September 12th, 2020

Penf

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1456 - Charles Dickens, Joseph Heller and Bill Bryson walk into a bar

45 minutes.  Maybe slightly over my par time but not too tricky.  I had to check a few facts when writing up the explanations. First in was GAGSTER and last was MASS MEDIA.

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

Channels in motorway area provide equine with water, not fresh (4,5)


MASS MEDIA - a combination of a less than obvious definition and complex wordplay made this my last one in.  ASS, MED[iterranean] in M[otorway] A[rea]

6

What may be read in a church in the country? (7)


MALACHI - A CH[urch] in MALI.  An Old Testament book.

10

Shut up, being a century old (5)


CAGED - C[entury] AGED

13

Make lace to cover plain silk fabric (7)


TABARET - TAT (to make lace) around BARE. An upholstery fabric of alternate satin and watered silk stripes. Four of my chaises longues are covered in it.

14

Comic’s funny stagger (7)


GAGSTER - (stagger)*

15

One may stand for this new idea, not local (7)


OVATION - innOVATION

16

Suggesting diner thought to start well-prepared (3,3,6,7)


HIT THE GROUND RUNNING - "reverse" clue: an anagram (running) of "hit the ground" would be "diner thought".

17

Drop daughter off: how I refer to her? (3)


SHE - SHEd

18

I felt that food comes first for absentee (2-4)


NO-SHOW - OW after NOSH. Although it's a bit chestnutty I always enjoy "I felt that" or "that hurt" leading to OW or OUCH.

20

Colour left on stick (6)


PASTEL - L on PASTE

21

Various items on table in afternoon for mother-to-be? (3,6)


TEA THINGS - CD.  I'm surprised this is in the dictionary.

23

Western hero’s individualist rage (4,6)


LONE RANGER - LONER, ANGER

25

Cheating gangster to achieve checkmate? (11)


HOODWINKING - HOOD, WIN KING

29

Piece attached to heel is hanging (5)


TAPIS - TAP, IS. A tap is a protective piece on a shoe heel.  We called them blakeys when I was at shool.

30

Income, including nice car, new demand from old lover? (8)


PALIMONY - PAY arounf LIMO N[ew]

31

Petulant display at sea is shifty (5,3)


HISSY FIT - (is shifty)*

34

Dictatorial boss of car firm? (8)


AUTOCRAT - CD more or less but the last three words just add a bit of crypticness

36

Castle, otherwise trapping one knight more in the centre (8)


ELSINORE - ELSE around I N {m}OR{e} (N being chess notation for Knight).

37

Like sheep, cow loses its head (5)


OVINE - bOVINE

39

Doesn’t go across stove with jug (11)


STRANGEWAYS - STAYS around RANGE W[ith] for the prison (jug) in Manchester.  When the Strangeways riot was in full flow in 1990 Mrs P needed to leave her car in that part of Manchester for a couple of days.  Given the huge police presence she decided it would be fine to leave it on a side street near the prison.  Needless to say when she returned a window had been smashed and the radio taken.

41

Work tongue into part of mouth and be highly successful with what I record (2,8)


GO PLATINUM - OP[us}, LATIN in GUM. In the UK you need to sell 600,000 singles or 300,000 albums to get a platinum disc.

43

A mile further, surprising remote Aussie native (9)


MONOTREME - [a] M[ile] ON, (remote)*.  A group on mammals including yer echidna and yer duck-billed P.  You really don't want to know what they've only got one of.

45

Born abroad, want to be not too old (6)


NEWISH - NE (French), WISH

47

One ruling for now: note the convenience, in short (6)


REGENT - RE, GENT{s}

49

Port or bitter picked up? (3)


RYE - sounds like WRY.  The East Sussex port that isn't.

50

Nowhere is unimportant (7,4,3,5)


NEITHER HERE NOR THERE - DD

52

Asking more questions about one is not so peaceful (7)


NOISIER - NOSIER around I

53

Turned up by chance in court (7)


CAMELOT - CAME, LOT

54

Strong cloth fine in warm wind (7)


CHINOOK - CHINO, O.K.

