July 18th, 2020

Jumbo 1448

This was a bit of a struggle for me – not really on the compiler’s wavelength I think, but nothing unfair. A couple of cleverly constructed clues (probably 8D being my favourite) and a couple of unknowns to confirm after solving.

Edit - thank you to Kevin for letting me know about the correction needed to 40D





ACROSS
1 A certain doctor of mine, happy to celebrate (5,2,2)
WHOOP IT UP – WHO = a certain doctor, O = of, PIT = mine, UP = happy

6 Place for bluebottles in grass on top of hill? (7)
COPSHOP – COP = top of hill, SHOP = grass

10 One bachelor, if you ask me, can catch another dumb blonde? (5)
BIMBO – B = bachelor, IMO = if you ask me, around another B = bachelor

13 Augustus was one heading off moderate men (7)
EMPEROR – {t}EMPER = moderate, O.R. = men

14 International force cut — nothing to be sorry about (7)
EUROPOL – LOP = cut, O = nothing, RUE = to be sorry, all reversed

15 Hit song playing at presentation (2,5)
ON SIGHT – (HIT SONG)*

16 Advice not to ring us, perhaps, but keep calling? (4,4,2,3,3,3)
DON’T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB – double definition, the second mildly cryptic using another meaning for calling

17 Left-wingers for instance spouting Marxist doctrine (3)
ISM – initial (left) letters in Instance Spouting Marxism

18 Spin surrounding our leading female jockey (6)
EDDERY – EDDY = spin, around E.R. = our leading female

20 It has drawn some in place of austerity (6)
SPARTA – S.A = it, around (has drawn in) PART = some

21 Leading couple in formation dance swapping places an awful lot! (9)
OCTILLION – COTILLION = formation dance, with the first two letters exchanged. I had not heard of the dance

23 Scraps with CID officers? Sit quiet, mostly (8,2)
DISPOSES OF – DIS = CID officers, POSE = sit, SOF{t} = quiet

25 At that point would thwart international movement (3,3,5)
THE RED CROSS – THERE’D = at that point would, CROSS = thwart

29 BBC releasing article for free (5)
UNTIE – {a}UNTIE = BBC

30 City gent maybe sustained briefly by kebab (8)
LONDONER – LON{g} = sustained, DONER = kebab

31 Play wound up with Act I certainly would be (8)
ATYPICAL – (PLAY, ACT, I)*

34 Mild expletive following champion gymnast’s feat (8)
BACKFLIP – BACK = champion, FLIP = mild expletive

36 American’s brief rant — yet nothing gets sorted out (8)
ATTORNEY – (RANT, YET, O)* where O = nothing

37 Lay in cold, white shroud, close to ground (5)
HOARD – HOAR = cold white shroud, {groun}D

39 Cut on head with stick, old sailor buckled at the knee (5,6)
BOBBY SHAFTO – BOB = cut on head, BY = with, SHAFT = stick, O = old. From the nursery rhyme

41 You and your endless anniversaries finally must stop — with this one? (10)
THOUSANDTH – THOU = you, AND, TH{y} = your, around {anniversarie}S, where “stop” means go inside

43 Appearing in court after fine is increasing (7,2)
TOPPING UP – TOPPING = fine, UP = appearing in court

45 Dinosaur in Komsomol is so far to the left (6)
FOSSIL – hidden reversed in KomsomoL IS SO Far

47 Fabulous shot, mine, rebounding (6)
TIPTOP – POT = shot, PIT = mine, all reversed

49 Character needed to get the measure of acid test? (3)
PHI – Ph 1 = measure of acid

50 Undercover work of devious EU little concerning English (19)
COUNTERINTELLIGENCE – (EU LITTLE CONCERNING)*, E = english

52 A flavour of how fan gets to feed (7)
ANISEED = if AN IS replaced by EED fan becomes feed. Clever clue

53 Wise lady lord had never tipped to become a dancer (7)
ISADORA – internal letters only of {w}IS{e} {l}AD{y} {l}OR{d} {h}A{d}. Presumably referring to Isadora Duncan

