September 21st, 2020

Astarte1

QC 1705 by Mara

A very enjoyable puzzle for the start to the week. Fairly straightforward as is the Monday tradition but once again I did enjoy quite a few of the clues even though they didn't hold out for very long. 10A, 19A, 12D and 18D I particularly liked with COD probably going to 19A. It was mostly an anagram so the basic device was easy, but it charmed me with the unruffled calm of its surface. Many thanks to Mara for a dose of elegant simplicity.

People have commented in the past that I don't mention my times and I have explained that I usually have difficulty in reading the clues properly so don't see my times as necessarily representative. Other people as well as me have commented on the rn/m similarity which can certainly cause me problems, but today I had a different misreading error which held me up. I think I would normally regard 15A as a simple write-in but today it took me about a minute as I was reading 'flight' for 'fight' and was convinced it had something to do with 'ALOFT'. So that was my LOI and I think my FOI was 5A.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

Across
1 Vault, source of water (6)
SPRING - double definition.
5 Piece of Hollywood, epic theatrical show (6)
DEPICT - hidden word: 'piece of' HollywooD EPIC Theatrical.
8 Modern gallery shrouded in gentle compassion (5,2,3,3)
STATE OF THE ART - TATE (gallery) 'shrouded in' SOFT HEART (gentle compassion).
9 Map pinpointing Libya and Nigeria, primarily (4)
PLAN - Pinpointing Libya And Nigeria 'primarily'.
10 Shortened spanner held in hand, removing odd parts (8)
ABRIDGED - BRIDGE (spanner cryptically, i.e. something that spans) 'held in' AD (hAnD with the odd letters removed).
11 A trail way up mountain (6)
ASCENT - A + SCENT (trail).
13 Figure important, though not the first (6)
EIGHTY - wEIGHTY (important) without the first letter.
15 Loss of power, shortage in fight (8)
BLACKOUT - LACK (shortage) in BOUT (fight).
17 Lob some balls, so thrown back (4)
TOSS - reversed hidden word: 'some' ballS SO Thrown 'back'.
19 Recent draw surprisingly inspiring pro footballer (6,7)
CENTRE FORWARD - anagram ('surprisingly') of RECENT DRAW 'inspiring' FOR (pro).
21 Highlight small curl of hair (6)
STRESS - S (small) + TRESS (curl of hair).
22 Hard, but having a go (6)
TRYING - double definition (first as in 'these are trying (hard) times').
Down
2 Plate smashed, bit of a bloomer (5)
PETAL - straight anagram ('smashed') of PLATE (with a cryptic definition).
3 Strong set with nine changes (7)
INTENSE - straight anagram ('changes') of SET + NINE.
4 Not entirely splendid, slimy stuff (3)
GOO - GOOd (splendid 'not entirely').
5 Cleaner put off, man! (9)
DETERGENT - DETER (put off) + GENT (man).
6 Petition putting pressure on chief (5)
PLEAD - P (pressure) 'on' (i.e. 'above' in this down clue) LEAD (chief).
7 Present flow of electricity (7)
CURRENT - double definition.
10 Woman writing a novel thus, Rose (9)
AUTHORESS - A + anagram ('novel') of THUS ROSE.
12 Most important way to welcome foreigner (7)
SALIENT - ST (street, way) 'welcoming' ALIEN (foreigner).
14 Go on holiday? You must be joking! (3,4)
GET AWAY - double definition.
16 Lovely thing diminished, that is (5)
CUTIE - CUT (diminished) + IE (id est, that is)
18 Father has name for seductress (5)
SIREN - SIRE (father) + N (name).
20 Unfashionable openers in our university team (3)
OUT - 'openers' in Our University Team.