August 13th, 2020

Linus van Pelt
  • z8b8d8k

27742 Thursday, 13 August 2020 A beast by any other number

No too taxing, completed by your blogger du jour in a smidge under 21 minutes. Almost all of the vocab would be accessible to people doing the Times 50 years ago, and I applaud the appearance of quaint and half forgotten terms such as appear at 12 or in the wordplay at 20 and 16. The clues are admirably terse, very few straying into 3-line territory in the online version, and none stretching to 4. A little bit of biblical knowledge is useful but nor essential, and I have provided appropriate notes in a somewhat Reithian attempt to entertain and inform.
I have set clues in italics, definitions also underlined, and SOLUTIONS thus.

1 One fighting without aide where work's rough (5,5)
SCRAP PAPER One fighting is a SCRAPPER, placed here outside (without can have that meaning) P(ersonal ) A(ssistant) for aide. If you haven’t got the back of an envelope or a fag packet, not a bad place to put one’s outline plans and such
6 Old bit of French bread right for tart (4)
SOUR The French franc, of blessed memory, was split into 100 centimes, 5 of which made a SOU. Add R(ight)
9 Put on trainer in old vehicle (10)
STAGECOACH Easy enough: put on (a play) STAGE and trainer COACH
10 Back in vogue, proper depiction of features (1-3)
E-FIT The back in “vogue” is E, and proper FIT. Standing for Electronic Facial Identification Technique, E-Fit is a registered trade mark widely used in identifying suspects from witness’ recollections
12 Maybe head of state coming in clean (12)
PERADVENTURE Her Majesty, ER plus ADVENT for coming in PURE for clean
15 Treasury staff will lead event (4,5)
POLE VAULT The treasury VAULT is led by POLE for staff
17 Biblical baddie, not half bizarre once (5)
ANTIC “How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on...”
Hamlet advising Horatio and friends that he might, just might, appear a bit wacko. And there you have the required version of ANTIC. The biblical baddie is the big one, ANTICHRIST (1 John 2:18 et seq), only half of which you need. Make your own identification: everyone else does.
18 Desire man with Tarzan's face (5)
COVET Commandment 10 of the Big Ten (“don’t”).  Man: COVE and the T from the face of Tarzan
19 Convertible orange car showing superiority (9)
ARROGANCE Today’s first anagram (convertible) of ORANGE CAR
20 Most of cabinet one saw united (12)
CONSOLIDATED Not, perhaps the first synonym of united to spring to mind, nor perhaps CONSOLE the first synonym of cabinet, though we used to call large tellies or radio sets consoles, and by extension the cabinet that contained them. Remove the last letter, add one I and DATED for saw. My last in, the checkers not helping much.
24 Perform lines one's produced for play? (4)
DOLL Perform: DO and lines LL
25 With wet land to the west, I leave dry land (4,6)
GOBI DESERT Wet land is BOG, which is reversed (to the west) I in plain sight, plus DESERT for leave
26 Sound of disapproval having accepting a job (4)
TASK Not tut, then, but TSK for sound of disapproval, immortalised if not coined by Bugs Bunny. “Accept” an A therein
27 Backing current opinion introduced by fool (10)
ASSISTANCE Remember that “current” is another way if introducing the letter I into a clue, and the rest falls into place with an ASS as a fool and STANCE as opinion

1 Band like quiet covers (4)
SASH Like: AS and SH for quiet.
2 A lot of leaves about, arboretum getting emptied (4)
REAM Conventionally 516 sheets of paper. RE about and A(boretu)M emptied
3 Keeping doubt quiet at first (12)
PRESERVATION Quiet (again), but this time P, plus RESERVATION for doubt
4 Single nomad's nose (5)
AROMA ROMA are “travelling people”, a distinct ethnic group also known as gypsies, so nomad is a decent synonym. A ROMA is one such
5 Old wine, rubbish brought up for digger (9)
EXCAVATOR Old doesn’t signify some antique term but gives you the EX, the wine is CAVA  and rubbish (brought up/backwards) provides the TOR
7 Unpleasant like a golfer struggling to hole? (3-7)
OFF-PUTTING Two definitions, I suppose, the second humorous and differently pronounced
8 Cut back grass bordering ditch (10)
RETRENCHED Grass is REED and ditch stand in for TRENCH. One borders the other
11 Gentleman fooling around with Net or Web (12)
ENTANGLEMENT One of those anagrams (fooling around) where you put together two separate bits of the clue: here GENTLEMAN and NET
13 Eccentric group about to step on rat (5,5)
SPACE CADET The group is SET, the step, PACE and the rat CAD. Assemble
14 Test side with advantage (6-4)
ELEVEN PLUS The old exam which determined whether you would go to the posh school or the local Sec Mod. Side is ELEVEN (cricket, football etc) and advantage PLUS
16 Peacekeepers love stopping hatred, it's agreed (9)
UNANIMOUS UN are the peacekeepers in an ideal world, and hatred is ANIMUS, into which you inset O for love/zero
21 Entering French town, I claim to have been elsewhere (5)
ALIBI You may have to guess the French town as ALBI (stick an I in it for the answer), but it is indeed a town in southern France, its main claim to fame being (sort of) the centre of the Albigensian or Cathar “heresy” ruthlessly put down by the papacy in league with the French king in the 12th and 13th centuries. Not much is known of their theology (history is written by the winners) but I’ll bet they thought the Pope might well be the Antichrist, with good reason
22 Film-maker eschewing padding (4)
LEAN David, director of Brief Encounter, Dr Zhivago and a stellar catalogue of Great British Movies. No padding.
23 Crusty, edible cases a problem for mince pie (4)
STYE At last, and at the last, today’s hidden in cruSTY Edible . Mince pie is one of the better known examples of CRS, for eye