54 Bishop getting sent up and smeared? (7)
BLOBBED – B = bishop, LOBBED = sent up

55 Sailor following one inside port (5)
LAGOS – LAG = one inside, O.S = sailor

56 Get kitted out in vain for Strictly (7)
RIGIDLY – RIG = get kitted out, IDLY = in vain

57 Fixture for door — superior ones for Rev Spooner? (9)
LETTERBOX – BETTER LOCKS would be the Spoonerism

DOWN
1 Observe light after word initially’s got round (8)
WHEEDLED – W{ord}, HEED = observe, L.E.D. = light

2 Expert in Belfast perhaps turned around plant (5)
ORPIN – N.I. PRO = Expert in Belfast perhaps, all reversed. Had not heard of this plant

3 Dish of steaming porridge one had in gym (8,3)
PERIGORD PIE – PORRIDGE*, P.E. = gym, around I = one

4 With time and human resources, one has to do well (6)
THRIVE – T = time, H.R. = human resources, I’VE = one has to

5 Urgent to keep up, naval officer’s assuming (12)
PRESUPPOSING – PRESSING  = urgent, around UP and P.O. = naval officer

6 Looking up schedule: old police superintendent (7)
CURATOR – ROTA = schedule, R.U.C = old police, all reversed

7 Repair that stopped pipe getting inched out (6,2,3,4)
PIPPED AT THE POST – (THAT STOPPED PIPE)*

8 Trouble-making sextet? (4-1-5)
HALF-A-DOZEN – HALF of A DOZEN = ADO = trouble. Another clever one

9 Judge involved in caress with call girl on aircraft (7)
PROPJET – PRO = call girl, PET = caress, around J = judge

10 Mean to get bouncer better headgear (8,3)
BASEBALL CAP – BASE = mean, BALL = bouncer, CAP = better

11 No good getting upset if I see Chairman’s collared grandee (9)
MAGNIFICO – GN = NG = no good, reversed, IF I, C = see, with MAO = chairman surrounding it all

12 Outrageous female going topless, displaying chest apparently? (7)
OTTOMAN – O.T.T. = outrageous, {w}OMAN = female

19 In reasoned way, religious attitude is ticking boxes (7)
DEISTIC – hidden in attituDE IS TICking

22 Henry left absorbed by exotic geisha girl (8)
ASHLEIGH – GEISHA* around H = henry and L = left

24 Bow Street coming down on saucy hooker? (5-3,7)
FRONT-ROW FORWARD – FRONT = bow, ROW = street, FORWARD = saucy

26 Infiltrator: hear one’s gaining access to hospital department (8)
ENTRYIST – E.N.T. = hospital department, around TRY = hear and IS = one’s

27 Slashes note, one found beneath papers (6)
SOLIDI – SOL = note, I.D. = papers, I = one

28 Uproar when spouse gets reduced unemployment benefit at first (6)
HUBBUB – HUBB{y} = spouse, followed by initial letters of Unemployment Benefit

32 Bird soaring over cape, then height almost halved (4,3)
COAL TIT – O = over, C = cape, reversed, ALTIT{ude} = height

33 A nation well beaten finally condemned aged Scottish defence (8,4)
ANTONINE WALL – (A NATION WELL {beate}N)*

35 Unlicensed traders throw in leaflets (11)
FLYPITCHERS – PITCH = throw, in FLYERS = leaflets

37 Giving affection, being on intimate terms (4,2,5)
HAND IN GLOVE – HANDING = giving, LOVE = affection

38 Start work on the Greens? That’s unpleasant (10)
OFFPUTTING – OFF = start, PUTTING = work on the greens

40 I go after book suitable for christening (9)
BAPTIZING – B = book, APT = suitable, I, ZING = go. I put BAPTISING without considering the alternative, but only when typing this up did I wonder about SING = go.

