August 6th, 2020

Times 27736 - twice shy

Time taken: 8:43.

Relieved to have an all-correct this time, since I managed to make silly mistakes in both Monday and Tuesday's daily puzzle and the Monday quick cryptic. Fortunately there was no spelling of Latin phrases that would certainly describe this year.

Very nice puzzle, some unusual words with very clear wordplay. A little bit of a US flavor to it. I hope you are staying safe and sane, and enjoying the crosswords.

Away we go...

Across
1 Charlie and girl adored being seen around — no longer a secret (12)
DECLASSIFIED - C(Charlie) and LASS(girl) inside DEIFIED(adored)
9 One involved in assassination in Japan? (5)
NINJA - the entire clue is the definition, the wordplay is hidden in assassinatioN IN JApan
10 Old male with nowhere possibly for shelter — unlike me? (9)
HOMEOWNER - O(old), M(male) inside an anagram of NOWHERE
11 Person showing loyalty — one, say, to be embraced by old lover (8)
LIEGEMAN - I(one), EG(say) inside LEMAN (old lover)
12 Farewell rendition by one singer no good (2,4)
SO LONG - SOLO(rendition by one singer), NG(no good)
13 Go off script maybe as performer in front of people at stadium? (8)
DIVAGATE - DIVA(performer), in front of GATE(people at stadium)
15 Bird abandoning river afflicted with wound? (6)
BITTEN - the bird is a BITTERN, remove the R(river)
17 With inner energy not ace, fictional hero just about manages (4,2)
GETS BY - E(energy) replacing A(ace) in the great GATSBY
18 For poet the smallest thing leads to row (8)
WHITTIER - WHIT(smallest thing), TIER(row) for the American poet John Greenleaf WHITTIER (known for terrible lines like "success is failure turned inside out")
20 Fatter one's abandoned food store (6)
LARDER - LARDIER(fatter) missing the I(one)
21 Perform with diplomacy, after right answer’s only half comprehended (8)
TRANSACT - TACT(diplomacy) containing R, and half of ANSwer
24 Maybe pictures of New York in a camera needing to be developed (9)
AMERICANA - anagram of IN,A,CAMERA
25 Prepare to be original (5)
PRIME - double definition
26 Sticks around striker, showing guts (12)
CHITTERLINGS - CLINGS(sticks) surrounding HITTER(striker)
Down
1 Position held by theologian was loose and kept shifting? (7)
DANGLED - ANGLE(position) inside DD(theologian)
2 Firm reservations arranged for rooms on ground floor (14)
CONSERVATORIES - CO(firm), then an anagram of RESERVATIONS
3 Knowing a sport will be broadcast (5)
AWARE - sounds like A WEAR(sport)
4 Sloppiness in school unknown, introduction of mentoring key (8)
SCHMALTZ - SCH(school), Z(unknown) containing the first letter of Mentoring and ALT(key)
5 Celebrity's unavailability — not at home (4)
FAME - FAMINE(unavailability) missing IN(at home)
6 As one studying certain relationships, I got close, involved (9)
ECOLOGIST - anagram of I,GOT,CLOSE
7 What's nasty dictator repeatedly in on? This, maybe (14)
INDOCTRINATION - anagram of DICTATOR, two INs ad ON
8 Fellow taking kid aboard yacht (6)
DRAGON - DON(fellow) containing RAG(kid, tease). A racing yacht - there used to be a Summer olympics event specifically for them.
14 Big Herb is relaxing in bunk (9)
GIBBERISH - anagram of BIG,HERB,IS
16 Dearth of hard men in acting profession (8)
SHORTAGE - H(hard), OR(men) inside the STAGE(acing profession)
17 Golf ever mostly in Irish location (6)
GALWAY - G(golf) then most of ALWAYs
19 Pigs and horses, maybe, heading off (7)
ROTTERS - TROTTERS(horses, maybe) missing the first letter
22 Plane crashes in mountainous territory (5)
NEPAL - anagram of PLANE
23 Jeer with any number leaving stressed (4)
TAUT - TAUNT(jeer) missing N(any number)

Times Quick Cryptic No 1673 by Teazel

My thanks for a neatly crafted puzzle from Teazel, containing some nice misdirection, a healthy balance of very easy and cunningly trickier clues, and a smidgeon of General Knowledge that may catch some out.  All of this done very succinctly.  This took me 14 minutes to complete, all fully parsed, my first on-target solve of the week.

