July 16th, 2020

Linus van Pelt

27718 Thursday, 16 July 2020 In my end is my beginning

I found this rather stiff going, particularly as the NW corner was pretty unyielding, though in retrospect I’m not quite sure why. The vocab is occasionally from the further reaches of the dictionary, particularly the bowl for which even the derivation is disputed.
My personal giggle index suggests 27a as providing full value for the price of admission, but I took the whole set as a teasing and pleasing collection, which occupied me for an above average 27.51.
There is a curious double use of “soon” in the crossword to provide the same four letters.
The French town included has the weirdest and most flea-ridden hotel I have ever stayed in, presided over by madame who drifted around like Morticia Addams, but without the sophistication
The presence of the high ranking Scrabble letters makes you think there might be a complete set, but F, W and X are missing
My workings can be revealed by clicking on the button below, and interpreted by reading italic bits as clues, italic and underlined as definitions, and BOLD CAPITALS as solutions
[Open here]

1 Like rock, and into soft country music (9)
PASTORALE There’s one in Handel’s Messiah, introducing the bit about the shepherds, it’s strictly a style of music invoking traditional rustic music. Here, it’s evoked by translating like rock into AS TOR and putting that into PALE as a version of soft
9 Soon collecting six Roman grandees, initially in old papal residence (7)
AVIGNON The first appearance of ANON today for soon. Six Roman is VI, grandees “initially” gives the G. Assemble as instructed. Avignon, avec son pont iconic ou on danse, mais which seulement goes demi way, was home to VI (sic) popes between 1309 and 1377
10 Unruly mobs almost beat this rap (7)
GANGSTA I was so far off this it became my last. Not so tough, really. Unruly mobs: GANGS and beat: TAN (possibly TAP, or even TAG) without its end (almost). Nice surface
11 Supporters recited no poetry (5)
PROSE If recited, PROS, those supporting, sound like.
12 Mark papers to be returned by a reviewer (9)
DIACRITIC A wiggle, line or dots over vowels to modify the sound. Paper: ID reversed, tagged onto A in plain sight, plus CRITIC for reviewer
13 I comply with movement of games (7)
OLYMPIC Nicely topical with everyone falling into line with the covid-enforced delay. Tiday’s first anagram (with movement) of I COMPLY
15 Blow nose over end of sink (5)
KNOCK CONK being a slang term (dated?) for nose, reversed (over) and added to (end of) sinK
17 Drug taken by US office-holder repelled bug (5)
PEEVE Drug is the setter’s godsend E, and the repelled/reversed US office holder the VEEP currently Mike Pence. Surprisingly the answer  hydroxychloroquine doesn'tquite fit
18 Dish out pounds, with plenty about (5)
ALLOT Pounds gives you just one L, and plenty gives you A LOT to cuddle it
19 Men break into short leap and bowl (5)
JORUM Today’s primary “you what?” word, “a large drinking bowl, possibly from Joram in  2 Samuel 8.10”, though perhaps not. The wordplay is easier: men: the usual Other Ranks, and short leap: JUMp
20 Painting medium under discussion away from university (7)
MATISSE A  work of art acceptably betokened by its creator. M(edium) introduces AT ISSUE for under discussion minus its U(niversity)
23 Method to get cold hen quite cooked (9)
TECHNIQUE An anagram (cooked) of C(old) HEN QUITE
25 Rope’s end quickly on back — that awaited some criminals (5)
NOOSE At least anon doesn’t put in an appearance: Quickly produces SOON, and rope’s end provides the E
27 What pensive writer may give club (7)
NIBLICK A golf club for chipping. And what writer may give? NIB LICK (ho ho!)
28 Trained horse, regularly nervy, to submit (7)
EVENTER The odd (or rather even) letters of nErVy plus ENTER for submit, as in when you press the button at the end of the crossword
29 One in fifty backing East German city overall (9)
TENNESSEE I.e. one of the fifty States. And E(ast) ESSEN (a German city in the West of Germany) and NET for overall (net profit=overall profit? I suppose so)