42 A very soft goal upset team, in addition (8)
APPENDIX – A, PP = very soft, END = goal, XI = team, reversed

43 Trouble with polls bringing some superior canvassing? (7)
TOPSAIL – TOPS = polls (as in cuts down), AIL = trouble

44 Awful case of gunge round sink (2,5)
GO UNDER – (G{ung}E, ROUND)*

46 In senior year, one’s out of touch etc (7)
SENSORY – SR = senior, Y = year around ONE’S*

48 Just about to vacate local when neighbour’s come round (3,3)
ALL BUT – ABUT = neighbour, around L{oca}L

51 Rich fellow pupil no longer under arrest (5)
NABOB – NAB = arrest, O.B = pupil no longer
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27714 - Saturday, 11 July 2020. All porkers watered and ready …

… and I too flew through this one, until I reached my LOI, 4dn, which took a bit of an alphabet hunt. I won’t be surprised to see reports of fast times, but everything was well clued. 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 I don’t believe in the possibility of hogging airspace? (4,5,3)
PIGS MIGHT FLY – I’m not quite sure whether this is a cryptic definition or a double definition, but you get the drift.
9 Rise about start of breakfast — odd bits of meal missed (5)
REBEL – RE (about), the start of B{reakfast}, -E-L from mEaL.
10 Tabloid article taken into pub reveals devotee of Star? (9)
SUNBATHER – SUN (tabloid), THE (article) in BAR (pub).
11 Resolute daughter to refuse to eat, with chopped meat in front of her (9)
STEADFAST – STEA{k} (meat, chopped) in front of D (daughter), FAST (refuse to eat).
12 Electric current introduced to harbour crane? (5)
HOIST – I (electric current) introduced to HOST (harbour).
13 Racket returned after line is wound (6)
LESION – ESION=NOISE returned after L (line). I started looking for L{ine} IS, to be followed by something like DIN or ROW, but no joy there.
15 Very severe, with mother replacing son — striking (8)
DRAMATIC – DRASTIC with S replaced by MA.
18 Bishop perhaps finding manse’s transformed after central heating (8)
CHESSMAN – CH (central heating), then anagram of (MANSES*) ‘transformed’.
19 Max coming later perhaps for fish (6)
MINNOW – minimum now, maximum later, geddit? In the words of the White Queen, jam tomorrow ... never jam today.
22 Pipe band’s opening tune recalled by piper at the end (5)
BRIAR – B for B{and}, RIA=AIR backwards (recalled), R at the end of {pipe}R.
24 Unfortunately hit in face or head (9)
CHIEFTAIN – anagram of (HIT IN FACE*) ‘unfortunately’.
26 Stop wasting time in US city bay, backsliding, uncertain (9)
EQUIVOCAL – QUI{t} (stop, wasting ‘time’), in LA COVE reversed (backsliding).
27 Blazing footballers returned anger (5)
AFIRE – AF=F.A. ‘returned’, IRE.
28 Sporting award highlighting the “cow”’ in “coward”? (6,6)
YELLOW JERSEY – a nice pun, that I suspect needs no explanation. Is the setter a fan of the Tour de France? In normal times, that would be on about now.