55

Mischief-maker’s accent not British (5)


ROGUE - bROGUE

56

Painter’s assistant is second to be accepted (7)


MATISSE - MATE around IS S[econd]

57

One doing exercises, but no header (9)


STRETCHER - DDCDH: stretcher and header are bonds used in bricklaying.


Down

1

Making a pair: marrying must involve church (8)


MATCHING - MATING around CH[urch]

2

Something afoot: no time for throwing a spanner in the works? (5)


SABOT - SABOTage. Do folk outside crossowords wear sabots?

3

Noble big beast heading off to follow procession (11)


MARCHIONESS - lIONESS after MARCH

4

Timid creature concealing mark that identifies when death is near (6)


DOTAGE - DOE around TAG

5

The equivalent of first prize for behaving well (2,4,2,4)


AS GOOD AS GOLD - DDCDH

6

One soldier embraces another, before returning to old war minister (7)


MAGINOT - MAN around G.I. then TO reversed.

7

Unconventional ideas after family visits foreign parliament (7,8)


LATERAL THINKING - LATER, KIN in ALTHING (the national parliament of Iceland)

8

My old folk in exalted ceremony (10)


CORONATION - COR, O[ld] NATION

9

Without James I at the front, a fierce battle (3,4)


IWO JIMA - W[ith]O[ut] JIM after I and before A

10

Be sold as a little money passes (6,5)


CHANGE HANDS - CHANGE, HANDS

11

What involve sliding, as you will hear (9)


GLISSANDI - (sliding as)* and I reckon an &Lit (possibly a semi depending on how you view the "what") interrupting a run of straightforward charades.

12

Creatures put on islands (7)


DONKEYS - DON, KEYS

19

Attempt place in event (4,3)


SHOT PUT - SHOT, PUT

22

Fighter perhaps shows such exceptional speed over track (8)


WARPLANE - WARP, LANE

24

Numerous murals at last honoured unusual city fathers (7,3,5)


ROMULUS AND REMUS - (numerous murals {honoure}D)*

26

Flier needs a little speed to get up (8)


WHITECAP - WHIT, PACE reveresd.  Is it a bird? Yes.

27

One filleting fish maybe, good and thorough (6)


GUTTER - G[ood], UTTER

28

Secures small pieces that have sprung up (6)


STRAPS - S[mall] PARTS reversed

32

Regularly fear I invite disaster (7)


FAILURE - F[e}A{r}, I, LURE

33

People in a heap in the garden: one’s sane (6,6)


COMPOS MENTIS - MEN in COMPOST, I'S

35

Emperor presumably less trustworthy in the West? (11)


CONSTANTINE - CONSTANT IN E[ast]

37

No meat: bread roll for hungry boy (6,5)


OLIVER TWIST - O, LIVER, TWIST

38

Qualify to start work as surgeon? (4,3,3)


MAKE THE CUT - golf-themed DDCDH

40

Queen, charming, removing a first coat (9)


RENDERING - R[egina], ENDEaRING

42

Fast runner who’s barely noticed? (8)


STREAKER - Chestnutty CD.  Erica Roe eyeworm anyone? Ray Stevens earworm anyone? Don't look Ethel!

43

Voyager’s home, having visited part of moon at end of tour (7)


MARINER - IN in MARE, {tou}R

44

Pointed remark when one confuses rook with magpie (7)


EPIGRAM - (R[ook] magpie)*

46

Manoeuvre bin (7)


WHEELIE - DD.  Insert own slightly racist chinaman joke here.

48

Agree to study dog (6)


CONCUR - CON, CUR

51

Patriarch backing solid husband (5)


ENOCH - CONE reversed, H[usband]
  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27762 - Saturday, 5 September 2020. Put a sock in it!

