September 17th, 2020

Times Quick Cryptic No 1703 by Pedro

It is about 6 months since I blogged a Pedro QC, and it is nice to see him back on my bailiwick as I managed to solve this, just, inside my 15 minute target.  Some lovely clues and devices here, with 19 and 21 across vying with 7 and 15 down for my COD.  However, there also appears to be a bit of a gaffe in 17 across, which I have been unable to explain satisfactorily.  I would be grateful if someone can provide a better explanation for this anomaly.

Across

1  Striking religious group in which cricket team is arranged (7,5)
BATTING ORDER – BATTING (striking) and ORDER (religious group).  The BATTING ORDER is the list of players in a cricket team, organised in the order in which they will generally come out to bat.
Spirit shown by good party organiser (5)
GHOST – G{ood} and HOST (party organiser).
9  Doctor very engaged in genuine excision (7)
REMOVAL – MO (doctor) and V{ery} inside (engaged in) REAL (genuine).
10  Old man backed intention to put in post (7)
APPOINT – PA (old man) reversed (backed) to give AP and then POINT (intention).
11  Permitted to be heard (5)
ALOUD – Homophone, sounds like allowed, where ‘to be heard’ does double duty as both the definition and the homophone indicator.
12  Development of green factory’s latest power supply (6)
ENERGY – Anagram (development) of [GREEN] and {factor}Y (latest, i.e. last letter).
14  Snooty person rejected excellent little plant (6)
BONSAI – The snooty person is a SNOB, reversed (rejected) to give BONS and then AI (excellent, as in A1).
17  Pub in Pimlico - calm (5)
LOCAL – I’m not sure what has happened here.  This looks like it is intended to be a hidden answer, maybe the setter wrote it as ‘Pub in Buffalo – calm’ initially, and the editor replaced Buffalo with the more familiar (to us Brits anyway) Pimlico, not realising that the edit had lost the spirit of the clue.  This is just supposition on my part – I can’t see how the clue works otherwise, but someone will almost certainly educate me if there is an alternative explanation.
19  Monastery residents without sin? (7)
NOVICES – NOVICES without sin would have NO VICES.
21  I’ve reached “P for Paint”? (7)
IMPASTO – If I have reached the letter P in reciting the alphabet, then I’M PAST O.  IMPASTO is paint laid on thickly.
22  Back a theatre group initially over stage work (5)
OPERA – A (a) REP (theatre group, repertory) and O{ver} (initially) all reversed (back).
23  Criticise losing a carton opener? (4-3,5)
TEAR-OFF STRIP – If one criticised someone or something, one could be said to TEAR-OFF {a} STRIP.  Lose the a for a common method of opening a carton.

Down

1  A big gal came running across entrance to Gatwick arrivals area (7,5)
BAGGAGE CLAIM – Anagram (running) of [A BIG GAL CAME] and G{atwick} (entrance to Gatwick).
Group of soldiers left upset about nothing (5)
TROOP – PORT (left) reversed (upset) and including O (about nothing).
3  Hinting, awfully trendy item (2-5)
IN-THING – Anagram (awfully) of [HINTING].
Spin jar filled with last of recovery (6)
GYRATE – GRATE (jar, as in a jarring sound) containing {recover}Y (last of).
5  Alcohol given to graduate for dance (5)
RUMBA – RUM (alcohol) given to BA (graduate), to form the lively Afro-Cuban dance.  We must be approaching the Strictly silly season!
6  Vino Sue ordered, leaving you resentful (7)
ENVIOUS – Anagram (ordered) of [VINO SUE].
Supplier of spirit generated by rubber? (8,4)
ALADDIN’S LAMP – Cryptic &Lit clue referring to a famous Pantomime device (as we get closer to Strictly silly season, we also approach Panto season!)
13  European notice about top fugitive (7)
ESCAPEE – E{uropean} SEE (notice) containing (about) CAP (top).  Will we still be allowed to use E{uropean} to clue E once we are finally out of Europe?
15  Not seeing line I erased – that’s clear (7)
OBVIOUS – OB{li}VIOUS (not seeing) after L{ine} and I have been erased.
16  Unique energy incorporated in switch settings? (3-3)
ONE-OFF – E{nergy} inside ON-OFF (switch settings).  Some switches are not dichotomous, hence the question mark.
18  Light starts to leave all stars, every rotation (5)
LASER – Initial letters (starts) of L{eave} A{ll} S{tars}, E{very} R{otation}.
20  Get over fence, perhaps, without faults? (5)
CLEAR – Double definition, referring to show-jumping, where if all fences are CLEARed, the competitor may achieve a CLEAR round.
  • glheard

Times 27772 - my first palindrome!