Down
1 Reading, putting ring round two references to the Queen? (7)
PERUSAL – take R, as in E.R., and US, as in ‘we are not amused’; insert both into PEAL.
2 Male Hollywood star runs from female Hollywood star (5)
GABLE – Clark Gable, Betty Grable. Are any of you too young to remember?
3 Blend not entirely unpleasant? That’s good to hear (9)
MELODIOUS – MEL{d} (blend, not entirely), ODIOUS.
4 Heating engineer to show surprise with power cut? A lot getting cut off (6)
GASMAN – GAS{p}, MAN{y}. Unusual to see two words truncated.
5 Solution? Metal solution must contain source of same metal (8)
TINCTURE – TIN (the metal), CURE (the solution), containing T from T{in}.
6 Life gutted? Remains in control (5)
LEASH – L{if}E, ‘gutted’, then ASH.
7 Name church advanced around end of Lent (8)
CHRISTEN – CH (church), RISEN (advanced) around T from {Len}T.
8 One assessing most of service taken in by military boss (6)
CRITIC – RIT{e} taken in by CIC (Commander-in-Chief).
14 Goggles, receiving promise to pay that’s deceptive (8)
SPECIOUS – SPECS receiving IOU.
16 Computer graduate pictured? (9)
MAINFRAME – MA (graduate), IN FRAME (pictured). Again, are any of you too young to remember?
17 Crazy amateur fliers heading skyward, with Charlie on board (8)
FARCICAL – LAIC (meaning lay, or not professional), RAF all ‘heading skyward’, with C for Charlie on board.
18 We will probe company books finding evidence of neglect (6)
COBWEB – WE ‘probing’ CO B B.
20 Inclined to scoff about a lot of information in cold weather? (7)
WINTERY – WRY (inclined to scoff), about INTE{l}.
21 Treatment given to expression of pain: support in bed (6)
PILLOW – PILL, OW.
23 Show Minister getting one-third of Europe upset (5)
REVUE – REV, EU{rope} upset.
25 Supplier of fake news mostly under cover of a second fake name (5)
ALIAS – LIA{r} in A+S.

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4911 by Robert Price — DIVERSIONARY tactics

Nothing very exotic here, though I wasn’t sure when working this that I’d ever seen, let alone eaten, a DRUPE (turns out this is a kind of fruit, not a specific variety). Some of the clues, deliciously, look rather opaque AT FIRST SIGHT, but everything became clear soon enough.

I did have to look up the football position OUTSIDE-RIGHT, but it wasn’t my LOI. That was, oddly enough, REEFER, which, besides being the closest thing to a chestnut in this collection, also refers to my favorite psychoactive substance. What was I smo—, er, vaping? (Guess!) Anyway, it often seems to help… seriously!

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

ACROSS
 1 Woodpiles making energy amid tombs (8)
PYRAMIDS — ”Pyres,” with E(nergy) replaced by AMID. It seems that most of the famous pyramids of Egypt were indeed mausoleums.
 5 Like a Virgin” followed on the radio (6)
CHASTE — ”chased”
 9 Dramatic decline in air travel? (4,4)
NOSE DIVE — No doubt because it’s too hard to maintain social distancing on a plane. CD
10 Fiend who first killed a maiden from the east (6)
MANIAC — CAIN, “who first killed” + A + M(aiden) <=all “from the east”
12 Daily temperature graph (5)
CHART — CHAR, “daily” (housecleaner) + T (emperature)
13 Song and dance about university backtracking (9)
ROUNDELAY — ROUND, “about” + YALE<=“university backtracking”
14 Exchanging art gifts: this is how love can be (2,5,5)
AT FIRST SIGHT — How sweet! (art gifts is)* When love arrives this suddenly in France, one may speak of a coup de foudre (lightning strike).
18 Vinaigrette to go with miserable rocket (8,4)
DRESSING DOWN — DRESSING, “Vinaigrette” (an unflagged DBE, which Peter & Co. have begun to make a habit of) + DOWN, “miserable,” with “to go with” being just connective tissue. You’ll find “rocket” as a DRESSING-DOWN in Lexico (if nowhere else); I must have seen it before here. The fact that “rocket” also means arugula, which you might feel like DRESSING with some vinaigrette, seems intended to confuse, but it didn’t hold me up very long.
21 Regularly clean less than the queen’s cleaner (9)
LAUNDERER — Alternate letters in “clean,” LA + UNDER + ER
23 Opera originally forbidding perfume (5)
ODOUR — O[-pera] + DOUR
24 Part of the service treated acute pain primarily (6)
TEACUP — (acute)* + P[-ain]
25 Type of paint covering applied in layers (8)
EGGSHELL — DD, the second a CD, as the egg is produced inside the hen who will eventually lay it
26 A sailor might be seen in this sort of joint (6)
REEFER — DD
27 Books room full of old equipment for a medical exam (8)
OTOSCOPE — OT, “books” (Old Testament) + SCOPE, “room,” with O(ld) inside

