July 23rd, 2020

Times 27724... reverse engineering

Solving time: 8:24.  Far more straightforward solve than yesterday's which I didn't find the time to comment on but it seems there was not a great deal of love. This is a classic, and a few classics are inside. Surprised to see more than one clue which is of the form of multiple words reversed inside one word.

I did have a giggle at the prospect of entering DEEP STATE at 28 across.

I hope everyone is keeping safe and sane as I write another blog up from isolation.

Away we go...

1 Winger, smooth player (9)
SANDPIPER - SAND(smooth), PIPER(player)
6 Storage facility had a few jars knocked over (5)
DEPOT - TOPED(had a few jars) reversed
9 Lighter work around shopping centre, this person recalled (3,4)
OIL LAMP - OP(work) surrounding MALL(shopping centre) and I(this person) reversed
10 See, with touring group, capital city (7)
COLOMBO - LO(see) with COMBO(group) surrounding it, the captial of Sri Lanka
11 Famous Dickensian turn of events (5)
TWIST - double definition referring to Oliver Twist
12 Grasped by uncle, somehow, concept of ancient geometry (9)
EUCLIDEAN - anagram of UNCLE containing IDEA(concept). By far and away my favorite clue in this puzzle, a corker!
14 Uninspiring legend or story ends (3)
DRY - last letters in legenD oR storY
15 Mercurial premier defending country in old political system (5,6)
ROMAN EMPIRE - anagram of PREMIER containing OMAN(country)
17 Start — to make an omelette? (3,8)
GET CRACKING - double definition, the second more cryptic
19 Site in Angkor in view: a temple (3)
WAT - hidden in vieW A Temple
20 Understand about part of speech I'm to write about in note (9)
SEMIBREVE - SEE(understand) surrounding VERB(part of speech) and I'M reversed
22 Artist saved flesh? (5)
BACON - double defintion based on "saving one's bacon"
24 Think of a number in the seventies (7)
IMAGINE - double definition, the number being the Beatles John Lennon song (whoops)
26 Record store, busy place on Circle Line (7)
ARCHIVE - HIVE(busy place) with ARC(circle line)
27 European king attending match, hiding crown (5)
GREEK - K(king) after AGREE(match) missing the first letter
28 Return of expedition, walk somewhere far, far away (4,5)
DEEP SPACE - SPEED(expedition) reversed, then PACE(walk)
1 Animal small, just right (5)
STOAT - S(small) and TO A T(right)
2 Charge university set up in New York, void (7)
NULLIFY - FILL(charge) and U(university) in NY(New York)
3 Drunk almost ending on floor, one laying it on thick (9)
PLASTERER - PLASTERED(drunk) missing the last letter, then the last letter in flooR
4 Artist’s material somehow cheaper: aim to cover page (6-5)
PAPIER-MACHE - anagram of CHEAPER,AIM surrounding P(page)
5 Headless reptile, fabulous monster (3)
ROC - CROC(reptile) missing the first letter
6 Indian territory food seller mentioned? (5)
DELHI - sounds liek DELI(food seller)
7 City getting disastrous coverage of display: topsy-turvy one, that is (7)
POMPEII - POMP(display) then I(one), IE(that is) all reversed
8 Instrument I found in experiment, most troublesome (9)
THORNIEST - HORN(instrument), I inside TEST(experiment)
13 Thinking in box, OK to score? (11)
CONSIDERATE - CRATE(box) containing ONSIDE(OK to score)
14 Slowly coming to understand unkind remark, gibe ultimately hurt (9)
DIGESTING - DIG(unkind remark), then the last letter of gibE, STING(hurt)
16 Young men following game wasted a lot of money (9)
MEGABUCKS - BUCKS(young men) after an anagram of GAME
18 Cord securing lamb cooked in meat dish (7)
TIMBALE -TIE(cord) containing an anagram of LAMB
19 Capital in Washington, I note, a US city (7)
WICHITA - first letter in Washington, I, CHIT(note), A
21 Good egg — that won't float on water! (5)
BRICK - double definition
23 Relative regularly on site, a chef (5)
NIECE - alternating letters in oN sItE a ChEf
25 Coming up, check out festival (3)
EID - DIE(check out) reversed

Times Quick Cryptic No 1663 by Joker

Back on duty after a few welcome day's break in Devon.

After my miserable failure to spot an obvious superhero theme in my last blog, I have searched in vain for a theme or NINA here.  Despite the appearance of SONIC the Hedgehog, I can’t see any others.  Maybe you can do better.