I was fortunately aware of PIN for cask, and DACTYL for foot, and nothing else was too problematic, despite never having seen The Sopranos.  How did you all get on?

Across

1  British tucking into quality steak (1-4)
T-BONE – B{ritish} inside (tucking into) TONE (quality).
7  Wildly enthusiastic, sure to get fancy personal grooming (9)
MANICURES – MANIC (wildly enthusiastic) and an anagram (fancy) of [SURE]
9 Secret store of money announced (5)
CACHE – Homophone (announced), sounds like CASH (money)
10 Hiker takes stroll between two rivers (7)
RAMBLER – AMBLE (stroll) inside (between) two R{ivers}.
11  Judged, even if finally innocent (7)
THOUGHT – THOUGH (even if) and {innocen}T (finally).
12 Criminal cases he finally came to drop? (7)
HANGMAN – Cryptic definition for the role of individuals such as Albert Pierrepoint.
15  Sack in here for vegetation (7)
HERBAGE – BAG (sack) inside HERE.
18  Statesman is part of cabal; ask anyone (7)
ALASKAN – Hidden answer (part of) in {cab}AL; ASK AN{yone}.  Not the type of Statesman you first thought?
20  Voice of gangster? (7)
SOPRANO – Double definition, the second referring to the popular TV series featuring mob boss Tony Soprano (The Sopranos).  I’ve never seen it, but almost everyone must have heard of it!
22  What to do with broken down car, namely? (2,3)
TO WIT – Humorous cryptic definition leading to ‘that is to say, namely’.  With a broken down car one might TOW IT.
23  Note colleague as little as possible (9)
MINIMALLY – MINIM (note) and ALLY (colleague).
24  Place to pull over was positioned close (3-2)
LAY BY – Double definition.

Down

Implied one is entering diplomacy (5)
TACIT – I (one) inside (is entering) TACT (diplomacy).
2  At a former time, completed cursory examination (4-4)
ONCE-OVER – ONCE (at a former time) and OVER (completed).
Come out east to join up (6)
EMERGE – E{ast} and MERGE (join up).
Sharpness of people supporting a copper (6)
ACUMEN – MEN (people) under (supporting) A (a) CU (copper).
Examination of gold and aluminium (4)
ORAL – OR (gold) and AL (aluminium).
Empress gives new order to artisan (7)
TSARINA – Straight anagram (new order) of [ARTISAN]
8  Their saloon replaced fuel (5,3,3)
NORTH SEA OIL – Anagram (replaced) of [THEIR SALOON].
13  Stars make much use of unknown route (5,3)
MILKY WAY – MILK (make much use of) with Y (unknown) and WAY (route).
14  That very person hates me to bits (3,4)
THE SAME – Anagram (to bits) of [HATES ME].  THE SAME can be used to mean ‘the aforementioned’, or that very person.
16  Almost all weapons creating panics (6)
ALARMS – AL[l} ARMS (almost AL{l} (drop the last letter) and ARMS (weapons)).
17  Foot caught as lady moves round (6)
DACTYL – CT (caught) with an anagram (moves) of [LADY] outside of it (round).  DACTYL is defined as ‘a foot of three syllables, the first accented’.
19  Like Brazil?  Unhinged! (5)
NUTTY – A brazil nut, not the country.
21  Cask is on time to provide a beer (4)
PINT – PIN (a cask of 4.5 gallons) on T{ime}.  A PINT or half-pint are the usual measures for a drink of beer in the UK.
verlaine

Times 27,737: Gegs Benicted

I wouldn't describe this as super-hard, but it passed Friday muster at least by the standards of this gentle week, with some interesting and amusing constructions amidst a fair few quite straightforward compatriots. I mostly liked the reverse cryptic in 5dn, the elegant cleverness of 26ac, and definition part of the day definitely goes to 18dn. There was also just enough of a GK component about this puzzle to satisfy me; for all of which, thank you, setter!