DOWN
 1 A little disc in a plane, lifting flaps (6)
PANICS — Reverse hidden.
 2 Once more, close in on marine predator (6)
RESEAL — RE, “on” + SEAL, “marine predator”
 3 Thinks China’s embracing change? (9)
MEDITATES — M(EDIT)ATES
 4 Account that Daily Record admits is misleading (12)
DIVERSIONARY — DI(VERSION)ARY
 6 Reportedly, lots of people stockpile (5)
HOARD — …toilet paper? “horde”
 7 Overflow from small sack (8)
SPILLAGE — S(mall) + PILLAGE, “sack”
 8 In French, “catacombs” translates into “secret passages” (8)
ENCRYPTS — EN, which is French for “in” + “catacombs,” CRYPTS
11 Team inspired by complete winger (7-5)
OUTSIDE-RIGHT — OUT(SIDE)RIGHT
15 Cuts may be supported by these dated hacks (9)
SAWHORSES — SAW, “dated” + HORSES, “hacks”
16 Huge admirer of what the groom said afterwards (8)
IDOLATER — I DO LATER I was afraid “said” was doing double duty here, because I didn’t even dream there was a alternate spelling (to me, it’s “idolator”), until Keriothe alerted me, below.
17 Appropriate risk when short of capital (8)
PECULATE — [-s]PECULATE
19 Driver’s warning shot makes you surrender (6)
FOREGO — FORE, “driver’s warning” + GO, “shot”… I will forgo [sic] further comment.
20 Toast with last bit of cheese after grating (6)
GRILLE — GRILL + [-chees]E
22 It’s right that fool contains fruit (5)
DRUPE — D(R)UPE This surface seemed nonsensical, but then I remembered that a “fool” is a dessert (over there) that, indeed, contains fruit.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3124 - One for the books

After about half an hour, with only a third of the grid filled in, I realized I'd have to bring  in Chambers fairly early on.   There is some tricky stuff here, and some obscure words - what would you expect?    I did have a passing acquaintance with a surprising number of the words here, although I can't say they come up every day.

I'm trying to encourage some more solvers to try Mephisto, but the reputation of this puzzle is formidable.   They're not all that hard, as I came close to finsihing today's offering without a dictionary, and only had to look up a few things.   Many solvers lack the confidence to boldly make up unknown - and unlikely - words from the cryptic, put them in the grid, and see if they can be made to work.   With a little experience, it can be done.

