August 8th, 2020

Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1451 - I'll have an onion bhaji and some Bombay potatoes please

A perfectly good Jumbo of standard difficulty, for me at least.  I got a little bit stuck on a few at the bottom but still finished in about 40 minutes.  There were some nice touches and a lot of the GK was familiar from previous puzzles. First in was AROUSED and last was EXPONENTS.

If any of my explanations don't make sense then feel free to ask for further elucidation.

Clues are in blue with the definition undelined.  Anagram indicators are in bold italics.

Notation:

DD: Double definition

CD: Cryptic definition

DDCDH: DD/CD hybrid where a straight definition is combined with a cryptic hint.

&Lit:  "all in one" where the entire clue is both definition and wordplay.

(fodder)* denotes an anagram of the letters in the brackets.

Rounded brackets are also used to add further clarity

Squiggly brackets {} indicate parts of a word not used

Deletions are struck out

Square brackets [] expand an abbreviation or shortening like N[orth]


Across

1

Athlete runs and runs past point of no return (5)


RACER - R[uns] the R[uns again after ACE.  I liked "point of no return" for ACE.

4

Purpose encompassed by a stick was stirring (7)


AROUSED - USE in A ROD

8

Stupid to accept degree in dialect? (9)


IDIOMATIC - IDIOTIC around M.A.

13

What’s just the thing for the papers? It won't detain court long! (9)


BRIEFCASE - DDCDH  - a brief legal case hearing would be short.

14

Start off shining, having taken job in tap room? (9,4)


LISTENING POST - gLISTENING, POST

15

There's no way out of it — this setter's had his day (7)


IMPASSE - I'M PASSÉ

16

Spectators compete with bets, blowing silver (7)


VIEWERS -VIE, WagERS

17

“Caught in flying saucer”, he claims (7)


ACCUSER - C[aught] in (saucer)*

18

Dog lacking ears helps in coursing (4,7,7)


KING CHARLES SPANIEL - (lacking ears helps in)*

21

Religion without saints returns to African nation (4)


MALI - reversal of ISLAM reversed without S[aints]

23

Fashionable food store with non-U sort of cheese that can't be got rid of (9)


INDELIBLE - IN, DELI, BLuE

25

Looking back, Gap creator sums up (6)


RECAPS - SPACER reversed

26

Allow fictional computer to become deadly (6)


LETHAL - LET, HAL (from 2001 A Space Odyssey)

28

One on world tour putting foot on ball (12)


GLOBETROTTER - TROTTER on (after in an across clue) GLOBE

30

Sack builder who keeps lighting up compulsively? (4-6)


FIRE-RAISER - FIRE, RAISER

33

Spoke about new education sector that's free (10)


UNFETTERED - UTTERED around N[ew], F[urther] E[ducation]. Untrammelled is a better word.

34

Fold following disastrous collapse — it encapsulates English (4,2,6)


FALL TO PIECES - F[ollowing], (collapse it)* around E[nglish]

37

Westerly to dry fish (6)


TURBOT - TO BRUT reversed

39

Cash machine charge capped to maximum (2,4)


AT MOST - ATM, cOST. (In case you can't make that out it's COST beheaded).  Don't you hate it when you get to the ATM machine outside the TSB bank and can't remember your PIN number or the sun is shining on the LCD display?

40

Such as "No standing at the bottom!" in playground? Pupils understood this once! (5,4)


SLIDE RULE - DDCDH

42

Relative's 'angout (4)


AUNT - hAUNT

43

Hung fire, putting life in the balance? (9,9)


SUSPENDED ANIMATION - SUSPENDED, ANIMATION

46

Helping of coffee airline sent back (7)


ABETTAL - reversal of LATTE B[ritish] A[irways]

47

Unleavened bread, brown, for one into self-denial? (7)


PURITAN - PURI, TAN

48

Potato pest perhaps keeping its distance (7)


ALOOFLY - ALOO FLY.  Very good indeed.

50

Would a second cup of this be appropriate? (7,6)


INSTANT COFFEE - CD

51

Make hit plays, then perform opera (3,6)


THE MIKADO - (make hit)*, DO

52

Old writers include two separate notes for those providing explanation (9)


EXPONENTS - EX, POETS with N N bunged in (unadjacent as indicated by separate).  At first I was trying to spot what notes were contained in PENS.

53

Content fits badly in Express (7)


SATISFY - (fits)* in SAY

54

Cultivated meadow's beginning to go after variable output (5)


YIELD - fIELD after Y

Down

1

Funny parasite found under bone on fish (3-8)


RIB-TICKLING - TICK squeezed between RIB and LING

2

Brisk constable arresting gentleman from the south (5)


CRISP - reversal of SIR in P.C.