ACROSS
1 Forced to accept order under contract (8)
PROMISED - PRISED [forced] to accept OM [order (of merit)]

9 Several deliveries arrived crushed (8)
OVERCAME - OVER CAME [several deliveries | arrived]. FOI

10 Briefly turn down side road (4)
SPUR - SPUR{n}

11 Performing insect begged for food (4,8)
EGGS BENEDICT - (INSECT BEGGED*). Took me awhile to shake the idea of FLEA something...

13 Decrepit little bird found on step (4,2)
PAST IT - TIT found on PAS. SOI

14 Ravel's standpoint on hospital discipline? (8)
ENTANGLE - if you have an E.N.T. (Ears, Nose & Throat) ANGLE...

15 Weak, though extremely willing (7)
THREADY - T{houg}H + READY. A thready pulse is a weak one, apparently.

16 A dry agency worker's parting shot (7)
ATTEMPT - A TT [a | dry], "parted" by TEMP

20 I'll appear in another novel, perhaps (8)
ANTIHERO - I, "appearing in" (ANOTHER*), semi-&lit. If all novels contained antiheroes this would've been an &lit!

22 Adjust to correct position, touching bottom (6)
RESEAT - RE [touching] + SEAT [bottom]. I started with REBASE in here and this ended up my LOI.

23 Riskily meddle in passionate drama? (4,4,4)
PLAY WITH FIRE - which could alternative be a PLAY that has some FIRE in it

25 Italian banker's Oscar-nominated part (4)
ARNO - hidden in {osc}AR-NO{minated}. A Tuscan river (you can certainly bank on rivers), that flows beneath the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

26 Old papers in many cases (8)
OFTTIMES - O [old] + FT, TIMES [(two) papers]

27 Wasn't emu originally a flier? (4,4)
MUTE SWAN - (WASN'T EMU*). Swans are some of the largest birds that can actually fly, I believe, certainly top ten list material.

DOWN
2 Find fault with expert in orbit (8)
REPROACH - PRO in REACH

3 Sir Thomas's quarry bagged by our opponents, sadly (5,3,4)
MORE'S THE PITY - (Sir Thomas) MORE'S, plus PIT "bagged" by THEY

4 Large plugs seen and disregarded (8)
SLIGHTED - L "plugs" SIGHTED

5 Match that professional's taken to heart? (7)
DOUBLES - and the centre of {profe}SS{ional} is, as you see, DOUBLE S

6 Edible seed, many of which would yield paltry sum (6)
PEANUT - many of which are PEANUTS, if you pay which, you can have your choice of monkeys or TftT bloggers

7 Under strain, I move slowly on landing (4)
TAXI - under TAX [strain], I

8 Speculation lacking in celebrant's likely garb (8)
VESTMENT - {in}VESTMENT

12 An age that's critical during dry season abroad (7,5)
DONKEY'S YEARS - KEY [critical] during (DRY SEASON*)

15 One stirs shortly after meal, papa assumed (8)
TEASPOON - SOON after TEA, "assuming" P

17 Latest spacecraft crossing edge of exosphere on time (8)
TARDIEST - TARDIS crossing E{xosphere} (or perhaps {exospher}E) on T. To describe the TARDIS as a spacecraft is a bit like describing the Titanic as a dinghy, mind you...

18 Where mum joined baby scheme church introduced, with thanks (8)
PLACENTA - PLAN [scheme] has C(hurch of) E(ngland) "introduced", with TA [thanks]

19 Very quiet man's initially made a false deduction (7)
SOPHISM - SO P HIS M{ade}

21 Poser trounced in game (6)
ENIGMA - (IN GAME*)

24 Decline of oxygen in kiln is concerning (2,2)
AS TO - take an OAST, and "decline" the O(xygen) to the very bottom.