Across
3 Alloy-clad eatery made by construction worker (10)
SCAFFOLDER - S(CAFF)OLDER, where the alloy came as a surprise to me, and I needed a lot of checkers.
10 Some Scottish ritual in first month (6)
TISHRI - Hidden in [Scot]TIS RIT[ual], the first month of the Jewish calendar, my FOI, as it rang a vague bell.
11 Endless good fortune at home comes to a goddess (6)
LUCINA - LUC[k] + IN + A, Roman goddess of childbirth.
13 Bond foremost of amorists — was model receiving indication? (8)
ASSIGNAT - A[morists] S(SIGN)AT, used during the French Revolution.
15 What’s said to fasten a feather? (5)
PINNA - sounds like PIN A.
16 EU meets afresh — commotions evident (7)
EMEUTES - Anagram of EU MEETS - a word that was NOT familiar to me, but the anagram and crossers gives it to you.   Mostly French, but it's in Chambers.
17 Old money in former kingdom (4)
MERK - Cryptic definition, I believe Hidden in [for]MER K[ingdom] - it was a Scottish coin worth 1/3 of a pound.
19 Sort of agent bringing set of books to official proceedings (6)
ACTANT -  ACTA + NT.   Agent and acta are from the same Latin root.
22 What was distressing to bring up — not right (6)
UNEATH - UNEA[r]TH, another Spenserian word.
23 Greek character probes acid in geological formation (6)
TARPIT - TAR(PI)T.
24 Devious angler? Poetically, he’d ____ fish when reporting! (6)
LARGEN - Anagram of ANGLER.
27 Sacred literature written in five days (4)
VEDA - Hidden in [fi]VE DA[ys]
29 One lovelessly imprisoned by king in place with many layers (7)
HENNERY - HEN([o]NE)RY.
30 Officers producing plans advanced to the front (5)
AIDES - IDEAS with the A (for advanced) brought to the front.
32 Bird surprisingly slow going round thicket endlessly (8, two words)
SCOPS OWL - Anagram of SLOW around COPS[e].
33 Language of infatuation with body extremity being heard (6)
PASHTO - PASH + sounds like TOE, what they speak in Afghanistan.
34 I don’t like that casual shirt that’s jolly! (6)
BOOTEE - BOO + TEE.   More importantly, you have to know that jolly is a slang term for a Royal Marine, and so is bootee.
35 Job involving number, with work getting creature at sea (10)
CTENOPHORE -  C(TEN, OP)HORE, one I practically biffed from biology class, more than 50 years ago.
Down
1 Tree given a short pipe to withdraw liquid (4)
ATAP - A + TAP.   Is that a tree?   Chambers says yes!
2 Jock’s aim is to enter contest (5)
VISIE - V(IS)IE, a Scots word, meaning plan or foresee.
4 A peak’s south of gap with dwarf trees (10)
CHINKAPINS - CHINK + A PIN'S.   Yes, if you read through the definition of pin in Chambers, you will eventually come to "a peak", so there you go.
5 Sheep, one astray, therefore not as it should be (5)
ARGAL - ARGAL[i].   It is the literal that is tricky, but I remembered the scene in Hamlet where this hapax legomenon occurs.  You could look it up.
6 Fancy no longer getting cross, showing little sign of fire! (8)
FLAMMULE - FLAM[e] + MULE.
7 Defeated king being removed and exposed (5)
OUTED - [r]OUTED, about as simple as it gets in a Mephisto.
8 Snide remark about awful brat who is regarded with contempt? (7)
DIRTBAG - DI(anagram of BRAT)G.
9 Two similar hospital departments beginning to enjoy cordial relationship (7)
ENTENTE - ENT + ENT + E[njoy], very similar indeed.
12 Dragonflies chase around bottom of garden area (7)
AESCHNA - Anagram of CHASE + [garde]N + A.
14 Chief has wonderful piece of armour (10)
SUPERVISOR - SUPER + VISOR, a surprise if you expecting some obscure bit of ironmongery.
17 Dull blockhead, male eliminated in one-to-one competition (7)
MATCHUP - MAT + CHU[m]P.   If you think male refers to the first M, you'll never get anywhere.
18 Ill-natured person and mad one maybe losing head when meeting policeman? (8)
ATTERCOP - [h]ATTER + COP.   I was thinking of [n]UTTER, but then I recalled the word and figured out the cryptic.
20 Rodent takes time to penetrate slope (7, two words)
CANE RAT - CAN(ERA)T.
21 Steiner’s original movement (7)
TRENISE - Anagram of STEINER, a dance step I had never heard of   Once you have the crossing letters, it can hardly be anything else.
25 Sad books, a couple getting put down (5)
MESTO - TOMES, with the first two letters moved to the end.  A musical direction.
26 No more in game, having got two ducks (5)
NAPOO - NAP + OO.   WWI Anzac slang, if you're curious.
28 Librarian sounding a bit wet? (5)
DEWEY - Sounds like DEWY, the fellow with the decimal system.
31 Large number in America killed (4)
SLEW - Double definition.