July 25th, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27720 - Saturday, 18 July 2020. Generous rewards for general knowledge.

There was much here beyond my ken, but only 12dn eluded me completely. The rest was a medium difficulty solve, with some delightful touches from the likes of the batsman at 9ac and the boozer at 13ac. 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 Closest friend holding a wee creature (7)
BEASTIE – “A” in BESTIE. I didn’t know beasties were necessarily small, but apparently they are. I did remember the Burns poem:
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a pannic's in thy breastie!
5 Used to running around university, being obedient (7)
DUTEOUS – anagram (‘running’) of (USED TO U*); the final U is for university.
9 What a batsman might do: leave (3,3,3)
CUT AND RUN – amusing definition of the cricketing genre, then a straightforward definition. (For those not familiar, a cut is a cricket shot which might lead to scoring a run.)
10 Animal's head removed from meat stew (5)
SALMI – “A” removed from SALAMI. I didn’t remember this word, although it’s appeared as recently as September last year – in the Quick Crossword, to boot! Apparently it’s a ragout.
11 Tools from bushwhackers according to Spooner (13)
SLEDGEHAMMERS – HEDGE SLAMMERS … not a clue to make anyone fall in love with the Spooner genre.
13 Ultimately, boozing in German city results in this? (8)
HANGOVER – G from {boozin}G in HANOVER. I chuckled.
15 Older bit of stationery lacks power (6)
STALER – take P out of STAPLER.
17 Nick's more fashionable (6)
COOLER – two straightforward definitions.
19 Tequilas, then I am hiding fatigue (8)
ASTHENIA – hidden answer. Not a familiar word, but obviously of Greek derivation.
22 Forbid literal translation: it'll shock you (13)
DEFIBRILLATOR – anagram (‘translation’) of (FORBID LITERAL*).
25 An inclination to back Italian lady (5)
DONNA – AN, NOD all backwards.
26 Northern delicacy, to include a thing no-one wants (3,6)
HOT POTATO – HOT POT, TO; including A. At first reading I put in the obvious answer and thought, ‘I didn’t know hot potatoes were a northern delicacy’. Of course there was no suggestion of that!
27 Modest southern bank, perhaps (7)
SLENDER – S, LENDER.
28 Short song about an aromatic plant (7)
DITTANY – DITTY around AN.

Down
1 Oppose note from America (4)
BUCK – double definition. Does the US still have $1 notes, anyone?
2 Piano dropped by biased craftsman (7)
ARTISAN – {p}ARTISAN.
3 Note thrilling sensation when removing lingerie, primarily (5)
TINGE – TING{l}E. A note/tinge of red, for example.
4 Drink lager and rye cocktail (4,4)
EARL GREY – anagram (‘cocktail’) of (LAGER RYE*).
5 Rather dark around hospital boat (6)
DINGHY – DINGY around H.
6 Check light fixture (4,5)
TEST MATCH – TEST (check), LIGHT (match).
7 Boring instructions to stop something squeaking? (3,4)
OIL WELL – double definition. The dictionary supports ‘boring’ as a noun.
8 Wake drunk master after beer is turned over (10)
SLIPSTREAM – PILS ‘turned over’, then anagram (‘drunk’) of (MASTER*).
12 Crudely chide dusty Greek historian (10)
THUCYDIDES – anagram (‘crudely’) of (CHIDE DUSTY). I gave up trying to guess where to put the unchecked letters in this obscure foreign-language anagram, and looked him up. When I did, I realised I’ve seen mention of him before. (Not that that would have helped me spell his name!) There’s a modern school trying to draw analogies between his description of the war between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century BC, and the present-day rivalry between the US and China. I’m going to guess unique modern conditions carry more weight!
14 Too far into the water (9)
OVERBOARD – double definition.
16 One very happy to skip end of dance, being lonely (8)
ISOLATED – I, SO, ELATED, skipping the E from {danc}E.
18 Once holds top of five iron wrong (7)
OFFENCE – ONCE holding F{ive} and FE (chemical symbol for iron).
20 Rock group's vehicle caught in terrible rain (7)
NIRVANA – VAN in an anagram (‘terrible’) of (RAIN*).
21 Spot the lady's instrument (6)
ZITHER – ZIT, HER. Famously played by Shirley Abicair.
23 Hawk grabs river fish (5)
TROUT – TOUT ‘grabs’ R. A chestnut.
24 After party, kiss Yankee’s ancient mistress (4)
DOXY – DO, X for kiss, Y for Yankee. ‘Orthodoxy’, said Bishop Warburton, ‘is my doxy. Heterodoxy is another man’s doxy’.