1 Temple walk, maybe, in flat area (6)
PAGODA The most generic form of walk would be GO, maybe because there are lots of other ways of going, set into PAD for flat (the noun, an apartment)  plus A(rea)
2 Fine weather preferred for smart turnout (6,4)
SUNDAY BEST Fine weather would be a DAY of SUN, and preferred supplies BEST
3 Lacking some energy, my child’s vehicle not working (2,6)
ON STRIKE My child’s vehicle would be ONE’S TRIKE (child belongs to the vehicle, not the my). Remove the E(nergy) and respace
4 A lawyer taking exercise to get fit (5)
ADAPT Our American legal friend A DA, takes PT for exercise
5 Seek actor for stirring poetic quartet (4,5)
EAST COKER An anagram (for stirring) of SEEK ACTOR. East Coker is one of four poems that TS Eliot described as quartets, the others being Burnt Norton, The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding. If you haven’t got a copy, find them here
6 Quietly suggest being so typically adolescent? (6)
PIMPLY P for quietly (as in music) IMPLY for suggest
7 Ruin contribution to Nessun Dorma? (4)
UNDO Today’s hidden, in NessUN DOrma
8 Offer at lower price than tenderloin? (8)
UNDERCUT Tenderloin contains the best and most expensive cuts of beef, so anything else is a lesser cut of lower quality and price. A slightly smudgy clue, but it works. [On edit: works less smudgily as a double definition, tenderloin in some dictionaries being so defined. See comments]
14 Intend to keep a large brood, not just one litter (10)
PALANQUINS “A light litter for one passenger”. The cryptic bits need careful separation. Intend gives PLAN, which keeps A. Lage doesn’t give L, but simply attaches to brood to give QUINS
16 Caught out, protest against race for connoisseur’s piece (5,4)
OBJET D’ART The crossword ignores apostrophes. Protest id OBJECT, with the C(aught) removed. Race is DART. Mentally throw in the ‘
17 Think about beginning to make a holder for perfume (8)
POMANDER Think is PONDER, placed around beginning to Make and A
18 Subject enamel to damage, dropping tar in (8)
AMENABLE An anagram (to damage) of ENAMEL with A(ble) B(odied) for (Jack) tar dropped in. Chambers gives “ready to be led or won over” which is the meaning I’m familiar with, but adds “liable or subject”, so that’s OK then
21 Cover fire in silence (6)
SHEATH Fire provides HEAT (in so many ways) and puts it in silence, SH
22 Perhaps poop extremely loose, showing ragged edge (6)
DECKLE A poop is an example of a DECK, so stop sniggering at the back, and the extremes of LoosE provide te other two letters
24 One soon joining chapter? (5)
CANON Soon reappears to provide ANON, and Chapter provides the C. The Chapter is (loosely) the governing body of a Cathedral, and canons make up some of its membership
26 Beasts, one incorrectly branded with wrong mark (4)
OXEN an anagram (incorrectly) of ONE plus X for a “wrong” mark

Times Quick Cryptic No 1658 by Pedro

A bit on the trickier side today, I found - the RHS certainly looked pretty sparse after a first read through of the acrosses, with only 19 and 23 going in. I don't have an exact time as my phone rang shortly before the 10 minute mark with 4ac and 14d still to go, and I solved them over the next few minutes when my attention seemed dividable, but my target was missed either way. Lots to like, and a good range of clue types (just one double definition and two anagrams) kept it all very engaging - many thanks to Pedro!

