September 26th, 2020

  • brnchn

Times Cryptic No 27774 - Saturday, 19 September 2020. Another Pleasant Puzzle Saturday.

My better half and I agreed this week that the daily sudoku puzzles in our morning paper seem to be getting easier. Is it a coronavirus thing? In similar vein, it’s been quite a while since the Saturday crossword has been a stinker. Happily this wasn’t the week that changed! Still, there was much to like. I particularly enjoyed the choice of anagram indicator at 10ac. 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 Most boisterous wife longs to break mould (8)
ROWDIEST – W for wife and DIES for longs, breaking ROT for mould.
5 Chicken a little tough (6)
BANTAM – a double definition, the second relating to a small, aggressive person.
10 Fan must start in line to see player (15)
INSTRUMENTALIST – anagram of MUST START IN LINE. The anagram is indicated by ‘fan’, as in fanning a deck of cards perhaps. I loved it!!
11 Welcome the writer coming back to stay (7)
EMBRACE – ME ‘coming back’, then BRACE.
12 Zeppelin songs extremely cool (7)
AIRSHIP – AIRS for songs, then HIP for cool.
13 Easiest one to crack in my view (2,1,3,2)
AS I SEE IT – anagram (‘to crack’) of EASIEST plus I for one.
15 Saw to test on vehicle in front (5)
MOTTO – TO (second word of the clue) with MOT (test on vehicle) in front.
18 Keeper having depressing experience first dropped (5)
OWNER – the depressing experience was a DOWNER.
20 African alien hides pain, meeting Scotsman (8)
EGYPTIAN – ET, the alien, hides GYP being the pain, then IAN, the Scotsman. This meaning of ‘gyp’ is not familiar to me, but common in England I gather.
23 Italian inventor has brandy on island (7)
MARCONI – MARC brandy, ON, I for island.
25 Spend penny — allowed to go in river (7)
DEPLETE – P for penny and LET for allowed in the river DEE.
26 Time aboard cosy starship is working for scientists (15)
ASTROPHYSICISTS – anagram (working) COSY STARSHIP IS, with T for time aboard.
27 Current that reverses around one Polynesian paradise (6)
TAHITI – I for current, then THAT, all reversed and around I for one.
28 During travels notice region centred on Delos (8)
CYCLADES – AD or notice, in CYCLES or travels. Is it only me, or does this answer sound like a constellation?

Down
1 Attacker one helping to support Resistance (6)
RAIDER – AIDER supporting R for electrical resistance.
2 Hard black blocks used to be bad for fitting (4-5)
WASH-BASIN – H and B in (‘blocking’) WAS A SIN.
3 Progress initially awkward coming into trendy bars (7)
INROADS – A from awkward ‘initially’ in IN (trendy) RODS (bars).
4 Million taken in an unspecified battle (5)
SOMME – M for million in SOME.
6 This might make soccer player score, leap, cry (7)
ANAGRAM – a definition by example, since SCORE LEAP CRY is an anagram of SOCCER PLAYER. Obvious once you see it, but hard to see!
7 Sort of cross having wasted chicken portion? (5)
THIGH – T is the letter you traditionally cross after dotting your Is; then HIGH as in wasted.
8 Symbolic form amazingly apt in revamped Homer (8)
METAPHOR – anagram of APT (amazingly), in an anagram of HOMER (revamped).
9 Child tracks men on foot (8)
INFANTRY – INFANT=child, RY=railway tracks.
14 Sense agreement amongst rowing crew (8)
EYESIGHT – YES amongst EIGHT.
16 Bridged river that's risen about metre (9)
TRAVERSED – river DART ‘risen’ to give TRAD, about VERSE=poetic metre.
17 Line up male actors in beach formation (8)
WORMCAST – ROW=line ‘up’, to give WOR, M=male, CAST=actors.
19 Rook loves hawk to destroy totally (4,3)
ROOT OUT – R=rook, O+O=two loves, TOUT=hawk.
21 Interesting now hot Romeo coming out (7)
TOPICAL – T{R}OPICAL, minus R=Romeo.
22 Against hoovers using bags (6)
VERSUS – hidden (bagged) in hooVERS USing,
24 Scoundrel giving up whiskey shows strain (5)
RETCH – {w}RETCH=scoundrel.
25 Attractive little girl reticent (5)
DISHY – DI is the girl, she’s SHY.
verlaine

Times Cryptic Jumbo 1459: "When The Moon Is A Ghostly Galleon, Tossed Upon Cloudy Seas..."