This was a smooth solve, with quite a few cluing devices that will be familiar to experienced solvers but may challenge newer hands. I am always amused by the use of “Oxford” in the style of 2dn – hence my headline. I most liked 21ac, with style points for 10ac. My last few in were 15ac, 23ac and 12dn. 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 Radiant internet user's letter? (8)
EMISSIVE – do we use E-MAIL to send an E-MISSIVE?
5 Some turned a Cranach over in gallery (6)
ARCADE – backwards hidden answer.
8 A business, one that's going to shrink (10)
CONTRACTOR – double definition, the second jocular.
9 Scruff's threads close to threadbare (4)
NAPE – NAP or “threads”, followed by the E at the end of “threadbare”.
10 Theatrical endeavours giving rise to star? (10,4)
PERFORMING ARTS – the answer is a cryptic clue for STAR= ‘performing’ (anagram of) ARTS.
11 See enigma's first code is getting cracked (7)
DIOCESE – anagram (‘cracked’) of E CODE IS, where the E is the first letter of Enigma.
13 Come before king during sports meeting (7)
PREDATE – R=king in PE=sports, then DATE=meet.
15 Reversing car, took in fuel to burn (7)
CREMATE – I couldn’t do anything with this until I followed Mrs. B’s usual advice, to write it backwards! The car is a MERC, which backwards gives CREM. ATE=took in fuel.
18 More than one holding tablet speaks (7)
ESTATES – E is the crossword setter’s tablet of choice. STATES=speaks.
21 Dishonest wife married in buff: an ominous sight, in the main (6,8)
FLYING DUTCHMAN – LYING=dishonest. DUTCH=wife in CRS. M=married. Put all that in FAN=cooler buff.
22 Dip doughnut in pudding ingredient (4)
SAGO – SAG=dip. O=doughnut.
23 Paid to follow card game (10)
CLUBFOOTED – CLUB=card. FOOTED=paid. It took a while to think of this meaning of “game”.
24 Record-breaking European is to toughen up (6)
ANNEAL – E=European ‘breaking’ ANNAL=record. Strangely, it seems annealing can make something either harder or softer. Go figure!
25 Seller sent back bunch of coppers by necessity (8)
PERFORCE – PER=REP=seller, ‘backwards’. FORCE=bunch of coppers.

Down
1 Bolted door's opening with key, at first (7)
ESCAPED – ESCAPE=the computer key. D=Door’s ‘opening’.
2 Meal not starting with fish one maybe found in Oxford (5,4)
INNER SOLE – {d}INNER is the meal ‘not starting’. SOLE is the fish. ‘Oxford’ here is a shoe, of course.
3 Grasping fellow with arrogance, monsters rising up (7)
SCROOGE – EGO=arrogance, ORCS are the monster. Write them all backwards (‘rising up’ instead of down).
4 Title of volume, one by philosopher (7)
VICOMTE – V=volume, I=one, Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier COMTE was the philosopher.
5 Divine abode's invaded by soldiers? That's concerning (2,7)
AS REGARDS – ASGARD’s an abode of gods, from Norse mythology. Insert RE=Royal Engineers.
6 Coin on the far left or in the middle (7)
CENTRED – a CENT is a coin. RED is on the far left.
7 Top side playing for initial sum of money (7)
DEPOSIT – anagram (‘playing’) of TOP SIDE.
12 Very bad day, in a topsy-turvy state (9)
SATANICAL – SAT{urday} is the day. ANI is an anagram (‘topsy-turvy’) of IN A. CAL{ifornia} is the state.
14 Switch around raised vent in measuring instrument (9)
ALTIMETER – ALTER is to switch around. TIME=EMIT (‘vent’) raised.
16 Judge drops old burden (7)
REFRAIN – REF=judge. RAIN=drops. ‘Old’ signals that the definition is an archaic usage.
17 Employ a criminal for a post in village (7)
MAYPOLE – anagram (‘criminal’) of EMPLOY A.
18 Calm, or just losing it (7)
EQUABLE – EQUITABLE, losing IT.
19 I'm disgusted, aristocrat admits, to dress down (4,3)
TICK OFF – ICK=I’m disgusted. Put it in TOFF.
20 One in dire need is lacking a date (4,3)
SINE DIE – I=one in an anagram (‘dire’) of NEED IS.

