September 9th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic 1697 by Izetti

It's been a while since I blogged an Izetti*, and I solved this one without knowing the setter's identity (on my phone). I should have guessed, but missed the trademark religious reference (4dn today, I think), and knew the nicely clued but less familiar words from dimly-remembered previous puzzles, a style which might otherwise have given the game away.

The acrosses were easier than the downs, although I did type and then delete 12ac when I couldn't immediately parse it, and spent some time trying in vain to include 'ant' for the worker at 18ac. I found 13dn the hardest of a tricky bunch, mistaking the clue for a cryptic-y double definition, and thinking that the answer's meaning was closer to 'zany' or 'mistaken' than 'risky'.

Definitions underlined.

*On edit: it was two blogs ago, how time flies.

Across
8 I'm Santa, moving around, showing ability to keep going (7)
STAMINA - anagram of (moving around) I'M SANTA.
9 Free toilets by end of lane (5)
LOOSE - LOOS (toilets) and the last letter (end) of lanE.
10 Stay in Lincoln with concealed identity (5)
ABIDE - ABE (Lincoln) containing (with concealed) ID (identity).
11 A number drink, we hear, and become strained (5,2)
TENSE UP - TEN (a number) and a homophone of (we hear) "sup" (drink).
12 Verbal expression in woman's series of lectures? (9)
DISCOURSE - DI's (woman's) COURSE (series of lectures?).
14 Old, Her Majesty shows some resistance! (3)
OHM - O (old) and HM (Her Majesty).
16 Criticism — what's expected to come back (3)
RAP - PAR (what's expected) reversed (to come back).
18 Number one confronts worker directly (9)
FIRSTHAND - FIRST (number one) next to (confronts) HAND (worker).
21 Scientist of dodgy ethics taking millions in (7)
CHEMIST - anagram of (dodgy) ETHICS containing (taking in) M (millions).
22 Servant left abandoned by someone playing game (5)
GOFER - GOLFER (someone playing game) with the 'L' (left) removed (abandoned).
23 Poet worked hard, endlessly spinning around (5)
ELIOT - TOILEd (worked hard) without its final letter (endlessly) and reversed (spinning around).
24 Are spectators not entirely showing esteem? (7)
RESPECT - hidden in (not entirely) aRE SPECTators.

Down
1 Erin lad's possibly is one? (8)
ISLANDER - anagram of (possibly) ERIN'S LAD. 'One?' here refers to 'one from Ireland (a.k.a. Erin)'.
2 Women’s stories about a daughter (6)
LADIES - LIES (stories) containing (about) A and D (daughter).
3 Trip in car, overlooking right seedy club! (4)
DIVE - DrIVE (trip in car) missing (overlooking) the 'r' (right).
4 Worker maybe interrupting my choral director (6)
CANTOR - ANT (worker maybe) inside (interrupting) COR (my).
5 Supporting scheme, man becomes loud and mournful (8)
PLANGENT - GENT (man) underneath (supporting) PLAN (scheme). Only known to me from crosswords.
6 Attend and wake up? (4,2)
COME TO - double definition.
7 Glance up to see part of castle (4)
KEEP - PEEK (glance) reversed (up).
13 On a slippery slope, taking unnecessary risks? (3-5)
OFF-PISTE - cryptic definition.
15 Restrained friend crossing European river (8)
MODERATE - MATE (friend) containing (crossing) ODER (European river).
17 Summary that's accurate except for the last bit (6)
PRECIS - PRECISe (accurate) missing the final letter (except for the last bit). The synonimity is supported in Chambers, but the scientist in me bristles.
19 Give back profit (6)
RETURN - double definition.
20 Cockney's semi-embarrassed — he burnt some cakes allegedly (6)
ALFRED - "half red" (semi-embarrassed) as a Londoner might say it (Cockney's). Reference to the legendary story involving King Alfred.
21 Helpful words coming out of rescue ships (4)
CUES - hidden in (coming out of) resCUE Ships.
22 Become quiet? Goodness! (4)
GOSH - GO (become) and SH (quiet).

Times 27765 - as plain as a sticky thing.

Lots of good stuff here, and not much given away in the form of anagrams. I enjoyed this, although it may not suit our overseas friends so much, requiring some local knowledge and an interest in ducks, the Grand National and LNER railway engines to be fully understandable.