This was a relatively quick sub-10 minute solve for me.  I initially tried to make UNFURL work for 4d, and then attempted to justify the wrong parsing for the same clue after spotting the correct answer.  Other than that, it was all relatively straightforward.  I liked AFTER and HEPATIC.

Many thanks Joker for another of your excellent puzzles.


1  True populism in a way is serving many aims (12)
MULTIPURPOSE – Anagram (in a way) of [TRUE POPULISM].
8  Boy in charge of sound (5)
SONIC – SON (boy) and IC (in charge).
9 Picture educational establishment with area for English (7)
COLLAGE – The educational establishment is a COLL{e}GE, with the first E{nglish} replaced by an A{rea}.
10  Awkward situation about old official at inquest (7)
CORONER – CORNER (awkward situation) surrounding (about) O{ld}.
11  In pursuit of more at the back? (5)
AFTER – Cryptic definition – if AFT as at the back, then AFT-ER could be even more at the back.
12  Genuine backing on both sides of the road for food store (6)
LARDER – REAL (genuine) reversed (backing) with RD (road) inserted in the middle (on both sides).
14  Singers in church or university society (6)
CHORUS – CH{urch} with OR (or) and U{niversity} S{ociety}.
17  Good rule for processing poor food (5)
GRUEL – G{ood} and an anagram (for processing) of [RULE].  GRUEL as made famous by Oliver Twist – “Please Sir, I want some more”.
19  Ruler pre-Rome?  That must be wrong (7)
EMPEROR – Anagram (that must be wrong) of [PRE-ROME].
21  Hearts set in individual stones (7)
SHINGLE – H{earts} inside SINGLE (individual).
22  Firm exporting small item of furniture (5)
TABLE – {s}TABLE (firm, losing the initial letter – S{mall})
23  Drop round professional copy (12)
REPRODUCTION – REDUCTION (drop) containing (round) PRO{fessional}.


1  Male unusually solicitous about girl’s head is an expert at scoring? (12)
MUSICOLOGIST – M{ale} and an anagram (unusually) of [SOLICITOUS] and G{irl’s} (head = first letter).  A MUSICOLOGIST is an academic expert who studies music in its historical, scientific and other aspects, including musical scores!
Solitary individual – one making advances, it’s reported (5)
LONER – Homophone (it’s reported) – sounds like LOANER (one making advances).
Something intentionally burnt to be very annoying (7)
INCENSE – Double definition, ‘I incensed the atheists by burning incense’.
Straighten out upper-class knight about web address (6)
UNCURL – Slightly tricky parsing here for me originally, but I have now resolved it to my satisfaction.  U (upper-class) and N (knight in chess notation) with C (about) and URL (Uniform Resource Locator – the system of addresses for the World Wide Web).  My original dilemma was trying to fit N into UC for upper-class, when there was no clear insertion indicator available.
5  Send up some weak lopsided dance (5)
POLKA – Reverse hidden in {we}AK LOP{sided}.
6  One attending tea party after small break (7)
SHATTER – S{mall} and HATTER (one attending tea party in Alice in Wonderland).
7  New EU money to encourage highly-skilled operator (12)
NEUROSURGEON – N{ew} with EUROS (EU money) followed by URGE ON (to encourage).
13  Rake grabbing money exactly as usual (7)
ROUTINE – ROUE (a profligate, rake, debauched man, such as I) containing (grabbing) TIN (money).
15  Livery? It’s back in cheap supply (7)
HEPATIC – IT reversed (back) to give TI inside an anagram (supply) of [CHEAP].  The secret here is to think of the right definition of LIVERY!
16 What killer might do to act as leader (6)
BEHEAD – A rather grim choice of the options available to a potential killer, but any leader worth his salt will BE HEAD of something.  This could also be classed as a double definition, but the enumeration given only works with one of the possible answers.
18  Beer left to mature - right (5)
LAGER – L{eft} with AGE (mature) and R{ight}.  I think describing LAGER as beer should be prosecutable under the trade’s description act, but that’s just my opinion.
20  Law scholar losing time in talk (5)
RABBI – London Rhyming Slang (LRS) for talk is RABBI[t}, losing T{ime} = drop the last letter.

Times 27,725: Turning Base Clues Into Gold

After a pretty tough crossword mid-week I was half expecting a slight disappointment today but it turned out to be a good 'un, with lots of rather deviosities to contend with. I went in strong with 1ac and 1dn going straight in but hit some speedbumps later on, with the barred puzzle strength clue at 26ac crossing with the deceptively simple 16dn (where I spent a long time wondering if there might exist such a thing as an EDGE FOIL) giving me no end of gyp.