Times Quick Cryptic No 1678 by Monty

I think we have the added interest of a new setter today, and a very enjoyable puzzle it was too: a broad range of difficulty with an elephant trap or two for the unwary biffer (like me). I thought I'd got off to a fine start before stumbling on the perfectly gettable 17ac, but no, I'd already messed up, entering the wrong type of spy at 14ac. The NE was otherwise slow to unravel, putting me 3 minutes over target - but that was with the wrong answer bunged in at 21d. I might have been staring at that for quite a while, so this was a proper DNF. Quality puzzle with lots of smooth surfaces and a few lovely clues - good stuff, many thanks to Monty!

8 Cub: it is desperate for something to eat (7)
BISCUIT - anagram (desperate) of CUB IT IS
9 Periodically insular, Liam’s girl (5)
NUALA - "Periodically" i N s U l AL i A m
10 A lot of snow, one foot, at end of drive (5)
DRIFT - I, FT (one, foot) at end of DR(ive)
11 Cross coming out of manger edgeways (7)
ANGERED - coming out of/emerging from mANGER EDgeways
12 Smile when capturing one very loud, winged monster (7)
GRIFFIN - GRIN (smile) when capturing I, FF (one, very loud)
14 Spies blemishes on skin (5)
MOLES - double definition. Not SPOTS, then.
15 Left university, not returning to see town (5)
LUTON - L(eft) U(niversity) TON (NOT "returning")
17 They believe Maud, oddly, is losing weight (7)
MUSLIMS - MU (M a U d "oddly) SLIMS (is losing weight)
19 Boss, put out, showing one where to get off? (3,4)
BUS STOP - anagram (out) of BOSS PUT
20 Ship, perhaps: empty chair to the back of it? (5)
CRAFT - CR ("empty" ChaiR) AFT (to the back of it [i.e., a boat])
22 Nothing reflected in French material (5)
LINEN - LIN (NIL = nothing, "reflected") EN (in, French)
23 Sailor, one of five children, becoming king of Rome (7)
TARQUIN - TAR (sailor) QUIN (one of five children). Either the fifth or the last of the seven legendary kings of Rome, the last one being sufficiently awful that the monarchy was overthrown.

1 A bishop accompanying press chief, retired? (4)
ABED - A B(ishop) accompanying ED (press chief)
2 Francis’s place briefly to help one (6)
ASSISI - ASSISt (to help one, "briefly")
3 Diamonds, for example, that you can wear (4)
SUIT - double definition
4 Rick’s rant is out of order (6)
STRAIN -anagram (out of order) of RANT IS
5 Finishes with mates? (8)
ENDGAMES - nice cryptic definition, the endgame of chess (generally) ending with a mate.
6 Wooden container with lever touching top of light (6)
BARREL - BAR (lever) RE (on/relating to/touching) L ("top" of Light)
7 Six-act dramas extremely rare? They’re no longer screened here (3,5).
TAX DISCS - anagram (rare) of SIX ACT DS (DramaS, "extremely"). Lovely surface and great definition: as of 2014 it went electronic, so no more tax discs in the windscreen here in the UK
12 Bouncer driven away by club? (4,4)
GOLF BALL - another good cryptic definition: a golf ball bounces, and the surface misdirects to a bouncer at a nightclub.
13 Polish melody that’s very good? (4-4)
FINE-TUNE - a melody that's very good could be a FINE TUNE.
16 Tea primarily is an English infusion (6)
TISANE - T (Tea "primarily") IS AN E(nglish)
17 Chart folded out to see African city (6)
MAPUTO - MAP (chart) anagram (folded) of OUT. Perhaps vaguely heard of - the capital of Mozambique.
18 Bogged down as stag may be seasonally? (2,1,3)
IN A RUT - double definition
20 Gracious duke seen in tie (4)
CORD - COR (cor blimey/gracious) D(uke)
21 Smack, or beat with force pressing down (4)
TANG - TAN (beat) with G (Gravity = force pressing down). I didn't biff this, sticking in TONK for want of anything better, which tang certainly is - good stuff!

