July 13th, 2020

New RCA
  • vinyl1

Times 27715 - Peanut butter? Peter Biddlecombe?

Time: 11 minutes
Music: None, outdoor porch solve

No, the correct answer is Personal Best.   I was really on the wavelength for this one, and unlike all those maddening puzzles where you put in all the answers but two in ten minutes, and then end up taking eighteen, I was able to finish what I started.   I don't know what the SNITCH will say, but this one is definitely quite easy, and I will invite the beginners to have a go when the Quickie blog comes up.

Naturally, there were lots of chestnuts and write-ins, and you could probably biff a fair number of answers.   I would think that under 3 minutes might be achievable by our very top solvers.   For me, single digits on a 15 x 15 are still out of reach, and I would be very lucky to get there.

Across
1 Shield quickly attached to vehicle (8)
CARAPACE - CAR + APACE, a write-in.   A naturally occurring shield
5 Free renegade held by US soldiers (6)
GRATIS - G(RAT)IS.
10 Close lit up (5)
TIGHT - Double definition, a simple one.
11 Powerful weaponry, ominous positioned in middle of major road (9)
ARTILLERY - ART(ILL)ERY, where ill is ominous as in an ill omen.
12 Flag: change motif, perhaps incorporating name (3,6)
RED ENSIGN - REDE(N)SIGN.
13 Exercise self-control lacking in others (5)
TRAIN -  [res]TRAIN[t], a rather tricky cryptic for an obvious answer.
14 Mate ringing wife, good for gossipy conversation (7)
CHINWAG - CHIN(W)A + G.   Never assume it must be -ing if a word ends in G.
16 Various kingfishers, maybe (6)
DIVERS - Double definition, one relying on British spelling.
18 Like a squirrel checking its tail in light fall of snow? (6)
FLURRY - F([squirre]L)URRY.
20 Clever reply from Republican that is shown round office (7)
RIPOSTE - R + I(POST)E.
22 Capital outlay initially required to make Don Juan? (5)
ROMEO - ROME + O[utlay].
23 One travelling to Saturn? (9)
ASTRONAUT - A + anagram of TO SATURN, an &lit.
25 Replacement policy and stuff (9)
SUBSTANCE - SUB + STANCE.
26 Lyric poem about a concert hall (5)
ODEON - ODE + ON.
27 Exceptional boy, very likely to succeed (4-2)
ODDS-ON - ODD SON, a chestnut.
28 Period of history, period enthralling one (5,3)
STONE AGE - ST(ONE)AGE.
Down
1 New picture frames charged firstly at a reduced rate (3-5)
CUT-PRICE - Anagram of PICTURE + C[harged].
2 Inflexible, doctor over papers (5)
RIGID - RIG + I.D.
3 Make favourable mention of what one may have done here? (3,2,1,4,2,3)
PUT IN A WORD OR TWO - Double definition, one jocular.   I hope you put in all the words!
4 Constant irrational hunger (7)
CRAVING - C + RAVING.
6 What that might be? (8,7)
RELATIVE PRONOUN -  One use of THAT, the other being a demonstrative.
7 Book the man's found in house (9)
THESAURUS - T(HE'S)AURUS, an astrological house.
8 Motto, for example, popular with Guides, primarily (6)
SAYING - SAY + IN + G[uides].
9 Made up for deficiencies, perhaps, of sound in commercial (6)
ATONED - A(TONE)D.
15 I harshly criticise a poor Asian capital (9)
ISLAMABAD - I SLAM A BAD, another chestnut.
17 Feeling upon missing one's verdict (8)
SENTENCE - SENT(i)ENCE.   A sentence is not, of course, a verdict, but it's close enough.
19 Yen merits getting longs (6)
YEARNS - Y + EARNS.
20 Give ground on the subject of indulgence (7)
RETREAT - RE TREAT.
21 Heading for Newport having left English city suddenly (6)
PRESTO - PRESTO[n[ewport]].
24 Indefinite number in parish theatre (5)
ARENA - ARE(N)A.   A parish is indeed an area, but this verges on DBE.
Astarte1

QC 1655 by Trelawney

Sorry, no time to say very much this week, too much going on in the world outside the blogosphere.