1 School is beginning to mend split (6)
SCHISM -SCH(ool), IS, M ("beginning" to Mend)
4 Plan to perform in an instant? Not quite (6)
TACTIC - ACT (perform) in a TICk (instant, not quite = dock the tail)
8 Weapon getting attention in company (7)
FIREARM - EAR (attention) in FIRM (company)
10 Quantity of wine, say, knocked back in boozy spree (5)
BINGE - BIN (quantity of wine) GE (eg = say, knocked back). For bin see here; binge derives from a dialect verb of soaking a wooden vessel.
11 Where you may see golfers run out in great quantity (5)
TROON - R.O. (run out, abbrev. in cricket) in TON (great quantity). Royal Troon is one of the Open courses.
12 Criticise fool with a mining tool (7)
NITPICK - NIT (fool) with a PICK (mining tool)
13 Love to search a maze of rooms? (9)
HONEYCOMB - HONEY (love/darling) COMB (search). Honeycomb can be used figuratively, but the definition works fine as an oblique description of honeycomb itself.
17 Doctor and a copper taking on the French vampire (7)
DRACULA - DR (doctor) and A, Cu (a, copper) taking on LA (the, French)
19 One drawing a tall building (5)
TOWER - double definition, the first in the sense of pulling.
20 Be a chauvinist, dismissing leader (5)
EXIST - sEXIST (chauvinist, dismissing leader). I suppose the original sense has largely been lost, making male chauvinist (pig) redundant, but it was originally "exaggerated, bellicose patriotism" in the vein of jingoism, named after a (probably fictitious) Napoleonic soldier called Nicolas Chauvin, and applied with ridicule to the soldier who kept an "idolatrous admiration" for Napoleon after his fall (OED). An inspired linking with misogyny, so whatever original sense is lost is more than gained by equating it with sexism.
21 Floor coverings rolled back in area displaying grit (7)
STAMINA - STAM (mats = floor coverings, rolled back) IN A(rea)
22 Row about two appearances of good friend to Pooh (6)
TIGGER - TIER (row) about GG (two appearances of good)
23 Black bird and dog (6)
BEAGLE - B(lack) EAGLE (bird)
1 Security, for example, involving iron anklet ultimately (6)
SAFETY - SAY (for example) involving Fe (iron) T (ankleT, "ultimately")
2 Deaf old fellow’s first to appear in severe part of court case (4,2,7)
HARD OF HEARING -O(ld) F (Fellow's "first") to appear in HARD(severe) HEARING (part of court case)
3 Name borne by quiet anonymous Irish river (7)
SHANNON - N(ame) borne by SH (quiet) ANON(ymous)
5 A couple of books — Biblical books — shown by religious leader (5)
ABBOT - A, BB (a, couple of books) OT (Old Testament = Biblical books)
6 Extraordinary to pleb, winning game (6,7)
TENPIN BOWLING - anagram (extraordinary) of TO PLEB WINNING. I would hyphenate "ten-pin" but no matter.
7 Shout after covering each kilometre, making harsh sound (6)
CREAKY - CRY (shout) after covering EA. (each) K(ilometre).
9 Rich person, one upset by probing magazines (9)
MONEYBAGS - ONE, YB ("upset" by) probing MAGS (magazines)
14 Unacceptable opinion in item not shown on TV? (3-4)
OUT-TAKE - OUT (unacceptable) TAKE (opinion)
15 Commercial I ignored in broadcast TV aired (6)
ADVERT - ignore the I in an anagram (broadcast) of TV A i RED
16 Legal action about soldiers in line (6)
CREASE - CASE (legal action) about RE (soldiers)
18 Canadian policeman allowing second to go free (5)
UNTIE - moUNTIE (Canadian policeman), with MO (second) going away.

Times 27,719: When It Comes To The Crunch, Double Your Unch

A crossword of middling difficulty, with some fairly easy clues commingling with slightly sneakier offerings - nothing at all wrong with that. My COD for its clever cryptic merging seamlessly into the surface is 11ac, which sadly was thoroughly biffable from a few crossers, which meant I only fully appreciated it later. WOD to murrain which always reminds me of a scary TV play of the same name by Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame. It really shouldn't happen to a vet.