Across
1 Writer’s aim to hold loon, say, back (4,5)
GORE VIDAL - GOAL (aim) has DIVER reversed inside. A loon is a sort of duck that dives. I have yet to read a Gore Vidal novel, and doubt I ever shall.
6 Group beginning to bathe in lake (5)
COMBO - the B of bathe inside Italy's Lake COMO.
9 Fourth and fifth in racecourse moving to the front — one's a colt (7)
TRAINEE - the famous racecourse AINTREE near Liverpool, has its 4th and 5th letters moved forward.
10 Low dipstick gathering last drop of oil, visible when dark (7)
MOONLIT - MOO (low as cows do) NIT (dipstick) has L the end of OIL inserted.
11 One persevering as a judge? (5)
TRIER - Cryptic double definition, a trier keeps persevering.
12 Observing party policy, person's wise to keep schtoom in the end (2-7)
ON-MESSAGE - ONE'S (person's) keeps the final M of schtoom, then SAGE = wise. I always thought it was spelt SCHTUM but it makes no difference here.
14 Face attack (3)
MUG - double definition.
15 Rules respected? Anaemic affair in store (3,3,5)
LAW AND ORDER - LARDER = store, insert WAN (anaemic) DO (affair).
17 Basic things, arguably lousy and tough (5-6)
NITTY-GRITTY - NITTY (lousy) GRITTY (tough).
19 Piece of meat removed from menu? (3)
CUT - double definition, of a sort.
20 Graduate draws in circles — with this? (9)
COMPASSES - well, you draw circles with a pair of compasses, as I remember from schooldays. And PASS can mean graduate, I think. We have PASS with COMES drawn around. This is this week's invitation to contribute a better explanation.
22 Where peace may be found, love the same way (5)
OASIS - O (love), AS IS (the same way).
24 Covered by revolutionary, story in retrospect told (7)
RELATED - TALE reversed inside RED. Chestnut time.
26 Awaken Greek character, fellow reclining (7)
EVOCATE - All reversed: ETA (Greek long e) COVE (fellow).
27 German artist doesn't understand Russian, English and Romanian at first (5)
DURER - initial letters of the words beginning Doesn't (except "and").
28 Crew after fish — is that plain? (9)
PIKESTAFF - PIKE (fish) STAFF (crew). Seems to be two opinions about the origin of this idiom, packstaff corrupted, or pikestaff originally spikestaff. See https://evirtualguru.com/meaning-of-plain-as-a-pikestaff-phrase-of-idiom-definition-and-synonyms-use-in-sentence/ if you're bothered.
Down
1 Reached last of peanut butter sandwiches (3,2)
GOT AT - GOAT (butter) has T end of peanut put in.
2 Value measured in English university (7)
READING - double definition, e,g, meter reading, and the place with a university, originally part of Oxford uni until 1926.
3 Opening exchange to the front (9)
VENTRALLY - VENT (opening) RALLY (exchange). Opposite of dorsally.
4 Food for spineless lot in old assembly (4,2,5)
DIET OF WORMS - Cryptic definition.
5 Not entirely light batter (3)
LAM - almost LAMP.
6 Albatross spitting feathers (5)
CROSS - double definition, cross as in angry, cross as in "cross to bear", the curse of the dead albatross being the burden the Ancient Mariner had to bear, metaphorically. Well, you know what I mean, or I do.
7 Loco dabbler? (7)
MALLARD - clever double definition, mallard the duck, and Mallard the famous blue railway engine which holds the steam engine speed record. I sold my 1950 Hornby 00 model of it for peanuts, worth £150 plus now.
8 Running north to east though not as tricky (2,3,4)
ON THE TROT - (NORTH TO ET)* where EAST has the AS removed to give ET to the anagrist.
13 Little wooden skewer reportedly for meat dish (6,5)
MINUTE STEAK - MINUTE (little) STEAK sounds like stake = wooden skewer.
14 Better patient of mine, digitally enhanced? (9)
MANICURED - a man I cured would be a patient of mine who has got better.
16 Old axes then again taken into battle, ridiculous things (9)
OXYMORONS - O (old) X,Y (axes, as in graphs), MONS (battle) has OR (then again) inserted. The word comes from two Greek words meaning "pointedly stupid" or "pointedly pointless" which is itself an oxymoron. I always thought there ought to be Cambymorons as well as we Oxford morons.
18 Glass, one dropping to the floor? (7)
TUMBLER - double definition, sort of.
19 Tropical plant fool put in wine (7)
CASSAVA - ASS in CAVA.
21 Topping minister, pioneering politician (5)
ASTOR - PASTOR gets topped. Nancy Astor was the first female British MP to take her seat in Parliament.
23 Little chap following pipe down sandbank (5)
SHELF - SH ! (pipe down) ELF (little fellow)
25 Relish swim (3)
DIP - double definition.