3

Don't put money in plate for rubbish service (6,10)


REFUSE COLLECTION - DDCDH based around a church collection

4

Scared, run away onto a public walk (7)


ALAMEDA - ALArMED, A.  A Spanish term for a tree-lined path or road, remembered from previous puzzles.

5

Set too much store by usefulness of deliveries? (9)


OVERVALUE - DDCDH

6

Movie world's barrier against old people? (6,6)


SILVER SCREEN - DDCDH

7

Persisted rudely holding Conservative in contempt (10)


DISRESPECT - (persisted)* around C[onservative]

8

Edited Times articles (5)


ITEMS - (Times)*

9

I found a partner to adopt computer business, and took off (8)


IMITATED - I MATED around I.T.

10

Endless spiritual ceremony, involving smoke rising and charms (6)


MAGICS - MASs around a reversal of CIG[arette].  Charm / magic as a verb.

11

The right way is for everyone to be premier (9)


TAOISEACH - TAO, IS, EACH. Every time I encounter a clue for the auld tea-chuck I promise myself I'll remember it so I know how to spell the bally word.  Of course I never do.

12

Provide support in early stage of life (11)


CATERPILLAR - CATER, PILLAR

19

Capital movements no longer available, becomes dormant (4,3)


NODS OFF - NODS, OFF. Capital as in "relating to the head", off as in "baked beans are off", "I'll have spam instead of the baked beans then".

20

Union's a joke, mounting case with no right (7)


NUPTIAL - PUN reversed, TrIAL

22

Nephew's 21st perhaps has hallmark of largest party? (8,8)


RELATIVE MAJORITY - When you're 21 you reach "majority" and a nephew is a relative, so...  RM is an excess number of votes won in an election over a runner-up when no candidate has more than 50%

24

Indian appetizer picked up for one performing lighter work (6)


BARGEE - sounds like bhaji, a lighter being a barge

27

Oil know-how picked up in northern India (6)


NEROLI - LORE reversed in N[orthern] I[ndia]

29

Picked up shirt, left around, to get crown (7)


TREETOP - TEE in PORT all reversed.

31

Devils yield to temptation, sacrificing maiden on island (7)


SUCCUBI - SUCCUMB without M[aiden] on I[sland

32

Abuse of whisky to gobble up 20% of money through regular payment (12)


MALTREATMENT - MALT, EAT M{oney} in RENT.  If you see whisky without the E it shouldn't lead you to W from the phoentic alphabet.  This is the second time it has led to MALT in recent puzzles.

33

Soldier upholding extremist position in spectrum? (11)


ULTRAMARINE - MARINE under ULTRA.  I bet I wasn't the only one to biff ULTRAVIOLET and give myself problems in the SW corner.

35

Coppers getting offer in barber's shop? (7,4)


SWEENEY TODD - DD, "offer" as in "someone who offs' = killer.  For the uninitiated SWEENEY TODD is the nickname for the Flying Squad (CRS I think).

36

Plan to invade hills in US winds up? On the contrary (10)


DOWNDRAFTS - DRAFT in DOWNS

38

Seconds of bean feast? (7-2)


RUNNERS-UP - RUNNER, SUP

40

Deer at the bottom becomes motionless (9)


STAGNATES - STAG, NATES. I've only ever comes across NATES in crosswords.

41

Ball fired at the crease producing report (8)


BULLETIN - BULLET (ball fired), IN (as in batting)

44

German spy's confession perhaps lacking right figures of speech (7)


IMAGERY - I'M A GERrY.  I spent too long looking for a word beginning ICH.

45

Provincial theatre etc facing up to pressure (6)


STRAIN - N[orthern] Ireland] ARTS

47

Leader of prayers has obligations for devout (5)


PIOUS - P[rayers], I.O.U.s

49

Surround female and male sheep with pen after shearing (5)


FRAME - F[emale], RAM, pEn

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27732 - Saturday, 1 August 2020. Feast your eyes on these 7dns.