Times 27,743: Love Is All Around

I totally forgot this was a Friday and submitted in 5 minutes something before realising my error. Oh well, no harm done! I did find a lot of the clues very, as they say, biffable from a couple of crossers, but they were mostly rather nicely turned, so no grousing from me tonight. COD to 27ac which made me chuckle, and I also very much appreciated the historical &littery of 15dn. Thanks setter for a nice puzzle!

In other news - topicaltim and I are getting an online quiz league team together, wanna join? It would totally suit someone who just wanted to dip their toe into the murky waters of quizzing for the first time, and would require only a sporadic commitment to logging into Zoom and answering questions for half an hour on the occasional evening. If you are even half interested, definitely hit us up! The honour of Times for the Times is at stake...

1 A fine considerably limits current liaison (6)
AFFAIR - A F(ine) FAR "limits" I. Why is "I" the symbol for current, I suddenly thought to myself? Apparently it was the choice of M. Ampere, and stands for current Intensity.

4 Diner supplied sandwiches, building support (8)
SCAFFOLD - CAFF "sandwiched" by SOLD [supplied]. Much easier to get from the definition than by struggling with the cryptic, I'd have thought.

10 Left old friend casing clubs in the area (7)
LOCALLY - L(eft) O(ld) ALLY, "casing" C(lubs)

11 Find spice regularly in the Orient? Nothing's simpler (7)

12 I don't give a fig about southern party (4)
BASH - BAH! about S(outhern)

13 Bloke's not entirely likeable group's breaking camp (10)

15 Happy union's no-score draw? (4,5)
LOVE MATCH - suggesting something different when converted into sportsese.

16 Baby carriers, say, losing temperature, one concludes (5)
UTERI - UT{t}ER, concluded by I [one]

18 Noble Oscar shed clothes (5)
BARON - O(scar) "clothed" by BARN [shed]

19 Custody battle ended shortly after flu got out of control (3-2-4)
TUG-OF-LOVE - OVE{r}, after (FLU GOT*)

21 Pity old queen having to face cross physicist (10)
RUTHERFORD - RUTH [pity (old)] + E.R. + FORD [cross]

23 Stuck first of borrowed money in Oslo (4)
BORE - B{orrowed} + ORE. A krone is divided into 100 øre, not that you see many of those any more.

26 Deadlock: four leave showing no emotion (7)

27 Catty Pope? (7)
LEONINE - as in Leo IX

28 For which tours are organised? (8)
EUROSTAR - (TOURS ARE*), semi-&lit27

29 Let special medical team cut open Marxist? (6)
RENTED - E.N.T. "cut open" RED

1 A German tabloid's taken over with no preparation (2-3)
AD-LIB - A + reversed BILD

2 Husband abandons razor perhaps that preserves his dignity? (4-5)

3 Indulged in odd places between jobs? (4)
IDLE - I{n}D{u}L{g}E{d}

5 Fastest runner caught — he can't stand up (7)
CHEETAH - C + HE + reversed HATE [can't stand]

6 Doubt about chopped ice in packs for boxing (10)
FISTICUFFS - reversed IF [doubt "about"] + IC{e} in STUFFS [packs]

7 Drink drug in round tin (5)

8 Dick, not working, takes female out for a short time (9)

9 Pool worker one goes in to look up in Times (6)
TYPIST - I "goes in" reversed SPY, in T, T

14 Copier a chap uses in novel (10)

15 Large individual, Edward VII acquiring name as this (9)
LIBERTINE - L I BERTIE "acquiring" N, semi-&lit

17 Green film about operating organ (9)
ECONOMIST - ECO MIST "about" ON. Organ as in periodical

19 Lifted plump cheese to find crisp material (7)
TAFFETA - reversed FAT + FETA

20 Swill King George brought up, breaking wind (6)
GARGLE - reversed G.R. "breaking" GALE

22 Wax cylinder recorder (5)
TAPER - double def

24 Editor recruits staff to do what he does (5)
EMEND - ED "recruits" MEN, semi-&lit

25 Forty winks? Just under twelve (4)