Times Bank Holiday Cryptic Jumbo 1457 - 31st August

I found this Bank Holiday entertainment a little on the easy side finishing in under 38 minutes despite being held up for quite a while by my last 4, but it is enlivened by some neat bits of wordplay. 1 clue (7D) is a bit odd, otherwise there was nothing very tricky. Can anyone remember a clue with fewer letters in it than 54A?  COD to the clever wordplay at 13D, but I liked 18D and 27D too. I see on checking that I have an annoying pink square having mistranscribed from my paper copy to spell the Northern city RIPEN. Grr! How did everyone else get on?

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Sunday Times Cryptic No 4919 by Dean Mayer — Chef’s surprise

My LOI was 13 down, as I needed all the checkers… and then some. I hope and trust others will find the definition less elusive. It had to be some kind of -ISM, so what else could it have been?

Maybe I just didn’t want to face the grisly reality. In any case, as things are grisly enough, I’ll refrain from going into any detail about how a certain right-wing radio personality spoke of the Donner Party as role models some weeks ago.

It seems I’ve already been rather loquacious below, so let’s get on with it.

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

ACROSS
 1 Resist love for boy from Ireland (5)
BUCKO — BUCK, “Resist” + O, or 0, “love” I thought of Buck (loveless?) Mulligan immediately, but it’s not a proper name, just a synonym of “lad” that is used more often in Ireland than elsewhere.
 4 One showing pulse will stand in for me (9)
PROGRAMME — PRO(GRAM)ME… yes, I looked it up, and one meaning of GRAM is “pulse,” in the sense of a kind of leguminous plant, or its comestible seeds, such as peas; here poised between PRO, “for” and ME, “me.”
 9 Financial investigation involves tax (5,4)
MEANS TEST — MEANS, “involves” + TAX, “test”… MEANS in the oblique sense of “summer is over, and that means returning to school” (and good luck with that).
10 A new hair product, darling (5)
ANGEL — A + N(ew) + GEL (not the hydro-alcoholic stuff)
11 It’s my intention to like the afflicted (3)
ILL — DD
12 That’s just how Parisian put on light (4,7)
FAIR COMMENT — FAIR, “light” avec COMMENT, “how” en français
14 Tense as bloke, one with deadly wild animal (9,5)
TASMANIAN DEVIL — T(ense) + AS + MAN, “bloke” + I, “one” + AND, “with” + EVIL, “deadly”
17 A care home’s nice new menu offering (8,6)
MACARONI CHEESE — (A care home’s nice)* Comfort food, how nice indeed for the care home. I’ve usually heard MACARONI and CHEESE, over here.
19 Great author’s rule, you might say (5,2,4)
RIGHT AS RAIN — “writers” or “writas” + “reign”
21 No closer to one group of colleges (3)
UNI — UNI[-t]
22 Gathered and gutted more sheep (3,2)
MET UP — M[-or]E + TUP, “sheep”
23 New members taking part? Returning group excellent (9)
INITIATES — IN IT, “taking part” + SET + AI <=“returning,” both
24 In audible shock, boy ducks with missile around (5,4)
SONIC BOOM — SON, “boy” and then two “ducks,” OO guarded by an I(nter)C(ontinental)B(allistic)M(issile)
25 King welcomed by bloody old author (5)
GORKY — GOR(K)Y “Old” is not necessary for the definition, only there to help “bloody” sound natural in the surface, but it’s not in any way part of the wordplay.