This felt like a typical Saturday offering. When solving on paper, I often look at the clues at the bottom of the page first, and so my FOI was 25dn. I didn’t know the reference at 4dn, but I chuckled when I looked it up!  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 In communist land, conservative almost a sitting duck, perhaps (9)
INCUBATOR – IN CUBA, TOR{Y}. A cute definition: the duck is sitting on a clutch of eggs.
6 Holding this to drink in study? (3,2)
MUG UP – double definition, one literal, the second metaphorical.
9 Drawing room? (7)
ATELIER – cryptic definition … rather unsatisfying, I thought, because I saw the answer early on but wasn’t comfortable until the crossing letters confirmed it.
10 In hearing, judiciously consider African country excellent (3,2,2)
WAY TO GO – WAY sounds like WEIGH, TOGO is in Africa.
11 Constant, endless mob in Circle Line (5)
CHORD – C is the constant, HORD{E} is the mob.
12 Dear old husband maybe mulling things over (9)
EXPENSIVE – EX (old husband, maybe), PENSIVE.
14 Become hard, as quiz questions are? (3)
SET – double definition.
15 Improbable promise of high tea? (3,2,3,3)
PIE IN THE SKY – we’ve seen this idea recently. Now as then, people may question how likely airline food is to feature pies!
17 Seriously engage old aeroplane with no luggage (4,2,5)
COME TO GRIPS – COMET, O, GRIPS. Apparently, the de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner.
19 His poetry no-go, his prose uneven? (3)
POE – two forms of wordplay: the odd/uneven letters of P-r-O-s-E, or dropping TRY (go) from POE{TRY}; and a literal definition which seems a rather unkind assessment of his writings!
20 Paid for part of education, covered by two features of card (7,2)
CHIPPED IN – credit cards feature a CHIP and a PIN. Let them cover ED.
22 Gas is round precinct (5)
OZONE – O (round), ZONE (precinct).
24 Like the M25, said to have got built in at intervals (7)
ORBITAL – again, take the odd letters, this time of B-u-I-l-T, and put them in ORAL.
26 Rabbit is more carefree (7)
BLITHER – two definitions: a verb  pronounced with a short I and meaning ‘talk nonsense’, the other an adjective with a long I meaning ‘happier’.

I struggled with the first definition, because I could only think of BLATHER, but the dictionary says BLATHER, BLITHER and BLETHER are all variants of the same word! I took some reassurance from the expression blithering idiot.
27 One appearing in Wagner partial to Bayreuth agent (5)
HAGEN – hidden answer. I didn’t know the character, but he appears in Götterdämmerung, the fourth and last of Wagner's Ring cycle.
28 From a foreign capital, your biscuit (9)
ABERNETHY – A BERNE, THY. Thank you, setter, for spelling this out!

Down
1 One article put in bag, not the last for boy (5)
ISAAC – I (one), then A (article) put in SAC{K}.
2 Smoke rings in rock (7)
CHEROOT – OO (rings) in CHERT.
3 Secures trophy, pocketing pounds? I can’t see it (5,4)
BLIND SPOT – BINDS, POT ‘securing’ L (pounds).
4 The race of Man? (5-6)
THREE-LEGGED – a cryptic definition, with reference to the flag of the Isle of Man. Cute!
5 Top of hill, not the first in series (3)
ROW – BROW, without its first.
6 Old Mexican’s refusal in the morning to get up (5)
MAYAN – NAY in the AM, all needing to “get up” backwards.
7 Guinea’s principal parrots are beauties (7)
GLORIES – G{UINEA}, LORIES. Lorrikeets I know, LORIES I don’t, but apparently they are related.
8 Convert polyester into a new form (9)
PROSELYTE – anagram of POLYESTER. I assumed ‘convert’ was the anagram indicator as I shoved this in, but no … it’s the definition, and ‘new form’ is the indicator.
13 Writers on island puffed endlessly, entitled to payment (11)
PENSIONABLE – PENS (writers), IONA (island), BLE{W} endlessly.
14 Drop brainless type at end of match that may precede Ashes (9)
SACKCLOTH – SACK (drop … a cricketer perhaps). CLOT, {MATC}H. I liked the definition, referring to ‘sackcloth and ashes’!
16 Scholar may disappear into thin air: so? (9)
HISTORIAN – anagram of THIN AIR SO. ‘May disappear into’ is a very unusual anagram indicator.
18 Result once of the functioning of the Dartmoor sewers (7)
MAILBAG – cryptic definition. Apparently prisoners in Dartmoor Prison used to sew mailbags.
19 Support the mad OT character (7)
PROPHET – PROP (support), anagram of THE.
21 Head needs name plate (5)
PATEN – PATE (head), N{ame}.
23 Like an aristocrat, could one say, ahead of his time? (5)
EARLY – an Earl might at a stretch be described as earl-y? We had a pun on earl-y only a few months ago.
25 Tragic character (not Romeo!) that’s slowly trampled by the herd (3)
LEA – LEA{R} is of course the character. The definition refers to Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.