August 15th, 2020

Times Cryptic Jumbo No 1452 - 1st August

Let me see now. What do I remember about soving this nearly 2 weeks ago?  Notes on my paper copy say I was all but done in 40 minutes but then took nearly another 10 to finish it, with the NE corner holding me up most - last 2 in were 13D and 15A. As usual there were a few unknowns - the weapon at 32A, the synonym for sell at 23D and the coin at 29D but only 15A was, I think, a bit of a stretch. No less than nine approving ticks on my copy. I liked the "error at the back" in 24A, the alchemy at 37A and the rather clever 49A, but COD to 25D for the neat wordplay trick. Thank-you setter. How did everyone else get on?

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  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27738 - Saturday, 8 August 2020. Have a banana!

This felt relatively straightforward, tho with a few unknowns, which could all be overcome. Much use of first or last letters of words, or both. I liked 3dn because it seemed so obvious the clue was referring to an Irish church! 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 Beautiful youth ultimately serving some old lawmaker (8)
GANYMEDE – G (servinG, ultimately), ANY (some), MEDE (old lawmaker, referring to ‘the laws of the Medes and Persians’). G. was a beautiful Trojan lad … mistreated by the Greek gods, almost inevitably.
6 Feeble dog on lead in former times (6)
FLABBY – F (lead in Former), LAB (dog), BY (times).
9 Indian city besieged by extremely threatening rabble once (6)
TAGRAG – AGRA in TG (ThreateninG, extremely). I was familiar with RAGTAG, but not this version.
10 Teacher expresses disapproval about minerals (8)
TUTORESS – TUTS around ORES.
11 Stick around lake, being down in the dumps (4)
GLUM – GUM around L.
12 Charlie’s new earnings docked before work on river (10)
NINCOMPOOP – N (new), INCOM (income, docked), PO (a river in Italy), OP (work).
14 Hanger-on in farm building, one left inside (8)
BARNACLE – BARN, ACE (one) with L inside.
16 Underdone cheese dish with bit missing (4)
RARE – RAREBIT minus the BIT.
18 Time to go back and make improvements (4)
EDIT – TIDE backwards. Time and tide wait for no man. Perhaps no exactly the same thing!
19 Ancient history chum distorted excessively (8)
OVERMUCH – OVER (ancient history), anagram of CHUM.
21 Go to Paris, carrying cycle for versatile sportsperson (3-7)
ALL-ROUNDER – ALLER (‘go’ in French), ‘carrying’ ROUND.
22 Dark blue Bible displayed in major city (4)
NAVY – A.V. in N.Y.
24 Female murder victim to be buried in Scottish island shortly (8)
ISABELLA – ABEL ‘buried in’ ISLA{y} ‘shortly.
26 It’s like a carapace maybe, the poet said (6)
SHELLY – sounds like SHELLEY.
27 Seabird identified by woman in luxury car (6)
GANNET – ANNE in G.T. “GT” is a car designation that seems to have largely disappeared.
28 Assess English girl worried about university (8)
EVALUATE – E (English), VAL (girl), U (university), ATE (worried).

Down
2 Use of a covering for the ears? (5)
AVAIL – sounds like A VEIL.
3 Big church in Kerry most affected by change (4,7)
YORK MINSTER – anagram (affected by change) of (IN KERRY MOST).
4 With O’Neill briefly in charge, start to study selective breeding (8)
EUGENICS – EUGEN{e} O’Neill, I/C, S{tudy}.
5 Friendly understanding altered niece, not surprisingly (7,8)
ENTENTE CORDIALE – anagram (surprisingly) of (ALTERED NIECE NOT).
6 Understand family’s first party finishing early (6)
FATHOM – F{amily}, AT HOM{e}.
7 Bearing of one who will succeed on radio? (3)
AIR – sounds like HEIR.
8 See island store coated in baked clay, mostly (9)
BISHOPRIC – I (island), SHOP (store), all in BRIC{k}.
13 Case left by chap having meal with union leader (11)
PORTMANTEAU – PORT, MAN, TEA, U.
15 Asian lad travelling around posh part of Spain (9)
ANDALUSIA – anagram (travelling) of (ASIAN LAD) around U.
17 State of mountain-climbing artist entertaining request (8)
NEBRASKA – NEB=BEN ‘climbing’, then RA ‘entertaining’ ASK.
20 Illuminated sign colonel finally installed in clubs, perhaps (6)
SUNLIT – last letters of sigN and coloneL ‘installed’ in SUIT.
23 Southern African grassland sometimes considered in speech (5)
VELDT – sounds like FELT, when pronounced with an Afrikaans accent. On edit: I think Keriothe's comment is right. "Sometimes" flags that the V in VELDT could be pronounced as an F or a V.
25 Disallow fruit? Not half! (3)
BAN – have half a BANana!