I liked the GK-ish aspects of this, such as 9dn, 12dn, 32dn, 37dn, 14ac, and our friend the poet of course, surely the second best Alfred among all poets. Cluing wise I liked 39ac, and there were lots of "groaners" in the double definitions, which are excellent if you like that sort of thing, and who doesn't; COD though to 44ac and the splendid image of a Cockney Fitzcarraldo being hauled up mountainsides in a tin tub. Many thanks to the setter and sorry that blogging this last weekend seems to have slipped my mind!

ACROSS
1 Liberal's comic — phoney person who leaves the less well-off behind? (6,7)
SOCIAL CLIMBER - (LIBERAL'S COMIC*)

8 Sign of unity between partners in business, say (9)
AMPERSAND - cryptic def, referring to what you'll find in, e.g., "Marks & Spencer"

13 Dog rescuers on the road carrying equipment (5)
AKITA - A(utomobile) A(ssociation) "carrying" KIT

14 All decline perversely to accept large invention of physicist (7,4)
DANIELL CELL - (ALL DECLINE*) "accepting" L

15 Celebrate outside with jazzy music (5)
SWING - SING "outside" W

16 Spiritual band? (3,6)
DOG COLLAR - cryptic def for the "band" around a cleric's neck

17 Danger when last character comes forward presenting dagger (4)
KRIS - take RISK [danger] and move the last character to the front

18 A job had for one leaving the fold (8)
APOSTATE - A POST ATE [a | job | had]

20 Least known artist ahead of others (6)
RAREST - R(oyal) A(cademician) ahead of REST

21 Given a chance to do business favourably where customers come in? (2,3,6,5)
ON THE GROUND FLOOR - double def

24 Computer software has changed, right? We are mad (9)
SHAREWARE - (HAS*) + R + (WE ARE*)

26 Loveless city wanting end to crime — it's hairy (7)
BRISTLE - BRIST{o}L + {crim}E

27 Beliefs of left-winger disrupting firm (5)
CREDO - RED "disrupting" CO(mpany)

29 Once again tackling study with relish? (12)
READDRESSING - READ with DRESSING

31 Woman, 51, wanting man? Lady losing heart should be taking care (10)
DILIGENTLY - DI LI + GENT L{ad}Y

33 Academic Scotsman maybe joining club in European country (10)
MACEDONIAN - DON IAN joining MACE

35 Elements of opera, ballet or pantomime? (4,3,5)
SONG AND DANCE - an element of opera is SONG, an element of ballet is DANCE, put them together to get a to-do

38 Poet giving answers to binary question (5)
NOYES - NO + YES. The Highwayman is a good poem but I fear Noyes' name may mostly be living on in crosswords these days.

39 Role of singer that comes in last bit of Idomeneo (7)
SECONDO - the last bit of "Idomeneo" is its SECOND O

40 Happy one, a politician mostly the combative type (9)
GLADIATOR - GLAD I A TOR{y}

42 High-level words of wisdom for disciples (6,2,3,5)
SERMON ON THE MOUNT - cryptic def

44 What sounds like Cockney's ascent of mountain in a little bath! (6)
EYECUP - homophone of 'IKE UP

47 One praising international community — record is excellent ultimately (8)
EULOGIST - E.U. LOG IS {excellen}T

49 Some aliens of Universe to go around in these? (4)
UFOS - hidden reversed in {alien}S OF U{niverse}, semi-&lit

50 No cure sadly — time to offer support (9)
ENCOURAGE - (NO CURE*) + AGE

52 Noise of family beginning to gather (5)
CLANG - CLAN + G{ather}

53 Needless description of someone left in the lurch? (8-3)
UNCALLED-FOR - double def. If nobody CALLS FOR you, you've been stood up