Time taken: 13:14, although even with checking through my answers I managed a particularly silly typo at 13 down, which was one of the ones I felt good about parsing.

I think this is a tricky puzzle and the early times are a bit slower than usual (since I'm writing this a bit later than I usually do, the SNITCH is up and is at 126. There are a number of entries I had to piece together from wordplay, but that is a good thing.

I do have an error, so it is a good day to get in front of me on the leaderboard!

Away we go...

Across
1 Trickery from monkey scratching rear (4)
SCAM - the monkey is a SCAMP, remove the last letter
4 Cold friend's wrapped in warm material (10)
CHINCHILLA - CHILL(cold) inside CHINA(friend)
9 Possible relief from lumbago, an old issue (4,6)
BACK NUMBER - if you have lumbago, your BACK could use some NUMBing
10 Dogs perhaps retreating, one in flight (4)
STEP - PETS(dogs, perhaps) reversed
11 Instinct about welcoming policeman, a patent expert? (6)
EDISON - NOSE(instinct) reversed, containing DI(policeman).  Thomas EDISON was renowned for patenting his inventions
12 A number eleven entering field of play, hungry-looking? (8)
ANOREXIC -  A, NO(number), then XI(elven) inside REC(field of play)
14 Italian white jacket's taken off over the hill (4)
ASTI - remove the outside letters of PAST IT (over the hill)
15 Chance of a thousand in income, but not five (10)
LIKELIHOOD -  K(a thousand) inside LIVELIHOOD(income) missing the V
17 Like ham I repeatedly mixed with this corn (10)
HISTRIONIC - anagram of two I's and THIS,CORN. A stage ham, so right up my alley.
20 What indicates relief from power cut (4)
PHEW - P(power), HEW(cut)
21 In this building, are those inside waiting to buy it? (5,3)
DEATH ROW - cryptic definition
23 Exposed relative's endless bill (6)
UNCLAD - UNCLE(relative) missing the last letter, AD(bill)
24 Gas one twice bottles? (4)
NEON - it would be hidden inside oNE ONe
25 TS Eliot works about animal giving a lump in the throat (10)
EPIGLOTTIS - anagram of TS ELIOT surrounding PIG(animal)
26 Evil man providing returns with little cash (10)
MALEFICENT - MALE(man), then IF(providing) reversed, and a CENT(little cash)
27 Dated scoundrel with hand missing and a slippery customer (4)
HEEL - HAND without AND, then EEL(slippery customer)
Down
2 Group meeting fate underground (11)
CLANDESTINE - CLAN(group) and DESTINE(fate as a verb)
3 Rough and ready ladies' clothing brand put first (9)
MAKESHIFT - SHIFT(ladies' clothing) with MAKE(brand) first
4 Extremely nice lunch forged deep international connection (7)
CHUNNEL - anagram of the outer letters in NicE with LUNCH
5 Where NYPD cop may put perp, clearly! (2,5,3,5)
IN BLACK AND WHITE - NYPD cars are black and white, so a titchy double definition. OK - I thought I remember the NYPD cars in the 90s being black and white, but the clue here really relies on Collins dictionary having "black-and-white" as US slang for a police car.
6 Wheels turn handle used by writer (7)
CARROLL - CAR(wheels), ROLL(turn) for the writer Lewis
7 Tangerine's skin in sloppy plant secretion (5)
LATEX - outer letters of TangerinE inside LAX(sloppy)
8 Like image showing pork pie ingredient (5)
ASPIC - AS(like), PIC(image)
13 Useless musical theatre about one revolutionary (11)
INOPERATIVE - long reversal of EVITA(musical), REP(theatre) ON(about), I(one). I managed to switch the V and T at the end
16 Hard work put an end to child's play (9)
HOPSCOTCH - H(hard), OP(work), SCOTCH(put an end to)
18 National leader’s deposed by Tory statesman (7)
ISRAELI - remove the first letter from Benjamin DISRAELI
19 Impressive feat by service lines (7)
COUPLET - COUP(impressive feat) with LET(tennis serve)
21 Material exploited the wrong way (5)
DENIM - MINED(exploited) reversed
22 Single fee for the main feature (5)
ATOLL - A(single), TOLL(fee)
verlaine

Times 27,773: Gimme Shelter

Not the hardest end to a week but not without its tricky clues. It feels like a long time since I could last say it was one corner giving me particular trouble, but I ground to a bit of a halt in the SE here, with 16, 21 and 17 down all being slow to give up their secrets, plus 29ac proving one of those excellent hiddens that hold out for a while, even after I'd looked for a hidden and returned with TENTER, d'oh. I haven't been on crosswording form this week - too much excitement over in the Other Place (the world of quiz!)