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4915 by David McLean — IRANIAN NUKES ASIDE…

You know I will TAKE ISSUE with any ILL-CONSIDERED political comments that I see or hallucinate.

Worked on paper, and my copy is all marked up—but I like to doodle. The only unknown was the name of a type of headgear.

Anagrinds are usually more terse than a few found here, which are maybe sometimes harder to spot for that reason. I wonder what the longest anagrind ever concocted might have been…

I indicate (manargas)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

ACROSS
 1 Successful president hard worker, Irish leader admitted (10)
TRIUMPHANT — Can’t be talking about the United States… TRUMP (ugh) + H(ard) + ANT, “worker,” with I[-rish] let in; of course, at first (subconsciously avoiding, perhaps, the all-too-obvious) I was looking for a word ending in “AINT.”
 6 Dull retrospective look at lyricist (4)
DRAB — BARD<=in “retrospective” view
 9 Quiet boy clutching bit of itchy cloth (5)
PLAID — P, “quiet” + LA(I[-tchy])D
10 Disagree with kidnap? (4,5)
TAKE ISSUE — DD, one a CD; as ”with” would be included in the dictionary definition of the answer, but within a parenthesis, it is more than mere connective tissue; I didn’t underline it in the clue because it does not appear in the answer. This was my FOI, which is usually not the case for CDs.
12 Sick prisoner embarrassed about minor rash (3-10)
ILL-CONSIDERED — ILL, “sick” + CON, “prisoner” + RED, “embarrassed” with SIDE, “minor” (as in “a side issue”) in between the last two
14 Famous soldiers had to keep close to Napoleon (8)
RENOWNED — RE, “soldiers” (Royal Engineers) + OWNED, “had” guarding [-Napoleo]N
15 A trial involving one leading tense witness (6)
ATTEST — A TEST taking in T[-ense]
17 Where you must write a woman’s name (6)
INGRID — If you’re working a crossword puzzle, at least; notations on the margins are optional. My POI.
19 Histrionic English singer captured in old snap (8)
OPERATIC — E(nglish) + RAT, “singer” inside O(ld) + PIC, “snap(shot)”
21 Musical groups performing in Polish march (13)
PHILHARMONICS — (in Polish march)*
24 Recipe sop cooked up for looker in the Navy (9)
PERISCOPE — (recipe sop)*, with a CD
25 A team apart (5)
ASIDE — A SIDE
26 Sauce with special forces people to have drop of Spa (4)
SASS — S(pecial) A(ir) S(ervices) + S(pa) (I have no idea what picture the surface is meant to draw.)
27 Feel shares must go up without any problem (6-4)
HASSLE-FREE — (Feel shares)*

DOWN
 1 The best place to go for a spin (4)
TOPS — SPOT<=going for “a spin”
 2 I published one article for The National (7)
IRANIAN — I + RAN, “published” + I + AN, “article”
 3 Punchy types delighted with swim after training (13)
MIDDLEWEIGHTS — (delighted + swim)*
 4 Mostly dislike fights with dukes in Balmoral accommodation (8)
HATBOXES — HAT[-e] + BOXES My LOI; the wordplay would have been clear enough if I had any idea what “Balmoral” meant. Chapeau l’artiste !
 5 Big bangers northern music producer finally records (5)
NUKES — N(orthern) + UKE, “music producer” + [-record]S
 7 Detachment of soldiers kept in the rear? (7)
RESERVE — DD, the second a bit cryptic. The reserves are a force (Wikipedia) “initially not committed to a battle by its commander, so that it remains available to address unforeseen situations or exploit sudden opportunities” and which may, indeed, "be held back [emphasis added] to defend against attack from other enemy forces, to be committed to the existing battle if the enemy exposes a vulnerability, or to serve as relief for troops already fighting.” If there’s anything else going on here, it’s too clever for me.
 8 A long nibble on Rod’s lolly (10)
BREADSTICK — STICK, “Rod” with BREAD, “lolly” in the sense of moolah, on it
11 Unspecified dinner and teatime must be sorted out (13)
INDETERMINATE — (dinner + teatime)*
13 Needing to get fixed up, as in ripped jeans? (10)
DRAINPIPES — (as in ripped)*
16 We’re against folk who assume work comes first! (8)
OPPOSERS — OP, “work” + POSERS, “folk who assume”
18 Wild orgies ultimately attract complaints (7)
GOITRES — You’ve got to tone down your orgies, folks… (orgies + [-attrac]T)* These are sometimes a result of exposure to NUKE radiation.
20 Case of the right drinking wine’s more yummy (7)
TASTIER — (I can’t make much sense of the surface…) T[-h]E + R has swallowed ASTI, “wine”
22 Wine with port punch getting bishop out of it (5)
RIOJA — (or this one, either, but I’m starting to get thirsty…) RIO, “port” + JA[-b]
23 Now listen to sounds (4)
HERE — “hear”