Theme of the day goes to all the comedy Scotsmen dressing up bishops or possibly hiding them under their kilts; clue-wise I think I most enjoyed the perilous escapades of 10ac. Nice one setter; much enjoyed!

1 Killer whale lying back by sea, not large, certainly agile (9)
ACROBATIC - reversed ORCA [killer whale] by BA{l}TIC [sea, minus L for large]

6 Stock set with food as image shows (5)
ASPIC - a somewhat cryptic definition of the meat jelly, also shown by AS PIC [as | image]

9 Surrender accepted here, many papers reported (5)
REIMS - homophone of REAMS [many papers]. Where the Germans surrendered unconditionally to the Allies at the end of WW2.

10 Film featuring boy — one as swamp attack victim? (9)
GLADIATOR - LAD I [boy | one] has been eaten by a GATOR. Cute

11 Let in again to study with Cambridge college (7)
READMIT - READ [to study] with M.I.T. [Cambridge (Massachusetts) college]

12 Second drink for anonymous person? (7)
ANOTHER - cheers, I'll have another! Or A. N. Other, an anonymous person

13 Poke fun at swimmer thus leading the course (4,6,4)
MOCK TURTLE SOUP - MOCK TURTLE SO UP [poke fun at | swimmer | thus | leading]

17 One smuggled in under kilt when suspect has to go in haste (3,4,3,4)
RUN LIKE THE WIND - (UNDER KILT WHEN*) ["suspect"], "smuggling in" an additional I

21 Country person of vulgar manners, heading out soon (7)
LEBANON - {p}LEB [vulgarian, minus its "heading"] + ANON [soon]

23 Seeds eaten by parrot satisfy (7)
APPEASE - PEAS eaten by APE [parrot, as in mimic]

25 Ladette cunningly keeps doctor engaged in controversy (9)
EMBATTLED - (LADETTE*) ["cunningly"] "keeps" MB [doctor]

26 Thumb small book with two rings binding (5)
OVOLO - VOL{ume} "bound" by O O. An "ovolo" is "a convex moulding having a cross section in the form of a quarter of a circle or ellipse. Also called: quarter round or thumb". Crazy stuff!

27 Leitmotiv used by Keith Emerson (5)
THEME - hidden in {kei}TH EME{rson}, who was in The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, of course

28 Time to study philosopher in dreary routine (9)
TREADMILL - T READ MILL [time | to study | philosopher (John Stuart)]

1 Display skeleton perhaps as body in flight (8)
AIRFRAME - AIR FRAME [display | skeleton perhaps]

2 Asian recipe found in area educated woman covers (5)
RAITA - A(rea) "covered" by RITA [educated woman. I thought she was only in the process of being Educated though? I guess that was a long time ago, she's probably done by now]

3 Corrupt spy chief and others lead for example (4,5)
BASE METAL - BASE [corrupt] + M [(Bond's) spy chief] + ET AL. [and others]

4 More strictly controlled near royal woman (7)
TIGHTER - TIGHT [near, as in miserly perhaps] + E.R. [her maj]

5 Painter having drink — something bitter (7)
CHAGALL - CHA GALL [drink | something bitter]

6 Friend takes a minute with soldier making climb over (5)
AMIGO - A M(inute) + reversed G.I. [soldier] + O(ver)

7 Up at loch when swimming one finds scented shrub (9)
PATCHOULI - (UP AT LOCH*) ["swimming"] + I [one]

8 That which brings stillness on the Dart? (6)
CURARE - cryptic def for something you'd find tipping a poison dart

14 Convivial and available for a bash? (9)
CLUBBABLE - a word which has always sounded to me descriptive of somebody who needs a good clubbing to death...

15 Persuaded to include loud supporting character from Dickens's pen (9)
SHEEPFOLD - SOLD [persuaded], "including" F [loud] supporting Heep [Uriah, a very 'umble character from Dickens' David Copperfield]

16 Have advantage over minion, one much applied to grindstone (4,4)
EDGE TOOL - EDGE [advantage] over TOOL [minion], simple as that

18 Parking, not standard, allowed for minor dignitary (7)
KINGLET - {par}KING minus PAR = standard, plus LET [allowed]

19 Scots couple dressing bishop left in pants (7)
TWADDLE - TWAE [Scots two = couple] "dressing" DD L [Doctor of Divinity = bishop | left]

20 Einstein, maybe one having links to time? (6)
ALBERT - double def with a watch-chain

22 Fool about to produce explosive component (5)
NITRE - NIT RE [fool | about]

24 Meat cut up served in excellent sauce (5)
AIOLI - LOI{n} [meat, "cut"] reversed in A1 [excellent]