54 Wind to go suddenly, backing east (5)
TRADE - reversed DART + E(ast)

55 Possible colour of water, surprisingly subtle, hiding fish (5,4)
STEEL-BLUE - (SUBTLE*) "hiding" EEL

56 Troublemaker and others come down in street — sort of control needed (4-9)
SELF-RESTRAINT - ELF + REST + RAIN, in ST(reet)

DOWN
1 Flags code of behaviour (9)
STANDARDS - double def

2 First of children to hang around, one holding on to mum maybe? (7)
CLINGER - C{hildren} + LINGER

3 Terribly sad poet, alone, powerless, not sure what to do (2,1,5,3)
AT A LOOSE END - (SAD {p}OET ALONE*)

4 Old king engaging divine cook (6)
CODDLE - COLE "engaging" D(octor of) D(ivinity)

5 I travel around north European country, heading off in state of bliss? (9)
IGNORANCE - I + GO "around" N(orth) + {f}RANCE

6 Use far too much bread? (5,3,4)
BREAK THE BANK - cryptic def

7 Rich Greek character has new kitchen device (7,3)
ROLLING PIN - ROLLING (in it) + PI + N(ew)

8 Church music ignoring scripture? Excuse me! (4)
AHEM - A{nt}HEM, ignoring the N(ew) T(estament)

9 Pre Napoleon's win, a terrible historical conflict (13,3)
PELOPONNESIAN WAR - (PRE NAPOLEON'S WIN A*)

10 Cunning plans soldier finally employs (5)
RUSES - {soldie}R USES

11 Disturbed, thanks to being led by a soldier (7)
AGITATO - TA TO, being led by A G.I.

12 Old illustration of tragedy with Europe being torn apart (13)
DAGUERREOTYPE - (TRAGEDY + EUROPE*)

19 See an object bringing detestation (8)
LOATHING - LO, A THING!

22 Record poem about cult hero (5)
FICHE - reversed IF (by Kipling) + CHE (Guevara)

23 Perform digital operation to cause somebody delight or embarrassment? (4,4,4,4)
MAKE ONE'S TOES CURL - double def with a frankly unsettling literal operation on the pedal digits

25 Lots without leader would embrace roguish state of disorder (7)
ANARCHY - {m}ANY "embracing" ARCH

28 Old lover with money, oddly cute and gone for ever (7)
EXTINCT - EX with TIN and C{u}T{e}

23 Anecdotes consisting of touching little episodes — about a hundred (13)
REMINISCENCES - RE [touching] + MINI SCENES "about" C

30 Big town faced with damage — lack of provisions (8)
SCARCITY - CITY "faced" with SCAR

32 King's indication of approval perhaps for something in garden? (8-4)
SOLOMON'S-SEAL - double def with the literal image conjured up by the flower name

34 Party music, something that's found very lacking (5)
DISCO - DISCO{very}

36 Girl possibly destined to travel by bicycle and boat to deliver bomb (5,6)
DAISY CUTTER - DAISY (from the song "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" + CUTTER [boat]

37 Divine being descends from heaven in watery South American location (5,5)
ANGEL FALLS - double def with literal meaning of a place dear to every quizzer's heart, the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, in Venezuela