LOI 22ac which would surely not have been LOI if enumerated (4-3, 3); but as it was I spent too long wondering if a COCKLED HAT might be a thing. I liked the portaloo, the nudist party and the drug binge in the central column, all hallmarks of a certain risque style of setting that may have some solvers tutting but is fine by me, I can tell you. Thank you setter!

1 Fewer than twenty in foreground (10)
UNDERSCORE - UNDER SCORE [fewer than | twenty]. FOI and straight in.

6 Ceremony in ball cut by a third (4)
POMP - The truncated ball is a POMP{om}.

8 A ruin I'm going to love in US city (8)
AMARILLO - A MAR I'LL O [a | ruin | I'm going to | love]. Don't mess with Texas.

9 Soup for one on returning (6)
POTAGE - reverse all of E.G. ATOP [for one | on]

10 Like hippy's jacket without colour (4)
ASHY - AS [like] + H{ipp}Y

11 Sink's blocked here? He'll provide a plug? (5,5)
PRESS AGENT - SAG [sink] has blocked PRESENT [here].

12 Suffering, try facial adornment (9)
HEARTACHE - HEAR TACHE [try | facial adornment]

14 Like a recording, almost freely available (2,3)
ON TAP - or very nearly ON TAP{e} [like a recording]

17 Seeker of reduced fare, not one to get put off (5)
DETER - D{i}ETER, losing I = one

19 Fool not wholly benign or amusing (9)
IGNORAMUS - hidden in {ben}IGN OR AMUS{ing}

22 Story which has no beginning: it can go to one’s head (7,3)
PORKPIE HAT - PORKPIE [story, as in "lie"] + {w}HAT [which "has no beginning"]. Controversial implication here that porkpie is all one word, I'd have had it as pork pie or at most pork-pie, myself.

23 Mark has day off cereal product (4)
BRAN - BRAN{d} [mark], losing D = day

24 Put an end to bookish loony dropping round (6)
KIBOSH - (BO{o}KISH*) ["loony"], where the dropped "round" is one of the O's.

25 Appropriate vehicle parts hired again (8)

26 Word from card-playing quartet (4)
NEWS - North, East, West and South, the four players in a game of Bridge.

27 Great friend embracing man and women only? (10)
PHENOMENAL - PAL "embracing" HE [man] + NO MEN [women only]

1 A party in nude, terribly brazen! (9)
UNABASHED - A BASH in (NUDE*) ["terribly"]

2 Exciting event, investing Switzerland's old money (7)
DRACHMA - DRAMA "investing" CH

3 Girl from Llandudno possibly eating a chop from Shrewsbury? (8)
SALOPIAN - SIAN [Welsh girl] "eating" A LOP

4 Superior twice taking tablets, intoxicated by drug (2,4,4,5)
ON ONE'S HIGH HORSE - ON [taking] + ON [taking] + E'S [tablets] + HIGH [intoxicated] + HORSE [drug]

5 Disclosure no longer affected behaviour (6)
EXPOSÉ - EX POSE [no longer | affected behaviour]

6 American region, area thrice opting out (9)

7 Woman with issue dressing a fellow in deep shade (7)
MAGENTA - MA [woman with issue (as in, children)] "dressing" A GENT

13 Free suffering birds: they’re tied (4,5)
REEF KNOTS - (FREE*) ["suffering"] + KNOTS [birds]

15 Pants, a lot exchanged after delivery (9)
POSTNATAL - (PANTS A LOT*) ["exchanged"]

16 Left Indian food for temporary convenience (8)
PORTALOO - PORT [left] + ALOO [Indian food]

18 Book about the writer's stirring (7)
EMOTIVE - reversed TOME [book] + I'VE [the writer has]

20 Ancient plague of spirit to rise then come down (7)
MURRAIN - reversed RUM [spirit] + RAIN [come down]

21 Bad luck to some extent interrupting plan (6)
MISHAP - ISH [to some extent] "interrupting" MAP [plan]