Another very gentle Monday. One of those ones where I think I might have had a PB under ideal conditions. As it was I got home in about 7 minutes without really trying to bust the clock.

Many thanks to Trelawney for providing another one of those valuable puzzles that gives everybody (I hope?) a boost of confidence at the start of the week.

FOI was the obvious anagram at 7A. LOI was 21D because, well, it was the last clue I came to. And in these gender-fluid times when I read everybody's arguments and see everybody's points of view and just thank my lucky stars that I am reasonably secure in my boring old male heterosexuality and so personally don't have to worry about any of all that (in spite of the influence of my beloved avatar as mentioned in recent weeks), my COD was 18A for its nimble playfulness.

Can I just say as well many thanks to somebody who has been very kind to me. I hope he knows who he is and I will write him a grateful email shortly but sadly it has just been a very hectic week.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest words I can manage.

Across
1 Very easy task collecting river junk (5)
DROSS - DOSS (very easy task) 'collecting' R (river).
7 Cartel had demolished place of worship (9)
CATHEDRAL - straight anagram ('demolished') of CARTEL HAD.
9 Greek character hiding in handsome garden (5)
OMEGA - hidden word: 'hiding in' handsOME GArden.
10 A close friend beginning to mistrust NATO, for example (7)
ACRONYM - A + CRONY (close friend) + M ('begining to' Mistrust).
11 Noblewoman starts to develop unusual board game (7)
DUCHESS - D + U ('starts' to Develop Unusual) + CHESS (board game).
12 Alerts posh folk, embracing one quietly (7)
TIPOFFS - TOFFS (posh folk) 'embracing' I (one) + P (piano, quietly).
15 Worker returning woman's aerial (7)
ANTENNA - ANT (worker) + ENNA (ANNE (woman) 'returning').
18 Fe-male superhero? (4,3)
IRON MAN - IRON (chemical symbol = Fe) + MAN (male).
20 Sprinted to grab magical device from African country (7)
RWANDAN - RAN (sprinted) 'grabbing' WAND (magical device).
22 Tuna swimming with small relations (5)
AUNTS - anagram of TUNA ('swimming') + S (small).
23 Irish city's sailors producing bottle opener (9)
CORKSCREW - CORK(')S (Irish city's) + CREW (sailors).
24 Knock out jockey regularly — that's strange! (5)
KOOKY - KO (knock out) + OKY (jOcKeY 'regularly')
Down
1 Robot starts to design rocket on its doorstep (5)
DROID - 'starts to' Design Rocket On Its Doorstep.
2 Gloomy about group of actors (8)
OVERCAST - OVER (about) + CAST (group of actors).
3 Climbed like an armadillo, perhaps? (6)
SCALED - an armadillo has scales.
4 Triple jumping — go for it! (3,3)
LET RIP - straight anagram ('jumping') of TRIPLE.
5 I was in charge of foreign land (4)
IRAN - I + RAN (was in charge of).
6 Fashioned himself a European language (7)
FLEMISH - straight anagram ('fashioned') of HIMSELF.
8 Are nitrates changing brewing equipment? (3,8)
TEA STRAINER - straight anagram ('changing') of ARE NITRATES.
13 Long-legged creature burning oxygen (8)
FLAMINGO - FLAMING (burning) + O (oxygen).
14 Fancy putting limit on staple food (7)
CAPRICE - CAP (limit) 'on' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) RICE (staple food).
16 Detectives imprisoned by lunatic who's barely seen? (6)
NUDIST - DIS (Detective Inspectors) 'imprisoned' by NUT (lunatic). Cryptic definition.
17 After a short time, tout punk rock hairstyle (6)
MOHAWK - MO (short time) + HAWK (tout).
19 Finally clean a pig enclosure that's unpleasant! (5)
NASTY - N ('finally' cleaN) + A + STY (pig enclosure).
21 Farm building lacking roof is well ventilated (4)
AIRY - dAIRY (farm building) minus the first letter (i.e. 'lacking roof' in this down clue).