40 Sad end of gnu and end of tiger sought by killer? (6,3)
GUNNED FOR - (END OF GNU + {tige}R*)

41 Play in which one type of theatre is meeting with grudge (9)
REPRESENT - REP is meeting with RESENT

43 Announcement about rental agreement (7)
RELEASE - RE LEASE [about | rental agreement]

45 Fellow at lunchtime maybe gets a bit of food (7)
CHAPATI - CHAP AT 1 (a civilised time for lunch)

46 Lots of heart binding saints (6)
SCORES - CORE "binding" together S and S

48 Energy and ambition having no place for a Russian author (5)
GOGOL - GO + GO{a}L

51 Top celebrity enthralling millions (4)
ACME - ACE "enthralling" M

Sunday Times Cryptic No 4921 by David McLean — Oh honest brain disorder it’s not

There was nothing 11 (down) about any of the clues here—indeed, this may be the easiest offering from Harry that I’ve blogged. However, I was spooked by seeing the first word in the first clue: “Whizz,” with a second Z that in terms of the surface meaning looked odd to me (as an American). Not sure of how to take that, and fearing that it was the definition, I started instead at the bottom and worked my way up, encountering very little resistance. “Wow, another easy anagram!” (I must have heard of that Robinson chap before.) Before long, the northwest held the only blanks. Now, the cryptic 3 and the Australian slang in 2 may have been the hardest clues here anyway, and it wasn’t just the oblique definition in 9 that threw me (we’ll get to that), but I looked with trepidation until the very end at 1 across, when suddenly it dawned on me that this was yet another easily gettable anagram and “Whizz” its odd anagrind.

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

ACROSS
 1 Whizz outclasses those without hope of success (4,6)
LOST CAUSES — Seems rather tautological. (outclasses)* The sense of “whizz” that would justify it as an anagrind was elusive, but it can only be that of mixing together, blending as a cook does with a hand mixer or food processor. “Whizz it, whip it, knead it or beat it, the choice is yours.” Sometimes spelled “wizz.”
 6 Item that’ll stop dog biting end of tail (4)
PLUG — P([-tai]L)UG
 9 Jumpy soldier capturing Malta’s city (5)
PARMA — PAR(M)A Finally seeing that PARAtrooper was meant by “Jumpy soldier,” I had to accept this as the answer, though I couldn’t find any substantiation for M by itself signifying “Malta” (the ISO abbreviation is MT). I wondered if the word “capital” had been inadvertently omitted before “city.” But the actual clue is more difficult than that perfectly acceptable hypothetical variation, as it relies upon your knowing that M alone does stand for “Malta” in the International Vehicle Register, of whose existence Keriothe had to remind me (I do remember that we’ve had its E for Spain before). I neither cook nor drive.
10 Highly offensive males too awful, husband admitted (9)
LOATHSOME — (males too + H)*
12 Familiar bit of research in office presentation (13)
DEMONSTRATION — DEMON, “familiar” + ST(R)ATION
14 I will forgive a British person like yourself (8)
ABSOLVER — A, “a” + B(ritish) + SOLVER
15 Pure heroin smuggled by group from India (6)
CHASTE — C(H)ASTE
17 African seen in Bali by a Norwegian (6)
LIBYAN — Hidden
19 Turn red, having left uni performance in a state (8)
COLORADO — COLO[-u]R, “Turn red” (in embarrassment, say), the missing U being “uni” + ADO, “performance” in the sense (British, informal) of “a display of exaggerated behavior or a process involving a great deal of unnecessary time and effort; a fuss.” (I don’t know how I missed seeing this in Lexico earlier! Thanks, Jackkt!) In Spanish, colorado means colo(u)red specifically red; the eponymous river got its name from its infusion of red sandstone. The US state is, politically, more a shade of purple.
21 We fit lighting out setting bars up (13)
WEIGHTLIFTING — (We fit lighting)* The definition is somewhat cryptic.
24 English No 10 I had put on my strip (9)
EXCORIATE — E(nglish) + X, “No 10” + I HAD, “I ate” straddling COR, “my(!)”
25 Mogul ultimately involved in rise of The Sun (5)
SOLAR — Paging Rupert Murdoch… SO(L)AR
26 Action making dogs possibly run the other way? (4)
STEP — PETS<=“run the other way”
27 He warned, “no going out for the time being” (4,3,3)
HERE AND NOW — The lockdown tightens. (He warned no)*