DOWN
 1 Light upon and behind horse (4,4)
BUMP INTO — BUM, “behind” + PINTO, “horse”
 2 Steps once taken to hide reaction to comic actor (7,8)
CHARLES LAUGHTON — CHARLES(LAUGH)TON The dance “the Charleston” was supposedly, as the song says, “Made in (South) Carolina,” not the state capital of my home state of West Virginia (never such a swingin’ place, I guess).
 3 Big bird is so upset over loud music (9)
OSSIFRAGA — ISSO<=“upset” + F, “loud” + RAGA, “music” Totally unknown to me before deciphering the wordplay and checking it on Google, this is one of many names of the southern giant petrel. I’ve heard many RAGAs sung, live and on recording, by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela and their late guru, Pandit Pran Nath. Others may think of Ravi Shankar’s sitar improvisations.
 4 Loved to conceal skin blemish—rash? (11)
PRECIPITOUS — PRECI(PIT)OUS
 5 Some of you think this is wrong (3)
OUT — Hidden
 6 Concrete mass forming sphere (5)
REALM — REAL, “Concrete” + M(ass)
 7 A circumferential line drawing? (8,7)
MAGNETIC EQUATOR — CD MAGNETIC is what “drawing” is all about here. I’m not sure I ever realized there is, like a MAGNETIC pole, a MAGNETIC EQUATOR as well, but of course there is. It’s the imaginary line girdling the earth along which a compass needle will not dip from the horizontal.
 8 A stone tool, it will cut rough hole (6)
EOLITH — (hole)* incised by IT As a dictionary term, since EOLITH was long used to signify a “stone tool,” I guess it qualifies as a crossword entry under that guise. But I find on Wikipedia that “an eolith (from Greek “eos,” dawn, and “lithos,” stone) is [merely] a chipped flint nodule. Eoliths were once thought to have been artifacts, the earliest stone tools, but are now believed to be geofacts (stone fragments produced by fully natural geological processes such as glaciation).” I saw some of these in a fascinating exhibition on the modern concept of the prehistoric at the Centre Pompidou in 2019; the display of eoliths was juxtaposed with one showing the same number of actual human-worked relics, and the difference was striking, as was a teasing similarity.
13 Likes eating (11)
CANNIBALISM — CD… your “likes” being your counterparts, your semblables
15 Upgrading inn, change cocktail? (9)
ENHANCING — (inn change)* Hereby awarded the prize for Anagrind of the Week.
16 Incorrectly, he’d say I’m avoiding publicity (5-3)
MEDIA-SHY — (he’d say I’m)*
18 Particular American name in outdoor cooking (6)
PRIMUS — PRIM, “particular” + US, “American” Wikipedia: “The Primus stove, the first pressurized-burner kerosene stove, was developed in 1892 by Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist, a factory mechanic in Stockholm.”
20 Subject for photo (5)
TOPIC — TO, “for” + PIC, “photo”
23 One occasion to create artificial language (3)
IDO — I, “one” + DO, “occasion” IDO is a constructed language derived from the more well-known(-of) artificial tongue Esperanto (in which “ido” means “offspring”). To be precise, it’s derived from Reformed Esperanto, or Esperanto 1894. The idea behind inventing a language was, of course, to foster universal understanding. Wikipedia: “As of the year 2000, there were approximately 100–200 Ido speakers in the world.” I have a friend who cannot accept that our, or any natural, language is not entirely logical and that its implicit “rules” are not pre-established in some Platonic heaven; it seems he would be more happy with Ido or Esperanto, but he would not be able to converse with many people.
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Mephist 3132 - The crystal ball is dark

