September 5th, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27756 - Saturday, 29 August 2020. Never a dull clue.

In spite of the setter’s self-deprecation in 5ac and 10ac, this was a very entertaining puzzle. The five double definitions really stood out. At first sight, I thought a couple of other clues were DDs too, but the discipline of writing the blog cleared out that fallacy! 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 Journalist twisted short question (7)
DEBRIEF – DE=ED twisted, BRIEF=short.
5 Lack of interest in wine in time of prosperity (7)
BOREDOM – RED=wine in BOOM=time of prosperity.
9 Make-up neophyte smeared onto lip, finally (9)
PHENOTYPE – P={LI}P, finally, followed by (smeared) anagram of NEOPHYTE. I didn’t realise what the definition meant until I solved the anagram!
10 Tenseas lines may be? (5)
DRAWN – double definition no. 1.
11 Train or bus (5)
COACH - double definition no. 2.
12 Moving of one near US base (9)
NEFARIOUS – (moving) anagram of: OF I(=one) NEAR US.
14 Communications agreement (14)
CORRESPONDENCE - double definition no. 3.
17 According to the circumstances, open or closed? (2,3,4,3,2)
AS THE CASE MAY BE - double definition no. 4.
21 Two things put on six of diamonds? (9)
SHORTSTOP – on a baseball diamond, the shortstop position is number 6. SHORTS and a TOP are two things one might put on, although not necessarily to play major league baseball, which involves long pants, often tucked into one’s socks.
23 Escape scalpel, operation being mostly unnecessary (5)
ELOPE – answer hidden in {scalp}EL OPE{ration}.
24 Shift horse's strap that's trimmed at the front (5)
ALTER – {H}ALTER, trimmed.
25 Something opened inviting nervous dentist initially to prod canine (3,6)
BOW WINDOW – IND=first letters of ‘inviting nervous dentist’. IND ‘prods’ BOWWOW=dog=canine.
26 Wader: free paw poking fish (7)
LAPWING – (free) anagram of PAW ‘poking’ LING=fish.
27 Dope entering battle, forgetting the first rule (7)
REGENCY – GEN=dope ‘entering’ {C}RECY. The Battle of Crecy, 1346.

Down
1 Case of dramatist hosting great show (6)
DEPICT – DT=the case of D{ramatis}T. It ‘hosts’ EPIC=great.
2 Standing up below worker, Scandinavian monarch cross (7)
BEEFALO – BEE=worker. FALO=OLAF standing up.
3 Press hack, for example, loco! (4,5)
IRON HORSE – IRON=press, HORSE=hack, for example.
4 Wonderful first part, second parts pie in the sky? (6,5)
FLYING START – S=second ‘parts’ a FLYING TART=pie in the sky. Ho ho.
5 Extra final word? (3)
BYE - double definition no. 5.
6 Finding method actors, head for rehearsal (5)
RADAR – RADA=the home of aspiring actors, R=head of R{ehearsal}.
7 Heart of stone in witch, bully (7)
DRAGOON – O=the heart/centre of stone. Put it in DRAGON=witch.
8 Title restricting popular politician (8)
MINISTER – MISTER is a title. Here it ‘restricts’ IN=popular.
13 What might once have inspired peaceful protest? Blood, for example, might (6,5)
FLOWER POWER – blood is a example of a FLOWER=thing that flows. POWER=MIGHT. Ah, the swinging sixties!
15 Very loud fan shortly needing to be repaired (9)
DEAFENING – (to be repaired) anagram of FA{n} NEEDING.
16 US post-war planner, name associated with war lobby (8)
MARSHALL – MARS=the god of war. HALL=lobby. The Marshall Plan, named after U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, supported the reconstruction of Europe after world War II.
18 After tango, domesticated pig up for a dance! (3-4)
TWO-STEP – T=TANGO in the NATO alphabet. WOSTEP =PET SOW, ‘up’ since this is a down clue.
19 Open up mountain accessed by lane (7)
BROADEN – ROAD in BEN.
20 General direction for play (6)
LEEWAY –Robert E. LEE was a Confederate General. He’s getting bad press in these days of the Black Lives Matter movement. WAY=direction. The definition is ‘play’ in the sense of ‘room to move’.
22 Bones sailor found on ship, oddly (5)
TARSI – TAR on the first and third letters of S-h-I-p.
25 Generous wedge served up (3)
BIG – yes, I checked: a GIB is a wedge: ‘a plain or notched, often wedge-shaped piece of wood or metal designed to hold parts of a machine or structure in place or provide a bearing surface, usually adjusted by a screw or key.’

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1455 - 22nd August

Hi all.  A quick one from me this week.  I’ve been a busy bee, and now my brain is so scrambled that I don’t know what kind of creature I am, let alone have anything coherent to say about the puzzle.


After a slow start I decided to use aids freely, so it’s down as a DNF, though on writing everything up it doesn’t look too bad.  Finishers, how did you find it?


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