DOWN
 1 Drinks rounds? (4)
LAPS — DD
 2 Outfits about to transport free trousers to Oz (7)
STRIDES — SETS, “Outfits” reversed around (transporting, so to speak) RID, “free”
 3 One might get used to Polish vehicles (6,7)
CHAMMY LEATHER — CD The thought of “chamois” gave me the top part. “Shammy” is an alternative spelling that is eliminated definitively only by the checker.
 4 Sherpa possibly less than enthralled climbing mountain (8)
UPLANDER — U(ALP<=“climbing”)NDER
 5 Call for Congress to reject second bill (5)
EXACT — [-s]EX, “Congress” + ACT, “bill”
 7 Family stays in Battle for short visits (4-3)
LOOK-INS — LOO(KIN)S The WWI Battle of Loos (just around this time in 1915) was when the British first used poison gas. There’s a pun in there somewhere, but it would be in very poor taste.
 8 Young male lead seen with new flapper (5,5)
GREEN HERON — GREEN, “Young” + HERO, “male lead” + N(ew)
11 Sadly, her noon habits can be absurdly complex (5,8)
HEATH ROBINSON — (her noon habits)* After a cartoonist (1872–1944) whose drawings detailed elaborate mechanical devices for the achievement of simple tasks, predecessor of the American Rube Goldberg (1883–1970), whose name also became synonymous with such contraptions.
13 Youth succeeded in breaking local news (10)
CALLOWNESS — (local news + S)*
16 Prisoner at liberty to ring Republican brother at work (8)
CONFRERE — CON, “Prisoner” + FRE(R)E
18 Dash about, getting ambassador something for lunch? (7)
BRIOCHE — BRIO, “Dash” + C(irca), “about” + HE, His Excellency, “ambassador”
20 National record sent up in article repeatedly (7)
ANGOLAN — AN(LOG<=“sent up”)AN
22 Will time off from work cause split? (5)
LEAVE — QD—quadruple definition! Anyway, I think it is meant to be. Maybe. After seeing what “Will” was up to, I wondered if “cause” might also be in on the game, but I couldn’t quite see how. It seemed a missed opportunity that could have been met with the alternative I would have suggested, “Will time off from work permit split?” But Collins has as a definition of LEAVE “cause to be or to remain in a specified state,” as in “paying his bills left him penniless.” Well, then it caused his pennilessness. You wouldn’t substitute “leave” for ”cause” and say that it left his pennilessness or left him to be penniless…. Hmm… But “It will LEAVE a bitter taste in your mouth” is fairly close, anyway, to “It will cause a bitter taste in your mouth.” Isn’t it? That latter formulation is awkward too.
23 Pull out your gun and charge in the wrong direction (4)
DRAW — WARD<=“in the wrong direction”
New RCA
  • vinyl1

Mephisto 3134 - Citizen Furball

Generally speaking, this was not that difficult a Mephisto.   Most of the answers are not obscure, allowing a certain amount of biffing once you get a few crossing letters. But there is a bit of a sting in the tail, where obscure words are used in the cryptics to give you an obscure word for the answer, which may make if difficult to finish.   Unfortunately, there's another one I can't parse, but at least it's an easy biff if you know The Odyssey.

I am getting better at Mephisto, and now think of N when I see navy, but Cilla when I see black.   But these clever compilers are always coming up with something new,   I did enjoy what we are called and the half of a medley