I thought parts of this were pretty chewy, with some rather fancy cryptics.   One or two still elude me, but I'm sure my fellow Mephisto solvers will have the explanation.   It is very helpful it you know enough Scots and Anglo-Saxon to biff some of these answers, but I'd still like to know how the cryptics work.   This puzzle is not too heavy on archaisms and Scots, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Across
1 Extrovert lassoing English steer (4)
LEAD - L(E)AD, a lad in a particular sense.
4 With horror shrunk from wild boar herd (8)
ABHORRED - Anagram of BOAR HERD.
11 A jolly Sir Edmund? Husband in want of cuffs and stuff (9)
ARMILLARY -  A R.M. + [h]ILLARY.
12 I’ll be found elsewhere in Archipelago? (5)
CHIAN - CHAIN with the I moved.   A archipelago is a chain of islands.
13 Postie’s last is out of bounds, returning delivery down under (5)
BOSIE - [posti]E IS O.B., all backwards, the Aussie term for a googly.
15 Is gutter level? (8)
STRICKLE - 'S TRICKLE, where gutter is a verb, as is strickle.
16 Rough following in rough roosts (7, two words)
OF SORTS - Anagram of F + ROOSTS.
19 Audible flak for verse (5)
STICH - Sounds like stick, as may happen in stichomythia, when Greek characters sometimes give each other stick.
21 Most dear thing you and I left inside sadly maybe heartlessly (7)
EWELAMB -  WE + L inside of an anagram of MA[y]BE.
23 Cut round each mollusc (7, two words)
SEA HARE - S(EA)HARE, where cut is a noun, as in your cut of the spoils.
24 Pray port comes out of large sofa (5)
DAVEN - DAVEN[port].
26 Excited CEO opening underground facility of an earlier age (7)
MIOCENE - MI(anagram of CEO)NE.    I wanted to biff EOCENE, but it didn't fit.
28 Speculative wangling since having one onboard, tense and grey (8)
AGIOTAGE - AG(I)O + T + AGE, where grey is a verb.
29 Looking back, acceptable and entirely plain (5)
LLANO - ON + ALL backwards, a starter clue.
30 Toying with ludo and a mother’s support (5)
DOULA - Anagram of LUDO + A.
31 Potty Picts with tons showing capacity that’s thrice Whitehall’s (9, two words)
SCOTS PINT - Anagram of PICTS plus TONS, with a not entirely irrelevant surface.
32 Smart Scots glide with grace and guides (8)
SWANKEYS - SWAN + KEYS, as in the liittle books that explain the more difficult parts of a work.
33 Up north “augur” — same spelling primarily (4)
SPAE - The obvious answer, but I don't see the cryptic.   You could take the M out of same and put in a P, but why?
Down
1 In Pakistan a vast number grew up round second game (8)
LACROSSE - LAC + ROS(S)E, where it helps if you know the Indian lakh.
2 Wonky before loss (5)
AMISS - A + MISS.
3 Alexander’s followers lifting help dupe Greek character with aspiration (8)
DIADOCHI - AID upside-down + DO + CHI, Alexander the Great's successors.
5 Belgium to lie about system for large-scale transfers (7)
BLITTER - B + LITTER, for which I considered many other possibilities, such as loiter and an anagram of "to lie".
6 Offices rejecting the prime things which are fine and tiny (5)
HAIRS - [c]HAIRS, as in chairpersons, I believe
7 Went about order wrapping snack (7)
ORBITED - OR(BITE)D.
8 Take current weather — unreliable (5)
RISKY - R + I + SKY, typical Mephisto single-letter indicators.
9 Elaborate lie next about Maître’s sentence rarely heard now (9)
EXILEMENT - Anagram of LIE NEXT around ME.
10 Scots bear uncommon fish with nothing removed (4)
DREE - D[o]REE, being the less common spelling of dory.   From Anglo-Saxon dreogan, endure.
14 Pleasant feelings in the matter of Government base (9)
AFTERGLOW - AFTER G + LOW.
17 To need to be in the thick of strike is the stuff of covert forces? (8, two words)
BLACK OPS - B(LACK)OP'S.   I wanted to put BLACK OUT, but a bout is not really a strike.
18 Refuse to drop off around noon, for example (8)
ABNEGATE -  AB(N, E.G.)ATE.
20 Hard digger going without marks a little helmet? (7)
HATTOCK - H = [m]ATTOCK.
22 Worrying number of days for famous wager? Under one week (7)
WEIGHTY - W + EIGHTY, a Jules Verne allusion.
25 This huntress dressed with fur might find you unafraid (5)
DIANA - An anagram of DIANA and FUR could result in UNAFRAID.
26 Game amateur pulled up bush (5)
MAHOE - E.O. + HAM upside-down.     
27 Stock European bon mot? (5)
EQUIP - E + QUIP, a starter clue.
28 Io! Diverse group rolled up wanting date (4)
ALAS - SALA[d], upside-down.