Were I to be in a critical mood I'd probably say that there were too many answers that were easier to biff than to work out the cryptic for, which always feels like a cart/horse sequencing error. Also lots of sports references, which I have traditionally viewed with utmost suspicion but which aren't so bad really. In fact I'm going to give COD to 22dn which I believe is something to do with cricket, but also features a truly classic crossword duck.

Thanks setter!

ACROSS
1 Guard's course of action finally changed (6)
POLICE - POLIC{y->E}

4 Help one to get top in sort of contest (8)
HANDICAP - HAND + I + CAP [help, one, top]

10 Stories about theologian entertaining Catholic Church stars (9)
ANDROMEDA - ANA "about" D.D. "entertaining" ROME. FOI

11 Sit learner at back of form (5)
MODEL - L at back of MODE

12 Unfancied team no longer in the dressing room? (7)
OUTSIDE - OUT SIDE [unfancied, team]. Once the team is no longer in the dressing room they're outside.

13 Numbers kept outside part of the UK, stupid folk (7)
NINNIES - NINE kept outside N.I.

14 That is to be found in side street (2,3)
ID EST - hidden in {s}IDE ST{reet}

15 Didn't move from area that's dry — sense the environment (3,5)
SAT TIGHT - A(rea) that has T.T. [dry], "environed" by SIGHT [sense]

18 Plant has woman in nursery full of bombast (8)
AMARANTH - AMAH [nursemaid] "full of" RANT [bombast]

20 Disciple — this person's held to be one (5)
SIMON - SON [disciple], "holding" I'M, to find one specific disciple

23 Sweet little girls (7)
CARAMEL - CARA and MEL

25 A lot of green present wrapping appropriate (7)
HERBAGE - HERE [present] wrapping BAG [so that's appropriate as in "take"]

26 Dance being held in workhouse? (5)
TWIST - double def with a being, as in person or character, eponymous in Dickens' novel

27 Playing in a shed, two sons being up to no good? (9)
SHADINESS - (IN A SHED*) + S S

28 People working with duds? (3,5)
RAG TRADE - cryptic def, duds as in clothes

29 Excellent entertainment, not entirely suitable for solemn period (6)
LENTEN - hidden in {excel}LENT EN{tertainment}. LOI

DOWN
1 Endless drama producing tension, avoiding sex (8)
PLATONIC - PLA{y} + TONIC

2 Loud female with others grabbing old rocker after upset (7)
LADETTE - ET AL [with others] "grabbing" TED [old rocket], and reverse

3 Singer in church getting nothing right tries afresh (9)
CHORISTER - CH + O R + (TRIES*)

5 A term in Rugby: are rebellious teachers seen to be this? (7,3,4)
AGAINST THE HEAD - one of those double defs with an idiomatic and a literalistic definition;
rebellious teachers might be against the head(master). The other definition is something to do with the game rugby, couldn't really tell you what, but the dictionary says "from the opposing side's put-in to the scrum", whatever that means!

6 This writer held up by academic as one very skilful (5)
DEMON - reversed ME "held" by DON

7 Person on golf course endlessly — is husband ungentlemanly? (7)
CADDISH - CADD{y} IS H

8 European? This could be French (6)
POLISH - double def, based on the somewhat chestnutty "French polish"

9 A loner despised, abandoned, no longer regarded as an individual (14)
DEPERSONALISED - (A LONER DESPISED*)

16 Short sheet of paper, something wicked provided during employment (2-7)
IN-SERVICE - INSER{t} + VICE. Who else has spent so much time around crosswords that they were looking for a kind of candle?

17 Man who provided shelter, with someone lacking roof (8)
ANDERSON - AND [with] + {p}ERSON. We are speaking of Anderson air raid shelters...

19 Ruining wedding with no end of debauchery (7)
MARRING - MARR{y}ING

21 Most excellent food one's eaten, nothing wasted (7)
MEANEST - MEAT [food] "eating" {o}NE'S. Meat may be food for you lot but it isn't for me!

22 Score fantastic ton going in — or a duck (6)
SCOTER - (SCORE*) with T going in

24 The old woman to have sex with Romeo (5)
MATER - MATE with R
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