1 Relative in medley not half like a schoolgirl (7)
MISSISH - MIS(SIS)H[-mash]
6 Set on schedule in Hollywood (5)
SLATE - Double definition,
10 Former currency familiar? No mate! (4)
INTI - INTI[mate], a coin from Peru.
11 Navy barracks not right somehow for eatery (8, two words)
SNACK BAR -  Anagram of N + BAR[r]ACKS.
12 Cryptic comps said to be irregular (9)
SPASMODIC - Anagram of COMPS SAID, a starter clue.
15 Gripe problem disheartened (4)
PULE - PU[zz]LE - what you're doing right now!
16 Two notes about cat put to rest (6)
ENTOMB -  E, N.(TOM)B, where E is a musical note, and N.B is an abbreviation of nota bene.
17 Wingless insects seen in middle of hibiscus trees (6)
ILICES - [hib]I(LICE)S[cus].  The ilex is also called the holm oak.
18 What we are called in explosive games (10)
TOURNAMENT - T(OUR NAME)NT.  Brilliant and simple, the best clue in the puzzle.
20 Contracting engineers initially loved to run network test (10)
DEVELOPING - Anagram of E + LOVED + PING.    Contracting in the sense of catching a disease.
24 A lodging in Switzerland rented out? (6)
CHALET - CH(A)LET, a clever &lit.
25 Hearing once behind French lawyer, former Swiss magistrate (6)
AVOYER - AV. + OYER.  AV. is the abbreviation the French use for avocat
26 Wild onion dish put out fashionably (4)
MOLY - Biffed by me.   You evidently take some dish and remove a word that means fashionably.   Audience participation invited   Evidently, it's MO[dish]LY, the opposite of what I was expecting.  
29 Concerned with pre-1918 period, two guys passed over fighting with Germany (9)
EDWARDIAN - ED(WAR + D)IAN, where the ambiguity of English "with" is used.
30 Enclosure in Irish county for carriage (8)
CLARENCE - CLAR(ENC)E.
31 Teach locally in Ulster seaport mostly (4)
LARN - LARN(e).
32 Sun cool about not very alluring lady (5)
SYREN - S + NER[v]Y backwards,   A mere variant spelling, as y would usually transliterate upsilon, noe eta-iota.
33 Fur suit includes rare trim (7)
GENETTE -  GE(NETT)E.   Chambers actually defines nett as trim (rare), and gee used to mean suit is not that common either.
Down
1 Take in booze for going around island (7)
MISLEAD - M(ISL)EAD, where the abbreviation for island is a bit longer than usual.
2 Cricketers turned up in pink (4)
STAB - BATS upside-down.
3 Timber is so-so for rebuild (6)
SISSOO - Anagram of IS SO-SO, making a wood used in India.
4 One text providing distinctive theories (4)
ISMS - I + SMS - short message service, the protocol for text messaging.
5 Melted white stuff present in special stock (9)
SNOWBROTH -  S (NOW) BROTH
6 Lily and Bob Black (6)
SCILLA -S + CILLA.....Cilla Black.
7 Kidnap a born leader abroad (6)
ABDUCE - A + B + DUCE.
8 Offer to tackle trouble for nightwatchman? (9)
TAILENDER - T(AIL)ENDER, my cricket knowledge is improving, this was my FOI.
9 High flyer in European capital wanting opening (4)
ERNE - [b]ERNE.
13 Broom in butcher’s joint altogether lacking width (9)
KNEEHOLLY -  KNEE + [w]HOLLY.
14 Rummy one’s seen in village pub (9, two words)
GIN PALACE - GIN + P(A)LACE, some rather loose usage, as a village is a place, but so are many other things, and a gin palace is not just any pub.
19 A number with navy in Mediterranean port act like bullies (7)
TYRANNE - TYR(A N + N)E.
21 Quite within variety of Roman garland (6)
VALLAR - V(ALL)AR, a garland awarded for breaching a vallum.
22 Depressing end of tale in Loaded (6)
LEADEN - L([tal]E)ADEN, a starter clue.
23 Dale, one dropping off after a nap and noggin (6)
NODDLE - NOD + D[a]LE.
26 Clothing racket overturned (4)
MACS - SCAM upside down.
27 Piece of sombre news (4)
BREN -hidden in [som]BRE N[ews].
28 Sanction money restricting Iran primarily (4)
FIAT - FA(I[ran])T, where we have another obscure usage, this time with fat meaning money.