVE – the answer was obvious, but I had to research the wordplay. It turns out ERIS was the Greek goddess of chaos, strife and discord. She’s in a DIVE.
2 Inadequate, supporting second track (5)
SPOOR – S (second), POOR.
3 Take down books with rotten binding before end of sale (9)
DISMANTLE – NT with DISMAL ‘binding’ it, then {sal}E.
4 Starts to express doubt after 50% of income is cut (7)
INCISED – INC{ome} IS E{xpress} D{oubt}. It’s like assembling an IKEA flatpack: don’t think about it … just read the instructions! (If only it was that easy!)
5 Board mounting paintings in square (7)
ENTRAIN – ART in NINE, ‘mounting’.
6 First person invading pitch is easier to handle (5)
TAMER – ME ‘invading’ TAR.
7 Safety device, genuine article installed by company (4,5)
FIRE ALARM – REAL in FIRM.
8 Depressed star needs understanding (6)
SUNKEN – SUN, KEN.
14 Policies underpinning secure comms network (9)
LANDLINES – LINES (policies, as in what's your partys line on climate change?) ‘underpinning’ LAND (secure).
15 Nurture and protect tail enders (9)
REARGUARD – REAR, GUARD.
16 Go after criminal adopting new facade (8)
FRONTAGE – anagram (‘criminal’) of (GO AFTER N*).
18 Personally you once felt shy at work (7)
THYSELF – anagram (‘at work’): (FELT SHY*). The definition evokes an obsolete form of yourself.
19 Very strict time kept by old regiment (7)
EXTREME – EX REME keeping T.
20 Potential killers picking up the pieces? (6)
GUNMEN – cryptic definition. Read ‘pieces’ as ‘guns’.
22 What swimmers may do to snail? (5)
CRAWL – dd.
24 Report of person checking Pip's coat? (5)
TESTA – sounds like TESTER. It’s the shell of a fruit seed.